janan.ganesh@ft.com on tarnished ‘American Uniqueness’. Old Socialist comments

In the third paragraph of Mr. Ganesh’s recent essay, call it puzzling or just his usual  pretentious chatter?  he demonstrates that the broad brush approach to history is  ill fated, at best. Or more pointedly that the feuilleton form, a Ganesh specialty, is unsuited to a political context!

This point of contrast remained a viable basis for national togetherness well into the 20th century.

The careful reader of American history will note that the Progressive Woodrow Wilson segregated Washington D.C. in 1912, the year of my mother’s birth.

In increments, it has weakened, less through the US’s own failures than progress elsewhere. The first world war immolated some of the autocracies in opposition to which the US found its identity.

The First World War under Wilson’s leadership imprisoned Eugene V. Debs on ten counts of ‘sedition’ !

From the cinders of the second world war rose the modern, rational European state.

Those cinders of the second world war were, in part, the work of Harry Truman and the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki!

After empire came post-colonial migration.

Would the mention of the Windrush Generation be out of place in the British political context?

And after 1989 came, if not an absolute win for democratic capitalism as the terminal point of human affairs, then its territorial spread.

This win for ‘democratic capitalism’ is really about the rise of both Thatcher and Reagan in the ‘West’ ,Gorbachev’s perestroika, and most importantly, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the rise of the amenable and manipulable drunkard Boris Yeltsin. This project aided and abetted by the demonstrably incompetent Strobe Talbott, as the Capitalist Viceroy, who supervised the transition from Command to Market Economy: the question that should be asked ‘why do the Russians hate us’ finds its answer in Western Meddling in the internal affairs of the Russian State!

Godfrey Hodgson in his book The Myth of American Exceptionalism offers something that Mr. Ganesh cannot!


Old Socialist




About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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