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Pax Americana, truth or fiction?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Farm Boy, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    Would that be the late Yuan transition to Ming, war 1340-1368? (30 million deaths.)

    Or the Taipeng Rebellion? (Between 20 million and 100 million.)

    I'll guess the second. Since I don't believe Britain was an international world power in the C14th.
     
  2. Tahuti

    Tahuti Writing Deity

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    Apart from the fact that most buzzwords have actually come from you, alongside falsely accusing me of historical determinism (which I strongly oppose), there is a pattern in international relations that wasn't there when WWI started. Before WWI, geopolitics was -for most part - based on nationalism, hence the nationalist mania when countries went to war, and the fact they were quite willing.

    That time is pretty much over now. Almost all geopolitical ties today are maintained and judged by economic factors, sometimes to the point of absurdity, but still so anyway. The European Union almost couldn't exist if geopolitics were to be defined by predetermined national borders, rather economic relations. The Is-Pal conflict is a notable exception to the rule, though both Israel and the Arab world are still stuck in 19th century geopolitical notions.
     
  3. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    That seems like an unrigorous and unreasonably narrow view of the situation. What actually changed in the minds of men between now and 1901 to warrant the apparently evident shift in every single important global actor's reasoning faculties?
     
  4. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

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    Thermonuclear Weapons
     
  5. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    What's that supposed to mean? History is littered with countless examples of people who marched into certain destruction full well knowing they would lose and die. Why should nuclear weapons be any different?
     
  6. Tahuti

    Tahuti Writing Deity

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    Politics. And Historical memory. When WWII neared its end, it was decided (at Bretton-Woods) that economic variables instead of nationalism should be defining in foreign relationships within the capitalist world, with ideological variables playing the defining role in the geopolitics of the Liberal democratic world towards the rest, chiefly, the Communist nations. Then the Soviet Union collapsed, and with the Iraq debacle and the rise of China, the ideological view of geopolitics is collapsing before us in favor of a view on foreign politics as if it were a business. It may well be reversed, perhaps in concert with a economic based fear of China's rise, but without a Black Swan of sorts or just a general reversal in trends, this ain't happening.
     
  7. Kaitzilla

    Kaitzilla Lord Croissant

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    I agree with Hobbs. Once nukes were invented, a major war just became too costly to wage.

    This site shows JFK talking about evacuating whole cities during the Cuban Missile Crisis on October 24th, 1962 - Part 1
    http://www.wyzant.com/help/history/hpol/jfk/cuban

    Once Israel got nukes they stopped getting invaded.

    Once Pakistan and India got nukes, they stopped going to war.



    Countries that have and are making nukes,

    Iran
    North Korea

    ,are doing just fine.


    Countries that don't or gave them up,

    Iraq
    Libya

    ,got invaded or bombed.


    Pax Americanna should be Pax :nuke: instead.
     
  8. Tee Kay

    Tee Kay Silly furry

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    It's fine in principle and working so far, but you've got to allow for the fact that humans aren't always rational actors.
     
  9. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    How? You still haven't defined the mechanism by which every person operates evidently according to the same schematics for global interrelationships. You also haven't defined "economic variables." What economic variables, exactly? And how does that differ qualitatively from the 19th century where major wars were generally avoided in lieu of continuing economic development - not for the sake of economic development but simply because war was not considered desirable in the Game of International Politics?

    You need to define your terms and sustain your arguments. You're speaking in terms of grand, sweeping trends that there seems very little exclusive evidence for.

    Costly by what standards? I agree that "total annihilation" is a high price to pay, but you have to keep in mind that throughout history, people have paid similar costs against similar odds as well. By WW1 you could argue a major war was also too costly to wage, considering it completely decimated the economies and populations of all involved. Just because you can utterly destroy someone and everybody knows it doesn't mean that someone won't still try to fight you, especially if they perceive themselves as having no alternative. It wasn't the threat of annihilation on its own that kept the nukes from flying. As always, the answer is somewhat more complicated than that.
     
  10. Gucumatz

    Gucumatz JS, secretly Rod Serling

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    AKA the Capitalist Peace Theory. I wonder what Dachs thinks of that? The Capitalist Peace theory imo has seen a lot more traction in recent times than other theories
     
  11. Farm Boy

    Farm Boy Deity

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    Would it be costly in perception then? If democracies are steered towards war by their most decidedly non-expert populations would the perception of immediacy and locality of annihilation be a significant factor? Ie - WWI, a battle "probably somewhere else" at "some point in the future" may be horribly costly but a risk "worth" taking since we're "really angry and nationalistic." Is that perceived differently by the general population than a situation where ICBMs will be detonating over homes in ~1 hour?
     
  12. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    I don't know. But I do know that in the modern day the closeness of battle is very real for some countries and the thought, the threat, of non-nuclear aerial bombardment in all its completeness and horror is not as effective a deterrent as we might hope.
     
  13. Farm Boy

    Farm Boy Deity

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    I was thinking about the Korean Peninsula while I wrote that. A most decidedly not-stable place. I'm not sure if I should chalk that up to deterrence not working very well at all or if I should chalk that up to deterrence working pretty darn well that they've been in a 50+ year "war" with no full scale exchanges(recently).
     
  14. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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  15. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

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    From history I'd argue that groups that faced total annihilation (however we define that) were led by people who thought the war could be won. No one really has that illusion when nuclear weapons are involved.

    @Congo Wars:

    Yeah the US didn't aid or stop that terrible atrocity. There are lots of wars the US hasn't stopped in any way or even started. But when you look at Pax Americana being about Europe and the nations that fall under American (or even Soviet) influence, I think yes, some sort of imperfect peace was achieved. Certainly when seen through the light of steadily-escalating European wars that have now all but stopped but until WWII were a oft-repeated (and ultimately tragic) scourge. I also think that American influence has helped stopped colonization from being repeated by European or other nations. Factor in the UN (born of US initiative) and the conflicts that has helped stopped and the global systems put in place largely by US initiative and yeah I think there is something to Pax Americana even if it isn't a worldwide phenomenon.
     
  16. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    Not necessarily. Sometimes, in fact, belligerents knew they would lose. But what choice did they have? Etc. It's been described that Austria-Hungary's leadership did not expect they could "win" the Great War (division and dissolution seemed probable no matter if Germany defeated France et al or not), even at the outset, but nevertheless stayed the course out of the dangerous notion that the empire should go out in a blaze of glory.

    This is a dangerously incorrect assumption. Reagan's entire schtick was that it [nuclear war] was a winnable war. And don't think for a second that he was the only one who believed that.
     
  17. Tahuti

    Tahuti Writing Deity

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    Economic variables would be GDP, position as trading partner, etc. Basically everything there is to tell about a country in terms of economics.

    Just tell to CFC that a war between the USA and China is coming. Most posters would simply attack you and say that neither has any economic interest in doing so, which is basically emblematic of how the world thinks in terms of foreign policy. Tell that to the average person that participates in WWI, who is ready to go to war. Contrary to what Marxism states, very few wars have been fought for economic reasons, since war is generally more costly than peace. Hence our Pax Economica.

    Then you shouldn't discuss such topics. Such are bound to never exit the sphere of mere opinions since this isn't logically falsifiable, despite discussion about it is necessary. In fact, the very reason for this economic line of reasoning about foreign policy is because it offers a modicum of empirical standards that are otherwise completely absent. You cannot quantitatively measure the efficacy of foreign policy based on national pride, religion or ideology but you can somewhat once you involve economics.

    I wouldn't call it that way. Capitalism is significantly older than the currently popular idea that nations foreign affairs can be judged by their GDP. Early in the 20th century, no one would dare to say the USA overtook the British Empire because it had larger GDP, but now, one says the just that about the possibility of China become the world's biggest economy, implying that it also means increased political power. Of course, the goal posts may actually shift should popular feeling conclude that China's ascendancy to Superpower (judged by their GDP) wasn't as impressive as had been anticipated.

    That nations think more like businesses within capitalist environment is largely a post-WWII phenomenon. Think of all the free trade areas that have spun up in the latter half of the 20th century and the 21st century.
     
  18. Farm Boy

    Farm Boy Deity

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    MacArthur thought a nuclear war against China was winnable during the Korean War. The existence of counter force weaponry can only be explained by the notion that damage from a nuclear capable enemy can at least be mitigated be they silo-busting nukes or attack submarines attempting to tail the SLBM capable ones.

    I'd say it's probably more accurate to say that an attack on a nuclear state right now carries the possibility of massively horrible consequences but outside the big 3 powers(the US, Russia, and China) the arsenals just aren't massive massive. If you were playing out possibilities it might indeed be possible to for one of the big three to "win" an exchange with India so long as full retaliation was not received from another. You might even be able to twist the numbers around such that a first strike against China by the USA could "win" depending on what the acceptable loss levels are determined to be. Who knows what those get put at? 20 - 40% of population? 60%? It gets creepier if you are forced to think about worst case scenarios and the unavoidable truth that China will continue to "catch up" in arsenal size and capability over the years. If one was crushingly pessimistic enough to believe that for some reason a full scale exchange is unavoidable over the long term, the correct action might be to "win" now while the likely outcome is better.
     
  19. Ziggy Stardust

    Ziggy Stardust New Englander

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  20. Farm Boy

    Farm Boy Deity

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    Can we get a 6oz of Amsterdam swag instead? That usually decreases, rather than increases belligerence. I leave the creation of an appropriate pun in your capable hands.
     

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