My update brings in information on the cost of war in money and human horrors also in Afghanistan. We are trapped in fantasies in public policies, seemingly unaware that we leave behind wreckage from war that will poison lives there and here for generations.
I maintain this view as expressed to the Australian foreign minister in 2003 (no reply):
I have become increasingly of the view... that it is in the nature of modern war that it tends, more than anything else - certainly it does not tend to ‘victory’ - to import into the righteous invading countries the problems you seek to eliminate by invading... Your assertion of effectiveness of violence in international policy drifts down to validate the use of violence by non-states in international affairs, and increasingly by individuals in national and sub-national affairs, and indeed, I suggest, in domestic life. We are dealing not just with a narrow national security issue but a large ethical dimension.In my update on that page set up to speak about Iraq and Afghanistan, I have limited my comments to those subject, with the US 'fiscal cliff' thrown in. That's the purpose of that page.
But the diseases of head in sand, staying the course, being great again, etc (aka pride?), also are poisoning capacity to deal with the increasingly profound issues related to climate change, the decline of Europe into depression, the approach of "Arab winters" in the wake of the "Arab Spring" and so on. Insert the word Israel here, Israeli conduct contributing heavily to mayhem in the Moslem world.
The weakening of the developed world has huge impacts on developing countries left, as many are, poorly equipped with self-confidence, too often poorly governed, wanting cago-cult like deliverance of and by the material and modern.. these countries also dealing with China as the new global power (another large subject***, but on the resources scramble, do read Geoff Hiscock — I do not profit in any way from this Amazon link).
I've had an email swiftly after writing that last bit asking questions about Chinese investment. I should make clear that I do not regard China's hunt for resource access as more predatory than is western multinational activity. And is tiny in Australia compared with other more traditional foreign investment. I think it would help people seeking to understand China's approach to issues (including for example opposition to military interventions in Syria (another very big subject) to read about the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence which do really hang about at the core of Chinese policy (along with lots of self interest). Also to read some of the policy documents from the recent party congress. OK, hard? Try reading Hansard ... or the local government act for my state. Or the Australian federal opposition's foreign policy. The Chinese stuff is pretty elegant!