janan.ganesh@ft.com is suffering from Old Cold War nostalgia, as a meandering apologetic for The New Cold War? Old Socialist comments

Its unfortunate that Mr. Ganesh missed reading Matthew Goodwin’s essay of Sunday November 3, 2019 in which he quotes H.L. Mencken:

The American journalist and critic HL Mencken once remarked that “the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”.


The original Cold War was the product of a post-war Republican Party, and their first attempt to brand The New Deal as ‘a generation of treason’ , that evolved into the Nixon/Mundt/McCarren/McCarthy witch hunt, that the ADA  ‘Liberals’ Schlesinger and Niebuhr, acted as enthusiastic, if coerced, callabos. Or so the Liberal self-apologetic is framed.

Mr. Ganesh resorts to political kitsch here -its easy to lose patience with this kind of puerile political commentary:

The Soviet empire was America’s favourite enemy: the one that gave it the securest sense of itself. When the wall fell, so did a certain kind of US nationhood. The partisanship that followed will endure until the next worthy ogre comes along.     

After much unconvincing historical exhumation,in defense of his nostalgia,  Mr. Ganesh closes his essay by celebrating, in true Cold War Triumphalist rhetorical style:

America’s victory in the cold war was a feat of strategy and patience that should be saluted this weekend. It just happens to be a victory from which it has never recovered.

What is interesting is what Mr. Ganesh excises from his radical political nostalgic essay: what is strategically absent from his narrative is that the transitional power of American political/cultural/civilizational paranoia, provided by Samuel P. Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations, published as an  essay of 1992,  that became a bloated BestSeller: was the transitional replacement for the the very specifically directed Cold War. The ‘Enemy’ ,  presented by Huntington,  was/is everywhere.

Mr. Huntington even became the bearer of xenophobia/racism in his Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity published in 2004. The Mestizo hordes are  actively subverting  ‘Anglo-Protestant virtue’!

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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