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View Full Version : McCain: rerun of 1930s - prelude to war? Super-NATO



krakknisse
03-26-08, 03:59 PM
Check out this John McCain speech. It's like seeing the ghost of the 1930s being resurrected. A super-NATO, with Israel(!), BRICs, Australia: a disastrous expansion of collective security. Note the Double-Think "I hate war". Yeah, and GWB got elected on a humble foreign policy. That worked out well. And the call for free trade EU-USA? Sure only to apply to FIRE products.



John McCain called for a new ``League of Democracies'' to strengthen U.S. alliances and advance western values in a speech outlining his foreign policy positions.
``We have to strengthen our global alliances as the core of a new global compact -- a League of Democracies -- that can harness the vast influence of the more than 100 democratic nations around the world to advance our values and defend our shared interests,'' McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said told the Los Angeles World Affairs Council.
This new group should include ``the collective voice of the European Union'' as well as India, Japan, Australia, Brazil, South Korea, South Africa, Turkey and Israel, McCain said. ``We cannot build an enduring peace based on freedom by ourselves, and we do not want to,'' he said.
Russia should be excluded, he said.
``Rather than tolerate Russia's nuclear blackmail or cyber attacks, western nations should make clear that the solidarity of NATO, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, is indivisible and that the organization's doors remain open to all democracies committed to the defense of freedom,'' McCain said.
Free Trade
McCain also discussed trade, saying, ``It would be an interesting proposal I would like to make, to have a free-trade agreement between ourselves and the European Union.''
McCain, who supported President George W. Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq, sought to dispel any perception that he would readily resort to war to further American policy.
``I detest war,'' he said. ``Not the valor with which it is fought, nor the nobility of the cause it serves, can glorify war.''
The Arizona senator said early in the presidential campaign that U.S. troops might be in Iraq for 50 to 100 years, triggering suggestions by Democrats that there might be no end in sight for that conflict should McCain win the presidency.
``Many Americans are leery that he could lead us into war with Iran, and they wonder whether he's so aggressive that we'll have more conflicts,'' said Bob Blendon, a public opinion expert at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. More... (http://bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=az6ivUIzD27w&refer=home)

Tulpen
03-26-08, 04:15 PM
If McCain gets elected I will move out of the USA.

New Zealand is on my radar screen.

Other suggestions?

By the way, I am serious here!

FRED
03-26-08, 04:26 PM
Check out this John McCain speech. It's like seeing the ghost of the 1930s being resurrected. A super-NATO, with Israel(!), BRICs, Australia: a disastrous expansion of collective security. Note the Double-Think "I hate war". Yeah, and GWB got elected on a humble foreign policy. That worked out well. And the call for free trade EU-USA? Sure only to apply to FIRE products.

He makes Bush some clear headed by comparison.


The President of Germany, Putin?
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Who is in Iran?
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Bomb Iran
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Starving Steve
03-26-08, 09:55 PM
Check out this John McCain speech. It's like seeing the ghost of the 1930s being resurrected. A super-NATO, with Israel(!), BRICs, Australia: a disastrous expansion of collective security. Note the Double-Think "I hate war". Yeah, and GWB got elected on a humble foreign policy. That worked out well. And the call for free trade EU-USA? Sure only to apply to FIRE products.

I have no problem with a League of Western Democracies to replace NATO. And I think that it is time to reform the UN too.

And what is this issue with Isreal being part of this League? Or is it that when it comes to preserving democracies, the world would rather appease Hamas, Hesbollah, or the Hitler in Tehran?

Oh how my mind reflects upon the appeasers just before WWII. I reflect upon Chamberlin stepping down from that DC-3 in London in 1938 and saying, "I have here, a document with Heir Hitler's signature on it. We will have peace in our time."

And ofcourse, this stinker, Chamberlin, Britain's foreign minister at the time, gave-away the the western-most territory of Czechoslovakia to secure what turned-out to be a worthless peace.

I am not a McCain fan, and I am not going to vote for the Republicans. But McCain is fine, at least on the face of these remarks here.

Contemptuous
03-27-08, 12:08 AM
Starving Steve speaks for my views too. I'm looking at iTulip's objections to this particular set of statements of McCain's and trying to grasp where the real substance of your objections lies, as Steve has pointed out these objections seem somewhat "quixotic".

What precisely is wrong with the notion of a league of democracies? Doe we entertain fond notions that this ideal is no more than a conceit? Or perhaps that those countries that fall outside of this loose description are more desirable? If that's the world you aspire to, you are collectively welcome to it, but I myself would be looking for the exit door from your percieved "better future".



I have no problem with a League of Western Democracies to replace NATO. And I think that it is time to reform the UN too.

And what is this issue with Isreal being part of this League? Or is it that when it comes to preserving democracies, the world would rather appease Hamas, Hesbollah, or the Hitler in Tehran?

Oh how my mind reflects upon the appeasers just before WWII. I reflect upon Chamberlin stepping down from that DC-3 in London in 1938 and saying, "I have here, a document with Heir Hitler's signature on it. We will have peace in our time."

And ofcourse, this stinker, Chamberlin, Britain's foreign minister at the time, gave-away the the western-most territory of Czechoslovakia to secure what turned-out to be a worthless peace.

I am not a McCain fan, and I am not going to vote for the Republicans. But McCain is fine, at least on the face of these remarks here.

krakknisse
03-27-08, 05:05 AM
Starving Steve speaks for my views too. I'm looking at iTulip's objections to this particular set of statements of McCain's and trying to grasp where the real substance of your objections lies, as Steve has pointed out these objections seem somewhat "quixotic".

What precisely is wrong with the notion of a league of democracies? Doe we entertain fond notions that this ideal is no more than a conceit? Or perhaps that those countries that fall outside of this loose description are more desirable? If that's the world you aspire to, you are collectively welcome to it, but I myself would be looking for the exit door from your percieved "better future".

It is a relatively long story. A quick summary would say that the libertarian analysis of state power predicts that expanding collective security is an unstable situation, where a small spark could explode the global powder keg. Remember that the "ITulip analysis" is really the Austrian script for a post-credit bubble situation. It is not that far from the Austrian macroeconomic script to the libertarian analysis of the broader situation. You may disagree, but it is an intellectually honest analysis, and not necessarily "pacifist at all cost". And of course, "I hate war" means "I love war".

What _really_ lead to the World in World War I and II? I don't necessarily expect all ITulipers to condone this view. It is the reason for the now-forgotten "isolationist" stance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America_First_Committee) of a significant proportion of the American public before the onset of World War II. I won't explain it all, but give you a few "hooks". An overexpanded (decaying?) empire with rotting political institutions and more mouth than military power, debases its currency. It then recruits its allies into an unstable political alliance, with "barbarians" (hostile) powers waiting to fill the power vacuum. Rome? A "permanent war" situation (1984?) or a prolonged global conflict gives cover for rampant inflation and expanding public works and militaries. The recipe is age-old. Politicians egging on hostile powers (which may be really nasty) inevitably end up being as nasty as their enemies (you can't fight the chimneyman without getting dirty, eggs/omelettes etc.). Think of all the empires "democratic" Europe has been up against during the centuries. Sometimes conflict is not the best solution. Check out the Pax Mongolica (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pax_Mongolica) - it is unknown to most people.

Remember: just a single shot - a political assasination - in an irrelevant corner of the Balcans - lead to a conflict encompassing the globe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_war) in WW1, and subsequently WW2. Was it _really_ worth it? To me, the best recipe for world democracy is a system of limited republics, simply outcompeting nastier forms of government. Collective security may or may not be right at any given point in time, but the larger the alliances are, the more unstable they are.

Get your kids out of the draft. Militarism here we come: "More meat for the grinder" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starship_troopers). You may call it tinhat, but it is a subtext that weaves through world politics. I will be following that subtext with infrequent updates here. If we do go down that road, then hold on to your gold if you have it. If we don't, then breathe a sigh of relief.

Contemptuous
03-27-08, 02:12 PM
To me, the best recipe for world democracy is a system of limited republics, simply outcompeting nastier forms of government. Collective security may or may not be right at any given point in time, but the larger the alliances are, the more unstable they are.

Excellent reply Krakknisse - and I completely agree with you in the bolded portion of your quote above, a universe of limited republics would be the very best solution.

The only quibble I offer is that you may underestimate the spontenaity with which "limited Republics" actually can spring up in the world when the world evolves along idealistic lines of "laissez faire". In my view there is no such thing as real "laissez faire" - some powers are constantly meddling. Secondly you get the "weed filled back yard" syndrome, where the world becomes filled with lots of tin-pot dictatorsips, because they obviously can thrive in many parts of the world regardless of the meddling of large powers.

Therefore I agree with you 100% that a world of devoluted small limited Republics of limited power is the closest we can get on Earth to perfection in government, but I am a permanent skeptic that these evolve in a "laissez faire" environment. If you believe they do, I would suggest your worldview retains a component of idealism notwithstanding your many other astute and highly realistic points. Limited "Federalism" is another term for "Democracy" and Democracy most decidedly does NOT spring up spontaneously worldwide.

Beware that residing in Europe, you do not unconsciously adopt a "Euro-Centric" worldview just as so many Americans unconsciously adopt an "America-Centric" world view. We presume far too often that the world will naturally gravitate to the same democratizing processes that the Western nations transitioned through (present decay or not) in the 19th and 20th Centuries. The world IMHO will most definitely NOT be "preordained" to follow this presumed "natural law" of social evolution. It may instead quite easily move in an aberrant direction of the proliferation of dictatorships instead.

The "decay of empire" which you describe in the US has a very large component of truth. Your inaccuracy in my view is in regarding the festering stews occurring in many other parts of the world as being necessarily determined by the outcome of the US decay. Those festering stews will proceed regardless, and may be rendered more vigorous by the collapse of the larger powers arond them. Those other parts of the world are vigorously evolving in directions of their own, and it is my suggestion that many of them if/when consigned to "laissez faire" will by no means come to better solutions than would be the case in the present world, presumably dominated still by the rotting empire.

Think about the apparently vigorous continual emergence of "nasty" states for a moment. Unsavory regimes, like North Korea, or arguably Mullah dominated Iran, or Venezuela under Chavez, or Syria, a police state for forty years which has been chewing up neigboring democratic Lebanon for decades, and has done more to destabilize relatioins between Israel and Lebanon than any other factor, or Serbia under Milosevic engulfing the Balkans in war, or former Iraq which fell back into a state of extreme belligerence towards it's own minorities and towards neighbors after losing the Gulf War 1, destabilizing the entire region for a decade prior to Gulf War 2. This is the same highly unstable and malignant Iraq which even after signing an unconditional armistice after the Kuwait invasion war was concluded, showed little signs of returning to the tasks of reconciliation and peace-building?

These toxic nations did not spring up primarily as a cause of the "rotting empire". Or if you want to make that argument you are pulling in some very tenuous strands of history to make your case.

All these, when left unchallenged do not wither and die away. They strengthen, and exert a growing influence on neighboring states over time. I'm thinking of a few more, like Burma, Somalia, one or two of the Central Asian Republics, etc. In your view a world governed by laissez faire would see these gradually being replaced by healthy states. In my view a world of laissez faire "grows weeds" and these actually proliferate.

This is by no means an apology for the US "rotting empire". It is rather a cynical view of what occurs in the rest of the world regardless. I think you have a component of the idealist in you if you think that the rotting away of empires produces a flowering of peace among all these "weeds". This is where the "league of democracies" notion has historically always had some merit which you perhaps do not acknowledge.

krakknisse
03-27-08, 04:28 PM
The only quibble I offer is that you may underestimate the spontenaity with which "limited Republics" actually can spring up in the world when the world evolves along idealistic lines of "laissez faire". In my view there is no such thing as real "laissez faire" - some powers are constantly meddling. Secondly you get the "weed filled back yard" syndrome, where the world becomes filled with lots of tin-pot dictatorsips, because they obviously can thrive in many parts of the world regardless of the meddling of large powers. ... I think you have a component of the idealist in you if you think that the rotting away of empires produces a flowering of peace among all these "weeds". This is where the "league of democracies" notion has historically always had some merit which you perhaps do not acknowledge.

Interesting points.
1. I never said that limited republics arose spontaneously. One of the - still - best examples is in fact the founding of the USA, which was by all accounts a revolution and a civil war. The founders genuinely believed in a limited republic. Slavery was of course a large blemish, but that aside you could argue that the Republic is one of the most successful polities so far in history: in terms of land mass, population, economics.
2. I have to arrest you with respect to the "stews" you mention. With most of the examples, you could argue that the USA has meddled with disastrous unintended consequences in all of them ("blowback"):
a) North Korea: an obvious accident of the Cold War.
b) Iran: which US agency installed the Shah in 1953 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat)? Ron Paul has said so much
on national television.
c) The entire Middle East: don't even get me started. If it weren't for oil, it would still be a sandy backwater with entrepreneurial Arabs (and others) shuffling dates or whatever. Talk to an average Egyptian and ask them about political or economic freedom. Why are the Egyptian oligarchy still in power? Three letters, starts with a U and ends in an A.
c) Balkans. That has been festering for centuries - ever since the Ottomans and the Byzantine empire crashed. So don't jumpstart history with Milosevic. Where did the first world war start again? S-a-r-a-j-e-v-o.They have been the unfortunate victim of major powers. They'd been better off alone.
d) Contrast Iran and Saudi Arabia. It is an exercise in theocratic nastiness. Yet one actually has elections, a parliament and a political debate, while the other has no such thing. Hmm... take a guess at which of them the USA supports heavily, and which country is routinely bedeviled?

I guess I'm not saying that democracy will always happen. But people voting with their feet can exert a powerful influence - witness the growth of USA through immigration. Freedom is popular. Trade with everyone, stern rebukes yes, voluntary consumer boycotts. But "government is a fearful master and a dangerous servant". I'd simply want less of it. Either the League of Democracies will be a nice talking shop - an important moral example, or it will try to enforce freedom at gun point. That is much, much harder than you think. Witness Iraq, Balcans.

This is turning perhaps a little too political for ITulip. Just watch Ron Paul instead. But mark my words regarding the macroeconomic implications. The winds of war are blowing, subtly yet. That is what the McCain speech really means.
Buy physical gold.

Contemptuous
03-27-08, 05:22 PM
This is turning perhaps a little too political for ITulip. Just watch Ron Paul instead.

Krakknisse - this sounds like censorship of "inflammatory topics". The day I see that actually occurring at iTulip is the day I walk away from here, on principle. I will not accept being muzzled and have only passivity for a reaction, as these topics are by no means SPAM.

As for your A,B,C,D,E comparisons, I encounter these objections everywhere - but to my mind while they contain considerable components of truth they are put forward as 'full arguments' and in fact they are more like swiss cheese. Your suggestion that all these countries were 'made this way' by meddling great powers (read USA) is a pernicious half-truth.

Why? Because your thesis requires these failed republic nation-states to have been utterly passive in determining their own history for the next forty years. There is more than a little condescension towards their powers of self determination inherent in that view.

I grew up in Southern Europe. Lived in Italy for 25 years, which had the largest parliamentary participating Communist party in Europe all through the 40 post-war years. The Italian Communists were more independent of the Soviets than any other left groups in the European area for decades, and I spent my school years steeped in the views of many of these very free-thinking and I would be the first to admit, very independently minded groups.

I would remind you, that the theories you put forward found their intellectual origins in those 1960's and 1970's EU political groups who were indeed intellectually very consistent and smart. They posited that if these countries are relapsed into tin-pot dictatorships this should be laid exclusively at the doorstep of the great powers who's client states they have been for so long, and who have ruthlessly installed, removed and otherwise crudely meddled in their internal affairs for decades. There is indeed a lot of truth in these views, but it's by no means the whole truth, and it's today being employed by many as 'the whole truth of the matter'.

I got tired of these views, precisely because tucked away within them is a conceit, that these 'third world' countries cannot determine their own histories, but are rather the helpless victims of major power meddling. Part of this viewpoint is the product of some effete Western university educated conceits - these ideas have been adopted and centralized to the viewpoint of those critical of the 'rotting empire' thesis precisely because they so neatly fit into the armature of a 'world view' that explains everything in terms of the evils of imperialism.

Yes, modern day neo-imperialism sucks. No, it does not mean that these countries are off the hook for determining the shape of their own political evolution. Their political processes are archaic, their opposition groups fractious, short sighted and splintered - in most cases as unfit to govern as the tin-pots they would seek to replace.

Your thesis may risk being one you have not questioned for many years, such that you assume it is truth with no further reexamination. Great powers do meddle. And they do install puppets, but when you look 40 years past the date of that meddling and see no only lack of progress, but also a slide into the most bigoted theocratic forms of government instead of the emergence of progressive oppositions, I for one would maintain a healthy skepticisim that the entirety of their failure is attributable to the 'rotting empire' that meddled in their affairs a half century beforehand.

I've seen the world view from Europe as well as America - for half my life. Your description of the state of all these nations as 'products of the West' is an idea that I can vouch has been enthusiastically adopted in Europe, although there are certainly many proponents of it here in North America, and certainly at iTulip. I suggest it could benefit from a good hard re-think.

BTW - it would be regrettable for you to conclude such discussions are 'unseemly' for the pages of this community. That is equivalent to 'self-censorship', which hardly could be described as an attribute of the "Limited Free Republics" you espouse.

Respectfully.

FRED
03-27-08, 06:38 PM
Interesting points.
1. I never said that limited republics arose spontaneously. One of the - still - best examples is in fact the founding of the USA, which was by all accounts a revolution and a civil war. The founders genuinely believed in a limited republic. Slavery was of course a large blemish, but that aside you could argue that the Republic is one of the most successful polities so far in history: in terms of land mass, population, economics.
2. I have to arrest you with respect to the "stews" you mention. With most of the examples, you could argue that the USA has meddled with disastrous unintended consequences in all of them ("blowback"):
a) North Korea: an obvious accident of the Cold War.
b) Iran: which US agency installed the Shah in 1953 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat)? Ron Paul has said so much
on national television.
c) The entire Middle East: don't even get me started. If it weren't for oil, it would still be a sandy backwater with entrepreneurial Arabs (and others) shuffling dates or whatever. Talk to an average Egyptian and ask them about political or economic freedom. Why are the Egyptian oligarchy still in power? Three letters, starts with a U and ends in an A.
c) Balkans. That has been festering for centuries - ever since the Ottomans and the Byzantine empire crashed. So don't jumpstart history with Milosevic. Where did the first world war start again? S-a-r-a-j-e-v-o.They have been the unfortunate victim of major powers. They'd been better off alone.
d) Contrast Iran and Saudi Arabia. It is an exercise in theocratic nastiness. Yet one actually has elections, a parliament and a political debate, while the other has no such thing. Hmm... take a guess at which of them the USA supports heavily, and which country is routinely bedeviled?

I guess I'm not saying that democracy will always happen. But people voting with their feet can exert a powerful influence - witness the growth of USA through immigration. Freedom is popular. Trade with everyone, stern rebukes yes, voluntary consumer boycotts. But "government is a fearful master and a dangerous servant". I'd simply want less of it. Either the League of Democracies will be a nice talking shop - an important moral example, or it will try to enforce freedom at gun point. That is much, much harder than you think. Witness Iraq, Balcans.

This is turning perhaps a little too political for ITulip. Just watch Ron Paul instead. But mark my words regarding the macroeconomic implications. The winds of war are blowing, subtly yet. That is what the McCain speech really means.
Buy physical gold.

The Rant and Rave thread is kind of like Fight Club: the rule is that there are no rules. Well, just one: respect your fellow members. That's true all over our forums. This is a place to let it all out. Cursing is encouraged.

Contemptuous
03-27-08, 06:50 PM
Yeah well Kraknisse and I are educated debaters. We don't do cursing. :D

BTW Kraknisse - I thoroughly enjoy all your posts, and find your commentary to be of very high calibre. So this exchange is all in good spirits.

dbarberic
03-27-08, 11:51 PM
BTW Kraknisse - I thoroughly enjoy all your posts, and find your commentary to be of very high calibre. So this exchange is all in good spirits.

I can only hope that someday I meet the high bar of commentary that Kraknisse has set.

krakknisse
03-28-08, 03:54 AM
Yeah well Kraknisse and I are educated debaters. We don't do cursing. :D

BTW Kraknisse - I thoroughly enjoy all your posts, and find your commentary to be of very high calibre. So this exchange is all in good spirits.

Thanks a lot for that. There are so many interesting thoughts here. And I really do enjoy the breadth of opinions here. I may not subscribe to all of them - but I know they are out there. We have eco-fanatics vs. eco-skeptics, hard-core goldbugs and consumate traders. Groupthink is a dangerous phenomenon. We are but a small isolated group up against a financial industry and an "iron triangle" of media, bureaucracy and politicians that I think, quite literally, want our asses.

I wasn't trying to impose self-censorship. I really enjoy political debate. But as I've said during some late nights, steeped in a short-chain carbon-based solvent (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol): we can't solve world problems anyhow - the big question is: how can we profit from the analysis we've just made. Don't get mad - get rich.

I do have sympathies for the "benign" view of spreading world democracies. I would probably be speaking Russian or German if the Americans hadn't helped. But there is such an immense sense of let-down in Europe over recent developments in the USA. This has revived the minority position of criticism of the US Empire. The problem with trusting governments to do good is that, eventually, corruption rears its ugly head. Always ask: cui bono.

So, back to making money. The winds of war and conflict are blowing softly in the background. A particular road to conflict is the following. There are protectionist noises being made, and without US leadership (remember Doha), world trade is vulnerable. A trade war makes a slippery slope towards more overt forms of agression (remember the Japan boycott, and subsequent Pearl Harbor). There are many other roads to conflict, and some that don't lead to conflict at all. My advice is to be nimble, avoid entanglements that would put your ass and assets into the grip of state power. And have a little fun: check this out:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=Loaj4bXLrD4

Contemptuous
03-28-08, 11:42 PM
Krakknisse -

I very much enjoy discussing this with you, and I am extremely impressed by your intelligence and sophistication. IMHO you are a very real "live wire" in these forums, albeit you are a new arrival, and I think many readers like me have been impressed by the astute and broad minded quality of your posts.

I have some "work" to do this weekend and cannot pursue this further but wanted to add a few closing thoughts (this is primarily for all of you European readers out there who have a viewpoint about what you regard as "typically American biases" with regard to the "Israeli question" within the tormented Mkddle East).

I am reasonably comfortable with all the issues discussed above, but I remain a little sensitive about any implication that it would be "absurd" to include Israel among the "league of democratic nations" we've discussed. There is much bad press about their behavior in the ME, and it's true, they have done some things which EU or countries like Singapore or even India and China ( and we must acknowlege the US under our present administration is unfortunately the worst example f restraint in foreign policy in the past decade however, due to it's clumsy calculus after 09/11! ) never have done in modern history, i.e. engage in modern wars into neighboring countries.

However I do bristle whenever I read one-sided reports of the Israeli predicament, and unfortunately these views (in my own experience living 25 years in Europe), are much more prevalently out of Europe, than out of the US. The view of Israel's predicament from the US public is percived as "highly partisan"in Europe, where we are summarily viewed as merely "besotted" with Israel due to what are perhaps cavalierly viewed as "reactionary Christian fundamentalist" reasons.

Not true. There is a very broad segment of Americans that view the problems in the middle east with some fairly secular (and also fairly balanced) viewpoints! This quite popular European assumption of how Americans "understand" the ME events is in my view a fairly pernicious untruth. (We are in "rant and rave" here, so even these lightning rod issues may be discussed without getting dumped summarily into even more obscure pages).

What you'll never read acknowledged in mainstream EU press is a frank acknowledgment that the Israelis offered Arafat 98% of all his territorial demands at Camp David about 30 years ago, and he flatly refused. The Israelis then went on to demonstrate the seriousness with which they take peace treaties by rigorously adhering to one with the Egyptians and Jordanians for THIRTY ++ YEARS, yet you'll read few if any acknowledgements in the EU press and among the fashionable pundits surrounding the UN of this telling fact. The Israelis essentially offered Arafat "everything but the quibbling details" of his own specific contiguous land requests, in exchange for lasting freedom from strife and war, and Arafat refused on minor technicalities. Walk away from discussions for publicity effect, when you are 2% away from you life's goal?? What kind of man was he? What leader sincerely intent on delivering his people from a hellish limbo would summarily walk away from such overwhelming satisfaction of his claims??

Well, twenty years later Arafat's legacy to his people for having such highly principled views for leading his nation to peace and prosperity - was a broken nation (no real leadership) and maybe 100 million USD stashed away in his private bank account in Zurich from Western aid money.

My perennial irritation with EU "insights"into the Palestinian / Israeli question (which are reflected in the almost reflexive ridicule at the idea of Israel even conceivably being included today in a "Leage of Democracies", is that "progressive" Europeans apparently never, ever acknowledged that the Palestinians threw away the offer of 98% of their territory at a peace table (no war or intifada necessary!) which the Israelis made under Begin. The Israelis were in great hope of a massive breakthrough at those talks.

Instead if one informs oneself from the nominally "left-progressive" elements of the EU press, you will read only (quite genuinely!) heart breaking stories of the Palestinian "predicament" in places like Gaza ever since. Of course these people are desperate today - they have had the likes of Arafat and Hamas (and Hezbollah within Lebanon) for "visionary civic leaders"!!

