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Which country is the greatest threat

Politics-world Greatest threat 2003

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Poll: Which country is the greatest threat to world peace? (74 member(s) have cast votes)

Which country is the greatest threat to world peace?

  1. North Korea (20 votes [29.41%])

    Percentage of vote: 29.41%

  2. Iran (4 votes [5.88%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.88%

  3. Iraq (1 votes [1.47%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.47%

  4. US (32 votes [47.06%])

    Percentage of vote: 47.06%

  5. Israel (5 votes [7.35%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.35%

  6. Afghanistan (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  7. Pakistan (1 votes [1.47%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.47%

  8. Syria (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  9. Saudi Arabia (1 votes [1.47%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.47%

  10. China (4 votes [5.88%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.88%

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#21 Godeskian

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 01:58 PM

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So, I am one who is very pro-USA but I don't have any misunderstandings about how the world sees my country. I just don't agree with them.

fair enough

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Edited to add: This poll saddens me that so many here misunderstand this country and place the US ahead of NK as a threat.

It's a good thing we aren't as bad as the world (and this poll) makes us out to be. If we where, we would already have nuked half of the planet out of existance. Sheesh!!!

Actually, I wonder if it isn't a 'biggest gun' sort of deal. I mean, being dangerous and doing damage are not the same thing. If i own a loaded gun then i am a threat to the peace, even if i never use it. The US has a large arsenal, even if they enver use it, it's mere existance can be seen as a threat.

I'm not actually makiong excuses here, but merely trying to understand

Edited by Godeskian, 07 November 2003 - 01:59 PM.


#22 Lover of Purple

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 02:02 PM

Very good point Gode. Of course the problem is that the US has to maintain such an arsenal to "deter" others. I think it is a circle the US is stuck in.

All we can do is to do our best I guess. :)

#23 Ilphi

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 02:27 PM

Uncle Sid, I can't speak for the rest of Europe, but being a patriot of a country who falls under that domain I feel honour bound to speak for the defence of Britain.

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I'm sorry, but there's a point where you have to stop excusing the faulty reasoning skills of the people who answer these polls in Europe.

To be honest, most of the people in polls like this don't think about what they're choosing at all. Hating the US is just par-for-par in most of mainland Europe. It's jelously mixed with annoyance from various sources, culture creep, lack of their former power ETC. Polls like this shouldn't be taken seriously at all. If the question was "Which country makes the worst meat sandwitch?", the US would still be at the top. It's a pretty sorry state of afairs, but it's how it is.

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Honestly, I'd expect that sort of poll response from people who have a government controlled press, not people in a democracy with an ostensibly free press who have the ability to think for themselves, or so we are lead to believe.

Sadly they *dont* think for themselves :)

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What the US looks like and what it is are two different things. Now we're the big bully for beating up on the biggest bully in the Middle East, bar none.

Agreed.

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Oh, but I forgot, we wouldn't want to have the poor Europeans lose their loans and receipts from weapons sales that they so graciously negotiated with Iraq before it was a pariah... just like the US did.

Well, yeah, *everyone* sold Iraq weapons to kill Russians ;)

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Europe gets sixty years of no war out of the last fifteen hundred, and suddenly they're experts on who is a menace and who isn't.

Well, if America had been around in its present WASP dominated state since the Middle Ages instead of just 1776 I'm sure America would have been in just as many scraps ;)

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If they hadn't been in such a bloody hurry after they were done blowing themselves up to run away from their colonies after mismanaging them for centuries, we wouldn't have to deal with half of this stuff.

Okay well speaking from the point of the British Empire it was hardly running away, it was accepting where the occupying British were not wanted anymore. The British established a proper routine for removing themselves from colonies - I can explan further this point if you want - but the result was almost always a peaceful democracy. Incidents such as Malaysia were very much the exception, rather than the rule, and were quickly controlled. Today Britain's salient colonies are amoung the worlds leaders - Australia, Canada - and the lesser African colonies exist in a Democracy in the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is unique in looking after its former colonies with exclusive trade rights and the like.
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#24 Godeskian

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 02:43 PM

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If they hadn't been in such a bloody hurry after they were done blowing themselves up to run away from their colonies after mismanaging them for centuries, we wouldn't have to deal with half of this stuff.

Don't I remember reading that the US made it a condition of the UK's entry into the UN that it divest itself of all it's imperial holdings? I remember reading that somewhere.

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#25 the 'Hawk

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 03:27 PM

John Burke, on Nov 7 2003, 12:55 PM, said:

What troubles me is seeing Israel finish first.  I don't always agree with what they do, either... but at what point do we stop blaming the targets of violence for hitting back?
I don't know that it's so simple.

Israel is, really, a dangerous state right now. Sharon is unpredictable. Europe is a lot closer to Israel than we are-- to be specific, within missile range. Israel also commands support from the US in a way that Europe doesn't. Israel could, in theory, get away with whatever it wants.

I read somewhere (I think it was Gwynne Dyer who said it) that Israel is to Europe what Cuba is to the US: a tiny country with strong ties to a powerhouse that acts unpredictably on the international stage. The key difference being, Cuba doesn't have nukes. I don't know how accurate the comparison is, and offer it simply for discussion purposes.

Plus, don't forget that there are now large numbers of (how to put this without being offensive) Arabic people who have emigrated from the region, and who may have brought their contempt for Israel with them.

It doesn't surprise me that Israel gets a bad name when support for Palestinians and Israelis runs about equal. Perhaps that's harder to see in the USA, where Israel is always presented as being on the defensive.

I don't mean to rake any muck against Israel-- to be perfectly honest, I'm trying to sound neutral about the whole thing, and probably failing rapidly. To my mind, this is why the US has to take more of a leadership role and get Israel *and* Palestine back on the "road map". The Administration needs to treat Israel and Palestine equally if it's going to retain any credibility with the rest of the world. They can't give the impression that Israel is just a proxy state for the US, nor can they give the impression that everything wrong in the region is Israel's fault. It's a tricky balancing act. I don't envy having to be the one holding the scales.

:cool:
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#26 the 'Hawk

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 03:36 PM

Lover of Purple, on Nov 7 2003, 02:34 PM, said:

It's a good thing we aren't as bad as the world (and this poll) makes us out to be. If we where, we would already have nuked half of the planet out of existance. Sheesh!!!
But the poll doesn't ask quesitons about "the greatest nuclear threat". It simply asks about "the greatest threat", period.

And I'm as pro-USA as the next guy (and a lot more than most in my country), but what it comes down to for me is this. The USA has always been the country every other country wanted to be. And for the most part (if you don't count the various supportings of various dictators back and forth everywhere from Vietnam to Iraq to Korea to Indonesia to Central America to wherever else and back), the US has kept to itself. That in and of itself is threatening to some. When you're confident enough in your direction that you don't pay attention to whatever anyone else says, that in and of itself is sufficient to threaten sometimes.

It's hard to pinpoint where the exact moment of transition into this age of anti-Americanism began. I'd say after Desert Storm but fears of American dominance pre-dated that. I'd say the Cold War, but it goes back even further. Even before World War II. I'd go so far as to say 1917. Before that, fears were of what America might become one day. But now? America is what Britain once was-- the global state, the ruling power, the military strongman, the diplomatic gunboat.

What's caused this new shift back to anxiety, though, has --as far as I can tell-- been the post-9/11 atmosphere of fear in the US. When the US gets jittery about everyone else, well, then everyone else gets jittery about the US. And they have every right to--- there is not a country on this planet that can hope to compete with the US when it comes right down to it. In any meaningful way. That in and of itself is enough of a threat.

But the recent regime-change in Iraq and invasion of Afghanistan haven't been handled as tactfully as they could've been. And what was once a nameless anxiety, a silent fear of what *could* happen, has now become what could happen *tomorrow* for some countries. The appearance to most countries is that the USA --and specifically, the Bush Administration-- fumbled and made excuses to beat the crap out of Saddam's regime. Yes, it was a good idea. But it was handled poorly. (See also: Zack's post in reply to me in that other Iraq thread, Kevin's joint about Saddam's attempted negotiation.) And that's enough to push the theoretical into the practically possible.

And I think that's where this threatened feeling comes from. In a long, roundabout way. ;)

:cool:
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#27 Delvo

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 04:06 PM

I seriously don't believe that the people who said "USA" believe it. It's just too ridiculously, obviously the opposite of anything even barely resembling reality. As is often the case, people just used the poll to preach and protest whatever event/topic was on their minds lately, and Iraq is the biggest worldwide news lately in most circles, so that's what they thought of and preached against. If they were to seriously listen to the question instead of kicking into Automatic Protester Mode, and answer what they honestly believe is the world's most dangerous country, they'd admit the truth that of course they know perfectly well it can't possibly be the USA.

