MISPLACED AGGRESSION

(Welcome back.)

I try not to think about 2002 and 2003. America was a truly awful thing to see while it was pregaming the Iraq War. Watching the American public, desperate as it was to lash out incoherently in post-9/11 rage, swallow one tablespoon of horseshit after another as the previous administration engaged in the greatest marketing campaign in history was not pleasant. It was a real reminder – not a Teabagger's "Obama = Hitler" reminder – of how thin the line between American-style democracy and fascism really is.

For me, one of the most frustrating things about the argument for war in Iraq was that it was transparently ludicrous (even if believable to the average Hannity fan) when applied to Iraq but entirely accurate regarding another threat in which the Bush folks had no interest: North Korea. I am not exactly a neocon. My AEI membership application would likely be rejected. But if ever there was a logical, persuasive argument to be made for "regime change", North Korea would be it. Still is, in fact.

Consider everything we were expected to believe about Iraq apply it to North Korea. Secret plan to develop nuclear weapons? Iraq never got off the drawing board while North Korea developed an elaborate underground program that has produced functioning warheads. Unpredictable, dangerous dictator? Check. Human rights abuses? It's doubtful that anyone can match North Korea on that account. Proliferation risk? Iraq had nothing to proliferate except imaginary WMDs to sell to imaginary Hussein-friendly jihadists while North Korea has peddled its nuclear technology to Iran, Syria, and anyone else with hard currency. Destabilizing to the region? Iraq was largely irrelevant on the global stage while NK is a geopolitical powder keg. Threat to our interests and allies? Well, Iraq could lob some 70s-vintage Scud missiles with conventional warheads at Israel; NK can deliver a nuclear warhead to Japan or Seoul. Belligerent aggression in international affairs? Check.

Since the Iraq storyline was actually true regarding North Korea, why didn't it interest the Bush administration? We can only speculate. Take your pick: Lack of plausible connections to terrorism. Overriding desire to establish an American puppet state in the Middle East. Lack of, um, "resources of strategic value." Military preferences (North Korea's military, although horribly trained with antiquated equipment, is very large and considered highly fanatical; Iraq's numbnuts military would prove far easier to pound into oblivion). Unacceptable risk to allies, namely South Korea and Japan. Pissing off China. And so on.

Whatever the reasons, North Korea has only gotten crazier and more dangerous in the interim, and the president who prided himself as the great protector of American interests merely punted the issue to his successor. The bizarre North Korean leadership seems intent on A) provoking war or B) provoking concessions without realizing that it is actually provoking war. On the Sunday morning circuit, John McCain noted that China's coddling (or at least blind-eye-turning) toward its backward neighbor is the primary problem in the region. He implies, and it is hard to disagree, that South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. would gladly turn NK into a charred bomb crater if not for fear of Chinese retaliation.

This raises two very interesting questions, in my opinion:

1. Why is China willing to ignore or even actively condone North Korea's dangerous, unpredictable behavior?
2. What does South Korea actually want out of this situation?

As odd as it seems, South Korea and China may be acting based on a shared interest in maintaining the status quo. Why? Let's just say China does not relish the thought of a North Korean collapse followed by hundreds of thousands of refugees swarming across the Yalu. Similarly, South Korea recoils at the prospect of a sudden reunification (or proxy thereof) making its government and society responsible for millions of homeless, impoverished, brainwashed, and unskilled ex-Communists looking for handouts.

Although it is implausible, the preferred outcome appears to be a stable if somewhat hostile North Korea. There is little doubt that American, Japanese, and South Korean military power could eliminate the government and military infrastructure of North Korea if desired. But who desires it? We don't want to spend the money or manpower on another war. South Korea doesn't want to be forced to fill a North Korean power vacuum or face the prospect of China doing so in the wake of a war. China wants as little to do with North Korean affairs as possible and needs a million refugees like it needs an asshole on its elbow.

So. Where does this situation go from here? If I was better at game theory I would try to describe the bizarre equilibrium that the players have reached on the Korean peninsula over the past 30 years and hazard a guess at what happens if North Korea continues to upset it. As it stands, though, I know nothing beyond the obvious facts that nothing good is going to come of this situation and that South Korea's political leadership can only take so much provocation without responding.

