We are hardly the first power in history to combine material interests, great technological capacity, and an utter disregard for the suffering and misery of the lower orders. The difficulty, rather, was that it seemed unlikely that the deception could succeed. The operation, in his view, was ill-conceived but not otherwise objectionable. There are three possibilities in descending order of preference: a decent democratic regime, a continuation of the Trujillo regime or a Castro regime. The reason why the third possibility is so intolerable is explained a few pages later p.
Our policy must be based on our national heritage and our national interests. Both our insistence on unconditional surrender and the idea of post-war occupation…represented the formulation of American security interests in Europe and Asia. As to our interests, the matter is equally simple. And academic intellectuals have made their unique contribution to this sorry picture. There is much to be learned from a careful study of the terms in which this distinction is drawn.
A distinction of this sort seems to be what Irving Kristol, for example, has in mind in his analysis of the protest over Vietnam policy Encounter , August, His is a realpolitik point of view; and he will apparently even contemplate the possibility of a nuclear war against China in extreme circumstances. Is the purity of American motives a matter that is beyond discussion, or that is irrelevant to discussion?
Although Kristol does not examine these questions directly, his attitude presupposes answers, answers which are wrong in all cases.
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American aggressiveness, however it may be masked in pious rhetoric, is a dominant force in world affairs and must be analyzed in terms of its causes and motives. There is no body of theory or significant body of relevant information, beyond the comprehension of the layman, which makes policy immune from criticism.
These facts seem too obvious to require extended discussion. It is these men, too, who deserve the credit for what was reported by Malcolm Browne as long ago as May, Tens of thousands of tons of bombs, rockets, napalm and cannon fire are poured into these vast areas each week. If only by the laws of chance, bloodshed is believed to be heavy in these raids. The US Government Printing Office is an endless source of insight into the moral and intellectual level of this expert advice. In its publications one can read, for example, the testimony of Professor David N.
Professor Rowe proposes p. These are his words:. Mind you, I am not talking about this as a weapon against the Chinese people. It will be. But that is only incidental. The weapon will be a weapon against the Government because the internal stability of that country cannot be sustained by an unfriendly Government in the face of general starvation. But, one may ask, why restrict ourselves to such indirect means as mass starvation? Why not bombing? No doubt this message is implicit in the remarks to the same committee of the Reverend R.
Of course, there must be those who support the Communists. But this is really a matter of small concern, as the Hon Walter Robertson, Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs from , points out in his testimony before the same committee. In the face of such experts as these, the scientists and philosophers of whom Kristol speaks would clearly do well to continue to draw their circles in the sand.
It must be the result of boredom, of too much security, or something of this sort. Other possibilities come to mind. These possibilities Kristol does not reject. They are simply unthinkable, unworthy of consideration.
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More accurately, these possibilities are inexpressible; the categories in which they are formulated honesty, indignation simply do not exist for the tough-minded social scientist. I do not doubt that these attitudes are in part a consequence of the desperate attempt of the social and behavioral sciences to imitate the surface features of sciences that really have significant intellectual content. But they have other sources as well. Ergo, it is only problems of the latter sort that are important or real.
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At times this pseudo-scientific posing reaches levels that are almost pathological. Consider the phenomenon of Herman Kahn, for example. Kahn has been both denounced as immoral and lauded for his courage. Kahn proposes no theories, no explanations, no factual assumptions that can be tested against their consequences, as do the sciences he is attempting to mimic. He simply suggests a terminology and provides a facade of rationality. When particular policy conclusions are drawn, they are supported only by ex cathedra remarks for which no support is even suggested e.
A simple argument proves the opposite. Premise 1: American decision-makers think along the lines outlined by Herman Kahn. Premise 2 : Kahn thinks it would be better for everyone to be red than for everyone to be dead. Premise 3 : if the Americans were to respond to an all-out countervalue attack, then everyone would be dead.
Conclusion : the Americans will not respond to an all-out countervalue attack, and therefore it should be launched without delay. Of course, one can carry the argument a step further. Fact : the Russians have not carried out an all-out countervalue attack. It follows that they are not rational. What is remarkable is that serious people actually pay attention to these absurdities, no doubt because of the facade of tough-mindedness and pseudo-science.
In the fall of , for example, there was an International Conference on Alternative Perspectives on Vietnam, which circulated a pamphlet to potential participants stating its assumptions. In short, the experts on values i. The only debatable issue, it seems to me, is whether it is more ridiculous to turn to experts in social theory for general well-confirmed propositions, or to the specialists in the great religions and philosophical systems for insights into fundamental human values. There is much more that can be said about this topic, but, without continuing, I would simply like to emphasize that, as is no doubt obvious, the cult of the experts is both self-serving, for those who propound it, and fraudulent.
Obviously, one must learn from social and behavioral science whatever one can; obviously, these fields should be pursued as seriously as possible.
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But it will be quite unfortunate, and highly dangerous, if they are not accepted and judged on their merits and according to their actual, not pretended, accomplishments. In particular, if there is a body of theory, well-tested and verified, that applies to the conduct of foreign affairs or the resolution of domestic or international conflict, its existence has been kept a well-guarded secret. In the case of Vietnam, if those who feel themselves to be experts have access to principles or information that would justify what the American government is doing in that unfortunate country, they have been singularly ineffective in making this fact known.
Now that we have achieved the pluralistic society of the Welfare State, they see no further need for a radical transformation of society; we may tinker with our way of life here and there, but it would be wrong to try to modify it in any significant way. With this consensus of intellectuals, ideology is dead. First, he does not point out the extent to which this consensus of the intellectuals is self-serving.
It seems fairly obvious that the classical problems are very much with us; one might plausibly argue that they have even been enhanced in severity and scale. For example, the classical paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty is now an ever-increasing problem on an international scale.
Whereas one might conceive, at least in principle, of a solution within national boundaries, a sensible idea of transforming international society to cope with vast and perhaps increasing human misery is hardly likely to develop within the framework of the intellectual consensus that Bell describes.
Having found his position of power, having achieved security and affluence, he has no further need for ideologies that look to radical change. It is conceivably true that the bourgeoisie was right in regarding the special conditions of its emancipation as the only general conditions by which modern society would be saved. In either case, an argument is in order, and skepticism is justified when none appears. Within the same framework of general utopianism, Bell goes on to pose the issue between Welfare State scholar-experts and third-world ideologists in a rather curious way.
One may debate the question whether authoritarian control is necessary to permit capital accumulation in the underdeveloped world, but the Western model of development is hardly one that we can point to with any pride. Those who have a serious concern for the problems that face backward countries, and for the role that advanced industrial societies might, in principle, play in development and modernization, must use somewhat more care in interpreting the significance of the Western experience.
The backward countries have incredible, perhaps insurmountable problems, and few available options; the United States has a wide range of options, and has the economic and technological resources, though, evidently, neither the intellectual nor moral resources, to confront at least some of these problems. It is easy for an American intellectual to deliver homilies on the virtues of freedom and liberty, but if he is really concerned about, say, Chinese totalitarianism or the burdens imposed on the Chinese peasantry in forced industrialization, then he should face a task that is infinitely more important and challenging—the task of creating, in the United States, the intellectual and moral climate, as well as the social and economic conditions, that would permit this country to participate in modernization and development in a way commensurate with its material wealth and technical capacity.
Large capital gifts to Cuba and China might not succeed in alleviating the authoritarianism and terror that tend to accompany early stages of capital accumulation, but they are far more likely to have this effect than lectures on democratic values. But it is almost certain that capitalist encirclement itself, which all revolutionary movements now have to face, will guarantee this result. The lesson, for those who are concerned to strengthen the democratic, spontaneous, and popular elements in developing societies, is quite clear.
It is also true that this consensus is most noticeable among the scholar-experts who are replacing the free-floating intellectuals of the past. The analogy becomes clear when we look carefully at the ways in which this proposal is formulated. With his usual lucidity, Churchill outlined the general position in a remark to his colleague of the moment, Joseph Stalin, at Teheran in The government of the world must be entrusted to satisfied nations, who wished nothing more for themselves than what they had.
If the world-government were in the hands of hungry nations there would always be danger. But none of us had any reason to seek for anything more…. Our power placed us above the rest. We were like the rich men dwelling at peace within their habitations. But I would hope that what we do in Southeast Asia would help to develop within the Chinese body politic more of a realism and willingness to live with this fear than to indulge it by support for liberation movements, which admittedly depend on a great deal more than external support…the operational question for American foreign policy is not whether that fear can be eliminated or substantially alleviated, but whether China can be faced with a structure of incentives, of penalties and rewards, of inducements that will make it willing to live with this fear.
In short, we are prepared to live peaceably in our—to be sure, rather extensive—habitations. Frankly, we are not strong enough now to compete with the Communists on a purely political basis. They are organized and disciplined. The non-Communist nationalists are not—we do not have any large, well-organized political parties and we do not yet have unity. We cannot leave the Vietcong in existence. Officials in Washington understand the situation very well. Max Frankel reported from Washington in the Times on February 18, , that. Compromise has had no appeal here because the Administration concluded long ago that the non-Communist forces of South Vietnam could not long survive in a Saigon coalition with Communists.
It is for that reason—and not because of an excessively rigid sense of protocol—that Washington has steadfastly refused to deal with the Vietcong or recognize them as an independent political force. In short, we will—magnanimously—permit Vietcong representatives to attend negotiations only if they will agree to identify themselves as agents of a foreign power and thus forfeit the right to participate in a coalition government, a right which they have now been demanding for a half-dozen years.
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We well know that in any representative coalition, our chosen delegates could not last a day without the support of American arms. All of this is, of course, reasonable, so long as we accept the fundamental political axiom that the United States, with its traditional concern for the rights of the weak and downtrodden, and with its unique insight into the proper mode of development for backward countries, must have the courage and the persistence to impose its will by force until such time as other nations are prepared to accept these truths—or simply, to abandon hope.
Thus one must applaud the insistence of the Secretary of State on the importance of historical analogies, the Munich analogy, for example. Other academic critics also took a more-political turn. His essays were collected in Reflections on Exile Meanwhile, a wide range of feminist critics, beginning with Kate Millett , Ellen Moers, Sandra Gilbert, Susan Gubar, and Elaine Showalter , gave direction to new gender-based approaches to past and present writers.
Critics who came to be known as queer theorists, such as Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick , produced innovative work on texts dealing with homosexuality , both overt and implicit. All these methods yielded new dimensions of critical understanding, but in less-adept hands they became so riddled with jargon or so intensely political and ideological that they lost touch with the general reader, with common sense itself, and with any tradition of accessible criticism. There was a revival of interest in literary journalism. Both older critics, such as Frank Lentricchia in The Edge of Night and Said in Out of Place , and younger critics, including Alice Kaplan in French Lessons , turned toward autobiography as a way of situating their own intellectual outlook and infusing personal expression into their work.
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