Best and worst neighbour

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mōdgethanc
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Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-07-13, 18:49

Italy is famous for its unstable politics though. It's an exception, not the rule.
Marah wrote:Evidence that was given to us by the rebels if I remember correctly.
Maybe they got them from Al-Qaeda.
What evidence do you have that Al-Qaeda even has such weapons, let alone gave them to the rebels?
I prefer living under a dictatorship then in an Taliban Afghanistan-like country. Assad was way more secular.
You're just strawmanning. I literally just said that Shari'a does not necessarily mean a state like that. I'm not a supporter of Shari'a, but let's be fair. The vast majority of countries that practice it aren't like Afghanistan.
Yes but when you're not so sure anymore that the so called "Syrian" rebels are actually Syrians that's a problem.
As fast as I can tell the vast majority of them are. Do you have any evidence that Islamic militants (and al-Qaeda in particular) have hijacked the rebel movement for their own ends? Or are you just buying into fears about Islamic extremism to support your position that intervention is wrong?

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Marah
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Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby Marah » 2013-07-13, 18:56

What evidence do you have that Al-Qaeda even has such weapons, let alone gave them to the rebels?

http://rt.com/news/sarin-gas-turkey-al-nusra-021/

You're just strawmanning. I literally just said that Shari'a does not necessarily mean a state like that. I'm not a supporter of Shari'a, but let's be fair. The vast majority of countries that practice it aren't like Afghanistan.

Maybe, but it's still a risk. Is it really worth it? Especially considering that other Arabic springs didn't pan out so well.

As fast as I can tell the vast majority of them are. Do you have any evidence that Islamic militants (and al-Qaeda in particular) have hijacked the rebel movement for their own ends? Or are you just buying into fears about Islamic extremism to support your position that intervention is wrong?

Do you have data to back that up? I don't either. It's hard to find anything reliable. But it's still something worth looking into it before intervening there, don't you think?
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Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby IpseDixit » 2013-07-13, 19:22

mōdgethanc wrote:Italy is famous for its unstable politics though. It's an exception, not the rule.


It's a risk of democracy anyway. Moreover do you have any sources to say Italy is an exception? I think government crises are not so exceptional in many Parliamentary systems.

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Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby linguoboy » 2013-07-13, 21:07

IpseDixit wrote:
mōdgethanc wrote:Italy is famous for its unstable politics though. It's an exception, not the rule.

It's a risk of democracy anyway. Moreover do you have any sources to say Italy is an exception? I think government crises are not so exceptional in many Parliamentary systems.

Italy has seen over 60 governments since 1945. How many countries with a parliamentary system can you name which have had half as many? (France has had about 40, but half of those were during the notoriously unstable Fourth Republic. Since then it's been comparable to its neighbours. Belgium, for instance, has had 27--and it's considered to have one of the most complex and unwieldy political systems in Europe. The number for the UK is 16.)
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Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby IpseDixit » 2013-07-13, 21:17

Even though many repeat the cliché that Italy had over fifty governments in its first fifty years of democracy to stigmatise its alleged political instability, Italy's main political problem was actually the opposite: in all the course of the so-called First Republic, the government was in the hands of the Christian Democrats and their allies, since it was unacceptable for a communist party to rule a western country during the Cold war


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_o ... _1946-1994

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Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby linguoboy » 2013-07-13, 21:27

IpseDixit wrote:
Even though many repeat the cliché that Italy had over fifty governments in its first fifty years of democracy to stigmatise its alleged political instability, Italy's main political problem was actually the opposite: in all the course of the so-called First Republic, the government was in the hands of the Christian Democrats and their allies, since it was unacceptable for a communist party to rule a western country during the Cold war

Ten governments in less than twenty years is still nothing to sneeze at. The Dutch have had 8 governments in the time. The UK, five.
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Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby IpseDixit » 2013-07-13, 21:34

linguoboy wrote:
IpseDixit wrote:
Even though many repeat the cliché that Italy had over fifty governments in its first fifty years of democracy to stigmatise its alleged political instability, Italy's main political problem was actually the opposite: in all the course of the so-called First Republic, the government was in the hands of the Christian Democrats and their allies, since it was unacceptable for a communist party to rule a western country during the Cold war

Ten governments in less than twenty years is still nothing to sneeze at. The Dutch have had 8 governments in the time. The UK, five.


In those 20 years Berlusconi ruled for a total of 10 years about.

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Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby linguoboy » 2013-07-13, 22:18

IpseDixit wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Ten governments in less than twenty years is still nothing to sneeze at. The Dutch have had 8 governments in the time. The UK, five.

In those 20 years Berlusconi ruled for a total of 10 years about.

So? The longest he served at a stretch was barely five years. He was PM four different times for five different governments. Tony Blair also presided for ten years, but they were all consecutive and included only two changes of government. The Dutch have had three PMs in that time, two serving for about 8 years each and the incumbent, who's at 2¾ years and counting.
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Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby IpseDixit » 2013-07-13, 22:46

linguoboy wrote:
IpseDixit wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Ten governments in less than twenty years is still nothing to sneeze at. The Dutch have had 8 governments in the time. The UK, five.

In those 20 years Berlusconi ruled for a total of 10 years about.

So? The longest he served at a stretch was barely five years. He was PM four different times for five different governments. Tony Blair also presided for ten years, but they were all consecutive and included only two changes of government. The Dutch have had three PMs in that time, two serving for about 8 years each and the incumbent, who's at 2¾ years and counting.


That was just to say that the last two decades have been practically dominated by Berlusconi and also the opposition backed him up sometimes.

But apart from that: neither the UK nor the Netherlands had to go through something like Mani Pulite and Tangentopoli... and the most funny thing is that, hey 8 governments are ok, but ten are too many.

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Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby linguoboy » 2013-07-13, 23:18

IpseDixit wrote:But apart from that: neither the UK nor the Netherlands had to go through something like Mani Pulite and Tangentopoli...

I don't understand--do you think this somehow supports the argument that Italy is not an exception among parliamentary democracies? Whatever the causes, I don't think modge is off base arguing that Italy is an outlier and its experience shouldn't be considered the baseline for a parliamentary system.
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Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-07-14, 5:11

Two things: not all democracies are parliamentary and many have set term lengths (like the USA) and the fall of a government in a democracy is almost always a smooth, peaceful transition while in a dictatorship it's often drawn-out and violent.
Marah wrote:http://rt.com/news/sarin-gas-turkey-al-nusra-021/
Worth looking into, but I'm doubtful it was them and not Assad. When WMD are used against civilians it's almost always state terrorism, not the work of a small group of insurgents. Look at Saddam's gassing of the Kurds of northern Iraq (noteworthy that he and Assad are both Ba'athists and diehard authoritarians).
Maybe, but it's still a risk. Is it really worth it? Especially considering that other Arabic springs didn't pan out so well.
They didn't? Tunisia, Libya and Yemen seem to be doing pretty well. Egypt's protests and coup are actually healthy signs of commitment to democracy and intolerance of backsliding, which IMO is good reason not to believe Islamists will take over in Syria.
Do you have data to back that up? I don't either. It's hard to find anything reliable. But it's still something worth looking into it before intervening there, don't you think?
Of course, but al-Qaeda is much smaller and less influential than it once was. Their leadership has been wiped out by drone strikes and they're mostly a spent force.

IpseDixit

Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby IpseDixit » 2013-07-14, 8:07

linguoboy wrote:
IpseDixit wrote:But apart from that: neither the UK nor the Netherlands had to go through something like Mani Pulite and Tangentopoli...

I don't understand--do you think this somehow supports the argument that Italy is not an exception among parliamentary democracies?


By that I just meant that you cannot blame the fact we had 10 governments over the last 20 years if you do not look at what was happening in the first years of the 1990s.

But also if we leave that aside, I still don't know what your criteria are to say 8 governments are ok but 10 aren't.

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Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby Marah » 2013-07-14, 10:35

mōdgethanc wrote:Worth looking into, but I'm doubtful it was them and not Assad. When WMD are used against civilians it's almost always state terrorism, not the work of a small group of insurgents. Look at Saddam's gassing of the Kurds of northern Iraq (noteworthy that he and Assad are both Ba'athists and diehard authoritarians).

Yeah, but it's not like they are going to make it easy for us, they know that if we see them using sarin gas it may change our opinion about them.

They didn't? Tunisia, Libya and Yemen seem to be doing pretty well. Egypt's protests and coup are actually healthy signs of commitment to democracy and intolerance of backsliding, which IMO is good reason not to believe Islamists will take over in Syria.

My understanding is that Lybia is still in a slight chaos, there's a lot of insecurity, terrorists in the south, etc. The current reality doesn't match our expectations.
We'll see how it will turn out for Egypt. Nothing is certain as of now.
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Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby linguoboy » 2013-07-14, 15:12

IpseDixit wrote:But also if we leave that aside, I still don't know what your criteria are to say 8 governments are ok but 10 aren't.

It's not the total number of governments that's important. In the Netherlands, those eight governments featured only three changes of the party in power (Christian Democrats, Labour, Christian Democrats again, People's Party) and a total of four PMs. in Italy, you had eight different PMs (with Berlusconi, as noted before, serving four separate terms, only two of which were consecutive, and D'Alema, Amato, and Prodi serving two terms each--all nonconsecutive except in the case of d'Alema, who served a total of 18 months). The PMs came from five different parties (Forza Italia, l'Ulivo, Democrats of the Left, People of Freedom, Democratic Party) except for three of them (Ciampi, Dini, Monti) who were unaligned technocrats. How long did Berlusconi have to stay in power at a stretch in order to earn the title of "longest-serving PM in postwar Italy"? Not even five years. I have to go back more than three decades to find a Dutch PM whose total consecutive terms add up to less than five years (Dries van Agt, whose 4.9-year term concluded in 1982).

I don't know how anyone can look at the details and conclude that the two countries are comparable in political stability.
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Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby IpseDixit » 2013-07-14, 15:31

linguoboy wrote:It's not the total number of governments that's important


Who brought up the "60 governments" story?

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Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby linguoboy » 2013-07-14, 15:58

IpseDixit wrote:
linguoboy wrote:It's not the total number of governments that's important

Who brought up the "60 governments" story?

What exactly are you trying to argue? To me, you seem to be focusing on a couple of incidental details at the expense of a more complete picture.
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Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-07-14, 19:49

My understanding is that Lybia is still in a slight chaos, there's a lot of insecurity, terrorists in the south, etc. The current reality doesn't match our expectations.
Libya has some instability like most if not all developing countries do, but overall it's fairly stable. It's hardly Somalia. The NATO intervention went exactly as planned: we fought a limited war (actually not much of a war as it was rather one-sided), withdrew after the job was done and the Libyans can handle the rest. No decade-occupation, no "blood for oil" bullshit, just a little deus ex machina from above when they needed it.

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Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby Levo » 2013-07-16, 8:40

xivrox wrote:As, for the topic... :whistle:

[flag]pl[/flag] Poland:

Best neighbour: Baltic Sea.
Worst neighbour: The rest.

And now a little more seriously... :silly:

Germany, there are still tensions because of WW2 and the like.. although it's still the most common job-seeking destination (together with the UK) for Polish graduates. :wink: And in my opinion Germany's not really that bad, except for their politics. I feel like they use Poland and look down on us... though how can I blame them, it's the Polish government's fault (they do everything so that "Germans and Americans like us," which means just agreeing on everything.)

Lithuania is kind of neutral now, although there are some issues regarding Polish language and Polish signs in Lithuania, going right now. They still don't like that they were once part of Poland and had less rights and were looked down on, etc.

Czech Republic and Slovakia are very cool, I think they are the most friendly neighbours. At least I don't hear anything bad about them, I like their languages, and we get along well. :)

Russia is that great bear you would rather stay in a solid distance from. As it's been said already in this thread, their politics is scary and pretty much aggressive. I mean, I'm not scared of war or anything like that, but Polish and Russian governments just cannot get along. Whether the problem is Katyń massacre 1940, or the Smoleńsk accident 2010, or Nord Stream, we just can't agree on almost anything. And even though I like Russian culture and language, I say Russia is the worst neighbour..

Belarus is the big unknown. I don't hear about anything from there, and can't make my mind about. There are some discussions going.. to help Belarus become more democratic or so, but not much, and I would say it's a neutral country.

Ukraine has to make up their mind. They are pro-West and pro-Russian at the same and similarly I don't have much opinion... Just recently a law passed in Polish parliament which officially states that Volhynia massacre of 1943-1945 (which resulted in almost 100k deaths) is not a genocide. Even the prime minister said it was just not to "embarass our Eastern friends" and to improve relations between us. I'm strongly against changing history just to avoid "embarassing" other countries... History is history and it can't be changed, we must all accept it and live on. It's not their fault, of course, that Polish officials made such a decision, it shows however that Poland is the first to make friends with everyone even for the price of unprofitable compromises.

That said, I think the Baltic Sea is the best neighbour of them all. At least it's the only one we have never had a war against. :lol:

Uf, too late to review all of that. I hope I didn't write anything stupid...

I just came home from Poland, so it is nice to read it now :)
I guess traditionally your best neighbour was Hungary? ;) We are not bordered anymore.

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Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby Levo » 2013-07-16, 10:07

It was very interesting to read the whole sub-topic about Russia and points of view about relations with Russia.

I pretty much share the opinion of some certain people here.
I could add a lot of thoughts, but I rather don't, just describe some things.

Russian disappearing from ex-Soviet states:
Bilingual Russians in Estonia - who are a minority within Russians, and are kind of integrating to modern-day Estonian society - even in the smaller town I was living in, found each others' company, set to different tables at university occasions, parties, etc. And all the words you could here from them were Russian. Estonians said, they have no problems with each other, only that on a longer scale, ethnic Russians make friends with other ethnic Russians and Estonians with Estonians. Even though they live in peace next to each other.
THey watch Russian television, Russian newspapers, and of course it is an advantage in customer service to speak not only Estonian but Russian as well, as you can make good service to a larger part of society, so Russian language is preferred.
As for Latvia, I have a friend who is not able to attend some university classes in her native language, Latvian, because there is no ethnic Latvian who is expert of that subject. While it is not a problem with Russian as there are plenty of Russian speakers.

As for superiority vs co-operation,
It has always been totally natural to me that we (Hungarians) can only make our living here if we co-operate with our neighbours. We haven't got a seaside, no significant natural resources. We have to be on good terms with our neighbours to maintain good trade-routes and trade-relations; take care of our natural waters, as 80% of it comes from abroad, like Danube and Tisza too. When there was the accident in the gold-mine in Romania it was really a pain for us for example: All fish extincted from our second-biggest river, Tisza. Imagine if we committed such mistakes in our territory, all the conatmination would go along to other neighbours's rivers which is mutually very uncomfortable. We must take care of each other.
Russia is not a neighbour any more. My parents's generation is more critical towards Russians in general, as they were surrounded by Russian-speaking soldiers and tanks during their every-day life, and politics from Moscow controlled our internal affairs until the mid 1980's and forced something that the majority didn't want.
While my generation is more mild in this. It is considered rather "cool" to find relations with Russians and have a common party with them or just meeting some Russian tourists. Though, most stories from Hungarians I have heard with Russians is like: they had the most awesome party with them, or the kindest people ever, but when it was about more serious topics, the opinion of these otherwise kind people, were scary. Not democratical. Not tolerant. At least compared to our standards in Hungary. I have never considered Hungary a Western democracy, but when I hear these, I realize we actually are closer to it, than how I imagined.
My generation is critical to the politics of Russia mostly, only and we like to distance ourselves from them, even though we like a lot of things about Rusia otherwise. But we don't have that fear others ( from countries bordering Russia) tell about, and Russia's politics seems a little further-away problem indeed having big Ukraine in between us, so we rather notice or think about the merrier and positive aspects of our relations with Russia, like their tourists, Russian culture, wonderful landscapes and our language-relatives there, etc... and also the common "small/simple-people attitude" we share, that we both like partying without any fancyness, just drinking 40% beverages, or have good and funny memories with the rude but very strong Russian machinary products, etc...

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Re: Best and worst neighbour

Postby Lietmotiv » 2013-07-16, 18:53

Levo wrote:Russian disappearing from ex-Soviet states:

It depends where. In the Baltic states, yes.
Otherwise, the ex-Soviet states are becoming so different one from another, having different geopolitical goals. From the almost 100% Russian-speaking Kazahstan and Belarus to Estonia, one can find a different status of the Russian language. This is one of the points that Russian media seems to not understand. They refer to "Russian disappearing" not in terms of etnic-Russians, but in terms of the language's influence among non-Russian ethnics (for example, in Baku Russian is widely spoken on the streets despite the small number of ethnic-Russians), and the fact that Russian is disappearing is untrue, since in most of the ex-Soviet states Russian is still the first, or at least the 2nd spoken language.


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