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  #1  
Old 02-03-2011, 02:00 PM
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Default Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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  #2  
Old 02-03-2011, 05:14 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

Jim's being a bit dense here near the beginning of the diavlog. It's not either/or with regard to a policy of supporting Mubarak or human rights. Support for Mubarak always assumed that he presided wisely over a stable, functioning nation. When the vast majority of Egypt is in revolt, that cancels the agreement.

Last edited by Simon Willard; 02-03-2011 at 05:16 PM..
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:39 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
Jim's being a bit dense here near the beginning of the diavlog. It's not either/or with regard to a policy of supporting Mubarak or human rights. Support for Mubarak always assumed that he presided wisely over a stable, functioning nation. When the vast majority of Egypt is in revolt, that cancels the agreement.
no. the deal was he got to be a well financed dictator with a big army and in exchange he shifted the balance of power in the middle east to clearly favor israel/us interests including in the "war on terror".

not hard to see the obvious once you get those stars out of your exceptionally naive eyes.
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:50 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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Originally Posted by popcorn_karate View Post
no. the deal was he got to be a well financed dictator with a big army and in exchange he shifted the balance of power in the middle east to clearly favor israel/us interests including in the "war on terror".
No, the deal was he got to be a well financed dictator with a big army who presided wisely over a stable, functioning nation.
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Old 02-03-2011, 06:41 PM
Ray in Seattle Ray in Seattle is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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Originally Posted by popcorn_karate View Post
no. the deal was he got to be a well financed dictator with a big army and in exchange he shifted the balance of power in the middle east to clearly favor israel/us interests including in the "war on terror".
Actually, it was Nasser who shifted the balance of power by starting and losing the Six Day War. Anwar Sadat came to power in Nasser's shadow. Sadat shifted it further by eventually signing a peace treaty with Israel. That treaty has probably been the single greatest influence on peace in the region. It has saved the lives of many thousands of Arabs and quite a few Israelis as well. As far as Mubarak being a dictator, what Arab state has ever existed without one? What Pinkerton says (quoting Spengler) is an accurate call IMO.
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  #6  
Old 02-04-2011, 12:41 AM
ohreally ohreally is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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Originally Posted by Ray in Seattle View Post
Actually, it was Nasser who shifted the balance of power by starting and losing the Six Day War.
Actually, Israel started the war. No one disputes that. I understand that, on mideast issues, ignorance is the rule around here. But perhaps Mr Ray in Seattle should stick to things he knows, like the weather in the Northwest.
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:40 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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Originally Posted by ohreally View Post
Actually, Israel started the war. No one disputes that. I understand that, on mideast issues, ignorance is the rule around here. But perhaps Mr Ray in Seattle should stick to things he knows, like the weather in the Northwest.
Hey, Ray! How do you like your new forum? Maybe it would be good if you submitted a draft to the intelligentsia before you publish your opinion. These people get very cranky if you don't agree with them.
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Old 02-04-2011, 12:13 PM
Ray in Seattle Ray in Seattle is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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Hey, Ray! How do you like your new forum? Maybe it would be good if you submitted a draft to the intelligentsia before you publish your opinion. These people get very cranky if you don't agree with them.
Heh, you noticed that too? I'd think they'd save their ammo for something where even the Arab regimes have not given up the ship - like the "we were here before the Jews" stuff or "Jesus was a Palestinian".
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Old 02-03-2011, 07:52 PM
Ray in Seattle Ray in Seattle is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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Originally Posted by popcorn_karate View Post
no. the deal was he got to be a well financed dictator with a big army and in exchange he shifted the balance of power in the middle east to clearly favor israel/us interests including in the "war on terror".
What's your beef? That he denied human rights to the Egyptian people - or that he didn't create enough Arab martyrs for your taste?

As far as human rights for those Egyptians (the ones still alive because he didn't send them off in another tragic attempt to defeat the "Zionist entity") - perhaps if the UN Human Rights Council had been doing the job it was created to do there could have been more pressure on Mubarak for reform.

But then, instead of pressuring the UN, Obama joined the council after Bush left it and he praised Mubarak as a leader in Arab human rights - you know, "engaging" the assholes of the world instead of calling them out and demanding reform if they want US aid and cooperation.

I think "chickens coming home to roost" might be the appropriate phrase here.
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  #10  
Old 02-03-2011, 08:03 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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What's your beef? That he denied human rights to the Egyptian people - or that he didn't create enough Arab martyrs for your taste?
I don't know if you have noticed this, but you have this rut you seem to fall into where you imply people are terrorist sympathizers, usually simply because they don't adhere perfectly to your own far-right conception of the universe.
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  #11  
Old 02-03-2011, 08:10 PM
Ray in Seattle Ray in Seattle is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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I don't know if you have noticed this, but you have this rut you seem to fall into where you imply people are terrorist sympathizers, usually simply because they don't adhere perfectly to your own far-right conception of the universe.
I think terrorist enablers would be more accurate than sympathizers. And that's pretty much what the Obama administration is about these days - to say nothing of the openly anti-Israel left. Obama has set back the chances for peace in the ME by decades and has greatly increased the chances for an extremely destructive war that will have a very high death toll.

