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Focus on Iran and China Could Hasten American Decline

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Posted on Jan 31, 2012
DoD / MC1 Chad J. McNeeley

By William Pfaff

The framework in which most Americans, including the foreign policy specialists, see the world has totally changed in a decade. In February 2002, the United States and Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance had just won their blitzkrieg, unseating the Taliban government of Afghanistan, and a new client government was being set in place. The Economist was to say of it a year later that optimists believed Afghanistan to be “more stable than at any time in the past 24 years.” Another war, against Iraq, was confidently being prepared to avenge the trade towers and Pentagon attacks (to which, it was to turn out, Iraq had no connection), and to create a “New Middle East.”

Americans in 2002 believed themselves on top of the world, capable of anything. They took progress for granted. A leading neo-conservative of the time said, “We have something called the Agency for International Development, in the hope that someday Somalia might look like Norway.” That’s what the New Middle East was all about.

One decade, more than a trillion American dollars and uncounted thousands of lives later, the Afghan War continues, and the Iraq War, nominally over, but with 6,000 American officials and their bodyguards left in the country, is not really over at all. A third American war against a Muslim society, Iran, is seriously likely.

The same time Washington conducts and enlarges this military involvement in the non-Western world, the American public, and again, many of its foreign policy experts and political leaders, have decided that the United States is in decline, its social coherence, its sense of unity and purpose lost, divided as never before by economic class and a newly felt and newly expressed hatred between the one percent monopolizing its wealth and the excluded 99 percent. The American and Western economies are badly weakened by a global recession and potential depression, wrought by Wall Street.

This is no illusion, nor is the widespread conviction that the American government and its electoral system suffer a crisis of function, accountability, competence and venomous political conflict.

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Today a leading figure in the policy community, Zbigniew Brzezinski, writes in his new book that America “is in serious decline for domestic and/or external reasons” and that its loss of international authority risks stalling international efforts to deal with “issues of central importance to social well-being and ultimately to human survival.”

The framework in which Americans now see international society is usually one of Chinese ascendance to take America’s place.

This is a mistake based on China’s economic development and financial power, widely misunderstood (see below), and on the intimidating size of China’s population, 1.3 billion people. This ignores the fact that large numbers of people do not readily translate into economic prosperity and influence (as India is also finding out), nor into military power, as the Pentagon seems to think—inaugurating bases and new American deployments in East Asia, so that if a new war breaks out there, the United States can automatically be at the center of it (which some might think a less than good idea).

While China has a very large gross domestic product, it has a very low GDP per capita (ranking 91 on an International Monetary Fund listing of 184 countries; it is lower than six African countries and has only a tenth of American GDP/capita.). In living standards (purchasing power comparisons), China is lower yet in world rankings, just above Albania.

It also is necessary to ask what China’s ambitions are. It has never in the past shown much interest in international domination, other than in its own immediate area, considering itself the natural center of civilization, superior to everyone else. Its current global program of investments is never political—attempting to exercise political or strategic influence—but economic, concerned with sourcing resources needed for China’s development. Its economic assistance to countries in Africa or elsewhere in Asia is usually payment to secure access to foreign mineral resources and energy.

A recent letter from a friend who lives in Beijing included the following observation: “A senior lawyer in Beijing told me a few months ago that much of his firm’s business is winding up German-Chinese joint ventures, in order for the German partner to leave. The Germans are finding themselves competing in other countries against Chinese technology that’s been copied from German companies, reengineered to lower costs.” He adds that he feels “[China] is in the beginning phases again of an historical rejection of foreign influences ... [that will make it] impossible for China to develop the broad culture of innovation that exists in the West.” My friend is an engineer himself.

Americans might do better to give up their China obsession and go back to their traditional vision of a European threat. If the Europeans can get their indebtedness problem solved (imported from the United States; thank you, Wall Street), Americans will find that the European Union states collectively have a larger GDP, a higher GDP/capita (depending on variable currency exchange values), and on average better standards of living and education than the United States, and even have some capable engineers and managers, as Boeing has found out. They also are tired of fighting foreign wars just to advance American projects and policies.


Visit William Pfaff’s website for more on his latest book, “The Irony of Manifest Destiny: The Tragedy of America’s Foreign Policy” (Walker & Co., $25), at www.williampfaff.com.

© 2011 Tribune Media Services, Inc.


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M Henri Day's avatar

By M Henri Day, February 4, 2012 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

«A recent letter from a friend who lives in Beijing included the following observation: ‘A senior lawyer in Beijing told me a few months ago that much of his firm’s business is winding up German-Chinese joint ventures, in order for the German partner to leave. The Germans are finding themselves competing in other countries against Chinese technology that’s been copied from German companies, reengineered to lower costs.’ He adds that he feels “[China] is in the beginning phases again of an historical rejection of foreign influences ... [that will make it] impossible for China to develop the broad culture of innovation that exists in the West.»

Ah yes, that «broad culture of innovation», which seems to be unique to those who reside in some (conveniently) vaguely defined region of the planet known as «the West» and not accessible to those so unfortunate as to reside elsewhere. I do hope that when Mr Pfaff - and his engineer friend - wipe themselves after defecating, they send a thought of gratitude (I doubt they will be paying any royalties for the «intellectual property» concerned) to the Chinese for inventing paper and in particular toilet paper. But of course, this, or silk, or the magnetic compass, or gunpowder, etc, etc, are all exceptions to the universal rule that the Chinese lack «a broad culture of innovation»....

«Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens.»

Henri

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By heterochromatic, February 3, 2012 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment

Pat—-thanks for the link that confirms what I was saying…..... the original
installation was Poland/Czech Rep.

This one is TurkeyRomania…...

I do note the mention of a later, additional capability to be added on in Poland
.....
and thank you for that.

everything else is as I said. the instillation is designed to thwart Iranian missiles
and Iran is very, very vexed with Turkey and the assholes in the IRGC have been
threatening to attack Turkey because of it.


http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9007274969

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 3, 2012 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

homoerotic,

You are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/default.aspx?pageid=438&n=chp-radar-shields-israel-2011-09-26

Zionist spammin all day, BiBi must pay you alot.

We’ll see how long the radar lasts given the Turks love of Israel.

Report this

By heterochromatic, February 3, 2012 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

Cubano___ we scrapped the Poland installation because the Russians objected and
the Turkish installation is the replacement.

Neither shield was designed to counter Russia…...and if you read further and see
that the maximum number of missiles that the shield guards against is 10…you’ll
understand the truth of the American claim that the shield guards against
missiles launched from the Persian Gulf.

Report this

By heterochromatic, February 2, 2012 at 9:14 pm Link to this comment

amen to how lousy the last ten have been.

Report this

By gerard, February 2, 2012 at 8:48 pm Link to this comment

hetero:  Funny I’m not worried about the next 90.The last ten have been bad enough to qualify.

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By heterochromatic, February 2, 2012 at 8:20 pm Link to this comment

nope, takes a heapa effort to terrorize gerard and it may take some of the slower
girls n you another 90 years ta get the hang of it…...and I hope that that you
spend part of the next 90 working it, baby.

Report this

By gerard, February 2, 2012 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

I have a vague memory somewhere in the back of my mind ... something about “equality under the law”.
Where did that come from, I wonder? Any idea? And of course even that you can’t count on now because someone will use it to justify waterboarding, now that that horror is conveniently weedling its way into legitimacy.
  Come to think of it, “extraordinary rendition” isn’t even “extraordinary” anymore. Used to be (when I was a girl ninety years ago) that the wheels of justice ground exceeding fine. But not any more.  Now, a few rich men own the country, injustice is moving fool steam ahead, downhill, and even you can become a “terrorist” without half trying.

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By heterochromatic, February 2, 2012 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment

PitH——-  he’s not short of legal talent working his case, he’s just short of a
decent defense other than diminished capacity variants.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 2, 2012 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

homoerotic,

It is case law and defines the latitude by which Manning can be tried.

Mannings ‘speedy trial’ clause as guaranteed by the 6th Amendment is past the 120 days defined in the Rules for Courts Martial #707.

Maybe Manning just needs a better lawyer to try his case.

http://mgx.com/blogs/2011/01/03/should-bradley-manning-be-released-for-lack-of-a-speedy-trial/

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By heterochromatic, February 2, 2012 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment

Patty

Other spies have betrayed more egregiously isn’t an argument, my man, it’s a n
adolescent attempt at diversion.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 2, 2012 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

Manning did the people of the United States a favor in releasing info on war crimes and mis-classifed information.

Other American spies did far greater damage on behalf of foreign countries and walked.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Ami_Kadish

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By heterochromatic, February 2, 2012 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

gerard—- no I would not.  Neither Manning nor ourselves would be wellserved
with him getting executed, or doing life w/o parole or rotting for 20 years.

the little creep NEEDS therapy and some time to grow up, starting with copping to
the charges.

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By heterochromatic, February 2, 2012 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

Manning hasn’t been found guilty in a court of law, and it’ll two less or less in a
psych ward after the finding and sentencing…..assuming he cops a plea.

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By gerard, February 2, 2012 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic:  You sound like you’d like to go back to “the good old days”! LOL as they say in the cyberhood.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 2, 2012 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

Manning hasn’t been proven guilty yet.

It will be two years July 2012 since Manning was arrested, maybe the plan is for Manning to serve the sentence before his trial.

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By heterochromatic, February 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment

gerard—-in previous centuries, Manning would not be getting treated even as well
as he has been.

20 years in Leavenworth would be the absolute best that he would have hoped for.

Now, if he cooperates, he’s gonna serve two years or less in a prison hospital and
get flushed out to try to re-start his life.

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By gerard, February 2, 2012 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

For what it’s worth—and who will ever know what THAT is, since everything is under wraps:  Could very well be that the main reasons Manning is in trouble are:
  1.  The U.S. government no longer has the direct vision and flexibility to say “thank you” and self-correct when it is handed the chance.
  2.  Manning is a young blond “defender” type loyal to democracy and freedom who is courageous enough to believe that truth is stronger than lies—the very image of a younger United States of America in its better days before “the fall” of conquest,militarism and authoritarianism. When U.S. looks at Manning, it sees its better self in a mirror and feels fear, guilt and regret. Without thinking, it follows its first impulse—strike out.

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By Cubano nix, February 2, 2012 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Pfaff really caught me with that opening thought:

“The framework in which most Americans, including the foreign policy specialists, see the world has totally changed in a decade.”

This is the core of our odd strategic view of the world. The fact is that the world has not changed. The problem is that Americans old, new or in-between have never learned world history, let alone accurate world history. One simple, and horrendously relevant example, is the lack of understanding in the States that Russia has lost tens of millions of people in conflicts since the Teddy Roosevelt days. It follows that they are naturally defensive in their approach to “defense.” It also follows that maybe one of half-a-million US voters knows what brought about the near disastrous Cuban Missile Crisis; the installation in the late 1950’s-to-early 60’s of IRBM nuclear missiles in Turkey aimed at the cities of adjacent Russia. Thank you Kennedy and Eisenhower. Does anyone here know about this? And so, here, now 2012, we are in-process, installing “ABM” missiles and related, massive radars in Turkey and (I think) Poland. Again we are pushing the Russians needlessly into a corner, fearing for their safety. This is President Obama at work, not the loons Reagan or B2. Smart as always, Mr.President, think with your dick.

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By heterochromatic, February 2, 2012 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

Hey mop, what U Tink O Diss ?

