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LQD: USA and European Left - fond of "humanitarian" interventionism

by vbo Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 04:41:46 AM EST

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/08/30/meet-professor-juan-cole-consultant-to-the-cia/

If one reads CounterPunch.org, Antiwar.com or The American Conservative, one knows that one is reading those who are anti-interventionist on the basis of principle.  With Democracy Now and kindred progressive outlets, it's all too clear where a big chunk of the so-called "left" stands, especially since the advent of Obama.   In his superb little book Humanitarian Imperialism Jean Bricmont criticizes much of the left for falling prey to advocacy of wars, supposedly based on good intentions.  And Alexander Cockburn has often pointed out that  many progressives are actually quite fond of "humanitarian" interventionism.   Both here and in Europe this fondness seems to be especially true of Obama's latest war, the war on Libya .  It is little wonder that the "progressives" are losing their antiwar following to Ron Paul and the Libertarians who are consistent and principled on the issue of anti-interventionism.

Democracy Now, quo vadis?  Wherever you are heading, you would do well to travel without Juan Cole and his friends.

After warning of the "difficulties" with the Iraq War, Cole swung over to ply it with burning kisses on the day of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.  His fervor was not based on Saddam Hussein's fictional possession of weapons of mass destruction but on the virtues of "humanitarian imperialism."

Cole enthused on his blog: "I remain (Emphasis mine.) convinced that, for all the concerns one might have about the aftermath, the removal of Saddam Hussein and the murderous Baath regime from power will be worth the sacrifices that are about to be made on all sides."  Now, with over 1 million Iraqis dead, 4 million displaced and the country's infrastructure destroyed, might Cole still echo Madeline Albright that the price was "worth it"?  Cole has called the Afghan War "the right war at the right time" and has emerged as a cheerleader for Obama's unconstitutional war on Libya and for Obama himself.

Now are we going to clarify where ET is standing on this issue?

OK we are not harmonious bunch on this one but I would like to know where "editors" are exactly standing?


Display:
Now are we going to clarify where ET is standing on this issue?

Formulating an "editorial line" has not traditionally been ET policy.

For myself, and keeping in mind that I hold no official position in the European Tribune organisation, I was in favour of knocking Qaddafi's air force out of the sky, because it presented an easy, relatively clean target (anything in the air that isn't a commercial jet or squawking your IFF goes on the ground - in one or more pieces, their choice). Of course, it should be pointed out at this juncture that an even more effective way of grounding Qaddafi's air force would have been to not sell him the planes in the first place.

I was opposed to escalating European involvement by offering the partisans tactical air support, for the same reason I was opposed to sending in ground troops or supplying the partisans with weapons: In order to know who to take orders from, you need to know who the different rebel factions are, who you like and who you don't like. We did not, and to a large extent still don't.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 05:11:41 AM EST
I was opposed to escalating European involvement by offering the partisans tactical air support, for the same reason I was opposed to sending in ground troops or supplying the partisans with weapons:

I am afraid once you bomb country's infrastructure in order to help rebels and that country is put in disarray you need to escalate involvement (and you will even more in future) except if you make a deal with dictator and the old structure of power stays in place (like in Milosevic's case all tho Serbia did not have rebels and deal with him had to be made).To put new structure of power in place will need much more involvement (in any sense).Look at Iraq. With "boots on the ground", puppet governments in place for 8 years and country and people's lives are nowhere near where they were prior to invasion. No security and no better life for people (if they manage to survive).What do they have? Country in ruins with flourishing corruption...But oil is finally flowing...
Where is the freedom? Where is prosperity ? It's not even in USA/EU, (except for some) ha-ha. It is going to take many decades for Iraq to come just where it was (if ever, with grub of oil money).
Just ask yourself how would you feel if your life is reduced to this for no matter how good cause? Not to mention irreparable loss of people, who were members of the families, disabled people by these wars etc.
Not to mention consequences on our own countries like described here:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/09/01/the-empire-is-eating-itself/

It's not worth...

 

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 06:16:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was opposed to escalating European involvement by offering the partisans tactical air support

This means that if you've been in charge, Q's armoured column would have reached Benghazi intact, and the rebellion would have been crushed. Q would still be around and he would be very angry with us. Either we should have stayed out and kept our good relations with Q, or we should have gone all in. We did the latter and I don't regret it for a minute.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 09:58:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - LQD: USA and European Left - fond of "humanitarian" interventionism

Now are we going to clarify where ET is standing on this issue?

OK we are not harmonious bunch on this one but I would like to know where "editors" are exactly standing?

ET is a discussion forum and doesn't settle a line or a policy. The editors are not here to represent an "official" point of view either - and may differ among themselves (and often do).

Personally, I'm wary of military "humanitarian intervention". It can be manipulated, and even if "honest" generally produces unintended perverse consequences. As to Libya, I don't accept the line that Gaddafi was a benevolent dictator, but it didn't escape me that the country is oil-rich, a fact that might interest France, the UK, and Italy most of all. I don't share the gleeful sense of victory expressed by that idiot Bernard-Henri Lévy, and I don't know what violence and difficulties lie ahead for Libyans, but there doesn't seem to be a clear path for them.

As for Juan Cole, <shrug>. (Counterpunch, <double shrug>).

Personal opinion.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 05:43:24 AM EST
I don't think it will be a surprise where I fall on this position.

Talk about and discuss the merits and demerits of particular military actions in particular places at particular times - yes.

Blanket condemnation of everything based on principle - no.

I'm not a pacifist.  Humans being what they are, pacifism leads to the enslavement of the pacifists.  Find a way to fix humans, or turn government over to something non-human, and then I'll consider it.

I am gradually coming to realize that I'm not necessarily even an anti-Imperialist.  It's my empire, and I have an interest in making it work as well as it can.  As bad as it is, it's likely better than the other options.

And I'm not a fan of general, inflexible principles.  I don't think they are reasonable or useful ways to understand the world, and they are even worse guides for decisions.

I'm a bad leftist, I guess.

by Zwackus on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 06:36:27 AM EST
It's my empire, and I have an interest in making it work as well as it can.

Fair enough. At least you admit the truth...
What bothers me that people like you cannot understand interest that other may have when using force (for example when Serbs used force INSIDE their own country for their interest they were demonized ...or when Russians intervened in Georgia)...
Seems like use of force is only OK in your minds when it's in the interest of YOUR Empire?

Blanket condemnation of everything based on principle - no.

 


Seems like principle is not favourable in your cards? Acting on case to case bases for me smells like lawlessness and tyranny. Your Empire does not need any approval to act at will but you know "chickens are coming home to roost..."or whatever that saying is...
In my opinion this is going to cost you your Empire in a long run...but in the meantime ENJOY!


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 07:13:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interestingly enough pacifists also do not seem to have as inflexible principles as some assume. Just saying.

I think that they way we do things and the ends we achieve are connected. Military action tends to create a need for military action, and a response of military action - either directly or indirectly through things like suicide bombings. It promotes a centralized authoritarian state that subsumes the individual to the greater good of the state - very much like the army itself. I actively opposes any sort of authoritarian state - left (or for those who believe it is possible to create an anti-authoritarian state on the right) right. That's just the nature of the beast. In this sense I have no interest in an authoritarian left wing state.

I find myself very reluctant to endorse military action in general and yet I am actively involved in intervention. That includes Israel and the US in particular.

In some ways Qaddafi is a great example - evil monster then reformed good guy then evil monster - whatever is convenient at the time. If it was important to engage in military action against him - it was important to do so a very long time ago.

As bad as it is, it's likely better than the other options.

Wow. Not doing empire. Not selling weapons to 3rd word dictatorships. Supporting international law everywhere instead of where it is convenient. Supporting the right of people to self government Working towards ending the rule of multinationals...

There is a particular problem with overthrowing evil people and liberating the general population. They don't throw rose petals - they throw bombs. The US invasion of the British territories of Canada (1812) provide an excellent example of  this.  The US would have accomplished far far more through advocacy and support of the local population instead of attempting to overthrow the rather cruel regime that the British had set up in the Canadian territories.

We need to learn from the past - military intervention produces rather dicey results and promotes violent responses. As such it should be limited to the most desperate of circumstances.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 08:28:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Once you have a culture of empire - and we still do, not just in the Anglo countries, but elsewhere in Europe - intervention becomes the solution of least resistance.

It would be interesting to produce a map of how politics really works, as opposed to how everyone seems to think it works by default, as opposed to how it could/should work in a functional and enlightened (hmm...) democracy.

Currently there's a huge gap between the realities of realpolitik and the various modes of propaganda that sell intervention as a moral - as opposed to imperial and economic - necessity.

And let's not forget we have monsters of our own. For example Italy's more enlightened politicians have an unfortunate habit of meeting unexpected ends, and there have been more than a few questionable deaths in British politics over the last decade or two.

So while we don't have a full-time secret police and an explicit culture of permanent brutality, we do have a softer but analogous system which can be almost as repressive when it decides to be. And as the phone hacking and other scandals have shown, there's no oversight, and brutality is hardly ever punished as it should be.

The bottom line is that Western governments are now run exclusively for the benefit of energy and commodity companies, a small group of financiers, and arms dealers. (There are a few slots for corporate IT suppliers, especially if they also do large-scale business consulting, but IT typically doesn't set policy in the same way that the others groups do.)

So policy must benefit these groups now, by definition. If they can benefit from intervention, intervention will be pushed as a humanitarian option - while being of questionable real long-term benefit to 'liberated' populations.

There's no way to change that without lifting the lid on the sordid mess, getting some significant percentage of the public to realise what's been happening, and trying to clean out the infection.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 08:45:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interestingly enough pacifists also do not seem to have as inflexible principles as some assume. Just saying.

If they're discussing nuance and particulars, then they are people I can talk to, and with whom, despite my recent postings here, I actually share a fair bit of common ground.  I am well aware of the sort you're talking about here - that is simply not the strand I've been arguing with of late.

Wow. Not doing empire. Not selling weapons to 3rd word dictatorships. Supporting international law everywhere instead of where it is convenient. Supporting the right of people to self government Working towards ending the rule of multinationals...

The empire is a lot bigger and more fundamental than that.  The very existence of international law is possible because of American Empire, and was for a while pushed by parties affiliated with or neutrally tolerated by the Empire.  

I think all the things you cited are particular strategies of the Empire, not the Empire itself.  I may well share you disapproval of many of those strategies.  But the Empire itself is the fact that borders are fixed, the major powers agree not to fight each other, and most governments agree to play by the same, or comparable, sets of legal, economic, and political institutions.  The whole point of international law was to create a framework for this to work properly.

When I suggest that the empire is a lot better than the alternatives, what I am imagining is a complete collapse of the global order, where states truly feel free to, if not compelled to, fight it out amongst each other to build and protect their interests.  In this world, ideas of human rights, democracy, freedom, etc. would be nothing more than the particular cultural notions of the West, with no binding or moral sway anywhere else.  Why are slavery and collective punishment and a whole host of other things fairly rare in the normal course of civil and political life?  Because the Americans don't like them very much.  Some of the potential regional hegemons in this world may agree with these values at some level, but some may not.

vbo has posted several times on the transparently imperial nature of such bodies as the UN and the International Criminal Court.  The very idea of international law is ridiculous without the idea that there is some power capable of enforcing it, and the whole idea of enforcing legal judgements against sovereign entities is inherently imperial.

When I claimed to benefit from empire, I meant it at an incredibly basic level.  People want to learn English in this world, because it is the language of the Imperial power.  I am able to travel around the world legally thanks to the stability of global relations provided by the empire.  I am legally allowed to live in places where people want to learn English and are willing to pay me to do so.  All that has been nice for me.  I wouldn't mind some a few dollar dividend payments from the empire, but sadly those all go to the rich. :-)

by Zwackus on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 12:20:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vbo has posted several times on the transparently imperial nature of such bodies as the UN and the International Criminal Court.  The very idea of international law is ridiculous without the idea that there is some power capable of enforcing it, and the whole idea of enforcing legal judgements against sovereign entities is inherently imperial.

Actually you are right. It would be very naive to see it other way...It was obvious to me but I don't know about others.
But is it actually good? I don't think so.

what I am imagining is a complete collapse of the global order, where states truly feel free to, if not compelled to, fight it out amongst each other to build and protect their interests.

Do we have fewer wars as you are trying to implicit? I don't think so. As we look at the history those small neighbours conflicts usually did not escalated in full wars and had much less victims and destruction as opposed to "imperial" conquests or change of imperial powers. These were bloodiest and left half a world in ruins.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 12:42:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vbo:
These were bloodiest and left half a world in ruins.

In what way was WWII an "imperial conquest" war?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 03:21:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was for the Axis powers.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 03:34:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not the Empire we appear to be talking about.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 03:38:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not that Empire...This one emerged right after the fall of previous one...as it always goes...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 03:41:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What was the previous one?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 03:46:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The British Empire.

The story goes that the US replaced Britain (and Europe) as the seat of Empire after the Suez Crisis but the rot had already set in and teh Yalta and the Bretton Woods Conferences signified that.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 03:52:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Was that the cause of war?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 04:42:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Proximate, or structural?

As I commented above, don't you think Japan's 1930's imperial adventures in Asia, Italy in Abisinia and Libya, and Germany from Poland to the BeNeLux and from Austria to Norway doesn't count as an imperialistic expansion?

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 04:49:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan and the Pacific theatre, I agree. Italy in Africa - I don't see how it was a cause of war. German expansion to the East was motivated by the revanchist spirit of post-Versailles, along with the intention of going West and settling matters with France.

But my point would be that it's not enough to point to imperial ventures as potential causes of war to say that under a Pax Romana, or rule of law of an all-embracing empire, there is more war, more destructive, more bloody, than between independent sovereigns in the absence of such rule of empire.

I hasten to add that I don't like American imperialism. But I don't believe in independent sovereigns as a "solution".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 05:02:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Inflation! </snark>

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:00:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As a result of hyperinflation, there were news accounts of individuals suffering from a compulsion called zero stroke, a condition where the person has a "desire to write endless rows of [zeros] and engage in computations more involved than the most difficult problems in logarithms."
You know, considering that hyperinflation ended in 1923, I am finding the folk-history causal connection between hyperinflation and invading Poland more tenuous by the day.
When the new currency, the Rentenmark, replaced the worthless Reichsbank marks on November 16, 1923 and 12 zeros were cut from prices, prices in the new currency remained stable. The German people regarded this stable currency as a miracle because they had heard such claims of stability before with the Notgeld (emergency money) that rapidly devalued as an additional source of inflation. The usual explanation was that the Rentenmarks were issued in a fixed amount and were backed by hard assets such as agricultural land and industrial assets, but what happened was more complex than that, as summarized in the following description.

...

After November 12, 1923, when Hjalmar Schacht became currency commissioner, the Reichsbank, the old central bank, was not allowed to discount any further government Treasury bills, which meant the corresponding issue of paper marks also ceased. Discounting of commercial trade bills was allowed and the amount of Rentenmarks expanded, but the issue was strictly controlled to conform to current commercial and government transactions. The new Rentenbank refused credit to the government and to speculators who were not able to borrow Rentenmarks, because Rentenmarks were not legal tender. When Reichsbank president Rudolf Havenstein died on November 20, 1923, Schacht was appointed president of the Reichsbank.

...

Eventually, some debts were reinstated to partially compensate those who had been creditors. A decree of 1925 reinstated some mortgages at 25% of face value in the new Reichsmark (effectively 25,000,000,000 times their value in old marks) if they had been held 5 years or more. Similarly some government bonds were reinstated at 2-1/2% of face - to be paid after reparations were paid.  Mortgage debt was reinstated at much higher percentages than government bonds. Reinstatement of some debts, combined with a resumption of effective taxation in a still-devastated economy, triggered a wave of corporate bankruptcies.



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:13:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am finding the folk-history causal connection between hyperinflation and invading Poland more tenuous by the day.

Hungary had even worse inflation in 1946. Was it only the lack of a common border that stopped them invading Poland?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:17:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously. It's quite shameful to imply that invasions of Poland ever result from things such as, well, greed and general nastiness. No, trust me, it's about inflation every time.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:20:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, because suggesting that the Establishment Weimar Republic was full of immoral bastards like Kurt Schleicher who spent an entire decade after hyperiinflation ended plotting the subversion of democracy would be fanciful.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:22:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The new Rentenbank refused credit to the government and to speculators who were not able to borrow Rentenmarks, because Rentenmarks were not legal tender.

In other words, they made Soros attacking the currency illegal.

Interesting.

Eventually, some debts were reinstated to partially compensate those who had been creditors. A decree of 1925 reinstated some mortgages at 25% of face value in the new Reichsmark (effectively 25,000,000,000 times their value in old marks) if they had been held 5 years or more. Similarly some government bonds were reinstated at 2-1/2% of face - to be paid after reparations were paid.  Mortgage debt was reinstated at much higher percentages than government bonds. Reinstatement of some debts, combined with a resumption of effective taxation in a still-devastated economy, triggered a wave of corporate bankruptcies.

Refusing to acknowledge the write-off of excess debt leads to a wave of bankruptcies.

Surprise, surprise.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 03:54:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The German people regarded this stable currency as a miracle  

Same in Serbia...We had inflation for quite a few years before but in 1993 we had killing hyperinflation. Then suddenly on 24 th January 1994 (same day when I left Serbia for NZ) New stable dinar was introduced. It looked like miracle...Then I realized that hyperinflation was "manmade"...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 08:28:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The situation, of course, is more complicated than portrayed. In 1933 there were several empires in existence: British, French, Dutch, Japanese, Russian, and US, at a minimum. Germany had been deprived of her imperial possessions at Versailles. The empires with the shortest history had been the US, dating from the Spanish-American War in 1898, (excluding the subjugation of the various Native American populations), the Japanese, which effectively dated from the time of the Sino-Japanese War, 1895, partly over influence in Korea, and the German, from 1884, when Bismark accepted the idea that colonial possessions might have some value.

But, prior to WW II, Great Britain was the hegemon and the holder of the largest empire. The British Navy was the dominant naval force and GB tolerated the continued existence of other colonial empires, even while contesting Imperial Russia in Central Asia and worrying about the rise of the German navy. The British somewhat reluctantly undertook a policy of de-colonialization after WW II while with the French, it was an involuntary process. The Neatherlands really made no serious effort to reestablish colonial possessions in South East Asia after WW II and only kept some Caribbean islands and one South American Colonial possession.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 02:53:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
True enough, but in what way was WWII (in Europe, I concede the Pacific) either:

  • caused by imperialist friction ie between empires for reason of empire

  • caused by a hegemonic imperialist power intervening in the affairs of its supposed vassals or subordinates?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 03:55:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most directly, Hitler saw his territorial expansion as a response to the impositions of Versailles, against which he railed. These did include the loss of colonies, though that was a relatively minor real price, (Bismark had likely been right about the worth of Germany's African colonies.) Hitler opted out of the monetary system, especially the gold standard, (Germany having almost no gold), and enthusiastically embraced a command economy in cooperation with industrialists.  In order to guard against the sort of blockade that had been used against Germany in WW I, he sought to secure needed resources via routes he could control - land routes.

I see little evidence that he counted on anything that he could not get by force and suspect that he expected that to be the end game. Hitler never accepted the Versailles Treaty and sought to overturn it by force. To the extent that colonial empires entered into his calculations it was primarily for access to resources and control of trade routes, though he resented Germany having been stripped of her colonies.

Rommel's adventures in North Africa really were just grabbing low hanging fruit unless Germany could seize Egypt and the Suez Canal and, had that been accomplished, he may have been able to secure access to mid east oil as well as to hamper the Allied effort in Asia. I am far from an expert on WW II, Hitler or Germany, but I believe that Hitler saw colonial empires mostly as an aspect of realpolitik.

In effect, WW II may, to a significant degree, have been an echo of pre-WW I imperial rivalries in addition to an attempt to change the outcome of that conflict. Some people have long memories.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 11:14:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your three first paragraphs don't seem to me to lead to your conclusion.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 03:50:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
in what way was WWII...caused by imperialist friction ie between empires for reason of empire...

It was not, because the German Empire ceased to exist at Versailles. Further, the German overseas colonies had not been particularly significant to Germany's overall military machine before and during WW I. But the goal of French diplomacy at Versailles was to render Germany incapable of reconstituting its military power, in no small part by preventing Germany from having secure access to important resources, especially oil. In addition to depriving Germany of her overseas colonies, Versailles also broke up her chief ally, The Austro-Hungarian Empire, which limited the extent to which Germany could count on oil from Romania.

Germany chafed against these conditions from the start. Then there was the occupation of the Ruhr and the hyperinflation. To get out of the box into which the French had put her at Versailles Germany needed to reconstitute her continental empire, which had been largely commercial under the Hapsburgs. The fact that the Nazis called it The Reich instead of The German Empire is largely inconsequential. Germany wanted the functional equivalence of what they had possessed prior to WW I, but wanted better control. The envisioned Thousand Year Reich was to be an empire to end all empires. Hitler hoped that the UK and US could be persuaded to accept German hegemony in Europe and Africa.

That is what I meant by referring to WW II as the echo of the old imperial conflict which Germany had lost. And it is still not inconceivable that Germany might not have succeeded with different tactics, such as not attacking the Soviet Union or Poland. Had Germany been able to seduce Hungary into an alliance and, through Hungary gained access to Romanian oil, without provoking war, who knows what might have developed. Whether this is called imperial conflict or power politics is largely irrelevant.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 05:56:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the few colonies Germany had were of minimal importance in the crushing conditions of Versailles that crippled the German economy and kept the industrial heartland under occupation. This was Germany-France in the ding-dong one side takes a piece of the other / the other takes it back and ups one battle since 1870.

This was nations defining their borders and fighting for them, not imperial rivalry. It was Europe still seeking its spatial distribution after the upheavals of nineteenth-century romantic nationalism - which was much more what the Nazis packaged into their tinpot ideology than imperialism. Even the notion that they had a right to vast territories to the East was posited on the need for the great, dynamic German people to have room to grow and settle - Lebensraum - than on an imperial theme.

In other words, in 1930s continental Europe, I don't see empire as a reason for war, I see nationalism.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 03:12:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This was nations defining their borders and fighting for them, not imperial rivalry.

It was a continuation of the 19th century great power rivalry in Europe - where the dominant European powers had not realized or accepted that they were no longer truly the relevant great powers. But, again, the access to resources afforded the UK and France by the UK's effective control of the sea lanes was perceived as an advantage which Germany sought to offset. Japan did more to put an end to European overseas colonies than anything else. That was one reason Germany entered into an alliance with Japan. For Germany the role of colonies was more that of phantom limb pain.

The ideologies of national exceptionalism were virtually universal - to the extent it is surprising that the nations involved could even form alliances. But reality trumps ideology provided there is no hard requirement to repudiate ridiculous ideologies.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 11:19:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd like to add this:

Adolf Hitler

In Mein Kampf and in numerous speeches Hitler claimed that the German population needed more living space. Hitler's Lebensraum policy was mainly directed at the Soviet Union. He was especially interested in the Ukraine where he planned to develop a German colony. The system would be based on the British occupation of India: "What India was for England the territories of Russia will be for us... The German colonists ought to live on handsome, spacious farms. The German services will be lodged in marvellous buildings, the governors in palaces... The Germans - this is essential - will have to constitute amongst themselves a closed society, like a fortress. The least of our stable-lads will be superior to any native."

So while the actual German pre-wwI colonies did not matter so much, the idea of a colonial empire was very much involved. One can speculate about what would have happened if France and Britain had not declared war on Germany in September 1939, but backed down again. Would Hitler have gone directly for the Soviet Union then?

I would argue that either way Htiler attacked the order upheld by Britain, as that order included that no single power might dominate the European continent.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 12:30:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One can speculate about what would have happened if France and Britain had not declared war on Germany in September 1939, but backed down again. Would Hitler have gone directly for the Soviet Union then?

Unlikely. The whole purpose of the Russo-German partitioning of the Baltic region, from the German point of view, was to leave Germany free to curbstomp France without having to worry about an Eastern front. If war had not been declared, they'd probably have made a slightly greater effort to pretend that they were simply allying with Denmark and Norway rather than conquering them. But that would likely be about it.

After all, the Germans knew that the peace in the East would be unlikely to last forever, and they had already tried and failed to secure a deal with the Western powers to go after Russia together. So the whole "curbstomp France" project came with a sell-by date.

They might have tried partitioning the Balkans with either Russia or Turkey, but then they would have risked their relationship with Italy. Which was of ideological, if not particular practical, value to Germany.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 04:54:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hitler's notion of what India was for Britain was largely delusional. And dreams of imperial adventure and grandeur are one thing, but the essential causes of the war lay in the power relations between European nations (some recent creations of 19th-century nationalism) - as you point out:

A swedish kind of death:

I would argue that either way Htiler attacked the order upheld by Britain, as that order included that no single power might dominate the European continent.

The British Empire, however, did not include the European continent, and Britain could support but not impose that policy (Hitler thought Britain would accept the change he intended to bring about). Again, we're in the field of the definition of nations (subtext nationalism), their extent and borders, and their relative power positions, because some at least (Germany most) considered those questions as not yet having been satisfactorily settled.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 6th, 2011 at 11:07:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In what way was WWII an "imperial conquest" war?

The Pacific theatre was a pretty standard colonial war between Japan and the US, who both attempted to assert hegemony over the Eastern Hemisphere. In Europe, Germany was attempting to break out of the British hegemony over the Western hemisphere.

The fact that the Nazis managed to be worse assholes than the British empire - which is quite impressive, in a sick sort of way - does not negate the fact that Germany was getting the short end of the stick under British hegemony, and had every reason to attempt to force a reevaluation of that relationship.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 04:26:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the Axis powers had been involved in imperial expansionist projects for the better part of the 1930s. Well, Italy and Japan. WWII started when Germany attempted to annex its seventh or eighth country (I'm not counting the phony war, WWII only really started after the German had successfully annexed all or part of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark, and Norway, and invaded the BeNeLux).

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 04:48:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Pacific theatre, yes. The European theatre was much more about the long war between Germany and France than anything to do with the British Empire.

I'm afraid I think this "empires cause nasty war" and "independent sovereign nations just have occasional spats" is wrong. You can read empire into the history of European wars (because independent sovereigns that grow more powerful tend to create "empires"), but you can just as well see sovereign states fighting in defence of their interests, in just as destructive and bloody a fashion.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 04:51:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not attempting to defend the thesis that wars between non-imperial sovereigns are simply friendly argy-bargy between good mates.

But it is true that you only get worldwide wars when you involve worldwide empires, for the simple reason that they are the only ones who have the logistics and raw power to raise an entire hemisphere in total war. Whether the big empires prevent enough wars between the states within the empire to compensate for the occasional war of hegemony is a non-trivial question of counterfactual history, and will probably vary from empire to empire. The American empire might. The British empire almost certainly did not.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 05:04:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vbo has posted several times on the transparently imperial nature of such bodies as the UN and the International Criminal Court.  The very idea of international law is ridiculous without the idea that there is some power capable of enforcing it, and the whole idea of enforcing legal judgements against sovereign entities is inherently imperial.
I have to disagree - among a community of individuals it is possible for the community to enforce judgements on individuals, or at least punish noncompliant individuals, by shunning.

Don't tell me the Apartheid embargo in the 1980s was imperial in nature.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 03:56:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I don't think it was an active case of imperialism, unless you want to count cultural imperialism as imperialism, and that doesn't even work in this case given the cultural and ethnic heritage of the ruling whites in South Africa.

I think the South Africa case is a good example of the power that non-governmental organizations and popular sentiment can still have given the formal mechanisms of democracy, especially in situations where no obvious interests were at stake.

But as you say, it was a case of shunning, combined with rather substantial internal pressure.  Not International Judgement, according to some set of formal procedures.  One might even call it popular diplomacy.  Diplomacy is great, and there should be more of it at all levels.

That diplomacy matters, though, because of the global system of trade, which is a by-product of empire, and the larger set of social and cultural expectations of the dominant powers in that empire.  

Actually, as I was trying to think through my newly formed and still largely incoherent thoughts on this issue, the South African case did pop into my mind.

by Zwackus on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 04:05:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vbo has posted several times on the transparently imperial nature of such bodies as the UN and the International Criminal Court.  The very idea of international law is ridiculous without the idea that there is some power capable of enforcing it, and the whole idea of enforcing legal judgements against sovereign entities is inherently imperial.

Actually you are right. It would be very naive to see it other way...It was obvious to me but I don't know about others.
But is it actually good? I don't think so.

what I am imagining is a complete collapse of the global order, where states truly feel free to, if not compelled to, fight it out amongst each other to build and protect their interests.

Do we have fewer wars as you are trying to implicit? I don't think so. As we look at the history those small neighbours conflicts usually did not escalated in full wars and had much less victims and destruction as opposed to "imperial" conquests or change of imperial powers. These were bloodiest and left half a world in ruins.

When I claimed to benefit from empire, I meant it at an incredibly basic level.  

As I live in one of the Empire "provinces" I enjoy those benefits (on a basic level) too. But I am afraid that the price for my "enjoyment" is going to come to my children and grandchildren...and I do not like it. Actually I hate it.

People want to learn English in this world, because it is the language of the Imperial power
 

Nap. People want to learn English language because it seems to be the easiest way to understand each other and to be informed. Actually people used to learn English in old days because of the good music, movies, books etc. that your nation used to produce. Not anymore. I haven't seen good American movie in ages and thanks to SBS TV here I am able to see some very good movies from all over the world. That gave me prospective to see what a shity American cinematography has become. Music? I am not that much in to it nowadays but I can't remember one single American song that will stay in my mind. As opposed to old days when simply everyone in the world loved that music of yours.

I am legally allowed to live in places where people want to learn English and are willing to pay me to do so.  All that has been nice for me.

If these are your reasons to support Empire I must say that they are very shallow. I can't remember time when you Americans were not able to travel around the world (except Eastern Europe and China and few more). Somehow I have a feeling that all tho you can travel around your Empire and more , you are not going to be welcomed in many places.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 09:59:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry I accidently copied piece of my old post...together with new one.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 10:02:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Short answer: No.

Longer answer:

I don't trust our elected leaders to start a war of choice. Neither their intentions nor their competence.
Nor have I faith that NATO is institutionally capable of an intervention that doesn't turn into picking sides and blowing up infrastructure and wedding parties.
I distrust my ability to acquire reliable information  in the run up to a war, about a country I had very limited knowledge about.
Finally war is one of the fastest ways to sap electoral democracy of its substance.

by generic on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 10:09:29 AM EST
ET doesn't do editorial lines, and it hardly does editing, so asking for an editorial line seems strange.  As if you are trying to set up some poor ET editor to be attacked from all sides.

Personally I am not a pacifist because all Government involves at least a degree of force and international relations is about interests which can be conflicting and which, in a world of increasing resource constraints, can only become more conflictual.

The trick, therefore, is to replace war, as much as possible, by more peaceful diplomatic, political, negotiated and democratic methods.  There is an increasing body of international law and institutions to promote and sometimes enforce it.  Generally those systems only work at the margins - to ameliorate some conflicts or resolve remaining issues after a lot of fighting has been done.

In the case of Libya you could ask the question: was Gaddafi worse than Assad in Syria? A marginal question at best. No doubt the "international" response was more robust because of oil and Gaddafi's unrivalled unpopularity. But as a Government leader you have to have  very good reason to put your treasury and soldiers at risk - and unavoidably self-interest is a large part of it.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 04:50:12 PM EST
As if you are trying to set up some poor ET editor to be attacked from all sides.

Nap...but I do see that there is a line (and it's only normal) when some commentators here are marked as trolls if they do not feet editorial views. Maybe it's just because "trolls" do not present their views in a manner accepted by editorial elite. I don't know. ET (or any other forum) is not without position, no matter how different views we discussants may present. I was interested to know more about that position.
The trick, therefore, is to replace war, as much as possible, by more peaceful diplomatic, political, negotiated and democratic methods.

You mean like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpXbA6yZY-8
There is an increasing body of international law and institutions to promote and sometimes enforce it.

UN is useless puppet in USA hands and I applauded Russia and China that they do not want to participate in this charade anymore and are just not showing for the sessions. No use of words there anymore...
International criminal court is even worse...it is an instrument for USA/NATO to use at their will and with USA excluding itself long time ago it's just a side show that is becoming sickening...
But as a Government leader you have to have  very good reason to put your treasury and soldiers at risk - and unavoidably self-interest is a large part of it.
 

Hah, c'mon, like they care to even ask anybody when they go to war.
4. Do not tolerate presidents who violate our Constitution and start wars without congressional deliberation and a declaration of war (article 1, section 8, clause 11). Do not let them disobey federal statutes and international treaties in pursuing unlawful, misdirected quicksand wars, as in Iraq, that produce deaths, destruction and debts that undermine our country's national interests.

Did Sarco or Berlusconi ask parliaments before they engaged your countries in war in Libya?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 08:37:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
vbo:
when some commentators here are marked as trolls if they do not feet editorial views

You are simply providing support for Frank's suggestion that you're out to attack editors. Firstly, anyone can downrate, not just editors. Secondly, ET has a good record of avoiding downrating on the basis of disagreement on ideas. If you can show a single example of editors using their "powers" against a poster simply on the basis of a differing opinion, bring it on.

And no, on ET there is no editorial "position".

Not that you will take any notice of what I'm saying.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 03:35:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ET (or any other forum) is not without position

But that is not the contention. Obviously, the European Tribune community has a conventional wisdom, and obviously that does influence editorial decisions. If nothing else then because consistently ruling against the strongly held views of significant contributors may prompt those contributors to go elsewhere and take their contributions with them.

This does not mean that there is an editorial line, or even that the conventional wisdom of the community can be articulated concisely. It does mean that if you are operating outside the conventional wisdom of the community, the site will be less tolerant of actionable behaviour than if you are operating within the conventional wisdom (pro-Palestinian spammers and astroturfers will have a longer shelf life than pro-Apartheid ones, for instance). Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing I do not pretend to know, but it is the reality of things.

Did Sarco or Berlusconi ask parliaments before they engaged your countries in war in Libya?

I believe Sarko did. France does not yet have an enabling act or a Führerprinzip "unitary executive." In Corruptioni's case it makes little matter, because the Italian parliament is almost as corrupt as he is.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 04:48:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:

vbo:

Did Sarco or Berlusconi ask parliaments before they engaged your countries in war in Libya?

I believe Sarko did. France does not yet have an enabling act or a Führerprinzip "unitary executive."

Not before, it actually happened 3 days after the military operations started: a parliamentary debate took place on March 22 without a vote. This is all allowed by the article 35, clause 2, of the 1958 constitution put together by de Gaulle:

Legifrance - La Constitution du 4 Octobre 1958 Legifrance - October 1958 Constitution
Le Gouvernement informe le Parlement de sa décision de faire intervenir les forces armées à l'étranger, au plus tard trois jours après le début de l'intervention. Il précise les objectifs poursuivis. Cette information peut donner lieu à un débat qui n'est suivi d'aucun vote.The Government informs the Parliament of its decision to engage the armed forces abroad, three days after the beginning of the operations, at the latest. It must precise the objectives pursued. This information session may be followed by a debate that will not lead to a vote.

So the answer to vbo's question is 'no' regarding France; and this is all legit, thanks to de Gaulle and his successors who didn't see fit to renounce this 'presidential' prerogative.

by Bernard on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 04:56:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Every group or community has - as Jake has suggested - its received wisdom or norms and some who are more central to that wisdom than others. I have, in the past, felt that some moderator interventions could have been handled better, but haven't come across any instances in more recent times - perhaps because I don't frequent open threads. Some good people have left because they felt unfairly treated but perhaps that is unavoidable. ET doesn't have, and doesn't seek, a monopoly on good discourse.

In general, however, I think the standard of discussion and courtesy on ET is outstandingly good - and getting better - and can have no complaints about my own treatment despite the fact that I often post views that are not necessarily widely shared here.

Please note that neither Jake nor myself are editors so we have no particular axe to grind in this regard.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 07:47:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Please note that neither Jake nor myself are editors so we have no particular axe to grind in this regard.

That conclusion does not follow from the premise ;-)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 08:01:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh I have loads of axes to grind, but none as an editor of ET...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 04:16:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Observe he wrote, "no particular axes to grind in this regard."

Which means he (and you supposedly) DO have axes to grind in SOME OTHER regard.  And he is suspiciously quiet about his agenda regarding grinding axes in general.

All in all, one can only conclude he is a slippery customer, needing watching.

:-)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 04:58:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, it doesn't follow either that he has axes to grind. "No axes to grind in this regard" is a subset of "no axes to grind in general."

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 05:15:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, but a sub-set does not distribute over the whole set.  It's like saying: out of the Set of Real Numbers I'm only going to use the Rationals, at this time.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 11:01:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It always pays to keep an eye on an axe grinder, particularly if you can't see the axe...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 12:09:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't believe in foolish consistency. I may be a fool, but I'm not consistent.

Ron Paul and friends are consistent on this, but so are most of my progressive/leftist/socialist/left-liberal friends. I can actually envision an alliance in the U.S. on 'defense', 'homeland security', and foreign intervention - and a few other issues - between these supposed poles.

Yes, in this particular case I do prefer consistency, therefore principle. There is no case for offensive war, moral or otherwise. As pointed out in other comments in this thread, for starters, we can't even trust the 'leaders' or the political commentariat to give us valid information or reasonable analysis. Then there's the matter of 'collateral damage', plus cost (human and material), karma, etc.

Self-defense is another matter, and that can be invoked on a personal, community, or national basis. As stated above, I'm no pacifist, either. And it's not a threat to say that I am dangerous (and so are my friends).

Retaliation, though, is self-defeating. For one thing, the referee always sees the second foul. So the solution there is eternal vigilance, plus a reasonable amount of preparation. And that's why I am dangerous.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 06:44:02 PM EST
I don't believe in foolish consistency

I do believe in consistency but on a side of "evil".

Talking about reality...

we can't even trust the 'leaders' or the political commentariat to give us valid information or reasonable analysis. Then there's the matter of 'collateral damage', plus cost (human and material), karma, etc.

This is exactly what makes me suspicious...

I'm no pacifist, either.

