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Topic: Does US Really Support Democracy?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 09 2013, 12:40 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Obama administration has been uncharacteristically quiet on the recent Egyptian military coup!  The Egyptian army took over the government and placed its president under house arrest. But the US isn't even calling it a coup!!

Looking at past behavior -- if this had been a democratically elected, secular government that was toppled by the military -- the US would have been swift with its condemnation -- followed by threats of sanctions!

But though the government was democratically elected under a certifiably free and fair election -- the winning party had a religious (Islamic) bent.  Nevertheless, that was the voice of the  majority of the Egyptian voting public.

SO -- how committed is the US to the democratic process?  Bottom line -- committed but only with caveats!

My views:

1.  Current US decisions to intervene or not intervene both reflect its own inconsistent agenda and biases.  Altruism is an idealism that doesn't exist consistently in politics -- despite all the propaganda about "transparent" government, freedom, human rights, and the rule of law.  And it isn't just the US, but everybody (obviously)!

2.  Given the above track record, I actually support China's approach of trade and investment.  Quit judging - trade and invest and let the market determine prices.  Heck, it's what we taught the Communist Chinese -- to embrace capitalism!!  

3.  Only in the truly egregious cases -- such as when a brutal regime engages in "population cleansing" -- should nations intervene in the affairs of others -- and then only under the auspices of the UN.  But it's "too hard and too slow" to push things through the UN, you ask?  In a way, that is actually a good "check" against certain trigger-happy countries!  After all, who's to say that a stronger China or India down the line wouldn't also be 'trigger happy' to protect their "interests"?


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 09 2013, 12:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Interfering in another sovereign nation's affairs would be arrogant.

Wouldn't want that eh?

OTOH: What Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood were cooking up wasn't "democracy".
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 09 2013, 12:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jul. 09 2013, 9:51 am)
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Interfering in another sovereign nation's affairs would be arrogant.

Wouldn't want that eh?

OTOH: What Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood were cooking up wasn't democracy.

Agree with your first point!

So what were they cooking up?  And do they have the votes?

My views (again):

1.  It is up to the Egyptians to determine their own society.

2.  Still can't help feeling sad that they have pursued an "expedient route" that may turn out to be a very bad precedent for them going forward.  I am thinking about all the Central and South American republics that were created in the heyday of early 1800's liberalism and rationalism --- and then they had their first coup to "correct things" -- and condemned themselves into almost two centuries of 'musical chair coups'!


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 09 2013, 1:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

One caveat on how much that "winning" reflected support for the Islamists: the other candidate was a Mubarak retread. The group the people had just thrown out, so I'm not at all confident a vote for Morsi was any sort of ringing endorsement of an Egyptian Islamic State, which is what the Brotherhood was busy constructing and which a significant section of the Egyptian people objected to.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 09 2013, 1:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jul. 09 2013, 10:10 am)
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One caveat on how much that "winning" reflected support for the Islamists: the other candidate was a Mubarak retread. The group the people had just thrown out, so I'm not at all confident a vote for Morsi was any sort of ringing endorsement of an Egyptian Islamic State, which is what the Brotherhood was busy constructing.

You mean the Egyptians got shitty choices?  Welcome to modern democracy... now they know how we feel!   :D

But regardless, I hope they don't fall into the 'Latin American and African' mode of coups and more coups... you know, a "needed" correction to correct an earlier correction....

Back to the point of my thread... methinks that as a general modus operandus, a pragmatic  approach works better in international relations than the tired "you need to listen to me and do it my way even if I don't have your best interest at heart" approach...


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 09 2013, 1:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

They'll do what they do.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 09 2013, 5:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yes.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 09 2013, 5:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(reubenstump @ Jul. 09 2013, 2:55 pm)
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Yes.

Deep.  Really deep thinking there.   :;):


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 9:55 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Our government supports economic interests. The type of governments we engage with do not matter as long as the $ are there. And if the $ aren't there, we won't engage regardless of their type of government.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 10:11 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The US has supported the overthrow of democratically elected governments and the installation of dictators more suitable to our perceived interests. The Shah in Iran and Pinochet in Chile are two examples.

