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Putin's harsh criticism of U.S.
February 10, 2007 4:25 PM   Subscribe

The United States has overstepped its borders in all spheres - economic, political and humanitarian, and has imposed itself on other states. That was a remark by Russian President Vladimir Putin at Munich Security Conference.
posted by elpapacito (98 comments total)

 
Yep, pretty much.
posted by 2sheets at 4:27 PM on February 10, 2007


Yawn, though.
posted by thirteenkiller at 4:28 PM on February 10, 2007


It will have no difference since most people who would not reject out of hand such an evaluation came to it a few years ago. What is required at this point is a solution to the problem, not just restating the problem over and over again ad infinitum.
posted by bhouston at 4:30 PM on February 10, 2007


Putin is a despicable little weasel.

As far as that remark, though, well, he's spot on.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:30 PM on February 10, 2007


You're way too late to change anybody's mind, Pooty-Poot. Are you gonna invade, or are you just gonna keep talking?
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:31 PM on February 10, 2007


You gonna bark all day, little doggie? Or are you gonna bite?
posted by keswick at 4:39 PM on February 10, 2007


Write to your senator!

Hahahabwahahaa!

(You can still send sealed mail in the US, right?)
posted by fire&wings at 4:44 PM on February 10, 2007


Obvs.
posted by k8t at 4:48 PM on February 10, 2007


You gonna bark all day, little doggie? Or are you gonna bite?
Are you gonna invade, or are you just gonna keep talking?

Invade? How about just turning the oil spigots down a little bit? Surely americans can use some exercise..
posted by c13 at 4:52 PM on February 10, 2007


Well, if it isn't Captain Obvious.
posted by graventy at 4:53 PM on February 10, 2007


This is scary though, because it essentially means that another of the major international players has stepped outside the bounds of diplomacy and has started being rude in public. Everyone in the international community knows all this already, saying it out loud just makes the diplomats' lives harder. So the question now becomes: in saying something so blatantly undiplomatic, has Putin's Russia decided it doesn't need the UN either?
posted by freedryk at 4:54 PM on February 10, 2007


The United States has overstepped its borders in all spheres - economic, political and humanitarian, and has imposed itself on other states," he said.

It was a formula that, he said, had led to disaster: "Local and regional wars did not get fewer, the number of people who died did not get less but increased. We see no kind of restraint - a hyper-inflated use of force."

The US has gone "from one conflict to another without achieving a fully-fledged solution to any of them", Mr Putin said.


Can anyone disagree? Oh, and provide the actual supporting examples?
posted by c13 at 4:54 PM on February 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


The US has gone "from one conflict to another without achieving a fully-fledged solution to any of them", Mr Putin said.

Absolutely true. But the same statement could probably be pretty accurately used to describe the former Soviet Union, and to a point, Russia itself today.

bhouston is not wrong. Just restating the problem over and over isn't going to fix it. But you could argue that other nations making public statements against our actions could be construed as a first step towards the rest of the world telling us to knock it the hell off.
posted by quin at 4:57 PM on February 10, 2007


Is unipolarity necessarily bad?

In 1905, the Royal Navy was superior to any two other navies, combined. By 1921, the British Empire covered a quarter of the earth's surface, and a quarter of its population. The world was far more unipolar then than it is now. Yet it's unclear that this unipolarity was harmful, or that the world would somehow have benefitted from a less powerful Britain.
posted by matthewr at 5:07 PM on February 10, 2007


But the same statement could probably be pretty accurately used to describe the former Soviet Union, and to a point, Russia itself today.

Except that the former Soviet Union did not destroy a Middle Eastern country...

Matthewr, you may want to talk to someone from the former colonies about it. See if they think it was good for them. Someone from Africa, for example..
posted by c13 at 5:11 PM on February 10, 2007


Is unipolarity necessarily bad?

If it basically makes everyone else on the globe hate the U.S., which seems to be increasingly the case, then I'd say it's a very bad thing for Americans indeed.
posted by kgasmart at 5:12 PM on February 10, 2007


Except that the former Soviet Union did not destroy a Middle Eastern country...

Only if you pedantically consider Afghanistan to be in Central Asia rather than the Middle East.
posted by matthewr at 5:15 PM on February 10, 2007


It's always the worst examples of righteousness who spew it with the most fervor. See Chavez, Ahmadinejad, and if you can get into the padded cell, Kim Jong Il.
posted by Saydur at 5:21 PM on February 10, 2007


Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the war room!
posted by isopraxis at 5:27 PM on February 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


*cough*Chechnya*cough*Afghanistan*cough*

Sorry, had a frog in my throat there for a minute. Maybe he's right, but as pots go he couldn't be blacker, and the kettle knows it.
posted by pardonyou? at 5:27 PM on February 10, 2007


In 1905, the Royal Navy was superior to any two other navies, combined. By 1921, the British Empire covered a quarter of the earth's surface, and a quarter of its population. The world was far more unipolar then than it is now. Yet it's unclear that this unipolarity was harmful

I don't know if that's such a great timespan to prove a point about unipolarity, seeing as how World War I is sitting smack in the middle of it.
posted by furiousthought at 5:30 PM on February 10, 2007


Putin is an auotocrat, possible culpable in a murder that took place in London. His actions in Chechnya have been unwarranted and brutal. He's a bad guy.

But the US, at least aspirationally, once held itself to higher ideals than "not quite as bad as murderous autocrats!" Putin's accurate statements sums up the damage we've done to stability, our reputation, and the very ideal of democracy.
posted by ibmcginty at 5:35 PM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Here's what John Howard has to say about US politics.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:35 PM on February 10, 2007


matthewr, what are your standards for measuring the "harmfulness" of unipolarity?
posted by ibmcginty at 5:36 PM on February 10, 2007


Pardonyou?, might want to check that throat out. While you're at it, you may also want to check up on some history. Russia, or FORMER Soviet Union is not the same as Soviet Union. The latter invaded Afghanistan, not the former. And Putin was in high school back then, so he definitely had nothing to do with it. As far as Chechnya goes, it has been a part of Russia for 200yrs or so.
posted by c13 at 5:36 PM on February 10, 2007


Attention! Vladimir Putin? Yeah. There's a pot and a kettle on the white courtesy phone, would like a few words with ya.

"Except that the former Soviet Union did not destroy a Middle Eastern country..."

Not recently, but only cuz they can't do that like they used to. Sure ain't for a lack of trying.

All this is, is king of the hill. All the other countries gotta keep chipping away at the superpower, cuz they all wanna be the superpower cuz they all think they can do it better. Truth is if we weren't the king of the hill, we'd be doing the same damned thing to whoever was. It's really pretty pointless.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:36 PM on February 10, 2007


In Russia, other states impose themselves on you.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:36 PM on February 10, 2007


Except that the former Soviet Union did not destroy a Middle Eastern country...

I'm guessing someone doesn't get out from under his/her rock often enough.
posted by a3matrix at 5:37 PM on February 10, 2007


The dictator calling the emperor naked.
posted by srboisvert at 5:39 PM on February 10, 2007


From a thousand baited hooks' link:
"If America is defeated in Iraq, the hope of ever getting a Palestinian settlement will be gone, there will be enormous conflict between the Shia and the Sunnis throughout the whole of the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Jordan will both be destabilised.

"Al-Qaeda will trumpet it as the greatest victory they've ever had, and that will have implications in our region because of the link ... between al-Qaeda and JI (Jemaah Islamiyah)."
No shit, asshole. That's whey people who were serious, sober and correct about this war advised us not to start it.

Whether the bad guys in Iraq have March 2008 circled is irrelevant, because they've already won. Lord knows they were heartened by the victory of their man Bushie in 2004. US incompetence and aggression are their greatest allies.

Full disclosure: I supported the war, and I was wrong.
posted by ibmcginty at 5:40 PM on February 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


("Asshole" = PM Howard, not 1000 hooks).
posted by ibmcginty at 5:42 PM on February 10, 2007


As far as Chechnya goes, it has been a part of Russia for 200yrs or so.

By brute force, frequently applied. The Chechens have never accepted being "a part of Russia," and never will. Do you also consider Tibet "a part of China" because the Chinese say so?
posted by languagehat at 5:44 PM on February 10, 2007


Knock Putin all you want (he is a sleazeball), but that's not the story here. Like freedryk noted, Putin is another voice added to growing list of leaders willing to take us on rhetorically in public. We are becoming, I think, more and more the paper tiger.

Believe or don't believe it, but when the world picks sides and the only friends on our side are England and Israel, we are gonna be hurting big time. Payback's a bitch. Pride before a fall, and all that....
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:45 PM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


All the other countries gotta keep chipping away at the superpower, cuz they all wanna be the superpower cuz they all think they can do it better. Truth is if we weren't the king of the hill, we'd be doing the same damned thing to whoever was. It's really pretty pointless.

Horseshit, ZachsMind.

THe fact is, that Clinton-era US, which, among its flaws, actually cared about and put a stop to genocide in the former Yugoslavia-- over the objections of rights-indiffirent Russia-- was a much, much better unipolarish power for world stability, economic growth, and human rights.

Do you seriuosly believe that a unipolar China, or a unipolar Russia, would be exactly the same thing as the US? Look, I hate the Bush administration's malevolenve, mendacity, lawlessness, and incompetence with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns, but the fact is that the US, for all its many flaws, at least has a sizeable number of people and foreign policy elites who care abou thuman rights.

With better leadership, the US would be infinitely better than pretty much any superpower in all the world's history.

You can't just wave your hands at this, as some did at slavery or segregation, and say, "oh, well, bad stuff happens, thus always will it be."
posted by ibmcginty at 5:50 PM on February 10, 2007


"If America is defeated in Iraq, the hope of ever getting a Palestinian settlement will be gone."

Huh?? That's a strange form of linkage if I have ever heard one. It reads like justification for indefinite human rights abuses. I'll file that sentence under "illogical things to be ignored."
posted by bhouston at 5:51 PM on February 10, 2007


Ah, putain!
posted by breezeway at 5:53 PM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing someone doesn't get out from under his/her rock often enough.

Really? Did I miss something?

But we're getting off topic. Dismissing the 101st Keyboarders at the beginning of the thread, a lot of people seem to have a problem with what Putin said. What I'm asking is a few examples of how the quote that I posted above is incorrect. Note that this is not the same as "but he did it toooo!!!!" thing, because then the conversation is meaningless, languagehat. Americans exterminated Indians and had slavery. See where this is going?

Ibmcginty, you don't become Uber-Unipolar-Super-Giga-Mega-Mother-Fucka superpower with the leadership you want or may want at a later date, but with the one you've got. I think that's why Putin and others are worried.
posted by c13 at 5:55 PM on February 10, 2007


Hey ibmcginty. Stop putting words in my mouth. I never said things would be just as bad if someone else was in charge. We're the fastest gun in the west. So everybody else has to try to outgun us, or tarnish our star, or kick shit at our horse.

If we weren't top dog, you bet your ass we'd be doing the same thing to whoever is. But we ARE top dog. I happen to agree that during Clinton's time in the hotseat, things were better all around. Shrub's a butthead. Still, Putin would be taking potshots at us no matter who was in office. That's how the game is played.

He just wouldn't have as much ammunition if we could get Shrub outta there.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:57 PM on February 10, 2007


Note that this is not the same as "but he did it toooo!!!!" thing, because then the conversation is meaningless, languagehat.

What the fuck are you talking about? I saw what I considered a misstatement and I corrected it. I don't give a rat's ass about whatever you're trying to insinuate. If the facts are wrong, the conversation is meaningless.
posted by languagehat at 6:01 PM on February 10, 2007


[Australian] Prime Minister John Howard has blasted US presidential candidate Barack Obama, saying his policy of withdrawing troops from Iraq will destabilise the entire Middle East. (from a thousand baited hooks' link, above)

Oh, yeh, Obama must be shaking in his boots after such a broadside from the big man of global politics.

But yeh, Johnny Hunt is just returning a favour, after Dubya's man in Canberra weighed in with all kinds of inappropriate comments supporting him in the last Australian federal election.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:07 PM on February 10, 2007


That's fair enough, ZM. You're right, I shouldn't've assumed you were saying verybody's all the same.

I still disagree with you about the overall meaning of Putin's speech.

Yes, Putin might be doing unhelpful stuff, as Tussia did when NATO was trying to stop the genocide in ex-Yugo, but he (1) would not be able to make a relatively good case against the US, and (2) would not have a chance of being taken seriously by other countries. I just don't think that this speech is an SSDD thing.

c13, I don't think Putin's showing "worry" here, he's trying to take any pressure off his own bad actions, domestic and international. Also, Bush is, as evidenced by his 30% approval rating, an outlier in American leaders. Of course it's theoretically possible that more bad ones will follow, and Putin will have to do some worst-case-scenario planning, but given the discrediting and unpopularity of the folks who ran and agitated for this war, it's probably not the most likely outcome. This is Putin seizing an opportunity, not expressing concern.
posted by ibmcginty at 6:07 PM on February 10, 2007


Howard: "If I were running al-Qaeda in Iraq..."

Hahahahahaha! Who the hell does he think he is? Doesn't he realise that one needs at least a modicum of charisma & vision to lead alQ, or any similar organisation? Love him or hate him, I don't think anybody would deny that OBL is a charismatic leader, not a cynical, smarmy little grub.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:17 PM on February 10, 2007


Correction: we WERE top dog. But now we have the largest debt, importing most of our oil, as well as manufactured things, and we're loosing to a bunch of uneducated peasants wearing rags, flip-flops and rusty AK-47's. Not exactly top-doggish..

I thought you were smarter, languagehat. But oh well...
Yes, Chechnya is a part of Russia, Tibet is a part of China, Vermont is a part of USA, so are the Southern States, and Quebec is a part of Canada. They will be so until recognized otherwise. That's just the consensus...

Seizing opportunity for what, ibmcginty? What terrible things has he done or is about to do? Trying to stop the wholesale and theft of Russian resources? His obligations are not the West or East, but to his own country. Too bad of ExxonMobil, but that's life. But again, how does that make his statements incorrect?
posted by c13 at 6:19 PM on February 10, 2007


Putin has a giant plank in his eye.
posted by oaf at 6:22 PM on February 10, 2007


languagehat: "If the facts are wrong, the conversation is meaningless."

What is real anyway?
posted by ZachsMind at 6:41 PM on February 10, 2007


Putin could have a giant plank stuffed up his ass, and it wouldn't make him any less correct.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:46 PM on February 10, 2007


Putin could have a giant plank stuffed up his ass, and it wouldn't make him any less correct.

It just destroys his credibility, that's all.
posted by oaf at 6:57 PM on February 10, 2007


When the Soviets came to Afganistan, it was a shambles after civil war, "Come comrads let us build schools airports stadiums and hospitals in Afganistan" the soviets were primarily humanitarian. It has all been blowback every since.
posted by hortense at 6:57 PM on February 10, 2007


Also, given that Russia has a history (running up to the present) of doing exactly what Putin is criticizing. The U.S., historically, not so much.

languagehat said it pretty well here. Don't criticize as a fundamental change what in all likelihood isn't.
posted by oaf at 7:02 PM on February 10, 2007


Yet it's unclear that this unipolarity was harmful, or that the world would somehow have benefitted from a less powerful Britain.

Hmm. Maybe we should ask India about that. The Arabs, likewise, might have some interesting opinions on the subject. China too, come to think about it.

Let's be clear here. When we say "unipolarity," what we mean is that there's one massive concentration of power in the world. The power to do what exactly? Well, to kill people. To take resources. To impose or end governments. To take away rights, land, dignity, freedom.

And you don't see anything wrong with having that power concentrated in one place?
posted by Clay201 at 7:11 PM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


It just destroys his credibility, that's all.

Or he's exceedingly familiar with what a quagmire mid-East conflicts inevitably lead to. Or it takes one to know one. Or, sure, he's a putz.

He does, however, remain correct in his assertion. Stopped clock right twice a day or not, he has said something truthful.

To paraphrase bhouston: What is required at this point is a solution to the problem, not just restating the problem calling Putin names over and over again ad infinitum.

Offer us up a solution, oaf. Focus on the problem, not the talking head.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:49 PM on February 10, 2007


Offer us up a solution, oaf.

What a ludicrous request.
posted by oaf at 8:19 PM on February 10, 2007


No more ludicrous than your sniping about Putin.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:45 PM on February 10, 2007


Wait...the president of Russia, Cold War nostalgist and former KGB senior wonk blasting the US for adventurism and "imposing ourselves on other nations".

Mr. Pot, I'd like to present Mr. Kettle. Mr. Kettle, Mr. Pot.
posted by kjs3 at 9:06 PM on February 10, 2007


i can't believe this ... the point is flying over everyone's head

here it is ... the world is gradually evolving into a situation where regional powers will eventually come up with their own spheres of influence and their own equivalents of our monroe doctrine ... which will be directed against the one power that has world wide clout, us

putin is basically staking out russia's claim to a sphere of influence in the middle east ... one that will be shared and negotiated with countries such as iran, pakistan and india

other countries, such as china, are in the process of making their own national interests known to us ... and those national interests will include non-interference in any countries in their region

right or wrong, pot or kettle have little to do with it ... this is great power realpolitik and putin's just anted up and announced he's in

the real message? ... "don't screw with iran because we will be supporting them"
posted by pyramid termite at 9:42 PM on February 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


pyramid termite wrote: "the world is gradually evolving into a situation where regional powers will eventually come up with their own spheres of influence"

I agree, although that has always been the case, its not just gradually evolving there, it is just always changing as people jocky around.

pyramid termite wrote: "the real message? ... "don't screw with iran because we will be supporting them""

Yes. What is new is Russia is standing up to the United States in a big way because its starting to look serious with regards to an attack on Iran.

Hilarious, Putin has more guts to stand up to the president that the Democratic controlled US congress and senate. Who knew?
posted by bhouston at 10:28 PM on February 10, 2007


Dammit, I can swear we've had very nearly this same conversation within the past five years. Damn near the same situation, damn near the same unthinking responses, damn near the same idiocy.

No wonder things continue to go to hell. The people who can make things change, by demanding their leaders change things or changing their leaders, continue to do nothing. Their country's ability to return to a welcome and respected seat at the world power's discussions continues to diminish.

The US leadership has created distrust, dislike, and disgust from the global community. I believe there will be economic consequences that will directly cause you harm on an individual level. You are going to see your standard of living plummet and your military imbroglios will worsen.

US citizens need to become more vocal. They need to start contacting their representatives at all levels, expressing their concerns about a need for change; and they need to talk to their friends about what needs to change and how it could be changed.

You can force a national election.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:55 PM on February 10, 2007


You can force a national election.

we'd have to overthrow the government to do that ... and that's not going to happen
posted by pyramid termite at 11:37 PM on February 10, 2007


The main retorts to Putin seem to point out Russia's hypocrisy in regards to its own psuedo-democratic institutions(oil oligarchies, free press, being a military state, silencing dissidents with radioactive poisons, etc) and its suppression of critics.

But there's another aspect of the hypocrisy to consider.
It's largely Russia's fault for making the US into the global military and economic empire that it is today. If the former USSR hadn't blown it all and imploded upon itself, but instead had kept up the global detente with the US, then the US would never have been able to have such free reign over the world.
And as long as the US had a single, identifiable opponent to ideologically rally against, the US could channel its propaganda efforts and maintain some semblance of moral superiority(no matter how ultimately false).

The vacuum created by Russia has left us to be dominated by leaders and policy advisers who appear to be entirely out of touch with reality. These leaders wield the full purse and resources of a government that has been built up over several decades to do one thing very, very well: oppose and counter any military threats anywhere on earth.

The machinery of our government is just doing what it's been designed to do, although it now appears that those engineers of the Cold War never envisioned what would happen if Russia were taken out of the equation, and the machinery were allowed to continue.

So it's not really our leaders faults either--it's the larger context in which our leaders operate. They have little to no serious military opposition anywhere else in the world, face no serious scrutiny from a commercially focused media, and can avoid the interference from an apathetic public who are too far removed from the intricate and insular culture of bureaucracy that goes on in Washington to be capable of giving a damn. In all, it's the perfect recipe for the situation we've got going on in the world right now.
Thanks Russia!
posted by archae at 12:35 AM on February 11, 2007


five fresh fish
I agree with you about the need for activism, but I'm not sure you understand the political system described in the Constitution. You can't "force a national election" without some kind of civil war, at which point the "cure" would probably be worse than the disease.
posted by Sangermaine at 1:39 AM on February 11, 2007


This is great news, guys... I thought the American Empire was on the decline! Our stock is UP! Whoo-hoo, unipolarity!
posted by DenOfSizer at 4:05 AM on February 11, 2007


Robert Gates (SecDef) responds...
posted by Atreides at 7:25 AM on February 11, 2007


Matthewr, you may want to talk to someone from the former colonies about it. See if they think it was good for them. Someone from Africa, for example..

I think a better example would be someone from the subcontinent - I have met a lot of Indians and Pakistanis with a solid appreciation for the benefits of British colonialism. As a counterexample, a lot of Afghans I have recently spoken to wish they had been colonized by the British.

"OK, aside from the roads, the aqueducts, public safety, and the education system, what have the Romans ever done for us?!"
posted by Meatbomb at 8:54 AM on February 11, 2007


I don't think the US would require a civil war to displace the current Administration.

I think it would require taking a clue-stick to your representatives at all levels. Hand-written letters, phone calls, email, sit-ins, demonstrations, sure. Actual physical violence, probably not.

I will guarantee that sitting on your asses for another two years will gain you nothing, and quite likely lose you everything.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:41 AM on February 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't think the US would require a civil war to displace the current Administration.

will you please read our constitution? ... we can -

a) wait until the 2008 election

b) attempt to impeach and convict the president without the votes necessary to do it ... (and we'll still be stuck with the vice-president)

c) amend the constitution to allow votes of no confidence in the executive, which will take much longer than the time to the next election

d) attempt to overthrow the government

those are our choices, such as they are ... b is politically impossible ... c rather unlikely ... and d is a recipe for a civil war, which, by the way, your country could get dragged into and "our" side might not win

looks like we just have to wait until the next election
posted by pyramid termite at 9:50 AM on February 11, 2007


Yeah, fff, pyramid termite is right. In all of US history, one president has failed to serve their four-year term for any reason other than death. Your goal of a national election will not be achieved.

Your dichotomy of "sit on your asses" vs. "national election" is every bit as real as the "appease Saddam/Iran" vs. "do nothing" one.
posted by ibmcginty at 9:56 AM on February 11, 2007


It's largely Russia's fault for making the US into the global military and economic empire that it is today.

Hahaha. You might as well blame the nazis and Japanese too while you're at it.
posted by pleeker at 10:09 AM on February 11, 2007


If the US does manage to survive beyond this crisis, I would respectfully suggest that a primary concern ought to be having some sort of national dialogue on the whole 'all we can do is sit here with our thumb up our ass, honest'-type thing.

When countries with far more repressive histories than your own can gather en masse in public places and successfully argue for radical change, this sort of argument sounds incredibly pathetic. And it just puts the lie to so much of the US' proudest beliefs about itself.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:12 AM on February 11, 2007


So a million-man march on Washington wouldn't have the effect of forcing an election?

A million-man sit-in at the Senate and Congressional chambers wouldn't have the effect of forcing an election?

A majority of Senate and Congress Representatives demanding elections be held wouldn't have the effect of forcing an election?

I don't believe it.

The problem is not that Bush can not be forced from office.

The problem is that the American people don't have the will to force him from office.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:40 AM on February 11, 2007


There is no such thing as "forcing an election." Stop saying that. Presidential elections happen every 4 years.
posted by ibmcginty at 12:06 PM on February 11, 2007


Ignore FFF, he's a Canadian and their reading comprehension skills are well, aboot terrible, eh?
posted by keswick at 12:52 PM on February 11, 2007


Yeah, ignore fff—he has no desire to actually understand the US, he just wants to bash it.
posted by languagehat at 12:56 PM on February 11, 2007


Actually, he mostly just wants you to get off your ass and make your government quit doing things that are putting the world at risk.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:10 PM on February 11, 2007


The problem is that the American people don't have the will to force him from office.

no, the reality is that we're not going to let our disgust and disapproval of one president overcome us to the point where we're going to overthrow our system of government

ESPECIALLY when a substantial proportion of the population would take up arms against us ...

i might remind you that not only don't you live in my country, but you don't live in a country that is still working out the aftermath of a bloody civil war ... and that americans who know anything about our history are going to think twice before they start another

there is no provision in our constitution to "force" an election ... you are in effect telling us to overthrow our government

and i say, no, we don't have a good enough reason to

so sorry to disappoint you ... maybe you can rent "red dawn" from a local video store, put a cbc sticker on your tv and pretend you're watching the news

WOLVERINES!!
posted by pyramid termite at 2:06 PM on February 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


So a million-man march on Washington wouldn't have the effect of forcing an election?

That's correct. In a conflict between the wishes of a million-man march and the constitution, the constitution wins.

A million-man sit-in at the Senate and Congressional chambers wouldn't have the effect of forcing an election?

That's correct. In a conflict between the wishes of a million-man sit-in and the constitution, the constitution wins.

A majority of Senate and Congress Representatives demanding elections be held wouldn't have the effect of forcing an election?

That's correct. Congress lacks the authority to call an election.

I don't believe it.

Truly your ignorance of basic principles of constitutional government in the US cannot be vanquished.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:42 PM on February 11, 2007


Seriously, fff, you're approaching reklaw territory here.
Here's something new to think about - For the rest of your MetaFilter life people will link to this thread as evidence that you wouldn't know the truth if it walked up, introduced itself, gave you its business card, shared some stories about its summer vacation, and then kicked you in the nuts. You would stand there, cranky and confused as the truth pummeled your balls, repeating each time, "Sorry.... Who are you again?"

You and the truth have a very problematic relationship. We'll try to spend less time getting you two together.
posted by ibmcginty at 4:38 PM on February 11, 2007


A madman is in the Presidency, and you have no way to have your elected representatives or judicial system come to bear on him. They must bow to the Constitution, whereas he has evidently no such burden. He is Untouchable, save for outright civil war.

That seems to be what you're telling me. We can quibble about "madman," but the rest holds true.

That is a very alarming idea. Especially following two elections in which the election was not won fairly, regardless whether the fraud changed the outcome.

I am very surprised so many of you take it so calmly.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:39 PM on February 11, 2007


Actually, looking at the constitution, Congress could set a presidential election date before November 2008. What Congress can't do is force that person into office before 20 January 2009.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:49 PM on February 11, 2007


At least I have company. bshort & fffish, loons of a feather.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:50 PM on February 11, 2007


Sorry, that's bshock, not bshort. Bbugger!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:51 PM on February 11, 2007


I am very surprised so many of you take it so calmly.

that's because we don't have polar bears wandering around our towns and our houses won't melt during a one month summer

god, i love this country!
posted by pyramid termite at 5:56 PM on February 11, 2007


fff: bshock was recommending impeachment, which is not only desirable but constitutional. Your proposal for a putsch is neither. But carry on with showcasing your Righteous Indignation; we're all impressed.
posted by languagehat at 5:57 PM on February 11, 2007


Metafilter: showcasing your Righteous Indignation
posted by Meatbomb at 6:23 PM on February 11, 2007


And now it's time for our Showcase Showdown...
posted by breezeway at 6:56 PM on February 11, 2007


I'm so glad you're impressed. That's ever so much better than actually doing anything as the Administration trundles you straight toward a disasterous war.

The USA is not going to come out a winner if it continues down its present path.

If you people don't start doing something about it, you are going to deserve the consequences that arise.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:08 PM on February 11, 2007


If you people don't start doing something about it,

I've been cross-breeding smurfs and cavity creeps in my bedroom closet for a while now to raise a mighty army. Soon they'll be ready to deliver a righteous smackdown upon Bush and his warmonger buddies... or at least upon their teeth.

Will that do? Did I mention that they have laser beams attached to their heads? And that they're very bad-tempered?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:25 PM on February 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Actually, he mostly just wants you to get off your ass and make your government quit doing things that are putting the world at risk.

And he wants us to use magic!

fff, would you even begin to countenance a non-Canadain ordering you about, telling you exactly what you should do about your goverenment, regardless of the laws of your country? Or, do you just like criticising Amerikkka?
posted by Snyder at 8:37 PM on February 11, 2007


It's interesting. The American response here seems to be "yes, Bush is a devil. But he's our devil."

In a way, it reminds me of the response of Jewish communities to early Greek military incursions. The Greeks very quickly learnt that if you wanted to achieve a devastating win against the Jews, you attacked on the Sabbath. Observant Jews would not fight, holding the strictures of the Sabbath to be more holy than the right to self-defense, allowing their easy slaughter.

In the same way, the Constitution is not a suicide pact. It's an immensely valuable document - but it's not practical to worship it while you are being royally fucked over.

I don't believe that America is at the point of requiring a putch. The legality and transperancy of the 2008 elections will be decisive. All is not lost, yet. But you are getting awfully close.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 10:08 PM on February 11, 2007


ROU_X, we've discussed this and I thought we had established that cross-bred smurfs are a a failed plan. I mean, I know we went through the trials and all, and I know they performed well in tight spaces, but I thought we had come to grips with the fact that they only work for point insertions. They can't carry guns, they suck as explosive experts, and only one one in five has the ability to dose someone with a hypodermic like we talked about.

And don't get me started about your 'cavity creeps' plan. Plaque? That is your secret weapon? Give me a break. I mean weaponized aerosol gingivitis would be a concept worth pursuing, but this? Weak tea, my friend.

Ok, you suggested lasers, so I know that you still have some competence. But let's discuss my plan.

Nothing silly, just practical and competent soldiers. Armed with real weapons that they can use. Sure, the rest of the world may see them as just penguins with thumbs, but I defy you to find a more loyal and ready-to-kill weapons system. Sure, they look like birds in tuxs but with the money I've spent to get them genetically modified, they are also unstoppable killing machines.

And yes, as is right and just, they use lasers. I mean, it would be an abomination if they didn't. Right?
posted by quin at 11:06 PM on February 11, 2007


The American response here seems to be "yes, Bush is a devil. But he's our devil."

more like "you don't blow up the house because you have a rat in it"
posted by pyramid termite at 9:37 AM on February 12, 2007


What an echo chamber of useless assholes. Every time we pass a significant marker in the US' democratic decline, the line for the last straw shifts a little bit and everybody says, "well...the next marker we pass, that'll be the rubicon". Frog in hotplate analogies aside, don't you see what's happening?

It really seems as though we'll eventually reach a point where it's clear to even the dumbest that the US is now for all intents and purposes a sort of corporate-facist state. And then the echo chamber will say, "well, what did you expect us to do?"

Bora Horza's got it - the Constitution is the working rules of your system, not a suicide pact. If the rules aren't working, they need to be changed. Seems to me - BTW I'm Canadian, so some of you may just want to stick your fingers in your ears and go "nah nah nah nah nah nah" - the present situation is clear evidence of a problem with your system.

For me, the rubicon was the second time Bush 2 got elected. That was a clear indication that a majority of voters in the US are apparently just fine with flushing the world down the toilet and telling everybody who is not marching in step to go to hell.

So be it. Maybe nothing can be done. But you can't have it both ways - you can't come on here & say, "these actions are not the country's actions, but the actions of a roomful of people who I don't like" (roughly paraphrasing what is said on MeFi alot about the Bush administration). These are the actions of your government, which is elected by your friends and neighbours.

Every time you pay taxes, even for a chocolate bar, you are supporting the American war machine.

There's lots of things citizens can do short of armed insurrection. In fact, in almost any other country in the world, armed insurrection wouldn't even be a consideration (not too many citizens are as armed to the teeth as Americans are).

So what do other countries do when they need to change their systems? You're not going to like the answer couch potatoes - they actually meet with other citizens (this requires a lack of fear concerning other people), organize, and act for change.

This can be as simple as gathering en masse with a *real* determination to wait out an unresponsive government. It could be a general strike. It could be a mass shutting off of televisions, a pursuit of alternative media with something other to say than shut up and sit down and be afraid of everything outside your door. It could be passive resistance.

At the very least, it could convey to the world that there is a lack of support for the present government. Guess what the kind of messages on this thread convey?

And BTW if you look through fff's profile, you'll see that he has consistently tried to encourage US citizens to exercise their options vis a vis a progressive government. That's about it. He's no enemy of your country, nor is he an idiot.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:03 AM on February 12, 2007


It could be a mass shutting off of televisions, a pursuit of alternative media with something other to say than shut up and sit down and be afraid of everything outside your door. It could be passive resistance.

it could even be an invasion of canada

you can just fuck off, as whatever we do, YOU aren't going to have to live with the consequences like we are ... and quite bluntly, your country has as much of a problem with quasi corporate fascism as we do, so why don't you clean up your own yard first and show us how it's done?

it could be a mass shutting off of televisions, a pursuit of alternative media, or a refusal to buy coffee and donuts at tim horton's ... whatever

i don't see canadians rushing to overthrow THEIR government over corporate control of their society


At the very least, it could convey to the world that there is a lack of support for the present government.


gee, and i thought that's what we did with last year's election

Guess what the kind of messages on this thread convey?

that canadians can be self-righteous, ignorant morons, too? ... that talk is real cheap, especially on a web board, especially when you don't even live in the country you're talking about?

you want a revolution, go start one in your own country
posted by pyramid termite at 10:50 AM on February 12, 2007


My country isn't the one that's going around starting wars in the mid-East.

So you can just blow me.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:19 PM on February 12, 2007


Furthermore, as whatever we do, YOU aren't going to have to live with the consequences like we are, is simply untrue, as several of the issues your country is fucking up are going to have dire global consequences.

You jackasses are going to create problems that we all are going to have to bear.

Do whatever stupid crap you want within the borders of your own country. When you start taking your escapades to other countries everyone gets to say something about it.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:23 PM on February 12, 2007


so what are you gonna do about it, fff? INVADE US? lolololol
posted by keswick at 4:31 PM on February 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Talk about missing the point. Wow.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:45 PM on February 12, 2007


what point? ... the total ignorance of our system of government was bad enough ... but now you have to add to it a total ignorance of history, a naive faith in the value of mobocracy and a truly pathetic and video game insistence on INSTANT GRATIFICATION NOW!!

total ignorance of history - 40 years ago, we had another bad, unpopular war ... at which time, there were many demonstrations, many times over ... these demonstrations continued for years and years

the last american troops left vietnam in 1975

so much for the effectiveness of sit ins and demonstrations ... anyone with more familiarity with history beyond what you get in oliver stone's hallucinations and zap comics could have told you that

a naive faith in the value of mobocracy - name me one country ... one damn country the size of the u s where "people power" ever overthrew a government effectively without a bloody mess resulting from it or the country being splintered ... and no, the fall of the soviet union doesn't count

a truly pathetic and video game insistence on INSTANT GRATIFICATION NOW!! - social and political change takes time, especially when the majority that is for it is only a few million more than the minority that is adamantly against it ... you would think that people in a country like canada, with your history of having to accommodate the francophone minority would understand that this is a difficult and frustrating process ... but rather than try to understand our government, our difficulties, our long struggle with ourselves and above all, the maturity and determination that is necessary to get any real change done, you're just going to throw a temper tantrum, pout and cry, and stamp your little feet because you want our government over thrown right now, right now, right now and we're no good until we do it for you

i'll tell you something ... we have two things to worry about in this country ... one, for sure, is bush and his blind, bloodyminded supporters ... the other is dumb, immature, politically obsessed, hotheaded, expresso coffeehouse radicals like you who are full of hot air and empty of understanding of anything beyond what their mammalian brains tell them to hate

you aren't really any different than the republicans in your mental state

grow the hell up, will you?

(and goodbye!)
posted by pyramid termite at 12:45 AM on February 13, 2007


Just so long as you're actively attempting to do something about the situation, at the very least by contacting your representatives and letting them know how you feel about what they're doing in your name, I really don't give two short strokes what names you call me.

Your country is on the brink of creating a very bad war.

You can goddamn bet I'm going to speak up.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:41 AM on February 13, 2007


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