North Korea would be similar vote; they're making a lot of noise lately, but it's disporportionate.

And voting for Israel... well, that's a different phenomenon entirely: just plain old anti-semitism. But again, anti-semitism doesn't mean they REALLY think Israel is that dangerous. It just means they FELT like saying so as an expression of how much they hate Jews, not as an actual assessment of any country's dangerousness.

#28 StarDust

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 04:08 PM

Lover of Purple, on Nov 7 2003, 02:34 PM, said:

It's a good thing we aren't as bad as the world (and this poll) makes us out to be. If we where, we would already have nuked half of the planet out of existance. Sheesh!!!
Yes, they obviously should know better, unless they've done something to be worried about.  It's not like every country on the planet hasn't taken advantage of us at one point or another knowing we were going to take it and not doing anything.  Of course we could do something, and perhaps that is why they are worried. We are no longer inclined to 'take it'.

Reminds me of a resent 'Dilbert' newletter from this summer, it's kind of funny. But you know how fed up people have gotten when you see something like this related to a Dilbert comic.  

http://www.dilbert.c...wsletter48.html

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Osama inherited half a billion dollars. So I rule out poverty as a cause of terror. I blame rich Induhviduals, and peer pressure.

Peer pressure is the most powerful force on the planet, and we need to use it to our advantage. For example, I recommend that the Western media and politicians stop using the menacing-yet-cool phrase "Al-Qaeda" and start referring to the group as the "frickin' Induhviduals."

Like the proverbial dog chasing a car, the Induhviduals haven't considered what would happen if they caught one. For example, let's say they (the Induhviduals, not the dogs) accomplish their stated goal of destroying the economies of the Western world. Is that really a good plan for people who live in a desert and import most of their food?

Just for the record, if I'm down to my last potato, I'm not sharing it with a guy who wants to kill me so he can get a better supply of virgins in paradise. That lesson is a little thing I call Economics 101, infidel style.

For the Induhviduals, it must look as if Americans are really dumb to have the most awesome arsenal in the history of the world and still be unable to stop terror attacks. They don't realize that the way Americans look at it is that, so far, we're "really mad," but not yet "REALLY, REALLY mad." Oh, there's a difference. Americans understand that somewhere between "inconvenient air travel" and "complete breakdown of Western civilization," the "REALLY, REALLY mad" part kicks in. I won't give away what happens then, but remember you first heard the phrase "New Iowa" in the Dilbert Newsletter.

And let's stop calling the terrorist supporters "fundamentalists," because that sounds like it could be a good thing. I recommend a more descriptive label, such as "slow learners," to keep things in perspective. Then let's airdrop science and economics textbooks on their terrorist training camps with condescending notes, such as, "Maybe this will help. Call us if you have questions."

This would be a small step, in the sense that reading books about economics is only slightly better than suicide. But you have to start somewhere.

That's my plan. If you have a better one, be sure to include it in your next newsletter.


#29 Lover of Purple

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 04:27 PM

I loved that issue of the newsletter (yes, I subscribe :) ).

SD, I think you've hit the nail on the head. For so many years the US kept "turning the other cheek" but now that both cheeks are sore we have decided to put the bullies in their place. Now maybe other countries have decided they haven't got the US to kick any more. maybe much of this US Bashing is hoping to get us to back down and let them start kicking us again. ;)

Well, this American hopes that we keep doing what we are doing. :)

#30 Drew

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 04:29 PM

the'Hawk, on Nov 7 2003, 02:36 PM, said:

Lover of Purple, on Nov 7 2003, 02:34 PM, said:

It's a good thing we aren't as bad as the world (and this poll) makes us out to be. If we where, we would already have nuked half of the planet out of existance. Sheesh!!!
But the poll doesn't ask quesitons about "the greatest nuclear threat". It simply asks about "the greatest threat", period.
Actually, it says "the greatest threat to world peace," which I suspect doesn't include the very legitimate notion of peace through strength.
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#31 jon3831

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 04:43 PM

Lover of Purple, on Nov 7 2003, 02:27 PM, said:

Well, this American hopes that we keep doing what we are doing. :)
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#32 StarDust

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 04:52 PM

Lover of Purple, on Nov 7 2003, 05:27 PM, said:

I loved that issue of the newsletter (yes, I subscribe :) ).
Love Dilbert.

