Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Israel Matzav: Israel and the post-modern American Presidency

Israel and the post-modern American Presidency

Victor Davis Hansen deconstructs President Obama's post-modern Presidency, explaining why none of us understand that it's all about alternate realities, relativism, speaking 'truth to power' (a phrase that I don't recall hearing before Obama took office), the absence of objective standards of truth and falsehood, and of course, redistributive change (you did all realize that's what he meant by change during the campaign two years ago, didn't you?).

The same doubletalk permeates the foreign policy arena, where nations are judged by different standards, since, after all, some nations are oppressed while others are Western capitalists who have created wealth for themselves by being oppressors. I will stick to the Israel part of the equation, but to really appreciate it, you should read the whole thing.

Finally, examine foreign policy. Now many of us are upset that we court enemies and shun friends, and seem to be reaching out to the most authoritarian regimes imaginable, whether Putin’s Russia, or Iran, or Venezuela. Well, once again, that is only because you construct reality on the norms predicated upon your own comfortable globalized privilege — that, in fact, as Obama thankfully grasps, is a result of thousands of daily oppressions, both here and abroad, of which you are not even aware.


[W]hat Obama has done is “contextualized” the world, and “located,” as it were, the seemingly hostile anti-American rhetoric of “enemies” into a proper race/class/gender narrative.

And what he has found is that nationalism and the construct of the state have fooled us into thinking that there are “allies” and “enemies,” when, in fact, these are mere labels used by the privileged to “exaggerate” “difference” that only enhances Western entrenched economic, racial, cultural and political hegemonies.

Once, thanks to Obama, we “unpack” that “reality,” then we can see that most Americans have much in common with Venezuelans, Russians, Iranians, Syrians and others who likewise struggle against the same enemies that brought us the 2008 Wall Street meltdown and now oppose health care reform, cap and trade, amnesty, and the take over of the automobile, banking, and insurance industries.

So a postmodernist looks at the Falklands and does not rely on archaic notions of “sovereignty” or a “history” of a prior war. Instead, one sees a postcolonial power once more claiming “ownership” of a far distant island, proximate to a Latin American people, with long experience with European and American economic and political exploitation. Presto — we are now “neutral,” which means we don’t see anything intrinsically convincing in Britain’s claims to the Falklands.

Note Israel. What are we to make of the Netanyahu humiliating smack down, the seeming indifference over the Iranian nuclear program, the nominations and appointments on the Middle East front of a Freeman or Power, the reach out to Syria and Iran, the interview with al Arabiya and the Cairo speech, the bow to a Saudi royal, the ritual trashing of George Bush juxtaposed to the praise of a Saudi king, the strange past outbursts of Obama advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski about hypothetically shooting down Israeli planes on their way to Iran, the ranting about Jews from the former spiritual advisor Wright, etc.

In short, the answer is that Israel is a construct of Western privilege — its democratic, capitalist, and Western customs hinge on the oppression of a vast “other” that is far more egalitarian, socialist, and antithetical to Western consumer-capitalism with all of its pathologies of race, class, and gender exploitation.

In that context, in archaic fashion, we struggle to damn any effort to end such hegemony and empower the voices of the oppressed. We are not, in fact, “allied” to Israel, but properly speaking instead should be to the underprivileged in the Gaza slums, to those without health care on the West Bank, and, yes, to the progressive Israelis of noble spirit who are trying to battle the reactionary Likudniks and instead do something about the tentacles of their own discriminatory state, whose capital is derived from exploited labor and resources of a silenced other.

Hanson drips sarcasm and manages to let Obama's pompousness come through his writing. But this sure explains a lot, doesn't it? It fits with Hanson's description from a year ago of Obama's personal moral compass:

a genuine feeling that Israel is an aggressive, Western imperialist power exploiting indigenous people of color who simply wish to be free--in other words, the Rev. Wright-Bill Ayers-Rashid Khalidi view of the Middle East.

Israel Matzav: Israel and the post-modern American Presidency

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