I don't recall why but I shifted to here
You will hear pundits analyze the New Hampshire primaries and conclude that the political “extremes” are now gaining in American politics – that the Democrats have moved to the left and the Republicans have moved to the right, and the “center” will not hold.
Baloney. The truth is that the putative “center” – where the Democratic Leadership Council and Bill Clinton’s “triangulation” of the 1990s found refuge, where George W. Bush and his corporate buddies and neoconservative advisers held sway, and where Barack Obama’s Treasury Department granted Wall Street banks huge bailouts but didn’t rescue desperate homeowners – did a job on the rest of America, and is now facing a reckoning.
The “extremes” are not gaining ground. The anti-establishment ground forces of the American people are gaining. Some are so fed up they’re following an authoritarian bigot. Others, more wisely, are signing up for a “political revolution” to take back America from the moneyed interests.
That’s the real choice ahead.As described at Eurasia Review:
Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, Supercapitalism, and his most recent book, Aftershock. His "Marketplace" commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes. He is also Common Cause's board chairman. His website is: http://robertreich.org
[T]he West is coming under pressure again, including in its own backyard. This time, the challenge is political, not economic: the rise of politicians who relish conflict and disdain national and international law and democratic norms.
I call such leaders “PEKOs,” after the four most prominent examples of their kind: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyep Erdoğan (see also) the Polish politician Jarosław Kaczyński (see also) and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (see also).
PEKOs do not view politics as the management of collective emotions in order to achieve broad policy goals: faster economic growth, a more equitable distribution of income, or greater national security, power, and prestige. Instead, they regard politics as an endless series of intrigues and purges aimed at preserving personal power and privilege.
... then may we be able to go on and deal with our culpability for the shit we have created variously in the middle east and in the rise of terrorism by going into a stupid war in Iraq...
... and then maybe we might be able become a sensible ally of the USA, a thoughtful one, with opinions and wisdoms, if we must be an ally, if the USA remains worthy of our alliance (another subject).
Can I offer these thoughts for those who scoff at Saudi princelings.
in 1900 the only member of the British cabinet who was not a princeling was Joseph Chamberlain, the millionaire who moved his politics to the right to become a monster of empire and start the Second Boer War. That he came from Manchester: Manchester that rose to wealth on the backs of poor Irish workers and, earlier on, southern American cotton picking slaves, then empire-cheap workers. From such sprang mighty Immodest Britain.
Can I note as historical record that the beginning of significant oil taxation in the west began with the first oil shock in 1973, when the Saudis organised OPEC and prices went up. That the intention was to restrain consumption but it is evident that consumers are not so daunted by price... until we compare with the effect of negligible restraint in the USA and the persistence there of gas guzzling. Thank you Europe for restraint, taxation, more sensible prices and vehicles. And thank you Saudis for taking a hold of your resources and getting the world on a slightly better course.
Can I mention that the great USA-Saudi-Aramco relationship can be traced to the rivalry between Lawrence of Arabia and Philby Senior, father of Philby Spy, for influence in London. Lawrence was the bigger charmer and sold London on giving first place to relations with Amman and Baghdad. Philby, fuming over his conditions as consul in Jeddah [dip toes here] and annoyed that London had spurned the Saudis, introduced the Americans, which some might say a greater betrayal of England than his boy achieved. But not greater than Lawrence's betrayal of us all, teaching Arabs the virtue of blowing things up. I cite Basil Liddell-Hart's opinion on that, Lawrence's responsibility for legitimising terrorism.
Can I also note that turbulence in Iran can be traced back to British and American intervention. http://www.iranchamber.com/history/coup53/coup53p1.php says that the 1953 coup was the CIA's first success, but we may well consider the long view and the dreadfulnesses since the 1970s especially.
Can I mention to those that scoff at free education and capital expenditure based on oil in Saudi Arabia that Australia's roads and hospitals and schools have been sustained in the last several decades by China and others buying resources.
And note that indicative of our higher intellects we will abandon public schools and hospitals before we abandon road spending. Or consider sensible redistributive taxation. Electing conservative leaders similar to those in the UK and USA who though in the great scheme of things not hugely rich perversely consider it a goddess-given virtue to work wholeheartedly for the 1%.
If people don't begin to see such perspectives then ... Well the world will be as much at risk as if its fate were in the hands of young history-naive children in banks and trading places wherever.
Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition.
Man is the only being who knows he is alone, and the only one who seeks out another.
In 1914 and over the years that followed, as in 2001 and years that follow it, we see political leaders create a situation where they must remain consistent with already failed strategy. They must chew up more lives, because to do otherwise risks not just their own positions but the whole posture and shape of state power they have built up to reinforce their strategies. So much so, that rivals... have to speak the same language, have to say yes they will fight the War on Terror, otherwise they themselves fear being political losers because the whole political vocabulary has been distorted by fear and misinformation. We say to ALL political leaders this: we reject the macho thick-skull notion that you can’t change your mind. We will support you in any pursuit of sane new policy directions to other than war.