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Old 08-22-2002, 03:29 PM   #1
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Discussions on US foreign Policy

Greetings everyone,

I saw the Iraq thread is closed but still wanted the opportunity to respond to Ultraviolet7 post, although this is 3 days late. I also think that US foreign Policy is an important discussion topic since its effects on the world are huge. I realize there are many different view points and opinions across the globe. I will try to present mine in the most respectful manner possible.

Ultraviolet stated that the USA is not interested in democracies throughout the world but rather first world interest. But first world interest includes peace, stability, and capitalism. Democratic governments help bring this about. Of course, sometimes the only alternative is a left leaning dictatorship vs. a right leaning dictatorship. In those cases, the lesser of two evils is supported.

Saddam Hussain was not created by the west. He came to power in 1978/1979 and was already on his way to controlling Iraq long before the Shah of Iran was overthrown. Iraq back has always been a client state of the SOVIET UNION. I have tons of charts and statistics from the "International Institute Of Strategic Studies" based in London which clearly shows the type of military equipment Iraq has used and where they purchased it. 95% of Iraq's military equipment came from the Soviet Union and to a smaller extent China. If there is any country guilty of building Saddam, it is the Soviet Union that sold Iraq Billions of dollars of tanks, APCs, Jets, missiles, and other equipment for decades. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August of 1990, there were over 2,000 Soviet military advisors in Iraq, who did not leave until just prior to the start of the Gulf War in January 1991.

If need be, I can list every type of tank or other piece of equipment that Iraq has used in the past and where it came from. In the 1970s, Iran was a client state of the USA to counter balance the Soviets Iraq. But then the Iranian revolution happened and the US really did not have much to do with either state. Trucks, a few transport helicopters, and some sattelite info on Iranian military positions, was all the help the US offered Iraq in the 1980s. The Soviets were supplying them with thousands of tanks, Jet fighters, artillery and other equipment, in addition to on the spot training by 2,000 Soviet military advisors, training them in Soviet tactics.

Hussain was not unseated by the USA in 1991 because the USA failed to establish that as the international mandate. It was difficult enough to get people willing to invade and retake Kuwait. 47 US Senators, mainly democrats voted to continue sanctions rather that kicking Saddam out of Kuwait. 53 Repuplican Senators(10 were democratic) voted to invade kick them out. There was no support though internationally or domesticaly to go all the way to Baghdad. With the constraints that the USA was under back then, Bush made the right choice.

The USA did not create the Taliban either. This was created by schools in western Pakistan, and largely supported by Pakistan to crush their political enemies in the Northern Alliance. Both the Northern Alliance and members who would eventually become part of the Taliban were apart of the mujahadeen that resisted Soviet Occupation in the 1980s. If oil was the main interest in Afghanistan, the USA would have been involved there decades ago. The USA has accomplished most of its first goal in Afghanistan which is why the operation isn't as large as it was. Bin Laden is most likely dead. He was last heard from in December. Nothing can confirm this though, but Al Quada as an organization has moved from Afghanistan for the most part. Its questionable if it is still a viable organization. They have failed to strike the USA in any way since 9/11.

In South America, the USA supported what it believed at the time was the lesser of two evils. It is in the interest of the USA to develop Latin America both economically and democratically. A more prosperous latin America creates the opportunity for US companies to export goods and services. Exports create jobs! Democratic governments are better suited to capitalism and free markets. I have a friend that goes to South America every month in the Steel business. Another one of my good friends was just in Rio Brazil training people who will replace him and his coworkers in the job they were previously doing. EDS is a big company and it is hiring and developing its operations in Brazil, which is great for Brazilians since these are good computer jobs.

Economic and Democratic development takes along time. Its taken the USA 200 years to get to this point. But it does and will happen around the world where the funding is there, and the policies are sound. Just look at Eastern Europe! I don't see NATO installing dicatorships in Bosnia or Kosovo. Rather they helped to unseat one in Belgrade and are trying to keep peace and develop strong democratic governments in that region.

Capitalism benefits from free trade and new markets that are strong enough to take part in international trade. Free Trade between Mexico and the USA has increased Mexico's GDP and created jobs there, as well as creating more jobs than were lost in the USA. If the economy in South American collapses are does poorly, I have two friends large American businesses that will suffer. So contrary to others opinions, the goal of US business and the US government is for democracy and capitalism to succeed in South America. We have a Canada to the north that is great for US business and has a standard of living considered better than the USA. Thats what the US government and businesses want to see south of the border as well, countries as economically and democratically developed as are largest trading partner CANADA. Besides the business benifits, the other side effects of development are less illegal immigration and it helps the drug war in that people will have alternatives to growing and selling drugs, when the country becomes economically developed on the level of a western European country.

The US goal in the cold war was to contain communism while at the same time to try and expand the number of countries that had governments and economies similar to its own. The US succeeded in the first goal and is still trying to achieve the second which could take centuries.
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Old 08-22-2002, 08:50 PM   #2
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Re: Discussions on US foreign Policy

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In South America, the USA supported what it believed at the time was the lesser of two evils. It is in the interest of the USA to develop Latin America both economically and democratically. A more prosperous latin America creates the opportunity for US companies to export goods and services. Exports create jobs! Democratic governments are better suited to capitalism and free markets. I have a friend that goes to South America every month in the Steel business. Another one of my good friends was just in Rio Brazil training people who will replace him and his coworkers in the job they were previously doing. EDS is a big company and it is hiring and developing its operations in Brazil, which is great for Brazilians since these are good computer jobs.


