Friday, March 12, 2004

Stunned Ox Pills

Since things conspire to make you more and more of a fool all the time, it makes sense to stupefy yourself even more than necessary just to regain helm control. Or, to put things more prosaically, which is, after all, kinda the point, it sometimes helps to squint at the world and attend only to the looming outlines of things instead of the details. Anyhow, displays of professional subtlety are irrelevant when you aren’t up for tenure. Instead of attempting to get it just right, how about replacing the exquisitely specific question with a coarser, more easily answered question? In political discussions, for example, it often helps to look not at legalistic particulars but at the envelope of the debate, the strategies served by the tactics. Outside of a courtroom, where atomic facts are rightly dispositive, it doesn’t matter very much what you decide about this, that, or the other nicety of international diplomacy. What you must understand, to understand anything at all, are irrefutable general facts such as the implacable hostility of American foreign policy to popular government in the Western hemisphere. We will work to overthrow any regime whatsoever that reflects the interests and desires of the mass of the population. A government doesn’t have to be a Marxist to be marked for destruction. As the current Haitian instance demonstrates, winning a legitimate election is enough. The record is quite clear: though the vicissitudes of Real Politik might oblige us to tolerate a Caribbean democracy now and then, the Monroe Doctrine is very much about propping up oligarchs. Let’s not be too clever about it.

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