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View Diary: Abbreviated Pundit Round-up (156 comments)

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  •  Secularist states? (9+ / 0-)

    Well, if you are referring to Mubarak, Saddam Hussein or Bashar al-Assad, I'd make the point that whether secular or not, all are/were dictatorships with minimal or no legitimacy. Mubarak and Saddam maintained their grip on power to in part due to past support of the US. Assad maintains his grip on power in part due to Russian and Iranian support. None of these were representative governments, and there's no simple or fast transition to whatever it is that we (or they) want.  But this assumption that there will be an immediate shift to fundamentalists is wrong. The sectarian conflicts in Iraq are not over and Egypt is going to be sorting out the power dynamics between Islamists and moderates for some time. But none of these nations are Afghanistan. They are all in transition, and just as the Iranian public is moving away from the radicals (moderate is leading in current election), so will these nations moderate over time.  The idea that we could keep secular dictators in power only delays the process and makes it much, much more violent when it finally happens.  Had Saddam been forced out in 1991, it's very likely the extreme sectarian divides in Iraq would have been less intense than in 2003. The long delay in a necessary transition in Syria is only exacerbating the underlying sectarian divides which only get worse the longer Asad hangs on.  But here, since we are Americans, we will assume that Obama is solely responsible for those sectarian divides, and assign blame accordingly. If he tries to nudge along the inevitable, we will instantly blame him for every death that follows.

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 05:40:36 AM PDT

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    •  Is it our job to bring representative government (14+ / 0-)

      to the world, when we increasingly do not have it ourselves?

      Yeah, yeah, yeah Assad sucks, and Mubarak sucked and Saddam sucked - but is what we install any better?  I'm not blaming Obama for the sectarian divides, I'm just saying how the fuck is it our problem and the one thing we do REALLY REALLY bad is make decisions involving people getting blown up, see Iraq and/or Afghanistan?

      I don't trust this administration - or any administration since 1900 - to pursue any rational progressive foreign policy.  Stripped of the rationalizations, it's all just been imperial overreach.

      I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

      by bobdevo on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 05:48:10 AM PDT

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      •  The dilemma is that we don't have a real UN (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bobdevo, orlbucfan, gffish, rlochow

        We see it over and over again. Annan screws up royally in Rwanda, supposedly running peacekeeping operations and telling Canadian general Romeo Delaire to stand down and watch 800,000 people get hacked to death, and then he gets promoted to Secretary General.

        The US (and especially the Republicans) have done all they can to make sure the UN is weak and to undermine the very multilateral institutions we need in these situations. So under Republicans, it's active imperialism. Under Democrats, it's either a more passive variety or actions because there's nobody else to act.

        I saw a funny quote on an Iraqi Facebook page recently. Japanese work ethic: "if someone else can do it, I will do it. If nobody else can do it, I must do it".  Iraqi work ethic: "wallahi, if someone else can do it, let him do it... If nobody can do it, ya habbibi, why are you asking me?"

        Humor aside, I'm receptive to arguing that we're too much like the Japanese work ethic in our foreign policy and too little like the Iraqis.

        “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

        by ivorybill on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 06:45:11 AM PDT

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        •  well, we don't have a real UN because the (5+ / 0-)

          "world powers" deliberately set things up so there WOULD be no UN--including even giving themselves unilateral veto power over anything the UN does.

          The first step towards a stable world with a rule of law would be to remove that, and to make the UN a democratic representative body. Right now it is just a fig leaf for the "world powers", particularly the US.

          I agree, though---if chemical weapons are involved, then that's the UN's area of jurisdiction, and it should be their job to do whatever punishment/enforcement needs to be done.  Of course, Russia's veto will end that in a second.

      •  Well, imperial overreach along with filling the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gffish, bobdevo, rlochow

        coffers and fulfilling the demands of our military industrial complex and inside-the-Beltway warmongers.

        The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

        by Alice Olson on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 07:00:26 AM PDT

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        •  Agreed, I just kind of took for granted (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rlochow, Euroliberal

          that enriching the corporations is kind of Job 1 for the Empire.

          I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

          by bobdevo on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 08:39:13 AM PDT

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