@shadihamid in triplicate: a comment by Political Observer

Your series of tweets was informative as to your ‘Liberalism’. Damir Marusic & Rich Lowry set the argumentative parameters of the moral/political shame of the Trump separation of children from their parents? Call this the sadism of the Neo-Confederate/Originalist coterie, and its Dixiecrat Sessions! Out of the pages of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ strides Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III! Yet your gutless caviling proves the ‘why’ of your status as a ‘Liberal’  @Brookings hireling.

We’re part of a generation of liberals that aren’t good at arguing for the things we (on a moral-emotional level) assume to be true. Assuming we were on the “right side of history” has often made our ideas less interesting and creative than those of young right-of-center writers

Read ‘The Machiavellian Moment’ by J.G. A Pocock, the integuments between the republican tradition and its roots in a moral/ethical philosophy, the awareness necessary to support that tradition. This is not the ‘Age of Fracture’ as Daniel T. Rogers titled his informative and challenging book. He squandered an opportunity in his Epilogue: he could have used this opportunity to speculate on how a civic actor might conduct herself, in this Age, but he lost his nerve , if he had any!

Carl Schmitt was correct about one thing, except his timing was wrong, the political present in the Age of the Friend/Enemy distinction, that makes  historical/political sense in Trump World. The ‘Liberals’ were/are actually Neo-Liberals who are the Midwives of Trump. Take a bow Mr. Hamid!

Political Observer


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An Atlanticist on the Merkel/Macron ‘Summit’. Political Observer comments

Read Ms. Dempsey’s impressive credentials here at the Carnegie Europe web site:


That she is part of the Atlanticist coterie is easily obtained, even for the mildly curious. A link to the Atlantic Council’s web site:


Who else would the Financial Times assign to write about the political melodrama of the  Merkel/Macron ‘Summit’  but a NATO, EU loyalist , if not an  employee of a sort, than Ms. Dempsey? Or does plain speaking demand the name of propagandist ?

Headline: Macron and Merkel will struggle to show Europe a united front

Sub-headline: The leaders will arrive at the EU summit with opposing visions for the future

Ms. Dempsey wastes no time in coming to the point, she is nothing if not conscious of what her Atlanticist political loyalties demands:

But the meetings are not just about the EU responding to its own crises. They are also about the bloc’s two most important leaders confronting the erosion of the post-1945 transatlantic pact that has held the west together.

In the triumph of Trump and Trumpism signals that his particular ‘brand’ of American Know-Nothingism represents a threat to the Atlanticist institutional structures, and the very idea of the status of Europe as an American protectorate. Especially considering that the myth of Russian revanchism is now a central component of a ‘New Cold War’ that has become reason d’etre of the re-invigoration of  the NATO/EU alliance.  I’m a bit ahead of myself.

Ms. Dempsey warns that the ‘Summit’ between Merkel/Macron:

The summit could go terribly wrong.

The remainder of her essay is an exploration of the differing  ‘visions’ of the EU between  Merkel and Macron. Merkel the stolid conservative, not willing to give up the German dominance of the EU, and the use of the ECB as its capo: recall Greece?  And Macron, whose Jupertarian self-conception will be writ large upon Europe i.e. the realization of the EU as a Federalist State?  An actual Neo-Liberal Reformer?

Political Observer




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On Chris Hedges’ ‘Et Tu, Bernie?’ Political Observer comments

Chris Hedges quotes Mr. Debs, and one is taken with Debs honesty,forthrightness even his status  as a paradigmatic Socialist politician.  Not to speak of his bravery compared to today’s political opportunists.  Yet to quote that ‘Great American Philosopher’ Reinhold Niebuhr on “sublime madness” indicates to me that Mr. Hedges has not read Mr. Fox’s insightful biography. That chronicles the life of this American Poser, or as he was called in his time,  the thinking man’s Billy Graham. Niebuhr offered in 1932 that he was a Marxient thinker and that the working class should not give up the use of violence to achieve its ends. These two statements led to word reaching  Niebuhr  that J. Edgar Hoover was about to act against him, that was the reason for his letter denouncing his earlier statements, and the Communist Menace.

Niebuhr became a prophet, whose mission was to sell his particular ‘brand’ of Christian Realism, that was a riff on ‘render unto Caesar’ expressed as an obedience to the imperatives of the American National Security State. He is the perfect ‘Philosopher’ for Obama, and others whose ignorance of his career as a political/moral conformist, offer a convenient rationalization for the conformism of the political present.

