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Re: The Significance of Events in World Systems/WW1
by francesco ranci
29 April 2002 09:26 UTC
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I found it interesting to compare our present with
pre-WW I times. As of today, the U.S. army is far too
strong. No one was in that kind of position in 1914.
Sept. 11, for example, could have led us to a world
war only if Afghanistan had been supported by a great
coalition of islamic and other dissatisfied countries,
and only if they took out of their pockets bombs and
weapons that right now they don't seem to possess. It
takes more protectionism and a more balanced military
situation to get to a world war. But Bush (as an
expression of capitalistic values and inconsistencies,
which he is) is leading us there, no doubts about it. 
Francesco Ranci
Milano, Italy

--- Syed Khurram Husain <skhurram@lums.edu.pk> wrote:
> What we are witnessing around the world right now is
> a jamming up of US
> foreign policy.  America's foreign policy in East
> Asia was already
> beginning to jam when rival factions with divergent
> interests regarding
> China pulled the Presidency in so many different
> directions that Clinton
> was forced to divorce the renewal of MFN status from
> any considerations on
> human rights.  Bush came to office promising to
> treat China as an enemy,
> but the free trader lobby in the Republican party
> could not afford to
> alienate the powerful business interests behind them
> in pursuit of this
> policy.  North Korea was a candidate that could be
> sold to East Asian
> countries as a potential enemy to justify large
> military purchases from the
> US (such as the TMD system that Japan finally agreed
> to buy after  N.
> Korea's tested a long range rocket that flew over
> Japanese territory), and
> the continued stationing of American bases across
> the region.  But even
> here, with the collapse of the Agreed Framework that
> Clinton was trying
> hard to establish as a permanent platform in
> America's relations with N.
> Korea, the "axis of evil" line did not go over very
> well in East Asia, as
> Bush found out on his tour of the region.
> US foreign policy is also jammed up in Europe where
> the Bush
> admininstrations abandonment of its treaty
> commitments in Kyoto, landmines,
> the international criminal court, and the ABM treaty
> have not gone over
> very well at all, not to mention the steel tarriffs.
>  And Latin America was
> growing skeptical of Bush's promises to enhance
> NAFTA into FTAA, cooperate
> with Fox on immigration legislation and none of
> these initiatives have seen
> any movement since Sept. 11th.  The recent fiasco in
> Venezuela, and the
> ongoing crisis in Argentina, has undermined US
> credibility even further.
> What we are witnessing now is US foreign policy
> jamming up in the Middle
> East too.  Crown Prince Abdullah's visit to Waco TX
> has only brought the
> message home in very clear terms, and a lone,
> stuttering Bush trying to
> placate the Crown Prince and his staunchly
> pro-Israel lobby within his
> cabinet at the same time was a pathetic reminder of
> how badly he is stuck
> in that region as well.
> The picture, if you think about it, has some
> parallels with the situation
> prevailing in the years leading up to WW I, with the
> machinery of diplomacy
> being called upon to remedy crisis situations year
> after year, and steadily
> jamming up.  Wars usually begin when diplomacy
> fails.
> In this environment, as in the one leading to the
> outbreak of WW I, single
> events can acquire great significance.  Consider the
> scenario floated by
> Wallerstein, of a terrorist blowing up the Temple
> Mount, or an attack on
> Jewish worshippers at the wailing wall which leaves
> scores dead.  An event
> no doubt, but in an environment where diplomacy and
> foreign policy has
> already jammed up, it could potentially unleash
> great forces.  
> In these times, it is very important to watch events
> closely.  For
> instance, watch the Israeli offensive, and you will
> realize that what they
> are doing is turning the clock back to a time when
> the Palestinians had
> little to no infrastructure to live on.  The war on
> terror hides this
> deeper motive, which is something Sharon has always
> been an advocate of, of
> strangulating the Palestinians out of the occupied
> territories.  If this is
> indeed true, then we can expect to see much more
> trouble in that region.
> But if its not true, and Sharon's war is indeed just
> that, a war to uproot
> the infrastructure of terrorism, then things can
> potentially take a
> different route which would involve a return to
> negotiations, a rebuilding
> of the civilian infrastructure damaged in the
> operation, and a return to a
> path leading to Palestinian soveriegnty over parts
> of the West Bank and
> Gaza.  
> This operation also is a moment of lucidity, when a
> militarily strong
> superpower is unable to leverage its military muscle
> into economic or
> diplomatic gains.  It shows us something about the
> logic of the decline of
> hegemonies.  There are so many ways in which the
> details of what is
> happening in the Middle East and Afghanistan today
> are important for a
> World Systems perspective, that I am a little
> puzzled by people who want to
> go on with world systems without any talk of it.
> Khurram Husain
> Lahore,
> Pakistan
> At 09:03 AM 4/26/02 -0500, you wrote:
> >I'd just like to remind folks that many of us are
> subscribed here to
> >read and participate in dialogue and debate about
> World Systems Theory.
> >Yesterday, I received a WSN post that was a
> forward-of-a-forward style
> >post about the supposed "real story" of what
> happened in Jenin (that the
> >place was wired like a giant bomb, etc.). 
> >
> >Posts of this nature (or forwards of forwards
> expressing opposing
> >viewpoints) can easily be considered internet spam.
> Can we agree to
> >place *some* limits on what kinds of things can be
> forwarded (e.g.,
> >articles in online publications)?  
> >
> >John Till
> >
> >

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