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turtles
16-03-2005, 07:28 PM
Jesus (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7205798/). Is Bush fucking insane? Or just pure evil?

Coupled with making Bolton ambassador to the UN, seems like Bush is sending a pretty clear message about any sort of multilateralism or cooperation with the rest of the world he might be planning for the next four years, despite what lip service he might be giving the concept. And that message is: "Hey world, fuck you!"


uhg.

gff
17-03-2005, 12:30 AM
i guess i wonder why he's leaving defense rather than why he's being named to the wb.

polystyle desu
17-03-2005, 01:03 AM
Wolfie , what a smug *hit he is

craner
17-03-2005, 08:33 AM
Smug how?

craner
17-03-2005, 08:36 AM
Seems like a good appointment to me. He deserves it, too.

matt b
17-03-2005, 10:17 AM
ye, the WORLD bank could just do with a highly ideologically driven 'pax-americana' lunatic in control.
the world really will become a better place.

Paul Wolfowitz has an “enthusiasm for changing governments.” (the Economist, February 9, 2002).

so the world bank may well be used in conjunction w/ military power to forward american interests.

hurrah.

polystyle desu
17-03-2005, 03:00 PM
Smug how ?
Let's pull just one example from last night's Daily Show ...

* PW testifying that the Iraq war would pay for itself out of oil $ 'at practically no cost to us at all'

craner
17-03-2005, 04:37 PM
I would call that glib rather than smug and the last time I heard him say that was when trying to get the go-ahead for the invasion. Also, had post-war planning etc actually been implemented with any degree of competence and seriousness then he would have been right.

Any other examples?

dominic
17-03-2005, 07:15 PM
had post-war planning etc actually been implemented with any degree of competence and seriousness then he would have been right.

presumably the blame for poor implementation rests on paul bremer's shoulders???

it's hard to tell (1) how much of the chaos in iraq was inevitable, i.e., the unavoidable toll to be paid for invading the country (in which case bush/cheney/rumsfeld/wolfowitz deserve the blame for launching the invasion in the first place); and (2) how much was due to the failure of the military to keep order in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the iraqi state (in which case blame goes to rumsfeld for not providing enough troops & to the generals in charge of the situation on the ground); and (3) how much was due to the actions of paul bremer and the civilian administrators in iraq . . . .

supposedly wolfowitz's interest in development issues goes back to his tenure as ambassador to indonesia (but still i'm surprised that he's leaving the defense dept, as he has always seemed such a hawk)

turtles
17-03-2005, 08:05 PM
Seems like a good appointment to me. He deserves it, too.
Ha! I knew I could count on you for some levity Oliver! My Craner bating was successful...

Anyway, we could argue untill we were blue in the face on whether Wolfowitz is an idiot or not (yeah the Daily Show last night had a nice recap of his impressive ability to predict the exact OPPOSITE of what ends up happening (download a torrent here (http://torrentspy.com/search.asp?mode=torrentdetails&id=194672) )), but the thing that gets me is the fact that Bush seems either unwilling or completely unaware of the idea of making consessions to the rest of the world. He just keeps appointing these massive idealogues to various important positions, people that seem to perfectly embody the arrogant, unilateral face of American foreign policy that people around the world hate so much.

So my question is, does Bush really not care at all about the rest of the world's opinion of the US? Or is he just blinded by his own ideology? I mean he did just apoint Karen Hughes to try and "market" the US in the mid east, but at every step he's seems to be trying to undermine any credibility that the US might have abroad.

I don't get it.

redcrescent
17-03-2005, 08:05 PM
Seems like a good appointment to me. He deserves it, too.
Seriously? I can think of a thousand more deserving -and capable- people.

polystyle desu
17-03-2005, 11:21 PM
So my question is, does Bush really not care at all about the rest of the world's opinion of the US? Or is he just blinded by his own ideology? I mean he did just apoint Karen Hughes to try and "market" the US in the mid east, but at every step he's seems to be trying to undermine any credibility that the US might have abroad.
I don't get it.

No, he doesn't care - here's a guy who wouldn't have ever left the ranch unless he HAD too.
Blinded - yea , like many who feel they are god right and cushioned by those who grok war as a 'slam dunk'.
Bringing Karen Hughes back from pasture - was she even good at what she did before pasture ?

The one appointment I've seen talk any sense is the new head of Homeland Security who i rd today is
not going to use the color 'terror' alerts to jerk us around whenever poll numbers drop

No need to give more examples or argue about Wolfie,
Bush is throwing his buddies as far up as he can - before his time is up

Pearsall
18-03-2005, 12:48 AM
Marc Cooper:
http://marccooper.typepad.com/marccooper/2005/03/howlin_wolfie.html

Translation of an editorial from Le Temps de Geneve:
http://nuralcubicle.blogspot.com/2005/03/neocon-unchained-wolfowitz-goes-to_17.html

craner
18-03-2005, 09:10 AM
You didn't start this thread just to bait me did you Dave? (Do you mean bait or bate, incidentally?)

Do you want me to defend Wolfowitz? I have done, and criticised him, accordingly...so if you want that, then read it

http://worldwarfour.blogspot.com/2004_06_01_worldwarfour_archive.html#1086127124895 99670

(You might have to scroll down: it's June 01 'Known Unknowns and Unknown Unknowns')

craner
18-03-2005, 09:31 AM
and, for what it's worth, I'm with that Jim Rockford feller on the Cooper thread (apart from the bit about Bono being a "great man"):

"
"Bolton is probably what the UN desperately needs ... a huge wakeup call to get it's act together. Kirkpatrick and the Dem Senator from New York (sorry brain spazz) together spiked a lot of nonsense that would have made the UN even less relevant.

Fact is, the UN is in crisis. They cannot run refugee camps without seuxal predators running into the refugee effort. This is not just Congo, it's Cambodia and the Balkans as well. They function as the money-washer of choice for every brutal dicatator from Hugo Chavez, Pinochet, Saddam, and Assad. They preside over anti-American and anti-Israeli fests like the Durban Racismm conference, failing to tackle the real issues of racism in Darfur or elsewhere. The UN consistently has no answer for misrule of failed states that lead to genocide, terrorism, and horrible lives for people all over the globe that threaten to errupt into peaceful, modern societies threatening everyone.

The UN can and should have a role, but Mr. Nice Guy isn't going to get it done. Bolton needs to bust heads and threaten to get the UN lifetime job beurocrats to take action to clean up the institution. It's essentially the Stygian stables.

The World Bank? Who was the LAT pushing? BONO? A truly great musician and a good man, but I couldn't think of anyone more unsuited. They also pushed a failed Mexican President. Well, I guess he'd be worse (Echevarria I think).

Ask yourself what is the problem with the World Bank? It pushes massive development projects that just don't work, but provide enourmous opportunities for graft by both local kleptocrats and foreign businesses, makes middle class and poor people in rich countries bear the risk of bailing out these investments when they (ALWAYS) go sour, and imposes another round of "fiscal sanity" that ends up hurting the poor and middle class in these countries and leads inevitably to the next gigantic boondoggle that screws up the country even more.

Status quo and Mr. Nice Guy won't get it done there either. Wolfie is probably better than most because the chief problem of the World bank is not finance but political.

We already know that the political choices of relatively clean government and investment in education, clean drinking water, health care, public health, in short the PEOPLE not gigantic "things" yields enourmous dividends. It is the only proven way to develop out of poverty. The World Bank needs a political leader who is not afraid to tear down the temple in order to make a political decision to promote this investment.

Mr. Hewson is a good man, but fundamentally he does not understand that simply throwing money at Africa will change nothing, only make the Kleptocrats richer. Instead of building Alcoa a subsidized Aluminum smelter in say, Accra, it's far better to make modest investments that are closely supervised in clean drinking water for the Ghanese people. THAT ALONE would so massively improve the lives of Ghanaian citizens that you'd see a huge outburst of economic improvement. The same goes with roads, schools, and basic health care such as childhood immunizations. In other words, the public goods that ONLY a government can make, and that the current governments who are strapped for resources cannot fund.

It is also in America's enlightened self interest to do this. Imagine a whole Africa, largely free of conflict and with spare cash to actually BUY things. An Africa no longer chained in poverty. Or South America. America and the World need economic growth and to help people in the third world to lift themselves out of this.

The World Bank can play a part of this, but only if it's blown up in current form and refocused on financing lots of small, focused, public goods in (relatively) clean governments. Let the big rich private investors bear their own risk if things go south.

So yeah, Wolfowitz is not a bad choice at all. Regardless of how many people he pisses off..."

Rambler
18-03-2005, 09:47 AM
Those are some very good points you've found there Oliver, and I hope Wolfowitz is the man for the job. (Couldn't agree more about the points made re. the UN too.) BUT, aren't the two biggest issues facing the African economy debt and trade subsidies? All the clean water in the world isn't going to help that; what do you think Wolfowitz's intentions would be on this score?

matt b
18-03-2005, 10:32 AM
So yeah, Wolfowitz is not a bad choice at all

for who? that's the point surely? for bush and US business interests he's going to be fantastic, for those countries that have to deal with world bank reconstruction it will continue to be a nightmare.


(incidently the world bank policy on H2O is currently to privatise it and profit, not give the people clean water)

dominic
18-03-2005, 12:39 PM
Do you want me to defend Wolfowitz? I have done, and criticised him, accordingly...so if you want that, then read it

http://worldwarfour.blogspot.com/2004_06_01_worldwarfour_archive.html#1086127124895 99670

(You might have to scroll down: it's June 01 'Known Unknowns and Unknown Unknowns')

well-balanced analysis

and you're right, historians will be the final judge

Jamie S
18-03-2005, 04:28 PM
I can't believe someone just equated Chevez to Pinochet and no-one objected.

As I understand it, Oliver's take on Wolfowitz is that he's the bit of the American administration that actually believes it's own propaganda about spreading democracy. And I don't agree with that, but you know, fair enough.

However what this has to do with economic ideology, I don't know. I just presume that, as a Republican, Wolfowitz takes a standard neo-liberal position, which has been utterly disastrous for developing countries in Africa.

The problem with the HIPC debt relief programme is not that it didn't have enough ties - this 'throwing money at dictators won't help' kind of attitude. It was tied to structural adjustment programmes that mean cutting spending on education, healthcare, clean water etc. The patronising drivel about 'supervising' the way that the few miserly pennies the rich north are willing to stop extorting out of Africa couldn't be more off the mark. Yes, give money to NGOs doing good work, yes, fight for democracy and transparency, but also stop forcing governments to hand over many times the sums they were originally lent in never-ending interest payments.

If you don't want them to spend it on arms, control your own arms trade.
If you don't want kleptocrats to steal the money, have a word with the Swiss govt and their banking regulations.
If you don't want multinationals bribing corrupt officials, then pass laws in the countries where ther headquarters are and jail their executives.



Now Wolfowitz probably won't be any worse than anyone else Bush would nominate, but he's, on his record, probably a bit more driven ideologically, which is the last thing we need.

If anyone knows that Wolfowitz is actually an internationalist Keynesian type then apologies and let the good times roll!

Jamie S
18-03-2005, 04:30 PM
Chevez=Chavez
ther=their

Sorry

Jamie S
18-03-2005, 04:44 PM
Actually, I am genuinely interested in what his economics are like. The general tone of the commentary has been about America vs the rest of the world, rather like the first post in this thread and I haven't read anything about what he'd actually do in the World Bank.

I'm off home now, but I expect a full analysis from Oliver by Monday morning.

Cheers

Pearsall
18-03-2005, 05:50 PM
I don't really know enough about Wolfowitz to make any sort of judgment on his potential role in the World Bank. He certainly dropped the ball massively as one of the most prominent people to dismiss Gen. Shinseki's estimates for the number of troops needed for the occupation of Iraq - an enormous fuckup.

More reading:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Wolfowitz

Also, if you want to read a good debate on the efficacy of debt relief (with arguments both for and against), check out this post from Abiola Lapite:
http://foreigndispatches.typepad.com/dispatches/2005/03/what_tony_blair.html

turtles
18-03-2005, 08:30 PM
You didn't start this thread just to bait me did you Dave? (Do you mean bait or bate, incidentally?)
Hohoho, yes I did mean bait...and no, I was genuinely suprised and angered by bush's pick and wanted to discuss. but when i started this thread, i knew who would be the first one to dissent. ;)

Anwyay, as for the post you quoted, I agree with Rambler that the analysis of the UN and the World Bank's failings are pretty accurate, but the idea that Bolton or Wolfowitz are going to turn these organizations into idealistic outlets of international benevolence is kinda silly. Wolfowitz will use the World Bank to maintain America's dominant position in the world. period. If nocking over a few dictatorships happens to help the cause, then i'm sure that's what will happen. But if keeping some third world country poor and destitute so some US corporation can keep its profits up is what America needs, then that is what will happen.

I'm sorry but I don't buy Wolfowitz's supposed altruistic reasons for war on Iraq. He's an imperialist through and through.

luka
18-03-2005, 10:41 PM
i was going to mention the chavez-pinochet thing but it's not worth it with oliver, he just says these things for effect.

jenks
19-03-2005, 02:04 PM
good profile of the wolf in today's ft - they chose to highlight his close relations with suharto - didn't do much to make me feel better about the appointment but i hope i'm wrong

craner
21-03-2005, 11:25 PM
By the way, it wasn't as if the Pinochet-Chavev conflation was that easy...read the words 'money-washer'.... what was aid money used for in either case (a specific question)...

luka
22-03-2005, 10:27 AM
Wolfowitz acceptable as World Bank head, say Germans

22.03.05 1.00pm


BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said on Monday that the United States nominee to head the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz, could yield positive surprises and Germany would not block his selection.

Schroeder said he thought Germany could work constructively with Wolfowitz, the US deputy defence secretary, and approved of the tradition that the United States names a candidate for World Bank president.

"The US president phoned me up to say what he intended and I told him Germany would not stand in his way," Schroeder told Germany's n-tv television. "I have the impression we could be positively surprised."

Many European governments have reacted with private unease to Washington's choice of Wolfowitz, best known as the architect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, at a time when they are trying to mend relations with the United States.

Germany was a vocal opponent of the Iraq war, and the issue put a strain on ties that the two countries have struggled to repair.

Schroeder is the first leader of a major European nation to take such a positive view of Wolfowitz's nomination.

French President Jacques Chirac "took note" of the choice, his spokesman said last week, while British Prime Minister Tony Blair has remained silent.

"I don't think the Europeans could really have insisted on another candidate," said Henning Riecke, transatlantic relations expert at the German Council on Foreign Affairs.

"We mustn't forget Wolfowitz is an experienced diplomat who has experience of different ministries and who has worked intensively in development," he added.

"On the strength of his profile he is entirely suitable for the post, so perhaps Germany said let us accept someone who is competent even if on several points he has pursued policies which Germany did not agree with."

Last week German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul said of Wolfowitz's nomination: "The enthusiasm in 'old' Europe is not exactly overwhelming".

President George W Bush's controversial choice of Wolfowitz to head the World Bank will be discussed at the European Union summit on Tuesday.

The European Commission said on Monday that Wolfowitz had accepted an invitation to meet EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel and explain his views on development and poverty reduction, the bank's key missions.

Wolfowitz's approval by the bank's board -- which operates by consensus -- is widely seen as a foregone conclusion.

- REUTERS

Omaar
06-04-2005, 05:10 AM
Monbiot on Wolfowitz's appointment (http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=13&ItemID=7581)

"Martin Jacques argued convincingly in the Guardian last week that the US neocons are "reordering the world system to take account of their newly defined power and interests."(18) Wolfowitz's appointment is, he suggested, one of the "means of breaking the old order". But what this surely illustrates is the unacknowledged paradox in neocon thinking. They want to drag down the old, multilateral order and replace it with a new, American one. What they consistently fail to understand is that the "multilateral" system is in fact a projection of US unilateralism, cleverly packaged to grant the other nations just enough slack to prevent them from fighting it. "

craner
06-04-2005, 12:13 PM
Yes, but Monbiot's idea is that we all go and live in eco-communes: build homes out of timber and straw bales, wattle, daub and thatch, or live in yurts or zomes, home-make cider, bread, and goat's cheese, and get go-karts to run on vegetable oil. Sounds quite nice...in Somerset, during a hot English summer. His other idea is a Utopian, and frankly vacuous, "multinational system of global governance" based on the economics of Maynard Keynes. He suggests that the IMF, World Bank and UN be dismantled on the basis of these half-baked proposals, which is some vanity.

luka
06-04-2005, 10:19 PM
what do you mean 'yes but'? yes, this is a very good, well researched article presenting unanswerable arguments in a articulate level headed way, but i'm going to indulge in some snide irrelevant point scoring anyway? what's all that about? just admit it. I am oliver craner and i am in league with the devil. come out the satanic closet, you'll feel better about yourself. i am working for satan, go on say it!

craner
07-04-2005, 10:10 AM
In the words of George Galloway, that's libel.

rewch
07-04-2005, 11:56 AM
as satan is not an entity that can be summoned to appear in court, how can he be libelled?

craner
25-09-2005, 08:55 PM
Someone's settling in rather well, I note.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,,1576551,00.html

Paul Hotflush
27-09-2005, 08:52 AM
what do you mean 'yes but'? yes, this is a very good, well researched article presenting unanswerable arguments in a articulate level headed way, but i'm going to indulge in some snide irrelevant point scoring anyway? what's all that about? just admit it. I am oliver craner and i am in league with the devil. come out the satanic closet, you'll feel better about yourself. i am working for satan, go on say it!

Come on, Monbiot is a complete fruitcake.

In response to the rest of the thread, even if Wolfie is a US hegemony-perpetuator (a position I don't agree with), what's the problem? I'd much rather have that than a Chinese one...

matt b
27-09-2005, 10:20 AM
In response to the rest of the thread, even if Wolfie is a US hegemony-perpetuator (a position I don't agree with), what's the problem? I'd much rather have that than a Chinese one...

he openly endorses pax americana, so he clearly supports US world dominance. why is this is a problem? have you seen what america has been doing to other countries recently? it's not an issue of either/ or so your last sentence is stupid.

Paul Hotflush
27-09-2005, 01:53 PM
OK, give me a realistic alternative.

Obviously it's not a question of either/or, but for the purposes of a forum... :rolleyes:

matt b
27-09-2005, 03:06 PM
OK, give me a realistic alternative.

each country concerns itself with dealing with issues inside its own national boundaries and co-operates with other countries in a consistent way that follows international law (rather than wanting to dominate/control them), would be a start.

Paul Hotflush
27-09-2005, 03:25 PM
No, I said realistic.

matt b
28-09-2005, 09:38 AM
No, I said realistic.

ok then.
a) give up
b) mass suicide.

sheesh.

Paul Hotflush
28-09-2005, 09:59 AM
I find when attempting to analyse foreign affairs, there is generally a barrier that people have differing degrees of difficulty passing. It's got two parts to it really: the first being that foreign affairs, much like domestic politics in democracies, are defined by various interest groups (in this case nations) attempting to increase their power at the expense of others. The second part is, for the European liberal, one of realpolitik: the acceptance that the current situation (American dominance) is infinitely preferable to any realistic alternative (the most likely current one being American dominance being replaced by Chinese economic and political dominance). Once you accept that, and try to get over any inherent xenophobia towards Americans in general, you'll have much better chance of making a balanced judgement of events around the world.

It pretty much boils down to this: no-one's saying the Americans are a picture of virtue, but bloody hell, what about everyone else?! There's nothing lazier than slagging off the yanks.

craner
28-09-2005, 11:17 AM
Hotflush, are you spoofing me?

Paul Hotflush
28-09-2005, 11:19 AM
LOL! I'm feeling your analysis man. Can't quite be arsed to pitch in with any serious posts of my own, so I'm keeping to sweeping generalisations...

turtles
28-09-2005, 06:40 PM
the acceptance that the current situation (American dominance) is infinitely preferable to any realistic alternative (the most likely current one being American dominance being replaced by Chinese economic and political dominance).

....

It pretty much boils down to this: no-one's saying the Americans are a picture of virtue, but bloody hell, what about everyone else?!
So, as matt b said, we should just give up? Just stop trying to make things better, stop criticizing those doing harm, because, hey, who can think of anything better? This is TERRIBLE reasoning, trying to pass off your failure to think outside of the modern political doctrine as "realism." I know k-punk has written a fair amount about this (i believe he calls it "capitalist realism"). But basically, what the hell is this "realism" you seem so keen on? Who defines it? What does it entail? Does this "realism" allow for any sort of actions that are outside of the status quo? Doesn't it basically just state that anything outside the status quo is unthinkable, and shouldn't that maybe worry you a bit?

Please, tell me what is so "unrealistic" about the US following international law.

"Realism" is just a huge cop-out, when you've finally given up on trying to improve things, and have decided to disguise your capitulation as pragmatism.

turtles
28-09-2005, 06:51 PM
Someone's settling in rather well, I note.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,,1576551,00.html
While I'm here I might as well comment on this too, i guess.

Well, it's nice that Wolfowitz is continuing on with the debt relief program (by no means his idea, of course), I'm very interested to see what strings come attached to all these anti-corruption measures. I have a rather sneaking suspicion that somehow it will all end up involving the classic "hey why don't you open up your markets more to foreign investment, which just may so happen to allow many large american companies--who just may happen to be lead by many of my close friends and associates--to come in and make loads of profits at the expense of local businesses and government." And then maybe some of the good old "hey what do you think your trying to do privatizing your oil industry/health care system/general infrastructure maintenance you communist swags!"

just a suspicion though...

Paul Hotflush
29-09-2005, 02:50 PM
Please, tell me what is so "unrealistic" about the US following international law.

The whole concept of international law is ridiculous. Whose values is it built upon? Who enforces it? How can it be enforced evenly? Having laws that apply internationally assumes that conditions can be applied across continents, which is clearly not always the case.

In any case, the notion that the US is the only country ignoring the current legal setup is absurd. So why don't you guys bang on about the other offenders? Oh yeah, sorry I forgot.



So, as matt b said, we should just give up? Just stop trying to make things better, stop criticizing those doing harm, because, hey, who can think of anything better? This is TERRIBLE reasoning, trying to pass off your failure to think outside of the modern political doctrine as "realism." I know k-punk has written a fair amount about this (i believe he calls it "capitalist realism"). But basically, what the hell is this "realism" you seem so keen on? Who defines it? What does it entail? Does this "realism" allow for any sort of actions that are outside of the status quo? Doesn't it basically just state that anything outside the status quo is unthinkable, and shouldn't that maybe worry you a bit?

No-one is suggesting you shouldn't try to make things better, but you have to take account of the conditions. The example of African aid is a good one: if you told aid agencies in the 80s that most of their money would end up in Swiss bank accounts because most African governments are as corrupt as hell and/or too incompetent to spend money effectively they'd have dismissed you as a capitalist, and probably racist, pig. With America now, you're much better off trying to cajole it into changing its ways rather than closing your eyes, hoping it crashes and burns, and leaves us at the mercy of those nice, free speech-loving Chinese.

The point is, maybe if more of the people that apprently care so much about the less advantaged took acount of what happens in the real world, they might actaully achieve something, rather than getting beaten up by the police at those incredibly productive anti-captialist demonstrations, or sitting on their behinds posting on web forums.

craner
29-09-2005, 04:03 PM
hey why don't you open up your markets more to foreign investment

Can you imagine anything worse for Africa?

Actually, that's already happened. It's just the investment is exploitation, if not criminality, and benefits Africa's corrupt remaining despots and juntas and warlords.

It would be rather an improvement under the auspices of the World Bank and against the interests of aformentioned despots, juntas, warlords, I think.

Then again, there was that guy who thought an African caliphate would be a better idea. Where'd he go?

owen
29-09-2005, 06:13 PM
"Realism" is just a huge cop-out, when you've finally given up on trying to improve things, and have decided to disguise your capitulation as pragmatism.

seconded!

in craner's analysis there's this dogged fatalism (hidden admittedly with erudition and a faintly creepy if enjoyable exultation in destruction)- 'governments (or indeed business) always act in their own interests, have always done will always do'- which seems so utterly point-missing.
sure, so this is true, but surely the conclusion one should draw from this is to, y'know, like try and change the system itself?

oh and 'international law' is a total red herring.

and surely various of these 'juntas' and 'despots' exist because of the comprehensive destruction of socialist or social-democratic movements in these countries? eg mobutu being essentially installed by belgium and the US, etc.

turtles
29-09-2005, 10:05 PM
The whole concept of international law is ridiculous. Whose values is it built upon? Who enforces it? How can it be enforced evenly? Having laws that apply internationally assumes that conditions can be applied across continents, which is clearly not always the case.
Ummm, the Geneva Convention? Made by a consensus of international powers, reflecting a general shared believe in the value of human life and the need to mitigate unnecessary cruelty. It could even be said to be a "realistic" document, in that it doesn't try and outlaw all war (that would be "unrealistic") it just tries to minimize the uhhh "collateral damage" war often causes. And the enforcement was supposed to be done by those who signed up for it--many of whom have definitely been remiss. But again, isn't uneven enforcement better than none? Why give up on it all just because it's not perfect?



In any case, the notion that the US is the only country ignoring the current legal setup is absurd. So why don't you guys bang on about the other offenders? Oh yeah, sorry I forgot.
Alright, that's a bit of a strawman argument there, please don't try and argue that lefties don't care about the crimes of other nations. They do. However, there are two reasons why they (and myself too, I suppose) tend to focus more on the US (and UK and Canada, and many other western gov'ts). One is that these crimes are very much NOT focused on by the news media and (obviously) the government, so we feel the need to point these things out in order to get them heard, and also to show the hypocrisy of these governments.

The second one is that the US really is the most dangerous country in the world right now (there, I said it). Do you see any other countries unilaterally invading other countries, completely illegally, completely unprovoked, and then occupying the country, installing a government of their own choice, and then sitting there, staring out at the world and practically daring them to do something about it? That is some scary fucking shit. They can just invade a country for no good reason and no one can do anything about it. That is the scariest thing I have ever seen in my life and I desperately want it to never happen again.

I don't hope america crashes and burns (I know lots of nice americans), but yes i definitely want americas power in the world to decrease. Surprisingly enough I don't want the chinese to be in power either, what I would like would be if no one country had as much power as the US does right now, and that the relative power of these nations might counterbalance each other enough to ensure a bit of relative stability. At least from there the chances of effecting real change might be a bit better.

Paul Hotflush
30-09-2005, 09:05 AM
Ummm, the Geneva Convention? Made by a consensus of international powers, reflecting a general shared believe in the value of human life and the need to mitigate unnecessary cruelty. It could even be said to be a "realistic" document, in that it doesn't try and outlaw all war (that would be "unrealistic") it just tries to minimize the uhhh "collateral damage" war often causes. And the enforcement was supposed to be done by those who signed up for it--many of whom have definitely been remiss. But again, isn't uneven enforcement better than none? Why give up on it all just because it's not perfect?


I based my comments on the failures of the Geneva convention. It's a joke, as is any attempt to devise and implement a set of overarching international laws.



