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World & Current Events > Are countries either allies or enemies or competitors too?

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16033 comments With trade tariffs looming, discussed and already implemented, the intrinsic dichotomy of foreign relations becomes evident.
On the one hand, countries sharing similar values, democracy and all are allies in military and blocs' sense, but appear as competitors in an economic aspect.
And in the opposite direction too: Countries viewed as geopolitical adversaries may find themselves aligned economically or otherwise.
In societies where corporations and individuals too are destined to compete, should macro-political entities compete too or should be guided by different principles, like say: ecological concerns, free trade and free movement of capital, etc? What do you think?


message 2: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments I think this may have something to do with this topic. I've always wondered why the U.S. and Russia came to be allies in both world wars. Certainly not similar values. So, why?


message 3: by Michel (last edited Jul 03, 2018 05:32AM) (new)

Michel Poulin Scout wrote: "I think this may have something to do with this topic. I've always wondered why the U.S. and Russia came to be allies in both world wars. Certainly not similar values. So, why?"

The reason is actually simple: a common enemy (in both cases Germany). In WW1, the war itself was triggered by growing hostilities between imperial Russia and the Austro-Hungarian empire over the Balkans. When Russia started mobilizing, Germany did so as an ally of Austro-Hungary and the dominos went down. The USA joined WW1 very late, in 1917, when Russia was already in deep trouble and with the Bolshevik Revolution going. After the end of WW1, American volunteers, along with volunteers from many Western countries, went to fight the Red Army, supporting the 'White Armies' trying to restore the Czar to the throne, but the Red Army eventually prevailed. So you could say that the USA was not really an ally of Russia then.

In WW2, you had Stalin, a nice guy, really (NOT!) who started the war as an ally of Hitler, so that he could grab half of Poland while Hitler grabbed the other half. When Hitler betrayed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact by invading the Soviet Union in the Summer of 1941, Uncle Stalin saw the light and called for help to the British and Americans. The USA responded by starting to send convoys of ships loaded with weapons and war supplies to Russia via the Arctic convoys going to Murmansk, to support the Soviets' fight against the Germans. However, as soon as WW2 ended, Stalin let down his mask and started grabbing what he could of Eastern Europe, pissing off the UK and the USA. And so started the Cold War.

As they say so well: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. And they also say: with friends like these, who needs enemies?


message 4: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11768 comments My view is that while Stalin was definitely someone the West had a deep dislike for, and he was a worse murderer than Hitler, they realised that if Hitler beat Russia he might be unstoppable. Remember the D Day landings succeeded, but it was still only just, and opposition, like the Panzer division Das Reich had lost almost 90% of its experienced fighting force at Kursk. The A bomb might have broken the subsequent stalemate, but when these convoys started, they had no real idea the bomb would work. They weren't really helping Stalin - they were basically finding their only real way of beating Germany


message 5: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2328 comments This basically mirrors politics in general. All our politicians go out and bash their opponents or the opposing party, they turn each other into the biggest villains imaginable, and behind closed doors they're almost best of friends on a personal level. There's this weird compartmentalization going on that I think you see between nations as well. Look at the trade war concerning China. Trump and Xi can play this game of placing tariffs and counter tariffs, but they can put that issue aside like it was nothing to work on the North Korean problem. In our world, these kinds of disputes influence our broader dealings with people, but politicians have this weird knack to keep all these issues separate.


message 6: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments That's a pretty good answer to your question, Nik :-)


message 7: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16033 comments Indeed.
Another question in this context is why countries are used as a vehicle promoting business interests? With corporations going global and often loosing their national 'identity', countries intervening on behalf of (once) 'their' business interests becomes more questionable.


message 8: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11768 comments Nik, the involvement of countries follows from the need for a country to provide its ordinary citizens with a currency that will give them a reasonable standard of living. If they cannot purchase what their country does not produce, for mot countries life in not that flash. Whether the country becomes involved in a fair or logical way is a different issue, though.


message 9: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments J.J. said, "In our world, these kinds of disputes influence our broader dealings with people, but politicians have this weird knack to keep all these issues separate."

I guess my question is, Don't heads of state have to keep issues separate in order to maintain relations with each other? It's like in a marriage. One person may hate smoking, so the smoker goes outside to do the deed. Each maintains his/her position with some compromise and without dissolving the union.


message 10: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2328 comments True...that's probably why they're so good at it.


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