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Thread: Please Consider This: Modern Parallels in War

  1. #1 Please Consider This: Modern Parallels in War 
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    This, admittedly, is a deliberately incendiary post. I am asking for more a gut reaction to a comparison than elongated reasoning and microscopic dehumanizing of an issue.

    Our actions mirror those of Briton in its eclipsing power as an imperial force.

    We seek, through our belief in free government and western political and (admit it) religious belief, to impose our way of life to "liberate other nations...uncalled for by them.

    Those who assault us are tainted by massive propaganda and called radical terrorists and usurpers of all that is good in religion. But aren't these people just like any revolutionary? We attacked Briton when they threatened our soveriegnty. I could list too many examples to bother; I am sure you could lend a mountain.

    In light of all our conquest (not just internal political debauchery during peacetime), from a systematic slaughter and round-up of all the Native-Americans, to our current flogging of a near-expired camel, how are our policies and methods of justifying our actions any different from the methods of fascist Germany, Italy, or any traditionally brutal expansionist state. We fight to perpetuate our military-industrial complex, as well as to do what Rome was so adept at: play the impresario with bread and circuses...distract and don't fix.

    We all can agree that man consistantly repeats his errors, just decieves himself by finding new reasons for the same result. However, how can we deny that history is, and always has been, written by the victors. What would religion have to say about Jewish monotheism, had the pharoah kept their people enslaved?


    The propensity of humanity to seek verity and knowledge is centered around an arrogance that places us outside of nature. The only truth I know (and this is certainly recapitulation of Nietzsche's "Genealogy...") is that of emotional reaction. All else is subject to fallibility. We can only humble our egos and hope, through discussion, to reach common understanding through liberated sciences. God might have space...?
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  3. #2 Re: Please Consider This: Modern Parallels in War 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Got A Nietzsche?
    Our actions mirror those of Briton in its eclipsing power as an imperial force.
    And every other 'empire' in history, maybe it's just your turn to be the bully, just be very careful who you hand the baton to next....


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  4. #3 Re: Please Consider This: Modern Parallels in War 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Got A Nietzsche?
    I am asking for more a gut reaction to a comparison than elongated reasoning and microscopic dehumanizing of an issue.
    Our actions mirror those of Briton in its eclipsing power as an imperial force.
    Gut reaction: this is a trite, superficial and ultimately erroneous comparison.

    Item 1: At present there is a single military super power on the planet and it is the US. At no time was the British Empire in a similar situation of overwhelming military superiority.
    Item 2:America has been and remains traditionally isolationist. Its interest in the rest of the world is based mainly in ensuring the rest of the world does not mess with them. Britain (please note it is not Briton) was actively involved on a continuing, dynamic, deliberate basis.
    Item 3:Imperial Britain recognised the independence of nation states. The US does not.
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  5. #4  
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    Those who assault us are tainted by massive propaganda
    The terrorist are tainted by crude archaic overt propaganda. The american public (and UK) however are influenced by an infinetely more stealthy and sophisticated form of propaganda that originated in the UK during WWI and inspired Hitler prior to WWII. This propaganda has since integrated all the breakthroughs in human psychology, group behavioral science, marketing and mass manipulation. It has been called the Manufacturing of Consent by some or the Engineering of Consent by others and gives those that actually control the US the ability to influence what you think without you realizing it and fooling you into beleiving that your "free press" is not manipulated (even though it has been manipulated as far back as the American Spanish war and has pushed the public to go to war ever since).

    If the moderately educated US public can be fooled and manipulated with ease the same principles apply to puppet regimes placed by the US, although the US has a typical preference for murderous dictators who can force local populations (by assassination, kidnaping and torture) to be plundered by proxy using corporations. The best example is the toppling of a democratically elected government of Iran in the 50s which was replaced by a brutal dictator (whose security forces were incidentally trained by the CIA in the fine art of torture).

    The US Empire is as different from previous empires as any empire that has preceeded it.

    There are many major differences between the US empire and others, many are derived from the modern age. One of these differences is the prevalence of Corporations which grant a means to plunder a colony without the need to instate a Colonial Military Governor, as long as the local authorities are bullied and bribed to accept that a foreign corporation will freely plunder their ressources for peanuts and leave a heap of toxic residue in its wake everything is fine.

    Something else is that like the current Monarchy in Britain, the US president has a virtual symbolic role, he is the guy that's handed the script to be read and pretends to lead the country as if he's deciding when important descisions are made by unelected people most of the public will never hear of. His role is to perform an act to convince the public they are in control by electing pre-selected candidate that limit themselves to trivial topics that do not challenge(for real) the establishement's agenda.

    "Item 3:Imperial Britain recognised the independence of nation states. The US does not."
    I dont understand this item, can you give me an example, thanks.
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  6. #5 O K 
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    I can't believe I spelled Britain "Briton." Damn it, silly, silly.


    Ophiolite, being Scottish, doesn't British history awaken some animosity? Overwhelming military superiority? Not Britain during imperialism? Well I have been lied to severely; I thought the British domination of Ulster and the horrific struggle for Irish independence over centuries was close enought to home to reach one of Anglo-Saxon, or Celtic descent. This example aside, we have just a trite, tiny few left: China and the Opium War, American colonization and the resulting civil war, the ridiculous violations of soveriegnty via British impressment of sailors and the war of 1812 (Britain didn't dominate the seas with her Man o' War? Sorry.), the islands in the Gulf of Mexico, and the finale: with the other powers of Europe, drawing lovely lines in Africa, ignoring tribal rights and boundaries, enslaving and murdering en mass its populace and seeding two centuries of vicious civil wars, Mao Zedong-esque mass starvation, and the most frequent genocides in human history...I think we can safely agree, Britain, unlike America, colonized, but never held the military power to violate soveriegnty on every continent on Earth. Sorry, they missed those pesky poles...too cold for tea.

    As a Scotsman, I would expect more scepticism of Britain's past dealings. Didn't Mel Gibson's historical travesty of a film drudge up a few nationalistic desires for complete autonomy?

    Oh, and public opinion: America is waging an offensive campaign to protect domestic interest. Oil, Islam, Israel, contracts to rebuild from America and the developed military-industrial complex that allows America's largest economic sector to thrive...these are all means to prevent terroroists, not to procure our economic and geopolitical superiority.

    Was this sarcastic enough? Sorry, but there were too many examples to list, and I couldn't help being malicious. Really though, I believe greater success can be achieved through mutually beneficial diplomacy, even with other nations than the offender (Saddam in this case), to affect change--NOT the arrogant imposition of our beliefs on another culture. Think Mohandas Ghandi and our militarily "incomparable" Britain of the past. History repeats and cycles, that is, until we actually make progress. Not yet, not anywhere close. Perhaps since I was taught through American textbooks, my understanding of Imperialism and the past 5 or 6 centuries is horribly skewed. Oh yeah what happened to that thingy in Afghanistan...it WAS Saddam we wanted, not the twin towers guy...right?
    The propensity of humanity to seek verity and knowledge is centered around an arrogance that places us outside of nature. The only truth I know (and this is certainly recapitulation of Nietzsche's "Genealogy...") is that of emotional reaction. All else is subject to fallibility. We can only humble our egos and hope, through discussion, to reach common understanding through liberated sciences. God might have space...?
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  7. #6 Re: O K 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Got A Nietzsche?
    Ophiolite, being Scottish, doesn't British history awaken some animosity?
    Frankly, no. But that is because I am Scottish and English and British and European. And my children are all of the above, as well as Chinese and Indonesian and Malaysian and Singaporean. (Which is a lot to pack into two lightweight frames!)
    You might also want to look into the composition of the British military that imposed the Imperial control. A disproportionate number were Scottish.
    Or, examine the nationality of the traders who invested in (i.e. exploited) the colonies. Again, such a high proportion of Scots that Glasgow was known as the Second City of Empire, with London as the First.
    Quote Originally Posted by Got A Nietzsche?
    Overwhelming military superiority? Not Britain during imperialism?
    Absolutely not. While 'Brittania Rules the Waves' had a measure of truth from the time of the Seven Years war onwards, it was never to the degree attained by the US at present. Moreover, any actions within mainland Europe were wholly contingent upon alliances with other European powers. !)
    Quote Originally Posted by Got A Nietzsche?
    Well I have been lied to severely; I thought the British domination of Ulster and the horrific struggle for Irish independence over centuries was close enought to home to reach one of Anglo-Saxon, or Celtic descent.
    I have no idea what point you are making here. I am not disputing that Britain had military power sufficient to overcome many nations, or regions. Supressing a million Irish hardly required overwhelming military superiority. I am disputing that they had the same global status in terms of relative military power as is enjoyed by the US today.
    Quote Originally Posted by Got A Nietzsche?
    .......... and the finale: with the other powers of Europe, drawing lovely lines in Africa, ignoring tribal rights and boundaries, enslaving and murdering en mass its populace and seeding two centuries of vicious civil wars, Mao Zedong-esque mass starvation, and the most frequent genocides in human history?
    You have neatly proven my central point - the colonisation and exploitation of Africa was only achieved with the agreement of other powers: something that Britain was powerless to achieve alone.
    I note, with passing interest, that you appear to think that stringing together emotive phrases helps to substantiate your argument: that making impassioned condemnations of genocides occuring decades after British withdrawal, in countries unoccupied by the British, somehow supports your thesis.
    This may con some of the casual observers, but it won't work on me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Got A Nietzsche?
    As a Scotsman, I would expect more scepticism of Britain's past dealings. Didn't Mel Gibson's historical travesty of a film drudge up a few nationalistic desires for complete autonomy?
    Why should a work of entertainment influence my political views? Do you think I am brain dead?
    Quote Originally Posted by Got A Nietzsche?
    Oh, and public opinion: ......................
    I have absolutely noo idea what point(s) you are trying to make in the remainder of your post.
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  8. #7 better appreciated 
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    Thank you for elaborating; my vindictive reply was based on the brevity of your initial criticism--I mistook it for ignorance.

    Genealogy aside (we all have some blood on our hands), the assertion of "overwhelming military superiority," was not pointing to every other western nation (I was unclear in my statement), but to the states we have invaded (America, Britain, France, Belgium, etc.). In colonial Imperialism, the Western powers collaborated in carving up the Americas, Africa, Asia and Indochina. I labeled these foreign policies of our past as a mirror image, a parallel, where technology and sociopolitical climate affects subtle variations, but the treatment of those dominated is the same. Yes, the US is even more belligerentthan the European powers were to one-another, but isn't the EU capable of putting its foot down? Complicity is near to direct offense. Don't mistake that sentence: it is the US which has forced the more progressive nations of Europe to choose between conflict with a juggernaut of ignorant bullying and the weaker third world nations we have "disciplined." It is most likely that no European nation could talk sense to our executives, however, this does not mean a parallel cannot be established.

    By considering similar historical situations, we can best forecast potential pitfalls in modern policy--human nature doesn't change, allowing historic reference a necessity.

    You say Britain was "powerless" to colonize Africa alone? No other power aided their individual colonies. There was no massive power in Africa to provide a front that required collaboration from Europe's powers to overcome. Each nation chose its plot to pillage, and did so with impunity. White man's burden; this is still a prevailing attitude, but democracy is the new edited ideal. We shove it down the third world's throat.
    Further, the military might of Britain can be compared to America's now: Britain had the economic and industrial capability to perpetuate its conquest indefinitely, that is, until civil unrest rose to such a level it was no longer in her interest to stay and Britain pulled out. Today, America could hardly hope to overcome the will and power of the EU or Europe's military (ridiculous hypothetical conflict, but like imperial Britain in this respect), but we have left in Vietnam (mimicing the French's plight), and eventually will leave Iraq--the populace refuses to allow our presence.

    The two instances can never be symmetrical--if you want a perfect historical comparison, I am hard pressed to find more corresponding similarities across eras. Also, I believe I have offended you by likening Britain of the past to America now. This is comparing foreign policy alone. I would never be so arrogant and ignorant as to run parallels between our two cultures. I have lived in New Zealand, and spent time in Australia and England--I am trying to do the opposite of indict or attack the British commonwealth to drag someone else down to my nation's level. But, by recognizing that our closest ally and cultural neighbor, Britain, had (a century and longer) in the past made similar attempts at what America is attempting, we might use such knowledge to humble our aspirations.

    My initial post was aimed at the dissapointment I feel at the American populace: old news is no news. Like most mobs, the war goes unnoticed as long as good TV abounds. A severe comparison is appropriate in an ambiguous war on terror, that could have consequences far worse that the world has already had to endure.


    My only gripe with your reply: when you remove cards from a house of cards, it usually falls. Africa's strife is based around boundaries that placed many large ethnic groups, many who were traditional enemies, into the same nations to fight over power once European powers pulled out. Yes, America has ignores the genocide as well, I don't deny our own sad complicity, but the fact is that the mess of Africa needs much greater remedy. This separate problem no longer rests solely on Europe--blame or responsibility is not the issue--but nations like the US: our GNP is so great, that but buying two fewer tanks, food could feed starving people for months (I forgot how many millions the M1-A2 Abrams costs).
    Oh, and "public opinion....." was an excessively sarcastic (sorry, it made my point unclear) expression of the ulterior motives the US had for ousting Saddam. That he needed ousting was not the point, but our selfish interest is.
    The propensity of humanity to seek verity and knowledge is centered around an arrogance that places us outside of nature. The only truth I know (and this is certainly recapitulation of Nietzsche's "Genealogy...") is that of emotional reaction. All else is subject to fallibility. We can only humble our egos and hope, through discussion, to reach common understanding through liberated sciences. God might have space...?
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  9. #8 Re: Please Consider This: Modern Parallels in War 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Got A Nietzsche?
    I am asking for more a gut reaction to a comparison than elongated reasoning and microscopic dehumanizing of an issue.
    Our actions mirror those of Briton in its eclipsing power as an imperial force.
    Gut reaction: this is a trite, superficial and ultimately erroneous comparison.

    Item 1: At present there is a single military super power on the planet and it is the US. At no time was the British Empire in a similar situation of overwhelming military superiority.
    Item 2:America has been and remains traditionally isolationist. Its interest in the rest of the world is based mainly in ensuring the rest of the world does not mess with them. Britain (please note it is not Briton) was actively involved on a continuing, dynamic, deliberate basis.
    Item 3:Imperial Britain recognized the independence of nation states. The US does not.
    1- the British were very much a super power and had overwhelming power over all other Nations for a very long time. i would also suggest the US is an economic power opposed to military. the advantage is location or strategic and a little of that "don't mess with Texas" attitude.

    2- yes we are basically isolationist. i suggest the world community has benefited from the drift away from this policy.

    3- British policy to recognize independent nation states, was forced on them. my ancestry was very much part of that Empire and i suggest that Empire did a great deal to stimulate what is now becoming a thriving world living condition. get out of the dark ages.

    3a- the US may give more recognition to National Governments then any single government. your trying to link this to Iraq/Afghanistan which has to do with recognition of peoples of those states. treaties that we have and our concern for those states gives cause for opinions against action of others. (N. Korea-Iran).
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  10. #9 Re: Please Consider This: Modern Parallels in War 
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    1- the British were very much a super power and had overwhelming power over all other Nations for a very long time.
    Your first point coincides with my own. But they were not the only super power. Therefore, your second point is invalid.
    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    2- yes we are basically isolationist. i suggest the world community has benefited from the drift away from this policy.
    That is highly questionable. I, for one, am questioning it.
    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    3- British policy to recognize independent nation states, was forced on them.
    Which demonstrates that they were not the sole superpower.
    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    3a- the US may give more recognition to National Governments then any single government.
    And this qould be why the senate refuses to ratify the extradition treaty with the UK. The US uses this treaty, set up to deal with terrorism, to hound innocent British businessmen, whilst retaining its holier than thou, bette than thou position. Its getting way too unacceptable. (And making me qualify an absolute has not endeared me to your arguments more closely.)
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  11. #10  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    "Item 3:Imperial Britain recognised the independence of nation states. The US does not."

    I dont understand this affirmation, can you give me an example, thanks.
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  12. #11  
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    the US has not always been the sole super power. as said i would concur it may be a sole economic power but have some question to military. on land the US is not all that effective and the US military manpower is fractional to some others.

    during much of the history of the British Empire, their military prowess was untouched, therefore the length of control. also its argumentative as to just whether control of was lost or judged not worth while. the might of the colonies couldn't whip the British but lost will in Britain did...i didn't say how the policies were forced.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    the US has not always been the sole super power.
    Where have I stated, implied, argued, or postulated that this was the case. I have clearly said they are currently the only military superpower. Stop raising strawmen.
    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    during much of the history of the British Empire, their military prowess was untouched
    Rubbish. Cite an example.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    "Item 3:Imperial Britain recognised the independence of nation states. The US does not."
    Quote Originally Posted by IceWendigo
    I dont understand this affirmation, can you give me an example, thanks.
    First recognise the racist mind set of European nations during the building of the British Empire: non-Europeans were second class, to be exploited, or at best patronised and brought into the 'benefits' of civilisation.
    Britain's Empire was therefore built in regions where no nation state existed. The rights of other European states were recognised. (This is not to say they were not contested, but such contests were with perceived equals, not with perceived inferiors.)

    In contrast the US has an approach that rides rough shod over the sovereignty of other nations, often with their acquiescence out of fear, or hoped for considerations. I note the extradition treary referred to a post or two above. I'll mention the declared intention and right to disable the European GPS sattelite array in time of tension. One could write a book, or a small library on the subject.
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  14. #13  
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    Several have written that we are "basically isolationist." This impression may be based on the little interest in the rest of the world felt by most Americans. Witness the small amount of coverage given to world affairs in all small town and local newspapers. Our interest in the rest of the world is largely confined to seeing "native dances", resorts, taking pictures of wild animals and beautiful scenery. It also shows up in all the animosity the immigration issue has stirred up.

    But when it comes to foreign policy, the people want our government to run the world in our image.


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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    But when it comes to foreign policy, the people want our government to run the world in our image.
    I vote this the most insightful and accurate remark on The Science Forum in 2006.

    NB: For once no irony or sarcasm has been employed.
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  16. #15  
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    LOL !!! Thanks Orpholite, you made my day!

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