Attack INDIA not Iraq

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John Flogger

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Jan 2, 2003, 1:25:43 AM1/2/03
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U.S administration reason for adopting a heavy-handed military
approach and implementation of UN Resolutions in case of Iraq is based
on the facts that the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussain has
committed war crimes against Iraqi civilian population. The alleged
crimes committed by Iraqi regime include using chemical weapons on
Kurds in the North and persecution of Shites in the South, thus
resulting in imposition of no-fly zones in the North and South of
Iraq. Also it's alleged that Iraq support and promotion of violence in
Israel by rewarding suicide bomber families with cash rewards. Also in
the defense of an argument justifying the use of lethal force against
Iraq it is alleged that Iraq is developing prohibitive weapon of mass
destruction technologies and threatens the territorial integrity and
sovereignty of its neighboring countries.

The civilized world agrees to these alleged crimes against Iraq and is
one of the reasons that US is not totally alone in its military
campaign against Iraq. Now at an International level this US stance
has been accredited and the world community hope that this principled
US stance is free of any duplicity, hype, double standards and the
same moral yard-stick being evolved is applicable to any country
guilty of similar war crimes against humanity and its neighboring
countries.

If United States and the Western world is really sincere in its intent
and does care about the welfare of oppressed and brutalized civilian
population in other countries, as it cares for in case of Iraq, where
extremist regimes are openly involved in the genocide and elimination
of minorities then accountability of India and its extremist
government must not be ignored at any cost. United States has a golden
opportunity to prove to the entire world that its policies are
impartial, principled and not Iraq or ethnic centric. United States as
a great nation cannot afford to go in to the history books as a
hypocritical civilization that mended rules to suits its agendas and
political needs.

A very brief list of Indian atrocities against humanity many folds
more serious and heinous then crimes committed by Iraq are summarized
below:

1. India as a nation is on record for being the worst offender of
human rights where 90,000 civilians in Indian Occupied Kashmir,
285,000 in Indian Punjab, 75,000 in North-East, 28,000 in South and
93,000 in West Bengal have been killed through genocide,
extra-judicial killing, custodial killings, fake encounters and death
by torture at the hands of Indian government operatives, state
sponsored mercenaries and Indian armed forces in the last 25 years.

2. India and its intelligence agencies were directly responsible for
the cross-border terrorism in East Pakistan (Now Bangladesh) to
instigate an uprising and discontent among the local population
against Pakistan and played an instrumental military and intelligence
role in dismembering Pakistan in 1971.

3. Possess weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological and
nuclear) openly obtained and collaborated with Russia on even
prohibitive technologies like Cruise Missile in violation of MTCR and
in the nuclear field with active support from Russia which continues
till this day unhindered.

4. India is also on record for exporting chemical and biological
pre-cursors for weapons of mass destruction to nations declared rogue
like Iraq and Iran.

5. India is on record, where its top military and federal government
officials have threatened to wipe off neighboring countries from the
face of the world with its nuclear weapons. No nation in the world is
known to have bullied and threatened its neighbors so much as done by
India where belligerence, hostility, communal divide based on
ethnicity and hate mongering is the corner stone of its state policy
and political ideology.

6. India is catalytically involved in acts of sabotage and
destabilization of countries in the regional neighborhood including
Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan. Indian footprints
in present crisis and terror attacks in Bangladesh are open testimony
to the nature of threats posed to the individual countries in its
vicinity and to the world peace by India.

7. India is obstructing reconstruction of Afghanistan by installing
intelligence operatives as its diplomats to carry out its nefarious
acts of aggression and sabotage against Pakistan and its interests.
India remains in a relentless pursuit to create polarization and
stalemate in Pakistan and Afghanistan relations.

8. India was the most proactive and loyal supporter and abettor of
Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and introduction of misfortune and
suffering in the region. India was fully intertwined and party to the
Soviet grand plan of invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran by the
Soviet occupation forces and to eventually confront and nullify
Western interests in the region.

9. Indian supplied land mines implanted in Afghanistan has
incapacitated well over 2.5 million Afghans in a country of 28 million
and has killed thousands of innocent civilians, mostly children.

10. Indian government engineered communal riots and carnage of Muslims
and other minorities in the State of Gujarat where thousands of
civilians including infants were burned alive, butchered/dismembered
and killed at the personal direction and discretion of Indian Deputy
Prime Minister and Sate Chief Minister.

11. India runs in excess of three hundred terrorist training camps on
its soil whose graduates are inducted in abundance in the neighboring
countries for the last forty years to carry out bomb blasts, killing
of foreign diplomats, jeopardize foreign ventures and to carry out
other acts of terror and sabotage to malign those nations, suppress
business development prospects and to severely undermine the economic
growth in those countries. This philosophy of inducing economic
depravation further paves ground for extremist and frustrated views,
thus aggravating even more internal perils and law enforcement
nightmares for the victim countries.

12. Indian government is a hand in glove partnership and coalition of
radical, militant and homicidal Hindu extremist groups that are
hardcore terrorist organizations. The current top Indian leadership
has criminal background and its Deputy Prime Minister is a wanted man
and has an open case of attempted murder against an international
figure registered against him in a foreign court of law.

13. India is involved in open blackmail and harassment of its
neighbors and mobilized over 1.2 million troops and 800 fighter planes
in an offensive and threatening posture for a year followed by bizarre
political brinkmanship and persistent threats of all out war,
invasion, nuclear wipe-off and destruction emanating from its highest
office and military command.

14. Indian leadership and its intelligence agencies are constantly
involved in fabricating engineered and sinister staged dramas of
international importance that has dire and grave repercussions for
entire world community and global peace.

15. Has cleverly attempted to divert, sidetrack and jeopardize Unites
States sponsored international war on terrorism by manipulating
international events to its own advantage, creating warlike situation
with neighbors at the least desirable time and confusing global issues
to hide its own war crimes. India is also responsible for letting
Al-Qaida and militant Islamic groups to spread all over the world by
diverting attention at a crucial time when Pakistan was trying to
control its western borders and was working with US military command
to finish off Al_Qaida in Afghanistan, by massing its troops and
creating a war like situation on Pakistan's eastern borders.

More then ever, it is imperative for United States, West and the
entire civilized world to take stock of Indian malignancy and bring it
to books for its misdeeds. It is important that United States apply
the same moral yardstick and prerequisites for global conduct invented
for Iraq, equally on worst proclaimed offender nations like India,
which so far has made a sheer mockery of International law and
justice, retains the unprecedented title of genocide and terrorism
central and remains firm and committed to follow the same evil path as
the most active proliferator of terror, instability and harassment in
today's fragile world.

Brock

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Jan 5, 2003, 8:19:05 PM1/5/03
to
j_fl...@hotmail.com (John Flogger) wrote in message news:<c4c950f8.0301...@posting.google.com>...

I'm curious how you would respond to the statement that the US is a
terrorist state - and some might call it the leading terrorist state
in the world. I should think there would be quite a few people around
the world who would make that assertion. Some of America's litany of
garbage international actions are outlined by the outspoken Chomsky in
a little book called '9-11'. I should think there may be innumerable
additional examples - garbage American activities in Latin America,
eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and of course elsewhere abound. America
can hardly be said to operate in international affairs according to
sound international morality - that's a figment of your imagination.

Yes, I am quite curious what your response to that is.

- Brock

Russil Wvong

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Jan 10, 2003, 1:55:35 AM1/10/03
to
bt...@canada.com (Brock) wrote:
> I'm curious how you would respond to the statement that the US is a
> terrorist state - and some might call it the leading terrorist state
> in the world. I should think there would be quite a few people around
> the world who would make that assertion. Some of America's litany of
> garbage international actions are outlined by the outspoken Chomsky in
> a little book called '9-11'. I should think there may be innumerable
> additional examples - garbage American activities in Latin America,
> eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and of course elsewhere abound. America
> can hardly be said to operate in international affairs according to
> sound international morality - that's a figment of your imagination.

Depends where you look. In Western Europe and Japan -- which were,
after all, the cornerstones of US foreign policy after World War II --
I think the US did a great job, both helping to rebuild Western Europe
(through the Marshall Plan) and Japan, and defending them from the
Soviet Union via NATO and the US-Japan alliance. I think the most
remarkable achievement of US foreign policy after World War II is that
both Germany and Japan are now stable, democratic, prosperous countries.

Canada, of course, relied on both US military protection and US
markets. I don't know enough about Australia and New Zealand
to comment.

In Asia, the picture is more mixed. Generally speaking, the US
supported anti-Communist regimes, regardless of whether they
were democracies or dictatorships, and regardless of their
respect for human rights or democracy: South Korea, South Vietnam,
Taiwan, Thailand, and the Philippines, for example. South Korea,
Taiwan, and Thailand are doing pretty well. The Philippines looks
shaky. In Vietnam, of course, the US sank into a quagmire: failing
to recognize the limits of military power, US leaders were unable
to either win the war or admit defeat, and ended up killing millions
of people and alienating their own citizens.

In Latin America, US foreign policy after World War II swung back
and forth between the pessimistic policy of supporting dictators,
based on the idea that dictatorships were the only way to provide
stability during the disruptive process of economic development
(see "Foreign and Other Affairs", by John P. Davies, Jr.), and the
optimistic policy of supporting social democrats (see "A Thousand
Days", by Arthur Schlesinger). Kennedy's Alliance for Progress,
which was supposed to do for Latin America what the Marshall Plan
did for Europe, was a failure. The US also organized the overthrow
of Arbenz in Guatemala; destabilized Allende's government in Chile,
which was eventually overthrown by Pinochet, after Allende
expropriated US-owned copper mines; and organized the Contras,
which attempted to overthrow the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.
Worst of all, the US secretly trained Latin American military
personnel in "counter-insurgency" techniques, notably torture and
summary execution (influenced by the French experience fighting
guerrillas in Indochina and Algeria).

In the Middle East, for the most part, the US left matters to
Britain. The US and Britain jointly overthrew Mossadeq in Iran
in 1953; otherwise, the US didn't really get involved until the
Suez Crisis in 1956, when it intervened on behalf of Egypt and
forced Britain, France, and Israel to withdraw. The two pillars
of US foreign policy in the Middle East were Iran (under the
Shah) and Saudi Arabia, both repressive regimes; Turkey, a NATO
member, has also violated the human rights of its citizens,
notably its Kurdish minority. (US intervention did help to
prevent the wars in 1967 and 1973 from escalating, Carter
helped to negotiate peace between Israel and Egypt, and Clinton
made a valiant attempt to bring about peace between Israel and
the Palestinians.)

I don't know enough about Africa to make any intelligent comments.

The US helped to set up the UN, but has become disillusioned with
its effectiveness. (Morgenthau describes how this happened: first
the Security Council was paralyzed by the Soviet veto, then the
General Assembly was paralyzed by the non-aligned movement, and
finally the Secretary-General was paralyzed by France and the
Soviet Union's refusal to pay for peacekeeping.)

To summarize, I think the two most important accomplishments of
US foreign policy during the Cold War were (a) rebuilding Western
Europe and Japan, and (b) avoiding war with the Soviet Union,
particularly nuclear war. But in Latin America, the Middle East,
South Asia, and Africa, people suffer a great deal under the
existing status quo, and at least in Latin America and the Middle
East, the US has had a significant role in maintaining this status
quo.

I hope you'll accept this as a fair picture of US foreign policy after
World War II. I don't think US foreign policy is as evil as Chomsky
portrays it, but neither do I think that it's as virtuous as CNN
portrays it, either.

By the way, I've written up a long article on Chomsky's political views:
http://www.geocities.com/rwvong/future/chomsky.html

Russil Wvong
Vancouver, Canada
alt.politics.international FAQ: www.geocities.com/rwvong/futuer/apifaq.html

Brock

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Jan 11, 2003, 2:42:21 PM1/11/03
to
Russil Wvong <russi...@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:<3E1E6E3E...@yahoo.com>...

> bt...@canada.com (Brock) wrote:
> > I'm curious how you would respond to the statement that the US is a
> > terrorist state - and some might call it the leading terrorist state
> > in the world. I should think there would be quite a few people around
> > the world who would make that assertion. Some of America's litany of
> > garbage international actions are outlined by the outspoken Chomsky in
> > a little book called '9-11'. I should think there may be innumerable
> > additional examples - garbage American activities in Latin America,
> > eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and of course elsewhere abound. America
> > can hardly be said to operate in international affairs according to
> > sound international morality - that's a figment of your imagination.
>

Interesting depiction of American foreign policy. I am not an expert
in this area, but I don't think your analysis reflects some of the
realities of superpower conflict and international affairs. Some
comments below.

> Depends where you look. In Western Europe and Japan -- which were,
> after all, the cornerstones of US foreign policy after World War II --
> I think the US did a great job, both helping to rebuild Western Europe
> (through the Marshall Plan)

I'll grant that the Marshall plan did a job in rebuilding Western
Europe, and Japan has revived. However, I am curious about American
foreign policy toward Britain during and after the second world war.
I do not think (I may be wrong) that the US effected the same
rebuilding program for Britain. Why was that?

and Japan, and defending them from the
> Soviet Union via NATO and the US-Japan alliance. I think the most
> remarkable achievement of US foreign policy after World War II is that
> both Germany and Japan are now stable, democratic, prosperous countries.

I'm not sure how much that is accreditable to the US, but I'll grant
that the US did assist in this regards. However, was it strictly for
the benefit of these countries? Or was it to effect a bulwark against
the Soviet Union? Not that that would necessarily be wrong, but
clearly the realist calculus is broader than simply aid to these
countries.

>
> Canada, of course, relied on both US military protection and US
> markets. I don't know enough about Australia and New Zealand
> to comment.

Yes, many countries have relied on the US for protection and markets -
though I should say not terribly happily in many respects as well.


>
> In Asia, the picture is more mixed. Generally speaking, the US
> supported anti-Communist regimes, regardless of whether they
> were democracies or dictatorships, and regardless of their
> respect for human rights or democracy: South Korea, South Vietnam,
> Taiwan, Thailand, and the Philippines, for example. South Korea,
> Taiwan, and Thailand are doing pretty well. The Philippines looks
> shaky. In Vietnam, of course, the US sank into a quagmire: failing
> to recognize the limits of military power, US leaders were unable
> to either win the war or admit defeat, and ended up killing millions
> of people and alienating their own citizens.

Don't know a lot about this, but Chomsky cites Indonesia as an example
of where the US has supported a very repressive regime, where many
have died - and calling the regime a very favourable regime. My point
above is that this sort of thing is a reflection of realist calculus -
and a dubious calculus at that - which is not reflective of a
particularly sound or consistent international morality. I would
agree generally that the Cold War was (is?) problematic, but again,
such a war does not lend itself to the application of particularly
sound or consistent international morality. Further, it is unclear
what techniques the US utilized to achieve its goals - how involved
has the CIA been in various theaters, and what techniques does it use
in achieving foreign policy goals?

>
> In Latin America, US foreign policy after World War II swung back
> and forth between the pessimistic policy of supporting dictators,
> based on the idea that dictatorships were the only way to provide
> stability during the disruptive process of economic development
> (see "Foreign and Other Affairs", by John P. Davies, Jr.), and the
> optimistic policy of supporting social democrats (see "A Thousand
> Days", by Arthur Schlesinger). Kennedy's Alliance for Progress,
> which was supposed to do for Latin America what the Marshall Plan
> did for Europe, was a failure. The US also organized the overthrow
> of Arbenz in Guatemala; destabilized Allende's government in Chile,
> which was eventually overthrown by Pinochet, after Allende
> expropriated US-owned copper mines; and organized the Contras,
> which attempted to overthrow the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.
> Worst of all, the US secretly trained Latin American military
> personnel in "counter-insurgency" techniques, notably torture and
> summary execution (influenced by the French experience fighting
> guerrillas in Indochina and Algeria).

I do not know - but it is my guess that the CIA was much more heavily
involved in other countries in Latin America than what you indicate.
Ie, gaining control of various domestic power structures, engineering
a variety of coups, effecting what amount to various terrorist
operations, etc. For example, what about Columbia? Also, I've read
that the US is also involved in Venezuela. I would be surprised if
there is a single country in Latin America that the CIA is not
involved in (and nefariously). Further, it is my guess that the US
learned about various counter-insurgency tactics long before
experience in Indochina.

>
> In the Middle East, for the most part, the US left matters to
> Britain. The US and Britain jointly overthrew Mossadeq in Iran
> in 1953; otherwise, the US didn't really get involved until the
> Suez Crisis in 1956, when it intervened on behalf of Egypt and
> forced Britain, France, and Israel to withdraw.

Here, I think we see another aspect of US foreign policy: the desire
to end British and French foreign influence and empires. Ostensibly,
it was founded on the ground of national self-determination. That I
should think is generally a good principle. However, it was used by
the US to end British and French influence; the Suez crisis is partly
a reflection of that policy; India and various actions in Africa may
also be reflective of this. A curious policy, as both Britain and
France were (are - or Britain, their main lackey, anyway) American
allies.


The two pillars
> of US foreign policy in the Middle East were Iran (under the
> Shah) and Saudi Arabia, both repressive regimes; Turkey, a NATO
> member, has also violated the human rights of its citizens,
> notably its Kurdish minority. (US intervention did help to
> prevent the wars in 1967 and 1973 from escalating, Carter
> helped to negotiate peace between Israel and Egypt, and Clinton
> made a valiant attempt to bring about peace between Israel and
> the Palestinians.)
>
> I don't know enough about Africa to make any intelligent comments.

I don't know a lot about Africa either. However, I understand there
were a number of 'proxy wars' in Africa as well, with US gaining
increasing influence in this continent. Southwest Africa strikes me
as an example there, though I would again be surprised if there is a
single country in Africa where the US hasn't sought to gain
significant influence.

>
> The US helped to set up the UN, but has become disillusioned with
> its effectiveness. (Morgenthau describes how this happened: first
> the Security Council was paralyzed by the Soviet veto, then the
> General Assembly was paralyzed by the non-aligned movement, and
> finally the Secretary-General was paralyzed by France and the
> Soviet Union's refusal to pay for peacekeeping.)
>

Here I think is another rather difficult area of US foreign policy.
The US in my estimation had and has a desire to control the UN and
also does not wish to respect international law when it conflicts with
its interests. This is for example reflective in the strong arm
tactics used in realizing a unanimous vote in the renewed inspections
resolution in Iraq. The UN has also passed, as I understand it, a
number of resolutions which the US has disagreed with - indicating
that it is not necessarily paralyzed, but that it has been
non-supportive of American policies.

> To summarize, I think the two most important accomplishments of
> US foreign policy during the Cold War were (a) rebuilding Western
> Europe and Japan, and (b) avoiding war with the Soviet Union,
> particularly nuclear war. But in Latin America, the Middle East,
> South Asia, and Africa, people suffer a great deal under the
> existing status quo, and at least in Latin America and the Middle
> East, the US has had a significant role in maintaining this status
> quo.
>
> I hope you'll accept this as a fair picture of US foreign policy after
> World War II. I don't think US foreign policy is as evil as Chomsky
> portrays it, but neither do I think that it's as virtuous as CNN
> portrays it, either.

So, in summary, I do not agree fully with Chomsky's analysis, but
neither with your own. Superpower politics is not benign; and US
policy has not simply been about countering the Soviet threat. And
further, since what 1991? US foreign policy has become far more
suspect. Since then, it has contrived of a number of 'enemies' to
construct wars in significant part for domestic consumption, but also,
the ugly head of American imperialism has reared itself (or revealed
itself) since that time. The US has not been content to withdraw
various CIA activities and actions in various countries to enhance
liberal democracy and self-determination since the 'end' of the Cold
War, but has rather sought - in my estimation - to extend its
influence. There have been continuing operations in Eastern Europe,
and the war in Yugoslavia was not justified. Is the US involved in
Chechnya? My guess is that it is. Is the US involved in seeking to
destabilize Russian sphere of influence? My guess is that it is. Is
the US involved in seeking to destabilize and break China apart? My
guess is that it is. Was the CIA involved in the Asian economic
crisis? I would not be surprised if it was. American foreign policy
has become worse, and the reaction to American imperialism is a
significant cause of 9/11. Further, Bush is a disaster to American
foreign policy - and domestic policy.

Russil Wvong

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Jan 12, 2003, 4:18:50 AM1/12/03
to
bt...@canada.com (Brock) writes:
> Interesting depiction of American foreign policy. I am not an expert
> in this area....

I can't claim to be an expert, but I think I've read a lot more widely
than you have.

If I were you, I'd be wary of relying heavily on people like Chomsky
for information about American foreign policy and international politics
in general. Chomsky's a polemicist who argues like a lawyer rather than
a judge, and he can be very unscrupulous in his presentation of evidence.
Unfortunately, his admirers on the radical left don't seem to notice
his disregard for truth and objectivity, and so it's quite possible
to read Chomsky and think you're well-informed when in fact you're
hideously misinformed. When I read Chomsky, I'm careful to look up all
his footnotes and compare what he's saying to more objective sources of
information. But if you don't know much about history, it'll be hard
for you to judge whether Chomsky's presenting an accurate picture or not.

As an anonymous Canadian poster put it a couple weeks after September 11:

Why do some people in these newsgroups find it so shocking that the
Canadian left has been using the World Trade Center attack as yet
another opportunity to bash the US? The left isn't about to hide its
hatred of America and its values just because the country is in
mourning. We're talking about a segment of the Canadian population
that, during the Cold War, considered the Soviet Union, at worst, the
lesser of two evils.

Think about that. The NDP wanted the West to unilaterally disarm and
for Canada to withdraw from NATO and become a neutral power. Neutral,
as if the fact that the US is a democracy and the USSR was a
totalitarian state counted for nothing! Neutral, as if the fact that
the Soviet Bloc needed concrete walls to hold its citizens in counted
for nothing! Neutral, as if the fact that Chomsky was free to spread
his poison on university campuses while Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn were
imprisoned counted for nothing!

Mind if I suggest some introductory reading material other than Chomsky?
I think a basic understanding of history, particularly 20th-century history,
is necessary in order to understand international politics.

A short list from the FAQ:

Hans Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations (1948, 6th ed. 1985)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0075544695

The classic analysis of international politics as a struggle for power.

Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (1988)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0679720197

Military and political history from 1500 to the twentieth century.
Focuses on material factors, particularly the connection between
economic power and military power.

William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1959)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0671728687

A history of Nazi Germany based on Nazi archives, as well as the
author's own experience (he was a journalist based in Germany
when the Nazis came to power).

John Toland, The Rising Sun (1970)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/039444311X

A history of World War II in the Pacific, told from the Japanese
point of view.

Louis Halle, The Cold War as History (1967)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060968885

Discusses the Cold War from a historical perspective, that is, a
perspective which is somewhat detached from the conflict. Halle
attempts "to do for the Cold War, which belongs to our present,
what Thucydides did for the Peloponnesian War, which belonged to
his own present and in which he took part."

Maurice Meisner, Mao's China and After (1977, 3rd ed. 1999)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0684856352

A history of Communist China.

Thomas Skidmore and Peter Smith, Modern Latin America (5th ed. 2000)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0195129962

History of Latin America from roughly 1800 to the present.

William Polk, The Arab World Today (5th ed. 1991)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0674043200

History of the Arab countries from roughly 1800 to the present.
Includes a good description of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Roland Oliver and J. D. Fage, A Short History of Africa (6th ed. 1988)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140136010

A history of Africa from prehistoric times to the 20th century.

The following book isn't a basic history, but you may find it interesting
because it focuses on US foreign policy in the Third World.

Douglas Macdonald, Adventures in Chaos
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0674005775

Discusses American intervention for reform in the Third World,
typically to try to strengthen a client state facing political
opposition. Describes three case studies: China under the KMT,
the Philippines, and South Vietnam.

--


> > Depends where you look. In Western Europe and Japan -- which were,
> > after all, the cornerstones of US foreign policy after World War II --
> > I think the US did a great job, both helping to rebuild Western Europe
> > (through the Marshall Plan)
>
> I'll grant that the Marshall plan did a job in rebuilding Western
> Europe, and Japan has revived. However, I am curious about American
> foreign policy toward Britain during and after the second world war.
> I do not think (I may be wrong) that the US effected the same
> rebuilding program for Britain. Why was that?

You're wrong. :-) See "The Cold War as History." A quote:

The British Government, in announcing the Program's completion in
Britain, expressed its gratitude to the Government and people of
the United States for giving to Britain, at a critical moment in
its history, 'the means to regain her economic independence and
power.' Speaking to the House of Commons, Mr. Hugh Gaitskell,
Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: 'We are not an emotional people,
and we are not always very articulate. But these characteristics
should not be allowed to hide the very real and profound sense of
gratitude which we feel toward the American people, not only for
the material help they have given us but also for the spirit of
understanding and friendship in which it has been given.'

Because such moments never last is no reason why they should be
forgotten.

You may find it useful to go back and try to find the source of your
misunderstanding.

> > and Japan, and defending them from the
> > Soviet Union via NATO and the US-Japan alliance. I think the most
> > remarkable achievement of US foreign policy after World War II is that
> > both Germany and Japan are now stable, democratic, prosperous countries.
>
> I'm not sure how much that is accreditable to the US, but I'll grant
> that the US did assist in this regards. However, was it strictly for
> the benefit of these countries?

No, of course not. All countries act from self-interest; the question
is whether it's *enlightened self-interest*. In this case, for Germany
and Japan to be stable liberal democracies rather than militarily
aggressive nightmare states is obviously in the interests of the United
States, but it's also in the interests of the German and Japanese people
themselves, as well as their neighbors.

[An aside: one argument being used by the Iraq hawks is that the United
States can bring democracy to Iraq in the same way that it brought
democracy to West Germany and Japan. *It's not that easy*. In fact,
it's horribly difficult. See Douglas Macdonald, "Adventures in Chaos."]

George Kennan argues for enlightened self-interest in American foreign
policy, quoting Thomas Macaulay:

I do not say that we ought to prefer the happiness of one
particular society to the happiness of mankind; but I say that, by
exerting ourselves to promote the happiness of the society with
which we are most nearly connected, and with which we are best
acquainted, we shall do more to promote the happiness of mankind
than by busying ourselves about matters which we do not understand
and cannot efficiently control.
-- Thomas Macaulay speaking in the House of Commons in 1845

No country in the world is going to spend billions of dollars and risk
nuclear annihilation from pure and noble altruism. That'd be an impossible
moral standard to meet.

What's more, in international politics, the purity of one's motives aren't
what's important; it's quite possible for policies motivated by nothing but
the best of intentions to lead to disaster and ruin. What matters are one's
*actions* and their *consequences*. (Which is why I've been arguing against
trying to spread liberal democracy in the Middle East by fire and sword.)

George Kennan also observes that even if US policy *were* selfless,
nobody would believe it! Discussing foreign aid in his May 1959 article
"Foreign Policy and the Christian Conscience":
[http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/foreign/gkchri.htm]

... foreign aid, to be really effective as a gesture of Christian
charity, would have to be understood as such a gesture by the
recipients as well as by the donors. But most foreign peoples do
not believe that governments do things for selfless and altruistic
motives; and if we do not reveal to them a good solid motive of
self-interest for anything we do with regard to them, they are apt
to invent one. This can be a more sinister one than we ever
dreamed of, and their belief in it can cause serious confusion in
our mutual relations.

Foreign aid has a place in our foreign policy; but the favorable
possibilities for it are more slender than people generally
suppose. The less it consists of outright grants, the better. The
less we try to clothe it in the trappings of disinterested
altruism--to view it as Christian charity--[and] the more we can
show it as a rational extrapolation of our own national interest,
the better understood and the more effective it is going to be
abroad.

> > In Asia, the picture is more mixed. Generally speaking, the US
> > supported anti-Communist regimes, regardless of whether they
> > were democracies or dictatorships, and regardless of their
> > respect for human rights or democracy: South Korea, South Vietnam,
> > Taiwan, Thailand, and the Philippines, for example. South Korea,
> > Taiwan, and Thailand are doing pretty well. The Philippines looks
> > shaky. In Vietnam, of course, the US sank into a quagmire: failing
> > to recognize the limits of military power, US leaders were unable
> > to either win the war or admit defeat, and ended up killing millions
> > of people and alienating their own citizens.
>
> Don't know a lot about this, but Chomsky cites Indonesia as an example
> of where the US has supported a very repressive regime, where many
> have died - and calling the regime a very favourable regime. My point
> above is that this sort of thing is a reflection of realist calculus -
> and a dubious calculus at that - which is not reflective of a
> particularly sound or consistent international morality.

I think there's an underlying assumption here which is wrong: that the
US should not have anything to do with countries that are run by dictators,
and that if it does, it takes responsibility for their actions. Douglas
Macdonald comments:

I would also make distinctions between normal business among states
and "support," which are many times blurred in the American debates
over how to deal with the rest of the world. This is true for both
left and right. Thus, conservatives in the United States argue that
establishing normal relations with Castro would "support" his regime,
while relations with rightist regimes will liberalize them over time;
liberals say that "support" for rightist regimes [such as Indonesia]
extends their shelf life (and the United States must therefore take
responsibility for their actions), while relations with leftist regimes
(for example, China or Cuba) will liberalize them over time.

This assumed march toward political liberalization remains largely
an untested hypothesis, ... but it is a fundamental part of the
American liberal ideology. This is why backing dictators, of the
left or right, is seemingly so much more painful for Americans than
other peoples. It can take different policy forms, but it is
liberal universalism just the same. We tend to either cut off
support, and sometimes relations altogether, or try to transform
them into emerging liberals.

My favorite example of this cognitive dissonance in action was an
article written by an American academic in the 1950s about South
Vietnam's Ngo Dinh Diem entitled "South Vietnam's One-man Democracy."
But we did it somewhat with "Uncle Joe" Stalin during World War II
also, as did a lot of people.
[http://tinyurl.com/2rvj]

> I would agree generally that the Cold War was (is?) problematic, but
> again, such a war does not lend itself to the application of particularly
> sound or consistent international morality.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here.

> Further, it is unclear what techniques the US utilized to achieve its
> goals -

I'm afraid it's totally clear: the US committed all sorts of crimes.
Hans Morgenthau wrote in September 1965:

I have spoken of the prestige of the nation and of the prestige of
those who govern it, that is, of the mental image which others
have of us. Yet there is another kind of prestige: the image we
have of ourselves. That image will suffer grievous blemishes as we
get ever more deeply involved in the war in Vietnam. This war is a
guerrilla war, and such a war, supported or at least not opposed
by the indigenous population, can only be won by the
indiscriminate killing of everybody in sight, that is, by
genocide. The Germans proved that during the Second World War in
occupied Europe, and they were prevented from accomplishing their
task only because they were defeated in the field. The logic of
the issue we are facing in Vietnam has already driven us onto the
same path. We have tortured and killed prisoners; we have embarked
upon a scorched-earth policy by destroying villages and forests;
we have killed combatants and non-combatants without
discrimination because discrimination is impossible. And this is
only the beginning. For the logic of guerrilla war leaves us no
choice. We must go on torturing, killing, and burning, and the more
deeply we get involved in this war, the more there will be of it.

This brutalization of the Armed Forces would be a serious matter
for any nation, as the example of France has shown. It is
intolerable for the United States. For this nation, alone among
the nations of the world, was created for a particular purpose: to
achieve equality in freedom at home, and thereby set an example
for the world to emulate. This was the intention of the Founding
Fathers, and to this very day the world has taken them at their
word. It is exactly for this reason that our prestige has suffered
so disastrously among friend and foe alike; for the world did not
expect of us what it had come to expect of others.
[http://www.nybooks.com/articles/12776]

And he was right. Vietnam was what damaged the perception of the US
as the good guys, in the world as well as in the US. The Reagan-era
interventions in Central America only aggravated the problem.

> > In Latin America, US foreign policy after World War II swung back
> > and forth between the pessimistic policy of supporting dictators,
> > based on the idea that dictatorships were the only way to provide
> > stability during the disruptive process of economic development
> > (see "Foreign and Other Affairs", by John P. Davies, Jr.), and the
> > optimistic policy of supporting social democrats (see "A Thousand
> > Days", by Arthur Schlesinger). Kennedy's Alliance for Progress,
> > which was supposed to do for Latin America what the Marshall Plan
> > did for Europe, was a failure. The US also organized the overthrow
> > of Arbenz in Guatemala; destabilized Allende's government in Chile,
> > which was eventually overthrown by Pinochet, after Allende
> > expropriated US-owned copper mines; and organized the Contras,
> > which attempted to overthrow the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.
> > Worst of all, the US secretly trained Latin American military
> > personnel in "counter-insurgency" techniques, notably torture and
> > summary execution (influenced by the French experience fighting
> > guerrillas in Indochina and Algeria).
>
> I do not know - but it is my guess that the CIA was much more heavily
> involved in other countries in Latin America than what you indicate.

How much more do you need? The results in Guatemala, Chile, Nicaragua
were all horrific. But it's not like the US and the CIA have total control
over Latin America -- hardly. See Skidmore and Smith, "Modern Latin America."

Regarding Colombia specifically, see
http://www.crimesofwar.org/thebook/colombia.html

Regarding the use of torture by the French in Algeria and Vietnam, and
its influence on US policy, see William Polk, "Neighbors and Strangers":

From the bitter experience of the Indochina war, a number of French
officers, primarily in the elite paratroop formations, evolved a new
doctrine that they sought to apply to the conflict they faced in
Algeria and that influenced Americans in Vietnam, Israelis in the
occupied territories, and Russians in the Chechen campaign. The French
concluded that the guerrilla must be deprived of secrecy, cut off from
safe havens, isolated from his supporters, and hunted down. It was
Algeria that evoked the doctrine of torture as the means of destroying
secrecy. Paratroop colonel Roger Trinquier wrote that torture was to
"modern war" what the machine gun had been to trench war. In Algeria
also it became routine to "liquidate" suspects, to "pacify" areas where
guerrillas were thought to lurk, to "regroup" those who might support
them to internment camps, and to terrorize would-be sympathizers. The
French experience was to influence the American "Phoenix" program and
other military and intelligence operations in Vietnam and Latin America.

> > In the Middle East, for the most part, the US left matters to
> > Britain. The US and Britain jointly overthrew Mossadeq in Iran
> > in 1953; otherwise, the US didn't really get involved until the
> > Suez Crisis in 1956, when it intervened on behalf of Egypt and
> > forced Britain, France, and Israel to withdraw.
>
> Here, I think we see another aspect of US foreign policy: the desire
> to end British and French foreign influence and empires. Ostensibly,
> it was founded on the ground of national self-determination.

Correct.

> > I don't know enough about Africa to make any intelligent comments.
>
> I don't know a lot about Africa either. However, I understand there
> were a number of 'proxy wars' in Africa as well, with US gaining
> increasing influence in this continent. Southwest Africa strikes me
> as an example there, though I would again be surprised if there is a
> single country in Africa where the US hasn't sought to gain
> significant influence.

Er, if you don't know much, you might want to refrain from making
speculative accusations. This isn't a personal attack, just a
suggestion. Roland Oliver and J. D. Fage's "A Short History of Africa"
would be a good place to start if you're interested in finding out more
about the history of Africa.

> Here I think is another rather difficult area of US foreign policy.
> The US in my estimation had and has a desire to control the UN and
> also does not wish to respect international law when it conflicts with
> its interests. This is for example reflective in the strong arm
> tactics used in realizing a unanimous vote in the renewed inspections
> resolution in Iraq.

I actually saw the UN Security Council resolution as a positive
development with respect to the US and international law -- if the
US had simply bypassed the UN and gone to war, that would have
weakened the UN tremendously.

> > To summarize, I think the two most important accomplishments of
> > US foreign policy during the Cold War were (a) rebuilding Western
> > Europe and Japan, and (b) avoiding war with the Soviet Union,
> > particularly nuclear war. But in Latin America, the Middle East,
> > South Asia, and Africa, people suffer a great deal under the
> > existing status quo, and at least in Latin America and the Middle
> > East, the US has had a significant role in maintaining this status
> > quo.
> >
> > I hope you'll accept this as a fair picture of US foreign policy after
> > World War II. I don't think US foreign policy is as evil as Chomsky
> > portrays it, but neither do I think that it's as virtuous as CNN
> > portrays it, either.
>
> So, in summary, I do not agree fully with Chomsky's analysis, but

> neither with your own. Superpower politics is not benign....

ARGH. I'm not sure you understood what I was saying. Did I say that
superpower politics is benign? Again:

... in Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa,


people suffer a great deal under the existing status quo, and at
least in Latin America and the Middle East, the US has had a
significant role in maintaining this status quo.

Maybe the basic problem is the good guys/bad guys view of the world.
Chomsky's saying that the US are the bad guys. I'm saying that Chomsky's
wrong, so you think I see the US as the good guys. Sigh. International
politics isn't Star Wars. The Canadian educational system is pretty good
overall, but I think it does a horrible job of teaching us history.

Howard Gardner:

Most five-year-olds have developed a *Star Wars* script. Life
consists of a struggle between Good and Bad forces, with the Good
generally triumphant. Many movies and television programs, and
a few events in real life, can adequately be described in terms of
such a script. Most historical events or works of literature,
however, prove far more complex; to understand the causes of
World War I or the U.S. Civil War, or to grasp the thrust of a
novel by Hawthorne or Austen, one must weigh and integrate multiple
factors and nuances. Students learn in class to give more complex
explanations for such historical or literary events. Yet, when
they are confronted with new and unfamiliar materials--say, a story
from another culture, or a war in an unfamiliar part of the world--
even capable students lapse to an elemental way of thinking. The
*Star Wars* "good guy-bad guy" script is often invoked in such
situations, even when it is manifestly inappropriate.

> The US has not been content to withdraw
> various CIA activities and actions in various countries to enhance
> liberal democracy and self-determination since the 'end' of the Cold
> War, but has rather sought - in my estimation - to extend its
> influence. There have been continuing operations in Eastern Europe,
> and the war in Yugoslavia was not justified. Is the US involved in
> Chechnya? My guess is that it is. Is the US involved in seeking to
> destabilize Russian sphere of influence? My guess is that it is. Is
> the US involved in seeking to destabilize and break China apart? My
> guess is that it is. Was the CIA involved in the Asian economic
> crisis? I would not be surprised if it was.

Again, I would respectfully suggest that if you don't know much about
something, you shouldn't go around making speculative accusations
based on no evidence. You should at least do some reading. (The
speculations about Chechnya, China, and the Asian economic crisis in
the last paragraph seem to me on the level of UFO conspiracy theory.)

Regarding the war in Yugoslavia, see
http://www.bosnia.org.uk/bosrep/report_format.cfm?articleid=802&reportid=151

> Further, Bush is a disaster to American foreign policy - and domestic policy.

Can't disagree with you there, although I thought the war in Afghanistan
was carried out reasonably well. If Bush listens to Powell and Rice,
his foreign policy may still work out okay.

Russil Wvong
Vancouver, Canada
alt.politics.international FAQ: www.geocities.com/rwvong/future/apifaq.html

Russil Wvong

unread,
Jan 12, 2003, 4:23:09 AM1/12/03
to
Russil Wvong wrote:
> bt...@canada.com (Brock) writes:
> > Interesting depiction of American foreign policy. I am not an expert
> > in this area....
> [very long post omitted]

By the way, I won't have time to do a second detailed point-by-point
response. I'd encourage you to read the books I listed.

Russil

Brock

unread,
Jan 12, 2003, 5:15:06 PM1/12/03
to
Interesting again. I think you are more widely read in these regards
than me. My background is not that strong - some history re: 1400's -
1600; sketchy 1700 - 1800; an excellent (though fairly general) course
in European history from dunno say 1850 to end of WWII, with some
sketchy post war history; an introductory university world history
course; some German history; a strong foundation in various aspects of
philosophy, including philosophy of history; various political science
courses, most importantly, International Politics with a good realist
foundation; some basic reading on early civilizations; a law degree -
which is somewhat helpful; and an MA not in history or international
relations per se, but rather in International Political Economy. Not
a bad background, but again, not particularly great for various
historical and foreign policy evaluation.

But anyway, I think your perspective is not bad (and perspectives is
an area which I'm not fairly good with)- but even with some realist
analysis, you tend to sugarcoat American foreign policy, and with the
knowledge you appear to have of modern history, I don't know if that's
such a good thing. I may do some additional reading, and may respond
to some of your other comments, but here's a couple of comments.

Chomsky's perspective is not bad - especially as it provides a good
critical perspective on American politics. That is really quite
important with some of the activities that USG effects.

Now, an example of your sugarcoating I should think is in regards to
Chechnya and China. I do have a good deal of reading to do, but I
think it is naive to think that the US has no interests in
destabilizing Russian sphere of influence (and Russia) and in
destabilizing China. Chomsky suggests that bin Laden's attention to
Bosnia and Chechnya 'may have received at least tacit US support'.
Chomsky also talks about the problem of holding China together, for
example in western China, where there is a significant muslim
population. I would be surprised if the activities of for example the
Falun Gong (promoted by a guy in New York) did not have at least tacit
if not direct support of the USG. Further, I read (I do not recall
where) that there were NATO covert operations in Yugoslavia well
before the bombing campaign. The American actions in various
locations - Nicaragua, Chile, Guatemala, secret wars in Laos and
Cambodia (I understand), action in Afghanistan, proxy wars elsewhere,
are reflective of the methodology of the CIA and DOD, as well as the
worldview of those in the CIA and DOD. Coup engineering - it is my
guess - has become a fairly standard exercise in American foreign
policy. On a (limited) show about American response to the hostage
crisis in Iran, for example, Brzinski (sic) the NSA to the 'idealist'
Carter - wanted to engineer a coup. Provoking countries to engage in
war is another American technique. I haven't done a lot of reading,
but apparently the US-Mexican war in the 1800's was a result of US
provoking Mexico into the war. Chomsky indicates that Brzinski
boasted about drawing (provoking) the USSR into invading Afghanistan.
There are some substantial indications that Iraq was drawn into
invading Kuwait. It is not a pretty sight. With methodologies and
worldview such as that - there is very little that constrains their
actions, the lack of morality in particular is striking. There is an
amorality there that reflects some of the very significant limitations
of the realist perspective - a perspective which, as I understand it,
has dominated US policy circles since at least the end of the second
world war, liberal perspectives notwithstanding.

So as I say, I do not think it is good to sugarcoat American foreign
policy. Anway, after doing some reading (I'm researching few areas
right now), I may respond more specifically.

-Brock


Russil Wvong <russi...@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:<3E21330B...@yahoo.com>...

j

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Jan 12, 2003, 5:52:09 PM1/12/03
to

If anyone needs to be attacked, it's the tyrants in power who value
money, oil, power and all the 'prestige' that goes with that - more
than they value the lives of other human beings. They are the world's
worst criminals - and are more responsible than anyone else on the
globe - for tremendous amounts of pain and the dysfunctional state
of the human family.

The people of the USA are just like the people in any other country -
they like to work, are fun loving, are basically honest, and they all
want to see justice and an orderly society - however the difference is
that the American people have been lied to for decades - they've had
the wool pulled over their eyes, and have been tricked into supporting
the biggest bully in the world (the US war machine) and thinking that
it's a great and virtueos thing.

If anyone needs to be attacked, I would think it would be the people
who know this and support it. I personally would prefer to send them
all to prison for a spell, while letting all the perpetrators of
victimless and petty crimes go free.

If all the bad dogs - especially those who want to reach out and screw
with people all over the planet, could be identified and removed from
power, the world could eventually be transformed into a pretty good
place for everyone.

-----------------
http://www.commondreams.org
Breaking news and views daily - compiled from numerous sources, by a
non-profit org
---------------------

"Man must change or die. There is no other course."
The World Teacher
http://www.share-international.org

------------------------------------------------------------
You shall seek the truth and the truth will lead you to conclude that
it is radically different from what people are led to believe.

Russil Wvong

unread,
Jan 14, 2003, 10:33:09 AM1/14/03
to
bt...@canada.com (Brock) wrote:
> But anyway, I think your perspective is not bad (and perspectives is
> an area which I'm not fairly good with)- but even with some realist
> analysis, you tend to sugarcoat American foreign policy, and with the
> knowledge you appear to have of modern history, I don't know if that's
> such a good thing.

Sugarcoating?! For crying out loud, I just quoted Hans Morgenthau
talking about genocide in Vietnam, and William Polk talking about
torture and summary execution in Vietnam and Central America. To
suggest that you need *evidence* before speculating that the US is
trying to destabilize Russia and China is not sugarcoating, it's
called *skepticism*. I'm impressed by your educational record,
but did you never study critical thinking?

> Chomsky's perspective is not bad - especially as it provides a good
> critical perspective on American politics.

It's worse than useless *if it's not based on the facts*. See
http://www.geocities.com/rwvong/future/chomsky.html#3.5

There's a lot of propaganda out there. *You need to think critically*,
not just say, "Well, they make a lot of interesting points."

I have some suggestions in the alt.politics.international FAQ,
included below.

Russil

--
It's human nature to filter new evidence through one's existing
beliefs, as described by William James:

The observable process which Schiller and Dewey particularly
singled out for generalization is the familiar one by which any
individual settles into *new opinions*. The process here is
always the same. The individual has a stock of old opinions
already, but he meets a new experience that puts them to a strain.
Somebody contradicts them; or in a reflective moment he discovers
that they contradict each other; or he hears of facts with which
they are incompatible; or desires arise in him which they cease
to satisfy. The result is an inward trouble to which his mind
till then had been a stranger, and from which he seeks to escape
by modifying his previous mass of opinions. He saves as much of it
as he can, for in this matter of belief we are all extreme
conservatives. So he tries to change first this opinion, and then
that (for they resist change very variously), until at last some
new idea comes up which he can graft upon the ancient stock with
a minimum of disturbance of the latter, some idea that mediates
between the stock and the new experience and runs them into one
another most felicitously and expediently.

... Loyalty to [existing beliefs] is the first principle--in most
cases it is the only principle; for by far the most usual way of
handling phenomena so novel that they would make for a serious
rearrangement of our preconceptions is to ignore them altogether,
or to abuse those who bear witness for them.
["What Pragmatism Means"]

[The danger here is that if you start to believe things that aren't
true, any evidence that you're wrong will be filtered through your
false beliefs, and you may never be able to find out that your
beliefs are wrong, no matter how long you live. So don't swallow
conspiracy theories uncritically. Don't read articles by crazy
people if they're on a subject you're not familiar with.]

2.4. Checking the reliability of information

There's a lot of partisan misinformation on the Internet. This isn't
a new problem. Orwell wrote in 1945:

Much of the propagandist writing of our time amounts to plain
forgery. Material facts are suppressed, dates altered, quotations
removed from their context and doctored so as to change their
meaning. Events which it is felt ought not to have happened are
left unmentioned and ultimately denied.
http://www.resort.com/~prime8/Orwell/nationalism.html

If you're following an argument and trying to figure out who's right,
particularly when it comes to a question of history, keep in mind that
you need an accurate picture of the facts before you can make moral
judgments. You may find it helpful to do some "triangulation" to
check the reliability of the sources that are being cited. To check
what author A says about X -- assuming that X isn't a subject I know
much about -- I find a number of techniques to be useful:

- Find something I *do* know about, and see what A has to say
about it. Same principle as checking the reliability of a
telephone book by looking up your own listing.

- Find out what other people have to say about X.

- Find out what other people have to say about A's discussion
of X -- book reviews, for example.

The Internet and Google make it pretty easy to do this even for
an author you've never heard of. If there's not much commentary
available on-line, consider looking them up at your local library.

Keeping in mind the natural tendency to filter new information
through one's existing beliefs, and thus to be much less skeptical
of evidence which happens to confirm one's existing beliefs, I find
it useful to apply the same triangulation technique to evidence
that I post in support of my own arguments; it's quite possible
that when I came across the evidence in the past I accepted it
uncritically instead of checking its reliability.

A few resources I find particularly useful:

- Yahoo! News Full Coverage, story.news.yahoo.com/fc?in=world.
Provides the latest news stories from wire services and newspapers,
as well as detailed background information, *for every country in
the world*. Very useful for following a continuing crisis, as
well as tracking what happens afterward.

- The New York Review of Books, www.nybooks.com. A one-year
subscription to the full archive, containing 15,000 articles
dating back to 1963, is $62; several articles from each issue are
available for free. Excellent book reviews and commentary on
history and politics, by well-known writers; clean and fast web
design.

- The Library of Congress Country Studies.
http://memory.loc.gov/frd/cs/cshome.html

- H-DIPLO: a mailing list for diplomatic historians.
http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~diplo/

If you have time to read books, here's a list of books that I'd
recommend for more background information on world history and
international politics. If you only have time to read one book, I'd
recommend "Politics Among Nations."

Hans Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations (1948, 6th ed. 1985)

Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (1988)

William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1959)

John Toland, The Rising Sun (1970)

Louis Halle, The Cold War as History (1967)

Maurice Meisner, Mao's China and After (1977, 3rd ed. 1999)

Thomas Skidmore and Peter Smith, Modern Latin America (5th ed. 2000)

William Polk, The Arab World Today (5th ed. 1991)

Roland Oliver and J. D. Fage, A Short History of Africa (6th ed. 1988)

Roy Gutman and David Rieff, eds., Crimes of War (1999)

Brock

unread,
Jan 16, 2003, 12:26:21 AM1/16/03
to
Yup, sugarcoating, Morgenthau and realist citations notwithstanding.
When (and if) I get a chance, I'll look into a couple more of these
matters and show it in a little more detail as well. Re:
perspectives: interesting: the whole notion of 'paradigms', 'world
views', the persistence of various theories in philosophy of
science/epistemology is also related to that. (Kuhn, H. Putnam, E.
Miller etc). What, for example, is your political perspective?

Russil Wvong <russi...@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:<3E242DBE...@yahoo.com>...

Russil Wvong

unread,
Jan 16, 2003, 12:36:00 PM1/16/03
to
bt...@canada.com (Brock) wrote:
> What, for example, is your political perspective?

http://www.geocities.com/rwvong/future/globalfaq.html

At a more parochial level, I voted for the Liberals in the last federal
election and the NDP in the last provincial election.

Yourself?

Brock

unread,
Jan 18, 2003, 1:46:05 AM1/18/03
to
russi...@yahoo.com (Russil Wvong) wrote in message news:<afe9ed76.03011...@posting.google.com>...

Not sure if that is what I was asking; however, at a federal level, I
have never voted anything but for the Conservatives, and provincially,
given the preeminent lack of opposition to the Conservatives, I
recollect having voted pretty much for the NDP.

- Brock

Russil Wvong

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Jan 18, 2003, 3:07:50 PM1/18/03
to
Brock wrote:

> russi...@yahoo.com (Russil Wvong) wrote:
> > bt...@canada.com (Brock) wrote:
> > > What, for example, is your political perspective?
> >
> > http://www.geocities.com/rwvong/future/globalfaq.html
> >
> > At a more parochial level, I voted for the Liberals in the last federal
> > election and the NDP in the last provincial election.
> >
> > Yourself?
>
> Not sure if that is what I was asking;

Did you read the link?

Brock

unread,
Jan 21, 2003, 5:41:48 AM1/21/03
to
Russil Wvong <russi...@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:<3E29B42E...@yahoo.com>...

> Brock wrote:
> > russi...@yahoo.com (Russil Wvong) wrote:
> > > bt...@canada.com (Brock) wrote:
> > > > What, for example, is your political perspective?
> > >
> > > http://www.geocities.com/rwvong/future/globalfaq.html
> > >
> > > At a more parochial level, I voted for the Liberals in the last federal
> > > election and the NDP in the last provincial election.
> > >
> > > Yourself?
> >
> > Not sure if that is what I was asking;
>
> Did you read the link?
>
> Russil Wvong
> Vancouver, Canada

No, hadn't read the link. Looked through it briefly. Fairly
interesting views. I guess I'm currently a little more interested in
things like:

a) what is your view on the Iraq/US situation?

b) I noted your comment re: N. Korea and will go back there shortly,
but what is your view on the response that was provided to your
comment re: whether the US is threatening to use nuclear weapons? Do
the Bush policies of pre-emption, first usage of nuclear weapons
against various countries, the identification of an 'axis of evil'
destabilize nuclear policies, undermine the nuclear non-proliferation
treaty, etc?

c) why did you say (I forget where) that Bush could do ok if he
listens to Powell and Rice? Don't know much about either, Rice in
particular, but if they are both 'doves' in the cabinet, how will
listening to them help Bush and the predominantly (as I understand it)
hawk Cabinet?

d) what is your take on the Gore / Bush election? Would Gore have
been a better president, and why?

e) what is your view on the 'war on terrorism' and the emergence of
the 'New McCarthyism' in the States, the emergence of what may be a
'national security state' and its global implications?

f) also, more generally, how would you characterize your political
philosophy? I gather liberal democratic: but what are the foundations
and justifications of liberal democracy, for example.

g) what is your take on the Canadian foreign policy position regarding
Iraq; on the question of what Canada's policy is and should be should
the UN report indicate that no evidence of wmd? Why is this matter
controversial, given that such a report would indicate that there is
no justification for war? Ie why does there appear to be a Cabinet
and caucus conflict over this issue, with McCallum for example on one
side, and Chretien and others (I gather) on the other?

I suppose these (among other matters) are the sorts of things with
which I imagine I might be able to gauge your political perspective a
little more comprehensively.

- Brock


> alt.politics.international FAQ: www.geocities.com/rwvong/future/apifaq.html

Russil Wvong

unread,
Jan 21, 2003, 1:57:54 PM1/21/03
to
Before you look at my answers, what's your own views on each of these
issues? Also, please don't respond without reading the links I've
included. I know it's a lot of reading, but international politics
is complicated. We're talking about issues of life and death.

bt...@canada.com (Brock) wrote:
> a) what is your view on the Iraq/US situation?

Someone (Arthur Schlesinger, I think) once said that when it comes
to foreign policy, there's two kinds of people. One asks, is it
right or wrong? The other asks, is it wise or foolish?

I'm in the latter group. I think the key question is: what are
the likely *consequences* of going to war, versus not going to war?

Given the destructiveness of modern war, I think it should be a
last resort. And there's the danger that war with Iraq would further
strengthen the radical Islamists in their civil war against the
governments of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan.
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=B9F80D70.CB3A%25rueggli%40mailzone.ch

At the same time, I don't want to see Saddam Hussein with nuclear
weapons. We're talking about the man who set the Kuwaiti oil fields
on fire.

I'd say that

I haven't given up hope that it's possible to disarm Saddam Hussein
without going to war. It's possible that threats and UN inspections
will be sufficient to convince Saddam to disarm; it'd then be possible
to lift the UN sanctions and return Iraq to normality. UN inspections
would have to continue.

But if Saddam decides not to disarm (which appears to be the case so
far), and if the only way to disarm him is to go to war, I'd
reluctantly support a war. I'd be more supportive if (a) there's
UN Security Council approval, and (b) UNMOVIC has sufficient time
to convince Saddam to disarm.

A review of some of the arguments:

The neo-conservative (i.e. ultra-liberal) hawks argue that overthrowing
Saddam Hussein and bringing liberal democracy to Iraq will set the
Middle East on the road to modernity. I don't buy this argument;
I think they're dreaming in Technicolor.
groups.google.com/groups?selm=afe9ed76.0301091017.6fb9d471%40posting.google.com

It's more difficult for me to dismiss Kanan Makiya's arguments about
the hideousness and instability of Saddam Hussein's regime. I'm
still turning them over in my head. But I think George Kennan's comments
apply: from the United States' point of view, there has to be some
reasonable chance of success before launching into a risky endeavor.
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=31603B48.425C%40math.bu.edu

Kenneth Pollack argues in "The Threatening Storm" that war is the only
way to disarm Saddam Hussein; containment is failing and deterrence
is too risky. So far I haven't seen any really good counter-arguments.
Note, however, that he believes Saddam is still a few years away from
acquiring nuclear weapons.
http://www.brook.edu/views/op-ed/pollack/20020926.htm

Mearsheimer and Walt argue that even if Saddam Hussein acquires nuclear
weapons, it's possible to deter him; and therefore war is unnecessary.
I don't buy this argument either. The 1973 war shows that nuclear
deterrence doesn't always work: Israel's nuclear arsenal failed to deter
Egypt and Syria from launching the war.
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/wwwboard/walts.html
http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/reviews/showrev.cgi?path=132061024455902

Anthony Cordesman comments that the arguments in both directions are
"finely balanced". There's risks either way. George Kennan, for one,
thinks the risks of war outweigh the risks of not going to war,
particularly for the United States.
http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/?021014ta_talk_mayer

> b) I noted your comment re: N. Korea and will go back there shortly,
> but what is your view on the response that was provided to your
> comment re: whether the US is threatening to use nuclear weapons?

Nes tends to exaggerate the degree of US iniquity. :-) Certainly
I think North Korea's Stalin-era rhetoric about warmongering is
disproportionate.

> Do the Bush policies of pre-emption, first usage of nuclear weapons
> against various countries, the identification of an 'axis of evil'
> destabilize nuclear policies, undermine the nuclear non-proliferation
> treaty, etc?

Yes, definitely. The five nuclear powers in 1970 are bound by the NPT
to reduce and eliminate their nuclear arsenals as soon as possible. The
Bush administration is pursuing major bilateral reductions with Russia,
but doesn't appear willing to consider eliminating its nuclear arsenal.

But it's a mistake to judge the US by idealistic standards and North
Korea by realistic standards, as the Toronto Star columnist did. If
it's realistic for North Korea to develop nuclear weapons, it's also
realistic for the United States to hold onto its nuclear weapons and
threaten to use them.

> c) why did you say (I forget where) that Bush could do ok if he
> listens to Powell and Rice? Don't know much about either, Rice in
> particular, but if they are both 'doves' in the cabinet, how will
> listening to them help Bush and the predominantly (as I understand it)
> hawk Cabinet?

From what I can tell, Bush listens to both the doves (Powell, Rice)
and the hawks (Cheney, Rumsfeld), but he's the one who makes the
decisions. Rex Murphy, reviewing David Frum's "The Right Man":

For those who had doubts on one cardinal matter, Frum offers
unqualified assurance: Bush is the boss. He is not in thrall
to the greater minds and powerful personalities surrounding him,
either Donald Rumsfeld or Colin Powell or Dick Cheney. "The
Right Man," again surprising from such a source, is a hymn for
heart over mind. I am not sure this portrait will comfort anybody
who has watched the unfurling of the war on terror, the
innovations in foreign policy, not least the doctrine of
pre-emptive attack as developments fraught with peril and
anxiety for the world. The anti-Bush zealots might actually take
more comfort from their caricature of the simpleton-puppet.
Under that view there is always the hope that the White House
Darth Vaders, Rumsfeld and Cheney, or the obvious adults, Powell
and Condoleezza Rice, might rein the child in. The thought that
Bush is in real control, that he is the principal in these
deep-ranging and potentially earth-shattering policies, offers
them less of a mattress for hope.

The decision to pursue a UN Security Council resolution reflects
greater influence on the part of Powell over that of the "Darth
Vaders." I hope.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64603-2002Nov16.html

> d) what is your take on the Gore / Bush election? Would Gore have
> been a better president, and why?

Considering Gore's experience and intellect, I think he would certainly
have been a better president. The fact that it was even a close election
in the first place reflects the appeal of radical egalitarianism (as
opposed to elitism) to American voters. Despite his privileged background,
Bush's image is that of an average guy; Gore's image is that of an elitist
intellectual.

And of course Gore won the popular vote. The final result in Florida,
when recounts were halted by partisanship on the Supreme Court, was
so close as to be determined by essentially random factors, like the
ballot design in certain counties.

The fact that voter turnout was so low is very disturbing. (Voter
turnout isn't much higher in Canada.)

> e) what is your view on the 'war on terrorism' and the emergence of
> the 'New McCarthyism' in the States, the emergence of what may be a
> 'national security state' and its global implications?

Regarding the "war on terrorism", I think Michael Doran's analysis
of the conflict as a civil war in the Arab and Islamic world is the
best I've seen.
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=B9F80D70.CB3A%25rueggli%40mailzone.ch

I'm not worried about "New McCarthyism" in the United States. The
Vietnam War didn't turn the US into a fascist state; I don't think
terrorism is going to. Frankly, I think hedonism is too strong,
particularly among the young, for the US to ever become a
permanently militarized state.

> f) also, more generally, how would you characterize your political
> philosophy? I gather liberal democratic:

No, in fact. I would say Hobbesian, based on a pessimistic view of
human nature. Given the capacity for aggression and violence in
human nature, I think the key political problem is how to maintain
peace and order. I see liberal democracy as an experiment.

> g) what is your take on the Canadian foreign policy position regarding
> Iraq; on the question of what Canada's policy is and should be should
> the UN report indicate that no evidence of wmd?

I think you misunderstand Canada's position. Canada will go to war
if it's *approved by the UN Security Council*; if it's not approved,
Canada has not said what it will do. Evidence of WMD and UN Security
Council approval for a war are two different things. It's hard to
know at this point exactly how much evidence would be required to
get the UN Security Council members to agree; the empty warheads
found so far aren't sufficient, for example.

I think Canada's position is the right one. Canada has a strong
interest in international law; so it makes sense for Canada to push
for UN Security Council approval, rather than saying it will go to war
with or without UN Security Council approval (as the neo-conservative,
US-aligned Canadian Alliance is advocating). In addition, a
bellicose stance would risk aggravating regional divisions within
Canada (as happened during World Wars I and II).

But Canada is also a close ally of the United States, and Canada
has an interest in preventing nuclear proliferation; so it doesn't
make sense for Canada to say that it will stay out of the war if
the UN Security Council *doesn't* approve it, as the left-wing
NDP is advocating.

Also see
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3DB56F90.71919FA1%40yahoo.com

> Ie why does there appear to be a Cabinet
> and caucus conflict over this issue, with McCallum for example on one
> side, and Chretien and others (I gather) on the other?

I don't think there's a Cabinet conflict: what McCallum said was
pretty much what Chretien said. With UN approval, Canada will go
to war; without UN approval, Canada may or may not go to war.

There's definitely a *caucus* split. Nobody wants to go to war
unless it's absolutely necessary. But judging if it's necessary
or not is very difficult. The deterioration in relations with the
US under the Bush administration hasn't helped.

Brock

unread,
Jan 22, 2003, 4:02:40 AM1/22/03
to
russi...@yahoo.com (Russil Wvong) wrote in message news:<afe9ed76.03012...@posting.google.com>...

> Before you look at my answers, what's your own views on each of these
> issues?

Well, answer already in process; if I get time I'll try to do some
follow up reading.

Also, please don't respond without reading the links I've
> included. I know it's a lot of reading, but international politics
> is complicated. We're talking about issues of life and death.
>
> bt...@canada.com (Brock) wrote:
> > a) what is your view on the Iraq/US situation?
>
> Someone (Arthur Schlesinger, I think) once said that when it comes
> to foreign policy, there's two kinds of people. One asks, is it
> right or wrong? The other asks, is it wise or foolish?
>
> I'm in the latter group. I think the key question is: what are
> the likely *consequences* of going to war, versus not going to war?

From a philosophical point of view, I cannot see that the distinction
is sustainable. If I'm not mistaken, a 'wise' action is 'right' and a
'foolish' action is 'wrong'. No?

>
> Given the destructiveness of modern war, I think it should be a
> last resort. And there's the danger that war with Iraq would further
> strengthen the radical Islamists in their civil war against the
> governments of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan.
> http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=B9F80D70.CB3A%25rueggli%40mailzone.ch

And, as Douglas Hurd pointed out, provide a potentially vast source of
recruits for 'terrorism'. I gather the US is aware of this, and
coincidentally (?) if it created that kind of effect, it would
continue to justify very hawkish domestic and foreign policies.


>
> At the same time, I don't want to see Saddam Hussein with nuclear
> weapons. We're talking about the man who set the Kuwaiti oil fields
> on fire.
>
> I'd say that
>
> I haven't given up hope that it's possible to disarm Saddam Hussein
> without going to war.

You make the assumption here that Hussein has wmd. Why?


It's possible that threats and UN inspections
> will be sufficient to convince Saddam to disarm; it'd then be possible
> to lift the UN sanctions and return Iraq to normality. UN inspections
> would have to continue.
>
> But if Saddam decides not to disarm (which appears to be the case so
> far), and if the only way to disarm him is to go to war, I'd
> reluctantly support a war. I'd be more supportive if (a) there's
> UN Security Council approval, and (b) UNMOVIC has sufficient time
> to convince Saddam to disarm.
>
> A review of some of the arguments:
>
> The neo-conservative (i.e. ultra-liberal) hawks argue that overthrowing
> Saddam Hussein and bringing liberal democracy to Iraq will set the
> Middle East on the road to modernity. I don't buy this argument;
> I think they're dreaming in Technicolor.

I couldn't disagree with that comment, though surely there is scope
for development/continued development in the Middle East.


> groups.google.com/groups?selm=afe9ed76.0301091017.6fb9d471%40posting.google.com
>
> It's more difficult for me to dismiss Kanan Makiya's arguments about
> the hideousness and instability of Saddam Hussein's regime. I'm
> still turning them over in my head. But I think George Kennan's comments
> apply: from the United States' point of view, there has to be some
> reasonable chance of success before launching into a risky endeavor.
> http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=31603B48.425C%40math.bu.edu
>
> Kenneth Pollack argues in "The Threatening Storm" that war is the only
> way to disarm Saddam Hussein; containment is failing and deterrence
> is too risky. So far I haven't seen any really good counter-arguments.
> Note, however, that he believes Saddam is still a few years away from
> acquiring nuclear weapons.
> http://www.brook.edu/views/op-ed/pollack/20020926.htm
>
> Mearsheimer and Walt argue that even if Saddam Hussein acquires nuclear
> weapons, it's possible to deter him; and therefore war is unnecessary.
> I don't buy this argument either. The 1973 war shows that nuclear
> deterrence doesn't always work: Israel's nuclear arsenal failed to deter
> Egypt and Syria from launching the war.
> http://www.foreignpolicy.com/wwwboard/walts.html
> http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/reviews/showrev.cgi?path=132061024455902

Evidently, the attack was conventional, however.

>
> Anthony Cordesman comments that the arguments in both directions are
> "finely balanced". There's risks either way. George Kennan, for one,
> thinks the risks of war outweigh the risks of not going to war,
> particularly for the United States.
> http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/?021014ta_talk_mayer
>
> > b) I noted your comment re: N. Korea and will go back there shortly,
> > but what is your view on the response that was provided to your
> > comment re: whether the US is threatening to use nuclear weapons?
>
> Nes tends to exaggerate the degree of US iniquity. :-) Certainly
> I think North Korea's Stalin-era rhetoric about warmongering is
> disproportionate.

