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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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#41 Lord Ravensburg

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 07:55 PM

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

To accurately convey that I would need a Klingon dictionary.   :)

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(Kevin) 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.

I might agree with you if we had actually acted unilaterally.

Either way I think it's best if I stepped out of this discussion, it's too close to my heart.

#42 Dev F

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 08:12 PM

My humble opinion: I feel like people are arguing over subtleties when gross truths are staring them in the face...

Whether the U.S. has behaved inappropriately in world affairs is certainly open to debate. But unless you honestly believe that the United States might, in the not-so-distant future, sell nuclear weapons to terrorists, thus ushering in a period of mass destruction and crippling fear such as the world has never seen, I don't see how you can seriously argue that the U.S. is a greater threat to world peace than a country like North Korea.

#43 Bad Wolf

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 08:14 PM

^

You are certainly entitled to that point of view.
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#44 tennyson

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 08:26 PM

or that the US has been acting with other nations in both Afghanistan and Iraq. In Afghanistan article Five of the North Atlantic Treaty was invoked for the first time in its history and if going with full NATO approval isn't multilateral I don't know what is. There are Germans, Turks, Thais, Brits, Australians, the Dutch and others from the NATO nations on the ground in Afghanistan as well as the dozens of nations that I've listed multiple times in Iraq as well as the multilateral six nation solution that the US is trying to be part of now with North Korea.
This level of support these actions have recieved does not support  the idea of the US is some rogue nation-state, destroying at its whim that seems to be bandied about as a rhetorical device.
I'm definitely not in agreement with all the policies of the current administration and I think better more multifaceted solutions to problems like terrorism exist that should recieve just as many rescources but it is a far cry from honest disagreement into the kind of hateful invective that seems to have informed the original survey.
By the way if we are talking about potential damage to the world Russia actually has significantly more nuclear weapons and uncompleted bomb cores laying around than the US, more than 100,000 by my estimate if they've been destroying them at the rate they said in an early 1990s Popular Science.
This vs, the US's buying of hundreds of poundds of weapons grade material from Kazhkstan in the late 1990s to prevent it from being stolen from its low security facilities as well as reducing its own arsenals as fast as possible as well as providing money for the Russians to do the same.
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#45 the 'Hawk

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 08:28 PM

Delvo, on Nov 7 2003, 07:39 PM, said:

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.
I'm very tempted to say that this is human nature writ large.

I mean, there's been plenty of times when I've walked into, say, a bar, and seen a very muscular looking guy sitting at the other end of the bar, and said to myself, "okay, if anything happens, don't piss him off."

But there *are* those who would go out of their way to piss that guy off. For two reasons. One, he's a muscular looking guy. Two, those who would piss him off rarely are. More like sneaky, jealous little bastards who are the *real* problem.

Right now, the US is that guy, in the bar that is the world. Somebody smashed a beer bottle over his head, and now he's going to turn around and point out who maybe did it. Was it you, Iraq? Smashy-smashy! And you, Afghanistan-- you laughing? Smashy-smashy. What are you looking at, North Korea? C'mere.... And so on.

That big guy may simply be there to have a cold one after work. It doesn't matter. Someone decided he's worth picking on. And since the cops (the UN, if you will) are totally useless, he's got to settle things. So that next week, when he comes back into that bar after another long week, for another cold one, nobody tries anything stupid.

Drew makes an excellent point. Peace through strength is a far cry from the flimsy peace through diplomacy that, frankly, seems to be failing fast. Either the nations of the world take a step back from fighting with each other, or the trend towards peace-through-strength continues, all because somebody set the big guy in the corner off on a tear.

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#46 ZipperInt

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 10:34 PM

I voted that the U.S. is the biggest threat to world peace; however, I don't think the US is a 'bad guy' at all - it's been noted that a world of peace made through diplomacy isn't necessarily as effective as peace gained through military struggle, the US provides the means to this type of peace (whether it is used or not).

  Like Lil said, just because I voted for the United States doesn't mean I think they are eeevvvilll, I actually like them most of the time!  :p
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#47 Delvo

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 11:11 PM

ZipperInt, on Nov 7 2003, 09:34 PM, said:

it's been noted that a world of peace made through diplomacy isn't necessarily as effective as peace gained through military struggle
Hey, where are the poll options for "Shadows" and "Vorlons"?

#48 LaughingVulcan

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 11:15 PM

Dev F, on Nov 7 2003, 06:12 PM, said:

Whether the U.S. has behaved inappropriately in world affairs is certainly open to debate. But unless you honestly believe that the United States might, in the not-so-distant future, sell nuclear weapons to terrorists, thus ushering in a period of mass destruction and crippling fear such as the world has never seen, I don't see how you can seriously argue that the U.S. is a greater threat to world peace than a country like North Korea.
I agree with Lil above; I voted "US" because to me "threat" has nothing to do with intention and everything to do with capability.

North Korea, AFAIK, does not have the capability to turn the city I live in into rubble with the delivery of one weapon.  Have we the capability to level Pyongyang?  We do.  Whether we have safeguards against using that capability or not is irrelevant - at least to North Korea.  Who is the greater threat here?

Whether or not the U.S. has behaved inapporpriately is not a matter of debate to me.  I have met people who have lost their entire families because of U.S. involvement in other governments' politics.  I believe the survivor when she says that their family was not Marxist nor swayed by their propaganda - they just wanted the military control of their town to end, and peacefully marched to make that happen.  The result?  Dozens of people dead when the soldiers opened up on them.  Most ironic, the person in charge of the government at that time period is now running again for the Presidency of that country.  Our government has not yet acknowledged the interference which allowed him to power in the first place; doing so might change things there for the better.  But low fruit prices in the supermarket seems to be more important.

Does that mean we stand back and do nothing?  Let another 9/11 happen?  No.  But we have more capability than any other nation in the world to make our policy occur.  That's threatening whether the stick is used or not - in fact, more threatening than who has WMDs.  And whether or not we have the greatest country in the world (which is something else I believe, despite the problems.)  It is up to us to select who wields that power, and that seems to be the only thing that makes the difference.
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#49 Delvo

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 11:19 PM

the'Hawk, on Nov 7 2003, 07:28 PM, said:

Delvo, on Nov 7 2003, 07:39 PM, said:

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.
I'm very tempted to say that this is human nature writ large.

I mean, there's been plenty of times when I've walked into, say, a bar, and seen a very muscular looking guy sitting at the other end of the bar...

Right now, the US is that guy, in the bar that is the world...
OK, but where does Europe fit into this bar? (Remember, you quoted my comparison between how the USA is castigated and how a hypothetical unified Europe is sanctified, but then I only see America's half of the analogy.) Would they be a regular at the bar who's recently begun lifting weights a lot or studying boxing and (real) wrestling? Or if we replaced that guy with a group of such guys who always hang out together, would Europe be some guys who haven't already hung out together before but show signs of beginning to form a new gang? How do you explain the difference in how they're treated as an effect of "human behavior"?

#50 Uncle Sid

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 11:55 PM

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North Korea, AFAIK, does not have the capability to turn the city I live in into rubble with the delivery of one weapon. Have we the capability to level Pyongyang? We do. Whether we have safeguards against using that capability or not is irrelevant - at least to North Korea. Who is the greater threat here?

North Korea.  North Korea is perfectly willing to sell it's material for nuclear weapons and possibly the weapons themselves to people who are staggeringly more likely than the US to ever use them.  In that light, North Korea is much more likely to put a nuke in your city than we are to put one in North Korea, even though we have thousands of warheads to choose from and the others have only a handful.  The difference is that we have no desire to use those weapons, but the other people dearly want to sell those weapons and the buyers are buying them to have them used.  Terrorists don't generally go in for simple deterrence.  Their form of deterrence is to make an example of a few cities first.  

And I don't think that the idea that we have force to use is a reason that the US is a threat.  In fact, the best chance that the world has right now for actual attainable world peace is the judicious application of US military force where it is required.  Groups like the UN simply aren't organized and empowered properly to actually succeed at that goal.  The UN has a great ability to operate support institutions, but it's military actions are generally a joke unless the US is sitting in the driver's seat, and a dated joke at that due to the whole "peacekeeping" charade which was born of a bipolar world faced with Mutually Assured Destruction.  

While there are dictatorships out there, there is not going to be any kind of peace anywhere, and those dictators only respond to strength.  They have no shame, and diplomacy is simply a tool for positioning themselves for the next conquest.  They aren't interested in bargaining in good faith.  If there were no warlike dictatorships in the world, then the US would be perfectly happy to stand down it's military.  After all, we've done it in the past frequently, most recently after the end of the Cold War.  In fact, sometimes the US is too quick to downsize it's military, as was shown right after that same Cold War so-called "peace dividend" downsizing.  That is not the behavior of a "threat" to world peace.  A threat to world peace is the people who pick the fights, not the people who end them.
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. - Jack Handey

#51 Shalamar

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Posted 08 November 2003 - 01:02 AM

Uncle Sid wrote:^^^

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That is not the behavior of a "threat" to world peace. A threat to world peace is the people who pick the fights, not the people who end them.

I agree completely Uncle Sid.

My vote went to China.  Second, a tie between Russia, and North Korea.

#52 LaughingVulcan

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Posted 08 November 2003 - 01:59 AM

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North Korea is perfectly willing to sell it's material for nuclear weapons and possibly the weapons themselves to people who are staggeringly more likely than the US to ever use them.

Your source for this is?  I'm quite aware that North Korea is willing to export missiles and missile technology.  Guess what?  We do that among our allies also.  That doesn't mean that we give them fissionable material or nuclear warheads.  And we still remain the only nation on earth to have ever used a nuclear weapon upon an enemy (please don't misunderstand that I disagree with said usage, but the fact remains.)  I'm much reminded of Sting's song Russians, as for North Korea to sell either the weapon or the material would be such an ignorant thing to do, if they love their children too.  Especially since there is an entire subfield of science that develops the capability to track the origins of the material.  Let's see something a little better than the forged Niger connection that Bush used as one justification for Iraq, if we're counting intentions and not capabilities.

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and the buyers are buying them to have them used. Terrorists don't generally go in for simple deterrence. Their form of deterrence is to make an example of a few cities first.

No, but terrorists do not go in with random methodology, either.  It would be interesting to hear a quote from any terrorist group that would utilize a nuclear weapon.  Such a usage would immediately make the users about ten times as "popular" as Al Qaida became following 9/11 (trying for a slightly sarcastic tone here - such people would almost certainly find themselves without shelter anywhere in the world.)  Fanatacism does not automatically mean insane.  Terrorists achieve what they see as their goals using methods that fit their ideology - no, I'm not justifying the goal or ideology or method.  But please find me some willingness to use such a device first, if we're going by intentions and not capabilities.  While we're looking for that willingness, how about some proof that North Korea has sponsored terrorism?

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the best chance that the world has right now for actual attainable world peace is the judicious application of US military force

Must force be used to achieve our goals?  Your pardon if I'm using your quote out of context here.  But if so, shouldn't we begin with, say Cuba, whose intentions are still well known - they tried getting nukes decades ago and, of course they intend to do so again.  They're also one of the few communist bastions left today.  Then we can finish cleaning up this hemisphere before venturing forth into areas that few can pronounce let alone point out on a map.  Oh, wait, we don't have to invade Cuba yet, because they don't have capability to harm us?  Hmm......

Maybe, to avoid the whole intention/capability problem, it's best for the people themselves to demonstrate the willingness to buy their liberty themselves before rendering assistance.  To me, our unwillingness to do so is why Vietnam and Korea are, well, the way they are today.  But I'm digressing here.  

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Groups like the UN simply aren't organized and empowered properly to actually succeed at that goal. The UN has a great ability to operate support institutions, but it's military actions are generally a joke unless the US is sitting in the driver's seat, and a dated joke at that due to the whole "peacekeeping" charade which was born of a bipolar world faced with Mutually Assured Destruction.

We tried going to the U.N. for approval on Eternal Justice, I mean, Enduring Freedom.  Our efforts were not approved.  If we're going to allow the U.N. empowerment when and if we see fit, as it aligns with our goals, the miracle is that any other nation participates at all.  IMVHO, we're so damn afraid of somebody else being in the driver's seat that few efforts if any have ever been made without it.  And if we're not about "peacekeeping," then are we about something else that might make other nations view us as a threat to world peace?  I think, though, that I twisted your words unfairly here.  One point I see is that we're all too willing to apply military force to solve problems that have centuries of dust on them.  But of course we want to make sure that we do the applying because we're right, they're wrong, and God is on our side.  I only hope that this remains the truth, for God help us should we ever be on the other side of those statements with that kind of outlook.

(I suppose I had better end my cynicism here, for despite what I've written I really do appreciate the ideals of what those of us who have done military service have tried to uphold.  Including my nephew, a Marine Corporal for whom I am even more greatly appreciative has come back from Iraq in one piece.  Now if I can only find a way to reconcile what the other 449 to date died for I might be satisfied.  So far I see it as based upon a lie by this government, backed by wishful thinking of what might occur without a real plan to achieve it.)
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#53 Uncle Sid

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Posted 08 November 2003 - 02:39 AM

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Your source for this is? I'm quite aware that North Korea is willing to export missiles and missile technology. Guess what? We do that among our allies also. That doesn't mean that we give them fissionable material or nuclear warheads.

Actually, we do give out nuclear weapons.  Britain is loaded out with US Polaris A3 and our latest SLBM the Trident II D5.  France has it's own weapons, but that's only because they declined US aid in obtaining them.  

Would NK stop at nuclear weapons in its exports?  Maybe, or maybe not.  Chances are that the first few would definitely be left on-hand as a deterrent, but the fact is that NK is not a well run nation.  You ask if the North Korean's love their children, like the Russians, and I say that I hope not, because otherwise they believe that starving them is a good idea.  The levels of famine in NK are revolting.  Or perhaps I should say that the North Koreans love their children, but their government does not.   Unfortunately, since the NK government is the one building and ultimately deploying/selling them, they're the only ones who really count.

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No, but terrorists do not go in with random methodology, either. It would be interesting to hear a quote from any terrorist group that would utilize a nuclear weapon. Such a usage would immediately make the users about ten times as "popular" as Al Qaida became following 9/11 (trying for a slightly sarcastic tone here - such people would almost certainly find themselves without shelter anywhere in the world.) Fanatacism does not automatically mean insane.

I'm not sure why you think that a group that was happy enough to kill 3,000 people, including fellow Muslims, women and children, wouldn't be just as happy to kill 30,000 or 300,000.  There's nothing random about nuking a few cities.  Can you imagine what sort of blow it would be if they not only proved that they could knock down any building in the US, but also they could detonate a nuclear device on US soil?  Remember, these extremists *want* the US to hate Islam, that way they can force us into a situation where we start having to attack Islamic countries so much that it finally looks like we are on a Crusade.  Of course, if we flatten the Middle East, I'm not sure that what they are hoping for is what they really want to get, but their whole schitck is based on a holy war situation to take out the West and restart the Caliphate.  That is not going to happen without some serious firepower.

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Must force be used to achieve our goals? Your pardon if I'm using your quote out of context here.

No, it doesn't have to be used, but it does have to be demonstrated that we will use it if we are forced to when other countries do not keep up their end of the peace.  Bear in mind, Saddam Hussein himself was allowed to remain in power after his own war of aggression, for a variety of reasons.  It still didn't keep him from killing his own people and trying to play brinksman with saying that he had no WMDs but at the same time, taking none of the steps to actually prove the assertion.  The Iraqi regime had just as much declared war on us by failure to live up to their peace terms as Hitler did when he ignored Versailles.  Hitler himself said that his whole experiment might have ended in 1935 if only France had marched into the remilitarized Rhineland and expelled the German troops while the Wehrmacht was still in it's infant phase.  France, in that case, would have used force, but in judicious use of force, could have prevented the slaughter of millions of people, including millions of Germans, and possibly the need to drop two atomic bombs.

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We tried going to the U.N. for approval on Eternal Justice, I mean, Enduring Freedom. Our efforts were not approved. If we're going to allow the U.N. empowerment when and if we see fit, as it aligns with our goals, the miracle is that any other nation participates at all.

You seem to, without realizing it, outline my point very well.  The fact is that the US isn't the only country with goals that it tries to align the UN with.  In order to give the UN empowerment, *everybody* has to cede their freedom of action to UN approval.  That works well, perhaps, with countries with no freedom to act, but if we are to cede our freedom of movement to a group where petty dictatorships are represented disproportionately to their actual importance and power, we are basically ensuring that the decision to oust dictators is essentially at the mercy of the dictators themselves.  In other words, good luck.
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. - Jack Handey

#54 tennyson

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Posted 08 November 2003 - 02:39 AM

I can supply some information from "Nuclear Iran" by Terrance Henry on page 45 of the December 2003 Atlantic,
"Reportedly, so many North Korean scientists are now in Iran, developing nuclear warheads and missiles, that a resort on the Caspian Sea has been set aside for thier exclusive use. Iranian scientists allegedly made three secret visits to North Korea this year to garner advice on how best to conceal thier country's weapons program"
North Korea has supplied advisors, trainers, engineers, pilots and other support to Libya, Syria, Iran, and Iraq as well as supported the Red Guards terrorist group that operated in Japan until it was wiped out in the 1990s and the North Korean government kidnapped and held Japanese nationals to provide language training for thier own agents for decades and still hold a few.
They haven't sponsored any fundamentalist muslim terrorism to my knowledge but they have shown a willingness to sell thier other products to anyone. They sold to both sides of the Iran-Iraq war as well as operated aircraft for Iraq, have sold to missiles to Yemen, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya among others and have repeatedly threatened to use thier nuclear weapons on all thier nieghbors to the east including Japan and the US.
Terrorists, as you say aren't stupid, which is why they would try to get hold of a useable nuclear device if thier goal is to hurt the United States as much as possible. It supplies the single largest amount of damage into the smallest size of any nonbiological weapon ever made, and if it goes off it is garanteed to cause grevious harm to whatever region of the US it goes off in. After the attacks on September 11th don't you think every rescource wasn't mobilized against the people that were responsible? Don't you think every rescourse wasn't explored to deal with this? From the terrrists perspective the cost benefit is in thier favor since thier isn't that much more that can be done to them to to thier shadowy nature that wouldn't backfire on the US like invading Pakistan while they can keep hurting the US with strikes and threats of strikes. All it takes is one getting through and the damage has been done and would depending on the bomb take decades to recover. Eventually they would get thier final war out of this.
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#55 LaughingVulcan

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Posted 08 November 2003 - 04:27 AM

First from Uncle Sid...

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Actually, we do give out nuclear weapons. Britain is loaded out with US Polaris A3 and our latest SLBM the Trident II D5.

A good point that I hadn't known about.  IIRC, though, Britain had developed their own weapons as well (with U.S. help assuredly.)  I wonder why we did that.  Somehow, "we trust them," doesn't seem like too good an explanation, but perhaps it was to help them in disarmament of their own aging stockpiles.  Just a guess, though.

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Would NK stop at nuclear weapons in its exports? Maybe, or maybe not. .... The levels of famine in NK are revolting. ....Unfortunately, since the NK government is the one building and ultimately deploying/selling them, they're the only ones who really count.

My original point was, what source are you operating from that assures you that their intent is to sell such weaponry.  If you are not concerned with their intent in acquiring the nuclear weapons, then you are concerned with their capability to be threatening.  Whether or not the North Korean people value their kids' lives has much to do with their intentions, for the use of nuclear weapons traced back to NK sources would probably result in their being reduced to atomic particles.  I operate here under an assumption that the government cannot:  they know this, they know we can find such things out, they will not run that risk.  But, the very fact that the United States government cannot rely on intention forces us to rely on capability.  Why would they not feel the same?

A subpoint to this:  While the government in power is the "ones who really count," the only way people can realize what ideals such as democracy and freedom mean is to win such for themselves.  We can't supply our intentions upon them, we can only help with their capability to determine their own intentions.

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Can you imagine what sort of blow it would be if they not only proved that they could knock down any building in the US, but also they could detonate a nuclear device on US soil? Remember, these extremists *want* the US to hate Islam, that way they can force us into a situation where we start having to attack Islamic countries so much that it finally looks like we are on a Crusade.

It would mean their extermination.  I believe they know that.  My point is simply that they have ends, and a remarkable pseudo-power to justify the means, but I have never read of a terrorist group wanting those means.  Again, we're going off on what their capabilities could be and not their intentions.

I've read much by people with a vested interest in creating a fear in us of the ubiquitous 'them.'   I have yet to be convinced that "they" want the U.S. to hate them as much as they wish the U.S. to not interfere in their affairs.   If their goal is provocation to make the U.S. seem like it's on a Crusade, they're off to a fine start without WMDs.  Whatever our intentions are (and yes, they are honorable,) we have now engaged in toppling over the second Islamic government - albeit one that uses Islam in a most secular fashion - because our morals are superior.  So, now they can point to the fact that we have intention and capability, no matter the truth of the situation.  But I come back to my point:  If intention is important, show me what their intention is, not your interpretation of it.

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No, it doesn't have to be used, but it does have to be demonstrated that we will use it if we are forced to when other countries do not keep up their end of the peace.

A very good point.  Please don't let my brevity imply that it isn't.  I wonder a little about your Versailles analogy:  Isn't this again the failure to enforce what Germany was capable of over and against their stated intentions?  If we (France here... the United States had no vested interest until Pearl Harbor per se) had disregarded what the understood intention was and dealt with their capability to make war and remove it, then World War II would have been a firecracker?  (Or come back in the 1950s with V2 and nuclear capability....)

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we are basically ensuring that the decision to oust dictators is essentially at the mercy of the dictators themselves.

Well, we are ensuring that the decision to oust dictators is essentially at the mercy of the people of that country.  Wouldn't we be in a different situation if we had carried through with the support of Kurdish rebels at the end of Desert Storm?  Instead, we decided that Saddam no longer had capability to be a threat, and we could let him have whatever intentions he wished.  Which was more important in hindsight, his capability or intent?
As to the power of the United Nations, I think you're making my point just as well...  We apparently will enforce our intentions upon any who feel differently because we have the capability to do so, subject only to the limitations that we enforce upon ourselves.  That's scary.  We never have the information we need as citizens to make those judgments of who to entrust that power to.  But I do live with the hope that I do not see any better solution.

My point was simply that if I am evaluating what is the greatest threat to world peace, intention is an awfully thin reed to lean on.  When I play chess, you can have as much intention of setting a fire under my king as you want.  Just so long as I deny you that capability the game is going to be mine.  Capability is more important than intention when classifying a threat.  And we remain the most capable nation on the planet today.



Now, as to Tennyson's post

Actually, I was looking for information on NK's willingness to sell / give / etc. nuclear material to people who would use them (and I was thinking more of terrorists.)  Your point is taken that the two nations may be working together in nuclear development.  (And that's an odd thought - Marxists helping Muslim fundamentalists....)  Though in researching this I came across an interesting opinion from the Cato institute that, "U.S. behavior may have inadvertently created a powerful incentive for nuclear-weapons proliferation — the last thing in the world Washington wanted to occur."  The full link is here.  If intentions play out more than capability in determining threats, we have certainly given them no reason to trust our intentions.  If it's capability that counts, we're still on top of that, I suppose.

Relying on "their other products," I don't find convincing as I stated earlier.  There is a difference between armaments and WMDs.  

The other key I see is, "if their goal is to hurt the United States as much as possible."  My point exactly:  Show me where their goal is to hurt the United States as much as possible.  Is that really their intent?  And if so, isn't it their capability to do so which is more important than that intent?

Was "every resource mobilized" against the 9/11 backers?  No.  We didn't exercise our full capability by a long shot.  I got lost in weblinks trying to get hard numbers, and maybe I'll try later.  But conventionally I'm not convinced that we've used nearly the assets that we "could have."  - Let alone the whole world.  If it were truly important to deny the intention of an Osama bin Laden, let's go and get him.  But generally we settle for denying the capability to act.  

More importantly than conventional weapons, unconventionally.  If we wish to suppress the possession of nuclear weapons, how about this for a doctrine:  Upon the determination of the country of origin of a nuclear device used against people, that country shall receive the same treatment.  In other words, the responsibility is upon the country who developed the weapon regarding its' usage.  It certainly would straighten up the intentions of nuclear developing countries... if we're worrying about intention.

I think taking some positive steps towards showing what our intentions are would be more helpful.  It would rely on dropping the political grandstanding, though, and returning to the willingness to help out other nations instead of browbeating them, though.  Somehow I don't see the current administration going for that.

At any rate even if I haven't changed my mind regarding intentions vs. capabilities and where the greatest threat to world peace lies, reading your posts provided much good food for thought and stimulated a bunch of web research for me.  So, thanks!  (And now I'm going to go get some good bed for dreams at 2:30 AM.)
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#56 Enmar

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Posted 08 November 2003 - 10:53 AM

the'Hawk, on Nov 7 2003, 10:27 PM, said:

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.
Sharon is a bully, but he is not unpredictable. Ironically enough, he cares so much about the American support that he won't do any of the things you're afraid he can do because of it  :wacko:
Besides, Israel may be insulted from the poll, but no one is stupid enough to start a war about a poll. There is no conflict of interests between Israel and Europe that can lead to something like that. Cuba was a tool in the hands of the Soviet Union and the US was a declared enemy. The analogy is flawed in many ways.

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Hawk: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.
That is correct, but it serves as an excuse to old Europe not to deal with the fact that this is only part of the problem. They are not 59% percent of the Europeans. And the way Israel is presented in the media is also a convenient part of the problem that serves to hide the simple fact the antisemitism is very much alive and prospering in Europe. And I mean that in the pure old fashioned version that has nothing to do with Israel's actions.


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Uncle Sid:And I don't think that the idea that we have force to use is a reason that the US is a threat. In fact, the best chance that the world has right now for actual attainable world peace is the judicious application of US military force where it is required. Groups like the UN simply aren't organized and empowered properly to actually succeed at that goal. The UN has a great ability to operate support institutions, but it's military actions are generally a joke unless the US is sitting in the driver's seat, and a dated joke at that due to the whole "peacekeeping" charade which was born of a bipolar world faced with Mutually Assured Destruction.

Are we going down that road again? :angel:
The US is at least partially responsible for the state the UN is in and is doing a big effort to maintain its disfunctionality. You can keep doing that, but you can not keep doing it and complaining about it. I, OTOH, get to keep complaining about it. :glare:
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#57 Lover of Purple

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Posted 08 November 2003 - 05:43 PM

Intent is an important factor in this and I'm not sure those that say the US is the biggest threat is taking that into consideration. If the US was not around, or we somehow could put ourselves behind a forcefield and vanish what shape would world peace be in?

Anyway, I've read the responses and am still saddened by this mistrust of the US. So, being the "blind patriot" I am, I now bow out of the thread and let everyone take their shots at the US.

Have fun everyone and thanks for your input. Honestly

(I'm not leaving mad or upset really I just know we will never agree on this.)

#58 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 02:24 PM

Does this exactly surprise me in the least bit?  Nah it just comes off as another aspect of European hypocrites being hard at work.  

On the issue of Israel it doesn’t exactly surprise me in the least bit that many Europeans still hold anti-semitism close to them.  Europe is very good at glossing over that details when it comes to ripping apart Israel.  I can hardly blame Israel for ignoring everything Europe says when so much is driven by those anti-semitic opinions.  If those opinions aren’t exactly going to change anytime soon what does Israel have to lose by ignoring Europe as irrelevant?  

Between 1776 and 1900 the US was intent to manage affairs in the Western Hemisphere and just sought to keep European influence out.  The Monroe Doctrine and the goals that it outlined could define that whole era.  It wasn’t until Europe went mad and off the deep end twice in a period between 1914-45 that the US was dragged into the world stage.  I wouldn’t exactly even call that a willing adoption of the US becoming the dominant world power.  It was more of a case of being dragged into it kicking and screaming.  So if Europeans want to kick someone in the rear for the US role in the world first off they should start kicking themselves.  

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LaughingVulcan: North Korea, AFAIK, does not have the capability to turn the city I live in into rubble with the delivery of one weapon.

Live anywhere on the West Coast, Alaska, or Hawaii?  Start building your bomb shelter because North Korea might just be able to.  

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LaughingVulcan: And we still remain the only nation on earth to have ever used a nuclear weapon upon an enemy (please don't misunderstand that I disagree with said usage, but the fact remains.)

And deeply understand the horrors of those weapons to a degree that no other nation except Japan in the world thus rendering them as a last resort only when you have to weapon.  You think North Korea learned any such lesson about the devsation of nuclear weapons from Hiroshima and Nagasaki?  

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LaughingVulcan: Somehow, "we trust them," doesn't seem like too good an explanation, but perhaps it was to help them in disarmament of their own aging stockpiles.

Britain is the staunchest of US allies in the world along with Australia.  A war between these nations is just about unimaginable in the minds of both the populaces and governments of these nations.  In other words anything the US can do to further the defense of Britain furthers the defense and well being of the United States.    

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LaughingVulcan: (Or come back in the 1950s with V2 and nuclear capability....)

Hitler at the time of his Rhineland Gamble was only popular in the sense that the military and public perceived him as someone who could attain a position of grandeur for Germany.  If Hitler had been forced to retreat from the Rhineland in the face of the superior French military he would have likely lost all his prestige and hold on power.    



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LaughingVulcan: Well, we are ensuring that the decision to oust dictators is essentially at the mercy of the people of that country.

And those people of that country are going to defeat their military and secret police oppressors with pitchforks and 2x4s?  


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LaughingVulcan: The other key I see is, "if their goal is to hurt the United States as much as possible." My point exactly: Show me where their goal is to hurt the United States as much as possible. Is that really their intent? And if so, isn't it their capability to do so which is more important than that intent?

I’d say wanting to destroy the Great Satan is hardly a minor quibble over how much you want to hurt the United States.  They don’t want to hurt the United States but rather they want to destroy it from existence.  

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LaughingVulcan: Upon the determination of the country of origin of a nuclear device used against people, that country shall receive the same treatment. In other words, the responsibility is upon the country who developed the weapon regarding its' usage. It certainly would straighten up the intentions of nuclear developing countries... if we're worrying about intention.

You expect that to work with an unstable madman like Kim?  The problem with the policy of MAD or nuclear retaliation is you are attempting to shove the genie into the bottle after it escapes.  A nuclear weapon has been used, people who shouldn’t be are dead by the thousands, and now you have to use your nuclear weapons to retaliate.  Better to stop that before it ever comes to that point and ensure fewer casualties in the long run.  

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LoP: If the US was not around, or we somehow could put ourselves behind a forcefield and vanish what shape would world peace be in?

I’d love to see Europeans with their high-minded ideals react to the new condition on the oceans of the world.  In that realm alone the removal of the United States Navy from the equation would foster the growth of a new era of piracy lawlessness on a scale not seen since the ages of sail.  


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Jon: "Beware the eagle in defense of her own."
Ditto!  Corner the bear with a threat and except it to lash out in defense.

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Uncle Sid: 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.

Agreed Sid.  

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Kevin Street: 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

Somehow I hardly count Japan, Australia, Spain, and Britain supporting US actions as unilateral actions.  As the point was made in another thread none of these countries are needy and they all stand as forerunners among Democratic nations.  Yet they all supported the United States.  Not unilateralist by any stretch of the word.  Unilaterally is a keyword for without UN support because those who have a agenda to bash US actions realize the bulk of people don’t care if they whine all day about no UN support.  So they use unilaterally in hopes that they can spin the meaning enough to mislead the naive.  

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Kevin Street: 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.

World Peace is not the absence of conflict between the nations of the world but rather peace between human beings.  If anyone thinks Iraq was at peace under Saddam or North Korea, Cuba, and China are at peace today under their current governments they are hopelessly naive.  Sure they aren’t threatening other nations but rather just oppressing wholesale and in many cases raping, slaughtering, or starving their own citizens.
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#59 Norville

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 03:49 PM

Gah! I was afraid that my system had crashed while I was typing this, thus requiring me to rewrite it, but it unstuck itself, bless it... :eek:

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Intent is an important factor in this and I'm not sure those that say the US is the biggest threat is taking that into consideration. If the US was not around, or we somehow could put ourselves behind a forcefield and vanish what shape would world peace be in?

LoP, you may not read this, but for those who do: yes, I'm skeptical about what the US is doing, how it conducts itself in the world, but when I think in the above terms, I'm not going to say that the US is the biggest threat. If others consider it the biggest threat, it's because of what it does in the world to attempt to keep the peace, which makes others feel threatened.

As I already posted, I refrained from voting for a sarcastic reason and a serious reason, the former being that it didn't include "All the above/all of them" as a choice ;) , the latter being that I couldn't vote for several in a tie. My tie was apparently "an axis of world threat" (not necessarily an axis of evil); I chose to tie North Korea with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, NK because of its nuke threat and the other two because of their role in supporting terrorism on one hand while pretending to work to stop it on the other hand.

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LaughingVulcan: North Korea, AFAIK, does not have the capability to turn the city I live in into rubble with the delivery of one weapon.

Live anywhere on the West Coast, Alaska, or Hawaii? Start building your bomb shelter because North Korea might just be able to.

They were bombastically reporting that they could hit California if they chose to do so. I take that seriously. It was nervewracking enough to grow up thinking about the possibility of being nuked by the Soviet Union if the Cold War turned hot, such a relief to give up that lurking fear, and now I have to worry about it *again*, but from NK... well, no, I do try not to live my life in fear, but it does lurk in the mind, and I'd like such threats stopped.

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I’d say wanting to destroy the Great Satan is hardly a minor quibble over how much you want to hurt the United States. They don’t want to hurt the United States but rather they want to destroy it from existence.

I'd agree with this. I actually wonder why the Bush administration is trying to deny that this *is* a religious war, because if one discovers what Muslims in the US say about wanting to overthrow the US so that the rule of Allah can hold sway, then one might wonder why one refuses to believe that there's any threat there, that lovely tolerance will solve everything. One might, in fact, wonder why Bush apparently celebrated the beginning of Ramadan with US Muslims, except as a means to be "politically correct" -- mustn't offend them, mustn't seem a threat; maybe if I appease them, they won't want to destroy us...

I try to speak for peace, but 9/11 didn't make me react like "oh, let's have a group hug and be their friends". I don't like that the reasons given for invading Iraq may have been lies, but I do believe that the US has the right to defend itself. If that's threatening, that's the point.

If this confuses anyone, hey, *I'm* slightly confused, always trying to balance issues in my mind, wrestle through conflicts; it can be exhausting, but it's the way I think, always trying to seek what appears to be the truth... ;)

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I’d love to see Europeans with their high-minded ideals react to the new condition on the oceans of the world. In that realm alone the removal of the United States Navy from the equation would foster the growth of a new era of piracy lawlessness on a scale not seen since the ages of sail.

If anyone thinks that sea piracy is no longer a threat, it certainly does still exist. (I can probably recommend a book for anything; for this, read this example: Dangerous Waters: Modern Piracy and Terror on the High Seas by John S. Burnett, from 2002.)
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#60 the 'Hawk

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 06:15 PM

Delvo, on Nov 8 2003, 12:19 AM, said:

OK, but where does Europe fit into this bar?
It's hard to say, because I don't know how effective Europe's so-called 'unity' really is. Part of me thinks it's just a front.

So they'd be the snivelling gang of high schoolers with fake IDs in the corner who only talks tough until the big guy comes down on the heads of one of 'em. And at least one of their number (Great Britain) is trying to talk them down from saying anything stupid.

Sure, Europe might have heritage and prestige and tradition, but so what. Rich punks take beatings just the same as poor ones.

I could be way off, though-- my opinion of the EU is.... rather cynical. They're either going to try and take the place of the Soviet Union just to give the world a second sphere of influence to gravitate towards, or they're going to smarten up and realize that they make a better pair than a pair of antagonists.

:cool:
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