[Marxism] Bush and Kerry foreign policies merging; Nader factor worries Kerry campaign

Jurriaan Bendien andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Tue Apr 27 19:12:26 MDT 2004

If Rand Beers says the main goal is ''To show that we can protect America
better than George Bush", which can easily be done, at least two questions
are raised:

(1) is America overprotected, and if so, in what ways and against what
exactly ?
(2) if America's future welfare crucially depends on foreign resources and
markets, then protection must involve safeguarding those foreign resources
and markets. But apart from moral issues, how can short-term imperialist
violence (the "hard option") safeguard those resources and markets, without
invoking increasing long-term opposition, an opposition which focuses on the
vulnerability created by America's dependence on foreign resources and
markets ?

This way of putting it I think helps focus the question Yoshie raised
earlier about of how one could argue against deployment of more troops in
Iraq. Abstractly of course, the answer must be to provide politically
negotiated solutions in preference to  military solutions, but admittedly
this isn't saying much, because what counts is the specific political
solutions being devised or offered.

At the risk of fomenting tedium, let's jog our memory a little to sharpen up
what the stakes are:

Frontline: You develop a theory that comes to be known as "triangulation"
after the '94 elections. And just very briefly, what was your thinking?

Morris: Well, we were locked into a very sterile conflict between the left
agenda and the right agenda. And it was like going into a restaurant and
not being able to order a la carte. If you wanted to have pro choice, you
had to vote for the Democrats and accept high taxes. If you wanted to have
pro life, you had to also accept government--less environment. There was a
coupling here on both sides that was inappropriate.

And I felt that what you should do is really take the best from each
party's agenda, and come to a solution somewhere above the positions of
each party. So from the left, take the idea that we need day care and food
supplements for people on welfare. From the right, take the idea that they
have to work for a living, and that there are time limits. But discard the
nonsense of the left, which is that there shouldn't be work requirements;
and the nonsense of the right, which is you should punish single mothers.
Get rid of the garbage of each position, that the people didn't believe
in; take the best from each position; and move up to a third way. And that
became a triangle, which was triangulation.

For those of your viewers who are into philosophy, it really is Hegelian
in concept: the idea of a thesis, an antithesis, and a synthesis. And when
we originally discussed it, we did so in terms of Hegel, which we had
studied at Oxford. But in American politics, we spoke of triangulation.


"Since the markets are driven by average opinion about what average opinion
will be, an enormous premium is placed on any information or signals that
might provide a guide to the swings in average opinion and as to how average
opinion will react to changing events. These signals have to be simple and
clear-cut. Sophisticated interpretations of the economic data would not
provide a clear lead. So the money markets and foreign exchange markets
become dominated by simple slogans--larger fiscal deficits lead to higher
interest rates, an increased money supply results in higher inflation,
public expenditure bad, private expenditure good--even when those slogans
are persistently refuted by events. To these simplistic rules of the game
there is added a demand for governments to publish their own financial
targets, to show that their policy is couched within a firm financial
framework. The main purpose of insisting on this government commitment to
financial targeting is to aid average opinion in guessing how average
opinion will expect the government to respond to changing economic
circumstances and how average opinion will react when the government fails
to meet its goals."

Source: http://www.prospect.org/print/V4/12/eatwell-j.html

"And I see your true colours, shining through"

-  Cindy Lauper, "True Colours"


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