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>that we are inherently the good guys in any international conflict.

How else could any human or organization function if not by acting in ways they believe are right?

>The reality is our government has interests.

The reality is everyone has interests. The "government" isn't some homogeneous entity pushing towards a single plan; it's an incredibly complex network of individuals.

The nation isn't perfect, but does anyone really believe that, on net, America hasn't been a force for good in the world? What is your benchmark?



hutzlibu 37 days ago [flagged]

"The nation isn't perfect, but does anyone really believe that, on net, America hasn't been a force for good in the world?"

Wow. You really never moved out of your bubble, did you?

There are many people(not just IS extremists) who consider the US-Empire as plain evil.

And much more who just think of US as arrogant, ignorant, self righteous bricks who try to enforce the american way of life on the whole world. And covertly or openly destroy anyone who opposes.

Now I am not that extreme, in my view and I actually think that good or bad, all in all, probably yes, but there is too much truth in the accusation. And you proved the ignorant part very well.

(btw. technology and science are the things that do the net good for me ... but politicaly, hell no. Just another empire posing as nice to go after selfish motives. Nicer than other empires maybe but still a empire)


I see the word "empire" bandied about when discussing this subject a lot, and I'm never really sure what people mean by it. I mean, sure on the face of it you're correct, an "empire" according to various dictionaries is just an expansive amount of territory under a single rule, but it doesn't seem like that's what anyone really means when they say it. Otherwise, why aren't most countries empires? They have an "expansive" amount of territory by some definition. Or what about the EU? China? Russia?

What seems especially confusing to me is that "empire" has a very specific negative connotation but it's rarely out and out said what people who say "empire" actually think the US's crime is. I could imagine it to mean the way we treated Native Americans, but it doesn't seem like that's actually what's being talked about most of the time. Furthermore if we're talking just about global economic and cultural influence, that's voluntary(?) so the connotation meant doesn't work there.

What's the real deal here? What are we actually talking about?

And just to be clear I'm very much against US interventionalism but that doesn't constitute an empire... Or does it?

Also, openly destroying people for disagreeing with the "American Way Of Life" isn't something I've seen before. Are your referring to the Cold War, or stuff with the Middle East?


The way I understand empire is a state which tries to expand its influence and dominate wherever it can.

And yes, for people being dominated by it, it has a negative connotation.

Different from a democracy and federation. Because a democracy fighting for freedom and ... well democracy, would not do this:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_involvement_in...

"During the Cold War in particular, the U.S. government secretly supported military coups that overthrew democratically elected governments in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, the Congo in 1960, Brazil in 1964 and Chile in 1973. "

This is what empires do.

Dominating their way onto weaker states, by all means. Sanctions, assasinations, supporting, supressing, blocking, sending weapons and ultimatively troops. There is a reason why there are US bases all over the world.

And yes, sometimes that can be a net gain, like in Nazi Germany, but usually all the human rights democracy talk is just facade.

And also yes, smaller states do the same, act like empires, but the US is by far the largest Power since the USSR vanished.

But china is on the rise and europe likes to be an empire as well ... but for example with europe I have the hope that we tend to stay more a democratic federation and not go down that path as well.


Okay that does make sense. I think that there are good and bad sides to the US' actions though, and the good actions are not limited to WW2.

It's important to note that, at some size any nation becomes an "empire" by that definition-- it really isn't possible to not do that, and survive. Beyond a certain amount influence, there will be constant threats to security and prosperity and people trying to harm you, and rightly or not the solution any government would look to for these problems is violence. Because government is fundamentally based on force, inside and out (government is enforced at the point of a gun). So to say that the US's government is uniquely terrible is not really true.

Also for the most part the actions of the US are in service to what they say they are in service to. On this I disagree with you slightly: the values US talks about are usually not a facade. And the times that they are, those become highly contentious actions, even in the US, whereas in other countries I don't know that they would be-- so to act as if the US's people are uniquely terrible is again very disingenuous.

In the example that you quote, those actions were clearly in the interest of toppling an even greater evil. I don't think this rationale is morally right, but you could say we went with the "lesser evil".

So I agree with you, that the US does act like an empire, and that other countries would too if they had to or could.

However I see a lot of specific condemnations of the US as if it were unique. That's more what I was responding to. I don't think either of us think that's right.


"So to say that the US's government is uniquely terrible is not really true."

I never said that. What is unique with the US is just that you are the biggest power today. That's why so much of the negativity is focused on your empire. If china would be dominating, it would be them. (and I know their human right standards are much lower)

But with this I disagree very much:

"It's important to note that, at some size any nation becomes an "empire" by that definition-- it really isn't possible to not do that, and survive"

If you are powerful, because your people work hard and efficient, why do you have to invade other countries?

"Beyond a certain amount influence, there will be constant threats to security and prosperity"

Because they are a threat to your prosperity, because they don't sell you their ressources at a price you want?

Note that many people think, that terrorism is the answer because their land was exploited.


> I never said that.

Understood. (: I was mostly going on a tangent there, where I was responding to the kind of comments my OG comment in this thread responded to.

> If you are powerful, because your people work hard and efficient, why do you have to invade other countries?

Perhaps because a country is funding terrorist attacks against you and/or preparing nuclear weapons or ICBMs to attack you with?

> Because they are a threat to your prosperity, because they don't sell you their ressources at a price you want?

I'm very against force retaliation for things that are not force initiation. That's not what I meant so perhaps I should elaborate, although it's a red herring away from my main point: what is included in acting like an empire is anything that expands a nation's influence and domination. That doesn't specify the use of force. So something like having trade wars with countries that refuse to stop ignoring copyright and subsidizing their own products in a dubious way, would be included in acting like an empire. And since those countries are leveraging state power to control the market, why shouldn't the US be allowed to retaliate in kind, since that's apparently OK?

(Side note: I don't think we should have started the trade wars, personally. I think it's an unfortunate circumstance for the economy. But I think doing that kind of thing, once again, is an inevitable necessity for a state because it has to prove it can't be taken advantage of).

> Note that many people think, that terrorism is the answer because their land was exploited.

I'm not exactly sure what you mean here.


I agree with you.

It seems like American Exceptionalism has been shifting from a definition of “America is unique” to “America is perfect”. Obviously no country can meet the 2nd definition.

America has definitely been a force for good in the world, but just like every other organization run by humans, it makes mistakes and sometimes succumbs to human weakness like greed and overconfidence.


>>that we are inherently the good guys in any international conflict.

>How else could any human or organization function if not by acting in ways they believe are right?

Being convinced that you're always right is not the same as doing the right thing or acting the right way.

>The nation isn't perfect, but does anyone really believe that, on net, America hasn't been a force for good in the world? What is your benchmark?

Hoo, boy. No, America hasn't been "a force for good in the world", because that's a really naive, simplistic idea. America has done many things in (and to) the world. Some of them have been good for certain groups of people at certain times.

ionised 37 days ago [flagged]

> The nation isn't perfect, but does anyone really believe that, on net, America hasn't been a force for good in the world? What is your benchmark?

Lots of people all over the world who have been on the receiving end of US military or economic aggression enacted in the interests of the US plutocrats.

African Americans, Native Americans, most of South America, pretty much all of the Middle East and North Africa, anyone who has suffered structural violence as a result of the US's insistence on a morally bankrupt Friedman hack-job neoliberal economic ideology.

The US has done a lot of good things, but on balance I think it's done more damage and has merely replaced the British Empire as the current Anglo-sphere imperialist power.


Abusing its power to exceptionally shield itself from international justice, while at the same time practicing extraterritorial judicial reach, is also not a good sign of being a net force for good.

https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-icc/u-s-imposes-visa-... https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2009/0213/p05s01-woeu...


Plus, as a nation it meets its own definition of a rogue state.

refurb 37 days ago [flagged]

On balance has done more damage?

Do you believe that in the countries where the US has intervened that without US involvement things would be that much better? Seems to me that when the US supported a dictatorship, the alternative wasn’t a thriving democracy but just another dictatorship aligned to a different power.


[flagged]


Please don't do political or nationalistic flamewar on HN. The conversation fell way below the acceptability line by this point.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

p.s. We've had to warn you repeatedly about using HN for political or ideological battle. At some point we ban accounts that keep doing that—regardless of what they're arguing for or against—because it's highly destructive of the intellectual curiosity this site exists for. Would you please fix that?

refurb 37 days ago [flagged]

You've proven my point exactly. Your standard for America is perfection - a country that has never done anything wrong or made mistakes. Under your standard, every country is evil. It's a silly way to look at things.

And, I see you've swallowed the Mossadegh narrative hook line and sinker. Iran was in chaos prior to the coup. Mossadegh was not uniformly popular, there were riots on the street. He was on his way out regardless, as he had failed to deliver on many of his promises.

As for Iraq, sure, that didn't turn out well.

By why did you ignore my comment about Taiwan, Japan, Western Europe, etc? You trot out examples of failures, but completely ignore the success stories.


Please don't do political or nationalistic flamewar on HN. The conversation fell way below the acceptability line by this point.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Don't forget "economic warfare", where the US crushes its "enemiy countries" through painful sanctions, which always leaves the poorest portions of those countries in shambles. Not to mention the refugee crisis it creates, which in turn has the "pleasant" effect of lowering wages across the globe.


Wait, so the US is evil for not giving the benefits of it's economy to states it doesn't like/that dislike it? That seems really backwards-- how does anyone else have a right to the US's economy?

Even more, (if I understand your point correctly) the US is also evil for having a good economy and society that refugees want to flee to?

So the US is both evil for having a great economy available to people and also for not making that economy available to people? Is there any way to win besides just not having a good economy (and society)?

Is this just hating on the strong and successful because they are strong and successful?


Lots of accusations here with zero citations.


[flagged]


It's fine, there is a certain collective on HN that do not believe or want to even google United States and the past dealings with the middle East and South America.

America is not the world - Morrissey




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