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Author Topic: lost prestige of America
kelcimer
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It has been said that America has lost enormous amounts of prestige world-wide. This keeps coming up. But never are specific countries listed. It's always "worldwide" "the international community" "international opinion" and such. But the world and the international community on said world is not a separate entity. It's made up of individual countries. So which countries are they actually worried about?

I would immediately strike from the list every dictatorship and theocracy, every country that is still seriously playing with socialism, every incompetant county, and every smalll county that most people don't know exist. I think that's fair. Who really cares about what they think of us? After that there is not all that many counries left. And those hardly consitute "the world" or the bulk of the "international community." And even then, while it would be nice if they liked us, it is not required. It is not indispencable.

Each would be a feather in our cap, but if we didn't have any feathers we would still have a cap. And that's the important part. It would do us no good to have 192 feathers and no cap. You get rained on that way and don't have something to shade your eyes.

So which countries do you people who care about international opionon actually care about? Or are you only worries about what "the world" thinks?

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Leto
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Um, the US has lost notable approval in public opinion in Britain, Iceland, Germany, Spain, France, Belgium, and Canada. The US always walked a tenuous line and has now made worse relations with Egypt, the US continues to walk a fine line with Jordan, Saudi Arabia only pretends to be friendly so long as we don't condemn how they treat their citizens, and Pakistan only gives us token support, while most of the population there derides the US openly. SE Asia is slowly becoming less friendly with the US, and New Zealand is moving further away from friendly diplomacy (though not into unfriendly territory... just ambivalent). Austrailian support outside of the government has gone down noticably.

So, the question I would ask you is: what world have you been living in that you haven't noticed this? I know people that live in at least half the nations I listed (probably more), and they all corroberate what I just said. What makes you think otherwise?

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Zyne
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Um Europe jumps to mind as a group the members of which are united and wary of the US.

With 192 feathers I could make a really nice cap. Waterproof, even.

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Murdok
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Well - I think Kelcimers next question might be - who cares?

Actually we should care - and care deeply. We trade with these people, they buy our goods and in many cases make the stuff we buy. We depend on them for a lot of things - like intelligence, international support and co-operation and political cover and heaven forbid another terrorist attack occurs - we will need their help in a dozen other ways.

And the main reason this is so dire right now - one man. Bush and his policies. I think Secretary of State Colin Powell is now the United States main apologist...as he is going from country to country trying to put out political fire after fire..as reported in this weeks Time magazine.

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VaLyoMeT
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Maybe you should take into account that these countries ( France, Germany, Spain, ... ) are against U.S.A. policies mainly because it suits their needs for preeminence.
Acussing U.S.A. they pose as strong and fair, wich they are not... but if it helps them, they use it.

Of course you should care about what Europe feels about U.S.A. ... but don't ever think it's only U.S.A.'s fault.

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Enumclaw
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quote:
So which countries do you people who care about international opionon actually care about? Or are you only worries about what "the world" thinks?
Well, if by "you people" you mean anyone in general, I'll answer.

I'm concerned about every nation, even the dictatorships and other assorted bad guys you mentioned.

Oh, I'm not all that worried about the leaders of those nations. But I AM worried about the people of those nations.

Even in a place like Cuba, which has (on a government-to-government level) been an implacable foe of the USA for decades, the common people know and believe that the United States is still one of the greatest nations on Earth.

We have (or had) a reputation as THE nation to get conquered by, built in huge part by the aftermath of World War II.

Our "allies", the Russian Army raped and pillaged its way across eastern Europe; the Soviets took over the various satellite nations and East Germany, and ran them into the ground.

Our enemies, the Japanese, treated the nations they conquered horribly, slaughtering men and raping women, plundering their economies and resources. The Germans, of course, set out to implement the "final solution" against the Jews and generally treated the nations they conquered poorly, doing whatever they saw fit.

By contrast, we treated the locals with respect and as much dignity as could be managed. Our soldiers didn't rape the women they came across; they were nice to them, and even took some on dates and wound up bringing them home as wives.

We installed democratic governments and the peoples (and economies) of West Germany and Japan thrived. The free nations of the world prospered tremendously better than those under the fascist or communist rulers.

