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I am sure the writer of this thread will agree with your assumptions, but let me ask you a couple of questions?

Sure enough what would the world do without the USA?
I don't believe that the time before the 1790s was especially peaceful.
And are you assuming that we had power one year after we convened the Congress? And did we show any external policies in world affairs before WWI? You do remember that the US was involved in a very bloody civil war? Not like we were able to do much then.

And how much involvement was the US in World affairs between WWI and WWII? Other than the League of Nations?

Ohhh, yes that is scary if you have to use Halliburton. Can you imagine a world with another Hitler, Stalin, Mao, PolPot...?

Can you imagine another North Korea, China, USSR, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary(such a good point I will do it twice), Cambodia...?

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford

by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2007 at 04:19:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
did we show any external policies in world affairs before WWI?

Ever heard of the Monroe Doctrine? Do you know the history of the Spanish-American War and what followed it?

how much involvement was the US in World affairs between WWI and WWII?

From the early thirties until WWII, there was a peaceful period that was pretty much the ONLY longer period the USA has not been involved in any armed conflict. However, before that, there were the Banana Wars.

Hungary(such a good point I will do it twice)

I'm all ears. What is it a good point for?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Apr 12th, 2007 at 05:42:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ever heard of the Monroe Doctrine? Do you know the history of the Spanish-American War and what followed it?
Yes sir. And did it cover the whole world? I am sure you will defend the actions by the Europeans before the USA said no more shit in our back yard. They did so well in Belize and Haiti for example (including some still blame the French for underdevelopment in Haiti).

From the early thirties until WWII, there was a peaceful period that was pretty much the ONLY longer period the USA has not been involved in any armed conflict. However, before that, there were the Banana Wars.
And that worked out so well? The rise of Fascism and Communism. When was the longest period of European non armed conflicts?

And are you willing to compare some "Banana Wars" with the genocides in Africa?

Please defend this: Hungarian Revolution

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford

by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2007 at 12:57:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo has written some of the best and most nuanced coverage of the 1956 uprising you can read anywhere. What makes it so good is that he has always been careful to eschew polemics.
by Matt in NYC on Thu Apr 12th, 2007 at 01:38:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NP. I imagine I too will try to dispel some myths also. One that I had to counter recently was that the US manufacturing is smaller than in the 1970s.

I have met a few chaps on some boards that somehow derive the answer to all the worlds problems comes from the USA or Israel or UK. I only want to show that these entities are liberal democracies and only have to be marginally better than any alternatives.

It is like the standard is sigma six for the USA but for anyone else it is whatever feels about right.

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford

by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2007 at 02:13:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I only want to show that these entities are liberal democracies and only have to be marginally better than any alternatives.

Is this no typo, is this seriously your standard? Being marginally better than the alternatives? That's a pretty low standard, and one incompatible with the basic elements of "liberal democracy" (where the standard to compare to is not something existing but laws and ideals).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Apr 12th, 2007 at 05:37:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I know I did not stretch the boundaries too much. But being new here, I did not want to chew off too much to start with.

Of course I could have used the standard of just above average. So let us we have a group of people and we determine what the average persons height is. We only have to add a person above the average to increase the overall average. Remember I was only trying to say the world is better with the USA.

So you want to compare it to sigma six? I don't believe any institution that man creates will live up to those standards.

"The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."



Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford
by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2007 at 10:12:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No government's actions in another country are democratic.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 13th, 2007 at 05:38:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Remember I was only trying to say the world is better with the USA.

With the USA as it is, with its government and foreign policy, I disagree.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Apr 13th, 2007 at 05:40:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just wait less than two years and the USA will have a new one for you.
We already see that the Republicans have lost both houses of congress. Democrats look pretty strong now. More "evil" money and more registered Democrats than ever before.

Now if only some other nations had that luxury of disposing their (what shall I call them)...
Like Zimbabwe.

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford

by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Fri Apr 13th, 2007 at 05:57:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes sir. And did it cover the whole world?

It did cover half of it. So, by "external policies in world affairs", did you meant only global policies? Why the restriction -- do you want to fight the accusation that all the world's confglicts in the last 217 years were the fault of the USA, which is not how I read the diary; or do you want to prove that most of the time the USA was a lesser meddler in foreign affairs than the Eurasian imperial powers?

the USA said no more shit in our back yard.

In essence, the USA said that now only they can shit in their own backyard. Latin America suffered several interventions in its wake even before the Spanish-American War.

some still blame the French for underdevelopment in Haiti

With reason, given that Haiti had to pay compensation to France for its independence and end of slavery -- they were forced to do so after warships of the USA imposed a trade blockade on the island. But they can also balem US occupiers, just during the Banana Wars, who presided over the de-facto reintroduction of slave labor ("corvée labor").

And that worked out so well? The rise of Fascism and Communism.

Are you seriously blaming the rise of totalitarianism on US isolationism? Given that the latter grew out from WWI and the the foul peace afterwards, during which Wilson sided with one set of European imperialists and then failed to stop them from imposing a victors' peace (not to mention the ethnic-hate consequences of what was applied of the Wilson Doctrine), I'm not as certain as you that the USA could have acted successfully as a global policeman, even if its leaders wanted that. Also, do you know that before WWII broke out, there were plenty of Hitler symphatisants in the US, including in the elite?

When was the longest period of European non armed conflicts?

For the Western part, the EU and its predecessors. The longest before, the pre-WWI Belle Epoque. For all of Europe, I'm not sure there was ever a multi-decade one. Why do you ask?

And are you willing to compare some "Banana Wars" with the genocides in Africa?

Why restrict comparisons to those? But yes, I am willing, especially if we talk about the broader hundred-year Banana Wars, including genocidal slaughter in Guatemala and elsewhere. Colonial interests were involved in both.

Please defend this: Hungarian Revolution

What should I defend about it? As someone who wrote seven long diaries on the subject here on ET, I am particularly curious how exactly you think it is doubly relevant here.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Apr 12th, 2007 at 05:34:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for your well thought out post.
One of my friends saw it and told me good luck...
It did cover half of it. So, by "external policies in world affairs", did you meant only global policies? Why the restriction -- do you want to fight the accusation that all the world's conflicts in the last 217 years were the fault of the USA, which is not how I read the diary; or do you want to prove that most of the time the USA was a lesser meddler in foreign affairs than the Eurasian imperial powers?

So far we have Cuba and Philippines, so not hardly half the world. Well some seem to believe that the USA is the fault of all wars. Not less of a meddler just a more benign colonial power.
With reason, given that Haiti had to pay compensation to France for its independence and end of slavery -- they were forced to do so after warships of the USA imposed a trade blockade on the island. But they can also balem US occupiers, just during the Banana Wars, who presided over the de-facto reintroduction of slave labor ("corvée labor").

There becomes a point when it is only an excuse for poor governance. Hispaniola.
Are you seriously blaming the rise of totalitarianism on US isolationism? Given that the latter grew out from WWI and the the foul peace afterwards, during which Wilson sided with one set of European imperialists and then failed to stop them from imposing a victors' peace (not to mention the ethnic-hate consequences of what was applied of the Wilson Doctrine), I'm not as certain as you that the USA could have acted successfully as a global policeman, even if its leaders wanted that. Also, do you know that before WWII broke out, there were plenty of Hitler symphatisants in the US, including in the elite?

No that would be silly to say that was the only cause. But (don't forget the Asian experiences) that people are trying to say that there was so much peace and prosperity in the world at the height of American isolationist. And that clearly is not an idea that bears any merit. And yes plenty of compromises came out that were not for the better. The thinking was that some of the issues could be resolved later. Well then everyone raised their drawbridges and we know what happened next.

You are right we would probably not been able to be the policeman of the world, but isolationism is something that did not help the world or the US either.

Yes, I read the hate grandpa Bush's sites.

For the Western part, the EU and its predecessors. The longest before, the pre-WWI Belle Epoque. For all of Europe, I'm not sure there was ever a multi-decade one. Why do you ask?

Honestly, not sure. Maybe it will come up later.
Why restrict comparisons to those? But yes, I am willing, especially if we talk about the broader hundred-year Banana Wars, including genocidal slaughter in Guatemala and elsewhere. Colonial interests were involved in both.

So it sounds like fun, I will probably let you start the thread. Yes and no, we had interest in these countries for economic resources, but we were not colonizers of the nations in question.
What should I defend about it? As someone who wrote seven long diaries on the subject here on ET, I am particularly curious how exactly you think it is doubly relevant here.

Heck, not sure why you would defend the atrocities committed there. Actually I was busy cutting and pasting the countries and then I realized that I had Hungary twice, so instead of erasing it I said it deserved twice. LOL
But I did happen to see an interview with a person that defended the USSR and communism until these events unfolded and he quickly changed his mind (maybe a Neocon).

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford
by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2007 at 10:56:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heck, not sure why you would defend the atrocities committed there.

Why do you think I would have to defend the atrocities committed there? You still haven't explained exactly what relevance you see to the matter at discussion. It may appear obvious to you, but it aint' to me. For example, how it proves that the world is a better place with the USA.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Apr 13th, 2007 at 05:44:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So far we have Cuba and Philippines, so not hardly half the world.

The Western Hemisphere is half of the world. The Philippines is even beyond that, you are mixing up subjects. If you don't know of any US interventions in Latin America preceding the Spanish-American War (and only know the two top flashpoints of the latter), do your own homework and read up on Wikipedia.

excuse for poor governance

Even poor governance can be a consequence of structures and power circles left behind(/supported from the outside). But whether or not, it doesn't matter for the subject at discussion.

You are right we would probably not been able to be the policeman of the world, but isolationism is something that did not help the world or the US either.

OK. But if we play alt.history.what-if, I note that potential alternatives to the US isolationism that actually happened include both ones that would have been better and ones that would have been worse for the world. On less key points, I note that had Roosevelt not ended US isolationism by starting to harrass Japanese imperialist expansion, US isolation might have been just as good for the USA but worse for the rest of the world; while a truly liberal interventionist policy would have had little opportunities in the early thirties due to the Great Depression.

Yes, I read the hate grandpa Bush's sites.

Then you haven't read enough, because it's not just about that one war profiteer. Start with this and this.

Yes and no, we had interest in these countries for economic resources, but we were not colonizers of the nations in question.

Not de jure, but de facto, very much so. I was not sure which African genocides you referred to, but many of those happened after 'decolonisation', when European post-imperial powers and the USA (and the Soviet Union) acted in a similar manner as the USA in the Carribean and Mesoamerica.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Apr 13th, 2007 at 06:12:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, lots of good responses on this thread. Plenty for me to think about...
The Western Hemisphere is half of the world. The Philippines is even beyond that, you are mixing up subjects. If you don't know of any US interventions in Latin America preceding the Spanish-American War (and only know the two top flashpoints of the latter), do your own homework and read up on Wikipedia.
Sorry long way from that. Even if we take all of the Western Hemisphere then it still is not half, take a look at World Population.
I only am going to contend that which comes up, I am not going to play the game of "read your history" and it says it all.

Even poor governance can be a consequence of structures and power circles left behind(/supported from the outside). But whether or not, it doesn't matter for the subject at discussion.
But at some point you no longer have an excuse. I had a tough time in life but when I reached college, those factors no longer were controlling me, I was controlling my own destiny. Did the British leave the US with a perfect system?

OK. But if we play alt.history.what-if, I note that potential alternatives to the US isolationism that actually happened include both ones that would have been better and ones that would have been worse for the world. On less key points, I note that had Roosevelt not ended US isolationism by starting to harrass Japanese imperialist expansion, US isolation might have been just as good for the USA but worse for the rest of the world; while a truly liberal interventionist policy would have had little opportunities in the early thirties due to the Great Depression.
Good points. Have you seen the movie 2009? Harass but real threats? True for at least the early years of the depression, but by 1937 the USA were out of the worst of it and could easily have started to reform their foreign policy.

First on the GAB, that is always a problem with multicultural environment. We have ties to all parts of the world. On another board, one person always points to our trade with China to signify that we are a Fascist state. Well the US trades with 229 nations or locations in the world (one small protectorate was excluded).

Secondly, good riddance to bad baggage. So does not convince me of your points.

Not de jure, but de facto, very much so. I was not sure which African genocides you referred to, but many of those happened after 'decolonisation', when European post-imperial powers and the USA (and the Soviet Union) acted in a similar manner as the USA in the Carribean and Mesoamerica.
It would be more precise to say (in your opinion) to say imperialism not colonialization. Maybe later in the new thread you start we can look at all the African democides. Still the fault of them for leaving them a bad society/government/power structure etc. True the cold war techniques, so without the USA the world would have been better with USSR power being the sole super power?

