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

May 29, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
No Laughing Matter: The Manchester Bomber is the Spawn of Hillary and Barack’s Excellent Libyan Adventure
Vijay Prashad
The Afghan Toll
Melvin Goodman
The Washington Post’s Renewed Attack on Whistlblowers
Robert Fisk
We Must Look to the Past, Not ISIS, for the True Nature of Islam
Dean Baker
A Tax on Wall Street Trading is the Best Solution to Income Inequality
Lawrence Davidson
Reality and Its Enemies
Harry Hobbs
Australia’s Time to Recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Sovereignty
Ray McGovern
Will Europe Finally Rethink NATO’s Costs?
Cesar Chelala
Poetry to the Rescue of America’s Soul
Andrew Stewart
Xi, Trump and Geopolitics
Binoy Kampmark
The Merry Life of Dragnet Surveillance
Stephen Martin
The Silent Apartheid: Militarizing Architecture & Infrastructure
Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
David Macaray
Stephen Hawking Needs to Keep His Mouth Shut
Ramzy Baroud
Fear as an Obstacle to Peace: Why Are Israelis So Afraid?
Kathleen Wallace
The Bilious Incongruity of Trump’s Toilet
Seth Sandronsky
Temping Now
Alan Barber – Dean Baker
Blue Collar Blues: Manufacturing Falls in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania in April
Jill Richardson
Saving America’s Great Places
Richard Lawless
Are Credit Rating Agencies America’s Secret Fifth Column?
Louis Proyect
Venezuela Reconsidered
Murray Dobbin
The NDP’s Singh and Ashton: Flash Versus Vision
Ron Leighton
Endarkenment: Postmodernism, Identity Politics, and the Attack on Free Speech
Anthony Papa
Drug War Victim: Oklahoma’s Larry Yarbrough to be Freed after 23 Years in Prison
Rev. John Dear
A Call to Mobilize the Nation Over the Next 18 Months
Yves Engler
Why Anti-Zionism and Anti-Jewish Prejudice Have to Do With Each Other
Ish Mishra
Political Underworld and Adventure Journalism
Binoy Kampmark
Roger Moore in Bondage
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail