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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • It's a great country to live in if you are a white person. It's a great country to live in if you are middle class (or better).

    It's not such a great country to live in if you're a person of color, though it could be worse (or better). It's not such a great country to live in if you're very poor. Though again, that could be worse and better, depending on where you look.

    And the really fucked up thing about the US has very little to do with how its own citizens are treated, but rather with how the US tre
    • I wouldn't want to be a poor peasant living Afghanistan right now, or Colombia, or Cuba, or anywhere in most of Africa, or Russia, or any of a dozen other places where US foreign policy is making an already difficult life nearly unbearable

      What are you talking about? Is it your opinion that the US is holding these countries down? Let's look at two of your examples:

      1) Africa. Not a single great nation has come out of Africa since Hannibal & Cleopatra. I'm sure Africa's "demise" had much more to do

      • Well, the American slave trade didn't exactly do any good for Africa. Nor did US support of the South African apartheid regime.

        Russia, yes, had internal problems. The cold war, explicitly designed to destroy the Russian economy, also didn't help.

        But here are a few others:

        - Iran, where we installed a dictator that served our (oil) interests. That dictator's oppression was so severe that he was overthrown by a fundamentalist Islamic regime, which has been making Iran miserable ever since. Remember, at
        • by hfb (74) on 2002.02.25 20:33 (#5091) Homepage Journal

          You forgot the Caribbean and Baby Doc Duvalier. Impressive list :)

          • I probably forgot lots of others too. That list was mostly from memory, which is a scary thought.

            Any takers on trying to make a list where the US acted in a purely helpful way? Pudge?
            • LOL. I say this in all sincerity: if you really think it's needed, then you are only looking for the negative and closing your eyes to the positive.
              • I honestly think you would have a difficult time finding anywhere near as many examples of actual altruistic activity since WWII. But altruistic is a loaded word. How about examples of foreign policy initiatives which, while possibly helping the US, also unequivocally helped another country (as a whole, not just the rich people there).
                • I am not going to argue this with you. Your objective is to show that the USA is a lot more negative than positive in its influence. I think that's nonsense, and said so.

                  I don't think it is useful or interesting to try to weigh positives vs. negatives in this fashion. I have plenty of unspoken arguments against your negatives too, but I don't think it's interesting to debate them, as most people who care know that e.g. the issues of Israel, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia etc. are a lot more complex and have a lot
                  • The Marshall Plan
                  • Rebuilding Germany's economy
                  • Building Japan's economy

                  Hmm... I'm sucking mud. I'm sure there must be more though.
                  • Those are decent examples, although of course the US got a lot of benefit from those as well. I wouldn't call them altruistic so much an enlightened practicality. We have to have a few trading partners, right?

                    But is that all you can come up with? Those are the things I'd list too. And they're all immediately post-WWII. What about in the past 30-40 years?

                    I am such a cynic ;)
                    • As you already said:

                      But altruistic is a loaded word. How about examples of foreign policy initiatives which, while possibly helping the US, also unequivocally helped another country (as a whole, not just the rich people there).

                      Personally, I think no action by person, let alone government, is purely altruistic, because even if I open a door for someone with apparently no gain to myself, I want to do it and perhaps even feel good about it. So sticking to your own refinement of the idea, those things cert
                    • Ahem... moving the goalposts is considered unsporting. Of course all of those things were in the US interest. I'm just not entirely sure you could say that about some of the things on the 'USA bad' list. In many cases the long term harm seems (to these eyes at least) to outweigh any short term gain.
                    • I wasn't moving the goalposts. I said the list you gave was good. I was just curious if there were any others that occured later.

                      As to whether many US foreign policies have resulted in harm to the US. We only need look at the rubble where the World Trade Center once was to see that.

                      But hey, at least we got some draconian rights limitation measures through Congress as a result! And that certainly serves the interests of many of the policy makers. And people in the defense industry will no doubt profit
                  • Don't forget the Monroe Doctrine, helping Egypt recover from the building of the Aswan Dam[*], or brokering the Israel-Egypt peace treaty. Or all of the foreign aid that comes out of the US whenever there's a natural disaster somewhere in the world...

                    *: How else did the Temple of Dendur wind up in New York City?

                    • Clinton's efforts in the Israel/Palestine thing, and Northern Ireland were pretty decent too. Okay, so one of 'em has broken down irretrievably and the other is horribly stalled. But he gets points for trying.

                      The US stance during the Suez Crisis was also a Good Thing in the long run I think.
                    • If we're counting unequivocably good things that the US has done over the years, I'd have to mention the IGY - the International Geophysical Year in the 50's. I don't remember much about it, but ISTR the US being a key player in that peacetime endeavor.

                      Similarly, NASA's "Mission to Planet Earth" has provided some serious data on what we're doing here and where we might be headed. In 1976, there were news specials about the impending ice age (because the US had a pretty severe winter). Now, the weather

                    • Oh ghod yes. NASA. I know there were good cold war reasons for it. The whole High Frontier thing and the general JFK Dick size war of it. But speaking personally I'd have to say that the space program is a Good Thing that has and will benefit us all.

                      Okay, so it's purely a gut feeling thing, but moments like Armstrong stepping off the ladder; the safe recovery of Apollo 13, the amazing photographs of the the Earth as a tiny blue marble rising over a barren horizon and the revelation of the (for me at leas