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January 29, 2007 07:48 AM UTC

International Thread

  • 87 Comments
  • by: Car 31

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

We live in a dangerous world.  Some would argue more so than in the past.  International events have an impact on Colorado, our soldiers, our economy, our culture.  Over the last few days there have been many posts about international events. I hope this diary will allow those of us interested to unravel some more threads and exchange ideas.

I’ll start off with some thoughts. Feel free to reply or begin your own.

What is the greatest threat to the US in the next 5 years?

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Comments

87 thoughts on “International Thread

  1. President Bush and President Ahmadinejad are both falling prey to putting ideological beliefs before the well being of their countries.  Ahmadinejad is relying on his anti-American stance to keep him in power, a fool’s bet as the average age of Iran’s population is 23 and not anxious to incur the wrath of the world by bombing Israel. 

    In Iran, voters are able to elect candidates on municipal levels, similar to our city councils and county commissioners. On the national level, power is filtered through powerful clerics.  Iran’s President suffered a major blow when voters in recent elections chose candidates opposed to his policies.  This election has been compared to the Democratic Party’s recent success in the U.S.  It would be a grave mistake to attack Iran, which would turn Iranians back towards Ahmadinejad. 

    1. If change is going to come to Iran it has to be organic. An Ayatollah owned newspaper has started printing criticisms of Ahmadinejad, a move that shows that they are tired of his ranting and raving. Attacking Iran would be the death knell for any change in the near future. 

      1. Ayatollah Khameni reportedly disagrees with Ahmadinejad on the issue of nuclear arms.  This can’t be good for Ahmadinejad’s future; losing support both at the municipal and clerical levels may signal a precipitous end to his time in office.

      2. The best chance Iran has is in the upcoming generation.  They are pro-western in outlook and have been supressed (sometimes viciously)by the forces of the Ayatollahs.  Despite the banning of satellite dishes and blocking of internet access to western sources, they have still managed to get word of what’s going on outside of Iran and get word out.  It is very dangerous to be a dissident in Iran but Ahmandinejad has managed to anger enough people that there have been public protests against him.  Hopefully we have enough time to let this happen.

  2. There have been successes plenty, but the failures are too large to overcome. The irony is, if we continue to occupy Iraq, we continue to give reason for insurgents to fight us; yet, if we leave, we allow those who have grown strong opposing us the ability to claim victory.  The human and financial cost of Iraq is tearing this country apart, yet the cost of `failure’ is just as high.

  3. Another tragedy and genocide in Africa that the world chooses to ignore.  400,000 people killed, 2.5 million people displaced and only a limited number of African Union and UN troops to help.  Violence continues and a peace treaty is held together but showing signs of cracking. 

    1. This is the greatest tragedy that no one cares about. I dont think that it is necessarily a bane to our national security, but it certainly shows our lack of Humanitarian compassion.

  4. Despite enforcement and a crackdown, illegal immigrants continue to pour over Mexico’s southern border.  Despite enforcement and crackdowns, illegal immigrants continue to pour over the United State’s border with Mexico. For decades Mexico was ruled by the corrupt PRI and only recently in their history has another political party been able to win the Presidency. 

    It has made little difference.  Popular uprisings in Chiapas and Oaxaca continue.  Immigrants from South America and Mexico continue to look northward for opportunity. Drug cartels run border towns while shipping meth, marijuana and cocaine across our border. 

    1. is if terrorists start streaming in with the illegals.  Yes, there are some criminals and drug runners in the mix, but hordes of hard working Mexican people seeking employment just doesn’t rise to the level of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, funding of terrorists, and hatred of Israel and America. Ahmadinejad gets my vote.

      1. All it would take is one terrorist crossing over on our southern border to create a political and economic crisis.  That goes for the northern border as well. 

        I do agree that immigrants looking for work in the US do not clasify as a national security threat, but we need to find a way to overhaul the visa/guest worker program so immigrants and US business benefit.

  5. No, I don’t really believe that Republicans are the greatest threat to America. What I DO believe is that the war mongers in our society are the greatest threat to America. Currently, most of the chicken hawks reside in the Republican party.

    In short, the biggest threat to American security is getting involved (or creating) foreign conflicts.

    1. that the Republicans are likely (or can) in the next two to four years continue their ‘call to arms’ against foreign aggressors? Or do you think the new Democratic majority will either temper this, or go too far and in the name of peace make the US more susceptible to attack?

      1. To look at possible Presidential candidates, it could go either way…

        John McCain is a strong supporter of the President’s plan, plus more troops.  (He was originally supporting the President’s plan as-is, until the President made it his own…)

        Sam Brownback appears to be a more radical (if that’s possible) continuation of Bush’s policies.

        But Chuck Hagel has moved to end the idiocy, and some important GOP party leaders like John Warner are beginning to swing around as well.

        How that all adds up for GOP Hawks, I don’t know…

        1. Tough to call how R’s will position themselves.
          Campaigning usually brings the moderate out in candidates and I don’t think there is enough conservative support (as in hard core conservative) to win on continuing the staus quo.

          I’m thinking we’ll see more of what we’re seeing now.  Conservative candidates will try and redifine themselves to mean fiscal stewards, small government…

  6. Our debt to China has caused our government (Bush and the GOP controlled Congress) to turn a blind eye upon the human rights violations that the Chinesse have committed.

    Our debt is growing, and their authoritarian government is growing as well. Their economy is growing at twice of ours, and it’s going to be a bumpy ride over the next 5-10 years with them.

    1. I think about the amount of US debt they (and Japan) own and the power China is accumulating and it scares the bejesus out of me.  I have heard that if China were to call in our debt, we would be hurting financially.

      Additionally, the trade deficit with China doesn’t help.

      I looked up some numbers for recent figures:

      Japan: $637.4 billion
      China: $346.5 billion

      http://www.ustreas.g

      Together this is more than half of the debt this country owns.  In the past, Americans bought bonds to help finance the government’s debt, yet now we allow our foriegn competitors to buy it. Amazing.

  7. Over the next five years the Middle East will descend further into chaos w/ Iraq as a catalyst. The struggle for dominance will feature Iran as a major player and potentially the ultimate power in the region.

    I’m not espousing intervention. I don’t have the answers. It is precisely because there aren’t any easy solutions that I feel this is the largest threat.

  8. Lilly liver, panty waist, tax raising, forced universal tax payer funded loving, nancy boy, welfare pushing, commie loving, ex drupgy hippy type, Marxist wannabee, Jane Fonda worshipping, Hildebeast coveting, limp wristed, America defeatist, Kum Ba Yah singing pot smokers are the problem.
    We can take the terrorists, Mexico, and the rest of ’em as long as we can keep our guns….

    Oh yeah,
    Love Gecko

    1. I thought about what you would write as the greatest threat and bet my friend lunch that you would say liberals.  My friend said you would say Hillary.

      Beyond the liberals, which I’m assuming you could take of if they get too close to your home, in your opinion what is the greatest threat to the US?

      1. Seriously, my biggest concern for the USA in the next five years is illegal immigration. And yes, since a vast majority of it is coming from our neighbor next door, Mexico is the threat.
        This is affecting us directly right here and now.
        Plain and simple. Both R’s and D’s don’t seem to care.

        Why bother having laws when nobody wants to enforce them.

        1. Let me just say it, G-Man.  You and I are pretty much on the same political wavelength but immigration–though a serious issue–is not the country’s biggest threat.  With crazy Iranian mullahs with nukes, with a quickly Islamofiying Europe, and a Democrat Party intent on defeat anywhere and everywhere America tries to liberate I’m not too worried about Pepe and Margarite.  I’m just not.

          Mexicans are fundamentally conservative folks.  They can remind Americans of the values that some of us have forgotten.  I say build the fence and regularize those who are here now and help them integrate into the good, decent Americans they’re trying to be.  I just have no problem with Mexicans.  Good people, good values.  Just find a way to weed out the bad guys, build a wall, and build ties with Calderon to stop the drug trade.

              1. What does that mean?  Are you on a public payroll? Are you authorized to use a computer, financed by the public, for your personal political blogging? Or, as I suspected, is this part of some kind of PR experiment?  Come clean, dr. god…..who is paying for your junk?

                1. … while I don’t agree with all of Dr Dobson’s Godly comments, I can’t stand Dwyer imputing ulterior motives to what Dr God has to say.

                  I do think Mexicans are law-abiding, nice people in general. They are not the threat to our national security even with out porous borders.

                  The real threat is from pseudo-friendly countries like Pakistan, and less-than-secure friends like the UK (who have an active Muslim population who are getting ready to attack again).

  9. Last week I would have said “Iran”, but with the Ayatollah’s rebuke of Ahmedinejad’s nuclear ambitions, I’m leaning towards either “North Korea” (they have little to lose, are desperate, and have a leader who’s more than a bit paranoid…) or “China” (their ability to call us on our huge debt payments is frightening to say the least…).

    For the next two years, add in “GW Bush” as an option; extend the term out to 10-20 years, and I’d pick “Global Warming” – which is likely the greatest threat we are facing now, but will not have a huge impact until after your 5-year timeframe.

    1. It isn’t their nuclear capacity (I don’t think there is a ruler crazy enough in the world to send missles against an enemy).  It is their willingness to share the technology or finished product to terrorists or rogue states. Then the bomb in a suitcase scenario comes into play.

  10. I’ve been taking a POS hybrid to work everyday and it doesn’t seem to be working.  My understanding from Al Gore is that if I buy a hybrid I not only get sweet tax benefits but I would stop global warming.  I’m driving the flamermobile trying to save the caribou, dolphins, 5-eyed iguanas, and banana rats and then I find out my impact is nil?  Today is approximately 16 degrees warmer than it was last Monday.  I feel cheated, used, and truly lied to.

    Al Gore lied, the Doc’s dollars and pride died.

    1. episode where everyone traded in their SUV’s for Hybrids?
      Then a huge Smugness cloud from all the liberals in Hollywood floated up, joined all the smugness being generated in South Park from Hybrid owners, and threatened to kill everyone.

      Global Warming………..
      Maybe I can make a sign saying “Run, Hide. The world is ending. Global warming is killing us”, and then I’ll fit in with all the other nutjobs at the DNC?

      1. Yep!  You can bet there’s gonna be a cloud of some sort over the Pepsi Center when the DNC is here–I just doubt it’s gonna be the “emissions” sort–if you know what I mean.

        Can anyone say ‘purple haze?’

        I’m actually getting pretty amped for the Democrat Circu–whoops–Convention.  I’m replaying over and over in my mind what the Coasties are going to think of our red state.  Hmmmm….

      1. but involved in CU’s manuscript restoration program in their library. He mentioned this before in a post.

        I’m sure there are plenty of people who post on this site during the day when they’re not supposed to.

  11. There is NO COUNTRY going to attack the United States. None, zilch, nada! The U.S. is threatened from within. The principals that has caused us to be the envy of many; our representative government (threatened…”I don’t care that 70% of the soldiers, 70% of the U.S. voters, and 70% of the Iraqi’s want us to end the war….we’re moving forward with our plans” …Cheney/Bush); our dedication to equality and fairness and justice…threatened by a corporate mindset that controls through lobbying the representatives of the people; and national advancement and leadership…threatened  through a concerted effort to increase the uneducated, unhealthy, and dispossesed.

    That said, I do agree with recent David postings that the will of the people will prevail. Why, because if this government doesn’t start to listen to we, the people, there’s going to be millions in the streets…and we’ll be bringing sleeping bags.

    This country is too great, it’s principles too strong, and it’s people too smart to have it any other way. The November elections prove that. I am optimistic, but will remain vigilant, vocal and well informed. There’s been a sickness in the government these last six years that requires no less to root it out and restore it to THE PEOPLES House.

    1. As posted above, N. Korea is a threat as much for its ability to sell suitcase nukes to terrorists as for any other reason.  China is a threat because it can pull our financial strings thanks to all the debt this Administration has racked up.  Iran is a threat because it can further destabilize the MidEast oil supply through its influence in the region.  Terrorists are a threat because terrorist acts are a non-linear threat.

      You get the point, ne?  We face many potential crises in the next 5 years; IMHO, this Administration is one of them.  But we will make it through, in good shape or not so good.

      1. My point was to get away from the military mindset for dealing with problems and begin to look towards other means and methods. I agree Korea is a rogue state that presents dangers to the world, especially if we don’t work with the little bugger at the controls. If I were in the drivers seat, I’d take him out with the help of the Chinese in a very surgical way. He’s that dangerous…i.e., unstable.

        Iran, lest we forget, is a member of OPEC. Their recent annual conference was encouraging.

