Where is the rest of the world?

  1. This is sort of a spin off of another thread, but I am getting so tired of people pointing out how America screwed up on Iraq, screwed up in Afghanistan, is screwing up in N Korea and Liberia.... and on and on and on....

    My question is: Where is God's name are the rest of us? As a Canadian I am embarassed at our lack of influence and leadership on the world stage and wonder about the other countries as well. If the US screws everything up, why aren't any other countries stepping in to do it right? Where is France, Germany, Japan, China, Russia, Britain, Canada, Australia, ETC?! Why have we come to completely rely on the US to solve the world's problems? Why are we unwilling to take on the responsibility to act internationally? And if we all are opposed to the US, why don't we act on it? We definitely outnumber them....
  2. 98 Comments

  3. by   roxannekkb
    I believe that Japan's constitution forbids them from sending troops to other countries. They are supposed to send a few troops to Iraq, but it has been met with controversy in Japan, and the troops are not supposed to be engaged in any fighting. This prohibition is of course, from the aftermath of WW II.

    France has troops in Africa, quite a few I think, in the Ivory Coast or somewhere in the area, and in the Congo. They also have troops in Kosovo. Germany has troops in Afghanistan and Kosovo. Britain has troops everywhere, but interestingly, withdrew 35,000 troops from Iraq. Considering their role in the war, it is odd that they removed almost all of their soldiers--rather prematurely, one would say. Afghanistan has troops from about 20 different countries there.

    Several other countries, I believe Sweden, Ireland and Belgium also have troops in the Congo, along with several African nations. The UN is supposed to be sending a peacekeeping force to Liberia, which includes soldiers from African nations as well. Russia does or did have troops in Kosovo, and they are busy fighting in Chechnya--another quagmire.

    India said that it would send troops to Iraq for peacekeeping, but not under US control. They will only act under a UN mandate. They are very hesitant to act without it, because of a previous experience in Sri Lanka.

    So other countries do have troops all over the world and in many of the hot spots. Maybe they can do more, I don't know. But most of them do not have the exorbitant military budget that we have. Our military spending is larger than that of the entire world put together.

    Other countries have armies that are generally smaller and budgets are smaller. Other nations also do not have the wealth of the U.S. and can't pour endless money into military aid for the rest of the world. Another thing to note is that the US foreign aid budget is a lot smaller than the amount given by most of the European countries. So they are helping other nations, albeit not always by soldiers but in other ways.
    Last edit by roxannekkb on Aug 2, '03
  4. by   fergus51
    We have troops in Afghanistan as well, but it isn't the force of our entire army, and I doubt all those countries have no one else to rely on other than the US. The US military spending is larger than other countries, which makes us rely on them, but that is exactly my point. Why are we asking them to constantly pay for and run military operations everywhere? Smaller, poorer countries don't lose money in peacekeeping operations, they make money because they are paid for their troops through the UN, and many countries can afford more military spending, but chose not to. I doubt all of Russia or China's armies are completely busy right now or that countries like Denmark, Italy or Greece can't afford a few hundred troops for say Liberia.... It's looking like Nigeria is finally going to step up there, but after how many bodies were piled in front of the US embassy? I mean you can't honestly think the rest of the entire world couldn't have coughed up 1500 soldiers for that a few weeks ago. As pitiful as we have become we aren't that bad yet.

    I am also talking about political influence. Why are we always putting our problems to the US, like North Korea. Japan, Russia and China are all sitting next door and South Korea should have some play. If the US is just going to screw it up, why aren't other countries taking a more active role. Or how about Israel?

    Most British troops left Iraq after the invasion and Australia's military was out before SH's daughters and then criticiaing the US for not doing enough post war planning!
    Last edit by fergus51 on Aug 2, '03
  5. by   roxannekkb
    Well, the US and the former Soviet Union loved interfering in other nation's affairs, so maybe it's just a continuing trend! The Russians have been doing it for centuries, the US has been doing it for the better part of the past hundred years.

    The US has willingly taken on the role of world policeman. And now with Russia more in the background, there is no more balance of power. The US is the power. So the attitude of the US may be part of it.

    That said, I do wish the rest of the world would take care of their own problems, and force the US to diminish this role. US actions do not usually benefit the nation they are interfering with, and we can better spend our money solving problems within the US, rather than on building bigger and better bombs.

    Much, but not all, of Africa's problems do stem from continued interference by Western nations, and the fact that industrialized nations do sell them weapons and prop up corrupt dictators. And also, do not care if the aid that is sent ends up in the Swiss bank account of the corrupt leader rather than with the people. Idi Amin was one example. I don't know what the solution is to Africa's problems, but the civil wars continue, the ethnic strife continues, starvation continues and so on.
  6. by   maureeno
    the US seems to want vassals
    not partners

    since the Cold War the US logic is 'self-interest means domination'
    "American prosperity depends upon a world order imposed by the United States."

    the Bush doctrine:
    ["America will act against emerging threats before they are fully formed."]
    since last September the 'National Security Strategy of the USA
    is truely frightening to much of the world...

    I recall the words of a 1995 song by Jonatha Brooke:
    'It's the American way, the new world order
    We hold these truths to be self-evident
    In the American day, you must give and I shall take,
    And I will tell you what is moral and what's just
    Because I want, because I will, because I can, so will I kill.'

    as long as we act like bullies
    getting our way with force, threats and bribes
    refusing to honor international agreements
    and claiming the right to set all the rules
    other sovereign nations of the earth do well to be wary
  7. by   fergus51
    Again, I agree with you guys! US involvement is often not beneficial. I just don't believe the rest of us are as powerless as we make ourselves out to be. Some of our problems in Canada stem from colonial rule (endless referendums in Quebec, native treaty rights), but there comes a time when you need to do something about it yourself.

    I see so much suffering created by our interference, but I also see so little being done by those countries' own leaders. Amin, Arafat, Hussein, Suharto, Taylor.... Whatever the role the big bad US plays, it doesn't change the fact that these "leaders" betrayed their own people. The US didn't put machetes in the hands of rebels in Sierra Leonne. The complaints about the US seem to be a great way to deflect their own failings and keep the rest of us content to do nothing to help ourselves.
    Last edit by fergus51 on Aug 2, '03
  8. by   roxannekkb
    I agree that the rest of the world is not powerless. I truly wish they would use that power. I wish they would solve their own problems. But one problem is increased globalization, which entwines everyone's fortunes together.

    Yes, the leaders you mentioned are corrupt, the worst of the worse. No one is denying that they betray their own people. But while the US doesn't put machetes in their hands, they do put guns and other potent weapons to help the corrupt governments retain power. They send advisors on how to put down uprisings and keep the populations in line. The rebel uprisings are often in response to the brutality of the "legitimate" government. And often, both sides are supplied with mega-weapons, so the bloodshed just continues full force.

    The US and other nations have been supplying these countries with weapons for decades. And helping to keep these leaders in power, despite revolts by the population. This was most evident in Central America during the 70s and 80s.

    Multinational corporations also add to it, in that they exploit these nations, line the pockets of corrupt rulers with gold, while the population suffers. A prime example is Nigeria. The oil companies are destroying the environment of the people who live in the Delta, which is their livlihood. They have seen virtually none of the wealth extracted from their land, but instead, are seeing their farmland and fishing water polluted and destroyed. There has recently been a great deal of violence in that area. The oil companies also pay enormous bribes to the government so that they can be left alone there. One company that has paid enormous bribes is Halliburton, of Cheney fame.

    So it's a combination of facts, and I think most of these countries would eventually stabilize if the larger powers left them alone. Many of the problems would vanish if there were true efforts made to eradicate poverty. Case in point again, Nigeria. The nation has fabulous wealth, yet dire poverty. One of the most corrupt in the world. Infrastructure in shambles, yet none of the oil money is being put into the nation. Whose fault? Well, Nigeria's govt. And also the oil companies.

    Anyway, the US is not responsible for the mess much of the world is in. But we surely aren't helping matters, either by refusing to abide by the Kyoto treaty and insisting that global warming isn't a problem, to selling weapons to crazy leaders, or to our new policy of pre-emptive attacks.
  9. by   maureeno
    even diamonds fund confict....
    Angola, Congo, Liberia
    last month the UN lifted the diamond ban on Sierra Leone..
    rebels sell diamonds, buy weapons

    in the Congo there are rich mineral deposits of rare
    used in electronics from phones to missiles
    international corporations can import this from rebels in Congo through Rwanda
  10. by   gwenith
    Where is Australia?

    At present busy in our own backyard. We are a small country population wise but still considered a "major player" in the Oceana region. At present we are involved in Bouganville, Timor and most recently Solomon Islands. We are trying to help "stabilise" those countires.

    But Roxanne Bouganville was a classic example of teh exploitation you were talking about. The Island was virtually strip mined for the gold but the people saw only the loss of paradise. They did not get rich.

    Poverty is when too much money ends up in the hands of too few people and this is what has always fueled confilict and war.
  11. by   fergus51
    Not to be argumentative, but is that Australia's whole army? They obviously had some more troops or they wouldn't have been involved in Iraq in the first place.

    And again, I am not just talking about military force. I am talking about diplomacy and humanitarian aid. You don't see people in Africa putting bodies in front of the Australian embassy, it's always the US. Whenever anything happens, the first country called upon is the US. While I don't think Australia alone could act with the same resources as the US, I do think Australia, and other smaller countries (like Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Brasil, Russia, Japan, Finland, Sweden, Norway, New Zealand, Ireland, etc.) could. So instead of always falling back on the US (and then complaining they do everything wrong) why not look into us doing for ourselves?

    And Roxanne, I understand the argument you are making, but that's an argument of deflection. It's making excuses. "Sure, I betrayed my people, but it's the US's fault, not mine". The devil can only act with willing participants.
  12. by   gwenith
    Would you believe it almost IS the entire Army? We had to reassign and restructure to get what we could over to Iraq we don't have that big an Army and it is not that well equipped. Our "job" in Iraq was intelligence/scouting anyway which is why we pulled out so early.

    I think the reason you do not hear about the other armies and conflict is the media tends to concentrate on America. I have posted this before and if you have already followed up please forgive me but if you haven't try these links.


    These are almost guaranteed to be "Packer and Murdoch" free In other words they are non-commercial sites for news and therefore are less likely to be influenced by commercial factors such as local interest. The last link is from SBS and since SBS is set up to cater to the non English members of Australian society it's global news is VERY globally orientated.
  13. by   Mkue
    Nothing the United States does will ever appear successful to many unless other countries at least try to do half of what the US has done. For many countries it's too much of a political and financial risk and I understand that.

    But until other countries walk in our diplomatic shoes or army boots they will never know the trouble we've seen.
  14. by   fergus51
    But again Gwenith, what about the non-military issues? What about diplomacy and humanitarian aid? What about increased actions at the UN and increasing contributions to peacekeeping missions in a financial sense, so that those countries who do have troops can go? How about political wrangling and diplomacy? How about an Australian "Road Map"? How about requiring ethical practices from our own industries? How about debt relief? How about requiring stringent environment laws from industry and the population (without complaining that the US doesn't)? How about welcoming true refugees from other countries? There are a LOT of ways to contribute to the rest of the world.

    I do tend to see a fair bit of international news, as Canadian news focuses on it more than the American news does. What I don't see are the roles of the "middle powers". Canada used to consider itself a middle power, meaning that although it wasn't a superpower, it was able to play a unique role when it came to negotiating and finding compromise between groups, as well as providing charitable relief to poorer countries. It has done some good in issues like land mine bans, and the establishment of an international court, but our companies aren't any more ethical than American ones, and our political influence has become weak.

    I certainly don't mean to imply that everything is Australia's responsibility. I mean to imply that we ALL have a responsibility to the rest of the world. I just don't buy the argument that the entire rest of the world doesn't have the power of one country. We have become like children always looking to someone else to handle things. We often criticize, rightly so, but what alternatives do we come up with or act on?
    Last edit by fergus51 on Aug 3, '03