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A Defense of Khalilizhad in 1995 Hege Good Evidence

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Horray for Feynman!

 

i've been meaning to ask after i read surely you're joking mr. feynman,

what resources would i have to cut to make a feynmanesque f-w?

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I am not suggesting the US shouldn't remain the most powerful player in the international sphere, or that we ever let our military weaken to such a point that the rest of the world wouldn't be scared shitless to fuck with us.

 

If you still support the US remaining the most powerful international participant, and the US maintaining the most powerful military on earth, then you're no longer arguing against Khalilzad '95. If you've read the article then you know that Khalilzad makes a strikingly similar argument to the one you've made here about the need to use military force rarely, judiciously, and legitimately in order to maintain adequate global support for US leadership.

 

You say: "open trade" and "international law" - But unfortunately these two things don't exist in a vacuum, some semblance of rule of law must be brought to the international system before free trade and international law have any meaning. The presence and force of action behind US leadership does exactly that. So tell us: what nation do you foresee safeguarding the world's trade routes in the absence of US leadership?

 

You say: "9/11" - Sure, 9/11 is an indirect result of decisions made half a century ago, what this has to do with the fact that competent executive leadership in 2001 could have prevented the attack, I have no idea. Maybe you'd like to connect that for us?

 

You say: US insistence on safeguarding world oil supply is "hypocrisy" - First - this is a hypocrisy that nearly every great power must engage in to ensure prosperity, you've already stated that you don't think the US should be a less powerful nation. How you expect to safeguard American power without a safe source of fuel is beyond me. Second - US force positioning in the Middle East is mutually agreed upon with host countries. There's nothing fascist about the US government creating an agreement with the Saudi Arabian government whereby the US will base military assets in SA to deter outside aggression. The US has countless agreements of this kind with nations all around the world including many European states. Third - foreign deployment of this sort aren't just for the sake of US security and wealth, these are agreed upon by all the participants because host nations reap huge benefits from the arrangement. Domestically, host countries make huge economic and social advancements by avoiding the burden of funding and fielding a substantial military for protection. Regionally, the presence of less national militaries alleviates security dilemma pressure which in turn makes neighboring countries more able to engage each other than balance each other with mass military buildup. This regional demilitarization is a building block of regional trade which helps compound peaceful relations and enhances global trade expansion as well. Internationally, these countries are able to rely on the credibility of US military deterrence to not get bullied. This ensures a basic parity of participatory might in international institutions which is what makes your oh-so coveted 'international law' function in the first place.

 

You say: middle east was relatively stable - Sure, it's true that during the 90s there was relative stability in the region, but that's also following the period during which the US most directly exercised its leadership in the region from the Gulf War to Oslo. But keep in mind that by the end of 2000 there was renewed fighting in Lebanon, Camp David was a disaster, the second intifada was well underway, and the Iraq disarmament process failed miserably under UN leadership.

 

You say: "Iran" - Khalilzad has always supported working with Iran. In the '95 article he indicates the importance of letting neither Iraq nor Iran assume regional hegemony, but what that has to do with the way Bush sabotaged US relations with Iran, I don't know. I think both you and I agree that putting Iran in the axis of evil was a bad idea, I'm not certain but I think Khalilzad would agree as well. If you know anything that proves contrary to that then I'd be interested in seeing it.

 

Which great powers will fight? Do you really think any great power is going to fight with another? The biggest genuine danger of a major war is Pakistan/India, and Indian trade relations and Pakistani self-interest will keep that from ever going into total war.

 

Trade is largely predicated on US leadership. As for self-interest, Pakistan showed very little during the Kargil War while planning a nuclear attack on India, however Clinton's warning to Sharif was immediately followed by Pakistan's draw down. Another example of the importance of US global leadership.

 

Recent conflicts that US leadership helped to keep settled: Western Europe-Russia (at least until the political emergence of the consolidated EU) and China-Japan (until economic integration, thought obviously the US will play an important role in managing the outcome of this relationship in the future).

 

Other conflicts that US leadership currently keeps in check: Korea, China-Taiwan, Israel-Iran.

 

Everything else in your post was rants and petrodollar conspiracies that are unrelated to the article and that I have no interest in.

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No, tool.

It was a response to your "ZOMG WITHOUT A UNIPOLAR WORLD EVERYTHING BLOWS THE FACK UP!" Claim.

The last time we saw a non-unipolar world was pre WWII, before weapons have advanced to the point where they are now. Meaning that we have no fucking clue what it would look like if there was not a single power. There are too many differing factors that you ignore when you say "pre-WWII states fought all the time."

 

And you know what? Pre-capitalism EVERYONE FOUGHT ALWAYS (because of Feudalism).

 

But hey guess what? The Warsaw Pact countries had little conflit amongst each other comparatively.

 

Things change, you forget that.

 

Again, your post is barely comprehensible from my perspective. Maybe you'd like to try explaining more precisely what it is you believe prevents interstate conflict in the 21st century. Even if you think there are other conflict-limiting factors in play today, that doesn't dispute the fact that US leadership is one of the largest of those conflict-limiting factors. No one is suggesting that in a world of greater international parity the entire world would immediately erupt into nuclear war, but that without US leadership there would be a much stronger possibility of that happening.

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My point is the power-vacuum claim is asinine. It's not like Russia and China are going to see the US pulling out of the Middle East and there's a literal spot for "world hegemon" that they would literally fight for. There are other stabalizing factors that K-Zad ignores. While I'm not challenging US heg itself, I am saying K-Zad is a piece of bullshit that warrants as much consideration as the Marburry evidence.

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I strongly suggest those of you defending this card read the following book: Expert Political Judgment: How Good is it, How can we Know? By Philip Tetlock It's a statistical study of political predictions which comes to several conclusions, including that Republican and Democratic pundits are equally inept at predicting future events. The key finding is that extreme predictions almost never come to fruition.

 

But more specifically, you guys are attacking the idea of US reducing forward deployment based on the assumption that Kzad has it right and that such a reduction will trigger conflict. Whether that is true or not is questionable. But even if it is true, it's important to note that we wouldn't be involved in such conflicts. Moreover, the assertions assume such an action would be taken in a vaccuum, which it could not.

 

Paul mentions NATO, and rightly so. No agreement has ever resulted in so much enduring peace among so many major nations for such an extended period of time in all of human history. NATO is a model of successful collective security which could (and in my opinion should) be expanded as widely as possible. Unfortunately, NATO membership is restricted to countries whose dedication to neo-liberalism is proven. This runs contrary to the idea of self determination: those nations who agree with us are safe, those who do not shall remain under threat of attack by neighbors and Texans alike.

 

The ideas of Khalilzad are exactly why we had troops in Saudi Arabia and therefore exactly why we were attacked on 9-11. We know for a fact that our forward deployment has significant negative impacts, not only to the people in the area of deployment, but to those of us living in the US (a place where it would be relatively easy to stage more attacks as big or bigger than 9-11), and to the rest of the world as American revenge/paranoia takes control of foreign policy (AKA Bush Doctrine). Khalilzad accounts for very little of this.

 

And if you really think that the Bush Doctrine and the foreign policy which led to the Iraq war can be divorced from Khalilzad's reasoning, I have another interesting book with much musing how to keep a nation secure and strong. And before you say that comparison is out of line or start quoting Godwin's law, consider this:

 

Our reasoning (protectingnational security including business and defending necessary natural resources) for use of military force to defend Saudi Arabia and (now) Iraq is identical to the reasoning used by Germany and Italy for aggression in WW2, and the reason we were bombed by Japan on 12/7/1941.

 

If you can't see the ideological connections between Khalilzad's reasoning and fascism, you are either unaware of history or selectively blind. And just because there aren't a load of allies ready to unite and stop American aggression doesn't make our adventures in the ME substantially different than Italy's occupation of Ethiopia or Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.

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ITT: brorlob is forced to rely on hitler comparisons when he discovers he can't hang with a bunch of HS heg good debaters

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ITT: Mikey tries to play off an ad hom as a response to a well warranted argument by Brett.

 

Also: A reference to the antics of Germany during WWII and WWII aggression is hardly a "hitler reference"

Edited by Hunk BaconStrong

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le sigh. Brett, you keep ignoring me, and i wonder why. Kzad's argument in the card and in the article independent on how he supports it playing out (which isn't even close to fascist ideology any more than any other support of US hegemony is) is almost an undeniable claim - An international order whereby the US plays a central role (NOT just militarially, but in any/all facets) is a stronger, more secure international order than one without the US. We built the entire international order - The UN, NATO, WTO, Bretton Woods, ICC (even though we didn't become a member), the global summits, NPT, etc. We're still #1 even if our lead has diminished. Kzad is a hack, and I'll agree with you there. The card is bad because its not extremely well warranted (even though the claims are true). The argument Kzad makes is a truism that you would be foolish to deny. The goal of Nazi germany was the expansion of the nationalist paradigm and securing their own self interests. The US is a coalition builder, an innovator, and a global player.

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ITT: Mikey tries to play off an ad hom as a response to a well warranted argument by Brett.

 

sorry but he hasn't hasn't even demonstrated that he's even read the article in question, and all he's done most recently is repeat some tired irrelevant assertions and post links to some books that supposedly make a good argument for him, not exactly rejoinder material.

 

you on the other hand, well you've just acted like a moron from the start and have only validated it further, führer. (see I can argue like brett too!)

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sorry but he hasn't hasn't even demonstrated that he's even read the article in question, and all he's done most recently is repeat some tired irrelevant assertions and post links to some books that supposedly make a good argument for him, not exactly rejoinder material.

 

you on the other hand, well you've just acted like a moron from the start and have only validated it further, führer. (see I can argue like brett too!)

 

Why? Because I said that Khalizad assumes a WWII era from the collapse of Unipolarity instead of taking into account the complexities that are International Relations including modern day theories of warfare?

 

Oh, fuck. I'm a moron.

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le sigh. Brett, you keep ignoring me, and i wonder why. Kzad's argument in the card and in the article independent on how he supports it playing out (which isn't even close to fascist ideology any more than any other support of US hegemony is) is almost an undeniable claim - An international order whereby the US plays a central role (NOT just militarially, but in any/all facets) is a stronger, more secure international order than one without the US. We built the entire international order - The UN, NATO, WTO, Bretton Woods, ICC (even though we didn't become a member), the global summits, NPT, etc. We're still #1 even if our lead has diminished. Kzad is a hack, and I'll agree with you there. The card is bad because its not extremely well warranted (even though the claims are true). The argument Kzad makes is a truism that you would be foolish to deny. The goal of Nazi germany was the expansion of the nationalist paradigm and securing their own self interests. The US is a coalition builder, an innovator, and a global player.
I'm looking at the forest, and you're fascinated by a tree.

 

  1. Khalilzad is a neo-fascist warmonger, evidenced by his PNAC writings and foreign policy advocacies of the past decade.
  2. His 1995 article, and the passage in question, make an argument for increased hard power.
  3. The results have been largely negative, for both the US and the international community, not to mention, contrary to Kzad's assertions.
  4. The card is bad. QED.

 

And if you really think the US is a coalition builder becasue we blackmailed Micronesia into supporting our defense of American business and defense interests by seizing the second largest proven oil reserve in the world, again, I have bridges for sale.

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Why? Because I said that Khalizad assumes a WWII era from the collapse of Unipolarity instead of taking into account the complexities that are International Relations including modern day theories of warfare?

 

Oh, fuck. I'm a moron.

 

These "complexities" are not entirely unrelated to unipolarity and the US's role as an international leader. Some won't necessarily collapse as a result of its decline, like increased globalization and democratization, partly as a result of the Internet, and the rapid development of nations like India and China. Others, like trade, may be implicated in the long term. A multipolar system, with its competing interests, would have a more difficult time enforcing regulations like that of the WTO that would the current unipolar system. In a multipolar situation, nations are more likely to be protectionist to prevent wealth from spreading to foreign nations, and to protect national industries in the event of conflict. Furthermore, under unipolarity, balancing is nearly impossible. Nations like North Korea or Iran may pose a security threat, but could never match our military strength. We would always destroy them in a war, and at best, nuclear ambitions could only deter other nations, not risk aggression. In a multipolar system, these nations might still not be able to combat the major powers, but the regional security concern increases. Iran can threaten Israel, their nuclear arsenals being comparable, and risking other nations becoming involved a la WWII. In unipolar systems, the risk of alliances is negligible, since it would take a vast majority of other nations to balance the United States, many of which are our allies anyway.

 

This doesn't prove definitive causation, as Khalilizhad claims. I've always seen the card as an assurance that the risk of nuclear conflict is minimized under the unipolar system, rather than withdrawal causing nuclear conflict. The two are not completely different though, and in the longer version, he certainly explains why he believes that the international order is significantly unstable without the United States as leader.

 

I'd also like to add that the arguments being made against unipolarity here also attempt to consider the unipolarity vs. multipolarity debate to try to determine under which the international order is stable, rather than looking at it as which is more stable.

 

We should remember that the Bush administration was leaning toward one of the worst-case scenarios for a unipolar order, mixing in paranoia from 9/11, mismanagement and doses of irrationality on the part of the administration, and severe miscalculations. Consider Clinton unipolarity in contrast, as the more stable and probable scenario of a world under unipolarity. The US primarily acts as a defender, rather than an aggressor.

 

Khalilizhad certainly falls into the former category, but the bulk of his argument and reasoning stands independent of his stances on policy issues. This is the same reason arguments about Heiddeger being a Nazi often fall flat.

 

brorlob: we're discussing the tree though, i.e. the card. Sometimes you find a California Redwood in a forest of douglas firs. But just because it's in a forest of douglas firs doesn't mean it has sharp piny needles that don't fall off in the winter.

But I wouldn't expect a libertarian to understand the benefits of attempting to solve problems, rather than just wishing a Magic Hand would fix them.

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