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  1. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    10 May '16 20:43
    Who rules the world? America is no longer the obvious answer

    http://gu.com/p/4jxcb?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Gmail
  2. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    10 May '16 20:44
    East Asia
    Beginning with the “American lake”, some eyebrows might be raised over the report in mid-December 2015 that “an American B-52 bomber on a routine mission over the South China Sea unintentionally flew within two nautical miles of an artificial island built by China, senior defense officials said, exacerbating a hotly divisive issue for Washington and Beijing”.

    Those familiar with the grim record of the 70 years of the nuclear weapons era will be all too aware that this is the kind of incident that has often come perilously close to igniting terminal nuclear war. One need not be a supporter of China’s provocative and aggressive actions in the South China Sea to notice that the incident did not involve a Chinese nuclear-capable bomber in the Caribbean, or off the coast of California, where China has no pretensions of establishing a “Chinese lake”. Luckily for the world.

    Chinese leaders understand very well that their country’s maritime trade routes are ringed with hostile powers from Japan through the Malacca Straits and beyond, backed by overwhelming US military force. Accordingly, China is proceeding to expand westward with extensive investments and careful moves toward integration.

    In part, these developments are within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which includes the central Asian states and Russia, and soon India and Pakistan with Iran as one of the observers – a status that was denied to the US, which was also called on to close all military bases in the region. China is constructing a modernized version of the old silk roads, with the intent not only of integrating the region under Chinese influence, but also of reaching Europe and the Middle Eastern oil-producing regions. It is pouring huge sums into creating an integrated Asian energy and commercial system, with extensive high-speed rail lines and pipelines.


    The program may also, China and Pakistan hope, spur industrial development in Pakistan, which the United States has not undertaken despite massive military aid, and might also provide an incentive for Pakistan to clamp down on domestic terrorism, a serious issue for China in western Xinjiang province. Gwadar will be part of China’s “string of pearls”, bases being constructed in the Indian Ocean for commercial purposes but potentially also for military use, with the expectation that China might someday be able to project power as far as the Persian Gulf for the first time in the modern era.

    All of these moves remain immune to Washington’s overwhelming military power, short of annihilation by nuclear war, which would destroy the US as well.

    In 2015, China also established the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), with itself as the main shareholder. Fifty-six nations participated in the opening in Beijing in June, including US allies Australia, Britain and others which joined in defiance of Washington’s wishes. The US and Japan were absent.

    Some analysts believe that the new bank might turn out to be a competitor to the Bretton Woods institutions (the IMF and the World Bank), in which the United States holds veto power. There are also some expectations that the SCO might eventually become a counterpart to Nato.
  3. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    10 May '16 20:45 / 1 edit
    Eastern Europe
    Turning to the second region, eastern Europe, there is a crisis brewing at the Nato-Russian border. It is no small matter.

    In his illuminating and judicious scholarly study of the region, Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands, Richard Sakwa writes – all too plausibly – that the “Russo-Georgian war of August 2008 was in effect the first of the ‘wars to stop Nato enlargement’; the Ukraine crisis of 2014 is the second. It is not clear whether humanity would survive a third.”

    The west sees Nato enlargement as benign. Not surprisingly, Russia, along with much of the Global South, has a different opinion, as do some prominent western voices. George Kennan warned early on that Nato enlargement is a “tragic mistake”, and he was joined by senior American statesmen in an open letter to the White House describing it as a “policy error of historic proportions”.

    The present crisis has its origins in 1991, with the end of the cold war and the collapse of the Soviet Union. There were then two contrasting visions of a new security system and political economy in Eurasia. In Sakwa’s words, one vision was of a “‘Wider Europe’, with the EU at its heart but increasingly coterminous with the Euro-Atlantic security and political community; and on the other side there [was] the idea of ‘Greater Europe’, a vision of a continental Europe, stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok, that has multiple centers, including Brussels, Moscow and Ankara, but with a common purpose in overcoming the divisions that have traditionally plagued the continent”.

    Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was the major proponent of Greater Europe, a concept that also had European roots in Gaullism and other initiatives. However, as Russia collapsed under the devastating market reforms of the 1990s, the vision faded, only to be renewed as Russia began to recover and seek a place on the world stage under Vladimir Putin who, along with his associate Dmitry Medvedev, has repeatedly “called for the geopolitical unification of all of ‘Greater Europe’ from Lisbon to Vladivostok, to create a genuine ‘strategic partnership’”.

    These initiatives were “greeted with polite contempt”, Sakwa writes, regarded as “little more than a cover for the establishment of a ‘Greater Russia’ by stealth” and an effort to “drive a wedge” between North America and western Europe. Such concerns trace back to earlier cold war fears that Europe might become a “third force” independent of both the great and minor superpowers and moving toward closer links to the latter (as can be seen in Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik and other initiatives).

    The western response to Russia’s collapse was triumphalist. It was hailed as signaling “the end of history”, the final victory of western capitalist democracy, almost as if Russia were being instructed to revert to its pre-world war I status as a virtual economic colony of the west.
    Nato enlargement began at once, in violation of verbal assurances to Gorbachev that Nato forces would not move “one inch to the east” after he agreed that a unified Germany could become a Nato member – a remarkable concession, in the light of history. That discussion kept to East Germany. The possibility that Nato might expand beyond Germany was not discussed with Gorbachev, even if privately considered.

    Soon, Nato did begin to move beyond, right to the borders of Russia. The general mission of Nato was officially changed to a mandate to protect “crucial infrastructure” of the global energy system, sea lanes and pipelines, giving it a global area of operations. Furthermore, under a crucial western revision of the now widely heralded doctrine of “responsibility to protect”, sharply different from the official UN version, Nato may now also serve as an intervention force under US command.

    Of particular concern to Russia are plans to expand Nato to Ukraine. These plans were articulated explicitly at the Bucharest Nato summit of April 2008, when Georgia and Ukraine were promised eventual membership in Nato. The wording was unambiguous: “Nato welcomes Ukraine’s and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in Nato. We agreed today that these countries will become members of Nato.”

    With the “Orange Revolution” victory of pro-western candidates in Ukraine in 2004, State Department representative Daniel Fried rushed there and “emphasized US support for Ukraine’s Nato and Euro-Atlantic aspirations”, as a WikiLeaks report revealed.

    As in the case of China, one does not have to regard Putin’s moves favorably to understand the logic behind them

    Russia’s concerns are easily understandable. They are outlined by international relations scholar John Mearsheimer in the leading US establishment journal, Foreign Affairs. He writes that “the taproot of the current crisis [over Ukraine] is Nato expansion and Washington’s commitment to move Ukraine out of Moscow’s orbit and integrate it into the west”, which Putin viewed as “a direct threat to Russia’s core interests”.

    “Who can blame him?” Mearsheimer asks, pointing out that “Washington may not like Moscow’s position, but it should understand the logic behind it”. That should not be too difficult. After all, as everyone knows, “The United States does not tolerate distant great powers deploying military forces anywhere in the western hemisphere, much less on its borders.”

    In fact, the US stand is far stronger. It does not tolerate what is officially called “successful defiance” of the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, which declared (but could not yet implement) US control of the hemisphere. And a small country that carries out such successful defiance may be subjected to “the terrors of the earth” and a crushing embargo – as happened to Cuba.

    We need not ask how the United States would have reacted had the countries of Latin America joined the Warsaw Pact, with plans for Mexico and Canada to join as well. The merest hint of the first tentative steps in that direction would have been “terminated with extreme prejudice”, to adopt CIA lingo.

    As in the case of China, one does not have to regard Putin’s moves and motives favorably to understand the logic behind them, nor to grasp the importance of understanding that logic instead of issuing imprecations against it. As in the case of China, a great deal is at stake, reaching as far – literally – as questions of survival.
  4. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    10 May '16 20:47
    The Islamic world
    Let us turn to the third region of major concern, the (largely) Islamic world, also the scene of the global war on terror (GWOT) that George W Bush declared in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attack. To be more accurate, re-declared.

    The GWOT was declared by the Reagan administration when it took office, with fevered rhetoric about a “plague spread by depraved opponents of civilization itself” (as Reagan put it) and a “return to barbarism in the modern age” (the words of George Shultz, his secretary of state).

    The original GWOT has been quietly removed from history. It very quickly turned into a murderous and destructive terrorist war afflicting Central America, southern Africa, and the Middle East, with grim repercussions to the present, even leading to condemnation of the United States by the World Court (which Washington dismissed). In any event, it is not the right story for history, so it is gone.

    The success of the Bush-Obama version of GWOT can readily be evaluated on direct inspection. When the war was declared, the terrorist targets were confined to a small corner of tribal Afghanistan. They were protected by Afghans, who mostly disliked or despised them, under the tribal code of hospitality – which baffled Americans when poor peasants refused “to turn over Osama bin Laden for the, to them, astronomical sum of $25m”.

    There are good reasons to believe that a well-constructed police action, or even serious diplomatic negotiations with the Taliban, might have placed those suspected of the 9/11 crimes in American hands for trial and sentencing. But such options were off the table. Instead, the reflexive choice was large-scale violence – not with the goal of overthrowing the Taliban (that came later) but to make clear US contempt for tentative Taliban offers of the possible extradition of bin Laden.

    How serious these offers were we do not know, since the possibility of exploring them was never entertained. Or perhaps the US was just intent on “trying to show its muscle, score a victory and scare everyone in the world. They don’t care about the suffering of the Afghans or how many people we will lose”.

    That was the judgment of the highly respected anti-Taliban leader Abdul Haq, one of the many oppositionists who condemned the American bombing campaign launched in October 2001 as “a big setback” for their efforts to overthrow the Taliban from within, a goal they considered within their reach.

    His judgment is confirmed by Richard A Clarke, who was chairman of the Counterterrorism Security Group at the White House under President George W Bush when the plans to attack Afghanistan were made. As Clarke describes the meeting, when informed that the attack would violate international law, “the president yelled in the narrow conference room, ‘I don’t care what the international lawyers say, we are going to kick some ass.’” The attack was also bitterly opposed by the major aid organizations working in Afghanistan, who warned that millions were on the verge of starvation and that the consequences might be horrendous.

    The consequences for poor Afghanistan years later need hardly be reviewed.

    The next target of the sledgehammer was Iraq.

    The US-UK invasion, utterly without credible pretext, is the major crime of the 21st century. The invasion led to the death of hundreds of thousands of people in a country where the civilian society had already been devastated by American and British sanctions that were regarded as “genocidal” by the two distinguished international diplomats who administered them, and resigned in protest for this reason. The invasion also generated millions of refugees, largely destroyed the country, and instigated a sectarian conflict that is now tearing apart Iraq and the entire region. It is an astonishing fact about our intellectual and moral culture that in informed and enlightened circles it can be called, blandly, “the liberation of Iraq”.

    Pentagon and British Ministry of Defense polls found that only 3% of Iraqis regarded the US security role in their neighborhood as legitimate, less than 1% believed that “coalition” (US-UK) forces were good for their security, 80% opposed the presence of coalition forces in the country, and a majority supported attacks on coalition troops. Afghanistan has been destroyed beyond the possibility of reliable polling, but there are indications that something similar may be true there as well. Particularly in Iraq the United States suffered a severe defeat, abandoning its official war aims, and leaving the country under the influence of the sole victor, Iran.

    The sledgehammer was also wielded elsewhere, notably in Libya, where the three traditional imperial powers (Britain, France and the US) procured security council resolution 1973 and instantly violated it, becoming the air force of the rebels.

    The effect was to undercut the possibility of a peaceful, negotiated settlement; sharply increase casualties (by at least a factor of 10, according to political scientist Alan Kuperman); leave Libya in ruins, in the hands of warring militias; and, more recently, to provide the Islamic State with a base that it can use to spread terror beyond.

    Quite sensible diplomatic proposals by the African Union, accepted in principle by Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, were ignored by the imperial triumvirate, as Africa specialist Alex de Waal reviews. A huge flow of weapons and jihadis has spread terror and violence from west Africa (now the champion for terrorist murders) to the Levant, while the Nato attack also sent a flood of refugees from Africa to Europe.

    Yet another triumph of “humanitarian intervention”, and, as the long and often ghastly record reveals, not an unusual one, going back to its modern origins four centuries ago.
  5. 10 May '16 21:02
    Originally posted by finnegan
    Who rules the world? America is no longer the obvious answer

    http://gu.com/p/4jxcb?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Gmail
    Don't recall the USA ever declaring that it ruled the world.
  6. 10 May '16 22:13
    Originally posted by FishHead111 to Finnegan
    Don't recall the USA ever declaring that it ruled the world.
    But the USA often likes to act as if it did rule the world.
  7. 10 May '16 22:30
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    But the USA often likes to act as if it did rule the world.
    If the USA showed less interest in the rest of the world would the rest of the world leave us alone?
  8. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    10 May '16 22:37
    Originally posted by FishHead111
    Don't recall the USA ever declaring that it ruled the world.
    Well the wording can be a little coy but it is real enough to make it a fair topic of discussion:

    http://www.converge.org.nz/pirm/kingyank.htm

    Ask National Security Council staff members, think-tank analysts, or State Department policy planners about America's globe-girdling security commitments and they will deliver very different answers - ones that have not changed in forty-five years. They will justify the Pax Americana by invoking "the imperative of continued US world leadership," the need to "shape a favourable international environment," "reassurance of allies," and the ongoing need for "stability" and "continuing engagement". Even during the Cold War the "Soviet threat" might not have been mentioned.

    The question that all this justification ignores is: What, exactly, is "leadership", and why has it been the mantra of foreign-policy cognoscenti for nearly fifty years? What have we been doing around the globe, and why?


    Oddly the same material is reproduced in The Atlantic and the following is relevant:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1996/06/why-america-thinks-it-has-to-run-the-world/376599/

    What we think of as the Cold War was merely instrumental in America's larger "Cold War" strategy. In "scaring hell out of the American people," as Senator Arthur Vandenberg said in 1947, the U.S.-Soviet rivalry helped to secure domestic support for Washington's ambition to create a U.S.-dominated world order. That same year one of Vandenberg's colleagues, the fervently anti-Communist Senator Robert Taft, expressed a strong suspicion that the supposed dangers to the nation from the USSR failed to explain America's new foreign policy. He complained that he was "more than a bit tired of having the Russian menace invoked as a reason for doing any--and every--thing that might or might not be desirable or necessary on its own merits." The former Secretary of State Dean Acheson put things in proper perspective: describing how Washington overcame domestic opposition to its internationalist policies in 1950, he recalled in 1954 that at that critical moment the crisis in Korea "came along and saved us."

    A FUNDAMENTAL aim of America's Cold War strategy was to create and maintain what the former Secretary of State James Baker has called "a global liberal economic regime"--a capitalist world order. After the Second World War, American statesmen believed that the United States, standing alone and strong in a world of weary nations, had a remarkable opportunity, as Acheson said, to "grab hold of history and make it conform."


    Call it what you like. A lot of people call it trying to rule the world and they have sound arguments for doing so.
  9. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    10 May '16 22:43
    Originally posted by normbenign
    If the USA showed less interest in the rest of the world would the rest of the world leave us alone?
    You illustrate very cutely the comment that In "scaring hell out of the American people," as Senator Arthur Vandenberg said in 1947, the U.S.-Soviet rivalry helped to secure domestic support for Washington's ambition to create a U.S.-dominated world order.

    The idea that poor, frightened and vulnerable little US of A just wants to be left in peace is laughable and flies in the face of American belligerance over the past 150 years.
  10. 10 May '16 22:48
    Originally posted by finnegan
    Well the wording can be a little coy but it is real enough to make it a fair topic of discussion:

    http://www.converge.org.nz/pirm/kingyank.htm

    [i]Ask National Security Council staff members, think-tank analysts, or State Department policy planners about America's globe-girdling security commitments and they will deliver very different answers - ones ...[text shortened]... e. A lot of people call it trying to rule the world and they have sound arguments for doing so.
    Until recently, the only cogent argument for US involvement offshore was our lack of domestic oil reserves.

    What would you think if the US simply stopped dealing with the rest of the world, Other than a lack of domestic petroleum, which we could get from Mexico and Canada, what would you think about a hands off, non interference policy for America? I would favor it, even though some goods would be more costly.
  11. 10 May '16 23:13 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Until recently, the only cogent argument for US involvement offshore was our lack of domestic oil reserves.

    What would you think if the US simply stopped dealing with the rest of the world, Other than a lack of domestic petroleum, which we could get from Mexico and Canada, what would you think about a hands off, non interference policy for America? I would favor it, even though some goods would be more costly.
    Can't remember the title, but there was a fictional video of what would happen to the world if the US became isolationist. It opened with a presidential candidate that ran on a platform of withdrawing from everywhere and letting Europe pick up the slack and try to take care of the world's problems or just let the rest of the world go to hell. It followed what would happen after his election. The result wasn't pretty for the planet.
    I'm all for doing it and letting the planet fall into internecine squabbling. America doesn't need the world, the world needs America
    (and also needs Europe/Canada/Australia/Scandinavia/white people in general)
  12. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    10 May '16 23:18
    The world is ruled by Christ, Muhammed and Mammon.

    Russian ideas of a "Greater Europe" ring hollow when Russia so clearly prefers to be associated with Asia than Western Europe.

    The Chinese String of Pearls is exceedingly vulnerable to naval blockade, especially since India is working with Japan, Vietnam, Phillippines and the USA to suppress Chinese naval expansion.

    Those of us in the USA are frightened of the phrase "police action" because we associate it with getting the snot beat out of us in Vietnam.

    The Monroe Doctrine was not so much America keeping out the Old World as it was the Anglo world suppressing their Latin rivals in the Americas. The USA never cared about British meddling in the Falklands and the Doctrine was originally enforced by the British Royal Navy.
  13. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    10 May '16 23:49
    Originally posted by finnegan
    [b]The Islamic world
    Let us turn to the third region of major concern, the (largely) Islamic world, also the scene of the global war on terror (GWOT) that George W Bush declared in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attack. To be more accurate, re-declared.

    The GWOT was declared by the Reagan administration when it took office, with fevered rhetoric ...[text shortened]... tly record reveals, not an unusual one, going back to its modern origins four centuries ago.
    [/b]
    This is one area I do agree with Donald Trump on. America has been trying to play the role of world policeman for too long. The trouble spots you speak of are noteworthy, but it's not America's obligation to solve the world's problems. It's time for other countries to take more responsibility for their own situations.
  14. Standard member vivify
    rain
    11 May '16 00:00 / 3 edits
    For all this talk about the U.S. being a supposed bully, ever notice that no one in the world is afraid of the U.S.? Not our closes neighbors (Canada and Mexico), not any Arab, European, African or Asian country; no one.

    The U.S. isn't a bully, or "belligerent". I think American has simply been full of itself, thinking its too important to not be involved the affairs of other nations. This has lead to catastrophic results (Pearl Harbor, Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Israelis vs Palestinians, Vietnam, Iraq, ISIS, etc.).

    EDIT: Yes, I know the drone strikes are terrible, and obviously, those people are in terror. However, I don't think the Pakistani government fears the U.S. wants to destroy it or even take it over.
  15. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    11 May '16 00:14
    Iran, China, North Korea, Russia and the various Latin American nations are certainly concerned that the USA may want to overthrow their government and take over.