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Thread: What we support and defend

  1. #201
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Actually, it was Robert Duvall, as Lucky Ned Pepper, who said that immediately before John Wayne, as Rooster Cogburn, shot him to pieces. I am glad to see you are referring to the original True Grit. That is one movie they never should have remade.

    As for your second comment, I'm hurt that you didn't try harder when insulting me. I feel insulted now.

    He (Duvall)does say that but it is Glenn Campbell who delivers the killing shot and saves John Wayne's (excuse me one eyed fat man's) life.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-cPWheNyaA
    Last edited by slapout9; 07-11-2012 at 11:29 AM. Reason: spillin stuff

  2. #202
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Default Missed this one...

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Well there is a long history of how to do it successfully. Among the things to do are speak up when they behave badly. Don't hold them to a lower international standard of behavior because they grouse about how badly they been treated. Stop thinking they are ten feet tall. They screw up more than most and they aren't fearless. That is bluster. They get scared just like everybody else. Remember what Grant learned at the Battle of Belmont (I think it was the Battle of Belmont). Don't let them shove around allies just because people inside the beltway are feeling windy. Don't fool yourself into thinking we can get them to like us short of complete surrender.
    Long history of how to do it successfully? When and where has any of this succeeded? The success that's been had against Communist nations has been generated by sustaining the status quo until they rot out from the inside. Efforts to obstruct Communist revolutions through military action or support for puppet regimes led us into a series of miserable overseas ventures and saddled us with the legacy of support for a long series of governments that inspired little beyond hatred in their own countries.

    Since you're talking about the Chinese here, not about "Communism" in any generic sense... how exactly do you propose to not let them shove allies around? Some suggestion of actual policy or concrete actions that might be taken to advance what seems a largely rhetorical position might be useful.

    Nobody cares if the Chinese like us or not, and we are not in a position to hold them to any standard of behaviour. We are not their parents.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    They will propagandize their people as they please no matter what we do. It is easy to lie when you control the media completely.
    Of course they will try. Don't think for a moment that the Chinese people have no access to information. China is not North Korea. In order to achieve the economic growth that's made them a threat, the Chinese have had to develop a large number of sophisticated, connected individuals that they cannot fully control. Lots of people have access to information, and it does spread. That doesn't mean it isn't manipulated, but it would be a huge mistake to think the Chinese government can fully control its own populace, or that they don't have to worry about what their own people think. They worry a lot more about what their people think than they do about what we think. They badly want to inspire a rush of jingoistic nationalism to distract the populace from the overwhelming corruption, growing inequality, and an economic future that's suddenly looking less secure than it once did, and it would be silly of us to reinforce that effort, especially with actions that wouldn't accomplish anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    The most important thing though is to realize communism is a pernicious evil system that has resulted in more human death and suffering than any other. There is no good in that system, only greater and lesser degrees of evil.
    What exactly do you propose to do about it? The realization alone doesn't get you anywhere. For many years Americans who shared your views adopted policies - notably support for a long series of troglodyte dictators - that played into Communist propaganda, endowed Communism with a perception of legitimacy that it would not otherwise have had, and did our cause more harm than good. Pronouncing Communism an irretrievable evil doesn't provide an intelligent or useful policy for opposing it, and it can do the opposite.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Realize to that they lie almost always and about everything.
    Of course they will try. Don't think for a moment that the Chinese people have no access to information. China is not North Korea. In order to achieve the economic growth that's made them a threat, the Chinese have had to develop a large number of sophisticated, connected individuals that they cannot fully control. Lots of people have access to outside information, and it does spread. That doesn't mean it isn't manipulated, but it would be a huge mistake to think the Chinese government can fully control its own populace, or that they don't have to worry about what their own people think. They worry a lot more about what their people think than they do about what we think.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    All those economic numbers they put out shouldn't be trusted.
    True in part, and it's certainly true that the Chinese economy is not the juggernaut it's sometimes claimed to be. All the more reason not to panic, and one more indicator that political change in China is going to come from the inside, not from anything the US does. That change may not be for the better, and may end up posing a greater rather than a lesser threat, but that can't be fully anticipated and will have to be managed as it emerges.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  3. #203
    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    In order to achieve the economic growth that's made them a threat, the Chinese have had to develop a large number of sophisticated, connected individuals that they cannot fully control.
    Aihwa Ong has done some relevant work, particularly her book Flexible citizenship.[1][2] There’s a lot of insight between the covers if you can stomach the purple prose.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

  4. #204
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Has the USA learnt from the War of 1812?

    I have refrained from posting some of the commentary elsewhere on this episode in Anglo-American history, but this article on RCP fits nicely to this discussion. So caveat aside:
    Last month marked the 200th anniversary of the start of the War of 1812.
    Yes, a war in which the British burned down Washington's public buildings.

    I digress!

    In 1812, Great Britain presented U.S. war planners with a very challenging strategic problem, one with contemporary irony given America's 21st century military might: How do you wage successful war against a global superpower?

    Two numbers illustrate America's quandary. The RN began the war with around 500 warships. The U.S. Navy had 14, though when the war began not all were crewed and seaworthy.

    However, as Kevin McCranie demonstrates in his new book, "Utmost Gallantry: The U.S. and Royal Navies in the War of 1812" (Naval Institute Press), the tiny USN was a talented, courageous, well-led and therefore dangerous mouse.
    Link:http://www.realclearpolitics.com/art...ve_114755.html

    Yes, today the USA is a leading superpower and faces adversaries that are dangerous mice. Today, not tomorrow, today; question does the US have armed forces that are:
    talented, courageous, well-led and therefore dangerous
    From my very limited engagement with the US military, mainly via SWC, there is clearly talent, courage, leadership and it can be dangerous. There's also a lot of baggage that is a dead weight, such as the conformism of such a large institution and the lack of real-world training (Ken W. often reminding us of that).
    davidbfpo

  5. #205
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Sticking with the RN, the dreadnought revolution is also of interest.
    It was actually launched by the RN itself and the RN showed some good thinking when it produced the Dreadnought and Invincible classes.
    For example, it concealed the true nature of the Invincibles by misleading the public about the main armament (which lead to an under-armed German counterpart, the SMS Blcher).

    The dreadnought revolution required huge expenses on part of the RN and still created an opportunity for upstarts to challenge the RN, as the old inventory had become obsolescent.

    The industrial ability to produce dreadnoughts and the ability to afford them and their operation was of great importance.


    Nowadays, a "Dreadnought revolution episode II" would leave the USN unable to cope, for there's almost no U.S. shipyard industry capacity. PRC, South Korea and Japan are superpowers in this regard. Even countries such as Poland or Croatia rank higher than the U.S. in shipbuilding, even more so if we subtract the shipyards of the Great Lakes.


    There's a different yet still hugely important problem about land power:
    The U.S.Army is addicted to pricey solutions even for tiny problems. It would probably break the country fiscally if it ever had to cope with an arms race as those known from 1912-1914 or 1938-1939.

  6. #206
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    As part of this thread's discussion, the issue of what constitutes a legitimate government has been bandied about but not really answered. Something of an argument has been made along the grounds of "might makes right" in that the winners of a revolution are, de facto, the legitimate governors of some chunk of real estate. (I'm trying to avoid a bunch of loaded terms like country and nation.)

    Since an appeal to the foundational documents of the US has been made, I thought it might be instructive to review the Declaration of Independence to see whether it identifies what would constitute a legitimate government. Not surprisingly, no such delineation is present. However, Thomas Jefferson did provide a list of items to show that he thought the rule of George III was that of a tyrant. That list follows:
    Quote Originally Posted by Declaration of Independence
    He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
    He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
    He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
    He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
    He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
    He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
    He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
    He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
    He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
    He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
    He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
    For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
    For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
    For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
    For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
    For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
    For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
    For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
    For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
    He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
    He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
    He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
    He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
    He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
    The next step in the document is to assert that a tyrant is unfit to be the ruler of free people.


    So the Declaration of Independence is actually an argument (technical term from logic) to justify the revolt of the members of the several states. The argument goes like this:
    George III is a tyrant (proved inductively by the list quoted above)
    Tyrants are unfit rulers of free people (asserted without argument)
    The inhabitants of the several States of America are free people (minimally argued for from the assertion of the unalienable right of liberty and, through the sentence,"We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here", an appeal to past actions of earlier immigrants to those States.)
    Free people are justified in not following the rule of unfit rulers. (an assumed premise to make the argument valid)
    Therefore, the inhabitants of the several states are justified in not keeping (not following the rule of) George III as their ruler.

    The argument seems to have some pretty dubious claims, not least of which is the assertion of unalienable rights, with liberty being one of those rights. For centuries, people seemed to have accepted without argument that some among them had a mandate to rule while others among them had a mandate to follow. The source of that mandate was usually not the will of the people either.

    Perhaps someone can make clear what it is that makes the beliefs of a few 18th century gentleman farmers and merchants (not all of whom were successful) and the lawyers who represented them as well as the views of a few doctors and tax collectors (Sam Adams for example) representative of the feelings and wishes of the majority of people living in the 13 colonies during the latter half of the 18th century. To identify the members of the Continental Congress as representative of the majority of the folks living on the eastern seaboard of North America in the 1770s is, to my mind, very farfetched.
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. — Sydney J. Harris

  7. #207
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Isn't the whole list laughable?

    Bys 1776 the English king wasn't really that much in power any more; prime ministers had been de facto in power for a long time by then (IIRC since the mid-17th century?).

  8. #208
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Some of the list is laughable but that's politics -- always laughable. Or Sad....

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Isn't the whole list laughable?
    Still, skipping over the laughable parts, I suspect even you would bridle at some of these:

    "He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures."

    "He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
    For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:"

    "He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries * to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation."

    "He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions."


    That last on was quite true and was, in effect, the start of a war...

    That and the very real fact that "He," George III was definitely the one who stood in the way of Colonial representation in the British Parliament, at the time that was by far the most significant political complaint

    CAUTION: Obligatory anti Socialism content.

    "He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance."

    That's not laughable but neither is it a cause for war -- it is however, true and quite sad. It's also ironic, particularly as Governments including the US today do it to themselves.
    Bys 1776 the English king wasn't really that much in power any more; prime ministers had been de facto in power for a long time by then (IIRC since the mid-17th century?).
    True but the "He" in question was the Head of State -- and "He" is much more clear and concise than would have been 'The Tory government of Lord North and his cronies.'

    * From Hesse-Kassell and other small German States; all together they comprised about a quarter of British forces in North America during the war. A lot of them deserted and stayed here -- which is one reason the proportion of US Citizens of German descent is so large (17% in 2000, the largest reported grouping by national origin followed by the Irish... )

  9. #209
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Default Since documents are under discussion...

    The opening of the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence from France...
    "All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness"

    This immortal statement was made in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America m 1776. In a broader sense, this means: All the peoples on the earth are equal from birth, all the peoples have a right to live, to be happy and free.

    The Declaration of the French Revolution made in 1791 on the Rights of Man and the Citizen also states: "All men are born free and with equal rights, and must always remain free and have equal rights." Those are undeniable truths.

    Nevertheless, for more than eighty years, the French imperialists, abusing the standard of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, have violated our Fatherland and oppressed our fellow-citizens. They have acted contrary to the ideals of humanity and justice. In the field of politics, they have deprived our people of every democratic liberty.

    They have enforced inhuman laws; they have set up three distinct political regimes in the North, the Center and the South of Vietnam in order to wreck our national unity and prevent our people from being united.
    Arguably the Vietnamese had a rather better claim of French oppression than the American colonists had of British oppression.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  10. #210
    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    "He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions."
    That one makes more sense in the first draft.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Bys 1776 the English king wasn't really that much in power any more; prime ministers had been de facto in power for a long time by then (IIRC since the mid-17th century?).
    It’s really addressing the role (viz., The Crown), not the individual.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

  11. #211
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Most times that's true...

    Quote Originally Posted by ganulv View Post
    That one makes more sense in the first draft
    .As indeed it was in this case. However, often, politics intrude -- as they did in this case...

  12. #212
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Still, skipping over the laughable parts, I suspect even you would bridle at some of these:
    The "no representation" part is really the only one that I agree with fully. All else is either enabled by the same or bad government instead of real tyranny.
    Standing military forces in a colony isn't exactly a reason for criticism in my opinion. Sure, they could be used to oppress, but they were also to some degree a necessity.
    A militia is not going to guard a harbour or entire coastal town against raids by pulling fort garrison duty, for example. A militia isn't going to interdict smuggling either.

  13. #213
    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    A militia isn't going to interdict smuggling either.

    And they may not want to, either. You can see how things might spiral from there.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

  14. #214
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Revolutions cannot be well assessed by outsiders. Or by the affected government either for that matter.

    All such grievances are as perceived by the affected populace; and typically the perceptions of the entire populace affected by such governance runs the full range, from ready to fight personally for liberty to ready to fight personally to sustain the status quo.

    Governments, being made up of bureaucrats and politicians are genetically il-equipped to deal effectively with challenge rooted in grievance based on the nature of their existence/performance. Bureaucrats resist change and seek to protect their beloved process and procedures. Politicians avoid taking personal responsibility, as to do so is to have it converted to blame by their opponents, legal or illegal in nature. So most governments when faced by such challenge have a single go-to move: "Enforce the rule of law." Just send out the security forces to make this problem go away. Mix in some perks if you can afford it, like a little extra welfare, or a tax break, etc. also tighten up controls on things like information, ability to assemble; and get rid of as many guns as you can. If you want to control the populace those types of things are big trouble.

    Governments of states who have economic/security relationships with states facing such challenges have a single go to move as well: Reinforce what that partner nation is doing, as they are the government so therefore "right" regardless of how wrong their actions are. Provide support to their security efforts, help with their social bribery program, etc. Preserve the status quo because business contracts and security agreements are all tied to the preserving the status quo.

    If you are a government who does not have, but would like to have economic and security relations with such a country, but they rebuke your advances, there is a go to move for that. Conduct UW to support the populace in their revolution. In the modern age non state actors such as AQ can now play this game as well.

    Its getting so that its just not as fun to be a self-serving despot as it used to be. Governments are finding that they must either listen and evolve to a new, more natural stability; or they can resist and fall.

    The details of the story are always different, but the story line is almost always written in this same formula.

    You want to know how Afghanistan ends but can't wait to get to the end of the book? Well, you've already read a dozen books just like it so there is a short list of alternative endings:
    1. Continue the current approach until the rebelling populace is finally suppressed. Begin the entire process all over again in 20 years when the populace once again has the capacity to act out.

    2. Change the current approach, listen to the rebelling populace and make reasonable accommodations to ensure that the entire populace is equitably incorporated in a system that is dedicated to justice and that is perceived as legitimate by the affected populace. It will likely be messy for a while but will settle into some form of natural stability that works for them.

    3. Maintain the current approach until the government loses. Then prepare for a couple decades of sorting it out if "good guys" prevail, or an endless seesaw of back and forth revolution if an equally self-serving group takes charge.

    What ideology the challengers apply is moot to the outcome and to the fact that their is a challenge to begin with. Governments love to blame ideology, but ideology does not cause these conflicts. What form of government exists or emerges is largely moot as well in general, but very important in terms of what is seen as "appropriate" by the people it affects. In the US we have come to see "democracy" as some form of governmental penciling. Only if tailored to be "appropriate" and see as "legitimate" by the affected populace.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 07-12-2012 at 10:22 AM.
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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    2. Change the current approach, listen to the rebelling populace and make reasonable accommodations to ensure that the entire populace is equitably incorporated in a system that is dedicated to justice and that is perceived as legitimate by the affected populace. It will likely be messy for a while but will settle into some form of natural stability that works for them.
    Who's meant to be doing the listening and the making of reasonable accommodations? Us? The Afghan government?

    As always, I think you're assuming that the people who are fighting are fighting for equitable inclusion, and as always I find that assumption insupportable. I don't think either side has the slightest interest in equitable inclusion. They want power. They want to win and kick the stuffing out of the other guys. That will leave them fighting an insurgency, but they don't care, because winning and kicking ass is better than losing and getting your ass kicked, and they know perfectly well that one or the other is going to happen. This is not a situation unique to Afghanistan by any means. The idea of a single government that is perceived as legitimate by the entire populace sounds lovely, but it can only work if various factions of the populace have at least marginally compatible ideas of legitimacy. If the general idea of what constitutes legitimacy is "we win and they lose", that's not so easy to do.

    Insurgency and civil conflict don't have to be about the legitimately aggrieved fighting for inclusion and justice. They can also be, and often are, simple struggles for power between or among groups with fundamentally incompatible agendas. That's not something an intervening party can change, and it's a good reason for outside parties to think twice, and then a few more times, before getting involved.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Obviously it is the affected government that must listen to its own people. These things are not about us. We need to learn to accept that, regardless of how keen we believe our interests in the matter to be. Better we assume risk and be flexible enough to work with whom and whatever emerges. Control is over-rated.

    As to "assumptions", I make no assumptions that those who fight for change are good, rather I make the assumption that what they fight against is perceived as bad. There is a big difference.

    When bad systems (as assessed by the affected populace, not others) exist there will be opportunity and challenge. All manner of actors will come to feed at that trough.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Angry Our troops versus their troops. Troop attitudes can be powerful things...

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    The "no representation" part is really the only one that I agree with fully...
    Which is why it was by far the most significant issue at the time -- most everyone, even many in England, agreed with that. George III, Lord North and those making money off the back of the Colonists did not...
    All else is either enabled by the same or bad government instead of real tyranny.
    True but while individually, each is a petty concern, cumulatively they had become exceedingly annoying -- and the trend was toward worsening "bad government."
    Standing military forces in a colony isn't exactly a reason for criticism in my opinion. Sure, they could be used to oppress, but they were also to some degree a necessity...
    Depends on whether that military force is benign and devoted to deterring external threats or prone to be arrogant and / or misbehave by hassling the locals while there are essentially no external threats, does it not?

    Bored troops will always get in or cause trouble...

    Still, all in all, there's no question that the American Revolution like all others took a few complaints, magnified them with political hyperbole and fomented hate and discontent to the action level. Politicians will always exist -- and also always create problems with their foolishness. ..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    ... I don't think either side has the slightest interest in equitable inclusion. They want power. They want to win and kick the stuffing out of the other guys. That will leave them fighting an insurgency, but they don't care, because winning and kicking ass is better than losing and getting your ass kicked, and they know perfectly well that one or the other is going to happen...
    Of course. This could be applied to any number of wars fought supposedly for freedom and democracy since WW2.

    The only guys who did not understand it then were the US State Department and it seems that the tradition continues today.

  19. #219
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    As always, I think you're assuming that the people who are fighting are fighting for equitable inclusion, and as always I find that assumption insupportable. I don't think either side has the slightest interest in equitable inclusion. They want power. They want to win and kick the stuffing out of the other guys. That will leave them fighting an insurgency, but they don't care, because winning and kicking ass is better than losing and getting your ass kicked, and they know perfectly well that one or the other is going to happen. This is not a situation unique to Afghanistan by any means. The idea of a single government that is perceived as legitimate by the entire populace sounds lovely, but it can only work if various factions of the populace have at least marginally compatible ideas of legitimacy. If the general idea of what constitutes legitimacy is "we win and they lose", that's not so easy to do.

    Insurgency and civil conflict don't have to be about the legitimately aggrieved fighting for inclusion and justice. They can also be, and often are, simple struggles for power between or among groups with fundamentally incompatible agendas. That's not something an intervening party can change, and it's a good reason for outside parties to think twice, and then a few more times, before getting involved.
    Hear! Hear!
    On one interpretation of the start of the American Revolution, the casus belli was little more than a desire to be in charge. In fact, this is referred to in the Declaration by the line I noted in my earlier post, to wit: "We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here." This is a reference to what I call the "vote with your feet argument." This argument basicly says, if you don't like how you are being governed, leave.

    Some early immigrants, for instance those who happened to settle the Massachusetts Bay colony, came because they didn't like being told what religion they had to practice; they wanted the power to decide how they would worship. Once they got here, some moved on to found another colony (now the Ocean State) because they didn't want some of the other locals telling them what religion they could practice. The American Civil War was based on a similar issue--the power of the several states versus Federal power--"I don't want you folks in DC telling me what I can and can't do in my own state". The seceding states wanted to exercise more power than the Feds wanted them to have.
    Interestingly enough, in my current home state a similar issue sometimes arises between towns and the state--the state approves each town's budget and sets each town's property tax rates. Sometimes the towns get rather irate about it, but, so far as I know, no town has ever tried to secede from the state. Instead the town files what is called a home rule petition for approval by the legislature. If approved, the state grants a town special power to be different from the rest of the state.
    New states have been created in the US by what might be considered secession. This process has occured 3 times IIRC--Maine, Vermont, and West Virginia.

    All of the above is really a digression however. The real issue is whether the Constitution specifies what missions are appropriate for the nation's armed forces. I would submit that the document is not that specific and that what the armed forces are authorized to do is instead specified in the US Code (mostly Title 10), which is updated, usually annually, via the defense authorization act and other acts that amend those portions of the USC that deal with the armed forces of the nation. Has anyone every submitted an NDAA to the Federal court system for review of its Constitionality?
    Of course even the Authorization Act has a check--the Appropriation Act--even though Congress, acting on the citizens' behalf, may authorize the Army to have a million folks or the Navy to have 14 carriers, the services cannot actually get to those levels if no money is appropriated for the acquistion and maintenance of those people and ships. Since defense appropriations are enacted annually, the original issue about the constitutionality of our "standing" army and navy is moot, in my opinion.
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. — Sydney J. Harris

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Also worth remembering is that in the American Colonies there was extremelly effective governance for that era, and perhaps the highest standard of living as a whole in the world. Yet still, revolution.

    Did some "want to be in charge?" Perhaps, but more accurately they wanted not to be the charges of others. Effective governance that the governed have come to feel infringes upon their fundamental human dignities of Liberty, Justice and Legitimacy will find resistance nearly as fast as ineffective systems of governance. Particularly when the populace feels disempowered and disrespected by said system of governance.

    There are fundamental aspects of human nature that consistently come into play in these dramas between governments and those who are affected by governments (which may be citizens of completely different countries altogether as the US was rudely reminded on 9/11).

    The fundamental principles upon which the US was founded was shaped by an understanding of these dynamics that has been lost to history in the ensuing years. Now we think about these dynamics through the lens of european colonial campagins in various corners of the globe, or through the lens of our own Cold War and GWOT efforts to enforce our will upon some particular populace and government or another. Our principles became inconvenient baggage to what we came to believe we must do in order to secure ourselves and our interests. This has snowballed over decades, and did not happen all at once.

    By returning to our roots we find the foundation we need to build upon as we move forward. But first we must refresh ourselves as to why that foundation is so important to our future security.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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