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A political and moral dilemma;

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posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 05:20 AM
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Loosely inspired by Egypt.

You are the leader of country A, a liberal democracy. Country B is a brutal dictatorship but it is very friendly towards you; there is a lot of trade between your two countries and the regime keeps down groups that would pose a threat to your country and its people.

A revolution is brewing in country B that will bring about democracy however the most likely winner of any election would be very hostile to you but would drastically improve the lot of country B’s population.

So do you support the existing regime or the revolution and why?




posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 06:59 AM
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So do you support the existing regime or the revolution and why?


Option one, you support the existing regime. The guns go out, plenty of people die order is restored and things go on the way they have been. International and internal pressure mounts and being part of a liberal country you will be ejected at the next election if the people find out. In the past it was easier to keep these things secret.

Option two, you support the revolution. Things get a little tense and crazy in the power vacuum, but after lots of arguments and discussions a new board is formed. Hostility between national leaders is unproductive, but not uncommon. If strong trade links are established this will help ease tensions. If any internal groups do pose a threat to international stability then this new leadership will need to take this issue seriously or the international community can come down hard. This is a complex and messy with many factors and alliances.

I would support option two and the revolution if there is a clear majority of the population behind it. It is unfortunate that these things cannot wait until the ballot box at times, but that can be a rigged system as well. I choose this because it is the democratic option. The people living there know the situation and the problems, if the people support it they will have a better chance of working through it. Most people do not want war, just to live in peace. The population in a liberal country does support the liberation from oppression.



posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 07:59 AM
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reply to post by kwakakev
 


To be clear the likely winner of an election following a revolution is hostile to your country not just you personally. Thus they’re not likely to favour you in any trade or repress any groups that are a threat to you.

If you support the revolution the risk is that you lose trade and increase the overall threat to your country and its interests. Is it worth the risk to your people for the sake of another country’s people?


The population in a liberal country does support the liberation from oppression.


But democracy does not necessarily mean liberation from oppression, all it means is that the majority gets its way whatever that brings.



posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 09:13 AM
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reply to post by Mike_A
 




To be clear the likely winner of an election following a revolution is hostile to your country not just you personally. Thus they’re not likely to favour you in any trade or repress any groups that are a threat to you.


This is pretty standard in any redistribution of power. Trade and repression still go on as the people managing the books do support other ideas, beliefs and cultures.



But democracy does not necessarily mean liberation from oppression


Agreed. Just because people want change does not mean they know what change they are signing up for.



it means is that the majority gets its way whatever that brings.


The third reich is one example of what this can mean at the extreme. Internationally are we mature enough to overcome such an onslaught?

To be clear are we talking about Israel, or does this lead into the history of dredge between east and west? The ghosts of 9/11 have not gone away and awareness is happening.

With the chain of revolt spreading around the Mediterranean it could bring a significant change to the balance of power. Ultimately these new leaders still need to keep the people feed and power on if they wish to stay in power, this means international collaboration if it is to work.



If you support the revolution the risk is that you lose trade and increase the overall threat to your country and its interests.


It does look like the US is looking ground in the area, hard to be certain of the motivation behind events from here. Considering how much ground they do have it is not devastating, but defiantly cause for concern.



Is it worth the risk to your people for the sake of another country’s people?


And I can see your dilemma. If the new leadership is on a war path then assault is justified. If the new leadership is just looking for a fair go then may cool head prevail in these difficult times.



posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 09:38 AM
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This is pretty standard in any redistribution of power. Trade and repression still go on as the people managing the books do support other ideas, beliefs and cultures.


We may have crossed wires here; the hypothetical group that is likely to be elected is hostile to your country as a matter of policy and ideology, not as a by-product of the revolution.

The repression I’m talking about is of groups that are hostile to you which is something you would want; the elected group won’t put them down like the dictatorship did.

In this hypothetical this is the situation you face.


Agreed. Just because people want change does not mean they know what change they are signing up for.


I think it goes further than that, the people may know full well that they are signing up to a regime that will persecute certain groups and they may be very happy about that. Should that still be supported just because it’s democratic?


To be clear are we talking about Israel


It’s a hypothetical, exploring the practicalities of decisions that are open to governments. There are certainly real world situation that are analogous but they also have a myriad of external factors that muddy the water.

I’ve not replied to all of your post because it seems as though you’re trying to answer whether we should support the Egyptian revolution which isn’t really what I’m getting at.



posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 10:19 AM
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I’ve not replied to all of your post because it seems as though you’re trying to answer whether we should support the Egyptian revolution which isn’t really what I’m getting at.


That is fine and was where I was at, glad to know you are still kicking. So lets call this an alien situation for sake of argument.



The repression I’m talking about is of groups that are hostile to you which is something you would want; the elected group won’t put them down like the dictatorship did.


There are lots of things I need, the Maslow hierarchy of needs lays a foundation for what is worth fighting for. Over the past few months, it is self determination of the individual is what I want. I do not want to end up as some cybernetic, cloned slave working for a self obsessed empire. I do believe that if everyone is allowed to to express their self determination in a responsible way, the capabilities of this world will go beyond any one comprehension.



I think it goes further than that, the people may know full well that they are signing up to a regime that will persecute certain groups and they may be very happy about that. Should that still be supported just because it’s democratic?


When 5% of the population own 80% of the resources (appropriately, could be 1 to 90 now) do we know what democracy is capable of? There are times in the past where this balance was fairer and remain as golden times in evolution. A strength of indigenous cultures was that issues where only decided after community consultation, it does take longer but better decisions are made.



posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 11:12 AM
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reply to post by kwakakev
 



There are lots of things I need, the Maslow hierarchy of needs lays a foundation for what is worth fighting for. Over the past few months, it is self determination of the individual is what I want.


But this thought experiment is about what happens when the right to self determination of those you are responsible for is threatened by those rights being extended to others.

You seem to get around this with the following.


I do believe that if everyone is allowed to to express their self determination in a responsible way, the capabilities of this world will go beyond any one comprehension.


Are you suggesting that a democratic state would tend towards increasingly liberal, peaceful attitudes?

Even if true what about the short term? Western nations have lived with democracy for hundreds of years yet have had distinctly illiberal views for most of this time.

Our revolutionaries may eventually come around to a more acceptable way of thinking, in our eyes, but in the short term (which may be decades or centuries) they would remain hostile.


When 5% of the population own 80% of the resources (appropriately, could be 1 to 90 now) do we know what democracy is capable of? There are times in the past where this balance was fairer and remain as golden times in evolution. A strength of indigenous cultures was that issues where only decided after community consultation, it does take longer but better decisions are made.


To be honest I’m not sure what your point is. Mine was simply that groups of people can hold some very abhorrent views and that in a democracy these views will inevitably manifest in policy. If you wish to defend the democratic ideal then you must accept that groups with values that you don’t like will come to power.

That is the crux of this thread, should a government put the interests of its people above those of another.



posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 12:07 PM
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reply to post by Mike_A
 




But this thought experiment is about what happens when the right to self determination of those you are responsible for is threatened by those rights being extended to others.


It sounds like this should come down to a matter of law, unfortunately the global legal system is still immature and under resourced in some regards. I also mentioned responsibility with self determination, without the specifics it is hard to form any judgment between the competing forces. If your culture is under threat then actions to prevent that threat from intruding has a valid legal argument.



Are you suggesting that a democratic state would tend towards increasingly liberal, peaceful attitudes?


Yes, the population only supports aggressive actions when under direct threat.



Even if true what about the short term?


These are difficult times, tempers get flared, skin gets broken. Cultures do hold together as much as they can, some take the fight, some take the support. It is part of the self determination and how it all gels together.



Western nations have lived with democracy for hundreds of years yet have had distinctly illiberal views for most of this time. Our revolutionaries may eventually come around to a more acceptable way of thinking, in our eyes, but in the short term (which may be decades or centuries) they would remain hostile.


It comes down to communication. Democracy in America is failing, there is too much going on through to few people and money has been given providence to determine the way. With technology more people are communicating and understanding the problems. In the decades and centuries I see democracy incorporating more voices if it is to remain. Some cultures will embrace this more than others, but allowing people to speak and discuss issues and concerns lets the better ideas surface. Having a way to harness these ideas instead of shutting them down will make the difference.



To be honest I’m not sure what your point is. Mine was simply that groups of people can hold some very abhorrent views and that in a democracy these views will inevitably manifest in policy. If you wish to defend the democratic ideal then you must accept that groups with values that you don’t like will come to power.


There has been some haze with the hypothetical of discussion. I acknowledge there is diversity among cultures of Earth, I may not agree with aspects at times but there is history to there reason. The English have done amazing things colonizing the planet and America has since taken the reins. Cultures do change over time, but slowly and gradually. 60 years for the planet is not long, to expect the world to accept woman's rights at once is not realistic, perhaps one day it will get their when the other nations learns its lessons as well. There are many things I am not happy about with my government, some things I may have helped make a little difference, other things I have had to just accept. With the systems in place it has helped look after me.
edit on 4-2-2011 by kwakakev because: added comma



posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 01:49 PM
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reply to post by kwakakev
 



It sounds like this should come down to a matter of law


The moral and practical question still needs answering regardless of the legalities. It may be illegal and immoral to steal but if you are starving then it is nevertheless practical, the question is does the practical overrule the moral and legal.

In our hypothetical whether it is legal or not to support an undemocratic system, or a revolution (and we’re not necessarily talking about material support) does not massively impact on whether or not it is practical for you to do so.


If your culture is under threat then actions to prevent that threat from intruding has a valid legal argument.


So there are cases where choosing the brutal but friendly dictatorship over the democratic but hostile revolutionaries?

If so what consequences justify this support? If a hostile foreign democracy means your people lose their lives does that justify supporting the dictatorship? What if it just means they lose their jobs?


Yes, the population only supports aggressive actions when under direct threat


Again I’d rephrase this, the population usually only supports aggressive actions when they think they’re under direct threat.

We’ve seen ample evidence in recent times that even liberal democracies can go to war regardless of the real threat to the population. I’d argue that democracy is no guarantor of peace.

Furthermore, a foreign nation does not have to pose a physical threat to harm your people, they are just as able to use soft power to harm you and that is much more acceptable to even a liberal population.


These are difficult times, tempers get flared, skin gets broken.

...

Having a way to harness these ideas instead of shutting them down will make the difference.


That doesn’t really answer my point; the situation you face as this hypothetical leader is a choice between supporting the friendly dictatorship or the hostile democracy. You may very well be right that in the fullness of time democracy will produce the more peaceful, intelligent state but as a leader you must also consider the short term.

In the short term you will still have to face that initial hostility coming from the new democratic government.


Cultures do change over time, but slowly and gradually. 60 years for the planet is not long, to expect the world to accept woman's rights at once is not realistic, perhaps one day it will get their when the other nations learns its lessons as well.


I agree, 60 years is not long for the planet but for the average person it is literally a lifetime, hence my point about having to deal with the short term.

But on the issue of democracy as a model I think we agree that it has its dark side, I think we disagree about whether it necessarily moves towards the liberal western ideal.


BTW does no one else want to have a go at the question?



posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 02:03 PM
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Interesting discussion and very much a game-theory type question.

I think I would have to go with option A. The reason being that it is my obligation to look out for the best interests of my country and its citizens. If a hostile group is allowed to take power and increase the chance of harm to my citizens, I have to act against that. While that is a short-term view, stability in an unstable region is essential to somewhat peaceful international relations.

I think I'll call this option A1 - because with the action above, you would also need to stress to country B's leader that civil unrest and discord cannot be good for his and his country's self-interest or long-term stability.If country B is unstable, they would no longer be a good partner to my country. Essentially, through back channels and private conversations, push country B toward the middle ground between its current leader and the hostile regime.

I think though that option A would be limited to a point. You can't fully support the existing regime to the point of boots on the ground. That's over stepping protecting my country's interests.



posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 03:49 PM
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Originally posted by Mike_A
Loosely inspired by Egypt.

You are the leader of country A, a liberal democracy. Country B is a brutal dictatorship but it is very friendly towards you; there is a lot of trade between your two countries and the regime keeps down groups that would pose a threat to your country and its people.

A revolution is brewing in country B that will bring about democracy however the most likely winner of any election would be very hostile to you but would drastically improve the lot of country B’s population.

So do you support the existing regime or the revolution and why?




I would disband my own government, allow private security services to take over the policing of private property, and live in a nice civilized society that doesn't engage in violent looting.



posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 05:15 PM
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I have been approaching this dilemma as a citizen with global concerns, not as a leader of a nation. It is the responsibility of a head of state to put the national interest first. That is the line given for decisions made when confronting global issues from a national platform. Unfortunately a lot of global issues are having a hard time with this approach.



That is the crux of this thread, should a government put the interests of its people above those of another.


Yes. This is my understanding of how the game is played.



So there are cases where choosing the brutal but friendly dictatorship over the democratic but hostile revolutionaries?


The CIA has case files full of it. Not hostile nationally, but economically with competing corporate rule.



If so what consequences justify this support?


Short term make some money, long term get a bad reputation. Depending on your capability to hold the line you can get away with it. While China has also shown assertiveness with expansion, its promotion of local stability has had long term support for projects undertaken.



If a hostile foreign democracy means your people lose their lives does that justify supporting the dictatorship?


Absolutely.



What if it just means they lose their jobs?


Depends, are these jobs that the national population want to do? Are there other avenues of employment available? If there is direct competition then yes.



the population usually only supports aggressive actions when they think they’re under direct threat.


It is a cheep shot to hold the population accountable for the deception of the leaders, but is valid if the population knowingly accept this deception.



I’d argue that democracy is no guarantor of peace.


History has proven this correct. Multiculturalism and democracy still have issues.



the situation you face as this hypothetical leader is a choice between supporting the friendly dictatorship or the hostile democracy


As a leader, the level of threat from a democracy would determine the level of support for a dictatorship.



But on the issue of democracy as a model I think we agree that it has its dark side


Agreed.



I think we disagree about whether it necessarily moves towards the liberal western ideal.


Ideally I would like to see a model that moves beyond it like www.abovetopsecret.com... . The technology is becoming available where the actual community voice can be heard. Realistically such a thing is still in its early stages, as an external nation there is only so much pressure / support that can be provided to another nation in how it is governed. It is up to that nation to decide its fate, it is up to the leaders of other nations to protect their national interests as best they can.



posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 05:30 PM
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Speaking from my limited vantage point - Egypt is in Africa, and so far nobody is starving, and it's done fairly well.
We haven't seen Europe or South Africa flooded with Egyptian refugees yet (although I've met some students, who were far better off than most other Africans here).
I doubt a revolution will lead to long-term democracy - it's just a way for Islamic fundamentalists to worm their way into power.
I hope they restore order.
All factions are ultimately controlled.
And what is a liberal democracy?
Sounds more like a republic with very limited choices for the people between two big parties with similar politics.

What have revolutions given Africa?
I think of Zimbabwe, once the bread-basket of Africa, and now a basket-case.
Will they ever revolt.
Not soon.
Mugabe keeps what remains of the population under constant terror, and the opposition hardly inspires confidence.
I could be wrong (I hope), but somebody will bring out the big guns, and that's the end of that.



posted on Feb, 5 2011 @ 05:30 AM
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reply to post by indianajoe77
 


Interesting points, however what if your people don’t want their leaders supporting a dictatorship? Even if you believe that it is in their interest to do so is it not also your responsibility to represent them especially when your actions could further alienate an already hostile group. How do you square this issue of pleasing your population while keeping their interests protected?

reply to post by kwakakev
 



I have been approaching this dilemma as a citizen with global concerns, not as a leader of a nation.


Unfortunately that’s the hypothetical.


I think we’ve come to a broad consensus, and I think we can certainly agree that such a decision is not as black and white as it may appear.

On the issue of democracy that model you posted is interesting but has a lot of holes and unanswered questions. But this still doesn’t get around the fact that the end result depends on the views of the voters and if they are hostile or prejudiced towards a certain group then that will manifest in a democracy. I don’t see the logic that says democratic freedoms would change these views.

reply to post by halfoldman
 


Remember this is only loosely inspired by Egypt, it’s not actually about Egypt.



posted on Feb, 5 2011 @ 05:38 AM
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The moral and political choice is to allow Country B to manage its own affairs.

The "most likely regime" may indeed be hostile towards you; but they're bound to be more hostile to the government they overthrew. If you welcome the change as the will of the people of County B, it would be a good step towards defusing such hostilities.

On the other hand if you support the dictatorship, you are left holding hte bill for a proven unstable government opposed by the people, who have a proven hostile element towards you that has just gotten more hostile. You will be spending your nation's treasury to support the dictator, who will be cracking down to punish his own people for trying to be more like yours. He is bound to fall eventually, and your tireless support will only make things worse when that happens.



posted on Feb, 5 2011 @ 07:47 AM
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But this still doesn’t get around the fact that the end result depends on the views of the voters and if they are hostile or prejudiced towards a certain group then that will manifest in a democracy. I don’t see the logic that says democratic freedoms would change these views.


I am not aware of any democratic decisions that have supported hostilities without the population feeling threatened. Wether this threat is real or conspired is a slightly different issue based more on the integrity of information supplied for the population to make an informed decision. Why is this nation is hostile towards your nation? is it justified, cultural, traditional or some other reason. Peace negotiations and cultural programs do work when there is desire by both nations to end hostilities. With a new leadership there is a chance to make the most of this opportunity.

While the view of the voters have some influence on policy in a democracy, it is up to the government for the decisions that are made. A democracy has a higher level of public accountability compared to a dictatorship, but both systems can still operate independent of the majority view. If the population of one nation is hostile to the population of another then these hostilities will remain while the issues are not addressed, no matter who and how the nation is governed. A dictator will be better able to keep a lid on hostilities through his own hostilities, a democracy is better able to resolve hostilities with more open discussion of the issues. Neither of these systems are perfect in overcoming hostilities, but is where the strengths are.



posted on Jul, 22 2011 @ 07:00 PM
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I would change my alliance from the government of the country to an alliance with the actual country and it's economic industries then I would help overthrow the totalitarian regime there.



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