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Disengagement(48 posts)

Disengagementmohair_chair
Dec 16, 2002 12:06 PM
I read in the paper the other day that there was a huge protest in South Korea against the United States, which really made me wonder. This is a country where 33,686 Americans died fighting to win their freedom and where currently 37,000 troops man the front line to ensure it, and they seem to hate us.

What if the United States were to pull troops out from everywhere and the US retreated back into relative isolationism? All alliances would be maintained, but there would be no more foreign bases.

What if all foreign aid ended, and the United States became just another country on the block?

Would this solve anyone's problems? Would the people in these countries who hate the United States be any better off? How happy would the South Koreans be? The Saudis and Kuwaitis? The Israelis?

I would so love to see it happen. It would be nice to take the money saved and fix some of the problems at home for a change.

Maybe it's time to pull out and see what happens.
There seems to be some thought percolating through isolationistbill
Dec 16, 2002 12:17 PM
circles that we engage in other countries' affairs through the goodness of our hearts and that withdrawing will be a deserved punishment to these other countries. We'll show them, the thinking goes.
But, we are not there for them at all. We do it for OUR interests.
Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that, but it robs the argument of its power. We are not in South Korea because it makes South Koreans happy (or unhappy), ever and again. It's not about South Koreans. We are there so that this foreign government, as well as the government of every other country in which we engage, will be beholden to us. So that we can influence what happens there. It's pretty hard to do that from a distance.
Pull out and see what transpires? It'll never happen.
But where would we get oil and cheap labor/manufacturing?czardonic
Dec 16, 2002 12:47 PM
At this point in the game our presence overseas has less to do with protecting "freedom" than protecting free economic exchange, regardless of local politics. Just look at how cozy we are with totalitarians like the Saudis and communists like the Chinese. These days we'll back just about anyone who can guaruntee favorable trade terms.

Would they be better off without us? Probably not. Would we? Perhaps, if it meant finally taking alternative fuel seriously and re-examinig our consumer oriented economy. It'll never happen though.
re: freedomtao
Dec 16, 2002 1:09 PM
I'd argue that free economic exchange is a part of Western Freedom itself. A foreign policy agenda that promotes free trade doesn't infringe upon other parts of freedom. In fact it allows these parts to grow by empowering the worker, slowly allowing him to see the benefits of free thought, speech, religion, and trade. This is the biggest fear of non-Western societies, that the commoner will embrace freedom. We must do our best to promote it.
Argue it to a woman in Saudi Arabia.czardonic
Dec 16, 2002 1:45 PM
Or to a kid chained to a sewing machine in some thrid world country.

A foreign policy that promotes free trade can and does infringe on other parts of freedom. How does propping up governments that exploits labor (like China) empower the worker? The fact is that we have supported all manor of oppressive and anti-freedom regimes and systems for economic gain.

This, incidentally, is why so many countries dislike us. They are wise to the freedom bait and switch. We promise free speech, and the expect the to settle for the "freedom" to sell their labor for 15 cents a day after their US backed totalitarian government siezes their land for cash crops, logging or strip mining.
Coming from a mysoginist like youmoneyman
Dec 16, 2002 2:02 PM
That's a hoot. As if you had empathy for women anywhere, you of the diparaging anti-woman remark. Just look here for proof that you equate women with weakness.

$$
Someone give this jacka$$ a carrot (and a dictionary) (nm)czardonic
Dec 16, 2002 2:16 PM
I like carrots.moneyman
Dec 17, 2002 6:51 AM
Denial does not relieve you of your guilt. As we have already been over the definition of "Wussy". It is clearly a term that is derogatory towards women, even if you use it to describe men. It is that exact use that places you in the category of misogynist, saying that men are weak because they are like women. Your use of it expresses the belief that women are weak and not to be taken seriously. It furthers that stereotype, much as racial characterizations further stereotypes about minorities, yet you fail to recognize that in your own use of words. What's next? Watermelon and fried chicken to describe African Americans? Speedy Gonzales as representative of Mexicans? It's so easy for you to cast conervatives in the light of "hate" while you practice intolerance yourself. Words mean things, and your use of words, while appearing on the surface to be just stupid and insensitive, reflect a much deeper attitude of condescension, anger and hate towards women.

Think about it, czardonic. There's probably more truth to my analysis than you are willing to admit.

$$
Apparently, you don't know the difference between "unmanly". . .czardonic
Dec 17, 2002 11:00 AM
and "womanly". Let me see if I can explain.

"Umanly" means dishonorable, cowardly, and unbecoming of men. As such, it has nothing to do with women. It simply describes a male who does not posses the qualities typically associated with "men". Where you are getting confused is in your assumption that anything "unmanly," is therefore "womanly." This is an ignorant and sexist notion. Women are not, as you seem to believe, defined by that which is unbecoming of men.

So, moneyman, I've thought about it and I am afraid that there is no truth to your analysis. Your accusation of mysoginy on my part is actually rooted in your own predjudiced and pejorative opinion of women.
Catch-22Captain Morgan
Dec 16, 2002 2:07 PM
Sorry to disagree with everything you say, czar. However, it is a catch-22 situation. We are criticized when we support some totalitarian governments and also criticized when we do not support them. Other countries are jealous of our way of life. In some ways we all like to see the 'favorites' tumble every now and again and the 'underdogs' to win.

Also, the U.S. economy drives the world economy. When we do something for economic gain, it is also for the gain of the entire world (ever see our huge trade deficit?).
When are we criticized for <i>not</i> supporting totalitarians?czardonic
Dec 16, 2002 2:14 PM
Other than by Corporations who have signed contracts with the offending country?

Not everyone was thrilled to be conscripted into our global machine. To be sure, the few who control capital are happy to play ball, but that is rarely determined democratically. I would argue that while free trade does not have to infringe on free society, free society must come first to ensure that it doesn't.
Iraq (nm)Captain Morgan
Dec 16, 2002 2:23 PM
I don't see what you are getting at. (nm)czardonic
Dec 16, 2002 2:44 PM
Here's my pointCaptain Morgan
Dec 16, 2002 4:08 PM
The U.S. is criticized when it takes a passive role (Yugoslavia, China). The U.S. is criticized for supporting totalitarian governments (Saudi Arabia, Iran (pre-1979)). The U.S. is criticized when it tries to overthrow totalitarian governments (Iraq). Its a catch-22. To call a spade a spade, liberals such as you will criticize the U.S. government because there is a Republican in office, just as the conservatives criticized when a Democrat was in office.
I see.czardonic
Dec 16, 2002 4:23 PM
I think that this is a problem of our own making. We have supported or tolerated so many totalitarian regimes that when the U.S. announces a new policy of opposition to totalitarianism, people like me wonder if that means that we are going to be fighting for freedom or some new, more America-friendly opressor.

I am not opposed to deposing Saddam if there is a commitment to foster true democracy in Iraq. As much as that is the stated goal, there is very little in the way of commitment to follow through.
There is a fine lineCaptain Morgan
Dec 17, 2002 6:23 AM
No matter how this thing transpires, there will be criticism. There is a fine line between helping a country set up a true democracy and looking like we are setting up a puppet regime. This is especially an issue in the middle east, where they want our $$$, yet want to exert their independence. You say the U.S. is hypocritical, which may be true, but the middle eastern countries are just as hypocritical. If they can't sell their oil, what else do they have to contribute to the world economy?
Wow you've changed.Sintesi
Dec 17, 2002 7:20 AM
"I am not opposed to deposing Saddam if there is a commitment to foster true democracy in Iraq. As much as that is the stated goal, there is very little in the way of commitment to follow through."

Who could have predicted this statement from czardonical 3 months ago. The kid is softening up like nobody's business.

