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how important is nato

superlurker

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Re: how important is nato
« Reply #30 on: May 30, 2017, 09:21:01 PM »
Yes because the debt that comes with being a "superpower" is worth it... Having 'strategic' locations around the world is great when you want to be the policemen of the world. But guess what? It hasn't worked. To say it's "naive" to be against an interventionist policy that we literally cannot afford is the definition of short-sighted.

The world has been without a major war for about 70 years, so something has been working. There are different reasons for that, but maintaining a stable international order is on the top of the list. Dissolving alliances is the opposite of stability.

As for not being able to afford it, it would be far more expensive for the U.S. to abdicate its preeminent position. The effect would be a loss of value for the dollar, which would see the standard of living of ordinary Americans fall while the government would be in a financial crisis. Right now, there's a feedback cycle -- the dollar retains its value because other nations value U.S. stability and predictability. If that gets lost, the dollar would lose its value, which would cause imports to the U.S. to dry up, including foreign direct investments. Products would get more expensive for ordinary Americans as prices would go up, relative wealth would go down, and government revenue would fall accordingly.

Idiots like Trump will just point to single numbers without seeing the big picture or understanding the main connections in the international system. Maintaining that stability costs money, but not even remotely in excess of what it pays back to do so.

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America is safe. No one is going to attack the mainland, you literally have to belong to a rogue group or act solo because no nation (except MAYBE North Korea) would put themselves on a suicide path like that. We have one of the best geographical locations in the world. Two oceans and only bordering two countries, both of which are allies. On top of that, we have the most advanced technology in the world and most importantly enough nukes to destroy the entire planet. There's a reason why the Soviet Union, who was inferior to us in essentially every single way, was considered an existential threat. Once you have nukes you're basically good. Combine that with a good economy, a good military, and the geographic situation we have and we have nothing to worry about.

That's a bit of a misguided notion. Should the U.S. do that, a lot of other nations would likely feel the need to arm up. Germany, Japan, China, India, Pakistan -- there would be arms races all over the place, which would lead to more wars overall, and some countries would inevitably get nuclear weapons that do not have them today, which would dramatically increase the risk of them being used. And the more countries have those weapons, the less secure the U.S. gets too.

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NATO is dangerous. What caused World War I, the war that started all modern wars? Drawing of alliances and stupid treaties that said "if anyone attacks you we attack them."

The causes of WWI were far more complex than that. The most important long-term factor was actually the growth of Germany and the effect that had on the European balance of power. The inability to account for that rise led to instability and conflict, which caused the alliances to go to war. The key issue wasn't the alliance system per se, but a lack of stability and both sides thinking they would win.

Conversely, there was no hot war between the alliances during the Cold War because both knew they'd just wipe each other out with nuclear weapons. And one of the reasons that World War II started was U.S. isolationism. If the U.S. had joined the League of Nations and had military strength to match its economic strength, backed by a proper dedication to maintaining the world order through the 1920s and 30s, that likely would have averted WWII to some degree or other.

superlurker

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Re: how important is nato
« Reply #31 on: May 30, 2017, 09:32:12 PM »
Well I'm 100% for cutting back on our funding for NATO. But leaving all together seems shortsighted.

U.S. funding for NATO is minuscule, a relative drop in a bucket. The U.S. pays about 22% of NATO operational costs, Germany pays around 14%. Obviously, relative to the GDP of each country, Germany pays a lot more money to NATO than the U.S. does.

However, the U.S. spends a lot more on its *own* defense, both in absolute and relative terms, than other NATO countries do. That's what the argument is about. It's not like Germany and other NATO countries owe back payments to NATO like the U.S. does to, say, the UN. It's just that the other NATO countries benefit disproportionately from being in an alliance with the U.S. But that just tends to be the result of being the biggest single power in the group by far.

ProjectCornDog

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Re: how important is nato
« Reply #32 on: May 30, 2017, 09:37:44 PM »
Yes because the debt that comes with being a "superpower" is worth it... Having 'strategic' locations around the world is great when you want to be the policemen of the world. But guess what? It hasn't worked. To say it's "naive" to be against an interventionist policy that we literally cannot afford is the definition of short-sighted.

The world has been without a major war for about 70 years, so something has been working. There are different reasons for that, but maintaining a stable international order is on the top of the list. Dissolving alliances is the opposite of stability.

Yeah it's called the "you mess with a nuclear power you are not only risking the lives of your countrymen but the world" reality we now live in. There is no instance in the last 60 years where America would have been attacked directly but a country chose not to because NATO exists. World War I (which is THE reason why World War 2 happened) happened because of the drawing of alliances with strings attached (anyone attacks you we attack them rule). One bullet was all it took.

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As for not being able to afford it, it would be far more expensive for the U.S. to abdicate its preeminent position. The effect would be a loss of value for the dollar, which would see the standard of living of ordinary Americans fall while the government would be in a financial crisis. Right now, there's a feedback cycle -- the dollar retains its value because other nations value U.S. stability and predictability. If that gets lost, the dollar would lose its value, which would cause imports to the U.S. to dry up, including foreign direct investments. Products would get more expensive for ordinary Americans as prices would go up, relative wealth would go down, and government revenue would fall accordingly.

That is such baseless conjecture.

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Idiots like Trump will just point to single numbers without seeing the big picture or understanding the main connections in the international system. Maintaining that stability costs money, but not even remotely in excess of what it pays back to do so.

What kind of idiots build an economic system around creating and maintaining alliances when you could trade with all nations?

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The causes of WWI were far more complex than that. The most important long-term factor was actually the growth of Germany and the effect that had on the European balance of power. The inability to account for that rise led to instability and conflict, which caused the alliances to go to war. The key issue wasn't the alliance system per se, but a lack of stability and both sides thinking they would win.

It was a combination of nationalism, an urge of countrymen to go to war, and alliances that stated "we will attack anyone who attacks you." America's intervention in the war (something we should never have done) tipped the scales more-so then it organically would have been and thus the allied powers were able to impose such a harsh treaty on Germany (Treaty of Versailles). Hitler would never have rose to power if it wasn't for the fact that treaty absolutely fucked that country.

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Conversely, there was no hot war between the alliances during the Cold War because both knew they'd just wipe each other out with nuclear weapons. And one of the reasons that World War II started was U.S. isolationism.

Wrong. If America never intervened in World War I, World War II would never have happened.

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If the U.S. had joined the League of Nations and had military strength to match its economic strength, backed by a proper dedication to maintaining the world order through the 1920s and 30s, that likely would have averted WWII to some degree or other.

Yeah, Nazi Germany would have only been around for possibly several more decades. Great.

superlurker

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Re: how important is nato
« Reply #33 on: May 31, 2017, 02:29:23 AM »
Yeah it's called the "you mess with a nuclear power you are not only risking the lives of your countrymen but the world" reality we now live in. There is no instance in the last 60 years where America would have been attacked directly but a country chose not to because NATO exists. World War I (which is THE reason why World War 2 happened) happened because of the drawing of alliances with strings attached (anyone attacks you we attack them rule). One bullet was all it took.

No, but there are certainly cases where one could imagine other countries going to war with each other but it not happening because of NATO. And the likely consequence of a war in Europe, or European countries being occupied by the Soviet Union or Russia, or things like that would also be negative for the U.S. in various ways.

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That is such baseless conjecture.

No, that is explaining the simple fact that the U.S. going isolationist and pulling back militarily is likely to carry costs that aren't covered by the simple-minded notion that doing so will save money on the defense budget on a 1-for-1 basis. There are tremendous economic benefits for the U.S. to the current international system, and changing that system is likely to prove pretty bad for the U.S. Trump is seriously wrong about who is exploiting who in terms of trade: The U.S. is getting real stuff in exchange for virtual money, and all the talk about 1960s-style factory jobs is just smoke and mirror that hides the fact that the real issue is distributional.

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What kind of idiots build an economic system around creating and maintaining alliances when you could trade with all nations?

There isn't a contradiction of terms there. The point is that maintaining the stability of the international system fosters trade. NATO helps maintain that stability, which helps keep trade going. It doesn't mean trade is limited to those allies, though they are important trading partners overall.

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It was a combination of nationalism, an urge of countrymen to go to war, and alliances that stated "we will attack anyone who attacks you." America's intervention in the war (something we should never have done) tipped the scales more-so then it organically would have been and thus the allied powers were able to impose such a harsh treaty on Germany (Treaty of Versailles). Hitler would never have rose to power if it wasn't for the fact that treaty absolutely fucked that country.

Nationalism, colonial rivalry, military-industrial complexes, autocratic governments in some countries, short-sighted thinking, the change in relative power not being reflected in international status, not understanding the new mode of warfare and thinking it would be winnable, random assassinations and fun with dominoes in the alliance system.

There's an essential difference here, though. The alliances prior to WWI were sort of balanced and there weren't any real WMDs yet. NATO today isn't balanced against anything, and during the Cold War, both sides knew they couldn't truly win a war because of nukes. On the other hand, if NATO hadn't existed, every European country would have gotten nuclear weapons to protect themselves, which would have drastically increased the chance of them being used at some point. The U.S. worked hard to prevent other countries from getting nukes; some U.S. ones were stationed in West Germany to make sure the Germans didn't get them, for instance.

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Wrong. If America never intervened in World War I, World War II would never have happened.

What I stated wasn't wrong; you're just trying to argue a double counterfactual. On its own, it's entirely clear that the absence of a strong U.S. presence internationally during the interwar years definitely made things easier for the aspiring dictatorships around the globe. Now, if you want to argue that WWII should never have happened because the U.S. intervening in WWI to begin with led to a terrible peace treaty, that may or may not be the case. The Germans won on the East Front, but they would probably have lost on the West Front due to the toll of the British blockade. U.S. intervention didn't necessarily change the final outcome, but it did help accelerate it.

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Yeah, Nazi Germany would have only been around for possibly several more decades. Great.

Which by itself wouldn't necessarily be a bad outcome compared to what actually did happen. Nazi Germany wasn't overall a bad place to live for most of its citizens compared to the Soviet Union, for instance. Of course, the scary counterfactual there would be the Nazis developing nuclear weapons along with their edge in rocketry and then deciding to launch a still more devastating war in the late 1940s or in the 1950s. But that's just idle speculation with absolutely no relevance to the question at hand here; whether NATO today remains important.

And the answer to that is unequivocally yes. The answer is also that the notion of NATO being some money pit for the U.S. was brought to you by the same genius that thinks building a wall will be an economic panacea and who would probably start seriously talking about bombing Latveria if heard about how bad Dr. Doom is to the people there. Or maybe he'd just want to meet him to discuss a team-up, like with Putin and Erdogan.

Simply thinking about NATO in monetary terms is very short-sighted (besides the fact that Trump has been misrepresenting what exactly NATO "payments" are about) and the long-term economic consequences of pulling back from NATO are unpredictable, but a much less stable international system would be very likely, with other issues flowing from that.

What the world needs less of isn't alliances in general or NATO in particular, but ideological fundamentalism, authoritarianism, militarism and nuclear weapons.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2017, 02:37:39 AM by superlurker »

Pillow Biter

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Re: how important is nato
« Reply #34 on: May 31, 2017, 03:04:41 AM »
As a broader question on the same point, do you feel that America actually gets more out of its position as an active world leader than it provides? That really is the seminal question. At one point, the answer was a no-brainer: yes. Preventing Soviet domination was ultimately worth a lot to he US, and was totally worth it, even if it was worth proportionately more to many free riders who paid proportionately less.

But now the answer is less clear. It's hard to decide how much the dollar being the world reserve currency is worth to the US. And even harder to decide how much of the dollar's preeminence depends on the US being actively engaged as the 'World's Policeman' and such. And it is hard to figure out exactly how much lop-sided trade deals really hurt the US, or even how lop-sided the deals really are, as global supply chains have become sufficiently complex that it has become quite difficult to properly classify resulting products in terms of import/export. But it should be noted that many 'bad' trade deals were designed with serious security considerations in mind. In many ways, for example, I believe the US knew they were going to get screwed on trade with Japan, Korea, and West Germany when they set up trade deals with them way back then. But that was part of the plan--the US badly wanted to develop and re-develop those countries, and very quickly, as bulwarks against communism.

So just saying that sometimes these kinds of calculations get real complex.

ProjectCornDog

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Re: how important is nato
« Reply #35 on: May 31, 2017, 12:31:18 PM »
Yeah it's called the "you mess with a nuclear power you are not only risking the lives of your countrymen but the world" reality we now live in. There is no instance in the last 60 years where America would have been attacked directly but a country chose not to because NATO exists. World War I (which is THE reason why World War 2 happened) happened because of the drawing of alliances with strings attached (anyone attacks you we attack them rule). One bullet was all it took.

No, but there are certainly cases where one could imagine other countries going to war with each other but it not happening because of NATO. And the likely consequence of a war in Europe, or European countries being occupied by the Soviet Union or Russia, or things like that would also be negative for the U.S. in various ways.

Aight, provide an example of why a country would think it's beneficial to attack a nuclear power.

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No, that is explaining the simple fact that the U.S. going isolationist

If you don't understand the difference between isolation and non-intervention then it is virtually impossible to predict what would happen by ending our intervention.

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There are tremendous economic benefits for the U.S. to the current international system, and changing that system is likely to prove pretty bad for the U.S. Trump is seriously wrong about who is exploiting who in terms of trade:

^An example of not understanding the difference between non-intervention and isolation in action.

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There's an essential difference here, though. The alliances prior to WWI were sort of balanced and there weren't any real WMDs yet. NATO today isn't balanced against anything, and during the Cold War, both sides knew they couldn't truly win a war because of nukes. On the other hand, if NATO hadn't existed, every European country would have gotten nuclear weapons to protect themselves, which would have drastically increased the chance of them being used at some point. The U.S. worked hard to prevent other countries from getting nukes; some U.S. ones were stationed in West Germany to make sure the Germans didn't get them, for instance.

Correct me if I'm wrong but it sounds like you're defending the many atrocities both sides committed during the Cold War.

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Which by itself wouldn't necessarily be a bad outcome compared to what actually did happen. Nazi Germany wasn't overall a bad place to live for most of its citizens compared to the Soviet Union, for instance. Of course, the scary counterfactual there would be the Nazis developing nuclear weapons along with their edge in rocketry and then deciding to launch a still more devastating war in the late 1940s or in the 1950s. But that's just idle speculation with absolutely no relevance to the question at hand here; whether NATO today remains important.

Yeah a nuclear powered long-lasting Nazi Germany would have been the preferable outcome..

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And the answer to that is unequivocally yes. The answer is also that the notion of NATO being some money pit for the U.S. was brought to you by the same genius that thinks building a wall will be an economic panacea and who would probably start seriously talking about bombing Latveria if heard about how bad Dr. Doom is to the people there.

Are you that ignorant of other philosophies that you think being anti-NATO started with Trump?

Not BAMF

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Re: how important is nato
« Reply #36 on: May 31, 2017, 12:35:52 PM »
So nukes are a deterrent for war but NATO is dangerous.

Ha! This is the best post of this thread.

XerxesTWD

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Re: how important is nato
« Reply #37 on: May 31, 2017, 08:26:21 PM »
CornDog's complete inability to understand geopolitical climates, how international alliances work, and the relationship between macro and microeconomics is astounding. This thread has taken an interesting turn.

ProjectCornDog

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Re: how important is nato
« Reply #38 on: May 31, 2017, 08:58:53 PM »
CornDog's complete inability to understand geopolitical climates, how international alliances work, and the relationship between macro and microeconomics is astounding. This thread has taken an interesting turn.

Do you often come into the debate forum with assertions without actual points or only when it involves issues beyond your understanding?

XerxesTWD

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Re: how important is nato
« Reply #39 on: May 31, 2017, 09:09:41 PM »
CornDog's complete inability to understand geopolitical climates, how international alliances work, and the relationship between macro and microeconomics is astounding. This thread has taken an interesting turn.


Do you often come into the debate forum with assertions without actual points or only when it involves issues beyond your understanding?
You've gone out of your way to prove you don't know how anything works. I thought you just didn't know how Libertarianism works, but it seems to encompass everything else as well.


There's so much completely wrong with your arguments but you can't wrap your head around it.

ProjectCornDog

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Re: how important is nato
« Reply #40 on: May 31, 2017, 09:16:11 PM »
Then why don't you attempt thinking and respond? Must be easy if I'm 100% wrong.

XerxesTWD

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Re: how important is nato
« Reply #41 on: May 31, 2017, 09:22:06 PM »
Then why don't you attempt thinking and respond? Must be easy if I'm 100% wrong.
superlurker went point by point and completely tore apart your assertions already. If he misses one, I'll jump in. For now I'm just offering biting, irreverent commentary.

ProjectCornDog

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Re: how important is nato
« Reply #42 on: May 31, 2017, 09:24:03 PM »
How can you say that when he doesn't even understand the difference between isolationism and non-interventionism? The two are literally polar opposites. How can you have accurately express a point of view when you fail to understand the basic elements?

NeoGreenLantern

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Re: how important is nato
« Reply #43 on: May 31, 2017, 09:32:54 PM »
They are polar opposite? How can one isolate themselves while intervening?

XerxesTWD

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Re: how important is nato
« Reply #44 on: May 31, 2017, 09:35:51 PM »
Isolationism and non-interventionism have a large amount of overlap when you look at them in the context of the modern global relationships. We can't just stop intervening at this point. The world is a very different place than it was in the 1930's. We're all connected, some information is available almost instantly. If we abruptly stop intervening, somebody else will start. Eventually they'll show up in some alliance and kick the shit out of us for meddling for so long. We backed ourselves into a corner.

That's what Team America was all about.

Our strength in every category is built on our diplomatic, military and economic alliances. They're firmly intertwined. If we moved to non-interventionism, we'd likely end up leapfrogged economically by China, India, Germany and Japan. It wouldn't be immediate, but it would most likely happen because we get priority over other countries because of what we bring to the table. We bring a lot more to the table than "We'll buy your shit."


Just like any other aspect of political theory, you can't look at it like a list of qualifications in a vacuum. Reality doesn't work that way. You have to look at the reality of our situation and the situations of nations we are already allied with.