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NoMan
18th August 07, 11:49 PM
Since I've been in Thailand I've read up on American foreign policy. The following books were used:

Uberpower: The Imperial Temptation of America by Josef Joffe.

The White Man's Burden by William Easterly

Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire by Morris Berman

Failed States by Noam Chomsky

Overthrow by Arthur Kinser

The Collapse of Globalism by John Ralston Saul

100 Ways America is Screwing Up the World by John Tirman

A Continent For the Taking by Howard W. French

Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam by Robert Dreyfuss

The Secret History of An American Empire by John Perkins

Globalization and Its Discontents by Joseph Stiglitz

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They all say the same thing, more or less. They also all say it usually independent of each other. America's foreign policy has always been driven by the interests of a small group of people. These small groups of people pursue interests that are against the interests of the American people. Since the end of the 70s American real wages have stagnated for about 95% of the population. Our ranking in math is twenty-eight out of forty industrialized nations (*), our ranking in literacy is almost dead last in industrialized nations:

http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d05/tables/dt05_391.asp

(We tie on mathematical literacy with LATVIA!) We have the highest childhood poverty level in the industrialized world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_the_United_States

We have the worst medical system in the entire industrialized world. We have one of the most unequal distributions of wealth in the entire world:

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/America/Wealth_Divide.html

From economist Edward Wolff:

"Wolff: We have had a fairly sharp increase in wealth inequality dating back to 1975 or 1976.

Prior to that, there was a protracted period when wealth inequality fell in this country, going back almost to 1929. So you have this fairly continuous downward trend from 1929, which of course was the peak of the stock market before it crashed, until just about the mid-1970s. Since then, things have really turned around, and the level of wealth inequality today is almost double what it was in the mid-1970s.

Income inequality has also risen. Most people date this rise to the early 1970s, but it hasn't gone up nearly as dramatically as wealth inequality.

MM: What portion of the wealth is owned by the upper groups?

Wolff: The top 5 percent own more than half of all wealth.
In 1998, they owned 59 percent of all wealth. Or to put it another way, the top 5 percent had more wealth than the remaining 95 percent of the population, collectively.

The top 20 percent owns over 80 percent of all wealth. In 1998, it owned 83
percent of all wealth."

On one of the other threads, someone posted "reading Adam Smith and Edmund Burke won't turn you into a conservative." Have you read Adam Smith and Edmund Burke? Burke wrote against slavery, exploiting the third world, the East India Trade Company, and almost lost his seat in parliament to pursue justice against one of the people in that company. Adam Smith argued against the imperial exploitation of the American colonies. I could only wish the current batch of conservatives had half the moral integrity of either of those two men. (Adam Smith also wrote "A Theory of Moral Sentiments".) I can't remember either of them writing about the joys of sponsoring coups, or overthrowing governments, starving off indigenous populations, (Lester Mallory's words in April 1960 were that we should "bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of the government" to Cuba), or about how monopolistic companies should rule the domestic and foreign policy of a country.

So, are there any brave conservatives, (more accurately, neo-cons and evangelicals, since a 'real' conservative by the Smithean or Burkean standard I have yet to see), that would like to defend America's current trajectory? Maybe a quote from Edmund Burke will help:

"Political problems do not primarily concern truth or falsehood. They relate to good or evil. What in the result is likely to produce evil, is politically false: that which is productive of good, politically is true."

And, if my reading of "Wealth of All Nations" is not too crusty, I remember Adam Smith argued against natural resource collection, (in the form of gold, although oil is the obvious parallel today), and said that it was trade and the production of goods and services that made a nation rich, not by how many natural resources it could gobble up.

So, any takers?

(* The escape of this quagmire, by books like Josef Joffe's, is to use the test scores of *middle school* and elementary students, which America does pretty well on. However, during the high school to adult years, America's performance drops to almost nothing.

Interestingly, Joffe's is the only book favorable to the U.S., but he never mentions any specifics of what the U.S. has done that would make it benign in the eyes of the World. If you can gloss over close to one hundred attacks on foreign countries since the 1940s, then yes, the U.S. does appear pretty benign.)

)

WarPhalange
19th August 07, 12:12 AM
tl;dr

Arhetton
19th August 07, 12:46 AM
What do you want to do... discuss it?

I like John Ralston Saul his books are awesome.


So, are there any brave conservatives, (more accurately, neo-cons and evangelicals, since a 'real' conservative by the Smithean or Burkean standard I have yet to see), that would like to defend America's current trajectory? Maybe a quote from Edmund Burke will help:

Ron Paul seems pretty cool.

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NoMan
19th August 07, 08:36 AM
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Richard Martin is the only one with the true Conservative jujitsu. The point of the thread is America is going down faster than a Ving Tsun uke. Yet, some on here seem to think the policies that got America in this predicament are good. So, either they have access to some reservoir of facts that I don't, or else they are unaware of the facts. If the American Dream is stagnate wages, near dead-last positions in math, literacy, and scientific knowledge, an oppressive foreign policy, war, a quasi-theocratic government, rampant poverty, and one of the worst health care systems in the world, why is it that people act surprised when other countries don't want to follow the American example?

That's why I like John Ralston Saul as well. Most of the solutions aren't particularly difficult. But, people like to convince themselves they are.

MEGA JESUS-SAMA
19th August 07, 12:21 PM
Ron Paul seems pretty cool.

Ron Paul sucks shit

WarPhalange
19th August 07, 12:29 PM
Which is what all the cool kids are doing these days.

Mister X
19th August 07, 01:58 PM
Ron Paul sucks shit

Explain yourself Canadian.

AAAhmed46
19th August 07, 08:01 PM
Ron paul is badass.

AAAhmed46
19th August 07, 08:49 PM
Ron Paul sucks shit


Wait, i thought you were a libertarian.

MEGA JESUS-SAMA
19th August 07, 10:34 PM
Explain yourself Canadian.

We already know the Articles of Confederation don't work, no need to try them again.

JimmyTheHutt
20th August 07, 04:28 PM
We already know the Articles of Confederation don't work, no need to try them again.

You have a valid point.

Veritas et Lux!
Jimmy The Hutt

AAAhmed46
20th August 07, 05:59 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sm2weLS5gJ4

Arhetton
20th August 07, 11:43 PM
I've never heard ron paul mention the articles of confederation, only the constitution.

If you are one of those people that think the constitution is old fashioned... it can be amended. Thats the legal and proper way for the congress to act.

JimmyTheHutt
21st August 07, 03:28 PM
I've never heard ron paul mention the articles of confederation, only the constitution.

His fashion of hard-core libertarianism is closer to the Articles of Confederation than Federalism. I like his foreign policy stance to be certain, and could get behind most of his domestic policy if he would soften it some. As it is now, its far to harsh, and in some cases, hypocritical, for my support.

Veritas et Lux!
Jimmy The Hutt

kismasher
21st August 07, 03:35 PM
Ron Paul is ok, but he is destined to fail. That's the ultimate demise of America's governmental system right now. The 2 party system is failing, miserably, to give voters a real alternative.

Also, the book list is incomplete without some mention of Chalmers Johnson, John Dean, and Ron Suskind.

Libertarianism is a great philosophy but practically impossible to implement. I would settle for a "balanced budget" but who really wants to do away with agencies like the FDA, USDA, etc.

MEGA JESUS-SAMA
21st August 07, 04:17 PM
His fashion of hard-core libertarianism is closer to the Articles of Confederation than Federalism. I like his foreign policy stance to be certain, and could get behind most of his domestic policy if he would soften it some. As it is now, its far to harsh, and in some cases, hypocritical, for my support.

Veritas et Lux!
Jimmy The Hutt

Ron Paul's foreign policy can be summed up with BOO HOO I LIKED MANIFEST DESTINY BETTER. America needs a more intelligent foreign policy (and exit strategies), but isolationism isn't the way to do it.

Of course all of this is neither here nor there, because even if Ron Paul is elected he won't enact his 19th-century foreign policy any more than any other Republican would actually overturn Roe v. Wade.

Zendetta
21st August 07, 04:41 PM
America's foreign policy has always been driven by the interests of a small group of people. These small groups of people pursue interests that are against the interests of the American people.

ZOMG! SOCIALIZM!!!

Seriously, though: good post.

JimmyTheHutt
22nd August 07, 01:19 PM
Ron Paul's foreign policy can be summed up with BOO HOO I LIKED MANIFEST DESTINY BETTER. America needs a more intelligent foreign policy (and exit strategies), but isolationism isn't the way to do it.

Of course all of this is neither here nor there, because even if Ron Paul is elected he won't enact his 19th-century foreign policy any more than any other Republican would actually overturn Roe v. Wade.

On the off chance he was elected, he would spend four years getting absolutely nothing accomplished. It would require considerably more than one person running on a platform like this to implement it. He might try his 19th century pipe dream, but the legislature would unify to stop him.

I agree that a more intelligent foreign policy is needed. Isolationism is a bad choice and impossible to fulfill with as much money and power as the country wields.

Veritas et Lux!
Jimmy The Hutt

Cullion
22nd August 07, 02:47 PM
You could try selling us shit, buying shit from us, coming here on holiday and otherwise leaving us alone. Please ?

It'll be cheaper, I promise.

NoMan
25th August 07, 01:57 AM
Ron Paul is ok, but he is destined to fail. That's the ultimate demise of America's governmental system right now. The 2 party system is failing, miserably, to give voters a real alternative.

Also, the book list is incomplete without some mention of Chalmers Johnson, John Dean, and Ron Suskind.

I am not a big fan of the two party system. Most of the current democrats only favor a "soft" version of the same policies we have been doing, Clinton had troops in places like Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Macedonia, Algeria, and Yemen. Ironically, one of our great Warlord, (from "Borat"), George W. Bush's claims against Clinton was his "vague and unclear" military commitments.

I'm currently reading Niall Ferguson's "Collosus", second edition. In his preface, he talks about how the American imperial project isn't so bad, but he admits time and again the horrible fall-out, the self-serving interests, and the rampant cronyism. I haven't finished it, but I'm confused by his lack of honesty and his constant appeals that this was a good thing, (and he doesn't use the "Cold War" bail-out option either). For such a good historian, I can't fathom his position. I haven't read the other authors and their critiques, so I can't comment on them.

Anyway, for my own international politicizing:

It’s important to note that there is an interrelation between what happens domestically and what happens internationally. Since Thucydides wrote "A History of the Peloponnesian War", he said that the cause of Sparta going to war against Athens was the fear of Athens military might. What happens, and has always happened, is that when a superpower arises, other nations start bonding together against it. Eventually, a federation of nations brings down the superpower, balance is temporarily restored, and history waits until the scene repeats itself.

America faces three major federation powers that will try to challenge U.S. dominance, or “hegemony”, the more popular term. The first is China and its nascent rise to power as the supreme Pacific power, the second is the European Union, and the third is various leftist alignments designed to shake America’s pull in South America. While the U.S. spends much ado about nothing in terms of threats like Al Qaeda, the reality is that most such groups wouldn’t exist without U.S. direct intervention and training. Currently, there’s not much threat to the U.S. by these groups, but there could be. In 'Imperial Hubris', Michael Scheuer, first published as “Anonymous”, wrote:

“In conducting these activities, [waging wars against Iraq and Afghanistan and the growing Islamic revolutionaries], and the conventional military campaigns preceding them, U.S. forces and policies are completing the radicalization of the Islamic world, something Osama bin Laden has been trying to do with but incomplete success since the early 1990s. As a result, I think it is fair to conclude that the United States of America remains bin Laden’s only indispensable ally.”

Three prominent neo-cons prove Scheuer right. Reuel Marc Gerecht, David Frum, and Richard Perle, (a gallery in order of luminance, a CIA operative, a Bush Speech writer, and a Pentagon chairman), all wrote books which essentially give a blueprint for how to turn over the Middle East into the hands of terrorists. Reuel Marc Gerecht’s, The Islamic Paradox: Shiite Clerics, Sunni Fundametalists, and the Coming of Arab Democracy" starts us off. Gerecht is a prominent neo-conservative, a former CIA officer, and writer for the Weekly Standard, one of the top conservative newsletters. In his book, he writes:

“Most American liberals and conservatives will strongly resist the idea that Islam’s clergymen and lay fundamentalists, who usually dislike, if not detest, the United States, Israel, and progressive causes like women’s rights, are the key to liberating the Muslim Middle East from its age-old reflexive hostility to the West. These men, not the much-admired liberal Muslim secularists who are always praised…. Are the United States’ most valuable potential democratic allies.”

His reasoning for that is that pro-American dictatorships tend not to have elections. Islamists typically do allow votes, a major basis for the book Illiberal Democracy. And, under these democratically elected tyrants, the populace feels more sympathy with the United States than they do in Pro-American dictatorships. Thus, we should encourage Islamists and extremists into Middle Eastern governments. Now that is quite the intellectual back-flipping. If the U.S. really were stupid enough to follow this advice, we would simply repeat the situation we had in Iran and Egypt, where we armed militant Muslims against nationalists, who turned against and us and which later lead to 9/11, the hostage situation, and other attacks.

Meanwhile, Perle and Frum wrote a book entitled "An End to Evil" (a more ironic name couldn’t have been chosen), that said we should support Shiite clerics in overtaking Saudi Arabia, which would bring a powerful Shiite alliance of Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. In essence, we would be arming militant Islamists with the capacity for cutting off our oil supply and outsourcing to China. I’m not exactly sure why neo-cons think this would be a good thing.

Meanwhile, something similar to this is going on south of the border. Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Cuba’s Fidel Castro formed an alliance. In exchange for cheap oil exports to Cuba, Cuba exports its doctors, teachers, and professionals to the worst Latin American countries, even to Caribbean countries. In 2005, an earthquake hit Pakistan before winter, leaving several stranded and without aid. Cuba stepped in to provide relief, moreso than other Western countries, and stayed longer. Thus, the Castro/Chavez connection may not bode well for political freedom, but their economic and foreign policies are far more advanced than anything the U.S. has ever come up with. To give an example of the sophistication of our foreign policy, Pat Robertson suggested we have Chavez assassinated. Assassinating foreign heads of state has always worked wonders, it was our prelude to the Vietnam War. (John F. Kennedy was incredibly distraught about it. He accidentally ordered the murder of the only Catholic ruler ever in Vietnam. It never occurred to him that violently overthrowing a regime would probably end in the deaths of the people who ruled it.)

The Venezuelan’s are even more generous than the U.S. on U.S. soil. A group of senators asked nine major oil companies to give a portion of their record profits to the poor in the U.S. to help ease the pain of increasing gas costs. CITGO, the Venezuelan owned company, was the only one in November 2005 that did it. The State Department called CITGO’s program of helping poor people in America “subversive.”

China and Asian countries in general are the next factor facing America. With America’s increasingly bellicose attitude, Iran has started shipping large majorities of its oil to China. China, in return, has shipped large amounts of weapons to Iran. China also fostered relationships with Saudi Arabia, with the Saudis now making up about 17 percent of China’s oil. Despite the China and India rivalry, they agreed to work together for building a $22.4 billion pan-Asian gas grid, giving them access to Russian oil reserves, along with Iranian ones. All told, Asia holds roughly 2 trillion in foreign assets, mostly in dollars. If they dump it on the market, America will quickly lose the value of its currency, plunging us into a recession.

Additionally, China and Russia began joint military maneuvers in 2005 to the horror of Washington as well, which is why we have set up bases in countries like Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. They lie at the heart of the former Soviet Union, right next to the Caspian Basin, a major source of oil and gas. Uzbekistan
kicked us out when the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a main organization for Russian-Chinese alliance, began to pressure us. Bush gave no concessions to Russia, so it’s only natural that they would turn to China for help.
Which brings us to the European Union. The EU is pursuing relations with all these foreign groups, getting them to invest more in the EU, collapsing the value of the dollar, and even starting to assemble a multi-national army to give more bite to its bark. Canada is also joining in, as the Bush doctrine alienating Canada. Hence, Canada’s minister of natural resources says up to a quarter of the gas the U.S. currently receives could go to China. Venezuela too is getting in on the act and exporting more oil to China as well.

China is also currently supplying weapons to leaders In the Latin American countries, and giving loans to governments there as well. It’s not much of a stretch to see who the next Cold War will be fought against.

In short:

• Economically, we are severally weakened by trade export deficits and the fact that several European countries are bailing us out on credit bonds, accumulating interest. If the U.S. doesn’t pay, they’ll drop them on the market. Depression will result.

• Militarily, we are overstretched across the globe, and our bungle in Iraq is causing us to be unable to exert influence in other parts of the World, (from the hegemonic position), or respond to dictators and legitimate threats in places like Iran and North Korea.

• Politically, the U.S. creditability is severely weakened and China and the E.U. are stepping in to fill the gaps.

• Socially, we are dealing with an aging population base, heightened interest because of high budget deficits, and a “make the next generation pay” system. When this crunch hits, if it is heightened by other factors outlined, it would make the effects far worse.

All told, there is currently a three-way attack on U.S. hegemony, largely through our own stupidity, from the European Union’s more friendly trade agreements, from China, Russia, and possibly India, and from South American countries.

Possibly, a four-way threat could develop in the Middle East with Islamist radicals trading with China and the E.U. to the detriment of the U.S. If all four groups attack at once, the U.S. will quickly plunge into a total recession, probably more severe than the Great Depression if we are still at war or contemplating a war at that time period.

Arhetton
28th August 07, 07:34 AM
American foreign policy:

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America domestic policy:

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Bzzzzzzzzzzzt WRONG

Mister X
28th August 07, 08:03 AM
Hey buddy you got a problem with space fascism?

Arhetton
28th August 07, 08:18 AM
Me? Problems with fascism?

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P.S How awesome is starship troopers. I must buy it on Dvd!