Question derived from Bush/Yalta

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Desertrat, May 12, 2005.

  1. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #1
    With regard to the US and the rest of the world and foreign policy stuff:

    Isolationism, ala the 1930s?

    "Go along to get along" and offer no commentary about the internal affairs of countries with various amounts of human maltreatments? That is, stay silent, basically, as to calling for more democracy?

    Be activist in the UN to change governments where murderous tyrants are in charge? Correlative question, what sort of time frame to any action? A year? Five? More? Talk forever?

    If UN efforts are inefficacious, should there be unilateral action?

    I'm just curious about how folks see the role of the US, longterm, without regard to political parties and individual leaders. I think there will always be some zigging and zagging about "how to" in any of the above questions.
     
  2. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #2
    Interesting questions, 'Rat. Trouble is, the UN Charter was agreed on the basis of no interference in internal affairs, precisely because it was the only way to get everyone to sign up. It's basically the lowest common denominator in international cooperation. What you seem to be getting at is a different kind of animal entirely, but one to which by definition not everyone would sign up. Therefore, you end up with busloads of "rogue/pariah states", LESS control and LESS influence. Practicalities are seldom ideal.
     
  3. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    So absent an invasion of one member of the UN by some other member (ala North Korea invading South Korea), the UN should do no more than talk, insofar as the way any member is ruled?

    The same for any member country? It should do no more than discuss, insofar as some other member's method of rule? Only talk, when there is ongoing slavery or lack of civil or criminal justice in some reasonably-western style? The absence of any action vis-a-vis the Tutsi/Hutu massacres was appropriate?

    If the US drops the role of GloboRoboCop and brings all the troops home, what do you then expect to see happen around the world? Peace and happiness? Honor and ethics on a worldwide scale? A lessening of bloodshed in the Balkans?

    What, if any, obligation to the rest of the world does the US have? We know from experience that an incredible percentage of what's called foreign aid has been spent on weaponry because that's what foreign countries' leaders want; we also know that funds sent into various poor countries have come under the control of the leadership who then sends the money to their personal Swiss (or Cayman) bank accounts.

    From a business standpoint, should the US Government stay out of any "deals" between US corporations and foreign governments? Remember that here in the US the landowner owns the minerals beneath the surface; that's generally rare elsewhere.

    I guess part of my problem is knowing that had various countries had the political will, the physical ability existed or readily could have been created to have stopped Japan from its actions in China, or to have stopped Hitler's rise to power. Nobody acted.

    The same holds for the UN and various rogue nations over the last fifty years.

    I dunno. How many million dead bodies does it take to get some sort of effective stoppage of the rise to power of evil people?

    'Rat
     
  4. mischief macrumors 68030

    mischief

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    #4
    Wonderful start Rat, thanx.

    This is one I've been thinking about but haven't been able to articulate a beginning for.

    There's no really good choices left for the USA because we've been alternating between isolationism and imperialism for so long. The third world has a view of the US steeped more in folklore and rumour than in first hand knowledge.

    When we go out and occupy or even aid a country, even for morally correct reasons we meet stiff mistrust and violent opposition because we're so effectively demonized. None of this has been helped by the sporadic and schizophrenic deployment of the CIA and US Military in these regions.

    Adding in the fact that international medical and humanitarian aid to these regions often relies on fickle Corporate programs here in the US that alternately help tremendously and disappear and you've got a huge portion of the world that doesn't trust Americans as far as they could comfortably spit out a rat.

    So how do we redeploy to effectively adress the problems out there?

    The solution is massive restructuring.

    Instead of wasting billions of dollars on an intelligence apparatus designed for combatting other essentially caucasian powers we need to turn it into a PR machine for the American people abroad. Redefine the CIA's role (and rename the agency) as the marketing department for the single largest security and infrastructure building machine on the planet: the US Military.

    I really think that the future of the US armed forces is as a service leasable to these little countries that need both the expertise in infrastructure and the security reinforcement to get the work done.

    Rather than having a traditional intelligence/millitary designed for crushing opposition or threats I'd set things up for subversion and coercion through compassionate application of skills and force.

    Of course, this approach wouldn't fly with the Hawks in the Legislature or Executive (Though I think the Pentagon may see the sense in it).

    I think being the "Team America, World Police" is bad business. But I feel that being the IBM of geopolitical infrastructure could be extremely good business.
     
  5. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #5
    Uh huh. That's the UN Charter. If you want China and Russia, and others, in there, that's the only way. Otherwise you get anyone with an internal dispute backing out fast. Russia/Chechnya, China/Tibet, Spain/Basques, UK/NI. It would be a pretty odd UN without all these. That's why you have to establish genocide to take any action under the present Charter. Otherwise, what have you got? NATO or some other group just sticking their oar in wherever they please without international approval? Bit of a can of worms there. What do you suggest? Maybe it's an intrinsically useless talking shop, but Cyprus, Somalia, Ethiopia, the Balkans and Timor would be a lot worse off without the UN.

