Forwarded from Einde

Marvin Gandall marvin.gandall at sympatico.ca
Sun Feb 16 21:03:34 MST 2003


[ quoted text snipped ]

I've looked at the article below, and at some of the previous commentary on
various lists citing it as further evidence that the current rift represents
the first stirrings of a a new interimperialist rivalry. The article seems
to me, however, to represent little more than a carefully-crafted leak from
the Bush administration to pressure German public opinion -- especially
German business, which worries about its access to the US  market  -- about
the potential economic cost of refusing to bend to its will on Iraq. The
powerful trade and investment ties between Western Europe and the US ensure
that any serious changes to the relationship are made in accordance with the
economic self-interest of the parties, rather than from political spite. The
reduction and/or redistribution of US troops in Europe threatened by
Rumsfeld has been mooted for some time.

As to the wider issue, the conditions which militate against the resentful
second-tier powers coalescing into a meaningful opposition bloc are, first,
the overwhelming military, economic, and technological superiority of the US
which dwarfs the capacity of all its nearest rivals combined ; second, the
certain refusal of the populations of Western Europe, Russia, and China to
entertain the massive economic sacrifices which would be necessary to enter
into any serious competition for global hegemony with the US; and, third,
the magentic pull of the US market which acts to keep all in its orbit, and
competing with each other for access to it. None of these conditions
promises to disappear in the foreseeable future

In the same vein -- and not to put a damper on the terrific turnout
yesterday, but to try to place it in some perspective -- I wouldn't discount
the "Bush factor" as being responsible for a not insignificant part of it.
He is, you might say, the best builder of the antiwar movement, and a lot of
the anger on the streets represents a highly personalized visceral
alienation from someone widely perceived as a smirking dimwit,  presiding
over an administration which is seen as unnecessarily provocative and
reckless. US foreign policy, as everyone on this list knows, is
bipartisan -- it was the Clinton administration which adopted regime change
and unilateral preemption as policy in Iraq -- but a Clinton or Colin
Powell, for that matter, with their greater personal charm and political
sophistication, would execute the current policy in a manner that would not
arouse nearly the same universal antagonism that Bush does.

So, while my senses have pricked up, I'd still be a little cautious about
jumping to premature conclusions that we've entered a qualitatively new
stage.

Marv Gandall



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