Never Again and Again
and Again and Again

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Why do those other guys treat us with contempt?

You know, the guys in Europe and Asia who profess alliance and friendship.

Spiegel:

Russia's Strategy Paralyzes US Government

By Gregor Peter Schmitz in Washington, D.C.

The Bush Administration has warned that ties with Russia are imperiled, but the truth is that the US can undertake little more than symbolic action against Moscow. As much as Russia's actions have irritated the Americans, no one is interested in an escalation.

Wait a minute, I thought the Germans believed us to be more dangerous to the world than Iran? Now they complain we take no action?

Of course from the Asia Times we get the opposite....

To the problem of an overstretched, over-toured military there is but one answer in Washington. Both US presidential candidates want to significantly expand the army and the marines. In this article adapted from his new book, The Limits of Power, The End of American Exceptionalism, historian and retired colonel Andrew Bacevich argues that the US does not need a bigger army, it needs a more modest foreign policy.

i.e., since we can't do anything, we shouldn't do anything, and anyway it's 1919 and we can concentrate on ourselves.

I wish. Fervently. However, objective reality tells me that if our existence depends on foreign oil, and foreign trade, and EXPANDING PROFITABLE COMMERCIAL ACTIVITIES IN ALL MARKETS....that's a ridiculous dream.

We are hated when we succeed as in Iraq, TWICE, and we are hated when we are perceived to have failed, as in Georgia.

Either way it is the USA that is looked to either by action or inaction as the pivot point and ACTOR when there is a problem in this world. I don't much like it. Anything we do or don't will piss off a hell of a lot of people, pundits, papers, imams, mullahs, leaders, unionists, doctors, lawyers, armies, and the homeless as well. If we free a nation, we find sex slaves being sold, and free the shia and sunni to finally get back to what they were about before Stalin in the form of Saddam arrived. If we don't we have the Hussein family picking girls up off the streets for home amateur porno, and setting the example for the hierarchy, and disappearing those perceived to be troublemakers. If we march into Darfur, we'll kill innocents FOR SURE. If not we are only after oil. If we back Taiwan we are interfering in the affairs of another nation. If not we are treacherous to our friends and harmless to our foes.

  • Chinese pogrom against christians? What's America doing about it?
  • Rape and genocide in Darfur? What's America doing about it?
  • Turkish rejection of secularism? What's America doing about it?
  • Still no peace in the ME? What's America doing about it?
  • Mugabe being Mugabe? What's America doing about it?
  • Glaciers not up to snuff this year? What's America doing about it?
  • Chinese gold medal winner still in 4th grade? What's America doing about it?
  • My ass is itchy. What's America doing about it?

So we might as well do what's right.

What's right?
  • What's good for Exxon-Mobil?
  • What will spread our ideas about what freedom is?
  • Another McDonald's, and Gap in Swat (hey that's REALLY what won the cold war in the long run)?
  • More MTV?
  • Letting the world just SEE our commercials?
  • Documentaries about malls?
  • 10 more Aircraft Carriers?

I have a novel idea.

It's what will reduce people's worry about their daily lives and those of their children.

You all can figure out the corollary effects of that in Swat, or Tbilisi, or Kabul, or Caracas, or Medina, OR MOSCOW, Vlad.

That should be the mission statement of American foreign policy.
That's what's best for AMERICANS.

But you can be sure, THAT will piss off an awful lot of people.

To hell with them. We're not here to please everyone.



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posted by Epaminondas at permanent link#

8 Comments:

Blogger WATCHER71 said...

Woah! Steady on Epa! I agree with the sentiment and the frustration...but do not lump us all in the same boat as those who out of a knee jerk reaction slam America. You think I haven't observed Russia over the years since the so called 'collapse' of the Soviet Empire knowing full well that Russia was far from finished? Observing how the whole of the EU has become dependent on Russian gas to generate power and heat our homes? Let me state that again. The petulant whims of a Russian corrupt dictator decides whether or not I can heat my home. This is the current situation and it is going to get worse. You probably won't give a damn about this but this tone of 'To hell with the rest of the world, let's do what is best for America ONLY' may strike a chord domestically but alienates the massive number of truly ideologically loyal allies around the world. You don't need to have an American passport to believe in the American ideal. As you all know I have always had a problem with the Bush administration and yet I spend most of my time defending America from ill informed criticism of America overseas(and Israel for that matter). It boils down to ideology. We all have to make a value judgment. Do I choose to support an Islamic Caliphate or America? Do I choose to support an expansionist and aggressive Russia (as she has always been in modern times) or America. As an individual I have a better chance of fighting for my rights and freedoms and making my voice heard under an American system than any other! FACT. If you disagree then you really don't know how bad it is outside of N.America. Do you think that the populace in the EU is happy with our leaders? The Political spectrum is so narrow now that people are forced to vote more out of old loyalties, the policies of each party are so close that their really is no difference.

A change really needs to happen.

Perhaps the pressure of the 'aspiring' free world looking to America for example and leadership is a heavy burden to bear...call me ...hopelessly Naive. Criticism is inevitably going to come. America MUST take the high ground and Persevere, without alienating her allies. I am not alone in this way of thinking. I know that you are a thoughtful and incisive blogger who is highly aware of the transnational political, cultural, sociological, historical and economic dimensions to the struggle. Don't lose that and retreat to simple chest beating. The ideals of freedom of speech are so central to all that we fight for. 'To hell with them' does not fill me with warm fuzzy feelings. If the Bastards divide us....then they win. All the best my friend! God bless America. God help the rest of us!

Saturday, August 16, 2008 3:16:00 pm  
Anonymous sirhan sirhan said...

you're reading a bit too much into the spiegel and asian times... i'm no journalist but i can "ferret" out weasel words when i see them.

it's just a comment of how we're entering into a multipolar world. which is good. i saw condi's appeal on CNN to the international community. it was a very humbling experience for the american government so of course, they send the black woman to do it. but the fact of the matter is, such a position does embolden "her" [america's] enemies, but it is also comforting to her allies to know that a great benehmoth superpower is able to extend hands of cooperation when the situation calls for it.

my dad called it "international protocol" but condi didn't have to necessarily say anything like an appeal to its allies. condi could have spouted some generic american democracy schlock, but condi, being a sound voice on the fo-po scene appealed to america's "ah-lies" haha sorry i mean "allies" she just has a funny way of saying it.

bringing america to this conclusion of multipolarity and a global system of adjudication can make for a very peaceful world. one in which no one has any ground for getting pissed off because an objective international refree can go "this is right according to law, this is wrong"

nowadays when i hear pro-american anti-ferner (foreigner) rants, its merely the sound of pride deflating. its nothing to get worked up about, nothing to get scared about. america's too "free" to ever turn into some crazy authoritarian regime, if its not really already one, then it could at least never become as repressive as nazi germany or anything. it's nice to live under a benevolent ineffectual dictatorship that oppresses ferners, but at the same time, such military campaigns -are- impoverishing the people, the invention of the concept of "credit" has sort of masked this impoverishment, but when you're in debt, aren't you actually poorer than a farmer living in the andes who has no debt and clutches one penny in profit from selling his last sheep when he goes to bed at night?

it's kind of a funny world we americans inhabit, a technocratic superpower with no concept of the past or future. an explosion of beautiful robotic modernity under seige by relenting history and fragile humanity and mortality.

whatever. the regime of america is in a peaceful decline, along with it, the expectation for every subsequent generation to be "richer" and "more prosperous" with a chicken in every pot and "more leisure time!" and more things bottled and hermetically sealed in cans.

i'm not quite sure what exceptional status america has ever enjoyed. as you pointed out, our good intentions, as americans, are always debased. no other country has ever been able to, ever wnated to, and will never know the impossibly heavy burden of being a "super power" like america.

when america gives up its pretense of trying to spread democracy like it has PTS from the cold war, it can shrug off the responsibility of having to free every stupid failed state that can't get its shit together. when america starts acknowledging its problems at home, every third world country and its unskilled illegal immigrants will stop wanting to come here, when americans recognize how empty and ridiculous capitalist "hollywood" culture is, then leaders of other countries will stop impoverishing their own people to chase the american nightmare- and the emptiness of its cultural imperatives will reflect the emptiness of every other nation's blind pursuit for domination and power. when america recognizes the pervasiveness of its cultural superiority and xenophobia, will that concept of the "ugly american" disappear. this whole "focusing on the dom-pol" shouldn't be confused with isolationism, it should be like one of those "hard-to-look-at-face-in-mirror-after-sordid-drunken-black-out-night" situations.

that's all. wake up call.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 5:26:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...it should be like one of those -- hard-to-look-at-face-in-mirror-after-sordid-drunken-black-out-night -- situations.

That would be a much more difficult situation to experience for many countries than it would be for USA, because, though America is not perfect, many other countries are by far less perfect than America, by far, worst places to live.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 6:05:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love America.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 7:12:00 pm  
Blogger Epaminondas said...

Sirhan, one can only wonder WHY in God's name someone would choose a sick murderer's name for a uname, but I think you give yourself away HERE:

"pretense of trying to spread democracy "

You don't get it.
And you never will.

On the day immigrants who WANT to be american don't want to come here anymore, IT IS OVER.

I don't know if we have cultural superiority or not, but our political system is certainly the least worst in the last 300 years.

Watcher71, of course I paint with a broad brush, but I mean to.

If our foreign policy aims, as to what is best for the security of the american people, is what removes worry from the daily lives of those in other nations, it's win - win, except for regimes and warlords who rule by fear.

That's not 'to hell with them all', it's just to hell with what critics have to say in THAT kind of pursuit.

In the case of those europeans who are going to b dependent on either russian sources or pipelines, I think the long term nature of Russia since boyars, is OBVIOUS. Wouldn't it be nice to have that daily concern REMOVED as a foreign policy objective of the USA?

And like a certain Theban general did with the Spartans and for the Helots, even though his purpose was to free the Helots and thus destroy Sparta forever, and in doing so protect Thebes, it was the Helots who derived the longest lasting benefits.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 9:34:00 pm  
Blogger WATCHER71 said...

Epa, I agree, we're talking off the same page, indeed dining at the same table. Just remember the postscript to said generals actions (Macedonians). It is in Americas interests to cultivate allies who like the UK have a strong shared goal/interest with America. In this instance I don't think it will be difficult. Most of Europe is already dependant (to the horror of her population) on Russian gas and to a lesser extent oil (market driven influence, Russian Oil gets a better price to the East, China). We live with the very immediate threat of Russian aggression and whilst some may view Russia as a spent force I have never taken that view. It would be very nice if the general and allies could terminally defeat the Spartans again without 1/ Generating turmoil that destabalises and weakens the Generals overall cohesion and defensive posture (thus doing what is best for the generals people...a new threat is ALWAYS waiting for an opportunity to exploit the situation) 2/Collectively defeat tyranny WITHOUT replacing it with another as has happened with Russia.. (and no that is NOT blaming America for the new Russian monster...). The EU must play a larger role in this, even purely for selfish reasons. As far as I am concerned Russia has had 2 strikes. It cannot be given a third. We bankrupted the Soviet Union via the arms race and yet allowed the old tyrants to remain in position (Putin being KGB) with the ability to hold the EU to economic ransom, this also provided Russia with the economic means to maintain and expand her conventional forces (in number...NOT quality). I have not seen Russian oligarchs doing a damn thing for the Russian people, who continue to slide further down pole of economic well being into squalor and TOTAL destitution. Disillusioned Russians seeking a sense of national pride and yet disillusioned with open gangstarism and criminality at state level (plundering and controlling of Russia's natural resources...Gaspron etc) are increasingly turning to Russian incarnations of nationalism manifested in Nazi, racist and antisemitic ideologies that reinforce Russian self belief (delusion) that they alone are entitled to be the inheritors of the Earth. When the dust settles this time around, Russia cannot be allowed to remain as one unified entity. They have to much power and yet display a childish and irresponsible obsession to dominate and intimidate their neighbors. If Russia was distributing it's wealth across her socio economic strata, even by 'trickle down' economics, she may have a stronger claim to be 'liberating' her neighbors. Instead she is fearful of states she used to control, seeking self determination and the removal of dependency on Russia. Russia needs to look within and heal herself before she seeks to impose her tyrannical, morally bankrupt, corrupt, political and socio economic model on others. The only people in the West who love Russia are those who have large business interests and as such are able to take part in the ongoing smash and grab of Russia's economy and resources. I would rather die than live under Russian control.

Sunday, August 17, 2008 11:24:00 am  
Blogger Epaminondas said...

Then I guess we better make sure the genl remains alive in this world.

I have a feeling he would have known what to do with Phillip and his alcoholic thug son

Sunday, August 17, 2008 8:10:00 pm  
Blogger WATCHER71 said...

Yes I think he would...

The parallels are interesting, I'm going to expand my knowledge base, I think there are a lot of lessons to be learnt....Do you think there is a lesson in being careful who you educate?

Could that lesson be applied to how Russia is handled...?

Sunday, August 17, 2008 9:11:00 pm  

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