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September 20, 2017 / Posted by Patrick A. Berzinski / COMMENTS (0)

Rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey a task to require extraordinary effort

By Harold J. Raveché, Ph.D.
Opinion Contributor
TheHill.com

September 3, 2017

Owning a shore home in New Jersey situated four miles from where Hurricane Sandy made landfall in 2012 – and a second home in a Vermont town that was destroyed by Irene – I have profound personal empathy for the difficulties faced by Texas victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Before discussing the challenges of rebuilding, there is very good news for America from Harvey.

The outpouring of volunteer assistance (think Cajun Navy) is truly an outstanding example of a citizenry united in selfless acts of rescue – neighbors helping neighbors in crisis. This outreach by thousands of Americans to other Americans stands in stark contrast to the recent news of hateful acts perpetuated by an isolated (but highly publicized) few.

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September 20, 2017 / Posted by Patrick A. Berzinski / COMMENTS (0)

Indonesia is just beginning to realize its potential for greatness

By Harold J. Raveché, Ph.D.
Opinion Contributor
TheHill.com

August 23, 2017

With the largest population and economy in Southeast Asia, substantial oil and gas reserves, richness in gold and silver, and the burst of startups in online services, Indonesia has the potential for global greatness. But there are indeed challenges to greatness for the world’s largest Muslim majority country, with its 259 million residents and G20 membership.

On two recent occasions in Jakarta, gridlock from hundreds of buses, transporting thousands of demonstrators, restricted me to my hotel where I had clear views of the crowds. I also had a clear view of the Istiqlal Mosque, the largest in Southeast Asia. Adjacent is the Catholic Cathedral of Saint Mary. During the demonstrations, and on numerous previous occasions, I have witnessed both Muslims and Catholics walking peacefully to their respective houses of worship.

However, the country’s government missed an opportunity to demonstrate greatness in tolerance of religious and ethnic differences on Aug. 17, Indonesia’s day of independence, when many prisoners are traditionally pardoned and released from prison. But this year, authorities refused to release former Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaya Purnama (Ahok), along with 92,000 others who had been granted pardons.

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June 26, 2017 / Posted by Patrick A. Berzinski / COMMENTS (0)

Embracing Vocational Skills Will Help Solve the School Dropout Dilemma

By Harold J. Raveché, Ph.D.
Opinion Contributor
TheHill.com

May 17, 2017

schoolkidsAs a veteran of three decades in higher education, with 22 years as a university president, I have long portrayed the U.S. record of failure in public education in our inner cities in terms of two choices.

Either the United States will resolve as a nation to tackle the worst dysfunctions of the public education system and salvage the futures of millions of children with no alternative to imposed failure, or the Department of Justice will need to increase continuously the number of state and federal prisons to handle the vast spectrum of human wreckage that will result within the next generation.

All U.S. primary and secondary education is essentially based on an anachronistic, suburban goal of college admissions. High schools define their success by college placements instead of employable skills. We have a one-size-fits-all mentality in high school education, which does not serve the educational needs of millions of high-risk children.

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June 26, 2017 / Posted by Patrick A. Berzinski / COMMENTS (0)

Taiwan Deserves to Participate in United Nations

By Harold J. Raveché, Ph.D.
Opinion Contributor
TheHill.com

April 15, 2017

united-nationsTwo developments became obvious to me over time.

First, a steady increase of tourists from the People’s Republic of China. Upon arrival at Taoyuan Airport, I now have to queue with huge numbers of visitors from the PRC, waiting to clear Taipei Immigration. Last year, in spite of obstructions set up by Beijing, there were 3.5 million tourists from Communist China, anxious to experience the freedom of Taiwan, to shop and mingle with the friendly Taiwanese with whom they can easily converse.

 The second development is the growing entrepreneurial and independent spirit of Taiwanese students, with dreams of starting their own businesses.

In March 2014, I was fortunate to witness the unprecedented “Sunflower Movement,” when an estimated 400 students peacefully occupied the Congress Building in Taipei, with 10,000 protesters outside, to show the then-president they were serious about protecting Taiwan’s independent economy from Communist China’s interference. In August 2014, leaders of the movement traveled to DC to meet with US Congress members and State Department officials to reiterate their rejection of Beijing’s “One China” policy.

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March 25, 2017 / Posted by Patrick A. Berzinski / COMMENTS (0)

Conflict Resolution in the South China Sea

By Harold J. Raveché, Ph.D.

March 2017

A shorter version of this essay appeared March 24, 2017, in TheHill.com

tillerson-rex-gettyDuring the past 20 years, I have traveled, multiple times a year, to Southeast Asia. As a conference and university speaker, innovation adviser and technological entrepreneur, I have witnessed regional economic growth and political change. I have come to appreciate the intensity of the various claimant nations over rights in the South China Sea (SCS). From these diverse perspectives, I am convinced of the global importance for conflict resolution now.

The current multilateral disputes in the SCS are complex and have deep historical roots, involving ancient civilizational and national conflicts.

More recently, as well, they have a basis in a host of unproven assumptions about the energy riches that lie beneath the waters of the vast areas stretching from China to Vietnam and the Philippines, from Taiwan to Malaysia and Brunei, with Singapore, Japan and South Korea joined in for good measure. Each of these national players has competing claims within the region.

Many of the latest conflicts involve maritime disputes with China over Chinese territorial claims and military expansion into the complex of SCS islands and atolls, including widely scattered geographical targets such as the Paracels, the Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoal near the Philippines.

The Beijing government lays claim to all of the above, pointing, with dubious justification, to the 18th century expansion of the imperial Qing (Manchu) Dynasty (a claim codified by the vaguely defined “nine-dash line” map, first put forth in 1947 by the pre-Communist Kuomintang government).

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March 25, 2017 / Posted by Patrick A. Berzinski / COMMENTS (0)

Americans Must Become Better at Cybersecurity

BY HAROLD RAVECHE AND MICHAEL WYNNE, OPINION CONTRIBUTORS

February 9, 2017
TheHill.com

cyber

Making the U.S. “cyber safer” is a multidimensional, long-term challenge. Threats are varied, they are inexpensive to carry out and can originate from anywhere. The perpetrators can hide or camouflage their identities. Motivations vary from seeking classified military and intelligence data and intellectual property of businesses to theft of personal identities and executing illegal financial transactions or simple vandalism.

Prosecution of cyber criminals is difficult, as they are digitally elusive, often working their trade with near complete anonymity. Laws differ around the world, making a coherent effort against cyber criminals a complex problem. Hackers have proven to be increasingly successful in piercing current software-based security measures, with developing evidence pointing to the Advanced Persistent Threat. Some are state sponsored, while others operate alone and in rogue groups. WikiLeaks and the recent hacking of Secretary Clinton’s email serve as a reminder that hackers are also disruptively opportunistic.

The explosive global use of mobile apps, chat groups and social media offer hackers new gateways to obtain sensitive organizational as well as personal data. Suppliers of look-alike WiFi connections use their signals to gain entrance to mobile devices. Even technologically sophisticated companies such as Apple, Facebook and Twitter have been hacked. Last year, Yahoo announced that it had previously suffered attacks wherein one billion active user accounts were compromised. Also in 2016, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services reported to the US Navy that one of the company’s laptops was breached, revealing the personal identities of more than 134,000 current and previous sailors.

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