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craner
10-12-2004, 12:28 AM
It's like, believe it or not, I'm not a neocon nut. I'm not a Cowboy. I don't have the means to watch Fox News. I read the Guardian more than the Telegraph or even the Times.

I've read quite a lot about the abuse of American Power, especially under Kissinger, Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr, and Clinton.

But reading the use, and abuse, of American Power as one consistent line seems rigid and counterproductive to me, especially now, when US foreign policy and international politics have both changed profoundly.

The worse thing afflicting Bush's foreign policy is hypocrasy and lack of consistency, not neo-imperial aggression. For example, to bolster the idea of promoting democracy in the Middle East, they should promote fledgling democracies like Jordan and Bahrain, and vocally support the massive push for reform in Iran (maybe engagment is better than attack in this case: new ties between Iran and the US might, actually, kick off serious opposition to the Mullocrats), and, on the other side, distance themselves from the corrupt and disgusting House of Saud.

Connect America to its rich vein of political literature: to critique its power interests and its State gangsters and fundamentalist nuts, but also to counter the prevalent mode of thinking that tars the US as neo-imperialist or, even, neo-fascist.

Cos I'm not buying that argument, especially when it's based on analysis that's over 10 years out of date.

The best and closest of you, like Sufi and Luka and Mark, have twigged that my attitude to US power is complex, convoluted, and somewhat derivative. I can't deny that. Actually, my attitude is also based on studying the greatest scandal of the last decade: Rwanda. So let's talk about the idea of intervention, too. Because serious intervention to stop such catastrophes (see the Balkans in particular) rests, for success, on US military balls.

But to start, as Thomas Friedman put it, some reading: the US constitution, Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points speech, and the Declaration of Independance. I'd add to that: the Prospect interview with and the <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?041101fa_fact">New Yorker portrait</a> of Paul Wolfowitz.

Now, let's argue. (Come on, don't embarrass me, don't let this thread die, I know you all care passionately about this...)

sufi
10-12-2004, 01:24 AM
you want to get pearsil in here,
not sure if he's a neo-con either ;) , but we're straight into discussing american power on darfur thread...
i wonder if he'd agree with this:

Because serious intervention to stop such catastrophes (see the Balkans in particular) rests, for success, on US military balls.
:D

Pearsall
10-12-2004, 03:09 AM
You can't use html on this board. Links work like this: [ url = http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?041101fa_fact ] blah [ /url ] (just remove the spaces)

Paul Wolfowitz interview (http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?041101fa_fact)

I'm not a neo-con, I'm basically a centrist who can swing quite a bit in either direction as I see fit. Mostly I dislike any systematic world view that claims that everything can be explained by looking through a certain prism - it's bullshit. I'm harsher on left-wing view points than I am on right-wing ones because I used to be a fairly orthodox liberal, but once you start questioning one aspect of it you find you have to re-evaluate a lot of your positions.

As far as the discussion of American power goes, I broadly agree with you. I'll wait to see what else this thread throw up before I add my thoughts.

gff
10-12-2004, 04:50 AM
one thing right away: i need to find it again (hang on) but i read a comparison of the iraq invasion with an imagined rwanda intervention that contended that iraq was by far the easiest country on earth to invade; i think this was meant to have a chilling effect on any iran-talk. Iraq: lots of int'l "blue" water around to park carriers, surrounded by unsupportive or enemy states, 3 US allies among them, and the country itself photographed and bombed daily for a decade after an earlier overwhelming defeat. Rwanda had none of these handy logistical features and a "humanitarian" goal which always makes defense beancounter types nervous. But it's general thesis was "Iraq, easy; Rwanda, hard."

ok i looked, but googling "Rwanda Iraq" turns up a billion things, sorry.

Rambler
10-12-2004, 10:21 AM
The worse thing afflicting Bush's foreign policy is hypocrasy and lack of consistency, not neo-imperial aggression.

For what it's worth, I think that's dead right.

luka
10-12-2004, 10:44 AM
this thread is only going to be good if you can get someone to call america 'facist lite'
then you can shout slogans at each other and get increasingly heated and unpleasant.
it'll be really boring if everyone goes, yeah, good point about america, theyve got some good things going for them.

iraq and afghanistan weren't really straight intervention, they certainly weren't sold that way. clinton did more actual intervening. i think its odd how you keep defending bush by reference to all the intervening (which he hasn't done) but, as i understand it, thats how you came to be a bush supporter, because you think its up for intervention and you think intervention is brilliant.

luka
10-12-2004, 11:17 AM
and by the way oliver, i'm not happy about being told to read a 500,000 word article on wolfovitz just to learn that 'some of his best friends are muslim'
that took up a lot of my time, i could have been cutting my toenails.

jaybob
10-12-2004, 11:17 AM
ok, however far off it may be, wouldn't a better idea (than american intervention) be a functioning European army, or more realistically some kind of revived Nato that had and was prepared to use force?

What the world needs most now is America being drawn back into a multilateral foreign policy environment. The UN, as far as the US is concerned, seems as discredited as the League of Nations was a couple of generations ago. In the FT, I think, there was a good article about a month ago proposing the idea of a new league of democratic nations, with some kind of pooled army. The key point of this league would be that it only admitted countries who could pass a strict democratic audit: no failed states, no theocracies, no corrupt princedoms. The authors suggested that America, in its current overstretched position, might welcome this potential support. what do people thinK?

craner
10-12-2004, 11:22 AM
Well, put! I was expecting more bile and silliness than this. Jeepers. Was the tone of my question too conciliatary? North Korea next! Nuke Tehran!

Oh and the thing about Rwanda is this: the point was never full scale invasion a la Iraq. Basically Clinton dropped to ball badly and got his administration to say anything to get out of admitting that straightfoward, clean-cut genocide was being unleashed, and with this US reluctance to get involved in any capacity, the UN was too tied and timid and weak to do anything, and Romeo Dallaire (you shoild never forget him) was militarily paralysed, stuck there with his troops watching Tutsis being machine gunned and chopped to bits, without being able to do anything. Clinton didn't want to get sucked in BECAUSE of, among other things, the nightmare in Somalia...oh, anyway, you get the picture.

I liked it when Madaleine Albright tackled Colin Powell, who didn't want his boys going anywhere near the Balkans, and said "what do we have this big army for anyway?"

He went mental! "I almost had an aneurysm," he said.

Intervention isn't just military invasion, of course: it can = good old diplomacy, like Colin Powell helping to diffuse nuclear war between India and Pakistan, although India's powerful IT sector probably had the most influence there.

Bush hasn't really "intervened" at all. But he has destroyed two nasty regimes, and scared a bunch of others witless. Therefore he's empowered the opponents of tyranny across the world, unless they're in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan or Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan or...

There are people here, I know, who despise America, and not just because of Bush and not just because of the American military, but because of American everything. The United Snakes crew.

I want to get them out of the woodwork.

And K-Punk's already decided that America is a fascist superpower. So where's the K-Punk chorus?

rewch
10-12-2004, 11:25 AM
trouble is those failed states, theocracies and corrupt princedoms are inherently suspicious of any intervention, not to mention the concerns of various democaracies with similar suspicions...international relations have (& i'm not defending them) grown up with various working concepts (such as sovereignty) that are difficult to replace, though the us seems to be attempting to do so...in many reespects for itss own interests, which leads back too the former suspicions...rather ethnocentric to limit the moral authority of sadi body to 'strict deemocratic audit'...no? also weren't the authors rather close to an essentially internationally authoritarian position?

craner
10-12-2004, 11:28 AM
Robert Kagan made the same point in 'Paradise and Power', he reckons that the key to peace in the future between US and Europe is by Europe investing more in its military and becoming a counterweight, in some respects, to the US.

He's like, otherwise European resentment of US dominance will fester and become something much more malignant. It's literally military power that creates the gulf: economically, Europe and the US are more equal.

And, the best thing for Darfur, for instance, is a strong, functioning African Union army. And the leaders of the free world willing to say the word genocide when they ought to.

luka
10-12-2004, 01:29 PM
yeah in terms of your argument, (intervention is cool, use to Power to defeat Evil), the us can't really do it anyway because it doesn#t have the public support, the military muscle or the dollars. it might be able to handle a couple of projects a year, but theres loads of fucked up shit in the world. if you want to have a go at every fucked up situation you need an international body.

craner
10-12-2004, 01:42 PM
Of course, but an international body is no use of it cannot handle a situation with any skill or consistency, or if it's used as a mechanism for countries to protect their own interests by censoring those of others, because then nothing happens. The international body slumps into a state of paralysis and then everybody else is paralysed too. I'm thinking of France in relation to Rwanda, and Russia in relation to the Balkans, in particular.

It would help if things like NATO, the UN, the African Union had some teeth. If more money was put into their armies. Because when things need to get done properly, the US are the only ones with the right kit and convinction to do it. They have mental shit, they can land fighter jets in the dark, and everyone else has rag tag armies in comparison.

turtles
10-12-2004, 08:48 PM
Damnit, I was really trying to not to get sucked in to Dissensus untill after my exams were done, but this lackluster argument was just too much to take!

so basically, I take issue with this:



Originally posted by Oliver Craner
But reading the use, and abuse, of American Power as one consistent line seems rigid and counterproductive to me, especially now, when US foreign policy and international politics have both changed profoundly.

Surely you realize that this argument has been used many times before, during many previous administrations? The myth of change: "Well the US gov't may have done some bad things in the past, but things are different now, and stuff like that can't happen now." Yes the Bush doctrine of preemptive war is definitely new, but in reality it just makes explicit what has been implicit in America's foreign policy for decades: that the US will unilateraly act to protect it's interests.

So basically, I'm interested to know why you think US policy is so suddenly different now. Many of the people in the Bush administration have been around for a long time (Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc.). Reagan already had a war on terror back in the 80's. And US economic interests have really not changed at all since Clinton, and have changed very little in the last 50 years or so. America has abused its power pretty terribly in the past, and many of the same people that performed that abuse are still in power, and many of their reasons for performing these abuses are still just the same.

Basically, 9/11 has been used as a pretext to persue existing and long standing goals. Things haven't really changed.

Hopefully this get's things going a bit more!



(yes yes I know, university student with leftist politics. shocker! ;) )

Pearsall
10-12-2004, 09:48 PM
Well, perhaps you can tell me of a great power (either global or regional) in history that has not abused its power somewhat?

Since obviously you think many US actions in the Cold War were bad (and I'll surely agree on some of them) I'd be interested to hear whether you think some of them were necessary in countering the Soviet Union. Or are you of the leftist school that holds that American actions in the Cold War, morally, were the same/worse than those of the Soviet Union and China in the same period? If the overall result (end of Communism) was a good thing, is that end unjustified by some of the means?

I guess we're getting closer to the heart of the matter now: is it possible to have a purely benevolent foreign policy if you are a nation that wields great power? Where should governments draw the line between their responsibilities to their people and their responsibilities to the world as a whole?

craner
10-12-2004, 10:37 PM
Yo, hello Dave! That's the whole point, buddy! US foreign policy is always changing because the characters are always changing, and every big man's got his own doctrine or lobby to adhere to or service.

The BIG change, which is the thing that has changed American foreign policy in the context of 9/11, is the shift within the Republican party from the Realists to the Idealists. And, the thing is, that schism has been playing out for decades. Rummy was challenging Kissinger on his policies in the Nixon administration: he wanted to take Kissinger's place. And his idea was, end detente, and challenge the Soviets.

And then you had Reagan and the end of the Cold War. George Schultz was the don, and things were dirtier and nastier than later on, and supporting right-wing dictators and murderous militias and white oligarchies was justified by the Washington foreign policy community: Jeane Kirkpatrick being key to this, funnily enough, with a Commentary article called 'Dictatorships and Double Standards' which was a weird and sick synthesis of Kissingerism and Neoconservatism served up as newly-minted doctrine.

Then you no longer had the Cold War. But the heirs of Kissinger - Scowcroft, and later, Condi kinda - were still obsessed with Eastern European politics, while the Idealists started to focus on the Middle East. In the meantime, then, there's Clinton's administrations dealing with all the post-Cold War issues, and trying to work out what to DO with all that post-Vietnam/CW military power, and generally trying to work out what kind of foreign policy Democrats are suppossed to have anyway. Meanwhile Powell's in the Pentagon, with the 'don't do a damn thing' Powell doctrine.

You know all this, right? So, is it not just too easy and convenient to view US foreign policy as one monolithic chunk of genocidal evil shit that spans centuries? How the hell is that useful???

Maybe US foreign policy won't change cleanly, fundamentally, ever...because there are so many checks and counterchecks and party partitions and interest groups and there's Congress and there's Senate and there's Comittees and Special Advisors and all sorts...there's nothing clean, and there are too many fundamentalisms.

But it's more basic. Listen, when Bush said that the mission of the US was to challenge tyranny and support and export democracy he was speaking the language of the Idealists and turning his back on the legacy of Kissinger and realpolitik: Bush's 02 State of the Union address openly condemned that very legacy. That's a pretty important swerve in US foreign policy.

Now answer Pearsall's questions.

craner
10-12-2004, 10:40 PM
Change is not a myth. Myths don't change.

turtles
11-12-2004, 12:34 AM
Alrighty then, good to see things pick up a bit. :D

So yeah, absolutes aren't very useful, and the political world is definitely a lot more complex than people tend to think. Of course I don't think US foreign policy has not been in constant flux for as along as there has been a US foreign policy. But that's kind of my point, that despite the fact that "every big man's got his own doctrine or lobby to adhere to or service," the end result of US foreign policy has been strickingly similar accross all sorts of different Administrations. In a sense it didn't really matter whether there was a Democrat or a Republican in the White House during Vietnam, the war was fought pretty much the same either way.

What I think this points to is that: a) US foreign policy is driven by a lot of factors completely outside of who is running the government (the economy being the real big one there). And b) though there are variations in policy, they tend to all come from within a similar and rather limited perspective--of priviledge, absolute faith in the capitilast system, and belief in America's right and duty to police the world (or something like that...I'm sure ppl will disagree on this). So essentially what I'm saying is that these larger factors have not changed. The swerve into Idealism is just one extreme within this spectrum.

The thing to remember is that, Bush might have said some nice things about freedom and such, and you know, that's great. But we're not actually going to start judging politicians by what they say now are we? You have to look at what Bush & Co have actually done. They have continued to support many despotic regimes. They have invaded a country, killed a lot of civilians, and installed a government which its people do not support. It remains to be seen if a trully independant Iraqi gov't is created, which would be great. But I have my doubts.

Anyway, you support Bush's rhetoric? Fine. I think it sounds kinda nice too. But I object to what he's actually done.


Phew....so on to Pearsall


Originally posted by Pearsall
Well, perhaps you can tell me of a great power (either global or regional) in history that has not abused its power somewhat?
Of course I can't (power corrupts, remember ;)). But that really doesn't mean we should be singing the praises of the US, does it? "No worse than any other great power" is hardly a compliment, nor is it a reason to stop looking for something better.

Lastly, as for the US vs Soviets comparison, no I don't think they are equivalent, I'd much rather live in the States the Soviet Russia. However, I do think that neither of them are all that great in their influence on the world. Standing up to the Soviets was a good thing, but that wasn't exactly the only thing the US was doing during that time. And really, I'm not too sure how much stuff that went under the banner of "standing up to the Soviets" actually performed that roll. Most of the interventions in Central America (Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, etc) were framed as fighting Communism, but I think it's pretty clear that they really had fuck all to do with Russia, and all about extending American hegemony.

alright, that'll do for now, I hope.

MBM
11-12-2004, 01:13 PM
OK, so the US is the world's only military and economic superpower. What should it, as a nation state, do with that power?

And what should the EU - that big, sprawling mass of 25 nations - do? Work with the US? Limit it thru oppositional tactics? And assuming it wants to pick and choose, how does it do that effectively? With an aging population (and hence a massive pensions bill just around the corner) and lacking a real Executive arm - I can't see the EU investing more militarily.

P.S. One really banal comment I'd make concerns the relative lack of contact most americans have with other countries and cultures.

&catherine
12-12-2004, 02:52 PM
The problem with US interventions is not just their hypocrisy. It's also the fact that these interventions almost always, without fail, go horribly wrong. The result is either that the aims of the intervention are not reached, while the target countries are left in a state far worse than prior to the intervention; or that the narrow aims of the intervention are technically achieved, while the country falls into chaos. (See, for example, Balkans in the early 90s, Kosovo in the late 90s, Iraq right now, Somalia, Afghanistan...)

No one seems to be talking very concretely about actual examples of US intervention here. I think a closer inspection would reveal that they are generally, to use a non-technical term, giant cock-ups.

And to tie this into the question of the abuse of American power... It tends to be the case that the rather narrow intellectual / intelligence / military frameworks through which the 'architects' of these interventions work are 'to blame' for this. It's a systemic thing.

(Apologies for the short post - will furnish the above with examples and elaboration if I get some time.)

Oh, and one more thing - I think Slavoj Zizek was right on the money when he said recently that the slogan for American policy could quite easily be a reversal of that old Green slogan - in America's case, "Think local, act global." Even in more 'liberal' administrations, the prime consideration is always national interest. Which may not be surprising, but it's worthwhile to remember as a guard against getting too misty-eyed about liberalism...

Pearsall
13-12-2004, 05:05 AM
Lastly, as for the US vs Soviets comparison, no I don't think they are equivalent, I'd much rather live in the States the Soviet Russia. However, I do think that neither of them are all that great in their influence on the world.

The point is that, even if you dislike America's influence on the world, from any objective standpoint it should be impossible to argue that the Soviet influence wasn't far worse. You were edging towards saying that but at the last minute caved back to moral equivalence.

Pearsall
13-12-2004, 05:48 AM
The problem with US interventions is not just their hypocrisy. It's also the fact that these interventions almost always, without fail, go horribly wrong. The result is either that the aims of the intervention are not reached, while the target countries are left in a state far worse than prior to the intervention; or that the narrow aims of the intervention are technically achieved, while the country falls into chaos. (See, for example, Balkans in the early 90s, Kosovo in the late 90s, Iraq right now, Somalia, Afghanistan...)

No one seems to be talking very concretely about actual examples of US intervention here. I think a closer inspection would reveal that they are generally, to use a non-technical term, giant cock-ups.

Hmm. So, American interventions are giant cock-ups? Ok, well, why don't we look at the Korean peninsula? When the Korean war ended South Korea was poorer than Egypt (which was about to embark on Nasser's great socialist dream). Look at the difference between the two today. If America had not intervened then the entire peninsula would look like the north does today, wouldn't it?

I don't need to say much about American intervention in Western Europe beyond two words: Marshall Plan.

More recently,in Bosnia the US were the ones who finally fixed things. For a couple years the US said to the EU "ok, it's your back yard, you deal with it." They didn't, and so then Clinton had to deal with it. Are the results perfect? No, but you aren't going to turn Bosnia into Ohio (or Victoria) over night. What should they have done? Allowed the war to continue until it burned itself out? Same with Kosovo, let the ethnic cleansing continue until the Albanians were all banished? I guess the European approach was really bearing fruit, huh, what with the 300,000 corpses.

In regards to Somalia, it was about the most altruistic intervention in modern political history. America had no economic or geopolitical interests in Somalia, and the ultimate failure of the mission was due to the peculiar factors of the situation there, where the state had ceased to exist and the UN mission was trying to negotiate the Byzantine politics of an anarchic clan war.

Iraq and Afghanistan are separate issues from intervention. Afghanistan was a necessary action from a US security standpoint and it has had the nice side effect of working out reasonably well. Consider the fact that millions of refugees have returned in the last couple years. Or the recent elections, which the international observers said passed with reasonably few irregularities. Is Afghanistan perfect? No, of course not. But are things moving in the right direction? It seems that way. You have to remember that this is a country that has been deep in conflict for over thirty years (most people forget that the reason the Red Army rolled in was because the ruling Marxist government was failing to best the insurgency that had been going on since the early 1970's). Nothing gets fixed over night.

Iraq is a preemptive war and was not an 'intervention' in the sense of Bosnia or Kosovo or Somalia. I'm not going to defend it, because it's been a disaster. Although I do find it interesting/bizarre at how many orthodox Leftists are so eager for America to fail and for the most wildly reactionary fundamentalist elements to triumph.

People seem to have lost their sense of historical perspective; if things are not magically transformed over night that doesn't mean it is wise to declare the whole process is automatically a disaster. All wars take a long time to recover from. Britain didn't end rationing until the middle of the 1950's.

So, American interventions:
Bosnia: Worked out reasonably well. Could have been better, but could have been a lot worse.
Kosovo: Worked out reasonably well. Could have been better, but could have been a lot worse.
Somalia: A pretty much unavoidable failure.
Afghanistan: Moving in the right direction, could be a lot worse.
Iraq: A total mess, hard to divine the future. Could get better, could stay the same, could get worse, could go really Hieronymous Bosch.

Barring Iraq I am finding it hard to see in which of these countries American intervention made things worse than before, as you state.

craner
13-12-2004, 11:47 AM
And there's also this thing from 1947 called the Genocide Convention which is the founding legal document of post war intervention. It's a beautiful document. It's one of the most important things we have. It says that nations are morally and legally responsible for their actions and the crimes of others. When a country, or an ethnic group, or a militia, or whoever, commit genocide, the free world is bound, by international law, to act to stop it, and punish those responsible. The problem comes when nations or great powers ignore or defer responsibility. See Rwanda: the Clinton administration did everything to blur the definition of "genocide" in a desperate and criminal arrempt to avoid having to intervene. If you ditch intervention on the basis of its difficulties and flaws, its seems to me you throw the Genocide Convention out of the window too. Because if you say that no nation or powerbloc should intervene, then you say that the Genocide Convention is impossible to enact. And it's not.

I'll be back later. I took the weekend off.

hombre
13-12-2004, 01:32 PM
Alrighty then, good to see things pick up a bit. :D

So yeah, absolutes aren't very useful, and the political world is definitely a lot more complex than people tend to think. Of course I don't think US foreign policy has not been in constant flux for as along as there has been a US foreign policy. But that's kind of my point, that despite the fact that "every big man's got his own doctrine or lobby to adhere to or service," the end result of US foreign policy has been strickingly similar accross all sorts of different Administrations. In a sense it didn't really matter whether there was a Democrat or a Republican in the White House during Vietnam, the war was fought pretty much the same either way.

What I think this points to is that: a) US foreign policy is driven by a lot of factors completely outside of who is running the government (the economy being the real big one there). And b) though there are variations in policy, they tend to all come from within a similar and rather limited perspective--of priviledge, absolute faith in the capitilast system, and belief in America's right and duty to police the world (or something like that...I'm sure ppl will disagree on this). So essentially what I'm saying is that these larger factors have not changed. The swerve into Idealism is just one extreme within this spectrum.

The thing to remember is that, Bush might have said some nice things about freedom and such, and you know, that's great. But we're not actually going to start judging politicians by what they say now are we? You have to look at what Bush & Co have actually done. They have continued to support many despotic regimes. They have invaded a country, killed a lot of civilians, and installed a government which its people do not support. It remains to be seen if a trully independant Iraqi gov't is created, which would be great. But I have my doubts.

Anyway, you support Bush's rhetoric? Fine. I think it sounds kinda nice too. But I object to what he's actually done.


Phew....so on to Pearsall


Of course I can't (power corrupts, remember ;)). But that really doesn't mean we should be singing the praises of the US, does it? "No worse than any other great power" is hardly a compliment, nor is it a reason to stop looking for something better.

Lastly, as for the US vs Soviets comparison, no I don't think they are equivalent, I'd much rather live in the States the Soviet Russia. However, I do think that neither of them are all that great in their influence on the world. Standing up to the Soviets was a good thing, but that wasn't exactly the only thing the US was doing during that time. And really, I'm not too sure how much stuff that went under the banner of "standing up to the Soviets" actually performed that roll. Most of the interventions in Central America (Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, etc) were framed as fighting Communism, but I think it's pretty clear that they really had fuck all to do with Russia, and all about extending American hegemony.

alright, that'll do for now, I hope.
that was the only post here that really makes sense. the rest seems a bit divorced from the reality.


And there's also this thing from 1947 called the Genocide Convention which is the founding legal document of post war intervention. It's a beautiful document. It's one of the most important things we have. It says that nations are morally and legally responsible for their actions and the crimes of others. When a country, or an ethnic group, or a militia, or whoever, commit genocide, the free world is bound, by international law, to act to stop it, and punish those responsible. The problem comes when nations or great powers ignore or defer responsibility. See Rwanda: the Clinton administration did everything to blur the definition of "genocide" in a desperate and criminal arrempt to avoid having to intervene.

the clinton administration also did their best to show that there was a genocide where there was none (kosovo), which apparently the bush administration is trying to do right now with darfur. it should be obvious that the genocide convention can be used to bully people into supporting actions motivated by less noble considerations. it's also obvious that these other considerations will always have more weight in what the "free world" really does than any obligations under international law. under these circumstances it is a bit naive to talk about the "responsibility" of great powers. even worse, it reminds me of the "white burden" argument from colonial times when european intellectuals were talking about the "responsibility" of european nations to bring civilisation and progress to less enlightened parts of the world.

craner
13-12-2004, 03:39 PM
"the clinton administration also did their best to show that there was a genocide where there was none (kosovo), which apparently the bush administration is trying to do right now with darfur"

And we're the ones (I assume you mean Pearsall and I) divorced from reality?

Hombre, man. Concentration camps. Death squads. Discriminate mass slaughter. State-propagated racism.

There're pictures. There's film. I know that most of you are left-of-liberal but I never expected to hear any of you actually say that the Balkans, you know, wasn't really as bad as all that, or belittling the slaughter in Darfur.

This is about as bad as it gets, I think.

Well at least we're plumbing some depths now.

Since when did the international left become colonised by unreconstructed isolationsists?

craner
13-12-2004, 03:44 PM
And if you don't believe in the essential validity of international law, if you don't belive in the sanctity of such things as the Genocide Convention, which I confess I do, and the better portion of the left used to too, please be more explicit about it, and then suggest a way forward, that's not a way backward, and doesn't sweep violent paroxysms - which happen in the real world - away under the carpet.

hombre
13-12-2004, 04:34 PM
there was no such thing as genocide in kosovo. even according to nato estimates in the year prior to the bombing the number of people killed was ca. 2000 on all sides. when the bombing started the attrocities escalated (not surprisingly) and there were claims of hundreds of thousands of albanian men killed. after the war was over it was clear that this was just propaganda. ethnic cleansing was the main form of attrocity not only in kosovo, but also elsewhere in the balkans (and was perpetrated by all sides). that's not nice, but it can't be compared to what happened in rwanda.

what is happening in darfur is also horrible, but again it's not genocide as far as i can see.

there is no doubt that something should be done about conflicts like these, but i don't think it's irrelevant what. i certainly do believe in the essential validity of the international law and think all countries of the world should respect it. the problem is, neither the united states nor european countries care much about the international law if it gets in their way and they use it quite often to blackmail anyone who for whatever reason defies them. if international law favours the rich and the powerful we can't talk about justice.

this has nothing to do with isolationism. i fully support international cooperation. there are even cases where i would support a military intervention even if the motivation of the participants is dubious. but i don't think the great powers ("free world") should be allowed to abuse international law for their own purposes.

it should also be noted that quite a lot of current conflicts stem from past actions of big powers.

rewch
13-12-2004, 06:03 PM
what is international law? consensus worked out over centuries by govns with big armies to oppress those with lesser armies, the balance of which tradition we are attempting to navigate...& not very well...effectively there is very little international law & even less that is codified...

whatever the term for what occurred in rwanda or what is currently occurring in sudan is irrelevant...half the time of the un is spent arguing this sort of semantic gibberish...

hombre
13-12-2004, 06:55 PM
what is international law? consensus worked out over centuries by govns with big armies to oppress those with lesser armies, the balance of which tradition we are attempting to navigate...& not very well...effectively there is very little international law & even less that is codified...

whatever the term for what occurred in rwanda or what is currently occurring in sudan is irrelevant...half the time of the un is spent arguing this sort of semantic gibberish...
that's a bit harsh. there are numerous international treaties that are essentially progressive, even if they are abused. i also wouldn't say it's irrelevant what term is used to describe what is currently going on in darfur - for the reasons given on this thread by oliver craner (except if you think international law is irrelevant, of course).

craner
13-12-2004, 10:02 PM
The Americans were edgy about Milosevic anyway. Wes Clarke had a pretty disturbing on-the-record conversation with him. Serbs know how to handle Albanian nationalists, said Milosevic. They'd had some experience, after all. When? "Drenica, in 1946." How do you do it, asked Clark. "We kill all of them. It took several years, but we kill them all."

He wasn't even a madman. like Mladic; he was more cold, more rational.

Then there was Racak, wasn't there? The Albanian village put to the sword by a Serb armed unit? That's what spurred military action.

It was ethnic cleansing, the bud of what happened in Bosnia - what had been allowed to happen. I don't even know if action against Kosovo was based on the Genocide Covention - I cannot see why it would not have been. Ethnic cleansing - that counts as genocide, as far as I'm aware. Regardless of Genocidal intent, the massacres were starting again.

I am not aware, however, of a numerical threshold in the Genocide Convention. I'm certainly not aware of one that could be justified. It's not a question of, 500 are dead so let's get stuck in boys. It's not quantitative.

The context of Kosovo was Bosnia. It is impossible to divorce the two. Kosovo was a late intervention in the Balkan Wars; it was haunted by what had previously happened when Milosevic unleashed Serb Nationalist forces in a crooked pact with Tudjman the fascist Croat. If you want to look at Kosova divorced from Bosnia, which I think is rather futile and conveniant (for you), then yes, in terms of bodycount, the genocidal attack on Racak hardly compares. But that's because we intervened!

I agree with most of what you said in your response to me, hombre, it made more sense than the way you broke into this argument anyway, which rather took my breathe away. The biggest contention I have with you, it seems, is the idea that intervention in the Balkans or, if you want to see it so, Kosovo, was an abuse of power. How so? Who was being bullied? Milosevic? The KLA? Either way, the tyrants and terrorists were being bullied. Good.

As for Darfur, read the Darfur thread. I also think it's important to look closely at who is fighting, killing, and being killed, as well as for what reason. I don't think genocide is the wrong word here, either. And there are plenty of cases in which it has been.

The deathtoll in Iraq, for example, has nothing to do with genocide.

Genocide: the deliberate extermination of a people or a nation. On the basis of who they are.

turtles
14-12-2004, 01:21 AM
Genocide: the deliberate extermination of a people or a nation. On the basis of who they are.

Kissinger, passing on orders to the military to bomb Cambodia: "Anything that flies on anything that moves."

Hard to interpret this as anything other than an attempt at the deliberate extermination of a nation.

craner
14-12-2004, 01:33 AM
Yep, and I abhor Kissinger, his policies, his legacy, all he stands for. I look forward to the day he stands trial for his crimes.

Next.

craner
14-12-2004, 02:03 AM
I'm still open on Darfur. I don't think I know enough about that yet.

On Bosnia and Kosovo, I'm not however. I suspect any equivolance on this. This one seems simple to me.

I'm not about to play with the defintion of genocide in any way.

I think the Convention is absolutely crucial to how we move forward. How we avoid the past.

To dismiss it as a tool for bullies just seems perverse. That's a gut instinct, on my part, plus more.

Both the arguments of bipedaldave and hombre are flawed because they seem (I'm careful now, because people come out with these reprehensible statements and then, when challenged, come over all reasonable, as if to say, "ha! I'm reasonable, suddenly! Gutted! Your point was wrong!" Uh, why? You didn't answer the actual point, you just said, I can qualify, dilute, and compromise my own point...) to ignore the conext of

1. 9/11.

2. The Balkan Wars.

Let's get some context, and continue.

Both Pearsall and I are talking in context. Not preconceived ideas.

turtles
14-12-2004, 02:28 AM
So, American interventions:
Bosnia: Worked out reasonably well. Could have been better, but could have been a lot worse.
Kosovo: Worked out reasonably well. Could have been better, but could have been a lot worse.
Somalia: A pretty much unavoidable failure.
Afghanistan: Moving in the right direction, could be a lot worse.
Iraq: A total mess, hard to divine the future. Could get better, could stay the same, could get worse, could go really Hieronymous Bosch.

If we want to deal with specific examples, I think it makes sense to deal with more just a handlful of military interventions in the 90s. After all, talking about American Power here, in all its forms.

Let us not forget things like:

--the bombing of a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan in the mid 90s--, destroying roughly half the drugs for the population of Sudan, and something like 90% of the vetrinarian drugs, devestating the farming industry.

--support for the coup of Aristede just this year. Though Aristede was not a good leader, according to the International Coalition of Independent Observers, he was democratically elected. And I would challenge anyone to argue that the former death-squad members that have replaced him are a change for the better.

--and while we're talking Haiti, let's not forget US support of good ole Pappa Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier

--and then there's support for pretty much every despicable dictator in central america (except castro) for the last 50-60 years at least, not to mention Pinochet in Chile

--support for Turkey in their persecution and oppresion of the Kurds

--massive one-sided support for Isreal (this is a BIG one folks, though I'm not sure if I really want to start a full on discussion of it)

--and economic policies implemented through the WTO and World Bank that have caused places like Argentina to default.

--and Iraq, which, let's not mince words here, was the first war of aggression by a major power since the Russians invaded Afghanistan

--Wars against Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos

well yeah, I could go on for a quite a while, the list is REALLY LONG. and I think almost all of these could be considered "giant cock-ups"

Though I should mention the case of Indonesia, where soon after as the US stopped supported Suharto and his genocides in East Timor, he was overthrown by an internally created rebellion, and soon after there was Democracy. This is precisely the reverse case of how US intervention is supposed to go.

Oliver, I hope you don't just blame all these on a few "bad apples," eventually you have to start generalizing from this rather abysmal list. I see that I haven't managed to convince you that not everything has changed since 9/11, will have to try harder...


So...I'm actually kind of at a lost of how to stop this from turning into a list-making exercise/in-depth analysis of a billion and one American historical events (which I've just more or less done). Each one of the events that have come up so far could easily have their own thread, if enough people were knowledgable about them. But, if we're really trying to have a debate about whether American Power in general is a good or bad thing...we'll we could get lost forever on the details of individual events. Maybe that's really the only way to get to the bigger picutre, but I think giving an argument more along structural lines (as Catherine was alluding to) would be a useful different tack.

So then, what structural factors either ensure that American Power is not abused or will inevitably be abused? Is it entirely dependant on who is in office? Hopefully some of the more philosophical bent (or those knowlegeable in economics) might be able to give opinions on this. I'll try to give my shot at it soon, but I'm sure others could do it better.

hombre
14-12-2004, 10:06 AM
The Americans were edgy about Milosevic anyway. Wes Clarke had a pretty disturbing on-the-record conversation with him. Serbs know how to handle Albanian nationalists, said Milosevic. They'd had some experience, after all. When? "Drenica, in 1946." How do you do it, asked Clark. "We kill all of them. It took several years, but we kill them all."
even if true (which given the record of lying connected to that war i have no reason to believe), this quote proves what? that milosevic wouldn't mind killing albanian nationalists? i'm sure he wouldn't mind that. he was a criminal thug. still, the question is not what politicians say, but what they really do. in 1998/99 milosevic was politically weak and had no chance of leading his people into another war. in fact, he did his best to avoid it.

you are right though, we should put things in context. the context you talk about is flawed however, even though broadly accepted in the west. if you want to discuss anything that has happened in the balkans in the 90's you have to put it in the context of the break-up of the yugoslav federation, which was a complex matter. the role of some western states (especially germany and the us) was far from great in that conflict. it seems to me that again it is you who wants to see things divorced from their proper context, not me.

without going into details, because this is not really the topic of this thread, i will say that the united states intervened in a civil war here and helped nationalists from one side win over nationalists from the other. the "success" of the intervention is largely based on the completed processes of ethnic cleansing in kosovo, croatia and bosnia (completed under the us supervision more or less). this is hardly an intervention to prevent genocide, even if we accept that ethnic cleansing and genocide are entirely the same thing. this is especially true in the case of kosovo.

it is also worth asking that if bodycounts are really irrelevant, then why were nato officials lying about the number of albanians killed during the bombing?

i understand that this may be shocking to you, but i am simply not very fond of just talking about human rights without putting things in broader context. amnesty international and human rights watch regualry condemn the us for not intervening hard enough on behalf of the oppressed people, but that sounds to me like asking lions to be nice to anthelopes. i am convinced the us policies are motivated by entirely different considerations and all the talk about spreading democracy and defending human rights (and preventing genocide) is just a charade. i would accept that some kind of intervention is necessary in many cases, but in nearly every case there are better options than american military interventions, especially if we take into account their consequences.

hombre
14-12-2004, 01:06 PM
perhaps i should elaborate a bit on this because i think we are drifting away from the topic. i don't think it is really that important if we agree if there was a genocide in kosovo or not. i think there wasn't, you think there was (at least if you put things in a certain context, as you say). we both agree that there was a genocide in rwanda though, and we both can agree that the clinton administration reacted differently. worse still, the number of people killed in kosovo in the year prior to the bombings equaled the number of people killed in rwanda daily within a period of several months. in both cases the clinton administration lied - diminishing the scale of killings in rwanda while exaggerating it in kosovo. can we then conclude that the motivation behind both reactions had nothing to do with humantiarian concerns?

which brings me to the next point - you apparently believe that countries of the "free world" can act as defenders of human rights and international law while i see them just as states that need to be kept in check. they are not neutral and therefore not a part of the solution, but a part of the problem. consequences of their actions are more often than not quite horrible and quite often they are politically responsible for conflicts they supposedly want to solve. they follow international law when it suits their interests, otherwise they ignore it (do you seriously think that any international treaty including the genocide convention is being strengthened that way). i think that supporting their interventions the way you apparently do is politically irresponsible.

&catherine
16-12-2004, 05:14 PM
So then, what structural factors either ensure that American Power is not abused or will inevitably be abused? Is it entirely dependant on who is in office? Hopefully some of the more philosophical bent (or those knowlegeable in economics) might be able to give opinions on this. I'll try to give my shot at it soon, but I'm sure others could do it better.

Well, speaking from a realistic point of view, perhaps if America in its current state evaporated mysteriously one night from the face of the earth, then we might see the disappearance of the structural factors that currently lead to the rather brutal consequences of American intervention. The 'structures' are that ingrained. It's certainly not dependent on who's in office - interventions tend to 'go bad' because both 'sides' rely on technocrats with one-eyed strategies for assessing foreign policy and military planning. It is a struggle, for example, to name a recent instance of American intervention which was commenced with a realistic conception in the American government's mind of what a 'winning scenario' would look like. Regardless of whether or not interventions have been justified, they tend to be bungled because military planning and diplomacy are unable to take account of what's 'actually going on' on the ground.

