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Views On America, Iraq, and What-Not

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Sierra Mike, Jan 25, 2003.

  1. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

  2. Jedi Writer

    Jedi Writer Guest

    A wonderful article by Brian Eno on a European's view of America! He says "To this European, America is trapped in a fortress of arrogance and ignorance" and "Europeans have always looked at America with a mixture of fascination and puzzlement, and now, increasingly, disbelief. How is it that a country that prides itself on its economic success could have so many very poor people? How is it that a country so insistent on the rule of law should seek to exempt itself from international agreements? And how is it that the world's beacon of democracy can have elections dominated by wealthy special interest groups? For me, the question has become: "How can a country that has produced so much cultural and economic wealth act so dumb?"

    Mr. Eno besides being a writer is a musician. I am surprised he doesn't teach at one of our Universities too! Naturally like most of our European critics and others around the world he lived here for some time and no doubt benefited greatly.

    His point of view is important, as I believe it accurately reflects the view of many if not most Europeans. That is why I think we should forget about regarding Europeans as our allies in the future.

    Worthless ingrates! If it werent for us everybody in Europe would either be speaking German or Russian! They exist in their present form today because we saved them from the two world wars they started. Then we rebuilt them. Hell Churchill's main and first goal in the second war was to get us in it!

    Whenever I think of people like Mr. Eno I wonder where are a couple of good pit bulls when you need them?

    Forget about Europe for support in the future. We should be knocking ourselves out to be close and long term friends with Russia. They are our best potential bet for the future. Not Western Europe. And that includes Britain in the <i> long run </i>.
     
  3. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Absolutely agreed.
     
  4. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    Eno's views as summatized:

    "How is it that a country that prides itself on its economic success could have so many very poor people? How is it that a country so insistent on the rule of law should seek to exempt itself from international agreements? And how is it that the world's beacon of democracy can have elections dominated by wealthy special interest groups? For me, the question has become: "How can a country that has produced so much cultural and economic wealth act so dumb?"

    And Jedi says:

    "His point of view is important, as I believe it accurately reflects the view of many if not most Europeans. That is why I think we should forget about regarding Europeans as our allies in the future."

    A complete non sequitor. There may be quite good reasons for regarding most Europeans as 'Worthless ingrates" and poor allies, and I have expressed some here myself, but asking these simple questions is not one of them. A lot of Americans ask the same questions. For many of them the answer basically is -- the ultra-conservative ideology embedded in the current Republican Party.

    But, agree with that last sentence or not, whether to regard Europeans as useless allies should depend on their actions rather than them raising legitimate and good questions.
     
  5. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    And for the other half, the answer is the ultra liberal ideology of the Democratic party.
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    I am not sure I know what this means.
     
  7. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    It means that broken record is skipping, despite the edit.
     
  8. Jedi Writer

    Jedi Writer Guest

    Come on Bob! Using a non sequitor to support what you allege is a non sequitor is unique, but hardly effective. ;)

    It is much like using a word to define itself.

    Do you read TIME much?

    I am content to let my post stand on its own--as is!

    We will still keep you as the Europe Section Moderator, (And you do a great job!), even if we stop kissing up to Europe and stop continuing to always bail them out of their problems and conflicts such as the last two world wars and Bosnia. All of which they started.
     
  9. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    Eno is just the European version of the Hollywood glitterati who speak out on American foreign affairs. That he purports to represent the POV from the other side of the Atlantic does not bequeath him with any greater clarity than, say, Streisand.

    I think it's great that he's rich enough to live in both the US and UK (he has a house in sunny SoCal) but that hardly means his views are common, in my eyes. He can lead a moneyed, luxurious life, whereas the common European or American has to deal with the gritty issues down where the rubber meets the road. Listening to folks like Eno (who provided the start-up music for Windows 95, by the way--so much for being a European liberal and eschewing big business) is genuinely valueless. Give me the opinion of a coal miner or bus driver who has no idea what Beluga caviar tastes like, and I'll be more attentive.

    SM
     
  10. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    I don't know what that means either.
     
  11. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    What does this have to do with the three legitimate questions that Eno raises?
     
  12. wapu

    wapu Veteran Member

    Microsoft was not exactly big business until after Windows 95.

    Putting that aside, I am curious why you would discount his opinion for being wealthy , but then follow anything the multi-millionaires in the White House say? So, by your logic Dubya's, Dick's, Ridge's, and Ashcroft's views can all be discounted because they lead the good life? I cannot follow that logic.

    Is it because he is in entertainment? The Republican Party holds brain dead Ronnie in the greatest of esteem. Where did he start?

    Bash those you disagree with all you want, but at least be open minded enough to use the same criterion on those you like. Anything else is hypocrisy.
     
  13. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    Bob, it means that your first post, before you edited it, was only a vague 2-line troll against the Republican Party. I think you knew perfectly well what I meant by it.

    Then I told you it sounded like a broken record. I think you knew perfectly well what I meant by that too.

    To suggest that some people in Europe are disenchanted with the US because of the Republican Party is akin to saying that Streisand is disenchanted with the US because of the Republican Party. To which my response is "So what?"
     
  14. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    Let me replay the basic argument.

    You say because Eno raises certain questions we should say "screw you" to Europe. The questions are:

    "Europeans have always looked at America with a mixture of fascination and puzzlement, and now, increasingly, disbelief. How is it that a country that prides itself on its economic success could have so many very poor people? How is it that a country so insistent on the rule of law should seek to exempt itself from international agreements? And how is it that the world's beacon of democracy can have elections dominated by wealthy special interest groups? For me, the question has become: "How can a country that has produced so much cultural and economic wealth act so dumb?"

    I say that drawing the conclusion that Europe is a worthless ally because of those questions is a non-sequitor because the questions are quite legitimate ones, and that many Americans raise the same questions, and not just Hollywood airheads.

    What's your problem? Don't believe that?

    Before or after editing, I made a very simple point -- which is not at all about whether Europe is worthless but about whether these questions are sufficient to prove that. They are not.

    Try reading again, without ideological blinders, and thinking a bit.

    Yes, I also said that some people blame it on the Republican party's current ideology. That also is true.
     
  15. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    I'm not giving a lot of credence to what the millionaires in the White House say; but all we ever hear are what the rich folks report, and Eno's spin from Europe may or may not be representative of the typical European view. I'd rather hear more from the man on the street.

    No hypocrisy here, pal. What millionaires think has little to do with my life, since I'm not one of them.

    SM
     
  16. wapu

    wapu Veteran Member

    Now that sums it up much better for me. I agree with you totally. I too would like to hear more from the man on the street, however we are stuck in a paradox of sorts, as the man on the street tends to develop their views based in some part on those expressed by the likes of Eno. I would rather see the opinions of those people who voted in the last election. As those are the ones who will actually make the difference. Those are the peoples' opinions that matter to me. The non-voters are just belly achers.
     
  17. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    I do? :huh:
    No, for starters I haven't drawn the conclusion that Europe is a worthless ally. Actually, I haven't drawn the conclusion that Europe should be lumped into one general equation like that. I believe that France is being fairly worthless, if not downright disruptive, and for their own political reasons that are in conflict with ours. No, I don't believe that it should be taken as prima facie evidence that a question is legitimate that some Americans are asking it, although I don't believe that the <U>loudest people</U> are an indicator of the <U>most people</U>. Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the general public. And some foreign blowhard should not shape our policy.

    And some place the fix we're in on the Democratic party which let things get out of hand in the first place. This post and article wasn't intended to be a sounding board for your party affiliation, Bob, it was designed to discuss an issue. My point was that you couldn't resist taking your digs anyway... That was the first thing you had to say. "It's the Republican's fault!":cry:
     
  18. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    1) I do not think I have ever mentioned my party affiliation, so do not know how you know it.

    2) I said: "A lot of Americans ask the same questions. For many of them the answer basically is -- the ultra-conservative ideology embedded in the current Republican Party." This is not the same as saying it's the Republican's fault.
     
  19. Coriolis

    Coriolis Bob's your uncle

    Now, JW, you just proved Eno's argument. ;)

    I not trying to pick on you, but if I use your words as an example of American attitude, the above statement speaks volumes on the very essence of prevailing European attitudes about the US. The "arrogance" of the passage is in the phrases "we did this", and "we did that". I'm no WWI/II historian, but I do know that America did not single handedly save Europe, in either war. As for rebuilding Europe, the US did plenty after WWII, but wouldn't even join the Leaque of Nations following WWI. This to a European might appear "ignorant" to the facts.

    Rather, if statements like the above were uttered as:
    "They exist in their present form today because we <b>helped</b> saved them from the two world wars they started. Then we <b>helped</b> rebuilt them." we might find the attitudes to be a little different toward the US. Unfortunately, semantics count.

    Getting to the issue at hand, why can't we actually <i>discuss</i> the three questions Mr Eno asks? Instead, this thread has so far bickered around <i>why</i> the questions were asked. Everyone seems to agree they are valid questions. Why should it matter if a European asks them? So let me, a Canadian (am I allowed?), take a stab at answering them. Then feel free to knock 'em down.

    <b>1) How is it that a country that prides itself on its economic success could have so many very poor people? </b>

    This one is rather complicated. We live in a capitalist society, otherwise known as "dog eat dog". Yet, opportunities are available for almost anyone to succeed in this country (by "almost" I refer to the fact that there still isn't a truly level playing field, but for the sake of argument let's assume there is).

    Some do dick all, and get it handed to them on a platter, but that's not unique to the US, so it doesn't really count. Most people work very, very hard, and generally can eke out a living that is comfortable and fruitful. Others, however, get bad breaks. Many yet fall behind despite their hard work and get lost between the cracks. Others still, do dick all and get dick all. But what of those folks who deserve to succeed because they work hard, but end up earning poverty wages because opportunity passed them by. Dog eat dog -- these are the dogs who got eaten. Did you know that nearly one in five homeless persons actually have full-time jobs? They just don't make enough to afford a home (not a house, a home) and the associated expenses. Those who are homeless and jobless find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find jobs that can earn them a living wage. Cost of living is too high, and minimum wage rates are not increasing commensurately. Couple this with lack of education and competitive work skills, no or limited means of transportation, no or limited access to quality day care, and no or limited access to medical care, and you've got a sorry state of affairs.

    What, is there no money available to fix this problem? Of course there is. For example, all candidates combined in the 2000 presidential election spent a whopping 350 million, AG and GB alone spent 160 million to get elected. Where did the money come from? Wealthy corporations, of course. US defense spending could <A HREF="http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/01/09/1041990049574.html">balloon to 480 billion per year</A> by 2007. It is currently at about 350 billion. Couldn't the job get done with, say, 300 billion, and sink the other 50 billion into developing better social programs to end poverty? But, it takes more than money to fix this problem. There must also be action, not only on the part of Congress, but on the part of state government, and local municipalities, and individuals like you and me. I don't do enough, that is for sure.

    <b>2) How is it that a country so insistent on the rule of law should seek to exempt itself from international agreements? </b>

    Power. The US is without doubt in anyone's eyes the most powerful nation on earth. It is human nature for the most powerful to want to dictate the rules, but not necessarily be bound by those same rules. Although there's an argument for placing "imminent threat" over international agreements, the imminent threat must actually exist, and not be a thinly veiled cover for economic interests and bad feelings. We can argue forever on this one, and it matters little now, since the ball is already too big to stop. But one must try to look objectively at the things like the Nuclear Posture Review, and if accepted as written, could greatly undermine the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (which is old and crusty anyway). Why should the US be allowed to rapidly build up, test and deploy a nuclear arsenal while other countries are prohibited from doing so? What about the so called <A HREF="http://www.lchr.org/IJP/exempt_nats_icc.htm">Hague Invasion Act</A>, in reference to US defiance of the ICC? These are actions that put foreign countries on alert and question US motives.

    <b>3) And how is it that the world's beacon of democracy can have elections dominated by wealthy special interest groups? </b>

    This one is simple. Because we let them. And it is a sickness that has spiraled out of control over the decades, and, with any luck, will soon be eradicated, or at least tamed.
     
  20. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

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