        “Overall, the workshop highlighted the increasing integration of the physical and financial oil markets as well as the considerable potential for even greater interaction….The positive impact of financial markets, through liquidity and greater transparency in price discovery, was recognized…. pointed at the need for, among other things, the introduction of more representative physical benchmark contracts. Finally, the workshop emphasized the need for good regulation and the release of more frequent and high quality market data, which would benefit all market participants.”
        -From their Vienna press reslease

        Integration, transparency, regulations are all aspects of a evolving heathy entity. Let’s integrate, provide some transparency to our relationship with Iran and regulate through an effective and supported UN. Finally, the best way to cool off Iran is to get out of Iraq. That doesn’t embolden them, it takes away their reasons for aggressive posturing.

        Terrorism can be minimized through good intelligence and police work….war creates a “surge” in terrorism and builds generational hate.

        Forgive my stupidity, what is IMHO?

        Crises are inevitable. I’m sure, having read your fine posts over the last months, that you would agree that we need find ways to control, not inflame crises and manage rather than bungle them. I’m so tired of the inflaming and bungling. That creates a national psychology of fear, something we don’t need.

        I always look forward to your posts.

            1. (Even worse…I’m a young guy whose supposed to know this stuff.  Lauren once commented on one of my posts, “ROFL.”  I thought it meant it disgusted her.  I was delighted this weekend when a younger brother informed me that it actually means, “Rolling on Floor Laughing.”)

              Here’s to techno-dummies!

            2. I’m an Internet old-timer; acronyms are commonplace for me.
              In addition to IMHO, I’ll also use IMNSHO (same thing, but Not So…), and ROTFLMAO (same as ROFL, but laughing My Ass Off…).  You’ll also find IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer), AFAIK (As Far As I Know), AFAICT (As Far As I Can Tell), IIRC (If I Recall Correctly) and assorted others.

              For a semi-complete list, please see The Internet Acronyms Dictionary.

              HTH. YMMV.  HAND.
              (Hope This Helps; Your Mileage May Vary; Have A Nice Day.)

  12. I know that I will be accused of being an anti-Semite, but the biggest threat to the US well-being is Israel and it’s inability to fix its internal Palestinian problems.

    Hostility between the western world and the Islamic world is rooted in our unflinching support for Israel and, by extension, Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.

    Things calmed down in the Middle East in the 1990s after Israel and the Palestinians made an effort to reconcile and try to live together.  Then, for reasons I don’t understand, the nut cases in both Israel and the Palestinians assumed power and everything went to hell in a handbasket.

    That’s when we started to see a real ramp-up of Islamic attacks on the west.

    If Israel and the Palestinians could learn to live in the same friggin county (like the French and the English did in Canada, like the Dutch and French did in Belgium), a lot of the furor in the Middle East and between the west and the Islamic world would calm down.

    It’s ironic that they have so much in common, yet can’t stand each other.  After all, both cultures trace their religious origins back to Abraham.

    Making peace is, in many ways, lots harder than making war.  But I don’t think either the Palestinians or the Israelis are even trying to make peace.  We then pay a price (9/11, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Al Quida) for their on-going squabble every time some kooky Islamic kid picks up a gun or straps on a suicide belt to chastize America for its support of Israel.  It’s time Israel (or Palestine, it doesn’t matter who starts, so long as somebody does) made an effort to fix its problems, IMHO.

    1. The solution has to be economic and with both political and moral justice. There’s so much built up hate. The question is, how to build goodwill, forgiveness and hope. Tough stuff.

      1. Camp David set off the Intifada II in 1996.  The violence reached a fevor-pitch in 2000 after a steady escalation through the late 90s.  If you look simply at how many attack occurred under Clinton than have occurred under Bush–it’s no comparison.  But I don’t blame Clinton.  He tried hard for peace but Arafat wasn’t ready for it.

        1. Infitadas and jihads are to Islam what ‘born again’ Christians are to Christianity.

          ‘Jihad’ used to mean an inner spiritual journey, a battle with personal demons, similar to what Jesus went through when tempted in the desert by Satan.

          And someone was ‘born again’ only after making love to a beautiful woman.

          It is a tragic shame that two religions that are about peace and love are corrupted to manipulate and further political agendas.

          It was fascinating to see Sharon and Arafat trying to work towards peace after the battles they fought, what – 20 years earlier?  They were not the leaders for that time and no strong leaders have stepped up to fill their shoes.

    2. Is that the hate promoted by those on both sides has reached generational proportions.  The hatred has been promoted for so long that finding people to stand up for truly peaceful means to settle differences will be difficult.  Peacemakers in the Middle East have traditionally short lifespans after trying to make peace. 

      There is a serious peace movement in Isreal, and if you ask most Isreali’s, you will find that they are more than willing to allow the Palestinians the West Bank in order to have peace.  But there are hard line Isrealis who want the “traditional” borders of Isreal.  It was one of these who killed Yitzhak Rabin after the Oslo accords.  The practice of allowing settlers in the occupied territories also gave rise to problems after Oslo as those who had grown up in these villages did not want to leave their homes.

      There are many Palestinians who also want peace.  They are tired of the poverty that the wars against Isreal has reduced them to.  They want the jobs and relative prosperity that working in Israel during the times of peace brought them.  They want to build the viable nation that Oslo promised.  But the generational hatred against Isreal that was preached has spawned a young force of fighters, Hamas, that have unilateraly rejected peace with Israel and are fighting a civil war with the Fatah party.

      When hatred is preached for so long, when your enemy is demonized to the point that you cannot bring yourself to think of them as human, peace becomes impossible.  The PLO preached for 31 years before Oslo that Isreal had no right to exist and the Jews must be pushed into the sea.  After the 6 Day War, many Israelis began to believe that they were predestined to return to the borders of old and gained a certain arrogence about it.  The settlements in the Occupied Territories were both meant as defensive positions and as a way of permanently claiming the land as Isreali.  Both sides contributed to the institutional hatred that radicals in each camp feed on.

      It’s been over 20 years since I have been to Isreal.  It is a beautiful land and deserves peace.  I wish I had an easy answer.

      1. If I couldn’t live in America I would DEFINITELY live in Israel.  What a country!  Within 60 miles of what could be the holiest town on Earth (Jerusalem) is what could be the hippest, most wildly unique town on Earth (Tel Aviv) which is only a couple of hours south of what could be the most beautiful town on Earth (Haifa).

        What’s so devastating for Israelis and those who love the country is that there are sizable amounts of people–many with nefarious motives–who see the vibrant democracy as little more than an apartheid hell-hole.  Anyone that thinks that MUST go there at least once in their lives.  Walk down Ben Yehuda Street in the new city of Jerusalem and you see Arab shop keepers talking to Greek Orthodox monks.  You see moms in hijabs with their brood in tow walking right next to Orthodox Jewish women in headscarves with their quiverfull trailing behind.  On the same pedestrian mall you have uber-cool secular teenagers talking theology with some Christian whack-job who thinks he’s Jesus (it’s an official psychotic syndrome documented only in Jerusalem). 

        You see how a Jew can’t leave Israel-proper for risk of getting shot–but Israel has an Arab cabinet minister and two sizable Arab parties–one Communist and the other Christian.

        Will there be peace?  Perhaps.  Perhaps if democracy takes hold and Palestinians are able to assert their right to self-determination–which most Israelis would like to see.  Perhaps then.  But Hamas won’t do it.  Abbas won’t do it.  It’s not about walls and voting and occupation.  When Israel voted for the Kadima party last March they essentially said, look, we’ll leave the settlements if you leave our kids alone.  Most Israelis would ditch the settlements if they knew it brought peace.  But it’s not about the settlements–it’s a tacit jealousy the Arabs have for the flourishing land of freedom next door.  And hopefully the Palestinians will want the same thing so bad one day they put down the suicide vests and pick up the ballot.  When Palestine wants democracy more passionately than they want Jewish blood, there will be peace.

        1. However, I do agree that Israel is, and can be, an example to the world of how it is possible to create promise from tragedy.  The Palestinian leadership MUST find a way to turn the people away from Hamas. 

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but what I see is Hamas and Hezbollah able to provide services and essentials for the people that the governments can’t.  This provides the loyalty of the followers and the continuation of cycle we see of reprisal after reprisal. 

          Centuries of distrust don’t help either, but in modern times, in the heiarchy of needs, food, shelter, health and security are necessary before people think about democracy or change.  Hamas and Hezbollah provide what the people need and then educate them to hate and to die.

          1. that Hamas took advantage of the corruption of the Fatah Party to make points with the Palestinian electorate.  At the time of Arafats death there was hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars in international aid missing.  Arafat died quite rich, and I seem to remember that there was some acrimony between Arafat’s widow and the Fatah leadership over money.  All of the taxes collected in Palestine by Isreal were deposited directly in Arafats own account.  The same with aid from the EU, IMF, and various Arab organizations.  The loss of available money to maintain infrastructure is partially the reason that Fatah fell from favor to be replaced by the Saudi supported Hamas.

