File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_1999/bhaskar.9904, message 27


Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 12:44:24 -0500
Subject: Re: BHA:International law a subset of critical morality (DP



John Game wrote:
>First of all that it is simply the wrong question. It does
>not at all address what Socialists ought to do, what position they
>ought to take up etc. When you suggest that it is "easy" to simply
>"oppose" you are of course quite wrong. It is hard both practically
>(in the sense of actually successfully stopping them) and politically
>(in the sense of arguing the case, presenting alternative stratagies
>etc). Much easier to support the action with reservations.
>Importantly it is hard to see how these reservations could have any
>impact at all.

Of course it is obvious that 'reservations' have no impact at all upon the
ends and means of the NATO intervention (the point obscured by the language
of 'shouldn't we do something?'--as if 'we' were part of the powers that
be). It seems that the current level of NATO military attacks against
Yugoslavia does not require much active support on the part of the
Euro/American masses (though it may change later with the introduction of
ground troops). As of now, NATO only needs moral support hedged by much
'reservations' of 'reluctant' imperialists, like Conrad's Marlow:

"Mind," he began again, lifting one arm from the elbow, the palm of the
hand outwards, so that, with his legs folded before him, he had the pose of
a Buddha preaching in European clothes and without a lotus-flower -- "Mind,
none of us would feel exactly like this. What saves us is efficiency -- the
devotion to efficiency. But these chaps were not much account, really. They
were no colonists; their administration was merely a squeeze, and nothing
more, I suspect. They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute
force -- nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just
an accident arising from the weakness of others. They grabbed what they
could get for the sake of what was to be got. It was just robbery with
violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind --
as is very proper for those who tackle a darkness. The conquest of the
earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a
different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a
pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea
only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an idea;
and an unselfish belief in the idea -- something you can set up, and bow
down before, and offer a sacrifice to..."

Except that Conrad thought the idea of 'efficiency' redeemed the British
Empire, while our contemporary 'reluctant imperialists' say that the idea
of 'human rights' would. Most thoughtful imperialists have been always
'reluctant'--the bad old global reality again.

Yoshie

John Game wrote:

>First of all that it is simply the wrong question. It does 

>not at all address what Socialists ought to do, what position they 

>ought to take up etc. When you suggest that it is "easy" to simply 

>"oppose" you are of course quite wrong. It is hard both practically 

>(in the sense of actually successfully stopping them) and politically


>(in the sense of arguing the case, presenting alternative stratagies 

>etc). Much easier to support the action with reservations. 

>Importantly it is hard to see how these reservations could have any 

>impact at all.


Of course it is obvious that 'reservations' have no impact at all upon
the ends and means of the NATO intervention (the point obscured by the
language of 'shouldn't we do something?'--as if 'we' were part of the
powers that be). It seems that the current level of NATO military
attacks against Yugoslavia does not require much active support on the
part of the Euro/American masses (though it may change later with the
introduction of ground troops). As of now, NATO only needs moral
support hedged by much 'reservations' of 'reluctant' imperialists, like
Conrad's Marlow:


<paraindent><param>right,left</param>"Mind," he began again, lifting
one arm from the elbow, the palm of the hand outwards, so that, with
his legs folded before him, he had the pose of a Buddha preaching in
European clothes and without a lotus-flower -- "Mind, none of us would
feel exactly like this. What saves us is efficiency -- the devotion to
efficiency. But these chaps were not much account, really. They were no
colonists; their administration was merely a squeeze, and nothing more,
I suspect. They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force
-- nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just
an accident arising from the weakness of others. They grabbed what they
could get for the sake of what was to be got. It was just robbery with
violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind
-- as is very proper for those who tackle a darkness. The conquest of
the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a
different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a
pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the
idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an
idea; and an unselfish belief in the idea -- something you can set up,
and bow down before, and offer a sacrifice to..."

</paraindent>

Except that Conrad thought the idea of 'efficiency' redeemed the
British Empire, while our contemporary 'reluctant imperialists' say
that the idea of 'human rights' would. Most thoughtful imperialists
have been always 'reluctant'--the bad old global reality again.


Yoshie



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