Remember, denial is not just that river that runs through Cairo.
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Last edited by Ray in Seattle; 02-03-2011 at 08:17 PM..
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  #12  
Old 02-03-2011, 08:12 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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Originally Posted by Ray in Seattle View Post
I think terrorist enablers would be more accurate than sympathizers.
And this in no way strikes you as over-wrought or excessive? You would have no problem with such a harsh label being applied to you?
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  #13  
Old 02-03-2011, 08:36 PM
Ray in Seattle Ray in Seattle is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
And this in no way strikes you as over-wrought or excessive? You would have no problem with such a harsh label being applied to you?
The statement that got me was
Quote:
the deal was he got to be a well financed dictator with a big army and in exchange he shifted the balance of power in the middle east to clearly favor israel/us interests including in the "war on terror".
This seems to indicate that "popcorn" doesn't approve of US/Israel interests in the ME or the "war on terror" both of which are primarily focused on the mitigation of terrorism. These have been probably the single greatest expense of the taxpayers for 20 years in the US and 60 years in Israel. He doesn't criticize the strategy but seems to be saying that it's an unjust struggle for us to wage.

If I read it wrong I'll apologize but I'd call that enabling terrorists or at least saying that their goal of ridding the ME of Jews and US influence is suffering because of our policy towards Mubarak.

Added: I don't mean enabling in the sense of sending arms or money to them. I mean supporting US policies that end up making it easier for terrorists to achieve their goals.
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Last edited by Ray in Seattle; 02-03-2011 at 08:40 PM..
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  #14  
Old 02-03-2011, 08:55 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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Originally Posted by Ray in Seattle View Post
The statement that got me was

This seems to indicate that "popcorn" doesn't approve of US/Israel interests in the ME or the "war on terror" both of which are primarily focused on the mitigation of terrorism. These have been probably the single greatest expense of the taxpayers for 20 years in the US and 60 years in Israel. He doesn't criticize the strategy but seems to be saying that it's an unjust struggle for us to wage.

If I read it wrong I'll apologize but I'd call that enabling terrorists or at least saying that their goal of ridding the ME of Jews and US influence is suffering because of our policy towards Mubarak.

Added: I don't mean enabling in the sense of sending arms or money to them. I mean supporting US policies that end up making it easier for terrorists to achieve their goals.
I can kind of understand what you're trying to do.

Sometimes people on the left will say the GOP wants to starve the elderly and drive them into the streets where they will die homeless. How else could you explain the attack on Social Security and the willingness of the libertarians to eliminate a critical social safety net for our society's most vulnerable citizens?

The problem is that although it may well be true that the effect of libertarian policies will be to create levels of starvation and homelessness among the indigent elderly that are only found in impoverished third world countries, there are very few libertarians who would ever actually agree that this would be the outcome of their policies. Rather, libertarians believe that elimination of social security would lead to a great blossoming of human potential that would dramatically increase the wealth of the elderly.

So, you can say popcorn is unwittingly enabling terrorism. But you say he has a "taste" for it. Like he's actively wishing for the slaughter of innocent Israelis. It's rather inflammatory.

I'm tempted sometimes to do the same to libertarians. "They have to know," I tell myself, "their policies are going to kill old people - and they just don't care."
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  #15  
Old 02-03-2011, 09:07 PM
Ray in Seattle Ray in Seattle is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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I can kind of understand what you're trying to do . . . I'm tempted sometimes to do the same to libertarians. "They have to know," I tell myself, "their policies are going to kill old people - and they just don't care."
When arguing with them - don't you agree it's useful to advise them when you believe their views will enable such outcomes - especially if that was your primary objection. It would be less than truthful if you believed that and did not say so. Such questions about hypothetical policy outcomes are a fertile area for debate IMO.

It's also useful to make it clear that you are not accusing them of wishing for the tragic outcome you foresee. If they did, it wouldn't help much to tell them they are going to get what they want. That's why I used it sarcastically. But thanks for telling me that I did not make that clear enough.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:23 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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When arguing with them - don't you agree it's useful to advise them when you believe their views will enable such outcomes - especially if that was your primary objection.
Oh, yes, I absolutely do agree with that. And that's why I routinely mention it when the subject comes up.

I think there are two basic types: Those who buy the fantastical ideology, and those who understand what libertarianism really is and what it's really meant to achieve. There are a canny few who understand that the effect will be impoverishment of a massive segment of the population, and that the purpose is to further enrich the rich. But the vast majority of conservatives believe in a fairy tale and unicorn theory in which Big Government Gets Out of The Way and we all end up being millionaires.

I'd like to persuade the dreamers that they're going to get a lot of people killed, but they cannot possibly conceive of themselves that way, so it falls on deaf ears.


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Originally Posted by Ray in Seattle View Post
It's also useful to make it clear that you are not accusing them of wishing for the tragic outcome you foresee. If they did, it wouldn't help much to tell them they are going to get what they want. That's why I used it sarcastically. But thanks for telling me that I did not make that clear enough.
My pleasure.
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:56 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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Originally Posted by Ray in Seattle View Post
The statement that got me was

This seems to indicate that "popcorn" doesn't approve of US/Israel interests in the ME or the "war on terror" both of which are primarily focused on the mitigation of terrorism. These have been probably the single greatest expense of the taxpayers for 20 years in the US and 60 years in Israel. He doesn't criticize the strategy but seems to be saying that it's an unjust struggle for us to wage.

If I read it wrong I'll apologize but I'd call that enabling terrorists or at least saying that their goal of ridding the ME of Jews and US influence is suffering because of our policy towards Mubarak.

Added: I don't mean enabling in the sense of sending arms or money to them. I mean supporting US policies that end up making it easier for terrorists to achieve their goals.
Let's review. There are a fair number of liberals (and conservatives) that think that US support for oppressive regimes in the Middle East is unwise or unjust. You also have a lot of people in the middle east, many of them living in these oppressive regimes, who think that the US should stop supporting them. And then you also have a minority of people in the Middle East that also oppose these oppressive regimes, but think that that opposition, as well as their opposition to Israel's continued existence, should be acted upon violently. Given all of this, you conclude that, because they arrive at some shared goals for wildly different reasons, Liberals who consider our dealings with the Mubarak regime over the past 30 years corrupt are enabling the terrorists?

This is ridiculous reasoning. No, that's not strong enough. This is poisonous, destructive reasoning. It prevents you from drawing distinctions between your own countrymen that share most of their basic values with you and mass murderers who would gladly kill everyone participating in this forum. I know it's fun to demonize your political opponents. I know that you think that Popcorn Karate's policy preferences would have bad results. But you badly need a sense of perspective if you think your argument here is fair.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:13 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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There are a fair number of liberals (and conservatives) that think that US support for oppressive regimes in the Middle East is unwise or unjust.
But what they often miss is that Israel is one of the oppressive regimes in the Middle East.

The Israeli right, in my opinion, fears the Egyptian revolution in part because the reformers are now viewed as "the good guys" by the rest of the world.

When the dust settles, a democratic Egypt (and/or Jordan, Syria, etc.) will be more insistent than ever that Palestine also be free and democratic.

The difference may be that the free world will be more sympathetic to the democratic governments that replace tyrants like the "royal family" of Jordan and Mubarak.

If the status quo in places like Egypt is up for grabs, it may be up for grabs in Israel/Palestine too, despite the democratic veneer of the Zionist state.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:26 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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But what they often miss is that Israel is one of the oppressive regimes in the Middle East.
Hi Wonderment,
Hey, did you hear popular Fox News personality and leading contender for the GOP presidential nomination Mike Huckabee has now apparently come out in favor of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians?

http://politicalcorrection.org/fpmatters/201102010008
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:54 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Ha. It's not 1948 any more,or even 1968.
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Old 02-04-2011, 12:15 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
There are a fair number of liberals (and conservatives) that think that US support for oppressive regimes in the Middle East is unwise or unjust.
I'll add to this, just to make the point clearer, that a lot of people -- both liberal and conservative -- believe that one reason we have the problems with terrorist support and some of the regimes that currently exist (i.e., Iran) that we do is because of past support by the US of oppressive regimes in the region and fear that the opponents to the authoritarian regimes would be less pro US interests. This was obviously a big factor during the Cold War for different reasons (we feared Communism and support for it, sometimes in the guise of nationalism, in the third world, including the Middle East, more than fundamentalism, for the most part, although we obviously got burned by fundamentalism at various times).

However, once we (those who did) decided that the whole supporting authoritarian regimes for the sake of stability/US interests might be bad, we have had a hard time figuring out how to stop, in part due to our long involvement and in part because there's every reason to assume that we won't necessarily like everything that results, including both democratic support for that which we hate and huge amounts of instability. It's still possible to believe that continuing our policy as it's been is going to make things worse and that the scary effects of changing will get better. Indeed, that's in theory the idea behind Bush's promotion of democracy idea.

