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Thread: Syria crisis: France raises use of force(edited)

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    Re: France, suddenly has backbone

    Quote Originally Posted by MSgt View Post
    Stop looking at the man and the country. This is a region. The entire region is the disease and needs to change.
    But the disease isn't dictatorship. It can't be cured by invasion. This is the point I'm trying to make. We do not combat the disease of terrorism by invasion and democracy anymore than we cure Anemia with leeches.




    We are seeing religious terrorism because Islam, as an organizing tool, has failed in the modern age. Everything else is an excuse. For an example just re-read Osama Bin Laden's "justifications" for 9/11. He used the "children of Iraq" as one of the excuses. I guess he didn't care about the children in Sudan when he was a guest during the genocide that murdered non-Arab children. As for resources, it is Muslims that drill, barrel, and sell to the world. It is Muslims that oppress their own, with radical groups merely seeking to oppress in a different manner. With Bashir in Sudan, the Lebanese Civil War, Black September, the many Sunni that enetered Iraq to kill Shia, and the many terrorist organizationsaround the region that seek to murder either a Sunni or a Shia, it should be clear that instead of catering to the idea that a foreign devil is the source of their problems, they should be looking in a mirror. They will use any excuse they can to try to create a practical sense for their behaviors in order to help us relate to their plight, but the truth is that they simply can't cope with the failures that they have created for themselves. The tighter they cling to Islam the tighter the noose.
    That may or may not be, but again, the secular dictator is the cause. And they see us as 1) helping the oppression, and 2) doing so because we think their resources belong to us. In that context, invading and setting up any government, no matter how friendly, seems to prove their case.


    This is not true at all. You are still trying to use the argument that the War on Terror was and is about erasing terrorism completely. This was never the case. This was never stated by anybody and if it was, in a speech, then it was taken out of context. The goal is to deal with the out of control terror throughout the Middle East. There is a huge difference between McVeigh and the hundreds of terrorist organizations in the Middle East. And the huge difference between the KKK and any terrorist organization in the Middle East is that our government cracked them apart until they turned into an old man's social club. People do not stand for their governments behaving badly if they have the power to guide it. Currently, terrorist organizations are simply left alone as long as their terror gets exported. Governments that need the people to focus their hatreds and attentions elsewhere will and do accomodate the hatred that their religious organizations preach.

    Do you argue that a "War on Crime" is supposed to simply end crime? It is just a convenient name to call attention to a new found focus in order to make it more manageable. The War on Terror is generational and its aim is to deal with the Middle East expressly.
    No, I am not arguing that it ends all terrorism. But to say there is a connection, you have to show a connection. There is no evidence I know of that democracy slows, hinders, lessens terrorism at all.



    And where do we do this?
    There are those who will argue Iraq. Iraq met no other critieria for invasion. No letigimate critieria.

    I disagree. I tend to believe in a first strike to prevent the attack. I also believe in correcting wrongs and preserving Hussein so that he could go back and murder, torture and starve his people for over a decade was wrong.
    You have to have reason to believe there will be an attack. There was no such reason to believe in one from either country.

    AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: I think the world vests too much power, certainly in the president, probably in Washington in general for its influence on the economy, because most all of the economy has nothing to do with the government.

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    Re: Syria crisis: France raises use of force(edited)

    Quote Originally Posted by MSgt View Post
    The MENA is a major US interest. Why do you people insist on disecting this region apart into borders? The "Islamic Community" sees man made borders only. There is a reason the 20th century shows us three distinct time frames where all Arab nations followed one after another into the same place.

    I have never understood this. We can appreaciae that France and Germany are two seperate nations, but we also accept that "EUROPE" is important and vital to our interests. Why then do we refuse the same truth about MENA?
    I guess this would be one of the few areas we disagree.

    I don't consider any nation anywhere, regardless of location or politics or economy, to be "vital" to our interests.

    That doesn't mean I'm not in favor of having trade with them, or supporting them when it happens to be advantageous. But that doesn't mean they are vital. Europe right now is on the brink of absolute destruction because of their socialistic policies.

    If Europe crashes into 3rd world status, the USA can, and will continue on into the future without them. We have trade with south America which is largely growing, and of course Asia, and even Russia is mildly starting to get back on their feet.

    Europe is not vital to us at all. And nor is anyone.

    It's kind of like my extended family. I have some great people in my extended family, and I wish them the best. But some are flushing their lives down the drains. I think every family has a few crazy people. But those people, as important as they might be, are not vital. I will survive even if they crash and burn. Same is true internationally.

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    Re: Syria crisis: France raises use of force(edited)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkles View Post
    I guess this would be one of the few areas we disagree.

    I don't consider any nation anywhere, regardless of location or politics or economy, to be "vital" to our interests.
    Why? Some nations have far more significance than others when it comes to U.S. interests.

    While I agree with MSgt that the MENA is a vital U.S. interest (access to oil is vital to the U.S./U.S. allies/world economy, all of which have a bearing on the U.S.), I disagree that the existence of such interests applies to every country and every situation. If Iran were to threaten Saudi Arabia or threaten to block the Strait of Hormuz, vital U.S. interests would be threatened. Disappearnace of a significant share of oil from the world market would greatly and adversely impact the U.S. economy and U.S. living standards. The U.S. would act regardless of whether the President was a Democrat or Republican.

    What's happening in Syria, though, has little impact. It poses no threat to stability in U.S. allies such as Israel and Jordan. Indeed, there is some concern that a successful toppling of the cruel dictatorship in Damascus might lead to a regime that is more hostile to Israel and Jordan, with its favoring the significant Palestinian population in Jordan at the expense of the Monarchy that it might view as illegitimate. Furthermore, events in Syria do not threaten U.S./global access to oil nor do they threaten the region's overall balance of power. Hence, when it comes to Syria, I don't believe the U.S. should intervene in the civil conflict. Sympathies alone do not trump the lack of compelling interests.

    If Europe crashes into 3rd world status, the USA can, and will continue on into the future without them. We have trade with south America which is largely growing, and of course Asia, and even Russia is mildly starting to get back on their feet.

    Europe is not vital to us at all. And nor is anyone.
    The collapse of Europe create major balance of power issues, not to mention the elimination of relationships that are based on widespread shared interests. It would be very damaging to the U.S. Geopolitics is not just about economics. Access to other countries' economies via trade or investment does not make those countries perfect or even good substitutes for relationships with other countries. Existing U.S. allies would correctly conclude that U.S. indifference to Europe means that the U.S. would treat them in similar fashion. In other words, U.S. commitments were cynical and expedient, nothing more. Hence, they would properly recalibrate their interests and the U.S. would find itself largely abandoned, still formidable but much less relevant. No U.S. President can or will be indifferent were Europe to face such an outcome.

    In the end, assuming that the U.S. has no vital interests does not make such a situation true. The isolationism/neo-isolationism that would result from such a posture would damage U.S. interests (erosion of relationships, changed balance of power, increased instability, etc.). A strategic foreign policy need not be activist to the point where the U.S. intervenes in civil conflicts wherever they break out whenever elements involved invoke democracy. IMO, the U.S. should not have intervened in Libya. The country today is no more democratic than it was under Gadhafi, there's some evidence of scattered political retribution/persecution campaigns, it's drifting toward renewed civil conflict, and the new regime has still protected the Lockerbie bomber. Similarly, the U.S. should not intervene in Syria in a conflict that likely has much more to do with the goal of toppling the minority Alawite regime than creating liberal democracy. In contrast, given Al Qaeda's 9/11 attack, the U.S. should have intervened in Afghanistan when the Taliban regime chose to protect Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

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    Re: Syria crisis: France raises use of force(edited)

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    Why? Some nations have far more significance than others when it comes to U.S. interests.

    While I agree with MSgt that the MENA is a vital U.S. interest (access to oil is vital to the U.S./U.S. allies/world economy, all of which have a bearing on the U.S.), I disagree that the existence of such interests applies to every country and every situation. If Iran were to threaten Saudi Arabia or threaten to block the Strait of Hormuz, vital U.S. interests would be threatened. Disappearnace of a significant share of oil from the world market would greatly and adversely impact the U.S. economy and U.S. living standards. The U.S. would act regardless of whether the President was a Democrat or Republican.

    What's happening in Syria, though, has little impact. It poses no threat to stability in U.S. allies such as Israel and Jordan. Indeed, there is some concern that a successful toppling of the cruel dictatorship in Damascus might lead to a regime that is more hostile to Israel and Jordan, with its favoring the significant Palestinian population in Jordan at the expense of the Monarchy that it might view as illegitimate. Furthermore, events in Syria do not threaten U.S./global access to oil nor do they threaten the region's overall balance of power. Hence, when it comes to Syria, I don't believe the U.S. should intervene in the civil conflict. Sympathies alone do not trump the lack of compelling interests.
    And that's where the rub comes. If we knew for a fact that doing X in whatever location would benefit the US, then perhaps I could see going into a situation. But the problem is, we don't. Saddam was a perfect example. When we first supported his efforts, it seemed like he would be a pro-western, pro-America, pro-peace leader. Obviously that isn't how it turned out. Although ignorant people still deny this, Saddam became a large security threat to the US, and thus had to be dealt with.

    So in a vain effort to protect "American Interest" we ended up with a national defense threat. That's not an even trade in my book, especially since we ultimately didn't need to protect our "interests" in Iraq. We were buying oil from Iraq right up to 2002, even with a hostile anti-American dictatorship in place.

    Which begs the question, why do we need to interfere with non-security threats, for the sake of national interest.... if we are getting those resources through the free-market regardless of who is in power?

    Thus far, I have yet to come up with, or hear a plausible reason for this. So why should we be involved at all with MENA or Europe, or anywhere? Any resource, whether oil or Uranium, is of absolutely no value unless it is sold. So what difference does it make if Gaddafi or some other person is in control of Libya, from a national interest perspective? I say, no difference.

    The collapse of Europe create major balance of power issues, not to mention the elimination of relationships that are based on widespread shared interests. It would be very damaging to the U.S. Geopolitics is not just about economics. Access to other countries' economies via trade or investment does not make those countries perfect or even good substitutes for relationships with other countries. Existing U.S. allies would correctly conclude that U.S. indifference to Europe means that the U.S. would treat them in similar fashion. In other words, U.S. commitments were cynical and expedient, nothing more. Hence, they would properly recalibrate their interests and the U.S. would find itself largely abandoned, still formidable but much less relevant. No U.S. President can or will be indifferent were Europe to face such an outcome.
    But again I say, how? If Europe crashes, there is nothing we could do to prevent that, except to fund their implosion, and thus crash ourselves with them. So how would we treat them any differently?

    If anything, our non-indifference towards central and south Africa, has proved our intervention has done nothing productive. Which as a free-market capitalist, this doesn't surprise me one bit. By giving aide to these countries, we have allowed them to avoid making the tough choices needed to bring about a productive stable economy.

    And I'd suggest we're seeing the same thing in Europe right now. Bailouts flying all over the place, which is simply allowing problematic governments to avoid making the serious cuts in spending needed to get their budget in order. As a result, the problem is simply spreading around, with now Spain and France are looking bad.

    If people stopped bailing everyone else out, it would force countries to fix their problems themselves, which would end the crisis. But instead the opposite is happening.

    I would suggest the best option we can do, is allow other countries to do as they choose, and deal with the consequences of those actions, for good or bad.

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    Re: Syria crisis: France raises use of force(edited)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkles View Post
    And that's where the rub comes. If we knew for a fact that doing X in whatever location would benefit the US, then perhaps I could see going into a situation. But the problem is, we don't.
    In foreign policy, there's always an element of uncertainty. There's always nuance and ambiguity. Yet, a nation should have clear understanding of its interests and the kind of developments that could threaten those interests. It should also understand the balance of power involved and trends underway that could alter it. Management of the balance of power is a dynamic process. Access to Persian Gulf oil is a clear vital interest. There's little dispute as to what would happen if that supply were disrupted for an appreciable length of time. Hence, a logical commitment would be to ensure that access is safeguarded. Ensuring that the friendly suppliers have sufficient power to defend themselves is one element. Having contingency plans to intervene militarily if a hostile state attempts to block access is another.

    Saddam was a perfect example. When we first supported his efforts, it seemed like he would be a pro-western, pro-America, pro-peace leader. Obviously that isn't how it turned out. Although ignorant people still deny this, Saddam became a large security threat to the US, and thus had to be dealt with.
    Leaders should never be judged by our transposing our hopes and aspirations on them. Judgment should be based on a clear understanding of how they perceive their nation's interests and their capacity to pursue/advance those interests. Saddam Hussein was not pro-Western. Indeed, during much of the Cold War, he was actually sympathetic to the Soviet Union. U.S. policy shifted toward Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. In part, that war was a consequence of the U.S. having abandoned a generally reliable ally, leaving Iran to fall to radicals who had expressed anti-U.S. and anti-democratic aspirations and the emergence of a power vacuum. IMO, the U.S. made a similar blunder when it came to pushing aside President Musharraf in Pakistan.

    So in a vain effort to protect "American Interest" we ended up with a national defense threat. That's not an even trade in my book, especially since we ultimately didn't need to protect our "interests" in Iraq. We were buying oil from Iraq right up to 2002, even with a hostile anti-American dictatorship in place.
    There are lessons involved:

    1. Never judge revolutions or events by the most idealistic outcome.
    2. Pay careful attention to a leader's history (past actions) and judge him/her by concrete action, not words or hopes.
    3. Don't abandon key allies with the hope that their successors will respect your interests. Often, they perceive the existence of the alliance as reason to radically change their country's policy.

    Both in Iran and Pakistan, the U.S. could have worked behind the scenes with the Shah and Musharraf to promote gradual reform in a shape that is compatible with those countries' institutions, history, and culture. Instead, the U.S. assumed each time that the changes would lead to democracy. Today, Iran's people are no more free than they were under the Shah. Arguably, they're less free given the imposition of religious doctrine. Iran is also a hostile state and undertaking efforts that, if successful, could dramatically change the Middle East's balance of Power. Pakistan has a weak, ineffectual, corrupt and undemocratic regime. It is currently sliding toward failed state status and increasingly hostile to U.S. interests.

    Which begs the question, why do we need to interfere with non-security threats, for the sake of national interest.... if we are getting those resources through the free-market regardless of who is in power?
    Foreign policy doesn't require military intervention. Many other tools exist. Military intervention should be a last resort. Containment was a much less expensive option for dealing with Iraq and, ultimately as it turns out, a much more effective approach than had been assumed. Furthermore, leaders don't engage relationships for economic reasons, alone. There can be cases where their objectives contradict free market dynamics. Resource nationalism is one example.

    Any resource, whether oil or Uranium, is of absolutely no value unless it is sold.
    Resources are sold, because they are needed. If they weren't needed, there would be no demand and, thus, no price/value. Therefore, oil cannot have no value in today's world. Oil is needed. Moreover, global demand for oil is growing as the global economy expands.

    If people stopped bailing everyone else out, it would force countries to fix their problems themselves...
    Bailouts are a different matter. They entail benefits and risks. They also entail moral hazard. Yet, the cost of refraining from a bailout can sometimes be so excessive, that a bailout is pursued. The extraordinary support to prevent the collapse of the U.S. financial sector is one example. Had no action been taken, an unprecedented global depression would have unfolded.
    Last edited by donsutherland1; 05-04-12 at 06:45 PM.

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    Re: France, suddenly has backbone

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post
    But the disease isn't dictatorship. It can't be cured by invasion. This is the point I'm trying to make. We do not combat the disease of terrorism by invasion and democracy anymore than we cure Anemia with leeches.
    The disease is eveything that comes from dictator and religious oppression. Eventually, the lack of education, social support, creativity, freedom of politicial expression, freedom of religion, and economic depravity will create "rebels." But in a religious swamp like the Middle East, this rebellious streak will turn to God for answers. For too many, it is the infectius West and its modernity that infects God's people, so they design an enemy in us. And Saudi Arabia and Egypt are all too happy to allow them to hate on a "foriegn devil" rather than focus all hatred upon local government. For many of them, blaming the culture that has created this environment means blaming God. Since this will not do, God gets a pass. Who does that leave? It all stems from a disease that is social in nature. Imagine a starving Soviet Union, with the ability to arm nuclear weapons, but throw God into the mix. Their social problems have just become to much to bare.

    But let's not exaggerate the invasion situation. We didn't invade Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Libya, etc. We invaded a hostile goverment that harbored and would continue to harbor an organization that attacked our soil quite violently and publicly. Then we invaded another hostile government that constantly threatened its neighbors and due to the UN mission was an obvious source of anger for Sunni extremists everywhere. This, by itself, was never going to reign in this region. But they did have everything to do with it. It wasn't until Arabs elsewhere took matters into their own hands that we started seeing this region head into a healthy direction. So invasion, by itslef didn't do it. But in the mean time, it was only a matter of time. Saudi Arabia had already bent to pressures and allowed low level elections for the first time in history among other firsts. Eventually a man tired of his social opressions and lit himself on fire in Tunisia. Then, as we have seen two other times in Arab history in the 20th century, one after another, other Arab states followed suit. Call Tunisia the "Arch Duke Ferdinand" event of the region and we can begin to see through the smoke.

    I know your point. But your point relies on the idea that we are marching all over the region assaulting borders and planting flags in the name of Democracy. This isn't true. We dealt with the two antagonists that defined the dictator/religious theocracy status quo for Arabs. They both happen to have had intimate historical ties to us, which gave us obligation. Since Bush gave a speech to the UN about democracy spreading from a democratic Iraq, there was a sense of future path for this region. We can't deny this. Cultural experts were on to something. I won't take that away just because Rumsfeld was a douche and incapable of making sound decisions.


    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post
    That may or may not be, but again, the secular dictator is the cause. And they see us as 1) helping the oppression, and 2) doing so because we think their resources belong to us. In that context, invading and setting up any government, no matter how friendly, seems to prove their case.
    This is what I was writing just above. This disease stems from the environment dictators maintain. And we aren't talking about a single dictator or two. We are talking about a region full of dictators and religious oppression that we offer handshakes to. HOWEVER, this is 2012. The Cold War is long dead. What we did in the past does not have to be anymore. In fact, we haven't needed these dictators ever since the Berlin Wall came down. We have just been robots to our Cold War habits. Our relationship has been very apathetic and distant. Saddam Hussein was "our" dictator. No more. We gave the people what they have been wanting for two centuries. But what we learned was that the Sunni can't fathom a Baghdad that the Sunni tribe doesn't completely control, hence the opposition and violence that ensued. The same is true for Afghanistan. As long as the Pashtun are in complete control, they will accept democracy. The same is going to be true in the rest of the Arab world where this "Spring" took place.

    We are between a rock and a hard place. It is a fact that the region was and is the threat, but the dictators (save Hussein) were not. As long as they maintained control, we had "stability" and order. The people knew this. But could we simply abandon the dictators and the region? Of course not. Aside from the oil issue, we are not a nation that simply denies its responsibilities. The people know this. The people also know that we did not install a dictator after Saddam Hussein. What we did was struggle to keep the Sunni and the Shia from exploding totally for the safetly of the mass of the population. What would have been hugely helpful to our image in the region was if President Obama actually sided with the people against Mubarak and Quddafi instead of waiting to see if it was safe to do so (France actually had balls in this regards). In my opinion, it was this that proved their case. We have been lingering along in this region enslaved to habit for far too long. And in the big picture scheme of threats, all of this needs to get healthy before nuclear power enters the region.


    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post
    No, I am not arguing that it ends all terrorism. But to say there is a connection, you have to show a connection. There is no evidence I know of that democracy slows, hinders, lessens terrorism at all.
    Other than history being clear about it, what proof are you seeking? Just check it out.....

