Neo-Imperialism

…and, Ultimately, to Destroy (3): Acceptance

Collectively as individually, we may also like to think that at the limits we will know the truly unacceptable loss of control when we see it, or are compelled to view it, but we may surprise ourselves with our ability to look away from or to grow used to what formerly we found unbearable, just the latest cadaverized child in a Twitpic.

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…and, Ultimately, to Destroy (2): Control

One pseudo-state calls forth another, as the goal of “mere control” constructs its own eventual failure, both logically and, it seems, practically.

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replying to a comment on comments – part 2 (us v is)

(continuing reply to jch’s comment, with same proviso as before) 4 – Current Events or: Hegemony, What Is It/Good For? Now to current events, as we return to the original point of my intervention under the Quiggan post. jch says:

Posted in History, Neo-Imperialism, notes, Political Philosophy, War Tagged with: , , ,

To Degrade and, Ultimately, To Destroy (1)

The President’s summary of his policy on the Islamic State or on “the group known as ISIL” was not elegantly enunciated: “To degrade and ultimately destroy” is a compound infinitive phrase that is pitched to the demotic or colloquial in

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us v is (What’s So Funny… 2)

…you do seem, at least, to be endlessly rationalizing U.S. imperial overreach, as if it were some sort of grand strategy upholding universal “liberal democracy”, where I tend to see incoherence, disintegration and devolution, on the part of grossly incompetent,

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What’s So Funny about Degradation and Ultimate Destruction?

If I find the time, I will finish and publish a more developed piece on America’s stance toward the Islamic State, partly in response to a post on by Adam Elkus and Nick Prime that, in the process of proposing

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Failure of the US-Syrian Rebel Alliance Is Two-Sided

To make war on Assad in the absence of a democratically validated decision for war and in the absence of an international legal justification for war would further undermine foundational American premises. Achieving both would not be impossible, but the Heaven and Earth-moving effort is not something that the United States of America or its President is presently likely to attempt on behalf of the united friends of Al Qaeda.

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IS or ISIL or ISIS or Daesh as “existential” threat

My comment today at “Ordinary Times” (first in more than a year): You think you want to live in a world where the murder of Americans as Americans, or politically, could be broadcast to all, in connection with the rescue

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Fighting “The Islamic State”

Referring to the group simply as “IS” quietly constitutes the enemy as “the Islamic State,” and reinforces perception of the struggle as anti-Islamic for some, for others as significantly a different thing: anti-Islamist.

Posted in Anismism, Neo-Imperialism, Political Philosophy, War Tagged with: , , , ,

Eve of Containment

Summary: A year ago, Americans were being asked to kill non-enemies because it was abstractly right; now are being asked to kill enemies at war with us.

Posted in Neo-Imperialism, notes, War Tagged with: , , ,

From the Featured Archives

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.

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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.

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[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.

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