Take Kosovo as an example. Faced with a situation in which there were apparently government-supported massacres taking place in an area with a history of ethnic violence from both sides (Albanians against Serbs, Serbs against Albanians), NATO intervenes by doing what? By bombing a bunch of abstractly-chosen military targets throughout the country. The result? Milosevic used this as cover to increase the killing. So how did the chief military strategist respond? By bombing these already-bombed targets once again, and when this failed (unsurprisingly), by bombing civillian targets - including Belgrade, a built-up European city, with cluster bombs.

Now tell me - does this seem a logical or sensible course of action? Of course it doesn't. But this is the best that so-called 'experts' were able to offer up. And it is just one example of the way in which Western (it's not limited to America, obviously, but with their giant military it tends to be a bit more obvious) governments are unable to get their acts together when they deem to intervene in the affairs of of other nations. Relate this to notions of the 'abuse' of American power as you will. (I suggest that the main 'abuse' is that such a superpower has not sat down and thought things through before stumbling about the world like a bull in a china shop. But then, this implies that there is a motive other than narrow-minded, short-sighted national interest by which America might act - which, given the evidence to hand, seems a highly unlikely proposition :confused: ;) )

luka
23-12-2004, 10:53 AM
i was just lying in bed thinking about this thread. everyone knows craner is talking out his arse (lovely bloke, very clever but ridiculous politics) but his background knowledge means we'll all too intimidated to engage him in debate. even anti-imperialist truth reality activists like sufi and rewch stayed well away.
BUT, if you actually look what he's saying, in between all the names of obscure bush administration figures and governement papers, he hasn't got an argument. I mean, what exactl;y is he saying? it's hard to tell isn't it?
should we admire american foreign poicy because of the way it ruthlessly pursues its own interests, or because its a force for good confronting evil wherever it finds it.
the truth is craner is a blairite through and through. he believes american self-interest is in our own interest and we should support whatever harebrained scheme they cook up.
'we're not europeans, we're anglo-saxons, its time we realised what side our bread is buttered on'
oliver craner

polystyle desu
23-12-2004, 06:40 PM
[QUOTE=jaybob]ok, however far off it may be, wouldn't a better idea (than american intervention) be a functioning European army, or more realistically some kind of revived Nato that had and was prepared to use force?

Another thread I'm coming late to , sorry .
I find it interesting to rd through though and then ask well, which is it going to be -
an America that intervenes too much or an America that intervenes not enough ?

As Jaybob asks , where's the functioning Euro Army or useful NATO when you need them ...

Of course , Re: America's 'foreign policy' , the US' self interests come first - is it any other way in any other country ?.
As a somewhat 'centerist' (seeing many sides to the many debates) citizen I'd like see those big $ spent towards universal health care for us (yeah, I'd like to have insurance !) , best possible edu ,
overhauling shoddy institutions and stripping out the crap we have built up here in our own house in the 200 plus years of existence.

Over the wkend The Times (NY Times that is) ran the editorial (sorry no link, you'd have to join their site)
headlined 'Modest Proposal : Israel joining NATO'
It's one of the quote 'new ideas' afloat in the 'surge of optimism' after Arafat's death.
To wit, closer ties with NATO - and possibly eventual membership -would embed Israel in the West and by providing security assurances , give Israel more confidence to to make a comprehensive peace .
One Uzi Arad , a former Israeli intel officer and head of the Inst. For Policy and Strategy says
it's time to drop the 'Groucho attitude' towards NATO and work on relationships w/ Europe and US .
Arad has been joined by other American and European officals who helped manage the two expansions of NATO since Soviet collapse and draft NATO's Partnership For Peace which has Georgia and Azerbaijan prettying themselves up for possible membership.
Why Georgia and not Israel ?

Of course, it's up to Israel to go for it , but with NATO reinventing itself to deal more with terrorism
it has to deal with issues that Israel has been dealing with for years ,
(I'm more then ambiv on those efforts, mind you) both sides could benefit from going through the pros and cons .
Together or alone both parties could be facing not only the Middle East issues they know now -
the Israeli - Palestine ongoing back and forth battling and a nuclear Iran ,
but possibly an Islamicized Saudi Arabia or a collaping Egypt.
For the Euopeans then , a benefit would be that they can't let Israel divide Europe from the America , possibly NATO could help Israel get out of their occupation mess.
At NATO's summit in June , the possibility of relationships with each Middle East country was opened.
Arad would like to see Israel seize the chance and start an arrangement like Sweden's (no full membership , but compatibility of forces and consultation.Membership could come later , if at all.

American power has some limit.
Others have to step up .
Watching the first Tower fall from my bedroom window on 9/11 ,
the thought ' is this the beginning of the end of America ? ' raced unbidden through my brain.
And this is from a freelance New Yorker born of German /Ukrainian parents
whose father worked in the Pentagon (in communications , worked on the early Monet, left during Viet Nam) and whose younger brother is in the Air Force .
It's a *ucked up game out there in the RW .

craner
24-12-2004, 03:20 AM
Luka, you shit-stirrer, after my Christmas indulgence, you're dead meat!

luka
24-12-2004, 04:59 AM
ha! as we were exchanging emails i was thinking, has craner read that yet?! i think the invented quote is the highlight.

you are inseperable from blair when it comes to america though, as you are well aware. thats not an argument against the argument, its a slur, but a true one!

craner
27-12-2004, 06:07 PM
It's worse than you think: I believe him.

luka
25-01-2005, 12:25 PM
it just occured to me that this thread is too narrowly focussed. it only really addresses the 'war on terror'
what about spraying children with the pink brain fungus in peru becasue theres a bit of coco growing in the area? or fucking with new zealand and australian sheep farmers or european steel manufacturers, or making aid conditional on politcal support or blocking any number of treaties and ripping others up and all that global warming buisness
bring all those other things into the equation as well

craner
15-03-2005, 02:53 AM
oh boy

bassnation
22-03-2005, 02:20 PM
It's worse than you think: I believe him.

lol, i think you are on your own with that one oliver.

craner
23-09-2005, 11:50 PM
Let's revive this piece of shit you dickeheads. Do I have to start?

luka
24-09-2005, 03:18 PM
yes, you sad excuse for a political commentator.

i hate them, i think we should nuke the fuckers.

NUKE 'EM!

craner
25-09-2005, 09:54 PM
You obviously mistake me for the greatest mind of our generation.

Darling!

sufi
01-10-2005, 05:57 PM
http://download.ifilm.com/qt/portal/2677652_200.mov

HMGovt
05-10-2005, 02:55 PM
Let's revive this piece of shit you dickeheads. Do I have to start?

