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March 21, 2003

Jordin Kare, in Electrolite’s comment section:
When I heard Colin Powell say that there were 15 nations that were offering support but preferred not to be identified, I realized that the U.S. Government has been reduced to claiming that “the lurkers support us in email.”
[01:58 PM]
Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Jordin Kare,:

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2003, 04:23 PM:

Just wait till the sock puppets come out. “We now count among our supporters Fredonia, Tomania, Grand Fenwick, Sarawak, Araucania, and Lizbekistan.”

Simon ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2003, 08:17 PM:

Hm, I just found this:

"Ever since the [blank] incident, [nation's] foreign policy has been reaping the world's condemnation. Unlike an individual, a nation cannot admit itself in error; so [nation's] only answer has been to tell herself that her judges are wrong and she is right. To strengthen this contention she has built up the belief that she acts from the purest motives which her fellow nations willfully misunderstand. The more they disapprove, the more adamant grows [nation's] conviction that she is right."

Let's contemplate that one for a while, and I may come back later to provide the original context.

Simon ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2003, 01:46 AM:

That's correct, Avram. (I also tried googling for it, but picked a different phrase which didn't turn up.)

The country is Japan pre-WW2, the "incident" is the invasion of Manchuria, the author is Barbara Tuchman writing in 1936, and the complete essay may be found in her book Practicing History.

Later on in the essay comes this:

The following passage from a pamphlet issued by the Navy shows how the Japanese miss the purpose of international negotiation. "Victory," it says, "is dependent on relative strength, and there is no better way to assure relative strength than to obtain absolute superiority." So irrefutable is the statement that it defies comment, but it helps to reveal how little understanding of the principle of compromise there is in the Japanese mind.

So now we know what kind of mind Bush has (and apologies to any readers who are actually Japanese).

the talking dog ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2003, 08:04 AM:

What was I reading that made me laugh? Angola was DROPPEd from the "coalition of the willing", but we picked up COsta RIca, Palau and Irrelevant-stan-- wait for it-- a NET GAIN OF TWO!!!

Barry ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2003, 09:21 AM:

Two what? Two percentages of a first-world country, such as Germany or Freedom?

Barry

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2003, 10:01 AM:

We've traded freedom for a player to be named later.

Alex Steffen ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2003, 12:57 PM:

Heh, nice, Moles.

The way I like to think of it is that this is a coalition comprised mosetly of those who will sleep with us but don't want us to kiss them in public. It's seedy.

zizka ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2003, 02:41 PM:

Considering that nonlethal nonfinancial verbal support for a war is already pretty lame, nonverbal support is realy really lame. Like saying, "We promise not to openly oppose you", or even, "If we end up openly opposing you don't take it personal." We're approaching degree zero.

charlie b. ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2003, 05:38 PM:

You really think the current US-UK invasion of Iraq is comparable to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria? You must be mad, and you reveal the most terrible ignorance of history in pursuit of cheap jibes and unfunny jokes... And btwm "and apologies to any readers who are actually Japanese" - is a phrase that should live in infamy.

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2003, 11:02 PM:

Apologizing to the Japanese on behalf of a Westerner writing in 1936 is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, and something we should probably do more often. Have you ever seen Capra's wartime "Why We Fight" films?

(In the same period, by the way, the Navy also printed publications with information such as "The enlisted man is not intelligent, but he is very cunning and sly.")

And Avram didn't say he thought the invasion of Iraq was comparable to the invasion of Manchuria. he implied that the attitude of the US towards its foreign critics was comparable to that of early Showa Japan, which is totally unreasonable.

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2003, 11:07 PM:

Oops: For "totally unreasonable", read "not totally unreasonable."

Tom Scudder ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2003, 08:12 PM:

I'm sure that most of the lurkers are Gulf states that don't support the war but do allow use of massive basing facilites.

bryan ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2003, 04:49 AM:

hey alex, that's not seedy, it's like totally hot.

Simon ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2003, 12:55 PM:

David, Avram didn't say anything except "Found it." It was I who made the comparison: my name is Simon.

But your response to Charlie is correct: the comparison is not between the invasion of Iraq and the atrocity of Manchuria, but between the attitudes of Japan and the current US govt over criticisms of their foreign policy. Even the sentence quoted should be enough to make it obvious that Tuchman's essay is not about Manchuria, but about the Japanese attitude towards foreign criticism. The atrocity per se wasn't part of Japanese foreign policy anyway: the right to march in and dictate other countries' governments was, and that IS comparable.

And the apology to the Japanese was for Tuchman's period-style blithe declaration of what "the Japanese mind" is like. That sort of sweeping generalization about an entire nation is not something I could endorse.

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2003, 07:50 PM:

Sorry, Simon — my brain must have slipped.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2003, 04:41 PM:

Full points. Charlie B., wipe off your chin.

charlie b. ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2003, 08:27 AM:

Sorry this is a day or two aftre the last posting.

I am not convinced that you can so easily dismiss the substantive content of thought from its manner of expression. Only if the referrant of Japanese and Bush administration statements are comparable are the "mind sets" and "reactions" comparable. Otherwise, presumably, if Pres Bush is reacting by defending something that is (objectively) profoundly right, and his reaction to widespread criticism is to stand up for right even more vociferously, then it is very unreasonable to compare his tenacity to the midguided single-mindedness of the Japanese in the 1930s. In fact, what I see is an even less defensible intellectual sleight on hand: that anyone who can be compared to the Japanese in their defense of their foreign policy, must be worthy of condemnation, because the Japanese were defending something so indefensible. As to the comment on the apology, I suppose it was the word "actually" that caused me to draw in breath - the sheer afterthought-ness of it.