Rudimentary understanding of US government... (1 Viewer)

blackadder

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...leads to interestingly well written, yet badly misinformed European commentary.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/sep/22/obama-un-climate-change-europe
I look forward very much to the return of a more multipolar world.

When its head is on straight, few countries are as secure and well positioned as the United States.

When we engage in pointless and futile messianic efforts to "manage" the world, we spend a lot of money for very little return.

I can't wait for the day when coastal erosion in Louisiana gets more attention than digging wells in Afghanistan.
 

Jeff Miller

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I can support that concept. I think its possible to support out allies and further our interests abroad without being the global police force, particularly in this day and age where no one really supports America "going it alone" anymore.

There are many areas where the United States can and should step back and allow some of the reast of the world to either lead, or find their own paths to take. Course i don't know what the US Government would do if it found is self mostly concerned with actual Americans. They might get board.
 

blackadder

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They might get bored.
There's probably more truth to this than you realize.

Government creates a lot of busy work for itself, so bureaucracies can justify and expand their budgets.

But the bigger problem is that, to quote General Smedley Butler, one of my favorite figures in history, " The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag."

Basically, the same folks who own the government can't resist lobbying the government to intervene on their behalf around the world in order to create the conditions for, and protect the status of, global trade and investment. In some cases this requires shoving countires out of the dark ages with liberal nation building, even if the people who live there are content to live in agriculturally based tribal societies.

Follow the money. It's at the root of all the policies. Tune out the rhetoric and the "freedom" talk. That stuff is designed to get you to snap to attention and drop any and all questions of cost/benefit.
 
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Flipx99

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"The world is about to enter a challenging phase where the US – the undisputed leader of the free world for the past 60 years – is going to rapidly cede its place at the head of the line."

Oh really? I wonder who is going to step up.
 

HoustonSaint68

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...But it must be recognised that it's not just Obama's shortcomings that are causing the problem. The very structure of the American political system is at the heart of these failures. For example, thwarting Obama on a regular basis is an unrepresentative senate where "minority rule" prevails and undermines what a majority of the country may want. With two senators elected per state, regardless of population, California with more than 35 million people has the same number of senators as Wyoming with just half a million residents. This constitutional arrangement greatly favours low population states, many of which tend to be conservative, producing what one political analyst has called "a weighted vote for small-town whites in pickup trucks with gun racks...."

Well, as long as he is criticizing decisions made about our constitutional system, why doesn't he just go back a few more years and criticize George III and Parliament. Taxation without representation, tyranny of the majority and all that.....sheesh.
 
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"The world is about to enter a challenging phase where the US – the undisputed leader of the free world for the past 60 years – is going to rapidly cede its place at the head of the line."

Oh really? I wonder who is going to step up.
China
 

blackadder

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China's an interesting place, with its own history of infighting and factionalism. For a long time the place didn't even speak a single language, though it all sounds the same to me.

China also has massive internal problems to address with poverty, environment and development.

While I do not doubt that China will become more assertive and will demand that the US act responsibly enough to protect the value of the mountain of dollars that it sits on, I'm not so sure of the idea that China will begin sending troops abroad or that it will build 12 carrier battle groups and start patrolling the 7 seas.

At best I see it acting over time to shunt us off its periphery and back into our own hemisphere.

But beyond that, China may have long enough of a memory to see that overextending oneself and spending too much time playing in the backyards of others isn't the answer either.
 
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HoustonSaint68

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HoustonSaint68

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China's an interesting place, with its own history of infighting and factionalism. For a long time the place didn't even speak a single language, though it all sounds the same to me.

China also has massive internal problems to address with poverty, environment and development.

While I do not doubt that China will become more assertive and will demand that the US act responsibly enough to protect the value of the mountain of dollars that it sits on, I'm not so sure of the idea that China will begin sending troops abroad or that it will build 12 carrier battle groups and start patrolling the 7 seas.

At beast I see it acting over time to shunt us off its periphery and back into our own hemisphere.

But beyond that, China may have long enough of a memory to see that overextending oneself and spendning too much time playing in the backyards of others isn't the answer either.

I agree generally with one major one-word wild card/caveat:

Oil
 

blackadder

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Reading the above, I had a Frankie and Johnny's flashback.....let 'em have it.....



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XI7jC57GuZM
Exactly.

I mean, haven't we seen enough of history to learn thast just about every time one country or system dominates the world, it overextends itself and ends up in the poor house?

Empires and "world management" are for chumps. It enriches the few and allows special interests to capture the government while the middle class and the working man are put on the hook for the debt that is built up in pursuit of extending and maintaining the empire.

Plays itself out over and over, but every time the up and coming power gets drunk on success and plays it out one more time.
 

blackadder

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I agree generally with one major one-word wild card/caveat:

Oil
I can see a confrontation over resources. That's a classic source of friction as far back qas the days we wore skins and carried spears.

And I'm prepared to contest that. But that's a fight that matters and if China is trying to corner the world supply of oil and not share with the market, we're going to have plenty of allies to address the situation.

That's a whole different ball of wax than nation building and installing aprroved governments here and there. Of course, China probably assesses that our activities in Afghanistan and the Middle East are really aimed at establishing the ability to "strongly influence" the disposition of the world's oil supplies.
 

HoustonSaint68

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Empires and "world management" are for chumps.

I absolutely love this line.

Why do so many Americans have this fascination with being No. 1? It's about quality, not quantity. If we can ever detach ourselves from the reliance to Middle East and other unstable oil, we could make ourselves a lean, mean fighting machine.

In a post-nuclear world, so what if China becomes "No. 1", whatever that means. Nobody is going to **** with us in any meaningful way if we remain a first class military and economic power at home.
 

HoustonSaint68

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And I'm prepared to contest that. But that's a fight that matters and if China is trying to corner the world supply of oil and not share with the market, we're going to have plenty of allies to address the situation.

I sacrificed clarity for brevity. I was not challenging your main point. Rather, I was just making a point that, notwithstanding its internal pressures and challenges, China may have no choice but to create a two-navy ocean and follow a more interventionist policy due to its burgeoning reliance on oil.

Over time, more and more Chinese will demand a middle class standard of living. That requires oil. That requires protection of supply, by force if necessary. And, much like many poor non-slaveholding Southerner's views of Yankees in 1861, Osama and his ilk primarily hate us because we're there. Let the Chinese be in the sight for a change.....
 

blackadder

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I absolutely love this line.

Why do so many Americans have this fascination with being No. 1? It's about quality, not quantity. If we can ever detach ourselves from the reliance to Middle East and other unstable oil, we could make ourselves a lean, mean fighting machine.

In a post-nuclear world, so what if China becomes "No. 1", whatever that means. Nobody is going to **** with us in any meaningful way if we remain a first class military and economic power at home.
Again, agree 100%.

The record of megalomanical aggressive powers is not good. They always overdo it.

Napoleon, Hitler, the Soviets.

I mean, if Russia has historically proven to be impossible to conquer due to the logistical challenges, even by as advanced and capable a country as Germany was, what do you think is going to happen to anyone foolish enough to try to invade the US and sustain a campaign across the oceans while fighting us?

I would submit that no one will ever have the capability to even cross the ocean with troop transports if we simply tend to maintaining the quality edge and the right balance of forces. Especially, with the nuclear deterrent.

Our problems, especially with cost, all are rooted in the fact that we are not structured any longer to defend North America, but to be World Policeman and to be everywhere at once.

And, the mentality of being "everywhere at once" has fed into a set of knee jerk assumptions that every little thing out there is "vital to security", when it is not.
 
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HoustonSaint68

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Our problems, especially with cost, all are rooted in the fact that we are not structured any longer to defend North America, but to be World Policeman and to be everywhere at once.

Amen, brother. And, at the risk of turning this thread into something we've seen a million times before on the EE, that is a traditionally conservative viewpoint. We've over-learned the lessons of Chamberlain in Munich and can no longer distinguish between true national interest (and evil) on the one hand and global adventurism on the other.
 

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