America needs help

I guess this question falls under “political science” which is a social science, so this forum is the best fit IMO - but if any mods disagree then feel free to move it to the approapriate forum and accept my apologies.

Anyway, I’m concerned about the “American situation” as it might be called. Currently, the US has put itself in a bind vis-a-vis Iraq. Bush had quite a romantic vision whereby a horrible despot would be ousted and a new reign of democracy would thrive in the middle east. It seems that things aren’t quite going as planned. Just last week, 150 people were kidnapped by 80 gunmen at the Ministry of Higher Education in Iraq. The rise in dissidents is not decreasing, and American soldiers are growing tired, their families beconing for their safe return, the government plunging more and more into debt over this whole ordeal. America is losing steam. Tony Blair is currently negotiating with Iran and Syria about taking over the operations in Iraq so that they and the Americans can pull out.

I couldn’t believe it! Syria and Iran??? Does anybody really think they’re going to support a constitution rooted in democratic and western values? Last I heard, these countries were on America’s top-ten list of countries to invade next.

My concern is this: the US is in trouble - not only abroad but domestically as well. Their crime levels are at an all time high while education levels are at an all time low. The average American is scared shitless of terrorists. So much money is being spent on military and foreign operations. I don’t blame them for this at all. They are under serious threat from a wide variety of enemies - terrorists, tyranical regimes, etc. They need all the military defense they can muster - but make no mistake, it is at the expense of other highly important domestic needs.

Why couldn’t all the other democratically and western leaning countries of the world, like the common wealth and European nations, step in to help with the situation in Iraq. Rather than allow Syria and Iran to take over, why don’t the countries who are actually friends to the Americans pitch in to help? Meanwhile, the US can pull out and focus on its internal problems (education being the most pressing IMO).

I asked this question of my dad a few days ago and he said “Are you kidding? No one wants to get their hands into that mess.” This is a valid point, of course. After all, the majority of countries disagreed with the whole idea in the first place, even those who were friends to the Americans. But I think this is too short-sighted a view. I think the fact of the matter is, we’re all effected by this. If the US goes to hell in a hand bag for whatever reason (war, terrorism, low education levels, high crime, etc.) the rest of the world doesn’t stand much of a chance. America used to be a beacon for the rest of the world, not only acting as the guiding light but a lot of the times defending other countries who couldn’t defend themselves from the tyrany of despots and terrorists. It isn’t what it used to be anymore - more and more American animosity is showing its ugly face all around the world. I don’t scorn Americans for being American but I do see them as slowly sliding away from what they once were - not on an individual-by-individual basis but as a whole nation. Neither do I see this as something blame-worthy - I see this as a cue for other nations to help. America is in trouble and it needs help from friends. I think the situation now has gone far beyond the disputes we’ve had earlier this decade - over whether or not the US should invade Iraq, or whether it was right or wrong for Bush to thwart the UN, etc. - I think the situation now is that we’re all affected by the Iraq situation, and if we don’t step in to help the US, we’ll all be worse off.

Sorry if this comes off as offensive - I don’t mean it to be - but it’s something that I’ve been muddling over for a long time now, and I wanted to get it off my chest. I want to know if I’m just being a silly romantic - I admit, my political common sense isn’t that great (metaphysics and such is my prefered philosophical topic). So what do others think? Is the idea of friendly countries taking over the “Iraq problem” while America deals with her domestic problems (premium on education) a worthwile one to follow up on? Is it feasible?

Violent crime in America is actually down quite a bit from its high points. The US is a large country, and each state is somewhat distinct, but overall things aren’t bad at all compared to the past I’m old enough to remember (I’m in my late 30’s).

Gib, I had heard the new Secretary of Defense was thinking of negotiating with Iran and Syria. It seems quite natural to me. Why do you think it is a bad idea?
I agree with you that America needs help from it’s friends. But not military help.

Yes, I didn´t do my research before posting. I was going for drama, not accuracy. I think my point still stands though: America´s domestic problems need attention ASAP.

BTW, when did the crime rate start to drop? Wasn´t it during the early ´90s? Didn’t it have to do with certain abortion laws that were passed a couple decades earlier?

What do you mean by “natural” - to me, “natural” for these countries would not be to uphold democratic and western values, so I wonder what the west hopes to gain from this. Maybe I´m jumping to conclusions though. I really should do more research before tooting my horn, but from what little I understand, Iran and Syria are high on the list of U.S. enemies. I´d just bet my bottom dollar that they´ll undo what the U.S. has been trying to accomplish there for the passed 3 years - but I guess that depends on the terms of the negotiations.

No help for the US until Bush is gone. That is the bottom line.

okay… but do you agree that US does indeed need help?

no help for the us until all liberal democRATS are gone. that is the bottom line

-Imp

Conversely we could do away with all the Republican’ts, neo-cons and fascists. Then the US would approach Utopia. :evilfun:

Nice topic. I have been thinking about this too often. I think the problems boil down to a few:

  1. the US greatly overracted to the twin towers attack. It is as if they were just waiting for a Mega enemy to appear (not having USSR anymore), and then here they came. They should have kept their cool and not exaggerate the attacks, Islam etc. so much. This way they greatly amplified and gave Islam terrorists an enormous audience and importance. They should have almost completely ignored them and just investigate the ordeal. Instead the US went into 2 major wars, probably lost them and lost any sympathy for the US left in the world for them.
    Why was Spain so cool after they were attacked ? Why was even the UK so calm ? Why did the US practically go crazy ?

  2. The WWII era is over. The US should close its worldwide bases and let each country defend itself. They still think they are the world heros, in fact most of the world despises the US.

  3. The US has the harshest Capitalism in the world and the most extreme right wing ideology around. Even fascist countries think that health care is something everyone is entitled to, but the US kind of says you have to deserve it, it is not an entitlement, in other words drop dead unless you become rich. And become rich by hosing anyone around, making them work like slaves for minimum wage.

  4. Billions of dollars seem to have disappeared in Iraq. No hospitals, no infrastructure, what happened ? where did all the money go or not go ?
    What happened to the Isreal - Palistine “ROAD MAP” ? Why does the west fail so terribly ? Wouldn’t it cost less for all palestinians and jews who want to live in peace come and live directly in the US in 2 states far apart, and just support them directly ? give each jewish and palestinian family 20,000 dollars a year to live in the US for 10 years. It would cost about as much as one year of US military expenditure.

  5. The US and UK have many universities, intellectuals, social “scientists” etc. COULD THEY HAVE NOT FORESEEN A POSSIBLE CIVIL WAR IN IRAQ ? Was it that hard to imagine what could happen after Saddam ? Or maybe they could care less. This is another real mystery…

The US must become more moderate, less violent, end the death penalty and see how the rest of the world views human relationships.

Of course the rest of the world sucks greatly too, but the US is surely no longer a model.

Georgia to the palestinians and Montana to the jews. Anyways in brooklyn they already live side by side…

I would say that China has the harshest capitalism and anyways most of the world is much harsher than the US. The right wing ideology sucks because it tries to justify the game with morality when the name of the game is strong guy wins, weak guy looses.

Also the Bush - Rumsfeld idea that either you are with us or against us, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution, binary world, black and white, is truly insane. Now they are forced to deal with the “bad guys” Iran , North Korea etc.

The US claimed to go to war to free Iraq from Saddam. That has been done. The rest of what has been accomplished the past 3 years is total carnage.
Iran was an archenemy to Saddam. Syria a buddy of his. The US initially supported Saddam against Iran. Iran will not try to undo Saddams or the Baath party riddance. Neither will perhaps Syria if it is to cooperate with Iran.
Life in Syria and Iran is much better than it is in Iraq right now. I haven’t been to Iran but I have worked in Syria for a while and it is a normal country. What is happening in secret prisons is terrible but that goes for certain western countries as well, as we’ve come to know. All this ‘evil’ rhetoric is quite relative.
Iran is Shia, Syria mainly Sunni. The carnage in Iraq is mailnly the result of Sunni’s killing Shia’s and vice versa. If both Iran and Syria get involved, the two might be politically reconciled. This is the beginning of some kind of dialogue, more related to democracy than what is happening so far.
Another thing the US has tried to accomplish is secure oil. I’m sure they will not give this up to Iran and Syria.
By natural I mean in line with the mindset of the people.
I don’t calim to know what ‘the’; Iraqi’s want, but I get the impression this is not it, I get the idea that western countries do not understand what they want and that their neighbours might have a better idea.
This leaves Turkey and the Kurds. In a possible scenario nothern Iraq would be annexed by Turkey, united into a province of Kuristan, with a relatively high autonomy.
One condition for Iran and Syria to get a piece of the cake would have to be that they officially accept the state of Israel, and put an end to this whole bickering and arguing over who killed who. Democracy might grow out of such political stability. Democracy is not imposed -that is unnatural, it rises naturally from within - or it doesn’t.

We can talk about it forever. The bottom line is that there are some lessons to be learned. The US got stuck in Vietnam because it thought that it could win a war in another country that had a different culture in their own land. It can’t be done, even the Germans couldn’t do it in Russia in WWII. The Russians tried the same in Afghanistan. It can’t be done. So what does Bush do ? He tries his hand at it in Iraq and Afghanistan where the Russians gave up. It can’t be done. Would you want a foreign country to bomb and invade Texas ? No matter how bad your dictator, you will fight against the foreigners, that is the lesson to be learned. Iraq, Islam, Afghanistan are poor countries with completely different cultures, worldviews, the US has nothing at all in common with them, the US should just get out.

Some things that could improve the US:

  1. get rid of private health care; get a public system with strong incentives for hospital managers to do a good job, make people pay something but according to their needs and their possibility;

  2. Start a huge public transportation program, buses that follow a grid all across the US, company buses, some luxury buses, some train networks, with billions of dollars being saved by the use of less gas;

  3. Actually ask which countries want the US bases, through a referendum in each country, get out of the countries that don’t want the US, The US saves billions of dollars;

  4. Invest big time in basic Scientifc Research, the kind the used to be done at Bell laboratories and in California before the Capitalist hogs closed everything down and just looked at the short term mythical Return on Investment.

I know it will never happen, just daydreaming until the next Mega war the US tries to wage against some poor crappy country.

These are all very good points. I still wonder, however, what everyone thinks about helping the US - not necessarily sharing in their objectives vis-a-vis Iraq and their foreign policy in general, but in helping the US to return tothe virtuous nation it once was. Should we take on some of the international burdens so that the US can focus on fixing its domestic problems? I think a more educated, more prosperous, more functional homeland will lead to better relations abroad in the long run. Do we agree that it would be worth the wile of friendly nations to help the US towards this end? Do we agree that it’s worth delving into the Iraq situation for this sake? I understand that Iraq doesn’t want western countries meddling in the affairs, but we wouldn’t be there to “fix Iraq” but to take some of the budern off the US.

How noble. Are you going to volunteer?

I personally think the U.S. needs a change of direction from within more than we need help from outside.

This whole situation goes back to the end of World War II. It’s useful to look at World War II in purely imperialistic terms, stripping the ideological factors out of the picture – not because they weren’t important, but because doing so reveals some other details that are also important, but that can get obscured under the conflict among Fascism, Nazism, Communism, democratic capitalism, and Japanese militarism. Set all that aside and forget that each of the combatants was following one or another of those.

If you do that, you can see the war as a challenge to the power of the British Empire mounted by Germany and Japan. The Germans and Japanese were winning in 1941, although not easily. Britain was on the ropes. Singapore had been lost. India was threatened. The home island, though still uninvaded, was being bombed on a daily basis. Then Hitler made a mistake (one dictated by his ideology – so stripping out the ideology can distort the picture somewhat – just noting that in passing before moving on) by invading the Soviet Union, which brought that country into the war on the side of the British. And later the same year, the Japanese made another mistake by attacking the United States, which brought the Americans into the war, also on the side of the British. This weight of forces was too much for the the Germans and Japanese to defeat, and so they lost the war.

But since the Americans and Russians were the ones who actually won it, and saved the British from the total defeat that surely would have happened otherwise, the outcome still brought about the fading of the British Empire and the ascendancy of those two powers in its place. America had been a second-tier “great power” since about the turn of the 20th century, but now took on the roll of the world’s greatest power, with the Soviet Union as its only serious rival, and Britain as a second-tier power; in effect, the U.S. and Great Britain had exchanged roles.

Imperial power is insidious. It brings economic rewards in its train, which tend to concentrate in the hands of the wealthiest citizens of the empire’s dominant power. Ordinary people get a few leavings, and also are patriotically proud of their country’s greatness, so at least at first they, too, support the empire. But the cost is terrible. Empire undermines democracy and liberty, at home as well as abroad. Yet it has a momentum of its own, and is difficult to relinquish. Britain did relinquish it in the decades after World War II. America still has not. But we try to pretend that we’re doing something else.

During the Cold War, the “something else” was fighting Communism. We maintained the military bases in Germany and Japan that were originally established as part of the occupation, but during the Cold War they were justified as a defense against the Communists. We encouraged (and sometimes pressured) our allies to maintain only basic self-defense military forces, and to depend on the U.S. for protection in the event of a full-scale Soviet invasion (which of course never happened). Today, we have a global network of military bases that give us the ability to mount an invasion almost anywhere in the world, given a few weeks for preparation.

But since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, all this power has lost its raison d’etre. If it had truly been in place solely to defend against Communism, then over the last 15 years it would have been dismantled. That it has not, shows that defending against Communism was only part of the reason for the American global presence, and not the primary one. No, this is an empire, one without flags flying, without official territories, without provinces or overt tributes, but an empire just the same. And I do not think the American people will agree to maintain an empire of such magnitude at such a cost, without the justification of an outside threat of the magnitude of Communism.

Apparently those interested in maintaining it agree, because they’re now trying to elevate Islamism into a similar position. There is a de facto partnership going on between Osama bin Ladin and the imperalistic interests in the U.S., which may or may not reflect an actual agreed-upon partnership. He has done exactly what the imperialists in America would want in order to prevent an overthrow from within, and the U.S. has done exactly what he would want in order to further his aims, which are to unite the Muslim world under his leadership against a common enemy. The imperialists in America would like to see him succeed, because a united Islam would be a powerful foe able to replace the Soviet Union as a justification for continued imperialism, while the current state of the Muslim world makes that enemy much less credible.

I’m not necessarily saying that bin Ladin, who used to work in actual partnership with the U.S. government in the days when he was fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, is still secretly doing so – although that’s possible. Even likely. But if he’s not, the effect is pretty much the same as if he were.

What I’m saying here is that America is going in the wrong direction. And as long as we continue to do so, we don’t need help from outside – exactly the reverse. We need to be opposed. We need for Europe to build up its military forces so as to challenge the U.S., not assist us. I don’t mean go to war with us (that would be insane). I just mean that, for example, Germany needs to be in a position where it can tell the U.S. to remove its military bases. Japan, likewise. American power needs to be stymied, and it were better that happened at the hands of our friends rather than our enemies.

If that were to happen, then it is very possible that the American people will restore the democracy on which the nation was founded, and which is in the end incompatible with empire. We are meant to be a great nation, but not a superpower. From that folly we must stand down.

If you really want to help us, help us to do that, by standing up to us and being strong enough to make it stick. Europe has the technology, the population, the wealth, and the discipline to do that. I hope it has the will.

Thanks for the insight Navigator - it was insightful.

I’m no soldier, if that’s what you’re getting at. I’m a philosopher and sometimes an artist. I would volunteer to be part of a think tank, a group of people dedicated to coming up with ideas that could solve these kinds of problems. That’s the most effective function I can see myself serving. As a soldier, I’d probably break down and shit my pants.

How about a huge telecommuting program ? Where people can work from their homes with their PCs and come into the office only a couple of times a week ? That would save gas, improve traffic, give people more free time, save companies in office expenses and especially get rid of all the office hype, politics, useless meetings, create a huge increase in productivity, etc.

As for Imperialism, I think the whole concept will not make any sense anymore. Armies in today’s world are useless. You just need 20 terrorists to blow down the twin towers and create total chaos. No nation is special, the rest of the world is catching up with the west and will become just as rich, so there is no reason why any nation should “Lead” or be special.

But most of all, the whole world is becoming one big blob. As time passes being in Brazil, Europe or US will not even count anymore, it won’t mean anything anymore as the internet and these very forums show. Maybe gib is an African who lives in Ethiopia who pretends to be American, who knows ? But especially who cares and what difference does it make ? Nations will slowly dissolve.

Yeah!! Imagine getting rid of all the useless middle managers, all the useless bosses, all the useless offices and structures. If people could really just do the work they had to, without all the office politics and hype and meetings, there would be a HUGE JUMP IN PROFITS AND PRODUCTIVITY. Talk about Return on Investment!

Just imagine the money the companies could save! The profits would skyrocket !

Nice try but no :stuck_out_tongue: