Thread moved from GQ - letter to Clinton

Ok, I’ve taken this to the GD, as I think it belongs here, now.

My first reaction was to the vision of American Global Leadership, and how scary that was to me. Also, the first site given,, was what most of my postings were based on. I refer to the “Statements of Principle” part on that site, and in particular, these sections:

"American foreign and defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America’s role in the world. They have not set forth guiding principles for American foreign policy. They have allowed differences over tactics to obscure potential agreement on strategic objectives. And they have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century.

We aim to change this. We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership."

Here they just blatantly state that that is their goal: American Global Leadership. As a non-US citizen, I find this scary.

This I find even scarier; what AGL actually entails:

“We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration’s success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States’ global responsibilities.”

please, do me a favour, and read the statement, and other things on that site. The fact that it is composed of genuine politicians certainly gives it validity. A lot of people will have to agree that, if you are not a US-citizen, that site makes you feel really threatened by the US, their plans, goals, and visions for the future.


What would you like to debate, elfje? Whether American Global Leadership is good or bad?

Link to the AGL doc you’re citing?



whatever you want to contribute, is welcome

Is this the letter you’re talking about?

Well, elfje, I still don’t see what’s so derned scary. As I stated in the other thread, nothing here seems to be much beyond common sense.

It’s a fact that the US is more powerful, by an order of magnitude, then any other nation. As such, I think it’s important that the US present an air of leadership. Now, when I say “leadership”, I don’t mean in the sense of world conquest, and I don’t think that’s what AGL is proposing. I mean that we should lead by example. We should promote ideals that are beneficial for everyone - democracy, freedom, and such.

Also, like it or not, we have a responsibility to look after the rest of the world, in a limited fashion. If Random Dictator is engaging in genocide, shouldn’t someone intervene? And if so, isn’t the US the most likely candidate to do so?

Basically, I think you’re inserting sinister ulterior motives where none exist. We’re not interested in holding back the development of Ireland, to use a relevent example. But we are interested in holding back the power of people like Saddam Hussein, Kim Il Jung, Robert Mugabe, and the like. Why? Because when evil dictators who like to kill and maim get too much power, you end up with 1940’s Germany, or the Cold War era USSR.

Now I suppose you can debate whether or not that’s a valid global strategy, but to be scared by it? Frankly, I think clowns are much more terrifying. Heck, I think marshmallows are scarier than AGL.

How is American Global Leadership any different from the truism that the USA is the world’s only remaining superpower?

I read the letter, and share with ElJeffe the inability to see what I should be scared about. The US is the most powerful nation in history. This letter states rather clearly that those who wrote it intend that the US use its power to further the ends of human freedom, economic growth and development, and representative democracy.


The US wants the rest of the world to follow the paths to freedom and prosperity. We tried them, they work quite well, and we would like to be sure that other countries are given the chance.

And if you are fretting that America is going to bully everyone else, have a look at the subjects of our latest attentions. One was the Taliban, about whom little more needs to be said, Saddam Hussein, for whom the words “invasion” and “hideous human rights violations” seem to have been invented, and Kim Jung-Il, who is busily engaged in developing nuclear weapons while his countrymen starve to death.

In the first case, it seems to be consensus that the US was perfectly justified in acting alone. In the next two, much of the world seems to alternate between being huffily offended for dealing with one tyrant without unanimous approval, and being more than eager to shuffle off entire responsibility to the US alone for dealing with the other.

The rule of thumb seems to be to make sure it is almost too late, and then expect the US to fix the problems of a region almost alone.

The UN had every chance in the world over the last dozen years or so to take on the genuine responsiblities of global leadership. Instead they spend it dickering over whether or not to really enforce the terms of a cease-fire, and puffing themselves up like bullfrogs with dropsy because the US will not play an endless game of “Mother May I?” with the Jerry Lewis fans on the UNSC.

So there seems to be a power vacuum at the top. Nobody else is willing to deal with Saddam, and nobody else is willing to deal with Kim.

I would recommend to those who object to America being the Global Leader that they come up with some reasonable ideas to deal with North Korea and its nukes. Sell it to the UN. I would be willing to lay a smal wager that the US will go for it, if it makes any sense.

But you can’t beat something with nothing. If you don’t want the US to take the lead, and nobody else is either willing or able, and something needs to be done, it is frankly a little bit silly to strike dramatic poses about the threat of US hegemony.