So you approve of attacking Iraq if it is for freedom and democracy? I think this board is getting to you. Maybe you should go back to crackpot school for a refresher.
No change. Oh yeah, and Bush is still a neo-fascist. (nm)czardonic
Dec 17, 2002 11:03 AM
That's a ridiculous statement.Captain Morgan
Dec 17, 2002 11:14 AM
A fascist? It is silly of you to even compare the two. Then I suppose Gore is a neo-communist?
Not quite.czardonic
Dec 17, 2002 11:34 AM
There are plenty who think of Gore as a neo-communist. Heck, one need only support tax breaks for the working class and health coverage for the needy to be branded a communist.

By that standard, Bush and Ashcroft's police state ambitions are plenty sufficient as far as fascist bona fides go.

Just my personal opinion, though.
re: interesttao
Dec 16, 2002 2:28 PM
What country doesn't act in their own interest? It's the government's job to act in the interest of their people, not to choose the interest of say Yemen over their own people. Why is the US the only country criticized for this?

Countries don't dislike us because of some false promise but for much more fundamental reasons. Arab countries don't like the US because its highest principle is freedom, i.e., the ability for each person to choose a course. They believe religious virtue is a better principle because only God, and not a mere person, has the ability to decide what is right. China and N. Korea (and some conservatives) dislike us primarily because of what they call our moral decline, they say we've solved the basic economic problem of society but not the moral one. Remember that freedom also allows people to choose to behave badly, and this is what they can't stand.

European criticism seems to stem from some outrage at the US being the sole superpower, and it's now the superpower part per se that enrages them, but the fact that it is the US. The French in particular are outspoken about this and it strikes me as mere jealousy. And don't get me started on the liberal multicultural argument against America.

Current world economic trade theory isn't perfect, far from it, but even liberal economists believe free trade and investment in Third World countries is the best thing for them. Twice in the last century the US saved the world, first from Nazism and then from Soviet totalitarianism. Do you think the Soviets would have been such gracious winners? America doesn't always pick the correct policy, no one country does, but God help us if we fail to win the first major battle of this century.
The US holds itself to a higher standard.czardonic
Dec 16, 2002 2:52 PM
Sure, all coutries act in their own interst. But the US has cast itself as the protector and guardian of freedom. As such, it opens itself to criticism when it chooses the economic interests of it's citizens over the basic freedoms of some other country's citizens.

You can't have it both ways. Either we are the leaders of the "free" world, or we are just leaders of the world, freedom notwithstanding.
exactlytao
Dec 16, 2002 3:32 PM
We do hold ourselves to a higher standard. And other countries, particularly our enemies, see this as a weakness they can exploit. The only battle we've lost is Vietnam, because we didn't know exactly what we were fighting for, and not for any other reason.

Our detractors hope that by appealing to our conscience about one alleged hypocrisy or another they will eventually latch on to something and weaken our resolve, and thus our chance for success. All independent of the current issue at hand of course, you'll note they'll usually go back in time and say for example, "supporting the Afghans in the 80's is hypocritical with your current policy of eliminating the Taliban". Hoping, I guess, that we'll forget about the Soviet invasion and 9/11, and that times and circumstance change.

You make it sound like American policy will choose a dictatorship over true democracy if it means 5 more bucks for us. This is ludicrous. When in fact America will trade will a country to help itself and the other country, there's nothing hypocritical about it. Do you really think the Chinese would be better off in any sense of the term if we didn't trade with them?

Again, free trade is a vital part of freedom, without it there is no true freedom. Would you rather we invade China and force them to accept freedom? What do suggest is the proper policy for China and how exactly is allowing more of their work force a chance at a job and the ability to feed themselves a liability given the current situation? If you're aware of or have some economic or foreign policy that you believe will help the situation, please share. This isn't to say you shouldn't be thoughtful and critical, only that denoucing something implies a better way of doing it which I haven't heard.
I don't think all detractors can be lumped together.czardonic
Dec 16, 2002 4:04 PM
There are those who point to our failings as evidence that our system has failed us. But there are also those who point to our failings as evidence we have failed our system.

