Saturday, June 7, 2008

Terra Incognita 38: Herzl, The Iraq War, Isolationism and superdelegates

Terra Incognita
Issue 38
“Written to enlighten, guaranteed to offend”

A Publication of Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem, Israel


June 7th, 2008

1) Crusader, Colonialist, Nazi, Apartheid, Ethnic-cleansing, Racist state; The European and the Other: Herzl's greatest misreading of history: Theodore Herzl believed that the creation of a Jewish state would rid the world of anti-Semitism because he believed the Europeans hated Jews due to the transnational quality of Jews. Today Europeans hate Jews because Jews are considered nationalists and their country, Israel, is described variously as a Crusader, colonialist, Nazi, Apartheid, Ethnic-cleansing, racist state. Is it a coincidence that Israel supposedly has the qualities that Europe once had? Herzl missed this essential reading of history. Europeans find reasons to hate Jews regardless of what Jews do. Whatever qualities are ascribed to Jews they are always the opposite what is culturally popular in Europe.

2) The Secret History of the Iraq War II: The Worst and the dumbest 2003-2008: America’s failure in Iraq has nothing to do with not bringing the correct experts or because of American arrogance or due to the failure of American arms. It has everything to do with the strange combination whereby the reconstruction and occupation was put into the hands of the worst and the dumbest, the exact opposite of the type and character of people put in charge of Germany and Japan in 1945. In addition several other things frustrated American success, namely the reliance on contractors, mercenaries and even too much of a regard for human rights.

3) A little dose of isolationism, please: Perhaps it is time for a little dose of Isolationism in America. This is not because the ‘American empire’ must be brought under control but rather because the world deserves to live in a world without America where the world will have to mature and stop blaming all its problems, from food shortages to the oil crises on United States.

4) The Shadow of Westmoreland County and Boss Tweed: the Democratic party and its superdelegates: Now that the Democratic primaries are finally over it is worthwhile reflecting on the existence of the Democratic superdelegates. Few news programs have revealed that this phenomenon does not haunt the Republican party. The reasons for this have much to do with the history of the Democratic party and its tradition of elitism and reliance on ‘wise men’ and a semi-aristocracy to make its decisions.

Crusader, Colonialist, Nazi, Apartheid, Ethnic-cleansing, Racist state; The European and the Other: Herzl's greatest misreading of history
Seth J. Frantzman
June 1st, 2008

Meron Benvenisti calls it a Crusader State. Noam Chomsky calls it a Colony. Arnold Toynbee compared its actions to the Nazis. Jimmy Carter calls it an Apartheid state. Ilan Pappe says it is involved in Ethnic-cleansing. Everyone calls it racist. This terrible thing, which Iran's president refers to as a 'stinking corpse' exists in our midst and yet we are unable to expunge it from the face of the earth. Not yet, at least.

What thing could conjure up all these insults. Could it be the actual Crusaders, those Europeans who went across Europe to reclaim the Holy Land? Could it be an actual colony such as New Spain where the Spanish lopped off the arms of the natives to find gold? Could it be the actual German Nazis who murdered and genocided their way across Europe? Could it be the actual practitioners of Apartheid, descendants of the Dutch who live in South Africa? Could it be the actual ethnic-cleansers of the Balkans? Could it be the actual Racist Europeans who gloried in race theory in the late 19th century? No. No. No. No. No. No. It is none of those things. It is not European. It is something Europeans dislike.

Theodore Herzl, sitting in the dais watching the proceedings at the Dreyfus trial became convinced that the way to solve the Jewish problem was the creation of a Jewish State so the Jews would be like other nations and have their own state rather than being a transnational minority loyal to none and always wandering about. He believed the European anti-Semites who claimed they hated Jews because of their race and their 'mixing' and 'pollution' of Europe and their lack of loyalty and their lack of being 'European'. Herzl had once felt the Jews might solve their problem by converting en masse to Christianity or by taking up such gentile hobbies as hiking and exercise. But it was not to be, he understood. Jews could not become Europeans. He truly believed the anti-Semites. He believed their rhetoric. But he was misreading history. He did not understand anti-Semitism for what it was: merely the latest manifestation of Jew hatred and the latest excuse for Europeans to blame their problems and those of the world on the Jew.

Herzl could not have known then what has become obvious. Could he have realized that Europeans claimed once to hate Jews merely because the Jews were not Christian. He could not have realized that with secularization the Europeans then decided they would hate Jews because Jews were a separate nation or 'race'. He truly believed the European. He truly believed a Jewish State would make Europeans accept Jews. If he had thought deeper he might have realized that the creation of a Jewish State would merely change the level of Jew-hatred from the internal hatred within European countries to an international hatred of Jews by states. In this way the Jew would not be the pollutant within the state but rather a state polluting the international system that had to be condemned as a 'pariah' by other states.

Once the Jews established Israel it did not take long for the international community to create the mechanisms of hatred anew. The Red Cross which had done nothing to tell the world of the Holocaust and had actively collaborated with the Nazis has become the greatest condemner of Israel. The UN condemns Israel. Amnesty International. Human Rights Watch. For numerous authors the existence of Israel threatens world peace and now large percentages of most European nations believe the existence of Israel is the greatest threat to world peace.

What is most fascinating is the way Europeans condemn Israel. Europeans take those things they have done in their past which they are least proud of and they castigate Israel for doing them. Europeans hate the Crusaders and peg them as racists. Israel thus becomes a 'Crusader State'. Europeans reject colonialism today, although they excelled at it for 500 years, and thus Israel becomes a 'colonial state'. Europeans reject Nazism so Israel becomes a 'Nazi' state. Europeans reject Apartheid even though it was their descendants who invented it and so today they call Israel an 'Apartheid State'. Jimmy Carter did nothing about Apartheid when he was president but he now condemns Israel for being an Apartheid State. Europeans, who invented the notion of race, today reject racism so Israel becomes a 'racist' state. Europeans who once joined their churches to their governments now condemn Israel for having a state religion. Most fascinating of all Europeans condemn Israel for being an 'alien western presence' in the Middle East. Thus the very people, the Jews, who Europeans condemned for so long as 'hunchbacked Asiatics' now are 'Europeans.'

How is it that Europeans have come to cast aspersions on Israel for all those things in their own past they are most ashamed of? How is it that Israel is given the qualities of all those things Europeans hate the most, things they themselves invented? The process is fascinating and says much about what a modern European is. A modern European hates itself. But because Europeans have always hated Jews they only know to hate Jews and thus the self becomes the Jew so that the European can step outside himself and in the name of supporting the 'downtrodden Palestinians' he can condemn the Jews for being European and having all the sins of the European.

Take the European Jonathan Littell, author of Les Bienveillantes, a bestselling novel about an SS officer. He refers to Israel as a 'crazed Western society' and compares Zionism to embryonic Nazism of the 1930s. But think deeply about how Europe views Israel. It ascribes to Israel all the faults of the European past in order to hate Israel in the present. Furthermore it claims that the existence of Israel is the greatest threat to world peace. This is the link. The condemnation of Israel, the Jewish State, as a threat to world peace is identical to what was written in the European bestseller, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion which described the Jewish 'elders' as using war as a way to divide Europeans so that Jews could control Europe. The direct line from the Protocols to Bienveillantes is obscure but fascinating. Although one describes Jews at the height of their power and the other describes Jews being murdered in the Holocaust both are written with the background of someone who hates the Jews. The Russian gentile fabricators who wrote Protocols created a forgery that purported to show the Jews plotting the control of the world. The American born Littell wrote a memoir of an SS officer who is in fact a stand-in for an Israeli. We know that Littell modeled his SS officer on modern Israeli soldiers because of his constant discussions around 'why' people become perpetrators of mass murder and his frequent reference for Israelis to read his book and thus see that they are themselves like the perpetrator he describes. Thus while one book hates the Jews for their transnational power and their subjugation of European nation-states the other hates the Jews because the Jews have become Europeans or 'crazed' westerners. In both instances the European ascribes to the Jewish Other the traits he hates at the time. The European in 1900 hated the Jews for being 'nomadic' and wandering from place to place and having no homeland. The European of 2000 hates the Jews for having a homeland.

Is it true that one essence of a European is hatred? This does not seem fare to say. But what other conclusion can be drawn? In 1938 European rightists across the continent hated the Jews for polluting their pure race. In 2008, just 70 years after, the European leftists hate the Jews for being European and western. Jonathan Littell is the key. He is a Jew. But he believes himself to be a European and he hates Israel for being European. The modern day Jew who hates Israel adopts the race of the European in order to do so and in order, ironically, to cast aspersions on Israel for committing the sins that Europe invented in the past, such as Nazism and Colonialism.

