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Friday, 16 August 2013


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Not exactly a new phenomena is it - remember the Shah of Iran? The US support for 'democracy' didn't work out too well there either did it? (Egypt is almost a case of deja-vu to be honest)

Surely someone, somewhere in .gov could have figured out that supporting a bunch of barbaric fanatics who wish nothing more than your destruction over a bunch of 'people you'd not invite to dinner' who support you is a bad idea?

Why is it that the best predictor of any governments behaviour is 'choose that which will best act to destroy the thing they claim to be protecting'? (witness the idiocy of stopping 'stop and frisk' in New York - 'because it's racist' - stop and frisk has saved more black lives than they dare count FFS)

And it is particularly important to back a side over which you have some sort of leverage, in this case, the Egyptian army whose kit is American and whose officers have their secret accounts in dollars!

If they USA didn't indulge in such reams of drivel about spreading democracy and liberty, it might do more to please its friends and frighten its enemies.

I think Obama should be given a pat on the back. He is encouraging the Arabs to do what they always do - destroy everything in sight! One by one the Arab states are descending into chaos. Just take Syria. Once a state with a well equipped army and airforce it is now reduced to a shambles. It will take them for ever to rebuild the infrastructure, if it ever does. So - no chance they will invade Israel, or anywhere else.

Ah the timing Duffers!

Over from Diplomad's site I've taken to doing what you do best - nicked a sentence/observation which - given the mess called Egypt I'll be nominating as The Best, Most Accurate Sentence of August!

(I do hope the Committee will see fit to accept it as it's a "re-post" but ...)

I would note that among arrogant government agencies, State is the Saudi Arabia of arrogance--it has huge proven reserves.

I think that, perhaps, British people forget just how isolationist most Americans are. Old-timers on your side of the pond remember and resent our tardy entry into WWII, but that is just more of that isolationist streak. We were talked into entry into WWI because the Germans were attacking neutral ships. Sure, a lot of Americans had pro-British sympathies, but a lot of others had German leanings and ancestry. Wilson got elected again in 1916 on the slogan, "He kept us out of war." Then he turned around and got us in, soon after his second inaugural.

I was born in 1950, but there were still books in the library in our small town that complained about how we'd been ripped off in WWI and in the peace process. A majority of Americans opposed our entry into the League of Nations, and a large minority still want us out of the UN. "Let the world go to the Hell they have made," is not on our money, but it should be. I reluctantly support a minimal approach to world policing because I'd rather see the US doing it than, for example, the Chinese. This minimalist approach would be about encouraging enemies to fight each other, and leave us alone, and cultivating alliances with other pieces on the chess board to fence in our enemies and prevent our more total isolation. The current occupant of the White house probably does not understand, and would not support it if he did, that we are not now, nor have we ever been a tributary empire, but a commercial one. Keep things open for trade, and we can do business. Yes, it's true, we do business with some rather unsavory people, like the Arabians and the Chinese. Nevertheless, we do NOT want to run the world. Overthrowing Saddam and covering the Iraqis while they founded a secular liberal state was a gamble, that actually paid off, sort of, until the Obozo fumbled even that. The idea was to have a friend in the arch formed by the nations around the Persian Gulf. Notice how we did nothing to take over Iran, even when we might have succeeded? People here said it would have made more sense to invade Iran than Iraq, more reason, more oil, etc. That is not how we play the game. Allies scattered around the global chess board serve our purpose quite well. The Obomination may not understand this, and surely does not understand the idea of a commercial empire. He probably has not yet figured out that we did not go into Iraq for oil, were perfectly content that the Chinese won the auction for oil concessions in Iraq. His mind is too steeped in Marxist slogans for mere facts to enter.

Thanks, Michael, for your comprehensive summary and I realise how difficult that is to do in a blog comment - the swots usually need an entire book!

To take just some of your points, yes, you are right to emphasise the inherent isolationism in America which continues, albeit somewhat weakened in this internet age, up to this day. I have never blamed the Americans for their reluctance to enter either world war. America is a democracy and, more or less, the pols needs must pay some heed to the popular feelings which will be expressed in votes! If the central European powers in 1914 had been more democratic perhaps they would not have been so eager to hurl their countries into the abyss.

The notion of 'Fortress America' is, or was, both attractive and (almost) possible 'back in the day'. The huge north American land mass with access to two oceans complies almost exactly with *both* Halford Mackinder's and Alfred Mahan's opposite notions of the ideal geo-political entity. However, even fortresses can be threatened and attacked and the question becomes one of where exactly do you defend it? On *your* shores, or on someone else's shores? The 'experts' frequently reach the wrong answer but then, so do the people!

I'm with dearieme on this. If the Americans would just stop trying to impose their system on the rest of us, we might all have a happier life! I don't suggest they should become isolationists - just give up the idea they have some divine mission to make us all American!

BoE I'm not sure they are trying to "make us all American". They put their culture 'out there' and people adopt it (especially the young), which is where so much of the conflict (Middle East), animosity (France) and terrible dress sense (Britain) comes from.

What I see is ... well, insecurity. The constant 'need' to 'prove themselves bigger, better, stronger' and to have everybody admire them for it, the need for control, etc. All signs of an insecure personality, no?

As Michael says, I'd rather have America as the worlds policeman than any of the other possibilities. I also vaguely like the 'commercial' metaphor. The British Empire (well C19 onwards at least) was trade based, but perhaps showed our national character as a 'nation of shopkeepers'. The US though is a Nation of Corporations, which could explain why they seem to treat their allies (the competition) worse than their enemies at times.

I feel sure a bit of Googling would produce plenty of statements by Americans suggesting we would be much better off if we all enjoyed the benefits of the American system of democracy. And plenty of efforts to make us follow their example. Egypt being the latest example.

Of course, the irony is, their constitution was written by a bunch of Englishmen!

"Of course, the irony is, their constitution was written by a bunch of Englishmen!"

I do so enjoy pointing that fact out - for some reason the recipients of my 'opinion' seem to get a little 'belligerent' (and I wasn't even wearing my red-coat at the time). Does this make me a bad person?

"better off if we all enjoyed the benefits of the American system of democracy"

Actually, I think Americans would be much better off if they enjoyed such a system too - since, over the years and multiple amendments, they appear to have slightly wandered from the original intent of the framers (an educated, informed populace with some 'skin in the game' being the ones the voting, not to mention some checks and balances which appear to have all but disappeared. Still I doubt it's quite as bad as here). Just Sayin'

Actually, I think Americans would be much better off if they enjoyed such a system too - since, over the years and multiple amendments, they appear to have slightly wandered from the original intent ...

Neat, compact observation there Able. Why, just the other day I was doing a little observing myself - Scalia style mind - our Congress has been making noises (as is it's habit) to "do something" about something.

My "opponent" insisted they (Congress) surely had the power.

I came back with the enumerated powers clause and he bought the next few rounds.

It's not so much Congress I'm worried about as Executive diktat.

Still, it's nice so many there actually know what the documents say. Over here, finding the equivalent of the average Joe who can quote verbatim from The Federalist Papers (let alone The Constitution), is ... well, I once mentioned The Magna Carta to a collection of allegedly educated colleagues, only to be met with blank stares, although one wondered 'was he the one who played Ronald Reagan in The Sweeney?'.

Ah yes, those pesky Federalist Papers.

It's therein (#59 specifically) that Duff and I find ourselves in our minor quibble over government surveillance. "Over there" it would appear your Magna Carta mostly [only?] provides for proscriptions dealing with 'Noble'persons and the Maj.

And generally speaking, it's Tradition & Precedent that provides the foundation for "due process."

Fortunately "Our English Gentlemen" [there, I typed it] were aware of your founding document's lack - and so wrote for "Over here" our Fourth & Fifth Amendments. As well as those pesky Publius publishings.

I believe Magna Carta was the (if not the first, the most 'revered') attempt to limit 'arbitrary' actions of The Crown (.gov) against 'Freemen' (not quite the same thing as Nobles). As with everything else, the definition of Freemen has been ... 'extended' somewhat (just as over there). (I'll leave the detailed analysis and corrections to those with more knowledge DD, DM, BoE).

Unlike there, The Magna Carta, Bill Of Rights, etc. have all been superseded, overwritten or ignored for so long we can't rely on their protections. You're lucky in that the Constitution, etc. are integral to the very existence(legitimacy) of your nation - so not so easy to erase.

Actually, I quite like The Third, although all the rest are 'sort of' irrelevant without The Second - nothing more likely to make some arbitrary ruler to think again?

Thank you, Gentlemen, an excellent conversation.

I once read a book by a journalist called Jonathan Freedland. He argued that the real target of the US founding fathers was not an independent state in North America, but England itself. A reformed system of government in England might have led to a single country spanning the Atlantic.

He goes on to argue that the English should take a close look at the USA and import those bits that would improve things in England. Elected sherrifs and judges for instance. Interesting book to read. But not likely to be implemented.

Elected sheriffs (Chief Constables) and judges. Hmmmn! You touch a sensitive point there, BOE, because it is an idea that has niggled away at me over the years but, as DM might put it, 'I hae' ma doots'. I think I might post on the subject next week in between cooking, bottle-washing, etc, etc,!

First things first - we have to limit suffrage to those who can at least read the candidates names and spell (without computer/phone assistance) their own.

Eventually we may get a class that actually vaguely understands what they're voting for.

Oh and I'd like to throw my hat in for the sherrifs post - I always wanted a badge, stetson and a wheel-gun (I tried the stetson before but you get funny looks here when you can't arrest/string up/shoot the perps).

Yeeeees, I can see that sort of thing might not go down awfully well in Tunbridge Wells!

Very good discussion, chaps.
Carry on.

Speaking from the western shores of the pond, I must say American globalismo was gratuitous from the start and remains a very bad idea.

Stick with Little America policies, I say.

As to President O, he has the impulses of a liberal globo-interventionist, complicated by his racial and religious, er, complexities.

There is no tiny part of his brain that for a moment questions, let alone opposes, American military and political globalismo.

He is the same old, expansionist American control-freak, familiar since the days, and even before the days, of the American Revolution.

Too bad for us Americans.

But the neocons are ever nuttier, so there you are.

Hello, Philo, and welcome to D&N where you can take a well-deserved rest from 'No More Mister Nice Blog'!

In my opinion there is very little the USA can do about its propensity for sticking its oar into everything. We once ran the world (sort of - so to speak!) in an earlier age when 'the reach' was infinitely more difficult - but, dammit, we reached whenever we thought it necessary and in the course of it made some big mistakes.

The USA is a huge power. It can't help it because, as I have written elsewhere, it combines the two opposite geopolitical theories of Mahan and Mackinder. Thus, even doing nothing and withdrawing into Fortress America is *a policy* with infinite repercussions - as you found out in 1941! In this modern age it is impossible for you not to be involved but it is how you execute your involvement that counts. Alas, in the democratic (small 'd'!) nations our leaders tend on the whole to be very third-rate and thus we must live with the dire consequences.

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