FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Imperial Mindset

by JUSTIN DOOLITTLE

Max Boot, one of the nation’s leading chickenhawks, and someone who wrote in 2011, rather straightforwardly, that the United States should maintain its presence in Iraq because “it would allow us to project power and influence in the region,” has written an op-ed for The Los Angeles Times, unapologetically titled “Choosing Sides in Afghanistan.” Boot, who currently holds the gruesome title of “Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in Natural Security Studies” at the Council of Foreign Relations, is a throwback to a simpler time, when Western intellectuals felt comfortable speaking in explicitly imperialistic terms. His honesty is almost refreshing.

The primary point of his new column is to bemoan the United States’s ostensible “neutrality” in the April 2014 presidential election in Afghanistan. Boot writes, naturally, as an honest friend and ally of the Afghan people. He even includes the boast, typical of many chickenhawks, that he “visited” the country recently. He’s so brave.

He starts out by saying that the United States should threaten to withhold aid if President Karzai cancels the election and just assumes dictatorial power (there is apparently “widespread suspicion” in Afghanistan that this will happen). This seems sensible enough; we shouldn’t be providing aid to any corrupt dictators.

Then, though, Boot informs us that, while striking a position of “neutrality” in a “foreign election” might be a “nice ideal,” it is simply “impossible” in this case. Boot’s prescription, shockingly enough, is for the United States to “embrace a more politically activist role” in the presidential election of a sovereign nation. Indeed, the Unites States should “pick a favorite” among the candidates, and then “use its influence, including those notorious CIA bags of cash” to “do what it can to secure the election” of its preferred choice. Boot recognizes the “obvious objections” to such a strategy, including our disastrous record of meddling in Afghan politics, but he warns that these past “mistakes” should not “paralyze” us now. This is just an astonishing paragraph right here:

That’s all true, but we need not be paralyzed by past mistakes. In 2001, U.S. officials knew little of the Afghan political landscape. We have had a dozen years since then to learn the lay of the land, which, one hopes, would allow us to make a better choice this time around.

Think about that last sentence. Boot asserts, flat-out, that the United States must “make a better choice” in the presidential election of another sovereign nation. I wonder if the people of Afghanistan are aware that the “choice” in next year’s election is, in fact, one that ought to be made by the United States.

Imagine if a foreign writer, highly respected in domestic establishment circles, demanded that his government “embrace” a “politically activist role” in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, picking a “favorite” candidate and then “use its influence” to “secure the election” of said candidate. This is virtually unthinkable. I’m not even sure if Boot is consciously aware of how hypocritical and contemptuous all of this is. I doubt he even thinks there is anything unusual about the very notion of proposing direct interference in a foreign election. This is how the deep the imperial mindset runs in people like Boot and other establishment intellectuals.

Justin Doolittle writes a political blog called Crimethink. He has an M.A. in public policy from Stony Brook University and a B.A. in political science from Coastal Carolina University.

Justin Doolittle is a freelance writer based in Long Island, New York. You can follow him on Twitter @JD1871.

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