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/palestinians-hurl-slippers-
visiting-chief-15495578#.TyrPp5i4I5Q

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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, February 1, 2012 at 9:58 pm Link to this comment

Sure sure…..get some help anyway….

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By denk, February 1, 2012 at 9:17 pm Link to this comment

Jeff N.,
*denk, perhaps the comparison is a bit unfair.. if china wants to “rule the world”, as canuck so eloquently puts it, they really need to step it up with the invasions and coup d’etat’s of resource-rich countries under the guise of promoting freedom, just like good ol’ uncle sam.*

besides bush’s *shock n awe* n obama’s *r2p* scam
uncle sham also arrogates himself *extra territorial right* to carry out *extra judicial executions* anywhere on earth, on any *terrarists suspect*, including gringos !
also dont forget the false flags, black ops, etc etc conducted in *enemy territory* n the homeland itself !

so i’d say the comparison with china is not a bit, but grossly unfair.

*  they’ve already got the corruption and inequality bit down pat*

point taken, with some caveats….

u’d be surprised, regarding corruption n inequality , china actually compares favourably with many *democrazies*, never mind the evil empire !

n do not swallow msm, not even alternate media report on china hook line n sinker !
http://tinyurl.com/6f2vgcv

heter
*Pfaff doesn’t correctly define our concerns with China and merely fucks about calling concerns “obsession” and nowhere really links “decline” to those concerns/obsession*

so pray tell
whats ur concern regarding china ?

take ur time
i hope to be back barring unforseen circumstances

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By heterochromatic, February 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment

prissie——write to the folks running this blog. they have my consent to tell you
that I’ve never commented here using any other handle.

matter of fact, I’ve never read this blog or known of it until the day before my first
comment.

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By heterochromatic, February 1, 2012 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

denk—no I haven’t. I’m pretty much on record as opposed to empire and have
made my living working for non-profit organizations engaged in what once was
quaintly called “good works”

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By Jeff N., February 1, 2012 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

denk, perhaps the comparison is a bit unfair.. if china wants to “rule the world”, as canuck so eloquently puts it, they really need to step it up with the invasions and coup d’etat’s of resource-rich countries under the guise of promoting freedom, just like good ol’ uncle sam.  they’ve already got the corruption and inequality bit down pat.

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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, February 1, 2012 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

Every so offten GRYM, returns here to comment. This time his incarnation is
Heterchromatic….

Making people angry, will not relieve you of your anger, only you can resolve the hurt
that drives it. When you make someone else angry your trying to get someone to feel
what you feel, while you feel it through them, safely without identification.

You need help.

Report this

By denk, February 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment

heter

u’ve been making a living defending this evil empire, havent u ?

btw, that *aussie mom* was on ur side, lol

Report this

By heterochromatic, February 1, 2012 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment

Skinbag——-you’re just not aware enough to be telling
OTHER folks that they’re bigoted,,,,,,seriously, Kid.

Report this

By heterochromatic, February 1, 2012 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment

denk, both you and your Aussie mom are entirely welcome
to attempt to point out the errors and stupidity and
downright malevolent content of my shockingly untoward
comments.

simply calling me a defender is rather a non-
penetrating analysis and I must merit specificity of
scorn

Report this

By denk, February 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

SarcasticCanuck
* “I agree,China will never rule the world.The Chinese live in thier own bubble and only speak Chinese,hang out with other Chinese and only extend beyond thier own culture if there is money to be made.*

jeff n
*Soo, basically.. they’re exactly the same as US then? *

ru serious ?
comparing amerikka
http://tinyurl.com/5rsukaj
with china ?
tinyurl.com/899r8e5

also,
[read my comment here]
tinyurl.com/8ycjpnk

hmmm
heter is in top form defending the evil empire again
i wish that aussie norri who chided me for being too hard on u is here to witness ur fine performance

Report this

By heterochromatic, February 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

——” Isn’t this the old worn out way of finding
scapegoats for one’s own problems and failures?!”——

Kid, anybody who’s a citizen of any of the Arab
League states or a Palestinian “guest” in their camps
for their Pals, knows a shitload better than
Americans about scapegoating being SOP.