Meantime in Europe, any stereotypical American who reminds such exquisitely sophisticated commentators of Israel's quite evident sincerity for peace with the Jordanians and Egyptians which has suceeded briliantly for the past forty years, is merely jeered down as a "proto-fascist Bush sympathiser" or some other such superficial rubbish.

I've seen it from both sides, for decades, living inside Europe for 25 years and another 25 in North America - and I wish to take this opportunity to remind perhaps a few of our readers who may disagree, that there is considerable evidence to back up what I point out. People (and they are many more in Europe than in the US), who look askance at the above viewpoints, people who think perhaps too summarily the above views are "typically uncritical American endorsements of Israel" - these people do not wish to acknowledge that the Israelis are the only country in the region to permit Arab Parliamentarians, full property rights for Arabs and Muslims, permit Arabs as Doctors or Lawyers within their nation. Those decrying Israel as a malformed appendage of the Bush Administration seem to slide into a singular reluctance when it comes to acknowledging Israel in fact provides many other aspects of civil rights for Arabs, nor that these quite naturally offered civil rights have been seriously eroded by the systematic employment of Palestinian human suicide bombers sowing indiscriminate terror as a "political voice".

Meanwhile, try finding a Jew or a Christian Doctor or Lawyer anywhere in any Arab, let alone any Muslim Country, and you will be "wandering in a desert" without any result. You cannot call yourself sincere and waltz lightly over this datum.

Having used my own two eyes to ascertain where the truth lies in that particular debate, I am not inclined to lie down like a lamb when I hear the Israelis referred to in any scoffing way as ineligible to belong to the club of democratic nations. They desperately want peace. and they live in a region where dovish gestures are regarded with contempt and presumption of weakness by apparently every other counterparty. Only strength, in the stupid, militaristic sense is respected in that region. This observation is painfully etched into the record of 40 years of history, for those willing to look dispassionately. Meanwhile, they are manifestly democratic (stunningly so compared to their neighbors) with any minorities within, as long as those minorities don't manifestly demonstrate a wish to blow them up instead of participating in the democratic peace.

Anyone here who entertains the fond belief this is not so is welcome to discuss the matter with me, and I'll pin their conceits down to their desk on this question with enthusiasm.

We may have a discredited Republican administration which is far too uncritical of the Israelis, but this is an entirely different matter from the (now paranoid and increasingly desperate) sincerity of the Israelis themselves to find ANY sincere counterparty for peace in their region. The illegal settlements are an expression of factionalism within a democracy which carries extreme left and extreme right components just exactly as we do in our other democracies. If these people had some serious interlocutors for negotiating a peace treaty those illegal settlements would be scuttled in about 24 hours.

Pardon me for sounding vehement here Kraknisse - I've heard far too much disingenuous bullshit about the permanent condition of illegitimacy governing the state of Israel, which we forget was originally sanctioned as a legitimate nation-state by the UN just like so many other newborn nations in the 20th Century whom no-one seems to feel an equivalent urgent need to question.

These highly selective expressions of concern for the "legitimacy" of this one state, while zero concern is expressed about all the other new states created with UN sanction since WWII, smells rotten to me. This same perception is perhaps where so many American's visceral objections are misunderstood, and not granted the ethical respect which in my view they still deserve amidst Bush's manifestly horrendous mismanagement of everything else. He has been a clumsy, inept ally to Israel. But many European "popular street" opinions demonstrating abject amnesia about the Israeli's offers for serious peace which Arafat threw in the trash are in my view fickle and shallow opinions, barely worth mentioning.

If any of our other broadly accepted democracies were seeking to live in such a neighborhood of rank hatred among it's neighbors, in Europe or North America, let alone where peaceful Singapore exists, or reasonably peaceful India or China or Japan exist, those countries would have long since gone militaristic in response to the mayhem occurring at their borders. I despise double standards wherever I can spot them, and I spot them in that particular question.

Contemptuous
03-29-08, 02:40 AM
It's "only America" stirring trouble up in the region, ex-Iraq, eh?

And just because Cheney is reported in the middle of it and a Republican presidential candidate are making some noises, we should conclude all the ominous preparations for mayhem (and the blatant premier assassinations and Quisling militias subverting democratic Lebanon) in neighboring nations to Israel are merely innocuous "lies and fabrications"?

Beware the simplistic, ideologically driven taking of sides. Just because you see Cheney in the middle, the contributors to danger and malevolence are by no means neatly lined up on his side. This is not "political lessons for Kindergartners".

Just because Cheney is in the middle does not invalidate the factuality of these preparations for war being carried out by entities outside of Israel. Why is it, that this thread on iTulip restricts itself to commenting on belligerent noises from McCain? Do you not have eyes to look around at that neighborhood and see pernicious actions elsewhere? :rolleyes:

__________


Exclusive: Hizballah more than trebles it's rocket arsenal to 40,000

March 22, 2008, 12:09 PM (GMT+02:00)

http://www.debka.com/photos/s_5131.jpg
New Iranian
surface missiles delivered to Hizballah


Hizballah’s heavy armament will figure large in the talks US Vice President Dick Cheney is holding with Israeli leaders on the Iranian nuclear threat. Cheney arrived in Israel Saturday night, March 22, from talks with Saudi leaders.

DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose that Hizballah has built up its rocket arsenal to three and a half times its pre-2006 Lebanon War stocks. Some of the 40,000 rockets of Syrian and Iranian manufacture can hit Israel targets as far south as Beersheba, 350 km. away from the Shiite terror group’s launching pads north of Lebanon’s Litani River.

Not only has Tel Aviv come within range, but Hizballah and the Palestinian Hamas in Gaza can between them cover most of Israel except for its southernmost tip at Eilat. Using these two surrogates, Tehran can therefore make war on Israel and keep its hands clean.

And not only Iran. DEBKAfile’s military sources report the lion’s share of rockets smuggled to Hizballah in recent months are Syrian-made. Damascus has also shipped to Hizballah quantities of anti-air weapons, including shoulder-borne rockets and scores of Russian-made anti-aircraft ZSU-100 automatic 14.4 mm caliber cannon, which are most effective against low flying aircraft, helicopters and drones.

All these issues will be discussed at length mainly during the US Vice President’s session with Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak.

On his arrival, Cheney pledged that his government would not pressure Israel to take steps that threatened its security.

"America's commitment to Israel's security is enduring and unshakable, as is Israel's right to protect itself always against terrorism, rocket attacks and other attacks from forces dedicated to Israel's destruction," Cheney told a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

_________

Syria masses three army divisions on Lebanese border

March 23, 2008, 12:05 PM (GMT+02:00)

http://www.debka.com/photos/s_5136.jpg


DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Syrian deployment is backed by the concentration of pro-Syrian Palestinian factions in the Beqaa valley of Lebanon, amid rising war tensions between Hizballah and Israel.

Hassan Nasrallah declared Hizballah would wage “open war” with Israel at the end of the 40-day mourning period the group observed for Imad Mughniyeh, who was killed in Damascus February 12. His deputy has maintained that Hizballah had “100 percent solid evidence" that Israel had killed Mughniyeh, which Israel has consistently denied.

Monday, March 24, Nasrallah will address a big memorial rally in South Beirut. The Israeli army is on high alert for a possible Hizballah attack from Lebanon. The Magen David Adom ambulance service is on emergency standby across the country.
_________

New upsurge of Palestinian attacks from Gaza - 16 missiles fired Wednesday injuring 3 Israeli civilians

March 26, 2008, 10:40 PM (GMT+02:00)

A heavy barrage of 7 Qassam missiles struck Sderot Wednesday night, March 26. One exploded in the old market, injuring three people and leaving 16 in shock. Of the 16 fired during the day, one landed south of Ashkelon, several exploded in kibbutzim causing heavy damage to property. Israeli military sources tell DEBKAfile that Hamas is passing missiles to Jihad Islami in order to step up the attacks on Israel, without being held accountable and drawing Israeli fire – to heat up tensions for the arrival of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Friday.

_________


Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora says his country is not attending an Arab summit in Syria because it was behind Lebanon's long political crisis.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7318497.stm


In a televised message addressed to Arab leaders, Mr Siniora said Lebanon had been in a "presidential void" for months due to Syria's interference.

On Friday, two more Arab states - Jordan and Yemen - said their leaders would not attend the annual event.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia are also sending low-level delegations to Damascus. <!-- E SF -->
They accuse Syria of interfering in Lebanese politics.

Infighting

"Before and during that period Syria played a leading role to exacerbate the crisis... interfering in Lebanon's internal affairs and blocking the election of the consensus candidate to the presidency," Mr Siniora said in his address.

Mr Siniora called on Arab leaders to help mend relations between Syria and Lebanon, stressing his country's "desire to establish healthy, brotherly relations" with its neighbour.
Lebanon has been without a president since November because of disputes between the pro-Western government, supported by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and the opposition, which is supported by Syria and Iran.

Correspondents say Syria's detractors have used the issue of Lebanon to voice their unhappiness with Damascus as it hosts the Arab League summit.

Each side blames the other for blocking a final deal on a compromise candidate for the Lebanese presidency.

Pro-Syrian groups insist that the US and its Arab allies are the ones blocking progress.
The Syrian government says that by refusing to turn up, Lebanon has lost a golden opportunity to discuss the crisis, and perhaps find a solution.

Syria was a dominant player in Lebanon for decades before it was made to withdraw its troops in 2005 in the aftermath of the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri - an act which Damascus says it had nothing to do with.

The BBC's Katya Adler in Damascus says that across the Arab world people are sick of the infighting as leaders remain divided over who is to blame for the region's multiple crises. But it seems unlikely Arab countries will resolve those differences this weekend, she says.

krakknisse
03-29-08, 08:37 AM
Woa - that's a lot of opinion right there. I'll try to answer briefly. Well, I certainly sympathize with Israel. Just read about Zvika Greengold's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zvika_Greengold) account during the Yom Kippur War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_Kippur_War) - that is a real hero. There really wasn't an anti-Israel slant to the piece. You may have objected to the exclamation point behind Israel in the list of "new" super-NATO countries. Well, I question the decision to put Israel into a large, relatively fragmented, super-NATO. Collective security means just that - _collective_ security. An Arab attack would then see Brazilian, Indian and forces from all over Europe called in. I see this as an unstable arrangement.

I have no solutions for peace in the Middle East. Clearly, there are bad guys around. The main point, macro-economically, is that the particular viewpoint that McCain represent would, if implemented, probably lead us inexorably towards some major regional or global conflict, which has obvious investment implications. Believe me when I say I really wish you could whack and smack the dictatorships and theocracies all over the world, and see a spontaneous flowering of democracy. Maybe it would be worth it - a few million civilians dead, and a million soldiers? But there is a reason the Cold War was never won militarily - no decisive attack through the Fulda Gap (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulda_Gap). It would have had staggering human costs.

I'm a little exasperated. I've met so many nice people from around the world: Arabs, Israelis, Americans, Germans, Singaporeans, Brazilians, Brits, Finns, Russian and a lot of others. All most of them want to do is to have productive lives. They don't want to be (military) heroes. If only we could tone down military conflict and excessive taxes, the world would be very much richer place in a couple of generations. Yes, there will be some nasty regions. But let people vote with their feet instead, and you will outcompete the nasties economically.

So, my $0.02 for ITulip: keep your ass and assets safe, and adapt to the situation as it evolves. The debate between "realists" and "neocons", "tradists" vs. "militarists" is ongoing.

Contemptuous
03-29-08, 02:42 PM
The main point, macro-economically, is that the particular viewpoint that McCain represent would, if implemented, probably lead us inexorably towards some major regional or global conflict ... .

You put your finger squarely on the "$64,000 question". There is a viewpoint, which is only a tiny fraction or nuance of distance away from your observation above, that there are other regional actors in the ME, who's viewpoints, "if implemented, would lead us inexorably towards some major regional conflict". This viewpoint suggests it may be not only McCain's views which lead to that eventuality?

This is really where I'm scratching my head in puzzlement at this thread's thesis, which I've seen repeatedly quoted out of the EU. You look at the ME and see a place where if only the "restlessness" of the US, and from people like McCain were abated, things would subside.

I wonder at the extent this is so accepted in other parts of the world ex-US, where the idea has gained such legitimacy as to appear self-evident. The viewpoint is that the mere removal of American involvement with ME instability would act as a "balm" upon the region. Yes, in some respects it would because America's attempts have been rash and inept, but this fact has become curiously jumbled and confused, to the point of the rationally unintelligible or a-historic, with the notion that this region relapses naturally back into peace, when all powers step aside and let them merely "do their own thing". What does the past 50 years tell us?

It would appear that many parts of the world, in the process of becoming so severely disilusioned with US meddling (and here you have my solidarity on that 100%) conclude as a matter of faith that problems for places like Lebanon and Gaza would be greatly relieved if we simply leave them all to their own devices. What is (dis)ingenuously overlooked is that the apparently "spontaneous" problems in Gaza and Lebanon are curiously linked with the fact that these tiny countries are right smack on Israel's border. Curiously "spontaneous" unrest going on there, no?

The point being, these tiny nations and geographic fragments are the perfect locations from which other players can quietly conduct open proxy wars with Israel. This is why they are a tinderbox regardless of US meddling. And this is where Europeans, (and others!) might climb one or two steps out of their complacency, referring reflexively to people like McCain as "the source of the problem" and ask themselves what they would do about it, if preventing another regional conflagration there were left entirely up to them.

After all, this is right on Europe's doorstep, not ours. Yet the EU for the past 50 years has left the active involvement on trying to keep this bonfire from growing entirely up to the US. Why? Some kind of complacency? And some of the regional mischief makers are now building intermediate range missiles and displaying a vigorous national pride about their newfound arsenals, while they vigorously stoke the arsenals of those little proxy-entities on Israel's border? ?

What plans exactly does the EU have for the eventuality that one or two of these "stray missiles" don't wind up on an EU city? If we remove people like McCain from the equation, according to the gist of your thread, these problems will become more, rather than less manageable? I must not be understanding the general appraisal of this ME region. Seems to me laissez fair opens the EU up to some significant risks on it's southern flank.

Maybe the US should leave it up to Brussels to keep this all under control.

krakknisse
03-30-08, 05:01 AM
You put your finger squarely on the "$64,000 question". There is a viewpoint, which is only a tiny fraction or nuance of distance away from your observation above, that there are other regional actors in the ME, who's viewpoints, "if implemented, would lead us inexorably towards some major regional conflict". This viewpoint suggests it may be not only McCain's views which lead to that eventuality? This is really where I'm scratching my head in puzzlement at this thread's thesis, which I've seen repeatedly quoted out of the EU.


Well, I'm sticking to my original point - protecting your ass and assets. That McCain speech is a harbinger of a foreign policy that is more interventionist than the other candidates. The original speech is here (http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/News/Speeches/872473dd-9ccb-4ab4-9d0d-ec54f0e7a497.htm), and it opens slam-bang with Pearl Harbor.

Just to give you a quick lowdown on what the "I hate war" means, this is out of Townhall.com (http://www.townhall.com/columnists/AmandaCarpenter/2008/03/26/mccain_i_hate_war):

Republican presidential candidate John McCain said his opposition to a premature withdrawal from Iraq is based on his hatred of war and criticized his Democratic opponents in a major foreign policy address Wednesday..

I hate war, therefore we must continue it. Welcome to Newspeak. Lukester, we should disagree to disagree on how to solve world problems. But investment-wise we should both be able to predict with some level of certainty the effect of future developments. Another war, more inflation.

Contemptuous
03-30-08, 02:53 PM
Krakknisse -

With full respect for you personally - here are more observations on just who it is, that is heedlessly leading us all into another war: I'm interested in your reporting to us what the mainstream view is within Northern Europe (obviously there are multiple views, but which is the most popular) regarding whether Iran and it's Mullah theocracy represent any "danger" to any other countries in the area.

Does anyone lend any credence at all to the reports that the Iranians are actively providing materiel (e.g. high tech lethal shaped-charge bombs) and advanced trainining to Shia groups in Iraq? If that were so, given there is a massive civil war going on there, could the Iranian intervention and transmittal of this materiel and training to the Shia then directly be construed as "aiding and abetting" the continuance of civil war?

Are the Americans actively pursuing the "aiding and abetting of yet more civil war" there as well? Given one side is expending a trillion USD to end the fighting, and the other party has a vested geopolitical interest in prolonging the fighting, which party is bearing the brunt of all the criticism and which party is receiving virtually no criticism in the EU press? Aree we trapped in some sort of cognitive dissonance here? Is this worthy of even a passing comment or acknowledgement in the EU press in order for it to "refurbish" it's credentials for "objective reporting"?

What do Northern Europeans think about the ongoing massive smuggling of arms to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, right under the noses of the current UN "Peace Keepers", in direct contravention of the UN brokered and supervised armistice which the Hezbollah signed expressly to end the 2006 incursion into Lebanon by the Israelis? What do torn up pieces of armistice-paper represent? Abrogation of legally binding peace treaties by any chance? Is that worth any news comment at all? What happens when nations abrogate their peace treaties. It's called "breaking a critical contract" and means "all bets are off", no?!

What do the Northern European press think of the Hezbollah "telling the UN peacekeeper troops where they could go and could not go in Southern Lebanon" in the pursuit of their peacekeeping duties, while these same Hezbollah were blatantly re-arming and rebuilding their networks of underground bunkers? The Israelis even brought satellite photos to Ban Ki Moon who acknowledged this was ongoing and "must be stopped", after which the initiative promptly fell into a black hole among the UN's busy schedule of other duties?

Or what about the constant Lebanese government complaints that the pro-Syian factions are systematically sabotaging attempts to install a new Government there (something like 12 attempts to nominate a new Premier have been sabotaged by Pro-Syrian factons), or the Syrian attempts to derail the UN investigation of the assassination of Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri?

You cited Sarajevo as the spark which started a world war, and ask me to weigh the significance of such small events being able to trigger such horrific global mayhem. I fully agree, these sparks are immensely dangerous. Meanwhile in the "here and now", we know that Southern Lebanon's Hezbollah are intensively bankrolled AND personally trained (in rocketry among other things) by Iran with Syria's active participation. Is this worthy of any newscoverage at all, on the topic of "who is leading us into another war"? I look for the newscoverage in the largest EU papers but other than the International Herald Tribune (a newspaper with some US nput from the Washington Post and the New York Times) I strain to find any mention anywhere else.

So what coverage is there in the Northern European press of the assassination of the Lebanese President, and the ensuing (ongoing and long) UN investigation of the Syrian involvement by the UN? Given the ME is a tinderbox, the assassination of Lebanon's premier Haririri would appear to be a singularly close parallel to the assassination of the Arch Duke Ferdinand at Sarajevo.

My beef is that you can look for detailed, concerned discussions of these things in the EU press, and you simply won't find them. There is a collective, anti-US inspired "amnesia" at work in Europe, where the blatant and highly dangerous machinations of Iran and Syria in the ME - all of which are quite obviously directed at sticking constant thorns in the Israelis via direct shelling and small incursions into Israel - these things are not just equivalent to a Sarajevo provocation - they are on-going, multiple Sarajevo scale provocations, and yet we are supposed to regard the EU press as giving the entire scope of the problem an objective coverage?

Krakknisse, my point here is to advise you that as far as I can discern, and I have interest in the topic and have followed it, they don't do anything remotely adequate to cover the implications of that.

There is extensive coverage of the plight of the stateless Palestinians, and most of that is entirely legitimate. But when it comes to the re-armament of the Hezbollah by the Syrians, in a direct contravention of international law, or the direct channelling of Iranian arms not only into Iraq but also to Hezbollah, barely a year after the cessation of a "hot war" with Israel - there is little or no serious coverage in Europe. It's like a continent wide phobia, or a blind spot, and this obscure anomaly has contributed greatly to the rift between the EU and the US. I think it's very real. And there seems little trace of self-doubt, by the EU public, that their "news coverage" is objectively covering these events. I know it. I've lived half my life there, and I've seen this bias going on for decades.

This is the "gap" I am pointing out to you - it's a very real gap - and along with the admission of so many problems within the US (we are turning into a "banana republic" etc. etc. which we Americans all freely acknowledge) it's high time that Europeans also frankly acknowledge that the above very serious destabilizing actions by the Syrians and the Iranians are indeed occurring! Why are Europeans so singularly reluctant to even acknowledge there is a quite evdent blanket of silence on these issues in the EU press? You don't read the tiniest squeak of complaint in the EU about the UN "Peace Forces" abject submission to the Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon. Not even a squeak of protest, as they are sitting there presumably "enforcing" the terms of the peace armistice from the last Israeli - Hezbollah war!

I am not by any means an uncritical "Israel booster". They'e done some very bad and stupid things, and they have blood on their hands. But in the face of this kind of continent-wide bias in the EU press, and the EU public, I'm disgusted. Please understand, this is not being expressed against you personally - I am pointing out why I personally believe that the EU public (just as you point out how Americans are manipulated by our own press) is being led around by the nose by the EU press, which by it's glaring omissions of impartial news coverage, is merely indulging it's visceral reaction to the US, whom they artfully describe to all their readers as merely engaged in "gratuitous militarism" in the ME.

I would respecfully suggest that You Europeans need to become more aware of your own "institutionalized blind spots", and in case you are not sure where to look, take a glance at the history of the Hezbollah drumbeat for war Vs. Israel, or the involvement of the Syrians and Iranians in vigorously fostering that. Hezbollah were allowed a parliamentary foothold by a weak Lebanese government, and they've now grown like a virus to entirely subvert the most democratic country in the ME outside of the Israeli State. Lebanon was a jewel of prosperity and democracy before the opportunistic "Syrian Virus" stepped in there 30 years ago.

All the condemnation of Israeli wars with Lebanon in the EU press is almost comical in it's contortions, to discuss the horrible wars ad infinitum while elaborately skirting the Syrian Finlandization of Lebanon which has decimated that country and turned it into a staging area for Syrian machinations against the Israelis. Covering Israeli - Lebanese wars without covering the "Syria / Lebanon three decades long problem" is tripe news coverage of the worst sort. It is garbage news analysis.

The mainstream EU press which omits all this stuff are losing massive credibility in my view, by systematically ignoring the issues I have only very sketchily pointed out above. All the noise about "scarily militaristic US neocons" may be well and true, but without an equally conscientious examination of these very dangerous events committed by the "falsely vilified" states of Iran and Syria, any critique of the US is dangerously slanted. Slanting ones analysis serves no good purpose - it only widens rifts further, which is hugely dangerous itself.

And you won't find many Europeans who are even prepared to acknowledge any of the above observations have a good deal of truth to them. Instead, far too many Europeans will eagerly point out how disappointed they are in the US intervention, and how "misunderstood" Iran is. Please - we need more seriousness than that to lend some critical balance to these debates. I very much appreciate your posts Krakknisse, and consider you generally a fairly balanced observer. I merely point out what I've noticed is a large "split of perceptions" between a lot of Americans and Europeans, and the only winners from it eventually will be the Iranians who are keen on squeezing a ruthless advantage from all this. The rest of us will only lose from these misunderstandings.

krakknisse
03-30-08, 05:13 PM
I appreciate you taking the time to write an interesting piece. I think you are quite right that there are systematic differences between the EU and the US, both in policy makers, media and the general public (aka "the sheeple". Some of these could rightfully be called blind spots, on both accounts. There are significant heterogeneities within Europe - witness France's "Francafricque (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A7afrique)" policy which recently led it to prop up a not so nice government in Chad, or historically the Suez Crisis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suez_Crisis). I simply can't answer for all of Europe. But suffice to say that I think the US has lost a lot of support all over Europe. The rational and "do good" explanations simply drown in in civilian casualties and "no exit" Iraq, and the Banana Republicization of the US. I hope you will come back, but I think it will take a generation. I mean, the "Don't tase me, bro" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don%27t_tase_me_bro) incident alone will make non-US residents think twice about sending their offspring for what has traditionally been held to be a world-class education, regardless of foreign policy differences.

I don't know quite what to say. There are many like me - "we who loved America". There's even a book about it (http://books.google.no/books?id=FxcK1c3s5JYC&pg=PA117&lpg=PA117&dq=%22we+who+loved+america%22&source=web&ots=KZsI_67nUv&sig=jtXuFbtUspWxE4QML3XaaRodBxQ&hl=no) and a sometimes famous essay by that title. There is a lot of trans-Atlantic misunderstanding and ignorance. Some of it is opportunity cost, but it does actually introduce unnecessary friction. I still love the Republic. But the Republic seems to be fading. If you could really trust EU and US governments to do some good, albeit with a significant human costs, then the support would be forthcoming from both the EU and US sheeple and intelligentsia.

My take on this is that the debate will soon take a different tone. It will no longer be "Is the US or the EU way right". It will be "why are governments failing". The foreign policy discussions will be of less relevance as people struggle with the economy. Unless some major regional or global conflict takes place, in which case people will loyally line up - "more meat for the grinder". I'm afraid that what we will see is in fact a resource war, more than a war of liberation. And both the EU and the US could be fading somewhat, as China and India gain their historical pre-eminence. Take a look at Paul Kennedy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rise_and_Fall_of_the_Great_Powers) for a long term view:

"He compares the Great Powers at the close of the twentieth century and predicts the decline of the Soviet Union (the book was originally published on the cusp of the Soviet collapse, the suddenness of which Kennedy did not predict), the rise of China and Japan, the struggles and potential for the EEC, and the relative decline of the United States. He predicts that continued deficit spending, especially on military build-up, will be the single most important reason for decline of any Great Power."

Contemptuous
03-30-08, 07:47 PM
Krakknisse - Nowhere do you offer an acknowledgement of the points raised about Iran and Syria.

When talking about triggers for "new Sarajevo's" in the ME, how could you overlook the assassination of Rafik Hariri, a very popular democratic premier of Lebanon who fought for Lebanon's freedom from Syrian meddling - Freedom from Syria, one of Bush's (much derided) "axis of evil" countries, who's own army had occupied Lebanon for 15+ long years, osgtensibly to "stabilize" Lebanon, while in fact they very much de-stabilized Lebanon - liquidating not just the democratically minded and immensely popular Hariri, but dozens of other high ranking but "troublesome" Lebanese patriots. Isn't that somewhat relevant to "war and peace"? And if it is, why does Syria not make it into your PANTHEON of countries contributing to future war in the ME, while the US gets all the "honors" for that accomplishment?

This was after all the central question of your own thread here. You asked: "What is contributing to the potential for war (presumably in the ME)"?

Your reply skirts any direct response to the question. Iran and Syria are quite manifestly stirring things up, in Basra through Al Sadr, in Gaza through the wildly intransigent and war-hungry HAMAS, and in southern Lebanon through the equally rabidly war-hungry Hezbollah. That is fully THREE (3), hot, shooting, bombing, kidnapping, rabid insurgencies ongoing, which they are right in the thick of. Your comment?

We both agreed already - the ME is another potential Sarajevo. You cited "Sarajevo potentials" in the context of John McCain's campaign speeches, and I agree, it seems that Mr. McCain is subject to a few brain-farts here and there. Not very reassuring. Yet when I mention two nations in the region, who are premiere candidates for attribution of all the above regional mayhem, you don't even mention them by name in your reply? Eh? :confused:

Where is your direct response to the regional, live issues raised? - Iran and Syria - are they working for peace or for more WAR? If they are really the promoters of the above refewrenced three local scenes of ongoing shooting, bombing, kidnapping and general mayhem, how does that translate into your vision for peace in this region in the blessed absence of the Americans?

Seems when you try to get down to "brass tacks" with someone observing events from your side of the pond, there is a curious lassitude - a sense that "it will all work itself out if we adopt a little old fashioned "laissez faire". The question was: What is to be done about Iran (with Syria as the on-border transmitter) bankrolling, training and arming fully THREE (3) rogue militias, in THREE (3) different countries? Do you have a position on that? If you don't factor that into your vision for possible roads to peace, are you being sufficiently realistic?

krakknisse
03-31-08, 05:25 PM
On McCain, from Bloomberg (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=a7GaNy_qwACo&refer=home). Seems I'm not the only one.
``The question is whether he can convince people that he will not only keep us safe but also be cautious in using military power.''

Listen Lukester, let's agree to disagree. You won't convince me. Well, one way I should hope for McCain and war - it is good for gold.

Contemptuous
03-31-08, 08:36 PM
Listen Lukester ... You won't convince me. Well, one way I should hope for McCain and war - it is good for gold.

A surprising answer. I have such high regard for the caliber of all your other remarks around here, this one seems quite weak in it's conceptual grasp in context.

What won't I convince you of? That what I've mentioned about Iran and Syria is 'fake news'? It's not really going on according to you? Or will you conclude instead that while these reports about Iran and Syria are indeed factual, they are still only "minor news", and the overwhelming contributor to ongoing or widening war in the ME is the US presence? That would be a peculiarly contorted view of Iran and Syria in my opinion.

I assumed so far without question, given the very astute and starkly honest quality of all your other commentary, that you would not "duck" my observations (which are embarassing to those who propose "laissez faire" as a solution in that region), but find some way instead to incorporate what I'm pointing out about these two countries into your understanding of what's at stake in the region. When you are looking at a monumental tinderbox, the rest of the world unfortunately does not have the luxury of being mere bystanders. Or do we? Is that your argument? Good luck to the Israelis, Palestinians and Lebanese in that mess then, as their nations will get chewed up in the inevitable conclusion of the present snake-pit of inter-country machinations.

Iran and Syria are causing mayhem in this area, playing with hot firecrackers in a playground flooded with gasoline. That you offer in reply no acknowledgement of their actions other than an obscure sounding and obfuscated "you won't convince me" does not make your own arguments very convincing - but maybe that's just my own view.

The US is arguably causing some grave problems over there. We can leave that on the table as an intelligent topic of discussion. What would be patently absurd, would be to solemnly declare that Iran and Syria are not contributing some highly cynical, bloody, and extremely dangerous meddling in Iraq, the Palestinian Territories, and in Lebanon. Their (now quite bloody) hand-prints are all over these areas. In case you entertain the idea of denying that, Ban Ki Moon, the head of the UN, freely acknowledges this as well.

I think you need to realise that for you to make good counter arguments, you need to approach the things I've brought to your attention head on, not simply refuse to mention them while putting a lid on that topic by vaguely saying "you won't convince me". Convince you of what - may I ask? That Iran is not paying to arm anyone in the region? Or convince you that these facts, while real, have any significance to your world as well as mine? What? Do you think their meddling is a minor detail?

And another thought. "It's good for gold" - this does not appeal to me. I keep my investments, and my search for profit well separate from my humanitarian or civic impulses. The fact that another bloody war breaking out there may be "good for gold" seems to me to be frankly a slightly obscene association. I respect you Krakknisse. I am only gently suggesting that introducing that consideration in this topic may be "inappropriate".

After all, this was a discussion about potential new Sarajevo's, and the profit motive is not that noble that it can surmount all the potential horror that is spring loaded by a multi-nation war flaring up in the middle east. Look at how Iran is acting with Al Sadr, with Hamas, and with Hezbollah, and tell me they are not acting wildly irresponsibly. These Mullahs have blood on their hands. A lot of blood, and you don't wish to look at it.

Think about it.

krakknisse
04-01-08, 02:42 AM
A surprising answer. I have such high regard for the caliber of all your other remarks around here, this one seems quite weak in it's conceptual grasp in context.

What won't I convince you of? That what I've mentioned about Iran and Syria is 'fake news'? It's not really going on according to you? Or will you conclude instead that while these reports about Iran and Syria are indeed factual, they are still only "minor news", and the overwhelming contributor to ongoing or widening war in the ME is the US presence? That would be a peculiarly contorted view of Iran and Syria in my opinion.

I assumed so far without question, given the very astute and starkly honest quality of all your other commentary, that you would not "duck" my observations (which are embarassing to those who propose "laissez faire" as a solution in that region), but find some way instead to incorporate what I'm pointing out about these two countries into your understanding of what's at stake in the region. When you are looking at a monumental tinderbox, the rest of the world unfortunately does not have the luxury of being mere bystanders. Or do we? Is that your argument? Good luck to the Israelis, Palestinians and Lebanese in that mess then, as their nations will get chewed up in the inevitable conclusion of the present snake-pit of inter-country machinations.

Iran and Syria are causing mayhem in this area, playing with hot firecrackers in a playground flooded with gasoline. That you offer in reply no acknowledgement of their actions other than an obscure sounding and obfuscated "you won't convince me" does not make your own arguments very convincing - but maybe that's just my own view.

The US is arguably causing some grave problems over there. We can leave that on the table as an intelligent topic of discussion. What would be patently absurd, would be to solemnly declare that Iran and Syria are not contributing some highly cynical, bloody, and extremely dangerous meddling in Iraq, the Palestinian Territories, and in Lebanon. Their (now quite bloody) hand-prints are all over these areas. In case you entertain the idea of denying that, Ban Ki Moon, the head of the UN, freely acknowledges this as well.

I think you need to realise that for you to make good counter arguments, you need to approach the things I've brought to your attention head on, not simply refuse to mention them while putting a lid on that topic by vaguely saying "you won't convince me". Convince you of what - may I ask? That Iran is not paying to arm anyone in the region? Or convince you that these facts, while real, have any significance to your world as well as mine? What? Do you think their meddling is a minor detail?

And another thought. "It's good for gold" - this does not appeal to me. I keep my investments, and my search for profit well separate from my humanitarian or civic impulses. The fact that another bloody war breaking out there may be "good for gold" seems to me to be frankly a slightly obscene association. I respect you Krakknisse. I am only gently suggesting that introducing that consideration in this topic may be "inappropriate".

After all, this was a discussion about potential new Sarajevo's, and the profit motive is not that noble that it can surmount all the potential horror that is spring loaded by a multi-nation war flaring up in the middle east. Look at how Iran is acting with Al Sadr, with Hamas, and with Hezbollah, and tell me they are not acting wildly irresponsibly. These Mullahs have blood on their hands. A lot of blood, and you don't wish to look at it.

Think about it.

Well, sorry that I'm being cynical. I really am cynical. The world is an ugly place. I was trying to avoid getting in to a proscriptive debate on "what should we do". My point was, and still is, that McCain has "war issues". If McCain is elected, the likelihood of another war increases. If the other world leaders were holding flowers in their hands, would it still be so? No. So clearly there is a counterparty here.

Clearly, the Middle East could be a new Sarajevo. But remember, without the collective security pacts, the gunshot in Sarajevo wouldn't have been the start of WW1. Which is why I question the expansion of collective security to include one of the tinderbox countries. I'm not saying that there aren't bogeymen in the ME. But as the good guys, you still have to weigh carefully the costs and benefits of your actions. Sometimes it is best not to do so much, even if the cost is to leave someone like Saddam Hussein in power. The Bush doctrine is an abysmal failure (http://www.economist.com/specialreports/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10873479). If you insist on continuing the debate, I have one poignant question: what would have happened if Operation Ajax (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Ajax) hadn't happened? Watch Ron Paul scorch war-monger Guiliani (http://youtube.com/watch?v=AD7dnFDdwu0) about "blowback". I conjecture that Iran would have been a moderately socialist country. Yes, nationalization of oil would have happened. Yes, oil might have been somewhat more expensive. But the world is paying the price in unintended consequences. Nationalizations happen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationalization). The road to hell really is paved with good intentions. The policy of US non-interventionism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_non-interventionism) has been around for hundreds of years, for good reasons.


Ron Paul: So there's a lot of merit to the advice of the founders and following the constitution. And my argument is, that we shouldn't go to war so carelessly. When you do that, the wars don't end.
Wendell Goler (FOX News panelist): Congressman, you don't think that changed with the 9/11 attacks, sir?
Paul: What changed?
Goler: The non-interventionist policies?
Paul: No. Non-intervention was a major contributing factor. Have you ever read about the reasons they attacked us? They attack us because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for 10 years. We've been in the Middle East. I think Reagan was right: we don't understand the irrationality of Middle-Eastern politics. So right now, we're building an embassy in Iraq that's bigger than the Vatican, we're building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting. We need to look at what we do from the perspective of what would happen if somebody else did it to us.
Wendell: Are you suggesting we invited the 9/11 attacks, sir?
[muted applause]
Paul: I'm suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it. And they are delighted that we're over there because Osama bin Laden has said, "I am glad you're over on our sand because we can target you so much easier." They've already now since that time have killed 3400 of our men, and I don't think it was necessary.
Rudolph Giuliani: Wendell, may I make a comment on that? That's really an extraordinary statement. That's an extraordinary statement, as someone who lived through the attack of September 11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don't think I've ever heard that before, and I've heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11.
[15 seconds of loud applause]
Giuliani: And I would ask the Congressman to withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn't really mean that.
Wendell: Congressman?
Paul: I believe very sincerely that the CIA is correct when they teach and talk about blowback. When we went into Iran in 1953 and installed the Shah, yes, there was blowback. The reaction to that was the taking of our hostages. And that persists. And if we ignore that, we ignore that at our own risk. If we think that we can do what we want around the world and not incite hatred, then we have a problem. They don't come here to attack us because we're rich and we're free. They come and they attack us because we're over there. I mean, what would we think if other foreign countries were doing that to us?With regards to protecting your assets, I don't think it is out of place to consider the possibility of war. For significant portions of the 20th century, it would have been a very important option. Of course, I'd rather live in a peaceful world than have gold soar because of war. But with the rise of the Bush-McCain doctrine, you have to be prepared. You won't convince me that non-interventionism is still not a good policy to follow. Or at least, the Powell-Weinberger doctrine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powell_doctrine).

Contemptuous
04-01-08, 04:19 AM
... McCain has "war issues". ... If the other world leaders were holding flowers ... would it still be so? No. So clearly there is a counterparty ... I'm not saying that there aren't bogeymen in the ME. ... Sometimes it is best not to do so much, even if the cost is to leave someone like Saddam Hussein in power. ... Of course, I'd rather live in a peaceful world than have gold soar because of war. But with the rise of the Bush-McCain doctrine, you have to be prepared.

Kraknisse -

I think Ron Paul's "universal theory of foreign policy" would go into a serious funk when confronted with the bewildering behavior of Syria. He just would not "get" why his obsequious foreign policy did not pacify Assad.

Unfortunately Syria does not fit in well with Ron Paul's understanding of foreign affairs. Syria is a nasty little police state which has outlived a half dozen US administrations of varying stripes. And our present (still juvenile and still quite vigorous Bashar Assad), and his slimy little tin pot PAPA Hafez, have been occupying, chewing up, and messily digesting pieces of Lebanon for going on 30 years.

This is just one example of where Ron Paul's grand unifying theory that everything is a result of "blowback" represents the most imaginative interpretation of US foreign policy since President Carter.

Syria's audacious pupetteering in Lebanon, has directly triggered two (2) bloody wars with the Israelis, each one of which came within a whisker of drawing in other players and spinning into "the big one". Israel rose to the Assad family bait twice, when they finally got sick and tired of Hezbollah lobbing high explosives into their civilian areas. An understandable momentary foreign policy weakness on their part.

That was two (2) potential Sarajevos in the past scant 30 years, due to one tin-pot, PAPA-Hafez Assad, who would have been immeasurably more emboldened if he'd had an inkling of your, or Ron Paul's new "universal blowback doctrine".

Your hero Ron Paul's thesis of international affairs (blowback explains all thorny problems of stronger tin-pot states gobbling up weaker adjacent states) is simplistic rubbish. His ass would get slung over a barbecue pit so fast he'd not have time to issue a foreign policy fireside chat as new president before he had to sit down with the Joint Chiefs to untangle the mess of crumbling global alliances pursuant to his implementing the cockamamie "unilateral withdrawal you endorse.

You can walk away from the global obligations, but that does not mean the others walk away. Instead, they "eat your lunch". I very much enjoy reading history, and have never come across a utopic period in history where as one power withdraws other powers don't step in intent upon checkmating the retiree. It must exist in a world utterly at variance with the cynicism you profess to follow.

It may seem perfectly feasible if you are the premier of a Scandinavian country, but your nation has unwittingly enjoyed other grittier protagonists protecting it's broader global interests on a great deal more occasions than simply WWII. (try freedom from strangulation of global energy supplies by politically malevolent cartels, or protection from Finlandization for thirty years by a nuclear umbrella in the West).

This is the "lacunae" which emerge every time talking with late 20th Century Europeans (Some British and some Eastern Europeans are different). Europe are growing to become a global power, but after two world wars and then 70 years under a North American nuclear umbrella, they have a blissful sense they can maintain a position in the world unencumbered by any political encroachment by others, as the North Americans regroup under "Ron Paul's Doctrine".

In a nutshell, my view after having lived there half my life, is that the fantasy that some Europeans (not all!) believe is that the world they have emerged into in the early 21st Century (where Europe still has a lot of room to manoeuver) happened spontaneously.

It also appears you are concluding I am a "US apologist". This is missing the points I've tried to make, turning your attentionmomentarily away from the US to look at the potential for mayhem from other quarters. I don't apologise for the US. I think your point about the wisdom of having left Saddam Hussein in power to buttress the prior geopolitical order is in fact supremely sensible.

But it is also supremely cynical - towards the people that were under his boot, while the UN was administering the fatally corrupt oil for food program - which dragged on with no diplomatic breakthrougbh for ten long years. Some entirely rational people were wondering whether after 10 years of failed diplomacy, diplomacy might have arrived at it;s own bankruptcy. Of course "diplomatic bankruptcy" is infinitely preferable to us rich Western nations than trying to resuce wretched minions of Saddam - full circle to that "cynicism thingy" which you apparently admire.

See, the underlying moral issue you skate over is that if the rest of the world had employed that same supreme cynicism in the preamble to WWII, Scandinavia may very well have remained a province of a fascist Germany, or equally fascist Russia. Of course we all shrug impatiently at the moral lesson now, because that all happened "ages ago" and it's "boring" now.

But there is a lesson tucked away in there - that the cynicism which you place such a high premium upon can quickly become a very ugly thing, if you are situated in one of those spots in the world which your cynicism prescribes we "sacrifice for peace" people or entire small nations other than ourselves. You can fill in the blanks as to who those sacrificial lambs are this time, but to my mind the Israelis, the Palestinians, and the Lebanese are definitely looking "sacrificial-lamb-like" to my view (what? 1000 rockets a month raining in from Gaza and Southern Lebanon goading the Israelis to respond, and Europe merely yawns?), and the Syrians and Iranians are most definitely not looking like part of the sacrificial lamb flock.

I think someone who has grown this comfortable in such a classically European (Old World - I know it well) jaundiced cynicism, which looks in the mirror and sees itself as the face of the "New World March for Peace", might benefit from feeling the flames of the incoming barrages of Iranian purchased and Syrian delivered Katyushas, under your own feet, just for an instant - just to "tenderize" your complacency a bit, so to speak, about who is to "pay" for that "world-peace born out of the laissez faire" which you describe.

I find myself cycling right back to Starving Steve's observations on this. That whole "Peace in Our Time" thingy? Arguably the world was dealing with "blowback" in the rise of Adolf Hitler, but what earthly use would that insight have been in 1938? And who do we sacrifice this time to accomplish "Peace in Our Time"? Let's let the Syrian's and the Iranians "play" a bit over there eh? Sponsoring Al Sadr, Hamas and Hezbollah? Heh! Sooner or later their skittishness will subside of it's own accord! After all, if the Syrians have been sucking the life out of Lebanon for thirty years it's only due to "blowback". :D

Contemptuous
04-01-08, 06:18 AM
I would love to witness Lebanon's (probably last) truly democratic Premier, Fouad Saniora, thank newly elected president Ron Paul for his far seeing vision in pulling all US efforts back and away from Lebanon, in the interests of his "new disengagement" policy wisely directed at eliminating "blowback" in the Middle East.

Meanwhile Lebanon's last vestiges of democracy would go down in ashes, in about 24 hours, while Krakknisse sighed with regret, but insisted this casualty was the "cost of winning the peace" in the Middle East.

Seen from Saniora's eyes, and from the eyes of all the pro-Western and pro-Rafik Hariri democrats in Lebanon, all that would be left of their feelings for the Western world whom they wished to follow in secularism and prosperity would be a feeling of betrayal. This is what enervated EU "peacenicks" turn a blind eye to in their otherwise entirely justifiable and admirable yearning for world peace.

The other side would be laughing at your retreat and moving hastily to consolidate it's victories. Don't kid yourselves. The Syrias and Irans of this world most definitely would - Syria has been at this for decades, while some readers here were still riding around on trycicles. They intrude like thorns, upon your bucolic visions of a newfound US enlightenment leading the rest of the world to equally enlightened non-interventionism. You are dreaming.

Yes, it's an ugly world, and the US by no means created all this ugliness. To believe so is to regard the world from a still childlike perspective. History simply does not bear you out, as not a trace of such an idyllic Wilsonian international order has ever existed.

_______________

Iran Incites Cold War With U.S. in Lebanon Roiled by Hezbollah

By Janine Zacharia

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/data?pid=avimage&iid=iVx9ylqfBJL8
http://images.bloomberg.com/r06/news/enlarge_details.gif (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=photos&sid=aaxUpuq5jM_w)

April 1 (Bloomberg) -- When David Welch (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=David+Welch&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1), the U.S. State Department's top Middle East envoy, wakes each morning, he asks himself, "Is everything OK over there?''

"Over there'' is Lebanon, caught in a political stalemate that is putting American officials and much of the Arab world on edge.

During six months of paralysis in electing a Lebanese president, Iranian and Syrian support for the Shiite Muslim party, Hezbollah, has flourished while the U.S. has tried to keep its Sunni ally, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Fouad+Siniora&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1), from being ousted.

In this contest is the danger that Lebanon may turn into a full-fledged battleground in the ongoing conflict between the U.S. and Iran, which is allied with Syria to derail Lebanon's fragile democracy.

The possibility of bloodshed within Lebanon's sensitive patchwork of Sunnis, Shiites and Christians recalls the civil war that savaged Beirut from 1975 to 1990, killing thousands of Lebanese and hundreds of Americans, too.
Syria and Hezbollah "are all Iranian cards in the cold war with the U.S.,'' Mouafac Harb, a Beirut-based Lebanese- American political consultant, said in a Washington interview.

Iran is arming Hezbollah with long-range missiles that are being trucked across Syria's border, according to U.S., British and Israeli officials. Iran has also funneled at least $50 million to Hezbollah-linked organizations "that support acts of violence,'' Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Robert+Kimmitt&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1) said in a Feb. 8 speech.

Warships, Humvees

The Bush administration has been pushing unsuccessfully for Hezbollah to be disarmed in accordance with a United Nations resolution that ended the group's 2006 war with Israel. It has positioned American warships off Lebanon's coast and is delivering U.S. Humvees and ammunition to the Lebanese army.

"Lebanon is the battlefield'' in a "fierce struggle'' says Fawaz Gerges (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Fawaz+Gerges&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1), an expert on Islamic militancy at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. "The country stands at the brink of another major conflict.''

The 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah illustrates how quickly one violent incident -- a cross-border attack by Hezbollah on Israeli soldiers -- might escalate. Hezbollah fired Iranian-made rockets into Israel during the conflict.
Oussama Safa (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Oussama+Safa&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1), director of Beirut's Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, says Iran's influence in Lebanon ``is part of a conflict with the U.S. across the region,'' and in Lebanon, ``Iran plays the role of spoiler without much cost.''

Syrian Dominance

The dispatch of American warships was meant to signal to Syria and Iran that their interference in Lebanon won't be tolerated, U.S. officials say. Syria dominated Lebanon during a 29-year occupation that ended in 2005 amid protests over the murder of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Rafiq+Hariri&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1).

To combat Iranian and Syrian influence in Lebanon, the U.S. has made some unusual allies. One is Samir Geagea (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Samir+Geagea&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1), a Maronite Christian aligned with Siniora who was sentenced to death for crimes committed during Lebanon's civil war and later pardoned. He now runs Lebanese Forces (http://www.lebanese-forces.org/), a party with its roots in the militia he headed. Last month, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Condoleezza%0ARice&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1) welcomed Geagea in Washington.

U.S. assistance to the Lebanese military soared to more than $320 million last year from less than $1 million in 2005. The Bush administration pledged an additional $770 million at a Paris donors' conference to rebuild Lebanon following the 2006 war.

`Score Political Points'

Still, the U.S. has made little headway in isolating Syria and Iran, Gerges says. "The opposition, led by Hezbollah, has used the deployment of U.S. warships to score political points against the pro-Western governing coalition,'' he says.
Arab allies of the U.S. are also concerned. Saudi Arabia and Egypt sent lower-level officials rather than heads of state to the March 29 Arab League summit in Damascus (http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/asia/sy.htm) to reflect their discontent with Syria for helping Iran grow its foothold in Lebanon. Syria invited Iran to the gathering.

To keep Lebanon in a state of political disarray, Syria is working with Hezbollah -- Party of God in Arabic -- to prevent a vote for president in Lebanon's parliament, U.S. officials and analysts say. Balloting has been postponed 17 times and is now scheduled for April 22.

The Bush administration is concerned that if the presidential stalemate goes on, Lebanon will begin to fracture.

"We're trying to organize it so everybody will be supportive of the current government, so there's a new president and so that the political crisis'' doesn't escalate, Welch says. "It's already grave enough as it is. We don't want to see an economic or social crisis, and by social, what I mean is sectarian.''

Deadly Bombing

In an echo of Lebanon's past violence, an American embassy car was targeted in a January bombing that killed three Lebanese bystanders.

Whether Lebanon again descends into chaos might depend on whether Iran and Syria retaliate against U.S. and international sanctions imposed to thwart Iran's nuclear program. "If the Iranians and the Syrians feel the heat, then the chances of a major confrontation in Lebanon are higher,'' Harb says.
For Welch, the worry of Lebanon becoming a battlefield again is intertwined with personal experience. In 1983, as a young diplomat in Washington, he was in charge of monitoring the country.

There are still "two opposing forces in the region,'' he says. The U.S. and its allies "would propose to resolve their conflicts'' through negotiation, while Iran, Syria and Hezbollah favor resistance and believe "patience in combination with violence will win out.''

To contact the reporter on this story: Janine Zacharia (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Janine+Zacharia&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1) in Washington at jzacharia@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: March 31, 2008 20:13 EDT

Jim Nickerson
04-01-08, 12:12 PM
Recently some poster was touting his belief in either gold or PM's here and as I remember he wrote that he had 75% percent of his allocation and family members in some form of PM's. It could have even been 85%. I've tried searching various words, but cannot locate his posts. Does anyone happen to remember his name? I'd like to reread his posts.

Contemptuous
04-02-08, 05:21 PM
"Calling Krakknisse - come in please Krakknisse"

Krakknisse -

In case you found our exchange on this topic a little too "pointed", I just wanted to "point" out a couple of things.

One. (most important) I really do find your posts excellent, very smart and on-the-ball. And I am certainly not so boring of nature that differences of opinion about politics, religion or any other damn thing leave me in the slightest bit unfriendly to people I disagree with. Look at Rajiv - I vehemently disagree with lots of stuff he believes, (sometimes I think he's plain nuts) but I find him a very worthy contributor here and enjoy reading all his stuff. Same goes for you.

Two. (this is a little 'thorny') If anyone posts opinions about a political entity, person or government, which states things like 'they are out of control, bordering on unscrupulous war-mongers' or anything to that effect - I fully respect their right to make these arguments, but they should not expect that all the ensuing replies would be entirely gentle, because their posted thesis could hardly be considered gentle itself.

Fair, no? Therefore if one posts scathing condemnations of anyone, it's only fair that one should be prepared to defend one's views 'vigorously' - and that is exactly what we've done on this thread.

It's my privilege meantime to discuss anything with you Krakknisse. And BTW, your avatar's 'headgear' is quite striking. He's very distinctive around here - a very long, tall 'bright red' and 'sharply pointy' hat! Good for making sharp points with! :D

krakknisse
04-03-08, 03:04 AM
"[SNIPPED]Calling Krakknisse - come in please Krakknisse"...
1. (most important) I really do find your posts excellent, very smart and on-the-ball. ... that differences of opinion about politics, religion or any other damn thing leave me in the slightest bit unfriendly to people I disagree with. ...
2. (this is a little 'thorny') If anyone posts opinions about a political entity, .. but they should not expect that all the ensuing replies would be entirely gentle, because their posted thesis could hardly be considered gentle itself.
3. avatar's 'headgear'

You certainly had a lot of arguments, and it came a little out of left field to "smack me on the head". As I said repeatedly, this is what I came here for. So though I may seem a little desperate to defend myself against your onslaught - I asked for it. Thanks for the headsmack.

I will not give up my central assertion that if McCain wins, war is more likely. That speech is going down in the history books if he gets elected. I'm not as adamant, but still pretty adamant, that there are various options for major player's foreign policy, including the Bush-McCain doctrine, but also variants such as the Powell-Weinberger doctrine, and - my particular favorite - the "Jeffersonian" policy. All have advantages and disadvantages for the various players (and the sheeple involved, getting shafted in various ways under the different policies). The central point of my criticism of McCain's foreign policy is that he doesn't give adequate weight to:
1) The likelihood of success of a military intervention, including an exit strategy
2) The dire straits which the US economy and international goodwill finds itself in now
3) The possible instability of collective security
4) The general feasibility of promoting "democracy"/"good government"/"a better world" at gunpoint.

We disagree on the weightings. But there is no "philosophers stone" in foreign policy that will turn the world into a Garden of Eden. This is a more proscriptive debate than the observational "if McCain wins", but as you've noted repeatedly I made my bias clear early on. It will be interesting to revisit this thread in a year! I have to get some work done... Can we wrap it up for now?

The "nisse" is a fun way of seeing bearishness, a celebration of the minority status that bearishness currently has. Look up the nisse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomte) on WP, Originally a "crash nisse" was a pejorative (which spawned a counter-pejorative, "debt nisse"), now a term of endearment. On the particular local "nisse" blog I visit, we greet each other with "More porridge now" - a hint towards the frugality and sacrifice which "nisse-ness" requires. Yes, the nisse can be quite pointed and grumpy (like Jim's "contrary old fart"). But in the end, the nisse will withstand hardship, hide under the hay in the barn, and whatever, and come back to always taunt the powers that be. Quite ITulip-like, I think.:)

Contemptuous
04-03-08, 11:24 AM
I have to get some work done... Can we wrap it up for now?

Yes of course Krakknisse. I appreciate the time you took to discuss this issue, and even more your sportsmanlike conclusion, which wins my admiration. That is one of the very best attributes of all the most free thinking iTulip contributors. Not all contributors necessarily adhere to it in full measure, but when we do this place is functioning at it's best!

I fully understand it's difficult for many well informed readers here who disagree with my expressed viewpoints (probably percieved as merely "pro-American" which would be simplistic) it's difficult for them to look beyond the questionably forceful US intervention in Iraq and notice that the sabotaging efforts of other players have played a major part in the US efforts having come to such a heavily compromised end.

There are some extremely cynical other players actively sabotaging the best intentions in the region. They have a tremendous amount of blood on their hands, and that blood was shed a great deal more cynically than it has been by any US military. The occasional scandals of war crimes are found in every single war in history. To single out those committed by US troops is merely seizing on single issues to sharpen the axe of a preconceived agenda.

Without a full acknowledgement that there are other players in the region who's notions of the value of human life in the pursuit of their regional aims make the US troops on the ground look exemplary in comparison, there can be no rational or even fully ethical "meeting of the minds" to discuss the US's full culpability for the present mess. True objectivity heals a great deal in disagreements, and when employed in discussions such as this one, objectivity vaults the quality of Itulip discussions about "politics" (that's the "electrified deathly third rail" of all topics here) to a high and admirably constructive level.

We'll certainly pick it up again in a year and follow up conclusions will be interesting.

Starving Steve
04-03-08, 06:24 PM
Yes of course Krakknisse. I appreciate the time you took to discuss this issue, and even more your sportsmanlike conclusion, which wins my admiration. That is one of the very best attributes of all the most free thinking iTulip contributors. Not all contributors necessarily adhere to it in full measure, but when we do this place is functioning at it's best!

I fully understand it's difficult for many well informed readers here who disagree with my expressed viewpoints (probably percieved as merely "pro-American" which would be simplistic) it's difficult for them to look beyond the questionably forceful US intervention in Iraq and notice that the sabotaging efforts of other players have played a major part in the US efforts having come to such a heavily compromised end.

There are some extremely cynical other players actively sabotaging the best intentions in the region. They have a tremendous amount of blood on their hands, and that blood was shed a great deal more cynically than it has been by any US military. The occasional scandals of war crimes are found in every single war in history. To single out those committed by US troops is merely seizing on single issues to sharpen the axe of a preconceived agenda.

Without a full acknowledgement that there are other players in the region who's notions of the value of human life in the pursuit of their regional aims make the US troops on the ground look exemplary in comparison, there can be no rational or even fully ethical "meeting of the minds" to discuss the US's full culpability for the present mess. True objectivity heals a great deal in disagreements, and when employed in discussions such as this one, objectivity vaults the quality of Itulip discussions about "politics" (that's the "electrified deathly third rail" of all topics here) to a high and admirably constructive level.

We'll certainly pick it up again in a year and follow up conclusions will be interesting.

I don't want to keep this thread going longer than it has to go, but I can't help but notice that much of the objection to U.S. foreign policy is coming from E.U, even the U.K.--- especially the UK.... And this seems odd to me after all that the Americans did in WWII and the years since to help re-build Europe and to keep Europe secure.

OK, understood that the U.S. benefited by keeping Europe secure, but the people of America sacrificed in terms of treasure and even lives to keep Europe secure. What have the Europeans done to provide for their own security, especially in the post-war years?

Not to deny that Europe hasn't been a part of NATO, nor to deny that Europe hasn't spent on its security, but the Americans have bourne the brunt of that spending in the post-war years. Meanwhile, Europe now has this odd smug attitude toward the U.S. It is like the attitude of a spoiled adolescent against his or her parents.

I watch BBC News on TV here in Canada, and I am taken-aback by their anti-Isreal and anti-U.S. bias displayed in their coverage of the events in the Middle East. It would seem that BBC sympathizes with Hamas and Hesbollah.

Am I wrong? And if I am right, why is this? How could this be?

Oh, I don't like Bush and the neo-cons in Washington anymore than the people in Europe do. But my anger against the Bush Administration has more to do with this administration's rightwing politics and their weak dollar (pro-inflation) policy. I also do NOT like the Bush Administration's education policy.

My anger against the Bush Administration does NOT centre around its Middle East policy, but the anger in Europe does indeed focus on Middle East policy. And why is that?

When it comes to M.E. policy, my only quarrel with the Bush Administration is that they haven't gone far enough to hit back against the Islamo-fascists.

Slimprofits
04-03-08, 11:41 PM
The meat of McCain's League of Democracies speech called for Russia to be booted from the G8, to be replaced by India and Brazil.

The purpose of the speech was to demonstrate that his foreign policy aims (well, whomever he ultimately represents) are to break up the BRIC and ASEAN alliances, while simultaneously securing the oil and gas resources in the caspian sea.

I’m trying to figure out how he could possibly accomplish any of this…McInsane indeed.

Starving Steve
04-04-08, 12:00 AM
I don't want to keep this thread going longer than it has to go, but I can't help but notice that much of the objection to U.S. foreign policy is coming from E.U, even the U.K.--- especially the UK.... And this seems odd to me after all that the Americans did in WWII and the years since to help re-build Europe and to keep Europe secure.

OK, understood that the U.S. benefited by keeping Europe secure, but the people of America sacrificed in terms of treasure and even lives to keep Europe secure. What have the Europeans done to provide for their own security, especially in the post-war years?

Not to deny that Europe hasn't been a part of NATO, nor to deny that Europe hasn't spent on its security, but the Americans have bourne the brunt of that spending in the post-war years. Meanwhile, Europe now has this odd smug attitude toward the U.S. It is like the attitude of a spoiled adolescent against his or her parents.

I watch BBC News on TV here in Canada, and I am taken-aback by their anti-Isreal and anti-U.S. bias displayed in their coverage of the events in the Middle East. It would seem that BBC sympathizes with Hamas and Hesbollah.

Am I wrong? And if I am right, why is this? How could this be?

Oh, I don't like Bush and the neo-cons in Washington anymore than the people in Europe do. But my anger against the Bush Administration has more to do with this administration's rightwing politics and their weak dollar (pro-inflation) policy. I also do NOT like the Bush Administration's education policy.

My anger against the Bush Administration does NOT centre around its Middle East policy, but the anger in Europe does indeed focus on Middle East policy. And why is that?

When it comes to M.E. policy, my only quarrel with the Bush Administration is that they haven't gone far enough to hit back against the Islamo-fascists.

This post was not posted. It went to La-La Land. But hopefully, by quoting the post, the post may get posted. :)

western
04-04-08, 09:12 AM
"The beat of a butterfly's wing, can, at a critical moment, create a disturbance that will result in the occurrence of a hurricane on the far side of the ocean"

I cannot speak for the views of others but I am a European, from a place that has been on the receiving end of far more foreign policy decisions than has ever formulated.
The geo political landscape of the ME is so incredibly complicated with so much history (An information source I don't always trust) that it would be ill advised of me to think I knew what was the right course of action to take regarding the less palatable nations that operate here. What I do know is that every intervention that has ever taken place by another power be it western or otherwise changes the relationship and structure of the situation forever which then makes decoding the problem and finding a solution all the more difficult.

The issues of resources are going to dominate the political and economic agenda for the next phase of our experience on this planet.
I suppose that the current feeling of skepticism towards the US that seems to be comming from some parts of Europe has to do with peoples perceptions on a range of issues like lack of political will to attempt to reduce energy use eg Kyoto and a perceived aggressive foreign policy to further self interest. Perceptions have obvious contradictions on many levels but people are like that. Many European countries have been in dominant positions over history and have conducted themselves in a less than cordial way in pursuit of their aims, which can be said of the less dominant players too for that matter.

Personally I have no beef with the US or any other country. Many of my family reside there. There are serious changes comming down the road for us all with unknown consequences and I for one am going to hold tight, worry about my own patch and see what happens.

Contemptuous
04-04-08, 12:18 PM
The meat of McCain's League of Democracies speech called for Russia to be booted from the G8, to be replaced by India and Brazil. The purpose of the speech was to demonstrate that his foreign policy aims ... are to break up the BRIC and ASEAN alliances, while simultaneously securing the oil and gas resources in the caspian sea. ... McInsane indeed.

Babbitd -

I have a great deal of respect for all your contributions here, and it's evident you are a very smart and well informed contributor. I am not necessarily "pro McCain" which it appears is what you read as the primary message from my posts. I'm "neutral" on much of McCain's posture, but it seems his general posture inflames you and others.

If I may suggest it however, you need to be careful distinguishing between observations of material fact and conjecture here -

In McCain's speech regarding replacement of Russia by Brazil and India in the G8, you assert as a "statement of fact" that this is a manifest "attempt to break up BRIC and ASEAN alliances [ your underlying reason not specified ] while "simultaneously securing oil and gas resources in the Caspian".

In other words what you are attributing here is a conscious "shadow government policy of "geopolitical acquisition" of assets on McCain's part, which I find frankly a stretch, given he's campaigning here for the job, and not drafting a cynical blueprint of "acquisition of assets" which we may more typically observe is what incumbent Presidents are tempted to do. While campaigning for the job, Presidential aspirants are far more commonly driven by ideological platform definitions, as they attempt to position for a popular response from voteres, as well as to pull their general stance into focus.

In other words, my instinct here is that you are "projecting" your fears and concerns about the most venal manifestations of Western governments - where the consciously unscrupulous calculation of rank material gain to the exclusion of even a figh-leaf of principled political stance occurs - and I belive that more venal aspect exists, but it only tends to seep into government leaders well into their terms of office.

What I'm trying to say here is that when you hold up the Russian Federation, India and Brazil to scrutiny, one startling factor jumps out at you - the Russian Federation bears all the hallmarks of a country with a long history of totalitarianism, now manifestly sliding right back into that syndrome, with a "fig-leaf" of democratic institutions overlain, and a Presidency manifestly totally unchecked by the legislative branch of government. The Russian Federation economy is also hollow - driven primarily by it's natural resource exports, with a still rigid centralisation of all the major industries.

When you look at India and Brazil what's immediately striking is that you see two of the most robust emerging economic giants, and also, two of the most robust and promising giant nation democracies in the world today. By their massive potential economic size, and also by their manifest surging private sectors and well entrenched potential for opening up to free trade from the bottom up, rather than top down, these two countries actually are perhaps the world's most promising examples of the extension of liberal economies in the world today. India and Brazil are clearly two of the leading candidates for taking the 21st century forward with the same liberal democratic economies which typified the second half of the 20th Century.

Your observation that the "manifest purpose" of McCain's speech was "to break up the BRIC and ASEAN alliances, while simultaneously securing the oil and gas resources in the Caspian sea" therefore arrives at a narrow set of conclusions about the potential meanings of McCain's speech, while summarily overlooking the striking differences between the Russian Federation's potential for leading the world into a prosperous and economically free 21st Century, as compared to the quite manifest potential of India and Brazil to do so quite robustly.

In light of those considerations I must conclude you are analysing McCain's statements here through what may be at least potentially an "ideologically exasperated" lens. It should be quite clear that the composition of the G8 is not a trivial matter - this group can exert a very large influence on the shape and color of the future global economy. By including Brazil and India into that group, and at least theoretically reducing the Russian Federation's clout on the future global economic direction - you would greatly alter the complexion of a future global direction in political economy. I for one would find McCain's described composition of a new G8 or G9 with India and Brazil a very healthy development, while I regard the Russian Federation's evolution with increasing misgivings.

My conclusion therefore is that your analysis is one-sided on this question, and potentially misses an entire aspect of McCain's worldview entirely in it's perhaps too relentless attempts to unearth more venal aspects to the man. Please be assured however I regard the great majority of your posts here with great respect. I have no idea of your political persuasion. Mine is guided by the principle that reading Politician's platform comments, I will first look for logic and plausibility in their "overt" commentary, and only if I am unable to find logic there will I resort to looking for "occult" reasons. You seem to be following the "occult" reasoning a-priori here, which I don't agree with, as India and Brazil are quite clearly two of the most promising deocracies in the world today. :)

BiscayneSunrise
04-04-08, 12:50 PM
Sorry I'm late to this discussion but there will be no long term continuation of the war in Iraq, regardless of who is elected President.

Two reasons: 1) The main strategic goal of the war has been accomplished i.e. to change ME psychology, re-establish Iraq as a peaceful counterweight to Iran and show the US was not a paper tiger, willing to commit money, lives and political capital to affect change. We are now in consolidation phase preparing for withdrawal.
2)The US Army and Marine Corps are over extended. If any other crisis occurs elsewhere in the world the Air Force and Navy could fill in as a stop gap measure but the US is in no position to commit large numbers of ground troops anywhere else in the world. This is an untenable position.

The old alliances like NATO and the UN were formed with old European colonial paradigms in mind. I think there is nothing wrong with encouraging new alliances with 21st Century realities in mind. A League of Democracies is fine. But China, India and Brazil will do just fine with or without any new alliances.

It is Russia that is odd man out and must be nurtured. The US & Russians should be running into each others embrace. Both need each other and US insistence on old Cold War policies like containment and bringing Ukraine into NATO, just make Russia paranoid and further embolden Russia to meddle in US affairs. Russia has reason enough to be paranoid given the political and cultural differences it has with its' neighbors to the south and east. Russia should see the west as its natural ally and simpatico friend. Anything we can do to encourage that would be of major importance. I think McCain knows enough to withdraw from Iraq but I think he is an old Cold Warrior and would have a harder time thawing new Cold War tensions.

As for continued US engagement in the world, like it or hate it, the world would be a significantly different (worse) place without Anglo-American influence.

Contemptuous
04-04-08, 01:32 PM
As for continued US engagement in the world, like it or hate it, the world would be a significantly different (worse) place without Anglo-American influence.

I agree with Biscayne. There is the "bad", but then there is also the "good deal worse" available (we'll possibly get a taste of "good deal worse" as the "low grade sawdust and gristle democracy sausage" that is the Chinese Politburo method of good government casts an ever longer shadow on the world in a scant fifteen years, when they've become the world's newest hyperpower.

What will the "world flavor" be like to all you eager proponents of radical change, when criticizing the world's leading economy fifteen years from now results in smaller nation loss of critical "most favored trading nation" status with China? Will the global press's ability to publish any really harsh indictments get summarily neutered in a world where "there is China, and then there is everyone else"? Think that can't happen, eh? :rolleyes:

If you are not a big believer in a "perfect world government", you may prefer the "merely bad' in the near future, to the "good deal worse". Personally I don't enjoy the proponents of radical world regime change carrying out their highly experimental future by tearing a strip out of my own hide. Meanwhile, a G8, or G10 enlarged to nations like India and Brazil sounds very constructive to me. Balanced controlled change, rescuing the many good components out of the legacy of liberal democracies for perpetuation in the 21st Century. Monolithic world government Politburo style, where "there is China and then there are all the Pilot Fish surrounding it" - that notion gives me the creepy crawlies.

Slimprofits
04-04-08, 03:09 PM
This is another instance of where I rushed through reading something and didn't grasp it fully. I saw Black Sea, Baltic Sea and thought 'Caspian'.


My conclusion therefore is that your analysis is one-sided on this question, and potentially misses an entire aspect of McCain's worldview entirely in it's perhaps too relentless attempts to unearth more venal aspects to the man. Please be assured however I regard the great majority of your posts here with great respect. I have no idea of your political persuasion. Mine is guided by the principle that reading Politician's platform comments, I will first look for logic and plausibility in their "overt" commentary, and only if I am unable to find logic there will I resort to looking for "occult" reasons. You seem to be following the "occult" reasoning a-priori here, which I don't agree with, as India and Brazil are quite clearly two of the most promising deocracies in the world today. :)

As for the bolded part, you are probably right.

And I don't disagree with your comments on India, Brazil and the history of Russia. That is really not the issue I was hitting at.


We should start by ensuring that the G-8, the group of eight highly industrialized states, becomes again a club of leading market democracies: it should include Brazil and India but exclude Russia. Rather than tolerate Russia's nuclear blackmail or cyber attacks, Western nations should make clear that the solidarity of NATO, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, is indivisible...

Maybe I am reading too much into this, but it sounds as if McCain is campaigning to pick up where Dubya will have left off in terms of mussing around with the colored revolutions in the former Soviet republics. And secondarily, if I am right about that the question becomes, are those interventions good or bad for the long-term of the U.S. from the viewpoint of J6P. That is where I'm left stumped.

World Traveler
04-04-08, 05:56 PM
Not good from the point of Joe 6Pack. He's having trouble paying his own bills and cannot afford to subsudize foreign adventures at this time.

From a recent article on a depressed town in middle of Oregon, where many go to Food Pantries:

"Of the nearly 40 million who fear going hungry, an estimated 11 million-plus Americans occasionally miss meals, according to the USDA."

"A generation ago, at the high watermark of USDA subsidies for food banks, 90 percent of the food these organizations received came from the federal government...These days a food bank ... receives only 12 percent of its food from the feds."

Headline articles yesterday said that recent polls said 81% of Americans think country is headed in wrong direction.

Do these sound like people who will support more costly, foreign adventures?

WT

Contemptuous
04-04-08, 08:25 PM
... recent polls said 81% of Americans think country is headed in wrong direction.

Well, we sure as hell ain't headed in the right direction. :D

Slimprofits
04-06-08, 01:33 PM
Highlights from the final Bush-Putin summit (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/04/20080406-3.html):


Bush wants to repeal Jackson-Vanik and supports Russia's entry into the WTO and the OECD. Don't know about Obama, but I can't imagine a President Clinton or Congressional Democrats supporting the first part. And the second part is the complete opposite of McCain's recent comments as discussed here...
new START negotiations will continue...
They both spoke in friendly terms, but appear to still be far apart on the issue of U.S. missle defense sites. Russia has proposed an alternative(s?) to the sites in Poland and Checkloslavakia. Technical negotiations will continue...

krakknisse
05-26-08, 05:58 PM
Some big happing a la the fake "Gulf of Tonkin resolution". Ta-da, drum roll, bugles, flags waving. Wait for the draft to come back:
Military.com: Do You Feel a Draft? (http://www.military.com/news/article/do-you-feel-a-draft.html?col=1186032310810)


Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee, asked Gates and Mullen the question he said no one wants to ask: "Is the cost of maintaining an all-volunteer force becoming unsustainable and, secondly, do we need to consider reinstituting the draft."

Verrocchio
05-26-08, 07:12 PM
America should return to the wisdom of Tom Paine, George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. They thought it (in Washington's words) "unwise to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of [Europe's] politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities." Jefferson was for ""peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, [B]entangling alliances with none." These views could be taken as a fair representation of the sentiments of the American people, who have historically been disinterested in foreign engagement and suspicious of those who have tried to inveigle them into joining one side of a cause or the other.

Shakespear
05-27-08, 06:14 AM
I find it funny that another "super" organization is needed.

We have the UN, NATO etc. and they all seems just a bunch of talk shops. They are usefully when those with power get what they want. When they become an obstruction they are ignored. Example: Iraq.

Was Hans Blix listened to? Was the UN listened to? NO. So what the heck do we need another organization as McCain suggests. Because it is new it will work better. It will work until someone finds it inconvenience.

US is not perceived as an honest broker in the World and no new alliances will solve this.

This thread sailed straight into an issue of US-Israeli relations. I would argue that the ONLY reason US finds the time and is willing to "invest" so much on in this relation is that the Middle East has oil and Israel can be useful in the game to control it.

No oil and you would not see the US there no matter what.

Take the case of North Korea. It poses a real threat of WMD usage and what happens, we invade Iraq based on some lies. My conclusion from this was that WMD is not what is feared, otherwise NK would be dust. WMD was ignored and Iraq was hit because Iraq HAS oil.

IMHO WMD is an argument of convenience. US has so much firepower that it is insane for some little nation to think that it can challenge the US on this level and come out OK.

However IF threatened such a nation would probable use it. I have no doubt about that. But the key condition here is the threat to attack. In the case of Korea the threat was probable delivered from the Bush administration and Korea responed by testing a missile to show that if this was done it would dirty Japan. End result N. Korea has been left alone ONLY because it has the bomb. If it was some country such as Philippine's far away from any of its allies the Marines would be sent in and the problem sorted out.

The nuks are a deterrent. If I was Iran I would try to get this ASAP, there can be no doubt about this. Iran WANTS THIS. Why? It knows what can happen. Example: Shah Pahlavi. Who put him in power and how? Who was in power before he was installed? How about the example of Chili? The message is clear, don't play the game of the big boys and you will get hit on the head.

Russia is no friend to anyone unless it gets something in return. China is no friend unless it gets something. Are we trading with China because it is a Democracy? Was BP, Shell, Exxon etc going into Russia because it was a democracy? Why no trade with Cuba?

We do not see the US in Somalia, US was not in Cambodia when genocide was happening there, US did not enter South Africa when that brutal regime was oppressing the rightful owners of that land. Geopolitics is dirty and nothing will change it. Machiavelli got that right.

However today's world is in serious trouble and cool heads are needed to navigate through it. McCain in my opinion is not the man for the job. Obama, I give him the plus that he is new on the stage perhaps he may offer something better. Hillary, God only knows what she will do.

Fate will resolve this in the end, lets hope it will be kind.