Quote Originally Posted by Agent Ferris View Post
Pablo Escobar was a narco-terrorist. Terrorism can be defined as the unlawful use of force perpetrated by non-state or subnational actors in order to coerce or influence a government or society, the definitions usually imply the use of force against non-combatants, given that narco-terrorists in Mexico fit the definition to the letter. Terrorism isn't limited to blowing up buildings all though narco-terrorists incorporate bombings into their arsenal all of the time. How would you define terrorism. Would you define 9-11 as an act of terrorism? Something tells me that you wouldn't.
I certainly wouldn't use the deceitful, politically-charged definitions of the U.S. government. The root of the word is key. Terrorism implies terror. A few definitions I would favor:

"criminal acts directed against a State and intended or calculated to create a state of terror in the minds of particular persons or a group of persons or the general public"

- League of Nations' 1937 Convention for the prevention and punishment of Terrorism

"1. Any person commits an offence within the meaning of this Convention if that person, by any means, unlawfully and intentionally, causes:

(a) Death or serious bodily injury to any person; or
(b) Serious damage to public or private property, including a place of public use, a State or government facility, a public transportation system, an infrastructure facility or the environment; or
(c) Damage to property, places, facilities, or systems referred to in paragraph 1 (b) of this article, resulting or likely to result in major economic loss,

when the purpose of the conduct, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a Government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act."

- Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism

These are not perfect, but still closer to a fair definition of terrorism. Specifically the target of terrorism is not just the people directly affected by the attack, but instead a much larger group. Killing police and military for trying to crack down on your criminal activities is not terrorism regardless of the means by which it is carried out. Killing civilians in exceedingly brutal ways for threatening your criminal activities is also not terrorism.

In essence the motive is just as important as the means and effect. From what I can see the Mexican cartels are largely driven by financial motives and there is no ideological element to their activities. Also, they do not seem intended to induce a state of terror among civilians as a mean of persuading the government. Their activities are more like suppression of dissent. Pablo Escobar was explicitly seeking to induce a state of terror as a way of keeping the government from continuing their campaign against the government.

Acts against the State are a little more complicated as far as labeling them terrorism. The motive here matters most of all. Blowing up a plane with major officials of the state on board might kill many civilians and induce a state of terror, but if this is part of a general campaign against the government itself then it would not be terrorism.

In times of war excessive military force would not be the same as terrorism because the nature of the attack is to achieve a strategic or tactical advantage. Inducing a state of terror through such means has obvious benefits in such cases with most countries claiming it as an attempt to "demoralize" the population of the opposing party. However, this has limits as well. The state of terror would generally be motivated by the substantial damage inflicted by military action or substantial risk of damage. Small-scale attacks implemented to create a general terror would not be included.

At the same time the terms terrorist and terrorist organization should not be assigned to anyone who engages in terrorism. The main issue is that terrorism defines the scope of an individual or organization's activities. An organization like al-Qaeda whose chief purpose is to create and incite terror through singular acts of mass destruction is a classic terrorist organization. If terrorism is not an organization's chief mode of operation then it cannot be fairly labeled a terrorist organization. For instance, I would consider Hamas to have once been a terrorist organization as its chief mode of operation was acts of terrorism, but as of late it has shifted to more conventional military tactics, which to me suggests they would no longer be a terrorist organization.

The actions taken by both the U.S. and the Soviet Union were exactly the same except inverted in both conflicts, the results were exactly the same but inverted in both conflicts, but they weren't the same whatsoever.
Except the actions were not the same and, importantly, neither were the motives.

Troop levels increased every year Kennedy was in office, Kennedy didn't deescalate the conflict in fact he increased troop levels, and escalated the conflict and made a U.S. withdrawal impossible when he assassinated the President of South Vietnam.
I did not say he was pulling back the whole time. In fact, I specifically said he had begun withdrawing.

The insurgency in the south was not even approved until 1959.
It was approved before that, however the level of insurgency from 1959 onwards was not.

I'm done with it, the Iraqi elections were certified by international observers, independent observers, Iraqi volunteers, and the results corresponded with public opinion polls taken at the time.
You shouldn't just defer to the declaration of an organization. If it is clear they had a poor basis for their position then you should openly question it. Looking at this information, and in light of other issues around the election, it seems this was not a free or fair election.

Quote Originally Posted by kaya'08 View Post
The downside? Its a major world player with two core values; Freedom. Liberty. Naturally, it feels the need to exert these values onto others, and that can only improve the world.
The likes of China would do the opposite, and drag this planet into darker days, if it where to ever take over the reigns. So all in all, yes. The world would be much worse off without America.
The U.S. government espouses such values, but so do countless other countries and many of them do not live up to it, especially in their actions overseas. Where the U.S. government has actually imposed elections they have actively sought to manipulate the process in their favor. Also, I think you misjudge China. China's rooted in democratic values, but like many other developing countries has simply not been able to flesh these out though it is actively advancing. Of course, I do not believe it will look like Western democracy, but in a good way in that it will find ways to address failings in Western democracy.

Also, China's attitude in war and diplomacy suggest they will in general be a more moral actor in the world.

Quote Originally Posted by Tubub View Post
"people who threaten the organization" is such a loose term it may as well apply to anyone, especially in the eyes of drug cartels. If you don't profit the cartel, then you're an enemy of the cartel. In order to deter people from turning against them, the cartels kill politicians and other leaders that aren't in line.That's terrorism.
No, that is not terrorism. Killing members of the government to dissuade the government from a crackdown is typical of a criminal organization.

The cartels don't have any ideological undertone if that's what you mean, except maybe profit margins... And that's enough to push them into terrorizing people into compliance. They are terrorists in a broader sense of the word, especially since they're known to work with radical terrorist organizations like FARC and Al Qaeda.
Working with terrorists does not make one a terrorist. Also, terrorizing people to crush dissent is not terrorism. That would be oppression.

Yet you don't have any evidence to prove that point.
I'm not the one who needs to provide evidence. To claim the Soviets aiding communist groups in Vietnam and the U.S. invading is the same as the U.S. aiding anti-communist groups and the Soviets invading without regard to the motive of either country in each case is just absurd.

The U.S. invaded for different reasons than the Soviets and I have yet to see anything suggesting the Soviets aided groups for the same reason as the U.S. For the U.S. it was not simply a matter of waging a proxy war, but creating a situation that would suck the Soviet Union into an unwinnable war and inadvertently destabilize the Soviet Union itself. There is no way the Soviets could have thought their support for the communist insurgency in Vietnam would have had any effect on stability in the United States and there was little reason for them to suspect their support would suck us into the conflict and cause us to suffer a strategic failure.

Whether Kennedy would've gone as far as Johnson with escalation is debatable, but Kennedy was not pulling out any troops when he was killed.
It is a matter of historical record that he was doing just that.

I don't like the U.N. either, but I think for much different reasons than you.
I don't know about that.