Results tagged ‘ Foreign Policy ’

Ninja Neo-Colonialism

When it comes to colonialism, the US has tended to take a different approach than our European forefathers.  The Belgians had their “chop off a hand if they aren’t working hard enough” method, the French used a “leave the country in even worse shape than you found it” doctrine and everyone tended to embrace the “prop up a minority tribe and give them weapons so everyone else hates them but they fight each other instead of us” hypothesis.  The US, after a failed attempt in the Philippines at European style colonialism, invented a new way.  We decided to sow our products and culture on any possible fertile land and then reap the harvest.

You can call it what you like but the US approach has been pretty successful so far.  You probably can’t find McDonald’s in Mogadishu but it’s one of the few world capitals where that’s true.  Yankee hats decorate heads from Morocco to Malaysia and is there anyone who doesn’t know who Kobe Bryant is?  Neo-colonialism, as it’s often called, has even found its way into US diplomacy where baseball and basketball feature prominently in pro-American campaigns in Latin America and China, respectively.  Honestly, it’s a much nicer kind of colonialism.

That’s probably why it’s not much of a surprise that the Chinese internet community laughed aside a recent State media editorial claiming that the newly arrived US ambassador to China, Chinese-American Gary Locke, was an American attempt at neo-colonialism.  Locke captured quite a few fans before he even arrived when pictures of him buying his own coffee, using a coupon and carrying his own luggage showed up on the internet.  The Chinese have a reputation for being frugal and they appreciated seeing these same qualities in the US representative to their country.  It’s ninja neo-colonialism.  You don’t realize what is happening until it’s already done.

I, for one, applaud this new approach.  Appointing an Ambassador who comes from the same cultural background as the country where he will serve and someone who has real experience from his time as governor of Washington and Secretary of Commerce?  That sounds less like neo-colonialism and more like common sense to me.  Or maybe that’s exactly what ninja neo-colonialism is all about.

-A

A Very Serious Post

With all the serious things happening in the world right now, I want to write a serious post.  President Obama’s jobs speech, the first Republican debate with Rick Perry, the continuing hunt for Gaddafi in Libya.  Somebody turned the world up to 11 and I want to talk about it.

Then this happened:

As I sat down to write this Serious Post, I saw the following headline from SI.com: Dykstra pleads not guilty to indecent exposure.  Seriously, how am I supposed to write something meaningful after reading a headline like that?  This is the guy who seemingly developed some sort of idiot-savant investment system which unsurprisingly turned out to be less savant and more idiot.  He somehow managed to follow that up with stealing a car, holding illegal substances and now indecent exposure.

I want you to think about this for a second, though.  Over the course of two years, Lenny Dykstra placed multiple ads on CraigsList for domestic help and when these women responded and came by for an interview, he introduced them to Lenny Jr. instead.  Lenny Dykstra.  Sure, he’s a wild and crazy guy but I figured that meant he got really drunk at clubs and then brought home some girl half his age.  This pants-dropping business sounds more like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s most recent blockbuster, Revenge of the Wildebeest.

I still have one other question.  How do you plead not guilty to multiple instances of indecent exposure?  It’s not like this is a one time, he said/she said sort of thing.  You brought multiple women to your home under false pretenses and then dropped trou.  That’s staggering.  I don’t think a jury is going to buy your excuses.

I’m sorry.  This really was supposed to be a serious post.  But you ruined that for me Lenny Dykstra.  You ruined that.

-A

Mr. Lung’s Invisible Hurdles

My friend Mr. Lung, while an excellent writer and a true baseball devotee, has the misfortune of often face-planting when his thoughts turn towards the political arena.  Here’s an accurate representation of Jeff’s political discourse:

I say this because although Mr. Lung may have made one or two valid points in his original “coming-out as a Libertarian” post, his argument this past Friday mainly left me feeling embarrassed for him.  I don’t have time to go back and correct all of his logical and factual fallacies one by one but there is one point that bears discussion.