    The US is acting in its own (perceived) interests both in Afghanistan (revenge) and Iraq (oil). Why would the UN or the world want more of this? How could the UN approve what has happened in Iraq, with 30-100,000 civilians killed? Or Afghanistan? Its role is not to kill civilians, but to protect them.

    A lot of foreign aid has been given in weaponry. Your administration has the explicit aim of being able to whup anybody's ass militarily anywhere at any time: why do you find it unacceptable for others to equate status with military power? That's the kind of world we're in.

    No, it should probably police those deals to ensure they are in keeping with the interests of the general population in situations where there is a conflict of interests.

    That's what the UN was founded for. Too late.

    Funny, that's what a lot of the rest of the world feels about US imperialism. That's the problem right there: who are the evil people? One man's "evil person" is another man's "national hero".
     
  6. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Tha major, real-world problem with isolationism is that many of our allies can not defend themselves against their potential aggressors. For example:

    Taiwan cannot defend itself from China.
    S. Korea cannot defend itself from N. Korea.
    Israel can not defend itself against the Arabs (without significant aid).
    Kuwait can not defend itself against Iraq or Iran.
    A disarmed Japan and Germany couldn't defend themselves against anybody for a long time.

    If the US suddenly says "okay, we're isolationist from now on", then chaos breaks out on all those fronts. It's suddenly open season for bigger countries to beat up on smaller ones. The bigger countries get stronger and stronger, and eventually rival us and maybe even attack.

    I believe that the lesson of WWII and the cold war is that national sovreignty has to be protected at all costs and that can only be done by larger countries protecting small countries from other large countries. But even if you disagree with that, there's no practical way for the US to disentangle itself from these protective committments without risking global destabilization.
     
  7. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #7
    And by invading other countries?
     
  8. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #8
    "disarmed Japan and Germany"?

    Not even close. Germany's military budget in 2002 was over $31 billion. Japan's was $37 billion. The only countries that spend more on their militaries are:

    The US: $337 billion (2002)
    China: $48 billion
    Russia: $48 billion
    France: $38 billion
    The UK: $35 billion

    In 2002, Germany's 280,000+ soldiers and 360,000 reserves could fight a war with their 2,398 tanks, 1,682 pieces of towed artillary, 376 combat aircraft, 12 submarines...

    Japan, as an island has only amassed 780 tanks, but their 16 submarines and 45 destroyers are part of a pretty significant navy.

    Besides, are you honestly suggesting that Russia is going to invade Germany or that China is going to invade Japan?

    US support for Taiwan is a Cold War relic that the right-wing is looking to drop. There's no good geostrategic reason to piss off China these days.
     
  9. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #9
    To be fair, it's in the past tense.
     
  10. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #10
    Yup. I misread the sentence.

    I think it's time I took that nap I was planning...
     
  11. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Well, now you're in the post-911 lesson - relatively weak countries that aren't a military threat can still pose a danger through extreme acts of terrorism. I think we're still figuring out how to handle that one. Western countries have been largely cooperative about rounding up Al Queda members. We were relatively successful in Afghanistan (through military means) and Pakistan (through working with the leadership). I won't even get into Iraq. Or Palestine. Let's just say that we're still struggling with this issue big time.
     
  12. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Is that your opinion, or a fictional neocon opinion? Taiwan's a great country that managed to build up a $500B GDP from nothing in fifty five years, partly by dominating computers and electronics. The twenty-million plus people who live there don't deserve to have their country and everything they worked for handed over to China. I do hope we protect them.

    The last thing we need is for China to build a little empire of conquered territories and for it to become the new USSR. I think its very shortsighted for businesses to invest in China, and from what I hear, most of them are losing their shirt.
     
  13. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #13
    You might be right about taiwan, but the decision of the US government to "protect" it will depend exclusively on the perceived convenience for the strategic, economical and political interests of said US Government (which might or might not coincide with the interests and sentiments of a majority of US citizens).
    That has been true for basically any war waged by any government in the past (US and not) and is not likely to change in the future, especially with these people at the helm.
    I can't exclude that it is possible that it will happen in the future, but I can't think of any example of wars fought for "moral" reasons.
     
  14. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #14
    skunk, I think your comment, "Why would the UN or the world want more of this? How could the UN approve what has happened in Iraq, with 30-100,000 civilians killed? Or Afghanistan? Its role is not to kill civilians, but to protect them." is way too narrow a view.

    What about the Balkans? That's a NATO deal--grudgingly--started by the US to end Serbia's doings. And note that US efforts there have included protecting moslem populations.

    What about Somalia, Chad, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Rwanda? What has the UN done to end slavery and/or genocidal efforts there?

    You don't have to be some jingoistic US super-patriot to wonder about who does what to whom around the world, and maybe try to restore some sort of order. (In that sort of effort, of course, there'll never be "perfection".)

    Overall, I guess tristan's looking at stuff the most realistically...One of those deals where, "I agree, but that doesn't mean I gotta like it." :)

    Taiwan? I think both the US and China are trying (mostly) to disengage without loss of face. From what I'm reading, the amount of trade between Taiwan and the mainland is increasing at a rapid pace. The mainland government--and its troubled banks--have more than enough problems going, which could allow a sort of long-term absorption process.

