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International politics from the "decent Left".
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:: Friday, May 31, 2002 ::

William Safire ties himself in knots trying to explain how the Bush doctrine of attacking states who allow terrorists to operate applies to India and Pakistan. First he explains how the doctrine allows for "hot pre-emption" not only "hot pursuit" and gives the War on Afghanistan as an example, as well as Israel. But then he goes on to say that, since Pakistan has nukes, "hot pre-emption" should take the form of negotiations. He says that pressure should be applied to Pakistan to stop the terror and they should be given aid incentives, pressure should be applied to India to negotiate over the future of Kashmir, and the status of Kashmir might need to change. Safire never explains how this is "hot pre-emption". If someone said Israel should negotiate, the Palestinians should be given aid incentives, and the status of the Occupied Territories would need to change, Safire would be first out of the box to denounce that suggestion. Maybe its time for him to admit that the Bush doctrine was created for domestic political consumption by a man who, before becoming president, had traveled to fewer countries than I had by age 4, and just doesn't work in the real world. Its good to see Safire coming around to sensible positions, however, even if he crouches them in the language of idiocy.
:: Judah 12:47 AM [+] ::

:: Wednesday, May 29, 2002 ::

Just as there are three groups in the American left when it comes to military policy, there are also three groups when it comes to trade policy, in my opinion: the anti-capitalists/anti-globalists, the questionable practices/alternative globalists, and the protectionists. The anti-capitalists are just that, against the capitalist system. They can be anarchists, socialists, communists, or any various combination. They see capitalism as inherently unjust and must be aboslished, along with its institutions like the IMF and WTO. The protectionists, often unions and Democrats, believe that corporate globalization has a negative affect on American jobs and want the government to be able to put up trade barriers to protect them. This group were the main backers of the steel tariffs. The questionable practices/alternative globalists, with whom I identify, have a broad range of ideas that revolve around the main idea that globalization can be a force for good, but its not being done right. Some people are worried about labor protections and environmental degradition (and push for protections such as the ones in the US-Jordan Free Trade Agreement). Others are worried that corporate globalization will prevent developing countries from becoming self-sustainable. Some people worry about the breakdown of community and other social inplications caused by the current style of globalization. Others worry that the accepted neo-liberal development model increases poverty in the developing world. Within this group, there are disagreements as to whether tariff-free trade can ever be beneficial (such as if there is ever a equally developed world), what role international institutions play, and how much a country can rely on trade, safely.
:: Judah 7:05 PM [+] ::

Ariel Sharon, the one time I had hoped he would stand tough against an adversary, backs off and lets Shas back in to the government.
:: Judah 6:46 PM [+] ::

Dahlia Lithwick provides a small celebration of life in a time of terror. I find the title somewhat ironic, though. Israel is suffering, but its not under seige. To see a land under seige, cross the Green Line.
:: Judah 6:44 PM [+] ::

Jeff Nichols suggests that leading Democrats who voted in favor of fast-track legislation might feel the heat from mainstream Democrats. I think he's overstating the oppositon of most Democrats to corporate globalization, unfortunately. I wish we'd see Democrats rise up and oppose a trade agenda only for the benefits of the elite.
:: Judah 6:34 PM [+] ::

As Stage Left becomes more popular, I can see that I've started to get a number of return visitors. If you check in regularly, drop me an email, let me know who you are, what you like about the site, any suggestions you have, etc. I'd like to get to know my loyal readership as it develops.
:: Judah 6:27 PM [+] ::

:: Tuesday, May 28, 2002 ::

Amira Hass, on of Israel's best journalists, on how Palestinian suffering is missing from the Israeli mindset.
:: Judah 10:43 PM [+] ::

Is this democracy? Israel places Arab MK Azmi Bishara on trial and restricts the movement of MK Ahmed Tibi.
:: Judah 10:34 PM [+] ::

From Ha'aretz about the connection between Christian fundamentalists and Israel.
:: Judah 10:29 PM [+] ::

Max Castro talks about the experience of going up against the accepted line in one's community. His moderate stance on Cuba engenders very similar ones to my moderate stance on the Middle East.
:: Judah 10:27 PM [+] ::

Quick comment on Israel's military actions: Israel often makes the claims that the reason it is at war is just and therfore the way it goes to war is just. For instance, Israel couldn't have committed war crimes in Jenin because it needed to go in and stop terrorists. There two claims are, of course, independant of each other. One question is whether Israel was justified in deciding on military action, the other is whether Israel conducted that military action in a legitimate way. This reflects the traditional understanding of justus ab bello and justus in bello, justice of war and justice in war.
Critics of Israel's policies all too often focus on the justice in war and, in trying to make their case, overstate or make up Israeli brutality. I think the better case to be made is that as long as Israel is occupying the Palestinian people and denying them their rights, no matter how well they conduct the war, it is still an unjust war.
I think that Marc Gopin's critique of Just War theory is appropriate here. The theory asks whether a given war is just or not. Isn't it better to ask, "How did we get here? How can we get out of this war?" In order words, it doesn't matter if a war is just - it matters if a war can be ended.
:: Judah 10:24 PM [+] ::

The last time the White House overthrew a democratically elected government was 1973, with Chile's Salvador Allende. That's not to say that they haven't tried since, or done their best to keep democracy from happening at other time. However, it now becomes clearer and clearer that the Bush administration played a role in the attempted coup in Venezuela. When will the U.S. learn that it can't just overthrow governments that get in the way of its economic elites' interests.
:: Judah 10:08 PM [+] ::

:: Monday, May 27, 2002 ::

What's this? A Labor party policy that looks towards peace? Let's see what Burg and Beilin have to say...
:: Judah 9:58 PM [+] ::

Anybody know how to enable comments on blog posts? E-mail me.
:: Judah 7:34 PM [+] ::

Now that I'm getting more traffic, I want to repost something from earlier. This is going to be the beginning of a series on the major issues facing progressives today.

So, the American left has, I would say, at least three groups: the isolationists/anti-imperialists/antiwar folk, the pacifist/moral-strategic/pro-nonviolent intervention left, and the pro-military intervention left. Two groups are against the military attacks that are known as the "War on Terrorism", and two groups believe American power can be a force for good in the world. Given all this, what should the left do now? Give up opposing the war and focus on fighting the economic and social causes of terrorism like poverty? Support nation-building and peacekeepers in Afghanistan? Support nonviolent democratic movements worldwide? Support renewable energy so as to keep oil from dictating Middle East policy? Post your thoughts and comments (use the link above, where it says "discussion board") and I'll post the best responses on here oever the next few days.

:: Judah 7:33 PM [+] ::

Egyptian firm launches Arafat snack food
CAIRO (AFP) — An Egyptian firm said on Sunday it has launched a line of crisps, packaged with Yasser Arafat's image, to raise money for the Palestinian people and make children aware of their fight for statehood.

The packets containing the crunchy snacks are emblazoned with a drawing of Arafat, wearing his trademark drab olive military uniform and black-and-white checkered headscarf, as he salutes with one hand and clutches a Palestinian flag in the other.

In Arabic, the packet reads “Abu Ammar,” Arafat's nom de guerre, and “Hero of the Resistance,” with drawings of the snack scattered by the Palestinian leader's feet.

“Hand in hand, we are building our future,” the package reads. “The more you buy, the more you build.”

The round corn and vegetable oil snacks, produced by the private firm Al Jawhara and launched on the market several days ago, are flavoured with cheese, tomato or paprika.

:: Judah 6:37 PM [+] ::

In case you forgot, we're still killing Afghans. Read about it here and here.
:: Judah 6:16 PM [+] ::

Congressman Bernie Sanders on corporate welfare.
:: Judah 6:00 PM [+] ::

Apparently, students at Reed College have taken to wearing t-shirts daying, "What Would Joe Stiglitz Do?" This article answers that question about this groundbreaking former World Bank chief economist.
:: Judah 5:57 PM [+] ::

Michael Massing of The Nation writes about the strength of the Israel lobby and groups such as AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, both right-wing groups. While saying that "the Jews" control the government, the media, etc. is a usual anti-Semitic tactic, there is nothing anti-Semitic about a well-written article about the influence lobbying groups have in Washington.
What he misses, however, is that the Israel lobby is not the same as the Jewish lobby. The groups that back the Israeli government uncritically include fundamentalist Christians who believe that the Jewish state will help bring the second coming of Jesus and neo-conservatives who like to have Israel as a balance to Arab power in the Middle East.
:: Judah 5:10 PM [+] ::

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