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Is Bush totally out of his mind?

Posted by: Stefan Sigwarth - Mon Jan 03, 2005 7:36 pm
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Is Bush totally out of his mind? 
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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 06, 2005 1:18 pm
Andy Hill wrote:
<snip about British law>


Hrm. It almost sounds like the King was completely overthrown in everything but name. Definite credit for you there.

Andy Hill wrote:
America should ask itself, why in spite of all the money and help it gives to countries is it still almost universally disliked.


That in and of itself is the subject of much debate in this country, as well it should be.

Andy Hill wrote:
I was in Moscow a few years back and I was staggered to find out that there were 17 McDonalds there. How did I know this? There was a huge pile of free tourist Maps in on the hotel desk sponsored by them showing all them with a golden arch. In a country where a burger would have cost a day's wages why so many? They were seen as an infestation and erotion of Russian culture. While there I saw a huge statue (I think it was Peter the great on horseback) with a group of tourists taking photos of it. Every photo marred by the huge 15 foot high billboard behind it advertising Nikon Cameras (the sign was in English showing a beech somewhere with a price in American dollars). It is these things that the ordinary people remember because they see them every day not the money or aid that you give. Allow other's to live without the apple pie and the American dream if they wish to and you will gain a few more friends.


I don't have any argument with that. Point 1: those are American companies that are doing that, with practically no assistance from the government. If we started to control them, we'd be a Democratic Socialist state (as if we're not enough of one already). So if you want to get rid of the Golden Arches (there's quite a few over here that wouldn't mind it), you have to deal with the individual company, not the nation as a whole. Ironically, America is trending more and more back to what's called "the small-town appeal", with things such as "comfort food": roast beef and gravy, chicken soup, and the like. The superchains are actually (just) starting to phase out over here.

Andy Hill wrote:
Bush needs to cultivate friendships through understanding not buy them with hard cash. Mostly any government aid comes with strings attached so at a time when they may have very little choice in accepting your aid they are forced to accept everything that goes along with it as well. Most governments are guilty of this but I think the US is a bit more overt.


I honestly don't know much of anything about the diplomacy of foreign aid, except that it's very very nasty, and that we -- as the most economically powerful country -- tend to drop almost as much (if not more) money into any given situation as the rest of the world combined.

Andy Hill wrote:
I mostly agree about the UN sitting on the fence to long in a lot of instances but that still does not give any country the right to go ahead and do what it pleases.


Unfortunately, this is a very hairy issue, that relates almost linearly to that of vigilanteism: the Vigilante can deal true justice in very many cases where the State cannot; however, only the State has the right to kill, and the Vigilante can too easily get out of hand.

Andy Hill wrote:
I worked for the UK MOD for 20 years and talked to a lot of serving soldiers during that time, on every occation the talk got around to serving along side the American troops they said they were more worried about being shot by them than anyone they were fighting.


I must admit, that's pretty disconcerting. Here's a possible scenario: 1) Americans absolutely despise being in a situation where they can see somebody doing wrong, but can't stop it. 2) American troops tend to blame the rest of the UN for getting them in the aforementioned situation in the first place. 3) The other UN troops are not in any way part of the Americans' units, and therefore the Americans feel little or no responsibility towards them.

I don't know about US troops actually opening fire at the UN guys, but the above scenario would lead many Americans to act rather carelessly towards the international troops ("Who gives a **** if he gets his head blown off; I wouldn't be here if his **** country hadn't gotten us into this mess in the first place."). This sort of problem can only be solved by education -- on both sides of the Atlantic.

Andy Hill wrote:
Most of these problems are caused by western governments (UK included) selling arms in the first place so we all have a moral obligation to clear the problems up since they are, at least in part, our own making.


Amen to that.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 06, 2005 2:09 pm
Being shot at by your on side is called "friendly fire", and it happens in all conflicts. It is unfortunate that American forces seem to be more prone to this than other nations. Perhaps its because there are normally more of your soldiers deployed so even if you were no worse than others there would still be more instances attributable to Americans. It could be that culturally your countrymen are much more use to shooting guns so are more likely to do so. It could be something to do with training, on a UK live fire exercise every single bullet has to be accounted for and those not used are returned to stores this makes soldiers less likely to fire at the first oportunity because they know they have to account for spent rounds. It could be a combination of all the above, who knows? But your armed forces have a reputation of being more "Gun Ho" than others.

Dont feel left out though, you fire on your own troops as well. I remember a story of one of your tank commanders (a captain I think) being cleared of the reponsibility of firing on one of your own convoys during the Gulf war. Although he had given the order to fire and US soldiers had died it was seen as acceptable given the conditions he was deployed under and the information he had at the time. He was cleared at his court marshall. Cant remeber anymore details than that I'm afraid.

spacecowboy wrote:
those are American companies that are doing that, with practically no assistance from the government.


The Russian people dont make that distinction, its just all America to them. A lot are probably tarnishing your image as much as Bush is, although in a more subtle way that will be harder to overcome.

Spacecowboy wrote:
I honestly don't know much of anything about the diplomacy of foreign aid, except that it's very very nasty, and that we -- as the most economically powerful country -- tend to drop almost as much (if not more) money into any given situation as the rest of the world combined.


Heres an example of "strings": During world war 2 in exchange for the US's aid the British government allowed American Airforce bases to be built on the UK mainland, as you can imagine we had very little choice at the time and had to accept the aid. We had those bases for 50 years, some with nuclear cruise missiles which we had very little say in their use. This effectively allowed the US a much quicker response but made us one of the first targets of any war. The only reason that most are now gone was their cost and because you got bigger missiles that you could launch from the US.

How would the US people view this situation if the roles had been reversed and would this have made them feel warmly towards the UK?

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 06, 2005 2:32 pm
Up to now I haven't been posting in this thread but I have a question - what does all this have to do with spacecrafts, space missions and the like?

In the initial post the topic still has been private space travel.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 06, 2005 3:05 pm
good point, cant help but love to bitch at the yanks for a while though,

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 06, 2005 3:23 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Up to now I haven't been posting in this thread but I have a question - what does all this have to do with spacecrafts, space missions and the like?


OK Ekkehard lets throw some space in:- Since Bush's initial space decree last January, there is been very few mentions of it by him since. Is he backtracking? Was it all just to get votes or will we see some results soon? Shuttle delays seem to be pushing his time table further into the next decade but he or NASA has not released any new more realistic dates. Can we see a NASA budget cut in a few years time?

What do people think?

And in answer to the thread title:- Of course Bush is Mad.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 06, 2005 7:39 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Up to now I haven't been posting in this thread but I have a question - what does all this have to do with spacecrafts, space missions and the like?


Absolutely nothing. That's why it's the Cafe.

Andy Hill wrote:
OK Ekkehard lets throw some space in:- Since Bush's initial space decree last January, there is been very few mentions of it by him since. Is he backtracking? Was it all just to get votes or will we see some results soon? Shuttle delays seem to be pushing his time table further into the next decade but he or NASA has not released any new more realistic dates. Can we see a NASA budget cut in a few years time?


I doubt that it was ever anything more than a simple election campaign move -- a very good one, but nothing else. It also shows how close the race was, that one of the candidates would attempt to win over such a small group as the space research/development community.

***

To Andy's three points:
1)
I can't say anything about friendly fire incidents (at least, not factually), other than that they get VERY bad press here. Normally, in any incident of friendly fire, the media hangs the soldiers involved out to dry, regardless of whether is was preventable or not.

2)
Yes, the superchains are seriously hurting us, and it will be extremely hard for us to overcome, and there's very little that anyone can do about it. For one reason or another, boycotts almost never work in this country, even when it comes to stores that everybody dislikes (such as Wal-Mart).

3)
Like I said, diplomacy's a nasty business. And don't think that the UK wouldn't do it if it had the chance: you've done it before (example: East India Company). Russia is also famous for it: "Sure, we'll give you economic support to achieve the Communist ideal -- but first, attack that little country over there......." Nobody likes the dude at the top of the heap, and right now, America is unlucky enough to be that dude.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 06, 2005 8:15 pm
spacecowboy wrote:
Like I said, diplomacy's a nasty business. And don't think that the UK wouldn't do it if it had the chance: you've done it before (example: East India Company). Russia is also famous for it: "Sure, we'll give you economic support to achieve the Communist ideal -- but first, attack that little country over there......." Nobody likes the dude at the top of the heap, and right now, America is unlucky enough to be that dude.


We are in agreement there, I am not so naive that I think the UK government would act any better given the oportunity. All politicians are crooks (its easy to spot them lying though:- there lips are moving). :) Still its better to be on the top rather than at the bottom.

Ahh "The East India Company" so much money so long ago :) We used to be someone:-we could have been a contender. :) Probably best we gave it all back or was it taken, never quite sure.

I see that India has refused any aid assistence, could be that they are thinking about what it would cost them.

I'm not sure whether Bush is serious about space, his speech was similar to his father's when he launched a new space inititive but with a few more details thrown in. Bush Snr's sank without trace, lets hope Jr's is a bit more substantial. The main problem will be whether NASA can deliver it or whether it wants to alter the current status quo between themselves and industry.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 06, 2005 10:34 pm
spacecowboy wrote:
Unfortunately, this is a very hairy issue, that relates almost linearly to that of vigilanteism: the Vigilante can deal true justice in very many cases where the State cannot; however, only the State has the right to kill, and the Vigilante can too easily get out of hand.


Ooh, an oldie but a goodie. The state has the right to kill. This is then extrapolated to apply to the rest of the world? What is the difference between a state and a vigilante on the global scale, then? Perhaps this is a limb it is better to stay off, as when perspectives change, there often is little difference between a legitimate state action and an oppressive action. Okay, I'll stop here, as I'm sure this is nothing new to anyone.

Empires rise, and then empires fall - it's been seen many times over again. As has been mentioned, no country that has once been a significant power is free from having unjustly acted or dominated. France and England are still dealing with the ramifications of their actions (however 'just' they may have seemed at the time) in Africa. It seems as if they are morally obligated to do something to help diffuse volatile situations and repair the damage caused by the ripple effects of colonialism, yet at the same time any action is frequently despised by many different parties as either still dominating or overly paternalistic. Quite a nasty situation.

There are many other examples: the many entrenched sides in the middle-east (there have been many empires rising and falling, dominating, committing horrible crimes, being toppled, and replaced with similarly tyrannical empires over the ages), our wonderful rivalries in the Balkans, and of course many smaller-scale scenarios in any revolution-prone country.

I guess what I'm blathering on about is this:
It's never nice when the dude on the top gets knocked off. No-one ever sees it coming, and there are always a lot of deep-felt hatreds that linger long after the empires change. What would be nice would be avoiding further complicating the situation and begin the lengthy healing process while still in the position to be able to do so with some integrity (i.e., not after it's too late and there is no other viable option). So, when 'foreigners' start to comment on American foreign policy and ways it could improve, it's not always motivated out of a pure desire to 'bitch at the yanks'. Often, we just don't want to see a bad situation get worse. All 'Kumbaya-ing' aside, it often helps to look at the motive.

*****
What was this all about in the first place? Oh, yeah, Bush. I for one am not holding my breath for any near timeline, as I have a hard time seeing where the money for W's ambitious plans is going to be coming from.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 07, 2005 6:16 pm
slycker wrote:
spacecowboy wrote:
Unfortunately, this is a very hairy issue, that relates almost linearly to that of vigilanteism: the Vigilante can deal true justice in very many cases where the State cannot; however, only the State has the right to kill, and the Vigilante can too easily get out of hand.


Ooh, an oldie but a goodie. The state has the right to kill. This is then extrapolated to apply to the rest of the world? What is the difference between a state and a vigilante on the global scale, then? Perhaps this is a limb it is better to stay off, as when perspectives change, there often is little difference between a legitimate state action and an oppressive action.


Heh. Great analysis; welcome to reality. Sometimes, it sucks, don't it?

slycker wrote:
Okay, I'll stop here, as I'm sure this is nothing new to anyone.


As will I.

slycker wrote:
I guess what I'm blathering on about is this:
It's never nice when the dude on the top gets knocked off. No-one ever sees it coming, and there are always a lot of deep-felt hatreds that linger long after the empires change. What would be nice would be avoiding further complicating the situation and begin the lengthy healing process while still in the position to be able to do so with some integrity (i.e., not after it's too late and there is no other viable option). So, when 'foreigners' start to comment on American foreign policy and ways it could improve, it's not always motivated out of a pure desire to 'bitch at the yanks'. Often, we just don't want to see a bad situation get worse. All 'Kumbaya-ing' aside, it often helps to look at the motive.


Hey, I'm all for international cooperation. It's just that only the ***holes get the airtime. (Hrm, that's just one *more* thing that I hate about the media.....) And thus, international relationships worsen not due to hate crimes or intolerable acts, but out of simple greed ("'The <insert country name here> are out to get us'.... Yeah, that'll sell real good!"). How come the jerks are the ones that most publicly represent capitalism?

slycker wrote:
What was this all about in the first place? Oh, yeah, Bush. I for one am not holding my breath for any near timeline, as I have a hard time seeing where the money for W's ambitious plans is going to be coming from.


One of many, friend.

***

Well, I gotta say, this was a damned good debate. <gives Andy an e-shake> I, for one, had a talented and skilled opponent, and the entire thing was kept remarkably civil -- with the exception of some rather anal remarks that took place before it really started, and which were promptly ignored by all alike. Not having been outside of US borders yet (hey, I'm only 18, and Alexander the Great I ain't), I enjoyed the opportunity to have argued international policy with a foreigner -- and a competent one at that.

Thanks for the debate, Andy!

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 07, 2005 8:13 pm
No problem any time you want an argument give us a call, I'll be loitering around somewhere. :)

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Post Just an icelandic perspective   Posted on: Sun Jan 09, 2005 2:55 pm
I am not the brightest person on these boards but I must say I find some comments on this thread about how europeans should mind theyr own business and that if we should just mind our own kind of hypocritical.

Let me explain.

70% of the news and shows we see here are from america. Most news items I read are from america. On the net I see rarely anything else than america. It would seem america is the only civilized country in the world. Theyre not the first. Romans used to do that. They called everyone that was not roman a barbarian because they were different, they were not true human, they were not free. Which in some cases may have been true. And they, like america today, didnt put it past them to destroy a country or two for a little PR rating. Iraq and Afghanistan will possibly never be able to support themselves after the constant wars that have been brought to theyr countrys.

Then there is the media, I hear more about the president of the US than I hear about the politics of denmark. And I live there. Over the course of a few months I was bombarded with 'Vote or die' slogans. I was told to go vote to be a better person. So when the voting day came I almost had a bad conciense not voting. How could I? I live in Denmark!

To me it is just the top of hippocracy when a country that meddles in the politics in all the countrys of the world tells the rest of the world to sod of.

Then there is one comment I seem to hear frequently. Americans seem fond of saying that no other country dares touch them because they have the nuke. Well, Russia has nukes... Hell, even france has nukes. And if memory serves me right americans dont even have the highest quantity nor the most powerfull one, that honor goes to russia.

Americans, wake up. Youre not the bastion of peace for the world.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 10, 2005 1:01 pm
Oh come on, leave the Americans alone. The Europeans are just bitter and insecure because when all is said and done they are impotent to act even on their own door-step (Balkans). The Americans are insecure because they are an anti-imperialist empire and they do not yet know how to behave like an Imperial power. They accidently inherited one by forcing Europe and Britain to relinquish theirs too early, hence the regimes that came in Africa. (I don't care if you eat your prisoners, just don't side with the Soviets! :roll: )
All in all though, they are doing OK and seem to have inherited the British policy of well-meaning benevolence and brutality through sheer incompetence. And you can all say whatever you like about the wars and regimes that they have fought and why. If a judgement ever comes from a power on high, America will be found way over on the side of right compared to those they fought and their shameful supporters who hide behind the rights of free countries.
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I was bombarded with 'Vote or die' slogans.

Surely that was an episode of South Park, not an election broadcast! :lol:

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Post Re: Just an icelandic perspective   Posted on: Mon Jan 10, 2005 1:27 pm
Please note that with the formatting comments, I'm not trying to run you down. I'm trying to give pointers so that your arguments are in better form, so that somebody else will have a much harder time running you down.

Talmir wrote:
I am not the brightest person on these boards but I must say I find some comments on this thread about how europeans should mind theyr own business and that if we should just mind our own kind of hypocritical.


For future reference: don't ever criticize yourself at any point in a debate; it is terrible form. The audience will decide whether or not you deserve criticism.

Talmir wrote:
70% of the news and shows we see here are from america. Most news items I read are from america. On the net I see rarely anything else than america. It would seem america is the only civilized country in the world. Theyre not the first. Romans used to do that. They called everyone that was not roman a barbarian because they were different, they were not true human, they were not free. Which in some cases may have been true. And they, like america today, didnt put it past them to destroy a country or two for a little PR rating. Iraq and Afghanistan will possibly never be able to support themselves after the constant wars that have been brought to theyr countrys.


Also don't use PFA (Pulled From A**) statistics. Say "most" or "a lot". Not "**%".

1) You have to remember that America also has the largest, best-funded, and by far the most powerful media services group in the world. Thus, we simply produce more news.

2) We don't call you barbarians. We call you uneducated Europeans who don't understand that we're the only thing that stands between them and the Evil Terrorist Onslaught. :wink:

Talmir wrote:
Then there is the media, I hear more about the president of the US than I hear about the politics of denmark. And I live there. Over the course of a few months I was bombarded with 'Vote or die' slogans. I was told to go vote to be a better person. So when the voting day came I almost had a bad conciense not voting. How could I? I live in Denmark!


"Vote or die"..... No, that's not any of the campaigns that I remember. Of course, most of us are bright enough to keep our TVs off during campaign season.

And, I might point out, that voting is your personal duty to the government of whichever democratic nation you reside in.......

Talmir wrote:
To me it is just the top of hippocracy when a country that meddles in the politics in all the countrys of the world tells the rest of the world to sod of.

Then there is one comment I seem to hear frequently. Americans seem fond of saying that no other country dares touch them because they have the nuke. Well, Russia has nukes... Hell, even france has nukes. And if memory serves me right americans dont even have the highest quantity nor the most powerfull one, that honor goes to russia.

Americans, wake up. Youre not the bastion of peace for the world.


Ah, we finally come to the "Americans are such bullies because they think they're bigger than us". Well, unfortunately for y'all, it's true. France may have nukes, but they don't have enough to stop the US from turning their country into a nice lump of glass. Russia sold a lot of theirs off, and they barely have enough of a government to make an official declaration of war. Not to mention conventional weapons, in which our are the most advanced, (during an actual war) the most reliable, and the most powerful. Yes, you hear about American planes crashing almost constantly. Unfortunately, the military only really functions well during a full-scale war. Any other time, every policy (except for strict discipline and maintenance of the status quo) is relaxed almost completely.

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Post Re: Just an icelandic perspective   Posted on: Mon Jan 10, 2005 4:36 pm
spacecowboy wrote:
France may have nukes, but they don't have enough to stop the US from turning their country into a nice lump of glass. Russia sold a lot of theirs off, and they barely have enough of a government to make an official declaration of war.


Yes the the US military use to think like this, lets have a small scale localised nuclear conflict in Europe and we'll be safe on the other side of the Atlantic, they even designed and built small battlefield nuclear weopons of a few kilotons. This idea went out the window after the Chenobyl accident where it was seen that it was impossible to contain even a relatively small amout of fall out.

The concept of we've got more or bigger nuclear weopons is irrelevant when the whole world would be affected by the smallest war. If the US did decide to vaporise France (now there's a thought:-wait a minute the UK is a bit close, scratch that idea :) ) the fall out would probably kill everyone in the US as well. Where would be the gain in that?

This is one of the reasons that the US decided to reduce its stockpile of Nucs, absolutely no point in having that many. Also if France only had one or two Nucs (and they probably have hundreds) that would stop the US. North Korea has been treated with kid gloves since they owned up to having a bomb.

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Post Re: Just an icelandic perspective   Posted on: Tue Jan 11, 2005 2:54 pm
Andy Hill wrote:
Yes the the US military use to think like this, lets have a small scale localised nuclear conflict in Europe and we'll be safe on the other side of the Atlantic, they even designed and built small battlefield nuclear weopons of a few kilotons. This idea went out the window after the Chenobyl accident where it was seen that it was impossible to contain even a relatively small amout of fall out.

The concept of we've got more or bigger nuclear weopons is irrelevant when the whole world would be affected by the smallest war. If the US did decide to vaporise France (now there's a thought:-wait a minute the UK is a bit close, scratch that idea :) ) the fall out would probably kill everyone in the US as well. Where would be the gain in that?

This is one of the reasons that the US decided to reduce its stockpile of Nucs, absolutely no point in having that many. Also if France only had one or two Nucs (and they probably have hundreds) that would stop the US. North Korea has been treated with kid gloves since they owned up to having a bomb.


My point exactly. Nuclear weapons are the only offensive weapons that have a solely defensive purpose: no sane human being would risk conflict with a nuclear power. Unfortunately, several less-than-sane people have gotten ahold of them (cite: North Korea).

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Last edited by spacecowboy on Fri Jan 14, 2005 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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