Sunday, November 16, 2008


A set of parallel intuitions developed developed with the collapse of the USSR and quickly became hegemonic

public discussion was governed by three fundamental suppositions: 1) globalisation meant the end of national state economies with extensive regulation and inbuilt welfare safety nets

2) the end of the USSR meant that state sovereignty was no longer as central to the world system, and new forms of cosmopolitan law were emerging which might override national sovereignty given a failure to respect certain basic norms.





'colour-coded' revolts of the early 2000s

democratising process immanent to the new world order

3) subjacent to both processes

global unipolarity in which America


Warsaw Pact states

its freedom to act outside the constraints of a dirty Cold War

propel it to take liberal internationalism through its final negation, toward a cosmopolital liberal world order.


The US is the world's largest economy, and military power. The second and third largest national economies in the world remain Japan and Germany

both of whom developed under US tutelage and both of whom retain American garrisons.

The fifth largest economy, the UK, remains committed to a strategic alliance with the US, and subordinates

important countries

are tied to America by defense and economic interests

South Korea on the Pacific side, Poland on the Atlantic side

The apparatus of economic and financial dominance belongs effectively to the United States. These include not just the IMF and WTO, but also organisations like the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which is mainly funded by the US and which oversees neoliberal restructuring in 'transitional' countries.

The NATO alliance binds 25 European and Asian countries to the US, and comprises 70% of global military spending.

main emerging competitors, India and China,

India, the fourth largest economy by purchasing power parity, having embraced Washington-driven neoliberalism in the 1990s, is now party to a nuclear alliance with the US

This is unmistakeably a military agreement in civilian drag. India's days of non-alignment were, realistically, over long ago, but this arguably sealed the deal: it is now effectively a US sattelite.

We can overstate the unity of the Euro-American alliance, only if we forget about South Ossetia.

he capacity of American military power to defeat resistance met clear limits in Iraq,

Latin America, including Brazil - the ninth largest economy by purchasing power parity, and one of the largest emerging markets - is slipping out of the US grasp, partially through popular movements and partially by cutting deals with Russia, China and Iran

US even embarrassingly lost a key 'lily pad' in Uzbekistan, after it bent over backward to defend its local torturing dictatorship.

an evangelising, universalising Americanism is equally suffused with an American parochialism, a nationalism that embodies a local ruling class interest.

G20 recently, Bush made a last-ditch appeal to respect the terms of free market ideology, placing particular emphasis on free trade

highly protectionist American president

jargon refers particularly to various 'free trade' agreements that are advantageous to the US.


in which America and the EU abandon agricultural subsidies

the president who oversaw a drastic expansion of the state's role in the economy, responsible for the largest nationalisations in history, might have seemed an odd person to be making reassuring noises

obviously a conventional code for policies that run down the social-democratic content of the state

far fro

the subsumption of national polities into a heavily institutionalised global order


pursue the usual hub-and-spoke mechanisms of control, ad hoc bilateral agreements, status of forces agreements, security arrangements etc.

subordinate allies

will actually buck the trend and throw out American-led agreements

anticapitalist movements


Tensions with the EU over tarrifs, subsidies and WTO rulings

strategic differences, compounded by popular movements

major European states (half-heartedly) obstructing an American-led war

US foreign policy can be explained by attempts to outmanoeuvre advanced capitalist rivals

efforts to supplant Germany and France in Yugoslavia, with additional benefits in encircling Russia.

The resumption of the nuclear arms race with Russia in the 2000s, the pursuit of the defense shield, the expansion of NATO, and the placement of American bases across Central Asia ultimately led to a conflagration in South Ossetia in which Georgia took its American-trained troops and its American-supplied weaponry and carried out an indiscriminate attack on Tskhinvali which killed Russian peacekeepers.

Russia responded with a brutal invasion of Georgia, would-be future NATO member.

The US responded with some tough talk and threats, but also watched helplessly as European allies noisily broke ranks.

if Georgia had been a NATO member at the time of the conflict, then other members of the alliance would have been obliged by its terms to 'defend' Georgia.

No road to global peace, this.

So, what if the liberal teleology was wrong?

What if the US was not the bearer of the Spirit of History

Suppose the US ruling class meant that shit when it told the ICC to go fuck itself and continued to support death squads, dictatorships and anti-democratic movements?

What if the liberals' solipsistic conviction that political opposition to neoliberal hegemony was either temporary irrationality or non-existent proved a false consolation?

American hegemony, not an 'international community', and certainly not a germinal 'global state'

What if the world didn't flatten, the global economy continued to be crisis-prone

what if the most likely future vista is one of increasingly autarkic states, more authoritarian government, an escalated arms race, riskier confrontations on the global frontiers, sustained economic turmoil and renewed political polarisation?

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