Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Winner, Dec 22, 2011.
Swaziland is seriously arming itself according to that graph.
I wonder how many new spears did they buy.
Depends on how many tanks the enemy has...
It's a very misleading graphic, though, since it tells you zero about how much (even in %GDP terms) a country is actually spending. Just by what percentage its spending has increased.
This graph shows how successfully the elite used their media to manufacture consent for more war in the Middle East:
Well ISIS didn't really help their case releasing videos of hostages being beheaded with small knives. The whole sexual slavery and genocide thing also doesn't go well with modern audiences.
I remember when my friend showed me a the cover of some newspaper running a murkily sourced story about the women being buried alive by some evil terrorist desert nasties called ISS. I sighed and said 'oh dear, it appears they're [i.e. our rulers] wanting some other war'. Just looked back at the date of that story, it was just when YouGov started documenting it, when that graph started going up. It's scary how easy it is for them.
Maybe it wouldn't be so easy if ISIS didn't in fact bury women alive?
I don't know if it makes a difference that some soldiers commit atrocities. It's not very hard to make them up. If I remember the burying alive story, it started off as a deliberate atrocity [based purely on allegations made by the Iraqi government], and then when [slightly] more info arose, it turned out that at best the story came from claims / speculation about whether or not everyone in a mass grave was actually dead ... but by then the media had moved on. The world is full of badness and bad acts, but when the Western media focuses on a particular set, especially when not reliably documented, the best explanation is that they are being pushed from above.
The way the West dealt with the Syrian uprising (and the Arab Spring in general) strikes me far more as amateurish and confused than cynical and manipulative.
Yes. I agree. I really don't see any conspiracy here. Though that's not to say we shouldn't be aware of such a possibility.
Still, just because it looks amateurish doesn't mean it isn't deliberately amateurish looking.
The point above is that the guys operating in top government, security and military levels decide they need to do x, so they or someone they prompt starts messaging top journalists with stories designed to promote public outrage against the forthcoming diplomatic or military target. It's not particularly clever, standard way those people conduct their business.
If you think the West's (meaning the US and allies) handling of the Arab Spring has been amateurish, then I would confidently say that it means you don't understand the situation. I think they've handled it masterfully.What exactly have they done wrong?
I'm with you there. The ones who ordered this war was the ISIS leadership. Their legitimacy, to a high degree, rests on western aggression.
What did the West gain from toppling Qaddafi, who was already working with Western governments and corporations? There were huge losses by Western oil companies during the civil war. What did it gain from toppling Mubarak, a Western ally, and risking an Islamist government in Egypt? Egypt turned out alright for the West, but that wasn't a given, and all the turmoil had a pretty big impact on many Western corporations (pretty much all foreign oil workers left and the industry was paralyzed in the country). Even in Syria, where Assad is no friend of the West, it would be much better from a realpolitik POV to simply buy him out (which is of course always possible) than to risk an Islamist government, and yet the West is backing his foes.
What is the grand strategy of the West here? Lose allies? Lose Western oil companies a fortune?
The West didn't topple those leaders, the risings did. The Arab Spring was a crisis for Western foreign policy because it threatened many of allied states and even when it threatened relatively hostile states it did not, generally, offer anything better as far as the West was concerned. In Egypt the US as you said had to sit by and let its friend, who had become an important plank in US policy, get overthrown in favour of a democratic government. The West's rulers as you understand have to balance their own interests in the region with public relations at home, which meant they had to pretend they supported the revolution while, off camera, undermining it; such as by supporting the subsequent military coup in Egypt which regained power for their allies, or violent suppression of revolutionaries in Gulf states. In doing so, and in winning the PR war at home by depicting most of the revolutionaries as violent terrorist threats, the West's handling of the Arab Crisis has been pretty much as good as you'd expect. As a whole, the West' position got stronger, with most losses being recovered while many of the hostile states got much weaker or were removed, and at the same time have gained an open mandate for selective use of force because of the multiplication of scary but ultimately powerless 'terrorist' threats.
Really interesting graphic. Looking at the peaks is fun, e.g. Persians -> 900 years -> Romans -> 1400 years -> French. It looks like they're including reserves rather than just active personnel, judging from the present day South Korean figure - is that fair? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_military_and_paramilitary_personnel
North Korea has 25 million inhabitants - and 9,5 million of them (38%) are soldiers ???
They have the largest army relative to population size. I think that number includes their reserve forces.
I wonder how they calculated the ones in pre-Roman times.
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