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SD, I think you've hit the nail on the head. For so many years the US kept "turning the other cheek" but now that both cheeks are sore we have decided to put the bullies in their place. Now maybe other countries have decided they haven't got the US to kick any more. maybe much of this US Bashing is hoping to get us to back down and let them start kicking us again. ;)
Well, it's worked in the past, and some people here seem to care if everyone doesn't love us. But they don't, and they won't, no matter what we do.  The thing is, all their whining is just annoying the rest of us.  And probably knocking a few fence sitters off the fence.

I mean, who cares if they love us or not. I certainly don't need that validation.

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Well, this American hopes that we keep doing what we are doing. :)
Me too!

#33 Kevin Street

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 06:03 PM

the'Hawk, on Nov 7 2003, 02:36 PM, said:

What's caused this new shift back to anxiety, though, has --as far as I can tell-- been the post-9/11 atmosphere of fear in the US. When the US gets jittery about everyone else, well, then everyone else gets jittery about the US. And they have every right to--- there is not a country on this planet that can hope to compete with the US when it comes right down to it. In any meaningful way. That in and of itself is enough of a threat.
Bingo. I think Hawk has nailed it. If I was a Syrian or an Iranian or a North Korean right now, I'd be flat out terrified of the USA. The rest of the world is mostly just disturbed to a greater or lesser extent, depending upon their proximity to American strategic interests. In places like Egypt and Pakistan, anti-Americanism is so widespread it's difficult for the ruling elements to stand against it (ironic, considering that anti-American fervor has been used in the past as a tool by those same regimes to distract the populace from their own problems), in Saudi Arabia they deal with Americans because they have to, but there's a huge amount of popular resentment for what they perceive as their servile position, and in much of the muslim world the US is seen as the point of the christian spear, a personification of their old theological enemy. In the "developed" world, people see the US as acting erratically and worse still, unilaterally, and that causes concern for both moral and practical reasons - because if America does want to increasingly pursue its own unilateral concerns (the "Pax Americana" so beloved by neocons), there isn't much we could do to oppose them, so we risk becoming mere adjuncts to their concerns - and if the US overextends itself and goes down, we will all go down with it.

Personally, I think that Russia is still a greater threat to world peace, since that nation is still so unstable. And the greatest threat of all doesn't coem from any single nation, but rather, all of them at once - environmental change.
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#34 Delvo

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 06:39 PM

the'Hawk, on Nov 7 2003, 02:36 PM, said:

there is not a country on this planet that can hope to compete with the US when it comes right down to it. In any meaningful way. That in and of itself is enough of a threat.
I'm reminded of one of the news reports I listed in another thread to disprove the notion that Fox News Channel is biased toward the conservative side. It was about the idea of Europe coming closer to a unified country, with a single constitution and a collective military force. I could easily say that Europe just wants to have such power in the world again and doesn't really hate or fear the USA so much as see us as being in their way of that goal. But others would probably say they only want to be able to protect themselves against the USA.

Either way, though, it's interesting that the mere fact that the USA has power to do great harm "is enough of a threat" all by itself whether or not we show any sign of planning to go around using it, but the immediate reflex reaction to the news about Europe is to say that it's not really a problem because of course the Europeans would never really do anything bad.

#35 Consubstantial

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 06:44 PM

I said US first;  I'd say Israel second.  

For the record, I do really believe it.  I have really thought about it in depth and engaged in research.  I am reasoning logically and not emotionally.  I'm old enough and have enough education that I can make those claims with confidence.

I find it revealing that so few of the people who voted US want to open themselves up to the insulting criticism of their beliefs present in this thread.  (How would the folks who are shocked at the number of US votes feel if all the US voters came to the thread and suggested that folks who didn't vote US first don't really believe that the US isn't the biggest threat or that the folks who didn't find the US threatening haven't really thought it through?)  This thread might even provide evidence that conservatives feel more free to elucidate their beliefs here than liberals.  The folks who are conservative on some issues and liberal on others must really feel caught in the middle.

It saddens me that many of the posters in this thread refuse to recognize the problems with the US.  Blind patriotism won't alleviate the mess.  True patriots recognize when their country acts wrongly and attempt to create the changes needed to improve first their country and then the world.  (That statement is not meant to suggest that any of the posters in the thread lack patriotism.  It is just meant to point out that patriotism also means thinking critically about one's government and working to correct problems that develop over time.)
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#36 Lover of Purple

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 06:56 PM

OUCH!!
[Tease mode]
Now I'm not a true patriot. I'm a blind patriot? ;) [/Tease mode]

Actually, I know the US has problems. ALL countries have problems. We are working on our problems, but everyone wants to make the world problems our fault. I think the reason so many people here want to list the US as the biggest threat is a distinct hatred of our current president. What most are failing to realize is that the world's view of this country is what makes us what we are. If the US closed up and stayed out of the world, they would hate us.

It's a fact I've seen in my nearly fifty years and it will never change.

Connie, I know you didn't mean it but it does sound like you think that ONLY the people who doubt the US are true patriots. Sorry to tease you about it. I couldn't resist. I do know what you are saying.

#37 Lord Ravensburg

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 07:16 PM

You know what, I give up.  It's things such as this that are driving me, a former liberal, straight into the conservative camp.  Has the US acted clumsily, even heavy-handedly in the diplomatic arena?  Yes.  Have we pushed our weight around militarily?  Yes.  

Have we done ANY of this without the support of dozens of other countries?

NO.  

Yet because of the impression that we act on our own, you get poll results like this.  

But wait, if there is an easily overlooked dictatorship somewhere in the world that is threatening its neighbors with the horror of a nuclear conflict, then that is somehow more palatable.  

Give me a break people!  Can you really compare the US's big steel-toed boots and heavy-handed gunboat diplomacy to North Korea flat-out threatening its neighbors with nuclear annihiliation?!

Honestly the results of this poll make me sick to the stomach.  

If the US is a threat to world peace, it's the kind of head-in-the-sand peace that appeases dictatorships and believes that endless discussion, negotiation, re-negotiation, and re-re-negotiation is preferable to any sort of concrete action... ever.  Hell, it took the Europeans years to do anything about Serbia and that was on their own damn continent!  Yes, that's certainly a peace that Chamberlain himself would be happy to endorse.  

If that's the kind of peace this poll is talking about, then you can have it.

Edited by Lord Ravensburg, 07 November 2003 - 07:16 PM.


#38 G1223

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 07:24 PM

Babylon 5 Becasue sometimes peace is another word for Surrender.




I did notice that none of the European nations are on there. I mean France and it's selling weaposn along with Germany dealing in chemicle /Bio wepaons is not as bad as america and it's isstance of making someone stand to their agreement. But as a conservative I should just shut up and let the liberals have their say as well as mine.
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#39 Bad Wolf

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 07:28 PM

So............LR, how do you *really* feel about this?  ;)

Seriously, I think that what happens in these kinds of discussions is that some equate a vote for the US in a poll like this (btw, I freely admitted that the US beat out Korea for me by a narrow margin) as some kind of statement that the US is eeeeeeeeevil.  Well I can only speak for myself, when I say that this is simply not how I feel or why I picked the US.  I picked the US because they ARE the most powerful in the world and they have, recently mind you, demonstrated the willingness to use that power to impose their will upon other nations, with or without the support of organizations like the UN.

And remember that 'threat' is about 'potential'.  And well, come on when it comes to potential, I don't think there's even a question.

Again that's just me.

Lil

Edited by Una Salus Lillius, 07 November 2003 - 07:29 PM.

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#40 Kevin Street

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 07:32 PM

Lord Ravensburg, on Nov 7 2003, 06:16 PM, said:

Give me a break people!  Can you really compare the US's big steel-toed boots and heavy-handed gunboat diplomacy to North Korea flat-out threatening its neighbors with nuclear annihiliation?!
No, we can't. But is that the question being asked?

What is "world peace" anyway? I interpreted that to mean "which country is the greatest threat to peace in the greatest number of countries, worldwide." And if you look at it that way, imo, Russia is the greatest potential threat, but the US is number two.

Why is that? Well, the USA is currently the cause of world peace. In the last fifty-odd years, it's American bombs and American guns that have deterred most of the nations in the world from fighting territorial wars. US military might has kept many countries from being erased from existence (South Korea and Taiwan come to mind), and it almost certainly kept the old Soviet Union from trying to take over the entire developed world. If America wasn't around, we'd probably be up to world war three by now.

But when that tremendous force for peace begins to act in a unilaterally agressive, erratic, and imo, irresponsible manner, it threatens all of us. So there you go.



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