Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Open letter to the US government

It's a one-time occasion to talk about politics on this blog. I know this letter will never reach the address, but the point of open letters is to link them back a few years later and tell "you see, I was right!" and be smug. From the Russian block or emigration I'll probably need the fun of being smug. If you read political news, you know that the US diplomacy went on an offensive against Hungary (the country I live in), which is unprecedented against a NATO member. So here is the letter:

Dear Mr President and officials,

You see that the liberal democracy is in danger in Hungary and you act accordingly. Which should be good news for someone like me who openly preach free market ideas. But these ideas force me to look at results instead of intentions, so I have to notice something: you intervened in dozens of countries in the last decades to bring freedom and democracy. Your success rate is 0.0%. Not a single one of these countries became a free place.

Actually, they went from bad to worse. From functioning, secular dictatorships, they turned into failed states or more horrible dictatorships. Places where one couldn't speak freely on the streets turned into places where one is killed on the streets.

This spectacular 0.0% success rate is because of a fundamental error of the US politics: you believe that the people of the not free countries are "oppressed Americans", people who think like Americans, talk like Americans in private, wish to live as Americans and stopped from these by some big, bad dictator. You believe that if you remove this dictator, the people come out to the light, waving the flag of a liberal movement and give the nearest American a hug.

In reality, they wave the black flag of the Islamic State, catch the nearest American and cut his head off.

You have to realize the truth: the leading elite of these countries is the most enlightened and American-like people. The rest are much worse. This elite is not democratic, because only by force or manipulation can the common people be contained from religious fanaticism, racism or communism. Remove these elites and you face the true nature of the common people. It usually contains improvised explosives.

Hungary is a post-communist state where communism deeply ingrained into the people. There are parties that you consider liberal, but they won elections using a communist program: increased welfare, increased pensions, increased minimal wage. They provided some of these at the cost of a runaway national debt, the rest of their promises were blatant lies. When the economic crisis stopped them from getting more loans and their admission of lying got leaked, these parties collapsed. The people voted for communism, not for democracy when they voted for them. The political support of openly liberal parties were always miniscule.

Among the currently popular parties, the illiberal democracy plan of the current government is the most American-like. Everything else is much worse. The repeated US diplomatic attacks will reach their goal and break this government. But - just like in all of the previous cases - you won't be happy with the successor. It will be a right-wing extremist one and they will immediately leave the NATO and the EU and join the Russian block as they worship the power and nationalism of president Putin.

I'll be sitting in the Russian block or in emigration while you'll still have 0.0% success rate and be busy thinking where to place anti-missiles since the Russian ICBMs planted in Hungary can completely evade the current ones.

I know it hurts, but if you want freedom and democracy in some country, your best option is not touching it because if you do, it will change the opposite way.


Basil said...

Dude, move. Anywhere is better than there.

Anonymous said...

You make some interesting points. Should the US also stop giving aid and support to other countries? Do you see the US as a bully trying to force themselves and their beliefs on everyone, or do you see them as basically good people who want to help, and also stop evil where they can?

Iiene of Kul Tiras said...

"Your success rate is 0.0%"

Heh heh. I see what you did there... by adding the extra zero you add an extra significant digit, so even the POSSIBILITY of a positive success rate is eliminated. And yeah, you're right, our success rate here is 0.0%

The deal is the US government is in no way trying to bring "democracy" to these countries. That's just the song and dance used to justify the actions. The true goal is to either strong arm them into compliance, or to destabilize them to the degree that they can't act against US objectives.

Gevlon said...

@Basil: not true. The other countries where the US intervened earlier are all worse. After all, there are no headcutters here. Nor pirates controlling our seas. Wait, maybe that's because we have no seas.

@Anon: I believe the US is lead by good intentions, but that doesn't help if they have no clue what they are doing.

@Iiene: because as long as they want to save the people from their evil government, there is no theoretical chance of success. If they'd try the opposite, they may succeed.

While colonizing is a typical anti-American blame, I don't believe it. Who'd want to colonize Somalia or Afghanistan? Also, the more destabilized a country is, the more it's capable to act against US interest by small terrorist groups.

nightgerbil said...

The Shock Doctrine | Naomi Klein
read that, it tells you exactly why the USA intervenes. We invaded afghanistan to build an oil pipeline from the ex soviet central asian republics to pakistan. The taliban were being stubborn in the negotiations and the Russians wouldnt let us build through their territory.

I do however second Basil's remarks: why aren't you in London or Berlin man? Come on a man of your skills, you could start over and you WOULD have a better life surely? Whats keeping you and Livia there? if its family you can visit/skype.

Anonymous said...

Welfare, pensions and minimum wage are not a "communist" program.

Those are the corner stones of a modern social society, and a default within the EU nations.

You can call the EU a lot of things but surely not "communist".

Anonymous said...

Oh, just for the fun of the argument, if the success rate of the United States is 0.0%, how come that Germany (including what was called the American sector) is considered a democratic country?

Gevlon said...

@Nightgerbil: I belong to the richest 5% here, so have no personal reason to leave. Sure, London would be even easier, but so would be playing a pay-to-win game after pouring lot of money in it and pwning free-players.

I want to make difference. To do that, you need to be where the bad things happen.

@Anon: west-Germany was democratic and fine since the end of WW2.

Alkarasu said...

There is one thing you should consider about that success rate.
If someone fails to reach the declared goal of some kind of activity in 100% tries, and yet persist in that activity for decades, it is a good indication, that his declared goal is not his real one. You had little problem discovering such feints in EVE, try to use that in real life as well.

Absence of Substance said...


All that time, money, materials, lives... spent on people that did not want or need American "democracy" in the first place.

And now they all hate America for it too boot.

Better to leave well alone. For the life of me I cannot fathom why the Americans are sooooo sloooowwww to catch on?

Gevlon said...

@Alkarasu: or they are fanatic believers. There is zero evidence for the existence of Heaven, yet billions of people believe it. Fanaticism is a strong force.

Alkarasu said...

That's a possibility too, of course, but there is one thing that doesn't fit. All of those "failures", while being extremely bad for the ones they were "helping" never failed to benefit US themselves in one way or another.

Anonymous said...

US government cannot do the leave it alone thing any more. It used to be very good at non-interventionism until it got a bit to good at the start of the 20th century.

Global democracy seem to be lurching towards the making sweeping populist actions. Nothing wrong with that, but politicians seem to be going directly for public opinion via trend setters to get immediate support as opposed to long term policies that produce support because they work in 5 years time. Democracies work best when they are supported by historic, cultural or economic roots. In tougher times they tend towards extremism, whch is one reason why forced regime change directly into a democracy can be tricky.

maxim said...

Articles like these serve very well to remind me why i still read this blog :) /respect Gevlon

I agree with Gevlon's interpretation of USA's actions. To be "leaders of the free world", one needs to recognize that the world is indeed free. And this freedom, among other things, implies that it may tell you to go lead yourself.

I disagree with Gevlon on his interpretation of how "common people" are all just waiting for an excuse to Molotov someone for the lulz. But that seems more like a fundamental disagreement on principle, and it doesn't change the fact that USA still doesn't know wtf it is doing.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, bear in mind that US voters are no more enlightened than your locals.

Gevlon said...

@spinks: not sure about that. While we hear about the extremes, like those who don't believe in evolution, at least people know that the government can't give out money that isn't taxed from others.

In Hungary "don't let the people pay for it" became a slogan.

daniel said...

germany has to count as a successful example, as it serves as the us-rolemodel.
if it worked in/with germany, it should be working somewhere else as well.
though the difference is that germany already was a functioning democracy before '33.

the real problem is democracy itself. not only your government but many others as well (a more extreme example would be hamas in gaza) are/were democraticly elected.

@nighterbil: or one believes in one of the many other reasons (*cough* consp.theories) that are supposed to have lead to the afgh.war.

freedom and democracy are just catch.words that serve well in the newspaper. making easybelievers believe in a reason to wage war.

Nimrodion said...

An interesting article. Since you're addressing the US "president and officials" and not your own, I'd change the introduction to reflect that.

On the topic of bringing democracy, one bomb at a time, I can second that it doesn't work. They tried that here in Serbia, the 10-year democratic regime ravaged the country and now we're back with the same political parties in power we had in the '90s, elected with a majority vote mind you.

The thing I disagree with you on is your assessment that dictators are needed to keep "fanatic, racist and communist" people in check. While it's true that dictators are technically living the "american dream" and are the most american of all of their subjects, they're only privileged to do so because they're standing on the backs of their citizens. Also, you can't characterize the whole people as "religiously-fanatic and racist", as those are the subjects of un-education and not national traits - had you not had your (I assume higher) education, you'd also be pissed at "them" for taking your jobs and for not being to afford basic life necessities. Without education, people can't see the big picture and are more likely to fall under influence of propaganda of various political interests. But, for the superpowers it's far more profitable to bomb them than to educate them, and it serves their political agenda better.

People of various national upbringings think differently, have different goals in life and hold different values. Not everyone desires the American dream or their way of life, and trying to forcefully impose that upon them will result in repulsion.


Anonymous said...

@Anon: west-Germany was democratic and fine since the end of WW2.
@Gevlon: West-Germany was occupied till 1990, our basic law is based on a mix of the ideas that where present in the weimar republic (before the 3rd reich), and ideas that where brought in and enforced by the occupying countries - lead by the united states.

The rebuilding process, including the so called "Marshall Plan" are what enabled germany to become the mostly democratic country it is today. We owe a lot to the americans (and the french, and the british..) in that matter.

This is an example of history where american intervention and rebuilding a society in the way of what americans see as correct has worked.

The thing is their approach changed. Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War have changed the methods that the united states employ. Rather than occupation and reeducation they have shifted to manipulation and secretive interferance, which has never worked.

That said, this means about nothing to the hungarian situation, a change in what is happening there at the moment would need to come from the hungarian people, as most of them however seem to stand behind this, if not (as you kind of point out yourself) on a more radical standpoint. (Btw we have an extremist problem in germany as well, and the former russian occupied (socialist) part is now the breeding ground for right winged extremists).

But if there is no shift, if the hungarian government keeps that course, then we will see things getting worse as well. A country that is steering away from democracy wont be saved as free and democratic interference or not. The question that needs to be asked in that perspective is - wait for the fall (under the risk of spread on neiggbouring countries) or isolation - where the later seems what the US seems to favour.

Personally one one side i can't blame 'em, their points are valid. On the other hand I think this is a european matter, and the US should keep their noses out of it.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, are you sure the USA has had a 0% success rate?

Maybe you are looking at the wrong goal.

Anonymous said...

Without education, people can't see the big picture and are more likely to fall under influence of propaganda of various political interests.

There are allot of well educated idiots in this world. And some wonder why their country full of PhD graduates suck on worldwide comparison. What ever you learn in any western education system today isn't what you need to dissect propaganda it's more likely obedience. Sure, they will not run to but will passively accept lower pay, longer hours and reduced benefits. YET they are smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork.

People of various national upbringings think differently, have different goals in life and hold different values. Not everyone desires the American dream or their way of life, and trying to forcefully impose that upon them will result in repulsion.

Full ack! Don't forget you have to be asleep to dream.

Tithian said...

People seem to confuse idiocy with lack of education. There is a connection there and an idiot will not educate himself properly, but the opposite is definitely not true. On my recent travels to Egypt, I've met with some people that are illeterate, but could provide some very insightful criticism on Mosri but of course these are vast minority, simply because when people struggle to survive, satisfying your animal needs overwrites everything else.

Which is what brings me to my point: compared to the rest of the world, the majority of Europeans and Americans are indeed more enlightened, simply because they had the opportunity to think for themselves on ideas and concepts like fascism, religious fanaticism, philosophy etc.

When you live in the desert and your only world view is what the village elder is telling you, you accept it on the basis that his previous advice were not disastrous. and when a masked ISIS soldier knocks your door down and says 'convert or see your children beheaded', idealism goes out the fucking window.

And then there are those people in the Western world that have convinced themselves that anything not benefiting themselves, even if it's good for the next generations, is simply not worth pursuing. These are the wellfare leeches, people asking (nay, demanding)) freebies from the state and preferential treatment, because. Pay a visit to Greece (where I live) and you'll see some pretty entitled and hypocritical people.

Anonymous said...

First: the US is currently the only superpower in the world. That did not happen randomly. Fighting for freedom is good, but this is not what the us have done the last decades. They fought for ressources and influence and they have a very good success rate so far.

So US proclaim to fight for freedom and have 0% success rate. However as any previous empire/superpower in history, they are very good at controlling strategic ressources. So can we maybe question ourselve about the fact that the US may not be bad at what they do, but are just not honest about what they really want to achieve.

Then as far as people from your country not being americans, be sure that the fact that the american culture exports itself so much is there to take care of that.

Unknown said...

While we hear about the extremes, like those who don't believe in evolution, at least people know that the government can't give out money that isn't taxed from others.

I think you vastly overestimate our people. They either don't know that you can't give yout money that isn't taxed for others or don't care as long as it is someone 'rich' that is taxed.

Anonymous said...

Hungary was better off, when it was part of the austrian empire.
Hell, it was even better off being an ally to the axis.
Hungary was sold by Churchill and Truman/Eisenhower when they allowed Stalin to take over eastern Europe.

And every year, D-day is celebrated as the day when freedom and democracy were brought to EUROPE!!!!
If I was polish, tchek, hungarian, this would be a day of shame, a day of wrath and a day of bigotery...
Anyway, GG is right about the failures of american foreign policy, but that is no surprise, if we take a look at segregation and other "achievements" of US democracy....

Anonymous said...

Actually America has two successful interventions, using military might to bring democracy, that subsequently has been the usual mess a democacy is; vis
1.Panama - December 1989 cf ;

2. Grenada - October 1983 cf;

A third might be South Korea.

Iiene of Kul Tiras said...

"@spinks: not sure about that. While we hear about the extremes, like those who don't believe in evolution, at least people know that the government can't give out money that isn't taxed from others."

Perhaps not in Hungary, but in the US they certainly can. To the tune of a half trillion a year. The US "economy" runs on growth. If the peoples don't spend, the government has to. But on what? Welfare doesn't create "jobs" outside of Walmart and McDonalds, building bombs does. And by "jobs" I mean the illusion of employment. It's all a control game that's being played on us.

Anonymous said...

@anon who said the US is the only superpower..

Just because they are the most extreme war monger it doesn't make them the only super power. That is the stupid Western arrogance that will get us all killed one day.

Russia is quite alive, and still rivals the US. We have just seen in Ukraine how easy they can do what they want.
But both of them pale against what China (where the US and Russua Russiahave tons of debts) can bring to the table, and we call can be lucky that they act a lot less imperialist than the other two.

Anonymous said...

FYI: Germany was a real democracy, the so called Weimarer Republik.
It constitution was an example of human and civil rights...
The only design fault of its constitution was that it lacked mechanics against getting overthrown from the inside, which this failed Austrian painter successfully did...
German civilian populatino had to endure 3 years of nightly and at the end daily bombing raids and were, all-in-all, tired of war, even guerilla war.
So, if US had bombed Afghanistan and Iraq a couple of years longer on a daily basis, and confiscated basically every firearm (which they did in Germany and Japan).

The treaty of Yalta was a war crime of the same dimension as the Nazi's atrocities as it was a death warrant to all people who ever fought against communism in WW II. People living in exile were deported to countries that had been sold to Stalin by the allies, were they were instantly arrested and shot on the spot, after the communists realized that even the english Observers did not take offense...
But hey, until today, D-day is celebrated as the day freedom and dmocracy came back to Europe...
m.. as if Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, etc were not european countries...

Provi Miner said...

This is a fact tito killed/murderd hundreds maybe even thousands. His goons were nasty perverts and disgusting humans. However he at his worst, his goons at their worst were still 100X better than the genocide launched in a three way attempt to wipe entire races from the region. Strongmen are bad people, Fanatics without a strong man to check them is even worse.

Anonymous said...

American foreign policy is not driven by ideals, it is driven by "what's good for us". It may look like they have failed in these countries, but in fact they succeeded. They have military bases, they have their people in power, they have encircled traditional enemies like Iran and Russia. The goal was never to give the common people McDonald's and free markets, that was just for the flag waving idiots.

mordis mydaddy said...

Have to agree that maybe you look at the wrong goal.

People say the U.S. doesn't have a recognizably distinct culture, like Irish or Japanese. But U.S. culture is called MONEY and competition for more MONEY. It drives everything. Freedom and democracy aren't even in the top 10. And be aware that the U.S. biggest industry and export is WAR (or DEFENSE if you want to be politically correct). We need wars to sell weapons. We need battlegrounds to prove and test such weapons. Freedom and democracy have proven to be easy and reliable platforms for getting something started.

The objective is to deploy that big military machine, or people will question its cost and existence. Allies need supplies. Destroyed equipment needs to be replaced. There just isn't much downside to war for the U.S. I'd say we have a 100% success rate in every "intervention."