[Marxism] Pax Corleone

gary.maclennan at gmail.com gary.maclennan at gmail.com
Sat Jun 21 19:15:14 MDT 2008

In response to *Pax Corleone *by *John C. Hulsman and A. Wess Mitchell's*

"The aging Vito Corleone, emblematic of cold-war American power, is
struck down suddenly and violently by forces he did not expect and
does not understand, much as America was on September 11."

*Eli wrote*:

Balderdash, this is the epitome of neocon nonsense which "justified" the
"war on
terror." American power was hardly "struck down" by the attacks of 19
individuals on Sept. 11 which destroyed a few buildings, took several
lives, and cost the economy some number of billions of dollars. Al Qaeda did
then, and does not now, "threaten" the American state, or its power, IN THE

*My response*:

Of course Eli is right, and Hulsman & Mitchell's analysis  is overstretched
& weak in many areas.  Nevertheless it must be said from the outset that the
Godfather movies are still the best exegesis on power that the cinema has
produced and H&M are to be congratulated for recognizing the relevance of
the films to the world we inhabit today.  For that reason alone,  I have
long advocated a viewing of the Puzo-Coppola films as a way to understanding
contemporary politics.

What is most revealing however about the Hulsman & Mitchell article is that
it too centres around what can only be called a neo-Machiavellian,
neo-Nietzschean approach to international relations.  Presumably all this is
mediated through the writings and teachings of Leo Strauss.

Hulmsan & Mitchell do not want a break from the will to power.  They like
true mandarins want their place at the table so they can make American
foreign policy more effective.  There is btw a good deal of this type of
thought also present in Juan Cole's work.

So while H&M have a lot of fun at the expense of the neo-cons, they share
the fundamental goals of the neo-con war mongering clique.  Moreover in
their endorsement of the Michael Corleone approach they explicitly advocate
the continued use of criminal violence to achieve the objective of shared if
not total dominance of the world.

H&M also miss the ethical point in the Godfather Trilogy.  It is fashionable
to decry Godfather 3 as inferior to 1 & 2 and of course it is not as great a
film.  Yet 3 explicitly addresses the question of repentance and
redemption.  Thus we see Michael Corleone at the end - a lonely, shattered
old man.  His fate seems to be a commentary on Mark 8:36 -  "For what shall
it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
and Mark 10:23 "How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the
kingdom of God!"

Such ethical concerns are of course beyond the interest of Hulsman &
Mitchell, but they were not at all beyond the interest of Puzo & Coppola.



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