News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Agenda for Liberty or Oppression?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Agenda for Liberty or Oppression?

In response to Pat Lang's excellent list of agenda items for broader policy and diplomatic efforts to bring peace to the Mideast, I wrote the following.

I express my own concerns with your agenda in terms of what Machiavelli would call liberty. As you will know, Machiavelli defined liberty as the balance of interdependencies within a social complex. This means that one party should not have more power than another and their interests should accord with the interests of all. One sign of an oppressive system is that where one party has creates one-way dependencies. Being inordinately dependent on one side is the recipe for corruption and loss of liberty. ...

With this definition in mind, I recall the Marxist Zizek's comments relating to the invasion of Iraq. For Zizek, American leftists were akin to those mealy-mouthed accommodaters of Stalin and totalitarian regimes in cold war eastern Europe.

That is, while the Iraqis suffered torture and terrible persecution, leftists sat comfortably and securely in their western liberal legal systems, looking blandly at the atrocities of the Hussein regime while they cast aspersions on perhaps one of the only chances that these people might have to finally escape that oppression.

Yet, Zizek notes that while the hypocrisy of western liberals and leftists is rank, the problem with the US invasion is that it serves US capitalist and political self-interests, most notably those of big oil.

With this in mind, the invasion by the US simply tried to consolidate the hegemonistic imperial designs of those stealth interests that really control the US political system.

With these comments in mind, I think that the US will have to go a long way in assuring all participants in this grand symphony you propose that it does indeed have more than its own interests at heart.

Unfortunately, the history of the US in the region does not harbinger any good in this direction. US foreign policy in the Mideast has always been geared to creating client states whose service to the US is implemented in terms of a one-way dependency. As Machiavelli was keen to show, creating such unequal dependencies is a sure sign of servility and corruption.

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