Sunday, March 27, 2011

How a Typical Liberal Supports U.S. Military Empire

In a piece in the New York Times, Gregory Johnsen demonstrates how intellectual liberals typically justify military imperialism on behalf of their own societies.  There can be little doubt that such justifications are never acceptable when invoked by others. 

The author calls attention to his position and NYT article in another blog, explaining that "the US can no longer put its momentary security interests ahead of its values in Yemen."

The author has a conception of “US values” that appears profoundly disconnected from both the long-standing US government strategic priorities and our current political realities.
  
In the NYT’s piece, Johnson states: “The United States and its international allies will have a limited window of opportunity to get things right in Yemen.” Note the presumption that meddling in Yemen is a responsibility of the US, as if Yemen were a vassal state. The conceptualization that the US effectively owns the world does appear deeply ingrained throughout the domestic mass media and intellectual culture. Government policy papers justify the principle quite explicitly as correct and proper.

AFAICT in this case however, the author shows no appreciation of the mandatory obligations upon US policy-makers to please the gigantic, politically invulnerable arms industry, which needs terrorist enemies, wars, and oppressive governments to secure profits (if not survival) for their corporate members. Other organizations require security for accessing markets, obtaining resources, or using locations on terms and conditions more favorable than that which democratic societies can guarantee. US government interests therefore, lie in providing an appearance of supporting democracy for marketing and PR purposes, while undermining it in practice in favor of security for business. The overwhelming advantages available from such an approach, despite the inevitable risks of an occasional 9-11 attack, are irresistible and rational to those who seek to maximize profitability and market share, most prominently in our culture: semi-capitalist corporations.

Urging development aid as a “strategic investment to defeat the current generation of terrorists and to prevent the formation of future ones” seems indistinguishable from utopian propaganda, based on the recommendation’s disregard for feasibility, and its value in providing comfortable “we tried” reassurances of the US’s noble “values”, even as the author notes the huge allocation disparity between military and humanitarian resource. Might such allocation be considered evidence of US values? I think it is, at least it seems a much better indicator of priorities than official proclamations, which are always virtuous.

Since the driving forces of official US policy also happen to be the businesses that provide ad revenue and profit to the NYT, serious analysis of, and outrage against the root causes for such widespread and unnecessary death and suffering will remain comfortably unexamined in their pages for the foreseeable future, although this should not be considered anything unusual, as similar dynamics operate upon all organizations in the mass media.

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Aspen Music Festival: Music with a View Concert

Distinguished theory and performance teacher provides expert knowledge during " Music with a View "at the Aspen Art Museum