Tag Archives: America

Kerry channels shame of Munich in bid for strike against Syria

1938 Munich Agreement

ONE DECADE AGO, the French distaste for war against Saddam Hussein inspired Freedom Fries, the conventional name for this ubiquitous side-dish having been removed from Congressional cafeteria menus at the direction of Republicans Bob Ney and Walter Jones. On US Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent visit to Paris, to make the case for a limited strike against Syria, the reception was by contrast positive. Yet the forms of the arguments reveal a tension in the prevailing views of military engagements whose roots reach back to the First World War.

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An Attack on Syria for Whose Benefit?

Damascus

IN THE YEARS leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a commonplace indictment of Saddam Hussein was that he was guilty of using chemical weapons against “his own people.” The notion that Iraqis, to say nothing of Kurds or Kuwaitis, could be considered the people of the Ba’athist regime was not lost on the dictator. The Hussein family indeed treated all of Iraq as its personal property, inclusive even of the private lives of Iraq’s citizens, and revealed itself ever eager to extend these possessions beyond its own borders.

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Edward Snowden shows us that the landscape of surveillance is far greater than we can imagine

edward_snowden

TO UNEARTH SOME latent implications of Edward Snowden’s recent act of whistle blowing, and the landscape of surveillance it has brought to the fore, I propose the following thought experiment. You are to imagine a world in which the infrastructure of potential effective and total citizen invigilation by the state and its proxies is realized, and additionally in which the potential to abolish the private life of the individual is at hand. My question is this: do you think the people of that world should care?

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Remembering Christopher Hitchens

I FIRST CAME across the writer Christopher Hitchens when he was a young Socialist contributing his “Minority Report” to the Nation. Very much yet in his soixante-huitard, Trotskyist phase, if not in possession any longer of his Socialist International card, he reminded me of my favourite writer, George Orwell.

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Class Warfare Comes Home

OF THE MANY, tedious American delusions, perhaps the most insistent and counter-factual materialist superstition is the daft creed that America is a classless society. How useful then for so many citizens to chuck this nonsense and have at it in the open October air, and in the precise manner that Karl Marx identified as the very engine of historical development: the struggle between the haves and the have-nots. Or, as the Wall Street Occupation puts it, the struggle of the ninety-nine have-not percent against the has-it one.

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