Anti-US sentiment predates 9/11…

Thanks to all of those who have contributed to the 9/11 memory thread. If you’ve not done so already, please feel free to add your own personal account. In the meantime, Instapundit links Anne Applebaum, who believes that the idea that US squandered the good will of the rest of the west, is nothing more than a trick of historical light.

  • The summary quoted above, that: “the idea that US squandered the good will of the rest of the west is nothing more than a trick of historical light” is clearly untrue.

    Firstly, there was much sympathy from a broad range of western non-US opinion for the victims, and a vastly heightened awareness of the problem of international terrorism, and the need to deal with it in some way. NATO viewed it as an attack on the alliance. There was even considerable sympathy outside the West.

    Secondly, the unilateral, arrogant and counterproductive nature of SOME of the US Administration’s response DID attract much criticism (not just from the “usual suspects” on the left), and DID cause gradually increasing criticism, and a leaching of support and sympathy.

    But part of what Anne Applebaum writes is also true. French “counterbalancing” of the US was alive and well before 9/11, and there was widespread antipathy toward the US, particularly from the left and from the Islamic fundamentalist lobbies.

    On the other hand, the shift in world views against terrorism can be seen in the effect it had on the Northern Irish process, where the republican movement suddenly had less scope for a return to violence. It also increased pressure (tragically slowly) on the Basque terrorists to find a more constructive way forward. And it helped, for a time, to nail the lie that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

  • Joe

    I think it might be more usefully couched the other way around. Bush was merrily pissing away such goodwill as the previous incumbent had built up, but September 11th halted the slide, temporarily.

  • Crataegus

    Of course there was anti US feeling and political movements against US interests before 11th Sept that the nature of foreign policy.

    The political significance of 9-11 is that the Bush administration failed utterly to recognise the potential created by the atrocity and adopt its policy to a more constructive position and by so doing increase its international authority. The US had overwhelming sympathy and there was one of those rare occasions where it had the opportunity to take an effective lead on the international stage. However what it decided was to use the tragedy to justify a deeply divisive international policy at home and thus squandered any real international support. Armies are expensive and getting bogged down in a war without a clear end and with limited support is not clever unless the financial gain out ways the loss (seen form a cold hearted point of view). I think we are watching the Global power in decline. A nation that can no longer garner the support it once took for granted, a power whose economic position whilst formidable is in relative decline.

    Does Bush see himself as the 21st century’s Emperor Trajan? Will the next president be a Hadrian?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Crataegus: “The political significance of 9-11 is that the Bush administration failed utterly to recognise the potential created by the atrocity and adopt its policy to a more constructive position and by so doing increase its international authority.”

    The part that bothers me, Crat, is there is an off-chance you actually believe what you wrote.

    Looking at this rationally, the Russians and the Chinese are still keister deep in Iran, France still lacks the spine or stomach for doing anything constructive and the rest of Europe, not content with the notion that violence doesn’t solve any problems, has made the w.a.g. that it doesn’t solve *any* problems.

    Sympathy we get by the bucket-loads. Authority? Not on your life — Between France, Russia and China, there are three vetos against any credible action — review matters in Iran, if you have any doubts. Endless bouts of empty jaw-jacking, fiddling while Tehran learns the fine art of nuclear war.

    As for the economics — we’ll see.

    Frankly, if it is as you say, I wouldn’t mind watching the President end foreign aid as we know it, pull the troops home (funny — its always “Yankee go home!” until the Yanks start packing their bags and some sees just how much money the Yanks drop while their in town), stop cutting the foreign aid checks (with the exception of reliable allies) and the next time something goes aglee in the world, Europe can take the lead and solve it themselves — mayhaps they will do better than history would suggest.

  • Crataegus

    Dread Cthulhu

    Getting the Russians bogged down in Afghanistan was clever, jumping in after them wasn’t and then for good measure into the Quagmire of Iraq. What exactly was that all about.

    Of course the international rivals are in Tehran and of course money is being channelled from Tehran to all sorts of strange organisations, that unfortunately is how the great game is played. So what do you propose doing about it having removed the counter balance against Iran in the region? Invade Iran perhaps? Then Syria? Where does it stop? Yes the US has an effective army but winning wars is a whole lot different from holding territory especially if you are still surrounded by adversaries.

    I wouldn’t mind watching the President end foreign aid as we know it, pull the troops home

    Ahh your a supporter of the Hadrian type of policy, believe me when I say you would be surprised at the amount of support there would be abroad for such a policy.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Crataegus: “Ahh your a supporter of the Hadrian type of policy, believe me when I say you would be surprised at the amount of support there would be abroad for such a policy. ”

    Right up until it hits in the pocket-books, Crat. For example, it was all well and good for the Germans to be on the streets with their “Yankee go Home” attitude, but when Bush opened discussions to address their request, reducing US troops in Europe and moving those which remained into Poland and Nato stations further East, there was a flurry of hurt and protest, complaining that actually having the Yanks go home would be deleterious to the local economy — apparently, empty military bases provide no jobs.

    Likewise, as much as Europe likes to pose and preen, their track record on handling world affairs is no better and perhaps worse than that of the United States. It was European inaction that allowed Hitler the momentum for a world war, rather than an ugly regional conflict in Czechoslovakia. Then there is the small matter of the Balkans — told the US to sod off, then twiddled your fingers and let Yugoslavia burn.

    By your reckoning and logic, the US should have packed up shop as early as the Kasserine Pass and left Europe to its own devices — too much blood and gold lost for no gain.

    Crataegus: “So what do you propose doing about it having removed the counter balance against Iran in the region? Invade Iran perhaps? Then Syria? Where does it stop? Yes the US has an effective army but winning wars is a whole lot different from holding territory especially if you are still surrounded by adversaries. ”

    As opposed to, what — doing nothing and allowing the inevitable to pass? Munich, the Balkans — European inaction has proved far less effective than American-led action, Crataegus.

    A balance must be struck, but such a balance would rely upon trust — and trusting the European continent to have the spine to fill their bluster and posing is not exactly what I would call a “sure bet.” You set deadlines that are freely ignored by malefectors, as there are no consequences — talks will continue as before, so, ultimately, you are irrelevant and can be ignored without consequence, as there is no downside to doing so.

  • Jaysus, I emerge out of the smoke and get back to the flatland and look what you tossers got into: farewell Mary, the DI and yet another Bushhater thread that got a bug up Phreddy’s arse.

    Nothing ever changes on Slugger.

    Of course there were grudges against the US in the pre 9/11 years. Before WWII we ran the Americas to suit US business interests. After WWII spent the entire postwar era containing the Red Menace by hook or by crook. It was bloody, it wasn’t legal and it cost us enemies. That’s just the way it was.

    Christ, talk about feckin’ obvious.

  • Crataegus

    Dread Cthulhu

    Trajan attacked the Partians took Babylon and Ctesiphon. However territory which had been easily won, was more difficult to hold. Uprisings among the conquered peoples, and particularly in Palestine, caused him to gradually resign Roman rule over these newly-established provinces as he returned westward though the revolts were brutally suppressed. In poor health Trajan returned to Italy in 117, having left Hadrian in command in the east

    One of Hadrian’s first acts as emperor was to give up all of Trajan’s eastern conquests. Too difficult to hold.

    My view of foreign policy is it is primarily about national self interest and seldom anything else. Yes you can have concepts like white mans’ burden but usually they are justification. The US is very good or rather has been very good at pursuing its economic interests. But there comes a time with all great powers when the perception of interests fails to change with the times or they fail to predict far enough ahead or accurately.

    Looking at history with hindsight is an intriguing luxury. Britain’s policy pre First World War, or when to stop Hitler (7 March & Rhineland) I would take the view that Europe needs a period when it is less reliant on the US umbrella, but is that a risk that the US can take? Also we need to take stock of the changing world balance.

    I would be first to agree that bodies like the UN are riven by self interest and lack real power, but if we are to move to a more stable world eventually we will need a body of this nature that commands respect, though I doubt if it will happen as it is not in the interest of the most powerful. But unfortunately until it does I see no effective way of addressing the atrocities world wide. It is unrealistic to expect any country to take an interest in places far away unless it is within such a context. But even then how does such a body deal with abuse by a powerful country?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Crataegus: “My view of foreign policy is it is primarily about national self interest and seldom anything else.”

