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PJ O'Rourke: Why Americans Hate foreign Policy


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And this was JUST TOO GOOD not to post in it's own thread.

Absolutely hilarious!!


Frankly, nothing concerning foreign policy ever occurred to me until the middle of the last decade. I'd been writing about foreign countries and foreign affairs and foreigners for years. But you can own dogs all your life and not have "dog policy".

You have rules, yes - Get off the couch! - and training, sure. We want the dumb creatures to be well behaved and friendly. So we feed foreigners, take care of them, give them treats, and, when absolutely necessary, whack them with a rolled-up newspaper.

That was as far as my foreign policy thinking went until the middle 1990s, when I realised America's foreign policy thinking hadn't gone that far.

In the fall of 1996, I travelled to Bosnia to visit a friend whom I'll call Major Tom. Major Tom was in Banja Luka serving with the Nato-led international peacekeeping force, Ifor. From 1992 to 1995, Bosnian Serbs had fought Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims in an attempt to split Bosnia into two hostile territories.

In 1995, the US-brokered Dayton Agreement ended the war by splitting Bosnia into two hostile territories. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was run by Croats and Muslims. The Republika Srpska was run by Serbs.

IFOR's job was to "implement and monitor the Dayton Agreement." Major Tom's job was to sit in an office where Croat and Muslim residents of Republika Srpska went to report Dayton Agreement violations.

"They come to me," said Major Tom, "and they say, 'The Serbs stole my car.' And I say, 'I'm writing that in my report.' They say, 'The Serbs burnt my house.' And I say, 'I'm writing that in my report.' They say, 'The Serbs raped my daughter.' And I say, 'I'm writing that in my report."'

"Then what happens?" I said.

"I put my report in a filing cabinet."

Major Tom had fought in the Gulf war. He'd been deployed to Haiti during the American reinstatement of President Aristide (which preceded the recent American un-reinstatement). He was on his second tour of duty in Bosnia and would go on to fight in the Iraq war.

That night, we got drunk.

"Please, no nation-building," said Major Tom. "We're the Army. We kill people and break things. They didn't teach nation-building in infantry school."

Or in journalism school, either. The night before I left to cover the Iraq war, I got drunk with another friend, who works in TV news. We were talking about how - as an approach to national security - invading Iraq was... different.

I'd moved my family from Washington to New Hampshire. My friend was considering getting his family out of New York. "Don't you hope," my friend said, "that all this has been thought through by someone who is smarter than we are?"

It is, however, a universal tenet of democracy that no one is.

Americans hate foreign policy. Americans hate foreign policy because Americans hate foreigners. Americans hate foreigners because Americans are foreigners. We all come from foreign lands, even if we came 10,000 years ago on a land bridge across the Bering Strait.

America is not "globally conscious" or "multi-cultural." Americans didn't come to America to be Limey Poofters, Frog-Eaters, Bucket Heads, Micks, Spicks, Sheenies or Wogs. If we'd wanted foreign entanglements, we would have stayed home. Or - in the case of those of us who were shipped to America against our will - as slaves, exiles, or transported prisoners - we would have gone back.

Being foreigners ourselves, we Americans know what foreigners are up to with their foreign policy - their venomous convents, lying alliances, greedy agreements and trick-or-treaties. America is not a wily, sneaky nation. We don't think that way.

We don't think much at all, thank God. Start thinking and pretty soon you get ideas, and then you get idealism, and the next thing you know you've got ideology, with millions dead in concentration camps and gulags. A fundamental American question is: "What's the big idea?"

Americans would like to ignore foreign policy. Our previous attempts at isolationism were successful. Unfortunately, they were successful for Hitler's Germany and Tojo's Japan. Evil is an outreach programme. A solitary bad person sitting alone, harbouring genocidal thoughts, and wishing he ruled the world is not a problem unless he lives next to us in the trailer park.

In the big geopolitical trailer park that is the world today, he does. America has to act. But, when America acts, other nations accuse us of being "hegemonistic," of engaging in "unilateralism," of behaving as if we're the only nation on earth that counts.

We are. Russia used to be a superpower but resigned "to spend more time with the family." China is supposed to be mighty, but the Chinese leadership quakes when a couple of hundred Falun Gong members do tai chi for Jesus.

The European Union looks impressive on paper, with a greater population and a larger economy than America's. But the military spending of Britain, France, Germany, and Italy combined does not equal one third of the US defence budget.

When other countries demand a role in the exercise of global power, America can ask another fundamental American question: "You and what army?"

Americans find foreign policy confusing. We are perplexed by the subtle tactics and complex strategies of the Great Game. America's great game is pulling the levers on the slot machines in Las Vegas. We can't figure out what the goal of American foreign policy is supposed to be.

The goal of American tax policy is avoiding taxes. The goal of American environmental policy is to clean up the environment, clearing away scruffy caribou and seals so that America's drillers for Arctic oil don't get trampled or slapped with a flipper.

But the goal of American foreign policy is to foster international co-operation, protect Americans at home and abroad, promote world peace, eliminate human rights abuses, improve US business and trade opportunities, and stop global warming.

We were going to stop global warming by signing the Kyoto protocol on greenhouse gas emissions. Then we realized the Kyoto protocol was ridiculous and unenforceable and that no one who signed it was even trying to meet the emissions requirements except for some countries from the former Soviet Union. They accidentally quit emitting greenhouse gases because their economies collapsed.

However, if we withdraw from diplomatic agreements because they're ridiculous, we'll have to withdraw from every diplomatic agreement because they're all ridiculous. This will not foster international co-operation. But if we do foster international co-operation, we won't be able to protect Americans at home and abroad, because there has been a lot of international co-operation in killing Americans.

Attacking internationals won't promote world peace, which we can't have anyway if we're going to eliminate human rights abuses, because there's no peaceful way to get rid of the governments that abuse the rights of people - people who are chained to American gym-shoe-making machinery, dying of gym-shoe lung, and getting paid in shoe-laces, thereby improving US business and trade opportunities, which result in economic expansion that causes global warming to get worse.

One problem with changing America's foreign policy is that we keep doing it. President Bill Clinton dreamed of letting the lion lie down with the lamb chop. Clinton kept International Monetary Fund cash flowing into the ever-criminalising Russian economy. He ignored Kremlin misbehaviour - from Boris Yeltsin's shelling of elected representatives in the Duma to Vladimir Putin's airlifting of uninvited Russian troops into Kosovo.

Clinton compared the Chechnya fighting to the American Civil War (murdered Chechens being on the South Carolina statehouse, Confederate-flag-flying side). Clinton called China America's "strategic partner" and paid a nine-day visit to that country, not bothering himself with courtesy calls on America's actual strategic partners, Japan and South Korea. Clinton announced, "We don't support independence for Taiwan," and said of Jiang Zemin, instigator of the assault on democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square: "He has vision."

Anything for peace, that was Clinton's policy. Clinton had special peace-mongering envoys in Cyprus, Congo, the Middle East, the Balkans, and flying off to attend secret talks with Marxist guerrillas in Colombia.

On his last day in office, Clinton was still phoning Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. "Love your work, Gerry. Do you ever actually kill people? Or do you just do the spin?"

Clinton was everybody's best friend. Except when he wasn't. He conducted undeclared air wars against Serbia and Iraq and launched missiles at Sudan and Afghanistan. Clinton used the military more often than any previous peacetime American president. He sent armed forces into areas of conflict on an average of once every nine weeks.

President George W Bush's foreign policy was characterised, in early 2001, as "disciplined and consistent" (Condoleezza Rice): "blunt" (The Washington Post), and "in-your-face" (the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace). Bush began his term with the expulsion of one fourth of the Russian diplomatic corps on grounds of espionage. He snubbed Vladimir Putin by delaying a first summit meeting until June 2001, and then holding it in fashionable Slovenia.

On April 1, 2001, a Chinese fighter jet, harassing a US reconnaissance plane in international air space, collided with the American aircraft, which was forced to land in Chinese territory. Bush did not regard this as an April Fools' prank. By the end of the month, he had gone on Good Morning America and said that, if China attacked Taiwan, the United States had an obligation to defend it with "whatever it took".

The President also brandished American missile defences at Russia and China. The Russians and Chinese were wroth. The missile shield might or might not stop missiles but, even unbuilt, it was an effective tool for gathering intelligence on Russian and Chinese foreign policy intentions. We knew how things stood when the town drunk and the town bully strongly suggested that we shouldn't get a new home security system.

In the Middle East, Bush made an attempt to let the Israelis and the Palestinians go at it until David ran out of pebbles and Goliath had been hit on the head so many times that he was voting for Likud. In Northern Ireland, Bush also tried minding his own business. And he quit negotiating with North Korea about its atomic weapons for the same reason that you'd quit jawing with a crazy person about the gun he was waving and call 999.

We saw the results of Clinton's emotional, ad hoc, higgledy-piggledy foreign policy. It led to strained relations with Russia and China, increased violence in the Middle East, continued fighting in Africa and Asia, and Serbs killing Albanians. Then we saw the results of Bush's tough, calculated, focused foreign policy: strained relations with Russia and China, increased violence in the Middle East, continued fighting in Africa and Asia, and Albanians killing Serbs.

Further changes could be made to US foreign policy. For a sample of alternative ideas, we can turn to a group of randomly (even haphazardly) chosen, average (not to say dull-normal) Americans: the 2004 Democratic presidential hopefuls. By the time this is read, most of them will be forgotten. With luck, all of them will be.

None the less, it's instructive to recall what 10 people who offered themselves as potential leaders of the world deemed to be America's foreign policy options.

Incessant activist Al Sharpton pleaded for "a policy of befriending and creating allies around the world". The way Sharpton intended to make friends was by fixing the world's toilets and sinks. "There are 1.7 billion people that need clean water," he said, "almost three billion that need sanitation systems... I would train engineers... would export people that would help with these things."

Ex-child mayor of Cleveland Dennis Kucinich promised to establish "a cabinet-level Department of Peace". The secretary of peace would do for international understanding what the postmaster general does for mail.

Former one-term senator and erstwhile ambassador to New Zealand Carol Moseley Braun said, "I believe women have a contribution to make... we are clever enough to defeat terror without destroying our own liberty... we can provide for long-term security by making peace everybody's business". Elect me because women are clever busybodies. This is the "Lucy and Ethel Get an Idea" foreign policy.

Massachusetts's thinner, more sober senator, John Kerry, said that he voted for threatening to use force on Saddam Hussein, but that actually using force was wrong. This is what's known, in the language of diplomacy, as bullshit.

Previous almost-vice president Joe Lieberman indignantly demanded that Bush do somewhat more of what Bush already was doing. "Commit more US troops," create "an Iraqi interim authority," and "work with the Iraqi people and the United Nations." Perhaps Lieberman was suffering from a delusion that he was part of the current presidential administration.

But imagine having a Democrat as commander-in-chief during the War Against Terrorism, with Oprah Winfrey as secretary of defence. Big hug for Mr Taliban. Republicans are squares, but it's the squares who know how to fly the bombers, launch the missiles and fire the M-16s. Democrats would still be fumbling with the federally mandated trigger locks.

One-time governor of insignificant Vermont Howard Dean wanted a cold war on terrorism. Dean said that we'd won the Cold War without firing a shot (a statement that doubtless surprised veterans of Korea and Vietnam). Dean said that the reason we'd won the Cold War without firing a shot was because we were able to show the communists "a better ideal."