There can be no reconciling the Europeans and the Jews for one portion of European society the only hatred in life is Jews. He cannot hate anything else with passion. Whatever Jews do, Europeans do the opposite. When Jews were transnational the Europeans were nationalist. When Jews are nationalist the Europeans are international. When Europeans are religious the Jews are practicing Judaism. When Europeans are secular racists the Jews are a dark and swarthy race. When Europeans are self hating the Jews are European.

The question is: If the Jews all die will Europeans die as well? Does the European need the Jew in order to survive? Is it his life blood? Is it his essence? Is his world so focused on the Jew, so centered around what the Jew does, so predicated on the Jew, that without the Jew he dies? Before the Jews existed there was nothing in Europe. We know this because there are no inscriptions from European civilizations that existed before the Jews. After the Jewish revolt of 70 A.D the Fall of Rome began, thus showing the destruction of the Jews was intricately linked with the decline of Europe. After Hitler killed the European Jews the decline of Europe began once again. Europe lost its direction and soul and was overrun by immigrants, enslaved by the Soviets and has entered a new dark age of directionlessness where it doesn't even have any national pride.

There is a scene in the film Planet of the Apes where Charlton Heston finds a baby doll and says of the humans that created it "he was a weak fragile animal, but he was here before you and he was better than you are." The Jews existed before the Europeans. They may have been weak but they were there before and they were better than the Europeans.

The Secret History of the Iraq War II: The Worst and the dumbest 2003-2008
Seth J. Frantzman
June 3rd, 2008

In my previous article on the Secret History of the Iraq War, I proposed that the true reason for invading Iraq, far from being because of Weapons of mass Destruction or Oil, was in fact because of the realization at the highest levels that Saudi Arabia was a problematic ally. If Iraq could be transformed into a secular, democratic ally with oil and American military bases then America could wean herself from being held hostage to Saudi, from whence all the 9/11 hijackers had come.

But the outcome has not been as predicated. Numerous books such as Fiasco By Thomas Ricks, State of Denial by Bob Woodward and Imperial Life in the Emerald City have tried to point to why. Numerous other books have simply condemned the administration for 'lying' and using 'propaganda'. Among the themes that have become common are beliefs that the war was for Haliburton to profit, for the oil, for revenge and for Israel. From Richard Clarke's Against all Enemies to George Tenet's At the Center of the Storm to the recent book by Scott Mclellan entitled What Happaned the public has been given an 'insiders account' or 'tell all' of what 'really' went on in the Bush White house. It might e surprising for someone to put all this aside and note that almost none of it is correct. But that is just what needs to be done.

In Imperial Life Rajiv Chandrasekaran paints a picture of why America failed. He chocks it up to a lack of expertise, a lack of hiring enough Middle East Scholars, a lack of interest in the local culture, too many French Fries and too much pork on the menu in the Green Zone. He also chocks it up to the hiring of inexperienced political hacks who flooded Iraq as 'contractors' after the fall of Baghdad. He is correct on one point. Twenty-three year olds hired fresh out of college to run the Iraqi stock exchange did not help matters in Iraq. But on all the other points he misses the boat. He condemns America for 'replicating' the diet of the Ameircan South in the lunch halls in the Green Zone. Mostly he condemns America for serving pork in the cafeterias and thus 'offending' the Muslim Pakistanis hired to cook the meals. This is patently ridiculous. American troops do not have to submit to the dietary choices of the nations they happen to have invaded. American bases in foreign countries do not have change due to what might 'offend' the locals. In Germany after the Second World War the presence of Jews was 'offensive' but the American military didn't keep all its Jews at home. Likewise in the American South after the Civil War the presence of Blacks in uniform was offensive but America didn't disband its black regiments to appease southern sensibilities. Muslims don't eat pork. That is their decision. If the Pakistani cooks hired by Kuwaiti subcontractors didn't like cooking the 'haram' meat they could have quit, although as Mr. Chandrasekaran points out, they were enslaved by their Kuwaiti contractors who confiscated their passports. This second piece of information, which the author fails to develop, is actually more important than the pork cooking. In fact this is what helped cause the downfall and failure of the American efforts at reconstruction.

While Americans who arrived in Iraq in 2003 did not enjoy the Iraqi diet, some didn't even eat Humus and Falafel while stationed in Baghdad, they seem to have appreciated the business culture of the Middle East and adopted its values: namely corruption, cheating, lying and dishonesty. The American contractors who sucked up the fat government contracts that were issued after 2003 to rebuild Iraq came from the lowest levels of American life. They replicated Middle Eastern corruption on a gargantuan scale, providing faulty equipment and bilking the government out of billions. In many cases they were hired with no prior background in what they were contracted to do. While American businesses in the U.S face regulation from the likes of the S.E.C and other regulators, those contracting in Iraq faced almost no supervision. In many cases American military accountants have now admitted that they simply didn't keep track of where any of the money went that was paid out to contractors. In the beginning this took the form of simply dolling out crates of hundred dollar bills. Billions disappeared. Hundreds of thousands of rifles meant for the Iraqi police also disappeared. This lack of responsibility and record-keeping is not endemic to America. But it has appeared in other wars. In the 1898 war against Spain the troops received rotten beef. In the Second World War the American military received planes that crashed. In both cases congressional hearings ferreted out the corrupt businessmen and put them in prison. To date none of the corrupt contractors have been brought to justice. This is a failure of the American judicial system and congressional oversight. One should also note the Americans contracted billions of dollars to our Saudi and Gulf Arab 'allies.' These Arab contractors proved no better. Using slave labour from the Phillipines and South Asia they also provided faulty equipment or sometimes no equipment at all.

In the Emerald City the author chides the U.S for not bringing along people experienced in 'post conflict reconstruction'. What he apparently means is the U.S didn't bring along enough European UN and Red Cross workers, the sort of people who had done an excellent job reconstructing Haiti, East Timor and Kosovo. Well they hadn't. But they had the credentials. In the Second World War when the American legions rolled into Germany they did not bring in their wake people with experience in reconstructing. If they had anyone with such experience it was people who had been involved with the Works Progress Administration, FDR's federally funded program that sent people back to work in the Depression and had built giant concrete projects across the U.S, such as dams and buildings. In truth there is no where America could have learned such expertise in 2003. If one examines similar European inspired attempts to rebuild ruined countries one finds only a trail of tears. The Europeans attempted to do this through colonizing East Timor, Haiti and Kosovo and with the exception of Kosovo, where a European ethnic-cleansing campaign against Serbs succeeded in creating a homogenous country, the examples of this 'reconstruction' are an illusion. Why didn't America fare better at reconstruction? America has succeeded in Germany, Japan and even in the American South in the wake of the Civil War. So why did American know how and ingenuity become frustrated in Iraq? This is a worthwhile question to ponder. Was it the culture of Iraq that caused this? In Germany and Japan America came across a conquered homogenous people with a history of obsession with technology and a passion for Futurism or rather the love of industry. Putting these people 'back to work' was not ingenious. Evidence indicates that these people wanted to be put back to work and that most of them gladly obeyed. The only place that one can say was a reconstruction success was Iraqi Kurdistan. The Sunni and Shia portions of Iraq were not. In the Shia areas there was no history of work, partly because these people had suffered subjugation by Saddam and had no tradition of wanting to build an industrial base to serve a state they hated. In the Sunni areas the people were loyal to Saddam and had no reason to help build an industrial base for a state now governed by Americans and Shias. But is this enough of an explanation? One of the failures of the rebuilding process must lay at the feet, once again, of the contractors. The stories told of the contracting sound like something out of Mexico. People were hired to build desalination plants and waste treatment facilities. In most cases the facilities were built but no one was trained to staff them and no spare parts were ever shipped. This shoddy work is reminiscent of what befell the Soviet Union in its last decade of existence. Giant factories in the Soviet Union existed but most of the interiors had been stripped bare by workers and they rarely produced at level near their intended output because of chronic shortages. The American failure to reinstitute any sort of economy of scale was perhaps multiplied by the fact that so little of the infrastructure could be produced locally in Iraq.

