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Thread: Syria unrest: Thousands march in Deraa

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    Re: Syria unrest: Thousands march in Deraa

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    The US can't even impose representative government with limitations. Look at Iraq, Afghanistan, or Pakistan. In Iraq, we have a sectarian government with sympathies to our greatest regional enemy, led by a powerless prime minister.
    actually in Iraq we have done pretty well. I don't know why you think that the Iraqi government is prone to falling under the influence of Iran - so long as we continue as an ally of theirs that's not what they want - outside of some Sadrist extremists. The government of Iraq and Iran has actually had some violent interaction with each other on their border over some contested oil assets. Iraqi's are actually pretty nationalistic - and Iranian religious authorities are technically subordinate to Iraqi ones, not the other way 'round.

    In Afghanistan, we have a brutal dictatorship which is among the most corrupt regimes in the world, led by a thug who despises us
    he doesn't despise us as much as he is aware that he has no guarantee of support from us. that's what comes from having an American president who is inexperienced and stupid enough to put out a formal withdrawal date for an ongoing conflict. Karzai would be a fool not to be hedging the new government's bets - which is precisely what he's doing.

    As for corruption; I don't know what to tell you excep that as far as bribery, etc. goes, that's just the culture. It's expected and that's why government positions are sought after and how position holders are expected to support themselves. Which isn't to say it isn't a significant problem - just that it's not as big of a problem as the metrics indicate. Much like popular support for religious law, simply because their governing assumptions are different does not make them less stable as a representative government. Which they are. I'm not really sure where you are getting dictatorship from. The Afghan people seem to disagree, given that as of the last polling data (about a year and some change ago) 70% say that their country is going in the right direction, and that overall living conditions had improved since 2001. They also express confidence that their situation will continue to improve in the coming year. Nearly two-thirds believe their children will have a better life.

    Afghans note positively the performance of the police and army and express confidence in their ability to provide security and stability in their area, with three-quarters believing that Afghan National Security Forces will be able to take over security in Afghanistan starting in 18 months. Afghan support for NATO troops increased to 62%, with nearly the same number supporting the recently-announced troop uplift. Three-quarters believe attacks against NATO forces cannot be justified.

    Only 6% of those polled said they favour a Taliban government, reflecting the fact that the Taliban have no widespread constituency, have a history of failure in power and lack a positive vision...


    In Pakistan, we have an incompetent pseudo-democracy pseudo-junta which is more interested in fighting India than fighting the Taliban. None of these regimes are democracies, or even representative of the people.
    to the extent that Pakistan isn't representative of the people, we don't want it to be. That being said, the Parliament has the real power there now, now the President, and has since the Supreme Court decision last year. Mr 10% isn't a puppet, but he's a severely weakned executive (but hey, that's the deal he made to stay out of jail). To pretend it's not a representative govenment is ridiculous.

    Nah. Our interests in the Middle East are not always what we think they are
    that is correct. we sometimes have people at the top who don't have a "bad" strategic approach so much as they have "no" strategic approach. that is the current situation, for example. other times, we let the I/P narrative dominate our entire approach, completely exagerating the impact of that conflict on the region.

    And in many cases, some of the problems in the region (e.g. political extremism and Israeli-Palestinian violence) are partially our own doing.
    really. I would love to hear you explain how the I/P conflict is the US fault. Given that the US is responsible for the fact that we haven't had a major war between Israel and the Arab states since the 1970's.

    and don't give me the "oh the us supports israel so whatever they do is our fault' canard - without US support, Israel would be more aggressive, not less.

    Furthermore, we are perceived as occupiers by the people who actually live there.
    you're going to have to repeat this to someone who hasn't been there as part of that force, and who isn't in constant contact with those who are currently.

    They aren't interested in what form of government WE have at home, or whether we "intended" to kill civilians with the invasion of Iraq or the drone strikes in Yemen.
    : we have to explain to Afghani villagers that we aren't Soviets, and you think they're watching drone strikes in Yemen on television?

    yeah, in the cities, you're going to find that kind of communication. go check out worldfactbook and get back to us on what percent of Afghani's live in cities.

    They take our actions at face value and see a foreign power that is indiscriminately killing civilians in order to pursue its own interests. Which, the more I think about it, is a pretty accurate description.
    then you have no idea what goes into CDE

    Most Iranians, including most of the political leadership, do not have such apocalyptic beliefs.
    most Iranians' don't. however, Twelver Shiism is dominant and intensely powerful. I would like to see your figures on "the leadership", especially given that the "political leadership" aren't the ones in charge. The IRGC, however, are the dominant 'in charge' branch of that government, and they absolutely do. So it matters slightly less than a piece of whale poop what the Green Movement thinks.

    Except the Arab states are not China. China has had political leadership that has allowed for the evolution of civil institutions... governs more or less with the consent of its population,
    fascinating. tell me more about the evolution of civil institutions and public support.

    China cracks down on call for Jasmine Revolution

    China Cracks Down on Human Rights Lawyers

    China’s crackdown on human-rights lawyers, activists, and online dissidents goes from bad to worse.

    Laogai: the Chinese Gulag System

    China forces mass abortions on women - kidnapping them strapping them to stretchers as they struggle, and performing the operation in vans

    China uses Falun Gong prisoners in prison camps as human organ farms

    the last regime to try to create an alternate to the Nobel Prize to cover up for the fact that they wouldn't let a dissident travel to collect it? not to Godwin a thread.... but......

    while pursuing economic liberalization
    they have done that. to pretend that it has been matched by any kind of introduction of human rights or representative government, however, is ridiculous.

    and is even (slowly) pursuing democratization by holding multi-candidate elections at the local level.
    yeah, okay. China is democratic because it will allow it's people at the local level to select between members of the one ruling party before 'disappearing' dissidents. But Afghanistan is a tyranny because the Karzai's brother takes bribes.

    The Arab states, in contrast, have few civil institutions, have been propped up for decades by foreign regimes despite being despised by their own people, are balls-deep in oil funds which their leaders spread around to buy political/military support, and are corroded from the inside out.
    (generally) agreed. Jordan is an exception, as is now Iraq.

    Most Arabs were not fans of Saddam Hussein, but they are able to perceive our removal of him for what it was: a self-serving effort to remove a dictator we didn't like
    you are quite the expert on what "Arabs" believe. I find this fascinating, given the diversity of opinions in the Arab world.

    you do realize that you are saying roughly the equivalent of "Americans believe that we were right to remove Saddam" ?

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    Re: Syria unrest: Thousands march in Deraa

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    actually in Iraq we have done pretty well. I don't know why you think that the Iraqi government is prone to falling under the influence of Iran - so long as we continue as an ally of theirs that's not what they want - outside of some Sadrist extremists. The government of Iraq and Iran has actually had some violent interaction with each other on their border over some contested oil assets. Iraqi's are actually pretty nationalistic - and Iranian religious authorities are technically subordinate to Iraqi ones, not the other way 'round.
    They are both Shia governments, and Iran is the dominant military power in the region. The Iraqi government, while maybe not fully trusting Iran, is certainly inclined to reach an accommodation with Iran. Iran has at least as much influence over Iraqi politics as the United States does.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    he doesn't despise us as much as he is aware that he has no guarantee of support from us. that's what comes from having an American president who is inexperienced and stupid enough to put out a formal withdrawal date for an ongoing conflict. Karzai would be a fool not to be hedging the new government's bets - which is precisely what he's doing.

    As for corruption; I don't know what to tell you excep that as far as bribery, etc. goes, that's just the culture. It's expected and that's why government positions are sought after and how position holders are expected to support themselves. Which isn't to say it isn't a significant problem - just that it's not as big of a problem as the metrics indicate. Much like popular support for religious law, simply because their governing assumptions are different does not make them less stable as a representative government. Which they are. I'm not really sure where you are getting dictatorship from. The Afghan people seem to disagree, given that as of the last polling data (about a year and some change ago) 70% say that their country is going in the right direction, and that overall living conditions had improved since 2001. They also express confidence that their situation will continue to improve in the coming year. Nearly two-thirds believe their children will have a better life.

    Afghans note positively the performance of the police and army and express confidence in their ability to provide security and stability in their area, with three-quarters believing that Afghan National Security Forces will be able to take over security in Afghanistan starting in 18 months. Afghan support for NATO troops increased to 62%, with nearly the same number supporting the recently-announced troop uplift. Three-quarters believe attacks against NATO forces cannot be justified.

    Only 6% of those polled said they favour a Taliban government, reflecting the fact that the Taliban have no widespread constituency, have a history of failure in power and lack a positive vision...
    None of this changes the fact that Karzai is a thuggish dictator. And corruption being a part of the culture is not an immutable fact of life. The conditions in the country LEAD to corruption being a part of the culture.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    to the extent that Pakistan isn't representative of the people, we don't want it to be. That being said, the Parliament has the real power there now, now the President, and has since the Supreme Court decision last year. Mr 10% isn't a puppet, but he's a severely weakned executive (but hey, that's the deal he made to stay out of jail). To pretend it's not a representative govenment is ridiculous.
    General Ashfaq Kayani has at least as much power in Pakistan as either the president or the Parliament. And he was not elected to anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    really. I would love to hear you explain how the I/P conflict is the US fault. Given that the US is responsible for the fact that we haven't had a major war between Israel and the Arab states since the 1970's.

    and don't give me the "oh the us supports israel so whatever they do is our fault' canard - without US support, Israel would be more aggressive, not less.
    The US continues to egg Israel on, sell them weapons, and provide them with diplomatic cover at the UN. Many people in the Arab world feel genuinely threatened by Israel. So the idea that we need to be involved in the Middle East to protect Israel is inaccurate; part of the reason that Israel needs to be protected in the first place is because the "occupation" mentality resonates with a lot of Arabs.

    And the idea that Israel would be more aggressive without US help defies credibility. The US is the only important foreign power that has any influence with Israel. Of course they want to stay on our good side. It might not happen overnight; Israel could defy the US on individual issues. But if the US actively pushed Israel to tone down their behavior and stopped providing diplomatic cover, in the long term they absolutely would.

    And if they didn't? Well, then that's their problem, not ours. No need to sully OUR reputation because of their actions. Most Arabs feel that the US has been unfair to their point of view in the Israel/Palestine conflict. Frankly, your assessment that our lack of support of Israel would be worse for the Arabs displays a very patriarchal mentality toward Arabs. "You don't know what's best for yourself, so we'll decide for you."

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    you're going to have to repeat this to someone who hasn't been there as part of that force, and who isn't in constant contact with those who are currently.

    : we have to explain to Afghani villagers that we aren't Soviets, and you think they're watching drone strikes in Yemen on television?

    yeah, in the cities, you're going to find that kind of communication. go check out worldfactbook and get back to us on what percent of Afghani's live in cities.
    Umm we're talking about the Arab world?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    then you have no idea what goes into CDE
    I would wager that the average Arab doesn't either.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    most Iranians' don't. however, Twelver Shiism is dominant and intensely powerful. I would like to see your figures on "the leadership", especially given that the "political leadership" aren't the ones in charge. The IRGC, however, are the dominant 'in charge' branch of that government, and they absolutely do. So it matters slightly less than a piece of whale poop what the Green Movement thinks.
    The Green Movement is not the political leadership. Really?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    fascinating. tell me more about the evolution of civil institutions and public support.

    China cracks down on call for Jasmine Revolution

    China Cracks Down on Human Rights Lawyers

    China’s crackdown on human-rights lawyers, activists, and online dissidents goes from bad to worse.

    Laogai: the Chinese Gulag System

    China forces mass abortions on women - kidnapping them strapping them to stretchers as they struggle, and performing the operation in vans

    China uses Falun Gong prisoners in prison camps as human organ farms

    the last regime to try to create an alternate to the Nobel Prize to cover up for the fact that they wouldn't let a dissident travel to collect it? not to Godwin a thread.... but......



    they have done that. to pretend that it has been matched by any kind of introduction of human rights or representative government, however, is ridiculous.

    yeah, okay. China is democratic because it will allow it's people at the local level to select between members of the one ruling party before 'disappearing' dissidents. But Afghanistan is a tyranny because the Karzai's brother takes bribes.
    The fact is that the Chinese government has the support of most of its people, whereas Karzai had to rig an election to stay in power. You might wish the facts were otherwise, but they aren't. Maybe that will change when the Chinese economy slows down, but a revolution seems unlikely right now.
    Upbeat Chinese May Not Be Primed for a Jasmine Revolution - Pew Research Center

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    you are quite the expert on what "Arabs" believe. I find this fascinating, given the diversity of opinions in the Arab world.

    you do realize that you are saying roughly the equivalent of "Americans believe that we were right to remove Saddam" ?
    The Brookings Institution and University of Maryland polled people living in six Arab states last year on a variety of subjects. Among the highlights of Arab opinion:

    - The two greatest threats to their country, as they perceived it, were Israel (88%) and the United States (77%). Iran received only 10%.
    - The most important issue to Arabs, in terms of US policy, was the Israel-Palestine conflict (40%). This was also their biggest disappointment with the Obama Administration (34%).
    - The most favorable policies of the Obama Administration, in the eyes of Arabs, were his Iraq policy (21%) and his perceived ending of torture (29%).
    - What motivates the US involvement in the Middle East, according to Arabs? Controlling oil (36%) and protecting Israel (21%). Democracy received only 5%.

    http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Fil...powerpoint.pdf

    At the same time, Pew has found broad support for democracy in at least three Arab countries. "Democracy is preferable to any other form of government," agreed a majority of people in Egypt (60%), Jordan (69%), and Lebanon (83%).
    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1918/ent...perience-shows

    You can draw your own conclusions from that data. I interpret it as showing a public that views US foreign policy overwhelmingly negatively, thinks that we are being unfair in our unwavering support of Israel, generally assumes the worst about US intentions, and likes it better when we have less influence over their affairs. I see a public that wants democracy, but doesn't think the US wants democracy in their countries (or at least that the US doesn't care). That indicates to me that we have got our foreign policy in the region very, very wrong. And I'm not going to be tempted to frame this issue in terms of marketing our policies better to Arabs, as though they are children whose opinions are completely invalid. They are the ones who live with the consequences of it every day, so I'm going to take their opinions at face value. Perhaps they are right.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 04-27-11 at 10:12 AM.
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    Re: Syria unrest: Thousands march in Deraa

    I thought the Obama criteria that sent us into Libya was to protect innocent civilains.
    We should be hearing about USA drones bombing Syrian government buildings later this week maybe?

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    Re: Syria unrest: Thousands march in Deraa


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    Re: Syria unrest: Thousands march in Deraa

    Quote Originally Posted by shades View Post
    I thought the Obama criteria that sent us into Libya was to protect innocent civilains.
    We should be hearing about USA drones bombing Syrian government buildings later this week maybe?
    The Syrian people are not worth the effort.
    The national security of the United States can never be left in the hands of liberals.

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    Re: Syria unrest: Thousands march in Deraa

    Quote Originally Posted by The Prof View Post
    We know the UN doesn't know what they are doing.

    As for 0bama, we've known for some time he hasn't a clue.
    The national security of the United States can never be left in the hands of liberals.

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    Re: Syria unrest: Thousands march in Deraa

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    They are both Shia governments
    yessss.... except that to the extent that they operate under the Shia banner, Grand Ayatollah Sistani (Iraq) is preeminent, not Ayatollah Khameini.

    and again, you are underestimating nationalism in Iraq. During the Iraq-Iran war, Iraq's Shia fought as well and as loyally for their nation as her Sunnis' did. You are also underestimating the power of Tribe - remember, Iraqi tribes often have Sunni and Shia branches, and Iraqi's are Arab (except for the Kurds). Iranians are not - they are Persian and tend to be intensely proud of this, which leads to grating on both sides. Yes, you get a pro-Iran faction in the government. Last I checked Prime Minister Allawi had cracked down pretty hard (read: used the Iraqi Army - which is itself dominantly Shia, and which did a fairly good job, considering - to kill lots of) on the factions of that party that attempted to put that belief into action. Sadr is a shadow of his former self, who was even then only a shadow of his father.

    so.... saying that they are both Shia nations is sort of like saying that the US and France are both Western Nations, ergo France will do what the US tells it to.

    and Iran is the dominant military power in the region.
    currently we are the dominant military power in the region (though, since the advent of the child-king, that's been mooted by the fact that we don't appear to want to be, and don't particularly know how to be).

    But you are correct to note that as US withdrawal or even downdraw from the region will have the effect of increasing Iran's influence over Iraq as a matter of pragmatism. Currently Iraq can use us (when we are willing, as opposed to when we are pretending that the Mullahs are just waiting for One More Letter From The UN Before They Play Nice) as a counterbalance.

    This is why intervention in Syria is such a no-brainer. We can punch the major opposing power inthe region in the nose, reduce her ability to influence events, and do so in a way that invites no war between us, or even much serious cost to ourselves. It's as if Osama Bin Laden were to announce himself going through an airport in the US, and the TSA agents decided not to sieze him because of all the paperwork that doing so would entail.

    None of this changes the fact that Karzai is a thuggish dictator
    you are providing a just-so statement here without providing any supporting data or context. I would like to see how you come to this conclusion.

    And corruption being a part of the culture is not an immutable fact of life. The conditions in the country LEAD to corruption being a part of the culture.
    correct. But Culture changes much more slowly than political institutions do, and there is a bias against corruption in a form of government where those who do not benefit are given a mechanism for opposition (representation). That's why we have a forum here dedicated to "scandals and corruption" etc. And so this is one of the things that you can't force-fix in its' entirety so much as you can try to deal with the individual cases of abuse that crop up and set the conditions for gradual improvement.

    General Ashfaq Kayani has at least as much power in Pakistan as either the president or the Parliament. And he was not elected to anything.
    lol the chief of staff? dude. if he had firm control over the Pakistani military and ISI, then you could make an argument that he had as much "de facto" power as the parliament. you could, of course, make the exact same argument about General Dempsey or the Commandant. Kayani has also been a pretty positive influence in the important realm of de-politicizing the military - so the man has deliberately reduced his own power from the position enjoyed by the army under Musharraf. However, it's also worth noting that if he decided to reverse himself, he still wouldn't be able to mount a significant enough challenge to Parliament for the simple reason that [u]nobody[/b] has a firm control on the Pakistani Army or ISI.

    The US continues to egg Israel on, sell them weapons, and provide them with diplomatic cover at the UN.
    egg them on? give me instances of the US Egging them on.

    provide them with cover at the UN? have you seen how the UN - largest voting bloc? the Arab States - treats Israel? we're not providing them "cover" for two reasons: 1. if the UN were to tell Israel it could no longer defend itself, Israel would tell the UN to get bent - at which point the UN is impotent. 2. "Cover" would assume that they are being allowed to carry on some kind of nefarious schemes only thanks to US support - and this is precisely the opposite of the matter. In fact, the less support from the US that Israel has the more aggressive it is requried to become.

    Israel has on multiple occasions attempted to trade land for peace. it worked with Egypt, and has never worked with the Palestinians. the Arab world can be said to share one emotion (i wouldn't say fear is it) about Israel - and that is genocidal hatred.

    Many people in the Arab world feel genuinely threatened by Israel
    evidence that many people in the Arab world feel threatned by Israel, who hasn't gone to war with the Arab world since the 1970's?

    v, say, evidence that people in Israel aren't actually threatened by the Arab world, who enable Palestinian terrorists to attempt to murder then en masse on a daily basis?

    So the idea that we need to be involved in the Middle East to protect Israel is inaccurate
    that is correct. Israel has nukes. We need to be involved in the Middle East to make sure that she doesn't ever find herself in a situation where she would have to use them. because if she ever feels existentially threatened (and that is what both Syria and Iran specifically plan to accomplish), then she will, just as we would.

    [quote]part of the reason that Israel needs to be protected in the first place is because the "occupation" mentality resonates with a lot of Arabs.

    And the idea that Israel would be more aggressive without US help defies credibility
    on the contrary, when the US is firm in it's support of Israel she feels safer to do things like unilaterally leave Gaza. we are the ones with the soft power - and by turning them to our allies' aid we can allow Israel to use soft power as well - through us. Israel herself has only hard power - and when we withdraw her ability to leverage our soft power, that becomes by reduction the only tool available to her.

    The US is the only important foreign power that has any influence with Israel. Of course they want to stay on our good side. It might not happen overnight; Israel could defy the US on individual issues. But if the US actively pushed Israel to tone down their behavior and stopped providing diplomatic cover, in the long term they absolutely would.
    what behavior? showing greater restraint than any other nation on the planet? if the mexican government were to decide to take back Texas, and in order to do so began the daily launching of rockets into Arizona, California, and Texas; training (and then loosing) her young men to murder our chidren in their sleep; do you really think that that the US response would be to merely continue to live in Texas? No, we would invade northern mexico and kill everyone holding a gun or encouraging those that do. Any other nation woud do the same. But for some idiotic reason people have decided that the Palestinians are allowed to endlessly bloody Israelis and Israel is in the worng if she ever attempts to perform the most central governing function and protect her people from violence.

    if Israel ever decided that the US was no longer supporting her? well, she can't make peace with her enemies, because they're not interested in peace where she continues to survive. so she is left with three alternatives: suicide, status quo (which becomes unsustainable), or attack.

    And if they didn't? Well, then that's their problem, not ours.
    actually given that there is a high chance of the destruction of world trade, a high chance of the entire region descending into chaos and broiling war, and a medium - to - high chance of nuclear exchange; yeah, it sort of is our problem.

    No need to sully OUR reputation because of their actions.
    because of their actions? I'm proud of our alliance with Israel, never has a nation with their comparative power suffered so much and been willing to forgive as much as the modern state of Israel. If anyone attempted the crap that the Palestinians pull with China the result would be bloody invasion followed by slow genocide and replacement with Han Chinese.

    Most Arabs feel that the US has been unfair to their point of view in the Israel/Palestine conflict.
    yes and this is in no small part thanks to their governments, who need that narrative (and have since the 1967 war) to cover for their own failings. Nasser actually announced during that war that Egypt hadn't been attacked by Israel - but by the US and Britain, which he claimed was the only way they could have lost.... because Israel, of course, could never defeat us.... but people bought it. State controlled media is a powerful thing.

    Frankly, your assessment that our lack of support of Israel would be worse for the Arabs displays a very patriarchal mentality toward Arabs. "You don't know what's best for yourself, so we'll decide for you."
    well, you tell me. do you think that initiating a genocidal war with Israel is good for the Arabs?

    Umm we're talking about the Arab world?
    ummmmm...no, here we aren't.

    really?

    I mean, really?

    I would wager that the average Arab doesn't either.
    probably not, but you were foolish enough to suggest that you agreed with them, and you have no excuse.

    The Green Movement is not the political leadership. Really?
    yes, and hence their lack of belief in the imminent eschaton is irrelevant. which is why I don't know why you thought it mattered.

    The fact is that the Chinese government has the support of most of its people, whereas Karzai had to rig an election to stay in power.
    :

    You might wish the facts were otherwise, but they aren't. Maybe that will change when the Chinese economy slows down, but a revolution seems unlikely right now.
    Upbeat Chinese May Not Be Primed for a Jasmine Revolution - Pew Research Center
    yeah. even when you are primed, (and here the green movement is illustrative as well), it's hard to effect a revolution (or practice Falun Gong) when your organs are being ripped out of your living body. the ugly fact is that as long as you mantain the loyalty of the military, and don't face an outside threat, brutal repression works. That's why Mubarak is gone, and it's why Assad and the CCP are not.

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    Re: Syria unrest: Thousands march in Deraa

    The Brookings Institution and University of Maryland polled people living in six Arab states last year on a variety of subjects. Among the highlights of Arab opinion:

    - The two greatest threats to their country, as they perceived it, were Israel (88%) and the United States (77%). Iran received only 10%.
    - The most important issue to Arabs, in terms of US policy, was the Israel-Palestine conflict (40%). This was also their biggest disappointment with the Obama Administration (34%).
    - The most favorable policies of the Obama Administration, in the eyes of Arabs, were his Iraq policy (21%) and his perceived ending of torture (29%).
    - What motivates the US involvement in the Middle East, according to Arabs? Controlling oil (36%) and protecting Israel (21%). Democracy received only 5%.

    http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Fil...powerpoint.pdf

    At the same time, Pew has found broad support for democracy in at least three Arab countries. "Democracy is preferable to any other form of government," agreed a majority of people in Egypt (60%), Jordan (69%), and Lebanon (83%).
    Will Enthusiasm for Democracy Endure in Egypt and Elsewhere? - Pew Research Center

    You can draw your own conclusions from that data. I interpret it as showing a public that views US foreign policy overwhelmingly negatively, thinks that we are being unfair in our unwavering support of Israel, generally assumes the worst about US intentions, and likes it better when we have less influence over their affairs.
    and depending on the country you would be correct.

    I see a public that wants democracy, but doesn't think the US wants democracy in their countries
    that's because until recently, we haven't. and even now we are situationally dependent. it's also why the Obama administrations' policy in the middle east right now is so damn frustrating. we are missing a once-in-a-generation chance to fundamentally alter the perception of the US in the middle east.... and we are doing nothing.

    That indicates to me that we have got our foreign policy in the region very, very wrong.
    and generally speaking, you are correct. the "realist" approach, isn't. but going to an even dumber approach - withdrawal, is not the solution to that.

    And I'm not going to be tempted to frame this issue in terms of marketing our policies better to Arabs, as though they are children whose opinions are completely invalid.
    leaving aside the failed description of marketing (companies spend billions marketing consumers around the world and are successful when they do so - indicating that either the success of marketing does not make the influenced actor a child, or the entire human race is children, which makes the attempted contrast moot). are you aware at all of the development of 4th Generation Warfare theory?

    You might want to pick up The Sling and the Stone.

  9. #49
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    Re: Syria unrest: Thousands march in Deraa

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    egg them on? give me instances of the US Egging them on.
    Massive weapons sales to Israel regardless of what they are used for. Refusal to condemn (so far) Israeli actions that inflame Arab sentiment and harm the peace process, like settlements in the West Bank and possessing nuclear weapons.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    provide them with cover at the UN? have you seen how the UN - largest voting bloc? the Arab States - treats Israel? we're not providing them "cover" for two reasons: 1. if the UN were to tell Israel it could no longer defend itself, Israel would tell the UN to get bent - at which point the UN is impotent. 2. "Cover" would assume that they are being allowed to carry on some kind of nefarious schemes only thanks to US support - and this is precisely the opposite of the matter. In fact, the less support from the US that Israel has the more aggressive it is requried to become.
    The people who actually live in the Arab world (i.e. not you) perceive the US as being overly supportive of Israel, and therefore as encouraging Israeli aggression. What you are suggesting is that we Americans are somehow acting in the Arabs' best interests by tempering Israeli aggression with our support. And you'll have to forgive me if I don't buy the argument that we can identify their best interests better than they themselves can.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    Israel has on multiple occasions attempted to trade land for peace. it worked with Egypt, and has never worked with the Palestinians. the Arab world can be said to share one emotion (i wouldn't say fear is it) about Israel - and that is genocidal hatred.
    And I reckon that many Arabs would say that Israelis and Americans share a common emotion of genocidal hatred toward THEM.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    evidence that many people in the Arab world feel threatned by Israel, who hasn't gone to war with the Arab world since the 1970's?
    Going to war is not a necessity for feeling threatened. There are plenty of Americans (evidently including yourself) who feel threatened by Iran, despite the fact that the US and Iran have not had any direct conflict since the hostage crisis. The Arab world perceives Israel as launching unjust wars on their land and indiscriminately killing civilians.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    v, say, evidence that people in Israel aren't actually threatened by the Arab world, who enable Palestinian terrorists to attempt to murder then en masse on a daily basis?
    And again, the Arab perception would be that the actions of Palestinian terrorists against Israeli civilians are no different than Israeli military actions that kill civilians. Some people might be saddened by both; others will perceive the actions of Hamas as regrettable but necessary for the advancement of their cause. Just like some members of this forum blithely dismiss civilian casualties of war as collateral damage. Callousness toward the deaths of "the other" is hardly a phenomenon that is unique to Arab culture.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    that is correct. Israel has nukes. We need to be involved in the Middle East to make sure that she doesn't ever find herself in a situation where she would have to use them. because if she ever feels existentially threatened (and that is what both Syria and Iran specifically plan to accomplish), then she will, just as we would.
    Then the goal should be preventing a nuclear war. I agree with that. That doesn't have to mean supporting Israel no matter what it does; after all, if Iran had nukes I doubt you'd be so accommodating to ensure THEIR safety.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    on the contrary, when the US is firm in it's support of Israel she feels safer to do things like unilaterally leave Gaza. we are the ones with the soft power - and by turning them to our allies' aid we can allow Israel to use soft power as well - through us. Israel herself has only hard power - and when we withdraw her ability to leverage our soft power, that becomes by reduction the only tool available to her.
    Considering the US is just about the only friend that Israel has left - and that their actions negatively impact OUR reputation with other countries - it appears that whatever influence our "soft power" has isn't doing very much to help the situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    what behavior? showing greater restraint than any other nation on the planet? if the mexican government were to decide to take back Texas, and in order to do so began the daily launching of rockets into Arizona, California, and Texas; training (and then loosing) her young men to murder our chidren in their sleep; do you really think that that the US response would be to merely continue to live in Texas? No, we would invade northern mexico and kill everyone holding a gun or encouraging those that do. Any other nation woud do the same. But for some idiotic reason people have decided that the Palestinians are allowed to endlessly bloody Israelis and Israel is in the worng if she ever attempts to perform the most central governing function and protect her people from violence.
    Well personally I think that the methods of BOTH sides are detestable, and that showing reckless disregard for civilian casualties isn't much better than intentionally killing civilians, especially when the scale of Israeli attacks is so much greater than Palestinian attacks.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    if Israel ever decided that the US was no longer supporting her? well, she can't make peace with her enemies, because they're not interested in peace where she continues to survive. so she is left with three alternatives: suicide, status quo (which becomes unsustainable), or attack.
    Or they could withdraw from the Palestinian territories to take the bite out of the issue, which the Arab people clearly want. I'm not going to believe that the clearly-stated policies preferences of Arabs indicate anything sinister; they simply have a different perception of the world than most Americans. Most Arabs don't have a "genocidal hatred for Israel," they just want something that they perceive as a threat to be resolved. And the few who DO have a "genocidal hatred for Israel" would lose a lot of their political support if they no longer had an occupation of Arab lands as a rallying cry.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    actually given that there is a high chance of the destruction of world trade, a high chance of the entire region descending into chaos and broiling war, and a medium - to - high chance of nuclear exchange; yeah, it sort of is our problem.
    And there it is again. The mentality that we Americans know what is best for the rest of the world. I doubt that Arabs want a nuclear war on their land any moreso than anyone else in the world, so again, I'm not buying the mentality that we need to protect them from their confused little selves.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    because of their actions? I'm proud of our alliance with Israel, never has a nation with their comparative power suffered so much and been willing to forgive as much as the modern state of Israel. If anyone attempted the crap that the Palestinians pull with China the result would be bloody invasion followed by slow genocide and replacement with Han Chinese.
    So Israel is more sympathetic to human rights than China. That is quite the accomplishment.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    yes and this is in no small part thanks to their governments, who need that narrative (and have since the 1967 war) to cover for their own failings. Nasser actually announced during that war that Egypt hadn't been attacked by Israel - but by the US and Britain, which he claimed was the only way they could have lost.... because Israel, of course, could never defeat us.... but people bought it. State controlled media is a powerful thing.
    And yet the state-controlled media chooses to focus on THIS, as opposed to, say, Iranian oppression of Arabs, or Kurdish oppression of Arabs. The reason that state-controlled media focuses on this is because they know that the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is an issue that resonates with Arabs. So instead of essentially saying that the Arabs are all brainwashed and/or uneducated (and that therefore their opinions are invalid), perhaps you should think about WHY that issue resonates with Arabs.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    well, you tell me. do you think that initiating a genocidal war with Israel is good for the Arabs?
    Nope. Next question.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    yeah. even when you are primed, (and here the green movement is illustrative as well), it's hard to effect a revolution (or practice Falun Gong) when your organs are being ripped out of your living body. the ugly fact is that as long as you mantain the loyalty of the military, and don't face an outside threat, brutal repression works. That's why Mubarak is gone, and it's why Assad and the CCP are not.
    The Chinese people today largely approve of their government. That's the biggest reason that the CCP has not collapsed in recent years. Just because *you* don't approve of a dictatorship doesn't necessarily mean that the people who actually live under it don't approve. Some dictators are more popular than others. Just about everyone in Egypt hated Mubarak; most Chinese like their government; it remains to be seen which is more applicable to Assad in Syria.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 04-28-11 at 03:20 AM.
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    Re: Syria unrest: Thousands march in Deraa

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    and depending on the country you would be correct.

    that's because until recently, we haven't. and even now we are situationally dependent. it's also why the Obama administrations' policy in the middle east right now is so damn frustrating. we are missing a once-in-a-generation chance to fundamentally alter the perception of the US in the middle east.... and we are doing nothing.

    and generally speaking, you are correct. the "realist" approach, isn't. but going to an even dumber approach - withdrawal, is not the solution to that.
    So what exactly DO you think we should be doing? Offering diplomatic support to all Arab democrats (including those on the Arabian Peninsula)? Forcibly liberate the crap out of them? Continuing to prop up dictators while educating Arabs on how we really love democracy?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    leaving aside the failed description of marketing (companies spend billions marketing consumers around the world and are successful when they do so - indicating that either the success of marketing does not make the influenced actor a child, or the entire human race is children, which makes the attempted contrast moot).
    The point is that there are two ways that you can view the implications of those Arab opinion polls, in the context of US policy. You can think "What are we doing wrong in our foreign policy that makes Arabs feel threatened by our foreign policy?" or you can think "What are we doing wrong in our marketing that makes those brainwashed genocidal lunatics unable to see the truth of how wonderful our policies are for them?" Personally I prefer the former approach.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    are you aware at all of the development of 4th Generation Warfare theory?
    Essentially the idea that war is shifting from international conflicts between nation-states to smaller factions. I largely agree.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 04-28-11 at 03:17 AM.
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