martha rosler on Sun, 6 Feb 2011 15:50:36 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> The beginning of the end?

hey, brian,

I'm not equipped to argue this global trend forecasting, but I do  
have some quibbles about how you get there.


On Feb 4, 2011, at 6:10 PM, Brian Holmes wrote:

>Beginning with the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, the focus of global
>warfare  and the principle justification for the gigantic national
>arms-manufacturing complexes shifted from Asia (which had occupied
>that role during the Cold War) to the Middle East. US defeat in
>Vietnam   officialized the shift.

principal justification was and remained the Soviet Union, no? The  
domino theory re ASia/SE Asia was only tenuously defended by the start  
of the 70s. (Actually, I  have trouble following who is in what role  
in that para. The US had more than one set of strategic objectives.)

>Meanwhile, the stunning victory of Egypt in the 1973 Israeli-
>Egyptian War,

say what? you mean the stunning early successes of Egypt? Egypt did  
not win that war.

>coupled with the first oil embargo, brought  about a new reaction in
>the form of a strategic alliance between national militaries, arms
>manufacturers and oil extractors that is now  visible to all as the
>ugly fist of Anglo-American imperialism.

the lines of causation aren't clear in this para; also, neo- 
imperialism is perhaps a better descriptor? The direct control of  
territories was specifically not the goal.

>We are talking about a shift from the Cold War atomic-weapons
>conflict to the hot wars all aimed at maintaining control over the
>dwindling oil of  the Middle East.

there was no CW atomic -weapons conflict, only MAD as a strategic  
stand-off. The small hot wars were fought in many places, including  
Africa and South and Central America.

>Felix is right to say that Islamism replaced Communism as  the
>threat required to maintain this military-industrial-extractive
>complex. That shift occured in the period from 1979 (Iranian
>Revolution)  to 1981 (Anwar Sadat's assassination, commonly
>attributed to the Muslim  Brotherhood, but in fact done by the
>Egyptian Islamic Jihad now led by  Ayman al-Zawahiri). With the
>monetary turn in the economy and the ascendancy of Reagan and
>Thatcher, that same period marked the  beginning  of the financially
>driven political-economic formula of  neoliberalism,  which went
>global after the fall of the Soviet  Union's hollow facade in  1989.
 True, but the surreptitious support and even founding of religious
grass-roots groups to combat the power of the organized left has been
a tactic of many regimes, for a long time, from the Rockefeller-
sanctioned evangelicals i Latin America to Hamas among the
Palestinians (in the latter part of the 80s) and no doubt Opus Dei in
various Spanish-speaking countires as an earlier example  (as well as
other, but more elite cryptofascist religious formations in say
Argentina and other countries of the Southern cone of Latin America).
But doesn't this argument, posed ini this form simply subtract agency
from the grass roots followers?

>We all lived through the globalization boom in the 1990s, but most
>did not realize it was already marking the "financial autumn" (in
>Braudel's famous phrase) of the American Century. Some of us did: we
>watched the Asian countries react to the 1997 financial crisis by
>refusing any new Western loans and ramping up their exports; we
>followed the deliberate engineering of the property/derivatives
>bubble after the industrial expansion of the 1990s collapsed in the
>year 2000; we were not  surprised by the scope and severity of the
>2008 krach, because we were well  aware it had started in the summer
>of 2007. From this perspective it appears that the American system -
>or at the very least, the neoliberal  version of it - is now on the
>way out. But the process is only beginning.


>Then, in the wake of the 2008 crisis, China began to assert itself as
>a fully autonomous and sovereign industrial power.

Not a reasonable causal link, imo.


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