the weaponization of space: the U.S. and China - 9/10/08

From Brent on October 9th, 2008

Polls are a funny thing. They can be manipulated to serve a specific purpose as
well as the meaning of the results skewed accordingly.

Granted. But surely not all polls are so biased, especially when the question is as simple as: "Who is your prefered candidate in the US Presidential Election?"

Of 22 countries polled, the overwhelming answer (4 to 1) was Obama. The options given were: Obama, McCain, Either/Neither/No Difference, Other, and Don't Know. Again, relating this to what I said yesterday, this doesn't ask who would bring the best change but re-affirms my argument that he would be best to improve global relations.

Actually, that was also one of the questions: "The poll also explored the expected impact of the US election. In 17 of the 22 countries surveyed the most common view is that, if Barack Obama is elected president, America's relations with the rest of the world are likely to get better. ... On average 46 per cent think that US relations with the world would get better with Obama, 22 per cent that relations would stay the same, and 7 per cent that they would get worse. However only 20 per cent think relations would get better under McCain. The largest number - 37 per cent - think relations under a McCain presidency would stay the same and 16 per cent think they would get worse." http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/views_on_countriesregions_bt/533.php?lb=brglm&pnt=533&nid=&id=

Also did you know that McCain has supported dismantling our nuclear arsenal. Getting rid of em all in like 10 years (can't remember exactly what it was).

I was unaware that McCain had that policy. I'll look it up!

The trouble with the space race and nukes is it's like a game of chicken where
both sides would disarm but no one wants to risk being the first. Anyway, I
better get back to class!

I can understand that argument regarding nuclear weapons, but don't think it applies to the space race. With little currently in place, it is hard trying to argue that one wouldn't want to be first to disarm. Currently, the US is investing the most in the weaponization of space. This will CREATE an arms race, for other powers' fears of being targeted. Thus the Chinese test to blow an orbiting satellite out of space... Just my lefty input!



re: global polls - 9/10/08

From Buck on October 9th, 2008

Polls are a funny thing. They can be manipulated to serve a specific purpose and the meaning of the results skewed accordingly. I think if the questions were posed like "Do you think our country should eliminate nuclear weapons even if this country still keeps them?" or "Should our government pursue nuclear weapons while these countries still have them?" or "Should our country still have them if this country that has relations with and a history of supporting terrorists is developing them?"

In fact I've seen such polls, and there are very different results (unfortunately I can't remember where I saw them).

The thing with Iran is no one really has a problem with them creating the tech for power. But there are much smaller amounts of fuel needed for energy than weapons. Iran was processing much more than would be necessary for energy alone, and this is what the concern is.

Also did you know that McCain has supported dismantling our nuclear arsenal, dismantling in something like 10 years (can't remember exactly what it was)? The trouble with the space race and nukes is it's like a game of chicken where both sides would disarm but no one wants to risk being the first. Anyway, I better get back to class!


global polls and nuclear proliferation -9/10/08

From Brent on October 9th, 2008

Some global polls:

One of my greatest fears is nuclear weapons (not energy). We both know the NNPT is being flagrantly violated by most nuclear powers. But what does the public think?

-The goal of eliminating nuclear weapons is supported by 73% of Americans and 63% of Russian populations.

-Most Russians (72%) and Americans (80%) also favor a new treaty banning all weapons in space.

There is a lot of talk about the Israel-Palestine conflict, and how different nations side. What does the global public think?

-Most publics oppose taking sides in Israel-Palestine conflict. Three side with Palestine (Egypt, Iran, and Turkey), none side with Israel (including the USA). Most favor UN playing robust role in peace enforcement.

And always, talks about Iran developing nuclear weapons (which I don't think they would EXCEPT as deterrent, and even then ...). Again, what does the Iranian population think?

-Iranians oppose producing nuclear weapons (58% against, with 23% thinking it is permissible), but 81% agree producing nuclear energy is "very important" for Iran.

Its a really interesting site. What do you think?


economic guru - 8/10/08

From Brent on October 8th 2008

I did read the article. I read the part you quote, too. And, as I said, I don't think either of the candidates represent real change, but that given the choices, as usual we (and by we I mean you and the rest of the eligible US voting population) must choose the least of all evils, and in my humble opinion, in terms of foreign policy and global opinion, Obama would be that choice.

What I meant by that comment ("I think it is a trend that might spread...") is that I have read, in the past, theories that the US dollar will not be the globally accepted currency for much longer. I don't know if they were credible sources or if it will happen, but when I read that article I was thinking "I've read something like that before"...

You are the economic guru, lol. I don't claim to know too much about it (although I can offer my utopian view), but I do think I have some knowledge of social and environmental issues, domestic and otherwise.

By the way, my girlfriend was wondering if you and your girlfriend would be up for a Euchre night? I've never played but she thought it might be something we could do unrelated to politics lol.

From Buck on October 8th 2008

That's alright, but your humble opinion is WRONG! Haha, just kidding. "I don't know if you noticed but we have lights..." debating can be fun!

I've read that theory too. Actually, there were talks last year of shifts towards the Euro when the dollar was becoming increasingly weak. The reason other countries use the U.S. dollar is less political and more strategic, to avoid volatility. The U.S. has very little chance of experiencing any hyper-inflation so countries will use dollars or peg the exchange rate just so that when a government says there won't be hyper-inflation, it'll be credible. Credibility has a large effect on currency rates, it's pretty interesting actually how much whether people believe if the treasury secretary/Fed chairmans say they want to lower inflation actually effects things.
Euchre night sounds great, we are down! (can we still talk politics though... :( haha)

From Brent on October 8th 2008

Euchre night sounds great, Rosario and I are down! (can we still talk politics
though... :( haha)

Lol, thats what I said!


the view of the people can be manipulated - 8/10/08

From Buck on October 8th, 2008

Pretty interesting to me. I think it is a trend that might spread...

A trend of countries using similar currencies to strengthen political ties? It even says in the article that the motivation is not that they think the U.S. dollar is weak (in fact it's actually been continuing to get stronger against foreign currencies throughout the financial crisis) and that they think the U.S. dollar is still more stable than their own. It's just as a way to strengthen political ties.

I agree about Obama having a better impact on foreign perception. However, I believe that that kind of thing can be fleeting.

It'll last a few months, maybe a year, and that's about it since Obama probably won't take a radically new direction. Also since I believe McCain would be very strong in foreign policy, and would rely much more on diplomacy than Bush and more than what Obama and his supporters would lead you to believe.

You say you have a problem with the foreign policy of the U.S. If you haven't yet, you really should read that article I sent you from the Australian (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24467159-5013460,00.html) But here's the quote that pertains to how you think Obama will be better for foreign policy:

"Obama is, formally at least, now terrifically hawkish on the use of force. Iran must not be allowed to get a nuclear weapon. No military option will be taken off the table. The UN cannot have veto power over US action. He will support Israel, one of America's closest allies in the world. He will attack in Pakistan if there is solid evidence of the presence of an important terrorist. Hunting down and destroying al-Qa'ida must be America's No.1 national security priority. Every time genocide or ethnic cleansing occurs and the US doesn't intervene militarily, it is diminished.Good grief. If George W. Bush were still saying things like that there would be a warrant issued for his arrest at The Hague. In response to Obama's alpha-dog swagger on national security, McCain read him a little lecture on the limits of US power and the need to intervene only when it can clearly do some good. Presumably Obama wanted to look tougher and McCain less threatening."

You really should read the article, it's pretty short and it's fantastic.

Yeah, unfortunately I don't really have time even to watch the 14 minute clip right now. I will get to it by this weekend though. It's true that government should represent the view of the people, that's the great thing about democracy. The problem with that though is that the view of the people can be manipulated (as I believe it is in the case of Obama). Also, it's not just the president that doesn't represent the view of the people, congress in the U.S. also has the lowest approval rating in history.