Is GWB losing his marbles?

Status
Not open for further replies.

bigbadwolf

Registered
"Harold" said:
Not to be contentious, but democracy is the last thing the West needs in Muslim countries. Algeria elections placed the mullahs in power several years ago. They were soon overthrown by a military coup. Mussaraf in Pakistan was hardly elected democratically. If democracy were to come to Pakistan then al Queada would likely have WMD. The house of Saud walks a fine line to maintain power. They fund the radical Wahabbi sect of Sunni Islam and export it over the world to appease the radicals. No Democracy would be about the worse thing to have in the Middle East.
Democracy is no cure all for political problems. It can be justified when there is a widespread ownership of property without a great disparity in its distribution.
The two main parties in Pakistan are the Muslim League and the Pakistan People's Party. There are a number of smaller parties as well, including the Jamat-i-Islami (an Islamic party). The two main parties are pro-business, conservative politically, and drawn from different parts of Pakistan's elites: the ML is drawn from a slightly more rural land-owning constituency, and the PPP from a slightly more urban constituency. But these differences are moot. Both obey their US masters. Both engage in horse-trading and vote-rigging. And neither will pass on nuclear secrets any more than Musharraf would (A.Q. Khan, who was selling nuclear technology, was a key figure in Pakistan's nuclear program when the ML was in power, when PPP was in power, and when the army took over). My point is that whether there are democratic elections or an military autocrat, nothing substantive will change in any arena.
Now suppose the Middle East was composed of democratic regimes. The corrupt rulers the US has kept in place would vanish, the US would lose its military bases, and the supply of oil to the US would become more problematic, as well as its pricing in US dollars. These last two the US cannot tolerate: it has a junkie's addiction to oil, which, with its tottering economy, it must buy with worthless greenbacks. This is why the regimes are autocratic. With democratic regimes in place -- and hence the US chucked out -- the moslem extremist elements would stop acting, as the removal of the US military and corporate oil presence are key strategic objectives. Moslem extremism is a reaction to the US presence and its constant meddling in the region. This has to be seen clearly.
Democracy is no cure all for political problems. It can be justified when there is a widespread ownership of property without a great disparity in its distribution.
Yes, but the US policy of keeping small, corrupt and privileged elites in power -- whether the House of Saud or the Sabahs in Kuwait -- brings about disparities in wealth and income in the Middle East. Furthermore, these elites are forced to recycle worthless greenbacks through the US financial system.
As to Israel, it is simply beyond dispute that the US largely supports Israel regardless. This dynamic as far as the Republicans are concerned is driven by the dispensationalism of evangelicals.
Israel is a strategic asset for the US. It's true that US evangelicals support Israel, it's true that Democrats often depend on the Jewish vote in key urban constituencies, and it's true that politicians of both parties often find campaign contributiions from pro-Israeli groups helpful, but these neither singly nor collectively constitute the key driving force behind US support for Israel.
 

Harold

Registered
One book I'd recommend reading is 'Confession of an Economic Hitman'. It came out last year. It deals with the incestuous relationships between the IMF/World Bank, consulting firms and construction firms. The basics of the scam being how consulting firms produce studies to convince governments in the developing world to borrow money from the IMF or World Bank for construction projects. These construction projects being built by US construction firms, such as Halliburton. When these projects prove to be unprofitable the lender begins to dictate government policy.You appear to be more informed as to the political situation in Pakistan. I am under the impression that Mussaraf is rather unpopular in Pakistan.As for myself, I'm not in favour of interloping into the domestic politics in any country. We should no more prop up autocrats as to attempt to impose democracy. Now as to losing military bases that is true for the most part. But most likely the response to losing military bases in those countries having governments who are not US aligned would be a build up of military bases in nearby countries who remain US aligned and/or increases to the navy's or air force's ability to project power.

The loss to the US in having hostile governments in oil rich countries would come from the loss of the oil backing for the dollar. Whether oil producing countries would refuse to sale oil to the US I have my doubts. First that would mean that with the lesser demand the oil price would be lower. Oil producers would be worse off. Secondly there is little to stop the US from buying that oil through an intermediary. Oil is fungible.As to the causes of Muslim extremism, we are in agreement. The actions of the US have had and continue to have a large part of the creation of Muslim extremism.Government forms exist on a continuum. The choice is not merely between democracy and autocracy. Democracy is not the only broadly representative form of government.As to Israel, there are a number of factors involved. Though I have my doubts whether a basically no questions asked support of Israel policy is very strategic. Since that very much discourages the development of better relations with Muslim countries.
 

