[A-List] Throwing gasoline on the fire in Asia
nadjatesich at hotmail.com
Fri Aug 6 13:30:05 MDT 2010
What on earth did you expect of Hillary?Why even bother writing about her.
> Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2010 14:55:50 -0400
> From: cb31450 at gmail.com
> To: marxism-thaxis at lists.econ.utah.edu; a-list at lists.econ.utah.edu
> Subject: [A-List] Throwing gasoline on the fire in Asia
> Throwing gasoline on the fire in Asia
> by: Sam Webb
> August 2 2010
> tags: peace, Asia, Korea, China, Vietnam, foreign policy
> The only good thing I can say about Secretary of State Hillary
> Clinton's trip to Asia last month is that it is over. Some people put
> out fires; other people throw gasoline on them. After her trip to
> Asia, I can safely say that Clinton is in the latter category.
> I wish her performance could be attributed to inexperience or jet lag,
> but I'm afraid that is not the case. What she said and did was
> obviously scripted and rehearsed.
> Here are some "high points" of the trip:
> * Lectured the Chinese and Vietnamese on human rights, never
> mentioning our own human rights failures in the political, economic,
> and social spheres.
> * Turned up the verbal heat on North Korea.
> * Visited the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas.
> * Announced new sanctions (which inevitably hurt people more than
> governments), including freezing of bank assets thus making it more
> difficult for the North Korean government to purchase food and other
> * Expressed full support for the joint U.S.-South Korean military
> exercises, supposedly in reaction to the alleged sinking of the South
> Korean warship the Cheonan by the North Koreans.
> * Ignored the UN resolution that condemned the sinking of the ship
> but named no responsible party until more evidence is available.
> * Disregarded the advice of the Chinese government to turn down
> the temperature on the Korean Peninsula and to resume the six-party
> talks promptly.
> * Insinuated herself into a territorial dispute between China and Vietnam.
> This is provocative stuff - the kind of stuff that heightens tensions
> and triggers wars. It can only make an inflamed situation on the
> Korean Peninsula more flammable. Common sense should tell you that.
> No one should think that war on the Korean Peninsula is out of the
> realm of the possible. That would be a dangerous misreading of the
> situation. In the present environment, a small misstep or
> misunderstanding on either side could unleash a bloody and deadly
> confrontation - even a clash between the U.S. and China. War can
> easily acquire a logic and dynamic of its own that even the best
> policymakers are unable to control.
> It is hard to believe President Obama wishes such an outcome. And yet
> the threats and sanctions of Secretary of State Clinton go in this
> So why are the president, the secretary of state, the Pentagon and
> other policymakers pursuing this course of action? Is it because of
> their abhorrence of the regime in the North? Is it because North Korea
> is a "rogue" state? Is it only because of pressures from right-wing
> No. A better explanation is found in examining the new balance of
> power in Asia and other regions of the world and the reaction in elite
> circles to it.
> Asia is arguably the new engine of global economic growth, the center
> of rapid and sustained accumulation of capital, and the home of an
> ascendant world power - China. In this region new patterns of
> political, economic and cultural interaction and integration are
> steadily gaining ground to the disadvantage of the U.S.
> Powerful political and economic forces in the U.S., however, are
> determined to scuttle this integrative process, cut down if not
> isolate China, and employ their financial and military power in order
> to maintain their controlling position in a region that they have
> dominated since the end of World War II. To put it more concisely,
> their aim is to reconstitute their imperial domination in the context
> of changing conditions.
> Much the same is happening in other regions of the world where these
> same forces are bending to new realities of power (Latin America, for
> example), but resisting any scaling back of their dominant role.
> Early on President Obama gave every indication that his administration
> would recalibrate U.S foreign policy in a more democratic direction,
> that it would close one chapter and begin another one in our relations
> with the rest of the world.
> He engaged with states that during the Bush years were considered
> mortal enemies, including North Korea.
> In Latin America, he expressed readiness to put relations on a
> different footing. In a speech in Prague, he voiced his wish to reduce
> and ultimately abolish nuclear weapons. And in an address in Cairo, he
> expressed his eagerness to develop new relations with the Muslim
> world, sit down with the Iranian government, and press for a two-state
> solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
> A promising start! But it wasn't sustained. Under the pressure of
> imperialist-minded institutions and people, the administration has
> backtracked in recent months, not reversed directions entirely, but
> enough to cause alarm among peace-minded people everywhere.
> Clinton's Asian trip continues and reinforces this negative turn in
> the administration's foreign policy. It suggests that the policy
> articulated by the president in the first months of his administration
> is giving way to a policy dictated by geo-economic and geopolitical
> objectives, by a determination to maintain U.S. global primacy in the
> 21st century.
> Nothing could be more dangerous. Nothing could more cripple the
> ability of the global community to respond to the challenges of global
> warming, nuclear proliferation and poverty (no one should think that
> these challenges can be adequately addressed without U.S.
> participating in a constructive way in world affairs). Nothing could
> more drain resources from the domestic economic crisis. And nothing
> could be more damaging to the president's hope of a second term.
> Chasing after top dog status in a changing world is a "fool's errand."
> Perhaps it was naïve on the part of all of us to think that a foreign
> policy pivoting on peace, cooperation and equality could easily
> materialize with powerful forces within and outside the state
> resisting it and without a broad upsurge of an active and mature peace
> Going forward, we have our work cut out for us - beginning with the
> November elections. A larger peace bloc and Democratic majority in
> Congress can only aid our fight.
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