Monday, November 14, 2011

Bacevich on the End of American Dominance and Cockburn on the OM

Ever since reading his book ‘Washington Rules’ I have admired Andrew Bacevich. Today he publishes in Tom Dispatch and Alternet a piece that establishes new rules for American political commentators. They need no longer sidestep the real issue: that of ideology.

Bacevich’s main points are:

- “Ours has long been a political system based on expectations of ever-increasing material abundance, promising more for everyone. Confronted with evidence of a radically changing environment, those holding (or aspiring to) positions of influence simply turn a blind eye, refusing even to begin to adjust to a new reality.

- “We can neither liberate nor dominate nor tame the Islamic world.

US policy in the Middle East has been “to keep a lid on, exclude mischief-makers, and at the same time extract from the Middle East whatever it had on offer.  The preferred American MO was to align with authoritarian regimes, offering arms, security guarantees, and other blandishments in return for promises of behavior consistent with Washington’s preferences.  Concern for the wellbeing of peoples living in the region (Israelis excepted) never figured as more than an afterthought.

Taking Bacevich’s arguments one step further, in a Nation piece on the Occupy Movement: The International Battlefield, from Athens to Oakland”, Alexander Cockburn actually dares to quote Lenin: “There is never a final collapse of capitalism unless there is an alternative.”

Many will be quick to assume that Cockburn is siding with his fence-sitting colleagues.  In fact, instead of focusing on its lack of specific demands, he says: “The strength of the occupy movement lies in the simplicity and truth of its basic message: the few are rich the many are poor.  In terms of its pretensions, the capitalist system has failed.”

Now that two prominent writers have confirmed the conclusions of lesser contributors to the debate, hopefully the worldwide movement of the many can achieve what Lenin’s call: ‘Workers of the world, unite!’ could not: the end of a system that he observed in its childhood, before Freud, Jung, Maslow, Eric Berne and insider trading.






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