For the Theses on the World State of States: Historical Election of the USA

(Edited from “Syria and the Neo-Imperial Interest“): We seem to have found that the system that works best or at all, in other words practically, is the one in which the nation-state geographically least suited to occupation and for related reasons best suited to power projection – the United States of America – fulfills the role of global hegemon or neo-hegemon, or neo-imperial power, under an equilibrium of nation-state and global-state imperatives. The latter, as “responsibilities,” are partially and unevenly shared with weak, possibly nascent, possibly hollow formal as well as ad hoc international institutions that also provide venues for less well-suited candidates for world chieftain to join forces and adequately (collectively-survivably), if not completely peaceably, establish rough accountability and restraint. The resultant overall world-picture, frozen at any of its moments, will be bloody, complicated, uneven, contradictory, difficult, and, we might even say, absolutely impossible, since it is or would be the equivalent of the administration of all of human history, including future history, as represented in real time, but the only alternative to the system that we, as in Homo sapiens sapiens, have known is an international (or pre-national) state of nature or war of all against all, already often very remarkably savage and destructive even under pre-modern technological and economic conditions, reasonably judged intolerably dangerous under modern ones.

Home Page  Public Email  Twitter  Facebook  YouTube  Github   

Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution. 

13 comments on “For the Theses on the World State of States: Historical Election of the USA

Commenting at CK MacLeod's

We are determined to encourage thoughtful discussion, so please be respectful to others. We also provide a set of Commenting Options - comment/commenter highlighting and ignoring, and commenter archives that you can access by clicking the commenter options button (). Go to our Commenting Guidelines page for more details, including how to report offensive and spam commenting.

  1. There is somewhat of a precedent with the British retreat from Mesopotamia, which empowered the Ilkwan to move up into Southern Iraq, there is some of that, but the field has mostly moved to Syria, with the ISIS and elements of the Nusra front.

  2. Well. he’s never heard of the Marshall Plan, a single statement, can often be the catalyst, John Noble Wilford, in his tale of the Arabist class, Eddy, Penrose Roosevelt, Copeland et al, points out this process,
    Mossadegh had angered the Mullahs and the Merchant class, this is why AJAX ultimately worked, Amin’s
    land reform, triggered a reaction by Ismail Khan, the warlord of Herat, and that trickled down to the Spetznaz strike that capped the invasion of Afghanistan, Cawthorne’s legacy, the ISI helped those events along, as had the propagation of Mawdudi’s Salafism among the officer corp, typified by Zia, but present in the minds of Gul, and Shah, to cite two examples,

    • Have pity on the poor souls who may not understand what you’re replying to or trying to reply to or what I think you’re trying to reply to, though, then again, I’m not sure what you’re getting at even though I think I do know what you’re referring to.

  3. Well Root’s ahistorical magical thinking, re Middle East Policy, you will find most of the other European powers followed a similar pattern, for good or ill, the UK along with the US, used the Kingdom as a bulwark against Nasserism, which was in part made possible by Copeland and Eigelberger, who tried the same hat trick with Iraq,

    • To me what’s “magical” in this discussion is the opinion, that you and maybe even the Commander seem to share along with Nichols and Schindler, that any recitation of historical events or any speculation regarding the rise, fall, back, and forth of foreign powers will make a politically meaningful impression on anyone at all. It seems rather obvious that there is hardly any constituency at all for (excuse the expression) a forward-leaning militarized foreign policy, but rather strong and determinative reluctance that preceded and goes well beyond the Obama Administration. It’s not that I think if Nichols and Schindler and the Commander and you could somehow explain how Russian or Iranian success in the ME would impact the average citizen’s life, it would change anything very substantially in the short term. But you might at least set down some markers or conceivably even have some greater effect on the margins. Or as root_e puts it:

      When we read that “we must oppose Y’s influence in X” the question to ask is: why? What do we get out of it? What danger are we averting by, e.g. hastening the collapse of Russia’s ally in Syria and its replacement by Quatari funded fanatics? In some cases, the US definitely has an interest in stepping in – I don’t deny that. Neither do I suppose that Putin has good intentions or that lambs will lie down with lions and not get eaten. But if our experts on foreign policy are going to command some of the respect they think they deserve, they need to make a case that goes beyond reflexive great power gamesmanship.

      That’s what I agree with in his post. Until that case has been made, all the rest is just one damn thing after another except when it’s not even that.

      • Say in one of those scenarios that Scott used to spin, for Fox, Wallace instead of Truman had been elected, and Lawrence Duggan or Alger Hiss would have been Secretary of State, they might have pushed to support the Tudeh, probably would not have been powerful enough to topple the Sauds,

  4. Well I’ve become more skeptical of most of these interventions, over time, in part because of what I found out about what happened in Afghanistan, the first time around, but it is magical thinking to ignore why things happen,

  5. Merry Christmas, CK, are the Chinese really going to invade, who will be their proxy. Brecher did leave out the attack in 2003 and 2004, some of whom operated from Iranian auspices, and AQAP.

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "For the Theses on the World State of States: Historical Election of the USA"
  1. […] exceptionalism, the relatively passive or seemingly unconscious or unconscientious acceptance of historical election to global-political office – on which I have also written many […]

Commenter Ignore Button by CK's Plug-Ins

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

Comment →

Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

Comment →

[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

Comment →
CK's WP Plugins


Extraordinary Comments

CK's WP Plugins