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 Henry Kissinger - a Liberal Republican?

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regmelocco



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1PostSubject: Henry Kissinger - a Liberal Republican?   Mon Dec 14, 2015 2:00 pm

Hi,

Accidentally I stumbled upon a review of Henry Kissinger's book "World Order" and now I am reading it. It is an interesting read to all that are interested in history and politics.
I expected a lot of ideology in this book and I was pleasantly surprised by a text that is mostly realistic and full of historical facts. I did find an unpleasantly ideological part about his support for Bush Jr. - he never answers the question many people had about the Iraq War concerning the casus belli.
The Guardian's review says this: "That changing perspective explains why the book accords with liberal sensitivities in a way that would have seemed unlikely in the 1970s." Guardian book review
His keyword "Westphalian" for a historical concept referring to a balance of power among nation states may be a bit overstated but the way he uses it isn't. Actually, Hungary didn't come out well from the Westphalian agreement as it was used to invoke Russian troops to help the Austrian Emperor to suppress a genuinely Democratic and Liberal revolution and War for Freedom (1848-49). (However, it could be argued that the eventual demise of the Austrian Empire contributed greatly to the events culminating in the Holocaust.) Apart from backing this general idea of democracy and humanism (with which I agree), HK poses more questions than answers so far in what I read and offers many historical speculations from a far more realistic viewpoint. Which is a pleasant surprise. He makes it clear that the US has a sort of missionary role (he does not use this word though) about the message of democracy as the founders stated (and the Constitution) and quotes ample US historical material to support his thesis that this part seems to be a constant which for various reasons Europeans do not usually grasp.

I read the parts about the Ottoman Empire and HK seems to miss or omit the traditional argument that opium was a big factor in the demise of that once great Islamic Empire. He makes very valid points about the history of Islam and compare it to Western Christianity.

Glancing into this book I started to wonder if the reality of the two main factors of European immigration in the US in the early years - religious fanatics and people searching for more freedom than found in the Europe of the times - will find a common denominator in the US Constitution, particularly in view of the upcoming elections. In other words, whatever remains real in these elections will be what the two polarized sides agree on, namely the ideas behind the US Constitution... Which along with the historical American position towards spreading the Western sense of individual freedom, checks and balances, separation of Church and state, equality and so on is already problematic for many other societies to accept (Radical Islam and the neo-Soviet Russian state among others), though IMHO no one can spare these stages of development no matter if they are Pravoslavic or Sunni or whatever else... My experience with the changing philosophy of individuals in many Eastern societies is that as they rely upon the same technologies as the West, they increasingly demand the same freedoms - e.g. the Indian and the Chinese middle class. So I agree with Kissinger as far as these ideas of freedom are infectious...

Luckily he does not make the same arguments as Samuel Huntington (which would really deflate any argument about universality in a clashing vision of cultural relativism).
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2PostSubject: Re: Henry Kissinger - a Liberal Republican?   Mon Dec 14, 2015 7:30 pm

reg, #1, re: "Accidentally I stumbled upon a review of Henry Kissinger's book "World Order" and now I am reading it. It is an interesting read to all that are interested in history and politics.
I expected a lot of ideology in this book and I was pleasantly surprised by a text that is mostly realistic and full of historical facts. I did find an unpleasantly ideological part about his support for Bush Jr. - he never answers the question many people had about the Iraq War concerning the casus belli."

I also now have a pdf of Kissinger's "World Order" book. I suspect this thread will end up getting very long as you and I (and hopefully other people) discuss it here.

re: "The Guardian's review says this: 'That changing perspective explains why the book accords with liberal sensitivities in a way that would have seemed unlikely in the 1970s.' [named hyperlink] Guardian book review"

I just did a quick read-through of the Guardian reiew, and it seems to agree with my own conclusions about Kissinger that I formed after both he and Nixon were out of office, namely that both of them were indeed "liberal Republicans" of the same stripe as Dwight Eisenhower and David Rockefellar. The only difference is that neither Eisenhower nor Rockefellar were wever seriously challenged from the left, but of course the whole Sixties movement dumped on Nixon and Kissinger the whole time they were in positions of power.

Plus, here's a link to a site that presents a long review of it: "The World According to Kissinger" by Angelo D. Codevilla, which looks to me like it also may be useful in this discussion, though I haven't yet had time to do much reading in it:
https://www.claremont.org/download_pdf.php?file_name=7295Codevilla.pdf

re: "His [Kissinger's] keyword 'Westphalian' for a historical concept referring to a balance of power among nation states may be a bit overstated but the way he uses it isn't. Actually, Hungary didn't come out well from the Westphalian agreement as it was used to invoke Russian troops to help the Austrian Emperor to suppress a genuinely Democratic and Liberal revolution and War for Freedom (1848-49). (However, it could be argued that the eventual demise of the Austrian Empire contributed greatly to the events culminating in the Holocaust.) Apart from backing this general idea of democracy and humanism (with which I agree), HK poses more questions than answers so far in what I read and offers many historical speculations from a far more realistic viewpoint. Which is a pleasant surprise. He makes it clear that the US has a sort of missionary role (he does not use this word though) about the message of democracy as the founders stated (and the Constitution) and quotes ample US historical material to support his thesis that this part seems to be a constant which for various reasons Europeans do not usually grasp."

The reason it's easier for a modern American to form such an opinion than for a modern European is that the USA started out as the most liberal large nation in the world but has gradually drifted to the right as time went on, but the general, long-term drift in Europe has been to the left. (With both major and minor temporary reactionary episodes in various countries from time to time.)

re: "I read the parts about the Ottoman Empire and HK seems to miss or omit the traditional argument that opium was a big factor in the demise of that once great Islamic Empire. He makes very valid points about the history of Islam and compare it to Western Christianity."

Yeah, he missed this, but so did many other political historians, even though most of them did recognize the negative role that opium played in the political evolution of both Indian and China. And have more comments on Kissinger's comparison of the historical evolution of Islam and Christianity after I read them. I suspect that a Jewish American, he probably over-estimated the influence of theocratic Christianity over Western civilization and under-estimated the influence of theocratic Islamic fundamentalism. (Most of the time Kissinger was an advisor to important Republican officials, political extremism in the Muslim world was motivated more by Soviet-style Marxism than by Islamic fundamentalism. Plus most of the Islamic leaders at that time seemed reasonably moderate in their religious beliefs.)

re: "Glancing into this book I started to wonder if the reality of the two main factors of European immigration in the US in the early years - religious fanatics and people searching for more freedom than found in the Europe of the times - will find a common denominator in the US Constitution, particularly in view of the upcoming elections. In other words, whatever remains real in these elections will be what the two polarized sides agree on, namely the ideas behind the US Constitution... Which along with the historical American position towards spreading the Western sense of individual freedom, checks and balances, separation of Church and state, equality and so on is already problematic for many other societies to accept (Radical Islam and the neo-Soviet Russian state among others), though IMHO no one can spare these stages of development no matter if they are Pravoslavic or Sunni or whatever else... My experience with the changing philosophy of individuals in many Eastern societies is that as they rely upon the same technologies as the West, they increasingly demand the same freedoms - e.g. the Indian and the Chinese middle class. So I agree with Kissinger as far as these ideas of freedom are infectious..."

I assume that Kissinger was never willing to face the harsh reality that during the whole period in the late 1700's and early to middle 1800's when white male Americans in positions of power were endorsing all these borrowed liberal ideas (they were actually codified in Britain during the 17th and early 18th centuries), the vast majority of American lived within a much harsher politico-economic reality. The native Americans were still being massacred so whites could settle on their land ... which was usually sold cheap in huge blocks to rich men who then resold it piecemeal to the less affluent, making themselves and the politicans they owned ever richer. Agricultural production in the South was still done mostly by African slaves or by white share-croppers who were also efectively slaves on the economic level, though they theoretically had the same legal rights as rich people had. And as the North entered the Industrial Revolution, most of the white ordinary laborers were little more than wage slaves, and treated much like the black slaves in the South.

re: "Luckily he does not make the same arguments as Samuel Huntington (which would really deflate any argument about universality in a clashing vision of cultural relativism)."

Yeah, I assume he was familiar with Huntington's theories, which you and I have discussed on a number of different boards over the years, but ignored them for the reason you just gave. And I assume it would be a good idea to bring them into this discussion. For the uninitiated, here's a link that give's a brief introduction to them: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clash_of_Civilizations
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3PostSubject: Re: Henry Kissinger - a Liberal Republican?   Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:21 pm

I would like to address two points.

1. Do you think “democracy export” is a failed idea relating to the Western world? Is there a rift in the US about this idea? Do Republicans mostly promote it but sometimes for the wrong reasons? Or hypocritically? Right now we have a bitter debate with transparency and corruption in this part of Europe – as well as the changing role of women in the modern world. Some hold the opinion that if this is a different society, we should follow different norms – Russia is Russia and will never be Holland, Hungary is Hungary, and ideals of democracy and the equality of women will only work for Westerners.
2. Do you really think Europe is still swinging to the left and the US is swinging to the right? I have an opposite experience in a totally fragmented Europe of the 2010’s. It’s a powder keg economically. Internal colonization, disparities of income, safety, education and mobility – a quasi-colonial existence of traditionally rebellious and warlike areas.
Let’s digress on the first point first.
The Codeville article (SR provided a critical link above) has many valid points. However, he tendentiously eschews – or ignores or opposes – the possibility Kissinger raises that there could actually be some sort of message of personal freedom, equality and various styles of democracy in America (and other countries usually allied to the US in the modern age) that various governments and foundations and private people have tried to spread in other lands across the modern age. Whereas I would even count some hippie influences and phenomena like Timothy Leary or Esalen Institute here (though Kissinger may not back any of that) but that is also a vehicle of exporting equality and self-discovery.
I also know the hypocrisy of foreign policy organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy promoting some military and business purposes and remaining silent on other things as long as business is as usual (which sometimes includes glossing over massacres of a few hundred thousand people here and there, and I was greatly impressed by the work of John Perkins “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” but we can safely say that the hippie movement and rock music along with consciousness changing took Europe by a storm and at the time it was perceived by many people that it came from America. As a left thinker, I have seen the other side of similar influences: that in American history, initially only landowner white males were accorded the privilege of the initial democracy, yet I think there remained ideals carried over there from the time of the Enlightenment. Some of these “American ideals” were better put into practice in a few countries in Western and Norther Europe.
Revolutionary France, as we know, formed an alliance with the US, but later people gradually reversed democracy through terror to a plutocracy complete with the first modern secret police under Napoleon. My astrology partly explains that Plutonian turn. A rule was over, Ketu and Saturn were in Leo (Simha), just like around the time when Obama was elected, but since it was not Uranus that was facing this in their time as it did in our time, but Pluto, in a few years it got subverted. Now it was Uranus, the planet of new things and social change and revolutions so I still think a slow or sudden revolution will happen or is happening. France later returned to “la république” through many swings of history to Enlightenment ideas though no doubt many layers of French society remained closed.
Now some of these ideas were actually popular among hippies and rebels against the establishment, I learned. I was quite surprised as a very young man when meeting “heads” who told me they thought the US constitution was an important milestone. In retrospect I understand. I am interested in your assessment which may be different. No doubt the Civil Rights Movement tried to implement equality stated in various laws but not practiced in the everyday life of racist society mirrored in the works like Roll My Thunder (which was obligatory reading for my second daughter last term). You may better be able to tell, but my impression is that these ideas, while under constant attack and undermining, still survived in some form in some parts of America, perhaps partly due to the fact that the US was simply far too large and unruly to implement the tyrannies that came in various guises in Europe from Napoleon to Hitler and Stalin. How can you do the house-to-house searches like the Nazis and Stalinists did? You can do that in Guatemala which is a small country.
Also, as some pointed out (I read a book about this ages ago) although most Native peoples had a tragic history, there are many elements in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights said to be modeled after the Great Iroquois Confederacy rather than France or Ancient Greek democracy. While I was also stricken by the tragic fate of Native Americans and no doubt I learned more about that aspect while staying in America, I also observed that many people I thought “white” later brought up that they’d had some NA ancestry.
Jung maintained that conqueror peoples are often taken over by the spirit of those conquered - and he brings the example of how Rome conquered the decaying Greek city states and then adopted everything Greek - religion, language teaching, forms of rhythmic verse and even fashion. Perhaps it is not futile to say that there is a similar collective phenomenon in the modern US with respect to the Native spirit (I know tribal elders dislike this whole idea), and I recall Native teachers who foresaw the hippies as white people with long hair who respect and adopt some of our ways...
There is a popular saying that (white and modern) America was founded by two kinds of people: people seeking much more freedom and independence than was given in Europe, and religious maniacs who were persecuted for extreme practices (and if they weren’t in Utah for example, they would have been persecuted elsewhere too). Kissinger also makes this claim though with different words.
Perhaps the zeal in spreading "freedom and democracy" comes from the religious part though and the content comes more from the freedom contingent.
The other point I would debate is that Europe is moving to the Left, while America is moving to the Right. This was certainly true for the time I lived in the US but I question the validity of this statement for these latest years. Particularly in recent years since the economic crisis of 2008. It looks like the US was recovering better than Europe as far as working industries go. Plus as far as security goes - the center of trouble now is the Middle East and North Africa, and the masses seeking immigration to Europe are giving another cause to the European Right.
The economy is more and more demanding some intelligence and literacy so more and more masses are left out. The South of Europe and the East were basically left out of the recovery, while London gained along with some core states. The argument would be tempting that it is those countries that did better that were richer to start out with, and used to have colonies - but this isn't true of Germany (which only had a marginal amount of colonies for a limited time), Norway (OK, discovery of oil), places like Finland, Sweden and Denmark. There you could raise the point that the Northern "Socialist" model was contributing to later prosperity and the statistics seem to reflect this.
However, there is a widespread polarization on the entire European continent. The demise of the Soviet state (a 5th stage theocracy) was seriously mishandled by the West – or more exactly, the so-called neo-liberal economy (or market fundamentalism) which led to a widespread succession of tragedies in Russia and after a brief delirium of the increased freedom of the press etc. in Eastern Europe, it led to a succession of mafia states.
Presently all across Europe, far right nationalists are aided and abetted by Putin's mafia state coupled with rogue right-wing US advisers like Arthur Finkelstein and allied with the most objectionable British bankers and refinancers as well. Front National does not even hide their ties and the money given by the ultra-nationalist White Power leadership of Russia. Wikileaks found out about the Bulgarian connection. The Golden Dawn of Greece, Jobbik of Hungary, UKIP in Britain are all allied to this reactionary force, while there are also many sites, phone lines etc. established in the Czech Republic recently. Poland elected a right-wing party. A lot of these parties think in conspiracies and revise historical facts, such as propagating the lie that Soviet troops did not commit the Katyn massacre of Polish officers during WW2.
This right-wing force has awakened. It puts one nation against another. Demonize the West and the US particularly (though they make ample use of US Internet laws so they frequently have servers and providers across the ocean). Funny, that they are attacking the single most religious country of the West with a sizeable right-wing portion while they are claiming to defend nationalism and Christianity. The Holocaust is an invention of the Jews according to most of these groups. Various styles of Radical Islam are OK but they differ on who passes their ideological muster. At op-ed news. Rabid articles are published for Russia and any dissenting opinion is labeled as stupid MSM propaganda. Both intel experts across Europe and Hungarian left thinkers say that there is a serious info war going on now since the invasion of Crimea. They got hold of most antiestablishment sites in the US and Canada, including globalresearch.ca and rense – ATS is fighting back but they can’t deal with flooding. Thousands of paid Russian agents flood all threads and that is the largest conspiracy site. They took over, I don’t think Kissinger gets the implications of all this, and he is unsure about how the internet affects the propaganda world anyway. I’m telling you it is a war now already, taking advantage of the disenchanted masses in Europe, conspiracy theorists and so on.
It certainly surpasses anything Goebbels has ever attempted. Government bloggers are paid little and sometime they are expected to flood sites for 10-12 hours every day but at least they have a reasonable pay for a Russian person to support his family in or outside Russia. I read the confessions of a guy posted in a Western city by the FSB who finally opted out – he was hating his job, spreading propaganda he himself did not believe in. Business people are approached for cultural events, invited to Russia, offered Russian women all to make propaganda successful.
Another force that is very serious in Europe IMHO is the mafias of Italy. Berlusconi was allowed to reign very long, and during that rule (but independently from his person), the three main Italian mafias (Cosa Nostra and 'Ndrangheta particularly) got a serious share of the cocaine trade of South America, handling a more and more sizable portion of the US market after disagreements of providers crept up there (and in Latin America), plus naturally they handle all cocaine in Europe (while other hard drugs come through Russia), and they are also into selling arms, and on one occasion at least even buying nuclear waste and letting it sink in the Mediterranean. According to sociologists they would have disappeared in the latest decades except for this move but now they are more dangerous than ever. Since they got very powerful with New World business, hundreds of times their size they are not only a dangerous model, they have a growing amount of power in Europe, which is not primarily political. I read a book by a German journalist who spent decades researching it (and she was miraculously allowed to publish unharmed, so confident are the South Italian parties). The German police, due to their hypermodern, Northern laws, actually did not have the legal means to prevent any mafia action because of a philosophical-legal problem: Italian police remains aware of mafiosi and the German one cannot gather data on people who have not yet committed crimes that could be proven... This was proven amply in Munich in 2002 when mafiosi blew up and entire pizzeria. The Italians were warning Germany but they replied they could not do anything. After the event, the Italians warned that they suspected who was behind it (a 'Ndrangheta leader) but the Germans said there was no proof. Now if you look at the particulars of that incident, and the German laws about data protection, any decent amount of organized crime can and will escape the attention of German police and intelligence...
I read security experts that said in their professional estimation the US was reacting with increased surveillance and sharing of data among agencies to 911, while the bombings of Madrid and London did not pass the threshold of EU services. Plus as I said elsewhere, as of recent, East-West data sharing is not mutual within Europe.
I don't know the truth but I suspect that the mafia models plus Southern and Eastern poverty creep into Europe, and it is a serious problem, while Germany, Holland etc. are such powerhouses now economically that they allow this. Left-wing economists point out that the Euro zone and the EU free trade agreements are good for Germany because everyone must buy their products but it isn't good for Greece, Italy, Hungary and a number of poorer states. Plus Germany trades a lot with Russia and is unwilling to commit to military acts due to its WW2 history. It isn't isolated like Japan though. I don't think Germany itself is threatened by serious problems in the near future but certainly the rest of Southern and Eastern Europe is.
Europe allowed the Balkan Wars in the very next country. It was a total failure, and the US intervened later than it could have. Plus the bombing of Belgrade didn't help anything except formally remove Milosevic - it did not stop the horrors which already destroyed parts of Yugoslavia. Some countries are somewhat past that trauma now, but nowhere near the Yugoslav level. Kosovo is a complete failure. The state is run by a small group of drug mafiosi, public services have all but stopped, and tens of thousands flee to any workable country. It was unwise to take the side of ethnic Albanians so completely back then, and it was also unwise to forbid them to join Albania. Clinton's policy, while it produced some good results, was founded upon a total lack of knowledge of local conditions. Albanians are Muslims, as are some Bosnians, and fundamentalism is already coming to them in so far as they are many times not really welcome in the West since the economic crisis...
The US and the West showed far more wisdom in handling the Ukrainian story but Putin is far more dangerous.
Back to Kissinger and the US and the critical link I read, it seems to be a constant debate between isolationists and interventionists in America.
The cyber issue: when the Turks shot down the Russian plane a few weeks ago, I read with astonishment that Russia already uses a different system parallel to GPS but not identical. They are planning to take significant steps to isolate their portion of the world wide web too, but this may be an area where no one can actually say it if they succeed. As you said elsewhere a few months ago if there is a serious war, cyber separation could be part of it for a while...
It seems at this point to me that it is more likely that they cannot separate nor can China or they would have tried already. The issue is more about language: Putin is confident because he dominates Russian-speaking people through his media organs, and he employs hundreds of thousands of people abroad to spread propaganda. But more and more Russians speak and write English and learn various tricks of hacking... so the truth cannot be hidden for long.
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4PostSubject: Re: Henry Kissinger - a Liberal Republican?   Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:51 pm

reg, #3, re: "I would like to address two points. 1. Do you think 'democracy export' is a failed idea relating to the Western world? Is there a rift in the US about this idea? Do Republicans mostly promote it but sometimes for the wrong reasons? Or hypocritically? Right now we have a bitter debate with transparency and corruption in this part of Europe – as well as the changing role of women in the modern world. Some hold the opinion that if this is a different society, we should follow different norms – Russia is Russia and will never be Holland, Hungary is Hungary, and ideals of democracy and the equality of women will only work for Westerners."

I agree with everything you just said, and it's important to remember that the US federal government has never been very democratic. Since early in the Twentieth century, the US has pushed the export of big-business capitalism, advanced technology that we have a high degree of control over, and popular entertainment that's heavily infiltrated with pro-American propaganda. And ironically, our media have always called all three of these examples of "freedom and democracy".

re: "2. Do you really think Europe is still swinging to the left and the US is swinging to the right? I have an opposite experience in a totally fragmented Europe of the 2010’s. It’s a powder keg economically. Internal colonization, disparities of income, safety, education and mobility – a quasi-colonial existence of traditionally rebellious and warlike areas.
Let’s digress on the first point first."

Right now, I'm beginning to think that the USA is going to take a major swing to the left over the next twenty years, as it did during the 30's and 40's, and it will probably carry Europe and much of the rest of the world with it. I can even imagine both Russia and China undergoing "invisible revolutions" that swing their economies to the left first, with cultural swings in the same direction following as more and more of their ordinary citizens get access to computers and the Internet.

re: "The Codeville article (SR provided a critical link above) has many valid points. However, he tendentiously eschews – or ignores or opposes – the possibility Kissinger raises that there could actually be some sort of message of personal freedom, equality and various styles of democracy in America (and other countries usually allied to the US in the modern age) that various governments and foundations and private people have tried to spread in other lands across the modern age. Whereas I would even count some hippie influences and phenomena like Timothy Leary or Esalen Institute here (though Kissinger may not back any of that) but that is also a vehicle of exporting equality and self-discovery."

It looks to me like Kissiner and lots of other moderate conservatives got taken in by the extreme right's claims that "winning the war on drugs" would undo a lot of the cultural changes of the Sixties and Seventies that they didn't like while preserving those they were comfortable with. What actually happened was exactly the opposite: not only was that war unwinnable, just fighting it injected a lot negativity into the whole cultural revolution mix.

re: "I also know the hypocrisy of foreign policy organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy promoting some military and business purposes and remaining silent on other things as long as business is as usual (which sometimes includes glossing over massacres of a few hundred thousand people here and there, and I was greatly impressed by the work of John Perkins 'Confessions of an Economic Hitman' but we can safely say that the hippie movement and rock music along with consciousness changing took Europe by a storm and at the time it was perceived by many people that it came from America. As a left thinker, I have seen the other side of similar influences: that in American history, initially only landowner white males were accorded the privilege of the initial democracy, yet I think there remained ideals carried over there from the time of the Enlightenment. Some of these 'American ideals' were better put into practice in a few countries in Western and Northern Europe."

I was in France and Germany for a couple of years in the early Sixties when I was in the US Army, and the European counterculture of the time seemed influenced more by the UK than by the USA. And I also noticed that many of the progressive-minded British and American people who were in Europe at the time I was there were being socially radicalized by the Dutch and Scandinavians they met. I also remember that back in the Fifties, these same countries received world-wide publicity about gays being tolerated, sex-changes allowed, etc.

re: "Revolutionary France, as we know, formed an alliance with the US, but later people gradually reversed democracy through terror to a plutocracy complete with the first modern secret police under Napoleon. My astrology partly explains that Plutonian turn. A rule was over, Ketu and Saturn were in Leo (Simha), just like around the time when Obama was elected, but since it was not Uranus that was facing this in their time as it did in our time, but Pluto, in a few years it got subverted. Now it was Uranus, the planet of new things and social change and revolutions so I still think a slow or sudden revolution will happen or is happening. France later returned to “la république” through many swings of history to Enlightenment ideas though no doubt many layers of French society remained closed.
Now some of these ideas were actually popular among hippies and rebels against the establishment, I learned. I was quite surprised as a very young man when meeting 'heads' who told me they thought the US constitution was an important milestone. In retrospect I understand. I am interested in your assessment which may be different. No doubt the Civil Rights Movement tried to implement equality stated in various laws but not practiced in the everyday life of racist society mirrored in the works like Roll My Thunder (which was obligatory reading for my second daughter last term). You may better be able to tell, but my impression is that these ideas, while under constant attack and undermining, still survived in some form in some parts of America, perhaps partly due to the fact that the US was simply far too large and unruly to implement the tyrannies that came in various guises in Europe from Napoleon to Hitler and Stalin. How can you do the house-to-house searches like the Nazis and Stalinists did? You can do that in Guatemala which is a small country.
Also, as some pointed out (I read a book about this ages ago) although most Native peoples had a tragic history, there are many elements in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights said to be modeled after the Great Iroquois Confederacy rather than France or Ancient Greek democracy. While I was also stricken by the tragic fate of Native Americans and no doubt I learned more about that aspect while staying in America, I also observed that many people I thought “white” later brought up that they’d had some NA ancestry."

I'm actually in general agreement with what you just said. However, it looks like you missed one important factor that allowed Americans of all social and economic classes more personal freedom than was ever in possilbe Europe: namely the power that local governments had to make laws that favored minorities of all kinds, not just racial and ethnic, but cultural as well. In other words, most counties and small towns had areas where gambling and prostitution were either legal or ignored. Most big cities had neighborhoods where almost anything was allowed, and so on.

re: "Jung maintained that conqueror peoples are often taken over by the spirit of those conquered - and he brings the example of how Rome conquered the decaying Greek city states and then adopted everything Greek - religion, language teaching, forms of rhythmic verse and even fashion. Perhaps it is not futile to say that there is a similar collective phenomenon in the modern US with respect to the Native spirit (I know tribal elders dislike this whole idea), and I recall Native teachers who foresaw the hippies as white people with long hair who respect and adopt some of our ways..."

From my reading of history, Rome was founded at the height of the Greek Empire, and one of the first things they did was send delegations to Athens, Sparta, and other Greek city states to get instructions for how to put together a successful new city state of their own. And from then on, no Roman was considered "well educated" without being able to speak, read, and write in Greek. Our modern expression, "It's all Greek to me" was derived from the inability of working-class Romans to understand much of what their "betters" conversed about.

re: "There is a popular saying that (white and modern) America was founded by two kinds of people: people seeking much more freedom and independence than was given in Europe, and religious maniacs who were persecuted for extreme practices (and if they weren’t in Utah for example, they would have been persecuted elsewhere too). Kissinger also makes this claim though with different words. Perhaps the zeal in spreading 'freedom and democracy' comes from the religious part though and the content comes more from the freedom contingent."

Actually, I think the majority of Europeans came to America in colonial times and afterwards for mostly economic reasons, whether they were poor people seeking an environment where there was a perpetual labor shortage, or people with a little money who could buy land and have real hope of becoming what passed for aristocrats. The reason deeply religious groups get so much publicity is because they usually controlled whole towns and the surrounding rural areas even when they were actually a small minority of the total population.

re: "The other point I would debate is that Europe is moving to the Left, while America is moving to the Right. This was certainly true for the time I lived in the US but I question the validity of this statement for these latest years. Particularly in recent years since the economic crisis of 2008. It looks like the US was recovering better than Europe as far as working industries go. Plus as far as security goes - the center of trouble now is the Middle East and North Africa, and the masses seeking immigration to Europe are giving another cause to the European Right. The economy is more and more demanding some intelligence and literacy so more and more masses are left out. The South of Europe and the East were basically left out of the recovery, while London gained along with some core states. The argument would be tempting that it is those countries that did better that were richer to start out with, and used to have colonies - but this isn't true of Germany (which only had a marginal amount of colonies for a limited time), Norway (OK, discovery of oil), places like Finland, Sweden and Denmark. There you could raise the point that the Northern 'Socialist model was contributing to later prosperity and the statistics seem to reflect this. However, there is a widespread polarization on the entire European continent. The demise of the Soviet state (a 5th stage theocracy) was seriously mishandled by the West – or more exactly, the so-called neo-liberal economy (or market fundamentalism) which led to a widespread succession of tragedies in Russia and after a brief delirium of the increased freedom of the press etc. in Eastern Europe, it led to a succession of mafia states.
Presently all across Europe, far right nationalists are aided and abetted by Putin's mafia state coupled with rogue right-wing US advisers like Arthur Finkelstein and allied with the most objectionable British bankers and refinancers as well. Front National does not even hide their ties and the money given by the ultra-nationalist White Power leadership of Russia. Wikileaks found out about the Bulgarian connection. The Golden Dawn of Greece, Jobbik of Hungary, UKIP in Britain are all allied to this reactionary force, while there are also many sites, phone lines etc. established in the Czech Republic recently. Poland elected a right-wing party. A lot of these parties think in conspiracies and revise historical facts, such as propagating the lie that Soviet troops did not commit the Katyn massacre of Polish officers during WW2. This right-wing force has awakened. It puts one nation against another. Demonize the West and the US particularly (though they make ample use of US Internet laws so they frequently have servers and providers across the ocean). Funny, that they are attacking the single most religious country of the West with a sizeable right-wing portion while they are claiming to defend nationalism and Christianity. The Holocaust is an invention of the Jews according to most of these groups. Various styles of Radical Islam are OK but they differ on who passes their ideological muster. At op-ed news. Rabid articles are published for Russia and any dissenting opinion is labeled as stupid MSM propaganda. Both intel experts across Europe and Hungarian left thinkers say that there is a serious info war going on now since the invasion of Crimea. They got hold of most antiestablishment sites in the US and Canada, including globalresearch.ca and rense – ATS is fighting back but they can’t deal with flooding. Thousands of paid Russian agents flood all threads and that is the largest conspiracy site. They took over, I don’t think Kissinger gets the implications of all this, and he is unsure about how the internet affects the propaganda world anyway. I’m telling you it is a war now already, taking advantage of the disenchanted masses in Europe, conspiracy theorists and so on. It certainly surpasses anything Goebbels has ever attempted. Government bloggers are paid little and sometime they are expected to flood sites for 10-12 hours every day but at least they have a reasonable pay for a Russian person to support his family in or outside Russia. I read the confessions of a guy posted in a Western city by the FSB who finally opted out – he was hating his job, spreading propaganda he himself did not believe in. Business people are approached for cultural events, invited to Russia, offered Russian women all to make propaganda successful. Another force that is very serious in Europe IMHO is the mafias of Italy. Berlusconi was allowed to reign very long, and during that rule (but independently from his person), the three main Italian mafias (Cosa Nostra and 'Ndrangheta particularly) got a serious share of the cocaine trade of South America, handling a more and more sizable portion of the US market after disagreements of providers crept up there (and in Latin America), plus naturally they handle all cocaine in Europe (while other hard drugs come through Russia), and they are also into selling arms, and on one occasion at least even buying nuclear waste and letting it sink in the Mediterranean. According to sociologists they would have disappeared in the latest decades except for this move but now they are more dangerous than ever. Since they got very powerful with New World business, hundreds of times their size they are not only a dangerous model, they have a growing amount of power in Europe, which is not primarily political. I read a book by a German journalist who spent decades researching it (and she was miraculously allowed to publish unharmed, so confident are the South Italian parties). The German police, due to their hypermodern, Northern laws, actually did not have the legal means to prevent any mafia action because of a philosophical-legal problem: Italian police remains aware of mafiosi and the German one cannot gather data on people who have not yet committed crimes that could be proven... This was proven amply in Munich in 2002 when mafiosi blew up and entire pizzeria. The Italians were warning Germany but they replied they could not do anything. After the event, the Italians warned that they suspected who was behind it (a 'Ndrangheta leader) but the Germans said there was no proof. Now if you look at the particulars of that incident, and the German laws about data protection, any decent amount of organized crime can and will escape the attention of German police and intelligence... I read security experts that said in their professional estimation the US was reacting with increased surveillance and sharing of data among agencies to 911, while the bombings of Madrid and London did not pass the threshold of EU services. Plus as I said elsewhere, as of recent, East-West data sharing is not mutual within Europe. I don't know the truth but I suspect that the mafia models plus Southern and Eastern poverty creep into Europe, and it is a serious problem, while Germany, Holland etc. are such powerhouses now economically that they allow this. Left-wing economists point out that the Euro zone and the EU free trade agreements are good for Germany because everyone must buy their products but it isn't good for Greece, Italy, Hungary and a number of poorer states. Plus Germany trades a lot with Russia and is unwilling to commit to military acts due to its WW2 history. It isn't isolated like Japan though. I don't think Germany itself is threatened by serious problems in the near future but certainly the rest of Southern and Eastern Europe is. Europe allowed the Balkan Wars in the very next country. It was a total failure, and the US intervened later than it could have. Plus the bombing of Belgrade didn't help anything except formally remove Milosevic - it did not stop the horrors which already destroyed parts of Yugoslavia. Some countries are somewhat past that trauma now, but nowhere near the Yugoslav level. Kosovo is a complete failure. The state is run by a small group of drug mafiosi, public services have all but stopped, and tens of thousands flee to any workable country. It was unwise to take the side of ethnic Albanians so completely back then, and it was also unwise to forbid them to join Albania. Clinton's policy, while it produced some good results, was founded upon a total lack of knowledge of local conditions. Albanians are Muslims, as are some Bosnians, and fundamentalism is already coming to them in so far as they are many times not really welcome in the West since the economic crisis... The US and the West showed far more wisdom in handling the Ukrainian story but Putin is far more dangerous."

You know a lot more of the details than I do, but I still tend to take a big picture view, simply because that's what modern computer and telecommunications technology is forcing on all societies. So my guess is that the fragmentation you describe will proceed so far and then the EU will put itself back together for reasons that are almost purely economic, and this will automatically create a big swing to the left that will end up drawing in most of the population.

re: "Back to Kissinger and the US and the critical link I read, it seems to be a constant debate between isolationists and interventionists in America."

As I see things, neither isolation nor intervention is practical in todays world. Every nation has to trade with every other or else become impoverished, and the success of modern urban guerrilla warfare makes it almost impossible to conquor and successfully rule territory. This especially applies to the USA, which has already moved much of its industrial production to other countries, and has also had its butt kicked several times recently trying to play the interventionsit game.

re: "The cyber issue: when the Turks shot down the Russian plane a few weeks ago, I read with astonishment that Russia already uses a different system parallel to GPS but not identical. They are planning to take significant steps to isolate their portion of the world wide web too, but this may be an area where no one can actually say it if they succeed. As you said elsewhere a few months ago if there is a serious war, cyber separation could be part of it for a while.. It seems at this point to me that it is more likely that they cannot separate nor can China or they would have tried already. The issue is more about language: Putin is confident because he dominates Russian-speaking people through his media organs, and he employs hundreds of thousands of people abroad to spread propaganda. But more and more Russians speak and write English and learn various tricks of hacking... so the truth cannot be hidden for long."

I think that cyber warfare is going to end up deciding just about all of the conflicts between major nation states that are going to take place over the next few decades, but I have no idea how the details are going to work out.
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5PostSubject: Re: Henry Kissinger - a Liberal Republican?   Wed Dec 23, 2015 9:10 am

This is a long and thoughtful answer and there are many points I will contemplate for a longer time...

Two more questions surface in me reading your answer (they come in twos)...

"Right now, I'm beginning to think that the USA is going to take a major swing to the left over the next twenty years, as it did during the 30's and 40's, and it will probably carry Europe and much of the rest of the world with it. I can even imagine both Russia and China undergoing "invisible revolutions" that swing their economies to the left first, with cultural swings in the same direction following as more and more of their ordinary citizens get access to computers and the Internet."

Yes, that's my gut feeling too. Perhaps there may be an intuitive factor in parts of the US we Europeans look up to (experimental and "counterculture" as well as in the consensus of Northern European countries and Holland about putting some individual rights of development into practice for example that are yet to bear a much larger effect. If the state and others leave you alone and act on a practical humane basis instead of things like the so-called Roman law, you are free to explore your connection to the Cosmos and some people are going to stumble upon something sooner or later. Could part of the answer be not in the past but in the future? Translated: if you keep certain rules, you can be spiritually and politically free.

"Actually, I think the majority of Europeans came to America in colonial times and afterwards for mostly economic reasons, whether they were poor people seeking an environment where there was a perpetual labor shortage, or people with a little money who could buy land and have real hope of becoming what passed for aristocrats. The reason deeply religious groups get so much publicity is because they usually controlled whole towns and the surrounding rural areas even when they were actually a small minority of the total population."

That is interesting. Now my next thought is that money is essentially a form of agreement in society - it s complex but that is one way to think about it. It does not have any absolute value outside of the human species.
So many of the early white settlers in the US (just as today) did not have much of this "agreement value," while rich investor's clubs are heaping potential "agreements" on bank accounts... (I wish rich people remained aware of these philosophical bases)... But from over here, it seems that those in the US seemed to arrived at agreements at a few larger levels of society Europeans did not. Alabama cannot have a separate foreign policy even if it does not like California (or maybe it can?), and New York does not led money to Wisconsin which will then be demanded with interest from Wisconsinians... Or does it?

Perhaps the true solution we are going towards is global, as the general trends of East meeting West show.
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6PostSubject: Re: Henry Kissinger - a Liberal Republican?   Wed Dec 23, 2015 12:45 pm

reg, #5, re: "Yes, that's my gut feeling too. Perhaps there may be an intuitive factor in parts of the US we Europeans look up to (experimental and "counterculture" as well as in the consensus of Northern European countries and Holland about putting some individual rights of development into practice for example that are yet to bear a much larger effect. If the state and others leave you alone and act on a practical humane basis instead of things like the so-called Roman law, you are free to explore your connection to the Cosmos and some people are going to stumble upon something sooner or later. Could part of the answer be not in the past but in the future? Translated: if you keep certain rules, you can be spiritually and politically free"

IMO, the key to understanding this may lie in ancient Rome, which may also explain why the Founding Fathers of the US and their immediate successors put so much Roman symbolism into their writings, art, and architecture. First of all, Rome from its beginnings was tied to Greece with the same intellectual and relgious ties as the American Colonies were to both Britain and Continental Europe, but it quickly developed a somewhat different culture, economy, technology, and art/entertainment matrix. Second, Rome had strict and clearly defined laws throughout its whole existence, but they were usually ignored by both the populace and government officials, who lived under and administrated daily life according to much more liberal customs. Third, Rome under both the Republic and the various Empires gave a great deal of autonomy to local governments. And fourth, but not least important, Rome was theoretically quite socialistic economically, but the massive relience on manufacturing and trade by almost everyone created a rough-and-ready form of laissez faire capitalism that introduced powerful elements of plutocracy into the political and social structure. This sounds to me like a good description of what was already beginning in North America during Colonial times, and became ever-increasingly important as the USA grew in both population and territory.

re: "That is interesting. Now my next thought is that money is essentially a form of agreement in society - it s complex but that is one way to think about it. It does not have any absolute value outside of the human species. So many of the early white settlers in the US (just as today) did not have much of this 'agreement value,' while rich investor's clubs are heaping potential 'agreements' on bank accounts... (I wish rich people remained aware of these philosophical bases)... But from over here, it seems that those in the US seemed to arrived at agreements at a few larger levels of society Europeans did not. Alabama cannot have a separate foreign policy even if it does not like California (or maybe it can?), and New York does not led money to Wisconsin which will then be demanded with interest from Wisconsinians... Or does it?"

It looks to me like what I described above leads to answers of these questions as well. And IMO, the main reason why the USA grew and prospered for several centuries rather than collapsing as Rome did is quite simple: there was a whole continent to the Westward for the USA to expand into, whereas Imperial Rome quickly conquored the "known world" of the time and there wasn't really anywhere else to expand. Northern Asia beyond the Urals was too cold and barren, and Southern Asia was already the home of civilizations capable of defending themselves. Nor could the Romans expand by launching an "age of discovery" and sending ships all over the world, because the nautical technology for doing so had not yet been invented.

re: "Perhaps the true solution we are going towards is global, as the general trends of East meeting West show."

I agree, but I don't see the global "new world order" as being either political or cultural at root, but rather grounded in trade and travel on the physical level and, more important, in cyber communication on the intellectual, cultural, and spiritual levels.
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