Let’s take these two statements:

Tell that to the folks paying $4.25 for a gallon of gas, the people who can barely afford groceries, who are meanwhile raped for 20% of their income in taxes to fund programs they’ll never benefit from.

and:

They hate us because of our longstanding foreign policy which is to invade, overthrow and then set up puppet governments and act as dictators to protect our interests in oil.

You don’t get it both ways, my friend.  Despite what your new friends on the fringe of either party may tell you, avoiding foreign entanglements by drilling at home or investing in alternative fuels is not going to change the price you pay at the pump.  Sure, over the course of a generation or two you can make those changes but in the short to medium term, your choice comes down to either securing fuel supplies in whatever clusterf**k part of the world they happen to come from or paying $6-8 a gallon like our friends in Europe.

I’m going to simplify all of this for you.  Government is a social contract in which the governed (including you and I) agree to give up a portion of their individual sovereignty for the good of the whole.  There are different levels to which this premise can be taken from the socialism of the Nordic states to the relative autonomy of the European Union.  Both extremes have their problems and both have their benefits.

In the US, we have eschewed the extremes and held to a longstanding tradition of slowly moving from one side of the equation to the other as necessary but never moving too far from the center.  From FDR’s New Deal to Reagan’s supply-side economics, programs come and go as they are needed.  It’s often painful, it’s occasionally embarrassing and it doesn’t always work.  But you know what?  If you don’t like it you can go out and vote for someone who promises change or even run for office yourself.

Many Americans prefer to lament the “broken” system, though, and sign up for whatever -ism fits their current worldview.  It’s simple, it’s available and it allows them to refrain from accepting any personal responsibility.  So tell me, my friend, how are you any different?

-A

Defending Logic

“One man’s balk is another man’s strikeout.”
–Mr. Allen Krause, August 30, 2011

Um… what?!?

Look, I don’t know what they put in that Big Government Liberal Kool-Aid, but whatever it is, it has some major psychotropic side effects, because in the game of baseball I know and love, a balk is a balk and a strikeout is a strikeout.  The two are never interchangeable.  NEVER.

But mistakes seem to be pretty common when it comes to the work of my opinionated and oft Yes We Can-chanting colleague, Mr. Allen Krause.  In his gimpy and tired attempt to derail my Liberty-train party, he made several inaccurate claims whilst using pompous generalizations to try and hide the fact that our current two-party political system cares more about robbing you, ignoring you, and then guilting you into making it all seem okay with special buzzwords like “terror” and “patriotism” and “hope”.

Sorry.  I learned my lesson when my vote went to Obama, my taxes went up, my savings account lost its value and my buddies are still off fighting stupid, pointless wars.

At the time of this photo, Little Allen still believed in invisible sky daddies, gnomes and unicorns, so there is still hope.

Let’s see exactly what Mr. Krause had to say:

“Ron Paul isn’t a libertarian.  Ron Paul has a lot of libertarian positions but it’s like being vegetarian.  Once you eat a piece of meat, you can’t really claim to be a vegetarian anymore.”

I assure you, Mr. Krause: Ron Paul is a libertarian.  Just because he differs from his party line on some select issues doesn’t make him any less a representative of the movement as a whole.  Just like I’m sure there are gay Republicans and gun-owning Democrats, it ain’t all ones and zeroes, sir.  Don’t forget, your Detroit Tigers’ greatest player was a drunken racist womanizer.  Does that mean you support drunken racist womanizing? (Don’t answer that).

Also, we are not talking about anarchy here.  We are talking about limiting the federal government’s involvement in our lives, like the Constitution was meant to do.  You do remember that little thing called the Constitution, right?  You know Dr. Paul is an expert on the Constitution, right?  You know that your big government is sh***ing all over the Constitution, right?  Okay, just checking.

“Yes, the US bureaucracy is often unwieldy but it’s downright streamlined compared to most of our OECD friends.”

