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The U.N. should concentrate on human rights, poverty, aid for impoverished countries, aid for education in impoverished countries. Impoverished countries need access to social services that warlords really could care less about and that's what the U.N. should concentrate on.
Thank God, something reasonable. A call for a greatly reduced UN role... at least you're in reality here.
Me, I think your best possible future will see greater uses of world bodies. Probably others will end up taking on the weightier issues. But international labor standards would be a perfect start, a way to follow our own interests by fighting for the interests of the poor who are victims of corporations (and/or their own governments) abroad.
Can the UN be a military power? Nah, not until we stop needing it in the first place. What they do do in those cases is always an uneasy fit. I can see an argument to just knock it off.
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First of all, particularly to TB, who is showing some glimmering of consciousness in his responses hereabouts, it's kind of worth noting that I am not for security council membership for Iran -- as I've said a number of times.
The point is not that Iran should have won membership. The point is that "ha ha this proves the UN is a joke" is a specious response.
From what I can tell nobody responding here is against the death penalty. Nobody here is in favor of the crimes Iran punishes with the death penalty. We argue that gays in Iran should not be executed. Yet we also simultaneously argue that gays in America should have rights unequal to the rest of the population.
Now then - why would Iran get 18 votes? Obviously 18 member nations think their interests would be well represented by Iran. Those are likely to include the Islamist theocracies, other nations America has put on the public sh1t list for this 15 minutes, and perhaps nations that have favor-swaps with Iran. Who knows.
The objection that the UN does not have a standing army is an interesting one. Is the recommended remedy that the UN raise a standing army, or that its peacekeeping forces be beefed up and some of its prohibitive ROE be revamped?
And precisely what proportion of the world's problems are solved at present by military engagement? We've certainly fixed the problem of terrorism that way - not. We've basically got a criminal gang we're trying to wipe out through military action... AGAINST THE WRONG COUNTRY, in Iraq's case.
Let's substitute for that response a response in which member nations were pledged to bring perps to justice through international cooperation. Obviously if the old Taliban regime in Afghanistan were party to such an agreement, and it had teeth that would cripple the Taliban if they did not comply, that would be that. The war would be on their hands.
We don't have that level of international cooperation. International economic cooperation goes through the G20 and the G8, not through the UN. We end up leaving huge gaps in the good that could be done in win-win situations by leaving most of the world out of it.
The difficulty with leaving most of the world out of it is that we don't get anything done. The difficulty with including most of the world in the body - as in the case of the UN - is that viewpoints other than those of the US and its allies (either economic or geopolitical) will be represented. There are no representatives of Namibia in the G20.
Whoever it was that acknowledged that by sheer luck we here were born Americans, good for you. It is sheer luck.
We act like we have a birthright, via that sheer luck, to impose whatever point of view we find expedient that week on the rest of the world. We do not. We are one of 200 or so nations.
By population, we are about 5% of the world's people.
We are not the center of the world. We are one very powerful, not-small-but-not-gigantic nation among many.
I am still waiting for reasons you would consider Iran more likely to use nukes than the US, since Iran does not even admit they want to GET them, and the US states forthrightly that use of nuclear weapons is a policy option we reserve for use whenever the mood strikes -- and since we have done so already in the past.
And tell me a reason that works even for non-Americans. That's pretty important here, if your complaint is that non-Americans found Iran acceptably responsible.
If I weren't "Us," how would I see our regular occupations and incursions into other nations' territories? How would I see the idea that every nation the US puts on "the list" is subject to invasion and occupation?
How responsible does the U.S. look, really, to other nations?
By the way, recent gallup poll says millions of resident aliens in the US say that if they could, they would migrate elsewhere: Some back home, but also to countries like Spain, Canada, and Britain.
So much for how "everybody wants to live in America."
And to TBOY - public campaigns for the repeal of the 14th Amendment? Really, you don't get the civil rights connection?
You guys are funny sometimes -- smug elitists believing you're the "average guy" just because your elitism is phrased against other peoples in the world, or often victimized populations in your own country.
But it's not elitism because "everybody knows it's true," with "everybody" being defined as the ruling caste to which you, by birth, group yourselves. You consider 95% of the world as of no importance, based on the power of the nation-state to which you're born, and pretend that makes you an "average Joe."
So yeah, like I said, I know the marching morons hate anybody with a scintilla of concern for international relations outside the cowboy model. That makes you a guy w/patches on your jacket elbows smoking a pipe and drinking brandy with classical music playing in the background, or wait, I know, eating wine and cheese at a hollywood wifeswapping party.
Uh, that's stupid.
What I am is a guy who "gets it." I also get that sometimes we fight necessary wars, and that the guys we put in the line of fire whether it's necessary or not are not our own enemies. That ain't the question though. The question is whether there is a place in our approach for non-military solutions, and by what criteria we consider the United Nations "a joke."
The subject criterion we are discussing is the fact that about 10% of the membership had the utter gall to vote for someone we very much do not like for temporary security council membership.
The reason this is a joke is that they execute people, though not as many as China, a present security council member. Or that they have laws against homosexuality, although we have laws stigmatizing homosexuals. Or that Iran is belligerant and irresponsible, from our point of view. I merely point out that Iran has invaded nobody. Our own record is full of invasions and occupations. Iran has no WMD. Our own stockpiles are full. Iran's propensity to use a nuke does not actually seem particularly high, and I say this as a fairly staunch supporter of Israel. Our own propensity to use them is written into doctrine, and proven by actual uses of nuclear weapons.
So yeah, you're the average Joe, just like someone that likes the Steelers is the average Joe in Pittsburgh. If you can't make your argument other than by rooting for the home team, you might convince me, but that would be useless if you are talking about the decisions of 10% of UN member nations to support Iranian security council membership.
They voted their interests. Their interests were not universal enough to elect Iran. End of story. The fact that this is held up as proof that the UN does not work mystifies me.
But bloviation is not...and MrP is the king of Patsfans.com political bloviation. I've never seen anyone who can write 1,000 words response to a 3 sentence post...but PatFanIVa.
I think he likes to go back and proudly read his own posts, I dunno.
It's kinda like the dude who likes to hear his own voice, only with him, he likes to read his own words. He's wickid smaht you know.
The bottom line is that the UN = irrelevent, and that's really unfortunate.
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"The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him." Leo Tolstoy, 1897
Last edited by Real World; 11-11-2010 at 08:51 PM..
Iran invaded Iraq. I actually have a pretty balanced view of the Islamic Republic of Iran, but let's not completely gloss over its revolutionary excesses during its embryonic stages.
I have no use for the UN as an international police officer, though it is useful for its humanitarian and aid capabilities.
We get what we deserve.
------------------ On a day when they could have had impact players David Terrell or Koren Robinson..they took Georgia defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who had 1 sacks last season in the pass-happy SEC and is too tall to play tackle at 6-6 and too slow to play defensive end. This genius move was followed by trading out of a spot where they could have gotten the last decent receiver in Robert Ferguson and settled for tackle Matt Light, who will not help any time soon.
And I did not say you are. And China has membership, permanent membership at that.
China's security council seat is mentioned not to establish the strength of some Chinese moral claim to membership. It is to establish the weakness of the argument that Iran could not possibly be the choice of 10% of nations, because you do not like its morality.
My questions was more about who does like their morality (which assumes that they have any)?
The belligerence of the last bit here is noted an disregarded. Take a valium.
Sorry about that. Need to refrain from posting on here after an afternoon of drinking (or stick to game threads where such things would appear run-of-the-mill).
As to the remainder of the paragraph, I take it you mean you are in favor of gay marriage. You and your sister have been to a gay wedding, so you must be in favor of that institution, I take it - particularly since you trot out the instance as an example of your tolerance for equal rights in America? If so, kudos.
I was addressing this statement:
It can also be pointed out that rights arguments are most often made by Americans trying to retard or even roll back the progress of civil rights in the United States.
In the context of talking about Iran and Saudi Arabia, where homosexual rights are non-existent, I may have misread what you were saying as implying that I want to retard or roll back civil rights in the U.S., which is simply not true.
My statement had to do with our stated purpose for invading Iraq: The 9/11 "link" - false - Followed by the WMD farce - false - blah blah blah ad infinitum. By the end of the tortured trail of excuses we got "because they broke UN resolutions."
I never claimed a 9/11 link. Not sure where you get that, or what it has to do with this thread. The only link I see to 9/11 is that 9/11 made us more keenly aware of the threat of terrorism, and that they saw Iraq as a potential source of all kinds of trouble in that realm. People can disagree with that, but I think it is a little disingenuous to state that they sold it as "Saddam plotted 9/11".
So there's one use we've made of the UN right there, and quite recently at that. Never mind any of our own behavior the UN does not like... in those cases the UN is irrelevant.
So you are unhappy that Bush, et al, tried to use the international body that you are defending? The U.N. spends the majority of its time complaining about Israel. "Behavior the UN does not like" is not really a useful yardstick.
There is a lot of politics involved in what blocks of countries in the U.N. support or dislike. The French, for example, opposed Iraq largely on the grounds of financial self-interest. I seriously doubt they gave a crap about Saddam.
If you think anybody who doesn't lie down for your know-nothing slander of actual knowledge is necessarily "contemptuous", well, to coin a phrase, "go f yourself." Relax, stop being silly about it.
Slander of knowledge? Let's agree that on matters of opinion, we each have a side. Not sure what matters of fact I contradicted.
I know my opinion on the UN is unpopular, so don't get too torqued about it. I think the standard opinion on international bodies is just plain myopic. I am also aware it's very en vogue, and has been for some time. Meh.
I am not willing to let them off the hook so easily.
Actually, the "threatened to wipe Israel off the map" meme comes from a speech in which Ahmanutinadinnerjacket said Israel would be "erased from the pages of history." This is very much akin to Kruschev saying "we will bury you." While not a very pleasant statement, its import is not that they will kill us; it's that they will survive, and we will not. However, I do count Iran as a fairly vigorous opponent of Israel, and have no love for their regime.
I am aware of where it came from. You appear to be unaware that their is disagreement over the translation of what he said. I assume that neither of us speak Persian, I think that we will have to agree to disagree. You are in the Juan Cole camp. Because of the general "death to Israel" theme, I lean the other way.
If those sources are not sufficient, what about the New York Times?
But translators in Tehran who work for the president's office and the foreign ministry disagree with them. All official translations of Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement, including a description of it on his Web site (www.president.ir/eng/), refer to wiping Israel away. Sohrab Mahdavi, one of Iran's most prominent translators, and Siamak Namazi, managing director of a Tehran consulting firm, who is bilingual, both say "wipe off" or "wipe away" is more accurate than "vanish" because the Persian verb is active and transitive.
The second translation issue concerns the word "map." Khomeini's words were abstract: "Sahneh roozgar." Sahneh means scene or stage, and roozgar means time. The phrase was widely interpreted as "map," and for years, no one objected. In October, when Mr. Ahmadinejad quoted Khomeini, he actually misquoted him, saying not "Sahneh roozgar" but "Safheh roozgar," meaning pages of time or history. No one noticed the change, and news agencies used the word "map" again.
Ahmad Zeidabadi, a professor of political science in Tehran whose specialty is Iran-Israel relations, explained: "It seems that in the early days of the revolution the word 'map' was used because it appeared to be the best meaningful translation for what he said. The words 'sahneh roozgar' are metaphorical and do not refer to anything specific. Maybe it was interpreted as 'book of countries,' and the closest thing to that was a map. Since then, we have often heard 'Israel bayad az naghshe jographya mahv gardad' Israel must be wiped off the geographical map. Hard-liners have used it in their speeches."
So did Iran's president call for Israel to be wiped off the map? It certainly seems so. Did that amount to a call for war? That remains an open question.
We by contrast actually do threaten to wipe various nations (certainly Russia, the other big nuke holder,) off the map. That's our policy. Many US leaders have also believed that the return of Jesus would come "with a sword," and would similarly result in chaos. I do not understand your distinction here.
Is this the kind of knowledge that I have been slandering? The policy of MAD was a defensive mechanism meant to deter a nuclear attack. I am not sure which idiots you are referring to in U.S. leadership, or what that has to do with anything.
I see. Now the Persian culture is reduced to the phenomenon of suicide bombing. Please enlighten me at what time they "created" suicide bombing. I am sure you have some reason to say they invented the tactic. Certainly the ones we see today are nothing new; the Japanese used the tactic in WWII against our own navy. Yet we have no serious objection to Japanese "culture."
That's the point, isn't it? Islam is not Persian culture, it is Arabic. I have no beef with the Iranian people. I am on their side, and wish that they could be free of the criminal gang that is currently running the place. I was disgusted that our President sold them out for the sake of making nice with the gangsters.
And who is he teaching? Fine. You think the U.S. is the most likely country to use nuclear weapons. I don't. What I am most concerned about is the many non-state actors that Iran and Saudi Arabia and others support. One of those proxies is highly likely to use the technology if they get their hands on it.
Yes, yes, pardon me for mistaking the stated cause of xenophobia for the unstated cause of defeating civil rights.
But civil rights laws go back to the 19th century if you repeal the 14th amendment. Each state decides how much to disciminate, and against whom. Tell me all about how that won't affect Alabama from a perch in Massachusetts, and tell me I'm afraid of my shadow while you're at it. You are quite the trusting soul.
And you accuse me of slander. I think that if the issue of illegal immigration is addressed, any such efforts will die out. Maybe not. What discrimination are you envisioning that "repeal the 14th amendment proponents" want to promote?
1982-1983 - Deployed 1200 marines to Lebanon, after multinational force (including 80 Americans) departs.
Umm, they were there to facilitate the removal of the Israeli forces. Gemayel acutally requested more Marines in the fall. Hardly an "invasion".
1983 - Granada. Beat the crap out of a medical school or something. Wait no, saved a medical school. That's the ticket. AKA, toppled the local government so we were in charge.
Right, there were no medical students. It was a pre-Rovian trick! Was Cheney involved? People around the world are upset that we joined forces with the Jamaicans to stop a coup? You got me there, we did invade.
1986 Libya. Bombed Tripoli, because Libya, which is chock-full of empty space, only has terrorist training camps in the capitol city.
Wasn't this retaliation for a bombing in Berlin? I guess the Berlin thing doesn't count.
1988 - USS Vincennes shoots down an Iranian air liner. When the Soviets shot down a Korean airliner, it was barbarism. I am certain other countries saw the distinction that made this one okay.
This was intentional? Good to know. Let me know when South Korea will be invading Russia in retaliation.
1988 - 1990 - US buildup in already-occupied Panama, because CIA employee Manuel Noriega wasn't running his department well, followed by occupation of Panama as hostile foreign power and overthrow of Noriega government.
Never really got this one.
1991 - US Invasion of Iraq That Other Countries Liked. Beat em up, kicked em outta Kuwait ("but we swear, you said it was okay" - Saddam), went away again.
Along with many other nations, including the Saudis. Supported by multiple resolutions from, what's the place?-the U.N.
1991 - Iraq - introduction of US combat forces to protect Kurdish minority.
1992 - 2003 - Iraq, no-fly zones. US suppresses all flight over most of Iraqi airspace. If you like us and hate Saddam (which everybody here does,) that's just what you should do. If you're a country other than the US wondering about our respect for others' sovereignty, not so much.
Conveniently forgetting that what precipitated it was a failure to recognize the sovereignty of Kuwait. I know you will blame that on the U.S. as well, so don't bother.
1993-present, Bosnia-Herzogovenia. I actually like this one, because it's a humanitarian intervention without sketchy excuses and stupid unilateral lies as a basis for action. We're still there.
I get it. You support use of our military only when it does not serve our interests.
I am still conflicted about this one. I fear that we were played by the Bosnians.
1994-1995 - US military intevention in Haiti. 20,000 US troops eventually deployed.
Under U.N. mandate.
1995 - participation in NATO bombing of Bosnian Serbs.
Isn't NATO an "international body"?
1998 - Iraq. US and Brits bomb for four days.
That chickenhawk Clinton!
1998 - Sudan and Afghanistan - US airstrikes against terrorist camps in Sudan and a chemical factory in Afghanistan.
I know completely unprovoked! How rude! Dumb response to terrorists attacks on our embassies...or should I say attack on our own soil?
1999 - Bombing Serbia some more.
Not clear if you are for or against our involvement in Yugoslavia. BTW, what's our exit strategy there?
2001 - present - invasion, overthrow and occupation of Afghanistan
To replace an Islamic state with...an Islamic state. Wake me up when foreigners blow **** up in Iran.
2003 - present - invasion, overthrow and occupation of Iraq
To help establish another Islamic state.
Pretty long list from the point of view of other nations around the world, determining who they should consider a responsible power.
The problem is that we have the ability to project power and exert our will to such a greater degree than others. Others currently lack the ability, not the desire. On balance, I would say that the U.S. has acted for good. Iran has had its share of extraterritorial adventures during the same period:
1982 - Hezbollah bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires.
1983 - Bombing of U.S. embassy in Beirut.
1983 - Bombing of Marine barracks in Beirut (presumably you will classify that this was justified, since we were an "occupying force")
1984 - Hezbollah bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires (what did Argentina ever do to Iran?)
1989 - Taking out a contract on the life of a British subject, Salman Rushdie.
2007 - Illegal capture of British sailors in international waters and repeatedly violated the Geneva Conventions during their detention. U.N. response: none.
I would need a separate thread to cover all the Israeli stuff.
What of Saudi Arabia? They provide the majority of funding for Hamas, who have been pretty busy fighting as an army out of uniform and have a preference for civilian targets.
The point here is not that I prefer their judgment to my own. The point is that in an international body, all our explanations that make us very happy with our own behavior are not always shared.
I would as well, if I thought they had any judgment. There are countries who have served on the U.N. Human Rights Commission that do not support the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. In particular, many Islamic States do not recognize Article 18:
* Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
(Come to think of it, there are people on this forum who don't support the idea of "freedom of conscience" either).
The 2003 invasion of Iraq was such a grand fail that W took to even vilifying long-time allies who had questions about the very questionable actions he took.
I did not ever claim that the UN has never had a scandal, or that some member states do not engage in dumb movements.
You, by contrast, did evaluate the UN as useless on the face of it, based on the idea that all members should evidently unanimously reject Iranian membership.
No, I just considered another incident in a long line of questionable events.
But it makes no sense that you would believe others around the world would, certainly not unanimously.
Are you of the opinion that most people in the world live under governments that represent their will? That is the fundamental problem that I see. I doubt that the people in most of these countries are truly represented by their regimes. Furthermore, many either lack the means to learn about the outside world or are fundamentally uncurious about it. To wit:
The mass media are the most important
agents for the public diffusion of knowledge
yet Arab countries have lower information
media to population ratios (number of newspapers,
radio and televisions per 1000 people)
compared to the world average. There are less
than 53 newspapers per 1000 Arab citizens,
compared to 285 papers per 1000 people in
In most Arab countries, the media operate
in an environment that sharply restricts freedom
of the press and freedom of expression
and opinion. Journalists face illegal harassment,
intimidation and even physical threats,
censorship is rife and newspapers and television
channels are sometimes arbitrarily closed
down. Most media institutions are stateowned,
particularly radio and television.
The last two years, however, have seen
some improvements in the Arab information
environment, brought about by dawning competition.
More independent-minded newspapers
have appeared, challenging the iron grip
of the older, state-supported press on political
opinion, news and information. With bases
abroad, these papers can escape state censorship.
Some private satellite channels have
started to contest the monopoly of state channels
over the broadcast media. The most important
characteristic of this new information
movement is that it broadcasts in Arabic,
thereby addressing the largest segment of the
In terms of infrastructure, the newer information
channels benefit from the considerable
groundwork that a number of Arab countries
have laid. However, the general trend gravitates
towards the lowest indicators in world
standards. The number of telephone lines in
the Arab countries is barely one fifth of that in
developed countries. Access to digital media is
also among the lowest in the world. There are
just 18 computers per 1000 people in the region,
compared to the global average of 78.3
percent per 1000 persons and only 1.6 per cent
of the population has Internet access. These
indicators scarcely reflect a sufficient level of
preparedness for applying information technology
for knowledge diffusion.
Translation is one of the important channels
for the dissemination of information and
communication with the rest of the world. The
translation movement in the Arab world, however,
remains static and chaotic. On average, only 4.4
translated books per million people
were published in the first five years of the
1980s (less than one book per million people
per year), while the corresponding rate in
Hungary was 519 books per one million people
and in Spain 920 books.
That does not mean I root for such points of view. That means, simply, that I am not a fan of creating such points of view through more moronic policy, then ignore the reality of international sentiment based on bumper sticker thinking.
What moronic policy? Holding the U.N. accountable to its mission, values and purpose?