Sunday, January 12, 2003

The January 2003 issue of Harper's Magazine has two items that I would like to bring your attention to. The first is four pages of poetic vignettes in a collection called Miracles and Anthems: The Alchemy of Soccer which should be delightful to soccer fans and perhaps be only somewhat amusing to others.

The second item is much more substantial: its a seven page excerpt from an essay by Perry Anderson entitled Force and Consent which originated from the September/October Issue of the New Left Review. This article has given me a narrative that I now use to think around and about the upcoming American invasion of Iraq which. If you allow me to crudely paraphase, the story so far goes something like this:

Current US foreign policy is not particularly different from previous US foreign policy which attempted to 1) make the world safe for capitalism and 2) ensure that the US kept its uncontested primacy within world capitalism. The American public is generally comfortable with the role that the United States plays internationally as long as the government of the United States does not commit to any prolonged military action ("another Vietnam") After the attacks of the September 11, the Bush government quickly realized that they could take advantage of both domestic and international sympathies to act upon all its military aspirations -and thus, broadened the War on Terrorism to include the "axis of evil" countries: Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Taking over Iraq thus would give Washington a large oil-rich platform in the center of the Arab world on which to build an enlarged version of Afghan-style democracy, designed to change the whole political landscape of the Middle East

If it was as only as simple as the rules of soccer.

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