The idea that there's a clear answer here, and that those who disagree are in favor of some horrible goal is just flat out insulting and bizarre.
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:03 PM
Ray in Seattle Ray in Seattle is offline
 
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I'll add to this, just to make the point clearer, that a lot of people -- both liberal and conservative -- believe that one reason we have the problems with terrorist support and some of the regimes that currently exist (i.e., Iran) that we do is because of past support by the US of oppressive regimes in the region and fear that the opponents to the authoritarian regimes would be less pro US interests.
You make it sound as if there were two camps in the places where we supported authoritarian regimes - and we always picked the brutal one in favor of the peace-loving power-sharing democracy-embracing ones. This is probably the result of a fundamental disconnect with reality that most on the left of center share. It is an identity belief that all people (raised in any cultural reality) placed in the same situation would react in the same way.

That is - if Arab and Persian - Muslim majority societies in the ME - ever had a real opportunity for democratic reform and the establishment of an egalitarian society - they would take it and make it work - because "wouldn't everyone prefer peace and equality and sharing of power if that allowed them to live in peace and prosperity?"

The sad truth is that there have never been such alternatives in the Arab ME. And so we have been left with supporting the regimes that had the power at the time - with a strong preference for non-communist ones - in hopes they'd be best able to maintain stability and bring modernization which is the path to prosperity. And we naively hoped that they'd transform someday - with our assistance and urging - into some kind of a democracy. Unfortunately, as Spengler says, (paraphrasing) nations have forms that are part of their identity and those forms resist change over time.

And for Arabs those forms include an easily recognized pattern: a popular revolutionary regime comes to power carrying with it the hopes of the people for better conditions - and gradually transforms into a despotic and corrupt regime that gives no more freedom to the people than the last one. Part of their corruption is inevitably learning how much aid they can milk from the west in exchange for promises of reform - when they know that we will do almost anything for stable oil prices.

But I really don't think there's any evidence for this "wellspring of popular love for democracy that our ugly foreign policy always tries to suppress". Democracy and human rights are the words the next revolutionaries mouth when they're ready to make their move so as to get maximum western support - especially from our left - who fall for it every time. Remember how proud Carter was to have facilitated the overthrow of the Shah so that the Iranian people could finally satisfy their yearning for freedom under the wise and kindly Khomeini - so sure that we would be forever loved by the Iranian people and their Imam for helping them do that?
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  #23  
Old 02-04-2011, 01:40 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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You make it sound as if there were two camps in the places where we supported authoritarian regimes - and we always picked the brutal one in favor of the peace-loving power-sharing democracy-embracing ones.
I don't know how I made it sound that way. That's not what I said. Also, trying to frame my point as a left-wing one is pretty silly and inaccurate. If you feel like actually engaging, I'm around.
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:55 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Taking your comments out of the misleading context into which you placed them, I'll address them (as much as possible) on their face.

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It is an identity belief that all people (raised in any cultural reality) placed in the same situation would react in the same way.
I don't know why you think people believe this. It seems odd. Obviously, people are going to react differently to things based on their cultural background and lots of other differences which exist.

I don't think this is remotely relevant to anything that's been discussed here, but that's why I am addressing it on its own.

Quote:
That is - if Arab and Persian - Muslim majority societies in the ME - ever had a real opportunity for democratic reform and the establishment of an egalitarian society - they would take it and make it work - because "wouldn't everyone prefer peace and equality and sharing of power if that allowed them to live in peace and prosperity?"
I don't think democracy creation is that easy for anyone. Unlike you, I don't see the fundamental distinction as between Muslim and non-Muslim, but people in a stable society with a tradition of representative government and people without that (in any of a number of ways).

Quote:
The sad truth is that there have never been such alternatives in the Arab ME.
There have been options that were more consistent with proclaimed US values than others, and we have not typically chosen (in the Middle East, in Latin America, in other places) based on supporting governments which are ones we admire or even necessarily consider more consistent with US values than the alternative. We have chosen -- and I'm not slamming the US for this, I think it's understandable, if often short-sighted and bad for people in at least some of the countries involved -- stability and our own economic and foreign policy interests. The argument post Cold War and post 9/11 in particular is that that was short-sighted, because the forces of history are such that the authoritarians can't maintain power forever and the anger and revolutionary fervor in some places like Saudi Arabia and, yes, Egypt ends up getting channeled into other efforts, that backfire against us in particular, yet we've sacrificed our ability to have a good influence on the chaos that likely will follow and made unnecessary enemies. None of this requires that one think that there was some perfect (or even particularly good) alternative to what we did, even if in hindsight a lot of what we did looks like we should have tried option no. 2 or just stayed out of it.

And the idea that this is left-wing is, again, risible, given that the shift to democracy support was a Bush admin idea, among others.

Last edited by stephanie; 02-04-2011 at 01:58 PM..
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:53 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
There have been options that were more consistent with proclaimed US values than others, and we have not typically chosen (in the Middle East, in Latin America, in other places) based on supporting governments which are ones we admire or even necessarily consider more consistent with US values than the alternative. We have chosen -- and I'm not slamming the US for this, I think it's understandable, if often short-sighted and bad for people in at least some of the countries involved -- stability and our own economic and foreign policy interests. The argument post Cold War and post 9/11 in particular is that that was short-sighted, because the forces of history are such that the authoritarians can't maintain power forever and the anger and revolutionary fervor in some places like Saudi Arabia and, yes, Egypt ends up getting channeled into other efforts, that backfire against us in particular, yet we've sacrificed our ability to have a good influence on the chaos that likely will follow and made unnecessary enemies. None of this requires that one think that there was some perfect (or even particularly good) alternative to what we did, even if in hindsight a lot of what we did looks like we should have tried option no. 2 or just stayed out of it.

And the idea that this is left-wing is, again, risible, given that the shift to democracy support was a Bush admin idea, among others.
Good points. It's always good to provide a little bit of reality testing. The argument that US interventions in other countries is directed mostly to promotion of democracy is fake and dishonest. US interventions in the internal political affairs of other countries has been always in its self interest. The discussion should be about whether the interventions are justified or not, but the story of wanting to promote democracy is an incidental one.

Your reaction to Ray's first paragraph is understandable. He's condescending. He starts by implying that there's some flaw in your reasoning that prevents you from understanding the Supreme Truth (his opinion and inaccuracies). Good luck. I don't waste any more of my time with him.
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  #26  
Old 02-04-2011, 05:11 PM
Ray in Seattle Ray in Seattle is offline
 
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Good points. It's always good to provide a little bit of reality testing. The argument that US interventions in other countries is directed mostly to promotion of democracy is fake and dishonest.
Is that why we just spent billions of dollars and thousands of American lives installing democratic regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Quote:
US interventions in the internal political affairs of other countries has been always in its self interest. The discussion should be about whether the interventions are justified or not, but the story of wanting to promote democracy is an incidental one.
Promoting democracy requires developing an appreciation for the values of an open society under the rule of constitutional law and an independent judiciary. These elements are seen as a loss of power by any ruler in an historically Islamist / Arab society. The regime will lose power (and personal / family honor) if they allow such a thing to occur. And so they don't. Having more real democracies in the world that provide human rights to all their citizens is in the interest of the US and always has been. Those countries do not attack their neighbors and they make good economic trading partners because they are more stable. We've been trying to do this in the ME at least since 1945.

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Your reaction to Ray's first paragraph is understandable. He's condescending. He starts by implying that there's some flaw in your reasoning that prevents you from understanding the Supreme Truth (his opinion and inaccuracies). Good luck. I don't waste any more of my time with him.
It's not a flaw in reasoning. It's failure to reconsider one's beliefs in the face of evidence. We all do it - me included. Those who don't share those beliefs are the only ones who can see and point out the errors in them. It's how the brain works to protect its identity.

Added: I notice that Stephanie tends to take disagreements personally - at least in my comments she has done that several times. I don't take any of this personally unless it's a personal insult but even then I try to stick to the ideas. (I admit I don't always to so well on that count.)
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Old 02-04-2011, 05:19 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Is that why we just spent billions of dollars and thousands of American lives installing democratic regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq?
History didn't start ten years ago, and it hasn't been limited to that part of the world.

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Promoting democracy requires developing an appreciation for the values of an open society under the rule of constitutional law and an independent judiciary. These elements are seen as a loss of power by any ruler in an historically Islamist / Arab society. The regime will lose power (and personal / family honor) if they allow such a thing to occur. And so they don't.
I don't disagree with the principles above. I wish the US was more honest about what motivates its interventions. It would be more consistent with those values that you mention.

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It's not a flaw in reasoning. It's failure to reconsider one's beliefs in the face of evidence. We all do it - me included. Those who don't share those beliefs are the only ones who can see and point out the errors in them. It's how the brain works to protect its identity.
Yes, but if you start your response reminding your interlocutor of his/her shortcomings, you seem to position yourself in higher ground without even showing any merit of your own. It's a bad tactic to use with intelligent people. That's all.
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Old 02-04-2011, 05:42 PM
Ray in Seattle Ray in Seattle is offline
 
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Yes, but if you start your response reminding your interlocutor of his/her shortcomings, you seem to position yourself in higher ground without even showing any merit of your own. It's a bad tactic to use with intelligent people. That's all.
I'd agree that most commenters in this forum have above average intelligence. Looking back at the comment I think you are referring to, I said,

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You make it sound as if there were two camps in the places where we supported authoritarian regimes - and we always picked the brutal one in favor of the peace-loving power-sharing democracy-embracing ones. This is probably the result of a fundamental disconnect with reality that most on the left of center share. It is an identity belief that all people (raised in any cultural reality) placed in the same situation would react in the same way. That is - if Arab and Persian - Muslim majority societies in the ME - ever had a real opportunity for democratic reform and the establishment of an egalitarian society - they would take it and make it work - because "wouldn't everyone prefer peace and equality and sharing of power if that allowed them to live in peace and prosperity?"
This is a common belief that I've seen expressed by many hundreds of liberals and progressives over the last few years in many different forms. I think Obama probably believes it pretty much as I have stated it and has surrounded himself with advisors who share that belief. I believe that belief lies at the core of the Obama foreign policy disasters that are turning the ME into a even more dangerous place than before for moderates who would like to see real democracy flourish in their own countries. The moderates who under Bush thought they had a chance are now fleeing or making deals with the Islamists.

If it feels like condescension for me to attempt to clearly state what I believe to be true about the conflict - it could just be the discomfort at being confronted with evidence that threatens one's core beliefs. I'm sure it doesn't feel good but that's the danger of discussing the core ideas that make a difference. The reason I do it is so you can point out the errors in my beliefs if you can. I have no doubt I can be as blind to the irrationality of my own beliefs as anyone else.
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Old 02-04-2011, 05:47 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Counter-Enlightenment Edition (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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I'd agree that most commenters in this forum have above average intelligence. Looking back at the comment I think you are referring to, I said,



This is a common belief that I've seen expressed by many hundreds of liberals and progressives over the last few years in many different forms. I think Obama probably believes it pretty much as I have stated it and has surrounded himself with advisors who share that belief. I believe that belief lies at the core of the Obama foreign policy disasters that are turning the ME into a even more dangerous place than before for moderates who would like to see real democracy flourish in their own countries. The moderates who under Bush thought they had a chance are now fleeing or making deals with the Islamists.

If it feels like condescension for me to attempt to clearly state what I believe to be true about the conflict - it could just be the discomfort at being confronted with evidence that threatens one's core beliefs. I'm sure it doesn't feel good but that's the danger of discussing the core ideas that make a difference. The reason I do it is so you can point out the errors in my beliefs if you can. I have no doubt I can be as blind to the irrationality of my own beliefs as anyone.
Somehow this argument was always more entertaining when it was being made by Lial.
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Old 02-04-2011, 05:50 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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This is a common belief that I've seen expressed by many hundreds of liberals and progressives over the last few years in many different forms.
I'll say it again, Ray (maybe it'll sink in some year if I keep it up): you're never going to get anywhere on this forum by casting things in terms of what you believe "most liberals believe." The people who participate here are interested in talking about their own individual views. Your approach, at minimum, seems intended to put people on the defensive right from the start, and you compound the problem by, typically, offering up some cartoon version of "Teh Left" or some straw man distortion.

There's a whole handful of other problems with your posting style, but that seems like the easiest one to work on first.

Assuming you're actually interested in honest exchanges, I mean.
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Old 02-04-2011, 05:55 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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I'll say it again, Ray (maybe it'll sink in some year if I keep it up): you're never going to get anywhere on this forum by casting things in terms of what you believe "most liberals believe." The people who participate here are interested in talking about their own individual views. Your approach, at minimum, seems intended to put people on the defensive right from the start, and you compound the problem by, typically, offering up some cartoon version of "Teh Left" or some straw man distortion.

There's a whole handful of other problems with your posting style, but that seems like the easiest one to work on first.

Assuming you're actually interested in honest exchanges, I mean.
I sense a love for Arabs on you.
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Old 02-04-2011, 06:03 PM
Ray in Seattle Ray in Seattle is offline
 
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I'll say it again, Ray (maybe it'll sink in some year if I keep it up): you're never going to get anywhere on this forum by casting things in terms of what you believe "most liberals believe." The people who participate here are interested in talking about their own individual views. Your approach, at minimum, seems intended to put people on the defensive right from the start, and you compound the problem by, typically, offering up some cartoon version of "Teh Left" or some straw man distortion.

There's a whole handful of other problems with your posting style, but that seems like the easiest one to work on first.

Assuming you're actually interested in honest exchanges, I mean.
I'm not here to score style points. If you think I'm wrong give me the evidence. Stop worrying about my commenting style. That's what an honest exchange is about.

Added: As far as "getting somewhere on this forum" - I already am "getting somewhere". I define that as getting a sense of the quality of your arguments opposing my beliefs. So far I've not seen much substance - like a premise followed by pretty clear evidence. I have seen a lot of complaining about my style.
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Old 02-04-2011, 06:14 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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[...] That's what an honest exchange is about.
Sorry, Ray, but I've long since stopped taking your word about your supposed honesty.

As to the rest of your petulant response, you're also continuing to show that you have no interest in listening, and when unable to address a point, will just start talking about something else.

Babble on all you like, but if you can't even take the most basic advice without getting all butthurt, you're not going to find many people interested in what you have to say, except possibly a few back-patters who already share your bigoted views.
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:56 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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History didn't start ten years ago, and it hasn't been limited to that part of the world.
Precisely. There's also the fact that we did not go into either Afghanistan or Iraq to establish democracy. We went into Afghanistan because we were attacked and the attackers were using the Taliban-run country as a base of operations and, in addition, because we saw ourselves as in part responsible for the Taliban take-over, given the fact that when we involved ourself in the country before it was with the intention only of preventing Soviet control and we in fact failed to make any ongoing investment in favor of democracy.

(And again, contrary to Ray's assumption, I am not suggesting that we had an option to support and install a perfect democracy in Afghanistan before. I think there are huge problems with doing that, due to culture and history and the lack of stability, not because Muslims are supposedly constituationally incapable of democracy or whatever his working theory is.)

Similarly, with Iraq, we have had a variety of involvements with the country over time, so it makes little sense to focus only on the most recent. But even if you do, our reason for going in was due to supposed WMD, not some claim that we would establish democracy. (I do think the latter was a hope and motivating reason for the invasion, but that supports rather than contradicts my argument, as I said the 9/11 led to a reconsideration of our past policy and the desire to find a way out. The neo con theory seemed to be that if we were able to establish a friendly democratic government in the Middle East, that would be one way out. My problem with that idea -- apart from it not meeting any "just war" basis for an invasion of another country -- is that it sounds more like wishful thinking than sensible foreign policy.)
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Old 02-04-2011, 06:10 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Is that why we just spent billions of dollars and thousands of American lives installing democratic regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq?
The lives we spent were mostly Iraqi and Afghan civilians.

The billions we spent (and spend), of course, can be subtracted from our social safety net programs, our conservation of the natural environment, our scientific research, our education. It other words, the billions we spent on imposing democracy on Iraq and erecting a state drone-by-drone in Afghanistan add to the deficit, bankrupt our present and future, and ultimately threaten (irony of ironies) the freedom we so cherish (for others).

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These elements are seen as a loss of power by any ruler in an historically Islamist / Arab society.
Arabs are people too, Ray.

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Having more real democracies in the world that provide human rights to all their citizens is in the interest of the US and always has been. Those countries do not attack their neighbors and they make good economic trading partners because they are more stable.
Really!? Then why did we spend decades after WWII propping up tyrants all over the world: Latin America, Asia, Africa. Do countries like Nicaragua, Chile, Indonesia and Iran ring a bell? (Not to mention, why did we support Mubarak until last week)
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Old 02-04-2011, 06:23 PM
Ray in Seattle Ray in Seattle is offline
 
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Really!? Then why did we spend decades after WWII propping up tyrants all over the world: Latin America, Asia, Africa. Do countries like Nicaragua, Chile, Indonesia and Iran ring a bell? (Not to mention, why did we support Mubarak until last week)
This is a good question. I think the answer lies in our belief - based on lots of clear history - that communist governments invariably lead to enslavement of their people and wars against democracies. So we tend to support non-communist tyrants - hoping we can change them into being non-tyrants. We do this rather than support communist / socialist tyrants which history has shown to be uniformly bad for the people in terms of both prosperity and human rights. We actually prefer a world where people are free and their economies flourish. We elect leaders who promise to pursue that goal in our foreign policy.

There have been many variations of this and many different US administrations faced with this problem repeatedly - and so there have been better and worse results - and some have pursued it more honestly and openly than others. Republicans seem to see success in terms of business development and Democrats in terms of food and health care issues. But I think that's generally the answer to your question.
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Old 02-04-2011, 06:33 PM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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This is a good question. I think the answer lies in our belief - based on lots of clear history - that communist governments invariably lead to enslavement of their people and wars against democracies. So we tend to support non-communist tyrants - hoping we can change them into being non-tyrants. We do this rather than support communist / socialist tyrants which history has shown to be uniformly bad for the people in terms of both prosperity and human rights.
One thing that I have heard (one hears so many things) is that HoChiMinh was not a communist by nature and tried to rally support for his revolution from Western non-communist countries and when that failed he became a communist to get the supprt he needed from China.
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Old 02-04-2011, 06:59 PM
Ray in Seattle Ray in Seattle is offline
 
