Saturday, November 08, 2008

The writing on the wall

In the United States, there is a powerful compulsion to shoehorn warmaking into the ranks of admirable activities conducted by good people with fine minds. General Petraeus fulfills an important need, especially for the responsible-liberal quadrant of the commentariat and the incoming Obama administration which, I imagine, will be staffed by Ivy League intellectuals and not be chock-a-block with blood and thunder military types.

For the United States to put up with occupations and COIN/pacification operations in Iraq and Afghanistan that may go on for more than a decade, the public needs to believe that the occupation is some kind of combination of FDR’s New Deal and the superhero Justice League, using American know-how and values to continually improve the economic and security well-being of the peoples in our care.

However, in real life, occupation and counter-insurgency are a nasty, degrading, and bloody business. Commanders in a hostile land far from home, intent on protecting their own forces, aren’t always using a surgical scalpel to extract the tumor of insurgency. Sometimes the meat axe is swung indiscriminately, slaughtering patient and bystanders alike. China Matters
AMY GOODMAN: We have to leave it there. I want to thank you very much for being with us. Last question, though: do you think the movements that elected Obama can, without the Obama machine, remarkable online and on-the-ground organizing, what, ten million email list—we were getting texts and emails every couple of hours—can reconstitute itself without that? Because now that will be the state. How do people show their—express their positions if they differ from the state?

Has the movement been absorbed into the state? Look, there’s a remarkable difference between the youth movement of the ’60s, which mainly organized outside the system, and the youth movement which has brought Obama to power, because this movement has organized within the system to reform the system. Obama keeps on saying that this movement must not go away, that change hasn’t come, that this is the beginning of change. Now, will the candidate be able to tame the movement, or will the movement be able to stamp itself to some extent in the coming days? Democracy Now
Mr. Obama ran on a platform of guaranteed health care and tax breaks for the middle class, paid for with higher taxes on the affluent. John McCain denounced his opponent as a socialist and a “redistributor,” but America voted for him anyway. That’s a real mandate. Paul Krugman - NYT

Mr Obama’s appointment of Rahm Emanuel, a long-time aide to Bill Clinton, to be his White House chief of staff is a savvy choice that will tick a lot of people off. Mr Emanuel will be not only a force multiplier for a Democratic majority that has grown by 19 seats, but also – and more importantly – a brake on that majority. Christopher Caldwell - Financial Times

David Seaton's News Links
Now we will place all the kids that rang the doorbells on one side of the scale and the corporate donors and their media on the other and we will see who is "found wanting".

I would predict that Barack Obama's administration is going to be for liberals and progressives what structured debt products have been for shareholders: an access of "animal spirits" they will wistfully regret. DS

No comments: