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'[OT] So to whom do we now for moral guidance?'
2005\10\25@182940 by John Nall

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I have been reading some articles (heavy reading) which assert that the
U.S. can no longer provide moral guidance to the rest of  the world
after Iraq.  These articles say that after World War II, because the
U.S. had never gotten into colonization, and seemed to think in terms of
democracy and self-government, that it was looked to as a moral beacon,
continuing on through WW II, and presumably on up to Iraq, at which
point enough lies were told (I'm just saying what these articles say,
now, so don't flame the messenger!) so that  the U.S. no longer is
looked at for moral guidance in an uncertain world.

OK.  Fair enough, I suppose.  But then, I got to wondering -- so, then,
who is?  England?  Surely not --  they also have  the Iraq stain.  
China?  No.  Russia?  No. Germany?  Of course not.    France? Well,
perhaps . . . except that once one begins to examine the skeletons in
their closet from the Algerian revolution it seems awfully hard.  
Japan?  No, they got carried away during WW II.   Switzerland?  No, too
many shady deals made with Nazi Germany.   Etc. Etc.

So I nominate Iceland.  Don't know if anyone from Iceland monitors this
list, but in case they do, they can be cheered by the fact that  the
unanimous judgment of my committee is that henceforth they shall provide
us with the moral guidance needed to navigate these difficult times.  
(So, then, provide it, already!! :-)

John

2005\10\25@190654 by Rob Robson

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If it has to be a country, I'll second Iceland, whose populace is apparently
the world's happiest.  In truth, I wasn't aware that the world had been
looking to the US for moral guidance after WWII: I thought we just let them
call the shots because they had the most expensive weapons and didn't seem
to have a problem with using them on civilians.

RR


2005\10\25@193401 by Bob Axtell

face picon face
Rob Robson wrote:

> If it has to be a country, I'll second Iceland, whose populace is
> apparently the world's happiest.  In truth, I wasn't aware that the
> world had been looking to the US for moral guidance after WWII: I
> thought we just let them call the shots because they had the most
> expensive weapons and didn't seem to have a problem with using them on
> civilians.
>
> RR
>
what? Apparently, I missed the earlier thread...

Don't look at America for moral guidance. We've
always been the wild/wooly ones, _I_thought...

All we did was outproduce the Axis powers, that's
it. We won't be able to do that again; the ACLU will
see to it...

--Bob


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2005\10\25@201711 by Tony Smith

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{Quote hidden}

What about New Zealand?

First with preferential voting, gave women the vote, kept the natives
reasonably happy (better deals than everyone else), nice to refugees, no
nukes in the harbour (US ships), can't remember them invading anyone
(except Bondi), etc.

The Rainbow Warrior response was bit piss-weak though.  The Queen of
England still runs the place, so there's a bit of work to do.

I'll move (from Australia) when they can move the place another 10 or 15
degrees North to warm things up a bit.

Russell, Jinx & a few others could add volumes to this I'm sure.

Oh, and sorry about the possums, want any more?

Tony

2005\10\25@203544 by marcel

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I'd veto iceland. They gave us Bjork, which can only be considered an
unjustified act of aggression against the outside world. Icelandic music as a
whole, I think, is enough of a reason to look elsewhere.
- Marcel


"Rob Robson" <.....robKILLspamspam@spam@silk.net> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

2005\10\25@204817 by Ling SM

picon face
> I have been reading some articles (heavy reading) which assert that the
> U.S. can no longer provide moral guidance to the rest of  the world
> after Iraq.  These articles say that after World War II, because the
> U.S. had never gotten into colonization, and seemed to think in terms of
> democracy and self-government, that it was looked to as a moral beacon,
> continuing on through WW II, and presumably on up to Iraq, at which
> point enough lies were told (I'm just saying what these articles say,
> now, so don't flame the messenger!) so that  the U.S. no longer is
> looked at for moral guidance in an uncertain world.

Yes n No.  At the end of the day, you need hardware to perform moral
guidance because the most morally correct nation that qualifies had
already perished out of this world.  So far the self-correcting
mechanism within US has been impressive (speaking as a US 'alien'), my
trust goes to the nation that has the strongest NGO and has enough hardware.
The choices: US, EU, and the uprising nations BRIC - Brazil, Russia,
India, China.  Until EU overcomes its identity crisis, we don't have a
contender I think.

Ling SM

2005\10\26@031517 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Oct 25, 2005, at 3:28 PM, John Nall wrote:

> No. Germany?  Of course not.
> Japan?  No, they got carried away during WW II.

Sheesh.  How long does a country have to behave themselves before
they're
a candidate for "moral guide"?  And if it's that long, how come the US
isn't in trouble for assorted nastiness well before WW2?

How about Australia or New Zealand?  Norway, Finland, or the
Netherlands?
Or does it have to be a superpower?  (Not with your iceland
recommendation,
I guess, although perhaps that's the problem.)  Who qualifies as a
superpower these days, anyway?

What sort of moral shape is India in?

BillW

2005\10\26@033108 by Russell McMahon

face
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> If it has to be a country, I'll second Iceland, whose populace is
> apparently the world's happiest.

NZ would seem to many to be a reasonably good choice.
As a NZer I can tell you that it's not :-) - but it can seem that way
at a distance.

>In truth, I wasn't aware that the world had been looking to the US
>for moral guidance after WWII: I thought we just let them call the
>shots because they had the most expensive weapons and didn't seem to
>have a problem with using them on civilians.

I can see this thread dying an early death :-(.

In fact the US, especially Roosevelt, did seek to provide moral
guidance to and for the world at that time. They were extremely keen
not to see "spheres of influence" which had existed pre-WW2 continue
on in the "new world order" (why does that term sound familiar ?
:-) ).  They were of course mah\jor allies of the British but also
sought to destroy their prior bad influences on the world. The then US
perspective on British colonialism makes quite amusing albeit sad
reading when you look at the overall picture now.

Despite it's many blind detractors and it's many blind supporters the
US has been and continues to be both a source of positive moral input
and woefully deficient self-interest. Some see more of one and less of
the other or vice versa. It goes through phases where one or the other
predominates somewhat but both are always present.

FWIW - I deplore war and killing and all that goes with it. I am of
course well aware of the major reasons proposed for the US presence by
its detractors and am aware that there will be much truth in much that
is said. Despite this I feel that the US is doing a useful and
desireable jon in Iraq - regardless of why it thinks it's there. I
feel and hope that the interests of the large majority of the people
in the region are being served well by the US being there and hope
that long term much good will come of it. This of course may, sadly,
not be how it turns out.

       RM

2005\10\26@033359 by Juan Cubillo

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> So I nominate Iceland.
Some posts later...
> What about New Zealand?
So why not my own coutry?
Costa Rica!!!
We don't even have an army. Mostly because we are also too poor to mantain
one, but who cares :)
hehe
Juan Cubillo



2005\10\26@034825 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> Sheesh.  How long does a country have to behave themselves before
> they're a candidate for "moral guide"?

Indefinite! I don't remember any atrocities carried out by Icelandish
troops :)

> How about Australia

aboriginals?

> New Zealand?

OK, I don't remember any trouble they've caused, but they are on the
opposite end of the globe so I probably would not know anyway.

> Norway

remember the Norman invasions in the middleages?

> Finland

I think there were in with the Normans, or otherwise they probably
descent from some band of siberian nomadic plunderers. And they drink
too much.

> Netherlands?

I recall something we called a 'policing action' in what is now called
Indonesia, right after WW2. Dutch soldiers who refused to take part in
those massacres are still regarded as criminals :(

> Or does it have to be a superpower?

Can I add Luxemburg to the shortlist?

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2005\10\26@040616 by Tony Smith

picon face

>> No. Germany?  Of course not.
>> Japan?  No, they got carried away during WW II.
>
> Sheesh.  How long does a country have to behave themselves before
> they're
> a candidate for "moral guide"?  And if it's that long, how come the US
> isn't in trouble for assorted nastiness well before WW2?
>
> How about Australia or New Zealand?  Norway, Finland, or the


Sorry, Australia has no morals.  What do expect from a nation of pommy
(mostly Irish I think) convicts anyways?

The natives get fairly shabby treatment.  The best we can say is we've
stopped shooting / poisoning / giving them diseased blankets.

Look!  A tree!  Quick, cut it down!

White Australia policy.  For every foreigner who emigrates, 7 British
subject need to turn up as well to balance things ok.  British subject
didn't mean people from Africa or India, cause they weren't white.
Commonwealth, what's that?

No nukes, but digging it up & selling it is ok.

Ok for the UK to set off nukes in the desert.  Don't worry about the wind.
The deal was that in return they'd give us some.  Didn't happen.  Use
local troops to test radiation effects.

Dumping refugees in the middle of the desert for a few years.  In camps
run by private (American) companies.  Except for the ones we dumped in
other countries (and paid them).  Change the borders so you can claim
they're not in Australia anyway.

Deported a woman in a wheelchair because she looked a bit foreign.  Her
kids & husband wondered where she was.  Department realized they made a
mistake, decided not to tell anyone.

First country to publicly support the US in invading Iraq.  That's ok,
no-one noticed anyway (including the Americans).

Yeah, we know you helped us stop the Japanese in WWII, but we're going to
screw you over anyway.  We need the oil.  Sorry about that.

It's quite ok for the US to lock up our citizens for a few years with out
trial.  Knowing they have the death penalty, we tip off other countries to
drug couriers, that than arrest them here.  Much neater that way.

New anti-terror laws.  You can be locked up without charge.  Even better,
if they let you go and you tell someone about it, they'll lock you again
(and the person you told)!  Beat that, Nazi Germany!

Opposition party has same policies as the incumbent.  Kinda defeats the
purpose.  Actually, they play one-upmanship, for the anti-terror laws,
they'll probably want to shoot you if you tell someone.

Free Trade Agreeement with the US.  We got screwed.  We liked it.  So they
told us.  Also brought some old helicopters that the US couldn't give
away.  All the way with LBJ!

So you lost a leg or two in Vietnam.  Get a job, 'cause you're not getting
a pension.

Free university education.  Not any more.

Changing the labour laws to be just like America.  Now I can sell my lunch
break for $3.24.  Bargain!  I wonder what I can get for my holidays?

Hmmm, just like most countries, really.

Tony

2005\10\26@040830 by Tony Smith

picon face
>  > So I nominate Iceland.
> Some posts later...
>> What about New Zealand?
> So why not my own coutry?
> Costa Rica!!!
> We don't even have an army. Mostly because we are also too poor to mantain
> one, but who cares :)
> hehe
> Juan Cubillo


I don't think New Zealand has much of an air force these days, does that
count?

