Peaceful coexistence?

England and Portugal have existed in peace for centuries. They were not parties to ‘entangling alliances’ but they have had little reason to go to war with one another.

During the Cold War, some saw ‘peaceful coexistence’ as the desired goal of USA-USSR relationships. Neither side wanted a shooting war but some fighting took place using surrogates. The cost of a nuclear war between two great nations was too great for any side to bear. There were two options for the United States: maintenance of a strong military posture and a policy of containment or unilateral disarmament and appeasement. The latter would have been folly, since we faced an evil regime that put its faith in a flawed system and coercion that did little but provide a uniform level of misery for all but the nomenklatura. Yet many in the West faulted the United States for taking too harsh a line. These included industrialists (such as Cyrus Eaton), prestigious academics (such as Bertrand Russell), and politicians (such as Henry Wallace).

The containment policy triumphed and the threat of a global conflict between two major powers has diminished. Now we have a unique conflict where one side is motivated not so much by economic or territorial expansion but by evil itself. How does one coexist with evil?

We attempted to avoid escalations in tension with the USSR but never gave lip service to their ideological sewage disposal system known as the Gulag. Pressure was subtly applied. Efforts at industrial espionage were thwarted by the delivery of intentionally-flawed products. Yet the men in the Kremlin were not fanatics. Stalin did consider himself the ultimate expert on most subjects, from music to genetics to economics but never relished a nuclear exchange with the USA.

Can we say the same of the madmen of the Middle East? How does on coexist with such vermin?

We can coexist with wild creatures that invade much of suburbia and even find the animals charming, but how would one coexist with a pack of rabid dogs?

We could put out heaps of filet mignon to appease the snarling beasts but that will not buy safety. Sometimes you must shoot to kill.

30 Comments

  1. England and Portugal have technically had an alliance since the fourteenth century, broken only by the period of personal union between Portugal and Spain. See here for an overview.

  2. The alliance between England and Portugal was consistent with the concept of ‘splendid isolation’ that was a hallmark of English foreign policy. Lord Palmerston defined it as ‘no permanent alliances, just permanent interests’. It was in England’s interest to maintain cordial relationships with Portugal. This de facto alliance was unique but there were a few brief breaches.

    The essence of ‘splendid isolation’ was not the mindless isolationism that appeals to all variety of domestic yahoos but rational, ad hoc, alliances when they were in the National interest. While the would-be isolationists may repeat Washington’s warning about ‘foreign entanglements’, their simplistic misunderstanding ignores the model presented by England.

    Geopolitics is a dynamic game but there are some fixed rules.

  3. How does one coexist with evil?

    Evil such as starting an aggressive war, torturing people, suspending habeus corpus and spying on the domestic populace?

    Back in 1939, the Commonwealth declared war on “the evil” to meet a commitment to mutual defense of Poland. After a long and bloody war, in which another “the evil” did most of the fighting, “the evil” was occupied and reconstructed.

    Back in 1990-1991, the first George Bush put together a coalition and threw “the evil” out of the country it had invaded, and then declined to invade on the grounds that it would bring chaos to the region.

    I’m not sure what to do about the current “the evil”, although its recent invasion and occupation is not working out well. However, it seems to be past its apogee as an Empire, with domestic issues and the state of its finances a serious problem constraining it in the future, so I’m hopeful.

  4. Can we say the same of the madmen of the Middle East? How does on coexist with such vermin?

    We can coexist with wild creatures that invade much of suburbia and even find the animals charming, but how would one coexist with a pack of rabid dogs?

    We could put out heaps of filet mignon to appease the snarling beasts but that will not buy safety. Sometimes you must shoot to kill

    Just as a point of interest, what would your reply be to a Muslim making the same comment about America? After all, the US has intervened in the Middle East far more often than Islamist terrorists have attacked the US, and the US has killed more Arabs than the other way around.

    Objectively, a Muslim would have far more justification in making the same comment about America and Americans. If you conclude that you must “shoot to kill”, does this mean that you are also conceding that terrorism against America is justified?

  5. Did I hear moral relativism going on, or is it just an echo?

    After a long and bloody war, in which another “the evil” did most of the fighting, “the evil” was occupied and reconstructed.

    Location, location, location I believe it goes! Do you think they would have preferred for the USA to not have supplied them? Do you think they would have wanted the USA to have just stayed home? Do you think their military and civilians would have faired better if “the evil” had valued life more and fought them less.

    Sorry, but only a braying jackass would put quotation marks around evil when talking about Stalin and his party. Only an amoral twit would equate Stalin and his party with the people of the Soviet Union.

    Did we forget the USA was fighting a war in the pacific against “the evil” that launched an aggressive attack against it, and invaded it’s territory. By your logic that should be the only war the USA fought. Germany had declared war on the USA, but so what, they had no navy and posed no immediate threat. Why fight them preemptively?

    If the USA followed your stupid moral relativism in the 1930’s and 1940’s the world would be a far different place. Germany would have prevailed and no one would want to live in Europe now. But hey, look on the bright side; we still would have saved New Zealand’s bacon. You still would be speaking English Phoe; you still would be second fiddle to the Aussies.

    Stick to links my friend. Every time you try to make a logical argument you fail. You may make that argument in perfect GPO style, but yer logic sucks.

  6. “After a long and bloody war, in which another “the evil” did most of the fighting, “the evil” was occupied and reconstructed.”

    Location, location, location I believe it goes! Do you think they would have preferred for the USA to not have supplied them? Do you think they would have wanted the USA to have just stayed home?

    Er, Warner, you *do* know that 80% of Germany’s casualties were suffered at the hands of the USSR, don’t you? Theer are two “the evils” referred to in that quote, a comment on the use of the term.

    Did we forget the USA was fighting a war in the pacific against “the evil” that launched an aggressive attack against it, and invaded it’s territory. By your logic that should be the only war the USA fought. Germany had declared war on the USA, but so what, they had no navy and posed no immediate threat. Why fight them preemptively?

    Incorrect – collective defense against an aggressive power is justification for war – indeed, it was just that justification which teh Commonwealth provoked.

    However, in 2003, the aggressive power was *not* Iraq, shitty though the regime was.

    You may recall that starting wars of aggression got German leaders hung after WWII.

  7. OK, a serious question: How bad does a regime have to be, in terms of killing its own people in order to maintain or extend power, before it is justifiable to use military force to depose that regime? Is the government of the Sudan, which is sponsoring genocide in Darfur, bad enough? If the Nazis had confined the extermination of the Jews to those it caught in Germany, without invading anyone else, would they have been bad enough, or should the Third Reich been left alone?

  8. Did I hear moral relativism going on,

    Would you care to address the question instead of evading it like a coward?

    “Just as a point of interest, what would your reply be to a Muslim making the same comment about America? After all, the US has intervened in the Middle East far more often than Islamist terrorists have attacked the US, and the US has killed more Arabs than the other way around.

    Objectively, a Muslim would have far more justification in making the same comment about America and Americans. If you conclude that you must “shoot to kill”, does this mean that you are also conceding that terrorism against America is justified?”

    Warner?

  9. Would you care to address the question instead of evading it like a coward?

    You are too funny. I did address it. You are amoral; there is no point arguing morality with you. Your lack of morals is the problem and the point.

    BTW, if you had a lick of sense it would have been clear to you that I understood who the two “evils” were. I do have a hillbilly’s understanding of ‘da big one.

    American did not need a collective defense against the Nazis; we had an ocean my obtuse friend. In your amoral universe there is no reason for us to help collectively. Why, to defend a trading partner we share a common language with? Who is to say that the Nazi were not just asserting their rights? They had been poorly treated after the great war, hadn’t they? It is survival of the fittest in your jungle dude. Were we the world’s policeman in 1941? Cause we sure as shit aren’t it now; are we?

    You have several spelling errors in #9. Hell, almost one per sentence. You are slipping; I would never have expected that from my over officious style manual “clark”.

    What, you want morality from me? I am the genocidal manic after all. Or did you forget?

  10. “Would you care to address the question instead of evading it like a coward?”

    You are too funny. I did address it.

    No, you didn’t. This is the question:


    Just as a point of interest, what would your reply be to a Muslim making the same comment about America? After all, the US has intervened in the Middle East far more often than Islamist terrorists have attacked the US, and the US has killed more Arabs than the other way around.

    Objectively, a Muslim would have far more justification in making the same comment about America and Americans. If you conclude that you must “shoot to kill”, does this mean that you are also conceding that terrorism against America is justified?

    You have not addressed it – an ad hominem attack on me does not provide an answer to “what would your reply be to a Muslim making the same comment about America?”

    Would you care to address the question instead of continuing to evade it like a coward?”

  11. OK, a serious question: How bad does a regime have to be, in terms of killing its own people in order to maintain or extend power, before it is justifiable to use military force to depose that regime? Is the government of the Sudan, which is sponsoring genocide in Darfur, bad enough? If the Nazis had confined the extermination of the Jews to those it caught in Germany, without invading anyone else, would they have been bad enough, or should the Third Reich been left alone?

    Good question.

    Under the Westphalia principles, whatever a country did inside its own borders was its business. To the extent that national sovereignty is still important, these principals apply. To the extent that self-determination and civil rights are important, these principals may be outdated.

    Certainly, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the US made a direct attack on the primacy of sovereign powers, and one which has established itself as critical in world discourse. If legitimacy comes from the people and not a divine right, then a government that sufficiently abuses its people loses legitimate claims to sovereignty.

    However there is a set answer to that already in place. Article 1 of the UN Charter lays out the reasons for international cooperation – including humanitarian – and allows for actions with regards threats to the peace. Article 39 places that clearly in the hands of the Security Council. It is on this basis that military action, other than self or collective defence, is lawful under international law.

    Now, I personally would like principles for extreme abuses of civil rights to be clearly laid out as a breach of the peace – so far, this hasn’t been done. However, the Security Council is able to determine on a case by case basis when a situation is bad enough. Indeed, they have now done so for Darfur when the US (as with everyone else) has not acted unilaterally.

    This clearly does not apply in Iraq – there were and still are considerably worse regimes than Husseins, and the bloodshed in Iraq by Hussein’s government had diminished – if intervention against the Hussein brutalities hadn’t been justified back when the US and Iraq were allies, it certainly couldn’t have been justified in 2003.

    Unilateral military invasions not authorised by the Security Council, not justified by self defence, and not justified by collective defence are aggressive wars. Starting an aggressive war is a crime against humanity, and recognised as such. Saddam Hussein was guilty of such a crime in 1999. So was George Bush in 2003.

    It would be nice if a clear set of principles for overriding national sovereignty were clearly laid out. Don’t hold your breath – as a thought exercise, try crafting one that wouldn’t justify taking away Guantanamo Bay from US control.

  12. Just as a point of interest, what would your reply be to a Muslim making the same comment about America?

    I’d tell him to go fuck a camel!

  13. As intellectual

    I don’t claom to be a “great Intellectual”, tho I do like to think I have a modicum of common sense.

  14. It was so conventient to fight the Axis powers during World War II. Appeasers and pacifists had given them a head start. But they had their bases, their fleets, their chokepoints, industrial facilities, infrastructure. Dresden might have been reconsidered but after Rotterdam, anything seemed to go.

    We now have a more amorphous enemy. It uses the public telecommunications network as its command and control link. Public conveyances are used as weapons.

    How do we deal with such a threat? Appease? Ignore? Or should we attack thoe who give aid and comfort and logistical and financial support?

    It is not an easy task, given their fifth-column allies who are more concerned for due process for terroristic thugs than our own safety.

  15. The Phoenician challenged…

    Would you care to address the question instead of continuing to evade it like a coward?”

    You offer a false choice my friend. Your question would seem to come from the “typical man on the street” Muslim. Let us review the statement by Art that prompted your challenge…

    Can we say the same of the madmen of the Middle East? How does on coexist with such vermin?

    I don’t like to speak for others, but I think it is clear that Art was not talking about all Muslims, and you are. The terrorists, as well as certain religious and tribal fanatics, are doing just what you suggest for various reasons. They are the “bad guys” and we need to shoot them between their beady eyes. On that point Art and I agree.

    The problem with your logic is that you make a morally relativistic argument that our morals/values/actions are equal to the “bad guys”. Further, you compound your folly by grouping the readily definable “bad guys” with the billion other Muslims. Just because you are morally deficient does not mean the rest of are.

  16. Dana asked…

    OK, a serious question: How bad does a regime have to be, in terms of killing its own people in order to maintain or extend power, before it is justifiable to use military force to depose that regime?

    I have never liked this retroactive justification. Not finding WMD in Iraq does not require a moral “Plan B”.

    The question was, could we TRUST Saddam in a post 911 world. How were we to know for instance that he and his sons were spending their oil-for-food money on palaces, porn and Lldaro figurines, and not on WMD?

    If we would have found a few tons of mustard and sarin would that have provided the justification some believe we lack now? Would pounds of anthrax somehow make the situation more palatable?

    Saddam, left to his own devices, would have when the opportunities arouse, fostered terrorism and sought weapons of mass destruction. Why would the leopard change it’s spots? It is despotism 101 for goodness sake; the despot rules through fear.

    In a world where thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of people can be killed by the content of a 55 gallon drum, or even something smaller, Saddams are only tolerated at great risk.

    Have we forgotten that we offered NOT to invade if they removed him, or he and his sons left? We are to blame that Saddam was congenitally incapably doing the things he needed to survive?

  17. The Phoenician stated…

    Unilateral military invasions not authorised by the Security Council, not justified by self defence, and not justified by collective defence are aggressive wars. Starting an aggressive war is a crime against humanity, and recognised as such. Saddam Hussein was guilty of such a crime in 1999. So was George Bush in 2003.

    To be fair you have on other threads accused the US of aggressively invading countries when it acted collectively as well as when it acted under UN direction. Don’t demand me to give you cites, you know I will.

    I understand the fear the US foster in nations, our allies too, when the US acts or is seen to act unilaterally. I also know that the UN is broke and it always has been. Saying they have or will do anything constructive in Darfur is silly. The UN is an asylum run by the inmates. The Security Council only functions in the rare occurrence where all the major players feel the have NO interests; or even the rarer occurrence where their interests are the same. Like it or not it, the US has been forced to act unilaterally; deal with it.

    The idea that a preemptive war is not morally supportable is silly. It was silly even when His Holiness John Paul the II made it. It defies logic. This silliness is compounded when we are talking about a few people launching attacks against their declared foes that can result in millions of casualties. History has rendered that argument moot.

    Only a morally relativistic fool would believe in a man made global moral authority. Hell Phoe, you don’t approve of 4/5ths of the worlds governments, and neither do I, why would you want to live under their collective rule?

    Oh yeah, it would by immature of me to point out that in the above paragraph I quoted you made four spelling errors wouldn’t it?

  18. Please, go ahead. And be sure to distinguish “acting collectively” (i.e. with a few stooges) as from “acting in accordance with a mutual defence treaty” or “acting in line with Security Council resolutions”.

    I doubt you have the honesty, though.

  19. That should read:

    To be fair you have on other threads accused the US of aggressively invading countries when it acted collectively as well as when it acted under UN direction. Don’t demand me to give you cites, you know I will.

    Please, go ahead. And be sure to distinguish “acting collectively” (i.e. with a few stooges) as from “acting in accordance with a mutual defence treaty” or “acting in line with Security Council resolutions”.

    I doubt you have the honesty, though.

  20. Let us review the statement by Art that prompted your challenge…

    ” Can we say the same of the madmen of the Middle East? How does on coexist with such vermin?”

    I don’t like to speak for others, but I think it is clear that Art was not talking about all Muslims, and you are.

    God, you’re stupid.

    Try this instead:

    “Can we say the same of the madmen in the White House and the Pentagon? How does on coexist with such vermin?

    We can coexist with wild creatures that invade much of suburbia and even find the animals charming, but how would one coexist with a pack of rabid dogs?

    We could put out heaps of filet mignon to appease the snarling beasts but that will not buy safety. Sometimes you must shoot to kill.”

    Now, let’s say that was a quote from Osama bin Laden. Let us also imagine that it was being heard by a Muslim watching the latest outrage from out i\of Itraq, the latest picture of a child shot by US troops, the latest report of torture on a US base.

    What grounds could you give to someone who wasn’t a rabid American patriot to show it was wrong?

  21. Phoe, you are losing it! The problem is not my intelligence; the problem is your lack of morals.

    I claim you practice moral relativism and to prove me wrong you do it again. If that works for you fine. I do so get a gas out of you.

    Oh you asked…

    Phoenician in a time of Romans Says:
    July 16th, 2007 at 12:41 am
    So we’re going back into the real world now?

    In 1950 China invaded Tibet.
    1956 Sino-Burmese Border War
    In 1959 China invaded Korea,
    In 1962 China invaded India.
    I969 Sino-Russo border conflicts.
    In February 1979 China invaded along virtually the entire Sino-Vietnamese border.

    In contrast:

    1945: Troops sent into China to aid Nationalists.
    1948: Troops sent into China
    1961: Invasion of Cuba
    1962: Cuba quarantined
    1962: Troops sent to Thailand
    1965: Invasion of the Dominican Republic
    1965-1968: Invasions of South Vietnam (see the Geneva Conference, 1954, on the legitimacy of Diem’s government past 1956)
    1970: Invasion of Cambodia
    1980: Mission against Iran
    1981: Troops sent into El Salvador
    1982: Troops sent to the Lebanon
    1983: Invasion of Grenada
    1986: Libya bombed
    1989: Invasion of Panama
    1989: US troops in Columbia, Bolivia and Peru.
    1989: US shoots down Libyan jets, 70 miles off Libya
    1990: Forces sent to Liberia
    1991: Invasion/liberation of Kuwait
    1992-2003: Continued bombing of Iraq, without UN sanction.
    1992: Forces sent to Somalia
    1993: Forces sent to Macedonia
    1994: Invasion of Haiti
    2001: Invasion of Afghanistan
    2003: Invasion of Iraq

    You are so funny; you just cut and pasted all US conflicts from some place. For people to put this in context and to see how many of those actions were collective and UN sponsored they can go another of Art’s posts An alternative historical scenario.

    Do you like poetry Phoe? I do, though I not be a genious well read “clark” like you, me is jus a hillbilly, I likes this poem…

    His bad opponent’s “facts” he sweeps away,
    And drags his sophistry to light of day;
    Then swears they’re pushed to madness who resort
    To falsehood of so desperate a sort.
    Not so; like sods upon a dead man’s breast,
    He lies most lightly who the least is pressed.

    Polydore Smith

    Do you like it? I do, liked so much I used it yesterday in a post too.

    You can go play alone now.

  22. I claim you practice moral relativism and to prove me wrong you do it again.

    Reading, Warner – it will help you.

    I asked “what would your reply be to a Muslim making the same comment about America?”, noting that, objectively, the language used by Art in the last three paragraphs of his post could be mirrored by a fundamentalist Muslim or terrorist against America with better justification.

    You are also using “moral relativism” incorrectly – I am pointing out the results of applying the same criteria to judging America’s actions as you people use in judging those of your enemies. This isbecause I don’t allow rabid pro-American patriotism to cloud my morals – aggressive war and unjustified killing is wrong, whether done by a Shi’ite or a GI.

    Try reading this sometime. You’re probably not smart enough to appreciate the idea as a concept rather than an attempt at an ad hominem, though.

    Now, the question is “Just as a point of interest, what would your reply be to a Muslim making the same comment about America?”

    Would you care to answer it,or are you going to continue to evade it like a coward? If you’re not clever enough to draw the parallel, go through Art’s last three paragraphs replacing references to “madmen of the Middle East” with “the American leadership”.

    Deeply, deeply stupid.

  23. Would you care to answer it,or are you going to continue to evade it like a coward? If you’re not clever enough to draw the parallel, go through Art’s last three paragraphs replacing references to “madmen of the Middle East” with “the American leadership”.

    I’d rather be stupid than evil.

  24. Is he stupid or is he a coward?

    You sat potato…

    Really now, make up your mind. I understand your premise; I just do not agree with it. Try and wrap your mind around that fact.

    You are also using “moral relativism” incorrectly – I am pointing out the results of applying the same criteria to judging America’s actions as you people use in judging those of your enemies. This isbecause I don’t allow rabid pro-American patriotism to cloud my morals – aggressive war and unjustified killing is wrong, whether done by a Shi’ite or a GI.

    Read that paragraph you wrote. I do not accept the underlying premise that you have defined as: America is prosecuting an “aggressive war” that has resulted in “unjustified killing”. You believe that the rest of do not see America’s actions this way because we allow “pro-American patriotism to cloud” our morals. I declare that this premise is false on its face and reject it. There is no parallel to draw.

    You have to be as big of a dumbass as you are to fall for this form of sophistry. You construct these silly logic traps on a regular basis. It is an immature character trait you have, stop it. The only way to deal with it is to point out your actions to you. At that point it must be an argument to you, thus the ad hominem (I see you have adopted my spelling, you are a riot!) attacks. You do not make arguments, you are argumentative.

    You accuse me of “using moral relativism incorrectly”, though you give no justification for that except a link. Let me ‘splain it to you in language a “clark” can understand.

    Let us start with your link to your personal fave, Wikipedia…

    In philosophy, moral relativism is the position that moral or ethical propositions do not reflect objective and/or universal moral truths, but instead make claims relative to social, cultural, historical or personal circumstances.

    I believe any reasonable person would agree that moral relativism permeates every position you take. As I pointed out to you above, you want us to except that America’s, and as you defined them the “fundamentalists”, actions are morally equivalent. You reject the idea that the fundamentalists’ actions are inappropriate. You seek to justify their behavior based on their “social, cultural, historical or personal circumstances”. You mock the idea that their actions are “evil”, or if they are, they only are because they were provoked. Work with me here, are you getting the point?

    BTW, no response to my cite regarding your claims of American aggression?

  25. After World War II, both the USA and the USSR occupied what was formerly enemy territory. Some nations that had been ‘liberated’ from the Axis powers were subsequencty turned into Soviet satellites.

    The economic histories of the occupied nations told a story. What was once West Germany soon surged into prosperity and the same was true for Japan. Socialist ‘paradises’ were in the economic toilet in spite of past prosperity.

    US occupation was temporary and a good thing for the nations involed. North Korea went from one tyranny to another.

    Thug Chavez can kill the goose laying those golden eggs in Venezuela. Hopefully, he will get the Allende treatment before too long.

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