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Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Prof., Oct 23, 2007.
Read here and post your thoughts
Does President Bush have the power to start WWIII? Absolutely. Are we headed in that direction? Maybe. Is Castro an authority I would trust to be objective on the subject? No.
He's right of course.
People tend to forget that one of Fidel's best friends is Nelson Mandela, a person who our Lords and Masters bow and scrape to and who I imagine holds them in absolute contempt. Frankly, I'm with Nelson. He and Fidel are among the few world leaders I would consent to having a drink with.
Some sort of war is inevitable. The Chinese simply aren't going to take US aggression lying down forever. And before anyone says the opposite, it is aggression under any reasonable definition of the term. The military alliance with India is just the latest in a series of aggressive moves aimed at containing China. If you don't think this is true, ask yourself how many military assets China has right up against the US border.
In a sense, the Cold War solved nothing. Ending communism was never the point anyway. The point was always to prevent any rival power from achieving strategic dominance on the Eurasian continent. That way, the world could be run largely in accord with the interests of the Western Nations and their few vassal states (like Japan and Korea). One simply has to look at where the various Western military stations are in the world to understand what is happening. If you believe anything else, I have a bridge I would like to sell you.
If you still don't believe it, then you might want to read some history. Roman history is particularly rewarding, especially the period which marked the end of the Republic, which is probably the closest to what is happening now (the current centres of power in the US are much like Octavian and his allies: preserving the outward appearance of Republican government while gutting it behind the scenes). Look at the reasons given for actions at the time, and then look at what were the obvious reasons: it is no different now.
Of course, this self-interested militarism cannot be sold to the populations of the western world for what it really is, so "communism" has simply been replaced with "rogue states" and "terrorism" as an excuse. With the advent of the internet, it has become much harder for our rulers to hide the truth (witness the speed and power of the antiwar movement surely unprecedented in history), so they have resorted to simply ignoring real criticisms. That's why we have the odd sense that our leaders live in a reality separate from ours: a bubble which criticisms seem unable to penetrate. There's a phenomenon in chimpanzee society where an alpha male who can no longer physically defend his position still keeps it by simply pretending that his challengers do not exist. That is basically our situation, although we all collude in it to some extent because we know that change would lower our standard of living.
Electorally, this means that certain issues (like US militarism, or craven British support of it, or the coming food shortage) are simply off the table, even though they are the most important issues we face.
Don't imagine that anything can be done about it. It is human nature to fall into war and it cannot be stopped. People who have something to lose by compromising will put it off until it is too late and the rebalancing comes by way of violence. It will be no different with us. The only real counterforce, which was the international leftist movement was never that strong and is currently in utter disarray, so no revolutionary change is likely.
If you are smart, you will move somewhere out of the way, like Australia, which is unlikely to bear the brunt of a war. Lowering your exposure is about all you can do by now.
It is not clear to me how you view US - PRC relations, however what you seem to be saying is the relationship is mostly zero sum. While I agree with you that in some factions in both countries indeed see everything as zero sum, the leadership in both American and the PRC have a more comprehensive view of the relationship. I think it is unlikely for a shooting war to start between China and the US because the leadership and indeed the people in both countries view the relationship differently. Furthermore, if you read the opinions of powerful U.S. advisers for both conservatives and liberals (Kissinger, Berger, Lieberthal... etc) you will see a group of people who really understands China and her desires in the world. It would surprise me a great deal to see both countries make the multitude of policy blunders it would require to devolve the current good relationship in to a war.
However with that said, the US and China could easily go to war over a few trip wire issues like Taiwan independence. Furthermore, there is a group of neo-conservatives within the US power structure that desire a military confrontation with China, but they're influence seem to be waning due to public sentiments about Iraq.
Except that the US is busily engaged in surrounding China with military bases and alliances, as well as the obvious attempt to control China by controlling her energy supplies via military presence in the Middle East.
No wonder Russia and China have been belligerent lately.
Public sentiment about Iraq means squat. It means that there might be apologetic looks from our rulers, but no real change in policy. Last time I looked, none of the mainstream candidates has really endorsed a definite withdrawal.
Why would they? The cost of the Iraq war in lives and money is miniscule compared to the value of the oil reserves there and the strategic value of having huge military bases there (look at the size of the "embassy").
You show me a candidate that has a chance of being elected, and I will show you a candidate who has no fundamental disagreement with the US operating as an Empire. None of the last three Presidents did, although some were more subtle about it than others.
Well we are certainly nearer to WWIII than we were yesterday...
Every one of us is one day closer to death too.
There is a distinction; death is unavoidable.
Death by accidents is unavoidable. Death by aging = wait a few years, scientists will figure out how to keep us alive forever
First, I want to say that I neither agreed with your statements about American Empire building nor disagreed with them. It is not the issue that I was initially trying to address.
Second, on the issue of China - US relations...
If what you are saying is that the main objective of American foreign policy is to contain China through hard power (for example through military might and energy monopoly), then I can only agree with you to a certain degree.
I believe while hard power considerations factor in to China - US relations, currently it is not the categorical imperative. There are some other factors that take precedence over those consideration and at least as many factors which are equally important. A similar (but not identical) political calculus is being played out on the Chinese side.
Third, it was not too long ago that I was listening to Professor Chalmers Johnson give his lecture about the dangers of American Empire building at my university. It seems since that time, there have been a growing number of other Political Scientists and commentators who replicate his views. Personally, I think the "Empire Building" theory is very adept at modeling many political situations around the world, both from a current events perspective and historical one, but it would not be a good idea to take it for a theory which can explain every political relationship. Such a political theory does not exist. In order to properly model US - P.R. China relations with the "US Empire Building" theory , you would need to exclude many important and complicated factors between the two states.
Finally, on a more personal note, whenever someone mentions P.R. China, it always always perks my interest. It is currently the topic of my job and what I specialized in college. What I've learned thus far is that the relationship between the PRC and the United States is extremely complicated. Many scholars in the United States, including some of professors of the Ivy League pedigree do not truly understand US - China relations. The few that have worked or are currently working for the U.S. State department. It is possible that I have misinterpreted what you are trying to express about US China relations, if that is the case, then I look forward to carefully reading a more detailed from you.
Thank you for reading.
It's only true to a certain degree. Nevertheless, it appears to be a broad but often unstated goal. That is not to say that there are other goals, or that all of them are necessarily coherent, but that this one is the most troubling one. Saying that a "nation" has a goal is shorthand for saying that a certain tendency predominates.
I don't think there are ever categorical imperatives in this context... at least in the proper sense of that term.
I don't care about any of those. They aren't particularly dangerous. This one predominates enough and is so risky that it merits more attention than others.
I don't think anyone is suggesting that there aren't other reasons, or again, that the sum of reasons is coherent (that's just due to the fact that there is no such thing as the "US", but merely diplomats, citizens and other actors, who will almost certainly have different interests and interpretations). I'm willing to claim that there is a high degree of applicability to the basic idea, and that everything else isn't really that troubling.
I find that claim to be extremely dubious. Different people will have different ideas, often due to groupthink and context. Claiming that a government department that has particular interests is likely to be more accurate than largely disinterested scholars is a pretty bold claim.
Given my dealings with government officials, I have a pretty low opinion of what goes on.
I feel that what the US and China does around the Middle East and Africa boils down to competing for scarce resources. The US often win oil contracts in the middle east because of our good relationship with middle eastern families. A strong military presence in Asia is necessary to conduct the war on terror (central asia) and to maintain regional stability in East Asia. I don't there's a US plot to starve and contain China.
I could be wrong though...
Side note... I've read and heard some "noted" professors from U of Chicago and LSE talk about China in their papers. They're fooling themselves when they say they know China. Some haven't spent anytime length of time in China, none of them speak and read fluent mandarin or have associated with China's culture and people. In any case, most of the guys and gals I've worked with at State Dept. are really bright people who've lived in the country and speak Mandarin and Cantonese with near native proficiency. Many of them used to be Foreign Service Officers. My opinion probably doesn't mean much to you, but, I think they're really bright and have a good grasp on things as far as China is concerned.
Correcting an typo
That's really all you have to say about this? Do you want us closer to an otherwise avoidable, large scale death? Or were you just being flippant because the people you support are taking us there?
I don't think we're really any closer to WWIII, but our leadership wants us to think we are to scare us. Because they have nothing else. It'll of course be "their" fault (whoever "they" are), and it wouldn't be in our best interest to actually go through with it. But for us to think we're close because someone is going to blow us up at any time is. Unfortunately, as I said in the other thread similar to this, we are in a weakened position thanks to our leadership's mistakes elsewhere, namely Iraq and even Afghanistan now.
World War Three was the Cold War. We are nearing Four.
WW3 began 9/11/01 "global jihad"
What's with you and the word "want"? Recogizing the direction the world is moving towards and preparing for it doesn't equate to "wanting" it. Pressure is building for change from the post WWII world model. We'll either position ourselves to be victorious or we'll be the victims of it.
My girlfriend says she's seen the aftermath of world war three and it's my office desk. i concur. maybe the global war on terror should do something about that.
Persistent, low-level fighting is much more usefull to the administration than an actual war.
The problem begins with the administration's idea that reform-by-bombing is the best tool for turning the ME into our friends/neighbors/client states.
Even under their own (mistaken) assumptions, their actions lead away from their own goals.
This makes them stupid, evil, and supremely dangerous. WWIII won't be a traditional war, it will be a way of life. A life based in fear of terrorist attack, in fear of anyone different from ourselves, and in fear of our own big brother government. Perfect dystopia with the privileged few on top ruling.
after world war 3, i'm gonna really be looking forward to checking out world war 4 because according Einstein, it'll be fought with sticks and stones!
No WWIII yet, because the old rule about war, "you win, you get to keep your country" goes out the door with this one. No countries will remain in tact.
I still hope against hope that some day, wars, if any, will be fought by placing the top generals in the front line to go head to head with their opposition. Less casualties, less lucrative possibilities and more cause to think twice before committing. Any takers? Givers?
"I know not what weapons WWIII will be fought, but WWIV will be fought with sticks and stones."
A supremely unhelpful contribution. The danger of war is exacerbated above all by the staggering incompetence, arrogance, lack of understanding and failure of imagination exhibited by your Administration. Your response to this catalogue of incapacity is uniformly, callously and vacuously complacent.
what's a catalogue?
A British catalog.