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Wed Apr 11, 2012, 11:39 AM

Why do people find it necessary to defend/excuse/deny US imperialism?

I get the impression that there exists a certain segment of the left which spends an excessive amount of time complaining that there is another (allegedly substantial) segment of the left which unfairly criticizes US imperialism, and does so because of anti-Americanism, Stalinism or sympathy with dictators who happen to oppose the US.

I think it is pretty safe to say that, to paraphrase Noam Chomsky, governments are not moral agents and in particularly the United States has a foreign policy that classifies it as a "terrorist rouge state" (actual quote). There is plenty of evidence for this and one does not have to hold some personal grudge against American citizens to come to such a conclusion. In fact, American citizens are overall quite powerless and themselves victims of this.

Administrations of the past and present have repeatedly admitted that US foreign policy is driven by self-interest, such being access to resources, access to markets and preservation of power. Humanitarian causes may sometimes be used as a pretense to achieve these ends, and true enough, sometimes there are beneficiaries of US foreign policy (in particular when the US intervenes in a civil war on behalf of one side), but that does not change the fact that the US does not and has never pursued any form of moral agenda that exists independent of self-interest.

If the United States government had any interest in humanitarian causes based on principle, it would first and foremost stop supporting dictatorial governments. This would be the cheapest and most effective non-violent way to further humanitarianism.

I fail to see how complaining that "some people always blame America first" is helpful. I also fail to see how some people can look at US foreign policy and come to the conclusion that the United States "in some cases" has an altruistic agenda that does not stem from self-interest.

65 replies, 5183 views

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Reply Why do people find it necessary to defend/excuse/deny US imperialism? (Original post)
redgreenandblue Apr 2012 OP
xchrom Apr 2012 #1
hifiguy Apr 2012 #2
cali Apr 2012 #7
hifiguy Apr 2012 #12
drokhole Apr 2012 #30
white_wolf Apr 2012 #59
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2012 #18
freshwest Apr 2012 #38
el_bryanto Apr 2012 #3
redgreenandblue Apr 2012 #5
el_bryanto Apr 2012 #9
redgreenandblue Apr 2012 #13
el_bryanto Apr 2012 #16
redgreenandblue Apr 2012 #19
el_bryanto Apr 2012 #22
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2012 #28
larkrake Apr 2012 #24
abelenkpe Apr 2012 #26
aikoaiko Apr 2012 #36
redgreenandblue Apr 2012 #37
aikoaiko Apr 2012 #40
think Apr 2012 #4
cali Apr 2012 #6
redgreenandblue Apr 2012 #10
larkrake Apr 2012 #25
bvar22 Apr 2012 #63
leveymg Apr 2012 #8
ProSense Apr 2012 #11
redgreenandblue Apr 2012 #14
ProSense Apr 2012 #15
redgreenandblue Apr 2012 #17
leveymg Apr 2012 #27
ProSense Apr 2012 #29
leveymg Apr 2012 #52
ieoeja Apr 2012 #43
leveymg Apr 2012 #51
ieoeja Apr 2012 #54
leveymg Apr 2012 #56
redgreenandblue Apr 2012 #60
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2012 #20
got root Apr 2012 #21
noiretextatique Apr 2012 #23
independentpiney Apr 2012 #31
cademocr Apr 2012 #32
JEB Apr 2012 #33
whatchamacallit Apr 2012 #34
HopelesslyLiberal Apr 2012 #35
Lydia Leftcoast Apr 2012 #39
bvar22 Apr 2012 #62
obxhead Apr 2012 #41
joshcryer Apr 2012 #42
redgreenandblue Apr 2012 #61
joshcryer Apr 2012 #64
ConservativeDemocrat Apr 2012 #44
redgreenandblue Apr 2012 #48
ConservativeDemocrat Apr 2012 #55
joshcryer Apr 2012 #53
redgreenandblue Apr 2012 #65
Dont call me Shirley Apr 2012 #45
Javaman Apr 2012 #46
Uncle Joe Apr 2012 #47
redgreenandblue Apr 2012 #49
Uncle Joe Apr 2012 #50
stevenleser Apr 2012 #57
eridani Apr 2012 #58

Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 11:41 AM

1. du rec. nt

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 11:44 AM

2. Those who criticize the critics of imperialism

are unable to transcend the received "truths" of their indoctrination. I've recently been reading Chomsky, and that explanation, which he expounds upon at some length, seems eminently sensible. If you can't take the blinders off you will never see the world as it is, and in a country where the range of acceptable thought is so carefully controlled and circumscribed by the media it takes a real effort to tear down the wall.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #2)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 11:54 AM

7. LOL!

I'm fairly sure you don't see the irony in your post. It is just so delicious. Love it.

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Response to cali (Reply #7)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:00 PM

12. What?

My blinders started coming off when I began listening to the BBC and CBC a few years ago. Hardly radical outlets, but ones that provide a much different and broader view of events in the world than one gets from any media in the US. That lead to my reading a far broader spectrum of books than I previously had. Once the window is opened the fresh air starts coming in.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #12)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:49 PM

30. You might enjoy this book...



http://www.amazon.com/Madness-Gates-City-American-Innocence/dp/1587901730

In the vein of Chomsky, but from an incredibly unique perspective. It's relatively new (released less than 2 years ago), and, unfortunately, hasn't garnered the attention it deserves.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #12)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 03:06 AM

59. I'm confused as well.

It seems like the person you are replying to with this post is wearing blinders. The blinders of American Exceptionalism and Imperialism. Oh, and if you like Chomsky you need to try Howard Zinn.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #2)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:11 PM

18. Read Zinn

Yiu will enjoy it.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #18)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 01:43 PM

38. Yes, American imperialism was in place long before Marx and ideology named it.

The country was founded on the principle of conquest.
Just like every country, if one digs back far enough.

If one refuses to accept that, there's always the occult or mythological pattern, to justify oneself. Those who claim the right to Earth's land and bounty were given them by God/whatever, call themselves aborigines, the original owners, the ones with the long lineages.

But at least most aborigines had/have the greater wisdom to acknowledge they were/are only passing through, and to leave enough Nature for future generations. We are merely passing through here, too.

If we want to lay the responsibility on a God/gods, consider that someone or something may have been displaced in setting up the Garden of Eden. We can't escape what we are, only attempt to be humane in the best sense of the word.

There are no mysteries anymore. IMHO.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 11:46 AM

3. Ah - well perhaps they see things different than you

To paraphrase, it seems that you believe that an honest person looking at american history, particularly recent American history would come to the conclusion that we are a "terrorist rogue state." Presumably someone who looks at our history and comes up with a different conclusion is wrong for some reason.

How obvious is US Criminality? Why do people who disagree with you and Comsky's assessment get it wrong?

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #3)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 11:48 AM

5. In Latin America and the Middle East I think it is pretty obvious.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #5)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 11:58 AM

9. Again that begs the question

Why don't people accept that America is a Terrorist Rogue nation?

There are five explanations I've found for why people might not accept something that is patently obvious.

1. They are uninformed - they haven't seen the evidence
2. They are stupid - they have seen the evidence but can't process what it means correctly.
3. They are crazy - they have seen the evidence but their minds process it in crazy ways.
4. They are corrupt - they have seen the evidence, know what it means, but choose to believe or say they believe something else due to monetary or political gain.
5. They see things differently than you - which is tricky, I admit, but throwing it in there.

Which do you think describes, say President Obama, who almost certainly wouldn't describe America as a Terrorist Rogue Nation?

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #9)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:01 PM

13. I think with Obama its complicated.

He has to work within the system. That creates limits to what he can say or do.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #13)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:09 PM

16. So essentially corrupt - perhaps an understandable corruption

given his situation, but he knows we are a rogue terrorist nation but chooses not to say so, because it would hurt his political chances.

What about other people on this board who disagree with you?

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #16)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:12 PM

19. Probably they see things differently.

I'd be happy to read their assessment.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #19)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:22 PM

22. In this matter I would guess that it's a matter of degree

There's no question that both Obama and Bush have done some terribly illegal and immoral things (I would say Bush's record is worse, but Obama's bugs me more because I expected better of him). But does that drag us to the status of a Rogue Terrorist Nation - I would say that our record is more mixed than that.

But of course there is an element of Corruption in my response as well; I know that if we start telling the American people that the United States is a Rogue Terrorist nation the response won't be "You're right; we'd better change our ways." The response will more likely be "Fuck you. America is Great." People want to believe that people giving the political advice have their best interest in heart, and when you start with that negative an assessment of America, it's hard to necessarily believe that.

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #22)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:39 PM

28. Actually empire is independent of party or ideology

We have been at it, since 1898.

Since 1945 we really went at it, becoming a fight with a second one and plenty of proxy wars.

A unipolar world emerged from it.

Now a multipolar one s emerging challenging us and we are pretty much a shell, like all other empires before us. What is more, for the same reasons. It's like Empires buy their own press of being outside of history Unlike all other empires, we have been culturally reluctant, why so many peope refuse to even see it...it's also almost in mother's milk.

Alas like all others we were selected by God and are exceptional.

You know when it's so clear you can't deny it...and our press does not cover it, when POTUS, regardless of party, visits another country. I was in Mexico City when Obama did...USA I got to see Marine One. (Was that Marine One or a decoy bird?)


You know somebody incredibly powerful is in town when sections of town are closed down with varying layers of security, closing down major avenues and a whole neighborhood.

Did I mention the closure of airspace for an hour and absolutely no photos enforced by both Mexican and American security at the airport? I mean the MP-5 were out.

That is when it is obvious even to those who don't want to see.

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #16)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:32 PM

24. He doesn't say it because he will be impeached by the radical "patriots"

and many many of his followers are among the blind

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #13)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:36 PM

26. He has to work within the system

It's true. You want to change the system? You have to do it from the inside. That's why it's important for people to research those they vote for at every level of government. Real Democrats, liberals and progressives are getting their ass kicked at the local and congressional level. We need to replace blue dogs with real liberals, vote in real progressives, etc etc etc. Sadly I see no organized effort to do this as we concentrate on just the presidential election. But what good will it do if we re-elect Obama and congress and state governments are still dominated by republicans?

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #13)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 01:12 PM

36. Why do you find it necessary to defend/excuse/deny the leader of US imperialism?


If you can answer that question then you can answer your own in the op.

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #36)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 01:25 PM

37. Touche.

I just like the guy

But hey: Obama is not the sole leader of the US. He is only one figure and whether he is the most powerful is questionable.

Putting Obama in the white house was a brilliant move. He is so damn likable, I'd like him if he was stealing my lunch...

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #37)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 02:04 PM

40. You're gracious.


But I think your answer to my post does provide foundation for the answer to your OP. I think many people who have difficulty accepting America imperialism just like America too darn much.

Plus it is so easy for someone to be manipulative with any criticism of American foreign policy in the pursuit of political gain.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 11:46 AM

4. eloquently put.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 11:52 AM

6. Impressions don't really mean very much.

and I'm sure Chomsky never said that the U.S. has gone rogue with rouge. (I know, it just a typo, but I couldn't resist)

I'm sorry but I find your op simplistic to an alarming point. Virtually all states operate, to a large degree, out of self-interest, and I don't mean to shock you, but virtually all organisms do the the same.

Governments are not, by their very nature, altruistic. They are not, as you point out via Chomsky, moral agents.

This is hardly breaking news.

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Response to cali (Reply #6)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 11:59 AM

10. So what would be a less simplistic assessment?

I never denied that other states don't operate in a similar way. It is the scope of power that makes the difference.