Niebuhr and Arthur Schlesinger Jr and the ADA were the ‘Liberal Wing’ of  McCarthyism. Read  Schlesinger’s Diaries, as edited by his sons, the early entries are startlingly  inflected by the use of the term ‘commies’, to almost comic effect, until the the time and the political scene shifts. Sen. Sanders does not represent the Socialist politics and integrity of Debs, but does fit comfortably into the ‘political tradition’ ,that both Niebuhr and Schlesinger represent in The New Democratic Party’s political practice of today.

Political Observer




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Nicolás Dujovne on the IMF and Argentina, redux. Almost Marx comments

In order to apply an inadequate whitewashing of Macri’s failed bid to re-enter the Neo-Liberal World Order Mr. Dujovne offers this:

Mr Dujovne nevertheless pointed to innovative clauses in the deal proposed by Argentina that will allow the government to increase spending on social programmes and relax the deficit targets if necessary, which the fund “welcomed warmly”. “It will probably apply this in other countries,” he added.

Such socially sensitive terms contrast with past IMF programmes, not least the fund’s last standby arrangement with Argentina that ended with the 2001-02 financial crisis that had grievous social consequences and tarnished the multilateral lender’s reputation in the country and beyond.

The Financial Times hireling dutifully reports on, presents, this  as what, via Mr. Dujovne ‘s pronouncement ? An admission that the Austerity Lite has not worked, but that somehow this newest IMF sanctioned and  ‘tweak-able’ interventions will work ? Martin Guzman and Joe Stiglitz analyze the Argentine economy, and Macri’s economic interventions and finds them wanting, or worse!

A change in macroeconomic policies will not be sufficient to set Argentina on a path of inclusive and sustained economic development. But, as last month’s currency scare showed, abandoning the approach adopted by President Mauricio Macri’s administration at the end of 2015 is a necessary step.

The currency scare that Argentina suffered last month caught many by surprise. In fact, a set of risky bets that Argentina’s government undertook starting in December 2015 increased the country’s vulnerability. What was not clear was when Argentina’s economy would be put to the test. When the test came, Argentina failed.

Argentina had to address a number of macroeconomic imbalances when President Mauricio Macri took office at the end of 2015. Early measures included the removal of exchange-rate and capital controls and the reduction of taxes on commodity exports. Argentina also recovered access to international credit markets following a settlement with so-called vulture funds over a debt dispute that had lasted more than a decade.

The government undertook a new macroeconomic approach based on two pillars: gradual reduction of the primary fiscal deficit, and an ambitious inflation-targeting regime that was supposed to bring annual price growth down to a single-digit rate in just three years.

Markets cheered. The prevailing view, eagerly promoted by Argentina’s government, was that the country had done what was necessary to achieve sustainably faster economic growth. Presumably, foreign direct investment would flow in. But it did not.



In order to apply an inadequate whitewashing of Macri’s failed bid to re-enter the Neo-Liberal World Order Mr. Dujovne offers this:

Mr Dujovne nevertheless pointed to innovative clauses in the deal proposed by Argentina that will allow the government to increase spending on social programmes and relax the deficit targets if necessary, which the fund “welcomed warmly”. “It will probably apply this in other countries,” he added.

Such socially sensitive terms contrast with past IMF programmes, not least the fund’s last standby arrangement with Argentina that ended with the 2001-02 financial crisis that had grievous social consequences and tarnished the multilateral lender’s reputation in the country and beyond.

What would the Plutocrats/Neo-Liberals do without the Financial Times?  Mr Dujovne comments on the economic effect of the IMF agreement:

“It is very probable that in the first quarters we will make use of the option [to access the quarterly disbursements stipulated in the agreement], but then as sovereign risk falls and the market has a greater appetite to absorb Argentine debt at low rates, we can [return to the market]. But for now the fund’s rates are very favourable,” said Mr Dujovne.

Then on the political future of Mr. Macri:

“Winning the elections will not depend on whether growth is at 4 per cent rather than 2 per cent, but on whether people continue to want the change this government represents, or to go back to populism,” he said, arguing that the Peronist opposition was “very far from offering itself as an alternative” for voters.

No surprise that the failure of Macri’s interventionism is unmentioned, but that Anti- Populism is the reference point of choice. The ‘as if ‘ here is that the political/economic landscape will remain the same. Call this by its name political delusion.

Almost Marx




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Midwife of Trump, Andy Divine on the president’s ‘State Terror’. Political Cynic comments

Read Mr. Divine’s sermon of June 8,2018 titled Another Glimpse of State Terror in Trump’s America here:


The violence and moral obscenity of separating families, gives ample moral space for Mr. Divine to shift into high dungeon, about the evil of Trump and his Dixiecrat Attorney General  Sessions.

