Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

What If We Hadn’t?

Counterfactual historical speculations are all the rage these days, but it is ultimately a fatuous exercise. For a long while I have speculated on what would have happened if Churchill had been prime minister in 1936 or 1938, and had launched a "pre-emptive" war against Hitler. No doubt it would have been ferociously controversial and might have stained his reputation forever for having started an "unncessary war." After all, the appeasers would have said, we could deal with Hitler diplomatically. The wisdom of a different, tougher course in 1936 or 1938 is only clear in hindsight, but the obvious paradox is that we’d never have known about the greater disaster that was avoided. As Churchill himself put it, what is is singular; what might have been, infinite.

And so I have wondered what might have happened if the US had backed down on Iraq in the spring of 2003 and we had not done the deed. Wouldn’t Hussein’s prestige have soared in the region, perhaps promising a whole new world of trouble down the road? How would the Iranians have reacted? Gerard Baker of the London Times offers his own counter-factual speculations in this fine piece.

Discussions - 65 Comments

As usual, the discussion is presented in artifically stark terms.


Either we invade Iraq killing tens of thousands of innocent people, or we let a bloodthirsty tyrant (largely created by the west) expand to ... (whispered) take over the WORLD.


The troops should have been withdrawn and relentless efforts should have been made to capture and/or kill SH. The idea that not invading translates to no activity is fatuous.


Plus this constant and frivolous comparison of SH to Hitler is not simply disingenuous, its a borderline lie, a comforting piece of mythology that those that supported the invasion now tell to each other to make themselves feel better.


No wonder, given the nightmare of chaos and terror into which they have pitched the iraqi people headlong. Denial is almost rational given the circumstances.


Bush is on the dustheap of history, where he and his ilk belong. The only silver lining to emerge is that nations with a modicum of decency cannot stomach the criminal act of war for very long. Let that be a warning to the next war monger.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."


Exactly why I’m opposed tooth and nail to George Bush. The evil that he represents, cannot be allowed to triumph.

Brian, you drinketh from the cup of loonyism.

Saddam was NOT created by the west. Saddam was supported by the west for a little while, but if you had been paying attention, we didn’t fight against western technology nor western weapons.

Then again, for those that say good is evil, I expect nothing else.

Torture chambers, sons who raped whomever they wanted, gassing ethnic areas, ...

Yet, President Bush is considered to be evil for taking Saddam out of power.

Dude, you are delusional.

Sorry Texas dude, the support is somewhat more extensive than you realise, or are willing to face up to.


In 1976, Saddam rose to the position of general in the Iraqi armed forces. He rapidly became the strongman of the government. At the time Saddam was considered an enemy of communism and radical islamism, and at one point Donald Rumsfeld, special envoy of President Ronald Reagan at the time, met with him.


Saddam’s internal security regime achieved notoriety for its extreme ruthlessness. In 1982, during a visit to Dujail, Saddam was to address and praise the city’s residents for their support and contributions in the Iran conflict, when an assassination attempt was mounted against him. The town of Dujail lies 40 km (25 miles) north of Baghdad; Saddam’s security forces in return attacked the city, killing and executing up to 137 of its inhabitants, including a number of children. Around 1,500 townspeople were sent to prison and tortured. The entire town was also punished by having 1,000 square kilometres (250,000 acres) of farmland destroyed; replanting was only permitted 10 years later. The events in Dujail became the subject of criminal charges following Saddam’s overthrow in 2003.


Note, that this was smack in the middle of the wests love affair with SH. Amnesty international were screaming to high heavens of course, but the texasdudes of the time were having none of it. National Security doncha know.


After Khomeini gained power, skirmishes between Iraq and revolutionary Iran occurred for ten months over the sovereignty of the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway, which divides the two countries. Iraq invaded Iran by attacking Mehrabad Airport of Tehran and entering the oil-rich Iranian land of Khuzestan on September 22, 1980. Saddam declared Khuzestan a new province of Iraq.


