Tuesday, July 05, 2005

For Independence Day, from the Irish Diaspora

[I]t is an elementary rule of warfare that you must understand your enemy if you are to defeat him; so one would have thought that sheer naked self-interest, to which the current United States government is scarcely a stranger, might have inspired it and its supporters to work out, as the saying goes, 'Why they hate us so much'. It is, to be sure, a signal advance in intellectual enlightenment for some Americans that this question has even occurred to them. It is a pity that it took an appalling tragedy for them to wake up to the fact that not everyone enjoys being hectored about democracy by a nation with a fraudulently elected president, as well as with an electoral system which means that you need to have the financial resources to buy up Niger, Chad, the Cameroons and the Central African Republic if you are to become a democratic representative of the popular will. (Perhaps some enterprising US businessman will get round to this in the fullness of time.)

Not everyone, either, relishes being lectured about freedom by an American political establishment for which such freedom means lending military and material support to a whole range of squalid right-wing dictatorships throughout the world, while maiming and destroying the citizens of other regimes which dare to threaten its own geopolitical dominance, and thus its profits. One is not over-impressed by governments which prate of human rights and announce that the prisoners whom they are busy torturing in the Cuban concentration camp are 'bad' even before they have been put on trial. The desire to rule the world used to be considered the paranoid fantasy of sad, emotionally retarded men with inadequate love lives and dandruff on the shoulders of their jackets. Nowadays, it is the declared aim of a nation which regards itself as God's gift to anti-imperialism.

–Terry Eagleton, After Theory (Basic Books, 2003) 224-5

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