Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Greenwald: Full of Shit on Mali?

Greenwald is a tedious ideologue.

He's a classic America-basher, of a kind that one rarely sees outside of academia.

It's not that he's never right...it's that even a stopped clock is...well, you see where I'm going with this...

If this is right, then Greenwald is...well...talking out his ass, yet again. Greenwald wants to reduce everything to U.S. evil--colonialism, anti-Islamic motives, the quest for oil, nationalism, and so forth. He seems incapable of even considering the possibility that the U.S. might make an honest mistake...or...be...maybe...right?

Anyway. I can't tell what's going on. Who knows? Maybe Greenwald is right. But, if so, as usual, it'll be by accident...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Blogger's best point: "But starting a war is hardly necessary to get cheap access to Mali’s gold or other minerals." This is nearly always true when Western countries intervene militarily in a resource rich country, despite the sufficiency of even whiff of natural resources to discredit intervention in the minds of some on the left. Available natural resources are not only rarely a cause of Western intervention, they are a great defense against it. Saudi Arabia, governed by an Islamist king and source of many a terrorist, is left largely alone. A foreign policy guided by economic self interest would not look a thing like that of the US or France, it would look like China's. China simply works with and pays off whoever is there, and gets hold of resources quite effectively. Were Western concern over Afghanistan really about an oil pipeline, as we heard so often in 2001, then we would have cut a deal with the theocrats there, just as we did in SA. Whatever percentage the Taliban state oil company got, it would have cost less than the war. (Where is that supremely important pipeline today?) If the US had really been acting on behalf of Halliburton in 2004, Saddam Hussein would still be in power, and his kids would have a few billion worth of Halliburton shares. Doing a deal is always cheaper and more certain than war, and I yet to meet a capitalist who preferred his schemes expensive and risky.

The Greenwald form of foreign policy analysis, that uses generic economic interests to explain decisions about war are nearly always wrong, since they have to match a particular, rare situation (war) to one that is ubiquitous (economic interest). The result is a form of special pleading, in which one simply looks up whatever resources a country has and claims that as the explanation. But, if France and the US conspicuously did not intervene in Mali, economic interests would explain that just as well. Lack of natural resources was supposed to explain US failure to intervene in Rwanda, though current exports from coffee production are greater than current oil exports from Mali ($0). When we intervene, its because of the oil reserves, were we to refrain from intervening, it would be because the oil reserves were unproven.

Seeing the special pleading come out with every foreign adventure has always struck me as a bit comical, seeing how small scale are the interests that supposedly can marshal the entire Pentagon. No blood for Bauxite!

5:40 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Whoa, great points, A!

5:55 PM  

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