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America: Evil Empire Or Benevolent Ruler?

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"Vulgar," "uncultured," "ignorant" and "greedy" are some of the more common adjectives that Britons use when describing Americans, according to the findings of a new poll published today in the Daily Telegraph. Ironically, those same adjectives can be used to describe the Telegraph's editorial board that thought it necessary to conduct the poll — with the help of YouGov — just in time for the 4th of July. Perhaps the better story, which the Telegraph chose not to report, is that after 230 years, Britons continue to begrudge the United States for that pesky revolution.

The Telegraph reports (gleefully):

As Americans prepare to celebrate the 230th anniversary of their independence tomorrow, the poll found that only 12 per cent of Britons trust them to act wisely on the global stage. This is half the number who had faith in the Vietnam-scarred White House of 1975.

(. . .)

More than two-thirds who offered an opinion said America is essentially an imperial power seeking world domination.

There are two messages that Britons are trying to send here: the explicit message — America's agenda conflicts dangerously with that of the international community; and the implicit message — the international community, minus America, seeks to promote the "greater good" while America seeks to obstruct it.

For Britons, and much of the European and international communities, America's meteoric rise to hegemony – or domination – on the world stage is an intolerable affront to their own hegemonic aspirations, as evidenced by this and similar polls. A brief look at America's rise to power, and its subsequent use of that power, demonstrates the utter asininity of these views.

As World War II came to a close, so too did the days of isolated governance. National agendas came to have global repercussions, which allowed the dominant nations to determine the paths and policies of weaker states. In other words, during the Cold War years, the US and USSR made history, literally.

On the world stage, the unmatched power of either nation gave rise to a bipolar world — where two dominant powers exist. The rest of the international community were forced to choose sides in the conflict in order to protect their own interests against the potentially aggressive policies of one or both powers.

The disintegration of the USSR — which nobody expected until after it happened, despite what many academicians would have you believe — propelled the US to global dominance, at which point the unipolar world that exists today was born.

Ironically, many experts believe that despite the shadowing threat of nuclear holocaust, the Cold War years marked a time of stability for the international community for the simple fact that there were two dominant powers that counterbalanced one another. And this is where the poll comes back into play.

Much of the international community is convinced that America's unmatched power enables us to effect policy that can be detrimental to other nations. In other words, America constitutes a greater threat to world stability than any other nation. While these claims are true, hypothetically, they do not correspond to reality.

Unlike previous world powers, America has been a benevolent ruler, from which the rest of the world has greatly benefited. While illiberals and Europeans will scoff at this notion, their position is hard to defend. Most of the democratized world — and much of the non-democratized world — functions today because the US enables –or enabled — them to do so. Apparently the Europeans have forgotten that it was US policy that rescued them from being relegated to the dark ages after the Great Wars.

Japan is flourishing today because the US military allowed them to focus their monies on economic infrastructures rather than national defense — to this day, only 1% of Japan's GNP is allocated for defense spending.

South Korea benefits from some 40,000 US troops protecting them from foreign invasion, which costs the US approximately $3 billion dollars a year.

Russia is not in complete ruins today thanks to the immediate funneling of US aid into the country following the collapse of its communist government.

Suadi Arabia, Kuwait, and the rest of the Arab Gulf monarchies have not been overrun by their neighbors due to US protection forces in the region.

Canada need never fear foreign invasion so long as America is still standing.

European states benefit directly from the $80 billion worth of yearly financing that America provides for NATO.

And the list continues…

And what does the evil United States ask in return for these generous gifts?

Only that the citizens of these countries are free to vote in fair elections; that they may speak their minds without fear of reprisals; that they may practice their particular religious beliefs without fear of persecution; that their rights to life and liberty are not subjected to the whims of brutal dictators; and that all of these freedoms be guarded by the impenetrable shield of democracy.

If the Europeans and others cannot recognize these glaring truths, then perhaps they ought to consider the alternatives, which are neatly organized in the annals of history.

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About Dr Politico

  • http://bryanmckay.com/blog Bryan McKay

    And what does the evil United States ask in return for these generous gifts?

    Well, in the case of many African countries (and other countries around the world), we’ve asked them to implement wide-reaching structural adjustment programs that have crushed local economies and enforced a sort of neo-colonialism. But that’s not so bad, is it?

    We do a lot of good, but it’s silly to ignore the fact that we do a lot of fucked up shit too. We’re not a perfect country. There’s a lot that we do and a lot that we have here that I would never take for granted, but part of loving your country is recognizing its flaws, isn’t it?

  • zingzing

    a little rosey-eyed, don’t you think? it’s possibly half-true until the last three paragraphs, which is where things get downright silly. what do we ask in return? business, baby. m-o-n-e-y. where do you see our money and time flowing? not into a financial black hole, that’s for certain.

    yes, yes, things have been much worse than they are under the u.s.’ thumb. yet, europe’s 19th century imperialists could argue similar points

    we don’t protect our interests for nothing, because the world just isn’t that simple.

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    what do we ask in return? business, baby. m-o-n-e-y.

    Most of what we do overseas has to do with expanding free markets overseas, which benefits our business interests at some point. Most of our international relationships are based on potential monetary gain for US business interests. Of course, with the value of our currency, the dollar, waning, and inflation deflating its value daily, the world isn’t as supportive as what we have to say, but they are buying our debt and our real estate.

  • Bliffle

    Yeah. Well, I waited in vain for the Superior Europeans to do something about the mess in Yugoslavia a few years ago. And Kuwait? They’ve relegated themselves to bystanders, to fans, standing on the sidelines watching others, cheering and booing.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Bliff, don’t forget Darfur which Europeans fucked up and which they absolutely refuse to do anything about.

    As for m-o-n-e-y – we can’t make it unless other countries have it, and part of what we do when we go looking for ways to make money internationally is find ways to improve economies in developing nations so they have something we can make money off of. That’s usually not such a bad idea.

    Dave

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    There is only one real problem with this article. It is written by an American from within the United States. There are too many misperceptions in it as a result.

    If I were to write this article, or Howard Dratch (who lives in Mexico and who recently posted an article on the presidenial elections there) or perhaps Chris Rose, it would have a greater level of credibility to it. We all live outside of the United States and have some clear idea of how America affects the world outside of its borders.

    I’ll not get into an argument over a poll taken in Great Britain. I have experienced anti-American sentiment from Brits before (many years ago as a tourist), and have read of it expressed to Americans in Britain. It is no secret that America is not the most beloved of countries.

    But to understand this at all, you need to spend time outside of the United States as a resident of a foreign nation.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    Dr Politoco’s argument is based on a shallow surmise anyway. Never in all my years has anybody anywhere ever expressed that they “begrudge the United States for that pesky revolution”. I don’t hang out with the Queen, mind you, but everyday people, no way. That’s just one of the many misconceptions prevalent in the USA.

    Personally, I love the country but there’s no denying the simple fact that, being a young nation, its world view is, by definition, somewhat juvenile. That’s not even meant to be a criticism by the way, just a simple fact.

    People who talk in such shallow terms as this article “aspires” to, just display the very juvenile perception to which I refer.

    Final reality check: The Daily Telegraph is a staunch right of centre newspaper that nearly always supports the right against the left. It has no axe to grind with the USA and usually supports it.

  • HelixFelix

    And what does the evil United States ask in return for these generous gifts?

    generous gifts? The ONLY reason the US does most of what it does if for their own gain. Nothing to do with gifts. When in history has the states done anything that doesn’t directly benifit them?

    and though the article does point out many things the states has done, I see it as the problem. These supposed “Gifts” could also be someone’s curse. the states could very well crush a country without lifting a finger. ex..

    “European states benefit directly from the $80 billion worth of yearly financing that America provides for NATO.”

    And when the states disagrees with a country on something, they threaton sanctions on that country if they dont’ do what the states wants. The states is not some saviour coming to help the world. They are governing it, ruling it with force and making everyone fear them. I personally think they damage more then they’ve ever done any good. But what can you do? nothing becuase as soon as someone trys to stand up for it, they just silence them in some way. The people of the US really need to look at it from other countries positions rather then sitting there enjoying everything the states has to offer . They’d be singing another song if the table was turned. For once in your self-obsorbed/selfish lives think about someone else.

  • http://jpsgoddamnblog.blogspot.com JP

    Dr. P,

    What a bunch of malarky. Chris’ word “juvenile” is appropriate here–America has indeed benefitted Europe, and parts of Asia, while decimating the Middle East. Not totally evil, not totally good–just like every other country in that respect.

    “America has been a benevolent ruler”??? Gee, I wonder why the world perceives Americans as arrogant?

    Of course, you’ll probably ask why we should care what the world thinks. Maybe because we’re part of the world community, whether you want us to be or not.

  • http://www.partisantimes.com Dr Politico

    JP,

    “Of course, you’ll probably ask why we should care what the world thinks. Maybe because we’re part of the world community, whether you want us to be or not.”

    Don’t put words in my mouth.

  • Thomas

    Would you buy a used car from this country? I know I wouldn’t.

    The US – as a political entity – shows ignorance, aggression, ruthlessness and poorly veiled hidden agendas further decrease its credibility.

    This time in history will be looked back upon as the darkest time ever in the history of the United States. You thought the Red Scare and Nixon was bad? Just wait and see this baby unfold.

    The US have weapons of mass destruction, invade countries without valid reason or backing from its allies. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people die because of the US’ war waging. How is that a benevolent ruler? And what gives it the right to be ruling anything in the first place?

    There is nothing that can excuse the way the US is acting on the global scene. Apologists like the author of this article only serve to further degenerate the image of a once great nation.

  • http://www.booklinker.blogspot.com Deano

    Bluntly the article itself (No offence Doc) is superficial in its reasoning and, I think, presents beautifully that particular Amero-centric view of the world, one relatively devoid of a strong sense of history or international politics and filled with a smug, self-satisfied air. In short, it provides a good example of why the US so often finds itself in the unenviable position of saying “What? What’d I do?” to the rest of the world in hurt, incredulous tones…

    The United States is, without a doubt an exceptional nation that has brought a tremendous amount of good to nations around the world, both on purpose and as an accidental by-product of its existance. The converse is also true.

    The US is an economic empire, not a geographic one. It’s imperial strengths lie in its unfettered capitalist approach, and the democratic, transparent and legally supported systems that maintain these capabilities (financial, political and economic), from the grassroots to the heights of international finance.

    It is not benevolent. Nor is it manifestly evil. Yes, the US has ruthlessly exploited markets for its own advantage, deliberately fostered and maintained repressive regimes in the interest of surpressing political and ideological competitors and to secure its own resources and economic way of life.

    Also yes, the US has also exported its ideals, its knowledge, its progressive systems supporting individual rights and liberties, supported and established international and multilateral insititutions, opened up economies and worked to reduce oppression and abuse.

    Don’t make the mistake of thinking that any of this has happened because the US is any more altruistic then any other nation. It is not. It is an empire, pure and simple, as stupid, selfish, arrogant, unaware and blundering as any other empire in history. If you think you can claim a “moral” superiority due to some exceptional element inherent with being an “American”, well think again. There is a long line of failed and dead empires behind you that thought exactly the same way. You are not new.

    If you weigh it on the whole, the US has probably been collectively a force for good, improving the overall human condition and the lives, liberties and societies around the world. It has had a huge impact on the structure of the global economy and its successful economic model is now being adopted by its former ideological opponents.

    But not because it is benevolent.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    Deano makes some excellent points…

    and leaves me without much to add, except perhaps an Historical comparison to be utilized and contemplated as a Metaphor…

    Rome

    nuff said…

    Excelsior?

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Dr Politico, good and thought-provoking article. Being a “Yank” in England myself, I can never escape the national mood here and it stings sometimes, though I have gotten used to it. You’re right, the Brits will never get over our independence. Funny – they decry our “imperialism,” yet would have been perfectly happy to have asserted theirs on us!

    It’s funny that The Daily Telegraph chose to engage in that cheap shot journalism, considering they, along with The Express, are the most pro-American, conservative paper to be found here. But most Brits read the The Daily Mail (populist) or The Guardian or Mirror (left-wing), and get all their news and info from the BBC or other Leftie-controlled terrestrial TV channels, so this bias is not surprising. Most people are too lazy to recognize the political agenda behind the news they read and hear, they take it at face value.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    It’s a popular misconception, particularly amongst Americans it seems, that the BBC is leftist but it isn’t.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    The only Americans who think the BBC is leftist are the same ones who think the right-wing Fox News really is as “fair and balanced” as it claims to be.

  • Clavos

    Most who watch Fox News do so because it’s a welcome antiphone to the constant whining from the leftist media.

    The BBC is worse than leftist; it’s smug and patronizing.

  • Arch Conservative

    Ummm the only Americans who don’t thinkthe BBC is leftist are the ones that think Castro is to far to the right Victor.

    It’s funny watching lefties say leftist organizations aren’t leftist because they believe they are centrists themselves.

  • Amanda

    “America has been a benevolent ruler”….this unconsciously-ironic label goes a long way to explain why mistrust of the United States (and sometimes outright contempt) is prevalent in western democracies from New Zealand to Britain to Canada and back again. The trouble with propaganda is that you wind up bel;ieving your own bullshit.

  • Patrick

    I have lived in the United States and Britain and other western democracies and I can confirm that “ignorant”, “uncultured” and “greedy” are indeed common perceptions of us overseas, not just in the UK. You could also throw in “arrogant”. In part, these assessments are the result of cultural differences but in part there in also a measure of truth. Americans can be overwhelmingly friendly and generous as a people but there is a level of cultural blindness, political naievete and world ignorance that is either laughable, embarrassing or incomprehensible to many educated people overseas. Instead of railing about ingratitude, it might be more useful to examine why the United States is perceived as ignorant, greedy, uncultured or arrogant. Let’s face it, you might be grateful to the uncle who rescues your family from the burning building or puts up the cash to help the family business. That doesn’t stop you cringing if he’s a loudmouthed drunk telling rascist jokes at parties and groping females half his age. This is hyperbole, of course. But it’s intended as an illustration that the right to criticize or cringe is unrelated to whatever supposed good deeds have gone before. Americans have many marvellous attributes. Unfortunately, the ability to look at ourselves analytically is rarely one of them.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Like you, Patrick, I’ve lived in many countries around the world, not just in Europe and not just democracies. What I’ve noticed is that the resentment of Americans is generally a newer trend and mostly among younger people. People of my parents generation seem to have much more of an appreciation for what America has done for the world.

    I’ve also noticed that resentment towards America as a nation doesn’t always translate into resentment of Americans in specific. A lot of people are awfully friendly to Americans when they really don’t have to be while still holding beliefs which are very negative about the nation itself.

    Dave

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    “It’s a popular misconception, particularly amongst Americans it seems, that the BBC is leftist but it isn’t.”

    Eh, Christopher? The BBC is very leftist, and I have seen no proof whatsoever that it’s not. Of course, as Clavos stated, it is smug and patronizing, so how could it be anything else?

    The BBC’s news is so obviously tainted and biased against anything American, even a 10-year-old couldn’t fail to notice it.

    The Beeb’s defenders might say they’re just encouraging individual thought. Yeah, right. Pass me the lastest issue of Pravda while you’re at it.

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    “Americans have many marvellous attributes. Unfortunately, the ability to look at ourselves analytically is rarely one of them.”

    Patrick, we could also feel guilty about every single negative point in our history and be quick to dump on our own country, and only ever feel patriotic and wave the flag at sporting events like the World Cup (as if that’s the only reason to ever feel proud) – which they do in Britain.

    Maybe Americans do need a balance, but I’ll take pride and forthrighteousness over soppy, liberal-guilt ridden mopiness any day. Maybe that’s why, even though I’m not overly fond of them, I understand the French a lot more than I do the British.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Mark,

    Patrick’s line below says it all in 18 words.

    “Americans have many marvellous attributes. Unfortunately, the ability to look at ourselves analytically is rarely one of them.”

    He’s not talking about dumping guilt, he’s talking about looking at America’s policies analytically – two very different things.

    You know Clifford the Big Red Dog. He’s helpful, he’s friendly, he’s playful… But the show never shows him taking a dump – the shit would be bigger than one of the houses on the island he lives on. And of course nobody ever smells his dump, epecially not Clifford….

    Well America is like that. Americans are helpful, friendly, generous, etc, but America is like a big red-white-and-blue dog that takes huge dumps and cannot smell its own shit.

    That’s the problem with Dr. P’s. article.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    As far as I’m aware, the resentment towards America began during WWII. I wasn’t around at the time but there’s a line from that time that says “What’s wrong with Americans? They’re over weight, over paid and over here!”

    However, as Mr Nalle correctly pointed out, it’s entirely possible to be peeved with America without being churlish to Americans.

    I can’t explain the thinking of people like Mr Clavis or Mr Manning but they’re both simply wrong. What exactly “forthrighteousness” is I’ll have to leave to others, it’s a new one on me.

  • http://jpsgoddamnblog.blogspot.com JP

    “Dr.” P – (#10) I’m not putting anything in your mouth. What, do you now actually care about world opinion?

    Dave, and why do you think that trend of resentment among the younger exists? Young people are in their formative years, and what they see is a belligerent hick in charge of a great nation threatening much less powerful ones. (along with many other things mentioned elsewhere) Should that make them bow down and wish they were Americans?

    And Christopher, this article is the first time I’ve ever heard the idea of begrudgment of our revolution–until now, I thought that was water under the bridge. I have very little confidence in what’s written in this article, or in the comments about the “leftist” media.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    The only thing I begrudge giving up is what is now known as the US state of Hawaii or the Sandwich Islands as we used to call them. Major mistake to give up somewhere so beautiful!

  • Maurice

    Dr Politico – great topic and I think this thing needs to be said more often. We get so much negative news about ourselves.

    Agree with Dave #21. I have lived in several countries for several years at a time and have had similar experiences.

    Strongly disagree with Ruvy #6. You are invoking the fallacious argument that drives me nuts! I could use your reasoning and say no white person could ever understand my life. Wait, no white person could ever understand or comment on my marraige to a white women. No wait, no white person could ever understand….aaAAAArrrghhh!

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Maurice,

    I speak as an American citizen, born and bred in the United States, with many many positive feelings about the people who live there. Had I not lived there for as long as I had, I would not feel very comfortable commenting on this article at all.

    When I lived in the States, I did not really understand the influence the States had outside its borders. When I began to seriously consider moving to Israel, I began to seriously consider the influence of the States, not from my point of view in Minnesota, in the middle of the continent, but rather from the point of view of someone living outside of the United States.

    For all of my efforts to do so, I couldn’t get my mind around what I was reading in e-mails from Israel. Only after getting the Israeli ID and seeing how things were influenced here by the States was I able to comprehend the American Empire. This took a short time for me because Israel is in the direct firing line of American policy. Britain, by contrast, isn’t.

  • Clavos

    Excellent point, Maurice:

    Strongly disagree with Ruvy #6. You are invoking the fallacious argument that drives me nuts! I could use your reasoning and say no white person could ever understand my life. Wait, no white person could ever understand or comment on my marraige to a white women. No wait, no white person could ever understand….aaAAAArrrghhh!

    And Christopher, the BBC clearly exhibits a liberal/left bias in its reportage, as does PBS in this country. They both also literally exude an air of intellectual snobbery; that’s smug and patronizing in my book. We peasants are so lucky to have them both around to educate us and free us from our abject ignorance!

    I’m surpised that you would categorize Mark’s and my opinions about the BBC as “wrong,” since they are only opinions; a good liberal relativist should recognize they’re just as valid as anyone else’s.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    JP, the resentment towards America predates the Bush administration by quite a few years. It’s strong in my generation of Europeans – those under 60. It seems to have originated in the 1960s, so I suspect it’s at least partly because of the Vietnam war. But even more than that I think it’s because of the really pervasive invasion of American culture which began in that period. On the one hand younger Europeans are quick to embrace American ideas, but they resent the fact that they are coming from outside their own culture and changing that culture rapidly in ways which they don’t necessarily agree with. It’s also that all of that American culture is a force pushing their societies away from the socialism which has become the accepted norm and towards a more materialistic/capitalist viewpoint which they resent.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    From what I understand from various friends in foreign climes, the disenchantment/resentment is not towards Americans but towards BushCo. Thanx to Smilin’ Dick & Junior the Wannabe War Prez, all our years of previously hard-won & carefully built up overseas credibility and goodwill has been blown – along with our budget. But we ourselves, Americans, are still welcome & well liked. The disconnect is that so many cannot understand how so many nice people could possibly elect such a vile administration. Of course, this question has crossed the minds of quite a few American citizens/voters, also, who remain convinced Junior is not the legally elected Prez.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Any dissatisfaction with Bush is very recent in general terms and focused on Bush rather than America as a nation, from what I’ve observed. It’s quite similar to the irrational Bush hating of the American left who Europeans like a lot more in the first place.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    Mmmmmnnnooo…I first read articles with the general theme of ‘how could they?’ very early on in Bush’s first term. Granted, initially most non-Americans were more appalled at his lack of manners & social boorishness, but the criticisms got more businesslike very soon after that; as I remember, about the time Bush started spouting off about WMDs, going it alone, etc. before the invasion.

  • Clavos

    Dave’s right.

    I’ve spent several decades living and working in and with several Latin American countries. The resentment there dates back to before the 1950s at least.

    The reasons for it vary: from resentment of loss of territory (Mexico), to US interference/meddling in internal politics (practically all the rest of the LatAm countries, especially Central America).

    But the chief reason is, and has been, our total economic dominance of the hemisphere–there’s a saying in Brazil (and elsewhere) “When the US [economy] sneezes, Brazil catches a cold.” And the Mexicans are fond of saying: “Poor Mexico, so far from God and so near to the US.”

    That said, there is, as other commentors have noted, a fondness for individual Americans; I have always been welcomed on a personal level and have many friends all over the region.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    CLAVOS: If you feel the BBC is condescending that says more about you than them. I categorise your opinion as wrong because it simply is.

    If you could make a political spectrum and match the BBC against it, you’d certainly be able to see the difference for yourself. Try taking off your subjective glasses for a while, they’re not helping you to see things clearly, as evidenced by your confusing remark about opinions. What on earth gives you the idea that because it is your opinion, it can’t be wrong?

    By the way, welcome to the large group of people who have mistaken me for a liberal.

  • Arch Conservative

    Yeah Clavos what’s wrong with you?

    The BBC isn’t condescending….neither are europeans who want to lecture Americans on this site on how we ought to run our nation or tell us what our place in the world ought to be.

    You’re just a stupid American incapable of comprehending the enlightened, sophisticated, advanced, superior, psyche.

  • Arch Conservative

    That should read……

    You’re just a stupid American incapable of comprehending the enlightened, sophisticated, advanced, superior, european psyche.

  • Loofa

    Hey hey now boys. Fight nice! What happened to the good old days of baseball, hotdogs apple pie and Cheverolet?

  • Clavos

    You’re right Archie. I bow my head in shame and humility.

    What was I thinking?

  • Clavos

    Loofa,

    They turned into soccer, sushi, and suzuki.

  • http://www.booklinker.blogspot.com Deano

    The BBC isn’t condescending….neither are europeans who want to lecture Americans on this site on how we ought to run our nation or tell us what our place in the world ought to be.

    Last time I looked Blogcritics was “A sinister cabal of superior bloggers on music, books, film, popular culture, technology, and politics”, not a sinister American cabal. Looks like you’re going to have to get used to the shocking fact that not everyone on the old Internets is an American….or convince Eric to change the tagline.

  • zingzing

    um, arch, etc., do you ever lecture europeans on how to run their countries? do you think you have a valid opinion about europe? what about iraq?

    what’s wrong with a little commentary from the other side of the fence? if we are a part of the world community, flashing our power, letting our money and tanks roam the earth, don’t you want to hear what the world thinks about it?

    feedback? criticism? these things are going to happen when we put ourselves out there.

    if i have you right, then europeans should just shut their mouths and like it? if they don’t like what we do, it’s none of their business, even when what we do affects the world at large? what kind of attitude is that?

    and yeah, the bbc is a little condescending. pbs does swing a little to the left. then again, they are dealing with history, and history, as i see it, swings a bit to the left. things change, and what was considered outlandish 50 years ago is common today. 1,000 years ago, no one had the right to badmouth their rulers. luckily, 1,000 years have passed.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    By the way, welcome to the large group of people who have mistaken me for a liberal.

    I’ve certainly never mistaken you for one.

    Dave

  • zingzing

    but, remember, dave defines things differently.

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Re: no. 37 by Archie. Spot on!

    Mr. C. Rose. (I spell your name that way because that’s how Brits seem to prefer it), could you please enlighten us as to:

    A) Why Clavos and I are wrong about the BBC. You’ve said it enough times, now time to divvy up.

    B) Why it’s wrong to think of you as anything other than a leftie with a “well, you know, dear chap, I am better than you” attitude?

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    I entirely agree with Dave Nalle when he says our current forms of anti-Americanism – the reasons why people are anti-American – started in the ’60s with the New Left.

  • troll

    *The reasons for it vary: from resentment of loss of territory (Mexico), to US interference/meddling in internal politics (practically all the rest of the LatAm countries, especially Central America).*

    you mean like writing the book (literally) on insurgent torture and terrorism which lead to the ubiquitous ‘death squads’ – and training arming and funding same – ?

    yeah…I guess that could lead to some resentment

    troll

  • zingzing

    our current forms of anti-Americanism – the reasons why people are anti-American – probably have something to do with american foreign policy.

    what do you think?

    hmm. why would the world despise us? hmm… hmmm… pondering.

    ah! maybe we did something that pisses them off!?

    nah… we’re just innocent victims, our pants around our ankles, totally clueless to what is going on.

    “why do you hate us? (europe, fuck off.)”

    “what did we do? (central america, your memory is being erased.)”

    …yes, yes, a knowing wink, a crooked smile! “we never knew…”

    “no, no, you misunderstand…”

    “you can’t… seriously… you can’t think you would know better than us? you are better than us? WHAT!?” [angry america.]

    “AMERICA SMASH!”

    (chorus: “for political gains.”)

    “AMERICA SMASH!”

    (chorus: “we know you weren’t even piloting those planes.”

    “osama and hussein, they look just the same!”

    (chorus: “with that towel on their head, anybody with a towel for a head.”)

    world, shut your mouth, shut your mouth.

  • Clavos

    troll,

    You’re referring, of course to some of the graduates of the US Army’s School Of The Americas at Ft. Benning. The training took place there, the arming and funding came from the US as AID funds and was then misdirected by the puppet governments our government put in place, especially in Central America. This was done mostly in support of United Fruit Company and others, which used the nations there (and Cuba as well) as plantations throughout the 40s, 50s, and 60s, at least. It’s worth noting that this was completely bipartisan–both dem and gop administrations participated.

    Similar situations prevailed in other nations as well–Anaconda Copper in Chile, for example, and prior to expropriation, US and European oil companies in Mexico and Venezuela.

    Hell, it isn’t even exclusively American–The Brits manipulated Argentina for a long time, Portugal in Brazil, The Spaniards everywhere, etc., etc.

    Even the fact that we call ourselves “Americans”, as if we’re the only people in the hemisphere, is a thorn in their collective sides.

    But, as I said in #35, the chief reason these days is economic–we so completely dominate the hemisphere, it makes them feel dependent and to a degree, powerless to control their own destinies.

  • troll

    agreed Clavos – well said

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    Mr Manning: I don’t care which way you write my name and I’ve never heard anyone ever discuss it outside a classroom. You know, you sure do moan a lot about the country you live in. What’s the matter, are you really so unhappy there?

    As to your question to me, I’ve already answered it once up there in #36 and with regard to your presumption, there’s nothing I said that indicates I’m a leftie, and I’m not, nor does anything I wrote in any way suggest I know better than anybody else – it’s called dialogue.

    Mr Nalle and you can believe what you like but as far as I remember from history class and family stories, in Britain the resentment against the USA began during WW2, and I believe that’s fairly common knowledge.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    It’s always the same with some types, Christopher. Anyone failing to slavishly parrot the divine guidance of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh is automatically labeled leftist, even when nothing else is known about their political ideas.

    Likewise with the BBC. Because it persisted in looking for the facts of certain stories, such as the purported vast arsenal of nukes in Saddam’s back pocket, and refused to swallow as gospel truth anything and everything the Bush administration claimed about the situation in Iraq prior to the U.S. invasion, the conservadroids have all been parroting their baseless claim that the BBC must be “leftist” and biased.

    All without any shred of evidence, mind you. The entire concept of evidence only comes into their minds when they demand it from someone else. Even then, it’s only a trap. The far right extremists who falsely claim the label of “conservative” always demand that their worldview be considered the unquestionable default truth, automatically rejecting any and all evidence that might contradict their beliefs.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Mr Nalle and you can believe what you like but as far as I remember from history class and family stories, in Britain the resentment against the USA began during WW2, and I believe that’s fairly common knowledge.

    You may well be right, Christopher. I wasn’t there at the time. I just know that when I did live in England (in the 70s) the resentment seemed to come more from the younger generation than the older folks there. Maybe the old folks were just more polite. It also seemed to have considerably intensified the second time I lived there (in the 80s), but maybe being 10 years older and in a university environment I was more observant.

    If as you suggest it began in the WW2 period, then it’s more intriguing, as that’s the period when logically they should have been most friendly and accepting of the US. But perhaps it’s one of those situations where their feeling of indebtedness and obligation which could never really be fulfilled metamorphosed into unfocused resentment. That’s not uncommon.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    funny..i was just in England (Bristol)

    and my Observations were varied but of a single experience…

    i had doen a little homework before going, so i woudl have at least a clue as to decent manners and customs before i went…and found that it is usually considered impolite to begin conversations on some topics(such as politics) but ok to start with other subjects…the weather, pets and gardening being considered “safe”

    so this lead to waiting..first for them to figure out i was American and not Canadien (some funny stories there)…then there woudl be some almost stiff formality, until it was broached that i was not a Bush follower…

    oh boy, THEN the conversations opened up

    the general gist of what i found talking to people there was that the majorty liked americans as Individuals, disliked the policies of our Government…got much of their opinions of average citizens from american TV programs that are played over there…

    this included, but was nto limited to…a 2 hour ride with an over 60 Bristol local, a displaced Scot, some Welschmen….more than a dozen from the Bristol area born and raised, 2 whose parents came from India, an African who was married to a Brit and driving a cab as well as numerous folks in the factory i was over there visiting…

    just sharing…

    Excelsior?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    The last time I was over there was early in the Bush regime, when he’d just been elected and right after 9/11. At that time no one was terribly angry at Bush, but the media and the truly virulent left in Britain has had a lot of time to work on them since then.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    funny…i didn’t notice any such obsession…lots of bashing Blair for various reasons…bigtime mashing Galloway for being on Big Brother (as well as being a congenital moron)…

    but sorry, didn’t see any kind of obsession with anythign american, much less Bush…

    during my two weeks there, only CNN international ran any major story on Bush, and it was covering some event he spoke at…completely objective reporting, no editorializing

    so the above comment …
    *but the media and the truly virulent left in Britain has had a lot of time to work on them since then.*

    appears to be a spurious ad hominem not based on fact…if there are any facts to base said attact, please share…otherwise it appears to be typical bashing with no correlation to Reality, but merely serving prejudicial partisan propaganda

    Excelsior?

  • Clavos

    Who mentioned an obsession???

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Re: 56. True, Dave. Absolutely true.

    Only a lot of people here had made their minds up about Bush even before he’d stepped into the White House. The British media was already working into overdrive.

    Christopher Rose, I am unhappy with the attitude here. I think it’s totally unjustified. Just a bunch of crybabies who’d rather bash America than consider revising their terrorism-apologist role in the world at large.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    Here we go through the looking glass…

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Heh, I wish it was the life through the looking glass, Chris. But it’s actually real life – something the Brits, 50% of Americans themselves and most of the rest of the world don’t want to face up to.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    and again we see a typical example of false “framing”…

    the deliberate confusion and conflating of dissent with a governmental Policy and somehow that equating to “hating” your country

    i call bullshit

    when you can begin to rationally and accurately discuss a subject…then you might get taken more seriously

    for now, spare us the poor man’s Fox/Limbaugh

    Excelsior?

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    OH yes, I forgot, Gonzo. You’re the expert. Thank … you … mas- … -ter …

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    yer welcome, bitch…now scrub the damn floors and start with yer reading…Locke would be a good place

    no moving yer lips while yer sounding out the big words

    Excelsior?

  • Bliffle

    Arch Leftist hater: “… leftist……lefties … leftist…leftist …”

    I think this reveals that archie has NO conservative principles, he’s simply a leftist-hater. Thereby he is condemned to simply being the anti-liberal and not a conservative at all.

  • Bliffle

    “America’s agenda conflicts dangerously with that of the international community; ”

    The international community is cynically avoiding taking responsibility for any real action in international affairs while reserving the right to criticize US actions required by the inaction of the internationals. What a bunch of twerps!

  • Bliffle

    “Personally, I love the country but there’s no denying the simple fact that, being a young nation, its world view is, by definition, somewhat juvenile. That’s not even meant to be a criticism by the way, just a simple fact.”

    I think this is wrong. By actually engaging in international affairs, instead of standing on the sidelines, the USA has developed a considerable expertise and finesse in world affairs (tho it’s to the Bush regimes discredit that it has chosen to bypass large parts of that expertise to enforce ideological conformity). It is the ‘international community’ whose inaction has induced them to be naive and immature. Witness Bosnia, Kosova, etc. And their utter corruption wrt the pre-invasion Iraq oil-for-food program.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    Oh, OK, it’s the world that’s wrong, not the USA. Sorry for misunderstanding. Please forgive me…

  • Clavos

    Bliffle 66 & 67:

    Excellent point, well said.

  • Nancy

    I myself get terribly confused, because I know whenever there’s some kind of ecological crisis (tsunami, earthquake, volcano, floods, etc.) the US is just about the first to arrive, with the most aid, ‘way over what any other nation ever proffers, and as far as I know, we’ve never attached strings to that help, either. Therefore I become outraged & isolationist when I hear stuff from abroad like ‘Americans are selfish’. The hell we are: most of those abroad living hand to mouth are alive at all – or have shelter, or medical clinics & schools – because of ‘selfish’ Americans. I never did see the Muslim nations – especially the rich ones – racing to take care of their fellow Muslims after the tsumani and the recent quake. Personally, my impetus when I hear that kind of anti-American slur is to say, ‘fine; then next time there’s a huge crisis, we’ll just keep our money & our medical assistance & our help & let your fellow ____ (fill in the blank) bail your ragged asses out of trouble. Then we’ll see just where all the selfishness really is’.

    Now, that’s only concerning crisis type events. I do understand that when it comes to intervention elsewhere and elsewhen, the US invariably attaches strings (more like cables) to any ‘help’ they offer, and it’s buyer beware if you take American assistance, say, with getting rid of an old junta, etc. But this seems to play against us; almost invariably those we arm & train turn against us & end up costing us more in lives & resources, to the point where you’d think the administration (any administration) and the CIA would learn something from time to time, but it seems they never do. Here we are, arming & training the warlords of Darfur, for instance, and now they’ve kicked over their US traces and are attacking us as well as everybody else. Typical CIA screwup/miscalculation, IMO (I used to work with and know several CIAs, and they’re absolutely insane & out of touch w/reality, they really are; they have a view of their own abilities and powers that are … shall we be charitable & say “unrealistic”?).

    Therefore, I don’t know quite where to stand as far as the issue of America as bully. Yeah, this current administration IMO is horrendous as far as respecting anyone anywhere else. BushCo literally dissed the world early on with his macho shithead posturing (I believe his offense of the Brits early on consisted of some sort of ignorant behavior w/the Queen, due to his own boorishness, & had nothing to do with political reasons; Laura behaved perfectly well, as always, and everyone seemed to approve of her; just George the Lout they had trouble with) re: going it alone, etc. Sometimes we do need to go it alone, if necessary, without the blessings of others, but there are ways to do it that aren’t as gratuitously & egregiously insulting & graceless as the way W. insists on doing it.

    Whatever….

    What do I know. As I said, I’m confused. Talk about someone (in this case the US) being ‘good cop/bad cop’. Can we be so absolutely corrupt on the one hand, and so absolutely generous on the other?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Personally, I love the country but there’s no denying the simple fact that, being a young nation, its world view is, by definition, somewhat juvenile. That’s not even meant to be a criticism by the way, just a simple fact.

    This makes no sense and is factually incorrect. The nations of Europe are not ‘old’ nations, they are old cultures. The actual nation states there are typically substantially younger than the US. As nations Germany, Italy and most of the eastern European nations have substantially less longevity than the US. As governments very few European nations have governments which can match the US in longevity under the same system of government. Only a few of the monarchies have greater longevity. So what you’re arguing is that our culture is more juvenile, yet we are direct inheritors of British culture and bits of culture from a thousand other nations, and what unique culture we have is merely the evolution of that base culture over the years, just as the same base culture in Canada or Australia or Britain itself has evolved.

    The argument that the US is culturally ‘juvenile’ is entirely self-serving, designed solely to minimize and dismiss whatever issues from the US. It shows a eurocentric bias which is based on wishful thinking rather than fact, and expresses irrational resentment of the US.

    What actually sets the US apart from the European nations is that our society remains somewhat more dynamic and flexible, with more acceptance of individual initiative and social and economic mobility. That is apparently threatening to Europeans, so some of them feel a need to run it down and sneer at it, with very little merit. I’d rather be chaotic and undisciplined – as America suirely is – than decadent and condescending.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    Unless someone is trying to break into the circles of the habitues of the Almanac de Gotha, Dave, how is Europe less flexible socially or economically? My understanding (I’ve never been there, mind, I admit) is that if you’ve got money, you’re socially acceptable anywhere – just like in the US.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    You’re right in theory, Nancy, but in practice people in Europe generally move and change jobs less than people in the US do. There’s also a much more structured system of social classes in most European nations and a strong resentment of the nouveau riche – which I think automatically extends to all Americans. Many in Europe still hold to the belief that people should ‘know their place’ in society and stick to it. They’re outraged when their relatives marry the ‘wrong kind of person’, be that for social, ethnic or political reasons. From what I’ve observed there’s certainly a strong sense of racism and classism whch is much less pronounced in the US.

    Dave

  • zingzing

    hrm. while i would agree with most of #71, i can’t really agree with #73.

    i think chris is being a bit eurocentric, but that’s because he lives there. i wouldn’t presume to know so much about america if i were in europe, but he sees what he sees.

    i think that our culture may not run as deep as several european cultures, but it certainly is more broad (although europe is catching up). there is a diversity here that is truly unmatched in the world. as far as government goes, especially foreign policy, i think we need to step back a bit. we need to remember that we are a part of the world, and not its savior or ruler or any of that nonsense.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    Dave, just give it up man, you just don’t get it and it seems those brain cells of yours are just too set in their ways to adapt to the new world. Pity, almost.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    Nancy, Dave’s mindset is out of date and hasn’t allowed for the extremely rapid social, cultural and political changes currently going on in both the new Europe and the wider world. I can barely keep up myself!

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    ZingZing: I’m not saying Europe is superior to the USA, I’ll leave that kind of mental farting to others, but let’s just say things ain’t what they used to be. The game is changing, rapidly.

  • zingzing

    chris and dave… how long have you two been battling over this little question? a year? two? do you ever get anywhere? i think you’re both being foolish and partisan. chris likes europe. dave likes america. it’s painfully obvious. can’t you see that you are going around in circles? that neither of you will ever convince the other and that your arguments are getting progessively weaker and full of shit? it’s getting redundant. has been for a while actually.

    america and europe are different. both have their good sides. both have their faults. both have legitimate complaints against the other. live with it. chris, just because europe is older DOES NOT make it better, and just because america doesn’t pay you any mind doesn’t make it wrong (sometimes foolish, but not automatically so). dave, you obviously have a chip on your shoulder concerning europe and it is skewing your view; is it because the are more leftist than you?

    oh dear, get over it. most of us are damn near sick of you two blathering on as if you are gods or something. you have your points. we have heard them. you have heard them. memorize them. write them down. let us never speak of it again.

  • zingzing

    chris, you are saying europe is superior. unless you want to say that europe sucks, that makes europe better than america, because basically, you can cut your arguments down to the u.s.a. sucks.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Nancy, Dave’s mindset is out of date and hasn’t allowed for the extremely rapid social, cultural and political changes currently going on in both the new Europe and the wider world. I can barely keep up myself!

    Chris, I’m just passing on the opinions of relatives living in Europe when it comes to this aspect of the discussion. Yes, there are rapid changes, but from what I’ve been told there’s large and growing resentment of those changes in a lot of the population, especially those over the age of 30 or so. This may be something limited to Germany and the UK where my relatives are, but from everything I read in the news and elsewhere seems to bear out what I’ve been told.

    And Zing, I’m sorry if our ongoing discussion of this topic irritates you, but I’m glad you do admit that Chris’s position largely comes down to ‘the usa sucks’ with no real evidence to back his position up.

    Dave

  • methuselah

    “What actually sets the US apart from the European nations is that our society remains somewhat more dynamic and flexible, with more acceptance of individual initiative and social and economic mobility.”

    True. My wife (who is European, living in the US, and now a citizen), decided to start painting a few years ago. All her US friends were enthusiastic, encouraged her, were glad to see her pictures, and told her she should sell them, which she did for about $300-$600 each, even on the internet to strangers. By contrast her European family and friends sneered at her, told her she had no training, that she would fail. Where do you suppose she prefers to live? She speaks several languages, and Spanish good enough to work in Spanish. She has properties in Europe, even in Paris, and she prefers to live in California.

  • zingzing

    dave: “Zing, I’m sorry if our ongoing discussion of this topic irritates you.”

    it’s not the discussion itself that bothers me, it’s the fact that it hasn’t progressed at all in several months. you are at an impasse.

    i think that both of you are using a few facts that you only choose to use because they fit your skewed views.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    ok….just a couple of things here…

    folks are talking abotu “europe” as if it were a single mass culture

    nothing could be further from the Truth

    myself, personally…i have always enjoyed the open friendliness fo the scandanavian countries (including Holland) whereas i wasn’t thrilled with Spain, Italy or France…just my personal take on the places as a visitor…

    bu tthe big thing is the very Title fo this article

    where the fuck does any American get off on the Idea that we, as a Nation, shoudl be either an Empire or a “Ruler” ? of anything???

    dopey fucking me, here i had thought that part of our Ethic as a Nation was all about Liberty..and that we fought our Revoloution to toss aside the yoke of Imperialism

    so..i Reject the entire premise as fallacious from the sheer title…and the audacity to type such drivel clearly gives a glimpse into a certain mentality

    a fucking shame that such mentalities exist in our Nation

    your mileage may vary

    Excelsior?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    where the fuck does any American get off on the Idea that we, as a Nation, shoudl be either an Empire or a “Ruler” ? of anything???

    I wanted to bring that up myself, but by the time I’d discovered this article the discussion had already moved pretty far away from the silly premise in the title.

    The truth, of course, is that America is neither an Evil Empire or a Benevolent Ruler. We’re more like the shop on the corner which is looking for a way to branch out into franchises.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    We’re more like the shop on the corner which is looking for a way to branch out into franchises.

    Hell of a fine analogy. I like that.

  • Dave Nalle

    I left out the part where the people in the neighborhood think we’re turning into MacDonalds and start picketing us.

    Dave

  • Patrick

    Nancy, re # 70
    You are quite wrong about Muslim contributions to the tsunami. Several Muslim countries immediately pledged large amounts and the agency Muslim Aid was on the ground immediately (from regional centers in Malaysia initially. Where the U.S. is outstanding (quite ironically) is not in sending food aid but in flying in complete military field hospitals. For which, in Yogya last month, many thanks. In terms of proportionate response to food aid emergencies, the Scandinavian countries easily top the list. Not the United States. And to your question: “Can we be so absolutely corrupt on the one hand, and so absolutely generous on the other?” The answer is yes because the two behaviors are not ipso facto linked. I’m not making a direct comparison here but Machiavelli was actually quite a generous chap to those he favored!

  • Patrick

    A PS: The reason you didn’t see Muslim aid agencies at work is because the United States media predominantly features U.S. efforts. But then, the media in other countries (UK, Australia, etc.) quite naturally give prominence to their own nationals at work. I can assure you from personal experience that Muslim aid agencies (religious and secular)have been working flat out in the Yogya situation and in Aceh before that.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    Sorry for the late update but a boy has to sleep sometime. I don’t know where ZingZing or Dave get the idea that I think the USA sucks. I’ve never said that and don’t think that. I do think many US citizens can’t think their way out of a paper bag and you two seem to be part of that group as you both keep making stuff up.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    I suppose I should counter-balance that statement by adding that a modest majority of the smartest/most interesting people I know or read are from the USA.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    ..::: slowly takes the muzzle from Christopher’s temple:::..

    there there…much better now…

    off with ya, go and enjoy yer tea…

    balance, me boyo…the most vocal are usually not representative of the most numbers, they just have the megaphones and the hubris ta use ’em

    ————————————————

    we now return you to your regularily scheduled program…the Management wishes to ensure you that no Editors were harmed in the making of this snark-attack

    Excelsior?

  • Bliffle

    “where the fuck does any American get off on the Idea that we, as a Nation, shoudl be either an Empire or a “Ruler” ? of anything???”

    I think the idea comes from having watched the International Community completely screw things up in the first half of the 20th century, partly through neglect, bitter nationalism and greed. The US didn’t want to watch another episode of fumbling toward WW3, which would have been worldwide and nuclear. The UN is a failed hope that something outside our private world would be able to do it. And the European states we sheltered have failed to develop the statesmanship to unite and arm themselves so they could handle local messes like Yugoslavia: they were simply too complacent to enjoy their increasing wealth and let the US provide international police work while they took cheap shots from the sidelines. The Europeans failed to shoulder their responsibilities. We had to invent NATO to even get them involved at all.

    IMO, most US citizens would be glad to see Europe develop enough military muscle and statesmanship to deal with European problems, but we wait in vain.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    well Bliffle, my Thinking is that with the Eu, the end of the USSR and the quelling of the eternal Balkan conflict due to the arrest and trial of Milosovic and his cronies…

    the US can just keep NATO and leave Europe to be Europe…perhaps our closest Partner on the world stage

    my Point stands, neither Empire nor Ruler should the U.S. be

    lead by Example…show what Liberty can do, and live up to the highest possible standards of Ethical conduct to show that not only CAN it be done in such a Way…

    but that by doing so, it can increase both individual freedoms as well as standard of Living

    in the EU, the scandanavian nations seem to “get it” and have developed their own Way which appears to be working for them, and continuously evolving

    “we don’t know how to mind our own Business,
    cuz the whole world’s got to be
    just like us…
    now, we are fighting a War , over there…
    no matter who’s the winner, we can’t pay the Cost…”

    Monster by Steppenwolf

    funny how some Things go full Circle…

    Excelsior?

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    Bliffle, I would agree with you if it wasn’t for two facts:-

    1. The UN was formed in large part thanks to the efforts of the USA in alliance with what are now the four other permanent Security Council members of China, France, Great Britain and Russia.

    2. The UN is crippled by the fact that one of those countries not only owes hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid contributions but also constantly undermines it by complaining how ineffective it is.

    To save the anti-UN crowd the trouble of bothering, this is not an attack on that country, but it is FACT.

  • Clavos

    To save the anti-UN crowd the trouble of bothering, this is not an attack on that country, but it is FACT.

    Undeniably. As is this:

    The UN is crippled by the fact that one of those countries…constantly undermines it by complaining how ineffective it is.

    Also undeniable. Because it is, from our POV.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    2. The UN is crippled by the fact that one of those countries not only owes hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid contributions but also constantly undermines it by complaining how ineffective it is.

    Christopher, which came first, the chicken or the egg? The UN was ineffective and corrupt long before the US began withholding money. Lack of money doesn’t cause corruption, very much the opposite in fact. That money is the only leverage we have to try to force reform on the UN short of pulling out and starting all over again. Would you prefer that?

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    And let me add, Christopher, that the total the US is withholding from the UN is $34 million. That’s about 1/400th of the total UN budget. I’m sure that’s crippling. I know that when I accidentally lose ten dollars it throws my entire month’s finances off.

    Give me a break.

    Dave

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Bliffle – I agree with you so much about what you say, but I am confused by your antipathy toward Archie.

    By your reasoning, is some liberal who spends 99.9% of his time bashing conservatives simply a conservative-basher and not a true liberal?

  • SonnyD

    Dave: #97 Is that figure current? I thought I heard, when the US went to the UN before the invasion of Iraq, it was said that we paid up all the back dues or whatever it was we were withholding. Did that ever happen or am I just dreaming that I heard that at least twice on the news?

  • Bliffle

    “… I am confused by your antipathy toward Archie.

    By your reasoning, is some liberal who spends 99.9% of his time bashing conservatives simply a conservative-basher and not a true liberal?”

    I don’t care about liberals. And a person who is motivated only by liberal-bashing is not worth reading because he makes no cogent points. Just as a conservative-hating liberal. Or a jew-hating palestinian. Etc. They are people molded by what they hate.

  • Dave Nalle

    Dave: #97 Is that figure current? I thought I heard, when the US went to the UN before the invasion of Iraq, it was said that we paid up all the back dues or whatever it was we were withholding. Did that ever happen or am I just dreaming that I heard that at least twice on the news?

    At one point we owed $127 million which had built up over a number of years. The smaller $34 million figure appears to be for just the last couple of years.

    Dave

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    Dave, when the USA accepts that it is just another voice in the crowd and conducts itself accordingly rather than somehow thinking it is better than all the rest, then your country would be a fit member of the UN and possibly more appropriate to be considered as a world citizen or leader. As it is, it’s current juvenile pretention that it is somehow more deserving than any other country and doesn’t need to follow the customs and manners of the entire rest of the planet disbar it from that role or status.

    In the meantime, you might want to consider the profound stupidity of remarks like “lack of money doesn’t cause corruption”.

    I’d also invite you to consider the pros and cons of trying to bully other nations into doing your bidding and riding roughshod over everybody else’s opinions, based on precious little more than the attitude you espouse so dearly, that the USA is somehow “better” than everywhere else. That is truly juvenile and offensive to people of goodwill everywhere. Who knows what real extremists who actually have a very different agenda make of it, but I doubt it’s anything good.

    One classic example is the so-called war on terror. If the USA gave one moral damn about these issues in any meaningful way, it would be addresing the regimes currently ruling in countries like Burma, Zimbabwe and half a dozen or more other nations around the world where real human rights abuses are practised on a systemic level. It would not be wasting vast fortunes on pounding countries like Afghanistan or Iraq back into the Stone Age and then another huge fortune on rebuilding the infrastrucure it just destroyed.

    Of course, that would take some real moral authority and leadership, qualities that are noticeably absent both in the current controversial leadership of your adopted country or indeed in any of your own writings, which I have long ago categorised as mindless “USA first” propoganda rather than any serious attempt to engage with the profound challenges we face on this planet. That is a tragedy for both the world and your good self, in my opinion.

    I take it I am still entitled to an opinion in your imagined new world order?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Chris,

    You wrote,

    “…when the USA accepts that it is just another voice in the crowd and conducts itself accordingly rather than somehow thinking it is better than all the rest, then your country would be a fit member of the UN and possibly more appropriate to be considered as a world citizen or leader.”

    You make some good points, but there are two things missing from your ruminations/ranting (depends on how one views what you say – they fall in the middle IMHO – “a ranting ruminator” ;o))).

    The first is that America has not yet undergone the “Little England” experience of being forced to shed an empire out of lack of money or energy to run it. This understanding informs those first few words of yours.

    The second is that America and Americans view themselves as a “city on a hill,” the last best hope of mankind that can do no wrong. This sense underlies both the seeming super-patriotism of some on BC (affirming the vision of the “city on a hill”), and the terrible sense of outrage of other Americans (seeing “the city on the hill” disappoint their expectations of it). Both are patriots in the best and deepest sense of the word.

    So your comments that the USA seem somewhat juvenile could be seen as correct.

    The fact remains that the UN is largely America’s vision, like it or not. So is the World Bank, and the IMF. And the UN, the mechanism through which the US was to be the “benevolent” primus inter pares running the world, has been hijacked by a pack of second rate tyrants and fools. What other name can you give the rulers of such beknighted places like Sudan and Libya?

    Looking at the big red-white-and-blue dog that is America, it is an empire that is not really benevolent – but its people are a first rate crowd who give its government international good will – which the government then wastes.

    Ruvy,
    Writing from the real “city on a hill”

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Dave, when the USA accepts that it is just another voice in the crowd and conducts itself accordingly rather than somehow thinking it is better than all the rest, then your country would be a fit member of the UN and possibly more appropriate to be considered as a world citizen or leader.

    Sorry not to have responded sooner, but it took about 3 hours for me to recover from my fit of laughter. This is exactly why the UN us a failure. People like you and people in the UN actually believe ridiculous statements like this. Until they can come to terms with the political and economic realities of the world they will never be an effective organization. If they are mired in the kind of provincial and unrealistic wishful thinking you display then their efforts are meaningless.

    As it is, it’s current juvenile pretention that it is somehow more deserving than any other country and doesn’t need to follow the customs and manners of the entire rest of the planet disbar it from that role or status.

    This isn’t a ‘juvenile pretention’, it’s a fact. The US has the economic and military power as well as a moral legitimacy which sets it apart from smaller, weaker and poorer countries. The founding principle of the UN that all nations should be treated equally is at the heart of why the UN just doesn’t work.

    In the meantime, you might want to consider the profound stupidity of remarks like “lack of money doesn’t cause corruption”.

    Or you might want to consider what I was saying rather than resorting to your usual dismissiveness towards things you don’t want to understand.

    I’d also invite you to consider the pros and cons of trying to bully other nations into doing your bidding and riding roughshod over everybody else’s opinions, based on precious little more than the attitude you espouse so dearly, that the USA is somehow “better” than everywhere else. That is truly juvenile and offensive to people of goodwill everywhere. Who knows what real extremists who actually have a very different agenda make of it, but I doubt it’s anything good.

    Christopher, people of good will agree with other people of good will. So if they ARE of good will as you suggest then they will tend to agree with the US. If they do not fall in with the US and our good intentions then their intentions are inherently suspect. It’s pretty simple.

    One classic example is the so-called war on terror. If the USA gave one moral damn about these issues in any meaningful way, it would be addresing the regimes currently ruling in countries like Burma, Zimbabwe and half a dozen or more other nations around the world where real human rights abuses are practised on a systemic level.

    These countries certainly have problems, but it’s a War on Terror, not a war on corruption and poor government. Because these countries don’t present a threat to the rest of the world you can’t realistically expect their problems to be addressed as part of the War on Terror.

    It would not be wasting vast fortunes on pounding countries like Afghanistan or Iraq back into the Stone Age and then another huge fortune on rebuilding the infrastrucure it just destroyed.

    The key difference here is that Iraq and Afghanistan were terrorist sponsoring nations. Pretty damned obvious difference, really.

    Of course, that would take some real moral authority and leadership, qualities that are noticeably absent both in the current controversial leadership of your adopted country or indeed in any of your own writings, which I have long ago categorised as mindless “USA first” propoganda rather than any serious attempt to engage with the profound challenges we face on this planet. That is a tragedy for both the world and your good self, in my opinion.

    We get it. You don’t understand the US or the principles on which it operates. You fear and hate what you don’t understand. You resent me because I challenge your misconceived assumptions. You understand so little that you repeatedly mischaracterize the US and my own beliefs to attempt to legitimize your own desperately mistaken beliefs, but as you continue to rant in direct contradiction of obvious reality you just look more and more ridiculous.

    I take it I am still entitled to an opinion in your imagined new world order?

    Since my ‘world order’ as you call it is based on basic principles of freedom and natural law your right to hold an opinion would be fundamental and protected if I ever had a world order to promote, no matter how ill-informed and bigoted those opinions happen to be.

    Dave

  • Patrick

    America: Evil Empire Or Benevolent Ruler?
    Her name was Abeer. She was 14. Her sister was 5.
    Their parents and the little girl were murdered after Abeer was raped in the next room and killed.
    Thank you America for bringing democracy to Iraq. Oh, and thanks for not raping the 5-year-old.

