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Thread: American leadership, or bullying?

  1. #1
    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Default American leadership, or bullying?

    By H.D.S. Greenway The Boston Globe
    THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2005


    BOSTON I once had a boss for whom people worked with enthusiasm and admiration. I remember employees hurrying across the parking lot in the morning in anticipation of another eventful day in an enterprise everybody believed in. Sure, the boss had his faults and his blind spots, but you could talk to him and he would listen. If you differed, sometimes your arguments prevailed, but usually you went along with the way he wanted, and it became your way, too.

    Then I had another boss for whom people trudged across the parking lot as if on the way to a firing squad. There was no give and take. It was his way or else. He ruled by fear and intimidation, with a dose of incompetence. Little by little his workers found ways to resist, and the enterprise suffered. Before long he was replaced.

    I recalled these two opposing approaches to leadership when I read the new book "Taming American Power," by Stephen Walt, a Harvard professor. For although the United States may have a monopoly on power unrivaled since Rome, Walt believes America is unnecessarily hurting itself by adopting the methods of my second boss, and not the first.

    For as in all things, leaders who can persuade and convince fare better than those who bully and abuse, and the United States is fast reaching a condition in which most non-Americans fear American power more than they appreciated American leadership.

    Walt quotes George W. Bush saying, in 2000, that other nations would be attracted to the United States if we were strong but "humble." But they would be repulsed if the United States were to become arrogant. Bush's instincts were correct, but as Walt says, "He didn't really believe his own prescription."

    At times the Bush administration has seemingly gone out of its way to antagonize. Instead of putting the devil in the details, by saying that America had some problems with, say, the Kyoto treaty, but that it would seek to work them out with its allies - which could have killed it by neglect - Bush made himself the devil by telling his allies to go to hell.

    Walt is aware that to some degree the "primacy" of the United States will be challenged just because it is the big kid on the block. But in most cases nations will be happy to accept American leadership if they are made part of it instead of being ignored or bullied.

    Walt lists the ways in which the less powerful can resist the powerful, even to the extent of building coalitions against them. In the case of the United States, levels of anti-Americanism have risen under this administration to unprecedented heights. Even such close allies as the British are disturbed, and Prime Minister Tony Blair has seemed, at times, to justify the alliance by saying that it is better to maintain access in order to tame the beast than oppose it and lose all influence.

    The good news may be that in Bush's second term, some of Walt's thesis may have sunk in. The most egregious of the go-it-aloners have found other employment, and diplomacy is back in favor. But the administration has a long way to go.

    Walt is as much for preserving American primacy as is Bush's gang, and he acknowledges that hard power is the key to maintaining it. But the United States should "take care not to squander U.S. power unnecessarily" by fighting unnecessary wars.

    "Global hegemony," which Bush seemed to favor in his first term, is clearly unsustainable. Preventive wars, which means attacking countries because they might become a threat rather than because they are a threat, is a policy doomed to failure and has led to the "costly quagmire of Iraq."

    "Selective engagement," which Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton employed, has its strengths, according to Walt, but wasn't selective enough.

    Better, Walt suggests, would be "offshore balancing," which has been America's traditional grand strategy. It means that you identify areas of critical importance, but you don't need to control them directly. It's not isolationism, but you work with your allies whenever possible, leaving room for humanitarian interventions if you can make a real difference. When real threats arrive, the United States is still free to respond unilaterally if others won't go along, but it is likely that allies will see their interests as your own.

    This approach would "husband the uses of military power upon which American primacy rests, and minimizes the fear that U.S. power provokes."

    Walt distinguishes between Afghanistan, which was a real threat because of the Taliban's support of Al Qaeda, and Iraq, where there was no direct threat - just an opportunity, in my view, to try out neoconservative theories of social engineering
    This new forum is making me write something besides the quote so here I am writing something besides the quote so the new forum will let me post this quote.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    What I get from this is that Americans are unable to see themselves as anything but the big kid on the block, andc are actually terrified of being toppled from their faux-lofty position.

    I can only imagine what kind of hell will come to pay when China eclipses you guys. Something tells me the US won't be gracious in accepting its second string status.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Well, the bully is generally a little insecure woos (sp?) deep down inside. I think if China or India or any other up and coming powerhouse topples us off our perch, the right will go nuts and end up like those southerners who 'long for the old days', while the left will get up, brush themselves off, try to make friends and generally get on with it.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    Hit By Ban Bus! UndercoverGator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buttmunch View Post
    Well, the bully is generally a little insecure woos (sp?) deep down inside. I think if China or India or any other up and coming powerhouse topples us off our perch, the right will go nuts and end up like those southerners who 'long for the old days', while the left will get up, brush themselves off, try to make friends and generally get on with it.
    Exactly! The righties will be like all those yahoos living near here that spent every weekend reenacting the Civil War and whining about the North winning the war.

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    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    They did a study recently that proved bullies were not insecure underneath, they were just confident bullies. That is the U.S. they are confident bullies.
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! pacific breeze's Avatar
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    So does Canada. Yay!

    Canada rocks!

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    Bronze Member Bliss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nana55 View Post
    They did a study recently that proved bullies were not insecure underneath, they were just confident bullies.
    O.T. but really? I'm in my last year of highschool and the people who were the cruellest (and have since dropped out) weren't the "popular" people but the ones who were kind of in between. Obviously they were confident but they wouldn't have been bullies if they didn't feel the need to validate their position in the social heirarchy by distancing themselves from the people they picked on. So I do think that bullies have insecurities.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Whatever, you trolling fucktard. Back to your fascist hole you go.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    SVZ
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    Careful, she doesn't know what fascism means.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Retard needs to pick herself up a dictionary
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    lol this thread's funny.
    i think america has a messiah comlex, coupled with a victim mentality. they're all, we just wanna save the world, and the world's so damn ungrateful, all they do is bitch! (and usually throw in that if it wasn't for them, all of europe would be speaking german right now) *rolls eyes*

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    don't forget that the rest of the world is just "jealous"
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  13. #13
    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    don't forget that the rest of the world is just "jealous"
    That is so true, I'm sick of hearing that. Jealous of what? The crime rate, the violence, the smog, the fucking SUV's all over the damn place. Oh the traffic, and the "oh we are so wonderful" attitude.
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! WickedHo's Avatar
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    You're all just a bunch of haters. Don't hate the player, hate the game...




    j/k

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    ^^ I've always wondered about that statement.. don't hate the player, hate the game.. but without players, there'd be no game.. players are the reason the game exists at all..
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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