Books have criticized America for not bringing along enough Middle East Scholars and Arabic speakers to Iraq. This critique seems logical on the surface. America has numerous Middle East Studies Departments and numerous Arabic speakers in those departments as well as large numbers of Arab Americans. While recruitment of the Arab Americans may have been an interesting idea in truth it would have accomplished little. Since many American Arabs are Christian there would have been a perception that the American Administration was doing in Iraq what the British had done ealier in the Middle East: hiring local minority groups who were sympathetic to run things. The British had tried this in iraq in the 1920s by hiring and arming Assyrian Levies. In Egypt they had done it with Copts. Neither case worked out well for the Christians or for the perception of the British by the locals. But if America couldn't bring its Arabs then it could have at least brought its scholars like Lisa Anderson, Walid Khalidi and Nadi Abu El Haj along. There is one problem. America's Middle East Studies Departments are all Anti-American and the Arabic speakers have all learned Arabic abroad in Arab countries where in edition to learning Arabic they recite the Shahaada, or conversion verse, daily "La illaha ilallah, wa Muhammadu rasul Allah." America's scholars on Islam, with the exception of Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes and Martin Kramer, are all Islamophiles and many of them are Islamists. It is the Middle Eastern Studies department at Columbia that sent the invitation for Ahmadinjed to speak and also invited the foreign minister of Iran to speak. These departments are not only anti-American, they are also full of anti-Semites and people with very clear and biased missions of their own for the Middle East. In fact many of them were noted for their support of Saddam and quite a few signed letters denouncing the war in Iraq. Hiring these people would have put America back in the strange situation it found itself in with Radio Free Europe in the 1970s when it turned out that the American funded radio station which was supposed to provide broadcasting for dissidents in Eastern Europe had actually been taken over by Communists. Hiring American Arabic scholars to go to Iraq would have been akin to hiring Saddam or Osama to lead the occupation and would have negated the very logic behind the occupation in the first place. In addition, most Middle East Studies Departments are endowed by Saudi Arabia, and hiring their scholars would have been akin to hiring the 9/11 hijackers to transform Iraq, such is the extremist viewpoints created by the Saudi endowment of these departments.

There has been a great deal of criticism of the American security contractors in Iraq such as Blackwater, Dyncorp and Triple Canopy. The criticism is usually that these contractors ran wild in Iraq and are not accountable for shooting civilians. In truth the real problem with them has been the fact that the army has outsourced its job to them so that the government can keep troop levels low. With 130,000 American contractors a total of 5 divisions of American troops can be saved from deployment. But this is merely fighting a war with mercenaries and has no precedent in American history. In fact the great problem of the Iraq war has been that it is the first war where much of the American military's logistics and security has been outsourced. This is part of the Rumsfeld plan that foresaw a lean American army. But this lean army is not conducive to fighting major wars and handling an occupation. The American army has seen lean years before. In 1859 it consisted of only a skeleton of 29,000 officers and enlisted men. In 1929 only 250,000 men were under arms. In 1789 the U.S had only 718 men in the regular army. At its height of power, by contrast, the U.S had 11,995,000 men under arms in 1945. In the Civil War some 3 million men were under arms on both sides of the conflict. Consider these figures when considering the difference between the American juggernaught that rolled into Western Germany in 1945 and meticulously razed the American South during the Civil War. Consider Phil Sheridan's order of the day on August 7th, 1864 when he was directed to invade the Shenandoah valley with his Union Cavalry army of 40,000 men: "The people should be informed that so long as an army can subsist among them recurrences of these raids must be expected, and we are determined to stop them at all hazards. ... Give the enemy no rest ... Do all the damage to railroads and crops you can. Carry off stock of all descriptions, and negroes, so as to prevent further planting. If the war is to last another year, we want the Shenandoah Valley to remain a barren waste." Sheridan complied in much the same way the American bomber command under Curtis LeMay razed the German cities during the Second World War. By contrast Shock and Awe was indeed merely, shock and awe, it produced little devestation on the scale unleashed by previous American armies. And yet the reconstruction was a failure and a virtual shadow army of contractors were hired in the place of actual soldiers to do the job that in previous wars the American army had been able to accomplish.

What of the insurgency? Did the insurgency defeat the Americans? The answer is yes and no. In the wake of the Second World War and the Civil War there was little in the way of an insurgency. It has been estimated that no more than 700 Americans died after the German capitulation. In the American south the various 'resistance' organizations that sprang up such as Nathan Bedford Forrest's KKK or the Jesse James Gang killed few Union soldiers. But resistance in the face of national defeat has taken place elsewhere, notably in Spain between February and July 1808 an improvised Spanish army of resistance emerged to fight Napoleon causing thousands of casualties. Lack of resistance certainly makes the situation in Iraq after 2003 incomparable with the situations of other American occupations and liberations. But the great failure of American arms must be pegged at the military's inability to crush the resistance using any means possible. The modern era of political correctness and 'human rights' means that a military can never defeat a resistance but instead must accept a status quo of terrorism and security. This is why the American military unwisely studied the French in Algeria and the Israeli army in the West Bank to 'learn' about how to fight a resistance. The Iraqi insurgents also studied, the Palestinian fighters in the West Bank and the Islamist resistance in Afghanistan and Algeria and Chechnya. Iraq therefore became what everyone had studied, a savage, terrorist-ridden quagmire. If America had been slightly more brutal and prescient it would have studied how Saddam put down the Shia rebellion and how Assad put down the Islamist rebellion in Syria: brute force and mass killing of recalcitrant people.