    'Rat
     
  15. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #15
    I think the neocon terms of "democracy" and "freedom" are mutually exclusive. Being a participant in a democracy means giving up the right to do as you please, with respect to the will of the majority. The neocons espouse deomcracy as the best system, but when it comes to global society, they want free reign to do as they will. There seems to be a mental disconnect between for them between national and global scales.

    The UN was created 60 years ago using the ideas and possibilities of the age. It's done what it could, but might not be the best option for global cooperation anymore. At least, not without major reform. The issue between the neocons and the UN (as I see it) is that in order to do what the neocons want, the UN must become stronger, whereas the neocons rouse fears of an abstractly-yet-ominously-evil "world government" whenever the idea arises, or more specifically when the UN tries to "interfere" with our own dealings. In other words, world government is good for everybody else, but not for us.

    We know that stronger cooperation between governments is possible. We only have to look at the EU to see that. Sure, the EU has its own problems, but it has achieved a tighter integration than any other similar structure, as far as I'm aware. So it can be done. We can get the authority to intervene in other nation's affairs, but in turn, they would claim the right to intervene (or interfere) in ours. That's the give and take of democracy. We all agree to abide by the same rules, even if we have to give up some freedom.
     
  16. zimv20 macrumors 601

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    #16
    i think if you substitute "capitalism" for "democracy" and "regulation-free" for "freedom," neocon propaganda will sound closer to the truth.
     
  17. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #17
    So WRT fairness in the UN, what do we think about the bid by 4 nations (Germany, Japan, Brazil, and someone else... I forget at the moment) to receive a permanent seat at the Security Council? The US has flatly refused to give anyone else the veto held by the five permanent members, as that would dilute US power.
     
  18. skunk macrumors G4

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    #18
    Well, logically speaking, in order to continue with the fine UN tradition of giving permanent seats to those countries who, by "virtue" of their nuclear weapons, had the capacity to annihilate any other country on earth, why not give seats to Pakistan, India, North Korea, Iran and Israel? I wonder if this new-look UNSC could agree on anything. :cool:

    But seriously, there should be an African nation on the list, though it's hard to think of any which would qualify, on any grounds. Brazil and Argentina would argue the toss endlessly, likewise India and Pakistan. And would people really be happy at the prospect of a German-Japanese axis at the UN? It's certainly a choice fraught with awful choices. One thing which needs to be avoided at all costs is the unseemly horse-trading, bribery and arm-twisting which happened before the Iraqi misadventure. That's no way to run a World Government.

    Talking of which, the US will have to begin accepting that international law applies to America as well as everybody else.
     
  19. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #19
    Accepting what now? Yeah right, you and what army? Bring 'em on! Dead or alive. Head on a pike, the lot of ya...

    You and your snarky one world government, trying to make us follow international law. Who do you think you are, some kind of international cop?

    Hey, Iran over there! Are you following international law? Hey look, do you see those Iranians, they're not following international law! Who wants to go get them with us? Lot's of oil contracts in it for you...
     
  20. skunk macrumors G4

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  21. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #21
    "Being a participant in a democracy means giving up the right to do as you please, with respect to the will of the majority."

    That's why the US is a Representative Republic instead of a Democracy. The purpose of the Bill of Rights is to protect the minority from the majority, if the latter begins to use the State in an Abuse of Power. Doesn't mean much, of course, if the public at large is ignorant of the limits imposed upon the central government by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

    If the public is unaware of constitional limits on government, there are no limits. If the public is unaware of its rights, there are no rights. Seems to me that knowledge of limits and of rights comprise important parts of one's roadmap of life. Apparently, a helluva lot of folks don't know nor care where they're going...

    'Rat
     
  22. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

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    #22
    So you're against removal of the filibuster too?
     
  23. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    #23
    Of course not. Those Democrats have been using "cloture" so much these days... :rolleyes:
     
  24. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

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    #24
    The irony, it kills me.
     
  25. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #25
    I've always felt the filibuster was an appropriate tool. However, it is incumbent upon the user to be judicious as to the particular issue.

    As far as filibustering over the changing of the rules, I'm ambivalent. Mostly, because of the specious objections--over the years--by both parties in the assessment of the candidates for judgeships. I used to go look up the track records on various issues, but I gave that up since the publicly stated objections were pure BS politics.

    A specific example is that of Judge Bork. When he was considered for the Court of Appeals, Sen. Kennedy called him one of the most qualified judges, ever. Then, comes the Supreme Court nomination, and Sen. Kennedy would have had us believe Bork was evil and as unqualified as some law-office clerk in his first year of law school.

    Maggot-gagging...

    Xtremehkr, I dunno is it irony or frustration or "merely" a cause for great sadness...I've watched the management of the little City of Alpine, Texas, since I first bought land out here in 1972. I've found it hard to believe so much stupid mismanagement could be ongoing and unending--and ignoring of state law! Even with a recent in-court brouhaha, the last elections were decided by 18% of the eligible voters. Sundown, payday, cable TV and to hell with everything else...

    Damfino,

    'Rat
     

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