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Default Ahmadinejad at Columbia University

September 27th, 2007, 20:30
Originally Posted by Squeek View Post
Rude is rude, and we all know itís not nice. But let's remember who we're talking about first.

Ahmedinejad isn't a friend, neighbor or acquaintance. He's the president of Iran and should be expected to be available to discuss his actions and those of his country. Ahmedinejad can reasonably expect to receive courtesy, but not from everyone. I know I wouldn't be very nice to him if I met him on the street. Frankly, he has a lot of explaining to do, and at times that will be demanded of him. If he doesn't like it, that's just too bad. It's part of his job.

Bollinger isn't a representative of government. He's the president of an Ivy League university — one of the premier learning institutions in the world. Thinking is the point there. Not children's thinking, the way they think in prison, or the disingenuous repartee that dominates the Middle East — the kind of thinking we all understand, the kind that requires availability and courage.
I wouldnt be nice to him either. What little I know of his world view seems incompatible with reason and decency. But I am not the representative of an organization that invited him.

Well, the prudent thing would have been to treat him curtly and prepare questions that he would have a hard time answering, something that should be doable for Ivy league minds on issues such as the existance of homosexuals or the treatment of minorities in Iran, making a fool out of him in the debate. And if you want to use less than flattering terms to introduce him, at least make sure they are factually correct. Or at the very least just issue a public statement saying that you as a person dont want to deal with such scum, and let someone else introduce the "dear guest".
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September 27th, 2007, 20:35
Originally Posted by Zaleukos View Post
As far as I know the council isnt in synch with Ahmadinejad. IIRC they kept rejecting his ministerial candidates for about six months, trouble that Rafsanjani wouldnt have had. But their disagreements are probably more on domestic policy matters, since the clerics are the establishment that effectively control the oil revenue and thus in part were targets of his populist election campaign. The clerics are probably as interested in getting nukes, and as unfriendly towards the west, as Ahmadinejad, but I dont think that is enough for them to want to keep him when they can have one of their own on the post instead.
This assuming they can find one of their own who can keep those very volatile young men fuming in the right direction. Rafsanjani isn't it, whoever it is.

And I was referring to the Iranian intelligence service. If it is as independent as the Pakistanian one I doubt it can be used as a constructive force
I doubt *any* intelligence service can be used as a constructive force. I'm not very familiar with the intelligence services in Iran, either, but if they're at all like the ones in Arab countries they'll operate more like semi-independent mafias than organs of central power — and they will have a vested interest in keeping the system going.
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September 28th, 2007, 08:54
Sorry to be so long in reply Prime J—been away from the machine. I'm not going to get quite so surgical this time.
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Ah, I see. So you were actually commenting on the way the American public hasbeen manipulated into conflating A and b-L, and therefore experience the same emotional reaction from either of them visiting Ground Zero?
Pretty much yes, that was indeed what I was trying to say in my somewhat fluffy way—in the group mind, the fear and the anger do not discriminate well between bin-Laden and the individual countries where his followers are abetted and recruited, and this then extends to their leaders.

But it wouldn't be, if you'd just bother getting a tiny bit educated on the people you're actually up against. *That's* my problem with you here.
Valid, more later.

Oh, he certainly doesn't love your country — quite the contrary. But I do have a feeling he bears little ill will towards you as a people. I'm sure he'd welcome you with open arms if you decided to convert to Shi'ite Islam.
In return, I don't think I bear any ill will toward his country's people, at least those ones who would not actually shoot at me or try to blow me up—and they need not become agnostic pagans, either.

How could I, if it's unconscious?
The same way I was supposed to, by having it illuminated for me in the light of another's wisdom.

Not exactly, but I would like it if you managed to get halfway to the level of awareness of the external world that most other civilized countries have attained….
Point being — I believe that most (almost all) of the lethal damage America has inflicted on the world is due to simple ignorance rather than malice. What drives me up the wall is that *still* — six years into the "Global War on Terror" — so very few of you, general public, media, and leadership included, are the least bit interested in educating yourself. That's not just dumb, it's derelict.
And believe me, there you *are* behind the rest of the world, badly.
I actually find this to be one of the most valuable and insightful comments you've made, Prime J. It disturbs me too, the refusal to look beneath the surface of the information pablum we're fed, and the —lack of interest, I guess, in world events beyond a short span where they are sensationalized in the media for our entertainment. Why is this??

