I wonder if economics is making war obsolete, at least for the larger countries. Waging war is just too damned expensive, even if your enemy lives in mud huts. If you're looking for the silver lining to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, here it is: They prove once and for all that the occupier doesn't come out ahead even by "winning."

It makes more sense to turn off the economic spigot to any country that starts to look threatening to its neighbor. Arguably, the United States is already in a war with Iran, but it takes the form of developing alternative fuels. When Iran can no longer find much of a market for its oil, it will have to start being a lot friendlier. The same goes for the United States. The next President of The United States (probably Obama) will be projecting a new humility thanks to a crippled economy.

North Korea has been defeated economically, for all practical purposes. So was the Soviet Union. Venezuela is getting less cocky as the price of oil plummets. China has become zero threat to the U.S. because of economic interests.

Terrorism is still the wild card. But the end of oil will put more of a dent in terrorism than any war could.

In the old days you could make a profit from a good war, thanks to pillaging and slavery. Those days have passed. Switzerland has one of the highest standards of living in the world.

I think the age of big war has passed.
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Oct 22, 2008
Completely off topic but Scott I thought you might like this. Some Atheists have clubbed together to raise money to put the slogan "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." on the side of London Busses. They wanted £5,500 and so far they've received £79,627.40 !!!

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Oct 22, 2008
In times of peace,development is the first.No one loves the war but crazy.
Oct 22, 2008
End of Oil leads to end of terrorism?

That like saying end of wealth will eliminate poverty.
Oct 22, 2008
Doh. Haliburton? Blackwater?
War has never been so profitable. Not for nations, but for corporations.
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Oct 22, 2008
I think war being so expensive could lead to a really big war. Here is the way I see it:

Two small nations go to war with each other.
Due to war costing so much and/or the two countries being in a unfreindly area (think Africa or maybe in the Kashmir area) UN/America wait too long to get involved.
War spreads to other smaller countries and starts spilling out even further.

In other words I think because war costs so much it may have the effect of making us too slow to act. I imagine after Iraq/Afiganistan that the US will be a little slower to fight next time too.

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Oct 22, 2008
Unfortunatley, the eras of oppression and stupidity never seem to end. There is always some ignorant jackass who will want io impose himself/herself on the world without thinking ahead to what the disastrous consequences might be. It is the same thinking as is behind terrorism, but with the reach and might of a government behind it. It is the same thinking that got us into 2 useless wars - wanting to make an example of somebody even if it meant lying, and even when there were far better alternatives for defending ourselves and getting the retribution that was needed. Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.

And to "cartmancakes', if you'll remember, one of the selling points that W, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz used in making their case for the war is that it wouldn't end up costing much because the Iraqi oil revenues would pay for the rebuiliding. Over $1 trillion later, and that still isn't happening...
Oct 22, 2008
It has been said that second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience. In your case, Scott, your view on war is the same kind of thing, only much worse. It's based purely on wishful thinking.

There will always be tyrants. They gain their power when good people refuse to stand up to them. They then ally themselves with other bad people, some of whom are opportunists thinking they're backing the winning horse, while some are hell-bent on dominating a region or a world.

Look at what led up to WWII. Germany was crushed in WWI, or so the world thought. Wilson told us after WWI that it had been the "war to end all wars." Was he right? What would have happened if someone, anyone, would have gone into Poland and kicked Hitler out after he "annexed" it? What just happened in Georgia, Scott? The country, not the state.

Your premise is not only naive, it is dangerous. There are tyrants out there who want to take us over. They will, too, unless we stop them, either when it's easy to do so or when it's not. The way we empower them is the same way the world empowered the Axis in the build-up to WWII - the world appeased them, and refused to fight them when the fight would have been small and the outcome assured. What could have been a small war turned into a world war. That's where your kind of thinking leads.

Liberals are the worst warmongers, because they proclaim they want peace when all their protests really get us is a really, really big war. They're not stupid; they can read history books just like the rest of us. They know where appeasement leads, but for some reason they still scream and yell and protest for peace at any price. They must want us to get into another really, really big war, because they are unwilling to fight the necessary small ones to prevent it.

So when Hugo Chavez invades Cuba, with the help of the Soviet, er, Russian fleet, watch the response of the left. And then, when Putin starts to retake the old Soviet states, watch again. Watch the European wimps start to quiver and shout for the US to bail them out, again.

We have become unwilling to fight for ourselves, and we are told we must run from any conflict. Joe Biden has guaranteed that there will be some world 'crisis' (read, "Attack on the US") within six months of their taking office. Oh, boy, I can't wait. Sure glad all you Democrats are voting for Obama because he's going to bring 'change.' Be careful of what you ask for, because you're about to get it.

When Reagan defeated Carter, the Iranians released the hostages the day he was sworn in. That shows what happens when a president who is strong on defense replaces a president who is perceived to be a weakling. We're about to see, should Obama win, what happens when the reverse occurs.

Remember - you asked for it.
Oct 22, 2008
Although I am a Ron Paul fan, I like how you can be frank and say "probably obama". Your political incorrectness is a breath of fresh air. I don't know if that is really politically incorrect though, I just like how you can be frank.
Oct 22, 2008
I usually do not comment, but this post was top notch on clarity. glad to see you still have "it" in you.
Oct 22, 2008
oops....i meant Nuclear
Oct 22, 2008
Question: Does a Nuklear exchange constitute a definition of 'big war' ? It certainly would'nt be all that expensive considering they are already built and deployed. At least not expensive in dollars.
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2008

That is an interesting point-of-view. But is it not also true that economics has been the main cause behind the wars of the past? Also, how do we measure the cost of a war? Is it in terms of the casualties or the economic cost incurred?

On the face of it, the Iraq war might appear to be a lesson that wars equal bad economics, but dig a little deeper and one might discover that economics is the primary reason behind this war.

For long, dollar has been the benchmark currency for oil trade, making it the most stable and most in-demand currency in the world. Saddam Hussein's decision to switch from the dollar to euro meant a significant portion of the oil trade (most traded commodity between nations) would be in euro, undermining the stability of the U.S. dollar. With Iran, Venezuela and Russia announcing they would follow suit, the U.S. dollar, and as a consequence the U.S. economy was increasingly at risk of becoming a worthless currency, particularly in light of the humungous trade deficit we have piled on.

Invading Iraq and changing the regime would not only fix the Iraq problem (terrorism, Al Qeida and WMD were all convenient excuses), but would also send a stern message to others attempting to do so. (It is no coincidence that Iran, Russia, and Venezuela are among the most despised nations among the U.S. government circles.)

Therefore, it might be safe to assume that as long as power disparities exist among nations, economics could possibly turn from an apparent deterrent into a primary cause of war. (Imagine the highly unlikely scenario of the U.S. prohibiting imports from China as a consequence of populist backlash at home. Could this lead to a war of unprecedented proportions?)
Oct 22, 2008
That is insanely interesting. Love your ability to look at the world and explain it as no one else could. I can now fear China less. Damn the wild card!
Oct 22, 2008
I would agree except that I don't think we are that rational. Among a couple of other key things I now believe that Shame is a primary human motivator. As a person and as a group, I think we will do almost anything to avoid experiencing it. As I think you've repeated, a person's biggest fear of all is public humiliation. I think that large countries might still go to war over perceived shame/dishonor. Even America, although our culture has changed tremendously, in many ways for the worse, because there is so little sense of shame anymore for many Americans.

I think we are certainly headed for a "Bay of Pigs"-style showdown with Russia over putting missiles in Poland. And why? Even if the missiles are truly no strategic threat to Russia as we claim, I think Russia may go all the way because of perceived shame/dishonor/pride.
I don't understand in this era of Aegis-class cruisers why we absolutely must have anti-missile defenses in Poland. Unless there is more to it, I prefer we back off now. Otherwise, if it reaches the crisis point would we back down then? Probably not, and for the same reason.

For the same reason, economic sanctions have not seemed to me to have been very effective against Iraq, Iran, or North Korea. It seems that a nation, or at least its leaders, would rather suffer hardship than suffer shame. Its easy to see if I reverse positions and imagine America under sanctions to coerce us. Fat chance.
Oct 22, 2008
I think it is narrow-minded to think of occupying Iraq as "winning" for the U.S. It is winning for the free world. Yeah, I know almost no one believes that anymore, but lots of people need to believe in something safe and immediate.

You don't need oil money anymore to be a terrorist, although it obviously helps. The other side of the world sees a war with Westerners, Christians, whatever. They live a bumpkin life by US standards and they only here what government wants them to. No amount of unconditional negotiations will change that. Their leaders like this state of affairs.

Until you set up a government by their people, with education and equality, you will have this 1000 year old war continuing forever. Might as well end the dictatorships while we can.

Oct 22, 2008
War is hugely expensive for governments, but hugely profitable for corporations like Halliburton, which stand to profit from waging the war and from reconstructions efforts. Since Bush's ideology suggests that government functions should be privatized, the role of goverment is reducted to collecting taxpayer money, starting a war, and then signing contracts and shovelling money towards the private corporations. Since the ideology includes a huge boost in moving taxpayer dollars into corporate hands, the economy ends up looking really good on paper. For a while.
Oct 22, 2008
This is not new. Reading about WW2 reveals that Britain won the war but lost the peace. Britain was completely broke, owed the USA millions it had no hope of paying back. They had to export everything they could, to try and rebuild their economy. The ex-colonies tried to help by giving imports from Britain favourable trade terms.
The other problem they had was their machinery was flogged to death, they couldn't afford to replace it. Germany's was destroyed, and they rebuilt with brand new equipment, an indirect cost of war.
Where I live, war is so expensive we can't even afford to have a strike arm in the Air Force.
In Iraq the US got caught out by not realising that when the lid (Saddam) was removed, that place would explode like an overheated pressure cooker. Apparently the British did try to tell them, but were ignored.
Oct 22, 2008
I see many references to Bidens comments yesterday about Lama Ding Dong being tested by an international crisis followed by an unpopular response. I am sure if this comes to be, the crisis wont be caused by an african nation. So it can be concluded that its a racist action by whomever does cause it. The world will not tolerate an Afro-american president, even though all of us here want that. Global racisim could be the cause of the start of the race war. Its more than possible.

Oct 22, 2008
"Waging war is just too damned expensive"

Where does that extraordinary quantity of money go? Follow that trail, and many implausible decisions become sadly explicable.
Oct 22, 2008
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