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2004 - Year of the Commonwealth

By Oldefar ·
It?s a new year, and time to turn our focus away from American issues and towards a greater understanding of the Commonwealth.

The recent revelations regarding the reckless introduction of nuclear weapons into the Falkland Islands area during the British war with Argentina really got me wondering. What could possibly justify such risk to an otherwise risk adverse and civilized nation? This made me think that perhaps I have missed key cultural elements of Commonwealth countries, an unhappy thought given that they make up around a third of all people.

In many of the posts on world issues during 2003, Americans found themselves at odds with those from the Commonwealth. At times, the discussions resemble the Old West feuds between cowboys and sheep herders! With little regard to logic or facts, these feuds had all the maturity of nursery school battles.

I began with some of the past discussions. Clearly, the Commonwealth faction perception is that all American actions are driven by oil or money, and that the American public follows along like a nation of sheep. If true, would there be a similar source behind the actions of other nations? Could there be a prime driver for the actions of the Commonwealth nations? A thread that binds those 54, excuse me, 53 nations of the former British Empire? Some single issue that would cause the tweed suits in London, the descendents of kilted clansmen, the Indian, the Pakistani, the shepherds in North Africa, the ranchers of New Zealand, and the stockmen of Australia to flock together? And if so, how would that effect a war in the Falklands, a place noted mostly for its 2,200 residents and their sheep? What link could there possibly be between that and a fascist Argentine government heading a country best known at that time for harboring former Nazis and being a major sheep producer?

I have to tell you, this was leaving me feeling a bit mutton headed. This poor old US public school educated brain of mine was just gathering wool, but somehow I was hopeful I could lift the blanket of confusion off if I just kept at it.

I started doing a bit of research. Along the way I became side tracked with the long term unrest over Kashmir. I started thinking of my high school days, when a slow dance with a cheer leader in a tight cashmere sweater was the height of? well never mind. At my age, such thoughts could cause a coronary. Besides, India and Pakistan are making progress in resolving their differences including the issue of Kashmir. Then I moved over to the Middle East. Those Afghan and Persian rugs are really something. Carefully woven designs in woolen yarn, creating not only wonderful patterns but stories. Still, the common thread eluded me.

And how did Canada fit into all of this? Sure, I have lived along our common border for half my life. Sure, I have spent many summers enjoying the fishing north of Toronto and in Quebec, and autumns on the Canadian side of the great lake they call Gitche Gumee. Yes, I have enjoyed lunches at the Polish Hall in Windsor, and Friday nights at the Canadian ballet. But what did I know of Canada? Of its western provinces like Saskatchewan where sheep production is growing while cattle production declines. My answers weren?t to be found in the hockey on CBC that I watched, nor with Captain Jolly or Bozo?s Big Top or the Windsor studios where they were produced. Perhaps more recent events would help me find that thread, like NAFTA. NAFTA which opens trade from Canada to Mexico, another major sheep producer.

Sometimes answers are to be found in the everyday. The language, the literature, the humor. On to some of those well loved BBC comedy shows. Take MPFC. There were the lumberjack songs, all in their woolen shirts, but I saw no clues. The skits about the businessman having an affair with a sheep. Hmm. Between Clinton and Bush, it seems everything is driven by sex or money here in the US. Still, to lead the world into a nuclear holocaust like lambs to slaughter, there must be some major underlying factor. Besides, Thatcher was in power at the time, and I don?t recall any skits involving rams.

Taking a break, I read some articles about green house gasses. Seems methane is becoming a real issue in global warming. A natural gas, it is a byproduct of livestock, and sheep in particular.

While I pondered this, word of a new outbreak of mad cow disease, this time in the US, grabbed my attention. What a bizarre world! Cows eating sheep parts and developing in effect Alzheimer?s, and the ability to pass it on to people who eat the cows. I see the USDA has traced those cattle back to our Canadian friends. Was Reagan a victim of conspiracy?

Reviewing what I learned: the richest members of the Commonwealth all are involved in sheep production; Commonwealth nations among the top 10 world sheep producers include Pakistan, India, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa; how there is a strong movement within the Commonwealth to expand ovine production in their developing member nations; how world hot spots involved with sheep production include Syria, Iran, Algeria, Egypt, Sri Lanka, and Iraq; how the UK (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales) have significant sheep production; how Canada is expanding its own sheep production while cattle and other livestock production declines; and how Argentina, another of the top 10 world leaders in sheep production, was considered worth risking a nuclear holocaust over the Falkland Islands.

Feeling a bit sheepish I began to wonder if it is possible we have had the wool pulled over our eyes all this time? Could there be a previously unrecognized conspiracy on a level greater than the alleged Illuminati working ever so slowly to take over the world? Will methane, in the form of ovine flatulence, be the source of energy and so the source of power in the current century? Is mutton, rather than money, the fuel of globalization?

As an American I can only say ?Naa-a-aa-aa, can?t be? and keep seeking understanding.

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No - I'm not bitter at all

by maxwell edison In reply to Lighten up a bit Max

.
Motives and feelings can often get misunderstood, misinterpreted or miscommunicated in these threads, as indicated by your perception.

No, I'm not bitter or pissed or anything like that at all. I do, however, find it frustrating that some people seem to be so obsessed with their dislike of the United States that they can't resist taking another jab, then another, then another. Moreover, even though I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion, I find it in extremely poor taste to continually badger someone over differences of opinion and/or differences in perspective. It seems that the practice of respectfully agreeing to disagree has long since gone by the wayside.

True, this is an International forum. However, I don't think that anyone would argue with the fact that it's a site primarily visited by Americans, and it's a site hosted by an American company. So in a way, it's kinda' like me going to Australia (or to an Australian site) and continually bombard you nice folks with insults about you, your leaders, your businesses, your country, your past, your present, your future, your everything. Before too long, you might want to punch this bloke right in the nose, saying to him, enough already.

It's just like Oldefar said. Geesh, he started a thread about one thing, but someone always finds a way to slip in a bash America statement. (Isn't there even a bash America or bash Bush in your Australia/RIAA thread?) No, the USA isn't perfect, and it may not even be the best. (Since that's all a matter of values and/or perspective, isn't it?) But it ain't all that bad either, as others continually attempt to make it out to be.

It just gets old, Colin. It's too bad these folks just can't get over it, already.

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Pour it on Maxwell

by Oz_Media In reply to No - I'm not bitter at al ...

'Others' may see this as two faced, "Moreover, even though I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion, I find it in extremely poor taste to continually badger someone over differences of opinion and/or differences in perspective. It seems that the practice of respectfully agreeing to disagree has long since gone by the wayside."

Practice what you preach.

You do NOT accept 'ONE's' opinion as is, and you don't agree to disagree, as 'ONE' has to get you to do before with the resllt being your implying that 'ONE' had run out of defenses and was looking to avoid answering your circular questions.

Even when 'ONE' has outright agreed with you you STILL find a way to take it defensively. So get off your high sheep and look inward for once. You are a very clever person when it comes to seeing others faults but quite stupid when it comes to seeing your own.

Practice what you preach and you MAY gain some credibility as a voice.

I came to this forum with an open mind toward America even though I had seen the reality of America first hand and didn't like it, within one week of being here, I heard people satying the typical America saved your ***, America is the best, Canada should be grateful of the USA, EVERYONE in the world is jealous because they don't live in America. (admittedly, NONE of this was from yourself) What it does do is make someone with ANY doubt about America feel certain in thier dislikes for the USA. I had doubts about the citizens of America but was open to all comments, the Pro-America and F-K the rest of you mentality gets SO tiring because it is so uninformed and ****.

You have admitted here that america has its problems and also isn't perfect. This is the FIRST time I have EVER read anything even remotely close to this frame of mind on TR.

"America has NO faults, the reast of the world should follow" is the general frame of mind.

When I said, I didn't support all the things the Canadian PM did, I was called a traitor and told that I shouldn't be a part of this country and that I am unpatriotic. I stated that this is crap and that I don't have to agree with EVERYTHING my country does and that I won't just follow blindly. That my country should be ashamed of me and that I should be cast out for disloyalty to Canada or England as I didn't support all government actions.

You say that America isn't perfect but you're always being picked on. This is the same hypocritical attitude that causes you to be attacked and terrorized. What's best for America is best. You can slam Canada, slam the UK, slam France, SLAM Iraq, slam ... But when it comes back at you, people are picking on the good ole USA.

What a heaping, steaming pile of ....

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Correction

by Oz_Media In reply to No - I'm not bitter at al ...

The statement"You do NOT accept 'ONE's' opinion as is, and you don't agree to disagree, as 'ONE' has to get you to do before with the resllt being your implying that 'ONE' had run out of defenses and was looking to avoid answering your circular questions."

Should have read "You do not accept 'ONE's' opinion as is and you don't agree to disagree, as 'ONE' has TRIED to get you to do before, but with the result being your implying that 'ONE' was unable to answer your circular questions"

YOU CANNOT AGREE TO DISAGREE. YOU ARE INCAPABLE OF SUCH AN OPEN RESOLVE WITHOUT FEELING VICTORIOUS, I'VE ASKED, I'VE TRIED, YOU DON'T ACCEPT.

What a 'kin whiny old *****!

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Ken have a look at my above posting to Max

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to British Commonwealth

About the sheep.

I actually quite enjoyed the original posting and have spent a bit of time attempting to make some form of comeback related to sheep.

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Yes

by Oz_Media In reply to British Commonwealth

But that would be unAmerican as the world has it's Axis driven from Idaho to Texas, or so I've been told. How could ANY world topic NOT include the USA, the USA IS the world.

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If the US was the world it would be time to clean house

by mrbill- In reply to Yes

Oz, is it any wonder why "some" people jump on you for "trash talking" the US. Every chance you get you turn a yanks comments into a tirade about how everyone in the States thinks we are better... everyone else is... yada yada yada. Give us a break for once ok. No one was intentionally slamming the Commonwealth countries until you started slamming Max who did what every human would do, go on the defensive. It appears to me that Max was talking about the universal "Commonwealth of Nations" not the ex-UK states. You tried to inject some humor with the "Common - Wealth" and capitalist system which was good. But then you went into a rant about how the US was a bad organ and should be rejected from the world body. Yes you could right a novel about why you would not want to be a yank, so what. Hitler wrote a book once too.

Then you attacked our Independence, one of the things that has made us, I hate to say this, the world leader we are. We are independent and proud of it. Instead of sending our resources back to Europe for their use we got to keep them and build our Nation as WE saw fit. If that upsets your British side I'm sorry. Britain was the biggest Imperialistic Nation in the last thousand years, but they over reached and lost what they had, they are still a great people. In that post you attacked us for our National Pride. To which I say go ahead at least we have one.

When Max was making a reply to Colin's post he made a thinly veiled mentioned of someone's constant attacks on the US, as his right. Then you take him to the wood shed for stating his opinions all the while trashing him the same way.

I know I have sided with you in the past on issues and probably will in the future but not on the constant trashing of the US. I love her and am proud to say I am an American, though I will cheer on other nationalities for saying the same about their homelands.

We are not ?the world? but we are a world leader so get over it. Sorry for the harshness I can get carried away when I get defensive.

Awaiting the storm.

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That's the difference

by Oz_Media In reply to If the US was the world i ...

You only say you respect other nations for what they are and 'I love her and am proud to say I am an American, though I will cheer on other nationalities for saying the same about their homelands' as you are VERY right to do so.

You and some others here are an exception to the rule, you also represent a smaller demographic of the country. My shots aren't aimed at those who are proud of thier country. My complaint is against those that incessantly wave the flag in everyone face while putting down other countries and thier inhabitants. Those who feel EVERYONE wants to be American and is just jealous of the USA, I think you remember those threads. THESE are the people who speak loudest in your country and show a different representation than some want to have portrayed. THESE are the people the rest of the world sees. With THAT face on, how do you expect others to back extreme poilitical movements that are supported for the wrong reasons?

I was born after the British Imperial Army, after WWII. I lived in a VERY peaceful country, visit Germany and absolutely adore it and the people of Germany. They have been through a lot and are humbled and happy to simly BE. I now live in CANADA, everyone is happy, laid back and the government just let's us simply BE. I have no reason to follow an Imperialistic frame of mind, that was then, this is now, then will be later.

Am I unpatriotic or a disgrace to my country for just wanting to live instead of conquer?

I just find America and American's too loud, much like my mum used to say about my music, "What a lot of racket!"

I am surrounded by serenity and have seen the powerful yet humbled victors of history. Why would I support any form of agression from such a young child of a nation?

As for Max, well he just likes to **** me off, just ignore it.

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We are not ?the world? but we are a world leader so get over it.

by Oz_Media In reply to If the US was the world i ...

I have to disagree with you there.

You FEEL as if you are the world leader. Now go tell Tony Blair that, or Osama, or Saddam or Guy Verhofstadt, Simeon Sakskoburggotski, Paul Martin, the list goes on. Bottom line YOU feel as if YOU are the world leader. Nobody else does.

Everyone knows you WANT to be the world leader, everynoe knows you THINK you are the world leaders but nobody is convinced you are the world leaders.

Now on a different perspective, you definitley have the LARGEST military, you definitely spend more of your taxpayers money on military than others do. You definitely are NOT a world leader.
You MAY have a more powerful military out of sheer size and value of technology and arms, but not on a basis of knowledge or ability.

You Do have a great country, you DO have great people. You do NOT have a better government, other than it serves YOU best. in MY eyes MY government is better.

What I don't like is the look-down-your-nose attitude that you have toward other countries abilities, military and government.

What works for you, works for you. If you are content with your government, that is your right.

Do NOT assume that everyone else sees it that way though. I've NEVER met someone who wants to become American, I've NEVER met someone who is envious of the US military, I've NEVER met someone who thinks you have a better way of life, NEVER. Not in Canada, not in Germany, not in France, not in England and not in Brazil. Nobody talks about you other than yourselves.

What irritates me beyond belief is not someone who is proud of thier country but one who feels the world OWES the US for all thier efforts. That people only WISH they could be American, that people are jealous of America and worst of all, someone who feels that everyone would benefit from living like an American. American politics in Canada would destroy the country as it is and simply create a new America. American politics in England would have the entire country up at arms and trying to overthrow the government.

What then makes you feel justified in implying your political and social beliefs on ANY other country other than your own? Arrogance?

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not only the US

by HereInOz In reply to Not my thoughts alone ... ...

Don't say too much Jules - our own fair Prime Minister and his mates are looking a little internationally & domestically arrogant at the moment too.

It makes me feel a little sheepish at being an Australian. And after all the nuts and pretzels that I ate over Christmas, it isn't just ovine flatulence that is causing me distress!

See Ya

Alan

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Maxwell: 20th Century without USA?

by DC_GUY In reply to not only the US

Maxwell asks, "Would the world have been better able to face the challenges and the problems of the twentieth century with or without the United States?" Start at the beginning of that century. Without Wilson manipulating us into entering WWI on the side of England (which at that time was NOT beloved by Americans), Germany might have won the war. Or at least it would not have been humiliated by the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler could never have come to power. No Third Reich. Stalin would have no reason to squander the USSR's GDP, turning it into a military superpower with no hot water in its hospitals. Communism could have had a fair chance to prove itself once and for all. WWII, the Holocaust, the occupation of Eastern Europe, and the Cold War might well not have happened. The Chinese could not have overthrown Japanese rule, and as sad as that sounds they could hardly be worse off than they are. Perhaps France could not have hung onto Indochina, which would then have no cause for a paradigm-shattering revolution. The Brits might have been forced to dismantle their empire more quickly; the angry, fictitious "nations" of Africa and the Mideast, cobbled out of fragmented ethnic groups with nothing in common except hatred, might not exist to spread poverty and terrorism around the globe. On the downside, operettas and skittle might be all we'd have for music. And computers might not have been invented yet. Wait, which column does that go in?

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