But who cares if the Gulf states engage in all sorts of nastiness. SA is the apparent bastion against terror, Dubai is the place to visit and Qatar will host the 2022 Football World Cup.
Is that an actual course, or did foreign psychopaths (albeit with state department approval) get training in actual military stuff (shooting, ironing beds, polishing boots, logistics, etc.) and then go on all by themselves to butcher journalists with a carving knife?
I don't see the link here, other than a bit or outrage and a wee dopamine hit.
I think the relevance of this news is generally that Murica trains agents of oppressive states.
Even third-year chemistry students know that the only way to dispose of a body is to oxidise it carbon and water vapour in a plastic lined bathtub and a few litres of perchromic acid.
I can easily see how an additional training in torture, logistics etc. could have helped perpetrators organize and perform the act. Although they would probably managed to kill him even without it in some way or the other.
One of the things I would hate if living in US - not such a great feeling knowing some part of your taxes goes into directly supporting things like this, whether you like it or not...
You only need to have one barbeque at your home to work that out.
If training → crimes, then surely we should be more worried about training Saudi butchers and chefs?
The real and IMO only reason the crime occurred as it did is that the Saudi's guessed correctly that the US (and others) would let them get away with it.
Which if true, isn't a ringing endorsement for the quality of torture training they received.
Is the post-killing truth part what matters. Everybody can kill, but killing in broad daylight in front of the entire planet and without consequences needs some planning and complicity. They didn't a great job hiding it the last time, so it seems that the little rascals need reinforcement private classes.
Would be that more evil than throwing tied men and women alive to the sea from helicopters so they drown, while kidnapping their babies at the same time? I don't think so.
He was a bit like Litvinenko - not nice, but not worth shedding too much tears for him.
Because they spawn outfits who ram airplanes into skyscrapers. I see no logic in this, but some "expert geopolitical strategists" do. Same with Israel, sinks USS Liberty, and then people on the hill go orgasmic, because "higher meaning" — whatever that means.
A simpler explanation which seems to be much more believable: great amounts of money spent by them to keep the whole US political establishment wined, dined, well moneyed, and happy.
He was willing to act, his actions just always missed their mark.
I don't think it's fair to compare Israel with Saudi. The former is a functioning democracy and is ranks significantly better that its neighbors when it comes to Civil liberties.
And it's always been antagonistic with US, despite making pretty face.
And, yes, they are in bed with the Saudis, now quite openly.
Exactly which "half" we are talking about here?
> And it's always been antagonistic with US, despite making pretty face.
They are a de-facto US ally. Doesn't matter how they behave publicly.
> And, yes, they are in bed with the Saudis, now quite openly.
What does that even mean? Pretty much every liberal democracy which recognizes the Saudi royal family and has economic ties with the kingdom is in "bed" with Saudis by that logic.
The deeper reality is that Saudi Arabia have provided (or occasionally withheld) stability to global oil markets since the early 1970s.
KSA are the world's reserve capacity supplier of oil. Given that world transacts globally and is a highly liquid commodity (in the economic sense), *even where KSA don't directly provide the US with much of its oil, the Kingdom's management of production and leadership in OPEC have a profound impact on global oil and through it, global economic and strategic stability.
There are countries with larger total oil reserves, more exports, and greater production (Venezuela, Russia, and the United States, respectively). Saudi Arabia's strengths are the quality of its oil ("light sweet crude", as contrasted with heavy sour crude from Venezuela, which requires light volatiles simply to extract it from the ground, hence periodic headlines about the US "selling oil to Venezuela", which is more misleading than informative), and the low cost of extraction. Additionally, Saudi Arabia have excess capacity --- their pumps are not running full out --- which means that by increasing or decreasing their supply, they can effectively set global oil prices. (Again: liquid assets, it's possible to move $100 of oil by tanker for about $1 in fuel, making arbitrage and cross-supply highly viable, unlike far less readily handled fuels including coal and natural gas, both of which require special handling.)
And just because the USA does buy and use Saudi oil, doesn’t mean American oil companies aren’t pumping it, shipping it or profiting from its sale. And it’s sold in US dollars
The Saudi's are a very loyal supporter of US policy for all of that and their country is very strategically located in the region and a big reason why the US has been able to exert power there for so long. E.g. Saudi support was crucial for both Gulf wars, the Sudan invasion, and more recently the conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Lebanon, etc.
Being able to park some aircraft carriers off the coast of Saudi Arabia is also helpful when it comes to controlling the Iranians of course. That's technically a long series of proxy wars but of course the US has been battling with them ever since the Iranian revolution all over the region in a long series of proxy wars that usually also involve the Saudis. Ugly but very profitable.
So, oil, money, and strategic value basically. You could pass some moral judgement on that but in the end most wars are about economic interests. And the interests of the US are worth trillions of dollars.
Edit: While I don’t agree with the person below who replied saying crypto could fill this gap, I don’t think they should be downvoted to the point where we can’t reply. I even hit the “vouch” button but it’s still not possible.
In fact, I’d say they are a check on a region that could easily fall under the influence of Iran, Russia, and China. Global oil supply being messed with in a destabilized region is a concern, and festering of Islamic terrorism (think about how Russia let’s ransomware terrorists fester).
Russia would go pretty far to destabilize oil in that region. Plus, they are for sale. If we don’t pay them, China will.
The price for all of this is the same price the devil always charges - your soul and values. Genocide in Yemen in 2020, murdering of journalists (in an embassy, goodness), all done with impunity.
To a considerable extent, the family also ensures a stable leadership and rule of law. A decade back, I would have supported forceful overthrow of the family. However, after observing Arab "Spring" and its implications in Syria and Libya, I am dead certain that I do not want a power vacuum in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi were very anti-Communist and opposed Arab nationalist (a 'socialist' type regime) in Egypt. In a period known as 'Arab Cold War'.
There was a fear that most of the middle east would unify under Arab nationalism. The Saudi were opposed that.
A second important part is the sale of oil, people will often argue that this is less important now because domestic production. However it was always more about European and later Asian allies of the US and ensuring oil for them.
The relations were at is worse during the oil crisis. However once the Iranian revolution happened, and Iran was no longer an US ally there was major fear of Soviet invasion or Iranian revolution spreadng. Jimmy Carter declared the 'Carter doctrine':
> Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.
Since their major client Iran was gone the US basically 'had to' depend on Saudi Arabia.
This was then majorly expanded upon by Reagan. While up to this point, relation were diplomatic (and CIA blabla) under Reagan there was a militarization. Bases were starting to build in the region and the US wanted to sell more weapons to the Saudi, Qatar, Bahrain as well.
The US started to build bases in Saudi itself during the first Golf War (that was the major reason for 9/11 btw).
Since 9/11 despise what the general population wants (and correctly believes), politically the US sees Saudi as a major ally in the 'fight for terrorism' when it is convenient but the consistent opposition to Iran is arguably the more important part.
Saudi Arabia has also totally sold out the Palestinians and has been practically allied with Israel.
So here are why the US politicians continue this 'partnership':
- Major oil state that insures sale to European and Asian allies
- Oppose Iran
- Oppose the Islamic Brotherhood (Saudi paid for the overthrow of the Egyptian 'democracy')
- Saudi regime drove AQAP (Al Quida Arab Peninsula) out of Saudi and pretends to fight them in Yemen
- Saudi (and golf state) buy a gigantic amount weapons to the point where Trump basically treated the Crown Prince like cash cow and made him do TV ads with him
- Saudi spend a lot of lobbying and fund many of the 'think tanks'
- Saudi and Israel get along
However, this episode here that so many people car about is literally never what the US cared about. An allied regime killing journalist is about as interesting as empty glass of water. To me this is a total non-story.
This is only a media outrage story. The US routinely helps in repression of journalists and what the US/Saudi are doing in Yemen is about a million times were the this Khashoggi thing. Not to mention that they are also oppressing and killing journalist there too, but I guess there are not good videos of it so it can be safely ignored.
In my opinion the whole strategic approach the US has towards the Saudi and the Middle East in general is fundamentally flawed and pilled on top of a whole bunch of wrong assumption.
Unfortunately realignment in foreign policy is very difficult. With Israel and Saudi (and co) money continually buying of congress/Washington while Iran and others don't have such powerful lobbying organizations within the US.
At the moment Iran and its proxies are actively threatening the US and its allies. Stopping that will be a prerequisite for any lobbying attempt.
Let's drop the farcical argument about how the Iranian programme is a threat to US interests. Meanwhile the tiny UAE can actively buy nuclear tech from the US, while also letting the Chinese build a military base and themselves building a base in Djibouti. Or the Saudis who can easily acquire a nuclear weapon from Pakistan with far less effort than the Iranians can with their nuclear program, nuke or not (because the Saudis funded the Pakistani nuclear programme, and above was one of the conditions).
Iran is currently "threatened" by 3 potential or active nuclear US allies - Israel, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, so bad guys or not, geopolitics dictates that they too have to acquire nukes to maintain their survival. For the very reason that North Korea still exists while Ukraine has been invaded.
Apparently those things are not prerequisites to do lobbying. Or SA enacting basically a genocide in Yemen. Apparently that shouldn't stop lobbying.
However Iran is not and has not been actively engaging the US since Bush Jr Iraq War.
In fact Iran saved US allies in the region form ISIS. Iran was practically an ally of the US against ISIS. No Shia militia or Iran allied force has attacked the US in any way.
I would argue AQ types are a far bigger danger to actual US people then any Iranian militia and those don't get financing form Iran and its allies.
Not to mention Israel and what they are doing to Palestinians (and not to mention they are a rough nuclear nation) but of course "Iran is 'threading'" so of course that is simply not acceptable.
Sadly, the US didn't learn from this and then went and turned Iraq into complete chaos.
Who do you think pours money into defense contractors, financial services and politicians pockets?
Who do we rely on to control the oil price for us?
Who else is an important ally in the region for Israel?
I dispise the Saudis, we should drop them and warm up to Iran, but that above 3 points are why no one has done it yet (plus momentum/tradition).
China does the same only they sell goods for dollars instead of oil.
America and our democratic allies spent half a century fighting totalitarianism, only to turn around and treat the post-Cold War "peace dividend" as carte-blance to sell out everything we had just finished fighting for. Now authoritarianism is on the rise again as a result.
This has to be most idiotic own-goal in history.
By destabilizing and ousting democratically elected leaders around the world and replacing them with our puppets? Or do you mean fighting those puppets when they became inconvenient?
I suspect what happened is not the history you think it is.
El Saud was put in place as rulers of Saudi Arabia by the British, not the Americans.
Consider Mossadegh in Iran - an elected, secular politician who was replaced to put Shah - a monarch, in power:
Then, of course, all across Latin America:
Arguably still oppressive after we’re done but better than before.
But after the Cold War ended, America/ns conflated Capitalism with Democracy, thinking they are one and the same, and that if we could bring bring the former to authoritarian nations, the latter would inevitably follow.
But they aren't, and it doesn't. If you want to spread Democracy and human rights, you have to spread Democracy and human rights. If Capitalism follows, fine, but it needs to be built on a foundation of freedom, represenative government, separation of power, checks and balances, and institutionalized protection of human rights, and it can't be relied upon to guarantee that.
And after that, we need to learn that capitalism does not only “not necessarily bring democracy”, but that capitalism is fundamentally incompatible with and limits realization of democracy (but less so than, say, feudalism); the transition from relatively pure capitalism to the modern mixed economy in the developed West was important in continuing the advance of meaningful democracy, but the significant remaining capitalist elements are still in tension with democracy.
(Which, while it is problematic in many places isn’t necessarily all bad; unrestrained democracy isn’t a universal good, though the places capitalism is in tension with it aren't even approximately 1:1 with the problem areas of democracy.)
When 1% of the country can determine who gets to run for, and stay in, office, and which political parties are viable and which are marginalized, then such a Democracy is flawed at best and doesn't always represent the will or interests of most people.
But Democracy does solve a number of issues capitalism has. Free-markets allocate tangible and (pardon the cliché term) fungible goods quite well.
Non-tangible (e.g. intellectual property) and non-fungible (e.g. environment) goods are not managed well in a purely capitalist system. Some sort of a majority vote and public goods solution work much better and in fact create the necessary infrastructure (safe streets, reliable electricity, clean water) for capitalism to function.
So Capitalism ≠> Democracy,
but Democracy => Capitalism is more true than not.
So yeah, better than the Soviet system.
They're clearly not though. While the successor state isn't communist, the successor state still acts in aggressive ways. We can also find many examples of people supporting the ideology in groups online, eg reddit's r/communism. Some of them even defend Stalin.
Clearly the ideology isn't dead.
