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[P]
America Shrugged - The Case for a New Isolationism

By minerboy in Op-Ed
Thu May 06, 2004 at 10:11:01 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

Recent news from Iraq about the brutality of a few American soldiers has added to the growing fire of anti-Americanism around the world. This is not a new phenomenon, though it has been much more pronounced after 9-11, and since the "war on terror" began. In fact, anti-Americanism has become the subject of a book by J. F. Revel . Revel's book argues that "the daily denunciations (against Americans) exceed the bounds of reasonable criticism. He attributes such inconsistencies to Europeans' desperate desire to project our faults onto America so as to absolve ourselves." Moreover, it creates an atmosphere in which American opinions, and political interests are not taken seriously - and conspiracy theories are easily accepted. So what are Americans to do about this bigotry- beyond learning to say "I'm Canadian, eh" when they travel abroad? Well, We could take our ball, and go home.


Isolationism has been a dirty word in U.S. politics since the end of WWII as the U.S. provided the only counterbalance to the USSR. With the Soviet Union gone, the isolationism meme was used to quell those against NAFTA. But maybe now is the time to consider a new isolationism - a period of American introspection and downsizing that result in less American intervention, and sacrifice. Consider what this might look like.

National Security - We can't expect that military withdrawal from the rest of the world will automatically result in security. In fact, one might expect that some countries might be emboldened by our withdrawal from the world scene. To compensate, the U.S. would need to reallocate the Defense budget, to support missile defense, information gathering networks, and border defense, to eliminate illegal immigration - essentially wall up the country. The number of legal immigrants and foreign visitors would be substantially reduced as well, along the lines of Japanese immigration policy.

Foreign Aid - foreign aid is just a projection of economic power to influence another nation, loosely veiled as humanitarianism - that's what the anti-Americans say. Indeed, the altruistic developmental goals of foreign aid have been largely unsuccessful and have instead filled the Swiss bank accounts of dictators, and U.N Bureaucrats. Therefore, an isolationist America would not provide any foreign aid. The U.S. should no longer provide the logistical support for these "humanitarian" operations either, since this greatly increases the probability of foreign entanglement, and provides easy targets for anti-American sentiments, despite the fact that this logistical support is never considered as part of the U.S. contribution to foreign aid. In particular, an aspect of foreign aid that is not often considered in the government budget is food aid given to third world countries, that appears as farm subsidies. Why should we use energy, deplete soil, and spend tax dollars on feeding others, particularly others that hold bigoted, unrealistic negative opinions of us? Shouldn't the welfare of our neighbors, countrymen and our future generations be paramount in deciding how to use resources?

Economy - Isolationism does not necessarily mean protectionism, but rather a closer look at how the U.S. structures its economic agreements. The U.S. should pull out of the WTO, the IMF, and other global trade organizations. It should be clear that in a climate of anti-Americanism the U.S. cannot expect fair treatment from these organizations so trade agreements should be negotiated with individual countries, rather than global organizations without any democratic accountability. In the long term this would require economic restructuring, so that the U.S. depends less on foreign goods, in particular, oil. Currently, the US consumes over 2 times as much oil as it produces. To achieve even a modest degree of disengagement would require that the energy infastructure be diversified to include greater use of locally available methane, coal, and nuclear energy sources. This together with the conservation gained from the reduction of transportation costs, a decrease in agricultural production, and efficiencies gained as a consequence of the increase of oil prices could achieve energy self sufficiency. This would require WWII level sacrifices for a few years, but in the end the U.S. would be a more sustainable, and self-sufficient society.

Community - Without the distractions of trying to solve global problems, Americans could focus on improving the quality of life for other Americans. Things like health care, costs of aging, and education could be addressed, and improved significantly. Some might decry the lack of input from outside cultures, but I guess we can get along without Chinese-Mexican fusion cuisine. Frankly America is already diverse enough to support those positive cultural interactions that lead to cultural innovations.

Global Impact - Of course, this would be difficult for the rest of the world. I'm sure there would be great rejoicing for the first six months or so, but soon thereafter petty dictators around the world would press their expansionists' agenda. An inept and ineffectual NATO, sans the U.S., may try to step in, but would pay huge costs, both monetarily, and in lives (remember the Falklands war?). Would Europe be willing (or even able?) to bear this cost? Many countries would suffer severe economic recessions, since U.S. trade accounts for significant fractions of their exports, and imports of raw materials. Large portions of the globe would see soaring food prices, and starvation. The combined effects of starvation, disease, and war that would spread across the third world would likely significantly reduce the world population. What remained would be clamoring for access to Europe. Still, in the long run, a decrease in population is good, as is anything that would force the third world countries to become more sustainable.

If Anti-americanism continues to grow, Americans will be forced to look inward, as was the case in the 1920s. Perhaps its time for America to consider herself first again.

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Related Links
o anti-Ameri canism around the world
o book by J. F. Revel
o conspiracy theories are easily accepted
o bigotry
o Isolationi sm
o quell those against NAFTA
o altruistic developmental goals of foreign aid have been largely unsuccessful
o dictators, and U.N Bureaucrats
o the case in the 1920s
o Also by minerboy


Display: Sort:
America Shrugged - The Case for a New Isolationism | 655 comments (598 topical, 57 editorial, 2 hidden)
-1ndymedia (1.00 / 15) (#1)
by sllort on Wed May 05, 2004 at 02:22:45 PM EST


--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
+1SP, Don't necessarily agree ... (1.58 / 12) (#5)
by alby on Wed May 05, 2004 at 02:36:01 PM EST

... but it's an interesting and well written article. Nice to see something about the US that isn't:
  • "IRAQ IRAQ BLAH IRAQ ..."
    or
  • "BUSH BLAH IDIOT BLAH ..."
for once.

--
Alby

I would suggest ... (none / 2) (#365)
by tilly on Thu May 06, 2004 at 11:16:29 PM EST

not electing born-again presidents.

I would recommend electing very intelligent men with good appetite for life (or very intelligent women with good appetite for men)

Then there wouldn't be any need in the first place for "Iraq ... Iraq ... blah ... blah ... Bush ... idiot ... blah ... blah"

[ Parent ]

different world now (2.20 / 10) (#7)
by zenofchai on Wed May 05, 2004 at 02:54:03 PM EST

Isolationism can work well when the worst another country can do is throw rocks at you or stop buying your goods.

--> Isolationism doesn't work so well when other countries have nuclear weapons or sophisticated biological agents.

--> Isolationism doesn't work so well when your economy is heavily, heavily, impossibly precariously dependent on a certain foreign good available from few vendors (oil). All it would take is 2 or 3 countries refusing to sell us oil and our economy would crash --hard-- until local production could catch up to local demand (which is not likely ever to happen, even if we drill all of Alaska -- there's "enough" oil there to last a while but not enough capacity for production).
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.

just to follow up... (2.50 / 6) (#9)
by zenofchai on Wed May 05, 2004 at 03:07:21 PM EST

In 2000, the US consumed 20 million barrels of oil per day, 26% of the global total of 76 million barrels of oil per day. The United States is not capable of producing 20 million barrels of oil per day (we would have to increase current production by 150% to reach such production!).

Global Oil Production
Global Oil Consumption

In fact, looking at those graphs it is easy to see why the US is so interested in Venezuela (although their production has declined in recent years). Perhaps we will have to "liberate" Norway soon?
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

untapped (none / 3) (#41)
by adimovk5 on Wed May 05, 2004 at 08:18:53 PM EST

The US could produce 20 million but the cost would be much higher. The US reserves are unexplored because estimates show that they are now uneconomical to extract. By comparison, the oil from OPEC countries is easy to extract "high quality, light crude oil" that is also easy to process.

A rise in prices would initiate a new round of exploration and the tapping of new wells that are uneconomical at current prices. If prices stay too high for too long, alternate energy sources start becoming more economical too. An R&D surge will occur.

[ Parent ]

In other words, the Market will provide (2.16 / 6) (#57)
by borys on Wed May 05, 2004 at 10:21:50 PM EST

The Market doesn't respond fast enough. By the time prices go high enough to warrant the last-ditch stuff, there will be riots in the street because people can't afford the oil-drenched industrially farmed food.

It takes a long time to develop new sites and the sad fact is that America is past the point of boosting production in any meaningful way.

We reached our Hubbert peak in 1970. Production is all downhill from there. World oil production's peak is anywhere from 2000 to 2010 to even 2050, depending on who you talk to. (Naturally, governments and industry are taking the optimistic view. But when you consider that they have a *very* strong incentive to overestimate reserves...)

The 2000 figure is very convincing when you consider that over the past 3-4 years oil production *has*, in fact, fallen consistantly and the US has lost a million jobs and invaded the most concentrated region of oil in the world.

We can't count on the market to save us from this crisis. It can't ignore the geological fact that oil will very soon become uneconomical to produce. That doesn't mean that the price will go up and therefore make it worth drilling for hard to get oil. It means that we will expend more than 1 calorie to retrieve 1 calorie in oil. In the meantime, the dollar price will go up and things will get interesting. It's bad enough paying $2/gallon. What's it going to be like paying $50 for a BigMac?

If we don't convert to a renewable energy economy with prices tied to the energetic requirements of production we're screwed. Huge numbers of the world are going to be screwed, regardless. But some parts of civilization might make it if we can change the course of this leaky ship.

Have you thought about what it's going to be like after the crash?



[ Parent ]
Life will go on (2.20 / 5) (#67)
by adimovk5 on Wed May 05, 2004 at 11:02:54 PM EST

Economies.

Markets never respond quickly. Loss of cheap oil will cause strains and then changes to the way our society works. Some products will become more expensive due to higher fuel costs. Others will rise due to a chain reaction from those expenses.

In other parts of the economy, people will simply give up some things. I think Economists call it exchange costs. You make decisions about what you will give up to live within your means. A change in the economy might mean you are forced to give up cable TV. It doesn't necessarily mean you will riot.

Prices should rise gradually, not in a linear fashion but in fits and spurts. At each move the economy will shift. Each shift will cause economic pain, but people will adjust. Vehicles will become more efficient drinkers of petroleum. Solar, wind, and water will rise as power sources. Nuclear will be used in isolated cases.

Lost jobs.

The measures used to gauge the economy are outdated. The American economy functions differently in the 21st century than it did during the last. That's why the Economists are so puzzled. America seems to be losing jobs but the unemployment numbers are at historic lows. GNP is growing slowly, inflation is low but the national debt is high. Economists are lost.

I place modern economists in the same boat as environmentalists who cry about global warming. I see correlations but no cause and effect. When they can start giving me consistent accurate predictions of what will happen 1, 2, 5 and 10 years down the road, I will start listening. Until then, I'll believe in the free market.

I take comfort in the efforts of millions of free people trying to make their own lives better. Together they can out think any calamity up ahead.



[ Parent ]

I disagree (none / 2) (#83)
by ph317 on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:00:19 AM EST


While whether the global hubbert peak problem hits us hard, and when its coming, is a large area of debate (I tend to agree with the 2000 likelyhood and the 2000-2020-ish near certainty).. but IF it comes, I disagree that the market can fix it.

When they speak of oil becoming unecononmical to pump out of the ground, they're not talking relative market values that our virtual economies can play endless games with.  It means it really, honestly takes X more blood sweat and tears to get Y barrels of oil out of the ground.  As "X" blood sweat and tears approaches "Z", which is how much blood, sweat , and tears worth of energy a barrel of oil can produce for us, it quickly becomes pointless to even bother using it as a energy source.  Of course before that happens, on the way to that point, the market will see what's happening, prices will skyrocket above what's neccesary, basic food and water costs will skyrocket, people will panic and riot, further crashing economy, etc...

It's a bad, bad scenario.

[ Parent ]

holy sh!t (none / 0) (#262)
by zenofchai on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:07:12 PM EST

that FTW article just made my list of things to read more carefully later. but from a cursory glance it kicks my already-well-developed fear notions of Peak Oil into serious gear. I had thought that we would be OK, albeit less driving around, much reduced manufacturing capacity, but having grown up on a farm I thought we could produce enough food for ourselves. After all we didn't use much fuel or energy, yet produced many acres of crop. That article seems to be saying that the fertilizer and pesticide production is actually huge amounts of oil energy... damn! That throws me for a loop.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]
Forget renwable energy (none / 1) (#300)
by burbilog on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:08:50 PM EST

We can't count on the market to save us from this crisis. It can't ignore the geological fact that oil will very soon become uneconomical to produce. That doesn't mean that the price will go up and therefore make it worth drilling for hard to get oil. It means that we will expend more than 1 calorie to retrieve 1 calorie in oil. In the meantime, the dollar price will go up and things will get interesting. It's bad enough paying $2/gallon. What's it going to be like paying $50 for a BigMac?

First of all, forget renewable energy. There is no need for it. Germany fought whole WWII using synthetic fuel made from coal. It's almost regular gasoline. Last fuel factory in Germany was closed in sixties because it could not compete with extremely cheap Arab oil. But the technology is there and it's waaay cheaper than any alternative, especially than wacky stuff like hydrogen. It's an old, proven and reliable technology. And today advances in chemistry and computers will make it even more cheap. Earth has enough coal to make gasoline for centuries. Don't panic.

They don't build these factories because while today prices are high there is significant risk of going back to $10/barrel... But as soon as investors will be sure that gas prices won't go down we'll see these factories popping around the world.

Second, there is alredy Volkswagen 1-liter car http://www.seriouswheels.com/top-vw-1-liter-car.htm where 1-liter means that it consumes 1 liter of fuel per 100 kilometers (that's 235 mpg for you americans). Yip, today you sniff at the contraption like this. But tomorrow if your kids want to eat, your house is 100 miles away from the only job you've got and you can't sell your house and buy something close to the job because the economy went belly up you WILL sell everything to buy such car. And no, it doesn't have to be all that "high technology" really, because Germans were making such cars (http://www.microcarmuseum.com/tour/messerschmitt-kr200-1955ir.html) after WWII when they could not afford big cars.


-- If the life is just a game of D&D then the DM really sucks.
[ Parent ]

couple of things... (none / 1) (#400)
by zenofchai on Fri May 07, 2004 at 03:40:13 PM EST

First, doesn't matter if everybody drove the same car as me (VW Golf TDI, 50 miles per gallon diesel) the energy problem would only take a small dent.

Synthetic diesel is a very promising tech and VW is investing heavily into it -- they agree that hydrogen power is economically defunct. However oil could at one time be produced in a 100-to-1 energy ratio. That is, it takes 1 barrel of oil worth of energy to extract 100 barrels of oil. Nearly all synthetic fuels are at best on the order of 5-to-1 ratio, which is still a net gain but a factor of 20 less efficient.

Building these synthetic fuel factories will likely happen, however $5 per gallon diesel fuel (while relatively normal world-wide) is over three the cost of current US diesel ($1.50). The US has industry heavily dependent upon cheap transporation of goods by truck, coast-to-coast, the cost of which is heavily dependent upon fuel costs. Tripling the fuel costs to all transportation of manufactured goods would be enormous to a country as sprawled and non-regional as the US (by non-regional I mean that goods sold in a grocery store in New York have likely arrived by truck from Texas or further).
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

And most importantly, (none / 3) (#423)
by ksandstr on Fri May 07, 2004 at 06:33:07 PM EST

Isolationism won't work when your local culture is headed down the "bring out the virgins and the chocolate icing! and the pig's feet in cherry and avocado jam! also, where the hell are my catamites?" route. Frankly, the only things keeping you from becoming a nation of fat child-fuckers are the meager cultural imports that occasionally seep through your damn near one-way membrane of a language barrier.

If pressed for suggestions on how to fix this little problem, I'd propose fixing whatever the hell is wrong with your attitude regarding public services. I mean, what the fuck is the idea that it's COMYANIST (and therefore obviously Wrong) to have a system of publically funded and organized education and/or health care anyway? Not that this would take care of it in a heartbeat though, but maybe after four or five generations... if you can manage not to go like ancient Rome (i.e. become unimaginably decadent, split, go to war between the halves, get your shit ruined by barbarian tribes, send the continent into a dark age for a good part of a millennium) in between that is.


Fin.
[ Parent ]

And the 1920's lead to 1929 - The Year of the Grea (2.60 / 10) (#10)
by leoaugust on Wed May 05, 2004 at 03:20:41 PM EST

If Anti-americanism continues to grow, Americans will be forced to look inward, as was the case in the 1920s. Perhaps its time for America to consider herself first again.

You end at the point where the interesting part is just beginning. Yes, we must look inward as was the case in 1920's. What was the result of that "inward" looking? From the reference you quoted ...

In 1921 the "open door" policy ended and quotas (a fixed number each year) were introduced. By 1929 only 150,000 immigrants per year were allowed.

And also helping along the "insolationism" was the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. Which finally ended in The Great Depression" of 1929.

More that a quarter of the population was unemployed. And you are talking about going back there? Aren't you depressed enough to be asking for the Great Depression? Again?

.
The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.

Correlation != Causation (none / 2) (#420)
by hamsterboy on Fri May 07, 2004 at 06:07:35 PM EST

You're starting in the wrong place. Smoot-Hawley wasn't even passed until 1930. You're also conveniently ignoring the fact that the Depression wasn't just an American problem - worldwide trade declinded by 66% between 1929 and 1934.

In any case, if I eat at Taco Bell, and as I'm driving home I have a car wreck, I don't swear off of Gorditas for safety's sake. The Depression wasn't caused by American isolationism any more than water causes cancer.

Hamster
[ Parent ]

Passed != Passage (none / 0) (#653)
by leoaugust on Mon Jul 19, 2004 at 05:42:15 AM EST

So after President Herbert Hoover took office in March 1929, Congress immediately set to work on a new tariff regime. This is an important point, because you have to picture that this legislation was winding it's way through committee long before eventual passage in June 1930. In other words, it is a fair statement to say that the prospects for Smoot-Hawley had something to do with the October 1929 market crash itself.

Granted, this is highly debatable, but as Robert Shiller points out, on Monday, October 28, the New York Times ran a front-page story on possible passage of Smoot-Hawley, while on Tuesday the 29th, the day of the Crash, other national papers had picked up on the issue. Shiller acknowledges, however, that the Times ran various stories on Smoot-Hawley, both pro and con, and it would be ludicrous to pin the blame on it for the market turmoil that fall. Regardless, the point is that S-H was in the news for a long time.

Educate Yourself - Smoot-Hawley
The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]

Two things (2.38 / 13) (#11)
by trhurler on Wed May 05, 2004 at 03:20:42 PM EST

First, this is fantastic. I don't know that you're counting all the negatives, but what a great idea. "Oh, you hate us? Fuck off then and starve in your pathetic little mud huts."

Second, you are missing one thing. If we did this, it WOULD MAKE China and the EU into superpowers overnight. They would shift priorities, and they'd fill the vacuum. Is this acceptable?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Yes (2.76 / 13) (#12)
by marx on Wed May 05, 2004 at 03:24:34 PM EST

I am starving in my mud hut. Please help me America.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Hey genius... (1.72 / 11) (#13)
by trhurler on Wed May 05, 2004 at 03:29:53 PM EST

Have you, by any chance, taken a survey of the people in nations that receive substantial US foriegn aid? Israel excepted, most of them are no strangers to mud huts.

Have you looked at the nations in which we fight wars? They might have a few "modern" urban areas, but mostly they're third world.

Have you looked at anything but your own gaping stupidity? I mean, can you even see around that huge bloated mass of ignorant dimwittitude?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
My new favorite word: dimwittitude. (none / 2) (#15)
by Kyle on Wed May 05, 2004 at 03:32:24 PM EST

This will be my favorite word for the next ten minutes. Thank you.

[ Parent ]

Oh (1.25 / 8) (#17)
by marx on Wed May 05, 2004 at 03:54:27 PM EST

I mean, can you even see around that huge bloated mass
I thought it was your ass.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Yes, it's acceptable. (none / 2) (#142)
by wiredog on Thu May 06, 2004 at 08:48:46 AM EST

To those of us who count ourselves as conservatives, but not neos.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
Well, (none / 1) (#246)
by trhurler on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:54:25 PM EST

Will it still be acceptable when these new world powers start bullying the US? Because you know, they'll do that.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Well (none / 0) (#268)
by wiredog on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:19:31 PM EST

that's why the US would maintain a capability to respond.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
I don't think you understand military power (none / 1) (#329)
by trhurler on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:35:11 PM EST

Specifically, I don't think you understand what would happen if we went to war with an entity such as China or the EU. Even with our present capabilities, that would be a tragedy of the first order. With the reduced capabilities we'd have after abandoning all our overseas stations and resizing our military for "self defense," our only practical option would be nuclear retaliation, with the inevitable nuclear re-retaliation. That, or just submit gladly to our new Chinese or European overlords.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
New World Power (1.00 / 4) (#281)
by kurioszyn on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:56:40 PM EST

China, perhaps but definitely not Europe.

How do you imagine Europeans would handle a new war on Korean peninsula or Saddam taking over half of Middle East, considering that majority of them don't even heave means to transfer their already atrophied militaries beyond their own borders ?

Countries like France grind to stand-still and risk near revolution every time politicians even attempt to bring cuts in their sacred social programs to the table in order to keep things going, let alone diverting vast sums of money to fund their "power grab".


[ Parent ]

EU (none / 2) (#472)
by kurioszyn on Sat May 08, 2004 at 12:56:36 PM EST

" It still took one month of war to fight against the military ghost of this starved country,"

It took one month because this was not an all-out war and you darn well know it.
If the destruction was our goal this country would be
 nothing but a pile of rubble in about 2 days.

EU  could not bring itself to action even when thousands of people were dying right in the middle of their own continent - the fact that such military "hawk"  like Clinton turned out to be more decisive and principled is quite telling about decline of Europe.

" And now it's cost 700 soldier lives which is dangerously close to the tolerance level. If this is supposed to be an illustration of the American military power, let me say that the entire world is laughing."

They weren't laughing when US was enduing much greater casualties about 60 years ago - perhaps because their own ass was on the line.

"Another fact: war is useless."

As long as there are people who don't agree with above statement and have access to power these sort of declarations are meaningless.

" US invasion of Iraq, this year alone, has cost about $600 per American (that is $2000-2500 per family) - and achieved nothing for Americans"

We don't know that yet.

" But this isn't even the point: the point is that military power is useless, economical power is more to the point."

Definitely - and the fact that Europe is on decline in this regard as well is not helpful to them either.

[ Parent ]

'All-out' war? (none / 0) (#494)
by fn0rd on Sat May 08, 2004 at 10:11:40 PM EST

Uh, I don't think one of those has ever happened. Generally, wars are fought over territory. It doesn't make much sense to obliterate the place you're hoping to move into.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

Generally , perhaps (none / 1) (#560)
by kurioszyn on Mon May 10, 2004 at 12:40:44 PM EST

"h, I don't think one of those has ever happened. Generally, wars are fought over territory. It doesn't make much sense to obliterate the place you're hoping to move into."

Oh well, Poland lost about 75% of its infrastructure and 1/6 of its population during ww2 .
That's pretty much as close as you can get to obliteration.


[ Parent ]

EU economic "tigers" ... (none / 1) (#521)
by kurioszyn on Sun May 09, 2004 at 12:06:42 PM EST

"This is in constrast to after WWII: GDP of US was half of the world, and Europe economy was devasted."

You are not serious with this one are you ?
After such devastating war was there any other choice but to grow ?

Some facts from a report put out by UNICE, a European employers' federation.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Measured in 'per capita GDP'. On an index of 100 for the USA in 1995, the standard of living in Japan was nearly 90 but only 70 in the EU. European living standards have stagnated around this level since 1980. Japan overtook Europe in the late 1970s starting from a level of prosperity half that of Europe's in 1960.
Since the mid 1970s, employment growth has been slower in the EU (0.4% per year) than in the USA (1.8%).
Excluding trade between members, the EU share in world merchandise exports has shrunk by 7% since the early 1970s. There has been an overall investment out of the EU since 1993. The EU share of world investment has declined by 15% since 1991, after rising in the previous ten years.
 Unemployment rates were similar (between 5-7%) in western Europe and in the USA in 1980, and only 2% in Japan. By 1996, unemployment had nearly doubled in Europe, but was under 6% in the USA and less than 4% in Japan.

Key goods and services for industry (eg energy, transport, telecommunications) are provided less efficiently and more expensive than in the USA. On average:

Energy prices are 47% higher
Freight transport costs 40% more
Long distance phone calls cost nearly 200% more
An Internet connection costs over 100% more

The USA invests 2.7% of its economy whereas the EU on average spends only 2% of its (GDP).

--------------------------------------------------------------------

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3112837.stm

Yeah, I will grant you that compared with ww2 they are definately doing better.

Here is an interesting scenario for you ..

http://www.iht.com/articles/96150.html

[ Parent ]

Additions: (2.41 / 12) (#16)
by sllort on Wed May 05, 2004 at 03:33:32 PM EST

  1. Invoke war socialism and rhetoric in War on Oil. Huge tax writeoffs for citizens and corporations that invent/purchase lower-energy alternatives, complete with WWII-era war-on-terror rhetoric applied to reducing gas and fuel consumption. Poster boys who ride their bikes to work; "do your part", etc.
  2. Almost completely unhire all troops; build massive, fearsome robot army for terrorism retaliation purposes, in addition to space-based weapons. Respond to terrorist incursions with 20 foot tall marching robots with flamethrowers, asteroid impacts and space lasers. Launch 20,000 conventional bombs in low-speed, low-cost cruise missiles and set them to circle over respective cities for 48 hours while giving the government below 48 hours to turn over the terrorists before bomb impact.
In short, you know, send the Arab world back to banging two sticks together without firing a shot, and cement permanently our mythical status as evil gods.

That was the idea, right?
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.

The United States was never Isolationist (2.90 / 21) (#18)
by J'raxis on Wed May 05, 2004 at 04:01:19 PM EST

The United States was never isolationist; it has always been imperialist and expansionist. Throughout the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century, it was imperialism waged within its own continent, for the most part—against the native Americans and the Spanish—so it just didn’t garner much attention.

First it was westward expansion, pushing the native Americans out of the way, then it was expansion into territories held by the Spanish. The US essentially brought all of South America under its control under president Monroe in the 1820s, conquered a huge swath of Mexican territory in the 1840s, and took Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines from Spain in the 1890s.

Once it ran out of space on its own continent to conquer, it moved on to the rest of the world.

True isolationism (such as that of Japan prior to the nineteenth century), would be a novel concept to America.

— J’raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]

How does this differ (1.66 / 6) (#19)
by Cro Magnon on Wed May 05, 2004 at 04:09:59 PM EST

from the EUians, who were trying to conquer the world for thousands of years, and only stopped because WW2 (another EUian war of conquest) beat them too bloody to continue.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
What's your point? (3.00 / 12) (#22)
by J'raxis on Wed May 05, 2004 at 04:30:10 PM EST

I don’t think anyone was claiming the Europeans were “isolationist.” I certainly didn’t say anything about the Europeans being isolationist; they practically invented the concept of colonialism.

If you thought that I was inferring, by mentioning the US conquering Spanish lands, that the Spanish had come about the lands by legitimate means, I was not. The fact that the Spanish stole it first does not legitimize the US stealing it from them.

Or did you just post this because you thought someone wouldn’t catch you in the logical fallacy where one thinks the worse actions of Q somehow absolve P of their own actions?

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

US (none / 3) (#279)
by kurioszyn on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:47:36 PM EST

Yeah, well let us just say that by the world standards US was pretty isolationist.

The only meaningful comparison would be that with Europe ,since it is pointless to include societies that had no means (technologically or otherwise) to expand , and in that comparison with our European friends we do look pretty darn good.


[ Parent ]

Late, not Good (none / 0) (#324)
by yooden on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:28:34 PM EST

You misunderstood your parent post: The USA was late, not good. That's why they needed time to imperialize their own continent, something the Europeans did centuries before.

[ Parent ]
Late ? (none / 1) (#349)
by kurioszyn on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:39:29 PM EST

Imperialize ?

Well ,if we follow this definition then we simply "settled" the issue among various local tribes who were quite busy imperializing the place themselves.

True, their means were quite limited but not their spirits - one doesn't have to spend years studying history to realize that this place was  rather dangerous with various tribes engaging in wholesome slaughter.

You main beef is with the fact that we are just more successful.
Let me rephrase it -  you are complaining about human nature ...

[ Parent ]

Imperializationists (none / 0) (#382)
by yooden on Fri May 07, 2004 at 02:20:02 PM EST

Well, yeah, whatever. The point stands that the USA was just as imperialistic than Europe at the time.

[ Parent ]
Thank you so much (2.15 / 13) (#20)
by Wah on Wed May 05, 2004 at 04:19:33 PM EST

for pointing out what jackasses libertarians are when it comes to foreign policy.

More accurate title:  "How to turn the U.S. into a prison from sea to shining sea in 5 easy steps."

--

It should be clear that in a climate of anti-Americanism the U.S. cannot expect fair treatment from these organizations so trade agreements should be negotiated with individual countries, rather than global organizations without any democratic accountability.

You mean countries like China, right?

To compensate, the U.S. would need to reallocate the Defense budget, to support missile defense, information gathering networks, and border defense, to eliminate illegal immigration - essentially wall up the country.

People will still sneak in.  Don't worry though, all legal citizens will always have their papers on them at all the checkpoints we need to keep immigrants out.

Things like health care, costs of aging, and education could be addressed, and improved significantly.

Except without a healthy immigration policy we start shrinking like Europe.  And with libertarians in control 'education' is something everyone will pay for themselves if they really want it.

Still, in the long run, a decrease in population is good, as is anything that would force the third world countries to become more sustainable.

Heck of a troll, I can only hope.  You know, dead bodies make great fertilizer too, so the rotting corpes would actually encourage growth.

Any one else notice how they countries that give the most foreign aid are considered to be some of the best places to live?  Just asking.

Besides, who needs to visit the wonders of the world?  All the best stuff can be recreated in Vegas anyway.
--
'The Matrix' is a better interpretation of quantum mechanics than Copenhagen.

Shrinking? (none / 0) (#28)
by caine on Wed May 05, 2004 at 07:04:14 PM EST

Except without a healthy immigration policy we start shrinking like Europe.

Eh, you do know things like that the EU is larger than the USA, and grows alot more than you do? For example, in Sweden, where I'm from we have over 10% first or second-generation immigrants. Try to beat that in the US.

--

[ Parent ]

Blame my source (none / 1) (#30)
by Wah on Wed May 05, 2004 at 07:30:43 PM EST

The U.S.'s outlook is brighter than Europe's and Japan's, largely because the American workforce is expected to increase by 31 million workers by 2030. By contrast, the report projects that Europe will have 24 million fewer workers and Japan 14 million fewer than they have today.

[aqui]

PBS also did an excellent special on this.  Their 'demographic pyramids' are very informatiive, and in sub-saharan Africa's case, pretty worrying.  "World in the Balance"

For example, in Sweden, where I'm from we have over 10% first or second-generation immigrants. Try to beat that in the US.

C'mon, we're a freakin' melting pot of races, a nation of immigrants.  Heck, 10% of the population of Houston, TX is illegal immigrants (Houston has about 5 million folks), to say nothing of those we 'legally' let in.

Population of Sweden. 8,975,670

Number of Immigrants let in (legally) to the U.S. 2000-2003 : 4,190,277

But those are apples to oranges comparisons, I was talking about the EU as a whole, not just one of the northern gems.
--
'The Matrix' is a better interpretation of quantum mechanics than Copenhagen.
[ Parent ]

Ummm.... (none / 3) (#34)
by curien on Wed May 05, 2004 at 07:47:31 PM EST

How many of those immigrants are from other EU nations? If it's a large number (as is my suspicion), it wouldn't exactly count as EU growth, now, would it?

IOW, that's like me saying that the US is growing at a rate of 50% because North Carolina, where I grew up, is seeing a huge influx of carpetbaggers immigrants.

--
All God's critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
[ Parent ]

Not really. (none / 1) (#177)
by aphrael on Thu May 06, 2004 at 11:06:47 AM EST

The social effects of immigration from Poland to Sweden will be much greater than the effects of immigration from North Carolina to California; in the US there is a common language and a more or less common culture. Not so in the EU.

[ Parent ]
Good point (none / 0) (#199)
by curien on Thu May 06, 2004 at 12:36:39 PM EST

But we were talking strictly about effects on population growth.

BTW -- WTF's up with the zero, theboz?

--
All God's critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
[ Parent ]

EU (none / 1) (#277)
by kurioszyn on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:40:48 PM EST

" Not so in the EU."

But the difference between Sweden and Poland (economically and more importantly socially) is nowhere near as pronounced as difference between USA and Senegal.


[ Parent ]

Yes. (none / 0) (#282)
by aphrael on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:58:50 PM EST

However, that's not what the post to which I was responding was talking about. :)

[ Parent ]
easily (none / 2) (#38)
by khallow on Wed May 05, 2004 at 08:11:48 PM EST

Eh, you do know things like that the EU is larger than the USA, and grows alot more than you do? For example, in Sweden, where I'm from we have over 10% first or second-generation immigrants. Try to beat that in the US.

The US has an immigration rate that according to the CIA World Factbook is roughly three times greater per capita and a more rapidly growing population whether or not you count immigration. Finally, the US Census shows around 20% first or second generation people in the US.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Check your facts. (none / 1) (#126)
by Reisender on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:57:29 AM EST

That is not correct. The CIA only shows data for net migration. Sweden does in fact have a higher per capita level of immigration but this is offset by a higher level of emigration largely to other parts of the EU as they lack migration controls on Swedes.

[ Parent ]
interesting (none / 0) (#383)
by khallow on Fri May 07, 2004 at 02:22:42 PM EST

Sounds like net immigration is the way to measure this. What appears to be happening is that immigrants to the EU are using Sweden as a stepping stone to other parts of Europe. I think the US still beats Sweden particularly in retention of immigrants.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

wow (none / 0) (#88)
by circletimessquare on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:56:03 AM EST

i agree with wah

what strange world is this?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

To do this right, talk about WWI. (2.00 / 6) (#21)
by waxmop on Wed May 05, 2004 at 04:23:54 PM EST

Pat Buchannan often compares GWB's foreign policy to Woodrow Wilson. It's not a completely far-fetched idea; we were a lone superpower then just like now, and both times the US fought a war based more on political ideals than national security.

It's a weird world when Pat Buchannan and indymedia are on the same side.
--
The threat of losing all of your shiny possessions is what keeps us slaves to the machine. --

What's confusing me no end: (3.00 / 9) (#24)
by mcc on Wed May 05, 2004 at 06:06:02 PM EST

At some point between 2004 and 1996 (Remember 1996? That strange, distant era where marginalized terrorism-loving right-wingers complained about how the government was systematically coming to steal all their rights?) isolationism suddenly flipped from being a pet issue of the disenfranchised, ignored far-"right-wing" to being a pet issue of the disenfranchised, ignored far-"left-wing". This flip was so clean and atomic that virtually no sign things were ever any different still exists, except for Pat Buchanan, who remains still constant, a fossil of a bygone age, only somehow even more marginalized than he was during the Clinton administration.

The way of explaining this that seems most reasonable to me is that the already-highly-tenuous classical "left/right" axis only describes views on domestic policy, and the "isolationism" versus "globalization" dichonomy is totally orthogonal to that axis, an issue that cuts across otherwise unrelated groups. But then why the seeming shifting of alliances? Did the "left wing" really just get abruptly incredibly concerned about globalization and the "right wing" abruptly incredibly apathetic at some point in the last eight years? Or have the same people always been saying these same things, it just looks like things changed because the media changed the way they covered it?

It's very tempting to me to try to explain all this in that while globalization is not a Left vs Right issue, it is a Powered vs Unempowered issue; that is, globalization benefits those who are really in power and cheapens everyone else, so pretty much any group that's powerless is going to be opposing it and pretty much any group that could amass enough PR money to win an election is going to be in favor of it. So, the theory would go, when the "liberals" were in power, the far side of the "left wing" quietly looked the other way over globalization while the out-of-favor "right wing" harped on it; and once the "conservatives" came into power the "right-wingers" started looking the other way while the "left-wingers" latched onto globalization as something to attack Bush for. That's a somewhat believable theory, and I find it personally attractive because it means as usual that I get to blame everything on corporations. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work. If that were what was happening, the switch would have occured either along with the Newt Gingrich incident, or it would have occured in 2000 when Bush was elected and the "left"'s whiny contingent (i.e., me) was galvanized. But though I don't know exactly when the switch was, it appears to have been sometime in 1998 or 1999; at any rate, we can be certain it was complete by the World Trade Organization's Third Ministerial in 1999, also known, rather asininely, as the "Battle in Seattle". At which point, if I remember right, Bush was still feigning modesty and pretending he was going to turn down any presidential nomination, and the rediculous "compassionate conservative" catchphrase had yet to go public. There seem to have been "right wing" groups there; the reporting on it was in general rather poor, so I don't know; but they seem to have been overall drowned out.

So something's going on here, and I can't quite seem to figure out what. A more complex iteration on the above theory might be that the "right-wing" isolationists were really isolationist, interested in the greater glory of America and all that, and the "left-wing" isolationists are just anti-WTO-- in other words, not so much against globalization per se but just against the current  arguably pro-corporate, anti-democracy, anti-"green" form that globalization seems to be taking right now. By this theory, the flip would have happened becuase after they lost over NAFTA, the "right-wing" isolationism movement increasingly lost steam and eventually either largely gave up or found other issues they were more concerned with. In the meantime the WTO managed to take definite shape and gather its political power at the exact moment Starbucks and SUVs started to become ubiquitous, causing the "left-wing" isolation movement to form as a reaction. This might provide an explanation for why the "right-wing" bloc was so relatively quiet in Seattle in 1999; it wasn't that the issues they'd railed against had been resolved, just that their organizational infrastructures had been mostly abandoned by that point in time.

Or is it all just herd behavior?

In summary: WTF?

---
Aside from that, the absurd meta-wankery of k5er-quoting sigs probably takes the cake. Especially when the quote itself is about k5. -- tsubame
[ Parent ]

The left doesn't talk about immigration. (2.60 / 5) (#50)
by waxmop on Wed May 05, 2004 at 09:20:36 PM EST

I think there's probably plenty of Republicans that privately argue against interventions except when national security is at stake. But we're not going to hear from them now because this is an election season. Once the election is over, and especially if Bush enters a second term, I think he's going to face a lot more critics from inside his party.

Anyway, the isolationism advocated by people like Jesse Helms back when he was in office and Pat Buchannan and the other "paleo-conservatives" now has a lot to do with immigration reform along with avoiding overseas military entanglements. I never saw anybody at any IMF rallies holding placards talking about protecting the integrity of our borders.

Globalization is such a big umbrella term that it isn't very useful. People use the term globalization to describe liberalized trade and capital flows, US pre-emptive military interventions, immigration, and a bunch of other shit. Sure, they're all inter-related, but I think it is possible to believe in some aspects of globalization and oppose others. For example, the left tends to support immigration from the south to the north and at the same time see northern business investment in the south as "neo-liberalism", ie, colonialism in disguise.

Anyway, I liked your comment. It does seem like somewhere in between the OK city bombing and today, a bunch of shit changed. The Republicans now think Israel's shit don't stink, and the Democrats killed organized labor by supporting NAFTA.
--
The threat of losing all of your shiny possessions is what keeps us slaves to the machine. --Parent ]

"Left-wing isolationism": no such thing. (2.80 / 5) (#71)
by smg on Wed May 05, 2004 at 11:13:36 PM EST

Left-wing anti-globalizationists are often portrayed as being against all forms globalization and are thus comparable to right-wing "isolationists". That's incorrect and it's a purposeful distortion of the message of the anti-globalization protests.

Globalization in it's current form is exclusively economic not social. In the modern neo-liberal financial system, transnational capital is free to move across borders. Each nation is forced to compete for capital, forcing wages downwards and eroding regulation. Transnational corporations purposefully open factories in nations with the least intrusive regulations. Even labour in the developed world is being forced to work longer hours for less money now that transnational capital is free to choose from amongst a huge globalized labour market of 3 billion proletarians.

What mosts anti-globalists want is a social globalization to exist alongside the massive economic globalization. This could involve a global tax, welfare and justice system, global wage and condition regulation and a true global democracy. In no way is this position comparable to the paleo-conservative "isolationist" position.

A good example of left-wing "anti-globalizationist" thinking is the World Social Forum, intended to counterbalance the World Economic Forum in Davos. Global Policy Forum is a good website for more information on these views.

[ Parent ]

More than one left and right. (none / 3) (#154)
by wiredog on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:25:28 AM EST

Christopher Hitchens, and some other leftists, are strong interventionists, but for different reasons than the neo-con interventionists. They disagree strongly with the neo-cons on domestic policy.

On the right there are many people who are non-interventionist, which is not neccessarily isolationist, but is related to it. These are the people who opposed the Yugoslavia interventions, and the Iraq war, on the grounds that the US wasn't threatened regardless of what happened there. They won the argument, such as it was, in Rwanda.

Isn't it interesting how people on the left aren't calling for Crimes Against Humanity trials of the people who could have prevented millions of deaths in Rwanda, but didn't?

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

no, no, and no (none / 0) (#164)
by Wah on Thu May 06, 2004 at 10:28:44 AM EST

Isn't it interesting how people on the left aren't calling for Crimes Against Humanity trials of the people who could have prevented millions of deaths in Rwanda, but didn't?

to match the three negatives in your question.
--
'The Matrix' is a better interpretation of quantum mechanics than Copenhagen.
[ Parent ]

There was an argument (none / 1) (#176)
by aphrael on Thu May 06, 2004 at 11:05:01 AM EST

over Rwanda? I missed that.

[ Parent ]
A short one (none / 1) (#267)
by wiredog on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:18:09 PM EST

The Right opposed intervention because who cares if a bunch of colored folks with no oil massacre each other, and the Left opposed it because they oppose any intervention.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
Oh. (none / 1) (#283)
by aphrael on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:59:21 PM EST

So there was consensus from the very beginning. :)

[ Parent ]
It all started around 1993-1994 (none / 2) (#426)
by mrcsparker on Fri May 07, 2004 at 06:45:29 PM EST

When Rush Limbaugh used to have guys like Pat Buchanon on and the Republicans were isolationsists.  I remember when a private company called Cargill decided that it would be a good idea for the US to have free trade and Rush suddenly got the Florida oranges ads (Burt Reynolds was the previous spokesperson) and started talking about how great NAFTA was going to be.  Next thing you know, the new Replicans are no longer isolationists and Pat Buchanon is no longer a representative of the party line.

My father was a steel trader, and Cargill was a big customer of his.  He was interested in bringing steel up from Mexico via rail and NAFTA would have made his life much easier.  He told me about Cargill and how they were the most powerful private company in the world and how they pretty much controlled the market on any industry they entered.  The week that Rush got the Snapple endorsement, my dad got a free shipment of enough snapple to fill a room.

By the way, even though it was an aggressive plot to manipulate the media to turn the public on free trade, the people involved really thought that they were moving towards improving society.  My father used to talk about how opening up trade would help improve living conditions is other parts of the world and force the US to compete.

[ Parent ]

actually, it's not (1.25 / 4) (#87)
by circletimessquare on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:54:17 AM EST

for the longest time, the far left and far right have been in love with neoisolationism

in fact, if ideology were medical pathology, and we were doctors in an emergency room, the first question we could ask someone is what they think of neoisolationism, and you could get an immediate bead on what flavor of lunatic they were

belief in neoisolationism is the giant red flashing "do not enter" sign of ideology triumphing over reason

you can often use belief in neoisolationism in an argument with a far right or far left loony tune as a logical and rhetorical jumping off point for dismantling their various idiocies

familiarize yourself with neoisolationism well my friends, use it in your "field guide to internet crackpots and trolls" to quickly spot and identify what flavor of wacko you are on the other end of a comment thread on in the future


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

You were doing so well. (none / 0) (#135)
by waxmop on Thu May 06, 2004 at 08:18:39 AM EST

I really liked that article you wrote on the Jesus flick. For a while I thought you had abandoned your "I know everything except how to use the shift key" attitude.

But I guess not. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to do more than call your opponents crazy. And here's a tip: adding the prefix "neo" to the front suggests you're talking about something new. So the phrase

for the longest time, the far left and far right have been in love with neoisolationism
is unclear.
--
The threat of losing all of your shiny possessions is what keeps us slaves to the machine. --Parent ]
dude (none / 1) (#256)
by circletimessquare on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:35:12 PM EST

you don't understand the english language

i understand it well

http://www.google.com/search?q=neoisolationism

i'll leave it to your bountiful imagination to understand what the word means and how using it in this context was perfectly appropriate and, in fact, nore appropriate than just "isolationism" considering the text of the story above

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Interesting idea (2.66 / 6) (#25)
by Tatarigami on Wed May 05, 2004 at 06:28:17 PM EST

If we weighed up the costs and benefits of continuing to live with American involvement in the world and Americans retreating to their own continent and ignoring us, I wonder which case would prove more traumatic in the long run?

god i hate libertarians and loathe ayn rand (nt) (1.29 / 24) (#26)
by circletimessquare on Wed May 05, 2004 at 06:47:27 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Downside of Isolationism (2.30 / 10) (#29)
by OldCoder on Wed May 05, 2004 at 07:14:22 PM EST

Basically, the plan offered is to let the various totalitariansims fight it out until one is triumphant and world dominant, and then let that hegemony take on the US when it is good and ready.

Europe will be conquered by the Islamo-fascists and the far east will be under the domination of an expansionist and newly-militarist China. India and Japan make their necessary compromises. It's the US and Poland against the world in WWIII.

Meanwhile, we use expensive Canadian oil shales and solar panels instead of mideast oil, which will be available to our enemies. Not a good plan as written.

Perhaps a modified version would work. Have the US and allies revert to old fashioned imperialism on a smaller scale. Take over the Suez Canal and the mideast oil fields by force. Ignore nation-building and encourage those docile dictatorships we all know so well. Limit exposure to foreign markets and labor but expropriate foreign natural resources. Semi-isolationist and neo-militarist with supporting crypt-fascist allies. Prevent the growth of alternative power centers with an iron fist? Treat all governments like the Taliban, let them rule from caves.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder

question: (none / 0) (#58)
by mami on Wed May 05, 2004 at 10:25:31 PM EST

are the talibanistas in the caves trolling us or are neo-militaristic crypto-fascistic semi-isolationists (speek drunk geeks with a keyboard in their hands) trolling them?

Beware of the cavemen, they have survived the longest, and not to forget the cavewomen ...

[ Parent ]

What, me Troll? (none / 0) (#107)
by OldCoder on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:52:36 AM EST

Sometimes satire makes a point better than working it out in rigorous detail. I was expressing my political opinion in poetic form.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]
hmm, thinking deeply to decide (none / 0) (#140)
by mami on Thu May 06, 2004 at 08:29:17 AM EST

if you have a talent for poetry ...

will let you know about my conclusions, when the war against terror is over..

[ Parent ]

Sounds familiar (none / 3) (#61)
by rigorist on Wed May 05, 2004 at 10:43:23 PM EST

Perhaps a modified version would work. Have the US and allies revert to old fashioned imperialism on a smaller scale. Take over the Suez Canal and the mideast oil fields by force. Ignore nation-building and encourage those docile dictatorships we all know so well. Limit exposure to foreign markets and labor but expropriate foreign natural resources. Semi-isolationist and neo-militarist with supporting crypt-fascist allies. Prevent the growth of alternative power centers with an iron fist? Treat all governments like the Taliban, let them rule from caves.

Excuse my cynicism, but isn't this sort of what we are doing now, albeit with nicer labels?

[ Parent ]

Not Really (none / 2) (#112)
by OldCoder on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:05:40 AM EST

The US lets various mideastern Muslim societies profit handsomely from owning oil and the Suez Canal. World economies such as China, India and Eastern Europe are being encouraged to develop to the point of competing with the US. The US interacts economicallly with foriegn labor, business and markets. The US worked very hard to help Europe recover from WWII and develop to it's current level. The US has an import/export economy.

France and Britain nearly confiscated the Suez Canal in 1956, but President Eisenhower was anti-Imperialistic and forbade the land grab, empowering Gamal Abdul Nasser and Egypt. It is not at all diplomatic to say so but I'm not sure that Eisenhower made the right decision. On the other hand, the Egyptians have been pretty good (but not perfect) about letting the world use their canal (for a fee, of course).

Isolationism is not good or bad in the abstract, but only makes sense (or not) depending on particular conditions of the world economy and world technology. If the US could get all the raw materials it needs from one small mine in the midwest and all of its energy from a few cold fusion plants, then isolationism might be a good idea.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]

the world is not a game of risk (nt) (none / 2) (#86)
by circletimessquare on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:45:08 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
I don't understand. Really. (nt) (none / 1) (#113)
by OldCoder on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:06:48 AM EST



--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]
the park brothers game of risk ;-) (nt) (none / 2) (#116)
by circletimessquare on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:17:25 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
heh (2.33 / 6) (#160)
by reklaw on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:39:21 AM EST

Europe will be conquered by the Islamo-fascists and the far east will be under the domination of an expansionist and newly-militarist China. India and Japan make their necessary compromises. It's the US and Poland against the world in WWIII.

It disturbs me that so many Americans seem to think that the world would fall apart if they weren't trying to run it. Just look at the way you've fucked up Iraq, for goodness' sake. Europe was doing way better against the "Islamo-fascists" (what a stupid dittohead word) before you got some towers knocked down and realised that the Middle East existed. And why would China become militarist? Because big, bad America isn't there any more? I think Europe as a combined force would be enough of a deterrent to that.
-
[ Parent ]

ha! (none / 3) (#174)
by zenofchai on Thu May 06, 2004 at 11:02:51 AM EST

I think Europe as a combined force would be enough of a deterrent to that.

Hahahahahahaahahahah....

(breathe)

Hoobooohohohohohohohohohoh...

(slaps knee a few times, wipes tears from my eyes)

oh man, it's good to laugh again... your post gets a 3 from me for being just damned funny as hell.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

um (none / 0) (#207)
by reklaw on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:25:13 PM EST

What exactly do you think Mighty America can do that Europe can't?
-
[ Parent ]
hm... (none / 2) (#213)
by zenofchai on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:38:59 PM EST

so you were serious? ok...

What exactly do you think Mighty America can do that Europe can't?

Besides not sit around doing legal haranguing between countries for years before doing anything? France, Germany, UK, Spain, Italy, etc, aren't going to be able to do anything solo, yet they will also never agree to do anything together. Let's go back to the early 1990s. Iraq invades Kuwait. Let's say that the US was practicing "isolationism" at the time. You honestly think that a coalition of the UK/France/Germany/Spain/Italy/etc would move to action? And even if they did, would they have possessed the will and means to fly thousands of troops and machines to the Middle East and fight Saddam?

(let's not argue about whether saddam needed fighting at the time, just bear with me here)

Let's say that North Korea invades South Korea in 10 years, because they don't fear retaliation by an "isolationist" United States. Are you really trying to argue that UK/France/Germany/Spain/Italy/etc would move to action? And even if they did, would they have possessed the will and means to fly thousands of troops and machines to the Far East and fight Kim Jong Il?

(let's not argue about whether jong il would need fighting at the time, just bear with me here)

Let's say that China invades North and South Korea in 10 years, because they don't fear retaliation by an "isolationist" United States. See above.

A bunch of fragmented, squabbly, indecisive, bickering countries under the label "European Union!!!!!!!!!!!" does not create the slightest bit of deterrant for any country doing whatever the hell they want (except of course invading an E.U. country directly).

And omfg I hate USian imperialism as much as the next guy. But the European "Union" as a deterrant to military action by China? Are you kidding me? Seriously?

If the U.S. decided that it wanted to invate mainland EUROPE and TAKE IT AS ITS OWN BITCH it could do so, except for the nuclear deterrant. However it is likely that the US could sieze all European nuclear launch sites within days. However even the E.U. would not "go nuclear" if China invaded North Korea, so from the perspective of China, the E.U. serves as absolutely zero deterrant from them invading Korea if they wanted to do so, because nobody in the E.U. gives a fuck about Korea enough to stop them.

However if in 10 years, Chinese soliders march on Seoul (South Korea if you're keeping score at home), and the U.S. is -not- practising "isolationism", the U.S. will send thousands and thousands of troops, tanks, planes, ships, all kinds of hell to fight them. Depending on the leadership of the US at the time, nuclear force might be used.

That is a deterrant to China deciding to take over southeast Asia. Not the petty, bickering, fear-mongering, yet absolutely, absolutely not as evil as the US, European Union.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

interesting (none / 0) (#220)
by reklaw on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:01:36 PM EST

In answer to my question, then, you're basically saying that the EU wouldn't act as a deterrent the same way the US does because countries like North Korea and China know that the US might actually flip out, send thousands of troops and, of course, go nuclear. Am I reading you correctly?
-
[ Parent ]
exactly (none / 0) (#224)
by zenofchai on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:07:47 PM EST

that is exactly one of the points I was trying to make. see my self-response (sibling to your post) for the other points I was attempting to blather about.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]
hmm (none / 0) (#238)
by reklaw on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:35:02 PM EST

I think your point about nukes is quite good, really -- the nuclear deterrent isn't as much of a deterrent without a country as unstable as the US behind it. I don't see why England, France and Germany wouldn't band together to go defend South Korea, though.
-
[ Parent ]
couple of reasons (none / 1) (#241)
by zenofchai on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:47:47 PM EST

I don't see why England, France and Germany wouldn't band together to go defend South Korea, though.

Hmm.... one of the reasons the US would "go defend South Korea" is one of historic perspective: many American soldiers died creating South Korea, and the veterans of that war while diminishing in number have children, etc, who would not want to see the sacrifices of that generation go so quickly by the wayside. In general, there is still quite an ingrained "harm" in seeing a communistic, totalitarian government overrun a democratic nation, especially one we've recently sent thousands of men to die to create (over 30,000 dead and 90,000 wounded).

In contrast, France had 287 troops killed in action in Korea (attached to a larger American battallion). There were a total of 1078 British and commonwealth casualties there (barely more than the number of Americans to have already died in the most recent war in Iraq). Germany had no army at the time. Contrast this to the 300,000 troops from the United States and you begin to see the psychological investment many Americans have in the region.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

Furthermore: (none / 1) (#252)
by zenofchai on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:18:03 PM EST

How many troops did England send to the Pacific Theatre in WW II? How about France? I know, I know, they were busy rebuilding their countries after the 'Mericans and the Russians finally stopped Hitler.

You know if it weren't for a million dead Russians the 'E.U.' would be a real Union, speaking German and an actual superpower to be feared. Thank G*d for the Russians in WW II.

You know, WW II exemplifies typical response of a member of the E.U.: "not my problem". Germany invades Austria, and in response England and France say "not my problem". Germany invades France, and in response England doesn't do much and France surrenders. Germany starts bombing England, eventually the 'Mericans come, rally with the Brits and French resistance, take a beach in Normandy, and finish a long evil hell of a war by firebombing German civilians by the hundred-thousand in Dresden.

You know why typical European apologists bring up Hiroshima and Nagasaki all the time and not Dresden? Because they understand the fucking purpose of Dresden. It was horrible, one of the worst war atrocities every committed. But it perhaps brought the war to an earlier end, early enough to keep the Germans from developing their own nuclear weapons, etc.

European apologists bring up Hiroshima and Nagasaki all the damned time: "Waaaaaaahhh... the US is the only country ever to nuke civilians". When more civilians died in Dresden to help win in Europe, why bring up the Pacific Theatre? Because hardly anybody in the E.U. gave a flying fuck about the Pacific Theatre, or Korea, or Vietnam, or Kuwait, or hell, about each other.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

You are so full of shit. (none / 2) (#316)
by mr strange on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:02:23 PM EST

Deaths due to Dresden bombing: 30,000 - 175,000 (Wikipedia: Dresden), 25,000 (USAF)

Deaths due to Hiroshima bombing: 140,000 (Wikipedia: Hiroshima, USAF), 200,000 (A-Bomb WWW Project.)

Deaths due to Nagasaki bombing: 100,000 (Wikipedia: Nagasaki), 70,000 (A-Bomb WWW Project., USAF)

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
[ Parent ]

History (none / 1) (#335)
by yooden on Thu May 06, 2004 at 08:16:37 PM EST

You have some serious history deficit.
  • Germany lost WWII against UK and the USSR, not against the USA. If the war in the east would have ended for some reason in, say, 1942, no invasion would have been remotely possible. Considering that Hitler was seriously insane, it would even be possible that Germany would have ridden out the small nuclear stock pile the USA had at the time.
  • Germany never invaded Austria.
  • The UK sent a lot of soldiers to France. The Germans just were much more powerful at the time.
  • Dresden had no fucking purpose except to terrify the population. Thus it could be used by Goebbels to monsterize the Allies just a bit more. This extended the war, if anything.
  • Germany were already dead at the time, they couldn't have used nuclear weapons even if they've had them.
  • Uh, because Europeans don't give a flying fuck about the Pacific theatre they emphasize their losses over their own? That makes sense how?


[ Parent ]
History indeed (none / 0) (#342)
by zenofchai on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:05:02 PM EST

From you: Germany lost WWII against UK and the USSR, not against the USA.

From me: You know if it weren't for a million dead Russians the 'E.U.' would be a real Union, speaking German and an actual superpower to be feared. Thank G*d for the Russians in WW II.

And now: The USA sent the same number of ground troops as the UK did. I also mentioned that the Americans rall[ied] with the Brits.

From you: Germany never invaded Austria.

Forcible annexation and subsequent absolute authority, invasion, there is a difference?

From you: Uh, because Europeans don't give a flying fuck about the Pacific theatre they emphasize their losses over their own? That makes sense how?

They emphasize the destruction they don't understand, since it didn't serve a localised purpose. Countries in the EU now are nothing except looking out for local issues.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

History indeed! (none / 0) (#387)
by yooden on Fri May 07, 2004 at 02:30:09 PM EST

I have trouble following your quoting scheme.
  • USA vs. USSR: I was referring to the "'Mericans come" part.
  • By mentioning the UK I was referring to the beginning of the war, where Britains did a lot of the dying without faltering.
  • Austria was more of a local coup than an invasion. Not a shot was fired.
  • Still makes no sense.


[ Parent ]
Ok. (none / 0) (#396)
by zenofchai on Fri May 07, 2004 at 03:19:36 PM EST

Remove "austria" and replace with "poland" which I hope we can agree was invaded.

As far as the 'Mericans quote, I think I mentioned the term twice:

... the 'Mericans and the Russians finally stopped Hitler ...

... eventually the 'Mericans come, rally with the Brits and French resistance ...

And don't worry I gave the Russians credit:

... if it weren't for a million dead Russians ...

I didn't say a bunch of British soldiers didn't die, and die honorably. I said they didn't push the Germans -back- until the UK joined forces with the US.

As for what doesn't make sense, I think you are alluding to the "Europeans always bring up Hiroshima and Nagasaki" thing. If the US had dropped an A-bomb on Dresden in order to end the war early and save 200,000 British, French, and American troops, do you really think that France and Britain would constantly bring up the "atomic killers!" label when talking about America? I think that if it had been Dresden which was A-bombed, and Japan which was firebombed, that Europeans would be talking about the evil firebombers from across the pond.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

Past long gone (none / 1) (#402)
by yooden on Fri May 07, 2004 at 03:55:39 PM EST

Remove "austria" and replace with "poland" which I hope we can agree was invaded.

Sure.

Yes, you did mentioned Russia. I guess I answered a statement you never made, namely that the USA and the USA alone saved the world back then.

If the US had dropped an A-bomb on Dresden in order to end the war early and save 200,000 British, French, and American troops, do you really think that France and Britain would constantly bring up the "atomic killers!" label when talking about America?

Not them, but some Germans possibly.

I think that if it had been Dresden which was A-bombed, and Japan which was firebombed, that Europeans would be talking about the evil firebombers from across the pond.

Japan was firebombed. Thouroughly.

[ Parent ]

History deficit ? (none / 1) (#354)
by kurioszyn on Thu May 06, 2004 at 10:02:34 PM EST

"Germany lost WWII against UK and the USSR, not against the USA."

UK was armed and fed by US.
Their army was provided by never ending stream of supplies coming from USA - ever wondered why Nazis spent so much money and effort on their U-boat war ?

Finally, UK army at the end of the war was significantly smaller than that of US.

As far as USSR  ...
Do you even realize how much help they got from USA during ww2 ?

Let me throw some figures at you ..

Aircraft -  14.795
Automotive:
--- 1.5 ton trucks 151.053
--- 2.5 ton trucks 200.662
Boots - 15 million pairs
Communications equipment:
--- Field phones - 380.135
--- Radios - 40.000
--- Telephone cable - 1.25 million miles
Cotton cloth - 107 million square yards
Foodstuffs - 4.5 million tons
Leather - 49.000 tons
Motorcycles - 35.170
Locomotives - 1.981 units
Rolling stock - 11.155 units
Tanks - 7.537
Tractors - 8.701
Trucks - 357.883

There is a reason why US was called "arsenal of democracy" ...

[ Parent ]

History deficiancy (none / 1) (#388)
by yooden on Fri May 07, 2004 at 02:32:27 PM EST

I know about the stuff the USA sold to the European theatre. All the dying was done by Eropeans at this time, I consider this to be much more important.

[ Parent ]
Nope (none / 1) (#410)
by kurioszyn on Fri May 07, 2004 at 05:10:23 PM EST

No, having 20 million people die on the battlefield doesn't guarantee victory.
Not even close.

You are now talking about levels of sacrifice as opposed to factual and consequential contribution to the final victory.
Sure, Russians suffered more but the reason the war was won is a direct result of logistical and military support provided by USA.


[ Parent ]

Cause and Effect (none / 1) (#413)
by yooden on Fri May 07, 2004 at 05:44:25 PM EST

Sure, Russians suffered more but the reason the war was won is a direct result of logistical and military support provided by USA.

Uh. It is also a direct result of the German losses on the eastern front, done by Soviet soldiers. I'm pretty sure crates of US supplies wouldn't have had this effect on the Germans.

[ Parent ]

Whatever (none / 1) (#416)
by kurioszyn on Fri May 07, 2004 at 05:56:54 PM EST

No but to claim that the war was won by Russians and British alone is just plain idiotic, especially considering how resource intensive modern armies are.

Anyway, I am not going to argue with you since it is obvious your only intention is to minimize any positive role USA had played in the history of mankind.


[ Parent ]

Yeah, Whatever (none / 0) (#450)
by yooden on Sat May 08, 2004 at 12:18:58 AM EST

Strawman: I never claimed that the war was won by anyone alone, just that the two had the biggest part in it.

Your intention seems to be to minimize any positive role anybody but the USA had played in the history of mankind.

[ Parent ]

So, what do you expect? (none / 0) (#563)
by atarola on Mon May 10, 2004 at 01:14:56 PM EST

Those millions of Russian troops to attack the German army with sticks and stones?




"Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live"
-- John F. Woods
[ Parent ]
Binary (none / 0) (#614)
by yooden on Wed May 12, 2004 at 02:15:36 AM EST

Not everything is as black and white as you paint it. There were a lot of stuff around in the USSR to kill Germans with. The USA helped a lot by selling them even more equipment, but that is IMHO not nearly as important as the fighting done by Soviet soldiers.

[ Parent ]
A difference in attitude (none / 1) (#427)
by ksandstr on Fri May 07, 2004 at 07:06:30 PM EST

This strategy that has been applied in Europe for the better part of two millennia may appear like "not my problem" thinking to you. However, this interpretation is shortsighted at best and "I Hate Yanks" grade American Arrogance at worst. Personally, I'd be inclined to believe the latter, but that may just be my own little well-justified prejudice.

Fundamentally, there are two ways to respond to a situation that may be potentially threatening to whatever position you feel you need to retain. The first is to attempt a measure of strong control over what happens (as exemplified by the U.S. on numerous occasions, including and not limited to meddling by your CIA), while the second is to actually do very little, even nothing, while shifting your own position to something that allows you to stand that ground which matters the most, if this latter part is necessary at all.

Action through inaction may sound like some hippie peacenik principle, but to contrast -- how much have you achieved through action and strong control that the European nations haven't achieved through inaction and very little illusion of control at all? From what I can tell, the only net result you have to show for your efforts are two tower-stumps at the World Trade Center site and a backlash of anti-US sentiment all over the world the likes of which haven't been seen since the sixties, and this is not to mention the cultural effect a constant state of international tension and war has had on you. Meanwhile, the european union is expanding to include states that would have been rejected outright ten years ago, even through the new countries' situations haven't changed all that much in the meantime.

To quote someone I can't remember right now, "The strong and aggressive rarely die of natural causes."

Fin.
[ Parent ]

key points from my rant (none / 1) (#222)
by zenofchai on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:05:43 PM EST

  1. The European Union is not a "Union" for purposes of deterrance.
  2. The European Union is not evil enough or irrational enough to be feared.
  3. "The United States just might nuke you so don't piss them off" is a fairly credible idea. Substitute France or England and the idea is simply not credible. Juvenile to be sure, but true.
  4. It is more likely for England to invade France than for England, France, and Germany to decide to go half-way around the world to fight North Korea. (I know, didn't make this point at all but hey I'll stick by it as true).
  5. England, France, or Germany by themselves could not go half-way around the world and defeat North Korea in a conventional (read: no nukes) war.

--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]
you can't fight terrorism with nuclear deterrance (none / 1) (#445)
by mami on Fri May 07, 2004 at 10:06:19 PM EST

Your belief in your own strength due to the power of your weapons is a matter of self-betrayal.

It's part of the American culture to be addicted to their own stubborn belief in their military super power status combined with their arrogant belief that their values and morals are superior to all other cultures with regards to defending freedom and democracy.  

I don't know why Americans believe in their "American values" like drunken sailors (as if values have a nationality), but like any addict and co-dependant, you are up to hit bottom all by yourself and all of your "friends" will be the co-dependant enablers.

Nobody has even to actually fight against you. You ruin yourself like any ordinary addict. You engage in heavy self-denial of your dependency, you are in denial your own abusive behavior of your own people for the sake of kissing ass to the "Gods of Capitalism, Free Enterprise, Profits and Self-Righteous Religious Moralists". If you abuse yourself, you can't possibly be strong. If you lie to yourself, you can't convince the world to be truthful.  

So far, the US has lost the war against terrorism quite clearly and all of your power, that you believe to have because of your weapon's superiority, has no role in winning the war against terrorism, but rather had quite clearly a role in losing it.

[ Parent ]

Well (none / 1) (#276)
by I Hate Yanks on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:37:19 PM EST

(let's not argue about whether saddam needed fighting at the time, just bear with me here)

You're missing the point. Nothing good came of the first gulf war.

It simply set the stage for what was to come next: More desctruction.


Reasons to hate Americans (No. 812): Circletimessquare lives there.
[ Parent ]

agree. (none / 1) (#368)
by zenofchai on Fri May 07, 2004 at 01:39:18 PM EST

Nothing good came of the first gulf war.

I didn't say that something good came of the first gulf war, and explicitly asked we "not argue about whether saddam needed fighting at the time" mostly because I agree with your sentiment.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

Kuwaitis have a different opinion. (none / 1) (#437)
by OldCoder on Fri May 07, 2004 at 08:19:14 PM EST

Ask them.

Your claim that "Nothing good" came out of the first gulf war is absurd. This is not to say that there weren't some unintended consequences.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]

Europe on its own (none / 1) (#331)
by yooden on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:51:21 PM EST

Let's go back to the early 1990s. Iraq invades Kuwait. Let's say that the US was practicing "isolationism" at the time. You honestly think that a coalition of the UK/France/Germany/Spain/Italy/etc would move to action?

If the USA would have moved to isolationism, Europe would have moved too of course. Just as they did numerous times in the past 60 years.

Germany and France waged a brutal war from at least 1870 to 1945. A few years later they were close allies. You seriously underestimate Europe's ability to move.

And even if they did, would they have possessed the will and means to fly thousands of troops and machines to the Middle East and fight Saddam?

Yes, they would.

If the U.S. decided that it wanted to invate mainland EUROPE and TAKE IT AS ITS OWN BITCH it could do so, except for the nuclear deterrant.

Now you are getting ridiculous. The US military is stretched thin maintaining less than 150.000 soldiers in a desert (using Europe's infrastructure). Why do you think they could send enough troops to overpower a European military, numbering in the millions, build for defense for 50 years, on their own turf?


[ Parent ]

agree, I went too far :) (none / 0) (#371)
by zenofchai on Fri May 07, 2004 at 01:42:04 PM EST

Now you are getting ridiculous. The US military is stretched thin maintaining less than 150.000 soldiers in a desert (using Europe's infrastructure). Why do you think they could send enough troops to overpower a European military, numbering in the millions, build for defense for 50 years, on their own turf?

I did say "except for the nuclear deterrant". If the US had a monopoly on nuclear weapons, the US military could send a few dozen cruise missiles and wipe out the continent without fear of similar reprisal.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

No Nukes (none / 0) (#384)
by yooden on Fri May 07, 2004 at 02:22:56 PM EST

Sure, if only one side had nukes in any non-trivial amount, it would win. If, however, none had, ("except for the nuclear deterrant"), the USA wouldn't stand a chance to invade Europe.

[ Parent ]
no chance? (none / 0) (#394)
by zenofchai on Fri May 07, 2004 at 03:00:35 PM EST

If, however, none had, ("except for the nuclear deterrant"), the USA wouldn't stand a chance to invade Europe.

I disagree about "no chance" but then again I get my information from one side of the pond vs. another. What defensive systems do European countires have vs. things like B-2 stealth bombers?

As one example, the German army numbers about 285,000 (link), about 100,000 less than the number of currently foreign-deployed American troops (link), 100K of which are deployed in Germany, Italy, the UK, or Japan. Actually, there are 71,000 US troops already in Germany. 102,000 US troops are in Western Europe alone, with a total global force of over 500,000 troops (not including air force, navy, etc).

And my God, I'm not suggesting there is going to be a war. Just saying it wouldn't be a "no chance" type of encounter. The main reason the US would have "a chance" is because invading either Germany/France/Spain would not automatically rouse the militaries of the other countries. Obviously (hopefully!) if the E.U. was a real "Union" capable of decisive action it could repel a US invasion. But this is all mental masturbation anyway because such an action is not even a remote possibility.

The point of this thread was that Germany/France/Spain/Britain are no longer capable of unified decisive military action.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

Science Fiction War Porn (none / 0) (#403)
by yooden on Fri May 07, 2004 at 04:04:09 PM EST

What defensive systems do European countires have vs. things like B-2 stealth bombers?

That Czech radar thingy and a bunch of AA missiles.

Actually, there are 71,000 US troops already in Germany.

Uh, well, we don't talk about a surprise attack anytime soon, do we? Let's just assume that the usual tensions would precede any shooting.

The main reason the US would have "a chance" is because invading either Germany/France/Spain would not automatically rouse the militaries of the other countries.

You can bet your ass on that, for exactly the reson mentioned before: Europe has already experience in giving up small parts to save the rest. Furthermore, we talked about Europe, not a single country.

The point of this thread was that Germany/France/Spain/Britain are no longer capable of unified decisive military action.

I thought the point of the thread was whether Europe would move to fill a new place in the world if the USA would decide to go home.

[ Parent ]

And Now for a Little Sarcasm (none / 0) (#589)
by jameth on Mon May 10, 2004 at 07:22:55 PM EST

The main reason the US would have "a chance" is because invading either Germany/France/Spain would not automatically rouse the militaries of the other countries.

You can bet your ass on that, for exactly the reson mentioned before: Europe has already experience in giving up small parts to save the rest. Furthermore, we talked about Europe, not a single country.

Yeah, because they learned their lesson every other time it happened too.

[ Parent ]

Sarcasm? (none / 0) (#613)
by yooden on Wed May 12, 2004 at 02:12:21 AM EST

What are you talking about?

[ Parent ]
A fundamental misunderstanding (none / 0) (#535)
by ttsalo on Sun May 09, 2004 at 07:35:33 PM EST

As one example, the German army numbers about 285,000

That's the peacetime strength. The numbers would look totally different after a full mobilization to a wartime status. Same for most other countries.

The point of this thread was that Germany/France/Spain/Britain are no longer capable of unified decisive military action.

Nonsense. They would be, instantly, if there was an significant external threat. Since there isn't, you can't draw conclusions from their current behaviour.



[ Parent ]

That Goes Both Ways (none / 0) (#588)
by jameth on Mon May 10, 2004 at 07:20:18 PM EST

As one example, the German army numbers about 285,000

 That's the peacetime strength. The numbers would look totally different after a full mobilization to a wartime status. Same for most other countries.

Uh, yeah, this is peacetime strength in the US too.

Did you happen to forget how quickly the US can build a military? Look back to Japan and Perl Harbor. They destroyed most of our navy in that ocean, and we subsequently won the war. The US rebuilt from a scrap-heap to the largest navy in the world in about a year. All that industrial infrastructure is still there.

[ Parent ]

So? (none / 0) (#436)
by OldCoder on Fri May 07, 2004 at 08:14:47 PM EST

I wasn't being literal. I was being satirical.

Then again, the world just might fall apart if it wasn't for the US, who's to say?

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]

brilliant (2.43 / 16) (#35)
by reklaw on Wed May 05, 2004 at 07:55:39 PM EST

Someone start a movement for this. Americans (or 99% of them) seem to know little-to-nothing about the rest of the world, even when they're supposedly in charge of things like foreign policy. We'd all be way better off if the USA just quit messing with things it doesn't understand (like the Middle East, for example).

If America really did pick up its ball and say "I'm not playing any more", all the other players would just shout "GOOD". Considering the way America behaves on the world stage, anti-Americanism is entirely reasonable -- at least when there's a Republican government in power. I know I'm holding a whole country responsible for its government but, damn, a majority of you voted for it.

Actually, I'm tempted to think that a completely isolationist America would end up imploding quite quickly. Heck, wouldn't it implode almost instantly because of its enormous national debt?
-

Uh-huh, right. (none / 1) (#36)
by regeya on Wed May 05, 2004 at 08:04:46 PM EST

If America really did pick up its ball and say "I'm not playing any more", all the other players would just shout "GOOD".

I'm sure that's exactly what would happen. You're a genius. I salute you.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

Uh-huh, yeah. (none / 1) (#40)
by reklaw on Wed May 05, 2004 at 08:16:17 PM EST

I'm sure that's exactly what would happen. You're a genius. I salute you.

That's a brilliant reply to my post, addressing all my points. I'm sure I'm in the wrong. I salute you.
-
[ Parent ]

worlds biggest exporter (none / 1) (#70)
by ProfessorBooty on Wed May 05, 2004 at 11:12:38 PM EST

correct me if i am wrong here, but isn't the US still the worlds biggest exporter, AND importer?

[ Parent ]
Actually (none / 1) (#37)
by The Solitaire on Wed May 05, 2004 at 08:11:04 PM EST

I know I'm holding a whole country responsible for its government but, damn, a majority of you voted for it.

Actually, no they didn't, at least not for the president...

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]

alright then (2.60 / 5) (#39)
by reklaw on Wed May 05, 2004 at 08:15:04 PM EST

Very, very close to a majority voted for it and your electoral system was fucked up enough to hand it to Bush. Better?
-
[ Parent ]
Accurate, maybe, but better? (none / 1) (#44)
by forager on Wed May 05, 2004 at 08:49:34 PM EST

Very, very close to a majority voted for it and your electoral system was fucked up enough to hand it to Bush. Better?

More accurate, I suppose, but better?

[ Parent ]

Eh... (none / 1) (#56)
by FuriousXGeorge on Wed May 05, 2004 at 10:19:59 PM EST

When you add all the non-voters to the gore voters, a majority certainly did NOT want bush.

--
-- FIELDISM NOW!
[ Parent ]

well that's stupid (none / 2) (#60)
by reklaw on Wed May 05, 2004 at 10:30:10 PM EST

If they didn't vote then it's their own fault. If they had voted then they could just as easily have voted for Bush.
-
[ Parent ]
yeah... (none / 0) (#179)
by FuriousXGeorge on Thu May 06, 2004 at 11:45:29 AM EST

but they didn't.
-- FIELDISM NOW!
[ Parent ]
yes but (none / 0) (#206)
by reklaw on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:24:17 PM EST

you can't say that people who didn't vote didn't want Bush. You can only say that they didn't care either way. Otherwise it just makes no sense.
-
[ Parent ]
Fine with me... (none / 0) (#139)
by The Solitaire on Thu May 06, 2004 at 08:26:18 AM EST

I was just being pedantic anyways. Oh yeah, and please don't assume that I am an American. I'm not.

And, for the record, I hate Dubya and his rediculous policies.

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]

doesn't matter (none / 1) (#96)
by m a r c on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:54:48 AM EST

you still call it democratic regardless of the idiocy of its voting system.
I got a dog and named him "Stay". Now, I go "Come here, Stay!". After a while, the dog went insane and wouldn't move at all.
[ Parent ]
I don't call it anything... (none / 0) (#137)
by The Solitaire on Thu May 06, 2004 at 08:24:34 AM EST

... I'm a Canadian.

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure (none / 3) (#42)
by scarabic on Wed May 05, 2004 at 08:37:05 PM EST

that isolationism would result in Americans knowing more about the world. Probably the reverse. What I favor personally is the breakup of the US into its constituent states (or groups of them). I believe that the bulk of our negative impact on the world is the result of our overhwelming size advantage, and the temptation to bully, veto, and insist that come with it. The states, individually, could still interact with the rest of the world, culturally and economically, without imposing such a huge imprint. This is not to mention the fact that the US is a deeply divided country, whose citizenry are well-past the point where they can call themselves one nation. We don't agree about anything, frankly.

[ Parent ]
actually (2.60 / 5) (#48)
by reklaw on Wed May 05, 2004 at 09:11:43 PM EST

I've thought about that before as a good solution. The same way the idea of a federal Europe creeps me out, I can't help but feel that the US would be better off if it wasn't so... big.

Of course, it'd all be fun and games until one of those nutty southern states decided to go nuclear.
-
[ Parent ]

Nutty southern stater (3.00 / 6) (#68)
by keelerbeez on Wed May 05, 2004 at 11:08:54 PM EST

I'm in Tennessee, and all I can say is: PLEASE!! Don't leave me alone with these morons!! If Tennessee was a sovereign nation, we would die. We have 4 industries: Power (TVA), low wage service employees, tobacco, and marijuana (old mary jane is Tennessee's largest cash crop, tobacco is second).

Also, the christian wackos are all over the place down here; Fortunately, they're usually in church or in the bar (well, they get blown up while making crystal meth pretty often, too). I personally know 19 year old women whow can't read, and have 5 kids, but it's OK because jesus loves them. My ex-wife is the youngest of 20, an excommunicated mormon, and smokes enough dope to kill a small horse.

But don't worry, if they can't read, I doubt they can figure nuclear weapons out (unless it's anything like a small block V8).


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[ Parent ]
Nuclear hillbillies! (none / 2) (#77)
by rigorist on Wed May 05, 2004 at 11:42:17 PM EST

But don't worry, if they can't read, I doubt they can figure nuclear weapons out (unless it's anything like a small block V8).

Didn't/doesn't the US Gov't have one of its nuclear weapons assembly plants in TN? The name escapes me at the moment.

[ Parent ]

Oak Ridge (none / 1) (#111)
by nollidj on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:01:02 AM EST

Oak Ridge, TN, was where they did things in the Manhattan Project like make test piles ("piles" as in "atomic piles") and figure out practicable methods for refining Plutonium.

My grandfather worked there (and was also present at Bikini when they did things like test what exactly happened when you detonated an atomic weapon over a destroyer)... but he was from Florida and lived in the North for just about all of his adult life. He was quite an interesting guy, and though his physical frame is really starting to fall to bits it is still great talking with him about his life.

muahaha. MuaHaHA! MUAHAHAHAHAHAAAHAHAHAA!!!!
[ Parent ]

No... (none / 0) (#150)
by keelerbeez on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:16:42 AM EST

Oak Ridge is an ammunition plant, producing Uranium and Plutonium, in addition to conventional bombs and shells. Another product of a huge federal program (TVA).

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[ Parent ]
Isn't that the point though? (2.80 / 5) (#82)
by Coryoth on Thu May 06, 2004 at 12:49:37 AM EST

Through its large federal systems the US has managed to support pockets of, well, stupidity that in any other circumstances would fail in no time. I wonder how much such behaviour influences the politics of the nation. Which states are considered the most self sufficient, and which the least? How does that look in terms of state based voting patterns? Jedidiah

[ Parent ]
voting patterns (none / 1) (#94)
by m a r c on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:52:14 AM EST

actually thats a very good point. Also to be taken into account is that due to people with certain abilities moving to the city for job advantages, the 'pockets of stupidity' are only going to be more extreme over time. Thankfully, however, they are given equal voting rights so their voice can be heard.
I got a dog and named him "Stay". Now, I go "Come here, Stay!". After a while, the dog went insane and wouldn't move at all.
[ Parent ]
California... (none / 1) (#148)
by keelerbeez on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:13:19 AM EST

pays 40% of the taxes in this country. Should they get 40% of the votes? And no, that's not the point, because the federal programs do work; The southern United States is still(!) recovering from the Civil War, not to mention the Great Depression, and it's only been in the past 20 years or so that many Southerners have had access to indoor plumbing, much less decent education, computers, etc.

As for "pockets of stupidity," while the South might typically vote for the stupidest candidate (always the Republicans lately, are they trying to tell us something?), so do most "upper class" districts around the country, which sort of throws voting patterns out the window, unless you want to lump private schools in with the worst public school districts in the country (Tennessee is constantly battling it out with Mississippi for this honor).

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[ Parent ]
South (1.25 / 4) (#355)
by kurioszyn on Thu May 06, 2004 at 10:17:38 PM EST

" I personally know 19 year old women whow can't read, and have 5 kids, but it's OK because jesus loves them."

How is that different from a typical 19 year black-girl -type so prevalent in certain urban settings,  who can't read, and has 5 kids (4 of them from different fathers) etc ..?

Ah , yeah, as opposed to that redneck bitch she is a product of  highly compassionate and "caring" progressives who tend to dominate politics in large urban areas, and therefore can only be considered a victim of unspecified circumstances.

And she is loved by Jesus too .
The collective one - in Washinghton.


[ Parent ]

So what's your point? (none / 2) (#395)
by keelerbeez on Fri May 07, 2004 at 03:05:25 PM EST

No, they're not much different. I tend to avoid the moniker of "redneck" for similar reasons for avoiding the term "nigger," although I have never been called the latter. As for the "compassionate and 'caring' progressives," who the hell are you talking about? Like it or not, "large urban areas" have much better education systems than rural areas, as well as (usually) positive economic situations. The TVA funding cuts a couple of years ago might not have meant anything to you, but it decimated the local economy, and we have nothing to replace it with.

The truly damning factor, though, is that your large urban area, because of it's generally superior education system, is much more likely to attract industry and skilled workers (are you likely to move your kids someplace with crappy schools?). This in turn creates jobs, tax revenue, etc. But we have nutcases down here who are actively opposed to education; It's not just that THEY don't want to know anything, they don't want anyone else to know anything, either.

I suppose the real difference is, that the inner city illiterate mother of 5 is pitied, while the "redneck," hillbilly, chaw-munching, white trash, country, illiterate mother of 5 is respected (at least around here). That's just sad.

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[ Parent ]
Of course it would take war to break up the US (none / 1) (#100)
by scarabic on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:11:47 AM EST

...in the first place. No argument there.

[ Parent ]
breaking up is hard to do (2.80 / 5) (#49)
by adimovk5 on Wed May 05, 2004 at 09:12:29 PM EST

breakup of the US into its constituent states

Break up of the United States into smaller units would resort in warfare in a generation. The nations would fight over water rights, pollution, and access to markets.

The forced unification of the upper North American continent into essentially three coast to coast nations - Canada, USA, Mexico - has led to relative peace between the three. Each of them has access to enough resources to be self sufficient if it chose to be. Each of them is large enough to not be completely paranoid of its neighbors.

[ Parent ]

reply from a USian (2.40 / 5) (#43)
by forager on Wed May 05, 2004 at 08:41:14 PM EST

"If America really did pick up its ball and say 'I'm not playing any more', all the other players would just shout 'GOOD'."

The thing with that is, you see, American involvement (read: money) is a driving force behind a big chunk of the world economy. If America pulled out tomorrow it wouldn't be the end of the world, but a fairly heavy world-wide economic recession would most likely prove inevitable.

"Considering the way America behaves on the world stage, anti-Americanism is entirely reasonable"

I suppose there's no argument there. Our leaders have done some pretty stupid shit in the last 40 years. Most of us just didn't know about it until we saw it on the TV. I don't think you should hate all of us for it, but I'm an American, so what can I say?

"I know I'm holding a whole country responsible for its government but, damn, a majority of you voted for it."

That does seem a bit unfair of you; I mean, do you hold all Iraqis responsible for what Saddam did? Do we hold Germans responsible for Hitler? Oh, and FYI, the majority of us voted for a different government last time around. We just didn't get what we voted for because America isn't really a democratic country any more. We'll try again in 2004, but no garauntees ... keep your liberation armies on standby, ok?

"I'm tempted to think that a completely isolationist America would end up imploding quite quickly."

I disagree, but that's just my opinion, and again, I'm an American, so there's some natural bias there.

"Heck, wouldn't it implode almost instantly because of its enormous national debt?"

Doubtful. American national debt is partly the result of European nations not paying us back for rebuilding them after WWII, but only partly. If America cut foreign spending like the author suggests, downsized the military, and elected another president who can balance a budget like Clinton could, I'm pretty sure we'd be just fine.

I'm actually a fan of American isolationism, but not that BS Monroe doctrine crap. I'm talking about real isolationism - self-reliance for the entire country, such as it is. Limited immigration, minimal imports, no foreign military bases, no war unless attacked, minimal foreign spending, withdrawl from all international groups, and no more treaties (current treaties still hold, but will be allowed to expire; no future treaties would be written). America would probably do just fine if it pulled a Switzerland on ALL levels and declared itself a universally neutral in all international matters.

Just my thoughts.

[ Parent ]

hmm (2.42 / 7) (#52)
by reklaw on Wed May 05, 2004 at 09:31:13 PM EST

The thing with that is, you see, American involvement (read: money) is a driving force behind a big chunk of the world economy. If America pulled out tomorrow it wouldn't be the end of the world, but a fairly heavy world-wide economic recession would most likely prove inevitable.

I'm not so sure. I'd be interested to see a more in-depth analysis from someone who actually knows something about economics, but I don't see why one country pulling out entirely from world trade would cause a global recession. If anything, perhaps it could stop the rest of the world from getting dragged down by the US' bad economic decisions.

Our leaders have done some pretty stupid shit in the last 40 years... I don't think you should hate all of us for it, but I'm an American, so what can I say?

Aww, I don't hate you all. You're just unfortunate enough to live in a country full of rednecks with leaders that basically alternate between right-wing and very right-wing.

I mean, do you hold all Iraqis responsible for what Saddam did? Do we hold Germans responsible for Hitler?

I'm not sure whether Saddam was democractically elected, but I don't think he was. Hitler was, sort of, but he cheated by getting the communists chucked out of the Reichstag. And they both held on to power way beyond their mandates, which pretty makes their rule undemocratic by definition. I think people in a country should only be held accountable for that country's actions if it is a democracy, really. Which leads us on to...

America isn't really a democratic country any more

Bollocks. The "Bush stole the election" stuff is pretty tiresome. The election came down to one state, and that one state was more-or-less too close to call. Bush only won by a Supreme Court fluke. It's hardly likely to be repeated, and not a reason to say that democracy is broken. If you want to push it and say that the American people aren't responsible for the Bush term, though, then go for it... there's still that "last 40 years" thing, as you say.

American national debt is partly the result of European nations not paying us back for rebuilding them after WWII, but only partly

It must be a tiny proportion, although again I'll admit to not knowing. But considering the rate at which the national debt gets added to(some horrifying amount per second), and the way it's risen since the end of WWII, I'd guess that most of it is a more recent creation.

Perhaps it'd be OK because of all the spending cuts, although I'd think that'd only really decrease the deficit rather than the debt. Of course, there's also the issue of who the debt is actually owed to -- if the US pulls out of the world economy, aren't they going to be asking for that money back?

America would probably do just fine if it pulled a Switzerland on ALL levels

Maybe. While it just get by economically, I shudder to think of the cultural effects... and shudder even more to think of what Americans might have become if they ever un-isolate themselves again.
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[ Parent ]

Sort of like Japan? (none / 2) (#78)
by rigorist on Wed May 05, 2004 at 11:55:28 PM EST

Maybe. While it just get by economically, I shudder to think of the cultural effects... and shudder even more to think of what Americans might have become if they ever un-isolate themselves again.

IIRC, Japan isolated itself for about 200 years until it was finally "opened" by US gunships. Japan then proceeded to rapidly industrialize and kick the shit out of a world power, Russia. Then Japan took over most of the western Pacific and even picked a fight with the United States.

I suspect any newly "opened" state that had earlier intentionally isolcated itself will behave in a similar manner. Does anyone know of any other examples?

[ Parent ]

That was rhetorical, right? (nt) (none / 0) (#187)
by Scott Robinson on Thu May 06, 2004 at 12:06:31 PM EST



[ Parent ]
50% of US tax dollar is military + interest (none / 3) (#54)
by jongleur on Wed May 05, 2004 at 10:00:27 PM EST

This pie chart shows.  I've seen it broken down elsewhere as 40% military, 10% debt service.  IMO tt gives credibility to the idea that the US is an empire that will collapse under its own weight like the others.
--
"If you can't imagine a better way let silence bury you" - Midnight Oil
[ Parent ]
not quite accurate (none / 1) (#69)
by ProfessorBooty on Wed May 05, 2004 at 11:09:50 PM EST

don't forget social security and medicare

social security has been running a surplus, which is then "lent" to the government and goes into the general treasury.

that pie chart convinently forgets social spending.

[ Parent ]

It doesn't forget. SS is separate, as they explain (none / 1) (#97)
by jongleur on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:56:23 AM EST

Medicare I don't know about but, it could go under 'general' or 'human resources' for all I know.

I admit it's trying to make a point but, I've heard close to the same figure elsewhere (which also might be unreliable admittedly).
--
"If you can't imagine a better way let silence bury you" - Midnight Oil
[ Parent ]

That chart's plain silly (none / 2) (#101)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:22:37 AM EST

It's politcal rhetoric doing a very poor imitation of economics.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Care to point to an alternative (none / 0) (#215)
by wurp on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:40:20 PM EST

Or tell us what's wrong with that chart?  I'm not emotionally attached to it (never having seen it before that link), but to respond to something that appears at least somewhat researched with an offhand "silly" doesn't earn any cred with me.  Or I imagine most people.
---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]
problems... (none / 3) (#228)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:13:55 PM EST

  1. Social Security and Medicare are not run, and have not historically been run, as a "trust" apart from the rest of the federal budget. They are part of, actally an essential part of, the federal tax roll (not to mention that they serve as the "in" which allows the federal government to shift the tax collection burden to employers through the withholding requirements). Excluding them serves only to make a political point, not an economic one, as the social security fund is an essential element in the overall financial condition of the federal government.
  2. The decision to assign responsibility for 80% percent of the yearly debt service to "military" expenditures is patently absurd. It's an exercise in pure fantasy, the rhetorical thrust of which is "see how different the world would be if the world were in fact a different place."
Yes, no doubt, the US's financial condition would be radically different if we had not taken on such a large military burden after the close of WWII, but the entire world would be a very different place.  What if there had been no cold war? That's an awfully big if, which cannot be answered by simply removing the compounded costs of the US military--no matter how you figure the financial particulars--as it is impossible to accurately predict what other changes would have resulted as well. Playing with significant counterfactuals is an interesting intellectual exercise, but the results are always highly speculative (and the author makes no attempt whatsoever to control for the multitude of other factors).

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Thank you very much! (none / 0) (#237)
by wurp on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:33:22 PM EST

For spending the effort to summarize what my cursory glance totally missed.
---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]
difference between economy and foriegn policy (none / 3) (#66)
by m a r c on Wed May 05, 2004 at 11:00:55 PM EST

Firstly, i don't believe that America would want to isolate itself from the world economy. The reason that the standard of living in the US is so good is because it's economy is going so well.

If all the imported goods are then required to be made in America, then i'm sure that a lot of the prices will go up, which people don't generally want.

But I don't see the need to do this anyway; can't America change its foriegn policy without impacting its overseas investments? Or are these two things too closely related? Someone remind me from which country all those companies that are re-building Iraq are from. Some might go so far as to say that America's foreign policy is a manifestation of what the economy requires (cheap Oil).
I got a dog and named him "Stay". Now, I go "Come here, Stay!". After a while, the dog went insane and wouldn't move at all.
[ Parent ]

let me clarify (none / 2) (#73)
by forager on Wed May 05, 2004 at 11:27:52 PM EST

I wasn't commenting on whether the US should do this or not, or even if I would support such a move. I was just commenting on reklaw's statement that the rest of the world would dust off their hands and say "good riddance."

The truth is, America's economy would go to shit along with the rest of the world's, and you're absolutely right that there are better ways of solving our problems than taking our ball off the playground and going home. The only point that I was making was that if America did take its ball and go home, the rest of the world would be stuck without a ball to play with (or, perhaps, a ball of poorer quality).

I don't think the US should, or would, withdraw from the global theatre at all. I don't think we should be doing the things we're doing, but I don't control the government, so the best I can do is cast my one vote in November and hope for the best.



[ Parent ]

Little help? (2.83 / 6) (#64)
by keelerbeez on Wed May 05, 2004 at 10:54:44 PM EST

Speaking as a citizen of the united states, what would you suggest? Even the democrats are hopeless reactionaries nowadays. I will be voting for Kerry this fall, but without much enthusiasm; The man has been handed the perfect campaign issue (military service records), and is somehow managing to bungle it. I agree completely that we (the US) need to seriously rethink our foreign policy, and not just under republicans (witness Madeleine Allbright).

In our defense, though, Great Britain and France don't exactly have the greatest record in foreign diplomacy either (Israel, Syria, Viet Nam, India, North Ireland, etc). The entire world has some serious problems, and we need a way to deal with them; The U.N. springs to mind, and then, after I stop laughing, I want to go bomb something. In this sense, at least, I think we can say that the U.N.'s mission has failed.

A completely isolationist America would implode pretty quickly, but not because of the national debt; Remember, the debt is basically a loan from the Federal Reserve to the federal government, with the monopoly on printing money as collateral. We would implode because of our dependence on imported (whatever; cars, oil, TVs, sex toys, etc) and a ridiculously bad public education system.

So, once again, what should we do? The one guy who stood up and argued for change, Howard Dean (OK, the one guy who had a chance) got shot down by his own party. Now we get to choose between Tweedle-Dee and the Queen of Hearts. What do we do?



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[ Parent ]
i never saw someone... (1.20 / 5) (#85)
by circletimessquare on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:43:13 AM EST

who "just doesn't get it" on so many different levels in one post before

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Well this is kind of old to bring up (none / 3) (#119)
by GreyGhost on Thu May 06, 2004 at 05:40:34 AM EST

And has been brought up about a quadrillion times before - but this is wrong:

I know I'm holding a whole country responsible for its government but, damn, a majority of you voted for it.

Even though he was kind of a douche bag - Gore won the popular vote and lost in the electoral college. And that is why we have to suffer through cock monkey's reign of terror right now.

Now the whole Republican-controlled Congress and Senate - that is an entirely different matter.

What we need is a second Civil War - maybe with California and New York and the whole Eastern seaboard seceding to form their own hippy socialist paradise and the rest of the sheep-fuckers in the center of the country can go to hell in their own way. Which would be fairly quick - since the GDP of the the God-fearing states that voted for Dubya would probably be on the level of Brazil.



[ Parent ]

I'm with you all the way man! (none / 1) (#200)
by undermyne on Thu May 06, 2004 at 12:43:09 PM EST

Especially that part about the Coasts becoming their own little socialist paradise. Since those socialist states have such rigorous gun control laws, all the "redneck" states could swoop in like hawks and get rid of the source of the problem in one swell foop. Civil War is the only answer.

"You're an asshole. You are the greatest troll on this site." Some nullo

[ Parent ]
Middle East (none / 3) (#273)
by kurioszyn on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:28:48 PM EST


"We'd all be way better off if the USA just quit messing with things it doesn't understand (like the Middle East, for example)."

Yeah, US makes mistakes but who do you think is responsible for this mess in the first place ?
Who do you think was involved in exploiting this part of the world before turning off the light and turning the place to a regime-friendly local dictator ?

Yeah, EU is being smart in the sense that they have no problem playing the Arab game - i.e. , make sure every Arab knows that his personal problems are in one way or another a direct result of existence of this shitty little state  ( as French politicians tend to refer to Israel) but what is their real contribution beside constant "don't rock the boat" ?

Show me a single fucking decent thing Europeans did that somehow improved chances of this region turning into a decent place.

[ Parent ]

My take on the Bush presidencies (2.00 / 4) (#45)
by KWillets on Wed May 05, 2004 at 09:02:47 PM EST

This article jibes with my interpretation of the Bush regime.  Bush, and more significantly, Cheney, represent the fact that the culture of oil, exurbs, and gasoline-based life forms must be supported from the very top.  No more shady lobbying and frightful PAC's - this culture needs a figurehead, a George Wallace on the schoolhouse steps.

"Engagement" is too weak a term for this phenomenon, it's more like a shotgun wedding.  Bush and Cheney are handcuffed to the Middle East because they have to keep the gas flowing.  

Farm subsidies... (3.00 / 19) (#47)
by skyknight on Wed May 05, 2004 at 09:08:48 PM EST

to my understanding, actually decimate the economies of third world countries. US farm subsidies severely warp the global prices for various food stuffs, as American producers can effectively sell for less than the cost to grow the crops.

Third world countries with their primitive economies are often only able to offer agricultural products for export. When these exports become uncompetitive, these countries are left with no goods with which to barter in the global marketplace. This leaves these countries with a bunch of surplus food and no capacity to trade for other commodities.

US taxpayers are effectively paying to keep third world countries submissive.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
Well, that was kind of the idea (2.71 / 7) (#55)
by keelerbeez on Wed May 05, 2004 at 10:08:30 PM EST


US taxpayers are effectively paying to keep third world countries submissive.


Farm subsidies are the least of it. We fund their elections (or instigate rebellion, if the wrong guy wins anyway), arm their militaries (or the resistance, depending, once again, on who won the election), and bomb them if that fails (or if the u.s. president needs help in the polls).

Darn.



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[ Parent ]
Unfortunately for benefactors of government cheese (3.00 / 4) (#90)
by fenix down on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:05:21 AM EST

our beloved WTO hath betrayed us.

And though the appeals will take as long as we see fit, there's really no way the WTO can actually claim our farm subsidies aren't a blatant violation of WTO rules.

[ Parent ]

Not just US subsidies (2.77 / 9) (#141)
by wiredog on Thu May 06, 2004 at 08:45:26 AM EST

The EU is just as bad.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
Eu (1.85 / 7) (#266)
by kurioszyn on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:18:04 PM EST

Actually, EU is quite a bit worse in this regard.
No to mention their Neo-Luddite approach towards genetically modified crops which ,( indirectly) prevents third world farmers from exploring potential benefits of this new technology.


[ Parent ]
Translation: (2.12 / 8) (#289)
by Dr Caleb on Thu May 06, 2004 at 05:34:51 PM EST

prevents third world farmers from exploring potential benefits of this new technology.

prevents third world farmers from becoming slaves to US Multinational company owned intellectual property.

There's more than one way to invade a country.


Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Yeha, we know you hate US (1.14 / 7) (#290)
by kurioszyn on Thu May 06, 2004 at 05:47:15 PM EST

How about letting these farmers decide themselves if they want to use this stuff ?
Europeans will not import any sort of genetically modified food , and thus they are making that decision for them.

Since using these crops would make these folks more productive this is just another way for EU to protect their own markets.


[ Parent ]

They did. (2.57 / 7) (#304)
by Dr Caleb on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:16:18 PM EST

Given the choice for Sudan to accept a relief shipment of USA donated GM corn last year, or starvation, the Sudanese chose starvation.

I don't hate YOU, I don't even know you. I don't hate AMERICANS, those that I know I like well enough. I hate your administration, I hate your greedy corporations and I hate what they are doing to my country.

I will find a way to take it back.


Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Wrong... (1.25 / 4) (#313)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:39:47 PM EST

Europe effectively choose Sudanese starvation by raising baseless concerns that the import of milled grains, useable only for direct consumption, would somehow "magically" taint Sudanese crops destined for exprt to European markets. That incident wasn't a case of stubborn Sudanese independence, but hysterical and irrational fear mongering in Europe.  

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Canada (none / 3) (#348)
by kurioszyn on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:27:28 PM EST

" I hate your administration, I hate your greedy corporations and I hate what they are doing to my country."

Greedy ?
Who gave you a right to qualify what constitutes greed ?
You mean you "just know better" ?
You are willing to limit my freedom because it offends your social sensibilities ?

If Canada is your country then fight back - you and your politicians have every fucking tool they need to limit any sort of influence our greedy corporations have on your nation.
Do something about it or stop whining - I really don't give a shit.

It is your country after all ..

[ Parent ]

We know you love to love the USA (2.25 / 4) (#336)
by yooden on Thu May 06, 2004 at 08:16:46 PM EST

How about letting these farmers decide themselves if they want to use this stuff ?

Oh, but they can!

Europeans will not import any sort of genetically modified food , and thus they are making that decision for them.

How about letting these Europeans decide themselves if they want to eat this stuff?

[ Parent ]

Neo-Luddite? (2.25 / 8) (#305)
by Filip on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:18:10 PM EST

In another story, recently posted, the subject of reconstructing genome of extinct animals is discussed. That's an interesting discussion, but purely achademical - because it won't be possible. The thing is that you need the genetical diversity of some 500-1000 individuals to sustain a population.

When it comes to genetically modified crops, the problems are similar. You take the original, genetically diversified, crops (which can weather a large set of environmental conditions), and replace them with streamlined, modified crops. But what happens if local conditions change? If there's a new pest, or a change in the micro-climate, or a larger scale environmental change? Then you're screwed.

Add to that, that the producing company has patents on the genetically modified crops (thing software patents - but on life), that the crops are adjusted to stand the corporations own pesticide (so you can more out more poison on the stuff), and that the stuff is sterile (so you can't save some of the crop, and use next year - but have to buy more each year).

Can you still tell me that those who oppose genetically modified crops are Neo-Luddites? Or is there actually some real thinking behind the decision to reject GMCs?

I'd say that anyone who throws out old crops, to buy GMCs - and thus lock themselves in to a vendor, is rather short-sighted.

/Filip
-- I'm just a figment of your imagination.
[ Parent ]

Whatifs (1.50 / 4) (#343)
by kurioszyn on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:06:40 PM EST

One can always raise enough issues (or pseudo-issues) to kill any project.

Hell, we still don?t know everything about possible side effects of some medicines that were introduces decades ago.

The real question is how does one weight potential (and completely theoretical in this case ) concerns against very real and proven benefits (positive impact on problem of  famine in addition to real ecological gains resulting from  substantially reduced use of chemicals.)

[ Parent ]

The terminator gene (2.28 / 7) (#374)
by Nursie on Fri May 07, 2004 at 01:47:20 PM EST

is not theoretical. Monsanto has made this gene. Crops engineered with this gene die off after a single generation. They tie farmers to the company and demand more money each year, robbing farmers of any chance to become self-sufficient.

Nothing theoretical about it. And it's pretty unequivocally a BAD THING.

Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
Unequivocally? (2.75 / 4) (#378)
by skyknight on Fri May 07, 2004 at 02:02:33 PM EST

I thought that a terminator gene could also be considered useful from the perspective that it wouldn't allow a GM crop to spread into the wild.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Alright not unequivocally...... (none / 2) (#398)
by Nursie on Fri May 07, 2004 at 03:30:55 PM EST

You found a good point. However I would like to estate my original argument with "overwhelmingly" instead of unequivocally.
Economic dependance on a foreign corporation is not a good thing.

Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
The question to ask... (none / 3) (#409)
by skyknight on Fri May 07, 2004 at 05:02:33 PM EST

is whether the gene is truly being used to forfend environmental catastrophe, or if that is really a pretext for forced dependency. Of course, even if it is the latter, it's not entirely a bad thing. Much in the same way that pharmaceutical companies need to recoup research costs for drugs that they develop, so too must geneticists who have provided us with GM plants be compensated. If they were to get adequate compensation for plants that did not have the terminal gene, then there would have to be an enormous up front cost to the initial buyers. Of course, even with the terminal gene, people could "pirate" the plants by "hacking" them not to have the terminal gene, much in the same way that software pirates circumvent copy protection. The parallels are interesting, to say the least. Intellectual property is a very messy topic for which there are no easy answers to be had.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
No, there is an easy answer here. (none / 1) (#562)
by Nursie on Mon May 10, 2004 at 01:13:28 PM EST

Either stop selling the crops with the terminator gene as "to help the third world", and admit it's for the profit of huge american corps.

Or - get rid of the terminator gene.

The worst part of all of this is that people (usually USian) claim that it is for the good of the world and GM will solve all our ills, when it is in fact for profit and little else.

Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
Why can't it be both? (none / 1) (#568)
by skyknight on Mon May 10, 2004 at 03:51:04 PM EST

Why do you seem to think that profit and helping the world are mutually exclusive?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
I don't. (none / 1) (#602)
by Nursie on Tue May 11, 2004 at 12:21:18 PM EST

Because they tend to be pulling in opposite directions. The question "How do we maximise profit?" usually has the answer "By screwing as many people as possible, employees and customers."

I'm not saying this is the case everywhere, but it seems to be overwhelmingly so.

I'd like to see a world where the question becomes "How can we improve the world in a self sustaining way?", and then profit becomes a necessary (for the self sustaining part) but secondary motive.

Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
Profitability... (none / 0) (#603)
by skyknight on Tue May 11, 2004 at 12:26:26 PM EST

is often indicative of the fact that you are providing a valuable service to a client base. In many cases you may find the price unreasonably high, but really what that indicates is that we need more people in the market. When things get really ugly it is usually because of monopoly or thuggish government regulation. I admit that businesses can do really ugly things, but I do not agree that profit and benefit to the public are diametrically opposed goals. The very reason that people will give voluntarily give money to businesses is that they are providing some kind of good.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Some kind of good? (none / 0) (#604)
by Nursie on Tue May 11, 2004 at 12:38:11 PM EST

Not all business provides some kind of good, and a lot of people give money to businesses because the advertising persuades them that they will be bigger/better/faster/etc if they buy it.

But I agree, trouble is caused by monolpolistic behaviour and government interference. But it is also caused by a base avarice in many many people (and hence the corporations they represent or run), which has little or no regard for what happens to other people in the process.

Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
What that's really an argument for... (none / 1) (#605)
by skyknight on Tue May 11, 2004 at 12:45:42 PM EST

is that people ought to be less gullible. There's a sucker born every minute, and someone standing in line to take his money. Do you want to regulate stupidity? :-)

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Hell Yes! ;-) (nt) (none / 1) (#606)
by Nursie on Tue May 11, 2004 at 01:09:20 PM EST



Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
I've had this discussion once before now... (none / 1) (#607)
by skyknight on Tue May 11, 2004 at 01:16:07 PM EST

A friend and I came to agreement that stupid people should not be allowed to own guns, but we couldn't quite figure out how to go about certifying people as stupid in a way that wouldn't prove overly irksome. Having the designation "registered moron" isn't something that people are going to willingly have placed on their driver's license.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Permanent stamp on the forehead :) (none / 1) (#608)
by Nursie on Tue May 11, 2004 at 01:24:00 PM EST

Had similar drunken discussion with my lot too. Usually when discussing politics.

I always thought a more direct form of demopcracy would be good, with people directly voting on issues. when i first said this my best friend looked shocked and said "But then the stupid people get their say!?! We'd have free custard on every street corner, and no money for sewage systems! At least with current system even if we do get weasels making all the decisions, they're clever weasels!"

Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
This isn't an argument against GM (none / 1) (#564)
by RyoCokey on Mon May 10, 2004 at 02:03:25 PM EST

"terminator" crops in the form of hybrids have been commonly used for almost 70 years. The "genetic diversity" argument is invalid because no current genetic diversity among commercial crops exists.

These might be valid arguments against the corportization of farming, but that battle was lost decades ago.



The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick
[
Parent ]
You are right, but what can be done? (none / 0) (#168)
by lugumbashi on Thu May 06, 2004 at 10:52:16 AM EST

Different characteristics of the political systems on both sides of the Atlantic make agricultural reform all but impossible to implement. This is despite the fact that there is plenty of public support for it.

Supposing there was a US president who said "Gosh this farm subsidy thing is a bad idea it makes food expensive and impoverishes the third world, lets can it." He/she might get enthusiastic approval from Greenspan and the economists but would lose in all the big flat square states as well as California and Florida. So it can't happen.

If the EU commission did the same (and it has been tried!) the entire continent would be brought to a standstill by French farmers. (OK there would be a few other nationalities in there).


-"Guinness thaw tool in jew me dinner ouzel?"
[ Parent ]

Effect & Intent (none / 2) (#240)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:45:28 PM EST

Not to disagree, but it should be noted that US agricultural subsidies are not result of a strategy to keep the brown man down, but arise from the normal give and take (bribery and theft) of domestic politics.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
True.. (none / 1) (#275)
by Kwil on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:30:15 PM EST

..but can you really say that the side-effect of keeping the third world countries in a state of dependancy isn't approved by the U.S.?  After all, it would be fairly simple for the US to apply a duty/tax to any exports of food-stuffs in order to retake the subsidies for products sold out of country.

This would allow Americans to have cheap domestic foods (at a reduced cost to the taxpayer from how it is currently) while leaving the global market to fair competition.

Of course, it would suck for me personally, as I really enjoy my Texas grape-fruit and I certainly don't mind the American taxpayer taking part of the costs so I can have it cheaper here in Canada, but oh well.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Except... (none / 1) (#278)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:43:18 PM EST

...what you propose would disenfranchise another equally well connected "interest group," and is therefore squarely in the realm of impossibility as well. In the meantime, America (like every other country) tries to maximize its benefit, while accepting as impossible those which are not within anyone's power to alter.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Damn corn syrup (none / 1) (#405)
by Fon2d2 on Fri May 07, 2004 at 04:26:57 PM EST

Coke should be made with sugar and not high fructose corn syrup!

[ Parent ]
I know, but alas... (none / 3) (#408)
by skyknight on Fri May 07, 2004 at 04:56:27 PM EST

as long as Coke can buy corn syrup for less than the cost of making corn syrup, and cane sugar remains unsubsidized and expensive, we are stuck drinking this crap. :-(

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
not just unsubsidized (none / 3) (#412)
by Polverone on Fri May 07, 2004 at 05:40:31 PM EST

Priced higher than the world market dictates, thanks to Cuban embargo.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]
Indeed... (none / 2) (#415)
by skyknight on Fri May 07, 2004 at 05:46:58 PM EST

Embargo has heavy costs on many people on both sides, and I'm not even sure that it accomplishes what it sets out to do.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
you know that (none / 0) (#520)
by Battle Troll on Sun May 09, 2004 at 11:57:53 AM EST

The average EU country's crop subsidies (until this year; I don't know stats for the new admittees) are substantially more generous than the USA's, right? If not, the Economist periodically has articles on the subject.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Yes, I am aware of that. (none / 1) (#522)
by skyknight on Sun May 09, 2004 at 12:28:28 PM EST

I only made my comment US-centric because the parent article was US-centric. I am, by no means, an apologist for the European Union. I think that a lot of their policies are appalling, too. Farm subsidies are not so much a matter of the US keeping third world countries down, as it is a matter of developed countries keeping undeveloped countries down.

Incidentally, The Economist is my favorite publication when it comes to world affairs.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Agricultural subsidies (none / 0) (#534)
by ttsalo on Sun May 09, 2004 at 07:20:08 PM EST

Here's the deal. If the 1st world stops the agricultural subsidies and starts competing with the 3rd world on an even playing field, the food production moves out of 1st world. Then the trade gets disrupted because of an international crisis of some sort and the 1st world dies of hunger, because it no longer has food production of it's own. Not good. You may be willing to take this risk, but most people won't.



[ Parent ]

uuh, shrugging ... (nt) (1.00 / 10) (#59)
by mami on Wed May 05, 2004 at 10:28:17 PM EST



You're a goddamn 'tard (2.45 / 20) (#65)
by smg on Wed May 05, 2004 at 10:56:32 PM EST

And I can't believe this is being voted up. I'll just deal with the "economy" section because the US economy is the most powerful influence the US has on the rest of the world.

Your main point is that the US should have unilateral trading arrangements instead of multilateral agreements. Fine, that's one thing, but trade is only part of the way that the US is integrated into the global capitalist. The international financial markets have allowed billions of US capital to be invested in foreign countries and billions of foreign capital to be invested in the US. How do you unscramble that particular egg?

Furthermore, the production chain itself has become globalized. You see, there's a reason for an integrated global economy - it gives much greater returns on capital than the national economies once did. It allows the comparative advantage of each nation to be fully leveraged - third and second world nations can provide cheap labour and resources whilst first world countries provide the expertise and equipment. More and corporations are spreading their production chains across multiple nations to maximize profits and minimizes wages and other localized costs.

If the US really tried to isolate itself from the global economy and restricted to itself to basic pre-globalization trade, foreign and local capital would fly out of the US, leading to a massive American recession (or even depression). For America to return to a national production cycle would lead to a far less efficient economy. America would have to rebuild it's manufacturing sector which it now mostly outsources to Asia and South America. Without cheap imports, basic products such as clothing would become very expensive.

I think all of this would be a good thing for the rest of the world. But I can't see much decent analysis in your article, just far-right American xenophobia and ignorance.

By the way, the "IMF" is not a trade organization. It is an investment organization.


Oh, and another thing (2.71 / 7) (#75)
by smg on Wed May 05, 2004 at 11:35:41 PM EST

All the countries that now use US dollars as currency would dump it and move to the euro, along with currency speculators, leading to hyper-inflation. So not only would everything cost more to make, US dollars would be worth much less. And there would be little available capital to invest in increased production to boot. All that'd be left of the American economy would be a steaming crater.

[ Parent ]
While the proposal may be stupid (2.20 / 5) (#79)
by rigorist on Thu May 06, 2004 at 12:02:13 AM EST

the discussion the article has generated is pretty good. I am not sure if the author is actually serious in his proposal or is attacking the proposal through reductio ad absurdum. Either way, the proposal has stimulated a lot of thought (including yours) about the role of the United States in the world, economically and otherwise. Good fod for thought. +1

[ Parent ]
Economic efficiency (2.83 / 6) (#144)
by wiredog on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:00:15 AM EST

should not be the primary goal of any country. What do you do in the case of countries such as the US and EU where there is decreasing need for unskilled/less skilled labor? That is, assembly line workers, grocery store clerks, and the like. You can't retrain all of them to be webmonkeys.

I have in mind a friend of mine that I've known since 1971. He graduated from a high school whose diploma was actually meaningful. He can read, write, do math, and has knowledge of history and other high school subjects. But only at a high school level. He tried college, but just didn't have the intellectual capacity.

40 years ago he could have gotten a good job in a grocery store or on an assembly line and been firmly middle class. Today those jobs are mostly gone, and he's firmly poor. He's not an idiot, just not particularly bright. Many people are like him. The left hand side of the bell curve. What do we do with them? Put them all on welfare? But they don't want to be on welfare, they want to work.

But, economically, it may be more efficient to put them on welfare and tax everyone else to pay for it.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

Economic efficiency (none / 1) (#155)
by smg on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:28:08 AM EST

By "economic efficiency" I simply meant the return on investment capital. In this sense, it's never a good idea for a government to provide welfare. Not only does it cost the government money that may require raised taxes, it also reduces the pressure on redundant workers who could otherwise be superexploited as cheap labour.

Of course, in the utilitarian sense of maximal total happiness, modern economies are incredibly inefficient at providing happiness to all but a few. There is such incredible wealth in Western nations that if the economy was less efficient but wealth was more evenly distributed, on the whole people would be vastly happier.

[ Parent ]

I think "happy" is the wrong word... (none / 1) (#181)
by skim123 on Thu May 06, 2004 at 11:50:53 AM EST

Of course, in the utilitarian sense of maximal total happiness, modern economies are incredibly inefficient at providing happiness to all but a few. There is such incredible wealth in Western nations that if the economy was less efficient but wealth was more evenly distributed, on the whole people would be vastly happier.

"Happy" is the wrong word here. Study after study have shown that there is only a miniscule correlation between economic standing and happiness. Chances are, your average $30k a year worker is just as happy as your average multi-millionaire.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Wealth (none / 2) (#263)
by kurioszyn on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:12:49 PM EST

" in the utilitarian sense of maximal total happiness, modern economies are incredibly inefficient at providing happiness to all but a few."

Only in a purely theoretical sense since there seems to be no other sustainable alternative.

If what you are writing were true, you wouldn't see people desperately trying to emulate or become part of western world  (especially since majority of newcomers  can only expect to end up  the bottom of the economical ladder.)

You cannot have a free society without having majority of wealth end up in possession of relatively small part of the society for the same reason you cannot guarantee that every newborn will have an ability to advance our civilization.

The modern economies are actually quite efficient in the sense that , for the most part, they tend to promote human abilities as opposed to social status as it used to be the case before.

[ Parent ]

Inflation (none / 1) (#259)
by kurioszyn on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:56:32 PM EST

" All that'd be left of the American economy would be a steaming crater."

Nah, this would ruin all these countries as well and thus they would never dump the dollar the way your are suggesting.
It would have been a slow process which would give US chance do adjust value of dollar correspondingly in a controlled manner.

[ Parent ]

It's being voted up... (none / 1) (#157)
by bigchris on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:28:48 AM EST

... so we can see what sort of jerks actually beleive this stuff, and to show how people are generally reacting to American attitudes. Considering that K5 is fairly cosmopolitan, it should be interesting.

---
I Hate Jesus: -1: Bible thumper
kpaul: YAAT. YHL. HAND. btw, YAHWEH wins ;) [mt]
[ Parent ]
It doesn't have to be that complicated (none / 3) (#315)
by cdguru on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:53:52 PM EST

The international financial markets have allowed billions of US capital to be invested in foreign countries and billions of foreign capital to be invested in the US. How do you unscramble that particular egg?

It's easy - "F... 'em". Unilaterally cancel all external debts and external investments. Oh they don't equal out... so what? If you want to take the marbles and go home, does it really matter if someone wants to keep playing? The dollar crashes on foreign markets and nobody trusts the US as an investor or debtor again for a long time. OK, so if your goal is isolation, this provides some real incentive to rebuild a decent internal economy.

Furthermore, the production chain itself has become globalized. You see, there's a reason for an integrated global economy - it gives much greater returns on capital than the national economies once did. It allows the comparative advantage of each nation to be fully leveraged - third and second world nations can provide cheap labour and resources whilst first world countries provide the expertise and equipment.
Sorry, this is one of the big problems with the US economy now. We are engaged in a race to the bottom for supplying manufactured goods and have so corrupted the value of goods and services that wages for non-technical jobs have remained stagnet for 20 years. Wal-Mart has to get stuff cheaper and cheaper to keep up with utility costs and the like, but labor costs have remained about the same. So who wants to work at Wal-Mart now? Nobody, but the folks that are there don't have much choice.

Also, those second and third world countries making all the cheap stuff that is sold are in the chips only as long as they don't raise their standard of living. When labor costs go up, Wal-Mart has to move to somewhere cheaper - that is the way the game is working now. This is a lose-lose proposition for everyone, including the consumers. But most of all for the folks working in the factories because the value of their labor is just going down rather than up.

If the US really tried to isolate itself from the global economy and restricted to itself to basic pre-globalization trade, foreign and local capital would fly out of the US, leading to a massive American recession (or even depression).

Yup. That's the whole idea. If the US had to rebuild an internal manufacturing base and had to rely on internal investment only, this would in short order return much of the labor force to work - there would be unskilled manufacturing jobs again. There would also be a strong motivation to find alternatives to oil for transportation because there wouldn't be any foreign imports any more.

Frankly, I think it would be pretty rough for a couple of years at the most and then the US would be much better off internally. Externally? Well, those folks in China would have to do something else besides making gewgaws for dollar stores here and they might have to actually try raising the standard of living of some people - because outsourced manufacturing jobs wouldn't exist. It would end the "race to the bottom" for lowest cost manufacturing and it would change the world economy in some pretty unpredictable ways. But, I think it would be much, much better inside the US after a short period of adjustment or realignment.

Do you realize just how bad the effects of a couple of ships sinking in the Pacific would be on the current US economy and how dependent retailers are on the flow of cheap goods from the far east?

[ Parent ]

Two years? (none / 0) (#404)
by Fon2d2 on Fri May 07, 2004 at 04:25:06 PM EST

That's all the longer you think it would last. I think if another Depression (with a capital D) came around, and quite frankly I think it could, it would last a while longer than two years.

[ Parent ]
Suicide is never complicated (none / 1) (#433)
by svampa on Fri May 07, 2004 at 07:26:09 PM EST

I think you assume:

  • USA doesn't need any important thing from foreign countries
  • Foreign countries need something that only USA can supply

    Unilaterally cancel all external debts and external investments.

    And they multilaterally cancel USA debts and USA investments

    nobody trusts the US as an investor or debtor again for a long time. OK, so if your goal is isolation, this provides some real incentive to rebuild a decent internal economy.

    Ok. If you have every natural resource at home. Do you?. You only produce what you are going to eat, because none will buy/sell you anymore.

    If the US had to rebuild an internal manufacturing base

    That will be the easiest part, you can blow 50% of manufacturing plants, because you will not know what to do with the production. None out USA will buy it, or at least won't pay you. You owe them money, remember?.

    think it would be pretty rough for a couple of years

    I would say for several decades. Well, actually never more than four years. Just next election, as soon as they pull out such mad leader. An then at least decade to get out of depression, and get the world trust once again in USA.

    Although you are right: Isolation is not so bad, people is more close and love more one each other, but you must accept a lower standard living. are you ready?



    [ Parent ]
  • nationalism is a loathesome religion (2.26 / 19) (#80)
    by circletimessquare on Thu May 06, 2004 at 12:42:41 AM EST

    it means our ability to care for our fellow human being should stop at some arbitrary geopolitical border

    why?

    why should i stop caring about the suffering of others just because they live below the rio grande?

    nationalism is the problem, not the cure, to what ails the world

    i am a human being first, and a member of some stupid tribal enclave a distant second

    those who think they are a member of some stupid tribal enclave first, and a human being second, are the source of the problems in this world

    neoisolationism? certainly: when the internet and global jet air traveletc.,  go back in the genie's bottle

    read: never

    globalism is the future, pandemocracy the future

    fighting it is like fighting the tides

    but go ahead dinosaurs, fight the death of a dying era in some sort of misplaced nostaligia, there's always those of any era of human history who don't get it


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    bugger (none / 1) (#84)
    by Fuzzwah on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:32:35 AM EST

    I wrote up a rant very much like this last night, while completely out of my tree. It pains me to realise cts did it better.

    My punctuation was far superior.

    --
    The best a human can do is to pick a delusion that helps him get through the day. - God's Debris
    [ Parent ]

    That's nothing to be proud of (3.00 / 5) (#110)
    by godix on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:57:56 AM EST

    My punctuation was far superior.

    I've seen better punctuation when my cat walks over the keyboard than in a typical CTS post. You shouldn't be proud of it, it's something that should be expected. Instead get worried if you ever notice that your punctuation wasn't far superior.

    Thank god I'm worth more than SilentChris

    [ Parent ]
    I agree 100% (2.50 / 4) (#125)
    by Del Monte Cyber Monkey on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:39:28 AM EST

    At the end of the day, were humans first and members of a country second.

    We should be looking out for one another, not murdering each other over some abstract concept of nationalism. Given the choice of saving a person over saving a country entity, I'd save the person.


    Ah, Del Monte!


    [ Parent ]
    well (2.50 / 4) (#159)
    by reklaw on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:31:16 AM EST

    I'm quite fond of the one world, no borders thing myself. Most people will think you're some kind of crazy commie or something, though.
    -
    [ Parent ]
    Think Globally, Act Locally (none / 3) (#192)
    by Benabik on Thu May 06, 2004 at 12:22:57 PM EST

    Perhaps the US government should just act on the idea of "think globally, act locally".  You can't really fix other people's problems, but you can fix your own.  The US Gov is really spending far too much time trying to deal with the rest of the world instead of dealing with domestic issues.

    Instead of pushing to use less oil, we're mucking around in the Middle East to ensure our supply.  (Speaking about last few decades, not just current 'war'.)

    Seriously, we can't go saving other countries.  The tensions in the Middle East can't be saved by us going in and declaring "democracy".  They to want to kill each other and the longer we're there the more they're just going to gang up and kill us before going about their buisness of killing each other.

    Taking our ball and going home would be irresponcible of the US.  We've involved ourselves in too many places and created messes of our own.  But we can start shifting our focus inwards without ignoring everyone else.

    [ Parent ]

    do you ever (none / 1) (#359)
    by circletimessquare on Thu May 06, 2004 at 10:50:10 PM EST

    crawl out of the tired old stale propaganda for once in your unoriginal life?


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]
    Propaganda? (none / 0) (#392)
    by Benabik on Fri May 07, 2004 at 02:57:18 PM EST

    *sighs*  I'm not repeating propaganda...  I'm thinking about what I'm saying.  I personally attempt to fix things in my own life and neighborhood instead of trying to fix the world's problems because, quite frankly, I'd worry myself to death otherwise.

    And the bit about people trying to kill each other in the middle east comes not from propaganda, but from a couple of my friends who have been there and personal observations of news.  That whole area is a hotbed of people who hate each other over centuries of problems and no war of the US's will fix that.

    [ Parent ]

    "no war with the us will fix that" (none / 1) (#419)
    by circletimessquare on Fri May 07, 2004 at 06:01:13 PM EST

    there are people in this world who doubt, and people in this world who do

    i'd rather be doing something than doubting something


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    I would agree (none / 2) (#209)
    by Big Sexxy Joe on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:25:50 PM EST

    if the U.S. ever did things to help other countries.  But we just bully smaller countries and are shocked when it doesn't turn out well.

    I'm like Jesus, only better.
    Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
    [ Parent ]
    yeah (none / 1) (#362)
    by circletimessquare on Thu May 06, 2004 at 10:54:06 PM EST

    germany, japan, russia

    bullying small countries

    and of course none of those examples turned out well, as you indicate

    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    Those are good examples (none / 1) (#370)
    by Big Sexxy Joe on Fri May 07, 2004 at 01:40:57 PM EST

    of things America did before my mother was born.  It was very generous of us to get involved in World War II after we had been attacked, by the way.

    I'm like Jesus, only better.
    Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
    [ Parent ]
    your right (none / 1) (#418)
    by circletimessquare on Fri May 07, 2004 at 05:59:26 PM EST

    we should just leave north korea alone

    it is such a small poor defenseless harmless cute little country


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    That is what we are doing (none / 1) (#430)
    by Big Sexxy Joe on Fri May 07, 2004 at 07:17:57 PM EST

    While you would think we'd intervene, it turns out we don't actually have much interest in the region.  Therefore, we have no reason to put on the facade of being a good global citizen and getting them to disarm.

    Furthermore, you should keep in mind that North Korea is only developing WMD's so that we will be afraid of them and leave them alone.

    I'm like Jesus, only better.
    Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
    [ Parent ]

    right (none / 1) (#452)
    by circletimessquare on Sat May 08, 2004 at 12:51:25 AM EST

    north korea has no intention of invading the south

    they just want to be left alone

    and you are also right: we aren't invading

    but we should

    if our sense of right and wrong triumphed over our selfishness and inertia

    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    We should (none / 0) (#542)
    by Big Sexxy Joe on Sun May 09, 2004 at 11:11:31 PM EST

    Well, our military is really over extended as it is isn't?  If we had reacted to September 11 in a way that made sense, we'd be in a better position to take care of North Korea.  Even as the nation with the strongest military, we still must pick our battles even if we can pick more of them.

    In any case, we aren't going to invade North Korea just because it would be the right thing to do.  If you act like that's something that might happen then you are more naive and idealistic than any Naderite.

    Furthermore, my point is that North Korea developing WMD's because they want us to leave them alone.  And their plan seems to be working quite well isn't it?  By the time we finish monkeying are in the Middle East, North Korea's nukes will be ready.

    I'm like Jesus, only better.
    Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
    [ Parent ]

    I am very globalist in my thinking... (none / 2) (#411)
    by skyknight on Fri May 07, 2004 at 05:15:56 PM EST

    and I think that excessive nationalism is perhaps the most dangerous thing on the planet. That being said, I think that having nations does serve a positive end in some ways. If I had to sum it up this simply, it would be this: "critical mass". The concentration of resources, as "unfair" as it may be by some definitions, allows for progress in ways that would not be at all possible if it were spread around equally. Without nations, there would be piracy on a massive scale and progress would grind to a halt. That's why we ended up with nations in the first place. When we were just hunter gathers, having nations didn't really make sense. As soon as we got agriculture and started to accumulate wealth, we had to throw up defenses to make it worthwhile. It's a tragedy, but it's just the way things are.

    It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
    [ Parent ]
    it's political and social evolution (none / 1) (#454)
    by circletimessquare on Sat May 08, 2004 at 01:06:10 AM EST

    nationalism is but a stepping stone to pandemocracy

    of course the steps along the way were improvements over what was before, but that observation does no good in a world full of nationalism and it's crimes yearning for the next step

    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    It does do good... (none / 0) (#458)
    by skyknight on Sat May 08, 2004 at 06:09:32 AM EST

    It keeps us from throwing away our chance at something better by regressing. If we don't accept that nationalism is good but flawed and throw it out prematurely, then we won't ever get to something better.

    It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
    [ Parent ]
    You're absolutely wrong. +1 FP anyway. (1.25 / 12) (#91)
    by Korimyr the Rat on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:28:09 AM EST



    --
    "Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
    Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
    Uh.. yea.. missile shields don't work. (2.12 / 8) (#105)
    by sudog on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:38:33 AM EST

    ... they never have, and they probably never will.


    In the 1700's (none / 0) (#128)
    by minerboy on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:11:25 AM EST

    They said the same thing about vaccines.



    [ Parent ]
    And (none / 1) (#146)
    by wiredog on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:12:19 AM EST

    You have to define 'work'. Can a defense be built that will stop 10 to 100 incoming warheads? Almost certainly, and also almost certainly at lower cost than say, invading Iraq ($100 Billion/year and counting). Can it stop 1,000 warheads? Maybe. 10,000? Almost certainly not.

    Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
    Phil the Canuck

    [ Parent ]
    They said it in the 1600's too (none / 1) (#242)
    by levesque on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:50:10 PM EST

    Missile defense is at best a research project, to call it more is irresponsible towards the citizens and at best makes it a misguided marketing project.

    [ Parent ]
    Want to bet? (none / 2) (#249)
    by trhurler on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:09:16 PM EST

    Believe it or not, the Federation of American Scientists(from whom this pronouncement originally came, and which everyone saying it is basically parrotting,) both has been wrong on matters of fact before and frequently acts on its political motivations rather than on scientific fact. They're committed to MAD, even in a world where it won't work, and they still see nuclear conflict as red vs blue with both sides being huge nuclear powers.

    The reality is, we've had successful missile interceptors for decades now, both prototype and deployed. The better our technology gets, the closer we come to a reliable ICBM shield. Russia certainly thinks it can work - they're terrified of it enough that even while their military generally goes underfunded for basics like new rifles for soldiers, they're hard at work wasting money trying to develop countermeasures(see recent news articles on this topic.)

    As one example, do you know that they fixed the Patriot system after the first Gulf war(it had a software problem that only manifested if you left the computers turned on for a long time w/o a reboot,) and that it now hits its target essentially every time? Are you aware of THAAD and its successes? Have you heard of anyone successfully developing a decoy warhead with both passive and active profiles that actually reasonably match a live weapon? Do you think it likely that missile defense has to stand on its own, or do you think the promise of beating, say, only 80% of the weapons while delivering ALL of ours on target might be a pretty good reason why someone with fewer weapons than us might realize he has no credible deterrent? The point is, against Russia, this is merely a nuisance, even though they're terrified of it, but against someone with only a few dozen weapons or even less, something like this is a deal breaker - they lose, and they know it.

    Blah blah truck bombs blah blah hey the Navy doesn't protect us against meteor strikes either, so it must be useless, and look how expensive navies are!

    In short, all the arguments against missile defense are politically motivated. Given time, money, and manpower, not only can it be perfected, but it will be. If you want to bet otherwise, name a sum, but we'll have to hammer out the terms of the bet closely; some Democrat killing the program, for instance, does not equal it not working.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    This is all true (none / 1) (#319)
    by levesque on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:04:56 PM EST

    But it only works when the attack is docile.

    [ Parent ]
    What? (none / 0) (#330)
    by trhurler on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:42:19 PM EST

    Is English not your native language?

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    Missile defense (none / 2) (#401)
    by levesque on Fri May 07, 2004 at 03:42:52 PM EST

    Is a research project. At best, today, it has very little to no military value.

    [ Parent ]
    Heh (none / 1) (#406)
    by trhurler on Fri May 07, 2004 at 04:33:28 PM EST

    In 1944, the atomic bomb was a research project. In the late 30s and early 40s, jet and rocket engines were research projects, along with ballistic missiles. Guided weapons were research projects at the time too. All of them were used sooner than any of their creators would have liked.

    The question is, do you have any reason to believe that missile defense is as impractical today as you claim? The general public sees a very limited subset of the available information. It is as if you were shown a picture of the outside of a nuclear submarine and asked "do you think it'll work?"

    Personally, I suspect missile defense, not as a perfect shield, but as a means of assuring or at least making likely a large reduction in harm, is not only practical, but probably farther along in implementation than is publicly admitted. If you've never seen any of the Air Force's space command guys move into a base, it is kind of creepy. They show up, and their arrival is classified, even though a thousand people just watched them coming in. Their stay duration is classified. Their orders are classified. They're given basically whatever they ask for, and even some of their personnel records are cbeyond some generals' reach. Often, base commanders don't even know what's going on at their own bases as a result. Now, do you really think all that is for their publicly stated mission(ie, maintaining early warning and spy satellites) and nothing more? It wouldn't be necessary.

    There are other things they could be doing, but I'm betting missile defense is solidly on their plate, and I'm betting it works better than anyone is admitting in public. This would explain a lot of things, including the Russians' seemingly irrational fear and the consequent spending program that goes on in the face of their having no money to spare.

    You have to assume there's more to any classified program than what is publicly stated. People tend to forget that. There are clear, obvious photographs of contrails from pulsejets, which supposedly are not yet capable of flight. There are radar measurements of some object or another flying over the western US in excess of Mach 7 from as far back as ten or fifteen years ago. That supposedly wasn't ever done until just about a month ago using a scramjet. And so on. If you think missile defense is any different, you're an idiot. If you don't think so, then why do you conclude that an assessment of capabilities showing severe problems which is based on the public info is at all meaningful?

    One of the things you have to remember is that for programs like this, the GAO produces two sets of reports. One of them is available for public consumption. The other is not. The public consumption one makes conclusions logical for what is publicly known. That doesn't mean those conclusions are the truth.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    There are some counterexamples too (2.75 / 4) (#417)
    by Polverone on Fri May 07, 2004 at 05:59:15 PM EST

    Consider artificial intelligence, controlled nuclear fusion, and economical reusable vehicles for spaceflight: on the drawing board 30 years ago, on the drawing board today! I think that defense against ballistic missiles is a greater challenge than any of the examples you offered, since it requires rapid pattern recognition and goal seeking (things that machines do much less easily than organisms) in a demanding environment with enormous consequences for failure, if the system were implemented.

    Nevertheless, I hope you're right about it being closer to reality than unclassified sources would suggest.
    --
    It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
    [ Parent ]

    Well, (none / 0) (#482)
    by trhurler on Sat May 08, 2004 at 05:43:15 PM EST

    All of the things you've described are also necessary for other anti-missile systems that actually work today. The difference is, the path of an ICBM is easy to predict. Assuming you're killing before any MIRV separation and/or glidepath guidance(which you basically have to be doing,) you KNOW minutes in advance where the target is going to be, provided you can do math. The only hard part would be dummy launches, really. People are awed and amazed at the speeds involved, but the RELATIVE speeds involved between interceptor and target might well be less than those encountered by guided missiles and theater antimissile systems that already work today, and relative velocity is the only thing that really counts.

    Honestly, the part you seem to think is hard is the easy part. The hard part is just making an interceptor that has the physical capability of autonomously flying with extreme accuracy to a given point in a given amount of time, and I think they've proven they can do that. Decoys are another problem, but as I said, I've not heard of anyone proposing a decoy that's beyond our ability to either detect or overwhelm with lots and lots of interceptors.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    From what I've seen (none / 0) (#487)
    by levesque on Sat May 08, 2004 at 07:16:03 PM EST

    Missile defense is not something that will work anytime soon. It's being sold to the public as a universal solvent for air attacks on the US.

    Many defensive strategies, as you mention, do work if you have the right hardware deployed and the attacks are within their parameters.

    I do believe the civilized world is blind when it comes time to search its own behavior in an attempt to reduce violence world wide.

    [ Parent ]

    Wouldn't waste your time if I were you. (none / 0) (#497)
    by sudog on Sun May 09, 2004 at 02:10:51 AM EST

    He's tricking you into putting effort into a counterpoint to a point he knows is illogical for him to further.

    Quick, obvious example: "they're being secretive, it must be for missile defense." Shall we play, let's spot the false-front conspiracy theorist?

    He's a troll from way back, don't let yourself be the hone for his comeback blade.


    [ Parent ]

    Maybe (none / 0) (#582)
    by levesque on Mon May 10, 2004 at 06:31:09 PM EST

    He's tricking you into putting effort into a counterpoint

    But I don't really care his why, from my point of view he's giving me a forum to improve my communicative coherence.

    [ Parent ]

    How can that be useful? (none / 0) (#611)
    by sudog on Tue May 11, 2004 at 04:28:48 PM EST

    ... when your opponent isn't interested in coherence and in fact usually seeks to decrease coherence?

    It's like playing chess constantly against people who aren't as good as you are. Your game never improves.


    [ Parent ]

    I think it helps (none / 0) (#617)
    by levesque on Wed May 12, 2004 at 01:59:55 PM EST

    me to build an opinion and/or express myself better in the face varied opposition.

    Sometimes, as far as I'm concerned, I can have a clear opinion on a subject but when it comes time to express it I realize I don't know how to say it: vocabulary, grammar, sequence, what is important to mention to be clear and concise, etc.

    Also just reacting, for the first time, to an argument that I often hear improves my ability to counter effectively and improvise in similar situations.

    As an example: this took me ten minutes to write whereas two years ago it would have probably taken me over an hour.

    [ Parent ]

    Two things (none / 0) (#572)
    by trhurler on Mon May 10, 2004 at 04:28:50 PM EST

    First, that's my whole point. From what YOU'VE seen. The public has been shown two things: a system that works under test conditions, and a bunch of FAS guys screaming that it won't really work, but showing no evidence at all. Their whole argument is "we are prestigious scientists, and we say this won't work even though we don't have access to the classified parts of the project and are talking out our small ends. Blah blah dummy targets blah blah obvious ignorance of modern target identification methods blah blah blah." Some people choose to believe the military and the people doing the work, and others choose to believe the FAS guys. Me, I take a practical view. First, eventually, we know it would work if we spend enough time and money. Second, the people whose CAREERS depend on this project seem to think they can make it work before those careers are brought to an END for WASTING that money, and they know a lot more about the project than you, me, or those FAS clowns.

    Second thing: you might be right about being blind, but I think it more likely that you don't understand the situation as well as you'd like to think. Let's say you and Bob and Jimmy all own handguns. You are the sole occupants of a town. Each of you would like to ban handguns from the city tavern, but none of you is willing to be searched every time he enters the tavern. None of you really trusts the others either, and NONE of you wants to be without a handgun if the others have one.

    You can all honestly want the move, and believe it is for the best. That does NOT mean it will be implemented, and if it is implemented, such implementation does NOT mean there will be no guns in the tavern. Contrary to popular bullshit, merely sitting down and talking and coming to an agreement does not solve all problems.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    Missile Defence (none / 0) (#633)
    by strumco on Fri May 14, 2004 at 04:25:58 AM EST

    It seems to me that Missile Defence is a classic example of generals planning to fight the previous war, instead of the next one.

    DC
    http://www.strum.co.uk
    [ Parent ]

    Yes, I've (none / 0) (#641)
    by levesque on Fri May 14, 2004 at 05:48:30 PM EST

    seen many things pro and con, but screaming FAS guys is not one of them.

    First, eventually, we know it would work if we spend enough time and money.

    I disagree, we do not know this, especially in the emotional context of a shield that will protect from all incoming threats -this I know will never happen.

    Some people choose to believe the military and the people doing the work, and others choose to believe the FAS guys.

    It's best to not rely on one side or the other.

    Second, the people whose CAREERS depend on this project seem to think they can make it work before those careers are brought to an END for WASTING that money, and they know a lot more about the project than you, me, or those FAS clowns.

    I don't know of anyone doing good research whose career was brought to an end because their results were contrary to the research hypothesis.

    Let's say you and Bob and Jimmy all own handguns. You are the sole occupants of a town. Each of you would like to ban handguns from the city tavern, but none of you is willing to be searched every time he enters the tavern. None of you really trusts the others either, and NONE of you wants to be without a handgun if the others have one.

    You can all honestly want the move, and believe it is for the best. That does NOT mean it will be implemented, and if it is implemented, such implementation does NOT mean there will be no guns in the tavern.

    Hummm?

    Contrary to popular bullshit, merely sitting down and talking and coming to an agreement does not solve all problems.

    I was not aware of this social meme, but I do agree with your conclusion.

    [ Parent ]

    Ha ha.. (none / 2) (#363)
    by sudog on Thu May 06, 2004 at 11:01:15 PM EST

    Nice try, though. Of course you're wrong.


    [ Parent ]
    Wrong on which point? (none / 0) (#381)
    by trhurler on Fri May 07, 2004 at 02:14:45 PM EST

    As far as I can tell, you're employing the following method: say "I am right." If opponent replies, laugh and say "You are wrong." Repeat as necessary.

    You'll understand if that fails to impress, I'm sure.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    Merely doing my civic duty. (none / 0) (#496)
    by sudog on Sun May 09, 2004 at 02:01:09 AM EST

    You'll understand if your factless, groundless assertions also fail to impress me. I refuse to become engaged in a pointless debate with someone who to all appearances ignores simple facts and enjoys using misdirection and changing focus.

    Let these two message suffice to serve as signpost warnings to readers who come after.


    [ Parent ]

    Actually, we're already betting. (none / 2) (#390)
    by mcc on Fri May 07, 2004 at 02:35:53 PM EST

    Specifically, we're betting it WILL work, and we're betting it will work to the tune of billions and billions of dollars.

    The fact many of the arguments against missle defense are political does not mean they are bad arguments. One example of a good political argument against missle defense would be, "This is not a good bet, and there are many, many more productive and useful things America could be spending that money on instead of gambling it."

    ---
    Aside from that, the absurd meta-wankery of k5er-quoting sigs probably takes the cake. Especially when the quote itself is about k5. -- tsubame
    [ Parent ]

    vulnerability (none / 3) (#453)
    by gdanjo on Sat May 08, 2004 at 12:58:15 AM EST

    In short, all the arguments against missile defense are politically motivated. Given time, money, and manpower, not only can it be perfected, but it will be. [...]
    The question is not whether it can be done - as you say, with enough manpower pretty much anything is possible. But this applies both ways; with enough manpower, alternative MAD solutions are pretty much guaranteed to surface. Do you think other countries will shrug their shoulders and say "oh well, the US has won, all hail our human masters" - no, they will do the human-nature thing and find a way around it.

    What the missle defence sheild does is give motivation for the search of other types of weapons. And these new weapons will most likely be Cheaper, more User Friendly, more Mobile, Plug-and-Play, and even 97% Fat Free - just the kind of weapons that the terrorist also like.

    In any game of power, the more invincible you seem, the more attention you get, the more likely a "solution" will be found. A little vulnerability goes a long way.

    Dan ...
    "Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
    Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
    -ToT
    [ Parent ]

    I've probably been trolled but what the hell (2.94 / 18) (#106)
    by godix on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:50:22 AM EST

    National Security - Exactly the wrong thing to do. The LAST thing America should do is to pull out of everything. All this would do is prompt a loud, and accurate, cry of 'Look, they fucked over Iraq and Afghan then just left. On top of that, they withdrew promised defense of Taiwan, EU, Japan, South Korea, Australia, etc and left them to the wolves!' America is entirely to entrenched in some areas (Europe) or responsable for others (Iraq) to just pull out. It probably is time to re-evaluate our military alliances (actually it's well past time, we should have done it in 1991) but we shouldn't blindly withdraw from everything. It may be a good idea to slowly reduce our involvement in NATO while the EU steps up their involvement but it may also be a good idea to not change a thing in our military agreements with Japan. Each case should be evaluated individually, the same action isn't appropriate for every military involvement we have.

    As far as immigration goes, a lot of the world thinks America is the promised land (and compared to many countries it is). Closing up the border and telling people 'We got it good over here and you ain't allowed' will actually foster hatred instead of disipating it. If anything America should open up the borders, I've long thought the only people we should refuse immigration to are those who violated laws in their home country that are also illegal in America. After all, if your neighbors throw a really great party it's a lot easier to bitch about the noise when you aren't invited.

    Foreign Aid - Americas foreign aid needs to be greatly revamped, the IMF for example has repeatedly been proven to be idiots and we should ignore their suggestions. However I have great moral qualms with making the national policy be 'You're starving? SUCKS TO BE YOU!' Again I suspect this attitude would foster hatred rather than reduce it. After all, it's a little harder to hate a rich man when he's just bought you a new car.

    Economy - The US shouldn't pull out of the WTO, NAFTA, or other trade agreements. What we should start doing is abiding by them. Like it or not we're in middle of a global economy, burying our head in the sand won't change the fact that Japan makes good cars, Canada makes good lumber, or the EU makes good steel. We need to wake up to the fact we aren't alone and learn how to play with the other kids on the block. Fortunately the US is capable of holding it's own against most kids, provided we quit pretending the other kids aren't better at some things.

    Community - Sorry, this just doesn't jive. Just because America won't be trading, defending, or probably even talking to Japan doesn't mean that we will be making homeless shelters. Domestic issues are influenced by foreign issues but that doesn't mean domestic issues are actually hurt by them. Just to pick a random example, I'd hate to see America try a national health care plan without studying the benefits and drawbacks of Europe, Canada, etc attempts.

    Global Impact - At least you're honest, I find it difficult finding a better explanation of why America shouldn't turn isolationist than what you've written in this segment. I find it hard to find any logical or moral justification for actions that could cause global poverty, wars, and starvation.

    The last time America tried isolationism was the 1920's as you mention. It's important to remember the outcome of that was that America didn't take action against Germany or Japan until LONG after we should have. Because of that both Germany and Japan we stronger and harder to beat once we finally got around to doing the right thing. Hopefully you know this and your last paragraph is a hint that you're trolling.

    Thank god I'm worth more than SilentChris

    Good Lord.. (none / 0) (#269)
    by Kwil on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:20:17 PM EST

    ..I'm agreeing with godix? On every point?

    Somebody send a crate full of toques down to Hell, they're going to need them.

    I tend to think that if the US followed the broad outlines of godix' strategy here, most of the world's anti-american sentiments would disappear. I know mine certainly would.

    That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


    [ Parent ]
    godix is usually reasonable (none / 3) (#339)
    by speek on Thu May 06, 2004 at 08:53:03 PM EST

    In particular, I would emphasize that completely opening immigration would be very beneficial. It's always been beneficial to the US. The only thing that makes it hurt now is the welfare/entitlement system, which needs to be all but removed to allow for increased immigration not to cause such a backlash.

    --
    al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
    [ Parent ]

    Welcome to my world (none / 2) (#446)
    by godix on Fri May 07, 2004 at 10:08:56 PM EST

    Here's your 'Bush is great!' button, your free book 'One hundred and one ways to blame Clinton for everything', an instruction sheet of how to abuse prisoners without getting caught (currently being revised due to numerous errors), and the complimentary 'Why Europe sucks donkey dick' pamphlet. Welcome to the extremist wacko neocon land. Heil Rumsfeld!


    Thank god I'm worth more than SilentChris

    [ Parent ]
    Phew.. thanks man. (none / 1) (#480)
    by Kwil on Sat May 08, 2004 at 05:06:29 PM EST

    I was getting worried there.

    That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


    [ Parent ]
    Foreign aid (none / 1) (#288)
    by burbilog on Thu May 06, 2004 at 05:24:48 PM EST

    Foreign Aid - Americas foreign aid needs to be greatly revamped, the IMF for example has repeatedly been proven to be idiots and we should ignore their suggestions. However I have great moral qualms with making the national policy be 'You're starving? SUCKS TO BE YOU!' Again I suspect this attitude would foster hatred rather than reduce it. After all, it's a little harder to hate a rich man when he's just bought you a new car.

    Unfortunately foreign aid almost always (except earthquakes, floods, volkano eruptions, etc) does more harm than good, killing the remnants of local production. The population can starve but be alive, then you dump shitloads of free food there killing local farmers and things go hairy... Also such aid always goes as help for one fraction while others hate you more and more. It may be harder to hate a rich man if he buys you a new car, but you will hate him for sure if he buys a new car for the local warlord who keeps you down.
    -- If the life is just a game of D&D then the DM really sucks.
    [ Parent ]

    The best foreign aid (none / 0) (#447)
    by godix on Fri May 07, 2004 at 10:28:03 PM EST

    is usually just to go 'Ok ship your goods here, we'll get Walmart to stock that shit'. Usually any attempt that goes farther than that turns into a clusterfuck. Unfortunately the UN just loves to get into clusterfucks like that and if America didn't go along everyone would bitch and moan about how we aren't working with the UN.

    Thank god I'm worth more than SilentChris

    [ Parent ]
    Your consistently logical and reasonable arguments (none / 1) (#364)
    by skyknight on Thu May 06, 2004 at 11:02:17 PM EST

    are a source of comfort to me in this mad world.

    It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
    [ Parent ]
    Security and Stability (none / 0) (#569)
    by cam on Mon May 10, 2004 at 03:55:23 PM EST

    On top of that, they withdrew promised defense of Taiwan, EU, Japan, South Korea, Australia, etc and left them to the wolves!'

    It wouldnt matter if the US withdrew. The US is deployed not for national security reasons, nor for regional stability pruposes, it is because of the bizarre trade offs that the Pentagon and Treasury make.

    If the US withdrew from Asia/Pacific. All the nations there are capable of defending themselves. Maybe not as effectively or with the same force that the US can bring to bear, but there is no one country that is truly in a position to dominate the pacific. In such a situation a new treaty would most likely emerge that involves, Japan, China, South Korea, Australia and maybe even Taiwan.

    All those nations are capable of defending themselves against each other. Enough that any attempt to attack or project across an opposing nation would be futile. Especially if backed with a security/stability treaty like ANZUS except between pacific rim partners.

    Australia's nearest neighbour, Indonesia, has little to no projection power. It's GDP is 6 billion, Australia's is nearer 800 billion. Tasmania could probably buy Indonesia if it wanted to. Even China would nto be able to project to Australia, if it did get close their number advantage would be lost to Australia's technical advantage. This may not last, but for now it is true. In reality Taiwan is not in danger either, China is unable to project across Taiwan in a sustainable manner.

    The lie of the pacific is that other nations need the US to defend themselves. Most do it for economic favours. Australia went to Iraq, most likely for the FTA and to save the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Dropping the PBS would be political suicide for John Howard. For the cost of several aircraft, ships and men in Iraq, he has probably saved his political bacon in the FTA.

    Japan is odd too. They dont need the US military. Japan actually pays for them to stay. The Pentagon loves their budgets for the deployed forces, the money etc and doesnt want to give them up. If they do they lose some of their power in the halls of Washington.

    Japan doesnt want the Pentagon to leave as each time there is trade or currency issues about Japan's style of capitalism, Japan says, "we will stop paying for the US Marines on Okinawa" and the Pentagon puts pressure on the Treasury to drop things issues like Japan controlling currency, or controlling high risk bank loans to export industries.

    China is practicing Japanese style capitalism as well, both are funding the US's credit binge and low interest rates in the face of a rising deficit. It is getting harder and harder for the Treasury to deal with Japan as between the Pentagon and the US dollar, there is less and less leverage.

    Either way, it is false that the Pacific needs the US to be stable and secure. The nations in the pacific are capable of handling a rogue like North Korea. They are also capable of handling the diplomatic clumsiness of China without war breaking out. The problem is, the US likes the hegemony and other nations like being diplomatically lazy.

    cam
    Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
    [ Parent ]

    Anti-Americanism? (2.77 / 27) (#108)
    by freestylefiend on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:53:17 AM EST

    LONDON, England (CNN) -- More than 500,000 anti-war protesters are expected to take to the streets of London on Saturday, with 100,000 each in Paris and Rome and 80,000 in Germany. CNN Senior International Correspondent Walter Rodgers reports on what is being seen as a new, deeper breed of anti-Americanism

    When I demonstrate against US government policy with socialists and libertarians, with Christians, Jews and Muslims, Americans are with us. Are they anti-American? If they are not, then why are we?

    The real anti-Americans, those who are prejudiced against Americans and not those who think that US government policy is immoral or merely misguided, think that Americans are all fat, cultural imperialist, philistines who wholeheartedly support the US government. Most of us who demonstrate against the US government have met Americans that are not like this.

    What do you mean by `anti-Americanism'?

    Newspeak, lesson 1 (none / 3) (#184)
    by Viliam Bur on Thu May 06, 2004 at 11:54:25 AM EST

    Anti-Americanism =
    1. to disagree with or criticize the current government of USA or its actions
    2. same as (1.), but when done by people ouside of USA

    [ Parent ]
    You forgot: (none / 1) (#214)
    by Dr Caleb on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:40:07 PM EST

    3) When at a loss for all other logical arguments, refer to the other party as Anti-American.


    Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

    There is no K5 cabal.
    [ Parent ]

    Not a very good definition, is it? (none / 2) (#386)
    by mcc on Fri May 07, 2004 at 02:29:42 PM EST

    By that definition the democratic process is inherently anti-american.

    [ Parent ]
    Newspeak, lesson 2 (none / 1) (#391)
    by Wah on Fri May 07, 2004 at 02:45:27 PM EST

    Anti-Semitism =

    1. to disagree with or criticize the current government of Israel or its actions.
    2. see: The Kraut Hammer.
    --
    'The Matrix' is a better interpretation of quantum mechanics than Copenhagen.
    [ Parent ]

    +1 FP (1.10 / 10) (#117)
    by tolomea on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:33:27 AM EST

    I'm keen to see this get the treatment it deserves.

    Isolationism won't work. (1.85 / 7) (#121)
    by Psycho Dave on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:00:12 AM EST

    See, the world is becoming smaller and smaller. The "One World Government" that militias and fundamentalist Christians fear is going to become a reality. The idea of outsourcing service jobs to India just a decade ago would have sounded absurd. Now IT workers are so afraid of getting laid off because of it that they'd piss in the saag paneer at the Indian lunch buffett if they thought it would help keep their job.

    Isolationism is an intriguing concept though. Oh how I'd love to use it on the Middle East. The "Arab street" hates us? Fine, we'll leave and take the dollars we were gonna spend on oil with us (this is, of course, invisioning a future where we didn't need as much to fuel our country's compulsive SUV habit.) I'm sure they'll be happy when the monarchies propped up by our gluttonous consumption collapse under the weight of their motorpool full of Ferrarris and Wahhabbi assholes take over their governments. What will they do then? Bomb us 'cause we DON'T buy their oil?

    But what about caring about my fellow man?

    I say fuck my fellow man. Let the mideast rot even more than it already has. It's not that I have anything against people of Arabic/Persian/Pakistani descent. But let's face it, the ones that are even worth knowing usually end up immigrating to America anyway.

    Alas, the Age of Globalization is here. I predict in the next century we will all be using the same currency. In the next two centuries we will all speak the same language (English). Whether or not America will be at the top of the heap after two-hundred years (we probably won't be) is the question now.

    Why is that the question? (none / 1) (#205)
    by Nursie on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:16:16 PM EST

    That's one of the problems with you lot. You want to be on top of the rest of the world, not trying to make the whole world better.

    Why??

    Meta Sigs suck.

    [ Parent ]
    Get on with it... (none / 1) (#239)
    by zerocommazero on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:42:12 PM EST

    Look, just go home, and accept America's ever-growing fingers of subjugation. Watch as we spread like a cancer into your lives forever. Get yourself a lawnchair, an american flag and an american idol t-shirt. Sit in your front yard while waving said flag as Uncle Sam comes rolling into "a town near you" aboard a caravan of peace-keeping tanks. This way, you'll guarantee yourself a spot on the planning board for the block party. Don't forget the smug "I tol ya so" grin for your dying, terrorist-supporting buddies. We could never pull out of the rest of the world, anyway. That would be admitting that the terrorist got what they wanted all along. And there's no way in hell, the US government will EVER admit they were wrong. Hey I didn't vote him into office...Sorry to claim ignorance. Just playing the part of the control-freak american as Europe expects... Because EVERY American agrees with his government....

    [ Parent ]
    Never said every american agreed with the policy (none / 3) (#254)
    by Nursie on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:27:46 PM EST

    But the majority of USian's obviously don't disagree strongly enough to vote for someone that's not a megalomaniac.....

    Unfortunately your government act on your behalf, even if you don't like what they do, the actions of your country do come down to the citizen on some level.

    Not that I have any cause for entering this debate. Being British is even more embarassing at the moment. Not only are we behaving every bit as badly, we're not even doing it on our own initiative.

    We're like the skinny guy in an 80's movie that stands behind the jock/bully saying "yeah, do it" and laughing like some sort of simple minded buffoon......

    Meta Sigs suck.

    [ Parent ]
    Starting to feel that voting doesn't work... (none / 1) (#271)
    by zerocommazero on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:25:31 PM EST

    The government higher-ups did as much pushing as possible to get Bush in office. Hell, he lost the "popular" vote last election. Never knew what a chad was til people were counting them on ballots, always thought it was a goofy name for a kid. I for one don't feel holier than thou, as the stereotype goes. I'd rather solve our own problems than go around and tell every other country how to live. I hate the fact that our country is under the control of people who have their belts too tight on their hats. But I also realize that sometimes you've got to step in and help out with things.
    "I have a few truths for the men in this audience. It's your fault for all the violence in this country and it's your fault for all the crime in this country."-Peter Griffin at the Million Man March
    [ Parent ]
    yes and no (2.61 / 13) (#122)
    by the sixth replicant on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:06:16 AM EST

    To be honest I really want America to get its comeuppance, but in the end it would defeat the purpose of it all.

    What we are seeing in america is the top 1% trying to control their power and money. Guess what?! this is *always* going to happen in any country. the only difference now is that nuclear weapons really forces everyone to be a "global citizen" (yes i nearly retched writing that too :) whether we like it all not.

    But we really need to start moving on. When i look at Palenstine/lsrael conflict and realise how much compromising that needs to be done to accomodate both views I really don't have much hope. But maybe we can try. Who knows?

    All I can say now is the general attitude of the Anglo-Saxon world is that it's very confrontational and any attempt to compromise is deemed to be an automatic failure. Hence it's aggression ontop of agression. Yes violence has its place, but as i've said, nuclear weapons make war a very dangerous option. You can talk about how we'll never use them but it's easy to say this when you're fighting underdeveloped, under-resourced countries. When a real world war starts it'll be too late to change our mindset when we're preparing then war-to-end-all-wars (again!).

    As I said, i can happily hop on the anti-American bandwagon and to be honest i think that a lot of the present administration needs to get as good as they give (yes not a good way to start) but in the end we better start to appreciate compromise and moving forward (a la South Africa's post apartheid period is a wonderful example of community/cultural compromises on both sides).

    Yep, it's going to be a pain in the arse and we might need to drag some people kicking and screaming into this age: but the rewards will be beyond our wildest dreams

    Ciao

    PS. being cynical is so easy, but trying to lift people's spirits is just too hard in our climate.

    Sure... (2.68 / 16) (#123)
    by megid on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:27:25 AM EST

    Powell said "The US is a giant attached to thousand strings" and he didnt say that lightly. Well, isolate yourselves. Economy is going down (as well as that of Europe, of course, so I dont have any incentive to laugh), all the favors the "humanitarian aid" receivers have towards you vanish, the US is becoming scientifically and militarily inferior (since half of your top scientiests come from abroad).

    On the psychological side, this kneejerk reaction is ridiculous. Antiamericanism exists because some (the leading) USians behave like assholes. How about just stopping to behave like assholes? e.g. abolishing the US expansionist agenda? (and dont get me started the Iraq adventure isnt expansionist. Your leaders conquered that country, plain and simple).

    But oh no, instead, "They hate us *whine*. I am going home, *wah*...".

    Those who are anti-US are so for a REASON. Remove that reason, or diminish it until it is a very very small reason. That'll work, trust me.

    --
    "think first, write second, speak third."

    But (1.60 / 5) (#129)
    by minerboy on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:46:01 AM EST

    I think that your characterization of "behaving like assholes" is not reasonable. The US is not perfect, but certainly behaves as well as France, the UK, and Germany. Better than Russia, China, Insia, or Australia. But, the world media focus on us, because we are the ones that actually have the power to try and do something about problems. Its not criticism, but unfair criticism, and unreasonable characterizations that will make america walk away



    [ Parent ]
    France and Germany (2.75 / 12) (#130)
    by marx on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:50:50 AM EST

    Please provide a list of the countries France and Germany have invaded without UN authorization in the last two decades.

    Thank you.

    Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
    [ Parent ]

    yugoslavia (none / 0) (#165)
    by minerboy on Thu May 06, 2004 at 10:29:42 AM EST

    Also, inaction can be bad, like France in Rwanda.



    [ Parent ]
    France and Germany invaded Yugoslavia? (none / 1) (#186)
    by PrinceSausage on Thu May 06, 2004 at 12:02:56 PM EST

    In what parallell universe?

    What on earth are you talking about.

    [ Parent ]

    remember Kosovo - part of Serbia (none / 0) (#201)
    by minerboy on Thu May 06, 2004 at 12:48:36 PM EST

    German and French troops are there now, German planes part of the attack. Invaded in response to civil unrest, and an interest in replacing Milosevic



    [ Parent ]
    they are here as part of (none / 1) (#202)
    by vivelame on Thu May 06, 2004 at 12:57:10 PM EST

    NATO.
    You know, the same organisation the US tried (unsuccesfully) to drag into the Iraqi bloody mess.


    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    Yeah, (none / 1) (#253)
    by minerboy on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:19:37 PM EST

    But the original question asked when these coutries have invaded another country, without UN sanction. The Kosovo war was not UN sanctioned. Furhter, both France and Germany are in Afghanistan, which is also not UN sanctioned.



    [ Parent ]
    Afghanistan (none / 1) (#575)
    by wastl on Mon May 10, 2004 at 04:58:55 PM EST

    Furhter, both France and Germany are in Afghanistan, which is also not UN sanctioned.

    The French and German are there as peace keepers. They have not been involved in the actual invasion. And not to forget: they would never be there if the US hadn't invaded.

    Sebastian

    [ Parent ]

    Yes and the US helped Rawanda soooo much (2.83 / 6) (#218)
    by JohnnyCannuk on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:51:04 PM EST

    ..by vetoing UN resolutions that would have allowed the UN to take offensive action to stop it and by not letting any governemnt official even say the word "genocide" even when it was obvious that was happening. Orf maybe by finally bringing in humanitarian aid to Goma Zaire after the killing had stopped and distributing it to the genocidaires in the camps but giving nothing to the surviving victims still inside Rawanda.

    And for the record, France suppoorted the government that planned the genocide and the former colonial rulers of Rawanda, the Belgians, turned tail and ran when they took 10 casualties (by order of their snivelling government. The soldiers themselves were prepared to stay and do the right thing).

    Oddly enough, they went into Bosnia and Kosovo under the auspices of NATO with full UN support, to prevent a genocide after years of inaction. So they sometimes do thge right thing, just a little late.


    We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
    [ Parent ]

    Not reasonable at all. (2.75 / 4) (#136)
    by trezor on Thu May 06, 2004 at 08:21:37 AM EST

      I think that your characterization of "behaving like assholes" is not reasonable. The US is not perfect, but certainly behaves as well as France, the UK, and Germany.

    Is this if you ignore any occupations, involvements in foreign countries, CIA assisted coups and supporting repressing dictorships which provides the US with oil?

    Or using any veto the US got to force your will trough, even though everyone else disagress?

    I mean, why oh why would anyone care about such things? They must truly be unreasonable assholes.


    --
    Richard Dean Anderson porn? - Now spread the news

    [ Parent ]
    Well why aren't you (none / 1) (#167)
    by minerboy on Thu May 06, 2004 at 10:36:35 AM EST

    Anti-russian, anti-Chinese, Anti-French (they sank the "Rainbow Warrior", for godsakes.) or anti-any other country that does this.



    [ Parent ]
    Consider relevance (none / 2) (#173)
    by trezor on Thu May 06, 2004 at 11:00:45 AM EST

      Anti-russian, anti-Chinese, Anti-French (they sank the "Rainbow Warrior", for godsakes.) or anti-any other country that does this.

    First, it might just be my great ignorance, but I wasn't aware that France did these kind of things in our time, but hey. Inform the uninformed!

    Second, the US is a so called superpower, maybe the only one left, which actually does these things as we speak. They pose the greatest threat to world peace.

    This can not be said about France, defintely not Russia, and the Chinese... Well I thought whatever they did, they did it within their own borders, without trying to enlarge them.

    Regarding point two, you might consider point one, if things doesn't add up.


    --
    Richard Dean Anderson porn? - Now spread the news

    [ Parent ]
    Russia and China (none / 1) (#265)
    by cr8dle2grave on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:13:52 PM EST

    This can not be said about France, defintely not Russia, and the Chinese... Well I thought whatever they did, they did it within their own borders, without trying to enlarge them.

    What Russia and China consider to be within their borders doesn't exactly match what most of the rest of the world recognizes as their boundaries.

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    Who says he's not? (2.50 / 6) (#180)
    by JohnnyCannuk on Thu May 06, 2004 at 11:47:07 AM EST

    Really? I think the governments of France and Russia has a lot to answer for in supporting Saddam financially during his riegn. I think that China's treatment of it's own people and the poepl of Tibet is abyssmal. The main difference is it is only the US that is painting itself as the poor innocent victim claiming they did nothing wrong, 'why does everybody hate me?' When your friends (like Canada or Australia or even the aforementioned France and Germany) tell you what you did wrong and why everyone is pissed, you shout "but Russia did this, and China did that, why don't you pick on them?" instead of taking steps to correct the problems in the first place.

    The hubris! The denial!

    Perhaps if the US was willing to accept the kind of casualties it is now taking in Iraq when kit was in Somalia 10 years ago to deliver food and arrest war lords or perhaps to send Marines in to stop a genocide in Rawanda and actually fought for some real good (that doesn't involve oil or other economic interests of the US and it's multi-nationals), the world would have a better opinion. Why not send even 10 000 troops to Dafor in the Sudan to stop the imending genocide there? Instead of selling arms to Iraq and the Mujahadeen in the 80's, the US had spent that money wiping out TB or measles or fighting HIV in the Third World, the counties that "hate the US" would be their biggest fans and supporters.

    Instead, it looks to the rest of the world like the US says one thing ("We're for freedom everywhere", "We're for fair trade" etc) and does another (Supports dictatorships, overthrows democratically elected governments, supports unfair trade pracitices that favour the US and cries fowl when their jobs get 'off-shored')

    Can the US change the past? No. Can the US make everyone like or love them overnight? No, it could take years. But make the world safe for your children and grandchildren by acting better than your parents or grandparents did.

    And for the record, this is not a criticism of the American citizenry. I have many friends and family in the US. But the Government of the US is another story. I hope those good people I know in Arkansas and California and New York and other places take a good hard look at their leaders and ask THEM why the world hates the US and what their leaders have done to mitigate it... because up to now it has not been much


    We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
    [ Parent ]

    I used to agree with you. (3.00 / 6) (#307)
    by mr strange on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:29:16 PM EST

    And for the record, this is not a criticism of the American citizenry. I have many friends and family in the US. But the Government of the US is another story. I hope those good people I know in Arkansas and California and New York and other places take a good hard look at their leaders and ask THEM why the world hates the US and what their leaders have done to mitigate it... because up to now it has not been much

    It's easy to blame the government and forgive the people, but the USA is a democracy. Most Americans agree with their government's actions. THEY are the real problem - those ordinary Americans who despise the UN and the rule of law, their arrogance, their self-imposed pig-headed ignorance.

    Bush and Rumsfeld and the rest of the gang are not the problem. They are merely a symptom. There are politicians in every democracy who are just as bad. That they are America's mainstream, rather than a loony fringe is the fault of the people who voted for them and nobody else.

    intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
    [ Parent ]

    What utter bullshit (none / 2) (#333)
    by rho on Thu May 06, 2004 at 08:10:59 PM EST

    If taking it up the ass every time somebody farts in Iraq is "playing innocent", then yes; guilty, I suppose.

    The point of the argument--that other countries have plenty of skeletons in their foreign policy closet--is not to excuse us, it's to point out your utter hypocrisy and selective outrage.

    Anti-Americanism is unreasonable and capricious. For vague, slightly silly evidence--which is all this argument deserves, since all fair-minded people already accept the truth of it--I point to every snooty, snotty, jingoistic screed ever written here and elsewhere about McDonalds in Europe. (For extra credit, replace McDonalds with any other American Corporate import to Europe.) McDonalds aren't being built because the CIA is financing Ronald and Company's mediocre cuisine. They're being built because they're popular and people want to eat there. You may turn your apallingly large Gallic nose up at a Big Mac in favor of peeled mice in heavy cream, but a lot of other folks don't.

    You see your questionable culture overrun by Hollywood, Madison Avenue and the WWE, and you hate it. By extension, you hate the US. Hey, no shame there, "native" Americans hated my ancestors when they showed up in what is usually described as "teeming" hordes, brining their clover and potatoes and funny green hats and parades. The difference between you and those Americans is they eventually relented and started Riverdancing. You'll defend the tattered remnants of your beleagered history of cowardice and chicanery until all of Europe is turned into a parking lot for American SUVs on vacation at Disney Russia.
    "The thought of two thousand people munching celery at the same time [horrifies] me." --G.B. Shaw
    [ Parent ]

    My my... (none / 2) (#442)
    by JohnnyCannuk on Fri May 07, 2004 at 09:44:10 PM EST

    ...thank you for proving my point.

    I suppose I should expect no less from someone who, it appears, does not know where I am from (hint...lookup 'cannuk' on Google, eh?).

    Nothing in my post said anything about be outraged only by the US. The question at hand was about Anti-Americanism and why it is on the rise in the world - essentially why does the world seem to "hate" the US. And that is why all of my answers - the hypocritical, navel gazing double standards by which the US conducts itself in the world - were about the US.

    Now let me be perfectly clear - most other countries do have lots of skeletons in their closets. I have great concerns with how most other nations here in the west conduct themselves as well. France, Germany and Russia are happy to sell weapons and technology to any Third World thug with a cheque-book. They will often bugger off when real help needs to be done (see my comments in this thread and others about their conduct in Rawanda). I am, of course, appalled by the treatment China seems to dish out to its own people and to the people of Tibet.

    The situation in the world is like a plane crash. No one "thing" causes the situation we are in now, the crash, but is caused by many causes and conditions. Change anyone of them, and maybe the "crash" doesn't happen. The US is the most powerful nation on Earth, both militarily and economically. If the US "farts" people die. You can bet that a great deal of what is currently wrong has been caused by the US "farting". With great power comes great responsibility blah blah blah. You've heard it all before. Too bad you don't practice it.

    Now, if you would like to start a thread as to the reason for the growing anti-french sentiment in the world, I'll happily provide a diatribe against them selling arms and blowing up the Rainbow Warrior. Until then, I'll stick with the Anti-Americanism, since that's the topic.

    Anti-Americanism is very reasonable when faced with the behaviour of a nation and a government that will never admit to doing anything wrong, that anything they do is right, by definition, since they do it. If you aren't willing to see that maybe the hatred is based on your behaviour and not some bizzare 'jealously' as you seem to think, then you better be prepared for a lot more airplanes flying into buildings. Cuz some of that was hatred bred from your national behaviour around the world and in the Middle East over the last 30 years and if you can't see that and change the behaviour, your going to keep making people that hate you and you'll keep sitting there wondering why and you'll claim that anyone who tells you why is just jealous of your great nation and culture, so shut up.

    If you and I were to met in the street, you could not tell me apart from any of your neighbours. My country and culture are extremely close to yours in both history and make-up. And I don't like you right now. I think your wrong most of the time and behaving like a bunch of bullies. What do you think a person whose country you've bombed or whose dictator you've supported for years will think? What do you think they will do?

    Wake the fuck up before you go down in flames and take the rest of the world with you


    We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
    [ Parent ]

    Anti-Americanism unreasonable? (none / 0) (#574)
    by wastl on Mon May 10, 2004 at 04:54:20 PM EST

    Anti-Americanism is unreasonable and capricious.

    On this issue, I'd deny every USians the ability to judge objectively. Anti-Americanism is there. It has reasons, the most important being that your government, to put it briefly, behaves like assholes, but also the arrogance of USians like you.

    In my youth (i.e. the 80ies and beginning of the 90ies), almost all people here in Europe admired the US for its ideals, power, etc, except perhaps for a few people that could see through the deception already then (my father being one of them but I didn't believe him then). Actually, people were often upset if you openly criticised US policy or culture. However, in the last years, US behaviour has managed to dramatically change this.

    Sebastian

    Disclaimer: If you want to complain about my English, let's continue the discussion in German or Swedish.

    [ Parent ]

    It is about responsibility. (2.75 / 4) (#143)
    by megid on Thu May 06, 2004 at 08:58:35 AM EST

    Your famous spiderman said it: "With great power comes great responsibility". Sure, every country commits crimes, but those of the US are especially BIG and outrageous. And even relative to its powers, the US leaders' actions are disproportionally asshole-like.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but to my knowledge the only countries that have, thru combat, enlarged their effective territory (territory in which they hold absolute power) in the last few decades are the US and Israel.

    --
    "think first, write second, speak third."
    [ Parent ]

    Im' trying to figure (none / 0) (#353)
    by minerboy on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:59:27 PM EST

    What territory has the U.S. gained? Israel on the other hand, expanded during the 67 war, in response to a blockade. China on the other hand has gained tibet



    [ Parent ]
    What land? (none / 0) (#407)
    by DoorFrame on Fri May 07, 2004 at 04:35:01 PM EST

    What land are you talking about?  I'd hardly charachterize Iraq or Afghanistan a colony.  Yet.

    [ Parent ]
    Exactly that land. (none / 2) (#439)
    by megid on Fri May 07, 2004 at 09:00:12 PM EST

    Having a country enough under control to lay your pipelines there is by my consideration a colony. Having your puppet government there is a sign of a colony. And dont get me started on how independent of the US the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq are. Yes, I consider both of them USian colonies.

    --
    "think first, write second, speak third."
    [ Parent ]
    eh (none / 0) (#512)
    by DoorFrame on Sun May 09, 2004 at 09:55:04 AM EST

    By the way, the USian thing is cute.

    [ Parent ]
    Any better idea? (none / 1) (#547)
    by megid on Mon May 10, 2004 at 03:10:19 AM EST

    "Americans", by the sense of the word, includes middle and south america as well as the canadians. Give me a better word than "USians", I will take it.

    --
    "think first, write second, speak third."
    [ Parent ]
    Eh? Australia? (none / 1) (#145)
    by Torka on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:09:20 AM EST

    What have Australia done to be on your list of countries the US behaves better than?

    If you have to reach back more than 30 years to find your answer, don't bother replying.

    [ Parent ]

    Its that annoying (none / 2) (#166)
    by minerboy on Thu May 06, 2004 at 10:33:08 AM EST

    ozzy, ozzy, Ozzy - oi, oi, oi thing. Actually, I meant to put Australians on equal footing with Americans, like the french and Germans



    [ Parent ]
    No, you're right (none / 0) (#172)
    by smg on Thu May 06, 2004 at 10:59:11 AM EST

    It is fucking annoying.

    [ Parent ]
    Why (none / 1) (#385)
    by Cro Magnon on Fri May 07, 2004 at 02:27:39 PM EST

    would you put the French & Germans on equal footing with the US?
    Information wants to be beer.
    [ Parent ]
    Care to back that one up with facts? (none / 1) (#153)
    by bigchris on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:23:21 AM EST

    I'm curious - how is the US better than Australia? As an Australian, I'd be interested in hearing what you have to say on this one!

    ---
    I Hate Jesus: -1: Bible thumper
    kpaul: YAAT. YHL. HAND. btw, YAHWEH wins ;) [mt]
    [ Parent ]
    Really? (none / 3) (#219)
    by Dr Caleb on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:54:18 PM EST

    Name the number of democratically elected governments the US has destabilized in the last 200 years and replaced with US friendly dictatorships. Hint - it's more than 20. A headline in last months' Economist magazine: "Venezuela - Regime change or Bust".

    Now which country does not play well with others? 'Land of the free...' my left nut.


    Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

    There is no K5 cabal.
    [ Parent ]

    Venezuela (none / 1) (#292)
    by kurioszyn on Thu May 06, 2004 at 05:52:42 PM EST

    Venezuela ?
    Are you suggesting all these people protesting and numerous petitions to get rid of that leftists leftover from the previous century Chavez, are part of some sort of US sponsored(CIA?) plot ?


    [ Parent ]
    Of course not. (none / 3) (#302)
    by Dr Caleb on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:12:41 PM EST

    But if the people want him gone, they will find a way. The USofA should keep their nose out of it. They won't, but they should - it's kind of the whole point of the article.


    Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

    There is no K5 cabal.
    [ Parent ]

    Whatever (none / 3) (#346)
    by kurioszyn on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:17:26 PM EST

    Not really - if it is in our interest to have this guy gone and as long as we are using methods that majority of people in this country wouldn't consider inhumane , I say we should go for it.

    It is not like this kind of "pressure" is something US is exclusively known for anyway - nations all over the world do it all the time.

    Frankly, this is an academic dispute anyway - you don't like the big guy just because he is bigger than you - as far as I know there is no cure for that ...

    [ Parent ]

    Democracy ... (none / 1) (#576)
    by wastl on Mon May 10, 2004 at 05:04:30 PM EST

    Not really - if it is in our interest to have this guy gone and as long as we are using methods that majority of people in this country wouldn't consider inhumane , I say we should go for it.

    So that'd be yet another democratically elected government to overthrow. Not that this is a particularly new thing ...

    And you wonder why the rest of the world hates you. It's not that the rest of the world is anti-american. It's the US that is anti-world.

    Sebastian

    [ Parent ]

    I thought ... (2.66 / 12) (#133)
    by ljj on Thu May 06, 2004 at 08:04:56 AM EST

    ... America looked out for her own interest anyway? Isn't that why Iraq was invaded in the first place?

    --
    ljj

    That's Silly (2.00 / 7) (#169)
    by Plastic Jeebus on Thu May 06, 2004 at 10:52:18 AM EST

    America invaded Iraq to free Iraqis from a brutal dictator. It has nothing to do with distantly looming energy crises.


    -- The second coming was scheduled for 2000, but the mother aborted.
    [ Parent ]
    Not so distant. (none / 1) (#376)
    by Fon2d2 on Fri May 07, 2004 at 02:00:17 PM EST

    Most sources that actually talk about the subject place the coming oil crisis between 2 and 6 years out.

    [ Parent ]
    WMD? (none / 1) (#475)
    by zarr on Sat May 08, 2004 at 02:23:45 PM EST

    America invaded Iraq to free Iraqis from a brutal dictator.

    Is that the official reason now?

    [ Parent ]

    US Isolationism? Hey, might be a good idea. (2.50 / 8) (#152)
    by bigchris on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:20:22 AM EST

    It might stop Australia from getting suckered by the anti-circumvention measures in the USFTA. DMCA anyone?

    ---
    I Hate Jesus: -1: Bible thumper
    kpaul: YAAT. YHL. HAND. btw, YAHWEH wins ;) [mt]
    Please (reposted as topical) (2.31 / 32) (#178)
    by I Hate Yanks on Thu May 06, 2004 at 11:45:11 AM EST

    Say you will, say you won't say you'll do what I don't say you're true say to me: C'est la vie!

    Go on then. Fuck off. Withdraw all your troops from where they're not wanted. Ban your fucking annoying citizens from leaving America. We won't miss you. No more fucking American tourists. Woohoo! Party Time!.

    Tell me one thing that America produces that we need to live. We don't need Hollywood. Films are made in New Zealand, in England, in India.

    We'll never have to see another Hollywood film that shows the fucking dumbass yanks in the USAF trashing yet another country where they don't belong. None of this "America saves the world from yet another unlikely disaster".

    Take your films, take your advertising, take your fat fucking asses. Take your disgusting pretend-beer. Take your fucking lame TV-shows.

    Take your pro-life abortion campaigns, and your prudish attitude to anything sexual or arousing. Take your sick violence-worshiping culture. Take your fucking insane fire-arms policy. And for God's sweet sake take your fucking Pledge of fucking allegiance.

    The rest of the world doesn't want you. You're a joke. You smell. You eat too much. You talk too loudly. You have opinions that are fucking offensive to the rest of the world. You're the only country to ever have discharged an atomic weapon on civilians. You've got the highest incarceration rate per capita than any other country. You have a death penalty. Corporate scum rule your country and decide your policies. You are proud to be headed by a man who would have trouble finding his own arse with both hands.

    You don't understand sarcasm. Your comedy is cheap and debasing. Your sitcoms cannot stand on their own merit without canned laughter.

    You have a fucking superiority complex. Lets get this straight. No-one who isn't American wants to be American. No-one "hates you because you're free." They hate you because you drop bombs on them.

    Fuck off and die quietly America. We won't miss you.


    Reasons to hate Americans (No. 812): Circletimessquare lives there.

    As for you.. (none / 1) (#182)
    by Scott Robinson on Thu May 06, 2004 at 11:51:15 AM EST

    Stop buying it and we'll stop selling it.

    [ Parent ]
    If US companies didn't get ... (none / 2) (#226)
    by lurker4hire on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:09:55 PM EST

    ... exclusive contracts people would stop buying it.

    [ Parent ]
    You don't understand basic economics. (none / 0) (#634)
    by Scott Robinson on Fri May 14, 2004 at 05:41:34 AM EST

    US companies wouldn't get exclusive contracts if people weren't buying it.

    It's not the other way around.

    This isn't food/water/shelter we're talking about.

    [ Parent ]

    As a USian... (none / 3) (#190)
    by undermyne on Thu May 06, 2004 at 12:13:48 PM EST

    I concur with your sentiment on American beers and prudish attitudes. Also as a USian, I hope that we find your home and bomb the ever living fuck out of it; just because.

    "You're an asshole. You are the greatest troll on this site." Some nullo

    [ Parent ]
    Aw! (none / 0) (#191)
    by I Hate Yanks on Thu May 06, 2004 at 12:20:23 PM EST

    Aren't you nice.


    Reasons to hate Americans (No. 812): Circletimessquare lives there.
    [ Parent ]

    Thats exactly it. (none / 1) (#193)
    by megid on Thu May 06, 2004 at 12:22:58 PM EST

    You are a shining example of the fucking reason that people hate americans. "bomb the ever living fuck out of your home", my ass. THAT's redneck arrogance.

    You could have reacted with amusement, with sarcasm, with pity, with understanding the anger of the original poster without accepting it. Instead... ah the fuck.

    --
    "think first, write second, speak third."
    [ Parent ]

    The second half of that was sarcasm... (none / 3) (#198)
    by undermyne on Thu May 06, 2004 at 12:34:34 PM EST

    I was serious about the beer.

    "You're an asshole. You are the greatest troll on this site." Some nullo

    [ Parent ]
    Pardon me (none / 1) (#236)
    by wurp on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:31:37 PM EST

    Undermyne replies to someone who just posted a one page rant full of mixed legitimate and false complaints about the US interspersed with wishes for US deaths & ill luck.  (Including, ironically, a comment that Americans don't get sarcasm.)  Undermyne says what was obviously (to me) a sarcastic violent remark, and HE's an example of what's wrong?

    Don't get me wrong, I see lots of arrogant Americans too.  But "I Hate Yanks" is just the flip side of the same coin of the American assholes.  Don't tell me that you're blind to that.
    ---
    Buy my stuff
    [ Parent ]

    OK I'll bite. (none / 1) (#243)
    by I Hate Yanks on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:50:39 PM EST

    Where did I say that I wished death and ill luck on Americans?

    Also, just out of interest; which of my complaints do you think are false?

    Undermyne's remark may have been sarcastic, but it was also arrogant and he succeeded in placing himself firmly in the stereotype that I ranted about.


    Reasons to hate Americans (No. 812): Circletimessquare lives there.
    [ Parent ]

    All your answers (none / 2) (#258)
    by wurp on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:53:59 PM EST

    Wishing us death & ill:
    "Fuck off and die quietly America. We won't miss you."

    "fucking dumbass yanks"

    "Go on then. Fuck off."

    "We won't miss you."

    Inaccurate claims:
    "fucking dumbass yanks" - average American intelligence compares favorably to average world intelligence

    "annoying citizens" - no more so, on average, than the average citizen most places

    "You are proud to be headed by a man who would have trouble finding his own arse with both hands." - actually, most people I know are quite ashamed of it

    "You don't understand sarcasm." - maybe that was itself sarcastic.  Sarcasm is overused and usually counterproductive anyway.  There's too much of it, in America and elsewhere.

    "No-one who isn't American wants to be American." - immigration records indicate otherwise

    "Your sitcoms cannot stand on their own merit without canned laughter." - true; but ridiculous if presented as a comparison.  Where aren't most of the sitcoms filled with canned laugh tracks (or audiences commanded to laugh; same thing).  I'll bet I could show you more American sitcoms with no canned laughs than you can show me British.

    "Corporate scum rule your country and decide your policies." - and you think they don't in yours?  I agree it's shameful, but it's a false dichotomy.

    In short, your rant is just as accurate as claims that Brits all live in 1970s era tech houses, have bad teeth, inbred leadership, pasty skin, and their own superiority complex.  That is to say, basically not at all.

    Besides, British government screwed up Iraq in the first place (taking three conflicting cultures & putting them in one country).  I'm ashamed that the American govt has been just as bad or worse, but still...

    It's also pretty ironic for such a blatant and nasty troll as yourself to reply to someone calling you out with "I'll bite".  See?  I can recognize sarcasm.
    ---
    Buy my stuff
    [ Parent ]

    FOAD is a figure of speech. (nt) (none / 0) (#443)
    by handslikesnakes on Fri May 07, 2004 at 09:49:11 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Here here. (3.00 / 5) (#204)
    by Nursie on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:10:37 PM EST

    Agreed. Not in quite such violent terms mind.

    The major problem the rest of the world have wityh you is you arrogance. It really is quite special and unparalleled.



    Meta Sigs suck.

    [ Parent ]
    let's assume (2.25 / 4) (#247)
    by SocratesGhost on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:58:38 PM EST

    that you're British and see how much of this is true. I choose British because you write like a native speaker and this treatment can only apply to one country at a time. But correct me and I'll write a treatment for your country. Anyway, for the purpose of this response, you're British:

    One thing we have is an audience. Remember your wonderful Beatles? The Beatles said that they knew they made it big when they came to America. For that, I say thank you.

    We made the internet. And Tang. And Special K cereal. Nothing is indispensable. We could all survive on mutton or sabre tooth cats like Ye Olde Tymes. But a good day starts with Tang; that's just the way I am.

    You never need a luxury, but you sure don't mind making use of it. You can throw away Hollywood but then you'd have to drop the Lord of the Rings link. Making a film is one thing. Financing is another. Where do you think Peter Jackson got the capital he needed? Even he tells that there was only one studio even interested and he went to great measures to give them the illusion that they had to "compete" for his project.

    I'm so glad that you're a homogenous society that can't tolerate differences in a foreign country that don't affect you. Or do you have to recite the Pledge of Allegiance over there? That's just weird. But, since we do allow free speech, we allow people to speak their minds on such controversial areas such as abortion. Some are opposed but they have their reasons that I may or may not agree with. Tell me, how do you enforce all British to be lock-step with a single ideology? Is it working as smashingly in Ireland, incidentally?

    The rest of the world doesn't need us? Your words wound me, sir. I don't need you either. Maybe next time you want to invade Normandy, you'll appreciate the help we gave when we could half a century ago when you dragged us into your war. Twice, in fact. You guys lit two fuses: the first fuse inflamed the world through your alliance system (a devious, very devious self serving method); the second fuse took advantage of America's isolation from the continent to provide the human fertilizer you needed to make the French countryside so much prettier but also forced the U.S. into a post war role of playing body guard when the Big Red Bear was at your doorstep. Maybe we should have allowed nukes in Cuba. Then, when Russia owned all of Germany, it would be a matter of time before you would wait in a three hour line for bread pudding. You, Mr. Brit, elevated us. Your--dare I say?-- need elevated us. Or did you think we were a dog to act at your bidding and go away at the sound of your displeasure?

    Oh, and NATO? There's a reason it's a force based in the North Atlantic. Iceland isn't that reason. They're good people and all, but hardly a security force to fear. Maybe Bjrk but that's about it. But, hey, you only want us so long as we're useful to you. Isn't that part of your complaint against America?

    Yes, we eat too much, Mr. Falstaff.

    Yes, we talk to loud. It's to show off our straight teeth.

    Yes, we abuse your language, too. It irks me when I mistake the word "too" and "to".

    Yes, we have attacked civilian populations with nuclear weapons. We're a bit conflicted about that ourselves. Thanks for the help in Japan by the way. Wait. What did you do to help us again? Oh, that's right: nothing. You couldn't be bothered to send anything more than a token force for the press corp because it was half a world a way. I know, long flights are such a drag...

    You absolutely must explain something to me: you want us to keep our hands out of the world pie, but you don't mind telling us about the offensiveness of our ideas? I can only assume that our ideas of capital punishment and our incarceration rate are a moral affront to you. Of course, Saddam was not offensive.

    Corporate scum may rule our policies. Scum like Carly Fiorina, CEO of HP, who believes in outsourcing heavily to other nations. Yeah, she's as corrupt as it gets. But I'll put my corporate scum against your corporate scum any day of the week.

    "They hate you because you drop bombs on them." Is that why you hate us? I'm sooo sorry. I get so caught up in the Star Spangled Banner sometimes that I forget that the bombs bursting in air apply to you. Yeah, you guys were dicks if memory serves, but that's a different topic for a different day.

    Incidentally, I hope we didn't hit your house. You seem like such a nice guy. Oops, that's sarcasm. I don't know what the hell I was writing just now...

    I'm sorry that our comedy is cheap and debasing unlike that pillar of comedic genius: Benny Hill. Didn't he have to use a penny whistle to tell us when to laugh?

    You have a fucking has-been complex. Lets get this straight. No-one who is British wanted to be British except at gunpoint. Most people who are American choose to be so: from Yakov Smirnoff (Russia) to Mike Meyers (Canada) to Catherine Zeta-Jones (Wales... Ooops, Britain. I forgot that you conquered them, but that was centuries ago so it doesn't count.)

    God, I love indignancy. So, please tell me your country and I'll personalize this more, unless I accidentally got this right. It's been fun.

    Cheers!

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    eh? (2.25 / 4) (#248)
    by zenofchai on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:07:56 PM EST

    We made the internet.

    And here I was thinking that Tim Berners-Lee invented the internet at CERN to facilitate the internal publishing of scientific papers there. Damn that was just HTTP wasn't it... oh yeah now I remember, Al Gore invented the internet?
    --
    as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
    so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
    [ Parent ]

    that's not the internet (none / 0) (#274)
    by SocratesGhost on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:29:29 PM EST

    I'm talking about the internet. You know: TCP/IP, Vint Cerf, etc. The web is not the internet. IRC is not the internet. Email does not use HTTP. FTP is...well... FTP. There's a lot more to the internet than HTTP. Before you can have HTTP you have to have two computers even able to talk to each other and then networks of computers talking to other networks. That was America's contribution begun back in the 60's and 70's.

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    yeah, that was my point? (none / 0) (#341)
    by zenofchai on Thu May 06, 2004 at 08:53:51 PM EST

    I mentioned that Berners-Lee and CERN only added 'the web' e.g. HTTP.
    --
    as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
    so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
    [ Parent ]
    wasn't sure, so i clarified. n/t (none / 0) (#369)
    by SocratesGhost on Fri May 07, 2004 at 01:40:27 PM EST


    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    Yes, well... (none / 0) (#460)
    by willie on Sat May 08, 2004 at 08:18:26 AM EST

    And of course, Americans are the only ones capable of working with those really complicated machines called 'computers'. I'm so glad that you made the internet, because if you hadn't then nobody would of. It's not like it's filling a need that would of been filled by any other advanced nation.

    [ Parent ]
    creating is one thing (none / 2) (#515)
    by SocratesGhost on Sun May 09, 2004 at 11:09:40 AM EST

    infrastructure is another. Any looking at history will tell you that creating is easy, but making a technology accessible may come centuries (even millenia) later. Look at Heron who created the Steam Engine in ancient Greece. It was until the 1700's that a practical application was developed for it. But more than creating the application, you also need the infrastructure to support it. For example, Heron didn't have access to steel or to the fruits of the industrial revolution.

    More than that, it's not as though there were others competing to create the internet and the U.S. got there first. You're right, some other country could create it. The fact is, no other country did. In the 60's when we were working on the internet, Europe was not. Let's suppose that it takes 25 years from TCP/IP to HTTP (as history indicated). Further, let's say that Europe or China or the former Soviet Union didn't begin working on TCP/IP until the 80's or even the 90's. Guess what? We're not having this discussion then, because the internet is still at least 10 more years away.

    Give creation the credit it's due. This is like saying that penicillin would eventually have been discovered so we shouldn't credit Dr. Fleming. But then again, the countless lives that have been saved in the intervening years between Fleming and his theoretical double, I'm sure those people are more grateful to Fleming.

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    That's right (2.88 / 9) (#261)
    by I Hate Yanks on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:04:30 PM EST

    I'm British.

    Here is my rather long response.

    You don't seem to understand what's meant by isolationism. Sure there's some things that will not be possible without further American intervention. That's too bad. Most of these things we would be better off without. Our culture of litigation and blame came from America and ruined the way that we live. Because of the fear of litigation kids can no longer play outside in the snow on school breaks. Money intended for public services is wasted because some shmuck decided that they were entitled to compensation for something caused by their own stupidity and lack of attention. Only in America have I seen a tag line on a car commercial saying "This car cannot drive underwater" because it's the only way that the car manufacturer can avoid litigation if someone does get hurt driving their car underwater.

    You see it's not the specifics. I could live without Lord of the Rings if that meant that I never had to see Saving Private Ryan or Independence day.

    Lord of the Rings may have used American funding, but if American funding wasn't available then it would have been found somewhere else. Maybe... maybe not.

    And as for Saddam. Of course I find Saddam offensive. Remind me who put him in power again. That's right. It was the Americans. Good job idiots! I really don't think that you afford to be proud of anything that's connected with Iraq. Most of it is America's fault.

    Now lets address the issue of your involvement in World War II. There's a hell of a lot of people who think that the allies were already starting to win before the Americans joined in WWII. Lets face it. Your administration didn't join in to "help out the nice guys". They joined in because they wanted the rest of the world to be in debt to them. They joined in because Pearl Harbour was attacked. The victors write the history books so we'll never know the real truth of course.

    Large parts of Britian were seriously flattened during World War II. Lots of British civilians died. Not soldiers. Not rebel fighters. Civilians. People like you and me.

    It's almost as if America was sitting on the sidelines waiting to see who was doing best so that they could join the winning side, nuke the losers and ride to victory with ne'er a scratch on them.

    There's only two times in the last century when there have been significant attacks on civilians on American soil. Perl Harbour and 11/9/2001. When Americans go to war only American soldiers die. When Brits were forced into war it was because their civilians were dying.

    Lets leave WWII aside for a while. Nothing on earth excuses your country from the atrocities that were commited in Vietnam. More bombs were dropped on one tiny country than were dropped in total during both World Wars. That's serious firepower. Serious destruction. Serious carnage. Nothing you can say can convince me that any single one of those bombs was justified.

    The same is happening in Iraq now. Your armed forces are obliterating Iraqi civlians. Their bombers are utterly destroying villages and towns. Your administration is making lots of innocent people's lives seriously miserable.

    I'm extremely ashamed that their are British troops involved. I'm extremely ashamed of our prime minister and I sympathise with those Americans who have been similarly wronged by their administration.

    I'm also extremely fucking disappointed when I see approval ratings in the news that say that around 49 per cent of Americans are still behind Bush. That's 49 percent of you that want this man in power. That's 49 percent of you who condone the attrocities that his administration commits in your names. Please tell me that you're ashamed.

    I'm ashamed that British troops are involved in Iraq at all. I'm ashamed that our Prime Minister has ignored his population and stuck his head firmly up your leader's arse.

    Brits do not have the unsupported superiority complex that Americans do. If we do have any superiority complex at all then it is at least deserved. Our population is more literate than yours, our violent crime rates are lower. We have a lower incarceration rate. We have more sensible penalties for recreational drug use. We are more educated. Our teenage pregnancy rate is lower.

    We look up to our European counterparts because they hold the higher moral ground than us. They recycle more. They consume less. They enforce pollution controls. Their armed forces are answerable to the International Criminal Court. They attempt to sort out political conflicts without bombing entire countries into the ground. They may not all be rolling in money but at least they are not raping the world of its resource at a rate even close to the Americans.

    In many ways I'm ashamed to be British. I look at the Germans. They've got a coalition government in power that is partly the green party. They are taking the responsibility to clean up after themselves. I look up to the Dutch and to the Norweigens. Their attitudes to sex and the human body are far more sensible. This means that the teenage pregnancy rate is lower and the population is more educated.

    Tell me. What should I look up to the Americans for?

    I look up to the Swiss because they have managed to remain politically neutral in every conflict. Instead of barging in and making the situation worse they have sat back and let the countries around them fight. This isn't cowardly. It isn't something to be ashamed of. They took stock of the situation and decided that they would be better off out of it. If only the Americans had exercised the same restraint in Vietnam and in Iraq. Alas the Americans have dollar signs in their eyes. For Americans war on a foreign soil boosts the American economy, provides more work for American contractors who rebuild the stricken country and war provides more work for defense contractors who provide the weaponary that makes the rebuilding necessary. In the case of Iraq you've also got all that lovely oil to roll in once your conquest is complete.

    Don't pretend that your administration is trying to help anyone in Iraq. Don't tell me that thousands of Iraqis are better of dead under American occupation than alive under Saddam's rule. Don't pretend that your administration is fighting this war for any unselfish reasons.

    You talk about the British military blunders. You talk about all the wars where Britain has been the aggressor. You quite rightly single out the commonwealth as a political tool to opress the rest of the world. In its time that's what it was. We've moved on since then. That was before my parents time. That was before my Grandparents time and before their parents time. The blunders that the American armed forces are making are happening right now. In our lifetime. I wasn't alive during the Vietnam conflict, but my parents were.

    And for your information. Yes. Corporal punishment is an affront to my morals. This view is not held by all Britians, but at least our laws don't support it. We do not murder people ligitimately. Our justice system is not good enough to seperate the chaff from the wheat every time. Your justice system is even worse.

    There are some things about my country that I am proud of and a lot of things that I am not proud of. Overall I'm not proud to be British, but I am very thankful that I'm not American. I don't think I could stand the shame.


    Reasons to hate Americans (No. 812): Circletimessquare lives there.
    [ Parent ]

    WWII (none / 3) (#285)
    by klash on Thu May 06, 2004 at 05:00:19 PM EST

    I'm an American who is strongly opposed to our current foreign policy and a lot of the other things you criticize America for (litigous culture, excessive marketing, etc.) However your comments on WWII are way off-base.

    You're right to say that American's didn't join WWII to "help out the nice guys." On the contrary, America was hoping it would not get dragged into yet another European war. In the end, America entered the war for the same reason Britain did: we were attacked. There is no reason to think that they "wanted the rest of the world to be in debt to them." How else would American have responded to surprise attack? Not declare war?

    Also, the atomic bomb could not possibly have played a significant role in deciding to enter the war, because in 1941 America was no where close to having a bomb or knowing that they would have one by the end of the war.

    I'm pretty sure that if I was alive around the time of WWII, I would be pretty pissed at Europe. A combination of staunch nationalism and a crummy foreign policy allowed the assassination of some minor politician to ignite the whole continent in the most horrible war that had yet been fought. For whatever reasons, America got drawn in to another continent's war.

    At the negotiating table, Wilson pleaded his "14 points," measures designed to prevent such a terrible war from hapenning again. France and England couldn't see past their own rage, and foolishly decided to punish Germany in every way possible.

    Thanks to the horrible treaty of Versailles, Germany was forced to pay huge reparations, and when it could not pay it had the reparations directly extracted from its economy through a takeover of part of the country's production. Germany sank into huge depression, and this created the extreme desperation that allowed Hitler to take power, invade half of Europe, and perpetrate genocide against his scapegoat, the Jews.

    As WWII is breaking out, America is thinking "leave us out of this shit. We'll ship you guys arms and stuff, cash and carry, but leave us the fuck out of this one." And then we are surprise attacked.

    I don't think it's justified, but I see the last 50 years of US foreign policy as a response to this. We aren't willing to let things get to the point where we get drawn into yet another conflict, so we intervene. It's the same reason Russia wanted such a big buffer in Europe: they were fucking tired of losing millions of soldiers every time the next European dictator rose to power and looked to expand their borders.

    I only wish the world was headed in a better direction today. I think our foreign policy sucks. I think terrorism sucks too, and I don't think we're making it any better.



    [ Parent ]
    a great appraisal (none / 0) (#466)
    by dlec on Sat May 08, 2004 at 11:03:57 AM EST

    This is really great stuff.

    There is an opinion in my country (England) that the Americans are badly educated, but it has been my experience that the best educated Americans are leagues ahead of us.

    There is also an opinion that Americans are myopic, and have no understanding of the larger world, but it has been my experience that the best educated Americans have a far deeper insight into World politics than any of my own countrymen.

    I hope that more people such as yourself are given the positions of responsibility that you deserve to better guide your nation.


    [ Parent ]

    Thanks for the 3 (2.66 / 3) (#323)
    by SocratesGhost on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:25:41 PM EST

    That's mighty big of you. I mean that with the greatest sincerity. But take this compliment as a salute to a worthy adversary. We should break this up into multiple topics since I think we're going to get longer and longer if we continue in this manner. I'm going to take this more high level in the meantime.

    And just so you know your opponent a bit better, I am one of those who does support the war in Iraq. I do support the President. I do not support the atrocities. In these days, we demand precision to the 18th decimal place in our banking institutes, we have a right to demand the same from our military. Anyway, I am a registered Republican and flirt dangerously with neoconservatism (in the traditional Henry "Scoop" Jackson model, not this kneejerk "Kill them all let God sort them out" monster that everyone seems to portray). In other words: I am one type of your boogeymen. I assume the other is this caricature of some dumb hick who votes for Bush because he fears God. I've never met one but that's what a lot of people on K5 seem to believe. I can explain my position more fully if you're interested, but I'm only responding to your anti-americanism.

    Anyway, topically, we're talking about two things: cultural competition and political competition. Hopefully, it should surprise no one that competition also breeds resentment and because America lately has succeeded in these to a better degree than other countries these resentments abound. It's the age old problem of how to bind the king's hands. More or less, America acts unilaterally because it can. When Japanese watchmakers began making Mickey Mouse watches to sell to the world, score 1 for American culture such as it is. When American tanks roll into the heart of Baghdad along with soldiers from an unwilling Spain, that says a lot about their political dominance.

    It's not that we have a superiority complex. This implies that we attempt the impossible while thinking it possible. Like thinking that steel tariffs will go unopposed by other nations. If that is a superiority complex, then we're not alone in the psychologist's waiting room. Every country tries this. We're not in a world of plentiful resources and leaders must take what opportunities they can before the neighbor makes a fuss. Just look at the process of bringing in countries into the EU who refuse to give up their "good things". So while although every nation is selfish and greedy and would stab their neighbor in the eye if they thought they could get away with it, because of American pre-eminence, the world diagnoses Americans with a superiority complex. If the roles are reversed (and looking at history, Britain and the U.S. have) your country would act no differenly. In the perspective of history, we are the 800 kg. gorilla of the month. America: the new Mongols.

    But I won't let you off easy. Britain: the old Mongols.

    The problem (for you more than me) is how do you tie the king's hands? Or, how do you tie them enough that it won't get in your way? I won't kid you, it's a tough problem but it is your problem to solve. To the extent that you find sympathy on these boards, that's good for you. Perhaps effective, perhaps not. But, you need to pull another Magna Carta. Many of us neocons have always thought the U.N. was ineffective. Now, America has proved it. Work out something better. Tie our hands if you think you can or should. But is that any different than if I tried to tie your hands because you got in my way?

    And this brings me to your favorite country: Switzerland. While this sort of neutrality seems good, it's an utterly selfish motive. They have no choice. Stuck between such authorities as Napoleon and Bismark, what other sane option was available? But if this were the Swiss who thought they had a chance, like those in the 1500's when they warred for control all the way down to Milan, they would have been another Poland: the devastated battleground of every war.

    America cannot be neutral. Neutral to what? Our own interests?

    This is how nations are. They adopt stances not as a human moral agent acts, but doing whatever necessity and capability allow. Nations never had morality and never will, and moreover, it's dangerous to assume they should. Either get rid of the idea of national identity (and rid yourself of this superficial anti-americanism which is more or less anti-imperialism) or else you have to deal with nations on a national level.

    Tie our hands, but don't be surprised if we resist this arrest. This is nothing less than what Britain has done. It's not that you discovered a better way: your opportunities ended. Everything else seems like mere rationalization. It's like the Jewish who struggled through everything and therefore suffering becomes a virtue; this is unlike the Greeks who considered achievement as the greatest virtue (Gr. Arete ).

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    I disagree (3.00 / 6) (#380)
    by I Hate Yanks on Fri May 07, 2004 at 02:11:40 PM EST

    You say that America is fighting because that's what countries do. There are scarce resources and it's up to each country to selfishly gather as much as possible with one hand whilst fending of their equally selfish neighbours with the other.

    International treaties and agreements like Kyoto were drawn up because governments of more civilised countries with more commendable morals realised that this "Grab everything you can" attitude was not a productive way to continue.

    These agreements to reduce pollution, and to reduce the rate of consumption of natural resources were made because the world will not last long without them. The world of "grab and hoarde" does not have a future. There is only so much to grab before there's nothing left.

    The EU is an idealogical arrangement where governments cooporate to help out the countries who haven't got much. They share the wealth and the natural resources. We've just seen 10 new poorer countries join the EU in the past few weeks. Granted they lose track of the objectives a lot and there's a lot of money grabbing going on and a lot of people pulling on different strings. Yet slowly and surely more poorer countries are being pulled into the safety net of the EU.

    In the EU we have policies for recycling waste and for enforcing economical cars and economical factories. He we are aware that we need to be careful about what natural resources we use.

    In America there are no controls. The current adminsistration is removing controls. They have pulled out of international agreements because the Americans do not care about the rest of the world. Ther Americans are only looking after themselves in the short term.

    The solution to an oil shortage isn't to grab as much as you can for yourself. The better solution is to use less oil. Make it last longer.

    This is where the resentment stems from. We Europeans are sharing the pile of candy. You Americans are grabbing as much as you can and stuffing your faces with it.

    I admit that this anaalogy is rather simplistic. Europe is not some moral paradise. There's a lot of money grabbing and resource grabbing going on. Most countries do look after their own interests before hellping other people out, but by being in the EU they have at least indicated that they are willing to cooporate.

    It's a shame that Britian isn't really in the EU. We're floating on the edge, unable to decide if we can make the sacrifices. Our economy is much more geared towards the money-grabbing capitalism. Through our "special relationship" with America we've become more like the Americans. I hope this changes; I hope we can finally join Europe properly and pull away from this selfish Americanised way of life.

    This post is idealistic. In Europe we are no where near utiopia, but at least we're willing to try.


    Reasons to hate Americans (No. 812): Circletimessquare lives there.
    [ Parent ]

    commendable but naive (3.00 / 3) (#434)
    by SocratesGhost on Fri May 07, 2004 at 07:47:45 PM EST

    Countries join the EU if the benefits outweigh the costs. As soon as the reverse becomes true, they will leave. Part of the reasons Scotland has it's own parliament now is the discovery of North Atlantic oil. That gave them a lot of leverage to successfuly claim Scotland for the Scots. The Irish haven't been so fortunate but they haven't had any less desire of their own nation. For now, they get more than they receive. Turn the tables and they will chip away further at Great Britain.

    I think the deciding factor in the EU will be over issues such as what we experienced in the U.S. over slavery during our Civil War. Prior to then, most people saw themselves as citizens to the state first and the US second--so, for example, General Lee served in the Army of Virginia. The southern states weren't just trying to preserve slavery; they wanted to run their states as they saw fit without a federal government dictating law to them. They seceded and then the federal government went in and forced them back into line. This sort of action requires effective measures for enforcement. If Germany finds itself better off outside the EU, what will keep them in line? Would France willingly supply soldiers to the EU army to confront Germany? Without effective enforcement mechanisms, countries will have little incentive to stay when there is greater value to leaving.

    Right now, it's fortuitous that the continent can do this. Bravo. It's a good thing. I think that's why we're seeing a move towards evolving an EU identity, creating a single passport, etc. so that individuals identify with the superstate. But I just can't see it lasting beyond a few generations. Basque Separatists, for example, will be viewed as entirely disenfranchised.

    There's unforeseen consequences that can go either way. It may turn out that unemployment drops because of this unification or that it skyrockets. The EU is a very interesting experiment and there's a lot of things that must go right.

    But all of this assumes that nations see a value to joining the EU. If food lines start appearing, your experiment ends. This isn't about a noble goal of unification, that's rhetoric. It's about putting food on the table.

    We can always look at this from my metaphor. Since it's ineffective for, say, France to confront America or China alone, they team up with the European continent to confront them. That's one way to tie the king's hands. But that doesn't mean that France is high minded. France may have oil contracts on their minds and so they are maneuvering to confront America which thwarts those contracts and so they played the EU for its own machinations.

    And we can't be surprised, then, when we see the effects of this confrontation. There's only a handful of major petroleum development companies in the world that could undertake an operation such as the rebuilding of Iraq. One is Halliburton based in the U.S. Take one guess where their top two competitors are located. While Saddam was in default of his UN obligations, both France and Germany were dealing under the table to get what they could. They could do this because America had been the great Satan in the previous war in Iraq and Saddam would never deal with Americans.

    It's great to be an idealist, but what good is your ideal if it can't carry down to your children? In a world of limited resources and without effective supernational enforcement, it's every country for themselves. When Europe has been suckered by Americans enough, they're going to have to do adopt a more American stance, for better or for worse. They already do, it's just disguised under the banner of the EU, much like the Americans used the UN to battle communism in South Korea. Measures like Kyoto were weak. It limited the actions of America but not those of developing nations such as India. Moreover, the measures would have had a greater impact on limiting industry than on reducing pollution. Why would any country agree to those terms? That's like a coach telling his boxer "Let him hit you harder and harder. Don't worry, it's only fair." Right. Fair is only used in the sense of the have-nots taking things from the haves anymore. No, thanks, I'll take my chances by going down fighting.

    It will be further interesting if the next great energy resource was only located in France; how long they would stay in the EU?

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    US foreign policy (2.50 / 2) (#468)
    by dlec on Sat May 08, 2004 at 11:09:19 AM EST

    I've really enjoyed following this argument, hope you don't mind me crashing.

    Firstly I would like to agree with you that the primary reason for the state is to look out for the state, and the state will always do everything in its power to further its position. Secondly, I would also like to agree with IHY in saying that the EU is a noble goal, and its constitution often makes ecological, safety, and welfare sacrifices rather than having a pure profit motive.

    I am able to make these two seemingly contradictory statements because, it is the opinion of those conuntries that do not benefit financially from there inclusion in the club, that the other benefits like peace, stability, and goodwill are worth paying for. Britain, for example is a big net loser from being a member of the EU -- there have been discussions about this only recently in the House of Lords -- but its politicians have consitently believed that the other benefits were worth the money.

    You would like us to believe that since Britain once behaved as America know does, that if we had the chance again we would necesarilly do the same thing, but I question that logic, and for this reason; the world has changed since the days of the empire, and there are now a new set of challenges such that a purely profit driven outlook is no longer in the best long term interests of the state. Namely:

    1. Terrorism is the new evil (post cold war) and terrorism is a function of poverty, fear and distrust
    2. If we assume that a fairer distribtion of goods must eventually occur (see point 1), then the wealth of a country is necesarilly dependent on the wealth of the world, which is a function of peace and information/capital sharing
    3. The global information networks are making the peoples of the world better informed, such that the unfair practices of any superpower will be more readily objected to, and opposing people/countries will be more likely to act in concert to oppose them.

    So you see, the criticism that I may have about the US is not only that it acts in the interests of the US at any cost (this is a generic feature of the state, and will only dissapear when we stop identifying with states -- as you point out), but that it is stuck in a policy paralysis, and implements a foreign policy which is niether in its own long term interests, nor in any one elses. A timely example of this the invasion of Iraq as part of the US war on terror, which will actually have the effect of creating more terrorism.

    The US constantly involves itself in foreign policy which causes growing resentment against it and bigger problems down the road, rather than looking at things holistically and acting in its interests but with a view to the long term. As a neo-con you are part of an out of touch and soon dying breed which will create the momentum for a more sensible, caring US government at some point in the future.

    [ Parent ]

    "bigger problems down the road" argument (none / 0) (#486)
    by SocratesGhost on Sat May 08, 2004 at 07:12:49 PM EST

    Welcome to the debate, the more the merrier.

    Before going fully in to "bigger problems down the road", I'd like to point out that item #1 regarding terrorism only is a new evil. It does not replace the existing evils in the wold, but adds to it. While the actions of the US may be futile in fighting that terrorism (time will tell) the policy is also a statement to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and especially North Korea which harbor well known existing evils. Iraq is a proxy war with North Korea in many ways.

    An aggressive foreign policy is easy to despise but it bears fruit beyond the immediate area of aggression. Arguably, one of the reasons that Bin Laden was saying the U.S. was weak was because during the first Gulf War we didn't even remove the head of state. The reason we didn't do so was fear of destroying the coalition we had among our arab allies at the time. I'm hard pressed to think of a single greater conflict in which a head of state was not also deposed. Let me stress this: not deposing Saddam the first time around gave Bin Laden the impression that the U.S. was effectively contained.

    Leaving Saddam in power caused a bigger problem down the road one that no one in 1991 could have foreseen. A proportional response to the terrorist attacks on America is not enough; pursuing only Bin Laden ignores Iraq's constant antagonism to the United States and its allies. Bin Laden objected to U.S. troops being in holy cities including those in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. We upped the ante, as we always have. It may be an out of touch model but no other measure has proved successful in restraining aggressors. Ever. Just ask the founding fathers of Carthage. At this point,believing otherwise is wishful thinking. We were aggressive against Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Panama, and Iraq. What aggressor has ever been contained by diplomacy? Bin Laden is an aggressor and we have to strike at the root. We may not succeed, but failure is certain if we do not try.

    There is not a doubt in my mind that Iraq was a state that supported terrorism. Two months before the attack, Saddam Hussein was funding the families of suicide bombers in Israel. Sources are not difficult to find. We may create more terrorists by attacking, but how many more would we have created by not attacking? Bigger problems lay down both roads; so you cannot only consider only the road we are on.

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    Bin Laden -- made in the USA (none / 1) (#554)
    by dlec on Mon May 10, 2004 at 07:18:22 AM EST

    You're clearly very intelligent, but I also believe that on this point you are a little misinformed, if not misguided.

    Suggesting that Bin Laden was encouraged to further his aggressive ambition by the inaction of America during the Gulf War is, while possibly true (I have no knowledge of this), a failure to diagnose the root cause of this problem. You need to look a little further back. Bin Laden was created by the US, and is a direct result of earlier aggressive and arrogant US foreign policy. I am not sure if you know the story, but it is roughly like this (as I understand it):

    During the Vietnam war the USSR bankrolled the Vietcong resistance, causing the deaths of untold American soldiers and a humiliating defeat. The US were outraged by this, and when the opportunity presented itself in the form of the Afghanistan conflict, they took their revenge -- the USSR were beaten in Afghanistan because the US funded and trained the _so called_ Afghani Freedom Fighters.

    Bin Laden was a patriotic Arab, and like many others, was one of the foreign fighters there helping to protect the Afghanis from invasion. At the time he was also pro-US, believing that the US were sympathetic to the Afghani cause, and were genuinely pro freedom and pro democracy.

    When the Afghanis had beaten the USSR back to the point that a stalemate had ensued, they pulled out all help, and broke all there promises about helping to set the country free; they left it in a shambles and a civil war ensued. At this point Bin Laden realised that he had been used, and that the US were arrogant imperialists, and not to be trusted. An enemy was created, and he vowed to have his revenge -- which he later did.

    It was not a failure to act agressively enough that was the problem, but the lying, deceit, and arrogance of a country that enjoys presenting itself to others as the pinacle of moral goodness. If you don't believe this you should only look at the fact that you have a word 'unamerican', which essentially means 'imoral or unkind'. I no of no other country that has a word like that, or has the conviction to believe they are, as a country, morally superior.

    The lies and the deceit is where the resentment of your country comes from. The audacity to then claim the moral high ground is just like rubbing salt into the wounds.

    [ Parent ]

    This argument is vastly overblown (none / 0) (#557)
    by SocratesGhost on Mon May 10, 2004 at 12:09:22 PM EST

    To characterize Afghanistan as stupid retaliation for Vietnam is very shortsighted and ignores a consistent U.S. policy spanning almost 70 years. Since Korea, America engaged communism where ever it has tried to spread. While we failed in Vietnam, there's also the cases of Korea, Haiti, Cuba and Brazil to consider. Consider every major intervention until the first Persian Gulf War and you'd recognize that this was a consistent and prudent policy for the sake of the free world. You can call it arrogant, but I will have to presume that you would not have minded if the Iron Curtain fell across Europe then. Imagine beautiful Paris reduced to the condition of East Germany. Again, you cannot only consider the path we are on, but the alternative path.

    As for bin Laden, while it is true that the U.S. funded the Mujahideen, Osama's assets were (and remain) enormous. His family is one of the biggest contracting companies in Saudi Arabia and Osama himself has more money than most people in the world (something like $300 million). He would have been a fundamentalist monster with/without the assistance of the U.S. He was never pro-US; he was always pro-muslim. He accepted U.S. help but always distanced himself from the U.S. itself. The problems arose when he didn't have any targets in the face of the Soviet retreat. His "army" was well-trained, well-funded, but had no place to go. It wasn't until after the first Gulf War that he had an excuse and decided to fight against America, specifically the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

    To my knowledge, these supposed promises of U.S. support to rebuild Afghanistan are pure conjecture. I have never found any evidence from a reliable source to support this claim. I'd be interested in hearing otherwise. I hear this repeated here on K5 a bit, but repeating it doesn't make it true.

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    Re: This argument is vastly overblown (none / 0) (#571)
    by wastl on Mon May 10, 2004 at 04:22:34 PM EST

    To characterize Afghanistan as stupid retaliation for Vietnam is very shortsighted and ignores a consistent U.S. policy spanning almost 70 years.

    The policy against communism began at the end of WWII. That's not 70 years, merely 60. Furthermore, the first real conflict was that of Korea, in the 50ies, merely 50 years ago.

    Since Korea, America engaged communism where ever it has tried to spread. While we failed in Vietnam, there's also the cases of Korea, Haiti, Cuba and Brazil to consider.

    Exactly how did you succeed in Cuba?

    And for Brazil, as far as I know they now have a socialist government, and for the first time for decades they appear to be better off than before. Oh, and how did you avoid Socialism in Brazil? By supporting a military coup resulting in a dictatorship. Really great! Not that this is inconsistent with US foreign policy ...

    Sebastian

    [ Parent ]

    Your point? (none / 0) (#578)
    by SocratesGhost on Mon May 10, 2004 at 05:16:22 PM EST

    My point was that Afghanistan must be understood as a longstanding part of U.S. policy. Yours was... I'm not sure. Were you trying to say it wasn't?

    Oh, and our policy goes back to before WWII. Even further, really, if you consider the Monroe Doctrine and Teddy Roosevelt.

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    oh also... (none / 0) (#559)
    by SocratesGhost on Mon May 10, 2004 at 12:30:58 PM EST

    Unamerican merely means unpatriotic to America or unsupportive of the ideals America considers important such as liberty. I'm not aware of anyone using it any other sense.

    Also, I've never argued from a stance of moral superiority. As I constantly make clear, morality has nothing to do with nations.

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    Interesting (none / 0) (#580)
    by I Hate Yanks on Mon May 10, 2004 at 05:58:33 PM EST

    It's interesting that you consider liberty to be important. It doesn't come across at all in your politics.


    Reasons to hate Americans (No. 812): Circletimessquare lives there.
    [ Parent ]

    well (none / 0) (#581)
    by SocratesGhost on Mon May 10, 2004 at 06:20:50 PM EST

    It's a matter of enforceability. It's possible to lose liberty without the resolve to defend it. We can enforce it internally, but externally much more is outside our control. Virtually all of American policy is designed to defend American freedom. The liberty of the rest of the world must be secondary to that. It's not unlike the instruction they give you on airlines: in the event of a drop in cabin pressure, secure the oxygen mask to yourself before securing it to your child. Before we can secure the liberty of our neighbor, we must secure liberty for ourselves. If our neighbor threatens us even by its own free choice, the survival mechanisms must come in to play. It has to be that way.

    Like I say, in a world of limited resources every country must take care of itself. The consequences for failure are much too extreme.

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    what's wrong with saving private ryan? (nt) (none / 0) (#373)
    by zenofchai on Fri May 07, 2004 at 01:45:50 PM EST


    --
    as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
    so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
    [ Parent ]
    The Indestructible Jew (nt) (none / 0) (#421)
    by ksandstr on Fri May 07, 2004 at 06:08:57 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    WTF ? (none / 0) (#287)
    by Nursie on Thu May 06, 2004 at 05:14:00 PM EST

    We made the internet. And Tang. And Special K cereal. Nothing is indispensable. We could all survive on mutton or sabre tooth cats like Ye Olde Tymes. But a good day starts with Tang;
    WTF is Tang? never heard of it. If you're going to tell us about great things the US has brought to the British, at least use ones that have actually made it here......

    Meta Sigs suck.

    [ Parent ]
    Tang. (none / 2) (#295)
    by Dr Caleb on Thu May 06, 2004 at 05:57:30 PM EST

    Powdered Orange Drink. It's relationship to Orange Juice is merely co-incidental by the colour and the fact it has Vitamin C. I liked it before my taste buds fully formed.


    Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

    There is no K5 cabal.
    [ Parent ]

    So then (none / 1) (#251)
    by trhurler on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:10:54 PM EST

    If nobody wants to be an American, why are people the world over begging us to raise our immigration quotas? Why do we have one of the world's largest illegal immigration problems? Very strange. Perhaps you're just a loony nutball troll with a small penis who's still pissed that his mom pushed him off because she couldn't feel it.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    I love you trhurler (n/t) (none / 0) (#264)
    by I Hate Yanks on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:13:29 PM EST


    Reasons to hate Americans (No. 812): Circletimessquare lives there.
    [ Parent ]
    To use you as a stepping stone to paradise.... (none / 3) (#272)
    by JohnnyCannuk on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:26:30 PM EST

    CANADA!!!!!

    ;-)


    We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
    [ Parent ]

    ;-) - N/T (none / 0) (#296)
    by Dr Caleb on Thu May 06, 2004 at 05:58:23 PM EST


    Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

    There is no K5 cabal.
    [ Parent ]

    Because (none / 1) (#297)
    by Dr Caleb on Thu May 06, 2004 at 05:59:27 PM EST

    why are people the world over begging us to raise our immigration quotas?

    You are being invaded. Slowly.


    Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

    There is no K5 cabal.
    [ Parent ]

    silly (none / 0) (#483)
    by anonymous cowerd on Sat May 08, 2004 at 05:53:27 PM EST

    If that was deliberate, then it was a startling category shift worthy of the finest trolls at the late lamented Adequacy. You and the rest of the readers here ought to be aware of the vast difference between:

    a.) An individual desiring to reside and work in the U.S.A., for a U.S. sized paycheck in U.S. dollars - e.g., Mexican construction laborers on my reservoir project bringing in $US 18,000 per year, that's 200,000 pesos or better than four times the average income in Mexico, so if that laborer remits a third of his income, his family in Mexico surges to above the median income there,

    and

    b.) That individual admiring the foreign policy of the U.S. government, which gives lip service to democracy at home while systematically obliterating every outburst of it in the Third World; or admiring Wall Street's financial dominance, which is primarily responsible for the disparity in exchange rates that makes manual labor in Mexico worth a quarter or a tenth of identical labor in Tampa; or admiring America's oppressive and vulgar popular culture, so disgustingly worshipped by its citizens, which continually slops across our borders like cargo spilt over the edge of an overloaded garbage scow.

    But then as I remember from a discussion a few years back, you have a certain difficulty distinguishing between states and individuals.

    Yours WDK - WKiernan@ij.net

    Minnamin, Gut mag alkan, Pern dirstan.
    [ Parent ]

    Gee, thanks (none / 0) (#484)
    by trhurler on Sat May 08, 2004 at 06:32:07 PM EST

    Guess what? The Mexicans I talk to who work around here(there are a lot of them in St. Louis, strangely enough,) seem to really like the US. Not just the paycheck, but the place. The people. The life in general. They're not just working to help people back home; they're trying to bring their families with them.

    Also, the reason Mexico is so economically screwed up MIGHT just have something to do with their own inability to put together a government that isn't thoroughly corrupt, or their inability to put together economic reforms that aren't transparent excuses to line some pockets, and so on. I mean, sure, Wall Street MIGHT have something to do with it too, but unless you're implying that Mexicans are incompetent, the most Wall Street can really do is control its investment in Mexico, and you know that's with an eye to maximizing profits, rather than for some hidden political agenda.

    But, alas, you were merely trolling me when you accused me of trolling, because Mexicans are hardly the only people who immigrate to the US. Fool.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    typical (2.25 / 4) (#255)
    by zenofchai on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:32:58 PM EST

    You're the only country to ever have discharged an atomic weapon on civilians.

    To quote a different comment I already posted elsewhere in this article:

    ... You know why typical European apologists bring up Hiroshima and Nagasaki all the time and not Dresden? Because they understand the fucking purpose of Dresden. It was horrible, one of the worst war atrocities every committed. But it perhaps brought the war to an earlier end, early enough to keep the Germans from developing their own nuclear weapons, etc.

    European apologists bring up Hiroshima and Nagasaki all the damned time: "Waaaaaaahhh... the US is the only country ever to nuke civilians". When more civilians died in Dresden to help win in Europe, why bring up the Pacific Theatre? Because hardly anybody in the E.U. gave a flying fuck about the Pacific Theatre ...

    Jesus. Atomic weapons!!! Oh god!!! The horror!!! If you happened to have been born in the Phillippines or Saigon, you'd have been glad that the Empire of Japan wasn't torturing and raping your family anymore, or bombing your cities, sinking your ships.
    --
    as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
    so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
    [ Parent ]

    That comment was (2.83 / 6) (#291)
    by GenerationY on Thu May 06, 2004 at 05:52:35 PM EST

    stupid then and its stupid now.

    If the Americans had turned up when they were asked (like the bloody brave and still very highly thought-of Anzacs did if you want a point of comparison) then they wouldn't have had to fight Japan in the first place. The US only had problems with Japan when Germany attacked Russia. If the US had acted sooner things would never have got to that point.

    Dresden is not easy to defend, but having your cities pounded every night with incendaries might change one's thinking. Harris was himself influenced by the blitz. I can't see America taking the moral high ground anyway, 50% of the planes were American B-17s.

    The EU didn't exist in the 1940s. That aside, Europeans did fight in the Pacific theatre, and in significant numbers. It may have escaped your notice, but the countries they were after were not just American protectorates. In fact the British army was there before the Americans (my great uncle was there and we still have the Pacific Cross that he earned). The Anzacs and the French were also there and managed to succesfully repel the Japanese through Indochina and Malaya. The largest single sea battle in the Pacific was the Coral Sea, in which an English/Australian fleet destroyed the Japanese fleet that was heading for Guinea.

    A large British battle group was actually in dock in Sydney when the atom bomb was dropped, but they were due to join up with Halsey to invade Japan. The plan at the time was for British Indian Army to be the second wave in the invasion of Japan once it had had time in remass in Sumatra having ceased operations in Indochina and Guinea.

    So, if you were born in the Philipines or Saigon you actually have Europeans to thank, not Americans, who weren't even interested until the British and the Australians had already entered into defending them.

    [ Parent ]

    Damn. (none / 0) (#306)
    by GenerationY on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:21:22 PM EST

    Coral sea? what was I thinking of. Brain misfired there. American/Australian that was supposed to be. (Well actually American/Australian/English in the sense it was Royal Australian Navy which at the time consisted of British ships crewed by at least some British-trained sailors). The defence of Port Moresby, but not the Coral sea itself, was of a longer duration than Midway (so bigger was wrong). The point being that you weren't on your own there either, depsite the fact its often portrayed as such.

    [ Parent ]
    damn (none / 2) (#344)
    by zenofchai on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:08:13 PM EST

    too bad my history classes never mentioned british or other involvement in the pacific theatre. that's what I get for seeking "education" in America. guess I have a bunch of reading to do.
    --
    as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
    so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
    [ Parent ]
    Honestly (none / 1) (#350)
    by GenerationY on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:39:55 PM EST

    you shame me with your decency here.

    On reflection I've overstated more than a few things here, but it is basically true that Europeans were there. But then again, it was bits of European empires being invaded so its not like they were acting out of some form of altruism or anything.

    [ Parent ]

    altruism (none / 2) (#367)
    by zenofchai on Fri May 07, 2004 at 01:38:05 PM EST

    it was bits of European empires being invaded so its not like they were acting out of some form of altruism or anything.

    well it's not like the USofA was acting out of altruism either -- Pearl Harbor and all. If Japan had just taken the Phillippines and China and not pushed outward, would the US have really gotten so involved?
    --
    as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
    so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
    [ Parent ]

    Well (none / 1) (#377)
    by PrinceSausage on Fri May 07, 2004 at 02:00:50 PM EST

    They were supporting Chiang Kai-Shek in China. And dropped the ball. But I won't get into that subject because it annoys me too much.

    [ Parent ]
    please do (none / 2) (#389)
    by zenofchai on Fri May 07, 2004 at 02:34:49 PM EST

    could you maybe post a link or something in lieu of having to truly having to get into the subject? like most americans most of what I know about China in WW-II I "learned" from watching documentaries about the Last Emperor, or reading "historical fiction" like a few snippets in Cryptonomicon or something.

    All I know really about Chiang Kai-Shek is that he later would be the Allied commander in China and go on to establish "China" on the Island of Taiwain after the Communist Party of China took Beijing. "Fact snippets". I haven't read much about American support for Kai-Shek -- supported against the already de-throned monarchy or Communist forces, or simply supported vs. Japan?
    --
    as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
    so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
    [ Parent ]

    Just a short note (none / 2) (#424)
    by PrinceSausage on Fri May 07, 2004 at 06:36:28 PM EST

    I am sure you can find loads of information using google. However, after Chiang Kai Shek purged the Kuomintang of communist elements he received support from Germany and the Sovietunion in the fight against the japanese in the sino-japanese war. The russians had use for him (and the communists who waged a fairly successful guerilla campaign) since he stopped a potential second front in Siberia. Germany supported Chiang Kai Shek but left him to hang when they allied with Japan. But the support for Chiang Kai Shek in the US was strong, he was - as far as anyone could tell - the only hope China had for becoming something akin to a democracy. Part of this may have been because his wife had, if I remember correctly, studied extensively in the US. In any case, he was an important ally in the pacific theatre and one should remember that the chinese lost more than 3 million soldiers in the sino-japanese war. After the end of WWII there was a brief period of calm before the civil war broke out. The US still supported Chiang Kai Shek but Mao Zedong and the communists still prevailed. Had this not been the case, well, the world would probably look very different. Oh well.

    [ Parent ]
    And two names for you to look up (none / 1) (#425)
    by PrinceSausage on Fri May 07, 2004 at 06:39:55 PM EST

    Stilwell and Chennault.

    [ Parent ]
    if its moral highground (none / 3) (#317)
    by thankyougustad on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:02:44 PM EST

    . . .that people are trying to find, no one country can claim it, except perhaps Tibet. Even in your comparison of European and American theatres of operation in the Pacific, there are tacit admissions to Europe's inadequacy in the past when held up to modern standards of. . . what international morality? Niether Europe nor America is leaping forward to put an end to things like world hunger, poor health care, bad education, and corrupt government when it does not affect them. Which makes me thing. . . let's look again to Tibet.
    Why compare countries? In history they are all just about either equally good or equally bad, depending on how you look at it.

    No no thanks no
    Je n'aime que le bourbon
    no no thanks no
    c'est une affaire de got.

    [ Parent ]
    Yes (none / 1) (#332)
    by GenerationY on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:54:44 PM EST

    Absolutely. I agree entirely.
    Erm wish I could find more to say to amplify what you've already said really.

    [ Parent ]
    You are so full of shit. (none / 1) (#318)
    by mr strange on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:02:53 PM EST

    Deaths due to Dresden bombing: 30,000 - 175,000 (Wikipedia: Dresden), 25,000 (USAF)

    Deaths due to Hiroshima bombing: 140,000 (Wikipedia: Hiroshima, USAF), 200,000 (A-Bomb WWW Project.)

    Deaths due to Nagasaki bombing: 100,000 (Wikipedia: Nagasaki), 70,000 (A-Bomb WWW Project., USAF)

    intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
    [ Parent ]

    hm. (none / 0) (#345)
    by zenofchai on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:10:26 PM EST

    I've always heard Dresden numbers like 300,000.
    --
    as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
    so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
    [ Parent ]
    I agree except one point (2.62 / 8) (#326)
    by mcgrew on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:30:15 PM EST

    Bush is no Christian, fundamentalist or otherwise. He claims to be a Christian, and he may well even believe it, but his actions are completely contrary to Christ's teachings.

    "Right Wing Christian" is an oxymoron. Christians do not despise the poor, they help the poor. Christians do not worship money, they worship God Allmighty.

    For every Christian there are ten who claim to be Christian that don't even believe in God, let alone His son. They pretend to be Cghristians for their own selfish ends.

    "The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
    [ Parent ]

    +1 Good article (1.57 / 7) (#183)
    by Gervase on Thu May 06, 2004 at 11:54:07 AM EST

    I may disagree with some of the things proposed (missile defense) but overall a very insightful article. There are some good ideas in each section, and it's not poisoned with blatant over-the-top left/right wing rhetoric, as far as I can see.

    I don't think america can wall up, actually. (2.81 / 11) (#185)
    by Surial on Thu May 06, 2004 at 11:56:06 AM EST

    IIRC, a lot of asian countries have bought a tonne of dollars just to keep the dollar stable enough for their exports to remain viable. In essence, the government of china both appeases the US and boosts it's own business interests by buying up dollars - and, as a third bonus, those dollars are eventually going to be worth a little, and they can get interest on it, and such. All in all an easy and apparently cheap way to boost your own business.

    However, if the USA then turns around on those countries by walling up, and ending a lot of the current trade, either directly through laws and tariffs or indirectly by focussing local industry on the areas that are currently served mostly by importing goods - you get a real political problem. A very real political problem. It would in essence increase the complaints and anti-americanism regarding braindead world politics decisions, and those complainers would have a point.

    So, your only recourse then, is to not wall up at all, or to wall up and stay walled up. Forever. As other countries get more and more peeved, this wall turns into a berlin wall if you're not careful. You'd be denying your own citizens the pleasure of travelling abroad, to see friends, friendly, or just to see the sights. Your own country will slowly but surely start slowing down compared to the rest of the world.

    ... or you go for rampant imperialism and try to rule the whole world. I doubt that'll work, either, for obvious reasons.

    In short: It's not that simple.
    --
    "is a signature" is a signature.

    I think that's his point. [nt] (none / 0) (#235)
    by emmons on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:26:41 PM EST



    ---
    In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
    -Douglas Adams

    [ Parent ]
    F... 'em (none / 3) (#303)
    by cdguru on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:13:10 PM EST

    As far as international trade goes, I would suggest you consider that an international imbalance of trade is of importance only when you care what goods and services you can buy on an international market.

    The "Wal-Mart-ization" of the US has left the country in a state where wages have gone up a little but real prices for most goods and services have stayed level.  What this means is that your average manufacturer or retailer has to keep cutting costs as labor and utilities increase in price.  So, drop the US manufacturers and buy only stuff made in China.  This is not a long-term solution, as it just makes everyone in the US poorer in the long run.  It also leaves the US in a very precarious state without any manufacturing base and supplying everything at the whim of overseas manufacturers and long distance transportation.

    What if we said to the world that we weren't trading dollers with them anymore.  Their investments in the US were ... CANCELLED.  Our debts to anyone outside the US were ... CANCELLED.  We're taking the marbles and going home.  All the marbles.

    OK, this would utterly ruin people employed in the import-export businesses and a lot of transportation companies.  Prices for things would rise.  Labor costs would rise.  You might be actually able to earn a "living wage" working in a retail store rather than that sort of work going to illegal immigrants that see minimum wage work being 10x what they can make at home.

    The upside of this is that it would mean manufacturers would reopen and there would be plenty of jobs for people even with minimal technical skills.  There would be a transition period maybe as long as a year, but there would be clearly full employment.  The military no longer makes up a substantial pool of labor, and there would still need to be border defense so not all of the people recalled from foreign posts would be looking for work - and there would be plenty of jobs for those that were.

    Oil imports would end because everyone would have gotten screwed by the debt cancellations.  This, coupled with the resurgance of manufacturing jobs would change the face of American cities - instead of suburban flight there would be jobs in the cities again and these would be well paying blue-collar jobs.

    I'm not saying it would be 1952 again with June Cleaver waiting for Wally and the Beaver, but it would be hugely different in a very short period of time.  It would certainly provide a lot of motivation to change how some things are done and might just provide the kick to get alternatives to internal combustion powered vehicles on the roads in large numbers.

    [ Parent ]

    Oh yeah (none / 1) (#375)
    by PrinceSausage on Fri May 07, 2004 at 01:53:43 PM EST

    And maybe I could call the bank and say "Hey, screw you, I am not paying my mortgage". Might doesn't make right. See, this is what happens when kids miss out on reading T H White.

    [ Parent ]
    Err, are you nuts? (none / 0) (#539)
    by Surial on Sun May 09, 2004 at 09:44:18 PM EST

    Default on the trillion dollars of debt that the USA has stacked up? That's exactly what I meant with: Careful that you don't turn your wall into a berlin wall. As the rest of the world probably won't go to war with the USA for defaulting all their debt, they'll probably collectively decide to ignore the states. No flights can land. No trade in or out. Internet might be cut off.

    The world goes on, America is it's own little world. Some nutcases actually suggest this - but I predict that the USA will rapidly fall behind the rest of the world - and a nasty piece of new cold war will break out.

    No, I'm afraid the only way out is to pay it all back, slowly.
    --
    "is a signature" is a signature.

    [ Parent ]

    A different approach (1.75 / 8) (#194)
    by coward anonymous on Thu May 06, 2004 at 12:25:16 PM EST

    I would not agree that most people in the world hate the U.S. As one form of proof I would pit U.S. immigration statistics against any other nation's immigration statistics. For some reason more people are clamoring to live in the U.S and I don't think it is because they hate it and want to destroy it from the inside.

    However, how about accepting that being top dog entails being hated by a lot of wannabes?
    Yes, the U.S. may be hated by many people but world affairs are not about popularity, it is not high school. They are about getting what you want, jealous detractors be damned.
    Let the moaners moan because that is all they can do. Were they capable of doing more, they would have done more to further their own objectives instead of moaning.
    The being said, I do think the U.S. should pull out of Europe entirely. It will push Europe to take responsibility for its own problems and to assume a more realistic view of the world.

    Pull out of Europe? (3.00 / 4) (#196)
    by Dr Phil on Thu May 06, 2004 at 12:32:19 PM EST

    Exactly what problems is the US solving by being in Europe?

    *** ATTENTION *** Rusty has disabled my account for anti-Jewish views. What a fucking hypocrite.
    [ Parent ]
    None (none / 0) (#210)
    by coward anonymous on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:26:56 PM EST

    That is why I think it should pull out.

    [ Parent ]
    Well (none / 1) (#358)
    by Dr Phil on Thu May 06, 2004 at 10:41:59 PM EST

    I do think the U.S. should pull out of Europe entirely. It will push Europe to take responsibility for its own problems and to assume a more realistic view of the world.

    That sentence implies the EU has "problems" that they'd have to face if the US pulled out.

    *** ATTENTION *** Rusty has disabled my account for anti-Jewish views. What a fucking hypocrite.
    [ Parent ]

    Err, well, there was that (none / 0) (#440)
    by treetops on Fri May 07, 2004 at 09:10:51 PM EST

    ethnic cleansing thing you guys seem to be so big on.
    --tt
    [ Parent ]
    Yugoslavia (none / 0) (#523)
    by coward anonymous on Sun May 09, 2004 at 01:37:44 PM EST

    American power wielded on Europe's behalf.

    [ Parent ]
    Regarding the EU statement... (2.25 / 4) (#203)
    by Del Monte Cyber Monkey on Thu May 06, 2004 at 12:57:57 PM EST

    ...I think you've been brainwashed by some crazy notion that the EU owes something to the US. It doesn't. Were merely allies and close trading partners. If you think you are somehow propping Europeans up, wise up and think again.

    Ah, Del Monte!


    [ Parent ]
    No (none / 1) (#208)
    by coward anonymous on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:25:28 PM EST

    The EU doesn't owe anything to the US and yes they are allies. Good allies that will probably remain so.
    At the same time, Europe has gotten fat and lazy to the point that the latest "NATO" military involvement in the Balkans was essentially an American involvement at the request of European allies. I'm not talking about the feel good policing that is occuring now, I'm talking about the heavy bombing and military might that was used. It was overwhelmingly American. Mostly because the Europeans could not mount an effective offensive.
    Europe wants more stewardship in world affairs, let it start at home.


    [ Parent ]
    yeah, they don't owe crap (2.40 / 5) (#244)
    by LilDebbie on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:51:25 PM EST

    forget that whole Marshall Plan deal and how we rebuilt the continent from fucking ashes. no, god forbid we get any thanks for that.

    My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
    - hugin -

    [ Parent ]
    brainwashing (2.40 / 5) (#293)
    by dlec on Thu May 06, 2004 at 05:52:59 PM EST

    It always amazes me how people from different nations can be so biased about world events. The British for example like to believe that they brought a rennaisance to India during there occupation after the previous occupation by the moguls, but others are far more likely to have the opinion that they raped the country of all its resources. [both opinions are more or less correct]

    This Marshall Plan is just such an example. Before the two world wars Britain was sickeningly rich due to it's profiteering through the days of the empire, and Europe as a whole was the richest continent. After those two wars the continent was at a low, and America were able to get favourable investment deals through the re-construction effort. Shrewd investment during Europe's weak point was a true bargain.

    You see it the other way only because of your patriotic bias. The amount of Americans who believe that their country is actually helping poorer countries (as opposed to profiteering from them) never seems to amaze me. They believe what it feels good to believe, and what the media tells them to believe, rather than seeing the whole picture.

    [ Parent ]

    While you make a tangental point... (2.75 / 4) (#312)
    by Del Monte Cyber Monkey on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:38:28 PM EST

    ...you can't seriously expect to hold us to that plan forever, can you? And if you say that the Marshall plan was for purely altruistic motives, you'd better do some more historical research.

    The reason were close allies and partners is because of many of our shared beliefs. Not because we feel we owe you one. When a friend helps me, even if he makes a good deal out of it (or especially because of that), I don't go around kissing his ass. Thanks for the help, but lets move on.


    Ah, Del Monte!


    [ Parent ]
    far from the truth. (none / 2) (#431)
    by Battle Troll on Fri May 07, 2004 at 07:23:09 PM EST

    And if you say that the Marshall plan was for purely altruistic motives, you'd better do some more historical research.

    It was to prevent either WWIII, total Soviet domination of Europe, or starvation on a genocidal scale (Germany's industrial base and institutions were totally destroyed by the end of WWII; the winter of 1945 would have been repeated over and over.) The Marshall Plan was unquestionably the most farsighted act of American foreign policy in history.

    If you think you are somehow propping Europeans up, wise up and think again.

    In fact, no continental Western European nation has a war-ready military. Were it not for France and Britain's stature as nuclear powers, and the certainty of American intervention, western Europe would be vulnerable even to Turkish and Russian military pressure. I mean, you can't win a war just by being rich. From 1945 to 1991, the USA was the sole state capable of resisting the USSR in Europe. This has left a lasting military vacuum in Western Europe (and other client states of the USA, particularly Canada.)
    --
    Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
    Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
    [ Parent ]

    That is a very simple minded (none / 2) (#229)
    by GenerationY on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:14:06 PM EST

    interpretation of immigration statistics. Lets review this issue: the UK is about the size of Oregon. Lets compare Oregon's immigration statistics with those of the UK shall we? Hmmm.

    Oregon: 12,000 ('03 was an untypically high year, but what the hell)
    UK: 180,000

    Yes, its a stupid comparison. But what you should realise is that all rich western countries have high levels of immigration (or attempted immigration). It has bugger all to do with what the people are like or what they believe in, it has to do with money and nothing else. Thats the reason. They are clamouring to, you know, eat and have a roof over their heads. I'm surprised you couldn't work this out for yourself.

    [ Parent ]

    Irrelevant (none / 0) (#257)
    by coward anonymous on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:38:32 PM EST

    It does not make a difference why people want to immigrate. Some want money, others want food and others want to run away from stifling societies. Pick your favorite reason, it does not make a difference. The fundamental fact is that they are unhappy where they are and firmly believe that a better life awaits them at their destination.
    Most immigrants choose the U.S.

    Your assertion about land mass does not usually apply either. For instance, Israel has absorbed, per square mile (and per capita), far more immigrants than the U.S. or England in the last 15 years. So what have you proven exactly?

    I also find it interesting that you equate immigration with third-world citizens running away from their implied third-world countries.
    Where I am, in the San Francisco bay area, there are people from everywhere on the planet, including many "rich" Europeans, and not all of them were poor and destitute when they arrived here. Still they ran away from something to be here.

