Member Opinions on discussing Geopolitical Matters.

Discussion in 'Feedback & Suggestions' started by SampanViking, Nov 2, 2014.

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  1. SampanViking
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    SampanViking The Capitalist
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    As you are all no doubt aware, there is a heated debate between the moderators on the subject of amending the rules and allowing Geopolitical Debate as a central part of the forums activities.

    I am personally in favour and believe that on this important issue, that the members should be able to express their opinions as well.

    This is an opinion thread not a discussion thread, so the rule is simply to post your view and not respond, reply or quote the opinion of any other member. If you like what someone else has written please simply "like" it.

    If the response warrants it, an opinion poll with various options may be added after a few days

    I start the thread with my own position


    SampanViking
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    Why the rules need to change to allow Geopolitical content as an integral part of the forums discussions.

    If the second decade of the 21st Century is anything, it is a time of rapid and fundamental transition, in which the rising power blocks of the South and East are catching up and overtaking the established powers of West. At the foremost of these rising nations is of course China.

    Ten years ago, when SDF started in its current form, the world was a different place and the security environment for China was far more passive. China as a power was still largely staying at home, people came to China to buy things and China had until recently been self sufficient in many of its natural resources. During this time also, China was in the midst of a major process of military modernisation and its military very rarely strayed very far; if at all, from home.

    Ten years later, the picture is very different, China is still the workshop of the world, but now it also exports Capital along with finished consumer goods. The Banks are floated on International Bourses and trade globally. China owns substantial assets abroad and has through them acquired significant interests worldwide.

    Chinese State policy is also more International and it increasingly promotes its interests through International bodies such as the SCO and BRICS. Its interests are therefore more closely aligned with other emerging nations and what effects these nations now more closely affects China too.

    In addition, the phase of mass modernisation of China’s military has now peaked and China has modern forces that are able to go out and protect/enforce China’s interests more widely in the world. It is also true that the relatively benign security environment of ten years ago has been replaced by a far more confrontational one today.

    Is this relevant to the forum? I strongly believe it is, this is Sino-Defence not Chinese Military Maintenance and it is essential to understand the Security Environment and Policy that shapes the continued development and deployment of the PLA. This will cover the areas of policy, objective, capability and strategy

    This of course brings my argument to key factor relevant to the forum and this is the narrative.

    You will not be able to put the pieces for China and its strategic partners together, if you do not know or understand the narrative that they present to explain it. Obtaining this narrative is easier said than done, as the most obvious manifestation of this new more confrontational period of transition, is the loss of objectivity from conventional/traditional media sources.

    Most of us live in that which we collectively refer to as the West. We are therefore cocooned by a powerful narrative that serves and promotes the interests of our nations. This narrative is the condition normal, that nations that support it are the “International Community” the bodies and organisations through which it exercises its power are “Global Institutions” and the values it promotes are described as “Universal”.
    This of course is the problem with the current forum rules, if we are not allowed to examine the Geopolitical aspects and study the opposing narrative, we only hear the narrative of one side and it is a narrative increasingly in conflict with the narrative of the nation(s) in who we are here to indulge and develop our own personal interest.

    This to me is a form of unnecessary censorship and one that will only devalue the relevance and expertise of the forum as it will have handicapped itself from being able to acquire clear and concise understanding of the strategies of the rising powers.

    Moreover, this is more than theory, it is a matter of pride to me, that we as a forum have been able to apply our collective investigative abilities to a live situation in the Ukraine. In this instance we not only were able to find and study the narrative of the Russian side in the conflict, we found that there narrative was more accurate and better described and predicted the actual course of the conflict. It was for me an important validation of process and judgement that will be invaluable in the course of other, future conflicts, especially one that includes the military forces of the PRC.

    Finally of course, there has been a lot of talk about “allowing Political Discussion”. This is very misleading as the word politics evokes, cheesy smiles, party lines, ideology, morality, personality, causes and rights, tax rates, welfare and spending priorities etc, Nobody I know here is interested in discussing such things and they are the antithesis of the areas being proposed.
     
  2. Scratch
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    Scratch Captain

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    I am strongly agaist the proposed change in policy. I sincerely do believe that the way this forum did buisness over the past decade has served it greatly and is a prime contributer to the superior standard we hold today in my opinion. I don't think that ten years ago the world per se was a more boring place politicly. I believe there were quiet as many and also as challanging / confrontational conflicts as there are today. (Somehow every decade people believe we NOW live in an environment of great geopolitical chage and challanges.)

