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The future of Iran?

Samizdata.net’s many spies have told us that these are being stockpiled in Iran for use during the coming ‘transitional times’.

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39 comments to The future of Iran?

  • Kodiak

    Will the US attack Iran as it has already did in Afghanistan & Iraq (admittedly equally debatable as far as “success” is concerned)? Will the US gain control over the northern coast of the Persian Gulf?

    It’s sheer guesswork but the sudden, spontaneous student rebellion in Iran may not be dismissed. There’s also the late activity of the Atomic Energy International Agency… And also the recent theatrical French intervention against the Moudjahidins (but there was a British one too, albeit more discrete) could be envisaged as a deliberate move to deter any Iranian régime change to the benefit of this heavy Islamist galaxy (very close to Iraqi shiites).

    No one would stint a teardrop over the Ayatollahs. Moreover the putative US intervention would be well squared within the “war against the axis of (Islamist) evil”… The superb timeliness of the student rebellion in Iran would be wondrously consistent with the right of ingerence… Many a western voter would highly appreciate the absurd religious Iranian régime to be removed at any rate, & so would indeed the overwhelming majority of Iranian citizens.

    But rest assured that another US unilateral (even clad in a coallition of the willing…) intervention shall violate the Charter of the Organisation of the United Nations. What if the strongest country arrogates the right to act as an unaccountable, dubious policeman? What if Bush launches an umpteenth cruisade to the detriment of what his own people wants him to do? That would be neo-Caesarism, no less… Orchestrated, forged, media-fuelled, complacent, sudden, one-sided sentimentality mustn’t trample higher guiding principles as UN legality.

    The Iranians obviously deserve to be freed from their absurd, ominous, unhuman régime. But the UN rules must be abided to & the hystery harboured by the US alone must be discarded.

    Repressive only action is not a valid solution to help the Iranians get a more suitable government.

    Fighting Islamism firmly doesn’t equate to resorting to war only. Look at the Bush fiasco in Iraq. His “strategy” is just a predictable stalemate.

    Fighting Islamism is fighting against underdevelopment, fighting for higher education & for sex equality. What the Iranian people need is our patience, diplomacy, political involvement & financial generosity. Not another pointless, unefficient, greedy Bush war.

  • Jacob

    Kodiak,
    Judging by your post you hate if the Ayatollah regime falls without UN sanction, though you would like it to fall.
    So – lets have that sanction. Why doesn’t France take for once a positive initiative (as contrasted to their usual obstructionist tactics) and sponsor a resulution at the UN demanding regime change in Iran ? They could gain a lot of prestige, and boast that they made the US play by the rules set by France.

  • Kodiak

    Jacob,

    1/ I’m not Chirac

    2/ France is not the boss of the UN >>> it requires talks because, obviously, not all 195-or-so member States will reach an agreement in 10 minutes.
    The going is tough. But better than a war that would do much more harm to the US than good for Iranian people.

    3/ Drop the prestige of France. It’s not the point. The point is Iraninians to be alive, happy, respected & peaceful on a long-term basis (unlike the ultimate paradise created by Goddish Bush in Iraq).

  • Jacob

    Kodiak
    “France is not the boss of the UN ”
    She might not be able to make the resolution pass, but she could at least introduce it, and send M. de Villepin on a tour of Africa to convince Senegal to support it.
    She could do something possitive (for a change) to promote the well being of the Iranian people.
    I suspect your’e not Chirac. So there might be a chance of you, at least, supporting this idea.

  • Jacob

    Kodiak:
    A question:
    Do you think the Iraqi people were better off under Saddam than under the current provisional American occupation ?

  • Kodiak

    Jacob,

    1/ Don’t mess with Sénégal.
    This decent country is preparing a warm welcome for this hypocrit cow-boys with oily & bloody hands.

    2/ Many thanx for acknowledging that not all French people are sponsored by Chirac.
    Judging by your own standards, that’s a great move.
    So: a great thank you to you.

    3/ As for the last cunningly phrased trap you call a question & you addressed to me, I certainly won’t answer the way you expect me to do (or will I ?).
    I think the question should first be asked to the Iraqi people. But let’s drop artificial pusillanimity; here’s my feeling. Weren’t it for a significant bunch of Iraqis (chiefly Saddamite régime courting sunnite tribes mainly located in the heart of the Mesopotamian mozaïc) -a minority anyway, most of the Iraqis are totally happy with Saddam’s apparent removal, although attacked US troops may not agree with them entirely. As for the growing violence, poverty (water, electricity, food…), religious antagonisms & national pride (not to mention US bombings & postwar wanton shootings), I wouldn’t bet once centime of euro that Iraqi people feel they are “better off (…) under the current provisional American occupation”.

  • Jacob

    Kodiak, I’ll try to ask another cunning question:
    What do _you_ think is best for Iraqi people – Saddam or the Americans ? (I know it’s not for you to decide this, but what’s your opinion) ?

  • Kodiak

    Jacob: if you want me choose between plague & cholera, I’ll have none of them.

  • Jacob

    Kodiak
    That means you prefer to live on the moon.

    And another question: Since it seems you are not a supporter of the Ayatollah regime – what do you think should be done to support the student’s (and people’s) attempt at regime change in Iran ?
    What should France, as a decent, democratic, humanitarian nation, do ? What should the US, or the EU, do ?
    Nothing ? Proclamations of support ? UN resolutions ? Sanctions ? God forbid – maybe military intervention ? Or is it ok to sit back and watch Irani people struggle in vain against a monsruous regime ?

  • S. Weasel

    Kodiak…dude…what happened? Your first post on this thread wasn’t written in gibberish! I mean, it’s philosophical gibberish, but the English grammar is excellent. You been practicing?

  • Kodiak

    Jacob,

    As a Selenite (not a moonist !!!) I’d like to dive in your ocean of certitudes & Manicheism.

    Just I’ve got the feeling the swimming pool is empty & I wouldn’t like to hurt my skull…

    I know for sure one thing I don’t want: wanton wae wages by a paranoid country.

    If the UN deems a war necessary, then I’ll join (provided, of course, that the war case is vindicated).

  • Kodiak

    wanton wars waged by a paranoid country.

    (sorry)

  • Kodiak

    S. Weasel,

    My English grammar proficiency highly depends upon absolute random facts.

    It’s never been something natural.

    I’m sorry.

  • Jacob

    If the UN deems a war necessary, then I’ll join (provided, of course, that the war case is vindicated).

    Kodiak,
    You have no opinion of your own ?
    Have you adopted the a priori and unconditionally everything the UN does or says ? Is the UN the only source of legitimacy and morality for you ?

    What are you and France doing to make the UN adopt good resolutions? Like – bringing about regime change in some countries, such as Iran, Korea, maybe Cuba ?

  • Kodiak

    Jacob,

    As you know I’m not Chirac, I’m not God nor the President of the World either.

    I have an opinion of my own which has already been delivered to you.

    Yes, so far, I think the UN is the main source of legitimacy as far as international relationships are concerned.

    Morality is a different topic.

    I’ll see to it that Chirac does something with regards to your desire to help France dropping her rogue State stance…

  • Jacob

    “Yes, so far, I think the UN is the main source of legitimacy as far as international relationships are concerned.

    Morality is a different topic.”

    So you kind of agree that morality and the UN are totally different topics. The UN isn’t about morality. What is it about ?
    International relationships needn’t be based on morality. What should they be based on ? The consensus of the morally corrupt ?

  • Kodiak

    Jacob,

    I’ve got the ackward feeling to be back at school with my philosophy (or sophism, should I say) teacher…

    “So” I “kind of agree that morality and the UN are” (…) “different topics”. Not totally different ones though.

  • Kodiak: Okay… answer this then:

    You say the UN is not about morality (and I agree completely) so do you therefore think…

    1. The US must obey (or not) the UN on the basis of utilitarian cost/benefit analysis (as morality is clearly not at issue here)…
    2. or the UN must be obeying by the US because all collectively derived international law must be obeyed requirement regardless of morality or cost/benefit analysis?

    Explain… and I hope you know your Miranda rights, hehehe.

  • Kodiak

    PERRY

    YES SIR !!!

    I said morality & political legitimacy are indeed distinct notions, although their intersecting is not empty.

  • Kodiak: although their intersecting is not empty

    Which means what? If political legitimacy is not derived from morality, then they do not ‘intersect’ at all… but if legitimacy requires morality, as opposed to just politics, then surely legitimacy cannot be divorced from morality. Which is it?

    And remember your Miranda rights

  • Also… what is your answer to the two points I asked before?

  • Kodiak

    PERRY

    Your sudden insistance is flattering.

    I’m still awaiting a great deal of answers about your wanton abuse about France, Europe, the State etc.

    Never mind.

    Truely, I don’t think the US must or mustn’t obey whatever stuff it does or doesn’t believe in or it does or doesn’t understand.
    The best would be that it would freely comprehend that multilateralism & UN teamworking is absolutely not irrelevant.

    Quoting you: “or the UN must be obeying by the US because all collectively derived international law must be obeyed requirement regardless of morality or cost/benefit analysis?”

    Did you mean actually: “or the UN must be obeyED by the US because all collectively derived international law must be obeyed requirement regardless of morality or cost/benefit analysis?”

    If that’s what you mean then it’s pointless since the US has shown that it has no intention to “obey” (“comply” would be accurate) the UN. It doesn’t want to manage World’s affair on a collective approach (through negotiation for instance).

  • S. Weasel

    Perry: you’re trying to nail snot to a tree.

  • Kodiak

    PERRY

    Sorry I forgot to read the post about “Which means what? If political legitimacy is not derived from morality, then they do not ‘intersect’ at all… but if legitimacy requires morality, as opposed to just politics, then surely legitimacy cannot be divorced from morality. Which is it?”.

    I’m afraid I’m neither too competent a theorician, nor too agile an English speaker and, above all, nor too willing to follow that road you invite me to drive on.

    My view maybe quite simple; it doesn’t matter though.

    I don’t want only one State to have its ways in World affairs. I think that UN working, recognised multilateralism that’s shared & appreciated on each & every continent, is a good alternative to overspilling US national interests. Also it’s the only source of universal legality on this World, unless otherwise proven.

    Is that clear enough for you?

  • Kodiak: No, that is not clear enough and I will explain why. It is in fact no answer at all. You have already made it clear you see the UN as a source of legitimacy… that you think that is already settled, so let us move on. I want to know why you expect that view to be accepted by other people. Yes, the UN is multilateral but you seem to just assume other readers will accept as axiomatic that multilateral is better than unilateral, yet you do not explain why we should think this. You have already said that morality is not an issue as politics and morality are not related (though you said they may ‘intersect’ and then did not answer my question as to what you mean by that).

    So if the UN is about politics… and politics is not about morality (which indeed it is not), then complying with the UN is purely a matter of cost/benefit analysis… you have said politics is not about moral analysis and thus cost/benefit analysis is all that is left as a way to decide what to do. If that is *not* what you think, then by what criteria other than cost/benefit analysis should a government use to decide if they will/will not comply with the UN by acting unilaterally or multilaterally?

    As clearly there is no other way to decide, you must be arguing that complying with the UN is in the interests (determined by cost/benefit analysis) of the US and UK.

    In that case, in what way does it benefit the US or UK to allow a plurality of other states, often ones lead by mass murderers and tyrants, to have a say in what the US and UK does or does not do? Please do not just say ‘because multilateral is better’. Say WHY it is better and also why it is better for the US and UK. I am not interesting in what the US does or does not do in the real world, I want to know WHY you think it should act in the way you want and what your view is based upon.

  • David Mercer

    Kodiak, a gang of thugs is a gang of thugs, whether on the street corner or in the General Assembly.

    And of Permanent members on the Security Council, let’s see, how has everyone bahaved when they’ve had a modicum of power, towards their citizens and others?

    Let’s see…China, Cultural Revolution and Mao, 1st or second most of own citizens killed

    Russia, Stalin, purges, armwrestling with China for most of own citizens killed in history

    France, many changes of govt. since initial revolution, conquest of Europe, enthusiastic collaborators with the Nazi’s, extremely elitist non-democratic institutions, held onto colonies by force after WWII (Uniquely! Quel Suprise!)

    England, gradual increase in liberty, relativly mild internal uprisings to get it, mostly commercial dominion over it’s Empire while it had it, only 19th Century Empire that Ghandi could have pulled that stunt in

    USA, nastiness towards natives who now have lucrative sovereign franchises (gambling, tax free trade, etc), fought own bloodiest war over internal tax policy (tariffs) and to free slaves (eventually). Has only used total war in extremis (WWII and Sherman), rebuilt at OWN EXPENSE vanquished foes as a matter of course

    the General Assembly: Mostly dictators and kleptocratic thugs, very small percentage of democratic nations

    Kodiak, we are supposed to listen to these people WHY??

    Can you understand how many Americans can prefer to do things with Commonwealth nations in preference to that thuggish crowd?

    And why many of us would gladly agree to be much more bound by a successor to the UN that had at a minimum democracy and free speech as a litmus test for joining?

    I don’t think I’d be alone on this board in making the assertion that it’s not so much cooperation that we’re opposed to as being bound and restricted in how we use the might that our cultures have EARNED, in a far more MORAL fashion than the fruits (mostly rotten) produced by the thugs that make up most of the UN?

    It is no accident that it is known as the CommonWealth….emphasis on WEALTH.

    LIBERTY breeds wealth. The ability to keep the fruits of your just labors breeds wealth, in a moral fashion, whether your yardstick is religious or atheistic utilitarianism. Period.

    Dragging everyone down, whether through internal wealth redistribution or to the lowest denominator of liberty in the UN, does not make for happiness, wealth, prosperity, and is not good for children and puppies to boot.

    There, I did it, I invoked The Children TM in the cause of Liberty.

    Can’t see how we’ve all let the collectivists co-opt THAT one!
    **/end rant**

  • Kodiak

    Perry,

    1/ “(…) you seem to just assume other readers will accept as axiomatic that multilateral is better than unilateral (…)”

    No I don’t. I know this point of view is: 1/ ultraminoritary here; 2/ not best defended by someone like me.

    Big deal!

    ******

    2/ As you or I said, morality (good intentions or good people) & legality (UN decisions reached by good & bad people together >>> a compromise) are obviously not quite equivalent. Still the difference may sometimes be surmounted: UN decisions can also be moral (serve an undiscutably useful purpose, or at least try to). UNESCO work for instance is not too bad, even if: 1/ UNESCO’s achievements may be considered futile with regards to still rampant unalphabetisation in the World; 2/ “rogue” States (concept needing further qualification anyway) are participating with bloody money.

    ******

    3/ cost/benefit analysis

    The entire problem lies in: whose cost & whose benefit?

    The US may esteem that Action A is too high a cost for an outcome detrimental to what it views as its interests.

    The UN may also esteem that Action B separately undertaken by the US alone won’t yield anything & provoke undesirable consequences.

    Action A = war on Iraq.
    Action B = inspections in Iraq.

    ******

    4/ ” (…) then by what criteria other than cost/benefit analysis should a government use to decide if they will/will not comply with the UN by acting unilaterally or multilaterally?”

    A government is not necessarily obsessed with cost/benefit calculations that would lead to the best deal for itself.

    It may also bet on the future & think co-operation as such is indeed a very good reward on the long-run that demands an acceptable cost today.

    ******

    5/ ” As clearly there is no other way to decide, you must be arguing that complying with the UN is in the interests (determined by cost/benefit analysis) of the US and UK”

    See above.

    US interests: what’s the benefit of the cost generated by gross lying regarding war pretext (lack of WMD) & growing resentment throughout the Arabomuslim world?

    UK interests: it could be that Blair thought it wiser to accompany Bush to: 1/ moderate US actions or 2/ do something to give more legitimate clothing (late coalition of the willing) to US unilateralism.

    ******

    6/ “Please do not just say ‘because multilateral is better’. Say WHY it is better and also why it is better for the US and UK.”

    If multilateralism were still in vigour (UN inspections), then there would have been no war in Iraq (hence no hatred against the US & the UK), no anarchy in Iraq (hence no source of frustration fuelling terrorism), no WMD decredibilising lie (because there never have been WMD since inspections were working: urging Saddam to renounce them). The fragile harmony between western States would have been reinforced, with the assent of collaborating Arab States (Jordan, Koweit, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) & Turkey & China & Russia.
    And above all, the US would have insufflated a very promising leadership around the World.

