adventures in invective

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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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8 Responses

  1. Avatar gnomestrath
    Ignored
    says:

    Watching the Obama tour of Europe I would find it hard to argue that he denigrated America. Your president came here and spoke in an open and coherent way about the relationships between countries in general and specifically. What we got for the first time in many years was intelligent and strong words from an intelligent leader trying to make the world a better place because its in his own countries interests to do so.

    Obama did no damage to America by what he said, rather he greatly the enhanced its image as a nation of good values.Report

  2. Avatar Roland Dodds
    Ignored
    says:

    I think Peter is wrong in his piece, but I do share his distaste for a world tour that requires pandering to European’s and Muslim’s who truly believe the US is at war with them, even when previous policies on behalf of Muslims in Europe and elsewhere have been popular with the Muslim populations they were meant to protect.

    But I recognize that the world is not fair, and that if it is necessary for Obama to remind the world of what I see as obvious so that he can accomplish larger goals, then so be it. If Obama can make tangible gains on this recent tour with his very eloquent speeches and words, then it will be worth the dent in some individual’s pride. I happen to doubt that all of these recent speeches are going to produce real changes and create the commitments the Obama administration is looking for from world leaders, but I would be happy to admit it if I am proved wrong.

    In the meantime, I will defer to America’s greatest statesmen, Al Capone, whose words will likely come to mean something to the Obama administration.

    “You can get alot farther with a kind word and a gun than just a kind word.”

    Lamentable perhaps, but it remains an accurate assessment of the international system.Report

  3. Avatar gnomestrath
    Ignored
    says:

    oops apologies for the bad grammar in my piece if some editor who is not as knackered as me would like to delete or editi it feel freeReport

  4. Avatar E.D. Kain
    Ignored
    says:

    In the meantime, I will defer to America’s greatest statesmen, Al Capone, whose words will likely come to mean something to the Obama administration.

    “You can get alot farther with a kind word and a gun than just a kind word.”

    That’s a good line, Roland. Thanks.

    Also, just to be clear, I find your brand of humanitarian interventionism a noble and honorable pursuit even if I’ve come to disagree with it. I hope we can always have amicable discussion. There are others who I will not name who are less honest, I think, and whose politics reflect less of a genuine desire to help the world.Report

  5. Avatar bakum
    Ignored
    says:

    “I do share his distaste for a world tour that requires pandering to European’s and Muslim’s”

    Calling what Obama did “pandering” seems to me to be a misunderestimation of how the world works.Report

  6. Avatar Roque Nuevo
    Ignored
    says:

    Expain why “Kuwait, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq” are “American-instigated wars.” Remember that Iraq invaded Kuwait, for example. I’m interested in how you can spin any of this to our disadvantage and show how “arrogant and imperialist” we are. Wait: forget Iraq for now. Just focus on the other wars and show how they are “American instigated.”

    It just happens to be true that we fought to preserve France and to protect them in WWI, WWII, and the Cold War. And it just happens to be true that they have repaid us with sh$t. And it doen’t make any difference to me that they supported us back in 1783–that was the old monarchy, after all, and they supported us to weaken the British, not as an expression of friendship.

    Just because someone’s views are popular, or “reflect popular opinion” doesn’t make them correct. I’d say that the President’s job isn’t to represent popular opinon but to do and say the right thing.

    I hope that Obama’s saying that we are not at war with Islam will be accepted by Muslims–Bush’s identical and repeated declarations never were. Is there really anyone sane–or non Muslim–who thinks we are? But for that to happen, Muslims would have to change. That won’t happen as long as our President thinks it’s so important to make obsequious speeches to them.

    As for the all-important Respect that Obama promised Muslims: I’d have a lot more respect for him if he also demanded respect from them in return. Now, that would be an “eloquent” speech worth listening to.Report

  7. Avatar Katherine
    Ignored
    says:

    And it doen’t make any difference to me that they supported us back in 1783–that was the old monarchy, after all, and they supported us to weaken the British, not as an expression of friendship.

    Precisely! Applying that same understanding to America is part of E.D.’s point. American involvement in the World Wars and Cold War were because of national interest, not as a favour to other countries. America fought the Gulf War not out of concern for Muslims, but out of concern for oil. America fought the war in Afghanistan because the Taliban supported the group, Al Qaeda, which attached the United States. America fought the war in Iraq out of desire for greater control of oil and a stronger strategic base in the Middle East. None of these things were done primarily out of concern for Muslims; they were done because they served America’s interests.

    And given that the Gulf Wars and Iraq War were fought to maintain American control over oil resources and consolidate its strategic power in the Middle East, it is quite reasonable to regard them as imperialist.Report

  8. Avatar Roque Nuevo
    Ignored
    says:

    Applying that same understanding to America is part of E.D.’s point.

    No, it isn’t. ED Kain said that these wars were “American-instigated.” That’s not even close to saying that any nation will protect its own interests, if need be, by war, which is an utterly banal “analysis” of any situation whatsoever and has nothing to do with imperialism, as it’s generally understood. Please try to keep up.

    So, explain how these wars were “American-instigated.”

    After that, you can explain how “consolidating strategic power” is “imperialist” and how America “controls” oil resources. Whatever you say will not be in line with any reasonable definition of “imperialism” or “control.”Report

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