janan.ganesh@ft.com on Holbrooke & the failure of the ‘millennials’. Old Socialist comments

Title this Ganesh essay  ‘In Praise of American Imperialist Richard Holbrooke’ !

Referring to Mr. Packers book, and the career of Holbrooke, Ganesh’s expresses his misplaced tone of regret, for the decline of a species of bellicose Democrats who were ‘outward-looking, diplomatic but open to the use of force’ :

Instead, the book works better as an elegy for a certain type of Democrat. Holbrooke was outward-looking, diplomatic but open to the use of force and restless to fix even the bits of the world that did not touch on American interests. The type has been familiar from Harry Truman’s time to Hillary Clinton’s.

In his praise of Mr. Holbrooke Mr. Ganesh misses the careers of Henry Jackson, the redoubtable  Jeane Kirkpatrick the most bellicose of Democrats,  not to forget Joe Biden.

Then there is this not so puzzling comment on the absence of ‘foreign policy’ as a subject that the 2020 Democratic candidates. Tulsi Gabbard has made that ‘foreign policy’ the cornerstone of her campaign from its beginnings. Like the good Corporatist hireling, Ganesh ignores the inconvenient exception to his rule setting, or it it just cultivated ignorance?

Several months into the race, almost none of the 20-plus hopefuls has said anything of note about foreign policy.

As Daniel Larison points out in his essay Mr. Ganesh engages in ‘lazy argument’ ,or from my perspective, just ideological myopia.*

Then there is this bit of ‘analysis’:

The party is as rich with ideas as it has been for a generation — universal healthcare, plans for climate change abatement — but they are either domestic or only tangentially international.

Only a small portion of the 22 are discussing these question, the stolid New Democrats are avoiding the taint of Leftism!

The proof that ‘millennials’ , lazy journalistic shorthand for the younger generation, who have seen the ravages of that the Holbrook’s of the American Technocracy have visited upon the world, have chastened their view, while an older generation are still steeped in the failed/failing mythology of Pax Americana.

Still, something deeper, more generational, seems to be at work this time. A new survey of public attitudes by the Center for American Progress, a think-tank, finds that 59 per cent of baby-boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — and their elders believe the US should take a “leading role in the world”. Just 45 per cent of millennials and their juniors do. That will change as they age, you might think, but the number for the middle group of Generation X is just 46. In fact, lots of millennials and people born after them “hold no strong views whatsoever about any foreign policy or national security issue”.

Not to forget that the  Center for American Progress is the propaganda vehicle  i.e. Think Tank, whose membership is instructive: Sen. Tom Daschle, Chair, Neera Tanden, President, Stacey Abrams, Steve Daetz, Glenn Hutchins, John Podesta . New Democrats all!

But here Mr. Ganesh presents the reasons, the whys, of the ‘disenchantment’ of those ‘millennials’ :

In other words, the Americans who are most keen on global burden-bearing will, to put it tactfully, stop voting over the coming decades. Governments must increasingly answer to an electorate that prioritises the domestic. Foreign policymakers might rather their craft take place in a Kissingerian bubble, sealed off from the mob, but such nuisances as the universal franchise will tend to get in the way. It matters, then, that millennial views of US leadership are so jaundiced by the triple fiascos of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. This generation will soon be the largest segment of the US electorate. It is already setting the tone in the Democratic party.

And then a wan defense of the “liberal international order” , in sum, the post war Pax Americana, that cannot find a place in the morality/ politics/world view of the myopic ‘millennials’.

Mr. Ganesh misses the opportunity that the R2P  (Responsibility to Protect) Zealots Michael Ignatieff and Samantha Power offer, as the newest, and more nuanced re-interpretation of that “liberal international order”. Based not in power politics, but in a defense in the alluring garb of Human Rights. The R2P coterie are bellicose Neo-Conservatives in the afore mentioned garb. Mr. Ganesh is not a deep thinker, but a Sunday Supplement writer out of his depth.

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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