American dominance?

[Because this thread is still going strong, I've moved it up to the top of the blog this morning -- Bookworm.]

Zachriel raises a new and very interesting point:

“A strong an prosperous America leading free nations is a good thing. Dominance of one nation by another is undemocratic and inherently unstable. If, as many Americans agree, Washington is detached from the concerns of the people of Aberdeen or Bangor, then why would anyone expect Washington to be able to run the affairs of people in Kandahar or Fallujah.”

I think he’s right that America is ill-suited to run things in Kandahar or Fallujah.  Of course, I’ve always been uncomfortable with American intervention in other countries, witness my opposition to the invasion of Iraq.  But, if intervention into other countries is necessary to protect Americans against future 9/11s maybe it is a necessary evil even if we don’t run things all that well in Kandahar and Fallujah.  Every country has a right to defend itself, a right that, in its execution, may necessarily extend beyond its borders.  Israel, for example, should not be required to wait until Iran drops an atomic bomb on it before acting to prevent that from happening.

What do you all think about this?

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Comments

  1. says

    Um, we’re obviously aware of the distinction as we used the modifier “perceived”.

    That’s part of why I said you destroyed your own argument. By simply admitting that it was dictators that were wrong, you opened up the possibility that there was a “right” way to claim necessity. Since you hadn’t yet proved that our claims lacked sufficient justification to be considered “right way to claim necessity”, you opened the path to your own defeat.

    And when you say you are aware of the distinct, you seal the deal, so to speak. So of course the Nazi priority on the Jews was wrong. It was the opposite of being necessary for winning the war, it was counter-productive. Which means, if American wants to win wars, it needs to do productive things in the war. All the stuff you talk about in Vietnam and the War on Islamic terrorists? Those are counter-productive things. You have yet to convince many of us why they should be considered “productive” and “necessary” things to do for the benefit of America or the indigenous population.

    That is the issue. You claim it as fact that this is “True”, but premises are only true if you assume they are true. We do not make such assumptions without a convincing argument first. It’s not a “premise” that the Vietnamese were bombed because America didn’t like electing Ho Chi Min. That’s just your argument, which you must argue. Rather than assume, like a premise.

  2. says

    Also, as a general comment, nations don’t have such things as honor or duty or things that only belong to individuals.
     
    People who try to rely upon a “nation’s honor” rather than realizing that honor and promises only exist with the people that have them, usually end up in a shallow grave on the world geo-political stage sooner, rather than later.
     
    I add this because I don’t think DQ or Danny has yet mentioned this particular distinction. Which I believe is a fundamental and axiomatic distinction. To not recognize it as being true, would change the face of geo-political negotiations, diplomacy, and foreign policy.
     
    While there are many things I would like to address concerning what Zach, Danny, or DQ wrote up. My time is limited and thus I chose to pare it down to something chewable.

  3. Danny Lemieux says

    Owen…I know you will be shocked to hear this, but we did devote a fair amount of time to the Seven Years War (French & Indian War) on this blog a while back. We mentioned that this first “global war” was started by an American Indian in the presence of George Washington.
     
    We cover quite a bit of ground in the Bookworm room. It’s always interesting.

  4. Danny Lemieux says

    Have any of you ever played whack-a-mole?
     
    If so, have you noticed that, once you get into a rhythm, it is very hard to stop whacking?
     
    Lord help me!

  5. Charles Martel says

    Headline from the February 7, 2011 New York Times:

    LANGUAGE POLICE CLOSING IN ON “SADIE,” SAY THEY HAVE HER PUNNED DOWN IN A RIGHT-WING BLOG ROOM

  6. Charles Martel says

    My first whack-a-mole experience was at Pier 39 in San Francisco, near Fisherman’s Wharf. Frisco being a leftist town, the moles attacked my wife, calling her “bitch” and “whore,” and sneering that she’s probably an ill-educated pro-lifer who thinks she can “see San Francisco from her wndow.”

    They also questioned whether my son, Nottrig, was really ours or belonged to our neighborhood GOP teen slut who, undoubtedly, now runs around counseling abstinence.

    Otherwise, for a bunch of unionized mammals, they were pretty well behaved.

  7. says

    Ymarsakar: You have a perception of necessity that there is only such a thing as “perceived necessity” rather than the counter part existing, actual necessity.

