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The Trumperium 2: Caesar by the Pussy

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Jon, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity High Score: 3,994 Prestige DLP Supporter DLP Gold Supporter

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    Fair enough, and you raise valid points. I merely wanted to suggest that the U.S. walking away from the international community is not necessarily a universally good thing either. There are advantages to the current system that the international community may wish to retain however the new order shakes down.
     
  2. Solfege

    Solfege Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    This statement relies on a misreading of what hegemony is. Its nature is more limited than you think, even as its consequences are broad. Nations always could pursue their own particular interests. Where they could not, is only on matters that pertained to the essential power position of the US, i,e. direct challenges to US hegemony and to the very limited set of interests critical to that position.

    In all other areas hegemony gives the ability to set the table, and all nations listen and debate when it's a matter of shared urgency; but they all go their own ways in their own local/regional interests otherwise.

    Now, strength of economy, military options, and privileged access to other structural vehicles may affect greater push back and alternate scenarios at a scale that hegemonic monopoly of said channels may have snuffed off. An independent foreign policy, and military in particular, may affect positive benefits in parties negotiating with the unipolar power; but it also opens up far more avenues for world conflict, makes the world less secure and reduces trade and prosperity.

    What you're more realistically advancing is independent European interventions in foreign lands, the possibility for muscular foreign policies of a different kind from the US's.

    Imagine for instance if the US brought Iran under its protective umbrella. Their foreign policy arm would be curtailed, is the extent of it; in exchange for our valuable guarantee of their sovereignty against external enemies. They would stop funding Hezbollah; would be preempted from a support of Hamas given our friendship with Israel. In return the Iranians would expand our options and their own natural interests in policing the insidious Saudi financing of salafism. It is a give and take.

    Meanwhile the Iranians wouldn't stop fucking around in Syria or in Iraq, just as the Israelis, Saudis, and Turks wouldn't either. We couldn't stop them, and it wouldn't be sufficiently to our interest to do. Their direct and indirect rivalries with their Middle Eastern fellows would continue, but to a suppressed, more tolerable extent as all parties are connected to the American hub.

    Is it presently the optimal path benefiting Iranian interests because they have extended options of funding and supplying parties dedicated to the overthrow of US allies, which are the primary parts pertaining to US interests in their foreign policy as would clearly be affected?

    Do you seriously think we have any real effect on German decisions to, say, build Nord Stream 2 with Russia?


    France was just as free to send troops into Rwanda back in 1994 as they are now.

    ================

    But I think we are all conflating a few things. Public international perception of the US which is carefully built up over generations and brittle =/= the institutions through which hegemonic powers are applied and the willingness of world leaders to consider the merits of what US leaders have to say through the application of those institutions. Were @Invictus here, he'd point out the recent motions of EU-whatevers amount to... not much, given the lack of democratic credibility to push a real institutional framework with meaningful resources.

    Trump may be anathema, but Bretton Woods yet stands firm as the only credible default position. Like you I find that benefits outside the framework don't outweigh benefits within the framework; not because there are benefits to be found, but because there aren't. Except in the sense of salving grievances over sovereignty as drive Brexiteers.

    Trump or no Trump, at the end of the day a region will defer to a greater power that can entrench a stability over it. As the unipole with the natural preponderance of a unipole, the US gets a first priority to accessing hegemonic advantages if it will bring said benefits. It won't be "back to normal," not for a couple decades, but the underlying basis of Bretton Woods will very quickly reassert itself with Trump out of office. It takes more than rhetoric, and Trump in his first term has on substance been largely co-opted by the establishment (Syria a major departure). Given the choice, Europe would rather not prefer to spend on military with all the other shit on their plate, even if sentiment exists.

    All this is not to say there aren't deep-seated issues that have to be resolved in the US, as there are metastasising in liberal nations everywhere. If we can, we'll emerge more ascendant than ever. What seems like foolishness in the US tends to be advanced notice to the rest of the First World. We're just more precocious, and get the traumas over with faster.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
  3. Oment

    Oment The Betrayer

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    Greek/Italian wars of independence, the Crimean War, a variety of smaller-scale wars involving Prussia (with Denmark and Austria), a couple of Balkan independence revoltss (success varying), the Russo-Turkish War, and of course the main course of the Franco-Prussian War. Plus things like Spain and Portugal losing the majority of their colonial empires after being Napoleon'd, and the nationalistic fervour of '48 that went far deeper than just independence wars... Not my best idea of a quiet time - though it was undoubtedly one compared to the twenty-odd years of campaigns before and the slaughterhouse after.

