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Should America lead the world?

Mark Mardell | 20:20 UK time, Tuesday, 25 May 2010

President Obama at West Point AcademyPresident Barack Obama will outline his first National Security Strategy on Thursday. Much time and effort will be spent deciding on how it differs from President George W Bush's 2006 document, but I have a feeling he will duck the biggest question - America's role in the world.

The document will obviously centre on Mr Obama's mission to engage more with other countries. But it is easy to see that as a change of means, not ends.

There was a sneak preview of the president's likely approach at West Point this weekend when he said:

"We are clear-eyed about the shortfalls of our international system. But America has not succeeded by stepping out of the currents of co-operation - we have succeeded by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice, so nations thrive by meeting their responsibilities and face consequences when they don't."

There will be the rather tired argument about whether engagement is weakness or strength. But the bigger question is whether America sees itself as a leader for at least part of the globe, first among equals in a multi-polar world, or a partner in a kaleidoscope of shifting alliances.

The former Mayor of New York, Ed Koch, has written an interesting article arguing that engagement with Russia and China has meant the US has not stood up for its allies and gives way to bullies in return for insubstantial kind words from the two big powers. But what struck me most forcefully was his take on Turkey and Brazil's talks with Iran, which he describes as "infuriating" and aimed at humiliating and denigrating the United States.

The former mayor's analysis may be rather simplistic. But it is true that while Mr Obama has recognised the growing importance of medium-sized regional powers, he hasn't really outlined what to do if they join together to oppose perceived American interests.

In a critical but friendly report on the strategy of engagement, the Center for a New American Security argues: "America as a nation appears unsure of its own role and voice in the world and is highly divided internally." It adds:

"It is time to renew America's capacity for global leadership by reaffirming the values and interests we share with friends, investing in a better understanding of the world around us, reaching out to a new generation of young people around the world, standing firmly on the side of justice and free­dom, and restoring America's moral authority."

The president didn't talk about "global leadership" in his West Point speech, but he did suggest that the US should mould the future.

"We have to shape an international order that can meet the challenges of our generation. We will be steadfast in strengthening those old alliances that have served us so well, including those who will serve by your side in Afghanistan and around the globe. As influence extends to more countries and capitals, we also have to build new partnerships and shape stronger international standards and institutions."

There is no question that some countries, including the UK, look to America for leadership, whether for sentimental or practical reasons. Should it be less ambiguous about giving that lead or a more humble partner in power?

Comments

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  • 1. At 9:47pm on 25 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Leading by example is the best way. The US needs to put its own house in order first.

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  • 2. At 9:49pm on 25 May 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    As President of the United States President Obama is obligated to protect and defend the interests of the USA. Consequently, the main difference between his foreign policy and that of his predecessor is in style rather than substance.
    Yes, he is more inclined to seek diplomatic solutions, extend an olive branch, and seek compromise than his predecessor but make no mistake if our interests and national security are threatened he will act as vigorously as all his predecessors did before him.

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  • 3. At 9:55pm on 25 May 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    I think you are confusing simplistic with straight fowards.

    Obama has made concession after concession only putting pressure on a close allie and treating several long term friends shabily.

    Another example how GBW was far more intelligent and realistic about the world as was Reagan

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  • 4. At 10:08pm on 25 May 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    There are times when I am simply lost for words, and this is one of those times.
    Should America lead the world? I can think of only one word:
    Where?
    I believe the world would be a better place if the United Nations could complete its reform, expanding the security council and removing veto power such that any vote taken by the Security Council would be a straight up vote. The US has been too powerful for too long. The world has been badly affected by US power. The US veto shields Israel literally from herself.
    No, please, lets not have the Americans lead the world anywhere because I fear it would be straight to...

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  • 5. At 10:08pm on 25 May 2010, HabitualHero wrote:

    "Should America lead the world?"


    To where?

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  • 6. At 10:14pm on 25 May 2010, HabitualHero wrote:

    "GBW was far more intelligent....."

    If ever a sentence was impossible to complete........

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  • 7. At 10:38pm on 25 May 2010, Sonoman wrote:

    Should we? Absolutely not.
    Can we? Debatable.
    Will we try? Yes.

    While our diplomatic and economic policies over the past 30 years have eviscerated the bulk of whatever clout we once had, you can be sure that our government will try to throw whatever remnants it has left around.

    But should we?

    I can't tell you how tired I am of traveling and having a preconception regarding the number of cars I own accompany my passport. I'm sick of my accent coming with a disclaimer. I'm sure some folks will come back at me and say "If you feel that way, it's their problem. A bigot's a bigot." Sure, but you have to understand where it comes from.

    I don't want us to "lead." And if the past 30 years has been any indication of indication of how things would go, I'm pretty sure most of the world doesn't want our brand of "leadership," either.

    On the one hand, you have our genuinely lousy policies that I don't need to go into. You're all familiar with them. There's too many to list here.

    But on the other hand, I'm tired of the double standard and dual expectation. I'm tired of being under the microscope. I'm tired of being bashed on as imperial power, and are then propped up and asked to sacrifice ourselves for the well being of the rest of the world, as this happened with the Somali pirates. The last time the US decided to take a decisive lead on a global problem was after it was attacked on 9/11. Gazillion terror attacks happened before that one and no one took any lead at a global scale.

    This is what happens when you become a "world leader." You become a disposable work force others can berate and then throw at whatever problems there are. Sorry. Not going to do it, anymore.

    It's time we returned to the international community. It's time we returned to caring for our own. And to whoever decides to pick up that crown, again- Godspeed, and good luck.

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  • 8. At 10:50pm on 25 May 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #4
    BluesBerry wrote:
    There are times when I am simply lost for words, and this is one of those times.
    Should America lead the world? I can think of only one word:
    Where?
    I believe the world would be a better place if the United Nations could complete its reform, expanding the security council and removing veto power such that any vote taken by the Security Council would be a straight up vote. The US has been too powerful for too long. The world has been badly affected by US power. The US veto shields Israel literally from herself.
    No, please, lets not have the Americans lead the world anywhere because I fear it would be straight to...

    ____________

    With the U.N's Human Rights record not to mention rapes by U.N workers and blatant corruption Israel would only be the first nation to face genocide if the U.S ever defered to the U.N.

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  • 9. At 10:54pm on 25 May 2010, matt817 wrote:

    The reality is, the USA along with the UK simply no longer has the funds to engage in anymore foreign issues.

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  • 10. At 11:10pm on 25 May 2010, Risforme wrote:

    As an American I say yes. I shudder to think of a world where the main solver of disputes is China. People think the US is full of militarists I think they'd learn what the word really meant if China was unchecked. Or if Russia becomes the dominant world power, a country barely more Democratic than Soviet Russia.

    I think we need to return to a more sensible foreign policy like that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. We shouldn't be looking to go to war but we should be prepared. We also should look out not only for our interests but that of our allies.

    I think a world where you have more Leadership around the world is a good thing. I doubt the US is gonna fade from the Global scene anytime soon, so having rivals without the chance of war due to Nuclear weapons will only be a net benefit. The USSR inspired American innovation which led us to putting men on the moon. No reason to think we couldn't get the same results from a multi-polar world.

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  • 11. At 11:13pm on 25 May 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    America had greatness thrust upon in 1946 when it emerged from World War II virtually unscathed while the rest of the world was a smoking ruin. The country handled it reasonably well, but greatness in the eyes of the world was never a goal set forth by the founders. Indeed, the founders were almost completely unconcerned with the rest of the world.

    Rather, they wanted to see if a system of government could be set up where peace and prosperity was achieved by treating every citizen equally and giving everyone a chance. We don't know whether such a country can indeed become a reality because we haven't gotten to a situation where everyone is treated equally, yet, nor in actuality does everyone get the same chance. The union our founders envisioned has not been achieved.

    We need to keep trying to form that more perfect union. That's the American jihad. That's our mission statement.

    We are required to provide for the common defense, no more. If America can help other nations out from time to time, so much the better, but we should never embrace the idea of America as world leader. The government was not designed to function that way (especially when it attempts to act on behalf or against people who are not represented in our government), and it struggles to do so when it tries.

    We don't have the answers for our own questions, let alone the world's. By now I would think that would be obvious.

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  • 12. At 00:08am on 26 May 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Mark:

    "...he hasn't really outlined what to do if they join together to oppose perceived American interests."

    Exactly where do you see that threat coming from?

    Let's face it, if a nation wishes to increase its influence in global affairs, it's better to be with the U.S. than against it. We not only have the world's most powerful military, but we control the world's economy to boot.

    If a group of regional powers decides to band together in opposition to the U.S., we'll simply do what we always do: make one of them an offer too good to refuse (in the original non-mafia sense). Once that's done, the rest will peel off one by one trying to secure a similar deal for themselves.

    True, that strategy doesn't work well with ideological governments, but there aren't many of those left.

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  • 13. At 00:15am on 26 May 2010, Blogs On wrote:

    "The document will obviously centre on Mr Obama's mission to engage more with other countries. But it is easy to see that as a change of means, not ends." There it is in a nutshell, as Mark has written. The hidden agenda is to make the world compliant to the expansion of U.S. Wall St. and financial interests. Exporting "democracy" is merely a means to that end. Also there has been a knock-on effect of agreements such as NAFTA, the consequences of which, for example, have driven many thousands of Mexican farmers off the land and resulted in most of them entering the U.S. illegally with many becoming parts of the Mexican drugs cartels, as there is no hope for them in Mexico. Consumed with self-interest, the U.S. needs to get a grip on the impact of its policies upon the rest of the world. Still, with mounting U.S. government deficits, in part because the government has become a tool in the hands of special interests for advancing their worldwide interests, the American empire will crumble as empires in similar circumstances have done throughout history. President Obama needs to grasp that likely eventuality as well.

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  • 14. At 00:32am on 26 May 2010, Bill Baur wrote:

    No, and why should we lead the world? I would much rather we be like Switzerland and just not get involved in things.

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  • 15. At 00:52am on 26 May 2010, Kittle wrote:

    R.E. #12 "Exactly where do you see that threat coming from?"

    My guess would be China. It's an emerging power that's looking to make a mark on the world stage. It currently controls a lot of America's debt and so ultimately has America in a more vulnerable position than I'm sure the USA would like. China and the USA are also in direct (albeit low key, for now) conflict over spheres of influence in south-east Asia. China is all that's stopping further exacting sanctions being placed on North Korea over the current diplomatic crisis and America also opposes China on the subject of Taiwan. They're also propping up corrupt and vicios governments all the way to Africa.

    Many might beat around the bush, but China IS the biggest realistic threat to the United States right now, both militarily and financially. It's taken over the USSR's previous role as the oposite to all that America holds dear and we will, I suspect, begin to see proxy wars between the two start to rage, mainly in Africa this time most likely, but also quite possibly in the Koreas if the current tensions don't ease off a little.

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  • 16. At 01:11am on 26 May 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    11. At 11:13pm on 25 May 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Indeed, the founders were almost completely unconcerned with the rest of the world.

    Exactly. No entangling alliances with Europe or anyone else. That way leads to madness. Fighting a war to stop an invasion is one thing, but continually bailing Europe and the rest of the world out of every scrape they get into is a waste of time and money. I was completely against any American military involvement in Bosnia. That was the EU's bailiwick and they let things get completely out of hand. And then they wanted us to put in ground forces! If Europe was so concerned about what was happening on its doorstep they should have mustered their forces - not the UN Peacekeepers - and done something about it. Only when it degenerated into genocide, because they couldn't be bothered, did we finally agree to do something. And do we get any thanks? No. We get told the whole mess was our fault and we shouldn't have been there in the first place. Let's forget all the years in which they begged us to do something and we told them "No, it's your business. Take care of it yourselves."

    The union our founders envisioned has not been achieved.

    That's because we keep getting distracted by shiny new conflicts and new opportunities to use our toys in real battle conditions. Personally, I don't think the world needs a "leader" at all. There's still too much of the desire for a strongman to take control in certain parts of the world. And I hate the idea that this is supposed to be the US. Why? So we can have bragging rights? It's a great ego stroke, true, but it's also really nice to just be an American citizen. We hear all about American Imperialism these days, but no one seems to remember that the British and French, who really did have empires, actually started it all.

    Let it go back to being the British or the French. Then we'll see how much better they do at the job, and how well everyone likes them after 30 or 40 years in the driver's seat. Probably just as much as the last time when they mucked things up and brought the world to the place it was in 1946. Messes the US has been tasked with cleaning up for far too long - and shouldered the blame for while the real culprits have snuck out the back door with their hats pulled low over their foreheads. American Imperialism, indeed!

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  • 17. At 01:25am on 26 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 11 Andy Post-

    "America had greatness thrust upon in 1946 when it emerged from World War II virtually unscathed while the rest of the world was a smoking ruin. The country handled it reasonably well, but greatness in the eyes of the world was never a goal set forth by the founders. Indeed, the founders were almost completely unconcerned with the rest of the world."

    Ever heard of the Monroe Doctrine?

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  • 18. At 01:46am on 26 May 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Mark: '"the bigger question is whether America sees itself as a leader for at least part of the globe, first among equals in a multi-polar world, or a partner in a kaleidoscope of shifting alliances."


    Well Tom Freedman of the New York Times (noone to scoff at) thinks we're first among equals in a multy-polar world, and the international comunity bar, probably, the UK and Canada see us as, or rather want us to be a partner in a kaleidoscope of shifting alliances. So it really doesn't matter how we see ourselves. It matters how others see us. Because without the world's cooperation we can't get anything done. So if they see themselves as powerful, their interests and voices as being worth something, and themselves as global players who deserve and have the right to act in defence of their own core interests whether they aline with those of the US or not, then they're not going to look to us for leadership are they? No. They're going to do what we have been doing, and what every nation has been doing since the end of World War II; protecting what's theirs and promoting their agendas to advance their interests.



    "It is true that while Mr Obama has recognised the growing importance of medium-sized regional powers, he hasn't really outlined what to do if they join together to oppose perceived American interests."

    First of all, the BRIC nations ( Brazil, Russia, India and China) are not merely "medium-sized regional powers." They are the world's rising super powers, and it's high time we stop looking back on our former position in the world in 1945 with misty nastalgic eyes (no offense) much the same way some Britons look upon Britain's dominance in the 19th century and recognize, admit, and accept our current position as is; the world's fading hejomonic super power. Yes we're still very powerful, and yes - much to the dismay of many Europeans - we'll remain so for years to come. But never again will we be as powerful as we once were; command as much attention and respect as we once did; inspire as many other world leaders as we once did. It's better to be on the BRIC nations' good sides than their bad sides in this new century. As far as what we should do should they join together to apose perceived American interests, well there isn't much we can do, is there? While the new "globalised society" in which we find ourselves has given us too many benefits to mention, one drawback it has provided is to put international diplomacy in a streightjacket; that is to make moving forward on the solving of problems nearly impossible without the world being united in a common approach. No doubt Brazil and Turkey's discussions with Iran will do immense damage to our relations with them, which will in turn make it that much more difficult to get their cooperation on solving other pressing problems such as North Korea, global warming or the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.


    I like the advice from the Center For a New American Security; that is, of course, accept for the stuff about American global leadership and moral authority. As explained above, the overwhelming majority of the world either doesn't see us as a leader or begrudgingly admits that we are one but despritly desires us not to be any longer, so it's pretty clear that any attempt to announce and assert ourselves as such will fall flat on it's face. Besides. Presumptuousness is never an attractive characteristic. Noone likes a person who claims to know what they think and feel; and likewise, people around the world - I'm certain - don't like it when Obama (and other presidents before him) speak of America as "the last best hope on earth," "a beacon of hope for the world" and "a city upon a hill." If we inspire the world; if we uplift and encourage them so much, then let them say so. Let them speak for themselves. Far be it for us to presume to know what 7 billion people think of us. Is that airing on the side of freedom?


    "There is no question that some countries, including the UK, look to America for leadership, whether for sentimental or practical reasons."

    Because - out of the world's powerful nations - we are the one that most shares their values and interests (and in the case of the UK) a great deal of history. We are obviously more powerful than them, so it's no wonder why they look to us for leadership.

    "Should it be less ambiguous about giving that lead or a more humble partner in power?"

    If our traditional allies were all we had to worry about; if we didn't have to worry about being on good terms with every nation that will have us, then I'd say "lead away." But since this is not the case, since we find ourselves in an increasingly hostile world by the day, then I'm afraid my response will have to be "there is no such thing as too much humility."

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  • 19. At 02:01am on 26 May 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Andy Post #11: '"Rather, they (the founders) wanted to see if a system of government could be set up where peace and prosperity was achieved by treating every citizen equally and giving everyone a chance. We don't know whether such a country can indeed become a reality because we haven't gotten to a situation where everyone is treated equally, yet, nor in actuality does everyone get the same chance."



    Nor has any other nation. The best we can do is emulate the things that others do that have proven successful for them. Far from being "unAmerican," as many on the right would have us believe, if you think about it, it is probably the most "American" thing one can do short of eat hotdogs and be impatient. After all, we've borrowed/stolen everything from our legal system, to our language, to much of the food we eat from abroad. Why not more substancial things such as education, criminal justice and energy policy?

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  • 20. At 02:07am on 26 May 2010, bart wrote:

    Well yes I think we should lead. Well and with principle. Much like we tried to do at the end of WWII.

    Well and with principle included then fixing our enemies economies, institutions and creating real independent states out of them.

    In the past wars in Europe were fought either for land or personal insult of a leader or some other made up cause.

    At the end of WW2 the US in Europe did not allow or demand excessive vengeance with a V.

    But not taking sides means more than just holding Israel responsible and making deals public and private with Fatah. To side track differing groups in Palestine is what killed the peace process.

    Yes it would have been OK if it worked but it could never work.

    In essence President Carter got suckered into a classic Mid=Eastern, European trick of making the US take sides when we should not have. Ending our credibility with the rest of the Palestinian groups.

    So look at the leaders in Europe now and what do you see. A bunch of people without the ability to take action going in circles.

    The President fits in with this group because he is cut from the same cloth talk but no action.

    And that is what they hated about Bush Action and little talk.

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  • 21. At 02:11am on 26 May 2010, Megan DePerro wrote:

    Being an American, I am not so sure. It seems to me, and many other Americans, that civility, common sense, and basic manners have gone down the drain in this nation.

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  • 22. At 02:37am on 26 May 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Risforme #10: '"I think we need to return to a more sensible foreign policy like that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. We shouldn't be looking to go to war but we should be prepared."

    Amen! Bring our troops home from Europe and Japan (unless the majority of said country's population want them there) and actually act on the statement "exhaust every other avenue before deploying the military." However, you should know that FDR, brilliant as he was, was naive as the day is long. Probably drove Churchill half insane. As one of the founders of the UN, he helped to set it up in it's current form because he actually believed that the US, UK, France, China and Russia would always agree on every global problem, hence the need for unanimity on all permanent Security Councel resolutions. He also believed that the UN would successfully solve the problem of ridding the world of nuclear weapons. Only took 65 years for real progress to be made toward that end; spearheaded by not the UN, but the US.

    "We also should look out not only for our interests but that of our allies."

    That kind of goes without saying, doesn't it? Hard as we try to shake it, we can't seem to get over our concern for our allies well being, hence always running the risk of being called a meddler in other nation's affairs when we act either out of compulsion based on that concern or as requested by them.

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  • 23. At 03:34am on 26 May 2010, ninetofivegrind wrote:

    Where are we going?

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  • 24. At 04:02am on 26 May 2010, americanneb wrote:

    America is the greatest democratic nation that has ever been. It was created by people who understood that everybody has the God given right of freedom of choice. Whether people hate us or not, it is our duty to hold to those values. The US is a leader because we hold to freedom and believe that all people should have free choice.

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  • 25. At 04:12am on 26 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    18. At 01:46am on 26 May 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    "No doubt Brazil and Turkey's discussions with Iran will do immense damage to our relations with them, ..."

    ____________

    In respect of Turkey, this seems to reverse the situation. The government of Turkey has been ticked off by a whole bunch of things, some big, some small, most of them needless. America has supported Turkey through thick and thin from 1947 onward. But American support tended to support the Turkish military, who considered themselves to be the protectors of Ataturk's legacy of a secular Turkey. The present government of Turkey may not regard that happily.

    And, last, despite glowing words in Cairo, President Obama couldn't deliver the goods. That's what the issue of the building permits in Jerusalem was about.

    I wrote at the time that Turkey had put down a marker to show its displeasure, and that it would only be the first of many. Well, here is another marker, and this one is worse. I wonder what's coming next.

    Maybe somebody will eventually get the hint that these embarrassments are going to keep coming until those building permits are revoked, and the jerk responsible fired from the Israeli cabinet. Or maybe it's already too late for that, and now something much bigger is required.

    The west is paying an awful price for that piece of foolishness.

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

    As for Brazil, I'm not at all sure what's going on there, either. In the past Brazil has done America (and Britain) a number of good turns on the quiet.

    But recently Brazil has done a bunch of things that don't seem entirely friendly. Of course, in the Americas, Brazil may see itself as the natural ascendant power much more culturally attuned to its Spanish speaking neighbours than America. Lots of relationships there to nurture, but, of course, it hardly helps that the last month has been spent telling Hispanics being told how much they aren't wanted in the US. Yes, just how to make friends and influence people ...

    To start with, the US has not historically been very friendly to left of center governments in South America. On the contrary it has tended to support military governments. Then, too, there have been little issues that have been building for many years - lots of trade disputes, farm subsidy disputes, farm import disputes. There are big costs in unfairly supporting sugar cane growers in Louisiana, or methanol producers in Iowa. Not sure why they would be taking it out on President Obama, though.

    This is a relationship that needed to be cultivated, and somewhere along the way somebody didn't attend to weeding the garden carefully enough. A relationship that needs some careful study, perhaps.

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  • 26. At 04:16am on 26 May 2010, James P wrote:

    As an American, I believe in America's ideas, exceptionalism and power; but many Americans neither want our Nation to lead the world nor be as involved as we have been. We would find ourselves in better shape domestically if we were to curb our tendency to involve ourselves in every world crisis and simply leave the world to handle it's own economic and security challenges. It's past time that we turn our attention inward and address our own challenges. We need not station troops in such places as Japan, South Korea and Western Europe just to names a few. In the future, we needn't send troops to places such as Somalia, Bosnia or Iraq. Some readers may recall that before the first Gulf War, then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher lobbied then President George H. Bush very effectively to use US power to help expel Iraq from Kuwait. Coalition though it was, we had no business involving ourselves in that war or the second war lead by George W. Bush, though that war was all President Bush. These conflicts are not our battles (or at least they shouldn't be), Another example, the US Federal Reserve should not be purchasing Euros to help prop up the European Union. US Banks which were recently bailed out by US taxpayers should not hold over a Trillion dollars in European debt, especially given the fact that China holds so much US debt. We have enough problems within the borders of the United States without having to worry about such things as North Korean aggression against their Southern brethren, European insolvency or propping up a North Atlantic Alliance that is not needed. If the prospect of a resurgent Russia or a nuclear armed Iran concerns European or neighboring nations, then let those nations take the lead in negotiating or dealing with Iran. It will be a long time before Iran poses a threat to the US homeland. Bring our troops home and
    let us concern ourselves with America.
    In the words of Thomas Jefferson, "Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto."

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  • 27. At 04:26am on 26 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Overall, maybe the question isn't whether America should lead, but rather what is likely to be the result of the failure of leadership in America from 2000 - 2008.

    Who do you want to lead, instead? Nature abhors a vacuum.

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

    Many times I have thought that President Obama (or really anyone stuck cleaning up the mess created by Junior Bush & Co., be it Senator Obama, Senator Clinton, or Senator McCain) would find themselves in the position of Charles the Wise, who was faced with trying to win back his country from the invaders (i.e., the English, who had trounced the French in battle in almost every major engagement over the previous half century), while also trying to put the finances and international reputation of his country back on solid footing after the ruinous waste of his predecessor(s).

    In the end, even though he was dealt a very difficult hand (like President Obama) Charles the Wise managed to win back 2/3 of his country militarily, without ever confronting the clearly superior English Army in a major battle.

    Maybe that story bears some study, too.

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  • 28. At 04:33am on 26 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    24. At 04:02am on 26 May 2010, americanneb wrote:

    "America is the greatest democratic nation that has ever been. It was created by people who understood that everybody has the God given right of freedom of choice. ..."

    ____________


    No, the founders of America did not consider their rights to be "God given". They deliberately left God out of it. The separation of church and state was crucial to America's success. Ever since Ronald Reagan "tore down that wall" on church and state America has had growing troubles.

    If you want "God given rights", you're in the wrong country. Try Iran.

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  • 29. At 04:50am on 26 May 2010, TeaPot562 wrote:

    The Obama presidency seems built on the concept that the USA should FOLLOW the social policies - universal health coverage, much ownership and control of manufacturers and large institutions - of an average of nations on the European continent. The current policy is for the USA to be a follower, rather than a leader. Maybe a Margaret Thatcher will arise in the next generation to restore some vision to American policy, rather than words.
    TeaPot562

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  • 30. At 05:08am on 26 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    This is the dangerous foolish talk of an inexperienced man who is not merely out of his depth but out of line. America has no role in the world. It exists only for its own people. Its government's job is exclusively to protect the interests of its own citizens and nothing else. Sometimes that may mean war, even going it alone without allies who have similar self interests or concerns.

    Recently America has led the world...into bankruptcy and the rest of the world with few exceptions was only too eager to follow. It is time for a dose of reality and an innoculation against megalomania. If America's security and direct interests are threatened by Iran and North Korea they should be dealt with effectively and decisively by America alone if necessary with no further delay. Other than that, it's time for America to put its own house in order. President Obama had better not make promises that will be too costly for America to keep while being of no benefit to the American people. Charity begins at home Mr. President, so get back to work fixing our economy and stop worrying about the Euro. That's not our problem, don't make it so.

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  • 31. At 05:20am on 26 May 2010, americanneb wrote:

    To Interestedforeigner:
    Someone took a part of a sentence from a letter completely out of context. They ONLY intended for the government to not be run by the many churches in our land--NOT for God to be left out of the government entirely. It was the atheists who promoted that wrong idea. The founding fathers were ALL God-fearing men. Read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. There is no way those were written without honoring our Eternal Heavenly Father in mind. They desired freedom to "worship their creator" according to their conscience, which they couldn't do in their home countries. I believe in the separation of Church and State, but not in atheism. I'm not going to leave God out of anything because that is my right thank you very much.

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  • 32. At 06:53am on 26 May 2010, KingLeeRoySandersJr wrote:

    No single Government has the ability to lead the world in fact the many as a whole need to be trashed. The USA is not the paragon of virtue, it like the rest control the mass media and can paint to the people a picture and mindset that hides the Beast that it is. In it's attempts to gather knowledge above other all other knowledge, it has relaxed it's ethics giving it lead way to experiments as I see it no less if not as sinister as NAZI Germany Scientist.

    The basic problem is that governments are not governed by the people but the rather the people by the government and that comes about when the Military gains control over all other. Abuses against human rights continue under the cloak of principle subversive answers to the public through control of authority positions.

    Through cultivation, the citizens from birth is molded in to a subservient individual. That God like instinct is contained through the control of information, conclusive understandings and undertakings that form a society to serve the will of a bureaucratic totalitarian authoritative hierarchy.

    Superiority does not have to exist nor does any evolution of the human being is ever in consideration where as degeneration of humanity is it's intent. Today surveillance systems are not the only means of knowing what is going on in any avenue of human involvement nor does freedom have any bearing as to how a government gains information nor orchestrates it's will. The id, the prime motivational force of human thought and action is mapped. The magic bullets, the emotions and thoughts to reach a reasoning and implement human will exist as a common salt of inter-social action. You call it mind control and it is a exact and infallible art. Communication systems have become so very powerful and so very small that experimental research to find these answers laid before you, has come at a great price. A loss of independence and ones choice of how their lifetime is played out.

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  • 33. At 07:17am on 26 May 2010, Chris Camp wrote:

    If you consider the question "Should America lead", you have to sonsider the alternatives to come up with an answer. America has been leading the world for decades, admittedly with varying degrees of success, but I still maintain that it is a benign superpower on the whole and far better than anything that's recently been put forward as alternatives. Let's take a tally, shall we?

    - the "multi-polar world" is something that's been tossed around quite a lot, particularly in smaller countries whose populations have often felt that they did not have enough say in how the world is run. One of the most prominent advocates of this is French intellectual Emmanuel Todd, who reckons that the different economic powerhouses of the world (North America, India, East Asia, Brazil etc...) will sooner or later start balancing each other out, heralding a new era of peace and stability in the world. Recent developments in the global economic markets have shown that the multi-polar world is not entirely unlikely to happen, however, it does not seem to be much a peacebringer at this point.

    - an alternative leader - here, you have to consider which spoecific country might be a candidate. As I said at the start, for all its flaws I consider America a benign power. It is a democracy and, most of the time, it is reasonable when dealing with other countries. The same cannot be said for two possible alternative nations, Russia and China. Both these states still oppress their people and they do not have real democracies. Russia, in particular, is often aggressive and irredentist towards its neighbours, which will likely cause people around the world to be put off the idea of being led by Russia. India might seem like a reasonable alternative, but between its massive population increase and the persistent curse or the caste system that Indian society is suffering under, it is not clear what India is going to look like in 20 years.

    - from my own European perspective - do we need fundamental change? My generation grew up under American protection. Britain had lost its Empire when I was born and could not defend itself on its own anymore. America saw us through the cold war and we are safe now. Between all the bickering about wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and American companies turning out to be investment cemeteries, we Europeans often forget that being led by America has given us the most peaceful and prosperous lives, which previous generations of Europeans could only dream of. Some of my ancestors came from Germany, Turkey and Hungary. I know that five generations ago, my ancestors were still indentured servants. Just two generations ago, we Europeans infilicted upon ourselves the two most horrible wars that mankind had ever seen. America has ended much of this misery. This should not be forgotten and, from time to time, it would not hurt us to show some gratitude.

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  • 34. At 07:33am on 26 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    MM write: " I have a feeling he [The ONE] will duck the biggest question - America's role in the world."



    Mark, Barack Hussein doesn't duck the question; he simply doesn't see America as a world leader.

    Being a designated apologiser for most things American.

    Here's wondering what The ONE thinks of Truman's [our Haberdasher-in-Chief] decision to prevent gen. McArthur from dealing swiftly and ruthlessly with emerging Communist N. Korean/Chinese threat when there was still time (60 years ago).

    [Not to mention our Peanut Farmer-in-Chief's decision not to deal with Islamist Republic of Iran' threat over 30 years ago]

    Inquiring minds want to know.

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  • 35. At 07:36am on 26 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    GBW was far more intelligent....."

    #4: "If ever a sentence was impossible to complete........"






    I'm sure that Barack Hussein will complete it by November 2012.

    If not sooner.



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  • 36. At 07:42am on 26 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re UN leadership:


    After revelations about "Food for Oil" corruption in the highest U.N. leadership and "Food for Sex" affairs among U.N. "peacekeepers", this pathetic outfit should be removed from American soil. ASAP.

    [Pyongyoung, Ouagadougou, Beijing and Moscow are great places]

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  • 37. At 07:48am on 26 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    IF wrote: "American support tended to support the Turkish military, who considered themselves to be the protectors of Ataturk's legacy of a secular Turkey. The present government of Turkey may not regard that happily."




    And that's why (knowing Turkey very well indeed) can safely bet that the Turkish Army will eventually do right by the secular Ataturk's Republic and remove Erdogan's crypto-Islamists from power, just like it removed Erbakan's Islamists from power.

    [remember Erbakan? :)]

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  • 38. At 07:52am on 26 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #10 "I think we need to return to a more sensible foreign policy like that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. We shouldn't be looking to go to war but we should be prepared."




    Under FDR's reign United States had to enter WWII completely unprepared.

    And, having no decent intel, surprised by Imperial Japan's aggression.

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  • 39. At 08:40am on 26 May 2010, Jpp799 wrote:

    At #33: I think you are very misinformed about history. America didnt "save" Europe. It conquered it.

    During the Cold War, the American propaganda machine needed a starting point to claim that they were superior to the USSR. The best way to do that? High moral ground. The whole WWII story became doctored and rather than talking about how they turned away boatloads of Jewish refugees, had companies who made millions by supporting the Nazi regime, and only went to war after they were attacked, suddenly America was painted as a saviour who went to war out of their love of freedom and want to save all oppressed people.

    History is written by the winner and if Germany won the war, every history book would talk about how Poland invaded Germany in 1939 and how Germany only went to war as a defensive measure. We laugh because we know no one would believe such an absurd thing, but the American view of the war is just as much a lie. The difference is that we believe it because this rubbish is written in ever history book and is in every film we see.

    The Marshall Plan? Official line is that it was given as a way to help rebuild war torn Europe. Again, out of the goodness of American's pure hearts. The truth? America feared it would lose influence and political power to the Soviets so they invested money into holding onto their conquered territority. The original Marshall Plan states its purpose "is to stop the spread of communism and open new markets for American products". The whole lie of its goal of helping people was created later.

    America today still occupies German terrotority, 20 years after the USSR collapsed. They store atomic weapons in various European countries where the local government has no say. There are large areas of land in the UK, Italy, Germany, Spain, Korea, Japan, etc. etc. etc. where American troops are stationed. From these stations they carry out agressive war around the world. In these military bases, the local laws and constitutions are invalid. The soldiers cannot be prosecuted by local authorities for anything they do. In some cases (e.g. Diego Garcia, Bikini Atoll) they have stolen the land from the locals and driven them out.

    The USA military occupies more land area outside of the US than the entire country of North Korea. America has started more wars than North Korea, Iran and Nazi Germany combined. American forces have killed more innocent people than "terrorists" have killed. Yet everyone in the West accepts it and anyone who fights out against it is a "hardliner" or "terrorist". Why? Because we are told that America is fighting for what is right. That is the same thing Nazi Germany and Bin Laden told/are telling their supporters.

    America's role in the world since 1945 has been that of an imperial power. Everyone today talks about how it was wrong for Britain to occupy India or France to occupy Algeria. But very few talk about how bad the American occupatation of country after country is. So you are right. America is leading the world.....with an iron fist.

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  • 40. At 09:13am on 26 May 2010, shiveringofforgottenenemies wrote:

    First of all, Mark you have to realize that Obama is NOT a leader. He has plunged blindly into the drift of events and helplessly carried along on with the currents.

    America has declared itself "partners" with truly immoral regimes, not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Pakistan and Turkey. This is an entanglement,not an alliance. It will fester for years to come. Obama is getting NOWHERE with China. Nuke free Middle East....um, right! Rham Emmanuel declared that America understands Israel's "full layer of deterence." If SO, then what ridiculous mind-game is Obama playing at?

    Iran, a nation that CLEARLY intends to build a bomb, is running rings around Obama with the collusion of Brazil and we are told that we should admire Brazil for wanting to take a larger role on the world stage! Now Hillary Clinton is telling South Korea how we are behind them...yeah, grabbing them by the belt and digging in our heels because we daren't take on another war, especially a mountain war. Meanwhile she gets brushed off by the Chi-coms.

    After WW II when the "great powers" carved up the world into spheres of influence America, the Pacific was to be America's plaything, ours to develop, ours to exploit. Well WE BLEW IT! We blew it through lousy leadership. We blew it by playing mind games about China, we blew it in North Korea, we blew it in Vietnam. Asia is emerging NOW, 60 years after WW II when it could have been prosperous long before had America acted decisively after WW II.

    Look at the absolute mess our relations with Israel and Palestine are in. Deputy National Security Advisor Dan Shapiro recently said there could be no two-state solution without effective missile defense (meaning the ludicrous Iron Dome which the US just funded), and no successful peacemaking if others perceived any gap between the US and Israel.

    This is the rubbish the Obama administration is putting out! So, forget about Obama leading...he won't lead, he won't follow and he can't cook. So what good is he?

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  • 41. At 09:16am on 26 May 2010, skamble wrote:

    Let's recall what America is all about: it is democracy, also called freedom.

    The question of whether America should or shouldn't lead the world is a result of America growing immensely powerful and wealthy thanks to more than 200 years of Americans having the right to do what they want to do.

    The United Nations do not ask how the governments of its member states got to be in power - like, how many people did they kill or jail to get there. The Democratic Republic of Kampuchea was a member of the UN and might have even ended up chairing a human rights commission.

    There is a way for America to gently remind the world of its core belief: it would be to set up the United Democratic Nations, where nations with democratically elected governments would discuss issues of democracy and civil rights. Obviously, there should be a condition for membership: verification that a country that applies indeed had free and fair elections. This would be an act of leadership which the world, now only half-democratic, badly needs.

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  • 42. At 09:19am on 26 May 2010, jww41005 wrote:

    That is their objective, but countries like Russia and China won't go along with their objectives. What frightens me is what is discussed behind closed doors in the Whitehouse, which also makes me wonder if North Korea was responsible for sinking the South Korean ship, or is it part of a bigger plot. Anyway, as some posters have mentioned, USA has to clean up its own back yard first.

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  • 43. At 09:59am on 26 May 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    No!

    America should withdraw all troops from countries in Europe, South Korea and Japan. These are all regions of the world that are advanced and well off and that are more than capable of defending themselves. In fact, that was the case a long time ago. Besides, anti-Americanism is ripe in such countries so we shouldn't spend a dime there. It should also withdraw from NATO and the interfering UN.

    Take a good portion of those returning troops with the proper skills and put them on the border with Mexico and also use them to help process illegal immigrants for their return to Mexico and beyond. It should also cease relations with Mexico and threaten military retaliation until it stops its illegal immigrant invasion.

    Take the money saved and put it into research and development for alternative forms of energy so America is never again dependent on any so-called ally in the Middle East or elsewhere for its energy needs. It should also do it without the participation of other countries if possible.

    America should draw its attention inward on itself so it can address problems at home that need tending to. That includes no more foreign aid until the nation's debt is paid off. No more outsourcing American jobs and giving away American technology just to get an extra sale, especially when it comes to high tech and defense. No foreign power should ever be able to bid on American defense contracts if America is reasonably capable of producing what is required. Defense of a nation should never be at the mercy of a foreign power.

    It should never get involved in any climate control talks or treaties that are in fact more about the West financing third world development than a climate treaty, as was Kyoto.

    It should draw down and eliminate trade with communist countries like China. America should not be supporting the development of a country that does not hesitate to persecute, imprison and murder its own citizens for simply expressing their own opinions.

    America should not be supporting the development of a country that has for some time now been engaged in cyber spying and attacks against it. China is not the friend of any freedom loving country. It was a terrible mistake to think opening trade with such an evil system of a country would somehow turn them into a friendly democracy.

    America should clamp down on immigration from countries where its people are either obviously culturally incompatible with American values and from countries where the populace and governments are often or generally hostile to it. It should also not allow anyone to become an American citizen while allowing citizenship with another country. Such a thing is in direct conflict to the oath a new citizen makes to America.

    It should clamp down on loopholes in immigration laws that allows industries like the entertainment industry, for example, from employing foreigners instead of Americans.

    Those are just some of the things that quickly popped in my tired head but I could go and on. I'm sure others here will, though I suspect it will be anti-American in nature, as usual.

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  • 44. At 10:14am on 26 May 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Interestedforeigner wrote:

    "No, the founders of America did not consider their rights to be "God given". They deliberately left God out of it. The separation of church and state was crucial to America's success. Ever since Ronald Reagan "tore down that wall" on church and state America has had growing troubles."
    _________________________________________________________________________

    "The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained" - George Washington, First Inaugural, April 30 1789

    You were saying? :)

    Would you like me to quote the many other Founding Fathers? :)


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  • 45. At 10:31am on 26 May 2010, astralguide wrote:

    A leader is one who sacrifices and offers protection or some sort of security and a greater future than the present but a leader must also offer a better quality of life standards, if not why anyone would be interested in the leader?
    Tell me one single nation on this Planet Earth that offers above qualities?

    USA may not be perfect in every single aspect of life today and for that it constantly learns, reviews, works hard and improves upon but it respects rule of the law to extreme, some democratic principles and offers freedom of choice to a certain extent that few large nations do.
    I want to know the name of one single unified nation today that offers leadership qualities?

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  • 46. At 10:51am on 26 May 2010, Simon Morgan wrote:

    10. At 11:10pm on 25 May 2010, Risforme wrote:
    //
    As an American I say yes. I shudder to think of a world where the main solver of disputes is China.
    //

    -Me too. It may be a case of the 'devil you know..', but whatever the faults with the US it is morally far superior to the current alternatives.

    You only have to look at China's call for restraint over North Korea ( where have we heard that before...) to know that the PRC could never be a world leader.

    They do not have any moral authority, and never did. If they did, they would either control the monster they created, or get out of the way and let the US do it.

    As for Russia - what can you say about the bad ol' USSR? The spots are still there - dissension can, and often does, lead to premature death.




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  • 47. At 11:14am on 26 May 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 48. At 11:26am on 26 May 2010, Carl Showalter wrote:

    3. At 9:55pm on 25 May 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    I think you are confusing simplistic with straight fowards.

    Obama has made concession after concession only putting pressure on a close allie and treating several long term friends shabily.

    Another example how GBW was far more intelligent and realistic about the world as was Reagan


    who's GBW? is he the same guy who thought France was somewhere in Mexico when he took office? sounds reyt intelligent to me..

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  • 49. At 12:01pm on 26 May 2010, Michael Melrose wrote:

    The entire history of the USA is based on death and distraction, look at there history.
    No NO no. Get the Americans out of the picture they are not safe at all.

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  • 50. At 12:02pm on 26 May 2010, mabelwhite wrote:

    Perhaps the US is good at packaging and presentation, advertizing and PR, so they'll take the lead in putting ideas out there for the mobs accompanied by a catchy tune. Maybe nations of Islam have insulated themselves from this influence by banning things like cartoons and music.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BECOdf0PZp0&feature=related

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  • 51. At 12:07pm on 26 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re" "America today still occupies German terrotority" [sic]



    And non-Germans should be thankful for that considering European history. :)

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  • 52. At 12:08pm on 26 May 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 46, Simon

    "You only have to look at China's call for restraint over North Korea ( where have we heard that before...) to know that the PRC could never be a world leader."

    Both the Bush and Obama administrations have used China to pressure North Korea for concessions and to intercede whenever a crisis arose. They have succeeded in defusing crises and getting symbolic concessions, but NK remains as belligerant and dangerous as ever.

    Either China's influence over North Korea is not as significant as we believe it is, or they are happy with the status quo.

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  • 53. At 12:13pm on 26 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    re #43 "America should clamp down on immigration from countries where its people are either obviously culturally incompatible with American values and from countries where the populace and governments are often or generally hostile to it."




    I can see from HM's Gracious Speech that U.K. intends to do exactly that re its own bsckyard.

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  • 54. At 12:22pm on 26 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #52 SD: "Either China's influence over North Korea is not as significant as we believe it is, or they are happy with the status quo."




    They won't be if somebody makes it clear to comrades in Beijing, that in case of a military conflict between North and South Korea, PRC would be flooded by millions of escaping, already starving North Koreans.

    As if China would not have a major unemployment and a growing social urest problem with its own destitute rural population as it is.

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  • 55. At 12:32pm on 26 May 2010, Prowriter75 wrote:

    Should America lead the world? That was the question.

    With the attempts in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan to establish US style
    democracy based on a transcendent monotheistic "In God We Trust"
    philosophy...the answer is, absolutely not!

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  • 56. At 12:40pm on 26 May 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 25, InterestedForeigner

    "This is a relationship that needed to be cultivated, and somewhere along the way somebody didn't attend to weeding the garden carefully enough. A relationship that needs some careful study, perhaps."

    It may take a whole generation before Latin Americans forget and forgive our support to right wing dictators, our corporate abuses, our high interest loans, our unfair trade practices, the arrogance we demonstrate when we travel or work in Latin America, and the overt hatred of Hispanics that exists in the USA, but I believe that while they will always look at us with suspicion better relations are possible.

    I lived in Venezuela in the 1940s and 50s at a time where most of the oil, iron ore, and bauxite they exported came to the USA, when our corporations exploited their natural resources and determined the royalties they would pay, and when just about everything that was consumed in that country came from the USA.

    The dream of most wealthy and middle class Venezuelans in those days was to send their children to a university in the USA, own a Cadillac, and vacation in Florida. Today we are their nemesis and they are intent on dealing with just about anyone but us. The biggest loser is not Venezuela who has no problem finding customers for their sought after products, and is happily importing goods from Europe and China, but us who lost a reliable source of oil and minerals and a wealthy market for our exports.

    A similar socio-economic and political rift is evident throughout South and Central America. I believe we must pay more attention to our neighbors and natural trading partners, and let the camel riding folks live peacefully in their tents, drinking tea, eating dates and dreaming of mythical virgins in never never land.

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  • 57. At 12:45pm on 26 May 2010, Kittle wrote:

    #54 powermeerkat

    Ah, but you forget, this is China. They're not burdened by America's need to at least appear to be a good guy and they hold enough of the world's debt that they can do pretty much whatever they like. If they don't want North Korean refugees in their territory, they'll just shoot them as they try to cross the border. Or put them in interminable internment camps if they're feeling generous.

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  • 58. At 12:50pm on 26 May 2010, ann arbor wrote:

    Is Obama having us extend an olive branch, or simply dropping our trousers and bending over?

    Should the Korean situation escalate into active conflict, the world will quickly see Obama is paper thin. Do you expect we can still sell treasury debt to China and fight China through a Korean proxy at the same time?

    With Obama at the helm, we are screwed.

    Meanwhile, Obama will still wage war on his own citizens (GOP, TEA party, non-union workers, self-employed, those with savings, and Arizona).

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  • 59. At 1:18pm on 26 May 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #56
    SaintDominick wrote:
    Ref 25, InterestedForeigner

    "This is a relationship that needed to be cultivated, and somewhere along the way somebody didn't attend to weeding the garden carefully enough. A relationship that needs some careful study, perhaps."

    It may take a whole generation before Latin Americans forget and forgive our support to right wing dictators, our corporate abuses, our high interest loans, our unfair trade practices, the arrogance we demonstrate when we travel or work in Latin America, and the overt hatred of Hispanics that exists in the USA, but I believe that while they will always look at us with suspicion better relations are possible.


    ___________

    What about the far great Human rights violations of Fidel, Hugo, Ortega and Morales?

    The true progressive nations of Latin america- costa Rica, chile and Columbia have excellent relations with the U.S weather Obama, Bush and Clinton.

    The people of Venezulea were much better off under Hugo the Dictator's predesessors and they did not support terrorist as the dictator does.

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  • 60. At 1:21pm on 26 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    If America is foolish enough to try to lead the world, there are a lot of people who will be very angry at the direction America is taking it no matter which direction that is. America led the world in fighting Islamic terrorism and the brutal rule of Saddam Hussein, a psychopatic mass murderer who not only murdered 1 million Iraqis (the real thing, not some invented hokey Euro-fantasy numbers) and threatened a choke hold on much of the world's oil supply. Most of Europe did not want to follow and the few that did often had to be dragged kicking and screaming. They are still kicking and screaming about it but had they gotten their way, Saddam Hussein would still be around more menacing than ever. There was no convincing Europe so why bother trying?

    As America is not the world's policeman, it is not its guardian angel either. America has no role in the world and anyone who says otherwise presumes to speak for 310 million people who can not only think and speak for themselves but whose main interest in life is to pursue their own lives first and foremost just like most other people in other countries is. I think President Obama will get a strong message this November when the voters remind him who he is and what his real job is, and what it isn't.

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  • 61. At 1:26pm on 26 May 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Of course America will try to lead. Any politician who would position America in any other way would not be electable. The question is then how does America lead?
    America has unquestionably lead militarily and economically over the last decade or so. However the direction it lead in was either questionable (militarily) or over a cliff (economically). Those that have followed closely have now learned that following America's lead is not always to their advantage.
    Obama's challenge is to regain the trust of the international community and rebuild the USA's influence.
    If people believe that the USA's behaviour under the previous administration will be repeated, they will once again react by kicking out any government that get too close (I may be wrong but of the coalition of the willing in Europe I think only Blair survived at the next election).
    Finally, Obama has to be nice to China, Russia et al because they have all the natural resources. If either of them decided to trade oil in a currency other than dollars, the US would have problems that would make the last two years look like a pic nic.
    That pretty much leaves Obama with options to lead that will involve progressive ideas (energy policy, international development) that if America were at the front of the international community of these areas, the right wing would be reacting in a way that made the healthcare fight look like a barn dance.

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  • 62. At 1:57pm on 26 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #58 "Meanwhile, Obama will still wage war on his own citizens (GOP, TEA party, non-union workers, self-employed, those with savings, and Arizona)."


    Perhaps The ONE thinks Arizona is not an American territory, unlike Indonesia and Kenya.

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  • 63. At 2:12pm on 26 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 64. At 2:20pm on 26 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    59. At 1:18pm on 26 May 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    What about the far great Human rights violations of Fidel, Hugo, Ortega and Morales?

    The true progressive nations of Latin america- costa Rica, chile and Columbia have excellent relations with the U.S weather Obama, Bush and Clinton.

    ____________

    Oh, please. Enough.

    America should be concentrating its diplomatic efforts according to the long term economic weight of the countries involved.

    That puts Brazil and Mexico at the top of the list (and Mexico would be there as a direct neighbour, anyway).

    Those two would be followed by Argentina, Chile, Columbia and Venezuela.

    Cuba would probably be next since it is both proximate, and, over the long term, is likely to have one of the more advanced economies in the Caribbean basin once the Castro brothers shuffle off to the great reviewing stand in the sky.

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  • 65. At 2:31pm on 26 May 2010, Balance wrote:


    As a US citizen I think you would be suprised to hear the number of people in the US that want us to withdraw from world events and countries. We can no longer give money to the IMF or UN or NATO and get nothing in return. We don't want to be the world police, and the citizens are tired of paying to "fix" issues in other parts of the world. Many more people here are becoming isolationists... Let the rest of the world deal with their issues.. If they ask for help then we might consider it but otherwise leave them alone.

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  • 66. At 2:34pm on 26 May 2010, Kittle wrote:

    #62 powermeerkat

    "Perhaps The ONE thinks Arizona is not an American territory, unlike Indonesia and Kenya."

    ... What planet are you living on? You're talking more rubbish than Marcus.

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  • 67. At 2:38pm on 26 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    39. At 08:40am on 26 May 2010, Jpp799 wrote:

    "America today still occupies German terrotority, 20 years after the USSR collapsed."

    [[ And no German government in its right mind would contemplate asking them to leave. If you don't understand why, then you need to read some of the blog postings here more carefully. ]]


    "America's role in the world since 1945 has been that of an imperial power. Everyone today talks about how it was wrong for Britain to occupy India or France to occupy Algeria. But very few talk about how bad the American occupatation of country after country is. So you are right. America is leading the world.....with an iron fist. "

    ____________

    [[ Another load of bunkum.

    Compare America's efforts since WWII with any major empire going back to the time of Rome.

    There is no other nation that has behaved more benignly overall. America has botched many medium and small things. But it got the main points right, avoided yet another bloodbath on the North European plain; lifted a half a billion Europeans, Japanese and Koreans out of the ruins of war WWII; and, up until now, has provided the economic and security apparatus for another billion and half people to climb their way out of grinding poverty.

    No other nation or empire in the history of the world has done better, and you can search as hard and as long as you want for another.

    You clearly don't like America, but on the whole the Americans haven't done that badly compared to their predecessors; and they are far better than any of the current alternate choices.

    We are moving into a very uncertain period of shifting multi-polar power. The ability to convince major nations or blocks to coalesce around mutually beneficial policy options will be both extremely important. International diplomacy will become very much more complex and difficult than it has been in the past 65 years. There will come a time when people will look back on the period of American hegemony with longing.

    Be careful what you wish for.

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  • 68. At 2:38pm on 26 May 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 69. At 2:40pm on 26 May 2010, lochraven wrote:

    #11 Andy Post

    Good read.

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  • 70. At 2:43pm on 26 May 2010, lochraven wrote:

    #60 MA II

    Good read.

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  • 71. At 2:46pm on 26 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    37. At 07:48am on 26 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "And that's why (knowing Turkey very well indeed) can safely bet that the Turkish Army will eventually do right by the secular Ataturk's Republic and remove Erdogan's crypto-Islamists from power, just like it removed Erbakan's Islamists from power."

    "[remember Erbakan? :)]"

    ____________

    First, I wouldn't count on that happening.

    Second, if it does happen, it probably would not be a good thing in the long term. If we believe in democracy, we can't cheer when elected governments are overthrown, no matter how much we dislike them.

    There have been so many errors made in dealing with Turkey in the last 25 years. Our collective security concerns would have been much better served if Turkey had been admitted to the EU 20 years ago. America supported Turkey as best it could, but the Turks were kept waiting, and humiliatingly so, because of religious and ethnic prejudice. Short-sighted, and small-minded.

    Now we are fighting both history and demography.
    A golden opportunity was lost there.

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  • 72. At 2:48pm on 26 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Apparently the moderators either don't like the US Constitution to be quoted verbatim, or they don't like the words "fiddlesticks" and "bunkum".

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  • 73. At 2:49pm on 26 May 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Wow. I log in late and find a hot topic and 63 posts. Crazy.

    7. Sonoman wrote:
    "Should we? Absolutely not.
    Can we? Debatable.
    Will we try? Yes. ...
    But should we?
    I can't tell you how tired I am of traveling and having a preconception regarding the number of cars I own accompany my passport...."

    -- Preach it, honey.

    Also - Well spoke Andy Post (11)--
    "America had greatness thrust upon in 1946 when it emerged from World War II virtually unscathed while the rest of the world was a smoking ruin. The country handled it reasonably well, but greatness in the eyes of the world was never a goal set forth by the founders. Indeed, the founders were almost completely unconcerned with the rest of the world."

    Indeed. For much of our history, we had wiped our feet from the rest of the world. We came here largely to get away from ya'll, and this isolationist attytood is still one of our culture's deepest paradigms. Good fences make good neighbors, as we say.

    Over the past... oh... almost 100 years, any time we've gotten involved in battles that weren't ours, there has been significant domestic outcry. Why should WE be the world's policemen? Haven't we got troubles enough of our own?

    Unfortunately, human pride is a seductive poison.
    Even more unfortunately, pride truly comes before the fall...
    So... um... how're those quick turn-around real estate investments coming along?
    Not so good? Well, don't worry -- failure tastes better with a little oil and salt.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Truth, Justice and the American Way!
    But Superman wasn't human and I don't think we've got as much to Marvel at as the rest of the world might think
    -- Like money. I don't actually have much of it.
    -- Opportunity? Don't always have much of that either. Ooops.

    48. Ted Maul wrote at MagicDragon (#3):
    "who's GBW? is he the same guy who thought France was somewhere in Mexico when he took office? sounds reyt intelligent to me..."
    Ted Honey, pay not mind to Old MagicDragon. He tends to type first and think second. At least, I hope he thinks second...
    ______________

    Finally - about the speech?
    We are a great nation. But, the world is growing. As such - the burden of caring for it is not one that we should shoulder on our own. It takes a global village to raise an educated and healthy planet, and we should not assume the role of single parent.

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  • 74. At 2:59pm on 26 May 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:

    60. At 1:21pm on 26 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    America led the world in fighting Islamic terrorism and the brutal rule of Saddam Hussein, a psychopatic mass murderer who not only murdered 1 million Iraqis (the real thing, not some invented hokey Euro-fantasy numbers) and threatened a choke hold on much of the world's oil supply. Most of Europe did not want to follow and the few that did often had to be dragged kicking and screaming. They are still kicking and screaming about it but had they gotten their way, Saddam Hussein would still be around more menacing than ever. There was no convincing Europe so why bother trying?

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

    Maybe they were bit confused. After all, your government supported Saddam in the 80s and sold him weapons when he was at war with Iran. But how can that be? He was a brutal menacing dictator (your words). Why would the Americans so vehemently support Saddam in one decade (Donald Rumsfeld even shook the man's hand during a photo op), and then brand him as an enemy against all decency the next decade?

    "We're at war with Eurasia. We've always been at war with Eurasia..."

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  • 75. At 3:02pm on 26 May 2010, RYGnotB wrote:

    Having visited other countries which seek world leadership (including China and Russia), I would much, much prefer the world to be led by the US.

    Why? Because I value the freedom to live comfortably and with relatively limitless opportunities. I value my freedom of speech. I value the relative equality we enjoy in the West.

    I believe that the West is a better friend to poorer nations than other contenders to the throne (although it could try harder).

    Until a better option comes along, or civilisation advances to the point where we don't need to be led but can progress together, I'm happy for now to put up with the leadership of the US.

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  • 76. At 3:04pm on 26 May 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    58. ann arbor,
    Woah... Honey... chill... take a deep breath and count to ten.

    Now, North Korea is starving to death. The fool in charge feeds, clothes, and houses his army... which is probably the only reason his army looks so big. The other reason his folks put up with him is that he's been lying to them for decades. They have no idea what's going on the rest of the world.

    The reason why smoke and mirrors will work for NKorea, is because that's the game he's playing with his own people.

    IF anything blows up over there (literally or metaphorically), we need only to look intimidating and offer lots of food, clothing and freedom. NKorea's allies aren't even willing to fight for it any more.

    And WHY are we over there? Lots of reasons. History. Economy. Military strategy and national security. And, to maintain healthy relationships with SE Asia... which is kind of important, if you remember Pearl Harbor. (I wasn't alive yet, but my Grandparents were at a Redskins game on Dec 7th, 1941...)

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  • 77. At 3:18pm on 26 May 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #64Oh, please. Enough.

    America should be concentrating its diplomatic efforts according to the long term economic weight of the countries involved.

    That puts Brazil and Mexico at the top of the list (and Mexico would be there as a direct neighbour, anyway).

    Those two would be followed by Argentina, Chile, Columbia and Venezuela.

    Cuba would probably be next since it is both proximate, and, over the long term, is likely to have one of the more advanced economies in the Caribbean basin once the Castro brothers shuffle off to the great reviewing stand in the sky.
    _________________

    Was that your oppinion on the arapthied State of South Africa and would you say ignore human rights in all the countries Chica currently invests in.

    Lets look at Venezuela where Hugo takes over enterprises without cmpensating developers.

    Cuba has never compensated U.S companies either.

    As far as Bolivia, Morales was antongonistic from his first day. Made no attempt to have a working relationship with the U.S.

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  • 78. At 3:20pm on 26 May 2010, Kittle wrote:

    #71 Interestedforeigner

    Unfortunately the religious and ethnic predjudices that kept the Turks waiting to join the EU are their own. As with any independence/seperatist struggle no side is in any way innocent, but the way the Turkish government has treated the Kurds really hasn't been all that much better than how Saddam treated them. Not to mention the rest of the human rights abuses that Turkey is guilty of, and the invasion of Cyprus. The EU has minimum standards of human decency for countries to join and Turkey is still failing to live up to them.

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  • 79. At 3:24pm on 26 May 2010, davec0121 wrote:

    This whole question occurs in an oft-repeated cycle. Many on the outside protest that the U.S. shouldn't 'lead the world' for a variety of reasons, frequently based on nothing more than personal prejudices. However, when something happens that requires international action, it is always to the U.S that people turn 'to do something'. Example: the situation in the Balkans in the 1990's. There was much sermonizing, wringing of hands, and resolution-passing in both the U.N. and the E.U., none of which stopped the bloodshed. It was only when the U.S. got involved that the bloodshed stopped (i.e., the Dayton agreements). And, of course, the U.S. was criticized for not doing something sooner. Or the response to the earthquake in Haiti, where American help exceeded the efforts of the rest of the world, combined. And was criticized for 'taking over' (although not by the Haitians). Or the eastern European countries, where American leadership, commitment, and power contained the Soviet Union during the Cold War (yes, there was a Cold War), enabling them to win their freedom. Or Kuwait. Even as far back as the 1950's and '60's, people sheltering behind the U.S.'s power (economic, political, and military) were free enough to criticize it's leadership. It's always amazing how much American leadership is decried, until it's needed.

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  • 80. At 3:32pm on 26 May 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 81. At 3:33pm on 26 May 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Banking and big businees have sucked the life out of the US. The US Chamber of Commerce lobbied Congress for MFN status for China for years professing the increase of jobs for the US. the big businesses that ran off to China to provide bribes and feed the corruption mill that is the way of doing business are now finding that China is promoting home-grown industries and limiting foreign expansion and investments. Greed is always surprised when it runs into Greed by others.
    The US has no choice now but to work with China and Russia. The moral high ground was lost when the US Congress facilitated the greatest transfer of wealth upward in the history of mankind and did nothing but facilitate the banking collapse by not regulating that industry because of lobbyist contributions, no matter how they spin it, everyone knows that is was corruption that caused the financial meltdown.
    China has a list of bad friends, N. Korea, Iran, African dictators, etc. If they cannot find good friends nothing will change. Asia has suffered as much as the West because of the banking crimes and they are less trusting of the West because of that. You can not blame them. Countries will be more protective of their own economies as they have seen that the promise of the world economy that would shelter the overall markets from national or regional difficulties was a false promise. Never believe a banker.....never believe a large business association and never believe the politicians that advocate for them.

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  • 82. At 3:44pm on 26 May 2010, RiccoBane wrote:

    I will admit that the US has work to do as far as getting its house in order, But don't you dare get it confused, the progress that the United States has made in making its self a super power and a place of prosperity is unparalled by ANY other country. We have made alot mistakes as seen in the history books, but WE ARE LEARNING FROM THEM ALL. Obama does not avoid! He waits for everyone else to get a clue. He has too at times. People can only change when they want to, especially leaders. So we do what we can and the rest is to waiting to see what everybody else wants to do. Sometimes it is like that. The only other option is to strong arm, but that is not always the answer. Hold yourselves responsible!
    The USA can't lead the world?? Please! If you don't think we can, then step up. -One without vices can not be trusted. We live we learn. Period.

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  • 83. At 3:47pm on 26 May 2010, Kit Green wrote:

    59. At 1:18pm on 26 May 2010, MagicKirin

    Sounds like the world according to Fox News.
    Which peoples were really leading a better life before the Haitian earthquake, the Haitians or the Cubans?

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  • 84. At 3:47pm on 26 May 2010, I am the Editor wrote:

    Can any nation lead in a world it doesn't recognise and doesn't understand? The US has become so deeply wedged up its own backside it cannot see the world around it. A one-eyed UN is still preferable to a blind US in the leadership stakes.

    A perfect example of this blindness is found in the "interesting" article Mark refers to, written by a former mayor of New York. In it, the author asks, "Have we lost the will to stand up to the bullies of the world?" There is no irony here. But anyone even slightly conversant with US foreign policy over the last 50 years will know who the biggest bully has been, and it is not Mossadeq, Allende or Chavez!

    Learn the lessons of history or be doomed to repeat them. Where has American leadership already led the world? Its unquestioned support for an artificial construct, a western colony called Israel, against the basic rights of the land's indigenous population, together with its continuous interference with and corruption of Middle Eastern nations over its desperate desire to control oil wealth, has led to the nasty extremist Islamic movement that the world is faced with today. This is what where we've ended up with American leadership thus far. Perhaps it's time to try something else.

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  • 85. At 3:48pm on 26 May 2010, Kit Green wrote:

    77. At 3:18pm on 26 May 2010, MagicKirin

    Why do you think everyone should like the US almost as much as their own countries?

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  • 86. At 3:49pm on 26 May 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Oh - and I know this is a sensitive issue for lot's of folks (like the good people of Okinawa), but there is a BIG difference between a Military Occupation and an area occupied by a Military Base.

    Srsly.
    Military Occupations are known for armed martial law over civilians by an unwelcome &/or foreign power.
    Military Bases are known for their local area stripper bars and tattoo parlors, where off-duty jug-heads go 'sight-seeing.'

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  • 87. At 3:50pm on 26 May 2010, clamdip lobster claws wrote:

    We don't have a good track record. We espouse freedom, democracy and apple pie but we deliver guns, drugs, bombs, prostitution and every other illicit thing. The world should cringe at what America has offered to them. Why would any half intelligent nation want to follow in our lead? Do our systems of government work? Therein lies your answer.

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  • 88. At 3:57pm on 26 May 2010, TheAntiAuthoritarian wrote:

    Decades of "US leading" the world, which is a euphemism for hegemony and domination by the US corporatocracy, has brought us nothing but wars, economic disparity, famine, crises and environmental disasters. That is not to say the US is the sole cause for all the world ills. But it's certainly a major contributor to them as its "leader." It's time for the US to stop policing the world and accept itself as a member of its community rather than its boss/"Leader."

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  • 89. At 4:03pm on 26 May 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    The 9/11 terrorists' religion was radical Islam. Radical Islam was their reason for murdering Americans and other innocent people. This was the event that started the whole Iraq and Afghan Wars.

    Now, there are several Muslim groups wanting to build mosques on 9/11 hallowed ground in NYC. Ground Zero.

    Some radical Muslims believe that when a land is conquered, a mosque should be built over it to show that Islam is the supreme religion.

    Many of the 9/11 victims' families and people in the neighborhood protested against it, but the Community Board in NYC passed the plan to let them build mosques on 9/11 hallowed ground to "combat bigotry."

    Please, Americans, protest the 9/11 mosques!!!!!!!!!!!



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  • 90. At 4:05pm on 26 May 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Please, Americans, protest the mosques that are being planned to be built on 9/11 hallowed ground!!!!!


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  • 91. At 4:11pm on 26 May 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #77
    Kit Green wrote:
    77. At 3:18pm on 26 May 2010, MagicKirin

    Why do you think everyone should like the US almost as much as their own countries?

    _______________

    Never said they should.

    But if you have a choice between a country who is extemly generous when there is a disaster and is governed by rule of law or a country like Venbezula who supports terrorism against their neighbors and beat up or arrest political opponents; which do you choose?

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  • 92. At 4:18pm on 26 May 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    I have been 'modded' twice with this.

    Third time's a charm - or not.

    Not sure if the Mods are trying not to offend fans of GWB. Or Bears.

    "# 6 HabitualHero quoted MK -

    "GBW (sic) was far more intelligent....."

    He added

    "If ever a sentence was impossible to complete........"

    I recall someone describing GWB's intelligence with reference to Yogi Bear.

    Yogi's catchphrase was his claim to be 'Smarter than the average bear'

    The observer commented 'Bush is smarter than the average bear.

    But not much.....'"

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  • 93. At 4:20pm on 26 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Considering that America led the world over the edge of a financial cliff into nearly universal bankruptcy, it is rather presumptuous to suggest that it should lead the world anywhere, especially since it doesn't seem to know what direction to follow itself. It would be a case of the blind leading the blind.

    It is a sad commentary on the rest of the world if anyone thinks it needs to be led by someone else. Most countries resent even being nudged let alone put on a leash and being dragged. Greece is now a case in point. How about everyone goes his own way and looks out for himself. If you try honestly and fail and you've been nice to us, we'll send you some food so that your people don't starve to death while you figure out where you went wrong and alter course. Otherwise...sayonara. And that goes for withdrawl of the monumentally expensive military forces America places around the world in places like Asia and Europe to keep other people from killing each other. Mr. President, pull our forces out of Okinawa, Korea, and the rest of the Pacific and let those people go unled for a change. And while you're at it, pull out of Europe too. Those people don't feel they need us or want us there anyway.

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  • 94. At 4:20pm on 26 May 2010, Ariely wrote:

    Open questions before deciding either America should lead the world

    I tried to reply to the questions however I couldn't get a clear result.
    I propose to answer to the following questions and only then ask the question "Should America lead the world"

    • What is the long run vision?
    • What are values of the vision?
    • Is America happy with the results in their own house?
    • What is America plans to do in short and long time to do to accomplish the vision?
    • Is the USA committed to stand for the vision?
    • Is USA standing by their friends sharing a similar vision?
    • How USA deals with ideologies and governments opposing their vision?
    • Is the vision solid or it is changed every couple of years?

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  • 95. At 4:21pm on 26 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    InterestedForeigner (#28) "No, the founders of America did not consider their rights to be "God given". They deliberately left God out of it."

    I think do not have it quite right. Consider the following quotations from the Declaration of Independence:

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, ..."

    "We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, ..."

    "And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, ..."

    The Great Seal of the United States contains the words: "Annuit Coeptis," which means Providence has favored our undertakings.