But here is information provided by Fact Check, that addresses the vexing question of how many people Obama actually ‘deported’ from the US :


Perhaps the reader might consider the policies of both Obama and Trump as a matter of  the degree of sadism? But the question unaddressed by Mr. Divine’s verbose moralizing hysterics, is the very center of an American Immigration policy, that refuses to recognize the contradictory nature of a Nation of Immigrants who will not recognize itself as excising a specific kind of xenophobia! As yet there is no proposed wall at the Canadian border, but there is one being constructed at the Mexican border. The Mestizo invasion, a paranoid apparition that Samuel P. Huntington,  proposed in Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity has now become a vivid reality.

The stark object lessons of America’s treatment of the Bracero program  from 1942 to 1964 :

It is estimated that, with interest accumulated, $500 million is owed to ex-braceros, who continue to fight to receive the money owed to them.[13]


And Prop 187 of California of 1994:

Governor Pete Wilson, a Republican, was a prominent supporter of Proposition 187, which ultimately became a key issue during his 1994 re-election campaign against Democratic opponent Kathleen Brown. After facing record low approval ratings during his first term, Wilson trailed Brown in opinion polls by more than 20% early during the gubernatorial campaign. Commentators considered his aggressive support of the Proposition 187 as crucial to his re-election.[7]

During the United States Senate election in California, 1994 campaign, the incumbent Senator Dianne Feinstein and Republican challenger Michael Huffington both adopted tough policies against illegal immigration. The candidates each revealed that they had previously hired illegal immigrants for housekeeping and childcare. Unlike Feinstein, Huffington had hired a housekeeper who was an illegal immigrant after the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which made it illegal to knowingly hire illegal immigrants. Feinstein was narrowly re-elected.[8]


These two instances, allied to a rampant xenophobia in both Parties, as the quoted parts of this Wikipedia entry demonstrate, were simply the precursors to the Trump/Sessions policy of separating children from their parents. Unaccompanied minors were also  grated the right to hearings:

Headline: Court Says Undocumented Minors Have the Right to a Bond Hearing

Sub-headline: A three-judge panel ruled Wednesday that immigrant children held in detention are entitled to present their case before an immigration judge.

Unaccompanied and undocumented immigrant children have the right to a court hearing to determine whether they can be released, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with the government’s argument that laws passed after the 1997 Flores v Reno Supreme Court case replaced the bond hearing requirement by giving a federal agency authority over unaccompanied minors. That agency is the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

“In the absence of such hearings, these children are held in bureaucratic limbo, left to rely upon the agency’s alleged benevolence and opaque decision making,” Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote for the court, later adding: “Not a single word in either statute indicates that Congress intended to supersede, terminate, or take away any right enjoyed by unaccompanied minors at the time of the acts’ passage. Thus, we hold that the statutes have not terminated the Flores Settlement’s bond-hearing requirement for unaccompanied minors.”


Even as ‘unaccompanied minors’ these ‘undocumented’ children still have rights. Yet this whole mendacious history of the abuse of the Braceros, the 1994 Prop 187, and the treatment of the contemporary ‘undocumented’ is indicative of Mr Divine’s historical ignorance, it would get in the way of his self-congratulatory moralizing.

The political opportunity, that the Trump/Session sadism represents, is too ripe an opportunity for Mr. Divine to pass by. As a means to reify in the mind of the reader Divine’s moral superiority. He revels in this opportunity to display his unmatched moral uprightness. The record on Mr. Divine’s ‘political evolution’ from Thatcherite to Neo-Conservative to Neo-Liberal is the story not of an evolution, but a kind of political opportunism, linked to his inherent self-concept as a moral/political arbiter of the good.

Political Cynic



























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On de Gaulle, and Pretender to French Grandeur Macron. Almost Marx comments

Mr. Fenby wrote an informative review of ‘A Certain Idea of France. The Life of Charles de Gaulle’, by Julian Jackson until the last three paragraphs when M. 37% and his ‘Jupertarian’, i.e. Rule by Decree politics, entered from stage Right. In FT parlance he is a ‘Reformer’ of the bankrupt Socialist State of France.

Hewing to the FT Party Line is the payment rendered for writing for this newspaper. De Gaulle and Macron have one thing in common their egotism. Yet de Gaulle was an actual leader and hero of WWII, no matter one’s politics, he was a major political actor of the 20th Century. Macron, a product of the Grandes Écoles and a banker, another name for an Oligarch.

The search for ‘grandeur’ in the case of Macron appears as a pathetic attempt to enter the World Stage as a major political actor. He has made no friends as the Germans run the EU, Merkel and her latest capo, after Schnabel, will never ‘Reform’ this Union: four time defaulter in the 20th Century won’t let go of power willingly.

A coterie of ‘Liberal Hacks’ act as if the idea of Europe were a matter of ‘faith’ rather than mendacious statecraft without an actual state, but the simulacrum of such an entity.    While his Neo-Liberalism first met with a nearly 37% of uncountable ballots, and now the Rolling Strikes from Unions. These Union members think and act, as if, they have some kind of claim to a life not subject to the immiseration visited upon the other  workers in Western Democracies. That are still sunk in the watershed of the misbegotten Free Market social/political/economic engineering!

Almost Marx


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Martin Kramer defends Bernard Lewis against the charge of being “the last Orientalist.”(Revised June 11,2018)

Prof. Kramer defense of Bernard Lewis, is couched in the denial that he was the ‘last Orientalist‘, should not surprise the reader, as Bernard Lewis was Prof. Kramer’s thesis director.

Kramer began his undergraduate degree under Itamar Rabinovich in Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University and completed his B.A. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University. He earned his Ph.D. at Princeton as well, under Fouad Ajami, L. Carl Brown, the late Charles Issawi, and Bernard Lewis, who directed his thesis. He also received a History M.A. from Columbia University.[1]

Kramer earned his undergraduate and doctoral degrees in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University, where he prepared his thesis under the supervision of Bernard Lewis. He then spent twenty-five years at Tel Aviv University, where he directed the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. Kramer has taught as a visiting professor at Brandeis University, the University of Chicago, Cornell University, Georgetown University, and The Johns Hopkins University (SAIS). He has also served as a visiting fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington and Harvard University’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies.

Kramer was an early advocate of attacking Saddam Hussein in the wake of 9/11, arguing in December 2001 that regardless of a possible involvement, he posed a threat to the entire Middle East.[3] However, he was critical of the shifting rationale for the war in October 2002, questioning the United States’ “tools of social engineering” needed to promote an eventual democracy process in the Arab world.[4]

He was a senior policy adviser on the Middle East to the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Campaign in 2007.[5]


The fact that Prof Kramer was ‘senior policy adviser‘ to Rudy Giuliani is indicative of his politics. But his visiting fellowship at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy can leave no doubt that Prof Kramer is a Neo-Conservative. And that Lewis was one of an  Orientalist Vanguard that provided the Neo-Conservatives with the rationalizations that legitimized their bellicose  imperial ambitions. The Washington Institute was the political offspring of AIPAC only confirms Prof. Kramer’s Neo-Conservatism.

Steve J. Rosen and others at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) created the Washington Institute in 1985 to draw from the experience and scholarship of academics and former high-level government officials.[5] The Institute would “focus on cutting-edge research on regional issues that were not being addressed comprehensively by existing organizations.”[1]

Martin Indyk, an Australian-trained academic and former deputy director of research for AIPAC, helped found WINEP in 1985. Indyk sought to produce nonpartisan scholarship and disinterested assessments on the Middle East; he saw the institute as “friendly to Israel but doing credible research on the Middle East in a realistic and balanced way.”[6] The research was thus designed to be more independent and academic-quality.[7] At the time it was founded, the Institute focused research on Arab–Israeli relations, political and security issues, and overall U.S. Middle East policy.[1] In the 1990s, prompted by the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Persian Gulf War, and changes in regional strategy, the Institute expanded its research agenda to “focus on Turkey and the rise of Islamic politics.”[1] Under Indyk’s leadership, the institute gained notability as a center for the study and discussion of Middle East policy, and attracted Arab intellectuals to its events.[8] Indyk would go on to serve in several U.S. diplomatic posts including U.S. ambassador to Israel, special envoy for Israeli–Palestinian negotiations, special assistant to President Clinton and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs at the National Security Council and assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs. Indyk is currently vice president and director of the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution.[9]


Another question that might be asked: why would Kramer frame his defense of Lewis in a rhetorical frame of ‘last Orientalist’ as Orientalism was the title of  Edward Said book? Here is a review in the May 9, 2008 Times Literary Supplement of Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism by Ibn Warraq and Reading Orientalism: Said and the Unsaid (Publications on the Near East) by Daniel Martin Varisco. A screen shot of the review in question and a link, behind a pay wall:


Didn’t the interventions  of Warraq, Varisco and Irwin’s equivocating about Said’s book,   check the potency of the idea of Orientalism as an invention of Said’s act of historical/literary incompetence tinctured in mendacity? Or should this duo of Said’s critics published in 2oo7 , and reviewed in the TLS  of 2008, of a book published in 1978, be judged as what? Yet even in the year  2018, Prof. Kramer’s imperative is to deny that his mentor,  and ersatz hero, Bernard Lewis in not the Last Orientalist.  Prof. Irwin, in this paragraph of his review, provides some valuable insights about Prof. Kramer’s personal loyalties and his politics:

KramerDefendsLewisTLSMay092017June 112018

American Writer






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