Taking the Taliban as an example, we supported them in order to spite Russia, not because we wanted Democracy for Afghanistan. Over and over, when we have compromised in our pursuit of freedom, it has come back to haunt us.

America wouldn't trade democracy for dictatorship over 5 bucks, but there is a lot more than 5 bucks at stake. I don't know what the exact dollar amount is, but you can't deny that we support countries like Saudi Arabia, where we are helping a despotic leadership that denys to its people the very rights that we claim to stand for. In China too, instead of using our massive economic clout to force them to endow their people with greater freedom, we let them slide as long as we can reach an economic accord. Of course, we still pay lip service to human rights issues, but can you imagine us saying that we will not do any business with them until they free their people (or even just stop menacing Taiwan)?

Free trade is a vital part of freedom, but only when people are already free. What freedom does your average hand-to-mouth laborer in the third world have, other than the freedom to starve rather than work for next to nothing? Free trade doesn't endow him with freedom of expression, freedom of religion or even the right to vote.

My "alternative" really isn't an alternative as much as a commitment to our convictions. In cases like China we are too polite about demanding reforms, and too content to accept excuses and lip service as long as the cheap goods keep flowing.
Chinamohair_chair
Dec 16, 2002 4:13 PM
You keep speaking of China like it is a backwater third world nation, instead of the nuclear regional superpower it is. You earlier claim that we are propping it up is ludicrous, and now you say we are too polite about demanding reforms.

Newsflash: If China wants reforms, it will reform on its own terms. What the United States wants for China is irrelevant in their eyes. China sees itself as an equal to the United States and therefore will not be lectured to. When was the last time we listened to any criticism the Chinese had to say about our government?
Chinaczardonic
Dec 16, 2002 4:32 PM
China clearly poses a different challenge than Saudi Arabia. Nonehtheless, we are propping up China. Unless you are saying that they could acheive and maintain nuclear superpower status without us as a trading power. (Maybe they could, I don't know how much money there is to be made dealing with the former Soviet states). As powerful as China is, they need us. We could probably find other places in the world to manufactur our goods. We don't do it because it would cost more, which is to say, we support China's military regime because it is economically expedient.
no they can'ttao
Dec 16, 2002 4:44 PM
But how is helping a relatively defenseless country defend itself against Soviet invasion and then giving it billions of dollars to try and ensure it "chooses" a good form of government on its own betraying any ideal? We gave them the chance and support to choose freedom; this seems entirely consistent with classic American ideology. Remember, forced freedom is no freedom at all. (We only force it when international law and the free world endorse it as part of the surrender for those who attack us.)

As far as forcing China's hand more I'd tend to agree although we've tried that with Iraq and I'll bet you'll agree that is hasn't resulted in any positive changes from the regime. Do you expect it would work any better with China?

And no, I don't think giving jobs to Third World countries is some great gesture guaranteeing a quick change to democracy and freedom as a whole. But I do think that introducing free trade into an otherwise closed society is about all we can do, without force, for some countries. Merely giving people the choice of jobs and a couple of options for dinner is a luxury we can't begin to appreciate, and the more choice we bring into the country the better the chance that the people themselves will start to demand the "right" to choose their own destiny in all areas of their lives. This is better than anything we can force on a country.
Sounds goodSteveS
Dec 17, 2002 9:24 AM
On the surface all this sounds good, however, there is a greater likelihood that vast segments of the world are not prepared culturally for democracy and it's many manifestations of "rights" as Americans view them. Many of those 3rd world workers that are chained to sewing machines (or whatever you said), were squatting in rice paddies for all the millenia up to 20 or 30 years ago, and living hand to mouth at that. Whatever their background, their culture had developed around values very different that what created America. Therefore, democracy as we view it, may not be right for them. And yes, the U.S. has allied itself with non-democracies against our enemies, the late and in some areas lamented, Communism. Probably will continue to do so, for America's welfare at the moment.

