What makes a justified/morally correct war? Now discussing the 2003 US invasion of Iraq

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by saturn5, Feb 12, 2010.

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  1. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
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    Brutal nationalistic dictatorship in the south opposed to brutal communist dictatorship in the north. Difference is that the West refused to arm the south whilst the communist block armed the north to the teeth.

    Since the war South Korea has undergone a series of military coups but has always eventually returned to a free and prosperous democracy. Meanwhile North Korea is a Stalinist nightmare beyond the dreams of George Orwell, continually wracked by famine which sells arms and drugs to all comers, sponsors terrorism and is both actively seeking weapons of mass destruction AND aiding others in developing them.

    I remember reading an interview where an ex-South Vietnamese officer who asked why the West had stood by S. Korea and abandoned South Vietnam? Difference is largely that Korea is a peninsula whereas S Vietnam was bordered by Laos and Cambobdia through which the NVA could always infiltrate the massively border and the Ho Chi Minh trail could supply the VC. Had the conflict been confined only to the breadth of the country as in Korea the Allies would certainly have won. Morever the Korean war was short, two and a half years as opposed to 7 years of allied intervention in Vietnam. And it was easy to define progress, every inch of ground taken northwards was a step closer to victory avoiding the Hamburger Hill style futile victories of Vietnam. Plus no jungle

  2. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Yeah, Korea was a much more easily-tallied war; plus, of course, there were no political considerations as there were with Vietnam.

    I'd suspect another key difference was that the UN solidly got behind Korea-iirc, there was something like 17 countries who all sent forces to defend South Korea. Definitely much more of a coalition than Vietnam ever saw.
  3. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    ITT: Blanket descriptions with no eye for context or nuance.

    I like where this is going. Obviously not towards anything resembling a reasoned take on the situation. I especially liked the fact that Diem was called a 'Saint' compared to ... 'Noriega'. Seriously ... to make such a statement shows you have no grasp on the basic historical context, nor the basic historical facts. It's not even worth arguing about.
  4. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    If it ain't, why post?

    Come on, indulge us... raise our bars, baby.

    I'll readily admit that I don't know squat about the Korean war, even though my country fought in it - and I'd like to learn, so I expect some nuanced thought-provoking posts. That means you too, saturn!


  5. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    The first thing that makes the Korean War so interesting is the reality that it was the first proxy fight of the Cold War, and quickly defined the limits of what that means. There were almost 500,000 US troops who were sent to Korea, vs about a million Chinese troops. Chinese troops fighting in Korea outnumbered North Korean troops by about a 4 to 1 ratio.

    The political concerns, at least in the US, constantly revolved around how to fight a conventional war in the nuclear age. The Korean War ended up creating a de facto limit on how large cold war military units were deployed.
  6. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
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    So 'You're all wrong but I'm not going to tell you why'? Not an acceptable, as Katy Perry would say put your money where your mouth is.

    Plenty of countries fought in the Vietnam War, Australia, New Zealand, RoK, Thailand, The Phillipines not to mention the military's of South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia
  7. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    I think I pretty much told you why in the post you quoted. You are making blanket statements about ideologies, conflicts and people that do not take into account any of the contextual factors, or any of the historical nuances. Aside from that, you are apparently unconcerned by historical facts. If you call Diem a saint when comparing him to Noriega, it just looks ridicilous. Diem was responsible for the murder of tens of thousands at least. Noriega's dignity squads don't come close to anything Diem did. That's not even taking into account that Noriega at least feigned an interest in advancing the conditions his people were living in.

    Caricature response: in your tirade, you apparently forgot Indonesia's struggle against 'communism' apparently justified genocide.

    I just wonder why nobody in this thread actually questioned the morality of interfering in conflicts in other sovereign countries to begin with. The rationality or irrationality of the domino theory aside. Why would the US (or China) be justified in arming and actively supporting either side of the conflict?

    Either way, I'm not actually going to keep contributing to this topic, I'll just get pissed off about the caricature some posters are going to make of 'history'. I really dislike superficial pop-history. If you're going to make comments about the Vietnam war (or the Korean war) and the justifications/legality of it, the first thing you'd need to do is go back way before even the French colonisation and take a look at the way the different social actors developped, economically/socially and politically to get to the point where US intervention became substantial. If not, you're going to be discussing a vacuum moment with no context.

    Of course, it's rather dull to talk about village-economics in Vietnam before the colonial era, but it'll probably provide you with some insights (especially if you look at the way the French exploited inner social divisions in Vietnam, for example, the introduce certain 'private property' rules. Also, the history of redistribution of land in Vietnam might explain some of the popularity that the Viet Cong had to begin with)

    ...

    You see my point?

    EDIT: Also, Kate Perry? Lol. Yes, I always take my social cues from pop stars.
  8. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Communism, much as I disagree with it, is not inherently evil in the sense you are arguing. It's an economic structure, not simply political. I would say that its implication has always been used in a totalitarian fashion, but that's not about communism itself, but the people that have pushed it.

    Exactly, it's a collary, not a causal factor.

    At best the only thing often linking communism with dictatorships is the fact that it relies on a public system of distribution. So maybe there's a factor in that Communist theories leave open some doors to the abuse of power, but it wasn't political power that was the original concern. Clearly Marx and Engles were NOT promoting Dictatorships with thier economic theories, even if those theories got pretty 'pie in the sky' and they should have anticipated it.

    The reason we know Communism in the way we do has much more to do with the Revolution mindset. The French Revolution entailed nothing about Communism... and could not considering it predated the entire theory... yet the polticial events that brought about Communist states have much more in common with the French Revolution and what happened in the Reign of Terror than Karl Marx.

    Karl Marx was an economist. Not a particularly GOOD economist, but an economist. Rousseau was a Philosopher (who was better at his job than Karl Marx). Neither of these men are responsible for what zealots who they had never met did in thier name well after they were dead.
  9. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    But if the Domino Theory just stands for the idea that communism is like a pest, I can't see that. Too simplistic.

    I think the Domino Theory works great if you're applying it to the psychology of the political figures in the Kremlin, and as a means of strategizing around them to either gain dominance over the globe or to prevent them from gaining dominance.

    However it wasn't very good in application to the theaters of war that didn't happen to be the USSR... which was of course always the case. When your concern is really Russia, it should be of no surprise that you're going to wind up in either morally or executibly murky areas in the actual theater of combat you're facing. And that you're going to find yourself in situations where there's a net loss no matter what you did, and situation where you were probably better off letting the USSR take the 'victory', such that it might have been, since the alternative was even worse.

    One of the problems with the Domino Theory was not that it treated communism as an 'infection', but that it far too often presumed that the Soviets were in nominal control over thier half of the Cold War, whereas clearly America was not in control of its (France being a case in point). This should have been clear from the start. Instead America had to wait until Nixon, and later Carter, to actually grasp the point that just because a nation was communist didn't exactly mean it was on the USSR's 'side' and had any interest in spreading Communism elsewhere. The Soviets suffered from the same thing the Americans did (in fact they suffered worse, as thier collapse attested to).

    The Domino Theory succeeded, but really only in its application to the USSR. It's primary premise was correct: the USSR would not risk conflict becuase it presumed the global communist revolution was inevitable. But it would "take oppertunity" where it saw fit. That was the important part of the theory, and it was correct.

    What was less tenable is that it meant that in every case of a 'domino' falling that America had to take it upon itself to become part of that resistance and that Communism would always by extension spread becuase other states would employ communim in the same vein as the Soviets. Clearly while Korea presented a classic case for the general understanding of the Domino Theory to be applied since there was an overt invasion and no colonial power was asserting its dominance (and if there was one it was probably the Communists themselves), Vietnam was and always would be complicated by the French. It was becuase of the French, it could be argued, that America had not allied themselves with NORTH Vietnam to begin with, as they had appealed to Truman for aid very early on in the aftermath of WWII. Truman had to rebuff them so as to appease the French: remember this was before Suez, and the French particularly had not yet accepted that thier colonial empire was never coming back (and frankly, shouldn't come back).

    I'm not certain this means that Vietnam ought to have gone the way it had, or resisting North Vietnam was wise. What happened Cambodia and Laos was not ONLY the result of the North Vietnamese, but also the reistance to them -- in fact not only did North Vietnam -- by then just Vietnam -- later fight with the Chinese to assert themselves, but also with the Cambodian Khmer Rouge themselves who they were determined to remove from power, not the least of which was the wholesale murder of civilians for which they were known. And in the end it was they, not America, who removed Pol Pot and in a twist of irony what forces that remained loyal to Pol Pot were then used by a nominal US ally -- Thailand -- as a tool to keep the new Cambodian government and Vietnam away.

    A second irony would also be that the US would not allow the new Vietnamese-backed government to take the Cambodian UN seat and thus let it remain represented by what was left of the Pol Pot regime. By 1979 onwards the mass murderer was used as a tool by the Chinese and indirectly, America, against the Vietnamese.
  10. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    Wow, patronise much? Tirade was certainly a word that sprang to mind when reading your post

    Firstly who did Diem ever kill except the VC? He did want to advance his people but unlike Noriega he had the north sponsoring guerillas in his country AND launching a conventional infantry invasion. It's China and the USSR that sponsor the north forcing the USA to either help the south or watch it overrun. Or to put it simply, the south didn't invade the north?

    You can't go back to the roots of every conflict. Every goverment must play the hand of cards it's dealt and without a time machine to turn things back nothing is ever perfect.

    As historical facts and nuances, still don't see any. Don't disappoint Katy now;)


    Wo
    w
  11. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    I think these statements are at least highly problematic, and a solid argument can be made that they're simply flat out wrong. The first one seem to be based on the common perception that everything was nice and dandy in the Soviet Union under Lenin, and then Stalin destroyed the promise of the dream. This is simply historically incorrect. Terror and totalitarinism was started by Lenin, and on purpose.

    The second probably refers to the economic system that would ensue after Capitalism has been conquered. The problem here is that there is a great many anti-capitalist movements who have that state as a common goal, including fairly centrist Social Democrats. But the political movement par excellence to explicitly use the label "Communists" was the Marxist Leninist Parties that sprang up after the Bolshevik revolution. Indeed, the label Communist had, AFAIK, not been used by any party before Lenin decided to use the term to distance himself from other in his view less radical anti-capitalist movements*. Thus, Lenin has certainly been one of the defining figures of what Communism is, one not easily disregarded. And his path was the totalitarian one.

    As for the question of the OP - well, first of, anyone who claims that morals/ethics in some way should be fundamentally guiding and that some things just should not be allowed, must accept that there is some point when war must be a policy alternative. I guess that only nihilists would find that notion unacceptable, but since they think that morals are ultimately inane, futile or useless anyway, the question becomes largely redundant - if values are unimportant, one would have no rationale for objecting to war in the first place, since the objection itself is a normative commitment.

    I'd argue that both Vietnam and Korea were ultimately the right policy decision in principle, but the methods used in the former were ultimately not very well thought through (and, at least on occasion, downright morally reprehensible). Korea seems like a more clear cut case, though the conflict had the "good fortune" of occuring before the press in democracies really came into its own as the Fourth Estate that watches the government. Indeed, Vietnam was probably the first war to expose the inherent problem for democracies: that the citizenry simply aren't ready to accept the kind of violence that often is needed when conducting war. This is fundamentally a good thing - Dresden and Hamburg is impossible today, but it is also something that totalitarian movements will exploit, since they have no such qualms or checks.

    Edit:* With the exception of some fringe movements in the mid 19th century, including the Paris Commune 1871.
  12. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Well then by that definition, any particular sect of Christianity can rise up and claim to be the "true" form of Christianity and that all other interpretations are incorrect. Just because the word "Communism" is associated with Lenin and Stalin doesn't mean that's what Communism really is.

    Communism at its core is the idea by Marx and Engels that capitalism is at its heart an unjust system, and that as a result of such an unjust system people would want to revolt against it. This would supposedly culminate in a mass revolution against capitalism and the establishment of a classless society, or utopia. Lenin happened to be excessively cynical and took on the added idea that "counter-revolutionaries" were plotting to eliminate Communism at its inception and began doing all sorts of evil stuff. When we say that Communism doesn't work, we're talking about how the classless utopia won't work due to lack of incentives to work....not about Stalin and his gulags. And boy, are we off-topic.
  13. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    As you note, that discussion would take this thread way off topic. Suffice to say is that I emphatically disagree with your argumentation. I'd be happy to debate the point with you, but we should probably do so somewhere else...

    To get back on topic - I think history showed that it was a good thing that the UN got involved in Korea, otherwise there would have been no South Korea, but only the totalitarianism that exists up north. Pity that the coalition couldn't end that regime while they were at it.
  14. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    True but that would have meant taking on the might of Communist China (the initial Chinise offensive when they entered the war was 400,000 soldiers!) and probably atomic war. The compromise of returning to roughly the same position as they had before the war was probably the best solution, allowed both side to save face.

    Ok, a lot of thought in recent years that this was somehow a conflict that was brought about by the European powers and the guilt was collective. I disagree, ALL GERMANY's FAULT!

    Germany had her war aims all worked out beforehand as depicted in the Bethman-Hollweg memorandum (belittle France, rival Britain, carve an empire overseas and in the east). The Schliffen plan was prepared 25 years in advance with railway lines to the Western front bult in deserted areas. Germany, a nation in the middle of Europe with a small coastline and few colonies tries to compete with Britain's navy, an island nation with the greatest empire the world has ever known.
    Germany was a military dictatorship, Britain, the US, France, Belgium all democracies (Czarist Russia also a dictatorship of course). Germany deliberately coaxes Austria into confronting Serbia as an excuse. Moltke deliberately advocates settling Germany's issues with the rest of Europe through a 'prompt war'.
    The US enters the war because of U-boat attacks on her shipping and the German offer to Mexico to attack the US. And because a German dominated Europe would be a huge threat/rival to America in the long term.
    Or put simply Belgium didn't invade Germany. No allied soldier ever set foot on German soil, the conflict fought entirely on the allied territory.
    During the Christmas truce German soldiers would tell the British that they should be friends and not fight. To which the reply was always 'Well you get out of France/Belgium and go back to Germany and we'll all be friends' to which they had no reply.
    So just and moral war? Yes absolutely, liberated Europe from German military occupation
  15. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    .....Wow. Never seen anybody lose their own thread before.


    [image=http://img12.imageshack.us/img12/3446/balanceiskey.gif]


    Anyway, you're wrong. WW1 was a mess of stewing imperialism and nationalism ultimately brought to a boil by incredibly bone-headed diplomatic maneuvering on all the involved states' parts.

    When this is an accurate assessment of diplomatic treaties of the age, somebody needed a kick in the head. Several dozen somebodies, actually.

    [image=http://i770.photobucket.com/albums/xx349/CharlesA222/Scans/Screenshot2010-02-21at104501PM.png]




    It also ultimately set the conditions for an even more brutal war just twenty years later and was the precursor to the division of the planet along Russia/USA-aligned political blocs for the majority of the rest of the century.

    About the only bright spot I can see having come out of this entire mess was the collapse of the Romanov family; but as that was replaced by an equally brutal and inept system of government that happily cannibalized it's chunk of the world to the same extent as the people they replaced did, that wasn't anything to write home about, either.

    If there was ever a more disastrous, unnecessary, and completely unsuccessful in terms of long-term goals war than the 'Great' War, I haven't seen it.

  16. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    The United States, at least, can claim a good and moral reason for going to war. We tried hard to stay neutral, than went to war with Germany when they persisted in sinking our ships.
  17. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    The UK claimed a moral reason too: the invasion of Belgium.

    The US was to some degree right in it's position of neutrality here overall. WWI was NOT about freedom or democracy or anything of the sort. It was a grand pissing match that, when you got down to it, was about Germany wanting to be the most pre-eminent power in Europe because it had the most resources and most people since it had formed, and France saying 'sucks to that' since that was the position they were used to (ie: see French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars).

    It was the most useless and dunderheaded waste of life mankind has ever embarked on, leading directly to WWII, the Cold War, and even today's Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

    There is NOTHING ANYONE can ever say that was good about WWI, except that some autocracies fell in Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire... which in the later case were promptly replaced with other autocracies. And becuase of the non-decisive conclusion of the conflict, the ones that actually became a democracy in Europe were short-lived. The entire bloody mess was started about practically nothing, and accomplished practically nothing.

    America can hold its head high at not being involved. The more you look at that period the more you realize nobody not even Great Britian, had any REAL interest in Democracy. GB just put a better face on it. They were all caught up in the power play that people today accuse America of, and they treated human lives like toilet paper.

    People forget that under the Kaiser, who was essentially a consitutional monarch and not a sole autocrat, many people of the period actually considered GERMANY as the most liberal of European states. Funny how that's forgotten. Sure they were still anti-Semetic back then... so was France!

    They all had their power, and were afraid of losing it. That's what it came down to. It wasn't about democracy or the oppressed or any ideal you want to paint over the situation. It was: 'screw you baby, I got mine'. That and a bunch of dunderheaded mistakes and misunderstanding of how thier own societies worked.

    That song 'one tin soldier' -- pretty much describes WWI down to a T.
  18. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    I recently found out about the Dutch involvement in World War I. I knew we were neutral. Now I know why: the head of Shell Oil (one of the two leading oil companies at the time, the other American) was the Dutch Minister of War. Just before the war, Shell Oil was split up into two separate companies: Shell Britain and Shell Holland, so as to service both sides of the war: Shell Britain served the allies, Shell Holland served Germany.

    Since I learned that, the stories of Tin-Tin don't seem that far-fetched...
  19. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    To be fair though, WWII started pretty much the same way. The reason Britain and France went to war against Germany in 1939 had nothing to do with "defending democracy", but everything to do with the fact that the two nations were allies of Poland and had signed a mutual defence treaty earlier to contain German expassionism. Hitler counted on the allies to cave in, like they did in the case of Czechoslovakia, and played chicken with them for the Danzig corridor. But make no mistake, the entire "war for democracy" was a propaganda drive that started AFTER the war had started, its purposing being to mobilize support for the war among the population - unlike WWI, war was not particulaly popular then (for obvious reasons). At that time, the system of government was the "internal affairs" of the each sovereign nation - the allies had no problem at all cooperating with the genocidal regime of Stalin, or the authoritarian regime of Chang Kai-shek.

    The greatest irony of WWI, in my opinion, is that Franz Ferdinand, the heir of the Austrian empire, actually was much more liberal than the ruler. If he had been allowed to live and succeed, he would likely have inreased the autonomy of many sub-units of the Austrian empire and liberalized the government. His death resulted in the exact opposite of what he wanted to to achieve- easing the tensions between the ethnic groups in that corner of Europe. Or so I heard.
  20. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    What to do about the geopolitical destabilization caused by the rise of Prussia? Several empires beat themselves to death trying to answer that question.
  21. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    Asquith, King George 5th, the British people did not want war, neither did the French (the Germans hammered them last time), Belgium or Russia. The Kasier and his generals DID want war;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schlieffen_Plan

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septemberprogramm


  22. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    The greatest irony of WWI, in my opinion, is that Franz Ferdinand, the heir of the Austrian empire, actually was much more liberal than the ruler.

    Franz Joseph also probably understood that Metternich's old European order had fallen apart, that the Habsburg monarchy was coming to an end. He had experienced the 1848 unrest firsthand in his youth, the events that ended Metternich's career. The Austro-Prussian war shifted the balance of power fully toward Germany and helped set the stage for world war I.
  23. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    Nothing in those articles indicate that the Germans WANTED war. The September programm was drawn up after the war had started - which to me indicates that the Germans had entered war to come to Austrias aid without any real initial objectives of its own, making those up AFTER the decision was made, hardly the actions of someone who planned starting the whole thing all along - and the Schlieffen plan was simply a "what if" plan. The US maintained a war scenario for invading Canada until well into the 1930s, in case the US would end up in a war with Britain, which in no way shape or form indicates that the administration actually wanted to bring such a way about. It is, in fact, the job of the chief of staff of any country to devise such scenarios so that a country can respond in the eventuality that a war does start. That's their job.

    This documentary states the exact opposite: none of the major powers involved had any wish at all to get involved in a major European war, but sort of just slid into it by accident. In fact, if anyone would have said "a world war is about to start" in May of 1914, most Europeans probably would have been uttely unable to believe it. Excellent documentary series, btw, at least imo.
  24. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    To be fair though, WWII started pretty much the same way. The reason Britain and France went to war against Germany in 1939 had nothing to do with "defending democracy", but everything to do with the fact that the two nations were allies of Poland and had signed a mutual defence treaty earlier to contain German expassionism. Hitler counted on the allies to cave in, like they did in the case of Czechoslovakia, and played chicken with them for the Danzig corridor. But make no mistake, the entire "war for democracy" was a propaganda drive that started AFTER the war had started, its purposing being to mobilize support for the war among the population - unlike WWI, war was not particulaly popular then (for obvious reasons). At that time, the system of government was the "internal affairs" of the each sovereign nation - the allies had no problem at all cooperating with the genocidal regime of Stalin, or the authoritarian regime of Chang Kai-shek.

    I'm not sure that's ENTIRELY accurate in the final analysis. In both cases yes: "defense of Democracy" was used after the fact. However in the former case the matter of Germany being any more Democratic than, say, Britain at the time was questionable. Both had monarchs of comparable power and it was WWI itself that rectified that. And the rights of the people in Germany (and to say of nothing else, the Jews and Gypsies) were a whole lot better under the Kaiser (and of course the Weimar Republic, but in neither case were they the immediate pre-war government).

    You can say that WWI and WWII started the same way in that the allied motivations were similar. Great Britian had changed little. However I think it bears a mention that by 1939 the French were likely much more AFRAID of Germany than avaricious toward it as had been more the case in 1914. In 1914 The French were probably the most pro-war of anyone becuase they more or less sought revenge for 1870. You can even see it in thier battle plans and the military's faith in the offensice (Joffre and Neville I suppose being the most prominent examples). By 1939 it was much more about defense and trying to keep Germany restrained than wanting revenge per se.

    So yes, similar motivations in a way. But the situation had important differences. The WWII was borne laregly out of fear of a new war, which was exploited. WWI was borne out of pride and confidence that war was no big deal and what was really important was essenitally showing how big your country's member was.

    Also the Germans themselves were considerably different for what I mentioned above and a few other things -- they were certainly abrasive in WWI and they made few apologies. However to some degree thier, strategic position demanded it. But they did not seek war openly or use fear of war as a diplomatic tactic any more than the other powers were. They did not, hold other neighboring countries hostage, which was essentially what Hitler was doing.

    Hitler himself was not so very different from the diplomacy tactics of Kim Jong Il, though perhaps with a little more foresightedness. German diplomacy prior to WWI was concerned with becoming a pre-eminent power but they weren't particularly any more objectionable within the continent than thier rivals.



    The greatest irony of WWI, in my opinion, is that Franz Ferdinand, the heir of the Austrian empire, actually was much more liberal than the ruler. If he had been allowed to live and succeed, he would likely have inreased the autonomy of many sub-units of the Austrian empire and liberalized the government. His death resulted in the exact opposite of what he wanted to to achieve- easing the tensions between the ethnic groups in that corner of Europe. Or so I heard.

    Yes well I suppose it wouldn't have been the first time extremist groups have done themselves great disservice. Considering everything that's happened since then I'd like to think everyone involved -- Princip obviously included -- would have thought twice about everything they did. No assassination might have actually, you know, meant not
  25. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    I think I generally agree. There are several different forces at work leading up to WWI and WWII, and think one has to differentiate between what was going on among the general public and in the political leadership. In the former, there was certainly the attitude that war was something glorious and wonderful and a general optimistic, highly nationalistic mass hysteria going around in all countries (we'll be home for Christmas) - indeed, public opinion could possibly be said to be more revanchist, fanning the hawkish war winds, rather than resisting the mobilization. But in the political leadership, one gets the impression that the events leading up to WWI was a bunch of ad hoc decision-making going along with the whole gaggle of treaties and plans for mobilization that had been made in the decades prior to war, with no one really wanting to go to war. Heck, all the royals of that time were practically one big family and cousins with each other that had no interest at all in fighting against each other. As for the systems of government, it is clear that none of the states involved were democracies in the sense we think of democracy today, though both France, Britain, Germany and Russia had elected Parliaments with varying degrees of power - I think the monarchy of Britain was weaker than that of both Germany and Russia. The question is to what degree that institutional order had any bearing on the decision to go to war, as far as the "defence of democracy" goes (and remember that stil autocratic Russia was on the side of the Entente from the get go - an effect of treaty obligation, not kinship between democracies).

    In the events leading up to WWII, the public opinion certainly was the quite opposite of WWI - nobody wanted war (includ
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