[OPE-L:8535] Re: Critical Realism and the War with Iraq

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Sun Mar 02 2003 - 09:02:58 EST

Re Howard's [8527]:

> You ask what methodological understandings would guide a CR analysis of the drive to war.  From what I have said you will appreciate that from my point of view the essential methodological understandings would be marxist and of a marxism informed not be postivism or postmodernism but by recent advances in scientific realism.  That means starting, I would suppose, with Lenin's Imperialism -- what is going on before our eyes is not so much a choice of policy by a particularly egregious band of right wing Republicans, but an underlying dynamic having to do with the causal structure of international economic and political military relations.  I read the other day where Carter himself as President said were anyone to upset such modus vivendi as existed in the mideast, then the US would  have to intervene by any means necessary.  And so forth.  I have no special expertise in these matters.  Assuming the relevance of the broad strokes of Lenin's analysis, then it would seem also to follow that the breathtaking attack on civil liberties going on before our eyes in the US is also not a matter of the chosen policy of a particular Attorney General, though personalities and contingencies play an important role in contributing to the tempo of events.  Finally, you have emphasized inter-imperialist rivalry, and without doubt that underlying causal dynamic is on display.  Nonetheless, in the face of emerging hegemonic relations, I wonder whether the more significant phenomena in the long run do not reflect something in the way of a resurgence of the national and popular struggles of the Third World, painfully suppressed though they may be, and of people's movements, including in imperialist countries, objectively allied with them.  One of the striking phenomena of the recent period, and most especially in the mideast, but in Europe, the US and elsewhere as well, is the degree to which governments are increasingly remote from the people they govern.  I remember Brecht's poem -- perhaps Bush and them should elect a new people.  I'd be interested in knowing more about the underlying dynamic driving this phenomenon. <

Certainly, both the US and other advanced capitalist nations 
are concerned about 'peoples movements and popular struggles 
in the Third World' (and solidarity within their own nations with 
those movements).  If it wasn't for the looming war with Iraq, the 
timing for a more activist imperialist response to the situation in 
Venezuela and Brazil (to mention two notable and recent examples) 
might be very different. Similarly, the US response to the 'crisis' in 
North Korea to date might be different  had it not been for the all-out 
drive to war against Iraq.  Whether the US remains a hegemonic power 
(as Hans has suggested) or has lost its hegemony and is fighting to 
gain it back (as Cyrus has suggested),  it is clear the the US has a 
number of strategic objectives globally.  In other words, a war on 
Iraq is only one part of a larger strategic plan. This is a point, 
I gather, that is consistent with CR.  I also gather than a CR analysis 
would also include (begin with?) an examination of the world-wide 
economic crisis of capitalism and then consider the current role of 
the US in that crisis and attempts to ensure that the US economy 
does not further contract.  From that perspective, US policy aims
globally could, in part, be thought of as being 'counter-cyclical'.

Solidarity, Jerry

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