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Response to cali (Reply #6)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:34 PM

25. Bush did go rogue, in war, in torture, in taking our rights away

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Response to cali (Reply #6)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:59 AM

63. Many governments and countries live comfortably within their borders,

.....and focus their efforts on the welfare of their citizens.
If that is not "altruistic", it is pretty close to it.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 11:55 AM

8. It's a bad habit leftover from McCarthyism. "You're either with us or against us" thinking.

But, they keep feeding us stuff way past their expiration date:



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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:00 PM

11. Fascinating

Administrations of the past and present have repeatedly admitted that US foreign policy is driven by self-interest, such being access to resources, access to markets and preservation of power. Humanitarian causes may sometimes be used as a pretense to achieve these ends, and true enough, sometimes there are beneficiaries of US foreign policy (in particular when the US intervenes in a civil war on behalf of one side), but that does not change the fact that the US does not and has never pursued any form of moral agenda that exists independent of self-interest.

If the United States government had any interest in humanitarian causes based on principle, it would first and foremost stop supporting dictatorial governments.
This would be the cheapest and most effective non-violent way to further humanitarianism.

Does this mean that what Clinton did in terms of Rwanda and Iraq illustrated the "most effective non-violent way to further humanitarianism"? Certainly Chomsky criticized Clinton on both scores, for failing to intervene in Rwanda and for the devastating humanitarian crisis caused by the Iraq sanctions.



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Response to ProSense (Reply #11)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:04 PM

14. Imposing sanctions is a step beyond ceasing to support someone.

One could have not sold weapons to Saddam in the first place.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #14)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:05 PM

15. Well,

Imposing sanctions is a step beyond ceasing to support someone.

One could have not sold weapons to Saddam in the first place.

...that's certainly a simplistic response (and I should add that it doesn't remotely address Chomsky's criticism). Have one for Rwanda?

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Response to ProSense (Reply #15)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:11 PM

17. What is wrong with the response?

To be honest, I have not studied Rwanda in detail.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #11)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:39 PM

27. Only goes to prove: sometimes, even in spite of ourselves, we do the right thing.

But, in the case of Rwanda for no good reason we waited until after a million or more people died; and, don't get me started about Iraq. I can't really think of anything what we did in Iraq since 1958 can be characterized as morally redeemable.

And, contrary to what the OP said, I don't recall a single civil war in which we intervened on one side since 1945 where the outcome was anything more than to increase the casualties and human suffering. Certainly not in Latin America, Africa, or Asia, anyway. Intervention usually didn't end up being in America's interest, either.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #27)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:43 PM

29. I missing

Only goes to prove: sometimes, even in spite of ourselves, we do the right thing.

But, in the case of Rwanda for no good reason we waited until after a million or more people died; and, don't get me started about Iraq. I can't really think of anything what we did in Iraq since 1958 can be characterized as morally redeemable.

...what the right thing was in either case?


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Response to ProSense (Reply #29)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 03:27 PM

52. The right thing delayed, as in Rwanda, is the wrong thing to do. Iraq,we never did the right thing

until we left last year. But, we're still there, guarded by Blackwater inside the giant penitentiary Halliburton constructed, so I'll take that part back.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #27)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 02:27 PM

43. Korea, Vietnam, Yemen and Kosovo.


Korea - do you deny that South Koreans are far better off than they would have been under Kim rule?

Vietnam - Thailand was saved from a huge civil war because we kept the Soviets occupied in Vietnam. We could have certainly handled it better. The Navy/Marines, with over 100 years fighting and winning guerilla wars, knew to let the South Vietnamese bear the brunt of the war. Unfortunately, the Army/Air Force convinced LBJ they could win the war faster themselves.

Yemen - we stopped a Civil War in its tracks without having to fire a shot. Okay, that isn't fair as we probably had a lot to do with it starting in the first place.

Kosovo - we stopped the ethnic cleansing.

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Response to ieoeja (Reply #43)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 03:18 PM

51. I almost didn't include Asia, but Vietnam was such a clusterfuck.

Korea was a draw, and we did not have to get into a war with China in the process. Yemen, as you said, was a conflict we had a lot to do with creating. Bosnia and Kosovo aren't in Latin America, Africa or Asia.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #51)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 04:02 PM

54. I would say Korea was more than a draw though less than a victory.


In a diplomatic sense it was a huge victory. It was the first serious test of the United Nations. The war could have easily led to the end of the United Nations. It did not. But that is getting pretty far afield.


US/UN policy was solely to defend the South. It was never re-unification by military might. Did Truman consider it? Certainly. But the facts are that (1) MacArthur was not authorized to launch a counteroffensive north of the border, and (2) once MacArthur was out of the way, the US/UN made no attempt to take North Korea. The remainder of the war, for our part, was very clearly fought to retain the South's independance. Though it is possible we did that only because China had entered the war.

As to getting into a limited war with China in the first place, that was again solely a MacArthur goal. It was never US/UN policy.

So for MacArthur it may have been a draw. But for the US it was pretty much a victory.


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Response to ieoeja (Reply #54)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 05:46 PM

56. Ok. Izzy Stone would probably disagree with the "sole policy" bit, but compared to most of

the many U.S. "police actions" and "peacekeeping" that followed, Korea was morally virtuous with a relatively constructive outcome for the beneficiary of our interest. That still leaves the morality score for US interventions something like 1 to 78. Okay - maybe its more like 5 to 73. But, we have a lot of ground to make up in the final inning of the World's Most Exceptional Empire Series.

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Response to ieoeja (Reply #43)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 04:40 AM

60. hmm

There are scholars who claim that the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo was escalated by the intervention and that furthermore the approach of the West neglected that neither the Croatians nor the Albanians were innocent parties in this conflict.

Vietnam? Well, there are mixed opinions on that, to say the least...

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:15 PM

20. Empires, especially those in decline,

Become very defensive.

That said, part of our cultural indoctrination is that we are exceptional and not an empre. Cue laugh tract. All empires are exceptional, just ask them.

But Americans are members of a culturally reluctanct empire.

Having grown outside the US...well it's much easier to see it. For the record, all nations have myths, ours happen to no longer be adaptive.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:16 PM

21. They don't want to feel guilt or shame

 

The others are syncophants for various reasons usually $$$

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:30 PM

23. if we would stop supporting dictators

we would have to give up our imperative to control others, and make their lives miserable, to further our own interests. american has long been the world's selfish, spoiled teenager, and it is long past time that we grow up and put manifest destiny to rest.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:57 PM

31. Because they benefit from it in the short term

It's the same as white progressives who deny/excuse/defend the existence of white privilege.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 01:03 PM

32. Lots to look at

 

This site has come a long way .. it used to kick you off if you said anything.
That didn't go with the popular??? not sure what that was?
but censorship.. is lame.

My Brother used to get kicked off all the time..
And you know I don't know if he really did. He was pretty far Right.

anyway I think being a good Person "American" includes talking about things maybe the government or the other side doesn't want to hear?


Cali the mostly dem
but if I can't go along with a Republican if they are right.. which in my view isn't to often I am trapped in a little place.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 01:06 PM

33. Willful Ignorance...

the life blood of the GOP.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 01:07 PM

34. Because the emperor is a democrat.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 01:10 PM

35. Fear, perhaps?

 

It's hard to give up the security that that Imperialism appears to give us. Left or Right "Keep us safe!" is a rallying cry that enables the powers that be to limit our freedom more and more.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 01:55 PM

39. Empires don't tell their own people the truth

The Spanish said that they were spreading the "True Faith" to new lands.

The Brits said that they undertaking "the white man's burden" to bring "civilization" to the "benighted" dark-skinned people of the world.

The Japanese said that they were freeing Asia from colonialism and creating a "Great East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere."

The Germans said that they needed "Lebensraum" (space to live in) and to rid the world of "inferior" peoples

The Soviets said that they were liberating people from "capitalist slavery."

The U.S. says that it's bringing "freedom and democracy" to the world, especially when it isn't.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #39)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:54 AM

62. ^ Nailed It ^

DURec for post #39 by Lydia Leftcoast.

Please allow me to repeat it.
"Empires don't tell their own people the truth

The Spanish said that they were spreading the "True Faith" to new lands.

The Brits said that they undertaking "the white man's burden" to bring "civilization" to the "benighted" dark-skinned people of the world.

The Japanese said that they were freeing Asia from colonialism and creating a "Great East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere."

The Germans said that they needed "Lebensraum" (space to live in) and to rid the world of "inferior" peoples

The Soviets said that they were liberating people from "capitalist slavery."

The U.S. says that it's bringing "freedom and democracy" to the world, especially when it isn't."


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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 02:09 PM

41. Just wait for a change in party in the White House.

Many of the things that were completely unacceptable 4 years ago are ardently defended today.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 02:19 PM

42. Not really, it's more that imperialism is used as kind of a "Two Minutes Hate."

An Emmanuel Goldstein, if you will. If commentary cannot be more substantiative than "the US has its own interests at heart and therefore I am against it" then it doesn't merit discussion. Of course the US, and all countries for that matter, has its own interests in mind when it does anything. That is rudimentary civics.

But you point it out that other countries, China, Russia, etc, have their own interests, it somehow takes a backseat to the fact that the US has interests. And the underlying conflict being discussed is basically dismissed or diminished by supposed well-meaning progressives. It doesn't matter if the US's motives aren't altruistic (they never are, ever), it matters what the people involved in the conflict want and what moral and ethical position you will take that recognizes those people.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #42)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 04:42 AM

61. China and Russia

are probably the only two countries that come anywhere near being in the same league. And you don't see many people defending the actions of those countries.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #61)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:47 AM

64. Yes I do.

How many people chastised them over Burma?

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 02:40 PM

44. Maybe for the same reason many Republicans deny birtherism...

...sometimes there's just too much crazy for people to stomach.


And that point comes for most Democrats when dealing with people who:

1] Don't acknowledge real world considerations, and that in international diplomacy, choices are rarely between bad and good, they're often between bad and worse

2] Fail to acknowledge striking differences in foreign policy between Democratic and Republican presidents

3] Pretend that their opinions are the True Will Of The People(tm) as opposed to simply being deeply unpopular, and that the public is "powerless" and are "victims" when they vote and reelect bad (warmongering) candidates, like Bush

4] Whose only consistency on the intervention/non-intervention debate is "what position can I use to reinforce my reflexive hatred of the US?"

5] Imagines that any nation anywhere has a moral obligation to pursue policies (and risk the lives of its soldiers) in direct conflict with the interests of its people, and uses this absurd standard to criticize the US.


As homework, you should answer the following:

1] In WW2, the US "supported the dictatorial government" of the USSR. Stalin had through his various pogroms killed millions of his own people, including multiple purges of his own communist hierarchy. We did so out of an agenda that clearly "stemmed from self-interest". Is this just another example of terrible US imperialism?

2] Rwanda was a sovereign nation we intervened in. Yet the criticism is that we did this more slowly than we should have. How does lack of action constitute US Imperialism?

3] Are there other sovereign governments in the world whose internal politics and societal mores are such that a lack of US intervention constitutes US Imperialism? Are we imperialistically responsible for "honor killings" of women in Islamic countries? Conversely, would putting pressure on governments to outlaw such practices be just another example of US Imperialism (cultural or not)?

4] The word "terrorist", refers to what the Geneva Conventions call "unprotected belligerents" - essentially people who engage in acts of war disguised as civilians (and/or who deliberately target civilians - according to the conventions, killing civilians as a side effect of attacking a legitimate military target is not targeting them, again see WW2 as an example). The word "rogue" refers to non-acceptance by an established international power structure. So even given Chomsky's emotional "America is a bad bad poopy-head" argument, please explain why you believe the U.S. is deliberately targets non-combatants as a policy, and which world powers are really in control that we're roguishly defying.

5] Do you believe the killing of Osama bin Laden was an example of US Imperialism or "terrorism"? Do you believe President Obama should be (in a perfectly moral world) prosecuted for giving the order to capture and/or kill him?

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Response to ConservativeDemocrat (Reply #44)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 02:59 PM

48. That will take some time thinking about.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #48)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 04:50 PM

55. I am more than willing to acknowledge that the U.S. has failed to live up to its standards...

...and international ones as well, at times. As a forthrightly partisan Democrat however, I assert that most (not all, but most) of these moral failures happened when Republicans were in charge. Further, the best way to prevent such things from happening in the future is not to engage in rote alienation and attacks on the U.S., but constructive engagement with leaders and the American people about better ways of doing things. Along with acknowledgement that sometimes there simply is no pure, moral, choice - so no matter what is done, someone will have reason to criticize.

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Response to ConservativeDemocrat (Reply #44)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 03:32 PM

53. The USSR played both Germany and the US. See: Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov–Ribbentrop_Pact

It was far more beneficial to the USSR to play with Germany than the US.

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Response to ConservativeDemocrat (Reply #44)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 03:54 AM

65. To get back to your questions:

1) The second World War hardly compares to anything that happened later. There was to my knowledge never any support for Stalin that went beyond a temporary strategic alliance to stop Hitler. Much different than the support that was given to "strong men" in the Middle East, Africa and South America.

2) The problem with interventions is when they occur on behalf of one party in an ongoing conflict. If you like you can take Rwanda as an example. The genocide against the Tutsi by the Hutu occured as the final escalation of a conflict in which the Tutsi were by no means angels. Similarly the Kroatians and the Albanians in Jugoslavia were not entirely the "innocent victims" they were made out to be. I am not against a UN intervention that does nothing else than enforce a cease fire. Even then they can be problematic when they effectively lead to the strengthening of illegitimate power structures who would have otherwise fallen. What I am definately against is the picking and propping up of favorites. The later constitutes imperialism, the former doesn't necessarily. Foreign nations getting involved in a conflict usually attempt to do the later and claim they are doing the former. I think interventions should generally not be done by armies that are beholden to another nation. I think they are, if anything, the job of UN troops.

3) I'm not sure if I understand this point.

4) US sanctions have definately lead to civilian deaths. Furthermore, the US does target civilians in armed conflicts or accepts collateral damages when backing illegitimate power structures. The latest example is Afghanistan.

5) The legal standards used to be that terrorism is a crime, and thus the civilian laws apply rather than those of warfare. Bush changed this to the "war on terror" paradigm. Unfortunately the Democrats have picked this up as well and the result is an erosion of civil liberties. But to answer your question, no the killing of Osama Bin Laden was not terrorism or imperialism. The precise term would be "extrajudicial execution". And if US presidents were accountable for their actions, the killing of OBL would be the least of Obama's worries. He would likely be present as an accused accomplice in a trial that covered war crimes in Iraq and was directed primarily at Cheney and Bush. In such a trial Obama would have a good chance of getting off on extenuating circumstances.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 02:44 PM

45. This is what is named "The Shadow Government"

The President, Congress, Supreme Court really have no power over this "self-appointed branch" of our government. They operate at their own will forcing the duly elected reperesentatives into following their will. So we can really not blame most Americans; blame goes to the 1/100th of the 1%. They are truly afraid of the 99 movement.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 02:52 PM

46. why? because it helps some people sleep better at night.

and sometimes sleep is all that matters to them.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 02:53 PM

47. Well it's six pages long but I believe the psychological analysis on this thread in the Good Reads

Forum posted by xchrom explains it pretty well.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/101623848

Thanks for the thread, redgreenandblue.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #47)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 03:00 PM

49. Thanks for the link.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #49)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 03:04 PM

50. You're welcome and welcome to D.U.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 05:57 PM

57. Simple, it doesnt meet my definition of Imperialism. nt

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 03:00 AM

58. Blame "America"first? Anytime someone pulls that crap on me, I say

Whatchu mean "America," Kemosabe?

George Bush is not America. The neocons are not America. The corporate ruling elite is not America. "America" is the rest of us poor saps who just live here, and those of us who have any awareness of what is going on do not approve of what their "America" is doing.

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