Friday, August 26, 2005

Against the "Strategic Class"

In the run-up to the 2004 U.S. elections, I pointed out the lack of difference between a Democratic and a Republican empire, drawing a parallel - as all too few have - between the Bushite "War on terrorism" and the Clintonite "Humanitarian crusade."

Now it seems that some Democrats are finally coming to understand that their "strategic class" (as Ari Berman of The Nation masterfully put it) is just as imperialist, if not more, than the neocons. Berman actually lays out a whole hierarchical pyramid of imperialists on the Democrat side, starting with Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton in the Senate, through Richard Holbrooke, Mad Madeleine Albright and Jamie Rubin in the gray diplomacy, down to think-tanks like the Council of Foreign Relations (strangely, not mentioning the ICG) and pundits like Thomas "give war a chance" Friedman.

But Berman is unable to answer his own question - "Why is the assumption of interventionism dominant in Washington's foreign policy discourse?" - because of a logical handicap. As Justin Raimondo explains this morning:
...there is a "simple answer," and it is the natural tendency of the Washington elites to assume the efficacy of government action as the solution to all problems. The "strategic class" is founded, after all, on the premise that the U.S. must intervene – militarily and otherwise – in the affairs of other nations in order to secure its own "national interests." The question isn't whether or not to intervene, but what strategy ought to underpin our intervention. (emphasis added)

The unspoken argument is that both the Democrats' "strategic class" and the Republican neocons are working hand-in-hand, complementing each others' efforts, to destroy what is left of the American republic and replace it with an American Empire.

Raimondo - no Democrat by any stretch of imagination - holds out hope that the Democrats will find some way to reclaim their Jeffersonian heritage; that, by challenging not just this war but imperial intervention in general they will manage to argue themselves out of their menshevik ideology. Perhaps he is being too much of an optimist. Individual redemption is possible - I went from a Communist Pioneer to an anarcho-capitalist libertarian, though the road wasn't easy. But collective redemption of an entire party? It's almost easier to believe the present-day Republicans will resurrect the Old Right...

The best I can hope for at this time is that the Democrats' Balkans policy, recently co-opted by Bush II, will become associated with the catastrophe in Iraq, and scrapped by the time the next election comes around.

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