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Historically, democracy doesn't last long: Athens, Rome and now the USA have only sustained it for a few hundred years at most. By contrast, China's rule by a, theoretically, impartial bureaucracy has done pretty well for two millenia. For most of that time China was economically, socially, intellectually and technologically the world leader and may well be again. Legitimacy in a democracy comes from the ballot but in a bureaucratic system it comes from proven performance in examination to enter the system and on the job to progress through it. Looking at the USA today, who is to say which is better?
5 months, 1 week ago on Access denied | Foreign Policy
@thereals0beit Funnily enough, homicide, and suicide, rates in the US are very high by comparison with other developed nations. By a strange coincidence the difference in both categories between the USA and the UK is accounted for by the fact that there are very few firearms killings, either murder or suicide, in the latter. But then, it is obviously just a coincidence.
Personally I am a great admirer of the American gun lobby and your commitment to the second ammendment; you should be especially proud of the price that you are prepared to pay for holding to your principles.
5 months, 2 weeks ago on Access denied | Foreign Policy
He was, probably, the model for Brigadier Ben Ritchie-Hook in Evelyn Waugh's "Sword of Honour" trilogy.
7 months, 4 weeks ago on Access denied | FP Passport
Oh well, some American or other in the last century famously commented that "The sun never sets on the British Empire because even God wouldn't trust an Englishman in the Dark."
8 months, 2 weeks ago on Access denied | Killer Apps
@bubble burster @vickmichele Oh dear, you do have a lot of time on your hands. I have taught statistics at a reasonably high level and the main point that you can take from UK firearms homicides is that the numbers are too low to detect any statistically significant trends. As "massacres" make a relatively small proportion of the total (in both the UK and USA) you would not expect to see them reflected there so your comments on Dunblane miss the point. Dunblane followed relatively soon after Hungerford; there has not been a repeat. Your original quote made statements about "soaring" rates of violent and firearms crime in the UK - those statements were completely incorrect. BTW, I didn't "cherry pick" I just used the most recent data that was readily available. As a second BTW, lest you think that I am an ignorant liberal, as a youth I had extensive weapons training including both semi and fully automatic rifles and machine guns by courtesy of the British Army. I have rarely touched a gun since.
Finally, it is quite clear that you find that the lives of children and the tears of their parents are an acceptable price for your freedom to play with your toys. That is your democratic right along with your fellow citizens. We just disagree with you.
1 year, 2 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/12/21/tomorrows_weapons_today
@bubble burster @vickmichele These are statistics that have to be treated with great care. In the UK you are guilty of a firearms offence if you even pretend to have a gun; putting your hand in your pocket is sufficient. Only a tiny percentage of firearms offences actually involve something that can fire and these are almost all badly converted replicas. As far as violent crime is concerned it has fallen by 28% over the last ten years (not soared!); BTW using agressive language can count as an assault. Murders have almost halved (down 47%) since 2003 and those using firearms are fewer than one hundred a year. Overall murders are falling pretty much in the same way that they are in all developed countries and from a much lower base than in the US. So, you see, you're just wrong on all counts.
@vickmichele Well, yes any competent engineering technician can turn out a gun. More easily they can convert a replica or a blank firing pistol into the real thing. The way it works here in Britain is that if you do that and your product is used to kill someone you are an accessory to murder and you get life. There's about a 90% clear up rate for murders here, higher for gun crime, so it's a pretty high risk way to make a living. Even if the weapon is never used but you're caught you will get a long prison sentence. Just have the right laws, enforce them and you don't have gun crime; we like it like that.
For two thousand years China was the economic, social and technological world leader by a huge margin over any other nation. During this time it had a system of bureacracy where entry to the ruling structure was controlled by examination and progress in it by performance. The longest lived democracies have barely exceeded one tenth of that span usually falling to a mix of wealth concentration, as in ancient Rome and Athens or to the power of vested interests or both. China seems to be making a pretty good job of reinstating its traditional system with the Party and the collective leadership providing a more robust keystone than a quasi hereditory emperor. Within a bureaucratic system the rulers are legitimate because they have demonstrated through examination and performance that they are best able to rule. Despite Winston Churchill's oft quoted remark, it is far from clear that democracy is the least bad system.
1 year, 2 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/12/19/nothing_is_written
Unfortunately the only kind of gun control that prevents this kind of event is the kind that operates in Japan and the United Kingdom, that is, no guns. Even if you could legislate towards that, the Supreme Court would rule against it. The sad truth is that things can only get worse as 24 hour news and social media continue to educate copycats into further atrocities.
1 year, 2 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/12/17/a_president_we_can_believe_in
It is quite interesting to ponder the fact that most models show that Europe will suffer relatively minor impacts from even quite severe climate change. On the other hand, India will be seriously stuffed by changes to the monsoon, etc., China may be saved from the worst impacts only if the combination of its one child policy and male preference leads to a population crash and the good old US of A is going to have to get used to even more massive droughts, hurricanes and tornadoes. Schadenfreude is a wonderful thing!
1 year, 2 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/12/07/the_climate_scofflaw?print=yes&hidecomments=yes&page=full
The idea seems to be growing that Israel can exist indefinitely as a latter day Crac des Chevaliers. After 130 years the original "impregnable" Crac fell after a siege of just over a month. That gives Israel about another 75 years; enjoy!
1 year, 3 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/11/21/after_the_rockets
Don't you realise that the whole climate change scam is a global conspiracy got up by a bunch of left wing scientists to create a world government with Al Gore as the first "World President for Life" ;D
1 year, 4 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/11/02/adapt_or_die
OMG - don't you Americans learn any history? "British Navy" "British Artillery" - there were no such things in 1588. Scotland and England were separate countries with Scotland strictly neutral. The Spanish Armada was an attack on England and was seen off by English seamen of the English Navy.
1 year, 4 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/10/29/winds_of_change
@TklShriram Like most Americans, you seem to have skipped your history classes. In the high middle ages all science, medicine and mathematics was Islamic and this provided the foundation for the revival of learning in Europe. This did go into a decline after the European Renaissance and there are many theories about why this happened. However, you only have to look at any University science or engineering department to find Muslims to be well represented. BTW, I am not a muslim or from a muslim country; I'm a Scot!
1 year, 4 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/10/30/tk
@CR112 The point about GMOs is that, as far as I am aware, nobody has been able to show harm that would stand up even in front of a US jury. Once someone tries Geo-eng the victims of every extreme weather event on the planet will be lining up to sue. Say, you dumped a lot of iron into the South Atlantic and the next year the monsoon failed in India. The potential size of the claim would be in billions.
1 year, 4 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/10/22/tk
According to the BBC two days ago Huawei has offered Australia full access to its source code so that it can be checked by the security services. Huawei has already made the source code available to the UK government where it has been subjected to scrutiny by the security services. On the other side of the argument I confess to being baffled at why the Chinese would want to use pirated copies of Windows when they can have Linux perfectly legally for nothing.
1 year, 4 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/10/25/the_cyber_trade_war
Firstly humans have, inadvertently, done a bit of geo-engineering. It is now generally accepted that sulphate particles in the atmosphere reduced the effects of warming during the fifties and sixties. They also, may have, contributed to desertification in Africa. Anyone attempting geo-engineering had better have deep pockets and good lawyers as those who believe that they have suffered negative consequences are going to be very quick about getting into court. It is the threat of litigation that will prevent any serious attempt at this.
A good source on this is Prof N A M Rodger's two volume, so far, "Naval History of Britain". The second volume "The Command of the Ocean" deals with this period.
1 year, 4 months ago on Conversation @ http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/10/24/could_we_learn_more_about_grand_strategy_from_the_frenchies_than_from_the_english
@babarien @AaronJA There's a really good book "How the Scots invented the Modern World" by Arthur Herman. It's quite a serious history, definitely not light reading and should be compulsory for all Scots Nats! It's more to do with politics, law and economics than science and technology. On the latter it's worth noting that James Watt had such a low opinion of his fellow Scots that he wouldn't employ them! William Murdoch only got a job because Watt was out of town and Boulton liked him.
BTW - I am a Scot and proud to be both Scots and British.
1 year, 4 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/10/22/the_battle_for_britain
The British Army are still adept at using their bayonets. The Daily Telegraph reported on 28 September this year that Corporal Sean Jones, 25, of 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Regiment, "reversed a potentially dire situation" when his patrol came under attack in a carefully planned ambush in October last year. He has been awarded the Military Cross.
1 year, 4 months ago on Does the military still have horses and bayonets? | FP Passport