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View Full Version : Way off topic - article in The Australian



John Nebel
11-27-2004, 08:09 AM
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,11498606%255E31501,00.html

Zilch
11-27-2004, 12:03 PM
The Jihadist goal of a pan-Islamic nation, Friedman's "New Caliphate" federation, is well documented. After the Taliban established the prototype state in Afghanistan, the Saudis first appreciated that they, themselves, were at risk. Core Al-Qa'ida may be seen as a Saudi "ex-patriot" movement, in which context what has happened, and is happening, makes sense.

The objective is to control Middle-Eastern (and beyond) oil and use it to strangle occidental (Western) secular modernism as enemy of Islam (think "Crusades" here). If it weren't for Saudi ties to the West, OPEC would have done it years ago. Thus is democracy branded an "infidel institution." Indeed, there IS an inherent conflict between personal freedom and fundamentalist theocracy (read "burqa"). The West worked through that in the 16th century, as I recall. It's about power, is what.

WMD were an obvious pretense for a move into Iraq. There was a certain irrationality to it at the time, as the UN inspectors were about to conclude they didn't exist. But, as Friedman points out, that move was strategic: it's no coincidence that BOTH Iran and Saudi Arabia become "surrounded" as consequence, not to mention the actual oil reserves there.

There are larger issues, of course, key among them being the legitimacy of the abstract "cause" of each side. However, 9/11 sealed the engagement for America; we're in it now, and the enemy is tangible....

mikebake
11-27-2004, 12:06 PM
Very interesting, and, I believe, accurate.

mikebake
11-27-2004, 08:03 PM
The Jihadist goal of a pan-Islamic nation, Friedman's "New Caliphate" federation, is well documented. After the Taliban established the prototype state in Afghanistan, the Saudis first appreciated that they, themselves, were at risk. Core Al-Qa'ida may be seen as a Saudi "ex-patriot" movement, in which context what has happened, and is happening, makes sense.

The objective is to control Middle-Eastern (and beyond) oil and use it to strangle occidental (Western) modernism as enemy of Islam (think "Crusades" here). If it weren't for Saudi ties to the West, OPEC would have already done it. Thus is democracy branded an "infidel institution." Indeed, there IS an inherent conflict between personal freedom and fundamentalist theocracy (read "burqa"). The West worked through that in the 16th century, as I recall. It's about power, is what.

WMD were an obvious pretense for a move into Iraq. There was a certain irrationality to it at the time; the UN inspectors were about to conclude they didn't exist. But, as Friedman points out, that move was strategic: it's no coincidence that BOTH Iran and Saudi Arabia become "surrounded" as consequence, not to mention the actual oil reserves there.

There are larger issues, of course, key among them being the legitimacy of the abstract "cause" of each side. However, 9/11 sealed the engagement for America; we're in it now, and the enemy is tangible....
What, if I might ask, is your occupation?

Zilch
11-27-2004, 09:31 PM
What, if I might ask, is your occupation?IRS says I'm an Inventor

Am I too wordy?
It's old stuff, actually. More here (http://www.ict.org.il/articles/fundamentalist_islam.htm).

After 9/11, Al-Qa'ida said: "America, ask yourself why this happened."

It'd be good if more of us tried to figure it out....

Don McRitchie
11-27-2004, 10:51 PM
I am not interested in starting a political debate and will drop out if this thread takes that turn. I just want to point out a problem that I have with articles of this type. It is all assertion with no evidence. Its premise is that the current administration is playing a "much deeper game" with the war in Iraq but provides absolutely no evidence of who developed this game plan, who the current players are, and most importantly, any documentation that such a game plan existed before the war began. It would have you believe that an administration that has publicly disavowed Realpolitik as part of the previous administation's failed foreign policy, is actually a master of the craft. Not to mention that this approach is 180 degrees opposed to the current administation's stated vision of moral clarity in foreign affairs. Again, all of this without a shred of evidence. That the article makes no mention of the fact that book's author and company are considered to have strong right-wing and corporate ties, does little to aid its objectivity.

I have no problem with discussion and debate on the the merits of the war in Iraq and believe an honest discussion would be very healthy (although not here). I do have a problem with thinly disguised spin being portayed as objective analysis.

Ian Mackenzie
11-27-2004, 11:17 PM
I'm surprised of the awareness outside the 52 states, well I suppose there is some relevance

The article reads like a documentary to upstage 60 minutes, not exactly fact and plenty of fiction.

The Australian doesn't exactly employ award winning Journalists as a rule. Recommended newspapers are The Financial Review and The Age.


This is our real threat on the next month or so

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,11511796%255E2702,00.html

John Nebel
11-28-2004, 06:58 AM
Don,

Friedman's web site at $440/yr is darn expensive and it is interesting that people would pay that much.

The Internet has certainly changed the availability of information for anyone who wants to tune in.

For what it's worth, a friend's brother who is a Major General and is directly involved says similar things as the article.

I'd bought Friedman's book a couple of weeks back and the article has prompted me to move it from the category of books one ought to read to actually reading it. His description of the US intelligence bureaucracy/muddle is pretty amazing.

John

Don McRitchie
11-28-2004, 11:46 AM
Hi John

I have taken my response to email since it enters the realm of politics. I would suggest that anyone entertaining the same thoughts take the same approach.

Don

John Y.
11-30-2004, 10:26 AM
I'm surprised of the awareness outside the 52 states, well I suppose there is some relevance

Ian,

I once corresponded with the rep from Canada about where I could find Mike's Hard Lemonade in the US. She said it was imported into "all 52 states". :confused:

Since Canadians and Australians think we have added states since Alaska (49th) and Hawaii (50th), perhaps it is time to add some more. Let's hope they're not from the middle east.

John Y.

GordonW
11-30-2004, 10:41 AM
Guess the Aussies and Canucks must be considering Guam and Puerto Rico to be 'de-facto states' or something... it's not a big stretch, I would think...

Regards,
Gordon.

Ian Mackenzie
11-30-2004, 10:44 AM
I want stir the pot any further.

Ian

Zilch
11-30-2004, 12:07 PM
If the Aussies and Canucks wanna consider themselves states, that's fine.

IRS will be in touch shortly.

[They don't get ta vote, tho....] :D

Ut, oh. This is getting POLITICAL!

Don McRitchie
11-30-2004, 01:16 PM
Guess the Aussies and Canucks must be considering Guam and Puerto Rico to be 'de-facto states' or something... it's not a big stretch, I would think..As a Canuck I (and just about every fellow Canadian I know) am fully aware that there are 48 states. - That's a joke :)

Seriously, if you were to take the average Canadian and the average American and quizzed them about the background of their neigbouring country, I guarantee that the Canadian will know more about their counterpart. It's pretty hard not to. We are innundated with your media. Standard cable carries all of the US networks and at least 3-24hr US cable news channels (more if you subscribe to optional packages). Just as an example, how many of you can name our head of state, head of goverment and leader of the opposition? I can name your President, Vice President, majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate.

It can actually be quite comical to travel in the southern part of the US and try to explain where I am from in Canada. I was once asked in what part of Africa the country of Manitoba was located. One fairly widespread impression seems to be that there are only 12 of us Canadians and that we live in the same appartment building. On more than one occaision, when I have said I am from Winnipeg Canada, I have gotten this type of reply: "Well you must know my Uncle John in Toronto" :D (for those that don't know, Toronto is a city of 4,000,000 located 1500 miles away)

mikebake
11-30-2004, 01:48 PM
Seriously, if you were to take the average Canadian and the average American and quizzed them about the background of their neigbouring country, I guarantee that the Canadian will know more about their counterpart. It's pretty hard not to. We are innundated with your media. Standard cable carries all of the US networks and at least 3-24hr US cable news channels (more if you subscribe to optional packages).
The question I want to know, is why would you be inundated with American media, unless there is a Canadian market for it?


"Just as an example, how many of you can name our head of state, head of goverment and leader of the opposition? I can name your President, Vice President, majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate."

These reason you can and most of us cannot is that in comparison to the US posts you mentioned, the Canadian posts are not as important to the rest of the world.

I wouldn't be suprised if there are people in countries around the world who don't even know the name of their own national leader, but know the US Presidents name.:hmm:

Ian Mackenzie
11-30-2004, 02:13 PM
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"Just as an example, how many of you can name our head of state, head of goverment and leader of the opposition? I can name your President, Vice President, majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate."
These reason you can and most of us cannot is that in comparison to the US posts you mentioned, the Canadian posts are not as important to the rest of the world.

I wouldn't be suprised if there are people in countries around the world who don't even know the name of their own national leader, but know the US Presidents name.http://audioheritage.org/vbulletin/images/smilies/scratchchin.gif""
Now that's a political and media reason, not one of importance.

The less popular politicians always attract more media attention, its sells newspapers.

The reality is America is a super power and as such wants to doninate and influence the rest of the world affairs to suit its own ends and tends do do this on the basis on maintaining world peace . The real problem is its more relient on the rest of the world for resources like oil that they are on it.

Who said this thread was about political statements?


Ian :blah:




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Don McRitchie
11-30-2004, 02:14 PM
The question I want to know, is why would you be inundated with American media, unless there is a Canadian market for it? Of course there is. But I can trump your question with another question - why does that market exist? The answer has to do with differences in scale between our economies and population. For example, on its own, the Canadian market could not afford to mount an effort like CNN. We try, with a channel called Newsworld, but it has no where near the resources in staff and bureau offices. That's why when the Iraq war broke out, most tuned to CNN to catch the latest news on that event. The same applies to enterainment shows. Network dramas have budgets as high as $200 million per season in the US. Here it was news when one Canadian network set a record budget of $6 million for one season of a new series. The result is that Canadian programming has nowhere near the production values of US programming.

Obviously, from a market perspective, there is nothing wrong with this. If that is your only perspective on the media, then this is the end of the story. However, most recognize that media goes beyond the marketplace to define and promote culture (see the Nov 2 election for evidence), and many find the innundation of US media creates issues.

For years, there have been minimum Canadian content standards for indigenous media. However, technology, and the ability to directly access American signals has circumvented this. It has led to a renewed debate on how to deal with this. Most of the efforts have been in the area of fostering local content as opposed to restricting foreign access. However, the results can best be described as mixed. Personally, I believe it is an issue that is affecting our culture, but I don't pretend to have a solution. I don't believe in censorship, but I also don't believe it is in our interests to have the indigenous Canadian media dissappear.

mikebake
11-30-2004, 03:01 PM
Of course there is. But I can trump your question with another question - why does that market exist? The answer has to do with differences in scale between our economies and population. For example, on its own, the Canadian market could not afford to mount an effort like CNN. S media creates issues.

Then according to your answer, the market exists because a) Canada is smaller than the U.S. and b) the Canadian consumer prefers to watch the larger U.S. media more than Canadian media. We can't moan about lack of ($) resources, because that argument doesn't stop. There is always someone/something with less resources.

I prefer the products of larger countries myself; I'd rather fly on Boeing or Airbus than some other brands!:p

I understand the idea of pervasiveness of culture as transmitted by mass media. Good luck trying to stop that train.
I can't think off-hand of any succesful attempts, given that people have preferences. In the marketplace of entertainment and ideas, people will make their choices (if they are permitted choices) as they please. (BTW, I don't really watch much TV at all; some college sports, Cleveland Browns (losers), the Weather Channel now and then, and the random mating insect documentary. I think most Hollywood stuff is garbage, most pop music vapid, most TV shallow and worthless; I don't consume much of the product, and try to instill that idea in my family)

No matter what anachronistic approach one may take, it would seemed inevitably doomed.

BTW, I am also highly sympathetic to losing both culture and historical values. I get filled with a sense of sadness sometimes when visiting places of historical interest that are lost to us. But, I'm wandering off here....

If you don't like the cultural message, then I suppose there are some avenues; try to change it, try to dampen its affect on the recipient via education, reduce demand, and offer alternatives that express the viewpoint/message you endorse.

Zilch
11-30-2004, 03:08 PM
Personally, I believe it is an issue that is affecting our culture, but I don't pretend to have a solution.This relates directly to the original point here. Imagine, if we will, that the culture in question is a truly different one, an Eastern one, with deep seated structure and belief systems that are fundamentally undermined by such pervasive Western influences, i.e., Occidental secular modernism.

What is the answer for THEM? Kick everybody out, shut off all communication with the outside world, and install a 12th-century authoritarian regime to thwart the insidious "invasion?" Strangle the West to make it stop, as they propose? How many Afghanis want the Taliban back, now?

Ultimately, in one credible view, it's what brought down the Iron Curtain. People wanted freedom and the Rolling Stones. It's insidious, indeed....

Don McRitchie
11-30-2004, 04:17 PM
I don't believe that it does. There are two issues being conflated here that I believe should be distinct - cultural values and the marketplace. My point is not to restrict the diversity of opinions and viewpoints. A problem occurs when one message has far greater resources for its dissemination than another. In this case it regards both quantity and quality. There is far more American programming on the airwaves than Canadian and at a much higher production value.

As I said, if you believe that the marketplace trumps everything, then there is no argument. However, I am not a strict libertarian and believe that there are some endevours of mankind for which the marketplace is neither the sole nor best arbiter. This is as true in your country as in mine. Whether you agree with it or not, the issues of culture and values have been a part of your political landscape for as long as your country has existed. Hell, you just fought a presidential election over it.

Cultural issues and the media are debated on a near daily basis in America. It has resulted in such diverse media issues as v-chips, foreign ownership restrictions, ratings systems, and most recently, direct intervention by the FCC. The question I have is why is it okay for your nation to hold this debate, but other nations must restrict their culture and values to the marketplace as you define it?

hector.murray
11-30-2004, 04:57 PM
Don , In response to earlier comments about Canadians knowing more about American leaders I find that to be quite true, however we are also blissfully ignorant of many places in our own country. I can say this as an American ( born and raised) son of Canadian immigrant parents.
In my border crossings - both as a child and as an adult, I see that Canadians' as a whole have good grasp of our governmental structure and many US natives are completely clueless - both of ours and Canadas'. And ( forgive me) I've even visited Australia, but am clueless of your structure of Government ( a thousand pardons on my miserable soul)
I only recently learned that Paul Martin was the Canadian PM because my childhood hero was named Minister of Social Development (Ken Dryden) and heard his name mentioned somewhere.

My recently deceased Canadian grand mother, who at 99, sharp as a tack, allways with her nose in a newspaper, insisted on voting every year. She would inform me of events happening in my own country that I was not aware of - factual events and what not. Only recently have Americans rediscovered the vote and just because of a scandal. Many did not know who to vote for, just that they should ( mind you - bring the body and the mind will follow) .

Just my 2 cents worth.