State competition & Imperialism

Democracy, free enterprise, human rights and women’s rights for the ‘Middle East’
The World Power Wants to Make the World a Better Place

And America wants to do a particularly thorough job in that part of the world where it has spotted the worst shortcomings: the Arab-Islamic world between Morocco and Afghanistan — a place the United States sees as being defined by the presence of a strong anti-Americanism. It has undertaken to combat this nuisance by military force wherever necessary, and has also initiated a comprehensive set of reforms aimed at bringing the virtues of free enterprise, democratic customs and the bourgeois rule of law to this troubling region.

The American Antiterror War: The Home Front

“This unprecedented assault brought us face to face with a new enemy, and demanded that we think anew and act anew in order to protect our citizens and our values.” (Attorney General John Ashcroft before the U.S. Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, “Oversight of the Department of Justice,” May 25, 2002)

The WTO Conference in Seattle — “failed”
The Nations’ Struggle for the Wealth of the World and its Latest Battlefields

What goes for all the important institutions of the capitalist world goes for the World Trade Organization (WTO) too: hardly anybody wants to praise it. Those who wish to radiate global economic expertise like to rebuke it for its ‘conceptual weakness,’ its sorry willingness to compromise, its biased and wrong decisions, and the like. They worry about the excessive ‘influence of national egoism,’ and reproach it for its ‘failure.’ In all this, they are really only confirming their indestructible good faith in the WTO as an organization that actually exists to put the brakes on the ruinous competition between states, to bring about consensus in global trade and fairly distribute its blessings; in any case as a definite achievement. The expert commentary on the WTO conference in Seattle conformed to this line of thinking, a conference that was supposed to initiate a new ‘round’ of ‘liberalized’ cross-border business and yet didn’t even manage to create an agenda. Consistent with this, they reproached the — for whatever reasons — hostile demonstrators in Seattle for their ignorance of the true humanitarian mission of the organization; they feared narrow-minded national resistance to the perfectly good purpose of the conference; and they regretted the failure of the conference while expressing the hope that the flagging process of beneficent ‘deregulation’ of global business might continue as soon as possible under the aegis of the WTO as a kind of supranational regulatory authority. A quasi-legal authority over states for supervising the liberality of worldwide moneymaking just doesn’t seem at all paradoxical, or at least suspect, to global economic experts. They consider something like that in principle to be perfectly reasonable, even if its troubles — in this case the failed result of the conference — conspicuously reveal this organization to be about nothing but power struggles over trade policy — even with the drawing up of an agenda for future conferences — and show the widely welcomed “liberalization of world trade” to be nothing other than a pseudonym for the protection provided by the strongest economic powers for their national interests.

General Pinochet Arrested
A Didactic Drama About the Relationship Bewteen Politics, Law, and Morals

Democratic public opinion is ambivalent about how to treat the Pinochet affair. Professional warners point to the explosive nature of the matter and the unwanted diplomatic complications it involves. They also raise the fundamental question of what would happen if a precedent was set. On the other hand, the less commentators are guided by diplomatic calculations, the further away they are from governments when discussing the politico-moral dimension of the case, the more pleased and satisfied they tend to be. Regardless of any ideological differences between "liberal," "left," or "right," they largely agree that Pinochet's arrest was the "right signal" and the "unmistakable message" for the world community to aim at all present or future "dictators" or "criminals" as a deterrent.


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