In Defence (Sorry, Defense) of America

#1
This started as a reply to "Bush Says Surveillance Leak Shameful" thread, but I realised that not only was it tangential, it was also probably largely rubbish, so I've put it here for people's opinions.


Bush Bashing has been by far the best past time of 2005, but I have been meditating on its impact and value, and its causes (apart from the man’s blatant buffoonery, obvious to all except those who think George Bush and Jerry Bruckheimer are the same person) and I’ve decided we should stop mocking the afflicted.

You see, before we start blithely telling inhabitants of a foreign nation what they should and should not think of their 'fascist' governments, I think it may be worth considering exactly who is arguing for what in each case. To me, it often seems like it’s the spams arguing on behalf of their government, and europe arguing against. I don't believe in a great deal, but I do believe in the sanctity of the nation state and that the mandate for the government of those states comes from its population. Ultimately, the Bush Administration will continue to undertake activity that many, especially 'Old' Europe, will noisily disagree with, purely because they are giving the electoral majority of the American people exactly what they want. Who are we to tell them otherwise?

I'm in no way saying I'm not dismayed by some of the happenings over the water, but if they want to set fire to their constitution, let Bill Frist treat their loved ones and teach their schoolkids that Darwin was a gay commie, so be it - it's their country and we don't have to be the lapdog following the twin coattails of their culture and politics if we don't want to be.

I don't buy into the european idea that we're offering support to the sensible majority that have been hoodwinked into living under a republican executive either. The press have been pretty compliant up until now, and I'm not convinced that the NYT has suddenly grasped the torch of freedom and started to dabble in actual 'reporting' - who did Judith Miller Work for again? - they've got their own agenda, and it's not upholding the constitution. At some point we have to realise that for all the 'sensible' europhile yanks we meet at parties, for all the Simpsons episodes and smug parodies like the Daily Show that we chuckle along to, there is a huge nation of people over whom we fly when visiting Rodeo Drive or MGM Studios or the Grand Ole Opry, and most of them care more about safety than they do about nebulous ideas like freedom and democracy. Just like the Iraqis, and just like many of us after 7th July.

Maybe a great deal of this scrutiny and dismay comes from the fact that the US has the might to do as it wants. When the British Empire was going strong, we didn't give a sh1t about what Sardinia thought about us either. I'm not saying that america is right to ignore us, I'm just trying to illustrate the mind set. We are shocked that the yanks could, if they really wanted to, really mess Iraq up, do syria, saudi arabia and Iran and we'd be unable to do anything but write angry blogs about it. That impotence is down to the gaggle of fuckwits that is Europe and the corrupt travesty that is the UN. The US is just doing what nations do, what we'd be doing if we were still Top Dog, it's down to our own failures that no check-and-balance exists for the US - the UN idea didn't exacty sneak up on us.

The american people got what they voted for – they don’t want our opinion. The fact that some US decisions impact directly onto us is down to our failure to engage the political machinery and impose OUR will on OUR government. It was inevitable that such a weakly elected government (and similar ones across the world) would never be able to take our will to the international stage, nor would it be able to drive the thieves from the EU and the UN.

I think that we should consign the yank bashing to 2005 – let them sort their own house out, if they want to. We have bigger fish to fry at home. Come the next Chinese Empire (with perhaps the management of Europe being franchised out to Russia on their behalf) we may be grateful for a strong government and semi-aware UK population.
 
#2
Good post. Europeans should realise that constant criticism of the US is eventually going to lead the US to simply ignore us and/or start having a go back at us.
 
#3
AndyPipkin said:
Good post. Europeans should realise that constant criticism of the US is eventually going to lead the US to simply ignore us and/or start having a go back at us.
Well, they ignore us anyway so I'm not advocating leaving off because we should be scared of them. I just think we should make an effort to be seen as more credible diplomatic force within and without europe, so the feckers can't afford to pooh pooh us.

Never pooh pooh a pooh pooh.

For that to work we need to stop chosing comedy leaders like Blair, Cameron and Br.., Brow..., Bro... That fat clown.
 
#4
AndyPipkin said:
Good post. Europeans should realise that constant criticism of the US is eventually going to lead the US to simply ignore us and/or start having a go back at us.
I thought they didn't give a stuff already? :D

RTFQ is largely right IMHO. Could also transpose some of those points to the multiculture debate on this forum (values and culture etc.).
 
#5
that constant criticism of the US is eventually going to lead the US to simply ignore us and/or start having a go back at us.
It must just be me that thought they started doing that a long time ago.

British Government: We have some ideas and suggestions on how to run post-war Iraq, based on experience and historical precedent.

US Government: la-la-la we're not listening. The composition of Iraq is all your fault anyway , so this is all your fault.

----------------

French Government: We have some doubts on your claims of WMD's (Cos we're so thick with Soddim) we believe you are wrong, and we're not willing to play this time around.

US Government: la-la-la we're not listening , and you're all cheese eating surrender monkeys.
 
#6
Between a semi-religious culture of political brand-loyalty, and the two-horse closed-shop political system what voting choice would the average Joe Spam have that would make a difference to this even if they wanted to?
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#7
Good post RTFQ - concur.

There was a programme by Dan Snow a while back examining the almost reflex Anti-Americanism in this country. For all their probs I'm damn glad they're on OUR side even though I have fewer illusions about any misty-eyed Special Relationship than some folk do ! here's good quote to bear in mind:

I think the term Anglo-American is extremely misleading. It is an elephant and a fly. I mean England has lived with the illusion of having a Special Relationship with the United States, but if you look at what American leaders say privately, it is quite different. So if you look at the declassified internal record you find that advisers to President Kennedy were privately describing England as 'our lootenant - the fashionable word is 'partner'' ' you know. The British are supposed to hear the fashionable word but from the US point of view it is lieutenant. And culturally that 's increasingly the case.Professor Noam Chomsky, MIT 1999
If they want to elect a shaved anthropoid with the lowest measured IQ of any President since Coolidge , well ,Blimey that's their prerogative.......makes me die how people nowadays seem to refer to Ronnie Raygun as a forward-thinking Conservative who largely vanquished the Soviet state....at the time, there was no shortage of Guardianista chatterati slagging the old buffer off as I recall.

I think all this Anti-Yank sentiment is a hangover from the Flower-Power generation ( exemplified by Blair,Beckett, Peter Hain and his like) who s-o-o-o- missed the anti-Vietnam protests that they were delighted to re-enact that whole scene FORTY years on......now if we can only get them to stop shooting up our vehicles....... :lol:




Vive les colons!

Le Chevre
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#8
PartTimePongo said:
British Government: We have some ideas and suggestions on how to run post-war Iraq, based on experience and historical precedent.

US Government: la-la-la we're not listening. The composition of Iraq is all your fault anyway , so this is all your fault.

----------------

French Government: We have some doubts on your claims of WMD's (Cos we're so thick with Soddim) we believe you are wrong, and we're not willing to play this time around.

US Government: la-la-la we're not listening , and you're all cheese eating surrender monkeys.
Hmmm.....this is the MAIN gripe about Telic - where was the plan for post-Saddam ( aka ' garlands of flowers' era ) ?

PTP, I guess you missed this in another thread:

Then as to the war in Iraq, there was a war plan for attacking Iraq. I know this because I spent seven of my last nine years in the Army writing and refining that plan. The military had a plan and it called for a specific number of troops. There even was a plan for Phase IV, Post Conflict Operations because I was responsible for planning it. But these plans didn’t fit into Donald Rumsfeld’s agenda. See, before 9/11 he was drawing up his Defense Transformation plans which would reduce the Army to maybe as few as five divisions while relying on the technology of air delivered precision munitions. According to Rumsfeld we would not need the Army since we would have the technical superiority from the air. So along comes the requirement to remove Saddam. CENTCOM had a plan, but seven Army divisions and two Marine divisions did not fit Rumsfeld’s Transformation strategy; way too many ground troops. So the Axis of Arrogance, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Feith tell CENTCOM to trash the plans as they are outdated and come up with an innovative plan; read that as less ground troops. Well the war to oust Saddam was won by the blood, sweat and tears of Soldiers and Marines on the ground.

Post conflict problems arose immediately when we didn’t have enough troops to provide for security of the Iraqi people, nor for our lines of communication. Then along comes the “insurgency.” Our Pentagon-based hubris and total ignorance of the culture of Iraq caused us to be surprised again and we’ve played catch-up ever since. Since the fall of Baghdad we’ve been in the reactive vice proactive mode. The fundamental problem in Iraq has been lack of adequate ground troops. The fundamental Iraq problem in the Pentagon has been the continued employment of Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Feith (I know latter two are gone or leaving). The war in Iraq has not gone well and is not going well now. Who has been held accountable? This is not what I voted for.
This bloke,BTW, is not some tree-huggin' Libber but a Dixie 'second generation Veteran' who's main gripe is Republican govt reality rather than pre-election hype.



Paraphrase - US Army planners put fwd an outline for what was to happen post-Saddam......Sec Def kicked it into touch because it kept headcount higher than budgeted for ?

hmmmmm.......I would very much like to see this post Ops plan that was rejected....'cos the perspective herabouts is that it never existed.......

( " as few as FIVE Divisions" ! ......doncha just love 'em ! :) )

Le Chevre
 
#9
RTFQ said:
You see, before we start blithely telling inhabitants of a foreign nation what they should and should not think of their 'fascist' governments, I think it may be worth considering exactly who is arguing for what in each case. To me, it often seems like it’s the spams arguing on behalf of their government, and europe arguing against. I don't believe in a great deal, but I do believe in the sanctity of the nation state and that the mandate for the government of those states comes from its population. Ultimately, the Bush Administration will continue to undertake activity that many, especially 'Old' Europe, will noisily disagree with, purely because they are giving the electoral majority of the American people exactly what they want. Who are we to tell them otherwise?
That is a very good question RTFQ, unfortunately, IMHO, there is no simple answer. I suppose it boils down to your take on Globalisation. Perhaps the following article may open up the discussion somewhat? (Yes, it is my own work, but as I have finished this particular course, you are welcome to 'critique' it to your heart's content)

To what extent has the sovereignty of the nation-state been undermined by globalization?

Globalization is a term we hear being bandied about more and more these days – from media headlines to politicians in parliament and even from the average citizen in the street. Globalization, simply put, describes ‘growing global interconnectedness’, this should not be confused with ‘regionalization’ which is increased interconnection between border states (Cochrane and Pain, 2004, p15), such as France, Belgium and Holland for instance, but should be recognised as meaning that an occurrence on one side of the world would have a significant impact on the other. But the term ‘globalization’ means different things to different groups, this essay will examine three of these groups in particular – Globalists, Inter-nationalists and Transformationalists – we will look at how each of these groups define ‘globalization’ and ask, from each group’s perspective, to what extent has the sovereignty of the nation-state been undermined by globalization?

Cochrane & Pain define a nation-state as ‘A state which possesses external, fixed, known, demarcated borders, and possesses an internal uniformity of rule.’ (Cochrane and Pain, 2004, p6). We can see from this definition that the term ‘nation-state’ applies to all ‘westernised’ nations and indeed would apply to the vast majority of countries that exist in the world today. Cochrane & Pain also define sovereignty as ‘A state’s claim to exclusive authority within its boundaries.’ (Cochrane and Pain, 2004, p11). Again we can see that this definition broadly applies to the majority of nations in existence. Keeping these two definitions in mind, this essay will examine if they are still relevant and applicable with regards to the impact, or otherwise, of globalization.

The first group we will look at are the Globalists, who believe that globalization is a significant and all too real phenomenon, that its effects can be felt world-wide and the resulting increase in global interconnections is making national boundaries less important, that it is inevitable that there will ultimately be a single global economy and culture, the result of this would be the disappearance of a nation-states autonomy and sovereignty, to be replaced with a new, dominant, global structure. Positive Globalists see this as a welcome change, with potential to improve quality of life and increase harmony between cultures, in short there is potential benefit for all. Pessimistic Globalists on the other hand, perceive it as hampering diversity and eroding local cultures whilst allowing dominant countries such as the US and Japan to impose their own agenda (Cochrane and Pain, 2004, p22), Western cultures will profit whilst minority cultures are over-looked.

Certainly, the UK and most other western nations today are heavily involved in regional and global institutions, such as the EU and the UN. Transnational connections and flows have developed within virtually all areas of human activity and with the explosive growth of the Internet, within the realm of virtual reality too. Goods, capital, knowledge, ideas and weapons, as well as crime, pollutants, fashions and micro-organisms readily move across national territorial boundaries (McGrew, 2004, p135). There has also been a massive growth in the number of intergovernmental organisations (IGOs), with only 37 in 1909 increasing to almost 300 in 1999. A century ago there were few international summits, today there are in excess of 4000 annually.
‘So extensive is this activity that the Foreign Office has no precise idea of how many international organisations, congresses and summits the British government participates in annually. With the internationalisation of the state, the central origins of government, such as the British Cabinet, can barely monitor the plethora of trans or inter-governmental activity, let alone directly control it.’ (McGrew, 2004, p 138).

‘The growth of suprastate bodies has encouraged such a fragmentation of central government that the British state no longer always appears as a unified actor on the global scene and sometimes fails to project a coherent national interest.’ (McGrew, 2004, p 145/146)

‘UK government has to confront daily the reality that, for the most part, the sources of the illegal drugs trade – although not the demand for the trade – lie well beyond its legal and political jurisdiction. Constructing effective policies to deal with inner-city drugs problems, and their related social consequences, needs more than simply local or national initiatives, it requires co-ordinated international action. In an interconnected world, the distinction between domestic or local, foreign or international begins to lose its relevance. Few aspects of UK public policy can be insulated from the direct or indirect consequences of the actions and decisions of governments, corporations, consumers, citizens’ groups and local communities located in other countries.’ (McGrew, 2004, p131)

It is plain to see therefore, that if the Globalists (positive or pessimistic) are correct in their particular theories then there is little room for agency and the sovereignty of the nation-state has been clearly undermined by the onslaught of globalisation. With boundaries becoming less important, the nation-state loses one of its defining characteristics, and unless the state has ‘exclusive authority within its boundaries’ then sovereignty too becomes less tangible.


Inter-nationalists are more sceptical about the effects of globalization. That there is evidence of a fundamental change is disputed and inter-nationalists would have us believe that any significance of ‘globalisation’ has been exaggerated and is neither new nor unique, that interactions and exchanges have occurred between nations throughout history; the exchange of goods and cultures goes back to early times and in the nineteenth century open trading and liberal economic relations were the norm world wide (Cochrane and Pain, 2004, p23). In particular the growth of the Internet could be said to be less impressive than the similar explosion of global information exchange upon the advent of the telegraph in the 1800s. It is worth noting here that global trade at the end of the 1990s was at the same level as it was a century ago (Kelly and Prokhovnic, 2004, p120).

Inter-nationalists maintain that powerful nations still act out of self-interest, as they have done in the past and power and sovereignty are still essentially regional – no fundamental changes are taking place (however minorities are at risk if the pressure towards globalization is not checked (Kelly, 2004, p31)), therefore the extent to which the sovereignty and autonomy of nation-states has been eroded is minimal at best (Held, 2004, p172).

The transformationalist theory is that globalisation is a complex, diverse and unpredictable process, which certainly has important effects but does not remove the scope of states for independent action. States remain powerful but have to adjust their role in the face of new global corporations etc. (Kelly, 2004, p24). Transformationalists reject the claim by Globalists that globalization is inevitable; whilst agreeing that globalization is an observable phenomenon, they maintain that significant scope remains for states to resist and negotiate controls over them – to transform globalization (Kelly and Prokhovnik, 2004, p105), or even reverse its trends.

The transformationalist theory then, if correct, is simply that globalization has not completely undermined the sovereignty of the nation-state but rather that the unpredictable nature of globalization has resulted in the state redefining these terms. McGrew puts this quite succinctly when he says; ‘the emergence of global politics does not imply the end of the state but, rather, the reconfiguration of state power.’ (McGrew, 2004, p149) and ‘States now use sovereignty less as a legal claim to supreme power than as a bargaining tool’ (McGrew, 2004, p163).

In conclusion, this essay has examined the question of globalization and its effects, or otherwise, on the sovereignty of the nation-state. By studying the three main theories of globalization – Globalists, Inter-nationalists and Transformationalists – we have seen that the question is not as straight forward as it first appears, each of these groups has clear and distinct ideas about the nature of globalization. Nonetheless, all three theories do agree on one thing, and that is there has been an increase of international governance at regional and global levels (Held, 2004, p173). We have examined the Globalists and seen that even within this group, which clearly advocates the phenomenon of globalization, there is dispute and conflicting views over the effects, the Inter-nationalists who claim that ‘globalization’ is merely a 21st century ‘buzz-word’ which attempts to put a new spin on a phenomenon which is clearly not new, and finally the Transormationalists who say that globalization is incredibly complex and unpredictable and that states, whilst still having scope for action, must adjust their roles in the face of globalization. What is clear however is that uncertainty over globalization and its effects on the sovereignty of the nation-state is a common thread that runs through all three theories, and this uncertainty will no doubt continue to fuel the debate for some time.




References:
Cochrane, A. and Pain, K. (2004) ‘A globalizing society?’ in Held, D.(2nd ed) A Globalizing World? Culture, Economics, Politics, London, Routledge/The Open University.

Held, D. (2004) A Globalizing World? Culture, Economics, Politics, 2nd ed. London, Routledge/The Open University.

Kelly, B. (2004) DD100 Workbook 4, London, Routledge/The Open University.

Kelly, B. and Prokhovnic, R. (2004) ‘Economic globalization?’ in Held, D.(2nd ed) A Globalizing World? Culture, Economics, Politics, London, Routledge/The Open University.

McGrew, A. (2004) ‘Power shift: from national government to global governance?’ in Held, D.(2nd ed) A Globalizing World? Culture, Economics, Politics, London, Routledge/The Open University.
(c) Soldier_Why, 2005.
 
#10
As a Spam, I read these posts with interest. RTFQ, your assessments are absolutely correct. Most Americans don't have a clue about UK/Coalition support for Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places. The only thing I would beg to differ with is your view of Americans as caring more about security than freedom or democracy. In spite of our collective ignorance, we realize the security is the prerequiste for freedom and democracy.

Unfortunately, the perception has been created over here that "everybody hates us". The natural reaction, is of course, to tell everyone to feck off. The administration has begun a "public diplomacy" effort to change this, but I'm afraid that this is another example of the US Gov't throwing money at a problem.

I would agree that the right answer for the UK is to build an military capability independent of the US, UN, or EU.
 
#12
yank_eyetie said:
I would agree that the right answer for the UK is to build an military capability independent of the US, UN, or EU.
The only time that will ever happen is if we survive losing the next Big One. By then we'll be bankrupt and bereft of a national identity to rally around. Won't be in our lifetime though, fortunately.
 
#14
While I agree, let’s not forget that us meddling comes the other way, NorAid for example.

The other problem is if America sees itself as a guy who can do what he likes, this could be dangerous to us as well, and therefore it is our concern.
 
#15
i am a conservative, i hate bush. there are two types of conservatives the "paleoconservative" and the neoconservative. the two schools of thought are very very different. bush is rapidly losing what little support he had amongst the paleoconservative.
 
#16
People be appraised of one thing when you consider whether we should or should not criticize the USA. Our criticism of the USA is like sticking a tiny pin in the tail of a brontosaurus and then saying "Take that you brute".

The US population is oblivious to the UK, the things we do, the things we say and most of the products we produce - even if they know of our existence. What they have instead is something we did away with in the sixties and seventies - a strong national identity based upon sound principles and an almost monolithic set of values.

I sometimes feel that we object to the septic contingent because we are somewhat ashamed that we have become a multi-cultural, politically correct hotch-potch nation lacking in a real sense of purpose and constantly obliged to apologise for being top over the past two hundred and fifty years. Let's take the beam out of our own eyes before we start looking for a mote of dust in our transatlantic allies'. FFS, the Americans are grateful for whatever we do and their arrogance is only arrogance because we perceive it as such. It is like criticizing paras for being in your face, when all they think they are doing is expressing their esprit de corps, albeit quite forcefully! Our American allies are full of the confidence that having a national purpose engenders. You may debate whether it is mis-placed but you cannot deny its' sincerity.

As for their crusading nature, well if you have no belief then firmly held beliefs can be quite frightening. Even the soggy liberals are scared of "Islamic fundamentalism". Being exact and true to a set of beliefs does not make you extremist or hard-line by definition. The nature of those beliefs is actually the defining characteristics.

Personally I have always got on well with the Yanks. They are professional, clean, amusing in parts and sometimes intentionally so. They are generous and thoughtful but could probably drink more and to better effect. Franly if it all goes t*ts, it is nice to know that an RCT of Americans with all of their assets "have got your back".

As for the shaved chimp, well if he was really dumb then he would not be President of the USA; no really, however many "puppet-leader" of the MIC theories you embrace it just isn't that easy to climb to the top of the greasy pole.
 
#17
midwesterner said:
i am a conservative, i hate bush. there are two types of conservatives the "paleoconservative" and the neoconservative. the two schools of thought are very very different. bush is rapidly losing what little support he had amongst the paleoconservative.
It's hardly surprising that he's losing support with his actions and deeds.

Now look at Iraq, the current Bush administration policy is not neoconservative - it's traditional wishy-washy liberalism. How much longer will it take the traditional realist (ie your paleoconservative) to wake up and realise that Bush is NOT protecting or advancing your position; he's sold out to the lefties and the (conservative) evangelicals!
 
#18
And, in response to RTFQ's original post.

Well said, but I do enjoy the sport. Don't you?

I know I'm never going to change opinion or perception of the likes of T6 (or the sorely missed neo_com), but I do get the odd chuckle from their 'debating' antics. I saw it like this, T6 clearly doesn't mind the fact that he can now be snooped upon as long as it is positively contributing to national security - which he believes it is. So, why doesn't he come out and argue that point; in the day of the 'global terrorist' a slight erosion of civil liberties is to be expected and accepted.

However, he cannot see that his own Dear Leader is too afraid to come out and make that argument, and thus resorts to covert exploitation of loop-holes and treading very close to the legal barrier. Then, when caught, instead of defending his position - as anyone who truely believes their position is right and honourable would do - he resorts to counter-accusations of un-patriotism!! T6, and the like, then resort to default mode of "you just don't understand" and "the press is simply indulging in an anti-Bush conspiracy for their own gain."

I for one, would stand should to shoulder with T6 and argue that, in the interest of national security, maybe a minor relaxation of civil liberties is warrented in certain specific areas. But he is either too frightened to stand-up and argue his corner, or 'the program' has buried itself so deep into his psyche that commonsense and reason are lost!

Yep, I'm fully aware that US switch is on permanent 'transmit', but who cares when you get a laugh out of the signal!
 
#19
I agree that the US govt must take represent what it considers to be in the US's best interests....not sure that disagreeing that with these policies has to be seen as Spam bashing. I expect Chirac to represent the French interest that doesn't mean that I agree with him nor that I feel that I should not criticise him.

There are many aspects to US aid policy which do not specifically benefit the US e.g the promotion of abstention over condoms in the fight against AIDS in Africa. I am not saying that abstebntion is not an option, clearly it is, but it does not take into account the society in which it is preached and the inequality between the sexes. Frankly how linking the money spent in US aid to not teaching about condoms becasue of the 'Christian' mores of the president is of benefit to the US is not clear to me and I feel wholly entitled to criticise it. I shall continue to do so in 2006.
 
#20
What I see and hear of the US is filtered (or distorted, take your pick) through the media. Apart from what I read in the papers or see via the cathode ray tube I know nothing about the American people other than my sister-in-law, who frankly is weird. As a statistician would say, this is not a sufficiently robust sample from which to draw conclusions.

Someone in a position of such ignorance – and I suspect that describes a great many of us – cannot seriously criticise ‘the Yanks’. Fair enough we can join in the banter and pish taking based on our national stereotypes, but that’s all it is – banter. Good fun all the same.

What we can do though, is form an opinion on the US government’s foreign policy. The fact that it affects so many aspects of life in the UK and elsewhere gives us that right. (Not that our opinion makes a scrap of difference; it’s like Mr. Burns trying to happy-slap a hippo).

RTFQ has it right;

RTFQ said:
The american people got what they voted for – they don’t want our opinion.
Indeed. I've never been to America and never will, so I think that what they do within their borders is their business and none of mine. I just wish that there weren't so many people in the UK falling over themselves in an attempt to copy/import the US culture.
 

Similar threads

Latest Threads

Top