nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2003 03:59 pm
Oh, I wasnt apologising (this time 'round Smile ... I think I remained perfectly civil, and less patronizing than either of us are known to get. I just wanted to explain why I went on about it so long - why it was important to me. Think that should be clear now.

Now to come up with a way to phrase that last paragraph in my previous post (the one before "How's it work here?") into a clear subject line for a new Roundtable topic ...
0 Replies
 
timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2003 04:16 pm
nimh wrote:
Oh, I wasnt apologising (this time 'round Smile


Oh, me neither Twisted Evil

As for a topic title suggestion, how 'bout something along the lines of "Do one's political leanings color one's observations of the political sphere, particularly in the context of one's perceptions of 'The Other Side'?"
0 Replies
 
Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2003 05:40 pm
nimh wrote:

Now to come up with a way to phrase that last paragraph in my previous post (the one before "How's it work here?") into a clear subject line for a new Roundtable topic ...


Why are all conservatives bad, and all non-conservatives virtuous?
0 Replies
 
timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2003 05:47 pm
Or "How come Conservatives 'Just don't get it'?" ... that seems pretty close to the gist of the idea. Twisted Evil
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Oct, 2003 04:00 pm
LOL!

Ok ... fair enough. I'll skip that topic then, methinks ;-)

Seriously tho, it was meant to be a little deeper than "conservatives suck" ... something to do with how you look out into the world, what you focus on, what you're looking for.

Conservatives often call liberals "naive" for finding all kinds of nice, decent, trustworthy, non-dangerous folks out there in the world. Conservatives are more wary ... thats fair enough, isnt it?

Downside of that is conservatives are also more likely to be disinterested in international co-operation, relying more on "defence and offense" ... but that either belies or results in a world view thats more focused on what there is to "fear or fight" than on what there is to "trust and help".

Thats still not all too rhetorical a grand sketch, is it?

Now theres one obvious exception to the rule: this neo-conservative eagerness to go out and change the world, basically - quite a non-traditional notion for conservatives. But my truck there would be that their interest seems to be about "rescuing" - about American liberators bringing true civilisation. A manifest destiny kinda thing. (And again, militant conservatives rail against "cultural relativism" fiercely enough to underline that point.) And I think the determined focus on, "who can we save", sometimes gets in the way of seeing, "what is already there". Happened to the socialists too, back when with their world revolution.

So ... there was slightly more, perhaps, than a "[..] just dont get it" thing there after all (and thats a line Timber's used several times in A2K discussions, btw, I don't). Then again, probably no great new insights there, either, so yeh, I guess I'll leave it ;-)
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Oct, 2003 09:18 am
nimh wrote:
Conservatives often call liberals "naive" for finding all kinds of nice, decent, trustworthy, non-dangerous folks out there in the world. Conservatives are more wary ... thats fair enough, isnt it?

Downside of that is conservatives are also more likely to be disinterested in international co-operation, relying more on "defence and offense" ... but that either belies or results in a world view thats more focused on what there is to "fear or fight" than on what there is to "trust and help".

Thats still not all too rhetorical a grand sketch, is it?



IMO, both of these statements are great exagerations. I doubt, as a whole, Conservatives are any more or less wary that Liberals or that they are any more or less interested in International co-operation.

All of these areas have pros and cons to both ends of the political spectrum. In the realm of "International co-operation" Conservatives have generally supported globalization, reductions of trade restrictions, etc.. while Liberals have pushed co-operation as foreign aid, education and medical programs amongst others. For all the chatter about how Conservatives supposedly thrive on fear I notice that there have been plenty on the left posting about their fears right here on A2K.

Both ends of the spectrum use International bodies to acheive their own politcial objectives and there is very little difference in how they do it.
0 Replies
 
timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Oct, 2003 10:37 am
Libruls dress funny, too.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Oct, 2003 01:31 pm
timberlandko wrote:
Libruls dress funny, too.


you should see my hair Twisted Evil
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Oct, 2003 08:11 am
Perhaps what the last several posts suggest more than anything is the inadequacy of the various categories we so blithely make and use (conservatives, liberals, neoconservatives, etc.), compared to the much more complex reality of our ideas, beliefs, and which the various actors in these scenes really exhibit. The utility of the common generalizations about what liberals and conservatives do or believe is constantly confounded by counterexamples emerging on both sides of that divide and on both sides of the Atlantic.

A generalization which is also subject to these contradictions, but which in the current situation appears to be slightly more reliable is the (growing, in my view) divergence between the world views of American and European political classes and elites. My image is one in which Europeans tend to see America as too powerful, too full of itself and its peculiar version of history, inadequately sensitive to the differing perspective and interests of Europeans, and probably a bit dangerous. Similarly Americans see Europe as the spawning ground for the radicalisms that caused so much misery and destruction in the last century, and now bent on imposing its latest solution for the very problems which it created for the world on the rest of us. In particular a Western Europe that generally failed to carry its share of the load during the Cold War, and which, again, now seeks a share of control well beyond the contributions it makes to the solutions.

It is neither fair nor accurate of Nimh to suggest that supporters of Ronald Reagan's vigorous confrontation with the Soviet Empire were either unaware or unappreciative of the crucial contributions of Vaclav Havel (and other Eastern European leaders) to the downfall of that unlamented Empire. On the contrary a fundamental component of Reagan's belief and strategy was the conviction that the Soviet system was rotten and that opposition leaders and movements would quickly emerge, first in Eastern Europe, to oppose the system, given greater firmness of purpose and self-confidence among the western powers. Indeed this is what happened. It was the generally supine, accommodating stance of the Western European powers (Old Europe) that had prolonged the life of the Soviet system. I believe there is a lesson for us here in the present circumstances.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Oct, 2003 07:18 pm
Thank you, georgeob1, for a very level-headed and sensible response, and for putting us back into place, kinda, when it comes to - in this case my - crude generalisations.

I was very deliberately making a generalisation, of course - hence the "deap-seated prejudice" quip with which I introduced it - and I do hope y'all didnt take all of it as wholly earnestly as my usual posts ... there is also an actual point in the generalisation, too (which will crop up again far below, in the Iran bit of this post), but yeh - first of all, george rightly raised the overwhelming relativity of such categorisations, in the face of the divergent connotations, especially across borders ...

For example, in the article I just translated, that I'll post next up, you'll find the Ayatollahites in Iran called "conservatives", and President Khatami, on their behalf, brushing off the Nobel Prize in much the same way as Timber did: "unimportant" and "a political decision". Yet to confuse things, the pro-Ayatollah newspaper called the Prize part of an "American-zionist plot", and the thugs in the piece denounce it as "the prize that was given to the American Jimmy Carter last year".

Now when did you last hear people denouncing Jimmy Carter as part of the American-zionist plot, only to then be called "conservative" for doing so? <grins> The confusions are boundless, when it comes to political terms. In the Perestrojka years, orthodox communists were called "right-wing" and the demonstrators calling for democracy and reform "left-wing". In many West-European countries, its the far left that takes up the cause of immigrants and minorities - but in much of Eastern Europe, its the freemarketeer (right-wing!) liberals who stand out in opposing xenophobia, while the post-communist left is murky about it. Its fascinating, really.

georgeob1 wrote:
A generalization which is also subject to these contradictions, but which in the current situation appears to be slightly more reliable is the (growing, in my view) divergence between the world views of American and European political classes and elites. My image is one in which Europeans tend to see America as too powerful, too full of itself and its peculiar version of history, inadequately sensitive to the differing perspective and interests of Europeans, and probably a bit dangerous. Similarly Americans see Europe as the spawning ground for the radicalisms that caused so much misery and destruction in the last century, and now bent on imposing its latest solution for the very problems which it created for the world on the rest of us. In particular a Western Europe that generally failed to carry its share of the load during the Cold War, and which, again, now seeks a share of control well beyond the contributions it makes to the solutions.


Actually agree with all of this - quite astute (yes, the bit about Europe too <smiles>) - except for the last line, of course ;-). How exactly did "Western Europe fail to carry its share of the load during the Cold War"? I mean, I'll admit us peace protestors did our best - but we failed, didnt we? <grins> And how are we claiming a share of control "well beyond the contributions we are making to the solutions"? That all depends on what you think the solutions are, doesnt it? The Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries spend 1% of their annual GNP on development aid - much more than the US does. The US spends a much greater share of its budget on military operations. Concerning which budget posts within such spending patterns we consider to make a contribution to "the solutions" or not, we'll predictably disagree.

One (other) bit of nitpicking still (also neatly seguing back to Iran):

georgeob1 wrote:
It is neither fair nor accurate of Nimh to suggest that supporters of Ronald Reagan's vigorous confrontation with the Soviet Empire were either unaware or unappreciative of the crucial contributions of Vaclav Havel (and other Eastern European leaders) to the downfall of that unlamented Empire.


It would be unfair to say "all supporters" were so - thats why I didnt - but some American conservatives, oy - I've been amazed, really, at meeting people who truly thought "Reagan had liberated E-Europe". Not to belittle the role that the arms race played in straining the Soviet plan-economy to the point that it started falling apart, necessating some Soviet leader or other to change things drastically - but, a), Gorbachev could have tried taking Li Peng's road instead of yielding E-Europe to democracy, and then a lot more blood would have flown, and b) these people really seemed clueless about the Leipzig demonstrations, the Prague and Budapest dissidents, even the Polish trade unionists - they truly saw Eastern Europe as a Communist monolith, that Reagan pushed over - end of story. That I think is - apart from mere ignorance, and sad, really, also indicative of a certain populist American-conservative mindset.

It comes up again in the debate on Iran, where, away from our nuanced posts, you have the populist-conservative impression of Iran as an ultra-fundamentalist, evil monolith - an impression that would logically lead to the idea of an Iraq-style military approach by ways of solution.
Whereas in reality, you've got your evil people in the regime there, you've also got your Gorbachev-style reformists, voted into office in actual, free elections - but, though of good will, perhaps, impotent and mired in compromise; you've got your radical rebel students and your principled dissidents, rightly criticising the government from without - and you've got your armed guerrilla's, partly rooted in dubious exile groups.

Personally I'd go for the third group (the principled dissidents, like Ebadi), while keeping a dialogue with the second group, in order to get the first group out - but in any case it's important to realise this entire landscape, first.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Oct, 2003 07:23 pm
As far as the Khatami-Gorbachev comparison is still on, it's definitely no longer "Prestrojka 1988" in Iran, it seems - more like early 1991.

(That was when Gorbachev was down to 17% approval in the polls and tottered on towards the August coup as a hostage to his ego and his loyalties - clueless about the deluge of rebellions and transformations he'd triggered and unwilling to rid himself of his conservative communist allies, he lurched back to a repressive line but in fact provoked a democratic revolution.)

Problem is - there's no Yeltsin in Iran - and what if the August 91 coup had succeeded?

But enough with comparisons and predictions - now to the article that I wanted to post - and a moment of celebration!
A story to warm your heart, whether you're, say, Walter or Sofia.

OK, one more comparison: does this sound a little like 1989 Prague or Leipzig ("Keine Gewalt!"), or what? ;-) "We the people"!

Original article: http://www.nrc.nl/buitenland/artikel/1066195568127.html

Quote:
'Khatami, shame on you, resign!'

Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi returned to Iran yesterday - and was welcomed with slogans that would normally end you up in prison in Iran.

By Thomas Erdbrink [my translation, hence any language-mistakes], NRC Handelsblad.

TEHERAN, 15 OCT. An hour before the Iran Air flight from Paris will land on the Teheran airport thousands of people have already gathered in the arrivals hall. Observed by a portrait of the late ayatollah Khomeiny, founder of the almost 25-year old islamic republic, people unfold their banners for Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi. The Iranian, who last Friday heard in Paris that she had won the Nobel Prize for Peace, had been suggested, by the government, an official welcome in the VIP lounge. But Ebadi answered that she was not interested: "I went as an ordinary Iranian and I return as an ordinary Iranian."

There are few Iranians, however, who will return to a celebrating, demonstrating mass of people, where women with white headscarves strew about flowers and elderly men with horn-rimmed glasses pass candy around. The crowd was appealed to come by womens and children rights organisations, which Ebadi has done a lot for. They asked the women to wear white "as colour of peace".

Around nine o'clock, the police by then has already evicted the arrivals hall, students join those waiting, too. With a megaphone they call out slogans for Ebadi and against the regime. Met een megafoon roepen ze leuzen vóór Ebadi en tegen het regime. "Khatami, shame on you!", yells the crowd. The reformist president of Iran, voted in twice by the young and the women, called the Nobel Prize "unimportant" yesterday and asked in annoyance why he "always had to react on every little thing", when he was asked his opinion about the prize for the Iranian.

"Khatami, resign!", the people in front of the airport holler. Police agents look on in glazed-over confusion. A man holds a placard over his head on wich a map of his country is drawn with barbed wire as its borders, and bars across the rest of the country. "Iran is one big prison", it says. "Free the political prisoners!", the waiting crowd yells out again and again. In the midst of all the political violence, boys and girls flirt with each other, children beg for candy and pensioners zoom around on electric scooters, because above all today is a day for celebration.

President Khatami called the Nobel Prize for Peace award a political decision.

The arch conservative newspaper Keihaan went further and described Ebadi's prize as further munition for the "American-zionist" complot against Iran.

The rainbowcoalition of reformers, who have lost the trust of the people because they did not keep their promises about more personal freedom, a better economy and more legal security, has interpreted the prize award as a confirmation that they're on the right way. Deputies of the parliament, which they dominate, are in front of the crowd, to be among the first to greet her and to bask in the light of her victory.

"I don't believe those reformers anymore, they are no different from the conservatives", says a man in the crowd. "We are the people but they are part of the regime." He wraps his arm around his wife, who says she wants to cry out of happiness. "Thanks to Ebadi's prize the world sees what's happening here. Our young people are unemployed and go to Europe, are women are repressed and our life has been kidnapped by the regime", she says. " I hope the assault groups won't come to beat us up".

When the airplane has finally landed, it turns out to have been directed to the arrival hall for domestic flights. The welcomers suspect foul play of the government, but hastily start the walk to the terminal two miles down the road. There another several thousand people join the group, which, unperturbed, continues to call out slogans that would normally end you up in prison in Iran.

Finally there is the relief, when Ebadi eventually climbs onto a small stage and speeches to the crowd with a megaphone. Men cry and applaud, children do little dances, pensioners wave white handkerchiefs in the air. The crowd is shrieking as if the Saviour himself has just walked out of the terminal. "I will go on with my work", the Nobel Prize winner croaks through the megaphone. Cheers. "The political prisoners must be freed". Roars. "This prize is for everyone who believes in peace, democracy and human rights." Shrieks. After that Ebadi retreats from the crowd: "I am so tired", she excuses herself.

On the way back a lost group of Baseej, the conservative assault groups, are standing in a corner. They made a banner, too, with the text: "We don't congratulate Ebadi with the prize that last year went to the American Jimmy Carter."

In the crowd that passes by some people flick a middle finger. Nobody wants to fight with them.

"People walk on!", a girl calls out. "We are going to change Iran peacefully!".
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Oct, 2003 08:41 pm
Nimh,

Thanks very much for translating and posting a most interesting and relevant article.

Perhaps no other Islamic country illustrates the dilemma now facing the Moslem world so well as Iran.

