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In an ideal world one should not be spied on by anyone else, but in this particular case I think India would be more ok (so to speak) of being spied on by the US than by China, the reason being that India has an ongoing and still open border dispute with China, while its relations with the US are a little more benign. Granted, I'm not from India and I've never visited the country, maybe someone more knowledgeable than me can correct me if I'm wrong.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20629406.

You'd need to have been living on a different planet to think that the US is benign. Relatively benign to their own citizens but far and away the most globally antagonistic country over the last 50 years. The list of wars and interventions, arms dealing, extradition etc would be far beyond anything China has done.

No government is beyond over stepping it's boundaries but unfortunately non US citizens do not have a constitution to protect them from the US government.

China is threatening the US global trade dominance and the US is reacting in exactly the same way incumbents usually do and unfortunately trade wars between major powers have been historical quite bloody.


You listed Indonesia. Let me show you what USA did in the past: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/10/th...

No. I do not trust USA.

>> The good the US has done is also radically beyond any good that China has done.

"Dear members of the jury, I know what you are thinking: well it looks like this guy did napalm little children in Vietnam, and did sell weapon to terrorists, and did support violent dictators. But I urge you to take a second look at my client; consider all the occasions where he DIDN'T murder women and children, that ought to count for something! And there are also instances where he DIDN'T support some dictators and terrorists. Also he gives to charity. I rest my case."

The top 25 destinations for US arms also includes: Saudi Arabia - by far the highest, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Morocco, Turkey, Afghanistan. All of these ahead of the UK in 2018. Also Indonesia. The USA is far and away the world's largest arms dealer.


The wars China has been involved in don't include most of the places you claim. Korea, Vietnam, Tibet - that's about it since the post-WW2 revolution.


USA on the other hand has quite some list.


> Last time I checked, for 70 years the US has overwhelmingly acted as a defender of liberal democracies, not an antagonist.

There is so much wrong with this statement. Let's take a look at some of your great examples.

> Iran (theocracy)

Do you know anything about American and British led operations to overthrow the Iranian government in the 1950s?


They overthrew a democratically elected government in order to install one more friendly to Western oil interests. Does that sound like a government that is the "protector of liberal democracies"?

> Cuba (dictatorship)

So the popular revolution against the military dictator Fulgencio Batista ended up with a pretty authoritarian government. We can argue on the legitimacy of the communist government, but let's talk about the government before that.

If the US was a "protector of liberal democracies" and likes to be "in conflict" with dictators, why didn't they care much about the government before the communist one? Oh yeah, because American companies owned 70% of the island and Batista was put into power by the US themselves.

> Venezuela (dictatorship)

Oh, Venezuela. This is a great topic. The US has been wanting to topple the democratically elected government since it's inception.

Here's a quote summarizing the sentiment of the people before 1999, when Hugo Chavez was elected.

> A sensation of insecurity became generalized throughout the population, constituting "an emerging culture of violence. . . very distinct from the culture of tolerance and peace that dominated Venezuelan society in the past." (Briceño León et al., 1997: 213). Along with unemployment, personal safety topped the problems perceived as most serious by the population. Between 1986 and 1996 the number of homicides per 10,000 inhabitants jumped from 13.4 to 56, an increase of 418 percent, with most of the victims being young males

It was a very bad time to be Venezuelan. Nowadays it is also a bad time to be Venezuelan. Why though? Do you think American sanctions and big business sabotage has nothing to do with it? To think so would be naive.

There are countless examples in every region of the entire planet where the US has done things that are not in line with the tag "protector of liberal democracy". They regularly cooperated with dictators, even brutal ones like Pinochet or Saddam Hussein. They do not care one lick about liberal democracy. It is realpolitik, plain and simple.

Now, I must state for posterity... The US is not the only country that behaves in this manner. I think any country will behave this way, because it's simply game theory. If someone's interests are in line with yours, you're going to cooperate with them.

I just think the US has so much power that it's influence is felt at a much higher presence than any other nation. So while any other country in the US's position would be performing similar actions, it's the US that's performing this actions.


The East India Company was formed in 1600. The tea and opium trades were company choices, not British government. It was the company that created the opium monopoly, the first opium war being nearly 50 years later. It was around the time of the second opium war, and the Indian rebellion, that the company was judged so out of control it was disestablished and all company assets to the state. Which led to the Indian Raj.

Which is not to excuse any of this, but please get the timeline right. :)

Seperating the East India company from the British government seems specious at best. The company was responsible for more GDP than the actual island of Britain, and was given explicit military support in their actions.

They had an ridiculous degree of autonomy for much of their existence, their own large armies and their fleet included warships. At one point loaning a huge sum of money to the state in exchange for even more autonomy.

It was only going into the 19th century that anything resembling control or oversight started to come into being. Which in no small part led to their disestablishment.

That autonomy was a choice made by the British government. The British government does not get to absolve itself of actions taken by its citizens for hundreds of years that had governmental support.

Edit: if I built a fleet of warships, flying the US flag, escorted by full US Navy warships began starting shooting wars with other countries, can the US government just go "not us, private citizens, we don't have anything to do with that"?

For the first hundred years of their existence there was an autocratic monarchy, a civil war and a dictatorial republic. Then restoration of the monarchy and the Glorious Revolution at the end of the 17th century that actually established the principle of parliamentary government and sovereignty. Not so much absolving as didn't yet exist...

The company was far more a relic of the earlier age - when the sovereign gave favour, handed letters of marque and established privateers. The East India Company and the Dutch East India Company similarly were more corporate states than companies as we might recognise them.

So even accepting your argument at face value (for the purposes of this argument), the British government has no blame for a company consisting of its citizens and based in it's capital starting wars for two centuries with military support from said government?

I might blame the monarch (Elizabeth I) for handing them the monopoly of some then unknown far flung region or spice trade at their inception in 1600. The first attempt at regulation was 1773, which would turn out to be the first of many prior to their enforced dissolution. As that Act recognised the already existing political aspects of the company, that's where I do indeed start to blame the government. They weren't conducting wars for 2 centuries with support of government, but quite independently of government until those first attempts at restriction. It still gets to be part of British history, so we can't disown it, if you follow me.

The history is incredibly complex, worthy of many books, but for the period of roughly 1600-1800 the EIC was closer to the independent Nassau privateers turned pirate than to a regulated, and at least somewhat controlled, London plc. At some point early in their existence they remodelled themselves on the VOC (Dutch EIC) model to become more state-like as the VOC was so successful. The VOC was more independent nation state until the very late 18th century too.

They both fielded armies and navies independently and distinct from Britain or the Netherlands, made and enforced treaties in their own, not national, interests, had their own systems of justice etc. Being amongst the very first stock based institutions there were no systems of oversight and control. Stocks were still traded in coffee and tea shops, despite the recently established Royal Exchange - where stockbrokers weren't allowed. It was one of those coffee shops that would eventually became the London Stock Exchange. Any regulation came much later, and slowly, and ultimately led to the disestablishment of the EIC, and the wide range of corporate and stock law.

I might also blame government for not seeking to constrain the company earlier than they did... I can't really blame them for not regulating something that was new and unknown, just as in the current era bitcoin has seen regulation start to come long after its success. Or the talk of regulating Facebook, or no end of others...

I'm not sure that the idea that the US is more benign than china is shared outside the US or the occidental world.


>The US has toppled brutal dictators like Saddam Hussein and kept the global peace

Those two statements directly conflict: Saddam kept things under control a lot better than the violent mess that exists in Iraq now.

Tell that to the Kurds and other persecuted minorities who were tortured and killed en masse by Saddam.

Were more Kurds killed and tortured annually under Saddam, or after the US occupation?

It was not the US that perpetrated the violence after it toppled Saddam. It was the radical elements within Iraq. They're the ones that bear responsibility.

..so what exactly are we supposed to be telling the Kurds? That the US isn't responsible for the indirect effects of occupations that were started on lies to begin with?

We wouldn't need to tell them, they know. The radical elements in Iraq who actually perpetrated the violence in pursuit of extremism are responsible for the violence.

There is a reason why Kurdistan is one of the most peaceful and developed regions in the Middle East: they act the way you must act to be a prosperous modern people. The violent radicals who squandered the post-Saddam opportunity to build a modern Iraq are to blame for the killing and the chaos.

"The US has toppled brutal dictators like Saddam Hussein and kept the global peace."

John Bolton, is that you?

The relative loss of life due to war and occurrence of war around the world since 1945 is far lower than at any other point in human history. This is directly due to the US acting as the global superpower.

The Pax Americana is a widely recognized phenomenon.

This "Whatabout WW2 deaths" has little to do with killing 180,000 Iraqi civilians over false information. This type of war mongering justification is what GP is talking about with regards to people outside the U.S. not sharing the opinion that it's benign.

They neither give the most aid in total nor in % of gross national income.

>> Most of the complaints about the US focus on comparatively small mistakes

Taking down democracy in Iran. Supporting dictators in Latin America and Africa and assisting them in hunting down democracy activists. Financing terrorism in Angola for two decades. Fabricating an incident in order to attack North Vietnam, killing 3 millions people. Supporting "Asian Hitler" Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Tacitly supporting Pakistan's genocidal attack against Bangladesh. Selling weapons to the terrorist regime of Iran, and then using the money to support terrorists in central America. Fabricating a threat in order to invade Iraq (hundreds of thousands of dead, millions displaced). Supporting terrorist groups in Syria. Waging undeclared wars in (at least) seven countries at the moment.

"Small mistakes."

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