People have known for dozens and dozens of years that the United States is the leader in free speech, freedom of religion, and so forth. Many people from many nations try to come here to make their lives better and become an American.

They know that the "rule of law" counts here. Even as they shook their heads and laughed at our patheticness in the recent Presidential election (with hijinks on a level with tinhorn dictatorships in the Third World) they understood the class it took for Al Gore and President Clinton to accept the ruling of the Supreme Court- in many other nations, that set of circumstances would have wound up with a military junta or coup running the show.

They saw how Nixon, because he was about to go down, resigned rather than be chased out of office or tried to hold power by dissolving the legislature.

So yes, you bet, I care about what the PEOPLE of the world think. It sickens me to think that with the information age, billions have seen the pictures of tortured Iraqi prisoners- many of whom weren't guilty of anything other than being Iraqi. What must these people think America is coming to?

We HAVE lost a lot of prestige. When information managed to flow freely, the people of the world were smart enough to recognize the irony of joints like Libya or Sudan being on the "human rights committee" of the UN; the people of the world understood that the real leaders were the the Americans.

What must they think now? When President Bush's legal advisors declare that the rules of the Geneva Convention do not apply to prisoners we take, and when we declare that those held in Gitmo aren't subject to the normal laws and due process of the United States?

We do not live in a vaccuum. I agree that to a large extent, the US could be self sufficient- with the obvious exception of the massive amounts of oil we import from other nations- our economy would be severely stressed without it, so we cannot totally "do without" other nations' goodwill.

But overall, sure, we could go it our own way. Of course, by losing that respect from the people of the world, they wouldn't come here anymore with their energy, their burning desire to make something better for themselves and their children.

That energy and desire are a huge part in making America what it is today, so the new isolationist America would be a much lesser place to live. Yes, we could pull it off, but why would we want to?

Paul

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Kentuckian
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Someone mentioned casually above that we should care because we trade with these people.

I find this a tad amusing, not because we don't trade with these people, but because if you think that they trade with us because of "American prestige" you're absolutely off your rocker. They trade with us because we are the single largest consumer on the planet. We dominate in consumption so completely that if you don't sell your stuff to us, you'll probably go under. Although we need world trade, the world needs trade with America even more.

So, while there may be other, legitimate reasons for concern about lost prestige, trade is not one.

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vulture
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Kentuckian - the problem isn't with governments deciding not to trade with the US. It's more to do with the average guy on the street deciding to boycott some American goods (although I have no idea as to the extent to which this is capable of hurting the US economy. When France decided to carry out nuclear tests in the south pacific in the later 90's, many people in the UK stopped buying French wines in protest. This probably had bugger all effect in reality, but is the sort of thing that is far more likely than government-imposed trade barriers.

To what extent does the health of the US ecnomomy depend on its export markets? The usual targets for boycotts are probably more or less irrelevant (Coca Cola, MacDonalds) in so far as boycotts against such companies tend to only be joined by people who almost never buy them anyway. Major companies that only do business with other major companies (such as Boeing) are unlikely to see any effect - their customers are running businesses after all. But what if there is a significant shift in e.g car buying world wide away from American manufacturers? Actually, that's the only example I can think of off the top of my head that is something bought in quantity by individual consumers for which a reasonable alternative exists in the event of a boycott. How much would US car manufacturing suffer if there was a significant drop in demand on the world market? And how many other industries that I've overlooked right now might also be affected, and to what extent?

I have no idea what the size of any such effect might be. I'm just pointing out a way in which the US economy may still be adversely affected even if multinationals and governments find it in their interesting to continue trading with the US.

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Sancselfieme
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Soft Power matters
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Malcoren
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"I would immediately strike from the list every dictatorship and theocracy, every country that is still seriously playing with socialism, every incompetant county, and every smalll county that most people don't know exist"
Wow, that doesn't leave many others left, does it? [Wink]

I would love to be able to post on this, but Enumclaw has pretty much covered every point I wanted to bring up, and then some. So I'lll just kick back and say "Thanks, Paul!"

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Colin JM0397
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What's the world coming to? This is at least 2x in as many weeks that Paul & I agree on something.

The people of the world know the deal, mostly.

What one country surpasses all others combined in immigration?
We do.

While the current shenanigans plastered all over the news are damaging - somewhat, but not nearly as much as some seem to think - I feel confident in assuming that average, smart and thinking people will see it for what it is and know that a few bad apples doesn't ruin the whole bushel.

Governments will do what they've always done: play the game of Realpolitik and do what they think necessary to increase their own power. If that means bad-mouthing us, they bad mouth is. If it means kissing our ass, they kiss our ass. We usually do the same, but with the biggest stick on the block, can get away with minimal ass kissing.

The people of the world will continue to do what they do - work their rears off to get to the USA, because when you add up all the bad vs. all the good, the good still comes out on top.

I rarely go the "we're #1 route", but, in this case, the immigration numbers speak for themselves. If other nations are any better for the common person, why do the majority of world-wide immigrants continue to come here?

[ May 18, 2004, 10:14 AM: Message edited by: jm0397 ]

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Leto
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Kent, it's not so much that other nations would choose to cut off trade. What poor diplomatic relations could do, however, is raise shipping prices and cost of both imported and exported goods. Also, trade between other nations could increase due to poor relations with us, as another country would either get first preference or would simply undercut our costs. Sure, NAFTA and other trade agreements may make things look like this can't happen, but as the EU grows, so does their audacity. Canada profits economically from being in such close proximity to us, but that doesn't always have to be so.

No, the rest of the world would not realistically try some "starve the beast" tactic with the US, but trade costs can easily go up. Japan, our ally, already manipulates their market to stay at a set place with the American dollar. Other nations could easily do the same and drive the American dollar down (in fact, the EU as a single body is practically trying to do this already).

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Leto
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quote:
I rarely go the "we're #1 route", but, in this case, the immigration numbers speak for themselves. If other nations are any better for the common person, why do the majority of world-wide immigrants continue to come here?
That's changing. Canada's rate of immigration is, percentage-wise, much higher than the US. Yes, Canada is smaller in population, so this percentage does not mean a great deal, but give it a few decades.
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Colin JM0397
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I'm talking raw numbers, but, as you said, we'll have to wait and see.

One thing to watch, though, is what that does to Canada. Without even looking at the numbers, I'll wager most immigrants settle in the east of Canada - the black hole of social funding that sucks all the taxes from the more prosperous west. As more and more people enter Canada and receive all the "free" services they offer, it'll become more and more of a burden.

I bet they'll either have to scale immigration back to manageable numbers if it continues to grow, or risk a government funding meltdown, followed closely by possible succession movements from the western provinces.

Before you say that's crazy, the western provinces have already been quietly grumbling about crushing taxes and wanting more autonomy.

On a side note, that’s what makes the independent Quebec movement so darn entertaining! If they ever seceded, they’ll be instantly broke and have to raise taxes, and then what business they do have will start bailing left and right. It’s a nasty cycle.

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Kentuckian
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You guys are still mostly focused on exports. Our power lies in imports. We buy their stuff, they can't afford to piss us off.

I think that when America wakes up and realizes it's main power lies in refusing to buy from people, the world will be in for a serious shake up. Far more effective than the threat of invasion would be the threat of even a minor boycott... On our part.

As for exports, well most of what people buy from us, I believe, comes down to agricultural products. (Someone with more time and skill than I feel free to confirm or deny this.) It's easy to organize a French boycott of Coke, but who gives a crap? It's pretty darn hard to organize a Russian boycott of wheat.

(I stand ready to rescind the last paragraph if someone can refute my premise about agricutural products being our main export. It's been years since I studied this seriously.)

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vulture
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Kentuckian wishes and I provide (isn't the internet wonderful).

US exports in various sectors, from 1999 (in billions of dollars).

Transportation equipment: $124.8 b
Electronic and electrical equipment: $118.8 b
Industrial machinery and computers: $118.1 b
Chemical products: $67.2 b
Scientific and measuring instruments: $41.9 b

These are the top 5 export products, and account for 70% of exported goods in 1999 (the 2-5th place entries are also the four fastest growing export markets as of 1999).

Agricultural exoprts in 1999 totalled $48 billion - 7.1% of total US exports.

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Everard
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http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/us.html#Econ
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Colin JM0397
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Don't you just love the CIA's factbook? [Cool]
I point all my (Army) students there whenever possible. Saves a lot of time since they already do what we're supposed to do half the time.

KY has a big point. There is a lot of power in our trade deficit. However, it's interesting to consider what happens if/when our consumer economy goes TU vis-à-vis this discussion.

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Kentuckian
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Well, hmmm. Consider it rescinded.

Still, we need to think about our power as an importer.

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Leto
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Kent, that was my point, though. We lose power as an importer if other nations we import from decide to screw us by raising the price of imports—either by straight-forward tariffs or by raising the cost of shipping, which rolls down to raising the cost of the product.

No, we may not critically need some of the things we import, but we've gotten used to them being available, and all a nation (or group of nations, like the EU) has to do is decide that they want more income or decide that becuase they are having diplomatic trouble with us that it's okay to screw us for imports (to us).

I'm not saying we're in any immediate or great danger. I'm saying that for every instance where we lose international prestige, we lower our chances on faring as well as we have been economically with international economics.

Additionally, I wasn't saying from the start that this is the biggest thing we should worry about. What is more important with regard to maintaining international prestige is diplomatic relations and the benefits such relations provide. We don't require a lot of help, being the world's superpower, but it's always nice to know the help is there when we need it. Also, we stand a better chance at being able to solve conflicts diplomatically when we can maintain international prestige. This is important because it means we wind up spending far less (in money and personell) than we would trying to run a military campaign (the current war's costs should be a good example). Not that it's incredibly important, but it keeps us away from being labelled "the bad guy" in the international political community (though we've been pushing our luck lately).

However, Kent, the actual economics is a big enough part of things that it's worth worrying about, because our international relations affect our import and export costs greatly.

And back to the original post: can you seriously give me a good argument why we shouldn't care? Can anyone else? Do people in this forum really think the US is so powerful and self-sustaining that we don't need to worry about political and social opinions of the US from other nations?

And finally, have you seen a shrink yet?

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bearcatmark
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This is an important topic. The fact is we are losing the information battle in the war on terror, and we are increasing Al Queda enrollment. In that sense we are not winning the war on terror.

There is no question our military is the strongest in the world, but the fight on terrorism cannot be all military...In fact since terrorist aren't really military it is hard for me to see how the military can contribute in the main fight against Al Queda.

Someone mentioned immigration, and i think that is important to look at. People around the world still do desire the freedom's we have domestically, and respect our domestic policies. It is the foreign policy they are rejecting. People still believe that a life in America gives the opportunity for greatness, however, they still condemn our foreign policy, because it doesn't embrace those same values. We have no issues with trading with nations that exploit labor, no issues with keeping armies in other nations(which many see as occupying armies, check out the formation of Al Queda). So it is our international policy being protested, not the freedoms we have back at home.

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Leto
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quote:
The fact is we are losing the information battle in the war on terror, and we are increasing Al Queda enrollment.
How exactly is this a fact? Can you show me where you got this "fact" from?
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David Ricardo
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Sorry to burst your bubble, kelcimer, but we are rapidly losing the Hearts and Minds campaign in Great Britain (our strongest ally). The British news service Reuters is now reporting that American troops have been abusing Reuters staff in Iraq. Here is the Reuters article, "Reuters Staff Abused by U.S. Troops in Iraq":

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=5181020

Here is the excerpt:

quote:
U.S. forces beat three Iraqis working for Reuters and subjected them to sexual and religious taunts and humiliation during their detention last January in a military camp near Falluja, the three said Tuesday.

The three first told Reuters of the ordeal after their release but only decided to make it public when the U.S. military said there was no evidence they had been abused, and following the exposure of similar mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

Two of the three said they had been forced to insert a finger into their anus and then lick it, and were forced to put shoes in their mouths, particularly humiliating in Arab culture.

All three said they were forced to make demeaning gestures as soldiers laughed, taunted them and took photographs. They said they did not want to give details publicly earlier because of the degrading nature of the abuse.

The soldiers told them they would be taken to the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, deprived them of sleep, placed bags over their heads, kicked and hit them and forced them to remain in stress positions for long periods.

Meanwhile, British support for the war in Iraq is dipping below 30% levels.

[ May 18, 2004, 03:00 PM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

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Leto
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Whose bubble do you believe you're bursting?
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Enumclaw
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quote:
KY has a big point.
Any chance we could find a different acronym or nickname for Kentuckian? [Smile]

In any case... whether you look at immigration, trade, whatever, the fact is that the world IS interconnected and what other people think about the United States IS important.

For an example of the world being interconnected, look at the recent news about several really nasty bio-chemical compounds being banned worldwide.

The Inuit people in northern Canada and Alaska were celebrating, because these compounds would move to the polar region and concentrate in the fat of animals there- and that high-fat food was one of the biggest staples of the Inuit diet (gotta keep a lot of energy during those cold winters!).

With the banning, their people have a better chance of thriving and surviving.

So while before you might not see how someone vacationing on the Algarve in Portugal could possibly have any effect on some Inuit guy hunting seals in northern Canada, the fact is that now the two guys are a little bit better off overall.

I don't want to overplay the "the world is a great big village" theme, because I think some people (Hilary Clinton) take it too far. Nonetheless, we gotta recognize that it's true to at least some extent.

The real question is how does America regain its initiative and take/keep the lead in worldwide prestige? How can we continue to hold the affection and love and good feelings of the world?

We can continue to provide stellar economic opportunity, particularly to those at the lower end of the economic scale.

We can stand up to terrorists and criminals, and make America one of the safest places in the world to live.

We can let our occupying soldiers know, in no uncertain terms, that they should NOT treat our prisoners and/or enemies in ways that would make anyone embarrassed. Firm but fair, polite and self-assured of our own power (without having to abuse or embarrass people to "prove" it), no humiliation for the sake of humiliation.

We should punish those responsible for breaks in this code- and that includes the chain of command, well up the chain of command. If you create an environment where this kind of thing is tolerated, you're almost as guilty as the person who actually does it.

I'll be honest- even though I'm against Bush's re-election, I don't think that if he knew and really considered it he would have been in favor of what we're seeing in the Abu Ghraib scandal.

But I have no doubt that it wouldn't bug Rumsfeld a bit, which is why he's got to go.

Paul

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RickyB
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Kentuckian, sure we can refuse to import. In which case there will be retaliation, in which case our enire lifestyle will be forced to change overnight, causing massive economic hardship for millions (yes, in the rest of the world too, but that's not the point).

In the name of which noble principle do you suggest we do this?

Seriously. One doesn't need to be a french-loving commie (or whatever they like to sneer at PNAC these days) in order to understand that arrogance and disdain are not the sensible way to treat the rest of the world.

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Kentuckian
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Where precisely did I say it was okay for us to act with arrogance and disdain for the opinion of the rest of the world?

I just questioned the validity of the economic argument. I think there are far more valid ethical and moral arguments.

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kelcimer
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Leto's list of countries that he cares about what they think of us is: Britain, Iceland, Germany, Spain, France, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, SE Asia, New Zealand, and Austrailia. He's the only one to provide a list.
quote:
So, the question I would ask you is: what world have you been living in that you haven't noticed this?
I have to say I have noticed somthing from these countries and that is that someof them have shown their true colors. It's hard to lose respect that wasn't there to begin with. Others in the middle east region hated us a while back and can't really hate us more then they already have. As far as Southeast Asia I am unsure why Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are as a unit important. That leaves Britain, Canada, and Austrailia. These guys are our mates. I can understand caring what they think about us to an extent, but not absolutely.
quote:
it is our international policy being protested
It's America flexing it's muscles that is being protested.
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RickyB
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Kentucky, I agree that economics are not the only thing -not even the most important.
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JeSuisse
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You know, a funny observation I made last Saturday.

A very good friend of mine is involved in the administration of an exchange program. We had an orientation meeting on Saturday where next year's exchange students get prepared for their stay abroad.

Most of them will live in America for the next year. Most of them probably were against the war in Iraq, most of them probably dislike Bush and his foreign policy.

Yet they still want to live in America for a year.

It's true that America lost an enourmous amount of prestige worldwide, but only in some ways. In others, it's still as intriguing as ever.

Maybe the Iraq war and Abu Ghraib did the most damage not to the world's image of America, but rather to America's self-image.

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Leto
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quote:
Leto's list of countries that he cares about what they think of us is:
[Roll Eyes]
Wait right there. I didn't say I am incredibly concerned with them. Don't put words in my mouth. I said that these are countries with known drops in public and political opinion of America.

quote:
I have to say I have noticed somthing from these countries and that is that someof them have shown their true colors. It's hard to lose respect that wasn't there to begin with.
Um, Britain was the only nation which has at least somewhat supported the US. Even that marginal majority over there is now gone.

France and the surrounding countries hold the international headquarters for many countries that have interests in the US. Allow me to inform you of an example: Alcan Packaging was previously centered in Zurich, and have moved their headquarters of operation to Paris. Additionally, they are cutting out more and more US operations. In case you are too lazy to look it up, I'll also be happy to inform you that Alcan Packaging is one of the largest international aluminum, plastic, and glass packaging manufacturers, covering shipments all over the globe. Their North American company heads have slowly been changing hands out of American citizens and into the hands of Canadians, even though the NA headquarters is still in the US (for now). This is no conspiracy or coup, it's just the result of lessened economy of hiring American execs for the job, because Alcan has been slowly selling off many of its plants in the US (just sold a huge portion the end of last year). In other words, America is becoming increasingly uneconomic for the company, and increased political issues with shipments has played a huge part (I did six months handling shipments to Africa, Puerto Rico, and South America). What this means is that American jobs are being lost because a foreign-owned company is closing down facilities here, and foreign CEOs and CFOs are moving into the corporate hierarchy.

Tell me again how France doesn't mean anything to American citizens? Maybe what you don't know doesn't seem to hurt you? That is, until you find out how, huh?

quote:
As far as Southeast Asia I am unsure why Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are as a unit important.
Yes, unimportant... except that the computer you're using and the parts of it were manufactured there. Except that mainboard companies are located and run from there (Singapore and Thailand). I guess you can just write the rest off as slanty-eyes savages, huh?

quote:
That leaves Britain, Canada, and Austrailia. These guys are our mates.
Not so much any more. Not Canada, not Britain outside of Blair's party, and Australia is highly debatable.

quote:
I can understand caring what they think about us to an extent, but not absolutely.
When you have no friends to back you up, it makes it way more difficult to talk smack on other groups.

quote:
It's America flexing it's muscles in an (debatably) unnecessary fashion that is being protested.
There, fixed that for you.
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kelcimer
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quote:
There, fixed that for you.
You messed it up. Under what circumstantces do you think we would have all those in protest backing us? france would only support our action if it France was directing us. Anything but that, and they oppose us on general principle. the Arab countries would be behind us 100% if we converted to Islam and were conquering the rest of the world to subject it to Islam. I'm sure that Arab countries would back us 100% if we were to betray Israel.

I don't see how Alcan Packaging factors in as you seem to think it does. It's in France. America has never been popular in France except when we are saving them from the Germans. We are particularly unpopular now. Just as there are less American tourists going to france I am not surprised that they don't send us as much business as well. That happens. Get over it. The tourists will go somewhere else for a vacation and those plants in the US are still going to be in the US, and there will still be some jobs in france. I don't care about what France thinks most of all because france is dipomatically an enemy of the US.
quote:
Yes, unimportant... except that the computer you're using and the parts of it were manufactured there.
Yeah, and they'll keep making them because we keep buying them. Or are they so principled over there that they won't sell to someone with whom they disagree about politics?

In short it is in other nations best interest if we don't flex our muscles. Because they can't control what happens then. they know that we have our interests at the front of our minds, not theirs. Sometimes they may coicide but largely not. So it would be better for them if we were just not in the habit of flexing. And everything they say is to try to convince us to develope such a habit.

quote:
I guess you can just write the rest off as slanty-eyes savages, huh?

This is unnesessary.
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kelcimer
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If retaining "prestige" costs us our spine, our will to do what we have to do, to compromise out objectives, and to compromise ourselves as a nation then that prestige isn't worth very much. That is what it seems it would have taken to have retained that "prestige."
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Leto
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quote:
I don't see how Alcan Packaging factors in as you seem to think it does. It's in France.
You really can't read, can you? Alcan is located in the US, the company who owns Alcan is in Paris (and Zurich). And this is just a single example of a massive corporation whose employment movements and plant closings are having a direct result on US employment and shipping. If you can't put two and two together, I apologize, because you need to take a basic class in economics.

quote:
Yeah, and they'll keep making them because we keep buying them. Or are they so principled over there that they won't sell to someone with whom they disagree about politics?
They'll raise the prices, making them more expensive for us to get, while simultaneously keeping a lower bottom line for other nations. In case you weren't aware (which I'm positive you aren't), they already do this. Once again, your ignorance is what skews your view of reality.

quote:
In short it is in other nations best interest if we don't flex our muscles. Because they can't control what happens then.
And who the hell says that the US should say what goes on throughout the world without any consensus?

quote:
This is unnesessary.
So is your uninformed isolationism. You basically disregard other nations, saying their opinions shouldn't matter. Is it more okay for you to marginalize other nations, or for me to point out how such marginalizations sound when worded differently? You see, these other nations share the world with us as well. I definitely feel they should keep their opinions out of how we handle domestic issues, but international issues are something that everyone has a stake in. The US has just as much vested interest as you're accusing other nations, and yet you're saying it is okay for the US to work according to theirs while other nations should not.

In case you don't get it, I'm calling your argument hypocritical.

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kelcimer
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quote:
you're saying it is okay for the US to work according to theirs while other nations should not.

No I haven't. I am expecting other nations to work according to their own interests. Hence the protests and anti-americanism.
quote:
You really can't read, can you?
You could have begun with, "Perhaps you don't understand, Alcan is-" or "Maybe I didn't articulate that well enough, but Alcan is-" or just "Alcan is-" and ran from there. If you were actually trying to persuade me then you would not begin with an inflamatory sentence.
quote:
If you can't put two and two together, I apologize, because you need to take a basic class in economics.
And you don't understand that things happen. It is impossible to take a course of action that does not have any negative ripples coming back to you. To attempt to do so would be to paralysis oneself. i do understnad that the world is interconnected and such. It's very highly so. We can't do anything without there being some negative consequence somewhere.
quote:
Once again, your ignorance is what skews your view of reality.

Yes, my life experience affects how i view the world just as yours does for you. If you think I am ignorent in a particular matter then feel free to attempt to educate me. But don't call me ignorent and then expect me to take your word for it.
quote:
And who the hell says that the US should say what goes on throughout the world without any consensus?

And if it is in our best interest to work towards the worldd being a particular way, why should we not? Or don't you think we should work towards our best interest? We do not need the approval of any other country to do so. If it is there, then great. If not, oh well. Thats how reality is going to be.
quote:
So is your uninformed isolationism.
I am not an isolationist. I am for America being engaged with the rest of the world. I just don't expect everyone else to like it. If they like it, great. but their liking it is not required.
quote:
You basically disregard other nations, saying their opinions shouldn't matter.
I have not said that their opinions shouldn't matter. They do. Especially to the holder of those opinions. We will and do listen according to how each nation has been previously. Just because we choose a path that they do not agree with does not mean that we did not listen to them. But if they continue to go one about it after we have made a decision then we know that they in turn are not listening to us and further do not respect our own decision. And we will keep that in mind the next time they want us to listen.

I am being civil with you. I suggest you be the same.
If you are honestly trying to persuade me, then you will.

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Zyne
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Kelcimer wrote:
quote:
We can't do anything without there being some negative consequence somewhere.
Interesting worldview.

Unrelated comment: Some decisions aren't worthy of respect.

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David Ricardo
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I am surprised none of you guys are mentioning Japan as a key ally.

Japan has put troops into Iraq, and Japan paid for a huge chunk of the American financial costs in Gulf War I. Moreover, Japan has consistently supported American foreign policy 99% of the time -- as much and perhaps more consistently than any other American ally.

On top of that, Japan is our most important ally in Asia against China and North Korea -- especially since many of our most important Asian military bases are in Japan.

To top it all off, Japan also has the third most powerful economy in the world. That is nothing at which to scoff.

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Leto
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I don't see how your isolationism will change. You've already written off the opinion of other nations from the start. Obviously, you don't understand how economic decisions that go on in other nations may affect the economic status of American citizens, so you are ignorant to the importance of such issues. And this isn't even getting into the plain fact that a nation acting not only of its own accord, but in direct opposition to the rest of the world tends to become a political pariah in the international community. That may mean little to you, but let me put it a bit more simple for you to understand: the US can handle trouble with single nations like Iraq or even bigger nations like France, but it cannot handle the total economic, political, and military power of all the other nations of the world acting against it. If the US continues to disregard international consensus, this will happen. I'm not saying that the US should ask the permission of the half-assed UN for every little diplomatic issue, but completely disregarding the opinions of other nations—even nations who would otherwise be our allies—is a huge mistake.

Also, as I already pointed out, you would disregard the opinions of other nations as not being important to the US decisions with international policy, but you seem to feel the US is justified in wanting its own vested interests met in demands made to the international community. That's called "bullying," and has never been politically successful throughout history.

quote:
I have not said that their opinions shouldn't matter. They do. Especially to the holder of those opinions. We will and do listen according to how each nation has been previously. Just because we choose a path that they do not agree with does not mean that we did not listen to them. But if they continue to go one about it after we have made a decision then we know that they in turn are not listening to us and further do not respect our own decision. And we will keep that in mind the next time they want us to listen.
You just said that their opinions matter and don't matter in the same statement. They don't matter to us, which is where they should matter. Burning political bridges is a bad idea, and puts the US in a precarious position for later negotiations. And considering the US has continually enjoyed and gotten used to favored status economically—hell, even now, our gaas prices are relatively lower than other nations—it would behoove us to allow for some vested interests of neighbors to factor into our decisions, too. All nations have vested interests in foreign policy, even America. To use vested interests in an argument against allowing other nations a say in our international actions is, at best, hypocritical.

[ May 18, 2004, 10:28 PM: Message edited by: Leto ]

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David Ricardo
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I also have to agree with kelcimer that "international prestige" is not terribly important at this point in time.

At the same time, I think it is foolish to dismiss the opinions of other countries. The United States should consider the opinions of other countries just as I personally consider the opinions of individual people.

If someone gives me his or her opinion, I usually take note of it if I respect that person. Even if I hate that person, there might be validity in that person's opinion. If a friend gives me his or her opinion, I will always take note of it because I respect my friend. Of course, I reserve the right to reject my friend's opinion if I believe it unwise, but I tend to value a friend's opinion because a friend is only going to offer constructive criticism. To be clear, taking note of someone's opinion is a far cry from accepting that person's opinion, and I am the first person who discount someone's opinion when it is moronic.

Even if a person is weaker or less intelligent or less logical than me, I will still take note of the person's opinion. Even the best and smartest of people will be wrong from time to time, and even the worst and dumbest people can have good insights from time to time.

Now, consider the United States and "international opinion." Blindly adhering to "international opinion" in and of itself is pretty pathetic. On the other hand, there is something to be said for listening to some of the opinions of our friends and allies throughout the world. Perhaps they may be right about some things. Perhaps they have a useful perspective that we have not considered. Perhaps they can even offer us better solutions for our problems.

Therefore, I think the true question is not about "international prestige"; it is about considering the opinions of our fellow nations in the international community. Sometimes, their opinions will be idiotic and moronic. Sometimes, their opinions will be trivial. Sometimes, however, their opinions will have some truth to them, and only an arrogant fool would turn his nose up at reasonable advice.

There is no dishonor and embarrassment from sometimes accepting the advice of other countries (I emphasize sometimes).

[ May 18, 2004, 10:33 PM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

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kelcimer
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that's right! i had forgotten about japan. They're doing a bangup job.
quote:
Interesting worldview.
It's like connections on the discovery channel. Because we do C that nation D feels justifies position E over F amount of time that causes group of people G to really not like the US so much they decide to relocate plant H to nation I. My point was that H&I really shouldn't be blamed on action C because terrorists A who destroyed towers B made us decide C was nessessary.
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