Saturday, June 23, 2007
Ignatieff complains, repeatedly, of Woodrow Wilson's legacy, for having embedded the concept of self-determination in liberal discourse. He thinks that it has failed, that the dream of national sovereignty is over and that the American empire will have to take over and live up to, or down to, his own liberal ideals (which, by the way, include defense of the state's inalienable right to torture suspects, until it becomes an electoral liability). If he had actually read a little bit of Wilson, or knew what he was talking about - which I can assure you he doesn't - he would know that he is actually very close to being a Wilsonian, but that this is no compliment. His was a doctrine mainly about those unfit for self-government and who could, at best, be redeemed after a training course under the despotism of whitey. Wilson was, as I think I briefly indicated elsewhere, for the sternest repression of the 'savage' races of the earth. He wasn't alone in it, and I only mention it again because he in particular has such a mountainous reputation. Well, they have never stopped with the white despotism, and are even today preparing for more of the same.
Consider: This has passed at the start of the year. That is a Congressional resolution calling upon the UN to "charge Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with violating the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the United Nations Charter because of his calls for the destruction of the State of Israel." Genocide. This passed with bipartisan support. Wanna see how they support the claim of genocide? Well: "the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (commonly referred to as the `Genocide Convention') defines genocide as, among other things, the act of killing members of a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, the targeted group, and it also prohibits conspiracy to commit genocide, as well as `direct and public incitement to commit genocide'".
Seriously? Apparently so. It goes on to imply that Iran has threatened to use force against Israel, and then to elide the distinction between the threat of force and genocide; and then it repeats the 'wiped off the map' bullshit. This has been comprehensively debunked more times than the average US congressperson could count. The resolution also recites a mutilated quote from the Modern Right reformer Hashemi Rafsanjani, which has been bruited widely on the scum blogs and most reactionary news sites. The quote as rendered in the resolution is: "[i]f one day, the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, then the imperialists' strategy will reach a standstill because the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything [in Israel], while it will merely harm the Islamic world". Now, I don't expect much rhetorical maturity from American politicians, but I expect a little bit of sophistication. The quote is taken from a 2001 speech, (you can read all of it here), and it clearly doesn't signal an intent to harm Israel or destroy it. All to what end? Well, if the United Nations should consider a country guilty of breaching the genocide convention, that is a mountainous cassus belli, and would legitimise intervention - perhaps by the state of Israel - to thwart this 'genocide'. The news now is: IAF preparing for Iran strike. The Wahabbi Jundullah militia based in Pakistan have been probing and softening targets in the south of Iran on behalf of Washington, and have even been honoured on Voice of America as the leaders of a popular Iranian resistance movement. Their atrocities have easily matched the various assaults by people calling themselves 'Al Qaeda' affiliates in Europe, but who ever thinks to ask a White House spokesperson why they are supporting what Bush called in a moment of puerile demagogery, "Islamic fascism", in the Middle East, and why - if they are so concerned with the well-being of Iranians - they think it is more permissible to murder them than New Yorkers? Wouldn't Iran be entitled to its own 'war on terror', including retaliatory strikes on American military buildings, or a full-scale invasion if America refused to hand over the people who ordered this horror? What news corporation would allow a reporter of theirs to ask such a question, and broadcast the reply?
In Afghanistan, where the massacres pile up daily, they expect to stay for decades: the white man's tutelage was as long in the Philippines, and didn't ever completely end, even to this date. Similarly, in Iraq, the plan is to make a Korea out of it. If they could ever get troops to the heart of Tehran, you could be sure that it too would be temporary to begin with, transitional for a few years, and then mandatory for the ensuing decades. And recently, as Eli pointed out recently, the House of Representatives approved new money for 'democracy promotion' in both Venezuela and Cuba. In both cases, their allies for democracy are ultra-rightists nostalgic for Phillipine monarchy, adamant supporters of racial hierarchy, putschists and opponents of all forms of genuine democracy. Nor will they allow Somalia to govern itself, unless it accepts self-government to mean the rule of a clutch of warlords. Haiti, following a coup and multinational governance under the especial auspices and direction of the United States, France and Canada, is only now - after the invasion of death squads, after the overthrow of the elected government, after several massacres by the UN troops, after the empowering of former genocidaires, after the locking up of thousands of political prisoners, and after the destruction of cities - taking tentative moves toward getting its own security forces, that might "one day" replace the MINUSTAH forces. Although Haitian resistance ensured that they couldn't restore completely the butchers of Raboteau, Haiti is secured once more in North America's 'free trade' circuit, with the sporting goods and t-shirts flooding into US and Canadian markets on the back of the cheapest labour possible. You will recall also that in Nicaragua, the US government was even unwilling to leave the Nicaraguans to elect their own government in peace last year, since they feared that the winner would be one of the people who helped overthrow the dynastic autocracy that US forces imposed in 1937. The repeated, unveiled threats probably did much to alter the election result, as their combination of death squad terror and bribery decided the result of the 1990 election in favour of Chamorro. They are doing all possible to finish off even the prospect of real Palestinian self-government. And they are now worried, terribly, that Pakistanis and Egyptians may achieve self-government.
This résumé, far from comprehensive, describes a current and pressing state of affairs. In the first decade of the twenty-first century, the lives and conditions of millions of people not living in the United States are determined in part by a largely Anglo-Saxon ruling class, which has learned not to openly espouse the principles of white supremacy and 'race' hierarchy, but operates on them nevertheless. Such an order cannot but be organised through the repeated and perpetual application of extreme violence - which task is effected not only by legions of amphetamined Alabama-bred eighteen year olds pumped up on racism and pornography, but also by the private contingent, the warlords and mercenaries and shock troops of different fundamentalisms. Now they are settled on decades of jackboot rule in several strategically important areas, mandate-style colonial governance with a few nods toward representation, as was very much the style in the old days. Apopthegmatically, of course, those who resist that order and support such resistance are evil, inhumane, and anti-democratic. Such people hate freedom, even their own, and abjure it every time they refuse whitey's rule.