The pros and cons of wars

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liveboy21
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The pros and cons of wars

Postby liveboy21 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:52 am UTC

So, there seem to be a few wars going on right now? I wanted to ask about the pros and cons of war. Why do people start them? Why do people defend against them? Why do people not want to start them? and Why do people invite (bait?) others to start war. However, I've noticed that I'm not even sure about what the definition of a war is. Do you need nations to agree to be at war? Do you need military action to call it a war? Do you need the expressed intentions of the government to delcare a war? (eg. it totally wasn't us, it was those guys in a cave that did it)

So, what is a war? Who benefits? Who doesn't?
As the popular song goes, "War, what is it good for?"

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby Zcorp » Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:28 am UTC

Well, mostly getting what you want from people that don't want to give it to you or want to stop you from getting it. This could be cultural ideological change, control over the behavior of others, material resources etc.

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:30 am UTC

Resources and wealth, loosely defined. Always resources. Wars have been fought over fertile farmland, water, tin, wood, oil, batshit (yes, batshit), labor, women, or just to gain an advantage for the next war. People go to war when it's cheaper to acquire resources through conquest than through trade. The people that benefit are the people organizing the war, and the presumably share the conquests with the soldiers if victorious; Rome and Greece used to grant farmland to victorious soldiers, for example. Historically, war was THE natural state of man, and only the center of large nations (i.e., those that had pillaged/raped their neighbors into oblivion) knew peace.

Nowadays, conspiracies abound about the benefactors of wars being banks and arms manufacturers, aka military-industrio complex. Banking conspiracies are bullshit, simply because banks can't collect from the losing side, and the winning side can default on the loans; it'd be a safer bet to just loan to countries to expand welfare than to loan to start a war. As for arms manufacturers, that may be a different story...

However, wars are more expensive than the resources obtained would be worth. Thus, wars are rare now, despite what the media would have you believe.

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby Azrael » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:16 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Resources and wealth, loosely defined. Always resources.

I have trouble squeezing conflicts like the US involvement in Vietnam into resources. Although I suppose denying an enemy control over those people, their economic output and land area counts. Even if neither the economic output isn't spectacular, nor the land particularly rich in natural resources. But by the resource metric, wars like Afghanistan are entirely irrational and yet ... they happen.

I feel like ideology (religious, political or otherwise) needs an input, even if it's only of secondary importance.

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:22 am UTC

Azrael wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Resources and wealth, loosely defined. Always resources.

I have trouble squeezing conflicts like the US involvement in Vietnam into resources. Although I suppose people, their economic output and land area counts. Even if neither the economic output isn't spectacular, nor the land particularly rich in natural resources.


Viet Nam was strategic* in terms of preparing for the next war, as part of the Domino Theory during the Cold War. The Cold War was very much about resources. As countries fell to communism, they nationalized their industries and refused to trade with the US. Industries that were often owned by Americans. That's what was meant by 'protecting American interests abroad'; preventing resources from disappearing from the 1st world influence.

One of the other reasons we have fewer wars now is due to trade; so long as we have trade and inter-dependence, virtually everyone important gains from avoiding a war. People can get the resources they want by producing something else of value, with little need to specialize in warcraft to become wealthy. Trade is why the Mongol Empire lasted for a century after the Horde had dissolved despite an otherwise non-existent domestic policy (the black plague killed it, when people began refusing merchants). Trade being a big reason for relative world peace is also part of why I have an intense hatred of the anti-globalization crowds. Seriously, fuck those fuckwads.

*Not really, even though many thought so at the time. Morgenthau summed it up best, in that Viet Nam was insignificant compared to the beast that was China.
Last edited by CorruptUser on Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:29 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby Azrael » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:28 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:*Not really, even though many thought so at the time. Morgenthau summed it up best, in that Viet Nam was insignificant compared to the beast that was China.

I guess this accounts for most of my issue: The resource-based rationale was entirely faulty, as Vietnam's economic importance was ... zero? But, hindsight, I suppose.

While conceptually clothed in terms of resource economics, I'd strongly suggest that the domino effect was more ideology than sound resource management. Especially given the cost-benefit ratio considering the massive losses, and the reality that it Vietnam was a very small domino way down at the end of a line of small dominoes.

People are bound to be bad at the rationale behind waging war and that doesn't necessarily effect the existence of the rationale, though.

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:32 am UTC

Azrael, can you name a time when people were willing to take an obvious economic loss in order to go to war? I mean, where someone was willing to go to war with an otherwise profitable trading partner with no expectation of any economic gain?

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby Azrael » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:33 am UTC

Vietnam, Korea, Afganistan. Although those weren't against otherwise profitable trading partners, the case for economic benefit is lackluster.

US Revolutionary War would likely count as one with a profitable trading partner, although there was certainly economic gain to be had.

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:37 am UTC

Korea has been a gain I'd say. South Korea anyway, in terms of the tech industry.

Viet Nam was sold as a cake-walk that would last a few months and bolster France, helping a trading partner. Afghanistan was 'profitable' in the sense that an 'investment' of a few billion would reduce terrorism. It... hasn't turned out well.

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby Azrael » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:37 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Viet Nam was sold as a cake-walk that would last a few months and bolster France, helping a trading partner. Afghanistan was 'profitable' in the sense that an 'investment' of a few billion would reduce terrorism. It... hasn't turned out well.


Yeah, here's where hindsight effects the willingness to give foresight the benefit of the doubt.

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby liveboy21 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:15 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Korea has been a gain I'd say. South Korea anyway, in terms of the tech industry.

Viet Nam was sold as a cake-walk that would last a few months and bolster France, helping a trading partner. Afghanistan was 'profitable' in the sense that an 'investment' of a few billion would reduce terrorism. It... hasn't turned out well.


I know that this is not an easy thing to ask, but I was hoping that we could look past what they said the wars are for and focus on the actual benefits perceived. Governments tend not to be honest when it comes to the reasons for war for a variety of reasons, a main reason being that people don't see war as a benefit because the governments won't give the benefits of the wars directly to the people. Unfortunately, this gap in information leads people to fill that gap with many 'conspiracy' theories, with many of them containing a hint of plausability because of the assumption that those conducting (or controlling, depending on the theory) the war know things that those outside don't.

Going back to CorruptUser's assessment of Afghanistan, a military investment of a few billion dollars and a few American lives in order to reduce terrorism. If that is true, that implies that 'terrorism' was/is capable of causing many billions of dollars of damage to America. If we look at economic factors alone, this seems like a very low return on investment compared to what America is capable of. This is why it seems likely that there are other factors involved (and that's where the different conspiracy theories come in.)

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby fifiste » Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:23 am UTC

What about wars taken as a propaganda effort. "Wag the dog" style. Wars taken as an effort to consolidate internal power.
There's lots of dissatisfaction with the king. Lets have a small victorious war with some puny country, wave some flags, blast some trumpets and afterwards have a big triumph march. (The problems may arise when the war is not so small and victorious as you thought of it.)
It can grow out from the need to demonize an external group to solidify your group - and when you have demonized the neighbouring heathens enough then the public will cry for their blood and you actually have to go to war.
The point making some wars might not have the economic reason of acquiring the resources abroad, but to better manage resources inside. Taken up as a social engineering project so to say - the resource gained is morale, or possibility to send the most rowdy individuals to kill and rape abroad not at home, or maybe a project to send a too troublesome military leader to a hopeless campaign so you can rob his status by defeat or maybe hope he gets killed.
Etc. there might be wars that are launched for reasons of internal politics.

edit: looking at the previous post upt there. I am inclined to think that the War on Terror might have a biiiig part of propaganda as a cause for it.
Going something like this.
Something terrible happened to us/US now we are doing something because of it. Something BIG AND IMPORTANT AND EXPENSIVE. You wouldn't want us to just stand there with arms crossed wouldn't you? You can all see what good and caring administration you have. Elect us again.
Maybe I'm just cynical.

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby HungryHobo » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:53 am UTC

Little old lady with a quiver in her voice during the 2004 elections: "I wouldn't have voted for Bush but... we're at war and you gotta support the president when you're at war."


I want to second the internal consolidation of power thing: it's a major cause of war.

Would slave rebellions count as resource wars when the resources in question are the people fighting to gain control of those resources?

There's also simple fear:
"They could kill us so we need to arm ourselves well enough to defend ourselves by killing them first."
"They're arming themselves so clearly they're planning to kill us, we need to arm ourselves better"
"they're arming themselves better, clearly an invasion is only months away, we need more men ready to defend"
"they're building up forces on our border, they're going to attack soon! more men"
"It's only a matter of time before they attack so it's best we hit them hard before they're ready to kill us"


there's also the "kill them all" motivation.
people in a country recently out from under the thumb of a foreign power can be extremely genuinely and justifiably bitter over things which happened to them or their loved ones. If such people gain positions of political power or are in a majority in the population then it can be a real motivation for a war.
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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby Azrael » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:46 pm UTC

liveboy21 wrote:Going back to CorruptUser's assessment of Afghanistan, a military investment of a few billion dollars and a few American lives in order to reduce terrorism. If that is true, that implies that 'terrorism' was/is capable of causing many billions of dollars of damage to America. If we look at economic factors alone, this seems like a very low return on investment compared to what America is capable of. This is why it seems likely that there are other factors involved (and that's where the different conspiracy theories come in.)

There are a lot of estimates, but spending 'a few' billion to prevent another $35-110 billion loss? That seems like a pretty good return, especially since at the time the war started, those estimates were as high as 500 billion - 2 trillion.

Now, the real price tag of nearing $4 trillion and counting makes the point that countries are really, really bad at stopping a war when it's outlived it's economical potential. Another indicator that the resource-only explanation doesn't really hold up.

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby dshizzle » Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:50 pm UTC

I think one value of war that people often miss is that it makes the nation better at fighting wars. One reason why the U.S. military is so lethal is that it has been at war for the great majority of its existence. If the U.S. military was to square off against another power it would have an unfair advantage in that 98% of it's members would be combat hardened veterans. Peace is great, but it's only during wars that a military learns what works and what doesn't.

Now that being said, is having such a military worth the absurd amount that the U.S. spends in treasure and life? At the very least I think we can admit that right now Pax Americanus is not worth the cost.
Reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled. - Feynman

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:25 pm UTC

...better Pax Liberal-Democracy than Pax Dictatorship or Pax Fundamentalist.

For all the gripes about how terrible the US 'empire' has been, has there ever been a dominant power that was less abusive?

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby sam_i_am » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:38 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:...better Pax Liberal-Democracy than Pax Dictatorship or Pax Fundamentalist.

For all the gripes about how terrible the US 'empire' has been, has there ever been a dominant power that was less abusive?


Other dominant powers being potentially more abusive doesn't necessarily make it a good thing that the US is abusive

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:42 pm UTC

If you can't reasonably expect a world without a dominant power, then yes, the fact that the current dominant power is the least abusive dominant power is a good thing.

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby dshizzle » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:51 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:...better Pax Liberal-Democracy than Pax Dictatorship or Pax Fundamentalist.

For all the gripes about how terrible the US 'empire' has been, has there ever been a dominant power that was less abusive?


Yeah I'm not claiming that I think Pax Americanus is a bad thing, its just something that isnt worth the cost to the average American citizen.
Reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled. - Feynman

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby omgryebread » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:20 pm UTC

dshizzle wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:...better Pax Liberal-Democracy than Pax Dictatorship or Pax Fundamentalist.

For all the gripes about how terrible the US 'empire' has been, has there ever been a dominant power that was less abusive?


Yeah I'm not claiming that I think Pax Americanus is a bad thing, its just something that isnt worth the cost to the average American citizen.
For the record, "pax" is a feminine noun in Latin, and -us is a masculine declension. Adjectives and nouns have to agree in Latin, so it's Pax Americana.
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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby dshizzle » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:23 pm UTC

Adjectives and nouns have to agree in Latin, so it's Pax Americana.


Learn something new every day! Thanks bro. :D
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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby yawningdog » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:34 pm UTC

Why do people start them? Why do people defend against them? Why do people not want to start them? and Why do people invite (bait?) others to start war.


This is like asking "How do babies get the names they have" or "why do people get tattoos". For every war there is a different reason, different circumstances, different decisions, etc. You can ask why the Vietnam war was started and get a pretty definitive answer. But asking why wars start seems like a waste of time.

I think it's interesting that there has been little mention of religion. I cannot remember how many times I've heard anti-religion people spout the old mantra "all the major wars in history were started over religion".
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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby Роберт » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:45 pm UTC

War: a disagreement that went really far.
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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby Bsob » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:56 pm UTC

yawningdog wrote:
Why do people start them? Why do people defend against them? Why do people not want to start them? and Why do people invite (bait?) others to start war.


This is like asking "How do babies get the names they have" or "why do people get tattoos". For every war there is a different reason, different circumstances, different decisions, etc. You can ask why the Vietnam war was started and get a pretty definitive answer. But asking why wars start seems like a waste of time.

I think it's interesting that there has been little mention of religion. I cannot remember how many times I've heard anti-religion people spout the old mantra "all the major wars in history were started over religion".


"In many major wars, leadership used religion to convince the populace to back the war. " would actually be accurate.

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby Dark567 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:15 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:Now, the real price tag of nearing $4 trillion and counting makes the point that countries are really, really bad at stopping a war when it's outlived it's economical potential. Another indicator that the resource-only explanation doesn't really hold up.
Well, sunk costs and all that. If you've already spend 3 trillion to gain a 2 trillion dollar return and only need to spend a little bit more to receive that return, even when spending has already surpassed gains, its worth it. Assuming your estimates are correct, of course(which you shouldn't because all your previous estimates have been off).
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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby liveboy21 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:30 pm UTC

War doesn't seem to me to be about disagreements unless the disagreement goes as follows:

Country A: Hey, you know about all that stuff? I think you should give it to me.
Country B: What? Are you serious?
Country A: Yeah, I really need your stuff. Could you be a good guy and give your stuff to me?
Country B: What? You were just bragging a moment ago about how much stuff you have! You don't need my stuff.
Country A: Say What again, I dare you to say What again.
Country B: What?
[Country A has declared war on Country B]
Country B: Ahhh!

Edit: A post about religion has appeared before I managed to press submit, so I'll address that as well. I agree that religion seems to be the device used to create agreement among the populace rather than the reason for starting the wars in the first place. I'm guessing that it's also easier to go to war and spin that to seem like you're following a religion than to do nothing and convince people that your doing nothing is following the religion. So I suppose a pro point of war is that it allows you to gain approval despite war being an event that would cause individual grief to many people.

And as for Azrael's post about the financial estimates of the impact of 9/11, those are indeed more than a 'few' billion dollars and that versus that large estimate of 2 trillion dollars seems to be a significant economic return. (You have acknowledged that costs of the war and the estimate for 9/11 have now changed to make it unfeasable, but I'm assuming here that your point about the initial reason to go to war still stands.)

However, the estimate for 9/11 is in essence a sunk cost. If the decision is between going to war, and not going to war (I'm not naive enough to think that those are your only options, but that's an example), the loss from 9/11 is still going to be there and is still going to affect the country. Thus, from an economic stand point (and I'm sure people will disagree with me), 9/11 is irrelevant to the decision as to whether to go to war.

There are a few reasons why 9/11 would still be relevant though. It might be that they wanted/needed to go to war anyway and 9/11 just gave them a list of acceptable targets. Also, it could be that "It's not about money, it's about sending a message."

Edit 2: Gah! I need to type these posts faster.

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:21 am UTC

liveboy21 wrote:However, the estimate for 9/11 is in essence a sunk cost. If the decision is between going to war, and not going to war (I'm not naive enough to think that those are your only options, but that's an example), the loss from 9/11 is still going to be there and is still going to affect the country. Thus, from an economic stand point (and I'm sure people will disagree with me), 9/11 is irrelevant to the decision as to whether to go to war.


Considering that by going to war, the US avoids setting a precedent of 'attack us with impunity because we are too cowardly to fight back', giving Al Qaeda all sorts of credibility, and more importantly, access to a lot more resources (whether from recruits of funding), I'd say that 9/11 was far from irrelevant to the decision. I believe it was the correct decision. As to whether to stay in Afghanistan, no, that was not.

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby morriswalters » Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:49 am UTC

That's an interesting take. Perhaps a pound or so of prevention would have been better medicine. Those planes should have never been taken, period. There had been any number of hijackings before those, so hubris played into it. The war was a distraction. If the idea was to deny a safe haven to Al Qaeda, then a statement to the Taliban illustrating the cost to them for of shielding Al Qaeda, followed by a brutal example might have served us better. They were in a better position to deliver us the head we wanted. While the Taliban existed as a government it was hard for them to hide. Any cost benefit ratios can't really be calculated until we withdraw. If the situation goes bad after we leave going back won't be an option. The pros and cons are simple, do we accomplish what we needed to do in a fashion that achieves our goals at the lowest price and which makes sure that we don't have to fight the same war twice? My two cents. Even though I know this is probably unpopular here, drone strikes are the best tool I have seen for dealing with a entity like Al Qaeda.

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby sam_i_am » Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:50 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
liveboy21 wrote:However, the estimate for 9/11 is in essence a sunk cost. If the decision is between going to war, and not going to war (I'm not naive enough to think that those are your only options, but that's an example), the loss from 9/11 is still going to be there and is still going to affect the country. Thus, from an economic stand point (and I'm sure people will disagree with me), 9/11 is irrelevant to the decision as to whether to go to war.


Considering that by going to war, the US avoids setting a precedent of 'attack us with impunity because we are too cowardly to fight back', giving Al Qaeda all sorts of credibility, and more importantly, access to a lot more resources (whether from recruits of funding), I'd say that 9/11 was far from irrelevant to the decision. I believe it was the correct decision. As to whether to stay in Afghanistan, no, that was not.


why the hell would anyone want to attack us in the first place?

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:35 am UTC

Spoiler:
Sam, I think your cognitive abilities may improve through the use of the surgical procedure pioneered by Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin...


Does the US involve itself in unethical/abhorrent activities? Yes. Does the US involve itself in more unethical/abhorrent activities than nations/empires of similar power, size, and/or influence? I'm going to leave a big fat no here for you to take at any time.

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby morriswalters » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:07 am UTC

Are there now, or have there ever been, any nation or empire as powerful as we are now? Just saying.

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby webzter_again » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:08 am UTC

liveboy21 wrote:So, what is a war? Who benefits? Who doesn't?
As the popular song goes, "War, what is it good for?"


I very much enjoyed my copy of Archaeology of Violence by Pierre Clastres. He examines primitive warfare and it's role among indigenous tribes in South America. It's been a while so I don't recall how thoroughly he contrasts it to modern war (and, sadly, I think I donated my copy a few moves ago). If you can find a copy, I'd recommend a read through.

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:13 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:Are there now, or have there ever been, any nation or empire as powerful as we are now? Just saying.


Rome, Mongolia, and possibly Persia were all comparable to the US's power. And they all were far, far worse. Persia at its height, created 3000 African eunuchs each year. The process for making a eunuch, well, I'll leave out the details but only 1 in 10 survived. Meaning that 30,000 African men were kidnapped and mutilated each year. Including the women, and the men that weren't turned into eunuchs, you are talking about maybe 100,000 people enslaved each year from Africa. For reference, the colonies/US in its entire history imported 400,000. Rome was just as bad. Like, scary bad. Mongolia was not quite as bloodthirsty as people claimed, but they were still brutal. Comparing the US to its temporary equal, USSR, well, there is a reason a lot more people defected from the USSR to the US than the other way around.

Reminds me of a story. My old landlady was born in Soviet Poland. Her father was a WWII vet and Soviet-era resistance fighter; he was nearly executed after WWII but was saved by the testimony of a Russian officer who owed him his life. During the 80s, they managed to sneak out of one of the wealthier areas in Poland to come to the US. They initially ended up in one of the poorer areas of the US, saw what was here, and said "what a shithole, did we make a mistake in leaving?" What, did you think this story was going to end in another way?

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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby liveboy21 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:35 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Does the US involve itself in unethical/abhorrent activities? Yes. Does the US involve itself in more unethical/abhorrent activities than nations/empires of similar power, size, and/or influence? I'm going to leave a big fat no here for you to take at any time.


Which nation exactly do you think has a similar power, size and/or influence as the USA? That arguement sounds like "it's bigger, so it's allowed to do more bad things before ethics becomes an issue." I doubt that's what you meant though since your other posts don't seem to be headed in that direction.

Going back to the pros and cons of war, it seems from this discussion that for larger or stronger countries, conflict provides more pros and fewer cons which would seem to make wars more likely. As we see from the United States examples, geography and the location of enemies is a problem that can be overcome. To hope for the scenario of long lasting peace mentioned earlier where peace comes from having destroyed all enemies seems silly.

However, surely even large nations must face some cons to starting wars. For example, why don't we see China starting wars against other countries? or do their more covert operations count under war? What factors stop a nation from going to war?

Edit: I really need to start typing these posts more quickly.

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sam_i_am
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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby sam_i_am » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:58 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Spoiler:
Sam, I think your cognitive abilities may improve through the use of the surgical procedure pioneered by Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin...


Does the US involve itself in unethical/abhorrent activities? Yes. Does the US involve itself in more unethical/abhorrent activities than nations/empires of similar power, size, and/or influence? I'm going to leave a big fat no here for you to take at any time.



Why do i keep hearing that "other nations are worse, therefore we have a license to be abusive as shit" arguement?

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CorruptUser
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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:05 am UTC

That is not my argument.

My argument is that "other, comparable nations are worse, and that moving power from the US to other countries is most likely going to be worse for the world as a whole".

Look, it'd be nice if the world could keep on turning without conflict, with rainbows and blowjobs for all, but that is not the world we live in. We live in a giant crapsack, but eliminating the US as the dominant world power is not likely to improve it. In fact, the world is somewhat less of a crapsack during the US dominated era. Yes, there are many things the US does wrong. Yes, you should most definitely talk about them, scrutinize everything, make everyone aware of the things the US does wrong, but do so for the purpose of trying to prevent the US from doing those things, not for the misanthropic purpose of trying to discredit the US and try and replace it with something that is for all intents and purposes worse.

HungryHobo
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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby HungryHobo » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:35 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:That is not my argument.

My argument is that "other, comparable nations are worse, and that moving power from the US to other countries is most likely going to be worse for the world as a whole".


Your views on the US are likely to depend on whether or not you live in a country ruled by a US backed US-friendly monster.

In the days of rome there weren't other states nearby which could burn rome to the ground in a few minutes. Now there are multiple countries with nuclear weapons which probably has a lot more to do with why the US is so much less abusive than past empires.
Give a man a fish, he owes you one fish. Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries.

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CorruptUser
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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:26 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:That is not my argument.

My argument is that "other, comparable nations are worse, and that moving power from the US to other countries is most likely going to be worse for the world as a whole".


Your views on the US are likely to depend on whether or not you live in a country ruled by a US backed US-friendly monster.

In the days of rome there weren't other states nearby which could burn rome to the ground in a few minutes. Now there are multiple countries with nuclear weapons which probably has a lot more to do with why the US is so much less abusive than past empires.


That would only explain why the US isn't abusive to nuclear-armed countries. Not to, say, Venezuela. If the US was run by a Roman emperor, Hugo Chavez would have his head paraded around Caracas, half of Venezuela would be turned into sex slaves, and the other half forced to fight to the death for our amusement.

The USSR was in a world with nuclear weapons as well, and they were far more abusive to the countries they were involved in than the US was.

HungryHobo
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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby HungryHobo » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:46 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:That would only explain why the US isn't abusive to nuclear-armed countries. Not to, say, Venezuela. If the US was run by a Roman emperor, Hugo Chavez would have his head paraded around Caracas, half of Venezuela would be turned into sex slaves, and the other half forced to fight to the death for our amusement.

The USSR was in a world with nuclear weapons as well, and they were far more abusive to the countries they were involved in than the US was.


Neither the banana republics nor eastern europe had independent nuclear weapons and they happen to be where the worst abuses happened.

the nuclear powers were much nicer to each other.Chavez only came to power recently and Venezuela is still a major trading partner with a semi nuclear ally/neighbour/major trading partner (brazil has the means to make nuclear weapons but isn't currently armed with them).

never mind that the other nuclear armed countries might object to a trading parnet being wiped out.
Give a man a fish, he owes you one fish. Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries.

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idobox
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Re: The pros and cons of wars

Postby idobox » Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:34 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Are there now, or have there ever been, any nation or empire as powerful as we are now? Just saying.

In more recent times, we've had Napoleon's France. The guy fought, beat up and integrated all the locals powers except two. The situation was a bit more complex, as the war started as the way not to get destroyed by its neighbours, and was soon accompanied by an ideology of liberating Europe from tyranny and oppression of the masses. Reminds you something?

A few reasons to go to war that haven't been clearly exposed:
-weakening a threat. We attacked Afghanistan to get rid of Al Qaeda, US attacked Nazi Germany to avoid them becoming strong enough to threaten them.
-alliances. If your ally goes to war, and you refuse to go, the long term cost can be larger.
-ideology. We think our economic system/politic system/religion is better than theirs, let's beat the crap of them, they'll thank us later. Most wars in democratic countries at least use that as an argument, but I think a few wars were lead by people who genuinely believed that, like in the beginning of communist revolution in Russia.
-Stability of elite. One of the main reasons of the first crusades is that Europe was relatively peaceful, and noble families had too many living sons that wouldn't inherit anything worthwhile, causing unrest, so they sent them in the middle east to conquer new places.
-simple hatred. I still haven't understood why WW1 happened. I think it was mostly an issue of national pride.
-national identity. Independence wars, for example, but also a country attacking another one to reclaim an historical territory, or a territory inhabited by the same population. This one is relatively recent, since peasants didn't care what language their king spoke, and the other way around.
If there is no answer, there is no question. If there is no solution, there is no problem.

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