RE: Why Europe is so Contrary

Date: Thu 21 Nov 2002 - 19:41:50 GMT

  • Next message: Grant Callaghan: "RE: Why Europe is so Contrary"

    > I'll deal with Grant and Joe's comments together if I may.
    > First Grant's comment:
    > < It is NOT a plot by the American government against
    > Great Britain. To imply that it is and to equate personal feelings
    > with national policy is disengenuous to say the least.>
    > The point is that there is no more evidence that Iraq is directly or
    > indirectly behind 9/11 than there is for US governmental involvement
    > in Northern Ireland. So attacking Iraq now as part of the war or
    > terror is just as misplaced as blaming the US goverment for Omagh,
    > which of course I as not seriously doing.
    > <And its a shame to see you fly off so tangentially into
    > laundry-list
    > > irrelevance. One has to deal with the situation as it IS, not as it
    > > WAS.
    > >
    > > And as it IS, is that the Western world is facing a determined and
    > > sustained series of terror attacks by Radical Muslims (not most
    > > Muslims, but still a lot of people - maybe 10-15% of them - are
    > > sympathetic) who wish to inflict a convert-or-die (to Islam and
    > > shar'ia law) choice upon it.>
    > >
    > Two things wrong with this. First, I would take issue with the
    > claim that there is a 'sustained' series of attack on the entire
    > Western world, but rather specific sporadic attacks, many of which are
    > directed specifically at the USA, and further American military
    > targets.
    There have been many, not all aimed specifically at the US, and many other unsuccessful attempts. The embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the USS Cole, The bombing of the French tanker, the attack on the synagogue in Tunisia, the Bali bombing, and of course the WTC attacks. Unsuccessful were attempts to bomb the LAX airport, to fly an aircraft into the Eiffel tower, and to bring down a dozen airliners over the Pacific, among others. Pretty damned sustained, if you ask me.
    > The relationship of the Bali bomb to 9/11 and attacks
    > elsewhere is mooted not proven.
    Wrong; it has been connected to Al Quaeda by captured perpetrators.
    > Second, none of this legimitates an
    > attack against Saddam's Iraq at this time.
    There are different, but equally good, reasons to disarm Saddam; since he has used chemical weapons against his neighbor Iran, attacked three of his neighbors during his rule (Iran, Kuwait, Israel) and also used chemical weapons against oppressed groups in his own country, he is not trustable with either such weapons (and he has made vast quantities of both chemical and biological weapons) or with nukes.
    > Why not attack North Korea
    > which is equally a rogue state and enemy of the US, which openly
    > claims to have weapons of mass destruction?
    This is an argument FOR disarming Saddam and halting his quest for nukes before he can obtain them and blackmail other nations into not responding when he moves to annex the Arabian Peninsula (his goal all along). We should have dealt with North Korea before this; we should not make the same mistake with Saddam.
    > <And what does the refusal to sign environmental
    > > and economic treaties have to do with the blunting of terrorist
    > > threats, any way? People criticize the US for getting involved, and
    > > then turn around and criticize them for not getting involved. You
    > > just can't win with infestees of the hate-US meme.>
    > >
    > Howard Bloom in 'The Lucifer Legacy' talks about how it's largely
    > inevitable that the dominant nation of any period in time is likely to
    > find itself castigated in this kind of way e.g. condemnation of
    > failure to give aid, alongside resentment of being patronised when aid
    > is given. To some extent you're right, but the fact you can think up
    > clear examples of US iconoclasm outside of middle-eastern politics,
    > shows how, on occasion there is meat to the bones of a dispute.
    No, it just shows that there are other unrelated disagreements between the US and other nations.
    > <And is the US not DOUBLY obligated to rectify its own errors in the
    > > world? Saddam's regime is an egregious infliction upon the people
    > > of Iraq, and a grave threat to other nations. If the US broke it,
    > > they should fix it (and should've done so 12 years ago).>
    > >
    > I don't necessarily disagree here, for me its the context and the
    > bending of other situations to try and legitimate going back and
    > "finishing the job" that is distasteful, not so much the idea of
    > getting rid of Saddam. I just wish the "logic" was applied equally
    > globally, and not just when it's politically expedient to do so.
    It is not a matter of political expediency, it is a matter of national security. The administration is already dealing with Al Quaeda (thus those who claim that ousting Saddam is all about the politics of war are eliding the point that if there are political benefits to be reaped, the war on terror is already reaping them), but they are presented with two distinct threats, both of which must be dealt with.
    > <Afghanistan is a place where the US suffered for walking away too >
    > soon, too.> >
    > And why did it walk away- because the political expediency of
    > fostering that conflict by giving the mujahdeen arms went the day the
    > soviet coup failed.
    And they will not make such a costly mistake again, for they have seen where it leads.
    > <It will not repeat that error.>
    > It's this kind of optimism that conventional war tactics will defeat
    > terrorism on a global scale that also is so profoundly misplaced. >
    Unless one is suicidal, one does not roll over and accept the hits. And MANY tactics are being used; conventional, covert, diplomatic, economic, in concert.
    > <Nicaragua was not handled very well, but the result has been good.>
    > So the ends justify the means do they? Even if there's now no way of
    > knowing how a democratically elected socialist regime might have done?
    > This is even more the case in Guatemala of course. 'Good' for whom,
    > and it what ways?
    No they don't; but when there was a free and fair election in Nicaragua, the Sandinista candidate lost. This, of course, has nothing to do with Radical Islam or a Saladin wannabe in Iraq.
    > <Korea in the '50's was a UN action.>
    > In which it took signifcant British diplomatic efforts to stop the US
    > dropping the bomb, and ended in a massive stalemate that cost
    > thousands of lives, and continues to divide a nation. Not to mention
    > the atrocities which the US government still refuse to acknowledge
    > responsibility for (No Gun Ri springs to mind). >
    MacArthur was fired for suggesting it, even though he made the suggestion in the context of a million Chinese 'volunteers' crossing the border to assist North Korea against UN forces. And, considering the relative state of North vs. South Korea, would you prefer that the entire peninsula resemble the North?
    > <Vietnam was a war we never should've taken over from the French. In
    > Somalia, our soldiers died attempting to apprehend warlords who seized
    > food from Red Cross and UN distribution centers in order to use >
    > starvation as a weapon.>
    > > Two conflicts where lack of detailed
    > intelligence and political expediency led to literal disasters-
    > although they've both made good material for war films. >
    Two instances in which we listened to European calls for intervention; the first we shouldn't have listened to, and the second we should have handled more robustly (the weapons to successfully deal with the warlords were denied US military commanders in Somalia).
    > <The Clinton administration was pivotal in negotiating the Northern
    > Ireland settlement.>
    > That would be the agreement that collapsed again a few weeks ago
    > would it?
    And whose fault is that?
    > <Next irrelevant laundry list, please.>
    > There's nothing irrelevant about pointing out how US foreign policy
    > in recent decades has been problematic to say the least, and that
    > contributes a lot to opposition in Europe and elsewhere to the war on
    > Iraq.
    And of course there is no credit given for Bosnia or Kosovo or Kuwait or attempts in Somalia or for any of the good things the US has done or tried to do; only blame placed for those things that can be portrayed as bad. How typical.
    > <Well, tie a red dress around the US and claim that it is enticing
    > rape! > Blame the victim, right? One HAS to, when the US is the
    > victim, for the > US has to be blamed for EVERYthing. I don't think
    > you have carefully > considered the memetic nature of the threat to
    > postmodern civilization > by a violently cannibalistic medieval
    > memeset.> >
    > Or maybe like most rapists seem to be, parts of the US is denial
    > convinced that their victims gave consent.
    The US was the one attacked by Al Quaeda, remember? You were attempting to blame the victim for THAT atrocity! Which renders you a real sick puppy in my book! As for Bosnia and Kosovo and Somalia and Kuwait, in most cases not only was the region in question begging for US intervention, but so was much of the rest of the world.
    > <Actually, CNN shows them quite frequently, and streaming video is >
    > available online. I read throughout the spectrum of opinion, and the
    > > one I have formed over the last 14 months has been meticulously >
    > researched and carefully considered.> >
    > Well, normally I'd expect this to be true of you Joe, but I see
    > little sign of it in this case.
    That's due to your memetic filter euro-blinders.
    > <Sorry, but I access many European, East Asian, and Middle Eastern >
    > sources, as well. As I said - the entire spectrum. Your attribution
    > of > ignorance of this issue to me reflects an ignorance , on your
    > part, of the > > great amount of research I have done. YOU are the
    > one who is bathed > in error in this one, and who is simply
    > regurgitating knee-jerk memes.> >

    > What you're missing here Joe is that we're talking about political
    > opinions, and if these are memes then we're both engaging in them- you
    > in a heartfelt degree of patriotism, myself in an understandably more
    > distanced and cautious cynicism (understandable not because I'm right,
    > but because I'm sitting in a country a few thousand miles closer to
    > the mid-east, and in a country with a very different political history
    > and culture to yours).
    Which is why you need to read POWER AND WEAKNESS by Robert Kagan THE LONELY SUPERPOWER by Samuel P. Huntington ntington.html and THE NEW TRANSATLANTIC PROJECT by Ronald D. Asmus and Kenneth M. Pollack in order to understand the memetic reasons for such dissonances and the way in which they need to be bridged.
    > Vincent
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