On the original topic about the Iraq situation vs. the North Korea situation it is very simple. Iraq made a treaty to not make or possess WOMD. Yes it was pretty much at the point of a gun but Hussein did not have to invade Quwait. North Korea "treaty" made was is essentially an agreement. The US agreed to give them oil, food, and other items for NK to stop their nuke programs. NK was starting to make nukes so the US quit giving tribute whups I mean trade goods to NK. Basicly I don't think that the US has any legal reason to force NK, Iran, or Belize to quit making and time of WOMD. But they do have the legal right to force Iraq. I do have to agree that the US appears to be putting Irag in a tough position. It looks like Iraq has no way to avoid war to the regular person. I believe that there is certain info the Bush, Blair, and other leaders have that people watching CNN don't. But I think one point needs to be made. The US wants Hussein out but it wants Iraq fairly strong. Iran has 3 times the population of Iraq. If the Western nightmare of a new technical Jihad was ever to take place Iran is the most likely country to start it. That is unlikely but all the theories of Irag conquering Quwait, Ssudi Arabia, and the other Gulf countries and suddenly cutting of or at least jacking up the oil price is far more likely with Iran in power than Iraq. Why do you think the US supported Iraq after the Shah got kicked out? To serve as a counter to Iran.
Marge I am just trying to get into heaven not run for Jesus.
In 10 years Iran is going to be our ally, if we don't fuck it up.
Theocratic fascist regimes don't work. People hate them. The Iranian people have learned that (and other Islamic countries will also, eventually). There are mass demonstrations against the gov't. They elected a reformer president (who doesn't have much power, but it says something about the electorate). The population is extrodinarily young, and doesn't remember the reasons why they have have this government in the first place. That country's current government is hanging onto power by a thread. Sooner or later, they dimply won't be able to hang on anymore.
Now, what replaces it probably won't be a secular republican form of government complete with three branches of government, etc. It will be a democratic reflection of Iranian culture, and will probably have some Islamic elements and otherwise be very different than our form of government. That's OK.
Why will they be our ally? Becuase unlike Theocratic fascist regimes we DO support (like Saudi Arabia), an uprising against the Iranian government isn't also, by proxy, an uprising against America. If anything, it's the opposite. Are we going to be best buddies? Probably not. But if we play our cards right, we can definitely have a working relationship. This is unlike what will happen when there is an uprising against Saudi Arabia. There, the new government is going to be virulently anti-American, somewhat like Iran's government in the 80s, and I don't blame them. It'll take them another 30 years to figure out what Iran is figuring out now, except they'll have all the weapons we sold them and a shitload of oil we need.
Democracy is good. Development and progress are good. Freedom is good. People figure this out eventually, which is what is happening in Iran. What we can do it try and make sure they don't have to go through too many steps to get it.
What the U.S. needs to do is make sure that they actually are on the side of Freedom and Democracy, not on the side of Theocratic fascists or (as in the 80's) Military Dictatorships. It's a necessary long-term stratagy, even if it might be at the expense of some short-term goals.
We can talk a great game about the values of the U.S. and what-not, but really, you expect people to think that's anything but lip service when in reality we support governments like Saudi Arabia and (in the 80s) Iraq?
Think about why former Communist countries all became capitalist democracies instead of a million other forms of government they could have followed. Because they saw how the United States stood against there oppresive governments, and decided to emulate us. Now, there are certainly problems in these countries, but none of them are, or really have the potential to be, real National Security threats to the U.S. And remember, these countries include a few with Nukes.
Oppresive governments eventually fall. What they get replaced with, at this point in history, is really up to us.
(edited by MoeGates on 1.2.03 1344) It seems that I am - in no particular order - Zack Morris, John Adams, a Siren, Janeane Garofalo, Aphrodite, a Chihuahua, Data, Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel, Amy-Wynn Pastor, Hydrogen, Bjork, Spider-Man, Boston, and a Chaotic Good Elvin Bard-Mage.
I see what you are saying, Moe, but I am not convinced that all oppressive governments will fall, or, at least, that some day we will naturally rrach a point where there are none. They have existed all throughout history, and they exist now.
That being said, good point about Iran. I will say, however, that the US acts, and should act, in its own interests. That has led us, in the past, to support less than desirable regimes, because it seemed necessary at the time. Yes, playing the tyrant Hussein off of the tyrant Ayatollah has had some negative effects, but it didn't seem all bad at the time.
Anyway, what would you do? I'm inclined to think of isolationism as a solution, but do you think we should be more positively involved in these gov'ts?
I don't think anyone is debating the U.S acting in it's own interests. What I take issue with why the need to do so arose. By the 80s the threat of retaliation against the US as a nation was dwindling, and really was not going to happen. Obviously hindsight is 20/20 and all that, but don't you find it a tad selfish that the US acted "in it's own interests" to protect themselves from a not-all-that-menacing threat and, in the process, installed several vicious regimes that tore their respective countries apart? I honestly cannot see how it is excusable to install a dictatorship for another country's "best interests"-it was basically a way of getting another country to do the dirty work. And I'm sure it may have paid off for the US in the long-run; it doesn't change the fact that it resulted in pain and suffering to millions of middle-eastern residents.
But then, I guess they're not Us citizens, so it wasn't in the US's best interests to protect them from the military regime.
"Here's the thing: I don't give a tupenny f*ck about your moral conundrum, you meatheaded shit-sack. That's pretty much the thing." Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill "The Butcher" Cutting, Gangs Of New York. You'd be surprised at how many statements this can be used as a response to.
Of course the U.S. should act in its best interests.
What I'm saying is that the U.S.'s long-term and short-term interests are often very different. And this country needs to learn how to sacrifice short-term interests for long-term ones.
In the long-term, creating stable, prosperous Democracies that are our allies is far and away in the best interests of the U.S. This really dwarfs anything else. Mostly from a National Security perspective, but also from an economic and humanitarian perspective.
This is eventually going to mean a diminished world role for the U.S. This is OK. We don't need to run shit forever, as it's really more trouble than it's worth. We just need to run it long enough to get the UN into a functioning entity where Libya doesn't chair the human rights panel, and resoltions about something other than how much we hate Israel get proposed.
Now, when you're dealing with National Security issues, I can see an argument for short-term interests needing to be taken care of first. While I certainly disagree with, say, installing a right-wing dictatorship in Chile because the the current government dared to talk to the Commies, I understand the rationale. But when you're dealing with short-term economic and political consequences, not National Security consequences, there's really no excuse. It's simply putting greed above the interests of the United States.
Isolationism is an interesting idea, but I think it's simply not realistic in this day and age. What should we do? I think #1 we should, as a matter of national policy, refuse to support or trade with any country who's government is not reflective of the will of it's people.
I also think that the old colonial boundries of countries (which usually have absolutely no rational reason for being the way they are) need to be changed, and based on something rational (geography and tribes really), rather then where the French and British happen to run into each other, and the United States (and UN) should be willing to help with this.
(edited by MoeGates on 1.2.03 2157) It seems that I am - in no particular order - Zack Morris, John Adams, a Siren, Janeane Garofalo, Aphrodite, a Chihuahua, Data, Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel, Amy-Wynn Pastor, Hydrogen, Bjork, Spider-Man, Boston, and a Chaotic Good Elvin Bard-Mage.
To agree with Moe, look at the countries in Europe that are supporting the US (outside of Britain). These countries were either under the control of Soviet puppet governments (Eastern Europe), or Fascists (Spain, Portugal, and Italy). This is why Iran is more likely to be dealt with in about 7-8 years when the theocracy fails and why Saudi Arabia will be difficult to deal with when theocracy becomes firmly entreched for 1-2 generations.
Bringing the French along in a war is like bringing an accordion along when you go hunting. All it provides is useless noise.
I'm against the idea of isolationism. Call me afraid of repeating history if you wish, but we tried that about 70 years ago and it arguably resulted in WWII (but that's another issue for another time). What it boils down to is this: at this point in history, the US is, for either good or bad, embroiled in world affairs. To pull out now and say "Hey, we're going to just mind our own business over here. Have a nice day!" would alienate the entire world (make your own joke) against the US.
I heard an interesting saying a couple of years ago: military buildup destroyed the Soviet Union (with competition from the US), but only time will tell if it does the same to the US.
Also, getting countries to change their boundaries? We have enough problems with the boundaries some countries already have... although I do appreciate the thought behind it, Moe.
Originally posted by TheCowI heard an interesting saying a couple of years ago: military buildup destroyed the Soviet Union (with competition from the US), but only time will tell if it does the same to the US.
The thing is we wont have the same problems the Soviets had, because the Soviets built a huge military and couldnt even feed their own people.
Ya know how we do it, big balling and big blingin'....
He's coming back on TV this February -- he's gonna be on HBO in Dennis Miller's old time slot, live and for an hour. They don't have a title or a format yet, but they don't expect it to be all that different from "Politically Incorrect".