Re: some U.S. observations and notes

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Sun Dec 16 2001 - 17:50:37 MST

> You may then wonder, why such a small state as Israel still stands and
> seems to be the only flourishing country in the region. One of the reasons
> are billions of dollars, mostly from people in the US. Without this money,
> Israel would have seized to exist thrirty years ago or so.

Kai, this is what could be called a "strong assertion". From an Extropian
list perspective you have to back up "strong assertions" with facts.
How much money did they receive? Whom did they receive it from? What
was/is the ratio of U.S. aid to Israel vs. Egypt? What is the level
of GDP/individual in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait vs. Isreal, etc.?

In contrast to many military situations of the last decade, the wars in
Israel/Palestine in previous decades did *not* involve the U.S. military
(except perhaps for advisory roles duing Sadaam's missile attacks).

Claiming a policy of support for Israel with backing it up with numbers
doesn't fly well (at least from where I sit -- as a relatively
unbiased an ex-Catholic).

So look here:
The world population of Jews is some 13.2 million people, of whom
some 4.8 million live in Isreal and some 6 million live in N. America.
Even if they all lived in the U.S. that amounts to some 2.1% of the
population. Are you *seriously* suggesting that 2% of the population
can sway U.S. foreign policies significantly? Furthermore, the U.S.
population of people of Islamic faith is variously estimated to be
between 2-4 million people. If large amounts of (non-government) money
were going from U.S. Jews to Israel, then it should be easy to balance
this to some extent with the 1/3-2/3 Muslim/Jew ratio in the U.S.
Now, lets consider relative numbers -- there are over a billion Muslims
in the world (vs. 13 million Jews) a ratio of ~100:1. Furthermore
while the GDP of Israel was $110B, the GDP of Saudi Arabia was $232B
with a population 3.6 times that of Israel and the GDP of Egypt was
$247B, with a population ~9x that of Israel.

I can see *no* reason that Israel still exists other than the ineptitude
or lack of will to wipe it off the face of the Earth by the Islamic political

> You have probably heard that the U.N. made several initiatives to stop the
> killing and promote a peace process. But do you also know the long list of
> resolutions of the security council that were stopped because of US veto?

So? The U.N. from where we sit in the U.S. has been known to promote the
agendas of "small" powers against the "large" powers for many years.
In the general assembly it is 1 country = 1 vote; not size of population
equals # of votes; or size of GDP = # of votes; or size of R&D budget
(that eventually benefits all people) = # of votes.

> Samantha called it the knee-jerk reflex, and it is just that. The leading
> nation of the world ignores international law and only uses it when it
> suits its own interests. This is why many people have no faith in
> international institutions but only in violence. This is therefor a wrong
> way.

*My* reaction (in the archives) to the 911 attacks was "knee-jerk".
The U.S. response has been quite measured IMO.

> There are several militant groups in every country in the middle east, even
> in Saudi Arabia. So, there is already war and terror in the middle east.
> But it seems that it was very easy to ignore, unless it came right into
> your house. Ignoring the problems of others in an interdependend world is,
> as we see, a wrong way.

I think you, Samantha, et al should read how the Jordanian government
last dealt with an extremist group within its country. If my reading
of the NY Times is accurate, they shelled it into dust. So their methods
are certainly not any more extreme than U.S. methods. (And this is Muslim
against Muslim it should be pointed out).

> One last example. The US president very easily got 40 billion dollars to
> arrange the largest weapon test of the last decades. With these 40 billion
> dollars, they could have bought the whole country of Afghanistan several
> years ago, when they left the Mudshahed alone, build nice cities with
> schools and hospitals and no Taliban would have gained power and no bin
> Laden would have had a chance to set up terrorist camps.

The $ amount ($40B) sounds quite high. But whether it could buy Afghanistan
bears some examination. The Y2000 Afghanistan GDP was $21 B. Typically
one purchases assets based on productivity over time (this is how the
stock market values companies). So assuming something like a 10% ROI
it would have required an investment of $210 billion to "purchase"
Afghanistan "productively". Given the major export of Afghanistan
is opium, we would presumably be purchasing a property that we would
need to divert to other, less productive, uses of its resources, therefore
lowering its productivity and ROI.

I cannot accept Kai's claim that the U.S. could have purchased Afghanistan
$40B and utilized it in any productive fashion.

> Leaving former allies alone is therefore a wrong way.

I *would* agree strongly that our history of managing our foreign affairs
is very poor. Setting up bin Laden in Afghanistan and then ignoring
him subsequently was a mistake not to be diminished.

> P.S. There is still more. You can find a long list of wrong ways in Noam
> Chomskys book "Rogue States : The Rule of Force in World Affairs".

While I have a lot of respect for Chomsky, and have even seen films where
he documents some of his claims, I do not doubt that he too has an
"agenda" to sell.


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