Time to Get Woke about Capitalist Imperialism (as well as Structural Racism)

Two Views of Reality

Notice how almost to a person, members of the professional commentariat appearing on the bourgeois liberal media (most of them “moderate Democrats”) have made a sudden collective leap, abetted no doubt by their news directors, to recognize a fact long obvious to many: that the USA is a country rooted historically in slavery and other forms of oppression such as displacement, sharecropping, wage-slavery, mass incarceration, etc. And that these have left, more than a general legacy, a “structural” (i.e., systemic) unfairness that dogs the lives of most descendants of people who were, between 1619 and 1865, bought and sold in this country, or what would become this country.

Some of us are aware that the profits of the cotton, tobacco, rice and sugar plantations fueled the U.S. economy before the Civil War and capitalized its early industrial development. Profits from slavery built great, enduring institutions (including some universities) in this country. U.S. export trade centered on the sale of slave-produced commodities, like cotton to the textile mills of Manchester, and tobacco to the Cope Brothers of Liverpool, where the brothers’ tobacco factory, largest in the world, used imported Virginia leaf in its products. (Liverpool itself was Britain’s main slave port, made rich by shipbuilding, sail-making, and human trafficking; in turn it was an obvious market for American tobacco. And slave-grown American sugar flavored Liverpool’s famous toffees.) African slaves were not just a presence in U.S. history; they were the decisive labor force whose coerced labor-power shaped the country’s very development, alongside (generally white) wage-labor.

This prolonged coexistence of slavery and “free” labor is a peculiarity of U.S. history. The two systems of labor exploitation were closely linked: wageworkers were employed in New England to build ships for the slave trade, make sails from slave-produced cotton, and fashion rigging from slave-produced hemp. Slavery generated jobs for white proletarians whose energies and “American ingenuity” are more likely celebrated in U.S. mythohistory. So-called “Critical Race Theory” (which—have you noticed? is discussed most heatedly by people who have no clue what it is), merely examines how the historical realities of African slavery, Jim Crow, urban zoning laws confining blacks to ghettos, the evolution of what pass as “police forces” and the penal system—all shape U.S. “justice” and U.S. history in toto. To the reasonable citizen-subject,, these vast historical realities should not be mere apologetic footnotes in U.S. high school textbooks, or presented as past mistakes long since overcome. They should be front and center of an objective history and “social studies” curriculum. Because they happened and are real, unlike the religiously deluded, hate-inspired narratives of the Trump cultists.

Anyone arguing to the contrary is either a fool coping with some guilt feelings, or a calculating, perhaps very bright, opportunist who sees profit and opportunity in rabid racism and malleable stupidity. Some of us have long realized, both that the legacy of slavery is ongoing; and that educating children about that legacy, in its innumerable aspects, is vital to the establishment of a healthy multiethnic society. Not learning about slavery doesn’t mean it will be repeated (despite what Santayana says). But it means not understanding, or willfully avoiding any study of, the basis for, African Americans’ hurt, indignation, fear, rage, and demands for justice.

(The same goes for not learning about the relentless waves of assault on indigenous peoples on this continent by generations of settlers; ignorance based on TV Westerns and childhood games can only contribute to the existing disaster, and attacks from the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline to the police murders of Native Americans that are proportionately higher in this country even than those of African Americans. And for not learning about the history of Hawai’i, and how the U.S. acquired the islands through the efforts of New England missionaries who colonized “pagan” minds; to plantation owners who came to dominate politics and arrange to deny Hawaiian citizens, and Asian plantation laborers, voting rights; to the U.S. government that demanded the Kingdom of Hawai’i cede Pearl Harbor to the U.S. Navy in return for tariff-free access to the U.S. sugar market; to the intervention of U.S. Marines to topple the monarchy in 1893, leading to incorporation into the U.S. over the united protest of the Hawaiian people. All should be included in the public school curriculum.)

As regards the issue of race in the U.S.: the default view among many white communities in vast parts of the country is that blacks were freed from slavery in the distant past, and that while their ancestors were treated badly (but Christianized and civilized, and better off than the savages in Africa!), they didn’t make a fuss about their so-called “oppression” until they fell under Communist liberal influence and got uppity in the 1960s, demanding special privileges, getting special treatment (“affirmative action”), corrupting our children with their music and gangster culture promoted by the entertainment industry controlled by Jews, getting their people elected to office, etc. You can feel the End Times coming! “This has gone just too far!” they think. “We have to take back our country!”

How can they rage on so? Because they know no (real) history, and they’re told that since everybody is entitled to their own opinion, and that there are Bible theories and scientific theories and you’re free to choose what to believe, and that school learning should never make white children uncomfortable, they develop their own crude, idyllic “white people’s history of the United States.” They posit a time when whites and blacks had, if not an equal playing field, an arrangement in which the latter at least accepted their place and were always polite and smiling, as God planned. This ended when the liberal-socialist-communist-atheist-Marxist Democrats, seeking blacks’ votes, started riling them up to vote for candidates who support the communist agenda—including race-mixing, government handouts, taking away our guns, killing unborn babies, making our kids homosexuals, and encouraging riots in the streets! The blacks got more dangerous and violent, but the socialist Marxist communist Democrats just coddle them, promoting reverse discrimination against white people and trying to brainwash our kids to hate themselves!

That all makes sense to them, including most of the toxic Trump base. I suspect Seven-Day Creation makes sense to them as well, and that they see “Creationism” as another “theory” just as plausible as the academic one. Some might agree that, since the shape of the planet is described by the Bible as having four corners (see Ezekiel 7:2, Isaiah 11:12, and Revelation 7:1—it couldn’t be clearer) and by so-called “scientists” as being round, that both theories be presented for schoolchildren to choose from (in consultation of course with their families). One might also have concerns about the heliocentric theory that so contradicts the Biblical theory that both should be presented in an unbiased way to the children, when they’re old enough to choose. We could allow them too, to critically examine the issue of the circulation of the blood and choose the conservative Galen view supported by scripture.

(By the way—is blood produced by bone marrow, and does it circulate around the cardiovascular system? Or does the theory of Galen, who lived during early Christian times and believed in God—that blood is produced by the liver daily and delivered to specific organs that consume it, so that it needs to be replenished by new blood—-better conform to God’s statement in Leviticus 17 that “the life of a creature is in its blood?” But let me not digress on this rich subject, and leave it for postmodernists to explain why both are true, or one just represents linear thinking more than the other, or it doesn’t really matter so long as it signifies something that can be “interrogated” in a brilliant unreadable article. The assault on truth did not begin with the Trump cut and QAnon as much as with anti-intellectual trends within academe itself, the massive lies told around all recent wars that undermine the credibility of government statements, and evidence of the once-respected press disseminating total disinformation aimed at the people of this country. People are entirely justified in asking Pilate’s question, “What is truth?”)

Components of the Trump-Truth

But here and now, I think, we see a mix of three phenomena at work.

1. Traditional American fundamentalist religious idiocy (as described above), closely associated with suspicion of science in general, contempt for intellectuals in general, and anticommunism that now focuses weirdly on new, hitherto unthought-of categories of “communists.” These would be your Democrats, “moderates” and “progressives” alike, who are—with increasing, alarming license and glibness–referred to variously as “liberal communist socialists, “socialist-communist liberals,” “communist anarchists,” “Marxist communist socialists” or random sequences of what appear to the rational mind to be mere epithets—whose real (and contradictory) content is lost upon the moron-mind, along with its inability to see its own ridiculousness. (Or to imagine the comic entertainment it provides to actual real-life communists and socialists! Much of this stuff is ready for Saturday Night Live.)

2. A form of virulent and hateful racism rooted in resentment at the whole direction of social change over the last half-century. The hatred saturated MAGA mob has come to blame African Americans and immigrants for the stagnation of white workers’ incomes and for urban crime in general. The government, they think, has not mistreated these people but given them special treatment as it tries to promote (communist!) equality. And, they imagine, the Democrats who organize them to vote just do so they can win (“steal”) elections against the legitimate (white) candidate representing the respectable folks of the community who need to protect their values. Such thoughts were bandied about in neofascist circles long before Trump. But since the first few months of Trump’s term they have become significantly mainstreamed, not only because scum found slicker ways to articulate their white supremacism, but because the old language is now heard spoken boldly, and not just on Fox.

3. The ascent in the form of Donald Trump of a grotesque, amoral opportunist, who settled on an inner circle that, while constantly changing, reflecting his mercurial temperament, urged him to cultivate the least educated, most gullible, most angry people on the far right as his base. His surprise victory in 2016, if not his campaign from the year before, galvanized and emboldened this base. It encouraged their conception of “America” as a land built by whites as the center of free white if not Anglo-Saxon culture, that attained a greatness sometime in the past (1950s?) that’s been lost due to foreigners, uppity blacks, and criminal Hispanics such that America needs to be “Made Great Again.”

None of these concepts are new (nor particularly “fascist”). Even the vile opportunistic president has recent precedents. Even if the current synthesis of evil is quite new.

Trump’s Vile Predecessors

We must remind ourselves that there were, in “more normal” times, presidents displaying Trumplike features and pursuing his strategy of cultivating the votes of the “basket of deplorables” for their own nefarious ends. Ronald Reagan was an ignorant, doddering Cold War hawk, a warmonger who waged war on Grenada, sponsor of and apologist for fascist forces from Central America to Africa to the Philippines, a corporate puppet, union-buster, anti-science buffoon.

George H. W. Bush was another fool (annoyed at the need to project some “vision thing”), again a corporate puppet, architect of NAFTA, enemy of labor, opponent of affirmative action, gleeful invader of Panama, proclaimer of a “New World Order” after rejecting all peace deals and attacking Iraq, less to drive it out of Kuwait than to decimate and vaporize its defenseless conscript army in its panicked retreat. His son George W. Bush was even more clueless, utterly lacking (like Trump) in historical consciousness or intellectual curiosity, with a grotesque mean streak (mockingly replicating Death Row inmate Karla Faye Tucker’s plea for clemency: “Please don’t kill me!” before her execution). He surrounded himself with oil-baron cabinet members, notably Dick Cheney, among the evilest, blood-thirsty, mendacious, conspiratorial figures to ever serve as co- (if not acting) president, and a coterie of neocons hell-bent on following up the “collapse of communism” with the establishment of U.S. client states throughout the “Greater Middle East” all enjoying happy relations with democratic Israel.

This second Bush was the ultimate warmonger and destroyer of our time, savagely laying ruin to Afghanistan and Iraq and killing perhaps a million people, an opportunist catering to the Christian right as never before. (And before I forget, skipping back before the dullard Reagan, and the nondescript oafish Gerald Ford who sent the CIA to work with South Africa to prevent communism in Angola, the very sharp Richard Nixon perfected the “Southern Strategy” of consciously using racism as a political tool).

But I intend no partisan bias here; I have no preference for either Wall Street party. Bill Clinton for his part was a liar, warmonger in the Balkans, aggressive expansionist in his deployment of NATO, Thatcher-like slasher of social programs, the proponent (with his vice president Joe Biden) of the mass incarceration of young black men for victimless crimes. He was in addition a “good ‘ol boy” abuser of women, and a glib liar by professional training.

Obama seemed a decent enough figure, talking some of the right talk, but he quickly proved to be the traditional U.S. president, serving primarily as the representative of the bourgeoisie, tasked with explaining to the restive masses that policies good for it are good for the nation, and that the many flaws in our system are being corrected over time with fuller democracy, the right to vote being the sacred foundation of the system. He gained acceptance from the overwhelmingly white minuscule elite who determine such things, striving for a “moderate” image, abjuring old friends, hinting in his campaign that he hoped for a “team of rivals” cabinet (like Lincoln had!)—a reconciliatory cabinet to include his former rival, the hair-raising Hillary Clinton! He chose the demonic Goldwater Girl as his secretary of state, Wall Street CEOS as economic advisors, and a Zionist bully as his chief of staff. He continued, even expanded, the criminal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, vastly expanded the number of drone strikes throughout the region, began a disastrous intervention in Syria, oversaw the destruction of Libya, all for no good reason. He spurned a congratulatory message from the Iranian president on his victory, vowing instead that Iran must never have a nuclear weapon (which they have no intention of doing) and redoubling efforts at regime change in Iran in league with Israel. He openly embraced and argued for the antiquated imperialist notion of “American Exceptionalism” on the world stage.

Hideous, vile men all! Grotesque and morally disgusting presidents are a dime a dozen. But as I say, the toxic mix of fundamentalist religion, virulent white supremacist, and a hypnotic personality cult, is new. Evil so firmly and enthusiastically applauded by a mass movement, energized, both by a nonsensical view of the cosmos and by delusions about a terrifying loss, in their own earthly lifetimes, of white privilege to angry blacks, headed by a wannabe fascist, is I believe quite new. As we learn details about the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol and the involvement of principal organizers within Trump’s inner circle, the Congress, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, etc. we gain a clearer grasp of the organization (and disorganization) in the movement, its scope, financing, internal differences, relationship to QAnon, etc.

The Liberal Media: Woke to Race, Blind to U.S. Imperialism

But it is surely a happy day when the mainstream news media (that is, CNN and MSNBC) come to acknowledge the reality of structural (systemic, institutional) racism—the very thing the Trump adherents most steadily refuse to recognize. This is small but significant progress, welcome as the lines become more and more clearly drawn.

Still, have you noticed about how a talking head can solemnly acknowledge the reality of structural racism, noting in disbelief that Republicans can’t see it, and even express pro-BLM sentiments, and persist in total apparent ignorance of the structures of global oppression? These structures are of course also the framework of global racist oppression, such as one sees in every war waged by the U.S. in the last century. One must disparage the worth of the lives of Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Arabs, Afghans, Pakistanis, Yemenis, Libyans, Somalis, Grenadians, Panamanians as you bomb them and occupy them for world peace and their own good. Those who do this bombing deserve, or so the news director tells you, treatment as heroes in their homeland, thanked for their service during any media interview, whether on Fox or CNN or MSNBC.

In my view, that is rather like thanking the brave Luftwaffe fighter pilots for their service bombing Moscow in 1941, especially those who did a good job. It was, after all, for their Heimatland (Homeland, a term romanticized by the Nazis to refer to their sacred country). But you can’t raise this obvious comparison on U.S. television.

The same cable regulars recently echo the State Department’s “concerns about a Russian troop buildup on its border,” as though the viewership should share such concerns, which means to assume off the hat that the U.S. has some business getting concerned about Russian troop movements within Russia (while the world worries about U.S. troop movements all over the world) on the Ukrainian border. It further means to assume the viewer is ignorant of the fact that Ukraine was part of Tsarist Russia for centuries, and then part of the Soviet Union; that Ukraine while in the union was granted sovereignty over the crucial Crimean Peninsula (home of the Russian Black Sea fleet since the 1770s); that after the Soviet breakup (1991) the Russians have cultivated ties with their cousin-country but it has also been assiduously courted by the U.S. whose leaders dream of achieving the total military encirclement of Russia. In this they pay no heed to the fact the eastern part of the country is ethnic Russian and Russian-speaking and that the Ukrainian population as a whole is actually divided on matters such as both EU and NATO membership. You are supposed to believe there is a monolithic leadership under a democracy supported by the U.S., which urgently craves NATO admission so as to escape (further) Russian aggression.

Ukraine had been identified as one needing a CIA-backed “Color Revolution” to install leadership that will back NATO membership (the “crown in the jewel” in U.S. imperial thinking). This must not be mentioned. Let not the audience be influenced in any way by the knowledge that a democratically elected Ukrainian president was toppled in 2014 precisely because he opposed NATO membership. Jake Tapper, CNN’s Chief Washington Correspondent, was just on talking about the “threat of a Russian coup” in Ukraine next week. Gosh! A coup! (No mention of the U.S.-backed coup in 2014 that provoked this ongoing Ukraine crisis. Did he report on the “threat of a coup” in Kyiv in February 2014, when neofascists fired on the Maidan crowd, triggering the chaos that forced the democratically elected president to flee? You almost have you wonder, why this egregious omission that might contextualize this reported threat?

Why no mention of the fact that the Ukrainian people are sufficiently sophisticated as to form two camps around some key issues: the Ukrainian speakers of the east and the Russian speakers of the west? Why not mention that the latter largely supported, in 2010 internationally monitored presidential election, recognized as free and fair, the candidate who won? Why not just touch upon the fact that he was overthrown in a coup overseen by Victoria Nuland, a Hillary Clinton State Department pick married to infamous neocon liar Robert Kagan, appointed this year by Joe Biden as Secretary of State for Political Affairs? And that she’d rejected the EU’s candidate for post-coup leadership, telling the U.S, ambassador in Kyiv: “Fuck the EU!” a month or so before the coup, the U.S. has already determined the details for a new cabinet headed by a World Bank economist and U.S. puppet. Tapper unaware of this history, or simply discouraged by the news editor from mentioning it? Oh wait, I see that he’s chief Washington editor, too.)

Ongoing, Bipartisan “Anticommunism” that Refuses to Die, After the End of the Cold War

Thus, if the hard-right lunatics—still moored in a Cold War anti-communist ideology that’s assumed a bizarre new turn—amusingly see the Democrats as communists, the Democrat-dominated mainstream media in addressing events in the wider world keeps alive, in the post-Soviet period, the ridiculous myth of Soviet expansion—again, in a new, most peculiar form—with the myth of an expansionist Russian Federation. (During the Cold War this feared “expansion” involved support for communist-led movements from Vietnam to Cuba to Angola; now “Russian expansion” refers to defensive responses to NATO threats on its border. The sole instances the U.S. can name of Russian “expansion” would include recognition for two client states within what used to be the Republic of Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which while independent would be readily amenable to inclusion in the Russian Federation; the Donbass region of Ukraine, consisting of the peoples’ republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, which have established a degree of autonomy under Russian protection, and which had petitioned for admission into the federation but been so far resisted by Moscow. These were of course all once part of the Soviet Union, and before that, Tsarist Russia.

How do these tiny territories, comprising by my calculation all of 4989 square miles, compare with the U.S. empire of new puppet states? Kosovo alone is 4212 square miles. Remember? That’s the slice of Serbia Bill Clinton severed from Serbia, using NATO forces in a war based on lies, in ignorance of—or sheer indifference to—the actual history of the real world in which Kosovo is indeed the very heartland of Serbia. Now the artificial state of Kosovo hosts the biggest U.S. army base in Europe, the highest unemployment rate in Europe (33% in 2018), and surely the largest number of Orthodox churches and monasteries (155) destroyed by U.S.-backed terrorists seeking to inflict cultural genocide on the Serbs. Bill Clinton, egged on by chortling Hillary, bombarded Belgrade, using the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to savage a country far from the North Atlantic, that had been neutral throughout the Cold War and had never been viewed as a NATO target. It is too, one must mention with the respect, the very capital of heroin-trafficking, human-trafficking, and organ-trafficking in Europe!

The invented state of Bosnia-Herzegovina, created by U.S. bombing and intimidation in 1995, are divided per U.S. diktat (the “Dayton Accord” of 1995) into dysfunctional Muslim and Serbian republics. The government is by necessity hopelessly corrupt. A UN report dated 2021 states: “20.1 percent of citizens aged 18 to 64 have been exposed – either directly or through a household member – to a bribery experience with a public official in the 12 months prior.” It is also a center of human-trafficking and forced prostitution of Roma boys and girls. The country like Kosovo had a 33% unemployment rate in 2021. As a port for heroin, it rivals Kosovo. Half of Bosnians between 18 and 29 want to leave the country. While NATO member Germany is the min semi-colonial power, the U.S. politically controls the country, and has paid out $ 2 million since 1995 to maintain it. So we may assign Bosnia-Herzegovina’s 20,000 sq. miles as additional post-Cold War territorial gains for the U.S., in which case the Russian achievement looks truly paltry by comparison.)

Russia’s expansion, we are told by persons (again) apparently ignorant of modern history, dangerously threatens our allies and ourselves as never before! (What a shame that—after being on a par with the U.S. and its allies militarily in 1990—Russia now with 20% the military budget of the U.S. and NATO, a power much shrunken in size and capacity, should be more of a threat now than ever? It almost makes you think of Goering’s observation that all you have to do is persuade the masses that they’re threatened, and they’ll do the bidding of their leaders.)

Vladimir Putin has called the dissolution of the Soviet Union a “tragedy;” does this not plainly show he wants to revive it? (Actually, Putin followed up by saying anyone who does not regret the dissolution of the Soviet Union has no heart, but those who want to revive it have no brain.) It is not so dissimilar to the bipartisan McCarthyite message of the 1950s: the Soviets and their agents are trying to take over the world and must be stopped!

The same anchors, hosts, reporters, correspondents, and analysts, suddenly, self-congratulatorily “woke” to the bare realities of racism, have no more left the 1950s behind them than has the Trump camp. The racist depiction of the Yellow Peril of Chinese communism has morphed, through the learned commentary of the experts, into a portrayal of China today as a deplorable dictatorship engaged in genocide, crackdowns on “democracy” in Hong Kong, threats against other countries (including Chinese Taiwan), a naval buildup beyond their needs (as determined by the Pentagon), provocative construction on islands in the South China Sea that the U.S. insists aren’t theirs, suppression of evidence for Chinese guilt for the spread of COVID19, unfair trade practices, etc.

The mainstream cable talking heads thus talk about Russian “aggression” in places like Ukraine and Georgia, while concealing the main and obvious truth of the matter: Russia is responding, as it has since 1999, defensively against U.S. aggressive moved to expand its military alliance to the Russian doorstep. Meanwhile the same spokespersons for U.S. imperialism, always with straight faces, report on Chinese “aggression” while concealing the fact that the U.S. Navy, which enjoys overwhelming sea power globally, using it to invade new countries every so many years at will, and which surrounds China with its string of military alliances with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Australia, has an institutional (military-industrial) interest in depicting as “threats to U.S. security” any augmentation of the existing modest Chinese force. The fact is, by the Pentagon’s reckoning, the US military budget this year in $715 billion, the PRC’s $604, the highest it’s ever been.

China has over three times the U.S. population; is slightly larger in area; has nearly the same size GDP. It is bordered by 14 countries (rather than the U.S.’s two); has a “renegade province” in the form of Taiwan, recognized by the world as part of China, that it reserves its right to handle militarily if needed, as an internal affair; has a “special administrative region” in the form of former British colony Hong Kong, where a violent uprising demanding independence was encouraged by the Trump White House; and has a security problem in Xinjiang following the terror attacks by Uighur jihadists that have killed many innocent people. The victims include mostly Uighurs, as in Hotan, July 2011 (two women hostages stabbed to death by jihadis at war with Beijing for discouraging the burqa); Urumchi, April 2015 (30 killed, 50 injured at the railway station); Urumchi, May 2014 (43 killed, 90 injured) on a market street by two jihadi SUVs; Kunming, March 2014 (31 killed, 140 injured in the train station); and Sept. 2015 Aksu (50 coalminers killed, 50 injured). There is an East Turkestan Islamic Movement, founded in Xinjiang, allied with al-Qaeda from its inception and receiving Osama bin Laden’s aid. It was placed on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations in 2002. The ETIM has links to other groups in what comprises west Turkestan: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan with Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan just beyond. China thus faces a threat of Islamist terrorism of dimensions unimaginable in this country. (So does Russia, for that matter.)

But when’s the last time you heard a report on Xinjiang that reports on Chinese “concentration camps” in Xinjiang (what the Chinese call the Vocational Training and Education Centers) and the practice of “genocide” (or at least “cultural genocide”) against the Uighurs that places the story in any sort of context? Or that (god forbid!) someone authorized to speak would ever comment on the irony of a government that encouraged the Conquest of the West by armed settlers resulting in the confinement of native peoples to reservations, and that currently presides over by far the highest incarceration rate in the world (655 persons incarcerated per 100,000, compared to China’s 118)—the results of a structurally racist system. (No, no, that would be dismissed as “whatever-ism,” an effort to change the subject and use analogies just to confuse everybody and deflect blame! (Media liberals love to use that term “whatever-ism;” it makes their dismissiveness seem clever.)

How often have we been reminded lately, amidst the warning about—of all things!—a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan, that in 1979 when the U.S. and the PRC established diplomatic relations, the U.S. recognized that there was only one China, and withdrew its recognition from Taipei? And that it withdrew its military troops from the island? And that Beijing has since then become Taiwan’s number one trading partner, and there are numerous joint projects involving mainland and Taiwan firms?

PRC tourists flock to the island and are often the most numerous visitors at the Palace Museum. But Beijing is not happy that advocates of Taiwan independence, challenging the official narrative that Taiwan has “always” been part of China, claiming that it has never really been part of China and should be its own country, have been governing the island intermittently (2000-2008 and 2016-present) while the U.S. has actually sent military forces and diplomatic missions to Taiwan. And made threats about “preventing a Chinese invasion” of an island Washington itself considers part of China. You’d think intelligent students of the basic history would draw attention to the absurdity if not arrogance of the U.S. claim to “push back” on China as though Taiwan is U.S. turf. But no. Jake Tapper will never mention such things as he glowers, reporting on the threat of China…to somebody in the region, or at least the U.S.!

Democrats: More Aggressive on Russia than Republicans

But back to the greater traditional menace and bogeyman and all the accompanying hilarity. On all things Russian, the Democratic Party establishment and its media arm have been more reactionary and dangerously provocative than was Trump’s motley foreign policy team. When Trump won in 2016, the Democratic pundits assured us that Trump was (as Hillary had declared) “Putin’s puppet,” strangely and alarmingly siding with Russia in questioning NATO’s very relevance, and surely dependent upon Russian aid for his election. Using all the tired old Cold War tropes, they virtually accused him of treason against their holy of holies: American “democracy.”

Trump had sinned, not by mobilizing a vicious racist element using the system as it’s designed to work, but by somehow attacking American Democracy, a model for the world, the system in which the people must have faith, just to preserve ruling-class legitimacy and security in power Trump incited their horror, less by his manifest contempt for human rights than by his imagined deviation from hallowed Truman-era concepts and policies, which they insist remain applicable but only through cooperation with OUR ALLIES. Above all, our NATO allies!

It is a time-honored tradition that the U.S. must maintain control of these allies, and they must be united in opposition to some common enemy. But Trump had the effrontery to question NATO’s relevance! And he had even opined, as a candidate, that he might recognize Crimea as part of Russia. (This would make good sense in my opinion; recognition should be accompanied by an official apology acknowledging the role of the U.S. in the coup in 2014 that brought to power a cabal that intended to expel Russia from the peninsula, bring Ukraine into NATO and convert Sevastopol into a NATO base. But I doubt that that’s what Trump was thinking. The point is, the establishment recoiled from this challenge to NATO’s relevance, precisely because NATO’s purpose has strayed far from its founding intentions, and it gropes in the dark since 1991—yes, even while mushrooming with new members—to find a new post-Soviet raison d’etre. Their addiction to the alliance surely outweighs its attraction for the peoples of member countries—who are indeed increasingly questioning its point, as well they should.)

As president, Trump showed no rush to arm the post-cup regime in Ukraine Obama had nurtured. He proposed readmitting Russia into the G8. Horror upon horrors! He was jeopardizing the alliance system dating back to Truman’s time, and indeed the long-term health of U.S. imperialism. That was his MAIN offense to the Democratic establishment and its foreign policy experts. Again: his general vileness was less concerning than his failure to hate Russia enough.

The talking heads do not see fit to provide such context when they grimly report of Russian troop movements within Russia on the Ukrainian border (As you know, “Ukraine” means “borderland” in Russian, and the first Russian state was centered around Kyiv. Perhaps they don’t realize how ridiculous such reports sound, to anyone aware of the real history of that border and of the U.S.’s provocative role since 2008, when NATO announced that Ukraine would join the anti-Russian alliance, something Moscow had told Washington very clearly was a red line that must not be crossed.) Their object is to sustain a belief among “moderate Democrats,” progressive Democrats” and all who will be persuaded, that the relentless expansion of NATO is DEFENSIVE, while the Russian reaction to encirclement is dangerously AGGRESSIVE. A glance at the map should tell you such a view makes no sense.)

The star witness at the Trump impeachment hearing, Marie Yovanovitch, pleased the Democrats with her idiotic Cold War assertions, under oath, that if we don’t fight the Russians in Ukraine, we’ll have to fight them here! She testified that supporting a democratic Ukraine was vital to the security of the U.S., due to its strategic location on the Black Sea and the fact that it’s bordered by three NATO countries. (It is of course bordered by Russia too.) The celebrated Yovanovitch didn’t think to mention in her testimony that little detail about the U.S. toppling a democratically elected president in Ukraine during her tenure at the State Department in 2014, in what Stratfor called “the most blatant coup in history,” to install a pro-NATO regime. Yanukovitch’s presentation was alarming in its embrace of all the discredited assumptions: that the U.S. has the right to govern the world, and expand NATO, and threaten other nations (including Russia and China) with encirclement, clamp sanctions on regimes preventing even their close trade partners from conducting business (due to the Pentagon auxiliary called the U.S. banking system), and support or topple regimes at will, all the while claiming that this is all for world peace and “security” The Democrats, for the most part, buy all of this and have made Yanukovitch a heroine for—of all thing—her honesty!

No talk here about how Russia’s behavior might be influenced by a threatening military alliance that just keeps creeping towards the Russian border itself. Surely no serious meditations on how Washington might react if Moscow were building a military alliance including Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, and angling to recruit Mexico and Canada with plans to dot the U.S. border with alliance military bases—all the while assuring Washington that this has nothing to do with its security! (That would be reckoned an exercise in “moral equivalence,” “false comparisons” and “whateverism”).

Default Assumptions of the Ruling Class and Its Media

The default assumptions of, not just the Democrats but the entire ruling class, occupy in the U.S. national religion much the same role that articles of faith do in Christianity. The solemn self-evident truths are:

1. that the U.S. stands, uniquely and heroically, for “democracy” (yes, despite the 2000 presidential contest decided by the politicized Supreme Court, the 2016 election following the Wall Street Democrats’ rejection of “socialist” Sanders in favor of the vicious Hillary Clinton, the contested 2020 presidential election result, the naked racist gerrymandering in this country that is the opposite of democracy) and for “freedom” (yes, despite the incarceration of more people here than any other country in the world, the censorship of textbooks to satisfy the anti-science religiously deluded, the meta-data collection by the state of intimate details about all citizens, the harsh punishments imposed on whistle-blowers who embarrass the state, the conditions of police terror prevailing in many urban neighborhoods, the denial or curtailment of a woman’s right to choose, etc.);

2. that given this unique stature in the world—the fruit of a history of building representative institutions unrivaled by any other country, and the establishment of a model free-market economy that unleashed the innate inventiveness of the American worker and entrepreneur, and (most importantly!) produced, alongside these models of political and economic perfection, a glorious military able to promote these achievements; and indeed;

3. to confer on subject peoples (like those of the Philippines who became a model democracy after U.S. colonization in 1898 and the slaughter of half a million “insurrectionists”) all the benefits of American Exceptionalism—because of all this the U.S. must continue, by rights, to lead the world;

4. because the world is divided, between the democracies led by the United States, against the anti-democratic, anti-freedom forces out there, (which—and this is the tricky, almost hard-to-explain part—include Iran which has a competitive multiparty system but not Saudi Arabia, which is an absolute and very brutal monarchy; North Korea but never South Korea, nay, even at the height of the Park Chung-hee’s fascist rule in the 1970s; Cuba but never Pinochet’s Chile, or Honduras after the 2009 fascist coup approved by Hillary Clinton; Russia but never NATO allies like Turkey, Syria with its rigged elections and police state but never Israel with its apartheid system and racist abuses)—because the world is thus divided, the moral burden falls to the exceptional country, to lead the fight against the anti-democratic forces until the final victory of Freedom;

5. because love means never having to say you’re sorry, the U.S. record of crimes against peace, the launching of wars based on lies, resulting in no matter how many hundreds of thousands of deaths, producing no matter how many millions of refugees, leaving legacies of undying hatred of the monsters who sadistically tortured innocent people all over the world in the pursuit of U.S. goals, needs never be acknowledged as the U.S. indeed restates its commitment to supporting human rights and democratic government everywhere including the countries that received so much vital assistance from the U.S. in establishing democratic governments—like Iraq and Afghanistan; it means gently turning aside with a smile Europeans’ protests about their phones being monitored by U.S. intelligence, or about the U.S. involving NATO in Afghanistan at enormous expense then cutting its own deal with the Taliban leaving the German, British and French forces to fend for themselves in a situation of Washington’s making;

6. because the Pentagon has enunciated a “doctrine” (faith-based, but with teeth) in which the U.S.A. will, for the foreseeable duration of human history, maintain Full Spectrum Dominance (over air, land, and sea, and the planet in general plus perhaps the mesosphere), there must be the main foe (of freedom and democracy) serving as the focus of the democratic energies of the Free World with the U.S. at the helm, such that in the struggle against that foe the Free World is further unified behind the Exceptional Nation, and the foe weakened providing for more Free World expansion; this explanation of U.S. policy must be made clear to the masses as Anthony Blinken does so ably in his cable news interviews.

Master all this, and you, too, can work as an anchor on any legal news network in the country.

The unblinking U.S. secretary of state would be unmoved should we ask: Wait, who appointed the U.S. world boss? Who has been more aggressive and expansionist than the U.S.A.? How can you make dire pronouncements about Russia’s amassment of troops in its own territory, impervious to the legacy of U.S. military attacks on and invasions of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Granada, Panama, Bosnia, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya all within your lifetime? How can you talk about Russian military policy without noting that the U.S. has provoked Russia (and dangerously threatens cross declared Russian “red lines”) by the relentless expansion of NATO since 1999 to surround it with military bases? Why are you driven into moral paroxysms about Beijing’s policies towards Uighurs in Xinjiang when this country’s cops murder people of color in the streets with impunity, the U.S. incarceration figure exceeds the Chinese, in many states abortion is virtually banned while in China it is provided on request?

Why do you bitch and moan about alleged Chinese attacks on “democracy” in Hong Kong (which, recall, is part of their country and not necessarily your business) while in your own country one major party is successfully suppressing the votes of people of color, the 2000 election was decided (by the politicized Supreme Court) in favor of the candidate who’d lost the popular vote, the outcome of the 2020 election is not recognized by at least a third of the electorate. Don’t you see that the country you represent is anything but a paragon of this “democracy” that you, as its representative, demand the rest of the world embrace?

No. The top U.S. diplomat Anthony Blinken, like his long-time boss Joe Biden (whom he counseled to support the Iraq War-based-on-lies), has been too well trained to respond directly. He will explain in his condescending academic air that the world is now divided into two. (As though it hadn’t been since at least 1945.) There are two camps: that of democracy, and that of “autocracy.” It’s no longer the Cold War contradiction between “Democracy” and an imagined monolithic “Communism.” Buried within that formulation was the (real) contradiction between capitalism and socialism. But bourgeois academics and media worked to suppress such clarity of thought, and the word “capitalism” itself was avoided—substituted with the cheery-sounding “free market economy” concept. “Communism” meanwhile was used to refer to any person or thing at all seen antithetical to this key freedom to be found in the sacred marketplace.

“Communism” was applied both to real Communists (bless their souls) and/or to any nationalist, pro-labor, left person or group standing in the way of U.S. capitalism’s—hence Freedom’s—progress. Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran, Patrice Lumumba in the Congo, Juan Bosch in the Dominican Republic, Suharto in Indonesia were all fingered in the U.S. bourgeois press as “communists” before they were ousted by the CIA in 1953, 1954, 1960, 1961 and 1965 respectively. Communist things included Hollywood films, many folk songs, birth control, teaching of evolution, the Civil Rights Movement, gay rights. Communist people included beloved folksong singer and songwriter Pete Seeger, playwright Arthur Miller, Martin Luther King, Jr., liberal theologians, Alfred Kinsey, labor organizers.

The terms “communism” and “communist” were thus thrown around almost as loosely and stupidly as they are now by the likes of Congress’s most cretinous members, such as Republican Representatives Louie Gohmert (TX) Matt Gaetz (FL), Paul Gosar (AZ), Lauren Boebert (CO), Madison Cawthorn (NC), Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA), and Senators Chuck Grassley (IA), James Inhofe (OK), Tommy Tuberville (AL), and John Kennedy (LA), among others.

Cretinous? Too strong a word, you protest. Well then, you decide. Let us not linger Senator Tuberville’s recollections of his father, whom, he proudly informed his colleagues on the Senate floor, helped liberate Paris from the socialists and Communists in August 1944. Like I say, SNL material.

Sen. Kennedy: An Example of Dangerous Stupidity (or Its Exploitation)

And recall this exchange on the Senate floor as Biden’s nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, Kazakhstan-born Saule Omarova, was questioned by the 70-year-old senator from Louisiana (who was, I think quite appropriately, a reactionary amoral Democrat for about 40 years before joining the reactionary amoral Republicans). n. Kennedy inquired of Omarova (who had arrived in the U.S. at age 25 in 1991, the year of the Soviet collapse, earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a law degree from Northwestern, and is now a professor of law at North Carolina-Chapel Hill as well as Cornell): “There was a group called the Young Communists, and you are a member, is that right?”

A somewhat bemused Omarova replied: “I’m not exactly sure which group you’re referring to.” This gave the career anticommunist an occasion to show his erudition.

Kennedy: Well, the formal name of it is the Leninist Communist Young Union of the Russian Federation, and it’s also known as the Leninist Komsomol of the Russian Federation. And it’s commonly referred to as the Young Communists. Were you a member? … Have you resigned?

Omarova: From the—?

Kennedy: From the Young Communists.

Omarova: You grow out of it with age automatically.

Kennedy: Did you send them a letter though, resigning?

Omarova: Senator, this was many, many years ago. As far as I remember

how the Soviet Union worked was at a certain age, you automatically stop being—

Kennedy: Could you look at your records and see if you can find a

copy?

(Later) Kennedy (in apparent exasperation, as though dealing with an uncooperative witness): I don’t know whether to call you professor or comrade.”

[Elizabeth Warren and other senators protest]

Kennedy: Would you not think that it’s relevant she was a member of the young communists?

Sen. Kennedy was delighted with his performance! The Trumpian “DML” news service reported the exchange as: “Sen. Kennedy Calls out Omarova over communist group membership, then fireworks erupt.” And of course, Fox cheered the senator on for asking just the right question! Her evasiveness was further evidence for the socialist agenda!

Note Kennedy’s arrogance, the proud ignorance, the confusing terminology, the application of the present tense to the dead organization Komsomol, indicating the cretin faction’s general inability to distinguish then and now. (By the way, there was never to my knowledge any “Leninist Komsomol” to distinguish it from something else, such as a non-Leninist Komsomol.) Having been informed that membership was limited to schoolchildren and that they automatically lost their “memberships” at a certain age, the airhead blithely asks Omarova for her resignation letter, presumably to prove she’s repudiated that shameful Communist past. (She apparently should have brought a copy of the resignation letter in her luggage in 1991 along with her degrees from Oral School 21 and Moscow State University, as one of those documents vital for her future in the land of the free.)

Kennedy’s one of those who, in discussing PRC policy, routinely refer to the “Chinese communists,” such as the communists who covered up the origins of the COVID19 virus. He is an unreconstructed McCarthyite whose stupidity positively appeals to his base. The above exchange with Omarova was gleefully posted on the senator’s official webpage. That, think the idiots, was a real gotcha moment!

Late-breaking news: Omarova has withdrawn her nomination, due to a bipartisan effort including Democratic pawns of the big banks Sens. John Tester (MO), Mark Warner (VA), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Mark Kelly (AZ). And , John Hickenlooper (CO). How moving, in these trying times in which the parties cannot agree on so little, that they should rally in such bipartisan fashion, to destroy an advocate of bank reform while linking her to one-time Communist affiliations!

The Democrats’ (Continuing) Stubborn, Stupid Cold War Mindset

There are Democrat cretins—as noted, Sen. Kennedy was one up to 2007—but more often they’re just consciously pro-corporate evil pawns. For example, Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) says that Democrats “have to commit to not saying the words ‘defund the police’ ever again. We need to not ever use the words socialist or socialism ever again!” One must not speak of such forbidden things! They threaten our democracy!

MSNBC’s political analyst, Democrat and Wall Street advertising executive Donny Deutsch, authority proclaimed before Sanders’ last candidacy was destroyed that “Americans would never vote for a socialist.” He went on to repeat the familiar mantra about how capitalism made this country great and everybody knows it. (Especially people who live in $29 million homes in East Hampton Village.) Deutsch even told Joe Scarborough on air that he’d vote for Trump over a socialist! His remains the dominant Democratic mentality.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the representative from Florida, was the Democrats’ national chair when rigging the 2016 nomination against Sanders. Informed that Bernie would fire her as chair if elected president, she emailed her staff: “This is a silly story. He isn’t going to be president.” While repeatedly stating her impartiality as chair, she was on the same page with Deutsch. No communism—oops!—socialism, I mean—can pollute the Democratic Party! (No need here to delve into Schultz’s support for Israeli racist apartheid, although it’s not entirely unrelated).

The new “communist” foe includes not only progressive Democrats (of the “super progressive,” “very progressive” if not “Progressive New Guard” categories) who dare to use the word “socialism;” and ostensible self-described communists, like those who govern today’s quasi-capitalist China, Laos and Cuba, and North Korea in the grip of the (decidedly-non-Marxist) Juche ideology centering on the Kim family religious cult. It also embraces rightist nationalists like the (highly dissimilar) leaders of Russia, Turkey, and the Philippines, all presented as hostile to “democracy,” meaning— when decoded—insufficiently deferential to the U.S.A. This means to say, to the U.S. military-industrial complex.

As it happens, the international communist movement, as it existed after the Russian Revolution, through the period of the Comintern, through the postwar expansion of the socialist camp, though the “Sino-Soviet split” and the upheavals in China, through the “period of stagnation” in the Soviet Union and the appearance of military regimes proclaiming some form of Marxist-Leninism as they sought foreign support—that movement is gone. It was defeated, although it shares much responsibility for that defeat. There is no international communist network of note, although there are meetings of small like-minded groups, mergers, a trend towards greater inclusion rather than more factionalism. What’s left of the (now dissolved) Communist Party of New Zealand (the only “western” party to support Beijing versus Moscow) now admits Trotskyists and random “socialists.” One big tent! No, this is not the historical communist movement, collectively acting to determine the “correct line” that identifies the main and secondary contradictions in the world today, and to proceed from that knowledge towards concerted action to topple capitalism (the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie) globally. There is no Comintern. There is no hostile bloc. There is no external military threat to the power structure both parties in Congress represent, and which indeed is their purpose to defend and perpetuate.

Surely New Jersey Democratic Representative Josh Gottheimer responded to this higher calling in forcing the separation of the two bills (infrastructure and reconciliation) that Nany Pelosi had promised to handle simultaneously. He helped compose a letter to Pelosi in August demanding she put the (corporate-backed) infrastructure plan on the House floor immediately, which of course is what happened forthwith. Gottheimer and eight other Democrats who signed the letter were generously rewarded by a dark-money donor identified as No Labels, which between Aug. 13 and 27 paid off the letter signatories with over$3 million That’s capitalist democracy in this country, model for the world, functioning entirely as it’s designed to do.

By the way, on CNN’s State of the Union program airing Nov. 28, said Gottheimer (identified by interviewer Dana Bash as a “moderate Democrat” and a “man in the middle”), answered her tiredly predictable questions as follows:

BASH: Where do you think the Democratic Party is right now? Is it in the right place as far as you’re concerned?
GOTTHEIMER: I think most people in the Democratic Party are somewhere in the middle or a little to the left. Listen, Bernie Sanders lost, right? And that’s not where our party is.
BASH: Bernie Sanders, a key player, as this bill heads to the Senate, doesn’t like those tax deductions that are popular here.
GOTTHEIMER: We’re not into socialism. Right? That’s not the Democratic Party. Right? We are about pragmatic problem solving and people who can just get things done and work together.
BASH: Do you feel like you have to say we’re not about socialism because you’re being painted that way or because you’re being pulled that way?
GOTTHEIMER: No, because that’s a reminder that we’re not the party of Bernie Sanders, we’re the party of Joe Biden.

Thus does the compliant bourgeois reporter teach that moderation is the best and dominant trend within the Democrats, but that indeed all talk of socialism is dangerous because it will lose elections. No acknowledgment that news coverage shapes perceptions of reality and create public opinion. Or that support for socialism is surging among young people (and others) and that with some respectful treatment from the bourgeois media this support would surely increase. (And surely Bash is forbidden to ask the obvious question of Gottheimer: Isn’t the fact that you’re the party of Joe Biden rather than Bernie Sanders have something to do with the antidemocratic sabotage of Bernie’s campaign by Wall Street’s Barack Obama with Jim Clyburn to make the 5th-ranked candidate the sudden “leader of the party”?).

Marxism in an Era of (Worse than Normal) Paranoia and Confusion

I have faith that increasing numbers of people in this country, especially among the young, will reject this system in toto, seeing it for what it is and realizing that electoral politics is not—whatever the significance of the “free and equal right to vote” in these farcical capitalist elections—the solution. I think the prospects are good that Marxism will continue to attract more attention from youth, and that revolutionary communist parties will be created or revived. But at present, it’s important to note the continued air of paranoia in some (bourgeois) quarters, about what is, for now, a complete delusion.

Voltaire famously suggested that if there were no God, it would be necessary to create one. Similarly for the capitalist imperialists who govern this country, if “Communism” dissolves in front of their faces they will simply find new forms of the traditional foe, or lingering aspects of “communism” in what are now its capitalist competitors. In domestic politics, they find surrogates for the old “Communism” in domestic politics: the Squad; Bernie Sanders supporters; the “Marxist” BLM movement; “radical” environmentalists; leftist professors who go too far; the impressionable youth whom they exploit, channeling their idealism towards a violent revolution that can only, if it happens, hurt not just the rich but everybody! That’s their argument as they rehash Cold War tropes and it makes well reflect what they actually think: that any movements undermining the stability of the system of monumental injustice and inequality over which they preside is one threatening (to again cite Voltaire out of context) “the best of all possible worlds.”

