Tuesday, July 08, 2008

It's foreign affairs, dummy!

For weeks—nonstop—the topic on the evening TV news talk-shows was the mysterious disappearance and tawdry affair of one young Washington, D.C. intern and a Democrat Congressman from California. The evening of September 10, 2001 was no different. The intern was Chandra Levy, member of a Conservative Jewish congregation. The Congressman was Gary Condit. He was a senior member on the House Intelligence Committee. Americans had enough time in their hands to pay attention to that sort of thing. Eight years before they were told “It’s the economy, stupid”. Next day the sexy topic disappeared for good. Unfinished business came to the fore.

On Saturday evening June 24, 1950, Americans were looking toward a regular summer Sunday next day, including President Truman. As later during the 1990s, national policies occupied the minds of the public as the country entered an era of post-WWII prosperity and domesticity. Next day the sense of a United States finally at peace after four years of world conflict disappeared for good also. Unfinished business came to the fore.

September 11, 2001 and the invasion of South Korea brought to the fore to Americans the reality that they live in a larger neighborhood.

For months and years American leaders were sending messages, in verbal and non-verbal clues, that they were not too concerned about America’s role in the world. All through the 1990s the U.S. had experienced terrorist attacks at home and abroad but they were all seen as isolated incidents and not possibly as part of a burgeoning fanatic movement.

Prior to the invasion of South Korea statements by American leaders gave the clear impression to Communist leaders that the U.S. would not intervene in Asia. The withdrawal of American troops from South Korea confirmed the message. But not until 1949 when the USSR exploded their first nuclear weapon did Stalin approve of Kim Il-Sung’s invasion of the South. Saddam Hussein also got the wrong message when he perceived a “hands off” attitude from the US regarding Kuwait.

In all cases there were plenty of indications that a prominent and larger attack could take place. In all cases statements and attitudes from American politicians encouraged those actions.
Now we are in another election cycle and the economy it’s pushed to the fore. Yes, it’s normal to do so; some states like Michigan are suffering a local recession while others even come here to recruit employees. But overall the national economy (minus the gas problem) is stable. In fact, it has been a great economy to the point that what we experience is the syndrome of the fat cows. We have gotten used to so many extras that even a call for retracting a bit on our personal luxuries is perceived as a great debacle.

So whether repeating that we are in a recession, or that Bush lied or that Obama is a secret Muslim or agent of hope, the attempt will be made on the voters “to feel” not “to think”.

According to “liberal” political advisors like Dr. George Lakoff, a linguist and cognitive scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, the opinions of voters are neither logical nor self-arrived at, therefore they should be ignored. Political and judiciary elites know better. Thus, although Californians voted against same sex marriage their democratic wish should not be obeyed. And since we are all so easily manipulated politicians, especially if liberals want to win, should have no ethical qualms about it. Instead they should rely less on facts and more on emotional images and dramatization, “casting progressives as heroes, and by implication, conservatives as villains.” The thing is to “say things not once, but over and over. Brains change when ideas are repeatedly activated.” Joseph Goebbels must be proud in his grave; finally even the left has seen the light.

But "conservatives" who fear a Marxist regime coming under Obama perhaps should lay their fears asides. Those high-power rich lawyers and Wall Street powers behind the orchestration of the Obama multimedia phenomenon are in the least anti-capitalists, certainly not George Soros. On the contrary, they are neo-capitalists. Instead of open capitalism they want state-capitalism. Instead of national capitalism they have already been practicing transnational finances where old colonialism is no longer necessary. As long as regimes such as China and Cuba guarantee their investments—even as repressive as they may be against their own people—colonial style relations won’t be necessary also as long as such regimes control access to information, especially the Internet.

It appears that this time around voters will be left to choose between left-wing “liberal” state capitalism and right-wing “conservative” amoral capitalism. In either case, it is not “Marxism”, “socialism” or “Communism” what should concern the voters but a neo-fascistic tendency to control thought and speech; the manipulation of “the masses” through the use of old stimulus and response, reward and punishment psychology, and the use of “slogans”, that most of anti-logic devices, whether dressed as “nationalist and patriotic” appeals or as “politically correct” morality.

So here we are again. According to the U.N. atomic energy chief, Mohamed El-Baradei, Iran is six months away from its first nuclear weapon. Statements made from that country against a U.S. ally in the region have not been ambiguous. What will the American voters respond to this time “It’s the economy, stupid” or “It’s foreign affairs, dummy”? Will unfinished business once again come to the fore?