Someone has to do the heavy lifting. Either we can all do it together, or the biggest one tends to take the first turn.


By ‘leading by example’ you mean to lie through your teeth, invent evidence, apply double standards, influence the press, disregard treaties and, of course, start bloody wars when it is in your interest?

Be afraid, Elfje.

I think it’s very difficult from inside the US, to understand how daunting the Project for the New American Century looks if you’re outside the country that is being furthered.

Firstly, that the large number of signatories to the PNAC are now in the top echelon of the current US administration cannot be denied. We may be assured that the philosophies of the PNAC are indeed those of GWB and his advisors, subject to approval by Congress and the Senate. And since 9/11, there hasn’t been much of a problem there.

Secondly, the statement of intent wishes to further “American global leadership”. This does not indicate a multilateral approach. Indeed, it indicates that the current administration disdains current international bodies, such as the UN. The results of this disdain are already being seen. We, the smaller, weaker and poorer countries of the world, do not want to be led by the US. We would like to be led by ourselves, and by contribution multilateral bodies.

Next, various random points (my emphases added throughout):

“deter rise of new great-power competitor;” - in other words, if the EU finally got its shit together and decided on a common defense policy, and a common European army, then the current administration would be opposed to this.

“If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests.” While paying lip-service to global insecurity, it’s clear that they are saying strong military => promotion of interests. And outside the US’s borders, apart from protection of US citizens overseas, there’s only one interpretation of what these interests are - economic.

“to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values”. Hostile to the US’s values. The scope for interpretation of that statement is pretty wide. Furthermore, what happens in the case of a country that, say, legally and democratically nationalises the assets of an American corporation, that would be seen as hostile to American interests, wouldn’t it? How would the US react, given these principles?

The approaches to Iraq really show the administration’s hand, and how blatantly it has exploited circumstances to further decisions already made. Have you noticed in that letter to Clinton that there is absolutely no mention of terrorism, and no mention of direct threat to America from Iraq? Nor, indeed, is there mention of the humanitarian necessity for overthrowing Saddam. This negates three of the reasons currently given for the conflict. There is, instead, this: “It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard.” The volte-face is blatant, astonishing, and has been bought by a large proportion of the US public, as well as smaller proportions of other countries overseas.

This subsequent 1998 letter (signed, amongst others, by Donald Rumsfeld) is similarly revealing:

Protect our vital interests. This indicates to me that Saddam was doomed the moment Bush came into power.

But what realls scares me is this document [pdf]. Here we find out how the administration plans to wield its pre-eminent power:

This document even talks about a Pax Americana. It reveals that the US intends to act militarily, rather than diplomatically, in any circumstances it sees as threatening to security or commercial interests. There will be another US-led war in another “theater” within the next year or two. If I’m wrong, I’ll happily eat my hat.

Finally, the entire PNAC portfolio (I’ve read nearly all of it) indicates that the current US administration is going to do what the hell it wants, when it wants, and there isn’t a single damn thing anyone else in the world can do about it. And it’s perfectly blatant about this.

I’m not as hysterical as the Moscow Times writer who said: “Not since “Mein Kampf” has a geopolitical punch been so blatantly telegraphed, years ahead of the blow”, but yep, it scares me.

[nitpick]How, exactly, does one ‘legally and democratically’ steal the assets of a foreign corporation?[/nitpick]

On the bright side, there’s still half a chance that America will not become a single-party kleptocracy.

I hope.

That means that in as little as two short years this policy could be completely reversed by a Presidential administration that puts a smidge more stock in international cooperation and consensus.

And, even if the conservatives do consolidate their power in such a way that it’s impossible to root them out, the war-hawks comprise only the trunk of the elephant, so to speak. They could just as easily find themselves at the elephant’s tail–or within close proximity to that part of the elephant, if you see what I’m saying. If corporations start losing money on this war, just watch the Republicans “realign” themselves in a hurry.

For all the “values” and “democracy” bullshit those documents spout, the Republicans would have to make a habit of stealing elections in order to make this policy stick.

And we all know they wouldn’t do that.

Here’s how you do it. 1. Change the law to make it legal. 2. Do it.

To be honest, I see it as theft, too, but should something like that be countered by military action (as the British and French did during the Suez crisis)?

exactly, jjim, that is indeed what I meant. It is as a NON US citizen that I’m worried. If I wanted to live under american rule, i’d move there. I do not, however, and therefor I find it very threatening that the US proposes to rule the whole world, as it pleases, and only for its own benefit, as jjim stated: they’re being very balatant about it. I hope Sofa King is correct, in saying that in another two years there could be a new administration, and all could be reversed. I sincerely hope so, but it sure looks as if Bush is going to be voted in again. I can’t shake the suspicion that a lot of Americans think that the way their country is behaving now, is justified.

Who made them boss, anyway?

They’re making Bghdad a Dresden II. How can they justify carpet bombing a city with a population of 5 million? Do they really think that civilan casualties can be “minimized”? And what about the casualties that did fall, and will continue to fall, they’re what, a reasonable price for victory?

I fear that Bush will go aon a rampage in the Middle East, next. Both Rumsfeld and Powell have spoken out against Syria and Iran, warning them to “stop endorsing terrorism”. If only the US would stop giving the Arab nations a REASON for practicing terrorism…
My bet?
That the US will attack Syria (with help from Israel, I should think) next, and after that will go for Iran.

I also find it very very surprising that no more reactions have been posted to this thread.

You shouldn’t overstate the case, elfje, by introducing the “carpet bombing”. That just weakens the argument, because it isn’t true.

The scary part is that it may not be as reversible as Sofa King says.

Remember, the Iraq invasion is being conducted as part of the “War on Terrorism”. If a candidate opposes US aggression in the middle east, that could invite accusations of being “soft on terrorism”. And terrorism is bad, m’kay?

The US is now about 70 years into its global war or drugs, no progress is being made whatsoever, and it just can’t be stopped because of all the bullshit that was used to sell it in the first place. That bullshit is now accepted “fact”.

No, you’re right, I shouldn’ t overstate the case. carpet bombing is not exactly what they’re doing, but I think they’re going to run out of genuine military targets real soon. And I don’t think they’ll stop after that, but we’ll see.

Yes, the Iraqi invasion, as you rightly call it, is indeed conducted under the guise of the War on Terrorism. I say under the guise of, as the link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda has never been proved, and I doubt very much that iraq had money left to pour into terrorism.

and what bullshit are you referring to in your last alinea?

The prohibition of marijuana arose out William Randolph Hearst’s desire to eliminate hemp as competition for woodpulp in paper manufacture. A bogus campaign by Harry J. Anslinger, head of the Narcotics Bureau, about crimes commited by drug users and the general dangers of drugs followed, and resulted in the Marijuana Tax Law. Despite the opposition of the AMA.

oh, yes, I remember this!
Not from the US, but from the UK.

I can’t remember if they were audio only, or visual aswell.

This teenager and his friend are up in the bedroom, smoking a spliff, when the father is heard coming up the stairs.
You can hear the guy panicking, and as a result he smashes his dad over the head with something (killing him), just cos he’s afraid of getting caught. Morale: marijuana makes you a killer…

load a BS, ofcourse, but a lot of people believed it, I think…

and ofcourse, drugs kill, but you can buy a gun and bullets in effing walmart…

and if they’re so against drugs, how come they’re not closing down the tobacco business? Or banning alcohol?

what, they’re “healthy” drugs, are they?

:frowning: the world depresses me, sometimes…

Logic just doesn’t enter into things.

If the US just confined this crap to the US, no problem.

But it often has this need to pressure every other fucking country on earth to follow suit, just because some there’s some domestic demographic that will approve.

Not to imply that the US is any different in pandering to domestic interest groups or lobbyists than any other country.

Just that the US is unique in its ability to export “solutions” that just fuck everyone else.

The British tried Colonialism, as did the French, as did, well, everyone.

Anyone remember how those turned out? Yeah, that’s right, it kind of sucked. Calling it “American Global Leadership” doesn’t hide what it is. It is colonialism. Colonialism doesn’t work.

Y’all elected GBII. Y’all can get rid of him at the polls if he starts sucking too badly. Remind me: what can I, as a non-US citizen, do about Dubya if he starts affecting MY life adversely?

That’s why this policy is scary. You’re pretty much resented around the world, rightly or wrongly, at the moment, and the latest Iraqi escapade has done nothing to make you Mr Popular. So, why in the name of all that is righteous and holy would you want to make people resent you MORE?