To make up for the failure in Iraq the long arm of American justice must reach out and find the corrupt contractors who have bilked the American taxpayer out of billions. The money trail is not completely obscured. Tens of thousands of Arab and American contractors are living large on the money they have absconded with. It is time for America to turns it vengeance on these people. The history of the Iraq war will not be complete until these animals have been brought to justice. The failure in Iraq has proved to result from four primary things: A corrupt group of American and Arab contractors who adopted the culture of the Middle East, a secondary tier of Americans who adopted the haughty and arrogant ways of the U.N and Europeans during the occupation and believed that they could run universities and stock exchanges without any prior experience in anything, the American military inability to use overwhelming force and the need therefore to rely on security contractors and outsourcing, the human rights environment that forced the American military to obey the 'rules of war' and the mistaken belief that studying the failures of France and Israel would result in success.

A little dose of isolationism, please
Seth J. Frantzman
Mary 18th, 2008

Tourism is a modern phenomenon. A recent article in some magazine attached to the Herald Tribune argued that tourists are seeking more 'authentic' and 'unfiltered' cultural experiences. Alongside this is the advent of poverty and social cause tourist. There are tours to the worst ghettos in Brazil and peace tourism for Europeans and their Arab Khaffiyas to visit Palestine and fight the Israeli occupation. Then there is the dark side, the Sex tourist.

Tourism and isolationism are related for isolationists are not usually globe-trotting tourists. During the recent catastrophe in Myanmar there was much talk of how we must help them. It makes one realize the degree to which people have come to believe that every large death toll in a foreign country can be solved by 'aid'. There is a notion that 'without me, they would starve'. This notion plays itself out after every earthquake or tidal wave. There is the immediate rush by westerners to 'save' the dying people in some far off land. But this is a modern phenomenon. 200 years ago there would have been no rushing to help. Why? Technology is bring the world's catastrophes to our doorstep. The ultimate act of courage is to ignore them.

How can one ignore 50,000 dead Chinese or 78,000 dead Burmese or 150,000 dead Indonesians? One can ignore them the way one ignored them when they were alive. When those 50,000 Chinese people were alive in some unknown, hard to pronounce, province in the middle of no where we didn't care about them. Is it rational to suddenly want to 'save' them?

It is not a question of reciprocity. Foreign countries don't care when large numbers of westerners die in disasters. There was no foreign aid after Katrina, unless it was in the form of foreigners laughing at the U.S and offering handouts to the pathetic giant that couldn't help its own people. The Chinese were not standing in line to give aid. But the courage to not help Chinese people is not about getting revenge. It is about being practical and changing the way one views the world.

They will survive without our help. The notion, the arrogant notion, that they 'need' us and our donations is quite extraordinary. China existed long before the West. It suffered earthquakes back then too. Yet there were no westerners to help then. So how did China survive? It survived somehow. All the places that we yearn to 'save' today have existed just as long as we have, if not longer. The African children who are perpetually starving have been around longer than westerners. The Burmese, the Indonesians. They have been there too. This notion that we are responsible for them is so extraordinary and uniquely modern that it is hard to understand it, had we not all grown up with it.

The ability to deny foreigners aid when they suffer catastrophe is directly linked with the ability to return to isolationism. Surely this is the opposite, or at least one opposite, of neo-conservatism. But it is a decent answer to the world. The world complains about America. Perhaps it is time the world lived without the U.S. But the world must know that isolationism may affect it more than it realizes. Isolationism means a return to a more authentic America. In this America one cares more about business and less about foreigners.

The world plays an interesting blame game with the U.S. On the one hand it blames the U.S for not 'leading'. It blamed the U.S for the Rwandan genocide. Yet at the same time it blames the U.S for being the 'bully'. The world needs to learn that it can take care of itself. There are 180 countries in the world, the notion that America must 'lead' them all or that America 'bullies' them all is ridiculous. But one cannot see how ridiculous it is unless America is willing to remove itself from that world. America must remove itself from the U.N, first of all. The U.N receives half of its budget from the U.S. Yet the U.N is the very place where anti-U.S rhetoric is heard all too often. It is time to sell off the U.N complex in New York City to investors and evict the tenants, most of whome had racked up millions of dollars in unpaid parking tickets. In fact the foreign cars should be confiscated as compensation for these tickets. America should pull out of Iraq and let Iraq die. Iraq deserves what it gets.

The world needs a little dose of American isolationism. The two decades of America as a world power which will end in 2009 (1989-2009) have proved a complete disaster, not because of America, but because of the good intentions of America and the obnoxious intentions of the world. America tried to help Eastern Europe integrate into Europe. America tried to solve crises in Panama, Somalia and Haiti. It tried to sort out the mess in the Balkans. It tried to stop Saddam Hussein and then it tried to liberate Iraq. America tried to get revenge for 9/11 and also to fight a war on terror. America has tried to work with China, India and Russia. America has tried to help in Africa. But in each case America is frustrated. After America donated hundreds of billions of dollars to Indonesian Muslim victims of the Tsunamai, America ws confronted with anti-American protests by Indonesian Muslims. In other places America has given aid and not even told the people it came from the U.S, a replay of the support America gave the Mujahadin in Afghanistan in which Pakistan took all the credit. It has to stop. America was blamed for the Rwandan genocide by Europeans when it was those European states, Belgium and France, who had armed the genocidaires. After 9/11 America was blamed for the 'blowback' because America had supported Israel, supported Saudi and established basis in the Persian gulf to defend the Gulf Arabs. Its time for America to end its relationship with the satanic regime in Riyadh and with the Gulf Arabs. Everyone is so afraid that Iran will sit across the oil spigots. But technology can defeat oil. The Gulf Arabs have built cities over the dead bodies of hundreds of thousands of South Asian slaves that they have imported. There is no reason to have a relationship with such blood soaked regimes.

In short, the world doesn't deserve America. The world deserves itself. It has always deserved itself. Europeans deserved Nazism, not because they all deserved to die, but because of their weakness and appeasement. The world has always deserved its extremism, from the inquisition to Communism. America has always been the happy warrior, the center. It is time America return to that center and look inwards and remove itself, if only for a few decades, from the world so the world can start growing up and blaming itself for its problems.

Instead of looking for 'authentic' and 'unfiltered' cultural experiences Americans can once again start learning about their heritage and their great vistas. America is bigger than Europe and has more unfiltered culture than the world can ever offer. Leave the culture and the earthquakes and the wars to the world. Its time for America to live again and not be burdened by these shackles. As Russel Means said "for America to live, Europe must die."

The Shadow of Westmoreland County and Boss Tweed: the Democratic party and its superdelegates
May 27th, 2008
Seth J. Frantzman

In the early days of the American Republic it was thought that the Senate should be appointed by the political parties so that it would eschew extremism and faction, those things that so worried the early American founding fathers. For their generation such things were indeed worrisome for although they had launched a great revolution they had not intended to create a country akin to the Wild West. Until 1913 the U.S Senators were chosen by state legislators, not by the people. The various small rebellions such as Shay's rebellion in 1786 and the Whiskey rebellion in 1794 made it clear that a weak federal government, as envisioned in the original Articles of Confederation and the masses which were given, at time, to outbursts of extremism could lead to chaos.

The first great American politicians were almost all from just three notable counties in Virginia. George Washington and James Monroe were from Westmoreland County. James Madison was from King George County and Thomas Jefferson was from Albemarle County. This southern elite contributed great ideas to the United States and helped frame the Constitution. However it was very much an elite. Early American politics was dominated by two parties, the 'Federalist' and the 'Democratic-Republican'. The Federalist Party would eventually become the American Whig Party and finally the Republican Party. The Democratic-Republican Party would become the party of Andrew Jackson and eventually the Democratic Party.

It is interesting the original elites of the Democratic-Republican party whose fear of the rabble led eventually to the burgeoning existence of 'Political Bosses' in the Democratic Party that culminated with Boss Tweed, Tammany Hall, Tom Pendergast, James Farley and Chicago's Richard Delay. It was the Democratic Party that excelled in the arena of the Political Boss and the 'smoke filled rooms'. This is not political sniping but fact. While the Republican Party had its elites and its system, the thug-like system of bosses, union corruption and mafia connections was never a part of the Republican meleiu. However the Boss system of the Democratic Party produced well known politicians from Harry Truman to John F. Kennedy.

As the Democratic Party transformed itself from the 19th century party of populism, southern reactionaries and Bosses into the 20th century manifestation of unions, big government, diversity and liberalism this necessitated a change in the governing structure of the party. This led directly to the 1968 McGovern-Fraser commission which caused the Democrats to do away with the 'smoke-filled room' style of selecting delegates to the national convention. Prior to 1968 the parties elders and bosses had chosen many of the delegates to the national conventions and thus ensured that the top echelons of the party had their say in who would be the presidential nominee. This is no surprise given the history of the Democratic Party's attachment to bosses and Southern elites. However the revolution in the rules of the Democratic Party that took place in 1968 led to Democratic delegates being selected by popular vote. Recall that 1968 was the height of the Vietnam war and student activism and with Bobby Kennedy and Eugene Mcarhty as potential anti-war nominees campaigning against the 'Happy Warrior' Hubert Humphrey for the soul of the Democratic party it was no surprise that the rules should have been ratified that year. But that year also led the Democrats into a wilderness. Nixon not only beat Humphrey in 1968 but crushed George McGovern in 1972 in one of the great landside victories of American presidential politics. After the destruction of Jimmy Carter by Reagan's revolution in 1980 it became clear that giving too much power to the masses of the Democratic Party had resulted in the choice of a lunatic leftist fringe to head what had been a centrist American Political party. In 1982 the Democrats swung back and created a class of Superdelegates or 'un-pledged' delegates that would consist of sitting Democratic Senators, Congressmen, governors, members of the Democratic National Committee and ordinary citizens selected by the party. This class of delegates began at only 14% of all Democratic delegates to the 1984 convention but has steadily increased to become 20% of the delegates to the Demcratic conventions. Their power was first felt in 1984 when they helped hand the nomination to the staid Walter Mondale over the more popular and youthful Gary Hart. Mondale, unsurprisingly, went down to defeat, as did Mr. Dukakis.

This years split decision in the Democratic ranks has led to the prospect that the Superdelegates could decide the nomination against the will of the rank and file. This is certainly not something the party wants to do. Such a visible flexing of elitist muscle would send the wrong message to the poor blacks and union workers who make up the foot soldiers of the party. But this prospect should send a message to this rank and file. It should show them that in truth the Democratic Party's leadership has not changed dramatically since 1800. Indeed the party is currently set to nominate one of its two 'favored minorities', a black or a woman (certainly not a black woman however). But when it comes to who is running the party the style is mostly the same as in the past. Wealthy rich elites who inherited their wealth make up the pashas of the democratic party. The Kennedys are not the exception, but the rule and the romance attached to these dynasties is a shackle around the necks of the democrats, not so unlike the shackle once placed around the necks of the slaves owned by the founding father of the party, Thomas Jefferson. If the Democratic Party has had one tradition over the years that sits side by side with elitism it is the tradition of hypocrisy. The tradition that allowed Jefferson to write that 'all men are created equal' and yet own slaves. This hypocrisy has certainly not been found in the Republican party's long and hallowed tradition. John Adams was not a slave holder, lest we forget. The Republican Party has had support from wealthy voters, to be sure, but its wealthy supporters have never matched the wealth of the Democratic Party's greatest supporters such as George Soros. It is no surprise that in terms of fundraising the Democratic Party, its Political Action Comittees and its allied political organizations such as outspend the Republican party by a margin of 4 to 1. For instance Obama has raised $40 million dollars a month in fundraising for his campaign while McCain raised only $18 million in April of 2008. The Democratic Primaries have cost the candidates some $300 million. The Republican party estimates that it will take in only another $150 million between the end of May and November. When one compares that with the $240 million that could be raised by Obama the difference is staggering, especially when one considers that this only represents contributions to the campaign and not outside spending.

The Superdelegates are a menace. They include Nancy Pelosi's daughter for instance, a clear mark of nepotism. They are an anti-democratic throwback. While the media likes to focus on them it does not seem to mention that the Republican party eschews this ridiculous elitist method of selection for a winner-take-all system of primaries that prevents the kind of split Proportional Representation that has plagued the democrats. In the end people should recognize that the method of selecting the candidate says much about the culture of the party and although the Republicans are stereotyped as the party of the wealthy the actual culture of the Republican party has always given over control of the party to the rank and file Republicans who, it is no surprise, have a much lower defection rate than Democratic voters (i.e there are no Clinton Republicans, but there are 'Reagan Democrats).

1 comment:

archivujem said...

I just read your review of Ilan Pappe`s book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. It is more ad hominem attack and manipulatilation than a real review. It is a pitty that you have not written it properly. Yet, I do not wonder, since a serious analysis based on facts would not be published by MEFORUM ...