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39 Responses to “MISPLACED AGGRESSION”

  1. HoosierPoli Says:

    I think South Korea wouldn't reunify with NK even if handed the opportunity, and it would be wise to avoid doing so. East and West Germany are still uneasy with each other 20 years later, and there was far less ambivalence about that reunion.

    Funny that the Bush Administration would avoid going to war because it would be geopolitically counterproductive. But as even his dramatically self-serving memoirs make clear, the decision to go to war was fact-free and entirely emotional.

  2. DocAmazing Says:

    A modest proposal: Have Seoul negotioate with Pyongyang to move the DMZ one kilometer north each year, absorbing the people that it comes across with each expansion. Gradual reunification, and the new Sweet Leader (with 23% fewer calories!) need not alert his people to it, as it happens without fanfare.

    Or you could just let Sun Myung Moon put the whammy on 'em.

  3. Hazy Davy Says:

    We are the party generation.

    In the workplace, we often hear "People want to buy, but they don't want to be sold to." Maybe that doesn't really apply when it comes to world politics…the masses want to be sold to, so they don't have to think about it. It's not intellectual laziness, it's fear: the fear of being wrong, or of realizing that every path has downsides. That's why people ate up the bs campaign about Iraq.

    Would a campaign have been effective against NK? Honestly, I suspect it would. It would have been a different campaign, of course. And the administration wouldn't have had the simple "Middle-Easterners hurt us on 9/11, and Iraq is led by an evil Middle-Easterner" bait-and-switch. But people love a scapegoat, and I think we could have made a convincing case against KJI.

    As you say, the mystery is what China gets out of this. Maybe they have a decoy to consume resources of other geopowers. And they know they could destroy NK if they needed to.

  4. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    Waging a war of aggression is a war crime, regardless if it is against North Korea or Iraq. The reason why there is no "left" in America is because self-styled "leftists" can't break with militarism and American Exceptionalism. There is a long, detailed history as to why North Korea has nuclear weapons today. Unlike the US, they haven't used such weapons against civilians. Should someone invade the US?

    North Korea's history is incredibly complex and until the last twenty years or so much of what is known about it in the west was flat out wrong. Instead of taking this history into account, the supposedly "reality based" liberals just go along with the "Kim Jong Il is SOOOOOO crazy" routine that the conservatives use. In fact many liberals, in this same fashion, unwittingly handed the conservatives a case for war on Iraq with lines like, "well nobody is disagreeing that Saddam is a terrible dictator…" Yes, he was, but WHO helped him into power?

  5. Doug M. Says:

    Couple of points.

    One, South Korea's elites have studied the German example very carefully. They're not stupid, and they're aware of the various downsides to reunification. Plans are in place, and are regularly revised. Whether they're good plans, and will work, is a separate question — but the whole "reunification with impoverished brainwashed North Koreans would be a disaster", well, they know that and they're past it.

    Two, Seoul is North Korea's hostage. Ten million people live in a very dense urban area within easy rocket and artillery range of the border. By way of rough comparison, imagine that North Korea was in New Jersey, with targets pre-selected all up and down Manhattan. Even with rapid and massive suppression of North Korean attack sites, some shells and rockets would still land right in the middle of Seoul — a city that's basically a densely packed solid mass of high-rise office buildings and apartments. Even if the South Koreans launch a successful surprise attack and advance rapidly, civilian casualties would certainly be in the thousands and very probably in the tens of thousands. and the economic damage would be a significant chunk of South Korea's GDP.

    This doesn't make war impossible, but it does make aggressive war from the South Korean side a lot less likely — they'd have to attack with massive force, fight a war to the finish, and be willing to accept very large numbers of civilian casualties and (very probably) massive destruction in their capital.

    Doug M.

  6. nanute Says:

    @Doug M, And the trump card is: How would China react to an "invasion" by the South?

  7. Fifth Dentist Says:

    @ Hazy Davy
    "Would a campaign have been effective against NK? Honestly, I suspect it would. It would have been a different campaign, of course. And the administration wouldn't have had the simple "Middle-Easterners hurt us on 9/11, and Iraq is led by an evil Middle-Easterner" bait-and-switch. But people love a scapegoat, and I think we could have made a convincing case against KJI."

