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International Politics Nations, Their Interests, and Their Competitors.

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Old 11-13-2011   #41
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Ahh, that's why it attacked more countries in the last 30 years (I count five, excluding DS) than North Korea, Iran and Iraq together (I count three) did in the last 200 years?
If the U.S. is promoting peace, what are the others doing? Working hard on being saints?

12 of 26 divisions guarding Central Europe during the Cold War were German divisions. How many were U.S. divisions ? Six? I forgot. Maybe only four.


Your statement was "bold". (Imo you bought into U.S. propaganda.)


The U.S. hasn't promoted peace as much as it did promote an order which suits its interest - and then it proceeded to violate said order when it wasn't in its interest.
The U.S. are the #1 aggressor nation of our times.
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Old 11-13-2011   #42
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The U.S. are the #1 aggressor nation of our times.
I wish I could refute that, but that statement may be true since the Cold War ended. Prior to that I think an argument could be made that those countries behind the Iron Curtain were at least as aggressive as we were, and prior to WWII, the European colonial powers were much more aggressive than the U.S..

Like most nations we have parts of our history that we're not proud of, but what other nation has sacrificed so much (men and material) in pursuit of humanitarian efforts, such as our intervention in Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Liberia, and our diplomatic efforts elsewhere such as Sudan, Burma, China, and several others where we pushed for human rights? Name one if can.

A lot of ugly things happened during the Cold War that in hindsight probably weren't really in our interests, but the intentions at least were based on what perceived as a greater good (ends justify the means). The mass murders that took place in the USSR and China under Stalin and Mao were not myths, the communist system needed to be defeated for the good of all mankind.
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Old 11-13-2011   #43
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I wish I could refute that, but that statement may be true since the Cold War ended. Prior to that I think an argument could be made that those countries behind the Iron Curtain were at least as aggressive as we were, and prior to WWII, the European colonial powers were much more aggressive than the U.S..

Like most nations we have parts of our history that we're not proud of, but what other nation has sacrificed so much (men and material) in pursuit of humanitarian efforts, such as our intervention in Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Liberia, and our diplomatic efforts elsewhere such as Sudan, Burma, China, and several others where we pushed for human rights? Name one if can.

A lot of ugly things happened during the Cold War that in hindsight probably weren't really in our interests, but the intentions at least were based on what perceived as a greater good (ends justify the means). The mass murders that took place in the USSR and China under Stalin and Mao were not myths, the communist system needed to be defeated for the good of all mankind.
For my following statement I may end up as a hated person on this forum.

"American idea of peace and liberation is to bomb every living thing in the country they are about to liberate."

Here are some examples.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti....html?ITO=1490

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archer_...Blood_telegram

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Taskforce_74

Now please don't tell me that US planned to nuke India to liberate Indians from the tyranny of a democratically elected PM.
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Old 11-13-2011   #44
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What increased peace around the globe is the sense of rules and cooperation created with the UN in 1944.
That seems to me completely absurd. I don't think anyone has ever taken the UN or the rules associated with it seriously enough to refrain from fighting. In the absence of any argument in support of that contention it can't be taken at all seriously.

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I doubt that the U.S.'s invasions and foreign policy of the post-Cold War period have helped world peace in any way.
I share this doubt. I don't think the relatively peaceful world we've had since the Cold War has anything to do with anyone's foreign policy, or with the UN.

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The U.S. are the #1 aggressor nation of our times.
That's because the US are the primary military power of our times. Those who have the capacity for aggression use it, always have. If anything the US, given the power disparity in their favor, has been quite moderate. Imagine for a moment that the military dominance the US enjoyed at the end of WW2 had been held by any of the other contending parties in that conflict. Do you think any of them would have controlled their aggressive impulses to the extent that the US has?

I've said this before, but European complaints about American aggression always seem to me reminiscent of a campaign for chastity initiated by a faded whore grown too old to play the trade.
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Last edited by Dayuhan; 11-13-2011 at 09:49 PM.
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Old 11-13-2011   #45
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Talking Slow news day...

I guess.

A large powerful nation acting in its own interest -- how novel is that?

Kaisers and Moghuls, Rajahs and Chancellors understood the premise.
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Old 11-13-2011   #46
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For my following statement I may end up as a hated person on this forum.

"American idea of peace and liberation is to bomb every living thing in the country they are about to liberate."
The vast majority of Americans are fine people but they do need to know how they and their country are perceived in the world outside (then they can figure out why this is).
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Old 11-14-2011   #47
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The vast majority of Americans are fine people but they do need to know how they and their country are perceived in the world outside (then they can figure out why this is).
Don't care and are not concerned with a great deal of change. There are those in the US who do have concerns on that score and hope for change, mostly in academe or journalism. They do not reflect the opinions of most Americans. Fortunately.

It is noted a number of people from elsewhere are 'concerned' for America. Touching, that.
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Old 11-14-2011   #48
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The vast majority of Americans are fine people but they do need to know how they and their country are perceived in the world outside (then they can figure out why this is).
I know, I've worked in an American company. My boss's boss was an white American (born and raised in Arizona) and so were some of my colleagues. Almost all of them were very goodhearted guys. But that hardly changes the fact that US government $crewed the world over again and again.

This might help you in learning some things.

http://www.globescan.com/news_archiv...6-3/index.html
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Old 11-14-2011   #49
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This might help you in learning some things.

http://www.globescan.com/news_archiv...6-3/index.html
Nothing new or unusual there.

Since when has any nation's foreign policy been based on a search for global popularity?
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Old 11-14-2011   #50
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I guess.

A large powerful nation acting in its own interest -- how novel is that?

Kaisers and Moghuls, Rajahs and Chancellors understood the premise.
But they never claimed to be the beacon of democracy. Going by your logic, even Hitler wasn't wrong. He hated Jews, so he killed 6 million of them.

PS: Nazi Germany was a democracy and Hitler was an elected leader.
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Old 11-14-2011   #51
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Default I'm not at all sure you can tell much about logic from that little snippet...

You are, however, quite welcome to come to erroneous conclusions based on your perceptions of what I might think.
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But they never claimed to be the beacon of democracy. Going by your logic, even Hitler wasn't wrong. He hated Jews, so he killed 6 million of them.
We are a beacon of democracy -- just a tarnished and imperfect model.

With respect to Hitler, yes, he did that -- and if you think that was in his or his nations interest, you, not I, have a rather strange sense of what a national interest happens to be...

We the US have done, do and will likely do a lot of stupid things for all sorts of good and bad reasons but that beacon foolishness is really only spouted by politicians (in uniform and not in uniform) who know better but are too political to be honest. Still, disregarding them, take the bad and the good we've done over the years and one gets a better average than one does for most nations. We do some harm fairly often, much not out of malice but because we're big and clumsy. We also do some good and most of us are comfortable with the fact that we do more good than harm. Not many nations can say that though there will be more that can do so in the future, the world's changing. For now, over the last 220 years, I can't think of anyone else that comes close. Can you?
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PS: Nazi Germany was a democracy and Hitler was an elected leader.
True and broadly irrelevant. Democracy and elections are important but do little to tell one how nations might behave. What can be a determinant are the continuum of a nations interests over many years. The US only has two long term. We do want free commerce and we do not tolerate threats or potential threats for very long.
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Old 11-14-2011   #52
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Posted by Dayuhan

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Since when has any nation's foreign policy been based on a search for global popularity?
Since you asked,

http://www.state.gov/pdcommission/re...port/chapter6/

Quote:
The influence outcome is linked to the favorability outcome in that PD officers work to engender positive feelings towards the US, which ideally will lead PD participants to either support US interests or move from anti-American rhetoric or behavior to a neutral state. Favorability is an outcome or goal in itself, but influence is the next level of engagement.

Diplomacy works to directly influence foreign governments, whereas public diplomacy is the effort to indirectly influence foreign governments through their citizens. The vast majority of PD efforts are targeted at the general population or elites rather than government officials. DoS works to build support for the US from the ground up—DoS builds a relationship between the US and civilians so that civilians will pressure their government to support US interests.
Popularity has long been part of our national strategy, because it easier to gain consensus to take action when needed. It is good for the world that we pursue some degree of popularity, other wise we may behave like the Germans during WWII. Of course we pursue our interests, but generally we do so in a way constrained by our values.
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Old 11-14-2011   #53
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You are, however, quite welcome to come to erroneous conclusions based on your perceptions of what I might think. We are a beacon of democracy -- just a tarnished and imperfect model.
Thousands dead, millions suffering and still you find my conclusion erroneous. In the above post you'll find a BBC poll, which projects the same erroneous conclusion.

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With respect to Hitler, yes, he did that -- and if you think that was in his or his nations interest, you, not I, have a rather strange sense of what a national interest happens to be...
Why? He considered Jews to be backstabbers and believed that when Germany needed Jews, they simply refused to fight. If I were a leader of a nation which is fighting the greatest war the world has ever seen and particular community is refusing to fight then I too will be pissed off.

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We the US have done, do and will likely do a lot of stupid things for all sorts of good and bad reasons but that beacon foolishness is really only spouted by politicians (in uniform and not in uniform) who know better but are too political to be honest. Still, disregarding them, take the bad and the good we've done over the years and one gets a better average than one does for most nations. We do some harm fairly often, much not out of malice but because we're big and clumsy. We also do some good and most of us are comfortable with the fact that we do more good than harm.
So what's with the holier than thou nature? I agree that Americans did some great things but none of them were military in nature.

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Not many nations can say that though there will be more that can do so in the future, the world's changing. For now, over the last 220 years, I can't think of anyone else that comes close. Can you?
Yes, I think Brits did a far better job, if we are looking over last 220 years.

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We do want free commerce and we do not tolerate threats or potential threats for very long.
Yep, that is the key word.
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Old 11-14-2011   #54
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As said before a big powerful state protecting rather often aggressively his interests while claiming that he does it for the high ideals and good reasons is hardly a new in our long history of humankind. As European one could and should see in the proper context.

Available military power can heavily influence the setting of political goals and the strategic opitions, and sometimes it really looks that as country x holds that hammer in hand, a lot of things look like a nail. And if you use a hammer as a problem solver and get good at it having some success despite some misshapes you are more liable to use that "tried and proven" approach.

So some small wars can be the outcome of a state having strong values with clear perceived national interests combined with enough, readily available military might.
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Old 11-14-2011   #55
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Thousands dead, millions suffering and still you find my conclusion erroneous.
How is that incompatible with being a tarnished beacon of democracy?

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Yes, I think Brits did a far better job, if we are looking over last 220 years.
Would that include, say, the use of armed force to open China to the opium trade... among other things?
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Old 11-14-2011   #56
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Don't care and are not concerned with a great deal of change. There are those in the US who do have concerns on that score and hope for change, mostly in academe or journalism. They do not reflect the opinions of most Americans. Fortunately.

It is noted a number of people from elsewhere are 'concerned' for America. Touching, that.
And in this, Americans are no different than any other collection of people. Interesting, isn't it?
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Old 11-14-2011   #57
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Since when has any nation's foreign policy been based on a search for global popularity?
1949-1998, (West) Germany.
It came very, very close.

Sweden is another candidate, an certain countries with tourism-based economy (or maybe even recently Qatar and UAE?) come close, too.
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Old 11-14-2011   #58
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Thousands dead, millions suffering and still you find my conclusion erroneous. In the above post you'll find a BBC poll, which projects the same erroneous conclusion.
I think you may have your figures reversed. The US is probably responsible for millions of dead over the years, some reasonable and adjudged legitimate and necessary, others not. The number worldwide directly suffering from US actions is more likely in the thousands and is offset by many more thousands helped with Marshall, Colombo and other plans plus US Aid here and there around the world -- not to mention our disaster responses and the dissuasion of Pirates and military adventurism by others over the last couple of Centuries. Like every nation, every person, we're a mix of good and bad and which characteristics are emphasized in conversations are highly dependent on ones viewpoint.

The Poll shows nothing new. I started wandering about the world outside the US in 1947 -- we were not popular at that time due to excessive wealth and some our more base cultural proclivities. That's been a constant since with some excursions for better or worse -- the Viet Nam era being a far lower point than today. So the conclusion is not erroneous, it is actual and it is pervasive. My question is how much of that lack of trust and / or liking is due simply to the relative size, economic power, cultural influence and willingness to get involved in the affairs of others and perceptions as opposed to real knowledge?

You and I may believe that willingness to intrude to be a part of the problem but it seems to be a function of both that 'free commerce' aspect and having the desire to eliminate threats...
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Why? He considered Jews to be backstabbers and believed that when Germany needed Jews, they simply refused to fight. If I were a leader of a nation which is fighting the greatest war the world has ever seen and particular community is refusing to fight then I too will be pissed off.
Why what? That's a rather erroneous reading of history; his shortsighted mistreatment of the Jews led to their being unwilling to serve in the Wehrmacht -- they weren't welcome in the SS --and that was a self created problem that did not exist in WW I when many Jews fought for Germany. Hitler's insanity with reference to the Jews caused a problem that was not in the interests of Germany, it's that simple. They're still suffering for and from that.
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So what's with the holier than thou nature? I agree that Americans did some great things but none of them were military in nature.
Depends on your viewpoint, doesn't it? The French, for example might disagree on the military angle -- though they tend to discount it; no one likes to be obligated to another for assisting them with a problem they should have been able to handle themselves.

So might the Koreans, a nation where the generation that recalls the 1950-53 War is very supportive of the US and the younger generations are downright unfriendly. Way of the world...

As to the holier than thou, it's a function of the fact that we are a polyglot crew of people who either themselves or their forebears left other nations to come here and start or build a new nation. As I'm sure you're aware, almost every kid who leaves his or her parents house to do things on their
own has a feeling of superiority. That, too is the way of the world. Good thing, that's how progress occurs.
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Yes, I think Brits did a far better job, if we are looking over last 220 years.
Your prerogative. I merely note that a number of trouble spots in the world are a British 'lines on a map' legacy, to include Kashmir -- and much of Africa and the Middle East.

Aside from Dayuhan's good example, the waste that was Crimea (or the closely following Mutiny...) and the imposition of Empire trade rules among others, the British did indeed do a "far better job" with Pax Brittanica than we have with trying to do a Pax Americana * -- but that wasn't the question; that was what other nation has done more worldwide good than harm over those years...
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Yep, that is the key word.
Yes it is, indeed. One of the problems with that approach is that one sometimes sees a potential threat when there is none and sometimes doesn't note one that exists and thus has to scramble and be clumsy at correcting that oversight.

* FWIW, I and many other Americans do not hold with that concept. Regrettably, our Foreign Policy 'elite' did in the aftermath of WW II and the US forced draw down of the British Empire. It was an unwise decision, prompted as much by the USSR and the so-called Cold War as by anything the US really wanted to do. IOW, we thought we had to due to circumstances. That may or may not have been correct but much of our international meddling certainly was not strictly an item of US choice. Those lines the British and French drew on maps were no help in all that.
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Old 11-14-2011   #59
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(Neither was a US foreign policy that in many ways appears to have adopted much of the very worse aspects of French and British Colonial rule; without the benefit of greedily sucking up all of the profits in those places we engage as those predecessors did so well.)

When history looks back and assesses the rise of the US, I suspect many will wonder why we were so quick to distribute so much of our capital out to those who we could have simply subjugated to our will, (or forced to take opium in trade...)

Applying a more British model to our problem with rampant opium production in Afghanistan, and rising oil prices in the Middle East, we could just force those Middle Eastern nations to take Afghan Opium in trade instead of dollars....

The problem of being a "reluctant empire," this half in, half out, morally conflicted uncommited approach is really just not very effiecient. But that is indeed very American in of itself.
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Old 11-15-2011   #60
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Default Dr. Steven Pinker's research on the relatively peaceful era of Pax Americana

In response to the following (and other comments):

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Originally Posted by blueblood View Post
But that hardly changes the fact that US government $crewed the world over again and again.

This might help you in learning some things.

http://www.globescan.com/news_archiv...6-3/index.html
No great power is entirely innocent. Abuse of power is a facet of human nature.

At any rate, a NYT article on Harvard Professor Steven Pinker's "Better Angels of Our Nature":

Quote:
Since 1945, we have seen a new phenomenon known as the “long peace”: for 66 years now, the great powers, and developed nations in general, have not fought wars against one another. More recently, since the end of the cold war, a broader “new peace” appears to have taken hold. It is not, of course, an absolute peace, but there has been a decline in all kinds of organized conflicts, including civil wars, genocides, repression and terrorism. Pinker admits that followers of our news media will have particular difficulty in believing this, but as always, he produces statistics to back up his assertions.
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To readers familiar with the literature in evolutionary psychology and its tendency to denigrate the role reason plays in human behavior, the most striking aspect of Pinker’s account is that the last of his “better angels” is reason. Here he draws on a metaphor I used in my 1981 book “The Expanding Circle.” To indicate that reason can take us to places that we might not expect to reach, I wrote of an “escalator of reason” that can take us to a vantage point from which we see that our own interests are similar to, and from the point of view of the universe do not matter more than, the interests of others.
http://tinyurl.com/3mfpzbp

His argument is complicated, however, and not related entirely to monopolies of violence, international institutions, or American soft/hard power. Instead, he describes an evolutionary process affecting human cultures 'writ large'. Perhaps his theory is a more illuminating way to look at the development of mankind than clashes of culture or East vs. West?

If Dr. Pinker's thesis is correct, this should have implications for American (and other) Foreign Policy and even for our FP elite.

At any rate, Pax Brittanica and Pax Americana are difficult to compare. For example, on the economy of India during the Raj (a complicated topic much outside my areas of expertise), see the following from Amardeep Singh quoting Manmohan Singh:

Quote:
There is no doubt that our grievances against the British Empire had a sound basis. As the painstaking statistical work of the Cambridge historian Angus Maddison has shown, India's share of world income collapsed from 22.6% in 1700, almost equal to Europe's share of 23.3% at that time, to as low as 3.8% in 1952. Indeed, at the beginning of the 20th Century, "the brightest jewel in the British Crown" was the poorest country in the world in terms of per capita income. However, what is significant about the Indo-British relationship is the fact that despite the economic impact of colonial rule, the relationship between individual Indians and Britons, even at the time of our Independence, was relaxed and, I may even say, benign.
http://tinyurl.com/8xrgqqp


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