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Today: Mon, July 6 2015  -  Last modified: April, 26 2007
 International Relations
22 May 2015
 
 
An odd theory but it’s ours and we like it
by Tim Worstall
 sub-topic» General

Politicians running something (the definition of course of the state running anything) are going to run it with an eye to politics. The art of getting elected is, of course, to build a large enough coalition to get elected. This does mean pandering to various constituencies: the workforce of that state run business, the unions, the capitalists (for a different flavoured coalition) and so on. That concern over getting elected rather outpaces the single minded focus upon efficiency (and if you’re cynical about capitalism, that efficiency can be in extracting profit,) that the private sector at least strives to through competition.

 more» 
18 January 2015
 
 
The Paris Shootings and Foreign Policy
by Daniel Harding
 sub-topic» General

Western foreign policy and neo-imperialism can directly be blamed for such attacks as those in Paris, because such organisations only seem to spring up when western governments decide to invade these countries, or if they are created deliberately by aiding one group against another; such as is the case with Al Qaeda, who were originally funded and trained by the US to help them fight against the Soviets when they invaded Afghanistan.

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13 January 2015
 
 
The Idealist's Dilemma: Re-Imagining International Society - Part 3
by Philip Allott
 sub-topic» General

When we give effect to the law, we may do so out of self-interest. But, in so doing, we also act as agents of the common interest of society That is the wonder and the magic of law. The unfreedom of the law can give us the freedom to lead a better life in better societies – as Rousseau so brilliantly observed.

At another time of revolutionary change – 1776 – the great Tom Paine had a charming Manichean moment. He said that society is a blessing, and government is a necessary evil.

What we call constitutionalism means using social power to transcend governmental power, using legal power to transcend legal power. That is the great principle that we call the Rule of Law. It took many centuries of thought and experience to articulate clearly the idea of constitutionalism and to place it at the heart of the good life in a good society.

 more» 
11 January 2015
 
 
The Idealist's Dilemma: Re-Imagining International Society - Part 2
by Philip Allott
 sub-topic» General

The big lie of the international world is the suppressing of an unbearable truth. The big truth that we repress is this: We have inherited a world order that is a fundamental world disorder, causing one disaster after another, shaming the humanity of the human species.

It’s a world disorder of states – those random by-products of the chaos of history, artificial amalgams of lands and tribes. It’s a world of governments, some of them no better than criminal conspiracies, still playing the games of diplomacy and war that kings and tyrants have always played.

War is savage insanity. Those are the words of the sixteenth-century Dutch philosopher Erasmus. And yet we rationalise war. We even justify war. And now we’re living at a time when a pandemic of violence is plaguing the world in religious and ethnic conflicts, causing horror and terror and squalor and misery and suffering to countless innocent human beings.

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09 January 2015
 
 
The Idealist's Dilemma: Re-Imagining International Society - Part 1
by Philip Allott
 sub-topic» General

So – the first dilemma. Should we idealists simply give up, go off and cultivate our gardens? It’s certainly tempting. Look at human history. The good done by good ideas has often been undone by bad ideas.

The high civilisations of ancient Greece and Rome were compatible with incidental barbarism. The Emperor Constantine’s legitimising of Christianity led to the politicising of a deeply unpolitical religion.

The American social ideal of the ‘city on a hill’ contains an idea of ‘exceptionalism’ which has proved anti-social in relation to the rest of the world.

Europe’s idea of its cultural superiority fuelled an imperialism in which others paid a high price to acquire its incidental benefits.

Revolutions have often been negated by reaction, sometimes replacing a bad social order with something even worse.

The ideal of self-determination opened the way for new tyrannies and corrupt oligarchies and failing states.

The ideal of freedom has produced the extreme unfreedom of modern democratic-capitalist-technocratic society.

 more» 
17 December 2014
 
 
Putin Just Made the Most Important Speech of His Career: The West Should Listen More Closely
by Alexander Mercouris
 sub-topic» General

Last Friday, Vladimir Putin delivered the single most important speech on foreign policy since he became President in 2000. Mikhail Gorbachev said he thought it was the best, and most significant speech Putin has ever made.

In it he charted a clear course for Russia, defining its place in international affairs and setting out the principles and objectives of its foreign policy.

 more» 
28 October 2014
 
 
My Tiny Cosmopolitan Apartment
Global trade made my little flat a place of international treasures
by Joseph S. Diedrich
 sub-topic» General

My apartment has only one window, but I feel like I can see the whole world. Every treasure I own is a window to a place I’ve never been and to people I’ve never met.

 more» 
06 October 2014
 
 
China is a Paper Tiger
The Hong Kong rising underscores China's fragility
by Justin Raimondo
 sub-topic» General

The Hong Kong uprising ought to underscore a fact that hasn’t yet dawned on our foreign policy geniuses in Washington, D.C.: there is no "Chinese threat." Far from posing a military challenge to the West, Beijing can’t even control one of its own major cities – and the mighty CCP is being humiliated by a 17-year-old boy! For all the predictions of its coming hegemony, the reality is that China is a paper tiger – which is exactly how Mao used to disdainfully refer to the United States. In which case the so-called "Asian pivot" – the strategic reorientation of US forces to meet the alleged "threat" from China – deserves to be re-branded the Asian Misstep.

 more» 
04 October 2014
 
 
America Needs an Enemy
by Jeff D. Opdyke
 sub-topic» General

And now comes ISIS — an insane collection of Islamic lunatics who believe an oppressive and violent caliphate should once again rule the Muslim world.

Why would America have any interest in backing such murderous thuggery? What ulterior motive would it serve?

America needs an enemy.

Our government thrives on warfare; always has. War keeps America relevant globally … and it gives government the cover it needs to curtail liberties and freedoms here at home. It gives government reason to rally the citizenry as the long-term health of the nation deteriorates.

 more» 
02 May 2014
 
 
What about the U.S. Annexation of Mexico?
by Jacob G. Hornberger
 sub-topic» General

I wonder what President Obama would respond if Russian President Putin were to say to him: “I’ll return Crimea to Ukraine if you’ll return California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Texas to Mexico.”

 more» 
29 March 2014
 
 
The Overlooked Story in Crimea
by Jeff D. Opdyke
 sub-topic» General

The American mindset, still brainwashed by Cold War hostilities, is quick to condemn anything the Russians do simply because it’s the Russians who did it. Again, I’m not implying Russia’s role in this affair is pure, and I’m not condoning Russia’s actions. Yet, we don’t condemn the Venetians for now wanting to leave Italy. We don’t condemn the Scots for wanting out of Britain. And we actually sided with what the U.S. originally labeled a terrorist organization in helping Kosovo secede from what was Yugoslavia.

We are inconsistent as a nation … and we are hypocritical. The only master America apparently serves is whichever one serves our national interest in the moment — and too often that means we act in contradictory ways that undermine American credibility at home and abroad.

 more» 
06 March 2014
 
 
Ukraine and the all-or-nothing EU
by Eamonn Butler
 sub-topic» General

Ukraine would undoubtedly gain from closer trading links with the EU, but the all-or-nothing nature of the deal would mean that the country's links to Russia and other non-EU countries would suffer, just as the UK's Commonwealth links did. And that, of course, is seen as a threat by Ukraine's large Russian-speaking population. And – never mind the political and defence implications, given the EU's close links with NATO – Russia does not want to see its trade with Ukraine cut back, any more than New Zealand did ours. So they see the future direction of Ukraine as a high-stakes game.

 more» 
04 February 2014
 
 
Who are the Bad Guys in Egypt?
by Jacob G. Hornberger
 sub-topic» General

For one thing, it’s not as though the militants targeted innocent civilians with their attack. They targeted a military helicopter, one that is owned and operated by the Egyptian military dictatorship. I thought that in war, military installations, troops, and vehicles are legitimate targets. Indeed, if revolutionaries can’t attack military targets without being called “terrorists,” then that begs the question: What targets are considered legitimate in a revolutionary war?

 more» 
21 October 2013
 
 
Want Peace? Promote Free Trade
by Julian Adorney
 sub-topic» General

Here in the United States, we talk a lot about spreading democracy. We invaded Iraq partly to “spread democracy.” A New York Times op-ed by Professor Dov Ronen of Harvard University claimed that “the United States has been waging an ideological campaign to spread democracy around the world” since 1989. One of the justifications for our international crusade is to make the world a safer place.

Perhaps we should spend a little more time spreading free trade instead. That might really lead to a more peaceful world.

 more» 
04 July 2013
 
 
Will the Real Traitors Please Stand Up
by Paul Craig Roberts
 sub-topic» General

Let’s quit calling the NSA the National Security Agency. Clearly, NSA is a threat to the security of every person in the entire world. Let’s call the NSA what it really is–the National Stasi Agency, the largest collection of Gestapo in human history. You can take for granted that every media whore, every government prostitute, every ignorant flag-waver who declares Snowden to be a traitor is either brainwashed or blackmailed. They are the protectors of NSA tyranny. They are our enemies.

The world has been growing increasingly sick of Washington for a long time. The bullying, the constant stream of lies, the gratuitous wars and destruction have destroyed the image hyped by Washington of the US as a “light unto the world.” The world sees the US as a plague upon the world.

 more» 
17 March 2013
 
 
The World is Not Billy Bob's Rib Pit
by Fred Reed
 sub-topic» General

The United States is the most hated country in the world, followed closely by Israel, and then by nobody. Wny? Why not Ecuador? China? Russia? East Timor? The hostility puzzles many Americans, who genuinely believe their country to be a force for good, a pillar of democracy, a defender of human rights.

 more» 
29 August 2012
 
 
What Africa needs is less "aid"
by Sean Gabb
 sub-topic» General

I do not support the present system of world trade. But give me a straight choice between this and the economics of the jungle that is fair trade, and I will choose the present system any day. Global corporatism may be unfair. But it does at least allow some wealth to be created. It does allow at least some rational economic calculation. Fair trade simply gives even more power to politicians and bureaucrats and favoured business interests in poor countries - that is, to the very people and interests that made and have kept these countries poor.

If you really want to improve the lives of the poorest, forget all this “kumbaya socialism” - which is a cocktail of bad economics and bad theology, accompanied by self-righteous candle-waving. Either settle for what we have - which, unfair as it is, delivers something - or campaign for a return to national and international voluntary exchange. Fair trade can never be fair. But free trade can be free.

 more»