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Old 2011-12-30, 14:12   Link #18761
Haak
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I think the element of deterence is in a lot of cultures psyche. Wasn't the entire Cold War about that?
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Old 2011-12-30, 14:16   Link #18762
Xellos-_^
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you would think after 50yrs they would figure out shouting threats at a guy facing reelection in American isn't a good idea.
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Old 2011-12-30, 14:29   Link #18763
Kokukirin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bladeofdarkness View Post
but you don't quite grasp how deeply seeded it is in the middle eastern cultural psyche.

there's a type of dagger called a Khanjar that you often see being worn as part of a "formal" grab by many arab gulf political figures.
it dates back a very long time, going all the way back when such weapons were actively used for combat among the various tribes in the middle east.
its part of the "system" that had developed during the centuries of war and is symbolic of the "rules" established during that time to prevent warfare.
wearing it came to represent and state a very clear message.
"I can kill you, but for now i choose not to"
"don't place me in a situation where i might choose otherwise"

that, in a nutshell, is the middle eastern political mindset when it comes to preventing conflicts.
its not based on rationality alone, but always includes an element of deterrence.
its the reason why Egypt for decades after the peace treaty with Israel, still kept conducting military drills that seem as if they are aimed at repelling an Israeli invasion for example.
its a way of keeping the peace treaty "relevant" by showing the other party that they have good reason for keeping it.
its also the reason why the military "parade" culture in the mid east is so well developed while its mostly laughed at by much of the western world.

deterrence, in the middle east, is far more important then you think.
Uh, correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think Khanjar is meant to be threatening. It was more of a formal dress code in part of Middle East, particularly in Oman, that people carry it to weddings and other formal occasions. It is more of a Tuxedo than a knife.

Military drills are commonly practiced by all military powers, including the West. I am not aware of it being "laughed at" by the western world.

And finally, I am rather skeptical of your stereotyping of Middle East. For one, Iran is a Persian country. The rest of ME are mostly Arabs. Grouping them together is rather lazy and misleading.
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Old 2011-12-30, 14:33   Link #18764
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Marching your whole army down the main street of your capital once every year is not a military drill. That's a show.

Also, they may belong to different cultures (arabs, persians ect), but they have been neighbours for centuries, so as far as foreign politics go, they should be compatible by now.
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Old 2011-12-30, 14:36   Link #18765
bladeofdarkness
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kokukirin View Post
Uh, correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think Khanjar is meant to be threatening. It was more of a formal dress code in part of Middle East, particularly in Oman, that people carry it to weddings and other formal occasions. It is more of a Tuxedo than a knife.
ask yourself how it BECAME such a thing.
how did a weapon come to hold the same status as a Tuxedo.

Quote:
Military drills are commonly practiced by all military powers, including the West. I am not aware of it being "laughed at" by the western world.
the type of parades conducted regularly in the mid east is looked down on in much of the west.
you don't usually see tanks and missile carrying trucks driving down the street in london.

Quote:
And finally, I am rather skeptical of your stereotyping of Middle East. For one, Iran is a Persian country. The rest of ME are mostly Arabs. Grouping them together is rather lazy and misleading.
you assume (falsely) that the the national element (Persian, Arab, Turk) is more important then the religious element (Shia or Sunni).
i doubt this is the case today, and it most definitely was NOT the case back during the times where this mindframe was created.
and the Iranians own behavior (declaring new weapon development every other week, several high publicity drills per year, and threats like the latest one about the straights) simply demonstrate how much they subscribe to the mindframe i just described.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Xellos-_^ View Post
you would think after 50yrs they would figure out shouting threats at a guy facing reelection in American isn't a good idea.
this comes from a 500yrs of living in a situation where the guy who DOESN'T act in such a way is broadcasting "I'm weak, come attack me".
old habits are hard to shake.
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Old 2011-12-30, 14:51   Link #18766
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Well, up until "recently" Germans at least loved military parades. So it's not exclusively middle eastern.
They got really popular with the introduction of conscription and weapon developement taking off. And you all know the pictures of spiked helmets and propaganda movies from WW2...

I guess we decided that threatening our neighbours might not be such a good idea after that and stopped doing them.
But there is still the tradition of marching the so called "Schützen" through towns once per year in western Germany. Those were the cities' militias during earlier ages, nowadays their only purpose is to drink a lot of beer. Before that, when they were actually a military force, it served the same purpose as those ME parades though.

The thing with western military is, that we don't feel threatened by the soldiers and tanks we can see anymore. It's the hidden missiles and super weapons developed in secret, that scare us. All because of the cold war I guess.
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Old 2011-12-30, 15:11   Link #18767
Kokukirin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bladeofdarkness View Post
ask yourself how it BECAME such a thing.
how did a weapon come to hold the same status as a Tuxedo.
It'd be better to ask someone more informative. But having a knife for this purpose is not unique to Oman. Sikhs similarly carry a Kirpan, which is meant for preventing violence.

Quote:
the type of parades conducted regularly in the mid east is looked down on in much of the west.
you don't usually see tanks and missile carrying trucks driving down the street in london.
It's true that you don't see this sort of military parade in Western countries. But you can see it in China and many Chinese see it as a show of military might and national pride. There is nothing inheriently wrong with that.

Quote:
you assume (falsely) that the the national element (Persian, Arab, Turk) is more important then the religious element (Shia or Sunni).
i doubt this is the case today, and it most definitely was NOT the case back during the times where this mindframe was created.
and the Iranians own behavior (declaring new weapon development every other week, several high publicity drills per year, and threats like the latest one about the straights) simply demonstrate how much they subscribe to the mindframe i just described.
I think you misunderstood my point. I merely pointed out that it is incorrect to stereotype the entire ME when the Arabs and Turks and Persians have different history, culture, and (as you point out) religious sects.

Iran's behaviour is quite understandable when you consider the situation it is in. It has few friends internationally. Its relationship with neighbours, besides the chaotic Syria, is bad. It naturally feels cornered and desperate. Similarly North Korea likes to act tough too. So I don't attribute it to your ME stereotyping.
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Old 2011-12-30, 15:14   Link #18768
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bladeofdarkness View Post
the type of parades conducted regularly in the mid east is looked down on in much of the west.
you don't usually see tanks and missile carrying trucks driving down the street in london.
You do in Paris, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haak View Post
I thought the whole point of threats was to deter conflict. Just not a very good one, especially if the other guy has a particulary strong sense of superiority or is incredibly twitchy.
It's about that, and about dominance. Establishing places in the pecking order. The problem is that there are several ways to present threats, with different nuances. That's where cultural differences intervene.

Do you throw your ultimatums matter-of-factly, or do you bluster and roar? Do you do it in private, or in public? Get it wrong, and you may make the other guy lose face to the point where it's better for him to take a swing at you and get pounded than do nothing all. Or alternately, you may make him think you made your threat pro forma, to save face yourself, but have no interest in really carrying through, when you were in fact deadly serious.
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Old 2011-12-30, 15:37   Link #18769
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kokukirin View Post
It'd be better to ask someone more informative. But having a knife for this purpose is not unique to Oman. Sikhs similarly carry a Kirpan, which is meant for preventing violence.
and how is it meant to prevent violence ?
because i think its the same idea.

Quote:
It's true that you don't see this sort of military parade in Western countries. But you can see it in China and many Chinese see it as a show of military might and national pride. There is nothing inheriently wrong with that.
its not about right or wrong, but about its purpose.
its a show of force meant to deter.

Quote:
I think you misunderstood my point. I merely pointed out that it is incorrect to stereotype the entire ME when the Arabs and Turks and Persians have different history, culture, and (as you point out) religious sects.
I'm not stereotyping them as much as you seem to think i am.
i'm pointing out a specific aspect of middle eastern mindframe that is prevalent throughout.

Quote:
Iran's behaviour is quite understandable when you consider the situation it is in. It has few friends internationally. Its relationship with neighbours, besides the chaotic Syria, is bad. It naturally feels cornered and desperate. Similarly North Korea likes to act tough too. So I don't attribute it to your ME stereotyping.
its behavior in outright threatening the U.S and gulf states rather then attempting to resolve hostilities peacefully and reasonably is not understandable, its suicidally stupid.
Iran's international relations regarding the west is almost entirely a result of its own policies under its current regime (Iran used to be a major western ally after all).
choosing to continue this hostility makes no sense of you think about it from the point of view of a rational western individual.

but it IS understandable when you know that this is literally the law of the land in this part of the world.
showing weakness is inviting attack.
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Old 2011-12-30, 16:27   Link #18770
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While there are difference cultures and religious sects in the Middle East, they have a shared history in how they deal with each other. International relations is a shared ideology in the region (as is how to argue with someone since that goes back to trade, which is also regional). These peoples have been trading and fighting each other for thousands of years. They have their share of things that are generic between them when it comes to things they've all done.

In a scale going back at least 5,000 years.....

The Persians use to invade and threaten for centuries. The "Turks" or others that happened to be from Asia Minor, did the same before and after Rome came and went. The tribal Arabs and those that were not as nomadic also use to fight and trade for millenia. We even have histories and tales of them doing so all the way back to the likes of Sumaria, and Babylon. Egypt has been a power in the region off and on for thousands of years. About the only ones not being a big name anymore in the region is Greece....and even they have had a massive lasting effect on the region (see Alexander the Great).

So while some things can be considered stereotypes, other things are shared history.
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Old 2011-12-30, 17:21   Link #18771
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bladeofdarkness View Post
its behavior in outright threatening the U.S and gulf states rather then attempting to resolve hostilities peacefully and reasonably is not understandable, its suicidally stupid.
Iran's international relations regarding the west is almost entirely a result of its own policies under its current regime (Iran used to be a major western ally after all).
choosing to continue this hostility makes no sense of you think about it from the point of view of a rational western individual.

but it IS understandable when you know that this is literally the law of the land in this part of the world.
showing weakness is inviting attack.
We can go all the way back to the 50's to see how far back the tension between Iran and the west goes. If the situation with APOC (Anglo-Persian Oil Company) had been dealt with better back in the day, I very much doubt things would've turned as sour as they are now, and Iran wouldn't feel the need to threaten the US as they would still be allies. The English weren't very willing to share the profits APOC made, later named AIOC, with the Iranians, which was the cause of discontent and later a coup d'etat.
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Old 2011-12-30, 17:50   Link #18772
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If we want to talk about people in the middle east having a shared foreign policy history, well, they also have a shared heritage of foreign policy with Europe too. Don't forget that one of the European "Great Powers" was the very middle eastern Ottoman Empire.

Furthermore, the use of detterence is definitely not unique to the middle east, nor is it particularly more pronounced there then elsewhere (especially historically speaking). Don't forget that Europe holds 3 of the world's nuclear powers, and were it not for it's history, Germany would probably be a 4th. How does that sound for detterence?

Furthermore, if you look at the 19th and early 20th centuries, Europe was filled with countries flexing their military muscles, and racing to have bigger and better ships then everyone else, for detterence, and for prestige. Essentially, middle eastern countries behave the same way. They just have an antiquated mindset, and it's no wonder considering they're all monarchies and dictatorships. Want to know what Europe was filled with in the 19th century?

Monarchies and Dictatorships.

Autocrats are all about flexing their military muscles, they always seem to have a bizarre love affair with high powered weaponry and vast arrays of troops.

And if we want to restrict things to just detterence, well, I think Realpolitik works pretty much the same wherever you are. All countries essentially have the foreign policy of petulant 2 year olds.
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Old 2011-12-30, 21:18   Link #18773
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Man infected with HIV sleeps with thousands in "a mission to infect as many people as possible".

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/1...6pLid%3D124026

What a scumbag.
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Old 2011-12-31, 00:18   Link #18774
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Originally Posted by Urzu 7 View Post
Man infected with HIV sleeps with thousands in "a mission to infect as many people as possible".

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/1...6pLid%3D124026

What a scumbag.
In my book it should be at least ''murder attempt'' and would approve if he would be charged with first degree murder.
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Old 2011-12-31, 01:18   Link #18775
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China: Tens of thousands of ruins 'disappear'

I don't find this surprising.
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Old 2011-12-31, 02:15   Link #18776
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urzu 7 View Post
Man infected with HIV sleeps with thousands in "a mission to infect as many people as possible".

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/1...6pLid%3D124026

What a scumbag.
I don't find anything worst than a man who knows he's going down and decides to take as many people down with him for no good reason. If I knew my life was coming to an end, I would want to do something worthwhile before I go out as a way to leave something behind others can remember and would want to remember in a positive way. Now he's going to die and be remembered for having caused suffering to so many. If hell exists, it has a special place for him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTerrorist View Post
China: Tens of thousands of ruins 'disappear'

I don't find this surprising.
I'm not very surprised either actually. I am saddened with how much China cares for its history and heritage. Ancient China has such a good, rich culture and history yet its government denies it all.
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Old 2011-12-31, 04:52   Link #18777
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Originally Posted by Tsuyoshi View Post
I'm not very surprised either actually. I am saddened with how much China cares for its history and heritage. Ancient China has such a good, rich culture and history yet its government denies it all.
This is kind of over kill. One has to remember the high rate of growth mainly happens at the coast provinces and if you go inland, there are vast regions that are still quit poor. With limited resources one has to put the living first before the dead. If there is a choice between building a school or road or spend it on a collapsing temple, I say build the school or road. They are not doing a good job in protecting these ruins. Sure. The government denies it all? What age are you living in? 1970s during the culture revolution?
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Old 2011-12-31, 06:07   Link #18778
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Boeing wins $3.48 billion U.S. missile contract
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...7BT19T20111231

U.S. Saudi fighter jet sale to help offset Iran
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...7BS0LJ20111229
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Old 2011-12-31, 07:28   Link #18779
bladeofdarkness
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Originally Posted by ganbaru View Post
U.S. Saudi fighter jet sale to help offset Iran
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...7BS0LJ20111229
amazing how the U.S keeps selling weapons on mass to the Saudis when they don't know who'll be running the country by the end of the year.
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Old 2011-12-31, 07:32   Link #18780
Haak
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As long as they know the Saudis will fight against Iran and supply the US with oil, I don't think they'd care...
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