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Alternate History General Discussion

Ricardolindo

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I find that argument to be pretty gross. Its been said millions of times in the past 18 years but, end of the day it is a whitewash trying to remove culpability from the Bush Administration.
Gore was a hawk, though, and his running mate was Lieberman, who strongly supported the war. I am neutral on this topic, though.
 

Ricardolindo

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Gore was a hawk, though, and his running mate was Lieberman, who strongly supported the war. I am neutral on this topic, though.
Also, note the 2000 Democratic platform said "In Iraq, we are committed to working with our international partners to keep Saddam Hussein boxed in, and we will work to see him out of power. Bill Clinton and Al Gore have stood up to Saddam Hussein time and time again. As President, Al Gore will not hesitate to use America's military might against Iraq when and where it is necessary."
 

Japhy

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Also, note the 2000 Democratic platform said "In Iraq, we are committed to working with our international partners to keep Saddam Hussein boxed in, and we will work to see him out of power. Bill Clinton and Al Gore have stood up to Saddam Hussein time and time again. As President, Al Gore will not hesitate to use America's military might against Iraq when and where it is necessary."
Firing Cruise Missiles and launching some F-117 strikes isn't the same thing as invading. Much less invading when we're already involved in another war.
 

Charles EP M.

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View attachment 46353

David Frum did not need two hands to write this.
It's the bit where he sniggers at the idea of "hey, there are wounded and traumatised people, I bet Gore would do government stuff to help them" that gets me. "Ha ha this leader would be a sissy", that I'm used to, and if Gore was showing up at Arlington's memorial in a dufflejacket then this would just be a crasser US version of Sandbrook, but that bit gets me.
 

Gary Oswald

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I don't think Marxist history is apologetica or its whitewashing the crimes of the bush administration to un greatman the discussion. You can argue that war mongering was a bi partizan part of american politics and the system and culture was such that would be pressure for war regardless of administration without excusing a President who was fully on board that agenda.

I think there'd be huge pressure on Gore to attack Hussein, whether or not he actually would. There were voices on all sides in the american corridors of power who really wanted a second gulf war. It wasn't just Bush, though the timing and manner of it was him.

Even in OTL, when Gore had lost the election he felt the need to word his opposition to the invasion in a relatively hawkish manner (iirc arguing about un approval and evidence while also saying saddam was a danger to peace and so an invasion shouldnt be taken off the table entirely).
 

Ricardolindo

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I must say, seeing the other Arab dictators most similar to Saddam also have their countries explode into bloody civil wars without the need for an American invasion has drastically lowered how much impact I think the Iraq War had.
Some argue that the Arab Spring wouldn't have happened without the Iraq War. I disagree with that, though. I think the Arab World was ripe for revolutions. I also think such an argument removes agency from the Arabs.
 

Elektronaut

Inclusive Gratuity
Feel like 'Iraq would have gone exactly the same' will inevitably appeal to people who, Marxist or not, will desire to argue for one reason or another that (bourgeois) politicians are all the same, but it's an extremely tenuous argument.

Don't feel saying a different government would have had different policies is great man of history stuff. Al Gore went on record as opposing Iraq, but so did the guy who would have been his national security advisor, and other people who would have been part of his foreign policy team privately or publicly opposed it.

I don't find the riposte to this of 'Yes, but in government they would have taken the diametric opposite view, because...' at all convincing. These people had been in government until less than two years before, so they knew the intelligence picture as it stood.
 

SenatorChickpea

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I buy the idea that the Afghanistan War was almost certain to happen once the planes hit the towers. Set aside whether they were going to happen if Gore was in the Oval Office. The country was reeling, politicians as much as anyone else, and the pressure for dramatic military action beyond a few cruise missile strikes was intense. And, of course, the Taliban refused to hand over Osama and I don't think that would change regardless of who was President.

Iraq? I simply don't believe that without the neoconservative cadre of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz et al that any administration would have as much internal pressure to put troops in Mesopotamia. It was not a war driven from Langley or the Pentagon.
 
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Coiler

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I should note that even though I support the "probably inevitable no matter what" side of the Iraq War debate for actual history, I would, if anything, encourage an AH story where the divergence causes it to be butterflied away. Obviously, if it's something like "And Gore brings about world peace and creates an eco-utopia in less than four years", I'd gladly criticize it for being wish fulfillment. But alternate history should mean changed history.
 

Avian Overlord

Mystical American Freedom Bird
I should note that even though I support the "probably inevitable no matter what" side of the Iraq War debate for actual history, I would, if anything, encourage an AH story where the divergence causes it to be butterflied away. Obviously, if it's something like "And Gore brings about world peace and creates an eco-utopia in less than four years", I'd gladly criticize it for being wish fulfillment. But alternate history should mean changed history.
I mean, there's a substantial difference between the idea that sooner or late the United States was going to go to war with a regime it utterly loathed and knew from experience it could smash into paste and the idea that the 2003 Iraq War was inevitably going to happen.
 

Ricardolindo

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Yes and I've actually read more since. Thanks. It wouldn't be a popular war but neither was Korea.

EDIT: and of course that was an entirely different context.
I do think MacArthur's statement is very telling, though, along with the fact that even the most pro-Chiang Republicans never supported such.
Also, how is the context different?
 

OwenM

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I mean, there's a substantial difference between the idea that sooner or late the United States was going to go to war with a regime it utterly loathed and knew from experience it could smash into paste and the idea that the 2003 Iraq War was inevitably going to happen.
Yeah I think the chances of no Iraq War by 2021 are basically nil and by 2011 are pretty low. That doesn't mean the OTL one.
 

MAC161

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Firing Cruise Missiles and launching some F-117 strikes isn't the same thing as invading. Much less invading when we're already involved in another war.
I buy the idea that the Afghanistan War was almost certain to happen once the planes hit the towers. Set aside whether they were going to happen if Gore was in the Oval Office. The country was reeling, politicians as much as anyone else, and the pressure for dramatic military action beyond a few cruise missile strikes was intense. And, of course, the Taliban refused to hand over Osama and I don't think that would change regardless of who was President.

Iraq? I simply don't believe that without the neoconservative cadre of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz et al that any administration would have as much internal pressure to put troops in Mesopotamia. It was not a war driven from Langley or the Pentagon.
I should note that even though I support the "probably inevitable no matter what" side of the Iraq War debate for actual history, I would, if anything, encourage an AH story where the divergence causes it to be butterflied away. Obviously, if it's something like "And Gore brings about world peace and creates an eco-utopia in less than four years", I'd gladly criticize it for being wish fulfillment. But alternate history should mean changed history.
The points covered in these posts all fall within the broad outline of what I've come to picture for a Gore Presidency, at least early on: 9/11 still happens, some sort of subsequent military action in Afghanistan (though regime change might well be iffier) and no 2003 Iraq invasion but possibly some other event(s) leading to Saddam's fall before OTL's Arab Spring. Far from a utopia, obviously, but interesting to speculate on regarding its (better) differences from OTL, politically/socially/economic/militarily and yes, environmentally; anybody want to pitch in further on such?

Going back to my original question, how would things have had to change (in Florida or on a larger scale) for Gore to be the winner?

I came across an "Ehhh" timeline a while back that touched on this (link's dead, but the title's "Worst Case Scenario", by J.T. Tate,), with the opening section "One Justice Missing" starting from the POD that Rehnquist falls and breaks a hip/gets a concussion in January of 2000, and resigns, whereupon Clinton picks Breyer to be Chief Justice and Florida Justice Barbara Pariente for the empty SC seat. As a result, the SC declines to intervene in December, Gore's team disqualifies enough Bush votes, and Bush concedes. It's after the TL's 9/11 that things get bizarre, IMO: Gore gets the Taliban to give up bin Laden in exchange for recognition, and bin Laden is caught in October 2001 and goes to the Hague; while the U.S. is (mostly) celebrating over this, Taliban-backed radicals overthrow Musharraf and Muhammad Omar ends up leading a merged Afghanistan-Pakistan; other radicals take over in Saudi Arabia and impose oil embargos on all Western nations; India and Pakistan go nuclear on each other; a whole lot of other global instability breaks out; and a second U.S. civil war happens in 2003 after hotly-disputed Congressional elections and impeachment attempts against Gore and VP Hillary Clinton (picked for the post after Lieberman dies in a plane crash during the campaign). Very...out there, as I see it, so I'm curious about more realistic takes, building on the "different Florida events" idea.
 
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Avian Overlord

Mystical American Freedom Bird
The points covered in these posts all fall within the broad outline of what I've come to picture for a Gore Presidency, at least early on: 9/11 still happens, some sort of subsequent military action in Afghanistan (though regime change might well be iffier) and no 2003 Iraq invasion but possibly some other event(s) leading to Saddam's fall before OTL's Arab Spring.
From a narrative perspective I might go for 9/11 not happening, but Iraq breaks into a civil war sometime later than '04 and the US intervenes with troops. But that's more because I think a Gore presidency with an Iraq War but no Afghan War would be an interesting subversion of expectations.
 

ChrisNuttall

Well-known member
Also, note the 2000 Democratic platform said "In Iraq, we are committed to working with our international partners to keep Saddam Hussein boxed in, and we will work to see him out of power. Bill Clinton and Al Gore have stood up to Saddam Hussein time and time again. As President, Al Gore will not hesitate to use America's military might against Iraq when and where it is necessary."
I think there'd be a major elephant in the room - Gore was Clinton's VP. He'd been a major part (at least in theory) of the administration. There would be a strong suggestion that Gore should have known about OBL and certainly should have done something about him, which would probably make him a LOT more hawkish on both Afghanistan (on the grounds Clinton did nothing effective about it) and Iraq (on the grounds Clinton leaving Saddam in power encouraged OBL). Not a particularly fair observation, but the Republicans would be sure to make use of it.

Chris
 
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