Interesting perspective: I'm not sure Nes isn't correct, however. Why
on earth would the US ever adopt via their nuclear posture review a
policy of the first use of nuclear weapons against small countries?

>
> > Do the Bush policies of pre-emption, first usage of nuclear weapons
> > against various countries, the identification of an 'axis of evil'
> > destabilize nuclear policies, undermine the nuclear non-proliferation
> > treaty, etc?
>
> Yes, definitely. The five nuclear powers in 1970 are bound by the NPT
> to reduce and eliminate their nuclear arsenals as soon as possible. The
> Bush administration is pursuing major bilateral reductions with Russia,
> but doesn't appear willing to consider eliminating its nuclear arsenal.
>
> But it's a mistake to judge the US by idealistic standards and North
> Korea by realistic standards, as the Toronto Star columnist did. If
> it's realistic for North Korea to develop nuclear weapons, it's also
> realistic for the United States to hold onto its nuclear weapons and
> threaten to use them.

No, I think my point here is that it appears that the position which
the nuclear countries have of saying 'it's ok for us to have nuclear
weapons, but nobody else' is undermined by policies such as first
usage of nuclear weapons against the countries outlined in the nuclear
posture review. As far as I can tell, it undermines the entire basis
of legitimacy to the treaty.

This is interesting and insightful into your perspective. I saw a
very brief comment that the US government has been hijacked. I wasn't
able to access the page again, so I wasn't able to ask a follow up. I
gather you would say that such a thing is poppycock.

>
> > d) what is your take on the Gore / Bush election? Would Gore have
> > been a better president, and why?
>
> Considering Gore's experience and intellect, I think he would certainly
> have been a better president. The fact that it was even a close election
> in the first place reflects the appeal of radical egalitarianism (as
> opposed to elitism) to American voters. Despite his privileged background,
> Bush's image is that of an average guy; Gore's image is that of an elitist
> intellectual.
>
> And of course Gore won the popular vote. The final result in Florida,
> when recounts were halted by partisanship on the Supreme Court, was
> so close as to be determined by essentially random factors, like the
> ballot design in certain counties.
>
> The fact that voter turnout was so low is very disturbing. (Voter
> turnout isn't much higher in Canada.)

Not surprised by voter turnouts. But an interesting perspective. But
'average guy'? Strange image that is. Don't know much about Gore,
really, but Bush as I have said is a disaster to American foreign
policy.

>
> > e) what is your view on the 'war on terrorism' and the emergence of
> > the 'New McCarthyism' in the States, the emergence of what may be a
> > 'national security state' and its global implications?
>
> Regarding the "war on terrorism", I think Michael Doran's analysis
> of the conflict as a civil war in the Arab and Islamic world is the
> best I've seen.
> http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=B9F80D70.CB3A%25rueggli%40mailzone.ch
>
> I'm not worried about "New McCarthyism" in the United States. The
> Vietnam War didn't turn the US into a fascist state; I don't think
> terrorism is going to. Frankly, I think hedonism is too strong,
> particularly among the young, for the US to ever become a
> permanently militarized state.

That I would say is a questionable position, particularly given the
emergence of various technologies which facilitate such a
continuation. The new Homeland security department, Echelon, and
other matters are indications I should think of very worrisome
American government tendencies.

>
> > f) also, more generally, how would you characterize your political
> > philosophy? I gather liberal democratic:
>
> No, in fact. I would say Hobbesian, based on a pessimistic view of
> human nature. Given the capacity for aggression and violence in
> human nature, I think the key political problem is how to maintain
> peace and order. I see liberal democracy as an experiment.

Yikes. That is quite insightful to your political perspective. I
think it's a bit of a frightening perspective as it does not have a
great deal of appreciation for what I would consider very critical
understandings of what justifies one kind of society over another, if
such a thing can be done. There seem to be a myriad of ways to
maintain peace and order which fail to appreciate the need to provide
a foundation and justification for the type of society in which such
peace and order are maintained.

>
> > g) what is your take on the Canadian foreign policy position regarding
> > Iraq; on the question of what Canada's policy is and should be should
> > the UN report indicate that no evidence of wmd?
>
> I think you misunderstand Canada's position. Canada will go to war
> if it's *approved by the UN Security Council*; if it's not approved,
> Canada has not said what it will do. Evidence of WMD and UN Security
> Council approval for a war are two different things. It's hard to
> know at this point exactly how much evidence would be required to
> get the UN Security Council members to agree; the empty warheads
> found so far aren't sufficient, for example.

I followed the interplay between Chretien's statements on the one hand
and McCallum's on the other: there was fairly clearly in my
interpretation a shift from one policy to another (and then possibly
to a middle position, though the 'another' policy may have been -
though I frankly doubt - the middle position.)


>
> I think Canada's position is the right one. Canada has a strong
> interest in international law; so it makes sense for Canada to push
> for UN Security Council approval, rather than saying it will go to war
> with or without UN Security Council approval (as the neo-conservative,
> US-aligned Canadian Alliance is advocating). In addition, a
> bellicose stance would risk aggravating regional divisions within
> Canada (as happened during World Wars I and II).
>
> But Canada is also a close ally of the United States, and Canada
> has an interest in preventing nuclear proliferation; so it doesn't
> make sense for Canada to say that it will stay out of the war if
> the UN Security Council *doesn't* approve it, as the left-wing
> NDP is advocating.

Left wing only? I shouldn't think so. You still seem to make the
assumption that Iraq has wmd - even if the UN report indicates there
is no evidence that they do. How can war be justified if there is no
- or no conclusive - evidence of wmd? That to me is a very strange
position, and I find it very difficult to understand why Canada would
support such a war in that case. Being allied to the US + interest in
preventing nuclear proliferation does not in my view explain the
shift.


>
> Also see
> http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3DB56F90.71919FA1%40yahoo.com
>
> > Ie why does there appear to be a Cabinet
> > and caucus conflict over this issue, with McCallum for example on one
> > side, and Chretien and others (I gather) on the other?
>
> I don't think there's a Cabinet conflict: what McCallum said was
> pretty much what Chretien said. With UN approval, Canada will go
> to war; without UN approval, Canada may or may not go to war.
>
> There's definitely a *caucus* split. Nobody wants to go to war
> unless it's absolutely necessary. But judging if it's necessary
> or not is very difficult. The deterioration in relations with the
> US under the Bush administration hasn't helped.
>
> Russil Wvong
> Vancouver, Canada
> alt.politics.international FAQ: www.geocities.com/rwvong/future/apifaq.html

As I say, I'll try to respond further if I get a chance to read some
additional materials.

- Brock

Russil Wvong

unread,
Jan 22, 2003, 2:20:12 PM1/22/03
to
bt...@canada.com (Brock) wrote:
> russi...@yahoo.com (Russil Wvong) wrote:
> > Someone (Arthur Schlesinger, I think) once said that when it comes
> > to foreign policy, there's two kinds of people. One asks, is it
> > right or wrong? The other asks, is it wise or foolish?
> >
> > I'm in the latter group. I think the key question is: what are
> > the likely *consequences* of going to war, versus not going to war?
>
> From a philosophical point of view, I cannot see that the distinction
> is sustainable. If I'm not mistaken, a 'wise' action is 'right' and a
> 'foolish' action is 'wrong'. No?

No.

Hans Morgenthau, *Politics Among Nations*, gives an example where
following the legally correct course of action would have led to
disastrous consequences.

In 1939 the Soviet Union attacked Finland. This action confronted
France and Great Britain with two issues, one legal, the other
political. Did that action violate the Covenant of the League of
Nations and, if it did, what countermeasures should France and
Great Britain take? The legal question could easily be answered in
the affirmative, for obviously the Soviet Union had done what was
prohibited by the Covenant. The answer to the political question
depends, first, upon the manner in which the Russian action
affected
the interests of France and Great Britain; second, upon the
existing
distribution of power between France and Great Britain, on the one
hand, and the Soviet Union and other potentially hostile nations,
especially Germany, on the other; and, third, upon the influence
that the countermeasures were likely to have upon the interests of
France and Great Britain and the future distribution of power.
France and Great Britain, as the leading members of the League of
Nations, saw to it that the Soviet Union was expelled from the
League, and they were prevented from joining Finland in the war
against the Soviet Union only by Sweden's refusal to allow their
troops to pass through Swedish territory on their way to Finland.
If this refusal by Sweden had not saved them, France and Great
Britain would shortly have found themselves at war with the Soviet
Union and Germany at the same time.

The policy of France and Great Britain was a classic example of
legalism in that they allowed the answer to the legal question,
legitimate within its sphere, to determine their political
actions.
Instead of asking both questions, that of law and that of power,
they asked only the question of law; and the answer they received
could have no bearing on the issue that their very existence might
have depended upon.
[http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/morg6.htm]

More generally:

The individual may say for himself: "*Fiat justitia, pereat
mundus*
(Let justice be done, even if the world perish)," but the state
has
no right to say so in the name of those who are in its care. Both
individual and state must judge political action by universal
moral
principles, such as that of liberty. Yet while the individual has
a
moral right to sacrifice himself in defense of such a moral
principle, the state has no right to let its moral disapprobation
of the infringement of liberty get in the way of successful
political
action, itself inspired by the moral principle of national
survival.
THERE CAN BE NO POLITICAL MORALITY WITHOUT PRUDENCE; that is,
without consideration of the political consequences of seemingly
moral action. [emphasis added]
[http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/morg6.htm]

> > I'd say that
> >
> > I haven't given up hope that it's possible to disarm Saddam Hussein
> > without going to war.
>
> You make the assumption here that Hussein has wmd. Why?

Because he continued to develop WMD after the end of the Gulf War,
putting
a lot of effort into hiding them from UNSCOM. The reason that the UN
withdrew UNSCOM and authorized Operation Desert Fox in 1998 is because
he stopped cooperating with UNSCOM.

From a 1999 interview with Barton Gellman:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/unscom/interviews/gellman.html

Q. If UNSCOM had worked the way the U.N. Security Council wanted
it to, what should Iraq have done?

A. Well, it sort of sounds funny now. Because if you go back to
the original resolution, 687, Iraq had 15 days to declare
fully--they called it the "full, final and complete
disclosure"--of its nuclear, biological, chemical weapons programs
and any missile programs capable of delivering a warhead more than
a 150 kilometers. The U.N. was supposed to destroy, disable,
dismantle, those capabilities, and put in a system of monitoring
for any dual-use equipment, stuff that could be used to make it
again or it could also be used for civilian purposes. And that was
all supposed to happen in April of 1991.

Q. And instead what happened?

A. Well, instead, as we now know, Iraq set in motion a very
sophisticated and highly resourced effort to cover up most of its
capabilities. They formed what UNSCOM has come to call the "Joint
Committee" of the most senior security service leaders and the
inner circle of Saddam Hussein. They decided what their story
would be to UNSCOM. They decided which part of their program they
would sacrifice. After all, they had used chemical weapons
extensively in the Iran-Iraq War, so they couldn't say they didn't
have that program. They decided to sacrifice their oldest and
least sophisticated chemical weapons. They were available in
quantity to do so. They made a great show of bringing these to
UNSCOM. UNSCOM laid dynamite across them and blew them up and
buried them in pits and everyone felt they were making great
progress.

But they were also carefully culling their files to make sure that
the advanced binary chemical weapons, that the entire existence of
a biological program, that some of their missile facilities, and
the existence of any nuclear weapons program at all, were
carefully hidden.

Q. Over the past eight years, how would you assess what UNSCOM has
been able to do?

A. Well, there's no doubt that UNSCOM has had huge
accomplishments. They have destroyed, as they often say, and it's
absolutely true, far more of Iraq's special weapons than the whole
Persian Gulf War did, even though those special weapons were one
of 12 major targets that the American-led Allied Forces
bombed. So, they've gotten rid of enormous quantities of chemical
munitions, of gravity bombs, of missiles, of production
facilities, and so on.

They have not been able to satisfy themselves that they've
destroyed Iraq's most sophisticated and dangerous weapons. For
example, in the chemical field, VX, the world's most lethal nerve
gas. In the biological field, they're very much unsatisfied with
what they know. And there are certain nagging doubts on the
nuclear side and the missile side as well.

The entire interview is quite fascinating, describing the game of
hide-and-seek between Iraq and UNSCOM.

Also see
http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/iraq/

By the way, according to Kenneth Pollack, it's Saddam, not Hussein.
(Hussein's his father's first name.)

The correct shorthand is "Saddam." It is not "Hussein," which is
merely Saddam's father's first name, not Saddam's family name....
In Iraqi tribal society, most people do not have family names.
Instead they are called by their own first name and their father's
first name....Thus Saddam Hussein essentially means "Saddam, son
of Hussein"....Saddam's sons' names are Udayy Saddam and Qusayy
Saddam — their own first names followed by their father's first
name.

Via CalPundit.

> > Mearsheimer and Walt argue that even if Saddam Hussein acquires nuclear
> > weapons, it's possible to deter him; and therefore war is unnecessary.
> > I don't buy this argument either. The 1973 war shows that nuclear
> > deterrence doesn't always work: Israel's nuclear arsenal failed to deter
> > Egypt and Syria from launching the war.
> > http://www.foreignpolicy.com/wwwboard/walts.html
> > http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/reviews/showrev.cgi?path=132061024455902
>
> Evidently, the attack was conventional, however.

I don't see your point. Egypt and Syria did not know whether Israel
would escalate to using its nuclear weapons. But they went ahead
and attacked anyway.

> Why on earth would the US ever adopt via their nuclear posture review a
> policy of the first use of nuclear weapons against small countries?

To deter the use of chemical weapons (the "poor man's nuclear bomb")
and biological weapons.

> No, I think my point here is that it appears that the position which
> the nuclear countries have of saying 'it's ok for us to have nuclear

> weapons, but nobody else' --

That's not what the NPT says (and for any hawks reading this, the US
has ratified it). The NPT says that it's not okay for *anyone* to
have nuclear weapons.

> -- is undermined by policies such as first


> usage of nuclear weapons against the countries outlined in the nuclear
> posture review. As far as I can tell, it undermines the entire basis
> of legitimacy to the treaty.

Correct.

> This is interesting and insightful into your perspective. I saw a
> very brief comment that the US government has been hijacked. I wasn't
> able to access the page again, so I wasn't able to ask a follow up. I
> gather you would say that such a thing is poppycock.

Depends. "Hijacked" is a pretty strong word, but the
neo-conservatives
certainly mark a sharp and dangerous break from previous US foreign
policy.
groups.google.com/groups?selm=afe9ed76.0301081111.142bfe0%40posting.google.com

> > I'm not worried about "New McCarthyism" in the United States. The
> > Vietnam War didn't turn the US into a fascist state; I don't think
> > terrorism is going to. Frankly, I think hedonism is too strong,
> > particularly among the young, for the US to ever become a
> > permanently militarized state.
>
> That I would say is a questionable position, particularly given the
> emergence of various technologies which facilitate such a
> continuation. The new Homeland security department, Echelon, and
> other matters are indications I should think of very worrisome
> American government tendencies.

I think it's impossible to maintain a fascist state without the
passive
consent of a majority of the population, and the enthusiastic
participation
of a significant minority, especially among the young. And you're
simply
not going to get that in the US.

> > > f) also, more generally, how would you characterize your political
> > > philosophy? I gather liberal democratic:
> >
> > No, in fact. I would say Hobbesian, based on a pessimistic view of
> > human nature. Given the capacity for aggression and violence in
> > human nature, I think the key political problem is how to maintain
> > peace and order. I see liberal democracy as an experiment.
>
> Yikes. That is quite insightful to your political perspective.

Since you seem to be an Orwell fan, I should also mention that I've
read
all of Orwell's books (back in high school). He says something along
these lines in one of his essays: pacifists believe that evil is
self-defeating, and so good will always prevail in the end. But in
fact if you look at history, you find that's not true at all. Empires
based on slavery have lasted for thousands of years. Liberal
democracy
is a recent experiment.

> I think it's a bit of a frightening perspective as it does not have a
> great deal of appreciation for what I would consider very critical
> understandings of what justifies one kind of society over another, if
> such a thing can be done. There seem to be a myriad of ways to
> maintain peace and order which fail to appreciate the need to provide
> a foundation and justification for the type of society in which such
> peace and order are maintained.

Of course you can't maintain peace and order by naked force alone.
Louis Halle, *The Cold War as History*:

... real power is always something far greater than military power
alone. A balance of power is not a balance of military power
alone: it is, rather, a balance in which military power is one
element. Even in its crudest aspect, power represents a subtle
and intimate combination of force and consent. No stable
government has ever existed, and no empire has ever become
established, except with an immensely preponderant measure of
consent on the part of those who were its subjects. That consent
may be a half-grudging consent; it may be a consent based in part
on awe of superior force; it may represent love, or respect, or
fear, or a combination of the three. Consent, in any case, is the
essential ingredient in stable power--more so than physical force,
of which the most efficient and economical use is to increase
consent.

By using physical force in such a way as alienates consent one
constantly increases the requirements of physical force to replace
the consent that has been alienated.

But I think it's impossible to eliminate injustice (just take a close
look at the regional disputes within Canada). Hence I value peace
over justice.

> > But Canada is also a close ally of the United States, and Canada
> > has an interest in preventing nuclear proliferation; so it doesn't
> > make sense for Canada to say that it will stay out of the war if
> > the UN Security Council *doesn't* approve it, as the left-wing
> > NDP is advocating.
>
> Left wing only? I shouldn't think so.

I included the description for non-Canadian readers who aren't
familiar
with the NDP.

> You still seem to make the
> assumption that Iraq has wmd - even if the UN report indicates there
> is no evidence that they do. How can war be justified if there is no
> - or no conclusive - evidence of wmd?

I'm afraid you have the burden of proof the wrong way around. Iraq's
supposed to prove to the satisfaction of UNMOVIC that they have no
WMD.
If Hans Blix comes back and says that they don't have any smoking
guns,
but they think Iraq is hiding WMD programs, the UN Security Council
has
a pretty strong case in front of it for going to war.

The fact that Iraq didn't include any new information on its WMD
programs
in its December declaration, other than what had already been
discovered by UNSCOM and revealed by defectors, raised the chances of
war considerably --
it indicated that Saddam hadn't changed his mind about keeping his
special
weapons programs.

I think the last chance to resolve the crisis peacefully is up to
Saddam.
If he decides to disarm, and gives UNMOVIC the details of all his WMD
programs (including the ones which UNSCOM didn't find), then the doves
win and he gets to stay in power. If he doesn't, the hawks win and
the US goes to war.

Russil Wvong

unread,
Jan 22, 2003, 11:37:25 PM1/22/03
to
Sorry about the screwed-up formatting. Let me try that again....

Russil Wvong

unread,
Jan 23, 2003, 12:24:01 AM1/23/03
to
Russil Wvong wrote:
> Since you seem to be an Orwell fan, I should also mention that I've read
> all of Orwell's books (back in high school). He says something along
> these lines in one of his essays: pacifists believe that evil is
> self-defeating, and so good will always prevail in the end. But in
> fact if you look at history, you find that's not true at all. Empires
> based on slavery have lasted for thousands of years. Liberal democracy
> is a recent experiment.

Here's the quote, from "Looking Back on the Spanish War" (1943), reprinted
in "A Collection of Essays."

This kind of thing is frightening to me, because it often gives me
the feeling that the very concept of objective truth is fading out
of the world. ...

Against that shifting phantasmagoric world in which black may be
white tomorrow and yesterday's weather can be changed by decree,
there are only two safeguards. One is that however much you deny
the truth, the truth goes on existing, as it were, behind your
back, and you consequently can't violate it in ways that impair
military efficiency. The other is that so long as some parts of
the earth remain unconquered, the liberal tradition can be kept
alive. Let fascism, or possibly even a combination of several
fascisms, conquer the whole world, and those two conditions no
longer exist.

We in England underrate the danger of this kind of thing, because
our traditions and our past security have given us a sentimental
belief that it all comes right in the end and the thing you most
fear never really happens. Nourished for hundreds of years on a
literature in which Right invariably triumphs in the last chapter,
we believe half-instinctively that evil always defeats itself in
the long run. Pacifism, for instance, is founded largely on this
belief. Don't resist evil and it will somehow destroy itself.
But why should it? What evidence is there that it does? And what
instance is there of a modern industrialised state collapsing
unless conquered from the outside by military force?

Consider for instance the institution of slavery. Who could have
imagined twenty years ago that slavery would return to Europe?
Well, slavery has been restored under our noses. The
forced-labour camps all over Europe and North Africa where Poles,
Russians, Jews and political prisoners of every race toil at
road-making or swamp-draining for their bare rations, are simple
chattel slavery. The most one can say is that the buying and
selling of slaves by individuals is not yet permitted. In other
ways--the breaking-up of families, for instance--the conditions
are probably worse than they were on the American cotton
plantations. There is no reason for thinking that this state of
affairs will change while any totalitarian domination endures. We
don't grasp its full implications, because in our mystical way we
feel that a regime founded on slavery *must* collapse. But it is
worth comparing the duration of the slave empires of antiquity
with that of any modern state. Civilisations founded on slavery
have lasted for such periods as four thousand years.

When I think of antiquity, the detail that frightens me is that
hundreds of millions of slaves on whose backs civilisation rested
generation after generation have left behind them no record
whatever. We do not even know their names. In the whole of Greek
and Roman history, how many slaves' names are known to you? I can
think of two, or possibly three. One is Spartacus and the other
is Epictetus. Also, in the Roman room at the British Museum there
is a glass jar with the maker's name inscribed on the bottom,
"Felix fecit." I have a vivid mental picture of poor Felix (a
Gaul with red hair and a metal collar round his neck), but in fact
he may not have been a slave; so there are only two slaves whose
names I definitely know, and probably few people can remember
more. The rest have gone down into utter silence.

Brock

unread,
Jan 23, 2003, 2:50:21 AM1/23/03
to
Thanks for the reply. I must say you appear to be very well read,
much more well read than I am. However, there are some issues which
you haven't thought through to their general foundations (not that I
have thought them through in any great detail, but more
foundationally). Anyway, some comments below.


russi...@yahoo.com (Russil Wvong) wrote in message news:<afe9ed76.0301...@posting.google.com>...


> bt...@canada.com (Brock) wrote:
> > russi...@yahoo.com (Russil Wvong) wrote:
> > > Someone (Arthur Schlesinger, I think) once said that when it comes
> > > to foreign policy, there's two kinds of people. One asks, is it
> > > right or wrong? The other asks, is it wise or foolish?
> > >
> > > I'm in the latter group. I think the key question is: what are
> > > the likely *consequences* of going to war, versus not going to war?
> >
> > From a philosophical point of view, I cannot see that the distinction
> > is sustainable. If I'm not mistaken, a 'wise' action is 'right' and a
> > 'foolish' action is 'wrong'. No?
>
> No.

I respond again by saying that the distinction is insupportable. I
would agree that the legal action - particularly by way of
international law, which is rather tenuous at best, as I'm sure you'd
agree - does not necessarily purport the 'right' action in situations
where broader issues are at stake. But it does not negate the issue
that what one purports to be a 'wise' action is a reference to a moral
action: it's a question of what 'ought' to be done, and whenever an
action is done on the basis of what 'ought' to be done, it is done
with reference to a moral system or set of moral values.


>
> Hans Morgenthau, *Politics Among Nations*, gives an example where
> following the legally correct course of action would have led to
> disastrous consequences.
>
> In 1939 the Soviet Union attacked Finland. This action confronted
> France and Great Britain with two issues, one legal, the other
> political. Did that action violate the Covenant of the League of
> Nations and, if it did, what countermeasures should France and
> Great Britain take? The legal question could easily be answered in

Note Morgenthau's use of the word 'should' here, clearly indicating
that it is a question of the 'ought'.

> the affirmative, for obviously the Soviet Union had done what was
> prohibited by the Covenant. The answer to the political question
> depends, first, upon the manner in which the Russian action
> affected
> the interests of France and Great Britain;

'Interests' thus becomes a moral reference point: what is 'in the
interests of a state' (however that is defined - and there are
significant philosophical issues here) becomes an element of the
decision morality.

second, upon the
> existing
> distribution of power between France and Great Britain, on the one
> hand, and the Soviet Union and other potentially hostile nations,
> especially Germany, on the other;

Here again, the idea of a 'distribution of power' becomes a question
with a moral reference; there are conceptions of 'appropriate' or
'proper' distributions of power; eg. the so-called 'balance of power'
is sometimes espoused by realists as to be something to be maintained.

Here again, the concept of 'prudence' is a moral one; it is an
additional aspect or principle which is included in the making of the
'right' decision. Some people restrict definitions of morality; but
an evaluation of political consequences is not, as indicated above,
outside a different concept of morality.

With respect to the issue of the state's upholding of liberty: this
gets to the question of what sort of a political system can be
justified etc. For exmple, if a state's action in abrogating liberty,
individual rights, the rule of law, democratic institutions, the
constitution, etc. in the pursuit of 'self-interest', or imperial
preeminence as opposed to a lesser role in international politics, for
example, then it is quite possible that the very foundations and
values of the state will be compromised - and possibly permanently.
The question then arises: what is the state for, and how is it
justified, and would, for example, a lesser role in international
politics with a preservation or restoring of the moral foundations of
the state be preferable to an illegitimate regime.

>
> > > I'd say that
> > >
> > > I haven't given up hope that it's possible to disarm Saddam Hussein
> > > without going to war.
> >
> > You make the assumption here that Hussein has wmd. Why?
>
> Because he continued to develop WMD after the end of the Gulf War,
> putting

Yes, interesting comparison. Not a good record for Hussein (and
thanks for the note, but I think it's ok convention to refer to
Hussein), but still not conclusive of the matter. For example - the
US indicated once that they knew, that Britain knew, that basically
any country with an active intelligence knows that Iraq has wmd.
Well, the US is now, as I understand it, providing 'significant
intelligence' to the inspectors, and I understand there may be other
sources as well, and even with this intelligence the inspectors have
been unable to make conclusions about whether Iraq has wmd or not. So
what does that imply in regard to US's initial statement? A fib?

Well, the point here is the question of the usage of nuclear weapons
(I'll stick with nuclear weapons, as I should think they are different
from chemical weapons at least, and biological weapons also perhaps).
Would Hussein use nuclear weapons if he knew that there would be
reprisals? This is the issue, I should think, since he has used
chemical weapons, and done other such things as pop Kuwait's oil
wells. And here it is unclear: Hussein, even if he had nuclear
weapons, might be deterred from ever using them on a first usage
basis. And this is one of the reasons why US adoption of a first
usage policy against small countries is so disturbing: it means (among
other things) that it is perhaps the US that the world should be
worrying about, not Iraq.


>
> > Why on earth would the US ever adopt via their nuclear posture review a
> > policy of the first use of nuclear weapons against small countries?
>
> To deter the use of chemical weapons (the "poor man's nuclear bomb")
> and biological weapons.

I don't know much about either weapons, but it is my understanding
that neither such weapon is anywhere near as lethal as nuclear
weaponry, so I do not know that a first usage policy is justified in
deterring such weapons. Further, it is strange because as I
understand it, the US at a minimum continued to support Hussein even
when he was using chemical weapons, for example in Iran. So the
introduction of first usage to deter chemical weapons usage that has
been supported in the past does not seem to me to be an adequate
explanation.


>
> > No, I think my point here is that it appears that the position which
> > the nuclear countries have of saying 'it's ok for us to have nuclear
> > weapons, but nobody else' --
>
> That's not what the NPT says (and for any hawks reading this, the US
> has ratified it). The NPT says that it's not okay for *anyone* to
> have nuclear weapons.
>
> > -- is undermined by policies such as first
> > usage of nuclear weapons against the countries outlined in the nuclear
> > posture review. As far as I can tell, it undermines the entire basis
> > of legitimacy to the treaty.
>
> Correct.
>
> > This is interesting and insightful into your perspective. I saw a
> > very brief comment that the US government has been hijacked. I wasn't
> > able to access the page again, so I wasn't able to ask a follow up. I
> > gather you would say that such a thing is poppycock.
>
> Depends. "Hijacked" is a pretty strong word, but the
> neo-conservatives
> certainly mark a sharp and dangerous break from previous US foreign
> policy.
> groups.google.com/groups?selm=afe9ed76.0301081111.142bfe0%40posting.google.com

Interesting response: I should have thought your response rather
negative to that issue, but as I say interesting response.

>
> > > I'm not worried about "New McCarthyism" in the United States. The
> > > Vietnam War didn't turn the US into a fascist state; I don't think
> > > terrorism is going to. Frankly, I think hedonism is too strong,
> > > particularly among the young, for the US to ever become a
> > > permanently militarized state.
> >
> > That I would say is a questionable position, particularly given the
> > emergence of various technologies which facilitate such a
> > continuation. The new Homeland security department, Echelon, and
> > other matters are indications I should think of very worrisome
> > American government tendencies.
>
> I think it's impossible to maintain a fascist state without the
> passive
> consent of a majority of the population, and the enthusiastic
> participation
> of a significant minority, especially among the young. And you're
> simply
> not going to get that in the US.

I hope you're right - but sadly, I think you are mistaken.

>
> > > > f) also, more generally, how would you characterize your political
> > > > philosophy? I gather liberal democratic:
> > >
> > > No, in fact. I would say Hobbesian, based on a pessimistic view of
> > > human nature. Given the capacity for aggression and violence in
> > > human nature, I think the key political problem is how to maintain
> > > peace and order. I see liberal democracy as an experiment.
> >
> > Yikes. That is quite insightful to your political perspective.
>
> Since you seem to be an Orwell fan, I should also mention that I've
> read
> all of Orwell's books (back in high school). He says something along
> these lines in one of his essays: pacifists believe that evil is
> self-defeating, and so good will always prevail in the end. But in
> fact if you look at history, you find that's not true at all. Empires
> based on slavery have lasted for thousands of years. Liberal
> democracy
> is a recent experiment.

Can't say I've read all of Orwell's books: quite impressive that
you've read them all, and in high school at that.

I'm not sure what your point is in regards to the Orwell reference,
but I don't see that seeking to maintain and ensure that the state is
founded on 'good principles', whatever those may be, should be
abdicated simply because, for example, if one is a liberal democrat,
liberal democracy is a comparatively recent system of governance.
With respect to the origins of liberal democracy: why it arose in
Europe for example, I should think goes way back into history. Don't
know a lot about it, but it is my guess that the concepts of freedom
and democracy do indeed go way back into the history of Europe (eg.
Greece, opposition to Rome: though I should think also much further
back than that). Liberal democracy can be seen as a crowning
achievement of a very long and storied history.

Also, your use of the term 'experiment' is rather strange to me, as if
it were not founded on strong convictions of freedom, rights, rule of
law, democracy, etc., but rather is a 'calculated' construction to see
how it would work. As I say, I find it a bit disturbing.


>
> > I think it's a bit of a frightening perspective as it does not have a
> > great deal of appreciation for what I would consider very critical
> > understandings of what justifies one kind of society over another, if
> > such a thing can be done. There seem to be a myriad of ways to
> > maintain peace and order which fail to appreciate the need to provide
> > a foundation and justification for the type of society in which such
> > peace and order are maintained.
>
> Of course you can't maintain peace and order by naked force alone.
> Louis Halle, *The Cold War as History*:
>
> ... real power is always something far greater than military power
> alone. A balance of power is not a balance of military power
> alone: it is, rather, a balance in which military power is one
> element. Even in its crudest aspect, power represents a subtle
> and intimate combination of force and consent. No stable
> government has ever existed, and no empire has ever become
> established, except with an immensely preponderant measure of
> consent on the part of those who were its subjects. That consent
> may be a half-grudging consent; it may be a consent based in part
> on awe of superior force; it may represent love, or respect, or
> fear, or a combination of the three. Consent, in any case, is the
> essential ingredient in stable power--more so than physical force,
> of which the most efficient and economical use is to increase
> consent.

Yes, I would tend to agree that consent of the governed is a very
important concept, very strongly related to the concept of legitimacy.
Free consent I think is a far better form of legitimacy than anything
else; and consent founded on force I'm not sure is consent at all.

>
> By using physical force in such a way as alienates consent one
> constantly increases the requirements of physical force to replace
> the consent that has been alienated.
>
> But I think it's impossible to eliminate injustice (just take a close
> look at the regional disputes within Canada). Hence I value peace
> over justice.

Again, from a philosophical perspective, while you can define justice
narrowly, in fact peace forms a part of your overall morality, your
overall concept of justice.

Here's a question for you: if peace and order are your fundamental
values, overriding other values, than consider 1984: there arises a
system of governance which - although there is a continuous war, it is
one which Orwell describes as really of no great consequence for the
continued existence of the the three Superpowers - could be said to
maintain order, and a form of 'peace'. From your perspective,
assuming you agree with Orwell's and others' critique of
totalitarianism - what makes such a system wrong?

>
> > > But Canada is also a close ally of the United States, and Canada
> > > has an interest in preventing nuclear proliferation; so it doesn't
> > > make sense for Canada to say that it will stay out of the war if
> > > the UN Security Council *doesn't* approve it, as the left-wing
> > > NDP is advocating.
> >
> > Left wing only? I shouldn't think so.
>
> I included the description for non-Canadian readers who aren't
> familiar
> with the NDP.
>
> > You still seem to make the
> > assumption that Iraq has wmd - even if the UN report indicates there
> > is no evidence that they do. How can war be justified if there is no
> > - or no conclusive - evidence of wmd?
>
> I'm afraid you have the burden of proof the wrong way around. Iraq's
> supposed to prove to the satisfaction of UNMOVIC that they have no
> WMD.
> If Hans Blix comes back and says that they don't have any smoking
> guns,
> but they think Iraq is hiding WMD programs, the UN Security Council
> has
> a pretty strong case in front of it for going to war.

Burden of proof is a legal term, and with respect to 1441 (though I
haven't read the whole thing), I'm not sure it is altogether
applicable. However, I would say that I would be very surprised to
see people in general and various states in particular agree that a
war is justifiable if no conclusive evidence of wmd is indicated in
the report (though I should 'cooperation' is also an important issue
as well, given the wording of 1441). Thus people in general - and I
think as a result of common sense principles which are well founded -
need to see evidence to support such things as war.


>
> The fact that Iraq didn't include any new information on its WMD
> programs
> in its December declaration, other than what had already been
> discovered by UNSCOM and revealed by defectors, raised the chances of
> war considerably --
> it indicated that Saddam hadn't changed his mind about keeping his
> special
> weapons programs.
>
> I think the last chance to resolve the crisis peacefully is up to
> Saddam.
> If he decides to disarm, and gives UNMOVIC the details of all his WMD
> programs (including the ones which UNSCOM didn't find), then the doves
> win and he gets to stay in power. If he doesn't, the hawks win and
> the US goes to war.

Well, there's the assumption again, and I for one am not in any way
willing to make it. I await the report.

>
> Russil Wvong
> Vancouver, Canada
> alt.politics.international FAQ:
> www.geocities.com/rwvong/future/apifaq.html

- Brock

Russil Wvong

unread,
Jan 23, 2003, 11:49:53 AM1/23/03
to
bt...@canada.com (Brock) wrote:
> Thanks for the reply.

You're welcome.

> > > From a philosophical point of view, I cannot see that the distinction
> > > is sustainable. If I'm not mistaken, a 'wise' action is 'right' and a
> > > 'foolish' action is 'wrong'. No?
> >
> > No.
>
> I respond again by saying that the distinction is insupportable.

I think you missed the point of Morgenthau's example. There are moral
and legal principles which are deontological: you have a duty to follow
them, regardless of consequences ("Let justice be done, even if the world
perish"). In international politics, you must *always* consider the
consequences.

Let me take another concrete example. Suppose that by killing an innocent
person, you can prevent a war that would kill millions of people. A child,
say. Would that be moral or immoral?

You could fudge it by saying, well, in this case, millions of people would
be saved, so yes, killing the innocent child *is* moral in this case.
That's the wrong answer. The moral principle is exacting: *innocent
people must never be killed*. The action is immoral.

This isn't such a hypothetical situation. The sanctions on Iraq between
1990 and 1996 (when the oil-for-food program was finally accepted by
Saddam Hussein) are believed to have resulted in the deaths of more than
200,000 children under the age of 5. (Estimate by Richard Garfield.)

> The question then arises: what is the state for, and how is it

> justified....

Again, my answer is from Hobbes. Given the capacity for violence and
aggression in human nature (and I can depress you with plenty of
examples if you like), we need an institution with a monopoly on the
legitimate use of violence. Hobbes calls it Leviathan; we call it
the state.

> I'm not sure what your point is in regards to the Orwell reference,
> but I don't see that seeking to maintain and ensure that the state is
> founded on 'good principles', whatever those may be, should be
> abdicated simply because, for example, if one is a liberal democrat,
> liberal democracy is a comparatively recent system of governance.
> With respect to the origins of liberal democracy: why it arose in
> Europe for example, I should think goes way back into history. Don't
> know a lot about it, but it is my guess that the concepts of freedom
> and democracy do indeed go way back into the history of Europe (eg.
> Greece, opposition to Rome: though I should think also much further
> back than that). Liberal democracy can be seen as a crowning
> achievement of a very long and storied history.

The Whig view of history strikes again. :-) You know, history isn't
a story of progress towards the present. There's lots of failures
and disasters in history. The point Orwell makes is that *there
isn't always a happy ending.*

George Kennan, reviewing Arthur Schlesinger's "The Cycles of American
History":

Schlesinger sees two profoundly rooted but conflicting strains
in the way Americans view themselves....

One of these views, strong initially among the Founding Fathers
themselves, saw Americans as essentially no different from the
general run of human beings: subject to the same limitations;
affected by the same restrictions of vision; tainted by the same
original sin or, in a more secular view, by the same inner
conflicts between flesh and spirit, between self-love and
charity.

This view, in its original eighteenth-century form, was
also informed by the recognition that history had had, to that
time, few examples to show of a solid and enduring republic,
whereas one could point to a number of examples of empires and
monarchies that answered reasonably well to this
description.

Against this background of perception, the Founding
Fathers tended, for the most part, to see the establishment of the
national independence and unity of the United States as an
experiment--not an easy one, not one whose success was
automatically assured--rather, as Schlesinger describes it, one
"undertaken in defiance of history, fraught with risk, problematic
in outcome." With this question mark lying across its future, the
fledgling republic could obviously not appear as a guide or
teacher to the rest of humanity....

In the opposite strain of perception Americans were seen not as
conducting and enacting a great experiment but as fulfilling a
predetermined destiny....

You said earlier that low voter turnouts didn't particularly surprise
you. Well, why the hell not? Doesn't it indicate to you that Western
voters are increasingly disenchanted and alienated from liberal democracy?
Or does that not shake your faith?

> Here's a question for you: if peace and order are your fundamental
> values, overriding other values, than consider 1984: there arises a
> system of governance which - although there is a continuous war, it is
> one which Orwell describes as really of no great consequence for the
> continued existence of the the three Superpowers -

No, that's a misunderstanding. The war is absolutely necessary
to the continued existence of each of the three governments. Otherwise,
it'd be impossible to justify the terrible sacrifices and oppression
imposed on the people. This is characteristic of totalitarian
governments such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union: they're
organized for total warfare. (See Stillman and Pfaff, "The Politics
of Hysteria.")

This isn't peace at all. It's perpetual warfare; it's warfare by the
government against its own people.

> > Because he continued to develop WMD after the end of the Gulf War,
> > putting
>
> Yes, interesting comparison. Not a good record for Hussein (and
> thanks for the note, but I think it's ok convention to refer to
> Hussein), but still not conclusive of the matter. For example - the
> US indicated once that they knew, that Britain knew, that basically
> any country with an active intelligence knows that Iraq has wmd.
> Well, the US is now, as I understand it, providing 'significant
> intelligence' to the inspectors, and I understand there may be other
> sources as well, and even with this intelligence the inspectors have
> been unable to make conclusions about whether Iraq has wmd or not.

No. *They haven't been able to find evidence* (other than the 12
empty warheads). The Iraqis aren't stupid, incompetent, or
unsophisticated; they've had lots of practice evading UNSCOM.
Again, *please read the link*.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/unscom/interviews/gellman.html

> Well, the point here is the question of the usage of nuclear weapons
> (I'll stick with nuclear weapons, as I should think they are different
> from chemical weapons at least, and biological weapons also perhaps).
> Would Hussein use nuclear weapons if he knew that there would be
> reprisals?

I think that if he believed he would soon be dead shortly anyway -- if
he were losing a conventional war, for example -- the answer is yes.
The most likely target would be Israel, but if he were still able to
collaborate with a terrorist organization (as he used Abu Nidal in the
past), he would probably send a nuclear weapon to DC as well.

The most likely scenario isn't that out of the blue Saddam decides to
nuke Tel Aviv. This isn't a James Bond movie. The most likely scenario
is that after Saddam acquires a small nuclear arsenal, he decides that
he can now launch a conventional war against his neighbors -- the most
likely targets being Kuwait and Saudi Arabia -- because he can now
deter the United States from intervening. So he launches a war. But
the US decides that it can't stay out of the war. We now have a war
being fought between two nuclear-armed powers. There's nothing down
this road except disaster.

The US administration believes that given Saddam Hussein's character
(particularly his aggressive risk-taking), it's going to end up going
to war with Iraq sooner or later. Given this, they think it's better
to go to war sooner, *before* Iraq has nuclear weapons, rather than
later; the choice is between war now and nuclear war later.

Of course, they may not be considering a third choice: letting Saddam
take over Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and perhaps Iran. But that road isn't
any safer, because Israel's probably not going to stand by while this
is happening; and Israel has nuclear weapons as well.

If Saddam doesn't decide to disarm, I don't think there's any good
choices left.

Brock

unread,
Jan 23, 2003, 7:28:27 PM1/23/03
to
Again, thanks for the reply. Some comments below.


Russil Wvong <russi...@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:<3E301D45...@yahoo.com>...


> bt...@canada.com (Brock) wrote:
> > Thanks for the reply.
>
> You're welcome.
>
> > > > From a philosophical point of view, I cannot see that the distinction
> > > > is sustainable. If I'm not mistaken, a 'wise' action is 'right' and a
> > > > 'foolish' action is 'wrong'. No?
> > >
> > > No.
> >
> > I respond again by saying that the distinction is insupportable.
>
> I think you missed the point of Morgenthau's example. There are moral
> and legal principles which are deontological: you have a duty to follow
> them, regardless of consequences ("Let justice be done, even if the world
> perish"). In international politics, you must *always* consider the
> consequences.

I appreciate this comment - I was reflecting on this a bit and realize
that this is a bit more interesting a discussion than I had thought.
It reminds me of, for example, the conflict between Kantianism
(following duty for the sake of duty) and utilitarianism (pursuing an
end goal with a certain flexibility of application of principles). (I
must say moral philosophy is an area which I am currently - with a bit
of delay - exploring much more substantively.) It is indeed an
important distinction.

However, my point remains: the concepts of 'wise' and 'foolish'
actions are moral concepts, referring to questions of right and wrong.
You can choose to define two different concepts of right and wrong,
but you cannot avoid the statement that 'wise' and 'foolish' actions
refer to moral issues of right and wrong.

>
> Let me take another concrete example. Suppose that by killing an innocent
> person, you can prevent a war that would kill millions of people. A child,
> say. Would that be moral or immoral?
>
> You could fudge it by saying, well, in this case, millions of people would
> be saved, so yes, killing the innocent child *is* moral in this case.
> That's the wrong answer. The moral principle is exacting: *innocent
> people must never be killed*. The action is immoral.

As indicated above, it would appear that there is a distinct relation
between utilitarian calculus and, for example, realist calculus.
Utilitarianism is indeed - as I understand it - a moral philosophy;
thus from the standpoint of such a view as Kantianism, the action is
immoral, but (though I would think the 'consequences' of such actions
would again need to be taken into account, which may vary
significantly in such circumstances) from the perspective of certain
realist calculus, some might think that there is a certain
'justification' to the action.

One of the dangers of such utilitarian and realist calculus is that
the end goal will be used to justify all sorts of bullshit without
respect to such 'deontological' principles. This is one of problems
that faces the CIA and American foreign policy, for example. They are
caught in this realist calculus mindset, with it would appear ever
dwindling respect for fundamental principles (though who knows, such
lack of respect for fundamental principles may have a long history.)
And what, for example, are the consequences of that?

>
> This isn't such a hypothetical situation. The sanctions on Iraq between
> 1990 and 1996 (when the oil-for-food program was finally accepted by
> Saddam Hussein) are believed to have resulted in the deaths of more than
> 200,000 children under the age of 5. (Estimate by Richard Garfield.)

Yes, very interesting example indeed.

>
> > The question then arises: what is the state for, and how is it
> > justified....
>
> Again, my answer is from Hobbes. Given the capacity for violence and
> aggression in human nature (and I can depress you with plenty of
> examples if you like), we need an institution with a monopoly on the
> legitimate use of violence. Hobbes calls it Leviathan; we call it
> the state.

(Please see the additional question below.)

>
> > I'm not sure what your point is in regards to the Orwell reference,
> > but I don't see that seeking to maintain and ensure that the state is
> > founded on 'good principles', whatever those may be, should be
> > abdicated simply because, for example, if one is a liberal democrat,
> > liberal democracy is a comparatively recent system of governance.
> > With respect to the origins of liberal democracy: why it arose in
> > Europe for example, I should think goes way back into history. Don't
> > know a lot about it, but it is my guess that the concepts of freedom
> > and democracy do indeed go way back into the history of Europe (eg.
> > Greece, opposition to Rome: though I should think also much further
> > back than that). Liberal democracy can be seen as a crowning
> > achievement of a very long and storied history.
>
> The Whig view of history strikes again. :-) You know, history isn't
> a story of progress towards the present. There's lots of failures
> and disasters in history. The point Orwell makes is that *there
> isn't always a happy ending.*

There are a very great many different perspectives on and philosophies
of history, and a progressive one - one which includes many steps
backwards (Rome might be an example) - is one of them. I am not
certain which view I hold, but I do think that there is a way of
justifying liberal democracy, and also the origins of liberal
democracy do indeed go a long way back. My point was specifically
that it is very strange to see liberal democracy as an experiment.
Also, I do not think that your interpretation of Orwell is correct.

I'd have to look into it more, but I am not sure that is a correct
view of the Founding Fathers' intentions. They were steeped in
Enlightenment thought and ideals - and these are clearly reflected in
the Constitution. If it is, perhaps it explains some of the problems
America is facing today. Further, I do not equate the origins of
liberal democracy with America. Also, I should think that if that was
their view, their understanding of 'experiment' was very different
from the understanding which you implied in regards to it.

>
> In the opposite strain of perception Americans were seen not as
> conducting and enacting a great experiment but as fulfilling a
> predetermined destiny....
>
> You said earlier that low voter turnouts didn't particularly surprise
> you. Well, why the hell not? Doesn't it indicate to you that Western
> voters are increasingly disenchanted and alienated from liberal democracy?
> Or does that not shake your faith?

No, I don't have the figures, but I don't know that voter turnouts
have ever been particularly high. The choice not to vote I should
think is quite important, and is made for a variety of reasons. One
of which is simply that many people accept liberal democracy as
legitimate, and leave the voting up to others.


>
> > Here's a question for you: if peace and order are your fundamental
> > values, overriding other values, than consider 1984: there arises a
> > system of governance which - although there is a continuous war, it is
> > one which Orwell describes as really of no great consequence for the
> > continued existence of the the three Superpowers -
>
> No, that's a misunderstanding. The war is absolutely necessary
> to the continued existence of each of the three governments. Otherwise,
> it'd be impossible to justify the terrible sacrifices and oppression
> imposed on the people. This is characteristic of totalitarian
> governments such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union: they're
> organized for total warfare. (See Stillman and Pfaff, "The Politics
> of Hysteria.")
>
> This isn't peace at all. It's perpetual warfare; it's warfare by the
> government against its own people.

Yes, I agree: among other things, I am interested in what your
understanding of peace is.

Let's take a more telling example.

Suppose a global Leviathan developed - goodness knows how - and there
was peace and order, but the reason why people accepted or 'consented'
to or legitimated the Leviathan was founded on very substantial lies,
deception, propaganda, indoctrination, force, this sort of thing.
People who did not agree or consent were and subjected to treatment
such as in 1984, and they are broken down in similar such manners.
Thus, there is a 1984 like situation, without the conflict between
Superpowers: there is 'peace' and there is 'order'. Possibly
perpetual.

What, from your perspective of peace and order trumping ideals such as
justice, freedom, law, rights, constitutions, democracy, etc, would
make such a system wrong?

I'm not sure you're correct. Hussein is admired by many around the
world for his defiance of the US, and I'm not sure he would risk his
legacy by such an action. He may also have some very legitimate tools
at his disposal. As for collaboration with terrorist organizations,
well, I should think the US has quite a history there. Further, it is
unclear Iraq has any ability to launch weapons beyond a very short
range - though any range beyond the borders of Iraq is not good - and
for that matter, any range is not good for anyone who has nuclear
weapons.

However, I return also to the problem of American foreign policy - the
nuclear posture review. You agreed that the legitimacy of the npt
treaty has been undermined: well, it is substantially on the basis of
that treaty that inspectors are in Iraq in the first place. Clearly
political considerations are weighing far more significantly than
legal ones in this situation, but the possible first usage of nuclear
weapons by the US in goodness knows what sort of situations leads one
to wonder whether the US should be under inspection by the UN and its
wmd destroyed.

> The most likely scenario isn't that out of the blue Saddam decides to
> nuke Tel Aviv. This isn't a James Bond movie. The most likely scenario
> is that after Saddam acquires a small nuclear arsenal, he decides that
> he can now launch a conventional war against his neighbors -- the most
> likely targets being Kuwait and Saudi Arabia -- because he can now
> deter the United States from intervening. So he launches a war. But
> the US decides that it can't stay out of the war. We now have a war
> being fought between two nuclear-armed powers. There's nothing down
> this road except disaster.
>
> The US administration believes that given Saddam Hussein's character
> (particularly his aggressive risk-taking), it's going to end up going
> to war with Iraq sooner or later. Given this, they think it's better
> to go to war sooner, *before* Iraq has nuclear weapons, rather than
> later; the choice is between war now and nuclear war later.
>
> Of course, they may not be considering a third choice: letting Saddam
> take over Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and perhaps Iran. But that road isn't
> any safer, because Israel's probably not going to stand by while this
> is happening; and Israel has nuclear weapons as well.
>

One interpretation of Iraq's attack on Iran was that they were goaded
by the US as a result of US's concerns over Iran. Also, an
interpretation of Iraq's attack on Kuwait is that they were drawn into
doing so by the US as a pretext for getting rid of Hussein, who had
become less useful to the Americans after the Iran-Iraq war had ended.
I'm not sure if your scenarios necessarily hold sway at all.


> If Saddam doesn't decide to disarm, I don't think there's any good
> choices left.
>
> Russil Wvong
> Vancouver, Canada
> alt.politics.international FAQ: www.geocities.com/rwvong/future/apifaq.html

- Brock

Russil Wvong

unread,
Jan 24, 2003, 1:48:54 AM1/24/03
to
bt...@canada.com (Brock) wrote:

> Russil Wvong <russi...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> > I think you missed the point of Morgenthau's example. There are moral
> > and legal principles which are deontological: you have a duty to follow
> > them, regardless of consequences ("Let justice be done, even if the world
> > perish"). In international politics, you must *always* consider the
> > consequences.
>
> I appreciate this comment - I was reflecting on this a bit and realize
> that this is a bit more interesting a discussion than I had thought.

Glad to hear it.

> It reminds me of, for example, the conflict between Kantianism

> (following duty for the sake of duty) and utilitarianism --

Exactly. Although I should note that Morgenthau isn't advocating
strict utilitarianism (which is based entirely on consequences),
given the difficulty of determining the consequences of political
actions. Noble ends don't justify evil means. For details, see
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3E2F95BC.241E7961%40yahoo.com

Again, in international politics, *you must always consider the
consequences*.

> > The Whig view of history strikes again. :-) You know, history isn't
> > a story of progress towards the present. There's lots of failures
> > and disasters in history.
>

> There are a very great many different perspectives on and philosophies
> of history, and a progressive one - one which includes many steps
> backwards (Rome might be an example) - is one of them.

I know. It's a common view. Herbert Butterfield argues that it's wrong.
[http://www.eliohs.unifi.it/testi/900/butterfield/]

A quote:

... the whig historian can draw lines through certain events, some
such line as that which leads through Martin Luther and a long
succession of whigs to modern liberty; and if he is not careful he
begins to forget that this line is merely a mental trick of his;
he comes to imagine that it represents something like a line of
causation. The total result of this method is to impose a certain
form upon the whole historical story, and to produce a scheme of
general history which is bound to converge beautifully upon the
present -- all demonstrating throughout the ages the workings of an
obvious principle of progress, of which the Protestants and whigs
have been the perennial allies while Catholics and tories have
perpetually formed obstruction.

A caricature of this result is to be seen in a popular view that
is still not quite eradicated: the view that the Middle Ages
represented a period of darkness when man was kept tongue-tied by
authority -- a period against which the Renaissance was the
reaction and the Reformation the great rebellion. It is
illustrated to perfection in the argument of a man denouncing
Roman Catholicism at a street corner, who said: "When the Pope
ruled England them was called the Dark Ages".

> > The point Orwell makes is that *there isn't always a happy ending.*

> -- I do not think that your interpretation of Orwell is correct.

Again, Orwell says:

... Nourished for hundreds of years on a


literature in which Right invariably triumphs in the last chapter,
we believe half-instinctively that evil always defeats itself in
the long run.

... and he goes on to say that no, it doesn't.

> > [George Kennan:]


> > Against this background of perception, the Founding
> > Fathers tended, for the most part, to see the establishment of the
> > national independence and unity of the United States as an
> > experiment--not an easy one, not one whose success was
> > automatically assured--rather, as Schlesinger describes it, one
> > "undertaken in defiance of history, fraught with risk, problematic
> > in outcome." With this question mark lying across its future, the
> > fledgling republic could obviously not appear as a guide or
> > teacher to the rest of humanity....
>
> I'd have to look into it more, but I am not sure that is a correct
> view of the Founding Fathers' intentions. They were steeped in
> Enlightenment thought and ideals - and these are clearly reflected in
> the Constitution.

That's correct. This was one of the first attempts to put Enlightenment
ideals into practice, and they were aware of this.

> > You said earlier that low voter turnouts didn't particularly surprise
> > you. Well, why the hell not? Doesn't it indicate to you that Western
> > voters are increasingly disenchanted and alienated from liberal democracy?
> > Or does that not shake your faith?
>
> No, I don't have the figures, but I don't know that voter turnouts
> have ever been particularly high.

Um. You know, it's not that difficult to look this stuff up.
http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/ksgpress/bulletin/spring2000/american_vote.html

A quote:

The end result, the project reports, is that today's young adults
are paying almost no attention to the presidential campaign. The
steepest decline in voter turnout during the past 25 years, in fact,
has been among the youngest of adults. Of the eligible 18-to-24-year
olds, 50 percent voted in 1972, compared with only 32 percent in
1996. During this same time period, turnout among those 45 and older
also declined but much less dramatically, from 68 to 65 percent.

On the Canadian side:
http://www.cric.ca/en_html/opinion/opv3n8.html

Participants agreed that the public was not interested in the
election, but disagreed as to why. Some said that most Canadians
were satisfied with the government's performance, and no major
issues emerged in the campaign to energize the electorate. Other
participants were less sanguine. In their view, many people do not
vote because they no longer believe that their vote matters. They
have lost hope that elections can ever bring about a significant
change in the style of government in Canada -- even when one
governing party is defeated and replaced by another. Many citizens
have become cynical about politics and, consequently, no longer
feel obligated (either by their sense of duty or their sense of
self-interest) to vote.

Carrying this argument further, one participant expressed the view
that non-voting is simply one of the more visible aspects of a
larger trend towards civic disengagement -- the withdrawal of
citizens from a variety of voluntary activities that sustain our
democracy. Local education and health boards and other community
associations are all having trouble finding enough active citizens
to keep them going.

> Suppose a global Leviathan developed - goodness knows how - and there
> was peace and order, but the reason why people accepted or 'consented'
> to or legitimated the Leviathan was founded on very substantial lies,
> deception, propaganda, indoctrination, force, this sort of thing.
> People who did not agree or consent were and subjected to treatment
> such as in 1984, and they are broken down in similar such manners.
> Thus, there is a 1984 like situation, without the conflict between
> Superpowers: there is 'peace' and there is 'order'. Possibly
> perpetual.
>
> What, from your perspective of peace and order trumping ideals such as
> justice, freedom, law, rights, constitutions, democracy, etc, would
> make such a system wrong?

If such a system were imposed in Canada, I think it could be condemned
on the grounds that the oppression on which the system is based
*is not necessary* in order to maintain peace and order. Canada has
had peace, order, and good government under a liberal system of
government for more than 100 years.

Did you read the link?

> > [Would Saddam use nuclear weapons?]


> > I think that if he believed he would soon be dead shortly anyway -- if
> > he were losing a conventional war, for example -- the answer is yes.
> > The most likely target would be Israel, but if he were still able to
> > collaborate with a terrorist organization (as he used Abu Nidal in the
> > past), he would probably send a nuclear weapon to DC as well.
>
> I'm not sure you're correct. Hussein is admired by many around the
> world for his defiance of the US, and I'm not sure he would risk his
> legacy by such an action.

Look, Palestine is the great festering wound of the Arab world. If Saddam's
last act were to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons, this would *establish*
his legacy in Arab history. The fact that this would destroy the
Palestinians themselves isn't what's important. It's the avenging of Arab
honor that's important. A Thomas Friedman column from March 2002:

An Egyptian official told me that he was recently speaking to Arab
students about Middle East peace and one of them interrupted to say
that with just "eight, small, suitcase-size nuclear bombs", the whole
problem of Israel could be eliminated.
[http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/03/11/1015365766633.html]

> As for collaboration with terrorist organizations,
> well, I should think the US has quite a history there.

Sigh.

Let me say it again: I'm concerned with *consequences*, not moral
judgements. As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter if Saddam is
a hero or a villain. (No doubt he sees himself as a hero, which casts
an entirely different light on all his deeds.) What matters is what
he's likely to do.

> Further, it is
> unclear Iraq has any ability to launch weapons beyond a very short
> range -

You do know that Iraq launched missiles into Israel during the Gulf War,
right? (And that since Israel has nuclear weapons, this was incredibly
reckless?)

> However, I return also to the problem of American foreign policy - the
> nuclear posture review. You agreed that the legitimacy of the npt
> treaty has been undermined: well, it is substantially on the basis of
> that treaty that inspectors are in Iraq in the first place. Clearly
> political considerations are weighing far more significantly than
> legal ones in this situation, but the possible first usage of nuclear
> weapons by the US in goodness knows what sort of situations leads one
> to wonder whether the US should be under inspection by the UN and its
> wmd destroyed.

Do you know the difference between *descriptive* and *prescriptive*?

It's one thing to say that the US ought to renounce first use of nuclear
weapons, and move towards radically reducing its nuclear arsenal. I
totally agree. The question is, is it possible to accomplish this?
And if so, how? Again, we're getting into the difference between what's
right, and what's possible.

From Canada's point of view, our leverage is limited. (The same is
true of other US allies.)
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3DB56F90.71919FA1%40yahoo.com

> > The most likely scenario isn't that out of the blue Saddam decides to
> > nuke Tel Aviv. This isn't a James Bond movie. The most likely scenario
> > is that after Saddam acquires a small nuclear arsenal, he decides that
> > he can now launch a conventional war against his neighbors -- the most
> > likely targets being Kuwait and Saudi Arabia -- because he can now
> > deter the United States from intervening. So he launches a war. But
> > the US decides that it can't stay out of the war. We now have a war
> > being fought between two nuclear-armed powers. There's nothing down
> > this road except disaster.
> >
> > The US administration believes that given Saddam Hussein's character
> > (particularly his aggressive risk-taking), it's going to end up going
> > to war with Iraq sooner or later. Given this, they think it's better
> > to go to war sooner, *before* Iraq has nuclear weapons, rather than
> > later; the choice is between war now and nuclear war later.
> >
> > Of course, they may not be considering a third choice: letting Saddam
> > take over Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and perhaps Iran. But that road isn't
> > any safer, because Israel's probably not going to stand by while this
> > is happening; and Israel has nuclear weapons as well.
>

> I'm not sure if your scenarios necessarily hold sway at all.

So what's your counter-argument?

You really ought to read more about Saddam Hussein. I'd recommend
"From the Ashes", by Andrew and Patrick Cockburn; it's quite critical
of the United States. Also "The Threatening Storm", by Kenneth Pollack.

> One interpretation of Iraq's attack on Iran was that they were goaded
> by the US as a result of US's concerns over Iran. Also, an
> interpretation of Iraq's attack on Kuwait is that they were drawn into
> doing so by the US as a pretext for getting rid of Hussein, who had
> become less useful to the Americans after the Iran-Iraq war had ended.

How can you tell if these, er, "interpretations" are correct or not?
(I would call them conspiracy theories.) I would respectfully suggest
that you need to look at the evidence. The two books above would be
a good place to start.

Look, I realize that you're probably new to newsgroups and to political
discussions. But when you post an article here on international politics,
*you should really make a rudimentary attempt to look up the facts.*
It's not that hard to do. Otherwise it's easy to become totally
disconnected from reality.

Do you mind if I ask how old you are? (I'm curious because although you
seem intelligent and well-read, there seem to be some strange gaps in
your knowledge, e.g. your comment about Rome.)

Russil Wvong

unread,
Jan 24, 2003, 11:04:27 AM1/24/03
to
Russil Wvong wrote:

> bt...@canada.com (Brock) wrote:
> > One interpretation of Iraq's attack on Iran was that they were goaded
> > by the US as a result of US's concerns over Iran. Also, an
> > interpretation of Iraq's attack on Kuwait is that they were drawn into
> > doing so by the US as a pretext for getting rid of Hussein, who had
> > become less useful to the Americans after the Iran-Iraq war had ended.

One other piece of advice which is very important: you need to be able
to *assess the reliability of your sources*. There's a lot of propaganda
on the Internet.

From the FAQ:

Russil Wvong

Brock

unread,
Jan 24, 2003, 5:53:52 PM1/24/03
to
Thanks for the reply. Again, I'll indicate that I'll do some reading
if I get a chance. I'll make my position on this a little clearer.
You seem to indicate that newsgroup 'etiquette' (or something) is to
read up on things in order to make intelligent comments. It is good
to read up on things, yes. But on many issues, however much reading
is done is no substitute for thinking a matter through. Also, I tend
to get a little intrigued, as it were, by people trying to tout all
their reading and try to indicate that they are somehow inevitably
better placed to offer insight into various issues.

As for my age, I find that a bit of an odd question. Can you tell me
why you are asking?

Anyway, some comments below.

Russil Wvong <russi...@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:<3E30E1E8...@yahoo.com>...


> bt...@canada.com (Brock) wrote:
> > Russil Wvong <russi...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> > > I think you missed the point of Morgenthau's example. There are moral
> > > and legal principles which are deontological: you have a duty to follow
> > > them, regardless of consequences ("Let justice be done, even if the world
> > > perish"). In international politics, you must *always* consider the
> > > consequences.
> >
> > I appreciate this comment - I was reflecting on this a bit and realize
> > that this is a bit more interesting a discussion than I had thought.
>
> Glad to hear it.
>
> > It reminds me of, for example, the conflict between Kantianism
> > (following duty for the sake of duty) and utilitarianism --
>
> Exactly. Although I should note that Morgenthau isn't advocating
> strict utilitarianism (which is based entirely on consequences),
> given the difficulty of determining the consequences of political
> actions. Noble ends don't justify evil means. For details, see
> http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3E2F95BC.241E7961%40yahoo.com
>

This is an interesting point - and as I say, I'm - rather at the
beginning, in fact - of a much more substantive exploration of moral
philosophy. You use the words 'noble' and 'evil' - this is an
interesting choice of words. Now, with respect to, for example, your
case of the effect of the economic sanctions on Iraq, with 200,000
people dying as a result: would you call the cause of these sanctions
'noble' and the means 'evil'? (And, also, see below: are 'peace' and
'order' noble ends, justifying oppression, or even totalitarianism?)


> Again, in international politics, *you must always consider the
> consequences*.

I again think you've missed my point with respect to this matter. The
consideration of consequences is done by reference to a moral system
(or better, by reference to an overall 'world view') - and the moral
system one applies to various matters (including the interpretation of
'facts' - and the evaluation of the 'consequences') is affected by
one's moral values. Though I think it can be very valuable in
understanding what is going on, realism - does not evaluate the
consequences in a moral vacuum - or again better, in the absence of a
paradigmatic 'world view', of which one's moral philosophy is an
important part - as if it were an objective evaluation. (Nor do I
think such an absence would be possible, or good.) Further, after one
evaluates the various facts and 'consequences' relating to the
situation through one's own 'lens', then one applies one's moral
perspective to the situation to determine what, by reference to that
perspective, is the appropriate course of action. The question of
what moral system or philosophy is 'better' or 'justified' thus
becomes very important in both evaluating the 'facts' and
'consequences', and in determining, if this can be done, what is the
right course of action.

Hmm... this rather reminds me of an interpretation of virtually all
(or perhaps all) approaches to history. Are you saying that the
realist view of history - some would say the idea of 'the more things
change, the more they stay the same' is a fundamental reflection of
realist thought on history - is objective, and doesn't draw similar
'lines' in history?


>
> > > The point Orwell makes is that *there isn't always a happy ending.*
>
> > -- I do not think that your interpretation of Orwell is correct.
>
> Again, Orwell says:
>
> ... Nourished for hundreds of years on a
> literature in which Right invariably triumphs in the last chapter,
> we believe half-instinctively that evil always defeats itself in
> the long run.
>
> ... and he goes on to say that no, it doesn't.

Pardon me, I thought you were referring to an overall interpretation
of 1984. With regards to that, I will say that applying this
particular statement of Orwell to 1984 and saying that because of such
a statement, this must be the message of 1984 (if that is what you are
saying), is not the best method of interpreting literature -
particularly a book such as 1984. I should think Orwell was trying to
say that (among other things) there is a danger that such
totalitarianism could come about, and was warning posterity about that
possibility and the nature of totalitarianism, but I do not know that
he was saying that that it couldn't be avoided or derailed if there
was a movement toward such a system. I do not think that is what he
was suggesting at all - though I'm not sure that is what you were
suggesting he was saying either.

>
> > > [George Kennan:]
> > > Against this background of perception, the Founding
> > > Fathers tended, for the most part, to see the establishment of the
> > > national independence and unity of the United States as an
> > > experiment--not an easy one, not one whose success was
> > > automatically assured--rather, as Schlesinger describes it, one
> > > "undertaken in defiance of history, fraught with risk, problematic
> > > in outcome." With this question mark lying across its future, the
> > > fledgling republic could obviously not appear as a guide or
> > > teacher to the rest of humanity....
> >
> > I'd have to look into it more, but I am not sure that is a correct
> > view of the Founding Fathers' intentions. They were steeped in
> > Enlightenment thought and ideals - and these are clearly reflected in
> > the Constitution.
>
> That's correct. This was one of the first attempts to put Enlightenment
> ideals into practice, and they were aware of this.

So, my question here would be, does that (and what I would consider
the lengthy origins and history of liberal democracy) affect your view
of whether liberal democracy is an 'experiment'?

>
> > > You said earlier that low voter turnouts didn't particularly surprise
> > > you. Well, why the hell not? Doesn't it indicate to you that Western
> > > voters are increasingly disenchanted and alienated from liberal democracy?
> > > Or does that not shake your faith?
> >
> > No, I don't have the figures, but I don't know that voter turnouts
> > have ever been particularly high.
>
> Um. You know, it's not that difficult to look this stuff up.
> http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/ksgpress/bulletin/spring2000/american_vote.html
>
> A quote:
>
> The end result, the project reports, is that today's young adults
> are paying almost no attention to the presidential campaign. The
> steepest decline in voter turnout during the past 25 years, in fact,
> has been among the youngest of adults. Of the eligible 18-to-24-year
> olds, 50 percent voted in 1972, compared with only 32 percent in
> 1996. During this same time period, turnout among those 45 and older
> also declined but much less dramatically, from 68 to 65 percent.

Interesting figures. I wouldn't take a single poll to be the be all
and all on such matters, nor the various interpretations of such a
poll. But I would say that the figures are a little disturbing, but
I'd really have to see a very great deal of evidence of declines in
voter turnout before I got terribly concerned about the matter.


>
> On the Canadian side:
> http://www.cric.ca/en_html/opinion/opv3n8.html
>
> Participants agreed that the public was not interested in the
> election, but disagreed as to why. Some said that most Canadians
> were satisfied with the government's performance, and no major
> issues emerged in the campaign to energize the electorate. Other
> participants were less sanguine. In their view, many people do not
> vote because they no longer believe that their vote matters. They
> have lost hope that elections can ever bring about a significant
> change in the style of government in Canada -- even when one
> governing party is defeated and replaced by another. Many citizens
> have become cynical about politics and, consequently, no longer
> feel obligated (either by their sense of duty or their sense of
> self-interest) to vote.

I wonder what political perspective the people who are 'less sanguine'
have? And also, I wonder if this cynicism is more today (say in the
last five years or so) than it was in the past, and if so, what the
causes of that might be.

>
> Carrying this argument further, one participant expressed the view
> that non-voting is simply one of the more visible aspects of a
> larger trend towards civic disengagement -- the withdrawal of
> citizens from a variety of voluntary activities that sustain our
> democracy. Local education and health boards and other community
> associations are all having trouble finding enough active citizens
> to keep them going.

And again, this is 'one participant's view': and I wonder again if
this has been affected by quite recent developments, say in the last
five years or so.

>
> > Suppose a global Leviathan developed - goodness knows how - and there
> > was peace and order, but the reason why people accepted or 'consented'
> > to or legitimated the Leviathan was founded on very substantial lies,
> > deception, propaganda, indoctrination, force, this sort of thing.
> > People who did not agree or consent were and subjected to treatment
> > such as in 1984, and they are broken down in similar such manners.
> > Thus, there is a 1984 like situation, without the conflict between
> > Superpowers: there is 'peace' and there is 'order'. Possibly
> > perpetual.
> >
> > What, from your perspective of peace and order trumping ideals such as
> > justice, freedom, law, rights, constitutions, democracy, etc, would
> > make such a system wrong?
>
> If such a system were imposed in Canada, I think it could be condemned
> on the grounds that the oppression on which the system is based
> *is not necessary* in order to maintain peace and order. Canada has
> had peace, order, and good government under a liberal system of
> government for more than 100 years.
>

Hmm, pardon me for saying so, but I think you are avoiding the most
important implications of the question - though it would appear that
you think that there may be justification for oppression if it were
necessary to maintain peace and order.

To add another dimension to the question, let us say that in the
example I have given, with a global Leviathan, because the foundation
of legitimacy of the Leviathan is based on lies, it becomes necessary
to perpetuate the various lies, deception, propaganda, indoctrination,
(and force where necessary), etc., in order to sustain peace and
order. That is, if the lies are not perpetuated, people will start to
think and question whether the Leviathan should not be the Leviathan
any more. Again, what makes, from your perspective, such a system
wrong? Or, are you saying that if such things are necessary for peace
and order that they are justified - that such totalitarianism is
justified? That would be a strange perspective indeed, and my guess
is that you do not wish to draw that conclusion.


> > > Again, *please read the link*.
> > > http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/unscom/interviews/gellman.html
>
> Did you read the link?
>
> > > [Would Saddam use nuclear weapons?]
> > > I think that if he believed he would soon be dead shortly anyway -- if
> > > he were losing a conventional war, for example -- the answer is yes.
> > > The most likely target would be Israel, but if he were still able to
> > > collaborate with a terrorist organization (as he used Abu Nidal in the
> > > past), he would probably send a nuclear weapon to DC as well.
> >
> > I'm not sure you're correct. Hussein is admired by many around the
> > world for his defiance of the US, and I'm not sure he would risk his
> > legacy by such an action.
>
> Look, Palestine is the great festering wound of the Arab world.

That's an interesting perspective on Middle East politics - and the
global politics that surrounds the current issues. Though certainly
the Palestinian question is very important, if I understand what you
mean by Palestine, I'm not sure that's a correct interpretation.

If Saddam's
> last act were to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons, this would *establish*
> his legacy in Arab history.

I am curious about this concept of 'avenging Arab honor', but is it
specifically his legacy to the Arab and Muslim world that he is
concerned about, or does he have a broader legacy, a global legacy, to
ponder about as well?

The fact that this would destroy the
> Palestinians themselves isn't what's important. It's the avenging of Arab
> honor that's important. A Thomas Friedman column from March 2002:
>
> An Egyptian official told me that he was recently speaking to Arab
> students about Middle East peace and one of them interrupted to say
> that with just "eight, small, suitcase-size nuclear bombs", the whole
> problem of Israel could be eliminated.
> [http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/03/11/1015365766633.html]


Disturbing comments indeed. Do you know if that is technically
feasible, suitcase-sized nuclear bombs?


>
> > As for collaboration with terrorist organizations,
> > well, I should think the US has quite a history there.
>
> Sigh.
>
> Let me say it again: I'm concerned with *consequences*, not moral
> judgements. As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter if Saddam is
> a hero or a villain. (No doubt he sees himself as a hero, which casts
> an entirely different light on all his deeds.) What matters is what
> he's likely to do.

See above, please.


>
> > Further, it is
> > unclear Iraq has any ability to launch weapons beyond a very short
> > range -
>
> You do know that Iraq launched missiles into Israel during the Gulf War,
> right? (And that since Israel has nuclear weapons, this was incredibly
> reckless?)

Yes, my understanding was that he was attempting to widen the
conflict. I don't know if Iraq has the capability to launch missiles
as far as Israel any longer.


>
> > However, I return also to the problem of American foreign policy - the
> > nuclear posture review. You agreed that the legitimacy of the npt
> > treaty has been undermined: well, it is substantially on the basis of
> > that treaty that inspectors are in Iraq in the first place. Clearly
> > political considerations are weighing far more significantly than
> > legal ones in this situation, but the possible first usage of nuclear
> > weapons by the US in goodness knows what sort of situations leads one
> > to wonder whether the US should be under inspection by the UN and its
> > wmd destroyed.
>
> Do you know the difference between *descriptive* and *prescriptive*?

Surely you jest.

>
> It's one thing to say that the US ought to renounce first use of nuclear
> weapons, and move towards radically reducing its nuclear arsenal. I
> totally agree. The question is, is it possible to accomplish this?
> And if so, how? Again, we're getting into the difference between what's
> right, and what's possible.
>

Glad you agree about the need for the US to get rid of that policy.

Yes, my understanding of Hussein is not great. I did a paper on the
Iran/Iraq war (not a bad one, though if I recollect I did not fully
understand - though I should add still do not - its place in the
context of Middle East and global politics); I've marginally followed
the various matters of the Gulf War and the economic sanctions, and
more closely followed the more recent news. As I say, if it was the
case that US goaded Iraq into the war with Iran, and was drawn into
attacking Kuwait, and Hussein is aware of this (though strongly
criticized by some other Arab leaders, interesting was his recent
apology to the Kuwaiti people), then I wonder what Hussein's picture
of all of that is?

>
> > One interpretation of Iraq's attack on Iran was that they were goaded
> > by the US as a result of US's concerns over Iran. Also, an
> > interpretation of Iraq's attack on Kuwait is that they were drawn into
> > doing so by the US as a pretext for getting rid of Hussein, who had
> > become less useful to the Americans after the Iran-Iraq war had ended.
>
> How can you tell if these, er, "interpretations" are correct or not?
> (I would call them conspiracy theories.) I would respectfully suggest
> that you need to look at the evidence. The two books above would be
> a good place to start.

Yes, if these are correct interpretations, then I imagine the
establishment of their validity would be quite difficult. While more
difficult if documents are secret, or do not exist, most
interpretations in history, as I understand it, are afflicted with
various difficulties. I am surprised (I suppose) that you label them
as conspiracy theories - as the realist calculus that underlies such
analysis I do not think is beyond the capability or inclination of the
American foreign policy spinners. I again wonder why - as you are an
apparent realist - you would foreclose such an analysis of American
foreign policy, particularly given such American actions in what,
Panama regarding the canal, Afghanistan, Guatemala, the Iran-Contra
affair, Chile, and others. Some interesting news - and rather typical
- is that of who is training the nucleus of a 'post-Hussein' Iraqi
army: yes indeed, the CIA. Quite typical - though again, I should
think it is notable that it is not the Defense Department. While I do
indeed have a lot of reading to do, as I suggested before, so I'll
suggest again: you have a tendency to sugarcoat American foreign
policy.

there seem to be some strange gaps in


> your knowledge, e.g. your comment about Rome.)

Rome? Really? I do not know a lot about the history of the Roman
Empire, but I understand that it was founded quite substantially on
brutal military force. I have read that some noble products came out
of the Empire, such as (though I shouldn't think I would upraise it)
Stoicism, various laws, and such people as Aurelius and the jurists:
but as I understand it, it was a pretty brutal regime. The results of
the Punic Wars, with the annihilation of Carthage, are an example.
So, from the perspective of a progressivist view of history (and I
imagine various other perspectives as well) - one with setbacks and
advances - I don't know that the comment was out of place.

As for your question about being disconnected from reality: from a
philosophical perspective, how do we know what that reality is - or
even further, whether reality exists - and can we know it apart from
our particular worldviews or perspectives? Are we all 'disconnected'
from reality? Some questions to ponder - I would consider them
extremely important.

- Brock

Brock

unread,
Jan 24, 2003, 10:50:28 PM1/24/03
to
Russil Wvong <russi...@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:<3E316421...@yahoo.com>...

> Russil Wvong wrote:
> > bt...@canada.com (Brock) wrote:
> > > One interpretation of Iraq's attack on Iran was that they were goaded
> > > by the US as a result of US's concerns over Iran. Also, an
> > > interpretation of Iraq's attack on Kuwait is that they were drawn into
> > > doing so by the US as a pretext for getting rid of Hussein, who had
> > > become less useful to the Americans after the Iran-Iraq war had ended.
>
> One other piece of advice which is very important: you need to be able
> to *assess the reliability of your sources*. There's a lot of propaganda
> on the Internet.

Indeed? I wonder what spin doctors are doing that?

What is your assessment of these matters, found on this discussion
group? I frankly don't know much about these matters, but are these
statements grist for the conspiracy theory mill too, or are they
substantive concerns?

- Brock


From: Dharma (r...@black.com)
Subject: Re: WOULD IT BE ETHICAL FOR THE US
TO "PLANT" FALSE IRAQI WMD EVIDENCE?
Newsgroups: alt.politics, alt.politics.british,
alt.politics.greens, alt.politics.international,
alt.politics.media
Date: 2003-01-19 08:34:13 PST


On 18 Jan 2003 18:38:23 -0800, mdub...@yahoo.com (Matthew) wrote:

>I predict that soon we will find a "smoking gun" in Iraq. I predict
>that this will be found in the western part of the nation, most
easily
>accessible from Jordan.
>
>Enough said.
>
>An Emperor cannot be impeached.
>
>Matthew

Just like the alleged "attack on our soil" by Mexican troops that
started the Mexican war.

Just like the explosion of the Maine, which was used to get us into
the Spanish-American war.

Just like our government ignored warnings that Japan would attack us.

Just like the signals the government sent that South Korea would not
be included in an American defense perimeter in Asia.

Just like the Gulf of Tonkin charade.

Just like Bush41 kept quiet as Saddam built up his forces on the
border with Kuwait.

Wars have to start somehow! Sometimes you have to give 'em a little
help.
---------------------------

Russil Wvong

unread,
Jan 26, 2003, 3:53:34 PM1/26/03
to
Brock wrote:
> Thanks for the reply. Again, I'll indicate that I'll do some reading
> if I get a chance. I'll make my position on this a little clearer.
> You seem to indicate that newsgroup 'etiquette' (or something) is to
> read up on things in order to make intelligent comments. It is good
> to read up on things, yes. But on many issues, however much reading
> is done is no substitute for thinking a matter through.

I'm afraid William James' comment comes to mind: "A great many people
believe they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their
prejudices." You're not going to understand the complexities of
politics in the Middle East without doing some research. You wouldn't
write a term paper about a subject without doing any research, would you?

On some subjects, it's possible to ascertain the facts yourself. In
international politics and world history, you need to rely on other
people's reporting and interpretation; which is why being able to
assess the reliability of a given source is so important. Walter
Lippmann, "Public Opinion" (1921):

Where all the facts are out of sight a true report and a plausible
error read alike, sound alike, feel alike. Except on a few subjects
where our own knowledge is great, we cannot choose between true and
false accounts. So we choose between trustworthy and untrustworthy
reporters.

Reading the books I listed in the FAQ will give you a good framework to
be able to tell the difference between "trustworthy and untrustworthy
reporters": with a grasp of the basic facts, you'll be in a better
position to be able to tell who's reliable and who's not.

If not, well ... there's a lot of really crazy people on the newsgroups,
particularly the political groups. "Discussion groups" isn't a good
description of USENET; it sounds much too genteel. USENET is more
like a bar where half the people are drunk, stoned, or simply insane,
and there's no bouncers to throw them out. It's dangerous to be too
credulous here; you may end up believing all sorts of things that
aren't true.

You said earlier that you were writing up your own answers to the
questions you'd asked me. Are you finished yet?

> Also, I tend
> to get a little intrigued, as it were, by people trying to tout all
> their reading and try to indicate that they are somehow inevitably
> better placed to offer insight into various issues.

Intrigued or irritated? :-)

> As for my age, I find that a bit of an odd question. Can you tell me
> why you are asking?

I like to know who I'm arguing with. (Also, if you went to law school
at U of A in the last few years, I know somebody else who went there,
and I was curious if you knew her.)

> > Exactly. Although I should note that Morgenthau isn't advocating
> > strict utilitarianism (which is based entirely on consequences),
> > given the difficulty of determining the consequences of political
> > actions. Noble ends don't justify evil means. For details, see
> > http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3E2F95BC.241E7961%40yahoo.com
>
> This is an interesting point -

Did you read the link?

> and as I say, I'm - rather at the


> beginning, in fact - of a much more substantive exploration of moral
> philosophy.

I have another reading recommendation, but I'll refrain from "intriguing"
you further. :-)

> You use the words 'noble' and 'evil' - this is an
> interesting choice of words. Now, with respect to, for example, your
> case of the effect of the economic sanctions on Iraq, with 200,000
> people dying as a result: would you call the cause of these sanctions
> 'noble' and the means 'evil'? (And, also, see below: are 'peace' and
> 'order' noble ends, justifying oppression, or even totalitarianism?)

You didn't read the link, did you? In the linked article I make it clear
that I do *not* think noble ends justify evil means. *Everybody* thinks
their goals are noble. I think it's better to have modest goals and to
exercise prudence and restraint.

> > Again, in international politics, *you must always consider the
> > consequences*.
>
> I again think you've missed my point with respect to this matter. The

> consideration of consequences is done by reference to a moral system --

But *people often don't consider the consequences*. Another way of
saying this: politics often requires choosing the lesser of two evils.
People will often criticize a given policy as having evil consequences
without thinking seriously about the consequences of alternative policies.

> [Herbert Butterfield quotation]


> Hmm... this rather reminds me of an interpretation of virtually all
> (or perhaps all) approaches to history. Are you saying that the
> realist view of history - some would say the idea of 'the more things
> change, the more they stay the same' is a fundamental reflection of
> realist thought on history - is objective, and doesn't draw similar
> 'lines' in history?

What Butterfield is saying is that it's the job of objective historians
to resist the Whig fallacy, and other such fallacies. They may or may
not succeed, of course; Butterfield points out the frequency with which
the Whig fallacy appears.

> Pardon me, I thought you were referring to an overall interpretation
> of 1984.

No.

> [Regarding 1984]


> I should think Orwell was trying to
> say that (among other things) there is a danger that such
> totalitarianism could come about, and was warning posterity about that
> possibility and the nature of totalitarianism, but I do not know that
> he was saying that that it couldn't be avoided or derailed if there
> was a movement toward such a system.

I hate to say it, but I have another reading suggestion: Orwell's
1945 essay "You and the Atomic Bomb."
http://user.sezampro.yu/~misicb/lektira/english/abomb.htm

> > > I'd have to look into it more, but I am not sure that is a correct
> > > view of the Founding Fathers' intentions. They were steeped in
> > > Enlightenment thought and ideals - and these are clearly reflected in
> > > the Constitution.
> >
> > That's correct. This was one of the first attempts to put Enlightenment
> > ideals into practice, and they were aware of this.
>
> So, my question here would be, does that (and what I would consider
> the lengthy origins and history of liberal democracy) affect your view
> of whether liberal democracy is an 'experiment'?

I think you might misunderstand what I mean when I say the Founders saw
the United States as an "experiment". I mean that they didn't know
whether it was going to work or not. How could they? Lippmann quotes
Madison:

Democracies have ever been short spectacles of turbulence and
contention ... and have in general been as short in their lives
as they have been violent in their deaths.
[Madison, *Federalist*, No. 10]

In classical times, Athens practiced democracy, but it wasn't liberal
democracy; the city-state was the dominant institution in pretty much
all spheres of life. Athens' Golden Age was glorious but short;
its war with Sparta weakened the Greek city-states to the point where
they were easily conquered by Alexander the Great, and later the
Romans. Liberal democracy in modern times has a relatively short
history: evolution from an aristocratic parliament in Britain, the
American Revolution, the French Revolution. We still don't know what
the verdict is.

> Interesting figures. I wouldn't take a single poll to be the be all
> and all on such matters, nor the various interpretations of such a
> poll. But I would say that the figures are a little disturbing, but
> I'd really have to see a very great deal of evidence of declines in
> voter turnout before I got terribly concerned about the matter.

There *is* a great deal of evidence, but I'll refrain from forcing you
to read it. :-)

> To add another dimension to the question, let us say that in the
> example I have given, with a global Leviathan, because the foundation
> of legitimacy of the Leviathan is based on lies, it becomes necessary
> to perpetuate the various lies, deception, propaganda, indoctrination,
> (and force where necessary), etc., in order to sustain peace and
> order. That is, if the lies are not perpetuated, people will start to
> think and question whether the Leviathan should not be the Leviathan
> any more.

There's a missing link here: thinking and questioning doesn't constitute
a breakdown in peace and order. *Revolution and war* would be a breakdown
in peace and order. And revolution and war, on a global scale, would mean
the death of hundreds of millions, probably billions, of people.

> Again, what makes, from your perspective, such a system
> wrong? Or, are you saying that if such things are necessary for peace
> and order that they are justified -

You need to think about the alternatives. If you're saying that my only
choices are (a) an oppressive government based on lies and propaganda,
and (b) a civil war that will kill hundreds of millions of people, I'd
have to go with (a). From reading about twentieth-century Chinese
history, I'd say that large-scale civil war is an evil to be avoided at
all costs.

Are you saying that you would choose (b)? Or have I misconstrued the
hypothetical question?

> > > > Again, *please read the link*.
> > > > http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/unscom/interviews/gellman.html
> >
> > Did you read the link?

I take it the answer is no.

> > Look, Palestine is the great festering wound of the Arab world.
>
> That's an interesting perspective on Middle East politics - and the
> global politics that surrounds the current issues. Though certainly
> the Palestinian question is very important, if I understand what you
> mean by Palestine, I'm not sure that's a correct interpretation.

Israel is the only successful example of colonization of Arab territory
in modern times. It's the most important grievance in the Arab world.

> > If Saddam's
> > last act were to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons, this would *establish*
> > his legacy in Arab history.
>
> I am curious about this concept of 'avenging Arab honor', but is it
> specifically his legacy to the Arab and Muslim world that he is

> concerned about --

Yes.

> -- or does he have a broader legacy, a global legacy, to
> ponder about as well?

I don't think there's many people outside the Arab world who like Saddam
Hussein.

> Disturbing comments indeed. Do you know if that is technically
> feasible, suitcase-sized nuclear bombs?

It's frequently discussed on alt.war.nuclear. The consensus seems to
be that it's possible, but difficult. Building one to fit in a
shipping container would be a lot easier.

> Yes, my understanding was that he was attempting to widen the
> conflict. I don't know if Iraq has the capability to launch missiles
> as far as Israel any longer.

What makes you think that he no longer has this capability?

> > Do you know the difference between *descriptive* and *prescriptive*?
>
> Surely you jest.

I'm serious. Political realism attempts to be descriptive, focusing on
how international politics actually works in the world as it exists today,
rather than prescriptive, imagining how politics *ought* to work in a
world that doesn't exist.

The UN cannot disarm the US, as it also cannot disarm Russia, China,
Britain, or France. All five have a veto on the UN Security Council.

> Yes, if these are correct interpretations, then I imagine the
> establishment of their validity would be quite difficult. While more
> difficult if documents are secret, or do not exist, most
> interpretations in history, as I understand it, are afflicted with
> various difficulties. I am surprised (I suppose) that you label them
> as conspiracy theories -

Most conspiracies fail, or are discovered. It's not easy to keep a
secret. In this case, Saddam himself would obviously know what had
happened.

The reason I label them conspiracy theories is that they're exactly
that: they're theories about conspiracies that aren't based on any
evidence. The nature of conspiracies is that they're secret, so the
lack of evidence can be explained away: of course there's no evidence,
the conspirators suppressed the evidence. Not only that, any evidence
*against* the conspiracy theory can be dismissed by claiming that the
conspirators fabricated the evidence. Once you believe in a conspiracy
theory, it's extraordinarily difficult to realize that you're wrong.

My usual response to conspiracy theories is to point out how improbable
they are. For example:

... any evidence that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the
September 11 attack can be discounted by saying that it may
have been fabricated by a sufficiently clever and powerful
adversary (the CIA! the Mossad! George W. Bush!). However,
as the amount of evidence increases, the diabolical cleverness
required of the adversary becomes greater and greater, and more
and more improbable.

(A brief aside. Usually historical questions are answered by looking
at the evidence, particularly written evidence: state archives,
memoirs, interviews, oral histories. Besides the primary evidence,
we may also rely on *secondary sources*, that is, histories written
by other people which is based on primary evidence. The job of the
historian is to establish the facts by sorting through both primary
evidence and secondary sources and testing their veracity, and then
to interpret the facts -- acting as a judge, not a lawyer.)

> I again wonder why - as you are an
> apparent realist - you would foreclose such an analysis of American

> foreign policy, --

It's not an analysis. It's a hypothesis, a conjecture, a speculation,
based on no evidence whatsoever. In other words, a conspiracy theory.

> > there seem to be some strange gaps in
> > your knowledge, e.g. your comment about Rome.)
>
> Rome? Really? I do not know a lot about the history of the Roman
> Empire, but I understand that it was founded quite substantially on
> brutal military force. I have read that some noble products came out
> of the Empire, such as (though I shouldn't think I would upraise it)
> Stoicism, various laws, and such people as Aurelius and the jurists:
> but as I understand it, it was a pretty brutal regime. The results of
> the Punic Wars, with the annihilation of Carthage, are an example.

I certainly wasn't trying to suggest that the Roman Empire was a
liberal democracy (!). But you have heard of the Roman Republic,
right? (And you know that the Punic Wars happened under the Republic,
not the Empire?)

> As for your question about being disconnected from reality: from a
> philosophical perspective, how do we know what that reality is - or
> even further, whether reality exists - and can we know it apart from
> our particular worldviews or perspectives? Are we all 'disconnected'
> from reality? Some questions to ponder - I would consider them
> extremely important.

Personally, I think William James' "Pragmatism" provides a pretty good
epistemology, based on evidence. A statement is true if it has some
practical consequences which can be verified; you can test the truth
of the statement by testing the consequences. If you're reading this
on a computer screen, is the computer screen real or not, or is it
just a figment of your imagination? If it's real, you should be able
to reach out and touch it.

William James:

Take, for instance, yonder object on the wall. You and I consider it
to be a 'clock,' altho no one of us has seen the hidden works that
make it one. We let our notion pass for true without attempting to
verify. If truths mean verification-process essentially, ought we
then to call such unverified truths as this abortive? No, for they
form the overwhelmingly large number of the truths we live by.
Indirect as well as direct verifications pass muster. Where
circumstantial evidence is sufficient, we can go without
eye-witnessing. Just as we here assume Japan to exist without ever
having been there, because it works to do so, everything we know
conspiring with the belief, and nothing interfering, so we assume
that thing to be a clock. We use it as a clock, regulating the length
of our lecture by it. The verification of the assumption here means
its leading to no frustration or contradiction. Verifiability of
wheels and weights and pendulum is as good as verification. For one
truth-process completed there are a million in our lives that
function in this state of nascency. They turn us towards direct
verification; lead us into the surroundings of the objects they
envisage; and then, if everything runs on harmoniously, we are so
sure that verification is possible that we omit it, and are usually
justified by all that happens.

Truth lives, in fact, for the most part on a credit system. Our
thoughts and beliefs 'pass,' so long as nothing challenges them,
just as bank-notes pass so long as nobody refuses them. But this all
points to direct face-to-face verifications *somewhere*, without
which the fabric of truth collapses like a financial system with no
cash-basis whatever. You accept my verification of one thing, I
yours of another. We trade on each other's truth. But beliefs
verified concretely by somebody are the posts of the whole
superstructure.

Russil Wvong

unread,
Jan 26, 2003, 4:09:19 PM1/26/03
to
Brock wrote:
> Indeed? I wonder what spin doctors are doing that?

It's not spin doctors. A lot of people believe things which aren't true,
particularly when there's strong emotions involved (e.g. fear, hatred).
Orwell has a well-known essay on this, "Notes on Nationalism":
http://www.resort.com/~prime8/Orwell/nationalism.html

> What is your assessment of these matters, found on this discussion
> group? I frankly don't know much about these matters, but are these
> statements grist for the conspiracy theory mill too, or are they
> substantive concerns?

The implicit argument is that the US government has a pattern of
starting wars -- that it's behind the incident which supposedly
starts each war. The following are definitely false:

> Just like the explosion of the Maine, which was used to get us into
> the Spanish-American war.
>
> Just like our government ignored warnings that Japan would attack us.
>
> Just like the signals the government sent that South Korea would not
> be included in an American defense perimeter in Asia.
>

> Just like Bush41 kept quiet as Saddam built up his forces on the
> border with Kuwait.

This one is controversial:

> Just like the Gulf of Tonkin charade.

See
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=70515sfc01%40panix3.panix.com

This one I didn't know much about:

> Just like the alleged "attack on our soil" by Mexican troops that
> started the Mexican war.

I did a quick search in Encyclopaedia Britannica and found the following:

Mexico severed relations with the United States in March 1845, shortly
after the U.S. annexation of Texas. In September President James
K. Polk sent John Slidell on a secret mission to Mexico City to
negotiate the disputed Texas border, settle U.S. claims against Mexico,
and purchase New Mexico and California for up to $30,000,000. Mexican
officials, aware in advance of Slidell's intention of dismembering
their country, refused to receive him. When Polk learned of the snub,
he ordered troops under General Zachary Taylor to occupy the disputed
area between the Nueces and the Rio Grande (January 1846).

On May 9, 1846, Polk began to prepare a war message to Congress,
justifying hostilities on the grounds of Mexican refusal to pay American
claims and its refusal to negotiate with Slidell. That evening he
received word that Mexican troops had crossed the Rio Grande on April 25
and attacked Taylor's troops, killing or injuring 16 of them. In his
quickly revised war message--delivered to Congress on May 11--Polk
claimed that Mexico had "invaded our territory and shed American blood
on American soil."

So there was a Mexican attack, but it was on disputed territory.

Brock

unread,
Jan 27, 2003, 2:03:45 PM1/27/03
to
Russil Wvong <russi...@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:<3E344E93...@yahoo.com>...

> Brock wrote:
> > Indeed? I wonder what spin doctors are doing that?
>
> It's not spin doctors. A lot of people believe things which aren't true,
> particularly when there's strong emotions involved (e.g. fear, hatred).
> Orwell has a well-known essay on this, "Notes on Nationalism":
> http://www.resort.com/~prime8/Orwell/nationalism.html

Propaganda is an interesting phenomena - don't know a great deal about
it, but it's interesting. You suggested that this John Flogger may be
a propagandist - a 'spin doctor' if you will - and probably there are
others. Now, I don't know that I have any particular knowledge or
evidence of this happening domestically, but interestingly the
'Ecuador' chapter that Blum wrote indicated that the CIA got involved
in things such as setting up competing labour unions, and leftist
organizations, infiltrating both the left and the right, for various
purposes. The 'Italy' chapter is also interesting, with a barrage of
informational propaganda. So it is conceivable that there are various
propagandists for various purposes on the internet as well.

>
> > What is your assessment of these matters, found on this discussion
> > group? I frankly don't know much about these matters, but are these
> > statements grist for the conspiracy theory mill too, or are they
> > substantive concerns?
>
> The implicit argument is that the US government has a pattern of
> starting wars -- that it's behind the incident which supposedly
> starts each war. The following are definitely false:

How do you know that? The Iraq-Kuwait one, which has been discussed,
is not conclusive I should say - certainly the document which you
sourced I cannot see provides conclusive evidence that there wasn't a
covert operation. So it makes me wonder about the others as well.
Likely, I'll just sit down and do some of my own research. But
interesting to note that John Stockwell, former CIA guy in Angola,
cited the Maine incident, the Lusitania matter, the Gulf of Tonkin,
the Mexican War, and indeed the Kuwait matter (and also the Iran-Iraq
war, incidentally) as possible examples of US government
manipulations. I may add his observations on the Kuwait matter - such
as the ability to anticipate various responses, the desire for war -
and the 'pageantry' and popularity that can go with it, an $80 billion
debt, the calling in of loans by Kuwait, the expansion of Kuwait's
desert border, the buying of a company specializing in slant drilling
and engaging it, that Glaspie indicated apparently 10 times in her
conversation with Hussein that there was no defense agreement with
Kuwait. Interesting additions.

So anyway, I should add as well: for those that are 'controversial'
from your perspective, (eg Gulf of Tonkin), and then for the one I'm
not sure what your position is, Mexico: these then may, from your
admitted perspective, very well not be 'conspiracy theories'. And so,
it would indicate a certain methodology, would it not, a certain world
view: and I wonder to what extent various administrations could avoid
thinking along such lines, given the influence of departments, eg.
defence and CIA - and possibly the State Department as well (and
others?). One should imagine Republican governments more inclined in
that regard as well - and Bush as I recall was ex-CIA; even Roosevelt
(others??) I understand was ex-intelligence (ONI). So again, it seems
to me that your inclination to label such ideas as 'conspiracy
theories' as opposed to realist applications (of a particular variety)
is, as I have suggested, a reflection of sugarcoating American foreign
policy.

- Brock

Russil Wvong

unread,
Jan 29, 2003, 11:14:22 AM1/29/03
to
Brock wrote:
> Russil Wvong <russi...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> > It's not spin doctors. A lot of people believe things which aren't true,
> > particularly when there's strong emotions involved (e.g. fear, hatred).
> > Orwell has a well-known essay on this, "Notes on Nationalism":
> > http://www.resort.com/~prime8/Orwell/nationalism.html
>
> Propaganda is an interesting phenomena - don't know a great deal about
> it, but it's interesting.

You really ought to read the link.

> You suggested that this John Flogger may be
> a propagandist - a 'spin doctor' if you will - and probably there are
> others.

I did *not* mean that "John Flogger" is being paid to post anti-Indian
propaganda to USENET. Far from it; I have no doubt that he believes
everything he posts. (The strength of someone's opinion often has no
relation to the quality of the information on which it's based.)

> Now, I don't know that I have any particular knowledge or
> evidence of this happening domestically, but interestingly the
> 'Ecuador' chapter that Blum wrote indicated that the CIA got involved
> in things such as setting up competing labour unions, and leftist
> organizations, infiltrating both the left and the right, for various
> purposes. The 'Italy' chapter is also interesting, with a barrage of
> informational propaganda.

Yes, it was a major feature of the Cold War. The Soviet Union was very
good at propaganda, but the CIA used propaganda routinely as well.

> So it is conceivable that there are various
> propagandists for various purposes on the internet as well.

If you mean *professional* propagandists, I doubt it.

> > The implicit argument is that the US government has a pattern of
> > starting wars -- that it's behind the incident which supposedly
> > starts each war. The following are definitely false:
>
> How do you know that? The Iraq-Kuwait one, which has been discussed,
> is not conclusive I should say -

Let me put it this way: on controversial issues such as history and
politics, you're going to see a mass of conflicting views and information.
They can't all be right, obviously. What I try to do to sort things out,
to figure out what really happened, is to assess whether each source of
information is *reliable* (Encyclopaedia Britannica) or *unreliable*
(Noam Chomsky).

According to the *reliable* sources that I've seen, the US government
did not instigate war in each of these cases.

> Likely, I'll just sit down and do some of my own research. But
> interesting to note that John Stockwell, former CIA guy in Angola,
> cited the Maine incident, the Lusitania matter, the Gulf of Tonkin,
> the Mexican War, and indeed the Kuwait matter (and also the Iran-Iraq
> war, incidentally) as possible examples of US government
> manipulations. I may add his observations on the Kuwait matter - such
> as the ability to anticipate various responses, the desire for war -
> and the 'pageantry' and popularity that can go with it, an $80 billion
> debt, the calling in of loans by Kuwait, the expansion of Kuwait's
> desert border, the buying of a company specializing in slant drilling
> and engaging it, that Glaspie indicated apparently 10 times in her
> conversation with Hussein that there was no defense agreement with
> Kuwait.

To me this suggests that John Stockwell is an unreliable source. :-)
See http://www.chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/glaspie.html. Glaspie
didn't refer to the lack of a US defense agreement with Kuwait at
all. Glaspie did tell him that the US had no opinion on its border
dispute with Kuwait, *but also said that the US hoped he could resolve
the dispute through the Arab League (Klibi) or Egypt (Mubarak) -- that
is, peacefully*. She also asked his intentions; and he said that he
was planning to meet with Kuwaiti officials in Saudi Arabia.

After the meeting, Glaspie sent a cable to Washington saying that it
looked like the situation was winding down peacefully. Glaspie did
*not* tell Hussein that he had US permission to occupy Kuwait.

GLASPIE: ... We hope you can solve this problem using any suitable
methods via Klibi or via President Mubarak. All that we hope is that
these issues are solved quickly. With regard to all of this, can I
ask you to see how the issue appears to us?

My assessment after 25 years' service in this area is that your
objective must have strong backing from your Arab brothers. I now
speak of oil. But you, Mr. President, have fought through a horrific
and painful war. Frankly, we can see only that you have deployed
massive troops in the south. Normally that would not be any of our
business. But when this happens in the context of what you said on
your national day, then when we read the details in the two letters
of the Foreign Minister, then when we see the Iraqi point of view that
the measures taken by the U.A.E. and Kuwait is, in the final analysis,
parallel to military aggression against Iraq, then it would be
reasonable for me to be concerned. And for this reason, I received
an instruction to ask you, in the spirit of friendship -- not in the
spirit of confrontation -- regarding your intentions.

...

GLASPIE: Mr. President, it would be helpful if you could give us an
assessment of the effort made by your Arab brothers and whether they
have achieved anything.

HUSSEIN: On this subject, we agreed with President Mubarak that the
Prime Minister of Kuwait would meet with the deputy chairman of the
Revolution Command Council in Saudi Arabia, because the Saudis
initiated contact with us, aided by President Mubarak's efforts. He
just telephoned me a short while ago to say the Kuwaitis have agreed
to that suggestion.

GLASPIE: Congratulations.

HUSSEIN: A protocol meeting will be held in Saudi Arabia. Then the
meeting will be transferred to Baghdad for deeper discussion directly
between Kuwait and Iraq. We hope we will reach some result. We hope
that the long-term view and the real interests will overcome Kuwaiti
greed.

GLASPIE: May I ask you when you expect Sheik Saad to come to Baghdad?

HUSSEIN: I suppose it would be on Saturday or Monday at the latest.
I told brother Mubarak that the agreement should be in Baghdad
Saturday or Sunday. You know that brother Mubarak's visits have
always been a good omen.

GLASPIE: This is good news. Congratulations.

HUSSEIN: Brother President Mubarak told me they were scared. They
said troops were only 20 kilometers north of the Arab League line.
I said to him that regardless of what is there, whether they are
police, border guards or army, and regardless of how many are there,
and what they are doing, assure the Kuwaitis and give them our word
that we are not going to do anything until we meet with them. When
we meet and when we see that there is hope, then nothing will happen.
But if we are unable to find a solution, then it will be natural that
Iraq will not accept death, even though wisdom is above everything
else. There you have good news.

> So anyway, I should add as well: for those that are 'controversial'
> from your perspective, (eg Gulf of Tonkin), and then for the one I'm
> not sure what your position is, Mexico: these then may, from your
> admitted perspective, very well not be 'conspiracy theories'. And so,
> it would indicate a certain methodology, would it not, a certain
> world view:

I think you're grasping at straws here (not wanting to give up on
conspiracy theories?). By "controversial" I meant that I've
seen different opinions on the Tonkin Gulf incidents from different
historians. Edwin Moise, in the linked article, sums up:

The Johnson administration had been wanting to get such a
resolution from the Congress; the Tonkin Gulf incidents made
a good excuse. It does not appear, however, that the incidents
had been deliberately concocted in order to provide the excuse.

In the case of the Mexican war, there was indeed an attack, according
to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

> and I wonder to what extent various administrations could avoid
> thinking along such lines, given the influence of departments, eg.
> defence and CIA - and possibly the State Department as well (and
> others?). One should imagine Republican governments more inclined in
> that regard as well - and Bush as I recall was ex-CIA; even Roosevelt
> (others??) I understand was ex-intelligence (ONI).

Bush was never a CIA *operative*, he was the *director* of the CIA.
Encyclopaedia Britannica:

Bush attended Yale University, graduating in 1948. Rejecting a
position in his father's firm, he moved to Texas and became a
salesman of oil-field supplies. He cofounded the Zapata Petroleum
Corporation (1953) and the Zapata Off-Shore Company (1954). He
became active in the Republican Party in Houston in 1959, and,
after losing a campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1964, he was
elected (1966) to a safely Republican seat in the U.S. House of
Representatives. He gave up the seat in 1970 to run again,
unsuccessfully, for the Senate. President Richard M. Nixon chose
Bush to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations
(1971-72). In 1973, as the Watergate Scandal was erupting, Bush
became chairman of the Republican National Committee, in which
post he stood by President Nixon until August 1974, when he called
on the president to resign. President Gerald R. Ford appointed him
chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in Peking later that year. He
served in this capacity until he was called home to head the
Central Intelligence Agency (1976-77).

As far as I know, Roosevelt didn't have any intelligence background.
Britannica:

For his work on behalf of Wilson, Roosevelt was rewarded in March
1913 with an appointment as assistant secretary of the navy under
Josephus Daniels. Roosevelt loved the sea and naval traditions,
and he knew more about them than did his superior, with whom he
was frequently impatient. Roosevelt tried with mixed success to
bring reforms to the navy yards, which were under his
jurisdiction, meanwhile learning to negotiate with labour unions
among the civilian employees. After war broke out in Europe,
Roosevelt became a vehement advocate of preparedness; following
U.S. entrance, he built a reputation as an effective
administrator. In the summer of 1918 he made an extended tour of
naval bases and battlefields overseas. During much of his seven
years as assistant secretary, he had been less than loyal to
Daniels, but in the end he came to appreciate his superior's skill
in dealing with Southern congressmen and his solid worth as an
administrator.

> So again, it seems
> to me that your inclination to label such ideas as 'conspiracy
> theories' as opposed to realist applications (of a particular variety)
> is, as I have suggested, a reflection of sugarcoating American foreign
> policy.

I'm afraid it seems to me that the reason we have different opinions
on American foreign policy is that I'm willing to look stuff up and
you're not. :-)

If you want to know more about the CIA, you may want to read Thomas
Powers' book "Intelligence Wars."
http://www.nybooks.com/authors/102

James E. Morrow

unread,
Jan 29, 2003, 3:28:05 PM1/29/03
to
In article <4b9ea7f8.03012...@posting.google.com>,
bt...@canada.com says...

> Propaganda is an interesting phenomena - don't know a great deal about
> it, but it's interesting. You suggested that this John Flogger may be
> a propagandist - a 'spin doctor' if you will - and probably there are
> others. Now, I don't know that I have any particular knowledge or
> evidence of this happening domestically, but interestingly the
> 'Ecuador' chapter that Blum wrote indicated that the CIA got involved
> in things such as setting up competing labour unions, and leftist
> organizations, infiltrating both the left and the right, for various
> purposes. The 'Italy' chapter is also interesting, with a barrage of
> informational propaganda. So it is conceivable that there are various
> propagandists for various purposes on the internet as well.
>
>
>
Forgive me, but what does the CIA have to do with Mr. Floger? May
I suggest that if anyone here wishes to find Mr. Floger they may
care to look him up at the Pakistani Embassy.

--
James E. Morrow
Email to: jamese...@email.com

Brock

unread,
Jan 31, 2003, 12:28:01 AM1/31/03
to
James E. Morrow <jamese...@email.com> wrote in message news:<MPG.18a0ee7b8...@NEWS.CIS.DFN.DE>...

> In article <4b9ea7f8.03012...@posting.google.com>,
> bt...@canada.com says...
> > Propaganda is an interesting phenomena - don't know a great deal about
> > it, but it's interesting. You suggested that this John Flogger may be
> > a propagandist - a 'spin doctor' if you will - and probably there are
> > others. Now, I don't know that I have any particular knowledge or
> > evidence of this happening domestically, but interestingly the
> > 'Ecuador' chapter that Blum wrote indicated that the CIA got involved
> > in things such as setting up competing labour unions, and leftist
> > organizations, infiltrating both the left and the right, for various
> > purposes. The 'Italy' chapter is also interesting, with a barrage of
> > informational propaganda. So it is conceivable that there are various
> > propagandists for various purposes on the internet as well.
> >
> >
> >
> Forgive me, but what does the CIA have to do with Mr. Floger?

Actually, I wasn't suggesting that there was any such connection - it
had been suggested earlier in the thread that Mr. Flogger may be from
Pakistan. However, I am interested in the general ideas of propaganda
and propaganda over the internet.

- Brock

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