      2. I don’t understand what drives the internal politics of Israel/Palestine, but it’s clearly generating negative externalities that have changed our world and trashed Israel.

        I remember when you could get on a plane without going through a metal detector or a body cavity search.

        I also remember when cruise ships docked in Israel (they don’t anymore) and people in the Islamic world liked Americans.

        In my opinion, our leadership needs to focus on creating peace in Israel (and weaning us off Saudi oil) if it wants long term security and solutions to the conflicts with the Islamic world.  Unfortunately, politicians generate sexier headlines with git-tough saber rattling than they do with boring diplomatic meetings.
         

  13. IRAQ – Due to the Defeatocrats on
    THE HARD LEFT of the Democratic Party, the efforts there will be given up on in about 2 years, furthering their cause of
    AMERICAN DEFEATISM and the mindless peace/submission movement.  That will turn the country formerly known as Iraq into a failed state under the aegis of
    IRAN, which will continue to support Hizb’allah, along with al Qaeda and various other terror groups to build up training camps within a stable region yet under the realm of plausible deniability, not unlike
    PAKISTAN is a little bit further to the east.  There the command elements of
    AL QAEDA will be able to combine with the elements that stand up in Iraq allowing for
    MULTI-THEATER TERROR OPERATIONS, and continuing the current trend of the
    ISLAMIFICATION OF EUROPE.

    Good times.

    MEXICO is a wild card which will teeter between the threat of a
    RESURGENT LATIN AMERICAN SOCIALISM growing in the south and a more American-friendly stance growing in the north.  Whether that will devolve into a
    MEXICAN CIVIL WAR, I’m not sure, but the possibility exists, particularly if Uncle Hugo begins to openly support the Leftist parties in Mexico.

    THE GOOD NEWS is that if the hard left and American defeatism (and self-hate in general) don’t take too much of a toll on real American Culture, we might begin to truly assimilate the Mexican immigration as Americans.  This offers the promise of finding the comprimise between the secular Enlightenment values we inherited from North Europe and the monarchist, hierarchically-religious values the Mexicans inherited from Southern Europe – the combination of which would be the last best hope of meeting the
    TRUE THREAT OF THE NEXT CENTURY, the intellectual challenge of countering Islamism with a liberal system that still has a soul.

    1. That was breathtakingly brilliant.  Cheers!  I’m acutally VERY optimistic about Mexico.  Felipe Calderon has offered that soulfull liberal system you speak so eloquently about.  He is one of the first classical liberals in Mexico who have been passionate and articulate on the Catholic faith.  It’s a big step from the disasterous liberation theology.

      The question for Mexico–traditionally virulently against a a confessional government–can they embrace Christian values without the same ol’ state church and can they embrace liberal values without Chinese-style hedonism?

      So far only America has been truly successful incorporating the two.  But I was in Mexico for the elections (it was for an academic research project) and I saw Calderon in action.  The man is oh so American in oh so many ways.  The Mexican people are a good people who value the same things we value: faith, family, and freedom.  We need to get them to embrace the freedom part without a decrease in the faith and family parts.  It’s not an easy line to walk–look at Europe–but if America is to avoid the dangerous isolationism Buchanan and Company want we’ll have to help Mexico walk it.

    2. You use the word like it is a national religion.  It isn’t, but it has gotten about as much play as the term WMD did before Iraq.

      Yokel, you’re in the military.  Some believe that if we were to leave Iraq, the impact of our withdrawal would be more a disaster for the U.S. armed forces than for the U.S.  I’m interested in what you think.

  14. As they say in the army Situation Normal, All Fucked Up. Why do people expect there to be no significant problems in the world? We have that in the ’90s and it was an abberation. Very unusual.

    Lets take a look at these “threats”

    • Global warming – as the Netherlands have shown, rising sea levels can be mitigated. Farming requires 2% of the workforce and so additional effort is a small effect on the economy. And the human race is starting to address this and will continue to do so. Between cleaner coal and more nuclear power we will reduce emmissions.
    • Iran – they can be a pain in the middle east but they can’t reach to us. And they are already reaching the limits of their power. We have to learn to work with them in the middle east but we’ve worked with much more odious regimes
    • Mexico – Every new wave of immigration has brought angusih from natives about how it will destroy the culture of the US. Happened with the Irish, Italians, Greeks, Chinese, Japanese, and now Mexicans. They will be assimilated (we are the Borg) and they will add things to our culture. And we will be better for it.
    • China – Every day our economies get tied closer together. The only way they can get rid of their treasury notes is by spending them here in the US. They sell all of them and they drop to 20% of their present value. They kill our economy and they kill theirs too.
    • North Korea – see Iran
    • Terrorists – 9/11 caused more in it’s shock value than it’s actual damage. It won’t be anywhere as near as big a shock next time and the actual damage to the infrastructure is minimal. Anything they di will be less than Katrina.
    • Iraq – see Lebanon, with oil. And they will produce the oil because they need the money to buy weapons to keep killing each other.
    • Russia – they’re busy joining the modern world. Yes they’re corrupt and using oil to get there. But most democracies are corrupt at first (see Japan, Mexico) and the oild wealth is what is giving them their chance
    • The UN – exactly how are they a problem? Ineffective maybe, but a problem?
    1. From Dave Barry

      But despite the well-founded fear of terrorism, the seemingly unbreakable and escalating cycle of violence in the Middle East, the uncertain world economic future, the menace of global warming, the near-certainty that rogue states run by lunatics will soon have nuclear weapons, and the fact that America is confronting these dangers with a federal government sharply divided into two hostile parties unable to agree on anything except that the other side is scum, Americans face the new year with a remarkable lack of worry, and for a very good reason: They are busy drinking beer and watching football.

      last paragraph of his year in review.

  15. Pakistan is currently on our list of friendly nations but the reality cannot be farther from that myth.

    It’s a muslim country where other religions are not allowed. It’s also a dictatorship. For the last 25 years, almost every elected president ended his term in assasination. The current government is a military govenment.

    Any Pakistani will tell you that Osama Bin Ladin is hiding there under the protection of their secret services ISI.

    Neighboring India, a “secular” but deeply religious country with a flourishing population of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and of course Hindus, is under terrorist attackes by Osama-funded Pakistani terrorists. Indians are too busy developing their new-found technology leadership to notice that Pakistan has re-asserted its control on Kashmir with help from their friend China (China has waged several wars with India in the past century).

    In comparison to Pakistan, Iraq or Iran are baby threats. Pakistan already has nuclear capability.

    Thanks for starting the international thread.

    1. The lack of control over Pakistan’s tribal lands, the nuclear bomb and the borders with Afghanistan and India are all excellent reasons for Pakistan to be considered an extremely dangerous place.  But they are our ally.  Like the saying goes, enemies or your enemies are your friends – except with Pakistan, I’m not sure they are enemies of our enemies.

      I don’t think that India and Pakistan would ever go nuclear on eachother, but more so than any other country in the nuclear club, I see Pakistan as the one who could lose control and the bomb would fall into psychotic hands.

      One of the best articles I’ve read about the tribal areas was “Letters from Waziristan” – Sept, 03 Harper’s Magazine.  Don’t know if you can get it online, but a journalist snuck into Waziristan and wrote about his observations.

  16. For those in the “we’ll be using oil forever” department, I give you this little tidbit:

    In November 8, 2006, Green Star Products has announced that it has signed an agreement with De Beers Fuel Limited of South Africa to build 90 biodiesel reactors with algae as raw material. Each of the biodiesel reactors will be capable of producing 10 million gallons of biodiesel each year for a total production capacity of 900,000,000 gallons per year when operating at full capacity, which is 4 times greater than the entire U.S. output in 2006.

    The above was cut from the Wikipedia entry on Algaculture.  By my calculation, if someone in this country embarked on a similar-sized set of facilities, we could end our dependence on MidEast oil as fast as we could replace our current auto fleet with the newest diesel cars available in Europe, and make a massive dent in net carbon-dioxide emissions at the same time.  Say, 10 years worst-case.

    1. I would have made a fortune from ‘science’ experiments in my dorm fridge.

      There is a bill in the legislature, I forget the number, that provides grants to research institutions in CO to develop this kind of technology and then get it on the market.  $2.5 million limited gaming funds if I remember correctly.  $2.5 million – and we have to take it from the limited gaming – and the money isn’t a sure thing. 

      There’s another bill that calls for severance tax funds to go to volunteer firefighters tax rebates. Now, IMHO, wouldn’t it be great if CO would fund the kind of biodiesel projects you spoke about, or other similar ones, with the severance tax money coming from the extraction of the gas, oil and mineral wealth this state has.  Using fossil fuel company’s tax dollars to figure out a way to make them obsolete, that is my kind of thinking.

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