China has and will continue to exist whether all the liberal philosophies of the world like it or not. As their premiere just retired recently (Xiao Minh?) told the Communists around him in his last speech, be flexible. China has the manpower, culture, intelligence, and mercantile history to evolve. No protests in the West are going to affect them at all.

Several years ago, a group of liberal British inspired their school children to mount a massive letter-writing campaign to the government of Malaysia to complain about logging in the rain forest, formerly known as "the jungle." In essence, the Premier/President of Malaysia wrote back and said, how dare the Brits who industrialized Britain and then colonized the world for Britain's benefit only, have a right to complain when Malaysia had millions of people to feed, educate, and raise their standard of living?

Now I am not in favor of stripping the jungles of trees, but it does show that the 3rd World has their own ideas, whether liberally-minded affluent Westerners like it or not. Actually, if Malaysia falls into the radical Islamic camp, I would favor cutting off business with them, but that still would not resolve Malaysia's own views of how to reach their economic goals, and that most certainly would not be along the path approved by sociologists at say, California-Berkley.
That's part of the problemmohair_chair
Dec 16, 2002 3:39 PM
One of the big problems with the United States is that Americans tend to want everyone to be like us. This is a problem, especially because Americans as a whole tend to be ignorant of other cultures.

Americans cringe when they hear that workers producing goods for American companies only get 5$ a day in some third-world country, ignoring the fact that most of the workers in that country don't make anywhere near as much, if they have jobs at all.

Americans cringe when Singapore applies the same punishment to an American citizen that it would a Singaporan. Or when Peru imprisons an American woman working with Marxist rebels planning to take the Congress hostage. Or when Japan wants to put a US Marine on trial for raping a young girl. These are Americans, there must be an exception!

That's part of the problem with the image of the US in the world. The US may hold itself to a higher standard, but it seems incapable of understanding that Americans aren't special by definition because of this.
applause applauseDuane Gran
Dec 16, 2002 6:20 PM
That's part of the problem with the image of the US in the world. The US may hold itself to a higher standard, but it seems incapable of understanding that Americans aren't special by definition because of this.

I couldn't have said it better myself. Personally, I was in full support of caning that vandal in Singapore.
True true.Sintesi
Dec 17, 2002 7:36 AM
Good points. I just want to make the comment that I agree living standards are different in other countries and it wasn't too long ago these economic standards existed in the US. Want to see kids in a dangerous harsh work environment? Men and women working 6-7 days a week 12-14 hours a day? Look at the Good ol' USA in the Industrial Age. One might assume that at some future point as said "foriegn" countries' prosperity improves, so will the need for skilled and educated workers and perhaps a higher livng standard? Maybe it's just a matter of time and every modern economy needs a starting point.

But as a counter point, we do need to import our standards of employee labor from a human rights perspective. I've heard stories of some shops (even here in NYC!) that are merely a step above slavery. That ain't right and we shouldn't be profiting from such practices if we can help it.

PS. By all means CANE THE TWERP!!
same old placemohair_chair
Dec 16, 2002 1:09 PM
We pull out troops and stop giving away money, but this doesn't have to change any of our trade practices. As the largest economy in the world, the US still carries considerable weight in trade that will not disappear if we pull out troops from everywhere. Who will the Saudis sell most of their oil to if not for America?

Backing totalitarians doesn't mean we have to station troops there.
Don't be so pessimistic. It's just a matter of time before weeyebob
Dec 17, 2002 8:35 AM
have to really embrace the alternative fuel stuff. What I don't get is why this isn't at the top of any politicians list of things to do. It's got all the right ingredients. Here's what you do. Get a bunch of respected techy folks (engineers, automotive people, computer folks, everyone that would have to be on a R&D team) together to go in front of cameras and say that alt. fuels are the way of the future. Offer huge tax breaks to companies how do this work. Trot out the progress to the media periodically while all the while having some Govt. spokesperson explain how this has such a positive impact on the US. I cannot believe that there are not some pretty bright entrepeneurs out there that wouldn't make a killing developing and selling alt. fuel. The Southwest US is just ripe to have huge wind turbines set up.

The problem is that some political folks have to take this mantle up. If that doesn't happen, then you're right, it'll never happen otherwise. Big Oil, and manufacturing have too much at stake as well as 100 years of infrastructure to fight it. Personally, I would think tha t GM etc. should lead the way. The US is ready for alt fuel vehicles, why not alt. fuel generators? Home heating appliances?

BT
I don't think alternative fuels will get whole-hearted supportczardonic
Dec 17, 2002 11:40 AM
until every last drop of oil is sucked out of the Earth and every last oil dollar is made.
I think that you're wrond. I think that in the not too distanteyebob
Dec 17, 2002 11:49 AM
future the politico will recognize that there is good money to be made by alt. fuel. To be perfectly honest, given the recent advances in Solar, Wind, hydrogen fuel cell apparati that the issue is just waiting for the right spokesperson to carry the torch. Hillary and Bill did a ton of good when they proposed a National Health Care system if for no other reason then they brought it to the forefront, right? If I'm a Democrat, I seriously consider this topic as something to support.

BT
I hope so.czardonic
Dec 17, 2002 12:13 PM
Nonetheless, look at it from an economic point of view. To abandon oil any sooner than is absolutely necessary would be a waste of money. And the only two ways that it will become and absolute necessity is when oil runs out, or alternative fuels become cheaper.

Most people who are not on the oil gravy train already recognize that given the environmental damage and political outfall, alternative fuels are probably already cheaper. But, as long as politicians are willing to divert money from the public coffer to their own pocket by lowering taxes and deploying the military to increase contributions, the oil dependent industries will not have to bear the true cost of oil.

Between the fossil fuel industry's immense economy of scale and the political systems corruption by legislative and executive quid pro quo, alternative fuels simply can't "compete."
Right, on about the quid pro quo but what alt. fuels have ineyebob
Dec 17, 2002 12:52 PM
their favor is the fact that the "truth" is relentless. The "truth" is that alt. fuels are the future if for no other reason than the fact that without significant changes to cunsumption/efficiency, fossil fues will eventually give out

You're right that there's no reason to stop (from an economic standpoint) until it does run out. I guess that makes Bush a smart guy, huh?

BT
(Sigh) yeah, those big bad oil companies...VertAddict
Dec 19, 2002 2:01 AM
What makes me laugh (or want to cry) is that you guys that talk smack about oil companies are the first ones to bitch about the high cost of gasoline in the summer. You want it both ways, cheap gas and unprofitable oil companies. Take economics 101.

It's the same as the California environmentalist that can't reconcile the fact that coal power plants are an environmental evil but can't get cheap electricity (if any at all) for his air conditioner during the hot summer. There must be some evil power producer or oil company to blame for that too...

Czar, I can't believe it, but there was one point you made that I (sort of) agreed with. For alternative fuels to succeed, they have to work economically, and so far that is not the case. Either the supply has to get cheaper, or the demand has to go up, ie. consumers stop insisting on that big sports utility and put their dollars where their environmental mouths are, in a matchbox sized hybrid Honda Civic that gets 70 mpg. Somehow, that model didn't seem to take the world by storm...

And believe me, despite all the X-files type conspiracy theories to the contrary, if alternative fuels were a money maker, someone would be making a killing at it right now. Heaven knows there are enough companies that have already tried. Kind of reminds me of all the countries that tried hard-core socialism and failed... funny what happens when you try to violate the simple laws of Economics (again, just look at California).
You don't know jack, or czardonic.czardonic
Dec 19, 2002 10:35 AM
I don't own a car and I gleefully welcome higher gas prices, however temporary. Gas prices are already artificially low, thanks to massive tax payer subsidies. If people were paying what they pay in the EU or elsewhere, they might not think it is so necessary to have 6 extra seats in their car for the 1% of the time they actually need the space.

Which brings me to your point about alternative fuels and the laws of Economics. What makes me laugh (or cry) is the way you Laws of Economics 101 types refuse to admit the degree to which these "profitable" oil companies are actual operate outside of anything remotely resembling a free market. I'd like to see how competitive these companies are minus tax-payer sponsorship in the form of military protection of their supply, legislative bias against alternatives, and the ability to externalize the cost of cleaning up after themselves and their products.
You assume that we'd actually save money.eyebob
Dec 17, 2002 8:23 AM
By pulling out of every foreign country militarily we'd sacrifice everything that got us to the point where we are in history. The answer isn't to pull out, it's to fix out image and change our goals. Not easy but we must try.

BT
huh?mohair_chair
Dec 17, 2002 8:43 AM
By pulling out of every foreign country militarily we'd sacrifice everything that got us to the point where we are in history.

What does that mean? Sacrifice everything?
We are there to preserve what we have.eyebob
Dec 17, 2002 11:03 AM
A few of the posts above have touched on this idea, but let me pick a specific example. If we do not spend un-Godly sums of money to have a military presense around the globe we will not have the same influence in those places (obviously I seperating out our trade/economic impact from our military impact here which isn't to say that the trade/economic impact isn't important). From what I understand, our military has so many covert (not necessarily the sneaking around within a foreign country type) of operations throughout the globe mostly so it will provide intelligence on our neighbors (friend and foe) which can be used for both military and economic purposes.

We are a presence around the world not just because it places our forces in strategic places (for attack purposes) around the globe but to ensure that our best interests economically are reassured. Why else would we spy on our friends (which we do)?

At this time in our history, we must keep a presence or risk losing everything. This coming from a basically liberal idealoge (me).

BT
spoken like a true imperialistmohair_chair
Dec 17, 2002 12:00 PM
I hope that's not true. I don't think American troops are stationed in places like Germany and Italy and Japan to ensure our interests there.
huh?eyebob
Dec 17, 2002 12:47 PM
Why do you think that we're stationed there?
not because of imperialismmohair_chair
Dec 17, 2002 1:21 PM
I unintentionally named the three biggest losers of WWII, but the United States has bases and a military presence in 38 other foreign nations and territories. This includes bases in places like Norway and Turkey, sharing agreements with the United Kingdom, as well as golf courses in Germany and in Korea.

I've looked through the list and with maybe one exception, none of these foreign bases resulted from imperialism. In no case did the United States did not seize conquered lands and subjugate the peoples. In no case is the presence of the United States not by invitation from the host nation. Some of these are also NATO bases. The only exception is the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but even this was granted by treaty.
Okay, but why do you think we're there? NMeyebob
Dec 17, 2002 1:32 PM
wrong questionmohair_chair
Dec 17, 2002 2:05 PM
Why we are there has a lot to do with past conflicts and where we perceived the future conflicts would occur. That explains out huge presence in Germany and Korea. It explains why we used to have huge bases in the Phillipines. This had nothing to do with either economics or imperialism. It had to do with containing the spread of Communism, which no longer needs to be contained.

The question should be, why are we still there? The next war won't happen in Germany, or anywhere else in Western Europe. It won't happen in Japan. I think it's time to let the Germans and Japanese take over defense of their countries.

Let's not forget that we still have a Navy, which gives us a forward presence just about anywhere in the world we care to go.
You are partly right.eyebob
Dec 17, 2002 3:07 PM
I would suggest that we're still in Germany because there are bases there that support the operations that could occur in the Balkans, the Middle East, The former Soviet Republics as well as the Soviet Union. Japan isn't likely to be attacked, but Taiwan or SK might be.

Ultimately I still think that the military presence is as much about intelligence gathering as anything else.

Good point about the Navy, but they cannot carry out the same objectives as land based operations groups can.

BT