(03-04-2012 3:46 AM)Alpha Dream Wrote: http://www.collapsenet.com/free-resource...nslavement
@Alpha Dream - While I agree with large parts of that video and I'm friendly to libertarian sensibilities I'm not sure it really applies to the present topic.
Sure, governments use external threats to consolidate power. But can we agree that sometimes external threats are real? I taught English in Nanjing, China where the 'rape of Nanking' took place, had a chance to talk to the people there, visit the memorial, etc. A weak Chinese empire, threatened internally by communist revolutionaries, failed to defend itself from an external threat. The result was a huge number of its citizens were raped and murdered. Israel is quite reasonable in fearing the same from its neighbors. Such threats were made in living memory, and the threatening nations attempted to carry out their threats.
Further, any society is going to be more successful if it can resolve internal disputes based on common standards and laws, which require some measure of enforcement. But there's currently no good way to do this internationally. The various attempts at such have failed miserably.
Also, as regards the video but in a complete tangent to the original topic; Sweden and Israel are both examples of nations with large governments who have reduced their scope. America is, in some ways, a special case here since it convinced the world to use the dollar as the reserve standard in place of gold, insulating itself from inflationary feedback. If the world ever goes off the dollar standard we might find very quickly that deficits really "do matter" when we're unable to re-finance our debt at a sustainable rate.
(03-03-2012 9:54 PM)NewAlpha Wrote: I was just commenting Mark's post about the fact that once again, USA is the only country that vetoes the UN resolution condemning the Israeli settlements in Palestine. ALL the other countries without exception, part of the UN Security Council without exception (China, France, UK, Russia....) and at least 130 countries forming the UN agreed to say that these settlements are illegal and are a strong obstacle for peace.
Okay, So we agree that a UN vote is morally meaningless and the question is entirely one of strategy then? Given what China is doing in Xinjiang province, to give just one example, I don't think their weighing in on the matter carries any particular moral weight. But we're you're interested in "good guys and bad guys," you said? UN resolutions and even international "laws" are not synonymous with national law because they are not enforced equally among nations. As the UN voting record quite clearly demonstrates. The question at hand is whether settlement expansion should be handled at the negotiating table (for example, ceased in exchange for an end to the "Palestinian right of return" which is an ongoing request to destroy Israel by flooding it) or ended unilaterally via a UN resolution.
Quote:And just like it's said in this article (I hope you read it), this veto isolates once again the USA and affects their credibility since it's completely unfair and the agreement including the non-settlement condition was under USA supervision !
Yes, I have read the article.
Regarding the numerous US vetos of UN resolutions, I tend to think that the effective (though possibly accidental) UN support of genocide in Sudan weighs against the nations which supported that harmful action rather than any dissenters, which is part of why I brought it up. It's the old issue about doing what feels good and makes us look good vs. doing what actually works and saves lives.
As for good intentions; I don't know what the intentions of those supplying the mis-appropriated aid to Sudan were. I do observe that good intentions don't always produce good results, and harmful movements often have widespread and well-intentioned political support. Which was what I was trying to point out. As long as Russia is ambitious and America can project force as effectively as it does, the European nations (some of them, anyways) will find a use for America as a NATO ally. And I'm not particularly worried that this matter will make us more isolated from, say, Russia.
I bring up this matter to emphasize that a nation can go against the opinion of many nations and still be taking a worthwhile position. The US position in this case, incidentally, is not support
Quote:And about the "strong pro-Israel lobby in the Congress", this is also the word used by the BBC journalist in the article
Sure, I only argued that the phrasing was deeply misleading. It's certainly widely used phrasing as regards many different issues. However at least we agree that such media manipulations are worthy of condemnation. The most parsimonious explanation for congress's voting behavior is that they are representing the opinions of their constituents.
Quote:USA is not the only country in the world from the "West" that worries about protecting human rights...Big Grin.
Certainly! And I disagree strongly with some stuff that America has done in the past, to be clear (US actions regarding Rwanda or the civil war in El Salvador, for instance.) And with some of the stuff that Israel has done, for that matter. I just don't see the UN as a fair or effective tool in promoting human rights, based on its record. Many nations 'worry' about protecting human rights. My concern is for which tactics and strategies are effective. You hold that America's history in regards to the UN isolates America. I feel that the UN's effective support for genocide and its partisanship, among other things, undermines the effectiveness of the UN as a forum for resolving disputes.
As regards the specific situation;
Both Israelis and Palestinians want things that are fairly called "obstacles to peace." Yes, the settlements need to be removed for peace. The US hasn't said otherwise. Yes the Palestinians need to stop rocket attacks for peace, and quit demanding to flood Israel and overrun it. Such a demand is, under the circumstances, a call for Israel's destruction. And Hamas (and its supporting states) need to understand that playing a waiting game till the political landscape changes, at which time it can successfully end its "hudna" and take what it wants through violence, is a losing strategy. This seems to have been their clear intention in the past. If the PA wants to give up it's claims to a "Palestinian right of return," which is effectively equivalent to the destruction of Israel, I will wholeheartedly support an end to all settlements at that time and a return to 1967 borders. I hope such a tradeoff is the result of upcoming talks, though I'm not holding my breath. The PA has currently refused such a tradeoff when it was offered. I think the US position advances this necessary Palestinian capitulation in a way that the Russian or Chinese position does not. If the UN resolution had also demanded, as a precondition, that the Palestinian demands to flood Israel be ruled illegal, I'd be far more sympathetic to the resolution. But as usual the UN resolution is a one-sided negotiating tactic which only criticizes a single party.
Quote:And yes, the karma will hit hard all those who manipulate others and promote wars whatever their religion, their skin color, their origin...You find them in all sides.
They are found everywhere. Quite true, unfortunately.
Quote:but they do it anyway following Israel request because many of the Congress men feel more israelian(sic) than american.
I suspect that many people in Congress may feel closer to Israel than, say, to Iran or Russia or China. At least, I would hope so. That seems quite rational for reasons already mentioned. But if the US itself were under mortal threat, Congress would consider its own interests before those of other countries.