< < <
Date Index
> > >
Re: Wallerstein on the Future
by Threehegemons
15 September 2002 22:14 UTC
< < <
Thread Index
> > >
I found these comments by Wallerstein (from commentary earlier quoted by 
Khaldoun) also relevant:

<Let us start with those who are called the hawks in the U.S. administration, 
and who now seem to call the tune. They will say that they have cut through the 
wishy-washy kind of support upon which the U.S. has long relied, and are 
asserting - for the first time in over 50 years - the only kind of policy that 
will guarantee the national interests of the United States. They believe that 
the U.S. not only has the right to engage in preemptive action but the moral 
duty to do so. They know it discomforts many people and many governments. But 
they believe, as Secretary Rumsfeld said last week, that if the United States 
decides something is right to do and then does it, others will see that it was 
right and will eventually support it. Unilateralism, for the hawks, is neither 
wrong nor imprudent; on the contrary, it is the path of wisdom. 

<Which others is Rumsfeld talking about? He is talking about all those who, 
claiming to share U.S. values, hesitate at the image of unilateralism and urge 
a return to "multilateralism": in the United States, Republican stalwarts like 
James Baker, the Clintonites; elsewhere all those in Canada and western Europe, 
who are the traditional allies of the United States; the so-called moderates in 
the Islamic world. Rumsfeld feels their objections are all puff and when the 
dragon emits his flames, they will all crumble. Is Rumsfeld right about how 
they will act when they are largely ignored? We shall see, although he is 
probably right in part. Some of them are already crumbling, and are merely 
asking for a facade of consultation so that they may then assent.

If you ask the moderates in the Islamic world, they seem to be shaking their 
heads over the madness of the hawks. They live daily in touch with their local 
reality. They know the limits of their own power. They know also, better than 
the United States, the limits of U.S. power in their region. For them, it is a 
bit like Samson pulling down the temple. They are under the roof and will be 
crushed as well. But they also know their voices amount to little in Washington 
today. No doubt, many of them are putting their personal fates in the hands of 
Allah and perhaps some Swiss bankers as well.>

I suspect that as (if? we can still hope) the war begins, all serious 
reservations about the war in the US will disappear.  The anti-war movement 
will shrink to that ten percent of the population who opposed war in 
Afghanistan, the sort of people (like myself) closer to Ralph Nader than anyone 
in a major office in the US, the sort of people who can be ignored without 
serious political consequence.  So long as there are not large numbers of US 
casualties, this will remain the case.

I suspect most Western European leaders will support Bush.  Its not easy to 
actually break with the US when it has declared a war.  But I wonder about the 
European 'street'.  Will Western European leaders be able to ignore the large 
protests likely to erupt?

(And let's not forget, the 'clash of civilizations' isn't only geographical.  
France has already warned the US that it doesn't want to further inflame 
tensions between its Muslim and Jewish populations.  And the US faces a similar 
situation, on a smaller scale).

Clearly, the pro-Western regimes in the Mid-East have it worst.  They can't 
really not support the US, but the consequences for them are likely to be grim.

And what of the rest of the world?  Russia has already signed on for its own 
pre-emptive strike, India and China are likely tempted...  Where will some sort 
of powerful alternative emerge from?

Steven Sherman

< < <
Date Index
> > >
World Systems Network List Archives
at CSF
Subscribe to World Systems Network < < <
Thread Index
> > >