Capitalism benefits from free trade and new markets that are strong enough to take part in international trade. Free Trade between Mexico and the USA has increased Mexico's GDP and created jobs there, as well as creating more jobs than were lost in the USA. If the economy in South American collapses are does poorly, I have two friends large American businesses that will suffer. So contrary to others opinions, the goal of US business and the US government is for democracy and capitalism to succeed in South America. We have a Canada to the north that is great for US business and has a standard of living considered better than the USA. Thats what the US government and businesses want to see south of the border as well, countries as economically and democratically developed as are largest trading partner CANADA. Besides the business benifits, the other side effects of development are less illegal immigration and it helps the drug war in that people will have alternatives to growing and selling drugs, when the country becomes economically developed on the level of a western European country.


I think you really don't know much about the policy of the USA in latin america over the years, this idea of supporting the lesser evil is simply the way of americans to think they did the right thing, USA policies have nothing to do with the development of the economy or the economic level of the people.

I will not go as far as to state the times when USA ripped of Mexico and Spain of large amounts of territory, in the XIX century (speaking of unfair wars). To start in Mexico there was a social revolution headed by a liberal man Francisco I. Madero he put an end to a dictatorship that lasted more than 35 years in the person of Gral. Porfirio Diaz, Madero organized his movement mostly in USA since he was outlawed by the dictatorship. When he finally returned as president winning a democratic election, the problems of course were unsourmountable, the USA government started to miss the old regime that had all but give for free the country to foreign investements, namely Oil, Trains, Mines etc. To protect his interest a complot was organized by the american government in the form of the emabassador Henry Lane Wilson, and 2 mexican generals one Victoriano Huerta that was nothing but an alcoholic. President Madero was forced to resign and later assasinated with his vicepresident. With the journalist gathered in the USA embassy, the embassador announced " ladies and gentleman the new president of Mexico", Gral. Victoriano Huerta aproached, and as drunk as he always was, he fall on his face, but what the heck? he was sold to protect the american interests, then people raised in arms against this illegitime government and Mexico went into a war that lasted almost 20 years and cost 1 million lifes.

Similar was the case in Chile with President Allende were the CIA supported a militar movement headed by the infamous Gral. Pinochet, that ended with the assasination of the legitime president and created a dictatorship that lasted 25 years and that lead to a number of atrocities that are still being calculated and that were always knew to the Amercian government, similar situation happened in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, et al. were empoverished ppl had to support militar governments supported by the USA.

During the late 60's there were a student movement in Mexico that pursued democracy, the CIA agents, some of them actually members of the Mexico government labeled them as the advanced group of what they called a comunist revolution supported by the USSR, all totally demonstrated lies, in 1968 this movement was represed by violence, students were assasined, mny more dissapeared, some put in jail, all with the knowledge of the USA, who only cared that their interest were protected.

On the economic view, is true foreign bussines create jobs in our countries, but this jobs are well underpaid, and the riches created by this never stays in the country it leaves to the place of origin of the companies, if our economies fall, it affects the sales of this enterprices in our markets, but the big bussines for this enterprices is the cheap labour hand, most of what is produced in Mexico by this companies is not sold here, but in Europe or USA, then again, as long as the interest are protected, they don't care about the population.

In some cases this enterprices were national ones, like telephonic and electric companies that helped develop the countries when owned by the state, that had low rates to make possible all the population receive this services, after the Cold War, CIA has given pass to the IMF and World Bank, to control the economies of our countries, forcing our governments to sell this companies, thus raising the rates for the people, and taken away the economic resources or our people, in many cases our corrupted governments accept loans that are imposible to pay, opening the door to allow IFM to take more and more of our riches, all with the promise also that we can access free markets, which is in many cases untrue, since the first world in most cases protect their own bussines imposing rates to our products. This state of things have in the practice created more poverty in latin america. A country like Mexico that is among the biggest in level of economy, even when growing, (5% of yearly growing during 1998-2000) has been unable to stop the poverty in large parts of the population. A rescent study showed that 52% of the population lives at least in some degree of poverty, 20 % in extreme poverty, of course that is our problem, and is a 200 year problem, but this show how inaccurate is to mention that USA cares about it.

Nafta has helped the exporting enterprices in Mexico, yes, but that amount of enterprices is no higher than a 10%, so his impact in the economy is much inferior than what you may belive, and in many cases our industry has colapsed with the opening of the frontiers to USA products without restrictions. One example is the sugar industrie that can even create a social conflict since there is o soluction for them, they are no longer competitive.
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Old 08-22-2002, 09:55 PM   #3
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Re: Re: Discussions on US foreign Policy

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Similar was the case in Chile with President Allende were the CIA supported a militar movement headed by the infamous Gral. Pinochet, that ended with the assasination of the legitime president and created a dictatorship that lasted 25 years and that lead to a number of atrocities that are still being calculated and that were always knew to the Amercian government, similar situation happened in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, et al. were empoverished ppl had to support militar governments supported by the USA.
STING2,

I don´t doubt you had good intentions with your post, but I agree with rafmed, that´s one side of the story but it´s not the whole picture. The US government support to truculent and cruel military regimes in South America left some deep scars and they haven´t been forgotten. My father surely hasn´t forgotten yet.

In case you´re interested I found a very interesting paper entitled Brazil - How We Invent Communists Threats To Scare Ourselves. It contains mainly quotes from US media from the period we call "os anos de chumbo", or "the lead years". Like these...Goulart is the name of our president at that time. I was born in the same day he assumed the presidence. Gordon was US ambassador in Brazil.

"However, Goulart’s "crime" is to try to continue Quadros’ independent foreign policy, strongly opposed to the US sanctions against Cuba [a continual act of war now condemned internationally, nearly unamimously with the exception of the US and Israel]. "[Brazil identies itself] with the democratic principles which unite the peoples of the West" but is "not part of any politico-military bloc". — speech to US Congress, New York Times 4/5/62.

"In 1964, with US Ambassador Lincoln Gordon’s promises of immediate recognition and petroleum support, and with a US Navy task force—an aircraft carrier, destroyers, guided missiles—in Brazilian coastal waters, US-armed elements in the military advance upon Rio with troops and tanks. Not wanting to be responsible for bloodshed among Brazilians, Goulart refuses to call on loyalist forces and flees to Uruguay. — Washington Post, 4/3/64"

"The movement which overthrew President Goulart was a purely, 100 percent—not 99.44—but 100 percent purely Brazilian movement. Neither the American Embassy nor I personally played any part in the process whatsoever." — Gordon’s lies to Senate during his confirmation hearings for Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, 2/7/66"

"Well, Goulart got what was coming to him. Too bad he didn’t follow the advice we gave him when I was there." — Robert Kennedy, Attorney General"

What led the military junta to take over power in March 31st 1964 and begin pursuing and torturing people.

"In a few days after the coup, "several thousand" Brazilians are arrested, "communist and suspected communist all" [New York Times, 4/6/64], and over the next few years the resulting military dictatorship of General Castelo Branco conducts what it calls "moral rehabilitation": it shuts down Congress, virtually extinguishes political opposition, suspends habeas corpus for "political crimes", forbids by law criticism of the dictator, takes over labor unions, institutes police and military firing into protesting crowds, burns down peasant homes, brutalizes priests, …. — US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 12/11/74"

"And it is under this regime that Latin America first sees torture and death squads, largely undertakings of the police and the military, both underwritten by the US. — Chomsky and Herman, The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism."

It´s not an easy task to forgot such events. As for the economic issues rafmed has already explained what has happened. And I agree with him.

The link for the paper:
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~lorma...soa/brazil.htm
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Old 08-23-2002, 01:11 AM   #4
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Rafmed,

I don't have time to respond at the moment, but your clearly wrong if you think US policies don't have anything to do with the development of the economy or the economic level of the people. For starters, look up the Marshall Plan.
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Old 08-23-2002, 01:17 AM   #5
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Marshall plan was made for Europe not Latin America, and I'm refering so far at Latin America, so I think my points are true, at least, for this part of the world.

Plan Marshall was a responce to what happened in Europe after WWI, USA and his allies realized that empoverishing the countries that lost the war, was only the seed for future conflicts, so I guess in this case it can be seen as both, a program that helped develope destroyed Europe and a way to prevent future wars.
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Old 08-23-2002, 02:10 PM   #6
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In addition to that, and much greater importance, developing the economies of Europe after the war meant they were less likely to fall to Communist Revolutionary's of which there were many cells throughout western Europe. Europe was also of course a big trading partner for the USA in addition to historical and heritage ties, most Americans can trace their roots to Europe. It was in the vital national security interest of the USA to see that democracy and capitalism was restored in Europe for economic and social interest, but as well as security interest. The countries needed to be rebuilt in order to be strong enough to resist a Soviet attack. The Marshall plan, the USA's policy of containment of Soviet Communism led to the fall of Communism in eastern Europe and the break up of the Soviet Union. Eastern European countries with the support of the USA have developed there economies, formed democracies and joined NATO. It is a long and difficult process and continue's today in Bosnia and Kosovo where the US military has stopped the fighting, saved lives, and is helping to build a better future for the people.

As for Mexico's economy, Nafta has been a major source of help for it. This idea that all the wealth in Mexico leaves the country just simply isn't true. If it were US exports to Mexico would have decreased and NAFTA would have been a net loss in Jobs for the USA. Instead though, greater employment among Mexicans has led to a rapid increase in exports to Mexico because people there have more money now. Exports create Jobs in the USA. It is greater Mexican wealth, the reduction in tarrifs, that have increased US exports to Mexico there by creating more US jobs. The number of jobs created in the USA has more than offset the number of jobs lost to businesses moving to Mexico. More Mexicans are employed now than a decade ago, which has increased GDP. Trade is not a zero-sum game where one side wins and the other loses. Mexico is very important to the United States economically. Mexico is the USA's 3rd largest trading partner. Contrary to your opinion, the USA buys more from Mexico and sales more to Mexico than it does to any one of its European trading partners. Only US trade with Canada and Japan is higher. The USA exports over 1 trillion dollars of goods and services every year. The impoverished Mexicans somehow have the money to buy 8% of these goods! I'm not saying Mexico does not have a problem with poverty, but 20 years ago, there was no way Mexicans could afford to buy 80 BILLION dollars of US goods and services. Clearly while the situation for many Mexicans may not of improved, there are many Mexicans today that enjoy a standard of living similar to Europe and the USA. By the way, U2 made more money in MEXICO CITY than in any city in the USA on the POPMART tour! Another example that people's economic well being has improved. If all the wealth was just leaving the country, these things would not be possible, Mexico would not be a desirable market to sell products if people didn't have the wealth to buy them. The Fact is, Mexico is the 3rd largest trading partner of by far the largest economy in the world. In addition, the US government has often bailed out Mexico during difficult economic times.

Of course there are people who are not better off when it comes to free trade initially, but over time, even their standard of living will improve. It will take decades maybe even a century to bring Mexico to the exact level of the USA in terms of per capita GDP, but Capitalism and free trade is what will produce these results. This is why the countries of Europe are forming one Economic union. Many of the countries have made difficult choices such as privatizing national industries which in the short run hurt many, but in the long run helps everyone. It is an economic fact that a country is economically healthier when the role its government plays in the economy is as small as possible. Its why even a Communist country like China is rushing its government industries into the private sector(contradicting Communist economic theory), its also one of the reasons why the USA is the wealthiest nation on the planet.
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Old 08-23-2002, 04:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2

As for Mexico's economy, Nafta has been a major source of help for it. This idea that all the wealth in Mexico leaves the country just simply isn't true. If it were US exports to Mexico would have decreased and NAFTA would have been a net loss in Jobs for the USA. Instead though, greater employment among Mexicans has led to a rapid increase in exports to Mexico because people there have more money now. Exports create Jobs in the USA. It is greater Mexican wealth, the reduction in tarrifs, that have increased US exports to Mexico there by creating more US jobs. The number of jobs created in the USA has more than offset the number of jobs lost to businesses moving to Mexico. More Mexicans are employed now than a decade ago, which has increased GDP. Trade is not a zero-sum game where one side wins and the other loses. Mexico is very important to the United States economically. Mexico is the USA's 3rd largest trading partner. Contrary to your opinion, the USA buys more from Mexico and sales more to Mexico than it does to any one of its European trading partners. Only US trade with Canada and Japan is higher. The USA exports over 1 trillion dollars of goods and services every year. The impoverished Mexicans somehow have the money to buy 8% of these goods! I'm not saying Mexico does not have a problem with poverty, but 20 years ago, there was no way Mexicans could afford to buy 80 BILLION dollars of US goods and services. Clearly while the situation for many Mexicans may not of improved, there are many Mexicans today that enjoy a standard of living similar to Europe and the USA. By the way, U2 made more money in MEXICO CITY than in any city in the USA on the POPMART tour! Another example that people's economic well being has improved. If all the wealth was just leaving the country, these things would not be possible, Mexico would not be a desirable market to sell products if people didn't have the wealth to buy them. The Fact is, Mexico is the 3rd largest trading partner of by far the largest economy in the world. In addition, the US government has often bailed out Mexico during difficult economic times.

Of course there are people who are not better off when it comes to free trade initially, but over time, even their standard of living will improve. It will take decades maybe even a century to bring Mexico to the exact level of the USA in terms of per capita GDP, but Capitalism and free trade is what will produce these results. This is why the countries of Europe are forming one Economic union. Many of the countries have made difficult choices such as privatizing national industries which in the short run hurt many, but in the long run helps everyone. It is an economic fact that a country is economically healthier when the role its government plays in the economy is as small as possible. Its why even a Communist country like China is rushing its government industries into the private sector(contradicting Communist economic theory), its also one of the reasons why the USA is the wealthiest nation on the planet.
First of all, with all due respect, I don't see how you can tell me how life in Mexico is, since I live here and you don't.
I have a bussines, I give jobs to a few families, and I know from first hand and for people that is in my position how hard is to keep an acceptable level of living, about the quantity of jobs in Mexico raising in the last 20 years, that has nothing to do with NAFTA, most of these people work for government or in small bussines that don't export, it is proven that 30 years ago the life level for the average mexican was higher, the salaries in real terms are lower than in the 70's, USA increase in sales also comes from the opening of borders to american products, that in many cases lead to the bankrupt of hundreds of mexican industries, most of them had to sell their plants to american coorporations, what this also means is that what mexican used to expend on mexican products now is expended in foreign products, is this good for us? hardly.
We are 100 million people, so that would mean according to your numbers, that each mexican buys 800 dollars of american goods? I believe that about half of the mexican families earn about less that 2,000 dollars, per family! so, obviously, the elite of our country can afford to spend this 80 billion, that also has to be considered, is later returned in manufactured products to the USA, so the numbers can be deceiving, of course there are a minority that can afford to live as good as the richest people in american or european, still 50 millions are living in some sort of poverty, 20 milion in extreme poverty, wich meas they have trouble to get food every day, I don't see how USA politics cares about this, as I said its our problem, and is for us to solve it.
About the economic model you mention, I could agree that supposedly in the long run, and correcting the mistakes done in the past, is supposed to work, sadly this is not an economic class of Harvard or Yale, (many mexican politicians in the recent past were from this universities) but the truth, is that so far is not working, and the reality is that is creating more inequatities, empoverishing more people, and killing the dreams of people like me that want to work our way to develop bussines that could help create jobs.
I doubt Mexico would reach percapita income to the level of USA, but to erase the dramatic and sad numbers that are a reality in terms of poverty, that would be a success.
The point you try to make, is that USA policy is mean to help raise the level of people, and not only protect USA interests.
During the cold war, CIA make it sure with the support of corrupt governments that this was assured passing over the human and civil rights of the population. After the cold war, IMF and World Bank assure that economic stability and free markets are available for USA coorporations, regardless of the effects on the population, as the REAL FACTS prove.
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Old 08-23-2002, 05:51 PM   #8
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Excellent rafmed, simply excellent.

This is a very interesting and engrossing discussion, with STING2 providing many valid points. Of course, there were plenty of points I disagreed with and felt like arguing with. However, I have very little time to do this in, I just wanted to say I agreee completely with what rafmed is saying. I too know how it is in Mexico, and I can say that whatever America's intentions are and how they've gone about it, Mexico is clearly not the one profiting.

Some excellent posts, rafmed.


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Old 08-24-2002, 02:32 AM   #9
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Rafmed,
Business and trade is a two way street. Americans cannot benifit from free trade with Mexico if everyone there is living in Poverty. The trade restrictions were relaxed slowly as well, while the rise in Mexico's GDP and employment as a result was more rapid. The massive increase in exports to Mexico cannot only be explained by the ending of trade tarrifs. Someone in Mexico has the money to buy 80 Billion dollars worth of Goods and Services! Mexicans buy more US goods and Services than ANY single European country. In addition, many jobs were lost Michigan State and industrial mid west of the USA. Those companies are now based in Mexico employing thousands of people! That is another way in which Mexico has benifited. Mexicans also often produce agricultural products at a much lower cost than US producers and so their products have been selling better here in the USA and have taken the market.

The USA is interested in economic stability and free markets because these two things allow for economic development and eventual prosperity in any country. When a country becomes more prosperous, it becomes a more potential market for the selling of a service or product. U2 made more money in Mexico City than in any city in the USA, Canada or Europe on the POPMART tour. Thats a fact!

If Mexico has been devasted and everyone is economically less well off than before Nafta, how is it that Mexicans have the money to buy more US goods and services than any other country except Japan and Canada, to the amount of 80 Billion a year! How is it that Mexico is the third largest trading partner of the wealthiest economy in the world if it is so poor? The USA is the largest importer of goods and services in the world, we buy more from the world than they buy from us. The USA continue's to buy large amounts of goods and services from Mexico which is why Mexico is still #3 on the list of the countries the USA imports most of its goods from. Being the #3 seller of goods and services
to the largest market in the world, the USA, clearly benifits Mexico and brings a lot of money into the country. Again, goods made in Mexico are typically cheaper than similar goods made in the USA, which makes US consumers more likely to buy Mexican products.

I understand you live in Mexico, but only national economic statistics can truely represent the country as a whole. There are many places in the USA that I have not been, some that were clearly hurt by reorganization involved with NAFTA. While particular area's of the USA lost large numbers of jobs, increased exports to Mexico meant far more jobs were created in other area's of the USA so that there was a net creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs. Living in the capital of Pennsylvania though, I'd only be able to tell how Nafta may of or may not of effected Harrisburg. On a national scale though, only Economic statistics can give a person an idea of how the nation is doing as a whole. One's problems or success in their local area cannot be extrapolated to be an example for the entire country when dealing with countries the size of the USA and Mexico.

By the way only about 15% of the Jobs in the USA are export related, yet this has a massive effect on the economy. These 21 million people in the USA that have jobs dependent on exports to other countries are spread throughout the USA and spend their disposable income that they recieve from their jobs, on businesses and services that only sell to people in this country. The Local diner, bars and clubs, shops, you name etc. When the exporters lose their jobs or don't have as much money to spend, it just doesn't effect them, it effects the multitude of domestic businesses they would spend their export earned dollars on! The lesson here is that international trade effects people in jobs that are not export related because they have people that spend their money on their business who earn the money from exports. This interdependence is why international trade can have a huge effect on a countries economy. Think about what the economy of Mexico would be like if tomorrow the border was shut off and all the foreign businesses left. It would be the start of a terrible economic depression in Mexico.

You don't see to many area's in the world today advocating Protectionism over free trade. Most countries and regions are vigioursly trying to increase their level of trade contact with the rest of the world because it proven to be the way to prosperity. If this was not so, the European Union wouldn't exist.

We here in the USA benifit when are neighbors and trading partners are more prosperous and doing well economically. The economic situation in nearly every region of the world effects the USA. The USA's economy also effects many regions of the world as well. A recession in the USA can trigger recessions in other parts of the globe as well. Just like the economic situation in Germany effects the economic situation in France, Italy and Spain and else where. Yet these countries in Europe have the European Union, with which they have taken steps far bigger than NAFTA to bring about economic intergration and increased prosperity. 12 of the countries now have the same currency and visa and passport restrictions between them have been relaxed further facilitating business, the movement of labour, and competition.

The IMF and the World Bank are not there to simply manipulate the market for US businesses. They are there to help countries economically develop in order to better participate and benifit from the global market. IF those organiztions simply existed to help US companies, the USA would not have a trade deficit of several hundred billion dollars a year. Not only does the USA have the largest economy in the world, but its also has the least barriers to trade. Americans buy more foreign goods than any other country on the planet. That does not help American businesses. It helps foreign ones. But peope overseas buy American goods as well, over a trillion dollars worth every year. That is the interdependent nature of the world we live in today. Its only going to become more interdependent as time goes by. Globalism is the future.
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Old 08-24-2002, 03:13 AM   #10
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Hi Sting2
Thank you for taking up our truncated conversation. I'm afraid my reply (to your first post - I haven't had time to go through the rest of the thread yet) is going to be very lengthy - I apologise in advance for this. I find your post extremely interesting even if I disagree with many of the points you make. However, despite this fact it's curious that most of what you claim throughout your post doesn't but strengthen my point that the US operates on its foreign front out of its own interest exclusively regardless of who and how many are adversely affected.

Even if protecting national interest is logical, what's questionable is if to reach this goal the US (or any other power included the Soviet Union in its time) have the right to manipulate smaller nations' internal affairs and force them into situations which are directly detrimental to these nations' best interest. I believe that this is really the core of the discussion.

I detect from your post that you see it as natural that the US should try to impose its political and trading system onto the rest of the world. I in turn don't as I didn't either regarding the Soviet Union trying to impose theirs in its time and as I wouldn't regarding any other power present or future trying to do the same.

My problem isn't with capitalism in itself, since I myself prefer the Western lifestyle, but rather with the fact that the rules of the market which would be in order in normal business and which the capitalist system defends to death aren't respected or applied in the same fashion when it comes to international relations between a world power and a small nation. In fact the concept of "free trade/freedom of choice" is ridden roughshod over and bullying tactics on part of the greater power are applied instead.

Note the difference: when a conflict of interest crops up in normal business both sides try to defend their best interest in order to arrive to a deal which may be mutually beneficial. Obviously if the negotiating forces are not equal the larger one will derive more benefit but the smaller has always the alternative to quit and make a deal elsewhere or not make it at all. In the case of international relations between a power and an emerging or "weaker" nation the "deals" have been always exclusively beneficial to the greatest power with the additional difference that the smaller nation isn't left with any choice but to accept the conditions imposed since it is invariably cornered into a position where it is not able to negotiate at all. This "subtle" difference turns capitalism into imperialism . I'd like to clarify that I'm NOT saying that imperialism derives exclusively from capitalism since the Soviet Union was also guilty of it as eventually other powers defending other systems might be, but rather that I find it particularly bothersome when it originates from a theory that preaches freedom of choice as its main principle.

The above mentioned impossibility to negotiate on part of "weaker" states stems from the fact that they don't make the rules of international trade, they aren't influential enough in the international markets because they aren't primary producers of certain goods or raw materials, because they are up to their necks in debt to powerful countries, because they need external support to face regional conflicts, because they need first world manufactures, etc. The Middle East has caused the West so many problems because the West relies on oil and contrarily to what happens with other goods and manufactures the Middle East is the world's primary oil producer, so they do have some power to negotiate. What the West and the Soviet Union have tried to achieve during the last thirty odd years is to undermine that power of negotiation and fight for direct control of the source. To this end both the US and the Soviet Union have meddled with the involved nations' internal affairs once and again, have encouraged retrograde dictatorial regimes that managed to keep the poor and uneducated masses in control, etc. Now the whole thing's got out of hand since the previous protegés are stirring up trouble in view that they have accumulated a certain amount of warpower which was sold to them for other ends and because it was brilliant deal for the armament industry which "curiously" is primarily based in the first world (basically the US) and in the former Soviet Union. As I mentioned in the other thread this reaction from puppet regimes had to be expected sooner or later since dictatorships and other mercenary governments are naturally inclined to exacerbate conduct.

Quote:
originally posted by STING2
Ultraviolet stated that the USA is not interested in democracies throughout the world but rather first world interest.
Though this statement is roughly accurate, I'd like to rephrase it. I'm not saying that the US is not interested in democracies, but rather that its own interest is paramount and prior to its concern that countries in general function in democracy . In fact if the US regards that its own interests in a certain area are better preserved with a dictatorship in charge of a particular nation it won't hesitate to support it even if such support contradicts blatantly the principles the US purports to live by. What I mean is that while it's perfectly accurate what you say about first world interest being inclusive of "peace, stability and capitalism", such a statement is only completely truthful when applied to first world nations themselves. When it regards other nations the first two conditions aren't an imperative if they don't serve first world interest.

Quote:
originally posted by STING2
Of course, sometimes the only alternative is a left leaning dictatorship vs. a right leaning dictatorship. In those cases, the lesser of two evils is supported.
It would be interesting to spell out what parameters are taken into account to define which is "the lesser of the two evils" and more important still what right has any leading nation to decide which is the lesser of two evils when the situation in the country to be intervened directly or indirectly doesn't pose any proven or even likely threat to the power's own security and when it is possible that one of the two "evils" isn't even as strong as to ever install itself as such.

Quote:
originally posted by STING2
Democratic governments are better suited to capitalism and free markets.
I have to disagree with this one since what makes a nation suited to capitalism and free markets is not its governmental structure but rather the political inclination of those who run such a government. There have been notable examples of dictatorships which were very well suited to capitalism and free markets as there have been many cases of democracies reluctant to turn to orthodox capitalist practices.

The first case can be conveniently illustrated with some of the 70s Latin American dictatorships. They had a strong right wing slant but they were not corporative economy-wise in the style of Nazism and Fascism. In fact their economies were run by many of the Chicago School of Economy graduates who were, as it is known, in their great majority loyally adept to Milton Friedman's ultra orthodox capitalist theories. And schemes respondent to such a theoretical background were the sort of policy actually applied. In fact many of the officers in charge of treasure related departments were re-appointed to office years later, during the 90s, a decade signed by the most orthodox capitalism ever seen in the area. Present situations in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, et al are the direct result of such policies. For their part democracies in the demo-socialist pattern as seen in Scandinavian countries, and other European nations particularly during the 80s (Mitterrand's France, Felipe Gonzalez's Spain, Pertini's Italy, etc) weren't too keen on policies capitalism stands steadfastly by as massive privatisation of state-owned companies, complete freedom of the markets with no control whatsoever on part of the state, ruling out of subsidisation, elimination of import taxes on certain products in order to protect national industry, etc.

Quote:
originally posted by STING2
It is in the interest of the USA to develop Latin America both economically and democratically. A more prosperous latin America creates the opportunity for US companies to export goods and services. Exports create jobs!
This is theoretically true, but it isn't what actually happens. There's no real need for a "prosperous Latin America" for the US to export goods and create American (US) jobs. In fact during the last decade Latin American stores were invaded by foreign products which could be imported thanks to the exchange rate schemes that were devised, by which local currencies were overquoted against the US dollar and to the application of ultra orthodox capitalist plans which eliminated, in the name of "free markets and competitiveness" almost every import tax. This obviously allowed the US and other countries to export their goods massively to Latin America - a process which is known as dumping - and at the same time destroyed almost completely national industry and condemned to bankruptcy local producers (this is particularly true of Argentina - responsible for the outbreak of the present crisis in the area) because they weren't able to compete. This naturally increased the rates of local unemployment, did away with a great part of the middle class and made richer the already rich. What are the results now, besides a deep social crisis? Latin America with a decimated national industry and agricultural producing network is now forced to buy from the first world.

Sadly the case you bring forth of EDS is not widespread since there haven't been many foreign corporations to branch out to Latin America as to provide for jobs. This could be expected not long from now, since as the parity of local currencies to the US dollar has now descended to more realistic values, foreign companies are able to absorb what's left of the locals for a very few thousand dollars and have access, due to the widespread unemployment to a large potential working force at an extremely low cost by US and European standards. This wouldn't be so bad if the local cost of living was adaptive to such salaries, but since most of the goods have to be imported or locally manufactured by companies who can make a greater profit by exporting than from selling internally unless state-subsidised, the result is that Latin America's future seems to be inevitably linked to becoming the ultimate sweatshop.

Regarding your mention of Saddam Hussein and the Taleban: I never said that Saddam or the Taleban were an American creation, but rather that they had been supported (the latter much more conspicuously) by the US because their presence was deemed to be necessary in the area to preserve American "national interest". The fact that Hussein was armed to his eyeteeth by the Russians does not imply necessarily that he was under complete Soviet control. In fact Iraq never became a Soviet satellite state. If such had been the case, Hussein would have collapsed readily after the Soviet Union's demise and he wouldn't have been able to receive any American aid at all during the 80s. This situation is more in line with the theory that at the time his presence was useful to both the USSR and the US to keep the Iranians in line. Regarding the US not making it all the way to Baghdad in Bush Sr's time, my point is not to discuss whether that was a correct decision or not on part of the US government (Mr Bush as chief executive and US Congress), but rather to analyse the reason why the decision was not to overthrow him. It was either seen that he could be put to more good use in the area (now under total Western control with the USSR out of the picture) or else it was a gross miscalculation by which it was deemed that he would not be able to hold out much longer under Western sanctions (highly unlikely IMO). On the other hand, Osama Bin Laden can be considered a US creation since he was trained in the US and planted in Afghanistan to conduct guerrilla groups against the Soviet invaders years ago.
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Old 08-24-2002, 04:27 AM   #11
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this is a really great thread

Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
Of course, sometimes the only alternative is a left leaning dictatorship vs. a right leaning dictatorship. In those cases, the lesser of two evils is supported.
this is also where the "no middle ground" can be found. american policy as of recent years is to side with one or the other. this is very often not beneficial to either side. instead, the us should try to creat a compromise helping both sides out (inedvidable helping the us out too). why don't we just shut down trade to countries that we don't agree with? go back to isolationism like pre-wwII? because that doesn't work now that WE globalized the economy. it's time that the u.s learn to compromise with other countries, not just one way or the other.

Quote:
The USA did not create the Taliban either. This was created by schools in western Pakistan, and largely supported by Pakistan to crush their political enemies in the Northern Alliance.
i think we were the ones to train the taliban. the school of the americas was formed in order to teach citizens in south america how to fight their own wars rather than our men go down there and lose their lives. the same idea was performed with the afghanistanis. during the cold war, the soviets kept trying to invade into afghanistan. so the us started training the afghanistani people how to fight so we didn't have to make the cold war a hot war. and you guessed correctly, these people turned into taliban leaders, training their followers the same way they were trained...with american tactics.

Quote:
Besides the business benifits, the other side effects of development are less illegal immigration and it helps the drug war in that people will have alternatives to growing and selling drugs, when the country becomes economically developed on the level of a western European country.
i live in minnesota. the northernmost part of minnesota is pretty much one big lake with islands popping up here and there. there isn't a land border between here and canada along our border. this makes imports of illegal drugs insanely easy and frequent. true, the amount that is brought in couldn't shake a 30 ft pole at the amount brought in through mexico, but the drugs that are generally brought in through canada are things like heroin, meth, and ecstacy.

and about immigration, again, the border is much more difficult to patrol, so there are many immigrants that sneak into america through canada. in fact, most of them are irish and german.


american foreign policy clearly needs an update as it seemingly hasn't had a facelift in almost 15 years. it is a sticky issue, but i think with time the us will get better with their foreign policies.
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Old 08-24-2002, 11:01 AM   #12
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STING2, I think we could go endlessly repeating our arguments, I think I have actually answered most of your points in your last post, I just want to add a few more things:

You talk about macroeconomy, and yes Mexico numbers there are pretty good, somehow, a certain stability has been reached, but this has been mostly based on an strict monetary control of the inflation, not on the creation of jobs or the increase of the level of life. ( the level of unemployement is a very deceiving figure here, if one person works 2 hours a day is considered that he has a job, even if his job is not permanent or even legal [meaning he can't have social security and other benefits]) About the minimum wage here is of $ 4 USD a day. Our income per capita is no bigger that $4,000 a year. A doubt this are good numbers. and consider this, in countries like Mexico about 10% of the population controls 90% of the economy.

You keep telling about how benefic NAFTA has been for Mexico, ok, some have benefited, you claim about thousands of jobs, that is actually not acurate, some benefit, of course, but you need to know that if some coorporation are here, is for the cheap labor payment, then yeah could be jobs, but the riches are not spread into the population. So I doubt that it actually can ignite the rest ofteh economy, as it may very well happen in the USA.

Also, as I stated, lots of mexican small bussines men have lost his small enterprices, because we can't compete, with big coorporation, I'm not against free market, neither think that a protectionist economy should be better, but , to start NAFTA wasn't fair, specially with an emerging middle class that was trying to grow.

You keep stating that Mexico buys a high amount of good from USA, as I said to you, most of this goods are not for our use, the export and import figures include Oil that Mexico sells to USA, Gas that we buy from USA, the goods produced here from USA coorporations, like cars and machinery, that then later come back to Mexico in some cases, also, is this big coorporations that do much of the imports of goods that are transformed into finished products for other markets.

You say that 20 years ago we wouldn't be able to "buy" this amount from USA, well, I doubt the comsum has raised, simple we bought our stuff from someone else, or from our own companies. seriously, you can check numbers and the level of life for the average mexican is lower than in 1970.

You compare NAFTA to the European Union, actually there are more diferences than comparations. there is no open borders, no monetary union, etc.

In fact the main point why I can say that USA don't care about the level of the mexicans life, and talking more preciselly about NAFTA, is that in no place, there is a word about the workers, their income, or the way to level it to USA standards, there is nothing about migration, or protection for our economically abused migrating workers in the USA, neither for their civil rights, is very clear, that for USA is a market were they have advantages (no taxes), and a place where they can have cheap labour hand to place their industries, and best of all, close to his market.

About IMF I would refer you to this thread, and to sulawesigirl4 paper http://forum2.interference.com/showt...threadid=61965
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Old 08-24-2002, 11:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by rafmed

I have a bussines, I give jobs to a few families, and I know from first hand and for people that is in my position how hard is to keep an acceptable level of living

but the truth, is that so far is not working, and the reality is that is creating more inequatities, empoverishing more people, and killing the dreams of people like me that want to work our way to develop bussines that could help create jobs.
Rafmed, although I don´t have my own business I can relate to what you said, and I must say that is something that really concerns me.

Let me add some personal professional experience. I work for the biggest state-owned bank in Brazil, I could say one of the few that lasted after so many privatizations. The company is the government agent for official policy concerning support to small farmers and small businesses in general. For the last 10 years at least I have worked with long term finances and loans to people willing to start their own small businesses, the ones that really provide jobs, because on the contrary of many people might think, it´s not the biggest companies that really create jobs. I love my job, I really feel excited when I think that, somehow, I might have helped a new entrepeneur to materialize his/her dream. We work with long term finances at a very small rate. But what has got me worried and sad is that the average of small businesses here that survive for more than a year is getting smaller really fast. When I started working with such kind of public almost 70% of the small companies didn´t surpass the first year of existence, struggling in a market still not so globalised. Now, in a recent research we did, we got more than 80% of failure for small businesses, with an incresing level of entrepeneurs that cannot honor their loans. That gets me concerned.

I´m that kind of stupid citizen that, once in need of buying some stuff, I always give preference to national products, regardless of the price I´m paying, because I know I´m helping to develop jobs here, not in US or Taiwan. Of course that is not the case of the majority of the population, they look for the smallest prices they can find. So globalisation has surely made lots of small entrepeneurs here, dreamers like our good friend rafmed, going down the drain, really fast. I hope it doesn´t happen to you, my friend.
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Old 08-24-2002, 03:29 PM   #14
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Thank you for your comments Anthony, and Follower, thank you for your support and wishes, don't worry, I has been through hard times to keep myself afloat, and I will manage to keep doing it
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