Evil Dictators

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Desertrat, Nov 13, 2004.

  1. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Comments were made in this thread http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=97106&page=1&pp=25
    about the US supporting evil regimes.

    Hokay. No argument that this is so.

    Some questions arise in my little pea-pickin' mind:

    1. What, if anything should be done?

    2. Should evil regimes be allowed to remain in the UN?

    3. What countries besides the US support evil regimes?

    4. Is trading with the merchants of a country ruled by an Evil Bastard "Support"?

    5. Who should any government deal with in international affairs, if not with the duly constituted governments of other countries?

    6. Can Good Guy countries ever have mutual interests with Bad Guy countries?

    These are in no particular order; they're numbered for convenience.

    'Rat
     
  2. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #2
    So many questions! :D

    IMESHO:
    1. We need criteria: many so-called "civilized" countries would fall into many definitions which come to mind. Do we exclude pre-emptive war-making, attacking of civilians, denial of human rights? You get the idea, I'm sure, but my point is that reform begins at home: nothing will do more harm than rampant hypocrisy. Most of these regimes are supported for reasons which are at best questionable and at worst outright dishonest. More separation is required between the interests of US corporations and the interests of the American people.

    2. Yes. Undoubtedly. Some of the worst abusers are some of the largest countries. Without them, the UN is meaningless.

    3. None to any significant extent, I'm afraid. It's your speciality.

    4. It was "support" when Grandpa Bush was trading with the Nazis. It was "support" when Thatcher and Reagan were blocking sanctions on South Africa. It was "support" when France was selling Exocets to the Argentinians during the Falklands War. It was in effect "support" when France, Germany and Russia were trading with Iraq.

    5. Generally speaking, the governments. But this is where the Foreign Service comes in: if your diplomats were chosen for some other reason than that they contributed to the President's (re-)election, you might have some clue about who was important in - and out of - each administration.

    6. Does this need an answer?
     
  3. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #3
    Hmmm... the Cuba approach or the China approach? Is that what you're asking? :D
     
  4. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #4
    I think it is intellectually uninteresting and conceptually useless to discuss "evil" and "good" regimes. Regimes operate, usually in their political interests, to maintain power by some system. Some of these systems involve aspects that are morally indefensible, including human rights violations, civil rights violations, etc. However, to lump them all together as "evil" and give a prescription for dealing with them is grossly inaccurate (and perfectly in fitting with the conservative line). Each of these countries has a complex and unique social, economic, and political situation, both internally and as it fits into the world community. It is important for the United States to think carefully about how the structures and circumstances of a country affect our policy regarding that country. Such is important for the UN, as well. It does not serve us well to log a country as "evil" because this simplification is an oversimplification that does nothing to enhance our understanding of the political and social climate within which we are forced to exact our foreign policy. Calling people "evil" also does little for our diplomatic corps. Rather, such terminology is a clarion call for nationalism, jingoism, xenophobia, and cultural imperialism.

    It is difficult for me to justify writing off whole governments as "evil" and to leave it at that. Aside from it being a simplification, it emphasizes that we play the role of deciding who is good and who is evil. Certainly, there are many acts that we can characterize as wrong, unethical, or even "evil." These, we must fight. But there exists a certain inherent cultural imperialism in casting any entire society or system of government as incorrect because it isn't ours. In some cases, it may be true that these governments do not act in the best interests of their citizens. In other cases, this contention may be purely subjective and highly inaccurate.

    Thus, we make a triple mistake in using this language. We do a disservice to other nations by characterizing nations in this light, so simply and absolutely. This disservice immediately strains our diplomatic relations with other nations--And for the hawks out there, diplomatic relations are not for ninnies; rather, they afford a critical, extremely effective, and economical strategy for foreign policy. And for what do we do all this?! We do it to promote a less detailed, reasoned, and frankly, helpful, analysis of the problems with which me must deal!
     
  5. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #5

    I took 'Rat's "Good Guy," "Bad Guy", and "Evil Bastard" approach as being tongue-in-cheek. An intentional oversimplification to illistrate<sp?> a point that things are complicated and multi-layered.

    Or maybe I was just reading too much into 'Rat's post.

    Skunk,
    I might be reading the Q's in a different manor than you, but aren't 3 and 4 related?


    Lethal
     
  6. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #6
    I've had to think too much now.

    Can you post that argument again using simpler language that clearly identifies the bad guys? Perhaps you could frame it as a metaphor for a popular action film.
     
  7. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #7
    Perhaps, in which case I now feel silly. ;)
     
  8. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #8
    Okay, the good guys are like the cowboys and the bad guys are like the indians. Unless of course we are talking about American football. In that case the good guys would be the Redskins and the bad guys would be the Cowboys. :D


    Lethal
     
  9. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #9
    Can we make it Raiders/Colts so it's black v. white?
     
  10. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #10
    we need two new franchises: the Berkeley Lefties and the South Carolina Chosen Ones.
     
  11. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #11
    Admittedly it's a fine difference, but I took 3 to refer to wholesale military and diplomatic support, as with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Israel, the 'Stans. No other country really has the resources for this.
     
  12. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    To me, an "evil" government would be one like Saddam's Iraq, or any other country with summary executions. Much of Africa, for instance, such as Sudan or Zimbabwe. Countries where it's physically unsafe to speak one's mind about VIPs.

    Sure, it's over-simplification, but what's wrong with keeping it simple, just to get some basic views?

    skunk, "Our specialty"? Hmmm. So it's okay for French corporations, with governmental blessing, to sell nuclear technology to Iraq, Syria and Iran? (Private entities cannot sell nuketech w/o approval from the government.) It's okay for German corporations to sell bio-chem technology to Saddam and others? Technology and materiel that's directly useful in such as nerve gas? Okay for Brazil to sell long-range cannon* to Saddam, which were used to outrange the Iranians during that war?

    Oughta be enough for a start...

    'Rat

    *The Canadian, Gerry Bull, had advanced the technology of cannonry way beyond what any military had or has. The only customers who were willing to use his products were South Africa and Iraq. South Africa did some modifications, producing self-propelled units instead of towed. The comparative range for Bull's cannon is 50% greater than for ours. It is fortunate that in the Gulf War these weren't existing in quantity, nor south of Baghdad. It's fortunate for us that in the Arab world, maintenance is not a high priority...
     
  13. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #13
    OK. I don't feel silly. You, sir, are incorrect, methinks. I don't disagree that the above behaviors are unhealthy for a government, but how does it help to use the classification? You get nothing from it. Please refer to my above post for a more thorough analysis.

    What's wrong is that you destroyed the meaning in the simplification. The reason this is, as you admit, an over-simplification is that the reduction is not lossless and the distortion of simplification is too gross to ignore. No accurate or useful conclusion can be reached from it.

    It's ok for us to pass along arms information to China and for them to sell it to Pakistan? Pakistan is now a staunch ally...Politics makes for strange bedfellows, no? While I would certainly consider Pakistan wayward, it isn't terribly 'evil.' You don't make friends going around and calling folks evil.
     
  14. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #14
    madchemist, I'm responding to those who regularly use our government's dealings with dictatorial regimes as an indicator that the US government is made up of bad guys.

    My overall point is that all governments deal with other governments, whether those governments are good, bad or indifferent. We're no different from any other in that regard. Hell's bells, by international law, governments deal with governments, not with dissident groups.

    IOW, you and others are working hard to read more meaning into simple questions than what's actually there.

    I just want some names of countries that some folks here would consider as "bad", and I'm quite willing to let others define that term if they only would.

    'Rat
     
  15. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #15
    Although ultimately unhelpful in terms of aiding the search for solutions, I would submit that all countries are "bad", without exception. Why? Because people are "bad"...(see: deadly sins).

    As an Edit to Skunk's post, I will add:

    I used the terms "bad" (and by extension, "good") because they were offered as terms to frame the debate.

    In addition to that, I feel that I can objectively call certain actions "bad", and in some cases the institutions or persons they emanated from the same.

    In all cases, it seems to be a lack of accountability, reponsibility and an ingrained hypocrisy that result in "bad" actions and bad people. This takes place in individuals and governments alike, and can be properly called "evil" or "bad". It is also indicative of a mental illness.
     
  16. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #16
    People are neither good nor bad. People are easily led.


    and proscribing is very different from prescribing...

    With apologies...
     

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