    [ Parent ]

    What are you on about? (none / 1) (#270)
    by GenerationY on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:21:11 PM EST

    I find it "amusing" that you imagine I said "3rd world" when I did not. Who has the prejudices now? You need to travel more if you think the only people who are desperately poor live in the so-called 3rd world (try Eastern Europe, parts of Asia and the Americas themselves, incidentally the three biggest sources of immigrants to the USA). Indeed, I would recommend travel in general because you would realise then that what you think exceptional (the cosmopolitain atmosphere of SF) is actually the norm. I still don't think you can draw any relationship between immigration numbers and the standing of a nation in the world. Afterall, someone can hate you and still be happy to pocket your cash. It does matter why they immigrate. I'm still prepared to think money and the (supposed) lack of entrenched class/caste systems has something to do with it, rather than an undying love for old glory. I'm reminded of Mrs Merton interviewing Debbie McGee (if you don't know who this is, doesn't matter for the present purposes): "What first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?" By analogy to your way of thinking its because it was perhaps his stunning good looks or magnetic personality. The rest of us know different however.

    [ Parent ]
    Implied (none / 1) (#298)
    by coward anonymous on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:04:31 PM EST

    I said you implied 3rd world. If I misunderstood "They are clamouring to, you know, eat and have a roof over their heads" as implying a 3rd world country of origin, so be it.

    I've travelled quite a bit, thank you. I still stand by what I said. SF has a far more diverse set of people than most any other place in the world.

    Depending on how you define an immigrant I could be called one. At work I have colleagues from Sweden, Japan, Russia, Lithuania, Israel, Vietnam, China (including Hong Kong), Bulgaria, El Salvador, New Zealand, India and probably a couple others I can't remember. And this is just in my 70 employee company. My previous 1000 employee company had a similarly diverse makeup.

    [ Parent ]

    Umm (none / 0) (#310)
    by GenerationY on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:32:35 PM EST

    well fair enough. I think I was a little more fierce than I meant to be there.

    I don't find that mix especially noteworthy though, of the 15 people in my office currently, 11 of them are from outside Britain. This isn't considered massively unusual in most large European cities (OK a little, it depends on your industry). Although, this is to be expected; you've got to remember you can't compare immigration to America with EU countries, because within the EU we are free to go wherever (France to England is technically only the same as Texas to California).

    So when we think of "immigrants", in general, they are by definition from poorer countries in the event they are not from USA/Canada/Australia. Hence the fact I think of immigration as primarily economic in motivation.

    [ Parent ]

    Let's, instead, look at Alaska. (none / 0) (#573)
    by DavidTC on Mon May 10, 2004 at 04:36:54 PM EST

    The UK has had, in the last four years or so, more immigration than the population of Alaska, and Alaska has to be 10 times bigger or so.

    OTOH, instead of being goofy and using 'size', we could realize that we should be using population.

    -David T. C.
    Yes, my email address is real.
    [ Parent ]

    Higher standards (none / 2) (#299)
    by irrevenant on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:08:02 PM EST

    Expectations are higher of the US.  It is the world's powerhouse - it is in a position to take the high moral road.  This is an option that just isn't available to a lot of smaller countries that are struggling to get by.  And of the nations that do have the potential, the US is the strongest.

    The US is essentially the king of nations, and other nations look to it to rule responsibly.  It has the ability to set a high standard for the rest of the world to follow, and at the moment it's setting a pretty poor standard...

    [ Parent ]

    yes (none / 0) (#311)
    by coward anonymous on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:37:55 PM EST

    I agree, the U.S. could do better than it is doing at the present. Nevertheless, it is not in a popularity contest and owes nothing to the tireless moralizers who always seem to have something to say about American actions. The same moralizers that always seem to be less vociferous about the actions of any other country, except maybe Israel.

    I also believe that a lot of the invective directed at the U.S. will exist regardless of what the country does simply because of its dominance. To wit, there is no point in appeasing the unappeasable.

    [ Parent ]

    no point in appeasing the unappeasable. (none / 0) (#457)
    by irrevenant on Sat May 08, 2004 at 04:55:38 AM EST

    Although other nations opinions are important, the point is not appeasement.  The point is what your nation stands for, and how willing it is to stand by those standards.  Otherwise, what is its purpose as an entity?

    That reminds me, another probable reason that the USA receives a lot of attention is that it tends to hold itself up as a righteous and moral country.  When a country makes as much noise about its ideals as the US does, it's not surprising that people talk when it falls short.

    It's not a popularity contest, but when a lot of people start throwing criticisms your way, it merits some thought as to whether they're warranted.  (If they're not, you shrug and move on - like you say, no point in trying to appease the unappeasable).

    [ Parent ]

    Yes, but (none / 0) (#500)
    by coward anonymous on Sun May 09, 2004 at 03:09:04 AM EST

    The U.S. purpose as an entity is to serve its people, its citizens. That is far better than what you can say for most other countries. The U.S. acts to achieve its goals just as every other country does. There is no fair, no justice, no morals.
    The U.S. is no different than other countries in morals, self righteousness or action (however, I would say that relative to previous dominant powers in history it is relatively benign). It just happens to be more successful than other nations - economically, diplomatically and militarily.
    The U.S. is unpopular to some because it is successful, not because it is doing anything unusual.

    What is unusual is that people from around the world firmly believe they have a say in what the U.S. does and that the U.S. needs to, as you say, weigh the criticism. That is unprecedented in history.

    Show me one other country that does not hold itself to be just as righteous and moral as the U.S. claims to be? That is part and parcel of nationalism, espoused and encouraged in every modern nation. Maybe the problem is that most people believe U.S. claims of righteousness while cynically dismissing other countries' claims.

    I do not agree with everything the U.S. does. At the same time, I find most critics are either parroting the cool thing to say, are jealous at American success or are just plain hypocrites.

    [ Parent ]

    The problem is.... (1.14 / 7) (#360)
    by DDS3 on Thu May 06, 2004 at 10:50:43 PM EST

    ...Europe has a long history of not knowing their arseholes from from a hole in the ground and WE have to come bail them out.  In the long run, it's cheaper and smoother to pay the costs (monies and lives) hundreds at a time spread out over decades rather than shifting out entire econemy into war and paying millions of lives to fix their self created ignorant problems.

    Is the US perfect?  Hell no!!!  If there a horrible problem with sour grapes going on in Europe?  Absoluetely.  Hell, just look at France...again...there's a reason to nuke Europe right there!


    [ Parent ]

    sorry to break your bubble (none / 1) (#379)
    by vivelame on Fri May 07, 2004 at 02:10:14 PM EST

    but you shouldn't believe everything said on Fox News. France "plays well with other children". Seems it's the US that needs some "attitude adjustment".

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    haha (none / 0) (#524)
    by coward anonymous on Sun May 09, 2004 at 01:56:08 PM EST

    France is just like the U.S. if not worse. How about this? Notice, the Scotsman reporting what Polish troops found. No Americans in this story. I won't go into France's history either, internal or external. France has very little to be proud of.

    [ Parent ]
    Yes! France bad. (none / 1) (#553)
    by Argon on Mon May 10, 2004 at 06:24:37 AM EST

    France even sponsored the american revolution!!!
    Shame on them!

    [ Parent ]
    funny how (none / 0) (#556)
    by vivelame on Mon May 10, 2004 at 09:46:08 AM EST

    you remember this, and not the later apologies from the polish gov'. They were wrong.. but that part went mostly un-reported in US news.
    Again, you shouldn't rely on FOX News as your main source of information.

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    Ok (none / 2) (#558)
    by coward anonymous on Mon May 10, 2004 at 12:25:03 PM EST

    The Polish soldiers were wrong and I was not aware of that report.

    So let us march down the path of France's illustrious colonial history. When France was a dominant power it raped its colonies without compunction. So do not talk about how wonderful French occupation used to be.

    Maybe the only reason France is "playing nice" with its neighbors now is simply because it is powerless to do otherwise. It is not a dominant power anymore.   When it was dominant it abused its power with glee.

    [ Parent ]

    oh, i'm not (none / 0) (#640)
    by vivelame on Fri May 14, 2004 at 01:47:49 PM EST

    disputing that. French colonialist boot wasn't nice nor tender.
    Just setting your facts straight, you know..

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    What morons... (none / 2) (#610)
    by DDS3 on Tue May 11, 2004 at 03:28:04 PM EST

    ....my legit comment gets modded down.  Everything I stated was fact.  Only a moron is going to mod down a factual statement like that.

    Simple fact is, Europe has a bad history of keep peace and France has a very long and bad history of screwing the world over, up to and including current history.

    [ Parent ]

    Good Idea (2.71 / 7) (#197)
    by toby on Thu May 06, 2004 at 12:33:20 PM EST

    We've poked our noses into enough bullshit we should have avoided to last us several hundred years. There are plenty of problems at home we need to be dealing with.

    Besides, I have at least as much faith in allowing the rest of the world to sort their own problems out as I do in allowing our inept government to do it for them.

    Is the USA the root of all evil, as seems to be the fashionable external opinion? Doubtful.
    Would the world be better off if we took our ball and went home? Maybe.
    Would we be better off? Probably.

    its time for America to consider herself (1.71 / 7) (#211)
    by pacanukeha on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:30:12 PM EST

    Riiiiiight. Uhuh. Because all of the massive amounts of influence that you wield isn't used at all. Nope. No pressure on foreign governments to "harmonize" their laws by either matching American ones or (even better) enacting even more draconian ones (which allow you to jack up your own boots). No massive subsidies, corporate welfare, blood-for-oil. Feel free. Since you have a trade deficit it will hurt us more than you, but hey, "Give me liberty or give me death!" right? Should be amusing to see how Arnie gets gas for his 6 gas powered HumVees ('pparently he's going to cxonvert one to hydrogen).

    It would suck for us... (none / 1) (#232)
    by emmons on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:25:07 PM EST

    For about 5 years, until we've developed enough of our own energy production and rebuilt enough manufacturing capacity. In the long run, the US has all the natural resources it needs and we certainly have the scientific and research capacity to make efficient use of those resources.

    It would suck for the rest of the world for about a hundred. We wouldn't stop any of the major wars that would result.

    ---
    In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
    -Douglas Adams

    [ Parent ]

    great idea (1.18 / 11) (#212)
    by feyr on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:34:49 PM EST

    GREAT ideas. pull out of the world and mind your own goddamn business, as every country should do.

    the affairs of north korea, southern africa, or whatever are THEIRS. if they want to nuke themselves to dust, FUCK THEM. in the end, them being gone benefits everyone else.

    it also has the added benefit of better global health: the weaks and diseased will eventually die out and stop spreading shit to the rest of the world (what is it, 70% in africa that have AIDS?)

    it might sound horrible in the short term, but it's just what we need to survive.

    Disclaimer: I am Canadian and i do not hate america any more than anyone else

    Then you must be from Alberta (none / 1) (#221)
    by JohnnyCannuk on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:02:00 PM EST

    ...cuz you sure sound American.


    We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
    [ Parent ]

    east (none / 0) (#233)
    by feyr on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:25:32 PM EST

    no, much farther east. whitout saying where exactly

    [ Parent ]
    So then (none / 3) (#227)
    by trhurler on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:12:42 PM EST

    There's a downside to everything, and people need to think this one through before jumping on the bandwagon. Believe it or not, American aid really is keeping a lot of very poor people ALIVE every day. Do you want to see them die? Are you going to blame the US when the disease epidemic from those countries spreads to YOUR country? American global presence really IS deterring lots of things that will happen. Do you really want to see wars fought with weapons that will impact the global ecosystem, including your home? Are you going to blame the US when that happens? As much damage as there is, American technology really IS reducing the impact of industrial development in the third world. That would have to drop off drastically too, because those nations can't afford to actually PAY for that technology.

    The point is simple. You take for granted a lot of things as being "the way things are" that are only this way because the US makes them this way. Those things would all change. Sure, no more Dubya's war, and sure, the middle east conflict would finally just end in a nuclear holocaust of all the Arab nations(which Europeans are all secretly hoping for anyway while they root for Israel's destruction, what with the rapidly rising Arab populations in their countries - just see the stories about the mob violence and so on,) and so on, but what price will you pay for your solution? Do you even begin to understand it?

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    yes... (none / 3) (#231)
    by feyr on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:23:10 PM EST

    honestly, i'm all for nuking third world countries to dust. this is just another way of doing the same of course, you're right about diseases, but "airbornes" disease can (usually) be cured pretty easily with modern technology (and not just american's). carried diseases would be curbed by cutting down immigration

    [ Parent ]
    Yeah (none / 0) (#328)
    by trhurler on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:31:49 PM EST

    That Ebola is no big deal. I mean, an epidemic? We'd just solve it with our technology. No problem whatsoever.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    unfortunately (2.66 / 9) (#216)
    by fhotg on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:40:40 PM EST

    this won't work. America would never do this, because it would cause its immediate economic collapse. These days, America critically depends on capital and goods flowing into the US. Have you had a look at the USA foreign trade deficit, lately ?
    ~~~
    Gitarren fr die Mdchen -- Champagner fr die Jungs

    Not so bad (none / 0) (#223)
    by LilDebbie on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:06:36 PM EST

    If we kept a bilateral agreement with China, the rest of the world could go to hell and we'd still be able to weather it. Come to think of it, China would probably happy as shit if we pulled out of the global political arena. Bye-bye independant Taiwan!

    My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
    - hugin -

    [ Parent ]
    don't think so (none / 1) (#234)
    by fhotg on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:25:34 PM EST

    just b/c the deficit with China is largest, that doesn't mean most of the foreign capital comes from China. So if the US somehow manages to have the European and Japanese investors pull out, they're screwed.
    ~~~
    Gitarren fr die Mdchen -- Champagner fr die Jungs

    [ Parent ]
    we don't need capital (none / 0) (#245)
    by LilDebbie on Thu May 06, 2004 at 02:52:05 PM EST

    we need goods and raw materials. we're the ones with the capital.

    My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
    - hugin -

    [ Parent ]
    wrong (3.00 / 4) (#309)
    by jbuck on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:31:56 PM EST

    The US needs to import hundreds of billions a year to finance its budget deficit and trade deficit. To keep on living beyond our means, we have to keep selling off more and more of the country to foreign investors.

    The US economy has been propped up because Europeans and Asians with capital have been investing it in the US.

    [ Parent ]

    easy!, devaluate the dollar (nt) (none / 2) (#347)
    by vqp on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:18:10 PM EST



    happiness = d(Reality - Expectations) / dt

    [ Parent ]
    If you thought the russian money crisis was bad... (none / 0) (#531)
    by Trepalium on Sun May 09, 2004 at 06:11:16 PM EST

    Loaf of bread - $49,999,999.99
    Milk - $99,999,999.95
    Peanut Butter - $89,999,999.98

    Total: $239,999,999.92 plus sales tax, of course.

    [ Parent ]
    And for comparisons sake... (none / 1) (#399)
    by cr8dle2grave on Fri May 07, 2004 at 03:36:21 PM EST

    ...just how much US capital has been invested overseas?

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    ugh (none / 1) (#429)
    by Battle Troll on Fri May 07, 2004 at 07:11:31 PM EST

    America critically depends on capital and goods flowing into the US. Have you had a look at the USA foreign trade deficit, lately ?

    Economics: it's what's for breakfast.

    The technology to produce these goods has not been lost in the USA - it's merely more efficient for US workers to do whatever it is they do than to stitch Nikes.

    The USA is one of the most technologically advanced and resource-rich nations on earth and is very thinly populated. It is essentially impossible to pauperize the USA. A return to manufacturing on American soil would hurt the USA far less than the countries currently dependent on American foreign exchange.

    G**k hubris sucks! Read a book, dammit!
    --
    Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
    Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
    [ Parent ]

    Only in the long term (none / 3) (#444)
    by mcc on Fri May 07, 2004 at 10:02:43 PM EST

    The technology to produce these goods has not been lost in the USA - it's merely more efficient for US workers to do whatever it is they do than to stitch Nikes.

    The thing is, it's like Oil. Yes, supply could be covered entirely domestically if it had to be. However covering said supply domestically would be more expensive than using foreign business to produce it; this is, one would assume, why we aren't domestically covering these things already. When people talk about an "oil crunch", they aren't worried about the oil running out. They're worried about the economic havoc that would be caused by an increase in the cost of oil, given the interlinked and inscrutable nature of our economy. Likewise, the worry with the U.S. having to suddenly produce everything domestically-- with associated raises in the price of absolutely every single consumer good except those basic staples such as foodstuffs which are currently included in farming subsidy programs-- would result in God knows what sorts of economic havoc.

    A pessimistic view this would be to note that just because we could produce these goods doesn't mean we would. Almost certainly there would be at least some industries for which the new increased cost of production would rise above what the standard Supply/Demand negotiation would bear. Many industries would have to shrink because they could no longer export. Many industries would have have to shrink because they exist in a market where producer surplus drops with sales volumes, and the former consumers are capable of making do without rather than spend that extra $1.20. At least some small number of industries would reach the point where it is no longer profitable to make anything at all at costs that a significant number of consumers are willing to pay. America would be free to be America, alone, but it might not so much resemble what we call America today, at least not at first. It might more resemble a Soviet state, or perhaps (more reasonably) something like America during World War Two. Rather than the consumer friendly You Can Buy Anything culture we would have at the very least have to yield until the local economy stabilized itself to a model where shortages are common for isolated industries, people stitch up and continue to use (for example) a pair of shoes for another year or two rather than just buying new ones because they feel like it, and we might even at least once hear the dreaded word rationing.

    The USA is one of the most technologically advanced and resource-rich nations on earth and is very thinly populated. It is essentially impossible to pauperize the USA. A return to manufacturing on American soil would hurt the USA far less than the countries currently dependent on American foreign exchange.

    Probably so. But in the short term it would cause serious problems. Switching from using Indonesian sweatshops to using local labor aided by technology would require a very large investment of capital, made much larger (if this process must happen quickly) by the fact that those industries responsible for building and mechanization would be briefly overloaded. This would naturally mean lots of money pumped to consumers in the form of hiring labor to stitch shoes and engineers to design machines to automate the process of making shoes where previously the manufacture would have just been outsourced. But the problem is all that money has to come from somewhere. Industry would be facing not only the inherently changed cost structures of a world of domestic-only production, it would be facing huge and purely temporary infrastructure costs. How would these costs be covered? Probably not by the nations banks, which-- at the same time they have to learn to survive without the same kinds of interaction with foreign investments and investors-- would be suddenly so inundated with so many requests for loans at the same time that their ability to predict which loans will turn out bad would be entirely to function.

    There are ways around every bit of the above worries. But the question is whether America is willing to to take the steps necessary to neutralize these worries. There are things we could do; for example, tax subsidies for infrastructure improvements, or increasing the farm subsidy program to cover those manufactured good industries that can't sustain themselves by American consumers alone and maintaining this expansion for a set temporary amount of time to allow individual businesses in those industries time to switch to more sustainable fields. But would America be willing to do this? America wouldn't like these things, since America likes to sort everything out by letting capitalism run its course and anything that smacks of socialism is anathema. More importantly, America doesn't like to pay taxes. And spending money on subsidies unfortunately requires getting that money from somewhere.

    It is possible we could somehow get an administration with the guts to sell isolationism and get some sort of "take our ball and go home" measures passed under a catchy political brandname. But I do not think we could get an administration with the guts to take the measures to make "take our ball and go home" work. We do not seem particularly able now to get an administration willing to take steps to balance the federal budget in an environment where debt underwritten by foreign investors allows massive fiscal irresponsibility; why would things be different in a case where we've blown off foreign sources for loans? If we couldn't even cover our current costs under such circumstances, how could we cover the short-term increased costs of getting the infrastructure for domestic-only production put together? I doubt the amount of money currently put into foreign aid could cover this gap. I doubt we could even realistically limit the budget of the military quickly enough. And even if we default on international loans, that's a one time money grab. There's still the interest on the domestically held part of the national debt, and there's no way to make that go away except paying it down. Any plan for dealing with all of this would have to be highly specific and complex and do lots of things all at once, and it's very difficult to sell such plans to a democracy.

    In short, what concievable sequence of events would lead to isolationationism being implemented in a way that the costs of implementing it would be something America could handle, much less something that is worth America's bother?

    ---
    Aside from that, the absurd meta-wankery of k5er-quoting sigs probably takes the cake. Especially when the quote itself is about k5. -- tsubame
    [ Parent ]

    I'm not advocating isolationism (none / 1) (#465)
    by Battle Troll on Sat May 08, 2004 at 11:01:51 AM EST

    Because I'm not an exceptionalist - I don't believe that Americans are (either intrinsically or institutionally) morally superior to the rest of humankind. Therefore, the only reasons for me to conceivably defend American interests are self-advancement or pragmatic power-politics hoping to favour a moral outcome. I don't really stand to benefit substantially from either of those either.

    Switching from using Indonesian sweatshops to using local labor aided by technology would require a very large investment of capital, made much larger (if this process must happen quickly) by the fact that those industries responsible for building and mechanization would be briefly overloaded.

    All I'm saying is that the Indonesians are fundamentally and for the foreseeable future more dependent on the USA than the Americans are on Indonesia.
    --
    Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
    Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
    [ Parent ]

    Okay (none / 1) (#477)
    by mcc on Sat May 08, 2004 at 03:39:04 PM EST

    But I wasn't necessarily attacking isolationism either. Not directly.

    I suppose the point I was trying to make was to attack your seeming assertion that the U.S. has the capabilities for total self-sufficience, based on the argument that the U.S. lacks the ability to actually take advantage of their existing capacity for self sufficience, since making the transition to doing so doing so would require levels of austerity and consensus that the U.S. voting populace is probably not going to accept. What good is a box you can't unlock?

    I wasn't really responding to the question of who would be hurt more, the U.S. or the world, since I'm not sure about that one way or the other at all. I was somewhat more directly responding to the "pauperize the U.S.", comment, since though I am unsure about "papuerizing" the U.S., I think you could at the least fuck it up pretty hardcore for a longish time.

    ---
    Aside from that, the absurd meta-wankery of k5er-quoting sigs probably takes the cake. Especially when the quote itself is about k5. -- tsubame
    [ Parent ]

    yes and no (none / 1) (#479)
    by Battle Troll on Sat May 08, 2004 at 04:36:32 PM EST

    the point I was trying to make was to attack your seeming assertion that the U.S. has the capabilities for total self-sufficience, based on the argument that the U.S. lacks the ability to actually take advantage of their existing capacity for self sufficience...

    Until 1800 at the very earliest, most nations were self-sufficient, not out of choice but out of necessity; there was really no cheap way to preserve and transport large amounts of goods other than treasure. For example, a Founding Father would have fallen out of his chair if told that Japan would become the bully on the block in the steel industry; how were the raw materials going to get there and how were the finished goods going to be delivered in acceptable quantities?

    The USA has never been isolationist in trade, but if through some cosmically improbable act of the Galactic Alien Space Bat Elaborate Prank Committee it were to be forced to become so, it would be in the best position of any nation in the world, with maybe Brazil, South Africa, Canada, and the USSR as the only other nations even possessing the theoretical potential to eventually rival it. The USA was not all that far from self-sufficiency even in 1940, and while the economy would regress (which is why so many things have been offshored in favour of more efficient uses of American energy) it would hardly collapse.

    Japan, Switzerland, Singapore, those are states that would fucking collapse.
    --
    Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
    Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
    [ Parent ]

    This reminds me of something (none / 2) (#217)
    by Big Sexxy Joe on Thu May 06, 2004 at 01:43:35 PM EST

    George Orwell's book Burmese Days took place in Burmah in the early tweneith century when the are was still controlled by the British.

    One woman gives this wonderful speech about how if the natives hate the British so much one day the British will leave them and that will be disastor for them.

    I'm like Jesus, only better.
    Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour

    Interesting (none / 1) (#422)
    by Polverone on Fri May 07, 2004 at 06:28:56 PM EST

    But unless it was just a coincidence you're remarking on, the point is lost on me. Is the median citizen of Burma (Myanmar) better off today than during its colonial period? Either in absolute terms or in comparison to the rest of the world? My gut instinct is "Myanmar's a hellhole," but maybe it was a hellhole a century ago too.
    --
    It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
    [ Parent ]
    Easier solution (2.66 / 15) (#250)
    by fridgemagnet on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:10:32 PM EST

    Wouldn't it just be simpler to have a government that took the country out of Imperialist Asshole mode?

    Or is the theory that this is impossible without complete isolationism?

    ---
    "bugler of incongruity"


    impossible (none / 1) (#260)
    by zenofchai on Thu May 06, 2004 at 03:58:46 PM EST

    The country cannot continue to exist as it currently does without an abundant source of oil. Thus Imperialism must be sustained. Cutting off the source of oil would cripple the economy of the United States (like all "modern" nations it runs on oil) for decades, only recoverable by (a) incredibly reduced energy needs or (b) unforseen breakthroughs in alternative energy technology.
    --
    as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich,
    so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
    [ Parent ]
    Maybe... (none / 3) (#280)
    by GRAMMERSoft on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:55:17 PM EST

    ...they can get rid of the "Asshole" part of "Imperialist Asshole", anyways.

    In fact, I think they would have been better served as imperialists if they had maintained the middle eastern status quo. As it stands now, America has managed to create a new oil-rich client state which is highly unstable, while simultaneously inflaming a large portion of the populous of the entire region. They stand a very real risk of losing Iraq, to extremists and/or civil war. They have also made life much more difficult for other US-friendly regimes in the region. They will have a hard time basing troops in any country in the region, including Iraq. American corporations will find it difficult to safely develop pipelines and other oil installations. The Iraq plans definitely seem in retrospect to be overly ambitious.

    [ Parent ]

    Overly Ambitious? (none / 3) (#451)
    by archivis on Sat May 08, 2004 at 12:48:14 AM EST

    Now that's an understatement. I'd pick "displaying a fundamental break with reality, bordering on the schizophrenic", but that's just me.

    [ Parent ]
    plant an ism (none / 0) (#577)
    by Norwegian Blue on Mon May 10, 2004 at 05:05:24 PM EST

    what's the big difference between isolationism and imperialism. Aren't they two sides of a single narcissistic coin?

    [ Parent ]
    as cartman would put it... (1.25 / 4) (#284)
    by jacoplane on Thu May 06, 2004 at 04:59:36 PM EST

    screw you guys, i'm going home!

    Walls keep people as much in as out (none / 3) (#286)
    by aralin on Thu May 06, 2004 at 05:03:07 PM EST

    Any country/place that ever walled itself in the history did eventually in a short period restrain the freedom of movement. After that comes freedom of information and then its just a totalitarian regime. But enjoy your try on isolation. I was quite glad when the iron curtain eventually went down. But you might like it, who knows.

    As eastern european, I am actually glad that they do not teach much of world history in the US schools, since when I think of all the mistakes that US is destined to repeat because of it, I am so much more happy for the advantage it will give me.

    Foreign Aid ? (2.88 / 9) (#301)
    by chbm on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:12:12 PM EST

    Isn't a good part of USA's "Foreign Aid" funneled into the Israel war machine ?

    -- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
    US foreign aid (3.00 / 12) (#308)
    by Magnetic North on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:29:56 PM EST

    A whopping one third of all US foreign aid is military "aid" to Israel. Calling it foreign aid is twisting the truth at best.

    Much of what is given as real aid is given on the condition that US companies gets contracts.

    Here are some interesting statistics. Can't remember the source right now, but it's some US newsmagazine.

    Percentage of budget of US foreign aid: 1.0% (dead last among western nations).
    Percentage of that dedicated to military aid to allies: ~50%
    Percentage of total aid that comes directly back to US companies: ~70%
    Percentage of people polled that think we spend too much on foreign aid: 75%
    Average response to the question, "how much should we spend on foreign aid?": 8.4%

    This itself is no reason to harbor ill feelings towards the US. What makes me sick to the stomach is that most people I talk to from the US are thorougly convinced that they are world champions in altruism.



    --
    <33333
    [ Parent ]
    Finger puppets` (2.00 / 5) (#321)
    by mcgrew on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:18:08 PM EST

    The British shouldn't feel so bad that Blair is Bush's finger puppet. After all, Bush is Sharon's finger puppet, and Sharon's hand is so far up George's ass it would be funny, if the "aid" wasn't used to fuck with the Arabs.

    If Israel wants to fight anti-sematism, they should stop being such assholes. Especially to their neighbors.

    "The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
    [ Parent ]

    Can't sleep... (none / 3) (#327)
    by bugmaster on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:31:17 PM EST

    ...Sharon will get me. His tentacle-eyes are everywhere... watching me... shhhh not so loud, or Sharon will send in his ninja stormtroopers...
    >|<*:=
    [ Parent ]
    Re: US foreign aid (none / 0) (#632)
    by gutigre on Fri May 14, 2004 at 01:14:51 AM EST

    A whopping one third of all US foreign aid is military "aid" to Israel. Calling it foreign aid is twisting the truth at best.

    Actually, it was never intended as "aid". It's closer to being a continuing mortgage payment for the Sinai peninsula.

    In the late 70s, neither Israel nor Sadat wanted to make a peace agreement with each other's countries. Sadat, because he feared being assassinated for having made an treaty with the "Zionist entity". (with good reason!) Israel, because by giving up that relatively huge stretch of land to a country it had fought four wars with in 30 years, Israel made itself virtually indefensible if Egypt were ever again to invade them.

    The only party which actually wanted an agreement was the US. To make the deal more agreeable to both sides, President Carter promised each side huge amounts of "aid" - roughly $2 billion a year for Israel and $1.5 billion a year for Egypt, making those countries by far the biggest recipients of US "foreign aid". Israel has used its money to adapt to a suddenly much worse strategic position. The aid to Egypt has helped keep Sadat's and now Mubarak's governments in power in the face of Islamic fundamentalists who want to seize power.

    Anyway, the upshot is that you shouldn't consider the continuing payments to Israel and Egypt to be "foreign aid" as is generally understood. These payments are, in fact, an expensive attempt to ensure that the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel survives. The morality and efficacy of that, you guys can now debate.

    [ Parent ]

    hungry people don't stay hungry for long (2.80 / 10) (#314)
    by geekX on Thu May 06, 2004 at 06:52:27 PM EST

    disclaimer: I am a South African. I don't really hate america(ns), but I sometimes think they can be extremely arrogant. (not to mention ignorant)

    Before America was a superpower there were people all over. I'm sure there were some bad asshole dictators, diseases, famine, etc. Noone was there to level everything in a 10 kilometer radius round every town every said dictator was ever spotted.

    But somehow the world went on. It must have, because we made it to here.

    If america isolates themselves, then it will probably do the rest of the world more good than it does america. Africa will either die of hunger or start doing something to eventually feed themselves. Or who knows: maybe they'll kill each other using the weapons the west gave them long before that. Maybe some people will get pissed off and do something about it.

    The rest of them will either die of aids, build up an immunity or eventualy start listening to the millions of dollars worth of anti-aids campaigns and think.

    Maybe I'm an optimist, but I think third world countries are slowly on the improve and if forced, I think they'll improve even faster.

    Most countries will just get different trade partners and hopefully export capital to other countries in their region in stead of America. We'll sell our stuff to someone else and buy what we need from them. Hopefully we'll listen to other (better) music and watch better movies.

    The media in non-american countries might actually cover things happening in their own countries, people will eventually get pissed off at their own dictators (instead of America) and do something about it themselves.

    At the very least America might actually start doing something about the whole alternative energy thing.

    What's good for america is not neccessarily good for the rest of the world. What's bad for America is not necessarily good for the rest of us either. I'm just saying life will go on and things will stabilise very quickly.

    In short: it is inevitable that America will (eventually) become like the British/Roman Empire: part of civilisation's history. All nations' bubbles burst eventually.

    Hungry people don't stay hungry for long.
    People only ever do worthwile things out of necessity.



    I don't see anyone making AK-47's and SA-7's in US (none / 3) (#322)
    by SacredSalt on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:23:43 PM EST

    Or who knows: maybe they'll kill each other using the weapons the west gave them long before that.


  • I don't see anyone making AK-47's and SA-7's in the United States of America. Funny how these weapons always seem to be the weapons of choice in every single battle field in all of the 3rd world. Perhaps you should be railing against Russia.

    [ Parent ]
  • There are American made guns floating around. (none / 0) (#503)
    by Edziak on Sun May 09, 2004 at 04:58:01 AM EST

    But the CIA found it more convenient to use Russian hardware for political and practical reasons. When we wanted to arm the Mujahaddin in Afghanistan we gave them AK-47s because we wanted to create the illusion that they had bravely stolen them from the Russians. Also, the M-16 is a high maintenance gun, and really isn't practical for a geurilla, whereas the AK can take a lot of abuse.

    [ Parent ]
    Weapons of choice (none / 0) (#549)
    by liftarn on Mon May 10, 2004 at 05:17:24 AM EST

    The difference in quality is probably the reason for that choice.

    [ Parent ]
    Misconception here... (1.00 / 4) (#357)
    by DDS3 on Thu May 06, 2004 at 10:40:13 PM EST

    Or who knows: maybe they'll kill each other using the weapons the west gave them long before that.

    Umm...most of the weapons that are common around the world did not come from the west.  They usually come from China, Russia, or some very cheap knock off from various former USSR block countries.

    Most of the world can not afford to purchase and maintain the west's weapons.


    [ Parent ]

    Idiot mod trolls... (none / 1) (#644)
    by DDS3 on Sun May 23, 2004 at 03:27:50 AM EST

    I see that Torka likes to do nothing but troll by moderating.  What a dimwhit.  Again, a 100% factual statement and he mods it with a "hide".  What a complete moron.  Having looked at many of his postings, he's a complete idiot.  He doesn't do much of anything but troll.

    I wonder if he's the same loser as megid or if they are just buddies.  Either way, they don't add anything to the community.  Their only contribution is to remind people the level of absolute loserdom that exists in the world.  Shesh.  What cattle, simple minded trolls that exists....  Very sad.

    I'm sure their parents feel the same way...or worse.  They have my pitty.

    [ Parent ]

    Ignorance is relative (none / 2) (#470)
    by Hide The Hamster on Sat May 08, 2004 at 12:06:49 PM EST

    Bottom line is, anything that is important is western, and more importantly, American. Nothing else really is of any use to know when we get to the basic facts here.


    Free spirits are a liability.

    August 8, 2004: "it certainly is" and I had engaged in a homosexual tryst.

    [ Parent ]
    If the US... (2.00 / 4) (#320)
    by the on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:11:13 PM EST

    ...simply annexed the rest of the world then it'd reap the benefits of isolationism (after all, there'd be no more countries to deal with) without the downside.

    --
    The Definite Article
    Foreign Aid and such (2.00 / 6) (#325)
    by bugmaster on Thu May 06, 2004 at 07:29:40 PM EST

    I am pretty sure this is another one of those well-thought out trolls, but I'll bite, because it's so much fun :-). There are several problems with isolationism which are not listed in the article:
    • Troops and Foreign Aid: Without our financial and military help, several countries will be destroyed or self-destruct within a year -- notably Israel and probably South Africa. Then again, most people on k5 would love to see them go, so I guess this is not a problem for them.
    • Economy: As mentioned in the article, the global economy will be ravaged. What's not mentioned is that US economy will take a major hit as well -- no more India outsourcing, or "Made in Taiwan" motherboards. America will most likely lose its place as the world leader in several key areas -- permanently.
    • Community: Currently, America depends culturally on other countries. Americans watch Japanese anime, eat Israeli pickles, listen to German music, etc. A total blackout on these cultural aspects of American life may not be practical.

    >|<*:=
    Americans are the Great White Satan. (1.38 / 13) (#334)
    by rmg on Thu May 06, 2004 at 08:16:28 PM EST

    America is a nation of sadistic hicks. The evidence speaks for itself.

    In all of human history, there has been no more pernicious force than the United States of America. Five million civilians dead in Vietnam. Over a million in Cambodia. Anarachy in Afghanistan and Iraq. Millions dead in incendiary bombing runs in Germany and Japan. Millions dead in Iraq due to "sanctions."

    There can be no doubt. The world would be far better off without America. If only it could disappear entirely!

    Johnson. Reagan. Bush. The white, American male has trampled the third world and destroyed the trust of the international community throughout the 20th century to this very day.

    Our course is clear: We must kill, kill, kill the white man.

    ----

    dave dean

    Hey! (none / 0) (#501)
    by Lockle on Sun May 09, 2004 at 03:51:10 AM EST

    I take offense to that... We're the Red, White, and BLUE Satan.

    [ Parent ]
    Ja? (none / 0) (#643)
    by ToneHog on Mon May 17, 2004 at 01:59:59 PM EST

    Nicht sind Deutsche, auch wei?


    Breeze,
    TH
    [ Parent ]
    Yes please, Uncle Sam. Take the ball and GO home! (2.80 / 21) (#337)
    by Fantastic Lad on Thu May 06, 2004 at 08:18:44 PM EST

    The world was begging America to stay out of Iraq in the first place.

    Recent news from Iraq about the brutality of a few American soldiers

    A few bad apples? According to the testimonies I've seen from U.S. soldiers, abuse photos are common; being swapped like baseball cards among troops, and confiscated by officials from returning soldiers.

    America IS a destroyer of nations. When it cannot do it through CIA operations designed to de-stabilize countries on the verge of achieving real wealth and power, it does so through war.

    The U.S. war on Iraq is a bloody and amoral mess. Fallujah was torn to shreds with "Decapitation" tactics. (Using gun ships to destroy everything in a 100 meter circle around suspected Iraqi resistance fighters; civilians and all). But often, U.S. citizens don't actually research any of the news coming from Iraq to any depth. They don't want to feel bad about being part of the Beast Nation. Who would?

    But the problem is that the world has every reason to fear and despise America. (Gitmo, anyone?)

    Rather than indulge in pretty lies and delusions in order to feel better about themselves, Americans should look directly at the facts, right in the face, and make some choices. Such as severing their emotional senses of identity and self-worth from the on-going flag-waving national PR program which has been running full-tilt for the past century in the U.S. of A. One might even consider moving.

    Because you certainly won't be able to change anything through the 'democratic' voting system.

    As for Isolationism. . , at least in terms of trade and communication, (war will always remain a part of American policy; it's just too profitable), a certain degree of Isolationism has been one of the GOALS of the current admin; when people fear to communicate and travel, they are much easier to lie to and control. This is the reason to control air travel. Go and watch Watership Down again to understand the motives. Red Russia didn't want people slipping out from beneath the Iron Curtain either. The Pentagon is playing people like so many violins.

    You can judge just how well played you are by how loudly your ego complains against my post! A strong man is able to step back from this and look at things rationally, ignoring the pangs of wounded pride, and make the right choice. A coward cannot.

    -FL

    Indeed, retribution is called for. (1.40 / 5) (#352)
    by Melba Toast on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:54:15 PM EST

    All the people being accused of inhumane torture of prisoners in Iraq should be swiftly and severely punished.

    That means, though, that a few hundred Americans will be punished, and 30,000 or so Iraqis from recent years past will also need to be punished.

    Have any Americans been accused of cutting off ears as a form of punishment?


    [ Parent ]

    Remember vietnam (none / 3) (#372)
    by PrinceSausage on Fri May 07, 2004 at 01:44:48 PM EST

    Yes americans have been accused of doing exactly that. Oh. But that was 30 years ago. Would never happen again. How could it. All the war crimes in the Vietnam war were punished.

    [ Parent ]
    You're right. (1.60 / 5) (#366)
    by thankyougustad on Thu May 06, 2004 at 11:18:52 PM EST

    America is a shitty country, thanks for pointing that out.
    No American should feel bad for being American, just as no German should feel bad for being German. You don't choose your country of birth anymore than you choose your skin and parents. And if you want American's to feel badly, go ahead and commiserate with them, because unless you are from Tibet, your country's government is fucking rotten, too.


    No no thanks no
    Je n'aime que le bourbon
    no no thanks no
    c'est une affaire de got.

    [ Parent ]
    You recognize it's shitty. (none / 1) (#441)
    by handslikesnakes on Fri May 07, 2004 at 09:18:15 PM EST

    Most Americans either don't recognize or don't care about the things that people are complaining about.

    I don't particularly like my country's government either, and I'm making an attempt to improve it. By complaining about people who point out problems you're sending the message that you don't give a damn.

    I don't care what government you're complaining about, if your complaints are accurate I'll support you. This isn't about anti-Americanism, it's about trying to improve the world; the US simply happens to be the topic at the moment.



    [ Parent ]
    What I am doing (none / 0) (#449)
    by thankyougustad on Fri May 07, 2004 at 11:40:07 PM EST

    Is attempting to keep things in perspective. People complaining about American's in the context of what is going on today is one thing. Attempting to portray them as the sole perveyors of misery and corruption on Earth is wrong, and counterproductive.
    Whatever nationality you are, getting on a soapbox about America isn't going to help anyone. We all know America is full of garbage, this isn't anything new and rehashing it over and over isn't getting us anywhere.
    It is also increadably stupid to hold the American people culpable for everything their rotten government does, just as noone holds the Germans responsable for the Nazis.
    Umm, so to sum it up, yes this does seem to be about anti-Americanism, though it shouldn't be.

    No no thanks no
    Je n'aime que le bourbon
    no no thanks no
    c'est une affaire de got.

    [ Parent ]
    You're missing the point. (none / 0) (#476)
    by handslikesnakes on Sat May 08, 2004 at 03:14:57 PM EST

    There are people who try to pin all the world's problems on the US. They're wrong.

    We don't "all know" that America is full of garbage - in fact, part of the problem is that a rather significant number of Americans try to tell the rest of the world that their country is a shining beacon to the rest of the world. Saying that things are bad in other places seems like a cheap attempt to avoid criticism.

    Americans are responsible for their government, as they elected it.



    [ Parent ]
    Are you drunk? (none / 0) (#495)
    by thankyougustad on Sun May 09, 2004 at 12:12:26 AM EST

    How am I missing the point? I'm not apologizing for anyone, nor am I trying to pin the blame on anyone. Are you just interested in making incontestable arguments? I can't find anything to disagree with.

    No no thanks no
    Je n'aime que le bourbon
    no no thanks no
    c'est une affaire de got.

    [ Parent ]
    Good, I'm glad we agree. (none / 0) (#498)
    by handslikesnakes on Sun May 09, 2004 at 02:28:57 AM EST

    You know America is shitty, I know the rest of the world is shitty.

    Perhaps I jumped too quickly; a lot of people seem to use the fact that their country isn't alone in shittiness to excuse it.



    [ Parent ]
    Appeal to... (none / 1) (#455)
    by needless on Sat May 08, 2004 at 03:30:08 AM EST

    You can judge just how well played you are by how loudly your ego complains against my post! A strong man is able to step back from this and look at things rationally, ignoring the pangs of wounded pride, and make the right choice. A coward cannot.
    Nice use of prejudicial language there buddy.  So in other words, if I disagree with you, I am a coward.  If I agree with you, I am a "strong man".  

    Take a logic class.

    [ Parent ]

    someone did a balance? (2.71 / 7) (#338)
    by vqp on Thu May 06, 2004 at 08:34:29 PM EST

    First, this is not a rant against US, it's a against all the developed countries.

    IMHO, welfare is not the only product of high productivity, global capitalism by itself create a deformed gauss bell curve in distribution and there has to be a huge number of poors working or dying in the bad part of the curve to allow the 10 % richer (the US and European middle class) to enjoy a relative easy life.

    Some might say that higher global productivity would, doing a wild extrapolation from a local perspective, be enough to make poverty disappear. So several organizations give dollars to third world countries to help them to develop.

    I don't believe in conspiracies, but the results of this help are way worse than expected, surely is nobody's fault, an "invisible hand" explanation might be as follow:

    The rich countries finance third world countries just to develop industries to suck raw materials they need, some even are non-renewable, then call them "commodities" and make several companies to compete to lower the prices to the point of the cost of extraction. Natural resources are scarce and it is better to accelerate the devastation before the countries themselves grow up and start to make businesses with them.

    As the technology needed to extract them belong to rich country's corporations, a good part of the profits leave the third world as corporate profits, technologic investments and patents.

    The part of the money lended to governments is invested in social programs (to avoid revolutions that would stop the supply chain) and in infrastucture (again, to help companies extract and deliver).And, of course the money lended must be returned, to be fair, with a low interest, when the materials were exhausted or not needed anymore.

    My proposal is simple: stop helping the third world this way. If you want to help, don't lend money to governments, just open your trade barriers to third world exports and support organizations that enforce the countries to respect democracy, human rights and ecology.



    happiness = d(Reality - Expectations) / dt

    Isolationism... (none / 3) (#340)
    by PhillipW on Thu May 06, 2004 at 08:53:50 PM EST

    ...a damned good time!

    -Phil
    In other words... (2.72 / 11) (#351)
    by gidds on Thu May 06, 2004 at 09:47:28 PM EST

    ...you're suggesting that the US should have a big sulk.

    And how is that going to stop people complaining about its immature attitude to international affairs, exactly?

    Andy/

    Check the shirt u're wearing ... (2.16 / 6) (#356)
    by tilly on Thu May 06, 2004 at 10:26:19 PM EST

    and your shoes, too.

    They were made in Mexico or China or some such place.

    That is why u were able to buy them so cheap.

    This is a recipe for global depression and probly global war to follow.

    Good troll, though, thx for the contribution.

    Um...that's the point (none / 0) (#492)
    by jameth on Sat May 08, 2004 at 10:07:02 PM EST

    People complain about US involvement, but don't give some great alternative. The US pulls out and everything goes to shit. So, the criticism needs to be a little more productive than it is at the moment.

    [ Parent ]
    It works both ways... (none / 0) (#548)
    by liftarn on Mon May 10, 2004 at 04:53:22 AM EST

    The US goes in and everything goes to shit. Without US propping up dictators and overthrowing democratic governments perhaps the world would do better.

    [ Parent ]
    Really? Look Back a Bit (none / 0) (#590)
    by jameth on Mon May 10, 2004 at 07:27:07 PM EST

    Look back to before the US did this stuff. Was the world not going to shit then? Whether the US has, on the whole, been beneficial or detrimental is very hard to see, because we can't know the other ways it could have gone.

    However, I am personally certain that the world would be worse without US involvement.

    [ Parent ]

    Hard to tell (none / 0) (#601)
    by liftarn on Tue May 11, 2004 at 10:48:38 AM EST

    It's offcourse hard to knwo what would have happened if the US hadn't supported Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Ladin and Augusto Pinochet and all the other dictators. Perhaps Iran would have beaten Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war. Perhaps the Soviet Union wouldn't have withdrawn from Afghanistan. Perhaps Chile would have a better wellfare system.

    [ Parent ]
    Well, MY point was that ... (none / 0) (#550)
    by tilly on Mon May 10, 2004 at 05:34:22 AM EST

    US can commit suicide this way while trying to sulk ... (Because isolationism will not protect US from neither a global depression nor from a global war.)

    But your complaint is valid that some positive criticism is also called for ... That, however, is not so easy. How should a Kerry administration handle the Middle East? I think, a long-term, non-cynical, all-out policy towards putting the Islamic countries in the region on a path away from fundamentalism, on a path of moderation, economic and cultural development would hold the most promise. What seems to be required here is Lincolnesque leadership powers first to figure out what to do and then to convince the nation that it is worth the cost and the trouble. Notice that all this is exactly the opposite of isolationism. Maybe, somebody in K5 should come up for a plan for this - instead of a plan for isolationism - and we could have a fruitful discussion on how to go about that difficult task.

    [ Parent ]

    heh (1.25 / 4) (#397)
    by darkseer on Fri May 07, 2004 at 03:26:37 PM EST

    I like the reference to Ann Rynd. If they think they could do a better job let them. If not, I hear not their voice. I am unconcerned of the opinions of those who do not participate. I respect the average Britton's opinion on the Iraq matter, I respect China's position on trade infringement of US goods in Asia. I do not respect the opinion of middle class high school welp who drove mommy's beamer to Washington DC to protest the World Bank or IMF when they niether deal with the people involved or are educated in the reality of international trade. If you want you or your country to have a say, participate. If you won't spend the money or effort to support your opinion, you or your country plays only the fool and now advertises it. The only folly would be for the people who actually make change happen to give their useless opinions weight. Let them have their envy, some people (NOT just the US) are actually trying to make the world a better place. I respectfully dissagree with the author, but I like the point he forces people to consider. -Darkseer

    let's break you conclusions down... (2.91 / 12) (#414)
    by C0vardeAn0nim0 on Fri May 07, 2004 at 05:46:26 PM EST

    "but soon thereafter petty dictators around the world would press their expansionists' agenda"

    they already do, but most of them are in countries without oil, so US doesn't care. and when they do they usually end up leaving with their tails between the legs. ever heard of viet-nam and somalia ? the absence of a strong US of A in the international cenario might press the UN to establish a democrtatically elected and acountable security counsel with troops of their own to deploy imediatelly when needed while national troops from member countries prepare to take over. no members of such counsel would be allowed veto powers like today, so distortions caused by conflicting agendas would be avoided.

    "An inept and ineffectual NATO, sans the U.S., may try to step in, but would pay huge costs"

    or maybe a military europe union. in WWII germany alone almost took over the whole western europe. took russia + UK + USA to beat them down. can you imagine what they could do military wise whit the brits on their side for a change ?

    "remember the Falklands war?"

    yes, I do. my neighboors are still paying the price (i'm brasilian) for the beating they took from england, eho by the way, knows a whole lot more about fighting wars than amricans. remeber when they and the canuks burned the white house ?

    "Would Europe be willing (or even able?) to bear this cost?"

    ever heard of UN ? the only reason UN is so weak and inefective is american pressure. UN never took the role it was meant to play as a strong world wide political force because of petty fights between US and the former soviet union, and more recently because US wants to stay the only bully around bossing everyone.

    "Many countries would suffer severe economic recessions, since U.S. trade accounts for significant fractions of their exports, and imports of raw materials."

    which then would be replaced with imports from brasil, russia, china, australia, germany, france, south africa and hundreds of others. US is the biggest buyer/seller, not the only one. the market is smarter and quicker to adapt than you think.

    "Large portions of the globe would see soaring food prices, and starvation. The combined effects of starvation, disease, and war that would spread across the third world would likely significantly reduce the world population"

    why ? i'm pretty sure that without the american market to sell food to, brasil alone could fill the gap created by american food exports, and with cheaper higher quality goods. our agriculture is one of (if not the most) the most efficients of the world. and our product is better than most of what comes from US.

    starvation ? disease ? most of what you call "3rd world" already suffers from these. mostly because a few greedy american corporations wants to charge ungodly amounts of money for patented medications that could save millions. it took a brasilian minister (josé serra) with guts to spare to face a bunch of CEOs and the american president and say that unless we could get AIDS medication for low prices he would invalidate the patents in brasil. now we have free AIDS meds for everyone who needs them. unfornutally not every country is big or have a minister brave enough to pull such a stunt.

    "What remained would be clamoring for access to Europe. Still, in the long run, a decrease in population is good, as is anything that would force the third world countries to become more sustainable"

    they already do. many people in south america have US as target for emigration, in africa they seek europe and in some places of africa, asia and oceania the goal is autralia. nothing changes here, except that without US bullying around it might be possible for other nations to start _real_ cooperation and partnerships aimed to the common good, not the back stabing policy of current US administration who only see profits for themselves or their corporate friends.

    anyway, i know this post is just food for a troll, but it's what i think and it was good to put it all out.

    http://www.comofazer.net

    A few issues (1.50 / 4) (#435)
    by minerboy on Fri May 07, 2004 at 07:58:58 PM EST

    First, Brazil has less than 1/2 of the arable land as the US, and its ag output is about 1/3 of the US'. At the same time over 25 % of Brazil's population is already working in ag business - nope it couldn't make up the gap. Second, the Brits had a difficult time in the Falklands - Lost 2 major ships, and several hundred men, imagine if they had to do something more major - like kick saddam out of Kuwait. Last, if the US stopped Bullying, the EU, and China would takeover.



    [ Parent ]
    Heh (none / 3) (#488)
    by Tatarigami on Sat May 08, 2004 at 08:06:11 PM EST

    US to World: "Don't like the way I do things? Fine! I'm leaving, and nothing you say will stop me!"

    - sound of crickets chirping -

    US: "I said, nothing you say will stop me!"

    - more crickets -

    US: "Aren't you going to say something?"

    - even the crickets get embarrassed and go home -

    [ Parent ]

    Missing a Bit There (none / 0) (#491)
    by jameth on Sat May 08, 2004 at 10:05:09 PM EST

    "but soon thereafter petty dictators around the world would press their expansionists' agenda"

     they already do, but most of them are in countries without oil, so US doesn't care. and when they do they usually end up leaving with their tails between the legs. ever heard of viet-nam and somalia ? the absence of a strong US of A in the international cenario might press the UN to establish a democrtatically elected and acountable security counsel with troops of their own to deploy imediatelly when needed while national troops from member countries prepare to take over. no members of such counsel would be allowed veto powers like today, so distortions caused by conflicting agendas would be avoided.

    If the UN and EU could fight wars without US help, that would help the US. A while back, there was a news story about the US complaining about how it was essentially running most of the UN military actions alone.

    That was about six or seven years ago. I hope things have changed.

    "An inept and ineffectual NATO, sans the U.S., may try to step in, but would pay huge costs"

     or maybe a military europe union. in WWII germany alone almost took over the whole western europe. took russia + UK + USA to beat them down. can you imagine what they could do military wise whit the brits on their side for a change ?

    You assume that the US could not have won that without help, which is hard to say. Remember, the US waited until Germany was winning and strong, and until the majority of its naval forces had been destroyed, then started a two-front war (which is almost universally considered a recipe for disaster). That war could have been fought differently.

    Consider that both the UK and the US are losing money because of the war in Iraq, with the US losing slightly more, while the US has over 13 times as large of a force there. Also, consider that the US has, according to the records, one of the most efficient militaries ever.

    "remember the Falklands war?"

     yes, I do. my neighboors are still paying the price (i'm brasilian) for the beating they took from england, eho by the way, knows a whole lot more about fighting wars than amricans. remeber when they and the canuks burned the white house ?

    Britain has never won a war against the US. Remember that.

    "Would Europe be willing (or even able?) to bear this cost?"

     ever heard of UN ? the only reason UN is so weak and inefective is american pressure. UN never took the role it was meant to play as a strong world wide political force because of petty fights between US and the former soviet union, and more recently because US wants to stay the only bully around bossing everyone.

    Again, the US is given no credit, considering that it was the primary founder of the UN. Yeah, recently the US has been a little belligerent. But the issues between the US and the USSR? If the US hadn't been fighting there, the UN would have been losing in other fights pretty quick after. The USSR was more expansionist than the US has ever been.

    "Many countries would suffer severe economic recessions, since U.S. trade accounts for significant fractions of their exports, and imports of raw materials."

     which then would be replaced with imports from brasil, russia, china, australia, germany, france, south africa and hundreds of others. US is the biggest buyer/seller, not the only one. the market is smarter and quicker to adapt than you think.

    The US is the biggest buyer/seller by a huge amount. It has around a quarter of the gross world product, and imports about 30% more than it exports. The market would adapt, but it wouldn't be so easy as you think.

    "Large portions of the globe would see soaring food prices, and starvation. The combined effects of starvation, disease, and war that would spread across the third world would likely significantly reduce the world population"

     why ? i'm pretty sure that without the american market to sell food to, brasil alone could fill the gap created by american food exports, and with cheaper higher quality goods. our agriculture is one of (if not the most) the most efficients of the world. and our product is better than most of what comes from US.

    Sorry, Brazil is far from the most efficient. Last I checked agricultural production compared to crop land, the US was significantly ahead of the rest of the world. Of course, that was two years back, but it probably hasn't changed as much as you think.

    starvation ? disease ? most of what you call "3rd world" already suffers from these. mostly because a few greedy american corporations wants to charge ungodly amounts of money for patented medications that could save millions. it took a brasilian minister (josé serra) with guts to spare to face a bunch of CEOs and the american president and say that unless we could get AIDS medication for low prices he would invalidate the patents in brasil. now we have free AIDS meds for everyone who needs them. unfornutally not every country is big or have a minister brave enough to pull such a stunt.

    Again, shiting on the US. The US does about equally on fucking over the 3rd world as Europe does. No, seriously. All the developed nations are assholes to the undeveloped nations, but the US gets the majority of the blame.

    "What remained would be clamoring for access to Europe. Still, in the long run, a decrease in population is good, as is anything that would force the third world countries to become more sustainable"

     they already do. many people in south america have US as target for emigration, in africa they seek europe and in some places of africa, asia and oceania the goal is autralia. nothing changes here, except that without US bullying around it might be possible for other nations to start real cooperation and partnerships aimed to the common good, not the back stabing policy of current US administration who only see profits for themselves or their corporate friends.

    God Damn! This is what the article was talking about. When have you seen real cooperation throughout history? Oh, there's been a bit, on rare occasions. Yet you blame the US for the current shitness of the situation. The situation has been improving since the end of the World Wars and the US starting to take an international role. Whether it was due to the US or modernization, I don't know, but don't shit on the US so much over this.

    anyway, i know this post is just food for a troll, but it's what i think and it was good to put it all out.

    Thanks for doing so. Really, it was an interesting comment.


    [ Parent ]

    Erm... (none / 0) (#538)
    by D Jade on Sun May 09, 2004 at 09:37:08 PM EST

    Remember, the US waited until Germany was winning and strong, and until the majority of its naval forces had been destroyed, then started a two-front war (which is almost universally considered a recipe for disaster). That war could have been fought differently.
    The US decided to be involved because the Japs bombed Pearl Harbour. Before that, the US was just making profit from both sides.

    You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
    [ Parent ]
    Yes (none / 0) (#585)
    by jameth on Mon May 10, 2004 at 06:42:18 PM EST

    At which point it would have been reasonable to just go after Japan. Instead, when that happened, the US went all-out on both fronts at once and started fighting in many more places than it needed to. If the US wasn't confident it could win fighting that way, it could have taken a slower and more careful approach.

    [ Parent ]
    Until (2.00 / 4) (#428)
    by jd on Fri May 07, 2004 at 07:11:00 PM EST

    America fixes the flaws within, ignoring the flaws elsewhere won't help.

    If a house is subsiding, hiding in the garage won't help. Painting the walls and ignoring the cracks won't help either. Fix the foundations, or be f***ked.

    In this case, the US makes up the foundation of the rest of the global economy. And it is a globe, like it or not. The foundations are in very bad shape, and isolating them won't fix them.

    The rest of the globe, meanwhile, will probably do quite well without the US. It survived the falls of the Egyptian, Celtic, Roman, Danish, Hungarian, French and German empires. They don't need the American empire as much as the Americans need the rest of the world.

    But, in the end, we all need each other if we are to progress into a real Space Age. No country can afford to go it alone, today. The barriers are too high, the stakes are total. A nuclear rocket, for example, exploding would devastate a wider area than Chernobyl did, and that caused mayhem for thousands of miles.

    Survival is relative (none / 1) (#448)
    by coward anonymous on Fri May 07, 2004 at 11:13:59 PM EST

    "It survived the falls of the Egyptian, Celtic, Roman, Danish, Hungarian, French and German empires."
    It was just those measly thousand years nicknamed the "Dark Ages".
    Humans did not reach the level of luxury and comfort simple Romans enjoyed till the late 1700s early 1800s.
    The world survived alright but it did not do much else.


    [ Parent ]
    If by humans... (none / 2) (#464)
    by lurker4hire on Sat May 08, 2004 at 09:56:09 AM EST

    ... you mean europeans. Islamic civilization was very comfortable (relatively speaking), as was the chinese.

    Also, europe wasn't as 'dark' as it's made out to be in highschool history class. Although dominated by religious thought (which, I think [I'm no historian], is why enlightenment thinkers onward label it the 'dark ages'), there was significant material and social progress in several fields.

    Oh, and if you think the factories of the 1800's were 'luxury', well... go read some dickens or something.


    [ Parent ]

    Europeans (none / 1) (#473)
    by coward anonymous on Sat May 08, 2004 at 01:20:32 PM EST

    Yes the Muslim world did well. The Romans were a regional power so their recession affected their region. The U.S. is a global power so it is assumed its disappearance would affect the entire world.

    When I compared Europe to Rome, I generalized with humans. That definitely meant lower class Europeans as well as the upper classes. Nobody enjoyed the quality of life that average Romans did until the 1800s and then it was obviously the upper classes that enjoyed it first.

    I don't know. A thousand years (500-1500) where technology takes a big step back and does not advance appreciably sounds very dark to me. I'm not quite sure what social or material progress you speak of.


    [ Parent ]

    Sleight of hand (none / 0) (#481)
    by dark on Sat May 08, 2004 at 05:30:54 PM EST

    This is only true if by the "average Romans" you only count the citizens.  This excludes a large number of slaves and non-citizens.

    Certainly, the Roman empire was good for the Romans.  The question is whether it was good for everyone else.


    [ Parent ]

    OK (none / 0) (#493)
    by coward anonymous on Sat May 08, 2004 at 10:10:17 PM EST

    I would argue that on average everyone, citizens, non-citizens and slaves gained from the Roman empire's existence and I would argue that the same holds true today. A Roman example would be the roads they built. Everyone benefited from Roman roads.
    For a modern example, take the eradication of smallpox. It is a Western contrivance and yet everyone enjoys its benefits. In general, Western medicine has done good the world throughout (yes, you can argue that because of it there are problems of ridiculous population growth and its associated problems but that is not the point).
    A sillier example but one that I think illustrates the point rather well is TV documentaries. Almost every documentary about a remote tribe somewhere shows a Nike swoosh on one of the tribesmen/women. No one forced them to wear it. They chose to use it because it is comfortable/useful/durable/readily available. A Nike swoosh and a modern steel axe. They benefited , even if in a small way, from the evil empire.

    Ok, lets say you reject the above paragraph. The existence of the Roman empire was not good for non-citizenry. It's absence assuredly did not help anyone's quality of life. But I suppose if everyone was in the crapper that made it better?
     

    [ Parent ]

    Again, I'm no historian... (none / 0) (#513)
    by lurker4hire on Sun May 09, 2004 at 10:16:49 AM EST

    ... but I'm pretty sure that if you look into that thousand years of history in greater detail you will find significant technological and social advances being made.

    It was a few years ago that I took a course on the birth of contemporary scientific thought, and pre-enlightenment thinking was only mentioned in passing, but the opinion of my professor on the subject was that the scientific revolution was the culumination of many small, but significant, social and technological advances made during the 'dark ages'. Not much of an argument I know (it's this way because my professor said so =\ ), but that's all I got.

    For the record, I agree that the fall of the American empire will have global repercussions. And I agree with your general premise that humans in general enjoy greater standard of life than at any point in the past, however I would point out that we also have the greates disparity between the best off and the worst off of any time in the past, and thats what is going to bite us in the ass if we don't fix it.

    [ Parent ]

    The "Dark Ages" (none / 0) (#528)
    by mattbelcher on Sun May 09, 2004 at 03:07:23 PM EST

    The Dark ages are a myth promoted by enlightenment thinkers and protestants. There were incredible advancements during that period, both in Europe and the rest of the world. For example, Roman engineering could not have built the cathedrals of Europe. Flying buttresses, stained glass, and other architectural innovations were all developed after the Romans. In agriculture, the heavy-wheeled plow was invented, which allowed people to farm in the heavy soils of Northern Europe and increased the crop yields from 2-3:1 (about what the Romans had) to 5-6:1. This made a huge difference in the quality of life for the average person. Finally, social innovations such as individual rights (the Magna Carta), common law, separation of ruling office from the individual, etc. all came from this period.

    These are just European inventions. From outside Europe you find some great mathematics and art in the middle east, advances in military organization in China, and the world's most efficient postal service under Genghis Khan.

    [ Parent ]

    You're stretching. (none / 0) (#570)
    by DavidTC on Mon May 10, 2004 at 04:11:22 PM EST

    The Dark Ages saw the near total freeze of improves for normal people. Normal people did not live in houses with flying buttresses, or stained glass, hell, they usually didn't even have glass. And the crop yield increases didn't help at all under the feudal system, because the system was so socialist. And less people being able to grow more food didn't raise the standard of living for anyone, it just meant less hours of work. That's a good thing, but it's not incredible.

    As for the Magna Carta, and all the other social advances, they happened in spite of the dark ages. (And were mostly for noblemen.)

    Talking about the dark ages making advances in freedom is like talking about how Jews had advances in freedom under Nazi Germany because the Allies liberated some camps. The dark ages started with huge steps backwards in freedom for most individuals, and some freedom were almost regained near the end when the people at bottom were nearly completely wiped out by the plague, giving the rest of them some slight power, and even then they ended up in basically the same place with better pay. And all that stuff didn't happen until the last 3/4th of the dark ages anyway!

    As for saying 'And it wasn't bad at all outside of Europe' is just goofy. The Dark Ages refers to a period of European history. Talking about the Dark Ages in Asia or Africa or North America is just incorrect.

    -David T. C.
    Yes, my email address is real.
    [ Parent ]

    What about northern Europe? (none / 1) (#600)
    by liftarn on Tue May 11, 2004 at 10:34:36 AM EST

    Ok, what about northern Europe then? In northern Europe there lived people who saved a lot of knowledge from the old Greeks, they had an advanced culture with poems still being read today, they were explorers that travelled far et.c. et.c. It's still Europe.

    [ Parent ]
    Who cares? (none / 0) (#635)
    by DavidTC on Fri May 14, 2004 at 09:52:35 AM EST

    Oh no, the boundary of the dark ages didn't exactly line up with what we consider Europe in modern times! I guess that proves me entirely wrong!

    I don't know what kind of point you're trying to prove, but 'the Dark Ages' refers to that point in history after the fall of the Roman empire where advancement and invention and even freedom almost completely stopped in most of Europe. And, yes, it existed, despite you trying desperately to claim otherwise, or bring in other areas to bring up the average, or mention the few inventions made. (Whether or not it's fair to blame the Church for this is another question altogether.)

    -David T. C.
    Yes, my email address is real.
    [ Parent ]

    Anti-Americanism (2.92 / 14) (#456)
    by LKM on Sat May 08, 2004 at 04:40:58 AM EST

    How do you recognize an American tourist in Europe? He's covered in Canada flags and constantly talking about some boots or something, eh?

    Seriously though, I believe Americans overestimate anti-americanism in Europe. It's true that there's no unconditional sympathy anymore. I remember that when I was young, the US of A was the bee's knees. Everyone had US flags, people went to the carnival as cowboys and there were plenty of stickers on cars that said things like "I (heart) NY" and similar slogans.

    This changed a bit during the years when people became more critical of the USA, but after 911, all the sympathy was back. Then, Bush Junior attacked Afghanistan and later Iraq, and the sympathy for the USA was mostly gone. Note that before that, people loved the US of A and its culture. A lot of damage was done. But you also need to understand that people don't hate Americans. Most people still respect what the country has achieved and they will greet Americans friendly, just like they always did. But people don't like Bush Junior or the American Government. And most Europeans are perfectly capable of differentiating between Americans and the American government.

    The other thing you need to realize is that it is extremely depressing to see how a government you can't influence does things that have a very direct negative influence on you. I would never have voted for Bush Junior, yet what he does affects me in a very negative way, more than other American governments before him. Simply to see how he handicaps the UN and then uses the UN's inability to do anything (which he himself made sure would be the case) as an excuse to ignore the UN makes me sick.

    So my personal opinion is that the whole brouhaha about antiamericanism is mostly bs. People in Europe are not anti-american. We still like the american culture and Americans in general, we just don't like the current government and its actions.

    Don't believe Rummy. Europe is not against you.

    Iraq, not Afghanistan (none / 1) (#490)
    by jameth on Sat May 08, 2004 at 09:41:50 PM EST

    "Then, Bush Junior attacked Afghanistan and later Iraq, and the sympathy for the USA was mostly gone."

    Really, there wasn't much issue about Afghanistan. Basically, everyone agreed something would be done. Some people were a little pissed, some were glad; it was all pretty even to how it had been before.

    Iraq was the really piss-bucket-to-the-face which left Europe ready to give us a solid nut-kick--with a steel-toed boot, no less.

    [ Parent ]

    Afghanistan (none / 0) (#529)
    by LKM on Sun May 09, 2004 at 03:36:02 PM EST

    Really, there wasn't much issue about Afghanistan.

    Uhm... Yeah. Not much of an issue compared to Iraq, but I damn well remember there was plenty of issue about Afghanistan back then.



    [ Parent ]
    Afghanistan (none / 0) (#533)
    by ttsalo on Sun May 09, 2004 at 06:46:35 PM EST

    ...but I damn well remember there was plenty of issue about Afghanistan back then.

    Yeah, from die-hard pacifists. Everyone else thought that removing Taliban was a great idea - UN, US, Germany, France, UK, Finland, Norway, even Russia pledged support and sent troops there...



    [ Parent ]

    Afganistan (none / 0) (#540)
    by Wulfius on Sun May 09, 2004 at 09:50:50 PM EST

    US was very happy with the Taliban.
    The pissed off the Russians (By supporting the islamic fighters in Russian states across the border).

    They were also a pet cause of Pakistan, our great ally in the East.

    The only reason US attacked Afganistan was the Taliban abandoned plans for a strategicaly important oil pipeline.

    The US takes 6 months to deply its army into war.
    They lashed out at Afganistan in well under that.
    There is enough evidence to show that 9/11 was just a convinient excuse.

    I mean realistically, Saudies fly the planes, sponsored by Saudi bad guy. Lets attack Afganistan? WTF?

    When Japan bomber pear harbour we attacked Japan not India.

    ---
    "We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
    http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!
    [ Parent ]

    bullshit (none / 0) (#619)
    by cr8dle2grave on Wed May 12, 2004 at 03:41:53 PM EST

    US was very happy with the Taliban.

    The US was never fond of the Taliban.

    The pissed off the Russians (By supporting the islamic fighters in Russian states across the border).

    Which the US was never happy about.

    The only reason US attacked Afganistan was the Taliban abandoned plans for a strategicaly important oil pipeline.

    Complete and utter bullshit without a shred of evidence in its favor.

    There is enough evidence to show that 9/11 was just a convinient excuse.

    The US had had contigency plans to depose the Taliban dating back to Clinton era premised on the threat they represented to regional stability and the role they played in concert with Al Qeada.

    I mean realistically, Saudies fly the planes, sponsored by Saudi bad guy. Lets attack Afganistan? WTF?

    Saudi actors doing the bidding of an organization sheltered in Afghanistan.

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    Anti-american-touristism (3.00 / 6) (#499)
    by Trepalium on Sun May 09, 2004 at 02:49:23 AM EST

    There are a lot of American tourist out there, and the vast majority of them are probably perfectly nice people who don't cause problems for anyone. Unfortunately, there's also a certain breed of American tourist that gives all the rest of them a bad name. There tends to be certain specific attributes to these kinds of people:

    • Unrelentingly patriotic: Loves the United States above all else, and instinctively knows that it's the best nation on the face of the earth that has ever existed. Unfortunately, he doesn't know why. This usually infuriates anyone he ends up meeting because he usually ends up insulting their own sense of national pride.
    • Believes they are owed: Some Americans will insist to anyone they meet in Europe that the poor European they happen to be insulting today, that all Europeans owe Americans for the service Americans did for them back in WW2. I believe most Europeans are grateful for the services all their allies provided during World War 2, but to say someone owes you for it is just plain annoying. I haven't heard many French people complain that the US owes them something for the aid in the U.S. war of independence.
    • Tramples on culture: Goes to foreign countries that speak foreign languages and complains on end about why they all can't just speak 'American'. When exposed to local customs, goes to great length to detail the virtues of their own local customs and culture over that of the locals.
    Now, why would this distaste for American tourists exist? For one, there's so many of them. Europe is a trendy place to visit for many tourists, and the US has a rather large population. Second, when an American tourist complains, there's a large number of europeans that understand what they're saying (do you know what Japanese tourists are saying when they talk among themselves when in your country? They may be just a 'cruel').

    Now, for some reason, people have decided that all those Europeans that dislike American tourists mean that Europeans are Anti-american. Some, like Rummy have a reason for it. Others merely repeat what they're told. One thing to remember, though. Criticizing the actions of the US government does not make you anti-american. Free speech, or freedom of expression, or however your own country phrases it, is a really powerful right, and even if people are using it in ways do you not approve of, you should still be happy that people have gained that right.

    [ Parent ]

    It's much easier: (none / 0) (#616)
    by dhk on Wed May 12, 2004 at 09:04:50 AM EST

    "Now, why would this distaste for American tourists exist? For one, there's so many of them." Sure, but the more adequate answer would be: Because they are tourists in the first place. Tourists anywhere in the world are seen as a pain it the a.... Necessary ones, because they hold the economy up, but that's all. It is grossly incorrect to deduce any kind of anti-Americanism from the fact that American tourists are not loved. And: Of course, there is anti-Americanism in Europe. There always was. It is silly to hope that sometimes 100% of the people will be rational and reasonable. But in my opinion the anti-Americanism has not grown in the last years. Critic of the US-american foreign policy has, however, but as I can see easily on K5, this holds for US citizens too.
    - please forgive my bad english, I'm not a native speaker
    [ Parent ]
    One nitpick (none / 0) (#504)
    by godix on Sun May 09, 2004 at 06:10:22 AM EST

    Simply to see how he handicaps the UN and then uses the UN's inability to do anything (which he himself made sure would be the case) as an excuse to ignore the UN makes me sick.

    The UN has always been unable to anything. Hell, it was designed to not do anything. The structure of the UN pretty much guarentees that the UN will fail at doing ANYTHING. When you want to tackle poverty you don't get a good answer by letting the couple hundred poor as dirt countries tell you how. Similarly giving mass murdering dictators a say in human rights inititives just guarentees the entire thing will be a bad joke. Including China and India on world population issues is just a farce.

    The entire point of the UN is to be a diplomatic channel for countries to bitch and whine at each other instead of blowing each other up. Considering that we haven't had WWIII it's done a good job. Can't people just accept that and move on, why is there this constant desire to turn the UN into something it isn't and can't be?

    Thank god I'm worth more than SilentChris

    [ Parent ]

    UN would be capable if not for US (none / 1) (#609)
    by Nursie on Tue May 11, 2004 at 01:40:04 PM EST

    Do you know the number of times the US has veto'd action in the UN?
    take a look here.

    In the past 20 years the following numbers of vetos have been used:
    China 2
    France 3
    Russia 4
    UK 10
    US 42

    Who appears to be holding up and crippling the UN?

    Meta Sigs suck.

    [ Parent ]
    That is by design... (none / 0) (#618)
    by cr8dle2grave on Wed May 12, 2004 at 03:36:37 PM EST

    The power of veto was granted to the members of the Security Council to ensure that the UN never directly acted against the interests of its most powerful members. It was designed to reflect the global distribution of power following the Yalta conference and the conclusion of WWII.  

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    Indeed it was..... (none / 0) (#620)
    by Nursie on Wed May 12, 2004 at 04:08:17 PM EST

    I am merely pointing out that it looks awefully like the US is vetoing a lot more measures than everyone else, suggesting either:
    • that the US is more protective of its own interests than the other nations and less willing to come to agreement in the interests of the world as a whole (the main reason the UN was set up)
    • the US just likes to throw a spanner in the works and disrupt the UN.
    Neither of these is constructive.

    Meta Sigs suck.

    [ Parent ]
    3rd option (none / 0) (#621)
    by cr8dle2grave on Wed May 12, 2004 at 04:37:53 PM EST

    The balance of the remaining votes among the general membership (1/3 of the UN are memebers of the Organization of Islamic States) of the UN is stacked such that Russia and China can abstain rather than vote their interest.

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    That 1/3rd is irrelevant (none / 0) (#623)
    by Nursie on Thu May 13, 2004 at 12:19:15 PM EST

    When it comes to the security council.

    You think the US has used its veto so much because the whole wolrd is against iot huh?

    Looking at the specific resolutions, we can see that a lot of the vetos were used against resolutions to chastise Israel. So we can discount those for a while (even though I thoroughly disagree with the US stance on Israel, that's a whole different debate.)
    But a lot of the other vetos look like they were on trade agreements, promoting trade and industry in the developing world. Wonder why they would veto that stuff?

    Can you say pro-tect-ion-ism? Double standards? US interests overriding than world interests?

    Meta Sigs suck.

    [ Parent ]
    Errm... (none / 0) (#624)
    by cr8dle2grave on Thu May 13, 2004 at 12:48:20 PM EST

    ...I obviously mentioned the 1/3 specifically due to the numerous US vetos of UN actions against Israel. As for the remaining vetos, I can't say as I am familiar with all, or even most, of them, but the US veto was exercised exactly as designed, which was the point of this subthread. The UN was not designed to be a world government, but a forum for political dialogue and negotiation which respected the distribution of power following WWII.

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    And.... (none / 0) (#625)
    by Nursie on Thu May 13, 2004 at 03:16:57 PM EST

    my original pont is that the US blocks a lot more actions through it than anyone else, which can't really help the working of the UN really, when one party is more concerned about it's own prosperity than helping the rest of the world get up to speed.

    'Tis all.

    Meta Sigs suck.

    [ Parent ]
    And... (none / 0) (#627)
    by cr8dle2grave on Thu May 13, 2004 at 07:16:58 PM EST

    ...my point, which was originally godix's (?), was that much of the animosity directed at the US for perceived obstructionism arises from a misunderstanding of what the UN is and what it was structurally designed to accomplish.

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    From the rest of the world? (none / 0) (#636)
    by Nursie on Fri May 14, 2004 at 11:04:15 AM EST

    Regardless of what the UN was set up to acheive (and I can't claim to be know exactly what that was, but I'm assuming as some sort of forum for negotiation and the furtherance of human rights), it seems obvious that the US impedes it from doing a lot of the things it tries to do. More so than any other country.



    Meta Sigs suck.

    [ Parent ]
    Problem is... (none / 0) (#506)
    by Korimyr the Rat on Sun May 09, 2004 at 08:36:34 AM EST

    ... while democracy in America is running like a three-legged cat, it's still running. The behavior of our government is still largely the responsibility of the people, who are mostly derelict in this duty.

    Under a government that even marginally reflects democratic principles, the government and the people cannot be considered wholly separate entities.

    --
    "Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
    Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
    [ Parent ]

    I beg to differ (none / 1) (#530)
    by LKM on Sun May 09, 2004 at 03:36:17 PM EST

    The behavior of our government is still largely the responsibility of the people

    No. That may work for a direct democracy like Switzerland, but not for a representative democracy like the USA. Let's not forget two things:

    • Bush Junior did not get a majority of the votes
    • The people who voted for Bush Junior voted for a "compassionate conservative". They didn't know they'd get a madman hell-bent on pissing of the rest of the world.


    [ Parent ]
    Democracy is Democracy (none / 1) (#543)
    by Korimyr the Rat on Sun May 09, 2004 at 11:49:53 PM EST

    No. That may work for a direct democracy like Switzerland, but not for a representative democracy like the USA. Let's not forget two things:

     I'd argue that it's just as true in a representative democracy. Our ignorance of Bush's true nature does not relieve us of our responsibility for his actions-- after all, our failure to look past his media campaigns cannot be solely attributed to their skill at propaganda.

     We may have less direct responsibility than Switzerland, but we are still responsible for our own government. Unfortunately, instead of taking that message to heart, it seems like most Americans are withdrawing even further from political affairs.

    --
    "Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
    Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
    [ Parent ]

    two party system (none / 0) (#649)
    by DDS3 on Thu Jun 03, 2004 at 11:34:20 AM EST

    I would never have voted for Bush Junior, yet what he does affects me in a very negative way, more than other American governments before him.

    And thus the flaws of the two party system are felt around the world.  That's the single biggest problem with US politics; well, that and the illegal trading of money and favors via lobbyists.  We basically had a chance to vote for two idiots and it's anyone's guess who the lessor of two evils are.  Worse, the majority of votes here are based on electorial votes and not popular vote, so for a large portion of the US population, their vote doesn't matter one bit, regardless of what is popularized in myth around the world.  This is exactly why, for two or three times now in US history, a different president was elected than what the popular vote actually allowed for.

    Look back at our options and I think you'll find that our elections are not exactly ripe with options.  The up coming election is no better.  You have "W" versus a guy that is two faced and will frankly say anything to get elected.  So, which devil would you vote for?  The proven-chronic liar (Kerry), or the current liar?  Again, which devil would you vote for?  Then again...maybe your vote doesn't matter, much like a fair portion of our country's populas.

    [ Parent ]

    How silly of me ... (2.80 / 5) (#462)
    by njmc on Sat May 08, 2004 at 09:19:25 AM EST

    I hadn't realised that America had ceased to consider itself first.

    How wronged you must feel to see your purely altruistic behaviour on the world stage so cruelly misinterpreted by the rest of us.



    You've proved my point (none / 1) (#485)
    by minerboy on Sat May 08, 2004 at 06:56:31 PM EST

    Your anti-Americanism is so rampant, I think you must actually believe half the stuff you are saying. Some brief responses

    • Foreign aid - Sure, France and germany together give more, but its unfair to compare the amounts, since the U.S. military provides logistics and protection for NGO's, subsidies to U.S. farmers in exchange for food distribution, and the numbers do not count private contributions - which in the U.S. are subsidized.
    • Ag output of the U.S. is greater than the combined output of Canada, Australia, Brazil and China. so who cares if 50% of the world works in ag, they don't produce much.
    • I suppose the 170 wars the UN ended?? included The korean war, Bosnia, And the Gulf war. You and I both know that the U.N. has never ended a major conflict without the US. - very poor AST
    • Most of our trade agreements aren't anywhere near as good as they could be if we would really push our advantage, for example, look at steel. Europe heavily subsidizes its steel, and dumps it in the US market without consequence. When we respond with teriffs, we are threated with sanctions, and have to remove them. they certainly don't favor U.S. labor


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    I wont' waste time (none / 1) (#514)
    by minerboy on Sun May 09, 2004 at 10:19:33 AM EST

    On most of this, But I had to comment on this - "I guess you don't know about, say, Ivory Coast. Another hint: at one point most of the world was colonized - say, how many anti-colonial wars did US fight in, or solve?". Sure I know about the Ivory coast, and Algeria, and Peru/ecuador, Most of these were not "wars that the UN solved", and were not major crisis, except for perhaps the few people involved,`and were pretty much solved before the UN got involved. Maybe better to point out what the UN couldn't solve, Soviet Oppression in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, Chinese invasion of tibet. Khasmir, Sudan, and they complain that the US is not helping enough - If the US wouldn't be around, you could say good bye to South Korea, Kuwait, not to mention all of eastern Europe.



    [ Parent ]