Ed Opperman, Trump, Epstein, Why Beliefs Don’t Change |399|

I agree. Our interest WAS the oil. In Iraq that is what we were protecting; that and fulfilling Israel's strategy for keeping its enemies weak (which backfired to some extent by strengthening Iranian/Shia influence). If our interest has anything to do with removing savage dictators for the common good, then the members of the commons must pay us. Only a foolish people would expend tremendous amounts of treasure and much blood just to play at being Captain America Goes Asiatic.
I am very pro-peace - war simply begets more war.

The trouble with removing dictators, is that more often than not, they hold together a country with several potentially warring factions, and the country immediately descends into an ungoverned hell.

David
 
I am very pro-peace - war simply begets more war.

The trouble with removing dictators, is that more often than not, they hold together a country with several potentially warring factions, and the country immediately descends into an ungoverned hell.

David
David,
I am against war too; for the most part - and agree with you on the dictator thing (i.e. he's a bastard, but he's our bastard). I think the USA (+the UK&France) made some horrible decisions in taking out the govt of Iraq, Libya and attempting to do the same in Syria. I would go so far as to say that the Iraq war was an international crime. Some of us knew that Saddam had no WMD prior to the invasion. Dissenting voices were silenced by pro-war factions in the govt and by the scurrilous media. The presentations made by Powell were a joke. He dishonored himself, as did the rest who were involved in the media circus. Additionally, we had the inspectors on the ground and they were not finding anything. There was no reason to pull the trigger even if you believed that WMD existed. Much of what we do in the MENA is to support Israeli strategies, which I disagree with strongly. They are misguided. IMO, we should protect Israel, but not allow the hard right factions of that little country to dictate how we do so. This is even more true of the Saudis, who are a despicable people, IMO, and who bribe our politicians into helping them insure that Sunni Islam remains a force in a region where Shia Islam seeks to dominate.

That said, I stand by the statement that if we're going to expend our blood and treasure, we ought to get something out of it. Also, sometimes war is the only way to stop a greater evil. Furthermore, we have real enemies that we cannot (or should not) directly confront, like China and to a much lesser extent, Russia. Oil is a strategic resource. The US now produces what it needs domestically. Yet, our allies do not and it is a resource that we want to deny to China. I've had skin in the game and both of my children have too (my son, who was an Army officer, is 100% disabled from a head wound received in combat in Afghanistan). My daughter and son in law are involved in counter terrorism in the intelligence community. So no one is more reticent to go war than someone like me. However, I also know the cost of not using the Armed Forces when circumstances call for it, e.g. Bill Clinton really dropped the ball with regards to Bin Laden. Unfortunately, our leaders are not wise or honest in their application of military might.
 
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That said, I stand by the statement that if we're going to expend our blood and treasure, we ought to get something out of it. Also, sometimes war is the only way to stop a greater evil. Furthermore, we have real enemies that we cannot (or should not) directly confront, like China and to a much lesser extent, Russia. Oil is a strategic resource.
Neither Russia nor China are 'confrontable' - a fraction of either's arsenal could destroy the US. Furthermore, I would say that the dispute with President Putin has largely been created by the West. The Ukraine was a stable country with a properly elected leader before the West funded an opposition that eventually overthrew that leader. The problem then was that the Kiev government was only supported by the pro-western part of the country. Russia stepped in to prevent a total bloodbath but is now blamed for the mess.
The US now produces what it needs domestically. Yet, our allies do not and it is a resource that we want to deny to China. I've had skin in the game and both of my children have too (my son, who was an Army officer, is 100% disabled from a head wound received in combat in Afghanistan). My daughter and son in law are involved in counter terrorism in the intelligence community. So no one is more reticent to go war than someone like me.
I am British, but I have to say that the reason we could be short of oil, is that we have become obsessed by green climate policies. I think CAGW is a hoax, and if we run short of oil, the politicians will have to eat humble pie and buy from Russia! In general I believe in the green movement, but certainly not re CO2.
However, I also know the cost of not using the Armed Forces when circumstances call for it, e.g. Bill Clinton really dropped the ball with regards to Bin Laden. Unfortunately, our leaders are not wise or honest in their application of military might.
Clearly, all too tragically you do, but you have to realise that Bin Laden was radicalised by the first Iraq war, which was in turn caused the US support for Iraq - including huge arms sales. The US also installed the Shah of Iran in power, and maintained him in power despite his cruelty. Without that folly we would not have a hostile Iran. BTW I was talking to an Iranian immigrant recently, and he told me that hardly anyone in that country is genuinely religious. They are coerced to go to the mosques, and to attend the various anti-US demonstrations - so I very much hope that President Trump can handle that issue peacefully - that way, we might even get Iran as an ally. When you take in the larger perspective, the US and Israel are responsible for just about all the recent wars in the Middle East, and Israel was only able to take action because it enjoyed the support of the US.

For its size, the UK has been almost equally guilty, and we could probably have dissuaded the US from going to war on several occasions.. Perhaps the one bright light was when the British parliament unexpectedly refused to back Obama with British forces in his plan to attack Assad in Syria. We and you almost ended up entering that war on the side of ISIS!

Perhaps the only exception (in recent years) to my condemnation of war would be President Trump's culling of ISIS. When a group has become so extreme, I can think of no other way to deal with them.

David
 
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Much of what we do in the MENA is to support Israeli strategies, which I disagree with strongly.
I think it’s possible that nearly ALL of what you do in the ME is to support Israeli strategies. Your foreign policy is driven by Zionists, it amazes me.

That said, I stand by the statement that if we're going to expend our blood and treasure, we ought to get something out of it.
So let’s get this straight. You think that illegally entering foreign countries and wrecking them should be paid for by the host country? Or at least the US shouldn’t be out of pocket? Don’t you know that these wars are all planned by powerful men and the CIA goes more than willingly along with anything they come up with.

How can you defend that stance morally?

The more I learn about the public knowledge of war, I realise how little of the truth we know. You should watch the vid Alex posted earlier about WW1, and how different the facts presented there are from the mainstream narrative. Like David I’m also British. It is really eye opening to see how we (Brits) behaved in the past, but more eye opening when it is realised that nothing much has changed among the so called elite.

Though I may appear a bit confrontational, if I am angry, it’s not directed at any individual, but things in general. I’m very sorry to hear about your son.

Have you read about the NDE that Natalie Sudman had in Iraq after they hit a roadside bomb. It may give you pause to think. Here’s a vid:

 
So let’s get this straight. You think that illegally entering foreign countries and wrecking them should be paid for by the host country? Or at least the US shouldn’t be out of pocket? Don’t you know that these wars are all planned by powerful men and the CIA goes more than willingly along with anything they come up with.

How can you defend that stance morally?

Steve, First off, no offense taken. We're just discussing and it's a topic that can get our passions inflamed, right?

If you're going to be an imperial force or a barbarian, then do it right. When I say we should have captured oil, or oil revenue, it has nothing to do with morality, nor with me personally (and I think Trump was taking the same perspective). So these power drunk and paid off a_holes in Washington and in parliament go and invade a country for no good reason and to the tune of $trillions and thousands of their best killed and maimed and they are too stupid to make it pay for itself. Once you've invaded on a false premise, morality is already out the window. Take the oil! Me and my fellow Americans are paying for this travesty, and since we couldn't stop it from occurring, at least get our money back for us! BTW, I have little sympathy for the Iraqis. It's a dog eat dog world and they'd do it to their neighbors (they tried) or to us in a heartbeat if they could. I only care about Americans and America (just as you should be primarily concerned with your country) Where interest align, we can work together. IMO there is no such thing as a permanent "ally". That is dangerous thinking that can take your country where it doesn't want to go. I think that starting wars unnecessarily is bad for America on several levels. But we should have gotten ourselves paid back once we jumped in.

America starts wars, IMO, more over ideology than over economics. In fact, ideology is the source of most wars around the world. The money making vultures just come along for the ride. You can't get anywhere important in the USG (state dept, think tanks, military flag level officer, CIA, etc) unless you believe in American exceptionalism and its imperial right to dictate to the rest of world. This is the sad downside of our victory in WW2. It's been that way ever since. It went to our heads. If you don't buy into it hook, line and sinker, you're filtered out before you gain too much rank. I am beginning to see that same is true in the media. When it comes to foreign adventures, the media, whether left or right on domestic issues, speaks as One.
 
If you're going to be an imperial force or a barbarian, then do it right.
Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Although our worldview may appear miles apart, I think we might find quite a bit of common ground Eric.
 
Steve, First off, no offense taken. We're just discussing and it's a topic that can get our passions inflamed, right?

If you're going to be an imperial force or a barbarian, then do it right. When I say we should have captured oil, or oil revenue, it has nothing to do with morality, nor with me personally (and I think Trump was taking the same perspective). So these power drunk and paid off a_holes in Washington and in parliament go and invade a country for no good reason and to the tune of $trillions and thousands of their best killed and maimed and they are too stupid to make it pay for itself. Once you've invaded on a false premise, morality is already out the window. Take the oil! Me and my fellow Americans are paying for this travesty, and since we couldn't stop it from occurring, at least get our money back for us! BTW, I have little sympathy for the Iraqis. It's a dog eat dog world and they'd do it to their neighbors (they tried) or to us in a heartbeat if they could. I only care about Americans and America (just as you should be primarily concerned with your country) Where interest align, we can work together. IMO there is no such thing as a permanent "ally". That is dangerous thinking that can take your country where it doesn't want to go. I think that starting wars unnecessarily is bad for America on several levels. But we should have gotten ourselves paid back once we jumped in.

America starts wars, IMO, more over ideology than over economics. In fact, ideology is the source of most wars around the world. The money making vultures just come along for the ride. You can't get anywhere important in the USG (state dept, think tanks, military flag level officer, CIA, etc) unless you believe in American exceptionalism and its imperial right to dictate to the rest of world. This is the sad downside of our victory in WW2. It's been that way ever since. It went to our heads. If you don't buy into it hook, line and sinker, you're filtered out before you gain too much rank. I am beginning to see that same is true in the media. When it comes to foreign adventures, the media, whether left or right on domestic issues, speaks as One.
Well, with such amoral(ist) might-make-right approach, Americans should at least be honest to themselves and cease a) to cry at the killed or wounded soldiers' "noble sacrifices for their country" and b) defame their enemies, who kill or wound them, as "extremists" and / or "terrorists". The American soldiers are the combatants at the service of a world's top violent invader, waging aggressive wars against independent countries and their peoples; effectively, these supposed "war heroes" are simply global-scale armed robbers. And armed robbers should not be too surprised if their victims decide to fight back with force.

It is exactly the twisted combination of rule of brute force and hypocritical moralism ("we are always right, even if we are wrong, and our enemies are evil terrorists anyway!") which I find the ugliest in the imperialism - American or any other.
 
Well, with such amoral(ist) might-make-right approach, Americans should at least be honest to themselves and cease a) to cry at the killed or wounded soldiers' "noble sacrifices for their country" and b) defame their enemies, who kill or wound them, as "extremists" and / or "terrorists". The American soldiers are the combatants at the service of a world's top violent invader, waging aggressive wars against independent countries and their peoples; effectively, these supposed "war heroes" are simply global-scale armed robbers. And armed robbers should not be too surprised if their victims decide to fight back with force.

It is exactly the twisted combination of rule of brute force and hypocritical moralism ("we are always right, even if we are wrong, and our enemies are evil terrorists anyway!") which I find the ugliest in the imperialism - American or any other.
The USA is the top violent invader? Have you not noticed the appalling atrocities committed by Islamic hardcore types? Soldiers deserve to be killed and maimed because they joined the military to protect their country and maybe do some good in the world and are occasionally misused by craven politicians, both right and left?

IMO, You just hate the USA and you have some kind of oppressed underdog fetish. It's also apparent that you're clueless as to what is actually happening in the world. Your oppressed underdogs would stomp the life out of anyone they could if they got the power to do so. The US military has done more to promote freedom and peace than all new age peaceniks holding hands in harmonic convergence that ever lived combined.
 
The USA is the top violent invader? Have you not noticed the appalling atrocities committed by Islamic hardcore types? Soldiers deserve to be killed and maimed because they joined the military to protect their country and maybe do some good in the world and are occasionally misused by craven politicians, b left?

IMO, You just hate the USA and you have some kind of oppressed underdog fetish. It's also apparent that you're clueless as to what is actually happening in the world. Your oppressed underdogs would stomp the life out of anyone they could if they got the power to do so. The US military has done more to promote freedom and peace than all new age peaceniks holding hands in harmonic convergence that ever lived combined.
The USA is the top violent invader? Have you not noticed the appalling atrocities committed by Islamic hardcore types? Soldiers deserve to be killed and maimed because they joined the military to protect their country and maybe do some good in the world and are occasionally misused by craven politicians, both right and left?

IMO, You just hate the USA and you have some kind of oppressed underdog fetish. It's also apparent that you're clueless as to what is actually happening in the world. Your oppressed underdogs would stomp the life out of anyone they could if they got the power to do so. The US military has done more to promote freedom and peace than all new age peaceniks holding hands in harmonic convergence that ever lived combined.
I’d say that (with the exception of a few morally sound conflicts [WW2 and a couple of other conflicts] that the US has done nothing but promote its own financial and international self interests, essentially since the birth of the nation. I don’t blame the troops for this. I think that most of them are unwitting pawns. International confidence and positive favor towards the US is on a massive decline, and has been for a couple of decades. I think it’s very rare that our motives are “freedom for the world”, and I think it’s sickening that this angle is constantly used as justification. Freedom this, freedom that. Operation Enduring freedom. We’re freedom lovers, they’re freedom haters. Freedom bombs creating freedom corpses. Not that ISIS is any better, of course. We’ve been the global bullies for a long time. Sure, sometimes we help somebody, especially if we have interest at stake, but we are and always have been very aggressive, expansionist, and bully-like. I do love America. But I don’t entirely equate America entirely with the military industrial complex and oligarchical atmosphere surrounding politics. That’s part of America. A bigger part of America includes my family, my friends, great accomplishments of the country etc etc. I love the latter portion. The prior I find sickening. And in that sense, I see our Troops as victims as well.
 
The USA is the top violent invader? Have you not noticed the appalling atrocities committed by Islamic hardcore types?
The trouble is, the US had a big hand in creating those types. When the Soviets were in Afghanistan, the US hit on the idea of motivating fundamental Islamists in Pakistan, giving them weapons and telling them to go and attack the infidel Russians in Afghanistan. This was very successful (if that is the right word), and the US have used the same tactic several times since. Almost certainly the so called pro-Western forces in Syria were of this type - ISIS in all but name. ISIS was a product of the US military that went rogue.

I am sure that Vortex doesn't hate the USA, an more than I do, but there is a clique that has held control regardless of which president was in power, that has pushed these policies. Possibly President Trump will break this stranglehold.

David
 
I’d say that (with the exception of a few morally sound conflicts [WW2 and a couple of other conflicts] that the US has done nothing but promote its own financial and international self interests, essentially since the birth of the nation. I don’t blame the troops for this. I think that most of them are unwitting pawns. International confidence and positive favor towards the US is on a massive decline, and has been for a couple of decades. I think it’s very rare that our motives are “freedom for the world”, and I think it’s sickening that this angle is constantly used as justification. Freedom this, freedom that. Operation Enduring freedom. We’re freedom lovers, they’re freedom haters. Freedom bombs creating freedom corpses. Not that ISIS is any better, of course. We’ve been the global bullies for a long time. Sure, sometimes we help somebody, especially if we have interest at stake, but we are and always have been very aggressive, expansionist, and bully-like. I do love America. But I don’t entirely equate America entirely with the military industrial complex and oligarchical atmosphere surrounding politics. That’s part of America. A bigger part of America includes my family, my friends, great accomplishments of the country etc etc. I love the latter portion. The prior I find sickening. And in that sense, I see our Troops as victims as well.
I don't totally disagree with you guys (though I draw the line at Vortex's venomous perspective)

Where we differ is that I believe that it is the job of the USG to promote its own interests - just as it is the job of any other govt to promote the interests of its country. I don't understand how doing so can be viewed as a sin.

More fundamentally, I think you guys are underestimating the horribleness that govts around the world impose on their own people and that they do (or would, if they could) impose on other people. You only focus on the USA as the bad guy in all this because it is the biggest and most powerful.

In retrospect, the Vietnam War was a mistake and was poorly managed by the US military. But let's not kid ourselves, communism is an awful system that has killed 100s of millions of very people it was supposed to save. The "Domino Theory" certainly made sense from the perspective of the CIA in 1962. The VN communists killed a huge number of its intellectuals, teachers, business owners, successful farmers, etc. Ditto the Chicoms and, of course, Ditto the Soviets. The Chicoms and Soviets were arming and supporting the VN communists, as they have armed and supported communists all over the world.

Then there's life under Sharia in places like Iran. They still stone women to death for showing a little leg or dancing to western music. Ditto Afghanistan, ditto Saudi Arabia. There's still slave trade in Africa. There have been - and still are - civil wars in Africa where all manner of bloody mass murder happens; including routine cannibalism.

America as exceptional bad guy only makes sense if you put on some very thick rose colored glasses and willfully ignore what the rest of the world is like. Humanity is barbaric. Most people are still living under very primitive and savage systems.

I'm going to drop off this thread. I've been here before. Invariably I find that people interested in spiritual topics have unrealistic outlooks concerning fighting/warring and the nature of humanity. I know I won't convince anyone of anything and I have by now hopefully explained my own perspective. Nothing more to add.
 
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Part of the challenge for your perspective, Eric, is that it does not fit into the conspiratorial line of thinking. Your perspective is simply too easy to conflate with the prevailing "official narrative" and any official narrative is immediately suspect here.

Your background would seem to give you an at least uncommon level of insight, so I find what you've said to be thought provoking.
 
I’d say that (with the exception of a few morally sound conflicts [WW2 and a couple of other conflicts] that the US has done nothing but promote its own financial and international self interests, essentially since the birth of the nation. I don’t blame the troops for this. I think that most of them are unwitting pawns. International confidence and positive favor towards the US is on a massive decline, and has been for a couple of decades. I think it’s very rare that our motives are “freedom for the world”, and I think it’s sickening that this angle is constantly used as justification. Freedom this, freedom that. Operation Enduring freedom. We’re freedom lovers, they’re freedom haters. Freedom bombs creating freedom corpses. Not that ISIS is any better, of course. We’ve been the global bullies for a long time. Sure, sometimes we help somebody, especially if we have interest at stake, but we are and always have been very aggressive, expansionist, and bully-like. I do love America. But I don’t entirely equate America entirely with the military industrial complex and oligarchical atmosphere surrounding politics. That’s part of America. A bigger part of America includes my family, my friends, great accomplishments of the country etc etc. I love the latter portion. The prior I find sickening. And in that sense, I see our Troops as victims as well.
I don't totally disagree with you guys (though I draw the line at Vortex's venomous perspective)

Where we differ is that I believe that it is the job of the USG to promote its own interests - just as it is the job of any other govt to promote the interests of its country. I don't understand how doing so can be viewed as a sin.

More fundamentally, I think you guys are underestimating the horribleness that govts around the world impose on their own people and that they do (or would, if they could) impose on other people. You only focus on the USA as the bad guy in all this because it is the biggest and most powerful.

In retrospect, the Vietnam War was a mistake and was poorly managed by the US military. But let's not kid ourselves, communism is an awful system that has killed 100s of millions of very people it was supposed to save. The "Domino Theory" certainly made sense from the perspective of the CIA in 1962. The VN communists killed a huge number of its intellectuals, teachers, business owners, successful farmers, etc. Ditto the Chicoms and, of course, Ditto the Soviets. The Chicoms and Soviets were arming and supporting the VN communists, as they have armed and supported communists all over the world.

Then there's life under Sharia in places like Iran. They still stone women to death for showing a little leg or dancing to western music. Ditto Afghanistan, ditto Saudi Arabia. There's still slave trade in Africa. There have been - and still are - civil wars in Africa where all manner of bloody mass murder happens; including routine cannibalism.

America as exceptional bad guy only makes sense if you put on some very thick rose colored glasses and willfully ignore what the rest of the world is like. Humanity is barbaric. Most people are still living under very primitive and savage systems.
Part of the challenge for your perspective, Eric, is that it does not fit into the conspiratorial line of thinking. Your perspective is simply too easy to conflate with the prevailing "official narrative" and any official narrative is immediately suspect here.

Your background would seem to give you an at least uncommon level of insight, so I find what you've said to be thought provoking.
I hate reversing myself, but since you brought up conspiracy theories, I'll jump back into the discussion.......

.......IMO, sometimes there are conspiracies, but usually not. I would say that, for example, the Iraq invasion was an example of a true conspiracy within a wider ideology driven foreign policy. The conspirators easily hijacked FP because the fundamental mindset in FP was fertile ground for the conspirators to plant their seeds. So I'm not saying that conspiracies never happen; only that, at best, conspiracies are partial explanations when they do occur.

I will repeat that, IMO, wars are not started, nor prolonged, to enrich the purveyors of weapons and ammo. Everyone here, I'm sure, understands that correlation does not equal causation. We see vultures on road kill, but that doesn't mean that the vultures caused the car to hit the poor creature that is now dead and being eaten by them. So it is with the "military industrial complex" and foreign policy.

Nor should we attribute to a crafty conspiracy what is more parsimoniously attributed to incompetence. A lot of what drives US foreign policy is ignorance and group think. The people that end up working in areas of the USG that create and implement FP are largely selected from the same schools. They have the same background. There is a lot of group think. Nails that stick out are either hammered in or pull out of the frame work. Very very few have served in the military. They have all kinds of fantasies about what the military can accomplish. They also tend to be social science types and they bring to the table the notion that, at bottom, all humans are the same and that differences that are problematic can be ameliorated through application of social science theories and techniques- in short, we can train the wogs to be Americans. Of course the wogs will WANT to be Americans because, well .....who wouldn't want to be? These people are utterly indoctrinated into the belief of America as the Shining City on the Hill. If you don't believe that, then you are one of those nails that sticks out. When these people travel to foreign lands they stay at embassies or other westernized sectors. They meet with representatives of the country who are westernized to some extent, perhaps even at the same Ivy League schools. This confirms for the FP establishment that the wogs really want to be us (I use "wog" because that is what the FP establishment thinks of foreigners who have not *yet* been westernized via social science interventions).

Of course, meanwhile, figuratively speaking, though often quite literally, out in the hills, or in the back alleys, roam bands of fierce tribesmen living as they have for hundreds of years and who have no desire to morph into Americans. These people are seen as being "on the wrong side of history" and this is when the US military is called in. "History", to the social science types, is an arrow - an arrow that flies toward "Progress" and Progress is becoming like an American (or a Brit).

The above is all it takes to create all sorts of disastrous FP and war. No conspiracy. The vultures, the profiteers, the Zionists, just hover over this ship of fools, making a living off the killing and, sometimes, as with the Iraq invasion, whispering into the captain's ear so as to impact the steering of the ship.

All of that said, Russia (more so in Soviet days) and China do the same to spread their ideologies. Wog on Wog warfare is horrible as I have mentioned up thread. Sometimes the ship of fools does some good in preventing total chaos from reigning in certain regions. I reject the notion that the wogs would be living in utopia if not for US FP. The wogs have their own ideologies and are quite capable of killing each other over them.
 
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I agree with much of what you say as well, Eric. But all I can really do (largely) is focus on my own country and hope that it improves. Other countries may be worse in some areas, and better in others. And they may have the same philosophy, but lack the capability to put it into action. But I’m less concerned with comparing than I am with focusing on what IS in my country and what can be improved upon. It’s probably true that this is more of a problem with the state of man than it is merely a problem of “American baddies.” People are this way, not simply Americans, but (again) the US is unique in its power and capabilities so it’s own actions are larger scale and more magnified. And I think there is a lot of extremism in both views (as always). I don’t think it’s as simple as “The US is all rotten”, and it sure isn’t as simple as “The US is the voice of freedom and good in this world.” There’s a lot of in between and grey. But I think it’s obvious that something has gone horribly wrong at the upper levels with those in charge. And I don’t at all trust my government to do the right thing militarily speaking.
 
I agree with much of what you say as well, Eric. But all I can really do (largely) is focus on my own country and hope that it improves. Other countries may be worse in some areas, and better in others. And they may have the same philosophy, but lack the capability to put it into action. But I’m less concerned with comparing than I am with focusing on what IS in my country and what can be improved upon. It’s probably true that this is more of a problem with the state of man than it is merely a problem of “American baddies.” People are this way, not simply Americans, but (again) the US is unique in its power and capabilities so it’s own actions are larger scale and more magnified. And I think there is a lot of extremism in both views (as always). I don’t think it’s as simple as “The US is all rotten”, and it sure isn’t as simple as “The US is the voice of freedom and good in this world.” There’s a lot of in between and grey. But I think it’s obvious that something has gone horribly wrong at the upper levels with those in charge. And I don’t at all trust my government to do the right thing militarily speaking.
Wormwood,
I totally agree with what you say. I think that is a correct and intelligent response to me and an intelligent outlook generally. I guess that's all I was trying to get at myself - that and that it's not all a conspiracy driven phenomenon by the Illumanti or war profiteers or some other such rubbish.

Which brings us back to Trump. Trump is against the FP establishment. He preaches an isolationist approach (focus on making America great and the heck with costly unproductive foreign adventures). He has been stymied by the establishment's scheming against him at every turn, yet he persists. For that he has incurred incredible wrath of the both the FP establishment and the vultures. I am, frankly, amazed he has not been killed. IMO, there is a lot of cynicism in the accusations that he is a Russian agent, but maybe not all of it is cynicism. What Trump calls for is inconceivable to the US FP establishment. They are so indoctrinated that they may actually believe that only a Russian mole could see the world so differently. It's anathema. Blasphemy!

You must understand that man has an inherent need to transcend. When you're a godless atheist, like the social science FP crowd, your ideology, being at the helm of "history", becomes your religion and not only do you worship it, but since you're at the helm, you are it. This is a heady and dangerous brew.


Yes. There is something horribly wrong in US FP culture and I believe I have accurately outlined what it is. What to do about it eludes me. Maybe bring back the draft. Get The People to have skin in the game; maybe they'd burn down the Ivy League social sciences schools and tar and feather the FP establishment. I really don't know what else would work.
 
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I agree with much of what you say as well, Eric. But all I can really do (largely) is focus on my own country and hope that it improves. Other countries may be worse in some areas, and better in others. And they may have the same philosophy, but lack the capability to put it into action. But I’m less concerned with comparing than I am with focusing on what IS in my country and what can be improved upon. It’s probably true that this is more of a problem with the state of man than it is merely a problem of “American baddies.” People are this way, not simply Americans, but (again) the US is unique in its power and capabilities so it’s own actions are larger scale and more magnified. And I think there is a lot of extremism in both views (as always). I don’t think it’s as simple as “The US is all rotten”, and it sure isn’t as simple as “The US is the voice of freedom and good in this world.” There’s a lot of in between and grey. But I think it’s obvious that something has gone horribly wrong at the upper levels with those in charge. And I don’t at all trust my government to do the right thing militarily speaking.
Can you really take an isolated view here Wormwood? I think its a noble sentiment, but when the practicalities of dealing with other sovereign states arise aren't ghosts introduced into the machine?

I just can't subscribe to a mindset that puts a western democracy on par with an autocratic, fundamentalist regime structure (as one example).
 
Can you really take an isolated view here Wormwood? I think its a noble sentiment, but when the practicalities of dealing with other sovereign states arise aren't ghosts introduced into the machine?

I just can't subscribe to a mindset that puts a western democracy on par with an autocratic, fundamentalist regime structure (as one example).
No I agree. Our form of government (for all of its problems) is a far more reasonable one than theirs. I was talking more about acts of aggression and armed conflict and attempting to be on the moral high ground as you initiate them.
 
