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Tony Grist

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Staying The Course. Not [Oct. 25th, 2006|11:39 am]
Tony Grist
It has been noted that president Bush is no longer using that mantra about staying the course in Iraq. Last night I saw a clip from a news conference where a White House spokesman acknowledged this and said it was because the mantra was being "misunderstood".

Tony Blair is still saying that Britain will stand firm until the job is done- whatever that means. I guess he hasn't received his orders yet. 

It would be nice to think that Iraq was the last colonial adventure- that the Western powers will have learned  that it's no longer in their power (if indeed it ever was) to march into countries they barely understand and sort them out.

I'm not going to argue the pros and cons of Imperialism. I'm not sure I could, anyway. I have all sorts of conflicting ideas. 

The point is that that phase of human history is over. It ended fifty years ago. The Empires have been dismantled, The colonial wars have  been lost. 

It's time for the White Man to put down his self-appointed burden, sit on his hands and mind his own business.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: airstrip
2006-10-25 11:54 am (UTC)
I don't think that the war in Iraq corresponds well to imperialism or colonialism. Both systems had as their goal the exploitation of resources within a mercantilist system; not even Hong Kong (a colony de jure) really fit the description of a colony-re-colonialism after the policy of positive non-intervention.

I do agree that the entire system is largely dead; international trade has pretty much taken over because the benefits of colonization had more to do with hostilities between colonizers that disappeared with ECM and Atlantic-Pacific trade zones.
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[User Picture]From: airstrip
2006-10-25 12:02 pm (UTC)
Also, this on the same general subject.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-10-25 07:52 pm (UTC)
Maybe we don't have an entirely apposite label for the Iraq adventure. Would neo-imperialist cut the mustard?

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[User Picture]From: airstrip
2006-10-25 08:02 pm (UTC)
I think "imperialist" in the Kipling-esque mode is appropriate: it's largely a paternalistic venture intent on civilizing the savages and so forth.

"Neo-imperialism" insofar as it is related to real "cultural imperialism" is probably something along those lines: the rebuilding of nations in the image one's own and thereby extending "cultural territory" if not reaping economic rewards.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-10-25 08:26 pm (UTC)
I have some sympathy with Kipling's vision of Empire. There's a certain nobility about it. The trouble is it's no longer practical politics.
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[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2006-10-25 03:09 pm (UTC)
It's time for the White Man to put down his self-appointed burden, sit on his hands and mind his own business.

I understand the sentiment, but I'm not certain isolationism is any better than imperialism. I'm fairly certain that white man's guilt accomplishes a whole lot of nothing.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-10-25 08:07 pm (UTC)
I don't think a putting down of the White Man's Burden equates with isolationism. There are other ways- trade, diplomacy, cultural exchange- for nations to interact and have influence on one another.

I'm not really arguing from a moral position here. I don't think the 19th century empires were unequivocally bad. What I'm saying is that empire, good or bad, is no longer workable.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-10-25 08:20 pm (UTC)
It seems to me that the Bush administration has been the worst in living memory. Other administrations have committed equal or greater crimes but no other has been so singularly incompetent. Johnson killed more people than Bush has done, but would he have tolerated the debacle in New Orleans? I don't think so.
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[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2006-10-26 03:50 am (UTC)
I'll second this wholeheartedly. Mistake after mistake after mistake, coupled with a flat refusal to reconsider a tactical or ideological position when circumstance demands it. I wish I could fathom what the Bush Administration is thinking, but whether through incompetance, corruption, or a combination of both, it's easily the worst Presidency I've had the misfortune to live through.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-10-26 08:25 am (UTC)
They're a bunch of ideologues who won't listen to advice, fronted by a man who simply isn't up to the job.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2006-10-25 08:23 pm (UTC)
I am still mad at him because he stubbornly refuses to say "nuclear," not "nucular."

And for other reasons.

BTW, Tony, I got this (here's a portion of it) in a spam email and thought of you--didn't you get something like this last year?

"bingley before, expressed to her sister just how very much she admired him.by mrs. hurst and miss bingley they were noticed only by a curtsey; and, on their being seated,
"i do, i do like him," she replied, with tears in her eyes, "i love him. indeed he has no improper
elizabeth had the satisfaction of seeing her father taking pains to get acquainted with him; andcertain she could never bestow a favour unworthily. it was really a very handsome thought. upon the...."


Actually, it went on and on.

Why do people do this? Do they think we are going to correspond with them because they like good literature? There's nothing to buy...

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[User Picture]From: red_girl_42
2006-10-25 10:22 pm (UTC)
I am still mad at him because he stubbornly refuses to say "nuclear," not "nucular."

That is the only crime for which I support the death penalty.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2006-10-26 11:23 am (UTC)
I think he's doing it on purpose. Nobody's that dumb.

Thirty seconds of practice would correct it.

He's a stubborn old monkey.

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[User Picture]From: red_girl_42
2006-10-26 04:57 pm (UTC)
I wonder if maybe it's part of some attempt to appeal to "the common man" or something.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-10-26 08:29 am (UTC)
I regularly get emails like this. The one I drew attention to was a hunk of chopped up Kipling. Normally the literary mincemeat comes attached to some unsolicited offer that's too good to refuse and serves, I suppose, as a kind of camoflauge for fooling spam detectors. Why anyone should send such stuff out by itself is beyond me.
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From: mrshannibal
2006-10-25 09:43 pm (UTC)
It has been noted that president Bush is no longer using that mantra about staying the course in Iraq. Last night I saw a clip from a news conference where a White House spokesman acknowledged this and said it was because the mantra was being "misunderstood".

misunderstood as what?
was that supposed to mean something?

i'm just glad he stopped using it...
or will he really?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-10-25 10:31 pm (UTC)
"misunderstood as what"?

Your guess is as good as mine.

The Bush administration is trying desperately hard to put a positive spin on what is increasingly coming to look like the defeat of their project in Iraq.
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From: mrshannibal
2006-10-25 10:46 pm (UTC)
indeed it is a defeat...

what makes the white house think this was an ok thing to have happened for so long?
i mean - why was this allowed to continue?

i just have too many questions and they boggle my mind...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-10-26 08:32 am (UTC)
I think they've been hoping against hope that something would turn up. After all, no government wants to be held responsible for a military defeat.

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From: mrshannibal
2006-10-26 01:41 pm (UTC)
and he claims to be "doing his job"? and we, as a nation, should let him "do his job"?

and just exactly what "job" is that?

after awhile i thought clinton as president was a joke, but bush goes beyond being ridiculous...it makes me wonder if he hears the words that come out of his mouth...

it's frightening to think that this "conflict" could go on and on...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-10-26 02:29 pm (UTC)
It won't go on and on. The fact that Bush is changing his tune means that he's preparing the world for a change of policy.

Remember Vietnam? America wasn't going to back away from that one either- but it did.
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From: mrshannibal
2006-10-26 03:00 pm (UTC)
i like that...
12-18 months or so until iraqi forces can take responsibility...

that was said awhile ago...

would you give it longer?

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-10-26 07:11 pm (UTC)
I think Iraq is descending into civil war. I think the likely outcome is that the country will be partioned along ethnic and religious lines -rather as happened with the former Yugoslavia. I don't thing it will make much difference whether Coalition forces get out next week or stay for another year and a half.
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From: mrshannibal
2006-10-26 09:23 pm (UTC)
i couldn't agree w/you more on this...
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[User Picture]From: methodius
2006-10-26 03:41 am (UTC)
I'm sure people in Western Europe thought the empire phase of human history was over in AD 410 (Rome's equivalent of 9/11).

But who learns anything from history?

The Americans should have learned just a little bit from the failure of the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, which was within living memory, but they didn't.

As long as humanity endures, fools will continue to rush in...

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-10-26 08:34 am (UTC)
Afghanistan has been resisting foreign invaders since forever. It might have helped if Bush and Rumsfeld had read their Kipling.



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