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  #1  
Old 09-23-2008, 06:54 PM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
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Default Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

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  #2  
Old 09-23-2008, 07:59 PM
fedorovingtonboop fedorovingtonboop is offline
 
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

what kind of person has the balls to say they want a limited government with respect to the economy when that exact kind of behavior caused a world wide financial meltdown 4 days ago? oh, that's right, he's from Cato...forgot some people choose dogma over independent thought for no reason.
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  #3  
Old 09-23-2008, 08:53 PM
threep threep is offline
 
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

How about that some people convince themselves it's not trolling when they do it?
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  #4  
Old 09-23-2008, 10:56 PM
fedorovingtonboop fedorovingtonboop is offline
 
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

getting the first post 2 times is trolling? i'm thinking the dozen other members with hundreds of posts would probably better qualify. i check bheads right after work every day so i guess bob should post the libertarians either later or earlier. man, they both sure did get a zing from me, though, huh? thanks for your support, man!
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  #5  
Old 09-23-2008, 09:30 PM
Exeus99 Exeus99 is offline
 
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Default Ms. Hurlburt Keeps 'Em Guessing

What was that word, Heather? Preble's point about a Hurlburt-Paulson nexus was good, but he doesn't even take a swing at the easiest target, namely Ms. Hurlburt's apparently sincere belief that once we've got that whole "pervasive progressive state" thing down then the union workers and farmers and progressives generally, then, they'll embrace free trade; then they'll recognize free trade's inherent worth. Even granting that a wealthy society is much more likely to be generous than a poor one (and thus more likely to take morally correct actions that might slightly impoverish some citizens in a relative sense), this seems...unlikely.
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  #6  
Old 09-23-2008, 10:51 PM
fedorovingtonboop fedorovingtonboop is offline
 
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

heyoooo! Looks like I got deleted again - what a surprise. Bob's moderator has censored me at least 5 times and I think that's the record. Anyway, as I was saying, libertarians are the most ridiculously off base group of nutballs ever. Is that ok to say or will that be deleted? It's okay to write an opinion on an opinion board, right? How can you possibly have the nerve to be libertarian when when that type of behavior just about shut down the world's banking system? Is anyone else gonna hold these guys accountable or am I the only one who's going to say anything? Also, my initial post didn't have any swearing and didn't use anyone's name and really, was just stating the truth but I guess that hurts people's feelings What are the rules for the forum? Don't "say mean stuff"?
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  #7  
Old 09-23-2008, 11:04 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

Not that this will help much, but you can rant as much as you want.

I don't know much about the details of this financial debacle. I don't want to know. This is not an area of interest to me. However, it seems to me that we are all in deep trouble. It's much worse than what most people realize. The consequences aren't even imagined. This crisis is the consequence of the most irresponsible form of capitalism. It should be a big lesson and a wake up call. We all better watch how this crisis gets resolved, because, although the bail out seems to be only less catastrophic measure, the way it's implemented is extremely important. It can range from an imperfect and painful solution to a bigger catastrophe down the line, depending on how it's implemented and regulated.

That's as much as I can say. I can't quote anyone. This is the synthesis I can offer from reading little more than headlines...
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  #8  
Old 09-23-2008, 11:20 PM
fedorovingtonboop fedorovingtonboop is offline
 
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

thanks Ocean, you've always been one the better posters here.

if you or anyone else wants to learn what happened and how insanely irresponsible they, who are being investigated by the FBI as we speak were, here's NPR's This American Life's fantastic, lucid radio summary of the debacle:
http://www.thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1242

click "Full Episode" to dload the mp3. trust me, it gets eye-poppingly clear after you hear how casual they were with the world's investment money....$70 trillion!
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  #9  
Old 09-24-2008, 12:04 AM
nikkibong nikkibong is offline
 
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy the headline of this diavlog reads: but, may I ask, where does the 'versus' come from these days?

Since the commencement of the Iraq war (nay, perhaps since Bush took office), we've witnessed a convergence of isolationaism (the policy promoted by the libertarians) and self-proclaimed liberalism. We see that reflected even in our Dear Leader, Bob Wright, who espouses a "liberal realism." (whatever that means) We see that in the pages of The Nation and other 'liberal' organs, who view any Wilsonian internationalist liberalism as a form of imperialism.

Frankly, to me, the situation is depressing. As a liberal myself, I view internationalist liberalism as the best hope for the world. Who else is going to stand up for the people of Sudan, of Burma, and perhaps most importantly, of North Korea? (There's a holocaust occurring there, and people just yawn.) A robut liberal foreign policy is what we need. (And not what I see us getting from Obama - whom, of course FULL DISCLOSURE i will be voting for)

Two years ago, Pat Buchanan came and spoke here in Portland, Oregon. (A famously liberal enclave.) I went to see him. Amazingly, the overwhelmingly "progressive" crowd was wildly applauding his isolationist rhetoric. I knew then that things were woefully askew in the political left.
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  #10  
Old 09-24-2008, 12:44 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

Quote:
Two years ago, Pat Buchanan came and spoke here in Portland, Oregon. (A famously liberal enclave.) I went to see him. Amazingly, the overwhelmingly "progressive" crowd was wildly applauding his isolationist rhetoric. I knew then that things were woefully askew in the political left.
Askew or not, Buchanan has been right about Iraq from the beginning. Like Obama.

Throughout the Bush administration PB has been the TV face of the one sane Republican. All the Repub. pundits followed Bush and Cheney over the cliff of lies, aggression and irrationality. Buchanan kept his sanity and his values.

He's awful on social issues, and he has displayed odious prejudices over the years, but he gets a lot of credit for opposing bipartisan interventions, occupations and wars.
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  #11  
Old 09-24-2008, 02:36 AM
rgajria rgajria is offline
 
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikkibong View Post
Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy the headline of this diavlog reads: but, may I ask, where does the 'versus' come from these days?

Two years ago, Pat Buchanan came and spoke here in Portland, Oregon. (A famously liberal enclave.) I went to see him. Amazingly, the overwhelmingly "progressive" crowd was wildly applauding his isolationist rhetoric. I knew then that things were woefully askew in the political left.
Pat Buchanan also receives healthy respect from the NPR crowd. I have heard him twice on shows and based my opinion on the people calling in and not the interviewer.
I find arguments made by several liberal minded folks that all intervention is some form of imperialism or colonialism to be really fruity. Ditto with Bill Maher's woolly description of California and Texas as Mexican territory.
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  #12  
Old 09-24-2008, 07:50 AM
Francoamerican
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

It was a pleasure to hear a liberal and a libertarian agreeing on so many issues! I was especially impressed by the discussion of NATO and the Georgia crisis, about which most Americans are, as usual, ill-informed.

The US foreign policy establishment, as seen from Europe, seems to be stuck in a state of permanent war with imaginary enemies, the so-called war on terror being only the most recent bogey man in the American "imaginaire" of foreign devils (this is not intended as an apology for terrorists but as a statement of the exaggerated place they occupy in the American mind). I have no doubt that soon, if McCain is elected, we will be hearing more rubbish about the ever sinister Ruskies...

I forget the exact numbers, but it is a well-known fact that the US spends far more on its military and on "defense" in general than the next 20 countries combined. And with what pitiful results! It is surely time for Americans to start a national debate on the proper scope of its military in the conduct of foreign policy. A government that needs to borrow so much money from foreigners to sustain its grotesquely bloated military budget really cannot afford to postpone the debate.

Last edited by Francoamerican; 09-24-2008 at 07:54 AM..
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  #13  
Old 09-24-2008, 09:57 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

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Originally Posted by Francoamerican View Post
The US foreign policy establishment, as seen from Europe, seems to be stuck in a state of permanent war with imaginary enemies, the so-called war on terror being only the most recent bogey man in the American "imaginaire" of foreign devils (this is not intended as an apology for terrorists but as a statement of the exaggerated place they occupy in the American mind). I have no doubt that soon, if McCain is elected, we will be hearing more rubbish about the ever sinister Ruskies...
This rather primitive dichotomy has been maintained for so long that most people don't even notice the active creation of an identified evil enemy. Having such enemies serves many purposes. It justifies convenient aggressive actions, and maintains the illusory image of the U.S. being the "good" and sanctified side of any conflict.

Quote:
I forget the exact numbers, but it is a well-known fact that the US spends far more on its military and on "defense" in general than the next 20 countries combined. And with what pitiful results! It is surely time for Americans to start a national debate on the proper scope of its military in the conduct of foreign policy. A government that needs to borrow so much money from foreigners to sustain its grotesquely bloated military budget really cannot afford to postpone the debate.
Interesting proposition. I don't think this country is anywhere close to that kind of debate. It would require insights that are well beyond what an average American may have access to. The delusion has been going on for too long.
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  #14  
Old 09-24-2008, 12:57 PM
handle handle is offline
 
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

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Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
This rather primitive dichotomy has been maintained for so long that most people don't even notice the active creation of an identified evil enemy. Having such enemies serves many purposes. It justifies convenient aggressive actions, and maintains the illusory image of the U.S. being the "good" and sanctified side of any conflict.



Interesting proposition. I don't think this country is anywhere close to that kind of debate. It would require insights that are well beyond what an average American may have access to. The delusion has been going on for too long.
I thought it, and said it, ten years ago, that while it is grand security to have the most powerful military in human history, I was pretty sure that from what I knew about that history, we would find a reason to use it.
I really wanted to be wrong, against my own human tendencies, and am truly dismayed to have been right.

Last edited by handle; 09-24-2008 at 01:05 PM..
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  #15  
Old 09-26-2008, 06:23 AM
a Duoist a Duoist is offline
 
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

If U.S. foreign policy is to have an 'element' of morality in its implementation, then that morality acceptable to Left, Right and libertarian in foreign policy is 'human rights,' the "fundamental freedoms."

In such a foreign policy, 'free trade' not only meets the broad consensus of mainstream economists, but also of all non-subsidized sectors of the American economy. So, which subsidized groups would oppose the morality of free trade? Steelworkers in Ohio and Pennsylvania (Obama's voters)? Or, corn farmers in the Midwest (McCain's voters)? Cotton growers (McCain)? Truckers (Obama)?

Morality in foreign policy is a recipe for disappointment at the minimum, disaster at the maximum. 'Idealism' is the policy preference for optimists disillusioned with reality, just as 'realism' is the policy preference for pessimists who are reality challenged. Both regard their views as entirely moral.

Instead of using an ideology, what if we had a foreign policy based upon pragmatism; an incremental pragmatism? Perhaps agricultural subsidies steadily phased out over a decade? Plebiscites once every score of years on renewing American military base leases? Buy the entire poppy and coca crops, then legalize them. Foreign aid for those states who demonstrably improve their measures of fundamental freedoms; shrink the foreign aid for those countries which make no progress, or reverse their fundamental freedoms. ASK Russia what it wants for its enthusiastic support of containment of Iran. Volunteer American universities for China's Confucius Institutes. Build free trade bilaterally; this is slower, but steadier, like the tortoise beating the hare. End the CIA and Department of Education at the same time. Require transparency on all foreign aid programs, both US and UN. Give the Israelis the rural lands along the border between Canada and the United States, and then move the stones of the Second Temple to their new capital at International Falls (did I say, 'pragmatic'?).

And by all means, re-constitute American foreign policy on bi-partisan grounds, by appointing members of the opposite political party to either Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense.

Libertarian philosopher Tibor Machan has a wonderful plan on how to conduct a foreign policy grounded on human rights. Invite him to Bloggingheads.
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  #16  
Old 09-26-2008, 07:48 AM
Francoamerican
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

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Originally Posted by a Duoist View Post
Give the Israelis the rural lands along the border between Canada and the United States, and then move the stones of the Second Temple to their new capital at International Falls (did I say, 'pragmatic'?).
A jest surely, in the spirit of Swift's Modest Proposal?

The Israelis and the Palestinians have spilt too much blood over their "Holy Land" for either side to pack up and leave. The blood of martyrs is the seed of faith....dixit Tertullian.

Idealists and Realists beware!
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  #17  
Old 09-26-2008, 07:54 AM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

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Originally Posted by Francoamerican View Post
A jest surely, in the spirit of Swift's Modest Proposal?

The Israelis and the Palestinians have spilt too much blood over their "Holy Land" for either side to pack up and leave. The blood of martyrs is the seed of faith....dixit Tertullian.

Idealists and Realists beware!
Sadly, you're probably right that Israel would never abandon it's little strip of blood soaked land, but Duoists' idea a nice one, nevertheless.

Maybe we could tempt them with Utah.
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  #18  
Old 09-26-2008, 08:02 AM
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

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Sadly, you're probably right that Israel would never abandon it's little strip of blood soaked land, but Duoists' idea a nice one, nevertheless.

Maybe we could tempt them with Utah.
I'll leave the comments for the Israelis. But, some land, somewhere, has never been a desired option, as far as I know. It would have been just too easy.
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  #19  
Old 09-27-2008, 02:58 PM
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

George Monbiot of the Guardian has this to say about US foreign policy (his comment occurs in the context of a discussion of the recent US decision to station a missile defense system in Poland to "defend Europe" agains Iranian missiles....surely one of the most absurd ideas ever proposed by a great power...but then are Bush and Cheney sane?):

"If we seek to understand US foreign policy in terms of a rational engagement with international problems, or even as an effective means of projecting power, we are looking in the wrong place. The government’s interests have always been provincial. It seeks to appease lobbyists, shift public opinion at key stages of the political cycle, accommodate crazy Christian fantasies and pander to television companies run by eccentric billionaires. The US does not really have a foreign policy. It has a series of domestic policies which it projects beyond its borders. That they threaten the world with 57 varieties of destruction is of no concern to the current administration. The only question of interest is who gets paid and what the political kickbacks will be."


I would be interested to hear what liberals and libertarians have to say about this.
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  #20  
Old 09-27-2008, 03:08 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

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Originally Posted by Francoamerican View Post

I would be interested to hear what liberals and libertarians have to say about this.
Amen.

Sadly true.

The U.S. has to grow up. The toddler's politics of mine, mine, and hitting or throwing tantrums doesn't cut it any longer. This country has been regressing and now it's so removed from the rest of the international community, that it will have to catch up quickly or perish. I don't think that the rest of the civilized world is going to put up with this trend for much longer. And there's no need to push it. We have to wake up.
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  #21  
Old 09-27-2008, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

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Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
Amen.

Sadly true.

The U.S. has to grow up. The toddler's politics of mine, mine, and hitting or throwing tantrums doesn't cut it any longer. This country has been regressing and now it's so removed from the rest of the international community, that it will have to catch up quickly or perish. I don't think that the rest of the civilized world is going to put up with this trend for much longer. And there's no need to push it. We have to wake up.
Obama offers hope. But he HAS to win. A victory for McCain will be a victory for the toddlers.
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  #22  
Old 09-27-2008, 08:18 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

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Originally Posted by Francoamerican View Post
George Monbiot [...]

I would be interested to hear what liberals and libertarians have to say about this.
This liberal finds a lot of hard truth there. It leaves out some good things I think do exist, at least from time to time, but there's no denying what Monbiot says.

In fairness, I'm not sure you couldn't say a lot of what he says about most other countries, too. Maybe not some of the specifics, like appealing to the Christianists, but generally, the notion that foreign policy develops as an outgrowth of domestic attitudes is not something unique to the US, I don't think. What compounds the problem in our case is that we're the 800-pound gorilla.
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  #23  
Old 09-27-2008, 08:27 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

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... the notion that foreign policy develops as an outgrowth of domestic attitudes is not something unique to the US, I don't think.
No, it isn't unique. But, the U.S. tends to have an idiosyncratic view of the world. Other Western countries have a more fluid exchange between their domestic attitudes and those of others. There is more reciprocity and mutual validation. At least that has been the case in more recent decades. The U.S. has become more isolated in its internal peculiar attitudes and these are reflected in turn in its awkward foreign policy.
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  #24  
Old 09-27-2008, 08:38 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

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Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
No, it isn't unique. But, the U.S. tends to have an idiosyncratic view of the world. Other Western countries have a more fluid exchange between their domestic attitudes and those of others. There is more reciprocity and mutual validation. At least that has been the case in more recent decades. The U.S. has become more isolated in its internal peculiar attitudes and these are reflected in turn in its awkward foreign policy.
I'm sure someone more aware of the details could make a case against, say, excessive French coziness with unsavory Arab governments, or possible vestiges of colonialism (UK/Argentina?), or any of a number of things that I should know about but don't.

But largely I agree, especially recently.
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  #25  
Old 09-27-2008, 08:49 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Battle of the neo-cons for president

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The U.S. has become more isolated in its internal peculiar attitudes and these are reflected in turn in its awkward foreign policy.
I was thinking of this last night as I watched the debate. Both candidates sounded like raving neo-con exceptionalists.

The only context for discussing foreign policy now is how to maintain US military hegemony over the rest of the world -- how best to wage the ongoing wars, where and when to best intervene and occupy in the future, how best to escalate in Afghanistan and Pakistan, how to pull Ukraine and Georgia into NATO (the US-dominated military mutual defense pact), etc.

Obama, of course, is ten times preferable to the impulsive and bellicose McCain, but in order to be elected Obama has to become neo-con-commander -in-chief. The only president we have is the president of the military-industrial-congressional complex.

To the rest of our friends in the world, the debate sounds disturbingly militaristic. Imagine how it sounds to those already hostile to and threatened by the USA.

At the end of the debate Obama managed to sound creepily like Ronald Reagan:

"And this is the greatest country on Earth. But because of some of the mistakes that have been made -- and I give Senator McCain great credit on the torture issue, for having identified that as something that undermines our long-term security -- because of those things, we, I think, are going to have a lot of work to do in the next administration to restore that sense that America is that shining beacon on a hill."

These are crazy claims -- to be "the greatest country on Earth," to be a beacon of Protestant virtue.

We could use a little national humility after Iraq, Guantánamo and torture, but Obama promises instead to fix "the mistakes" and then re-assert supremacy.
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  #26  
Old 09-27-2008, 09:14 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Battle of the neo-cons for president

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Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
These are crazy claims -- to be "the greatest country on Earth," to be a beacon of Protestant virtue.

We could use a little national humility after Iraq, Guantánamo and torture, but Obama promises instead to fix "the mistakes" and then re-assert supremacy.
I agree with your overall assessment and your reflection on the topic. Generally speaking is much easier for people who have lived in other countries to have enough objectivity to understand these concepts.

What I don't agree with, is your assessment about Obama. Even if Obama agreed with you, and had an objective view of the dangerousness of the role that the U.S. has taken within the international community, it wouldn't be wise for him to say that. It would be for many Americans a message misconstrued as anti-American sentiment. Remember that this country doesn't tolerate criticism. It's too narcissistic for that. So the trick is to sell an equally grandiose image, but of a different nature.

Or it may well be that Obama has the same inflated concept of the U.S. as an exceptional country, the eternally victorious leader. In that case, as a President he will have to catch up with reality together with the rest of Americans. He's young, intelligent and appears to be thoughtful and receptive. Why not? He can grow too.
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  #27  
Old 09-27-2008, 10:12 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Battle of the neo-cons for president

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Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
[...]
What Ocean said, both points. The first task is to get Obama elected, and the reality is that many of the 'murrikin people are susceptible to attacks against any politician expressing any notion that we should think of ourselves as equal partners in the world. cf. Kerry and Rovian distortion of his small steps in articulating this; e.g., "Kerry wants to ask the French for permission before we defend ourselves."

And second, yes, we can't be sure that Obama isn't just as bad as the average American, or the average politician, or the average person with a big enough ego to think that it makes sense to run for president. We can, however, have reasonable hopes based on his life experience, and on the sense he conveys that he is moral, reflective, intelligent, and not calcified in his thinking. And we can be sure, by contrast, that John McCain is none of these things.
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  #28  
Old 09-28-2008, 11:18 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Battle of the neo-cons for president

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Or it may well be that Obama has the same inflated concept of the U.S. as an exceptional country, the eternally victorious leader. In that case, as a President he will have to catch up with reality together with the rest of Americans. He's young, intelligent and appears to be thoughtful and receptive. Why not? He can grow too.
Maybe. But the evidence suggests he's been learning the wrong things, having fallen under the influence of a horde of liberal hawks, American exceptionalists, plutocrats and special interests, all of whom rely on military-industrial-congressional inertia, religious platitudes and chauvinistic slogans to impede significant change -- change which was supposedly the inspiration of the Obama candidacy.

Obama seems to have dumbed himself down in this process. He couldn't run on who he was -- a progressive intellectual with multicultural roots and allegiances to working class, antiwar, pro-human rights and minority communities -- so he became Bill Clinton (irony noted).
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  #29  
Old 09-28-2008, 11:52 PM
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Default Re: Battle of the neo-cons for president

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Obama seems to have dumbed himself down in this process. He couldn't run on who he was -- a progressive intellectual with multicultural roots and allegiances to working class, antiwar, pro-human rights and minority communities -- so he became Bill Clinton (irony noted).
Yes, I notice your irony, and your cynicism. Perhaps your expectations are too high, or just too radical. You describe Obama as betraying the "cause". Is that what you really mean?

I have a different view. I try to look at the positive and understand that this is a political process. As such, it will be far from perfect, regardless of how loyal to his principles someone would want to be. I don't tend to idealize any political leader, and in fact I tend to be rather critical. But I'm also pragmatic and realistic in expectations and in action. We are only a few weeks away from the election. There's only one thing we have to do: vote Obama. We can deal with the rest later...
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  #30  
Old 09-29-2008, 12:39 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Battle of the neo-cons for president

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Perhaps your expectations are too high, or just too radical. You describe Obama as betraying the "cause". Is that what you really mean?
No, I mean that he betrayed his own intellectual integrity. The man who wrote "Dreams From My Father" is not the kind of man who can say with a straight face, "America is the greatest country in the world."

I am actually pretty pragmatic about what I hope Obama can accomplish in 4 or 8 years.

If he can end the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq and not wage any additional wars I'll be thrilled.

Universal healthcare would be a major accomplishment for any Democrat, and I give him about a 50-50 chance of delivering something less atrocious than the current system.

I expect him to abolish torture and shut down Guantánamo immediately.

He can be counted on to appoint good liberal judges to the SC, which is of vital importance.

That's why I'm supporting him.

Quote:
We are only a few weeks away from the election. There's only one thing we have to do: vote Obama. We can deal with the rest later...
I encourage you to do more than just vote. You live in a blue state, as I recall, so your vote doesn't matter much anyway. I've been calling voters in Nevada and Colorado. You can get involved on the website or at your local Obama for Pres. office.
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  #31  
Old 09-29-2008, 12:56 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Battle of the neo-cons for president

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I encourage you to do more than just vote. You live in a blue state, as I recall, so your vote doesn't matter much anyway. I've been calling voters in Nevada and Colorado. You can get involved on the website or at your local Obama for Pres. office.
There are a lot of people in this state that have family in the South. I've been very active encouraging people to call their relatives and make sure that they are registered to vote and that they have plans for Election Day. It helps when you have people tell you exactly at what time they will go vote. I don't know how much that helps, but I've got some positive feedback from some people.
I've been also emailing others in various states.
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  #32  
Old 09-28-2008, 06:31 AM
Francoamerican
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Default Re: Battle of the neo-cons for president

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I was thinking of this last night as I watched the debate. Both candidates sounded like raving neo-con exceptionalists.

The only context for discussing foreign policy now is how to maintain US military hegemony over the rest of the world -- how best to wage the ongoing wars, where and when to best intervene and occupy in the future, how best to escalate in Afghanistan and Pakistan, how to pull Ukraine and Georgia into NATO (the US-dominated military mutual defense pact), etc.

.........

At the end of the debate Obama managed to sound creepily like Ronald Reagan:

"And this is the greatest country on Earth. But because of some of the mistakes that have been made -- and I give Senator McCain great credit on the torture issue, for having identified that as something that undermines our long-term security -- because of those things, we, I think, are going to have a lot of work to do in the next administration to restore that sense that America is that shining beacon on a hill."

These are crazy claims -- to be "the greatest country on Earth," to be a beacon of Protestant virtue.

We could use a little national humility after Iraq, Guantánamo and torture, but Obama promises instead to fix "the mistakes" and then re-assert supremacy.
While you guys were carrying on the discussion I was asleep in Paris. I think you all make interesting points. As someone with a foot in the new world and a foot in the old world, and often struggling to keep my balance, I have often thought about these problems, especially since Iraq etc..

The Europe that has evolved since WW II into the European Union is such a different place from the old Europe of national rivalries and imperialism that it often seems as if Europe has become once again the center of world history......and the US a backward country cousin who needs to acquire the good manners of a "world citizen." It wasn't always that way! When the US entered world history (with the interventions in WW I and WW II) it sought to impose a new vision of state relations (the League of Nations, the United Nations etc) based on international law and the peaceful arbitration of conflicts. The Cold War kept that vision alive....but only because the prospect of nuclear war was so horrible to contemplate that arbitration and negotiation became the only realistic policy options. Of course, there were still wars (Korea, Vietnam and many smaller conflicts fomented by the Soviet Union and the US in their rivalry for power and influence) but they were "contained" in the sense that neither side wanted to wage a war with its big rival.

With the fall of the communist block everything changed. Now the US was suddenly the only "superpower" (or as the former French Minister of Foreign Affairs called it the only "hyperpower") and many of its citizens seemed to lose their common sense. A surfeit of power always breeds hubris (=overconfidence + blindness), as the ancient Greeks well knew. This hubris in turn fed on certain peculiar messianic traditions from America's past (think of Lincoln's bizarre belief that American was "mankind's last best hope....").Uneducated religious nitwits like George Bush (despite Yale and Harvard....), egged on by delirious neocons who should have known better, thought they could transform ancient civilizations by military force... Well, no use going on. You know the story as well as I do.

I too worry the Obama is too much under the sway of American exceptionalism and messianism. But I think he has surrounded himself with some wise advisers who will be able to tame his enthusiasm. And perhaps, as others have said, his messianism has more to do with getting elected than with his actual beliefs....
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  #33  
Old 09-28-2008, 10:28 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: U.S. and Europe

I think that you summarized and articulated very well the same ideas that I expressed in previous posts, about the U.S. regression after the fall of the Soviet Union, the changes in Europe which makes it a more united and progressive political force, and about where Obama may stand in relationship to U.S. current identity and hopes for the future.

I don't think it's late for change. But there's a lot of growing up to do, and it better be fast. The prospect, otherwise, isn't that great...
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  #34  
Old 09-28-2008, 08:30 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Battle of the neo-cons for president

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I too worry the Obama is too much under the sway of American exceptionalism and messianism. But I think he has surrounded himself with some wise advisers who will be able to tame his enthusiasm. And perhaps, as others have said, his messianism has more to do with getting elected than with his actual beliefs....
I think the second explanation is more likely, although I reject "messianism" out of hand. I see no indication that Obama thinks he's God, or that he thinks the US is God or has God on its side. Resist the fearmongering smears from the Right.

I do think Obama believes, as do I, that the US is, and should be, a world leader on many levels, but I think most of his saber rattling is just the kind of crap a Democrat has to say to get elected in this country. I also think he's honestly concerned about threats to national security, especially the Islamic radical flavor. I don't think this is a wrong attitude, but I do hope he goes for a big change in approach in dealing with it. I believe he will, if he has the opportunity.
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  #35  
Old 09-29-2008, 07:30 AM
Francoamerican
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Default Re: Battle of the neo-cons for president

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I think the second explanation is more likely, although I reject "messianism" out of hand. I see no indication that Obama thinks he's God, or that he thinks the US is God or has God on its side. Resist the fearmongering smears from the Right.

I do think Obama believes, as do I, that the US is, and should be, a world leader on many levels, but I think most of his saber rattling is just the kind of crap a Democrat has to say to get elected in this country. I also think he's honestly concerned about threats to national security, especially the Islamic radical flavor. I don't think this is a wrong attitude, but I do hope he goes for a big change in approach in dealing with it. I believe he will, if he has the opportunity.
I was using "messianism" in a loose sense, more or less synonymous with "exceptionalism." Both words refer to the belief, generally understood by historians, that when the US acts abroad militarily it acts in the interests of other nations as well as its own, indeed acts for the good of mankind because of its "exceptional" status among nations. Other nations have had similar views of themselves: Britain, France, Germany.

Napoleon, in the wake of the French Revolution, thought he was spreading the ideals of the European Enlightenment to the rest of Europe. It took 150 years, and two world wars, for Europe to get over that episode...

As Talleyrand put it to Napoléon: Sir, you can do everything with bayonets, except sit on them.
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  #36  
Old 09-29-2008, 09:47 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Battle of the neo-cons for president

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I was using "messianism" in a loose sense, more or less synonymous with "exceptionalism." Both words refer to the belief, generally understood by historians, that when the US acts abroad militarily it acts in the interests of other nations as well as its own, indeed acts for the good of mankind because of its "exceptional" status among nations. Other nations have had similar views of themselves: Britain, France, Germany.

Napoleon, in the wake of the French Revolution, thought he was spreading the ideals of the European Enlightenment to the rest of Europe. It took 150 years, and two world wars, for Europe to get over that episode...
Okay, point taken. In that sense, I may be a little bit of a messiah myself, because I do think the US can, has, and should do things that work for the benefit of other nations. I am aware that what we think is good for others is not always what they think is good for themselves, so I'm happy to restrict such actions unless we're agreed.

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As Talleyrand put it to Napoléon: Sir, you can do everything with bayonets, except sit on them.
Don't like what that urges, but I have to admit, it's a great line.
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  #37  
Old 09-29-2008, 12:20 AM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: Battle of the neo-cons for president

I don't have a problem with the idea of American exceptionalism, per se, as long as the candidate also has the desire to hold a mirror up to the US and it's policies and try to make improvements. In other words as long as they don't use American exceptionalism as a means to deny any sort of self-introspection. Of course let me add that I don't favor the idea that the US is somehow entitled to anything more than any other country is. However our position in the world, and many aspects of our government ARE exceptional. There's nothing wrong with thinking America is great as long as it's not used to demonize those of us who want to point out (and remedy) all of our many imperfections. So far, Obama has stayed true to the idea that there is a whole lot that needs fixing in this country. As long as he seems sincere in that notion, i can deal with a little American exceptionalism talk if that's what he needs to do to attract a certain kind of voter. When American Exceptionalism becomes the knee-jerk reaction for any criticism of US policies (see Palin & McCain) that's when it becomes a problem.
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  #38  
Old 09-29-2008, 12:30 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Battle of the neo-cons for president

Considering how you went out of your way to mention all the caveats, I think it's fair to say that one can graciously accept that view from a friend.
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  #39  
Old 09-27-2008, 10:06 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Liberal vs. Libertarian Foreign Policy

BHead Robert Farley has a short reaction to this diavlog, for anyone who wants to know.
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