Not as desirable as British power, obviously.

craner
05-10-2005, 04:03 PM
Ha ha. Rather brash of me, obviously.

craner
05-10-2005, 04:06 PM
Kill this thread.

sufi
05-10-2005, 08:05 PM
don't be such a primadonna, dear olly ;)

personally NOLA has really knocked my perception of American Power i feel like i now realise that i'd assumed that the man was a lot more in control than in reality,

i feel like a bit of a sucka actually & i wish i paid more attention to xinhua (http://www.xinhuanet.com/) instead of to the over-confident swaggering hawks...

droid
18-05-2016, 11:51 AM
Forgot all about this thread.

Got some decent mileage out of Craner's Blairite credulity - since recanted of course.

luka
03-07-2016, 10:06 AM
1. BEST GUESS Hillary has support that has nuclear weapons planted in New York, LA, DC and other major American cities, and if she really does go to jail, they will be set off. Now that it is being revealed that the Clinton foundation is in fact a 100 billion dollar scam, that witch could pay for anything, and to be frank, with Israel around I don't think she needs to pay anyone. See the report Nuclear Blackmail, YES, I believe Hillary is part of that power structure and that is most likely the reason why no one will touch her. There simply cannot be any other type of reason why America's intelligence agencies, which still have a few patriots, won't touch her.

2. Less probable guess, but it is, from how things are going, somewhat plausible: - If David Icke is correct about the reptilians, and they have decided mankind is going nowhere. They don't want us in space, they are afraid of us, which is why ever since nukes were set off, everything possible has been done to destroy science and education. The movie 2001, a space odyssey, was actually realistic and well calculated. We should have made it to Mars 15 years ago, and I doubt anyone ever will unless that achievement can be rendered irrelevant by programs of destruction that are already in place.

What would those programs to destroy us be?

1. First and foremost, the vaccination programs, which are clearly and obviously being used to destroy our children and future. Interesting it is that the trolls first response to someone against vaccines is to call them scientific illiterates, when in reality, those who are awake and understand science well are those who understand best exactly how the newly formulated vaccines destroy the children. The fact destruction via "vaccination" goes unabated with so many aware people out there to stop it is cold hard proof an enemy that seeks our total annihilation is running the power structure, and David Icke's lizard people are a pretty fine candidate. Only that type of race and society would want to see ours so firmly and completely annihilated. Why on earth would even the most pathetic low life among us seek that?

2. The continued destruction of our educational system, via evermore degraded teaching programs, with the latest being common core. Why on earth would even the most pathetic low life among us seek that? It makes more sense that something off planet is afraid of us having technology, and wants it obliterated.

3. The now near total destruction of our once fantastic printed libraries. We can't get them back and there is positively nothing on the web now that could match what was in a small town 1980's library, and I mean SMALL town, population 1,000. Forget the big city libraries, even the small town stuff is now dead. Why on earth would the most pathetic low life among us seek that? YOU GUESS YOUR OWN CONCLUSION, but it makes perfect sense to me that something off planet wants us wiped out.

And you could also go into GMO's, the climate change hoax, the moral depracation, and so many other things only an alien would want to smash us into oblivion, and I am not going to line item everything. The first three big ones paint a picture clearly enough.

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT. Either Hillary is backed by earth based forces that will nuke it all if any one of them is held to account, or Hillary is backed by "Reptilians" who seek our destruction. Could anyone possibly explain to me how such a piece of abhorrent malfunctioning trash that continually floats a raft of lies on an ocean of bullshit while murdering and robbing and selling out America could possibly still be in a high position in this nation? I'd like an explanation for that, - WHAT, you mean to tell me that absolutely everyone in the power structure, including those in the military want her to still be around enough to not bust her right this minute? I don't believe it, she is living free by riding on top of some sort of nuclear level threat against the nation, NO IFS OR BUTS.

luka
03-07-2016, 12:14 PM
Let's revive this piece of shit you dickeheads. Do I have to start?
dickeheads

luka
20-01-2017, 12:53 PM
http://atimeforfear.blogspot.co.uk/2003/06/no-end-to-war-this-is-facade-of.html?m=1

Earlier more radical Incarnation of Craner

craner
20-01-2017, 01:04 PM
Stop it!

vimothy
20-01-2017, 08:31 PM
Earlier, more derivative incarnation of Craner. (Still a well-written essay.)

Mr. Tea
20-01-2017, 08:47 PM
dickeheads

Lol, Craner got so cross his spelling momentarily regressed about 300 years.

droid
20-01-2017, 10:58 PM
I like Elizabethan Craner. At least his language is in the same timeframe as his politics.

luka
01-03-2017, 06:56 PM
https://www.instagram.com/p/BRE2pIHFOcR/

luka
01-03-2017, 06:57 PM
https://www.instagram.com/p/BQ8QGuLFU-D/

luka
01-03-2017, 06:58 PM
https://www.instagram.com/p/BQ4OpBvlg-n/

luka
01-03-2017, 07:09 PM
https://www.instagram.com/p/BPNkiROg2jH/

luka
01-03-2017, 07:27 PM
Duane J. Truitt says:
February 17, 2017 at 8:05 am

The notion of a war that is declared, has a beginning, a middle, and a declared end with full capitulation by one side or the other does not exist today. Thankfully so, because if we were engaged in any such existentially-threatening cataclysmic war, it would be thousands of times bloodier than what we are engaged in now.

Such a war might come to pass at some future point, but given the nuclear option, the only way a complete end to any “war” can occur is with nuclear armageddon. The nuke bomb completely changed the nature of war over 70 years ago.

What we have today is not “war”, as a noun. What we have is continuing offensive and defensive struggle, as a verb … a struggle which will never, ever end, because human beings are human beings and there will always be conflict, some of it violent.

What is so difficult to understand about that?

The struggle in the Middle East with radical Islamists will never, at least not in many human generations to come, come to an end. It will always threaten the USA and the rest of the civilized nations of the world, because of easy human communication and movement across the planet. At best, we manage this struggle as if it were a low-grade fever, with relatively minor applications of therapeutic relief from time to time as are necessary.

But, when we allow the struggle to metastacize, and grow out of control, as we did prior to the 9.11.01 attacks, it requires emergency invasive treatment, which almost always involves going too far, and “over-kill”, as we did in Iraq … it’s inevitable that overkill be employed when engaged in an, if only episodically, existential battle for our survival.

So, what this author complains about is precisely the correct diagnosis and course of treatment. If we don’t keep the struggle between Islamic radicalism and the rest of the world under control, and limited to fighting a low grade fever, then instead we’ll soon take a massive blow which will cause us then to massively over-react.

Sorry, I’ll take the former approach every time over the latter.

The struggle between those who want to kill us, and us, will never, ever end.