In America two genres of popular culture are, and have been, in the ascendent , since the 1930’s and 1940’s , Pulp and the Comic Book. Why start here? James Ferguson provides the cartoon reductionism of the argued conflict between Russia, as the ferocious bear and China just present, but its intention unseen. And a majestic America eagle soars above, in this tableau. Art in the service of propaganda? The interpretation of symbols, in paintings of past ages, is an integral part of Art History.
Biden’s ‘retreat’ ,from the natural role of America as World Hegemon will lead to dire consequences. The second and third paragraphs of his essay Mr. Rachman that features the ignominy of America’s defeat in Vietnam, of course not framed so close to the truth, fealty to bourgeois political respectability must be observed.
The watching world will wonder if a gap is emerging between White House rhetoric about re-engagement with the world, and a reality of continuing retreat. Biden insists that this is not the case. He argues that America has achieved its counter-terrorism aims in Afghanistan and now intends to “fight the battles for the next 20 years, not the last 20”.
But perception matters. The danger is that the pullout from Afghanistan will be seen outside America as a Vietnam-like failure that could eventually lead to the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, a replay of the fall of Saigon to North Vietnam in 1975.
Biden’s ‘weakness’ will have dire consequences. The Enemies are poised to breach the Pax Americana. The reader accompanies Mr. Rachman as he describes , in the vocabulary of Stan Lee, in his Futurology Episodes of The New Cold War to come, while riffing on Dickens. The whole of literary/political inheritance is subject to the demands of fear mongering, about the dire possibilities.
What follows in Mr. Rachman’s polemic is a History Made To Measure, a speciality of Financial Times writers. What Mr. Rachman fails to even mention is that Biden has surrounded himself with Neo-Con ghoul Victoria Nuland, R2P zealot Samantha Power, and Antony Blinken : In sum the Neo-Cons and fellow travelers are in power. What is politics as practised but the exercise of ‘pragmatism’: in sum ‘reappraisal’ is its manifestation.