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Re: questions for discussion
by Elson Boles
27 September 2002 14:50 UTC
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I guess we're not following each other.  I entirely agree with your
analysis on the potential for an anti-war movement from below in Europe.
My point was that "I don't think a growing rift will develop between
Europe and the US on this. The only possibility lies with a mass
anti-war movement in Europe, which just isn't very likely, not unless
the war becomes protracted."  So, it seems there are two points to
clarify, one on the movement, the other on a European-US rift.

One, I referred to a "mass" movement; something like the anti Vietnam
war movement 67-73, that is, a movement that is more than a few protests
in a few cities.  I suspect that it will only reach that pitch if there
is a protracted war.  No doubt that there will be more protests in more
cities once the war gets underway.  But will that really have the
political punch to make the UK or France change their positions, or to
make Germany take diplomatic steps against the US.  That seems highly
unlikely, unless the movement grows to mass levels and is protracted.

The other point regards the rift.  That rift, as I thought I implied
with my references to Bush and Schroeder, regarded heads of states.  No
doubt, protests during the next 3-6 months in Europe would solidify
Schroeder's position, though I suspect he'll not push the matter against
the US.  Certainly, such protests, unless they were really massive,
won't lead to a rift between the US and Europe as long as France and
Britain are with the US.  

There could very well be a movement here too, and Japan, in which case
there will be a global anti-war movement against all the participating
core states.  That wouldn't translate into a European-US rift either.
In short, I just don't predict a significant European-US rift emerging
from this war.

The outcome of the war is, in my view, another step toward core Empire
building led by a cowboy US.  Thus, if anything, the US will
increasingly be seen by progressive people/movements as the key problem,
but other core powers will take heat for going along and profiting.  In
the middle-run -- say within 20-30 years -- the US will probably loose
it's leading cowboy position, primarily, I think, because it won't be
able to afford it and because more political pressure will put on the US
from the European and Asian elites/corporate heads who want a greater
share of the pie, and because further reactions to terrorism or new
kinds of conflicts may engender stronger progressive movements.  But
again, if the US war on Iraq becomes protracted, all this latter could
happen sooner.  I just don't think the war will be protracted (a year of
street fighting with heavy US casualties).

Elson Boles
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Sociology
Saginaw Valley State University
University Center
Saginaw MI, 48710

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Threehegemons@aol.com [mailto:Threehegemons@aol.com] 
> Sent: Thursday, September 26, 2002 6:54 PM
> To: boles@svsu.edu; wsn@csf.colorado.edu
> Subject: Re: questions for discussion
> In a message dated Thu, 26 Sep 2002 11:57:12 AM Eastern 
> Standard Time, boles@svsu.edu writes:
> > My argument was that without Bush, Schroeder wouldn't have been 
> > elected, not because of the popular sentiment that he 
> played upon, but 
> > because if the election hadn't been so close, he would have 
> taken an 
> > ambivalent, or pro-US, position.  In short, it was an instrumental 
> > realpolitik stance. The anti-war German sentiment is just that.  It 
> > isn't an anti-war movement.
> I'm really not following.  If Schroeder had to say he was 
> against war to win people's votes, it seems the people are 
> against war.  Probably a mixture of familiarity with the 
> implications for the mideast and world in general, suspicion 
> of US militarism, and pacificistic tendencies.  Its likely 
> that if the US invades Iraq, many of those same people will 
> take to the streets, and the pressure on Schroeder to remain 
> anti-war will be intense.  German elites may have their own 
> reasons for opposing or supporting war (more 'realpolitik', I 
> suspect), and they too will pressure Schroeder to do what 
> they want.  But the anti-war sentiment, which actually led to 
> an electoral victory, is quite genuine.  There have been 
> protests in Europe against, I think, every US military 
> intervention from Vietnam on.  And the first gulf war, 
> Kosovo, and Afghanistan all had rationalizations that at 
> least appealled to some European liberals.  This weekend a 
> very large demonstration is anticipated in London.  England, 
> unlike Germany, doesn't have much of anything recognizable as 
> a left, let alone the vital global justice movement in Italy, 
> which is also certain to take to the streets against another US war...
> Steven Sherman

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