After four centuries of escalating setbacks in its struggles with Europe, the last of which saw the humiliating colonization of major parts of the Islamic territory by these European powers, the Moslem world, which in its inward focus had largely remained blind to its decline, has in the last few decades been forcibly made to face its relative economic, cultural and political backwardness. The result is a profound divide among its people; some wishing for the development of modern economic systems, the gradual development of modern political structures and the relaxation of Islamist concepts of theocratic rule; while others turn backwards and seek the renewal of ancient Caliphates, Sharia law, and the rejection of modernism in most of its forms. The outcome of this struggle is of immense importance to the West which must deal with the consequences., and which increasingly faces the fury of Islamists who wish to destroy everything modern.

In Iran Islamists overthrew the secular regime of the Shah and installed a theocratic government, while a growing fraction of Iranians discovered they really wanted a more liberal form of the old secular government. Iran is the opposite of the Islamic countries that are more or less friendly to the west, most notably Egypt and (to a lesser extent)Saudi Arabia. They have secular or materialist governments sitting on the backs of largely Islamist populations. Iran is the converse - an Islamist government sitting on the backs of an increasingly forward-looking population, longing for modern political, economic and social structures.

This, of course brings to mind one of the most important, and least discussed reasons for the U.S.intervention in Iraq. Apart from Iran, no people in the Moslem world are, based on their cultural, economic and even political traditions, so amenable to the development of a modern secular state as are the Iraqis. Under the gangster regime of Saddam Hussein this potential was wasted, and the possible synergy with an evolving Iran was replaced by a stupid, meaningless and bloody war. Remove that barrier and there is the potential for the creation of a progressive critical mass among the most creative and capable people in the Moslem world and in its most naturally well-endowed territory. The catalyitic potential of this eventuality offers a better prospect for improved relations between the Moslem world and the West than any other I know of. The alternatives seem very grim indeed.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Oct, 2003 09:23 pm
Nimh,

With respect to other comments in your previous post;

I did not intend my point about the many contradictions to be found in application of the labels conservative & liberal as a criticism, but rather as an acknowledgment of the complexities that underlie all our discussions - mine too - on these themes.

My comments regarding Reagan and Havel were in reference to the analysis and strategy of the Reagan administration and the people surrounding it (with which I was peripherally associated). They were intensely aware of the Hungarian and Polish uprisings of the late '50s, the Prague Spring of 1967 and the continuation of those liberal and nationalistic aspirations in the then nascent Solidarity movement in Poland and the potential of cultural leaders such as Havel in Czechoslovakia. Indeed in his Westminster speech of 1983 in which he coined the term "evil empire", Reagan predicted the emergence of these forces in the face of what he termed as a decaying and evil empire. These were regarded as rather radical expressions at the time, but history has proven him correct.

I will concede that some here who cite the great things done by Reagan may not be sufficiently aware of the major contributions of Eastern European leaders in achieving their own liberation - in that you are correct. However I don't think that fact is of much consequence.

Throughout the Cold War our NATO allies annually pledged certain levels of spending on military preparedness, and annually failed to meet those commitments. (Only the FRG came close to meeting its goals.) On every meaningful basis, as % of GDP or in proportion to population, the United States bore a disproportionate share of the cost and burden of meeting the military challenge posed by the Soviet Union - by a wide margin. Despite this these same European powers demanded a proportional share in the decision-making. Thus arose a pattern of American cynicism about the reliability and intentions of our 'allies' ,and European frustration with an America that listened to them less and less. These problems persist today.

The relative size of U.S. development aid is often cited in this context, with America's lagging those of the European powers. However if one includes cash transfers of the millions of American immigrants (legal and illegal) to their families back home the figures, as a % of GDP, converge. Certainly the net economic effect is the same.

My view is that Europe is becoming increasingly complacent, shortsighted and old. Populations are declining and there is greater interest in comfort and security than in meeting the relatively distant challenges before them.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2003 02:39 pm
<nods at points about E-Europe>.

Another thing I'll agree on - I don't have very many nice things to say about Reagan, but his "Mr. Gorbachev - tear down this wall!", for example, was certainly "regarded as [a] rather radical expression at the time". In fact, it was widely considered a cheap rhetorical trick here, meant merely to embarass the Soviet leader by demanding the impossible, in order to discredit - or avoid accepting - his invitations to end the Cold War. Yet the point is, Ronald Reagan was also simply talking common sense.

What leftists tend to forget sometimes is that, just cause an argument is not sophisticated, its not necessarily not right. Living so close to where the Cold War split the world apart, many of us were so relieved at Gorbachev's willingness to start radical, bilateral disarmament, that we were willing, for the moment, to 'forget' about the Berlin Wall and the inhumanity it represented. Demanding, basically, a complete capitulation from Gorbachev might not have been the best way to bring forward the negotiations on bilateral disarmament we were so desperately yearning for - but Reagan was right - it would ultimately have been wrong to compromise on this. I don't know about "evil empire", but Soviet communism did have to be brought to complete capitulation, as soon as global security allowed it. So he was right to press on.

georgeob1 wrote:
Despite this these same European powers demanded a proportional share in the decision-making.


I instantly believe you about the spending commitments - I didnt know they existed, but if they did, I'm not surprised that the W-European countries did not take on a proportional share of the costs. It must have changed from decade to decade though, I'd assume: the US more than doubled its defence spending in the eighties, for example, I'm sure that changed proportions a bit.

Furthermore, I also have great difficulty believing that those W-European countries ever had a chance of achieving a "proportional share in the decision-making", either. Especially before the Cold War ended, did the W-European countries ever get to significantly alter the course the US set out on NATO policies? If I'm right to think they didn't, I'd say there was a logical correlation between "taking all the responsibility", "taking all the decisions" and "bearing all of the costs". If you want to really share the burden in costs, you also have to accept sharing the decision-making power - a lesson the US is now again, re: Iraq, tormentously slow in learning.

georgeob1 wrote:
The relative size of U.S. development aid is often cited in this context, with America's lagging those of the European powers. However if one includes cash transfers of the millions of American immigrants (legal and illegal) to their families back home the figures, as a % of GDP, converge. Certainly the net economic effect is the same.


I do believe this argument is a dud - no offence. Immigrants in Europe transfer money back home just like immigrants in the US do - and nowadays, there's practically as many of them.

I looked it up for Holland, for example. 19% of the current, legal population is either a "first-generation" or a "second-generation" immigrant. 10% is a "first-generation" immigrant. That's not counting the illegals, of whom we have many too.

Compare a quick google on US figures. According to this site, "20 percent of the current U.S. population [is] estimated as foreign-born [by] the Census Bureau's report", but it's also noted that "demographers openly criticized the agency for including native- born children in their estimates [whereas] typically 'first generation' refers to the immigrants themselves, and their children as 'second generation'. By doing so, the foreign-born estimations are much higher than expected". This page, therefore, presents figures concerning only actual immigrants, which (if you calculate them) amount to, overall, some 11% of the US population.

11% immigrants, 20% if you count their children - the figures are near-identical to the Netherlands'. And I don't think figures in Germany, Britain, France, Belgium will be much different from Holland's. So the "Western Union" cash flow will be similar in relative terms.

That still leaves the chasm in development aid expenses, thus. (Apart from whether dev-aid is good or bad, which I suspect we might disagree on). I'll correct my previous figure - the OECD Observer and the European Commission have the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway at 0,8%/GNP development aid spending in 2000 (Denmark even at 1,1%/GNP) - and the US at 0,1%/GNP. That means the US is spending less money on development aid, in total, than Japan is, and less than half than the EU countries. The years before the contrast was, if anything, starker.

Anyway ... that on another tangent ;-).
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2003 06:33 pm
nimh wrote:
I'd say there was a logical correlation between "taking all the responsibility", "taking all the decisions" and "bearing all of the costs".


On this count - though not necessarily on the context we were talking about just now - I re-found a quote I could not resist sharing <winks>:

"Prince Bandar - who served as Saudi ambassador to the US - also said Washington's desire to dominate world affairs brought risks of its own. "I personally feel it's not in America's interest to be the only game in town," he said. "It costs money and no one says thank you."
0 Replies
 
Brand X
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2003 06:48 pm
Quote:
"Prince Bandar - who served as Saudi ambassador to the US - also said Washington's desire to dominate world affairs brought risks of its own. "I personally feel it's not in America's interest to be the only game in town," he said. "It costs money and no one says thank you."


No one has ever totally dominated the world, but many have mostly dominated, and somebody is always going to mostly dominate. When someone tries to totally dominate like Hitler, the world will come together and thwart them, including America.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Oct, 2003 08:08 pm
Brand X wrote:
No one has ever totally dominated the world, but many have mostly dominated, and somebody is always going to mostly dominate. When someone tries to totally dominate like Hitler, the world will come together and thwart them, including America.


BBB posted an article in a new thread that has more on this. This is from there:

Quote:
Leaders of the 'Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy' charged that the administration is moving "in a dangerous direction toward empire", an idea that they said has never been embraced by the U.S. public. [..]

"We are a diverse group of scholars and analysts from across the political spectrum who believe that the move toward empire must be halted immediately," says the coalition's charter statement, signed by 44 foreign-policy specialists. [..]

Among the more prominent right-wing signers are Doug Bandow, a special assistant to former president Ronald Reagan and now a senior officer at the libertarian Cato Institute, Scott McConnell, chief editor of 'The American Conservative' magazine and Alan Tonelson of the U.S. Business & Industrial Council Educational Foundation. [..]

The coalition's purpose appears to be, above all, to publicly take on liberals and conservatives who support the administration's imperial policies, beginning with its 'National Security Strategy'.

That document, issued 13 months ago, calls for Washington to maintain its predominant position in the world at all costs, even to the extent of waging pre-emptive war against would-be rivals, and to reshape regions of the world in ways that are compatible with U.S. interests and values. [..]

[M]embers of the group [share] the basic notion that the pursuit of U.S. military domination will ultimately prove self-defeating.

"We can expect, and are seeing now, multiple balances of power forming against us. People resent and resist domination, no matter how benign," asserts the charter, titled 'The Perils of Empire'.

"Empire is problematic because it subverts the freedoms and liberties of citizens at home, while simultaneously thwarting the will of people abroad," it notes. "An imperial strategy threatens to entangle America in an assortment of unnecessary and unrewarding wars." [..]

"We are more isolated from the general opinions of mankind than at any time in history," said McConnell, adding that he shares the concerns of conservative icon Edmund Burke, who worried in the early 19th century that Britain's very power at the time would result both in opposition around the world and in taking on costs that it could not afford in the long run.

Kupchan said the administration's basic assumptions had already proven deeply flawed. Among those, he said, were its belief that "the stronger America is, the more uncompromising its leadership, the more likely the rest of the world would follow along".

"The United States today is far less safe than it was several years ago, because we have weakened the international architecture which helped protect us."
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Oct, 2003 07:51 am
Nimh,

The piece you included in your last post opened with the proposition that the U.S. "is moving in a dangerous direction towards empire", and closed with the observation that the U.S. is less safe than it was several years ago because we have weakened the international architecture that helped protect us. In between are anecdotes claiming to support both propositions.

Both propositions are palpably false. The U.S. has been a principal proponent of numerous international institutions and free trade among all nations. We have voluntarily withdrawn from a large fraction of the overseas military bases that were a legacy of WWII and the Cold War. We have repeatedly acted to limit the effect of local wars and revolution on the freedom and commerce of nearby nations. In none of this have we attempted to colonize other peoples or create lasting structures involving our governance of other nations.

That the U.S, is enormously powerful and has the ability to act as the former European empires did, does not mean that we are doing so. I believe much of this is the projection of Europeans who presume that we necessarily share their historical vices in this area. The fact is we don't.

It would be very difficult to make the case that there is any international architecture that has significantly helped us. Nations have and will continue to act in their self interest, as they are able to perceive and understand it.

The Western European nations supported our military alliance after WWII solely because they stood in dread of domination by the Soviet monolith. They did as much as they had to to sustain the American commitment to their defense, and not a wit more. It would be very difficult indeed to find a single instance in which any of the nations of continental Europe have voluntarily done anything to protect us or our interests, except when theirs too were at stake. Indeed political ingratitude seems to be a particularly European trait. (I do not include the UK in this.)

Though it was started with noble purpose, and undoubtedly helped in the transition of the former European colonial empires to independence, the United Nations is, of necessity, captive to the least common denominator of the social, economic, and political standards of its members. That is not a particularly high standard. The UN has repeatedly demonstrated its inability to manage challenging situations, and we should not expect of it, that which it has amply demonstrated it cannot do.

The Western world is confronted with a complex challenge from a Moslem world that has awoken to its backwardness after four centuries of defeat and exploitation, mostly at the hands of the European powers. While there are those in the Moslem world who strive for the development of modern secular political structures and the economic development that goes with it, many more react with rage against the West and seek to turn illusions about past glories into reality through Jihad and terror. This is a conflict with deep historical roots: it is not merely a reaction to the behavior of the United States, though, as a symbol of Western power, we are often the chief object of its focus. (Many of our loyal European allies are quite content to leave it that way, even though it was they who sowed the historical seeds of this movement.) The existence of this challenge to the West is quite independent of even the existence of the United States, and the West must deal with it one way or another.

The United States is acting to protect its interests in a world that is as filled with trouble and conflict as it always has been. While there is much hand wringing among allies who have lost the will to fight (or even reproduce), and among their sympathizers here, we should recognize it as merely the anxiety (and envy) of onlookers unable to join the game.
0 Replies
 
timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Oct, 2003 11:22 pm
There's a lot more info on Iran on the web. Here's a listing of related BLOGS , and here's a related News Site, run by the folks who put together the Blog List.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Feb, 2004 03:20 pm
Looks like its getting to be crunch time in Iran ...

First, the Council of Guardians, the clerical body whose authority supercedes that of the elected Parliament, has 3,500 candidates struck of the election lists for February. These include many current members of parliament, and almost all the radical reformers among them.

Parliamentarians are up in arms, but President Khatami asks them for patience while he negotiates with the Council and its superior, Ayatollah Khamenei.

Negotiations, however, break down at the point where the Council approves 1,100 candidates, after all, most of them lesser known people, while 2,400 candidates remain barred. Among them over 80 of the current members of parliament, in which the reformers now have 190 out of 290 seats.

Last Saturday, 117 of those reformist MPs handed in their resignation to the Parliament's Chair, Mehdi Karroubi, in a public display of protest.

What strikes me most is the language they used. These are not exact quotes, since I'm retranslating them from Dutch into English. But you've got to wonder at how brave they are:

Mehdi Karroubi himself, lambasted the Council of Guardians for "having no respect for democratic values and no confidence in the voice of the people", and ensued to openly question their piety: "Is one loyal to Islam if one prays every day, but tramples on the rights of the people?" He said even that the conservatives are aiming to establish "an Islam comparable to that of the Taliban".

The reformist Minister of Domestic Affairs said that there was now "no chance for free elections".

Mohammed Reza Khatami, the younger brother of the President said that "the Council of Guardians has killed off all possibilities. There is no hope for a solution. We will not take part in these fake elections. Even if all those who have been rejected are approved after all today, there will be no time for a campaign. Elections on February 20 are unlawful and under the current structures of power that means the end of the reform movement."

MRK's party, the Islamic Iranian Participation Front, today announced it will boycott the elections.

President Khatami declared that he is considering suspending the elections because they would be undemocratic, though he failed to appear at an emergency session of his cabinet because he suffered from "back ache".

What will happen next? Will it be the endgame, finally?
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

 
  1. Forums
  2. » Insights on Iran.
  3. » Page 3
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.05 seconds on 06/14/2021 at 02:04:15