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Old 03-03-2011, 02:52 PM   #81
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In 1956 during the Hungarian revolution, the Voice of America, Radio Free Europa, and some other western block broadcasts were full of promises of help on the way.

It was all empty drivel and meaningless rhetoric, no help was on the way and Russians crushed the revolution with ease. To them it was just another minor inconvenience. Many escaped through the border before the Iron Curtain was erected.

A word to the wise in North Africa.
Don't forget the Bay of Pigs. Kennedy holds a press conference saying he made a mistake - end of story.
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:55 PM   #82
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Yep. Was in the service with a Cuban Bay of Pigs survivor. He did not think much of the Kennedys. Castro knew the time and day of arrivals.
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Old 03-04-2011, 11:33 AM   #83
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I recommend registering for FT.com.

Please respect FT.com's ts&cs and copyright policy which allow you to: share links; copy content for personal use; & redistribute limited extracts. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights or use this link to reference the article - FT.com / Middle East & North Africa - Sectarian violence flares in Bahrain

Fights broke out between Shias and largely recently-naturalised Sunni Arabs in central Bahrain on Thursday night, raising the spectre of sectarian violence ahead of large anti-government demonstrations planned for Friday afternoon.

My guess is that the rebels are/will do the same thing to their enemies.

Please respect FT.com's ts&cs and copyright policy which allow you to: share links; copy content for personal use; & redistribute limited extracts. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights or use this link to reference the article - FT.com / Middle East & North Africa - Gaddafi unleashes terror campaign

As he struggles to keep control of Tripoli, the Libyan capital, Muammer Gaddafi, the embattled leader, has unleashed a campaign of terror against suspected opponents in the city including abduction and rape.

+++
There are planned protests planned for Saudi Arabia this month. I think oil markets are reacting to that.
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Old 03-04-2011, 11:41 AM   #84
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We just need to drill our own damn oil instead of buying it from countries that support terrorism or harbor terrorists in return for the terrorist not blowing up their oil wells..........
This is the truth right here, we have all the oil we need at our door step. Somebody is getting paid off big time and I'd love to know who.

Only thing I can figure is that we support the middle east countries by having to buy their oil. What would they do to support themselves if we used our own oil. So to keep peace in the world we let them rip us off.
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Old 03-04-2011, 12:09 PM   #85
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This is the truth right here, we have all the oil we need at our door step. Somebody is getting paid off big time and I'd love to know who.

Only thing I can figure is that we support the middle east countries by having to buy their oil. What would they do to support themselves if we used our own oil. So to keep peace in the world we let them rip us off.
I am confused. Where is our own oil, that we are not drilling?

Ha
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Old 03-04-2011, 12:12 PM   #86
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Only thing I can figure is that we support the middle east countries by having to buy their oil. What would they do to support themselves if we used our own oil. So to keep peace in the world we let them rip us off.
I think it's even simpler than that. We like cheap oil. It's cheaper to buy it from Saudi & Co than to produce it from, say, local shale. So we (the West, to include me, but I mean mostly the US ) try to keep the peace lid on the Middle East because if it goes crazy there, we'd have to pay $200/barrel or whatever for oil, which would be economically inconvenient.

Oh, and of course the US has to protect Israel whatever the cost, and due to a huge blunder by Moses who turned left instead of right, Israel doesn't have the oil revenues. (Aside: I've never really understood why the US has to be so protective of Israel; everyone says "it's the Jewish lobby", but how important can that be, how many Jews are there in the US, when there's only 15 million worldwide? There's also the truism that Israel is the only democracy in the region, but since the US is, or has been, propping up half the dictators, that's somewhat circular reasoning, I'd have thought.)

A more general question is: if the defence of Western (read: American) freedoms requires the installation of dictators who deny those same freedoms to their own people, can this be justified? Back in the Cold War days it was easier to defend the "Yes, but he's our sonofabitch" argument. These days: not so much(*).



(*) Did Sacha Baron Cohen know what he'd be starting when he used that line? I hear and read it everywhere these days.
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Old 03-04-2011, 12:37 PM   #87
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I am confused. Where is our own oil, that we are not drilling?

Ha
Not only drilling in the gulf off of Florida but read the bottom link. Canada is doing it why not us. I'll get more reserves and pass it along to you.

http://www.nextenergynews.com/news1/...news2.13s.html

http://peswiki.com/index.php/Directo...can_Oil_Fields

http://peswiki.com/index.php/Directo...can_Oil_Fields

Energy: America
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Old 03-04-2011, 03:19 PM   #88
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A more general question is: if the defence of Western (read: American) freedoms requires the installation of dictators who deny those same freedoms to their own people, can this be justified? Back in the Cold War days it was easier to defend the "Yes, but he's our sonofabitch" argument. These days: not so much(*).



(*) Did Sacha Baron Cohen know what he'd be starting when he used that line? I hear and read it everywhere these days.
"He's our SOB" definitely pre date Mr Cohen. It is variously attributed to FDR describing Nicaraguan dictator Somoza, or LBJ describing FBI head Hoover, or one of South Vietnam's nasty Presidents. My bet is on LBJ.

I completely agree that our support for these dictators was easier to justify during the cold war and very much less now days as recent events have proven. That said all of these guys have been in office so long the pre date the collapse of the Soviet Union, which seems so long ago yet they've remained in power.
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Old 03-04-2011, 06:15 PM   #89
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"He's our SOB" definitely pre date Mr Cohen.
Sorry, I wasn't clear enough. Sacha Baron Cohen, as Borat, introduced "not so much" into popular culture. I always thought that "he's our SOB" was Nixon, but Google suggests it was FDR, talking about Somoza in Nicaragua.
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Old 03-04-2011, 07:53 PM   #90
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Niall Ferguson has an excellent article in this weeks Newsweek about usually favorable American attitudes toward populist revolutions. He points out that the American Revolution is about the only one known to history that did not lead to chaos, to be replaced not by Democracy but by the the meanest cruelest most despotic autocracy that the meanest cruelest best organized groups can enforce. French Revolution -> Jacobin horror, Russian Revolution -> Bolsheviks, Chinese Revoltion of 1949 to Mao's horror show, overthrow of the Shah led to the Iranian theocracy, etc.
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He forgets other ex-colonies of Britain that gained their independance through revolution and were replaced by democracies that have endured such as the Irish Republic, and the largest democracy in the world, India.

US politicians often talk about the US as having the world's oldest democracy, including Pesident Bush who addressed the people of India in 2006 beginning his speech in New Delhi saying that he was “honored to bring the good wishes and the respect of the world’s oldest democracy to the world’s largest democracy.”

The world's oldest continuous Democracy is Iceland, it has had a legislative assembly since 930 AD. The world's oldest democracy is Athens some where before 40 BC

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Old 03-04-2011, 09:10 PM   #91
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He forgets other ex-colonies of Britain that gained their independance through revolution and were replaced by democracies that have endured such as the Irish Republic, and the largest democracy in the world, India.
What history teaches us that the only absolute is that there are no absolutes. The perponderence of history supports his concepts.

For every Irish Republic there are several Uganda (s) or Vietnam

Niall Ferguson: Americans and Revolutions - Newsweek

http://www.newsweek.com/2011/02/13/w...r-america.html
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Old 03-04-2011, 09:23 PM   #92
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What history teaches us that the only absolute is that there are no absolutes. The perponderence of history supports his concepts.

For every Irish Republic there are several Uganda (s) or Vietnam

Niall Ferguson: Americans and Revolutions - Newsweek

Obama's Egypt and Foreign-Policy Failures - Newsweek
Absolutely, I fully agree.

Maybe I misunderstood Ha's quote of Niall Fergusson when he claimed that the USA is about the only one ever not be replaced by a despotic autocracy.

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He points out that the American Revolution is about the only one known to history that did not lead to chaos, to be replaced not by Democracy but by the the meanest cruelest most despotic autocracy that the meanest cruelest best organized groups can enforce.
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Old 03-04-2011, 09:28 PM   #93
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Most of the countries would not/will not turn into western-style democracies that recognize individual rights, etc. US support of some of these authoritarians has probably been better for many of these countries and their people than the alternative would have been (though this is, of course, impossible to know or prove). If the US is providing support, it can influence the situation and moderate the behavior of the despot. Mubarrak was no Idi Amin, Pol Pot, or Kim Il Sung. The alternative to Mubbarak wasn't (and isn't) Abraham Lincoln.
The biggest downside for us is that the US gets blamed for the misdeeds of the ruler if we're supporting him, and that's fair. And, we get blamed for the successor to the despot and the transitional violence. So, better to be hands-off, let blood flow in the streets and have the most well-organized and ruthless group seize power in these countries. We can issue demarches from the sidelines and say that this thing or that thing is "unacceptable." Then we'll be pure and clean.
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Old 03-04-2011, 10:08 PM   #94
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Yes. The US is damned if it interferes, and more damned if it does. When in doubt, better to stand back and watch. In many cases, we would not know which faction to back.

And by the way, besides the American Revolution, does anyone know of another revolution that had such a nice outcome?

PS. I just scrolled up and saw the same observation made about the American Revolution. Wouldn't that make one appreciate the founding fathers of this country more?
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Old 03-04-2011, 10:52 PM   #95
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... besides the American Revolution, does anyone know of another revolution that had such a nice outcome?
Suffrage for a long period was restricted to rich white men, slavery was a legal institution in the U.S. until 1865, elections held between 1876 and 1965, particularly in the South, were largely governed by racist “Jim Crow Laws”, and women gained the right to vote only in 1920. Also, apartheid was legally practiced in the U.S. until 1964.

However, eventually it worked out okay.
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Old 03-05-2011, 08:24 AM   #96
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Hungarian revolution 1989 -> Democracy
East German revolution 1990 -> Democracy
Czechoslovak revolution 1990 -> Democracy
etc etc
The government of the USA is a Republic, not a Democracy. In fact, if you read the founding fathers, they abhored a pure democracy as it historically led to tyranny and/or another revolution of some sort. The only true "democracy" I know of here in the western civilization is Switzerland and even then they have a moderating influence of other governmental 'legs.'

Germany's government is a federal parliamentary republic - not a pure democracy. Czech Republic is a parliamentary republic. Hungary is a parliamentary republic.

Famous quote - lady asked Benjamin Franklin after the Constitutional Convention what type of government we have. He said, "A republic, if you can keep it."

An Important Distinction: Democracy versus Republic has a good description of the differences.

So, do we want a pure democracy? Probably not. Do we agree with a having no distinction between religious and secular laws and government? Probably not.

I don't believe they hate America, but I do believe many in the Middle East don't believe in our notion of governance, which has come about through our historical evolution (see second question above). It will be interesting to see what happens.
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Old 03-05-2011, 12:33 PM   #97
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The government of the USA is a Republic, not a Democracy.
In the context of this debate, I think this is splitting hairs. By "democracy" I mean "country where the rule of law prevails and people can get rid of their leaders at regular free elections".
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Old 03-05-2011, 12:39 PM   #98
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In the context of this debate, I think this is splitting hairs. By "democracy" I mean "country where the rule of law prevails and people can get rid of their leaders at regular free elections".
Understood, but the distinction is worth highlighting. Free and fair elections are a disaster if there's no protection of individual rights and inadequate checks on government power. Lots of these countries are going to have one election, then the cycle of repression will begin again.
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Old 03-05-2011, 12:42 PM   #99
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if there's no protection of individual rights and inadequate checks on government power.
The tyranny of the majority can occur in both a republic and a democracy.
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Old 03-05-2011, 12:51 PM   #100
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The tyranny of the majority can occur in both a republic and a democracy.
Yes, of course. Having a representative republic form of government, rather than a direct democracy, is a significant advantage but does not guarantee there won't be abuse. Madison does a good job of listing some advantages of a republic vs a direct democracy in Federalist #10.
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