...usually either by starting an illegal war of aggression or invading a foreign country on threadbare grounds,
Respectfully, how the hell else
are you supposed to overthrow a dictator? Dictators hold their power by force, it's practically the definition of dictatorship. How do you remove them from power against their will, except by hitting them with a big hammer?
You attain a consensus between nations, or you determine (honestly
determine) that this is indeed a defensive war. This is the difference between an officer getting a warrant before breaking into someone's home, and a civilian just plain breaking down doors at random.
If the US (or anyone else) doesn't overthrow dictators by force, the US (or anyone else) doesn't overthrow dictators at all. I'm willing to live with that, at this point- just don't try to have it both ways.
I don't. Simon, you're not stupid. Why, then, would you choose to write something like this?
Sea Skimmer is whining. He is whining that "some people" outside the US want the US to do one thing, and other people outside the US feels the US should not, and that this makes the rest of the world a cruel and hurtful place. The thing is, no one person is stated to be "trying to have it both ways." It's simply "the world" as a group, and in some way this justifies ignoring this "world" in its entirety, because "the world" hasn't made up its mind.
Then he congratulates himself with the reminder that no matter what, at least his team could totally kill all the naysayers if they wanted to. Which is creepy beyond words.
So the net effect is, yes, pretty much what Skimmer says: The US will be denounced if it fights a war to overthrow a dictator, if it engages in peaceful trade and negotiation with a dictator. Sometimes the US will not be denounced if it hovers in a weird "no war no peace" state of sanctions and blockade toward a dictator (North Korea) but other times, it gets denounced anyway (Cuba).
Correction: the US will be denounced if it fights a war to overthrow a dictator on arbitrary grounds while dismissing the rest of the world as irrelevant. If it engages in peaceful trade and negotiation with a dictator it will also be denounced simply because the US is known to trade with dictatorships such items as directly contribute to human suffering. My own country has done and likely does similar things as we speak, and that is also deserving of criticism, which I will happily accept because I'm not a flaming hypocrite. However, don't try to suggest that those are the only options. They aren't.
If you always denounce someone, can always find reasons to condemn them no matter what broad policy decisions they make, then either they're fucking Mordor and no nation on Earth has ever been as utterly, inexpressibly evil as them... or you start to sound like a broken record.
The bolded pronoun is what's wrong with this post in general: the assumption that all criticism coming from outside your borders may be condensed and attributed to a single entity.
Keep it up long enough and you get people so sick of listening to it that they start turning crazy. How long could you listen to someone who hates you before you started taking jabs back out of irritation?
In that case, Simon, I wonder if I should ask you why you hate me for being from a (partially) socialist country. In short, if we only evaluate our interlocutors as a group, the end result becomes ridiculously blunt.
If the US is a warmonger for bombing Libya and a friend of tyrants for not bombing Libya, or a war profiteer for selling weapons to Bahrain and a fomenter of instability if they help the rebels and Bahrain turns into an Iranian beachhead on the west side of the Persian Gulf, then the moral lines get blurred: you will be damned by much the same group of people if you do as if you don't.
"Much the same group" is astonishingly vague for being the most precise definition you or Sea Skimmer offered.
The US is not unusual in this respect. What, do you think the White House is really run by the worst people in the world, compared to what half the other governments on the planet would do given the same muscle?
No. I think the US is largely run at the whim of various corporations who (following the nature of corporate behavior) are predisposed toward sociopathic behavior.
"Other people would be even worse if they were on top" isn't a valid excuse for what your people
are doing right now
. If the clichéd alien invasion happened and the US was at the mercy of a capricious power capable of eradicating it at will, would you go, "well, I guess that's how realpolitik
works, fair is fair"? I suspect not.
Still, this has nothing to do with what I actually addressed. No, Sea Skimmer's macho posturing made pretty damn clear that he was trying to justify not the stance of the government but that of the population
, which -- as Sea Skimmer puts it -- "[doesn't really give] a damn what the world says", because the world has the temerity to demand the US honors its obligations. And that's just the problem: the US promises too much, much of it wildly self-contradicting. The US is peace-loving... except when it wants to fight. The US is opposed to tyranny... except when not being so is convenient. The US is your friend... unless you don't do exactly what it tells you.
In vacillitating between Virtue ("we do this because we must liberate the oppressed!") and Vice ("this is in our country's best interests, so screw you!") as dictated by convenience, the US sends out an awful lot of mixed messages. If that means you get to suffer unrealistic expectations, then I submit it's not the fault of the rest of the world.