Well, obviously, there's just the slackness associated with everything being too easy and affluent— the "throw enough money at it and you'll eventually make it work" mindset we got to see with Katrina and FEMA. Big government is getting paid through the medium of our taxes to take care of all this so none of us has to worry about it.

Then there's the cultural distraction of materialism and personal centricity that drives people to work longer and longer hours to have more and more stuff and spend less and less time actually living and thinking.

But there is something I think more visceral than this. I can't speak for others, of course, but when I look at my own reasons for this withdrawal from all serious and sustained effort to understand the forces at work in world affairs, it's very vaguely defined and at more of an instinctual level. I think that some of it at least is the remnants of a strong atavistic streak of traditional and mostly unconscious isolationism.

I dimly remember learning in school that the U.S. was a fundamentally isolationist country at one time and wikipedia backs up my failing memory with this quote:

George Washington warned Americans not to "entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition"[1] Tom Barry, who is a Senior Analyst at the Interhemispheric Resource Center, states that this was also the view held by most of America's founding fathers[2] and until the end of the nineteenth century, the U.S. generally turned a blind eye on matters elsewhere in the world. Following World War I, the United States population again turned to isolationism during the 1920s, opposing any action by the government that would drag the country into another European war. This non-interventionist tendency led to the imposition of tariffs. For the most part, American military isolationism came to an end during World War II, particularly following the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor in December of 1941…
So while the government may pursue the policies of imperium under the guise of standing in loco parentis to the less developed countries whose resources they desire, this current batch of capitalistic imperialism which elements in our government have always had, but which now seems more prevalent, more profiteering and mercenary (if that's possible) just feels wrong. Misplaced, threatening and out of my hands. So I turn my face away from what I can't control and say this is not what my country is about, I don't want to identify with it. If I'm not informed, I'm not responsible.

Yes I see the fallacy, and I do appreciate you making me confront it.

Last I counted, my country has fought twenty-seven wars and lost every single one. We have no shortage of Pearl Harbors. (I recall reading a newspaper article about a village where everyone is descended from the same guy — every other male had gone off to war and not come back, so they took him from house to house to sire children to repopulate the place. He had stayed back because he was missing one leg.)
That's definitely something we've been spared here(if you don't count the Civil War-brief but devastating) and has to affect your world view. I can't begin to understand how difficult life is in war torn countries and I won't trivialize the situation by offering an uncomprehending sympathy. I do regret it exists, though, for you and everyone else who has to deal with it.


(Still,you and your hints! I am NOT scouring the internet for data on countries who have lost 27 wars )

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
Last edited by magerette; September 28th, 2007 at 09:03.
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September 28th, 2007, 09:21
not to detract from the seriousness and non-hostile nature of this thread but my dear prime junta in responese: it is because i am the king of wishful thinking.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ry4iwzS4Na0
*never seen the video before or pretty woman for that matter, but liked the song as a kid.
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September 29th, 2007, 14:05
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
But there is something I think more visceral than this. I can't speak for others, of course, but when I look at my own reasons for this withdrawal from all serious and sustained effort to understand the forces at work in world affairs, it's very vaguely defined and at more of an instinctual level. I think that some of it at least is the remnants of a strong atavistic streak of traditional and mostly unconscious isolationism.
I think you put your finger on it. There's a fundamental cognitive dissonance about America's relationship with the rest of the world. On the one hand, the entire country's founding mythos is about turning your back on the corrupt, bad, nasty, doomed old world to build a brave new one on virgin territory; on the other, there is the reality of being a global superpower deeply involved in and entwined with just about every nook and cranny of the globe.

This creates a vicious cycle of sorts.

First, because of your fundamental lack of interest in the (problems and nature of) the rest of the world, it becomes easy to sell just about any policy or foreign adventure as a moral imperative, a war for liberty, justice, the American Way, or what have you. So, you square your collective shoulders, sigh, and prepare to carry any burden, pay any price, swim any river, and so on.

