it is true of the vast majority of nations - 23/10/08

From Brent on October 23rd, 2008
1) About the anti-American propaganda: I got the impression that it was
meant more as Krushschev more personally engaging in the anti-American
propaganda, which would indicate him as being a difficult figure to
with (which proved to be true).

Ah, I didn't read it that way, but I can understand it now being true. Although I would venture to say that Kennedy (and/or his predecessor, Nixon) personally engaged in anti-Soviet propaganda. I don't know for certain and can't look it up right now while at work lol...

It's dangerous and possibly detrimental to engage in negotiations at such a high
level with someone who clearly and publicly has a very negative perception of
you and your country. The advice that he was getting indicates at a more gradual
strategy, to improve relations from the bottom up before engaging in such high
level meetings.

Makes sense.

2) I totally agree about the hypocrisy of American foreign policy. It's
something that I am pretty embarrassed about my country and have no defense for.

I wouldn't be embarassed, as it is true of the vast majority of nations. The US just happens to be the global superpower so can flaunt it more and is targeted more because of it. Because then it becomes a show of dominance rather than a negotiation. That is true. This hardly sounds like a negotiation at all ... what was the goal of the negotiations? This is something the article glazed over ... There were plenty of things to bring up about Soviet Union hypocrisy, human rights violations, etc...

To be the leader of a country and be lectured by someone else (from another
country) on your own nations policies has a very demeaning effect.

Very true.

So the way I see it is it's a game of a chicken and without very skillful,
delicate, and gradual negotiation will any side back down.

I know this is the way it is, but I don't understand WHY. We all share this planet, we don't have any other, but we are content to rush to its and our mutual destruction in a "game of chicken". Doesn't seem right, and there are alternatives.

I don't know a great deal about the Cold War, but at this time, there were no
satellite states. They were recent results of the collapse of the Soviet Union
when they broke off. I don't think there were any missile bases as close to
Russia as Cuba, but I don't really know too much so if you have some information
on that, feel free.

I'd be interested to research that, and I will, but can't while at work :(

Also, the Cuban missile crisis is pretty widely believed to have been the
closest to an all out nuclear war between the two superpowers.

Yeah, I'm aware of that. There was a great doc with McNamara called "The Fog of War". If you haven't seen it I highly reccommend checking it out.

4) True, the rivalry between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. and
extremist Islam is different, but in terms of duration not so much. You can date
this back to the 70's under Carter who had to deal with the holding hostage of
the U.S. embassy in Iran. Then, closer to the present, you have the three
bombings previous to 9-11 by Al-Qaeda: the U.S.S. Cole, the embassy in Kenya,
and the truck bombing of the world trade center in the early 90's. So this is a
very long term situation.

Agreed. But duration is a nominal connection to make in this case. The Cold War stand off was the first of its kind (in terms of the mutual potential for widespread - truly global - destruction), and while the US/Extremist Islam could be debatedly as potentially destructive, there is no doubt of that level during the Cold War.

The difference between the two situations, though it does present different
kinds of threats and may require different strategies, doesn't change the nature
of the argument that rushing into high level negotiations, being relatively
inexperienced, couldn't result in a worsening of the situation rather than an
improvement. If Obama proves himself as impotent as it seems Kennedy did, maybe
Iran will increase nuclear weapons research, funding anti-american terrorists.

It is true the nature of the argument stands. I would agree that negotiations between lower level diplomats is necessary before any high level meetings, the table needs to be set, and much preparation on the part of the US president (whether it be McCain or Obama) would be mandatory.

(whether you like the U.S. or not, a lot of their targets/victims are Iraqis in
a strategy to maintain Iraqi instability, and as is clear by the recent
negotiations b/w Iraq and the U.S. if there is stability, we are willing to
fully withdraw)

I'm sorry, but the US is not going to withdraw from Iraq anytime in the near future. They are currently in the process of building an "embassy" in Baghdad - the likes of which have never been seen before. "The fortress-like compound rising beside the Tigris River will be the largest of its kind in the world — the size of Vatican City, or 80 football fields, or six times larger than the United Nations compound in New York — on about 104 acres. With the population of a small town, it is designed to be entirely self-sufficient; it will have its own defense force and self-contained power and water plants. The high-tech compound will have 21 buildings reinforced to 2.5 times usual standards. Some walls as said to be 15 feet thick or more. State Department spokesman Justin Higgins defended the size of the embassy, saying it is indicative of the work facing the United States here. "It's somewhat self-evident that there's going to be a fairly sizable commitment to Iraq by the US government in all forms for several years," he recently told journalists.This huge American contingent at the center of power has drawn criticism. "The presence of a massive US embassy — by far the largest in the world — co-located in the Green Zone with the Iraqi government is seen by Iraqis as an indication of who actually exercises power in their country," the International Crisis Group, a European-based research group, said in one of its periodic reports on Iraq."Clearly, the US has no intention of "fully withdrawing" at any point in our lifetime. There are many more articles and essays written on this subject I'd be happy to send along if you so wish...

5) Love letters are awesome!

Indeed! So when are we going to go for some drinks? I'm free all weekend, so let me know. Been having a problem with my front brakes on my motorcycle. The right side brake disc has shifted a quarter-inch or so over and is now rubbing against one of the brake pads. Basically, the front brake is somewhat permanently engaged. Have to get that fixed ...

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