A war that has killed more than a million Iraqis was a "humanitarian intervention", the US army is a force for liberation, and the main threat to world peace is posed by Islam. These are the arguments of a host of liberal commentators, including such notable names as Christopher Hitchens, Kanan Makiya, Michael Ignatieff, Paul Berman, and Bernard-Henri Lévy.
In this critical intervention, Richard Seymour unearths the history of liberal justifications for empire, showing how savage policies of conquest—including genocide and slavery—have been retailed as charitable missions. From the Cold War to the War on Terror, Seymour argues that colonialist notions of "civilization" and "progress" still shape liberal pro-war discourse, concealing the same bloody realities.
In a new afterword, Seymour revisits the debates on liberal imperialism in the era of Obama and in the light of the Afghan and Iraqi debacles.
The following two posts, by Richard Seymour, were originally published on Lenin's Tomb.
Syriza. Defeat. Victory. Defeat.
10 July, 2015
It is gut-wrenching, watching Syriza beg and plead with the creditors not to crush Greece. Too late did they realise that they weren't negotiating. They had nothing to negotiate with, no cards to play. They went looking for the 'good euro', and found only ruthless, mercenary capitalist enforcers. They sought compromise and were given fiscal strangulation. Even after their big deal with the creditors in February, wherein they gave up most of their emergency programme, none of the money they expected was forthcoming. Their means of raising money were cut off. For months, and months, they made concessions; the troika made none. Finally, they were all set to sign up to a deal considerably worse than any imposed on previous governments. The troika demanded more, on pain of destroying the banking system.
In the second of our blog posts to mark ten years since the 7/7 bombings, we bring you an extract from The Muslims Are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism and the Domestic War on Terror by Arun Kundnani, a powerful critique of the surveillance and prosecution of Muslims the UK and US since in the wake of 9/11 and 7/7 terror attacks.
In this passage, Kundnani traces the formation of a globalised, politicised branch of Islam in the UK, shaped in large part by the endemic racism experienced by Muslims day-to-day. Kundnani, as with the first extract published earlier today from Tariq Ali's Rough Music, also questions why narratives of terrorist violence are detached from the wider context of Western governments’ foreign policies.