bigbadwolf

Registered
"Harold" said:
One book I'd recommend reading is 'Confession of an Economic Hitman'. It came out last year. It deals with the incestuous relationships between the IMF/World Bank, consulting firms and construction firms. The basics of the scam being how consulting firms produce studies to convince governments in the developing world to borrow money from the IMF or World Bank for construction projects. These construction projects being built by US construction firms, such as Halliburton. When these projects prove to be unprofitable the lender begins to dictate government policy.
Vastly overrated. I read the book about a year ago. A couple of months ago, Perkins came to the Twin Cities to plug his book at a Barnes and Noble. I took my wife along so she could listen to him talk. Trouble with Perkins is he isn't telling us anything we don't already know. It's also too vague, too lacking in concrete details. Perkins has an inflated sense of his own importance (for a mid-level functionary) and is an intellectual featherweight.
You appear to be more informed as to the political situation in Pakistan. I am under the impression that Mussaraf is rather unpopular in Pakistan.
I lived there for a number of years. I've known ministers and generals.
The loss to the US in having hostile governments in oil rich countries would come from the loss of the oil backing for the dollar. Whether oil producing countries would refuse to sale oil to the US I have my doubts. First that would mean that with the lesser demand the oil price would be lower. Oil producers would be worse off. Secondly there is little to stop the US from buying that oil through an intermediary. Oil is fungible.
It's more complex than that. The US can only pay with greenbacks. Because of the weakening US economy (and the concomitant trade imbalance), there isn't that much to buy in the US with dollars: Dubai tried to buy US ports but got rebuffed. There are T-bills, but they could lose value should the dollar depreciate. I'm still only scratching the surface of a very complex global phenomenon. The problem is what to do with trillions of excess US dollars, which is the problem collectively facing Japan, China, the Arabs, and just about everyone else. These have accumulated because Americans have been living beyond their means.
What would the US use to buy oil with? It's running massive current-account deficits. If oil-producing countries stop taking dollars, no-one else will accept dollars either. The only reason anyone is accepting dollars is because you can buy oil with them (one reason it's called the "black gold": dollar is oil-backed).
 

Harold

Registered
As to Perkins' book, it is what it is. A largely autobiographical account of his involvement in the aforementioned scam. I found it interesting. As far as his being a lightwieght intellectually I tend to agree. I recall that he laments several times that the US did not use its hegmonity for good. Someone should tell him empires pretty much come only one way.Yes the relation of the dollar with oil is far more complex than I related. Considering that probably about a book's worth of material is written on the subject every day, I did not give it a thought that someone would have the impression that my paragraph would be an exhaustive exposition of the subject. The hope (most likely unfounded) is that the dollar's decline will force the needed reforms as far as the account and budget deficits. The trouble is with a very complex subject involving such matters as money, central banking, international trade, and etc. that real solutions are prone to be swamped by demogouges.
 

bigbadwolf

Registered
"nashorama" said:


Conquest of the Tropics: The Story of the Creative Enterprises Conducted by the United Fruit Company -- by Frederik Upham
Bananas And Business: The United Fruit Company In Colombia, 1899-2000 -- by Marcelo Bucheli
Banana Wars: Power, Production, and History in the Americas (American Encounters/Global Interactions) -- by Steve Striffler
I must see if I can gain access to them.

To quote one of my favorite Mexican authors, Carlos Fuentes, “There are far too many authors who write in English.”
I read his book "Terra Nostra" back in 1979. Too young to really appreciate it at the time.
Most of the contemporary analysis I’ve been reading is quite good, though it tends to put me to sleep at times. But I was wondering if you have ever had the opportunity to read about the era that brought us the English term Banana Republic – as a form of government and not a toney upscale clothing store.
Alas, there are limits to even my erudition. As I understand it, the term is generally applied to small central American dictatorships or oligarchies that depend on the production and export of one or two agricultural commodities (such as bananas), and where one or two US companies (e.g. United Fruit, Standard Fruit) run not only the agricultural export but also pull the political strings. Was this term originally applied to Honduras?

As a product of the zeitgeist of the 1960s where we were taught to question everything, especially ourselves, Paolo Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Teaching Community: a Pedagogy of Hope were two standard works that were must reads for students of Central and South America in the late 70’s for considering and understanding other options besides “American” democracy. If you ever get the time and opportunity, I recommend you read over Friere’s work.
Name rings a bell; others that come to mind are John Holt, Ivan Illich, Paul Goodman, and my current favorite John Taylor Gatto (whose opus, "An Underground History of American Education" I'm currently reading). I loathe the US educational system with a passion, where the emphasis is on regimentation, conformity, and reinforcing the class system.
 

syngirl

Registered
I think what Elpanada is trying to say is that this forum is meant to be a source of information and discussion on Argentina, and while international politics & policy are interesting, on this forum it would be more pertinent to discuss these in the context of Argentina & South America. I enjoy healthy discussion but there are other forums devoted to all things George W Bush.
Furthermore, I can't believe that this discussion even went this far considering the source for the original post is from a White Extremist website run by or on behalf of David Duke (www.whitecivilrights.com). Does no one else find it disturbing that this is used as a source of "news"?
 

bigbadwolf

Registered
"syngirl" said:

I think what Elpanada is trying to say is that this forum is meant to be a source of information and discussion on Argentina, and while international politics & policy are interesting, on this forum it would be more pertinent to discuss these in the context of Argentina & South America. I enjoy healthy discussion but there are other forums devoted to all things George W Bush.
Furthermore, I can't believe that this discussion even went this far considering the source for the original post is from a White Extremist website run by or on behalf of David Duke (www.whitecivilrights.com). Does no one else find it disturbing that this is used as a source of "news"?
I don't know why these messages are cropping up on this thread. Look at the title of the forum: Democrats Abroad Forum
Look at what's written underneath the title of the forum:
Here you can freely express your views/ideas regarding USA or World Politics.
If you disagree with the tenor of this thread or any particular posting, take it up with the moderators. If they so indicate, all those of us who are posting on US politics will have to desist.
Furthermore, why this attempt to censor not only what we post but where we bring it from? I cited a piece on GWB from the site that appears to draw your disapprobation. Yet I notice that Duke was interviewed yeaterday by MSNBC -- a major US network. Is this network, too, doing something wrong?
In any case, sinnce you so obviously seem to have missed the point, the title of the thread is somewhat tongue-in-cheek; it was meant to spark a little discussion, and hence the source cited was not meant to be interpreted at face value, i.e. as "news."
Why are the pair of you taking on the powers of the Thought Police? Address your complaints to the moderators; it's their job.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top