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Old 08-11-2006, 06:27 PM   #211
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Originally posted by silja


What do you mean by 'other ways'? Outside foreign policy or outside the examples I gave above?

As superpowers in the history of the world goes we don't really have that much of a precedent. If we go back past Cold War politics we are essentially in the colonial era where the world and the rules (written and otherwise) governing interactions of nations were very different - to the point of making a comparison to our time unrealistic.


in both ways -- surely *all* American foreign policy can't be bad, and surely superpowers do much more than throw weight around considering the definition of a superpower has to do with more than just military capability -- just consider where iPods and Google come from.
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Old 08-11-2006, 06:52 PM   #212
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Originally posted by Irvine511

in both ways -- surely *all* American foreign policy can't be bad, and surely superpowers do much more than throw weight around considering the definition of a superpower has to do with more than just military capability -- just consider where iPods and Google come from.
Of course not but I’ve never claimed that. I don’t really see why my argument about the consistency of US foreign policy between administrations require any and all US foreign policy decisions to be immoral, suspect or expedient. Many are, many are not.

I love my iPod and I love Google (though Google Scholar sucks badly) but we’re not defining what makes a superpower. We’re talking about how the US government uses its weight, as you call it, around the world and if abuse of the enormous power the US has could have an impact on world security. I’d love to discuss superpowers past and present. It sounds quite exiting actually, but I think we might need another thread for that. Lets get back to that after the weekend.
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Old 08-11-2006, 06:58 PM   #213
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How should US foreign policy differ from the foreign policy of any other nation? There were many who opposed confronting Saddam - not because of the potential for sectarian violence years later. They had their own economic interests at stake.
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Old 08-11-2006, 06:58 PM   #214
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Quote:
Originally posted by silja


Of course not but I’ve never claimed that. I don’t really see why my argument about the consistency of US foreign policy between administrations require any and all US foreign policy decisions to be immoral, suspect or expedient. Many are, many are not.



okay, i might have been taking this quote a little bit further than it was intended:

[q]From my perspective there are numerous elements of US foreign policy that remain constant, e.g. using foreign policy to advance American companies, using bully-like tactics to prevent smaller nations from opposing US policies, or disavowing responsibility for e.g. environmental effects of local US bases.[/q]

while i think American policy has taken a turn for the worse with the Bush administration, i don't think it's necessarily fair to paint all post-WW2 with the same brush. i also think there's a tendency for many outside the US to search for a monocausal explanation for something as complex as the foreign policy of a superpower in order to understand how the country is going about achieving it's (complex and varied) goals.

i wonder -- is it fair to hold a superpower to a different standard? to lasso it with a different set of expectations, at least in how it goes about pursuing it's own interests?

but, as you've said, perhaps this is best left to another thread.





Quote:
I love my iPod and I love Google (though Google Scholar sucks badly) but we’re not defining what makes a superpower. We’re talking about how the US government uses its weight, as you call it, around the world and if abuse of the enormous power the US has could have an impact on world security.

how would you distinguish between "use" and "abuse" of power? or, is it with superpowers, any and all "use" is automatically "abuse"?

but, perhaps another thread.
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Old 08-11-2006, 07:05 PM   #215
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is it fair to hold a superpower to a different standard?
A fair question, but who is the arbiter of the standard?
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Old 08-11-2006, 08:50 PM   #216
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


You've got to be kidding.

9/11 was implemented with box cutters!

Shooting out a window alone would be a threat.
The rules have changed, it is a zero sum game these days - people are not going to assume that terrorists want to land the plane and make demands, they assume that the terrorists are going to crash the plane and in that situation any attempted hijacking would be met with more than a few people who would try and stop them.

And shooting out a window would not bring down a plane.
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Old 08-11-2006, 08:57 PM   #217
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Wow. Absolutely! We have done nothing but fuel the fire since 9/11. Has anyone sat back and really wondered about what exactly it is the terrorists/al qaeda wants? Not trying to justify them or give into their demands but... what is it about America's foreign policy or the American Government that they hate, that they think (for some reason) would be fixed if they take out civilians in the thousands.
An Islamic superstate of their own, and if it's not Al Qaeda bringing such a vile creature into existence then it will be the Iranian Mullahs who's nuclear aspirations may well precipitate a clash of civlizations.

Americans may well get fed up with the War on Terror and the cost in lives and resources but the result may be the enacting of a detterent rather than concessions.
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Old 08-11-2006, 09:16 PM   #218
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Just an article to highlight an attitude that is probably more prevalent than one of seeking reconcliatin and middle ground with an opponent that can do neither

In order to know where we stand today in evaluating George W. Bush, it is necessary to know where we - and he - stood five (yes, five) years ago. Three weeks after 9/11, the President addressed a joint session of congress and said:
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Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them. (Applause.)

...Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (Applause.) From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.
Four months after 9/11, President Bush delivered the State of the Union Address, in which he said the following:
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Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens. Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom. Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens -- leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections -- then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world. States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic. We will work closely with our coalition to deny terrorists and their state sponsors the materials, technology, and expertise to make and deliver weapons of mass destruction. We will develop and deploy effective missile defenses to protect America and our allies from sudden attack. (Applause.) And all nations should know: America will do what is necessary to ensure our nation's security. We'll be deliberate, yet time is not on our side. I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons. (Applause.)
Think about those words: "Our enemy is...terrorists...and every government that supports them." "Any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime." "States like these [Iraq, Iran, North Korea] constitute an axis of evil." "The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons."

I cheered those words. I was glad I had voted for Bush, and not for Al Gore. I looked forward to President George Bush making good on his words and defending our nation against the nations of the axis of evil, and the terrorists they and others supported.

Shortly after that I happened on the writings of Angelo Codevilla, and understood the most effective strategy, in fact, the only proven effective strategy, available for waging and winning the war against Islamist fundamentalist terrorism: It would be necessary for us to destroy the regimes that sponsored, armed, trained, supported, protected, and used these Islamist terror organizations. Just as the seemingly ubiquitous communist "revolutionary fronts" all over the world seemed to dry up overnight with the destruction of their sponsor, the Soviet communist regime, removing the regimes in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, North Korea, and elsewhere that similarly succored a host of Islamist terror organizations would both give us a clear-cut, straightforward strategy, and also give us the standards by which victory would be measured: the destruction of those regimes would signal victory.

Viewed in that context, the invasion of Iraq and the toppling of the Hussein regime made perfect sense, especially in a military geostrategic sense. A liberated Iraq, serving as a base and jumping-off point for further military action against Iran and, perhaps, Syria, was an obvious first target for a campaign designed to destroy the regimes comprising the most immediate threats, and for placing enormous pressure on the Saudis to cease their Wahabbist support of Sunni terror organizations globally.

It is now five years later. The Taliban - which turned out to be merely puppets of al Qaeda, which had assumed regime status in Afghanistan, has been overthrown. al Qaeda is now stateless again. It has been badly damaged, but certainly not yet destroyed, as events yesterday in London make crystal clear. The Hussein regime in Iraq has been overthrown, but not destroyed, and much of the country, including the critical oil-bearing regions, is in the hands of Shia militias that answer as much to the Mullahs of Iran as they do to any purported "democratic" government in Baghdad - where, yesterday, hundreds of thousands demonstrated in support of Iranian sponsored terror group Hizb'Allah in their attacks on Israel.

The Mullahs of Iran remain in power and, far from being cowed by the Bush actions in Iraq, are poised to push the United States out of that country entirely. They are also poised to become the second Islamic republic to attain nuclear weapons. Their terrorist surrogates slaughter Americans in Iraq, and Jews in Israel.

The Syrian regime remains intact, and provides unlimited support to anti-American and Islamist terror groups, as it has for decades.

North Korea, a primary member of the "axis of evil," today "threaten[s] us with the world's most destructive weapons." - as does, or will soon, Iran.

Bush's proud words of five years ago stand revealed as hollow and meaningless. What happened?

What happened was one of the biggest failures of leadership in Presidential history. Bush supporters will claim that Bush was done in by a liberal media and the ferocious hatred of liberals and leftwingers, but that is one of the things true leadership is all about: Managing and overcoming opposition in order to achieve the necessary goals - in this case, the destruction of world Islamist terrorism and the regimes that support it.

Bush turned out to be singularly ill-equipped for this task, both by skill and by temperament. His public relations management was curiously hesitant and badly timed, and, of course, his inabilty to speak effectively in public was a gigantic handicap. His temperament, it eventually became clear, was hesitant, overly calculating, timid, and "compassionate." Compassion has its place, but not in warfighting. The Bush we know would not have pulled the trigger on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He abdicated the hard decisions in favor of political maneuvering and meaningless gestures.

Looking back, it becomes obvious that Bush never intended, or, perhaps, never intended with any conviction to actually do what he said he would do. His own brave promises reveal their hollowness with the passage of time. The world is a far more dangerous place for the United States, thanks to Bush's failures. Today, we stand threatened "by the world's most dangerous regimes with the world's most destructive weapons." And the Wahabbis of Saudi Arabia continue to fund a global terror support machine the likes of which we have not seen since the Soviet regime financed and trained every two-bit communist terror organization it could find.

That is unlikely to change under the Bush administration and, indeed, I expect it to grow worse, as I don't believe Bush has any intention of keeping an effective US military force in the region capable of giving pause to Iran, or to Saudi Arabia.

Instead, we are treated to distractions that give the impression that somebody (in this case, Israel) is doing something about some Islamist terrorists (in this case, open Iranian surrogates), and the US is "doing its part" by "protecting" Israel against the likes of France. And Bush's vaunted "political credit" (which probably never existed in the first place) has dribbled down the drain of his own incompetence.

As for me? I've moved on. The first administration of the first century of the American Third Millennium will, in my estimation, be remembered as one of the biggest failures of that century. Bush's great failure was, not invading Iraq, but not weathering the adversity that followed through acts of real leadership, and then pressing on with the necessary military destruction of the other regimes he, himself, named as most dangerous five years ago.

I'm hoping we can get through the next two years without any major disasters, and then I'm looking to elect a real war leader to the White House - somebody with a warrior's temperament and a leader's skills. George Bush has neither. He is a dangerous failure, and America will be well rid of him.

America's last great war leader was a man from New York. Hmm. Is anybody like that running for President in 2008?

link

Could it be that behind the rhetoric there is an administration that does the minimum in procecuting this war? Will any future administration deal with Iran?
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Old 08-11-2006, 09:16 PM   #219
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Originally posted by nbcrusader


A fair question, but who is the arbiter of the standard?
Perhaps an electorate? The U.N. Security Committee? I dunno, beats me.
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Old 08-11-2006, 09:18 PM   #220
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A global test with the arbiters including countries like China and Russia? America has a right to pursue it's national interest just as other countries have a right to pursue theirs, you do not get to the top and stay at the top by giving your opponents veto on your every move.
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Old 08-11-2006, 09:36 PM   #221
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
You can do very little damage to a lot of people with a low velocity pistol or a taser, so grabbing a marshalls weapon does not seem to be a threat. Having Air Marshalls has been an effective detterent for El Al, and they profile so non-Jews are medium risk and Muslims are high risk for security. Religious profiling strikes me as legitimate.
I agree with you about air marshalls...BUT, we cancelled a day's worth of flying on an aircraft today after a luggage cart caused a smal, inch-long dent in the aircraft. The luggage cart just happen to hit a piece of the aircraft's skin that is essential to airflow of the aircraft. (This type of repairable damage happens daily in the airline world - it is repaired...but can disrupt A LOT of passengers and revenue).

An explosive that could blow a small hole in the aircraft COULD be deadly.
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Old 08-11-2006, 09:42 PM   #222
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We weren't talking about explosives though.
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Old 08-11-2006, 09:55 PM   #223
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Having Air Marshalls has been an effective detterent for El Al, and they profile so non-Jews are medium risk and Muslims are high risk for security.
Stupid question, but how do they know you're a Jew or not? Do they ask at the counter? I mean, sure you can screen by names and make assumptions in certain cases but I know plenty of Jewish people who don't have Jewish names at all. Or for example, you can have Bosnian Muslims with Slavic names, you'd never guess they were Muslim, travelling on US passports, etc? I'm just curious.

Last year I was looking for a flight to LA and El Al had a seat sale on their connecting flights (Tel Aviv-Toronto-LA). I asked my travel agent to book me on that because the deal was great and she said she has a policy of advising people not to because their security measures often result in 3-4 hour waits that throw you off your connecting flights. Also, she said they had frequent bouts of kicking everyone back off the plane when something was amiss and then re-boarding and said a lot of people would call her later, irate that she'd sold them the tickets.

I'm really wondering whether they can just ask you at the counter to provide proof of your religious affiliation and how they determine what you're saying is true then.
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Old 08-11-2006, 10:09 PM   #224
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
We weren't talking about explosives though.
Guns could damage the skin just as easily as an explosive.

My post was about a minor ding from a slow rolling luggage cart.
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Old 08-11-2006, 10:12 PM   #225
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Originally posted by anitram

I'm really wondering whether they can just ask you at the counter to provide proof of your religious affiliation and how they determine what you're saying is true then.
What would stop them from asking?

I am not completely familiar wih their program...but I know they are pretty harsh on their passengers when it comes to safety.

Most people flying El Al now what they are getting into.
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