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  #1  
Old 11-12-2008, 03:41 PM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
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Default Year One

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  #2  
Old 11-12-2008, 05:01 PM
gwlaw99 gwlaw99 is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

"Why Israel must reach a two-state solution now"

I thought this segment title was appropriate because in neatly encapsulates all the sides who actually want a two state solution. Unfortunately, Israel can not reach a two state solution with itself. The Palestinian Authority only represents a part of the Palestinian population while Hamas will never agree to a two state solution making any deal moot until it does.

Last edited by gwlaw99; 11-12-2008 at 05:06 PM..
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  #3  
Old 11-12-2008, 05:19 PM
cognitive madisonian cognitive madisonian is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

Quote:
Originally Posted by gwlaw99 View Post
"Why Israel must reach a two-state solution now"

I thought this segment title was appropriate because in neatly encapsulates all the sides who actually want a two state solution. Unfortunately, Israel can not reach a two state solution with itself. The Palestinian Authority only represents a part of the Palestinian population while Hamas will never agree to a two state solution making any deal moot until it does.
You're correct.

I try not to speak ill of people on BH, even when I disagree with them, but bringing on a coauthor of The Israel Lobby? :\
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  #4  
Old 11-12-2008, 11:21 PM
thprop thprop is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

Quote:
Originally Posted by cognitive madisonian View Post
I try not to speak ill of people on BH, even when I disagree with them, but bringing on a coauthor of The Israel Lobby? :\
What is wrong with having the co-author of The Israel Lobby on BHtv? If you have actually read the book or the earlier article, where were Mearsheimer and Walt wrong? No ad-hominem attacks - valid criticism only.

BTW - John Mearsheimer was already on BHtv - an interview that Bruce Feiler could not do.
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  #5  
Old 11-13-2008, 06:26 PM
cognitive madisonian cognitive madisonian is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

Marty Peretz had one of the better takedowns of it, so in place of making many of the same arguments (and having to review over some things before doing so), I'll only link to it:http://www.pierretristam.com/Bobst/library/wf-150.htm
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  #6  
Old 11-13-2008, 06:42 PM
cognitive madisonian cognitive madisonian is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

oh and this is a relevant video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7Yun11eTIU

Keep trying to blame Israel.
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  #7  
Old 11-14-2008, 01:22 AM
thprop thprop is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

Quote:
Originally Posted by cognitive madisonian View Post
Marty Peretz had one of the better takedowns of it, so in place of making many of the same arguments (and having to review over some things before doing so), I'll only link to it:http://www.pierretristam.com/Bobst/library/wf-150.htm
Peretz is an anti-Arab racist. His opinion is worthless to anyone who is looking for a balanced view of the Middle East. Just read what some former TNR writers think of him:

Eric Alterman
Glenn Greenwald
Spencer Ackerman


Or Richard Silverstein in Tikun.

Or just search on "marty peretz" and racist. This is not a man to be taken seriously.
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  #8  
Old 11-14-2008, 03:16 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

Quote:
Originally Posted by thprop View Post
Peretz is an anti-Arab racist. His opinion is worthless to anyone who is looking for a balanced view of the Middle East.
I completely agree. I stopped reading The Plank for a while because it got to be too much work to filter out Peretz's screeds from the rest. With the bylines at the end instead of under the titles where they belong, I'd over and over again find myself two paragraphs into a post, suddenly wondering about that burning sensation in the back of my throat.

When TNR finally walled him off in The Spine, it was as though the windows that had been sealed on a damp basement for five years had finally been thrown open to the fresh air of a bright spring day.

Thanks for the links. In particular: that Eric Alterman is the man.
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  #9  
Old 11-14-2008, 03:13 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

I forgot how good that Alterman piece was on TNR. Sadly, it reminds me of just how overboard Beinart (who I've enjoyed on BHTV) went in the run-up to the Iraq War.

Thanks for the link.
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  #10  
Old 11-13-2008, 06:40 AM
Eastwest Eastwest is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

Quote:
Originally Posted by cognitive madisonian View Post
I try not to speak ill of people on BH, even when I disagree with them, but bringing on a coauthor of The Israel Lobby? :\
Actually, I was delighted to see Stephen Walt appear. He and his co-author performed through airing of their views one of the most brave and patriotic services to this country that have occurred in the last decade.

As I saw it, the Mearsheimer-Walt take was shown to be unimpeachable, although of course it set off a huge (but very predictable) scream of protest among those who are most afraid of a balanced telling of the truth.

