Posted by: distributorcap | March 31, 2009

Facebook, Nations Edition

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend”
attributed to both ancient Chinese and Arabic proverbs. It is also found (sort of) in Exodus – “I will be an enemy to your enemy and will oppose those who oppose you.”

Friending nations can be a dangerous thing.

It was a suprise attack on Pearl Harbor by not-friend Japan in 1941 that led to the US entry into World War II and finally pulled the country out of a deep economic malaise. We had an enemy. And we now had to friend a bunch of nations to fight this enemy. Three and a half years later, World War II ended when the enemies – the Axis nations of Germany and Japan surrendered to the world’s BFFs – the Allies led by the US, the UK and the Soviet Union. With the Axis governments (and countries) kaput, the US all of a sudden found itself in the deep psychological condition called enemy-less (and over-friended). This did not sit well with a lot of people (generals, right-wing nuts etc.) in charge of the school – there always had to be an enemy to insure the friendship of the “military industrial complex.”

With the war winding down, the BFFs held a conference in Yalta in February 1945. Bosom buddies Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin met to determine the fate of post-war Europe and Asia. In return for Joey’s promise to enter the war as a friend against Japan, join the United Nations and a few other things, Frankie and Winnie friended Stalin on the broader issue of “spheres of influence.” Friends needed breathing room (the soon-to-be defeated Nazis had a word for that — lebensraum).

Now that Hitler and Tojo were unfriended from each other and out of the way, it was fast becoming evident that Stalin was not necessarily the friend Roosevelt and Churchill thought he was. They must have been thinking “with friends like these.” Those insidious pinko-commies from the Soviet Union, who just happened to be our friends during World War II, were really just a bunch of fair-weather friends. In this case the enemy of my enemy was my enemy.

The US, as the only major industrial country with a locker that was not destroyed, became the de-facto friend of the “friend” world. On April 12, 1945, when Roosevelt died less than one month before Germany would surrender, Harry Truman became Student Council President. Truman didn’t want to be friends with Commies either. Truman was out to find enemies of his enemies and friend them.

Like dominoes in a row.

As Poland, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Romania, Albania, Hungary and the Soviet held part of Germany all friended Commies soon after the end of the war, the Americans decided that the spread of this form of friendship from completely taking over the school. After all, Karl Marx was the school freak, not our friend, and he had no friends. But there were lots of enemies. With fascism defeated, and the Soviets friending all of Eastern Europe and Asia – it was only natural to think that Stalin was thinking – friend domination – the “Domino Theory.” By his behavior, (which should have come as no surprise after Yalta) Stalin was giving us every reason to believe he wanted to friend more nations.

We found our new enemy and this was no (as Cole Porter said) “friendship, the perfect blendship.”

To stop Karl Marx from becoming captain of the football team – the Truman Doctrine set down by Class Council President Harry Truman in 1947. Truman directed the US to friend countries – politically, militarily and economically to prevent the expansion of Soviet friendship around the school. In other words, keep the Ruskies from sitting at the cool table. The basic premise was containment – whatever friends the USSR had they could keep, but no more. Truman knew it would be close to impossible to make Eastern Europe our friends anytime soon without another major food fight.

“One of the primary objectives of the foreign policy of the United States is the creation of conditions in which we and other nations will be able to work out a way of life free from coercion. This was a fundamental issue in the war with Germany and Japan. Our victory was won over countries which sought to impose their will, and their way of life, upon other nations.”

It started with friending Greece and Turkey, which were fighting the Communists friends.

As the Cold War became more entrenched, the US began to sign a series of collective defense treaties – friendship pacts – which the military forces of each member would be coordinated to provide a “collective defense” for all its friends. Sort of like Delta House. The real reason for these treaties was to prevent Karl Marx from getting more friends – not stop attacks. These friendships would prove to be very costly and difficult to maintain. They would ultimately place the US in a position where they would spread themselves too thin and cause resentment among the people in the cafeteria. In other words, no one wanted to sit with the US at lunch anymore. Including the ugly lunch ladies.

NATO/Warsaw Pact

The first such friendship pact signed was the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – on April 4, 1949. The 12 original friends were the US, Canada, France, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. The basic premise of NATO is the following:

The Parties of NATO agreed that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.

This basically commits the US to “respond” to any attack on it friends. Member states have the option to “respond” as they see fit. Turkey and Greece were friended in 1952. In 1954, the Soviet Union actually asked to be friended – in the interest of peace in Europe. Being a bunch of exclusive snobs, this of course was outright rejected, since fear of a Commie Pinko friend in this clique outweighed any rational decisions to prevent another food fight in the cafeteria. West Germany was friended in 1955.

Five days after West Germany joined, the USSR friended Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania and East Germany in a friendship pact known as Warsaw. This was formed as a counter-balance to NATO. Sort of like the Jets and the Sharks. We now had the good guys and bad guys lining up for a rumble. It would only be a matter of time (1962) before someone would just meet a Commie named Fidel – and suddenly that name would never be the same.

Charles deGaulle of France n’était pas un ami heureux with America being the most important friend. He also wanted NATO to help fight his enemy Algeria. When he was rebuffed, deGaulle began to withdraw from the coordinated military command. In 1966, DeGaulle a montré ses amis qui était patron and removed his BB guns from integrated command. NATO did not expand again until 1982 – when Spain joined.

When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, its friends (which were only friends because they were forced to be) in the Warsaw Pact ran so fast there was no way a door would hit them in the ass. NATO lost its main (and really only) enemy. The change of former enemies into friends – by absorbing the nations of the Warsaw Pact into NATO began. After all, they were now our friends since they (like us) stilled fear their enemy Russia – a nation born from the defunct Soviet Union. Is that clear?

Today many people question the need and viability of NATO – and why all these countries are even friends since no one really likes anyone. And its costs a lot. Interestingly enough the only time NATO ever invoke the “attack clause” was right after 9/11.

SEATO

The US – ever fearful of those dominoes would fall in all corners of the planet, joined a second clique with 9 other nations in Southeast Asia. The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) officially began as the Manila Pact – and was signed on Sept 8, 1954. The headquarters were in Bangkok, a fun city for the friends.

The friends were – the US, the UK, France, Australia, New Zealand (none of which were actually in SE Asia) – Pakistan, Thailand, the Philippines and notably – South Vietnam. (Bangladesh joined in 1971 after it divorced Pakistan). This was an Asian version of NATO.

SEATO never had the power or influence of NATO. They were just not as cool. There was no joint command or integrated forces. SEATO also did not have the “attack” provision of NATO. In addition, any friend could veto any SEATO decision. Despite US efforts (or some might say strong-arming) for folding the Vietnam conflict under SEATO umbrella, the alliance never intervened in either Vietnam or Cambodia because our friends – France and Pakistan rejected it.

SEATO never did much other than meet a lot and look for hot chicks in Bangkok. These were friends in name only (FINOs). These were 10 disparate nations with not a lot in common other than the enemy of their enemy (Karl Marx) was their friend. Pakistan withdrew in 1973, France in 1974. The clique was disabanded in 1977.

CENTO

Hard to believe, but once upon a time there were actually friends in the Middle East designed to protect each other in case of attack. Known as the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO), it was originally called the Middle East Treaty Organization (METO) or the Baghdad Pact. It was created in 1955.

The friends in this clique were the UK (they joined any clique that would have them), Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan. [if they only knew what the future held for them]. The US was not a full friend, but a half-friend, joining the military “committee” in 1958. The excuse given by the Eisenhower Administration for not joining was that the US had “technical” and “budgetary” issues with this friendship. These were expensive friends.

There was no centralized military command. The US did horn in on some of its friends installations to gather intelligence. The US and UK were able to use military bases provided by their NATO friend Turkey. These were friends in multiple cliques. In 1958, Iraq left the friendship when its monarchy was tossed out in a military coup. The headquarters were moved to Ankara.

CENTO, like SEATO – was really just a bunch of people pretending to be friends – like the nerds hanging with the jocks. The friends did not get involved in neighborhood’s most volatile conflict – the growing hostility between uber-not-friends Israel and the Palestinians. When friend Pakistan and not-friend India went to war in 1965 over Kashmir, CENTO rejected the idea of intervening – stating their friendship was formed to stop the USSR as its enemy, not India. Same thing happened again in 1971 when India and Pakistan fought for a second time in 6 years. This time, the “province” of East Pakistan broke up with West Pakistan. There was a new kid of the block called Bangladesh. The Pakistanis were not pleased.

As a stopper from Karl Marx making more friends, CENTO was a complete failure. The Soviets established strong friendships (but not a formal one) with nations right in the ‘hood – Egypt, Syria, India, and Iraq. The enemies of the Soviet Union and the enemies of CENTO were becoming BFFs – but not forever.

The Iranian Revolution in 1979 formally ended the friendship, but all intents and purposes it was dead in 1971. They just never got around to telling each other they weren’t friends anymore.

ANZUS

The Australia, New Zealand, United Status Security Treaty (ANZUS) friendship was inked in blood on Sept 1., 1951 – as a mutual defense pact among the three friends.

The treat stated that an armed attack on any of the three would endanger the “peace and safety” of the others. The sphere of influence extended to much of the weak little friends in the South Pacific. Australia and New Zealand helped their friend the US by sending some troops to Korea and Vietnam under the auspices of ANZUS.

In 1984, an friendship that endured 30 years of barely any controversy – suddenly found itself in the midst of one. The Labour Party of New Zealand banned nuclear powered ships from its ports and territorial waters. Since the US Navy would never confirm which ships carried nuclear materials – this effectively barred them from New Zealand. The US didn’t like what its friend New Zealand was doing and put the friendship on hold, suspending its obligations with New Zealand until the government permitted any ships in its ports. New Zealand has never officially withdrawn from the friendship.

Have we friended enough nations by now? 60 years of friendships, fair-weather friendships, FINOs, fights and boatloads of bribes money to keep those friendships have left the US broke, overextended and with even more enemies.

Except this time with a lot of nations facing this common enemy, we somehow cannot barely find some, if any friends.

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Responses

  1. I think if we all took better care of our Lil Green Patches, and sent more ice cream cones to each other’s Sweet Shoppes, we might get some of our friends back.And all school-age kids should learn 25 Random Things About Russia, Somalia and Sri Lanka. We’ve gotta start somewhere.

  2. Now I feel like a complete whore and doofus for accepting your facebook invite months ago without a written treaty or at least a mutual aid agreement…..I’m so effing gullible.

  3. Meanwhile, an emerging Superpower like China may one day own us because the Bush administration borrowed billions from them to help finance the Iraq war.Plus, the Chinese are creating global friendships by assisting countries like Ethiopia with major infrastrusture investments such as roads, hospitals, schools and much more.America is starting to remind me of the rich but unpopular kid in high school who spent a ton of money buying friends.I hope Obama can start to undo some of these pay-for-friends policies.I think he could gain America a mess of new or renewed allies for free by simply encouraging his Justice Department to investigate and prosecute war crimes and torture policies perpetrated by his predecessor’s administration.

  4. When I was in New Zealand in the 1990s there were bumper stickers and signs all over the place praising their anti-nuclear stance. It is so popular and even their pro-U.S. right-of-centre governments wouldn’t touch it. But after that happened, the U.S. didn’t just unfriend New Zealand, but it treated it as a pariah nation – the Albania of the South Pacific. Reagan, Bush I and Bush II snubbed government officials from NZ and while Bush signed a Free Trade agreement* with Australia, it wouldn’t even negotiate one with NZ. (Clinton shipped Carol Mosley Braun off there as ambassador and forgot about it.)The U.S. loves democracy until democratic nations make decisions that go against the U.S. national interest. Then they are worse than pro-American dictatorships that commit human rights violations.*Free Trade Agreements are the “friending” of nations after the USSR fell. I think the U.S. has them with Canada, Mexico, Central America, Chile, Australia and Colombia (?) now.

  5. The U.S. loves democracy until democratic nations make decisions that go against the U.S. national interest. Then they are worse than pro-American dictatorships that commit human rights violations.Ka-Ching, I think we have a winner.The legacy of U.S. foreign policy toward nations is a crazy quilt of propping up some of the most sickening thugs and despots ever known, all in the name of American interests.These interests usually break two ways:1. U.S. military interests2. U.S. economic interestsThe U.S. is all-too-willing to turn a blind eye to terrible human rights records (think China, Indonesia, Kuwait and Turkey) if these nations allow the U.S. to operate a military base(s) on their sovereign soil.The same can be said for U.S. economic interests.Perhaps, the worst offender is Communist China. China’s human rights record is arguably the worst in the world and yet as long as the bully boys in Beijing keep buying U.S. treasury notes — plugging the hole in a U.S. budget where spending exceeds receipts 4-to-i, the U.S. just smiles and looks the other way.Just recently, the Borg Queen traveled to China and basically said human rights would have to take a backseat to the global economy. I wonder what percentage of the Clinton’s massive $109 million dollar personal fortune is sourced in Chinese investments?

  6. Oh, if only there had been Facebook in the 30s, then maybe FDR and Stalin and Adolf and the 396 Frenchie governments could’ve traded verbal insults and photoshopped pictures of Goebbels instead of blowing shit up.

  7. With all the efforts that our govt has exerted over the years with bribes and economic aid, all it has gotten us is a lot of people who don’t like us. This is because we always demand that everyone does things our way, and we never pay any attention to their ways and customs.We always tell people what they want, because that’s what we want them to want.

  8. Great recap, DCap.

  9. It makes me mad.. then I get a big friggin headache DCap.

  10. Good thinking, Randal!If only.Well done, DCap. Very well done.S

  11. I feel like singing “give me that old time religion” as it might just work moving forward. We are in a situation where we have nothing to lose; the economy is in a shambles; unemployment numbers are spiking daily. Our history won’t really serve us well as we have stepped way out of bounds the past eight years. But it was an excellent history lesson DCap. I do believe his O ness will have to confront the torture question before we ever can look our neighbors in the face. Spain would be a genuine embarrassment for this administration if they prosecute first.

  12. Great recap of history D’Cap.. I love it when you remind me of my history lessons.. I have forgotten so much and I used to know and love all this. This is OT.. but in answer to Zoey.. I think Prez Obama is doing his part.. and doing it in his time. Think back.. he has always done things in his way and at his own pace.. always… he is releasing documents from the Bush Co, that show what went on, that show who authorized torture, that show the attorneys who signed off on it and starting at the bottom of the WH chain.. he is baiting Cheney every chance he gets.. and it is working fine… Look what happened.. There were NO pardons issued, there were admissions of guilt publicly by bush and cheney But there is still a number of people in the US who do not support it. Until those numbers in the US turn around.. he can’t really do anything. It is sad that we as a country aren’t ready to put them on trial but there are still enough of us who think what they did was right. Not me.. I want them put away.. but, there are still even Dems who think they should be given an award for what they did and should still be doing.

  13. One could be cynical and say that all of these allegiances were based on ulterior motives and not really backed by anything resembling sound policy.But I think they did accomplish some good things, but perhaps not the ones originally intended. Unintended consequences are powerful.

  14. Just recently, the Borg Queen traveled to China…One problem Christopher, the Borg Queen was hot and…well Hillary isn’t.

  15. Nice blog. Only the willingness to debate and respect each other’s views keeps the spirit of democracy and freedom alive. Keep up the good work. Hey, by the way, do you mind taking a look at this new website http://www.indianewsupdates.com . It has various interesting sections. You can also participate in the OPINION POLL in this website. Kindly note: The comments section is having problems so you may not be able to comment right now but it will available in a few days. We are also planning to get Live Cricket in our website within this week. Dear friend, if you have any suggestions or information or news which you think has been ignored by the mainstream media, kindly let us know. We will try to implement that in our website.Kindly go through the entire website. Who knows, it might just have the right kind of stuff that you are looking for. If you like this website, can you please recommend it to at least 5 of your friends. Your little help would help us in a big way.Thank you,The Future Mantra

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