Some years ago, I wrote a little letter to The Nation in response to a review of The Bell Curve by the eminent political scientist Adolph Reed, Jr., agreeing with him wholeheartedly but adding my own wry little take on things. It wasn’t well received by Reed, and he wrote a somewhat scathing response, which was published directly after my letter (which I think was the only one of mine The Nation ever published). Kind of scary.
Nonetheless, I’ve always admired his style, and it’s good to see someone else on the other end of the skewer, especially when I can’t help but agree, in this excerpt from a take on the Obama campaign:
Lesser evilists assert as indisputable fact that Gore, or even Kerry, wouldn’t have invaded Iraq. Perhaps Gore wouldn’t have, but I can’t say that’s a sure thing. (And who was his running mate, by the way?) Moreover, we don’t know what other military adventurism that he – like Clinton – would have undertaken to make clear that he wouldn’t be seen as a wimpy Democrat. As to Kerry, even though like all the other Dem presidential aspirants who voted for it, except Edwards, he claimed later that he thought he was voting for something else, he did vote to invade Iraq, didn’t he? And, moreover, during his campaign didn’t he say that, even if he’d known then what he knew in 2004, he’d still have voted for it? No, I’m not at all convinced that the right wouldn’t have been able to hound either Gore into invading Iraq or Kerry into continuing the war indefinitely. Sure, neither Dem would have done it as stupidly and venally as Bush, but that’s no comfort to the Iraqis, is it? Nor does it suggest a break from the military interventionism – old school imperialism – that’s defined our foreign policy increasingly since Reagan. Obama is on record as being prepared to expand the war into Pakistan and maybe Iran, now apparently even generically anywhere in “Mesopotamia” (NYT, 7/14/08), after he does the Randolph Scott move and “talks” to his targets a couple of times. He’s also made pretty clear that AIPAC has his ear, which does it for the Middle East, and I wouldn’t be shocked if his administration were to continue, or even step up, underwriting covert operations against Venezuela, Cuba (he’s already several times linked each of those two governments with North Korea and Iran) and maybe Ecuador or Bolivia.
This is where I don’t give two shits for the liberals’ criticism of Bush’s foreign policy: they don’t mind imperialism; they just want a more efficiently and rationally managed one.