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Trump at the U.N.: Follow my lead or stay out of my way

Trump at the U.N.: Follow my lead or stay out of my way
REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
President Donald Trump addressing the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump this morning embarrassed himself and the United States with an arrogant rant at the United Nations that all but asserted the sole power of the U.S. president to decide which nations are naughty and which are nice, which will be bombed or otherwise attacked and which governments need to be overthrown.

In a world body that is based on diplomacy and collective action, Trump threatened military action and unilateralism if necessary.

Although he threw an occasional bone of insincere respect for what the United Nations stands for, he basically told his allies to follow his lead or stay out of his way, and told those in the world who disobey him that he has the power to enforce his will.

I don’t care as much as some will that he defied all protocol by referring to the leader of another nation (Kim Jong Un of North Korea) as “Rocket Man.” But to announce to the world body that if Kim doesn’t do as told by the POTUS in the nuclear missile department “we will have no choice but to totally destroy” North Korea.

He called Iran “another reckless regime” and pretty much pledged to pull out of the deal, negotiated with many nations, to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He seemed to threaten to substitute military action for diplomacy, if necessary.

“Regime,” by the way, if you’ve never noticed, if the code word we Americans use to delegitimize other governments. Trump also denounced the Cuban “regime” and the “Maduro regime” in Venezuela and other unnamed “rogue regimes” — which is little more than a traditional display of U.S. arrogance in declaring which governments of the world it disrespects.

The United States has led the world since at least the end of World War II in bombing or invading other countries or using covert means to overthrow their governments (but only the governments that are “regimes”).

Here's the full text of Trump’s remarks, via Politico.

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Comments (58)

Regime change

'Twould appear that North Korea is not the only "regime" that needs to be reined in, nor that Kim Jong-Un is the only national leader whose understanding of the term "diplomacy" leaves much to be desired. Trump is a dangerous, resentful child, and has no business being in elected office at any level.

If this turns out to be the end of the American era, future historicans, if there are any, will surely record the fact that we brought ourselves down by putting in power a political party of unsurpassed malevolence and a national "leader" whose hubris is similarly unsurpassed. Mr. Trump is a disgrace to the office he holds and the society he largely fails to represent. His supporters, of course, will see it differently, but too many of them suffer from the same sense of entitlement, bigotry in a staggering variety of forms, lack of education, and loathing of women except as objects as their purported leader.

Chest-beating ought to be reserved for other primates. It will, if it hasn't already, make both Mr. Trump and the United States objects of contempt, and deservedly so.

On the Other Hand

We may take some perverse comfort from the fact that Trump is a blowhard and coward who wouldn't know how to stage a kegger in a brewery. I don't think he is capable of making his threats credible.

So, we should add

the 'Trump Regime'.

"Regimes"

I'm confused. Is the author suggesting the leadership of Cuba, Venezuela and Norko are deserving of respect?

I'm not trying to ascribe meanings, but, given the slap at America ("The United States has led the world since at least the end of World War II in bombing or invading other countries or using covert means to overthrow their governments, but only if the governments are regimes") that's how I read his comments.

I'm less than impressed with Trump's rhetorical prowess, but he does get the message across, and quietly, he has just invited Israel into NATO by signing a shared base agreement with them, so he is clearly engaged.

Be sure to watch the series

On Vietnam on channel 2 to understand American military lies. Then you will have an understanding of his comments

I don't need to watch

I don't need to watch television, Nick. I served for 6 years with VN vets. Got the picture first hand.

Given That

Important developments took place in Paris, Geneva, Moscow, Beijing, Hanoi, Saigon, & Washington, relying on the lived experience of only one group of players calls to mind the ancient Indian parable about the blind men describing an elephant. Each feels a different part, and thus describes the elephant differently. All are correct, yet to get the entire truth they must compare notes.

GI's on the ground were not privy to the private conversations that took place in Washington; conversations where McNamara, LBJ, and others contradicted their public statements of confidence.

To say that my mind is made up, there can be no more information to enlighten me is, to me, a sad statement. But perhaps we shouldn't be surprised given today's political climate and the Great Sort.

I think

You should watch. Compare it to the Iraq war

Sorry, the base has nothing

Sorry, the base has nothing to do with NATO or inviting Israel into NATO, it's the US having space to run missile air defense systems that we provide Israel. And what do we get from that outlay ?

"Israel and the U.S. inaugurated the first American military base on Israeli soil on Monday, which will serve dozens of soldiers operating a missile defense system...

The base's opening is largely symbolic and isn't expected to bring operational changes. But the Israeli military says that along with other measures, it sends a message of readiness to Israel's enemies.

https://www.voanews.com/a/israel-us-military-base/4034781.html

(end quote)

Just so I'm clear, you're

Just so I'm clear, you're saying that if Iran attacks that base, NATO won't be obliged to act if called upon?

That's Right

Article 5 of the Washington Treaty says that NATO members agree that the "Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all . . ." Article VI clarifies that this means an attack

on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France, on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer; [or]

on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.

So not in Israel, no.

Mediterranean Dialogue:

Mediterranean Dialogue: "Taking into account changes in the Middle East and North Africa, NATO stands ready to suoport and assist thise Mediterranean Dialogue countries undergoing transition, if they request."

Wikipedia leaves a lot of important stuff out, which is why I never rely on it.

Doesn't in any way commit

Doesn't in any way commit NATO to support Israel's lebensraum policy.

Dialogue

Do you not know the difference between a statement such as this and a treaty?

Oh boy. RB, do yourself a

Oh boy.

RB, do yourself a solid and read up on the MD. It's not a statement, it is a framework for a cooperation that has been in place and growing since 1994.

Please

I've read up on it, thanks. I've also studied and learned the difference between a treaty and a "framework for cooperation."

You might do yourself the same "solid," and learn a little bit about the subject. In case you were wondering, treaties have legal force and effect--they are part of the supreme law of the land, according to the Constitution. The Washington Treaty--the one that established NATO, in case you're not following along--imposes an obligation of mutual defense. The Mediterranean Dialogue is a forum for discussion an, practical steps.

What are those practical steps? Retaliating if US facilities in Israel are attacked? No, not quite. According to NATO, those practical steps include seminars and workshops. Members of the Dialogue may also be invited to participate in military exercises and advanced courses. "The military programme also includes port visits by NATO's Standing Naval Forces, on-site train-the-trainers sessions by Mobile Training Teams, and visits by NATO experts to assess the possibilities for further cooperation in the military field."

I'm not seeing anything there that requires anyone to do anything. I'm also not seeing anything that obligates or allows any member to come to the defense of another. Why is that? Could it be because there is no such thing? Or is NATO perhaps putting out fake news?

Now I'm Confused

Are you suggesting that the governments of Cuba and Venezuela are somehow illegitimate ("legitimate" in the sense of "existing legally under international law")?

"I'm less than impressed with Trump's rhetorical prowess, but he does get the message across, and quietly, he has just invited Israel into NATO by signing a shared base agreement with them, so he is clearly engaged." First, Trump does nothing "quietly." Second, the President of the United States has no power to "invite" a nation to join NATO. It is something that must done by all members. Third, Israel has never been invited to join NATO. Israel has a permanent mission accredited to NATO Headquarters, but is not a member. Fourth, the permanent mission was opened in 2016, before the ascendancy of the Trump Regime. Fifth, there is no "shared base agreement" between NATO and Israel.

Cuba and Venezuela are just

Cuba and Venezuela are just as legit as Norko...if you go in for brutal, repressive, genocidal, leftist regimes. Not my cup of tea.

Legit Regimes

The internal governance of a state has nothing to do with its legitimacy. China is certainly repressive and brutal, perhaps to the point of being a regime, but no one says it is "illegitimate."

It's funny how you call out only "brutal, repressive, genocidal, leftist regimes" and not rightist ones, but we'll leave that for another day. I'm sure you disapprove of them mightily, but . . .

I Too Am Confused

Do you consider our close ally, and funder of Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia, to be a regime? Or Pakistan? Or Yemen? Would you suggest those US allies worthy of respect?

In 2006, the US signed a free trade agreement with Vietnam. Is Vietnam a regime?

Trump has had high praise for the repressive government of Egypt. Was he praising a regime?

Or is regime just what we call a repressive government we don't like, and the others we call "ally" while we look the other way?

There are multiple layers of

There are multiple layers of dissonance when the Trump speech begins with a clear declaration that every country has the right to do whatever they think that is in the best interest of their country.

First, the UN was instituted to move beyond the "me, me, mee--it's all about me" of individual countries.

Second, every country in the world, in all of history, acts in what is perceived by their leaders to be their own interests--including Iran and North Korea. Trump's junior high analysis of the world squarely places war and military might as THE way to resolve differences.

When was the last time the US directly threatened the destruction of another country, let alone one with nuclear weapons ?

Do you think all of his bragging and threats made America look better, bigger or stronger ? Or did they show a pathetically weak grasp of the modern world--an old man yelling "get off of my lawn!!"

Do you think that possibility of conflict came closer this morning ? Threats directed at places that already feel threatened and are acting on that feeling of threat.

Genius!!--backing a mad dog into a corner always is the best way to resolve the issue ! Try it some time.

Amen

…and thank you. The whole notion of the UN, or even of a simple treaty between two countries, is to get beyond that "me, me, meeeee!" mind set, and as a former high school social studies teacher, I especially appreciate your characterization of Mr. Trump's understanding of the world as "junior high." That seems about right, though it's a tough contest between the junior high bully and the old man yelling "Get off my lawn!"

What we've got is

two thirteen-year-olds woofing in a schoolyard.

Yes, a way to deal with a mad

Yes, a way to deal with a mad dog is to back it into the corner and kill it… Has anyone ever tried to negotiate with a mad dog? Also, as a Jew, your use of the Nazi associated term “lebensraum” in reference to Israel is pretty offensive. Unlike Israel, Germany’s existence was not threatened and its neighbors did not start or provoke multiple wars with it (or tried to blow themselves up on buses and in cafes).

"Genius!!--backing a mad dog

"Genius!!--backing a mad dog into a corner always is the best way to resolve the issue ! "

Well, in this instance it seems to be getting the job done. The UN has acted on Trump's request for more sanctions and today, as Trump was backing that dog even further, China called to announce their central bank would no longer do financial transactions involving Norko.

Gotta admit, Obama's knee pad diplomacy never got anywhere near this cooperation, or results.

Trump at the UN

Well said, Eric. I'll look forward to your longer piece.

Hope and change....

No wonder you did not like he speech. Trump discontinued the Obama apology tour - big time.

There was never any "apology tour."

Obama was a sane, measured articulate man. Trump, on the other hand, is a petulant bloviating, Man-Child that is blissfully unaware of how ignorant his bumper sticker rhetoric sounds to the rest of the world.
This embarrassing speech amounted to a feral animal marking its territory. The fact that it came from an American "president" is absolutely pathetic.

So:

Little machismo or testosterone rush going on here, all solutions must be violent? Talking it out, compromise is not an acceptable "male" solution?

UN Speech

It was difficult not to cringe listening to our President this morning. Simultaneously beating the drums of national sovereignty and democracy while encouraging the pursuit of national self interest by every government, threatening the destruction of North Korea, and suggesting intervention by the US in unstable Venezuela. Stephen Miller at work.

The biggest surprise of his speech was that he did not mention again successful his real estate development across the street from the UN has been.

Can't remain silent

Let me start with the fact that was mentioned here in Susan Perry’s “Second Opinion” piece about global life expectancy. She talked about “…troubling trend involves deaths from conflict and terrorism, which numbered 150,500 in 2016. That’s an increase of 143 percent since 2006, and is largely due to conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East, the report says.” So here we go: as a result of policies pushed by President Obama and Hillary Clinton (and John Kerry, of course), the number of deaths in the world attributed to conflicts and terrorism increased almost 2.5 times. Yes, that means Libya, Syria, Iran’s meddling… Millions died there…

Anyway, let’s get back to Trump’s UN speech and I will try to sum it up. His main point was that America, and he as its President, must look for American interests, just like all other countries do. Working together in most cases helps this goal for everyone. America has always been a force for good (despite some mistakes that Obama had discussed at length many time) and will be in the future. Some countries (and all terrorists) are bad and the world has to deal with them and if it doesn’t, America will. The UN has a noble goal but it has failed too many times and has to reform itself, including its so called Human Rights Council, and America pays too much to the UN. All countries are different and we respect that but they have to be respectful, too. What is objectionable in any of this?

Regimes… Sure, it is a derogatory term that is usually used in reference to undemocratic dictatorship in English language (others use different terms, such as “Great Satan” for example). So let’s see: North Korea, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba... which one doesn’t fit? Does America even need to bother to delegitimize them when their actions speak on their own? What is arrogant in calling them regimes? On the other hand, if Trump’s were a “regime,” I can assure you that MinnPost would have been closed long ago and everyone criticizing Trump here would have been in prison..

North Korea and Iran. When Obama presumably convinced the world to stand up to Iran, he was endlessly praised. When Trump managed to do the same against North Korea, he is vilified. And if Iran’s deal is so great for America, why is Iran so adamant about keeping it? Maybe because it got what it wanted and didn’t give anything up in the long run? As for Venezuela, Trump got to the root of the problem when he said that “The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.” (Cost controls, nationalization of businesses, restricting free speech, demonizing opponents, free money to supporters… these are the first things that come to my mind, in case anyone is wondering what socialism implementation means).

And finally, the last paragraph (“The United States has led the world since at least the end of World War II in bombing or invading other countries or using covert means to overthrow their governments (but only the governments that are “regimes”). So when did America bomb or invade a country which was not a “regime” or about to become a “regime?” And if someone wants to mention Chile or Iran, they were destined to become “regimes” (just like Cuba and multiple other countries) since there are no examples of a country in the world that wanted to build socialism with the help of the Soviet Union and did not become a “regime” – dealing with the devil always ends badly.

2 flaws (well at least those that aren't just incorrect opinion)

1. "The United States has always been a force for good", No, the United States has always been a force for its own interests, which has sometimes aligned with what is "good" for everyone else, others times not.
2. Chile and Iran were democratically elected democracies, economic policy aside. The only danger of alliance with the USSR was in the mind of Red Scare conservatives and corporations in danger of losing their monopolistic stranglehold on another nation's natural resources. You already know that of course, but see the part about incorrect opinion above for further clarification.

Dialogue

1. I never said that America hasn’t been watching for its own interests (until recently, that is) but almost always it was for good in the world (unless you think that standing up to the Soviet Union and China was bad for the world).

2. Can you please name me a country that was aligned with the Soviet Union and was not a “regime” but a free country? Allende was planning to build socialism a la Cuba and the USSR. Would you want to live now in Cuba or Chile?

3. It’s easy to call my opinions incorrect but would you please care to explain why they are incorrect? Isn’t this how dialogue is supposed to work?

"1) I never said that America

"1) I never said that America hasn’t been watching for its own interests (until recently, that is) but almost always it was for good in the world" - I guess as long as we have the "almost always" exception to negate Vietnam, Palestinians, Iranians, Chileans, El Salvadoreans life is good.

"2) Can you please name me a country that was aligned with the Soviet Union and was not a “regime” but a free country?" - India. Thanks.

Vietnamese people did not

Vietnamese people did not benefit because America failed in Vietnam. Chileans definitely benefited – I already asked that question many time but can do again: where would you want to be: in Chile or Cuba? Iranians also benefited until 1979 (no socialism – great benefit) and would have continued to do so if they didn’t let the mullahs overthrow the Shah. Palestinians? They could have, too, had they made a decision to stop terrorism but that has nothing to do with America. As for India, it never subscribed to follow the Soviet Union in everything and was never fully “aligned” with it (thanks, in part, to Gandhi and his rejection of violence and also to India’s size).

Yes they did.

"Vietnamese people did not benefit because America failed in Vietnam." - Actually they did. They don't have a corrupt military dictator. And the country is moving towards free market reforms.

"where would you want to be: in Chile or Cuba? " - Please clarify, if i were still alive or murdered by the regime.

"Iranians also benefited until 1979" - If benefited means watching the Shah and his multiple princelings have a lavish lifestyle and torture his own people.

" Palestinians? They could have, too, had they made a decision to stop terrorism but that has nothing to do with America" - You forget the good old fashion land grab, all subsidized by America.

" As for India," - You asked for a free country aligned with the Soviets and i gave it.

Vietnam is corrupt now - it

Vietnam is corrupt now - it has a very high corruption index…

If you have a choice to move now to Cuba or Chile – where would you move? And in Iran, apparently the Shah was not that bad and for sure way better than it was after 1979 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_the_Imperial_State_of_Iran. As for India, you can’t say it was aligned with the Soviet Union – it always had a mind of its own.

“the good old fashion land grab,” – please clarify what land you mean – Israel or what was allocated to Palestinians where they were free to organize their state for 20 years…

"Vietnam is corrupt now - it

"Vietnam is corrupt now - it has a very high corruption index…" - really convenient to ignore that Vietnam has had massive economic growth. Compare that to Philipines, Indonesia, Egypt all regimes propped by us.

"As for India, you can’t say it was aligned with the Soviet Union – it always had a mind of its own." - those are new facts. India was totally aligned in every way.

“the good old fashion land grab,” – Inside Israel it was refugees who have every right under the Geneva convention and outside Israel the West Bank. No rule in the book states if you aren't able to establish a state someone else can grab it.

"And in Iran, apparently the Shah was not that bad " that is if you ignore what Wikipedia states.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_the_Imperial_State_of_Iran...

"The Imperial state of Iran, the government of Iran during the Pahlavi dynasty, lasted from 1925 to 1979. During that time two monarchs — Reza Shah Pahlavi and his son Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi — employed secret police, torture, and executions to stifle political dissent"

"Others (such as journalist Hooman Majd) believe fear of the government and security services was much more pervasive under the late Shah's regime, and that the Islamic Republic's intelligence services, "although sometimes as brutal as the Shahs', spend far less effort in policing free political expression", inside private spaces.[56] Whether this leniency is the result of lacking the ability to do what the Shah did is questioned. According to Akbar Ganji, "notions of democracy and human rights have taken root among the Iranian people" making it "much more difficult for the government to commit crimes."[57] Writing about the reform period during the presidency of Mohammad Khatami Iranian-American academic Arzoo Osanloo notes that, "liberal notions of rights are almost hegemonic in Iran today."[58] And Majd himself explains the Islamic Republic's relative tolerance by claiming that if Iranian intelligence services "were to arrest anyone who speaks ill of the government in private, they simply couldn't build cells fast enough to hold their prisoners." [59]"

During the shahs rule there would be no chance of a progress towards democracy. That when compared to the current, as stated above, is far far worse than what you portray.

You talked about corruption

You talked about corruption in Vietnam before American interference and I said it is still very bad. What does Vietnam economic expansion has to do with what we are discussing? Are you saying that socialism there is a superior system? Of course, the truth is that it grew because they sell cheap and America wants cheap (same reason China’s economy grew).

India is too big to be totally aligned with anyone and its actions were based on its own interests. If anything it was using the USSR to its advantage.

Land grab… so what about Jews who were expelled from all Arab countries? Do they have all rights? And when someone loses a war, especially an aggressive war, its land is up for grabs – just think of Germany after world wars…

Iran… From that website: "According to political historian Ervand Abrahamian, "Whereas less than 100 political prisoners had been executed between 1971 and 1979, more than 7900 were executed between 1981 and 1985. ... the prison system was centralized and drastically expanded ... Prison life was drastically worse under the Islamic Republic than under the Pahlavis…” Enough said..

A Few Comments in Reply

"His main point was that America, and he as its President, must look for American interests, just like all other countries do." That's an odd statement to make before a world body, even apart from the fraught menacing of "America Fist (laden with just as much baggage as "regime)."

"America has always been a force for good (despite some mistakes that Obama had discussed at length many time) and will be in the future." Apart from the fact that there are many who would disagree with that sweeping statement, Trump never said that.

"Some countries (and all terrorists) are bad and the world has to deal with them and if it doesn’t, America will." Again, an odd statement to make before a world body.

"When Obama presumably convinced the world to stand up to Iran, he was endlessly praised. When Trump managed to do the same against North Korea, he is vilified." Obama helped broker an agreement that resolved differences peacefully. Trump is threatening a war that could potentially kill millions of people and devastate East Asia. Sorry, I don't see the comparison.

"And if Iran’s deal is so great for America, why is Iran so adamant about keeping it? Maybe because it got what it wanted and didn’t give anything up in the long run?" Maybe the agreement benefits all parties? Diplomacy is not a zero-sum game. An agreement that is good for the US (no Iraian nuclear weapons) can also work for Iran. You would think a President who is so full of his ability as a "deal maker" would understand that.

"As for Venezuela, Trump got to the root of the problem when he said that 'The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.'” So the US has declared itself the arbiter of the domestic economies of the world? Interesting.

"And if someone wants to mention Chile or Iran, they were destined to become “regimes” (just like Cuba and multiple other countries) since there are no examples of a country in the world that wanted to build socialism with the help of the Soviet Union and did not become a “regime” – dealing with the devil always ends badly." The regime-in-waiting in Chile was the result of a democratic election. It was overthrown at the behest of US mining interests whose holdings were nationalized (for the record: the US Supreme Court has held that nationalizing foreign business assets is not a violation of the norms of international law). Iran now has a government that is by no means a full-fledged liberal democracy, but that is closer to being a democracy than, say, Saudi Arabia or the UAE.

Why is “America first for me

Why is “America first for me and your countries first for you” an odd statement to make in the UN? Isn’t it an obvious thing that every world leader is living by (except those, of course, who put themselves ahead of their own countries)? Why is it odd to say that some countries are bad? Do you think all are good?

Of course Trump did say that America was the force for good – here: “America does more than speak for the values expressed in the United Nations Charter. Our citizens have paid the ultimate price to defend our freedom and the freedom of many nations represented in this great hall. America's devotion is measured on the battlefields where our young men and women have fought and sacrificed alongside of our allies, from the beaches of Europe to the deserts of the Middle East to the jungles of Asia.” As for disagreeing with this point, sure, many people in the Soviet Union would disagree because America did not let it rule the world…

“Obama helped broker an agreement…” First of all, that is Trump’s goal as well and he may still succeed in it; threatening is just a part of bargaining. Second, Obama did not want to “carry a big stick” and was afraid to even mention it; as a result, agreement with Iran just postponed what America wanted to avoid while letting Iran proceed in peace to its ultimate goal that is obvious to any reasonable observer. Obviously, North Korea showed Iran the path (agree on something and proceed and then break out at convenient moment). If Iran is half way now to nukes, in ten years (if not earlier but in ten years for sure) it will have another 5 years to complete its quest (it will take that long for the world to agree on sanctions again). At least, I am glad you do not dispute that Obama’s policies lead to people dying…. By the way, it is interesting that out of “axis of evil” Iraq, which Bush dealt with, is not anymore, but North Korea and Iran still present the greatest danger to the world after Obama…and Russia, of course, - after “reset.”

No, the US is not an arbiter of the domestic economies… unless they are socialist ones and failing in which case it’s natural to make a connection that this is always the case (because they all do the same bad things which are socialism’s standard features).

Yes, Allende was democratically elected but so was Chavez. Which country is better off: Chile without Allende or Venezuela where Chavez stayed? Can you imagine how many Venezuelans now wish Chavez had been overthrown? It doesn’t matter WHY Allende was overthrown; it matters that it benefitted Chileans. As for Iran, it is no closer to being a democracy that Saudi Arabia – having elections doesn’t mean anything (the USSR had elections and so did Iraq under Saddam).

Because

"Why is “America first for me and your countries first for you” an odd statement to make in the UN? Isn’t it an obvious thing that every world leader is living by (except those, of course, who put themselves ahead of their own countries)? Why is it odd to say that some countries are bad? Do you think all are good?" The UN is a global body, meant to foster international cooperation. Language still matters in diplomacy, and saying "I'm looking out for mine, just as you're looking out for yours" is an odd way to approach global cooperation and amity.

"As for disagreeing with this point, sure, many people in the Soviet Union would disagree because America did not let it rule the world…" It's more than Soviets, and it's about more than stopping hegemony. I've just finished Thomas Ricks's dual biography of Winston Churchill and George Orwell. One of the most interesting parts of the book for me was learning about the depth of anti-American feeling in Britain before and during World War II. The British aristocracy condemned (hypocritically, if you ask me) Americans' talk of freedom and equality while oppressing racial minorities. It's a sentiment that goes back a long way (“How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?”).

"First of all, that is Trump’s goal as well and he may still succeed in it; threatening is just a part of bargaining." Threatening annihilation is not part of bargaining. Remember the first part of carrying a big stick was "speak softly."

"No, the US is not an arbiter of the domestic economies… unless they are socialist ones and failing in which case it’s natural to make a connection that this is always the case (because they all do the same bad things which are socialism’s standard features)." So the US is an arbiter only of socialist economies? Are we going to pick on Norway now?

"Yes, Allende was democratically elected but so was Chavez. Which country is better off: Chile without Allende or Venezuela where Chavez stayed?" That's where the inquiry should end. It's called sovereignty, a concept that has meaning beyond bluster about building a wall.

"Can you imagine how many Venezuelans now wish Chavez had been overthrown?" No, I haven't asked. I would guess that it would be a lot of them, but they would nonetheless bristle at the overthrow coming from a foreign power. Cubans may not be enamored of the Castro regime, but they are less than enthused about the idea of Americans coming in to retake control of their country.

"It doesn’t matter WHY Allende was overthrown; it matters that it benefitted Chileans." The United States was founded in rebellion against a colonial power that presumed to know what was best for it. Nearly 200 years later, we adopted that thinking with respect to Chile. I'm sure the people who were tortured and killed by the Pinochet regime were able to take it all in good grace. No doubt many were heard to say "¡Gracias por ayudar a nuestro país!" as they were thrown into the ocean from airplanes.

"As for Iran, it is no closer to being a democracy that Saudi Arabia – having elections doesn’t mean anything (the USSR had elections and so did Iraq under Saddam)." Do non-Muslims have rights in Saudi Arabia?

Saying “I am looking out for

Saying “I am looking out for my interests just as you are looking out for yours” is saying the truth and does not by any means preclude cooperation when interests align. Do you think it’s better to lie and keep claiming that all countries in the UN are there to help others? Maybe because the truth is so often left untold, the rate of success of diplomacy is so low…

British probably kept their grudge for 200 years… Anyway, I also remember huge demonstrations in Europe against deployment of American Pershings… But that deployment was, partly, a reason that Soviet tanks never entered Vienna (which is, I think, just several hours drive from Prague). Quite often people don’t understand what the real danger is and when it is averted, they don’t even get that it was very real… And having lived behind the Iron Curtain, I can assure you that it was real.

Yes, TR said “speak softly” but the problem is that Obama never even wanted to mention “a big stick” so Trump now has to remind everyone that this “big stick” still exists… And without “a big stick”, speaking softly has negative results (again, we can see it first hand).

Norway is not a socialist country – I have never heard of them jailing political opponents, nationalizing entire industries, or trying to control costs. So the last time I was there, they still had enough toilet paper. With true socialism the result is always the same – lack of toilet paper.

Sure, Chileans were unhappy about American interference at that time but now they are way better off than Cubans where American interference failed. Again, it was a blessing in disguise and people didn’t realize it then… And America did not take control of Chile so your reference is not correct, the same as comparing this to the Revolution since, again, America was not a colonial power. As for people who suffered under Pinochet, presumably, because America interfered, we should count all those who did NOT end up suffering under Allende regime, just like all those who have been suffering under Castro’s and Chavez’ regimes. So please remember that NOT interfering may and did lead to suffering and death – just think of Syria.

No, non-Muslims do not have any rights in Saudi Arabia which is why it is also a “regime” but the Freedom House puts it and Iran into the same category of “not free” with very similar numbers. Please understand that the fact that there are Jews in Iran doesn’t make it free because those Jews are not free to say what they think and are forced to denounce Israel (and yes, I lived through that in the Soviet Union, too…)

What?

"Yes, TR said “speak softly” but the problem is that Obama never even wanted to mention “a big stick” so Trump now has to remind everyone that this “big stick” still exists…" He also needs to speak softly. It's a two-part test.

"Norway is not a socialist country . . ." Yes, they kind of are. "Socialism" does not necessarily mean "jailing opponents." Industries were nationalized in Norway, and they do indulge in cost controls for some industries.

"Sure, Chileans were unhappy about American interference at that time but now they are way better off than Cubans where American interference failed. Again, it was a blessing in disguise and people didn’t realize it then… " How shortsighted of them, not to realize that, after years of being subjected to a murderous, kleptocratic regime, they would eventually better off! Those ingrates who were killed should be ashamed of themselves, if we could find so much as their corpses. The idea that the country is better off 40 years later somehow justifies what happened is astonishing. It's like pointing to Germany, and saying that the Nazi regime can be overlooked, because the net result of that regime was a long, destructive war that enabled the country to become what it is today.

There isn't much to choose between Iran and Saudi Arabia, although some religious minorities are guaranteed rights in Iran. My point is that one is our "valued ally," and the other, similar regime is our enemy.

That’s right, it is a two

That’s right, it is a two part approach but if the other side doesn’t know that you have a big stick, speaking softly looks like weakness – which is how Obama was perceived in the world with disastrous results.

Socialism by definition assumes common ownership of land and means of production which makes Norway not a socialist country. It never declared socialism as a goal and its socialist party represents about 6% of their parliament. It is fashionable in America to call Nordic countries “socialist” but they are not. The market freedom level there is very high… and taxes are pretty flat https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordic_model. Real socialism always ends up jailing opponents because it can’t win free thought competition.

Your comparison of Chile to Germany is way off. An alternative to Pinochet was a socialist regime of Allende which would have killed tens of thousands if one consider the actions of Allende’s mentor – Fidel Castro, so it would have been an increase compared to Pinochet. Alternative to Hitler was a limited war with much fewer victims than the WWII. Imagine if UK and France, instead of signing Munich agreement, would have given Hitler an ultimatum to disarm and then crushed him when he refused. Yes, there would have been deaths and destruction but incomparable to the actual ones. But would people in Europe appreciate that? No because they would not have known what they managed to avoid.

As I said, “guarantee” of rights in Iran is worthless but I can easily explain why America concentrates on Iran and not Saudi Arabia. As we all know, resources are limited (that is why prosecutorial discretion is allowed, as we all remember) so it only makes sense to deal first with unfriendly regimes and destroy them. Isn’t it logical?

Force for good?

My God, just the Vietnam War alone blows that statement all to pieces.

What do you mean? America

What do you mean? America failed in Vietnam in what it wanted to do so you cannot use it as an example to counter my statement.

Of course I can use it as a rebuttal

The failure of the US in Vietnam doesn't give us special dispensation from the massive mess it made of the country. The reality is that the majority of the citizens of Vietnam did not view us as a"force of good," but rather as invaders.

If America achieved its goal

If America achieved its goal in Vietnam, it would have been for good but since it did not, it didn’t make a difference. If counterterrorism unit fails to prevent one terrorist act while preventing many others, does it mean that the counterterrorism unit is not a force for good?

Not according to the Vietnamese.

American intervention is seldom designed for the best interest of the host country. The opinion of what is and isn't a "a force of good" completely depends on which side of the gun you happen to be.

Very well said!

"depends on which side of the gun you happen to be on" .

You are correct – American

You are correct – American intervention quite often is for the best interests of America, just how it should be: Every country does what is best for this country. My point was that what is good for America is in most cases good for the world and even for the country where America is interfering. But that is contingent on America’s achieving its goals, of course, which is why I said you cannot use Vietnam as an example. And of course you are also correct that people who are on the receiving end do not consider America a force for good… The good news, however, is that in most cases those people were associated with the Soviet Union or other destructive forces… which is why America was helping the world…

Thats a lot of Amnesia....

" So here we go: as a result of policies pushed by President Obama and Hillary Clinton (and John Kerry, of course)," - Why start the clock at Obama's presidency. Did you forget George Bush ? Did you forget the role of Saudi Arabia (hint, hint best friends with Israel) in creating the Syrian conflict.

"The UN has a noble goal but it has failed too many times and has to reform itself, including its so called Human Rights Council, and America pays too much to the UN."- Sure and i guess part of the "reform" that neo cons want is permanent amnesia to the dispossession of Palestinians. Who by the way have it worse than the Iranian people.

"So when did America bomb or invade a country which was not a “regime” or about to become a “regime?" - Mossadeh was not a regime in Iran. Allende was not a regime. Socialism maybe a bad idea, but its not a regime.

What does Bush have to do

What does Bush have to do with Syria? And no, Saudi Arabia didn’t start a civil war there either. Maybe you should think what kind of regime the Assad’s one was…

This article was not about the Middle East so I really don’t want to discuss it here especially considering that you and I have done it in the past many times. I just want to repeat that dispossession of Palestinians (and I hope you do not mean the Israeli territory) is entirely their fault: They had many opportunities to have it and missed all of them, starting in 1948. And why do you compare Palestinians to Iranians? Why not compare Palestinians in Israel with Palestinians in Lebanon?

Mossadeh and Allende may not have started as regimes but, considering their declared goals, their actions, and the friends they chose, they were destined to become ones, just like in Venezuela now and Afghanistan in 1980.

Everything.

"What does Bush have to do with Syria? " - If your'e going to start a body count, start it with our initial involvement in Iraq, rather than pick one convenient. for you.

"Maybe you should think what kind of regime the Assad’s one was…" - Assad was a dictator, the "freedom" fighters sponsored by Saudi Arabia were genocidal. Take your pick. Just like Sissi, Saudi Arabia and Palestinians.

"This article was not about the Middle East" - I don't think you get to choose in a discussion who are the bad actors and pretend that others don't exist.

"They had many opportunities to have it and missed all of them, starting in 1948." - You mean an agreement that a used car salesmen could not have pushed legally in Minnesota.

"Palestinians in Israel with Palestinians in Lebanon?" - Both have no homes.

"Mossadeh and Allende may not have started as regimes but, considering their declared goals," - Nope. That's typical of neo-cons to imply everything is going to hell. They said that of India too.

"they were destined to become ones, just like in Venezuela now and Afghanistan in 1980." - Why not Greece, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinians.

“If your'e going to start a

“If your'e going to start a body count, start it with our initial involvement in Iraq, rather than pick one convenient. for you.” Sure, then let’s start with Clinton, or better yet, with Carter… or even WWII... It is clear that uprising in Syria was its internal matter in the beginning with no outside influence involved. I don’t have any illusions about Syrian opposition but what does it have to do with what we are discussing?

Please tell me: Could Palestinians declare their state in 1948? Could they declare it for the next 20 years? If they couldn’t, it was not Israel’s fault. And Palestinians in Israel are free to work, vote, and sit in Knesset. What can Palestinians do in Lebanon?

Allende’s goal was to follow Castro’s model and we all know what it is and how it is in Cuba. Why would it be different in Chile?

Selectively creating facts don't make them true

"uprising in Syria was its internal matter was its internal matter - that's an entirely false narrative. A lot of what you post is entirely contradicted by facts (if they matter).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saudi_Arabian_involvement_in_the_Syrian_Ci...

"Could Palestinians declare their state in 1948? " - Not if miliions were chased out and some people pretending that never happened.

"Could they declare it for the next 20 years? " Not if millions were refugees.

"If they couldn’t, it was not Israel’s fault. " - thats propaganda used over the past 60 years.

" And Palestinians in Israel are free to work, vote, " - Does that include all Palestinians. Again another blatantly false narrative.

"What can Palestinians do in Lebanon?" - A whole lot more than African refugees in Israel. You seem to have different standards .

"Allende’s goal was to follow Castro’s model " - if the Chilean people voted for that , then that was their prerogative.

Syrian uprising was started

Syrian uprising was started as internal matter. What facts contradict that? Saudis were helping the rebels but they didn’t instigate the uprising…

“"Could Palestinians declare their state in 1948? " - Not if miliions were chased out and some people pretending that never happened.” First of all, initially there were about 500,000, not millions. Second, most of them left voluntarily. Third, there was about equal number of Jewish refugees. And fourth, what does it have to do with claiming a country on a different territory?

“" And Palestinians in Israel are free to work, vote, " - Does that include all Palestinians?” Absolutely, all of them living within Israel are Israeli citizens.

“"What can Palestinians do in Lebanon?" - A whole lot more than African refugees in Israel.” What does that have to do with what we are talking about? At least people want to come to Israel, not to Lebanon or Iran.. Compare oranges to oranges, i.e. Palestinians in Israel to Palestinians in Lebanon…

“if the Chilean people voted for that , then that was their prerogative.” True. This also applies to Venezuelans who elected Chavez. Where do you want to be – Chile or Venezuela now? Who do you think are happier: Chileans or Venezuelans?