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Is America good or bad?

Idealist
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4/10/2014 8:34:59 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
All you have to do is log onto YouTube for a few minutes to see how emotional people have gotten about arguing both sides of this, so, considering the history of mankind and the politics of the modern world, what do you think, and why?
HPWKA
Posts: 401
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4/11/2014 10:45:03 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
There is no abstract conglomerate "America". There's the American government, and its people.

The American government has been a tremendously good thing for its people, and a tremendously bad thing for the rest of the world (in general).
Feelings are the fleeting fancy of fools.
The search for truth in a world of lies is the only thing that matters.
wrichcirw
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4/12/2014 10:20:55 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/10/2014 8:34:59 PM, Idealist wrote:
All you have to do is log onto YouTube for a few minutes to see how emotional people have gotten about arguing both sides of this, so, considering the history of mankind and the politics of the modern world, what do you think, and why?

Hmmm...this is multi-faceted.

IMHO America is just like any other country in that it seeks to maximize self-interest (notice the interests of others is not necessarily relevant to this).

Since WWII, America has presided as (by far) the most dominant power in the world. This has resulted in decreased military spending globally and the absence of a major global conflict. These are "goods" worldwide.

At the same times, America also presided over what one could argue was the most globally disparate standards of living, and this disparity was due to not much else other than where one was born. To the extent that this leads to malnutrition and the inability for some people to provide even basic means of living for themselves, that's not good.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Legitdebater
Posts: 76
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4/12/2014 3:49:20 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/12/2014 10:20:55 AM, wrichcirw wrote:

Since WWII, America has presided as (by far) the most dominant power in the world. This has resulted in decreased military spending globally and the absence of a major global conflict. These are "goods" worldwide.

If you mean by "absence of major global conflict", no WWlll has initiated, that's true. However, America has started a crap load of conflicts and wars throughout history which has pissed a lot of countries off. While the U.S. hasn't started a major war that half of the world countries were involved in, America has started a number of wars that have resulted in many conflicts internationally, which isn't necessarily an inherent good.
wrichcirw
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4/12/2014 3:53:45 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/12/2014 3:49:20 PM, Legitdebater wrote:
At 4/12/2014 10:20:55 AM, wrichcirw wrote:

Since WWII, America has presided as (by far) the most dominant power in the world. This has resulted in decreased military spending globally and the absence of a major global conflict. These are "goods" worldwide.

If you mean by "absence of major global conflict", no WWlll has initiated, that's true. However, America has started a crap load of conflicts and wars throughout history which has pissed a lot of countries off. While the U.S. hasn't started a major war that half of the world countries were involved in, America has started a number of wars that have resulted in many conflicts internationally, which isn't necessarily an inherent good.

True as all of this is, there were wars all around the world before WWII as well. http://en.wikipedia.org...
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Justinian
Posts: 1
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4/12/2014 9:05:21 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
What is your definition of good or bad? Isn't a countries primary duty to those of the self internist of it's populace? Many countries could be described as "bad" or "good". Would you prefer an isolationist America that never helps and stay's within it's sphere of influence or a global policeman that has it's nose in every iota of human conflict?
rross
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4/13/2014 5:36:01 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Sometimes I wonder if Americans are unique in asking this kind of question. This kind of national self-consciousness - I've never seen it in any other country. For instance, if you were to ask an Australian, is Australia good or bad? I think they'd find the question baffling. Same in Europe or South America or anywhere. Maybe in Israel they think like that, but they have direct, practical reasons for it.

It reminds me of American tourists overseas, and they're often very interested, even slightly anxious, about how the US and Americans are perceived in other countries.

Maybe Americans have a much stronger sense of national identity than people elsewhere. I don't know.

These are just my own personal impressions anyway. I could have got it wrong.
Idealist
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4/13/2014 1:08:44 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/11/2014 10:45:03 AM, HPWKA wrote:
There is no abstract conglomerate "America". There's the American government, and its people.

The American government has been a tremendously good thing for its people, and a tremendously bad thing for the rest of the world (in general).

Why do you believe these things, and seemingly so sincerely? There are many who think the American government has totally failed the majority of the people, and is now largely "owned" by the rich and by special interest groups. Conversely, despite many Americans' obvious ignorance regarding the world at large, and their tendency towards arrogance, America has done a lot of good. What other nation offers so much aid or disaster relief, or contains so many foreign-oriented charities? Not trying to argue, just curious why you feel the way you do.
Idealist
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4/13/2014 1:18:12 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/12/2014 10:20:55 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/10/2014 8:34:59 PM, Idealist wrote:
All you have to do is log onto YouTube for a few minutes to see how emotional people have gotten about arguing both sides of this, so, considering the history of mankind and the politics of the modern world, what do you think, and why?

Hmmm...this is multi-faceted.

IMHO America is just like any other country in that it seeks to maximize self-interest (notice the interests of others is not necessarily relevant to this).

Since WWII, America has presided as (by far) the most dominant power in the world. This has resulted in decreased military spending globally and the absence of a major global conflict. These are "goods" worldwide.

I think that here I might use the phrase "contributed to" in place of "resulted in." America certainly didn't achieve these things on its own. There seems to be a strong misconception among Americans that we somehow won the Cold War single-handed. I was stationed in West Germany (about eleven miles from the Communist border) during the early Reagan years, when war seemed so possible. I was part of a massive Reforger (return of forces to Germany) exercise involving many countries, and without the assistance of those countries the US would not have been able to contain the Soviets without using nuclear weapons. I do agree that the "American umbrella" has allowed other countries to reduce their military expenditures, and this has been a great boon to them. This continues today, although it is bleeding America financially. I wonder why more citizens of foreign countries don't seem to consider this when hounding America as being (in their opinion) an aggressive empire?

At the same times, America also presided over what one could argue was the most globally disparate standards of living, and this disparity was due to not much else other than where one was born. To the extent that this leads to malnutrition and the inability for some people to provide even basic means of living for themselves, that's not good.
Idealist
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4/13/2014 1:33:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/12/2014 3:49:20 PM, Legitdebater wrote:
At 4/12/2014 10:20:55 AM, wrichcirw wrote:

Since WWII, America has presided as (by far) the most dominant power in the world. This has resulted in decreased military spending globally and the absence of a major global conflict. These are "goods" worldwide.

If you mean by "absence of major global conflict", no WWlll has initiated, that's true. However, America has started a crap load of conflicts and wars throughout history which has pissed a lot of countries off. While the U.S. hasn't started a major war that half of the world countries were involved in, America has started a number of wars that have resulted in many conflicts internationally, which isn't necessarily an inherent good.

There is truth in this. However, as I'm sure you've noticed, America does not occupy Iraq, despite all the angry predictions by others that we would do just that. They claimed we were after the oil, yet it was the EU and China who got all the best oil contracts. Soon we'll leave Afghanistan, as well, and neither country can be considered our ally, so I'm not sure what we gained by it. Maybe there were no WMD, but most of NATO really believed there were, as did the UN, who kept imposing sanctions on Iraq. All the US is left with is the massive debt and loss of life, not to mention 9/11, which was a HUGE win for terrorism in general.
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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4/13/2014 1:35:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/13/2014 1:18:12 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 4/12/2014 10:20:55 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/10/2014 8:34:59 PM, Idealist wrote:
All you have to do is log onto YouTube for a few minutes to see how emotional people have gotten about arguing both sides of this, so, considering the history of mankind and the politics of the modern world, what do you think, and why?

Hmmm...this is multi-faceted.

IMHO America is just like any other country in that it seeks to maximize self-interest (notice the interests of others is not necessarily relevant to this).

Since WWII, America has presided as (by far) the most dominant power in the world. This has resulted in decreased military spending globally and the absence of a major global conflict. These are "goods" worldwide.

I think that here I might use the phrase "contributed to" in place of "resulted in." America certainly didn't achieve these things on its own. There seems to be a strong misconception among Americans that we somehow won the Cold War single-handed. I was stationed in West Germany (about eleven miles from the Communist border) during the early Reagan years, when war seemed so possible. I was part of a massive Reforger (return of forces to Germany) exercise involving many countries, and without the assistance of those countries the US would not have been able to contain the Soviets without using nuclear weapons. I do agree that the "American umbrella" has allowed other countries to reduce their military expenditures, and this has been a great boon to them. This continues today, although it is bleeding America financially. I wonder why more citizens of foreign countries don't seem to consider this when hounding America as being (in their opinion) an aggressive empire?

See, here's the thing...it's actually NOT bleeding America financially. That's a popular myth perpetuated by the "America spends more than 25 countries combined" statistic. Fact is, America is spending less on its military as a percentage of GDP than at any time since the end of WWII, and this before the furloughs and budget cuts.
http://www.cfr.org...

Our public financial problems mainly stem from a bloated welfare state, and our private problems mainly stem from inane mortgage debt.

At the same times, America also presided over what one could argue was the most globally disparate standards of living, and this disparity was due to not much else other than where one was born. To the extent that this leads to malnutrition and the inability for some people to provide even basic means of living for themselves, that's not good.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Idealist
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4/13/2014 1:38:14 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/12/2014 9:05:21 PM, Justinian wrote:
What is your definition of good or bad? Isn't a countries primary duty to those of the self internist of it's populace? Many countries could be described as "bad" or "good". Would you prefer an isolationist America that never helps and stay's within it's sphere of influence or a global policeman that has it's nose in every iota of human conflict?

I mean is America a good force or a bad force for the world at large, and not just for itself. I'm not trying to put America above any other country, but facts are facts, and the reality is that what America does affects everyone. No, I would not prefer an Isolationist America, although I think we spend far more than our share in promoting and securing a global community. Your last question is pretty much the one that I was asking in the first place.
Idealist
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4/13/2014 1:57:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/13/2014 5:36:01 AM, rross wrote:
Sometimes I wonder if Americans are unique in asking this kind of question. This kind of national self-consciousness - I've never seen it in any other country. For instance, if you were to ask an Australian, is Australia good or bad? I think they'd find the question baffling. Same in Europe or South America or anywhere. Maybe in Israel they think like that, but they have direct, practical reasons for it.

This is an excellent point, and one that I had not considered. America (and Americans) are pretty-much treated universally as different, and we also look at ourselves in a different way, almost as if we had a national identity disorder. I do believe America is the first "empire" (if that's even what she truly is) which has made such an honest effort to remain globally benevolent, even if she sometimes loses her way.

It reminds me of American tourists overseas, and they're often very interested, even slightly anxious, about how the US and Americans are perceived in other countries.

Maybe Americans have a much stronger sense of national identity than people elsewhere. I don't know.

These are just my own personal impressions anyway. I could have got it wrong.

No, I think you put it pretty well. I spent nearly two years in Europe in the Armed Forces, and for the most apart Americans there seemed to confine themselves to themselves. I don't really think it was because they had a stronger national identity. I mean, who could do that better than the French? lol (Just kidding). But as an American I definitely felt that I stood-out in a big way.
Idealist
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4/13/2014 2:09:59 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/13/2014 1:35:33 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/13/2014 1:18:12 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 4/12/2014 10:20:55 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/10/2014 8:34:59 PM, Idealist wrote:
All you have to do is log onto YouTube for a few minutes to see how emotional people have gotten about arguing both sides of this, so, considering the history of mankind and the politics of the modern world, what do you think, and why?

Hmmm...this is multi-faceted.

IMHO America is just like any other country in that it seeks to maximize self-interest (notice the interests of others is not necessarily relevant to this).

Since WWII, America has presided as (by far) the most dominant power in the world. This has resulted in decreased military spending globally and the absence of a major global conflict. These are "goods" worldwide.

I think that here I might use the phrase "contributed to" in place of "resulted in." America certainly didn't achieve these things on its own. There seems to be a strong misconception among Americans that we somehow won the Cold War single-handed. I was stationed in West Germany (about eleven miles from the Communist border) during the early Reagan years, when war seemed so possible. I was part of a massive Reforger (return of forces to Germany) exercise involving many countries, and without the assistance of those countries the US would not have been able to contain the Soviets without using nuclear weapons. I do agree that the "American umbrella" has allowed other countries to reduce their military expenditures, and this has been a great boon to them. This continues today, although it is bleeding America financially. I wonder why more citizens of foreign countries don't seem to consider this when hounding America as being (in their opinion) an aggressive empire?

See, here's the thing...it's actually NOT bleeding America financially. That's a popular myth perpetuated by the "America spends more than 25 countries combined" statistic. Fact is, America is spending less on its military as a percentage of GDP than at any time since the end of WWII, and this before the furloughs and budget cuts.
http://www.cfr.org...

Yeah, I've been studying on that for many years now. What you say is technically true, but the problem is that America has less "spare" cash to spend on things like global projection. This is due to many different factors, from the recession of our economy to the increase in internal spending, but we are going broke no matter what percentage goes to the military. One huge problem is that, since a military service-member has long been allowed to "retire" with full benefits after 20 years of service, the military is paying-out a huge amount in entitlements. This is changing somewhat now, but they'll be paying it for quite a long time. I often wish I had stayed-in. My cousin did, and at 39 began drawing a monthly check for over $1,500 which will last for the rest of his life, which could easily be another fifty years. He gets this money despite the fact that he has another well-paying job now. The same thing taxes the country's assets on a larger scale, and so when it comes to being forced to cut national expenditures a military budget of nearly a trillion dollars starts seeming very excessive.

Our public financial problems mainly stem from a bloated welfare state, and our private problems mainly stem from inane mortgage debt.

At the same times, America also presided over what one could argue was the most globally disparate standards of living, and this disparity was due to not much else other than where one was born. To the extent that this leads to malnutrition and the inability for some people to provide even basic means of living for themselves, that's not good.
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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4/13/2014 2:29:20 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/13/2014 2:09:59 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 4/13/2014 1:35:33 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/13/2014 1:18:12 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 4/12/2014 10:20:55 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/10/2014 8:34:59 PM, Idealist wrote:
All you have to do is log onto YouTube for a few minutes to see how emotional people have gotten about arguing both sides of this, so, considering the history of mankind and the politics of the modern world, what do you think, and why?

Hmmm...this is multi-faceted.

IMHO America is just like any other country in that it seeks to maximize self-interest (notice the interests of others is not necessarily relevant to this).

Since WWII, America has presided as (by far) the most dominant power in the world. This has resulted in decreased military spending globally and the absence of a major global conflict. These are "goods" worldwide.

I think that here I might use the phrase "contributed to" in place of "resulted in." America certainly didn't achieve these things on its own. There seems to be a strong misconception among Americans that we somehow won the Cold War single-handed. I was stationed in West Germany (about eleven miles from the Communist border) during the early Reagan years, when war seemed so possible. I was part of a massive Reforger (return of forces to Germany) exercise involving many countries, and without the assistance of those countries the US would not have been able to contain the Soviets without using nuclear weapons. I do agree that the "American umbrella" has allowed other countries to reduce their military expenditures, and this has been a great boon to them. This continues today, although it is bleeding America financially. I wonder why more citizens of foreign countries don't seem to consider this when hounding America as being (in their opinion) an aggressive empire?

See, here's the thing...it's actually NOT bleeding America financially. That's a popular myth perpetuated by the "America spends more than 25 countries combined" statistic. Fact is, America is spending less on its military as a percentage of GDP than at any time since the end of WWII, and this before the furloughs and budget cuts.
http://www.cfr.org...

Yeah, I've been studying on that for many years now. What you say is technically true, but the problem is that America has less "spare" cash to spend on things like global projection. This is due to many different factors, from the recession of our economy to the increase in internal spending, but we are going broke no matter what percentage goes to the military. One huge problem is that, since a military service-member has long been allowed to "retire" with full benefits after 20 years of service, the military is paying-out a huge amount in entitlements. This is changing somewhat now, but they'll be paying it for quite a long time. I often wish I had stayed-in. My cousin did, and at 39 began drawing a monthly check for over $1,500 which will last for the rest of his life, which could easily be another fifty years. He gets this money despite the fact that he has another well-paying job now. The same thing taxes the country's assets on a larger scale, and so when it comes to being forced to cut national expenditures a military budget of nearly a trillion dollars starts seeming very excessive.

That's all covered by the DoD budget. It's a great retirement plan, and is not an excessive expenditure.

Our public financial problems mainly stem from a bloated welfare state, and our private problems mainly stem from inane mortgage debt.

At the same times, America also presided over what one could argue was the most globally disparate standards of living, and this disparity was due to not much else other than where one was born. To the extent that this leads to malnutrition and the inability for some people to provide even basic means of living for themselves, that's not good.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Idealist
Posts: 2,520
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4/13/2014 2:39:28 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/13/2014 2:29:20 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/13/2014 2:09:59 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 4/13/2014 1:35:33 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/13/2014 1:18:12 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 4/12/2014 10:20:55 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/10/2014 8:34:59 PM, Idealist wrote:
All you have to do is log onto YouTube for a few minutes to see how emotional people have gotten about arguing both sides of this, so, considering the history of mankind and the politics of the modern world, what do you think, and why?

Hmmm...this is multi-faceted.

IMHO America is just like any other country in that it seeks to maximize self-interest (notice the interests of others is not necessarily relevant to this).

Since WWII, America has presided as (by far) the most dominant power in the world. This has resulted in decreased military spending globally and the absence of a major global conflict. These are "goods" worldwide.

I think that here I might use the phrase "contributed to" in place of "resulted in." America certainly didn't achieve these things on its own. There seems to be a strong misconception among Americans that we somehow won the Cold War single-handed. I was stationed in West Germany (about eleven miles from the Communist border) during the early Reagan years, when war seemed so possible. I was part of a massive Reforger (return of forces to Germany) exercise involving many countries, and without the assistance of those countries the US would not have been able to contain the Soviets without using nuclear weapons. I do agree that the "American umbrella" has allowed other countries to reduce their military expenditures, and this has been a great boon to them. This continues today, although it is bleeding America financially. I wonder why more citizens of foreign countries don't seem to consider this when hounding America as being (in their opinion) an aggressive empire?

See, here's the thing...it's actually NOT bleeding America financially. That's a popular myth perpetuated by the "America spends more than 25 countries combined" statistic. Fact is, America is spending less on its military as a percentage of GDP than at any time since the end of WWII, and this before the furloughs and budget cuts.
http://www.cfr.org...

Yeah, I've been studying on that for many years now. What you say is technically true, but the problem is that America has less "spare" cash to spend on things like global projection. This is due to many different factors, from the recession of our economy to the increase in internal spending, but we are going broke no matter what percentage goes to the military. One huge problem is that, since a military service-member has long been allowed to "retire" with full benefits after 20 years of service, the military is paying-out a huge amount in entitlements. This is changing somewhat now, but they'll be paying it for quite a long time. I often wish I had stayed-in. My cousin did, and at 39 began drawing a monthly check for over $1,500 which will last for the rest of his life, which could easily be another fifty years. He gets this money despite the fact that he has another well-paying job now. The same thing taxes the country's assets on a larger scale, and so when it comes to being forced to cut national expenditures a military budget of nearly a trillion dollars starts seeming very excessive.

That's all covered by the DoD budget. It's a great retirement plan, and is not an excessive expenditure.

Yeah, it's great if you are the recipient. Who else offers retirement at the age of 39, or even lower? I am by-and-large a supporter of the military. Like I said, I was in it, and I did well there. But there is no way I think my cousin should draw nearly a million dollars in retirement for twenty years of service, along with free medical, dental, and PX privileges for life. That is just excessive, which is why they are changing it now.

Our public financial problems mainly stem from a bloated welfare state, and our private problems mainly stem from inane mortgage debt.

At the same times, America also presided over what one could argue was the most globally disparate standards of living, and this disparity was due to not much else other than where one was born. To the extent that this leads to malnutrition and the inability for some people to provide even basic means of living for themselves, that's not good.
HPWKA
Posts: 401
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4/13/2014 9:45:12 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
There is no abstract conglomerate "America". There's the American government, and its people.

The American government has been a tremendously good thing for its people, and a tremendously bad thing for the rest of the world (in general).

Why do you believe these things, and seemingly so sincerely? There are many who think the American government has totally failed the majority of the people, and is now largely "owned" by the rich and by special interest groups. Conversely, despite many Americans' obvious ignorance regarding the world at large, and their tendency towards arrogance, America has done a lot of good. What other nation offers so much aid or disaster relief, or contains so many foreign-oriented charities? Not trying to argue, just curious why you feel the way you do.

America has helped its citizens relative to the level other countries have helped their citizens, and relative to the level at which America has impacted non-citizens. Could they be better, of course.

Again, America has certainly done a lot of good. They've just done 10x as much bad, relative to the rest of the world, at least post WW-2 (which I should have specified).
Feelings are the fleeting fancy of fools.
The search for truth in a world of lies is the only thing that matters.
Idealist
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4/13/2014 10:44:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/13/2014 9:45:12 PM, HPWKA wrote:
There is no abstract conglomerate "America". There's the American government, and its people.

The American government has been a tremendously good thing for its people, and a tremendously bad thing for the rest of the world (in general).

Why do you believe these things, and seemingly so sincerely? There are many who think the American government has totally failed the majority of the people, and is now largely "owned" by the rich and by special interest groups. Conversely, despite many Americans' obvious ignorance regarding the world at large, and their tendency towards arrogance, America has done a lot of good. What other nation offers so much aid or disaster relief, or contains so many foreign-oriented charities? Not trying to argue, just curious why you feel the way you do.

America has helped its citizens relative to the level other countries have helped their citizens, and relative to the level at which America has impacted non-citizens. Could they be better, of course.

Again, America has certainly done a lot of good. They've just done 10x as much bad, relative to the rest of the world, at least post WW-2 (which I should have specified).

Could you please tell what it is that America has done which makes you believe they have been so destructive compared to other countries? Do you honestly believe that the Western democracies of Europe would have survived and thrived without America's help? They didn't seem to think they would. I mean, what is it which makes so many people believe that America has become some kind of evil empire? I'm reading a book right now titled The Real History of the Cold War by Alan Axelrod and it claims that America has had a huge positive effect. I believe that the truth, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle, but people seem to prefer extreme interpretations. Extreme interpretations should be easy to defend, don't you think?
HPWKA
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4/13/2014 11:39:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Could you please tell what it is that America has done which makes you believe they have been so destructive compared to other countries? Do you honestly believe that the Western democracies of Europe would have survived and thrived without America's help? They didn't seem to think they would. I mean, what is it which makes so many people believe that America has become some kind of evil empire? I'm reading a book right now titled The Real History of the Cold War by Alan Axelrod and it claims that America has had a huge positive effect. I believe that the truth, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle, but people seem to prefer extreme interpretations. Extreme interpretations should be easy to defend, don't you think?

America isn't an "evil-empire", they are a country, which like many countries, pursues its interests. However, being far superior militarily and economically to any other country since WW2, its been able to do as it pleases with relative impunity, and as a result, its effect on the world has been far greater then weaker countries, who though may have desired to do more harm, simply couldn't.

In general, I (and most of the world), detest American foreign policy, which has seen the destruction/subjugation of much of Latin America, Africa, the Middle-East, and parts of Asia, in order to establish and maintain geo-political dominance. These actions have resulted in millions of deaths, and many more ruined lives.

I'm sure a few "Western Democracies" have been helped along by the American regime, as many are co-conspirators in the economic/social exploitation. Though, one could argue that without America, these states would still be the primary exploiters of the world (as they were before WW2), and therefore not be in such dire-straits. If they had aligned with the Communist Bloc, their fate would be essentially the same as it is now.

"Extreme interpretation" is a point of view. What Americans consider "extreme" and what the rest of the world considers "extreme" are two very different things.
Feelings are the fleeting fancy of fools.
The search for truth in a world of lies is the only thing that matters.
joepbr
Posts: 128
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4/14/2014 3:06:18 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/10/2014 8:34:59 PM, Idealist wrote:
All you have to do is log onto YouTube for a few minutes to see how emotional people have gotten about arguing both sides of this, so, considering the history of mankind and the politics of the modern world, what do you think, and why?

I don't think that things like countries can be treated in terms of "good or bad", anyway, the actions of the United States, specially after it became the world hegemon have had major negative effects, which I believe had two main reasons:

1) The complete inability of the United States to be impartial in any circumstances whatsoever.
You'd think that a nation considered leader of the world would prefer to take the higher moral ground when it comes to solve conflicts among third parties and aim at mediating them without taking parts and meddling in the dispute, kind of like Solomon did in that story of the baby, however, there in not a single issue the USA tried to solve where it wasn't extremely biased to one side, usually for ideological reasons, but often hypocritically (what's more hypocrite than a country that claims to stand for freedom financing and supporting the overthrow of democratically elected governments by corrupt militaries)

2) The isolation of the country prevents prevents Americans to come in touch with other people and understand them better, which in turn makes the USA seem like a ruler who is uninterested in anything about their subjects other than the fact that it holds absolute power over them.
This happens for two reasons, one is the natural isolation that happens to a country that finds itself in a position of power (e.g.: Why would Americans care about learning other languages when the USA makes English the universal language?).
Another one is the geographical isolation. As a Brazilian, I can say this one is also true to my people. When most of the people of a nation live thousands of kilometers away from the closest neighbor, the idea of "foreigner" becomes some kind of mythological being that most have heard about, but few have seen in flesh.
My alternative to the Political Compass: http://www.debate.org...
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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4/14/2014 5:41:27 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/13/2014 2:39:28 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 4/13/2014 2:29:20 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/13/2014 2:09:59 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 4/13/2014 1:35:33 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/13/2014 1:18:12 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 4/12/2014 10:20:55 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/10/2014 8:34:59 PM, Idealist wrote:
All you have to do is log onto YouTube for a few minutes to see how emotional people have gotten about arguing both sides of this, so, considering the history of mankind and the politics of the modern world, what do you think, and why?

Hmmm...this is multi-faceted.

IMHO America is just like any other country in that it seeks to maximize self-interest (notice the interests of others is not necessarily relevant to this).

Since WWII, America has presided as (by far) the most dominant power in the world. This has resulted in decreased military spending globally and the absence of a major global conflict. These are "goods" worldwide.

I think that here I might use the phrase "contributed to" in place of "resulted in." America certainly didn't achieve these things on its own. There seems to be a strong misconception among Americans that we somehow won the Cold War single-handed. I was stationed in West Germany (about eleven miles from the Communist border) during the early Reagan years, when war seemed so possible. I was part of a massive Reforger (return of forces to Germany) exercise involving many countries, and without the assistance of those countries the US would not have been able to contain the Soviets without using nuclear weapons. I do agree that the "American umbrella" has allowed other countries to reduce their military expenditures, and this has been a great boon to them. This continues today, although it is bleeding America financially. I wonder why more citizens of foreign countries don't seem to consider this when hounding America as being (in their opinion) an aggressive empire?

See, here's the thing...it's actually NOT bleeding America financially. That's a popular myth perpetuated by the "America spends more than 25 countries combined" statistic. Fact is, America is spending less on its military as a percentage of GDP than at any time since the end of WWII, and this before the furloughs and budget cuts.
http://www.cfr.org...

Yeah, I've been studying on that for many years now. What you say is technically true, but the problem is that America has less "spare" cash to spend on things like global projection. This is due to many different factors, from the recession of our economy to the increase in internal spending, but we are going broke no matter what percentage goes to the military. One huge problem is that, since a military service-member has long been allowed to "retire" with full benefits after 20 years of service, the military is paying-out a huge amount in entitlements. This is changing somewhat now, but they'll be paying it for quite a long time. I often wish I had stayed-in. My cousin did, and at 39 began drawing a monthly check for over $1,500 which will last for the rest of his life, which could easily be another fifty years. He gets this money despite the fact that he has another well-paying job now. The same thing taxes the country's assets on a larger scale, and so when it comes to being forced to cut national expenditures a military budget of nearly a trillion dollars starts seeming very excessive.

That's all covered by the DoD budget. It's a great retirement plan, and is not an excessive expenditure.

Yeah, it's great if you are the recipient. Who else offers retirement at the age of 39, or even lower? I am by-and-large a supporter of the military. Like I said, I was in it, and I did well there. But there is no way I think my cousin should draw nearly a million dollars in retirement for twenty years of service, along with free medical, dental, and PX privileges for life. That is just excessive, which is why they are changing it now.

None of this is relevant as to whether or not it's an excessive expense. It simply isn't, which is something I've already substantiated. The free medical and dental are subservient to the needs of the military.

Is it a much better retirement system than just about anything in the civilian world? Yes, but IMHO that would call for changes in civilian retirement care.

I would also point out that federal employment allows for retirement pay upon completing only 10 years of work, which in many respects can be perceived as being even more generous.

Our public financial problems mainly stem from a bloated welfare state, and our private problems mainly stem from inane mortgage debt.

At the same times, America also presided over what one could argue was the most globally disparate standards of living, and this disparity was due to not much else other than where one was born. To the extent that this leads to malnutrition and the inability for some people to provide even basic means of living for themselves, that's not good.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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4/14/2014 5:42:29 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/14/2014 5:41:27 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/13/2014 2:39:28 PM, Idealist wrote:

None of this is relevant as to whether or not it's an excessive expense. It simply isn't, which is something I've already substantiated. The free medical and dental are subservient to the needs of the military [and are not necessarily the greatest benefits in the world].

fixed.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
rross
Posts: 2,772
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4/14/2014 6:26:38 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/13/2014 1:57:33 PM, Idealist wrote:

This is an excellent point, and one that I had not considered. America (and Americans) are pretty-much treated universally as different,

Really? How do you mean?

and we also look at ourselves in a different way, almost as if we had a national identity disorder. I do believe America is the first "empire" (if that's even what she truly is) which has made such an honest effort to remain globally benevolent, even if she sometimes loses her way.

Well that's kind of interesting the way you talk about the US kind of as a single entity that can have its own intention - honest or benevolent. You know, I like the US a lot. And I like Americans on the whole, but this type of thinking just seems so unrealistic to me. Why would the US be benevolent unless there were profit or votes in it? And often there isn't. What about Iraq for example - thousands people killed.

These are just my own personal impressions anyway. I could have got it wrong.

No, I think you put it pretty well. I spent nearly two years in Europe in the Armed Forces, and for the most apart Americans there seemed to confine themselves to themselves. I don't really think it was because they had a stronger national identity. I mean, who could do that better than the French? lol (Just kidding). But as an American I definitely felt that I stood-out in a big way.
wrichcirw
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4/14/2014 6:48:23 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/14/2014 6:26:38 AM, rross wrote:
At 4/13/2014 1:57:33 PM, Idealist wrote:

This is an excellent point, and one that I had not considered. America (and Americans) are pretty-much treated universally as different,

Really? How do you mean?

Well, America is a superpower, and "with great power comes great responsibility".

and we also look at ourselves in a different way, almost as if we had a national identity disorder. I do believe America is the first "empire" (if that's even what she truly is) which has made such an honest effort to remain globally benevolent, even if she sometimes loses her way.

Well that's kind of interesting the way you talk about the US kind of as a single entity that can have its own intention - honest or benevolent. You know, I like the US a lot. And I like Americans on the whole, but this type of thinking just seems so unrealistic to me. Why would the US be benevolent unless there were profit or votes in it? And often there isn't. What about Iraq for example - thousands people killed.

Agree with the underlined. The fact that it benefits the rest of the world is tangential.

These are just my own personal impressions anyway. I could have got it wrong.

No, I think you put it pretty well. I spent nearly two years in Europe in the Armed Forces, and for the most apart Americans there seemed to confine themselves to themselves. I don't really think it was because they had a stronger national identity. I mean, who could do that better than the French? lol (Just kidding). But as an American I definitely felt that I stood-out in a big way.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
rross
Posts: 2,772
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4/14/2014 7:07:04 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/14/2014 6:48:23 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/14/2014 6:26:38 AM, rross wrote:
At 4/13/2014 1:57:33 PM, Idealist wrote:

This is an excellent point, and one that I had not considered. America (and Americans) are pretty-much treated universally as different,

Really? How do you mean?

Well, America is a superpower, and "with great power comes great responsibility".

Lol. So America is like Spiderman, and the allied nations are like extras that run about screaming when the evil super-nations threaten us with random destruction. :D

Fair enough. But I was thinking about just being somewhere with a whole lot of people from different countries; I don't think the Americans would be treated especially differently.

and we also look at ourselves in a different way, almost as if we had a national identity disorder. I do believe America is the first "empire" (if that's even what she truly is) which has made such an honest effort to remain globally benevolent, even if she sometimes loses her way.

Well that's kind of interesting the way you talk about the US kind of as a single entity that can have its own intention - honest or benevolent. You know, I like the US a lot. And I like Americans on the whole, but this type of thinking just seems so unrealistic to me. Why would the US be benevolent unless there were profit or votes in it? And often there isn't. What about Iraq for example - thousands people killed.

Agree with the underlined. The fact that it benefits the rest of the world is tangential.

These are just my own personal impressions anyway. I could have got it wrong.

No, I think you put it pretty well. I spent nearly two years in Europe in the Armed Forces, and for the most apart Americans there seemed to confine themselves to themselves. I don't really think it was because they had a stronger national identity. I mean, who could do that better than the French? lol (Just kidding). But as an American I definitely felt that I stood-out in a big way.
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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4/14/2014 7:21:01 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/14/2014 7:07:04 AM, rross wrote:
At 4/14/2014 6:48:23 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/14/2014 6:26:38 AM, rross wrote:
At 4/13/2014 1:57:33 PM, Idealist wrote:

This is an excellent point, and one that I had not considered. America (and Americans) are pretty-much treated universally as different,

Really? How do you mean?

Well, America is a superpower, and "with great power comes great responsibility".

Lol. So America is like Spiderman, and the allied nations are like extras that run about screaming when the evil super-nations threaten us with random destruction. :D

lol, this is sadly close to reality I think. It does kind of explain why Hollywood churns out all of these superhero movies, whereas a country like Japan churns out all of these apocalyptic nightmare pieces (I'm thinking of Akira and Godzilla mainly).

Fair enough. But I was thinking about just being somewhere with a whole lot of people from different countries; I don't think the Americans would be treated especially differently.

I think it depends upon where Americans find themselves. I mean, Canada? I don't think you see much of that, and I would think this observation applies to most commonwealth countries. Elsewhere though, there are disparate opinions as to what America is all about.

While I was in Korea, the kind of dialogue implied by the OP is commonplace. It's nice that most South Koreans think America is "good" but they make it kind of obvious they have an opinion. From what I could tell, they have much stronger opinions about Japan, but have stronger opinions about America than they do China. To them, China is the reason why their sky looks like something that came out of a coal plant, and that's about it. Maybe that's changing now although exactly to what I don't know...Asia is extremely dynamic if nothing else.

and we also look at ourselves in a different way, almost as if we had a national identity disorder. I do believe America is the first "empire" (if that's even what she truly is) which has made such an honest effort to remain globally benevolent, even if she sometimes loses her way.

Well that's kind of interesting the way you talk about the US kind of as a single entity that can have its own intention - honest or benevolent. You know, I like the US a lot. And I like Americans on the whole, but this type of thinking just seems so unrealistic to me. Why would the US be benevolent unless there were profit or votes in it? And often there isn't. What about Iraq for example - thousands people killed.

Agree with the underlined. The fact that it benefits the rest of the world is tangential.

These are just my own personal impressions anyway. I could have got it wrong.

No, I think you put it pretty well. I spent nearly two years in Europe in the Armed Forces, and for the most apart Americans there seemed to confine themselves to themselves. I don't really think it was because they had a stronger national identity. I mean, who could do that better than the French? lol (Just kidding). But as an American I definitely felt that I stood-out in a big way.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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4/14/2014 7:22:27 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I will say though that if anyone mentions Australia, people immediately think of "Outback" and "Crocodile Dundee". LOL

Oh, and no women in Australia. That's a man's country.

=)
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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4/14/2014 7:24:33 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Oh, and Foster's beer. https://www.youtube.com...

Yep, no women. NONE.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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4/14/2014 7:26:45 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Oh, and Hugh Jackman is Australian.

Now, I think he's a great actor with a lot of depth, but to most Americans? He's WOLVERINE, RAWR.

LOL
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?