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

March 29, 2017
Jeffrey Sommers
Donald Trump and Steve Bannon: Real Threats More Serious Than Fake News Trafficked by Media
David Kowalski
Does Washington Want to Start a New War in the Balkans?
Patrick Cockburn
Bloodbath in West Mosul: Civilians Being Shot by Both ISIS and Iraqi Troops
Ron Forthofer
War and Propaganda
Matthew Stevenson
Letter From Phnom Penh
James Bovard
Peanuts Prove Congress is Incorrigible
Thomas Knapp
Presidential Golf Breaks: Good For America
Binoy Kampmark
Disaster as Joy: Cyclone Debbie Strikes
Peter Tatchell
Human Rights are Animal Rights!
George Wuerthner
Livestock Grazing vs. the Sage Grouse
Jesse Jackson
Trump Should Form a Bipartisan Coalition to Get Real Reforms
Thomas Mountain
Rwanda Indicts French Generals for 1994 Genocide
Clancy Sigal
President of Pain
Andrew Stewart
President Gina Raimondo?
Lawrence Wittner
Can Our Social Institutions Catch Up with Advances in Science and Technology?
March 28, 2017
Mike Whitney
Ending Syria’s Nightmare will Take Pressure From Below 
Mark Kernan
Memory Against Forgetting: the Resonance of Bloody Sunday
John McMurtry
Fake News: the Unravelling of US Empire From Within
Ron Jacobs
Mad Dog, Meet Eris, Queen of Strife
Michael J. Sainato
State Dept. Condemns Attacks on Russian Peaceful Protests, Ignores Those in America
Ted Rall
Five Things the Democrats Could Do to Save Their Party (But Probably Won’t)
Linn Washington Jr.
Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Hiring Practices: Privilege or Prejudice?
Philippe Marlière
Benoît Hamon, the Socialist Presidential Hopeful, is Good News for the French Left
Norman Pollack
Political Cannibalism: Eating America’s Vitals
Bruce Mastron
Obamacare? Trumpcare? Why Not Cubacare?
David Macaray
Hollywood Screen and TV Writers Call for Strike Vote
Christian Sorensen
We’ve Let Capitalism Kill the Planet
Rodolfo Acuna
What We Don’t Want to Know
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of the Electronics Ban
Andrew Moss
Why ICE Raids Imperil Us All
March 27, 2017
Robert Hunziker
A Record-Setting Climate Going Bonkers
Frank Stricker
Why $15 an Hour Should be the Absolute Minimum Minimum Wage
Melvin Goodman
The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS’s Losses in Syria and Iraq Will Make It Difficult to Recruit
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer Bernie Morphs Into Public Option Dean
Gregory Barrett
Can Democracy Save Us?
Dave Lindorff
Budget Goes Military
John Heid
Disappeared on the Border: “Chase and Scatter” — to Death
Mark Weisbrot
The Troubling Financial Activities of an Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate
Robert Fisk
As ISIS’s Caliphate Shrinks, Syrian Anger Grows
Michael J. Sainato
Democratic Party Continues Shunning Popular Sanders Surrogates
Paul Bentley
Nazi Heritage: the Strange Saga of Chrystia Freeland’s Ukrainian Grandfather
Christopher Ketcham
Buddhism in the Storm
Thomas Barker
Platitudes in the Wake of London’s Terror Attack
Mike Hastie
Insane Truths: a Vietnam Vet on “Apocalypse Now, Redux”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail