Category Archives: War

Ellen and Mike and Empire (225/303/310/485)

Imperialism is hegemonic in the sense that the citizens of Empire are often shocked or angered by the assertion that they do, in fact, live in one– usually before they bother to define that term.

In honor of Fleet Week– which is clearly a symbol of American Empire– here are two speeches that have been supplemented with images.

First, a by-now viral video of Ellen.

I’d never heard of this next one until yesterday. I don’t know who originally made it.

Consider our discussions about hegemony and interpretation. What codes and values are invoked by these clips? How does form shape or undermine content? Do you live in an Empire? What evidence and arguments support your claim?

Empire

This is what a modern coup looks like. After decades of relentless demonization, subversion, and economic warfare, the US is trying to force the issue via hostile diplomacy. Look for almost every single Democrat and Republican congressperson to fully support this attack on Venezuela’s sovereignty and the principle of national self-determination. Among US political elites Empire is a bipartisan reflex.

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15th

This is interesting: the overlap of culturally specific modes of racial formation and market ideology. One long-term, very damaging effect of the American War in Iraq emerged from efforts to impose a peculiarly USAmerican version of the Nation as a polity paradoxically riven by racio-ethnic allegiances. The paradigm for this political dispensation is pretty clearly a mildly regulated market– ex. quotas are intended to fulfill a representative function without actually having any influence on matters of justice and equality. This, in essence, is what the US means when it bombs people in the interests of Freedom.

See https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/opinion/iraq-war-anniversary-.html

Removing Saddam was just a byproduct of another objective: dismantling the Iraqi state and its institutions. That state was replaced with a dysfunctional and corrupt semi-state. We were still filming in Baghdad when L. Paul Bremer III, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, announced the formation of the so-called Governing Council in July 2003. The names of its members were each followed by their sect and ethnicity. Many of the Iraqis we spoke to on that day were upset with the institutionalization of an ethno-sectarian quota system. Ethnic and sectarian tensions already existed, but their translation into political currency was toxic. Those unsavory characters on the governing council, most of whom were allies of the United States from the preceding decade, went on to loot the country, making it one of the most corrupt in the world.