We are subsidising far beyond self sufficiency.
My point remains that subsidies to maintain self-sufficiency levels of agriculture should be an inalienable right, as is self-defense.
Earlier you mentioned bio-fuels as a new hope for our farmers. I agree if we mean bio diesel, but I think ethanol (from corn) dilution of gasolene is a crock, and will be an even worse subsidy if supported by government.
Corn ethanol isn’t what I had in mind, but celluoistic ethanol is pretty good as well as bio-diesel. In place of ethanol, I’d actually prefer butanol, which can be used with present, unmodified engines, whereas ethanol requires a flex-fuel vehicle due to the corrosiveness and fuel richness. Butanol can also move in the existing fuel infrastructure with regular gasoline. I am also very favorable of bio-diesel. The main thing we need to focus on, however is fuel efficiency first and foremost.
I think it suited the Republican Party to make us feel threatened at the time of Korea and Vietnam but I don’t believe that our military ever truly felt inferior to the Soviets.
Oh yes they did. Moreover, the Soviets were actually and truly superior militarilly during several periods. The other ironic thing about this statement is that it was the Democrats who brought us into the Korean and Vietnam Wars, not the Republicans. Truman was President during the Korean War, and Kennedy initiated our action in Vietnam. Johnson really ran with the ball and got us ever deeper into the Vietnam War. In a further strange, ironic twist on your statement, it was the Republicans who were guilty of "cut and run" in Vietnam, with Nixon promising "Peace with Honor"…he was looking for a way to get us out of Vietnam as fast as possible without making it look like a loss. Vietnam held its own for about two years after we left before being over run not by the VC, but by North Vietnam.
The anti-communism of America in the 1950s and 1960s went well beyond reason or justification.
That is really some revisionist history. The Soviets and communism certainly were very real and dangerous threats, there were many, many people in the Soviet Union who were every bit as scary and wacko as McCarthy. For as bad as McCarthy was, you really should do some research on the Gulags and read some of the accounts of Soviet era dissidents. Stalin was a complete wacko every bit, if not worse than Hitler. Millions of people died from starvation in the Soviet Union due to their centralized agricultural programs alone—one of the more benign and seemingly harmless things about Soviet Russia. I think a lot of people just want to wish away just how scary an era we just went through because the truth gave people such horrible nightmares. Meanwhile, Russia is slipping backwards into this mode.
I think the initial success of North Korea in sweeping down to Busan had more to do with the incompetence of ‘Bug-out’ Doug McCarthur than the aggression of our enemy.
No, our troops there were equipped with WWII era anti-tank weapons and were at a horrible state of readiness and discipline. The post-war Army was very lax and nobody expected to fight a war ever again. This is an era when the US nearly deactivated the Army and expected the threat of nuclear weapons meant that nobody would ever be stupid enough to fight us. Task Force Smith fought bravely and the leadership was competent, but the North Koreans crashed across the border and caught them completely by surprise, most units with very little ammunition (they were on constabulary duty). Their anti-tank weapons were nowhere near sufficient to take out the latest Soviet T-34s and barely were up to taking out the WWII era tanks they were designed for. One of the Commanding Generals actually personally went out on tank-killing parties himself. The bazooka rounds were completely ineffectual against the tanks, and if I recall correctly, we had none in country ourselves. US officers insisted that Korea was "infantry country" and doubted tanks could be used effectively there even part way into the war.
Any graduate of a military school should know that the proper way to retreat is slowly, protecting or desrtoying assets, maintaining contact with the enemy at all times, and holding strong points as long as possible.
Easier said than done when you have nothing but light infantry, with ineffective anti-tank weapons, little ammo, and you are facing a coordinated combined arms team of fast moving tanks supported by infantry to whack your anti-tank gunners. In the first retreat in the war that you are alluding to, you’d be overrun very rapidly doing what you describe. If you are talking about the retreat later in the war, when the Chinese poured across the border, they tried to do that then as well, but were overwhelmed by sheer numbers in human waves. Units ran out of ammo for their machine guns and the Chinese kept coming faster than they could fire.
Doug encouraged a shameful bolt to the south, abandoning war materials, and even whole units that could not move fast enough.
That’s right—they couldn’t move fast enough, which is why many units were enveloped and completely wiped out.
So patriotism was on the side of the Commies.
That really didn’t make sense to me because the Nationalists were every bit as Chinese, the only difference being that Mao managed to run an effective insurgency and was heavily supported by the Russians. He also managed to make himself less unpopular than the Nationalists, who did more to lose popular support than Mao, but not by much.
Then the eventual outcome was certain – what always has to happen if you intervene in a civil war enough to make a difference. You get an unstable outcome and have to remain there supporting your side permanently (Korea) or accept eventual defeat (Vietnam). It will be the same in the Arab war.
The missing ingredient in Vietnam was the focus on fixing the government and getting a legitimate democratic government in place. Korea is one of the most vibrant economies and democracies in Asia now. Vietnam is a third rate backwater. The key in an Arab war will be the same—we need to ensure the government is one people will fight to protect, or we will have to.
America loves freedom but we do not have an obligation to inflict our very flawed Constitution on every country that has a monstrous dictator in power.
I disagree. What kind of government were we going to set up in Iraq? Would we be hypocrits if we just set up another dictator there? Dictatorships also threaten the viability of democracies and the people would resent us for screwing them over. It’s also important to realize that in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan that they were able to vote on this, it’s also important to note that they do not use our constitution as a model directly. It’s more of a parliamentary system in both cases. They determined the form of government.
They had their own problems overthrowing a corrupt dictator and had to use extreme Islam to achieve it.
Actually, the revolution was well underway and the Ayatollah and his followers hijacked it. We had an opportunity early in the revolution, but Carter blew it. They were pretty much open to democracy in the early stages.
We should have kept out of it and let Iran sort out itself and Iraq.
I don’t think the Iraqis would see it that way. Even the Shia Arabs fear the Iranians because of centuries of Arab/Persian animosity. Letting Iran and Iraq sort it out would’ve basically led to buying a lot more time for the oppressive Iranian elements.
We are still talking up Iran as an enemy and that naturally makes them fear us and want a nuclear capability to deter us.
Everybody in the region sees them as a major enemy. If we buried the hatchet with Iran tomorrow, you’d still have everyone else pointing guns at them, and I doubt you would change that anytime soon. Moreover, don’t wish away their nuclear ambitions as anything other than a grab for power and to maintain legitimacy to their people.
We have proven that nuclear deterrence works.
Only against others who share the same concept of rationalism, like the Soviets. Iran demonstrates their world view every time you hear about a suicide bomber. How can you have deterrence with people with that mind set?
The Palestinian problem is the root cause of trouble in the middle east – not least because it gived the Whabbists crazies a fulcrum on which to lever apart any progress towards a settlement.
If Israel disappeared tomorrow, the Middle East would still be full of shooting. Right now the two major Palestinian groups, Fatah, and Hamas are far more interested in shooting each other than Israelies. Also, look back into Lebanon’s civil war. Most of the fighting in Iraq is between Shia and Sunni groups.
That is why we cannot pressure Israel to behave responsibly towards the Palestinians.
That’s because every time Israel "behaves responsibly", the Palestinians take it as a gain and push for more. It’s really funny you mention the "Jews control the government" schtick, because that is a major propaganda point by all the surrounding Arab governments. You should see some Arab websites and news articles and some of the outright nasty and bizarre things they say. You simply wouldn’t believe it. The deeper truth of the Palestinian situation is that it allows corrupt Middle Eastern governments to blame all their problems on it.
Thanks, PP Samurai,
You make a lot of sense in this post and you have given me much to think about. I will therefore refrain from coming back immediately on the few points that I still disagree with.
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