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DocLightning
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Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:10 am

After WWII, the United States did a very masterful job of helping to reinstall the governments of occupied Europe and did a wonderful job of re-making the German government as a modern democratic socialist government. Similarly, the government of Japan was re-made into a modern democracy.

Since then, we've sucked at it. Panama, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Korea... and then Vietnam, which was an utter failure.

What was different about Europe and Japan?
 
coolian2
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:19 am

I could be flippant and say don't be unwelcome guests. That always helps.

I don't have a strong serious contribution because I keep arguing back on myself.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:38 am

Quoting coolian2 (Reply 1):

I could be flippant and say don't be unwelcome guests. That always helps.

I don't have a strong serious contribution because I keep arguing back on myself.

Yeah, that's about where I got. I mean, I guess a difference was in WWII we were directly attacked by these governments that were in uniform and fighting under a flag with a unified chain of command. In situations like the Gulf War II and so forth, we just came barging in.
 
coolian2
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:46 am

My natural student searches for a flaw in my own argument and I'm solid enough that the flaws are notable enough to not try.

Europe is mostly understandable as it was effectively restoring what they had. Japan - well if you flatten two cities they might get where you're coming from.

I wanted to suggest power distance but I'm sure that's not the right track to go down.
 
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fr8mech
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:50 am

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
What was different about Europe and Japan?

The will of the conquered people?

Actually, I think it goes back to the nature of how the war was fought. WWII was not a war fought for limited goals. It was not interrupted by "peace plans". It was not a war fought to win the hearts and minds. It was a war that was fought with one aim and one aim alone: the complete destruction of the enemy's ability to make war and the complete capitulation of the enemy...in Europe and in the Pacific.

When you fight a war with limited goals, you leave the enemy the ability to continue to undermine you.

[Edited 2016-02-26 22:51:32]
 
BMI727
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:58 am

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
What was different about Europe and Japan?

Consequences of failure. If the Germans and Japanese didn't play along they risked being overrun by Communists. The other aspect is utter destruction. If they didn't play along with the occupiers, what would they be left with? That may be the answer at the end of it.

But your question may be flawed. In military and foreign policy matters, there is often not a good answer. You do the best you can, but no course of action may be perfect or even decent. If you can get a relatively quiet decade or two out of a strongman, that's an okay situation.
 
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seb146
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:07 am

Maybe it has to do with the mindset of the people and their culture. In Europe, they had a shared history and could see how, first hand, absolute power works. When the Allies went marching through France and Germany and helping free Poland and Czechoslovakia, citizens of those countries greeted Allied troops as liberators because the citizens knew what freedom was and what it meant for freedom to be taken away. They knew about propaganda and education and reading. In poor countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, that is not the case. There are low literacy rates and not much of a way to fact check. So, when the government says (fill in the blank) the people believe it because they have nothing to compare it to.

This is just an opinion.
 
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fr8mech
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:21 am

Quoting seb146 (Reply 6):
This is just an opinion.

I think that's a good shot. Kinda where I was going with my sorta flippant remark at that start of my post.
 
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aerorobnz
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:04 am

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
What was different about Europe and Japan?

Japan and Germans shared good work ethic, high degrees of civility and understanding of the greater good bigger than themselves and therefore that made it easy to build a consistent, coherent society.

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
Panama, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Korea... and then Vietnam

For one Iran, Afghanistan,Syria all come from a conflicting world viewand from already broken feudal societies . There was no common ground with shared religion or indeed in terms of shared recent ancestory.to build on, There were oppressed people still being oppressed by their own religious beliefs even without the despots. Whole sections of society from Women/Gays/Blacks/Whites were still segregated and repressed long after the original threats were eradicated..
 
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Aesma
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:53 am

I agree that knowing what freedom and democracy is, being educated, plays a big role. 150 years ago newspapers already had a huge importance in our countries, even when there was no real democracy. But more importantly you need a real state, with people having a real sense of nationality, of being part of a country.

Europe before the modern era was a patchwork of small parts of territory that would move from one ruler to another depending on battles of a few thousand men. For most people it didn't change their lives. They didn't speak the same language as people living 20Km away ! Many "countries" you are talking about are like that. The last example being Libya. Mostly desert but they still can't manage to be united on the small patch of liveable land there is.

Colonialism is criticized but in some cases it seems it did manage to create real countries, like Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, out of very similar places. Further south things get more blurry but still hold out, at least as long as France still comes to the rescue once in a while. It would be better if people could decide for themselves, but I can't think of any example of that happening, modern countries have all been built on lots of blood and conquering.
 
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Mortyman
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 12:09 pm

Many good answers here and I agree with them.

However today we also spend way to much money on the military machine and that part of a war and almost nothing on rebuilding. We in the west don't really have the will to spend the money and have the patients to do that part anymore. To bomb and make a hole in the ground is the easy part of a war. It is filling it and make it funcion again that is the problem these days.
 
PanHAM
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 12:46 pm

So what's the difference? BTW,, the USA helped to pave the way for a democratic (not democartic socialist) Germany and they did that by taking over the sovereignty over Germany (West) in conjunction with the British and the French for a period of 10 years.

Partial sovereignty was restored with the first democratic election and the inauguration of the basic law/ constitution in 1949. Full sovereignty was installed in 1955 in the area then called West Germany.

The difference with war areas of today is, that the German People had experience with Democracy and that did not start with the first national Assembly in the Paulskirche in Frankfurt, which took place in 1848/49. Germany had an semi-absolute monarchy with democratic parliament structures until 1918 and was a Democracy (although a weak one) until 1933 when the National Socialists under Hitler became the largest Party in a democratic election and used that given power for a coup d'etat, taking complete power more or less overnight.

In short, there was a democratic structure, there was a Bourgeoisie / middle class structure in Germany and there was a diversity of religions in place. before Germany was ruled by a dictatorship. All that made it possible to became a valid member of the "western world", the only political Groups today that really obsreves the basic human rights. No other countries / political forms outside the western world have a real and unbiased andate from their Population to govern these countries. Without a strong middle class, a Democracy cannot be established. Furthermore, a democracy can only work in a secular state. It is impossible to establish democarcies in countries where the Population is bound by strong religious influences. That mistake was made by the USA in Afghanistan and Iraq.

That, but not only that makes a "Regime Change" by outside powers extremely difficult if not impossible...
 
DLFREEBIRD
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:37 pm

just curious, DID the OP see Michael Moore's movie Where to Invade Next?
 
Rara
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:46 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
What was different about Europe

This has been answered very well by now, especially by PanHAM and seb146. Without wanting to diminish the important role the Americans played in post-WW2 Europe, but culturally and politically they didn't change all that much. You could say that Germany went from being a social democracy (albeit a not very functional one) to 12 years of fascism and then back to a social democracy. Also, let's not forget that not all of Western Europe was democratic after the war. Countries like Spain, Greece, Portugal were ruled by military dictatorships well into the 1970s.

Nonetheless, the other part of your question is still open:

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
and Japan?

That's the true miracle, isn't it? Never mind Germany with its long liberal tradition and plenty of political personnel to govern and administrate - Japan went from being a militaristic and authoritative monarchy to a liberal democracy, seemingly just from the benevolent guidance of the United States. That's the kind of nation-building that would be required in the other countries you mentioned, and that has failed whenever attempted since. Turning Japan into a source of peace and stability was the real masterpiece.
 
blueflyer
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:58 pm

Let me contribute three potential factors.

The US had a direct financial stake in a European recovery. Many European countries borrowed heavily to finance both their war efforts and their reconstruction. The Marshall plan and other post-war US efforts did wonders to rebuild European economies and societies, and they also ensured that the "new" Europe would be both able and willing to repay its debt.

Nowadays, the US does not have the same financial stake in the future of warn-torn countries such as Iraq or Afghanistan. They are not large borrowers and they are not major trading partners. From an economic perspective, the success of their recovery efforts is of little concern to the US. To be sure, US governments have spent heavily post-war in Iraq or Afghanistan, but still far less than is needed to rebuild a country, and without the same focused, central goal that the US had in Europe or Japan.

Japan and European countries had pre-existing nationwide power structure that could be reinstated and used to drive recovery efforts pretty quickly. Most liberated European countries had governments in exile and many former local leaders had stayed behind. The same cannot be said for the countries invaded after WWII. Vietnam's existing power structure was completely destroyed by the communists, Afghanistan hasn't had anything resembling a functioning central government, and in Iraq, the driver of nationwide unity and control was totally and unnecessarily dismantled. Nation-building efforts cannot succeed when there is no nation.

Finally, domestic politics have changed. There is no budget, will or patience for long-term projects, and few elected officials have the political courage to speak truth to voters. The only thing that matters is winning the next election cycle. Reconstruction efforts are subservient to this objective. Deadlines and timetables are driven by political necessity, not military strategy. A contractor generously donating to the powers-that-be has about as much influence on the process as generals and civilian officials engaged in rebuilding. Local governments are tolerated as a mild annoyance. Conditions on the ground, strategic military objectives are at best second-class considerations. And the deficit. Because we may have broken it, but we are sure not going to pay to fix it!
 
WIederling
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:59 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
After WWII, the United States did a very masterful job of helping to reinstall the governments of occupied Europe and did a wonderful job of re-making the German government as a modern democratic socialist government. Similarly, the government of Japan was re-made into a modern democracy.

As a nation the US was much less instrumental than protective lore has talked it up to ( for Europe that is ).
The Japanese seemed to have taken well to their new Tenno Mac Arthur  

Brits and French had significant influence ( "a civil society" stuff was strong with the Brits).

Persons involved from the US side often were those immigrants that had previously fled the Nazi Regime.

The allies especially the US urgently needing the German hearts and minds to persist against an angered bear helped
a lot to keep acts of retribution down ( which was the original planning: take down Germany to the levels of an agricultiral producer.)
 
910A
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 5:36 pm

Doc, may I suggest a book..The Devil's Chessboard (Allen Dulles, the CIA and the Rise of America's Secret Government) by David Talbot.
 
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einsteinboricua
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:39 pm

Quoting seb146 (Reply 6):

I would tend to agree with this answer. Most of the countries in WW2 had only been under oppression for less than a decade. However most of the countries in the Middle East have been under the same regimes for decades. The 1950s progressive society in Afghanistan was torn down by decades of civil war (communist overthrow, Soviet invasion, Taliban...); Iran's society swung far to the right to rid itself of the Shah (himself an authoritarian figure) and now is stuck determining where to go (elections were held today; hopefully reformists will have made big gains).

And just like that, other societies have not known what it feels like to be genuinely free. Tell an ordinary Saudi, for example, to overthrow the monarchy and they won't know where to go to next. They don't know the concept of a democracy, nor what it's like to be able to do anything. They've always lived with a monarch as the supreme authority and, while they may fancy the monarch being relegated to a lesser position, not everyone will agree on just how much power it should hold.

So yes, seb, your "opinion" I would argue is more than just an opinion; it may just be basic facts.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:40 pm

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 11):
So what's the difference? BTW,, the USA helped to pave the way for a democratic (not democartic socialist) Germany and they did that by taking over the sovereignty over Germany (West) in conjunction with the British and the French for a period of 10 years.

Germany has public transport, public healthcare, government regulation of business, a strong public welfare system, a strong public school system, and yet a strong system of private enterprise. I'd argue that it's a socialist democracy.

Quoting DLFREEBIRD (Reply 12):
just curious, DID the OP see Michael Moore's movie Where to Invade Next?

I tend to avoid Mr. Moore's work. Too partisan without enough critical thought. I agree with many (but not all) of his positions, but he arrives at his positions by parroting liberal talking points. I arrive at mine through carefully considered critical thinking. I know I'm doing it right when I wind up arguing back at myself.

Quoting Rara (Reply 13):

That's the true miracle, isn't it? Never mind Germany with its long liberal tradition and plenty of political personnel to govern and administrate - Japan went from being a militaristic and authoritative monarchy to a liberal democracy, seemingly just from the benevolent guidance of the United States. That's the kind of nation-building that would be required in the other countries you mentioned, and that has failed whenever attempted since. Turning Japan into a source of peace and stability was the real masterpiece.

I have to agree.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:15 pm

Quoting Rara (Reply 13):
Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
and Japan?

That's the true miracle, isn't it? Never mind Germany with its long liberal tradition and plenty of political personnel to govern and administrate - Japan went from being a militaristic and authoritative monarchy to a liberal democracy, seemingly just from the benevolent guidance of the United States. That's the kind of nation-building that would be required in the other countries you mentioned, and that has failed whenever attempted since. Turning Japan into a source of peace and stability was the real masterpiece.

Back between the end of WW1 and the great Depression Japan had actually a lively and liberal, democratic period under the Tenno Taisho. But two things made reactionary powers in big business and the military rise to power starting from the late 1920s:
a) The refusal of the Western powers during the Versailles conference to give Japan a share of the former German colonies in East Asia and the Pacific (the reason given by the Western powers was that it needed white men to rule colonies and the Japanese were racially not capable of it, despite the fact that in WW1 Japan was an Allied power and their human rights performance was exemplary). This was seen as a big insult.
b) The economic crisis

Jan
 
DLFREEBIRD
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:52 pm

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 19):
I tend to avoid Mr. Moore's work. Too partisan without enough critical thought. I agree with many (but not all) of his positions, but he arrives at his positions by parroting liberal talking points. I arrive at mine through carefully considered critical thinking. I know I'm doing it right when I wind up arguing back at myself.