    And yet, were the next time the UN to wheeze or whinge that the United States isn’t donating enough, the US to cut off *all* such donations, the howl arising from the rest of the world would be deafening.

    Crataegus: “Britain’s policy pre First World War, or when to stop Hitler (7 March & Rhineland) I would take the view that Europe needs a period when it is less reliant on the US umbrella, but is that a risk that the US can take?”

    I would be more worried about Europe. Let’s be frank — Europe is militarily weak, on the balance, unprepared and even when it bellows it will take action any day now, ala Yugoslavia, they sit about and twiddle their thumbs whilst Belgrade burns, eventually coming, hat in hand, to the United States to solve their problems for them. Faced with a true threat, Europe will pull a Jimmy Carter, apolgizing even as the barbarians pull down the gates.

    Crataegus: “I would be first to agree that bodies like the UN are riven by self interest and lack real power, but if we are to move to a more stable world eventually we will need a body of this nature that commands respect, though I doubt if it will happen as it is not in the interest of the most powerful.”

    Unfortuantely, it was envisioned as a democracy — it is the tyrannies and the tin-pot dictators that hold it back. Hell, a powerful and respected body is not even in the best interests of the French, let alone powerful nations.

    Hopefully, the United States and Japan will realize they are paying half of the budget for the corrupt and venal cesspool known as the UN and will simply pull the plug and let the cess drain away, perhaps starting again, perhaps not.

    Crataegus: “But unfortunately until it does I see no effective way of addressing the atrocities world wide. It is unrealistic to expect any country to take an interest in places far away unless it is within such a context. But even then how does such a body deal with abuse by a powerful country? ”

    Wheeze on, Crataegus — the UN only complains when the U.S. thwarts it. The French freely ignore it so that they might go on holiday, remmebering their glory days in Africa, kicking the swarthy fellows about. The Chinese and Russians pay it lip service at best.

    Can you give me one reason the US should not treat this bureaucratic boil in the same fashion as the rest of the security council, let alone the petty dictatorships of Africa and Asia? If it is mete and just that others ignore the UN, why *shouldn’t* the US do so as well, especially if the UN cannot be relied upon to keep its own ultimatums?

  • Lovely Leitrim

    In the aftermath of 9/11, George W. Bush held the unprecedented good will and support of the people of the west. The incompetence of his administration and his own intellectual laziness has seen this goodwill dissipate. American foreign policy has always been the subject of derision to the left wing parties of western Europe but Bush has elevated this to new levels, uniting left and right in condemnation.

    But anti-Americanism is not new. While the U.S. played the role of saviour in both World Wars, their military personel were tolerated as opposed to popular inBritain during and after World War II.
    Ronald Reaganreceived something less than a thousand welcomes when he visited Ireland in 1984.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LL: “But anti-Americanism is not new. While the U.S. played the role of saviour in both World Wars, their military personel were tolerated as opposed to popular inBritain during and after World War II. ”

    Aw, the Tommies only problems were they were underpaid, undersexed and under Eisenhower, just to complete the exchange.

    This, of course, brings up questions on the multi-culti front — if Britain cannot handle the temporary influx of their American cousins in circumstances where it is to Britain’s benefit, how are they supposed to absorb waves of Romanian and Bulgarian economic immigrants, let alone Londonistan?

  • –The idea that US squandered the good will of the rest of the west, is nothing more than a trick of historical light–

    To me, this statement is an undeniable truth.

    On the week after Sept 11, Le Monde Diplomatique spoke for many in the political/media/university class in many countries when it said that “while the attacks in Manhattan were sad, many in the world feel that the US deserved it”.

    I believe that many individuals, not the least in Ireland in England, had a deep and viscerally human sympathy with those who were attacked.

    But for some, that sympathy ended when the US acted in its own defense by going after the Taliban in Afghanistan, which it had every possible moral and legal right to do.

    Some who would like to rewrite history now say that “everyone was for the invasion of Afghanistan”. Which was and is a lie. I encountered demonstrators from the university class on the streets of NYC on the weekend after 9/11 who were protesting against an Afghan invasion that had yet to even occur. Outside the US, this sentiment came very quickly after 9/11, when the fires in Manhattan still had many weeks to burn.

    Iraq was not even a gleam in Bush/Cheney’s eye, the first soldier had yet to enter Afghanistan, and some of our great humanitarians were already turning against the US.

    Maybe if we had just laid down and did nothing all the world would still be saying “Nous sont tous americains”. Like with the Jews, the intelligentsia likes its Americans only when they don’t defend themselves.

    I will always appreciate the sincere support that we received in terrible days, but the fact that the world was with us on September 12, 2001, is an absolute, utter falsehood.

  • The invasion of Afghanistan lost the US some support. The invasion of Iraq did vastly more harm.
    And the lack of legal clarity and due process for detainees, together with the emerging accounts of torture in Guantanamo and the rest of the gulag system, critically undermined US claims to moral superiority and respect for the rule of law.

    That is why it is entirely reasonable to say that the USA squandered the goodwill of the west as a whole – whatever anmiosity some members of the liberal (?) left might always have felt.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Paul: “The invasion of Afghanistan lost the US some support. The invasion of Iraq did vastly more harm. And the lack of legal clarity and due process for detainees, together with the emerging accounts of torture in Guantanamo and the rest of the gulag system, critically undermined US claims to moral superiority and respect for the rule of law. ”

    First of all, I would recommend you do a little reading on the gulag system before you make these breathlessly hyperbolic comparisons. Secondly, I would recommend you read what the Geneva convention says that militaries can do to un-uniformed military combatants and civilian irregulars.

  • Dave

    Dread Cthulhu

    You left me with nothing to say, I agree with all your above comments. Just what is that some people can’t see? I for one would like to see the Americans stay the hand when the next world incident starts and leave the UN to sort the issue. I wonder how long it would take before the whitehouse phone starts to ring?

    God bless America

  • –The invasion of Afghanistan lost the US some support.–

    Any support we lost over Afghanistan was not worth having. You can debate Iraq and Gitmo until next week, and reasonable people can reach different conclusions on those issues.

    But Afghanistan was an open and shut case of self-defense. The Taliban, which so terribly abused the Afghan people, sheltered bin Laden and allowed Al Queda the use of the country as a base.

    Even after 9/11, Bush ( the terrible warmonger ) would have let the Taliban be had they turned over bin Laden. They refused to do so.

  • I’m not making breathlessly hyperbolic comparisons, and I’m certainly no Yanqui-hating wild-eyed supporter of terrorism. My points are that firstly the accounts of mistreatment, torture, and wrongful detention emerging from the “system” damage US credibility, and secondly that the arbitrary and extra-legal nature of the detention undermines claims to uphold the rule of law.

    I am certainly not saying that the US gulag is in every respect similar to the Soviet one — but unfortunately there are too many parallels.

    Both are a distributed network of prisons.

    While the torture is (probably, mostly) much less extreme in US-controlled prisons, it exists. And in the non-US prisons where victims are sometimes farmed out for interrogation, conditions are every bit as bad as in Soviet camps.

    While it may be permissible to detain prisoners in a declared war until hostilities have concluded, the “war” on terror is just a bit too open-ended.

    And the lack of judicial oversight until recently (and the government’s attempts to ensure a lack of proper legal scrutiny) increase suspicion that many of those being held should not be there – even by the elastic terms of the US administration. Accounts from visiting lawyers also suggest that there are just too few safeguards and restraints what can be arbitrary and harsh detention.

    The tardy release of apparently innocent men from Guantanamo demonstrates the, er, violence inherent in the system.

    Whether or not the Geneva Conventions permit sabateurs to be shot is really beside the point.

    The lack of regard for justice in the US gulag system (or network of prison camps and extraordinary rendition if you prefer) is the kind of thing that REALLY loses hearts and minds – and that is the real battle here!

    If the way you fight terrorists only encourages more terrorism, you are clearly doing something wrong.

  • Phantom: I pretty much agreee that the support the US lost over Afghanistan might not have lasted long, or survived any US reaction at all. My point though is that there has been a pattern of increasingly ill-judged (or at least increasingly debatable) US responses, which have been ably exploited by Islamic propagandists to gain support for terror in their constituency, and exploited by left-wing critics of the US to increase hostility to the USA.

    The conditions of the detentions, the gaps in the justification for Iraq, and the apparent corruption in handling of Iraqui debt and contracts only fuel the inevitable criticism, and hand the enemies of the US a propaganda victory on a plate!

    When even your friends think you’re losing it, maybe it’s time to reconsider some of your approaches?

  • –If the way you fight terrorists only encourages more terrorism, you are clearly doing something wrong.–

    I’m not at all convinced that the War on Terrorism is “encouraging more terrorism”. There were plenty of terrorists on September 10, 2001. Not a US soldier was in Iraq or Afghanistan. Most people had not heard of Guantanamo.

    Yet, look what happened the next day.

    If we had turned the other cheek, ( and for the sake of this discussion lets ignore the much-hyped Guantanemo/Abu Ghraib though can discuss all day long if you insist ) there could well have been as much terrorism and terrorists as we see now, if not MORE.

  • The Devil

    The measure of a human beings worth is marked by how much they hate the whole concept of the USA.

    They are the small nosed version of Zionism on speed

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Paul: “Both are a distributed network of prisons. ”

    Immaterial — any nation large enough to need more than one national prison has a “distributed network of prisons.”

    Paul: “While the torture is (probably, mostly) much less extreme in US-controlled prisons, it exists.”

    As it did in the Maze and most civilian prisons, to one degree or another. Again, largely immaterial.

    Paul: “And in the non-US prisons where victims are sometimes farmed out for interrogation, conditions are every bit as bad as in Soviet camps. ”

    Not our prison, not our responsibility. Besides, in this wonderful, tolerant multi-cultural world, shouldn’t we have more acceptance for the quaint pastimes in those colorful foreign climes?

    Paul: “While it may be permissible to detain prisoners in a declared war until hostilities have concluded, the “war” on terror is just a bit too open-ended. ”

    Your opinion and a five dollar bill can go buy a happy meal, Paul. It conforms to the rules of war, that wonderful “Geneva convention” the hand-wringers keep reading selectively.

    Paul: “And the lack of judicial oversight until recently (and the government’s attempts to ensure a lack of proper legal scrutiny) increase suspicion that many of those being held should not be there – even by the elastic terms of the US administration. Accounts from visiting lawyers also suggest that there are just too few safeguards and restraints what can be arbitrary and harsh detention. ”

    Paul, did it ever cross your mind that just maybe some of these prisoners and lawyers might have an ulterior motive to exaggerate or lie about conditions, just so the hand-wringers will get their shorts in a knot?

    Paul: “The tardy release of apparently innocent men from Guantanamo demonstrates the, er, violence inherent in the system”

    I suppose you think we should simply take their word as to whether they are terrorists or not?

    Besides, they are far better treated in our system then we our in theirs. Additionally, they are likely in far better conditions in Gitmo than they would be in the mountains of Afghanistan, the deserts of Iraq or in the Sudan.

    Paul: “The lack of regard for justice in the US gulag system (or network of prison camps and extraordinary rendition if you prefer) is the kind of thing that REALLY loses hearts and minds – and that is the real battle here! ”

    bollocks. First of all, a military prisoner of war camp is not about “justice.” Its about keeping combatants out of trouble. Secondly, as I said, read up on the gulags of Russia before you start hyperventilating. Most of the folks making noise in Iraq are still foreign fighters; the local Sunni groups generally prefer military targets, as opposed to bombs in the marketplace or mosque.

  • LovelyLeitrim

    Like most people in the western world, I approved of the invasion of Afghanistan. It seemed appropriate to remove the Taliban and it offered the possibility of capturing Bin Laden.

    It’s almost five years later. The Taliban are dispersed. Yet the regional warlords are still in place, which effectivly means nothing has changed.
    At the onset, an opportunity existed to strike a major blow to the drug trade. Afghani poppy farmers have had record yields in the years since 9/11.

    Bin Laden is still on the lam. His name is first on the F.B.I.’s most wanted list. The 9/11 attacks are not mentioned directly on the list. I find this baffling.

  • Lovelyleitrim

    Al Queda is no longer openly training there, which means a great deal has changed. Afghans, esp women have greater rights and are persecuted less in Kabul and other areas and that is also a good change.

    The spike in the drugs trade is very disturbing. The Taliban had actually supressed that trade a great deal in 2000 which is the one good thing I can say about them.

  • Dread:

    Paul: “And in the non-US prisons where victims are sometimes farmed out for interrogation, conditions are every bit as bad as in Soviet camps. “
    Dread: “Not our prison, not our responsibility. Besides, in this wonderful, tolerant multi-cultural world, shouldn’t we have more acceptance for the quaint pastimes in those colorful foreign climes?”

    It is “your” responsibility if “you” send the prisoners by CIA courier directly to those prisons for the express purpose of interrogation.

    But the logic of half-baked moral relativism is that indeed we should respect these quaint pastimes. Which is why such relavitism is bunk, and why WE as well as THEY should be held to moral standards (like justice, and lack of torture).

    Dread: “I suppose you think we should simply take their word as to whether they are terrorists or not?”

    No. But there should be a working process to weed out those who should never have been detained, and who are only being held to spare the blushes of a US Administration which has lost sight of the values it claims to be defending.

    Dread: Besides, they are far better treated in our system then we our in theirs.

    True but, as you put it, irrelevant.

    Additionally, they are likely in far better conditions in Gitmo than they would be in the mountains of Afghanistan, the deserts of Iraq or in the Sudan.

    You seriously suggesting that they would want to stay in Gitmo?

    Dread: bollocks. First of all, a military prisoner of war camp is not about “justice.” Its about keeping combatants out of trouble.

    But I thought this was supposed not to be a PoW camp? It’s a bunch of people, some of whom are combatants, and some are not. Some of the injustice lies in not properly sorting them out.

    Most of the folks making noise in Iraq are still foreign fighters; the local Sunni groups generally prefer military targets, as opposed to bombs in the marketplace or mosque.

    The foreign fighters need to be dealt with – probably by Iraquis. But it’s not clear how failing to address injustices in Gitmo will help with that.

    Posted by Dread Cthulhu on Sep 12, 2006 @ 09:17 PM

  • Crataegus

    The greater middle east incl the former Soviet States is strategically important and will remain so for the next few decades. Other Powers are active in the region and many of our would be allies are playing many sides. My view is we are on a hiding to nothing with current policy and that we are over exposed and over stretched. Perhaps we need to invest heavily in alternative forms of energy production. Without a need to secure oil or gas supplies would we bother with the place?

    What exactly has been achieved, probably the break up of Iraq, strengthening of the importance of Iran in the region, increased heroin production, political instability, economic destruction. Is the terrorist threat any less? The right s of women in Afghanistan may be important but its not normally the reason for war.

    So back to basics; What are our national interests in these countries? What do we intend to achieve? Are those goals achievable? Is there a get out clause? If we have valid interests are they of such paramount importance that the cost is justified and is there an easier way to achieve these objectives? Not convinced.

  • micktvd

    Let me see, do I hate the US? mmmmm….

    Do I hate the actual physical continental bit of North America that is the US?

    Impossible.

    Do I hate the nation state, organised in 1776 and containing about 280 million souls?

    Ridiculous.

    Do I hate particular Americans?

    Only one or two that I know of, and I really like plenty of others, including the ones I know personally.

    Do I hate US foreign Poicy?

    Sometimes.

    Do I think US policies are a threat to world peace?

    yes.

    Do I hate the Taliban, Al Quaeda, terrorism, religious fanaticism?

    Yes.

    Was I appalled by the events of 9/11?

    Totally.

    Do I think current US policies are a justified and proportionate response to the threat of ‘Islamic Jihadism’?

    No.

    Do I dislike vague and deceptive generalisations like ‘anti-Americanism’?

    most definitely.

    Am I unusual in thinking this way?

    No.

  • Peter

    Dread Cthulhu:”And yet, were the next time the UN to wheeze or whinge that the United States isn’t donating enough, the US to cut off *all* such donations, the howl arising from the rest of the world would be deafening.”

    I’m amazed at this naive view of the US as some sort of super philanthropist and at how the rest of the world are all desperate to suckle at it’s teat. Everything comes down to making money for US multi nationals who inturn fund the Republican and Democratic parties.

    Whether it’s foreign aid, Iraq, Kyoto every decision is made in national self interest. The US (or other governments) pay out nothing without getting something in return e.g. contracts for it’s multi nationals, political leverage, oil.

    In addition the US military must be continuously in action to justify the large sums spent on it, the profits of which are enjoyed by the same multi nationals that fund the polical parties in the states.

  • Mick: do I hate the US

    Good point, well made.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Peter: “I’m amazed at this naive view of the US as some sort of super philanthropist and at how the rest of the world are all desperate to suckle at it’s teat. Everything comes down to making money for US multi nationals who inturn fund the Republican and Democratic parties. ”

    Really? And the billions of private donations from individuals? What benefit do they get? Additionally, who said anything anout selfless philanthropy. Try again, this time without the straw man.

    Likewise, you petulant response does nothing to invalidate my thesis — that, if in response to the various whinges and wheezes the US were to cut off donations for, say, a year, just so the world could see what impact America’s “inadequate” donations have, there would be howls of protest from all quarters.

  • Peter

    Dread Cthulhu “Really? And the billions of private donations from individuals? What benefit do they get? Additionally, who said anything anout selfless philanthropy. Try again, this time without the straw man.”

    And here’s me thinking that this debate was about US foreign policy not the behaviour of individuals.

    Your thesis that the world is dependant on “donations” from the US remains flawed. The US government does not donate it always expects something in return.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Peter: “Your thesis that the world is dependant on “donations” from the US remains flawed. The US government does not donate it always expects something in return. ”

    Really? What did we expect for the use of our military in Kosovo and Bosnia?

    What did we demand as a quid pro quo for fighting AIDS in Africa?

    What rent did we demand for the relief sent to Asia following the tsunami?

  • Peter

    Dread Cthulhu:”What did we demand as a quid pro quo for fighting AIDS in Africa?”

    Is this a piss take? Are you winding me up? The record of the US govenmnet and it’s drugs companies (multi national link again) is nothing short of scandalous when it comes to fighting aids in Africa.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/454416.stm#background

    Here’s a link I’m sure there are many more.

    By the way Nato led the response in Kosovo not the US.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Another strawman, Peter — the defense of patents by private corporations has nothing to do with the billions of dollars being spent by the US government to combat the disease.

    Feel free to try again when you have something a bit more substantial than mock outrage.

  • Shuggie McSporran

    Dread

    Feel free to answer Peter’s point about Nato and Kosovo.

  • Peter

    Dread Cthulhu: “Another strawman, Peter—the defense of patents by private corporations has nothing to do with the billions of dollars being spent by the US government to combat the disease.”

    Not a strawman. My arguement is that the US gov. is inextricably linked to multi-nationals. One pays the other their ojectives are the same (Dick Cheney and Halliburton for example).

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Peter: “By the way Nato led the response in Kosovo not the US. ”

    And who provided the bulk of troops? The United states could have just as easily reminded the heads of Europe that the “Lion of Luxembourg” had declared the Balkans an EU matter and that it was none of our affair.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Peter: “My arguement is that the US gov. is inextricably linked to multi-nationals. One pays the other their ojectives are the same (Dick Cheney and Halliburton for example). ”

    AH… a member of the tinfoil-hat crowd. That explains it.

  • Shuggie McSporran

    I know America supplied the bulk of aircraft in Kosovo, I’m not sure about the bulk of troops. The troops are still there, I don’t think the bulk are American.

    I know this was a long time ago and I forget the details, but I seem to remember the US being shamed into to action by the lead taken by Europeans – after the shameful European performance in the rest of the Balkans.

    Anyway, all this transatlantic self-righteous mud-slinging is puerile (sophomoric, if you will, Dread)) and pointless.

    Tensions in international relations are a fact of life. The nitwit activities of George Bush and the neo-cons have just made them worse, that’s all. But then what would you expect from the military policies of a yellow belly who dodged Vietnam?

  • Peter

    Dread Cthulhu:”AH… a member of the tinfoil-hat crowd. That explains it.”

    I’ll accept that view from you if you have ever served in the armed forces.

  • Dread Culthu,

    The US has been shirking paying it’s full UN dues for the last decade or more. Sure didn’t Ted Turner have to pay the US dues back in 1997. So when you continually rabbit on about how the US should stop paying UN dues, well, it makes me wonder how extensive your ignorance truly is. It is hard to see any merit in your argument when you display ignorance of this simple piece of general knowledge.

    Perhaps instead of a $1 trillion tax cut or a $1 trillion wasted in Iraq – perhaps Bush should have funded head-start and the rest of the underfunded education programs that would hopefully lead to informed, educated americans that wouldn’t be so easily manipulated… oh wait…

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Keogh: “The US has been shirking paying it’s full UN dues for the last decade or more. Sure didn’t Ted Turner have to pay the US dues back in 1997. So when you continually rabbit on about how the US should stop paying UN dues, well, it makes me wonder how extensive your ignorance truly is. It is hard to see any merit in your argument when you display ignorance of this simple piece of general knowledge.

    Let us start with the obvious — If the US is not paying their dues, why does the threat that they will cease to pay their dues if the UN does not undertake serious reform raise such hackles?

    http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7004838559

    T’would seem to me if the United States weren’t paying dues, this would be something of an empty threat, neh?

    A short review of the pertinent news sources will support the above, so a little less propaganda and a little more thought on your part would be appropriate. Yes, there have been dues related protests in the past and, if no progress in made on reforms, more such protests can be expected in the future.

  • Peter

    I did serve in the armed forces, and I’ll side with Dread in the recent comments.

    And as someone who worked a few blocks away from the UN for a little over a year, I’ll question the UN’s budget every day of the week. I’ll forever associate UN with armadas of luxury cars parked where you please, and “diplomats” living on expense accounts who couldn’t hack a night managers’ job at McDonald’s.

    The UN does some fine work, and they also have unimaginable waste. And I don’t particularly want my tax money going to pay for all of this, nor for the child-raping blue helmets in Africa, etc.

    Sorry, the “ignorant” Yanks don’t worship the UN the way my European friends do.

  • Crataegus

    Those that believe that the US is the next best thing to the Archangel Gabriel should ask why such a benevolent country should be regarded so widely with odium?

    I am of the view that self interest is the cornerstone of virtually all foreign policy not just for the US, but all countries and the US is simply more noticeable as it is the global power. Recently its foreign policy has lacked subtlety and sometimes I wonder if they are starting to believe their own propaganda, always a bad sign especially at a time when their position is in relative decline. A beast that can now destroy all opposition if it choose but doomed to dwindle and decline.

    Not a terribly idealistic view of the world.

    Interesting to think of the US in Biblical terms; Gabriel God’s chief messenger, the angel of death, the prince of fire and thunder.

  • Noone said that the US is the next best thing to any archangel, Gabe included. I can be as critical of US policy as anyone.

    But lets face it, a great deal of the current criticism comes from those who openly or covertly want to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, and those who are ahem neutral on the matter. And the US is absolutely on the right side of that moral battle.

  • Shuggie McSporran

    The Phantom

    “And the US is absolutely on the right side of that moral battle.”

    Indeed, and it’ll go to any lengths to prove it.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/5346524.stm

  • Shuggie

    Iran and Israel are entirely different countries.

  • Crataegus

    Phantom

    a great deal of the current criticism comes from those who openly or covertly want to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, and those who are ahem neutral on the matter and the US is absolutely on the right side of that moral battle.

    Two points firstly I don’t want to see Israel obliterated, but don’t see a good future for it until there are better relations with its neighbours. How you move forward from the current mess is going to be difficult and until it is sorted we have a festering sore that make much else in the region difficult.

    My own view is it is in our strategic interests to reduce our dependence on oil ASAP as the situation is virtually unsolvable and much of the region potentially unstable. Because of our action in Iraq Iran is relatively of greater regional importance. Also it is crucial that Turkey remains an ally. The strategic importance of Israel is what exactly? A distraction perhaps or a potential dagger, a threat direct or implied? Apart from a few Holy places what is there in the place that benefits us?

    As for moral battles you see this is where you and I would differ as in my opinion morality is used to justify policy and not policy formed as a result of morality. It is if you like a justification for an action rather than the real reason. Morality and foreign policy are generally strange bed fellows sad as that is.