File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0110, message 123

Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 21:13:10 -0500
Subject: Re: gas


Over the past two months I have read Negri and Hardt's Empire twice,
feverishly underlining the text with yellow highlighter until my fingers
looked liked they had nicotine stains.  I realize this doesn't make me
an expert on globalization, but it does make me sympathetic.  

I think we were differ is not so much on the politics of this, but in
our analysis of what exactly is occurring.  My hope is that my
discussing this further we can clarify the issues a bit more.  For
myself, I am not exactly sure what constitutes the distinction you are
making between a Pax America and Globalism.

You say the 'G1 country in alliance with the other G19 countries is
engaging in a globalization adventure...' but certainly you recognize
that the G8 or G20 are not all equal powers.  Far from it. Some are more
equal than others - the US in particular.

The US has the greatest military might of all these countries, it
dominates the international economy, it oversees the IMF and third world
debt, it has greater control of the oil fields, it sees itself
ideologically as the winner of the Cold War and as the heir apparent to
world domination.

The basic question remains.  Are we witnessing the emergence today of a
supranational global empire or are we witnessing the attempt of the US
to utilize supranational organizations such as NATO and the UN in order
to further it own hegemonic interests by dividing the other powers,
pressuring them in various ways and, when all else fails, using its
military might as a show of force to establish its own stategic

Here is what Peter Gowan says on this topic.  

"With resources like these, the collapse of the Soviet Bloc opened up
the possibility of a new global Empire of a new type.  An empire made up
of the patchwork of the states of the entire planet.  The legal
sovereignty of all these would be preserved, but the political
significance of that legal sovereignty would be turned on its head.  It
would mean that the state concerned would bear entire juridical and
political responsibility for all the problems on its territory but would
lose effective control over the central actual economic and political
processes flowing in and out of its territories.  The empire would be
centered in Washington with Western Europe and Japan as brigaded client
powers and the extend across the rest of the world, beating against the
borders of an enfeebled Russia and a potentially beleaguered China."

"And it would be an Empire in which the capitalist classes of every
state within it would be guaranteed security against social challenge,
through the protection of the new Behemoth, provided only that they
respected the will and authority of the Behemoth on all questions which
it considered important.  If the US played its new strategy for empire
building effectively, it could thus earn the support and even adulation
of all the capitalist classes of the world."

This describes effectively what I think the US is attempting to
accomplish right now.  If you want to call this Pax America, so be it. 
However, the 911 attack was not on Globalism.  It was on America.  The
war is not being waged by Global powers. (Whatever lip service they
provide.) It is being waged by America.  The question remains who is
using who.  I believe the Bush Administration clearly believe it has the
divine right of kings to rule the world and God help whoever gets in its

I agree with you, however, that this war is not merely about narrow
economic interests, but about extending the scope of capitalism "into
the last corners of the world where a pre-capitalist regime and
associated resistors threatened it" as well as attempting to control the
so-called anti-globalist forces.  Terrorism is being used to extend the
Cold War by other means with the US as the sole hegemonic force acting
through various supranational global agencies.  The US will not
willingly submit to globalism unless it actively detained.

I do not personally think the US will be successful at this effort
ultimately, but I do think this is what they are attempting.  What I am
arguing for is not merely Pax America, but Globalism with an American
twang and a Colt 45 backing it up.

Actually, I would like to be wrong about this, but when I look around at
the world right now, this seems to be what is clearly happening.  Why do
you see it differently?  Do you really think the US is weaker or more
innocent that I do?  Do you really think Europe or Russia or China or
Japan can tell Uncle Sam what to do and He will listen?  



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