Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 30, 2009

Betrayed Awakening

Maliki sent out his army to capture Awakening leaders no longer payed by the U.S.:

The arrest of Raad Ali, who helped the Americans stabilize the west Baghdad neighborhood of Ghazaliya, came to light Sunday, five days after the Iraqi army picked him up in a midnight raid, his aides said.

The U.S. is actively helping in this:

A combined force of American and Iraqi Army troops and National Police descended on Fadhil, a Sunni neighborhood and former insurgent stronghold in central Baghdad, and arrested the head of Fadhil’s Awakening Council, Adil al-Mashhadani, on terrorism charges, according to Maj. Gen. Qassim Atta, spokesman for the Iraqi security forces in Baghdad. He said firefights broke out afterward.

This might well reignite a civil war, but with the Iraqi army now more capable, the chances are against the insurgents.

Parviz thinks that this is part of a U.S.-Iran rapprochement.That is certainly possible. The U.S. may have decided to defer to Iran in Iraq for cooperation in Afghanistan and to generally lower level the hostility level. 

On the other side it seems that the U.S. wants to leave Iraq and that alone is motivation enough. To leave Iraq in even greater chaos is not in U.S. interests. It is better to have a strong government there than a weak government and permanent civil war that could escalate into neighbor countries. 'Cleaning up' the opposition while the U.S. is still there in full force is thereby a necessity on its own.

In Afghanistan the U.S. now tries to repeat some aspects of the 'Awakening' movement by arming and paying local forces at the town level. Those forces should note how the U.S. is now betraying such 'allies' in Iraq. It is likely to happen to them too.

Posted by b on March 30, 2009 at 14:18 UTC | Permalink


Wait a minute. I thought the US was ignominiously "retreating"?

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 30 2009 14:40 utc | 1

What a curious case sloth is. It seems that s/he longs for be an anti imperialist of sorts, but also believes that mighty USA can never, ever, whatsoever be vanquished. It would be nice know his/her opinions in the awesome USA victory in Vietnam.

Posted by: C.A. | Mar 30 2009 14:53 utc | 2

C.A.: Ignore sloth´s hard-hat comments. At least I attack Iran and the U.S. in equal measure!

Back on topic, b, America knows that it can neither win nor stay permanently in Iraq, so there´s definitely a quid pro quo with Iran which has convinced the U.S. that it can help keep the peace in Iraq via economic assistance and soft power.

Afghanistan will go the same way as Iraq. There´s a mostly excellent Op-Ed by 2 of my compatriots in yesterdays Boston Globe that shows how closely aligned U.S. and Iranian interests are in that country too. I disagree with the authors´ conclusions because they totally contradict everything else in the article. They conclude:

"The irony is that by renewing the US sanctions on Iran and seeking tougher UN sanctions, the Obama administration is actually trying to isolate and weaken Iran precisely at a time when a strong Iran can be a major pillar of stability in a volatile region. This is a recipe for failure."

IMHO, renewal of sanctions was a foregone conclusion with the highly controversial Ahmadinejad still President. And the authors give concrete examples of substantial U.S.-Iran de facto cooperation that needs only a new Iranian president to reach full fruition:

A new season in Iran relations.

Posted by: Parviz | Mar 30 2009 15:26 utc | 3

What I "yearn" for is consistent analysis of gwot. b doesn't have unlimited perspicacity, and wrt gwot, his analysis has been more of a detour into blind fanaticism, in which the US is surrounded by illiterates with AK-47s and "destroyed" or forced to "retreat."

As for some here who offer the hackneyed introjection in every foreign policy discussion that it's always the JEWS who get what they want, well, fuck off.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 30 2009 16:28 utc | 4

I also think that american readers better get it through their heads that many of our eurocomrades here stay awake at night hoping for americans to get murdered to prove the mnythical "empire" is vulnerable. Basically, this theology turns the whole planet into a Death Star awaiting destruction by the always-virtuous insurgency.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 30 2009 16:36 utc | 5

US policy towards Iran is quite strange, it seem more a (temporary) marriage of interest:

An Iranian diplomat has held informal talks with Nato officials for the first time in 30 years

but meanwhile:

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday that Iran was more likely to heed sanctions than diplomacy in US efforts to dismantle its nuclear drive.
Apparently contradicting President Barack Obama's diplomatic overtures to Iran, Gates said on "Fox News Sunday": "I think frankly from my perspective the opportunity for success is probably more in economic sanctions in both places (Iran and North Korea) than it is in diplomacy."

"Diplomacy perhaps if there is enough economic pressure placed on Iran, diplomacy can provide them an open door through which they can walk if they choose to change their policies," the Pentagon chief said.

"And so I think the two go hand in hand, but I think what gets them to the table is economic sanctions."
Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed the United States would continue to reach out to Iran despite its cool response to Obama's overtures.

Posted by: andrew | Mar 30 2009 16:39 utc | 6

Meanwhile, some kilometer away: Turmoil in Bahrain, and some background.
The way US will confront this crisis will tell us much about their real willing to approach Iran, I think.

Posted by: andrew | Mar 30 2009 16:50 utc | 7

slothrop, fuck off yourself! You continually try and legitimize your own lame arguments with the excuse that anti-U.S. foreign policy statements are motivated by ´anti-Semitism´! Your comment above (#5) is yet another example of statements by either someone with an exceptionally feeble intellect or with the sly motives of an agent provocateur. Take your pick.

Do you deny that the Israel Lobby runs U.S. foreign policy in the crucially sensitive Near and Middle East? Do you deny the power of AIPAC, the power of the Zionist Lobby in and on Hollywood, the fact that an ex-Israeli soldier is the new President´s (I mean the U.S. President´s) Chief of Staff? Don´t you read any of the posts on this Blog? Or do you just take every negative statement on Israel and the U.S. as an excuse to accuse the writers of anti-Semitism?

If I didn´t know better I´d begin to believe you´re being paid by the Israeli Ministry of Disinformation, especially following your regular, paranoid anti-German remarks that I find very distasteful, considering Germany beats the U.S. hands-down in every socio-economic department and has done everything within its power to compensate Jews for the Nazi era. On the contrary, Hell will freeze over before the U.S. apologizes to anyone for anything, let alone pays reparations. Here´s what one of your humane, principled U.S. Presidents said in reaction to the cowardly U.S. downing of an innocent Iranian Airbus airliner, resulting in the deaths of all 340 civilians on board:

“I will never apologize for the United States of America. I don’t care what the facts are”.

So fuck Bush (both of them), fuck the Zionists and, once again for good measure, fuck you!

Posted by: Parviz | Mar 30 2009 17:08 utc | 8

Thanks, andrew, for post 8: I believe the extraordinary NATO-Iran meeting is indinitely more significant than what Gates said on a crappy Fox interview that was probably merely intended to mislead the hard-hats like slothrop.

Rapprochement is a foregone conclusion, though not on Ahmadinejad´s watch.

Posted by: Parviz | Mar 30 2009 17:17 utc | 9

andrew, re Bahrein, the situation is complicated by the fact that Bahrein, with its historically suppressed Shiíte majority, is a microcosm of Iraq.

After Iran granted Bahrein independence in 1970 (allowing Britain to leave) the Sunni rulers initiated a lengthy period of oppression of the Persian speaking Shiítes, forcing them to dress locally and speak Arabic at all times.

Iran is now exploiting the overt discontent, but I don´t know whether this is intended to create an additional bargaining chip or conceals something more sinister. Either way, Bahrein is another example of Middle East colonialism and dictatorship gone haywire, resulting in seething resentment among an indigenous majority treated like 2nd class citizens.

Posted by: Parviz | Mar 30 2009 17:27 utc | 10

As you said, B, I wonder how such a lame move is meant to improve US chances of replicating the awakening tactics in Afghanistan.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Mar 30 2009 18:14 utc | 11

Is the slothrop poster here today the real slothrop? Tone seems off, but just might be bcz I don't know his/her writing well enough to judge. But...could be a name "borrower," maybe?

Posted by: jawbone | Mar 30 2009 18:33 utc | 12

Next up, the Kurds, most likely--for the umteenth time in Iraq. This will be a much harder nut to crack, though: the Kurds are far better armed and (within each faction, anyways) better organized than the Sunni Arabs. Plus, I don't think Maliki has as much to offer by means of bribes the "cooperative" Kurdish faction as Saddam did. But these are precisely why Maliki--or any other Iraqi central government--must crack down on the Kurds. Plus, there's the added element that the Sh'ia are also Arabs and they won't retreat from an "Arab" cause--as the possession of Kirkuk and the sovereignty over northern Iraq (whatever that means) would represent.

Posted by: kao_hsien_chih | Mar 30 2009 19:28 utc | 13

And then there are those just waiting for US actions to match rhetoric.

Posted by: ben | Mar 30 2009 19:37 utc | 14

Every one of the more progreessive ME blogs that gets any amount of traffic has someone like slothrop working the Zionist propaganda angle. Some of the blogs, like Syria Comment have !two! full-time Israeli govt spooks trying to take up people's time with outrageous provocations and generally "muck up the works" of the folks who are trying to understand ME and offer insight on the blog. There is no doubt that slothrop is another like the others. It seems probable to me on noticing that there are only about 5 writing styles of Zionist misdirection on these progressive blogs that Israeli govt employs about 5 guys to cover the dozen or so blogs they want to "jam" with BS - maybe a dozen blog IDs written by whoever is on duty? One of my friends in DC who had noticed the same phenomena thinks that it is not Israel but one of the US Zionist groups paying these guys. Whatever... I would offer the suggestion that absolutely none of us ever responds to a single one of his posts - that said despite the pleasure I took in reading Parviz' rejoinder at 10.

Posted by: David | Mar 30 2009 19:58 utc | 15

@jawbone - Is the slothrop poster here today the real slothrop? yep - same IP address

@all - I cleaned two off-topics in the comments above so Parviz references to comment numbers is now off.

@kao_hsien_chih - Next up, the Kurds

Yep, but not the way one might think. The Kurds are famous as great fighters and to famous for falling apart in tribes as soon as they have a real enemy. Thus the never win.

Talabani, a tribal leader of the Kurds and president of Iraq just met the Turkish president Gul. Talabani said the PKK fighting to separate the Kurdish part of Turkey should lay down its arms.

Barzani, the other major Kurd tribal leader came out against this only to later track back.

If the Kurds need to fight it out against the Maliki government it will end in a Kurd-Kurd fight - it always has.

Posted by: b | Mar 30 2009 20:07 utc | 16

Excuse me, I should have said Parviz' comments at #8. There is a strange and ironic twist in this Awakening Council story: since the Iraq govt has taken over the paying of the members of the ACs from the US the Iraqis must have the names and addresses of every single member plus their command structure. The level of betrayal - oh my.

Posted by: David | Mar 30 2009 20:18 utc | 17

Whatever, b. Some things you're good at. But there's just no getting around the fact that your analysis of the gwot has been wildly off the mark.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 30 2009 20:26 utc | 18

b sez: "On the other side it seems that the U.S. wants to leave Iraq [..]"

BZZT. Wrong. Thanks for playing, though. :-)

US wants to leave, US also wants to stay. We invaded and occupied in order to stay. We have desire to leave because we know it's wrong. We are narcissists who think we can have what we want and not take any blame, simply because we know what we did was wrong.

Obama is moving the rhetoric to talk about the 'unfinished' Afghanistan war, and if it works attention will be taken off of Iraq. And we will stay in Iraq.

Posted by: Enoch Root | Mar 30 2009 22:22 utc | 19

I've got to ask you, Sloth: do you regard the US as being in any way Imperialist, or is it all in the imagination of the Europeans here? If you'd spent any length of time in Europe or the UK during the Cold War you'd take the 'Empire' rhetoric as a truism: of course we were part of the Imperium. I understand that you think that what we call 'Empire' should be called 'Capital,' but the fact remains that the US does act like an old-style empire, except that its colonists are either GIs on bases or the all-pervading brand/values culture.

Posted by: Tantalus | Mar 31 2009 0:07 utc | 20

The rhetoric of American empire is ideological in two ways. First, this notion of exceptionalism and the messianism of american democracy purchase the support of domestic workers to fight capitalist wars. Second, the same rhetoric finds a willing audience among a kind of especially continental leftist who for the sake of preserving puritanical estrangement from the "empire" eschews solidarity with his lefty american comrades at all costs. You couldn't ask for a better example of gramsian "hegemony."

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 31 2009 0:41 utc | 21

"gramscian" I meant.

This ideology has led to some really debilitating errors of analysis of the gwot, and global capitalist accumulation and development in general.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 31 2009 0:44 utc | 22

Explain, though, why it's "empire" and not Empire. In what way do America's imperialist habits and actions NOT add up to an empire unadorned by quotation marks? In what way does the fighting of capitalist wars, as you call them, preclude the building and maintenance of empire?

Posted by: Tantalus | Mar 31 2009 2:51 utc | 23

maybe you meant Neo-Gramscianism?

Posted by: annie | Mar 31 2009 2:57 utc | 24

I have a simple test for the empire thesis. Why do euros, japanese, arab oil elites, et al. the global capitalist class, why don't they oppose US foreign policy? Sure they make noisy admonitions do satisfy domestic consumption, but they never do anything about it.

They're all in it together. If you want to refer to those social relations and class consciousness as allegories of empire, fine. But the whole "american empire" is b.s. distraction. It divides and conquers the left.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 31 2009 3:29 utc | 25

and i have a simple test for the u.s.american empire thesis - ask a native american. or filipino. or the peoples of several islands in the pacific. etc...

again, slothrop, factor people into your ivory tower abstractions

Posted by: b real | Mar 31 2009 4:39 utc | 26

Well now, the conquest coincided with the long process of primitive accumulation. This was a modern, perfected system of domination. If you want to play the game of deep history of injustice, we might as well begin with Sumer or Sparta. It wasn't America's fault Rome invaded Gaul.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 31 2009 5:14 utc | 27

slothrop: it's been difficult to track your beef against b and 'giap, and though you've registered ample points about capital, your failure to acknowledge the existence and necessary criticism of american empire (at the very least as a phenomenon somewhat distinct from the global movement of capital) reeks of personal pettiness.

what you can't seem to understand is that there are aspects of a culture that arrogantly benefits from its imperial position in the world that other nations and their peoples will predictably abhor. what don't you get about that? b real makes a damn good point about the perverse contradiction between this country's stated ideals (and our eagerness to spread our brand of servitude through force around the globe) and the convenient annihilation of indigenous "primitives" through various means.

i don't blame anyone outside of the states for demanding that US citizens do something more meaningful than bitch and complain. that we operate within a carefully sculpted denial is no excuse. the cracks are obvious, or at least they should be.

Posted by: Lizard | Mar 31 2009 5:28 utc | 28

If you want to go down that road, like the indigenists, then history for you is racial.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 31 2009 5:32 utc | 29

Well, b's empire thing doesn't work. That's just a fact.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 31 2009 5:35 utc | 30

500K troops on 700 bases worldwide...Empire?

Posted by: ben | Mar 31 2009 5:56 utc | 31

@27 -

you are trying to over-intellectualize this. i used the term "simple" b/c it's really not very difficult to understand how the u.s.a. to this very day (iow, not some ancient history,) fulfills the classical requirements of empire:

  • a political entity
  • of large scale
  • w/ a history of expansionism, past & present,
  • that incorporates other peoples
  • institutionalizing inequality
  • and differentiation
  • subordinated to a ruling authority

    Posted by: b real | Mar 31 2009 6:06 utc | 32

  • I think I may get slothrop's point.

    Calling america an empire, when far older "empires" settled the place first is like calling a guy with a thick NY accent a Californian, just 'cause he owns a house in malibu.

    The english are still the largest foreign landowners in the U.S., which makes them at least partially responsible for america's empire. Hell, what makes an empire anyway?

    Is the catholic church an empire?

    I know it's splitting hairs, but I can't think of america in terms of an empire. We have quite a bit of cultural pollution we've dumped on the world, and we've stuck our military's nose into the business of other countries at the behest of "american" corporations , more or less. But have these actions been because of an american empire, or just the wet dreams of some rich fucks? America is a melting pot, so which country should we blame when a bunch of second generation carpetbaggers send troops into a banana republic that won't sell it's resources to industry cheap enough?

    Who owns the big multinationals? Those are the men playing conquer, and their goals and desires are their own, not a particular country. Look at how each nation has been sold to the highest bidder. Look how much easier it is for these bastards now days to rape and pillage... Now they can buy the election in some country, and have the place looted, or use it's government officials and military like a stick to harass another corporation's country...

    I think it's time to try seeing the world as it really is, and not through the blinders we've worn since our public schooling. Money is both the country and the political party that runs things... the labels used to keep us divided are just that – labels. They mean nothing more than the word abracadabra does, and do the same thing – distract us from the magician whose fooling us into believing in his illusion.

    Posted by: DavidS | Mar 31 2009 6:20 utc | 33

    I do not understand sloth's beef with the term "empire." Call it whatever the fuck you want to call it. The numbers speak for themselves:

    The US spends more on its military than the rest of the world combined. The US sepnds 6 times as much as China which is second to the US. You MUST ask the question why. Why does the US spend so much money on the military? Is it simply because of military Keynsianism? Hardly, The US has global hegemony in mind. Since the collapse of the USSR, then US has had delusions of empire. The US wants to be the sole global hegemon. Why is that so hard to grasp when it was enunciated by the PNAC and followed to the T by GWB.

    The US has more than 30% of its troops stationed on foreing soil in 800 military bases in 134 out of 190 countries around the world. These are all verifiable numbers that anyone (except Sloth) can do a simple google search on. That the elites that host US troops accept US presence does not make the masses love US troops. Just go visit Okinawa and talk to the locals and see the hatred and disgust they have for US troops.

    Neither the British nor the Romans had as many military outpost around the world as the US has. So what in hell do we call this, aside from empire. Please, Sloth give us a term that is more agreeable to you!!!

    Finally, How the hell can anyone deny that US foreign policy towards the ME is primarily influenced by AIPAC and other zionist organizations in the US!!!! When every presidential candidate in the 2008 election goes and grovels at the annual AIPAC convention, then you know that AIPAC is in the driver's seat of US FP. The introduction to American politics book in my school that is widely used (it is in its 9th edition) lists AIPAC as only second in power and influence to AARP. This is elementary stuff that does not even need discussion.

    Criticizing Israel is not anti-semitism. Would criticizing the Vatican be anti-catholic? Further, when did the term anti-semitism mean only anti-jewish. I am a fucking SEMITE as well. Arabs are Semites too. The hijacking of this pharse pisses the fuck out of me. You can criticize an nationalism and not be prejudiced against the ethnicity/religion of the people who hold that nationalist view. I criticize Arab nationalism all the time, but that does not make me anti-Muslim. By the same token, why shouldn't we in this forum criticize zionism without being accused by assholes like Slothrop of being anti-semitic?

    Posted by: ndahi | Mar 31 2009 7:36 utc | 34

    ndahi, we had major differences in a previous thread, but your post above was brilliant. Thanks, and no hard feelings. Maybe slothrop will now get the hint that his nation is the world´s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, and that it is being forced into inordinate sacrifice of blood and treasure by fucking Israel that should have been established in Bavaria (if anywhere at all) instead of on Palestinian land.

    One of the most amazing phenomena to me has been the inability of mainstream Americans and otherwise intellectually adept Europeans to even remotely consider the U.S.A. as a ´terrorist´ nation even though it fulfils ALL the ´terrorist´ criteria in spades: Support of foreign dictatorships, arming of terrorist movements (Contras, Jundullah), production and use of WMD, provision of WMD to a proxy state, unilateral rescinding of international arms agreements, global military expansion, flouting of U.N. resolutions (and shameless mockery of the U.N. itself), blackmailing of ´allies´ via economic threats, fabrication of a casus belli that killed one million Iraqis and uprooted 4.5 million more, encouragement of massive war profiteering by selected U.S. corporations, boosting Afghan opium production from 50 tons in 2001 to 8000 tons in 2008, fanning global terrorism, ratification of a clearly racist law that defines criticism of Israel as ´anti-Semitic´ (Maybe slothrop helped to draft it), etc.,.

    slothrop, you don´t belong here. I´m sure you´ll find more sympathetic ears in Lieberman´s Yisrael Beiteinu Party, or maybe you can write an Op-Ed with Dr. "Strangelove" Feith like the NYT Op-Ed he today co-authored that has him waxing lyrical about a dead Sufi poet even as an E.U. nation (Spain) assembles evidence against him for a war crimes tribunal:

    Dr. "Strangelove" Feith´s sick Op-Ed

    Posted by: Parviz | Mar 31 2009 10:35 utc | 35

    An interesting report from World Socialist Website.

    Posted by: andrew | Mar 31 2009 10:42 utc | 36

    Leila Fadel, from McClatchy, interviewed about the issue on The Real News Network

    Posted by: andrew | Mar 31 2009 10:47 utc | 37

    Well, knock me dead! Here´s Hillary Clinton acknowledging Iran´s positive role in Afghanistan in 2001, just before she cheerled Bush´s demonization of the country!

    "Clinton noted Iran's history of cooperating with the United States on Afghanistan since the U.S. invasion in 2001."

    How sweet of her to ´note´ Iran´s cooperation. A great pity she didn´t also ´note´ America´s brazen treachery:

    Clinton doesn't rule out Iran talks at Afghanistan conference!

    Posted by: Parviz | Mar 31 2009 11:16 utc | 38

    David @ 33

    I don't call myself a Roman, even though the UK was under Rome for a few hundred years. Was the British Empire not an empire because the Ottoman Empire had already existed? The British took over much of France's empire. Does this mean that, retroactively, French Empire and Imperialist ambitions are scrubbed from historical narrative? This argument makes no sense at all. America's Empire is a pretty solid, physical reality - see ben @ 30 and b real @ 31. And again, if you'd grown up in the US sphere of influence during the Cold War, you'd be in less doubt about this.

    Posted by: Tantalus | Mar 31 2009 11:41 utc | 39

    Guys (and gals),

    Just for the sake of argument or arguing (no coffee yet, and I'm in full goat mode...)

    You haven't yet defined exactly what empire is... A bunch of military bases is a good start and I see your point, but as in the case of ndahi's comments, he (she) blames american imperialism and in the next breath is blaming the israelis for controlling america... Well is is an american empire or an israeli empire? Or is every evil fucker american?

    I don't argue that america is a cesspool full of greedheads, dirtpimps and assorted other never-do-wells, hell I live here, but does this equal the same sort of empire that we think of when we think of Rome?

    As I said, this is splitting hairs, but to blame all the world's problems on american empire lets the human fools who are the responsible parties, escape the real blame. It's like that horrible "accident" union carbide had in india, the corporation got blamed for the mess (then sold to DOW chem), but the human leaders (at least the american ones) got off. Humans play this shell game with their corporations all the time, changing the names of their companies the way (and for the same reason) a mom will change a baby's diaper.

    Countries are just fancier corporations, and the bad guys will just change their address as the need arises.

    Posted by: DavidS | Mar 31 2009 12:56 utc | 40

    Being more coffee'd up than you, David, I'll butt heads amicably...

    It's futile and absurd to blame all the world's problems on American imperialism, I agree. But the current economic woes affecting every corner of the globe have their roots in American finance. Empires can be economic entities as well as military ones: Witness the British in India, China and Africa, the French in Africa and North America, the Portuguese in Brazil and so on and so forth. Conquest was through military force but the motivations and advantages to the mother countries were economic, no matter how much they were dolled up in various forms of religious, racial or moral justification. Even Kipling knew very well that the White Man's Burden was the gold in his pockets.

    Of course every evil fucker in the world isn't American. But it's perhaps an indication of America's cultural domination that wherever you are in the world, evil fuckers and evil fuckerdom get a distinctly American critique. It's impossible for anyone in the West to offer a meaningful analysis of, say, Russia or Iran without coming under the lens of the US-centric critique. And that, of course, is exactly what's happening in this thread, as it always does.

    Posted by: Tantalus | Mar 31 2009 14:26 utc | 41

    It is a terrible fact that america has a stranglehold on media and the owners of that media use it to push their particular world view.

    It seems rather than nation-state empires of old, we should define empires by their control over resources.

    There are now media empires, energy empires, religious empires and even military empires...

    I suppose it is still valid to think in terms of political/ethnic beliefs forming nations, but even nations that appear hegemonic, are an ethnic mix of peoples who were forced under the umbrella of some national identity they themselves don't recognize – I think of the Kurds as a good example.

    america's cultural empire is a pain in the world's ass, as is it's military.

    I suppose I've answered the difference between a true political/ethnic empire and the american empire – empires have a central point of power that can be controlled... american empire is as much an idea as it is a reality, so that if washington were destroyed tomorrow, there would still be people scattered throughout the world that would imagine an "american" ideal...

    Is america the next religion, and americans the next lost tribe? We'll gather in the dark, burnt-out shells of banks and malls, reading Nixon and Reagan's speeches with tears in our eyes, the socialist running the place will force us all to wear armbands with the "flag of Sam" to identify us...

    Maybe too much coffee? Ahhhhh....

    Posted by: DavidS | Mar 31 2009 15:19 utc | 42

    It occurs to me that America may be the last religion...

    I suppose I've answered the difference between a true political/ethnic empire and the american empire – empires have a central point of power that can be controlled... american empire is as much an idea as it is a reality, so that if washington were destroyed tomorrow, there would still be people scattered throughout the world that would imagine an "american" ideal...

    I think you're partly right. The American Empire is supposed to have a central point of power, and believes it does, but I've started to believe that, while the empire itself is still up and running - that is, the skeleton and nervous system of military, banks and corporations - the center is rotten. So the 'Empire' is actual and illusory at the same time. It seems hard to imagine that the US is not holding a one-way ticket to Ozimandias territory, but because it's still "the world's only superpower" the death-throes of US domination are still the biggest show around. Remember how scared we were all meant to be of the Soviet Union, right up until the wall came down?

    Posted by: Tantalus | Mar 31 2009 15:47 utc | 43

    woes affecting every corner of the globe have their roots in American finance.

    No. Anglo American finance is hardly unique. Ponzi finance is old, whether in tulips or MBS.

    Also, even by its own rules, Adam Smith utopian finance capital is so contradicted by the regular crises of accumulation, that ponzi is a rational means of expropriation needed to sustain expected profits divided among the global capitalist class.

    Suggesting that anglo-american finance somehow sullies a more proper operation of capitalist accumulation in Germany or wherever, is an enormous failure of analysis.

    Posted by: slothrop | Mar 31 2009 15:57 utc | 44

    No, Anglo-American finance isn't unique - of course not.

    Should have said 'the current financial crisis.' The roots of that are planted firmly in Wall Street and Washington. CDOs are an American invention.

    Posted by: Tantalus | Mar 31 2009 16:08 utc | 45

    You haven't yet defined exactly what empire is... A bunch of military bases is a good start and I see your point, but as in the case of ndahi's comments, he (she) blames american imperialism and in the next breath is blaming the israelis for controlling america... Well is is an american empire or an israeli empire? Or is every evil fucker american?

    That is not what I said. I said that Israel is in control of US FP towards the ME. I never said that Isreal controls the america. I was very clear in my assessment. I have been using Mersheimer and Walt's thessis even before they wrote their thessis. One of the biggest influences on my thinking was Edward Tivnan's book, The Lobby and another book by a Congressman, The Dare Speak Out.

    No body is blaming America as a whole. We are criticizing the policy that American elites have adopted towards the rest of the world. A policy that has brought nothing but harm to the commoners who live in the US.

    The term empire is short hand for the following:

    -800 overseas bases in 135 countries
    -Military spending that is clearly designed to dominate and subjugate the globe and deny any rising power the ability to challenge US might. As I said the PNAC document spells it out perfectly.
    -A military industrial complex as spelled out by IKE.
    -A psychological belief that US leadership is essential for the rest of the world. As Obama put it "America is ready to lead again." As if people around the world are clamoring for US leadership.
    -Consuming 30-50% of the world's resource while the population is only 3-5% of the worlds'.

    There might be others, but these are essentials of the term empire, IMO.

    Posted by: ndahi | Mar 31 2009 16:18 utc | 46


    If those definitions seem good enough for you, then I won't argue. Unfortunately, language is both beautiful and mystifying... Such as when I talk about the color blue, which blue am I talking about?

    On the computer screen I'm viewing there are several shades and tones of a color that could all be described as "blue". Which shade do I use in my imagination to paint the house you call blue?

    I'm weird, yeah I can't argue that. And it's good old-fashioned black and white weird, none of that "salmon-colored" weird for me :)

    I apologize for not paying close attention to the wording your israel statement. I tend to pull what I want out of most information I take in, and I tend to ignore some important details in the process. Shit, I'm human and I make lots of mistakes. We all are.

    From what I read, I think many of us our outlining similar pictures in our minds, we just paint them differently when we discuss them. Kind of like blind men describing elephants.

    I'm sorry if I'm wasting time in pointless arguments about details when the world is changing around us faster than I can assimilate into my world view.

    I'm just a kook, and I appreciate what you're saying, I do. I just wish we could invent some new language to properly define the crap we're all facing. The old language and old definitions are what has brought our world to this point.

    Dirt pimps like to name housing developments for the nature they displaced; The Wilds, Fox Run, Mountain View, ect, and the same sort of crap has happened with the language of politics. Think of the words they're perverted, the most recent is "change" but there are hundreds of other examples that range from the comical "military intelligence" to the irony of "peacekeepers" .

    Keep me thinking and keep me crossing my "t's" and dotting my "i's. This way I'm that much better arguing with my friends and neighbors about the crap you and I see, but they don't. It scares me how many people's minds are slaves to the electric blue heroin of television and they don't or can't see the reality around them.

    Posted by: DavidS | Mar 31 2009 17:06 utc | 47

    @ 47:

    Moon of Alabama: Kind of like blind men describing elephants.

    couldn't have said it better.

    Posted by: Jeremiah | Mar 31 2009 18:46 utc | 48

    Jeremiah, I attended a Stevie Wonder concert 2 decades ago in which he announced: "Just because I´m blind don´t mean I can´t see". Beware of generalizing.

    Posted by: Parviz | Mar 31 2009 19:04 utc | 49

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