Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Chomsky succumbs to lesser-evilism, endorses Kerry

/ lesser / evils /
Well, not that there's anything wrong with that, in this particular case, and it's not new... Anyway, he seems to see this as a "popular front" issue, where it is imperative to block the nutters from returning to power, even at the cost of strengthening policies one is also opposed to.
John Pilger vehemenhtly disagrees:
The multilateralism or "muscular internationalism" that Kerry offers in contrast to Bush's unilateralism is seen as hopeful by the terminally naive; in truth, it beckons even greater dangers. Having given the American elite its greatest disaster since Vietnam, writes the historian Gabriel Kolko, Bush "is much more likely to continue the destruction of the alliance system that is so crucial to American power. One does not have to believe the worse the better, but we have to consider candidly the foreign policy consequences of a renewal of Bush's mandate . . . As dangerous as it is, Bush's re-election may be a lesser evil." With Nato back in train under President Kerry, and the French and Germans compliant, American ambitions will proceed without the Napoleonic hindrances of the Bush gang.

Michael Albert has a more inclusive (one would say diplomatic) approach to this...

So we are down to one debatable disagreement, it seems. In contested states should leftists spend any time trying to increase the vote for Cobb or Nader instead of being quiet or aiding Kerry? This is contentious. Logically, writing and speaking about it could affect people’s choices. But I bet those who are for aiding Cobb or Nader are not going to convince those who are against doing so that they should start doing it. And I bet those who are against aiding Cobb or Nader are not going to convince those who are for doing so that they should stop doing it. So what is the point of reams of back and forth debate that can sour otherwise positive relations, I wonder?

At this point, the arguments have been made. So why don’t we just do our things, hopefully including non electoral things, leaving one another alone, and letting the results of our separate efforts impact subsequent choices? I bet all sides will be better off for it.

And I'd love to see Pilger debate Chomsky on this...

1 comment:

talos said...

old comments


I want Bush to win. Kerry will be better at hiding US imperial ambition. The Bush team are way more arrogant and open about it. In the end of the day only one course of action serves Americas interests the best, namely economic and interventionist imperialism. At least with the Bush team the euros will be quicker to react to it.

Also note that Kerry has his own neocon cabal. This means that whoever is on power the US foreign policy will remain the same, might makes right.

They do have the might, it was only a matter of time to become assertive in its use. History of course shows that all empires that used force of arms eventually collapsed. Since hoewever there are no examples of empires that didn't use force of arms (or for that matter didn't collapse either) we can safelly expect the US to follow suit.

At least their system is more democratic than anyones and they do have a decent track record in the countries they occupied in the past (W.Germany, Japan). So all in all, it could have been worse (ie USSR winning the Cold War).

2004-09-23 11:21

I'm worried about what Bush is doing in the home front (it seems like the most massive upwards redistribution of income, in 25 years of upwards redistribution of income - and the most authoritarian "security" legislation in recent history).

>>At least their system is more democratic than anyones…
Well, no, there are a few of i.e. European countries (i.e. the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries), which are at least as democratic and probably more democratic by most reasonable standards… (although there is a state by state difference inside the US)

>…and they do have a decent track record in the countries they
>occupied in the past (W.Germany, Japan).

These are the only countries the US has occupied succesfully - and they were major powers, which the US had strategic interest to rebuild. If you look at the US's colonial or cold war occupations, the picture is different: Cuba, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam… The US worked more by local proxies though, and the horrors of Latin America (i.e. El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, Brazil) under the US cold-war umbrella was as vicious (probably more actually) as anything in recent history.

>So all in all, it could have been worse (ie USSR winning the Cold
> War).

I don't think the USSR could have possibly "won" the Cold War, and that was well understood in the West by the more rational establishment circles certainly by the 1960s. The USSR, was a country of peasants that transformed itself by very violent means to a modern industrial state and became a world power, however in terms of resources and wealth it always lagged behind the West and remained the minor power. The USSR's positive role, was that the threat of a "communist insurrection" among western populations, was enough to force western elites to cater to their workforces and share their wealth, to a historically unprecedented degree, with the masses (welfare state).

2004-09-23 14:04