POMPEO is in Saudi Today: his interesting message

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Bundokji
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Re: POMPEO is in Saudi Today: his interesting message

Post by Bundokji » Thu May 03, 2018 10:20 am

DooDoot wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 10:07 am
Bundokji wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 5:04 am
It is too early to know if peace came to the Korean Peninsula
Has there been war on the Korean Peninsula. I never heard of a war there since the 1950s? You seem to be debating over a "narrative" that is not even real.
There are various degrees of conflict in which a full blown war is one of them. As far as i know, the Korean war in the 1950s and after the ceasefire was not followed by a formal peace agreement between the north and the south.

With the absence of a formal peace treaty/agreement solving the issues between the two countries, any possible future military actions is perceived as a continuation of the war in the 1950s, while if the two countries signed formal agreements, any future military confrontation can be seen as a breach of the agreement between the two sides or it might arise for completely different causes.

What i am trying to say is that while it is correct that no major military confrontation between the two Koreas took place since the 1950s, it is equally accurate to say that there has been no peace between the Korean Peninsula since that time, all in my opinion.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Re: POMPEO is in Saudi Today: his interesting message

Post by Bundokji » Thu May 03, 2018 11:35 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 10:12 am
Yes, I think it would indeed be unfair. There is indeed a risk inherent in harsh speech, but my point is that there is a risk inherent in all speech and in remaining silent. The risk is that the situation which you wish to achieve is not thereby achieved. Looking back at my post, I don't think I mentioned intention in my response to your quoting that verse.
In your response you mentioned Kamma, and Kamma is "intentional action". You also spoke of his intentions when you said that he might have spoken without greed, hatred, and delusion.

Your emphasis on the fact that there is a risk inherent in all speech/action serves to downplay the fact that kindness and compassion are preferable to harshness and bullying, and that the likelihood of harm being caused by the later is higher than the former.
Sorry, this doesn't seem to make grammatical sense, so I'm not sure how to respond. But I will make the point that I see no distinction between an action, and how it is done. If it is done differently, it is a different action. For example, if a leader kills a terrorist, he can do it by means of an assassination, or he can do it by wiping out a city block. Those are different ways how to do it, but these are different actions with a different moral status. In terms of the same action, I can only differentiate between the action itself and the intention behind it.
Why is it preferable to kill a terrorist by means of assassination than wiping out a city block? While we can't be sure of the exact results of each action, It is reasonable to expect that assassination would cause less harm than wiping a city block! In the same way, it is reasonable to expect that confronting regional and international powers might lead to devastating consequences.

Trump actions could have resulted and continue to be a potential for major wars. Your argument that the lack of hindsight is applicable to all leader does not justify his confrontational/reckless/risky approach.
Yes, I'm sure Trump is reprehensible, and has done many wrong things. But I'm not here interested in character, or accumulated virtue or vice; more about whether the moral status of acting decisively and harshly is always worse than that of refraining from such action.
I did not say that acting decisively and harshly is always worse than refraining from such action, but in the case of Trump, when acting harshly is the norm (rather than the exception) this is a sure sign of moral recklessness.
Yes, but that's because you selected them as illustrative of how breaking the law is more morally reckless. We can trade counter-examples all day, but I'm merely challenging the view that breaking the law is always the more morally reckless or reprehensible course. I'm not saying that it never is; clearly it often is. But there are counter-examples which prove that sometimes it is not, and without the information available to Trump, I don't know whether this is one of them.
Every rule has its own exceptions, but that does not mean a rule does not exist. When the exception becomes the norm, is an indication of moral decay in my opinion.
You certainly may ask, and the answer is that it is an analogy pushed too far. In my example of being saved by a policeman, his status of being a sworn-in officer of the state is not relevant to the morality of his action. If you like, think of him as a concerned neighbour who hears my screams and then acts decisively to save me from the criminal. In other words, if acting decisively and violently can be the morally preferable course of action under some circumstances, I'll need more convincing that Trump's actions were necessarily morally wrong.
Do you think Trump's actions under current circumstances are morally more preferable?
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Re: POMPEO is in Saudi Today: his interesting message

Post by Sam Vara » Thu May 03, 2018 12:49 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 11:35 am

In your response you mentioned Kamma, and Kamma is "intentional action". You also spoke of his intentions when you said that he might have spoken without greed, hatred, and delusion.
Ah, I see. Well, it doesn't materially affect my point either way. As I said, I make a distinction between the action, and the mental state which informs it. We don't know Trump's mental state, whereas we do know what he did. My point is whether what he did is necessarily more morally reprehensible than not doing it. If you think intention or kamma is an important aspect of this, then I'm happy to discuss that, but happy to leave it if not.
Your emphasis on the fact that there is a risk inherent in all speech/action serves to downplay the fact that kindness and compassion are preferable to harshness and bullying, and that the likelihood of harm being caused by the later is higher than the former.
No, it doesn't. My point is not about the moral status of kindness and compassion versus harshness and bullying, but about some forms of harshness being more morally justified than kindness by their ability to avert a greater degree of suffering.
Why is it preferable to kill a terrorist by means of assassination than wiping out a city block? While we can't be sure of the exact results of each action, It is reasonable to expect that assassination would cause less harm than wiping a city block! In the same way, it is reasonable to expect that confronting regional and international powers might lead to devastating consequences.
I'm not sure what you mean by "reasonable" here. It might mean "supportive of an axiom", but it is not a point supported by historical example. Were regional superpowers to be bent upon causing more devastation than would be incurred by the intervention, then according to that particular criterion it would be better to confront.
Trump actions could have resulted and continue to be a potential for major wars. Your argument that the lack of hindsight is applicable to all leader does not justify his confrontational/reckless/risky approach.


Everything a US president does at that level could have resulted in major wars. Including the most pacific appeasement. It hardly needs pointing out that the US is rarely free from military conflict of one sort or another, but I don't see any major wars at the moment. Stating that his confrontational approach is "reckless/risky" does not make it so. The perceived weakness of a non-confrontational approach could be even more "reckless/risky".
I did not say that acting decisively and harshly is always worse than refraining from such action...
Excellent! Then we agree that acting decisively and harshly can sometimes be morally better than not doing so! All you need now is to convince me that Trump's actions are not in that category of decisive harsh actions which are morally better than refraining from them.
...but in the case of Trump, when acting harshly is the norm (rather than the exception) this is a sure sign of moral recklessness.


This does not so convince me, I'm afraid, because I am talking about a particular action, rather than (as I said a while ago) Trump's character or virtues or general tendencies. He might be reckless in other areas, but it does not mean that his actions in the Middle East (or any specific actions) are morally reckless. Even a wicked person can do good actions, and a lazy person can exert themselves, etc. One might of course not want to give Trump the benefit of the doubt because one has built up a dislike of him, but that is a poor guide to what happens in the real world.
Every rule has its own exceptions, but that does not mean a rule does not exist. When the exception becomes the norm, is an indication of moral decay in my opinion.
Maybe. What is the rule where one believes oneself justified in using force to prevent suffering greater than that which is caused by the force itself?
Do you think Trump's actions under current circumstances are morally more preferable?
I don't know. It's certainly possible that they are, and if they are not optimally preferable, then they might well be morally better than inaction or appeasement. For a moral assessment we either need access to his mental state, or the longer-term consequences, both of which are unavailable to us.

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Re: POMPEO is in Saudi Today: his interesting message

Post by Bundokji » Fri May 04, 2018 2:07 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 12:49 pm
Ah, I see. Well, it doesn't materially affect my point either way. As I said, I make a distinction between the action, and the mental state which informs it. We don't know Trump's mental state, whereas we do know what he did. My point is whether what he did is necessarily more morally reprehensible than not doing it. If you think intention or kamma is an important aspect of this, then I'm happy to discuss that, but happy to leave it if not.
No, it doesn't. My point is not about the moral status of kindness and compassion versus harshness and bullying, but about some forms of harshness being more morally justified than kindness by their ability to avert a greater degree of suffering.
The moral weight of actions can be evaluated either on the action itself, or based on intention, or both. For example, negligence is a form of moral recklessness even though it is difficult to determine whether negligence can be defined as intentional or not because it is rather related to something we ought to do but we don't, and yet, it is still punishable by law due to its consequences. So considering negligence immoral is not only a moral judgement, but a preventive tool against further negligence, a way to influence people to be more aware of the possible consequences of their actions.

When the US and the UK invaded Iraq in 2003, i don't think their intention was to bring chaos to the region, but the results of their actions was the death of a million innocent Iraqi people. According to your view, if i understand it correctly, they can be seen as morally blameless because:

1- They lacked hindsight
2- Because decisive actions (confrontation and violence) can be the right moral choice in certain circumstances.

It might be an interesting observation that Trump appointed John Bolton as national security advisor who was a strong proponent of the invasion of Iraq (and currently calling for confrontation with Iran). I watched an interview on CNN with him and he continues to deny that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake and he described the military operation as a great success, and what went wrong, according to him, was the lack of proper planning of how to manage Iraq after the invasion.

Another recent appointment of Trump is Mike Pompeo, another supporter of decisive action against Iran. When he was asked about the invasion of Iraq by a congress member (Rand Paul) he reduced it to "bad intelligence", and he was smiling when he said that.

The process of investigating intentions is a tricky business. For example, negligence/moral recklessness is not necessarily a direct intention, but a by-product of other intentions/beliefs such as seeing the other as a sub-human! or a feeling of superiority and invincibility?

So, actions or beliefs are interconnected hence we will have to look at the big picture.

The Buddha, on rare occasions, was harsh with some of his disciple when they misrepresented his teachings, and on one particular occasion, he was very harsh (with Devadatta), and this particular story shows the risks inherent to being harsh as it resulted in an assassination attempt against the Buddha. Of course, what the Buddha did to Devadatta was the right moral choice regardless of the consequences, and this conclusion is based on what we know about the Buddha and his teachings, not a mere intellectual bias or fantasy.

It is worth noting that some religions such as Jainism and to a large extent Buddhism put too much emphasis on non-harming as a basis for the whole teachings even though they are not naive enough to fail to see that confrontation and violence can solve some problems in the short term, but the wisdom of these teachings is seeing beyond the immediate and helping humanity to avoid a vicious cycle. When we use violence to reach a desired outcome, it leaves an impression within us that it can be used again in the future (slippery slope) and we end up not knowing how to stop.

Not seeing the danger inherent in the use of violence manifests itself in the excessive use of it, and our reasoning ability becomes a servant to justify why it can be used again and again, then (peace through strength) becomes a shiny slogan to the extent that even Buddhists start to believe in its viability.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Re: POMPEO is in Saudi Today: his interesting message

Post by Bundokji » Fri May 04, 2018 4:32 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 12:49 pm
Excellent! Then we agree that acting decisively and harshly can sometimes be morally better than not doing so! All you need now is to convince me that Trump's actions are not in that category of decisive harsh actions which are morally better than refraining from them.


Morally better from which perspective? The US and western perspective is the moral criteria?

If we acknowledge that each country has its own moral norms (which is different from proposing that all moral norms are equal), then the US right to intervene becomes under scrutiny.

Why would a country be allowed to use force (or decisive actions as you describe it) against countries thousands of miles away in the first place? where does that right to intervene (or sense of entitlement) came from?

Please note that the sense of entitlement is stronger when it comes to harsh actions than to soft actions. If your son does something wrong, you might beat him or shout at him, but if your neighbor's son did something wrong, the proper action would be to tell his father, and if his father fails to act, you can go to the police and take legal action. The opposite is not true if you want to use a soft action. You can be nice to your neighbor's son without needing a permission from his father.

Imagine you visit a Muslim country which has different norms and morality than yours, and you witnessed some actions that contradicts with your own belief system, would it be morally correct to impose your own morality on others using force? So the criteria should be the moral norms of where the action is taking place, not the moral package you bring with you from the UK.

However, the world is more complex than that, and countries have interests. When a country feels that its interests are being threatened, there are the UN and the security council, and those legal institutions are the proper channels to solve international disputes.

Every country in which Trump is threatening to have "decisive actions" are suffering due to previous interventions (or decisive actions) by the US in the past. In Korea, the US took part in the war in the 1950s. In Syria, the US support of terrorists groups prolonged the war there. Look at Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. In every country where they intervened, they brought death and destruction. That would ring a bell to anyone with a minimum sense of moral responsibility, and yet, more intervening and use of force is the answer, so they claim.

Due to racism in Europe during the second world war, the Jewish people had to immigrate to the Middle East to save their lives, which resulted in a conflict between the Arab aboriginals and the Jewish immigrants. The UK, at that time, promised the Jews a land they don't own, and Trump recently, is moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem in a complete disregard too how the Palestinians would feel about it and a continuation of the same old western policies of giving what they don't own.

And yet, the status quo, while far from perfect, is bearable to a lot of people, but Trump and the current US administration wont let people alone. More confrontations (or decisive actions) are needed to make the world perfect according to their whims and desires.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Re: POMPEO is in Saudi Today: his interesting message

Post by Kamran » Fri May 04, 2018 5:53 am

:goodpost:
"Silence gives answers"

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

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Re: POMPEO is in Saudi Today: his interesting message

Post by DooDoot » Fri May 04, 2018 6:20 am

Bundokji wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 2:07 am
When the US and the UK invaded Iraq in 2003, i don't think their intention was to bring chaos to the region...
My impression is the US leaders clearly knew it would result in chaos (per 1st video). The whole agenda appears to bring chaos to those nations (per 2nd video); given that has been the result. The same method was used for each recent country. I have seen the videos for both the Libyan & Syrian "uprisings". Each was the same. Orchestrated demonstrations in border towns (Benghazi & Darrah) and then snipers started shooting at the police, yet the Western media said it was police shooting demonstrators. Same recently in Iran. Some protests in border towns. The CIA manufactured "humanitarian crisis" for the purpose of intervention but when the real humanitarian crisis occurs they completely ignore the situation (such as post 2008 Iraq & post 2011 Libya). At least for me, the degree of evil is often too difficult to mentally accommodate. The evil is unimaginable; which includes the evil that did 9/11.






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Sam Vara
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Re: POMPEO is in Saudi Today: his interesting message

Post by Sam Vara » Fri May 04, 2018 6:42 am

Bundokji wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 2:07 am

The moral weight of actions can be evaluated either on the action itself, or based on intention, or both. For example, negligence is a form of moral recklessness even though it is difficult to determine whether negligence can be defined as intentional or not because it is rather related to something we ought to do but we don't, and yet, it is still punishable by law due to its consequences. So considering negligence immoral is not only a moral judgement, but a preventive tool against further negligence, a way to influence people to be more aware of the possible consequences of their actions.
Of course. Negligence is recognised as blameworthy in any system of Western ethics that I know of, and (as Richard Gombrich points out) is no less so within the Buddha's teaching. Without knowing what the actor in question knew, however, we cannot make an accurate judgement as to whether their actions were negligent compared to another course of action. There is no necessary connection between negligence and forceful action, any more than there is between negligence and restraint or appeasement.
When the US and the UK invaded Iraq in 2003, i don't think their intention was to bring chaos to the region, but the results of their actions was the death of a million innocent Iraqi people. According to your view, if i understand it correctly, they can be seen as morally blameless because:

1- They lacked hindsight
2- Because decisive actions (confrontation and violence) can be the right moral choice in certain circumstances.
Then you haven't understod correctly. I consider the 2003 invasion of Iraq to have been an appalling catastrophe, and possibly the worst misjudgement the UK government has made in my lifetime (I was born just after the Suez crisis!). I would be interested to know how you could derive this view from anything I have said. (I am generally interested in how debates on the internet can facilitate such misunderstandings).
It is worth noting that some religions such as Jainism and to a large extent Buddhism put too much emphasis on non-harming as a basis for the whole teachings even though they are not naive enough to fail to see that confrontation and violence can solve some problems in the short term, but the wisdom of these teachings is seeing beyond the immediate and helping humanity to avoid a vicious cycle. When we use violence to reach a desired outcome, it leaves an impression within us that it can be used again in the future (slippery slope) and we end up not knowing how to stop./quote]

Does it? Might the effects not rather shock us and make us resolve not to use it again? It's for this reason that I have tried to rely on History and Ethics, rather than pop psychology. Were "violence breeds violence" to be significantly true, it would lead to a form of abderitism at best, or perpetual conflict at worst.
Not seeing the danger inherent in the use of violence manifests itself in the excessive use of it, and our reasoning ability becomes a servant to justify why it can be used again and again, then (peace through strength) becomes a shiny slogan to the extent that even Buddhists start to believe in its viability.
Of course, not seeing the danger in the use of anything can lead us into it's over-use. But this is, I'm afraid, a form of question-begging. Once we have decided on what excessive use is, we can then say that the perpetrator failed to see the dangers inherent in it. But given that violence is accepted as being occasionally necessary, how do we determine what counts as excessive use?

Family duties call, so I'll deal with your other post about moral relativism later this morning.

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Re: POMPEO is in Saudi Today: his interesting message

Post by Bundokji » Fri May 04, 2018 7:41 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 6:42 am
Of course. Negligence is recognised as blameworthy in any system of Western ethics that I know of, and (as Richard Gombrich points out) is no less so within the Buddha's teaching. Without knowing what the actor in question knew, however, we cannot make an accurate judgement as to whether their actions were negligent compared to another course of action. There is no necessary connection between negligence and forceful action, any more than there is between negligence and restraint or appeasement.
You might be overlooking the fact that almost in all moral systems, we don't treat the use of force in the same way we treat soft actions. For example, giving a reward begs less investigation than punishment because the consequence of each action is not the same. Legal proceedings might take years to prove someone is guilty to avoid injustice. Recognizing the potential pain which might result from harshness, we give the other "the benefit of the doubt" or in legal terms, we say "innocent until proven guilty". In brief, when there is uncertainty, sane people choose to be wrong while merciful than being wrong while harsh.

Your attempt to equate the two by saying " There is no necessary connection between negligence and forceful action, any more than there is between negligence and restraint or appeasement" is futile in my opinion.

If Trump wants to use confrontation and force, he owes the public a proper justification. He should give evidence that Assad used Chemical weapons against his own people which he failed to do, and he needs to prove that Iran violated the nuclear deal if he wants to withdraw from it and impose sanctions. Unless he does that, his actions cannot be morally justified.
Then you haven't understod correctly. I consider the 2003 invasion of Iraq to have been an appalling catastrophe, and possibly the worst misjudgement the UK government has made in my lifetime (I was born just after the Suez crisis!). I would be interested to know how you could derive this view from anything I have said. (I am generally interested in how debates on the internet can facilitate such misunderstandings).
You claimed that i have not understood you correctly, so please help me to understand you better. First, where did i even mention your personal beliefs about the way in Iraq? What i did is to show that your approach to this discussion so far can be used to justify any morally reckless action including the war in Iraq. Not only that, i summarized your criteria in two points and clearly showed how it can be used to justify the war in Iraq. I did not say you support the war in Iraq.

More generally, your approach which is suspending judgement unless we know exactly what Trump knew to determine how morally justified his confrontational approach is can result in catastrophes. We, the people of the world, should wait until the shit hits the fan and bury our heads in the sand because we don't know exactly what Trump knew. If he knew something we don't know, he has the moral obligation to let the rest of the world know what he knows. Until he does that, his confrontational approach cannot be morally justified.
Does it? Might the effects not rather shock us and make us resolve not to use it again? It's for this reason that I have tried to rely on History and Ethics, rather than pop psychology. Were "violence breeds violence" to be significantly true, it would lead to a form of abderitism at best, or perpetual conflict at worst.
This is akin to recommending someone to quit smoking after he gets cancer.
Of course, not seeing the danger in the use of anything can lead us into it's over-use. But this is, I'm afraid, a form of question-begging. Once we have decided on what excessive use is, we can then say that the perpetrator failed to see the dangers inherent in it. But given that violence is accepted as being occasionally necessary, how do we determine what counts as excessive use?
How do you define moderation? Can you name one policy where Trump has not been confrontational both internally and with the rest of the world?
Family duties call, so I'll deal with your other post about moral relativism later this morning.
No worries, but i am waiting to see where did i propose moral relativism?
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Re: POMPEO is in Saudi Today: his interesting message

Post by Sam Vara » Fri May 04, 2018 10:19 am

Bundokji wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 4:32 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 12:49 pm
Excellent! Then we agree that acting decisively and harshly can sometimes be morally better than not doing so! All you need now is to convince me that Trump's actions are not in that category of decisive harsh actions which are morally better than refraining from them.


Morally better from which perspective? The US and western perspective is the moral criteria?
I don't think perspectives have much of a role to play here. If we agree that acting decisively and harshly can sometimes be morally better than not doing so, then we have already escaped from moral relativism. If you think that there is a "perspective" in which the above does not apply (i.e. that there are some perspectives within which acting decisively and harshly are never the better option) then you need to explain what that perspective is.
You might be overlooking the fact that almost in all moral systems, we don't treat the use of force in the same way we treat soft actions. For example, giving a reward begs less investigation than punishment because the consequence of each action is not the same.
No, I'm not overlooking that fact. I'm not accepting the point that giving rewards "begs less investigation", though, because in all the ethical systems we have touched upon - and the legal systems with which I am familiar - it is not true. Rewarding bad behaviour is universally condemned in Utilitarianism, deontological theories, and virtue ethics. In that category falls bribery, incitement, conspiracy, corruption, and all forms of encouragement or permitting of others to do otherwise avoidable evil.
Your attempt to equate the two by saying " There is no necessary connection between negligence and forceful action, any more than there is between negligence and restraint or appeasement" is futile in my opinion.
Well, opinions are fine, but it would be better to show the futility. One cannot analytically derive the concept of negligence from force, any more than one can derive it from restraint or appeasement.
If Trump wants to use confrontation and force, he owes the public a proper justification. He should give evidence that Assad used Chemical weapons against his own people which he failed to do, and he needs to prove that Iran violated the nuclear deal if he wants to withdraw from it and impose sanctions. Unless he does that, his actions cannot be morally justified.
I agree that he does owe the public a proper justification. But that's another, different ethical question about what leaders should do. There are some things that countries need to keep secret. Diplomacy and warfare are all about not revealing one's plans beforehand, and indeed both activities would become self-defeating if that were not so. We may know later whether he was justified or not. Keeping actions secret is not in itself sufficient reason for them not being ethically justified. Examples on demand.
You claimed that i have not understood you correctly, so please help me to understand you better.
Sure. Your point was:
When the US and the UK invaded Iraq in 2003, i don't think their intention was to bring chaos to the region, but the results of their actions was the death of a million innocent Iraqi people. According to your view, if i understand it correctly, they can be seen as morally blameless because:

1- They lacked hindsight
2- Because decisive actions (confrontation and violence) can be the right moral choice in certain circumstances.
The two numbered points cannot be derived from anything I have said. I have not said that actions can be considered morally blameless because of a lack of hindsight. Nor have I said that the Iraq invasion could be seen as morally blameless because decisive actions can be the right moral choice in certain circumstances. If they could have been derived from what I have said, then (assuming of course that I mean what I said) then it follows that I would have thought the invasion to have been morally blameless.
More generally, your approach which is suspending judgement unless we know exactly what Trump knew to determine how morally justified his confrontational approach is can result in catastrophes.


No, it can't. You or I passing judgement upon Trump is hardly likely to cause or avert catastrophes. This is a theoretical discussion on the internet! I think Trump will do what he wants to do, regardless. Passing moral judgement is an interesting exercise, but irrelevant to the outcome.
This is akin to recommending someone to quit smoking after he gets cancer.
It is, and with the same justification we could change the analogy and say that failing to take action is like refusing to eat, because foodstuffs have been linked to diseases. That's why I'm steering clear of using pop psychology to generate axioms. Everything can be challenged by a counter-example.
How do you define moderation?
I don't, because I'm just showing you that your point is a form of question-begging. It has little to do with my original point.
No worries, but i am waiting to see where did i propose moral relativism?
It looked like it from first glance, but it's difficult to tell whether your point about "perspectives" relates to ethics or not. Either way, I think I have dealt with it adequately above in the sense that our agreement that decisive harsh action can sometimes be justified ethically presupposes at least one point of ethical universalism.

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Re: POMPEO is in Saudi Today: his interesting message

Post by Bundokji » Fri May 04, 2018 2:16 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 10:19 am
I don't think perspectives have much of a role to play here. If we gree that acting decisively and harshly can sometimes be morally better than not doing so, then we have already escaped from moral relativism. If you think that there is a "perspective" in which the above does not apply (i.e. that there are some perspectives within which acting decisively and harshly are never the better option) then you need to explain what that perspective is.
It has every role in the case of US policy in general and Trump in particular as i explained in my post providing many examples. Can you name one war they waged not due to others having different perspective/values than the one they adopt?

For instance, Trump attacked Syria claiming that Assad used chemical weapons (without evidence and without a UN resolution) while during the war between Iraq and Iran, Saddam Hussein was an ally of the west, and he used chemical weapons against the Iranian (which they chose not to retaliate) and the UN produced five reports (from memory) confirming that Iraq used chemical weapons. Why they did not attack Iraq at that time when there was evidence of the use of chemical weapons while they attacked Syria for the same reason without evidence? It boils down to perspective!
No, I'm not overlooking that fact. I'm not accepting the point that giving rewards "begs less investigation", though, because in all the ethical systems we have touched upon - and the legal systems with which I am familiar - it is not true. Rewarding bad behaviour is universally condemned in Utilitarianism, deontological theories, and virtue ethics. In that category falls bribery, incitement, conspiracy, corruption, and all forms of encouragement or permitting of others to do otherwise avoidable evil.
Prove that Iran and Syria behaved badly.
Well, opinions are fine, but it would be better to show the futility. One cannot analytically derive the concept of negligence from force, any more than one can derive it from restraint or appeasement.
I already explained why. Notions such as "innocent until proven guilty" proves my point.
I agree that he does owe the public a proper justification. But that's another, different ethical question about what leaders should do. There are some things that countries need to keep secret. Diplomacy and warfare are all about not revealing one's plans beforehand, and indeed both activities would become self-defeating if that were not so. We may know later whether he was justified or not. Keeping actions secret is not in itself sufficient reason for them not being ethically justified. Examples on demand.
If you agree that he does owe the public a proper justification, until he does that (if ever), his actions are ethically and legally indefensible. Imagine you go to the court and make a claim, then the onus of proof would be on you. If you are unable to provide evidence, then that is your problem.

Its worth remembering that the US provided false evidence to the UN in 2003, so if they had one, they would have provided it.
The two numbered points cannot be derived from anything I have said. I have not said that actions can be considered morally blameless because of a lack of hindsight. Nor have I said that the Iraq invasion could be seen as morally blameless because decisive actions can be the right moral choice in certain circumstances. If they could have been derived from what I have said, then (assuming of course that I mean what I said) then it follows that I would have thought the invasion to have been morally blameless.
Let us revisit what you said in your previous posts:
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 12:30 pm
All of that may be true, but wouldn't it equally apply to any politician, soldier, or anyone who sets out to change the world for the better? For example, Obama's offering an olive branch to Iran might also have had devastating long-term consequences, and could thereby be seen as equally risky.

(I'm not saying that either is right or wrong; merely that all politicians lack hindsight, not just Trump...)
Sam Vara wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 10:12 am
In other words, if acting decisively and violently can be the morally preferable course of action under some circumstances, I'll need more convincing that Trump's actions were necessarily morally wrong.
Now imagine us in 2003 before the invasion in Iraq having the same argument. Why the above points does not justify the invasion of Iraq? George W Bush lacks hindsight as any other politician (as per your point), and military actions can be preferable course of action under some circumstances. At least, George W Bush bothered to provide fake intelligence to security council to justify the invasion, while Trump did not provide any. Saddam used Chemical weapons against the Kurds and Against Iran and there is evidence supporting that, while there is no evidence that Bashar used chemical weapons against his own people.

On what basis did you oppose the war in 2003 then? why you did not suspend judgement, and why you are doing so now? what is the difference, please explain.
No, it can't. You or I passing judgement upon Trump is hardly likely to cause or avert catastrophes. This is a theoretical discussion on the internet! I think Trump will do what he wants to do, regardless. Passing moral judgement is an interesting exercise, but irrelevant to the outcome.
Do you think the hundreds of thousands of people who protested in the streets of the UK in 2003 in an attempt to prevent the war (even though they did not succeed) were having the interesting exercise of passing moral judgement?
It looked like it from first glance, but it's difficult to tell whether your point about "perspectives" relates to ethics or not. Either way, I think I have dealt with it adequately above in the sense that our agreement that decisive harsh action can sometimes be justified ethically presupposes at least one point of ethical universalism.
You have not as you chose to ignore the historical trend and the examples i provided of US and western policies in the Middle East and other parts of the world and its devastating consequences.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Sam Vara
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Re: POMPEO is in Saudi Today: his interesting message

Post by Sam Vara » Fri May 04, 2018 4:03 pm

Let's introduce a little bit of focus here, as this thread looks like becoming ever more voluminous with regard to content. It's very nice of you to share your world view about the Middle East, speculative psychology, 20th Century history, Trump's track record, kamma, etc., but it's not at my request. If you look at my posts, I have tried to show how most of what you have to say is irrelevant to my original point, and I don't think I have introduced any new aspects at all; I have merely responded to what you brought anew each time. I find myself in the position of either having to engage in a point-by-point debate with your ever-increasing agenda, or setting the agenda myself. As I've never seen a lengthy internet debate about the vicissitudes of the Middle East (for that is where you have brought us) turn out well, I've chosen the latter.

My original point was that a claim that Trump has acted reprehensibly or recklessly because he engaged in harsh speech and forceful intervention is unsupportable. I can't analytically derive moral blame from harsh speech or forceful intervention, because they are different concepts, and a claim that harsh speech or forceful intervention is morally blameworthy is begging the question. I can also think of many occasions, personal and historical, where harsh speech and forceful speech were morally the best option under the circumstances. I don't know that this was the case regarding Trump's recent actions, but I don't know that this wasn't the case, either. Not being party to his intentions, or the information available to him, I don't know. I don't think anyone else here knows, either.

I am happy to let this state of unknowing just sit. There is no need of me to rush to judgement on Trump or anyone else; if I feel the need for an emotional response, I'll cultivate compassion for the injured, and joy for those who are happy. Of course, other people (such as yourself) might be very keen to decide this for me. They might want to convince me that there is something more morally reprehensible about Trump's actions which do not apply to other possible actions which might have been taken. But they won't convince me by referring to Trump's track record in other areas, including domestic policy; psychological speculation about violence breeding violence; the illegality of Trump's actions; his lack of candour; or the claim that violence is always and ever wrong; or that it is reckless because it destabilises the situation; or that the Middle East has had some bad things happen there. All of these are irrelevant to the point I made. If you want to discuss them, though, feel free to start a new thread. There have been several interesting discussions on DW about the ethics of violence in an already violent world, and many other less interesting ones about the Middle East.

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lyndon taylor
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Re: POMPEO is in Saudi Today: his interesting message

Post by lyndon taylor » Fri May 04, 2018 4:39 pm

Trump lovers make the Buddha sick!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Bundokji
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Re: POMPEO is in Saudi Today: his interesting message

Post by Bundokji » Fri May 04, 2018 4:59 pm

I can assure you that my exchange with you was not intended to be sharing my world view about the Middle East, speculative psychology, 20th Century history, Trump's track record, kamma, etc

Most of my replies was an attempt to add context/meaning to a general rule (your original point) because i felt that without context, it can lead to the wrong conclusion. I also tried to rely on less controversial information, i have not used any videos from opposing media outlets to demonize Trump. What you describe as "speculative psychology" or "pop psychology" was merely sharing my thoughts and why i hold such a conclusion that Trump is morally reckless.

Having a discussion between people involves the possibility of convincing each other, but if my style of discussion appeared to be imposing my views on you, then i apologize.

I have no shame in admitting that some of my replies might be emotional because i find it closer to the truth (as i see it). Indeed, in a completely objective world (if such a thing exists) the use of force is not necessarily less preferable than the use of leniency.

If you found most of my replies irrelevant to your original point, then there is nothing i can do about it except thanking you for having this discussion.

Peace :anjali:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Sam Vara
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Re: POMPEO is in Saudi Today: his interesting message

Post by Sam Vara » Fri May 04, 2018 5:11 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 4:59 pm
I can assure you that my exchange with you was not intended to be sharing my world view about the Middle East, speculative psychology, 20th Century history, Trump's track record, kamma, etc

Most of my replies was an attempt to add context/meaning to a general rule (your original point) because i felt that without context, it can lead to the wrong conclusion. I also tried to rely on less controversial information, i have not used any videos from opposing media outlets to demonize Trump. What you describe as "speculative psychology" or "pop psychology" was merely sharing my thoughts and why i hold such a conclusion that Trump is morally reckless.

Having a discussion between people involves the possibility of convincing each other, but if my style of discussion appeared to be imposing my views on you, then i apologize.

I have no shame in admitting that some of my replies might be emotional because i find it closer to the truth (as i see it). Indeed, in a completely objective world (if such a thing exists) the use of force is not necessarily less preferable than the use of leniency.

If you found most of my replies irrelevant to your original point, then there is nothing i can do about it except thanking you for having this discussion.

Peace :anjali:
Well, for not using the usual range of anti-Trump videos, you have my sincere gratitude! You weren't imposing your views at all, Bundokji. Nor is there any shame about being emotional. I merely found it irrelevant, but that doesn't reflect badly on you at all. Likewise, I thank you for the discussion.

:anjali:

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