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford

by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Fri Apr 13th, 2007 at 01:11:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
do you want to fight the accusation that all the world's conflicts in the last 217 years were the fault of the USA, which is not how I read the diary; or do you want to prove that most of the time the USA was a lesser meddler in foreign affairs than the Eurasian imperial powers?

For clarification, none of that was not the intended thesis of this Diary.  I was using something from ecology focusing on the study of species in eco system, then metaphorizing a type of species adapted to low levels of succession -- r-selected species -- to certain types of human devised societies that have economic and social organizations based on capital accumulation, with the requisite resource and energy consumption involved.  So I was looking at a gloval picture, yes, but trying to show how a certain type of aggressive social meme can be a powerful driving force in the world, and the two hundred years or so of rapid growth in global population just happens to concur with the discovery of ways of harvesting fossil fuels along with related technologies that capitalism found extremely beneficial to its inherent social and economic patterns.  

I feel from reading many of the diaries and comments in the year or so since I signed up for this board, I don't need to go into all the rationales for what those patterns entail.  I'm hoping I can make more diaries without having to go through all the rationales!  Though talking about them in the discussion is to be expected.

I have much more to say on this topic, but I'd like to just give a suggestion of my working hypothesis with this global view presented in this diary to suggest a perspective I find preferable.  Neoliberalism is the meme running through these r-selected societies I'm identifying.  If one is considering the potential for a future that can be more stable, borrowing from ecological studies, we find that r-selected species are not well adapted to stable environments.  In fact they tend to be disruptive.  But in the end, their innate adaptive strategy is usually the very ingredients of their own demise.  

I see a correlation from that observation to neoliberal economic strategies that require what we have seen of them on an accelerated level in the past two hundred years, disruption of ecosystems, the demise of speciation in a variety of niches, and the demise of fairly well stabilized k-selected societies at the same time, either through genocide or "structural adjustments" of various kind.  All this in concert with a dramatic exploitation of a nonrenewable energy resource, which at the same time becomes the heart of an increasingly monocultural globalization cultural ecosystem. And, one must always keep in mind energy is essential to life, and what we talk about occurring in ecosystems is various patterns of the all important energy transformation process.

As such, the U.S. would only be one variant of a kind of society.  However, it's my hypothesis that the U.S. happens to be one of the most dangerous social arrangements of its kind right now.  Kind of like a  cancer. I think that for many reasons, but politically, the US is working with what I consider to be an antique and increasingly crippled constitution that allows for the emergence of an elite, and the elite in this instance is created by accumulations of capital, and all the powerful controls those accumulations allow over various means of resource accumulation and transformation through modern technology.

As a small example of the mechanisms involved with how that is happening, I've been studying the increasing unification of the executive branch as a result of a  conservative judicial think tank started during the Reagan Administration, the Federalist Society, which has been developing a legal-based strategy known as the Unitary Executive Theory.  This theory unifies the entire bureaucracy of the U.S. and attempts to take away in the process much of the traditional checks and balances that were supposedly built into the tripartite government designed by the U.S. constitution, and coordinates it with an increasingly unilateralist orientation to foreign policy.  Dick Cheney and his group of lawyers in his staff have been doing everything to put this strategy on steroids during this administration, but the strategy itself has been taking root over the past twenty five years or so, and Clinton uses some of it well during his administration when he was facing a hostile Republican Congress.  I predict we will watch some of the same types of strategies until the end of the Bush Administration.  Not that I would credit Bush himself with any role in engineering it.

A group of scholars I've been following who mostly concern themselves with South America, and the U.S. involvement there, have refined a meaning of the term "polyarchy" which I find meaningful.  Very briefly, it describes a variation of what is passed off as "democracy," which is a decisionmaking that takes place by elected elites. I'm sure anyone here can figure out how that's working out. It relates, in important ways, to what I've identified and tracked as the "democracy promotion" strategies the U.S. has invoked since the early eighties, where polyarchic elites are put in place in key nation states where the globalized neoliberal system needs resources.  Perhaps a reference here up to those Ten Commandments of Globalization in my diary would make some sense. Since these elites all tend to have the same perspectives on globalization, this is handy for coordinating globalization processes, and the elites revolve through the doors of corporations, government bureaucracy, NGO negotiating entities, and the military.  It's all very rational.

The effort to replace Chavez is one recent and well publicized example.  They are still working on that one, to be sure.  But all of South America is undoubtedly giving them fits right now.

If no one is familiar with the work of Willim I. Robinson, I'd recommend the following:

Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization, US Intervention, and Hegemony

Review

Book Description
Promoting Polyarchy is an exciting, detailed and controversial work on the apparent change in US foreign policy from supporting dictatorships to promoting "democratic" regimes. William I. Robinson argues that behind this facade, US policy upholds the undemocratic status quo of Third World countries. He addresses the theoretical and historical issues at stake, and uncovers a wealth of information from field work and hitherto unpublished government documents. Promoting Polyarchy is an essential book for anyone concerned with democracy, globalization and international affairs.

"This book represents an original, compelling and critical rethinking of the nature and form of United States foreign policy in the Third World 1980s and 1990s. Robinson has developed his own theoretical framework and synthesis drawn from comparative political sociology, political economy and political theory, one that takes its global inspiration from both world-systems and neo-Gramscian approaches to international relations. Robinson's theoretical strengths are combined with excellent empirical research... In his meticulous and detailed exposition of the nature, limits and contradictions of these cases, Robinson makes a fundamental contribution to our possibilities of understanding the contours of crucial aspects of North-South relations in this and the next century." Stephen Gill, York University, Toronto

"This book provides a sobering look at what it means to say the US is promoting democracy throughout the world. It is a good antidote to much academic pap." Immanuel Wallerstein, State University of New York

"While economic and cultural globalization have attracted a good deal of popular and scholarly attention, globalization in the political sphere is a relatively under-researched area. In Promoting Polyarchy William Robinson, building on a formidable array of local knowledge and theoretical reflection, makes the bold argument that democracy promotion in US foreign policy is best explained in terms of the pluralist idea of polyarchy and that this restricted conception of democracy serves the interests of an increasingly transnational elite. Polyarchy, thus, `is a structural feature of the emergent global society.' The logic of the analysis and the power of his case studies represent a challenge that complacent pluaralists and those sceptical of globalization should not ignore." Leslie Sklair, London School of Economics

"...Robinson offers much more than a political manifesto-the core of the book is a well-considered analysis of the role of U.S. foreign policy in constructing and maintaing the contemporary global ideological hegemony, exemplified by four fascinating case studies. Promoting Polyarchy is a worthy contribution to political sociology." Christopher Chase-Dunn, Contemporary Sociology

"This is a pathbreaking study of the changes in U.S. policy wrought by the `epochal shift' of globalization. The ground-breaking ideas put forth in this book are a counterpoint to the world systems school of Immanuel Wallerstein and more classical Marxsits and neo-Marxists who argue for the continued primacy of the nation-state." Roger Burbach, NACLA Report on the Americas

"William Robinson has written an extraordinarily important book. His work should be required reading for scholars and activists attempting to understand the contemporary direction of U.S. foreign policy....a rigorous, passionate, and historically informed critique of the barren and disempowering political structures that pass for democracy today." Science & Society



"I would pillow myself on the stream, for I'd like to cleanse my ears" - Sun Chu (218-293) Chinese recluse
by Ren on Fri Apr 13th, 2007 at 03:14:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The lack of an edit function in these comments is really frustrating.  

Correction in the first line, remove the "not":

From:
"For clarification, none of that was not the intended thesis of this Diary."

To:
For clarification, none of that was the intended thesis of this Diary.


"I would pillow myself on the stream, for I'd like to cleanse my ears" - Sun Chu (218-293) Chinese recluse

by Ren on Fri Apr 13th, 2007 at 03:18:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not sure I totally agree, but I do appreciate alternative views. - especially when well structured.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Apr 13th, 2007 at 03:34:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When you say you don't "totally agree" it sounds like some fits and some doesn't.  I'd be most interested in what doesn't for you.

"I would pillow myself on the stream, for I'd like to cleanse my ears" - Sun Chu (218-293) Chinese recluse
by Ren on Fri Apr 13th, 2007 at 05:27:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would agree that Synarchical tendencies have been present since the graeco-roman origins of W*estern society - which, though largely republican in tendency, produced a plethora of  majesty.

Well before the invention of capital, your average 'cradle of civilization' type of person (covering everybody from Icelanders to Afghanistanis), was in two minds about leadership and democracy. Both seemed good ideas - in  different circumstances. Leadership was important in times of social crisis, democracy was important in what I regard as the most equitable feat of society -which is slow improvement.

Slow improvement is what drives 'positive' societies ie "things are getting better each year" societies. Hope is a powerful tool.

But hope seems to have a multi-generational limit. ie "I will partially sacrifice my life for my children, but not my great-grandchildren - because it is all to unpredictable". The benefits of such an attitude are exmplified by a study of family companies in Europe (and, indeed, of political dynasties)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Apr 13th, 2007 at 06:53:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well before the invention of capital

Sorry to interrupt here, but curious as to when capital was invented? And who invented it?

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford

by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Fri Apr 13th, 2007 at 07:03:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How about Italy, de Medici, circa 1400?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Apr 14th, 2007 at 05:15:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The roots of modern Capital appeared in Mediterranean Europe in the 12th century, as a way of financing long haul sea trade, where a financier would provide capital, in the form of ship and merchandise, in exchange of half the gains of the trip. The concept extended slowly to other forms of long range trade until about the 18th century.

Capital thus has its roots in trade, not industry ; and was a minor aspect of society until the 18th century. By then enriched traders started to invest in land surrounding their cities rather than keep their capital in trading ; and slowly land became considered capital.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat Apr 14th, 2007 at 05:42:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks Sven, good connection with synarchism and the way these folks I refer to use polyarchy.  It's been awhile since I saw that term, so you forced me to do some recollecting.  Always a good thing for me.

I'm not sure if you are trying to put all societies into two general macro categories, or if you are possibly excluding from consideration those that might fall under a category of "people without history."  I'm not sure if I would see the notion of "improvement" being a factor in, say, the Kwakiutl of the Pacific Northwest Coast, as they were during their pre invasion and pre disruption period.  Some of that may have occurred in the form of small pox plagues spread across the continent through trade routes before Vancouver sailed in.  Archaeological evidence indicates they had a long, relatively stable, steady state relationship with their environment, and with their neighboring groups, each with a range of common technological adaptations, though with some different cultural manifestations.

I guess if I were to identify a major feature or in my speculative narrative, it would be the availability of an easily harvestable and relatively inexpensive abundance of energy.  I see it fueling a kind of accelerating momentum that is being managed in concert with a global effort to generate governments that are receptive to neoliberal economics.

I suspect the extreme "synarchistic" tendencies of this current U.S. administration, which is most idealistically embodied in the neocons, will give way, thanks to its monument to ineptitude, the debacle in the Middle East.  But the policies that drive it are, I'd say, non partisan.  The strategic thinker I picked for my diary is not a neocon, for example.  Just a very bright guy, well indoctrinated with the principles of neoliberalism. And he's in a critical place in the upper echelons of government to share in the planning.

"I would pillow myself on the stream, for I'd like to cleanse my ears" - Sun Chu (218-293) Chinese recluse

by Ren on Fri Apr 13th, 2007 at 08:54:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The 1790's... Japan was in more or less the middle of two centuries of "peace and prosperity", for example. How that era was exactly ended? But anyway, I do not imply that Japan had to be left isolated for all the time. But there is something symbolic with the particular way.

I do not claim that the US were setting violence standards right from 1790's. But it is setting violence standards since the end of WWII. And yes, in the 1790's violence standards were set by the "paragon" Europe. Is this pattern paradoxical, or a rule?

Evil can evolve together with good progress. If the most powerful cannot control their basic impulses, what do you have to expect from less favoured?

As for Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Polpot... If Saddam Hussein was in the same league, what to say about current Iraqi chaos? Where to rank Saudi, Turkmenistani, Zimbabwe, Somali regimes? Eridicating worst dictators is not exactly a priority of the US.

by das monde on Thu Apr 12th, 2007 at 08:56:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The 1790's... Japan was in more or less the middle of two centuries of "peace and prosperity", for example. How that era was exactly ended? But anyway, I do not imply that Japan had to be left isolated for all the time. But there is something symbolic with the particular way.
Interesting, are you saying that we "taught" them to be a violent nation.

It is interesting about what ifs. I recently watched 2009 (Korean Sci-fi).

I do not claim that the US were setting violence standards right from 1790's. But it is setting violence standards since the end of WWII. And yes, in the 1790's violence standards were set by the "paragon" Europe. Is this pattern paradoxical, or a rule?
I know that he was a great man, but it just shows the navel gazing of the USA. How many did Mao kill during the 50s and 60s?

Evil can evolve together with good progress. If the most powerful cannot control their basic impulses, what do you have to expect from less favoured?
And you do realize that there were other powerful nations then as well as now. I would say our basic impulses actually is isolationism.

As for Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Polpot... If Saddam Hussein was in the same league, what to say about current Iraqi chaos? Where to rank Saudi, Turkmenistani, Zimbabwe, Somali regimes? Eradicating worst dictators is not exactly a priority of the US.
That seems good that our present day killers have less ability to destroy more lives. And I can agree that we do not necessarily judge our actions only by who is worse. Of course I wouldn't mind that Mugabe was removed by any means necessary.

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford

by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Fri Apr 13th, 2007 at 12:22:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japanese did not have to be taught violence. But wrong impulses were awaken or assisted.

The communists did broke new ground in violence "exploiration". Some aspects were clearly over the top - few would gladly repeat them knowingly. The standard of US is more dangerous - the example still associates with success somehow.

Hitler, Stalin, Mao & Co touched the high scale standard most emphatically. There is much correlation between them, but little causual influence. Their "unsound methods" have common roots in ancient militant and conspiracy habits. Killing 10-30% of population to achieve your pitty goal was not unheard in history - but that percentage meant millions in the 20th century.

A sad side of "American" standard is the "Carthago delenda est" attitude: shoot first ask later, carpet bombings (and atomic bombings, one can add)... Prolonging a bloody war just for political or carreer purposes is quite a cunning standard:

In the autumn of 1968, [Kissinger] used his contacts with the Johnson administration to tip-off the Nixon camp about an anticipated breakthrough in the Paris talks, which Nixon feared could cost him the campaign.

What US did in the Middle East the last 50 years is far from isolationism. It is more like thoughtless interventionism of imperialist "tradition" - you go there whenever you "need". It is no shocking proposition that current American problems in the Middle East are largely of its own prior making. Violence has plenty of unintended consequences, even if obvious.

The bright side of my point is this: when you are most powerful, you are actually most able to act morally as you wish, even most able to compell others to act ethically. If you the strongest cannot be as good as you want, who can?

by das monde on Fri Apr 13th, 2007 at 03:29:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for your honest discussion about these issues.

Japanese did not have to be taught violence. But wrong impulses were awaken or assisted.
And what happened after WWII? If we awakened violence in our opening trade, what did the USA do to pacify and create a liberal democracy? So is the world better or worse for creating a peaceful productive nation internally as well as externally?

Hitler, Stalin, Mao & Co touched the high scale standard most emphatically. There is much correlation between them, but little causual influence. Their "unsound methods" have common roots in ancient militant and conspiracy habits. Killing 10-30% of population to achieve your pitty goal was not unheard in history - but that percentage meant millions in the 20th century.
Yes, some good points. Although I would say it derives from Marxist/Communist ideas. I do want to ask about causual? Do you mean casual or causal?

What US did in the Middle East the last 50 years is far from isolationism. It is more like thoughtless interventionism of imperialist "tradition" - you go there whenever you "need". It is no shocking proposition that current American problems in the Middle East are largely of its own prior making. Violence has plenty of unintended consequences, even if obvious.
True, enough that the USA are not isolationist in the last 50 years. I don't agree that it is American problems though. Not any more than the French, Russians, and Chinese. The USA is just the easiest target as the Great Satan.

The bright side of my point is this: when you are most powerful, you are actually most able to act morally as you wish, even most able to compel others to act ethically. If you the strongest cannot be as good as you want, who can?
Do not forget that the USA is not omnipotent or a godlike power. Is it as much as the USA wishes or the rest of the worlds standards?

And how do you rectify asymmetrical wars? Like a caribou that is bitten by Mosquitoes. What can it do?

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford

by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Fri Apr 13th, 2007 at 01:32:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's the name of the town in the Marine anthem??

Tripoli. Not exactly North America...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2007 at 09:00:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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