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One thing that I have heard (one hears so many things) is that HoChiMinh was not a communist by nature and tried to rally support for his revolution from Western non-communist countries and when that failed he became a communist to get the supprt he needed from China.
Yeah, I remember reading something like that too. This is part of what Wikipedia says:

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From 1919–1923, while living in France, Nguyễn Sinh Cung embraced communism, through his friend Marcel Cachin (SFIO).[citation needed] Cung claimed to have arrived in Paris from London in 1917 but French police only have documents of his arrival in June 1919.[3] Following World War I, under the name of Nguyễn Ái Quốc (Nguyen the Patriot), he petitioned for recognition of the civil rights of the Vietnamese people in French Indochina to the Western powers at the Versailles peace talks, but was ignored. Citing the language and the spirit of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Quốc petitioned U.S. President Woodrow Wilson for help to remove the French from Vietnam and replace it with a new, nationalist government. His request was ignored.

In 1921, during the Congress of Tours, France, Nguyễn Ái Quốc became a founding member of the Parti Communiste Français (French Communist Party) and spent much of his time in Moscow afterwards, becoming the Comintern's Asia hand and the principal theorist on colonial warfare. During the Indochina War, the PCF would be involved with anti-war propaganda, sabotage and support for the revolutionary effort.

Hồ Chí Minh (Vietnamese pronunciation: [hô̤ tɕǐmɪŋ] ( listen), Chữ Nôm: 胡志明), born Nguyễn Sinh Cung and also known as Nguyễn Ái Quốc (19 May 1890 – 3 September 1969) was a Vietnamese Marxist revolutionary leader who was prime minister (1946–1955) and president (1945–1969) of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam). He formed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and led the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War until his death.

Hồ led the Viet Minh independence movement from 1941 onward, establishing the communist-governed Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945 and defeating the French Union in 1954 at Dien Bien Phu. He lost the title Prime Minister in 1955, but remained as the de facto leader of North Vietnam through his position of Chairman of the Vietnam Workers' Party; and also as the highly visible figurehead of the North Vietnam through the Presidency, both until his death. The former capital of South Vietnam, Saigon, after the Fall of Saigon, was renamed Hồ Chí Minh City in his honor.
I'm guessing he was ignored by Wilson because he had already shown his communist colors - (Added: ) and / or maybe Wilson thought he needed to defer to France's colonialist venture in Indo-China for political reasons.

Someone who knows the history would be welcome to chime in here.
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:02 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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This is a good question. I think the answer lies in our belief - based on lots of clear history - that communist governments invariably lead to enslavement of their people and wars against democracies. So we tend to support non-communist tyrants - hoping we can change them into being non-tyrants. We do this rather than support communist / socialist tyrants which history has shown to be uniformly bad for the people in terms of both prosperity and human rights. We actually prefer a world where people are free and their economies flourish. We elect leaders who promise to pursue that goal in our foreign policy.
Ok, I find that spin very unappealing and self-serving. I assume you believe it in good faith, but the USA-as-benevolent-world-leader is propaganda that is not marketable in the rest of the world; it's our Potemkin Village.

Rather than go into all that, however, I'd be interested in how you think the Middle East democratization scenario will affect Israel. Is there a new schism between American neo-cons and Israeli Zionists? (Discussed by Eli Lake in a recent BH appearance.) Is democratization bad for the pseudo-democratic Israeli regime and occupation, while good for America?
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:20 PM
Ray in Seattle Ray in Seattle is offline
 
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Ok, I find that spin very unappealing and self-serving. I assume you believe it in good faith, but the USA-as-benevolent-world-leader is propaganda that is not marketable in the rest of the world; it's our Potemkin Village.
OK, I forgot for a minute that you got your history from Howard Zinn. (Good natured joke, not an insult ) I therefore didn't think I needed to add that the reason "We actually prefer a world where people are free and their economies flourish." and the reason "We elect leaders who promise to pursue that goal in our foreign policy."

. . is because we'd rather not fight wars with people who hate us because we are wealthier than they are and also we'd rather do things like get rich inventing cures for cancer or personal computers or very cool video games - and sell them to people in other prosperous nations.

I was not claiming selflessness. But I do believe - and I think the majority of Americans generally believe - that prosperity is a side-benefit of personal freedom, human rights and rule of law. You can pretty much map the world on those dimensions and find almost perfect correlation - even given the vast oil wealth under the Sahara. And despite Howard Zinn's misgivings.

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Rather than go into all that, however, I'd be interested in how you think the Middle East democratization scenario will affect Israel. Is there a new schism between American neo-cons and Israeli Zionists? (Discussed by Eli Lake in a recent BH appearance.) Is democratization bad for the pseudo-democratic Israeli regime and occupation, while good for America?
Let me watch that one again and get back to you. (I do not consider Israel a pseudo-democracy however.)
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