Then, it backfires, and people become very, very upset and angry with you. To you, it feels like a betrayal: you went all out to *save* them, spend your blood, your treasure, to give them the wonderful things *you* enjoy — and what do you get? Somebody flying damn planes into your skyscrapers! So… you react with the violence and vengeance that only springs from an unexpected and unprovoked kick in the gonads.

And so the cycle starts again.

I'm not saying 9/11 was justified, mind — but I am saying that the grievances it sprung from, that make OBL so popular in such a big part of the world, are real, justified, and caused by your policies — and until you face up to that fact, you'll only be getting more of the same. You can't face up to it without educating yourself, and I don't see many signs of you doing that.

I would hold more hope if the people actually deciding on policy would have a clue, but it seems they regard good management skills more highly than being able to tell piddling little differences between various brown men with beards.

[ http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/17/opinion/17stein.html ]
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September 29th, 2007, 14:57
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
II'm not saying 9/11 was justified, mind — but I am saying that the grievances it sprung from, that make OBL so popular in such a big part of the world, are real, justified, and caused by your policies — and until you face up to that fact, you'll only be getting more of the same. You can't face up to it without educating yourself, and I don't see many signs of you doing that.
You know, I was more on-board with you than ever before until this point. Exactly what grievances are you referring to? If you point out our "policy of selective allies" where we cuddle up with Iran, cuddle up with Iraq during a war with Iran, than snuggle with the Saudis when Iran and Iraq both piss us off, I'll grant you the point. Unfortunately, the only "wounds" we hear about are being Satan spawn (decadent non-Muslims) and having the nerve to pick the Israeli side in a 2000 year old grudge match. Don't even offer up oil, because we only buy what they're willing to sell at the prices they decide to offer.

My personal, mostly uneducated opinion is that the "brown men with beards" are completely pissed off that we cuddled the Hatfields (Israel) instead of the McCoys and have twisted their religion to create an "us versus Satan" mandate to justify their vengeance.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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September 29th, 2007, 17:43
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
I'm not saying 9/11 was justified, mind — but I am saying that the grievances it sprung from, that make OBL so popular in such a big part of the world, are real, justified, and caused by your policies — and until you face up to that fact, you'll only be getting more of the same. You can't face up to it without educating yourself, and I don't see many signs of you doing that. [ http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/17/opinion/17stein.html ]
That's pure arrogance and naivety. I don't see any signs of you facing the obvious fact that you have a limited and biased point of view. It's too bad, because there's a conversation there that's worth having — but not with anyone so obnoxious.
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September 29th, 2007, 17:51
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
You know, I was more on-board with you than ever before until this point. Exactly what grievances are you referring to? If you point out our "policy of selective allies" where we cuddle up with Iran, cuddle up with Iraq during a war with Iran, than snuggle with the Saudis when Iran and Iraq both piss us off, I'll grant you the point. Unfortunately, the only "wounds" we hear about are being Satan spawn (decadent non-Muslims) and having the nerve to pick the Israeli side in a 2000 year old grudge match. Don't even offer up oil, because we only buy what they're willing to sell at the prices they decide to offer.
First off, if that's all you hear, it's not because it's all "they" are saying — it's because of what your media tells you "they're" saying: "if it bleeds, it leads."

Second, which grievances am I referring to? That would be a very long list, but you got the gist of it. As my wife once put it (from personal experience), completely ordinary, decent people's lives get shattered and all too often taken away because of what some ignoramus in Washington, DC gets into his head.

My personal, mostly uneducated opinion is that the "brown men with beards" are completely pissed off that we cuddled the Hatfields (Israel) instead of the McCoys and have twisted their religion to create an "us versus Satan" mandate to justify their vengeance.
That's not too far off — but the question you should be asking is why are the brown men with beards so popular even with people who *don't* buy into the 72 virgins line?
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September 29th, 2007, 17:52
Originally Posted by Squeek View Post
That's pure arrogance and naivety. I don't see any signs of you facing the obvious fact that you have a limited and biased point of view. It's too bad, because there's a conversation there that's worth having — but not with anyone so obnoxious.
Thank your for your valuable, substantive contribution to the discussion. It is much appreciated by everyone participating, I'm sure.
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September 29th, 2007, 18:39
I'll tackle the last one first. I don't know that it's only the extremists that are buying into "us versus Satan". You're looking at a culture that is incredibly religious. Show me the monarchies and parliaments and prime ministers and I'll show you a theocracy under the turban. Schools are run by the clergy (get em young). Governments are run by the clergy (rule em). Laws are made and enforced by the clergy (keep em in line). That level of indoctrination is very effective—look at how well that same system has worked in the USA to promote a complete lack of personal responsibility.

Now, I would say that much of the "transitory allies" thing is reactive, rather than proactive. We started off in the hole due to the whole Israel thing, but were making inroads (Sadat in Egypt, Shah in Iran). That little hostage thing, led by the religious revolution, sort of put a damper on Iran-USA relations. So we kiss up to Iraq in response. Maybe Arabs blame our support for the rise of Saddam, but it wasn't until he decided to try to annex Kuwait that we turned on Iraq. I don't see where either of those events can really be put on our doorstep, but we certainly get the blame for switching sides in response to them.

Now, our political system in the US certainly isn't doing us any favors in world relations. Every 4 or 8 years, we throw out the baby with the bathwater and do an about-face. That's a result of our political parties not having that many differences. To get elected, you've got to shout "change" from the highest mountain, but in the end very little gets changed domestically because the only prudent policies (regardless of a Democratic or Republican slant) would be very unpopular. The easiest way to march in an exciting new direction is to change foreign policy. After all, most Americans don't understand and couldn't give a hoot what goes on beyond the borders (see your "fundamental lack of interest" paragraph), so those are easier policies to tinker with.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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September 29th, 2007, 19:30
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
I'll tackle the last one first. I don't know that it's only the extremists that are buying into "us versus Satan". You're looking at a culture that is incredibly religious. Show me the monarchies and parliaments and prime ministers and I'll show you a theocracy under the turban. Schools are run by the clergy (get em young). Governments are run by the clergy (rule em). Laws are made and enforced by the clergy (keep em in line). That level of indoctrination is very effective—look at how well that same system has worked in the USA to promote a complete lack of personal responsibility.
That's correct about some countries — Iran and Saudi Arabia in particular.

It's completely incorrect about others — Syria, Egypt, Saddam's Iraq, for example: there, the state is violently anti-clerical. Did you know that Hafez al-Assad massacred 20,000 members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Hama?

Now, I would say that much of the "transitory allies" thing is reactive, rather than proactive. We started off in the hole due to the whole Israel thing, but were making inroads (Sadat in Egypt, Shah in Iran).
Never mind that the Shah was an unpopular, brutal tyrant with one of the nastiest secret police organizations in the region ever — the Savak was as bad as they come. Nor that you installed him in power by staging a coup against a popular, genuinely democratically-minded government — the one of Mohammed Mosaddeq. Look them up.

That little hostage thing, led by the religious revolution, sort of put a damper on Iran-USA relations.
Sure did. Funny thing about the Iranian revolution though — it was supported by just about everybody, from the Commies to the democrats, the students, the bazaars… everyone. The reason was simple: it was the only game in town. You had run out Mosaddeq and the democratizers, so the only ones left were the Shah and his thugs — "our son of a bitch" — and the Islamists. The people picked the Islamists. Once in power, the Islamists massacred, jailed, exiled, or suppressed everyone who didn't think like them, and there we are again.

But, and I repeat, the Iranian Islamist revolution was very much *your* creation — pretty much the only imaginable consequence of *your* policies. We're seeing a re-run now in Iraq, and we'll see more re-runs in the region in other countries, never fear… and that will be very bad for everyone, but especially you.
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September 29th, 2007, 20:07
As a postscript: I'm not actually condemning the Mosaddeq coup (or indeed much of American Middle East policy during the Cold War) as something irredeemably evil. The US was acting in what it saw to be its national interest. If you need to whack a reformer and install a strongman to keep the oil flowing and stop a country falling into the Soviet orbit, then it's at least a reasonable policy to consider. The Cold War was in one sense a zero-sum game: a loss for America is a win for the Soviets, and vice versa.