Tony

2005\10\26@043440 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>What about New Zealand?

Well that is nice of you, to be sure.

>First with preferential voting,

Umm, if you mean proportional voting for elections, then new Zealand is a
late comer. Tasmania and germany are two that had it a lot longer, and were
often mentioned as examples when NZ was setting up their system some 10
years ago.

>The Rainbow Warrior response was bit piss-weak though.

In view of what the NZ police achieved, I am not so sure of that.

>The Queen of England still runs the place, so
>there's a bit of work to do.

No more than she runs Australia or the UK. Less so than the President of the
USA runs the USA.

>I'll move (from Australia) when they can move the place
>another 10 or 15 degrees North to warm things up a bit.

Hmm, maybe the story is to move Oz a bit south to protect NZ from the
Southern Ocean winds ... ;))

2005\10\26@043640 by Jinx

face picon face
> Can I add Luxemburg to the shortlist?

Satellite porn

Lapland ? (yay, Santa !)

2005\10\26@043902 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>> Netherlands?
>
>I recall something we called a 'policing action'
>in what is now called Indonesia, right after WW2.
>Dutch soldiers who refused to take part in
>those massacres are still regarded as criminals :(

I seem to recall there was a certain William of Orange came from the
Netherlands. Northern Ireland is still suffering from his callous acts
there.

2005\10\26@051049 by Tony Smith

picon face
>>What about New Zealand?
>
> Well that is nice of you, to be sure.
>
>>First with preferential voting,
>
> Umm, if you mean proportional voting for elections, then new Zealand is a
> late comer. Tasmania and germany are two that had it a lot longer, and
> were
> often mentioned as examples when NZ was setting up their system some 10
> years ago.


No, I mean preferential voting.  New Zealand did it in about 1890 or there
abouts.  I'm too lazy to look it up.

Australia has both systems.  Voting for your local member is preferential,
you give each candidate a rank & whoever gets the most wins.  The Senate
has proportional, so minor ratbag parties can get a seat even with a small
percentage of votes.

Tony

2005\10\26@053010 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> I seem to recall there was a certain William of Orange

which one? we got quite a few of those :)

> came from the
> Netherlands. Northern Ireland is still suffering from his callous acts
> there.

Your fault, you borrowed that guy because you ran out of suitable
monarchs yourself. But IIRC he was only following the long-established
policy anyway.

But if we get to those times: IIRC the Dutch invented the profitable
three-way sea voyage which involved (in one of the legs) bringing slaves
from Afrika to the new world.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2005\10\26@053011 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> > Can I add Luxemburg to the shortlist?
>
> Satellite porn

damn, I forgot about that. But the average TV program from Luxemburg
targeted to the Netherlands is not worse that the average domestically
generated program :(

> Lapland ? (yay, Santa !)

But that's not a country! Well, maybe they can be persuaded to follow
the Koerds in establishing a free zone. Anyone wants to invade Finland,
Sweden, Norway and/or Rusland to free the Laps? Maybe a job for Iceland?

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2005\10\26@054321 by Vitaliy

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face
>> Lapland ? (yay, Santa !)
>
> But that's not a country! Well, maybe they can be persuaded to follow
> the Koerds in establishing a free zone. Anyone wants to invade Finland,
> Sweden, Norway and/or Rusland to free the Laps? Maybe a job for Iceland?
>
> Wouter van Ooijen

Wouter, but Rusland is not a country either (at least it's not for the
English speakers)! :-D

And Russian Laps are not really Laps, they're Karelians. ;-)

Vitaliy

2005\10\26@055341 by Juan Cubillo

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face
Go Costa Rica!!!
Woohhoo Try to flame us!!!
Juan Cubillo

----- Original Message -----
From: "Wouter van Ooijen" <wouterspamKILLspamvoti.nl>
To: "'Microcontroller discussion list - Public.'" <.....piclistKILLspamspam.....mit.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2005 4:28 AM
Subject: RE: [OT] So to whom do we now for moral guidance?


{Quote hidden}

> --

2005\10\26@055437 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
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>> ... can no longer provide moral guidance to the rest of  the world
>> ...

>> OK.  Fair enough, I suppose.  But then, I got to wondering -- so,
>> then,
>> who is?  England?  Surely not --  they also have  the Iraq stain.

I don't consider the "Iraq stain" is of such major consequence
compared to all else that happens in the world that it would
disqualify the US. No country is perfect. While the US's actions in
Iraq would be seen by the vast majority of humanity as having fallen
short of the ideal, those who see the US as irrevocably stained by
Iraq tend tend to have very selective vision re the US's good points.

In recent decades Yugoslavia stage 1 (dissolution), Yugoslavia stage 2
(Kosovo), Cambodia, China, Ruwanda, China, various ex Soviet
republics, China and many more come to mind as fit examples when
seeking to make moral comparisons. The fact that China tends to do
things overtly mainly within its borders with the exception of one
small neighbour doesn't make things any better. (I'm not referring to
Taiwan - that's an internal dispute that will probably sort itself
peacefully in the next 50 years or so).

>> China?  No.

Indeed.

>> Russia?  No.

Not yet.

>> No. Germany?  Of course not.

A far better candidate than many.
The sins of the past still weigh heavily on their national conscience
* and they are quite possibly in a far better position to provide
moral guidance than most.  (* As well as that being my perception from
"at a disatnce" input, it's also strongly reinforced with examples
given to me by a family member who lived there for a while). Anyone
who did anything they can reasonably be held morally accountable for
in Hitler's Germany is now over 70 years old (ie at least 12 years old
in 1945) and most still alive with any moral responsibility are far
older than that. The current German nation nowadays has no moral
responsibility for the wrongs of that era.

>> France? Well, perhaps . . .

Hopefully that's in jest. If I ignored the fact that I'm a resident of
the South Pacific and that I live about 7 miles from where terrorists
(literally) sent by the French president sank the Rainbow Warrior,
then I'd rate them at very best as no better than their peers.

>> except that once one begins to examine the skeletons in
>> their closet from the Algerian revolution it seems awfully hard.

To balance some of that, and regardless of possible vested interest
etc, whe people were dying in their literally hundreds of thousand in
Ruwanda *ONLY* the French got into action and did something while the
whole of the rest of the world di nothing for weeks w\and weeks and
weeks. That did a lot to redress old memories.

>> Japan?  No, they got carried away during WW II.

And they have learned much from it. Albeit not enough yet.

>> Switzerland?  No, too
>> many shady deals made with Nazi Germany.

Alas, the dealings of the Swiss is one of the great sorrows - those
who looked so 'squeaky clean' and indeed had the opportunities to be
the white knoghts that they appeared to be, turned out to have
conspired at murder and theft on a scale beyond reasonable belief. But
also, that generation is gone.

So, how does Belgium stand as a candidate? I have warm mental fizzies
for their heroism as a nation at various times past. Including 1914
and 1939. And as the batleground of Western Europe where the 'great
powers' came to play, they have much to think about. Visit Ypres/Ieper
on ANY day at 8pm.
Go to the Mennen gate.

       http://public.fotki.com/russellmc/atw/atw_ypres_mennengate/
*

Watch the ceremony (conducted there at 8pm every day since 1929). Cry,
perhaps, as I did.  I don't know how they would stand up against
iceland in a point by point comparison. But I think the Vikings still
have a lot to answer for :-)



       RM

* There will be a lot more of our 25 country tour photo on the superb
Fotki site in due course. For now it's mainly other stuff.
Click thumbnails for larger view. Click larger view for next photo.
Under each of these is a ""Get original uploaded photo" link. These
are typically 500kB - 1MB so choose with care.


2005\10\26@060728 by Vitaliy

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> Free Trade Agreeement with the US.  We got screwed.  We liked it.  So they
[snip]

Now, this one I can't agree with. When you have a free trade agreement,
*both* sides win. Sure, you have selected industries that go bankrupt, but
the benefit to consumers (cheaper goods) far outweigh the losses of a few
underperforming companies. Macroeconomics 101.

As far as the main topic goes, I would still vote for US:

- It is one of a few countries that can make a real difference. No offence
to Iceland or Luxembourg - they simply don't have the resources.

- A lot of its economic policies are based on idealism, rather than
self-interest. For example, it is illegal for American businessmen to offer
bribes to foreign officials in order to get contracts, access to the local
markets, etc. On the other hand, German businessmen are allowed to itemize
bribes on their tax returns. Needless to say, this policy hurts US
companies, but - "principle before profit."

- Free trade is a biggie. Foreign imports encounter little resistance from
US Customs. Small packages are not subject to tariff, and most goods (with
notable exceptions of steel and RAM chips) are subject to a 1-3% tariff.
Compare that to Europe - customers beg us to put a lower value on the
package so they don't have to pay 20EUR to pick up an 80EUR package. US is a
champion and promoter of free trade worldwide.

- As Russel once pointed out, on several occasions United States intervened
in situations where it had little to gain. Think Yugoslavia, Somalia,
Afghanistan. The goal there was to stop the evil, protect the innocent, help
the poor, and spread democracy.

Best regards,

Vitaliy

2005\10\26@062341 by PY2NI TERRA

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face
I vote for TIBET.

Horta



{Quote hidden}

>

2005\10\26@062523 by Jinx

face picon face
> The goal there was to stop the evil, protect the innocent, help
> the poor, and spread democracy.

The uncharitable would say *that* democracy = US culture

======================

There is a big problem in South Auckland (NZ's biggest city)
right now. Pacific Island kids are speaking with American
accents, calling each other n*****, with the bandanas and
the turf wars, idolising gangsta rappers

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=10352057

MacDonald's I can tolerate, importation of a thug culture I can't

2005\10\26@062917 by Tony Smith

picon face
>> Free Trade Agreeement with the US.  We got screwed.  We liked it.  So
>> they
> [snip]
>
> Now, this one I can't agree with. When you have a free trade agreement,
> *both* sides win. Sure, you have selected industries that go bankrupt, but
> the benefit to consumers (cheaper goods) far outweigh the losses of a few
> underperforming companies. Macroeconomics 101.


Well, that's how it's *supposed* to work.  Practice differs from theory.

Tony

2005\10\26@065207 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> As far as the main topic goes, I would still vote for US:
> - It is one of a few countries that can make a real
> difference. No offence
> to Iceland or Luxembourg - they simply don't have the resources.

The question was about *moral* guidance. The kind of thing for which
Ghandi (the original one, not the recent ones) would be a good
candidate. I don't recall him having much resources.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2005\10\26@065208 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> I don't consider the "Iraq stain" is of such major consequence
> compared to all else that happens in the world that it would
> disqualify the US. No country is perfect. While the US's actions in
> Iraq would be seen by the vast majority of humanity as having fallen
> short of the ideal, those who see the US as irrevocably stained by
> Iraq tend tend to have very selective vision re the US's good points.

Russel, you misunderstood the purpose of this thread. The aim is to
critique you own country. Defending your own country and/or critiquing
other countries is not. Hence: so far a lot of ROFL posts and James did
not yet raise his axe :)

>> No. Germany?  Of course not.
> A far better candidate than many.

I live next to that country and I must agree. I don't think there are
many countries that have gone through a similar stage of self-reflection
and came out like the Germans did. Regretfully (former) eastern Germany
seems to have missed this stage.

> So, how does Belgium stand as a candidate?

That's not a country. It is officially, but not in practice.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2005\10\26@070428 by Vitaliy

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>>> Free Trade Agreeement with the US.  We got screwed.  We liked it.  So
>>> they
>> [snip]
>>
>> Now, this one I can't agree with. When you have a free trade agreement,
>> *both* sides win. Sure, you have selected industries that go bankrupt,
>> but
>> the benefit to consumers (cheaper goods) far outweigh the losses of a few
>> underperforming companies. Macroeconomics 101.
>
> Well, that's how it's *supposed* to work.  Practice differs from theory.
>
> Tony

And you know that, because...?

2005\10\26@071546 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
John Nall wrote:

> I have been reading some articles (heavy reading) which assert that the
> U.S. can no longer provide moral guidance to the rest of  the world
> after Iraq.  These articles say that after World War II, because the
> U.S. had never gotten into colonization, and seemed to think in terms of
> democracy and self-government, that it was looked to as a moral beacon,
> continuing on through WW II, and presumably on up to Iraq, at which
> point enough lies were told (I'm just saying what these articles say,
> now, so don't flame the messenger!) so that  the U.S. no longer is
> looked at for moral guidance in an uncertain world.

Not sure what you've been reading. I've lived both in and out of the US
during that period, and when out of the US, both in a "rich" country and in
a less rich one.

I don't think many have looked to the USA for /moral/ guidance. At least I
didn't get to know them :)  

But especially after the crumbling of the USSR's empire, there was a hope
that the USA would use its /leadership/ (that's something quite different
from moral guidance) to further international order, help create some sort
of international rule of law. All who hoped for that got of course
seriously disappointed -- not only did they not further it, but became one
of its major distractors.

Gerhard

2005\10\26@072835 by Vitaliy

flavicon
face
>> As far as the main topic goes, I would still vote for US:
>> - It is one of a few countries that can make a real
>> difference. No offence
>> to Iceland or Luxembourg - they simply don't have the resources.
>
> The question was about *moral* guidance. The kind of thing for which
> Ghandi (the original one, not the recent ones) would be a good
> candidate. I don't recall him having much resources.

Wouter,

If Luxembourg hasn't done anything wicked recently (on a large scale, the
kind you hear about on the news), it may be because it lacks resources. That
was my point.

Although I see where you're coming from, Ghandi is (was) a person, not a
nation.

Your comment made me think about the subject in a different way. If we take
a specific period (i.e., WWII) and a common metric of "goodness" - say, the
percentage of Jewish polulation which survived Nazi occupation, Denmark
looks a lot better than Poland or Czechoslovakia.

Israel also comes to mind as a country with limited resources but
nonetheless commanding admiration.

Vitaliy

2005\10\26@073833 by Rolf

face picon face
Hmmm... as a Canadian....

The US's idea of Free trade is not quite as charitable as you think.

Take soft-wood lumber. US, Canada, Mexico sign NAFTA (N. American Free
Trade Agreement).
Canada sells wood to US.... US lumber industry can not compete.
US applies tariffs to lumber.
Canada complains.
NAFTA officials side with Canada, instruct US to stop tariffs, repay
money taken.
US says "bugger off".... just send us some more Oil, more water, etc.

That's not the sort of country I see being able to hold the moral high
ground on free trade issues.

Rolf

Vitaliy wrote:

>> Free Trade Agreeement with the US.  We got screwed.  We liked it.  So
>> they
>
> [snip]
>
> Now, this one I can't agree with. When you have a free trade
> agreement, *both* sides win. Sure, you have selected industries that
> go bankrupt, but the benefit to consumers (cheaper goods) far outweigh
> the losses of a few underperforming companies. Macroeconomics 101.

[snip]

{Quote hidden}

2005\10\26@075730 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> Although I see where you're coming from, Ghandi is (was) a
> person, not a nation.

True, but I think he is good example of the kind of guidance this thread
is (was?) about.

> say, the
> percentage of Jewish polulation which survived Nazi
> occupation

Ooops, that one makes my country look *very* bad!

> Israel also comes to mind as a country with limited resources but
> nonetheless commanding admiration.

I won't comment for fear of violating my idea of what this thread is
about!

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2005\10\26@081502 by Bill & Pookie

picon face
Maybe I am missing something here.  But isn't "moral guidance" what is
placed in front of 300 lbs. of high explosives?

Pookie


> Yes n No.  At the end of the day, you need hardware to perform moral
> guidance because the most morally correct nation that qualifies had
> already perished out of this world.  So far the self-correcting
> mechanism within US has been impressive (speaking as a US 'alien'), my
> trust goes to the nation that has the strongest NGO and has enough
hardware.
> The choices: US, EU, and the uprising nations BRIC - Brazil, Russia,
> India, China.  Until EU overcomes its identity crisis, we don't have a
> contender I think.
>
> Ling SM
> --

2005\10\26@082743 by Matt Pobursky

flavicon
face
On Wed, 26 Oct 2005 23:24:51 +1300, Jinx wrote:
> There is a big problem in South Auckland (NZ's biggest city)
> right now. Pacific Island kids are speaking with American
> accents, calling each other n*****, with the bandanas and
> the turf wars, idolising gangsta rappers

> www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=10352057

> MacDonald's I can tolerate, importation of a thug culture I can't

If it's any consolation, many U.S. citizens don't care much for it
either.

Matt Pobursky

2005\10\26@085704 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>> Well, that's how it's *supposed* to work.  Practice differs from theory.

>And you know that, because...?

Import restrictions on New Zealand Lamb, because the US farmers think that
the US market is being flooded with NZ lamb.

The "Banana Wars" between the US and Europe.

etc, etc, etc ...

2005\10\26@090318 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>> say, the
>> percentage of Jewish polulation which survived Nazi
>> occupation
>
>Ooops, that one makes my country look *very* bad!

Maybe, but essentially it was not the Dutch people doing the eradication, it
was the occupying Germans.

>> Israel also comes to mind as a country with limited resources but
>> nonetheless commanding admiration.
>
>I won't comment for fear of violating my idea of what this thread is
>about!

Hmm, not so sure. The way they have treated the Palestinian people with
building on the West Bank and Gaza strip, in my mind has inflamed the
situation somewhat, and so rather minimises the argument for them in my
book.

2005\10\26@093124 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
>> Well, that's how it's *supposed* to work.  Practice differs from
>> theory.

> And you know that, because...?

He lives there :-) (I think).

When you are on the receiving end of a non free free trade deal it can
be a bit annoying.

I'm one pond over from there.
We can't persuade the US to give us a free trade deal until we agree
to take nuclear powered and/or armed warships as part of the incoming
:-)




       RM


2005\10\26@095445 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
> Your comment made me think about the subject in a different way. If
> we take a specific period (i.e., WWII) and a common metric of
> "goodness" - say, the percentage of Jewish polulation which survived
> Nazi occupation, Denmark looks a lot better than Poland or
> Czechoslovakia.

Interestingly, Japan actively sought to provide means for Jews to
survive the Nazis, even though they were a partner in arms.

> Israel also comes to mind as a country with limited resources but
> nonetheless commanding admiration.

That's the sort of comment that's going to get a thread like this shut
down :-(.
Even though it's true :-)

It may be better to say eg "commanding admiration from some."
It is also, of course, one of the most despised countries on earth in
some quarters.
I'd hate to have to be the chief decider of moral actions in Israel -
they are very much in a damned if you do, dead if you don't situation.
I don't like much of what they do, but it's not hard to see why they
do what they do, and why doing otherwise may work against them. I
think we'd have to leave Israel off the list for now.

       RM

2005\10\26@110012 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
>> I don't consider the "Iraq stain" is of such major consequence
>> compared to all else that happens in the world that it would
>> disqualify the US. No country is perfect. While the US's actions in
>> Iraq would be seen by the vast majority of humanity as having
>> fallen
>> short of the ideal, those who see the US as irrevocably stained by
>> Iraq tend tend to have very selective vision re the US's good
>> points.

> Russel, you misunderstood the purpose of this thread. The aim is to
> critique you own country. Defending your own country and/or
> critiquing
> other countries is not. Hence: so far a lot of ROFL posts and James
> did
> not yet raise his axe :)

I THINK I've got the rules right.
I live in New Zealand (not USA) so I can defenc USA, as above.
I said my own country may seem to be a good candidate but it's
actually not, so that fits the rules.

I said that a country whose Prime Minister sends terrorists to sink
ships in the harbour almost in view of where I'm typing this from and
lets off H bombs under small geologically unstable atolls "just up the
map" from me, doesn't seem a good candidate - and that may break the
rules  abit BUT I also said that they did good things in Ruwanda when
nobody else would, so that probably makes it about neutral.

Just to add balance I'll try a bit more self criticism. The Maori
people are an integrated part of our society - and about 200 years ago
they committed near total genocide of the Moriori people who were here
when they arrived. In turn 'the white man' (Pakeha) signed a treaty of
agreement with them - a most unusual thing to do in the world back
then (1840) but then proceeded to take their land in abrogation of the
treaty and declared them to be insurgents (or equivalent) when they
resisted and sent the world's best troops and equipment to fight them.
Their lands were confiscated by government order because they refused
to sell it or give it away. Since then we've sorted it all out in full
and final agreements - we do that about once every 20 years and then
start again and repeat the whole thing ad infinitum.

Hve I got the rules right now ?

:-)

{Quote hidden}

I don't know enough about EG to comment well, but they suffered such
immense privations and, unlike WG, did not find after about 15 years
that they'd actually won the war that they thought they'd lost (as
also did Japan) so it's understandable enough. It is unlikely that *on
average* the East German citizens of WW2 times did more harm to others
than was done to their children and children's children by those who
conquered them.

>> So, how does Belgium stand as a candidate?
>
> That's not a country. It is officially, but not in practice.

Looked like a country when I drove through it :-)
Some very very moving places there.


       RM



2005\10\26@112323 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Oct 26, 2005, at 1:54 AM, Juan Cubillo wrote:

> Go Costa Rica!!!

Drug trade?

Of course, if you're going to list internal shames (as someone did
for australia), it's hard to see how the US ever got the title in the
first place, what with everything from japanese interment camps to
the civil rights movement to nuclear testing to...

The original article seemed to be talking about 'morals' applied
to lack of expansionist foreign policy; stuff like going into Viet nam
or Korea and killing lots of people and then leaving without our fair
share of exploitation of the people we "helped" or "defeated", or any
clear profit motive in the first place. :-(  Otherwise...  terrorism,
genocide, weapons of mass destruction used against civilian populations,
research and stockpiling of bio and chemical weapons, ecological
atrocities...  we've DONE all that (and now we don't want anyone else
to follow in our footsteps...)

BillW

2005\10\26@121600 by Dmitriy Kiryashov

picon face
Sadly China is completing railroad to Tibet in the near future.


PY2NI_TERRA wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> > --

2005\10\26@130923 by Dave Lag

picon face
Tony Smith wrote:
>>>Free Trade Agreeement with the US.  We got screwed.  We liked it.  So
>>>they
>>
>>[snip]
>>
>>Now, this one I can't agree with. When you have a free trade agreement,
>>*both* sides win. Sure, you have selected industries that go bankrupt, but
>>the benefit to consumers (cheaper goods) far outweigh the losses of a few
>>underperforming companies. Macroeconomics 101.
>
>
>
> Well, that's how it's *supposed* to work.  Practice differs from theory.
>
> Tony
>

Indeed, individual US politicians and lobbyists  carry so much weight
that even when free-trade arbitrators rule agaist them they still block
goods using "legal" end-runs to protect their home turfs.

D

2005\10\26@132919 by John Pfaff

picon face
But the 'Free Trade Agreement' isn't.  Why do you need a 1500 (or
however many it actually is) page document to define 'Free Trade'.  It
should be one page with two words on it: "Free Trade"

Dave Lag wrote:

{Quote hidden}

2005\10\26@133733 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> I THINK I've got the rules right.
> I live in New Zealand (not USA) so I can defenc USA, as above.

Sorry, I took you for a yankee.

>>> So, how does Belgium stand as a candidate?
>> That's not a country. It is officially, but not in practice.
> Looked like a country when I drove through it :-)
> Some very very moving places there.

The Ardennes surely are nice, and some of the small old towns in
Flanders are too.

But Belgium is not a true country. For each political party we know in
compareable countries it has 3: one for Flanders, one for Wallonia, and
one for Brussels. For each government agency (including prime-ministers
etc) it has up to 4: the three I mentioned, plus one for the country.

Italy is in some way likewise. Nothern Italy has more in common with for
instance Germany than it has with southern Italy. I am just citing a
friend from the northern part.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2005\10\26@150610 by Peter

picon face


> Yes n No.  At the end of the day, you need hardware to perform moral guidance
> because the most morally correct nation that qualifies had already perished

which nation ?!

'Hardware to perform moral guidance' rhymes with 'We will fight for
peace to the death' imho.

Peter

2005\10\26@152506 by Peter

picon face

On Wed, 26 Oct 2005, Russell McMahon wrote:

> In fact the US, especially Roosevelt, did seek to provide moral guidance to
> and for the world at that time. They were extremely keen not to see "spheres
> of influence" which had existed pre-WW2 continue on in the "new world order"

For which reason they divided the world into two halves, left and right,
cool as cucumbers, at Yalta and Teheran and Potsdam, and then the two
sides fought three or more (depends what you count) shooting wars to
keep it that way, nearly lit up the whole planet with nukes several
times, and ended up sending people to the moon just for the coolness of
it (besides important science). It is true that neither part was a
'sphere' so what you are saying is technically correct ;-)

Peter

2005\10\26@152547 by Peter

picon face


> So why not my own coutry? Costa Rica!!! We don't even have an army.
> Mostly because we are also too poor to mantain one, but who cares :)

Lots of bananas there, no ?

Peter

2005\10\26@153512 by Peter

picon face

On Wed, 26 Oct 2005, Juan Cubillo wrote:

> Go Costa Rica!!!
> Woohhoo Try to flame us!!!

Definitely lots of bananas. And coffee. Look at those exclamation signs.

Peter

2005\10\26@155021 by Peter

picon face

On Wed, 26 Oct 2005, Vitaliy wrote:

> Now, this one I can't agree with. When you have a free trade agreement,
> *both* sides win. Sure, you have selected industries that go bankrupt, but
> the benefit to consumers (cheaper goods) far outweigh the losses of a few
> underperforming companies. Macroeconomics 101.

A trade agreement between an undeveloped country and a developed country
usually results in the developed country buying raw materials and/or
labor at a lower price and the other country not buying finished goods
because they are still way too expensive for the majority of the
population.

Bilateral trade agreements work well only between countries with
comparable buying powers, else they work almost only for the more
powerful country. The weaker country usually trades a lapse in income
from export taxes vs. the developed country for some other advantage
(such as big yachts and other perks for some fat cats and similar), and
a faster depletion of its resources, as demand rises with their
decreased price, and perhaps temporary political stability and other
things, generated by slightly higher income and employment.

And the reason bilateral trade agreements they are necessary is the fact
that such countries often have artificial tariff barriers against all
outsiders. The bilateral trade agreement lowers that barrier, and
nothing else. From the point of view of any third country contemplating
this cozy arrangement from a distance, the two look like a cartel for
all practical purposes.

Wasn't there a rule about 'no politics' on this list ?

Peter

2005\10\26@160852 by Peter

picon face

On Wed, 26 Oct 2005, Bill & Pookie wrote:

> Maybe I am missing something here.  But isn't "moral guidance" what is
> placed in front of 300 lbs. of high explosives?

Imho, only where moral leaders are also kamikaze pilots.

Peter

2005\10\26@170705 by Jinx

face picon face
> > MacDonald's I can tolerate, importation of a thug culture I can't
>
> If it's any consolation, many U.S. citizens don't care much for it
> either.

I wouldn't doubt that at all. The US is a cultural trend-setter in
many ways, most of them innovative and interesting but what
has evolved into gangstas is particularly egregious. If you're
talking about "moral guidance" you have to take into account
the effect (cultural, economic, spiritual) one country has on
others by dint of, one vector for example, official foreign policy
and how that OFP has opened doors (by knocking politely or
kicking them in !)

2005\10\26@182303 by Ling SM

picon face
On 2nd thought, and after seeing so many wise and "morally" correct
people around, I vote PICLIST to be the nation to lead everyone
virtually and physically.  :-)

I think we have almost all the resources, only thing lacking is we have
ensure MIT always keep us alive.

Cheers, Ling Sm

2005\10\26@193415 by Roy Ward

flavicon
face
Vitaliy wrote:

>>>> Free Trade Agreeement with the US.  We got screwed.  We liked it.  So
>>>> they
>>>
>>> [snip]
>>>
>>> Now, this one I can't agree with. When you have a free trade agreement,
>>> *both* sides win. Sure, you have selected industries that go
>>> bankrupt, but
>>> the benefit to consumers (cheaper goods) far outweigh the losses of
>>> a few
>>> underperforming companies. Macroeconomics 101.
>>
>>
>> Well, that's how it's *supposed* to work.  Practice differs from theory.
>>
>> Tony
>
>
> And you know that, because...?

Well I live in a country (New Zealand) that screwed itself badly in the
late 1980's with the theory that 'free trade = good'.

In practice, it seems to me that a free trade agreement is often a way
for large rich countries to take advantage of small or poorer countries,
and our leadership still hasn't learnt that :(

Cheers,
Roy Ward.

2005\10\26@205639 by Carey Fisher - NCS

face picon face

  >
  > Well, that's how it's *supposed* to work.  Practice differs
  > from theory.
  >
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they're different.
K8VZ

2005\10\27@042209 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>Well I live in a country (New Zealand) that screwed
>itself badly in the late 1980's with the theory that
>'free trade = good'.

Three free guesses why I got out, and you won't need the first two.

Still I now have a job that I couldn't have got in NZ, whatever my
qualifications.

Colleagues are celebrating the launch this morning, of a new demonstration
"high resolution" camera called Topsat. Sounds like I might be able to get
some pictures of places of interest, seeing part of the scheme is to use it
for "educational purposes".

2005\10\27@050017 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
John Nall wrote:

> I have been reading some articles (heavy reading) which assert that the
> U.S. can no longer provide moral guidance to the rest of  the world
> after Iraq.  

After reading all the other contributions, I still think there's something
seriously strange with this starter issue. I don't think there is something
like morals of a country. What would that be?

And more, I think whenever someone thinks there is, the obvious consequence
of this concept is that there are countries more and less moral, and the
usual consequence of this line of thinking is that the people in countries
that consider themselves more moral go about to teach the others morals --
usually by waging "good" wars. Which, at least IMO, proves the starting
assumption ad absurdum.

Gerhard

2005\10\27@210439 by Tony Smith

picon face

>>> No. Germany?  Of course not.
>> A far better candidate than many.
>
> I live next to that country and I must agree. I don't think there are
> many countries that have gone through a similar stage of self-reflection
> and came out like the Germans did. Regretfully (former) eastern Germany
> seems to have missed this stage.

Reminds me of the old joke, Germans always did like to travel, but now
they leave the Panzers at home.

Tony

2005\10\27@211446 by Tony Smith

picon face
>>> Well, that's how it's *supposed* to work.  Practice differs from
>>> theory.
>
>> And you know that, because...?
>
> He lives there :-) (I think).


Sydney, actually,  Only a couple of hours from NZ.

Anyway, aside from the obvious things like the US imposes tariffs on
steel, beef, and sugar (but not in reverse), the FTA has a few other
nasties in it.

One that's caused a bit of noise is we'll have support the DMCA.  In
Australia, it was determined that DVD players sold with region coding was
an infringement of consumer rights.  We can now buy DVDs from anywhere,
and happily (& legally) play them.  But not for long...  The DMCA has a
lot of implications for the software industry.

It's not just Australia, Singapore is in the same boat.

Tony

Oh yeah, can an American explain sugar in the US for me?  Aren't many
items (eg drinks) sweetened with corn syrup because of some weird sugar
tariffs or subsidies?

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