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Comment Re:Funny (Score 1) 166

. . .all of which is why so many just nod patiently and then ignore the Moebius strip that is political discourse.
I happen to think that, if we don't manage to boot Big HAL Skynet Brother and kill ourselves, technology (could) eventually walk back some of the centralization of power that is at the heart of the overall woe. A small number of people really like to boss others around. A hefty chunk of people don't mind being bossed around. It's the folk in the middle who crave liberty that are at risk.

Comment Re:Funny (Score 1) 166

Well, you certainly "flung [your]self upon [your] horse and rode madly off in all directions" that time.
Welcome to foreign policy, where everyone thinks they have a clean sheet of paper and then get whacked by all of human history, written or otherwise.
You can't be isolationist; you can't be neo-con: you have to find some way to surf the chaos in between.
What I think you want to do is (a) have some principles, and (b) adhere to them. Your boy W had a couple of decent ideas. I'll buy the argument that the Iraq imbroglio was stupid; but what #OccupyResoluteDesk did was stupid squared.
However, the combination of these two idiots makes the overarching point that nation building is untenable with our unpredictable political system.
So, overall, a minimalist approach is the right place to start.

Comment Re:Wait, they shipped the private key? (Score 1) 62

I've actually seen this before with OpenVPN setups. The standard setup procedure has you generate the keys and certificates on the server, but doesn't make clear which files are the private keys and which are public. One of the guides now carefully points out which files you're supposed to keep secret. But I've seen several OpenVPN setups where someone didn't know better and just installed the client, then copied all the config files (all the certificates and keys) from the server to the client.

Explaining it in the documentation isn't enough. The code which generates the keys should explicitly put the private and public keys in different directories whose names say whether they need to be kept on the server, put on the client, or copied to a USB flash drive and locked in a safe. Right now everything is just dumped into the current directory under the assumption that the person generating the keys knows which key is for what. You shouldn't assume everyone who will use the software will know how the software works.

Comment Re:I have an idea (Score 1) 485

The U.S. bases in Japan are there because the peace treaty ending WWII says Japan cannot have an external military, and instead the U.S. will provide for its national defense. Frankly I think it's time to revise those treaties and have Japan pay for its own defense (which would drive China nuts), but until that's done the U.S. bases in Japan have to stay.

The U.S. bases in Germany are there because both are NATO countries. The original objective of NATO was to repel a Soviet invasion, so having U.S. troops on the ground in place was necessary. This is probably due for revision as well, given the unlikelihood of a foreign invasion of Western Europe.

The U.S. bases in South Korea are there because there was no peace treaty ending that war, only a cease fire. Technically we're still at war with North Korea. Anyhow, the U.S. forces aren't there as an occupying force nor to provide stability. If you ask any of the troops there, they know exactly why they are there. They call themselves speed bumps. Their job in a North Korean attack is to die, so the U.S. has a reason to join the hostilities on South Korea's side. Their purpose is deterrence.

All three countries are more than stable enough to not need a U.S. military presence anymore, and have been stable enough for at least two decades (South Korea being the most recent to transition from a military to a civilian government). Unfortunately, we abandoned Iraq before it was self-sustainably stable.

Comment Re:I have an idea (Score 4, Interesting) 485

What's the line then? There are millions of conflicts around the world that we can 'get involved with'. Saudi Arabia likes to behead and crucify people, should we 'get involved' with them? What is the number of wars and death it takes to make everyone do exactly what we want them to do?

The conflict in Iraq is special because the U.S. precipitated it. I was against invading Iraq, but once we did it I was absolutely committed to staying there until it was stable. While Saddam Hussein was a monster, like most monsters his grip on power provided a good deal of stability. Removing him also removed that stability, so we had a moral duty to stay there until a comparable level of stability was restored. Unfortunately, a majority of the U.S. just wanted out quickly regardless of stability and the consequences, and elected a President who promised just that and delivered. What we're seeing now with ISIS is the consequence of shirking our responsibility to fix what we broke, and not withdrawing from Iraq until it could provide its own stability.

Did you know ISIS was born of intervention policies from the U.S. government? The reason why they are even around is because we are involved.

Did you know U.S. inteventionist policies were born from Muslim acts against the U.S.? You've probably heard the opening line of the Marine Corps anthem:

From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli...

The Montezuma part makes sense. The U.S. fought several wars with Mexico, so of course the Marines would be involved. But Tripoli? That's way over in Libya (that's Africa for those weak in geography). What the hell were U.S. Marines doing there?

Funny you should ask. Way back in 1800 when the U.S. was a freshly minted nation, it ran into a problem. Prior to the revolution, the U.S. was a British colony, and thus fell under British protection. When the U.S. gained independence, it lost that protection. The Muslim Barbary States decided to take advantage of the situation and began capturing U.S. merchant ships and holding the crews for ransom. Their thinking was that since these people weren't Muslim, it was ok to kidnap them and extort a ransom.

The fledgling U.S. had its own domestic problems and didn't want to meddle with things going on in other countries. But it didn't have a navy which could deal with the situation, and attempts to negotiate a treaty with France to protect U.S. vessels fell through. So for the first few years, the U.S. just paid the ransom. Of course paying criminals just encourages them, and it became open season on U.S. flagged vessels. Eventually the payments became exorbitant, and the U.S. recommissioned a navy. President Thomas Jefferson (y'know, the guy who wrote famous things like, "We hold these truths to be self evident - that all men are created equal") launched a military operation to Africa to end the kidnappings and free the hostages.

That is how the U.S. Marines ended up in Tripoli. That is how U.S. meddling with foreign nations began. Because a bunch of Muslims decided to take advantage of a fledgling non-Muslim nation by kidnapping its citizens and demanding ransom for their freedom. So if you want to play the blame game, the first incident, the precipitating act which began over two centuries of animosity, was actually committed by Muslims against the U.S.

I've got a bad feeling about this.