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American Democracy

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pctacitus

Re: American Democracy

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I think the Union of the Republic of the United States of America is a lot stronger and more robust than people give it credit for. I remember that it survived 2 wars with Britain, a Civil War, Reconstruction, many economic tumults, suspension of Habeus Corpus, the Carter Administration, the Vietnam War, and more.Does anyone else remember the Presidential Election of 2000? I do. I also remember the elections in Egypt that same year. Where's the endemic corruption we see in the third world where officials require bribes to do anything, the economic collapses, the periodic coups and domestic instability? I see that people who don't like the current administration are not trying to violently overthrow the government, but trying to elect someone else. I see a country where even the most contested of elections is non-violent, where many people vote.
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The Profit of War

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Quote:World military spending in 2003 increased by about 11 per cent in real terms. This is a remarkable rate of increase, even more so given that it was preceded by an increase of 6.5 per cent in 2002.Over two years world military spending increased by 18 per cent in real terms, to reach $956 billion (in current dollars) in 2003. High-income countries account for about 75 per cent of world military spending but only 16 per cent of world population. The combined military spending of these countries was slightly higher than the aggregate foreign debt of all low-income countries and 10 times higher than their combined levels of official development assistance in 2001. ... There is a large gap between what countries are prepared to allocate for military means to provide security and maintain their global and regional power status, on the one hand, and to alleviate poverty and promote economic development, on the other. The main reason for the increase in world military spending is the massive increase in the United States, which accounts for almost half of the world total.... In the absence of [appropriations for the new war on terror, and on Iraq], US military expenditure would still show a significant increase, but at a much slower rate, and world military spending would show a rise of 4 per cent rather than 11 per cent in 2003.... While US military expenditure is set to continue to grow and will continue to propel world military spending, the pace is likely to fall back somewhat in the next few years. In the longer term it is doubtful whether current levels will be economically and politically sustainable.-- Elisabeth Skons, Catalina Perdomo, Sam Perlo-Freeman and Petter Stalenheim, Military expenditure, Chapter 10, SPIRI Yearbook 2004, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, June 9, 2004Quote:America's military is the country's biggest business. According to the House Budget Committee, in 2000, defense expenditures represented 16 percent of discretionary federal spending. Excluding entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, all nondefense spending combined was only 19 percent of the federal budget. In the Department of Defense's most recently published report, the 2001 defense budget will be more than $300 billion, of which $60 billion would be spent on procurement and almost $40 billion on research and development. The budget for national defense is expected to exceed $360 billion by 2006.-- Mark Williams and Andrew P. Madden, New technologies may revolutionize war, Red Herring, August 1, 2001Quote:The United Nations and all its agencies and funds spend about $10 billion each year, or about $1.70 for each of the world's inhabitants. This is a very small sum compared to most government budgets and it is just a tiny fraction of the world's military spending. Yet for over a decade, the UN has faced a debilitating financial crisis and it has been forced to cut back on important programs in all areas. Many member states have not paid their full dues and have cut their donations to the UN's voluntary funds. At the end of December 2003, members owed the UN $1,602 billion, of which the United States alone owed $762 million (48% in total and 73% of the regular budget).-- UN Financial Crisis, Global Policy Forum (as of December 2003)Quote:From 1998 to 2001, the USA, the UK, and France earned more income from arms sales to developing countries than they gave in aid.The arms industry is unlike any other. It operates without regulation. It suffers from widespread corruption and bribes. And it makes its profits on the back of machines designed to kill and maim human beings.So who profits most from this murderous trade? The five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the USA, UK, France, Russia, and China. Together, they are responsible for eighty eight per cent of reported conventional arms exports."We can't have it both ways. We can't be both the world's leading champion of peace and the world's leading supplier of arms." Former US President Jimmy Carter, presidential campaign, 1976-- The Arms Industry, Control Arms Campaign, October 2003Quote:The relentless assault on [U.S.] military aid restrictions that began shortly after the September 11th attacks ... has continued unabated. This spring the [Bush] administration attempted yet again to win blanket exemptions for aid distributed as part of the "war on terror" by including language in the FY2002 supplemental appropriations bill that waives most existing restrictions and reporting requirements. The administration's second attempt was more successful. Two key Defense Department funding allocations - $390 million to reimburse nations providing support to U.S. operations in the war on terror and $120 million "for certain classified activities" - can now be delivered "notwithstanding any other provision of the law." This means there will be none of the normal restrictions placed on this large sum of military aid.The provision on "classified activities" is especially troubling because it permits "projects not otherwise authorized by law," in other words, covert actions. Not only is the language in the Supplemental opaque, attempts to get more information from a defense committee staffer led nowhere. He refused to answer questions about the intended use of the funds, the applicability of foreign aid restrictions, and reporting requirements on the grounds that all of that information is "classified." In other words, there will be no public scrutiny of this aid, and that's just fine with Congress.The Bush administration may also be successful in its campaign to ease restrictions on military aid and training to Indonesia despite that country's utter failure to improve its military's human rights practices. In May, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld proclaimed that it is "time for [the restrictions] to be adjusted substantially." If the results of the Senate Appropriations committee mark up are any indicator, Mr. Rumsfeld is likely to get his wish.... This latest round of military aid has made one thing clear: the U.S. military has found a new excuse to extend its reach around the globe, arming regimes that had previously been blacklisted for human rights abuses, weapons proliferation, or brutal conflict. What remains to be seen is how long Congress and the American public will accept this formula, especially when they see no concrete results in return.-- Military Aid Post September 11th, Arms Sales Monitor, Federation of American Scientists, No. 48, August 2002Quote:This rush to globalize arms production and sales ignores the grave humanitarian and strategic consequences of global weapons proliferation. Already, profit motives in the military industry have resulted in arms export decisions that contravene such U.S. foreign policy goals as preserving stability and promoting human rights and democracy.-- Globalized Weaponry, Foreign Policy In Focus, Volume 5, Number 16, June 2000Quote:Last year [200 the U.S. controlled half of the developing world's arms market with $12.6 billion in sales, according to an annual report published by the Congressional Research Service. This dominance of the global arms market is not something in which the American public or policy makers should take pride in. The U.S. routinely sells weapons to undemocratic regimes and gross human rights abusers.-- Uncle Sam World's Arms Merchant Again; In 2000 U.S. Sells $18.6 Billion Worldwide, $12.6 Billion to Developing Countries, Arms Trade Insider - #53, Arms Trade Oversight Project, Council for a Livable World, August 20, 2001Quote:In the period of 1990-1999, the United States supplied 16 of the 18 countries on the [U.S.] State Department list with arms through the government-to-government sales under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, or through industry contracted Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) programs, or with military assistance. Recipients included Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Sri Lanka ..., where, arguably, the risk of diversion is high. In addition, the U.S. military (and the CIA) has trained the forces of many of these 18 countries in U.S. war fighting tactics, in some cases including individuals now involved in terrorism.-- A Risky Business; U.S. Arms Exports To Countries Where Terror Thrives, Center for Defense Information, November 29, 2001Quote:A pattern is developing wherein U.S. weapons exports and new weapons procurement are driving each other.After, and occasionally even before, new weapons roll off the assembly line, they are offered to foreign customers. Each overseas sale of top-line U.S. combat equipment represents an incremental decrease in U.S. military superiority. This gradual decline in military strength spurs politicians, the military and the defense industry to press for higher military spending to procure increasingly sophisticated equipment superior to weapons shipped overseas. This latest technology is again offered to foreign customers, and the cycle begins anew. -- U.S. in arms race with itself, Council for a Livable World, Arms Trade Insider - #51, August 9, 2001
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The Movement of Movements

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Engaging the State
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