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Old 04-02-2015, 06:26 AM   #16
Griff
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So the collapse of oil prices, which I assume was orchestrated to hit Russia, Iran, and maybe Venezuela probably had a huge impact on the existing (creepy American ally) government's ability to bread and circus...
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Old 04-02-2015, 06:37 AM   #17
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One could not orchestrate oil prices like one could not control the wind... Too big
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Old 04-02-2015, 07:04 AM   #18
Griff
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I assume too much. The US increased production a lot but not really enough to impact world prices.
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Old 04-02-2015, 07:16 AM   #19
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All I'm saying is high production comes because high prices incentivize it and then there was innovation, not because any one person or government has the ability to sit behind a curtain and pull the levers to make it happen.
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Old 04-09-2015, 04:57 AM   #20
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Old 04-09-2015, 11:21 AM   #21
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Speaking of the middle east, I found this article on ISIS very informative.
Quote:
What ISIS Really Wants.
The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.
...

Quote:
Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.

The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy,

--snip--

We have misunderstood the nature of the Islamic State in at least two ways. First, we tend to see jihadism as monolithic, and to apply the logic of al‑Qaeda to an organization that has decisively eclipsed it.

--snip--

The Islamic State, by contrast, requires territory to remain legitimate, and a top-down structure to rule it. (Its bureaucracy is divided into civil and military arms, and its territory into provinces.)

We are misled in a second way, by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature. Peter Bergen, who produced the first interview with bin Laden in 1997, titled his first book Holy War, Inc. in part to acknowledge bin Laden as a creature of the modern secular world. Bin Laden corporatized terror and franchised it out. He requested specific political concessions, such as the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia. His foot soldiers navigated the modern world confidently. On Mohamed Atta’s last full day of life, he shopped at Walmart and ate dinner at Pizza Hut.

There is a temptation to rehearse this observation—that jihadists are modern secular people, with modern political concerns, wearing medieval religious disguise—and make it fit the Islamic State. In fact, much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse.

Well worth reading.
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Old 04-09-2015, 02:52 PM   #22
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My observation is that Americans, as a group, are hugely culturally biased about who and what the rest of the world is. On top of that, we don't as a people understand or know about our cultural bias. On top of that, we wade into the rest of the word with our bias and expect everyone to march to the tune of our drum, because we don't even know about our bias we can't understand and are genuinely baffled as to why no one is marching to the beat of our drum. It really doesn't matter if it's ISIS, Russia, China, or any other place that's not within our boundaries. Most of the people I now will read that article and begin to formulate ways to get in there and change what's going on...in our best interest of course. Maybe if we spend just a little more money, or maybe if we just keep troops on the ground a little longer, or maybe if we just engage long enough for them to see the error of their ways.

I say all of this to get to this point. The local culture is where this movement has grown. The local culture is where this movement must be addressed. It will take some very different, long term engagement for us in the middle east, North Africa, and Asia to assist in overcoming movements like ISIS. That is only if our assistance is wanted and asked for. I'll end with something the Brits discovered in Afghanistan long ago, most local nationals loyalties cannot be purchased. They can be rented, of course, for short indeterminate periods of time. That in my opinion is all we have been doing with our last 10+ years of engagements with the Middle East and Afghanistan. Renting for short periods of time, some ones loyalty. In the end the local culture is always going to be loyal to the local culture. There ain't dick we can do about that unless we want to set up shop and start having congressmen elected from Iraq.
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Old 04-09-2015, 08:28 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by regular.joe View Post
My observation is that Americans, as a group, are hugely culturally biased about who and what the rest of the world is.
So what?
Quote:
On top of that, we don't as a people understand or know about our cultural bias.
So what?
Quote:
On top of that, we wade into the rest of the word with our bias and expect everyone to march to the tune of our drum, because we don't even know about our bias we can't understand and are genuinely baffled as to why no one is marching to the beat of our drum.
As the man said when the waiter asked where the spoon was, Ah Ha!

Agree 100%, we followed the example of previous empires in bullying weaker nations into submission. Lots of bluff and bluster then if that fails, send the Marines. When United Fruit said the natives are revolting, an incredulous Congress said, they certainly are.
Before communications shrunk the world, and definitely before the internet, we could often convince the second and third world everyone else obeyed us. No more
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Old 04-09-2015, 09:03 PM   #24
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Ah, as the collective, condescending, bored sigh of America continues to say "so what???"

So what, good question. So what is that until we understand ourselves we will continue to spend billions in dollars, thousands in American lives, and even more in foreign lives continuing to wonder why the rest of the world just cant see it our way.
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Old 04-09-2015, 10:42 PM   #25
xoxoxoBruce
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You're right, "so what" only works if I-fish-on-my-side-you-fish-on-your-side-nobody-fish-in-the-middle.
If we insist on meddling, and apparently half the country thinks we should, it would behoove us to get it right.
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Old 04-10-2015, 07:45 AM   #26
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The multi-cultural advocates are telling us that all cultures are basically the same, we merely eat different foods and have different skin colors and celebrate different holidays. If there were actually some deeper cultural differences that lead to misunderstandings, they would have explained that to us. Joe you can't go on believing they are "different" because they are brown people. You are part of the problem
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Old 04-10-2015, 07:49 AM   #27
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That would suggest that what is being sought is monoculturism, not multiculturalism.

My understanding of multiculturalism - is not that all people are identical and all cultures basically the same - but that all people share an essential humanity and that the varied ways in which cultures have developed to answer essential questions of existence can co-exist and by doing so enrich each other: a multicultural society is one in which multiple cultural understandings come together - it is a constant and ongoing negotiation of shared and conflicting terms.
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Old 04-10-2015, 07:58 AM   #28
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It is, in fact, a fault of ISIS that they are not multicultural enough, but... ah shit now we are demonstrating an understanding of them that we can't actually have and interpreting their statements and whatnot

and judging them for their beliefs

this post was made quickly and is more of an offhand remark
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Old 04-13-2015, 11:24 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
You're right, "so what" only works if I-fish-on-my-side-you-fish-on-your-side-nobody-fish-in-the-middle.
If we insist on meddling,....
Unfortunately that myopia still exists with some in The Cellar. Obama is apparently and successfully getting local powers to take responsibility for their region.

In the rare case where the US put down a red line (Syria's bio-chemical weapons), the result was an outstanding success. You would not know that from so many extremists who attacked Obama for it by reciting Limbaugh wacko extremist mantras. They now will not admit how wrong they were. Because they parrotted extremist rhetoric rather than see facts.

That was a rare case where direct US involvement with an ultimatum was necessary. And resulted in world wide cooperation to eliminate those weapons.

Meanwhile, the conflict is their problem. US is and should only be a support function. Even Turkey does not yet get it. US only does support when local powers have failed to provide those capabilities for themselves.

We did same in Libya. Again, once extremist rhetoric is removed, then US involvement did not happen. Responsibilities were with and still lie with local powers. Then Britian, France, et al discovered they did not have sufficient weapons beyond one week of operation. Even learned that French and British planes must fly from one another's aircraft carriers. Europe must learn that many other countries (ie Pakistan) have more military (especially attack planes) - have more teeth - then those European nations.

More lessons learned because we are no longer rushing madly (in Cheney style) to get into or start every war. Its not our job to be world policemen even though Tea Party extremists say otherwise.
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Old 04-14-2015, 11:26 PM   #30
sexobon
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Our New Improved Middle East

There's a few good vacation spots; but, not as many as eight years ago.
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