    The only flaw I reckon would have been the presence of Saddam and his mean dictatorship. That’s indeed a major one. To be balanced with what’s now or will soon be going on though.

    I don’t know if this cost/benefit analysis is valid for you. I think it was worth trying for the sake of long-term World stability.

  • Kodiak

    David,

    Many States have bloody hands: we all know that.
    Some others are cynical: I agree.
    The rest may just be pusillanimous, lazy or irresponsible: you’re right again.

    But the World is like that. We can’t deny it & dream about an assembly of angels.

    I’d like to be granted the actual choice to pick up some States & say: out, please. The thing is I can’t & won’t exercise this right because I think co-operation yields futher co-operation. I may be a dreamer or lacking elementary principles. But there are convincing instances (proving, I don’t know) showing that the best can come out of the worst >>> see France & Germany, see the USA & the UK, see France & the UK.

    If the USA prefer the Commonwealth galaxy out of obvious cultural or linguistic proximity, there’s nothing wrong with that. Just USA + Commonwealth don’t add up to the World. That wasn’t Commonwealth people steering the planes onto the Twins. You can’t escape this fact. You can’t eliminate your enemies because they are too numerous, or too devious, or too protected, or too powerful or whatever. But what you can do is eliminate the source of their ability to do you harm. Again, is your enemy Ben Laden only or poverty & ignorance combined?

    Liberty is certainly a very good thing. Ability to eat every day is too. Being respected is also something invaluable. Education is not superfluous. All those require voluntary & long-term co-operation.

  • MayDay72

    After reading the top of this thread…
    “Posted by Kodiak at July 8, 2003 08:13 AM”

    All the way to the bottom…
    “Posted by Kodiak at July 9, 2003 07:19 AM”

    And all the crap in between…
    (…jeez…one full day…)

    I think the only important insight conveyed regarding Kodiak’s philosophy was: “…you’re trying to nail snot to a tree…”

  • David Mercer

    Kodiak fails to realize that the toys that we brought to the party, we can take home.

    The Soviets tried to play the technological and economic game with we Americans, and you can see how far that got them.

    True prosperity is NOT possible without an open society. You can fake a lot of it, witness modern Singapore. But it won’t be sustainable on any large scale (ask the Chinese about that).

    And yes, I can’t escape the fact that some disaffected Muslims flew airplanes designed by Americans, that were filled with fuel drilled, pumped and refined by primarily American inventions, into buildings built by American’s, who had been trained how to fly by Americans.

    Does this tell you something? Perhaps who built the modern world, or at least designed almost all of it’s technology?

    And why was that so? Why didn’t someone else?

    Now please go to the back of the class and read some Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill, and then maybe you’ll have some common points of philosophical reference with most here for discussion.

    Give those authors an honest read, and there’s hope for almost anyone.

    Hell, 14 years ago, I was a frickin’ Green Party member :-).

  • Kodiak: and in your answer lies why I do not just regard your views as wrong but is in fact an apologia for naked evil.

    You make a utilitarian argument for why international peace and stability would be better served by the US and other nations sublimating their political will to the UN. I think your argument is quite incorrect for reasons that are not worth going into in detail (for example the USA was attacked by terrorists long before they attacked Ba’athist Iraq, so clearly hostility to the USA was not going to vanish if they did not topple Saddam) but what is really interesting is that you are knowingly and willingly advocating the sacrifice of the Iraqi people in return for this so-called stability. Yes, it would indeed be fair to say your views are complete realpolitik and are indeed a ‘moral free zone’.

    Saddam Hussain’s Ba’athist Iraq was not a normal nation. ‘Peace’ in Iraq involved the daily death of people deemed by the state to be a threat (or a homosexual for that matter). It involved the daily torture and imprisonment of large numbers of people. This is what you were willing to allow to continue indefinatly for the sake of your international stability. The notion that a period of chaos and then the current situation in Iraq has left the Iraqi people worse off than they were under Saddam Hussain’s brutal regime is preposterous. If you disagree with that, explain why? As you are a utilitarian and do not resort to moral analysis, just argue the numbers with me if you like. How many Iraqi civilians are estimated to have died in the war in Iraq? and How many died under Saddam Hussain’s government in prision cells and gassed villages? Crank up Google and find the numbers if you like.

    So, if we take your argument that leaving the Iraqi people to the mercy of Saddam Hussain was a cost/benefit price worth paying for not upsetting the thieves and murderers who run the member governments of the UN, then your views are based on such a profound collectivism that presumably you also opposed the overthrown of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia by the Communist Vietnamese government? After all, not only did they have no UN mandate, they attacked a sovereign state and overthrew its government at bayonet point.

    Or is that only a crime when the USA does it?

    You see, the fatal weakness in your arguments is that as they are based utterly upon realpolitik, realpolitik is based entirely upon pragmatic self-interest… thus is the USA is strong enough to ignore multilateral institutions and takes the pragmatic view that its interests are best achieved acting alone or will a few willing bilateral partners (i.e. the UK and Aussies for example), then as your arguments have no moral dimension whatsoever, your contrary views are largely meaningless.

    About cost/benefit analysis, you ask ‘whose cost and whose benefit’? The answer is both simple and obvious… the person or institution making the analysis onloy really care about their cost and their benefit. In a moral-free world, why should anyone care what the cost or benefit to you is? Clearly the cost/benefit to the Iraqi people of remaining under Saddam was not much of a bother to you. That is your way, Kodiak… too bad if you do not like the outcome when a lot of folks in the USA have done the same calculation and decided the cost/benefit of their government’s actions to people in France on the UN does not much matter to them.

  • A_t

    “Does this tell you something? Perhaps who built the modern world, or at least designed almost all of it’s technology?”

    hmm… I’m not saying you’re wrong, though “all” is a bit of a tall order, but it’d be good to have some better facts than just your opinions on this… Obviously America’s going to look more prominent, as it’s the largest industrialised western country. Hence, more inventions than France, the UK, Sweden, whatever… that makes sense. But per head of population? Not convinced.

    The jet engine, the computer… British originally, to name but two. As i say, i’m not claiming you’re wrong, but it would be interesting to look into it.

    Also, it’s debatable how much the US’s commercial success (and hence worldwide visibility in terms of technological innovation) has been due to it’s relative liberalism versus Euro economies, & how much due to having a vast open market available to any entrepreneur, along with cheap natural resources & land.

  • Kodiak

    AFTER THE IRAQGATE, A SECOND IRANGATE?

    [ADMIN NOTE 1: Long unintelligible diatribe deleted.]
    [ADMIN NOTE 2: Feel free to make reasoned arguments but long screeds of unsupported propaganda will be summarily deleted. Crap on someone else’s blog. Have a nice day]

    Please tell me if the Irakgate is worse or better than the Irangate or the Watergate.

  • Kodiak

    Perry,

    1/ “(…) clearly hostility to the USA was not going to vanish if they did not topple Saddam”

    Right. But neither was it to increase if they performed full UN inspections.

    ******

    2/ “Yes, it would indeed be fair to say your views are complete realpolitik and are indeed a ‘moral free zone’.”

    Sorry for looking devilish. I don’t see any other valid option on the long-run.
    Also please drop the stance about sacrifying the Iraqi people >>> your country happily supported Saddam’s slaughtering millions during the Franco-German war that broke out in the Gulf in the 80s.

    ******

    3/ “Saddam Hussain’s Ba’athist Iraq was not a normal nation”

    That’s absolutely right. And all the nations like France, the UK, Germany, the US, Russia, & even China did not have a normal behaviour in relation with Saddam from the late 70s up to today.
    Everybody’s guilty.

    ******

    4/ “As you are a utilitarian and do not resort to moral analysis (…)”

    I don’t know if I am an utilitarian or anything else.

    But see 3/ & stop this patronising stance.

    ******

    5/ About Pol Pot etc & my profound collectivism or my utilatarian monomany & the rest:

    Sorry, I’m not heared by a Stalinian court that can’t help expectorating loads of inflated adjectives to smartly vindicate a definite punishment on the devil that I am etc.

    If you mean: “I disagree”, well tell it.
    If you want me to grasp why you disagree, please just be succinct.

    Thank you.

  • Kodiak

    Poor lonely Admin,

    Your irrelevance is 2nd to none.

  • David Mercer

    Oh A_t, that’s rich:

    Also, it’s debatable how much the US’s commercial success (and hence worldwide visibility in terms of technological innovation) has been due to it’s relative liberalism versus Euro economies, & how much due to having a vast open market available to any entrepreneur, along with cheap natural resources & land.

    I”d argue that it’s of course some of all of them. The only one’s that are geography specific I believe to be least relevant, especially now, in a post industrial world.

    My point is that nearly all nations would like to be as prosperous as the US, but very few of them are willing to pay the price in individual responsibility, openness and lack of social control required for it.

    Yes, our ‘sheep’ are perhaps more anesthetized than most by TV, Hollywood, cheap beer and such, but the rest who actually want to DO something are correspondingly more free and able to.

    Until the nations of the world are willing to put in the hard work of building tolerant social institutions and working hard, they will do no more than wallow in envy, while their most able still do their damnedest to get here by hook or by crook.

    And we’re just fine with that, barring periodic swamp draining (see Iraq, etc. Saudi’s gonna suck).

  • Kodiak

    ADMIN: I try to reformulate & shorten the “long screeds of unsupported propaganda” & “crap” that you censored.

    1/ The illegal war agaisnt Iraq has been over for 3 months & yet a decent casus belli (the WMDs was a farce, as Wolfowitz admitted) is being sought by the occupying force.

    2/ Before the war’s outbreak, there have been plenty of media brainwashing & political manipulation about the alleged threat posed by the Saddamite régime: huge nuclear arsenal that can be ready in 45 minutes, bacteriological weaponry… (Blair, Cheney, Powell, Bush).

    3/ This cynical attitude can be easily related to numerous precedents in US history: The Maine (1898), candidate Kennedy wrongly opting for military budget increase to counter a forged Soviet lead in nukes (1960), the faked North Vietnamese attack in the Tokin Gulf (1964) leading to the Vietnam war, the Reagan manipulation about Nicaraguan Sandinists (1985).
    The media manipulation machine works very well.

    4/ The most recent example is the US media coverage of US soldier Jessica Lynch’s liberation. She wasn’t tortured by the Iraqi: she was merely involved in a truck accident & was taken care of by an Iraqi doctor in Nassiriya.

    That’s why I’m asking: will there be a 2nd Irangate ?
    If so, will this Irangate be worse than the current Iraqgate & the 1st Irangate (North-Reagan)?

    ADMIN: Shall I review again or is it all right?

  • A_t

    David Mercer,

    Are you another of these Americans who believes you’re far freer than anyone else on this planet? If so, perhaps you should try living, with an open mind, in Western Europe for a while, & try to spot the difference. (if you’re not, apologies!)

    My point is, most Europeans would disagree with you; Europeans who move to the US don’t suddenly experience a rush of freedom, at least in any legal sense, because life’s pretty much the same; relatively unrestricted. I’ve pointed out myriad restrictions on personal liberty that exist in the US but not in certain European countries, and vice-versa, but I don’t think either side has a significant edge. I don’t believe that Americans are significantly freer as individuals than your average European.

    This placing yourselves on a pedestal above any other liberal democracy will do you no service in the long run.

    Further, I agree about the geographical factors; they don’t really have much to do with post-industrial prosperity, but as you say, the large open market certainly confers an advantage. Now, once this is taken account of, relative to the UK, France, Germany, is there really that much difference in absolute economic performance? Could it be that the much vaunted liberalism has far less effect than is assumed/publicised, and that having a huge open market is far more important? Who knows.

    Also, although the amounts of land don’t have a big effect any more, I do feel having large amounts of wilderness etc. relatively close at hand does seem to give people a more open ‘frontier’ mentality (cliche, but hey!), which makes them more willing to try new things than people in Europe who are surrounded by things which have already been done, places that have been built on 10 times, and so little space that doesn’t bear some sign of human influence. Again, this has nothing to do with the restrictiveness of laws governing personal/economic behaviour, and everything to do with environment and it’s effect on the human psyche, which is hard to alter, no matter how much will there is to do so.

  • Kodiak

    A-t,

    Don’t take this as cheap personal abuse: I’m feeling less lonely.

    Thanx for your words of wisdom &… accuracy.