EW
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  #11  
Old 11-12-2008, 05:25 PM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

It will be interesting to see how these two factions play out on the democratic side. Isolationist vs interventionist. For my part I hope Walts faction fails to take hold comlpetely. Call me a dreamer, but I still think American HARD power can still be used for the good in many places (i.e. Kosovo).

On the Israel Two state solution, I agree with the above poster. People like Walt like to paint Israelis as the road block. I do not think that is honest, and the crucible was at the end of the Clinton Administration. Anyone who reviews that and sees the Israelis as the main issue, is just against Israelis imo.

Lastly, bolting from Afghanistan before it is stabilized is insane, flat out insane. At some point a line must be drawn on the issue of terrorist support.
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  #12  
Old 11-12-2008, 05:26 PM
David Edenden David Edenden is offline
 
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Default Obama's First Foreign Policy Disaster

Anne Marie and Stephen, forget Iraq, Iran or Afganistan, or Israel, for reasons that are too complicated to go into at this time, I believe that Obama's first foreign policy disaster will be civil war and partition in Macedonia.

Greece has vetoed membership for Macedonia for Nato and the EU. It will not surprise you that Obama is no saint. But you may be surprised that he supports Greek racism in contrast to Bush and McCain who support Macedonia's position.

Should Macedonia implode, then the Albanians will seek assistance from Obama, while the Macedonians turn to Putin.

Richard Holbrooke (more) will pronounce it a test by Russia and all hell will break loose with Kosovo, Republica Srpska added to the pile.

See:Oprah, Obama Will Disapoint You!

Last edited by David Edenden; 11-12-2008 at 05:31 PM..
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  #13  
Old 11-12-2008, 05:32 PM
cognitive madisonian cognitive madisonian is offline
 
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Default Re: Obama's First Foreign Policy disaster

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Edenden View Post
Anne Marie and Stephen, forget Iraq, Iran or Afganistan, or Israel, for reasons that are too complicated to go into at this time, I believe that Obama's first foreign policy disaster will be civil war and partition in Macedonia.

Greece has vetoed membership for Macedonia for Nato and the EU. It will not surprise you that Obama is no saint. But you may be surprised that he supports Greek racism in contrast to Bush and McCain who support Macedonia's position.

Should Macedonia implode, then the Albanians will seek assistance from Obama, while the Macedonians turn to Putin.

Richard Holbrooke (more) will pronounce it a test by Russia and all hell will break loose with Kosovo, Republica Srpska added to the pile.

See:Oprah, Obama Will Disapoint You!
Interesting, I can't say I'm that familiar with Macedonia.

I'd love for Obama to concentrate on Congo, but that's not going to happen.

I agree with Jon that Afghanistan is of paramount concern for the sake of international security, and withdrawing would have grave consequences.

I also agree with Jon about hidden motives of those who continue to heap the lion's shre of the blame on Israel.
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  #14  
Old 11-12-2008, 05:50 PM
EricP EricP is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

Bob, please invite Anne-Marie's husband on to do a diavlog on Europe some time, preferably with a neofunctionalist. I'm sure the silent majority of the bloggingheads community is teeming with poli sci majors that have fond memories of their sophomore class in European integration. Seriously though, there's a lot diavlogs on politics and policy, but I have yet to see one about scholarly political science theorizing.
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  #15  
Old 11-12-2008, 06:22 PM
fedorovingtonboop fedorovingtonboop is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

i totally diasgree with staying in afghanistan. dumbest....war....ever. slowly withdraw and forget it. these people have been fighting off outsiders for hundreds of years and we're no exception. like i said a couple of days ago: all the taliban has to do is keep recruiting and having babies, be willing to blow themselves up, and most importantly...never ever ever give up. all these lines about it "hurting global stability" if we withdraw is total right wing b.s. they simply don't want to show weakness, admit defeat and lose a "stronghold" in the middle east. i got news for you: the entire middle east is destabilized....so is a lot of africa, etc. and if anything...we're the ones making it unstable. so people keep repeating this line about "stability" that the Generals want you to repeat because they have dreams of democracy or other motives and it's total fantasy land. a completely abstract ideal not based in reality. this area has been invaded by the brits, the russians, etc. many many times over hundreds of years and no one can couquer it because there's nothing to conquer - just shrubs and dirt. Iraq is organized enough to get things settled but the Afghan war will only end when we decide to leave. we're wasting our troops lives over there. take a second look at the people we're trying to "reform":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RC1GlLfw2kU
yeah, good luck with that! pakistan ain't gonna change anytime either and it'll take even longer if they know we're there.
so when you say "I think 'we' should stay in Afghanistan."...keep in mind that "we" means someone else being used as bait to fight another unwinnable war:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl...ng/view/1.html
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  #16  
Old 11-12-2008, 07:11 PM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