It’s a harder sell in the 2020s than 1950s in part because the U.S. capitalist system, having “defeated” the once feared Communist enemy, is no longer the world’s greatest economy and military power, able to strongarm client states (“allies”) at will, but rather a competitor with both the EU and PRC, lagging behind the world in infrastructure, education, and medical care, its manufacturing base destroyed, its 1% of its 1% busily making money, with devilish ingenuity, from money itself.

The threat of an actual MOVEMENT, armed with nukes and inspiring liberation movements everywhere, has morphed into one posed by an amorphous collection of dictators in the former Soviet republics (who are depicted as unreconstructed Marxist-Leninists even though they’re anything but), the People’s Republic of China, Venezuela, and Cuba; German bankers sanctioned for supporting the Nordstream II pipeline; Black Lives Matter, the Sanders campaign, the Squad, Critical Race Theory, etc. Since it is not really possible for a State Department as sophisticated as Biden’s to seriously posit an ongoing “communist” threat per se, pitted against America’s shimmering democracy, it must translate the Cold War term “communism” as “autocracy,” and explain to the schoolchildren, the same as I was taught many years ago, that the world is divided in two, with America on the one side, the side of good.

What’s changed is that the brainwashing process that then pitted America, Freedom, and Democracy versus Communism, the command economy and one-party dictatorship, now posits the same American Goodness in a Manichaean struggle against the evil of random Autocracies. The delusion requires at least the intimation that all these forces have common interests and are hence in the league against Americans. This requires a mind able to grasp that Iranian Shiite clerics, Filipino and Turkish strongmen, conservative rulers supportive of the Orthodox church, Bolivarian leaders, the North Korean strongman, Baath Party leaders are all part of a conspiracy. (Rather like the conspiracy you’ve surely heard about, equally plausible, linking Satanists, pedophiles, cannibals, extraterrestrials, Jewish space weapons, Hillary Clinton, a DC pizzeria, and Nancy Pelosi.)

As for the Democratic president (presiding over what a Stockholm think tank calls a period of “backslide democracy”), he has—with age perhaps—forgotten much of the vital history of U.S. democracy, such as it’s been, versus its foes. Biden’s mind leapfrogs back over the entire Cold War legacy, rooted in the fact of the Soviet Red Army’s victory over the Nazis and expansion of a Soviet sphere of influence in Europe after 1945 that “challenged” the U.S. (Challenged it, that is to say, over control of the European continent). In the course of the war—to general Anglo-American applause—the Soviets destroyed the Nazi juggernaut, chased the Wehrmacht back to Berlin, occupying and liberating much of eastern Europe in the process. U.S. forces raced a token force to Berlin to be there at the conquest, after which Washington decided to occupy as much of Europe yet un-occupied by the USSR as it possibly could.

Given its (then) boundless wealth, the U.S. was able to establish its authority through a mix of interference in elections (especially Italy and France, where the Communists would have won through the ballot box had they not been prevented by U.S. intervention), political assassinations, disinformation campaigns, military action (Greece), Marshall Aid dollars—anything to attain the purpose of the Truman Doctrine: to use any means necessary to wipe out Communism, and especially to protect Europe (and Japan) from it! (One can almost forgive Sen. Tuberville for his confusion on this point, especially if his dad mis-recollected and told his son about fighting the Soviets—or maybe French communists, leaders of the Resistance?—on the streets of Paris. And especially if Harmony Grove High School in Cambden, and Southern Arkansas University, never taught him any history.)

The Soviet Union had survived enormous odds in driving out the enemy in what they called the Great Patriotic War, a specifically anti-fascist war, losing 25 million people in the effort. (The U.S. joined the anti-fascist war in December 1941.) Antifa (anti-fascism”) was then perceived as something wholly good. The buttheads who now conflate what they call “Antifa”—and want to see listed as a “terrorist organization”—with “communism” are actually on to something, if only by accident The communists in the 1920s and 1930s were globally warning against fascism and seeking to build a United Front against it, while Anglo-American elites either admired or were unwilling to confront the rising fascist powers; the wartime partnership between Moscow and Washington was conceptualized in Moscow as an explicitly “antifascist” alliance. So yes, there is a connection between antifascism and the historical communist movement, just like there’s a connection between anticommunism and fascism.

The U.S. total fatalities in the European theater of World War II numbered some 215,000. But U.S. military and economic might had (like the Soviets’) surged during the war such that by 1945 there were two clear superpowers dividing Europe. The Soviet Union constituted a major threat, if not to the people of the world or the U.S., to the interests of U.S. and global capitalism. But this is the dirty little secret at the heart of State Department mythology: it was never really about freedom versus communism, it was about capitalism versus socialism.

Marxism continues to supply basic tools and analysis, towards the noble end of consigning the capitalist mode of production into the waste bin of history. Marxists must not lose their eyes on this prize and suppose that—as the threat of a Trump rebound gathers—the Democratic Party (which is by no means a consistently anti-fascist party,

Reforming the Cold War Mythology, “Pushing Back” on Russia

That time has passed, as Biden dimly understands. Hence this need to reform the mythology, if only to make it more plausible to the skeptical. But the forces of Autocracy are anything but coordinated, and the whole concept makes no sense until you realize it’s a cover for the real story.

Russia remains a nuclear power. Despite its diminished capacity to influence global events, it remains capable of annihilating the U.S. It is thus a “threat” undiminished from the Cold War era—surely a threat to the Pentagon’s Full Spectrum Dominance “doctrine.” And China is the up-and-coming economic power destined—for sound, logical reasons—to regain its historical position as the wealthiest country in the world. Because it is now a truly earnest capitalist competitor, on a trajectory that terrifies its fellow-capitalists, the Chinese must also be labeled a threat. (Although it must never be acknowledged that the concerns of U.S. policy-makers focus on trade and investment issues, not human rights in Xinjiang or Hong Kong. The myriad condemnations issued against Beijing, for everything from claiming islands–in waters that, for curious reasons, appear on international maps as the South China Sea, and East China Sea— to threatening to invade (the Chinese province of) Taiwan, are used as cover for this problem of effective capitalist competition and provide pretexts for future interventions.)

What if Putin and Xi (identified by Blinken as the two main autocrats in the world) were to forge a military alliance stretching from North Korea to Belarus, including Syria, Venezuela, Cuba? A nice clean swath of Eurasia from the South China Sea to the Baltic coast, with client-states in the Caribbean! It would be an alliance of autocrats! Scary! Scary! Such egregious “pushing” have the Russians and Chinese been up to! And all the while the U.S. has minded its own business in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, not “pushing on” anybody. And expanding the most lethal and terrifying military bloc of all time to surround Russia, pushing on no one!—-but rather strengthening global security and giving our servicemen an opportunity to serve their country (for which service we must thank them unthinkingly).

That’s indeed the hidden message in the new incoherent foreign policy: to “push back” on Russia, as though it’s pushing against “us” on the Ukrainian border, and push back of China, as though it’s provoking the U.S. by building on islands its fishermen have visited for centuries in the South China Sea. All the while they hope to proceed cautiously enough so as not to provoke the enemy too far and risk nuclear war. As they calculate their next move (NATO support for the invasion of the Donbas region, whose denizens would surely appeal for fraternal Russian support; or a willful violation of Chinese claimed territorial waters or recognition of Taiwan independence that would accelerate the manufactured crisis with China) they are surely aware that the Sino-Soviet alliance was once (1949-1956 or so) a powerful threat to U.S. global hegemony. Today, there is no ideological quarrel between Moscow and Beijing, they are partners in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Belt and Road Initiative, and Russia’s vast petroleum reserves are being connected to Chinese infrastructure through the Power of Siberia pipeline. The prospects for military cooperation (for actual mutual defense—against the constant threat of U.S. provocations!) are boundless.

Nevertheless less the Rip Van Winkels around Biden persist in policies intended, in theory, to rally the “Allies” against not only the Soviet Union-cum-Russia, but the People’s Republic of China as well. The last joint NATO communique reflected Blinken and Austin’s pressure on Europe; all 30 signatories targeted China for displaying “ambitions and assertive behavior” threatening to the “rules-based international order.” It was damned for “lack of transparency,” cooperating with Russia, modernizing its military, expanding its nuclear arsenal, and for “coercive policies.” It went far beyond any prior statement in referencing a country so far from the North Atlantic. But the always slavish Norwegian Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg insists: “we need to address together…the challenges that the rise of China poses to our security.”

Divisions in NATO, and Criticisms as the U.S. Tries to Resume World Leadership

This terrifying sudden interest of NATO in China is perhaps balanced by some welcome divisions, as the U.S. and British members of NATO snatch from NATO member France a lucrative contract to supply submarines to Australia (to make war on China in tandem with the U.S.), and the French military-industrial complex responds with righteous umbrage. Why, demand the French (I am speaking of the ruling class only), did the U.S.—so soon after screwing us over in Afghanistan by pulling out their troops and signing a peace deal without consulting us (after we sent 23,000 soldiers to that front as a NATO obligation when you called on us to do so, losing 3935 troops to a hopeless cause you got tired of, and while Biden was grinning and telling us to rejoice because he intended to rebuild the Alliance)—why the hell did you not tell us you were planning to stab a NATO partner in the back by undermining our agreement worth $150 billion to supply Australia’s submarine fleet?

Do you not understand, demand the French—that we are a Pacific power as much as you, or Britain, or Australia, with sovereign territory from French Polynesia to New Caledonia and Wallis and Fortuna? Over five million kilometers of territorial waters, and naval ports in Pape’ete (Tahiti) and Nouméa (New Caledonia, the island your president Roosevelt found so militarily valuable that he suggested France pay off its war debt to the U.S. by handing over the Melanesian colony). What sort of leadership are you exercising? How much have you changed since your imbecile president Bush launched the Iraq War—over our objections! and for which your bone-headed Congress sought to punish us by renaming “French fries” (which are actually Belgian) in your congressional cafeteria menu!—in 2003?

This is I think a fair paraphrase of official French exasperation. Meanwhile, Paris is so angered by London’s handling of refugee issues and fishing rights post-Brexit that French president Macron calls British prime minister Johnson a “clown” and pronounces Franco-British relations at a 200 year low! It is good to see such fallings-out among thieves! May there be two, three, many such fissures in the toxic alliance! May there never be another NATO gang-rape, as that of Libya in 2011, a joint project of British prime minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and U.S. President Barack Obama urged on by U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton, French anti-communist Zionist philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, and assorted unrepentant imperialist brutes including the Saudi and UAE crowned heads. Or another NATO blitzkrieg such as that it subjected the beautiful city of Belgrade to, for 10 weeks in 1999, to absolutely no purpose other than to split and humiliate a traditional Russian ally. Or another bloody, expensive, entirely futile 20-year effort to remake a fiercely independent and traditional society like Afghanistan’s into one colonial masters can be proud of.

It’s good for tensions within the alliance to impede collective evil action. It’s good the Germans are telling Washington to shut up about the Nordstream II pipeline, and that the bilateral relations between Russia and Germany cannot always defer to the Yankees’ notion of a solid NATO front. And that Germany is apparently resisting the inclusion of Ukraine into the alliance, realizing from historical experience that you don’t want to provoke the Russians too far. (A poll taken sometime in the last decade indicated a direct correlation between the inclination of respondents to support U.S. military action in Ukraine and knowledge of the country’s location on the map. The more ignorant the respondent was, the more enthusiastic about bombing. Europeans know where and what Ukraine is; the Bidens only know it as the next domino in their sites, a country to be weaned of “corruption” as soon as possible, not that Biden cares much about corruption in itself but because NATO will never be persuaded to accept Ukrainian membership in NATO unless it sufficiently cleans up its act.)

Still, the TV anchors, news analysts, commentators, think-tank experts, and interviewed politicians all continue to trot out the Cold War myth that the U.S. is under attack from Russia, whose limited military actions in Georgia (2008) and Ukraine (2014) were not defensive moves against NATO expansion (THAT eventuality must never be entertained on television), but rather opening salvoes to a Soviet—s’cuse me, I mean, Russia—challenge to the U.S. (= democracy, freedom, goodness). They must furrow their brows, glower, pout, and frow; they must vent their “concern”—the State Department’s concern—about Russian “threats” to “our allies.” The latter, you notice, have reached new highs of shrillness, reflecting I imagine some in impatience with the time taken to pull Ukraine into NATO.

The allies for their part are becoming unmanageable, as Brexit provokes the EU countries (mostly NATO members) over North Ireland trade and fishing rights to waters around Britain; Franco-British ties deteriorate in general; Germany asserts some appearance of independence, including in its relations with Russia; the tide of immigrants unleashed by U.S. imperialist wars sweeps Europe, dividing the “allies” already sharply divided on human rights issues, on immigration policy; Turkey goes its own way, cultivating its own ties with Moscow and even purchasing over NATO objections, to the tune of some $2.5 billion, Russia’s  S-400 mobile surface-to-air missile system; Spain and Greece continue to refuse to recognize the bogus state of Kosovo created by NATO imperialism in 1999. The U.S. response to such conflicts, here as in the Japan-Korea relationship, or in relations between Shiites and Sunnis, Washington (usually with little knowledge of the details) preaches to all to calm down and work things out peacefully, so as not to interfere with its own global plans, which should be theirs too (if they’re really democratic). Why indulge in your petty bilateral problems we don’t understand, when we should all—as an alliance—be pulling together for Wall Street’s profits, and sticking to the Pentagon’s text?

It is a matter of some annoyance in Washington when London and Paris are at loggerheads and fails to respond to its appeals for alliance unity. But its ability to referee has diminished with its shrinking stature in the world, due in large part to its savage violence against defenseless targets in naked pursuit of imperial expansion that has less enthused the allies that appalled them. Or at least the masses within them. The Iraq War based on lies, rejected by France, Germany, and Belgium, and its destabilizing impact on Europe, caused the collapse of U.S. prestige as much as the appalling buffoonery of one particular moron president.

What Do Europeans Think about the Atlantic Alliance?

There is also the annoying tendency for populations inadequately indoctrinated to question the value of the alliance treaty, signed by now-dead people in 1949 when the world was quite different from now, and to properly respect it as an alliance writ in stone for all time. A Feb. 2020 Pew poll asked residents of NATO nations if they had a favorable view of NATO. Those reporting the lowest favorability—under 50%—were, in descending order: France (49%), Spain (49), Hungary (48), Bulgaria (42), Greece (37) and Turkey (21). Those a bit higher include Slovakia (where 51% view the alliance favorably), Czech Republic (54), and Germany (just 57). In Italy, 60% see NATO positively. Of course, these numbers change over time. But I have a feeling that the numbers will go down, which is to say, improve the prospects for the dissolution of this monstrosity.

But this must be accompanied by a growing awareness of what NATO is, in this country. People are taught that it’s something positive, defense-oriented, linking the countries of Europe with cousins over here, sharing a common (white Christian democratic) heritage. Beyond that, they know (and are taught) little. (I actually had a pleasant white-haired woman, whom I took for a longtime peace activist, ask me after a talk on Ukraine at a conference at MIT in 2014 what NATO was. She seemed to regard it as something akin to UNESCO. I explained it was a huge U.S.-led military alliance. She asked me when its next elections were.) Few ask why NATO endures, after the collapse of the USSR 30 years ago, much less why it’s relentlessly expanding to surround today’s capitalist Russia. They’re just told Russia is more aggressive than ever (as though it had ever provoked NATO during the Cold War), as though the U.S. had not been busy, from the time of Bill Clinton, been gobbling up former Soviet allies and even Soviet Republics, and brazenly expressing designs on the former Soviet states of Ukraine and Georgia. All the while accusing the Russians of threatening regional peace and stability!

What to the rest of the world must seem arrogantly stupid, is for the bovine U.S. news consumer, mere American righteousness. (“Why shouldn’t the U.S. bring freedom to the world? Especially if the Russians are threatening to take away their freedoms?”) The power of that stupidity, as propounded by the media—with every bit as much attention to impact and efficiency as applied by the news professionals in Pyongyang—in combination with sheer evil is humanity’s worst, recurrent nightmare.

Today all the news anchors are, echoing Blinken, sounding the alarm on “more Russian aggression” being “threatened” by Russia. Sometimes they mention the NATO meeting in Latvia (including discussion of Ukraine’s promised inclusion into the alliance), not necessarily seeing or asking how one might relate to the other. They mention deployments along the Russo-Ukrainian border involving “reportedly, tens of thousands of” troops and heavy weapons. (To which the rational mind might ask: “So? Doesn’t the U.S. station 4500 troops in Poznan, Poland? And didn’t 600 U.S. soldiers and 190 military vehicles pass through the Czech Republic in May, en route to NATO exercises in Hungary? Is all this marshaling of “allied” military power perhaps somehow threatening Russia? Look at the map! And look at the figures on relative military strength! Then tell me who’s threatening who!”)

Again: the same anchors now berating Republicans for their inability to understand that racism is both evil and rooted historically in this country, never approaching extinction but recharged every generation with new content, part of the institutional DNA of the country, are still trotting out this Cold War “American Exceptionalism.” As though they still have the sacred right to determine this issue of who’s a threat, and who’s a friend, and who should be toppled, and who should be provided with more fighter jets. Europe and Japan in particular should out of eternal gratitude for the U.S. saving them from fascism or at least communism accept U.S. leadership. Yes, even after the “aberration” (as Biden calls it) of the Trump years, “America” (to again quote Biden) “is back!”

It’s bad enough that the shaky president went to Brussels to announce America’s comeback to a lukewarm European audience, and that news anchor were willing to embrace this fiction. The deteriorating U.S. relations with the world would be repaired overnight, by an apparent return by Washington to sanity. But Europeans remained anxious that the problem of Trump was generally reflective of U.S. society, which is to say, of a continuing descent by the world’s most violent, reckless, and arrogant country into an increasingly, alarmingly degenerate, cruel, ignorant, incompetent template for any country.

Biden flabbergasted NATO allies Britain, France, and Germany with the abrupt departure from Afghanistan. He thus abandoned the cause into which they’d been willingly dragooned in 2001, in which they’d lost hundreds of lives and wasted much treasure over two futile decades. Without so much as consultation on the withdrawal! Is that what it means for America to be “back,” under Biden? Still smarting from the insult, but not inclined to heed Boris Yeltsin’s call to establish a “Coalition of the Willing” to keep the war going in Afghanistan, the French were hit with the news that their lucrative deal to build $70 billion in military submarines for the Australian navy hand been sabotaged by a secret agreement of the U.S. and Britain to provide nuclear subs to Canberra. The U.S. had stabbed its French NATO ally in the back to pair with its British NATO ally to supply a non-NATO country with submarines. So much for returning to normal, ending the aberration, reasserting U.S. leadership, and “consultation with our allies.”

Biden has continued the consistent U.S. opposition to the Nord Stream pipeline, designed to bring cheap gas from Russia to Germany and the EU countries in general. His is the same old tired argument that the deal jeopardizes European security by relying too much on an adversary. It angers the Germans, in its denial of their independent agency to contract trade with nearby countries, and its impudent assumption that Germans will so kowtow to U.S. prescriptions about their own security needs. The Biden team doesn’t get it, that the world has changed and become more unilateral. The U.S. cannot be so bossy anymore, or if it does, it might find fewer and fewer to boss around.

Turkey has purchased a Russian missile defensive system, defying NATO warnings about thus consorting with the enemy. But Erdogan has his own agenda. The EU nations for their part have had an increasingly acrimonious relationship with the U.S., largely over U.S. efforts to force unhealthy products down the throats of Europeans, (and those of their farm animals in the form of Monsanto’s SMO animal feed) in the interests of free trade. May the alliance continue to weaken and split!

It’s hard for the news anchors to understand that the U.S. has, in the minds of key partners (which is to say, leaders very similar to U.S. ones in terms of their class interests, and even in the range of personalities possible to self-seeking power-hungry capitalists) lost much prestige and generated much contempt, and greater willingness to protest the great ally’s behavior and dictates.

Again: it’s not so hard, after all, for some anchors and talking heads to “get woke” to the realities of U.S. history, especially if it’s politically and professionally expedient to do so. What’s hard for them to say is that—just as the country was built on slavery, “Indian dispossession,” and the squeezing of wage slaves from all countries pitted against one another though the exploitation of ethnic differences—so it was built too on horrific, racist, expansionist wars generally based on lies (as remains the case) and serving the needs, not of the peoples of countries it deigns to attack, or of friends of “democracy” throughout the world, but the capitalist military-industrial complex in the USA that feeds on war. This would seem to be the dirtier little long-concealed sin. One can speak in the polite company of the need to unite against racist police brutality; that comes easily enough, at least recently. But when you speak about imperialism, as a stage in the development of capitalism, you are fingered as a dogmatic radical and surely anti-American in rejecting the U.S. as a force for good in the world.

But it is absolutely necessary in this dangerous period—more dangerous in some ways than during the tenure of Trump—to awaken to the threat that Washington’s stated policies and towards both Russia (on which it wants to “push back,” on its European border) and China (which it wants to “push back” out of the South China Sea), pose to world peace!

It is frightening to anticipate a Trump-Republican victory in next year’s midterm election, followed by the dismantling of ongoing investigations into the “insurgency” Trump headed, the passage of more repressive, racist laws, a Trump victory in 2024, followed by efforts—far more competent and less clownish than those apparent so far—at the serious construction of a truly fascist order. This scenario depends on a lot of variables, including the preservation of some degree of unity within the existing Trump camp, beginning with his top aides and family members; Trump’s avoidance of legal charges or penalties that might disaffect some of his cult followers; the impact of the Jan. 6 prosecutions and long jail terms on the cult’s major component parts, etc. A second Trump term, or that of a Trump surrogate, would be disastrous, if in unpredictable ways, especially during a second term.

But imagine this country following Biden, even short-term, into a righteous military response to imagined “Russian aggression” against countries that the U.S. continues to covet for itself. Russia has all but said: “If you try to bring Ukraine into NATO, your anti-Russian military alliance, and try to seize our Crimean province —you will have war!” At the same time, Washington, which has not ratified the Law of the Sea treaty (although China has), claims China is in violation of that treaty by building on uninhabited atolls it claims, declares the need for the U.S. itself to send warships through the South China Sea, willfully entering territorial waters claimed by China, accepting the island claims of the Vietnamese, Filipinos, Malaysian and Indonesians for no good reason, at least for the time being, although the policy changes over time.

Imagine the U.S. provoking war with China at sea, through one too many provocative “show the flag” patrols. The U.S. press is chiding Beijing for dispatching a submarine into the Taiwan Strait. How provocative! How threatening! Or so the military-industrial-corporate news complex wants you to think. Never mind that most of the world recognizes Taiwan as part of China and that if any country has a right to patrol the waters immediately surrounding it. Look at the map. The Taiwan Strait is about 130 miles long. The distance from Miami to Havana through the Florida Strait is 230 miles. Does the U.S. dispatch submarines into those waters? If so, shouldn’t China be alarmed and prepare to aid Cuba in the event of another U.S .invasion of the island country? To maintain peace and stability in the Caribbean?

If none of these questions make sense to you, you haven’t experienced the next stage of enlightenment: the awakening to the insane reality of U.S. capitalist imperialism, which (even when minus overt fascist components) is a horrible historical legacy and ongoing structural cancer metastasizing with each new war-based-on-lies. The Biden administration’s effort to bring Europe aboard, not only its program for alliance expansion to further provoke a showdown with Russia, but its program to further encircle the PRC as well, are (while likely to backfire) are extremely dangerous. They rely on mass ignorance and continued gullibility. One has the feeling that administrations pre-Biden had gradually done the easier work, of exploiting its (imagined) triumph in the Cold War, its sole-superpower status, and a world of local conflicts produced inevitably from the Soviet collapse, to expand its alliances, indulge in wars less cautiously, and demand praise and recognition of its achievements from friends “sharing” its “values” and eager to serve assigned auxiliary roles.

But then at a certain point, the EU and PRC GDPs both came to rival that of the U.S. U.S. industry fell way behind as investors abandoned manufacturing and invention entirely, opting instead to devise ingenious ways to make money out of money. Even as its military budget soared, and it rained “shock and awe” down on multiple countries, the U.S. lost influence as allies developed their own bilateral relations with these two crucial countries and increasingly lost confidence in both Washington’s judgment and its concern with their own well-being as sovereign states on a planet the U.S. maintains (as a matter of clearly articulated doctrine) under its “full-spectrum dominance.”

Biden Wants the U.S. to “Own” the 21st Century

And have you noticed? Biden keeps saying the contest with China underway at present is a struggle of “who’s going to own the 21st century.” He vows that the U.S. will! But is that really an acceptable declaration, to the people of this country or the world, at this point in history? I doubt that the Beijing leadership would declare, either their intention or desire, to “own” a century. First of all, how do you do it? What does it all entail? Do the people and other sentient beings inhabiting, at least this planet, during that century, come with the deal? It is an absurd and offensive statement, as dangerous as any made by Trump.

Blinken hints at how this century of ownership will be secured. He calls Russian troop movements a provocation of NATO! Can he not see that NATO expansion is a provocation of Russia? The U.S.-funded “color revolutions” in states bordering Russia, especially the 2014 coup toppling the democratically elected President Yanukovych in Ukraine, seem virtually designed to trigger another world war solving the Russian problem once and for all. This is Russia and China necessarily gravitate towards a powerful Eurasian military alliance, the European masses sour on the U.S. alliance, and nations targeted by U.S. sanctions survive without submission. Mentally residing in the Cold War era, U.S. policy-makers and their media parrots continue to display murderous contempt for the people of the world—the same old imperialist mindset that sees colonial conquest as Rudyard Kipling, the poet laureate of the British Empire, did—as “the White Man’s Burden.”

But the war clouds are obscured by the media’s focus on child murderers, murderous police, the Jan. 6 investigations,, COVID19 developments, Christmas package delays due to supply bottlenecks, the Cuomo brothers, Ghislaine Maxwell, the ongoing toxic strength of the Trump movement. Some on the left are so absorbed with the struggle against “fascism” in the U.S. to realize the threat the (more principled, democratic) Biden Administration poses to world peace. Or to appreciate the advantages of a multipolar world such as has been culled forth by the U.S.’s loss (abrogation) of world leadership through its last several decades of military misadventures and political scandal. If the U.S. polity paralyzes itself, and/or the country descends into civil war, Europe and Japan will likely at least be free to make their own deals without incessant U.S. pressure and monitoring, hectoring and bilking.

May this be the century in which the USA lost ownership of the world. May the people awaken to the reality that all the U.S. wars of our lifetimes have been fought for capitalist profit, racism has in each instance between deployed to vilify the enemy, American Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny are all synonyms for white supremacy, and you can’t really understand structural racism in this country if you don’t understand the global structural racism which is U.S. imperialist hegemony in a new volatile phase.

***

Douglas Shoen, long-time Democratic political consultant and “opinion editor” on The Hill opines Dec. 5:

Ultimately, if Biden continues to exhibit the same uneven and indecisive leadership in meeting America’s foreign policy challenges as he has in meeting many of our domestic challenges, it could undercut America’s ability to confront our adversaries, protect global democracy and continue to lead the world.

Here is an example of a mainstream Biden Democrat demanding from Biden more confrontation with “our adversaries” for the same old hopelessly implausible reasons: to protect democracy and lead the world, even as your own “democracy” gets exposed as the farce it is and your “leadership” has taken a blow by your very brutality and penchant for sowing chaos you expect “allies” to handle after you’ve thrown your fit.

Such mentality persists. It is the enemy as much as the (related) evil of white supremacism, but much less frequently called out. We should all actively seek to “undercut America’s ability to confront” its “adversaries,” because such confrontations are invariably criminal assaults on human beings who are not at all the adversaries the people of this country. Shoen is an apologist for imperialism as much as Steve Bannon is an apologist for racism, and Biden is at least as dangerous for the world as the much less focused and less ideologically driven Trump.

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa JapanMale Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900 and coeditor of The Tokugawa World (Routledge, 2021). He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu