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The Times (London): The American Paradox  
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21521 posts, RR: 53
Posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 1018 times:

I just came across an interesting commentary in The Times and I think it´s worth considering.

Arrogance and fear: the American paradox

Opinions?

12 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineUal747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 980 times:

Again......another post by an anti-American European. Listen, I know you tell us to listen to criticism, but you guys tell us the same thing OVER AND OVER AND OVER. We get the point, do you have to keep driving the nail into our hearts? Jeez. I know this is going to turn into a flame thread. Why is it that there is never (in comparison to the anti-us threads) any anti-European threads?

UAL747


User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 19
Reply 2, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 978 times:
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Lets end the matter now. No more posts for this thread.


In Arsene we trust!!
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21521 posts, RR: 53
Reply 3, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 973 times:

Ual747: Again......another post by an anti-American European.

Nope. Wrong address.

I´m not interested in name-calling or in anybody feeling bad. I´m interested in topics and opinions.

Ual747: Why is it that there is never (in comparison to the anti-us threads) any anti-European threads?

There´s been plenty of those. But again, that´s not the point.

Especially when it´s about different policies, not about whether being of a specific nationality means someone ought to feel like crap. (Which is a ridiculous concept anyway - whether it´s about the USA, France or any other nation.)

So, no opinions on the topic?


User currently offlineCapt.Picard From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 963 times:

Klaus, m'old chum it's getting quite late, and I'm in no mood to write long, self-defeating essays (see the 'Africa' thread  Wink/being sarcastic ).

However, let me say this. I love America, I love Americans, but most of all, I love Dunkin' Donuts. I don't say this to remove suspicions from my fellow Americans that I may be against their country. I say it because I mean it, after having spent months in this country, working with, and for, it's people.

If Americans understand the very last sentence of that article which you spotted in The Times, if they understand the meaning and importance of that last sentence, then as we say here in the UK, the battle will already have been half-won.

The more the American people engage with their fellow cousins of the world, and understand them, the greater the chance that they will finally realise why September 11 was not a random event, and why it happened.

Regards


User currently offlineAlpha 1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 957 times:

This was a thought-provoking piece, but there's no doubt that the author 1. Doesn't want the U.S. to continue this war; 2. Doesn't think much of capatilism, and 3. Despite his disdain for U.S. and for Captalism, certianly wants the U.S. taxpayer to bail out half the world of it's "iniquities".

-The author, quoting Phillipine President Arroyo, thinks that victory is assured-that the U.S., indeed, the world, has nothing to fear anything more; that terrorism is no longer a threat. That, I believe is a naive interpretation of what has transpired. Terrorism isn't out there-the rats that stoke it's flame are hiding in the gutter right now, waiting, hoping that the sentiment here wins out-that the world can and will let down it's guard. When that happens, they will strike-again. The author doesn't believe that, and for that, he-and those that think like him-are dangerously naive in that line of thought.

If the Bush Administration were to let up the vigil on terror; if it were to slack off on the gathering of intelligence, in the gathering of forces, and then, the murderers would strike again, then the president would have failed in his oath to "preserve, protect and defend". It's easy to say he should let up, but the American people would want him impeached if he were to do so in light of September 11th. Of course, there's more than a few on here, and around the world, who would love to see that.

-The author says that "War fever has given Mr. Bush an excuse to tear up his promises about balanced budgets and to propose additional tax cuts that would benefit America's biggest corporations and richest citizens."

First of all, it's pretty naive to state that a major attack-on our soil, that caused thousands of fatalities-is being used as an "excuse" to get rid of balanced budgets. In the same way, perhaps, as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor gave Roosevelt to expand our military in 1942? It doesn't wash. A war tends to throw out all economic forcasts, a point the author conveniently doesn't bring up.

As for the tax cuts, the rich and businesses ALWAYS make out well during any tax cut, so that's nothing new. And an economy that was already in recession before 9-11, and that was flattened after 9-11 needed some boosts: my industry, the airline industry, is a prime example. The president could have done what the author is afraid to say out loud-not help any of the industries affected by 9-11, and let them fall on their face, causing further earthquakes in the economy, and send it into a deeper recession. Or he could stave off a castrophe by providing help to those industries that would have collapsed after 9-11 by extending short-term financial assistance. The other may have appeased the left-leaning in the world, but it would only have accomplished the sending of the world economy into a sever recession, maybe even a depression. No president could have made any other decision.

-As for the World Economic Forum, and the approval the author has for it, there's no doubt that it was run, from beginning to end, by a bunch of socialists who still feel that the best way to solve the worlds' problems, is for the rich-more specifically, the U.S., and it's corrupt capatilists system-to give to the have-not's in the world. The author certianly doesn't want Britian and the E.U. to help pay for this transfer of wealth, and suggests as much when he says that Britian should distance itself from the U.S.

The U.S. will be damned if this forum, composed of left-leaning socialists, who never have liked capatalism-correction, who don't like how successful the U.S. has been at capatilism-is allowed to fleece the American taxpayers of trillions of dollars over a period of years, in order to solve these "inequities". The author scolds the U.S. for unilateralism in it's mililtary application-which is laughable, looking at the record, but the author would not be at all upset if the U.S. was made unilateraly to pay through the nose to help every poor nation on earth.

Again, this is an example of someone with a case of scizheprhenia. They tell us how bad capatlism-the U.S. form in particlar, is for the world, nad they blame the U.S. for all the inequities in the world, yet in the same breath, they demand that this system they so despise give away its wealth and its prosperity to others. Such thinking is called socialism or communism. And sorry, it won't wash with not only George Bush, but with a large majority of U.S. taxpayers.

And these same people, who fear that the U.S. is going too far in protecting it's citizens, would be the first to demand the U.S. protect THEM if an even even a fraction of the size of 9-11 took place in their country.

It was an interesting article to read. If it's really, truly how the majority of Europeans are feeling these days, then Lenin must be spinning happily in his grave, for what the author is promoting is socialism of a radical form-making the U.S. citizen poorer so that someone else can become richer. Sorry, I'm willing to help those around the world, but if you think the U.S. is going to foot the bill, you can forget it.


User currently offlineAlpha 1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 956 times:

A clarification, Klaus: by "the author", I mean the author of the opinion piece, not you. I hope I didn't confuse you!

User currently offlineHoffa From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 942 times:

I read that article and found myself in grudging agreement with most of what Karetsky was saying until the last couple of paragraphs or so when the blunt anti-American, anti-capitalist tone of the author really shone through.

His solution to an America supposedly less sure of itself and increasingly isolationist is for Europe not to further engage the United States and to try to influence its foreign policy in positive ways, but to make the "definitive break" with "brash" American values because "global inequities" have become intolerable. What a nice load of elephant dung---kick the US while its down and blame US business for creating poverty throughout the world. I have a hard time accepting that and its clear that this article really has no logical flow to it at all. He starts out praising America but rounds out the piece by saying that if America's economy were irreperably damaged by deficit and war spending, this would be "no bad thing" for the world. Says it all really.


User currently offlineHoffa From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 937 times:

The more the American people engage with their fellow cousins of the world, and understand them, the greater the chance that they will finally realise why September 11 was not a random event, and why it happened.

Care to elaborate on this point? Why, in your opinion, did the events of 11 September happen?


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21521 posts, RR: 53
Reply 9, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 937 times:

Alpha 1: This was a thought-provoking piece, but there's no doubt that the author 1. Doesn't want the U.S. to continue this war;

I think he questions the complete concentration on the military aspect; He seems to agree with the efforts undertaken so far. And I´m more or less swith him on both counts.

Alpha 1: 2. Doesn't think much of capatilism,

I can´t see that. The european view of capitalism is in general positive, but is usually a bit more wary of its downsides. That´s it.

Alpha 1: 3. Despite his disdain for U.S. and for Captalism,

Ooops. I didn´t see that, either. He´s critical of the apparent strategy of the Bush administration, but quite positive about the USA. That combination isn´t completely unheard of even with american citizens, if I´m not mistaken.  Wink/being sarcastic

Alpha 1: certianly wants the U.S. taxpayer to bail out half the world of it's "iniquities".

No. When he´s critizising unilateralism he´s automatically pleading for "the rest of us" getting involved.

Alpha 1: -The author, quoting Phillipine President Arroyo, thinks that victory is assured-that the U.S., indeed, the world, has nothing to fear anything more;

I agree, he´s dismissing the real and continuing threat too quickly, for the sake of his argument.

Alpha 1: -The author says that "War fever has given Mr. Bush an excuse to tear up his promises about balanced budgets and to propose additional tax cuts that would benefit America's biggest corporations and richest citizens."

First of all, it's pretty naive to state that a major attack-on our soil, that caused thousands of fatalities-is being used as an "excuse" to get rid of balanced budgets. In the same way, perhaps, as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor gave Roosevelt to expand our military in 1942? It doesn't wash. A war tends to throw out all economic forcasts, a point the author conveniently doesn't bring up.


The argument would indeed be void - was there not the memory of the Reagan and the previous Bush administration´s preferences for inflated military budgets. Political agendas don´t just vanish, even in times like these.

I wouldn´t criticize all of the bush administration´s decisions by themselves; But the question of proportions can (and probably will) still make or break them.

Tax cuts can be positive; But the jury´s still out on whether tax cuts for the wealthy can really cancel out the budgetary (debt) problems created in the process.

Alpha 1: -As for the World Economic Forum, and the approval the author has for it, there's no doubt that it was run, from beginning to end, by a bunch of socialists who still feel that the best way to solve the worlds' problems, is for the rich-more specifically, the U.S., and it's corrupt capatilists system-to give to the have-not's in the world.

For a communist teach-in it´s got a pretty surprising guest list studded with high-ranking capitalists...  Wink/being sarcastic

Alpha 1: The author certianly doesn't want Britian and the E.U. to help pay for this transfer of wealth, and suggests as much when he says that Britian should distance itself from the U.S.

Not that I could see. The idea that the wealthy nations have responsibilities against the poorest ones is just a lot more accepted in the european public.

Alpha 1: The U.S. will be damned if this forum, composed of left-leaning socialists, who never have liked capatalism-correction, who don't like how successful the U.S. has been at capatilism-is allowed to fleece the American taxpayers of trillions of dollars over a period of years, in order to solve these "inequities".

Nonsense. The USA would be very welcome to participate in a coordinated effort to clean up the mess that colonialism and economic exploitation, but also centuries of local wars have created. For many others, participation is not a question. The question of "blame" for the situation is on the table, but it´s actually secondary. We shouldn´t completely ignore that even our highly developed nations will fare much better when dealing (and trading!) with stable and prospering regions instead of ruined and violent territories.

Alpha 1: Again, this is an example of someone with a case of scizheprhenia. They tell us how bad capatlism-the U.S. form in particlar, is for the world, nad they blame the U.S. for all the inequities in the world, yet in the same breath, they demand that this system they so despise give away its wealth and its prosperity to others.

Oh, come on! You´re simplifying to the point where the wheels are falling off! Big grin

Alpha 1: Such thinking is called socialism or communism.

Err... no, it isn´t. Not every time somebody´s thinking of responsibilities he´s necessarily a communist. That´s as silly as saying everybody who wants to make a profit is by necessity a greedy criminal.  Wink/being sarcastic

Alpha 1: And these same people, who fear that the U.S. is going too far in protecting it's citizens, would be the first to demand the U.S. protect THEM if an even even a fraction of the size of 9-11 took place in their country.

You seem to have missed many, many tragedies and difficulties going on beyond your own shores.

By the way, there´s not a problem with doing "too much to protect the citizens" (just look at the current state of US airport security!); The problem is with leaving all flanks open except one - the military one! And all the experience in the world outside the USA suggests that military means can not be the primary weapon against terrorism. The coalition military forces seem to have served well in the case of Afghanistan (we´ll know more in a few years, probably), but most of the terrorist structures are still intact - and they´re not in plain sight in a country you could summarily carpet-bomb into submission.

This is tricky business!

Alpha 1: It was an interesting article to read.

I thought so. And I´m glad we´re back at the issues. I know the topic´s been on for many times; But it´s by far the most important question on the slate right now; So we might as well talk about it. All things considering, civilization still seems to hold...  Wink/being sarcastic

Alpha 1: If it's really, truly how the majority of Europeans are feeling these days, then Lenin must be spinning happily in his grave, for what the author is promoting is socialism of a radical form-making the U.S. citizen poorer so that someone else can become richer. Sorry, I'm willing to help those around the world, but if you think the U.S. is going to foot the bill, you can forget it.

Lenin would feel very, very alien in contemporary Europe! Maybe not quite as much as in the USA Wink/being sarcastic, but you´re still badly mistaken.

This isn´t about "footing the bill"; Others are quite prepared to take on their share of the burden, even though it hurts in many cases.

It´s about the author´s anticipation of a potentially severe strategic mistake to be made by the Bush government. Yes, the USA have been hit harder than anyone else in the 9-11 attacks. It´s a perfectly natural reflex to a seemingly military assault to try responding in kind.

But that is not possible. There is no Al-Quaeda WTC anywhere in the world. It´s not a big tree you can put an axe to. It´s much more like a fungus growing underground and only occasionally rearing its head. And more or less blindly chopping at anything in reach will surely fertilize the ground, but won´t hurt the network.


Alpha 1: A clarification, Klaus: by "the author", I mean the author of the opinion piece, not you. I hope I didn't confuse you!

No problem!  Smile


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21521 posts, RR: 53
Reply 10, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 922 times:

Hoffa: I read that article and found myself in grudging agreement with most of what Karetsky was saying until the last couple of paragraphs or so when the blunt anti-American, anti-capitalist tone of the author really shone through. His solution to an America supposedly less sure of itself and increasingly isolationist is for Europe not to further engage the United States and to try to influence its foreign policy in positive ways, but to make the "definitive break" with "brash" American values because "global inequities" have become intolerable.

I think you´ve misread that part. He presented a "devil´s advocate" view; More like "if things should really get that bad, maybe there will at least some good come out of it." than "this is what I would love to happen.". That would have read quite differently, I think.

Anatole Kaletsky: The more the American people engage with their fellow cousins of the world, and understand them, the greater the chance that they will finally realise why September 11 was not a random event, and why it happened.

My own version is: We need to really look at each other! Not just trying to preserve prejudices.

Hoffa: Care to elaborate on this point? Why, in your opinion, did the events of 11 September happen?

The loathsome expression "they had it coming" is definitely not what I´m thinking of (and I´m pretty certain that´s also not what Kaletsky meant). There´s no basis for that. Especially since "they" were in reality thousands of people of different nationalities and religions, income levels and political affiliations.

When symbolism-obsessed maniacs go on the rampage, there´s just no way to blame their victims (if ever).

It is, however, not entirely impossible that american policy of the past has unwittingly given Bin Laden and others the final boost that made it possible for them to persuade the hijackers-to-be.

Even though the main drive was probably material, political and religious disillusionment with their own nations, the apparent american disregard of their cultures and interests has provided them with a target - much more an excuse than a real adversary. But the symbols were all in place - the "american enemy aiding the suppression of our cultures and religion".

Sure, Saudi Arabia is a military and economic ally of the USA. But it´s also a corrupt and despotic state. And there are many, many examples of similar "allies" which were useful, but which positively stank.

Not that everybody else was always smelling like roses; But a nation so explicitly built on high ideals can easily fall short of the enormous expectations it so ostentatiously waves in the face of everybody else.

The USA doesn´t need to pretend to be great. Just be great!  Big thumbs up


User currently offlineDelta-flyer From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 2676 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 893 times:

On the paranoia issue, I think the author is reading too many lines between the lines. He is being confused by our open, candid nature, and willingness to express our inner feelings. The author is evidently interpreting this as our weakness.

So, we're arrogant. Well, Bush is a Texan -- Texans are viewed as arrogant even among us arrogant Americans. That does not change the issue of terrorism, though. Bush said before entering Afghanistan that this is just the beginning, we will chase the terrorists wherever they scatter around the world. What good is kicking the al Qaeda out of Afghanistan if they will just relocate to Iraq or North Korea? The Europeans were terrified of the war, but could not say no; now they are relieved that Afghanistan more or less concluded painlessly (for us).

Yes, we are an arrogant lot. Does that mean the Europeans will take their marbles home and won't play with us anymore?


Cheers
Pete



User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 19
Reply 12, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 881 times:
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OK, lets stop the european/american bashing now. Its becoming really pathetic. Its natural for one to defend its country.

Arsenal@LHR



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