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

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
John Stanton
Brzezinski Vision for a Power Sharing World Stymied by Ignorant Americans Leaders, Citizens
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Dan Bacher
The Big Corporate Money Behind Jerry Brown
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Nyla Ali Khan
Hoping Against Hope in Kashmir
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
David Yearsley
The Widow Bach: Anna Magdalena Rediscovered
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail