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Russia's Emergence Tells Us We Need to End the Empire... Today

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posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 12:10 PM
This is a momentous occasion for me, as this is the first time I have ever written an official treatise advocating a particulary policy change. I have given this plenty of thought and with the presidential elections coming up, I feel as though I need to make this case.

Let me start off with a quote by General Rupert Smith, written in his amazing book titled The Utility of Force:

Like the U.K., France ultimately came to realize through a combination of changed postwar international context, local unrest, and diminished resources, that there was no option but a withdrawal from its empire. The process of realization was slow and painful.

I know a lot of people, particularly the conservatives of the neoconservative and Bush/McCain/Buckley variety, will take offense to me referring to America's actions overseas as imperialistic. Call it whatever you want, but it must be understood America's actions, however benevolent, do carry the characteristics of empire. At the end of the day, who do we seek to benefit the most from our escapades? The USA. There is no getting around this simple fact. We care about the well-being of other countries and other peoples as long as it does not lead to our detriment. Nobody in the U.S. is particularly happy about China's economic prosperity because it benefits the Chinese people, but not necessarily the American people.

A lot of people characterize the U.S. with the Roman Empire. I ask, "why stop there?" Every empire seems to fall in ways not so different to empires of the past. Going back to the quote by General Smith, the U.S. is in the same position that the French were when they suffered defeat at the hands of the Viet Minh. The post-Cold War and even the post-9/11 international context has changed completely after Russia invaded Georgia and when China hosted an exceptional Olympics. There is plenty of local unrest in Afghanistan and Iraq, the two by-products of our current foreign policy. As for diminished resources, just look at the economy. Many writers have likened the current times to the 1970s. Considering the '70s were quite a horrid time by American standards, equating 2008 to 1978 speaks volumes about where the country is socioeconomically. No hard-working, flag-waving, family-oriented American can say with 90% certainty that America currently has the ability to go out and change or dominate the world.

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about a report given by Stratfor, a civilian intelligence agency, which basically states that up until August 8, 2008, the U.S., as well as much of the West, has been living in a fantasy world where non-state actors and terrorists are the only threats we would ever have to face. In fact, its rather ironic that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, whom I greatly admire, stated in the latest National Defense Strategy, just a few weeks prior to Russia's invasion of Georgia, that the U.S. should place overwhelming emphasis on facing irregular enemies, non-state actors, and the like. The recent developments in the Caucasus imply that our greatest enemies of the 21st century may be the exact opposite.

The biggest problem with America's foreign policy since the end of the Cold War has been its center of gravity - abstract principles and ideology. An foreign policy more rooted in one's beliefs, fables, and proverbs yields no benefits, because then absolutely any kind of behavior can be legitimized. The funny thing about a rigid black-and-white approach to life is that reality eventually takes hold - there are different shades of black and white. It appeared that as long as America put forth its values of democracy, freedom, and a certain brand of human rights, such unconstructive behavior such as anti-diplomacy, improper use of force, and a failure to win hearts and minds were completely excusable. As we have seen in Afghanistan and Iraq and as General Smith asserted in his book, such things have no use in today's world.

Russia's invasion of Georgia is an exemplification of why our actions of the past eight years will prove disasterous for us. Regardless of what Mr. Bush, Mr. McCain, the late William F. Buckley, and the fearmongerers of Fox News may tell us, cutting-and-running carries more benefits than detriments. Insurgents want their country back; you leave, then they get what they want. Their ability to influence their adversary is limited to the theater in which the insurgency is trying to impact. Terrorists have a more transnational reach. However, their means are limited and the legacy of their actions depend mainly on how the victims choose to respond. A nation-state such as Russia, however is different. Approaching Russia the way we approached Iraq, insurgents, and terrorists, will lead to nuclear war.

So let me ask, what have we done to help ourselves out? I stated in a post earlier this month that Russia's invasion of Georgia exposes the need for the U.S. to prepare for a major war and not just counter-insurgencies and counter-terrorism. Such preparations will take years in this day and age, but we may not even have years. America's economy is in bad shape, due in no small part to our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Our military is still the most powerful in the world, but our ability to carry out long-term military operations of high-tempo and high-intensity is now in question as protracted guerrilla warfare has eseentially worn our ground forces out. Finally, is this nation prepared to take economic hits and social hits? I am not advocating military confrontation with Russia, but at this point, such a confrontation seems inevitable. We may sit here and brag about our supposed military superiority, but all too often we forget about the costs. Winning or losing seems so insignificant at times to the price we have to pay for that victory. To sum it all up, we're just not ready for this.

Russia's reemergence shows the need for the U.S. to make significant changes to not just our foreign policy, but our national policy as well. Being handicapped by foreign oil is an assurance that economic warfare will be used against us to frighteningly powerful effect. Blindly embracing the tenants of free-market capitalism and free trade with asking whether it benefits America ensures the American people are on their own if a crisis hits. Having a large portion of our military deployed persistently to the Middle East means we will have very little to work with when a truly cataclysmic situation erupts. Finally, talking blindly about democracy and freedom and all of these other abstract contepts with no meaning whatsoever means the true needs of the people will go unheeded. There are things bigger than one's beliefs and principles. Exactly who are people like Glenn Beck more loyal to, capitalism or the United States? I am no fan of big government, but it seems like some people are against it only when it does not benefit them or goes against their meaningless principles.

Again, I hope for no war with Russia. But the ways things have gone this past month, some combination of confrontation/conflict truly seems inevitable. When that goes down, energy coming from our own backyard, every able body with a job, money in our pockets, and most importantly, our military on American soil.

Should we cut and run? Oh Hell yeah.

posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 01:00 PM
You make some good points, and I think that the current U.S. foreign policy is something that is in desperate need of change. Russian chest-beating today is one of the by-products of the U.S. foreign policy. Putin's reforms are partly a by-product of U.S. politicies.

U.S. leads - and the world follows, whether it wants to or not. Even America's enemies follow. U.S. foreign policy sets the pace - but many Americans don't recognize that what is happening around the world comes back to their own decisions.

Originally posted by sweatmonicaIdo
Being handicapped by foreign oil is an assurance that economic warfare will be used against us to frighteningly powerful effect.

But isn't it also an assurance that U.S. will find excuses to start conflicts around the world if some "oil benefits" can arise from them?

Originally posted by sweatmonicaIdo
Having a large portion of our military deployed persistently to the Middle East means we will have very little to work with when a truly cataclysmic situation erupts.

Maybe the problem is your large military. It is so expensive that the government finds a need to utilize it in some way - to generate dividens on the investment so to say. Why not decrease the size of the military but have it remain powerful enough to insure that America's security is guaranteed?

Originally posted by sweatmonicaIdo
Again, I hope for no war with Russia. But the ways things have gone this past month, some combination of confrontation/conflict truly seems inevitable.

The good thing is that Russia doesn't want a war either - much like most of Americans. No one wants war, yet we are all somehow gradually crawling towards it. It is obscene to think that we are powerless here - any foreign policy can be changed if the people really want it. The problem is - if one side changes and the other doesn't, it won't solve the conflict. There needs to be mutual and unilateral de-escalation, much like we saw in late 80's and early 90's.

Instead of relying on prejudice to reproach the opposining side, both U.S. and Russia need to realize that ultimately they want the same thing.

Unfortunaly conflicts like this only reinforce the prejudice of many, rather than leading them to question it. Russia doesn't have to be an emeny of U.S., and U.S. doesn't have to be the enemy of Russia. Both are capitalist nations. The issue is - that now both have a very sturdy and unyielding foreign policies, which appear to be spirraling out of control. Before any solution can be reached - people need to realize this.

Russia's policies are highly misconstrued as well, and are in desperate need of change. But they can only be altered if U.S follows suit.

Admitting to the fact that something is not right with your own policies is the first step to solving the problem.

[edit on 30-8-2008 by maloy]

posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 02:14 PM

But isn't it also an assurance that U.S. will find excuses to start conflicts around the world if some "oil benefits" can arise from them?

In this country, it is politically incorrect to ever say wars or foreign policies are centered around the need for oil. Whether its to lower gas prices or benefit oil companies, wars are engaged for defense, freedom, and/or democracy. Nothing more, nothing less.

What concerns me most about Russia's incursion into Georgia is that the Caucasus is just one of multiple areas of the world the U.S. and Russia can butt heads over. We will most likely butt heads over Ukraine, North Korea, Iran, and even the Kuril Islands. If the Japanese ever lay claim to the Kurils, Russia will definitely step in. To which the U.S., thanks to its interventionist foreign policy, will have to back Japan and risk war yet again.

I think we will face a long-term confrontaiton with Russia with one major difference to the Cold War - instead of fighting proxy wars to avoid nuclear war, we'll fight directly on a short-term basis. One year we'll fight in the Black Sea over Ukraine, the following year we'll be landing Marines on the Kurils to fight off hordes of Chinese and Russian troops.

posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 06:13 PM
Sweat, Just to correct you, Russia did not invade Georgia, Russia went in to protect its own citizens after the Goergians launched a totally unprovoked assault on South ossetia, an assault that was backed by American and Israeli advisors.

After the break up of the former Soviet Union the West promised Russia that if the Eastern block countries eventually joined the EU they would not become part of NATO. that has now happened and Russia now fears that it will have American backed military forces siting right on its borders,

Far from Russia being the agressor its the US that is, the Russian's have done plenty wrong in the past and continue to do so but how would you feel if they positioned missiles in Canada and Mexico. The fact of the matter is is that the US's Foreign Policy is nothing more than a carpet bagging exercise for its own benefit or should I say the benefit for the few who are getting rich off all these illegal wars etc.

America wants to remain top dog but it knows that Russia which by they way is still a military superpower and India and China are the new emerging super economies. As you stated America is broke, more than half the budget is being spent of the military past and present at the expense of health care, education and the infastructure.

Americans need to realise that the perps in control are hell bent on sending the country down the pan. America can still be strong enough to protect itself and its people but all the trillions being spent on illegal wars could do so much for the American people.

You are told lies and disinfo on a daily basis that everyones out to get America which is a joke. People are only hiting back at America for all the murder and mayhem it is commiting in your name. Millions dead in Iraq and for what, has it made the average American better off or safer no its not.

Americans can live in peace with the World and prosper as it used to do but the country has been taken over by a bunch of criminals and I dont mean Bush etc. I mean the real power brokers behind the scenes.

But in this modern age America and Americans can no longer sit back and enjoy their location in the World because now it can be targeted by many countries that the US is pissing off right now. And if and when the bombs start falling on you the perps will be nice and safe and they will not be dying and suffering.

We dont need another World War because in that one there will be no winners only loosers. And far from the US building up its military it should be scaling it down and spending the money on the American people. Right now thousands of Americans are loosing their homes every day and that pervert Bush and his cronies are planning yet another war with Iran. When will the penny drop for you, when you stood in the food queues?

posted on Sep, 2 2008 @ 12:03 PM
Sweat, I couldn't agree with you more.

That would be the rational course of action.

Unfortunately, rationality is in short supply, and this country is full of people that derive their entire sense of personal worth (not to mention their masculinity) from our military machine.

Humans are not rational animals.

They are pack animals that rationalize decisions after they've made them based on emotional needs.

This is why the species is doomed.

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