    Zachriel
    : Um, we’re obviously aware of the distinction as we used the modifier “perceived”.

    Ymarsakar: That’s part of why I said you destroyed your own argument.

    Try to be consistent — or at least read your own comments. You had said our position was that there is only “perceived necessity” and not “actual necessity”. But that’s obviously not correct. It’s not so much that you can’t properly restate our position, but that you can’t seem to see such obvious contradictions in your own statements.

    Ymarsakar: By simply admitting that it was dictators that were wrong, you opened up the possibility that there was a “right” way to claim necessity.

    To take an extreme case, it is wrong to systematically exterminate an entire people. The difference is that you make an exception for necessity.

    Ymarsakar: So of course the Nazi priority on the Jews was wrong.

    Yes. They claimed it was necessary, but it wasn’t. They were mistaken.

    Ymarsakar: It’s not a “premise” that the Vietnamese were bombed because America didn’t like electing Ho Chi Min.

    “I have never talked or corresponded with a person knowledgeable in Indochinese affairs who did not agree that had elections been held as of the time of the fighting, possibly 80 per cent of the population would have voted for the Communist Ho Chi Minh as their leader.” — Eisenhower, Mandate for Change 1963.

    The nationwide vote was never held, however, there was an election in South Vietnam. The U.S. backed Ngo Dinh Diem won 98% of the vote, with 133% support in Saigon.

  8. says

    Ymarsakar: You have a perception of necessity that there is only such a thing as “perceived necessity” rather than the counter part existing, actual necessity.
    Zachriel: Um, we’re obviously aware of the distinction as we used the modifier “perceived”.
    Ymarsakar: That’s part of why I said you destroyed your own argument.
    Try to be consistent — or at least read your own comments. You had said our position was that there is only “perceived necessity” and not “actual necessity”. But that’s obviously not correct. It’s not so much that you can’t properly restate our position, but that you can’t seem to see such obvious contradictions in your own statements.
    Ymarsakar: By simply admitting that it was dictators that were wrong, you opened up the possibility that there was a “right” way to claim necessity.
    Of course one can argue necessity. To take an extreme case, it is wrong to systematically exterminate an entire people. The difference is that you make an exception for necessity.
    Ymarsakar: So of course the Nazi priority on the Jews was wrong.
    Yes. They claimed it was necessary, but it wasn’t. They were mistaken. 
    Ymarsakar: It’s not a “premise” that the Vietnamese were bombed because America didn’t like electing Ho Chi Min.
    “I have never talked or corresponded with a person knowledgeable in Indochinese affairs who did not agree that had elections been held as of the time of the fighting, possibly 80 per cent of the population would have voted for the Communist Ho Chi Minh as their leader.” — Eisenhower, Mandate for Change 1963.
    The nationwide vote was never held, however, there was an election in South Vietnam. The U.S. backed Ngo Dinh Diem won 98% of the vote, with 133% support in Saigon.

  9. says

    But that’s obviously not correct. It’s not so much that you can’t properly restate our position, but that you can’t seem to see such obvious contradictions in your own statements.

    Until you address DQ’s issue on when or where you think it would be necessary to do such things as torture, my claim stands as is.

  10. says

    Ymarsakar: Until you address DQ’s issue on when or where you think it would be necessary to do such things as torture, my claim stands as is.

    What claim? That there is no such thing as real necessity? That obviously misrepresents our view. The question is whether particular acts are necessary, or ever necessary. This is your original statement:

    Ymarsakar: That’s because there are cases where killing a population, Jews or not, is necessary to achieve victory in a war… You have a perception of necessity that there is only such a thing as “perceived necessity” rather than the counter part existing, actual necessity. You are entirely wrong on that matter.

    It’s certainly possible to *imagine* a situation where killing every last enemy is actually necessary. That is Hitler’s argument. The Jews were a cancer, and they had to kill every last cancer cell to eliminate the disease. Is that your position? Most people don’t believe it is ever necessary to commit genocide, that those who think otherwise are deluded and hateful, and that it is always morally reprehensible. Sometimes, doing the right thing can be painful, though. It might mean prolonging a war, or struggling through the complexities of an ambiguous peace.

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