If the US withdrew from entangling alliances

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  • Thread starter SW VandeCarr
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In summary, if the US withdrew from its military alliances and obligations, many people think the world would be a better place. Many people also think South Korea would fall if the US withdrew from its military alliances and obligations.
  • #71


vertices said:
That's what I am telling you - there really aren't that many problems with it. It is far, far more cost efficient than the system you have in America. If there was a "public option" in the US, the 'risk' of people seeking healthcare (that's what callous insurers call it) could be spread across a bigger population; this creates a system which is not only much better value for money, but one that is more operationally efficient due to economies of scale.

The UK health system has had problems since its inception that it has had to deal with. It is completely government-run.

We can spread the risk through the private sector via the proper reforms. America's healthcare system is among the best in the world, it is just inefficient. It has a lot of inefficiencies that have been built up over the years. We need to work to undo these inefficiencies.

A "public option" is a bad idea for a few reasons:

1) It creates a Trojan horse for single-payer, so it's really more about a government takeover of a sixth of the U.S. economy.

2) Considering Medicare and Medicaid are on the verge of running out of money, creating another government healthcare program to cover even more people, expect it to cost what it is project, and expect the nation to be able to afford it is not going to work.

We have automotive insurance and homeowner's insurance. There is no reason why health insurance should have its limits in competition and crazy costs that it does.

Soviet Union? Erm, you do realize that Mr Regan is dead, don't you?

The statistics I'm talking about come from the WHO, so they are actually fairly reliable. I mean, it is amazing how Cuba managed to sustain consistently excellent health outcomes despite the crippling, totally unwarranted embargo by the US... Hell, the even have a surplus of doctors as the send hundreds of them overseas (to venezuela, etc).

Where do you think the WHO gets its statistics on Cuba from? Cuba. Your saying this reminds me of the journalist who won the Putlitzer Prize for his reporting about the wonderful standard of living people had in the Soviet Union.

It's up to the people to decide what the job of their government should be. Most people in America want universal healthcare coverage (as polls often show). However the debate has been hijacked by sensationalists who rail against "Obama's death panels" and so on. I am hesitant to say this, but it seems to me as an outsider, that most Americans can't see through this inane garbage spewed by Sarah Palin and her ilk, unfortunatly. Sorry if that offends anyone.

Most Americans are against this healthcare bill right now. And "universal healthcare coverage" does not mean government-run healthcare or health insurance. This current bill has nothing to do with helping anyone, it is about government having a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grab control fo a sixth of the economy.

The bill is longer than War and Peace, no one understands it, and it has a huge amount of new commissions, regulatory agencies, etc...that no one knows how it all will inter-relate. One cannot reform 1/6 of the economy all in one bill.

Ofcourse that can happen but would it be a good thing? To delegate to corporations (who, if they were people, could best be described as pyschopaths), 'services' that are critical to people's wellbeing, is highly irresponsible, in any civilised society. You can't put the lives of flesh and blood human beings in the hands of those whose sole objective is to make a profit.

We do this all the time. You seem to think the people working in government are all magically working for the benefit of society, but people in corporations are all just in it for themselves and profit. It never occurs to you plenty of government employees and agencies are in it for all the money they can get and for themselves? The incentives of government just function differently. Profit is the purpose of a business. It makes a profit by providing a service. With competitors, it has an incentive to provide that service darn well.

Yes, you could very easily put private companies in control of putting out fires, because if they let any buildings burn down, they'd lose their contracts, their license probably, be lambasted in the media, and probably sued into oblivion.

I find it rather odd you would rather delegate to governments care over people. Food, housing, healthcare, education, I prefer the private sector (and so do the politicians).

You misunderstand me - I am not saying people are equal (which is a meaningless thing to say). What I am saying is that people should be treated fairly, equally, with dignity and respect - wouldn't you agree? These are not words that are hard to define and they do not wildly across cultures - the basis of these ideas, as I said, comes from the universal idea that we should treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. If something is wrong for me, it is wrong for her; if something is right for me, it is right for him...

That is why we have equality under the law. But many a times a politician will claim they are for "fairness" or "justice" or "equality" without defining what exactly they mean.

If society is able to treat the sick, healthcare is elevated to a right simply because there is no excuse to deny it.

Nothing that is a service can be a right. Society can treat the sick fine via the private sector, just as we feed people via private farming and provide housing via privatized housing industry. For the elderly and mentally ill, society has a moral imperative to care for them.

Trying to make sure everyone has basic necessities, such as through social safety nets for those knocked on their butts temporarily, is fine, but even then one must be careful. Part of the current economic mess was caused by efforts to make sure everyone could buy a home for example.
 
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  • #72


Char. Limit said:
1. Cut defense, welfare, and waste. The US cannot fight two wars while supporting forty percent of its population AND the congressional earmarks (read: betrayal of the public trust) and still expect to be fiscally stable.

Would not cut defense.

Raise taxes and eliminate tax loopholes. The first to counter the rightwing belief that a lower income leads to more money for the government, the second to get the money from the rich that they should pay.

I'd say keep taxes low and force the government to cut spending. Loophole elimination in the tax code never works. And the rich already pay a large portion of money in taxes, furthermore, how does one define "rich?" And what makes anyone think they are entitled to a wealthy person's money? The sole purpose of taxes is to provide revenue so the government can perform its basic functions, to provide for a free society, that's it.

-Initiate a flat tax. Not only is it fair, it's simple. Less opportunity for money-wasting mistakes by far, much less of said mistakes made.

Doesn't this contradict your previous point though? Flat-tax opponents always harp that a flat-tax is bad for the poor and too convenient for the wealthy.
 
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  • #73


SW VandeCarr said:
Suppose the US decided it was in it's best interests to withdraw, ...

What if it happened? I'd like to hear ideas about the future "history", if such a decision were taken, of the subsequent decade or so. Would the world be a better place or a worse place?

...give your best prediction.

South Korea and Japan needing a patron state with nuclear weapons turn to China as clients.

The Middle East keeps fighting no change.

Europe needs a patron state with nuclear weapons turns to Russia as a client.

All of Middle and South America are happy.

China takes Taiwan.

Africa continues to be exploited for resource ("nobody cares about Africa").

The US uses its newly freed up resources and becomes energy independent.

Net result Americans have a higher standard of living. Taiwanese unhappy. Middle and South America happy.
 
  • #74
Nebula815 said:
Would not cut defense.

Why not? We spend more on defense than the top ten other countries COMBINED. Do we really need all of that?

I'd say keep taxes low and force the government to cut spending. Loophole elimination in the tax code never works. And the rich already pay a large portion of money in taxes, furthermore, how does one define "rich?" And what makes anyone think they are entitled to a wealthy person's money? The sole purpose of taxes is to provide revenue so the government can perform its basic functions, to provide for a free society, that's it.

I define rich as "able to afford lobbyists to create loopholes in the tax code". I never claimed the poor were entitled to the wealth of the rich; I wanted that money to go to the national debt. Also, as Republicans are so fond of saying, "you cannot spend your way out of debt". Lowering taxes is foolish in today's economy. So is raising spending.

Doesn't this contradict your previous point though? Flat-tax opponents always harp that a flat-tax is bad for the poor and too convenient for the wealthy.

First, you're stereotyping one of the most insane and unpredictable in the world (me). Second, I never said I was a liberal. In fact, I get as offended by being called a liberal as I do by being called a conservative or a libertarian or a statist.

It's only contradictory if you assume things about me. But as this isn't directly relevant to the thread topic, might I suggest a branch-off topic?
 
  • #75


I guess in my scenario we would have to ask what nuclear patron will Australia and New Zealand turn to for protection?

Maybe India?
 
  • #76


India, of course.
 
  • #77


Char. Limit said:
Why not? We spend more on defense than the top ten other countries COMBINED. Do we really need all of that?

Yes. In fact, we actually need more at the moment.

I define rich as "able to afford lobbyists to create loopholes in the tax code".

That's still kind of arbitrary, IMO.

First, you're stereotyping one of the most insane and unpredictable in the world (me). Second, I never said I was a liberal. In fact, I get as offended by being called a liberal as I do by being called a conservative or a libertarian or a statist.

It's only contradictory if you assume things about me. But as this isn't directly relevant to the thread topic, might I suggest a branch-off topic?

WHA!? All I'm saying is you said, "Raise taxes on the rich." Then you said, "I want a flat tax." A flat-tax means everyone gets hit with the same tax rate. That means the poor pay the same rate as the rich.

So if you make $30,000 a year or $30 million a year, you get hit at the same rate (though a smart rich person won't make $30 million where it will be taxed as ordinary income).

Now if you thus say, "Rich people need to pay at least 70% of their income in taxes," well with a flat tax, that means the guy making $30K must fork over that amount as well. Not a good idea!
 
  • #78


I never said "raise taxes on the rich". I said "raise taxes, and close those loopholes as well". I think we should raise taxes in general. In addition, I'd also like you to better explain your defense opinion, and counter my other two points (should be easy).
 
  • #79


Char. Limit said:
I never said "raise taxes on the rich". I said "raise taxes, and close those loopholes as well".

Okay, my mistake, you said close the loopholes to get the money from the rich that they should pay.

I think we should raise taxes in general. In addition, I'd also like you to better explain your defense opinion, and counter my other two points (should be easy).

Raising taxes in general I am against. People pay enough in taxes as it is.