Me either, but wish I could be...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 08:13:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Humanitarian intervention, like western civilisation, is a "good idea."
by kjr63 on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 08:18:01 PM EST
That would be in the Gandhi sense right?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 03:21:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's just say it as it is... You may support this on ground of your own morality but at least let's make it clear what it is...

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/09/02/libya-and-the-world-we-live-in/

The Holy Triumvirate -- The United States, NATO and the European Union -- recognizes no higher power and believes, literally, that it can do whatever it wants in the world, to whomever it wants, for as long as it wants, and call it whatever it wants, like "humanitarian".

If The Holy Triumvirate decides that it doesn't want to overthrow the government in Syria or in Egypt or Tunisia or Bahrain or Saudi Arabia or Yemen or Jordan, no matter how cruel, oppressive, or religiously intolerant those governments are with their people, no matter how much they impoverish and torture their people, no matter how many protesters they shoot dead in their Freedom Square, the Triumvirate will simply not overthrow them.

If the Triumvirate doesn't want to punish the leaders of Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Jordan it will simply not ask the ICC to issue arrest warrants for them. Ever since the Court first formed in 1998, the United States has refused to ratify it and has done its best to denigrate it and throw barriers in its way because Washington is concerned that American officials might one day be indicted for their many war crimes and crimes against humanity. Bill Richardson, as US ambassador to the UN, said to the world in 1998 that the United States should be exempt from the court's prosecution because it has "special global responsibilities". But this doesn't stop the United States from using the Court when it suits the purposes of American foreign policy.

The notion that a leader does not have the right to put down an armed rebellion against the state is too absurd to discuss.
...Not very long ago, Iraq and Libya were the two most modern and secular states in the Mideast/North Africa world with perhaps the highest standards of living in the region. Then the United States of America came along and saw fit to make a basket case of each one.
... then the Arab Spring provided the excellent opportunity and cover. As to Why? Take your pick of the following:

    * Gaddafi's plans to conduct Libya's trading in Africa in raw materials and oil in a new currency -- the gold African dinar, a change that could have delivered a serious blow to the US's dominant position in the world economy. (In 2000, Saddam Hussein announced Iraqi oil would be traded in euros, not dollars; sanctions and an invasion followed.) For further discussion see here.

A host-country site for Africom, the US Africa Command, one of six regional commands the Pentagon has divided the world into. Many African countries approached to be the host have declined, at times in relatively strong terms. Africom at present is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. According to a State Department official: "We've got a big image problem down there. ... Public opinion is really against getting into bed with the US. They just don't trust the US."
...There's only one such base in Africa, in Djibouti. Watch for one in Libya sometime after the dust has settled.It'll perhaps be situated close to the American oil wells. Or perhaps the people of Libya will be given a choice -- an American base or a NATO base.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 11:20:58 PM EST
Thieves of the Pentagon

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/09/02/thieves-of-the-pentagon/


 the once fiscally frugal Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned that defense cuts would weaken the country. Leave us open to an attack from Mars?

The Special Inspector General's report shows, however, that cuts might indeed imperil the ill-gotten gains of contractors and those in the military who receive kickbacks and payoffs from them.One SIGIR example sites Anham, a company that charges the government $4,500 for a $183 circuit breaker (at an appliance store) and $900 for a $7 control switch. (Shank) We can relate to these figures as opposed to billions of dollars spent on R & D for new weapons systems, super stealth jets and ever more lethal bombers. (How else to defend against 19 Saudi suicidal maniacs with box cutters?)

Obama diddles with decisions to drastically reduce US troop size (about 50,000 remain plus some 60,000 contract agents) Iraq remains the site of bombings and fighting in places deemed secure. Theft and financial hanky panky also extend to Afghanistan, which has given corruption a bad name

..."The Pentagon has spent more than $10 trillion since 1990 and will spend over $4 trillion over the next four years without ever passing an audit," said DeFazio. "There is no reason that the largest and most expensive agency in the federal government should hide its financial books from scrutiny."

All is good...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 11:44:44 PM EST
Do you even remotely see this financial crisis as a price that has to be paid by us for Empire's too ambitious aspirations to go farther and farther (and never stop)?
I read somewhere that USA has spent (for its military ambitions) 10 trillion by now and is about to spend another 4 trillion very soon. Now we are so used to these trillions I suppose we are not able to comprehend the size of it. Whatever, someone has to pay for it and it's not going to be super rich ( as it is obvious right now). Actually they are going to use those trillions to make zillions and in the meantime we are going to suffer...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 10:27:56 AM EST
The financial crisis has nothing to do with military spending.

It is a mistake to attempt to connect financial crises to real economic failure, because it obscures the fact that the financial crisis is a choice rather than an inevitable consequence of past mistakes.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 10:41:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes but those mistakes are made for the reason.
Is this reason simply for mega rich to be richer by those manipulations?
Seems too simple for me...
If so that would mean that there is no one in control...and that makes me even more scared...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 11:06:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If so that would mean that there is no one in control...and that makes me even more scared...

That is exactly what I think.  That is why I strongly resist many conspiracy-type narratives that tie everything together with a sense of deliberate choice and coherent action.

And I agree entirely that the financial crisis has nothing to do with military adventure, and everything to do with criminal greed, creative accounting, counterfeiting, and the intellectual capture of the political elites.

by Zwackus on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 09:17:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire

An empire is a state with politico-military dominion of populations who are culturally and ethnically distinct from the imperial (ruling) ethnic group and its culture[3] -- unlike a federation, an extensive state voluntarily composed of autonomous states and peoples.
...

etc...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 02:39:55 AM EST
Now are we going to clarify where ET is standing on this issue?

The "editors" and many commenters will quibble over the details.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 11:29:38 AM EST


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