Our own democracy is highly dysfunctional, increasingly serving the interests of the deep pockets that swing elections. State governments are finding ways to disenfranchise poor voters, and the SCOTUS just made that easier.

We need to get our own house in order. It should be no surprise that our rhetoric about the principles of democracy is scoffed at in much of the world.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 12:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Would you have preferred a bloody, protracted Civil War Ben? That rhetorical question aside has not the Obama Administrations suggested Egypt get back to Democratic rule as soon as possible?

Well said HSF, WWBF, and Woody.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 1:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Jul. 09 2013, 12:13 pm)
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Back to the point of my thread... methinks that as a general modus operandus, a pragmatic  approach works better in international relations than the tired "you need to listen to me and do it my way even if I don't have your best interest at heart" approach...

Pragmatism can be applied to short-sighted ill-conceived objectives, and is no substitute for guiding principle.

I've always liked this quote from John Quincy Adams:
"Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her (America's) heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."

In this day and age that maxim may have to be modified for legitimate humanitarian intervention -- under UN authority to stop a genocide, for example. The "coalition of the willing" in Operation Iraqi Freedom 10 years ago does not meet that criteria.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 1:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Drift Woody @ Jul. 10 2013, 9:11 am)
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The US has supported the overthrow of democratically elected governments and the installation of dictators more suitable to our perceived interests. The Shah in Iran and Pinochet in Chile are two examples.

Our own democracy is highly dysfunctional, increasingly serving the interests of the deep pockets that swing elections. State governments are finding ways to disenfranchise poor voters, and the SCOTUS just made that easier.

We need to get our own house in order. It should be no surprise that our rhetoric about the principles of democracy is scoffed at in much of the world.

You're supposed to be a "hypocritical American", Woody - you better get back in line! Don't you know what's expected of you?
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 2:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Gabby @ Jul. 10 2013, 12:51 pm)
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(Drift Woody @ Jul. 10 2013, 9:11 am)
QUOTE
The US has supported the overthrow of democratically elected governments and the installation of dictators more suitable to our perceived interests. The Shah in Iran and Pinochet in Chile are two examples.

Our own democracy is highly dysfunctional, increasingly serving the interests of the deep pockets that swing elections. State governments are finding ways to disenfranchise poor voters, and the SCOTUS just made that easier.

We need to get our own house in order. It should be no surprise that our rhetoric about the principles of democracy is scoffed at in much of the world.

You're supposed to be a "hypocritical American", Woody - you better get back in line! Don't you know what's expected of you?

Oh, sorry. I thought I was supposed to be a hyper-critical American  :;):


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 3:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(double cabin @ Jul. 10 2013, 9:06 am)
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Would you have preferred a bloody, protracted Civil War Ben? That rhetorical question aside has not the Obama Administrations suggested Egypt get back to Democratic rule as soon as possible?

Well said HSF, WWBF, and Woody.

The crux of the matter -- which is what I wish to highlight:  it is not for us / our government to publicly voice our preference!

Turn the table around.  The times we read about EU's lecturing that we abolish the death penalty immediately -- many (if not most) American readers react with indignation at their rude interference with our affairs.  And rightly so -- because this is purely a matter for us to debate -- not the Europeans on our behalf!  But how do we routinely behave toward others?  And given our own biases and our own track record -- all the more reason to speak up less.

And speaking of bloody, protracted Civil War -- picture if the British Empire had decided -- after the bloody battles of 1861-2 to tie Lincoln's back!!  Sure, that would have saved Atlanta and the rest of Georgia from the scorch earth policy of Sherman.  But it could also have easily protracted the war -- we could be two, three or even four nations by now -- all at each other's throats.

Again, we often intervene without much clue of potential consequences.  And it's not even our place!  So why do our politicians keep doing it?  Because bottom line -- we have long ago defined anything and everything in this world as part of our American interest!  And that, in itself, is neither good nor sustainable.  After all, can we really keep spending on defense the same amount as the world's next seventeen highest-spending countries put together?!?


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 4:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Drift Woody @ Jul. 10 2013, 10:48 am)
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Pragmatism can be applied to short-sighted ill-conceived objectives, and is no substitute for guiding principle.

I've always liked this quote from John Quincy Adams:
"Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her (America's) heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."

In this day and age that maxim may have to be modified for legitimate humanitarian intervention -- under UN authority to stop a genocide, for example. The "coalition of the willing" in Operation Iraqi Freedom 10 years ago does not meet that criteria.

True that.  But is there any one policy that will always work in all circumstances?  No. But we must compare alternatives / options to what we have currently -- which is essentially one superpower (the world's only at the moment) defining everything essentially in accordance with its own interests.  And this is why every "up comer" is viewed immediately with strong suspicion.  Even Japan was smeared badly in the late '80s.  Japan hasn't changed its 'national character' -- but we are now uncharacteristically quiet about Japan because we no longer view it as a threat to us -- economically speaking.

As for Adam' maxim, we must be vigilant that an altruism is not hijacked outright into naked intervention of others -- esp. with hidden or not-so-hidden ulterior motives!  I know you are well aware of this -- but countless fellow Americans still seem to fall for stuff like this -- blinded by their 'patriotism'.  You know, we needed to help the poor Iraqis...

Your point about the UN jives with mine.  I'd like to see a future where each nation reserves the right to defend itself 'using all means' -- but otherwise the expectation is that war is declared by UN vote -- where the difficulty of securing such a vote will go a much longer way to ensuring that war becomes truly a last resort -- as compared to the present where a strong-enough nation can pretty much start a war 'at will' -- declared or undeclared.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 4:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Jul. 10 2013, 3:54 pm)
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(double cabin @ Jul. 10 2013, 9:06 am)
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Would you have preferred a bloody, protracted Civil War Ben? That rhetorical question aside has not the Obama Administrations suggested Egypt get back to Democratic rule as soon as possible?

Well said HSF, WWBF, and Woody.

The crux of the matter -- which is what I wish to highlight:  it is not for us / our government to publicly voice our preference!

Coming from you, that's positively ludicrous.   :D
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 5:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The motives are always questionable. I highly doubt the French fought with us in the American Revolution in order to spread democracy as opposed to just shoving it to the British.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 5:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey Reuben:

The adults are having a discussion here.  If you actually have something substantive to add, do, but otherwise, please shut up!


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(jcb @ Jul. 10 2013, 2:07 pm)
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The motives are always questionable. I highly doubt the French fought with us in the American Revolution in order to spread democracy as opposed to just shoving it to the British.

+1.

Looking at things and acting in accordance with self interest is not a monopoly of any one person, business, organization, society or country.  It's a basic human trait that we all share. Hence, my view that we go for the pragmatic -- and go lightly on the moralizing -- and esp. using altruisms to cloak interventions based at least partly on our own self interests....

Adam's maxim (quoted by Woody above) would ring pretty hollow if applied to some of the recent French or British or Australian or Chinese or Japanese policies...  and our own too, unfortunately.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 5:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Jul. 10 2013, 5:10 pm)
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Hey Reuben:

The adults are having a discussion here.  If you actually have something substantive to add, do, but otherwise, please shut up!

Ben, you stated that we shouldn't voice our preference.  Given that you do so in such a vociferous fashion, your statement is indeed ludicrous.

Now you're verging on an ad hominem argument, which is even worse.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 5:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Havent heard the Ad Hominem in a while. Oh the memories. :D

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(jcb @ Jul. 10 2013, 5:46 pm)
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Havent heard the Ad Hominem in a while. Oh the memories. :D

It might be the sole and vaguely useful thing I was taught in junior high school.   :D  :(
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 5:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(reubenstump @ Jul. 10 2013, 2:20 pm)
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(Ben2World @ Jul. 10 2013, 5:10 pm)
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Hey Reuben:

The adults are having a discussion here.  If you actually have something substantive to add, do, but otherwise, please shut up!

Ben, you stated that we shouldn't voice our preference.  Given that you do so in such a vociferous fashion, your statement is indeed ludicrous.

Now you're verging on an ad hominem argument, which is even worse.

OK, let's try this.  Ludicrous for me to say we should not generally interfere in the affairs of others -- except in egregious cases?  Tell me where I espouse anything close to 'USA should actively "help" all other countries whenever they fail to step up'...

Your problem is how you can't stand someone is "attacking" the United States.  Your emotional lack of objectivity is solely your own problem! Try growing up and realizing that those of us constructively critical of our country actually love this country just as much as you!  The difference is we are not blinded by a twisted sense of 'patriotism'!

And finally, if you equate my statement that our country / government should not interfere or publicly state its preferences in regard to the affairs of other countries to "Ben the individual shoudn't voice his opinions on a backpacking forum either" -- then that is truly ludicrous on your part!


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 6:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Jul. 10 2013, 5:57 pm)
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(reubenstump @ Jul. 10 2013, 2:20 pm)
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(Ben2World @ Jul. 10 2013, 5:10 pm)
QUOTE
Hey Reuben:

The adults are having a discussion here.  If you actually have something substantive to add, do, but otherwise, please shut up!

Ben, you stated that we shouldn't voice our preference.  Given that you do so in such a vociferous fashion, your statement is indeed ludicrous.

Now you're verging on an ad hominem argument, which is even worse.

OK, let's try this.  Ludicrous to say we should not generally interfere in the affairs of others -- except in egregious cases?  Tell me where I wrote that we should interfere!

Your problem is how you can't stand someone is "attacking" the United States.  Your emotional lack of objectivity is solely your own problem! Try growing up and realizing that those of us constructively critical of our country actually love this country just as much as you!  The difference is we are not blinded by a twisted sense of 'patriotism'!

Ben, I quoted your post in which you stated:

"The crux of the matter -- which is what I wish to highlight:  it is not for us / our government to publicly voice our preference!"

Do you still believe that statement, which you highlighted?
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(reubenstump @ Jul. 10 2013, 3:05 pm)
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Ben, I quoted your post in which you stated:

"The crux of the matter -- which is what I wish to highlight:  it is not for us / our government to publicly voice our preference!"

Do you still believe that statement, which you highlighted?

You really, really need to read this again:

"And finally, if you equate my statement that our country / government should not interfere or publicly state its preferences in regard to the affairs of other countries to 'Ben the individual shoudn't voice his opinions on a backpacking forum either' -- then that is truly ludicrous on your part!"

Our country has the might (and the track record of numerous attempts) at shaping other societies / countries more to our own liking.  And sometimes with devastating results.

And Ben the hiker (like every other individual here) voicing opinions about public matters on a backpacking forum -- that is somehow comparable?

Ad hominem?  Yeah, I called it exactly as I read your posts!!


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 8:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Still can't say that you agree with your own post, eh?
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(reubenstump @ Jul. 10 2013, 5:07 pm)
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Still can't say that you agree with your own post, eh?

I stand by what I wrote. Your reading comprehension = FAIL!

And given how dense you are... I should point out the obvious context above that when I referred to us / our country -- I refer to the collective.  Our country.   Our government.

Your idiotic way of stretching what I wrote to mean that no individual  should ever voice an opinion about another -- just to try and get back at me for being critical of our country --is ludicrous.  Your stupid patriotic hurt is ludicrous!

Some of the stupidest people giving the stupidest 'defenses' are the blind patriots!  You find a lot of them in the GOP nowadays -- and in your mirror!  Read your own post #7 to see your own stupid, lame attempt!  I expect this to be finally clear enough for you.  End of story.


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