Your other two points (about cutting the pay of Congress, cutting welfare and waste, and closing loopholes I agree with, or wouldn't have a huge problem with). However, I do not think it is possible to close loopholes. On making lobbying illegal, I think I would be for that, but again not sure, that's one of those things where on the surface it might seem like a great idea, but then when viewed in detail, there might be bad aspects to it, so I don't know.

On defense, well tell you what, here's an idea: Let's switch Congress with the combat arms of the Army and Marine Corps. Basically give the combat arms troops (and any non combat-arms soldier that must truly go into harms-way) the pay and benefits of Congress. And give Congress the pay and benefits of the troops:cool:

To pay the soldiers more however would require a larger budget, especially if we want more troops.

Regarding what other nations spend, you make it sound as if all those nations spend adequate amounts on defense, but we in the United States spend more than all of them put together to maintain some super military or something. We spend an adequate amount on defense and they spend pennies, that is why our spending is more than all theirs combined.
 
  • #80


I give. Besides, this isn't the topic where this should be discussed. I suggest a side topic.
 
  • #81


SW VandeCarr said:
Sorry to interrupt but this thread isn't about whether the FBI is a national police force or not. It isn't.

On topic, those who are questioning my hypothetical are assuming that I believe that "abandoning" its allies is the best choice for the US. I believe that the US really doesn't have a choice and really doesn't have allies. It has a lot of "hangers on" who with some exceptions view the their "alliance" as a one way street. The US will have a 14 trillion dollar national debt by the end of 2010 and a debt to GDP ratio of over 100% with no end in sight.

The main issues are with the EU and Japan, the largest and third largest GDPs in the world respectively. They are the principle 'allies' of the US (the EU by way of NATO, and the UK as a member of the EU and NATO). I've made my case regarding the EU. As for Japan, the US wanted Japan to have a pacifist constitution which forbids Japan from using its military for anything other than self defense.

Well, WWII ended almost 65 years ago and the world has changed. China is now a superpower with nuclear weapons and North Korea is an army with a state and nuclear weapons. Japan needs to change its constitution and arm itself with nuclear weapons, although I'm against nuclear proliferation in general. Right now Japan expects the US to respond to a nuclear attack on its territory (as does the EU although France and the UK have nukes). So if North Korea nukes Japan the US will quickly find itself in a nuclear war possibly involving China. This would not be the case if the US had no formal alliance with Japan and if Japan had nukes which could be an effective deterrent against even the likes of North Korea.

This is not the best of possible worlds. A much better arrangement would be the old trilateral pact idea between the EU, US and Japan. If it could be a true alliance, with each member contributing proportionately to its GDP, I would welcome that, but I'm not holding my breath.

Sorry about that. I am reading ideas and opinions. The topic as a whole is rather complex. The relationships the US has with other countries are of great importance to its trade and economy. I am unsure how cutting military support with these countries will effect those relationships though I can not believe it would be for the better. I imagine that the effects would lead to an economic decline and Americans would need to get used to their country not being the world power it once was and not having the benefits that power entailed. Whether or not that would ultimately be a good thing or a bad thing would be completely up in the air.
 
  • #82


TheStatutoryApe said:
Sorry about that. I am reading ideas and opinions. The topic as a whole is rather complex. The relationships the US has with other countries are of great importance to its trade and economy. I am unsure how cutting military support with these countries will effect those relationships though I can not believe it would be for the better. I imagine that the effects would lead to an economic decline and Americans would need to get used to their country not being the world power it once was and not having the benefits that power entailed. Whether or not that would ultimately be a good thing or a bad thing would be completely up in the air.

Nations will trade with each other in way that satisfies their wants and needs. If nation A wants or needs products from nation B; it will trade with B, most advantageously if B also wants products from nation A. Otherwise A buys from B on credit which affects the balance of trade. The US balance of trade is a disaster now. I don't see exactly how our military posture affects this either way. The former USSR bought a lot wheat and other agricultural products from the US at the height of the Cold War. The US bought almost nothing from the USSR. The US buys a lot of oil from Venezuela even though the government is very hostile to the US. Japan is an ally that depends on the US for defense against nuclear attack and runs a big trade surplus with the US. The same for the EU.

It may sound cynical, but if Japan and the EU increase military spending, the US produces some of the best products on the market. If the US has more money for investment in high tech, it can produce more products that other nations would buy for peaceful purposes such as high capacity batteries, "wallpaper" solar panels, fuels from algae, pharmaceutical products, computer software, new generation hand held devices, etc. I'm amazed and disappointed that the US is importing wind turbines and solar panels. These are definitely things we should not be importing. I don't know what's going there. I think the government needs to take action to increase domestic manufacturing within existing trade agreements. Caterpillar is one US manufacturer that competes very well in foreign markets.

It is complex, but as I said, I don't think the US has much choice. Bill Clinton raised taxes and cut military budgets. An economic boom and budget surpluses followed. There was the dot com bust at the end of his administration, but it was limited. Overall unemployment was not significantly affected and the only NASDAQ index stocks dropped. The larger DJIA index stocks held their value.
 
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  • #83


SW VandeCarr said:
It is complex, but as I said, I don't think the US has much choice. Bill Clinton raised taxes and cut military budgets. An economic boom and budget surpluses followed. There was the dot com bust at the end of his administration, but it was limited. Overall unemployment was not significantly affected and the only NASDAQ index stocks dropped. The larger DJA index stocks held their value.

The increased taxes and cut defense spending under Clinton I would say had little to do with the tech boom. Furthermore, Clinton had a Republican Congress which also kept him more fiscally conservative than he would have preferred (remember he and Hillary wanted to create universal healthcare back then).

Defense spending actually helps stimulate technology development in America as the military and government are two big customers for advanced technology and fund a lot of research. Without defense spending, there would be no Internet, no global positioning system, etc...
 
  • #84


There would be internet. It wouldn't be globally connected, though.
 
  • #85


Nebula815 said:
Defense spending actually helps stimulate technology development in America as the military and government are two big customers for advanced technology and fund a lot of research. Without defense spending, there would be no Internet, no global positioning system, etc...

In previous posts I said the US would keep a strong home based defense which includes US possessions like Guam. The US would still have a strong navy and airforce and it might lease some remote bases from foreign nations. However the huge defense establishment on foreign soil is unpopular or even hated by locals. It is also very expensive to maintain and is prone to corruption. I also said the US would fund military R&D well. The Predator drones are an early example, but smaller faster more precise versions are coming. Potent high tech capabilities are not inconsistent with a non interventionist posture.
 
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  • #86


Char. Limit said:
There would be internet. It wouldn't be globally connected, though.

Why not? A non interventionist military posture does not mean the US isn't engaged with the rest of the world
 
  • #87


SW VandeCarr said:
Nations will trade with each other in way that satisfies their wants and needs. If nation A wants or needs products from nation B; it will trade with B, most advantageously if B also wants products from nation A. Otherwise A buys from B on credit which affects the balance of trade. The US balance of trade is a disaster now. I don't see exactly how our military posture affects this either way. The former USSR bought a lot wheat and other agricultural products from the US at the height of the Cold War. The US bought almost nothing from the USSR. The US buys a lot of oil from Venezuela even though the government is very hostile to the US. Japan is an ally that depends on the US for defense against nuclear attack and runs a big trade surplus with the US. The same for the EU.
While I am sure we can find plenty of exceptions countries tend to prefer to trade with allies. It only makes sense to trade with your ally whom you have a working relationship with and who is already assisting in protection of your country and ports rather than whom ever might have what you are interested in regardless of your relationship outside of trading.

SW VandeCarr said:
Why not? A non interventionist military posture does not mean the US isn't engaged with the rest of the world
There is a difference between non-interventionist and isolationist. A non-interventionist posture would not even require reduction of military spending and size aside from the extra expenditures for Afghanistan and Iraq.
 
  • #88
TheStatutoryApe said:
While I am sure we can find plenty of exceptions countries tend to prefer to trade with allies. It only makes sense to trade with your ally whom you have a working relationship with and who is already assisting in protection of your country and ports rather than whom ever might have what you are interested in regardless of your relationship outside of trading.

Yes, counties trade with their allies. The US has many "allies". It runs trade deficits with nearly all of them. Some of this comes from the US bases on foreign soil. The world would still trade with the US if it didn't have military alliances. The US is the biggest market in the world. America's problem is to get iits "allies" to buy more of its stuff and to get Americans to buy less of theirs. Balanced trade is good enough. The US doesn't need to run surpluses. Trade surpluses have their own problems. It means buying other nations' debt. Ask China if it likes holding over one trillion of the US's depreciating dollars. It does so because it wants access to US markets.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_exchange_reserves_of_the_People's_Republic_of_China

There is a difference between non-interventionist and isolationist. A non-interventionist posture would not even require reduction of military spending and size aside from the extra expenditures for Afghanistan and Iraq.

I'm using the term 'non interventionist' as having no military alliances. I think it describes my position better than "isolationist". As I said, the US doesn't have any real allies now. We can still have friends and be engaged in the world, The US shares common interests with the governments of India, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Philippines, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Colombia, Panama, and others without any formal alliance. Once a country enters into a formal alliance, it obligates itself to possible intervention. Example: Vietnam 1959-1973.

I believe the US can reduce its military budget by closing down foreign bases and adopting a non interventionist posture. The savings would be about 27% of the present military budget according to the US Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The real savings in the future would come from not being dragged into foreign wars by the trip wire treaties the US has now.

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/107xx/doc10730/DoDBudgetTestimony.1.1.shtml
 
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