So, you’re saying that because there are countries still worse off than us that we shouldn’t complain about the terrible job ours is doing?  Tell that to the dying middle class who are out of work because some big government bed-sharing CEO wants to make an extra $500K on top of his $3 million salary.  Tell that to the folks paying $4.25 for a gallon of gas, the people who can barely afford groceries, who are meanwhile raped for 20% of their income in taxes to fund programs they’ll never benefit from.  The system is broke.  This system is BROKEN.  Time to fix it.

“Paul would have us close up our borders but it’s foreign trade that allows us all to have televisions in our home and computers at work for a fraction of what they would otherwise cost.”

Your claim is simply not true.  Not true at all.  Dr. Paul’s fiscal propositions heavily support a free market economy.  It’s sort of the bread and butter of the Libertarian economic plan.  But you do have a point in that Dr. Paul would have us pull out of some of the international arenas where we are mostly seen as an unwanted nuisance.  Why are we still in Iraq?  Why are we still in Afghanistan?  Why are we now focusing on Iran?!?!?

And don’t give me that terrorism mish-mash.  You know why those countries hate us so much?  They hate us because of our longstanding foreign policy which is to invade, overthrow and then set up puppet governments and act as dictators to protect our interests in oil.  That’s why they want to kill us.  Because we are interfering in their affairs and they don’t like it.  Heck, I don’t blame them.  If Canada invaded my home and forced me to watch hockey every day, I gather I’d be pretty willing to blow myself up to stop it too.

Let’s leave those people alone, protect our sovereignty as the United States of America and uphold the values and declarations of the Constitution — a document that aimed to distance itself from the heavy-handed inbred monarchy that troubled the people with excessive taxation and an intolerance for individual liberty!

And now, please enjoy this woman getting hit in the face with a foul ball.

Happy Friday!

Jeff

Competing With the Ayatollah

Whenever I need to escape, I like to think about Iran and our wonderful 3 decade long competition.  What’s impressive is that since the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979, there have always been new ways to exploit the tension, both politically and artistically.

Of course the most famous of these exploitations has to be the years of enmity between Hulk Hogan and the Iron Sheik.  The two went back and forth, always finding a new way to up the ante in their ongoing feud.  It wasn’t just entertainment, it was sport for a country looking for a villain and a hero.

That’s one of the beautiful things about sports in America.  We tend to be really good at them so no matter how things may be going geo-politically, we can always come back to our athletic achievements.  That’s part of the reason why the Olympic basketball loss to the Russians in 1972 was so devastating.  It’s also why the 1980 Lake Placid “Miracle on Ice” was so satisfying.  It’s probably also why we really don’t even pay attention during the World Baseball Classic.

But recently we had another one of those moments of pride and it once again involved wrestling and Iran.  There was no grandstanding for the crowd this time, though.  Just a simple non-look that says “I owned you.”

Where’s your Iron Sheik now, Iran?  Huh?

-A

Tough Questions and Premature Answers

kennedy_coiff.jpgAnd here I thought this was supposed to be the slow point in the RSBS year. The elections are over (well, mostly) and baseball is still a couple months away from pitchers and catchers reporting. What could we possibly have to debate or comment on? Luckily, though, this is not your normal year. Thank god for shoe-throwing Iraqis, Kennedy-coiffed Illinois pols and baseball’s winter meetings.

With all of the problems facing the United States right now, it’s important that we ask the important questions. Like, is shoe chucking an attention getting scheme or a legitimate critique of American foreign policy? (Here’s a hint on that one. Anyone who actually understood the Middle East would not claim that the act was just about attention. Throwing your shoe is a mortal insult. If a shoe had been thrown at Zinedine Zidane, he would have head-butted the thrower.)

Or, with the city of New York involved in a free agency bubble that rivals the housing bubble and internet bubble combined, have the Mets become as evil as the Yankees or is their dauphin status chronic?

However, if we aren’t willing to answer these questions or concentrate on the imminent and necessary demise of the Big Three and the impending credit card crisis, there’s really only one other place we can go for solutions: the demented but brilliant mind of Andy Samberg.

Seriously, if that’s not a critique of US foreign policy, I don’t know what is.

-A 

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