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21st Century Gunboat Diplomacy

by Helen Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:30:31 PM EST

Jonathan Freedland wrote an article in the Guardian commenting on the response to a previous article he'd written. In this he suggested that the rest of the world will take a dim view if America elects McCain as President. As might be expected, a lot of responses centred around the frequently and vehemently expressed American view that it's their election and everyone else should keep their noses out.

Anyone who's read the nationalistic abuse heaped on non-citizens at dKos who dare to have an opinion on the USA won't be the least bit surprised that worse responses are likely from other quarters of the blogos. So really, what he said was no surprise (for us). But in amongst all of Freedland's disappointment at their reaction (and given what happened in Clark county in 2004 he really should know better) there was one sentence that struck me;-

So, Americans who say that since they don't poke their nose into our domestic affairs, we should stay out of theirs,


My immediate reaction was to ask where do they get the idea that the US govt doesn't poke its nose into our affairs ? Of course they interfere.

Ask the Irish about who funded Declan Ganley ? Or ask europe about him ? Why is there the widespread belief around europe that the UK merely acts as a trojan horse for US policies towards the EU ?  How does the CIA operate rendition in europe with the complicity of european governments, even those supposedly in opposition to it ? How is it that europe is engaged in a spat with russia, in line with US policy, which is against europe's long term strategic interests ? NATO as the US Foreign Legion ? British military policy ? How many lobbyists stinking up Brussels are in the pay of US corporate and gevernmental interests ? You don't have to be remotely paranoid to recognise that it happens.

And this is just europe. I'm pretty sure that the 700+ military bases the US operates around the world are there to help encourage "conformity" and apply pressure where needed. As the Moon of Alabama commented on the latest US Army Field Manual for "Stability Operations" about the willingness of the US to aggresively interfere, or at least make it understood such inteerference is possible; -

The doctrine of military "stability operations" seems to be driven by two urges:-

i) to justify "intervention" in form of "stability operations" under the pretext of ill-defined "instability" whenever and wherever one likes.

ii) the U.S. military's organizational drive to encroach on foreign policy issues that should be the task of the State Department and to militarize all foreign aid

After all, the support the US "offers" countries such as Pakistan is intended to steer policies as required by US domestic political needs,  plus the reality of support for rebels in countries that don't play the game. The resentments of the Middle East are much more about the US' support of repressive and dictatorial regimes than it is about Israel/Palestine (tho' that doesn't help).

So, what is it that these American commentators  understand of the last 60 years of world history if they don't think that the US is constantly interfering in the domestic affairs of practically every country in the world ? After all, it's the prerogative of empire, the British were sending n the gunboats for the purposes of "persuasion and encouragement" for centuries. It's just more honest if you admit that's what you're doing.

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The US commentators really look upon it as a gift. They just don't understand that it is not appreciated if you take a male and female rabbit to a kid's party as a present.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 03:01:56 PM EST
... have to do with the tastiness of the stew?

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 11:52:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Given the footprint of the USA on the world, I doubt that there is a single person on earth who does not have a very legitimate right to be concerned with and comment on US politics.  I only regret that so many buy into the faux "security" arguments and continue to elect fawning twits who give legitimacy to the worst impulses of the worst politicians in US history.  

The US public needs to hear clear rebuke and trenchant criticism from our historic allies when the US is so demonstrably pushing events in the worst possible direction, as it usually is. We are like an alcoholic gambler on a drunken bender squandering the families life savings on a delusion.  We are in need of intervention by anyone who still cares for us.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 09:25:33 PM EST
We are in need of intervention by anyone who still cares for us.

Well said.  


I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 10:23:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, Americans who say that since they don't poke their nose into our domestic affairs, we should stay out of theirs

This brings me back to my main critique of this site - it's too obsessed with viewing the world through the lens of nations. The time for that passed 100 years ago. Since we all live on this tiny enclosed planet, you're god damn right I'm interested in your political affairs, as you should be interested in mine.

I can barely tolerate the nationalism on this site, particularly the European inferiority complex, well honed and quite dysfunctional after decades of American ideological domination. Don't get me wrong - this site is as mild as it gets. For me, DailyKos is completely out of the question, as is every other politically themed community I've come across.

When I get defensive about the US in my comments, as I often do, a small chunk of it is indeed my American identity, but most of it is an infuriated human being watching us careen off the edge into the abyss while we split straws over meaningless medium term European advantages - meaningless if you give a shit about what might be going on in this planet beyond your own lifetime - which is fantastically short.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 04:01:56 AM EST
Well said, MillMan.

But there are tectonic, or "Telluric" shifts going on - to wit, the pervasive spread of the Internet, and the direct "Peer to Peer" connections to which this gives rise.

IMHO these changes will make petty nationalism redundant except for ritual football/Olympic tribalism.

So I pretty much ignore such stuff as "fluff".

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 06:50:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This brings me back to my main critique of this site - it's too obsessed with viewing the world through the lens of nations.
...
I can barely tolerate the nationalism on this site

Interesting remarks.

I'd say viewing the world through the lens of nations is one of the ways one can analyse the world events, as when we analyse the nations' reactions to the financial crisis. So it's perfectly legitimate, as long as it's only one of the possible views - which I'd think is the case here. You'll find just as often here an analysis though the filter of social classes.

As to nationalism, if you define nationalism as "my country, right or wrong", I don't see that so prevalent here...

by balbuz on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 04:07:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My Country Right or Wrong? Man, I love that song ... hell, I never heard it when I was listening to the Oils, but only heard it because of the UTube.

But you're right, I embed it on ProgressiveBlue and Docudharma far more than I embed it here.



I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 11:58:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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