  8. Fifth Dentist Says:

    Part of my comment above didn't post:

    “Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” — Hermann Goering

  9. Hawes Says:

    The key is a "stable" North Korea. I don't think there is any definition of stable that applies to PRK, and that includes geological.

    When power transfered from Kim Il Sung to Pocket Satan, there was a bunch of belligerence and nonsense from the North. Same thing is happening now, but the PRK is capable of really high level mischief. Atomic mischief.

    And from WikiLeaks, we can see that even China is sick of Pocket Satan's shit. At some point, the Kims will do what all megalomaniacal dictators do: They will overplay their hand.

  10. anotherbozo Says:

    "…how thin the line between American-style democracy and fascism really is."

    the reason I like reading G&T: to hear repeated what needs repeating.

    "…needs a million refugees like it needs an asshole on its elbow."

    the reason I enjoy reading G&T: the turns of phrase.

  11. bb in GA Says:

    "…how thin the line between American-style democracy and fascism really is."

    I know Dave likes to do the Top 10 thing, but owing to the fact that we have a wide spectrum of Leftist thought here, can a few of y'all give a Top 5 things that we should do/be that would move us a few notches away from "fascism" (We have had discussions before on exactly what is meant by that term – so a working definition from you might be attached)

    //bb

  12. Jon Says:

    http://www.stratfor.com/memberships/176679/sitrep/20101127_russia_north_korea_prepares_war_expats_recalled

  13. ladiesbane Says:

    I think you were farther from the mark with "a shared interest in maintaining the status quo" and closer with "bizarre equilibrium." Until China faces material threat from N. Korea, letting it draw fire (and absorb the attention of S. Korea and Japan) is fine. China is also more patient. China also doesn't rush to spend resources where no gain is apparent. China also has no interest in deposing one maniac and replacing him with their own puppet (particularly when both nations are still nominally Communist), or creating a chaotic power vacuum — a lesson we should have learned a long time ago.

    We may have interposed ourselves in the Middle East, but the problems of Asia can only be solved by Asians. Has anyone here played Risk? Hole up in Oceania for an impasse, hold North and South Americas for the win, try to crawl up the Kamchatka Peninsula and lose a war of attrition. Never start a war in Asia, from either end of the continent.

    We should be thinking about places like Africa. China is raping the continent at bargain-basement prices, replacing colonialism with commercialism, and blithely ignoring rather than exalting the Workers at that end — while getting cheap raw materials for their factories, and for their arms trade. (China is the big winner at Capitalism.)

    And when we discuss Democracy versus Facism, I agree that we should define our terms. I can easily see a Democratically elected leader who espouses a Facistic philosophy: authoritarian control of social behavior rather than liberty of person; ultra-nationalism rather than patriotism; State attitude of division rather than unity, discriminating against a designated set of Other among the populace; definition of dissent as treason; utter negation of anything that questions authority; and so forth. Economic principles and class divisions are no longer relevant to a definition of Fascism — Classism is a separate problem. But if we have (crypto-)Fascists in office, we elected them, right?

  14. Monkey Business Says:

    For the moment, the North Korea status quo remains stable. That will remain the case until North Korea, and North Korea alone, does something to change it. At some point, NK will become indefensible to China, whose desire to join the global community as a major power will outweigh their desire to keep North Korea from blowing themselves or someone else up. Really, China has 1.3 billion people. They could absorb all 23 million North Koreans without breaking a sweat, much less refugees.

    My bet is that a giant American aircraft carrier sitting off the coast is going to be too big a target to ignore. North Korea will fire a missile at it, and that'll be that. Within 6 months, North Korea will be undergoing it's own regime change, and South Korea will be looking at unification.

  15. Xynzee Says:

    "Hans, you're bustin my balls! There are no weapons of mass destwuction!" — sorry had to be said.

    At bb, always good to have someone to stir up some counter arguments.
    I tend to think of fascism from the economic model where the Govt 'hos the labour Market to the lowest bidders. The workers can neither protest nor organise to do something about it, as these rights have been taken from them. If they do the Govt steps in w both law, police and the military. The start of the modern fascism movement was under… … Reagan with the air traffic controllers strikes (if memory serves it was the first real thing he did in Office). This was followed by Thatcher and recently by Howard in Aust. In the conservative frame work this kind of regulatory intervention is the *only* acceptable kind for the Govt to perform and is often encouraged. However, at least under Hitler, ppl were thrown some bones eg a car. I think he was all for National Health (provided you were already healthy) as a healthy work force = a productive work force. That's only part of the definition of fascism, but it's accurate to the current labour conditions in the US.

    BTW– I was surprised that you failed to notice that the recent election was the 30th anniversary of the father of the American Fascist movement to the Presidency.

  16. jazzbumpa Says:

    @ bb

    OK. I'll take the bait. But first, I'll remind you that there is essentially NO leftist thought in the U.S. these days. For decades, the political debate has been between the right and the far right. Only thus can a centrist conservative like B. Hoover Obama be described as some sort of raving leftist commie socialist.

    It sometimes amuses me to see the world in cartoon images. As such, Fascism is the devil sitting on democracies right shoulder, always tempting her down the road to serfdom. Imagine a demonic Donald Duck perched on the statue of Liberty.

    Fascism is fundamentally control of the government by business interests – essentially the inverse of socialism – along with control of people's minds by a combination of religious and patriotic – no, make that NATIONALISTIC – jingoistic drum beating. Ladiesbane, above, has a pretty good sad litany of characteristics.

    Since corporations have no soul, they are totally immune to any feelings of conscience or sympathy as the population becomes impoverished, and the corporate overlords grow ever richer. Since government is the only entity large and powerful enough to provide a counterbalance to big business, when business controls government, the people get fucked hard.

    The top five things to move away from fascism, obviously have to do with getting business out of government, and un-brainwashing the population. (as they occur to me – not rank ordered)

    a) Reverse the appalling Citizens United decision: corporations – and most especially trans-nationals who are loyal to nobody – are not people and we give them quasi-human rights at our peril.

    b) Real election reform. I don't have a formula, but multi-million dollar elections are a distortion of democracy that invites corporate control.

    c) The right almost exclusively owns the airwaves. There are enormous stretches of countryside where the only am talk you can get is Rush, Sean, the idiot Beck. Somehow restoring parity in the exposure to ideas.

    d) Education: Americans are staggeringly ignorant of history, and knowledge of how government works, and methods of rational discourse and critical thinking. Fascists, conservatives, and religionists hate education. They want a population trained only well enough to operate machinery and follow orders – not well enough to engage in free thought.

    e) Big business loves monopolies and hates free enterprise. Bring back real entrepreneurial capitalism. This means prohibiting mergers that eliminate competition, breaking up any too-big-too-fail organization.

    And, at no extra charge:

    f) Instituting tax policies that are genuinely progressive and loophole resistant to reverse and impede the flow of wealth into the hands of the mega-rich.

    Anyone else?

    Cheers!
    JzB

  17. displaced Capitalist Says:

    Well, between what Ed said

    I am not exactly a neocon. My AEI membership application would likely be rejected. But if ever there was a logical, persuasive argument to be made for "regime change", North Korea would be it.

    and what Aslan said

    …the supposedly "reality based" liberals just go along with the "Kim Jong Il is SOOOOOO crazy" routine that the conservatives use.

    It makes me wonder how much the wool has been pulled over our eyes. I'm sure many of us here have seen that satelite map of the Korean peninsula with the north half completely dark. But who provided that map? How do we even now that NK is a threat except from the government? What if it's all a lie?

    WHAT IF THERE IS NO KOREA!? Of course, then it begs the question, who makes all those adorable kpop songs? Also, this. If that's South Korea, then I don't want any North. :p

  18. bb in GA Says:

    JzB

    No bait. I really want to know some of the positions of whatever Leftists that are left :-) Y'all don't have to do all the work, recommended reading is jes fine by me.

    Thanks,

    //bb

  19. displaced Capitalist Says:

    JzB, wait, are you saying that Fascist Italy or Nazi Germany were run by corporations? What about the autocrats at the top? Were they beholden to the corporations?

  20. jazzbumpa Says:

    displaced Capitalist –

    Yup. I got it from Mussolini himself:

    Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.
    Benito Mussolini

    Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.
    Benito Mussolini

    Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity, quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace.
    Benito Mussolini

    http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/b/benito_mussolini.html

    This highlights the other characteristic of fascism – that it degenerates nationalism into an excessively warlike stance. Comparing W to fascists was not so over-the-top as his supporters would have the rest of us believe. It's no coincidence that his grandfather made a fortune bankrolling the Nazis.

    And BTW – American industrialists in the 30's were in LOVE with the Nazis, and fervently hoped for an American version of fascism.

    http://dissidentvoice.org/Articles9/Skog_War-Profiteers.htm

    And now they're getting it.

    WASF,
    JzB

  21. Hobbes Says:

    @bb – I'm procrastinating, which means you only get two suggestions, because then I have to GBTW.

    Fascism is an authoritarian nationalist political ideology, according to Wikipedia. Other various definitions I'm finding agree with the authoritarian part if not the nationalist, emphasizing strict controls on socioeconomic factors. Democracy, in contrast, is government by the people, rather than by a removed authority figure. Our representative democracy, being the only democratic government practical given our large population, is somewhere in between – we choose our authorities, and if we don't like them, we get to pick different ones.

    1. Education. And none of this NCLB bullshit – take a look at how Finland and other top-performing educational systems are doing it, and copy them. And then increase the amount of R&D being done on making it even better so that we can become educational leaders again.

    2. Election finance reform. The Europeans want to know why an economically failing country keeps electing millionaires to rule us who clearly aren't going to change anything because for them, nothing's wrong. But the rich are the ones who can not only get their message out, they can drown out the Russ Feingolds who only take money from private citizens and constituents and write their campaign promises on their garage doors.

  22. Elder Futhark Says:

    The problem with a game theoretic approach is a) identifying the correct players, and b) knowing which game they are playing. As the wonderful R.W. Hamming used to say, many a theoretician has produced the right answer with the wrong equation, or even the wrong model. What game are we playing here? I would hazard that the game is called Keep Your Goddamned Dog Off My Lawn, with North Korea as the dog. Worthwhile perspective there, and rather an enviable position for NK. Shit on the neighbor's lawn all you want, tear up the garbage bags, and all with only a minimal chance of punishment. Meanwhile, the passive/aggressive game between the neighbors stays within a limited (chaos theory) orbit of semi-stable equilibria – all never truly static, and yet the etendue (the measure of flux, or spread) of all possible orbits is actually quite limited.

    The closest mathematical model would be competition/cooperation networks found in unicellular consortia (like the microbial community eating up the Titanic) with semi-random influx of resource materials. Theoretically, it could continue forever.

  23. displaced Capitalist Says:

    well that's interesting. . . I learn something new every day, thanks JzB!

  24. Da Moose Says:

    All systems seek stasis while also seeking disorder. The more disordered a system becomes, the closer it gets to stasis. The deeper a system goes into stasis, the closer it gets to disorder. So, based upon this measure and if one were to assume that the political situation on the penninsula over the past 60 years was a static one, then it is likely, based upon the advent of recent abnormal events, that this particular stasis is heading towards absolute disorder in the near future. As to what all the actors in this tragedy want, that is up for debate. I think it is safe to say, however, that everyone wishes that N. Korea would just go away at this point. Being that that is not an option, I also think that it is safe to say that no one, even the North, wants a war.

  25. Major Kong Says:

    In addition to not wanting to deal with the refugee crisis resulting from a collapse of the DPRK, China also does not want an American ally on their border.

    As frustrated as they are with North Korea, China likes having them there as a buffer.

    It's also worth noting that the Pentagon thinks a collapse of the DPRK is probably more likely, and only slightly less messy, than a major conflict.

  26. BillCinSD Says:

    There are quite a few flavors of fascism and no set defining principles that are universally agreed upon.

    A decent place to find the majority view would be Lawrence Britt's "The 14 Characteristics if Fascism" http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/fasci14chars.html

    and Umberto Eco's 14 Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt http://www.themodernword.com/eco/eco_blackshirt.html

    Robert O. Paxton wrote a good book on fascism http://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Fascism-Robert-Paxton/dp/1400033918

    According to Paxton, there are three quick questions that let you know you've crossed that fail-safe line beyond which an emerging fascist regime has too much power to be stopped:

    1. Are [neo- or protofascisms] becoming rooted as parties that represent major interests and feelings and wield major influence on the political scene?

    2. Is the economic or constitutional system in a state of blockage apparently insoluble by existing authorities?

    3. Is a rapid political mobilization threatening to escape the control of traditional elites, to the point where they would be tempted to look for tough helpers in order to stay in charge?

    JazzBumpa hits some answers to roll back the tide of fascism, but much depends onthe specific form of fascism that is occurrig.

  27. Southern Beale Says:

    Dude, there's no oil in North Korea. Why the hell would the Bushies want regime change there?

  28. SaminMpls Says:

    I think you are spot on. China wants to maintain the current strategic situation.

    Three of China's four most important trading partners are South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, right? The EU and South America are getting there but in terms of their importance to China's national interest but for now it is still those three and us. The most cost effective way for China to that is to be the only thing that is protecting North Korea from the certain degradation, humiliation and suffering that accompanies attrition warfare. The North doesn't have the food security to weather a total embargo. They do have the military capacity (and a big ass hydroelectric dam set to explode and flood the region) and would certainly cripple South Korea's economy for at least what, a decade?

    My honest guess:

    With an EOI economy, a "democracy" like South Korea *might* have a relatively easy time militarizing for a long war or extended crisis and be able leverage its economic and political relationships to secure credit and military aid as well as enlist allies to bandwagon against aggressors. Since that still leaves them vulnerable to a proxy attack their primary preference when forming or acting in an alliance would be to avoid playing the role of the nail rather than to maneuver into holding the hammer.

    Since Taiwan and Japan are in a similar boat as regards China, it makes sense to let North Korea practice this warped form of rent-seeking because (other than the damage to South Korea and its citizens) the costs are being paid by China. So, unless China changes its strategy or underestimates the rationality and judgment of whoever it is in the North that is choosing these minor targets, South Korea and the US won't feel obligated to deliver a proportionate response.

    Situations like these are why the Flying Spaghetti Monster created secular humanism. Pay no heed to fundamentalists on both sides of the pirate issue. Orthodoxy may assert that piracy is universally applicable and innate to all of humanity. Reformers might claim it is simply an unhealthy lifestyle choice to be eradicated. Pirates have their uses but this situation doesn't call for the North Koreans to be introduced to our killer robots; they deserve the ultimate punishment for this sort of belligerence: Jimmy Carter

    Only history's greatest monster, a veritable peace criminal, can diffuse this situation. His folksy demeanor and utter lack of still-relevant political vulnerabilities will insure that public apathy will win out and with it the preferred status quo of elites on all sides.

  29. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    Ok, pirates and robots are not funny anymore. Hell they weren't even funny five to six years ago when people on the internet first started taking that meme to extremes. Chuck Norris jokes suck too, and always sucked.

  30. displaced Capitalist Says:

    @BillCinSD: Thanks! Let it not be said that commenters are st00pid or trolls, (or both).

    (Well, they usually are… Especially on Yahoo!)

  31. Georgia Jeff Says:

    "…how thin the line between American-style democracy and fascism really is. "

    It is interesting how this thread has woven its way through the entire world…Korea, China, Italy, Germany, and of course the evil United States. Bashing the U.S. seems to be a fairly frequent and pile-on sport in G&T. Not that the U.S. government doesn't deserve criticism. It certainly does. But at least in this case, the line that seems to be thin is in the entire human condition, and certainly not a purely American problem.

    The line is the line between human compassion and dignity into savagery. Whether its is the sterilized savagery of exterminating people using drones, flown remotely by video-game-playing American teenagers in Tampa, or the more up-close and personal style of the Rwanda genocide of chopping people up with machetes.

    I think hitting the 'nail on the head', when discussing Fascism, is the point where any corporation, group, or individual assumes the right to rob an individual of their personal life, liberty, and dignity. It is the individual that matters. It is individual people that are enslaved or butchered or nurtured.

  32. jazzbumpa Says:

    @ Georgia Jeff –

    Bashing the U.S.? WTF??!??

    Care to point out an example or two?

    Cheers!
    JzB

  33. jazzbumpa Says:

    @ BillCinSD

    Thanks for the links.

    I looked at the lists and find them wholly consistent with my view of fascism. I disagree that there are quite a few flavors of fascism and no set defining principles. The two list are conceptually very similar.

    When you get down to applying it in a specific country there will be differences in order to accommodate local culture and societal norms. But these are nuances.

    Cheers!

  34. Georgia Jeff Says:

    Example 1-'America was a truly awful thing to see while it was pregaming the Iraq War. Watching the American public, desperate as it was to lash out incoherently in post-9/11 rage, swallow one tablespoon of horseshit after another as the previous administration engaged in the greatest marketing campaign in history was not pleasant.'

    This is a statement that I think is an unfair characterization of the American public. I was in New york at the time of the 911 attacks. New York was in mourning. It was not in a rage. It was subdued.

    The American public, in general, did not 'swallow one tablespoon of horseshit after another'. We simply had to make the best personal decisions we could with the information that was given to us by a manipulated informational media. It is no easy task for even the most intelligent person to discern real truth from what a corporate-driven media presents as fact. I guess we could have just sat around with our collective thumbs in our asses and shrugged off the death of 3000 civilians…And no…attacking Iraq was not part of the solution. It was stupid at best. And it wouldn't be the first time a country was led down a primrose path by pompous assholes to their deaths. In fact I can't think of a single war where that couldn't be said.

    Example 2-'There is a long, detailed history as to why North Korea has nuclear weapons today. Unlike the US, they haven't used such weapons against civilians.'

    They haven't used nukes YET. Maybe the deterrence of knowing what happened to Japan is effective. But then again, their jihadist customers would certainly do so. So what if it is a North Korean nuke right? It would serve the U.S right to have a few hundred thousand civilians killed? Aslans point is what…that the North Korean government is some paragon of human compassion? There are roughly 200,000 civilian deaths attributed to the atom bombs dropped by the United States. North Korean defectors speak of the starvation of millions of North Koreans at the hands of their benevelent leadership.

    I really enjoy this site. And I share it with many. Thank you Ed. But as I have said in my earlier post, these are global human problems, not singularly American ones. I am calling it as I see it. There is plenty of critical fodder for this site from any corner of the world. America is no 'Great Satan'. America simply suffers from the same human follies as the rest of the world. As an example, for my money, Canada seems like one of the most civil and caring cultures I have ever seen. I love my Canadian friends. Love them. And I have travelled the world. But the fact is that most Canadians admit that they are able to survive and thrive in their social context safely under a very strong American nuclear umbrella. And they are at this moment actively hunting down and killing Muslims.

    Be intellectually honest and 'spead the wealth around'. The wealth of Misplaced Agression. Its everywhere. And spare me the posit that the U.S. doesn't get more than its share of criticism. It does. It's too easy.

  35. Georgia Jeff Says:

    @jazzbumpa-The Lists -Fascism

    Did you notice that in most, if not every case, of the fascism list items, it was an act of agression by a collective power against some level of individual liberty?

  36. Ed Says:

    Well thank god we have modern American conservatism to safeguard our individual liberties.

  37. tones Says:

    Saddam had a mural of George bush sr in fromt of the entrance to the palace [hotel?] so you had to walk on his face to enter the building.
    If I recall correctly that was the very first bomb dropped.

    Family revenge / resentment / humiliation = reason for war in the Bush crime family…no other reason needed.

  38. Georgia Jeff Says:

    @Ed

    I wish I could more accurately relate my thoughts in this. I don't think for one minute that 'modern American conservsatism' is interested in safeguarding our individual liberties. Sean Hannity gives me the creeps.The reason I am concerned about them is I am simply scared shitless of Washington D.C. in a truly non-partisan way.

  39. jazzbumpa Says:

    @ Jeff 11/30 4:09 –

    Those aren't examples of America bashing. They are harsh but very realistic assessments of actual happenings.

    1) BushCo ginned up an illegal, clearly immoral war that cannot be justified on any basis. We were ruled by war criminals for 8 years.

    2) Hiroshima. Nagasaki. End of story.

    Sorry about being 3 days late. Life, the universe, and everything . . .

    Cheers!
    JzB