    "Separation of church and state" has to do with keeping government out of the religious beliefs and practicices of the people, but does not amount to leaving God out of the founding of American government.

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  • 96. At 4:26pm on 26 May 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 72 Interestedforeigner wrote:

    "Apparently the moderators either don't like the US Constitution to be quoted verbatim, or they don't like the words "fiddlesticks" and "bunkum"."

    I should think not! Heavens to Murgatroyd, Interestedforeigner, what were you thinking, using such strong language when there might be young 'uns, womenfolk or persons of a nervous disposition reading this blog?

    Fortunately I was able to reach my smelling salts before I fainted from shock at such licentiousness and libertinism.

    Now you must excuse me - I'm just off to cover up some piano legs, lest they cause unsuitable thoughts in susceptible persons...

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  • 97. At 4:28pm on 26 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Lu(na)cyJ is (89, 90), your offensive remarks are getting rather tiresome. In the US, the people have the right of free exercise of religion, and that applies to all faiths.

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  • 98. At 4:36pm on 26 May 2010, MeganM wrote:

    Well we can complain all day whether American Leadership is wonderful or not but I cannot think of any other nations that were terrific world leaders in their heyday. The romans? (maybe but they were brutal) Spain with its conquistadors? The Dutch in Africa? The Nazis? (definitely not) The Japanese Empire? The British? Well the British were better towards the end but then there were those unfortunate world wars which were brought about by the decisions of many wise European "world" leaders.

    If you dislike American leadership then you will be happy to know that many political scientists are predicting the world to be returning to how it was in the 19th century with world power more equally balanced. Just like how it was before the World Wars...

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  • 99. At 4:49pm on 26 May 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Supporters of the 9/11 mosques state that they want to give tribute to the 9/11 victims by building giant mosques on 9/11 hallowed ground zero, which would reflect unity between Muslims and Americans.

    Regardless of this reason(of which I myself do not believe anything they are saying), if those mosques are built on 9/11 hallowed ground, it will be a victory for all the real terrorists and those who despise us.

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  • 100. At 4:53pm on 26 May 2010, Brooks wrote:

    A better question is... when will other countries step up and take the initiative. Maybe then the US would back off. Why do most countries today feel that no action and sitting on the sidelines is the moral high ground. They love imposing "sanctions" and throwing international scorn on the unstable countries like North Korea, Pakistan and Iran who continue their nuclear armament without having missed a step. These are the same countries who will be asking "Why didn't the US do more to stop this?" when something finally goes wrong.

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  • 101. At 4:55pm on 26 May 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    If ever a sentence was impossible to complete........"

    I recall someone describing GWB's intelligence with reference to Yogi Bear.

    Yogi's catchphrase was his claim to be 'Smarter than the average bear'

    The observer commented 'Bush is smarter than the average bear.

    But not much.....'"
    _____________

    I wish the mods would let more comments in. Poor analogy but the appeasement of Obama rersembles that of Neville Chamberlen. Bush is no Churchill but the great PM was attacked by Chamberlen supporters as Obama defenders attack Bush.

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  • 102. At 4:56pm on 26 May 2010, palewell wrote:

    It might be possible to accept what so many US posts are saying here of the reluctance with which they become involved with the rest of the world, were it not for the constant pressure for extradition to the US, of people whose alleged crimes have only the most tenuous connection, if any, with the US, from every country in the world, while Congress permanently refuses to ratify extradition agreements that go the other way. What would be thought of a PERSON who behaved that way towards their neighbours?

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  • 103. At 5:06pm on 26 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    "... and would you say ignore human rights in all the countries Chica currently invests in."

    ____________

    You know my views on human rights.

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  • 104. At 5:16pm on 26 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    88. At 3:57pm on 26 May 2010, TheAntiAuthoritarian wrote:

    "Decades of "US leading" the world, which is a euphemism for hegemony and domination by the US corporatocracy, has brought us nothing but wars, economic disparity, famine, crises and environmental disasters. That is not to say the US is the sole cause for all the world ills. But it's certainly a major contributor to them as its "leader." It's time for the US to stop policing the world and accept itself as a member of its community rather than its boss/"Leader.""

    ____________

    Comparatively speaking, most of the world has had relative peace for most of the last 65 years, and that despite the fact that the 20th Century was the most violent century in man's history. Odd paradox, yet true.

    What you seem to forget is that before 1815 it was quite rare for countries to go very long without waging war on each other. Usually there were several wars per generation per country. Of course, life expectancy for most of the world was about 38 years, your chances of dying from disease or infection while on military campaign were far, far higher than your chances of dying in battle, a quarter of women died in childbirth, and so on.


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  • 105. At 5:19pm on 26 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    95. At 4:21pm on 26 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "I think do not have it quite right. Consider the following quotations from the Declaration of Independence ... "

    ____________

    I looked at that earlier and posted a long response. For some reason that I cannot fathom the moderators gave it the heave-ho. Maybe they thought the US Constitution is somehow protected by copyright?

    I'll try posting the gist of the response in small bits, and see if that works.

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  • 106. At 5:20pm on 26 May 2010, cirvine11 wrote:

    Despite much handwringing (and perhaps wishful thinking in some quarters)the US will continue to be the leading nation of the world. However, there are 6 billion people on the planet. No single nation can pursue its' interests without effecting the people of the world around it. Only through partenerships and alliances will we be able to maintain our standards of living and be secure. Failure to create win-win outcomes for mankind as a whole will mean lose-lose wars that will devestate the planet in thw 21st century. Peaceful coorperation is more benneficial, cheaper and more expedient than being in conflict with the world around us. Most of all-we need to stop seeing the world through the simplistic and shallow "good guy vs bad guy" lense. It's not helpful and will lead to conflict.

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  • 107. At 5:21pm on 26 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Part I

    31. At 05:20am on 26 May 2010, americanneb wrote:

    To Interestedforeigner:
    Someone took a part of a sentence from a letter completely out of context. They ONLY intended for the government to not be run by the many churches in our land--NOT for God to be left out of the government entirely.

    [[ Wrong. See the first amendment, quoted below in its entirety. ]]

    "Read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. ..."


    [[ See below. The Constitution is the fundamental basis of all other laws in the land. Not only does the word "God" not appears in the Constitution, the only mention of religion is in the Bill of Rights prohibiting the establishment of religion by law. How much stronger an indication could there possibly be that they did not want God in government than to make an explicit prohibition in the Constitution? ]]


    I believe in the separation of Church and State, but not in atheism. I'm not going to leave God out of anything because that is my right thank you very much.

    [[ Believing the the separation of church and state does not require you to be an atheist, or to imply that you are one. Thanks to the first amendment you are as an individual private citizen absolutely entitled "not to leave God out of anything", except, of course, government. ]]

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  • 108. At 5:28pm on 26 May 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    Mixed feelings on this topic. My natural inclination is to say heck no, let the rest of the world manage it's own problems, we have enough of our own to keep us busy. The U.S. only got into the world leadership business because of the widespread devastion after WWII and that was largely because no other major industrial nation had come through with it's industry and infrastructure unscathed like the U.S. Simply put, no one else was in any condition to lead even if they had the will to do so.

    The days of reconstruction are long gone and the U.S. no longer is the dominant industrial power. Our strength and resources, while still great, are limited as we are becoming more and more aware. At the same time other nations are becoming stronger. The cost of leadership is going up and many Americans aren't convinced it's a cost worth paying. Why should we spend our blood and treasure protecting people who show no gratitude when we do and who criticize us ceaselessly? Let them fight their own battles.

    On the other hand, if not us, who? China? Russia? The EU? The UN? I don't want to live in a world run by the Chinese system of one party rule and subservience to the state. Russia can barely rule itself let alone lead the world. The EU...well, let's just say it has a long way to go before it will be ready for a leadership role. The UN? Don't make me laugh; it's a debating society that can't seem to agree on anything but it's own perks and that it doesn't like the U.S. or Israel.

    If the U.S. doesn't provide leadership what would happen? A lot more regional wars I would think. Certainly dictators and terrorists around the world would sleep easier. Europe and Japan would either have to pay the full cost of their own defense or assume amore subservient stance toeward Russia and China: and the cost of their own defense would come as a rude shock after decades of scrimping of relying on the protection of the U.S. military while scrimping on defense and spending generously on social programs.

    The world might also find that a U.S. that didn't have to worry about world opinion to secure cooperation for its leadership would act differently than the U.S. they're used to. Without the need to court world opinion the U.S. would be free to act more aggressively when it felt it's interests were threatened and would have little incentive to stick around afterwards and engage in reconstruction or "nation building". America's long running "war on drugs" might actually become a war with the U.S. military engaging in slash and burn campaigns in the drug growing regions. The U.S. would also be free to take a much tougher stance on piracy that threatened it's maritime interests and on illegal fishing in our waters.

    Maybe I don't have mixed feelings after all. The sooner we stop trying to lead the better.

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  • 109. At 5:28pm on 26 May 2010, Pancha Chandra wrote:

    Here is a President who has shown his mettle, not shirking from hard decisions. He has shown determination, leadership and courage and is always thinking on his feet. His determination to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban is a clear example of his resolve to make the world a safer place. Receiving the Nobel Peace Prize during his first year in office clearly shows how impressed the Nobel Committee was of his qualifications and merits as an outstanding leader. His multilateral policies are paying huge dividends and world leaders are well disposed towards him. He is a real breath of fresh air!

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  • 110. At 5:32pm on 26 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    44. At 10:14am on 26 May 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    "The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained" - George Washington, First Inaugural, April 30 1789

    You were saying? :)

    Would you like me to quote the many other Founding Fathers? :)"

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

    [[ Washington could have whatever private belief he wanted. Nothing prevented any of them from holding religious beliefs, nor should it have done. That right, as noted both above and below, is guaranteed by law.

    Nonetheless, whatever precatory language may have been used in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, and however many quotes you recite showing that the various statesmen held religious beliefs, when it came to actually making law, and laying down the fundamental rules by which the nation would be governed, the founding fathers deliberately, wisely, and conspicuously by omission, left God out of it. Given that the ones who provided the real intellectual horsepower behind the Constitution were men of deep morality, the fact that they kept God out of it is perhaps all the more striking. It wasn't by accident. It was by insight.

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

    My original comment above was made in reply to the assertion that God had given Americans the right to democratic choice.

    To which my answer is: "Fiddlesticks. That's a load of bunkum."

    The right to democratic choice is established in law in the Constitution, which commences with those ringing words:

    "We the People ..."

    Or in full:

    " We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

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

    On the subject of Religion, the Constitution has this, and only this, to say:

    "Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791."

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."



    Democratic rights, "ordained and established" by "We the People" are set forth in sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Constitution, and by Article 20 of the Bill of Rights.

    There is no mention of God having anything to do with those rights.

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  • 111. At 5:33pm on 26 May 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    re#98
    believe me you don't want to return to a 19th century state of affairs.
    The whole century was a continuous blood bath from start to finish. From the Napoleonic wars, to the US civil war up to the Crimean War. In 1812 Britain was at war with the US, France, spain and Russia simultaneously. It was only technology that held them back from mass warfare. at least the late half of the 20th century will go down as a time of relative calm, comparatively to the rest of our blood soaked history

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  • 112. At 5:42pm on 26 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    From Mark's article:
    “””…the president's likely approach at West Point this weekend when he said:
    "We are clear-eyed about the shortfalls of our international system. But America has not succeeded by stepping out of the currents of co-operation - we have succeeded by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice, so nations thrive by meeting their responsibilities and face consequences when they don't."”””

    So US will attack fascisto-royalist Saoudi Arabia and sectarian Israel? What a crap! Even Bush junior was being better in that…

    There will be the rather tired argument about whether engagement is weakness or strength. But the bigger question is whether America sees itself as a leader for at least part of the globe, first among equals in a multi-polar world, or a partner in a kaleidoscope of shifting alliances.

    “””The former Mayor of New York, Ed Koch, has written an interesting article arguing that engagement with Russia and China has meant the US has not stood up for its allies and gives way to bullies in return for insubstantial kind words from the two big powers. But what struck me most forcefully was his take on Turkey and Brazil's talks with Iran, which he describes as "infuriating" and aimed at humiliating and denigrating the United States. “”””

    Ppppffff… in what planet does he live? What did US concede to Russia? Georgia? Wasn’t it US’s fault that installed the as-if democratic semi-fascist Saakasvilli regime in Georgia? Wasn’t US that underneath implicitly supported islamist insurgents in Chechenia and all over Caucasus? What did this guy expect? That Russia would sit down with hands crossed? Or what did he expect from the US forces? To go there do war against Russia to support Georgia or the Chechens? And how can he term Russians bullies for wanting to protect lifes of Russian citizens (Abkhazians and Ossetes) from the uprovoked attack of Georgian forces on orders to commit ethnic cleansing when US attacked only years back the national sovereignty of Serbia supporting the Kosovar mafias into breaking away and then calling the world to recognise that illegal act.

    But where this Koch guy is fantastically illiterate is in the very basics of US diplomacy. He views Turkey’s approach to Iran as some kind of treason. Which is of course ridiculous. It is US which strived to make Turkey a localised mini power in the region. It is US that still wants it there to act like that. It is US that actually supports the re-islamisation of Turkey and the partial deconstruction of the kemalist regime since it is exactly what fits in the US plans for the greater area. The re-islamisation of Turkey will necessarily pass by a re-approach of Turks with all their age-old muslim friends in the area and that will include an approach even with the Iranians. The whole idea is to create a block – not a united one – but a layer of countries which will be wall between east and west but also the north and the south. That is the main US strategy and Turkey is a focal part of it.


    “””The former mayor's analysis may be rather simplistic.”””

    Mark.... I would say idiotic…

    “””But it is true that while Mr Obama has recognised the growing importance of medium-sized regional powers,””””

    … yes.. when it fits the US plan of course, thus Turks, for example, are on what they are up to currently…

    “””"It is time to renew America's capacity for global leadership by reaffirming the values and interests we share with friends, investing in a better understanding of the world around us, reaching out to a new generation of young people around the world, standing firmly on the side of justice and freedom, and restoring America's moral authority."””””

    There was never any particular moral authority but indeed there was a perceived moral authority in the western world. That is lost. It takes much more to built trust than lose trust and for US this perceived moral authority is not longer perceived by the world including the majority of western world.

    There is no "should" or "should not" either from the US point of view or from anybody else's point of view.The question "Should America lead the world" has 2 side questions:
    1) Does America want to lead the world? Answer is yes.
    2) Can America lead the world? Answer is a) partially certainly yes b) fully certainly not

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  • 113. At 5:44pm on 26 May 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    I meant to say the Boer War not The Crimean. But you can include that as well, Also Asia was in a constant state of war and not forgetting the Spanish Latin America wars . No the 19th Century was not happy times.... They just didn't have Airplanes, missiles and 24 hour rolling news. We live in privileged times compared to our ancestors we just forget that sometimes

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  • 114. At 5:48pm on 26 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I cannot think of even one good reason why American taxpayers should pay for a large military establishment in East Asia to keep the peace between China and Japan. If that is the only way they can be kept from each other's throats, then the least they can do is pay us for the cost of it. If they'd rather fight than export, then I say let them. I'd give Japan's Prime Minister the conditions for our staying in Okinawa and if he doesn't accept, I'd pull American forces out altogether.

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  • 115. At 5:54pm on 26 May 2010, faeyth wrote:

    Younger Americans under 40 don't want to lead anybody but leave them to their own fates. what's the point? It will save us money,time and lives better put to use in our own country for our own people.Let the world fight each other.Europe can't even unite Sad really their the ones with most promise.And what has helping Europe our closest ally given us nothing but anger and hatred from their people.South America is mad because we ignore them which we should stop doing.Asia is over populated slave land of environmental waste and Corporate take over of governments even in Democracy because the people lack education.Africa is over populated,lacks food in of most climates they few that can grow food grow cash crops for Europe,Africa gets used by Europe and Asia into extortion for their natural resources of oil,gas,gold,diamonds,etc..for money,guns,and food again because of lack of education but hey let's keep giving them bags of Rice.Any thing any nations does anywhere their is the biggest enemy of peace and higher standards for world living the Multinational Corporations form most nations that are using all of us and driving us all into wars,hate,low wages,over priced food,etc..The historical baggage these Countries and continents have for each other stop co-operation,their paranoia from centuries past never ends and they just can't look at each other as the same humans with just different governments because of different resource,social and religious laws.

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  • 116. At 5:55pm on 26 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    78. At 3:20pm on 26 May 2010, Kittle wrote:

    #71 Interestedforeigner

    Unfortunately the religious and ethnic predjudices that kept the Turks waiting to join the EU are their own. As with any independence/seperatist struggle no side is in any way innocent, but the way the Turkish government has treated the Kurds really hasn't been all that much better than how Saddam treated them. Not to mention the rest of the human rights abuses that Turkey is guilty of, and the invasion of Cyprus. The EU has minimum standards of human decency for countries to join and Turkey is still failing to live up to them.

    ____________

    Ok.

    Even if everything you say is true, do you think the Kurds would be better off with Turkey inside the EU or outside the EU?

    Keep in mind that Turkey would have had to have accepted the "lois acquis" (I think that's what it's called, basically the existing body of EU law at the time of each state's entry.)

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

    And don't even get me started on Cyprus.

    After decades of intransigence, the Turkish Cypriots voted for a progressive future - and were then flat-footed by the Greek Cypriots who took the opportunity to vote "no".

    There have been many stupid, regrettable, terrible incidents in the history of Turkish relations with Europe and particularly with Greece and Greeks, but I don't begin to have adequate words for the perversity of the Greek Cypriots in that incident. There was a chance to take one tiny step toward a brighter, more peaceful world. One small step toward fostering constructive co-operation instead of emnity. It would have cost them nothing. It would have inconvenienced them not at all. Those chances come along all too rarely. They are to be cherished and nurtured.

    But that was too much for them. Instead they decide it's an opportunity to tell their neighbours to [[pick a suitably offensive, possibly compound, verb used in conjunction with a preposition or a reflexive pronoun ]]. It's in a universe beyond small-minded stupidity.

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  • 117. At 5:57pm on 26 May 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    LucyJ

    Muslims died in 9/11 as well!!! and I think you'll find they don't actually want to build a Mosque on Ground Zero but an old warehouse nearby.. So much for the freedom of religious beliefs that the founding fathers fought for

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  • 118. At 6:09pm on 26 May 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #28. At 04:33am on 26 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    24. At 04:02am on 26 May 2010, americanneb wrote:

    "America is the greatest democratic nation that has ever been. It was created by people who understood that everybody has the God given right of freedom of choice. ..."

    ____________


    "No, the founders of America did not consider their rights to be "God given". They deliberately left God out of it. The separation of church and state was crucial to America's success. Ever since Ronald Reagan "tore down that wall" on church and state America has had growing troubles.

    If you want "God given rights", you're in the wrong country. Try Iran."
    _________________

    No sir, you are incorrect. The Declaration of Independence itself contains references to the Creator, Supreme Judge and Divine Providence. If you read the Federalist papers it is very clear that the founders did not seek to exclude religion from public life. Their concern was that the country not impose an official state religion like the Church of England had been imposed on the people of England. The separation of church and state meant that the American government did not tax people to support a particular religion, it did NOT mean that religion had to be excluded from public life and not even mentioned. To this day Congress has an appointed chaplain who offers up a non-sectarian prayer for the guidance and blessing of the Divine on the work of Congress--this is perfectly acceptable within the system envisioned by the founders which sought not to exclude God (or Jehovah or Allah or Buddha or Odin for that matter) but rather to leave every man free to worship as his conscience dicated.

    It's the atheists who seek to exclude God from all aspects of public life and frankly their being offended by any reference to religion doesn't bother me in the least because there is no constitutional right not to be offended. We can argue in good conscience about whether public money should be funneled through religious institutions to achieve public goals such as social work or education, that does skirt close to the supporting of an official religion as the founders understood it.

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  • 119. At 6:25pm on 26 May 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. 97. At 4:28pm on 26 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:
    "Lu(na)cyJ is (89, 90), your offensive remarks are getting rather tiresome. In the US, the people have the right of free exercise of religion, and that applies to all faiths."

    I have to agree with Lucy on this. A mosque on the site of (or even overlooking) the World Trade Center attack would be inappropiate and would provide a propaganda coup for America's enemies. If that means also banning any and all houses of worship from the site then so be it.

    No one is denying the Muslim community of New York the right to worship as they please or to build a mosque but somewhere else please, the wound at ground zero is still too raw. That someone would even suggest building a mosque there shows an incredible lack of sensitivity to the community.

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  • 120. At 6:29pm on 26 May 2010, oldguy10 wrote:

    Sorry, go elsewhere for leadership. We've taken all the abuse and blame for your mistakes as well as our own. Many people live in poverty here. We spend trillions on everybody else and can't even fund health care or education in our own country. Well, now we're out of money, so go test the benevolence of Russia or China. I bet they'll be very sympathetic with all your blaming and bickering.

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  • 121. At 6:41pm on 26 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    palewell (#102) "... constant pressure for extradition to the US, of people whose alleged crimes have only the most tenuous connection, if any, with the US, from every country in the world, ..."

    Sounds like you have an axe to grind. Whose alleged crime do think has only a "tenuous" connection to the US? McKinnon? Polanski?

    "... while Congress permanently refuses to ratify extradition agreements that go the other way."

    Extradition from the US must meet US Constitutional requirements for due process. The US does extradite its citizens when Constitutional standards are met. The much ballyhooed imbalance in the extradition agreement with the UK is merely a matter of differences in requirements of due process between the two countries. It is not relevant to the McKinnon case because there is sufficient probable cause for extradition if the direction were reversed. In the case of Polanski, he has already been convicted, and it is merely a matter of sentencing.

    "... from every country in the world ..."

    This is hyperbole. You do not add any strength to your argument by sych exaggeration. Why do you not instead name just one extradition you think unjust?

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  • 122. At 6:43pm on 26 May 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Interested Foreigner #25: '"I wrote at the time that Turkey had put down a marker to show its displeasure, and that it would only be the first of many. Well, here is another marker, and this one is worse. I wonder what's coming next."

    But you just said earlier on in your post that most of Turkey's reasons for having been angered were unjustifyed. So based upon that history, don't you think that this reason might be a bit exaggerated as well? Let me get this streight. They are talking to Iran (and while not angering the administration - yet - at the very least stirring up controversy) because they are angry at us for supporting military-backed governments in the past? Or because we didn't lean hard enough on/boarderline sever ties with the Israelis to get them to stop building settlements on Palestinian-occupied land? Which one is it?

    First off, let me state first and formost that I think our past support of military-backed governments in Turkey was entirely and unjustifyably wrong. Plain and simple. We shouldn't pick sides in another country's government. We should just work with whoever is in power the best we can. It's what mature countries do. Secondly, I completely understand their frustration with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and more specificly, the Palestinian-occupyed land. But how does this affect them so that they feel the need to retaliate against us? What have we done in that conflict that has offended them so badly that they feel the need to show us that we're not the boss of anyone by engaging with perhaps our biggest foe? If it were Palestine we were talking about, then that would be one thing. But this is Turkey. And though (in my opinion) Obama hasn't done nearly as good of a job at being the impartial arbiter that the US is uniquely - due to our close relationship with Israel - placed to be, nevertheless I think we can agree that he has been far more impartial (and has favored sides less) than past American governments over the last two decades. The Israeli prime minister, after having traveled here for talks and sitting in the White House for two days, left with nothing. He couldn't even get Obama to release a joint statement with him. That's pretty harsh.


    Same with Brazil. While I strongly apose our past support of military dictatorships due to our paranoya of the Soviet Union, that can't be the reason why Brazil is not being too friendly to us is it? Deliberately exasorbating our already powder keg of an immigration debate? Come on now! That's just rudely childish. Why?

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  • 123. At 6:52pm on 26 May 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 17, publiusdetroit:

    "Ever heard of the Monroe Doctrine?"

    What about it? It's not part of the Constitution. We've adopted goals along the way that haven't anything to do with our mission. Manifest destiny comes to mind.

    Am I'm missing your point?

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  • 124. At 7:01pm on 26 May 2010, CAOxonian wrote:

    Last time I checked, America wasn't trying to lead the world, it was trying to get the world (or at least significant parts of it) to follow Israel's lead. Until the US government is less susceptible to being purchased wholesale by well-funded special interest groups it will be unable to sustain any coherent policy of enlightened self-interest, and will instead zig-zag between objectives set by lobbyists. So, for example, energy policy is set by the oil companies, foreign policy is largely set by AIPAC, military policy is "encouraged" by Halliburton and Blackwater, and on and on and on...

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  • 125. At 7:03pm on 26 May 2010, Protocol417 wrote:

    LucyJ, please stop. You are not helping.
    If they want to build a mosque there, let them. This is a free country and they are more than welcome to worship where and how they choose without being hounded by people who can't tell the difference between a person of faith and a terrorist.

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  • 126. At 7:04pm on 26 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Scott0962 (#119) "I have to agree with Lucy on this. ..."

    Fortunately, in the US, you have no power to restrict the first amendment rights of others whatever the two of you agree on.

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  • 127. At 7:11pm on 26 May 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    RedandYellowandGreennotBlue #75: '"Until a better option comes along, or civilisation advances to the point where we don't need to be led but can progress together, I'm happy for now to put up with the leadership of the US."

    You do realize that (under Democratic administrations, at least) "putting up with our leadership" does not mean acquiescing to our requests/demands, right? You have a will and conscious of your own. Act on them.


    That aside, I thank you for recognizing that we don't have all bad intentions regarding the world. But just out of curiosity (and this applies to anyone) if you could choose a nation to be sattled with the position of being the world's most powerful - or better yet invent one - what would it be or look like? I would personally choose Canada. Britain has had it's turn and made it's mark; Canada hasn't. They're calm, level headed, and adhere to the rule of law fearcer than most of the rest of the west.


    Back to reality for a second, though. RedandYellowandGreennotBlue, I do apologise, but it looks like a better alternative isn't on the horizon. I feel bad being a part of a nation who is that sloppy second, being merely endured until something better comes along; for that can only mean one of two things. Either Dubya has screwed things up so badly that we don't stand a snowball's chance in hell of regaining our status as the admired and respected nation that we once were, or we're not doing a very good job today. Either one isn't very comforting.

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  • 128. At 7:18pm on 26 May 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 15, Kittle:

    "My guess would be China."

    I think China is more than just a regional power. It really wouldn't need to join together with anyone else to be effective in opposing the U.S. any time it likes.

    "It currently controls a lot of America's debt and so ultimately has America in a more vulnerable position than I'm sure the USA would like."

    It owns a lot of T-bills. The only threat is that China would sell all of them at once, flooding the market, and making it difficult for the U.S. to sell new ones without increasing the interest rate. In so doing, though, the value of China's T-bills would be reduced along with everyone else's costing China huge amounts of money. My understanding is that China is keenly aware of this problem and is planning to divest itself from the U.S. somewhat to give them more flexibility in the future. I think their biggest problem is the lack of a viable alternate financial instrument. It's also not good business to bankrupt your best customer.

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  • 129. At 7:32pm on 26 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    118. At 6:09pm on 26 May 2010, Scott0962 wrote:


    "No sir, you are incorrect. The Declaration of Independence itself contains references to the Creator, Supreme Judge and Divine Providence."

    ____________


    See response 110, above.

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  • 130. At 7:39pm on 26 May 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #121. At 6:41pm on 26 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:
    palewell (#102) "... constant pressure for extradition to the US, of people whose alleged crimes have only the most tenuous connection, if any, with the US, from every country in the world, ..."

    Sounds like you have an axe to grind. Whose alleged crime do think has only a "tenuous" connection to the US? McKinnon? Polanski?

    "... while Congress permanently refuses to ratify extradition agreements that go the other way."

    Extradition from the US must meet US Constitutional requirements for due process. The US does extradite its citizens when Constitutional standards are met. The much ballyhooed imbalance in the extradition agreement with the UK is merely a matter of differences in requirements of due process between the two countries. It is not relevant to the McKinnon case because there is sufficient probable cause for extradition if the direction were reversed. In the case of Polanski, he has already been convicted, and it is merely a matter of sentencing.

    ________________________________

    Well said GH1618. It seems to me that if people are offended by the imbalance in due process requirements for extradition between Britain and the U.S. they shouldn't be asking us to lower our standards but rather asking Her Majesty's government why their due process standards aren't higher.

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  • 131. At 7:40pm on 26 May 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 117, strontiumdog007:

    "So much for the freedom of religious beliefs that the founding fathers fought for"

    The NYC community board involved approved building the mosque 29-1.

    "It's a seed of peace," board member Rob Townley said. "We believe that this is significant step in the Muslim community to counteract the hate and fanaticism in the minority of the community." -- New York Times

    We should stay vigilant, certainly, but there's no reason to get discouraged, I think.

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  • 132. At 7:48pm on 26 May 2010, ChangeOfState wrote:

    Sonoman speaks the truth and I couldn't agree with him more. The blunt truth is that continuing to assume (or arrogate to itself) the role of World Leader is destroying the United States. It is a burden too expensive to maintain and it is having devastating effects on the country. How can it makes sense that the US is borrowing untold billions of dollars from the Chinese to protect the Japanese and South Koreans from the North Koreans, the Taiwanese from the Chinese, the Israelis from their Arab neighbours, and the Western Europeans from I know not whom? In essence, the US is mortgaging its own future to assure comfortable futures for nations that can be described only as freeloaders.

    It would be far better if the US pursued a policy of strategic non-interventionism. It should trade with everyone, engage in humanitarian assistance in the way that, say, Denmark and Holland do, defend itself from clear and present dangers and, beyond that, take care of itself. If someone needs to be in the role of Policeman to the World for a time (and I'm not sure anyone does), then let it be the EU or China for, say, a half century or so. After all, the US has been in that thankless role for more than that now -- and it's high time that it laid down the burden.

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  • 133. At 7:58pm on 26 May 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 102, palewell:

    In the western hemisphere at least, the zealousness with which we extradite suspects to the States for trial is a reflection not so much of American thuggery as it is a recognition of the rule of law in the country. The American court system while not seen as uncorruptable is seen as being relatively so when compared to court systemts in Central America and the Carribean (and to a much lesser extent South America). It allows less secure governments (like Jamaica most recently) to get powerful, nefarious individuals out of their societies. It's a service we provide.

    As for Europe, I believe GH is correct in 121.

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  • 134. At 8:03pm on 26 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Here is a link to the web site of the organization which will open a community center and mosque in lower Manhattan:

    http://www.cordobainitiative.org/

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  • 135. At 8:05pm on 26 May 2010, John Galt wrote:

    World leadership is not usually conducted through friendship or by turning the other cheek; it is only successful when it is practice through respect, fear, and common-interest. President Obama's foreign policy and international leadership is failing and will continue failing because he wants to lead through the former instead of the later.

    Before you even have the choice of how to lead, nations must first achieve national military power; which is attained through national economic power. The economic policies of Europe, the Soviet Union, and America have diametrically differed since WWII, resulting in the loss of military power for Europe and the break-up of the Soviet Union, and total hegemony for America. This is now changing dangerously, not with respect to Europe - who always had America's military to watch their back - or the new Russia, but with the new socialistic government of President Obama. As incredible as it may be, President Obama is guiding America to copy the failed and decaying socialist economic model of Europe. It is also conducting a foreign policy that relies on pleading instead of commanding; he wants to trade respect for friendship. So far, he is gaining few friends but losing a lot of respect.

    The Western World is entering a period which, unless America makes a sharp turn back in 2012, it will lose its economic power and consequently its military hegemony. Can China and Russia be happier?
    The best recent piece on the subject - which takes into account the European debt crisis, is "Lessons from Greece: It Got The Slave Class That America Wants To Create", at http://www.robbingamerica.com

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  • 136. At 8:24pm on 26 May 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    To all who are engaged in the debate over religion an it's place in American government an the founders' lives. . .

    Throughout the Declaration of Independence and United States constitution, the references to the "creator," "supreme judge" and "divine providence" are unambiguously and obviously to a higher power. But they are not references to any type of a God. They merely recognize that some higher being than man created the world; something which all religions and atheists alike agree on.

    Most of the founders were religious. What religion they belonged to I'm not sure. But most were. Thomas Jefferson, however, was a deist; that is, he believed in a higher being, but no God.

    Lastly, the separation of church and state, as others have already noted on here, refers to the fact that government cannot support, in any way, one religious organization over another. There is nothing in the constitution banning religion from being mixed with politics; although everyone knows that that is a bad idea. Which is why Congressmen (both at the state and national level) listen to a prayer before beginning their days, the phrase "under God" was inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance, our national motto is "In God we Trust," and we can't get through one presidencial campaign without entire debates being held centering for 90 minutes around the candidates personal lives - including, of course, a detailed explination of their religion and what it means to them. All should be done away with, in my opinion. And our national motto can be replaced with either "Liberty and Justice for All" or the Latin version (as seen on the Capital dome) of "Out of Many One."

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  • 137. At 8:33pm on 26 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    InterestedForeigner (#129) "See response 110, above."

    You are just avoiding the fact that you were incorrect in your post #28 when you wrote:

    "No, the founders of America did not consider their rights to be "God given"."

    They certainly did, and said so explicitly in the Declaration of Independence. Your references to the US Constitution are diversionary.

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  • 138. At 8:38pm on 26 May 2010, DaninMD wrote:

    @ 87. clamdip lobster claws:
    "Why would any half intelligent nation want to follow in our lead? Do our systems of government work? Therein lies your answer."

    Your post requires context. Domestically, is everyone happy? No, but it's been rare and short-lived periods where all Americans were on the same page. Have we had civil wars? The closest you get was the late 1960s and the race riots. Are there places in America that are dangerous? Sure. But then, there are places everywhere that are dangerous.

    Are you able to speak your mind without being arrested, imprisoned, and shot for offending some government official?

    Can you say the same for every other nation in the world?

    Sir Winston Churchill hit it spot on with his quote on democracy.

    The real question moving forward for all nations will be "What entity is more responsible for ensuring prosperity: the individual or the state?"

    It used to be that the U.S. believed that personal freedoms were more important than control by the state. That's changing.

    Should the U.S. lead? The U.S. should just be. Let others decide if it's in their interests to work with the U.S. and they will do the same. If that defaults to a state of leadership, then so be it.

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  • 139. At 8:46pm on 26 May 2010, discomustachio wrote:

    The US has the largest and most powerful navy in the world. Commerce on the high seas either arrives or doesn't at the behest of the US Navy. So long as that fact remains unchanged we will lead the world. It doesn't matter what our "Constitution" says. It doesn't matter what our "principles" represent. It doesn't matter that many Americans, particularly older ones, think that America is somehow special. It doesn't matter people still actually think this place is the "Land of Opportunity". We have the largest military in the world and there are no signs of that letting up. We could be a North Korean style dictatorship and we'd "lead the world" for the forseeable future...

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  • 140. At 8:46pm on 26 May 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Maybe the American Indians would like some buildings and highways torn down that were built on "sacred ground."

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  • 141. At 8:50pm on 26 May 2010, Indymark wrote:

    I think that the U.S. should stop obsessing about whether it has a leadership role and concentrate on just being helpful. Most people will follow anyone who is decisive, well-informed, often right and seldom disastrously wrong, because these qualities, freely given, protect and prosper the community. If we cultivate the qualities of leadership, we won't have to be concerned over what role we fill, and if we don't, then we deserve no role.

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  • 142. At 8:56pm on 26 May 2010, Rob wrote:

    I support the US taking a leading role. However I do not support the US's goals or methods. Currently, the US takes a leading role to protect their interests. This conflicts with the interests of other countries and results in many negative feelings towards the US. This is not unique to the US and many countries, given the same resources, would protect their interests simimlarly.

    If a leading role is to be taken, it should not be to secure one's own interest for this inevitably leads to conflict in a world with an increasing number of nations with international voices. It should be to find common ground in a way which respects the identities and values of other countries.

    For example, while the majority of the western world believes democracy and "freedom" is the only way to run a country, this has been proven to be false. China is and will be very successful economically and, in addition, it has been proven the majority of Chinese citizens are happy with their government.

    If we (any country) impose our interests on others, conflict is unavoidable. I would welcome a country to set aside these prejudices and lead the world. As of now, the US is in the best position to do this.

    Of course, this is slightly idealist and reality will prove more difficult. But, hopefully with time, the world could become a much more cooporative place with this mindset.


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  • 143. At 9:03pm on 26 May 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    GH1618 #121: '"The much ballyhooed imbalance in the extradition agreement with the UK is merely a matter of differences in requirements of due process between the two countries."

    That is part of it, definitely. But it is most certainly not all of it. We demand far more things from them than they from us. For example, "sufficient evidence" and "probable cause." Fair? There's also that little boarderline unconstitutional problem we have of our prosicuters forcing plea bargons in exchange for a reduction of sentences, thereby seaking to avoid (and being successful in much of it) 90% of our citizens' day in court to defend themselves in the first place. Of which this should better explain than I can it's impact on our extradition treaty with the UK.


    There is hope, though. Last summer William Hague (the now foreign secritary) but the then shadow foreign secritary, gave a very elloquent, intellijent and thought provoking speech at the IISS (International Institute for Strategic...I don't know what the last "S" stands for) affirming his long-held pro American views and vowing to continue - if a concervative government were elected - the UK's close cooperation with us, but at the same time vowing to forge a "solid, but not slavish" relationship with us. While taking questions at the end of his speech, he was asked about our extradition treaty. In his response he expressed great disappointment that the proposal to alter it (refered to in the linked piece above) was voted down in Parliament, and promised that correcting this injustice would be at the top of his agenda should he ever become foreign secritary. Lets just hope he doesn't lose his nerve now that he is in. It is a lot easier standing up for oneself when they don't have to bare the brunt of potencial blowback from a much more powerful ally who is, shall we say, very good at guilt tripping others. Steady on, Hague!!

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  • 144. At 9:33pm on 26 May 2010, McJakome wrote:

    1. At 9:47pm on 25 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:
    “Leading by example is the best way. The US needs to put its own house in order first.”
    2. At 9:49pm on 25 May 2010, SaintDominick wrote: “Yes, he is more inclined to seek diplomatic solutions, extend an olive branch, and seek compromise than his predecessor but make no mistake if our interests and national security are threatened he will act as vigorously as all his predecessors did before him.”

    Agreed to both. Common sense and clear vision leading off on the new and interesting thread.

    13. At 00:15am on 26 May 2010, Blogson wrote:
    “Consumed with self-interest, the U.S. needs to get a grip on the impact of its policies upon the rest of the world.”
    AGREED
    “Still, with mounting U.S. government deficits, in part because the government has become a tool in the hands of special interests for advancing their worldwide interests,”
    TOO TRUE
    “ the American empire will crumble as empires in similar circumstances have done throughout history.”

    WELL, yes and no. All countries fortunes wax and wane. They can fail because of economics, natural disasters, corruption, etc. The US will probably not be eternal either. And the US is not an "empire" which both China and Russia are, have been and intend ever to be.

    However, Even if the US and Russia or China were to trade places as top dog, the US would still be too powerful to ignore. Also, the US can and has [in the past] reinvented itself and gone forward to greater successes, “per ardua ad astra!” It is early days for frustrated anti-Americans to break out the champagne.

    “President Obama needs to grasp that likely eventuality as well.”

    I think he understands history quite well. The problem is persuading the “Party of NO!” and the selfish “Interests” that the interests of the country come before partisan advantage. He can’t do it by himself! In the interest of fairness, there are some members of the president’s own party that need to rise above selfish interests.

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  • 145. At 9:38pm on 26 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    PursuitOfLove (#143) "For example, "sufficient evidence" and "probable cause." Fair?"

    Certainly it's fair. Do you not think so?

    "Probable cause" for search or arrest is a guarantee of the Bill of Rights (Fourth Amendment). I'm not sure what point you are trying to make.

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  • 146. At 9:44pm on 26 May 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    142. At 8:56pm on 26 May 2010, Rob wrote:

    "For example, while the majority of the western world believes democracy and "freedom" is the only way to run a country, this has been proven to be false. China is and will be very successful economically and, in addition, it has been proven the majority of Chinese citizens are happy with their government."

    "Proven"? When? How? By whom?

    That's certainly a free and fair election - or indeed a free and fair opinion poll - that didn't get much media attention...

    [To be clear, I'm not saying they're not happy with their government. How would I know? How, indeed, would anyone know, without free speech and free elections?]

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  • 147. At 9:50pm on 26 May 2010, Makonnen wrote:

    Global Leader ship should be based on others respect because of what the leader does for the good of global Social, Economic and Political development and not of being feared because of Military Might.The current American Foreign Policy seems to follow the above trend by trying to engage on International issues but on the other hand its Military involvement in other countries domestic issues is hurting its Good work. America cannot be the Police of the World and should focus on the use of Military Power only at times of National Interest and only then it will Lead the World.

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  • 148. At 9:57pm on 26 May 2010, McJakome wrote:

    17. At 01:25am on 26 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:
    Ref 11 Andy Post-“Ever heard of the Monroe Doctrine?”

    According to my Diplomatic History text, the British foreign secretary approached the Monroe administration with an offer of an alliance [the British were already expert at making unlikely but potentially valuable alliances]. The US would cooperate [as the manager of Central and South American affairs] with the British Empire to secure the lions’ share of trade and influence for the alliance.

    Monroe decided to go it alone for nationalistic and/or philosophical reasons. I found the argument and documentation persuasive.

    19. At 02:01am on 26 May 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:
    Andy Post #11: '"Rather, they (the founders) wanted to see if a system of government could be set up where peace and prosperity was achieved by treating every citizen equally and giving everyone a chance.’”

    Well that is the America-centric revisionist history. In fact, if you were black, brown, Asian or female the founding fathers [as indicated in documents no less than the Constitution] did not actually believe that.
    We have evolved as a nation, and should consider to do so.

    39. At 08:40am on 26 May 2010, Jpp799 wrote:
    “At #33: I think you are very misinformed about history. America didn’t "save" Europe. It conquered it.

    Ask most Poles, Czechs and other eastern Europeans who the post WWII “conquerors” and “liberators” were. Most would indicate Russia [a.k.a. USSR] as the former and the US as liberator [they do criticize us, justly, for not keeping Russia from conquering them, however].

    Which is why, “But very few talk about how bad the American occupatation of country after country is.” Given a choice Poles and others much prefer alliance with the US to Russian style “liberation,” which including “liberating” factories and anything valuable from occupied countries, and enslaving the occupants.

    This is a good example of extreme Marxist Revisionist history. Ideologically distorted but with some factual information included as camouflage. Next you will tell us that S. Korea is a slave state of the US and N.K is a workers' paradise of milk and honey!

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  • 149. At 9:59pm on 26 May 2010, superhoffy wrote:

    "They're also propping up corrupt and vicios governments all the way to Africa"

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

    China are the only ons to do this? So the US and the UK have never done anything like this before? Check your history, because this is a common feature of international political history.

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  • 150. At 10:02pm on 26 May 2010, scott wrote:

    America should not lead the world anymore. We have done it at the request of others and sacraficed soldiers and treasure only to be criticized later of our foreign policy and our supposed arrogance. In all actuallity we are the most charitable country in the world both government and private sector. Let China take the lead for awhile so people can adore their approach to world leadership.

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  • 151. At 10:19pm on 26 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    137. At 8:33pm on 26 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    They certainly did, and said so explicitly in the Declaration of Independence. Your references to the US Constitution are diversionary.

    ____________

    Well, its the first time in a while I have heard any reference to the Constitution, whether mine or others, referred to as diversionary.



    I understand your point, but nonetheless when it came time to establish the basic law of their young nation, it was "We the People". That's why I quoted the text verbatim. I don't see how that can be disputed.

    The original issue I was disputing was that the idea of choice, i.e., elections, was God given. I think that's nonsense.

    Worse, I think it is nonsense with a right wing social conservative historical revisionist spin to it that is simply not a fair or balanced assessment of the record of who those men were or what they believed.

    When I was a child, while we were not biblical literalists, we did believe that the basis of all Christian belief is found one place or another in scripture.

    Now, there are biblical references to slavery as an acceptable practice, and there are biblical references to polygamy as an acceptable practice, and many other things, but if there is a biblical reference to free and fair elections, by which men are free to choose their own government through the ballot box, it's news to me. I believe that idea came from quite somewhere else.

    The revisionist undercurrent in the whole thing is that the founders were some kind of evangelical Christians, and somehow or other the whole thing was handed down to them from God as part of a divine plan or revelation.

    That is just not right. The founders were, above all, rationalists.
    They were not atheists, not at all. Their ideas about rights were rooted in their sense of morality, and that morality was based in Christianity. But at the end of the day they were trying to create a government based not on earlier notions such as the divine right of kings. On the contrary, they were trying to create a government based on reason.

    And in that government based on reason their bedrock starting point was that government could only function by the consent of the governed. That is, the ultimate source of all power and legitimacy in that government was "We the People".

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  • 152. At 10:36pm on 26 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    InterestedForeigner (#151) "That is, the ultimate source of all power and legitimacy in that government was "We the People"."

    We certainly agree on that, it being the very definition of a republic. And we agree on the secular nature of the constitution and laws of the United States.

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  • 153. At 11:00pm on 26 May 2010, Echotheword wrote:

    Thank you Interestedforeigner for your comments. You are correct with our forefathers creating the Constitution without religion. They did believe in protecting "We The People" from religion.
    Brazil has been blazing the reduction of fuel for the last ten years by growing sugar. Now, Russia and China is interested in their country.
    The Muslims are misguided with their concept of religion. Muhammad left Jerusalem in the 7th century, because of the Christians and Hebrews. He wanted to be like Paul spreading his gospel and to be famous. He was outcast in Jerusalem. Islam was created out of illiteracy instead of Literacy. Muhammad went to Mecca and Medina to gather his flock of shepherds in the desert. Then the story begins.
    America will always be the father of nations. Everyone loves us and hates us,because we are FREE TO CHOOSE OUR LIVES.

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  • 154. At 11:05pm on 26 May 2010, ann arbor wrote:

    Folks,

    I guess "congratulations" are in order.

    I have watched this blog bash Bush for years on his contribution to the national debt. I have watched as he was blamed for everything wrong in the Obama administration to stale toast.

    I now understand that last night, the Obama lead government has now matched the deficit spending under eight years of Bush in scarcely one and one half years.

    I do hope Obama supporters are proud of themselves. No doubt, they will continue to blame Bush for this administration's spending and stale toast.

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  • 155. At 11:05pm on 26 May 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #109
    Receiving the Nobel Peace Prize during his first year in office clearly shows how impressed the Nobel Committee was of his qualifications and merits as an outstanding leader. His multilateral policies are paying huge dividends and world leaders are well disposed towards him. He is a real breath of fresh air!
    _____________

    Even Obama acknowledges that recieving a prize for having done nothing is wrong. The way to win the Nobel prize has been to bash Bush. Youcan be a terrorist supporter like Carter and win it.

    Obama's misguided appeasement has made the world less safe and has given terrorists and their supporters the green light. That is what happens when an arrogant man with no resume or accomplishment has the hubiris to think he is qualfied to lead.

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  • 156. At 11:13pm on 26 May 2010, McJakome wrote:

    49. At 12:01pm on 26 May 2010, Michael Melrose wrote:
    “The entire history of the USA is based on death and distraction, look at there history.
    No NO no. Get the Americans out of the picture they are not safe at all.”

    Freedom is not safe. Democracy is not safe. Choice is not safe. Aye, aye, Mr. Orwell.

    58. At 12:50pm on 26 May 2010, ann arbor wrote:
    “Is Obama having us extend an olive branch, or simply dropping our trousers and bending over?”

    My evaluation of this post is:
    Bad taste 100% F
    Logic 50% F
    We are in a pickle because of presidents before Obama [Reagan-GOP, GHW Bush-GOP, WJ Clinton-Dem, GWBush-GOP] all of whom share responsibility for deregulating, alienating allies, selling us out to China, etc. Of course GOPers blame everything on the new guy, after all, he’s BLACK, he’s EDUCATED, he speaks English WELL [not good], etc.

    142. At 8:56pm on 26 May 2010, Rob wrote:
    “For example, while the majority of the western world believes democracy and "freedom" is the only way to run a country, this has been proven to be false. China is and will be very successful economically and, in addition, it has been proven the majority of Chinese citizens are happy with their government.”

    You are repeating Chinese propaganda. If this were true, the Chinese government would have fair and open elections with people allowed to dissent. Dissenters are locked up or disappear, so how do you know that “the majority of Chinese…are happy with their government?”

    151. At 10:19pm on 26 May 2010, Interestedforeigner
    RE: 137. At 8:33pm on 26 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:
    “…when it came time to establish the basic law of their young nation, it was "We the People". That's why I quoted the text verbatim. I don't see how that can be disputed…I think it is nonsense with a right wing social conservative historical revisionist spin to it that is simply not a fair or balanced assessment of the record of who those men were or what they believed.”

    Oh, my. The Texas textbook version of US history! The Force help us!

    “The founders were, above all, rationalists…they were trying to create a government based on reason.”

    This will never make it into the Texas History Book!
    Especially because it is not only rational, it’s true.

    People who find images of Jesus in clouds, potatoes and burned toast are not likely to give up trying to find God in the Constitution and laws of the US. I'm OK with their private belief as long as they stop trying to force it on everyone else.

    We [Unitarians] never try to force our religious beliefs on anyone, even ourselves. Jefferson is probably disliked in Texas because he severely edited the bible. Everyone should read the Jefferson Bible [link withheld to avoid offending moderators].

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  • 157. At 11:16pm on 26 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Echotheword (#153) "They did believe in protecting "We The People" from religion."

    No, they did not. They protected the people from government-imposed religion, and protected their right to free exercise of a religion of their choice.

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  • 158. At 11:21pm on 26 May 2010, Steve Castle wrote:

    It is time for the US to get its own house in order nad stop interfereing with the rest of the world.
    US hypocrisy has reached an all time high.
    The rhetoric from the US government is increasing.
    I hope the rest of the world distances itself from US political and military matters while maintaining econmic ties.
    The US is surely the most dangerous country on the planet today.
    They will lead us into conflict and war.
    We don't need it.
    Let the US go bankrupt. Who cares what they think.

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  • 159. At 11:29pm on 26 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 123 Andy Post-

    ""Ever heard of the Monroe Doctrine?"

    What about it? It's not part of the Constitution. We've adopted goals along the way that haven't anything to do with our mission. Manifest destiny comes to mind.

    Am I'm missing your point?"


    Your statement was:

    "America had greatness thrust upon in 1946 when it emerged from World War II virtually unscathed while the rest of the world was a smoking ruin. The country handled it reasonably well, but greatness in the eyes of the world was never a goal set forth by the founders. Indeed, the founders were almost completely unconcerned with the rest of the world."

    James Monroe was the last of the 'Founding Fathers' to serve as President. You state, "the founders were almost completely unconcerned with the rest of the world." I was using the Monroe Doctrine as just one, very familiar piece of evidence to illustrate that the "founders" did concern themselves with the rest of the world. The Monroe Doctrine, introduced in 1823, gave notice to the governments in Europe that the United State of America would not allow any further European colonization in the Americas; and any interference with states in the Americas would be viewed as an act of aggression against the United States.

    Thus; the last 'Founding Father' President, unilaterally, declared the U.S.A. the leader in the Western Hemisphere.

    If you don't think that there was not any attempts to spread the revolutionary idea through Europe; then you have never read about Ben Franklin's years in Paris.

    Many more examples exist to show that the "founders" were not isolationists.

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  • 160. At 11:34pm on 26 May 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    155 MagicKirin wrote:

    "Obama's misguided appeasement has made the world less safe and has given terrorists and their supporters the green light. That is what happens when an arrogant man with no resume or accomplishment has the hubiris (sic) to think he is qualfied to lead."

    [a] Drivel

    [b] More specifically, the same old drivel

    [c] "an arrogant man with no resume or accomplishment has the hubiris (sic) to think he is qualfied to lead". Sounds pretty like GW Bush to me.

    [d] The choice the American people faced was Obama or someone reckless enough to put Palin a heartbeat away from the Oval Office. That decision alone was more than enough to disqualify McCain from the presidency - whatever his " resume".

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  • 161. At 11:36pm on 26 May 2010, Tom wrote:

    As an American who equates our so called "leadership" with spending our hard earned wealth for the rest of the world, I am all for abandoning our "leadership". In fact, I am all for America becoming isolationist. Close our borders, pull back our troops, close our bases in Okinawa, Japan, Germany, the U.K. and of course all of the mid-east. Let the rest of the world shoulder the debt, step up and take on "leadership" and set the world right. Yeah, I think that is the right thing for us to do.

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  • 162. At 11:52pm on 26 May 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #158. At 11:21pm on 26 May 2010, Steve Castle wrote:
    "It is time for the US to get its own house in order nad stop interfereing with the rest of the world.
    US hypocrisy has reached an all time high.
    The rhetoric from the US government is increasing.
    I hope the rest of the world distances itself from US political and military matters while maintaining econmic ties.
    The US is surely the most dangerous country on the planet today.
    They will lead us into conflict and war.
    We don't need it.
    Let the US go bankrupt. Who cares what they think."

    What? You're not impressed by President Barak (apologies for everyone) Obama? Well, that's OK, a lot of Americans aren't either.

    Do let us know when you want to start distancing yourselves because the money we spend on maintaining troops to defend Europe would go a long way toward solving some of our problems here at home; things like lowering our budget deficit and paying off the national debt, or developing alternative energy sources and getting them into widescale use so we can use less oil and produce less CO2. Why, you'd be doing us and the world a favor.

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  • 163. At 00:03am on 27 May 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 159, publiusdetroit:

    Well, yes, of course.

    Certainly Washington's advice to avoid foreign entanglements is evidence alone that he thought it would be an issue, and without Franklin's diplomatic maneuverings with the French, there wouldn't be an America.

    I was only referring to what the framers put in the Constitution. There's really very little in the document pertaining to foreign policy. I take that as evidence of a general lack of concern about it when they were defining the country.

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  • 164. At 00:21am on 27 May 2010, Eastvillage wrote:

    We da man!

    Jpp799 spin your diatribe on someone who buys it.

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  • 165. At 00:26am on 27 May 2010, cwgirl wrote:

    Although I have generally had a low opinion of US Foreign Policy for many years now, I have to wonder at what the globe would look like should the world be lead by those countries that are rife with severe political unrest, absolute corruption, and religious fundementalism. Yes, the US has elements of these, but not to the inhuman extreme that accompanies many of the countries mentioned here.

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  • 166. At 00:29am on 27 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 151 Interestedforeigner-

    In response to GH post 137-

    "I understand your point, but nonetheless when it came time to establish the basic law of their young nation, it was "We the People". That's why I quoted the text verbatim. I don't see how that can be disputed."

    There were no "United States of America" at the time of the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration is sent to the King by "...the thirteen united States of America". It might be added that there was only a very slim, often contentious unity between the colony/states at that time. It was not until 1781, with ratification of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, that there was even a formal document of unity between the newly proclaimed States and Commonwealths.

    History shows us that the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union failed to create a Nation. It was not until ratification of The Constitution of the United States of America that a single Nation; formally called, The United States of America, was created. Prior to that; each State, basically, acted as a separate nation in an alliance; of 'Confederation', if you please.

    During the framing of The Constitution of the United States of America the 'Founding Fathers' chose how, and on what principles the new Nation would be formed; as well as what it would be as a Nation. As Interestedforeigner pointed out the 'Founding Fathers' were very careful not to recognize, nor align the nation with any religion; nor recognize any deity in the laws of the new Nation. Those laws are what makes us a Nation.

    There was a great caution against the religious zealots, primarily in the New England region, implanting wording that would open the door for the institution of an 'official' religion if the statement in the first amendment was not made terse.

    Further significance is given to this ideal of the separation of Church and State by making it the very first statement in the very First Amendment establishing the "Bill of Rights". If no other 'right' was ever going to make it into the "Bill of Rights", that 'right' of separate Church and State was paramount; and the first argued on how it would be worded. This was a big test for an embryonic Nation. Could that terse statement be agreed upon by all the Representatives of "We the People..."?

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  • 167. At 00:38am on 27 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 140 ghostofsichuan-

    "Maybe the American Indians would like some buildings and highways torn down that were built on "sacred ground."

    Starting with Mount Rushmore in the 'sacred' Black Hills of South Dakota.

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  • 168. At 01:26am on 27 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 136 PursuitOfLove-

    "...our national motto is "In God we Trust"

    This phrase did not appear in any official, National capacity until used on a coin 1864. There was a significant upsurge in Christianity at the end of the War Between the States. Probably as a form of Mea Culpa because of so much slaughter. It did not become the official National motto until 1956 during the heat of the "Red Scare". We were standing against those godless Communists. Around the same time that "one nation under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance through heavy lobbying by the Roman Catholic organization, The Knights of Columbus.

    Prior to 1956, the de facto motto of the United States of America was found on the Great Seal of the United States of America first used in 1782, "E Pluribus Unum" (Latin=One from Many)

    The religious mania producing both of these examples serves as evidence why the Framers of the U.S. Constitution were wise not to recognize a religion, nor a deity in the law of the land; and the first statement in the First Amendment makes the separation of Church and State a cherished liberty through a terse sentence.

    Why do Christians keep trying to undermine the "Bill of Rights", and claim us to be a Christian nation?

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  • 169. At 01:41am on 27 May 2010, ann arbor wrote:

    Any more in Detroit, the Monroe Doctrine is more closely associated with the written warranty on aftermarket shock absorbers.

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  • 170. At 01:56am on 27 May 2010, bart wrote:

    Right since the beginning of this country did in fact believe that the US could live in peace and harmony.

    These were gullible people back then what can you say living in the Colonies where a persons word actually meant something. Having little knowledge of political game playing on a European level.

    Trade with all people in the world in perfect Neutrality, Export to all and import from all equally.

    The US was a small place no industry to speak of and almost everyone was a farmer with no Navy and virtually no established Army and still believed it could use Militia to defend the country.

    And then around 1800 during the Jefferson presidency England declared war on France or was it France declared war on England. I lose track.

    England demands of Jefferson the support of US.
    France demands of Jefferson the support of the US.

    Jefferson contemplates Neutrality and communicates that to both.

    Jefferson suggest to both France and England we would offer to trade to both.

    England threatens to declare war on the US if such happens

    France threatens to declare war on the US if such happens

    Jefferson declares US will trade with no one keeping out of it

    Guess what happens next.

    Right up to now the biggest standing joke among Europe's governments might have been the idea that the is something called a Neutral.

    What I am saying then is that after WW1 and WW2 with the Americans a now strong country we can no longer allow Europe's leaders to decide our fate.

    We are morally and Constitutionally obligated in (our Own self defense) to negate the European capacity to initiate war until they are able to do such a important job.

    Sorry fellas not there yet.

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  • 171. At 02:09am on 27 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 169 ann arbor-

    "Any more in Detroit, the Monroe Doctrine is more closely associated with the written warranty on aftermarket shock absorbers."

    They don't make Monroe shock-absorbers in Monroe, Michigan anymore. It may be ironic that they are made in Spain and Brazil


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  • 172. At 02:31am on 27 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Sure enough, here is the message from the moderators:

    "Thank you for contributing to a BBC Blog. Unfortunately we've had to remove your content below

    This decision has been made because it contains material on which the copyright appears to be owned by someone else."

    __________

    The "work" in question, to which the moderators take exception, is the Constitution of the United States

    Next they'll ban copying the Magna Carta, the Gettysburg Address, and the Ten Commandments.


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  • 173. At 03:29am on 27 May 2010, Islandhopper1 wrote:

    Interestedforeigner,
    Sadly these moderators are an incredibly touchy lot when they get the inclination to be that way.
    That is what incessant rain and overcast skies can do to one.
    Though coming from Canada, you must be no stranger to cabin fever....:)























































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  • 174. At 03:37am on 27 May 2010, rodidog wrote:

    #168 PD,

    It's an interesting and muddled debate IMO. The framer's of the constitution were against Theocracy as a form of government. They believed men should be ruled by men, not by the nobility or clergy. They also did not want one denomination of Christianity to be over any other by being formally established as the State religion. This is the reason the constitution forbids the establishment of any religion, while also providing for the free expression of any religion. It has nothing to do with any religious belief system or lack there of. It was not because of a belief in secularism as we understand it today. I think both sides of this debate are right and wrong at the same time.
    Religion did indeed play a role in the founding of this country, while at the same time being purposefully separated from it.





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  • 175. At 03:56am on 27 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 170 bart-

    "Right since the beginning of this country did in fact believe that the US could live in peace and harmony.

    These were gullible people back then what can you say living in the Colonies where a persons word actually meant something. Having little knowledge of political game playing on a European level.

    Trade with all people in the world in perfect Neutrality, Export to all and import from all equally."


    You should have started this tale with, "Once upon a time,...".

    Those sweet, naive, bucolic people had already established a tobacco smuggling route to New Amsterdam by the mid-1620's, centered on and around Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay. (There are some very interesting stories about that little spot of land) As much tobacco as could be siphoned out of the British tobacco monopoly as could be carried was taken to Kent Island; then sold to the Dutch in New Amsterdam at a very tidy profit for all in the smuggling trade; as well as the Dutch merchants in the Netherlands. This sparked many a, less than peaceful, confrontation between the Colonies of Maryland, Virginia, and New Amsterdam. Shots were fired on a regular basis.

    One of the reasons Britain acquired New Amsterdam from the Dutch was to get some sort of control over the tobacco smuggling. Something they never really accomplished; much like our attempts to stop the smuggling of illegal drugs in this day.

    I know this part of history because my family had intimate 'interests' in the...um...mercantile business operating out of New Amsterdam under a 'dual-citizenship' arrangement between the Dutch and the Britons. Our 'other' business was in agriculture and real estate.

    Unfair, protective interstate tariffs and interstate import taxes were imposed by most all of the new States to protect in-state markets. Violent confrontations often resulted from interstate trading. One of the many reasons the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union failed to be "Perpetual".

    The new-found States could not even trade between themselves with "perfect" neutrality. Nowhere close to such a fanciful ideal as you reckon. Competition between the new States for overseas, international trade was even more cutthroat and underhanded.

    First and foremost in the minds of Colonists, then Statesmen was commerce. Even the 'naive' farmer was not beyond adding some gravel to the bushel of grain he was selling to the neighboring gristmill owner.

    I can assure you that your version of history will not stand up to historic records available for study in libraries all across the U.S. and in the National Archives.

    My family supported the Revolution; giving ships and money to the Continental Congress in support of the war. All the ships were lost. Some of the money was repaid in the form of land grants in western New York.

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  • 176. At 04:10am on 27 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    InterestedForeigner (#172) "The "work" in question, to which the moderators take exception, is the Constitution of the United States."

    Try using a link, with notes, as follows:

    Article VI of US Constitution (from Cornell.edu)

    US Constitution provision for oaths:

    "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." (from Article VI, linked above)

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  • 177. At 04:24am on 27 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    publiusDetroit (#168) "... the Framers of the U.S. Constitution were wise not to recognize a religion, nor a deity in the law of the land;"

    Not in the Constitution or laws, but there is a reference to a deity in the Great Seal of the United States (printed on the reverse of the dollar bill), as I noted in one of my postings above. The Great Seal was adopted six years before the Constitution, and it has never been changed. The writers and signers of the US Constitution (with Bill of Rights) never saw any need to revise the Great Seal for reason of conflict with the First Amendment, because there is none.

    The doctrine of "ceremonial deism" is explained quite well in an opinion by Justice O'Connor. I forget the name of the case, but it should not be difficult for anyone interested to find it online.

    People who object to the occasional presence of ceremonial deism in US documents, rituals, coins, etc. are "little smatterers" in the law (to steal a term from Isaac Newton), in my opinion, who would be well advised to find something substantive about which to complain.

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  • 178. At 04:42am on 27 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    PubliusDetroit (#166) "There were no "United States of America" at the time of the Declaration of Independence."

    Following, the beginning of the last paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

    "We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, ..."

    Your hypertechnical analysis does not impress me. While the term was somewhat informal before its adoption under the US Constitution as the official name of the federal republic, it was nevertheless in use by the assembly which produced the Declaration of Independence, and used in that document, capitalized.

    When one speaks of the founders of the United States of America, and the founding documents, one means those who produced the Declaration, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution, and these works. Spanning about a decade, many people contributed to all three.

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  • 179. At 05:35am on 27 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    176. At 04:10am on 27 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    US Constitution provision for oaths:

    "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." (from Article VI, linked above)

    ____________

    Article IV was one of the sections of the Constitution to which the Moderators objected earlier in the day for fear of copyright infringement!

    In any case, this oath (or affirmation) could, I suppose, be sworn (or solemnly affirmed) on Thor's Hammer.

    -----------

    But the wording here raises another point.

    Article IV prohibits any "religious test" as ever being required as a qualification to any office.

    Yet that is exactly what a private religious organization was able to do in the last Presidential election.

    The two candidates effectively had to go and kow-tow before this guy, this shaman, this witch doctor, this skald, this augur, on national TV, and publicly proclaim their faith as a de facto prerequisite for holding the highest public office in the land. It was demeaning to the very Office of the Presidency. It was ridiculous.

    Offensive? Not half.

    If it weren't bad enough that the candidates had to crawl before this guy, what I'm wondering is just how big is the fellow's ego that he thinks it's his place to be holding the event at all. What incredible gall. Insufferable.

    Is there is any legal avenue to prevent this from happening again in the future? It seems to me that voters should be up in arms about it, (as I see from postings elsewhere many were) that someone should have sought an injunction to prevent it.

    And yet on what grounds? As far as I can tell the fellow hadn't broken any laws. Yet he had, nonetheless, very plainly driven a steam roller back and forth over the Constitution a few hundred times. What is left of Article IV if a private religious organization can get away with this kind of thing?

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  • 180. At 05:39am on 27 May 2010, mabelwhite wrote:

    Personally, as a member of the elderly, I wonder why no-one asks, or gives credence to a WORD I say, yet can refer to the 'intent; of the 'founders' as though they were as up-to-date as M 'n'M.

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  • 181. At 05:47am on 27 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 174 rodidog-

    "They believed men should be ruled by men, not by the nobility or clergy. They also did not want one denomination of Christianity to be over any other by being formally established as the State religion. This is the reason the constitution forbids the establishment of any religion, while also providing for the free expression of any religion."

    We are in fundamental agreement on this point.

    One must keep in mind that many of the Framers of the Constitution; and those most involved in the ratification of the new Constitution, were men proud to claim they were of, what is called; "The Age of Enlightenment" coming out of the horrible wars of Protestant (Christian) Reformation in Europe. Or, at least those of no particularly strong Christian convictions, sided with the 'Enlightened' more often than with the religious factions. The continuing aftermath of the Protestant Reformation caused the Pilgrims, Puritans, and Quakers to risk the Atlantic crossing. Dreams of wealth and opportunity far away from the ever-watchful eyes of London investors, Parliament, and the Crown drew talented settlers to the South. Often; those more inclined to be...less than forthright, yet highly adventurous and able.

    The New England colonies have a tradition of religious sectarianism; constantly dividing into new sects as they argue minute issues of religious dogma. This was combined with 'Yankee' ingenuity and craft. Cut the sly deal for six of seven days; pay the mortgage on the plot in heaven on the seventh day.

    The readers of this blog should be familiar with the expression, "Shrewd as a Yankee trader."?

    Of course; we were all 'Yankees' then. Both North, Middle, and South. Each with their own 'reverence'.

    New Amsterdam, later to become New York was strictly business. Even the dictates of the heavy-handed Dutch Reform Church, which continued long after British acquisition, (One of the roots of freedom of religion) was very easily circumvented under both authorities. Easy money to the Church being the grease that turned many a staunch clergyman's head as it warmed their palm.

    The Southern Colonies were all about tobacco. Tobacco was the currency of the South, and most of the Mid-Atlantic Colonies. Church attendance was sporadic. Well financed through mandatory tithes and primarily a social function. Southerners did not like the paying of tithes to a Church they did not attend; far more than their Northern counterparts.

    The Christian popularity we see today in the Southern States did not take hold until after the War Between the States, when Northern preachers rode down to invade the defeated South, side-by-side with the fiscal Carpetbaggers and Copperheads. Hope for eternal salvation in a beautiful paradise plays well to an audience of hungry, defeated people; just as hope of a good day gets us out of bed each day.

    Both sides cast a wary eye on the Quakers and 'Dutch' of Pennsylvania. The New England Christians thought the Quakers less than...'Christian'; and the 'Dutch' (Germans) alien because they spoke a strange tongue. The plantation owners of the South saw them as too 'Christian', or at least, too church-going to be concerned with the important matters of wealth; and did not trust them.

    Then there were those Roman Catholics in Maryland. Everyone kept guard against the Papist. Were those Papists there to start-up a new Papal State in the 'New World'.

    Then there was Georgia. A penal colony placed as a buffer between Spanish Florida and the Carolina colonies. Not a lot of true believers of the word of god in that group of convicted criminals.

    An extension of this lack of Christian reverence and authority is easily found in the histories of 'taming' the West; and our romantic adoration of that conquest. Can you name more gunfighters, rather suspect lawmen, and bandits than you can name noted preachers of the Bible in that era of land-grabbing and petty greed? Do we identify more with Buffalo Bill Cody, or The Reverend Thomas Smith Williamson of Fort Snelling, Minnesota?

    Public Schools in the United States of America were still teaching the fanciful history of Reverend Mason Locke Weems well into the 1960's. The ABC animated 'history' series, School House Rock was still endorsing that fancy in the 1970's. Teaching it to children by way of cartoon stories even after Reverend Weems was soundly debunked as an historian.

    Weems. You know? The guy who fabricated the stories of George Washington chopping down a cherry tree; and throwing a dollar across the Potomac River? Washington; the honest, athletic, and fair-minded guy; almost deified by Weems?

    If the reader still believes in those stories of lore; then they live in a world of silver-lined clouds and child-like fancy.

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  • 182. At 05:48am on 27 May 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    I will not say much more about the mosques and 9/11 hallowed land, because I know it will get censored what I have to say. It definitely shocked me, but I should stop being shocked because NYC and Cali are the ultraliberal of the liberals. Pretty much, most anything goes.

    USA will always be a global power, even with other global powers like BRIC rising. Our concerns should not be with the world's problems, because we cannot fix them all, but rather with our allies, because our allies are more important than anyone else. As long as USA and our allies are loyal and protect each other, we will be alright. If we split up, then anything could happen.

    It's like when you go out to a party, you stay with your friends, you will probably be alright. You split up with your friends, well, then you are on your own.

    There was some kind of program on Discovery talking about how many shark attacks happen to the person that is swimming away from the others.

    USA and allies, we all have different laws and ideas, but we share more common values than other countries, so we should be ourselves, but we should also stick together as allies, because strength lies in numbers.

    In all honesty, as an American, I feel safer in allies' countries than any other countries. This is why, even though I have never been to Europe, I love Europe, because I know they are alright.

    God Bless America and her Allies.







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  • 183. At 05:49am on 27 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    178. At 04:42am on 27 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:


    "When one speaks of the founders of the United States of America, and the founding documents, one means those who produced the Declaration, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution, and these works. Spanning about a decade, many people contributed to all three."

    Maybe if you are going to throw off the yoke of a king whose power is derived from God, ("Dieu et mon droit", is the Royal motto - on the Royal Coat of Arms to this day) you need to call upon your own inalienable rights deriving from God.

    They were 15 years older by the time the Constitution was ratified, and a fair bit can happen in that length of time.

    Need to look into this more, and re-read some biographies.



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  • 184. At 05:59am on 27 May 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    People have the right to judge Presidental candidates how they want, including age, sexual orientation, skin color, religious views, anything that the candidate wants to indulge.

    It is called freedom to choose who you want.

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  • 185. At 06:32am on 27 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 177 GH1618-

    "Not in the Constitution or laws, but there is a reference to a deity in the Great Seal of the United States (printed on the reverse of the dollar bill), as I noted in one of my postings above. The Great Seal was adopted six years before the Constitution, and it has never been changed. The writers and signers of the US Constitution (with Bill of Rights) never saw any need to revise the Great Seal for reason of conflict with the First Amendment, because there is none."

    I anticipate that you refer to the Latin, "Annuit cœptis" appearing over the "All seeing eye" atop the pyramid. Would not the Framers, most of whom were well read in Latin, have used, "Annuit Deus" if they wanted a specific deity noted? My Latin is sketchy after years of only occasional use. I recollect that "coeptis", without a capital "c" refers to an 'originating' source; not neccesarily a deity. The more emphatic recognition of a 'Supreme Being'; especially in that time would have used the capitalized, 'Deus' more easily understood by any lettered man, or even a lettered woman, as the God of the Christian Bible.

    I admire your intellect; so I will ask you; why did the 'founding father' use Latin instead of Greek. The most educated of them would have been lettered in both languages. The source materials used to construct the Christian Bible originated in Greek, translated into Latin. Would they not use a 'purer' Biblical language? You and I know that much is lost in translation from one language to another. "Coeptis" being a very good example. Basically translated as an origin; without the capitalization of the "C", it would relate to a...lesser inception than that of a Supreme Deity?

    Taking into consideration that most English nouns were capitalized, in the writings of that period, the use of Latin, as a more 'pure' method of expressing more exacting thought would justify that the uncapitalized "c" in coeptis would downplay the supremacy of the object in the phrase.

    Your knowledge of Latin may be greater than mine. I will be most interested in your argument on this minute subject.

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  • 186. At 07:04am on 27 May 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    The United States has a leadership position in the world, and cannot escape it. So the question will be whether we should lead deliberately, or carelessly.

    Which strengths should we use to exert our leadership? President Obama is attempting to lead through understanding and mutual respect, identification of mutual interests, cooperation and diplomacy, identifying our self-interests with peace and self-determination by all people rather than military influence.

    I have read some here who deplore our military, financial, even cultural influence - and others who insist no one would or should respect us unless we maintain both independence of purpose and overwhelming military strength.

    One of our founding principles is that everyone's interests are best served when they are all able to pursue their own interests as they see them, within a society that insists that each also respect and protect the others rights and interests.

    On the faith of the founding fathers - If your intention is to know them you must read what they said and wrote both publicly and privately to each other, in their own words. If your intention is to understand them , you must leave your own prejudices at the door.

    If your intention is only to justify yourself with their authority, then carry your prejudices with you, but know that they knew your sort well, and had plenty of precise and well understood terms for that kind of activity.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 187. At 07:10am on 27 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 180 mabelwhite-

    "Personally, as a member of the elderly, I wonder why no-one asks, or gives credence to a WORD I say, yet can refer to the 'intent; of the 'founders' as though they were as up-to-date as M 'n'M."

    I cannot argue against your point you made in posting #50. I will support it.

    "Perhaps the US is good at packaging and presentation, advertizing and PR, so they'll take the lead in putting ideas out there for the mobs accompanied by a catchy tune. Maybe nations of Islam have insulated themselves from this influence by banning things like cartoons and music."

    People around the world love Levi blue jeans, Hollywood movies, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and McDonalds because we don't hide our candle under a bushel. We shout it out in bright-colored lights, chanting a simple phrase. Coke is, "The Real Thing". I have a friend who has been decorated with most every award the advertising industry bestows. A living warehouse of trivial facts that he draws from like a dedicated hardware clerk to fill the needs of his customers and their clients.

    I once asked him what was the secret of his success as an advertising copy writer. He replied, "I just know a way to nicely convince people how terrible and miserable their life is; then seduce them with the promise of a far better life when they purchase the product, or service, I am hired to shill.".

    The U.S. can sell a product. How few places are there in this world where one cannot by a Coke?

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  • 188. At 07:33am on 27 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 183 Interestedforeigner-

    "Maybe if you are going to throw off the yoke of a king whose power is derived from God, ("Dieu et mon droit", is the Royal motto - on the Royal Coat of Arms to this day) you need to call upon your own inalienable rights deriving from God.

    They were 15 years older by the time the Constitution was ratified, and a fair bit can happen in that length of time."


    Very credible point. I support it.

    Readers of this blog will do well to keep in mind that even at the late date of 4 JUL 1776, the Colonists still hoped that King George would intervene in Parliament to recognize them as full citizens of the Kingdom with full representation in Parliament.

    Read the Declaration of Independence from the perspective of 18th century thought. The wording is that of a velvet glove brushing pointedly across the King's face in a soft challenge; rather than a steel-mailed gauntlet looking for a blood.

    The Colonists should have sent two such Declarations. The velvet glove one sent to the King. A steel-mailed gauntlet to Lord North. The latter one delivered with a knock-out, if not fatal punch.

    If King George would have had full control of his faculties, and any real control over Parliament, he may have chosen to intervene and grant the recognition requested.

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  • 189. At 07:34am on 27 May 2010, rodidog wrote:

    #181 PD,

    I'm not sure were you're getting your religious history from, you should read up on the 'Great Awakening', which occurred in the middle of the 1700's. Colonialist were very religious with roughly 80% attending church.

    While some politicians like Jefferson and Adams were Deist, they were a very small minority in a very protestant and evangelical population. If you doubt the extent of faith in both the country in general and congress in particular, perhaps you can explain the proclamations for fasting and thanksgiving, the establishment of Christian morality upon the army and navy, and land grants for churches. There is also Aitken's bible which was published under Congressional patronage. This was all done by the same group of men who gave us our constitution.

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  • 190. At 07:43am on 27 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    LucyJ

    "People have the right to judge Presidental candidates how they want, including age, sexual orientation, skin color, religious views, anything that the candidate wants to indulge.

    It is called freedom to choose who you want"

    Theres a word for people who "judge" people based on their skin color.

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  • 191. At 07:52am on 27 May 2010, Sir Lagerlout wrote:

    Other countries seldom appreciate US foreign policy until conditions have gotten so desparate that they beg for US action. When they can protect their own interests, which is goal of foreign policy for all countries, they aren't going to be so delighted to see the biggest kid in the neighborhood hanging around. But who in their right mind would want to bring back the British Empire or the USSR or see China run the show?

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  • 192. At 08:05am on 27 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 189 rodidog-

    "I'm not sure were you're getting your religious history from, you should read up on the 'Great Awakening', which occurred in the middle of the 1700's. Colonialist were very religious with roughly 80% attending church."

    I have read up on the "Great Awakening". Need to confess that my study of that period was some many years ago. Probably about 35 years ago, as I think of it. I do remember that the influence of that period centered on one man; George Whitefield. A powerful public orator and extremely charismatic personality.

    There is much to say about Reverend Whitefield and the period. Unfortunately; the hour is late and I must a bed. I'm not sure where you are getting your 80% church attendance figure for the period. I would be interested in reading a citation supporting that attendance rate you state.

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  • 193. At 08:18am on 27 May 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    I believe that moral leadership comes from having a clear understanding of the underlying realities (principles, values) that inform decisions that produce the greatest benefit.

    Anyone can use the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico as an exercise to explore this premise.

    On many fronts America, the West, the world is now struggling to formulate new bases for decisionmaking in a much more complex world - the twenty-first century. Do we have core principles and values we can look to when we decide how to best drill for oil under 5000 feet of ocean? Can we correctly weigh the significance of other interests, other living things, people on shore, on other shores, people who will be dependent on our success or failure, people who stand to profit and to loose?

    Do we have the moral leadership to successfully undertake even this kind of enterprise, let alone wars, military interventions, treaties, trade and finance, internationally binding laws and regulations?

    Where wisdom may benefit one's self, leadership is about our influence on others. As a nation, what effects have our actions and example had on others? Even if our primary intent has always been to promote our own interests, where have we also benefited those we have dealt with? Where have we in the net harmed them?

    Some conservatives will say that any change imposed from the outside is destructive and harmful - that the results are always unequal and therefore 'unfair'. I often hear these ideas preached from 'liberal' academic towers.

    Was it wise to give Saudi Arabia oil wells and refineries, and bind the Middle East into the Western economy?

    For two centuries the United States has been admired and envied, not universally, but generally - much longer than we were feared. Mostly by the poor, I suppose, because they heard from their own relatives that the poor could improve themselves here and become anything they wished. This is still the greatest human need - to improve the lot of the poor in a sustainable way.

    In modern times Communism had its formula and failed to reach a signal success. Now there is Chinese capitalism, which is seeing growth and achievements comparable to those of America in our own era of industrialization and expansion. The European Union is another attempt to more successfully organize human society. Will they continue to make decisions that produce broad benefits to their people and the world? Who will show moral leadership?

    Will we?

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 194. At 08:53am on 27 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    Overseas bases supported by a powerful military are the currency of power and influence in the World. The Romans and British understood that , so does the US. I dont think the US will be giving up that power anytime soon, it would be criminally irresponsible to "take your ball back" just because you arent as loved as much as you would like. Who knows what would fill that power vacuum. Talk of isolationism is as much a folly now as it was in the 1930's. America is not on a different planet, as much as you might like it to be. Hitler and the Japanese would have made their way to America at some point, hunkering down wouldnt have stopped that. Imagine V2 rockets dropping on New York, with the US unable to do a damn thing about it.

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  • 195. At 09:17am on 27 May 2010, palewell wrote:

    Scott 0962 (7.39 pm) - yawn ...

    Incredible arrogance: "lower our standards" - how could standards be LOWERED in O J Simpson land?

    As for GH1618, yes, MacKinnon is a good example, and no, if the direction were reversed, it wouldn't happen, and you know this. It has nothing to do with the smokescreen of "due process". It has to do with the US's failure to sign up to the International Criminal Court (or Kyoto, or ...) Marc Emery is another good, very recent example in a long, long list. Polanski is not. He is a US citizen.

    "Every country in the world" is what the US aims at. You call it "full spectrum dominance".

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  • 196. At 1:09pm on 27 May 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    commonsense_expressway wrote:
    LucyJ

    "People have the right to judge Presidental candidates how they want, including age, sexual orientation, skin color, religious views, anything that the candidate wants to indulge.

    It is called freedom to choose who you want"

    Theres a word for people who "judge" people based on their skin color.

    ______________

    and that judgement goes both ways. and thrrowing out the race card when Obama is criticized is also racist

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  • 197. At 1:41pm on 27 May 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Mark, regarding the basic question of this thread, I believe it is not so much whether the USA should or should not lead the world, we have been doing just that since at least WWII. The real question is: should we continue to lead the world?

    Personally, I think we should close most of our bases overseas, should reduce our business and economic exposure abroad, should avoid getting involved in other people's problems, and should focus our attention and use our resources to improve our lot at home.

    Isolationism is not a good thing, but moving our factories abroad, giving our technology to other nations, investing excessively abroad, lending to nations that can not repay our loans, borrowing from other nations to maintain a standard of living we can not afford, and spending billions in foreign adventures is even worse.

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  • 198. At 2:10pm on 27 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    174. At 03:37am on 27 May 2010, rodidog wrote:

    "Religion did indeed play a role in the founding of this country, while at the same time being purposefully separated from it."

    ____________

    Agree with this.

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  • 199. At 2:17pm on 27 May 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    US foreign policy is simply to support what the Chamber of Commerce sees as overseas interests. There are many countries under oppressive rulers and regimes but because some business interest is there and the brides are paid and labor cheap there is no agenda for freedom or rights. The US Sec. of State said when appointed the "human rights nor environmental issues" would part of the relationship with China. Because the US has lost moral leadership and is naked to the protection of business interest it is limited to force as policy. Corrupt Congress, corrupt banking, corrupt contractors, corrupt big business, corrupt federal regulatory agencies....what is the US offering that most countries don't already have?

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  • 200. At 2:22pm on 27 May 2010, radiorat wrote:

    America can not lead the world. Help the world ,yes--But lead, no..WE have a problem in America and it is with our leadership.
    The problem with the lack of leadership in the USA is not the fault of are Presidents or our Congress.We the American people have become drunk on the freedoms we use everyday. We have become lazy in our responiblity to elect those who best represent the qualities we need to move America forward.

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  • 201. At 2:50pm on 27 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    176. At 04:10am on 27 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Try using a link, with notes, as follows:

    Article VI of US Constitution (from Cornell.edu)

    ____________

    That website has a ton of interesting information. Could easily spend all day there.

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  • 202. At 4:26pm on 27 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    palewell (#195) "It has to do with the US's failure to sign up to the International Criminal Court ..."

    Tosh. The ICC has no relevance whatever to the McKinnon case. The jurisdiction of the ICC is for the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and "aggression" (whatever that is).

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  • 203. At 4:39pm on 27 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "Marc Emery is another good, very recent example ..." (from post #195)

    Emery's extradition from Canada took only about a year, because it was routine. There is nothing unusual about this case. His supporters naturally call it a "political" prosecution, but that's more tosh.

    I don't have any sympathy for someone who claimed to making three million per year from an illegal business with operations in the US. I don't suppose much of that money went to US taxes.

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  • 204. At 5:00pm on 27 May 2010, Michael Paquette wrote:

    I can't imagine anyone, not American, comfortable with the idea. I prefer the idea of being partners.

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  • 205. At 5:11pm on 27 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    publiusDetroit (#185) "Would not the Framers, most of whom were well read in Latin, have used, "Annuit Deus" if they wanted a specific deity noted?"

    I am no expert in Latin, but Charles Thomson, who chose the particular language and form, is said to have been. The eye is the "Eye of Providence" and Annuit Coeptis is generally translated in this context as "Providence has favored our undertakings." "Providence" is merely a Deist equivalent of God. There is no question of a Christian or other specific deity being intended. John Adams, for example, said: "The government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian religion."

    See greatseal.com for the history of the Great Seal of the United States. Everything I know about the Great Seal is from this site.

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  • 206. At 5:20pm on 27 May 2010, California Mojo wrote:

    Who would you prefer?

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  • 207. At 5:50pm on 27 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    palewell (#195) "Polanski is not. He is a US citizen."

    I don't think so. He has dual Polish-French citizenship.

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  • 208. At 6:06pm on 27 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    203. At 4:39pm on 27 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "I don't have any sympathy for someone who claimed to making three million per year from an illegal business with operations in the US. I don't suppose much of that money went to US taxes."

    ____________

    Mr. Emery's wife wrote a letter to the editor of the Globe & Mail Newspaper this week.

    If I understand her point correctly, in their view her husband recorded and paid tax on every sale, and only ever sold mail order seeds into the US. In their view he never conducted business in the United States, he never was in the US, and so on.

    The suggestion is that the proceeds of the sales were used to promote the legalization of marijuana, in their view a completely legitimate political activity for which her husband is being, if I may put words in her mouth, persecuted as a matter of political belief.

    Notably, the Canadian government usually makes an effort to see that Canadians convicted of crimes in foreign countries are returned home to Canada to serve their sentences. Quite recently, for example, a federal cabinet minister intervened personally to bring one of our citizens home from a jail in Mexico. If I understand the letter correctly, the Canadian government has not made any effort on behalf of Mr. Emery, in this or any other way.

    I would gather from the letter that Mrs. Emery feels that her husband has been rather shabbily treated.

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  • 209. At 6:19pm on 27 May 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    GH1618 #145: I think it should be pretty obvious. We demand that the UK provide evidence proving that an American committed a crime before we agree to extradite them to the UK, while we, on the other hand, only need show probable cause that a Briton committed a crime before we have them in United States custidy. And as a link to another relating article explains at the bottom of the page of the article of which I linked, most Britons go to jale before seeing a court room. And this is how we treat our best and closest ally? I totally understand and sympathise with Palewell's frustration!!


    Publiusdetroit #168: Yes, it is indeed a stroke of jenious that the founders banned religion from interfering with government. But I don't like and would think that many Americans don't like the religious motto and pledge. I believe they rub very dangerously up against the separation of church and state. Do you suppose there is any way we can reverse them back to the way they were pre 1956?


    Interested Foreigner #179: '"As far as I can tell the fellow hadn't broken any laws. Yet he had, nonetheless, very plainly driven a steam roller back and forth over the Constitution a few hundred times. What is left of Article IV if a private religious organization can get away with this kind of thing?"

    Well I should think that the answer would be "self-evident"; nothing. But if the majority of citizens still respect and revere the constitution and think that it is a beneficial and good thing for and to us, then it should have been brought to court and emphaticly struck down. The fact that it wasn't shows just how much trouble we are in. Just because an action doesn't violate the Bill of Rights or the rest of the 27 amendments, doesn't mean that it isn't just as unconstitutional as the actions that do!! In the future, don't be surprised if people are tortured into confessing an undieing faith of some sort before being allowed to run for high office. We're headed back to the times of the Black Plague!! Hurray!!

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  • 210. At 6:27pm on 27 May 2010, palewell wrote:

    GH1618 passim: even longer yawn ...

    Of course the ICC has no specific relevance to the MacKinnon case: the US's horror of it, however, is an example of the same exceptionalism. The US cannot allow one of its citizens to be judged by the lesser breeds, and by the same token it has the right to judge and sentence any of THEM.

    All US politicians speak of terrorists wanting to "kill Americans". You won't find any British politician speaking of them wanting to "kill Britons" or French politicians saying they want to kill Frenchmen/women: just "kill people". The same is true in any European country. One of Rumsfeld's less famous utterances was of Guantanamo: "no other country would treat people who want to kill Americans so well". I believe somewhere in the unspeakable darkness of his mind there was actually an image of separate facilities in all countries - prisons for those that commit crimes against the common run of mortals, and much more secure ones for those who commit crimes against the higher species.

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  • 211. At 6:44pm on 27 May 2010, rodidog wrote:

    #192, PD

    The Religion in America Exhibit by the Lbrary of Congress is were you can find some very interesting information on this subject. This is were I came up with the 80% figure for church attendance.

    http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/

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  • 212. At 7:07pm on 27 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    InterestedForeigner (#208), Emery may have never been in the United States, but the product he sold was grown in the US and distributed to the US. I expect he would say that the growing operations were separate businesses for which he was not responsible, but the law is more flexible than that. This sort of case is the reason that conspiracy is a crime. Without conspiracy charges, crime kingpins (for any sort of crime) could operate illegal businesses with impunity by isolating themselves from their lower operatives in the way the business is structured.

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  • 213. At 7:16pm on 27 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    PursuitOfLove (#209), you are mistaken. An extradition proceeding in the US is not a trial on the merits. Probable cause is required to extradite a US citizen. With respect to McKinnon, probable cause is no difficulty, because McKinnon has admitted to being the person who committed the acts for which he has been charged.

    UK citizens who believe that he should not be extradited should take up the matter with their own government. In the US, naturally we want to try anyone who has been charged with a US crime.

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  • 214. At 7:29pm on 27 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    209. At 6:19pm on 27 May 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    "In the future, don't be surprised if people are tortured into confessing an undieing faith of some sort before being allowed to run for high office. We're headed back to the times of the Black Plague!! Hurray!!"

    ____________

    Don't you really mean the Spanish Inquisition?

    But, of course, nobody really expects the Spanish Inquisition.

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  • 215. At 7:51pm on 27 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    212. Gary.

    The paying of the taxes here is somehow quaint.

    There are other aspects of the story, though, that make you really wonder what they could have been thinking, and for all that money they are said to have had, whether they bothered to spend any of it obtaining good legal advice.

    But the part that leaves you scratching your head is that they seem to have thought that either the US authorities would treat him more leniently after the high profile public campaign for decriminalization, or that the Canadian government (= Must-be-seen-to-be-tough-on-crime Stephen Harper) was going to ride to the rescue.

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  • 216. At 7:55pm on 27 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    palewell (#195) "Polanski is not. He is a US citizen."



    GH1618: I don't think so. He has dual Polish-French citizenship.


    Correct. He's a Pole of a Jewish descent.

    Born in Paris. A child-surviver of a Nazi ghetto in Cracow.

    Raised and educated (Łódź Film Academy) in Poland.

    Most of his movies (Knife in Water, Repulsion, Cul-de-sac, Tess, Macbeth, Frantic, The Pianist, Ghost Writer) made either in Poland or in France/UK.


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  • 217. At 8:21pm on 27 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    GH1618 - I'm sorry mate but you are wrong, PoL and palewell are correct. The status of extradition between the UK and the US is completely lopsided in the favour of the US. However, as it was the British government who willingly signed up to the treaty I dont see how we can blame anybody but ourselves. It might ruffle a few US feathers, but the 2003 Act should be repealed.

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  • 218. At 8:39pm on 27 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    commonsense_expressway (#217), wrong in what regard? How about stating precisely what you mean, and documenting it? I did not say, by the way, that the treaty was balanced. The US Constitution protects citizens from arrest without probable cause, which includes arrest for purposes of extradition, therefore any extradition treaty must accomodate this requirement. It is up to a US magistrate to decide whether the offered probable cause is sufficient.

    If the UK extradites its citizens more readily, that is entirely a matter for the UK to resolve. The McKinnon case seems to prove that it is not all that easy to extradite a citizen of the UK. He has received plenty of due process, I think.

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  • 219. At 8:47pm on 27 May 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    There were many African Americans interviewed after the 2008 election who said they voted for President Obama because he was black. That was their choice and they were very proud of being able to vote for someone who was black, after many years of mostly white candidates. I can understand that.

    I voted for President Obama because I thought he was the best candidate, having nothing to do with skin color. Now I wish I had voted for McCain, but we can only move forward, not backward. So I am going to vote for Repubs, Tea Partyers and Independents for the time being.

    I also realize now that just because I give someone of another race the benefit of the doubt, that doesn't mean that that person is necessarily going to give me the benefit of the doubt. I have come to terms with reverse racism being just as prevalent as racism.

    This does not mean I believe it is okay to be racist. I do not believe it is okay to be racist. But I know now that racism can be in any race.

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  • 220. At 8:48pm on 27 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Here is a link to a document which illustrates the probable cause burden of extraditing a US citizen to another country. It is an opinion of the attorney general of India, summarizing a legal opinion from a US law firm, in the case of Mr. Warren Anderson regarding the Bhopal disaster:

    http://www.bhopal.com/opinion.htm

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  • 221. At 8:57pm on 27 May 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Is Polanski still in Europe or is he in the USA now?

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  • 222. At 9:00pm on 27 May 2010, McJakome wrote:

    9. At 5:20pm on 27 May 2010, Andy wrote:
    “1…there are no significant federal government clean up operations on the coast
    2… the Army Corps of Engineers (part of the federal government) stalled Louisiana on a plan to protect the coast until it was too late
    3…the federal government had no credible plans in place to handle something like this
    4…the federal government was lax in monitoring and regulating offshore platforms
    5…Americans are angry with the President, because the buck stops with him”

    Which obviously fits well with:
    1. The federal government is too intrusive
    2. The federal government has too many expensive
    socialistic plans
    3. The federal government has too many plans to interfere more in personal and state areas of responsibility
    4. The federal government has too many overpaid, interfering bureaucrats
    5. Real Americans and Tea Partiers are angry with this socialist President because he is trying to interfere with business [like BP] who can do things better than the government.

    Even in the face of calamity, the right wing corporatists can’t stop the divisive, destructive, hateful, everything for the corporations rhetoric.

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  • 223. At 9:51pm on 27 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "Of course the ICC has no specific relevance to the MacKinnon case: the US's horror of it, however, is an example of the same exceptionalism. The US cannot allow one of its citizens to be judged by the lesser breeds, and by the same token it has the right to judge and sentence any of THEM." (from palewell at #210)

    Horror? Come now. In fact, the US has participated in the establishment of the International Criminal Court, but has not signed off on it because the US proposal to require approval of the UN Security Council was rejected. The UNSC would have afforded the US a veto. Without this, participation amounts to a surrender of sovereignty, which is not acceptable to US governments of either party nor to most Americans (including myself). The US will permit one of its citizens to be tried by "lesser breeds" as long as we agree that it is warranted. As for trying others, we have the right only to ask for extradition according to a treaty (apart from war), and we may not get it.

    If the US did not protect its citizens from extradition without probable cause, one can imagine all sorts of politically motivated extraditions. Not for us, thank you.

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  • 224. At 10:32pm on 27 May 2010, fact84 wrote:

    Well America needs to lead its self first, then the world.

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  • 225. At 04:55am on 28 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 211 rodidog-

    "The Religion in America Exhibit by the Lbrary of Congress is were you can find some very interesting information on this subject. This is were I came up with the 80% figure for church attendance."

    Thank you for the LOC link you provided in your post. I did visit the link and read the information provided in regard to the period called the "Great Awakening".

    The brief information on the LOC link demonstrates that the area of greatest religious activity during this "Great Awakening" were the New England colonies. The Middle Atlantic colonies of Pennsylvania and New Jersey received some attention. Primarily to glean converts from the Quakers and German settlers. Samuel Davies is noted for having done evangelical work in the Southern Colonies, primarily Georgia and South Carolina.

    Georgia was started by James Oglethorpe in 1732, for all intents and purpose, a penal Colony were the "worthy poor" were released from debtors prisons in Great Britain to give them an opportunity to lead a productive life in a land far from the Mother Country. The establishment of the colony is at the beginning of the "Great Awakening". Davies was an evangelic and his concentration was to reform the new colonists through religion.

    Evangelic ministry in South Carolina centered on establishing Christian churches for black slaves as a means of keeping them from launching slave insurrections. South Carolina was always having slave problems; living in almost a constant fear, real or imagined, that their slaves would rise against the masters. Latent fears often rising to hysteria at every rumor of insurrection.

    As with the modern evangelical movement in the U.S.; there was a shift of congregants from old, established churches to new Christian sects. Once again; this primarily happened in the New England colonies. Puritan churches lost membership to the new sects to such an extent that it lost its old influence and power.

    The historian Samuel Eliot Morrison noted in his general work The Oxford History of the American People on the "Great Awakening" that the "once raging fires" of the traditional Puritan churches had become "banked". The new evangelical sects provided new life to Christian religion in a far more entertaining fashion.

    The new movement rose, then faded in about a decade of time. The old, antiquated churches lost congregations to the new, more entertaining churches who continue in their stead. It was a passing of the baton. The old to the new. We have been seeing the same thing happening today with the new evangelic "Super Churches", or, "Mega-Mall Churches" that have sprung up around the country, feeding on the congregations of the old established churches of the Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Methodists, Episcopalians, etc.

    George Whitefield came from England several times during the period to travel extensive circuits through the colonies. This preachings were attended for their entertainment value (much like Tent Revivals and Camp Meetings of the 20th century). Sinners made a great showing of being "saved" at his 'performances'; then returned to their sinning ways not long after his departure. Whitefield could be easily compared to Aimee Semple McPherson in her popular ministries of the 1920's and 1930's.

    I am not denying that there was a large Christian influence in the old Colonies carried over to the new States. Especially in the New England region. My point is that ardor for Christian religion was not universal throughout the Colonies and new States.

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  • 226. At 05:31am on 28 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Lucy asked: "Is Polanski still in Europe or is he in the USA now?"




    Still under house arrest in Switzerland.


    Where he was invited to receive a life award at Zurich Film Festival.

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  • 227. At 05:38am on 28 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Interested Foreigner wrote:

    "After decades of intransigence, the Turkish Cypriots voted for a progressive future - and were then flat-footed by the Greek Cypriots who took the opportunity to vote "no".




    IE, don't get me started on ENOSIS, Greek junta and atrocicies committed against Turkish Cypriots during the Athens-engineered military coup.


    [Well, Greeks at least succeeded in obtaining EU membership for half of a speck of an island off Syria. And for themselves, of course. :-)))]

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  • 228. At 05:48am on 28 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #95

    There's also this "In God We Trust" inscription on certain notes printed by the U.S. Treasury.


    [Those green notes are, incidentally, trusted much more these days, it seems, than 'mighty' euro]

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  • 229. At 06:25am on 28 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #114 MAII

    We pulled out from Philipines. Nothing happened.

    We may well pull out of Okinawa. [Guam will suffice]

    No need to remain in Germany. [Greeks will take care of it]

    For whatever reason, South Koreans don't want us to pull out.

    And Bulgarians and Romanians want us to move in :)))

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  • 230. At 06:27am on 28 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re "If they want to build a mosque there [Ground Zero], let them."


    "If you build it, they'll come". :)

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  • 231. At 06:35am on 28 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    ref #109
    "Receiving the Nobel Peace Prize during his [BHO] first year in office clearly shows how impressed the Nobel Committee was of his qualifications and merits as an outstanding leader."



    Well, Yasser Arafat (a terrorist leader) and Le Duc-tho (a communist thug and a peace treaty violator) got it too.

    [Not to mention certain tree-hugger who claimed (seriously!) that HIV was created by the U.S. in order to depopulate black Africa thus making it ready for a white colonization. :))) ]

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  • 232. At 06:43am on 28 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re: Okinawa...


    " Japan and the US say have agreed to relocate a controversial American military base on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa.

    A joint statement said: "Both sides confirmed the intention to locate the replacement facility at the Camp Schwab Henoko-saki area and adjacent waters. [...]


    "The US-Japan alliance remains indispensable not only to the defence of Japan, but also to the peace, security and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region.

    In a reference to rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, the statement added: "Recent developments in the security environment of North-east Asia reaffirmed the significance of the alliance." [BBC]


    So now you have it. :)

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  • 233. At 08:05am on 28 May 2010, Isenhorn wrote:

    So, Japan’s PM has agreed to keep US base on Okinawa, despite winning the election on the promise to remove it and the will of the people of Japan. The reason for that apparently is ‘Recent developments in the security environment of north-east Asia’.

    How convenient that North Korea decided to sink a South Korean ship now. As convenient as the Spanish ‘sinking’ the USS Main and the North Vietnamese ‘attack’ in the Tonkin Gulf Incident.

    Now the US of A can keep its occupation of Japanese territory 65 years after the end of WWII.

    N. Korea sank the S. Korean ship?
    Yeah, right!

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  • 234. At 11:38am on 28 May 2010, Isenhorn wrote:

    'And Bulgarians and Romanians want us to move in :)))'

    No, they do not. It is only their governments, puppets of the US of A who want that. As was the case with the 'anti-Iran' missiles and radars in Poland and the Czech Republic.

    http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/29851
    http://21stcenturysocialism.com/article/uk_opposition_grows_to_us_missile_defense_system_01782.html

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  • 235. At 2:50pm on 28 May 2010, sean56z wrote:

    The American economy will have a $14.5 trillion debt by December 31, 2010. At the end of March of this year, the U.S. national equity was $14.2 trillion. The Obama Admin must increase exports for revenue. Congress should limit imports. The goods are inferior and expensive. Tech sales overseas eliminate industrial pollution and improve product quality. Congressional proposals to end trade barriers on our exported technology reduces financial insolvency.

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  • 236. At 5:31pm on 28 May 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Personally, to decrease our deficit, I support:
    letting the Bush tax cuts for big corporations expire
    having a temporary tax increase of 2-3% for everyone for 1-2 years
    taxing and giving the exact same regulations to overseas USA companies as our USA companies in the USA have
    legalizing and taxing marijuana like we do with alcohol
    decriminalizing marijuana to help the police force focus on dangerous drugs like meth/coke/heroin, terrorists, rapists, murderers- this would also help prisons, as there are many in jail due to marijuana, why do rapists and child molesters get less time than marijuana users?
    they get paroled, like that guy that killed chelsea king and amber dubois
    cutting all funds, including English classes, housing, college grants/loans, welfare, ect. for illegal immigrants
    putting a temporary tax on all soft drinks across the nation, if we can tax cigarettes, we should tax soda, too
    start Farmer's Markets (green houses) across the USA, to help us be more dependent on ourselves for our food supply, this would add employment, help the environment and communities, be self-sustainable

    There are many ideas that USA can do to reduce our deficit.
    WE just have to actually start doing them.
    SO far, the Dems and Obama do not seem to have much of a plan to reduce our deficit. In fact, they have only added more to it.
    In order to reduce our deficit, Americans should elect new representatives, since our current ones are not up to the job.

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  • 237. At 6:58pm on 28 May 2010, mitty_w wrote:

    Duh. Like we got a choice.

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  • 238. At 11:00pm on 28 May 2010, Billy Bones wrote:

    As a yank whom considers himself an Anglophile it's not a topic to divide us. What we have to understand is that we two nations are of the same seed. The Anglo world has done some very good things this last century. The World wars in the fight for liberty and freedom, the amount of democracies now compared to 50 years ago. Europe gave up her empires in this time period and the results have been mixed but both Great Britain and the U.S. have helped the best that they could in these new democracies to take hold. The U.S. shall take the lead in world affairs because there isn't any other country ready for that role yet. Everyone wants to anoint China the new global superpower whilst forgetting that 50 percent of their population lives in abject poverty. Our poverty in the U.S. consists of people whom have digital colour televisions with H.D., cellular telephones and most having cars to drive. Until the Chinese have a more even handed society their commentary on global affairs shall ring hollow. We yanks understand that for the last 65 years European intellectuals have castigated us unmercifully. This is to be expected from the populations of Europe having experienced the horrors of World War II. However for the last 61 years we yanks have funded N.A.T.O. for the security of Europe. The last things that Europeans want is for the U.S. to move their forces back to home from their bases in Europe. A side note this week was the Japanese government taking the stance that a U.S. Marine base shall be moved to the northern end of Okinawa instead of being dismantled and relocated to another venue such as Guam. Security is a major concern for the world and when you want to be protected you can do a lot worse with going with another country other than the U.S. Not to say that we haven't made our share of mistakes however when you accept the security that N.A.T.O. provides the actions of its largest contributor shouldn't be roundly condemned out of hand. I think that the last few years have shown the utter futility of socialism. To promise in law the immense array of benefits and early retirement for their populations. Plus the inability to pay for all of it shall end in severe constriction of economies and the cessation of scores of benefits now extant. However in the interim a lot of petrol bombs shall be thrown in protest of these austerity measure. Witness the recent riots in Greece. Even with all of the woes that we face in the U.S. the yankee greenback dollar is still the world's currency. This is reinforced by the downgrade of Spain's public bond rating. We yanks are used to everyone else in the world taking out their frustrations and anger on us. It comes with being the sole superpower. However whenever the wolf's at the door, a country with her back to wall shall always ring the global 999 number to reach the U.S. for assistance. We accept this challenge as we have done in the past. Even if you don't like us, please respect that what we're trying to accomplish something that hopefully shall better the condition of the world. Mark, thanks for allowing me to express my views.

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  • 239. At 00:37am on 29 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    238 Billy

    You might want to put some paragraph breaks in your writing.

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  • 240. At 09:42am on 31 May 2010, moionfire wrote:

    I don't understand this nonsense with "leading." Surely the USA government doesn't want to follow, but that doesn't mean the USA has to endlessly lead" countries- especially when they don't want it.

    The US government should be concerned with building up this nation, not getting in other countries business...

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  • 241. At 6:57pm on 06 Jun 2010, turningblueandgrey wrote:

    LucyJ, I really like some of your ideas in 236:

    "Personally, to decrease our deficit, I support:
    letting the Bush tax cuts for big corporations expire
    having a temporary tax increase of 2-3% for everyone for 1-2 years
    taxing and giving the exact same regulations to overseas USA companies as our USA companies in the USA have...

    ...putting a temporary tax on all soft drinks across the nation, if we can tax cigarettes, we should tax soda, too
    start Farmer's Markets (green houses) across the USA, to help us be more dependent on ourselves for our food supply, this would add employment, help the environment and communities, be self-sustainable"

    But my opinion is that legalizing drugs panders to the growing ranks of rationalizers among us who've convinced themselves they are 'functioning' drug users, just like so many are sure they are functioning speeding/aggressive drivers, functioning ever-texting multi-taskers, functioning alchoholics, functioning cheaters, functioning video or porn addicts, etc.

    We could take some lessons from other countries in restraining greed (Canada's banking system is the best example we could study), and there is much we could do better with spending priorities for the long vs. short term, and probably with education, veteran care, or our criminal rehabilitation system. But by and large we set a good (not perfect) example and a high bar for the rest of the world in terms of: the rule of law and due process; workplace and environmental safety; if not the absence, then at least low tolerance for and prosecution of corruption; freedoms of speech/press, assembly, and religion; an ongoing fight against discrimination; and individual opportunity. While the world has a large portion of its billions living under poverty and the tyrannical control of a few, I also see a number of worthy partner nations, many as better examples for certain aspects of society, but no other nation that stands far above as an example in all aspects.

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  • 242. At 7:09pm on 06 Jun 2010, leisurecreek wrote:

    This is a response to HabitualHero's statement...

    GWB was way more intelligent is a statement without any basis of proof...In my opinion, He wanted one thing to line his pockets and to make sure that BIG OIL PARTNERS benifitted from his terms....I am a proud Texan and GWB claims to be a Texan are absolutely not the truth...Remember he was the leader that wanted to open the Alaska Wildlife Refuge to drilling for oil....STUPID...

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  • 243. At 02:42am on 11 Jun 2010, Lyric wrote:

    Should America lead the world ? In the name of the Gods NO. I say this as an American. We are a very young nation. Where in some aspects we are very advanced in others we are knuckle draggers barely out of the cave.
    To look to us for sole leadership of the world would be highly irresponsible.

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  • 244. At 04:16am on 11 Jun 2010, gibben wrote:

    Im an American and it's obvious America won't disappear but power will always find a new place to rest it's head, we have done a lot in our short history we didn't fight for independence to become a World Power we wanted freedom from another nation, we helped our Allies in World War II and put men on the moon we built the largest Military Force in the history of man and are the center of the Finance Universe.

    We are allies with many nations, helped form the United Nations and NATO, we are the center of entertainment, technology, and a source of influence.

    But eventually another nation will take this position so the U.S. can finally rest and not have to deal with the problems of Earth. But for now the U.S. is obviously the World Super Power.

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  • 245. At 2:31pm on 14 Jun 2010, Dr-MAK wrote:

    USA AID to other countries has had great world influence. While some of it was politically motivated and not always free, some of it was inspired. Countries of the 20th century are moving upward in development, closing the gap with the leading economic states, and the world is no longer the same as fifty years ago.

    There are a lot of countries who are grateful to the USA for help and like any relationship, it is not always perfect, but overall the USA has been a positive influence in the world. Leading by Aid.

    If you don't believe it, look at the facts.

    Watch the 22 minute video as Hans Rosling (GAP MINDER.COM) presents "Let My DATASET change your MINDSET" http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_at_state.html

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  • 246. At 06:46am on 15 Jun 2010, Worldcitizen1 wrote:

    Mark:

    "The former Mayor of New York, Ed Koch, has written an interesting article arguing that engagement with Russia and China has meant the US has not stood up for its allies and gives way to bullies in return for insubstantial kind words from the two big powers. But what struck me most forcefully was his take on Turkey and Brazil's talks with Iran, which he describes as "infuriating" and aimed at humiliating and denigrating the United States."

    It is only natural for the former Mayor to feel that way as he is Jewish and is very active in the affairs of the Israeli Government. I know this because I read the Israeli News on the Internet. They (the Israelis) see Russia and China as a threat as they are chummier with Iran than they would like. Personally, I feel that Ed Koch was one of the worst Mayors in the history of New York. He did absolutely NOTHING to reduce organized crime while he was in office. He was reckless in his actions as a leader.

    Obama said:

    "We are clear-eyed about the shortfalls of our international system. But America has not succeeded by stepping out of the currents of co-operation - we have succeeded by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice, so nations thrive by meeting their responsibilities and face consequences when they don't."

    I have to disagree with him here. We are in the mess that we are in with other countries (namely the Muslim ones) because we couldn't keep our minds on our OWN business. We supported Israel when we knew that they had a policy of torture and then to the surprise of most Americans, it was revealed that we did too, when the Abu Ghraib incidents came to light. It is a shame that, for the most part, our economy does pretty well because while we are at war with someone, the war machine provides steady work for the masses--at the expense of humanity.

    People around the world need to realize that if every country that we are at war with suddenly put their arms down and surrendered, our Government would pick a fight with someone else for the sake of the economy. Many people already are QUITE aware of it. What does that mean in essence? It means that EVERY country is potentially at risk of being attacked should the Middle East become our friends.

    It means perpetual war.

    How did we Americans get ourselves in this kind of mind-set? W.W.II taught Americans, and more importantly our Government, that war was good for the economy.

    It must come to an end.

    We Americans have NO right to be in Afghanistan and we must realize that the destiny of the people of the Middle East should rest in THEIR hands and NOT in ours. Also, Israel has a strong capable army. They have nuclear weapons. Let Israel defend itself. More and more Americans are turning against Israel because we don't want to be dragged into another world war: a nuclear war at that. I don't want to see my neighbors or anyone else walking around with their skin hanging off their bodies as was the way in Japan after they were nuked.

    Many millions of Americans are with me on this. We are not wrong in our way of thinking.

    World leadership should not mean world bullying.

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  • 247. At 9:08pm on 15 Jun 2010, MarkH wrote:

    Good leadership will come from whomever can offer it. That's always been true. Powerful effects on the world will generally come from whomever is most powerful. Sometimes America does both. But, the "good" and the "powerful" are not always connected.

    America seeks to do many things, some abstract goals like 'support Liberty & Democracy', some specific and narrow like 'destroy al Qaeda' or 'stop the oil spill', so it's not clear you can make a very broad statement like 'lead the world'. If we have a good argument for something we can make the case and persuade, but all leaders try to do that.

    We're certainly willing to listen to voices from around the world to find better ideas. In fact, our nation was built on ideas from other places combined with experiences of our own.

    Sometimes leadership comes from having a special situation. For example, today the Turks are in a fine position to lead discussions and deal-making for things in the Middle-East. America can't pretend to have that special situation. It won't bother us that another nation has an opportunity to do good (to make a big splash as it were).

    Another great example was an idea or two which came from Gordon Brown's administration during the financial crisis. Ideas can come from many places.


    Mark

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  • 248. At 9:08pm on 19 Jun 2010, JMM_for_now wrote:

    When before, in human history, has such a question been asked, and why not?
    Should Rome lead the World, should Russia lead the world, should the British, the French or the Brazilians do so?

    Why US?

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