May 18, 2016

What Does the Future Hold for Relations Between America and Iran?

This post has been contributed.
The deal between America and Iran that sees the lifting of sanctions in return for a halt to Iran's nuclear program is a big step. The deal and its historical relevance should not be understated. But this deal doesn’t represent a full embrace between the two nations. There are many issues that are still not resolved, and there are problems that mean the countries are not going to be allies soon. In recent times, the hardliners in the Iranian regime have been dealt numerous blows. Moderate politicians and allies of the President, Hassan Rouhani, have found success in elections. There are problems heading down the line for the deal and the relations between American and Iran though. So, let’s explore what these problems are.
Some observers with deep knowledge of the Iranian situation would argue that President Obama got a bad deal with Iran. This is not a universal opinion, but there is a divide in the perception of the nuclear deal. Mark Dubowitz has argued that Obama has weakened America’s position, giving strength to the Iranians. This is something that many argue could come back to haunt the next American President. Donald Trump, for example, has been very critical of Obama’s deal. On the other hand, the deal could completely collapse if the next President took a hardline approach to dealings with Iran. There are many people on the Republican side of American politics who think the deal should simply be retracted. This would see sanctions reimposed, and tensions could then escalate.
There are also many other issues, aside from the nuclear issue, that could cause rifts between Iran and America. These problems haven’t been solved by the nuclear deal, and both sides have made this fact very clear. One of these issues relates to Iran’s attitudes towards human rights. Their human rights record isn’t good, and this is something that American and the West opposes. On top of that, the Iranian regime is unwilling to get too close to America anyway. They don’t want to be sucked into America’s orbit of influence. And while America is still very close to Saudi Arabia - the country that is the sworn enemy of Iran - this could never happen. Having said that, relations are improving. And there is no doubt that opening the lines of dialogue will pull the relationship in slightly better direction.
Fear remains on both sides though. Earlier this year, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard launched test missiles. This is something that was condemned by the Americans. And it seemed to be a warning from Iran that it still had the ability to launch missiles that could reach Israel. Israel is one of America’s closest allies, as well as one of the biggest critics of the nuclear deal that was completed. Fear and suspicion are not going to dissipate overnight. And there have been instances of the Iranians taking American sailors at gunpoint in recent months. These instances will not sooth fears on either side. But the overall impact of recent changes remains to be seen.

April 28, 2016

Common Family Problems And How You Can Swiftly Overcome Them

This post has been contributed
Our family is an important unit made up of some of our closest loved ones. So when we are going through a particularly difficult period in life, we often turn to them for support. But what happens when the family is struggling through a hard time together? Who is everyone going to turn to for support then? It may seem like a dark time. However, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Here are five family problems and how you can swiftly overcome them.
If a family member is suffering from an addiction, it can weigh heavily on their other relatives. It doesn’t matter whether it is an addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling, or food. Any addiction will cause stress and upset. If a close relative is struggling with addiction, it is very important that you support them to help them kick their habit. Read up on addictions, talk to them, and try to persuade them to seek professional help. Once they are free from their addiction, it is also important to prevent them from relapsing. Otherwise, you’ll be back at square one.
As parents, you should always set the best possible examples to your kids. But what if you and your partner no longer get on? The tension in a relationship can affect kids, which can lead to detrimental behavior. If you and your partner are feeling strained, it is best to talk about any issues and clear the air as soon as possible. This will create a better environment for your kids to live in. If you feel the relationship is beyond repair, it could be time to think about a divorce. Speak to a Divorce Lawyer to get the whole process over and done with as quickly as possible.
The death of a relative or close family friend can be devastating. It can affect the whole family, especially very young members or those who were particularly close to the deceased. While everyone is dealing with their own grief, it is best to seek support from those outside the family. Speak to friends and colleagues who did not know the deceased. They will be able to help you objectively. If things get too much, it could be worth visiting a local counselor or therapist.
Debt can rip a family apart. Relatives could blame the family member who caused the debt, and a lot of anger could build up within everyone. But that won’t make the situation any easier or help you to pay back the money. The best thing to do is to sit down with the whole family and come up with a financial plan and budget. This gives you a practical way to deal with the issue. It could also be worth changing your lifestyle so you can live a cheaper life. Even if you have to cut back on holidays, it will be worth it in the end.
Remember: going through these hard times can help you become a stronger family.

January 1, 2016

My Favorite Books of 2015

Year 2 of giving up fantasy football and sports radio during my commute to read/listen to more books instead. Finished 17/23 I started this year. Getting better at giving up quicker on books not meant for me in the present moment. Asterisks* note my top recommendations. DNF means Did Not Finish.
*Winning the Story Wars – Jonah Sachs
*The Bible Tells Me So – Peter Enns
*Built to Sell – John Warrillow
Bossypants – Tina Fey
The Irresistible Revolution – Shane Claiborne
Essentialism – Greg McKeown
Myth in Human History – Grant Voth
Zero to One – Peter Thiel
Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari
Falling Upward – Richard Rohr
Yes Please – Amy Poehler
Interrupted – Jen Hatmaker
The Divine Conspiracy – Dallas Willard
Scrum – Jeff Sutherland
Jesus: A Theography – Leonard Sweet
The Obstacle is the Way – Ryan Holiday
Simply Good News – N.T. Wright
The Smartest Kids in the World – Amanda Ripley (DNF)
Walden – Henry David Thoreau (DNF)
The Bassoon King – Rainn Wilson (DNF)
The Charisma Myth – Olivia Cabane (DNF)
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami (DNF)
Slaughterhouse-five – Kurt Vonnegut (DNF)