Alright, that's a bit of a strawman argument there, please don't try and argue that lefties don't care about the crimes of other nations. They do. However, there are two reasons why they (and myself too, I suppose) tend to focus more on the US (and UK and Canada, and many other western gov'ts). One is that these crimes are very much NOT focused on by the news media and (obviously) the government, so we feel the need to point these things out in order to get them heard, and also to show the hypocrisy of these governments.

The second one is that the US really is the most dangerous country in the world right now (there, I said it). Do you see any other countries unilaterally invading other countries, completely illegally, completely unprovoked, and then occupying the country, installing a government of their own choice, and then sitting there, staring out at the world and practically daring them to do something about it? That is some scary fucking shit. They can just invade a country for no good reason and no one can do anything about it. That is the scariest thing I have ever seen in my life and I desperately want it to never happen again.

I don't hope america crashes and burns (I know lots of nice americans), but yes i definitely want americas power in the world to decrease. Surprisingly enough I don't want the chinese to be in power either, what I would like would be if no one country had as much power as the US does right now, and that the relative power of these nations might counterbalance each other enough to ensure a bit of relative stability. At least from there the chances of effecting real change might be a bit better.

Yes, I agree with most of that, especially with how quick-draw American foreign policy seems to be. But not the bit about the media not focussing on Western governments. The Guardian and other left-wing media are overflowing with poorly-researched inflamatory nonsense about the actions of various governments and corporations, half of which they subsequently have to retract.

Anyway, I'm retiring from this board, my work is done here.

craner
30-09-2005, 09:11 AM
Anyway, I'm retiring from this board, my work is done here

Good innings.

craner
30-09-2005, 10:37 AM
They can just invade a country for no good reason

You act like you haven't paid attention to any of the arguments put forward in support of Iraq's liberation, but I know that can't be the case.

One is that these crimes are very much NOT focused on by the news media

This is really no longer the case, unless you watch Fox news alone.

installing a government of their own choice

Also, not the case. An innacurate accusation. Very nearly the exact opposite happened. Besides, different parts of the Administration (CIA, Defense, State, etc.) would have preffered different candidates, hence all the spats and bad blood in Washington.

a bit of relative stability

What does that mean? Realpolitic, greasy diplomacy, the Peace Dividend, pacifism: there is, you understand, no inherent glory in "stability". Stable for whom?

And Owen (very nice blog, incidentally) I'm not a dogged fatalist - you obviosuly do not understand, or are unfamiliar with, my "analysis" if you think so. I haven't given up on "trying to improve things," although I don't do a lot of it myself (I mean, I could start with my own life), which is why I supported the war, and could do nothing but. We tried, and are trying, to "change the system" in Iraq. And I say we including our great allies, for example President Talabani and the IFTU. Behold, the federal constitution. Understand who wants to undermine it, and why.

bassnation
30-09-2005, 12:21 PM
Yes, I agree with most of that, especially with how quick-draw American foreign policy seems to be. But not the bit about the media not focussing on Western governments. The Guardian and other left-wing media are overflowing with poorly-researched inflamatory nonsense about the actions of various governments and corporations, half of which they subsequently have to retract.

examples please. i read the left wing press all the time and i haven't seen ANY of these retractions you talk of.

and in any case, if you want inflammatory nonsense you can pick up any of the right wing papers (which are in the majority if you hadn't noticed).

craner
30-09-2005, 12:30 PM
I hadn't noticed that! Bland centre-ground or liberal papers are in the majority, aren't they?

matt b
30-09-2005, 12:44 PM
I hadn't noticed that! Bland centre-ground or liberal papers are in the majority, aren't they?

liberal/left: guardian, independent, observer, mirror
right: sun, times, daily mail, daily express, news of the world, daily telegraph, star

bassnation
30-09-2005, 12:47 PM
liberal/left: guardian, independent, observer, mirror
right: sun, times, daily mail, daily express, news of the world, daily telegraph, star

plus the circulation of those on the right dwarves that of the left - ultimately right wing media in this country has a massive distorting influence.

matt b
30-09-2005, 12:51 PM
plus the circulation of those on the right dwarves that of the left - ultimately right wing media in this country has a massive distorting influence.

the sun, the times and the mail are the 'agenda setting' papers too.

craner
30-09-2005, 01:08 PM
People on the right say exactly the same thing about the left! Oh dear.

