Thursday, October 4, 2012

Imperial Realism and Its Liberal Advocates

It is a sad spectacle to see how many so-called liberals defend Obama's naked imperialistic policies in the Arab world on the grounds that they are simply being realistic. The charge of "realism," is a notorious propagandistic technique aimed to discredit those who have different views without dealing with the substance of their argument. Yet, the fact is that even a cursory perusal of the facts reveals how there is nothing realistic about supporting dictatorial, oppressive governments in the Arab world until it is simply no longer tenable.

Today, the failure of American self-interested foreign policy in the has been exposed for what it is in the Arab world. Obama was caught with his pants down when he supported Mubarak against the majority of the Egyptian people, up until it was crystal clear that his regime was not going to survive. The same is true for Hillary Clinton, who backed the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia until its fall. The point being that because of Wikileaks and the Arab spring, people all over the Arab world fully understand, in case they didn't do so before, that the U.S. is in the business of promoting policies which are antithetical to the interests of the vast majority of the people in the region. This, incidentally, is perfectly understandable, since if these people could have a say, they would throw us, and our invading armies out in a nanosecond.

In this regard, Jill Stein represents the very change that Obama promised and failed to deliver. It is my strong belief that we no longer have the luxury, if we ever did have it, to pretend that by voting for a different flavor of the same corporate brand we will bring about the change which is sorely needed in the United States and the world.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Rebecca Solnit: A Necrophile for Empire

Writer and activist Rebecca Solnit has recently penned an essay criticizing those on the left who have chosen not to support the re-election of Obama on moral groundsWhat else can one expect from someone who, just recently, praised the pornographic violence of The Hunger Games book trilogy – she found it "irresistible" – as some kind of radical anti-corporate message?

Faux liberals such as Solnit are so deeply embedded in the current corporate cultural system – from which, not surprisingly, she directly profits from – that they have lost touch with reality and, most importantly, with their own humanity. These are the morally corrupt American so-called liberals who choose to believe they are reading/watching an anti-corporate book/movie so that they can feel free to enjoy the ultimate necrophiliac pleasure of imagining/seeing children kill other children. Henry Giroux writes:

The film and its success are symptomatic of a society in which violence has become the new lingua franca. It portrays a society in which the privileged classes alleviate their boredom through satiating their lust for violent entertainment and, in this case, a brutalizing violence waged against children. While a generous reading might portray the film as a critique of class-based consumption and violence given its portrayal of a dystopian future society so willing to sacrifice its children, I think, in the end, the film more accurately should be read as depicting the terminal point of what I have called elsewhere the suicidal society (a suicide pact literally ends the narrative).
Given Hollywood's rush for ratings, the film gratuitously feeds enthralled audiences with voyeuristic images of children being killed for sport. In a very disturbing opening scene, the audience observes children killing each other within a visual framing that is as gratuitous as it is alarming. That such a film can be made for the purpose of attaining high ratings and big profits, while becoming overwhelming popular among young people and adults alike, says something profoundly disturbing about the cultural force of violence and the moral emptiness at work in American society. Of course, the meaning and relevance of "The Hunger Games" rest not simply with its production of violent imagery against children, but with the ways these images and the historical and contemporary meanings they carry are aligned and realigned with broader discourses, values and social relations. Within this network of alignments, risk and danger combine with myth and fantasy to stoke the seductions of sadomasochistic violence, echoing the fundamental values of the fascist state in which aesthetics dissolves into pathology and a carnival of cruelty.

Perhaps, this is the same type of hidden pleasure that Hillary Clinton and Obama (like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al) must feel as they rain drones over the heads of helpless children in the Arab world under the guise of humanitarian intervention – aptly renamed humanitarian imperialism by Jean Bricmont.

Sadly, Solnit and other supporters of the Obama imperial status-quo are the very product of the American corporate culture of violence, the subject of Chris Hedges's Death of the Liberal Class and Empire of Illusion and of many enlightening commentaries by Henry Giroux.