Provoking A Fight: Your Letters
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Adopting a "containment" Cold War model for dealing with international terrorism (both state sponsored and otherwise), as Beinart apparently suggests, is a good progressive starting point. It certainly contrasts neatly with the neo-cons' utter ideological disdain for containment and deterrence as foreign policy goals. The Cold War model also can be held up as an approach that, with bi-partisan patience, works successfully in the long run.
What I believe progressives should also stir constructively into the mix is a hardy dose of anti-militarism.
The Republican Party, after all, has always had an unabashed militarist wing. Wave the bloody shirt. The imperialist jingoism of the Spanish American War. Teddy Roosevelt's big stick. McArthur & McCarthy. Ronald Reagan's schtick in Grenada. The extradition of Manual Noriega from Panama. Countless Marine interventions in the Caribbean and Central America to foment regime change and further multinational business interests.
In contrast, Democratic presidential candidates (Wilson, FDR, LBJ) campaign on promises of peace, but events largely beyond American control seem to just keep forcing involvement in warfare overseas upon them. Whatever became of the good neighbor policy and/or Peace Corps-style internationalism?
The Democratic Party leadership should be proud to have a grassroots peace wing to contrast with the rabid, saber rattling interventionists of the GOP. Rather than trying to out macho the macho man, the two-party system should frame the historical contrast, and see which way the independent voters go.
If the Dems can't speak out for meaningful civilian control over military adventurism like Bush's Iraq policy, then we need a third political party that will.
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There is a tendency on the left to examine a proposition, find an imperfection and throw out the entire proposition as a result. Throwing out the baby with the bathwater is not a very productive strategy for developing strategy. I certainly disagree with plenty of what Beinart has proposed at times. But when I look at his thesis of looking back to post-World War II progressivism for inspiration, I find it helpful.
Although there certainly are flaws in the World Bank and IMF, it would be foolish to ignore the values that GATT, the U.N., the Marshall Plan, etc. did bring. We created from whole cloth a strong international economy of democratic societies from countries that were devastated after World War II. Yes, not all countries in the world benefited as much as Germany, England, France, Japan, etc. But those did well in the first phase. The Asian Tigers joined in a second phase.
The challenge before us, on the world stage of today, is how to extend that from an international scope of a few dozen nations to a global scope of most nations in order to co-opt the causes of terrorism. […]
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Everybody wants to claim Reinhold. It will be interesting to learn, once you've read the book, how well he latches on to Niebuhr, whose following among progressives is quite ambivalent at best.
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How silly. First read the book—then discuss it. Rule #1 in any sensible approach. Scanning the index for hot-button entries won't do.
And if you sat down with the author, where are his responses?
Although I agree with the content of the article, I find it interesting that the last statement blames Republicans for the problem while the article names only two proponents—both Democrats. Maybe the issue is less partisan and more about money money money...
To hell with the "minimum wage" as long as there are unpaid interns, there is no justice. How many of us graduate with knowledge and skills to find nothing but internships for jobs in our chosen field?
Technically, we are "independent subcontractors", another fucking loophole. If the attorneys in congress were actually representing us as clients, we'd have a strong case for disbarment for malpractice.
If the MBAs can't make an honest profit without unpaid labor, they should find a new job, at minimum wage.
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Why, oh why, oh why, do I not see pieces like Jared Bernstein's 'Pay Raise Politics' in national newspapers? I fear that Mr. Bernstein is asking the wrong question when he wonders whether the electorate is too busy or too distracted to notice the erosion of Congress' values. I lay the blame on the mainstream media who consistently fail to point out to the electorate in clear and unambiguous language what the government is doing to this country and its citizens.
I read your article with great interest, but it wasn't until I came to this paragraph that it hit me...
The war in Iraq was not a "mistake." It was a deliberately calculated exercise of U.S. power with a specific end in mind—namely, control of Iraq and the Persian Gulf region. It was illegal and remains so. It was a war crime and remains so. Its perpetrators were war criminals and remain so. Its goals were unworthy and remain so.
That is what is missing from so much rhetoric. I firmly believe this and have gnashed my teeth in vain for years now because no one else seems to realize it. I'm glad that someone else out there understands what I have believed all along. My son is in the Marines and I couldn't be prouder of my son or all the military forces we have. They do what we ask of them. And whether we should pull out of Iraq now is a thorny issue with no clear cut answers. But what I don't see is anyone holding the politicians in Washington to account. A mistake indeed.
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An exceptionally perceptive piece, well-argued, and I believe essentially correct. If the U.S. is willing to pay the price, it can occupy Iraq for 50 years, and as far as the U.S.'s imperial goals are concerned, it matters little what state Iraq is in at the end of that period.
As you correctly point out, these goals are supported by virtually all of our political and business classes, and are not likely to change no matter who is in office.
The flaw in this argument, which you rather subtly alluded to, I thought, is that such a victory may very well mean the end of the U.S. A busted economy, an essentially fascist set of social norms and a military as ruined as that of the old Soviet Union. At that point, I doubt if most U.S. citizens will care whether we "won" or "lost."
When the Reaganites crowed 20 years ago about bankrupting the Soviet Union by outspending them on military hardware, I remember thinking: "You morons, don't you realize that you've bankrupted us as well?" Well, it's taken a while, but here we are. When our captive economists assure us, and their corporate masters, that we have nothing to worry about, our economy is still the strongest in the world, China has no choice but to bankroll our profligate nastiness, etc., etc. I remember a little history.
In my judgment, we'll be lucky to escape our currently folly as adroitly as England did. It's far more likely that we'll wind up like Spain, or worse yet, Rome. It will take a while, and we won't see it coming until it's irreversible, but when it does arrive, we'll have richly deserved it.