What should an American soldier do if the United States invades Iran? Patriot, Slave, or Mercenary?

Soldiers of Conscience: Perspectives on the Morality of Killing in Wartime

 

Philip Zimbardo, The Psychology of Evil, 2008

C. D. Broad, “WAR THOUGHTS IN PEACE TIME,” (1931) with “Afterthoughts in Time of Cold War.” (1953)

Is the United States really interested in a liberal (democracy) hegemony?

In the videos below, John J. Mearsheimer claims that the United States is interested in promoting liberal democracies in the world (i.e., liberal hegemony). I would qualify this in the following way. Promoting liberal democracy is a sufficient — though not a necessary condition — for promoting an American capitalist hegemony. Why? Because the sort of “liberal democracy” which the capitalists want is where there is president or a prime minister — a single individual who can be bribed or threatened, and who can be helped to be elected. The United States is not interested in promoting Swiss style democracy, for example. And, moreover, for capitalist interests, promoting dictatorships is also a sufficient — though not a necessary condition — for promoting an American capitalist hegemony, as long as the dictator cooperates with the American capitalist hegemony.

The rhetoric of liberal democracy as promoting individualism, inalienable rights, tolerance, community, and peace is a rationalization (a smoke screen) for promoting capitalist interests.

John Mearsheimer assumes that countries like the United States operate on the basis of ideologies. On the contrary, countries like the United States reflect the interests of a President and his friends. Ideology is a propaganda rationalization or smoke screen for economic reasons.

Bush’s invasion of Iraq was for control of oil and for a depletion of United States’ surplus of armaments; not for liberal democracy. And Trump’s saber rattling over Venezuela and Iran has nothing to do with promoting liberal democracy. It may be just a strategy for securing his reelection. I find it odd that Mearsheimer ignores the deeds of single leaders with their private interests.

Bullshit Propaganda about Venezuela

If President Maduro of Venezuela were a dictator, as the Trump administration and the sycophantic media claim, then there would be no mass demonstrations against Maduro, and Juan Guaido would be in jail for treason or dead. Meanwhile the US is economically strangling Venezuela and pretending to be supplying “humanitarian aid.” Its greed for OIL.

Noam Chomsky on Venezuela:

Putin’s Russian Invasions

I want to remind viewers that under Putin, in 2014 Russia invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, and is still occupying the Donbass region.

In 2008 Russia invaded Georgia, occupying Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

In 1994 and in 1999 Russia invaded Chechnya.

In 1992 Russia’s army supported the breakaway war of Transnistria from Moldova.

Venezuela: Another Overthrow!

Stephen Kinzer, wrote the book Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq (2006), which documents the history of US interventions in foreign governments. What is going in the relation between the US and Venezuela is exactly an attempt to overthrow the President of Venezuela.

Below is a video of an interview of Stephen Kinzer by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now.

Here are some other interviews with Kinzer.

Problems for Humanity: the views of Yuval Noah Harari

Yuval Noah Harari is author of Sapiens (2014), Homo Deus (2016), and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century (2018).

Nationalism vs. globalism: the new political divide

I have watched a few talks and interviews with Yuval Harari, and at this point I will say that what he says is partly true, but also misleading. I will mention some things which struck me as misleading. His general view of history from the point of view of “authority” is given as a three part progression. First, man finds authority in external gods. Second, man shifts authority to himself (he calls this humanism). Third, we are moving in the direction of giving authority to computer algorithms. This is misleading. Why? Because when we moved away from religious superstitions, we did not replace this with a criterion — which he says we use — of how we “feel.” No, we moved to science, using the criteria of logic and testing. The use of computers is a further extension of the use of science. But he is right that computers and artificial intelligence in the form of expert system are being used more extensively.

Another misleading matter was how he referred to such things as “nations” as “fictions.” This is misleading. Jeremy Bentham also used the word “fiction” to refer to such abstract entities as “nations” and “justice.” But this use of the word “fiction” is not the same as when we talk about “science fiction.” For the creatures of mythology and science fiction, Bentham used the word “fable.” And fictions, in this sense, are not fables. One should consult John Searle on this matter. These so-called fictions are, according to Searle, institutional facts. [Look here]

The other thing that struck me about Harari was his claim that free will does not exist. Again this is a misleading claim. In our ordinary way of talking, we contrast those occasions when someone did something without being compelled to do it and when he was compelled to do something. For example, you are mugged and are forced to surrender your wallet. We will say that you did not do this of your free will. But if you did so without compulsion of any sort, we would say that you did it freely — out of a free will. What Harari is after is the question: did you have any choice in having the desires that you have. But that is another, and different matter.