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  •  EVERY one of those wars was preventive (0+ / 0-)

    Which one of those countries directly threatened the United States?

    That's right: none of them.  All of these places were backwaters until the United States made a point in making them its business.

    Those nations that tend to engage in preventive wars are empires. Like the American Empire.

    " ... or a baby's arm holding an apple!"

    by Lavocat on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 07:07:26 PM PDT

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    •  um...... (1+ / 0-)
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      OK, Im with you about them not being threats to the nations but.....

      We have treaty obligations also

      Korea - Treaty obligation plus UN mandate
      Vietnam - Treaty obligation
      Gulf War - UN Mandate
      Bosnia - UN mandate, treaty (Genocide) obligation
      Afghanistan - UN Mandate, retalitory

      Iraq - war of aggression

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 07:25:00 PM PDT

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      •  Hence the need to avoid "foreign entanglements" (0+ / 0-)

        "Treaty obligations" is merely a strawman in EVERY case. Think about it: WHY were there treaties with these countries in the first place? The United States WANTED war in Korea and Vietnam; it was all part of Kennan's vaunted containment strategy.

        The "treaties" merely served as trip wires for war, as treaties often do.

        The Gulf War was pretty much the same thing. Plus, can't have Saddam conrolling American oil resources, now can we? Even a Dem like Jimmy Carter saw THAT coming (hence, the Carter Doctrine).

        Bosnia was a way to keep the Russians out of Eastern Europe and to break the Serbs' stranglehold over the dying corpse of Yugoslavia. Plus, nothing like a nice show of force for all those potential East European candidates for NATO, right?

        Afghanistan? The Taliban didn't attack the U.S., al-Qaeda did. So, with al-Qaeda largely gone from Afghanistan, what the hell is the U.S. still there for? Afghanistan is a failed state, like Somalia, with no resources that the American Empire could want - except to allow the encirclement of Iran. Extend the Afghanistan theater to Pakistan and things start looking pretty scary for Iran. Take a look at a map of central Asia and see what I mean.

        Now, let's flip things over a bit. Let's say that the American government was usurped by fifth columnists, the way Afghanistan was by the Taliban and al-Qaeda, except the American usurpers were war-mongering neo-cons bent on invading other countries at will. Shouldn't such a country ALSO be attacked on at least the same thin pretenses used to justify the attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan?

        Again, this really gets to the heart of the matter: Americans and America are in such denial that ANYTHING done by or in the name of America/Americans, BY DEFINITION, cannot be bad, evil or wrong.

        Everything is justified in the name of righteousness. This is PRECISELY how all empires operate. Peel away the pretentions of righteousness and all that you are left with is the oldest argument used by the species: might makes right.


        " ... or a baby's arm holding an apple!"

        by Lavocat on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 07:47:01 PM PDT

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        •  oh goodness (2+ / 0-)
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          jds1978, Matt Z

          put aside the tin foil hat stuff and JUST take the UN cases

          Every UN member has obligations for countering aggressions.  By extension you are advocating total isolationism.  I have no problem with that as a guy at the pointy end of the spear.  I would much rather be home with my kids.

          Just understand the implications of such withdrawal

          Free trade happens because the US Navy says so.  Sea lanes are safe world wide because of the Navy.  

          If you think things were bad at $140 a barrel, a complete US withdrawal would make that look like the good old days.  I wrote an assessment last year that was considered conservative and I predicted $500 a barrel.  Thats about $16 a gallon for gas.  Again, Im fine with that in the abstract because I would like to see renewables replace oil but the impact on the economy in the short term would be devastating.

          At $500 a barrel global trade stops.  The cost of shipping anything becomes prohibitive.  No more Amazon.  No more WalMart.  If it isn't local, you cant afford it.  Anti globalization folks will cheer.  But I LOVE my laptop - designed by Apple, built in Taiwan with US chips, Japanese HD, Korean memory and a Chinese screen.  And my digital camera - Japanese design, built in Vietnam, Korean Sensor and screen from Taiwan, lenses from all over.  Food becomes scarce in spot locations at spot times.  Bad weather causes local shortages and poor nutrition at the low end of the economic scale because healthy eating is expensive (trigger second order impact of health care).  If you live in California like me, your fine.  Live in New York City and your screwed.  The restaurant industry just dies.  Period.  You know why our great grand parents never went out to eat?  Because they couldn't afford it or there was a place to go.  Same with tourism.  Your can forget about going to Disney anything because it will be closed.  TV dies due to lack of advertising.  Pray your cell phone doesnt die because a new one isnt coming.  You are talking about a return to 1890's America.

          Along with this is a RAPID increase in the competition for resources.  China imports something like 90% of its oil needs.  They are going to get their oil one way or another and the easiest way is to take it.  Russia has lots of resources and a declining population.  That makes them a BIG FAT target.  Venezuela would last about a week before someone would gobble it up - probably Brazil.  The Middle east, especially Saudi Arabia, will be a target for mercenary armies.  Either to blackmail or just take over.  And that is if the foreign workers dont rebel and destroy everything first.

          Personally I would move to Australia.  Lots of land, lots of sun and lots of ocean (and hot chicks!).  The US and Canada will probably be fine but the fighting on the Mexican Border will be brutal.  China and Russia will go nuke early and often.  I would bet on the Russians.  Africa might be the best off because they have less distance to fall.  If you have no car, you dont care how much gas costs.  If you have no food, you dont notice there is less.

          As bad as things seem right now, compared to historical periods, we are in relative peace.  There are LOTS of things wrong with the US and US foreign policy.  But complete isolation would be a disaster for the entire world.  Like democracy, US domination is bad, but its better than any of the alternatives.

          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

          by ksuwildkat on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 09:25:16 PM PDT

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          •  Making peace does not make one an isolationist (0+ / 0-)

            A foreign policy that DOESN'T entail permanent war = isolationism? Really?

            Actually, you're right: this sort of power dynamic is wonderful - for citizens of the United States.  For the rest of the world? Not so much.

            Which is why a unipolar or bipolar world is so inherently unstable and unjust.  Multipolar dynamics work better and insist on permanent diplomacy over permanent war. Of course, a multipolar world can be just as dangerous.

            The truly interesting times lay ahead. With the US setting the example of global bully today, is it any wonder what China is going to be doing tomorrow?

            And the modern key to engaging in exterminationist warfare is simply to label your opponents as terrorists. That always seems to work.

            Which has always caused me to wonder: what is the US going to do as it becomes more and more an empire in decline? Will it go quietly? Or will it launch a war to try to hold onto what it's got? And what will the justifications for war be then?

            Sooner or later, it all just comes down to who has the most weapons - and who is willing to use them. And, yes, a unipolar AMERICAN world will probably prove to be far preferable to a unipolar CHINESE one.

            " ... or a baby's arm holding an apple!"

            by Lavocat on Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 06:00:48 AM PDT

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            •  PLEASE study some history (0+ / 0-)

              Multipolar got us WWII, WWI, the Napoleonic wars, Ottoman wars, 30 years war, etc, etc.

              If you have a way to "make peace" speak up!  I would gladly implement "Operation Peace."

              Europe was reasonably peaceful from 1815 to 1914 because people were sick of the constant state of war that lasted from roughly 1790-1815.  When the leaders who had seen the horror of war died off, we got WWI.  

              WWII was a product of "bad" peace but since 1945, Europe has been peaceful (for the most part).  I fear the day when the last of the WWII generation - and the children who lived through the war and its aftermath - die off.  History says Europe will ignite once again.

              I am all about peace.  Sadly, peace seems to be reasonable only when the alternative is burned into the soul.  It took absolute horror in Rwanda for the two sides to come together and say "enough."  Well "enough" for now since their history is a cycle of peace and destruction.  It is said that peace comes when the mother loves her child more than she hates her enemy.  When I hear well meaning people talk about different ways to make war "nice" I am sad.  War is supposed to be horrible.  It is supposed to suck so bad, you dont do it unless it is the last, last, last, resort.  When you make it clean and nice, you make it easy.  It does not surprise me at all that the "Bush Doctrine" was created and championed by men who had never served in the military (Cheney, Wolfowitz, Fife, Pearl) or, like the President and SecDef, never left the United States.  This is not to say service is a requirement to be President.  But I think the lack of service can produce a worldview that puts war far to high on the option list instead of at the bottom where it belongs.

              Good luck on making peace.  I am on your side and will be in front of you in case it doesn't work out.

              It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

              by ksuwildkat on Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 07:27:35 AM PDT

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              •  You miss my point entirely (0+ / 0-)

                I am well-aware of history, being a history major. And as bad as the atrocities of war were in multipolar worlds, unipolar worlds are at least as bad in the body-count category (excepting, of course, WWII).

                I'm all for a well-armed democracy.  What I'm not for is that well-armed democracy dictating to the rest of the world as if it is some sort of Shining City on the Hill. Such sanctimony! Yet, perhaps, having attained the heights of empire, it's the only thing it can do.

                I remember well the bull sessions we had with our profs in the grad history classes about whether "the condition of empire" was inevitable given certain factors. I always argued that it was since nature abhors a vacuum and human nature abhors a power vacuum.

                The problem that I see with the American Empire is that it was built almost entirely to serve the business/financial elites, using the masses as fodder - pretty much what every empire does - yet continues to mouth the pretty words found in the founding documents. Hency the need for this vile sanctimony (i.e., judge us on our intentions, not our actions!)

                Most empires of the past were bold enough to admit the truth: we do it because we can. Yet the American Empire seems genetically incapable of speaking truth. Orwell has a much more eloquent way of saying it.

                And the greatest irony of all is in watching and listening to these supposed liberal and progressive representatives act as apologists for the American Empire. Sanctimony is part of the American genome apparently.

                America's actions need to match its (presumably good) intentions. Until then, America will find enemies wherever it turns. Calling them "terrorists" won't change the equation at all.

                In any event, to quote John Lennon: gimme some truth.

                " ... or a baby's arm holding an apple!"

                by Lavocat on Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 10:29:15 AM PDT

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