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42 of 76 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly-written, historically weak, and worst of all, yet more warmongering!, 6 Jun. 2008
This review is from: The Return of History and the End of Dreams (Hardcover)
Robert Kagan worked in the US State Department from 1984 to 1998, and was a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). He has written this little book in reply to Francis Fukuyama, also of the State Department and of PNAC, who in 1992 wrote `The End Of History And The Last Man'.

This book may be Kagan's application for the post of foreign policy advisor to Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain. Among other brilliant ideas, McCain wants Britain to invade Sudan, just like we did in the 1880s. Remember what happened to General Gordon? And to the government that sent him?

Kagan wants whatever he calls democracies to unite against what he calls autocracies, especially China and Russia. But actually he wants empires, US and EU alike, to unite against national sovereignty.

He defines democracy as having competitive elections. But in the USA, the electoral choice is between two wings of the Property Party, two multi-millionaires, equally pro-capital, equally pro-empire (witness Obama's pledges, like McCain's, to back whatever the Israeli state does, to eliminate the so-called threat from Iran and to tighten the USA's illegal blockade of Cuba). Are Russia's elections, or Iran's, or Venezuela's, significantly less democratic that the USA's? Yet Kagan calls these countries autocracies.

Kagan notes that the American people want the USA to play a less prominent world role, but he doesn't let that stop him calling for more globalisation, more capitalism. But the peoples of the world need to determine their own countries' futures, free from outside interference.

He approvingly quotes Blair's adviser Robert Cooper, who says that the EU is a `cooperative empire ... dedicated to liberty and democracy' - so free and so democratic that it refuses its citizens a vote on its treaties. Not surprising, given that Cooper believes, "The challenge to the postmodern world is to get used to the idea of double standards."

Remember that in 1914, Germany's franchise was wider than Britain's, yet the British and US states called the First World War a war for democracy against German autocracy. Kagan, as a servant of his empire, says that it must fight and defeat the `autocracies' - he is just another warmonger. Here he continues his ten-year campaign for attacking Iraq, claiming that Iraq may join a bloc of pro-US democracies in the Middle East. The end of dreams?
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 8 Jun 2008 16:41:01 BDT
Where is the US "council of guardians" that rejects half of all Dem's candidates as "not eligible" as in Iran ? Where is a government closing down all independent TV and radio broadcasting and papers as in Russia ? There are countless "Bush bashers" on many papers and TV-channels and blogs in the USA even in the Universities that go unmolested by the regime, and there is a real chance that from January next year the politics will change. To ask "Are Russia's elections, or Iran's, or Venezuela's, significantly less democratic that the USA's?" is in this light an impertince evading the realities and has to be called so. And what freedom "to determine their own countries' futures" do the peoples of Russia, China, Cuba, Myanmar, Zimbabwe have ? They have the usual "99%" yes-votes, and if the results don't turn out that way, they are just ignored and the opponents thrown into prison. But this is what a "top 500 reviewer" can ignore or deny and go unpunished !

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2008 17:59:07 BDT
KTR says:
Hubertus Fremerey:

What can you expect from a "medical librarian" who defines himself as a "communist". Facts must never be allowed to get in the way of outdated, discredited, ridiculous concepts in the UK - particularly if they can be used to bash the USA and its friends. What is offered as an erudite analysis is simply envy of the USA and anger that "communism" lost a long time ago. AHHHHH Britain, Britain, it any wonder why the country is becoming less relevant in the world as time goes by.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jun 2008 05:55:21 BDT
Dear KTR, even this "medical librarian communist" will not sink the Britannia. My comment was not even directed against him, but to help those that got misled by his nonsense. If I can make think them only a little bit, then it was worth it. I here in Germany sometimes get the impression, that half of all blog-entries are from jobless and frustrated communists and US haters.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jun 2008 06:33:22 BDT
Dear KTR,

'Less relevant in the world as time goes by ' is too kind as it implies that Britain had some relevance left on the world stage in the recent past from which to decline even further. Our power and influence has long since waned to the point where comparisons with Monaco and Andorra are in order. The fuming of marxist/pacifist librarians makes little difference.

Posted on 17 Aug 2008 19:41:14 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Aug 2008 20:07:04 BDT
It's such a sad cliche, but people like our librarian friend here should indeed move to one of those 'truly free' countries if they are so much better. I wonder what keeps him, and so many like him, in the same country he criticizes. Go 'vote' in Iran (if you're a woman, your vote is worth double, as I'm sure you've read in your ISA-free books); better yet, register a truly democratic new party. You could also go hang out in a public place in China discussing how best to free Tibet, or just hold a 'Recognise Taiwan' gathering. The irony here, of course, is that you would clearly insist you see the 'reality' that the rest of us somehow missed while wharfing down a McDonald's burger. Unfortunately, you need to return to Intellect 101 where, with some luck, you might be able to come up with something more nuanced than your remarkably reductionist version of reality: western 'democracies' are far from perfect, but it is laughable to suggest such a simple equivalence between US/British two-party elections and 'elections' in Venezuela. The relativism evidenced in that 'review' is just a common guise for intellectual ineptitude: life is more complicated than the 'oh-this-is-just-like-that' formula. It's a shame to see such a simplistic parody of Marxist scepticism when one considers how much more complex and nuanced Marx's own insights had often been.

You also seem to be on the Euro bandwagon when it comes to our special relationship with the Great Satan, so it might be worth noting that our EU brethren are really proving to be a beacon of humanity in Georgia. The EU hasn't sent a single soldier to discourage the Russians from simply camping Tblisi. Even with almost 200,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, we needed the US -- the same country the Eurocracy essentially begs to take up isolationism every other day -- to demonstrate any kind of material support. Where were the Germans or the French when it came to deploying troops in a 'humanitarian' role? Sarkozy's diplomatic efforts were utterly disregarded until military boots were finally on the ground (in whatever cleverly described capacity). If we left it up to our other European allies, Russia would be sailing up the Thames by the time anyone else decided to throw a stone back at them. With history in mind, I'll take the 'special relationship', thank you.

PS -- Hubertus, I could not agree more with your comment on blogs! It gets so tiresome.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Mar 2009 23:36:46 GMT
S Wood says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 26 May 2009 12:38:43 BDT
Yes, of course, after most of the free press and free TV and free oppositions has been shut down in Venezuela and after Chavez has changed the constitution to get reelected a lifelong. Do you tell me that GWBush could have acted like this without being swept away in an uproar in the USA ? What a nonsense you write - it's a shame !

In reply to an earlier post on 28 May 2009 01:25:23 BDT
S Wood says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Feb 2010 20:35:10 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Feb 2010 11:16:52 GMT
Although these comments are from people with different political viewpoints, the discontent is all too similar; because in reality the modern 'democratic' system of government is an illusion, anywhere it is practiced. In America this 'democratic' process is totally controlled/manipulated by the financial elite; in Europe/UK we have an equally unrepresentative system as tightly entrenched in power as the old soviet one party state; while in Venezuela, Iran, Zimbabwe, Cuba etc..... they have media orchestrated 'elections' which are clearly just entertainment for the masses. Why?

The common thread here is that real power never changes hands at election-time; a few old faces might drop out, and a few new faces arrive, but despite all the excitement in the mass media; the previous establishment continues to rule just as before. History shows us that real political change is always far more traumatic; the American rebellion in 1776, the French revolution, the Russian revolution and the Shah's overthrow in Iran are just a few examples that illustrate my point.

The Ancient Greek philosopher Plato understood this more than 2,500yrs ago; explaining that 'real' democracy is essentially a shortlived and inherently divisive system; which bridges the period between the ending of aristocratic oligarachy, and the beginning of the terminal anarchy that inevitably occurs, as once strong/solid societies decline into insignificance. During this sometimes prolonged period of failure and decay, the common people become discontented, judge their traditional rulers corrupt/incompetent; and seize the reins of power. Unused to exercising that power however, these 'democrats' soon coalesce into factions/parties which, with the passing of time; develop bitter rivalries. As the process of decline continues unchecked, each faction blames the others until a chance event; bad harvest/financial collapse etc..... triggers the final implosion to anarchy.

By contrast, today's 'democractic' system is essentially what Plato would have considered factional oligarchies; in which very small self-perpetuating groups, known in China as the 'Communist Party', in the UK as the 'political class', in America as the Republican/Democrats etc.... divide themselves into left/right wings of what is really one ruling 'elite' faction; which then offers itself for re-election every few years. Whoever 'wins' at election time; the same ruling 'elite' continues in power. Elegant in it's simplicity really, isn't it???

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Sep 2010 16:43:23 BDT
Hubertus, re Venezuela: Chavez won the presidency in 1998 with 56% of the votes. Bart Jones wrote, "He was elected in free and fair elections, and won three more referenda to write and approve a new constitution. The jails held no political prisoners. No opposition parties were outlawed. No newspapers, television networks, or radio stations were censored, even though the majority were virulently opposed to Chavez. ... No media outlets were closed or reporters jailed." Even US Ambassador John Maisto said of Chavez's rule, "no one can question its democratic legitimacy." (Hugo! The Hugo Chavez story: from mud hut to perpetual revolution).
But you know better than the US Ambassador.
The rest of your comments are the usual rightwing smears, joined with the usual refusal to enage with any of the arguments that I actually put forward about the severe limitations on democracy in the USA.
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