    Sure, Europe west of the Iron Curtain (to use an anachronism, but it's near enough accurate) had been at peace - an uneasy peace - since Prussia did its thing in 1871. There was some proper balance of power chicanery going on, especially after Bismarck passed and Germany/Russia drifted apart a bit. The balance held because the balance had to, until something set shit on fire.

    It was, of course, the Balkans, and Austria-Hungary being an unholy abomination with a flair for taking what probably shouldn't be theirs. Germany wanting to do a battleship-dick measuring contest with Britain didn't help, though.

    Pretty united, my soggy arse. I concur with Solfege's point of IMF 'assistrance' being a very harsh cure, though probably from a vastly different perspective. Europe, now as then, is held together because it has to be held together, with the aforementioned permissive concensus lost in the wake of '08 for the populace.
     
  4. Hakairyu

    Hakairyu Second Year

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    The Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Indochina Wars, the Soviet-Afghan War, the Indo-Pakistani War, several Arab-Israeli Wars, the Algerian War, major African conflicts from Uganda-Tanzania to the Great African War (the whole process, including the Rwandan Civil War and genocide, Burundi Civil War etc), the Iran-Iraq war, the Gulf War, Chechnya and Dagestan, the Iraq War, Somalia, a bunch of conflicts due to the breakup of the Soviet Union, Crimea included therein, a plethora of civil wars and insurgencies mostly but not entirely within post-colonial states or (other) wars between post-colonial states, several coups and interventions directed by the US and the Soviets to countries within their spheres, Lebanon, Libya, Syria and my favorite, the Yugoslav Wars.
    Did you by chance miss the "comparable to the post-45 world" qualifier? Not to mention how your list grows a lot shorter if we exclude the Ottomans, but I don't see any reason to. Spain and Portugal lost their colonial empires during the Napoleonic Wars to my knowledge, the end of which was my cutoff point. Whereas in the 18th century, we have decade long wars every 20 years and then 24 years of the French Revolutionary Wars into the Napoleonic Wars, and that's without counting all the Ottoman wars that century. And I think I only said this in the post template I deleted, so another important point is that the 1815-1914 wars in Europe that did happen typically lasted very short and were decisive. For example, the Franco-Prussian War did not last a year. The only exception to this that I can think of at the moment is the Crimean War, and that reinforced the status quo. European wars being short and colonial wars being curbstomps was another reason why everyone was so excited for World War 1.

    Before I go on, I would like to point out that my main point in that post was that it was unwarranted and unreasonable to single Europe out as a group of countries that should not be permitted to pursue their own interests because you read in history class that the last time they did that we had a couple world wars (Solfege addressed this point with a more general answer about how a disunited Europe where every state pursued its own interests would be dangerous, on that matter, I don't disagree). Then I went on to point out that I would see Europe growing more independent from the US in foreign policy as a favorable development. That was a hypothetical with the presumption of the EU staying together (though it'd probably be better off shedding some post-communist weight if it wants to do that) and democratic, the former being kind of a pre-requisite to "Europe" exerting any real power. So if you don't think it's going in that direction, what's the point of discussing any of this? Sure, yeah, it'd suck if American influence receded and left behind a bunch of squabbling populist strongman states. Great insight.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
  5. Arthellion

    Arthellion Supreme Mugwump

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    The United States, as a hegemony, is only a good thing so long as the people and the government of the United States adhere to virtue and the values upon which we were founded. That we still consider life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to be rights granted to all humans...not just Americans. That, at the end of the day, there is something higher than "America First."

    A large portion of the United States does not feel this way any more. Consumerism and Materialism has created a culture of entitlement and selfishness. That, coupled with the recession, has created fear and worry over our own future...despite the fact that it is better to be poor in the USA than the majority of the countries in the world.

    US Hegemony is only a good thing so long as we adhere to the spiderman quote, "With great power, comes great responsibility." Otherwise we are little better than a bully.

    Based on the trends of the American people, and their voting habits, it is good that there will be challenges to that Hegemony.
     
  6. awinarock

    awinarock Fourth Champion

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    For those of you working in the government (except the military), here's another kick in the balls. You wanted to get paid? Fuck you. You want a small raise? Fuck you again.

    Edit: The Hill is credible but yeah, their mobile site is shit. I've changes the link to a CNN article.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
  7. Erotic Adventures of S

    Erotic Adventures of S Denarii Host

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    A bit of an aside. But fucking hell thats a bad website. Not sure if thehill is credible, but anyone who has a website that badly formatted is going to the special hell. I closed it as soon as the auto play video scrolled down the page with me blocking the fucking story. I may have even stayed if the X to close wasn’t so fucking pitifully small and hard to hit.
     
  8. Xiph0

    Xiph0 Administrator Admin

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    The Hill is certainly very credible. No argument on their website design :p
     
  9. Oment

    Oment The Betrayer

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    Hardly. I took issue with 'pretty peaceful' - as your exhaustive list showed, that is relative to the highest degree.

    Same re: wars from decolonisation and your list. Ottomans weren't in the best of states (especially later on) in the time period, so people saw opportunity.

    Yes and no. Them getting kicked around by Napoleon was the start, but the independence wars definitely ended post-Napoleon. Most of the Spanish-speaking Americas revolted in the early 1810s, but it took a couple of years for things to resolve, to say the least. (And Portugal/Brazil had their independence tiff in the 1820s.)

    As I do think they will, because they will have to. Call it a disfunctional marriage when divorce is not on the table.

    Why is it not on the table? The alternative is unreasonable (at least for the ruling class, who rightly point out more than a few advantages of the EU) and would result in most of the countries being utterly sidelined, with a few powerful enough to at least have some bargaining power. We're seeing this work out in real time right now. So, splitting up is not an option, but that doesn't mean they haven't lost a good bit of support. It'll be a while before the current status quo (slowly working together more and more, but with no real federalism in sight) is able to shift to a more unified model. Moreover, right now, the challenge is far more likely to be the opposite. There's a very vocal part of Europe (both people and politicians) who would dearly love the EU to shove off, and I don't particularly see a clash from that end (which would probably take the form of a couple of euroskeptic leaders/countries rebelling) ending up with the EU strengthening significantly.
     
  10. Arthellion

    Arthellion Supreme Mugwump

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    Honestly, a federalized EU could be a stabilizing and powerful force in the world, but it’s gonna take a few generations or Russian invasion before that happens. Too much history and loyalty to specific countries.

    Generalizing, but it took 2-3 wars, French aggression, and brilliant politicians for Germany to unify.

    A likely scenario: The USA shifts to more of a isolationist standpoint. Refuses to intervene in Europe. Russia continues to swallow up countries in Eastern Europe. Military buildup in EU. Something sets off war between EU and Russia. USA steps in at last moment to prevent Russian victory. EU federalizes

    Or USA doesn’t intervene, being too preoccupied with an Asian war. Europe falls to Russia and USA is unable to win Asian war. Retreats to Marshall plan.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
  11. Solfege

    Solfege Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    The entire past two pages of discussion have been fun but based off false premises that tricked us up. This won't happen for conflicts over procurement, training, threat assessments, interoperability, command structure, financing, fear of redundancies with NATO channels, desire for sovereignty over one's own troops. Try multiplying 28*28*28*28...

    German politicians have for decades uniformly acceded that an EU military is something that should be worked towards in the very long term, but it's a concept that's slow-walked in practice and meant to be vaguely inspirational in symbolic terms. The actual logistics of such a coalition project would be overwhelming. It'd be massive enough just to get everyone aligned on procurement and unify the defense markets [streamlining defense industries all over Europe, picking winners and losers].

    This is typical media misread of Russian intentions, interests, capabilities. Putin as western media's "boogeyman." Putin has no intention of ever going into actual war with the US. His primary political interests are to achieve a reintegration into the world economy, economic growth, and reversal of demographic decline.

    Troop movements indicate that the western border with NATO, for all the rhetoric of late on both sides, is as undermanned as ever. If anything since 2011 Russia has demilitarised that zone and largely kept it that way. Troops in western Russia suggest that their aim is a stabilisation of the Ukrainian situation and a preemption of any color revolution in Belarus; ensuring neither country is ever fit for NATO admission.

    It is a defense of the status quo.

    If Russia were to start up real war for European territorial gain, we'd know. They'd be pulling divisions from all across Russia. We'd see the prep for a million-strong army coming inbound. But, where's the budget for this? The Kremlin hasn't got one with oil/gas prices being what they are. The conscription system is in shambles, men required for a bare-bones year of training but in reality getting at max six months of any real stuff. They could forcibly mobilise the entire nation for total war, but it would seriously strain society and outdated infrastructure.

    Far likelier is Russia continues to slice and dice regions in the East to fluster NATO. Shadow provocations putting the pressure and the onus on us to make a legitimate escalation. Much more sophisticated than [full-on annexation] and the Russians are becoming masters of this, liable to leave the EU and NATO in confusion, potentially opening up divisions for geopolitical gain. To secure that sweet reentry into global markets.

    But we have Trump in office now, so. Sanctions...
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
  12. Arthellion

    Arthellion Supreme Mugwump

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    @Solfege
    Honestly, I see EU countries as the Aggressors in such a war. At least insofar as on paper. Russia is obviously not seeking a war but safety and security. I could see them doing something in that interest that causes a more nationalistic European leader to get gungho about war and we have World War III on our hands.

    The hypotheticals I'm discussing are things likelying happening in 2070s-2100s if ever. Its fun to think about but I likely won't ever see any of it.
     
  13. Chengar Qordath

    Chengar Qordath The Final Pony Prestige

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    Putin certainly has no interest in kicking off World War 3. Ukraine and Belarus have been a very careful game of seeing how far he can push without the West getting angry and taking serious action against him.
     
  14. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Oh for Pete's sake.
     
  15. Arthellion

    Arthellion Supreme Mugwump

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    In the quoted post, I'm not even referring to my theory of ethics. I'm referring to the virtues and values that the USA has claimed to uphold for the length of our existence.
     
  16. Chengar Qordath

    Chengar Qordath The Final Pony Prestige

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    I could do without the thread derailing every single time the word "virtue" shows up in a post. We get it. Arthellion believes in virtue ethics. This triggers Darth Revan something fierce. We don't need another multi-page derail devoted to the topic.

    To get things back on track-ish, it looks like Trump is trying to encourage a no-deal Brexit.
     
  17. awinarock

    awinarock Fourth Champion

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    Really? Because I feel like Americans (and people in general) consider "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to be rights granted to all humans...not just Americans" to be more important than ever in the history of our existence. It's just that the we tend to focus on the loudest among us who try to suppress these things one way or another. We're more interconnected and empathetic than ever but it's hard to remember that when so the airways are filled with nothing but stories of tragedies and human suffering, and our leaders use divisive rhetoric to rake in votes.

    I would argue that US government (like pretty much every other government) has only ever claimed to uphold certain values because those values provide a convenient cover to pursue it's interests. It just happens that they've been the most benevolent superpower (in the sense that it's the dominant geopolitical entity of its time) in the history of civilization but only because all the ones the came before us were so cuntish (because people, as a result of the much harsher circumstances of early civilizations, were generally cunts). Truth be told, while I'd like for the US hegemony to end and more equal world to rise up from the ashes, I'm wary of its waning resulting in a world dominated by China. I'll take the US as the world leader over the Chinese any day.
     
  18. Solfege

    Solfege Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    Forget Trump, I want to know what Lighthizer has to say. He's after all the Man of Steel driving foreign policy in the Age of Trump, and scarily competent at that.
    Lighthizer reminds me of Secretary of State Dulles, a man who bought so thoroughly into the sales pitch boilerplate that he oversaw the hollowing out of State with the purging of virtually all expert personnel in the persecution of 'communist sympathisers.' Pursuing a naively aggressive confrontation of Communism everywhere it turned. What they used to call him, the older men of the Establishment then a decade in political exile: dull, duller, Dulles. And now there are schools named after him.

    At least Lighthizer knows how to work with his talent, not fire them. Part of what makes him so dangerous. It wouldn't be surprising to see him continue taking the lead under a populist Democratic administration.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
  19. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Don't worry, Chengar, just registering my exasperation.

    Lighthizer had been doing a lot, but I think his rise can only be understood as a result of the ineptitude and sidelining of State under two rubbish secretaries. Trump sees IR as transactional and obsesses about trade, so it's natural that he gravitates to USTR.
     
  20. Solfege

    Solfege Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    This begs the question, asked under other fora I'm sure, whether "adults in the room" was a valid hypothesis at all. The generational damage to State could've been mitigated under a secretary capable of maintaining morale and a sense of direction, but the relevance of any Cabinet opinion depends on the personal relationship with the president, his investiture of trust and the expectation from external actors that the principal when speaking is of one mind with the president. Given competing institutional visions between transactional trade releveraging versus neoliberal multilateralism, Trump was bound to prioritise Lighthizer's USTR anyway.

    Trump may fluctuate on the day-to-day, but on his core positions he's shown inured instincts that bear out. Often to the detriment of even his own bigger picture, but nevertheless. The "adults" bore very little long-term effect as Trump gained familiarity in the position, and diverging opinions, even held on the low-key, only eroded that critical relationship.*

    Who stands, at the end of the day, are men like Bolton and Lighthizer with positions aligned on the various sides of Trump's contradictions.

    *There's some inestimable public value to having upstanding men in Trump's administration willing to use their access to unveil the appropriate journalistic specifics nonetheless.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
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