This thread has been fantastically interesting. By launching it, I've
somehow come off as an old Stal suffering from reflexive anti-Americanism.
Fair enough, I have many difficulties with my home country. But the old
Stal part, no.

It should be possible to support the Ukrainians and critique the strategy
that informs some of the support. The strategy of alliance-building to
maintain a global free trade area is now at least 80 years old - it's the
why part of the story, to use the categories David Garcia brought up. The
Biden administration has pursued it energetically with an aim to breaking a
possible Russia-China axis and maintaining a hegemony incarnated militarily
by NATO. Many posts in the thread recognize this clearly.

I read the text by Maurizio Lazzarato that Pit sent. It has another list,
of all the wars the US has fought since 1989. Those wars, and many others
going back to WWII, have not only emboldened the rapacious US corporations,
but also saddened and brutalized US society, leaving the country full of
angry ex-soldiers who often go to work for the increasingly militarized
police. You have all followed the January 6 coup attempt. Pressure from the
right now becomes a major factor in the how part of the story, pushing
leaders to bellicose actions that support economic agendas. Allan Siegel
sent an impressive article by Seymour Hersch on the sabotage of NordStream
II, that illustrates this. In the end, if Hersch is right, Republicans
representing US gas interests got what they wanted, courtesy of a Navy
diving team sent to the Baltic by Joe Biden.

Psychic distress is the phrase I used to describe what it's like to live in
a society whose intense grassroots egalitarian movements are constantly
contradicted by elite capitalist power plays, and by heavily manipulated
racist/nationalist passions. Europeans mostly have to think back to the
early 20th century to imagine this, see Klaus Theweleit. Since then, the
American military has taken over the effort of maintaining European
economic positions, while anti-Americanism has mostly exonerated European
public intellectuals from thinking about what their own countries do.

Like Sean on this list, Lazzarato thinks that unless it's possible to
articulate the realistic analysis of war with the agency of proletarian
revolution, disaster will ensue. That's true, except for the proletarian
part. Capitalist elites definitively overcame the 1917 formula of
revolution a long time ago, and appealing to the peasant revolutions of the
South, as Maurizio does, offers no redemption. Today, under the pressure of
climate change, broader fronts are emerging, which include not only peasant
and indigenous struggles, but also metropolitan minorities and, crucially I
think, elements of the middle classes who see the looming dead-end of
industrial modernism - something that has not been very perceptible to the
old working classes. These emergent alliances from below are threatened,
not only by the police, but even more, by the paralyzing power of psychic
distress that Hans Christian Voigt described so well in his first post.
Naivete, and the hope that it will all be fine once the war is over, just
don't cut it. Intellectuals need to furnish a realistic, updated analysis
of the forces that lead to war - and that profit from war - under the
present conditions of global competition and interdependence.

Best to all, Brian
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