Neo-Conservatism: The Last Throes?

I call this imperial denial, because to the rest of the world, it’s perfectly apparent that the United States is behaving like an empire.

Niall Ferguson on Open Source
We will let two of the grander thinkers of our time take the measure of the Neo-Conservative fall in Iraq.

The global theorist Francis Fukuyama and the Scots historian Niall Ferguson will be measuring, not least, the collapse of their own hopes, dreams and ideas.

Fukuyama is in full repentant, revisionist flight from the broad Neo-Con adventure. Though he never endorsed the US war on Saddam Hussein, he had impeccable Neo-Con credentials, as a student of Allan Bloom, a grad school classmate and friend of William Kristol, and twice a member of Paul Wolfowitz’s staff. In his new book, America at the Crossroads Fukuyama abandons the Neo-Con taste for pre-emption, unilateralism, regime-change and US “benevolent hegemony,” because they seem now a bad mix of doctrines, not just because the Bush team drove them in to the sand in Iraq. His book extends a sulfurous argument that began two years ago with his old pal Charles Krauthammer, who never stopped celebrating the mission to Baghdad.

Niall FergusonNiall Ferguson, charming Scot [Brendan Greeley]

Said Fukuyama: “Reading Krauthammer, one gets the impression that the Iraq War – the archetypical application of American unipolarity – had been an unqualified success, with all of the assumptions and expectations on which the war had been based fully vindicated.” The Krauthammer logic, still apparently the Cheney logic in Iraq, seems to Fukuyama “utterly unrealistic in its overestimation of U.S. power and our ability to control events around the world… Of all of the different views that have now come to be associated with neoconservatives, the strangest one to me was the confidence that the United States could transform Iraq into a Western–style democracy, and to go on from there to democratize the broader Middle East.”

Niall Ferguson is a different version, maybe a different story. His colorfully illustrated celebration of empire three years ago, on the eve of the war on Iraq, had a simple directive from the spirit of Queen Victoria: it’s your turn, America. You’re an empire in fact — come out of the closet. Take up the white man’s burden (literally) and do the job!

Ferguson is not so clearly repentant as Fukuyama but he is surely disappointed. An historian now based at Harvard, he writes regularly in the London Telegraph. A year into the Iraq war, he wrote this:

For the past 18 months, I have been trying to work out just why America is such an inept empire – why, when it invades a country such as Iraq with the intention of transforming its economic and political institutions, it generally makes a hash of it.

I fervently wish it were otherwise. The fact that America did such a good job in West Germany and Japan after the Second World War – to say nothing of South Korea – suggests that it doesn’t always have to end in tears. But, right now, Iraq’s prospects look more Haitian (to mention just one of numerous other examples of botched American interventions) than West German.

It’s odd when you ponder it. America is vastly richer and better armed than Britain ever was. It has given us The Simpsons and South Park, both of which prove that American popular culture is more sophisticated – and certainly funnier – than ours. Yet its record as a “nation builder” (the latest American euphemism for empire) is pretty dismal.

Niall Ferguson, Empire

It’s sounds like rather an astonishing retreat in the faculty clubs that hatched the fantasy of a Pax Americana that President Bush took to war. Are we — are Professors Fukuyama and Ferguson — ready for a new conception of our place in the world?

Francis Fukuyama

Professor of International Political Economy, School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University

Director, International Development Program, SAIS

Author, America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy

Niall Ferguson

Professor of History, Harvard University

Author, Colossus: The Price of America’s Empire and Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power

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  • I would like to know why these obviously learned men of history ever thought that “nation building” in the next fuel station on the road to empire was ever going to be easy, especially in today’s Iraq and today’s hightly integrated and yet divided world. How could their political and social weather ballons have been so blown off course that they could believe such violent and crude efforts at social engineering could ever meet their stated objectives?

    Really looking forward to this show!

  • If anyone wants a warm-up, Francis Fukuyama appeared on the Diane Rehm show on March 17th (looks like he is on a promotional tour).

    Diane takes it too him regarding past Hawkish statements about ousting Saddam and about regime change, and to his credit he admits he was wrong and tries hard to convince us that he saw the light prior to the invasion: he says he “wrote some cautionary things” but no “forthright” journal articles against the invasion and pre-pre-emptive policy until 2004.

    http://www.radioopensource.org/neo-conservatism-the-last-throes/

    He also gives an account of the leftist roots of famous neo-conservatives and their only-in-America mix of socialism’s bent towards universal human values and capitalism’s bent towards a global market.

    Overall, for someone who boldly announced the global victory of liberal democracy and called it the “end point of mankind’s ideological evolution” in 1989, he now seems rather inclined to a more thougthtful skepticism and a less imperial and triumphant America. Now if only he can convince his neo-con colleagues.

  • Francis Fukuyama’s argument (at least in its present form) is against the Iraq war itself and against American imperialism, benevolent or not; whereas Niall Ferguson, at least from the teaser above, seems more concerned with how the war effort was organized and implemented, and he is not at all shy about proclaiming Americas imperial role. I would agree with him that the US is an empire, whether its citizens, its benefactors and its victims want it to be or not. But to claim that military excursions and occupations are for the greater human good is just a wee bit too much head on the ale.

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  • The United States has had Imperial aspirations at least since the Spanish-American War. Author Mark Twain, a member of the anti-Imperialist League, commented,

    “I have read carefully the treaty of Paris [between the United States and Spain], and I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines. We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem…. And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land.â€? Mark Twain, New York Herald, 15 October 1900 .â€?

    Maybe he and others like him had something to do with why we don’t use the “Iâ€? word. Sandra Day O’Conner just recently warned us about the “Dâ€? word and we sure didn’t hear much about it over here. It was in the British paper, The Guardian, March 13, She said,

    “It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings.”

    Maybe George W Bush will do one good thing in his life. Maybe his ineptitude and delusions of grandeur will botch our Imperial proclivities to the extent that we will at last be forced to take our place in the community of nations not as a robber and a bully but as more respectful member of the global community. Maybe it really was God’s Will for Bush to be our president… to teach us humility.

  • nother

    “The death of dogma is the birth of reality.”

    — Immanuel Kant

    The following is a passage that has stuck with me from “One Mans Bible� (great book!) from the Nobel winning novelist Gao Xingjian, about his experiences in the Cultural Revolution:

    “The utopia of the new society, like the new people, was a rewriting of a legend. Now, when you hear people lamenting the destruction of their ideals, you think to yourself that it was a good thing they were destroyed. And whenever you hear anyone loudly proclaiming ideals, you think it is some quack peddling dog-skin bandages again. If someone prattles on and tries to convert you, or preaches to you, you quickly say sure, sure, see you some other time, and, with luck, slip away.�

  • diemos3211

    The neo-conservative vision of American exceptionalism and triumphant hegemony was always deeply flawed. It blithely ignores the post-colonial history of nationalism in underdeveloped countries, and it ignores the historical strengths of America. IMHO, America has done best as a pseudo-imperial power that uses its military to prevent aggression allowing for more subtle economic imperialism. There is no need to take the step of violently invading and occupying territory, which invariably inflames populations against us and creates instability. Instead we ought to stay with the winning plan of crafting alliances and acting to stomp on anyone who seeks to create instability or violently upset the status quo.

    There is another factor at work to screw up the vision of American empire, and that is the demise of the Soviet Union. There are a few aspects to this. The first is that we did a lot of things in the interests of fighting the Soviets by proxy that were not very good ideas if the goal were to create long lasting stability in the world. This left a world stage set for many many problems that, while they provide more than enough suffering and chaos to act as a cause for some intervention on our part, also leave many places in the world with significant populations who are angry at America, with deep divisions of hatred from fighting one another, and above all have left the world awash in weapons and men experienced in fighting. While it is arguable that these proxy wars kept the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. from starting world war three (and were thus well worth it), they do not leave behind a world ripe for easy conquest by a centralized imperial power.

    The second is that both America (in a domestic sense) and the international community are suffering from a sort of political explosive decompression. In the old bipolar world, there was an illusion of choice between two sides (not to mention a sense that America represented a larger community of nations, the “free world”). If you felt your nation was getting a raw deal, you could in theory switch sides.

    A third aspect, related to the second, is that during the Cold War America was seen as acting on behalf something bigger than its own interests. Since the Soviet Union collapsed, it seems that many nations have come to perceive that the U.S. acts only out of greedy self-interest. Where before we could credibly claim to be acting in service to a larger ideal (and any bad deals were simply the unfortunate actions of individual companies or whatnot), now we’re just trying to rip everyone off via bullying them (back to the bad old days of United Fruit).

    Overall I personally think that the American people will be the greatest beneficiaries of a shift away from games of empire and foreign adventures. I’m tired of paying for such a large military. I want the roads and dams repaired, public money pumped into research institutions, decent education and some modicum of health care for everyone. I think that when our dreams of empire finally fizzle out it will be one of the best things that has ever happened to our country. Our country maintained a standing military for so long because we felt we were under existential threat for most of that time. Now that this is not true, I think it’s time to cut back again and spend our money on more useful things.

  • Nikos

    What a fine bunch of posts so far. (Sorry to crash the party.)

    I am reminded of a quote I heard this past week somewhere on public radio:

    “The paradox of America is its private wealth and public squalor.�

    (Unfortunately, the speaker or writer of the quote has already slipped my porous mind. It was however, someone famous; yet neither google nor wikiquote yielded it.)

    Anyway, given their putative concern for the people’s well-being, I wonder how a neo-conservative reacts to such a quote.

    Sanctioning a flood of hungry undocumented laborers certainly helps the private sector’s leverage against unseemly catastrophes like, oh, wage-increases.

    I wonder then: is the ‘Guest Worker Program’ simply a Bush idea, born from economic expediency plus a pretense of humane concern (and therefore allied with many Democrats) – or is it neocon?

    I honestly don’t know, so I’m asking.

    One also wonders: can Bush put together sentences reflective of independent thought, or is his coterie of neocon speechwriters, spin-meisters, and quipsters a necessity rather than a common political appendage?

    The answer to this, I’m afraid, I already know.

  • diemos3211

    I think that the immigration issues are quite seperate from the foreign policy issues in the collective mind of the Bush administration. Mostly I think that the current proposed plans are the result of intellectual laziness and a desire to not enforce any sort of regulation on business. In reality creating stringent penalties and a serious enforcement regimen for business combined with a stronger border control would be the ideal solution. The regulation end of it would start to dry up the jobs (and make for a better job market for Americans and legal immigrants), while the stricter border control would allow for better security. This might be connected to the general laissez faire stance of neoconservative thought, but I think it is more likely that it’s related to the reflexive pro-business stance of Bush and his top advisors rather than any sort of thought-out policy guideline or philosophy.

  • Nikos

    diemos3211: what a great reply! (Where the heck have you been all my ROS-life? Welcome aboard!)

    Your answer jibes nicely with Brendan’s recent reminder to me (diplomatically worded under an obvious layer of justified exasperation) that not everybody associated with the Elephant party is an ideologue, or part of a nefarious ideological plot to ruin the country. (I’m not quite convinced of that yet, though!) 😉

    Even so, I’m still somewhat skeptical of your probably correct answer if only because my impression of the political thinkers employed by the Bush administration (because somebody has to do the thinking!) are drawn from the neocon network. Which means that a neocon probably worded the ‘Guest Worker Program’ initiative – even if it wasn’t an obvious ideological product.

    Your larger point might be worth discussing though too, so I’ll pose it as question: how much influence do the neocons have on domestic policy as opposed to their obvious, drastic (and apparently self-destructive) influence on foreign policy?

  • cheesechowmain

    There is an association between Leo Strauss and the neo-conservative movement. I listened recently to an interview with Prof. Richard Rorty in which he found this to be a slightly misleading representation of the situation. His answer was presented within the context of doing some course work with L.S. and some of the elements of contemporary conservativism. I’d like to hear any thoughts about the depth of L.S. as intellectual benefactor to the neo-conservative philosophy.

    Wiki goodies:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Strauss

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoconservatism

    C. Hitchens review:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2137134/

    peggysue, jogged my coconut:

    http://www.insideout.org/documentaries/pax/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pax_Americana

    nikos: “The paradox of America is its private wealth and public squalor.” If memory serves correct, I believe this came from John Kenneth Galbraith. “The Affluent Society”? It’s been years.

  • cheesechowmain

    Brief aside: my personal favorite quote attributed to J.K. Galbraith is his assessment of trickle-down: “”If you feed enough oats to the horse, some will pass through to feed the sparrows.” Apologies about the free-association.

  • Potter

    Hello Diemos- good points.

    There were many against this project from the beginning and it’s been a very painful few years since 2001 but the last three were especially difficult. Much harm has been done.

    Astonishingly, Bush still seems to be out there selling the same ideology in the form of the new National Security Strategy. Did I misunderstand what I heard? Isn’t this the same failed doctrines he has presented?

    By comparison in Germany and Japan and South Korea our leaders had the confidence and trust of the country and most of the world. With the political capital we gained straight from WW2, we as a nation had a sense of how to use it; we had a more true feeling of benevolence.

    Our people have become so disconnected from their government, the government so connected to business interests and disconnected from our roots, how in the world can we sell democracy?

    I have lost any hope that the changes that Mr. Fukuyama proposes in his excellent article (NYTimes Magazine of February 19th) will come about while this administration is still in power. At best if we do not swing to the isolationism that Mr. Fukuyama fears, we will at least need a neutral cooling off period in which we can, some of us, trust again our own government and we can as a nation be one of the international community. This means we need new leaders who do not project arrogance and emphasize military power, who do not threaten simply because we can, who can talk to other leaders as partners and equals, and who will propose domestic programs and policies that set an example.

    I pin my hope on this country somehow arriving at the collective wisdom to choose the right person, the right people, to lead us next time around. It should not even be close.

  • cheesechowmain

    Yet another brief aside, my March 19th, 2006 at 7:34 pm says “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” Interesting. I have not seen this before. Perhaps I’m on the naughty list? Or my links crossed over a I.P. boundary? Anyone understand what I did incorrectly?

  • I think the “guest worker” program is the death of the American Dream in that these workers while legal would not be eligible for citizenship and would not be able to improve their lot. Its bad for labor in this country in that it creates a two tiered system where people are expected to work for non-living wages and if they won’t the poorly paid jobs will go to the “guest worker”. It’s like importing desperate people to be permanent scabs.

    Just last Wednesday Howard Zinn was on Alternative Radio talking about a World Without Borders. I agree with Zinn that a world with no borders is an ideal worth striving for.

    http://alternativeradio.org/

    Thus, forign & domestic policy become one & the same.

  • cheesechowmain

    regarding my March 19th, 2006 at 8:05 pm comment. Nevermind. Obviously no one can see it. Duh! Perhaps Brendan or someone can point me to the policy so I’ll understand what crosses the boundary for moderation. My 7:34 comment has disappeared for the at least the time being. Sorry again.

  • diemos3211

    That is exactly my concern with the “guest worker” idea peggysue. It’s not that Americans won’t do the jobs that illegal immigrants take, it’s that they want to be paid decently for doing them. Of course, there are a lot of other reasons why wages are being forced down and the American middle class is disappearing, but I’m sure that the death of well paid blue collar work is a big part of it.

  • Potter: “By comparison in Germany and Japan and South Korea our leaders had the confidence and trust of the country and most of the world. With the political capital we gained straight from WW2, we as a nation had a sense of how to use it; we had a more true feeling of benevolence.”

    I wonder if this is not an overstatement Potter. The Pacific war pitted two would-be imperial powers against each other. America won with crushing and excessive force which left Japan in ruins. Now, was it an act of human kindness that led America to occupy–some would argue (myself included) even till this day–and to impose an alien constitution and new way of life on the Japanese people or was it a strategic decision–build their markets for US exports, contain Japan’s military urge, establish a presence in the region as a bulwark against communism, very close to the Soviets, make them over like the US so they would be an ally?

    Some of the decisions and actions of SCAP and his team can be interpreted as humanitarian–such as quickly setting up a food distribution system. Bringing about land reform that gave ownership to the pesant farmers is another example. Breaking up the power of the Zaibatus to allow smaller companies to compete helped renew the economy and provide jobs. On the other hand, SCAP aggressively imposed restrictions on labour unions, and the GHQ censored left-wing publications that criticised the occupation, SCAP or the Allies, which went against the rights of the people established in their new constitution. As a scholar on Japan, Dower, points out (1999, 439-40) one of the lasting effects of the occupation was “continued socialization in the acceptance of authority,” and “the better part of political wisdom was silence and conformism.” We see that today in Japan’s choice of so many paleo-cons (the sons and daughters of previous political figures).

    I mention all this so that in our criticism of the present US administration, the Iraq occupation and neo-con enthusiasm for global campaigns, we do not find ourselves longing for a softer, kinder and more compasionate past that never was but rather demanding a more humane future that might be.

  • diemos3211

    I would further point out that our military is structurally incapable of the sort of occupation necessary to accomplish that sort of (brutal) transformation of a nation. We don’t have enough men. Throughout the Cold War we sought means by which we could multiply the effectiveness of our forces out of the knowledge that the USSR would almost invariably outnumber the US and our allies drastically. We were very successful in this, and as a result our forces have tremendous firepower and mobility, which make them so formidable in open combat, but lack the sorts of numbers you need to maintain a real occupation. We can destroy things very well, and we can defend ourselves extremely well but we don’t have the ability to really invade occupy and force our way of life on a large country.

    And the point that occupying and fundamentally changing a foreign nation is not at all just a matter of giving out candy bars to the kiddies and introducing them to baseball is very much taken and agreed with, at least on my part.

  • Nikos

    First, to CCM: Brendan tells me that the ROS spam-filter blocks all posts housing more than three links. Did your blocked post have links?

    This means, folks, that if we’ve a link-laden post, we should segment it before submission.

    Second: talk about timely!

    Sunday’s All Things Considered began with two stories astonishingly relevant to this thread’s topics. First, a report from the redoubtable Ann Garrels in Baghdad @ http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5289143

    Then, a debate between Edward Luttwak and Lawrence Kaplan @ http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5289146

    I’d consider both brief stories ‘must-listens’ going into Monday’s edition of ROS.

  • cheesechowmain

    Thanks Nikos for the Aha experience. I had 5 links. I didn’t know about this policy.

    I’ll re-aportion it into separate posts. To all: I am very sorry about clogging things up here. With both my permission and imploring request, Brendan, if you want to remove my previous posts about my confusion, please be my guest.

    Part I:

    There is an association between Leo Strauss and the neo-conservative movement. I listened recently to an interview with Prof. Richard Rorty in which he found this to be a slightly misleading representation of the situation. His answer was presented within the context of doing some course work with L.S. and some of the elements of contemporary conservativism. I’d like to hear any thoughts about the depth of L.S. as intellectual benefactor to the neo-conservative philosophy.

    Wiki goodies:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Strauss

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoconservatism

  • cheesechowmain

    Part II;

    peggysue, jogged my coconut:

    http://www.insideout.org/documentaries/pax/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pax_Americana

    nikos: “The paradox of America is its private wealth and public squalor.� If memory serves correct, I believe this came from John Kenneth Galbraith. “The Affluent Society�? It’s been years.

  • Thanks Nikos and CCM for the links.

    I also recommend checking out the US spending in Iraq “On Point” show for March 13th. The talk about what all the money could have bought in terms of real social security in the US and abroad.

    http://www.onpointradio.org/shows/2006/03/20060313_a_main.asp

  • Nikos

    Sidewalker: thanks for the Diane Rhem link ( http://www.wamu.org/programs/dr/ )

    That was terrific. (Miraculously, my lousy rural phone line actually supported the data stream this time. Wonders!)

    CCM: 1) This 3-link limit might be new. I only know about it because I’ve tried twice to submit a link-laden post on the Morality thread, and decided to risk bugging Brendan with an inquiry. He very kindly (what a forbearing and forgiving referee!) informed me about the 3-link limit – but I suspect we’ll have to wait until he’s physically at the ROS computer before our posts are freed from their respective purgatories.

    2) Your Galbraith quote about the horse and the oats is new to me – and hilarious!

    Thanks!

  • Linda Bilmes, Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget at the U.S. Department of Commerce, from 1999-2001 suggests that the total spending for the Iraq war will be 2 trillion if America gets all but a small force out within four years and the rest remain until 2015 (she includes combat costs, ongoing health care, veteran’s benefits, replacement of military hardware, interest on the money borrowed). She says that the actual costs to date are 600 billion!!! Then there are other costs, such as those incurred in New Orleans and elsewhere because much of the National Guard was absent.

    Jeffrey Sachs, director of Earth Institute at Columbia University says that the opportunity costs of the money spent in Iraq amount to what is needed to decisively control many infectious diseases, such as aids, malaria, and tuberculosis. For example, he mentions that

    2-3 million children die each year from malaria and that it could be controlled with 3 billion a year, what the US spends every 2 days on the military. Gulp!

    Linda Bilmes compares the “monthly” spending in Iraq (6 billion) to the 5 billion a year spent on Cancer research and the 10 billion a year spent for the total UN budget. To raise the salaries of all teachers in the US (3 million) from 45 to 50,000 dollars would cost 20 billion/year. The social security problem could have been fixed for the next 75 years and also could have provided health insurance for all of the uninsured. Big Gulp!

  • amodeeo

    The failure of the neo-conservatist goals regarding Iraq is based on the failure of these otherwise bright, learned men to understand a critical lesson of history.

    They imagined in an aftermath of military victory, the rise of a democratic system, as occurred in Germany and Japan, the original “axis” of evil. Allied military victory over the governing regimes was seen as the foundation upon which the democratic system would be constructed.

    The neo-conservatives, schooled by the lessons of American success post WW2, failed to understand the critical pre-condition that was created in the victories over Germany and Japan. This pre-condition was that the ideology that had been embraced by the people of the defeated nations – Nationalist Socialism and Shinto Imperialism, respectively, was utterly crushed in military defeat, and shown to be both without moral merit, and the cause of immense suffering for the people and society of the defeated nations.

    In both cases, the ideological captivity of the people was completely, utterly destroyed, the former political landscapes laid totally barren, by military defeat. There was left no doubt that what they had believed and embraced was wholly defunct and permanently discredited.

    This lesson was lost on the neo-conservatives when they strategized about Iraq – perhaps because the implications are too horrible to contemplate. They have failed to understand or accept that democracy will have no chance whatsoever until the growing number of Islamic people, like the Germans and Japanese before them, who have embraced, welcomed, or acquiesced-in the violent and destructive ideology of radical Islam, receive the same consequences as the German, and Japanese people in WW2.

    The neo-conservatives were wishfully naive in failing to understand the “sine qua non” attribute of this essential pre-condition when they imagined a post-Hussein Iraq, or for that matter, removal of non-democratic, aggressive regimes in Syria and Iran.

    The missed lesson of the neo-conservatives is that the German and Japanese people were not turned to democracy by negotiation and persuasion. Non-belligerent democracy was only able to take root after the utter annihilation of war that their previously embraced ideology/religion had visited upon them.

    If democracy is to have a chance in the Middle East, the same pre-condition is necessary, but will be more difficult to achieve, and may not be possible, given the international ubiquity of the ideology.

    Because of this, the only option that exists with the modern axis of evil is an emphatic statement of US and/or international policy that says that any Islamic government that instigates or supports attacks on other nations will be destroyed. After the destruction of the government, the nation will not be occupied by the victorious military power(s), but will be surrounded by a military containment to whatever degree necessary, until a subsequent government of whatever ideology, forsakes aggression towards other nations. The victorious military powers will be prepared to offer whatever humanitarian and economic aid is needed by the new government, but will not be involved in any internal civil war to determine the nature and acceptance of the new government.

    Until this lesson of WW2 is incorporated in the strategy of the governing neo-conservatives, we will continue to have Iraq, and it’s looming extension, Iran. Democracy must be seen as a means, not an end, in the Islamic world. If the neo-conservatives insist on seeing democracy as an end in the Islamic world, they will have to accept the consequences of employing the precondition taught by WW2. – the utter destruction of the prevailing radical Islamic ideology; and the latter is not going to happen in the foreseeable future, because at present, the nature of the problem is like attempting to crush water in one’s hand.

  • Nikos

    CCM: that Strauss article (via your link) is provocative.

    I’m reading what would seem to be a very off-topic book by Jonathon Marks right now – What It Means To Be 98% Chimpanzee – (the title is tongue-in-cheek, btw) which, although it’s a molecular anthropology tome (and damn good!), it isn’t so far off topic, because it points out that Plato (who Strauss venerated) was an ‘essentialist’. That is, Plato ratiocinated over the ‘ideal’ state of Man and of Nature – which, to blunt, is an absurd proposition. There’s no ‘ideal’ state of anything (well, except for maybe a good night’s sleep) – only wishful thinking for it!

    Just like the neocon fantasy that the Iraq war would end in bouquets of flowers, jubilant Arabs welcoming the US military like the French did in ’44, and fountains pumping skyward gorgeous jet-black sprays of oil.

    But that’s hardly the worst of it. That article, notwithstanding its obvious ‘neutral tone’, read like a survey of the 20th century’s most paranoid and benighted patterns of thought. My conclusion: Anyone philosophically opposed to humanistic progress deserves historical oblivion. And his policy-making spawn deserve worse: like banishment to a banana republic.

  • Nikos

    Thanks to sidewalker again for the ‘On Point’ link. Great show. Heartbreaking too.

    I recommend it to all.

    And Thanks again to CCM for the rest of his links.

    ‘Pax Americana’ is an awfully relative notion, ain’t it?

    I mean, to a woman or child slain in Central America in a war explained away as a ‘minor Cold War side affair’ – a war enabled by American interventionist support of anti-communist tyranny – or, to name an actual famous man killed by the same interventionism – Allende – the ‘Pax’ part of the conceit is a bit, uh, pretentious, ain’t it?

    Worse: how quickly we forgive and forget these sins of our national saints, like the execrable Reagan.

  • cheesechowmain

    Nikos: “And his policy-making spawn deserve worse: like banishment to a banana republic.” Now Nikos, why would you want to dump our ‘spawn’ on some country minding its own business? :^) OTOH, How are things doing in the Bikini Islands these days? They’ve endured enough. http://www.bikiniatoll.com/radclean.html To consider myself 98% Chimpanzee would be to disparage a noble creature! Sounds like a great read though.

    Sidewalker, interesting information about the budget and Linda Bilmes. Do you have any links? Just curious. Thanks to all for the links to various sources. BTW, there are great comments on this thread, sans my blunders. I’m waiting for Mr. Dodson to show up & get things percolating! I’m going down to periscope depth…later gang.

  • CCM, see my 11:37 pm post. The link there will take you to the show where I heard Linda Bilmes.

  • amodeeo, something in your logic is terrible frightening to me. If I understand you correctly (and I often get confused, so I may be misreading you here), you are suggesting the neo-cons were just too gut-less, besides lacking the lessons of history. Following the WWII model, if the neo-cons want to bring democracy to the Islamic world, that world must experience the “utter annihilation of war”. So to speak, destroy it to rebuild it, crush their spirit to embolden their desire for liberation and shopping at wal-mart. Is this what you are saying? If so, are you advocating this position?

    I would also like to know how you propose that the international community deal with a regime that assails the democratic rights and freedoms of its citizens and, unprovoked, attacks and occupies another nation, killing tens of thousands of its people? Should the people of such a radically aggressive nation, with such a morally defunct and discredited ideology–capitalist imperialism–be crushed in military defeat so that they are can be molded by a more enlightened ideology, such as ecologically sustainable humanism?

    As I said, if I am way off target here, please set me straight.

  • Potter

    The “On Point” show about what we could have accomplished with the money spent on the war in Iraq is a real heartsinker all right. Thanks Sidewalker for bringing that up. It’s available as a podcast/mp3.

    Sidewalker -Regarding a comparison of US benevolence in Japan after WW2 versus our interests in the Iraq of today your point is taken that the occupation was not all benevolent. This is a big discussion suffice it to say Japan turned the tables on us and we became the market for Japanese goods. We did not have then an insurgency to fight but it does seem like a more competent and benevolent ( or kinder) operation in postwar Japan. I defer to you- perhaps I am nostalgic and overly down on what is happening today but it does seem to me that our interests now are based on a more misguided and myopic UScentric, US-has-to-be-dominant and greedy view of a world that we do not yet accept as interwoven to a much greater degree than ever.

    CCM- I have had this happen to me ( the notice of modification) but I could not connect it to too many links. Also I have had my posts disappear and have had to re-post them. Odd. It has happened more than once.

  • Potter

    I would like to know the guests opinion of the new National Security Strategy statement released last week:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/16/AR2006031600491.html

    I would like a definition of “benevolent hegemony” : ” the potential moral uses of American power”, the implication “that American acitvism could reshape the structure of global politics”.

    What did/does this really mean?

    Are we failing in Iraq because at bottom these goals are empty and meaningless or worse a cover for unenlightened and much less worthy goals?

    Quote from F. Fukuyama’s NYTimes article

    ” “In his second inaugural, Bush said that ”America’s vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one,” but the charge will be made with increasing frequency that the Bush administration made a big mistake when it stirred the pot, and that the United States would have done better to stick by its traditional authoritarian friends in the Middle East. Indeed, the effort to promote democracy around the world has been attacked as an illegitimate activity both by people on the left like Jeffrey Sachs and by traditional conservatives like Pat Buchanan.”

    I am not sure about Pat Buchanan but isn’t this a misrepresentation of Jeff Sachs position?

  • Potter

    F. Fukuyama says Leo Strauss was “concerned with the ‘crisis of modernity’ brought on by the relativism of Heidigger and Nietzsche, as well as the fact that neither the claims of religion nor deeply-held opinions about the nature of the good life could be banished from politics, as thinkers of the European Enlightenment had hoped”.

    We think of the crisis of modernity with regard to the Middle East and the Muslim/Arab world; it’s their problem. But aren’t we having our own crisis of modernity?

  • If you want to hear an interview Chris had with Niall Ferguson in 2003 for The Whole Wide World series, head to the link below.

    http://world.law.harvard.edu/show7.html

    I hope Chris has a good go at Niall and also challenges him on some of the things he said in this interview. For example, he tried to claim that Halliburton’s share price showed it was not benefiting from the Iraq war. Then how does he account for more than a tripling of the price since the time of the interview?

  • nother

    “quotes are cool!”

    -nother

    “No mother would ever willingly sacrifice her sons for territorial gain, for economic advantage, for ideology.”

    -Ronald Reagan

    “Ideologies have no heart of their own. They’re the whores and angels of our striving selves.”

    -John Le Carre

    “Whoever today speaks of human existence in terms of power, efficiency, and ”historical tasks” is an actual or potential assassin.”

    -Albert Camus

    “He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils.”

    -Francis Bacon

  • Nikos

    I’m not hopeful we’ll get straight answers to either of the following ponderings of mine – especially since neocons famously take such umbrage to any critical suggestion that their ideas excuse or veil American oligarchic selfishness – but here’s a couple of topics worthy of exploration:

    This discussion on thread has sparked my sieve-like memory more than a little. In fact, I recall three years ago listening to dozens of ‘good reasons’ to invade Iraq. One of the most candid (posited by a functionary I can no longer name) is that the US wanted to help the Saudi royal family tamp down dissent by moving our strategic footprint a few hundred clicks to the north.

    In other words, we could keep our ‘strategic presence’ (threat of force) in the Persian Gulf region by ‘democratizing’ Iraq while making it into a dependency, and simultaneously obviate the sort of xenophobia fueling Bin Ladenism.

    How’s that workin’ out for us these days?

    Next, Rummie repeatedly raved that ‘all the free-flowing oil’ would pay for the war.

    Really? How’s that workin’ out for us these days?

    Now we, the American tax-payers, must pay not only for the whole damn thing, but every glaring blunder made by the arrogant DOD.

    I’d like to hear at least one neocon admit that this is unacceptable – and perhaps to call for an oil-industry levy to redress this scandalous imbalance.

    Especially in light of the oil industry’s recent robber-baron profit margins.

    Do either of these guys have the nerve, or the independence of thought to honestly address this admittedly cynical commentary?

    PS: thanks, nother!

  • sidewalker: thanks for your well-word inquery as to amodeeo’s post. I had the same disquieting question mark on my forehead as I read it.

  • fiddlesticks

    The same old posters with the same old comments:

    To wit, Potter;

    “We think of the crisis of modernity with regard to the Middle East and the Muslim/Arab world; it’s their problem. But aren’t we having our own crisis of modernity?”

    Are all crises the same crises?

    The crisis in the Muslim world is a crises with “modernity” and a crises of governance. There is no crisis of modernity in the West. In the struggle is between scientific enlightenment values and romantic religious values. Both sides in the conflict are the children of modernity.

    Not so in the Muslim world.

  • nother

    Nice post Nikos, you old poster you. You boiled the reality down to a few words.

    I didn’t find it cynical, just real – unfortunately.

  • deimos3211: I’m wondering why you don’t think that the foregn policy and domestic policies are linked by any way to help major stockholders in big corporations?

    I’m pretty sure that if we analyze the source of any growth, or prevention of collapse, in the US GDP, we’ll see what a big portion of that number comes from contracts related to the Iraq War. To further support your major shareholder friends, you would help reduce the corporate expenses by boosting the availability of less-than-human-wage workers.

    I think all the big words about spreading democracy and having some kind of humanitarian vision behind their policies is a smokescreen. How many of their policies do not benefit corporations? What we have is an aristocracy cloaked behind the word corporation. That aristocracy is all about keeping themselves in the higher social position.

    Beyond some of the fanatic religious rhetoric, which I do think Bush believes, I find the other proclamations of mission to be disengenuous.

    I would recommend asking the guests to dig deep (and I don’t mean into their pockets) to answer why the failures of the Iraq policies can’t be admitted by the rest of the neo-cons. And then ask them how many neo-cons are making money during this little adventure.

  • Nikos

    Allison: right on.

  • pegysue posted: “Just last Wednesday Howard Zinn was on Alternative Radio talking about a World Without Borders. I agree with Zinn that a world with no borders is an ideal worth striving for.”

    I’ve never understood the point to borders. Except to define those outside them as the Other and keep our head in the sand about how we treat them. If there were no borders and everyone could move freely, would we have invaded Iraq? Would we ignore atrocities around the world? Would we destroy the native plants of Indai? Not, if these actions generate too many suffering people headed our way. Its called creating a world where you have to face the repercussions and might be forced to accountability.

  • hurley

    It might be worthwhile getting your guests to speak to this:

    Published on Sunday, March 19, 2006 by the International Herald Tribune

    If Bush Ruled the World

    by William Pfaff

    PARIS – Intellectual poverty is the most striking quality of the Bush administration’s new National Security Strategy statement, issued on Thursday. Its overall incoherence, its clichés and stereotyped phraseology give the impression that Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser, and his fellow authors assembled it from the boilerplate of bureaucratic discourse with contempt for the Congress to whom it is primarily addressed.

    It reveals the administration’s foreign policy as a lumpy stew of discredited neoconservative ideas with some neo- Kissingerian geopolitics now mixed in.

    The statement’s only visible purpose is to address a further threat to Iran, as its predecessor, in 2002, threatened Iraq. The only actual “strategy” that can be deduced from it is that the Bush administration wishes to rule the world. The document is nonsensical in content, insulting to other nations and unachievable in declared intention.

    If people read it to find a statement of American foreign policy’s objective, they will learn that the United States has “the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.” Good luck.

    The document’s foreign readers will have two reactions. The first will be that it can’t be serious. The second will be that it has to be taken seriously since these people have spent three ruinous years in a futile effort to control Iraq; they must be assumed capable of doing the same thing again to Iran.

    An annual national security statement was demanded by Congress in 1986 legislation. The present document is the first since 2003, when an American policy of military pre-emption was proclaimed – subsequently implemented in Iraq. This document reiterates the pre-emption policy, warning that “we are in the early years of a long struggle” like the Cold War.

    One asks if its authors foresee a 50- year struggle against Iran? Or with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in the Iraqi desert and Osama bin Laden in his cave in Waziristan? Or against febrile and fanaticized young Muslim men in European ghettos, already repudiated by the immigrant populations from which they come? Surely the great American nation will have better things to do during the next 50 years.

    While Stephen Hadley, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s former deputy, was preparing the strategy statement (or signing off on it), Rice was in Indonesia to “expand a strategic partnership” with Jakarta, a visit described by officials accompanying her as a signal of American “interest in building up [Indonesia] as a major commercial and military power … to help counter the growing influence of China.”

    A few days earlier, Rice and President George W. Bush were in India on the same mission, making a “historic” gesture that conferred on India a nuclear partnership with America and authorized it to keep its nuclear weapons. This was also as meant to check China.

    Speaking to the International Institute for Strategic Studies just three years ago, Rice condemned “balance of power” politics as outmoded and dangerous. She said: “We tried this before; it led to the Great War.”

    In a few weeks, President Hu Jintao of China will be at the White House for a long-delayed meeting. Possibly he in turn will be offered a strategic partnership, provided that Beijing obeys the new U.S. National Security Strategy, which tells China to “give up old ways of thinking and acting … and [make] the right strategic choices for its people.” Until China takes this advice, the strategy statement menacingly adds, the United States will “hedge against other possibilities.”

    The president and the secretary of state have been trying to manipulate the Asian power balance against China. At home, Stephen Hadley and colleagues have told us that the effort in Iraq has been worth it because now “tyrants know that they pursue weapons of mass destruction at their own peril.” (One has also learned that those who pursue nonexistent weapons of mass destruction also do so at their peril.)

    In addition, we are told that the United States today “may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran,” and that it reserves the right to take “anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack.” Whose attack? Iran’s? Under what conceivable circumstances would Iran attack the United States, even if it possessed nuclear weapons?

    Finally there is North Korea, which the national strategy document seems to assume already has nuclear weapons. Pyongyang is simply enjoined to “afford freedom to its people,” and the North Koreans are warned that the United States will protect itself “against adverse effects of their bad conduct.” The Iranian government in Tehran will surely note that pre-emption is not mentioned in connection with North Korea.

  • nother

    Allison and Peggysue, I love the idea of no borders and the accountability it would impose. Who would lead us? Allison, I’ve read your posts about leaders and you have me thinking about that in general (whats your feelings about Barak?). Who would lead us in a world without borders though? Would they be from China or India or Sweden? What color would they be? Man or Woman? Where would the checks and balances be? Inevitable the leaders of this ideal world would be corrupted by the power. One good thing about borders so far, is that the different countries have checked each other to an extent.

    I like the connections you made between the corporations and the war. I’m convinced the military industrial complex is the biggest culprit. Half our budget is defense. These companies, like Raytheon, build all these bombs and eventuality we have to use them so they can build some more. Simple as that.

  • Fiddlestix re Potter: Karen Armstrong, author of The Battle for God: The History of Fundamentalism among many other schoarly books on religion, theorizes that the crisis of modernity is expressed through the reaction of adopting fundamentalism. This is seen in the Middle east with the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and in the west as a rise in fundamentalist Christianity. This may explain why so many Americans voted against their own economic interest to elect an inarticulate faux-folksy fundamentalist Christian as their president.

  • nother

    Modernity is a tricky concept for two reasons. First, it means different things to different people. Second, there are both good and bad consequences to modernity.

    Modernity had brought us longer life expectancy and the atomic bomb, how’s that for a paradox?

    I would love for your guest to define optimal modernity. Does it include hummers? Are the politicians in their modernity mostly old white men?

    If the Neo-conservative ideals had panned out, what would that modern world look like – specifically?

  • Other connections between forign & domestic policy: If our National Guard is overseas fighting wars where are they when we need them at home say, if the levees break? or an earthquake hits? If most of our national buget is funding forign wars our schools and libraries suffer. many of us (myself included) have no health insurance and can not afford health care, housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable. If we were not paying for this war we could all afford housing, health care and excellent schools. Oh yes and the arts! Without funding forign adventures we could fund the arts. War makes a few people rich but it impoverishes the rest not to mention those who are killed, maimed and emotionally damaged.

  • Nikos

    Nother: If the Neo-conservative ideals had panned out, what would that modern world look like – specifically?

    Ever see ‘Leave It To Beaver’?

    😉

  • Nikos

    Peggy Sue: right on.

  • nother: leaders are a tough one. I don’t know about Obama. He’s telegenic, but I’ve only heard rhetoric, so far. He’s too new to assess. I like Jimmy Carter, perhaps not in this capacity. If the borders are gone, we’d be compelled to look well beyond our current US borders. I can’t say that I’m well versed in the leadership examples around the world.

    As for gender, skin color – I’m not so interested in those. I don’t want to have someone in a leadership position based on those things. I want someone to have a certain leadership style and vision. One where they see their highest self-service in the serving of others – particularly those less fortunate than themselves. I’d be waiting to hear someone speaking about a redistribution of resources. Valuing everyone’s work equally. Promoting an all-encompassing human ethic of “do no harm”. No exceptions. Speaking to the interconnectness of everyone and our host planet. Calling for people to pause regularly, look deeply inward and wrestle with their own conscience. Not an externally applied compass. I could go on,……

    I need to feel that this person is a living or evolving example of what they are leading us toward. I’m waiting to see someone who radiates a field of light and has a voice that sings with the exquisite beauty of truth and vision.

    When have I seen this? Thich Nhat Hanh (I see only golden light when he speaks), The Dalai Lama (white beams when he speaks), Pir Vilayat Inayat Kahn (he’s no longer with us, but also, a sender of light.) These examples happen to be spiritual leaders – 2 buddhist, one from the Sufi Order International. I’m sure there are other non-affiilitated people, I’ve actually seen these people. I do believe the person has to have a spiritual compass – though not a religious one. I use the word spiritual in its broadest sense.

    what kind of governance structure would work? Hard to tell. Not the kind we’ve got here. I don’t understand why we think this is the be all and end all. Some guys got together over two hundred years ago and came up with this. We have to live it. If it doesn’t work, let’s update it. There are examples of better democracies.

  • nother

    For every 15 year old Muslim boy, life suddenlly has new meaning, there is a new mission, stop the infidel, stop the occupiers.

    Remember, Osama built his support around the US presence in Saudia Arabia. How do you think his recruiting is going these days?

    We have played his game every step of the way.

  • Potter

    Thank you Peggysue- that is what I was thinking of. I was thinking specifically of the trouble many (who are not fundamentalist necessarily) in this country are having accepting evolution and the fruits of genetic science. We are not taking environmental problems seriously enough. Science and technology has enabled and informed us but the psyche is not ready for it, has not caught up.

    Are we ready for the problems consequences and responsiblities of a more industrialized, globalized world? Modernity wants to erase borders as Allison projects. Are we ready for that? No way. But who do the world’s resources “belong” to, oil for instance? Do we fight each other over the last bit of it? Whose environment is protected from or unaffected by anyone elses activity?

  • cheesechowmain

    Sidewalker: “CCM, see my 11:37 pm post.” Thank you sidewalker. I had just finished with the Diane Rehm link and hadn’t caught up. There is a lot of homework for this show! Sidewalker, your 7:33 is a very intense and gets to the heart-of-the-matter. I just reread Hermann Hesse’s “If the war goes on” seeking guidance; highly recommended to all. Potter, thanks for the 8:24 comment. Very helpful. Nikos, 11:07 hits it: accountability moment with tangible metrics.

    allison 12:06 post: I agree. However, investment and R&D have been chilled by the Iraq war and doctrine of preemption. Venture money has been slow to thaw across many sectors. However, as expected there are adjustments. I believe Walter Wriston stated: “capital goes where it is wanted and stays where it is treated well.” Thus, capital investment will move to align itself with U.S. policies and behavior. Capital markets can always adjust, but it is always painful and not as swift as is often thought.

  • Potter

    By the way- I know Frances Fukuyama’s article is behind the New york Times firewall but it is excellent. It is a real turnaround for him and he ends up in the right place:

    Leninism was a tragedy in its Bolshevik version, and it has returned as farce when practiced by the United States. Neoconservatism, as both a political symbol and a body of thought, has evolved into something I can no longer support.

    I found the article here, I hope ROS will allow the link:

    http://www.champress.net/english/index.php?page=show_det&id=2405

  • Nikos

    KUOW’s Weekday aired a worthwhile 55 minutes on the new National Security document this morning: ‘Iran & US Policy of Pre-emptive War’ @ http://www.kuow.org/weekday.asp

    It will replay this evening @ 7:00 PM PST (10:00 PM EST) on KUOW2, the live, second-program channel-stream on the WWW @ http://www.kuow.org/kuow2/default.asp

  • nother

    I love your ideas Allison. They force me to think outside my cynical box of “reality.â€? Your ideas expand possibilities, stretch the limits. I heard a fashion expert talking about fashion shows the other day and he said that they do not expect anyone to wear those clothes on the runway; they are just trying to stretch the possibilities. The same thing happens at car shows. Is that what you are doing with your ideas, or do you actually think they are plausible? I brought up the skin color thing not because I though you cared about it, but because most of the world does. The reality is people care about what their leaders look like. Do you think we will have a short bald president anytime soon? How about a short bald black president – they could have rainbows squirting out their ears but we still would not vote for them. Right now we want a cowboy who stuts like he has tennis balls under is armpits. Eyebrows are key too. Would we vote a president in who had now eyebrows? How would he scrunch them together to show that cheesy resoluteness?

    I strive to be positive but my gut feels cynical on this one. You talk about striving for better democracies but I feel the world is moving in a different direction. I’m worried the world is moving towards a model of Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai.

    In America we have been conditioned to think of capitalism and democracy as one in the same. With Hong Kong, China has managed to extract the capitalism from the democracy, and they are succeeding. The awful paradox is we will be relieved of fundamental religion in politics, but the fundamental human condition will ultimately suffer without some spirituality.

    When I think about all of this, it makes me just want to go to the mall and but a big fat Cinna bun.

  • nother

    -struts like he has tennis balls

    -who had NO eyebrows.

    -Buy a big fat Cinnabun.

    Sorry, got excited and pressed submit to quick

  • allison and nother: I did download the AR program where Zinn talks about no-borders but I forget what he said about leaders. (I’m at work so can’t check now) I will make a point to listen to it again with that question in mind.

    I’m not seeing any great hope leadership-wise on the horizon. I do find Obama the most appealing within the Democratic structure but like Allison do not know enough about him. I worked so hard for the Kerry campaign and in the end felt betrayed. I’m a member of my local Green Party but this presents the obvious dilema of dividing the progressive vote even when the Green cadidates most aptly represent my views.

    I’m thinking Zinn said something like We are the leaders we want to have (or something like that). I’ll vote for Allison.

  • Nikos

    Btw (and sorry, but I’m slightly pissed), this notion called ‘American Exceptionalism’ is nuthin’ but jingoistic hooey.

    I’d like to hear one of our guest admit to that, too.

  • cheesechowmain

    “How would he scrunch them together to show that cheesy resoluteness?” I for one fully support Cheesy resoluteness…with a side of chow mein.

    “quotes are cool!�

    -nother

    BTW, I’m probably borrowing trouble & may get some critiques, but corporate investment is not monolithic. There is no doubt that at least three sectors have benefitted from Iraq, but much to the detriment of other investment. Furthermore, not all corporate players are channeling their inner Simon Legree. But with so many apples rotten-to-the-core it’s hard to see the exceptions. And, I am no defender of rotten core’d principles. Extremist nihilism can be found by the freight car loads in the investment community: a crises is an investment opportunity. Also, as nother points out, capitalism and democracy are not attached at the hip as many pre-suppose. But, they can travel together. There are other combinations.

    Regarding who to vote for: I look forward to the day there are as many leaders, legislators, & captains of destiny as there are human beings on earth.

  • nother: You asked about what kind of leader would be in the world without borders that I mentioned. I didn’t say we were near that reality. Still, to address you cynicism about what that person would look like, I say you are mired in the meaningless details. A truly magnificent leader would look ‘perfect’ to us because of the vision she immerses us in. How perfectly she see us. I do think we would not care about looks if we felt called to something better by an articulate person full of integrity. Our current vapid focus on the superficial is reflective of how we feel inside and our outlook for our future.

    The point to my reference of radiating light is that the light creates a beauty beyond that which we typically experience. It it The High that we seek when we go for the Cinnabun or margherita or the power hit. You can’t see if the person has eyebrows. You can’t take your eyes off the light because it feels so nourishing to be bathed in it. Its different than charm. There is no slight of hand involved. The quality is unmistakable. You don’t have to experience it more than once to have it as a permanent reference point. You standards are completely changed.

    So, yes, I do believe that if a true leader emerged, people would follow no matter what the person looks like.

  • cheesechowmain: I agree that not all corporations are bad. However, the ratio of CEO pay to entry level pay would suggest that it is rare to find a corporation where those at the top are not pretty self-serving.

    That said, I appreciate that groups of people work together as an entity to bring goods and services to other people. And I believe in investing in those efforts. IMHO, its when the entity becomes too large to maintain the human connection between all the parts that we get trouble.

    And I don’t think that corporations should have liability. People should. A corporation is a just a name of a group of people. People need to be accountable. They might not choose to increase their profit margin at the expense of the local water supply if they, personally had to pay for the damages.

    This all gets to a bigger issue that we have: a valueless capitalism. Another hefty subject.

    And certainly, democracy and capitalism are not inextricable. We just happen to wrap them both up in a ethic of freedom without responsibility.

  • Nikos

    Hey, I got an idea!

    Let’s make the Carlisle Group help the oil companies pay for the war!

    😉

  • nother

    Point well taken Allison, thankyou.

  • peggysue: thanks for the vote, unfortunately, I have eyebrows. Suppose I could wax ’em….

  • Potter

    Does capitalism undermine democracy? Can democracy survive capitalism?

  • Potter

    Prof. favors multi- multi-lateral coalitions. What about a coallition to keep our unilateralism and exceptionalism in check. At a time when we seem to have lost our checks and balances I wondered even as we threatened to go to war whether a coalition would form to check us ( somehow).

  • Potter

    ( oops sorry I meant Prof. Fukuyama)

  • Germany, Korea and Japan were different countries than Iraq. Germany & Japan were premier powers, and relative economic dynamos (especially Germany). Korea had been partly industrialized by the Japanese and was a homogenous culture with a sense of nationhood.

    The material you have to work with matters, turning Iraq into a coherent nation would be the work of generations. Or, it would be the work of a totalitarian tyrant.

  • cheesechowmain

    Quoting the always quotable nother: “Point well taken Allison, thankyou.” I didn’t assume you were suggesting all corporations were ‘bad’. We have a communication channel here that makes it hard to explore nuance. Also, I am not offering my thoughts on investment as anathema to anyone’s POV. Corporate structures and legal responsibilities often run counter to mindful ethical behavior. There is definitely room for improvement. I am really glad to see your thoughts on this matter.

    Great idea Nikos, I think the Carlisle Group would be an excellent entity to share some of the financial burden in Iraq!

  • diemos3211

    peggysue:

    I wasn’t trying to argue that our foreign policy exists in some sort of vacuum in fact, only that those who focus on foreign policy seem to think about it largely in an intellectual vacuum. The things you mention are many of the reasons why I think that the powers that be in the Bush Administration (the plutocratic ad hoc aristocracy you mentioned) glommed on to neoconservatism. Neoconservatism provides an abstract framework from which to hang lots of things that they would like to do anyway and some clever arguments to justify them.

    I also think that there is a certain seductive quality to the simplicity of these sorts of nihilistic West versus East scenarios. People dislike complexity by and large, and if we took the steps to wage total war on the Muslim world (i.e. drafted millions of men, rationed resources, shifted production, and attacked with the intention of essentially annexing or at least performing cultural colonization) things seem like they would be vastly simplified. The problem, of course, is that they wouldn’t be simplified at all in the end.

  • fiddlesticks

    ” Karen Armstrong, author of The Battle for God: The History of Fundamentalism among many other schoarly books on religion, theorizes that the crisis of modernity is expressed through the reaction of adopting fundamentalism.”

    I read one book by Armstrong, PeggySue, and didn’t find it satisfying.

    I don’t believe that all fundamentalisms are the same nor do I think that the rejection of say “evolution” by American fundamentalists is a rejection of modernity in all its aspects.

    The best written account of modernism I know is Karls Marx’ “The Communist Manifesto.”

  • He is a great article Chris Lydon wrote on Empire.

    http://www.bopnews.com/archives/001438.html#001438

  • allison: ouch! that would hurt (waxing the eyebrows)

    Here is a quote from H. Zinn on democracy…

    “If democracy were to be given any meaning, if it were to go beyond the limits of capitalism and nationalism, this would not come – if history were any guide – from the top. It would come through citizen’s movements, educating, organizing, agitating, striking, boycotting, demonstrating, threatening those in power with disruption of the stability they needed.”

    from A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

  • fiddlestix:

    “The best written account of modernism I know is Karls Marx’ “The Communist Manifesto.â€?

    good point…

    So would you say neo-funamentalism (Muslim, Christian or other) is a post-modern phenomena? I think I would but my modern post-modern references come out of the art world and I don’t know if it translates.

  • Nikos

    I’m struck Niall Ferguson’s laments in the quote (in the blue box within the show-tease) about America being such an inept empire.

    First, what the hell does the world need with another kleptocratic empire, anyway?

    Second, what else can he expect from ‘empire’ and other meritless hierarchies, where the road to power is paved with funds from the wealthiest, and nepotism allows dimwits to hold sway, while propped by rationalizing professional thinkers and cunning speechifiers?

    ‘Scuse me for bein’ ignorant, but isn’t this the sort of thing that got the British thrown out of this continent a couple centuries back?

    Sheesh.

    His whining reminds of a disillusioned lad pining away for the jingoistic fantasies he was raised on, and not anything remotely ‘democratic’.

  • Nikos

    Boy, that was a hasty post (I’m on my way out the door for a run).

    Let’s try it once more, and forgive the redundancy, please:

    I’m by struck Niall Ferguson’s laments in the quote (in the blue box within the show-tease) about America being such an inept empire.

    First, what the hell does the world need with another kleptocratic empire, anyway? Second, what else can he expect from ‘empire’ and other meritless hierarchies, where the road to power is paved with funds from the wealthiest, and nepotism allows dimwits to hold sway, while propped by rationalizing professional thinkers and cunning speechifiers?

    ‘Scuse me for bein’ ignorant, but isn’t this the sort of thing that got the British thrown out of this continent a couple centuries back?

    Sheesh.

    His whining reminds me of a disillusioned lad wishing for the jingoistic fantasies he was raised on, and not anything remotely ‘democratic’.

  • sidewalker: thank you so much for pointing out this article…..

    Here is a great article Chris Lydon wrote on Empire.

    http://www.bopnews.com/archives/001438.html#001438

    What shocked me was that my favorite quote came from Pat Buchanan “Terrorism is the price of empire”.

  • fiddlesticks

    “So would you say neo-funamentalism (Muslim, Christian or other) is a post modern phenomena?”

    I don’t know what neo-fundamentalism is. I also don’t think that Muslim and American Christian fundamentalism are similar.

    Muslim jihadist is not just anti-modernist but a primitivist theological ideology which has to be defeated.

    American fundamentalists are not primitivists and are therefore exposed to all the contradictions of modernity. I don’t believe they will survive these contradictions.

  • Niall Ferguson is wrong. The most henious of all sins is not a lack of historical perspective but the killing of innocent people for self gain.

  • kel

    Francis Fukuyama has nothing to say about Iraq and George Bush. You would be better off with a psychiatrist. GWB comes from a thin skinned aristocratic family and had had a bad case of inferiority complex untill an accident of history made him president. He was completely uninterested in government until 9/11 and then, his only interest was in righting a percieved wrong that Saddam inflicted on his father. We have all suffered from his incompetence, lack of curiosity, and stranglehold on the levers of power.

  • fiddlesticks

    I am listening as I write this.

    I believe it was Napoleon who was the first modern ruler to have declared that his was no conquering but liberating societies.

    After that almost every conquering army styled itself as “liberators.”

  • fiddlesticks

    Of course, sometime they did liberate oppressed populations.

  • The least pain in our little finger gives

    us more concern and uneasiness than

    the destruction of millions of our fellow

    beings.

    — William Hazlitt

    The Administration has begun referring to Iraq

    as “The Long Warâ€?– a complete turnaround

    from the “Cakewalk� boasts at the onset of

    invasion. They ignore the loss of life and limb,

    and fail to understand the region and the real-

    istic requirements for peace. They are brazen

    in their incompetence and need to be replaced

    by responsible leaders.

    Bush’s mantra “Stay the course� doesn’t

    include capturing Osama bin Laden, but it

    does mean continuing to ignore military exper-

    tise in executing the war, continuing to ignore

    auditors who say contractors such as

    Haliburton are overcharging the government,

    and continuing to deny the true costs of war in

    terms of suffering and death. There is no

    course prescribed in Iraq other than being one

    of the 4 or 5 factions vying for control.

  • h wally

    I hear the rats scrambling to leave this sinking ship. They haven’t changed they’re only fumbling to distance themselves from their point man. In time people will forget and they’ll resurface with a whole new pr campaign. In the meantime they’ll go to work for some corrupt corporation or work incognito in with one mysterious think tank or another. Look at Cheney, Rumsfield, and all the rest. They just keep resurfacing. I’m sure Bush like Reagan and Nixon will be reinvented after the passage of time and who ever the next democratic president will end up being blamed for the results of all the bush administrations corruption.

  • Do the guests feel that the war in Iraq would be going better if Bush had waited another year to attack Saddaam all the while working with the international community?

  • Why is Chris getting caught up in a discussion on why America can’t be a better empire?

  • fiddlesticks

    “Why is Chris getting caught up in a discussion on why America can’t be a better empire?”

    Because he is a responsible commentator and not a guttersnipe poster.

  • At $2 trillion, is there any way a cost-benefit analysis of this war will come out favorably for the US?

  • fiddlesticks, thanks for that brilliant ad hominem attack.

  • cheesechowmain

    Chris asks, roughly: Can we trust the policy intellectuals who doinked the pooch to have another swing at the ball?

    Dunno. Perhaps, if there is transparency and accountability. If the lessons are learned; gut level knowing. If the strategy and tactics are explained with clarity. If the ideas don’t resemble a repackaging of the current failures. If we can put the First Principles on floor and figure out what they are.

    Do they need to wander off the reservation for them to find grace and make an amends? Yes. They need to accept a trip to the woodshed and we need to take some responsibility. The electorate needs to be a little less supine. The woodshed needs to assess the measure of the blunder. h_wally makes a great point at 7:21. However, if we treat this as a zero sum experience we may lose people who have learned tough lessons and now have a better understanding of strategy. It’s a dicey call. Do we want risk adverse people making policy decisions? But the calculations need to improve and we need adherence to First Principles.

    America was born by facing down an Empire. Empire leaves a bad psychic aftertaste. I view Empire as a stain of tyranny. However, the Europeans created a vacuum after a two brutal wars and then the collapse of USSR. The U.S. has seemed to willingly step into the breach.

  • h wally

    Exactly chris, who pays? A couple thousand dead young americans, tens of thousands of wounded young americans. Countless dead and wounded citizens in Iraq. These things are only a part of the cost. Now the people who backed all this want to just explain it away as a policy failure.

  • h wally

    Right on Kel. Your staement would make a short book but it would be more honest than the two guests on tonights show.

  • buddhapest

    I suspect that the Bush administration doesn’t deceive itself in thinking they are the “good guys” bringing a superior culture, Wilsonian brand. I agree it is hypocritical in espousing an inherent moral mission in its “hegemony”. It acts out of greed and fear, the same fear that it constantly tries to breed in all Americans. Fear that we will not continue to be THE military and economic superpower. If we keep intervening, disrupting, and weakening pockets of potential challenge pre-emptively, we will remain on top.

  • cheesechowmain

    NF roughly: “The doctrine of preemption wasn’t all wrong, we just used it on the wrong country.”

    Okay, thank you for playing. The woodshed says flush this guy.

  • Yark

    You are going to invade a country Known to have WMDs – – in fact, you Know where they are !!!

    When you DO NOT send in Special Forces TASKED SPECIFICALLY to go secure those WMDs, does that mean you ACTUALLY KNEW there were no WMDs to secure, or are you the most incompetent planners known to exist in modern History???

  • Potter

    Fiddlesticks- what is the need to denigrate other posters here? If you want respectful discussion or even if you don’t please cut it out.

  • h wally

    Cheese, I have a hard time seeing it as a matter of people learning tough lessons. I’ve been in the midst of battle and I know what the true hard lessons of war are. The soldiers get to pay the bills for these hard lessons. The ploicy makers only shrug and say whoops, to err is human. Sorry. I encourage Chris’s guests to go to a V.A. hospital and see the results of all their intellectual experimentation.

  • cheesechowmain

    h_wally @ 7:51. It’s more than a valid point. I think it should be required for these folks to see the damage they’ve done. A weekly visit to the V.A. might bring right down to earth for these folks. I believe Rep. Murtha does this. I honestly see it as a difficult problem on how to reward/punish people for blunders. Perhaps the woodshed (electorate) should say: Sorry, that was too large of a mistake. Fresh hearts and minds are needed. Fine by me. As a previous ROS guest said “Some eggs cannot be unscrambled.”

  • The pictures of the conflict should also be required viewing on nightly news shows. This is part of the necessary transparency that CCM calls for. If empire building has greater benefits than costs, in Ferguson speak, why not lay them out for the electorate to see and to help them decide if they want to pay the humanitarian and ecological price for cheap goods?

  • cheesechowmain

    Following up on my 8:00 post and sidewalker’s 8:30: An extended stay outside the green zone might also be very educational for these folks. For us, more unfiltered information about what is going on. I totally agree. And h_wally, you’ve really brought this down out of the clouds. One swing at the ball is enough. And as you point out, a lot of these folks have had too many swings. Will the electorate get the memo?

  • Potter

    Sidewalker, this is one of my big problems with this whole thing. We never consented. We were never leveled with. And yet we were dragged into this humongous project with grave and gross consequences/repercussions far into the future and all we get is “trust me, I have information I cannot share with you, I am trying to protect you”.

    I can’t tell you how angry I am.

    We cannot even see the coffins arriving, not to mention the Iraqi dead. The Iraqi’s don’t even count as people in the American psyche– it’s all about our soldiers, supporting our soldiers. I want to rip off every ribbon sticker in the parking lot.

    Lately however I do not notice the flags flying from the SUV’s and pick-ups.

  • babu

    I probably shouldn’t jump in here ’cause I have’t heard the show yet (airs 9:00 pm PST in my town), but I have three concepts to unpack:

    1. About 15 years ago, while working on a Sister City Peace Park in then-Soviet Uzbekistan with some ex-Peace Corps lawyers who had also started Ploughshares (the swords into ploughshares advocacy org, ) one of them told me that the per-capita percentage of all people in uniform at any given time, regardless of why or for whom — that is, bodies bearing arms — has been virtually a constant throughout time; it is actually a stable human phenomena, irregardless of government, circumstance, etc. The implication of this fact, if true, is that it’s in our nature. All the political talk is just the bullies and their current rhetoric…..At the same time there are also the Ghandhis, Mother Teresas, M. L. Kings, born every generation;

    2. At that time (near-end of Soviet/Cold War era) an Uzbek woman philosopher I met, said to me when she heard that we Americans had all paid our own way, used our savings and vacations, etc. to build that park in Tashkent, and that we considered it an act of citizen’s activism in censure of both governments and the Cold War, ” I know you think that you are preventing evil, but I have observed that good and evil are exactly balanced. Otherwise, one or the other would have long-since disappeared from the stage and we would have no memory of it any more. Since we do, it must be that we are each born somewhere on that perennially balanced black-white spectrum and we each must act out our role because we are holding up the local sky. But they are equal and history is just anecdotal, no matter how blow-hard.”

    3. Satirically speaking, if we left our all-volunteer army in Iraq for a long time fighting the self-selected terrorists you could view it as a voluntary international (though expensive) eugenics program conveniently targeting militarists and terrorists. Although we won’t live long enough to see the results in the gene pool, one speculates that there would be a net positive blip in the future birth rate of, for example, Jimmy Carters. Providing that we ensure that these armies stick to each other and not the civilian population, wouldn’t it make global sense to amend the Constitution just this once to allow Bush and the Veep to have a third term? So many people all over the world are watching them.

  • UtahOwl

    As it happened, BEFORE we went into Iraq 3 yrs ago, I was reading a book called “The Peace to End All Peace” by David Fromkin. It was a loan from my conservative lawyer brother-in-law, and it was a bombshell. As you can guess from the title, it’s about the consequences of WWI. It was deja vu all over again watching us tearing off to “settle” Iraq while reading about the British – with 10x the troop to civilian population ratio then that we used now – falling into a tar pit. Complete with insurgency. I mention this because I find it difficult to argue that Americans – in general, policy makers in particular – really understand history ( as distinct from having read it & converted it to self-serving arguments).

    Point 2: Also interesting that Fukiyama argues that the fall of the Soviet Union in the Reagan years was so impressive. I remember, well before Reagan was elected, wondering WHY everyone was talking as though the Russians were 8 feet tall, when their society was so clearly failing at making a reasonable economic life for its citizens, and showing many signs of coming apart at the seams. Fukiyama has to be well aware of this. I have concluded that policymakers and politicians gin up this exaggerated picture of an enemy ( Soviet Union; Saddam Hussein; stateless terrorists; terrorist states) for their own purposes, which cannot be trusted to be the same as purposes which are good for the United States in the long run.

  • Nikos

    Some thoughts from an angry citizen on the value of ‘guttersnipe posting’

    Republics, even those hamstrung by constitutional impediments to consensus-building, are governed by policies and laws that originate as ideas. Ideas often come from grassroots sources, but more often come from those with the time, inclination, or occupational good fortune to ponder. Such thinkers are often professionals like Frances Fukuyama and Niall Ferguson. These men, gifted rhetoricians both, earn their livings through their intellectual productivity.

    One can only hope that such men would use their public station as idea-crafters not merely to wise ends, but to humanitarian purpose.

    It would appear, from the overwhelming weight of opinion on this thread, that instead they have failed the public trust.

    They have been paid to concoct rationales for hierarchy, state-inflicted violence, and the inequity of regressive taxation to pay for the folly of their advocated policy-inventions.

    Niall Ferguson has used his rhetorical gifts to glibly cast a sheen of glamour over the concept of ‘empire’.

    Tens of thousands of Iraqis have died in no small part from the jingoistic sham and propagandistic veneer Ferguson has helped to foist onto a deliberately under-educated and cynically misinformed republican electorate.

    Men like Ferguson (specifically) and Fukuyama (generally) use their portion of the public trust to excuse the gross and unacceptable malfeasance of the intellectually bankrupt politicians who enact, in real life and thereby inflict onto real people, the most saleable portions of their intellectual products.

    Not one of us should shrink from holding these men culpable for their parts in the debacle unfolding in our republic and in countries hosting our military.

    Not one of us.

    This thread reached and surpassed the 100-post mark in record or near record time because the contributing writers are engaged and angry citizens.

    Men like Ferguson and Fukuyama can very easily dismiss the sentiments of ‘little people’ like us, because, according their hierarchical preconceptions, they are trained to know more about ‘the way the world really works’ than any of us can.

    They deceive themselves.

    I wager that we know all too well how the world works – how the world of those infatuated by hierarchy works, anyway, because we share the very same world. Their view needn’t be the only ‘realistic’ one: most of us here represent an equally realistic yet much more generous and humanistic view. Hell, Europe is full of people like us. Moreover, Europeans are constitutionally allowed to vote for multiple parties that genuinely compete in their electorates for the most votes by advocating more humanistic and generous ideas and policy-options than any American Democrat ever has.

    And Europe is hardly falling apart for its ‘lack of realism’: it is, for the most part and yes, with its own hiccups, chugging along nicely.

    Not one of us should shrink from yearning for a similar chance to build in this country a humanistic consensus: heck – this thread is nothing if not a humanistic consensus!

    And if the name for this method of consensus building is Guttersnipe Posting, then I am a Proud and Founding Member of the ROS Guttersnipe Coalition.

    Beats the Coalition of the Willing any damned day.

    Allison, babu, buddhapest?

    CCM, Diemos, h wally?

    hurley, kel, nother?

    Peggy Sue, Potter, sidewalker?

    Shall we thank fiddlesticks for awarding a name to our form of activist electronic dissent and our coalition of consensus?

    I, for one, will wear it as an honor.

    Count me a Guttersnipe.

  • babu

    Aside to CCM, with apologies to the blog: you might be interested in the last 10 posts of the Convergences thread.

  • Nikos

    Oh, and just in case poor fiddlesticks worries that I’m being facetious, I’m not: I’m rather gratified to be a Guttersnipe, which, my American Heritage says means:

    “a street urchin.�

    Wikitionary meanwhile gives this: “A term used to describe a street urchin or a person of low character. “I would prefer not to be associated with such a guttersnipe, thank you!� It is derived from the words Gutter and Snipe. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Transwiki:Guttersnipe

    It quite marvelously suits little ol’ rabble-rousing, sacred-cow-attacking, anti-elitist, democratic me.

    My thanks, therefore, are sincere.

    I am a Proud Guttersnipe.

  • Nikos

    PS, fiddlesticks: I am in the habit of thanking you lately, often profusely, and this instance is no exception!

    So just grin and bear it!

    Happily indebted,

    Guttersnipe Nick

  • Alex Brown

    Wonderful stuff here – sorry I’m late to the party:

    “… the neocon fantasy that the Iraq war would end in bouquets of flowers, jubilant Arabs welcoming the US military like the French did in ’44, and fountains pumping skyward gorgeous jet-black sprays of oil.”

    “… Next, Rummie repeatedly raved that ‘all the free-flowing oil’ would pay for the war. …”

    Here’s a bulletin from Greg Palast (UK Guardian): see http://www.gregpalast.com/printerfriendly.cfm?artid=483

    “… And what did the USA want Iraq to do with Iraq’s oil? The answer will

    surprise many of you: and it is uglier, more twisted, devilish and

    devious than anything imagined by the most conspiracy-addicted blogger.

    The answer can be found in a 323-page plan for Iraq’s oil secretly

    drafted by the State Department. Our team got a hold of a copy; how,

    doesn’t matter. The key thing is what’s inside this thick Bush diktat: a

    directive to Iraqis to maintain a state oil company that will “enhance

    its relationship with OPEC.

    “Enhance its relationship with OPEC??? How strange: the government of the

    United States ordering Iraq to support the very OPEC oil cartel which is

    strangling our nation with outrageously high prices for crude.

    “Specifically, the system ordered up by the Bush cabal would keep a lid

    on Iraq’s oil production — limiting Iraq’s oil pumping to the tight

    quota set by Saudi Arabia and the OPEC cartel.

    “There you have it. Yes, Bush went in for the oil — not to get more of

    Iraq’s oil, but to prevent Iraq producing too much of it. …”

    All of that grand neoconservative neonobility comes down to this: brute force capitalism. Guess who profits most from Iraqi civil war and Mideast chaos.

    Mission accomplised indeed.

    Alex Brown, N.A.

  • Nikos

    Alex Brown: that link is unambiguous evidence of sheer human genius.

    YES!

    Thank you!

  • Nikos

    Pondering once again the deeper implications of Ferguson’s febrile quote in the blue box within the show tease:

    I fervently wish it were otherwise. The fact that America did such a good job in West Germany and Japan after the Second World War – to say nothing of South Korea – suggests that it doesn’t always have to end in tears.

    Is it just barely conceivable that the reason the USA did so well in Germany and Japan is because the more humanistic party – the Democrats – were in charge of the government and therefore of the reconstruction of the defeated enemy nations?

    Isn’t it even just barely conceivable???

    You know, figuring this thing out isn’t so daunting or difficult if you simply divorce yourself for enough months from the heavily conservative television and radio “news�-media…

  • fiddlesticks

    “Men like Ferguson (specifically) and Fukuyama (generally) use their portion of the public trust to excuse the gross and unacceptable malfeasance of the intellectually bankrupt politicians who enact, in real life and thereby inflict onto real people, the most saleable portions of their intellectual products.”

    Nikos, you talk too much.

    Besides neither Fukayama nor Ferguson excused any malfeasance. Their analysis hit the nail on the head. What they said was in essence no different from what Mailer said. We should not get involved with cultures we don’t understand. If they attack us beat the crap out of them and then leave.

    If you can’t go the ditance don’t start on the journey.

  • fiddlesticks

    “Is it just barely conceivable that the reason the USA did so well in Germany and Japan is because the more humanistic party – the Democrats – were in charge of the government and therefore of the reconstruction of the defeated enemy nations?’

    Actually it was a bipartisan effort.

    The difference is that we were allowed to defeat these countries thoroughly before we put them together again.

    This is something the humanitarian folks will not allow us to do today.

    Had we been fighting Hitler and Tojo today they would have had as many apologists on the so called left as did Saddam.

  • Nikos

    You know, I’m getting sick and tired of this American self-congratulation over the ‘fall of the Communist empire’.

    Look, no matter what Reagan or a second-term Carter, or a President Mondale, or a President Anderson might have done or not done, the Soviet command-economy colossus was doomed to topple of its own corrupted inertia.

    Get over it, righties.

    Reagan didn’t ‘win the Cold War’.

    Gorbachev perceived the intellectual bankruptcy of his inherited ideology, and facilitated its demise.

    Sheesh.

    And what the heck happened to Winston, btw?

    ‘Carpet bomb’ us, dude!

  • h wally

    I came into this world a gutter snipe and I remain a gutter snipe. God bless us one and all.

  • Nikos

    sorry fiddlestick, the show is airing out here right now.

    i’ll get back to you shortly.

    But thanks for being a good sport!

  • Nikos

    fiddlesticks says: “Had we been fighting Hitler and Tojo today they would have had as many apologists on the so called left as did Saddam.”

    They’d have had a few apologists — but not nearly “as many”.

    Weirdly, the nation is far more ignorant now than it was in the early 1940’s.

    Trust me, I’ve studied this tragedy.

  • Nikos

    god bless you, h wally!

  • Nikos

    Ferguson said: “Americans dislike being unpopular�

    Really?

    Then why do we continue our unpopular habits?

    Idiocy?

    Or policy?

  • Nikos

    Ferguson’s right about Afghanistan – except that we bailed on them to chase down all that Iraqi crude.

    So we could limit it like Alex Brown’s ingenious post explains?!

  • Nikos

    Ferguson’s point about the odd simultaneity of the US being both the world’s biggest debtor and its most hegemonic military power is exactly why he’s ingenious.

    However:

    His follow-up that we used our doctrine of pre-emption on the ‘wrong country’ is exactly why he’s an execrable machiavellian.

  • Nikos, that Greek wisdom of yours is delightful.

    Though is my anarchist nature not to join any group that would have me, in this case by default I must too be a Guttersnipe if the other option is a high-brow ink and fiber salesman, peddling the realism of power or the ideology of neo-Puritanism.

    Potter,

    I, too, am steaming that the government here in Japan could completely dismiss the public’s opinion (80% against the war in 2003) and with no explanation, other than to mimic the empty rhetoric from Washington and Texas, go against the constitution and use the “defence force” as part of an illegal occupation.

  • Nikos

    Show’s over.

    Let’s party.

    Fiddlesticks: first, let me reiterate my undying gratitude for your assistance to me in other, past conversations.

    Second, fiddlesticks said: “Actually it was a bipartisan effort.�

    Of course it was! The government, regardless of party, back in those days operated co-operatively.

    Only in the couple of decades have the Elephants arrogated ‘intellectual supremacy’ to their political conceits. From this conceit, they only seek cooperation when it’s expedient.

    Pigs.

    Fiddlesticks: “The difference is that we were allowed to defeat these countries thoroughly before we put them together again.�

    Yes, and this echoes ammadeo’s post, which I think reflects a nuance of reality that many of my humanistic kin are not willing to admit has validity.

    I, however, will admit to it.

    However: I hate it.

    Fiddlesticks: “This is something the humanitarian folks will not allow us to do today.�

    This is like blaming someone trying to pull a witch away from the pyre on which she being burned alive: the act is humanitarian, yet quite likely lengthens the pain of the utterly barbaric means of execution.

    You sure you wanna stick with this?

  • Nikos

    god bless you, sidewalker!

  • Nikos

    Fiddlesticks: yes, I talk too much. This is a given: a ROS reality.

    However, I don’t care.

    When my humanistic kin tell me to shut up, I will. I’ve got just enough skill with words and a counter-conventional bent of mind to make my blabbering a decent addition to this little forum (I think).

    Next: Ferguson, in my estimation, actually redeemed himself slightly in this show.

    Slightly.

    He’s charming.

    Like a mongoose.

    Like a grizzly bear.

    Before his clever quips, I despised him like one despises a tse-tse fly.

    Now, I despise him only like one despises a malaria-bearing mosquito.

    Anyone capable of spewing the jingoistic heroin that enables this once venerable republic to lapse into a withering euphoria while overseas, and in the name of our ‘defense’, we breed the next generation of our destructors (all for a little extra profit!) deserves a lifetime exile in Belarus!

  • babu

    Dear Guttersnipes

    To paraphrase one of the show’s guests: ‘To become the world’s greatest military power AND its greatest debter at the same time can only be considered an [unproven] experiment.’ And a shaky, top-heavy experiment it is.

    This made me think of Fritjof Capra’s classic, ‘The Turning Point’ where Capra catalogued a set of qualities which all empires through history have shared just before they toppled. One of the most intriguing (to me) was the certain appearance of a small random unrelated subset of citizens who are born feeling that they don’t belong there. Alienated from birth, they don’t know where they belong, but not there. Where they belong does not exist yet, but they are model citizens. Capra’s point is that societies/empires survive themselves organically by breeding the next society from within. They literally throw litters of new citizens, who, like misunderstood mongrels, naturally belong to the next order, not the current.

    Guttersnipes, you might say. Chris Lyden and the Radio Open Source blog is efficiently –“crazy-happily”– collecting the next order to itself. Loud and clear. Count me in. Time must be short.

    This refers neatly to the fractal and pattern-making function of nature doesn’t it.

  • Nikos

    Oops!

    I missed inviting Steve(infinity) and Yark into the Guttersnipe Coalition!

    Please forgive me.

    I was a bit steamed. (I’d just come back from a 4.5 mile run, plus wood splitting, and a shower. And I wrote it too fast. Less than a half hour, I’m afraid to confess.)

    You’re as welcome to join as me and sidewalker and h wally.

    just remember your manners and thank my friend fiddlesticks for the democratic name.

    😉

  • Nikos

    god bless you, babu!

    Oh, and I must extend an invitation to the awesome alex brown, too!

  • Ferguson’s words go down as smoothly as an aged sake on ice. The problem is the hang-over, of course. His point: if you’re going to do the empire thing, get on with it old chap. Don’t worry about the piles of dead bodies along the way, they would be someone’s victims anyway, for in the long reach of history, damn the critics and those weak guttersniping humanitarians and partisans of social justice, the benefits will outweigh the costs. Back-of-the-napkin history, that, but god I want another glass-full.

  • Nikos

    Sidewalker: right on!

    And lol!

    Wryly voiced, pal!

  • For me, Fukuyama’s turn is a little more like an undistilled glass of Japanese vodka (shochu). It is just too hard to stomach at the moment.

    It is common in Japan to make a show of repentance to be forgiven. Politicians, beaurucrats, company presidents and school-yard bullies use this strategy to brush their misdeeds under the tatami mat and not take full responsibility, not examine the costs of their actions, as Chris Lydon sought. I am not saying Francis Fukuyama does not actually wish he had triumphed a different message or spoken out boldy against the war. It all just rings a little hollow from this side of the Pacific. How about over there?

    Maybe, as anonymous says, “If you want the last word, apologize�

  • babu

    oligosnipes don’t repent. It’s a trap.

  • Nikos, I feel we must extend an offer to join the guttersnipes to our pal fiddlesticks. I found the following etymology for his label.

    “At some point in Shakespeare’s lifetime, it seems fiddlestick began to be used for something insignificant or trivial, perhaps because fiddle-playing itself was regarded as something worthless or inconsequential.

    In Henry IV, Shakespeare wrote “the devil rides on a fiddle-stickâ€?, but I don’t think we should hold Shakespeare’s prose against the poor fellow.

  • Nikos

    Babu: I was writing my guttersnipe’s manifesto after my run, and wood-splitting, and etc., so, unfortunately, I missed your utterly awesome 9:33 PM post till just now while scrolling backwards.

    WOW.

    Great work.

    A couple of deeper nuances:

    Your point in no.1 is validated by recent anthropological study: the frequency of human violence is over-estimated precisely because it’s so spectacularly unusual. i.e., each instance of it so dominates our perceptions that we misunderstand how unusual it is. Thus, the bravery of humanity’s many MLKs startles us – yet most of us, on some level, are much more MLK than we are Attila the Hun.

    Next, don’t you wish the few irredeemably truculent of our species could be consigned to an island, like, say, Ascension in the South Atlantic, and allowed to beat each other’s brains in to their hearts’ content?

    And leave the rest of us to build a decent and sustainable human confederation?

    Damn, it’s vexing.

  • Nikos:

    “When my humanistic kin tell me to shut up, I will. I’ve got just enough skill with words and a counter-conventional bent of mind to make my blabbering a decent addition to this little forum (I think).”

    Keep talking Nikos! My but you are in fine form this evening. I just caught back up with this thread and it seems to be going out with a flourish. Thank you all.

    As for Ferguson, what a poor excuse for a Scotsman (bloody lowlander no doubt) licking the boots of the British Empire. He should be ashamed. A slick nave schooled in treachery.

    But who am I?

    Just another Guttersnipe Poster

  • I meant a slick knave

  • Nikos

    sidewalker: in case you’ve missed it elsewhere, I am so indebted to fiddlesticks for the goldmine of Arab liberalism website called Middle East Transparent http://www.metransparent.com/english.html

    that I’m willing to offer him most anything in gratitude…well, aside from sex. (Wrong gender – if my guess of his gender isn’t mistaken, that is. And I’m pretty sure very few women would write in that voice and style.)

    Anyway, any site with this in it is a frickin’ mine of pre-refined 24 karat gold: http://www.metransparent.com/texts/arab_feminists_on_women_s_rights.htm

    So yes, invite away!

    In fact, I’ll probably have to head for bed myself fairly soon, so if you want to handle the “god bless you’s� in welcome of the congregating pilgrims, please do so – but remember that I stole the idea from h wally!

    (This presumes you’re off in Asia…or are you still here on the American continent?)

    Lastly, I seem to recall something rueful: a character – a cartoon character perhaps? – snapping his fingers and saying ‘oh, fiddlesticks!’ I’m guessing this is the genesis of our pal’s ROS-handle…

    I’ve been wrong before, though.

    Uh…a lot.

  • Nikos

    god bless you peggy sue!

    (my, aren’t we beginning to burgeon?) 😉

  • Nikos

    Utah Owl, i just now realized that I’d missed your post too while typing up my Guttersnipe manifesto.

    Please feel free to join us!

    sidewalker, or peggy sue (or any of us, cuz we’re commie democrats with no hierarchy) will be happy to invoke the blessings of your favorite supernatural entity on your mention of ‘guttersnipe’!

    😉

    Night, all!

  • fiddlesticks

    “For me, Fukuyama’s turn is a little more like an undistilled glass of Japanese vodka (shochu). It is just too hard to stomach at the moment.”

    Sidewakler, Fukuyama is not Japanese. Methinks you have hiim confused with someone else.

    “This is like blaming someone trying to pull a witch away from the pyre on which she being burned alive: the act is humanitarian, yet quite likely lengthens the pain of the utterly barbaric means of execution.

    You sure you wanna stick with this?”

    Nikos, not only do you talk to much you come up with the silliest analogies.

    Don’t know which is worse racist comments about Fukuyama, or irrelevant analogies. All in the service of “peace,” I am sure.

  • babu

    Nikos; I think you misunderstood me. My 9:33 points 1 and 2 were that it’s 50/50 good and evil, not ‘most of us are more MLK than Attila’. Some people are just a little more harmless than other people are petty. These are the grays.

    But I’m convinced it’s balanced, though dynamically with shifts and abrupt state changes. That’s not to say I like it that way. I think of it as a kind of brute universal topsoil; human affairs grow up and then they break down and become food on the forest floor for the next wave. I don’t know what this amounts to as a philosophy. I used to be a social Darwinist. Now I think that’s unrealistic. But that doesn’t relieve me of the responsibility to ‘do right’. If I get lazy the local balance state around me weakens. I can do real harm or help in my own sphere. The trick is to figure out my natural sphere of influence and be effective there; not to rue the larger spheres where I’m not a natural player.

    I propose that the NeoCon/Guttersnipes blog all read the same book: ‘American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Toqueville’ by Bernard-Henri Levi.

  • cheesechowmain

    Wow. I walked away and this thread caught fire. Nikos. Dude. Brilliant. You’re rocking big time. This is fine stuff. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. Keep talking us through this walk through darkness. It’s a beam of hope. I would love to be considered into membership for the Guttersnipe Crew. Do I have to crawl through a spanking machine or be placed into Schrödinger’s Catbox? I have one small request, when it reaches it’s apex, I don’t want to play either the Trotsky role or the Donny role from The Big Lebowski. Maybe Sleepy from Snow White. My superpowers will be narcolepsy. But to me Nikos, you are ‘The Dude’ amigo. Glad to see Babu’s postings. I’ll check in on Convergence tomorrow.

    You’ve started a movement with a retinue. You’ll probably end up proclaiming: “I was never a Guttersnipe” when the DLC, then the RNC co-opts it! Imagine 2016 George Prescott Bush leading the GOP using the Guttersnipe platform with talking points from Joe Kristol. Shudder.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guttersnipe

    Incidently, I’ve spent the evening doing a careful read and pondering over Chris’s essay that sidewalker generously included. It’s quite fantastic. First rate. The Pat Buchanan stuff utterly, utterly stunned me. I mean stunned me to the core. Thank you sidewalker for the link…and thank you Chris for the first rate thinking. Just in case you folks missed it: http://www.bopnews.com/archives/001438.html#001438

    — Sleepy Guttersnipe is off to sleepy time.

  • fiddlesticks,

    Fukuyama has Japanese heritage. His maternal grandfather was a famous Japanese academic and his family was sent to a concentration camp. It is true, I should not have assumed that his family background would have any influence on his behaviour, especially since I do not know the extent to which his family has assimilated. Is this racist? Some people in a hyphenated America would take issue if you ignored their ethnio-cultrual backgroud. Still, I should leave that to Mr. Fukuyama to talk about.

    My references to Japanese sake and shochu were purely because I drink those often here in Tokyo. I could have spoken of wine, but my palette is far less sensitive to that beverage.

    Hope this sets things staight.

    BTW, you really are good with the zingers.

  • fiddlesticks,

    thought you might like this quote from Frank Wu, a law professor at Howard University, discussing “The Invisibility of Asian-American Scholars.”

    “Two exceptions worth noting are Francis Fukuyama and Dinesh D’Souza. The former is of Japanese heritage; the latter, Indian origins. While both have to their credit best sellers that require serious attention, neither dissents from prevailing norms and, thus, fulfills the critical function of the public intellectual. To the contrary, Fukuyama celebrates the triumph of Western liberal democracy, and D’Souza is known for his attacks on academic culture and black culture. It would be wrong to impose any ideological test on who constitutes a public intellectual, for members of the species populate the liberal-conservative spectrum and defy the idea of such classification. Still, Fukuyama and D’Souza are unlike their African-American and Jewish counterparts. Even the formerly progressive and now reactionary African-American and Jewish theorists who have mass appeal, no different from those who remained radicals, articulate or at least allude occasionally to their status or others’ stereotypes of them. In contrast, it is unclear whether either Fukuyama or D’Souza would consent to being called “Asian-American.” They exemplify what they seem to foresee Asian-Americans essentially vanishing into honorary whiteness.”

    I think the important point here is whether “Asian American” scholars choose to take that subjectivity (Wu obviously feels they should) or whether that subjectivity is imposed. Your trouble with my comment was, I think, that I imposed an ethnic subjectivity on Fukuyama to help understand his behaviour. As I mentioned in my previous post, that lacked consideration on my part.

  • Potter

    I have wanted to respond at times “Oh Fiddlesticks!”

    Thank youBabu for your hopeful thoughts, your philosophy, and recounting of that section of Fritjof Capra’s “Turning Point”.

    Forgiveness: I forgive Fukuyama insofar as it matters and that I can. He’s very contrite. I heard him on the Diane Rehm show ( and thank you Sidewalker for the referral) here is the link again for it’s well worth the listen: http://www.wamu.org/programs/dr/06/03/17.php#10204

    The Fukuyama NYT article ” After Neoconservatism” again- is very good: http://www.champress.net/english/index.php?page=show_det&id=2405

    I want people like Ferguson and Fukuyama to think away- we need our public intellectuals.

    We even need the exasperating John Yoo ( Is he an intellectual?) Save us please from his government service though.

    It’s our elected ( and barely-if-elected) leaders that I reserve my anger for. It’s not all Republicans either, it’s Democrats who are complicit. Why did Carl Levin, for instance, put his name to watered down legislation legislation( with LIndsay Graham) that (NYT) “stripped Gitmo detainees of normal rights of judicial review” ? And it’s us, the voting and non-voting public, slow to “get it”, uninformed, easily misinofrmed and manipulated who. went AGAIN for this in 2004.

    Deep in this thread above I think it was Allison who was talking about what kind of leader we yearn for…. even if that dream leader would arise, would we know it, would we rally behind him/her? Look to that tired issue the (unreformed campaign) finance system for blame about why we get the leaders we get.

  • Alex Brown

    I am willing to recognize that some neocons may have been innocently and naively pursuing the notion that remaking the world, in their sunny impressions of our image, was a good and noble cause, but the fact that their chosen means — over decades of debate — was military assault, makes them guilty of the same high crimes for which I would indict Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Bush, and their paymasters. Far from discovering the End of History, their only story is its eternal continuation, the Long War. They advocated military aggression for the last ten years of the Soviet Union as the Russians chose defeat by self-imprisonment, and then, as it rotted from the inside, when a rare parting of the clouds allowed the people of the world to express rejection of nuclear weapons, even in the care of “rational” decisionmakers, they devised a grand strategy for scaring the bejeezus out of us all with the prospect of irrational, in fact immaterial, non-existent non-state actors at the red button, with no red phone in sight. And then threw all of this into the oilpatch to stir up a distraction from Israel’s Long War. We are in big, big trouble now, and it’s their damn fault. I cannot forgive Fukayama, even if he were to lead us to his paymasters; I do not trust or respect a single one of these guys (and gals) and I think, if they don’t deserve life imprisonment, they should be banned from decent company.

  • The US occupation of Japan comes up a lot these days when big brain intellects and lowly guttersnipes try to get their two yen in on why the Iraq occupation is not going according to ummm “plan?”.

    Japan’s Empire building also offers some sushi for the brain.

    At the heart of the imperialists’ global strategy was the concept of hakko ichiu, which translates as “All eight corners of the world under one roof.” They resurrected this notion from the decree of Emperor Jimmu in 660 AD, who was talking about his know octagon, East Asia.

    Three key tenents were:

    1) Japan is the center of the world, with its ruler, the Tenno (Emperor), a divine being, who derives his divinity through ancestral descent from the great Amaterasu-Omikami, the Goddess of the Sun herself.

    (Doesn’t Bush talk directly to god?) “Wherever you go, you carry a message of hope – a message that is ancient and ever new. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, ‘To the captives, “come out,” and to those in darkness, “be free”.”

    – George W. Bush’s message to the troops when he announced victory in Iraq.

    2) The Kami (Japan’s gods and godesses) have Japan under their special protection. Thus the people and soil of Dai Nippon and all its institutions are superior to all others.

    Didn’t the neo-cons re-work the manifest destiny pitch?

    3) All of these attributes are fundamental to the Kodoshugisha (Imperial Way) and give Japan a divine mission to bring all nations under one roof, so that all humanity can share the advantage of being ruled by the Tenno.

    Substitue here ” to bring all nations under one global labour market, so that all humanity can share the advantage of being ruled by the logic of unequal exchange.

    A few more parallels:

    The Black Ocean Society was modern Japan’s first organized use of foreign intelligence assets and supplied the Japanese army with intelligence as well as spreading Japanese influence throughout the region.

    This was Japan’s NSA/CSS and CIA all wrapped up into one.

    Young officers and enlisted men were coming to the military from the harsh life of the peasantry. They realized that through the military they could rise above their poor former lives and become anything, even leaders of government.

    I don’t know if the second part of this is possible in today’s America, but then again their is the example of Colin Powel.

    From September of 1932 on, the Japanese were becoming more locked into the course that would lead them into the Second World War and Araki was leading the way. Totalitarianism and expansionism were to become the rule and fewer voices would be able to even speak against it.

    Think about the congress before the invasion.

    The continued expansionism and thirst for rearmament would cause Japan to leave the League of Nations in 1932.

    US unilateralism and abandonment of security council mechanism.

    The Kempei Tai was a feared organization. They were the involved in all aspects of both law enforcement and societal control. They were the censors watching the mail and newspapers. All their suspects were considered guilty upon arrest and torture was a common aid to gaining “confessions.” This torture was condoned by the Sambo Hombu (Imperial General Staff) and was a completely acceptable tool of the Kempei Tai. Torture methods used were both varied and creative and it has been argued that the Kempei Tai were the most accomplished torturers since the Inquisition.

    Does Abu grahib and rendition come to mind?

    AFTERMATH

    Much like Nazi Germany, Japan actually benefited from the patronage of the Americans after the war and the emerging Cold War. Few of the war criminals found themselves even brought to trial and many of those that were found themselves pardoned after very short stays in prison. Members of the Kempei Tai found employment in the newly reorganized police and military forces of Japan, while the infamous medical teams found employment with either the Americans or in Japan’s new technology growth. Many of the old structures simply changed names, purged a few individuals and continued operations similar to before. Today, they are still alliances between the Zaibatsu, the government and military and the Yakuza. Ultranationalism is not dead in Japan, either. Sometimes it manifests in an overt manner, such as the Aum cult, and sometimes in just a general racism carried by certain segments of the population. With the world’s second largest defense budget, a massive technological

    base, dwindling resources and very real regional concerns, the militarists may yet push Japan back down a dark road towards war. .

    No comparison here, just a scary thougth.

    The information on Japan was taken from the following source.

    JAPAN’S DARK BACKGROUND 1881-1945

    http://www.willamette.edu/~rloftus/moremilitarism.html

  • fiddlesticks

    Sidewalker

    “thought you might like this quote from Frank Wu, a law professor at Howard University, discussing “The Invisibility of Asian-American Scholars.â€?

    Wu is full of crap.

    There is no such thing as “honorary whiteness.”

    I don’t know about D’Souza and he is not relevant to this discussion but Fukuyama is an intellectual not an “Asian” intellectual and not a “Japanese” intellectual. Deal with that.

    What the hell are you that gives you the right to stereotype people like that?

  • fiddlesticks

    Alex Brown:

    “I am willing to recognize that some neocons may have been innocently and naively pursuing the notion that remaking the world, in their sunny impressions of our image, was a good and noble cause, but the fact that their chosen means — over decades of debate — was military assault, makes them guilty of the same high crimes for which I would indict Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Bush, and their paymasters.”

    I don’t know what gives you the right to indict anyone for anything.

    If you can indict Fukuyama for his thought then you can be indicted for yours.

    If the advise he gave is actionable than so is yours.

    Counseling military action is no more damnable than is counseling inaction if the results are equally catastrophic.

    I don’t think you know the kind of road you are traveling when you begin to use threats of legal action against people’s thinking and writing.

  • fiddlesticks, where did I sterotype Fukuyama as a Japanese intellectual? Try and get it right.

  • “Wu is full of crap.”

    Can’t you do better than that, fiddlesticks?

  • fiddlesticks

    sidewalker asks:

    March 21st, 2006 at 9:48 am

    “fiddlesticks, where did I sterotype Fukuyama as a Japanese intellectual? Try and get it right.”

    Here is one place:

    sidewalker Says:

    March 21st, 2006 at 5:11 am

    “Fukuyama has Japanese heritage. His maternal grandfather was a famous Japanese academic and his family was sent to a concentration camp. It is true, I should not have assumed that his family background would have any influence on his behaviour, especially since I do not know the extent to which his family has assimilated.”

    You then ask:

    “Is this racist?”

    yes, since we are dealing with his thought and ideas and not with his background.

    ” Some people in a hyphenated America would take issue if you ignored their ethnio-cultrual backgroud. Still, I should leave that to Mr. Fukuyama to talk about.”

    So what? This is irrelevant.

    And before that you had tellingly said:

    sidewalker Says:

    March 21st, 2006 at 2:32 am

    “For me, Fukuyama’s turn is a little more like an undistilled glass of Japanese vodka (shochu). It is just too hard to stomach at the moment.

    It is common in Japan to make a show of repentance to be forgiven. Politicians, beaurucrats, company presidents and school-yard bullies use this strategy to brush their misdeeds under the tatami mat and not take full responsibility, not examine the costs of their actions, as Chris Lydon sought. I am not saying Francis Fukuyama does not actually wish he had triumphed a different message or spoken out boldy against the war. It all just rings a little hollow from this side of the Pacific. How about over there?”

    Me thinks your emphasis on Fukuyama’s background is your way of keeping him yet again in the Japanese camp.

    Why did you not mention Chris Leydon’s Irish background? If Fukuyama’s background is relevant so is Chris’ and so is yours, Sidewalker.

  • fiddlesticks

    “Wu is full of crap.�

    “Can’t you do better than that, fiddlesticks?’

    Fiddlesticks, when I read crap I respond to it by calling it crap.

  • fiddlesticks, I also said,

    “It is true, I should not have assumed that his family background would have any influence on his behaviour, especially since I do not know the extent to which his family has assimilated. Is this racist? Some people in a hyphenated America would take issue if you ignored their ethnio-cultrual backgroud. Still, I should leave that to Mr. Fukuyama to talk about.

    My references to Japanese sake and shochu were purely because I drink those often here in Tokyo. I could have spoken of wine, but my palette is far less sensitive to that beverage.

    Hope this sets things staight.”

    and

    “Your trouble with my comment was, I think, that I imposed an ethnic subjectivity on Fukuyama to help understand his behaviour. As I mentioned in my previous post, that lacked consideration on my part.”

  • I don’t agree that heritage, race, ethnicity (whatever we call it) is irrelevant, but I do agree that is is only if the speaker makes it so and Fukuyama did not.

  • btw, if we are dealing with thought and ideas here, why do you insist on the insults?

  • fiddlesticks

    “btw, if we are dealing with thought and ideas here, why do you insist on the insults?”

    touche

  • Kevin Phillips is on Democracy Now! today…

    http://www.democracynow.org/

    here’s the blurb…

    “Former Republican strategist Kevin Phillips joins us to discuss his new book, “American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century.” Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Phillips was viewed as one of the GOP’s top theoreticians and electoral analysts”.

  • fiddlesticks

    sidewalker Says:

    March 21st, 2006 at 10:14 am

    fiddlesticks, I also said,

    “It is true, I should not have assumed that his family background would have any influence on his behaviour, especially since I do not know the extent to which his family has assimilated. Is this racist? Some people in a hyphenated America would take issue if you ignored their ethnio-cultrual backgroud. Still, I should leave that to Mr. Fukuyama to talk about.

    My references to Japanese sake and shochu were purely because I drink those often here in Tokyo. I could have spoken of wine, but my palette is far less sensitive to that beverage.

    Hope this sets things staight.�

    and

    “Your trouble with my comment was, I think, that I imposed an ethnic subjectivity on Fukuyama to help understand his behaviour. As I mentioned in my previous post, that lacked consideration on my part.�

    That’s mighty white of you sidewalk. It doesnt’ excuse your attempt to stereotype Fukuyama as a Jap neocon.

  • Nikos

    god bless you, cheeschowmain!

    mornin’, everyone.

    What a great discourse. Thanks.

    double god bless you, sidewalker!

    And as for Alex Brown and Potter, we can’t make you Guttersnipes if you don’t ask for inclusion — but you’re Guttersnipes in your hearts, for sure. Think Jimmy Carter. 😉

  • fiddlesticks

    “mornin’, everyone.”

    It was a good morning, till you showed up.

    “double god bless you, sidewalker!

    Is this the Greco-American point of view?

  • Nikos

    Fiddlesticks: lol! I love you, too, pal.

    triple god bless you, sidewalker!

    Your 9:09 is great. (Hey, isn’t that a Beatles song? On Let It Be. I think. I’m still waking up.)

    Anyway, this is what I was getting at in my 3:05 PM, March 20th.

    Jingo can be wrapped in religion (sometimes I wonder if that isn’t religion’s biggest claim to usefulness – and what a dubious claim!), or in quasi-religious secular disguise, like ‘American Exceptionalism’.

    Japan’s parasitic jingo was done in once and for all (we hope) by Little Boy and Fat Man over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    However, American attachment to its ‘Exceptionalism’ jingo might take decades to eradicate, since we’re unlikely to be conquered by more educated ‘liberators’ any time soon.

    And education is exactly the point: Americans aren’t stupid – we’re no more or less intelligent than Swedes or Dinka. All humans are born with equivalent brains. The minds in these brains are formed culturally, and culture includes education. Americans are sheltered from the rest of the world, and often fed cynical misinformation – if not downright hoaxes – about the other peoples around the globe, making for a soundly biased, prejudicial, and xenophobic body politic. This tragedy explains the rise of the Right in recent decades.

    This is why I will not forgive Ferguson or Fukuyama as easily as others: even if only by association instead of manifestly in their writings, they have helped foist the neo-con jingo of American Exceptionalism.

    Lastly, which Dickensian street urchin was h wally quoting? Oliver Twist? Or the kid in a Christmas Carol? What was his name???

  • fiddlesticks

    “Fiddlesticks: lol! I love you, too, pal.”

    Save your love for those who need it.

    I am well loved by people around me.

  • cheesechowmain

    “Is this the Greco-American point of view?”

    Fiddlesticks what needs to be said so you’ll cease with race baiting. I think you’ve made your point. I’ll capitulate, and yeah, I’m the one doing the capitulating whether anyone wants me to or not. This is unacceptable language, and yeah, I’m making the call without permission. We don’t need Brendan to reprimand anyone.

    You would be well advised to not call everyone out on the race thing. My dirt eating ancestors would whup my *ss good if I didn’t pipe up. And, they didn’t get me here to be insulted by anyone. And not you or anyone else is going to dishonor them. I may be dishonored, but nobody is going to dishonor them. Regarding my ancestors, I give no ground to any man or woman, child or elderly, high office holder or grunt, healthy or infirm person.

    Please. This stuff is dangerous and volatile. You made your point. It’s irrelevant who started this or how this was started. No apologies from anyone are needed at this point because I just did it: We’re all sorry. It’s not going to happen again. And yeah, I’m doing it for everyone. Now, let’s get back to arguing about stuff that won’t escalate past the ugly.

    And I definitely don’t love ya. I don’t like ya. I don’t dislike ya. I don’t not love ya. And I get it, you’re not asking nor care. Mutual feelings are gladly accepted. If you need to fire zingers, kick butt, dress me down, fine. Need to embarrass me or ridicule me, fine. But leave my ancestors, and that of others, out of it. I am not asking.

  • Nikos

    Fiddlesticks, perhaps you’ve not heard of it, but there’s a style of human communication called humor.

    People using ‘humor’ do not always mean exactly what they say.

    This is especially true of the nuance of humor called sarcasm.

    Replying by jest to an expression of hostility is a time-honored method for dissipating tension.

    It’s fun, too.

    You did crack me up though.

    And it’s oddly reassuring to discover the existence of folks more constitutionally grumpy than me.

    Thanks!

  • Nikos

    CCM: you got dirt-eating ancestors too?

    How cool!

    I’m feeling more and more comfortable in my commonness.

    Guttersnipes of the World, Unite!

  • fiddlesticks

    “Fiddlesticks what needs to be said so you’ll cease with race baiting.”

    hey, I didn’t attack anyone because he was an intellectual of Japanese extraction, or at least his name is.

    “Fiddlesticks, perhaps you’ve not heard of it, but there’s a style of human communication called humor.”

    Yea, I have heard of humor. Is that what you were aiming at? Time to stop writing so much to go back to comedy university.

  • Nikos

    Btw, for any who might have missed it: Chris’s ‘Post-Game Analysis’, in the green box between the show-tease and the top of our comment-thread is great.

    We seem to take him for granted sometimes, but stuff like this is why we shouldn’t. 🙂

    fs: you’re always good for a chuckle!

  • cheesechowmain

    “hey, I didn’t attack anyone because he was an intellectual of Japanese extraction, or at least his name is. ”

    Agreed. I’ve followed the whole thread. I saw the orgins. I enjoy your comments and rejoinders. No question you have a razor sharp mind. You definitely made important points. However, this is a toxic area for people and little goes a long way.

  • fiddlesticks

    “fs: you’re always good for a chuckle!”

    That’s the level of humor of which you are capable, chuckling at people.

  • Nikos: “Or the kid in a Christmas Carol? What was his name???”

    that would be Tiny Tim Cratchit.

  • Nikos

    Even though I chuckled yet again, this is getting tiresome.

    And it’s worth pointing out that the actual ‘sniping’ in this thread didn’t start with any of the many I now romanticize as my fellow Guttersnipes.

    Now, since I sense your need to have the last word: snipe away and let’s be done with it.

    I look forward to a more genial conversation on the Kevin Phillips thread, where fiddlesticks has already made two laudable posts.

    Later, all.

    Oops!

    PS: thanks Peggy Sue!

    God bless us all!

  • alib

    Niall Ferguson is a very cheeky chap.

    He calls America (entirely accurately) an Empire and signs off with a crack about two volume work entitled Hubris and Nemisis describing Dubya’s presidency. I’ve already read those volumes; go look up Ian Kershaw on Amazon.

    Another very strong program: NF and FF on the fall of the Neocons this is the political equivalent of fantasy football.

  • Potter

    And God Bless Tiny Tim!!!

  • Potter

    Sidewalker– thanks much for that piece about Japan’s dark side. I am aware but I tend to focus on how amazing the Japanese are. Perhaps I romanticize. My introduction has to do with their art, in particular their long of ceramic excellence. I was taught by a Japanese master potter. He was an angel in disguise. Thanks for the reality check. I still love the Japaese and hope to visit someday in the not too distant future.

    Fiddlesticks- I agree with you (I think) about Fukuyama. He says he was against the war in Iraq before the invasion when he began writing his book. He criticizes the Bush doctrine for being over militaristic. I know he signed a couple of letters to the President, which he regrets. Bush should be impeached. Fukuyama should be read.

  • Potter

    oops, that should read ” their long history of ceramic excellence”

  • Nikos

    god bless you, potter!

  • Potter

    Thank you Nikos! I loved your lines above:

    Japan’s parasitic jingo was done in once and for all (we hope) by Little Boy and Fat Man over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    However, American attachment to its ‘Exceptionalism’ jingo might take decades to eradicate, since we’re unlikely to be conquered by more educated ‘liberators’ any time soon

    That’s where Capra’s theory comes in Babu’s post http://www.radioopensource.org/neo-conservatism-the-last-throes/#comment-7767.

    We evolve from within. Let’s get to work, time is short!!!

    guttersnipingly yours,

    Potter

  • Potter: I am aware but I tend to focus on how amazing the Japanese are.

    But you don’t always focus on how amazing the US administration is. I was not commenting on the Japanese people as a whole. I have lived here for over 15 years, inter-married, rasised kids, learned the language. I know how wonderful most people here like most people everywhere are (why am I having to explain?). I was just trying to suggest there a few parallels between the two efforts at imperialism, though much is different, too.

    fiddlesticks: That’s mighty white of you sidewalk. It doesnt’ excuse your attempt to stereotype Fukuyama as a Jap neocon.

    With that comment you really do show us who you truely are.

  • jazzman

    Boy, take a couple of days vacation and all hell breaks loose.

    On Neo-cons: My ad hominem gutter sniping 2 cents (BTW the Federal Reserve’s cost of producing a fiat $100 bill.) These are sorts of people who are suspicious of individuals and therefore neo-facist ideologues, who are fearful/paranoid of “others� domestic or foreign and seek to “get them before they get us� and the proverbial “Our preferred ends, justify ANY means to achieve them.� In other words intellectually dangerous fanatics who believe that they are smarter than everyone else , know better, and in many cases believe that they are “On a mission from God.� Their popularity depends on a scared populace and they lose no opportunity to frighten people and exploit that fright to maintain their power base. Look around – it works.

  • Nikos

    god bless you, jazzman!

  • Nikos

    Alex Brown’s late night bombshell contribution is still sinking in.

    It was easy to assume we went to Iraq for the black gold underfoot.

    But Saddam was parleying with the Chinese to sell the oil outside of the American dominated world petroleum market.

    This would have destabilized the global price structure. This, obviously to the oligarchs but not so obvious to misinformed Americans, had to be averted.

    Throw in a dimwitted son’s simmering desire for revenge, a well-meant desire to liberate Iraq from one of history’s most execrable tyrannies, and a sheen of Imperialist glamour-justification from the likes of Ferguson, and you get an undermanned invasion that averts unwelcome meddlers away from the imperiled Iraqi oil reserves – and inflates oil prices by deliberate malfeasance.

    The US never wanted access to Iraq in order to pump the place dry – they want it to last decades: to pump it slowly and on the most opportune schedule for maximal profiteering.

    The faux aristocrats peopling my country’s current government are nothing short of vermin.

  • Potter

    Sidewalker : But you don’t always focus on how amazing the US administration is. I was not commenting on the Japanese people as a whole.

    I am not sure what you mean by that. Obviously you were commenting, comparing imperialisms, not commenting on the Japanese people as a whole. My focus has not been that. I look at samurai swords and armor as art for instance. My mind is divorced from what these were produced for. No, I do appreciate the history lesson.

    I hope you have not been put too much on the defensive though I know and understand a belly punch- I’ve been hit myself. For the record I don’t, did not, think you deserved any of that business. You should have been given the benefit of doubt which you deserved. The name-calling and stereotypes were not introduced into this discussion by you Sidewalker. Your quote from Fiddlesticks says it all and is exhibit A guttersniping: morally low.

    Can we move on?

  • Nikos, thanks for pointing me towards the post-game analysis.

    I gave it a little to Chris during the show about engaging with the guests line of thought on good empire-ship, and on reflection I shouldn’t have as it is his role as a good host to make them feel comfortable and express themselves. Us guttersnipes can then get a better take on where they stand on various issues and their broader perspective and inclinations.

    In Chris’ essay and show review it is clear where he stand, which is why his is a refreshing dove of a voice in the airwaves of hawk cries.

  • Nikos

    Sidewalker, you get a quadruple ‘god bless you!’ not so much for the lovely and always welcome ‘guttersnipe’, but for the excellence of your commentary.

    Especially that concluding line.

  • Thanks for clarifying that and the support Potter.

    I misread what you were trying to say, obviously. Seems like there too much of that going on in this thread. Yes, I feel a little on the defensive, which I guess was the whole point of that excercise. Still, it was a good lesson on the importance of re-reading from the position of the receiver before posting.

    “Can we move on?”

    I sure hope so.

  • Nikos

    Wow, I just now noticed the fine selection of quotes from the show (below the tease, and above the post-game analysis).

    Whichever of your ROS staff gave us that deserves a big electronic kiss from your constituency.

    In ‘29:07’, Fukuyama says: “there is a kind of American tendency to think that (basic organs of government: police, military, ministries) somehow sprout automatically if you just get government out of the way…�

    I take exception to this:

    ‘American tendency’ – or a naively unthinking conservative tendency?

    Please.

    Don’t paint me with a conservative brush!

    Ferguson @ ‘31:58’ worries over: “a new isolationism, particularly within the Republican electorate.�

    This is unsettling.

    The 21st century transnational form of parasitic capitalism won’t allow such isolationism to sway the government’s foreign policy. (Which is only one huge reason we need a new, state-of-the-art constitution.)

    Worse, the sort of isolation Ferguson speaks of is more xenophobic than enlightened.

    Pondering the quote gives me the creeps.

    Fukuyama does a lot to redeem himself in the final quote @ ‘41:56’.

    Thanks, ROS. This show was wonderfully cathartic.

    But it should only serve as a starting point for corrective activism.

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  • I think it is a mistake to think that GB2 wanted to exact revenge for GW1. It is probable that he wanted to show daddy up. Prove that he could get the job done when dad wussed out.

  • babu

    1960’s Redux

    I’ve been having a kind of snarky response to all the love talk here so I did some self-searching to see if I could track it back to anywhere useful and here’s what occurred:

    I remember in the very early sixties when the old Beat generation was morphing limbs and several new heads, at a certain political moment, two incipient movements were still commingled at the same be-ins. sit-ins and draft card or bra burnings. Not yet differentiated into the Flower Children or the Weathermen–one advocating personal power and the other ‘power to the people’ — I watched toddler lefties sneer at acid-dropping proto-hippie love children — before they learned not to come to each others’ stuff, except for music and the biggest demonstrations.

    Members of what was to (loosely) to become the Anti-War/Student Revolutionary/ Black Power Movement were just getting their shocked heads around what the warp and weave of serious organizing was; Timothy Leary’s ‘tune in turn on drop out’ played very, very ‘cop-out to them; they didn’t have the political depth (no one in amerika did at that time) to realizie that in the long run, acid and love-ins would be just as culture-bending (“I didn’t inhale.”) as political organizing.

    The ‘love vocabulary’ and the ‘mobilize vocabulary’ evolved within two separate (albeit overlapping) movements, and they identified their users to each other like good semiotics; they each conveyed meaning and produced actions.

    I cringed at the sound of the ‘love vocabulay’ because I assumed it’s owners would lie in the sun at Sheep Meadow or Woodstock instead of go to meetings to plan civil disobedience, new curricula or tenant actions. It sounded facile and insincere. But I was wrong, wasn’t I? It signified the beginning of the women’s lib, human potential, spiritual and peace movements.

    I wonder what it signifies here?

  • “At the risk of sounding ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by feelings of love” Che Guavara

  • babu: The Guevara quote popped into my head when I read your above post. (What ever happened to that T-shirt anyway?) But I do know what you mean. I spent most of the 90s working with young eco-activists and it would always surprise me to hear dredlocked granola eating tree-sitters make fun of hippies. I would just remind them to respect their elders but it was that activist/flowerchild thing.

  • babu

    So is this the same as the reformed neoCon/guttersnipe dichotomy voicing here? Similar positions arrived at so differently that the personal context prevents recognition? This is a ‘ways of knowing’ conundrum.

    Hippie retro-regalia is high style in hyper-hip Hollywood right now. I think of this (hopefully) as a picture postcard from the uber-human to remind us that simplicity might be better, hippie signifying simple here. Coolhunters might read this completely differntly.

    Any out there care to comment?

  • David Weinstein

    I don’t think the hippie/counterculture movement will come back again, at least not in the old “regalia.” But I think the neo-cons and the religious fundamentalists, the Christian right and the Islamists all miss out on the real meaning of the ‘love’ vocabulary: that no lasting good ever comes out of dominating another person, society or nation. This is because such domiation is based on fear and illusion.

    That is why I think Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld and Al Qaeda/Iraian Mullahcracy are really two sides of the same coin.

    I think the neo-cons were /are less concenrned with the sperad of democracy in the Wilsonian sense than on a percieved loss of American power in the future. So they decided that now is the time to use our enormous military power that we gained adfter WW11 and the fall of the Soviet empire. Underneath this loss of American power is the loss of a certain kind of economic power that Bush was put in office to protect, although they don’t come out and say it. Those who have read the neo-con think tank screed (I haven’t) please comment if you like.

    Of course our real power has come from being on the right side of history morally in that last tragic, bloody century. And we can lose it all if we lose the moral compass in the use of raw power that the neo-cons advance. We are in fact losing it.

    I think religious fundamentalists act our of fear too. The fear of their dogma being shown to be too narrow or even repressive of the qualites of the human soul. “Our way or else…” Also very violent and dominating in its own way.

    So that’s what love has to do with it: Not acting out of fear, and ego, and the illusion of ego either as a nation or a simple human being. Behind the illsuion of ego and fear is love, which binds us to other human beings and societies not in domination but in cooperation.

    Ghandi, Martin King got it right, I think. And so did all the great religious leaders, Buddha, Christ. It is so simple, yet we seem to always be paying the price of fear, ego, domination and war.

    I vote or a change of plan.

  • Nicely put, David.

  • Potter, I forgot to tell you to let me know when you are coming to Japan. The sake and sushi is on me.

  • Potter

    Sidewalker: Wow–will do!

  • Potter

    Babu-What is going on here is of course reaction to what is going on out there. We are not going to have be-ins or love-ins ( though this is a sort of virtual “be-in” and “love-in” in places at times) There is a need to feel less alone in our individual responses to the shock and awe of what is happening that is so seemingly contrary to the way things should be going. So we congregate here.

    Speaking for myself and perhaps some that I know, after the sixties ( even during) it became clear that we had talked and preached ourselves out and the only change that was going to be real would come from how each one of us lived our daily lives. And so many of us retreated to perfect our awakened selves, and raise kids who reflected our values. That’s what I and others I know did all these years. I gravitated to live more closely connected to nature and the land. Those short years of the late sixties were life-altering and what I learned then I am sure is reflected in every moment of my life.

  • Potter

    David Weinstein – Oh you are so right. Those who did not join the counterculture, who may have felt left out, or who did not participate for various reasons, who did not drop out and turn on and tune in to another sphere, command the stage right now. They rejected the revolution of the sixties. Justice Sam Alito to wit, it was right there in his biography. And they still reject it. We are very divided. We sit and watch them learn the lessons we feel we do not need to learn again. It’s very painful. They take us along with them.

  • nother

    Great discussion Potter, babu, David Weinstein, Peggysue

  • David: “I don’t think the hippie/counterculture movement will come back again”

    For some of us it never quite left.

    Some words from Dr. King….

    “I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism.

    Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, love is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. To return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe. Someone must have sense enough and religion enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through love”.

    –Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957

    Love & Peace, Peggy Sue

  • Nikos

    Peggy Sue: you rock.

  • Potter

    The problem is folks on both sides of the divide *say* the same thing, few embody it. We still have fear and hatred. The thing is to feel love at work, your own and others, and to not talk about it as such. That said, it is really magic.

    Great quote. Thanks Peggysue.

  • David Weinstein

    Potter, I’m heartened that someone out there is walking the talk. It gives me hope.

    Great quote, Peggysue. For me the hippie/counterculture has not left either, and is still evolving. But for today and the future, I think we need many Martin Kings and Ghandis who find new expression and empowerment in the national/planetary culture.

    Blessings,

    David

  • babu

    David: “I vote for a change of plan”

    I just heard the show. If Phillips is right: “2015 to 2025 is going to be very rough…” we do need a change of plan, and we do get there by voting.

    They reviewed all the obvious candidates and came up empty. At the same time it made me giddy to hear Hilary discussed so strongly w/o ANY reference to gender. Got me thinking abot EMILY’S LIST. (Early Money Is lLke

  • babu

    sorry, I clicked again:

    Early Money Is Like Yeast. Yeast?

    Yeast: (5) An agent of ferment or activity: political agitators who are the yeast of revolution”

    A substance (person? idea?) which, when added under favorable conditions, causes an exponential increase in the thing to which it was added.

    Pols call this ‘legs’ but we’re looking for the yeast body. It’s probably in plain sight, everywhere. Ready to be added.

  • Nikos

    babu? Does bein’ a Guttersnipe count as bein’ yeast?

    (I got no money to offer…)

  • babu

    Nikos, I obviously posted the above two in the wrong place. Go back to Holy Trinity. Sorry. (I’ve been waiting to see what you’d say.)

  • David Weinstein

    Babu: We do need to get there by voting. But we need serious election reform first before the vote refelcts the will of the people again.

    As for the yeast, part of it it the resurgence of the good ‘ol American character that has seemd to been lost in these years of being lost in the Bush/bin Laden fear zone, American narcissism and the loss of ‘civic virute.’

    In terms of American character, I am thinking, partly in homage to our host, Chris, of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Not only are these gents an answer to the shallowness and hypocrisy of the religious right, they speak in an unique American way about the nature of the spirit, society and reform. Remmeber it was Thoreau who advocated peaceful civil disobedience (I think originally against the colonial war with Mexico). Apparaantly Ghandi was inspired by Thoreau aand took a few pages form his book. And King was inspired by Ghandi.

    A true moral core runs through Emerson, Thoreau, Melville, Clemens into the twentieth century. It is in fact the neo-cons and the Bush crime family who are the moral abberations. The yeast is right here. We just have to rediscover it, methinks.

    As for right now, I would draw y’all attention to two fine recent books: One, The Left Hand of God, by rabbi Michael Lerner who draws a detailed picture of how a society would look based on the deeper Judeao-Christian streams of caring, cooperation and celebrating creation verus the ethos of competition, domination and punishment. The other book is the most recent offering by Eckart Tolle, the author of (how do you underscore in this website?) The Power of Now. His thesis is that fear, violence and war and much of the current malaise ids casued by the illusion of having seperate egos, instead of becoming aware of the love and interconnectedness that is the essence of spirit and being.

    Tolle does not get into the politica asl Lerner, but, at heart, they are both sayng the same thing, one from a prophetic, Judeo-Christian perspective, the other from a basically Buddhist, enlightenment one.

    I think both of these spirtual thinkers would be great for a ROS show, either together or separately… I will suggest it.

    So’s there’s the yeast. May we reawaken to our true spirits, nature and possibilities for goodness, and the possibilities of this blessed great experiment that is the U.S of A and life on earth!

  • babu

    David W.: Thanks for your posts.

    I used to subscribe to Tikkun and read Lerner, but not recently. I’ll pick up ‘Left Hand of God’. I also suggested earlier we read Bernard-Henri’s ‘American Vertigo’. Sounds like a ROS bookclub formation.

    But I circled back from the ‘Genes’ thread to re-vist your 5:41 post: “But I think the neo-cons and the religious fundamentalists, the Christian right and the Islamists all miss out on the real meaning of the ‘love’ vocabulary: that no lasting good ever comes out of dominating another person, society or nation. This is because such domiation is based on fear and illusion.”

    Don’t you think it’s more that fundamentalists, Christian right, etc, have actually CO-OPTED the love vocabulary. To them it has another meaning to which they sincerely adhere. Curiously, to us it’s the opposite of what it used to mean, or rather, we adjudge from their actions that when they use those words they mean the opposite of what, say the flower children meant.

  • Alex Brown

    “Neo No More” — NY Times, March 26, 2006

    Review by PAUL BERMAN of ‘America at the Crossroads,’ by Francis Fukuyama

    Captured at: http://public.messageweb.net/blog/cgi-bin/moin.cgi/NyTimesBermanFukayama060325

    “… Fukuyama notes that during the 1990’s the neoconservatives veered in militarist directions, which strikes him as a mistake. A less sympathetic observer might recall that neoconservative foreign policy thinking has all along indulged a romance of the ruthless — an expectation that small numbers of people might be able to play a decisive role in world events, if only their ferocity could be unleashed. It was a romance of the ruthless that led some of the early generation of neoconservatives in the 1970’s to champion the grisliest of anti-Communist guerrillas in Angola; and, during the next decade, led the neoconservatives to champion some not very attractive anti-Communist guerrillas in Central America, too; and led the Reagan administration’s neoconservatives into the swamps of the Iran-contra scandal in order to go on championing their guerrillas. Doesn’t this same impulse shed a light on the baffling question of how the Bush administration of our own time could have managed to yoke together a stirring democratic oratory with a series of grotesque scandals involving American torture — this very weird and self-defeating combination of idealism and brass knuckles? But Fukuyama must not agree….”

  • David Weinstein

    Babu: I’ve also enjoyed your posts on the “Genes” thread. I think Lerner’s The Left Hand of God explains well how the Christian fundamenralists got their ‘right hand of god’ interpretation out of the old testament versus a more central, essential ‘left hand of god,’ if you will, approach that Lerner expounds How the fundadmentalists can see domination, hierarchy, and war in the old and new testaments is a mystery to me. Although I am no expert, I have been told that the basic message of the Koran is also compassion and peace.

    Perhaps it has somethng to do with human evolution itself, the older reptilian brain (Bush) versus the higher functions of the brain and its connection to spirit and the soul.

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  • danielet

    How sad is the case of Fukuyama. But then again, I too was attracted to the neocons because of their determined TIRELESS struggle against Communism. It is only later that I learned that NEOCONSERVATISM is a Leninist illusion for sale. The first generation was Leninist, educated to the technique of POLARIZE TO MOBILIZE. This technique it used as Commies and as this small group went to work for the CIA as a poison pill on the Left. But it never did much more than build a mirror of illusions in which to trap us “dumb goyim,” as they would call us, who didn’t realize that they are not an idea but a business. The neocon shift to the Right was– as in the 60s– a totally paper movement with phony offices and proloferation of paper organization– as taught by Leninism– to seem ever proliferating. In fact, they were a few and got into a lot of trouble when it was exposed that they are a CIA funds creature. Through all that time, not a word of Zionism…it was all anti-Communism, hence pro-Vietnam War. It is only after 1967 that they sought to turn the anti-Communists into pro-Zionists with all sorts of literature indicating that the Arabs had all along supported the NEw Left against Vietnam to use it now anti-Israel. At the Vietnam National Day in 1967, one of them told me that Vietnam was lost and time had come to fix on blocking the Soviets in the Middle East. Watching them closely, I saw over time how the second generation became influence peddlers for the strategic weapons industry. For this they were handsomely payed. But still, Israel was not their hottest issue. It was all TEAM B’s assertion that we were falling behind the Soviets in strategic weapons. With the end of the Cold War, their cash cow became Right Wing Zionists who layed out millions for Likudnik Israeli expansion at a time when Israel had entered the post-Zionist phase. The Bush years were their high point, but he too saw through them because he was dependent on the Saudis for his post-Presidency subsistance. When they thought Hillary would be the Democratic candidate, early in the campaign, they tried to warm up to her. They slandered Obama as a Muslim, anti-American and anti-Semite….What else could they do? All they knew is what they had learned as Leninisits: POLARIZE TO MOBILIZE!

    They are not back, they blew uot the air that gave the impression of giants to now crawl on the floor with the other roaches, looking for morcels. All they do is pretend that they speak for the Right and when challenged, that they speak for the Jewish Right. But they have always been nothing but Leninist “activists” for hire ever since Stalin kicked them out of the Communist movement because they were “Jews.” Their time is over and only a few keep seeking the lime light while the rest go and enjoy their ill gotten warmongering gains in what they so often called “anti-Semite Eurabia”– apartments, villas and vacations spots.

    The sadest case of all is Fukuyama who had served as one of their boys– as I had– only to discover that there’s something weird about how their vitrioloc campaign for democracy extends only to the Middle East and in Maoisr fashion: politics from the barrel of a gun! When he raised the question, they did what they always do: CALLED HIM AN ANTI-SEMITE!

    What killed the necons is a desperate drive to be recognized as “mensch.” Their greatest doubt was and is about their manhoob. Hence, these pear shapped war mongers remind of Nazi propagandists calling for OTHERS to die on the Eastern Front. I can’t say that I regret the loss of such bright minds, because talking to them for years one discovers that clever deception, not intellectual brilliance, is their MO. Like a bad smell, they are gone and one can only wonder why money can get so few to destroy the lives of so many.