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Re: Why doesn't the world act against the US?
by Trichur Ganesh
27 March 2003 23:47 UTC
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Dr.Maximilian, you raise some interesting points for discussion.  There are a
few things here, which I would like to point out as partial response(s):
(1)  The US today is the space of concentration of weapons of mass destruction
(the most effective means of coercion in short, lie in the US).
(2)  The "pre-emptive war(s)" that is being waged today is being waged at least
partly to ensure that no other space is capable of containing comparable
concentration of weapons of mass destruction.
(3)  The point of doing so, I would argue, is to bring to the fore the question
of scarcity of protection supply and  to thereby raise protection costs.  The
monopoly in the ownership of the means of violence would ensure a continuing
role for the US in a world order that is no longer ordered under the post-World
War II regime of accumulation of capital and means of violence-production.
4)  Surely one of the most glaring forms of world inequality today, I argue, is
the effect(s) of the glaring disparity in the concentration of "effective" (i.e.
technologically sophisticated as in the ways in which Paul Virilio speaks of
"war at the speed of light") means of coercion in the US (in particular, and in
the spaces of the North in general) and the "rest" (the South).  Another form of
the same disparity - outside of the US - is the State apparatuses everywhere and
their ownership of the means of coercion versus the unarmed citizens (exception
being the US).
(5)  The effects of this global anomaly(ies) have not however prevented mass
demonstrations and protests from declaring that despite this imbalance in the
ownership of means of violence, contemporary states everywhere are
illegitimate.  (6)  How will this crisis of legitimacy be resolved? This is the
question of the moment, Maximilian.  For it is indeed a question of the crisis
of global democracy and global terror unleashed by  US power and reactionary
Islamic (and other) fundamentalisms.
(7) Which states will take up arms for Iraq?  I doubt if any of the Gulf states
will do so - the interests of the ruling classes there are very closely tied up
with US power.  The problem of the Middle East, I argue, is the problem of a
common resource(oil) which has high scarcity value, but which is being
squandered for the most ignoble of uses - in the West for the maintenance of
high levels of automobility, in the Middle East for the maintenance of high
levels of consumption among the upper classes there.  There is in short no unity
among the Arab states other than the fundamentalist unity supplied by Islam.
What about Europe?  No European state can by itself or in combination with any
other - like Germany and France - match the unparalleled military might of the
US.  Moreover all European states are tainted by their history of colonial
adventures.  As Rumsfeld and others rightly remark they are indeed an "old
Europe", old in the sense that all the way until the 20th century, they have had
histories of colonial exploitation for reasons not so dissimilar from the ones
that the US is embarking upon.  The hypocrisy of the whole venture!  The
hypocrisy of all that is!  No one cares, my Maximilian, for the poor.  There is
no morality in contemporary politics or in any other politics for that matter.
Issues of intervention have to be measured in terms of a cost-benefit calculus.
Who can afford a costly war?  Who can afford to go to war against the US?
However, having said that, it is important to mention the undeniable presence of
a threshold: it is the point beyond which no one will stand for aggressive
interventionism of the US-type.  That threshold, unfortunately, is not perhaps
in the immediate vicinity.  In the meantime, it is important to express
solidarity with the protesters whose actions are equally unprecedented, equally
historic, and bound to have lasting effects on the contours of the possible.
Sincerely, Ganesh.

"Maximilian C. Forte" wrote:

> It may be more personal rage than rationality, but I am at a loss at how
> once the war began, states opposed to the US action seem to have done very
> little, while protesters seem resigned to simply protest some more (as vital
> as that is, I certainly don't want to diminish the global protests by any
> means). I totally agree with virtually everything Iraq's ambassador to the
> UN said yesterday at the Security Council, and the UN which itself was a
> party to genocide in Iraq, has a great deal to answer for.
> As far as I can see, Iraq today is in the role of Kuwait in 1990 (a victim
> of aggression and invasion), while the US today is playing the role of Iraq
> in 1990. So who is going to even try to put a stop to this? No calls for
> trade sanctions against the US? No embargo? No troops sent to intervene and
> try and put up a wall against further US incursion? Are protesters not
> calling for worldwide boycotts of American products, or are all such actions
> still highly localized?
> I am currently in Trinidad and Tobago where, though most seem disgusted with
> US bullying, and already began to lose confidence in their Mecca (New York
> City) when they saw the towers of the master nation collapsing, there have
> been no protests and certainly no calls for any action. In the meantime, US
> citizens can enter without any passport, while Trinidadians still line up tp
> pay $600 TT for visas when most of them are turned down. Therefore, please
> forgive me if I seem exasperated with what, at my end, seems like feckless
> actions or inaction.
> If "terrorism" increases, I don't see that it will simply be a result of US
> actions. I think it will also have to do with frustration many will feel
> over the inability of anyone to do anything to oppose the US. Why all of the
> fighting has to fall on Iraqi soldiers alone is beyond me. I would love to
> hear of any movements, anywhere, that at least are engaged in trying to
> foster a worldwide boycott of American goods and services.
> Best wishes,
> Max.
> Dr. Maximilian C. Forte
> Editor
> http://www.centrelink.org
> Editor
> KACIKE: The Journal of Caribbean Amerindian History and Anthropology
> http://www.kacike.org
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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