    Now what has changed of course is the amount of China's role in influencing these events and I do realize China is of course the topic at hand. That being said, for one we've had many very meaningfull discussions over defence-technological issues in the past and I don't think that needs to change to maintain that level. We can very well continue to extrapolate / predict / discuss PLA development (or that of another rising power) in light of geopolitical circumstances. But that has happend in the past already, without doing what is being proposed here as "allowing politcal discussion".

    That opens up another question I believe. Are we trying to allow discussions on geopolitical aspects directly involving China's foreign and security policies in certain limits (something I could approve of), or are we talking generally geo-, securiy- political matters (what I strongly disapprove of)?

    Now in closing, I certainly do not intent to discuss, as it is not the point. But another prime reason for my stance involves the very same issue already mentioned. Just that I see it the other way round.
    The stated / applied notion that "the ruling western narrative" is an all-encompassing ploy ment to delude the masses of regular people and to cordon emerging powers challanging the status quo, is itself, I believe, a personal opinion, and absolutely not a universal thruth, as it seems to be depicted here.
    However, if we start this change in policy on the premise that it indeed is the case, it already very negatively upsets the balance of where the "leadership" sets the line of what is acceptable critisism and what is insulting.

    And in my personal opinion, that has already shown in the past. The example that legitimate heads of state can be labled as poodles of someone, and the entire media be called incompetent fools of the ruling eilite because of a purportedly wrong map on a single online edition, just so long as they are from "the west", speaks volumes, IMO. If, as it appears, we cannot agree on those baseline things like were we set the middle ground from which so much straying left and right equally is allowed, this can only be detrimental.

    Anyhow, my little input on the topic. Cheers mates.

    Respectfully, Scratch
     
    #2 Scratch, Nov 2, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  3. Jeff Head
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    Jeff Head General
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    I will share my opinion here too.

    SD has had very active, detailed and involved discussions about military matters without the need to get political.

    This whoe issue, IMHO, is simply a matter of recognizing political discourse for what it is. By its nature it is combative, argumentative, and it creates factions and varying sides. That is what it meant to do in order for those discussions to influence people one way or another on the issues.

    Having such discourse broadened on SD will lead to this. It will be unescapable. It is its very nature. That's my honest, mature analysis of what it is.

    So, here is my principal feeling:

    To date SD has attracted people from all over the world. From very different countries and cultures...people with very diverse and what would otherwise be incompatible and argumentative ideological and political backgrounds. Yet they come here because SD has developed a reputation of not allowing political and ideological discourse to break out. (BTW, IMHO, Popeye is the principle motivator and influence that has allowed this to be the case). Therefore, people fell comfortable discussing military systems, forces, even deployments and strategies without worrying about politics and ideologies.

    IMHO, this is a very good and desirable thing. It is a very commendable thing that allows people to come together from all over the world without it breaking down into nationalistic, political, and ideological argument and strife. As brothers (mainly) and sisters, we get a chance and opportunity to avoid all of those things that divide us as we discuss this technology that we are passionate about.

    Now, others would rather engage in the politic, ideologies, geopolitics...whatever you wish to call it. Fine. But there are LOTS of places to do that. Do we have to have it here?

    I sincerely hope not. I hope we can maintain the non-political, non-ideological nature of the forum. It's why I came here in the first place. It's what I...and I believe and many, many others...love about SD.

    I hope we keep it that way and go back to more strictly enforcing the no-politics rule that we have had. That is my own hope and my opinion on why it is desirable.
     
    #3 Jeff Head, Nov 2, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  4. Equation
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    Equation Lieutenant General

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    In a perfect world and in a perfect forum there can be political discussion through out the members without name callings and trolling, but it's not. If we allow what you propose than this forum would become just another China smack or anti-Russia web site or anti NATO and US web site.

    What I propose is we provide a separate thread specifically for that kind of discussion But WITH very strict rules, where members has to be part of SDF for at least two years in order to participate in discussion and they will only limited amount to post their views (I say at least 10 posts the max. for each member). After that, NO MORE, until further review by the moderators can one be allowed another 5 or 10 posts of the same thread. This way it would keep the discussion relevant without members wasting their posts on irrelevant non-topic issues.

    What do ya think?
     
  5. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    I joined SDF, after having used it as a reference for some information. I liked that is was based on hard technical Fact. I have seen dozens of other Forums on Military matters but I was and still am not a member of them. Why because they are heavily flavored with Geopolitical Theory based on Opinion. Raw Opinion and nationalist sentiment.
    I am a proud American, But I don't feel the need to blast others with that over and over. I am here for fact for Hard Fact not Truth, Truth is opinion based, Truth is metaphysical, Truth is Geopolitical. The Truth for Jeff Head is not necessarily the Truth for me, The Truth For Delft is not necessarily the Truth for me, The Truth for Equation is not necessarily the truth for me... ect ect.
    SDF should remain for Fact. For discussion of Systems and Policies of Chinese military growth and expansion. It should not break down into debate over the rights and wrongs of global relations. simpy hard fact.
     
  6. navyreco
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    navyreco Senior Member

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    Likewise, I like SD for technical facts and new defense products discussions.

    Let's keep the politics (even geopolitics) out of it because it will ruin everything IMHO.
     
  7. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    And For Fact NavyReco, Few of us can even hold a candle to you Sir.
     
  8. Jura
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    Jura General

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    The post by Equation (#4 here) made me to find for the first time all my "personal statistics" -- whatever it's worth, but I'll get back to this in the end of my post:

    Join Date 06-23-2013
    Total Posts 1,442
    Posts Per Day 2.90
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    Likes Given (1352)

    I'm a naval enthusiast and several years ago I noticed the Fleets Buildup in the Far East, so I joined the SDF to learn about it, and I found here the information I sought (information in English, without a necessity to google-translate or something); by information I mean the parameters of warships, naval tactics, NOT "threats perceived by Politicians". But I became involved in two more "off-topic areas" here: 1. WW2 and 2. the Ukraine Conflic -- only after Crimea had been taken over by Russia. What I found in 1. and 2. was that discussions on a Military Forum can be upsetting, for example when considering the fate of Army Groups on the Eastern Front, battleships' armor cracking in the Pacific, Civil War in today's Europe; I'm sure that adding Politics into those discussions makes them worse! (I'm saying this as a pub debater who doesn't have problem with going into an argument.) Please leave the discussions Military-related, they still can be emotional enough, can't they?
    But I like that American saying, If you can't stand the heat, get out of Miami! What I mean is that if discussions here started to contain "analyses of elections", "opionions expressed by voters", "implications of recent surveys" blablablah, I'd leave.

    What I suggest, and is related to that post by Equation, is to create some restricted-posting thread for members who by far exceed my SDF data I showed above.
     
  9. delft
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    delft Brigadier

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    As Von Clausewitz said nearly two centuries ago war is the continuation of politics by other means. And except in an unlimited war when the purpose is to defeat the enemy before thinking about other matters the conduct of war must be determined by the political masters of the states. Earlier the money and equipment provided to the armed forced is determined by the same masters. Their conduct and competence are legitimate subjects for a military forum. You cannot judge the value of the equipment and the soldiers using it without considering the political context and that is quite clear in the Middle East and Ukraine. Also the types of support provided to warring parties and the purposes of countries providing that support deserve comment.
    Otherwise we abandon the analysis of weapon systems as soon as they are being used in anger.

    Before there is a war we want to judge the purposes of weapon systems we have not seen used in anger. There we need an appreciation of the strategies intended by the country/countries involved without being blinded by the propaganda each of us in subjected to. I was early made aware of this when in the 1950's I compared international news from the Dutch and Dutch language Belgian public radio stations. I found the Belgian station consistently more reliable and I still don't know why that was. Why should two countries living side by side with similar political position in the World have this difference in quality of news provision. So when considering the armaments of countries we should be aware of the different interpretations of the circumstances in which countries live.
     
  10. solarz
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    solarz Brigadier

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    My opinion is to restrict political discussions to a few designated sub-forums, and ban it from all other forums.

    For example, it's pretty difficult to avoid politics in topics related to "Strategic Defense". In my opinion, SD hasn't really avoided politics in the past, it was simply the moderators applying their discretion on which discussions to allow and which threads to lock.

    Here's what I propose:

    Strategic Defense: allow political discussions related to the thread topic only. No OT political discussions allowed.

    Army: no politics allowed.

    Air Force: no politics allowed.

    Navy: no politics allowed.

    Military History: only HISTORICAL political discussions are allowed related to the thread topic is allowed. No current political issues and discussions allowed.

    Member's Club Room: this should be the off-topic sub-forum, and so should allow a wider variety of discussions. However, posts must remain civil and on-topic.

    World Armed Forces: allow political discussions related to the thread topic only. No OT political discussions allowed.
     
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