re: Austin's dismissal of war possibility

Thu, 10 Apr 1997 16:01:14 -0400 (EDT)
Andrew Wayne Austin (

> Please spare me the feint praise. Are you and DLJ some kind of
> self-appointed good-cop/bad-cop team conniving to stifle certain themes on
> this list? And is the absurd two-party debate about evangelicals an
> attempt to swamp the list generally with massive trivia?

Richard, I was serious about that comment. From your perspective, it was a
fine argument. I may not share the same worldview but that doesn't mean
that I am incapable of appreciating a good argument. I am a bit dismayed.
I compliment you, then disagree with you, and you attack me. Did I not
praise you enough? Was I supposed to praise you but not make a counter
argument? You don't strike me as one in favor of one-sided debates. And
this accusation of "good cop/bad cop" regarding the presence of both David
and me on the same list frankly borders on paranoia. You aren't really
suggesting that David and I are working together or something? I regard
you as a long-time friend. My arguments contra yours represent a very
important aspect of the overall debate; they are sensibly argued and
deserve far more respect than what I have gotten here. It is self-serving
to lump me in with David and then dismiss my critique of your argument in
this context. I hope this is not some new tactic you have taken to using
in discussion. My comments regarding evangelicals is in response to
David's point that there are not world historical forces at work in the
world today; rather he is attributing structural change in China to the
insertion of evangelicals there. People really believe stuff like this,
Richard. It may be absurd, but not trivial, and the argument should be

> >China is part of the global production system, already deeply integrated.
> As much could have been said about Germany and Japan pre WW II -
> they participated extensively in that day's system, but that didn't mean
> they had given up their desire to radically alter that system when they
> achieved the capability of doing so.

The entire political and economic global system is radically different
than it was in the period between the imperialist wars. You cannot remove
the rise of fascism in Germany and Japan from its historical context and
suppose similar things vis-a-vis China. I propose a different theoretical
framework, one you apparently share, and concrete historical analysis. My
point is that war with China is one of the more improbable outcomes based
on world capitalist logic.

> >you are operating in an inappropriate nation-state centrism that
> >ignores the objective reality of a global economy
> Not at all. I've written extensively on the coming New World Order
> and pointed out the likely demise of nation-state centrism and sovereignty
> generally. But the global system is far from fully implemented. Besides
> considerable internal consolidation yet to be achieved,tThere are still
> nationalist-spirit states which haven't bought in, and China is the premier
> example. China - if tightly bound with what it considers its perpipheral
> states - could constitute a formidable counter-island to the globalist
> system, and both China and the US/G7 are aware of that fact - just as with
> Japan and the Co Prosperity Sphere.

It depends on the structural level of analysis. The political society and
key elements of civil society have not yet be transnationalized. However,
on the deep structural level of the global economy, it is clear that to
continue to focus on nation-states to the degree I perceive you to is to
miss larger issues. If my critique of your argument is off-base, then I
stand to be corrected. But the conclusion that war is a real possibility
seemed to me out of place in a global theoretic based on real historical
and political economic structures and so I criticized it. I think we need
to some thicker skin here; criticizing your point of view is not a
personal criticism.

> A global capitalist state - certainly. But it will include
> enforcement, just as the Roman Empire included enforcement. US hegemony is
> already a fiction - it is no longer US hegemony, but corporate hegemony,
> enforced by proxy by a US-based, but not primarily a US-serving, military
> machine. Hegemony - but not traditional US hegemony - will persist.

I agree and disagree. Yes, enforcement will be need. Of course. We have
already agreed on this point in an earlier post. But U.S. hegemony is not
yet a fiction, and it is this hegemonic status at the level of interstate
relations, admittedly in decline, that is used by the transnational
capitalist class to force open and bludgeon recalcitrant nations. The
transnational capitalist class has yet to exert political authority over
the world directly because the institutional structures are in formation
and not yet fully legitimated. The political hegemon is the U.S., and
until the creation of a world government, U.S. politico-military might
will continue to be used in this manner.

> That was exactly my point. He is in fact intentionally discounting
> the deeper power struggles - that's the precise propaganda mission of his
> thesis: to distract from power realities and fabricate an emotional context
> that is more suitable to creating public support for military
> confrontation.

That is not what I understood the first time around from your writing, but
if this is the case, then you are correct. This is why we have these
discussions: to extract clarity.

> The establishment's embracing of his thesis reflects its
> propaganda utility, not profundity in his analysis - which you seem to
> agree it totally lacks.

Absolutely. It has generally always been that way with Huntington. He is
a darling of the elite.

Richard, please don't associate me with DLJ in the fashion you did in your
post to this list. Nothing could be more removed from the truth. And
don't mistake critique for anything other than a genuine attempt to engage
you in dialogue. I respect you very much; my praise for your arguments is
real and heart-felt. I have always enjoyed your contributions to this
list and hope that I may continue to enjoy conversation with you in the

Andrew Austin