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the defining characteristic...

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MadArchitect

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the defining characteristic...

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In some of the reading I've been doing, I recently ran across this quote from Daniel Patrick Moynihan:"Of the next fifty states which will come into being in the next fifty years, ethnic conflict will be almost the defining characteristic by which that process will take place."So far, it would seem, that prediction is largely correct. I think about the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the rise of states there; the conflict and rise of nations in Africa; the tension surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.I offer this mostly as food for thought, but I also think it leads to a rather troublesome but interesting question: How can this be changed? What's making ethnic conflict such a fundamental problem, and how do we order things to prevent the sort of gross injustices that it leads to?
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P. Moynihan:Of the next fifty states which will come into being in the next fifty years, ethnic conflict will be almost the defining characteristic by which that process will take place.I think this leaves out the element of forcing an external, intrusive economic system into place: i.e., the imposing of "free market" capitalism which devastates local economies and political systems, indigenous social structures, as well as natural agriculture practices and fragile ecosystems. With the collapse of strong, dictatorial regimes and central socialist and communist systems, long-held ethnic struggles would resurface: having been kept under control by iron fists, firing squads and gulags.What Moynihan leaves out in his assessment is the impact of the US and the IMF and World Bank in shaping these new states. Highly unaccountable, non-representative, foreign agents forcing ecomonic models, trade and tariff systems, and demanding malleable local political leadership in these newly formed states...surely can't help ethnic conflict in these regions.
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interesting food for thought, Mad.DH, how many of the places that Mad cited as examples are having economic systems forced on them? the soviet union is an example of a communist to capitalist system that has not suffered from ethnic tensions (perhaps some of the break off states of the USSR are, but are the economic systems being forced on any of these emerging countries?). also, the examples mad cited are not influenced by the IMF and world bank. i am aware of the issues surrounding these agencies and they have done some bad things, but are these agencies related directly to ethnic striff? i think that is a gross over simplification. i think attributed any thing specifically to the cause of ethic striff is not a very solid analysis. a "defining characteristic" could be the result of many causes and it likely would be darn near impossible creating a causal link, but i would be open to research citing a correlation between your suggestions and the characteristic cited in the quote above. though correlation is not causation, it would be interesting to take note.
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I think Yugoslavia is an excellent example of my point. This is from Michael Parenti's The Rational Destruction of YugoslaviaQuote:The U.S. goal has been to transform the Yugoslav nation into a Third-World region, a cluster of weak right-wing principalities with the following characteristics: *incapable of charting an independent course of self-development; *a shattered economy and natural resources completely accessible to multinational corporate exploitation, including *the enormous mineral wealth in Kosovo; *an impoverished, but literate and skilled population forced to work at subsistence wages, constituting a cheap labor pool that will help depress wages in western Europe and elsewhere; *dismantled petroleum, engineering, mining, fertilizer, and automobile industries, and various light industries, that offer no further competition with existing Western producers. U.S. policymakers also want to abolish Yugoslavia's public sector services and social programs -- for the same reason they want to abolish our public sector services and social programs. The ultimate goal is the privatization and Third Worldization of Yugoslavia, as it is the Third Worldization of the United States and every other nation. In some respects, the fury of the West's destruction of Yugoslavia is a backhanded tribute to that nation's success as an alternative form of development, and to the pull it exerted on neighboring populations both East and West.I think Parenti's argument is persuasive: showing that Yugoslavia's ethnic crises were profundly exacerbated by US interests in the region: not for humanitarian reasons; but to devastate a potential economic rival system.
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Dissident Heart: What Moynihan leaves out in his assessment is the impact of the US and the IMF and World Bank in shaping these new states.Do you know something I don't? It's hard to say what Moynihan leaves out of his assessment. I've taken a single quote out of context, and even I don't know its original context, as I'm taking it from an essay that was quoting Moynihan.Dissident Heart's quoted essay: The U.S. goal has been to transform the Yugoslav nation into a Third-World region, a cluster of weak right-wing principalities with the following characteristicsWhoa. My understanding of the situation is that the U.S. botched their own efforts to settle the Yugoslav crisis, largely due to a muddled perception of the factors in play and a foreign policy that wavered continually without ever coelescing into a solid, long-term plan. Of course, you're quoting from a self-described Marxist who often provides a revisionist view of accepted historical positions (suggesting, for example, that the deaths attributed to Stalin's regime were a gross exaggeration). He's also defended Slabodan Milosevic against accusations of intolerance, aggression and war crimes. It looks to me like Parenti has rejected the well-documented and widely accepted mainstream view in order to present a perjorative view of American foreign policy. If he's your foremost source on the dissolution of Yugoslavia, then I'd suggest that you look for a second opinion.
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Mad: It's hard to say what Moynihan leaves out of his assessment.I'm referring to the quote you've offered. Mad: My understanding of the situation is that the U.S. botched their own efforts to settle the Yugoslav crisis, largely due to a muddled perception of the factors in play and a foreign policy that wavered continually without ever coelescing into a solid, long-term plan.I don't think the foreign policy wavered from the essential foundations that Parenti outlines. The nature of the "Yugoslav Crisis" is dependent upon whose perspective you follow. I don't think US foreign policy was involved to assist Yugoslavians: except as far as this assistance would help fortify a political structure able to maintain an appropriate economic system; one that allowed US interests to define and determine what was acceptable and appropriate. The "long-term plan" has been the same one utilized (with accepted pragmatic modifications) that has defined US foriegn policy Post WW II. Mad: Of course, you're quoting from a self-described Marxist who often provides a revisionist view of accepted historical positions (suggesting, for example, that the deaths attributed to Stalin's regime were a gross exaggeration). He's also defended Slabodan Milosevic against accusations of intolerance, aggression and war crimes.Parenti is not a Marxist. He is a radical democrat who critically participates within the Left-Marxist, socialist traditions. His "revisionist" views of history are challenges to the ideologically dominant narratives. What, by the way, do you mean by "revisionist", and is it always a perjorative term? If you want to challenge his conclusions, then please tackle these statements (which you lifted from Wikipedia) within context that consider his evidence and arguments. Otherwise, try reading the essay in question and then offering your rejection of the selected quotation.Mad: It looks to me like Parenti has rejected the well-documented and widely accepted mainstream view in order to present a perjorative view of American foreign policy.I don't think the "widely accepted mainstream view" is well documented, nor does it stretch very wide beyond America's borders...or it's allies who profit well in serving its interests. I think Parenti represents the great majority of scholars, thinkers, activists who are not committed to providing apologetics for US foreign policy; and are able to distinguish between official statements of benign intent, and actual policy of implemented state violence. This substantial community of scholars (whom you perjoratively label "revisionist") do not limit their critique to US foriegn policy...but to State foreign policies in general. They recognize that States do not wage war for humanitarian purposes (no matter how often they say so, or how imperfectly they try); but for self-interested reasons reflecting the demands of elite domestic populations.Below is a selection from Noam Chomsky that defines the crisis in Yugoslavia as a crisis in US credibility...and I think it is consistent with Parenti's thesis. And I think it challenges us to expand Moynahan's emphasis upon ethnic conflict, and recognize the role of the dominant global super-power in shaping developing nations.Quote:NC: One thing is that any kind of turbulence in the Balkans is what's called in technical terms a crisis. That means it can harm the interests of rich and powerful people. So if people are slaughtering each other in Sierra Leone, Colombia, Turkey, or whereever, that doesn't affect rich and powerful people very much, therefore they are glad either to just watch it, or even contribute to it, massively as in the case of Turkey or Colombia. But in the Balkans it's different, it can affect European interests and therefore US interests, so it becomes a crisis, any kind of turbulence. Then you want to quiet it down. Well, how do you do that? The US flatly refuses to allow the institutions of international order to be involved, so no UN, and that's pretty explicit. So they have to turn to NATO. Well, NATO the US dominates, so that's acceptable and then you turn to force. Why force? Well, several reasons, and here I think Clinton, Blair, and others have been pretty honest about it. The point that they reiterate over and over is that it is necessary to establish the credibility of NATO. Now all we have to do is translate from Newspeak. What does credibility of NATO mean? Are they concerned with the credibility of Italy or the credibility of Belgium? Obviously not. They are concerned with the credibility of the United States. Now what does the credibility of the United States mean? Well, you can ask any Mafia don, and he'll explain it. So, suppose some Mafia don is running some area in Chicago, what does he mean by credibility? He means that you have got to show people that they better be obedient or else. That's credibility Edited by: Dissident Heart at: 5/26/06 5:17 pm
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Me: It's hard to say what Moynihan leaves out of his assessment.DH: I'm referring to the quote you've offered.Then it's what I've left out. And for that matter, what Aleksa Djilas left out when he quoted Moynihan in the essay where I found the quote. It may sound ticky to you, but I'd rather you lay the blame at my feet, so long as I'm not at all sure that Moynihan hasn't discussed in the same context precisely the topic you feel to have been wrongly omitted.I don't think the foreign policy wavered from the essential foundations that Parenti outlines.American involvement may have resulted in the turn of events that Parenti outlined. That does nothing to prove his assertion that those results were a matter of design, and I think even a cursory examination of American involvement in Yugoslavia will demonstrate to most unbiased observers that our nation muddled and wavered its way through the crisis without a consistent end in mind.Does anyone back Parenti's claims? I'm drawing my information from a number of sources, and they nearly all agree that American (and for that matter, UN and EC) involvement was plagued by indecision and indeterminite aims. Parenti's description of affairs, including his defense of Milosevic, sound more like the sort of revisionist history that ultimately finds an infallable, malevolent illuminati at the root of all historical events that work against the author's ideological preference.Parenti is not a Marxist. He is a radical democrat who critically participates within the Left-Marxist, socialist traditions.Ah, perhaps you're right. Parenti himself sort of blurs the line. This, from an interview in 1999: 'I don't believe I'm a Marxist. I'm a reality person. I see these things not because I have been initiated into some kind of cult or priesthood. People say "That's Marxist" when they read or hear me. I don't know if it's Marxist, it's reality. Reality is "Marxist".'So he's a realist, and reality is Marxist. Vive la difference!The point is not that Marxists are inherently wrong, but rather than Parenti has a bias that seems to have colored his historical agenda. If he's your primary source on Yugoslavia -- if all of your sources on Yugoslavia are of the Chomsky/Parenti mold -- then you're likely getting more ideology than history. I think it's important to consider those viewpoints, but I think it's equally important to root that consideration in a broader canvas of the perspectives involved.You seem to limit yourself to the perspective you've grown most comfortable with, and it limits your ability to connect with the people on this site. I know I'm not alone in hearing a kind of mental white noise every time I see you raise the holy spectre of Chomsky in a thread. It induces the same sort of conversational black-out that arises when a fervent Evangelical relates every conversation back to "the grace everlasting" or when Soviet Communist falls back on jargon about "liberalism". For all your talk about authors that "challenge" our perceptions and assumptions about the world, your posts have become notably unchallenging.What, by the way, do you mean by "revisionist", and is it always a perjorative term?I mean, one that takes the widely accepted view of history, pronounces it incorrect or crucially incomplete, and seeks to fill in the gaps. It isn't always perjorative, no; the whole discipline of history is largely revisionist. But what you find among a lot of controversial historians is a desire to revise not in accordance with the available data but in accordance with their pet ideology. That tendency is particularly notable in the Marxist-Leninist phase, the whole framework of which depends on re-reading the whole of history in line with a particular economic/class narrative.I don't think the "widely accepted mainstream view" is well documented, nor does it stretch very wide beyond America's borders...or it's allies who profit well in serving its interests. I think Parenti represents the great majority of scholars, thinkers, activists who are not committed to providing apologetics for US foreign policyI haven't seen or read any accounts of Yugoslavia's dissolution that provide any apology for American involvement -- most are harshly critical, in fact. Even so, they rarely agree with Parenti's view that the Balkan War was somehow manipulated to serve American ends. Did American seek to serve its own interest in intervening in the Balkan civil wars? Yes; American policy has always been geared towards serving American interests, and always will be. It isn't the purpose of a domestic goverment, even in their foreign policy, to serve humanitarian ends. Once it stops serving American interests, it ceases to be American foreign policy and becomes something else, though still at the expense of those whose tax money pays for that office. There are, however, mitigating factors. In the particular case of the Balkan Wars, there seems to have been a serious effort to maintain the tradition emblemized by Wilson and Roosevelt, which proclaimed the interests of peace and justice in Europe to be identical with the interests of Americans. That tradition has long attempted to find some common ground between domestic interests in foreign affairs and the sort of widespread human regard that drive humanitarian goals. that effort wavered is where American intervention made it's most serious and fatal mistakes.
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Mad: I think even a cursory examination of American involvement in Yugoslavia will demonstrate to most unbiased observers that our nation muddled and wavered its way through the crisis without a consistent end in mind.I disagree. The telos was always compliance towards US needs in the region. These needs are fairly consistent: an open (meaning submissive) economic system and accompanying political structure to support said system. Now, I completely agree that the way to achieve that end was full of terrible mistakes and disasterous blunders. Especially for the people of former Yugoslavia. You are correct if the problem was strategy...but the goal was clear. Mad: Does anyone back Parenti's claims? Of course. If you revisit his essay, you'll find his sources in the end notes and you can see if he is simply an ideologue, biased beyond repair or, if his argument is sound- even if it confronts mainstream conclusions, and challenges long-standing fundamental assumptions about US foreign policy. His conclusions are hardly controversial outside of mainstream sources; and are par for the course for those who've graduated beyond Wilsonian and Rooseveltian idealism, as well as Marxist determinism.Mad: Parenti's description of affairs, including his defense of Milosevic, sound more like the sort of revisionist history that ultimately finds an infallable, malevolent illuminati at the root of all historical events that work against the author's ideological preference.Parenti's "so-called" defense of Milosevic (which you've yet to produce in context) is part of a consistent attempt by scholarship to get beyond US demonization of State enemies: his work exposes the propaganda produced to villify and scapegoat Milocevic (who Parenti admits is a War Criminal) as a means to distract and minimize the war crimes commited by US state planners. In other words, Milosevic as an embodiment of evil, justifying any and all attempts to liberate his people from his cruel grip...is exposed, by scholars like Parenti, as the distracting propaganda it is; and is turned around to expose our own complicity in war crimes. Parenti's truth telling about Milosevic is far more useful in eliminating his war crimes, than the kind of propaganda created by State planners used to hide their own.Parenti makes no claim to an infallible illuminati at the root of all historical events. He exposes how elite sectors of domestic populations control foregin policy decisions such that actions abroad serve their interests at home. This is something that happens in all States, not merely the US. The property owning classes and their attending managers and coordinators determine domestic and foreign policies: and they are not in the business of business to lose money or waste investment: they expect return for their capital. This structure is reinforced in countless ways throughout society by systems of rewards and punishments beginning in kindergarten. State planners would not be in their positions of planning and decision making if they did not already fully support the underlying assumptions and values of the system. They would have been weeded out before ever imagining reaching such high levels of control. The system is hierarchical, non-representative, highly predatory, and ruthless in enforcing its decisions. Mad: if all of your sources on Yugoslavia are of the Chomsky/Parenti mold -- then you're likely getting more ideology than history.You've yet to show how this "mold" is more ideological than your choice of resources, or how your approach and the conclusions you've drawn are less ideological. Chomsky and Parenti are major players within the tradition of scholarship I refer to; but they are hardly the only scholars drawing similar conclusions. Again, let's explore their arguments and how they approach the evidence before dismissing their ideologies. I suggest we do the same with any scholarship we utilize for this issues at hand. Mad: what you find among a lot of controversial historians is a desire to revise not in accordance with the available data but in accordance with their pet ideology.I think it is more true with mainstream historians, who have far more to lose, for whom controversy could equal lack of prestige, honor, and risk villification, or even worse, the silence of reviewers. The selectivity with which scholars approach available data is obviously colored by their ideological assumptions and agendas: with folks like Chomsky and Parenti, it is clear what they have in mind and why they are writing. The real facade, as I see it, are the ones who claim plain, unobtrusive, simply objective, mainstream scholarship...if you don't confront the dominant paradigm, you are supporting it.Mad: I haven't seen or read any accounts of Yugoslavia's dissolution that provide any apology for American involvement -- most are harshly critical, in fact.They are critical of US stratagies, but not the end-goal. They embrace US attempts to continue in the finest of Wilsonian idealism (as you yourself argue), struggling to bring democracy, enlightenment, protection, and liberation and a better life to those less fortunate and suffering. And it is this Wilsonian tradition that has served as the stated end-goal. The strategies in Yugoslavia (or Iraq, Vietnam, Central America, you name it) have always impeded this noble goal. Americans have good intentions when they go to war, and will only do it to protect ourselves or help spread Wilsonian idealism...we make lots of mistakes, blunder occasionally, and don't always have the best strategies...but we are not like our enemies; who are evil and need to be crushed into submission. Someone has to do it, and it may as well be us. That is the "mainstream" view.Well, that's the lie. We are our enemies, and are often much worse. That's why Chomsky and Parenti's work is so important in exposing this.
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Since you're so dead set on pushing the issue, let's take a look at Parenti's article. All I see are a smattering of facts documented by other people and then subjected to Parenti's interpretation in the hopes of demonizing U.S. involvement. Now I'm not one to laud U.S. foreign policy, and I'm aware that our government is prone to make some pretty underhanded decisions, but to my mind writers like Parenti are capable of doing grave damage to the credibility of moderate efforts of reform. They traffic in hyperbole. There are grains of truth in what they right, but it's almost choked out by the chaffe.The first paragraph is filled with vitrol -- what you would praise, no doubt, as the sort of anger that ought to drive protest. The second paragraph prevents a brand of specious argument -- the U.S. doesn't act the same way in all forms of injustice, therefore there must be something suspect in their dealings with Yugoslavia. I'm open to the suggestion that more than mere humanitarian feeling prompted our decisions apropos of Yugoslavia, but Parenti seems to take it as a matter of course that the ecnomic manipulation and "Thirdworldization" is the only reasonable answer.Quite frankly, I see no support for Parenti's assertion that Yugoslavia in the closing years of Tito's reign "was not the kind of country global capitalism would normally tolerate." I don't see much evidence that the U.S. has ever provoked hostility with another nation over their economic successes alone. I'm inclined to agree that the tension between ecnomic systems was a factor in American policy, but that it was a factor among many does not make it the predominant factor.The rest of that section is given to enumerating a string of facts, subjecting them to interpretation against the model of the conspiracy to "Third Worldize" nations, and without ever drawing a consistent line between those facts. It's hardly surprising to me that capitalist lendors in the 1960s and 1970s would have made a condition of lended funds the restructuring of a communist system -- the intervention of the U.S. and European powers is hardly necessary to explain that fact, nor has Parenti provided any documentation to substantiate that implication.Likewise, he provides no documentation to demonstrate that the media outlets bombed by U.S. airstrikes were destroyed for directly opposing American policy in the region. He has not even bothered to substantiate his claims concerning the content of those stations. The only reference he provides in that section is to a New York Times article which he describes as indulging in American apologetics. Given the tenor of media and myth in Yugoslavia at the time of those bombings, it's just as likely that the media outlets struck were dispensing propaganda geared towards encouraging and justifying ethnic cleansing. Either one could be the case; the point is that I see nothing in Parenti's article to suggest that he has any evidence to support his assertions. He has a perception of the U.S. and the European Community as being driven by a capitalist agenda, and he interprets the bombings in reference to that perception.That economic sanctions were a failure in Yugoslavia, I'll gladly concede. But again, Parenti allows the fact of sactions and the damage they did to stand as the whole of his argument that the sanctions were designed to aide in the dismemberment of Yugoslavia. It's insufficient evidence on its own.Parenti cites the U.S.'s support of Franjo Tudjman as further evidence of their malevolent designs on the region -- without, notably, mentioning the terms of that support. Nor does he explore the alternatives to Tudjman, compared to many of whom Tudjman may have actually seemed like a relatively moderate option. Short of deposing Tudjman by military force, I don't see how the West could have gotten around the fact of Tudjman's election as president of Croatia, anyway, so it's a bit of a moot point.In attempting to discredit Alija Izetbegovic, Parenti cites "Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation" to question his presidential claim. As it happens, that's one of the sources of my knowledge on the dissolution of Yugoslavia, and I don't see the same criticisms lodged their. Presumably Izetbegovic's false claim to the presidency is explained in Parenti's other source, "CovertAction Quarterly".In support of his claim that the Serbs have been unduly demonized by the Western press and authorities, Parenti quotes Charles Boyd as saying, "The popular image of this war in Bosnia is one of unrelenting Serb expansionism. Much of what the Croatians call 'the occupied territories' is land that has been held by Serbs for more that three centuries. The same is true of most Serb land in Bosnia. . . . In short the Serbs were not trying to conquer new territory, but merely to hold onto what was already theirs." This paints a grossly uneven portrait of South Slav history, and if Parenti accepts this as the true history of the region, then it's little wonder he's willing to consider the legitimacy of the claims of Greater Serbia. The region has been ethnically mixed since at least the Ottoman Empire, and the territorial claim of any one ethnicity over another is dubious to a high degree.Parenti is right in lamenting that Western coverage of Croation and Muslim atrocities has been poor compared to coverage of atrocities perpetrated by Serbians. But, again, Parenti interprets this as evidence of capitalist designs on Yugoslavian production. It's just as likely that the bias accords with a perception of justice -- Serbians were the aggressors in destabilizing Yugoslavia and invading Bosnia and Herzegovina. For a source on that you can go to the aforementioned "Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation".I could go on, but really, what would be the point. Parenti peppers his essay with references to other documents, but those documents only substantiate the events themselves, with rarely anything pertaining to Parenti's interpretation. That interpretation is substantiated, so far as I can tell, only by Parenti's perception of the U.S. and the Economic Communities as capitalist nations seeking fertile ground to exploit, ground that must be rested from its current inhabitants by provoking civil unrest and social instability. He's done nothing to demonstrate the existence of such designs as a consistent policy, and most of his support for the circumstantial evidence seems to me beleagured by distortion.I will, however, congratulate you on once again turning a thread rapidly away from its original subject and resettling it on the only topics you think are worth considering. Every time you quote Chomsky in a thread, an angel gets its wings.
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Mad: writers like Parenti are capable of doing grave damage to the credibility of moderate efforts of reform. I agree there is risk in rejecting what is somewhat good for what is perfect, and along the way being left with what is subtstantially worse. Parenti's analysis is revolutionary: not meaning it is entirely unique or novel- but that it pushes for radical change. Moderate reform is necessary, and should be pursued- but only if revolutionary change is the driving goal. Pieces of reform need to be taken wherever possible, built upon, expanded, and driven to ever widening dimensions of social, political and economic life. The real grave damage is making believe that the system need only moderate reform.Mad: (per Parenti) the U.S. doesn't act the same way in all forms of injustice, therefore there must be something suspect in their dealings with Yugoslavia.This is crucial. When considering the credibility of the US in pursuing humanitarian efforts, it is necessary to see how other, contemporaneous foreign policy decisions are enacted. When it can be shown (and I think it can) that other terrible injustices are passed over in silence, diplomatically acceptable, economically financed, and militarily enforced by the US...then claims towards humanitarian efforts (or projects to enforce democracy, human rights, etc.) must be received skeptically. Offical statements describing acts of State aggression as liberatory necessities are reflexive; skepticism towards these statements should be reflexive as well. Mad: Parenti seems to take it as a matter of course that the ecnomic manipulation and "Thirdworldization" is the only reasonable answer.No, he makes the case that it is irrational to deny what he calls the "Thirdworldization" process. In other words, any account of the events that avoids the "Thirdworldization" element misses a crucial catalyst to the decisions and policy making of the US in the region. I think this "Thirdworldization" is the defining characteristic you point to in your opening post...not ethnic conflict. I think ethnic conflict is certainly present, and a key ingredient to understanding anything about local, national, international and geopolitical issues. I also think the "Thirdworldization" that Parenti describes throws fuel on the fire of ethnic conflict- exacerbating and infuriating local and regional populations. I think Parenti's argument is consistent and coherent within the framework he provides. The essay provides limited supporting evidence that is arguably less than conclusive- but I argue is still reasonable within his paradigm. His book To Kill A Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia provides a more thorough analysis- with the same punch no doubt. Every paradigm is limiting: highlighting some elements, while minimizing others. It colors how we process information, bring meaning to our evidence, and draw conclusions with our arguments. We are all subject to the selectivity of our guiding paradigms. Parenti's paradigm recognizes the power of economics to drive domestic and foreign policies; and the specific aggressive, belligerent, predatory nature of the dominant Western economic systems in shaping those policies.His essay is not an argument in defense of that paradigm; but an example of how that paradigm helps to understand what happened to Yugoslavia. Your comment, "He's done nothing to demonstrate the existence of such designs as a consistent policy, and most of his support for the circumstantial evidence seems to me beleagured by distortion" is simply inaccurate. The evidence is "circumstantial" because the paradigm you follow leads you to that conclusion. What you call distortion is the conflict between paradigms you have with the author.Perhaps you can share what paradigm you are using when gathering together evidence for determining the defining characteristic for the next fifty years of state building? Edited by: Dissident Heart at: 5/30/06 11:36 pm
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