janan.ganesh@ft.com on July 10, and July 15, 2020 . American Writer comments

After Mr. Ganesh’s July 10th’s comic meditation on Alaric the Goth and English ‘chippyness’ , that he posited ‘as potent a source of motivation as exists in life.’ , supplied by Douglas Boin’s book.


Mr. Ganesh drew certain lessons, on a collection of political/civic actors as diverse as Oprah, Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Pierre Poujade, Richard Nixon, Mark Zuckerberg, himself,David Cameron: The driving force of these lives was/is ‘the inferiority complex’.

The reader is today confronted with Mr. Ganesh’s opening paragraph about ‘partisanship‘ and its uses:

Ferocious partisanship has its uses. If nothing else, a divided nation can console itself that no government idea goes unexamined and unopposed. Scrutiny can be all the more exacting for being born of tribal malice rather than Socratic truth-seeking. The US is riven — it has managed to politicise the workaday face-mask — but it avoids the equal and opposite danger of unreflective consensus.  

Mr. Ganesh is an adept practitioner of striking a self-serving political pose, as his July 10 essay demonstrates. An example from his latest essay of this practice:

 The US is riven — it has managed to politicise the workaday face-mask — but it avoids the equal and opposite danger of unreflective consensus. Except, that is, on the most momentous policy of the century. To be in Washington is to sense a nation sliding into open-ended conflict against China with eerily little debate.

The New Cold War is being fought, in political terms, by means of the failed Mueller Report, and the equally failed Impeachment of Trump, as maladroitly scripted by Adam Schiff, aided by his Neo-Con ‘witnesses’. The propaganda about ‘Russian Interference’ in it variously argued guises was/is the work of political fiction writers. But still, the myth of  The New Cold War’s politics dates from the 2014 Ukrainian Coup: Russian Revanchism?Ivan Katchanovski’s essay ‘The far right, the Euromaidan, and the Maidan massacre in Ukraine’ answers some vital questions about Ukraine.


And the myth of China’s ‘provocative actions in the South China Sea’, and its actions in Hong Kong, in response to the Nativist Rebellion. The answer to many questions about this ‘Democracy Movement’ are answered here, in revelatory detail.  


Why would Mr. Ganesh waste his, and the readers time, lecturing the various members of America’s Political Class? Is moralizing the sine qua non of the political Journalist? The questions abound, but look to this evocative, even sumptuous paragraph, for a possible answer to the proffered ‘un-American thing,consensus’?     

The result is that un-American thing, consensus, and it concerns not just the future but increasingly the past. Everyone now “knows” that pre-Trump Washington was a place of Whiggish credulity, forever betting on material enrichment to make of China a vast Japan or South Korea: a democracy, a friend. In this account, its admittance to the World Trade Organization was the inadvertent crowning of a rival by American enablers.

Brevity is not an integral part of the Ganesh rhetorical strategy. What rescues his essay is it’s growing cast of characters, complete with their necessary historical baggage, subject to an uncomplimentary reductivism.     

 George HW Bush, Barack Obama, ‘lost China’, Robert Taft , NATO, ‘George Kennan,  Mikes Pence,  Pompeo, Trump, McCarthyism, Harry Truman, General Douglas MacArthur   

The final paragraph present the reader with a troubling question, does Mr. Ganesh actually care about the ‘China question’, as he poses it? Or was it an opportunity to show the American reader, that he has mastered their history enough to construct a simulacrum?     

Washington now is nowhere near that level of frenzy. Even by the standards of an election year, though, the reluctance to say anything construable as “soft” is impossible to miss. America’s ultimate advantage is the raucousness of its public discourse. On the China question, it is troublingly civilised.


American Writer

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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