Capitalism has all the murders and atrocities you can think of. It’s just not attributable to a single entity, but hidden behind ideas like „not profitable“. Ebola vaccine anyone? Tuberculosis? Cobalt exploitation? Climate change. Peak phosphorus. Pollution. How many annual death in the US are preventable with a better welfare system? I shiver when privileged Americans talk about social darwinism like it’s a good thing, and it makes me sick that you celebrate videos of people being generous to some poor fucks on the streets. Aww, he bought him shoes! Is it the projection into the imbalance of power? One day being the one to let another live? And GoFundMe campaigns for cancer treatment… W.T.F. Maybe I am missing some degrees of freedom those people indulge in, or maybe…
Monetary profit is not a metric for human welfare, no matter your narrative need for it to be. If you put systemic pressure on profit, you won’t select for prosperity and our collective future‘s benefit, but optimize for - can you guess? - monetary profit. Your economic dogma is called overfitting. Don’t mix up correlation and causality, when bringing up stats about global developments. That’s just bad science and you should know better, with the best education system in the world. Or is that an „anyone, but not everyone“ kinda thing too? Or did you sign an NQA to get the crippling credit for your degree? Sorry, what do I know about those things being oppressed by collectivized European education… Funny how not being 100k in debt kinda gives you the illusion of freedom. Like choosing a job I like, over one which frees me of that debt. Or maybe I just travel a bit, maybe to America, and educate my self on real freedom. Working can wait, what’s more important than understanding freedom?
Most academic economists don’t believe in the whole unregulated free market fantasy, anymore. For quite some time actually. That’s an American culture thing, believe it or not. Turns out, humans are not really rational actors. Who would have thought? Don’t trust me, tho, look it up, or ask economists (real ones, not some tech bro bitcoin investors): Most markets can’t regulate shit. And please while your at it, ask sociologists about 'freedom' and 'oppression'.
Really tho, have you ever allowed yourself a critical take on capitalism? Open outcome? Without defaulting to „Nice in theory, but communism…“?
I dare you, fellow human <3
It's not even close to the combination of mass purges and economic failure-driven mass starvation under the Communists.
>It’s just not attributable to a single entity, but hidden behind ideas like „not profitable“. Ebola vaccine anyone? Tuberculosis? Cobalt exploitation? Climate change. Peak phosphorus. Pollution. How many annual death in the US are preventable with a better welfare system?
Agree with all of the above, no argument there.
>I shiver when privileged Americans talk about social darwinism like it’s a good thing,
Agreed, it's the ultimate form of self-back-patting complacency.
>And GoFundMe campaigns for cancer treatment…
This is certainly a modern absurdity and indictment of US healthcare. I suspect single payer would be a net savings on healthcare for society, along with some reforms like requiring healthcare providers to publish prices for procedures and services, instead of having some back office financial engineer figuring out different prices for different patients based on how much he can squeeze out of their insurance plans.
>Most academic economists don’t believe in the whole unregulated free market fantasy, anymore.
After the deregulation of the 90s, and resulting wealth concentration, instability, and resulting Global Financial Crisis, more and more Americans don't believe it anymore either. In hindsight, the post-Great Depression Glass-Steagal regulations seem to have effectively applied the generally desirable principles of decentralization and separation of concerns to the financial system. It would probably be a net win for most of society to reinstate them.
All that said, as problematic as capitalism can be, let's not be in too much rush to forget how much worse other alternatives have been and are.
Just pointing out how capitalism isn’t exactly free of horrors, but they are hard to measure. E.g. tuberculosis claiming 1.5 million lives each year, but not in the west, so there is very little done about it. Or HIV.
The thing is we are not comparing individual countries but ideologies here. And capitalism fails those deceased for economic reasons. It’s easy to overlook.
You can mix capitalism and collectivism, as most countries did. It’s not black and white.
Do truly not see the difference between the government making the active choice that you die vs someone not producing free labor for you to exploit.
Which EU country are you from? You guys have a habit of trying to brush ur issues under the rug wether its homelessness or massive Antiziganism.
And yes, racism is a problem in Germany too. As is the bureaucratic barrier of state welfare for people with mental health issues, especially schizophrenia.
I hate justifying the US's behavior in this regard, but all such critiques need to at least be context-aware.
The USSR was attempting to spread a system of totalitarian social, economic and thought control world wide. At the time, almost everything by comparison was a lesser of two evils. In opposing their efforts, anyone who also opposed the USSR, be it a European Democracy or a third world strongman, became a US ally. Anything to thwart the spread of the USSR's variant of Communism. Supporting strongmen was ugly and unpleasant, but those were also desperate times.
The USSR was expanding rapidly and adding satellite states left and right. Any strongman who 1) opposed the USSR, and 2) who was strong enough to maintain control of their country despite USSR attempts to destabilize and gain proxy control of it, was a potential valuable ally in the greater contest. Sometimes the strongmen were the only ones in a given country who could meet both criteria, and the US had to work with was available. Ugly, but c'est realpolitik.
Though I'm not sure Iran can be justified even under that framework. Fomenting a coup in a country with a democratically elected government and liberalizing society just so we can take their oil instead of buying it at market rates is unjustifiable, even in a Cold War context. Their oil could potentially tip the military balance of power, but surely an alternative to a coup was some kind of oil-for-military-aid treaty with a fellow Democracy.
The US (and much of the west by extension) certainly has a very spotty history of supporting democracy, especially if it was in their economic interest to support the totalitarian regime.
This statement is also incorrect when referred to several key places the US have picked over the years (e.g. Pinochet's Chile or Syngman Rhee / Park Chung-Hee's Korea), and of course looking at the constant heavy military occupation of several "allied" countries, a fact without precedents in history, rather than the fable of "exporting democracy" this just looks like version 2.0 of the British Empire :)
Germany and Japan, though, got heavily de-industrialised and there was a conscious plan to bring the living standards to a much lower level than they used to be. Patents also got seized, and in general Germany and Austria did not recover their pre-WW2 prestige, even, for instance, in terms of the "new Heisenbergs and Schrödingers", which never came.
That's a strange way to talk about carpet bombing and chemical weapons. Besides, the US lost: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fall_of_Saigon
"The Vietnamese government officially calls it the "Day of liberating the South for national reunification" (Vietnamese: Giải phóng miền Nam, thống nhất đất nước) or "Liberation Day" (Ngày Giải Phóng)"
.. I don't think the Vietnamese democratic government thanks you for it.
It's widely accepted that the US made seriously grave mistakes.
> Besides, the US lost
I was attempting to phrase it as the US supporting values or institutions that would eventually lead to democracy, not that US support means it will win.
> I don't think the Vietnamese democratic government thanks you for it.
They don't obviously and we ended up with the worst of all outcomes. It would've been better for the Vietnamese people if there was never any civil war, even better if the US hadn't supported the South. But, best of all for the Vietnamese people would've been if the South had won. One look at the GDP difference between Vietnam and Korea would create some serious introspection on that scenario. To save you some time, it's $47,000 to $12,000 PPP.
Also I'm not sure what you mean by "social welfare".
Refugees that Europe deals with is mostly Syrian and Afghani. The US supplied weapons and support to Syrian rebels and weapons to anti-communist mujahideen.
Now, hindsight is 20/20, but Assad was literally using chemical weapons on Syrian citizens. The Taliban was wantonly wreaking destruction across Afghanistan causing the refugee displacement. These are complex issues when it comes to human rights abuses and geopolitics. My point is that the US paid a price in attempting to be world police, regardless of the outcome. It wasn't economically beneficial as the grandparent comment stated.
People in US are free to vote any party that they wanted. They supported the people that spends trillions in the army instead to vote for other options.
If you have presidents that despised healthcare, expressed publicly their preference for the uneducated ones, and loathed the poor, the disabled and the non-white, well... this is what you asked for. Deal with it.
If you have presidents that spend trillions in the army and you don't want it, choose presidents with other priorities.
I'm really sorry, but please don't blame Europe for that.
Yeah, maybe for the population of those countries and the US budget. But think of all the military suppliers, they must be very happy!
You may want to look up who installed the Taliban in the first place.
"During their rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban and their allies committed massacres against Afghan civilians, denied UN food supplies to 160,000 starving civilians and conducted a policy of scorched earth, burning vast areas of fertile land and destroying tens of thousands of homes."
Maybe they weren't fighting totalitarianism in the first place.
In Soviet Russia, Party finds you!
What a country!!
Perhaps this is an indirect result of the US providing military support to totalitarian regimes, but I don't see how it accounts for a rise in totalitarian/authoritarian tendencies in Russia, China, and other countries that don't receive such aid.
Nationalism and authoritarianism/totalitarianism tend to have more support when economic and other factors make people worried about their futures. In such situations, the natural human instinct is to crave stability at any cost, which opens the door for nationalism and authoritarianism/totalitarianism.
Russia and China received immense amounts of US aid.
After the USSR fell, the US was concerned about their nukes proliferating, and gave billions in foreign aid, financial/credit support, and technical assistance to Russia to help them rebuild their economy and maintain nuclear security.
For China, we opened our markets and brought them into the WTO, which massively enriched and empowered their economy and government, and without which they would not have developed nearly as quickly.
Likewise, the death squads trained by the School of the Americas were not there by some mistake or bureaucratic misstep -- it was known who they were working for, and their training was quite intentional.
Sure, we can argue that unapproved training will still take place, but it doesn't let us off the hook for the "counterinsurgency" training that was and is still consciously given to known repressive regimes.
I mean, Congress could pass laws, but then you’d need to define a cartel, prove it in court, prove they were training, etc.