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View Poll Results: What should America's Role be policing the World?
Smite (even if it means go it alone) every evil not matter how large or small. 5 7.58%
Smite (even if it means go it alone) only Supersize Evil (e.g., Hitler) 8 12.12%
Only if we can use NATO allies to vanquish every evil not matter how large or small. 1 1.52%
Only if we can use NATO allies to vanquish only Supersize Evil (e.g., Hitler) 10 15.15%
Foster and promote the UN to vanquish every evil not matter how large or small. 4 6.06%
Primarily Use Diplomacy 11 16.67%
Do nothing unless it threatens our borders... a real threat 23 34.85%
Other - Described in Comments 4 6.06%
Voters: 66. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-14-2008, 08:51 AM   #21
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Personally, I'm for either pulling back or admitting to ourselves that we're more about protecting American interests than promoting democracy. I think the world realizes, now, that we're about us... we just need to admit it.
Who was it... I think Reagan... "People have friends. Countries have interests."

Of course! Survival is always at the top of any anyone's priorities, be it individual, family, tribe, country.

I think the Middle East is a lost cause. Dave Barry had it right - "As long as there are two microbes alive in the Middle East they will be fighting each other". In some places in this country they're still fighting the Civil War. In the ME the feuds go back thousands of years. The U.S. should get out of there and let 'em duke it out.
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Old 03-14-2008, 09:14 AM   #22
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Is not a vote for McCain a vote for involvement? If so, it will be interesting to see how the country goes in the next election. I can't help but wonder if McCain wants re-litigate our failed confrontations and yes, this time we will win. He is too hawkish for my taste.
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Old 03-14-2008, 08:54 PM   #23
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I am a veteran. I was, and still am, willing to give my life in defense of my country (flawed as it may be). But I mean that quite literally -- it must be in defense of my country. I do not consider our current multiple foreign adventures (primarily, but not exclusively, Iraq and Afghanistan) to have anything to do with defending this country. In my opinion, we would be much better off to leave the rest of the world alone. If they mess with us -- well, we have proven our ability to lay on a world of hurt in short order. So I think they won't. As I have said before, I would much rather that other countries look to us for guidance because we have earned a certain moral authority than that they merely do what we say because we can bomb them back to the Stone Age if they don't.
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Old 03-14-2008, 08:58 PM   #24
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When has it been sound tactical advice to wait till the enemy comes after you? You take the fight off your home soil. After 9/11 as far as I am concerned someone brought that fight to us. Like it or not this world was formed by people punching each other in the face. Id rather be the guy with the biggest stick.
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Old 03-15-2008, 12:52 AM   #25
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I have to agree with my Republican Dad (WWII vet) on this one (I'm quite liberal). Only if it threatens our borders. I think we are in this financial mess because we have overextended ourselves. 15 years ago as I was traveling around the globe I had quite a few discussions with fellow travelers from other countries about this one. Some felt that we had made ourselves the world's policemen therefore we had the duty to continue, at that time it was Kosavo I believe. (I wonder what they would think today?) Anyway I say pull back from everywhere. Bring our people home.
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Old 03-15-2008, 01:35 PM   #26
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We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.3 Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.4 This much we pledge—and more.5 To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do—for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.6 To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom—and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.7 To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required—not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.


...
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.24 And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.25 My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
Sad in less than 50 years we have gone from we will bear any burden, to we won't do a damn thing. I hope JFK doesn't read this thread.
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Old 03-15-2008, 03:38 PM   #27
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Sad in less than 50 years we have gone from we will bear any burden, to we won't do a damn thing. I hope JFK doesn't read this thread.
The ability to make a rousing speech is not necessarily correlated to the ability to think geo-politically. Last example I can think of was Winston Churchill.

Wise societies and their leaders adapt to the real situation in which they find themselves.

We find ourselves massively over-committed, going broke, running out of the means to pay for the oil that both our economy and out overextended military must have.

Realistically, our wad has been shot. Kennedy and the misadventure in Viet-Nam which gained traction during his administration might have had more than a little to do with the bind in which we find ourselves today.

Who finally got us out? Mr. Nixon and the decidedly realistic Mr. Kissinger.

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Old 03-15-2008, 03:49 PM   #28
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I thought Kennedy was talking about standing up to the Soviet Union, not being the policeman of the world. We did the former. We can't possibly do the latter.
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Old 03-15-2008, 03:56 PM   #29
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I thought Kennedy was talking about standing up to the Soviet Union, not being the policeman of the world. We did the former. We can't possibly do the latter.
During Kennedy's time, the Cold War was everywhere except Australia and Antarctica. "Standing up to the Soviet Union" was a job similar to our current one.

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Old 03-15-2008, 04:18 PM   #30
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During Kennedy's time, the Cold War was everywhere except Australia and Antarctica. "Standing up to the Soviet Union" was a job similar to our current one.

Ha
One important difference is focus. It is relatively easy to have containing the Soviets as a goal. However, being the world policeman encompasses an unknown and unknowable range of possibilities.
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Old 03-15-2008, 06:04 PM   #31
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One important difference is focus. It is relatively easy to have containing the Soviets as a goal. However, being the world policeman encompasses an unknown and unknowable range of possibilities.
Perhaps more easily described, but not more easily done.

Out job got easier, not harder, when the Soviets were (temporarily) absent. We could decide at what level and where to interfere. During the cold war, the Soviets often choose the playing field. For example, lots of violence going on today in the Congo, but we have little presence. In the Cold War we were there, and anywhere else the Russian wanted to nettle us.

Without the "Communist Menace" would we have cared that the French were being kicked out of Viet-Nam? We'd likely have responded solely with clandestine and spec-ops.

I am not arguing for moralistic democracy building; but I think a good argument can be made for low intensity but high quality involvement in many areas around the world.

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Old 03-15-2008, 06:26 PM   #32
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Switzerland seems to be doing well.
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Old 03-15-2008, 06:38 PM   #33
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Switzerland seems to be doing well.

Ya they got along great with the Nazis being all neutral like in WW2..
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Old 03-16-2008, 01:29 PM   #34
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Perhaps more easily described, but not more easily done.

Out job got easier, not harder, when the Soviets were (temporarily) absent. We could decide at what level and where to interfere. During the cold war, the Soviets often choose the playing field. For example, lots of violence going on today in the Congo, but we have little presence. In the Cold War we were there, and anywhere else the Russian wanted to nettle us.

Without the "Communist Menace" would we have cared that the French were being kicked out of Viet-Nam? We'd likely have responded solely with clandestine and spec-ops.

I am not arguing for moralistic democracy building; but I think a good argument can be made for low intensity but high quality involvement in many areas around the world.

Ha
I have never been adverse to engaging with the world. I would just prefer that said engagement come in the form of diplomacy, business and and cultural contact, rather than in the form of killing people and destroying things. We have proven all too effective at the latter and have ignored the former.
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Old 03-16-2008, 01:58 PM   #35
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If they mess with us -- well, we have proven our ability to lay on a world of hurt in short order. So I think they won't.
How would this opinion be reconciled with the historical fact of 9-11?

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Old 03-16-2008, 02:17 PM   #36
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Not entirely sure where you are going with this, but I do note that of the 19 hijackers on 9/11, 14 were from Saudi Arabia, 3 were from the United Arab Emirates, 1 was from Egypt and 1 was from Lebanon. They were influenced by Wahabbism, a virulent strain of fundamentalist Islam that arose in and is supported by Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Ladin, a Saudi, was in Pakistan at the time.

Yet, amazingly, we chose to attack Iraq. We did a bang up job of destroying Iraq, but we haven't done anything to the Saudi's. I wonder why? If we haven't blasted the people responsible for 9/11, it is not because we can't, but the Administration chose not to do it. It is that fact more than anything else that encourages state actors to think they can get away with things like 9/11. Individual actors are obviously harder to deter than states, but that is what police work is all about.
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Old 03-16-2008, 02:18 PM   #37
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Less than 3000 of our civilians were killed on 9/11. More than 3000 of our military have been killed in Iraq. Plus we've killed about 90,000 civilians in Iraq according to Iraq Body Count directly, not to mention hundreds of thousands that have likely died due to our destroying life sustaining infrastructure.

Nobody likes it when outsiders come in and kill civilians. That's just what happens when we go in "laying on a world of hurt". We end up shooting ourselves in the foot literally and figuratively.
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Old 03-16-2008, 02:58 PM   #38
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Not entirely sure where you are going with this, but I do note that of the 19 hijackers on 9/11, 14 were from Saudi Arabia, 3 were from the United Arab Emirates, 1 was from Egypt and 1 was from Lebanon. They were influenced by Wahabbism, a virulent strain of fundamentalist Islam that arose in and is supported by Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Ladin, a Saudi, was in Pakistan at the time.

Yet, amazingly, we chose to attack Iraq. We did a bang up job of destroying Iraq, but we haven't done anything to the Saudi's. I wonder why? If we haven't blasted the people responsible for 9/11, it is not because we can't, but the Administration chose not to do it. It is that fact more than anything else that encourages state actors to think they can get away with things like 9/11. Individual actors are obviously harder to deter than states, but that is what police work is all about.
You endlessly change your arguments. I am not going anywhere with this, as it is useless. But my intention was to criticize your assertion that our ability to "lay on a world of hurt" would make attacks on the US at home very unlikely. As an historical fact, you were wrong. My argument has nothing to do with what might have happened after 9-11- only to show that the threat that you surmised would prevent attacks on America as an historical fact did not prevent a bold and costly attack.

Additionally, your idea that we should engage more in "cultural, business, and diplomatic contacts" is a little hard to understand. Who has more worldwide business, cultural or diplomatic conatacts than the USA?

No more input from me. I am only attracted to debates that don't make a lot of use of red-herrings and windmills.

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Old 03-16-2008, 03:07 PM   #39
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Ha:

I did not understand your question. You are correct, the possibility of massive military response can deter state actors, but it cannot deter non-state actors, as we saw with 9/11. But invading other countries also will not deter non-state actors, so I'm not sure where we stand.

Gumby

P.S. - when I originally mentioned the possibility of retaliation, I was thinking of state actors.
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Old 03-16-2008, 03:11 PM   #40
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The way I look at it, the price of freedom is that every now and again evil people will do evil things like they did on 9/11. The problem is that we don't accept that's just the way the world is and has always been; rather than trying to wrap our minds around the fact that we are never completely safe, we try to use violence to make the world as a whole into our guardian. Just like the war on drugs can't be won, the "war on evil" is a losing battle which ironically is turning into a "war on freedom", the very thing we supposedly are fighting for.
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