    Europe has just gone through it's longing lasting peace in history. This period started at the end of World War II, where the dictators of Germany and Italy died, to present day. The only real exception was up in Ireland. Without the ability to control destiny, Ireland produced the IRA against the UK. Notice how the IRA didn't seek the "foriegn devil" for supporting the British? But is it a coincidence that all of those nations joined the democratic world at this time and are no longer subjected to the whims of monarchs and dictators? Communism in the former Soviet Union has generated plenty of Islamic hatreds and terrorism from local organizations are on record. The same is true in China where Buddhists in the Sichuan Province demand political freedom and in the Xinjiang Province where Muslims constantly protest for the same. None of which export their terror upon a "foriegn devil," but oppose an oppressive non democratic nation. In other words, other than violent clashes, they have no outlet to be heard. Only democracies have that outlet, which is why the democratic world only sees the occasional individual terrorist and not organizations and groups on the move. This is why it is so terribly convenient to state that "terrorism is a police matter." In the parts of the world where there is no democracy and whole organizations center around violent clashes, the police aren't a good enough tool. Even the British used the military to face the IRA.

    The Middle East is different in this regard. Their dictator and religious oppressive enviroment, stamping down political thought and expression, has and does generate terrorism. But, unlike the above, they do export their terrorism upon a scapegoat to answer for all their problems. This makes us obligated to secure ourselves, but somehow keep their resources flowing to the world. The best way to do this through democracies where people control their resources. You think Iraq will shut the American dollar down by not pumping oil? Economy matters to all. And it will flow either way...with a dictator or with the people. We should prefer the people, because not only is it simply the right thing to do, but people are the true stability.



    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post

    There are those who will argue Iraq. Iraq met no other critieria for invasion. No letigimate critieria.
    Depends on how you want to look at it. It really just comes down to that. People will argue what is "right" and what is "wrong" and what is legitimate and what is not. People will argue for the legitimacy of international laws when it conveniently applies (nobody in America argued this under Clinton). People will choose to either see a region or see a single nation seperated by borders that is supposed to have nothing to do with each other. People will choose to state that we should have invaded Saudi Arabia. Some even argue that we should have just forgiven the terrorists and simply continued to insist that the Taliban hand them over for due process. In the end, the invasion happened and history marched on to present day where we have a new President doing much the same deeds overseas with most former arguments silent. This tells me something.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post

    You have to have reason to believe there will be an attack. There was no such reason to believe in one from either country.
    Same with Japan and Germany. There are greater attacks that affect our civilization than a military act. A year later, Japan had left us alone. Germany never touched our soil. The Soviet Union never touched our soil. Iraq invaded Kuwait...not America. The truth is that only Al-Queda proved to have a mission to murder Americans year after year and they were protected by a Sudanese government and then an Afhan governmet. In regards to Saddam Hussein, he did what the rest in history did. He threatened the flow of resources and economy. The invasion of Iraq was nothing new to our history. In fact, the only difference between European colonial power and us was and is that we don't localy control our business deals with military control. Embassies and diplomats do this. After the business deal is made, governments may treat their people however they like, which is why we get criticized for looking the other way. It wasn't until we saw how the oppressive treatment of their people proves to bite us the ass that we took an interest in "nation building." After all, do we really care about French, German, or Russian people? Or do we care about their goverments?

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    Re: Syria crisis: France raises use of force(edited)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkles View Post
    I guess this would be one of the few areas we disagree.

    I don't consider any nation anywhere, regardless of location or politics or economy, to be "vital" to our interests.
    Yet it is. We recognized young that our commerce and prosperity in the world relied on open sea passages like the Suez and Panama. The Mediterranean Sea was where we first engaged an enemy in a deployed capacity. The Spanish-American war had everything to do with local intrusions, but spread out to the world (the first time a European colonial power was defeated). Though we maintained our sense of isolationalism, we understood what built and secured Europe from threats (internal threats being something different). Before the 20th century, we passed Britian as the number one economy in the world. This was due to our preservation of passages and the security of our trade partners while European colonial powers spent fortunes to make fortunes. After Europe's civil war in 1919, we had passed all other nations on earth to become the most powerful. After World War II we became the most powerful in history. And we have been creating a globalized world ever since, because a world that deals with grievances through a UN type setting and creates corporate business ties is a world without World Wars. Stable regions has been the key. Consider what the former Yugoslavia was. It was a humanitarian disaster full of gencide and ethnic cleansing....and it was the birth place of World War I. Therefore, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, and Kosovo had more to do with Europe than the former Yugoslavia. And without so much economy paired up with Europe, this made this location vital to our interests. Oil flow out of the Middle East was vital enough for the Soviet Union to covet and for us to maintain stability.

    The flip side to globalization is that it absolutely burdens us to world ties. There is no reboot. There's no way to un-globalize. But consider that today's time in history is the most peaceful in recorded history. This is because this world is tied together by not only an escalating number of democracies, but economic handshakes and shared interests. many things are vital because we can't isolate anymore and be what we need to be to secure our health.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkles View Post
    If Europe crashes into 3rd world status, the USA can, and will continue on into the future without them.
    I doubt they will crash to 3rd world status, but even if, it only means that what we consider vital will change. Currently our commercial and diplomatic ties to China are as vital as our ties to Europe.

