Dec 24 Sources: The Little Red Hen of Multilateralism

There are several articles about our alliances and the limits of multilateralism. You can find most of them under Old Europe can Gloat but Then What? & A New Course for U.S. Policy. There are several articles under this one. The problem for the U.S. is that many like talk about helping and almost everybody likes to criticize but when it comes to doing the hard work, help is pretty thin on the ground.

We should not be surprised at the challenges. We learned about it when we were kids with the story of the little red hen.

Other sources are below.

Old Europe can Gloat but Then What?
A Nation of Shopkeepers, Mostly Online
U.S. & Allies Must Learn About Alliances
A New Course for U.S. Policy
America & the War on Terror
Confronting Holocaust Denial
Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction
Make PAYGO Discipline the Budget
Religious Beliefs Vary Greatly by Country
Why Religion Matters Even More: The Impact of Religious Practice on Social Stability

Posted by Jack at December 24, 2006 12:23 AM
Comments
Comment #200285

I love your “lil’ red hen” story.

How does that go again? Oh yeah, Ebeneezer hires an undocumented immigrant to plant his crop.

Then he turns the “alien” in for the bounty.

Then he irrigates his crop with the polluted water just downstream from his unregulated feedlot operation.

Then ‘ol Ebby hires some more “illegals” to harvest his crop.

Then when folks start gettin’ sick he cries loudly, “It’s them damn illegals”! “They’re unclean”! “It must be the illegal’s!”

They planted it!
They cultivated it!
They harvested it!

I only made money off of it, it must be their fault!

Posted by: KansasDem at December 24, 2006 3:42 AM
Comment #200286

Curious Jack that you didn’t offer this item from your link on a new course for US policy;

http://www.brookings.edu/views/op-ed/talbott/20061218.htm

As Talbot makes clear, it was the US that broke it, or perhaps more correctly, the Bush admin. I always thought that if you break something, then you take responsibility for putting it right. And that means working together with goodwill and committment towards your friends and allies. I note your highlighted article still refers to old Europe, a term that is a term of derision. How about a dose of Dale Carnegie’s how to make friends and influence people?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at December 24, 2006 5:54 AM
Comment #200287

So let me get this straight. First you say you don’t want their help and don’t need it, and now that Iraq has turned into the biggest screwup of the century you are bitching that Europe won’t do more to fix it? Do people like you ever do anything but point the finger?

Posted by: Max at December 24, 2006 6:27 AM
Comment #200288

If some other country started a dumb, rash, stupid war, and then expected us to bail them out, what would you expect the U.S. to do?

Posted by: Max at December 24, 2006 6:29 AM
Comment #200291

Americans suffer from the hubris that they alone know how to act in their own best interest. This is why Americans can’t leave Iraq, they don’t trust the regional nations or associations to respond to a growing threat in Iraq in our absence. This is a folly which permits Americans to tread down the path of bankruptcy and domestic disarray as they put other nation’s problems before their own.

Hubris. Good word for America!

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 24, 2006 8:29 AM
Comment #200294

It certainly didn’t take long for the anti-American rhetoric to rear its ugly head.

In the article [America & the War on Terror]
one of the poll questions states that it is against American law for the government to assassinate terrorists who commit their crimes on American soil and then flee to other countries.
This is incorrect. The anti-assassination “law” is not a law at all, but an Executive Order. (signed by Jimmy Carter, if I remember correctly) Executive Orders are not law. They are administrative regulations applicable only to employees of the executive branch. The President has no authority to make law. Only Congress can make law. (Art. 1, Sec. 1)
Congress is authorized by the Constitution to “grant letters of marque and reprisal” (Art.1, Sec. 8) These are assassination orders. This can be done by ordering the President to use the U.S. military or by commissioning private individuals or groups or by issuing bounties.
The only way this power can be changed is through a constitutional amendment.

Posted by: traveller at December 24, 2006 9:06 AM
Comment #200295

btw-I think the time is long overdue for Congress to exercise this power.

Posted by: traveller at December 24, 2006 9:08 AM
Comment #200296

Jack, thank you for pointing me to the AEI and Brookings site again. I had given up reading most of their ‘learned’ drivel a couple of years ago. Nice to see their facing a bit of reality here.

I disagree with your ‘little red hen’ analogy though. The Republicans went along with the Bush Doctrine and anything the administration wanted. Their leadership in the House and Senate silenced any genuine discussion of foreign policy repercussions and, in fact, questioned the patriotism of any who did not quietly go along. The Republican leadership made a sham of any attempt to provide oversight into war policy, spending, and foreign or domestic policy. Democrats were denied subpeona power at hearings, were locked out of setting hearing agendas, denied time for any substantive questions, and were often silenced when questions were deemed ‘off topic’. In short, the Democrats were not allowed to participate in foreign policy agenda and were allowed little domestic policy input. This is how the Republicans and Bush treated our own elected officals.

Our allies were given the same type of treatment and attitude. What incentive have they (or the Democrats until recently) for suggesting ‘fixes’ for Bush’s myopic foreign policy vision? What good will come of them trying to help sort this mess out? It is what it is, as Rumsfield used to say.

Personally, I see no good possible outcomes on the horizon from the foolish and brazen invasion of Iraq. Many people foresaw this type of situation from the day Bush set troops on Iraqi soil. But they were allowed no access, no input, no voice. Now you ask for their involvement when the deed has turned out badly? This is like the spoiled frat boy calling daddy when he screws up. Where is Bush’s sense of accountability and leadership. I heard alot about that as he smirked at the Democrats during the election of 2000. His basic attitude toward me and my ideas was one of contempt. He treated his allies the same way basically.

I don’t know how the region will sort this all out, but there is dang little we will be able to do to fix this. Our Allies know this. When I was growing up, my mother would have told me not to play with someone who was a bully, a liar, and a cheat… which is what BushCo is. I’m sure our old ‘partners’ have this in mind. They understand the need to stay allied with the US. I will understand if they take the position of waiting this administration out to deal with the next president who may be more honest, forthright, and forward thinking.

Posted by: LibRick at December 24, 2006 9:23 AM
Comment #200300

Jack,

LibRick is right…’old Europe’ may have to ‘get along’ with the neighborhood bully, but cooperate and assist???

Posted by: Marysdude at December 24, 2006 10:46 AM
Comment #200301

Paul


You didn’t read far enough into the links. It is among the links under the New Course for Policy, first one down.

Max

I never said I do not want any help. What I have said repeatedly is that sometimes we really do not get much help, although we get a lot of advice. I wrote a while back re Afghanistan, which almost everyone agrees is a just war. Some allies (Brits, Canadians, Australians) are helping all the way. Some others are helping with lots of caveats. The Germans, for example, are helping a lot but will allow their troops only where they will not do any real fighting. Most of the rest of the world just talks.

David

I think in Iraq we have a problem with the regional powers involved. The Bush policy attempted to break free of the old cynical politics of power. As Condoleezza Rice said, for 50 years we had sacrificed liberty for stability and got neither. I know the realists are now advocating a return to the stability and they will get their way. But I do regret, as you should, that the liberty attempt is floundering.

Librick

Please see above to Max.

I think we did make a mistake early on NOT allowing allies to help, but let me give a little background and try to recreate the climate of the time.

After 9/11, we got lots of sincere sympathy and offers to help from our allies. NATO voted to invoke Article 5 of the NATO alliance. Allied NATO planes patrolled U.S. airspace over the Atlantic. It was a moment of great solidarity.

Then we decided to invade Afghanistan. Our allies, again, wanted to help, but now there was a logistical problem. Few of our allies have an expeditionary military. Sorry to be simplistic to those who understand the term, but that means their forces really cannot move far and do not have capacity to carry on a complete operation. Some of our allies, if they were to get to Afghanistan, would have to be transported by the U.S. in place of U.S. troops.

Politically, that would have been a very good idea. From a war fighting perspective it was bad. You would be bringing in new troops with different and sometimes incompatible equipment and training. The U.S. did not NEED non-Afghan allies to defeat the Taliban in the initial fighting. We needed them soon after, but in the initial fighting most were in the way. We made what in retrospect was a bad expedient decision to go it mostly alone. When we came back later for help, we had kind of missed the train.

It was not, BTW, an easy decision. Bringing in allies in the first weeks probably would have caused more casulities and slowed the operation. In return, things would have gone smoother politically later on. It was a trade off.

Posted by: Jack at December 24, 2006 11:00 AM
Comment #200303

Marysdude

The U.S. and Europe cooperate on so many issues we often overlook the extremely good relationship. We disagree about some key issues, but there is sometimes not all it seems. For example, we cooperate very well with Europe on environmental matters in reality, once you get beyond the rhetoric and ask the people who really know.

Posted by: Jack at December 24, 2006 11:10 AM
Comment #200305

Jack, forced liberty is not liberty. Liberty, if it can be sustained by a people of a nation, must be self-determined, home-grown so to speak, and fashioned in by influence of the reality of the values, morals, religions, culture, and traditions of the people.

If liberty of their own fashioning is lost in Iraq, it is because the Iraqi’s were not ready for liberty. Bush’s domino theory of liberty was straight out of Alice In Wonderland. Look at Russia. They are losing more and more liberty every month, but the people feel themselves so much better off today, than ever before. They have choice, and often choice is, in reality, a substitute for liberty, which may overtime lead to the creation or recreation of liberty, and maybe not.

But liberty fashioned by a foreign invasion is never going to survive home rule. Liberty in Japan and Germany are very different things than liberty in America. Iraqi’s may fight to the death for home rule. Obviously, they will not fight to the death for our version of liberty.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 24, 2006 11:43 AM
Comment #200306

Jack,

The administration very clearly communicated, derisively, that they didn’t need any help. For hundreds of years the understanding that foriegn nations only act in their own self interest has been the basis of our foreign policy. Why should they act now? Wny should they get involved in cleaning up a way they never thought was a good idea to begin with. They told us so, only to be laughed at.

Posted by: Max at December 24, 2006 12:04 PM
Comment #200307

David

In both Vietnam and Iraq, our troops are not imposing democracy but trying to keep tyrants from imposing something else.

It is as if you neighborhood is controlled by gangs. Nobody sends in the police, because they assume you are not ready to be free of gang violence.

I think you might well argue that we CANNOT accomplish the tasks, but you should not argue that they are not good things.

Max

It depends on which “mess” you are talking about. In Afghanistan, most people said (or now claim) they supported the the war and thought it was just. Nobody has any excuse for not helping out there. I explained some of the early glitches. I hope you understood the nuances.

In Iraq, we went into that conflict with the support of MOST of the countries of the EU. But as for supporters and detractors alike, you answered your own question. If allies & others think it is in their interest to let Iraq fall into chaos, they may wish not to do anything to help. If not, that is why they should act now.

Posted by: Jack at December 24, 2006 12:23 PM
Comment #200308

Remer -
“If liberty of their own fashioning is lost in Iraq, it is because the Iraqi’s were not ready for liberty.”

Ha! They obviously ARE ready for liberty. 1)Look at how many took the chance of voting when there was a good chance some who did would be killed. They had a higher percentage of voters at their elections than we, in the USA, usually have. 2) Citizens took political appointments and have taken other risky jobs that they knew would be targeted by assassins. 3) Men have taken jobs in the police force and Iraq army even though those positions are extremely dangerous. Unlike our soldiers, they don’t have body armor or armored personnel carriers.

The people of Iraq are ready for liberty. They are not being allowed the freedom by sectarians and other hate-filled murderers. If they now seem reticent to fight for the freedom they desire, it is only because their enemies have been encouraged to increase the troubles for those who stand up for freedom as a result of the Democrat win in our congress (they know they can win if they force the US forces to withdraw and they know that this Democrat congress will hand them that on a silver platter).

Posted by: Don at December 24, 2006 1:34 PM
Comment #200315

>>Men have taken jobs in the police force and Iraq army even though those positions are extremely dangerous. Unlike our soldiers, they don’t have body armor or armored personnel carriers.

Posted by: Don at December 24, 2006 01:34 PM

Don,

47% unemployment may have more to do with this than altruism.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 24, 2006 4:37 PM
Comment #200316

>>we cooperate very well with Europe on environmental matters in reality, once you get beyond the rhetoric and ask the people who really know.

Posted by: Jack at December 24, 2006 11:10 AM

Jack,

You cite a Bush appointee as a reliable spokesman on environmental cooperation between the US and Europe?

Posted by: Marysdude at December 24, 2006 4:42 PM
Comment #200319

Marysdude

Did you read what he said? He is not asserting as much as describing the negotiations and cooperation. If you think he is just lying, it would be easy enough for you to disprove. Otherwise, just admit your mistake and move on.

Posted by: Jack at December 24, 2006 5:40 PM
Comment #200328
The problem for the U.S. is that many like talk about helping and almost everybody likes to criticize but when it comes to doing the hard work, help is pretty thin on the ground.

First Republicans say no one can criticize them, they can’t wait to think it through, they’ll go it alone, they don’t need stiking Europe. Now you’re complaining that Europe needs to join in? Gimme a break, they said this was a stupid move in the first place, and you haven’t posted any real reasons for them to do anything besides saying talk is cheap. They didn’t fall for the baiting the first time.

Posted by: Max at December 24, 2006 6:59 PM
Comment #200329

Max

With all due respect, you need to look a little harder at the world of diplomacy. Talking is nice; doing is harder. Sometimes people say things they don’t really mean and do things they don’t say.

Much of Europe did join in. It depends on how, when etc.

I would also ask you to differntiate among issues. Afghanistan was very different from Iraq and that is very different from Darfur or Iran, and Korea is different from all of them. In Iran, for example, Europe took the lead, with U.S. blessing. In fact, Bush gets criticized for being too hands-off. The same is true with the SIX party talks in Korea.

You must also stop looking at the world as the U.S. and foreign. There are lots of different players. Some are on our side in one issue and against in another.

Posted by: Jack at December 24, 2006 7:15 PM
Comment #200333

As Condoleezza Rice said, for 50 years we had sacrificed liberty for stability and got neither.

Posted by: Jack at December 24, 2006 11:00 AM

Jack, that’s a crock of ykw. For 50 and more years Western countries, especially the US and UK have cynically exploited this region and were happy to play puppet master, discarding those who were inconvenient, such as Mossadegh. The only stability you were interested was in keeping the oil flowing, under American, British and French control.For all of your seeking of liberty, nary a mention of offering your liberty to Saudi, nor even Kuwait, whose liberty, such as it is, was bought with principally US military determination. I don’t hear Condi, nor you calling for the treatment for these places.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at December 24, 2006 8:55 PM
Comment #200335

Paul

Yes. That is the stability she was talking about. Keeping the oil flowing kept the world economy going.

We would probably be better off encouraging liberty. Even people who do not like us will sell oil somewhere and oil is fungible. But I think the realists are back in the saddle, and not only, or especially, in the U.S. The Russians, French and Chinese were playing that game in 2002 and now everybody is in on it again.

There is a valid caveat. The one we are getting trouble for is overthrowing a sovereign country. If everybody respects sovereignty in that region, reform will come very slowly.

Posted by: Jack at December 24, 2006 10:00 PM
Comment #200341

Don, use some logic, guy. If the Iraqis were ready for liberty as we define it, why won’t they stop the in fighting which threatens that liberty with ever harsher martial law, which is NO LIBERTY at all?

Significant numbers of Iraqis are not ready for liberty - liberty must be accompanied by responsibility - the ability to respond appropriately. Iraqis want liberty like 10 year olds want their automobiles, but they are not ready for liberty - because they are not ready to assume the responsibility that can maintain it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 25, 2006 4:47 AM
Comment #200345

>>Iraqis want liberty like 10 year olds want their automobiles, but they are not ready for liberty - because they are not ready to assume the responsibility that can maintain it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 25, 2006 04:47 AM

David,

I think the same can be said of many Americans…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 25, 2006 10:51 AM
Comment #200348

>>just admit your mistake and move on.

Posted by: Jack at December 24, 2006 05:40 PM

Jack,

Since I made no assertion, but merely asked a question, perhaps it is you who should admit…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 25, 2006 11:29 AM
Comment #200349

Let me answer your question then. You should believe this guy because you can check his assertions. He is a reliable spokesman. In this case practically unassailable. Sorry if I misunderstood your objection.

Posted by: Jack at December 25, 2006 11:44 AM
Comment #200351

Marysdude, true enough ! Hence the low voter turnout, and abject failure by 3/4 of Americans to track political news and politician’s records (save for what they can cram into 1 hour of reading 3 weeks before an election). Less than 25% of the eligible voters cast an informed consent on election day - and no - straight party ticket voting is not an informed consent - it is a blind faith consent.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 25, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #200363

“straight party ticket voting is not an informed consent - it is a blind faith consent.”

Not necessarily.
Membership in a party indicates an adherence to the core ideology of that party. If someone finds that ideology utterly reprehensible then straight ticket voting for the opposite party is not blind faith consent.
Based on a lot of the statements made on WB I’ll bet there is a lot of that among its participants.
Unfortunately, when the choice is between Dems and Reps the choice is not between two different ideologies. It is between two ways to apply the same socialistic core ideology.
That’s why nothing ever really changes when we “throw the rascals out” as we shall soon see demonstrated again.

Posted by: traveller at December 25, 2006 6:24 PM
Comment #200371

>>He is a reliable spokesman. In this case practically unassailable.

Posted by: Jack at December 25, 2006 11:44 AM

Jack,

By whose measure? Does this administration have any ‘reliable’ spokesmen?

Posted by: Marysdude at December 25, 2006 9:04 PM
Comment #200372

Marys

You can check. You can find European spokesmen saying the same things. If you do not have the ability to check independently and choose simply to negate based on your prejudices, we have no basis for further discussion.

No more pearls for you on this subject. I refer you to Mr. T’s tag line.

Posted by: Jack at December 25, 2006 9:32 PM
Comment #200374


Why did most of our allies and many other World governments reject the Bush Administrations request for assistance to invade Iraq? To determine this, we must examine some of the evidence leading up to it.

While campaigning for president, Bush announced that if elected, he would not get the United States involved in foreign entanglements. He was lying, not only to us but to the World. One can easily argue that with reguards to the terrorists and Afganistan, the President was forced to abandon that pledge and I agree. There is ample evidence to support the notion that Bush deliberately lied with reguards to Iraq and if things had gone better there then Iran.

One, Dick Cheney chose himself to be the V.P. candidate.

Two, Cheney is a member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

Three, When the Electorial College elected Bush, the PNAC became the defacto government of the United States.

What is the stated goal of the PNAC? Through the use of political, diplomatic and military power, the United States will forge a New World Order with the United States as leader of the World and all other nations deferring to our leadership and our interests. No longer will we just act in our own interest, we will make the World act in our interest because our interests are what is best for the whole World.

This objective is why our allies rejected our offer for them to join in the invasion of Iraq and the future invasion of Iran. The Bush Administration will not reject this objective and that is why our allies will continue to reject our pleas for assistance.

Posted by: jlw at December 25, 2006 9:56 PM
Comment #200375

jlw, an excellent synopsis!

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at December 25, 2006 10:06 PM
Comment #200384

>>No more pearls for you on this subject. I refer you to Mr. T’s tag line.

Posted by: Jack at December 25, 2006 09:32 PM

Jack,

Pearls of wisdom??? What arrogance! Oh all wise and all knowing one, how can I get back into your good graces? I grovel at my master’s feet…

Meanwhile, does the phrase ‘practically unassailable’, (when talking about people refered to by the ‘reliable spokesman’ of the Cheney/Bush administration) ring false to anyone else here?

Posted by: Marysdude at December 26, 2006 8:17 AM
Comment #200386

Marys

Groveling is distasteful for all involved. All you need to do to get back in good standing is to check for yourself the veracity of what the guy says. If you find something he says is incorrect, point that out. I cannot accept that he is wrong simply because he represents the U.S. government.

Let me give you a head start. Since you will not believe what your own government officials say, try here. This is from the Finnish government in their capacity as EU president. The U.S. official claims to have been talking to them about environment. They claim to have been talking to the U.S. officials about the same thing. Maybe they are all lying to you. In this case it is not only me you have a problem with, but with all people who base their beliefs on empirical evidence. I am sorry, but I do not have access to revelation as you must.

You may grind this pearl into the mud too if you wish, but with this MO I do wonder if your quest for knowledge is unambiguously successful.

Posted by: Jack at December 26, 2006 9:16 AM
Comment #200395

Jack,

The difficulty in debating people from your perspective is that you start from a completely false premise. I.e. That the administration is honest about its intentions and that those intentions include the long term well being of America. Bush has no cohesive policy beyond a bricolage of political expediences designed to perpetuate their hold on power. (Fortunately, that strategy has failed). Their public statements are designed to avoid obvious contridictions (not that hard as long as the lies aren’t obviated by things as obvious as Aziz saying the US forces weren’t in Baghdad while standing in front of US tanks in Baghdad, and like your hero Rummy said “absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence”).

Either you are in denial of the realities, embarassed by the realities, can’t see the reality through the GOPer colored glasses, or, like Rush, just repeat the party line out of fear of being further disenfranchised. Trying to bash people like dude with wise cracks doesn’t prove your points any better or worse than your links or hyperbolic defensive arguments. In any case, at least you have your trees.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at December 26, 2006 12:03 PM
Comment #200399

Dave

Are you refering to my castigating Marysdude?

I did not ask anyone to trust what they could not verify. I gave an example of where the U.S. was cooperating. You can check. I even provide a start in FINLAND. I assume you do not believe that Bush controls the EU presidency. If he does, he is not getting much payoff.

I am sorry if the truth does not match with your paradigm. I gave you all a factual statement. You do not have to trust me, but you have the duty to verify, not merely negate.

In this case, I have a very specific point. You can check. You are entitled to your own opinon, but not your own facts.

Posted by: Jack at December 26, 2006 12:19 PM
Comment #200407

Ouch, so testy!.

How does your being factually correct in a single instance suddenly make someone ‘practically unassailable’? You also talk about the majority of the EU supporting us on the Iraq invasion. How much of that was the result of the contemporary realities of post 9/11 and having to follow the American President and how much of the EU populace, or the world, actually believed Bush on WMDs? We were the world leader then, no one really believed the US would lie about such things.

Sorry, but narrowly defined circular-logic pseudo-realities are not valid in my paradigm.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at December 26, 2006 12:58 PM
Comment #200414

Jack: One would think we could get a little Multilaterialism in exchange for a little Multinationalism. I just can’t understand why the Chinese won’t help us in Iraq. Our corporations have bent over for them and everyone’s bottom line has been improved. This news article I came across tells some of the great things Wal-Mart has been doing for China.

updated on Monday, December 18, 2006
8:04 Mecca Time.

U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart has set up a new branch of the Communist Party at it’s China headquaters after allowing unions to operate in it’s stores earlier this year.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc, known for it’s anti-union stance in other countries, opened the new branch at it’s head office in the southern city of Shenzhen.

If Wal-Mart can go Communist, surely to Confucius the Chinese could help us out in Iraq. They must not understand that there is even more profit potential possibilities in a union with U.S. forces in Iraq. What are they, Ducks? Perhaps they are Shenz Hens but in no way related to the Little Red Hen.

Posted by: jlw at December 26, 2006 1:34 PM
Comment #200418

Dave 1

I was talking about this case because that was the example I chose. It is an important topic to me (environment), a key issue between us and the EU and a very much misunderstood theme in international affairs.

I gave a good source. Since the entire executive branch works for the president, I really cannot find anyone else to talk about negotiations between the U.S. and EU on this subject. It is very straightforward. Anyone who can read and had access to the internet can confirm the details.

A valid disagreement could have been that the negotiations do not do (fill in the blank) or the results will not be what we hope for. The troglodyte response is, “He work for Bush. He lie,” which is what I got.

That is just dumb. Take the worst case scenario. Even people who habitually lie can sometimes tell the truth and there is little incentive to lie if everyone can easily check.

Some people want to engage in the emotive “Bush bad” thing. They are not interesting in looking for the truth and probably would not recognize it if they stumbled over it.

The Bush policy toward Europe has gone through several stages. Relations today are very different from what they were in 2004. This is not a secret, but evidently many people have nor the energy & curiosity to study it nor the intellectual capacity to understand nuance.

I spend some of my time educating people about these things. Most weeks, I post a group of sources, usually on foreign affairs and the environment. They are idiosyncratic, but cover the broad middle of American opinion. I do not agree with all the sources. In fact, I rarely even agree with myself over time, but they provide the basis of an understanding.

We are all entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts. I write opinions based on facts and experience. I can be wrong. That is why I never disparage people who disagree with my opinions, but it does get tiresome when I have to deal with those who refuse to do their homework.

jlw

The Chinese have little incentive to help in Iraq. In fact, their incentives are almost opposite ours. They understand and play power politics. Democracy, for them, is not a goal. In fact, it is a type of pathogen to be contained as much as possible. It is much easier for them to make a deal with a dictator. A reasonably democratic middle east is a negative for them.

Posted by: Jack at December 26, 2006 1:53 PM
Comment #200430

Jack,

I was sidetracked and unclear… My basic premise was that you complain about the limitations of multilateralism then point to how the EU is like the cat, goose, and dog. (Who’s Germany?) Your precursors are that Bush had an interest in gathering multinational support for OIF like Bush I and ODS yet there were multiple reasons why it wasn’t practical and now that the “hard work” is continuing they have no interest in helping (or something like that).

However, evidence shows that Bush would have proceeded unilaterally and any consensus building was pro forma and desirable, but not really relevent to his agenda. That’s why I referred to your false premise.

We can’t argue about what happened in the past without remembering what the world was like and the history that had happened until that time.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at December 26, 2006 3:52 PM
Comment #200434

Dave

President Bush was inexperienced. Probably the best experience to be president is to be the governor of a state, but governors do not deal much with foreign policy.

9/11 put a terrible burden on him. If you want to refer to history, try to recall how you felt on September 12. He wanted to get things done, maybe too fast.

Our relationship with Europe, however, was and is a two way street. BEFORE Iraq, the SPD used anti-Bush rhetoric to win a close election. When they talked about aggression, they meant Afghanistan. The French were also playing a power game, trying to discipline potential new EU members. Chirac famous told them to be quiet and keep out of world affairs. MOST EU member states supported us in Iraq. The famous opponents were France, Germany and Belgium. Each had its own reasons, some good; others not. The Chinese and Russians, along with the French, could block any UN resolution. None of these guys wanted Saddam gone (and their reasons were not fear of instability).

So it is imporant to remember that MOST EU & most Nato member states supported us (although not with much) and we never went against a UN resolution. Lack of UN agreement is not the same thing. Saddam was violating UN resolutions. We were not.

Our relationship with “Europe” was complicated by the fact that there is no such thing as Europe in foreign policy. A majority of the EU member states supported us. Two really big ones (and some little guys) did not.

Our relations with the countries of Europe and the EU have improved a lot in the last couple of years.

They were never as bad as some people thought (nor so good back in the good old Clinton days).

9/11 is a big breaking point. It made the U.S. behave like someone whose house has been attacked and kids hurt. That will always strain relationships. It is easy to love a victim (as we were on 9/11). It is harder when the victim gets up and starts kicking ass.

But do recall WHEN the breach started. It was Afghanistan. That is what figured in the German elections in 2002. That is why a prominent German MP compared Bush to Hitler and that is where all those guys from Guantanamo came from.

Without a doubt, Iraq is the 800 pound gorilla in the room, but a pretty big monkey was already on our backs before Saddam jumped into that spider hole.

Posted by: Jack at December 26, 2006 4:12 PM
Comment #200445
9/11 put a terrible burden on him. If you want to refer to history, try to recall how you felt on September 12. He wanted to get things done, maybe too fast.
As a native New Yorker, at home in Boston watching the towers fall on TV, thinking of people I knew possibly/actually dying at those moments, I won’t forget how I felt, ever. I also remember how I felt when I learned that Bush had planned the invasion of Iraq since the day he took office (SecTreas Oneill). I also remember how I felt when Powell went before the UN and lied about WMDs. I also remember how I felt when I read the Downing Street memos, and the Nigerian memos, and the Plame affair, and and and…

I felt betrayed by the President. Your premise of 9/12: Bush wanted to defend America. My accumulated understanding: Bush recieved bonus political capital to nation build on a neocon agenda. Remember, that IRAQ had NOTHING to do with 9/11. Combining the emergence from the shadows of euro-aryan racism, ethnocentrism, and fascism with the roots of 9/11 is intelectually and emotionally insulting.

He has no credibility left with me. He is a lame joke and will detract from our standing as a world power as long as he is in office. They will respect “the office,” but not the clown in it.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at December 26, 2006 6:02 PM
Comment #200450

Dave1-20-2009
If Powell lied, then so did Murtha, Kerry, Kennedy, Pelosi, Boxer, etc. They were all speaking the same language. One document does not prove any point. Several documents will start to put some truth to a point. If your key sources are CNN, NYT, etc. it becomes clear how you feel the way you do. You do not have to do what I do, but here is what I do. I read and listen to the source on the opposing side of how I feel. I read and listen to source on the side I agree with. I sort out the fraff. I look at any point they agree on. I try to find the reason they oppose me. It is not always easy. Too many time on these pages people rant because it makes them feel good to be a conservative or liberal or extemist of any sort. They do not research their points. So, they don’t make any new converts or even sway anybody with their arguments.

Posted by: tomh at December 26, 2006 6:43 PM
Comment #200452

“euro-aryan racism, ethnocentrism, and fascism”

Some members of that Bush administration, like SecState Powell and National Security Advisor Rice must have left their Bund uniforms at the dry cleaners. I guess Rice does have a nice pair of tall boots, however.

He’s a question, of the four SecStates in the Bush & Clinton Administrations, how many non-Euros were there in each?

Posted by: Jack at December 26, 2006 7:13 PM
Comment #200495

Jack,

What’s happening in Europe is what I was referring to, not some irrelevent comparison between Bush and Clinton. Nothing changes the fact that Bush is a derided clown to much of the world and Clinton is not.

tomh,

The evidence is overwhelming; your decision to ignore the truth and rationalize Bushes lies is your choice, there is no reason to debate it with you. But, what is “fraff”?

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at December 27, 2006 11:31 AM
Comment #200498

Dave

Clinton was too. Read what the Euros said about him early in his presidency.

Take this as a quick and casual search -

Clinton / Europe Meeting (CBS) from the Vanderbilt Television News …CBS Evening News for Sunday, Dec 04, 1994 … says European leaders have the same doubts about Clinton’s leadership ability as the American people do. …
openweb.tvnews.vanderbilt.edu/1994-12/1994-12-04-CBS-3.html - 8k

In many ways, Bush is derided overseas because American media have made him so. We hang our dirty laundry out more than most.

Posted by: Jack at December 27, 2006 11:51 AM
Comment #200523

Thanks for the link, the whole quote:

[Heritage Foundation Lawrence DiRITA†- says European leaders have the same doubts about Clinton’s leadership ability as the American people do.]

Not very convincing. Especially the “dirty laundry” thing. The euros really know how to beat on their politicans, they just think we’re stupid for allowing a focus on consensual sex instead of focusing on starting a war illegaly.

And, do you really really believe that the Europeans form their opinions based on what Cooper or Dobbs or even Moyers say? … In any case, what were people saying 6 years into #42 vs. #43?

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at December 27, 2006 1:47 PM
Comment #200536

I do believe that much of the news that others get about us comes from here. It just makes sense. What do you know about the UK or France? Where does that information come from? Others have reporters here, but they are living in the American media environment.

I think a really good example of good news being lost in the perception of bad news is the economy. What I find really interesting now is a comparison of now (with economic growth at around 2%) and 2003-5. We now here commentators comparing the “poor” growth now with the “robust” growth of those years. During those years, MSM rarely described them as good, but now they are past…

Anyway, Bush has gotten better at diplomacy, as CLinton did as all presidents must. The Iraq war hangs like an albatross around his neck, however.

BTW I think the Clinton sex thing was stupid too, but liberal brought that on themselves with their extreme views on sexual harassment etc. Clarence Thomas was castigated for allegedly saying there was a pubic hair on his coke can. Clinton asked women for a BJ. It was really funny to hear all the femists trying to find a way to justify that.

Clinton did some good things on purpose, such as NAFTA and welfare reform. He also did some good things by accident. For example, he stopped the sexual harassment jugernaut and brought it back to reason. He discredited the idea of a special prosecutor and he helped knocked affirmative action off the moral high ground by giving up on the idea of past wrongs and instead saying it wanted to make something “look like America” kind of like matching furniture color.

Posted by: Jack at December 27, 2006 4:16 PM
Comment #201198

I do believe that much of the news that others get about us comes from here…Posted by: Jack at December 27, 2006 04:16 PM

No, it doesn’t make any sense. It’s like saying the French get most of their information about Iraq from Iraqi television.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 2, 2007 3:58 PM
Comment #201203

Dave

Iraq is a little different because there are so many others looking in and Iraqi journalism is not well developed, but in a country like the U.S. (or France) most of the opinion about it comes from home-grown analysts and commentators.

If you were to study France and the MSM in France kept on saying their leadership was bad, maybe you would take their word for it, assuming they know their own country. I expect foreigners feel the same about us.

Posted by: Jack at January 2, 2007 5:11 PM
Comment #201268

Despite the fact that our leadership is worse than bad;
If I want to know what sells to Americans as news, then I watch American MSM news. If I want a more 3D perspective, I go elsewhere. I also distinguish between journalists, such as those found on PBS, NPR, and the big 3 vs. columnists, such as those predominant on Fox. It’s all pieces of a puzzle but American news panders to profit more than most first world nation’s.
Finally, you say Iraq is different because ‘there are so many others looking in’. Do you seriously believe there are more foreign journalists in Iraq than in the US? Do you seriously really people in France watch Fox or even CBS news more than they watch EuroNews or France24?

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 3, 2007 10:02 AM
Comment #201458

Jack,

Hum? You mean UK, Poland, Spain and Italy here?
Since, only UK remains supportive, involved in Iraq war.

If allies & others think it is in their interest to let Iraq fall into chaos, they may wish not to do anything to help. If not, that is why they should act now.

Allies and others think their interest are better served right now by showing to Bush’s America what’s blind unilateralism really means.
They may wish to help more the next US administration, though…

Oh, and Iraq felt in chaos long ago already. Iraq never was nation with people sharing strong common values. It was always 3 opposing communities, shiites, sunnis and kurds. It take a dictator to keep them together, should be telling enough, no?!

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at January 4, 2007 12:22 PM
Comment #201461
It is easy to love a victim (as we were on 9/11). It is harder when the victim gets up and starts kicking ass.

Kicking unrelated ass don’t help in that matter, either.

But do recall WHEN the breach started. It was Afghanistan.

It was Gitmo, not Afghanistan war. Gitmo start it all. EU people was against Iraq war because they didn’t swallow the WMDs threat. Unfortunatly, some EU governments at this time were fearing too much disagreeing with Bush and offer support in Iraq. Symbolic one, except for UK.

And did you noticed that these governments were defeated in elections since, except for UK (again)?

Most EU were NOT supporting Iraq War. Most governments didn’t had the balls to officially disagree with US/Iraq war, and offer limited support for diplomatic reason. That’s different.

Except for UK. ;-)

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at January 4, 2007 12:44 PM
Comment #201486

careful Philippe,

Jack believes the reason why the Euros bailed on the Iraq war was because of American MSM.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 4, 2007 3:05 PM
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