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Thread: The NEVERENDING Political Discussion Thread

  1. #1176
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    umm.. except for the Dutch and British ones (and a few other, far less successful European examples), aren't most historical empires land-based and self-contained with respect to wealth and resources? Russia comes to mind, China, Rome, etc.,etc.
    I think what CJC was trying to get at is that previous empires had to expand their reach greatly to obtain resources to sustain themselves. The British and the Dutch both had to, as you pointed out. The Russian, Chinese, and Roman empires all still had to expand greatly to take advantage of resources, even if they weren't near as spread out as the Dutch and British (partly due to the time periods in which they occurred - Rome was Rome only, not the entire Italian peninsula; Russia expanded eastward across the Urals and then the Siberian plain to the Pacific Ocean; China from along the Yellow River basin south and west to the Yangtze basin and Tibet. The United States is in the relatively rare situation that we have such a wealth of resources within our existing limits - even if our territories were restricted to the 50 states, we still have an extremely high variety and amount of natural resources that other nations will need to work with us to obtain if we ever did fall away some in terms of worldwide influence.

  2. #1177
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    The United States is in the relatively rare situation that we have such a wealth of resources within our existing limits - even if our territories were restricted to the 50 states, we still have an extremely high variety and amount of natural resources that other nations will need to work with us to obtain if we ever did fall away some in terms of worldwide influence.
    The most important resource, oil, is expensive to extract within our borders. Massive quantities are available but locked in oil sands and oil shales. Our expansive empire protects other resources we don't have such as cheap labor for manufacturing and rare-earth materials. If the empire collapses or degrades, we could easily replace the labor with our more expensive labor, but energy costs would rise and our ability to produce advanced electronics and technology would be severely hampered without access to rare-earth materials.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  3. #1178
    Cyburbian
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    Not sure I'd agree exactly. The US (and territorial predecessors) may have an abundant supply of resources and arable land, but that's very much as a result of its past imperial expansion westward and southward... just as was the case with Rome (securing grain production areas was a large part of the justification for territorial expansion), Chinese (westward/northward after the initial ancient period of imperial consolidation), Russia (eastward and southweard), and so forth. The US very much followed the traditional land-based model of expansion.... where the main resistance was nomadic cultures with a huge technology differential (ditto with China and Rome, Russia had the unique luxury of expanding eastward into largely uninhabited tundra). Ming and early Ch'in Chinese expansion from the 14th through 17th/early 18th centuries followed the US model in some respects, with the key exception that we didn't marry off the daughters of leading WASP families in Boston and Philly to the Native American chiefs to try to buy them off from burning down our frontier settlements (the Ming tried this tactic a few times.. usually without lasting success). Not sure how happy the Astor daughters would've been living in yurts.

  4. #1179
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boiker View post
    The most important resource, oil, is expensive to extract within our borders. Massive quantities are available but locked in oil sands and oil shales. Our expansive empire protects other resources we don't have such as cheap labor for manufacturing and rare-earth materials. If the empire collapses or degrades, we could easily replace the labor with our more expensive labor, but energy costs would rise and our ability to produce advanced electronics and technology would be severely hampered without access to rare-earth materials.
    You're largely talking about entirely political constructs. We have vast quantities of oil, natural gas, and coal that could be used if there was ever a need to - we simply have current ways of acquiring oil that are cheaper (at least on the surface) in economic and environmental ways. That doesn't change the actual global distribution of oil, gas, or coal.

    The US has the second largest cache of easily extractable rare earths (the only other country aside from the US and China with large reserves is Australia) - it's just a similar situation to that with energy - we don't want the environmental problems that go along with mining them in our country, and it's been easier to close our eyes to environmental problems in China and buy from them. That is changing slowly anyway with companies like Molycorp beginning to ramp up US production again.

    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    Not sure I'd agree exactly. The US (and territorial predecessors) may have an abundant supply of resources and arable land, but that's very much as a result of its past imperial expansion westward and southward... just as was the case with Rome (securing grain production areas was a large part of the justification for territorial expansion), Chinese (westward/northward after the initial ancient period of imperial consolidation), Russia (eastward and southweard), and so forth. The US very much followed the traditional land-based model of expansion.... where the main resistance was nomadic cultures with a huge technology differential (ditto with China and Rome, Russia had the unique luxury of expanding eastward into largely uninhabited tundra). Ming and early Ch'in Chinese expansion from the 14th through 17th/early 18th centuries followed the US model in some respects, with the key exception that we didn't marry off the daughters of leading WASP families in Boston and Philly to the Native American chiefs to try to buy them off from burning down our frontier settlements (the Ming tried this tactic a few times.. usually without lasting success). Not sure how happy the Astor daughters would've been living in yurts.
    I think the major difference is that the US is pretty homogeneous culturally compared to those other places at the height of their empire. There were large ethnic issues in each of those other places - again, at the height of their empire. I'm not arguing that we may have conquered the current land area through similar means, but the height of our empire is now, and there's no geographic region within our borders that is aching to leave or would be an easy split due to historic ethnic/cultural ties at this point, like that that clearly existed with most earlier empires at their height (the pre-Bolshevik Russian Empire was similar to the US in that way, but certainly not the Soviet Empire).
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  5. #1180
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by CJC View post
    at the height of their empire. I'm not arguing that we may have conquered the current land area through similar means, but the height of our empire is now, and there's no geographic region within our borders that is aching to leave or would be an easy split due to historic ethnic/cultural ties at this point, like that that clearly existed with most earlier empires at their height (the pre-Bolshevik Russian Empire was similar to the US in that way, but certainly not the Soviet Empire).
    I think the same thing may be said of any empire since the end of the 19th century.. when all big existing empires had pretty much expanded (in land mass) to their territorial limits, running into other political territories... although sometimes, as was the case with Brazil and Russia, internationally recognized claims to territory probably exceeded their ability to hold that territory effectively, at the time it was first claimed... ditto with China on Tibet before the "re-invasion" in 1949/50, and even some parts of the Southwestern US which remained in technical contention - with warlords mostly, until the early 1920s (hence President Wilson's War Plan Green to"pacify" the Frontera Norte in 1917.. which thank goodness was never carried out due to the onset of World War I). They justified War Plan Green on the basis of past disputes about where the 1848 treaty line was drawn and what it meant... and the fact that the Magonists and Wobblies were openly attacking north of the Rio Grande and well above the treaty line in California and Arizona as well, creating a vast area of internal lawlessness for the US. Similarly, China had a recognized claim to Tibet backed by long intervals of actual governance going back to the 14th century and a more debateable claim to Arunachal substantiated by the McMahon line (more British baggage), and nobody would've really disputed Russia's claim to the Amur dating back its annexation of it from China (by cession) in 1858... These claims were there but simply not consolidated until much later (1937 for Amur and 1950 for Tibet).

    In fact, it can be argued that the later Indian Wars, the anti-bandit (warlord) campaign in Texas, NM and AZ in the 1910s, and the thankfully abortive War Plan Green were basically the same in both intent and function as China's re-pacification of Tibet and Russia's re-pacification of the Amur and several other eastern oblasts. In fact, the more aggressive components of the US War Plan Green (such as annexing territories and the gateway cities on the South Bank of the Rio Grande) would've been the equivalent of China crossing the border and seizing Nepal and Arunachal in India on the justification of older territorial mandates and the alleged threat of warlords and banditry... which I'm sure China has considered doing once or twice since than, and some factions in the US probably regret not having done the same to Mexico in 1917.

    The "height" of Russia's empire was well into its post-limit period, unless you count the mid-20th century pacifications. China's land-based "height" - until now - was probably the late Ming/early Ch'in, also well after its territorial expansion, it's maritime height was somewhat earlier (middle Ming,but that's not what we're talking about)... it then went into a 250 year recession. In fact, our own territorial expansion continued with the later western US territorial pacifications until the eve of the beginning of the period of our peak expansionist military power right after World War II, at least relatively speaking. Brazil arguably hasn't quite found its peak yet.. or is just emerging as a power, yet it had clearly reached its territorial limit by the 1960s. China seems bound to re-emerge as the hegemon at the some point in the next several decades, a full 250 years after its last big period of military expansion (again excepting its mid-20th century frontier pacification campaigns). It may pick up some more territories, such as a scenario where Russia returns the Amur, but that's pretty iffy, although not impossible (in 2008, for example, Russia quietly returned to China some 200 square miles of land near the city of Khabarovsk). Then again, with the Frontera Norte bound for war and a massive collapse, we could conceivably pick up some territories too over the next 50 years (anyone want Sonora as a state?).

    As for losing territories over the next, say 100 years, Russia is at risk of losing territories unless it starts exercising more effective governance in its southern and eastern oblasts (anyone want to guess that much of the Northern Caucusus might want to leave?), and Siberia is already hedging its bets now that somebody else wants its goods. China is probably unlikely to lose any territories or to split apart on geographic lines, with the only territory possibly under contention being northwestern Xinjiang, but China will not give it up under any reasonably foreseeable scenario. The government in China may eventually fall or change, but it's territory is likely going to remain integral. Ditto for Brazil. The US will probably hold the territories it has now, although this is less of a certainty than it was before. I could imagine a future scenario where California and Cascadia might bid for more autonomy... or where Greater Texas might want the same. Unless the center starts behaving more sensibly from a fiscal perspective, either scenario and probably a few others are outside possibilities, I hate to say.

    I don't see the difference vis-a-vis the other big land-based empires, frankly.
    Last edited by Cismontane; 11 Apr 2011 at 6:21 PM.

  6. #1181
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    In fact, it can be argued that the later Indian Wars, the anti-bandit (warlord) campaign in Texas, NM and AZ in the 1910s, and the thankfully abortive War Plan Green were basically the same in both intent and function as China's re-pacification of Tibet and Russia's re-pacification of the Amur and several other eastern oblasts. In fact, the more aggressive components of the US War Plan Green (such as annexing territories and the gateway cities on the South Bank of the Rio Grande) would've been the equivalent of China crossing the border and seizing Nepal and Arunachal in India on the justification of older territorial mandates and the alleged threat of warlords and banditry... which I'm sure China has considered doing once or twice since than, and some factions in the US probably regret not having done the same to Mexico in 1917.
    Off-Topic, though interesting topic...
    This was an interesting read, but as a New Mexico resident, I found the above to be a little confusing. There were only three engagements of US troops against Native forces in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas between 1898 and 1918 that I am aware of. One of them was just mobilizing US Cavalry to Fort Wingate for a Navajo uprising that never occurred. New Mexico became a US Territory in 1850 and a state in 1912. Arizona became a territory in 1863 (had been part of NM Territory from 1850) and also a state in 1912. In both areas, the efforts to "pacify" the region started much earlier - the Kearny Code, for example (commonly viewed as instituting "law and order" in NM Territory) was codified in 1846 during the Mexican-American War (New Mexico was part of independent Mexico from 1821 to 1850, but occupied by US forces in 1846). I have never heard any historian here refer to the anti-bandit campaign you mention during this timeframe. Even Billy the Kid was dead by 1881...
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  7. #1182
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Off-Topic, though interesting topic...
    This was an interesting read, but as a New Mexico resident, ...
    There were two campaigns, one in 1911/1912 (under President Taft) and another in 1916/17 (under Wilson). The first action was used to protect American interests during the Mexican Revolution and prevent cross border raids. Remember, the Magonist revolt, backed by International Workers of the World, scared American elites sh*******... you had American socialists and anarchists openly making speaches in Tijuana and Juarez.. and in Downtown San Diego, and the IWW physically held Tijuana for 3 months, until US troops dislodged them. One of my ancestors wrote that they used to hang out outside a farmstead in Otay and watch the city burn across the line... as the army basically massacred the revolutionaries. Then in 1916, General Pershing conducted a campaign in Northern Mexico against Pancho Villa and other banditos in 1916-1917, after Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, NM in your state. We also bombarded the Port of Veracruz, just because... The full War Plan was never implemented (thank goodness).. would've involved seizing the southern bank of the Rio Grande and the gateway towns (and Chihuahua) permanently and occupying much of the rest of the country temporarily.. including removing President Carvajal from power (since he was viewed as being complicit with Pancho Villa). This was also the first petro-war.. one agenda for War Plan Green was to seize oil fields. Interestingly, Pershing hung out in Northern Mexico for a full 9 months as an occupier during the second campaign. I too had ancestors on both sides of the BCN/CA border at the time.. only reason I know about the lore.

  8. #1183
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    As for losing territories over the next, say 100 years, Russia is at risk of losing territories unless it starts exercising more effective governance in its southern and eastern oblasts (anyone want to guess that much of the Northern Caucusus might want to leave?), and Siberia is already hedging its bets now that somebody else wants its goods. China is probably unlikely to lose any territories or to split apart on geographic lines, with the only territory possibly under contention being northwestern Xinjiang, but China will not give it up under any reasonably foreseeable scenario. The government in China may eventually fall or change, but it's territory is likely going to remain integral. Ditto for Brazil. The US will probably hold the territories it has now, although this is less of a certainty than it was before. I could imagine a future scenario where California and Cascadia might bid for more autonomy... or where Greater Texas might want the same. Unless the center starts behaving more sensibly from a fiscal perspective, either scenario and probably a few others are outside possibilities, I hate to say.

    I don't see the difference vis-a-vis the other big land-based empires, frankly.
    The difference is that there are historical, cultural, ethnic, and religious reasons for the northern Caucasus area to want to split from Russia. There isn't the social cohesion between different territories in Russia and China that there is between different states in the US because relative to the US, there is almost no migration to or from these areas - internal or external.

    The talk of things like Cascadia or Greater Texas fails to take into account that the majority of the people living in these areas weren't even born there. I went to grad school in Barcelona, and it was fascinating to me to see how parochial the concerns of the average Catalonian were compared to the average Texan or Californian or whatever. A large percentage of my classmates could trace their family lineage in Barcelona back centuries - compare this to my high school class, where more than half the class no longer lives in the same state that they went to high school in, let alone where their parents or grandparents grew up.

    This type of mobility (and especially inter-generational mobility) is a 20th century - and largely American (with it also happening in Canada and Australia) - phenomenon. We often hear about the negatives of this (less of a sense of place, etc) along with the positives (labor mobility), but rarely about what it does to tie the country as a whole together more tightly than other countries. Something like Cascadia breaking away might sound nice to some folks that have lived in Oregon or Washington their whole lives, but sounds crazy to a new immigrant from India, the young transplant fresh out of school from Texas, or the newly retired couple from California spending their twilight years in Bend.

    In my experience, there's just very little tying together folks from one region that is more prominent than the greater American bind, and this seems even more stark when you travel to other countries (including China and Brazil). There are ethnicity-based ties, religion-based ties, and class-based ties in the US, but these are primarily held across the country, not region-to-region (as they are in China and Brazil in many ways, for example). Certainly this could change in the future, but it would really take some time for folks of similar intent and beliefs to congregate in specific regions, and we would probably need to see an end or major slowing down of international immigration.
    Last edited by CJC; 11 Apr 2011 at 9:27 PM.
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  9. #1184
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boiker View post
    The most important resource, oil, is expensive to extract within our borders. Massive quantities are available but locked in oil sands and oil shales. Our expansive empire protects other resources we don't have such as cheap labor for manufacturing and rare-earth materials. If the empire collapses or degrades, we could easily replace the labor with our more expensive labor, but energy costs would rise and our ability to produce advanced electronics and technology would be severely hampered without access to rare-earth materials.
    Post more dude!
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  10. #1185
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by CJC View post
    (including China and Brazil)
    Having worked in both countries on projects and travelled extensively in the former too, I have to disagree. China isn't a veritable melting pot, of course, but the government has made sure that the Han are overwhelming majorities in all regions. Thus even "minority" regions like Tibet and Yunnan are 70%+ Han now. China also has extremely high mobility across the regions.. higher the US by the numbers. The one vast "unmeltable" minority are the Hui, but the Hui are historically distributed all over the country.. thus, no persuasive regional bias there... and with no Hui separatist movement at all, the government has taken to celebrating that limited amount of diversity instead of suppressing it. The only close call, again, is Xinjiang (about 1/3rd each Han, Hui and Uzbek/Turkish), but I'm sure the Communist government is working rapidly (with characteristic ruthlessness) to change that. Also, a common education system that forces mobility (unlike our own, which limits it through the mechanism of state colleges) is melding the country together quite nicely. I strongly disagree on Brazil... even more so than I do on China. Over the last 2 decades, a strong Brazilian national identity, cutting across the 3 color line, has emerged.. much stronger than I get a sense about American identity. The divides there aren't regional, but rather racial, and the races are all represented albeit in varying proportions throughout the country.. in that once sense Brazil is no different than the US, albeit at an earlier stage of development. In some respects, Brazil is more of a melting pot than the US is today... Brazil's mobility cuts across all strata (those famous urban slums are in-migrant people from other regions, remember...). Brazil also still has a frontier of sorts, in the Amazon, and that attracts people looking for opportunity from around the country.

    The real question for the US isn't that that people move around. Mobility is high .. although generally intra-regional (at least compared to China... with its curious cross-regional mobility). But, you're right people - especially elites and the highly trained - move around between the big cities (if not the hinterland). But many of these people - including myself - still consider one particular region home. If trouble comes, many people will simply "go home." Confession: most of the time, I don't actually work in California, but I am Californian... descended from a long line of Californians. I'll happily fight for California.. but not for anywhere else in the US. I think many people are of the same mind. These identity issues keep regional identities (especially outside a small elite) very sharp, by world standards. If there weren't such differences, the culture wars would not nearly be as sharp or as nasty as they are... in fact, those wars of ideology are increasingly regional in character, as people (again outside of a smal sliver of elites) tend to migrate to where they can avoid things like discrimination, maximize opportunities, and align political interests. These conflicts used to be as much as an urban-rural divide in decades past, but with rural largely gone, that distinction hardly matters anymore (much has been made of Cailfornia's conservative Central Valley to illustrate this principle.. but rub a Central Valley conservative and you get something very different than a Southeastern US conservative, as the last couple statewide elections clearly showed.

    I remember a more integrated country as late as the 80s and early 90s. Now, Bostonians and New Englanders (especially after Red Sox games) have a hard time accepting that Texas and Mississippi are part of the same country. When I was in that city for grad school, I was pretty shocked at how extreme, parochial - and ignorant - on the street views could be. I did a three week trek through rural Alabama, SW Georgia and Mississippi right before grad school started for me in MA - just because I'd never really visited the SE.. and enjoyed it thoroughly, but the reactions I got from Bostonians (well.. Bostonians not actually at Harvard, MIT or other elite schools.. who are presumably more sophisticated about such things) was horror. Why would you do that? From the way they were talking, I may as well as lived Deliverance, and took my life into my own hands.... In Cali, my parents - who are well-educated, successful people, just thought I was insane.. and this from parents who had no problem that I've travelled to 59 foreign countries over my career. To them, the rural south is more foreign than any of the 59.. well, maybe not Myanmar and Cambodia and the Georgian Republic, but you get the point. Of course, I doubt they have even seen the south beyond Hartsfield Airport.

    Things are changing, and changing quickly.. and not necessarily for the better. In 50 to 100 years, unless things reverse themselves, I can see real fractures starting to emerge... maybe less. As a Californio, I can tell you that there IS and always has been vague separatist sentiment in the hinterland, and it extends acrosss the political spectrum. It probably can't be actioned, because of the city folks.. but those out of state, elite city folk don't bother to vote much either... anyway it is there. The reason such regional sentiment is muted is because so far the US as a whole remains integral and the US hasn't, to date, given much reason to actualize it. If present fractures continue unchecked, reason will eventually come.
    Last edited by Cismontane; 12 Apr 2011 at 11:31 AM.

  11. #1186
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    I rarely post in this or any other political thread but I'd like to applaud this recent trend to intelligent discourse rather than view bashing and borderline character assassination. It's been very interesting. Keep up the good work!
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  12. #1187
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CJC View post
    You're largely talking about entirely political constructs. We have vast quantities of oil, natural gas, and coal that could be used if there was ever a need to - we simply have current ways of acquiring oil that are cheaper (at least on the surface) in economic and environmental ways. That doesn't change the actual global distribution of oil, gas, or coal.
    I think we have to talk in political constructs. Economics and Politics are hopelessly intertwined. I also believe the cheap cost of oil acquisition has been hidden by externalized costs. The last 20 years of war and military action in the middle east is a substantial and indirect cost that isn't built in to the ongoing price of a barrel of oil. In a way, the cost of foreign oil extraction has been subsidized by the public.

    The US has the second largest cache of easily extractable rare earths (the only other country aside from the US and China with large reserves is Australia) - it's just a similar situation to that with energy - we don't want the environmental problems that go along with mining them in our country, and it's been easier to close our eyes to environmental problems in China and buy from them. That is changing slowly anyway with companies like Molycorp beginning to ramp up US production again.
    Here's a CRS report about rare-earth materials. Essentially, we have a decent reserve available to us within our border but absolutely no infrastructure to mine and process. We, and the rest of the world, is hopelessly dependent on rare earths. Afghanistan reportedly has $89 billion worth of rare-earths ripe for the taking. If economics are the concern, developing rare-earth mines and processing there would be cheaper than China. Of course, the infrastructure is missing, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of the "nation building" monies from the DoD be used to build the infrastructure necessary to extract rare-earths in Afghanistan. MNCs would then secure favorable long-term leases on US built infrastructure in a cheap, undeveloped country.

    We have the resources in the USA, the pressure and almost robotic drive that business has to lower costs has made the USA military the strong-arm of the corporate world. The evidence is circumstantial (however compelling): Corporations see a unstable area that is ripe for the picking, they employ the USA to stabilize, develop infrastructure and make economic development/exploitation possible.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  13. #1188
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Great post, Boiker. I especially agree about the subsidized cost of petroleum products. If we paid the real cost, I'm sure the drive to develop additional and varied fuel types would increase dramatically. But as long as fuel is cheap, the machine keeps trucking ahead as it has been.

    Its interesting to see the ways that the US intervenes in other regions of the world to, at least in part, secure or open up new economic interests (those deemed to be in the "national interest") and how that contrasts with China. China's involvement has managed to almost completely avoid any involvement in domestic politics in any of the countries where they are trying to gain a foothold (mainly for natural resources and to open new markets for goods). These deals often involve trades of specialized services for stakes in things like oil revenues. When I was in Uganda (with large oil reserves in the north and in the south and west) China was very active in building roads - and they built some very nice ones. They have done similar things in Zimbabwe and other countries that the US won't engage with because there is an image of implicit endorsement of abusive regimes we don't want to associate with. Not so with China. It seems they could really care less about "responsible government" and are instead focused almost exclusively on purely economic engagement. I say almost because there is, of course, North Korea where they have a very strong political interest as well, though it has nothing to do with responsible government or human rights.
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  14. #1189
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    To be clear, I was only responding to boiker's comments within the context of the conversation about a potential end or "bankruptcy" of an American empire, not about what we should do now (and I do not think that we are even remotely close to the end of an American empire).

    As discussed on the past page, I'm very much in agreement with the notion that oil prices are artificially low, with the largest subsidy coming from foreign policy and military interventions. That's why I strongly support a geopolitical-based carbon tax (meaning a higher tax on oil-based carbon over coal or biomass or whatever-based carbon), which would be a way to surface those costs to American consumers, while simultaneously encouraging innovation and investment in other energy sources and (hopefully) decreasing our reliance on oil in general.

    The rare-earths issue is entirely a political issue, IMO, because we're unwilling or able to talk about environmental issues with countries such as China while using actual financial teeth, but all too quick to shut down domestic production (of anything) because of environmental concerns. I'm pretty skeptical of any corporation/rich person plan at work here, it just seems like what would logically happen - people are mostly concerned about the environment that they can see, and rarely think about unintended side effects.
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  15. #1190
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boiker View post
    We have the resources in the USA, the pressure and almost robotic drive that business has to lower costs has made the USA military the strong-arm of the corporate world. The evidence is circumstantial (however compelling): Corporations see a unstable area that is ripe for the picking, they employ the USA to stabilize, develop infrastructure and make economic development/exploitation possible.
    I guess Eisenhower was right, beware the military/industrial complex.

    I think the American empire has been different than the rest because we have not been in the getting more land game. Last time we got more land via a war with a foreign county was the Spanish-American when we got the Phillipines, Cuba and Puetro Rico. We cut the Phillipines and Cuba free eventually.

    However, unlike China, we have not been afraid to the use the miltary for ensure access to resouces. We may have wrapped in the religious/political/political science bs, but they were about ensuring access to resources. I alos think that if put the the test. China would not be afraid to send in the troops in need be.

    We've also been big into sphere of influence. The Monroe Doctrine is an example of this.

    As a nation, we were founded on two key principal-religious freedom and commerce. After all, the British established colonies here to make money. Both ideas continue to drive us as a nation and are our core principles. Everything else is just window dressing.
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  16. #1191
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Not so with China. It seems they could really care less about "responsible government" and are instead focused almost exclusively on purely economic engagement. I say almost because there is, of course, North Korea where they have a very strong political interest as well, though it has nothing to do with responsible government or human rights.
    I think China's interest in propping-up North Korea has changed significantly in the past 25 years or so. It's now all about maintaining stability, and preventing millions of starving North Koreans from spilling over the border. China seems to care little for political ideology anymore. Mao is distant past to many, and the Communists Party is just the name of framework left to maintain single party rule and hegemony within China. There is very little that is communist about modern China.

    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner
    However, unlike China, we have not been afraid to the use the miltary for ensure access to resouces. We may have wrapped in the religious/political/political science bs, but they were about ensuring access to resources. I alos think that if put the the test. China would not be afraid to send in the troops in need be.
    China doesn't need to send armies into far flung parts of the world -Not that they could if they wanted to. It's a lot easier economically occupy country for its resources its resources than it is to pay for a world-wide reaching military capable of invading and occupying. Throwing big money for infrastructure projects in places like Angola and Uganda also helps win the hearts and minds part of the we seem to fail at.

    Also, China doesn't use their military as a giant jobs program like we do here in the US. The US military budget seems to have more to do with funneling money to defense contractors and the jobs they provide in various congressional districts than it does with keeping the country safe.

  17. #1192
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    I I think the American empire has been different than the rest because we have not been in the getting more land game. .
    I disagree to an extent. We may not be taking the land and annexing it, but we are controlling the land and the populations and the resources. And in a global economy that's what really matters. For most purposes, we control all of Iraq and all of Afganistan, and maybe soon all of Libya. We also basically control most of some other little countries as well.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  18. #1193
    Quote Originally posted by biscuit View post
    I

    Throwing big money for infrastructure projects in places like Angola and Uganda also helps win the hearts and minds part of the we seem to fail at.
    Somehow, decades of large scale US aid to other countries didn't win us a lot of hearts and minds.

  19. #1194
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Here is a link to a great article about China's growing international role. Its an article from 2007, but much of what is discussed resonates with this discussion.

    This quote is rather telling regarding how China uses its military might to protect international interests. They have and will use their military to protect economic investments, it would seem, but not to take on governments directly or get embroiled in domestic politics. Its a defensive posture, but a mighty one, and almost operates akin to a private corporate army. Contrast that with the comparatively meager presence they have as part of UN peacekeeping efforts which don't deal as directly economic interests.

    A Chinese state-owned company owns 40% of the oil concession in the south of Sudan, and there are reportedly 4,000 Chinese troops there protecting Beijing's oil interests. (By contrast, despite the noise that China made when one of its soldiers was killed by an Israeli air strike on a U.N. post in Lebanon last summer, there are only 1,400 Chinese troops serving in all U.N. peacekeeping missions worldwide.)
    China could have taken the stance of siding with the Sudanese government against the rebels in the south to protect their oil interests, selling them arms and training their military. Instead, they stayed out of that aspect and simply positioned their own military to protect drilling sites and refineries.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  20. #1195
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    War with China!!!!
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  21. #1196
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    Somehow, decades of large scale US aid to other countries didn't win us a lot of hearts and minds.
    I can't speak for Angola, but I did spend a year and a half in Uganda and I can tell you that the US is seen in a much more positive light than China. Uganda, especially when I was there (6 years after the civil war had ended and as a constitution was being drafted) was deeply invested in democracy and looked to the US for a great deal of guidance. We have also trained aspects of their military, provided military equipment and provided asylum (though not as much as Great Britain Canada) for those fleeing turmoil since independence. I was also there during the 1992 US presidential elections and Ugandans were CRAZY for info on the process. I went to an event at the US Information Service which was screening a debate. It was supposed to happen in a big hall, but so many people showed up, they moved it outside and projected it on a screen. It was so packed I still barely saw any of it.

    Don't underestimate the value of these investments - we still have a lot of friends around the world. When people learned I was American and not British, for example, I became instantly more popular. The fair number of Chinese living in Kampala at that time, by contrast, did not interact much with the Ugandan population and were viewed with some skepticism (though people freely admitted they were very hard working and built amazing roads). Indeed, I met a lot of people from other parts of the world when I was there, but none of them were Chinese.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  22. #1197
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    War with China!!!!
    Jed: Well, who is on our side?
    Col. Tanner: Six hundred million screaming Chinamen.
    Darryl: Last I heard, there were a billion screaming Chinamen.
    Col. Tanner: There were.
    ...........
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    C'mon and get me you twist of fate
    I'm standing right here Mr. Destiny
    If you want to talk well then I'll relate
    If you don't so what cause you don't scare me

  23. #1198
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    War with China!!!!
    Once we find a way to turn rice and pointy hats into an expensive and profitable fuel source.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  24. #1199
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    Once we find a way to turn rice and pointy hats into an expensive and profitable fuel source.
    I highly recommend that everyone read "The Ugly American" by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer, published in 1958 or, at the very least, find the movie by the same name starring Marlon Brando from 1963.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  25. #1200
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Alas. It was great while it lasted.(sigh)

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