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   Undertoad  Saturday Sep 28 11:51 AM

9/28/2002: What Semtex does



This week 100 grams of Semtex were found in the armrest of a French jet returning from Marrakesh. This is the same material used by shoe-bomber Richard Reid. It was discovered by dogs that were run through the passenger compartment between flights. There was no detonator. It is thought that maybe the plan was for the passenger on the arriving flight to hide it so the passenger on the return flight could detonate it.

Shown above is the effect of 200 grams of Semtex detonated on a 747.

Yet to be explained is how US foreign policy is responsible, or what type of terrorist appeasement France did not perform that might have prevented a possible atrocity.

Well-understood is French inability to address the situation. After finding the material, the plane was allowed to take off and return to Morocco because of a delay by customs officials in notifying judicial authorities. Well, at least everyone's civil rights weren't violated by having to wait at a terminal for a few hours.



Xugumad  Saturday Sep 28 06:58 PM

Re: 9/28/2002: What Semtex does

Quote:
Undertoad
Yet to be explained is how US foreign policy is responsible, or what type of terrorist appeasement France did not perform that might have prevented a possible atrocity.
Yet to be explained is why this is still happening. After all Afghanistan has been liberated, and those terrorist training camps destroyed. Iraq will be attacked because they are threatening the US with biochem or nuclear weapons (not that there is any proof, but I am perfectly willing to entertain that notion), not because they are supposedly training or financing terrorists. (nobody in the current administration is claiming that at this point).

Please explain why this is happening, and why the US don't have their sights on countries that allow this to happen. (presumably those within the 'Axis of Evil' that aren't going to be using biochem or nuclear weapons against the US)

I am serious. Please explain. Since you use 'US foreign policy' as a possible cause in the very first sentence of your post, explain to me how US foreign policy fits into all of this. (Also note that I did advocate liberating and democratising any and all Middle East dictatorships in another post, as well as explaining that I'm pro-American, not anti-American, despite your accusations, so you may want to leave those flamebaits at home this time. Also, please don't invoke the threat of 'Germany', and don't use Nazi comparisons, for once. Please.)
Quote:
Well, at least everyone's civil rights weren't violated by having to wait at a terminal for a few hours.
When somebody's policies are under attack (flagrant constitutional breaches by the current US administration), make sure to point out that others are at fault, too. Two wrongs make a right. Since everybody else is doing it, it's OK to do it, too.

Ensure that your post is dripping with sarcasm, as well. It usually invites civilized and polite discussion of an issue. (see my last paragraph; QED)

X.


Undertoad  Saturday Sep 28 07:32 PM

I don't know who is responsible. But I do know one thing: you are one paranoid dude.



Xugumad  Saturday Sep 28 07:59 PM

Quote:
Undertoad
I don't know who is responsible. But I do know one thing: you are one paranoid dude.
Who knows, maybe I am. I guess you are joking about the paranoia, since I wouldn't assume you'd be making fun of (or insinuating) somebody else's genuine mental malady.

Nonetheless, your post was a continuation of the things discussed in a previous thread, where we clashed over Europe's role in the 'war on terrorism', where you specifically mentioned France et al as bombing/terrorism targets. The tone of your posting seemed to suggest that it was to some extent disproving that Europe would not be the target of terrorism unless it was allied with the US. Am I wrong in this assumption?

Since you borught up US foreign policy, and how it influences the world stage (including terrorism in Europe), I presented a conflicting view, in which current US foreign policy is not necessarily on a course in which all islamic fundamentalism and thus-resulting violence will be stopped. (if we can assume that related forces were behind the Semtex on the French jet)

Nobody else seemed to be answering to the post in a few hours, possibly because they're too busy with other things on a weekend; I waited for a while to see if a conversation was starting, and added my two <a href="http://www.colonialacres.com/euro.shtml">cents</a>

You didn't address my points, but I freely admit that it's easy to consider them tangential to your intended meaning. I see them as interconnected, but not everyone may see it the same way. I attempted to forestall any flames by asking you not to invoke the 'German' threat (again), since that didn't aid debate in the past. If you consider that paranoid, I am sorry (Even if your answer sounded a lot like an ad hominem attack, but I'm happy to ignore that)

X.

PS: The protests are <a href="http://www.salon.com/news/wire/2002/09/28/brits/index.html">underway</a> (the headline is incorrect, SY said more than 150k, the STWC claimed around 400k, the truth is probably somewhere in-between).


jaguar  Saturday Sep 28 08:45 PM

Quote:

Yet to be explained is how US foreign policy is responsible, or what type of terrorist appeasement France did not perform that might have prevented a possible atrocity.
Well that wins the stupid post of 2002 award. Hell, i have right wing teachers who still understand this.

Take one large group of impoverished, disenfranchised people.
Add anger.
Add a group that claims to have an easy colution to a difficult problem (Hitler, Bin Laden, should i go on?)
Then, have the US act exactly as bin laden says they will, they attack 'muslim' countries, support isreal etc. this is a war of minds, and the US is trying to win it with bombs, i woner why i keep getting temped to post the fark dumbass tag.
You cannot, repeat cannot. Stop terrorism with force. It simply is not going to work, you have to provide an alternative. What they need to do is a middle eastern equilivent of hte marshall plan, happy, wealthy people are less likely to suicide bomb somewhere than impoverished, angry people.


Undertoad  Saturday Sep 28 09:23 PM

Thanks, Jag, for answering the stupid question that I posed.

I have followups.

1) Throughout history we see that probably the majority of peoples were impoverished and disenfranchised. Yet it's extremely rare to find killing civilians to be considered jusifiable in any way. What is different in this case?

2) Normally when money is given under threat of physical violence, that's called "robbery". Depending on the nature of the threat, it might also be called "blackmail". What do you call it when it's done on a global scale?

In the long run, economic growth is created through maximization of human activity. Most Muslim countries suffer from several cultural practices which will ensure that they will never, ever become productive, such as the total subjugation of 50% of their population. Maybe this is the biggest difference from the Marshall Plan. The taxpayers of any/every productive country on Earth will never, ever agree to endlessly subsidize a broken people.

Furthermore, the fanatical muslims would find being "supported" in such a way to be a complete and total insult to his belief system - in which he is given to understand that he is better than you by the will of Allah.

So 3) how many times will the shit have to hit the fan - i.e., see the image - before the west really gets fed up and does something *truly* rash and stupid?



Undertoad  Saturday Sep 28 11:19 PM

<i>I presented a conflicting view, in which current US foreign policy is not necessarily on a course in which all islamic fundamentalism and thus-resulting violence will be stopped. (if we can assume that related forces were behind the Semtex on the French jet)</i>

Sorry, I meant to get back to this earlier.

One thing you've been short on, if I recall your posting correctly, is your own proposal. So, what would your approach be?



Xugumad  Sunday Sep 29 01:12 AM

Quote:
Undertoad
One thing you've been short on, if I recall your posting correctly, is your own proposal. So, what would your approach be?
I understand that my posts are sometimes (overly?) verbose; whilst skimming them, it's easy to overlook my actual opinion amongst deconstructivist neo-realist international relations theory.

My proposal, incredibly simplified, can be found in <a href="http://www.cellar.org/showthread.php?threadid=2158&pagenumber=2">this</a> post, which I wrote yesterday (following up your own question, by the way):

Quote:
Undertoad
Would it not then be the US' moral obligation to go in and correct its terrible errors?

Xugumad
Here is one piece of information that I haven't told you yet, since you seem to be automatically assuming that I am against war in Iraq: I am fully behind an UN intervention in Iraq, under two conditions:

That UN troops are stationed for several decades there, to protect democracy, personal freedoms, and ensure stability. (akin to Germany, after-WW2)

That all other dictatorships in the region are also removed and replaced by democratically elected regimes; with UN troops stationed in force in all those democracies.

If you remove one tumor, but leave all the others intact, the cancer will spread again. Yes, it's the moral duty of the US and UN to go in, and deal with that evil - since I consider dictatorships and murderous dictators to be evil. But the proposed half-fix is an obvious PR ploy, and will cause more evil than good in the region.
Yes, it's simplistic - and yes, it's dangerous, expensive, and near-impossible to achieve politically. A few more terrorist attacks on US soil might just be the motivator that will achieve that, however. Anything less will cause more anti-Americanism in those who are a true danger to the US. The only alternative to it is a return to true political isolationism not seen since the inter-war period. If there is to be a Pax Americana, it cannot be half-baked. Therein lies the real danger to America's safety, and I pray that the people in charge will understand this.

X.


Undertoad  Sunday Sep 29 02:59 AM

Got it. I like that! Well, it's my secret hope that this is, in fact, what the secret plan is, sort of.

With a nod to USS Clueless, the real source of most of my pre-packaged soundbite thoughts.

The USS Clueless plan: wholesale, unapologetic cultural imperialism. Taking Iraq is first, free up their oil, end a serious source of terrorism, and put the rest of the area into imbalance, and roll the dice. Take the intelligence information you get from Iraq and use it to document Syria's connections and weaponry. Nod with appreciation when the presense of a little help in the area emboldens the anti-Islamist factions in Iran. Maybe get a new attitude out of the Saud family - or document their connections to terrorism, or find some other pretext and liberate the next country.

The easy way to do it, the wrong way, would have been to encourage a racist, xenophobic, us versus them scenario in the US. (I was never so proud as when Bush visited the mosques post-9/11.) Instead, in space of days after 9/11, they came up with a Big Lie slogan: "Islam means Peace". It would both snuff any nationalist/racist instinct, and sharply indicate that the nature of the conflict was a hijacking of a belief system. In one fell swoop, they defined the nature of the debate. A neat trick, and done without mirrors too.

After only a few days, they crafted Bush's speech to tell the world that this meant war, and not just a war against al Queda or bin Laden, but a broader war that would take years and years. Maybe they was thinking that Afghanistan would take years, but they were so unspecific about who the enemy was.

So I think they "get it", that what is really intended here is a smackdown of all of radical Islam. Without which there remain several million Richard Reids to ignite several million pairs of Semtex shoes.



snagglefish  Sunday Sep 29 06:00 AM

at the risk of adding to a lengthening post

so.

at the risk of adding to an ever lengthening post, let me weigh in with some thoughts.

one.

the US proposal to attack Iraq has little to do with removing a big bad dictator. it has more to do with

*politics ("he tried to kill my daddy"),

*oil (the US government is deeply aligned with both the Oil Industry [Cheney of Haliburton fame] and car industry (all references to Global warming were *removed* in the US' most recent 'state of the environment' report)

*perceived threat (Iraq has not had weapons inspectors since, what, 1994 - and all of a sudden they are *now* a threat that has to be dealt with within the week?) ;

Saddam is a survivalist and would not be silly enough to do something (pre-emptive strike on Israeli or US targets) that would lead to US bombs being rained down on his head. This is one of the reasons that there have been NO conclusive links made between the Sept 11 Al Qaeda attack and Iraq.

Additionally, Scott Ridder (former UN weapons inspector in Iraq) has said that he finds it highly unlikely that Iraq has either chemical or biological weapons, much less Nuclear ones. He (and many other allied nations - Germany, France, Canada, etc) and many others think it would be a BIG MISTAKE to attack Iraq. However, judging from this quote in the Savannah Now (http://www.savannahnow.com/stories/091202/LOCvox.shtml) not all Americans feel that way: "I'd like to know who's paying this Scott Ridder guy, the ex-U.N. inspector, to be such a traitor to America now. I think we should revoke his citizenship."

Ok.

And while we are on the subject of Chemical weapons and whatnot let's talk about Saddam and Rumsfeld. Start by reading this article here (http://newsobserver.com/news/story/1...-1783387c.html) - Rumsfeld was a special envoy to Iraq in 1983, when the US was supporting Saddam and Co. against Iran. This was about the same time that Saddam was gassing the Kurds, and "Rumsfeld warned that Saddam's use of chemical weapons might "inhibit" U.S. aid.

Right.

So this meanders back into talk of US Foreign Policy which always seems to come back and bite it in the ass. Saddam supported by the US in the proxy war against Iran. Bin Laden originally supported by the US in the proxy war against the Russians.

Etc etc.

If this was about peace, and getting rid of dicators and all that good stuff then the US and UN should get rid of Mugabe who is starving his nation. They should move against countless nations. They should force Israel to agree to UN monitors.

But guess what?

None of this is going to happen.

A man with the brain capacity of an over-ripened Texas tomato is going to lead the US (and possibly other poor allies) into a war with Iraq.

And guess what?

You think that this just *might* further inflame anti-western sentiment not just in Iraq, but in other Middle Eastern countries as well?

You think that this might be the sort of foreign policy that will come back for that nice bite in the ass?

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

And above all don't learn from the past.



*(apologies for length of post, meandering thoughts, and nothing to do with a picture of a plane getting blown up)*



dave  Sunday Sep 29 02:31 PM

Hey, in the interest of full disclosure, Scott Ridder *has* received payments from a prominent Iraqi-American businessman with family in Iraq.

So that's who's paying him.



tw  Sunday Sep 29 04:33 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by dave
Hey, in the interest of full disclosure, Scott Ridder *has* received payments from a prominent Iraqi-American businessman with family in Iraq.
Full disclosure. Lies by telling half truths would be more like it. He was hired to speak his opinion in Iraq before a Congress. He told them exactly what he was telling us before he was hired to make that trip and speech. Suddenly the other half of the truth makes a big difference in the conclusion.

Scott Ridder, by telling the facts as they really are, is what is called a patriot. Enemies of America have opinions - then seek facts to provide those opinions - even when no such facts exist. (Johnson, Nixon and now George Jr).

Others faced the same neanderthal attitude in the days of VietNam. How many patriots were labeled at traitors because they told the truth about VietNam? Need we remember Nixon's enemies list? Even John Lennon made the list only because he advocated peace. Some 'traitors' included one of the toughest American Marines who went alone into enemy territory without escort to learn facts. Daniel Ellsberg I believe his name was. Eventually he discovered the same truths we all later learned in the Pentagon Papers. But in the meantime, a naive public labeled him as a traitor - because, like Ridder, he told the truth in direct contradiction to a president that did not want us to know the truth.

Careful who is labeled as a traitor. It makes one an enemy of America just as all those who advocated 'bombing VietNam into the stone age". Fools are those who fail to learn the lessons of history. Scott Ridder is what America needs more of - a man willing to take risks in order to expose facts.


tw  Sunday Sep 29 04:49 PM

Re: 9/28/2002: What Semtex does

Quote:
Originally posted by Undertoad
Yet to be explained is how US foreign policy is responsible, or what type of terrorist appeasement France did not perform that might have prevented a possible atrocity.
Americans forget (often out of ignorance) that we are (or were) down the list of terrorist targets. France has long been a major target of terrorism. How many remember the French Jumbo bombed out of Senegal skies? Or French troops in a Lebanon barracks who were victims of a suicide truck bomb? How many remember that French ships always ran a gaunlet of artillery fire when transiting the straits between the Red Sea and Indian Ocean? Or their never ending problem with Algier terrorists? Other countries have been more targets of terrorism. But a US public with all but no international news reports, forgets to learn about or remember non-American terrorism.

When the US chooses not to enforce its opinions on a people, then those peoples don't make Americans a target. Americans could often walk through war zones safely. It was American 'blow them back to the stone age' attitudes that made, for example, 1980s Lebanon such as dangerous place for Americans. We made ourselves a target of terrorists.

Everyone makes enemies. It is a question of whether we make a few trivial enemies OR convert a whole political faction, nation, or region into a hotbed of anti-American activity.

Want to see what terrorism is really about? Unilaterally invade Iraq. Frenchmen may like that. It would make the French a lesser target.


snagglefish  Sunday Sep 29 09:56 PM

kudos

tw - well said.

i agree that what makes america (and other democracies) so potent is the ability to express views contrary to ruling party dogma.

the atmosphere that bush has fostered post sept 11 is a "if you don't support this government's stance on all things relating to security, terrorism, and civil rights you are unpatriotic", or worse, a traitor. this seems to be a straw man argument (am i using the right term here.....?)

being able to speak out in a political climate like that is very difficult. ridder has done it. there have been recent comments by gore (who admittedly may have his own agenda) criticizing bush (nice synopsis here: http://www.sptimes.com/2002/09/29/Co..._the_pre.shtml ; also some nice articles in Salon's premium section) and others.

in any case - it looks like the media, and politicians are gaining some steam in being openly critical of bush et al. maybe there will be an opposition in the US after all. . .



quzah  Monday Sep 30 12:23 AM

Re: Re: 9/28/2002: What Semtex does

Quote:
Originally posted by Xugumad

Iraq will be attacked because they are threatening the US with biochem or nuclear weapons (not that there is any proof, but I am perfectly willing to entertain that notion), not because they are supposedly training or financing terrorists.
He's finnishing Daddy's War. This is a side point really. The only reason Afghan was attacked was so that we could get the nice little oil pipeline finished so we could get at the $6 TRILLION worth of oil sitting in the nice little sea.

While he's over there, he figures he'll go finish what Daddy didn't. Nevermind the fact that Daddy helped Iraq test bio on their own country. Nevermind the fact that we have umpteen million nukes floating around in subs. (I'd call those 'weapons of mass distructuion', wouldn't you?) Nevermind the fact that we aren't bombing China, even though China has nukes. Nevermind the fact that we aren't bombing Korea, even though they have nukes. Nevermind the fact that we aren't bombing Izzy, even though they have nukes. Nevermind the fact that we aren't bombing India because... god that's getting tiring. See the point?

Quzah.


Xugumad  Monday Sep 30 01:00 AM

Hey,

this is a reply to tw and all others who are chiming in on the Iraq-war angle: there was a lengthy thread very recently concerning terrorism in the US, the American response, and war on Iraq.

It was buried quite deeply in the 'Bush Gored' threat, but went fairly in-depth regarding those issues. Please everybody, have a look at <a href="http://www.cellar.org/showthread.php?threadid=2158&perpage=15&pagenumber=2">this</a>, starting on page 2 of that thread. At least skim it. There is a lot of good (and bad) opinion in it, not least of all my "paranoid" comments.

Regarding the 'war' with Iraq - I don't believe Iraq is now, or at any point in the near future a threat to the US. Political reasons are at the forefront of the PR war against Iraq, as Republican campaigners happily admitted that the longer they keep beating the war drums, the more likely it is that they'll win the fall elections, having dominated the news with Iraq stories, rather than the failing economy or the rapidly-vanishing personal freedoms and rights.

X.



juju  Monday Sep 30 01:16 AM

<blockquote>Which would you rather sacrifice, your hot car or your life?

Die for oil, sucker.</blockquote><p align=center>-- Jello Biafra



BubbleSculptor  Monday Sep 30 03:46 AM

at the risk of adding to a lengthening post

// at the risk of adding to a lengthening post


isn't lengthening posts the function of a message forum?



jaguar  Monday Sep 30 06:11 AM

Firstly UT, using IOTD for political statments is nto very wise, considering pervious stuff you've said about people leaving over what they thought was the 'offical stance' of the site.

Quote:
1) Throughout history we see that probably the majority of peoples were impoverished and disenfranchised. Yet it's extremely rare to find killing civilians to be considered jusifiable in any way. What is different in this case?
Less people are these days. These poeple have been toys of US policy for decades. Sorry, did i say is justified anything? Stop trying to put words into my mouth. its also worth noting that impoverished is a relative term.

Quote:
Furthermore, the fanatical muslims would find being "supported" in such a way to be a complete and total insult to his belief system - in which he is given to understand that he is better than you by the will of Allah.
Good job misunderstanding. If you free the majority you marginalise the fanatics, back to where they bleong - the fringes. Like nazis, thats the textbook case on this stuff.

Of course a good 'smackdown' will fix it right? Yea, force always works.....

As for cultural stuff, its a symptom of other things.


Undertoad  Monday Sep 30 10:22 AM

<i>Firstly UT, using IOTD for political statments is nto very wise, considering pervious stuff you've said about people leaving over what they thought was the 'offical stance' of the site. </i>

Yeah, but whaddya gonna do. I'm not gonna shut up. No subject can be taboo for IotD, politics is commonly discussed, and this one has led to more replies in one day than any other image in the last couple of weeks, so we got that going for us.

Actually *more* people are impoverished and disenfranchised these days; it's a trick of increasing population overall.




Xugumad  Monday Sep 30 12:05 PM

Tony,

you reserved the right for yourself to be the only one posting Images of the Day, if I am not mistaken. (I very well may be) This was apparently done in order to maintain editorial control over one section of the site.

In the eyes of some, you are now using this editorial control in order to bring a political slant to a section of the site that you have control over. Unlike dave's weblog, for instance, this is a highly 'public' section of the site. Quite a few people here seem to be uninterested in a site that has a public political slant. You say that No subject can be taboo for IotD, but it's not the subject that's dubious, it's the instant spin that you put on it.

Compare that to Slashdot, and a simple story submission; how many times have you seen a Slashdot editor attach a completely nonsensical and opinion-making line to what could otherwise have been a perfectly decent story? Did you notice that once that happens, more than the usual proportion of comments to that story are flames and criticism of the editor?

It seems you are using the 'more posts are better' argument to defend this. I don't doubt your honesty on that, but you may want to consider what kind of postings these are.

If popularity is your only rationale, and it seems to be the one that you are using to defend yourself, try posting some child pornography. (or something similarly controversial but less illegal)

I bet you'd get lots of replies.

X.

PS: Personally I don't mind; I am merely trying to explain what I think others are trying to say.



hermit22  Monday Sep 30 12:18 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Xugumad

I understand that my posts are sometimes (overly?) verbose; whilst skimming them, it's easy to overlook my actual opinion amongst deconstructivist neo-realist international relations theory.

One thing you never seemed was neo-realist in any way.


juju  Monday Sep 30 12:30 PM

UT's opinions are not hurting anyone. Speak your own mind, or STFU. He's not a journalist, and he doesn't have to be impartial.



hermit22  Monday Sep 30 12:33 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by juju
UT's opinions are not hurting anyone. Speak your own mind, or STFU. He's not a journalist, and he doesn't have to be impartial.
yeah, I agree. It's his board, he can do whatever the hell he wants with it.


Undertoad  Monday Sep 30 12:41 PM

It's hard, because I do pick the image and write the first post and I *do* have biases, and I dunno whether it's better to just admit the bias and be fair to myself, or attempt some sort of journalistic "them's the facts" approach.

In this case, I did really think that the image was interesting regardless of bias, because we all have this concept of how big the explosion would be and we're all wrong. The image wasn't current, the news was, but the image gave us a different perspective.

When we heard about Reid's shoes, how big did you think the explosion was going to be? Consider that the above image is a 747, which is enormous...

OK, OK, I got over-indulgent in the comments and that was probably wrong!

*sigh*

In the long run we really should have some sort of voting system for IotD. I put that off when I saw how hard it would be to write a system to auto-post new threads. It's me being lazy again...



dave  Monday Sep 30 12:49 PM

Well, here's an easy solution.

Post the image, and the facts around it and some commentary, and if it's a politically charged image (as this one may be), ask questions that you think will create discussion. Carefully denote your opinion ("Looking at this image, I have to wonder - is France's foreign policy to blame?", etc)... be honest in saying "I'm a human being, and I have biases too... here's the image, and here's what I think about it." That's how I read them anyway, but perhaps others don't see it that way.

But that's just my suggestion...



Xugumad  Monday Sep 30 01:18 PM

Quote:
hermit22
One thing you never seemed was neo-realist in any way.
Interesting claim. I probably should take this to a new thread, but I'll try to briefly clarify.

Neo-realism views international relations as an area of permanent conflict in which dominance can and must be asserted by the strongest power. Survival is the most important goal, as everyone fights everyone else. (sound familiar?)

Realism views societies and life in general as very unpleasant, and government as the only solution for imposing order; such order must ultimate resemble the Hobbesian Leviathan, a society not unsimilar to 1984; in such a Hobbesian society, which features complete surveillance, it is assured that infractions are punished instantly and severely. (sound familiar?)

Realism depends on the power principle, focusing on its leaders; in short, those with money rule - the "Golden Rule" of politics. (sound familiar?)

Realism denies the desirability of international law, as universal systems of morality can not be applied to a world in which survival is the ultimate goal. Ethics are not respected, but they are used to whatever goal it is that realists aspire to - usually control, assuring them a privileged position. (sound familiar?)

Realism has been relegated to an 'also-ran' position in the world of international relations/political science, as it completely failed to either predict or rationalize the end of the Cold War. It may or may not experience a resurgence right now, as the ideals of the post-Cold War euphoria are being subverted.

I personally believe that realism seems to be the default modus operandi of international relations, and apparently also of domestic politics. I argue against it, because I do not want to see people blithely assuming such a predatorial worldview as desirable, or even commendable. I don't believe that greed, egotism, and authoritarianism are good for either the individual or society as a whole.

That it's not right doesn't mean that it's not true, however.

If five-hundred years of western civilization since the Englightenment have brought us only more conflict and struggle for dominance, then we might as well pack it in. Realism is ultimately little more than a thinly-disguised justification for why we act like animals, survival our only goal.

I pray we can rise above. Anyone with even a shred of Faith must discount realism as that what we can become if we lose sight of what it is to be human.

X.


hermit22  Monday Sep 30 01:45 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Xugumad

Interesting claim. I probably should take this to a new thread, but I'll try to briefly clarify.

Neo-realism views international relations as an area of permanent conflict in which dominance can and must be asserted by the strongest power. Survival is the most important goal, as everyone fights everyone else. (sound familiar?)

Realism views societies and life in general as very unpleasant, and government as the only solution for imposing order; such order must ultimate resemble the Hobbesian Leviathan, a society not unsimilar to 1984; in such a Hobbesian society, which features complete surveillance, it is assured that infractions are punished instantly and severely. (sound familiar?)

Realism depends on the power principle, focusing on its leaders; in short, those with money rule - the "Golden Rule" of politics. (sound familiar?)

Realism denies the desirability of international law, as universal systems of morality can not be applied to a world in which survival is the ultimate goal. Ethics are not respected, but they are used to whatever goal it is that realists aspire to - usually control, assuring them a privileged position. (sound familiar?)

Realism has been relegated to an 'also-ran' position in the world of international relations/political science, as it completely failed to either predict or rationalize the end of the Cold War. It may or may not experience a resurgence right now, as the ideals of the post-Cold War euphoria are being subverted.

I personally believe that realism seems to be the default modus operandi of international relations, and apparently also of domestic politics. I argue against it, because I do not want to see people blithely assuming such a predatorial worldview as desirable, or even commendable. I don't believe that greed, egotism, and authoritarianism are good for either the individual or society as a whole.

That it's not right doesn't mean that it's not true, however.

If five-hundred years of western civilization since the Englightenment have brought us only more conflict and struggle for dominance, then we might as well pack it in. Realism is ultimately little more than a thinly-disguised justification for why we act like animals, survival our only goal.

I pray we can rise above. Anyone with even a shred of Faith must discount realism as that what we can become if we lose sight of what it is to be human.

X.
I know what a realist is (since I started my master's program last week, I've gotten a crash course in IR theory)...you just don't seem like one. Even in this post, you are arguing against realism.


Xugumad  Monday Sep 30 02:13 PM

Quote:
Xugumad
I personally believe that realism seems to be the default modus operandi of international relations, and apparently also of domestic politics.

That it's not right doesn't mean that it's not true, however.
I am not arguing against realism, it is what we will always fall back on, and it is what's currently dominating international relations.

I merely believe that it is harmful to assume that realism is a good system.

X.


Undertoad  Monday Sep 30 02:16 PM

Dave, that makes sense and that's what I'll do. Thanks.

H, don't quote the *entire post* when the entire post is right above, thanks!



hermit22  Monday Sep 30 02:34 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Undertoad
H, don't quote the *entire post* when the entire post is right above, thanks!
oh yeah...whoops.

Quote:
I am not arguing against realism, it is what we will always fall back on, and it is what's currently dominating international relations.

I merely believe that it is harmful to assume that realism is a good system.
Wouldn't those two statements contradict each other?


Tobiasly  Monday Sep 30 02:53 PM

I think everyone's partially right.. it's UT's board, but he has stated many times that his intent is to make it "our" board and not "his".

UT, how about creating a new user account.. "IOTD Admin", or whatever. You use that account solely for posting new IOTD threads and maybe some factual info. Then, if you want to add editorial content, you can do so with your own personal account.

That way it doesn't appear as though the Cellar itself is endorsing any particular view.



dave  Monday Sep 30 02:55 PM

Well, if he's gonna do that, then it should be IotD Admin. Get it right, mother fuckin' geek.

I like it just fine posting how it is, though. I see no problem with keeping just one account.



Undertoad  Monday Sep 30 03:01 PM

That's a good idea... but a pain for me to log out and log back in alla time.



Tobiasly  Monday Sep 30 03:10 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Undertoad
That's a good idea... but a pain for me to log out and log back in alla time.
That's fine UT, screw this political rag then.

I want my $15 back.


juju  Monday Sep 30 03:32 PM

God dammit, people, quit changing things!! I need my stability.



Nic Name  Monday Sep 30 05:22 PM

Wouldn't that be ID10T Admin?



tw  Monday Sep 30 05:51 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by juju
UT's opinions are not hurting anyone. Speak your own mind, or STFU. He's not a journalist, and he doesn't have to be impartial.
Toad, the stoic system administrator (ie the days of Barak), is always as good as his daily pictures. Undertoad, that curator of opinion with each picture ... well is that not what makes contraversal rags so interesting? Of course. Its good to see Undertoad has finally come out from under a rock (complete with name change) and join the fray.

It's not just a little pond in Norristown anymore. This is a wide world web now. Even little frogs must grow up.


jaguar  Monday Sep 30 07:58 PM

The reason i said something is becasue i thought this one corssed the line from an interesting image with political connotations to a political statement with an interesting image attached. Xugumad did a better job with my arguement. Nothing wrong iwth Ut weighing in, but using actual IoTD posts primarily as political soapboxes will turn people off, IoTD is usuall the first thign they see, sure, dont shut up, i'm just suggesting waht will happen. Since it is the first thing people see it will also more of a political bias amoungst new members.

Quote:
Wouldn't those two statements contradict each other?
Nope, i do the same thing. Nations are like people, but worse, they have *no* ethics, morality of qualms about anything. Of course niggly little things like ethics are going to be ignored if its in our economic or strategic interest. Doesn't mean its a good thing.

Quote:
Actually *more* people are impoverished and disenfranchised these days; it's a trick of increasing population overall.
Ratio. When these people get pissed off enough, thigns happen. Like the french revolution. Or the Russian one. Or the bombing of the WTC. Or the rise of Nazism after WW1. The difference between say WW2 and this is the enemy is far less defined. But that's offtopic. A mix of circumstances have created an extremely disadvantaged group of people who are getting really angry - and the US is the obvious target. Trying to bomb the crud out of them all is not going to help, its asymmetricial warfare.


ndetroit  Monday Sep 30 08:31 PM

If I wanted postings by factual robotic monkies, I would go to slashdot, or perhaps kuro5hin if I wanted postings by semi-factual robotic monkies..

But I don't. I like the way UT makes his comments. I don't want a moderator system, or a IoTD moderator account, or "another IoTD poster", or anything idiotic like that.

If you don't like what he has to say, then fuck you.
Disagree with him... Go to another board.... I don't care. Just quit bitching.


I rarely post here, but I've been reading what you all have to say every day for about 2 years now... I like the discussions. I like the VASTLY different viewpoints.. Heck, every 3 months or so, I wish UT would post IoTD's that blatently spur conversations about "Gun Control", since the ensuing flamewars are sooo entertaining. (Actually, gun control, and how to fly an airplane always seem to get everyone so riled up for some reason)


But I don't want to see the way the system works changed. Keep posting the way you do, UT. I'll keep lurking.

There are some damn intelligent ppl that post on this board. It's one of the highlights of my surfing day seeing what they have to say..

thanks.



juju  Monday Sep 30 08:43 PM

I completely agree, ndetroit. I love this place just the way it is.



jaguar  Monday Sep 30 08:52 PM

I dont want anything *changed*. That's my point :p



Undertoad  Monday Sep 30 10:05 PM

So you guys are saying I can still be lazy AND still be an asshole?

I love you guys.



tw  Tuesday Oct 1 09:49 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Undertoad
So you guys are saying I can still be lazy AND still be an asshole?

I love you guys.
Be worried. It may be the asshole that we like.


Torrere  Tuesday Oct 1 11:27 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Undertoad
In the long run we really should have some sort of voting system for IotD.
May I firmly vote NAY on that idea? I like the Cellar as a small community where I recognize almost everyone who posts. Voting systems are only valid where you have awfully huge communities that suffer from 150 posts of rubbish to every insignificant thread. On the Cellar we have far fewer posters, and most posts are entertaining if not entirely relevent.

Finally, on the Cellar, everyone's opinion gets heard, even mine [if I post]. Those opinions are usually worth hearing. If they aren't, then hearing them get torn up by half a dozen people certainly is.


Quote:
Originally posted by ndetroit
(Actually, gun control, and how to fly an airplane always seem to get everyone so riled up for some reason)
Not directly. Those are simply topics that get MaggieL riled up. You're also forgetting anything relating to Israel and Palestinians as causes of Cellar posting sprees.


MaggieL  Wednesday Oct 2 12:28 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by Torrere

Not directly. Those are simply topics that get MaggieL riled up.
When's the last time *anybody* got "riled" about "how to fly a plane" here? I've answered lots of questions about aviation. I don't recall any of it being particularly impassioned, although I do recall getting pipe from Someone I Shall Not Name over an aviation-related post once; he didn't like my tone. Too bad. Long time ago.

Gun control is another thing completely. <i>Molon Labe</i>.


Torrere  Wednesday Oct 2 12:49 AM

Hm. Such riling up (flight) doesn't appear to have happened at all (at least not significantly enough to make a blip on the radar).



juju  Wednesday Oct 2 02:23 AM

I think by 'riled up', he means, 'generates lots of interesting discussion'.



Gravdigr  Saturday Feb 7 12:09 PM

Je. Sus. Christ. What a shitstorm.



xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Feb 7 02:04 PM

Shitstorm? Nay, spirited discussion tis all.



TheMercenary  Monday Feb 9 10:15 AM

I wonder what ever happened to MaggieL, she posted a few times when I first joined.

{don't say it.}



glatt  Monday Feb 9 10:16 AM

She's in and out of the Cellar. She'll be back.



Trilby  Monday Feb 9 10:29 AM

MaggieL=strawman. That's all I can recall her ever saying "strawman this!" and "strawman that!"

Mebbe she had a scare-crow "thing"

was weird and really nasty.



BrianR  Monday Feb 9 12:05 PM

Maggie is alive and well. she's finally back to work after a L O N G absence and is throwing herself into the elimination of a large debt load.

I should call her sometime...



Trilby  Monday Feb 9 12:40 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianR View Post
...throwing herself into the elimination of a large debt load.
I might be able to help her with that...




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