Where do you get your info on this from Jim?
I think that we all need to be careful here. There are multiple sources of information that are being relied upon - and much is flatly contradictory. The idea that any source is absolutely 'reliable' has to be treated with caution. Biases are everywhere - pro Tump and anti-Trump camps raise legitimate arguments. But there is so much toxic white noise that destroys any chance of calm and shared conversation. Any information source that absolutely demands it be believed and the 'other side' should be dismissed utterly should be suspect instantly.

For evidence to have any value it must be available to both sides (like a court of law). It is not fair or reasonable to dismiss the opposition by virtue of being the opposition. If we go down that path we risk falling prey to propaganda and manipulation.

It is easy to insult a person who does not see what is self-evident to us, when we are absolutely certain we are right. But insisting we are right is a huge risk if we have not undertaken a fair minded research of spectrum of claims and evidence. Usually we 'research' to satisfy our own biases and go no further. We select evidence that boosts our case and diminish, or deny, that which does not. How often have I heard the risible claim that a passionate advocate of the pro or anti camp has engaged in internet 'research'. That usually means going down YouTube rabbit holes dictated by algorithms. Its not 'research'. Its self indulgence. It is okay to be self-indulgent, but be honest about it.

I have no emotional investment in Trump. But my political leaning tends toward the left, and so I must admit a bias that does not favour him. I see evidence that supports my bias, and I see evidence that opposes it. But the latter is neither compelling nor sufficient in my mind. It relies on propositions I do not support and beliefs I do not hold. My orientation is toward disciplined in depth investigation to satisfy my own interests - not to craft arguments against 'opponents'. I don't regard pro Trump people as opponents. I am not trying to content and push a point of view.

The best I can say is that I have arrived at a set of conclusions that are reasonable and rational. They are not 'right'. They are sufficient. That does not mean that I have to be intolerant of a person who engages in the same process, but ends up with equally sufficient conclusion that do not align with mine. That's how reality works. It does not make us enemies.

I try to understand and appreciate the motives that move a person to support Trump so I can engage them in a respectful dialogue. But I fail when I try to do that, because often the gulf of difference seems to be too vast. To be frank, that alarms me. It seems as we are being manipulated into starkly polarised points of view and passions. As a matter of principle, that must not be allowed to happen.

Even here in Australia the polarisation infection is spreading, and people are emotionally taking sides on a subject most know very little about in any objective sense. It is hard to have a conversation without being deluged in emotion - powerfully pro or anti. Passions are roused and discipline inquiry is abandoned.

We must not be induced to surrender the standards and principles of fair inquiry and debate. And when invective and sentiment trumps argument and evidence we are lost. There is no point in either side insisting they are obedient to these values. I have surveyed both and neither are.
 
I just can't subscribe to a mindset that puts a western democracy on par with an autocratic, fundamentalist regime structure (as one example).
I get this on one level, but on another it is not that simple. It is possible to make the case that the ruling 1% in a western democracy has a functional influence that is equal in effect to that of an autocratic fundamentalist regime. The structure of power is not the same, but the effect is. If we live in a western democracy we have been 'indoctrinated' with a cultural discourse that induces us to support the cultural norm.

I grew up in a culture that celebrated the British Royal family and conformed to cultural norms that enforced loyalty and subservience. Now I am a republican I see royals are parasites who distort our cultural norm. In English history 'autocratic fundamentalist' rule was there norm, so long as you understand fundamentalism to be more than mere religious belief. At various times monarchism and capitalism have been effectively fundamentalist positions.

Usually fundamentalism is a way of meaning extremism, which is not correct. Fundamentalism, like radicalism, is about getting to the foundations or roots of a way of thought and it is not a useful idea to apply to the Abrahamic faith tradition.

Western democratic materialist culture is neither the benchmark nor the norm. Efforts to critique it have been regarded as acts of disloyalty and worthy of extreme persecution.

The reality is that we are always running behind the real world. Our beliefs and dogmas are rooted in past verities, and our ability to predict the future is profoundly impaired. We are left the subject of guesswork by those motive motivated, and who have the power, to impose their versions of how things should be. When minorities prevail and tyrants dominate reality is closer to the autocratic fundamentalism than it is to western democracy. What we have at the moment is democracy is name only. The real power players are the string pulling minority who want their point of view to prevail. Real democracy is the last thing they want to see.
 
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