But, what I *am* saying is this: that these policies pursued in the name of national interest have hurt a great many people, and have closed a great many avenues they had to channel their hurt and frustration. What we're seeing now is a consequence of these policies. Anti-Americanism isn't some kind of existential, elemental evil always lurking in the shadows; it's reactive, not pro-active.

If you guys realized this, you would be able to keep a cooler head about things, and pursue policies that are not disastrous to all parties concerned. More, if you actually went as far to publicly acknowledge it, you might even be able to hit on a policy that's a win-win scenario rather than a win-lose one. We're no longer in a zero-sum game situation, and there is — or, rather, was — potential for slowly evolving a world order that's fairer and less violent than the one we started out with.

But that's all in the past. What we have now is an era of blood, darkness, fear, and confrontation. And yes, you do bear a great part of the responsibility.
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September 29th, 2007, 22:04
Syria may be more secular than most, but the whole Israel thing pretty much wipes out any hope of normal relations there. You mention Egypt—I agree with you, and strangely enough we have very little problem with Egypt. In fact, the extremists are blowing up people in Egypt because they are friendly with the USA and moderate on the Israeli situation.

I do notice a bit of a pattern, though, if we accept your theory. The Israelis (well, the Jews at least) and Arabs have been killing each other for thousands of years. There's no real sense in it anymore. Both sides are guilty of atrocities and the hatred is ingrained in both sides at birth. Now, in the last 50 years, you're saying that the Arabs and the USA are killing (metaphorically at first, now literally) each other over a laundry list of sins on both sides. Seems that there's a common theme and a common player. Would you say it's the Arab mentality to look for slights and respond violently until the pot boils? "Us against Them" has always been a great population control technique. So is it a case of the Arab power structure (secular or non-secular as the case may be) manufacturing trouble to keep the masses focused on an "outside evil" rather than the fact that they live in a sand dune with oppressive leaders and not a bikini to be found?

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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September 30th, 2007, 08:25
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
Syria may be more secular than most, but the whole Israel thing pretty much wipes out any hope of normal relations there. You mention Egypt—I agree with you, and strangely enough we have very little problem with Egypt. In fact, the extremists are blowing up people in Egypt because they are friendly with the USA and moderate on the Israeli situation.
Quite. You still have your sonofabitch running the show in Egypt. Trouble is, his regime is slowly rotting, and the only organized opposition is, you guessed it, the turbans. Why? Because Mubarak has been systematically jailing, exiling, assassinating, or discrediting the democratic opposition — and because in the Arab psyche "democracy" has come to mean "occupation" and "Zionism."

I do notice a bit of a pattern, though, if we accept your theory. The Israelis (well, the Jews at least) and Arabs have been killing each other for thousands of years.
Completely untrue. The Arab/Jewish hate is purely a 20th century phenomenon, caused by Zionism. The Jews were doing fine under the Arab and Turkish empires.

There's no real sense in it anymore. Both sides are guilty of atrocities and the hatred is ingrained in both sides at birth.
That's true, but, again, it's a much more recent phenomenon than you think — and it's only become religious lately.

Now, in the last 50 years, you're saying that the Arabs and the USA are killing (metaphorically at first, now literally) each other over a laundry list of sins on both sides. Seems that there's a common theme and a common player. Would you say it's the Arab mentality to look for slights and respond violently until the pot boils? "Us against Them" has always been a great population control technique. So is it a case of the Arab power structure (secular or non-secular as the case may be) manufacturing trouble to keep the masses focused on an "outside evil" rather than the fact that they live in a sand dune with oppressive leaders and not a bikini to be found?
Would you say it's an American mentality to look for slights and respond violently until the pot boils? "Us agains them" has always been a great population control technique. First it was the English, then it was the Red Indians, then it was the Huns, then it was the Commies, now it's the Islamofascists.

Seriously: that type of response isn't typically Arab or typically American. It's typically human. We're a social species of primate. Primates form bands that are hostile to other bands. However, there is a way to combat it, which is education and knowledge. The better you understand "the other," the harder it is to think of him as a faceless evil. There is evidence of this approach actually working, at least in a small way.

Here's how the world looks from the Arab point of view right now (and me trying to step into both the Arab and the American psyche at the same time

Fifty years ago, Saudi Arabia gave New York State to the Zoroastrians, who have now set up a rich, military, nuclear-armed country there. They're occupying New Jersey and have walled off Manhattan Island. Manhattan Island is run by hard-line Baptists who lob home-made rockets into the rest of NYC, while in New Jersey the "Pan-Americans" are in power. The Zoroastrians maintain some kind of contact with the Pan-Americans; their current leader is considered to be their puppet, but is unfortunately pretty ineffective.

There are Saudi military bases housing tens of thousands of soldiers as well as strike fighter and bomber wings, in California, Florida, Colorado, Montana, Texas, and South Carolina.

Canada has a theocratic, authoritarian, Russian Orthodox "Old Believer" regime. They got into power by overthrowing a highly unpopular and brutal Communist government that had in turn been installed through a coup and then lavishly supported militarily and economically by the Saudis. The Canadians are notorious for covertly messing with other countries, are set for regional dominance, and appear to be well on their way to acquiring the nuclear bomb.

There are nuclear-armed Saudi carrier groups patrolling the American coasts both on the Atlantic and the Pacific side.

The President-For-Life of America is the Rev. Fred Phelps. Homosexuality, abortion, selling contraceptives, blasphemy, insulting the President, un-American activities, and a quite a few other things capital offenses. Pre- and extra-marital sex are punished by lashing. A strict public dress code is enforced — women have to wear skirts down to the ankle with loose blouses that cover their arms and neck; men are allowed knee-length shorts and T-shirts. A cadre of truncheon-armed Virtue Police does the enforcing.

President Phelps got his job from his father. The administration is staffed entirely by family members, with his son Jerry being groomed to be the next president.

President Phelps has a very close relationship with the Saudi head of state; in fact, his son Greg is considered one of his closest personal friends. The basis of the close relationship is a deal that allows Saudis preferred access to American natural resources; the Saudi-American Coal and Uranium Company has consequently strip-mined much of the Rocky Mountains. Consequently, Phelps gets a lot of military (and other) aid from the Saudis. The relationship has begun to show some cracks lately, but is still very close.

Mexico is in civil war, following a disastrous Saudi invasion and occupation four years ago, with about 160,000 Arab Coalition troops in the country. The Mexican president, Ricardo Calderon, is supported by huge amounts of money but manages to really control only a walled-off section of Mexico City. The Zapatistas run the Chiapas region much to their liking and has a de-facto independent state there. Texas and California have been flooded by about 2,000,000 Mexican refugees. President Calderon is trying to maintain good relations with Rev. Phelps's government and has contacts with the Russian Orthodox regime in Canada, but Saudi Arabia has recently been threatening them with invasion or attack.

OK, do you hate the Saudis yet? I could go on for a while, but perhaps you get the picture.
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September 30th, 2007, 15:34
A valiant effort, but I just couldn't put the shoe on the other foot. I could tell easily who was who, and that pretty well voided your intent. Sorry.

Now, I'll grant you that the USA has their finger in everyone's pie, but I'm not sure it's fair to blame us for all of it. Every time a fly farts in some backwater country, there's much wailing about how the USA should have been there to catch the fly before it happened and how the USA needs to keep new flies from growing up and how the USA should be humanitarian enough to replace all the country's air since somehow the entire country now smells of stale McDonalds.

Everyone's looking for a free ride on the USA's dime. Unfortunately, it's a package deal—if you take our money, you get our meddling.

And let's talk about the whole resources thing for a moment. OPEC decides how much they're going to sell and what price they're going to sell it for. Sure, we might get "a friend in the diamond business" (sorry, local commercial), but in the end the cartel is still going to get the last laugh. And drop the whole "raping our resources" thing. They sell it. Why? Because we pay dearly for it. It's not out of any arm twisting. Without oil income, the whole region would still be riding camels from oasis to oasis. The almighty petroleum dollar buys a lot of Bentleys with really good air conditioning.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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September 30th, 2007, 15:46
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
A valiant effort, but I just couldn't put the shoe on the other foot. I could tell easily who was who, and that pretty well voided your intent. Sorry.
I didn't intend to conceal who was who, and I'm a bit disappointed that you didn't even attempt to look at things from the other point of view.

Now, I'll grant you that the USA has their finger in everyone's pie, but I'm not sure it's fair to blame us for all of it. Every time a fly farts in some backwater country, there's much wailing about how the USA should have been there to catch the fly before it happened and how the USA needs to keep new flies from growing up and how the USA should be humanitarian enough to replace all the country's air since somehow the entire country now smells of stale McDonalds.

Everyone's looking for a free ride on the USA's dime. Unfortunately, it's a package deal—if you take our money, you get our meddling.
That's not true, although you folks sure appear to like to think it is.

And let's talk about the whole resources thing for a moment. OPEC decides how much they're going to sell and what price they're going to sell it for. Sure, we might get "a friend in the diamond business" (sorry, local commercial), but in the end the cartel is still going to get the last laugh. And drop the whole "raping our resources" thing. They sell it. Why? Because we pay dearly for it. It's not out of any arm twisting. Without oil income, the whole region would still be riding camels from oasis to oasis. The almighty petroleum dollar buys a lot of Bentleys with really good air conditioning.
There you go — I made a "valiant effort" to paint the picture from the other point of view, and your reaction is to point fingers. I don't think this conversation is likely to go anywhere fast. And since I have no hope of convincing you, all that's left to me is opposing you, and taking a small amount of pleasure in your setbacks.
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September 30th, 2007, 16:14
I wasn't being sarcastic. I tried, but failed. I couldn't ignore the reality and it slanted my perception of your construction. Totally my failing.

I'm not sure how you dismiss the help/meddling point. It's not like you can claim media-slant, since numerous world leaders are on video saying things to that effect. And that's not confined to the Arab nations either. We're getting internationally hammered for not doing something about Somalia. Why is that our problem? And if we did step in, look me in the eye and tell me there wouldn't be much wailing and resentment about the USA meddling in an African problem.

How am I pointing fingers? You brought up the whole "resource rape" issue in your story, and it's coming from real world complaints. I'm addressing your point and I'm being practical about it. Yeah, the camel comment might have been a bit over the top, but there's no mindless fingerpointing in the point raised.

You're probably right about the futility of one of us "converting", but I don't know that the conversation is without value. After all, you're the one shouting "education" from the highest mountain and there's no way for that to happen without an exchange of ideas.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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September 30th, 2007, 16:58
Interesting and informative discussion with very little of the personal and accusatory from either party IMO. Well done on both your parts. I appreciate the "exchange of ideas", and while I agree that nobody is about to be converted, at least we all get some insight into the mindsets of others with divergent cultural perspectives. That makes it in my mind anyway far from a valueless discussion. (Also, I'm no longer wracking my brain cells to force them into unnaturally logical and analytical paths, so many thanks to dte from a selfish perspective. )

I'm just pissed that Prime Junta hasn't let slide any more hints about his country of residence for my detective work on the subject. I feel it's very remiss of you, Prime J as it would provide important context for your arguments.(Falling for that one? No, huh…worth a try, anyway.)

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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September 30th, 2007, 18:19
dte- the only people looking for a free ride on america's dime are some of the folks in this country. if it weren't for some other investor's country i think our country might soon become that backwater country. (america has/had clout which doesn't cost us anything if used correctly. that was our most powerful tool but its been dropped into the salton sea, and beaten against the ground 'til its a nice purty piece of slag) also our "dime" has dwindled to shit in comparison to other countries over that past decade or even more recently. meanwhile the dime of the rich/wall street continues to shine, and they certainly aren't going to be forking if over for anything that doesn't make their pizzathehut's asses any larger.
and that local commercial is here is well. shane co?

personally i think prime junta is from another planet. which means he's from france.

i tried to understand prime juntas exercise, but altough some of it seemed like genius my own failings prevented me from being able to get a grasp of what was going on.
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September 30th, 2007, 19:56
@CU- God help us, Tom Shane is everywhere… While I agree that the US is standing on a house of cards, I'm not so sure the rest of the world really sees that yet. Our country may be rotting from the inside out, but we can still bring the big stick. At some point in the future, we might become a belligerent sham just like the Arabs are now.

@magerette- glad I could help

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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