What does Britain hope to gain from this?

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SteveFoerster
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Re: What does Britain hope to gain from this?

Post by SteveFoerster » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:13 am

Sertorio wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:00 am
neverfail wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:24 am
Sertorio wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:17 pm

I wouldn't expect - nor welcome - governments being guided by idealism, but it would be nice to see them being guided by principles...
Sertorio, with regard to East Timor: I would have been happier had our governments of the day stood up to the Suharto government and told them "hands off East Timor" from the very start. Seeing the Indonesian military invade ET and then maltreat the East Timorese for almost a quarter of a century frankly always gave me the creeps. Sometimes I wish that governments would occasionally waive adhering to the line of pragmatic self-interest and have an attack of wild, giddy altruism. But I am just an armchair critic currently behind a keyboard. It was not my head that was in the noose. I never had to bear responsibility for the unforeseen consequences.
You are also a citizen who votes and helps chosing those who make the decisions... We forget that far too often...
I don't expect that anyone ever reads a book just because someone who disagrees with them online suggests it, but for what it's worth, Bryan Caplan explains why it doesn't work that way in the real world in his book The Myth of the Rational Voter.
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Sertorio
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Re: What does Britain hope to gain from this?

Post by Sertorio » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:40 am

SteveFoerster wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:13 am
Sertorio wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:00 am
neverfail wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:24 am
Sertorio wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:17 pm

I wouldn't expect - nor welcome - governments being guided by idealism, but it would be nice to see them being guided by principles...
Sertorio, with regard to East Timor: I would have been happier had our governments of the day stood up to the Suharto government and told them "hands off East Timor" from the very start. Seeing the Indonesian military invade ET and then maltreat the East Timorese for almost a quarter of a century frankly always gave me the creeps. Sometimes I wish that governments would occasionally waive adhering to the line of pragmatic self-interest and have an attack of wild, giddy altruism. But I am just an armchair critic currently behind a keyboard. It was not my head that was in the noose. I never had to bear responsibility for the unforeseen consequences.
You are also a citizen who votes and helps chosing those who make the decisions... We forget that far too often...
I don't expect that anyone ever reads a book just because someone who disagrees with them online suggests it, but for what it's worth, Bryan Caplan explains why it doesn't work that way in the real world in his book The Myth of the Rational Voter.
I haven't read this particular book, but I tend to think that democracy is likely to allow for the right choices to be made based on probabilities, rather than on knowledge and rationality. Any large number of people living together in a community, have a collective instinctive awareness of what the community needs. Whatever the individual reasons why a voter makes a voting decision, and whatever his intelligence and knowledge may be, as a group voters will make the right decision, as individual errors of judgement will be offset by other errors of opposite signal. Occasionaly things will not work this way, as when Germans voted in 1933 for the nazis. But generally speaking, voters will make the best choice under the circumstances. That doesn't mean that individual choices are irrelevant, as the end result is the sum of all individual choices.

neverfail
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Re: What does Britain hope to gain from this?

Post by neverfail » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:04 pm

Sertorio wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:00 am

You are also a citizen who votes and helps chosing those who make the decisions... We forget that far too often...
One among millions.

It does not help when policy on a particular issue is bi-partisan: meaning that regardless of which of our two big parliamentary power blocks in in government they agree on the same policy. It means that the voter is not given a choice.

There are a lot of policies that our major parties are in fundamental agreement on - though in the heat of anh election campaign they will always hype up often trivial policy differences and nuances of approach to convince voter-supporters that the differences represent a titanic struggle between the forces of darkness and light - which it is not and never was. A big con job that we the voters have to endure over each successive election campaign.
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In the case of East Timor: in 1974, as the Portuguese authorities lost their grip and the tiny colony plunged ever deeper into crisis, regional powers became increasingly alarmed. I recall how the Malaysian political leader of the time (I seem to recall it was Tun Abdul Razak) came up with a proposal that Malaysia, Indonesia, Portugal and Australia should jointly form a joint administration up there (Portugal by itself was by then clearly incapable of doing it alone) for the purpose of supervising a peaceful and orderly transition of the restive colony into full sovereign independence. Indonesia and Portugal expressed interest but our Labor government of the day led by Edward Gough Whitlam immediately scuppered the proposal by publically rejecting it. In fact Gough Whitlam was apparently keen to see East Timor incorporated into Indonesia for he could not see how a resource poor, tiny enclave like that could ever be viable as a sovereign state in its own right.

This rejection of what I thought at the time to be a sound proposal marks the beginning of my own disenchantment with the Whitlam government. When it first came into government in 1972, like many of my generation I had been an enthusiastic supporter. I viewed the unwillingness of the Whitlam government to lend Australia's support as a failure of moral authority. Young and somewhat romantic at the time I have previously viewed our Labor Party as endowed with greater moral authority than our right-of-centre coalition parties. Now I was getting a needed education in the fact that self-serving cynicism was not a monopoly of our political right.

At the time that the Indo. invasion of East Timor began (late 1975) the Whitlam Labor government was in a state of existential crisis and struggling to survive. I sometimes wonder whether the Suharto government waited until our government was in its death throes before launching that invasion; understanding that the only regional power in the area capable of opposing would be temporarily incapable of even verbal opposition.

The crisis resulted in an early election in december 1975 which the Whitlam government lost to its political opponents by a landslide of votes (it deserved to). Early in its incumbency the right coalition government led by Malcolm Fraser demonstrated what its East Timor policy was going to be by closing down a radio station near Darwin operated by local symphesisers of Fretilin as a favour to Suharto. With that Fretilin, now on the run as an insurgency in the ET mountains lost its sole means of electronic communication with the outside world.

I might have expected better than that even from an Australian government of the right.

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