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Old 03-13-2008, 08:32 PM   #1
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"Magic is Over" for U.S.

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PARIS: Bernard Kouchner, the foreign minister of France and a longtime humanitarian, diplomatic and political activist on the international scene, says that whoever succeeds President George W. Bush may restore something of the United States' battered image and standing overseas, but that "the magic is over."
*************************************************
Kouchner began the 90-minute event with a speech that emphasized that "there is not just a new diplomacy; there is a new world."

To those intimidated by or fearful of what seem to be the rising challenges of globalization, climate change, spreading disease or new technology, Kouchner had a simple message: "The great difficulty is to accept this new world."
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/03/...ope/france.php

So, can the U.S. ever repair itself? Or are Americans in general unable to fully grasp this 'new world' that they may pick the wrong person to do the job?
For the record, I don't think either candidate is up for the job. McCain is too old fashioned, Hillary doesn't give me the impression she wants the U.S. to be a world power, and Obama needs to do his homework when it comes to foreign policy.
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Old 03-13-2008, 08:52 PM   #2
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Although certainly not perfect Obama is the closest thing to "new" that the U.S. has right now. McCain is the definition of "old" and Hillary is proving to be the "monster" that many people suspected she was.
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Old 03-13-2008, 08:55 PM   #3
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I wouldn't call Hillary a 'monster', she just doesn't strike me as someone who could bring the U.S. to the 21st century.

As for Obama, ever since he made the comment that he would invade Pakistan to find terrorists, I've had no faith in his foreign policy. It's like he just wants to arouse the people so he could get votes.
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Old 03-13-2008, 09:02 PM   #4
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Re: "Magic is Over" for U.S.

Quote:
Originally posted by Pearl


http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/03/...ope/france.php

So, can the U.S. ever repair itself? Or are Americans in general unable to fully grasp this 'new world' that they may pick the wrong person to do the job?
For the record, I don't think either candidate is up for the job. McCain is too old fashioned, Hillary doesn't give me the impression she wants the U.S. to be a world power, and Obama needs to do his homework when it comes to foreign policy.


In my view the United States started going away from the Constitution and Bill of Rights in the 1930s under FDR. Since then the Federal Government has continued to increase and expand their power over the States and the people.

President Bush, in his eight years, has continued this downward spiral.

Many in this country seem to be bent and willing to accept socialism.

The 'magic' of freedom seems to be disappearing.
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Old 03-13-2008, 09:45 PM   #5
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I guess we in Canada live under "socialism" because it doesn't cost us thousands of dollars if we're injured and have to go to the hospital. If that's what you mean by socialist then by all means BRING IT ON. As for FDR, I don't know alot about his personal life and sometimes you cannot trust the history books but didn't he side with the lower and middle class of the 30's as opposed to what was then corporate America??? If so, he'd get my vote.
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Old 03-13-2008, 10:33 PM   #6
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As far as I'm concerned, there is no real mystery as to why the "magic is over," and it has nothing to do with (dystopian) fantasies about the crumbling of the U.S. It has pretty much everything to do with the fact that the U.S.' success was always measured against the unstable political and relatively poor economic conditions of the rest of the world, for the most part. A lot of this had to do with the Cold War and communism--but not necessarily both at the same time. Sure, Soviet-style communism stunted the economic growth of every nation it touched, so this is one factor as to why many countries in the world were in bad shape. On the other hand, particularly in terms of South America, even the mere threat of communism was enough to push the U.S. to destabilize certain governments, and, unfortunately, put it in the hands of military dictatorships, which they knew wouldn't go communist. However, you can't blame the U.S. entirely, as Argentina's woes related to "Perónism" and its subsequent military dictatorships, for instance, had nothing to do with the U.S.

The fact is, for the most part, our "success" probably had everything to do with our ability to suck the best and brightest talents from around the globe, thus retarding these nations' growth. The end of the Cold War, however, has brought increasing stability in these nations. Couple this with high commodities prices, which most of these nations provide, and post-9/11 anti-immigrant xenophobia in the U.S., thus preventing many of the "best and brightest" from moving here, and we have the seeds for explosive global economic growth, which we have not seen in a very long time.

The "magic" may be over, but it's not because the U.S. has faltered, as much as it is because the rest of the world has grown. This, as such, will mean that the U.S. needs to substantially change the way it competes in the global economy. I think that the cornerstone of our "new economy" rests on, at least, two pillars:

1) Energy independence, so that we are not dependent on oil, which, unfortunately, happens to exist in many unsavory nations.

2) Substantial technology upgrades. Anyone not blinded by patriotism would realize that advanced Asian nations, for instance, have internet connections that many times faster and substantially cheaper than what we get in the U.S. Just as the dawn of the internet spawned growth in the 1990s, it's artificially hampered speeds limit what we can do from here.

If the U.S. wishes to "reclaim the magic," it will have to do what it did best for many decades, and that was to technologically advance faster than the rest of the world. At this point, we're quite clearly losing this battle, and our continued emphasis on political hot-button bullshit, like always, is very clearly holding us back. We need to, very directly, tell our politicians that they need to focus on what's important, rather than continually looking for simple diversions to placate the idiotic masses. Unfortunately, I think most of them are just idiots themselves.
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Old 03-13-2008, 10:46 PM   #7
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^ best post you've had in ages. well done.
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Old 03-13-2008, 11:04 PM   #8
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Indeed. I like what you said Melon, especially the economic growth part.
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Old 03-14-2008, 01:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
[B]As far as I'm concerned, there is no real mystery as to why the "magic is over,"
Don't believe every former French foreign minister/diplomat/political activist that comes along.
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The fact is, for the most part, our "success" probably had everything to do with our ability to suck the best and brightest talents from around the globe
Attract is a more apt verb than suck.
Quote:
...and post-9/11 anti-immigrant xenophobia in the U.S., thus preventing many of the "best and brightest" from moving here.
If you wanna call 1,266,000, "anti-immigrant xenophobia," because that's how many immigrants became legal permanent residents of the U.S. in 2006. Does any other country in the world come close to that?
With U.S. citizenship in such high demand, it's not "xenophobic" to choose new residents on the basis of our needs and their skills and education. Unless you think a non-controlled flood of low-skill/wage immigrants is preferable.
Quote:
The "magic" may be over, but it's not because the U.S. has faltered, as much as it is because the rest of the world has
grown.
Right. The "magic" isn't over...IT'S SPREADING!
Quote:
This, as such, will mean that the U.S. needs to substantially change the way it competes in the global economy. I think that the cornerstone of our "new economy" rests on, at least, two pillars:

1) Energy independence, so that we are not dependent on oil, which, unfortunately, happens to exist in many unsavory nations.
I Agree. Would you include increased nuclear usage and new drilling offshore and in ANWR?
Quote:
2) Substantial technology upgrades.
I would say better trade and monetary policies to correct our weakening dollar, trade and budget deficits. Not, however, the labor-pandering anti-NAFTA rhetoric of Clinton & Obama.
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Old 03-14-2008, 07:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by INDY500

Don't believe every former French foreign minister/diplomat/political activist that comes along.

Except when there is some substantial truth to it.

Quote:
Originally posted by the iron horse




In my view the United States started going away from the Constitution and Bill of Rights in the 1930s under FDR. Since then the Federal Government has continued to increase and expand their power over the States and the people.

President Bush, in his eight years, has continued this downward spiral.

Many in this country seem to be bent and willing to accept socialism.

The 'magic' of freedom seems to be disappearing.
You should get yourself educated about Socialism and what it really is.
America would be looking much worse if it weren't for the reforms of the 1930's.
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Old 03-14-2008, 09:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by INDY500
Don't believe every former French foreign minister/diplomat/political activist that comes along.
That's a ridiculous cop-out, particularly since these opinions of mine have absolutely nothing to do with him. In fact, the minute I read "foreign minister of France," I stopped reading, and decided to reply (I have issues with France that are quite complicated ).

Quote:
Attract is a more apt verb than suck.
Don't let your jingoism resort you to petty semantics, because you damn well know that they mean substantially the same thing, in this context.

Quote:
If you wanna call 1,266,000, "anti-immigrant xenophobia," because that's how many immigrants became legal permanent residents of the U.S. in 2006. Does any other country in the world come close to that?
With U.S. citizenship in such high demand, it's not "xenophobic" to choose new residents on the basis of our needs and their skills and education. Unless you think a non-controlled flood of low-skill/wage immigrants is preferable.
Aside from statistics, how many immigrants do you know? I know a few; one, after graduating from college, tried to stay, but ended up deported back to Malaysia, because the process has horrendously backlogged since 9/11. She has decided to stay there, and has prospered there. Her story is not unique, and is actually a great point of what I wrote. The "best and brightest" from around the world, who would normally find a legal way to stay in the U.S. after graduation are instead finding themselves confronted by a bureaucratic nightmare, and, in many cases, being deported. This, in turn, has discouraged many others from trying to come here in the first place, because we are developing an international reputation for being unwelcome to immigrants.

Another is a pharmacist in Florida, who is still here, but is under fairly consistent worry that he'll end up being deported someday, because, again, the backlog for processing permanent residency applications is terrible. To add insult to injury, certain fees and forms in the application have annual expiration dates, which are not given any leniency, despite the backlog, so if they actually review your application, you might get a terse response that certain forms have expired and you have to fill them out again...which then delays things further. He's spent well over $10,000 at this point, between the initial filing/fees and the refiling/repayment of certain fees.

This is the "anti-immigrant xenophobia" I'm talking about, not some amnesty for low-skilled illegal immigrant labor (which I do not support, if I may add). The way we treat our legal immigants is borderline criminal.

Quote:
Right. The "magic" isn't over...IT'S SPREADING!
Right...so if a pharmaceutical company is making billions of dollars from a patented drug that they've developed, for instance, and the patent expires so that every other company can develop generics, would you say that the "magic is over" or that the "magic is spreading"? I'll give you an answer that doesn't involve "magic": that company will see its stock price tank if it doesn't proactively develop a new drug that can be patented.

The same analogy works with the U.S. Currently, I'd say that we're a bit lacking in magic. Our response over the last few years has not been to develop anything new; it has been to approve corporate mergers. Sorry to say, I've never known a merger to do anything more than reduce competition and make a company even more conservative in its management outlook than before. It's that "conservatism" that's hurting us, in the long run. Stock prices don't mean shit, if you're not actually making anything unique.

Quote:
I Agree. Would you include increased nuclear usage and new drilling offshore and in ANWR?
I'm a strong proponent of nuclear power, and have been for a long time here. I'd even go as far as to support spent fuel reprocessing, which we banned out of nuclear proliferation concerns (the most common technique generates a small amount of weapons-grade plutonium), but which no other nation followed. Europe has never stopped reprocessing its spent fuel, and appropriately strict oversight should keep the plutonium from getting in the wrong hands. Regardless, new reprocessing techniques being developed might make this debate moot, as they have been created with the hope that it will create "junk plutonium." Yucca Mountain, as such, is basically an irresponsibly wasteful idea.

As for oil drilling, can you say "too little, too late"? Even if we started drilling today, ANWR would require at least a decade of exploration and another decade to generate output. In 20 years, if we were as serious about infrastructure as FDR and Eisenhower were in their days, we could have an entire hydrogen economy completed, and we could tell Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and all those other asinine OPEC nations to take their oil and fuck themselves with it. We would kill two birds with one stone: it could help give us the upper hand again in foreign relations (which would make conservatives happy), and it would help save the environment (which would make liberals happy).

Quote:
I would say better trade and monetary policies to correct our weakening dollar, trade and budget deficits. Not, however, the labor-pandering anti-NAFTA rhetoric of Clinton & Obama.
The anti-NAFTA rhetoric is particularly funny, inasmuch as anyone paying attention would realize that NAFTA only covers Canada and Mexico. The 800-lb. gorilla in all of this is China, which NAFTA does not cover.

I think we need to be tougher in making sure that free trade is actually being done by free markets, at the very least. China is, perhaps, the shining example of how we compromise our ideals, in the name of greed. We have an authoritarian, communist nation that have few labor laws (and high accident/mortality rates, as a result), few environmental laws, and low pay, not to mention an egregious currency manipulator. In other words, not only does China have conditions that should be abhorrent to any modern democratic nation, but it doesn't even bother to adhere to basic notions of free markets.

How can we ever have "free trade" with nations that are not free? I don't think that "free trade" should be synonymous with "anarchy"; there needs to be some consistent rules involved, and the U.S. is willing to defend this, albeit in haphazard ways. The U.S. and other Western nations are currently suing China at the WTO for banning foreign companies from selling financial information to Chinese companies. Funny how we always seem to know how to defend our banks.
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Old 03-14-2008, 09:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
As far as I'm concerned, there is no real mystery as to why the "magic is over," and it has nothing to do with (dystopian) fantasies about the crumbling of the U.S. It has pretty much everything to do with the fact that the U.S.' success was always measured against the unstable political and relatively poor economic conditions of the rest of the world, for the most part. A lot of this had to do with the Cold War and communism--but not necessarily both at the same time. Sure, Soviet-style communism stunted the economic growth of every nation it touched, so this is one factor as to why many countries in the world were in bad shape. On the other hand, particularly in terms of South America, even the mere threat of communism was enough to push the U.S. to destabilize certain governments, and, unfortunately, put it in the hands of military dictatorships, which they knew wouldn't go communist. However, you can't blame the U.S. entirely, as Argentina's woes related to "Perónism" and its subsequent military dictatorships, for instance, had nothing to do with the U.S.

The fact is, for the most part, our "success" probably had everything to do with our ability to suck the best and brightest talents from around the globe, thus retarding these nations' growth. The end of the Cold War, however, has brought increasing stability in these nations. Couple this with high commodities prices, which most of these nations provide, and post-9/11 anti-immigrant xenophobia in the U.S., thus preventing many of the "best and brightest" from moving here, and we have the seeds for explosive global economic growth, which we have not seen in a very long time.

The "magic" may be over, but it's not because the U.S. has faltered, as much as it is because the rest of the world has grown. This, as such, will mean that the U.S. needs to substantially change the way it competes in the global economy. I think that the cornerstone of our "new economy" rests on, at least, two pillars:

1) Energy independence, so that we are not dependent on oil, which, unfortunately, happens to exist in many unsavory nations.

2) Substantial technology upgrades. Anyone not blinded by patriotism would realize that advanced Asian nations, for instance, have internet connections that many times faster and substantially cheaper than what we get in the U.S. Just as the dawn of the internet spawned growth in the 1990s, it's artificially hampered speeds limit what we can do from here.

If the U.S. wishes to "reclaim the magic," it will have to do what it did best for many decades, and that was to technologically advance faster than the rest of the world. At this point, we're quite clearly losing this battle, and our continued emphasis on political hot-button bullshit, like always, is very clearly holding us back. We need to, very directly, tell our politicians that they need to focus on what's important, rather than continually looking for simple diversions to placate the idiotic masses. Unfortunately, I think most of them are just idiots themselves.
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Old 03-14-2008, 10:39 AM   #13
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I just love reading your post, Melon.
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Old 03-14-2008, 11:53 AM   #14
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To Melon and Vincent
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Old 03-14-2008, 12:54 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon

Don't let your jingoism resort you to petty semantics, because you damn well know that they mean substantially the same thing, in this context.

Patriotism a more apt noun than jingoism.

Quote:
Aside from statistics, how many immigrants do you know? I know a few; one, after graduating from college, tried to stay, but ended up deported back to Malaysia, because the process has horrendously backlogged since 9/11. She has decided to stay there, and has prospered there. Her story is not unique, and is actually a great point of what I wrote. The "best and brightest" from around the world, who would normally find a legal way to stay in the U.S. after graduation are instead finding themselves confronted by a bureaucratic nightmare, and, in many cases, being deported. This, in turn, has discouraged many others from trying to come here in the first place, because we are developing an international reputation for being unwelcome to immigrants.
As a health professional I can assure you that many of my colleagues are nationalized citizens. I too have known students and others working here on visas or some other temporary status that have had to return home. The process of bringing foreign spouses and other close relatives has also slowed, especially if they are from certain areas of the world.
Post 9/11 I feel all of that is perfectly warranted, however. A necessary inconvenience.
Quote:
Another is a pharmacist in Florida, who is still here, but is under fairly consistent worry that he'll end up being deported someday, because, again, the backlog for processing permanent residency applications is terrible. To add insult to injury, certain fees and forms in the application have annual expiration dates, which are not given any leniency, despite the backlog, so if they actually review your application, you might get a terse response that certain forms have expired and you have to fill them out again...which then delays things further. He's spent well over $10,000 at this point, between the initial filing/fees and the refiling/repayment of certain fees.

This is the "anti-immigrant xenophobia" I'm talking about The way we treat our legal immigants is borderline criminal.
Criminal? Frustrating to be sure, but haven't we all experienced bureaucratic nightmares? Again, are we to blame that the demand to be an American is so high that it "crashes" the system? Or that some would abuse our benevolence to harm us?
What number of legal immigrants would you allow annually? Pick a number and you will have some that will say it's too high, we aren't assimilating those that are here and others that will tell you it's too low, our workforce and economy desperately needs these skills and workers.
Quote:
The same analogy works with the U.S. Currently, I'd say that we're a bit lacking in magic. Our response over the last few years has not been to develop anything new; it has been to approve corporate mergers. Sorry to say, I've never known a merger to do anything more than reduce competition and make a company even more conservative in its management outlook than before. It's that "conservatism" that's hurting us, in the long run. Stock prices don't mean shit, if you're not actually making anything unique.
The mergers (often multinational like Daimler - Chrysler) are actually a direct response to the challenge of competing in a global economy against other huge conglomerates or state-supported institutions.
Quote:
The anti-NAFTA rhetoric is particularly funny, inasmuch as anyone paying attention would realize that NAFTA only covers Canada and Mexico. The 800-lb. gorilla in all of this is China, which NAFTA does not cover.

I think we need to be tougher in making sure that free trade is actually being done by free markets, at the very least. China is, perhaps, the shining example of how we compromise our ideals, in the name of greed. We have an authoritarian, communist nation that have few labor laws (and high accident/mortality rates, as a result), few environmental laws, and low pay, not to mention an egregious currency manipulator. In other words, not only does China have conditions that should be abhorrent to any modern democratic nation, but it doesn't even bother to adhere to basic notions of free markets.

How can we ever have "free trade" with nations that are not free?
We agree here. We should be appalled by the human rights abuses in China. The working conditions, pollution and lack of product safety. Why are we allowing the import of tainted dog food and lead contaminated toys into our country? Or the unfair monetary practices of China with it's trading partners?

We seem to have bestowed on China "Most Favored Dictatorship" status since opening up trade with them in the 70's. However, as you say, can we really afford to ignore the 800-lb market/economy that is China?
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