A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[BLOG-LIKE POSTING] On American Imperia

piratehead‘s post about Le Tigre got me thinking about my reaction to Le Tigre’s song “New Kicks” (downloadable in mp3 format here).

The music remains compelling, and so long as I don’t listen to the lyrics Le Tigre’s sampled anti-war speeches are fun.

Peace Now…
Peace Now…
We are gathered here, we come from so many different places, from different identities, different cultures, different backgrounds, different religions, and yet we can gather under the guise of Peace Now

We say no to war…Peace up, War down
We say no to war…Peace up, War down

We made it, we’re here, we’re here right now and we’re not leaving.

We have more reports that more and more people are just taking onramps onto the bridge and are just taking it over it’s just it’s just

I mean I just ahhhhhh

This is what democracy looks like
This is what democracy sounds like

Reports from protests in Amman Jordan, and Amsterdman, Beirut Lebanon, Delhi, East Timor, Florence Italy, London, Milano Italy, Paris France, in dozens of cities in Spain. Reports in Athens GA and Austin TX, Blacksburg VA, Charleston SC, Colorado Springs and Defiance, Ohio. Denver, CO as well as Durango. Geneva NY and Houston TX, Hianis Massachusettes, in Hawaii as well, Lawrence, KS, Los Angeles, CA… and I am only naming a few.

Peace Now!

And as Eleanor Roosevelt said, It isn’t enough to talk about peace, one must believe in it. It isn’t enough to believe in it, one must work at it. And we here today are working at it.

This is possible and even necessary. So drop the sword, and pick up the hammer and the saw, and let’s build a better world.

No blood for oil
We will not be violent

We will not go to war for a selected president that wasn’t even elected.

We must stand unbroken, unbound and unchained.
We need health care, We need education
We need freedom in this nation
Freedom in this Nation

Thousands of people have taken over third avenue and are marching north. The crowd stretches at least fifteen blocks from 44th street to 59th street. The police have just simply given up.

This is what democracy looks like
This is what democracy sounds like

We will not sell out. We will not back down. We will not compromise. We will go forward until Peace is on the World Agenda.

I started to feel that there are no more heroes in the world.
But today I see all the world’s heroes standing before me.

We say no to war.
No War!

Reading them, I cannot help but be reminded by their terribly blinkered banality. “We need freedom in this nation”? The United States has issues, but it has rather fewer issues than most comparable global hegemons, aspirant or otherwise. “This is what democracy sounds like”? Democracy sounds like a lot of things. “We will not sell out. We will not back down. We will not compromise. We will go forward until Peace is on the World Agenda.” Ah, but a peace deprived of any moral content: I am reminded, insidiously, of Marcel Déat‘s “Mourir pour Danzig?“.

I’m somewhat surprised to announce that I have to admit some qualified support for certain recent American foreign-policy initiatives. I profoundly disapprove of the bungled lead-up to the Iraq war–there could have been fewer gratuitous insults, there could have been better planning, there could have been stronger justifications–but if the Ba’athist regime is overthrown and if (perhaps a big if) conditions for Iraqis continue to improve, I won’t have cause to complain. I’ve read my Kanan Makiya; I know what Iraq’s Ba’athist regime did.

Similarly, missile defense. While I admit to a male sci-fi geek’s fascination with the idea of vast arrays of orbiting weapons, the boost-phase intercept technologies currently being mooted–anti-missiles which would intercept and destroy missiles soon after their launch, not in space or immediately before their arrival–seem viable. The actual systems being developed, rather less so at our current state of technology. Deterrence worked, barely and tenuously, in a Cold War marked by two major nuclear-weapons blocs. In a more multipolar world where nuclear-weapons technology is broadly dispersed and deterrence cannot work nearly as easily as it did before, anti-missile technologies are a good thing. It would be nice if these worked, and especially nice if the United States made all of these technologies public domain, and I do think Canada was within its sovereign rights to opt out. These caveats aside, though.

Are we heading towards an American imperium?* Perhaps, and if it’s a well-functioning American imperium–one that’s permeable to outside influences, one that’s responsible towards the world–I wouldn’t mind altogether, particularly if the alternative was anarchy. I don’t trust the United States to be so competent, though; I think there’s a serious risk of a dysfunctional American world empire. If, as I wrote earlier, the United States did something completely stupid like attack Iran preemptively–or worse, invade Iran–then the world will pay the price. Dysfunctional imperia and failing imperia always end in torrents of blood, cf. the various imperial states of Eurasia in the early 20th century.

Here’s hoping.

* Myself, I have to say that my favoured future history would involve the United States joining the Post-Eurasian Union, following the then-European Union’s previous expansions into Eurasia, North Africa, and South America, sometime in the mid-to-late 21st century after gentle and sustainable growth and modernization and democratization worldwide.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 28, 2005 at 11:58 pm

Posted in Assorted

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