FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Where We Are Now

by CARL G. ESTABROOK

The election of Bush means that much the same group of statist reactionaries (hardly conservatives, either neo- or otherwise) who are guilty of what the German leaders were condemned for at Nuremberg — launching aggressive war — are still in charge of US policy. Not that things would have been much different for Iraq, had the Democrats won. Kerry was committed (apparently) to equally murderous policies there; his foreign policy advisers seem to have taken Richard Clarke’s position that the US should have killed different Arabs and killed them earlier (in spite of the fact that assassins from Oswald to Sharon hardly ever effect a change in policy).

In domestic matters there may have been some difference. Our two semi-official parties, similar as they are, respond to slightly different constituencies, and some of the Republican looting may have been lessened under a Democratic administration. Bush was as clear as he can be (that is, not too clear at all) at his first press conference, when he announced that he wanted to spend his “capital” on privatizing social security and revising the tax code. The transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, which proceeded apace under the first Bush administration, will only continue in the second; in fact there may be even more emphasis on it, as the administration possibly turns away from foreign to domestic concerns.

Edward Luttwak has pointed out that the recent history of US presidencies shows that second terms often bring changes in direction. The disastrous and incompetent occupation of Iraq, and the fiscal and financial mismanagement that means that foreigners must pony up about two billion dollars every business day to keep the US economy afloat, may put serious limitations on what the second GWBush administration can do. Concentration on the interests of those whom Bush famously referred to as “my base,” the very wealthy, may be the order of the day — which may have the effect of lessening somewhat the torture — figurative and literal — of the rest of the world.

The historian of the Vietnam War, Gabriel Kolko, argued that a Kerry victory would actually be more dangerous for the world at large, because Kerry would have lessened the isolation of the US and thereby undercut opposition to US imperial policy from the EU and the rest of the world. The Iranian government seems to have brought that reasoning, letting on that they preferred the “known quantity” of the Bush people to a possibly more diplomatic Kerry administration, which might make it more difficult for them to play off the EU and the US, as they seem successfully to be doing.

In any case, almost three out of four eligible voters did not vote for Bush, in spite of an intense campaign of fear and misinformation in the corporate media. The result was a Republican victory far closer than that of 1972 — which was followed by the end of a criminal war, the effective impeachment of a severely limited chief magistrate, and some of the most progressive social legislation (and even more progressive proposals) of any administration in living memory. Not a bad model.

Carl Estabrook is a Visiting Scholar University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a CounterPunch columnist. He can be reached at: galliher@alexia.lis.uiuc.edu

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 25, 2017
Benjamin Dangl
Trump’s Budget Expands War on the Backs of America’s Poor
Alice Donovan
US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number of Civilians in Syria
Andrew Moss
The Meaning of Trump’s Wall
Leslie Scott
Trump in the Middle East: New Ideas, Old Politics
George Wuerthner
Environmental Groups as Climate Deniers
Pauline Murphy
The Irish Dead: Fighting Fascism in Spain, 1937
Brian Trautman
Veterans on the March
Eric Sommer
Trumps Attack on Social Spending Escalates Long-term Massive Robbery of American Work
Binoy Kampmark
Twenty-Seven Hours: Donald Trump in Israel
Christian Hillegas
Trump’s Islamophobia: the Persistence of Orientalism in Western Rhetoric and Media
Michael J. Sainato
Russiagate: Clintonites Spread the Weiner Conspiracy
Walter Clemens
What the President Could Learn from Our Shih-Tzu Eddie
May 24, 2017
Paul Street
Beyond Neoliberal Identity Politics
Daniel Read
Powder Keg: Manchester Terror Attack Could Lead to Yet Another Resurgence in Nationalist Hate
Robert Fisk
When Peace is a Commodity: Trump in the Middle East
Kenneth Surin
The UK’s Epochal Election
Jeff Berg
Lessons From a Modern Greek Tragedy
Steve Cooper
A Concrete Agenda for Progressives
Michael McKinley
Australia-as-Concierge: the Need for a Change of Occupation
William Hawes
Where Are Your Minds? An Open Letter to Thomas de Maiziere and the CDU
Steve Early
“Corporate Free” Candidates Move Up
Fariborz Saremi
Presidential Elections in Iran and the Outcomes
Dan Bacher
The Dark Heart of California’s Water Politics
Alessandra Bajec
Never Ending Injustice for Pinar Selek
Rob Seimetz
Death By Demigod
Jesse Jackson
Venezuela Needs Helping Hand, Not a Hammer Blow 
Binoy Kampmark
Return to Realpolitik: Trump in Saudi Arabia
Vern Loomis
The NRA: the Dragon in Our Midst
May 23, 2017
John Wight
Manchester Attacks: What Price Hypocrisy?
Patrick Cockburn
A Gathering of Autocrats: Trump Puts US on Sunni Muslim Side of Bitter Sectarian War with Shias
Shamus Cooke
Can Trump Salvage His Presidency in Syria’s War?
Thomas S. Harrington
“Risk”: a Sad Comedown for Laura Poitras
Josh White
Towards the Corbyn Doctrine
Mike Whitney
Rosenstein and Mueller: the Regime Change Tag-Team
Jan Oberg
Trump in Riyadh: an Arab NATO Against Syria and Iran
Susan Babbitt
The Most Dangerous Spy You’ve Never Heard Of: Ana Belén Montes
Rannie Amiri
Al-Awamiya: City of Resistance
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
The European Left and the Greek Tragedy
Laura Leigh
This Land is Your Land, Except If You’re a Wild Horse Advocate
Hervé Kempf
Macron, Old World President
Michael J. Sainato
Devos Takes Out Her Hatchet
L. Ali Khan
I’m a Human and I’m a Cartoon
May 22, 2017
Diana Johnstone
All Power to the Banks! The Winners-Take-All Regime of Emmanuel Macron
Robert Fisk
Hypocrisy and Condescension: Trump’s Speech to the Middle East
John Grant
Jeff Sessions, Jesus Christ and the Return of Reefer Madness
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail