Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Obama, Afghanistan and General McChrystal

Written by Alan Woods
Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The public clash between Obama and his top general in Afghanistan highlight the difficulties US imperialism is facing in what is clearly an unwinnable war. What the general has done is to express in public what is normally reserved for private conversation, but it does bring out clearly the impasse the US is facing in Afghanistan.

Read the rest here



RENEGADE EYE

45 comments:

K. said...

Truman detested MacArthur, but respected Eisenhower and Marshall.

"No top general had been relieved from duty during wartime since Harry Truman fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur at the height of the Korean War more than 50 years ago."

William Westmoreland may not have been formally relieved of duty, but his conduct of the Vietnam War definitely got him kicked upstairs.

McChrystal had to go; he was clearly insubordinate. Plus, I can't see keeping a general in charge of major military effort who is dumb enough to get drunk with a reporter from Rolling Stone. Even John McCain and Lindsay Graham telegraphed support for McChrystal's sacking.

Renegade Eye said...

K: The reporter spent weeks with McChrystal.

Good comment.

The Pagan Temple said...

I think the general might have been trying to box Obama in a corner to try to force a change in policy regarding operational procedures. It worked once before, so this might have been a gamble he was willing to take, and he lost. Too bad, McChrystal was a brilliant strategist and tactician from my understanding. Petraeus is more of a bureaucrat than McChrystal was or ever could be.

roman said...

McChrystal is a pretty sharp guy. He did not get to be a general by doing silly things. Knowing that the civilians running the show are tying his hands behind his back and then expecting him to fight, he probably expressed what he really felt about the situation to the RS reporter. In this case, what we see is exactly what we get. McChrystal threw himself on the proverbial "grenade" to protect his men from the impossible rules of engagement imposed on him from this administration.

sonia said...

McChrystal was good as a soldier, but lousy in politics. He is actually a liberal Democrat who voted for Obama. This whole issue is much more complex than it looks. And his disagreement with the Obama administation has less to do with rules of engagement, and more with McCrystal's great love affair with Karzai.

K. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
K. said...

Civilian command of the military is fundamental to the Constitution and to the American concept of liberty. The Founding Fathers had a deep skepticism of a standing army; lesser generals have resented this ever since. Lincoln sacked McClellan and Truman fired MacArthur under far more trying circumstances. If they were right -- and they were -- then firing McChrystal is a no-brainer.

Why would McChrystal chafe under rules of engagement that are essential to his own strategy? Why would a supposedly savvy general choose such a moronic means of blackmail? His Afghanistan strategy has failed, he's frustrated, and he blamed his superiors. Stop the presses, that's never happened before.

BTW, McChrystal's personal politics are irrelevant and indiscernible. He might have simply decided to vote for a winner. He wouldn't be the first.

The Pagan Temple said...

"Why would a supposedly savvy general choose such a moronic means of blackmail?"

You forget K, he did this before, and not too long ago at that, and in fact he succeeded in forcing Obama to increase troop strength, even though many if not most in the administration, including Biden, were against any increases.

He might have honestly thought if it worked once, it might work again. He just rolled the dice and lost, seems to me like.

Plus, he has a history of insubordination that goes all the way back to military school. His history is that of an army brat whose connections got him some breaks no one else would have gotten, though the fact that he was also recognized as a brilliant soldier was the most important factor here as well.

Sonia-

I read the article, which I recommend everyone read. McChrystal had his problems with Karzai as well, but he recognized he was his best hope, flawed though he was in some regards, as was also pointed out in the article.

The Pagan Temple said...

This is from the article

But however strategic they may be, McChrystal's new marching orders have
caused an intense backlash among his own troops. Being told to hold their fire,
soldiers complain, puts them in greater danger. "Bottom line?" says a former Special
Forces operator who has spent years in Iraq and Afghanistan. "I would love
to kick McChrystal in the nuts. His rules of engagement put soldiers' lives in even
greater danger. Every real soldier will tell you the same thing."

The Runaway General

Renegade Eye said...

Pagan: You're responding to everything but the main point. K made it clear. The military is subordinate to politicians.

I agree he was trying a stunt with the media like he did before. He took the rope and hanged himself.

Roman: The military doesn't make policy. Nobody wants a military government.

The generals are binary thinkers. What politicians are for, they are against.

Bunker bombs are hardly tying the military's hands.

Sonia: Karzai is an amazing politician. I can't believe he survives. He meets often with the Taliban.

McChrystal overplayed his hand.

K: I agree. We don't want a military government.

sonia said...

Ren,

Karzai is an amazing politician. I can't believe he survives. He meets often with the Taliban.

And most of Obama's people understood a long time ago that criticizing and denouncing Karzai gives Karzai more "street creed" among the Taliban. McCrystal was too stupid to understand it and he pratically became Karzai's pet poodle. Unfortunately for Karzai, it also made Karzai look like a pet poodle of the American military.

Americans already played this game successfully in Iraq, pretending not to like Maliki, to make him more popular with the radicals.

It's a predictable game. Ironically, some Western observers fall for it as well...

The Pagan Temple said...

The mayor of Kabul is not an amazing politician, or even a survivor, nor is he a pet poodle. He's just a guy who has been propped up as the only acceptable option to Taliban rule. He doesn't even control wide areas of his own country. He won by a corrupt voting process. That's not a survivor, that's a thug, albeit a necessary evil. He doesn't even have any influence in major cities like Kandahar or Hierat.

Also, I wasn't disagreeing with "the main point" so far as civilian rule of the military goes. What's to disagree with?

My only caveat there is that when the military is sent to do a job, they should be able to do it without undue interference. Naturally, they should not be permitted to go batshit berserk, but these people are trained professionals. Set general parameters based on established codes of conduct, and otherwise stay the hell out of their way. That would solve a hell of a lot of these problems, and incidentally, both of these stupid fucking wars would have been over with a long time ago.

There is one major difference between the Lincoln-McClellan debacle and this nuttiness going on now. Lincoln would have given his right arm to have a general like McChrystal, whereas Obama would probably have promoted McClellan to National Security Adviser or some other obscenely high position like Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Hell, he might even name him his 2012 running mate.

McChrystal was unsuited for his position because of his lack of political acumen. What you have here is a politician who has achieved a position far above his level of competence appointing a general a rung or two above his level of competence in political terms.

Obama corrected his mistake, in 2012 hopefully the American people will correct theirs.

K. said...

Sonia: My guess is that the Taliban doesn't spend much time watching Obama's people on television or reading the American media.

PT: Your theory of civilian control of the military leads to Abu Ghraib. When military action becomes identified with killing civilian, everyone from the brass hats to the grunts can expect. tightened civilian control.

You're also claiming that the only thing between us and victory in these wars is an overly involved civilian command. Come on. That doesn't account for...well, much of anything. What about the possibility that both wars were misconceived from the get-go? Or that the invasion of Iraq set loose long suppressed religious and sectarian rivalries? Or that it allowed Iran to finance Shia resistance and become a player in Iraqi politics? Or that the geography of Afghanistan has historically rendered it impervious to invaders? Or that the Karzai administration's corruption has been a perfect foil for Taliban resurgence. Or that the Taliban don't care what we throw at them, because in the end they're more willing to die in greater numbers?

Would have, would have, might. An important part of Ulysses S. Grant's greatness is that he understood and accepted that military decisions and actions always occurred within a political context. Of all of the generals in the Civil War -- including Lee -- Grant is the only one who could truly be called a strategist. But Grants don't grow on trees, and McChrystals are good mainly for fertilizing them.

K. said...

"Obama corrected his mistake, in 2012 hopefully the American people will correct theirs."

With what? Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin? The Republican bench is weaker now than in 1996.

Renegade Eye said...

I'll reply tonight.

The Pagan Temple said...

K-

My exact words were "set general parameters based on established codes of conduct" and THEN get out of their way, so long as they follow those general guidelines. I didn't say to just send them over there and just let them go berserk and do whatever they wanted to do.

I don't believe in the theory of the unwinnable war. There's no such thing as that. There are just places, like Afghanistan, where a war hasn't been won yet. It's not written in the stars or etched in stone. It just requires a different kind of strategy than what's been attempted.

And its not that Obama's aims are totally off. I understand his desire to succeed by winning hearts and minds. What he doesn't get is, the Taliban has already won the people hearts and minds, by filling their hearts and minds with fear.

The people understand full well that once we leave, the Taliban will still be with them, just down the road, or right around the corner, or the house next door.

We won't win their hearts and minds until the Taliban are eliminated, and to put it plainly, that's how and in fact the only way we can win Afghan hearts and minds. Believe me, if we stood every single Taliban member up and executed them in cold blood, the average Afghan wouldn't shed a tear. They're pretty much already cried out by the time we ever came into the picture, precisely because of the Taliban, who've murdered more innocent Afghans purposely than we could ever kill accidentally. Undue restraint seems foolish to them against the Taliban, who have no respect for culture, tradition, history, or any strain of humanity as far as that goes, and to whom mercy is a weakness.

I could be wrong, of course. I guess its conceivable that, after we leave, some unusually gifted visionary forward looking Taliban leader might emerge and say, "you know what, we should treat the people the way the Americans under Obama tried to treat them, with humility and respect, with mercy and caring."

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that though.

K. said...

Pagan, you've put your finger on the problem, no? The military can't line up every member of the Taliban in front of a firing squad because (a) it can't locate them all, and (b) the Taliban has infiltrated the general population and its members tend to avoid wearing t-shirts that say "I Taliban." So, the only strategy for doing as you'd like to do involves killing innocent people, which has a weird tendency to make the occupier unpopular.

I suppose Vietnam was winnable if the American people had been willing to match the North Vietnamese death-for-death until its 2,000,000-man reserve was exhausted, all to prop up a corrupt regime in the south that couldn't get a sailor to follow it into a whorehouse. We weren't, so the war was unwinnable.

roman said...

K.,
Thanks for telling us what we cannot and should not do but it's a little bit late for those sentiments at this point.
Here's one solution:
Put a Manhattan type project together and fund it to the hilt with billions in order to achieve the most technologically advanced "drone" system imaginable to be ready within 6 to 12 months.
We are wasting time, lives and treasure in Afghanistan. Let's get out as scheduled in July, 2011 and if the Taliban and Al Qaida start causing problems, which we all know they will, send in the drones to kill them.
The chances of the Afghan leadership and army prevailing against the Pakistani funded Taliban once the coalition forces leave are slim to non-existant. So either way, it will be money well spent.

The Pagan Temple said...

My idea is a little less extreme than killing every single one of the Taliban. I would just propose setting up a tribal based democracy based on a constitution, probably an amended version of the current one, and just leave it at that.

The only other thing we can do is set up an infrastructure funded in part by business investment, based partly on mining, partly on agriculture. Income from opium and tobacco, in addition to other crops, along with mining royalties would establish a tax base, a minimum wage for workers, fund their basic infrastructure, etc.

We have to train them to take care of the Taliban, we can't do that for them, though we can, if we would, bring enough destruction down on their heads to afford the Afghan people the breathing room they need to get their act together.

But after so long, its got to be their baby. All we can do is help them establish a good country with a good government based on the rule of law, and trust that they will appreciate it enough to work to keep it healthy and strong.

But again, a tribal based democracy is probably the only thing that has a long-term chance of success. One man one vote democracy won't do it.

And yes, I did say income from opium.

Ducky's here said...

Why does everyone who votes for Obama become a "liberal Democrat" (yeah, like Paul Volker LMAO). Maybe McChrystal just didn't care to vote for someone whose brains are fried and put a pole dancer on the ticket.

My take is that he has always been dismissive of civilian authority and even encouraged that dismissiveness.

He had to go. Now we can get on about bringing "freedom" to a country where our greatest achievement to date is helping 10% of the adult population become heroin addicts.

Renegade Eye said...

Sonia: The problems with Karzai, are more than image; corruption, drug ties and closeness to the Taliban and Iran.

Roman: You're way off base. First there are consequences associated with such an act. The end result of the US plan, is for the US to have a major deployment, and believe it or not Pakistan to be caretaker nation.

Pagan: The Taliban has unlimited troops and $$ from the drug trade. In the end there will be a deal with the Taliban.

Ducky: Like Hitchens who supports whoever will win.

K: The US won every battle in Vietnam, and lost the war. They were willing to outlast the US.

Pawlenty is in the 2012 mix as well.

The Pagan Temple said...

Ren-

"The Taliban has unlimited troops and $$ from the drug trade. In the end there will be a deal with the Taliban."

That's why we should co-opt the opium trade. If you're really going to win hearts and minds, there's no better place to start than with the opium farmers. Who says the only thing you can make out of opium is heroin. You can do innumerable things with it, and who knows what might come about through research?

Even if you pay top dollar for the stuff and turn around and burn it, its still money well spent compared to what's going on now. What's going on now is a hybrid of insane and retarded, and that's going nowhere.

K. said...

The best thing we can do for them and us is to leave them alone. You can't instill democratic practices by running a summer camp, not when the Taliban will cut someone's nose off just for thinking about showing up to a meeting with Americans.

What does a "tribal democracy" look like? Seems like a contradiction in terms to me.

The Pagan Temple said...

Its kind of like the Roman Republic, where votes were cast according to tribes. The bigger the tribe the more votes the tribe got. So in that respect its sort of like we determine how many representatives our states have in the House according to state population. In this case, the tribal warlords, not the individual voters, would determine who those representatives are who will represent tribal interests, again more like how state legislatures used to choose Senators before the Seventeenth Amendment.

Tribal warlords have veto power over everything anyway in a very real sense, so this is just a recognition of reality. This is also why Karzai is accused of corruption. He's not so much corrupt as he is practical. He could not have won without cutting a deal with tribal warlords to deliver the votes. He would have lost otherwise, because not enough people are going to vote against the interests of the warlords to put him over the top if they don't want him there.

The major innovation here would be a constitutional guarantee of basic human rights, but here again, its probably not going to look like it does here.

For example, the minute you insert some clause guaranteeing freedom of religion and separation of religion from the state, you're going to have people gathering en mass screaming "they are against our religion, they are making war on Islam", yada yada yada.

So there's just all these different obstacles you have to work around, and hope things eventually evolve over time. They evolved here from what they were, with regards to slavery, women's suffrage, other things. So it's really naive to think we can fast forward things other places at warp speed.

This will sound rough, but its sort of like going into a neighborhood dive filled with smoke and sawdust on the floor with a jukebox blaring country music and people falling down drunk all over the place and fighting, walking up to the bar and saying "I'll have a bottle of your finest Chianti'".

I don't mean that to sound like I think everybody in Afghanistan is at that level, but that is kind of the level of their political development in terms of democratic ideals, regarding obstacles in terms of human rights, be that women's rights, education of girls, gay rights, etc. All those things have to be finessed to a greater degree.

K. said...

Sounds like a lot of moving parts to me.

What do we know about how tribes currently settle differences?

To what extent does Afghanistan have a democratic tradition?

Has this been done before with any success?

How will the tribes respond to even a moderating role by outsiders telling them what to do? Afghanistan is famously insular.

What if the interest and commitment isn't there?

What about the Taliban, which will oppose tooth-and-nail anything that doesn't leave them in control?

If this tribal democracy got established, is NATO willing to guarantee its security on a tribe by tribe, village by village basis? That seems like an awfully tough assignment, a commitment that would be met with skepticism.

It's a reasonable idea; I just feel that Western intervention is automatically fraught with difficulties that may be insurmountable.

The Pagan Temple said...

Oh it would be rough going at first, I don't doubt that, but I don't see anything else that's going to have any realistic chance of success. It's actually closer to the way they've been anyway, with the exception of constitutional guaranteed rights, which would be the main and maybe only sticking points. Like I said, tribal based democracy was basically the way the Roman Republic was run, before the days of Augustus and the Empire. There were some differences in how tribal rights were assigned and how the votes were apportioned, and in exactly what made up a tribe. I don't think it was so much based on ethnicity like in Afghanistan, which is made up of a lot of different ethnic groups, the largest being the Pashtun.

They would get the lions share of seats, so again, its a matter of guaranteed rights to the other tribes. After that, there would have to be some consideration to individual rights and protections.

The key is will our influence help smooth things over. If we helped them develop their economy and infrastructure, maybe. With our help, one of the poorest nations of the world can experience a real boom, but we have to establish secure conditions and stability in order to encourage investment.

They are sitting on somewhere between one to three trillion dollars, maybe more, of iron, cobalt, copper, and LITHIUM, which would be an essential source of car batteries in electric cars, and also maybe wind turbines and solar panels at some point. If we go about it the right way, we can have something there that would be mutually beneficial to us and to the Afghans. There is nothing wrong with our benefiting from such an arrangement, so long as we make sure the Afghans benefit and prosper, especially if in the meantime we help them build a civil society with the rule of law, rights, security, and prosperity.

And then of course there's the opium potential I mentioned. And though I don't know this for a fact, I suspect they might be able to make a mint growing tobacco.

If we don't help them develop, somebody else will, probably the Chinese. Obviously I would prefer to see us benefit from all that potential than China, and the Afghans could really build up a world class country with that kind of resources. I'm not so sure the Chinese, or anybody else, would care a fig about how well the Afghans prospered through the use of their own resources.

Renegade Eye said...

I'll reply tonight or tomorrow.

K. said...

Does Afghanistan have a Cato or Cicero, a Caesar, a Horace? An advanced republic tradition?

In one, we're illuminating the larger issue: A couple non-Afghanis debating, albeit in a spirited and reasoned manner, what is best for Afghanistan. Not that we shouldn't have opinions, but you catch the drift.

I have my doubts that the average person over there would welcome American intervention into their way life -- no matter how well intended -- any more than I'd like it if a delegation of Afghanis tried to influence the American system, no matter how dysfunctional it had become (and it's pretty dysfunctional).

The Pagan Temple said...

Actually, what I'm proposing is more along the lines of how their system really works anyway. The only innovation, aside from building up a legislative framework to make their system more functional while not really changing it, is in encouraging a constitutional guarantee of certain basic human rights. No, it won't be easy, and they would have to agree to it. I'm not advocating forcing it on them, so much as offering it up to them as a solution and hoping they would be able to see the overall benefits.

Bear in mind the Taliban resurgence was made possible through the tribal chieftains and warlords, who would probably have preferred to not have to support them. But the Taliban paid them the proper respect due their traditional status in Afghan society, where we have tried to work around them, over them, under them, but seldom with them or through them, and only grudgingly at that. We drove them to the Taliban, it seems.

Afghanistan was never a pioneer in the arena of human rights, especially not women's rights, but they were never as oppressive as things devolved under the Taliban. The Taliban is not typical Afghan society or culture, they are a recent phenomenon.

Renegade Eye said...

I'm going to one of these days post about what imperialism means. Hardly anyone left or right understands. It's mistaken for colonialism.

Pagan: I don't see benign imperialists. For the Afghans US and Chinese imperialism would be the same. In Africa China will invest in social programs, but still exploit the workers. They need to nationalize the resources, or they'll end up being the Congo.

I don't see going back to pre-feudal formations as a step forward.

Both sides profit from the drug trade.

K: Obama admits the US has to redeploy from Afghanistan. I use that word because it's more accurate than withdraw. The plan is to make a deal with the Taliban, and leave Pakistan as a caretaker nation.

The Pagan Temple said...

Ren-

I almost agree with you in some regards. I'm all for the Afghans being in charge of their resources. I don't advocate the US controlling that. But think of it this way. In order for the Afghans to benefit from their resources, they have to sell them to someone, right?

Granted, they should probably keep their gold as the foundation of their economy and currency, you can make that case. But one trillion dollars worth of lithium would be worthless to them if they didn't sell some of it, whatever part they don't need for their own use, which would probably be the vast majority of it. The same with the cobalt, iron, and copper.

There's a character who comments on my blog, that when I first brought this up he made the remark, to paraphrase, "oh I see you're wanting to control their lithium". Then he went into this rant about me and others wanting to go six thousand miles killing people for oil and "things that aren't ours". But that's not what I'm saying at all.

I understand you want to see socialism develop, but that's not really the point. Whatever kind of society they ultimately develop, their resources are going to be a foundation for development. Right now they are something like the fifth poorest country in the world. With the proper development, they can be among the wealthiest countries in Asia, maybe among the top fifty in the world or better.

They can't do that by sitting on all those resources, most of which they would have limited use in and of themselves. If we don't help them develop it, someone else will, probably China, maybe Pakistan, maybe even India or Russia. Whoever does-and as sure as night follows day, someone eventually will-would probably be far more prone to exploit them than the US. Granted, without proper oversight, we would too, but it doesn't have to be that way.

The Chinese wouldn't care a fig about propping up the Taliban if it meant access, and the Pakistanis would probably automatically turn to them without a second thought. I'd rather trust the tribal chieftains, the traditional rulers of the country, over the Taliban.

They are already a semi-feudal country, of sorts. Expecting them to transform at warp speed into a modern democratic society, whether socialist or capitalist, is naive. The reality on the ground is not conducive to such a transformation, at least not in any of our lifetimes.

K. said...

Plus, who needs a trillion dollars worth of lithium more than the American people?

The Pagan Temple said...

K-

"Plus, who needs a trillion dollars worth of lithium more than the American people?"

The Afghans do, or put more concisely, they need the revenue from it. They have to get it from somebody.

Renegade Eye said...

Pagan: No country can thrive in isolation.

If the resources are nationalized, they can subsidized development. That will require planning that is beyond feudal warlords.

Without nationalization they'll end up the Congo or Sudan. I could picture the US supporting one warlord, and China another.

Pakistan is a player too.

An Afghanistan used to be an adjective for a mess.

K: The Afghans need to nationalize the minerals.

In Venezuela the nationalized oil company gave $75 billion for social services.

Renegade Eye said...

I think all points have been made. Going on will only get circular.

K. said...

Normally, I'd say nationalizing is a no brainer, otherwise they'd get stolen blind. In this case, though, it's just a matter of who will do the stealing.

The Pagan Temple said...

Nationalism isn't what I would prefer to see happen, but it might be unavoidable. The main thing is helping them build peace, stability, and prosperity. I want to point out I've been advocating my plan since well before I knew anything about this mineral wealth. That little bit of recent information just makes it more likely my plan would succeed, where nothing else currently being tried or proposed ever will.

I also want to stress that I never claimed the US should control their mineral wealth, or have exclusive rights to it. Naturally, I hope we benefit from it, but its their minerals, they should and do have the right to sell it to whomever they will.

In the meantime, "socialism is the answer" isn't a plan, it's a slogan based on a plan that has never worked anywhere its ever been tried. It's not any better-nor, to be fair, any worse-than the right's "we need to kill the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan and build democracy and capitalism".

Both are simplistic and makes wild assumptions based on preconceived prejudices that just don't apply here.

What about the opium farmers? Does the left have a different strategy than the rights frankly fucking ignorant, "lets burn down the opium fields wherever we find them"?

If not, what are they supposed to grow in place of it, Belgian Endive?

K. said...

Come on-- socialism has worked all over the place, including the United States. What about the Tennessee Valley Authority? You might as well say that capitalism has never worked wherever it's been tried because of boom-and-bust cycles unsupported by a safety net, or because of the ever-widening disparity of income. Show me a perfect political economy and I'll show you a fantasy novel.

The Pagan Temple said...

Yeah, but when Ren talks about socialism, he isn't talking about the TVA.

Renegade Eye said...

I've been reading about the 1978. The Soviets role is misunderstood. They were less than pleased having a radical government on their border. The secular people would have been stronger if the Soviets stayed out. Nationalization was in their program.

There is no basis for democracy in Afghanistan, if only 10% of the population is working class. Peasantry = Bonapartism.

The Pagan Temple said...

Then in that case Ren there's no basis for socialism either. Glad you've finally come around to my way of thinking. I'm not proposing a "democracy" under the current definition of the term. You just more or less admitted what I've been saying all along, they need some kind of system that fits with their own particular culture. My idea provides that.

You can go on all you want about how great everything would be if Egypt, Iran, and Pakistan were to join in some grand socialist federation, but you know and I know that is not going to happen, certainly not in our lifetimes, and probably not ever. You might as well wait for Jeebus to come back from out of the clouds and there will be peace on earth good will towards men.

And, like I said, the crap the US and its allies are trying to pull now isn't going to work either. It's just money, personnel, and resources down the crapper.

My plan, while its not perfect, gives them a chance to have peace, security, stability, and prosperity, their way, while respecting their ancient cultures and traditions, which to a large extent actually predates Islam. This is an ancient culture. This helps them and at the same time respects them and then gets the hell out of their way.

Renegade Eye said...

There isn't a basis for a healthy socialism. The program of the 1978 government was nationalization, literacy and getting rid of bride price.

The Chinese Revolution based itself on the ideas and program of Stalin. It was one party, Bonapartist and based on peasantry. What is interesting is that every Third World anti-colonial revolution that followed, copied that model. If there was one near healthy socialism, all would follow.

The Pagan Temple said...

Or maybe they wouldn't. Maybe some would, while I suspect most would just watch carefully and see what the long-term results would be. My suspicion is some of them might adopt some parts of it and discard the rest, trying to improve on that first successful model by removing its observable flaws.

And then there are going to be some that won't adopt it at all, unless of course its forced on them, no matter how well it appears to work.

But whatever the case, let's see that "one healthy socialism" some place first, and see how long it lasts, and whether it can without devolving into Stalinism or "Bonapartism" (whatever the hell that is), and then we'll know for sure. Until then, its just talk and theory. Which, there's nothing wrong with talk and theory, but you just can't put unlimited faith in it until you have something tangible to go by.

Renegade Eye said...

A wealthy developed capitalist country being socialist, is different than Russia 1917.

When class struggle is at an impasse, the government becomes Bonapartist. It is often the conservative phase of a revolution. Napoleon didn't overthrow capitalism, nor Stalin overthrow the nationalized economy.

Trotsky and later my tendency, created what we call "proletarian Bonapartism. Marx analyzed it for capitalism, and Trotsky alluded to Stalin being Bonapartist.

THe main feature of Bonapartism, is because it's above class struggle, when attacked on the left it goes right and reverse.

Bonapartism is usually associated with peasantry.

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