In the first days of the war, there was heavy ground fighting around strategic ports as Iraq launched an attack on Iran’s oil-rich, partly Arab-populated province of Khuzestan. After making some initial gains, Iraq’s troops began to suffer losses from human wave attacks by Iran. By 1982 Iraq was on the defensive and looking for ways to end the war.


Iraq quickly found itself bogged down in one of the longest and most destructive wars of attrition of the twentieth century. During the war, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iranian forces and Kurdish separatists. Many of these chemical weapons, along with Iraq’s nuclear program, were developed with the help of companies from East and West Germany.


Saddam reached out to other Arab governments for cash and political support during the war, particularly after its oil industry severely suffered at the hands of the Iranian navy in the Persian Gulf. Iraq successfully gained some military and financial aid from the United States, the Soviet Union, and France, which together feared the prospects of the expansion of revolutionary Iran’s influence in the region. The Iranians, claiming that the international community should force Iraq to pay the casualty of the war to Iran, refused any suggestions for a cease-fire. They continued the war until 1988, hoping to bring down Saddam’s secular regime and instigate a Shi’ite rebellion in Iraq.


The bloody eight-year war ended in a stalemate. There were hundreds of thousands of casualties. Perhaps upwards of 1.7 million died on both sides. Both economies, previously healthy and expanding, were left in ruins.


Saddam is evil because his reckless and selfish actions resulted in millions of deaths.


Bush is not quite in SH league, but he seems awfully keen to get there.


Both are amoral monsters.

Texasdude, you are casting my disgust with Bush as love of Saddam. Or something depraved.


As if I can’t find them both reprehensible.


Bush may not have raped or killed anyone directly, but that doesn’t get him off the hook.


His actions, by trashing what little infrastructure Iraq had left, have left the country in such chaos that no one is safe.


Who can begin to assess the thousands dead, the thousands raped as a direct result of this war?


Bush has made you people the pariah of the world.

At the Versailles Conference Ho Chi Minh almost met with Woodrow Wilson. During the Second World War his group of rebels was supported by the Allies. His "reckless and selfish" actions caused an estimated 2 million Vietnamese deaths +60,000 U.S. So according to the above logic FDR, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ and Nixon need to be villified for fighting a war against a tyrant initially supported by the United States? It would be nice if time stood still, the chess game didn’t change, or foreign policy was as easy as Brian suggests.

No, I don’t think you like Saddam, but it does appear that you are putting both leaders on the same moral plane, which is ludicrous.

Why is it folks like Brian continually bring out old assertions that have been debunked long ago?

OK, Brian, yes, the west supported Saddam. During the Iran/Iraq war we supported him just enough to hopefully have an advantage over Iran, yet not enough to give him a decisiive win.

Now, in regards to history ... let me add a few things to your account ...

When Khomeini came to power in Iran, the Iranian military was virtually disbanded. For him, at the time, he did not WANT a military.

Saddam noticed this and took advantage of this. He rolled into Iran taking territories left and right. He could have taken all of Iran if he had wanted to, however, for reasons ONLY known to Saddam, he stopped and waited. This allowed Khomeini to reconstitute his military to such a strengh as to actually fight against Iraq.

But, so what? Serously, Brian, at one time we supported and fought with the Soviets, then we fought against them in proxy wars.

So, yes, we helped Iraq, I ask again ... so what?

What is your point? Today, the US tends to see the French in an antogonistic light and see the Brits in a friendly manner, yet after our Revolution it was the other way around.

Wooohooo ... yep, you got me Brian ... whatever.

It would be nice if time stood still, the chess game didn’t change, or foreign policy was as easy as Brian suggests.


Indeed it would be nice. An excellent start would be to supporting any tyrants anywhere for any reason.


In the central asian republics for example, or that nice General in Pakistan ...


The way to deal with these people is binding international law, binding on the US too.


The death of Milosevic in custody, and recent events in Uganda : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lords_Resistance_Army#Another_cease-fire_and_LRA_arrest_warrants_from_the_ICC_.28February_to_September_2005.29

Are a timley reminder of what is possible. Imagine if everybody signed up to the same rules what could be accomplished?

Also, it should be noted that Khomeini initially thought nuclear power to be a represention of the evil of the west and shut down the program that was already underway in Iran.

Hmmm .... my, how things change, especially since it was under the original Ayatollah, Khomeini, that CHANGED his mind in regards to nuclear technology.

What Brian wants is a consitency in our approach to despots and tyrant. However appealing that is, the reality dictates that we cannot do that.

So, in moral indignation, he places the President of the US and the west, in general, on the same moral plane as Saddam.

Brian, you are a fool.

So, yes, we helped Iraq, I ask again ... so what?


My genuine point, is that assisting these people, always results in blowback. As in SH, Ossam Bin Laden (remember him) and the Taliban (that rambo movie was a hoot!) to name a few regional blunders.


We (the west, whatever) should not be assist tyrants at all.


We should never however, attempt to depose them by invading their countries and causing tens of thousands of deaths in the process.


We should make every effort to arrest and try them according to agreed laws.

Oh boy, international law ... whatever that is, means nothing.

Oh yeah, I forgot, you are one of the one-world government folks who are deluded that this would be a much better arraingement in the affairs of man than anything that is currently being used.

Stop watching Star Trek, please. That is science fiction.

Real life is what we are dealing with, not some utopian vision.

Oh yeah, Brian, just exactly how did the UN stop Milosevic during the Kosovo war or any othe time?

They didn’t. Matter of fact, Milosevic consolidated power DURING our bombing campaign. It wasn’t until the people that he controlled finally ousted him out of power did his reign end.

Brian, again, you have world view that is not based on reality, but on fiction!

Oh yeah, I forgot, you are one of the one-world government folks who are deluded that this would be a much better arraingement in the affairs of man than anything that is currently being used.


Only as regards the use of force.


Don’t be such a luddite! As if the current international arrangments are anything to write home about.


Why would you be so dismissive of rule of law applicable globally? Aren’t you in favour of the rule of law?

Brian, that would be nice, and I agree, but the reality of the world means we have to sometimes engage the tyrants, despots, and vile regimes.

History is full of such things.

Let me get this straight.
Mr. Hitler will you please stop persecuting your non-aryan population? No really, stop or we will arrest you. Mr. Hitler seriously, don’t think about marching into Austria or Czechoslovakia. Please don’t. Please don’t. Oh now you have really done it. Poland too! Appeasement and negotiations really really works with tyrants.
Brian, you offend the spirit of everone who fought and died to provide you with the freedom you now enjoy.

Texasdude ... stuff takes time. You, and your idiot president are looking for the easy road.


Most nation states have gone through very lengthy and substantial change on the path to national identity. Even the US had a very nasty civil war.


The first step to a peaceful world, is to get the worlds foremost agressor, and arms producer to STOP.


Thats you by the way.


Then put laws in place that criminalise war, and guarantee, at the very least, a very public trial for all the leaders involved in the conflict.


The reaction of the US public is actually giving me cautious grounds for hope. If they won’t let you prosecute wars, then with luck your military will atrophy and we’ll get were we need to be.

I am dismissive of international law because there is really no such thing.

The United States, like every other nation, uses international law when it benefits them, and ignores internatioal law when it doesn’t.

So, go ahead, tout that international law, be beware, for it is a notion as weak as it is real!

I am dismissive of international law because there is really no such thing.


You honestly don’t see this as a problem?


Imagine if law between the US states were as weak, wouldn’t that be a catastrophe for the US?

Oh, and in Rambo it was the Mujahideen not the Taliban.

Easy road?

Whatever.

Idiotic president? Whatever.

Also, Russia has the US beat in exporting arms!

I find it interesting that everytime we fight against someone we supported in some fashion, we do NOT encounter M-16s, F-16s, and Abrams tanks, but DO encounter AK-47s, Migs of various types, and Russian made tanks with Russian devised air-defense systems.

But hey, at least Brian and the Ayatollah of Iran are in agreement, that is, America is the Great Satan!

Which, is to be expected by the way!

Right Wing - Hitler analogies are fatuous. Iraq is not Germany, and the US is not Britian, and it is not 1939.

The connection is closer than SH and Al-Quaida ... thats certain, and this little quote illustrates my earlier point.

The mujahideen were significantly financed, armed, and trained by the United States (the Carter and Reagan administrations), China, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. President Reagan praised them as freedom fighters, and an American movie at this time, Rambo III, portrayed them as heroic. This connection is ironic, in light of the future turn of events in which the same men would end up as a major threat to the United States. This sort of Frankenstein syndrome, in which a state would help to create a force to fight another state, but that same force would then turn against its creator, was seen earlier in the 20th century, eg, the German support for the Bolshevik underground in Russia which inevitably ended in the Soviet threat to Germany and the creation of Soviet satellite East Germany, or the US support for the Soviet Union in World War II (even depicting the Red Army as heroes in WW2-era movies), followed by a Cold War against the entity once deemed heroic.

Following the Soviet retreat, many of the larger Mujahedeen groups began to fight each other. After several years of this fighting, a village mullah organized religious students into an armed movement, with the backing of Pakistan, who was being funded by the United States, which found the existing government to be too Russia-influenced. This movement became known as the Taliban, meaning "students", and referring to the Saudi-backed religious schools which produced Islamic fundamentalism along the pacific coast of Asia. With each success the Taliban had, their popularity and numbers grew.

Why the uproar of Iraq and over Saddam?

I suppose the love of communist inspired regimes could help explain such things.

By the way, Brain, Iraq violated your international law for about 10 years. Moreover, he made deals with other countries (France, Russia, German) that absolutely undermined your beloved international law.

Which country finally brought Iraq to the heal of your international law?

So, Brian, my idiotic President did something that your wonderful leaders of international would never do.

It appears, Brain, you should be thanking President Bush for helping you in your quest for legitimizing international law, but then again I don’t expect such things from your for it is turly not about international law, now is it?

But hey, at least Brian and the Ayatollah of Iran are in agreement, that is, America is the Great Satan!


I never said that. However president Bush is an amoral monster, responsible for tens of thousands of deaths.


Your point re the Soviet tanks etc. is well made though. Wouldn’t it make sense to champion laws to prevent arms exports?


Although the US is, in fact, the worlds largest arms exporter :

Top 8 arms exporters in 2004
COUNTRY, CURRENT US$
United States, $18.5billion
Russia, $4.6billion
France, $4.4bn
United Kingdom, $1.9bn
Germany, $900m
Canada, $900m
China, $700m
Israel, $500m

http://www.caat.org.uk/

It appears, Brain, you should be thanking President Bush for helping you in your quest for legitimizing international law, but then again I don’t expect such things from your for it is turly not about international law, now is it?


No it really is about international law. Bush has violated (what little there is) just as he has begun, it appears, to violate your own domestic laws.


What Bush should have done is championed tough international law, binding on the US as well, that would have allowed SH to be arrested and tried.


Hamilton said it best in federalist 15 :
In an association where the general authority is confined to the collective bodies of the communities, that compose it, every breach of the laws must involve a state of war; and military execution must become the only instrument of civil obedience. Such a state of things can certainly not deserve the name of government, nor would any prudent man choose to commit his happiness to it.


We need to get past this to laws that are applicable to all, you won’t find me disagreeing that current international law sucks.

Brian, we have had this debate before.

There is no way I, or most of America thankfully, will submit to the UN. Personally, I think we should get out of it.

Even Clinton, which I am going to assume you admire more than Bush, went against international law and took military action against another nation. Didn’t that also involve Milosevic?

To the future of mankind isn’t one-world government.

Brian, please, stop using the Federalist Papers. Their argument don’t work as I have demonstrated in another thread!

I mean their argument don’t apply!

after reading all these responses by brian texas dude and rightwing i find both sides very informed and intelligent but bottom line the american people were misled and lied to by this administration while at home my wife lost her job every spending cut they try to promote affects me as a disabled american they have done very little to improve national sec. hurricane victoms are still suffering so lets address the real issues. and stop the retterick

I mean their argument don’t apply!


Course it ... um ... do.


Jus’ cause you say it is don’t make it so.


It is true to say that the UN has a mixed record. However like the first confederacy the UN is to an even greater degree at the mercy of the member states.


It has no military, it cannot tax directly, any laws agreed are in effect non binding gentlemans agreements.


To quote Hamilton Federalist 15 (sorry! I love the guy): Each State, yielding to the persuasive voice of immediate interest or convenience, has successively withdrawn its support, till the frail and tottering edifice seems ready to fall upon our heads, and to crush us beneath its ruins.


I know Hamilton was not talking about global governance. However he was talking about governance in general and the principle he illustrates is clear.


Read all of Federalist 15 and is blindingly obvious where the problems lies with global governance. Or if you need a biblical quote : No man can have two masters .... etc.


Nation states must pool their sovreignity for the collective good. It’s going to happen eventually because the alternative sucks so badly that either we will wake up before it happens, or after. But we will wake up.

Also the term "one world government" is alarmist. What will probably emerge will be something closer to the EU.


A pooling of sovereignty, a global confederacy, rather than a federation.

Even Clinton, which I am going to assume you admire more than Bush, went against international law and took military action against another nation. Didn’t that also involve Milosevic?


Yugoslav President Slobodan Miloševiæ survived the conflict and declared its outcome a major victory for Yugoslavia and Serbia. He was, however, indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia along with a number of other senior Serbian and Yugoslav political and military figures. This led to him – and Yugoslavia as a whole – being treated as a pariah by much of the international community, as he was subject to arrest if he left Yugoslavia. The country’s economy was badly affected by the conflict and a year later, popular disillusionment with the Miloševiæ regime led to his overthrow.


The campaign failed in its proclaimed objective, in that thousands were killed during the conflict and hundreds of thousands more fled from the province to other parts of the country and to the surrounding countries.


I will own up to being more positive towards this action. However, in retrospect, I wonder if the people would not have ousted him anyway?


I’ve become a lot less tolerant of war since the invasion of Iraq. I’d probably be much more critical now than I was then.

And the EU is a good thing?

Man, you ARE loopy!

Brain, they don’t apply. It is not me who states that, it is the men themsevles, with their own words. That was clearly demonstrated on the other thread.

There is no way that they would approve of such things.

And, one-world government is not alarmist, but appropriate.

Actually, Brian’s irony can be taken another way. One of the left’s greatest victories was getting the US out of Vietnam. We went into a period where the US did not stand up to Communism. During this period, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Would they have done that if the US was still opposing them in SE Asia and Africa?

So with the US following the Carter foreign policy the Soviets get bold and Afghanistan leads to Al Qaeda and eventually 9/11. Once again the law of unintended consequencies takes what the left wanted to do and gives us about 4,000,000 dead in SE Asia, Cuban troops in Africa and thousand dead there, and the rise of Islam fascism.

Nice job, Brian.

And the EU is a good thing?


Don’t be mean. You’ll upset my feelings.


Course the EU is a good thing, even the US realises that the EU is a good thing. Remember those crazy europeans? War every 20 years etc.?


The EU has consigned that to history (God willing) and peacefully converted several military dictatorships to democracy, and bedded the entire warsaw pact into a peaceful political framework.


If we are very lucky, and the EU populace is not completely spooked by all this blowing up of stuff in Iraq, we may one day have Turkey join. Heres hoping.


The EU has been an enormous force for good in the last 50 years.


Don’t take my word for it, heres what the CIA have to say.


http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ee.html

Once again the law of unintended consequencies takes what the left wanted to do and gives us about 4,000,000 dead in SE Asia, Cuban troops in Africa and thousand dead there, and the rise of Islam fascism. Nice job, Brian.


We could go back to the fall of the Roman empire, or the rise of Persia if you like?


My point is that war is the worst possible option, in almost every case.


It throws the dice up in the air and no one really knows where they will land.


I am not proposing inaction, but aggressive promotion of democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Any violence should be restricted to individuals, not nation states.


Hence : In an association where the general authority is confined to the collective bodies of the communities, that compose it, every breach of the laws must involve a state of war; and military execution must become the only instrument of civil obedience. Such a state of things can certainly not deserve the name of government, nor would any prudent man choose to commit his happiness to it.

Damn, don’t you people have JOBS? This thread had nothing on it when I checked it this morning.

Not only is it Paddys day, but it’s also 19:51 here in good old Sweden:-)

Could not have said it better myself Jim!!

Could not have said it better myself Jim!!


Now that, I can believe:-)

Jobs? I work 12 hour shifts as a police officer and I happen to have this week off.

Brian, the CIA Factbook isn’t about saying what a country or subject is right or wrong. It just states facts.

I mean, for crying out loud, it state that there might be a loosening of the standards for participation because states are not ratifying the EU constitution, which could lead to different levels of participants.

What the Factbook does state is that the EU is unique, which is true, but that does not mean the CIA believes the EU is a good thing at all.

Funny thing the EU, you would think that after about 60 years of integration, the you Europeans would have figured things out. It sure as heck didn’t take us Yanks that long at all, Civil War notwithstanding.

Funny thing the EU, you would think that after about 60 years of integration, the you Europeans would have figured things out. It sure as heck didn’t take us Yanks that long at all, Civil War notwithstanding.


The reason the EU muddles along, at different speeds and with incoherence and missteps, is because it is based on consensus.


Nonetheless, those efforts have ended war between the large European nations. They have turned Spain, Greece and Portugal into thriving free market democracies, and consolidated the gains of the fall of the iron curtain.


Consensus is tricky, it’s a bitch, it takes time to build and effort to maintain. The more parties involved, the harder it is to manage, and with 25 nations plus it’s getting harder. But it beats the hell out of war.


Try it. You might like it:-)


Good night, and good luck.

The whole counterfactual thing is dumb. The fact is, Britain was bled white by WWI, and if you study the 1930s you begin to understand that Brits DID NOT WANT ANOTHER CONTINENTAL WAR. It really took the rise of Hitler and his war machine to change their minds.

So, I am going to assume that you, Brian, would rather have me give up my Creator given rights as espoused in the the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights so as to avoid, at all costs, war?

Thing is, the EU is NOT provided for the common defense of its member states very well.

Again, the EU is NOT a good example to be followed at all!

Dain, do you have a job? You post here about 63 times a day. Are you just some elitist living off the sweat of the proletariat?

Of course I have a job...and those proles SMELL. Who would want to drink their sweat? Ewwwww.

Thing is, the EU is NOT provided for the common defense of its member states very well.


Hmmmm .. this comment exposes an interesting paranoid seam in your personality.


1) Top 8 arms exporters in 2004 COUNTRY, CURRENT US$ United States, $18.5billion Russia, $4.6billion France, $4.4bn United Kingdom, $1.9bn Germany, $900m Canada, $900m China, $700m Israel, $500m http://www.caat.org.uk/


You’ll notice 3 of the EU’s largest countries are also in the top 8. Nothing to be proud of, I think it’s a waste of money myself. I mean, who are we to afraid of? Russia, Iran the Chinese? Nonsense. Large scale troop movements are impossible to conduct unnoticed these days, and a nuclear strike would result in a similar response.


2) Besides, a global confederacy ... umm .. HAS no enemies. Unless you are expecting aliens to invade? Any internal dissent should be managed through small scale police action. Think of it! $900 billion dollars to spend on roads, water, health and education.


Sure, I’m the crazy one for wanting that to stop, and expecting people to have the good sense co-operate. Thats probably because I live in the EU, and I see it every day. If it can work here, it can work globally.


Besides when 1 billion chinese catch up to our (western) living standard, and economy, you’ll be begging to join the EU:-)


We’ll think about it. 2040 is a free acession slot, but you’ll need to clean up your human rights act before then.

We’ll need a new name though .. lets see ...


How about the Union of America and Europe.


The UAE... oh wait ...thats taken!


The Northern Hemispheric Confederacy. The NHC. Not very punchy.


Confederate Western. CW, thats got a ring and it sounds like a corporation, business like. Whaddya think?

Winston Churchill, it should be recalled, pushed for a Federal Union between the British Commonwealth and the United States.

Winston Churchill, it should be recalled, pushed for a Federal Union between the British Commonwealth and the United States.


HAH! Thanks John, an excellent point. I’ll file that away in my list of "clever conservatives who have suggested much the same thing as moi".

Don’t be so quick to thank me, Brian. Churchill was keenly aware of the importance of culture, and there were many possible ties to hold an Anglo-American Union together. I don’t think it’s wise to glean from that factoid the idea that the United States should join the EU.

That said, I’m not as horrified as many conservatives about the thought of countries joining together in some sort of larger union. Culture is important, but it is also malleable. What we know as France, Germany, Italy, etc. were forged out of a great many smaller communities with divergent traditions (think about how different Bavarians are from North Germans, for example). To the extent that the EU works it is because we can speak of a common European culture that is centuries old, despite differences in language. Jose Ortega y Gasset (one of my favorite authors) argued in the early 1930s that his fellow Europeans should work toward a United States of Europe. What hampers the EU is not its cultural diversity, but rather the common Euro-passion for stifling bureaucracy.

Any sort of world federation, though, will be hampered by the lack of similar cultural ties. It is unlikely ever to emerge, at least not in the next milennium, unless some common threat from the outside binds us together. So, short of an alien invasion, it’s just not going to happen.

That said, I’m not as horrified as many conservatives about the thought of countries joining together in some sort of larger union.


Course not. It follows naturally. Your comments re Germany illustrate the point.


However, I’m not as pessimistic as you are. Culture, is in my view, wildly overated. Especially since it’s the primary objection wheeled out when efforts are made to increase international co-operation.


Plus the world is increasingly homogenous, and increasingly american. Which is just fine by me.


Youth everywhere listen to the same music, play the same games, watch the same movies and television shows, read the same books and wear the same cloths.


I may whine and moan about the US, but my family and I still sit down and watch "3rd Rock from the Sun", "Buffy the vampire slayer" and "Lost". I swore off "24" after the 2nd season though:-)


Barring a few lunatic fringe hold outs, we have a lot more in common than most people realise.

Brian, I agree with virtually everything you say. But it is this gradual "Americanization" of the world that has helped to spawn this radical reaction in the Islamic world. The Osama bin Ladens and the Iranian mullahs fear above all else that their youth will be corrupted by our music, our games, our books, and our styles of clothing, and have resorted to violence to stop Western culture. It is this Islamofascism that threatens the very project that you hold dear. And it must be destroyed.

I especially agree with you about "Lost." It’s the best show on television.

But it is this gradual "Americanization" of the world that has helped to spawn this radical reaction in the Islamic world.


Jeez! I get that, sure. However, the way to deal with this is to open the floodgates, get as many people on board and hammer home the message of democracy, human rights and (relativley) free markets.


Until Bush hove into view this is pretty much what was happening, almost without people realising it!


Now the US has a dreadful rep, and these Islamofascists are getting far more airtime than they deserve, or ever had a hope of getting. It’s like Bush and Osama are in some kind of depraved symbiotic relationship. Not that I subscribe to crazy conspiracy theories.


Don’t you get it? I’m a "wannabe" american! I’m not objecting to the idea of the US, I’m objecting in the first instance to Bush, a man who seems the antithesis of everything america has in principle stood for, and in the second, to being locked out of the political process that decides my fate. I’m confident everyone that posts here in my position would be as frustrated.


That is not to say that the US has not done some bad a stupid things in the past, but it really seemed after 1989, that we were all on road to a peaceful and co-operative world.


I want to get back on that track.

Brian, it was during that time that Osama bin-Laden declared war on America. 8/23/96 Bin Laden’s Declaration of War published. This followed a meeting beginning 7/19/96, where representatives of every fundamentalist group, from every major Muslim sect and nation, declared unity against “Zionists and Crusaders.”

http://www.classicalideals.com/chronology.htm

http://www.kimsoft.com/2001/binladenwar.htm

You just can’t understand that these people hate us just for being who we are. It was during this Golden Age of international cooperation and "peace" when the Islamists decided to try and kill all of us (and planned how to do it).

You just can’t understand that these people hate us just for being who we are. It was during this Golden Age of international cooperation and "peace" when the Islamists decided to try and kill all of us (and planned how to do it).


So what?


The key point is they can’t do it, they haven’t a hope in hell. Their best shot, although it would involve terrible tragedy on our side, would mean utter destruction on theirs.


Besides they don’t have the weapons to deliver the blow.


The modern life style is so attractive, that no amount of religous fundamentalism can distract from the blizzard of potential choices.


Also I don’t buy the "they hate us for who we are line". The west have given "them" plenty of concrete and specific reasons to hate us.


The cultural clash doesn’t help, but it can be contained by law enforcement until their societies change.


We need to stop fanning the flames, and keep pumping in the cultural DNA. They are changing, and they don’t like it, but eventually they will loose the battle, because the odds are so overwhelmingly stacked against them. It reminds me of the unionists in Northern Ireland. Largely where my disdain of culture stems from.


The worst is you are losing guys like me. People who are americans in everything but name.


Whose idelogical beefs are largely because we are politically on the outside looking in, because we are rendered powerless by the impotence of our local administrations, and flawed, weak and undemocratic international institutions.

Like I have stated before, Brian wants a utopian world. Thing is, it will never be.

Brian, we do have a lot in common, but we part ways on a lot of things (economics is just one example).

There is a reason, Brian, why France has riots whenever the government decides to actually do something about its unemployment and why Americans don’t. (Well, we will riot over a sports team championship win, but that seems to be a commonality than a difference.)

Well Texasdude, this thread has got hopelessly long, so best to wrap it up.


It’s good to see that we can agree on some stuff.


We seem to agree on the desired outcome, i.e. a world primarly made up of democratic nation states.


Although we disagree on the level of restriction, to be blunt, of activities that are driven by local concerns, but have wider implications.


We certainly disagree on the method, and I find american willingless to "make the hard decisions", that is, to kill other nationalities in pursuit of american security (flawed and misguided as that policy is) and then to sell it is selfless altruisim, as especially objectionable.


A global confederacy of nation states may seem wildly unlikely to you now, but no doubt, it seemed just as unlikely to Britons and Germans in 1943, that they would, a mere 30 years later by in a political union within the EU.


What worries me, is that the great strides forward generally require some catastrophe to spur them on. I’m hoping we can avoid that, and still make it to the next stage. Cheating I guess:-)


As for the French ... sheesh you should have seen when the EU tried to cut agricultural subsidies to French farmers!!!! That is truly an unmistakeable cultural trait. They don’t take no hassle from d’man, whomever the d’man happens to be:-)


However the EU is sneaky, stuff like that gets agreed for 5 or 10 years down the road, so that when the agreement is trumpeted, it’s so far down the road that it only engenders low level resistance. By the time the rent falls due everyone is inured to the decision, and resistance is likewise low.


Softly, softly baby steps, but the EU could resolve all of this middle east hassle by absorbing it. Look at Northern Ireland, the Basque, the baltic republics and the former Yugoslavia. Even the Turkish suppression of the kurds. The EU has gradually drained the poison from those conflicts, by using purely economic levers.


All the best anyway. Law enforcement is a tough gig, and I have the utmost respect for any engaged in it:-)

So, Brian, you seem to appreciate the fact that the ONLY way the EU can advance as a government is to hide behind time. In other words, what you have stated is that the EU can’t function well, if at all, in an open, democratic society.

Brian, that is cynical and not representative of any worthwhile government.

Lastly, Brian, you are deluded if you think absorption is the solution to all the world’s ills, specifially the ills of the Middle East.

Of course, you don’t seem to understand that is the very same process by which the Muslims which to effect on the world to create their Caliphate.

Then again, maybe you do understand such things and approve of them. That would make all of your prattle more understandable.

Or, more likely, your thinking is just muddled.

Texasdude, we’ll just have to agree .. to disagree.


All the best.

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