Quote:
Originally Posted by fedorovingtonboop View Post
i totally diasgree with staying in afghanistan. dumbest....war....ever. slowly withdraw and forget it. these people have been fighting off outsiders for hundreds of years and we're no exception. like i said a couple of days ago: all the taliban has to do is keep recruiting and having babies, be willing to blow themselves up, and most importantly...never ever ever give up. all these lines about it "hurting global stability" if we withdraw is total right wing b.s. they simply don't want to show weakness, admit defeat and lose a "stronghold" in the middle east. i got news for you: the entire middle east is destabilized....so is a lot of africa, etc. and if anything...we're the ones making it unstable. so people keep repeating this line about "stability" that the Generals want you to repeat because they have dreams of democracy or other motives and it's total fantasy land. a completely abstract ideal not based in reality. this area has been invaded by the brits, the russians, etc. many many times over hundreds of years and no one can couquer it because there's nothing to conquer - just shrubs and dirt. Iraq is organized enough to get things settled but the Afghan war will only end when we decide to leave. we're wasting our troops lives over there. take a second look at the people we're trying to "reform":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RC1GlLfw2kU
yeah, good luck with that! pakistan ain't gonna change anytime either and it'll take even longer if they know we're there.
so when you say "I think 'we' should stay in Afghanistan."...keep in mind that "we" means someone else being used as bait to fight another unwinnable war:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl...ng/view/1.html
What is the alternative to staying in Afghanistan? Should we not have gone in there in the first place? I can see the logic on Iraq, but this was completely retaliatory. There must be consequences to bad international behavior.

This is not to say the war and stabilization will not be costly, it will. But I say it is worth it. Like Iraq, we are trying to change the trajectory of a nation. And given enough time and resolve, it will happen. Defeating insurgents takes time and thought, that some are have the patience of a gadfly should not mean that our policy should reflect such... fickle swings.

And lastly, a philosophical shift, sort of. It is not in my nature to say we have some sort of duty and responsibility to go into other nations and change them. I was perfectly willing to let the houses of other nations and societies burn, so long as it did not affect me directly. After all, it's not "my" problem. Not a particularly noble thought, but there it was. But seeing the mess of other societies spill over onto our shores changed my view. After that occurred it seemed to me it IS our problem when events turn for the worse in other parts of the world. The idea that it was the US alone that raises the ire of radical muslims seems incorrect, ala the attacks in Britain, Spain, France riots, murder in Holland, riots over cartoons, terrorism in Kashmir, etc etc etc. And while tactically it is impossible to police the world, when humanitarian interests align with enlightened national interest, then I am all for intervention.

If that makes me some type of evil, twisted, troll like creature (Bill Kristol), then so be it.

Give me a better answer. I will be glad to hear it. Preemption looks like a bad strategy long term, Niall convinced me of that:

http://fora.tv/2007/10/29/Niall_Ferg..._Bush_Doctrine

But doing nothing is no longer an option. Trying to apply our sheeps morality upon a wolfs ethics does not strike me as wise.

Last edited by JonIrenicus; 11-12-2008 at 07:27 PM..
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  #17  
Old 11-12-2008, 07:41 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

Quote:
This is not to say the war and stabilization will not be costly, it will. But I say it is worth it.
One criterion that I find useful in deciding if war is worth it is to ask myself would I be willing to die for it.

If I think it's worth it, but only if I or my parents or spouse or children or grandchildren don't have to die or be maimed, then I'm just talking shit.

Another good standard is how much I'm willing to pay for it with my own money. Am I willing to write Obama a check for say $100,000 to bring democracy to Afghanistan? Will I trade some privileges, like college for my kids or health coverage if I need an organ transplant?

If we don't assess decisions to go to war in this way, we're guilty --in my view -- of immense moral sloth, denial and evasion of responsibility.

It's somebody's blood and treasure, so we ought to assume it's ours.
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  #18  
Old 11-12-2008, 07:52 PM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
One criterion that I find useful in deciding if war is worth it is to ask myself would I be willing to die for it.

If I think it's worth it, but only if I or my parents or spouse or children or grandchildren don't have to die or be maimed, then I'm just talking shit.

Another good standard is how much I'm willing to pay for it with my own money. Am I willing to write Obama a check for say $100,000 to bring democracy to Afghanistan? Will I trade some privileges, like college for my kids or health coverage if I need an organ transplant?

If we don't assess decisions to go to war in this way, we're guilty --in my view -- of immense moral sloth, denial and evasion of responsibility.

It's somebody's blood and treasure, so we ought to assume it's ours.
MOST people support the retaliatory actions in Afghanistan. Even IF many people would not want to go themselves. Or are those people talking sh*t as well? Am I talking sh*t for supporting busting gang members, even if I do not want to be the police officer tasked with that?

The argument is sloppy and wrong, on its face. We should not judge the worthiness of an endeavor based of in individuals level of courage in facing such a challenge. Particularly with an all volunteer army. And the idea that someone sacrificing their own blood and treasure means ANYTHING to you in your analysis is wrong, at best, and probably worse.

To test this, lets assume that 95% of our all volunteer army supported staying in Afghanistan and completing their missions there. Would that change your mind? An individuals support for the war (the ones ACTUALLY fighting it) mean nothing to you, only YOUR support or lack thereof. Lets be honest.

Last edited by JonIrenicus; 11-12-2008 at 07:58 PM..
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  #19  
Old 11-12-2008, 09:16 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

Sorry, but I couldn't make much sense of your post. This whole section was incomprehensible to me:

Quote:
The argument is sloppy and wrong, on its face. We should not judge the worthiness of an endeavor based of in individuals level of courage in facing such a challenge. Particularly with an all volunteer army. And the idea that someone sacrificing their own blood and treasure means ANYTHING to you in your analysis is wrong, at best, and probably worse. To test this, lets assume that 95% of our all volunteer army supported staying in Afghanistan and completing their missions there. Would that change your mind? An individuals support for the war (the ones ACTUALLY fighting it) mean nothing to you, only YOUR support or lack thereof. Lets be honest.
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  #20  
Old 11-12-2008, 10:37 PM
bkjazfan bkjazfan is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

It's obvious that Steve's "bee in the bonnet" is a 2 state solution in Israel. Now, does anyone really think that it is possible? I think something should be done or else eventually the people of Jewish extraction will be facing a situation similar to the whites in Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, the hardliners on both sides for whatever reasons seem opposed to any sort of compromise.

John

Last edited by bkjazfan; 11-12-2008 at 10:46 PM..
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  #21  
Old 11-13-2008, 01:56 AM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Sorry, but I couldn't make much sense of your post. This whole section was incomprehensible to me:
I was just making the point that using peoples attitude on whether they would be OK fighting a war to test whether it is reasonable or not, is not a good metric.

It is not a good metric in my view because individuals have vastly different thresholds in terms what would provoke them to take up arms and go to war.


You sidestep the strategic merits and detriments, and go off personal feelings. That is not a sensible strategy.
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  #22  
Old 11-12-2008, 08:01 PM
fedorovingtonboop fedorovingtonboop is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
One criterion that I find useful in deciding if war is worth it is to ask myself would I be willing to die for it.
this is a good quote. it's a very simple rule that is not used nearly enough and a lot of times i'll find myself making a list: "ok, vietnam - definitely no; WWII - yes; korea - probably not; Gulf War I - sure, why not, etc. however, sometimes i get stuck at Civil War cuz it seems so honorable but at the same time so damn avoidable....
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  #23  
Old 11-12-2008, 07:53 PM
fedorovingtonboop fedorovingtonboop is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

obviously, we had to go in initially but after missing bin laden and then getting bogged down, the alternative is to cut our losses and leave. just like the brits did and the soviets and also like we did in vietnam. once you look at the history of invasions of the middle east it makes what we're doing now seem so pathetically naive. the "spillage" you speak of was caused by our presence in S. Arabia in the first place and also for supporting multiple dictatorships in the middle east so I guess I'll just say I'm not quite as "honor driven" as i used to be on the intervention issue.
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  #24  
Old 11-12-2008, 08:06 PM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

Quote:
Originally Posted by fedorovingtonboop View Post
obviously, we had to go in initially but after missing bin laden and then getting bogged down, the alternative is to cut our losses and leave. just like the brits did and the soviets and also like we did in vietnam. once you look at the history of invasions of the middle east it makes what we're doing now seem so pathetically naive. the "spillage" you speak of was caused by our presence in S. Arabia in the first place and also for supporting multiple dictatorships in the middle east so I guess I'll just say I'm not quite as "honor driven" as i used to be on the intervention issue.
I see, and what was the spillage for those Buddhist statues of Bamiyan?

http://www.rawa.org/statues.htm


What was the provocation of the radical Islamists there? In Spain? In India? on other factions within Islam?

There will always be a scapegoat for bad behavior. But we need not blame ourselves for all of it. People bring up Bin Ladins objection to our presence in the middle east as if that reasoning is perfectly sensible and a great point !!!

I do not doubt that angered him. Just as I do not doubt the presence of a police officer upsets a man who was in the middle of beating his wife. My inclination is, ok, and?

The thing that drives me insane, is that the protestations of malevolent men have SWAY with so many people. I am not angry that murderers are upset at judges for putting them away, or being in the way of them doing more ill.

But then I still have a liberal streak in me, I am not quite ready to throw up my hands and take the position that we should just abandon everyone and let the rest of the world burn. The irony is that it used to be the liberals that cared, that gave a damn. It used to be the paleocons that were the isolationists.

Anyway, show me a path where the damage to us and our allies is minimized, and so be it, but you will never convince my that retaliation is not justified.

Imprudent, maybe, but not unjustified.

Last edited by JonIrenicus; 11-12-2008 at 08:09 PM..
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  #25  
Old 11-12-2008, 08:33 PM
fedorovingtonboop fedorovingtonboop is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

yeah, i know the taliban are basically monkeys but I was just saying the war is pointless.
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  #26  
Old 11-12-2008, 07:26 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

I agree that we should be out of both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Now is the time to build a nonpartisan coalition to get out. If Obama significantly escalates, we risk a quagmire and a prolonged war. Some on the "left" and in the Pentagon are falling in love with Afghanistan escalation scenarios. Big mistake, in my view.

I am gladly willing to work with Republicans on this, but they need to get on board for nuclear disarmament and for UN-mandated interventions to prevent genocide

Getting nuclear weapons as close as possible to zero on the planet is an important component in ending the narrative that we must invade countries to prevent the proliferation of WMDs. No nukes, no proliferation, no Osama bin A-bomb.

The abolition of nuclear weapons is a cause now embraced by former secretaries of State and Defense like Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, and William Perry; as well as Sam Nunn (a powerful player in the Obama transition).

Developing a robust international response to failed-state crises also removes US justification for bombing countries and occupying them in order to install corrupt puppet democracies.

If there are interventions, the responsibility needs to be truly shared among all democracies.

Peace is hard and it won't come overnight. I'd hate to see Obama get off on the wrong track, like LBJ.
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  #27  
Old 11-12-2008, 07:32 PM
cognitive madisonian cognitive madisonian is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
I agree that we should be out of both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Now is the time to build a nonpartisan coalition to get out. If Obama significantly escalates, we risk a quagmire and a prolonged war. Some on the "left" and in the Pentagon are falling in love with Afghanistan escalation scenarios. Big mistake, in my view.

I am gladly willing to work with Republicans on this, but they need to get on board for nuclear disarmament and for UN-mandated interventions to prevent genocide

Getting nuclear weapons as close as possible to zero on the planet is an important component in ending the narrative that we must invade countries to prevent the proliferation of WMDs. No nukes, no proliferation, no Osama bin A-bomb.

The abolition of nuclear weapons is a cause now embraced by former secretaries of State and Defense like Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, and William Perry; as well as Sam Nunn (a powerful player in the Obama transition).

Developing a robust international response to failed-state crises also removes US justification for bombing countries and occupying them in order to install corrupt puppet democracies.

If there are interventions, the responsibility needs to be truly shared among all democracies.

Peace is hard and it won't come overnight. I'd hate to see Obama get off on the wrong track, like LBJ.
The notion that we can put the technological genie in the bottle and prevent rogue nations from seeking and gaining nuclear technology with wishes and a lack of weapons of our own is a fantasy. Plain and simple.

You do know what will happen if we give up in Afghanistan, right? Interestingly, you want to give up in Iraq, and likely did when it was overwhelmingly evident that a genocide would result, while calling for a mandate to stop genocide...so, what, we get out, then we get right back in when massive bloodshed starts?

How exactly are we supposed to fight global Islamic terrorism? How are we to bring to justice those responsible for 9/11?
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  #28  
Old 11-12-2008, 07:35 PM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

There were consequences to leaving Vietnam abruptly, slaughter. If you must leave then at least do so doing as much as possible to prevent slaughter. Particularly if you had a hand in stirring the hornets nest.

In any event, consider this old saying:

Success has a thousand fathers, but failure is an orphan.