Americans get their fair share but you and the other
poor hapless ones are 10 feet deep in stinking old
goat carcasses.

spare us your tears and send them to the old folks at
home.

Report this

By heterochromatic, February 1, 2012 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

By PatrickHenry,

R.C.M. 707

Don’t you read your own articles?
——-

yeah Pat I do read them….and then I read a little
more.

and that’s why I challenged you to try to lay out
your case for dismissal.

you’ll find, if you do the reading, that’s you don’t
have much worth laying out.

the prosecution and the defense have been to court on
a timely basis and filed on time and the court has
granted several delays.

(If YOU read that link you’ll learn that the court
has such authority.)

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Arabian Sinbad's avatar

By Arabian Sinbad, February 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment

So what’s new about the American propagandists focusing on bedeviling Iran or China or whatever or whoever?!

Isn’t this the old worn out way of finding scapegoats for one’s own problems and failures?!

Though the American system has a whole range of internal issues, problems and failures that are leading to its decline, an open and costly direct conflict with China or Iran will certainly hasten its decline, though its not its cause.

Regardless of the shortcomings and failures of the political systems in China or Iran, for no human system is perfect, the people of both China and Iran are proud of their thousands of years of continuous, but developing aspects of civilization. What the arrogant Americans fail to understand is that it’s not right or moral to keep throwing stones at others’ houses while they, themselves, dwell in glasshouses or houses without strong historical foundations! This is like the youngest immature boy trying to boss around his elder and wiser siblings!

“Those who live in glasshouses should not throw stones at others,” thus goes the wisdom of ancient times.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 1, 2012 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment

R.C.M. 707

Don’t you read your own articles?

Report this

By heterochromatic, February 1, 2012 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

Which law stipulates his release Pat?

Lay out your case instead of assuming that you have one.


Gimme some citations.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 1, 2012 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

I believe Manning should be released as the law stipulates.

How far America has fallen when we cherry pick which laws are obeyed and which ones are ignored, especially when what is being ignored is an original amendment, the bedrock of this once great nation.

Report this

By heterochromatic, February 1, 2012 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

“For all those who hail his son as a whistle-blowing hero, Manning said he
simply doesn’t buy it.

Even though he’s sticking up for Bradley now, Brian Manning knows there are
even more twists and turns ahead as his son awaits trial and the potential of
spending the rest of his young life in prison.

And for whoever leaked the documents—even if it was his Bradley—Brian
Manning said he hopes justice prevails.

“Anyone who breaks the law should get what they’re entitled to get,” he said.”

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/bradley-mannings-father-greatest-fear-son-
guilty/story?id=13716426#.TynMO5i4I5Q

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By heterochromatic, February 1, 2012 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment

and Pat, he may not be found to be legally guilty, and it’s likely that his attorney
will argue that Manning lacks capacity for such finding to be applicable, but
there’s little chance that he did not commit the acts which constitute the bases of
the charges in the indictmnent.

Report this

By heterochromatic, February 1, 2012 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment

pretrial punishment is indeed bad.

I would be interested if you could show how his right to a speedy trial has been
violated….. and if there’s been a motion to dismiss filed by Manning’s attorney.

http://mgx.com/blogs/2011/01/03/should-bradley-manning-be-released-for-
lack-of-a-speedy-trial/

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

The pretrial punishment of Bradley Manning is unjust as it violates his 6th Amendment rights to a speedy trial.  He is after all innocent until proven guilty.

Bill of Rights, remember those?

How many years have to pass before trial is held?  I hold that the prosecution is relying on the notorious American short term memory of broadcast news.

Report this

By heterochromatic, February 1, 2012 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment

many people claiming that they use state power in defense of Islam provide much
evil-doing in course of daily living, but they’re wrong to do so and shouldn’t
attempt to cover their shit by invoking Islam. Islam is not evil

Report this

By Aaron Parr, February 1, 2012 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A lot of hand wringing doom and gloom in the comments here. We may have
seemingly lost control of our political process. Those in power may seem
insane. But if you have different ideas for an American future, you need to put
them forward. Don’t just complain and whinge. And don’t give up just because
those in power don’t listen to you.

The nemesis of civilization is the collapse of confidence. Carter’s so called
“Crisis of Confidence Speech” was about much of what people are still talking
about today. This is a 40 year old problem. But we can’t just wait around for
solutions. And you can’t elect people who will solve problems for you.

You have to believe that you can force the powers that be to your will. Occupy
Wall Street has done well. With more people the movement can do even more.
Decline will be a thing behind us when we can take back our political process.

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Arabian Sinbad's avatar

By Arabian Sinbad, February 1, 2012 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

By balkas, February 1 at 6:02 am


“islam is evil in many aspects of daily living but its theocrats may not be that loony to use nukes.”
===============================================
“balkas is evil in many aspects of her daily living, her standards of sweeping foolish and ignorant judgment statements, her bigotry against all religions and her ignorant command of the rules of language writing! So balkas will do herself and us a favor not to continue inundating these Truthdig threads with her ignorance as if she thinks herself a master of something! Find yourself, balkas, some other pastime hobby, for writing coherently and meaningfully will never be one of your positive traits!”
 
Now, balkas, what do you think about this subjective sweeping judgment on you?!!

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By heterochromatic, February 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment

bernie, this nation is much more powerful than its predecessors and rumors of its
incipient decease are premature.


and freeing Bradley Manning is unjust.  he’s in because he’s earned incarceration.

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By berniem, February 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment

Amerika will not face reality, if even then, when it suffers its own Stalingrad, crosses “The Rubicon”, or what have you imperial high water mark. Nations bent on domination do not demilitaraize voluntarily. Only when beaten back and made to confront the privations that it has inflicted on others will it finally face the truth of its fallability and start utilizing whatever wealth remains for the benefit of its own citizens rather than in reckless pursuit of endless “growth” and prosperity(?). Face it, this nation is no more exceptional than its prdecessors. FREE BRADLEY MANNING!!!!

Report this

By heterochromatic, February 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment

“Americans might do better to give up their China obsession and go back to their
traditional vision of a European threat. “

Pfaff piffle.


Pfaff doesn’t correctly define our concerns with China and merely fucks about
calling concerns “obsession” and nowhere really links “decline” to those
concerns/obsession.

Report this

By Jeff N., February 1, 2012 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

SarcasticCanuck “I agree,China will never rule the world.The Chinese live in thier own bubble and only speak Chinese,hang out with other Chinese and only extend beyond thier own culture if there is money to be made.”

Soo, basically.. they’re exactly the same as US then?

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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, February 1, 2012 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

One thing we can agree on is that America is in decline…There may ve some
disagreement on how fast that decline, and on which areas of the country have already
found the bottom.

For those living in Detroit, where, the median price of a home is now $6000, dollars, the
end of Americas delusive ideas of invincibility are already here. Many other cities in this
country are rapidly heading toward Detroit status.

To blame this on the Chinese presents a convienent out for conservatives, and
multinationaL corporations whose empire of debt, has gutted this country.

That Americans no longer feel secure, with cities and counties cutting back on police to
save money, can bee seen in the purchase of nearly 11 million guns by Americans last
year.

To the prepers, Armegadon, is already here….Many have already left the cities, to
hunker down elsewhere….Forget about the Chinese, worry instead, about the bankers
instead and..and the punitive measures they have planned to keep farming their debt
instruments.

Report this

By upgradeyourlife, February 1, 2012 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

Strangely America projects its own ideals onto its
“enemies” the more corrupt and inequitable it becomes;
as it stretches further and further from its own ideals
it transplants them onto whatever country has the
audacity to stand up for its.elf

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By SarcastiCanuck, February 1, 2012 at 8:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree,China will never rule the world.The Chinese live in thier own bubble and only speak Chinese,hang out with other Chinese and only extend beyond thier own culture if there is money to be made.There is nothing international about them.
Our melting pot cultures assimilate all that is good in the world in creative ways for use by an ever shrinking world.When was the last time you pirated a chinese video or song.Never,right.I bet there are millions of blues fans in China.Fear not the asians.

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Oceanna's avatar

By Oceanna, February 1, 2012 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

I wonder if the cited assessment of Somalia looking Norwegian thanks to US
intervention is the type of delusion restricted to neocons.  I’m beginning to
think the overused pejorative actually defines US foreign policy, and is no more
concentrated in the Republican Party than it is in the Democratic one.

I’d say there’s a certain parity between the parties whether it’s domestic or
foreign policy, disguised only by rhetoric.  At least the GOP is far more
straightforward about their objectives.  And I think both have a similar vision
(politely stated) on US hegemony , rationalizing that it’s progressive to
Westernize sovereign nations like Libya, Iraq, etc. for their own good.  Never
mind the death and the strange Islamist bedfellows, as if those are totally
irrelevant to the ends and can bear no future or immediate consequences. 
There’s nothing quite like the lunatics running the asylum. 

There was obviously little thought given to the consequences of enacting the
banking, grain, and oil sanctions on Iran, or more accurately, the Iranian people
who will be the ones who truly bear the brunt.  Of course, it was done knowing
that the civilian population would be the primary victims in the mistaken
perception that it would weaken the government.  It will no more weaken the
Ahmadinejad government than the Clinton sanctions did against Sadam
Hussein’s, which caused an estimated half a million deaths among Iraqi
children.  Evidently, in the wonderland of hegemonic visionaries, the past is
inconsequential like human lives, and repetition creates different outcomes.
Never mind how the Iraq invasion created an unforeseen Shiite alliance
between Iraq and Iran. Or how some EU refineries don’t have the capacity to
refine outside of Iranian crude, and that the continent’s own fragile economic
state could be undermined by the sanctions they were pressured into by the US
and Israeli demands. 

Of course, Iran has the options to stop its oil to the EU before July and enter into gold
transactions with China and India for exports.  Maybe their recent display
of autonomy in demonstrating how the sanctions could be bypassed has led to
the slew of sudden accusations of Iranian threats on American soil. 

No one in the Obama administration apparently considered the worldwide
ramifications for the economy with their sanctions.  Unfortunately, it’s the
election and Israeli pressures that are guiding their choices, certainly not
conscience or long term strategy and concerns about global stability outside of
the world’s dwindling oil supply. 

There will be no leadership epiphanies like JFK’s historical one in the sixties shortly before his death.  There is no turning away from the present course in the US, from at least those driving us over the cliff intoxicated on
their perceived power.  The madmen are in charge.

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By balkas, February 1, 2012 at 7:02 am Link to this comment

thus far only russia [via a general] has stated that if it’s attacked [it seems he meant by nato/US/israel] russia
would retaliate with nukes.
chinese have not, as far as i know, issued such a warning. interestingly enough, islamic pakistan had not as of
yet used nukes. it is very doubtful that islamic iran would use nukes once it would obtain them.
islam is evil in many aspects of daily living but its theocrats may not be that loony to use nukes.
and if nato/isr/US/some other lands do bomb, invade iran then you can be certain that the invaders KNEW iran
had no nukes.
if they don’t bomb, invade iran then you can be certain that iran indeed has nukes.
regarding WMD, i think, that once china encircles US with wmd as US had done to russia and china, the
onepercent will sing quite a different song.
russia had tried to place defensive wmd near US borders, but chickened out and withdrew them.
but next time, i expect, nobody is going to repeat that mistake.
that mistake may have been a contributing cause for death/injury to nearly 50 million lives. 
===Caveat! not that christianity, hinduism, buddhism, and talmudism are any better when it comes to certain
aspects of living. all of them are cults and thus extreme realities/perils. thanks

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By balkas, February 1, 2012 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

pfaff: “intimidating size of chinese population”.
one could intepret above statement in at least three ways. eg, if china does not attack europe or
americas [or even neighbours, the size of its pop would not in fact intimidate or frighten anyone.
on the other hand, the size of chinese pop would indeed intimidate better-armed nato or US
soldiers; and even act as big deterrent to an attack by any country and even mighty US.
its soldiers are willing or know how to wage only soft wars or against much dysfunctional and
weak [non]enemies] such a sunnis, palestinians, pashtuns, vietnamese.
of course, as warming up goes, i guess we all are a threat to our own well being, including
chinese. but even here an european or n.american does by far more damage health of the planet
than an indian or chinese.
pfaff is by far better US reporter of world affairs than anyone else i know of; so, i am not at this
time reading any racism into his “intimidating size of pop”. but chinese, et al might! thus, pfaff
please explain self! thanks

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 1, 2012 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

As long as the defense contractors own large shares of the MSM news agencies we will be subjected to the Booga Booga Al Qaeda under your bed garbage.

Never mind the real threat holding our country hostage.

http://www.rense.com/general35/isrnuk.htm

http://cleveland.indymedia.org/news/2006/10/22798.php

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, January 31, 2012 at 10:33 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE, William Pfaff:

“Americans might do better to give up their China obsession and go back to their traditional vision of a European threat.”
_________________

People who have grown too comfortable with the stolen fruits of empire have an insatiable need to constantly create external enemies.

Human history has seen many empires rise, decline, and die. Europe is a collection of old dead empires that have served humanity much better after their deaths than when alive.

However, the decline and death of the American Empire is unique. It’s the first empire capable of causing total human extinction in its struggle to be the last empire… in it’s refusal to die when its time has come.

America, Inc. is stuck on stupid, with its moldy minded corporate party Republicans and Democrats still focused upon nation-state competition — still arguing over tanning territory on the beach, while ignoring the existential threat of the massive tsunami wave fast approaching… climate change.

Our shared Earth’s people need to go forward together now, and never go back to constantly seeking sociopathic profit from “threats” conveniently created.

Jill Stein for President:

http://www.jillstein.org

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=498&Itemid=1

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By MeHere, January 31, 2012 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

Isn’t there a European 1% who is in control and doesn’t mind going along with the US in foreign policy? I could be wrong.

The perennial US obsession with wars of some sort or another…. Politicians try to outdo each other in embracing the idea of enemies and wars to show how patriotic they are. The mass media goes out of its way to feature reports about how terrible things are in other countries and rarely focus on what’s terribly wrong here. Those in the weapons business are always eager to offer the latest billion-dollar armaments. It is a totally distorted picture which citizens have bought and makes them feel unrealistically safe and superior.

Could we somehow quench some of that obsession by funding war enactments and reenactments nationwide, Hollywood-style, with handsome actors, the whole works? Patriotic, but safer and cheaper. It’s worth a try.

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By gerard, January 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment

Pfaff didn’t think twice on this one:  “Americans might do better to give up their China obsession and go back to their traditional vision of a European threat.”
  A primary problem for Americans today is that they are encouraged to fear everybody—including themselves.  Better to give up on the controlling power of propaganda-instigated fears of both others and of each other, and get on with some creative, forward-looking thought and behavior that can offer half-way adequate answers to real world issues such as insupportable economic differences, incessant wars and violence, failing governments of all types, over-population, global warming, incessant war-making, and—on the other hand the vast opportunities offered by the internet and other technologies centered on human improvement—
  Concerns over surveillance of “terrorists,” protesters, ideological conformity and “class warfare” is all about sweating the small stuff in order to avoid doing something about the big stuff.

Walking backward into the future won’t won’t work.

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