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February 23, 2010

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In pieces like this I generally assume disingenuousness, rather than good faith pondering, as the operative mode. It's a pretty good rule of thumb, I think.

Great piece. Thank you, Eric.

An excellent post and a Belle & Sebastian reference--truly the best of both worlds.

A very simple rule to remember, Eric, when commenting on US foreign-policy issues, goes right back to former VP Cheney's formulation:

"We don't negotiate with evil"

Where, of course, the concept of "evil" is defined de facto, as correlating directly to "anti-American" - in word or deed. Or, if necessary, only in word.

Example: the typical (well, typical for the blogosphere, anyway) frame for Internet commentary on Venezuela: President Hugo Chavez is scarcely different from any number of Latin-American strongman caudillos past or present, yet he is routinely demonized as as a sort of Teh Hideous Political Antichrist - mainly because he has made strident anti-Yanqui rhetoric the mainstay of his regime's cheapjack populism.

After all, we're "God's Country", aren't we?

After all, we're "God's Country", aren't we?

Are you trying out a dueling musical allusion cause I got ye covered?

Are you trying out a dueling musical allusion cause I got ye covered?

No, man... You're the musical-allusion maven here; I'm clueless, in this case...

though thanks, I guess, for getting my back...(?)

Anyway, another useful analogy: Robert Mugabe is (quite correctly, mind you!) usually excoriated online as a vicious, kleptocratic despot; whereas various other African "governments" treat their citizens every bit as vilely, and don't garner near as much of negative press/commentary. Might not the fact that Mugabe has made a career out of blaming others - mainly "Western colonialism", though I'm sure stock anti-Americanism isn't ignored - for most of the woes his rule has inflicted on Zimbabwe influence said judgements?

I was thinking "In God's Country" off of Joshua Tree which was, in my opinion, the last good U2 album. There have been good songs since (many in fact, and some very good), but not another album which is solid from beginning to end.

True that, Eric: one of the hardest, IMO, tricks for anyone (not just U2) to pull off in (commercial) music is to produce an entire album - a dozen or so songs/tracks - "solid from beginning to end". Which is why, I guess, they're so notable: if for no other reason that the rarity factor.

But maybe that's a discussion for another thread: we aren't done dissecting foreign-policy shibboleths yet!

How does refusing to talk with any other given country further our interests and/or whatever "universal values" we hope to encourage?

Is the idea that we will make some kind of big moral point?

I don't get it.

The hardline evangelical republican stance seems to be: we're the big tough kid in the playground, and the only thing these maggots understand is force. Also, we're special and God says it's okay for us to do what we want. When we do it, it is good, when other countries do it, it is bad.

these are the kinds of people that cause stupid bar fights.

Russell,

The arguments are also based on the following notions:

1. Merely meeting with reps from the US government confers "legitimacy" on the regime in question.

2. The US should not sully its purity and moral standing by meeting with such regimes.

3. If the US refuses to meet with such regimes, and condemns their human rights abuses loudly enough, those regimes will fall/change their practices (see, ie, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall..." - even though Reagan...engaged with the Evil Empire itself!)

"Tear down this wall" is in fact a perfect example of engagement. Reagan could say that because he was working on a deal with Russia to reduce the intensity of the Cold War. Talking to potential opponents wasn't "weakness" then and isn't weakness now. It was and is just the recognition that it is in neither side's interest to go to war, and that if conflict is to be averted, one must first understand what it is that the other side wants.

Not talking to people because they're eeeeeeevil is so stupid I can't believe the US still does it. It's just a conversation. It's not like they invite Ahmadinejad over to the War Room and let him start picking targets. Conversation does not imply concession.

You need to get out of the habit of dropping blood libels on Israel at the drop of a hat. The charge of war crimes is complete moose manure. Anybody with an IQ higher than his shoe size knows that.

Even the Goldstone Report didn't say the charges were proven.

Yeah, why don't the killed innocents come out to accuse the perpetrators?

This:

The charge of war crimes is complete moose manure. Anybody with an IQ higher than his shoe size knows that.

Followed by this:

Even the Goldstone Report didn't say the charges were proven.

Made me laugh.

So let me see if I have this straight: the claims are such utter BS that even an unbiased report from a well respected observer that was not supposed to adjudicate guilt merely reported on them but didn't "prove" them.

Thus, the claims utter BS. Hilarious. Better check your shoe size Freddy.

I'm against engagement - the US should mind its own business for a couple of decades. Considering the track record of post-WW2 US foreign policy, anything beyond normal diplomatic and trade relationships is bound to result in needless suffering and death. And don't get me started on "US interests" ...

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