April 5 Sources: Germany=Arkansas

One of my sources poses an interesting paradox: when American growth rates dip below 3%, pundits call it mediocre, but when Germany spikes above 2%, they hail the growth spurt. The article also makes some surprising comparisons. If ranked with individual U.S. states, most European nations would fall on the poorer end of the scale.

Germany, for example, has a GDP per capita a little bit bigger than that of Arkansas. Who knew Arkansas was rich? Other sources are below.

Domestic & U.S. Politics

Anatomy of an Insurance Class Action-describes characteristics of more than 700 class action cases against large U.S. insurers.

Anna Nicole Smith - Anatomy of a Feeding Frenzy

Beating the Market, Winning the World Series - A new book chronicles how savvy objectivity took the Boston Red Sox to the top.

Critics unhappy the House Speaker wore a head scarf in Syria should realize she was just trying to fit in. Play of the day.

Cruising for News: The State of Digital Journalism

Gains for Guns: NRA Image Improves, Support for Firearms Controls Slips - Surveys find favorable view of the NRA rising and support for firearm laws declining.

Giuliani, McCain Lead among Evangelical Republicans

How They're Stacking Up - As fundraising heats up for the 2008 presidential election, who will come out on top in the next quarter?

Insurance Class Actions in the U.S. - This book presents the results of surveys of insurers and state regulators to learn more about class litigation against insurance companies.

Iraq Beats Hostages In Public Attention - Anna Holds Her Audience- While the media focused more on British sailors held in Iraq and the US attorneys scandal, news from Iran remains the public's clear priority.

Little Confidence in Military or Press Depictions of Iraq - Anna Nicole Still Draws a Core Audience

Power of the Purse Is Enough - How much authority does the Congress have to direct the way a war is waged? John Yoo debates Bruce Ackerman over between Congress and the president over wartime authority.

The Caravan Passes while the Dogs Don't Bark - Those who oppose presidential power in Iraq but supported it in Kosovo are trying to have their cake and eat it too.

The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Households to the U.S. Taxpayer - Low skills cost taxpayers big money. The cost of the government benefits low skill households consume greatly exceeds the taxes they pay.

The Massachusetts Health Plan: An Update and Lessons for Other States - New estimates show that competition will help Massachusetts residents save on health coverage.

The New Dynamics of Managing the Corporate Portfolio

Video Game Addiction: Is it Real?

Weak, Loose, and Decentralized Is No Way to Run a War - The legislature cannot be trusted with wartime tactics and strategy.

Foreign

Breaking Point: Measuring Progress in Afghanistan

Confronting the North Korean Nuclear Threat - The Six-Party Talks will fail if North Korea does not decide to give up its nuclear weapons completely.

Cuba's Transition After Castro: Cuban-American Views

Darfur at a Crossroads: Global Public Opinion and Responsibility - Brookings hosted a discussion to examine the relationship between global public opinion and policy options for the troubled region of Darfur.

Europe Submits to Peace - On March 30, the EU's foreign affairs ministers gathered in Bremen, Germany, to discuss Iran's kidnapping of 15 British soldiers

Getting on the China Train - China is expanding its railways, but it needs to privatize its network to truly meet its transport needs.

Improving Cognitive Effectiveness in Counterinsurgency - The steps that current U.S. counterinsurgency operations must take to move beyond the use of force and “fight smarter” against a networked global insurgency that is quick to adapt, transform, and regenerate.

Lost in Translation - A real disagreement about the appropriate role of art.

Promoting Stability and Democracy in Pakistan - In order to ensure that Pakistan sets itself on a path of moderation and stability, the U.S. needs to find ways to use its diplomatic leverage with Pakistan more effectively

Science, Religion, and the Human Future - Science offers truth about the way the world works, but religion offers truths about who we are and why we are. Science and religion, therefore, need not be enemies.

Subjective Macroeconomics - European economies face the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Testimony: Iraqi Force Development and the Challenge of Civil War - The Critical Problems and Failures the US Must Address if Iraqi Forces Are to Do the Job

The Battle of the Blog - Several high-profile cases show bloggers’ new political influence, but repressive regimes are fighting back.

The Next Challenge with Iran - The release of British detainees prompts debate over the direction of Iranian foreign policy and future negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

Why Population Aging Matters: A Global Perspective

World Publics Say UN Has Responsibility to Protect Against Genocide

Posted by Jack at April 5, 2007 8:35 PM
Comments
Comment #215289

Jack,
for a compilation of some national fertility rates, a recent publication by Mark Steyn (America Alone)provides some worthwhile statistics, 2.1 births per woman being the minimum to maintain a population’s status quo as you know :
USA 2.11
New Zealand 2.01
Ireland 1.9
France 1.89
Australia 1.7
U.K. 1.6
Canada 1.48
EU average 1.38
Germany 1.35
Japan 1.32
Italy 1.23
Russia 1.14
The Caucasian world and Japan should be very concerned about these demographics because shrinking populations cannot afford to create significant old age arrangements. Increasing wealth appears to encourage lower birthrates at the expense of national and cultural survival. Not a pretty picture.
Fred

Posted by: Fred at April 5, 2007 10:03 PM
Comment #215307

Jack, Have you not heard of the Walton family? No, I don’t mean John-boy. Duh.

Posted by: gergle at April 6, 2007 3:49 AM
Comment #215312

I guess we all need to be poorer in order to increase the birth rate, seems we are on the way here in America. Soon all there will be is the upper class and the poor, goodbye middle class.

Posted by: BILL at April 6, 2007 7:34 AM
Comment #215313

Fred,

2.1 births per woman being the minimum to maintain a population’s status quo as you know

Replacement fertility is not the same all over the world. It depends on child mortality, which, as you know, is not the same everywhere. In Niger, the top ranking country, a 2.2 rate will be a sub-replacement rate, for example.
But in most western industrial countries, it’s not.

Child mortalities and fertility rates should be taken together tbefore judging about a nation population survival

Regarding your numbers, here a more up-to-date table:

2006 rates (2000 rates change):

World average: 2.59 (-0.21: 2.80)
USA 2.09 (+0.03: 2.06)
France 2.01 (+0.12: 1.89)
Ireland 1.86 (-0.05: 1.91)
Australia 1.81 (+.0.02: 1.79)
New Zealand 1.79 (-0.01: 1.80)
U.K. 1.66 (+0.03: 1.63)
Canada 1.61 (-0.03: 1.64)
EU average 1.47 (?)
Japan 1.40 (-0.01: 1.41)
Germany 1.39 (+0.01: 1.38)
Italy 1.33 (+0.15: 1.18)
Russia 1.28 (+0.03: 1.25)

That’s from this fertility rate list on Wikipedia.

Check also this colorfull world fertility rates map.

It seems that the numbers differs greatly depending on who gather them. The CIA factbook seems quite conservative, while national or supra-national statistics institutes are most of the time above. Anyway, the general tendancy is interesting.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 6, 2007 8:06 AM
Comment #215316

Oh, BTW, I try to take every numbers from Steyn with salt since he seems to be confusing percent and quantity:

By some projections, the EU’s population will be 40 percent Muslim by 2025.

40 millions maybe, but not 40 percent. In fact, around 75 millions of muslims are projected by 2025 in EU, which will give between 15 and 20%.

With such Math skills, someone should tell him to stop project numbers, he could hurt himself badly.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 6, 2007 8:25 AM
Comment #215320

Jack,

From Subjective Macroeconomics:

Thus, even if growth were to be higher in Europe than in the United States for a few years, the prosperity gap between Western Europe and the United States, currently about 30% in GDP per capita terms, will remain almost untouched.

Yep. That’s the cost to have a better lifetime average expectency, an universal healthcare system, more free time, better education of our children, less child mortality, less polution.
Most europeans chose everyday to trade money with life quality.

How weird some nations don’t reason only on economic terms.

You can always get more money. But you get only one life.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 6, 2007 8:38 AM
Comment #215328

Nice one Philippe! The question we need to ask ourselves, both as Europeans and as Americans, with the great increase in wealth in our respective regions, are people more fulfilled? Happier? Do they have the time to invest more in their families? In regenerational leisure? Chasing GDP has brought us a sometimes very strange culture. A Britney culture, a 5 minute celebrity culture, a shopping culture, as if people are trying to get to a point where they are satisfied and fulfilled, but there are more shops and malls that have to be conquered first. I shop, therefore I am. But are people more connected, happier, loving, freed from fear? Comments anyone?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at April 6, 2007 9:42 AM
Comment #215336

Paul
“But are people more connected, happier, loving, freed from fear?”

I think it all depends on how a person decides to try and live their lives.
People who live to keep up with the Jones, have to have the latest and greatest gadgets and who believe they should be given everything, probably are not.
And the people who live within their means and put family first, probably are.

Its sad how people would rather live their life through a celebrity instead of for themselves.

Posted by: kctim at April 6, 2007 10:23 AM
Comment #215353

I still haven’t seen the shrinking middle class theory any where around me yet.

We are building more & larger suburbs, more luxury cars and SUVs, more plasma screens, more xBox360, these are signs of a flourishing economy!

A shrinking middle class would not be buying a two story suburban home on a 1/4 acre, driving an H2, and playing Call of Duty 3 on xBox360 live on a broadband internet connection.

A shrinking middle class would be living in a ranhc home, driving a Hyundai, and playing Diablo 2 on a WalMart e-machine.

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at April 6, 2007 1:51 PM
Comment #215367

Bryan,

We are building more & larger suburbs, more luxury cars and SUVs, more plasma screens, more xBox360, these are signs of a flourishing economy!

Most if not all plasma and LCD screens are build n Asia, I think.

A shrinking middle class would not be buying a two story suburban home on a 1/4 acre, driving an H2, and playing Call of Duty 3 on xBox360 live on a broadband internet connection.

Hum… credit card?

A shrinking middle class would be living in a ranhc home, driving a Hyundai, and playing Diablo 2 on a WalMart e-machine.

Maybe the shrinking middle class is working at WalMart, buying its food at WalMart and take bus back to its rented home.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 6, 2007 5:47 PM
Comment #215397
Hum… credit card?

Absolutely. I think it’s been over a year now since Americans crossed the line into negative savings. As a whole, Americans are living on foreign-financed credit.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 6, 2007 11:48 PM
Comment #215398

From, “Testimony: Iraqi Force Development and the Challenge of Civil War”

If Iraq is to avoid a split and full-blown civil war, it must do far more than create effective Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). No such effort can succeed without an integrated strategy to forge a lasting political compromise between its key factions: Arab-Shi’ite, Arab Sunni, and Kurd — while protecting other minorities.

President Bush’s response: “The solution to Iraq — an Iraq that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself — is more than a military mission. Precisely the reason why I sent more troops into Baghdad.”

Posted by: American Pundit at April 6, 2007 11:54 PM
Comment #215400

From “Breaking Point: Measuring Progress in Afghanistan”

Although reconstruction investments by the international community have enhanced social services and infrastructure, deteriorating security conditions, a scarcity of competent personnel, and low quality have limited access and its benefits for many Afghans.

I love the fight in Afghanistan. It’s the good fight that all you Republicans hoped Iraq would be, but never could be.

Even better, Afghanistan doesn’t need more troops as much as it does police, help with its judicial system, teachers and engineers.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 7, 2007 12:05 AM
Comment #215412

Jack,

Germany has had a sluggish economy for a long time. The 2.7% growth was a spurt - for them. That same level of growth is mediocre for the US. What’s the deal? You’re comparing the US growth to a country’s that has been dealing with terrible economic problems to show what? That we’re doing well? Wouldn’t it be more fair to compare apples to apples?

Posted by: Max at April 7, 2007 1:05 AM
Comment #215424

Max

It shows how you can get used to good news and discount it. It is also a reality check. When you have unemployement of 4.5% and growth at 3% for an extended time, you probably cannot get very much better.

Paul, Philippe & my American readers

I prefer European cities. They are pleasant, compact and usually full of interesting things. I do wonder, however, if I would be so enthusiastic if I had to live the life there. Americans are often surprised at the size of average European houses and the problems with plumbing etc.

When you compare the U.S. and Europe, you have to be careful about where you look. Europeans have rich cities surrounded by depressing suburbs. Americans have poor central cities surrounded by rich suburbs.

Returning to living preferences, not everybody shares mine. Most people I know really like to live in the suburbs. They usually complain about it, but if you look at their REAL preferences (i.e. what they consistently do, not what they say) they clearly choose the suburban lifestyle. So do Europeans when given similar options.

Some of the things you list are not really advantage to Europe. Although both Europe and America have become cleaner in the last decades, Europe as a whole is significantly more polluted than the U.S.

I would also quibble that education is better in Europe. U.S. university education is generally better. Europe usually wins in k-12 and vocational education. It also depends on where you go in the U.S. and where you go in Europe. America is more diverse, but you are catching up. Compare your problems with Muslims in your suburbs to ours central city problem.

I think that quality of life in the U.S. and Europe is roughly comparable. Our societies make different choices. When I write re Europe/U.S. comparison, I am mainly writing for an American audience. I am glad to have Europeans comment, but I am mostly explaining to my fellow Americans, most of whom have not lived outside the U.S. They like to cherry pick. It would be nice if we could do that. I would choose to live in a European city, but have an American home and backyard. I would like the European security, but have American opportunity. I would like to get European social services, but pay American taxes. I would like to pay the European price, but get the level of medical care that a fully ensured American gets. I would send my kid to school in Finland until he was 18, and then I would transfer him to an American university. I would prefer to be in Europe if I already had a good job, but I would rather be in America if I was looking for one.

Unfortunately, many of the factors that create one of these good things makes the other impossible.

Posted by: Jack at April 7, 2007 10:23 AM
Comment #215452

Jack:

Here’s one for you to ponder:

How Supply-Side Economics Trickled Down

I would be interested in opinions.

Posted by: womanmarine at April 7, 2007 1:10 PM
Comment #215469

Woman

I think the article is right on. The problem is that the tax cuts that are useful in building wealth for society (capital gains, dividends) do not directly benefit the poor. It is much easier to sell a general tax cut.

I do not think we can ignore incentives the tax system creates. A simple tax on income to some extent discourages work, innovation and investment. I just finished filing taxes. My wife started to work last year, which pushed us into higher brackets where we lost child tax credits, tuition breaks and several other deductions. My wife asked if it was really worth it for her to work. It is, but not so much.

The problem with taxes in general is that almost everything that builds wealth for society gives advantages to the successful, since they are the ones who do most of the saving and working. You cannot give tax breaks to someone who does not pay taxes. The question is how much wealth and growth do we want to give up to gain more equality. It is a valid question. Most of us are willing to make the tradeoff, but we may choose different points along the tradeoff continuum.

Posted by: Jack at April 7, 2007 3:28 PM
Comment #215524

Jack,

I quite agreed with all your points.
I think we all dream to be able to cherry pick, indeed. My choice will differ barely then, except for medicalcare as french one is pretty good. I also think our real estate situation in Europe is different due to more limited landscape. The inhabitant density is 4 time higher. Our houses are smaller, no magic.

Regarding our plumbing issue, that an official EU policy to sustain polish plumbers.
;-)

Compare your problems with Muslims in your suburbs to ours central city problem.

Regarding education and suburbs young workers, unfortunately it doesn’t explain it all, in france at least. Many of them actually goes in school. Among these, the ones who goes to university are brilliants, as they worked as twice harder than the others. They knows they can’t afford to fail.

But, sadly, as a research recently proved it, they still get 4 less luck to get an job interview, unless they cheat on their name and picture. The same is true when it comes to rent your first apt or house.

Education may have failed with them, but even when it doesn’t, the society as a whole does it. Which is the real shame.

I would prefer to be in Europe if I already had a good job, but I would rather be in America if I was looking for one.

Funny, as I’ll made the exact opposite choice. A good job in US is paid higher than in France. But I get far more time (around 23 months) to find a good job in France, which allow me to not take the bad ones I’m offered or get trained to get a even better one (as I could do 4 years ago, going back one year in university, for quite free).

Unfortunately, many of the factors that create one of these good things makes the other impossible.

Agreed. But we could hope that these factors would evolve and could, eventually, become less antagonistic.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 8, 2007 5:46 AM
Comment #215528

The fact that Germany has little population growth may explain the big difference. I’d rather have a stable population and a lower GDP then a growing population and slightly higher GDP.
Germany has also done this while incorporating East Germany. How would our GDP look if we took in Mexico?

Germans also work far fewer hours and have more time off over all.

The European stock market just surpassed ours in over all value. Also the Euro is beating the crud out of the dollar.

So next time you’re working hard in your cubicle being so proud of your productivity be aware of the slacker German who is enjoying an extended vacation visiting all our National Parks and getting a great return on his Euro.

Posted by: muirgeo at April 8, 2007 7:59 AM
Comment #215532

Philippe

I think we think too much in all or nothing choices. We have a wide variety of choices available in the U.S. and Europe. If you look at the total picture, you can find more difference within the U.S. or Europe than between them. Many Americans use Europe (cherry picked) to bash their own system and I see from the article I linked the Europeans do the same.

As I said, I would sure like the opportunity to cherry pick, but they tend to come as packages. I suppose the really rich people can commute between London and New York, but not me.

Re jobs - Americans make more when they have a good job. That is true. And Europeans get longer unemployment benefits, so I can see your point. I was thinking mostly of a person trying to get established.

We do have a cultural difference between the U.S. and Europe re work. Europeans have told me that they work to live while Americans live to work. It is a clever sound bite, but it has some validity and it can be interpreted in more ways than you would think at first brush. I work around 9 hours a day. They pay me for eight. I also work at other enterprises (for example forestry & fish farming) which may yield capital gains sometimes in the future, but do not pay day-to-day. I do not have much time for “leisure” in the European sense, but that is the way I like it. My work is my leisure to a significant extent.

Muirego

Please see above. Re GDP, we are talking per capita, so the growth of population would not make much of a difference. Re Euro - currency appreciation of depreciations do give you clear signals re underlying strength. I was in Italy in 2002. At that time the dollar was strong and I recall how cheap everything seemed. It was not a great time for the U.S. economy.

Re German population growth - one of the things that depresses me about Germany (it is BTW similar to some places in America, but not so widespread) is the lack of Children. Old folks homes have replaced schools. Selfish people lavish their wealth on pets or themselves as they look forward to an old age w/o grandchildren. It is an experiment in human society that we have never done before. I do not think it will end well for those involved.


Re stock markets - one of the reasons is Sarbanes Oxley, which is creating great problems for us and encouraging firms to list in London. This is potentially a very great crisis and a self inflicted wound. It is unrelated to Europe’s strength or our general weakness. It is just a dumb move on our part and an overreaction to ENRON etc.

Posted by: Jack at April 8, 2007 10:54 AM
Comment #215533

“So next time you’re working hard in your cubicle being so proud of your productivity be aware of the slacker German who is enjoying an extended vacation visiting all our National Parks and getting a great return on his Euro.”

That illustrates an important difference in our thinking. You seem to think this is a good thing. I don’t. I don’t have a cubicle, but I AM proud of my productivity. My job isn’t only about money and my compensation. My job is much more about providing an infustructure so others can be more productive. It’s more about doing a service that is needed.

I also take a lot of pride in providing my own needs as much as possible. The “slacker german” in my opinion depends on too much from his fellow german for his lax lifestyle.

Besides all of this, I think people have the wrong idea about work. People seem to look at work as a negative. I like my work. I like my job.

I do communications work. I wire buildings for computer networks and phone systems. I work with fiber optics and all kinds of other goodies. I’ve been able to travel at company expense to 48 of our lovely states. I love my job.

Maybe that’s the problem. Others don’t like their job and maybe they should find another line of work.

The best advice I’ve ever gotten about work is to find sonething you really like to do and make it pay.

Posted by: tomd at April 8, 2007 10:55 AM
Comment #215639

Phillipe,
I was away for a while but just found your earlier comment. Without belaboring the point, the numbers Mark Steyn uses in his book are certainly representative of the trends we should be interested in. I interpret his numbers as being net birthrates, making allowance for infant mortality before year 1 and under 5 infant mortality. Then the 2.1 rate as the key necessary number to sustain a given population works for most countries within the developed country category. Hence your numbers are exactly the same as Mark Steyn’s 2005 fertility rates. I also checked the latest updated (2004) Unicef rates in terms of infant mortality for the countries I mentioned and those range from a low of 3 (Japan) to a high of 7 for the USA. Russia unfortunately is still pegged at 18.
My key point was that Asian and Middle-Eastern and certain African countries have very high net birthrates whereas the Western countries are on their way to extinction if the current trends cannot be reversed very soon. Demographic numbers make very reliable predictors of the future. It should be a serious wake-up call but instead the West spends its time on almost frivolous subjects by comparison.
Fred

Posted by: Fred at April 8, 2007 9:53 PM
Comment #215821

Fred,

Demographic numbers make very reliable predictors of the future. It should be a serious wake-up call but instead the West spends its time on almost frivolous subjects by comparison.

What could I say?
That to fight the asian and middle-east demographic trend should be fight back by making love more and going war less?
I’ll labelled a peace-nik in the next minute!

;-)

More seriously, I don’t think we should matter that much on demography. Check numbers. Very few people on this planet own the most part of world wealth. That should be tellinge enough. Being many doesn’t make a country or a world region the #1. Otherwise China will have ruled the world since… quite forever.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 10, 2007 5:33 AM
Comment #215883

Philippe,
allow me a chuckle. You have a nice sense of humor and more truth to what you say than many realize. But how do you change people’s fanatic belief to kill those who do not think like them, into a more civilized, tolerant, caring attitude?? Thed way it looks right now I’m afraid mankind is going to prove Santayana right again and make the same mistakes we made in the past. Particularly for the younger people of this world not a pretty prospect at all.
Fred

Posted by: Fred at April 10, 2007 1:46 PM
Comment #216009
how do you change people’s fanatic belief to kill those who do not think like them, into a more civilized, tolerant, caring attitude??

Fanatic belief is the hardest one to change, by definition. To succeed, the obvious proof undermining all their belief basis should be visible everywhere for enough long time that they can avoid it.

Unfortunatly, we’re far from doing it.

Instead, we’re resorting to intolerance, torture, unhuman, outlaw and arrogant behavior (racism against muslims, Abu Graib and secrets foreign CIA “jails”, carpet bombing of urban areas, Gitmo law exceptions, snobing the rest of the world opinion on inter-civilizations issues).

I’m afraid mankind is going to prove Santayana right again and make the same mistakes we made in the past. Particularly for the younger people of this world not a pretty prospect at all.

You forget the free will. Even if it looks like cyclic mistakes, each generation could make a different choice. The problem is not the mistakes made, the problem is choice. Or says The Architect.

Okay, I understand a Matrix reference is not as
classy as one to Life of Reason, but don’t ask me too much.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 11, 2007 9:50 AM
Comment #216085

Philippe,
whatever your view of how the USA tries to get a handle on the world-wide threat posed by Jihadist Islam, the threat is very real and fought with total disregard for the Geneva rules certainly by our self declared enemy and sometimes by us because there is no other way. The Western world did not blow up athletes in Munich, nor blew up trains in Spain, nor skyscrapers in New York. And while a few western countries are fighting a dirty war in the Middle East to protect all of us against more local mayhem, we can still sit here and e-mail opinions to each other about what we like and do not like about this situation.
It is easy to criticize the US for what it does, because the media, by and large, are out to publicize every last bad detail, but you seldom hear or read about the Iranians training Iraqi Jihadists how to make shape-charged bombs and use them. That means right next door to the war area in Iraq is a so-called neutral country aiding and abetting Iraqi terrorists, scotfree.!!! What do you suggest we do about that? Treat them like a non-belligerent. The moment this aiding and abetting by Iran stops, the Shiite terrorists will shrivel down to nothing and the problem will basically be solved. Maybe you have some ideas about that?
Fred

Posted by: Fred at April 11, 2007 4:24 PM
Comment #216092
The Western world did not blow up athletes in Munich, nor blew up trains in Spain, nor skyscrapers in New York.

But the Western world do spread subammunition in Lebanon that kills quite only the civilians.
But the Western world do carpet bombs urban areas.

I’m not excusing them, because they can’t. But it’s harder to say “do as we say” when what we do looks more and more the counter-example of what we claim we’re.

That means right next door to the war area in Iraq is a so-called neutral country aiding and abetting Iraqi terrorists, scotfree.!!! What do you suggest we do about that?

Move out of Iraq. Iran is not a next door country of US. It will take way more time and effort for Al Quaeda terrorists trained on the current Iraq battlefield, and/or trained in Iran, to come in the US than to place an IED in the nearest roadside in Iraq.

More probably, they’ll move (back) to Afghanhistan front, where more countries are actually involved along the US, France included, in what sounds more closed to actually fighting *against* radical islam ideology.
In Iraq, you’re pretty alone fighting *against* Iraq breakdown, exposing yourself to Al Quaeda.
In Afghanhistant, you’re not alone fighting against the radical islam ideology that still rules this country.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 11, 2007 5:10 PM
Comment #216707

Philippe,
You say that | the western world spreads munitions into Lebanon? You mean France has been aiding their old colony? It’s possible. And the West also “carpet bombs” urban areas? Excluding WWII events, where does the USA carpet bomb anywhere?
You are right to state that the USA did not prepare itself properly nor effectively for the post-military action in Iraq and therefore has run into a big problem. But to suggest that we should pull out of Iraq as a result because Iraq is not next-door to the USA raises an interesting analogy. It seems to me that when you say that the USA should only fight when it is threatened by a next door neighbor, you ought to reflect about the fact that in that case “France” would probably still be a province of Germany today and you would all be speaking German, sans doute mon cher.
Would you have preferred that scenario??
May be our fight in the Middle East is bigger than the local(Atlantic) neighborhood’s problems. At least in my judgment.
There is more to the Middle East struggle than just Al Quaeda’s misguided trouble making. Bigger things are brewing that started long before you and I were born. But that’s another topic.
Fred

Posted by: Fred at April 15, 2007 4:39 PM
Comment #217161
You say that | the western world spreads munitions into Lebanon? You mean France has been aiding their old colony? It’s possible.

Nope. I’m talking about these tiny cluster bombs that were sold to Israel, to be spread everywhere in south Lebanon. The Western are so ethic sometime, that’s wonderfull…

And the West also “carpet bombs” urban areas? Excluding WWII events, where does the USA carpet bomb anywhere?

Vietnam. Bagdad during “Shock and Awe”. But it’s not limited to USA.

It seems to me that when you say that the USA should only fight when it is threatened by a next door neighbor, you ought to reflect about the fact that in that case “France” would probably still be a province of Germany today and you would all be speaking German, sans doute mon cher.

You mean Pearl Harbor will not have happened in this scenario?
It take this event to convince americans to actually fight a far away Third Reich. France were occupied since 2 years, and were, indeed, a province of Germany.

Would you have preferred that scenario??

No, I would have preferred that USA joined us in 1939. But it take a direct attack on the USA to move americans out of their isolationism.

Did an Iran neighbor was attacked by Saddam’s Iraq? Yes, Iran during the 80’s and Koweit in 1991. In this last case, USA and France met again on the battlefield, on the same side.

Did Iraq have ever attack the USA?
Nope.

Your analogy sound flawed to me, sorry.

May be our fight in the Middle East is bigger than the local(Atlantic) neighborhood’s problems. At least in my judgment. There is more to the Middle East struggle than just Al Quaeda’s misguided trouble making. Bigger things are brewing that started long before you and I were born. But that’s another topic.

No, that’s right on the topic in Middle East since decades. The Israelo-palestinians conflict is at the heart of the crisis, as well as the dictatures we tolerate because they’re our cheapest oil dealers.

But better fight the effects than attack the root cause…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 17, 2007 7:44 PM
Comment #217312

Philippe, in your last sentence, I guess you meant to say that it would be better to attack the root causes rather than the symptoms. I would agree with that completely. But in that case we differ about what the root causes are. Long before there was a modern Israel there was, and had been a lot of inter Arab fighting for centuries already in that area. The current more virulent aggressiveness from the Middle East is based on the same militant Islamic trouble making that was essentially a local problem focussed on Muslim apostates and the occasional infidel originally. The last 20 years or so, thanks to enormous financial support these militants are expanding their combat area to include the whole world, if they are allowed to do so by naive Western countries, who just do not want to get involved in another nasty fight like with Nazis and their ilk. Tant pis. But keep up the good fight.
Fred

Posted by: Fred at April 18, 2007 2:17 PM
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