#neo-imperialism

On Obama Doctrine Thesis #4 (The world cannot afford…)

The world cannot afford the diminution of U.S. power, but U.S. power is diminishing.

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Empire of Straw

I won’t attempt to characterize the diverse – or one might say combined and uneven – motivations of Kaplan’s critics, but I doubt that their approach does as much to advance the discussion, or the potential of any interesting and useful discussion at all, as his does, or as it might in some other intellectual world under a different ideological regime.

Posted in Neo-Imperialism, notes Tagged with: ,

…and, Ultimately, to Destroy (4): Difference

For the destruction of IS to occur without our aid and participation would be for us not just to have shirked a responsibility, but to have declined to assert our existence, to have absented ourselves from the course of events. The alternative for us to a world in which we helped to destroy IS would be for us an unjust and absurd world.

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…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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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,

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

IS/ISIS/ISIL/QSIS/Daesh-related links 2014.8.20-9

…plus a few observations as tweeted. I’m sure I missed a few good pieces (possibly while I was busy yesterday, for instance). Please feel free to link anything interesting or useful in the comments.

Posted in International Relations, Neo-Imperialism, Twitterei, War Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Global Fight Club

What exists now is domestic & international momentum to finally address the larger Syrian conflict, and not just the limited problem of ISIL — Zeddonymous (@ZeddRebel) August 27, 2014 The Caliphate is an image or idea, expressed in a dogmatic

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Exceptionality vs Exceptionalism (Comment at S-USIH Blog)

Ben Alpers at the Society for US Intellectual History Blog provides a useful capsule history on American Exceptionalism: For most of the history of the term – which originally emerged in the 1920s in debates between Lovestoneites and Stalinists over

Posted in Neo-Imperialism, notes, US History Tagged with: , ,

The 1.x-State Solution

Fred Kaplan’s critique of Israeli strategy or supposed strategic failures seems to be what Middle East scholar Michael Hanna has in mind when he urges us (on Twitter today) to consider an alternative view: Let’s be frank: we often talk

Posted in International Relations, Neo-Imperialism, 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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