People do not jump onto your bandwagon when you are losing, they do so when you are Winning. The fact is, giving the Taliban the ability to say they kicked the Americans out of Afghanistan would be a terrible blow to American foreign policy. If we leave we should do so on better terms than that.
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  #29  
Old 11-13-2008, 04:23 PM
JIM3CH JIM3CH is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

I tend to agree with you Wonderment. Nuclear weapons in this day and age are worse than useless. It is time to be rid of them entirely. It’s doable.

The hope for humanity is to utilize the power of the atom to generate electricity and produce hydrogen to elevate the worldwide standard of living; thus eliminating the deep seeded desperation that leads to hatred fed terrorism.

Obama is one who can make this happen if he doesn’t get drunk on the power of the office.
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  #30  
Old 11-13-2008, 04:38 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

Quote:
Obama is one who can make this happen if he doesn’t get drunk on the power of the office.
Sam Nunn is a good sign. Bill Gates (if Obama keeps him around) however, is a bad one, in that he is a strong supporter of nukes and nuke spending.

Obama could make significant progress by saying he is continuing the nuclear disarmament vision and work of Ronald Reagan.

I worry more about Obama appointing the right people to the right positions than about him getting drunk on power.
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  #31  
Old 11-13-2008, 05:02 PM
JoeK
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Default Re: Year One

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Nuclear weapons in this day and age are worse than useless.
That's what you think. Nuclear weapons came pretty handy to Russia in wars in Chechnya and Georgia.

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The hope for humanity is [...]
There is no such a thing as humanity. There are only nations and their states.

Last edited by JoeK; 11-13-2008 at 05:54 PM..
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  #32  
Old 11-12-2008, 07:35 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

Thanks to both for the whirlwind tour of the immediate big issues. In some ways, the list sounds beyond daunting; in other ways, there almost seemed a sense of dominoes. In a good way, I mean -- make progress on one problem, and the others become a little easier.

If there's any hope for progress at all on the Israeli/Palestinian problem, my feeling is this is worth pursuing aggressively, right out of the gate. I always have the sense that major players in the Mideast use the plight of the Palestinians as an excuse for other actions and inactions.

(As an aside, this lends something to the semantic quibble over whether the security of Israel is a strategic consideration for the US.)

Probably the most discouraging aspect to this diavlog was the reminder that once again, no one has the slightest idea what to do about Afghanistan. Stephen's one concrete suggestion -- to build up the Afghan national army -- sounds disturbingly like the same thing people have been saying for five years about Iraq. Maybe we're making some gains with the latter, but nowhere near as quick as was once promised, and meanwhile, the costs are horrendous.
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  #33  
Old 11-12-2008, 07:43 PM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
....
Probably the most discouraging aspect to this diavlog was the reminder that once again, no one has the slightest idea what to do about Afghanistan. Stephen's one concrete suggestion -- to build up the Afghan national army -- sounds disturbingly like the same thing people have been saying for five years about Iraq. Maybe we're making some gains with the latter, but nowhere near as quick as was once promised, and meanwhile, the costs are horrendous.
Honestly, I do not think the cost is all that high based on historical levels. We spend less on defense than we did during the cold war in terms of percentage of GDP. As for casualties, however bad people think they have been, MANY more lives have been lost in previous wars. By comparison to say Vietnam, the casualty levels of Iraq for example are lower by a factor of 10. But then perspective means little to people arguing a point and reaching for any nugget of evidence to support their preconceived views, measured evidence or not.
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  #34  
Old 11-12-2008, 11:11 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Honestly, I do not think the cost is all that high based on historical levels. We spend less on defense than we did during the cold war in terms of percentage of GDP. As for casualties, however bad people think they have been, MANY more lives have been lost in previous wars. By comparison to say Vietnam, the casualty levels of Iraq for example are lower by a factor of 10.
I don't completely dispute those comparisons, but I'm not convinced that they show that the Iraq situation isn't still horrendously expensive.

One quibble, if you want to compare based on fraction of GDP: I'm too lazy to look up the numbers, but it's my sense that we're cooking the books on defense spending more than a little these days. For example; a lot of the costs of the Iraq invasion and occupation are not included in the DoD budget, but are listed separately as appropriations. For another, other things that used to be under the DoD budget no longer are, like nuclear weapons work done under the DoE and privatized support services work that used to be done by soldiers.

There's also a problem in that we're not doing much to pay for the Iraq portion of this as we go, but borrowing the money instead.

One other quibble: I'm not sure I agree that US casualty rates are that much lower, compared to the Vietnam War. I might accept death rates, but it is my understanding that we're doing a much better job keeping wounded soldiers alive; i.e, if you count these as casualties, I don't think the "factor of 10" claim holds.

Quote:
But then perspective means little to people arguing a point and reaching for any nugget of evidence to support their preconceived views, measured evidence or not.
Don't know what this is supposed to be a response to. Sort of sounds like you're arguing with yourself, doesn't it? I mean, I was talking about Iraq being expensive and it taking a long time to get a reliable Iraqi army up and running, and worrying that the same might prove true in Afghanistan, and you want to talk about, what, historical DoD spending as fraction of GDP and casualty rates in Vietnam? Sounds like nugget-reaching to me.

And as for perspective, were I to say that Vietnam was a disaster, would you then say, "No it wasn't. You're forgetting about the Civil War!"?
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Last edited by bjkeefe; 11-12-2008 at 11:34 PM.. Reason: wordsmithing
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  #35  
Old 11-13-2008, 02:05 AM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

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Don't know what this is supposed to be a response to. Sort of sounds like you're arguing with yourself, doesn't it? I mean, I was talking about Iraq being expensive and it taking a long time to get a reliable Iraqi army up and running, and worrying that the same might prove true in Afghanistan, and you want to talk about, what, historical DoD spending as fraction of GDP and casualty rates in Vietnam? Sounds like nugget-reaching to me.

And as for perspective, were I to say that Vietnam was a disaster, would you then say, "No it wasn't. You're forgetting about the Civil War!"?
That last quoted part was not really directed at you, more a frustration with people who throw out casualty numbers. The implication being we should not be there, just look at these casualty numbers !!!!!

It bothers me because I know the death tolls at the very least were far higher in past wars. That and the other reality that even if casualties were a TENTH of what they are now, that would not change the opinion of the VAST majority of people who throw those numbers out in terms of their lack of support for the war.

It's like a guy throwing a hundred darts on a board hoping that some will stick. It may be the case that only a few of those darts have any relevance in terms of the throwers core ideas that make or break their support, but they still throw the other darts, that often mean nothing to them, just to cover the bases on arguments that may also have sway with people.

Is that making any sense?

When I argue, I prefer to lay out the arguments that make or break my case. Not the superfluous fluff that makes NO difference on my views.

Recent example, people harping on Obama not wearing a lapel pin, or Sarah Palin having expensive clothes.....

The way to test the irrelevant nature of the argument is to assume the opposite, and then ask if that changes ones opinion one iota.

So if Obama wore a pin every waking moment of his life would you support him? If Palin never got some massively expensive clothes set would you support her ticket?

No?

If not, the people are being hacks just throwing random darts that mean nothing to them. (personal pet peeve)

That is why I like Peter Beinart, he is sort of liberal but he is honest, and does not try and hide where he is coming from.

Last edited by JonIrenicus; 11-13-2008 at 02:11 AM..
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  #36  
Old 11-13-2008, 02:49 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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That last quoted part was not really directed at you, more a frustration with people who throw out casualty numbers.
Okay. Thanks for clarifying.
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  #37  
Old 11-21-2008, 01:44 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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One quibble, if you want to compare based on fraction of GDP: I'm too lazy to look up the numbers, but it's my sense that we're cooking the books on defense spending more than a little these days.
However, I'm not too lazy to note them when I come across them by happenstance!

See here. Excerpt:

Quote:
For a start, the campaign is dishonest from the get-go. It's based on a claim that even Bush's profligate defense spending amounts to only 3.43% of GDP - but it neglects to account for $26 billion in non-DOD spending and $170 billion in supplementary spending on the misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. Taken all together, those amount to 4.73% of GDP and a staggering $711 billion dollars - a bailout a year or almost 50% of the governments budget. It's a vastly higher sum, in real terms, than the U.S. has ever spent on defense before and it outstrips, by a wide margin, spending by the rest of the world.
(h/t: Teh Sadlys)
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  #38  
Old 11-12-2008, 07:44 PM
cognitive madisonian cognitive madisonian is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Thanks to both for the whirlwind tour of the immediate big issues. In some ways, the list sounds beyond daunting; in other ways, there almost seemed a sense of dominoes. In a good way, I mean -- make progress on one problem, and the others become a little easier.

If there's any hope for progress at all on the Israeli/Palestinian problem, my feeling is this is worth pursuing aggressively, right out of the gate. I always have the sense that major players in the Mideast use the plight of the Palestinians as an excuse for other actions and inactions.

(As an aside, this lends something to the semantic quibble over whether the security of Israel is a strategic consideration for the US.)

Probably the most discouraging aspect to this diavlog was the reminder that once again, no one has the slightest idea what to do about Afghanistan. Stephen's one concrete suggestion -- to build up the Afghan national army -- sounds disturbingly like the same thing people have been saying for five years about Iraq. Maybe we're making some gains with the latter, but nowhere near as quick as was once promised, and meanwhile, the costs are horrendous.
We're making tremendous gains in Iraq following the Petraeus plan and have been since its implementation.

I'm not sure the same can work for Afghanistan. There is a solution, and it probably involves a major escalation of troops.
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  #39  
Old 11-12-2008, 09:13 PM
cragger cragger is offline
 
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Default Re: Year One

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In some ways, the list sounds beyond daunting; in other ways, there almost seemed a sense of dominoes. In a good way, I mean -- make progress on one problem, and the others become a little easier.
In some ways this seems true. Making major progress with the Israel - Palestinian problem for example would help reverse the US vs. Islam theme and would undoubtedly be helpful with various issues throughout the Islamic world. The problem is the difficulty in attaining that progress, and the apparant lack of will among major players on either side of the conflict to make that progress. There have been serious good-faith efforts from US administrations earlier, back when the US could present itself as an honest broker, and the progress made has been meager.

An unfortunate fact of life is that it is often easier to make things worse than to make them better. The former can be quickly done with little effort, the latter often takes time and consistent application. A new president is very unlikely to be able to do everything he would like, even if a good case can be made that a lot of those things are "good". With all the serious problems facing the US come January it would be somewhat surprising, and perhaps even ill-advised for Obama to start off his administration by concentrating on trying to crack the Isreal/Palestine nut that has defied the last 40 years. Remember the effect on the Clinton administration when they started with an ambitious health care agenda and failed. However one may judge their proposal or apportion blame for the failure, that failure was somewhat crippling.

A far better case for progress in one area helping many can be made for tackling the energy problem. Investment in renewables would help insulate the US from sensitivity to oil flow politics, spur new industries and jobs, and help deal with our long-term balance of payments problem that is a cancer destroying the value of our currency and a constant hemorrage of wealth from the country. It would also help start the stabilization of the climate which should be a priority for a nation that is probably the most favored geographically on the planet, given the former golbal climate.

Other flow down benifits are considerable. Consider a relatively trivial level of investment, say 100 million a day. That is less than one fifth the current cost of the interest payments on the national debt, for which we get jack shit. Over the course of an 8-year administration, $100M/day adds up to about 300 billion dollars, about 1/10th the cost of the Iraq debacle or the latest estimates of emergency bailouts for the "OMG! we've totally screwed up the economy!" wizzards.

That "paltry" $300B would put a $25K renewable photovoltaic and/or wind system on about 12 million households, about 12% of the US total. In a program that encouraged or required some level of private investment as well, even the relatively trivial cost, compared to current federal government policy disasters, would supply even more households. Obviously, a higher investment and longer time horizon would lead to greater returns.

If made the investment to turn the US into the global leader in renewable energy, we the citizens could be spared from the losses to criminal enterprises like Enron, and would not need to support giants like Exxon, whose $1 Billion per week profits all come out of the pockets of we "Joe the Plumbers". The associated reduction of unnecessary money/power concentrations would also reduce the inevitable distortions of both markets and politics.

Its not hard to find other considerable long-term benefits if we developed world-leading renewable energy industries. We would have a major new class of export products. Rather than spending money building a Berlin Wall and hiring an army to patrol our southern border, we could help electrify rural Mexico - certainly a place well suited for solar power. Consider the effect of electrification and the enabled refrigeration on food supply and quality of life for the simplest and most obvious of examples. Hello reduction in the economic incentive that drives the immigration that drives some folks nuts.

It just takes time, and the consistent application of a comparatively reasonable level of effort. Given the seriousness of the energy problem - the global economy crashed and oil prices went down, what does that say about where we are on the supply/demand curve and what prices will do if we get the economy going again - the energy problem, the various problems involving balance of payments and deficits - gee, you mean you can't spend lots more than you make like forever? - this seems like a glaringly obvious area for immediate attention, one that will pay dividends in many arenas, and one that is probably absolutely necessary if we are to be able have the resources to address our other long term problems.

I'm sure there are many excellent reasons why I am not president, but if I were that is something I would start on day one.
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  #40  
Old 11-12-2008, 10:51 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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[...]
Couldn't agree more. I guess I didn't mention the energy aspect of this diavlog because there's nothing (for me) to debate or worry about here -- I think what Obama wants to do is a good plan, and it appears to be at the top of his domestic agenda.
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