Well if we are going to use critical thinking skills. Then perhaps the aim of the U.S. government should be to install modern democracy at home first.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:12 pm

Quoting DLFREEBIRD (Reply 20):

Well if we are going to use critical thinking skills. Then perhaps the aim of the U.S. government should be to install modern democracy at home first.

Come on, let's be realistic.  
 
Flighty
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:57 pm

Doc, although I don't really have a personal opinion from experience, I think the consensus view (at least what I read/hear) is that Europe and Japan (we're talking France, Germany, Italy, Holland which was severely damaged) those countries were "highly developed" countries with very good human capital. Meaning skilled, professional workforces who had worked as teams for many years, completing projects, running good schools, etc. And they had a tradition of competent government institutions / police / court systems and rule of law.

Even as wrecks, in late 1945, these countries possessed things that countries such as Libya or Iraq don't even have today. Regime change amounted to "please have democracy and figure out the rest yourselves." In Japan we were more specific.

Your example of Korea is useful because it was (and is) very comparable to Japan. I think the proxy war was just too intense. We can also point out that half of Germany was a Socialist dictatorship for nearly 50 years for a similar reason. Not because the people's culture was defective, but because our strategic enemies were corrupting the situation.

So I guess we need not only a strong cultural foundation, but a lack of interference by a strategic enemy.
 
diverted
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:33 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 2):
Quoting coolian2 (Reply 1):
I could be flippant and say don't be unwelcome guests. That always helps.

I don't have a strong serious contribution because I keep arguing back on myself.
Yeah, that's about where I got. I mean, I guess a difference was in WWII we were directly attacked by these governments that were in uniform and fighting under a flag with a unified chain of command. In situations like the Gulf War II and so forth, we just came barging in.

To add to this, WW2 was still a war where victory was measured in ground gained. Vietnam was measured in body count.

Post WW2, there was significant aid to help the German people get back on their feet (and the people of other affected nations of course) whereas, say, Iraq, the US (well, Bremer) took away a lot of jobs by dissolving the military. So, you've now gone from a not great country, but at least you could feed yourselves, to being unemployed and under US invasion...and let's not try and sugarcoat some of the atrocities that happened to a good number of those Iraqis. Think they didn't tell friends and family about how they were treated?

On one hand, you have a people who realized the error of their government, and wanted to move on. On the other, you have a bunch of people who have a (valid) reason to hate you.
 
photopilot
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:59 pm

Quoting DLFREEBIRD (Reply 20):
Well if we are going to use critical thinking skills. Then perhaps the aim of the U.S. government should be to install modern democracy at home first.
Quoting DocLightning (Reply 21):
Come on, let's be realistic.

I think Reply 20 is being realistic. From the outside looking, we're all just shaking our heads at the complete idiocy of a paralyzed Congress and Senate, absolutely nothing is getting done except sniping at each other. And that's to say nothing of the Gong-show circus of the primaries that are now underway. Can anyone honestly say there is a sense of cooperative nation-building in the USA, or just a never-ending fight for power and control driven by ideology, not pragmatic leadership?

No country is perfect, least of all my own, but we also don't pretend to "lead the world" like the USA does. If you want to trumpet your vaunted democracy, practicing it at the highest level should be the goal. Can any American honestly say that they do?
 
PanHAM
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:26 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 18):
Germany has public transport, public healthcare, government regulation of business, a strong public welfare system, a strong public school system, and yet a strong system of private enterprise. I'd argue that it's a socialist democracy.

I guess what you ,mean is a SOCIAL Democracy. If we had a sociaLIST Democracy we would

a) not be a Democracy and
b) Broke

Fact is, what put Germany back on the track again after WW2 was the social market economy of Ludwiig Erhard, an economics Professor who became Economic Minister in the cabinet of Dr. Adenauer, our first Chancellor. The social market economy was one pillar of our success , the other pillar was the strict political west / Atlantic binding.

Germany would have taken another path if, in the first elections after the war, the Social Democrats had won. They had exactly the opposite political Goals, Neutraility and Kind of a planned economy, whereby it has to be said that the first Social Democrat who had a clue aboubt economics was Dr. Kall Schiller. Germany would really have taken another path and we would still today suffer from the potentially wrong decisions if Ollenhauer (SPD) had won instead of Adenauer. (CDU)
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sun Feb 28, 2016 8:43 am

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 25):

Fact is, what put Germany back on the track again after WW2 was the social market economy of Ludwiig Erhard, an economics Professor who became Economic Minister in the cabinet of Dr. Adenauer, our first Chancellor. The social market economy was one pillar of our success , the other pillar was the strict political west / Atlantic binding.

German Social Market economy is largely based on the Catholic social doctrine (as many of the originators were Catholics from the the Rhineland). It tried to avoid both the mistakes of Marxism and of pure, unfettered capitalism, which largely got blamed for the 1920s economic crisises and the subsequent rise of the Nazis.

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 25):
Germany would have taken another path if, in the first elections after the war, the Social Democrats had won. They had exactly the opposite political Goals, Neutraility and Kind of a planned economy, whereby it has to be said that the first Social Democrat who had a clue aboubt economics was Dr. Kall Schiller. Germany would really have taken another path and we would still today suffer from the potentially wrong decisions if Ollenhauer (SPD) had won instead of Adenauer. (CDU)

Back then the SPD was still a moderate Marxist worker's party (though an arch enemy of the communists), building on reforms instead of revolution, but in the late 1950s changed their doctrine to drop the marxist ideas to become a centrist left party (IIRC Godesberger Programm).

Jan
 
WIederling
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:33 am

Quoting diverted (Reply 23):
To add to this, WW2 was still a war where victory was measured in ground gained. Vietnam was measured in body count.

WWII had an "official" end. negotiated by legitimate representatives of the involved governments ( winners, loosers).

All the later US instigated wars for regime change never achieved that. They never went beyond a supressed conflict.
( and that was intentional afaics )
 
GDB
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:42 pm

It's the old story isn't it? The dangers of hubris from past success giving false indications or assurances for the present.
The closest Israel ever went to defeat was in 1973, after they'd crushed the far more numerous opposition in 1967 being one example.

After China intervened in Korea that likely outcome was always going to be not a united nation, but what still exists today.

In Vietnam the US was not backing a functioning state, rather a corrupt and brutal bunch who seemed more interested in enriching themselves than defending their nation, much less building a civil society.
Worse, there seemed to be no understanding that whatever the US said about 'freedom' or 'democracy' many in Vietnam saw them as just one of a long line of invaders, the Chinese, the French and their colony of Indochina and now the US.

A myth has sprung up that the US did not succeed there due to excessive control from Washington, while it is true that LBJ himself approved bombing targets in the North this was due to fears about escalation.
Remember, the near miss of the Cuban Missile Crisis was very fresh in their minds in D.C.
They feared killing Soviet military advisors.
There was no constraint upon ground operations in the South, which were commanded by General Westmoreland, who had no understanding of counter insurgency, no wish to understand the country he was fighting in, he was an artillery officer at heart but also a specialist in inter army politics and self promotion, what he asked for, right up until early '68, he got.

The idea that you could re-do the success of rebuilding post WW2 Europe and Japan in these conditions is in itself, remarkable.
 
vc10
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:47 pm

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 19):
The refusal of the Western powers during the Versailles conference to give Japan a share of the former German colonies in East Asia and the Pacific (the reason given by the Western powers was that it needed white men to rule colonies and the Japanese were racially not capable of it, despite the fact that in WW1 Japan was an Allied power and their human rights performance was exemplary). This was seen as a big insult.
b) The economic crisis

Jan

I am not sure that is quite correct as the League of Nations gave Japan a mandate to run all of the " Territory of New Guinea " north of the equator ,This included the Marshall Islands, the Carolina Islands,
the Marianas,the Palau Islands and Klaulschau in China. South of the equator was given to Austra;lia and New Zeeland

Reference Article 22 of the Treaty of Versailles

These territories were a German Colony prior to WW1

littlevc10

[Edited 2016-02-28 05:53:56]
 
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Aaron747
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sun Feb 28, 2016 2:16 pm

Quoting aerorobnz (Reply 8):
Japan and Germans shared good work ethic, high degrees of civility and understanding of the greater good bigger than themselves and therefore that made it easy to build a consistent, coherent society.

   This.

Quoting Rara (Reply 13):
Japan went from being a militaristic and authoritative monarchy to a liberal democracy, seemingly just from the benevolent guidance of the United States.

As with most things, the actual story was not quite that simple. Rebuilding Japan was a difficult slog of several noteworthy factors: restoring the food supply, as the population was largely starving by wars' end; providing temporary urban economies by making alliances with organized crime (without the yakuza, it would have been impossible to setup food and supply distribution in Tokyo and Osaka); getting buy-in from the locals by putting wealthy folks and academics connected with prewar zaibatsu right back into the business of running things.

The problem for the US was that as soon as Occupation ended in 1953, the locals went into liberal democracy too eagerly. Several rounds of election fixing with CIA help secured the stability the right-wing Liberal Democratic Party would need to begin its 40-year stranglehold on Japanese party politics, the effects of which are largely still here today.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 18):
Germany has public transport, public healthcare, government regulation of business, a strong public welfare system, a strong public school system, and yet a strong system of private enterprise. I'd argue that it's a socialist democracy.

That is basically a sound description of how Japan works as well. Kids clean their own schools here instead of janitors - it's amazing how effective that is in promoting each generation's sense of social order.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:42 pm

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 30):
Kids clean their own schools here instead of janitors - it's amazing how effective that is in promoting each generation's sense of social order.

I'd like to have this in Germany as well!

Jan
 
rfields5421
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:19 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
What was different about Europe and Japan?

Mainly, we worked with the local people and allowed them to design and build a government which fit their traditions and practices.

Since then we've tried to have the nations we've helped rebuild in the image of the United States. Neither Germany nor Japan's government nor laws resemble the US very much.

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
Panama, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Korea... and then Vietnam, which was an utter failure.

Panama wasn't a horrible outcome, but one individual was able to take power, and take total control of the country.

I wouldn't call Korea a failure, but that wasn't a US led rebuilding/ restructuring.

Vietnam was the US inheriting problems from the French. We should have not supported the French recolonization of Indo-China in the late 1940s. South Vietnam was an invention because the US government didn't like the results of a largely open election that would have given the 'communists' control of the entire nation.

Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria - In my opinion is that all these countries were inventions after WWI - not decided by the US. Lines were drawn on a map to create the countries. Lines that ingnored tribal and historical relationships between groups of people. Lines which put historical enemies in the same country and expected them to become united under the new flag.

Heck,much of Afghanistan has been successfully fighting against foreign domination/ influence since the time of Genghis Kahn. The idea that the US could remove the Taliban and install a US style democracy was insane.

---------------------------------

Building a nation is much more than installing a new government.

It takes uniting a people behind a common goal. Giving them a vision of a future, and allowing them to build toward their own vision of the future, not our (the US or any other colonial power) vision of the future.

Germany and Japan were largely demilitarized. The population was unarmed, and beaten down by a war they were certain they had lost.

Not so in the other cases, were active armed resistance/ alternatives made it impossible for the people of the 'nation' to be united.

Germany and Japan also had a core economic base. Yes, almost all the industry was destroyed, but they had a historic tradition of work, certain industries and their place in the economic world. Most of the other nations you mention have never developed their internal ecomomy to be largely self sufficient, never developed a worker class with a strong guild/ union/ work ethic. Never developed an export industry controlled by their own people.
 
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Aaron747
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:34 pm

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 30):
Several rounds of election fixing with CIA help secured the stability the right-wing Liberal Democratic Party would need to begin its 40-year stranglehold on Japanese party politics, the effects of which are largely still here today.

I neglected to point out what I meant by this: the positive and negative effects of LDP dominance.

+: fantastic public works, with a national transportation infrastructure and urban sewage/water systems the rest of the world would be well-served to study. Centralized education with a uniform national curriculum, strong emphasis on math and science. A strong commitment to providing the labor, management, and banking corps needed to sustain a strong export economy. All was going well till the banks screwed the pooch in the late 80s.

-: sustained nationalist sentiment in LDP factions, impacting both foreign relations and stupid things like textbooks denying parts of WWII. Politicization of Hiroshima/Nagasaki suffering, allowing nationalist actors to play the victim card without being called out. Decades upon decades of single-party rule has led to massive voter apathy and the current generation's dedicated cynicism.
 
solarflyer22
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:49 pm

Well in Europe you strong institutions and culture to support it. I don't think the US was forcing democracy onto them unlike in Iraq. In Iraq, when they asked University students what Democracy was to them there response was that everyone could do what they wanted. lol.

Japan had a strong central government and the presence of McCarthur on the ground made a big difference. It was a good rebuilding effort. They did after all get nuked.

In Iran, of course I am biased, but basically they toppled the right guy (Mossadegh) who was a Swiss PHd educated secular lawyer, in exchange for Iron Man dictator (that got toppled) so they could get the oil and fight any communist leanings. It was just a disaster waiting to happen.

Its one of the few instances where the USA also undermined a democracy. Really shameful imo.
 
GDB
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:49 pm

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 34):
Japan had a strong central government and the presence of McCarthur on the ground made a big difference. It was a good rebuilding effort. They did after all get nuked.

Old Douglas even supported some measures in Japan that were in the view of many Americans, no doubt himself included, 'Socialist'.
But he was being a pragmatist, not a political idealist.

Compare that with what happened post Saddam's fall in Iraq, 'blue sky thinking' dreamt up by DC insiders, relying on a known fraudster as a 'link' to the Iraqi people, who themselves had no experience of conflict (those of a certain age all having managed to avoid being drafted for Vietnam).
 
rfields5421
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:24 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 35):
Old Douglas even supported some measures in Japan that were in the view of many Americans, no doubt himself included, 'Socialist'.
But he was being a pragmatist, not a political idealist.

Old Doug ruled Japan as a benevolent dictator. He imposed certain rules / conditions - such as women being able to vote - but largely allowed the Japanese to rule their own country according to their traditions.

He also forced the US State Department and all the DC insiders to stay out of rebuilding the government.

I'm not a fan of Doug as a military general, but I believe he was the person who most understood that the people of nations such as Japan and the Philippines, have to make their own decisions based on their traditions and history, not Washington DC.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:34 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 32):
Since then we've tried to have the nations we've helped rebuild in the image of the United States. Neither Germany nor Japan's government nor laws resemble the US very much.

In Western Germany the Allieds essentially took a bunch of democracy minded Weimar Republic politicians without Nazi connections (many of them have been imprisoned by the Nazis or were refugees abroad), locked them up and told them to work out a new constitution, which was then vetted and approved by the Western Allieds.
This constitution was based on the Weimar Republic one, but to prevent the mistakes, which allowed the Nazis to get to power, certain changes were made, e.g. removing the power of the president to rule by decree and to disolve the parliament without new elections. If the parliament gets disolved now (e.g. because the government and parliament are in gridlock), there are automatically new elections. Human rights were enshrined in the constitution.

The other changes, like the social market economy, were made to prevent mass poverty, like during the 1920s economic crisises.

Jan
 
Acheron
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:07 am

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
German government as a modern democratic socialist government.

I wouldnt call the West German government "socialist", particularly after it got filled by former nazis
 
ozglobal
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Mon Feb 29, 2016 4:19 am

What was different with Germany and Japan? The US' intentions, values and commitment.

The Marshall plan was one of the best examples of an enlightened and far sighted self-interest. Spend what is required on reconstruction, stay long enough to see it through, provide the only viable and credible option to the population.

The post WWII examples all lacked these elements and, due to misplaced hubris, were instead driven by short sighted, ill informed and unrealistic self interest. This has always lead to rejection by the populations as an enemy and failure of the plan, leading to a far worse situation than before the 'wars.' Time to take a lesson.
 
solarflyer22
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Mon Feb 29, 2016 4:38 am

Quoting GDB (Reply 35):
Old Douglas even supported some measures in Japan that were in the view of many Americans, no doubt himself included, 'Socialist'.
But he was being a pragmatist, not a political idealist.

Compare that with what happened post Saddam's fall in Iraq, 'blue sky thinking' dreamt up by DC insiders, relying on a known fraudster as a 'link' to the Iraqi people, who themselves had no experience of conflict (those of a certain age all having managed to avoid being drafted for Vietnam).

I assume thats a reference to Chalabi. You're quite correct. Ironically the US is the standard in what you should do (Japan) vs. what you shouldn't do (Iraq).

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 36):
He also forced the US State Department and all the DC insiders to stay out of rebuilding the government.

That's true. He also respected the Imperial Japanese culture as well. In Iraq and other places its harder because they're 3rd worlders.

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 36):
I'm not a fan of Doug as a military general, b

I like him!
 
WIederling
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:19 am

Quoting Acheron (Reply 38):
I wouldnt call the West German government "socialist", particularly after it got filled by former nazis

There were unpleasant continuities, certainly. Some people will fit into any power structure and they appear to be difficult to get rid off.
Iraq shew that fully dumping the formerly established administration is the perfect way into disaster.
Post WWII Germany not coming out a disaster but decidedly as a completely changed over system was a "Good Thing (TM)"
What really irks me is the massive roll back of social achievements from US pushed Neo Liberal influences.
None of their bright ideas turn out as anything but full size disasters ( but they made the rich massively richer, goal achieved )
 
WIederling
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:01 pm

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 40):
In Iraq and other places its harder because they're 3rd worlders.

incomprehension.
 
rfields5421
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Tue Mar 01, 2016 4:44 pm

Quoting WIederling (Reply 42):
Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 40):In Iraq and other places its harder because they're 3rd worlders.
incomprehension.

While I don't necessarily agree that being '3rd worlders' is the main reason, it is a valid point.

A general definition of 3rd world country that I've heard and tended to follow refers to nations which don't have a multi-century historic tradition of self-government within their basic borders. The lack of stable government over several decades or a few centuries makes a stable infrastructure to allow industry and a better standard of living for the people impossible.

German and Japan certainly did have such a history. Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea, Vietnam, Syria, Panama definitely did not. They were all relatively new creations, their borders mostly drawn by European industry leaders and politicians. Iran also suffered from inconsistent borders, and foreign troop presence. Even its borders were 'adjusted' to reflect the post WWII European interests.
 
victrola
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:04 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 43):
German and Japan certainly did have such a history. Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea, Vietnam, Syria, Panama definitely did not. They were all relatively new creations

To call Korea, Iran and Vietnam new creations is incorrect. The Vietnamese, Iranians (or Persians as they were called) and Koreans have thousands of years of history as distinct peoples with distinct languages and cultures.This is in contrast to Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. There were no distinct Syrian, Iraqi, or Afghan, peoples with distinct languages and cultures 100 years ago. While the independence of Korea, Vietnam, and Iran, may be relatively recent events, the Korean, Vietnamese, and Iranian people go back thousands of years.
 
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WildcatYXU
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:25 pm

Quoting Rara (Reply 13):
Countries like Spain, Greece, Portugal were ruled by military dictatorships well into the 1970s.

Spain and Portugal were officially neutral in WWII, so there would be less American influence there after the war ended.

Quoting Acheron (Reply 38):
I wouldnt call the West German government "socialist", particularly after it got filled by former nazis

Why not? They were former members of the National Socialist German Workers' Party.
 
PanHAM
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:50 pm

Quoting WildcatYXU (Reply 45):
Why not? They were former members of the National Socialist German Workers' Party.

You have no idea what you are talking about. To assume that all members of the West German Government of 1949 were members of the NSDAP is simply wrong. Besides that the allied powers would have never allowed that, fact is that most if not all cabinet members had no "Brown" history. The few who have had Posts had been approved by the Allied powers.More to that, we had free elections in West Germany from 1949 until today.

Something which had not been the case in the´eastern, the so called socialist or communist part of Germany. The Regime there took in former NSDAP members at random, they just had to Change the Color a bit from Brown to deep red.
 
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WildcatYXU
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:36 pm

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 46):
To assume that all members of the West German Government of 1949 were members of the NSDAP is simply wrong.

It was Acheron who wrote about the government filled with Nazis. All I wrote is that Nazis are socialists too.

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 46):
Something which had not been the case in the´eastern, the so called socialist or communist part of Germany. The Regime there took in former NSDAP members at random, they just had to Change the Color a bit from Brown to deep red.

Actually, brown and deep red are very close to each other. I mean politically.

[Edited 2016-03-01 12:42:06]
 
PanHAM
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Wed Mar 02, 2016 6:29 am

Quoting WildcatYXU (Reply 47):
Actually, brown and deep red are very close to each other. I mean politically.

Yes, in today's German politics, the LINKE., the NPD and probably the AfD as well are quite Close together in their political views.

What I was criticising is, that your line suggested that the first, free elected German Government of 1949, 53 etc. was full of Nazis. That is absolute BS and untrue. See my post further up in this thread.
 
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pu
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RE: Let's Talk About Regime Change

Thu Mar 03, 2016 7:51 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
Since then, we've sucked at it.

The Korean intervention worked out well. There's no better indication of the potential of American influence versus the alternatives than the case of the divided Germanys and the divided Koreas.

Europe required US intervention in the Balkans fairly recently that went as bumpy as all conflicts do, but has settled into stability. There are streets named after Clinton and Bush in some of these places.

So, the US I would not say has been a total failure. The real story is that the countries THEMSELVES were and are total failures before and after. It's not really the US here, it's the people and the culture of the invaded nations.

Also, you have to really consider that what the US did in the Cold War was kind of invasion of Western Europe and numerous other places even where no shots were fired. There is more than one kind of invasion.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 5):
they risked being overrun by Communists.

Germany certainly felt this way but Russia could not then nor now nor ever pull off a D-Day caliber operation; Japan remained safe...the nuclear umbrella was important for everyone, and it still is.

Without the US the Baltic states and several of the weaker eastern European states would be re-incorporated to Russia this very day.

Quoting seb146 (Reply 6):
mindset of the people and their culture

^^^^^THIS^^^^^

Japan and Germany are leading economies and cultures with a vast history of success. Short of utter extermination, they are always going to succeed if given a chance to prosper.

Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, all of Latin America, Syria ....along with about 3/4ths of the world.... are weak and borderline failed nations who will just obey the next strong leader who shows up, American, home-grown or otherwise. Until or if their culture changes, it doesn't matter if the US invades them or not, they will perpetuate their long history of just putting up with a crappy life and crappy government instead of doing anything about it. They are ruled by fear and always believe others are the source of their problems, like all failures..




Pu.

[Edited 2016-03-03 11:55:09]

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