Thursday, December 02, 2004

further parrhesia watch

In an extremely rich interview with In Motion Magazine, Chalmers Johnson does not hesitate to state the uncomfortable truth:
Bill Clinton was a better imperialist

People sometimes think that I’m attacking the Bush administration. But empire has a much longer history than just the Bush administration, and I would be the first to argue (as I do in my book), that Bill Clinton was a better imperialist than George Bush because he cleverly disguised what we were doing under various rubrics that he invented. That is the essence of strategy: not to give away one’s true purpose but to use an indirect approach. For example, Clinton argued that our attack on Serbia in 1999 was humanitarian intervention. In other cases, he disguised our imperialism as part of a newly discovered ineluctable process called “globalization.”

I’m not going to say that there aren't circumstances under which the use of military force to prevent genocide might be called for, but the issue always is who decides that it’s legitimate to do so. If you yourself say, “I’m invading Panama but this is humanitarian intervention,” well, no, that’s imperialism. The odd thing about our humanitarian intervention is that we invoked it for Kosovars against Milosevic, and for starving Somalis back in 1993; but we’ve not invoked it for Rwandans, Palestinians, Tibetans, East Timorese, and any number of people that one might have argued need protecting, even if it required the use of military force to do so.

Even more important was Clinton’s camouflaging American imperialism under the cover of globalization. He suggested that rather than this being American policies to exploit defenseless Third World farmers for the sake of our own wealth, we were simply reacting to technological forces that were transcending national boundaries.

Regime change
George Bush, by contrast, drops the mask...(more)

More on parrhesia here and here

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