But what is the "better ideal" that we can show the Islamic fundamentalists? Maybe we can tell them: "Our President is a born-again. You're religious lunatics - we're religious lunatics. America was founded by religious lunatics! How about those Salem witch trials? Come to America and you could be Osama bin Ashcroft. You could get your own state, like Utah, run by religious lunatics. You could have an Islamic Fundamentalist Winter Olympics - the Chador Schuss."

Since the gist of Howard Dean's campaign platform was "It Worked in Vermont," he really may have thought that the terrorists should take up snowboarding. On the other hand, the gist of General (very retired) Wesley Clark's campaign platform was "It Worked in Kosovo". Kosovo certainly taught the world a lesson. Wherever there's suffering, injustice, and oppression, America will show up six months late and bomb the country next to where it's happening.

The winner of South Carolina's JFK look-alike contest, John Edwards, and the winner of Florida's Bob Gramm look-alike contest, Bob Gramm, said that America had won the war in Iraq but was losing the peace because Iraq was so unstable. When Iraq was stable, it attacked Israel in 1967 and 1973. It attacked Iran. It attacked Kuwait. It gassed the Kurds. It butchered the Shiites. It fostered terrorism in the Middle East. Who wanted a stable Iraq?

And perennial representative of the House of Representatives Dick Gephardt wouldn't talk much about foreign policy. He was concentrating on economic issues, claiming that he'd make the American Dream come true for everyone.

Gephardt may have been on to something there. Once people get rich, they don't go in much for war-making. The shoes are ugly and the uniforms itch. Some day, Osama bin Laden will call a member of one of his "sleeper cells" - a person who was planted in the United States years before and told to live like a normal American, and...

"Dad, some guy named Ozzy's on the phone."

"Oh, uh, good to hear from you. Of course, of course... Rockefeller Center?... Next Wednesday?... I'd love to, but the kid's got her ballet recital. You miss something like that, they never forget it... Thursday's no good. I have to see my mom off on her cruise to Bermuda in the morning. It's Fatima's yoga day. And I've got courtside seats for the Nets... Friday, we're going to the Hamptons for the weekend..."

But how, exactly, did Gephardt plan to make everyone on earth as materialistic, self-indulgent, and over-scheduled as Americans? Would Gephardt give foreigners options on hot dot-com stocks? That might have worked during the Clinton years.

As of early 2004, America didn't seem to have the answers for postwar Iraq. Then again, what were the questions?

Was there a bad man? And his bad kids? Were they running a bad country? That did bad things? Did they have a lot of oil money to do bad things with? Were they going to do more bad things?

If those were the questions, was the answer "UN-supervised national reconciliation" or "rapid return to self-rule"? No. The answer was blow the place to bits.

A mess was left behind. But it's a mess without a military to fight aggressive wars; a mess without the facilities to develop dangerous weapons; a mess that cannot systematically kill, torture, and oppress millions of its citizens. It's a mess with a message - don't mess with us.

As frightening as terrorism is, it's the weapon of losers. When someone detonates a suicide bomb, that person does not have career prospects.

And no matter how horrific the terrorist attack, it's conducted by losers. Winners don't need to hijack airplanes. Winners have an air force.

This is just classic O'Rourke!!

You will find this and MANY others in his book Peace Kills.

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Nomad, it was a funny article, I thought it was hilarious and you have pop off with something silly like that.

Where's your sense of humor? Oh, in Spain they don't have a sense of humor?

Come on Nomad, it was a fun, light, comedic article, I thought it was funny.

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Jag, he would rather die then see what US might become if the current evolution persues it's course because he lives in Spain, so cut him some slack, he would rather live if the current evolution would persue it's course if he was in US. LOL, but then again, some people like a sociall state. I mean hey, when you live in a big social state, it's just like a huge happy family, and why would you want to break that up into actual families, it's all about unity, love peace, and if that doesn't work, you can nag at big presid.,..sorry, I meant big papa.

US represents individualism, which means if you are to suceed it would be individually, by yourself, o solo mia. That's a big threat to some people, so much of a big threat the very notion of it makes them whimper. That's why the UN and the Europe hates US and it's ability to make decissions alone without relying on them...

That's why the US is known as a big bully, we don't play by kindergarden rules, we are in highschool now, lol

[ 09-18-2004, 02:03 PM: Message edited by: Soback ]

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If it weren't for us, Spain would be speaking Italian right now, France would be speaking German, and 3/4 of the world would be Nazi's, and the other 1/4 would be speaking Japanese.

We have ALWAYS been the ones to come in and save Europe from themselves.

Just as PJ says, WE HATE IT!!

We would much rather be at home watching footbal, drinking beer, and making money during the week then coming in and saving the world from itself.

The problem is that as the world self destructs, it will also take us with it, and that cannot be allowed.

If you are NOT willing or ABLE to take care of terrorism, we will have to, if you don't like the way that we are dealing with terrorism, TOO FRICKING bad, because we tried it your way and we got the PLO, HAMMAS, and numerous other terrorist organizations.

Terrorists are like insects, wherever they pop up, you CRUSH them. Because appeasing them just makes it worse.

It's like the bully in the playground, he comes up and wants your lunch, what happens when you give it to him without a fight? You actually think he's done? NOPE, the next day he is gonna come ask for you jacket, then your wallet.

What you do with a bully is, PUT HIM DOWN, right there, right then, without malice, without remorse, YOU PUT HIM DOWN ON THE GROUND, and commence beating him to a bloody pulp. I guarantee you, he will not come back and pick on you or your friends again.

Terrorists are bullies, but, with them, you do not beat them up and walk away, you KILL them, destroying them utterly, because in their religious fanaticism they will come back after you, so you deal with them in a MORE, let us say, permanent way.

The United States is the ONLY country willing to take the bruises in this fight, although there are a few allies that we really really like, that help us, the rest of you are just little old women, who sit in a corner and cry to the terrorists, "don't hit us, PLEASE!!!", and then you attack us, because we ARE hitting them and destroying them. You want us to stop, because you think that it will somehow make you safe from them.

Guess what? I have some news for you, THEY ARE GONNA COME AFTER YOU ANYWAY, you just happen to be the last on their list.

Their goal is NOTHING less then Islamic domination of the world, and unless these whackjobs are dealt with NOW, and DESTORYED, that is EXACTLY what will happen, and is Happening.

Poor Europe, you are just being slowly eaten away, they say by the end of this century, if NOT sooner, you will be Muslim, whether you want to be or not. They are not assimilating into your culture, they are changing you into theirs.

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"2) Read your history books. Spain took a neutral stance and was never involved in WW2, nor did an Axis country threaten Spain at any moment.

3) The only time in history when US help was instrumental in Europe was WW2. So it's the exception and not the rule."

sorry that is incorrect.

spain took a politically neutral stance in ww2. But they were very much involved... supporting germany. Spain was a hotbed for axis espionage and intelligence, and spain DID send troops to fight FOR the axis. Read up on 'blue batallion' (Batallon Azul), a collection of spaniard 'volunteers' who with the blessing of the spanish gov. fought in the russian front alongside the germans.

WW1 saw the presence of US troops as a decisive factor for bringing the german surrender. When the US joined the fight both the allies and axis powers were seriously attritted.. when germany saw thousands upon thousands of US troops arrive every month with millions more (potential) back in the states, they knew they would lose in the near future. Thats why they surrendered, not because the brits,french and other allied nations began to win battles..hell the lines were literally the same in 1918 as they were in 1915.

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#1 Why do you feel that you are entitled to financial help if you have children? Why should your neigbor be forced to provide for your kids through his taxes? That's what I mean about social.

#2 You said you have a low tolerance for people who just spend their time sitting and watching, yet as you describe it that's exactly what Spain did in WW2, sat and watched.

#3 So I guess we don't help with anything else? Why is UN, the "organization" Europeans love so much is based on our shores? Isn't the US the bigest contributor monetarily and otherwise to the UN? Hmm....interesting, you say US never helped with anything else, yet whenever some nation wants something where do they run to first? That's the thing with big responsibility, when you are needed they cry for you, when you aren't they bash you.

#4 You say and I quote "Here, things are not organised to lead people to consider everything under the perspective of competition." That's absolutly right, there is no competition in socialist country because there's no reward for it. I came from Russia, competition there was so stiffled that people who performed better were actually bashed for it because that ruined it for everyone who wasn't up to par. Because it literally meant that if you are in school, others had to study more, and if you were at work, others would have to work more/better. The heaviest electrical generator in the world was produced in russia, wanna know why? Because the quota for the factories was once set in weight, so they decided that to work less why not tack on more metal on the generator as opposed to building more of them. That says a lot about quiality. So you are right, eropeans don't have a mentality for competition because that destroyes their socialitic way of life.

And last, yes we are critical of others, we are Americans and we have the fundamental right to be critical and to voice our opinions just like it should be done in a true democracy, that's why I hate liberal democrats who say be tolerant of others and don't say bad things about them, trying to shut me up, I am not only entitled to my opinions, but am obligated to voice them just to keep the democracy and my freedoms. Which actually says a lot about liberals and europeans who try to shut you up, they are not for democracy and freedom, they stand for socialistic monarchy where one class rules all. Just like Britain was like in the 1700s, and America was created to get away from that mind you, that's why now that's the same mentality is growing here it's worrisome and should be fough against to keep and bring America back to it's roots.

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A: I know all about the New American Century, I agree with about 3/4 of it.

Let that freak you out, it's fine with me.

B: Croatia, and we sat around and watched? I don't think so. Clinton sent in our warplanes and bombed the heck out of the place, for NO other reason then the fact HE needed to get his problems OFF the front pages.

I just love how if we do get involved we're bashed, but if we don't get involved, We're bashed as well. Bizarre. You guys are just plain schizo as far as I am concerned. Make up your fricking minds.

C:Spain was NOT neutral, it helped the Axis, but the fact is, if we had NOT won WWII, Spain would have been on the hitlist after everyone else was dealt with. Neutral? Yeah right, patsies is more like it.

D:And the competitiion is what DRIVES this country, to strive to be the best, the strive to the richest, or whatever you strive to do. Spain economy is not even CLOSE to the strength of the US economy, and that is why. We compete, and therefore try to the best at whatever we can be.

We understand free enterprise, and if I have REAL problems, if I am unemployed, and cannot find a job, then the government will help me, but there will be limits, money limits, time limits etc.

TINSTAAFL, There is no such thing as a free lunch, someone pays for it.

D: We really don't care what you do in your OWN country, ujless you start killing your own people, or the dignity of human beings or start begging us for money. THe UN does that a LOT.

We just gave 15 BILLION dollars to African Aids, yet now we are being bashed because it's NOT enough, it is the MOST ANY COUNTRY has given, yet we are bashed because they want more.

We are NOT selfish, we are NOT prideful, although we are proud of our country and our accomlishments, but when we give and then are summarily bashed for it by a bunch of inconsiderate, concieted, nose in the air, Eurowheenies, we get a little pissed off.

You bahs us for doing something, then you bash us for NOT doing something, you bash us for giving, then you bash us for NOT giving enough, then you bash us for being Imperialistic, yet we have taken NO NEW territory in over 70 years, If we were imperialistic, Germany would be a state, Japan would be a state, Italy would be a state, France would be a state, Iraq would be a state, Grenada would be a state, Panama would be a state, shall I go on?

Europeans are a bunch of little old ladies with their knickers in a twist, because the only person that actually does or is CAPABLE of doing anything, chooses not to listen to their whining and do what WE decide WE need to do in OUR OWN best interests, and that makes them angry, because they somehow think that they have the right to tell us what to do.

Sorry, not anymore, THe United States has saved Europe from itself every time it tries something stupid, this time the US is ssaving itself from the worst thing that has ever happened DIRECTLY to us.

Europe can sit down and watch, because we are going to something about terrorism, whether you like it or not.

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Spain was completely neutral in WW2

Spain was the country that our downed air men or pilot's who couldn't make it back to England went to for refuge

Ask any American bomber pilot's or fighter pilot's and they'll tell you the same thing

My nabor across the street told me that, he served during world war 2 as a bomber pilot

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Originally posted by Kalshion:


Spain was completely neutral in WW2

Spain was the country that our downed air men or pilot's who couldn't make it back to England went to for refuge

Ask any American bomber pilot's or fighter pilot's and they'll tell you the same thing

My nabor across the street told me that, he served during world war 2 as a bomber pilot

Yes, Kalshion, we never said that Spain didn't do anything good during WWII, but they did allow thier citizens, with a wink and a nod to go serve in the German army with the Nazi's.

Spain was NOT all Neutral, not by a long shot.

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Okey dokey, whatever you say Nomad.

And the WTO? Who cares?

International bodies are toothless wonders, and do not scare anyone.

They are a legal fiction as far as I am concerned, and give Whiny countries a chance to whine in front of someone that they believe can do something about it. Yeah, right....LOL

Turkey is a member of NATO, and a very good ally of the US, I sure hope that they NEVER become a member of the EU, because it will destroy them, and their culture. They will become as whiney and irrelevant as the rest of the countries in that whiney little socialist conglomeration.

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Oh no, NOT that.... LOL


The Turkmen in Iraq

Most Turkmen in Iraq live in the central Iraqi provinces of Mossul, Kirkuk and Deyalah, and in Erbil to the north. Historically, Iraq's Turkmen have served as a buffer zone between the Arabs in the south of the country and the Kurds in the north. Since there are no reliable census figures, their exact numbers remain a matter of controversy. The Kurds estimate them to number between 500,000 and 800,000, but Turkey speaks of 2.5 million. Turkmen under Baghdad's rule complain that they are brutally persecuted and that use of the Turkish language is forbidden in public and in the media. In Kurdish northern Iraq, on the other hand, the Turkmen enjoy extensive minority rights. They are represented in the parliament, have their own schools and maintain media in their own language.

It is actually closer to 2.5 million, and they are treated FAR better then they were under Saddams regime, and yes, they have suffered somewhat from the attacks of terrorists and the US fighting them.

But losing Incirlik, ROFLMAO!! I don't think so.

Turkey talks big, and we let them to save face, but they need us in Incirlik, NOT the other way around, we can have bases WITHIN Iraq now, so Turkey can say whatever it wants, but it ain't gonna happen.

Turkey has done this before, and they will do it again. The world is NOT coming to an end.

Turkey always says something that allows them to look like they are standing up to the US, and we just let it slide, it's part of the culture.

Shoot, my friends in Turkey used to yell at me for being an American, then we would sit down and eat dinner.

Turks are an independent lot, and if you are going to be their friend, you must allow them to be, and understand exactly what they are doing.

Let me translate what he said.

The Turkmen are our people, and we feel responsible for them, some are dying in the insurgent attacks, and in your retaliatory attacks, you must do your best to protect them. Also, you must help them have a voice in the new government as well, they are 10% of the population and have been all but ignored, except in the Kurdish regions, where they are treated quite well. Please take care of them, because we feel responsible for them.

There's the translation for you Nomad, it sounds like an ultimatum to you, but sounds like a tyoical Turkish request to me.

Then again, I spent 18 months within Turkey, and I got a pretty good feel for the culture.

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