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    Re: France, suddenly has backbone

    Quote Originally Posted by MSgt View Post
    The disease is eveything that comes from dictator and religious oppression. Eventually, the lack of education, social support, creativity, freedom of politicial expression, freedom of religion, and economic depravity will create "rebels." But in a religious swamp like the Middle East, this rebellious streak will turn to God for answers. For too many, it is the infectius West and its modernity that infects God's people, so they design an enemy in us. And Saudi Arabia and Egypt are all too happy to allow them to hate on a "foriegn devil" rather than focus all hatred upon local government. For many of them, blaming the culture that has created this environment means blaming God. Since this will not do, God gets a pass. Who does that leave? It all stems from a disease that is social in nature. Imagine a starving Soviet Union, with the ability to arm nuclear weapons, but throw God into the mix. Their social problems have just become to much to bare.

    But let's not exaggerate the invasion situation. We didn't invade Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Libya, etc. We invaded a hostile goverment that harbored and would continue to harbor an organization that attacked our soil quite violently and publicly. Then we invaded another hostile government that constantly threatened its neighbors and due to the UN mission was an obvious source of anger for Sunni extremists everywhere. This, by itself, was never going to reign in this region. But they did have everything to do with it. It wasn't until Arabs elsewhere took matters into their own hands that we started seeing this region head into a healthy direction. So invasion, by itslef didn't do it. But in the mean time, it was only a matter of time. Saudi Arabia had already bent to pressures and allowed low level elections for the first time in history among other firsts. Eventually a man tired of his social opressions and lit himself on fire in Tunisia. Then, as we have seen two other times in Arab history in the 20th century, one after another, other Arab states followed suit. Call Tunisia the "Arch Duke Ferdinand" event of the region and we can begin to see through the smoke.

    I know your point. But your point relies on the idea that we are marching all over the region assaulting borders and planting flags in the name of Democracy. This isn't true. We dealt with the two antagonists that defined the dictator/religious theocracy status quo for Arabs. They both happen to have had intimate historical ties to us, which gave us obligation. Since Bush gave a speech to the UN about democracy spreading from a democratic Iraq, there was a sense of future path for this region. We can't deny this. Cultural experts were on to something. I won't take that away just because Rumsfeld was a douche and incapable of making sound decisions.
    The dictator Saddam was secular and more for education than then the religious elements. SO, he wasn't part of what you call a disease. And there is no exaggeration. We invaded two countries. Neither attacked us. Neither had the compacity to attack or threaden us. Neither was involved in any planning, paying for, or sending of anyone to attack us. Afghanistan could care less about us, and Saddam had as much to fear from terrorist as they did us. So, there is defending ourself rationale that works.

    And no, my point does not rely on your exaggeration of flag planting. Merely changing an unfriendly government to friendly one by force is emough. It is us changing the metrics by force, not for terrorism, but for finace and power (say in surrounding Iran). I stated early on that we did not need to rule to be imperial. It's an improvement on the Roman model.


    This is what I was writing just above. This disease stems from the environment dictators maintain. And we aren't talking about a single dictator or two. We are talking about a region full of dictators and religious oppression that we offer handshakes to. HOWEVER, this is 2012. The Cold War is long dead. What we did in the past does not have to be anymore. In fact, we haven't needed these dictators ever since the Berlin Wall came down. We have just been robots to our Cold War habits. Our relationship has been very apathetic and distant. Saddam Hussein was "our" dictator. No more. We gave the people what they have been wanting for two centuries. But what we learned was that the Sunni can't fathom a Baghdad that the Sunni tribe doesn't completely control, hence the opposition and violence that ensued. The same is true for Afghanistan. As long as the Pashtun are in complete control, they will accept democracy. The same is going to be true in the rest of the Arab world where this "Spring" took place.

    We are between a rock and a hard place. It is a fact that the region was and is the threat, but the dictators (save Hussein) were not. As long as they maintained control, we had "stability" and order. The people knew this. But could we simply abandon the dictators and the region? Of course not. Aside from the oil issue, we are not a nation that simply denies its responsibilities. The people know this. The people also know that we did not install a dictator after Saddam Hussein. What we did was struggle to keep the Sunni and the Shia from exploding totally for the safetly of the mass of the population. What would have been hugely helpful to our image in the region was if President Obama actually sided with the people against Mubarak and Quddafi instead of waiting to see if it was safe to do so (France actually had balls in this regards). In my opinion, it was this that proved their case. We have been lingering along in this region enslaved to habit for far too long. And in the big picture scheme of threats, all of this needs to get healthy before nuclear power enters the region.
    But freedom will not end the move to relgion. In Palistine for example, they voted for the religious zealots. They do that quite regularly. Our meddling hasn't changed it. And while there is no move that has everyone saying we're just the bomb, you know, cool, choosing the one in which we're the imperialist that forces our way by gun point plays into our enemies view of us. It was a foolish move.

    Other than history being clear about it, what proof are you seeking? Just check it out.....

    Europe has just gone through it's longing lasting peace in history. This period started at the end of World War II, where the dictators of Germany and Italy died, to present day. The only real exception was up in Ireland. Without the ability to control destiny, Ireland produced the IRA against the UK. Notice how the IRA didn't seek the "foriegn devil" for supporting the British? But is it a coincidence that all of those nations joined the democratic world at this time and are no longer subjected to the whims of monarchs and dictators? Communism in the former Soviet Union has generated plenty of Islamic hatreds and terrorism from local organizations are on record. The same is true in China where Buddhists in the Sichuan Province demand political freedom and in the Xinjiang Province where Muslims constantly protest for the same. None of which export their terror upon a "foriegn devil," but oppose an oppressive non democratic nation. In other words, other than violent clashes, they have no outlet to be heard. Only democracies have that outlet, which is why the democratic world only sees the occasional individual terrorist and not organizations and groups on the move. This is why it is so terribly convenient to state that "terrorism is a police matter." In the parts of the world where there is no democracy and whole organizations center around violent clashes, the police aren't a good enough tool. Even the British used the military to face the IRA.

    The Middle East is different in this regard. Their dictator and religious oppressive enviroment, stamping down political thought and expression, has and does generate terrorism. But, unlike the above, they do export their terrorism upon a scapegoat to answer for all their problems. This makes us obligated to secure ourselves, but somehow keep their resources flowing to the world. The best way to do this through democracies where people control their resources. You think Iraq will shut the American dollar down by not pumping oil? Economy matters to all. And it will flow either way...with a dictator or with the people. We should prefer the people, because not only is it simply the right thing to do, but people are the true stability.
    First history on not clear on your claim (freedom lessens terrorism). Terrorism has been prevenlent everywhere regardless of political system.

    Now the British did set a blue print fot hwo to deal with terrorism. For a long time they used brute force. They failed. It wasn't until they backed up, started working quitely behind the scences to build coalitions, to work intell and quietly (queitly is important), quietly take out leadership. It was this tactic, the more surgical law enforcement effort and not the more bombastic sledge hammer approached that worked.




    Depends on how you want to look at it. It really just comes down to that. People will argue what is "right" and what is "wrong" and what is legitimate and what is not. People will argue for the legitimacy of international laws when it conveniently applies (nobody in America argued this under Clinton). People will choose to either see a region or see a single nation seperated by borders that is supposed to have nothing to do with each other. People will choose to state that we should have invaded Saudi Arabia. Some even argue that we should have just forgiven the terrorists and simply continued to insist that the Taliban hand them over for due process. In the end, the invasion happened and history marched on to present day where we have a new President doing much the same deeds overseas with most former arguments silent. This tells me something.
    I think if you look at life as having no real or objective standards, then you're right. Any silly excuse we throw out will do. But you got a few things wrong above. 1) people did argue against Clinton. He just knew what Bush didn't what is done quickly dies quickly. He had more trouble in Bosnia, but had the support of the UN, which gave him some cover. Many of his actions were argued against, and on both legal and moral grounds. 2) It isn't just international law that apllies here. Yes, we should adhere to our agreements, or they are meaningless. But there is also concepts of justice, and what si right and wrong. Just war theory spells this out fairly well.

    However, there were options. As Scheuer argued, on 9/12 we knew exactly where OBL was. Go get him, and get out. Sends the proper message without all the cost. Which is better than the wrong message with all the cost, which is what we ultimately chose.

    Same with Japan and Germany. There are greater attacks that affect our civilization than a military act. A year later, Japan had left us alone. Germany never touched our soil. The Soviet Union never touched our soil. Iraq invaded Kuwait...not America. The truth is that only Al-Queda proved to have a mission to murder Americans year after year and they were protected by a Sudanese government and then an Afhan governmet. In regards to Saddam Hussein, he did what the rest in history did. He threatened the flow of resources and economy. The invasion of Iraq was nothing new to our history. In fact, the only difference between European colonial power and us was and is that we don't localy control our business deals with military control. Embassies and diplomats do this. After the business deal is made, governments may treat their people however they like, which is why we get criticized for looking the other way. It wasn't until we saw how the oppressive treatment of their people proves to bite us the ass that we took an interest in "nation building." After all, do we really care about French, German, or Russian people? Or do we care about their goverments?

    Japan did attack us. Our base is our soil. Germany declared war on us. The red scare was not our best moment. The differences matter.

    BTW being somewhere is not protected by.

    AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: I think the world vests too much power, certainly in the president, probably in Washington in general for its influence on the economy, because most all of the economy has nothing to do with the government.

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    Re: France, suddenly has backbone

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post
    The dictator Saddam was secular and more for education than then the religious elements. SO, he wasn't part of what you call a disease. And there is no exaggeration. We invaded two countries. Neither attacked us. Neither had the compacity to attack or threaden us. Neither was involved in any planning, paying for, or sending of anyone to attack us. Afghanistan could care less about us, and Saddam had as much to fear from terrorist as they did us. So, there is defending ourself rationale that works.
    The entire region couldn't change with Saddam Hussein sitting safely in the middle. And as I have shown, our history of defense does not involve an attacker upon our soil.


    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post

    But freedom will not end the move to relgion. In Palistine for example, they voted for the religious zealots. They do that quite regularly. Our meddling hasn't changed it. And while there is no move that has everyone saying we're just the bomb, you know, cool, choosing the one in which we're the imperialist that forces our way by gun point plays into our enemies view of us. It was a foolish move.
    Freedom will end the move to extreme religion. Democracy hasn't killed Christianity either. But we in the West have stumbled and tripped our way through creating prosperous nations despite Christianity demanding obedience form kings and eventually tearing itself apart during the reformation. Perhaps we could give Arabs more than a couple years to figure a few things out? After all, they have been subjugated for a very long time. This is a region that has been shaken and shaken. Eventually, the top has to come off. Even Iraq's tribal violence has come from decades of not being allowed to sot out matters healthily.

    At the birth of being freed from oppression, this region will do what is natural and seek religious leadership. They, after all, are the organized political parties on deck. However, this is temporary. These political parties may prove more than willing to compromise because even they have accepted that after all their violence and hatred, real power only comes through democracy. The Muslim Brotherhood has learned this. They also know that in order to maintain that power in Egypt, they will have to create an environment that the people want (education, freedom of expression, etc.). They will insist on their religious BS as they go, but they will face forward. Even Iran was electing more and more liberal presidents until the Majlis saw the writing on the walls and approved of Ahmenadejed (a Khomieni disciple). "Palestine" is a special case and is important. Palestinians spend more time being reminded that they are supposed to hate by Arabs elsewhere than actually hating. Used by religious zealots throughout the region, Palestinians act as the focus point for twisted regimes who need their people hating something outside their borders. The Israeli/Palestinian issue will always do. But the fact is that if Arabs spent as much energy seeking to change their own troubles as they do about hating a country where Muslims are the freest, they would have done this "Arab Spring" long ago.

    But look at it this way. If France can take almost 75 years to get democracy right and even embrace an emporer (Napoleon) along the way.....and Germany can elect a dictator (Hitler), both of whom wrecked havoc upon Europe....maybe Arabs can be forgiven for a few stumbles that will probably not affect much?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post


    First history on not clear on your claim (freedom lessens terrorism). Terrorism has been prevenlent everywhere regardless of political system.
    Once again, we aren't talking about the absence of terrorism. We are talking about mass organized groups, their exportation, and society's stagnation because of terrorism. McVeigh does not equal Al-Queda or the countless other organizations that thrive in the Middle East because its social environment encourages a never ending recruitment pool willing to hate a foreign devil. The freedom to express and to elect true representation greatly reduces the man's capacity to organize and be heard through other means. This is 101 stuff.


    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post
    Now the British did set a blue print fot hwo to deal with terrorism. For a long time they used brute force. They failed. It wasn't until they backed up, started working quitely behind the scences to build coalitions, to work intell and quietly (queitly is important), quietly take out leadership. It was this tactic, the more surgical law enforcement effort and not the more bombastic sledge hammer approached that worked.
    I'm sure we are doing all of that as well. Iraq and Afghanistan were just our local involvements for expressed reasons. This entire regions knows that in order to be prosperos they have to join the world, which means dealing with America and allies. China is fine dealing with the dictators. We have proven that we want that behavior behind us. You think the Muslim Brotherhood will refuse to do business with the powers of the world and not give their people what they promised?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post
    However, there were options. As Scheuer argued, on 9/12 we knew exactly where OBL was. Go get him, and get out. Sends the proper message without all the cost. Which is better than the wrong message with all the cost, which is what we ultimately chose.
    This would hardly satisfy the American thirst for revenge, which is what all of America wanted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post


    Japan did attack us. Our base is our soil. Germany declared war on us. The red scare was not our best moment. The differences matter.

    BTW being somewhere is not protected by.
    Japan attacked Hawaii almost a year prior to Guadacanal. They were done with out soil.

    Germany declaring war on us had nothing to do with our soil. Castro had also declared war on us during the Cold War.

    It's our presence around the globe that offers protections to all regions where we conduct business. If we simply vacated these positions, nations like South Korea, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, etc. would be a mess of violence and upheaval...and so would our business ties.

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    Re: France, suddenly has backbone

    Quote Originally Posted by MSgt View Post
    The entire region couldn't change with Saddam Hussein sitting safely in the middle. And as I have shown, our history of defense does not involve an attacker upon our soil.
    I can think of nothing that would make that true. Saddam was a bit player with next to no real influence on the region.

    OUr mistaken conflicts after WWII have not been, but like Iraq, they haven't been declared wars either. Those efforts have been just as flawed. More later.

    AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: I think the world vests too much power, certainly in the president, probably in Washington in general for its influence on the economy, because most all of the economy has nothing to do with the government.

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