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Sun Jan 3, 2016, 06:53 PM

H2O Man DU:GD Poll

In your opinion, should the government of the United States attempt to have closer relations with the government of Saudi Arabia or Iran? Why?

In my opinion, that is similar to choosing which republican candidate would be a less terrible president, Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.

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Arrow 20 replies Author Time Post
Reply H2O Man DU:GD Poll (Original post)
H2O Man Jan 2016 OP
BlueJazz Jan 2016 #1
Martin Eden Jan 2016 #8
The Velveteen Ocelot Jan 2016 #2
Octafish Jan 2016 #3
underpants Jan 2016 #4
Old Codger Jan 2016 #5
Ed Suspicious Jan 2016 #6
DirkGently Jan 2016 #7
Scuba Jan 2016 #19
surrealAmerican Jan 2016 #9
Agnosticsherbet Jan 2016 #10
malthaussen Jan 2016 #11
ms liberty Jan 2016 #12
MohRokTah Jan 2016 #13
Martin Eden Jan 2016 #14
Half-Century Man Jan 2016 #15
MisterP Jan 2016 #16
MFrohike Jan 2016 #17
Skittles Jan 2016 #18
Bucky Jan 2016 #20

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Jan 3, 2016, 06:56 PM

1. Isn't there a fairly wise saying that starts out.."Keep your friends close and your enemies...

 

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Response to BlueJazz (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 3, 2016, 07:26 PM

8. That was my first thought, though I'm reluctant to use the "enemy" label.

The phrase "closer relations" needs to be defined.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Jan 3, 2016, 06:57 PM

2. No, not really. I'm no fan of either Iran or Saudi Arabia,

but (a) Iran needs to have its nuclear activities watched, and (b) Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses appear to be even worse than Iran's. So maybe the US should attempt closer relations with Iran. On the other hand, nothing gets improved by having no decent relationships at all.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Jan 3, 2016, 07:04 PM

3. Iran.

Until 1953, it was a democracy.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Jan 3, 2016, 07:06 PM

4. Saudi Arabia - we've been close for a long time. Iran - in my opinion....

The Obama administration, from what I've read, started working on this the first week. Back in 2009.

I think there are two main reasons this was pursued:
1. It was time for Iran to open up. Much like Cuba this policy had clearly ran its course. We get access and inspection as to what exactly they are doing. They have no real military capabilities so they have kept their nuclear program as a preventive shield. They do have ties to organizations that we consider terrorists so we can stop any possible transfer of nuclear type weapons (unlikely) AND more windows open for our intelligence into those organizations.

2. The Ayatollah and the top staff know that their people want to join the 21st century. That's pretty much everyone but the old revolutionary crowd. The Iranians could keep them down but that is way more expensive than to not. Basically it's depressing civil disobedience on their part. They stay in power, there is not internal dissent to deal with, and they get overpaid for the supposed threat that they hold.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Jan 3, 2016, 07:07 PM

5. I would think

 

That irrespective the bad side of either relationship we need to keep as close as possible within reason to both of them, if we were to cut relations with either of then we lose any channels we may have open now...Not anything resembling allying with either just diplomatic representation... if possible

Other than that they are not our friends in any way..

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Jan 3, 2016, 07:10 PM

6. I just wish they would all stop chopping heads.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Jan 3, 2016, 07:19 PM

7. We're too close to Saudi; too belligerent with Iran.

The Saudis allow a lot of extremism to run through and around them. Tight with the Bush family, who -- no surprise -- made sure the fact the 9/11 hijackers emanated from there was in no way connected to the country or its policies.

We're deliberately blind to Saudi's grotesque human rights abuses and its back channel facilitation of terror groups, because they have their hand on the oil spigot and are cozy with American interests and powerful elites like the Bushes.

Iran is so ripe for democracy that they had it already, until the CIA decided they needed a more oil-friendly dictator, so we've kind of poisoned the well there, but it still has a young, well-educated population that's not nearly so "Death to America" as Republicans would have us believe.

I thought Obama did the right thing reaching a deal to lessen sanctions in exchange for monitoring the nuclear program. You can't punish people into liking you.

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Response to DirkGently (Reply #7)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 11:15 AM

19. ^^ Best reply so far ^^

 

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Jan 3, 2016, 07:27 PM

9. I guess I'm not sure what you mean by "closer relations".

We have some sort of relations with every country. Being publicly hostile can cause more harm than good.

"Relations" is not the same thing as support, is it?

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Jan 3, 2016, 07:33 PM

10. Gee, having no relationship with Korea worked so well over the years.

Having no relationship with Cuba for decades did wonders for us and Cuba. Now that we have relations, they still are run by the same people.
How about all those years we refused to even recognize that China existed. (We ended up fighting Chinese soldiers in the Korean War.)

We do not have to like or agree with foreign nations to maintain good relationships with them. Throughout the cold war, we maintained a relationship with the Soviet Union, while spying on each other, and fighting each other h trough proxy wars. Even when they threatened to bury us, we maintained relationships with them.

The argument against maintaining relations with Saudi Arabia or Iran or anyone is illogical and counterproductive.

There are many problems faced by the earth that cannot be solved by the US working alone. Global warming, for one, will need the cooperation of all nations. If we do not have relationships with a nation, we can not begin to have a dialog about solving world problems. We don't have to like their form of government, but we do need to have some form of understanding and long term relationship.

Your analogy is false. The question is not whether we have to have the House of Saud as President or adopt their customs and laws. The question is whether we an have a constructive relationship with their religious government, whether we like it or not.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Jan 3, 2016, 07:37 PM

11. I don't completely subscribe to the Iran as bogey man theory.

They don't like us. Granted. They want nuclear power: what country doesn't? Where lies the justice is preventing other countries from having something we already exploit? Plentiful electrical power is necessary to lift a country's people out of third-world status. They want ballistic missiles. In other words, they want to join a club that includes most of Europe, as well as Israel, Pakistan, India, and freaking North Korea. Can we really float the idea that they are so fanatical that ballistic missiles (possibly tipped with nuclear warheads) are somehow unsafer in their hands than they would be, say, in those of Donald Trump or Mike Huckabee? After all, W had his finger on the nuclear trigger for 8 years, but no mushroom clouds resulted.

Iran and S.A. represent the two sides of the Islamic schism, and since they can't get to each other, the entire Mideast is a crucible for their proxy war. And we ally with either as suits our convenience. (Iran has been doing quite a lot in the war against the Caliphate, after all). Why, exactly, should we reject one country and be friends with the other? At least Iran hasn't supplied terrorists to crash into Manhattan landmarks. A plague a' both their houses? Only if we think we have no strategic interest in the future of the Mideast.

It is, perhaps, distasteful to say so, but the situation in the Mideast suits the U.S. exactly. We are in no danger from either country, despite hyped-up fear-mongering that is used by politicians of all stripes to terrorize the sheeple. I am not so naive as to think that our national interest has the least thing to do with morality or human rights: we ally with whomever is expedient, and have historically shown quite a bit of favoritism towards strong dictators who support the corporate agenda. Conversely, we love creating sanctions against those who do not support that agenda, hence our debacle in Vietnam (to say nothing of China), our tantrum-boycott against Cuba, and our unsuccessful attempt at regime change in Venezuela (to say nothing of our many successful attempts at regime change in areas as diverse as Libya and Australia). And the current situation in the Mideast allows us to continue our ongoing war-without-end-amen, which means fat profits for the munitions companies and contractors. First we build 'em, then we blow 'em up so we can build 'em again. I wonder, en passant, if the amount of bombing we have done in the region hasn't caused one whole helluva lot more damage than a few well-publicized monument destructions by the people on the ground. But it's okay when we do it, because we are the Good Guys.

Perhaps, however, your question is more one of idealism than realpolitik. But that is a terrible can of worms, since ultimately it means coming down on the issue of whether or not we have a "right" or "obligation" to compel other countries to observe our sense of morality. If we say "yes," are we not then arguing just as the most fervent believer in the American Century that our country and civilization are somehow superior to those of Iran and S.A.? Very well, but where does that end? It's the eternal conundrum: if suttee is reprehensible, then why not caste? If polygyny is reprehensible because it allows women to be degraded, then how do we justify supporting nations in which it is permitted? If it is an essential part of Islam, then are we not condemning Islam? You can see where this leads, once the genie is let out of the bottle.

-- Mal

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Jan 3, 2016, 07:51 PM

12. Iran.

Saudi Arabia is already a longstanding ally and has influence and power in DC. IMHO, they have more influence than they should, and have a profoundly undemocratic governance that benefits the ruling elite males at the expense of the people in general and women in particular. Iran, despite having religious clerics as the ultimate authority, I think has a much better chance to become a democracy more quickly than Saudi Arabia. They tried to embrace democracy, but we stopped that nonsense in its tracks, back in 1953. But even under the brutal dictatorship of the Shah, there was some measure of democratic principles, especially for women, and that did continue and continues now. They are not a bunch of terrorists in Iran, nor are they angry religious fundamentalist idealogues. They have a large population of young, educated adults who want to move to a more free society. I am not as well versed on the inside and outs of politics in each country in the ME, as perhaps I should be, but that is my impression of these two countries from years of watching and keeping up with world events.

Editing to add: After reading the comments so far, I agree with most of the comments. Great conversation happening!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Jan 3, 2016, 07:53 PM

13. It should be Iran but it will be Saudi Arabia.

 

The more moderate elements coming into control of Iran would prove to be the better long term alliance, but the genetic dictatorship in Saudi Arabia holds the better short term profits.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Jan 3, 2016, 07:56 PM

14. Not sure what you mean by "closer relations"

We should engage diplomatically with all nations, maintain open communications, and seek to define & pursue mutual interests that don't conflict with our principles.

In my opinion, we should not support the autocratic Saudi regime or keep military bases there. They've been the world's greatest purveyor of the extremist Wahhabi version of Islam, and have a horrible record on human/civil/women's rights.

Iran isn't much better, though we have done much more wrong to them than they have done to us.

It's not a matter of choosing between them like the contemptible politicians you mentioned.

Good relations begin at home. The United States is very much in need of cleaning up its own act. Our 2003 invasion of Iraq and torture of prisoners are war crimes. Nearly half a century ago Martin Luther King declared we were "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today," and I think we still lay claim to that dubious honor. In addition to the bombs that we drop, we are the world's biggest arms dealer.

The United States wields tremendous power, but whose interests are being served?

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Jan 3, 2016, 08:20 PM

15. Iran.

SA is a Monarchy, the formal flashy version of an Oligarchy. Hence our PTB love their PTB.
SA brutally suppresses political opposition, whistle blowers, and minorities.
SA funds radical groups.
SA uses the USA to wage proxy wars with their neighbors to remain the ME powerhouse.


Iran, on the other hand has been a Democracy, until we "Regime Changed" the country and put the Shah in place (over favorable oil contracts with our governments owners). During the years of Shah's rule; we had many Iranian immigrants ans trained a lot of their people in our country (I knew 5 who attended the same electronics schools I did in the Navy).
Even today the feeling of the average Iranian toward the individual American is generally favorable. Their opinions of our invasive political system (driven by corporate interests) is about the same of our opinion of the political manipulations of England (driven by the East India Company) of 230+ years ago.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 01:22 AM

16. let's just say Tehran doesn't insist on grabbing the cans from the bottom of the grocery-store

display pyramid: Riyadh really pooed the bed two days ago

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 01:27 AM

17. Iran

They act far more like a traditional great power, which makes them somewhat predictable. The Saudis act like a revolutionary power, bent on reshaping the world in their own image. Plus, the Saudis and their proxies can't fight for shit. Nobody in the region would seriously consider fighting the Iranians without serious backing (read the US, Russia, China). That's not to say that I want more fighting in the region, dear God no, but it's always better to have allies/partners/whatever who can hold their own, rather than incompetents.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 01:28 AM

18. like picking the better Menendez brother

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 11:50 AM

20. Any investment in wealth or friendship with the Saudi gov't is VERY short term

That joint is gonna collapse in the next 20 years. We'd be well advised to not been seen as internal supporters of the old regime once "Le Deluge" starts. It'll be ugly there. I hope we're not as dependent on global oil prices when it finally happens.

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