International politics

Been lots of political blogging on Planet GNOME recently, which I don’t mind, but I do feel that the political realism in the blogs seems to be going out the window in favour of slogans and quoting of populists.

First of all are there double standards being applied in the world? Yes, there are. Do the US specifically apply double standards to various issues? Definetly. The sad thing though is that the international leaders who critize the US the hardest for its double standards tend to apply even more extreme double standards themselves. Whats more is that unlike the US they do not tend to allow free critique of their own double standards in their own countries.

Is the US doing thing abroad it probably shouldn’t be? Definetly. But to think the world would be a better place with a US government that totally disenganges from international politics is rather hilarious.

Is the UN security council having permanent members with a veto power ‘unfair’? Sure. But a UN not giving the US, Russia and China at least a veto right would quickly become even more irrelevant and ignored than it is today. Idealism is nice, but sometime one must let a little bit of realism into the picture.

But to end this blog with a little sarcasm in the spirit of the populists quoted on the planet recently. If Ahmedinejad want Israel re-located to the Christian world that is easy to accomplish. Just end the muslim occupation of the Byzantine empire :)

Update: Just discovered that Chavez has made Noam Chomsky the number one bestseller on Amazon. For some reason I find that quite amusing :)

18 thoughts on “International politics

  1. Hmmmm, just one note Christian – US is ONLY country which claims that it brings “democracy” to the world. Other countries haven’t even tried to lie such balant lies. It leaves bad taste in mouth, doesn’t it.

    For me US feels very disoriented and without real aims, only to support whatever business interests leads it in current terms. That frightens me more and more, because US simply don’t answer about things it have done – and then, suddenly it appears that it causes big problems for it itself.

    (Good example is politic thriller classic movie “Syriana” which message were downplayed very childishly by US media a la style “la la, I don’t hear you, I don’t hear you”)

    However I agree in overall tone of your post – nothing is black and white in world of politics. I only wish that US and other “big bears” of world would act more responsible that it does now. However, it goes more and more down into tubes. And there lays danger – we live on one plant, don’t we?

  2. I definitely prefer the export of democracy (as proposed by the US) to the export of religious fundamentalism (as proposed by some of the gov’ts that oppose the US most vehemently).

    Would it be better if each country had no outside influences in its own government? What about when a small number of people in that country have total rule over the vast majority there?

    Isolationism has been impossible for 60 years now, and it’s laughable for anyone that has the right and ability to speak up to say to say that anything other than democracy should be spread.

    Of course I disagree that democracy can be properly exported “at the point of a gun.” And of course the US foreign policy is imperfect, but the generally high level of anti-Americanism floating around is outrageous.

  3. >I definitely prefer the export of Democracy (as proposed by the US) to the
    >export of religious fundamentalism (as proposed by some of the gov’ts that
    >oppose the US most vehemently)

    there are MORE than _2_ country in the world ! PLEASE PEOPLE PLEASE

    U.S or Arabians are NOT the world ! NO

    anti-americanism is the reaction to the power of the U.S. When the U.S will loose its weight in middle east and UN, people will forget to be “anti-american”

    south countries need more balance. they need to know future is _open_ for them
    without that, they will take by force
    they will take whatever they want by force

    it could be Europe (do not think Europe is only little nice countries with nice rich people), Arabs league, Africans, South-american, Asians, but they will take what they want.

    Isolationism is BAD
    war on terrorism is BAD
    middle-east control is BAD

    balance, balance, US , Europe, UK, China, need balance.

    the us foreign policy is not simply “imperfect” but DANGEROUS

    only you have the nerves to think instability in Israel, Iraq or whatever middle-east have impact only for you.

    the “anti-Americanism” is not simply “outrageous”, it is a violent reaction to a world without opportunity. it’s a fantasy. a fantasy some people use or some simply want to dismiss.

    You use Reason, when people reacts with irrationality.
    Try to understand. try to forget you are an american or whatever rich-well-feed-instructed-internet-user person.

  4. > there are MORE than _2_ country in the world ! PLEASE PEOPLE PLEASE

    I’m guessing you didn’t see what I said about “some of the gov’ts that oppose the US most vehemently”. I wasn’t trying to set up a false dichotomy, merely saying that there are others out there proposing arguably much worse political exports.

    > the us foreign policy is not simply “imperfect” but DANGEROUS

    I would point out here that the world is dangerous.

    re: control of oil in the middle east: I agree that our policies and actions are problematic. Are they the root of the problems? I don’t know. The area’s been raging with wars for centuries (as has Europe). And now oil wealth has added more powder to keg. I’m not smart enough to know what to do about the situation, but I know it’s very tricky…

    re: being rich and well fed:

    I’m very grateful for that. I’m nervous that cheap food and energy will come to an end, but hopeful that with enough thought and work, we can find better ways of harnessing renewable sources of energy and bring those benefits to those that want them around the world (this is the Oil Crash vs. Singularity question).

  5. >I definitely prefer the export of Democracy (as proposed by the US) to the
    >export of religious fundamentalism (as proposed by some of the gov’ts that
    >oppose the US most vehemently)

    Great… So you are doing the same thing… You think your solution is better so it has to be applied.

  6. > You think your solution is better so it has to be applied.

    No, I just think that the Enlightenment thinkers got it about right, or at least put us on the right path. Do you seriously believe totalitarian regimes are better than democratic governments? I’m interested to hear an argument aside from “look at all the bad things the US did/does.”

  7. I’m really starting to think that isolationism would be a great thing. Let the rest of the world hate themselves for a while. I’m very sick of having the ills of the world laid at my personal feet.

  8. I do prefer Democracy over Totalitarian regimes.
    But i have no right to impose Democracy. Even if i think it’s the way to go.

  9. “But to think the world would be a better place with a US government that totally disenganges from international politics is rather hilarious”

    You’ve got your realities turned around. It’s hilarious to only mention the US in this context though. Please replace the US with Europe/US a.k.a ‘The West’.

    But yes. Of the ten dictators in the middle-east, ten were funded by western countries. Of the secret police in all those states, all were trained by western countries. About half the the country-borders, splitting nationalities into different countries as well as uniting different etnic groups with different cultures and different languages into one country, are drawn in western countries, by western goverments.

    The majority of all weapons of mass destruction including instructions how to use them, were supplied by western countries. Saddam? We put him there. Bin Laden? We trained him. The dictators in Saudi-Arabie, Egypt, Tunesia? We financed them. Trained their minority army. Armed them.

    And in the countries were we didn’t put our friendly dictator (i.e. friendly to us) the russians did, in which case we funded the terrorist of that country.

    If you have any illisions about the possibility that ethics have ever played a role in foreign policy you need to open up more history books and watch less nationalistic propaghandi on your TV.

    It has always been about control, power, oil and infrastructure. The west does not want democracy in any of those countries. We’re currently very up set with the only real democracy in the middle east (iran). That became a democacry by revolting against the dictatur the US put there.

    So when the US ‘frees’ Iraq, most arabs assume it is because they couldn’t control their puppet no more and wanted a new puppet there.

    I’m not even going to bring up Isreal and how we help them steal more and more land. Just picture this: what if the holy land of the jews were the US. And they would have gotton a large piece of say New York. Then some Americans might have a problem with that. They will resist with force. They would have been called terrorists. For the security of the jews in New York, Europe would arm them more and more so they be safe against these ‘terrorists’. However, htey can only be safe if they control more. So they occupy Washignton as well. Now imagine some day the US get offered a peace deal, they can keep LA, Texas and some other states.

    Al Quada are not nutty crazy dangerous terrorists. They are oppossing the dictators that control their people. What they want is for the US and Europe to _stop_ supplying weapons of mass destruction to the dictators that are suppressing them. That we stop training their secret police. That we stop funding them. That we stop stealing their oil.

    They want democracy. They want freedom. We’re the ones that are not giving it them. That’s why they are attacking us.

    And honestly, I don’t know why Bush went to Iraq, but it might even have been for the right reasons. (although they have definately lied about those reasons to the public, but that’s another story)

    However, they still don’t trust it. They problely never will. The best thing for this world is exactly what you find hilarious.

    BUT OUT. Get the English, the dutch (my country), the german, the US, get them out of the Arabic world. Stop training the secret police. Stop supplying weapons to dictators.

    The middle-east is a mess. And we are for a large part responsible for that. So now they ask us, to f_ck off. Please have the respect to do just that. Anything else (esspecially the idea the worlds ‘needs’ the US or any other country) is just plain arrogance.

    It is _that_ simple.

  10. > Please replace the US with Europe/US a.k.a ‘The West’.

    Dont put all the West in the same bag. The Europeans have never heard of the level of idealism that you can find in the USA. The US never had anything to do with colonialism.

    > But yes. Of the ten dictators in the middle-east, ten were funded by western countries.

    Yes, but it was against a different ennemy: Totalitarian communism. And its spread had to be stopped at all cost. Rememeber Mao and Stalin killed tens of millions of their own citizens. And our fight on communism ended up being a complete success (even China isnt communist/socialist anymore).

  11. Anti: I do agree that export (by force) of democracy is illogical. I’m with you there. I still say that the foreign policy going forward should be to bring democracy (though peaceful means!). The dictatorships that were set up after the Ottoman Empire fell apart are now a holdover from the Cold War and would have no place in the best possible future. The fact that they were set up in the first place is (as seen through my modern point of view) disgraceful.

    re:Meneer… wow… it saddens me that people get so far out in their beliefs that they lose sight of reality. I do hope you get past your anger so we can all move forward in this world together.

  12. > The Europeans have never heard of the level of idealism that you can find in the USA.

    Really ? Interresting. What kind of idealism ?
    Funding dictators ?

    > The US never had anything to do with colonialism.

    US is the result of colonialism.

  13. There’s an interesting (to me anyway) parallel between GPL vs. BSD freedom and the notion of global democracy vs. national sovereignty. The GPL ensures that everyone who has access to some piece of software has all the freedoms everyone else has, whereas BSD freedom ensures that the first person to receive the code can close it up and ensure people he gives it to will not have access to the code.

    We have the same situation regarding the notion of globalizing individual freedom and democracy. In a sense, everyone should have the freedom to access the government which runs his country in the same sense that everyone that receives software that was GPL licensed gains full freedom to use/manipulate/distribute the code. In the current UN model, where countries may not be representative, we grant the ruling government sovereignty with as much right to rule as any other form of government. This is like the BSD license, where the ruling class has taken that freedom/sovereignty and locked it up, making it inaccessible to its subjects.

    The salient difference in this analogy is that with code, you can always go and get the source from the original author. The sad folks that live in undemocratic states have little recourse, though in some cases (but not all!) they may expatriate to a freer country.

  14. Meneer: You are oversimplifying the issues a lot. Are ‘the west’ partially responsible for the situation? Yes, sure the splitups done by colonial powers play a part in the situation. But you can relieve the people living in these areas from their responsibility for their problems. Europe to have experienced many redrawings of the map and ethnic groups being contained within the same border without it hindering us from rising above it. And it is not like pre-colonial powers like the Ottoman empire was all ethnically homogenious.

    And in regards to supplying weapons and training to a lot of todays dictators, sure the west did that. But during the cold war the political leaders where faced with two ‘evils’ and choose to try to help the one they thought the lesser evil. Looking back we could probably say that some of these ventures has turned out bad and some where not needed at all. But remember its always easy to make the ‘correct’ decision when looking back at something.

    Calling Al-Quida and organisation fighting for democracy is the most absurd thing I have heard in a long time, as it directly goes against the public statements of their leaders. Afaik so do they not even like the Islamic filtered version of democracy they have in Iran. As for ‘stealing oil’, with that you just start sounding uninformed. Considering that the trade of oil has made countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait very rich I have trouble seeing how they can be claimed to have suffered from ‘theft’. People not buying their oil would have been a bigger problem for these nations.

    As for butting out of the middle east it is no solution. The form of interaction can of course be discussed. In some sense before 9/11 the west didn’t engage much in the middle east apart from trying to help broker deals around Palestine. I think what 9/11 made clear is that we live in a n international world where the problems in Afghanistan for instance do affect people elsewhere. If Al Quaida hadn’t used Afghanistan as their base of operation and for training then I think ‘the west’ including the US, would have been pretty fine with leaving ‘the middle east’ to sort out their own troubles. Today I think we have realized that we need to engange on a social, political and economic level at least or the problems of the region will cause ‘spillover’ damage like 9/11 was an example of. Old mistakes and grieveances can’t be used as an argument for not trying to do what you believe is right today. The Christian and Muslim world have fought many wars over the years, with both sides playing the part of the invader and the invaded, lets not make that a hinderance for trying to move forward today.

  15. joe:

    The US is *NOT* exporting democracy. You have been listening to waaaay too much propaganda. If anything, over the past 60 years, the US has increased the grip of totalitarianism on the world.

    Don’t let me bring up the hundred or so events when the US and it’s CIA (now-we-can-torture-too) organ has actually aided or installed dictatorships all over the world.

    Do you know that the Reagan administration actually supported Saddam Hussein, and that Donald Rumsfeld shook his hand? They wanted him to clean up the mess they had created in Iran, when their cruel puppet dictator (the Shah Reza) was overthrown by popular forces.

  16. “The US is *NOT* exporting democracy.”

    Yes it’s right, U.S.A. is exporting a vaccing against the democracy. They put into Middle East (via the Irak) bit of dead democracy for those areas reject democracy for more longer.

  17. I thought I made it a point to separate Cold War foreign policy with post Cold War (post 9/11?) foreign policy. If I didn’t make that clear, I’m sorry. The stated goal is no longer the defeat of communism. When that was the goal, many undemocratic societies and states were installed and supported. Whether that was a good or bad thing and whether the defeat of the USSR and soviet bloc improved or worsened the world is a different discussion. What we’re talking about here are the current and future policies. One interesting data point is the normalization of relations between the US and Vietnam.

    So here’s the question: Where should the world go now? How can the world be a better place to live for all people everywhere? Can the current US policy correct some of the injustices and negative implication of past policies? I suggest that spreading democracy and freedom through non-violent means is the only way forward.

  18. Christian, you are right, i am oversimplifying a bit. The fact is neither the US people, nor the arabic people, nor the european people know all that has happened and who is responsible.

    The point I was making is hence different. You claimed the idea the world would be better off without the US (or the west) meddling was hilarious.

    I honestly believe just showing up to shake a hand in the middle-east does more harm than good. We are hold responsible for a lot of pain the middle-east. And that’s at least partly justified. Not showing up, is our best shot at peace. Otherwise they’re gonna strike _again_. Irregardless of how much we turn our freedom-states into police-states.

    You also make some wrong statements. First of all, saying Al-Quida wants democracy is as hilarious as saying America wants to bring it. You are forgetting that not all videos of Bin Laden were really made by him. Including the one where he claimed responsibility for 9/11. (which was most likely produced by the US goverment in a movie studio or something).

    Al-Quida is not what you think it is. It’s as much an organisation as the hippies were. It’s a movement. People do deeds in their name. But there is no structure, no hierarchie. No communications. There can’t be, since all the countries where these people live are not free. They have no free speech. And they are not religious freaks, or religiously fundamentalistic. Religion plays such a big part in their life, because they are desperate. Desperate people, fighting for their life, often turn to religion to give them hope. But it’s not a religious movement. It’s a freedom movement. They want the palestines free, they want the Saudi people free. They wanted the Iraqi people free. (Saddam didn’t support terrorism, he himself was one of the main targets of Al-Quida).

    As for we buying the oil from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Saudi Arabia is the worst dictature in the whole middle east. You think the population sees any of the money of that oil? It is used to buy weapons to oppress them. The CIA is _still_ training their secret police _how_ to torture. And the price of oil is much lower than it is worth. If it were up to Arabs, which see no money of the oil anyway, the US would not get any. Ever. That is why the US can’t remove their puppets.

    Before 9/11 we did engage in the middle east. On september 11, 2001, they were still CIA agents in the middle-east training the Saudi-Arabic police. Our puppet dictators were still in place. Our military was still training their dictators. We were still supplying Israel money and weapons to their own remake of the holocast.

    Before 9/11 all our middle-east meddling had just two purposes: 1) keep the jews safe, 2) oil, oil, oil.

    I really can not think of one example that would show ethics every playing any role in that meddling of ours.

    And the situation now is much much worse. At least 100,000 innocent muslims were killed by the west through collatoral damage. They have by avarage 5 brothers or sisters. And they want to kill us. Each and every one of us.

    Really, how we have behaved in the middle-east. Our best shot at peace is to get all our military out of there. And say sorry, sorry, sorry, soryy, sorry, sorry. For the next decade or so.

    We are _so_ in the wrong here.

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