  • troll

    so…does one have to accept the premiss that there is an objective relationship between human nature morality and law to be a ‘good’ american – ?

    the founding documents which rely on ‘self evidence’ imply that this is the case

    perhaps subjectivists and inter-subjectivists should carry brands on their foreheads and be banned from voting booths

    troll

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    So Patrick, your theory is that the entire plan behind the Iraq war was to give one psychopath the opportunity to do his raping and murdering in Iraq instead of here in the US? You think that (as yet unconvicted) Pvt. Green did what he is accused of under orders from the government, perhaps? That doesn’t fit well with the plans to have him tried and executed. How ungrateful of the government which sent him there to rape and murder people.

    Dave

  • Amanda

    Wow! Not one but five “psychopaths” in the same unit. I wonder what the odds are against that?

  • corporation slave

    Yeah Amerika really sorted out Yugoslavia, by launching an illegal war, by arming Muslim fundamentalists and Croatian nationalists and bombing the hell out of the place to create several “ethnically pure” mini states ran by puppet governments and then writing into the “peace deal” that Amerika can then have troops stationed there on a permanent basis oh and lets not forget the Amerikan death squads in South America.

  • Nigel Biles

    This is an absurd notion that the U.S. is a benevolent ruler. I live in America and I know that our country may not be an evil empire, but we are by no means good, benevolent, or giving. Most of what we do is done for our own menetary or political gain. We went into Afghanistan and Iraq over oil and slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people to do it. I do not know as much about the complications in Asia or Europe, being a juvenile myself, but our press makes no effort to make our ignorant sheeple to turn away from American Idol and pop culture long enough so they will see our country falling down around their ears, or to realize how screwed up and innefective our Great Nation is at “helping” the world around them. The United States of America may not be Nazi Germany, but we are not at all benevolent rulers that only stand for liberty, justice, and freedom. Those principles died before I was born in ’94. But even I can realize what’s going on in the world, even though I’m in the middle of the “States” and 13.

    Nigel

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The absurd notion is that America is the ‘ruler’ of anything outside of our geographic borders and a few far-flung island territories.

    dave

  • Les Slater

    Nigel,

    Don’t worry too much about Dave, he is a defender of US imperialism while denying it exists. He may or may not believe his own rhetoric but statements like his #111 can be safely dismissed.

    Les

  • Clavos

    “He may or may not believe his own rhetoric but statements like his #111 can be safely dismissed.”

    …Along with pretty much anything Les will say to counter Dave…

    In fact, Nigel, as you travel through life, disbelieve all of what you hear and most of what you read, until you have a chance to verify it for yourself.

    Especially if it comes from professors, philosophers, preachers, priests, politicians or prophets.

    Everyone has an agenda, Nigel.

  • STM

    I’m just re-reading this story and comment thread and just HAVE to pass comment, particularly in regard to Dr Politico’s view, backed up by that of Mark Edward Manning, that Brits resent the US for a revolution 200 years ago.

    Having lived there for many years, and having worked there as an adult, I have never heard that opinion expressed, nor even implied. Not once. Americans might like to believe that is the case for some bizarre reason, but it just isn’t.

    My experience is that most brits like americans, and while they might have issues with the conduct of various US administrations, they are also not averse to having issues with various British governments.

    I would suggest that if they don’t like that stuff, as a free country, they just don’t have to. What Americans DO suffer from in my experience is a very thin skin.

    In the national psyche of the US, there is no room for anyone not American to criticise, and if they do the reason is that they’re resentful etc. Which is a laughable thing in a country that says it bases its whole reason for being on free speech.

    Australians like Americans, but are also not averse to criticising the actions of US administrations.

    If you are going to find any reason for it, find the reason in this: the UK and Australia are democracies.

    Their people are used to criticising the actions of their own governments.

    It is therefore logical also to feel free to ctiticise the actions of the US. But what so worried about what others think anyway? You are big enough surely not to worry about it.

    And on the BBC. It’s platform may not be leftist at all.

    But the truth is, because it is a state-spopnsored broadcaster, many people of a leftist bent gravitate towards it – just like they do in Australia at the ABC.

    Which means that many BBC reports ARE skewed by the political opinions of the staff. They are always carefully couched however, just so they don’t totally cross the line. Part of the BBC charter is about editorial independence, so the management can’t just come rushing down and pull stories because Tony Blair has just phoned and doesn’t like the story about him and Bush. It doesn’t happen.

    But as Manning misses completely, it’s actually good to have another viewpoint from a media outlet not driven by the bottom line.

    Somewhere between the two, you’ll usually find the truth.

    This is one of the reasons why I believe, contrary
    to the view of many Americans, that Britain is actually a society that offers far more genuine freedoms to its citizens than does the US. It might not always seem that way, but you have to have lived there to appreciate it.

    Certainly, British governments of all flavours and their bureacrats, while often mired in red tape, and particularly their independent judiciary, do operate with a deghree of compassion that is often perceptibly lacking on the other side of the pond.

    And at least Britons are well informed as a rule on world issues and happenings. As a rule, Americans aren’t – and right now, they really do need to be given their current place at the head of the global table.

    Which is perhaps what this story is really all about.

    And if America isn’t an imperial power, I’ll eat my hat. Have a look at the history books guys. It’s ALWAYS been an imperial power.

    Not planting the stars and stripes isn’t the issue here. Corporate HQs will do the job just as well and aren’t that different from Union Jacks at every corner of the globe. Actually, atelling factor is the number of US military bases across the world – and there are plenty of those.

    In the end, these factors have EXACTLY the same result: the benefit of the US arguably at the expense of others (to whatever degree, but there’s no doubt the interests of the US are the paramount ones in this). So I ask this, the British were exporting imperialism, but Americans are now just exporting free enterprise and democracy and the American way of life?

    Take a good honest look at yourselves and stop bullsh.tting. America is the new Britain, pure and simple, and probably could learn a lot from them in terms of what not to do.

    But being Americans, it’s a given the US won’t even bother asking, or look at the history books.

    Iraq’s the classic example.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    My experience is that most brits like americans, and while they might have issues with the conduct of various US administrations, they are also not averse to having issues with various British governments.

    Well, true, but it’s the we’re-better-than-all-of-you attitude Americans often exhibit that galls a lot of people. It’s not personal. We’re almost as fascinated by Yanks as they are by Brits, and will generally get on famously with them on an individual basis. Note that the ones we meet are the ones who actually bother to get a passport and take a peep at the world beyond ‘America the Beautiful’, and who therefore have shown at least a willingness to expand their horizons.

  • STM

    Yeah, you’re right. But you know what’s sad about all this Doc.

    I’ve met, what? hundreds of Yanks over the years and loved ’em all – except one (I won’t go there except to wonder whether he’s got used to the instant remodelling of his nose).

    One of ’em was my best mate for years here, and when he moved back to the States to spend time with his mum, I even went over there and we went tripping around the US briefly.

    Which is a pretty good track record. But they ARE thin-skinned sometimes.

    Australians are too. And I reckon I know why in both cases.

    Both, in the early days of their nationhood, suffered a bit of cultural cringe when comparing themselves to the old country.

    We got our own back by beating you bastards at sport all (and bragging about it).

    Americans got their own back by overtaking Britain as the most powerful country in the world (and bragging about it).

    That we’re better than everyone attitude you only find among Americans who aren’t very well educated, in my experience. But they are the ones I find galling and that stick in my mind.

    The others … pretty cool folks. Same goes for Poms, and probably Australians too if the truth be known.

    Aussies are known for their big mouths as well.

    So there’s something in my theory for sure.

    And Canadians. They don;t like Americans because Canadians KNOW they won the war of 1812 and Americans still deludely think the US did.

    How it must gall to hear it called the second war of independence, when America started it.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle


    Don’t worry too much about Dave, he is a defender of US imperialism while denying it exists.

    We can always count on you to oversimplify, Les. And one would think that as a marxist you’d at leat know the difference between capitalism and imperialism.
    n

    Especially if it comes from professors, philosophers, preachers, priests, politicians or prophets.

    Or anyone else who starts with a ‘p’?

    I’m just re-reading this story and comment thread and just HAVE to pass comment, particularly in regard to Dr Politico’s view, backed up by that of Mark Edward Manning, that Brits resent the US for a revolution 200 years ago.

    The American Revolution was one of the best things to ever happen to Britain. It made them realize that the value of colonies came not from direct domination with all the risks and costs it entails, but rather from creating markets for their goods and sources for importing resources. It changed the course of their imperial efforts and led to the philosophy of international capitalism which the US eventually embraced as well.

    Britain is actually a society that offers far more genuine freedoms to its citizens than does the US. It might not always seem that way, but you have to have lived there to appreciate it.

    How does their new nationwide network of surveillance cameras watching everyone fit into that ‘freedom’? IMO it’s easy to be free if you lower the standards by which you define freedom.

    Dave

  • http://www.my-virtual-income.com Christopher Rose

    Cameras don’t reduce people’s freedom Dave, they simply create a record of events.

    If you want to address issues that reduce freedom, you’d be better off focusing on the US Patriot Act…

  • STM

    Dave asks: “How does their new nationwide network of surveillance cameras watching everyone fit into that ‘freedom’? IMO it’s easy to be free if you lower the standards by which you define freedom.”

    Freedom isn’t about a couple cops tracking the movements of binge drinking idiots in a few notorious town centres on Friday and Saturday nights.

    The other cameras are for traffic (and I know you’ve got ’em too).

    I’d like to think at least one of my rights is to walk down the street at night WITHOUT those idiots trying to bash me.

    We have them in a couple of areas of Sydney too.

    And you know what Dave? I don’t know anyone who’s been arrested who didn’t deserve to be.

    The notion of more freedom in America is a myth and a delusion.

  • STM

    Rosey’s right.

    Habeas Corpus is always a good place to start when you’re talking about rights, freedoms and liberty.

  • STM

    Having said all this however, I still don’t think the US is an evil empire.

    Far from it. There are plenty of other countries I’d put WAAAAAY ahead of the US as candidates for that title.

    Empire maybe, but intrinsically evil, no way.

  • Clavos

    “Empire maybe, but intrinsically evil, no way.”

    Unless, of course, you consider (as does much of the world) that the very state of being “empire” is intrinsically evil…

    Which it often is.

    Whether or not America is an “evil” empire is a consequence of the POV of the beholder; as a half American, I’m not objective enough to take a stand on the issue. As a half Mexican, I see evil aspects to America’s imperialism.

    “Poor Mexico. So far from God; so close to the USA.”

  • Les Slater

    Dave,

    “And one would think that as a marxist you’d at leat know the difference between capitalism and imperialism.”

    Only if you stubbornly refuse to give up your mid-19th century mindset. I find Lenin’s ‘Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism’ quite convincing. I’m sure you don’t, but to suggest Lenin was not a Marxist is beyond any credibility.

    Les

  • Silver Surfer

    My, we have revived this old thread nicely haven’t we?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    So privacy is not one of the rights which you consider important in Britain or Australia? I guess that’s fine.

    As I said before, it’s easy to think you’re free when you redefine what freedom means to a lower standard.

    Dave

  • http://www.my-virtual-income.com Christopher Rose

    Please try not to be a complete dork, Dave. The cameras are in public spaces, so privacy isn’t an issue.

    There is and always has been, even during the worst of the IRA bombing campaigns on the mainland, more freedom in Britain, despite the vast amount of dishonest chundering on about it that the US indulges in.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Chris, my point is that peoples expectations are different in the UK and the US. We actually have laws which protect our privacy in our cars and to a certain extent even our privacy in public. I realize that’s an alien concept to you, but that’s my point. Our definitions of freedom are subtly different.

    Dave

  • http://www.my-virtual-income.com Christopher Rose

    It’s not an alien concept, Dave, that’s just another of the little self-delusions you like to cling to.

    We like to be able to go about our business safely, rather than trying to pretend that public spaces are anything other than that.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    It’s not a delusion, Christopher. It’s based on things which both you and STM said a few minutes ago on this thread.

    You’ve clearly stated that you don’t consider cameras watching you in your car or in public places to be an invasion of your privacy.

    Many, many Americans disagree with that perspective. That’s a fact, not a delusion.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    And before you go any further with your fruitless argument, you might want to actually inform youself on the subject. The ACLU is suing various states and cities over this issue, including DC, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Minneapolis, Louisiana and Iowa.

    Dave

  • http://www.my-virtual-income.com Christopher Rose

    I really can’t tell if you are comprehension challenged, Dave, or being wilfully dim and obstructive.

    If some of you Yankees have become so ego-centric as to consider public spaces private, I think most people would consider that a delusion.

    That you consider cameras recording what happens in public spaces a greater threat to freedom than the Patriot Act just goes to show how confused you are.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Christopher, when did I say that anyone considers this issue more of a threat than the Patriot Act? I don’t believe I said any such thing.

    But you know, it IS possible to oppose more than one form of tyrrany, so we can oppose the Patriot Act AND oppose surveillance cameras.

    If some of you Yankees have become so ego-centric as to consider public spaces private, I think most people would consider that a delusion.

    It is not the public space which is private, it is the actions of people in that public space which may be private. People have an expectation that when no other people are present they can behave in certain ways and not be spied on. And like I said, the fact that this does not seem reasonable to you points out the difference between your perspective and ours.

    You can call it a delusion and throw out your usual personal insults, but that doesn’t change the fact that civil rights groups in the US take this issue very seriously, and they’re not just a few crackpots.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    “That you consider cameras recording what happens in public spaces a greater threat to freedom than the Patriot Act just goes to show how confused you are.”

    Not greater, but a threat even so.

    Some cities have even begun to install cameras with face recognition software in entertainment districts; Ybor City in Tampa, Florida is one such. How long wil it be before the courts decide that the government has a right to put cameras in boardrooms, and one day even in bedrooms?

    After all, it wasn’t that long ago that the government asserted the right to regulate people’s sexual behavior in their own bedrooms. There are still millions of people in this country who regard that as appropriate; should they gain sufficient power, the behavior will once again be proscribed and the cameras won’t be far behind.

    Need proof? Listen to Huckabee’s speeches. It’s not rocket surgery to extrapolate from them that he would love to regulate private behavior voyeuristically.

    These kinds of things do tend to mushroom, at least in this country.

    “We like to be able to go about our business safely…”

    I am reminded of Ben Franklin’s well known observation:

    “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Cameras in public spaces are no threat unless they are abused, and the concern of privacy advocates in the UK is that they are abused. At the moment, it’s mainly only by voyeuristic cops and others who think it’s a good giggle to spy on people just because they can. The line is crossed when this surveillance equipment is used to pry into people’s private business (which BTW, Chris, is often conducted in public) for no good reason.

    While there hasn’t been much danger of that in the past from British governments, this current one is far too cosy with the Bush administration and its Ahmed-Under-the-Bed paranoia.

    I was in London recently. While cameras are very prevalent, I never felt worried that a police officer or a man in a sinister dark suit was going to come up to me and ask what I was doing standing around on that corner just now. There are also millions of cameras in Las Vegas, and I feel far more uncomfortable there than in Britain.

    It’s a fine line. At what point do we all start thinking it’s OK for the government to put cameras in our homes? That day is a long way off, but it needs to be guarded against.

    As Juvenal warned: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  • http://www.my-virtual-income.com Christopher Rose

    Clavos, you seem to be sharing the same confusion as Dave.

    I’m going to ignore his nonsense as, to judge by his, let’s be generous and call it deliberate mis-comprehension, he seems determined to cling to it and he objects to being mocked, whilst simultaneously calling another colleague “clinically insane”, “stunningly stupid”, “a complete moron” and so on.

    However, I would have hoped that you would see that there is a clear difference between merely watching and/or recording what happens in public, which doesn’t infringe upon anyone’s freedom at all, and the powers granted by the Patriot Act, which is a matter far more suited to your Franklin quote.

    Going back to the cameras issue, I don’t really see how we get from cameras in streets to the prospect of having them in either boardrooms or bedrooms; that seems like paranoid conjecture to me, but then my freedom is under less threat than that of you guys in the USA…

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Chris, I have to point out that Dr. D. and many others in Britain seem to get the issue with surveillance cameras.

    The Patriot Act has not been abused, yet we object to it because of the potential for abuse. Public surveillance cameras carry that same potential for abuse – and even moreso when coupled with legislation like the Patriot Act.

    You know, Britain has its own laws which are every bit as bad as the Patiot Act, and many of them predate it. You guys led the way. You’ve denied Habeas Corups under the Special Immigration Appeals Commission which was created by your Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Bill which is your equivalent of the Patriot Act and just about as bad and it was just the start of a series of acts which culminate with your new government’s anti-terror bill which will allow people to be detained for up to 6 weeks without even a hearing.

    As I said before, you have lower expectations of freedom because you have always enjoyed less freedom. Not a huge amount less, and still a lot more than most countries, but your standards ARE different.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I do think it’s cute how when Chris is so obviously wrong he just becomes more condescending and defenseive, though.

    Oh, and as to my ‘insults’ to Adam Ash, they are either accurate descriptions based on his ludicrous article or not personal in nature.

    Dave

  • http://www.my-virtual-income.com Christopher Rose

    Dave, I simply don’t accept that we have less freedom in the UK than the USA. You lot go round believing you live in the land of the free, which I consider one of the most successful big lies of all time, but there is far more regulation and law in the US than here, despite the rising tide of EU law.

    Our current government is quite a cause for concern, as it was set on a seriously misjudged road by the recently departed arch deceiver Blair. Hopefully the country will recover from the dangerous momentum he created as it has so many times in the past.

  • Les Slater

    “People have an expectation that when no other people are present they can behave in certain ways and not be spied on.”

    And they should. This is not ‘just’ a few cameras in public places. It’s part of a pattern. There are also phone and web tracking, purchasing information and even medical records that have become ‘public’ records. Every fuckin insurance company and creepy Human Resources flunky have increasing access to them. In the big picture of things, this invasion of privacy has little to do with protecting public places. It’s more about giving opportunity for some to make an extra buck. Again, the major use of this invasion of privacy is NOT to track criminals.

    I know from experience that when one exercises their right to address grievances committed by various agencies of government there is often intimidation. I was protesting at a Federal building and a cop came up and asked for identification. I refused and he informed me he was from Homeland Security. Just another flunky so I just stepped onto city property. No further attempt to demand that I identify myself. But there were some cop assholes that made a big deal of photographing everybody there. This is nothing but an attempt at intimidation.

  • http://www.my-virtual-income.com Christopher Rose

    Dave, as a person who openly tags himself as both an elitist and a pig, your words not mine, it is always hugely comedic when you try to paint me as condescending and I’m not trying to be defensive at all.

    It’s presumably your giant ego, which is positively galactic in its scope, that prevents you from seeing the error of your ways, whether it is in your “perception” of matters political or your inability to see that your subjective opinions are just that and nothing more.

    I find your entire political stance to range between wish fulfilment and seriously deluded, with a prolonged diversion round the utterly insane, but I don’t go round arrogantly referring to you in the way you do to others such as Adam.

    You can, and should, debate the subject matter without tossing around the personal remarks so freely.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Don’t mind Chris, everyone. He’s just grouchy because his team didn’t win today.

    😉

  • Clavos

    “You lot go round believing you live in the land of the free, which I consider one of the most successful big lies of all time, but there is far more regulation and law in the US than here, despite the rising tide of EU law.”

    …Which is precisely why you should be able to see why some of us are alarmed at the installation of “crime control” cameras in public places.

    And, IMO, it is decidedly NOT such a great step from cameras in public places to spying on people in private settings, as Les so eloquently pointed out above.

    Trust your government if you want to. I don’t trust either of mine, and they rarely prove me wrong.

  • http://pointlessannointed.blogspot.com/ Colin

    Singing: As long as we beat the English, we don’t care…

    Gwlad, gwlad… etc.

  • http://pointlessannointed.blogspot.com/ Colin

    And on this rather patronising, preachy and simplistic article – No America is neither Evil empire nor benevolent ruler. Do I win a bun?

  • Dan

    If street camera’s aren’t objectionable, for reasons of safety, then why not recordings of conversations? Or inspection of library materials conducted at public libraries. As with the Patriot Act.

    Phone conversations are all conducted over governmentally regulated transmission lines, or electronic airwaves.

    If there is to be no expectation of visual privacy in the public domain, then why do some draw the line at audio privacy, as in phone conversations between terrorists?

    I understand the medium implications here. An illegality commited on the streets is there for anyone present to see. But for a successful prosecution a judge and jury, who weren’t present, would need to focus on a recording.

    Whereas a successful intervention in a terrorist conspiracy plot would sometimes require a focus on a suspect before the illegality occured.

    That is admittedly a distinction.

    But if privacy in the public domain is the issue, and the only expectation of privacy one has is in their homes, then why should one expect that their calls, transmitted outside their homes, should be off limits to governmental detection anymore than a street thug’s expectation to privacy outside her home.

    Not trying to pick an argument here. Or to say that one is and one isn’t. Just wondering what the reasoning might be.

    If it’s the distinction I mentioned –spying beforehand, as opposed to taking a look after the allegation — then that seems a little bit trivial to me, when you consider that a street thug has a “presumed innocence” before his incriminating past is spyed on.

    On the other hand, most anyone with any vague sense of a link between freedom and privacy, would probably agree that in either case, the focus of the detection should be the only prosecuted offense. A suspected terrorist who only makes a drug deal for instance.

    Personally, I don’t expect privacy in either case.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Colin, if you have any more buns you’ll explode.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Dan, I gave up expecting privacy years ago when I knew the KGB was monitoring everything we did, and then later when the FBI was tailing me as a ‘subversive’ or some silly shit like that. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t WANT to have that privacy. It’s why I moved to my current semi-rural small-town community, where I know the local cops, and everyone looks out for everyone else, and everyone is armed, and big government is none too popular.

    But despite all that, the county has put cameras at the intersection at the end of our road, and while I suppose it makes me feel a bit violated, it bothers me more because of the mindless waste of money and resources which it represents, to provide a service and a protection which no one wants or needs, except maybe the government bureaucrats who raise money from issuing tickets remotely, and maybe the insurance companies looking for opportunities to raise rates.

    Dave

  • Silver Surfer

    Dave, you have this thing about cameras in public places that are actually designed not just to prevent crime but to attack it while it’s happening.

    It works, and I don’t have a problem with it.

    I’ll tell you why … laws exist to stop people misuing it (ie, perving on women etc) and I know there have been prosecutions in regard to it.

    Just because Ben Franklin uttered some bollocks about giving up freedom for security, doesn’t mean it’s right.

    He was just a man, not a fu.king saint. This is where you blokes fall down with this stuff.

    You’e stuck in the late 1700s (especially with the 2nd amendment, which if you were to apply it like everything else you do to 200 years ago, you’d all be walking around with muzzle loading single shot muskets … actually, not a bad idea).

    If I’m walking around in PUBLIC space known for its high-crime rate, I’m glad to have the cameras.

    I guess the choice comes down to a proliferation of guns and the highest gun murder rate of any western nation and no one looking out for me, or a couple of cameras keeping an eye out for idiots.

    I know which one hurst my sensibilities most.

    I still maintain I have a right to walk around without being harrassed, and if cameras are needed to do that, so be it.

    And I’ll say it again: the only people I know of who’ve been arrested as a result are people who deserve to be.

    I’ll say this again: the notion that America has more freedoms than a country like this are a myth.

    You don’t, and the reality is you might actually have less.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Dave, you have this thing about cameras in public places that are actually designed not just to prevent crime but to attack it while it’s happening.

    The police CANNOT prevent crime. They can’t do it even with a video camera. Response time still factors in and most crimes are done and gone before they could react even if notified by video.

    The police can follow up on a crime arrest the perpetrator and see that he’s punished and therefore commits no further crimes, but that’s really all we should expect from them.

    It works, and I don’t have a problem with it.

    Does it? Britain’s crime statistics have not gone down since cameras were put in place.

    Just because Ben Franklin uttered some bollocks about giving up freedom for security, doesn’t mean it’s right.

    It’s not right because Franklin said it, it’s right and he was wise enough to see it and express it well. He’s hardly the first or the only person to express the concept that freedom comes with responsibility.

    You’e stuck in the late 1700s (especially with the 2nd amendment, which if you were to apply it like everything else you do to 200 years ago, you’d all be walking around with muzzle loading single shot muskets … actually, not a bad idea).

    Actually the usual conclusion from that exercise in reductio ad absurdam is that we’d all have our own personal battle tanks and nuclear weapons.

    If I’m walking around in PUBLIC space known for its high-crime rate, I’m glad to have the cameras.

    I’d rather have a gun. Having a video of getting murdered is not a hell of a lot of use after you’re dead.

    I guess the choice comes down to a proliferation of guns and the highest gun murder rate of any western nation

    Are you more dead if you’re killed with a gun than if you’re killed with a knife or a stick?
    They have gun control right next door to us in Mexico yet they have a higher rate of violent death there than they do in post-invasion Iraq.

    and no one looking out for me, or a couple of cameras keeping an eye out for idiots.

    What happens when the government decides it’s time to keep an eye out for whether you’re smoking a cigarette or drinking a beer or feeling up a woman who’s not your wife?

    And I’ll say it again: the only people I know of who’ve been arrested as a result are people who deserve to be.

    If the police could read peoples thoughts and sense in advance the intent to commit a crime would you support having them arrested on that basis?

    I’ll say this again: the notion that America has more freedoms than a country like this are a myth.

    I would say that we have some different freedoms and value various freedoms more and others less than you do.

    Dave

  • Dan

    Dave, I agree completely with you about the cameras. Although private cameras in 7-11’s or Wal-mart parking lots don’t bother me at all.

    Those Brit’s have it all backward. Nothing enhances one’s security more than the freedom to carry a decent, sufficiently lethal weapon. More precisely, it’s the simple fact that the freedom is there, not the weapon itself, that keeps the criminals at bay.

    Great Britain’s extremely stupid defiance of common sense, (even by liberalism standards), by enacting the 1997 gun ban, is the reason they now need security cameras.

    I guess the next logical step for Brit’s, is to install Gov-cams in their homes since home invasion stats are skyrocketing. Although, I don’t know how much higher they could go.

    Perhaps Britains liberal folly could increase our security though. Their gun control laws combined with their suicidal immigration policy could be a strong inducement for our criminals to relocate there. It would be a much safer working environment for them.

  • Silver Surfer

    Dan, you are proof positive that you don’t have to have a long neck to be a goose.

    Britain’s crime rate is STILL lower than that of the US, the murder rate is still VERY low compared to that of the US … so I’d say the cameras probably do fulfil some useful purpose.

    If I lived there, would I rather they weren’t there. Of course.

    As for them being a nationwide netweork, well … yes. I suppose if you are talking traffic.

    But the truth is, for surveillance purposes, they are in a number of town and city centres notorious for their high-crime rates and public drunkeness (one of the major causes of crime).

    They aren’t there to monitor the actions of ordinary people – they are there to prevent and catch crims. (And mate, honestly, if you want to meet up with a woman who’s not your wife, well do it somewhere where you know you aren’t going to get caught or better still, not at all.)

    Bear in mind too that they are monitored by police officers who will direct patrol cars and patrolling vans to the scene of a crime very quickly, and bear in mind too that most police officers in Britain still don’t carry firearms.

    Dan’s obviously never lived there judging by his comments (easy to pick stuff up off the internet even when it’s not right), and you lived there a few decades ago Dave, so that doesn’t count either, does it?

    Perhaps we have differing views and we’ll have to agree to disagree, but you once described to me that doing something was like “trying to kill a tapeworm by feeding it”.

    Well, I see the convoluted and deluded “logic” of reducing gun crime by making MORE guns available in the exact same light.

    Cameras compared to that? The lesser of the two evils in my book.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    SS, Britain’s crime stats have ALWAYS been substantially lower than in the US, even when guns were legal in both places. The point you’re missing here is that the more Britain cracks down on individual liberty, the WORSE their crime rate gets, not relative to the US, but relative to their own past history. THAT is the statistical comparison which matters.

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Good point about the crime stats, Dave, but in the same light, guns have never been as widespread in Britain, even when they were legal.

    I’m also not convinced there’s a correlation between individual liberty and crime rates – at least not in the direction you say there is. I understand that crime in the USSR was very low. I may be wrong. You and Stan both lived there for a time, so you may be able to enlighten me.

  • Dan

    “[A] United Nations study of eighteen industrialized countries, including the United States, published in 2002 … found England and Wales at the top of the Western world’s crime league, with the worst record for ‘very serious’ offenses.”

    “In the four years from 1997 to 2001 the rate of violent crime more than doubled. The UK murder rate for 2002 was the highest for a century…. ”

    Your just wrong silver.

    Of course a lot of the spiralling crime rate in Britain has to do with recent immigrants and the enhanced criminal proclivities of certain ethnic groups. Great Britain is still much “whiter” than the US, but that gap narrows in a pretty direct correlation to the rising crime rates.

    Though I’m confident you’re in denial of that as well.

    The analogy of killing a tapeworm by feeding it would imply giving more guns to criminals. It’s criminals that commit the crimes, not the guns themselves. Giving guns to law abiders kills the tapeworm.

  • alessandro

    “What have the Romans ever done for us..?”

    I absolutely adore dry British wit and humour.

    #11 – “The US – as a political entity – shows ignorance, aggression, ruthlessness and poorly veiled hidden agendas further decrease its credibility.”

    If Machiavelli was to rise from the dead and came to examine America he would refute the above statement. Though I wonder what De Toqueville would have thought of American democracy in its current form.

    #66 – “The international community is cynically avoiding taking responsibility for any real action in international affairs while reserving the right to criticize US actions required by the inaction of the internationals. What a bunch of twerps!”

    Wow, never thought Bliffle had it in her. Him?

    CR: Depends what you mean by “world.” Let’s face there are many deadbeats out there.

    #81 – As a Canadian, I have seen this first hand myself with my own interactions with them. If I started my businesses in the USA I’d be further along much quicker. Heck, Simon Cowell observed this on AI. Americans are amazing that way. Europeans less so.

    #102 – “Dave, when the USA accepts that it is just another voice in the crowd and conducts itself accordingly rather than somehow thinking it is better than all the rest, then your country would be a fit member of the UN and possibly more appropriate to be considered as a world citizen or leader. As it is, it’s current juvenile pretention that it is somehow more deserving than any other country and doesn’t need to follow the customs and manners of the entire rest of the planet disbar it from that role or status.”

    Chris, you’re kidding right? I mean really, read your first sentence lad. Be realistic!

    #116 – “And Canadians. They don;t like Americans because Canadians KNOW they won the war of 1812 and Americans still deludely think the US did.”

    STM, oof odd that we pacifist Canadians hang on to a war like 1812 so tightly is odd. Nonetheless, we also hate them for taking Wayne Gretzky and Lorne Michaels.

    #148 – I fear you miss the profoundness of Franklin’s words. Think about what he is saying harder…Look, the invasion of government in whatever form is patently offensive. Go and “rationalize” it all you want.

    Cameras on the streets to protect citizens is a swell idea (and it may very well work and Chris may bot be bothered by it) but what are the unintended consequences of this? What if it is abused? Who will watch the guardians as Juvenal used to say? It’s a form of power. Les makes a good point on this one.

    Having cameras for “surveillance’ purposes wreaks of ‘1984’ people. It’s this logic that leads to a police state. We assume that the “noble intent” of the idea will remain intact. We all know it won’t end up that way.

  • alessandro

    Heck, didn’t realize most of the comments were from a couple of years back. Yeesh.

  • alessandro

    Of course, Europeans will always take the view that America is infantile. Imagine what they think of us Canadians! As long as we all get along, right? It is what it is. Greeks hated Rome as they had to adjust to the new world power in ancient times.

    But Europeans had their fun in the realpolitik sun, creating balance of power alliances, building empires, plundering wealth abroad while leaving behind (ironically) notions of (for example) social justice, smashing meek nations etc.

    Basically being every bit as ethno-centric (but sometimes with a conscience) as America is accused of being. Lucky them. Now they have suddenly become peaceful multilateralists – albeit comically indecisive ones.

    That’s what happens when power erodes; you become peaceful and listen to Joan Baez music.

    My perceptions and observations lead me to accept that America tries with all its heart to be benevolent but sometimes reality sets in. Life and humans are fluid. We don’t live and operate in a fixed state. Shit will happen. We will make mistakes and get some right.

    Indeed, when compared to all the great empires, America tries probably than most to be so. But as one poster pointed out: it is also an economic – or more specifically a financial – empire. So, they don’t necessarily need to invade nations to control them. Then again, weren’t and aren’t Rome, Florence, Venice, London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Lisbon, Brussels and Amsterdam all financial empires at some point in history in their own way?

    As for arrogance, it’s all driven by perceptions. Man, I’ve met my share of incredibly stupid and arrogant Europeans. As well as Canadians and Americans. But the reverse has been true too. Interestingly, every African I ever met was cultured, multilingual, thoughtful and respectful. Yet, they there are butchering each other up. Go figure.

    I blame…Norway.

  • seira

    “Most of the democratized world and much of the non-democratized world functions today because the US enables or enabled them to do so.”

    No. The world functions today because a system of democracy and free trade evolved in Europe following the Renaissance. The US has prospered only as a European colony, and not a particularly benevolent one at that.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    The name of this article needs to be changed:

    America: Broke Bum or Panicky Warrior?

  • Chris

    Who honesty care what the UK thinks of us? Last I checked, much of their “loyal” subjects actually want independence from Britain. The Scots, Welsh, and Irish want out of the UK. If anyone is an imperialist empire, it is Britain, for not letting certain states have their freedom. Britain is the “evil empire”. And besides, whoever is the most powerful in the world always gets this treatment.

  • normal_world_citizen

    I can’t help feeling that the world would be better off if that colony never existed. The natives get to keep their land and several million Iraqis, Guatemalans, Chileans and Japanese get to live. And the English language doesn’t get trashed on a daily basis. And no Dubya. Most nations existed before them anyway; one wonders quite who they think they are? Strange little colonists.

  • Sad very sad

    America showed so much promie, but was corrupted. Sadly the inability of democracy and capitalism to live in harmony broke it. Somewhere, morals got lost and there is no taking back the high ground. The question is; does it go down in a blaze of aggressive ‘glory’ or slip into the historical night, leaving the lessons to be heeded in ascension by others or will it be a fight