Israël? <snip>. I really have no clue about their ability to influence the legislation of others, except maybe in the antisemitism realm. Would you have some hints?
Not a hint, exactly, but take a look at the influence of the Jewish lobby on American foreign policy for an example. OK, it's not exactly the State of Israel, but the distinction is trivial.
Yes, I recognize that I never understood why Israël would have such influence on the USA. During the cold war, it would have been a useful proxy to fight against communism/USSR in the neighbouring arab countries.
Now, from where I stand, I guess that Israël is very useful to the USA as a polarizing issue: no union of arab countries, no regional leader may truly emerge while they exist. Arab union and regional leader being dangerous to the usa, as the region is the main global oil producer and could if they unite take a leading role on the global stage. Or be able to decide who would win between the main blocks.
Yet, that Israël is useful to the USA doesn't explain why they would influence them so much.
Wildeblood wrote:An act of pure spite since there was never any prospect of getting their (probably imaginary) oil after bombing all the development that would have been needed for any "western" oil company to operate there.
The goal is not to get oil, but to avoid the rise of a government promoting the idea of oil availability not depending on USA friendliness.
And to have some oil later with no local government, is better than to have oil sooner with a difficult local government. No taxes, no control, a basis to lead the local armed groups.
cim wrote:Sure, but if the invader is willing to perform genocide then in the modern world they can nuke you - or use an equivalent amount of conventional explosives - without needing to put a single boot on the ground and no governmental form will protect you. Generally invaders wish to control the territory and government to exploit the natural resources and civilian population - there's no profit in scorched earth.
I disagree. Genocide is performed to appropriate terrains, not to destroy an enemy (the only exception being jews/nazis, and then it was to ensure continued appropriation of resources).
cim wrote:It's not about whether they threaten the stability of the state - it's about the mess it makes of the ex-soldiers' lives. (Which governments are generally very wary about offering commensurate help for except in the case of obvious physical injury or they would effectively admit systematic liability for creating that mess.)
I disagree there too. The mess in ex-soldiers' lives, while real, has not an impact similar to a state stability threat. It's a question of magnitude, and there are several degrees of magnitude of difference here.
Disembodied wrote:The assumption I make is that a democracy - a type of state which has only existed in the modern era, as I discount the slave-owning, woman-oppressing Athenian interlude - is less likely to commit to warfare on a mass scale than a dictatorship/empire without some form of significant provocation. The reason it is less likely to do so is primarily because a democratic citizenry has the power to object to the cost (in money, materiel, and their own lives) of total war, and usually will not commit to such an action unless their own survival is actively threatened. But once war - full-scale, total war - begins, then the leash is slipped and horror will inevitably ensue.
I disagree. Democracy is not a protection for foreigners (ie, not-citizens). It's a protection for citizens.
The military-industrial complex system ensures that citizens have a stake in supporting the war (they get jobs). For them, the cost is positive, I mean they earn money rather than losing some.
Disembodied wrote:That's capitalism, not democracy, which is to blame there (you can criticise democracy for failing to hold back capitalism's worst urges, if you like, but it still does so better than other forms of government). If the USA was a dictatorship, with an equivalent military power and global reach, do you think Clinton's actions in Somalia, at the oil corporations' behest, would have been a) less bloody, or b) more bloody?
The same. I totally agree with you.
This in fact reconciles Wildeblood's and your positions: democracy isn't enough to reign in capitalism, which is pushing for wars.
Disembodied wrote:But there's a fundamental difference between e.g. the Americans in Vietnam in the 20th century (working with a local, albeit puppet, regime; trying to disengage; pouring resources into Vietnam; etc.), and the British in India in the 18th and 19th centuries (invading; conquering; constructing a racist colonial state; dismantling and outlawing competing local industries; stealing everything they could lay their hands on; etc.)
Yup. Conquest is more costly and less efficient.
Like slavery is more costly and less efficient than salary.
Wildeblood wrote:Let me re-iterate the problem: there are people out there so stupid that they think a tropical cyclone occurring in mid-winter is not an indication of a changing climate. They have such a paranoic delusional belief system that they think the Bureau of Meteorology accidentally-on-purpose loses records of such events happening before. And thanks to the wonder of the thought-stopping cliché "One man, one vote, one value" they are allowed to vote, and their vote has the same value as a rational person's vote. That's a system that's broken by design.
It's broken, along one axis of measure. Along the axis "no war on our soil", it's working.
Now, we could propose a system with a better measure axis, but I guess the opposition against it would be generalized.
I think that other 'Democracies' have followed one of these two generalisations. The 'socialist' side of the coin are the 'look after their own affairs and stay neutral' and the 'capitalist' side is the 'meddle in others affairs as they might do something to restrict the acquisition of wealth'. They are both based on rule from popular vote, but the mindset is either passive or aggressive towards other government types. It's pretty obvious which of the 'Democracies' the discussion revolves around and to which we all would like to think we belong (or not belong
I think this is a consequence of a) resources availability, b) history around them since their creation.
I mean, I don't think it's a cultural difference. With different neighbours and resources availability, these generalisation wouldn't have been made along this axis.