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Re: questions for discussion
by Threehegemons
25 September 2002 18:03 UTC
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I have little to add to John's comments about military prospects in Iraq.  
Between the scylla of believing the US is all powerful and the Chardibis of 
always declaring 'the US will regret this' its very difficult to make accurate 
predictions about precisely how any military operation will go.

Boris raised some interesting questions about the UN and the EU.  The UN has 
often been a tool of US hegemony (Korea, the gulf war up until 1998)but, when 
necessary, the US has simply ignored it (Israel, Vietnam, Kosovo, Afghanistan). 
 For a time in the seventies and eighties it seemed to be becoming a tool for a 
challenge to US hegemony by the third world (at this point, liberal opinion in 
the US became highly skeptical of the UN).  I suppose what Boris is wondering 
is whether the UN can be a tool for the EU to restrain the US a bit and push 
for a settlement of Israel/Palestine.  The question is, how much power does the 
UN really have? Could it grow in power without the cooperation of the US? And 
if it remains a tool of the US, what other tools might the EU try to use to 
further its objectives?

I was kind of surprised about Al Gore's statements.  On the other hand, Clinton 
was always the most 'European' point on the American political spectrum 
(excluding ex-President Carter, who no one takes seriously).  I suspect most 
popular opinion in the US will fold into pro-war sentiment once (if?) Bush 
launches a war.

I don't think popular opposition to war will collapse in Europe.  At this point 
Bush is acting almost like he doesn't care if Europe is with him.  I think the 
EU would just as soon remain close friends with the US, but Bush is making it 
difficult.  What would be the implications of a deepening split?  Would a 
fraction of the US elite object and try to force Bush to mend fences?

I have to say, I find the Bush phenomenon a little puzzling.  Obviously, the 
guys an idiot surrounded by nuts, but why is the US elite letting him get away 
with this?  I think there is an aspect of bonapartism here.  The 2000 election 
was the first in a long time when left of center forces won a clear majority of 
the vote.  And the trends that led to that majority are going to intensify.  So 
Bush stole the election, and unleashes the hawks to whip up a patriotic furor 
that will keep real debate about domestic politics off the table...

Steven Sherman

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