Warrior Politics; A new philosophy



  • While away, I read the book Warrior Politics by Robert Kaplan. I have to say, my political views have definately changed. This is not only a brilliant book, its the groundwork for a political philosophy which, if adopted by the United States, could definately change the world for the better. Here are a few key points.

    1. There is no modern world. Although we think computers, telephones, cars, planes, nukes, ect have made the world political situation different from the past, the opposite is only true. The difference is now, events happen rapidly. Because of this, the mistakes we make, and are making, will come back to haunt us much quicker than in the past. Kaplan makes two very convincing arguements showing how eerily similar the ancient world was to our world, comparing the 20th century to the eras around both the Punic wars and the Peleponeesian wars.

    2. Worldwide Democracy is not in the interest of America. An impoverished country is usually worse off with a Democracy (Republic), because it puts an inefficient Government in place. Despotism keeps many countries together. In addition, more of the world dislikes us than otherwise.

    3. We need to keep Nationalism, Absolutism, and Entangling Alliances away from American policy. Each causes war. In today’s day and age, Religious Fanatasism is very similar to Nationalism.

    4. We need to stop interveening in conflicts where we have no business interveening, and interveen where we need to. When we interveen, we must be prepared to take casualties for our greater good. For example, we were not prepared to take minor casualties in Somalia in 1993, and backing out just caused us more problems. Now, because we backed out, the situation has digressed even more and people in the region are even more pissed at us. By interveening in conflicts where we have no business interveening, we have pissed off a lot of people in the Middle East and are getting hit with Israel’s terrorism.

    5. Leadership requires a Pagan Ethos. Leaders cannot follow the Christian laws and still be able to function in the modern world. As Sun-Tzu said, Spies and Deception can be best used to avoid war.

    6. We need intelligent leaders who have knowledge of history to lead this country. We must look back to long dead philosophers and use their teachings to keep this country going. Sun-Tzu, Machiavelli, Malthus, Hobbes, and about a dozen others are explained in detail.

    What do you think? Its hard to explain more without you actually reading the book.

    I would like to add one of my points which Kaplan does not specifically mention. We need to get rid of the spoils system in our Government. Every time a new President is elected, organizations which should be anti-political are replaced with a new political boss. An independent commitee should manage these posts, not the President. The spoils system is one of the biggest reasons a Republic is inefficient.



  • I’ll try to read it this summer.

    Only two examples? Not much to stand on.

    I do not think a republic is necessarily inefficient. Though ours is for the reason you stated.

    I’d also include unions in government as a problem. Lazy butts who cannot be fired…

    I’d also include lifetime politicians with retirement benefits in government as a problem. They are there to serve not live/retire on the dole…
    @Yan_:

    …more of the world dislikes us than otherwise.

    Due to our attempts to bring democracy, tell/suggest what they might do or what?
    @Yan_:

    …Religious Fanatasism is very similar to Nationalism.

    I’ve heard that and ageed with it for about 20 years.
    @Yan_:

    …we have pissed off a lot of people in the Middle East and are getting hit with Israel’s terrorism.

    I don’t think it was limited to Israel. I seem to recall incidents in West and Central Africa as well as various countries in Europe, Pakistan and many other locations I’m sure I’ve forgotten which occurred before 1993(or 1991 even.)

    I seem to recall that GW…that’s George Washington… warned us about international entanglements in his farewell address after his second term(hear that lifetime politicos…SECOND TERM FAREWELL.)

    Okay, ifn youse’ll scuse me, Ah’m gonna git down offn my soapbox an see ifn Ah kin check Warrior Politics outn my local liberry…

    TTFN



  • e to our attempts to bring democracy, tell/suggest what they might do or what?

    The problem is, we failed to bring Democracy to countries, resulting in bloodier regimes and fanatasism. A strong dictator, Kaplan uses Musharaf as an example, is often much better suited to rule a country than a Republican system. This comes right out of Machiavelli.

    I seem to recall that GW…that’s George Washington… warned us about international entanglements in his farewell address after his second term(hear that lifetime politicos…SECOND TERM FAREWELL.)

    George Washington was a good leader. Although I cannot remember a specific reference to him in the book, I’m sure its there. He’s another follower of Machiavelli.



  • Yanny, the problem is not that we failed to bring democracy to them, its that democracy is a special case ideology only. it will only work efficiently if the country is not a third world country. in the third world countries, democracy would work if given a chance, but human nature means that once people in the country realize that democracy aint working for them, they want it out.



  • Most of this sounds like comon sense to me, the problem is being able to judge the current situation to see where it falls within the scope of the general plan. It is always easier to see in retrospect what our position should have been, as opposed what it should be currently.

    I would liketo hear about the political parrallels he used for example though. I find that sort of thing interesting.



  • ^^^
    that was me :-?



  • Simply put…
    Wouldn’t it be better to let these dictatorships and etc. exist, struggle, collapse, gain a new dictator, collapse, etc., until the people have had enough, the dictator softens, and/or the economy improves to the point where a new form of gov’t may emerge? I think you may get my drift.

    We might consider busting up a dictatorship if we got a Hitler/Cauchescue/Milosevic/Hussein type. KnowwhatImean?



  • Well, Yanny, it seems this Kaplan raises plenty of meaty issues, and stakes out some provocative (if simplistic) positions.

    I certainly agree with several of the principles as you outline them. However, #2 screams out with an elitism close enough to fascism to churn my democratic (small d) guts!!

    How arrogant, not to mention shallow, to proclaim that the rest of this wide blue globe is inhabited by swarms of unwashed, illiterate slobs who can’t handle democracy – and need to be ruled by a dictator. It is just so easy to make such blanket statements (and to accumulate mass “dittoes” from a contented, overfed audience), but it seems to me demeaning in the extreme to the whole ideal of humanity.

    I defy anyone to point out a country or territory where there has NEVER been a democratic or populist uprising against a brutal paternalistic ruler. Time and again, in one geographic region after another, the “little people” have organized themselves, led themselves, fortified themselves within and with allies, in order to throw off various yokes they never wanted.

    In this point #2 it seems to be cited that “more of the world dislikes us” than likes us. Well, there may be expressions of fear, revulsion, etc. in response to some of America’s policies and practices from time to time. But I would say nearly ALL of the world likes our fundamental principles – likes the liberties enshrined in our Constitution and institutions, because they are truly universal desires. They are articulated, in various ways, across the globe.

    Running a government, especially an impoverished one, is another story – but ask the people of Indonesia for example, how much they really NEEDED that vile bastard Suharto and his vampire family to suck the living daylights out of that country for 30 years. Believe it: he GOT IN THE WAY of them climbing out of poverty – he didn’t PROTECT them from any supposed social disintegration that some clumsy democratic republic might have engendered. Wanna talke about Marcos and the Philippines? How about the wonderful job guys like Franco did in Spain, or general Zia who jackbooted it over Pakistan for a decade or so, setting up the current, nuclear-tipped debacle-nation we have there now.

    “Depotism keeps many countries together.” Spare me! Saddam Hussein kept the people of Iraq together: together in mass graves and in zombie terror.

    Even the celebrated case of Tito in Yugoslavia seems to become more bogus to me, when I reflect upon the pent-up, grand vendettas that were so easily unleashed after his demise. Did the guy really protect the people of his country from disintegration? Did he lift them out of misery – or deepen and prolong that misery by postponing it artificially and brutally from his despot throne?

    The world is ready for democracy in the same way it always has been: inspired and informed of, by and for the hearts of individuals everywhere. It is the nations and the despots that get in the way!

    ((This Kaplan book does sound like an interesting read, anyway!))



  • @ZimZaxZeo:

    How arrogant, not to mention shallow, to proclaim that the rest of this wide blue globe is inhabited by swarms of unwashed, illiterate slobs who can’t handle democracy – and need to be ruled by a dictator. It is just so easy to make such blanket statements (and to accumulate mass “dittoes” from a contented, overfed audience), but it seems to me demeaning in the extreme to the whole ideal of humanity.

    But: is it in the interest of the US? See, a sovereign democracy will lift its voice against hte US if they feel ill-treated. A dictator doing that can “safely be ignored” by a democratic public (as he is a dictator, and those usually oppress their people and not not like freedom of informationa at all). A democracy on the other hand, well, that’s more complicated: You then have to adamit that two democracies can fight for the same ideas and ideals and still have different opinions (so to say… sometimes i hate being and ESL)…
    An example, vastly exaggerated, but that’s just to make my point:
    If a fascist or stalinist or whatever regime calls me “fascist”, then i just laugh. If another democracy calls me “fascist”, then i have to think wether they might have a point…
    Worldwide Humanity does not need to be in the interest of the United States :)… And if you read “rebuilding americas defenses”, it is not important.

    The world is ready for democracy in the same way it always has been: inspired and informed of, by and for the hearts of individuals everywhere. It is the nations and the despots that get in the way!

    More people like you and the world would be a better place!



  • Yeah, brudda F_alk, it’s mutual.

    Now, I dig your logic … and I would add simply that the people of the American nation either have to be for democracy, and this can only be universal democracy, or they have to be against it. Perhaps this Kaplan is using some seige mentality “warrior” reasoning that prefers to avoid messy things like differences of opinion between nations, in favor of having a nice, neat, manageable world where the US gets all the goodies while five billion other people can live under dictators and totalitarian regimes.

    By the way, the biggest democracy, and arguably one of the most tolerant nation states in the world is India. (While much is made of Muslim-Hindu violence, many high offices are held by Muslims in this majority-Hindu land, for instance.) I’m sure it has been discussed in one of the forums around here, maybe on the one about the UN Security Council of the future.

    Next door to India is our new best client state, Pakistan, where the US and the dictator are using each other to the utmost. Some day, he’s gonna go, and I would hope we spend the majority of our efforts there in the time between now and that day in building stronger relations with the Pakistani voices for democracy.



  • @ZimZaxZeo:

    Now, I dig your logic … and I would add simply that the people of the American nation either have to be for democracy, and this can only be universal democracy, or they have to be against it. Perhaps this Kaplan is using some seige mentality “warrior” reasoning that prefers to avoid messy things like differences of opinion between nations, in favor of having a nice, neat, manageable world where the US gets all the goodies while five billion other people can live under dictators and totalitarian regimes.

    I totally agree with you (your arguing with a universal democracy), that’s why i find it …. in german you’d call it “perfide”, having one thing, but for your very own and selfish interest not wanting that others have it, especially when it is regarded as a common “good”.

    BTW, we didn’t have an India thread this far AFAIR. And even though it still may be (i wasn’t there) a tolerant nation, i fear that fanatism might rise there, though i hope it does not.


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