The Times is centrist now. It's also a largely diminished "force". The only two Tory rags left are the Telegraph and the Mail.

craner
30-09-2005, 01:09 PM
I'll admit that the Daily Mail has chilling power.

bassnation
30-09-2005, 01:29 PM
People on the right say exactly the same thing about the left! Oh dear.

thats because they are delusional - cf. US republicans ranting about liberal bias in media.

matt b
30-09-2005, 01:42 PM
People on the right say exactly the same thing about the left! Oh dear.[/I].

but they're wrong :)


The Times is centrist now. It's also a largely diminished "force". The only two Tory rags left are the Telegraph and the Mail.

if you're calling blair 'centrist', then yes. i'd call him right wing.
the express is tory!

scottdisco
30-09-2005, 02:08 PM
Matt:
the express is tory!

it certainly supports the party.

but they're so loony that any sensible Tory would distance themselves from half the rubbish they write.

but still, yes, carry on ;-)

P.S.
the only good thing the Express has done for years is that they gave a load of money to the Niger aid appeal earlier this year, but even then there was the unseemly business of shouting about it from the rooftops: whatever happened to charity in private etc.

sorry totally off-topic i know :)

matt b
30-09-2005, 02:20 PM
Matt:
the express is tory!

it certainly supports the party.

but they're so loony that any sensible Tory would distance themselves from half the rubbish they write.


i'm not too sure about that:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1490670/posts

(he has resigned now though)

craner
30-09-2005, 02:41 PM
thats because they are delusional

Face it - you're all delusional!

craner
30-09-2005, 02:43 PM
Does the Express even count?

Paul Hotflush
30-09-2005, 02:54 PM
examples please.

Out of retirement...

OK, a good one is the case of former Guardian journalist Saad al-Fagih, who wrote various comment pieces and news stories on Muslims in Britain and war on terror, before being unmasked as a genuine fundamentalist. Various heads rolled at the Graun for that little oversight.

Also, I read a Monbiot piece in the same paper last week on oil prices and demand that I found quite interesting, until I checked the facts with a mate who works in the industry and found most of them to be inaccurate.

Trust me, the left wing media prints just as many lies as the right.

Back in retirement...

craner
30-09-2005, 03:37 PM
Various heads rolled at the Graun for that little oversight

Unfortunately not Seamus Milne's

Paul Hotflush
30-09-2005, 03:48 PM
Various heads rolled at the Graun for that little oversight

Unfortunately not Seamus Milne's

Indeed, I hope the police find the time to do an "investigation" on that guy one of these days... ;)

scottdisco
30-09-2005, 03:51 PM
Matt:
i'm not too sure about that...(he has resigned now though)

to be fair, what has some loon who made out of line comments in Swindon that the Sun editorialised on got to do with the Express?

and as for Seamus Milne, he's like the Mark Steyn of the left

;)

craner
30-09-2005, 03:52 PM
The Times as tabloid is—especially to the people at The Guardian—nothing more than another chapter in one of the longest, saddest, most telling, and most cautionary tales in the long decline of modern journalism. That is, the quarter-century journey of the London Times from probity and respectability and tradition to, under the Murdoch ownership, bland and inconsequential market-pandering mediocrity. Going tabloid is merely the topper.

In fact, the move even suggests (at least to the people at The Guardian) not just a further devaluation of The Times, but also of the 74-year-old Murdoch's power (Murdoch fell this year on The Guardian's much-watched annual list of the most powerful people in the media industry in Britain from No. 1 to No. 3, behind BBC director general Mark Thompson and BBC chairman Michael Grade). Not only was The Times being forced out of its upscale market to chase the ever rising middle-market Daily Mail (in Times editor Thomson's spin, the Times reader, traditionally part of a "narrow establishment," is now part of a much "broader establishment"), but Murdoch's most powerful machine, The Sun, the down-market tabloid, has been steadily losing strength—its working-class readers graduating to the ever more powerful Mail.

From Vanity Fair, this month. Very good article.

http://www.vanityfair.com/commentary/content/articles/050926roco01?page=4

scottdisco
30-09-2005, 03:56 PM
The devil:
This thread would be so much better if we didn't use the words "left", "right" and "wing".

you are right Oliver.

except with Milne and Steyn - i don't think they'd object to their labels ;)

good point on that article too.
British print news journalism is a pretty sorry state, a lot of it.

British broadsheets still beat out American ones for news, though [what's all this 'Sunnis...reap the wind' shit from Tommy Friedman recently?].

not sure about extra-curriculars mind.

craner
30-09-2005, 04:12 PM
I don't know - I've not followed him recently. Don't you have to pay to read his op-eds now? What's he been saying?

This too:

As a broadsheet, The Times has seemed, for many years now, to be unfocused and identity-less. As a tabloid, this seems to become a new virtue. The tabloid Times is pure function, a news utility, a model of efficiency. A news pill. It's a paper without affect—without snobbery (or even much attitude). It's frictionless. You can almost see people absorbing it while they're in motion.

k-punk
30-09-2005, 10:42 PM
Come now, nothing is as bad as the Guardian....

luka
25-02-2018, 12:00 PM
classic 3 way craner/scuba/owen hatherly clash.