Let’s cut to the chase. Most people, Western intelligentsia very much included, fail to grasp the nature of imperialism (see economics of imperialism and two minute guide to imperialism). This is understandable. We’ve been raised from infancy on the benignity of the West and its “values”, and on the presumption of a real democracy informed by independent media. The presumption too of the moral fitness of a US led West to act as disinterested global policeman. This despite its long, bloody and ruthlessly self-serving history in the global south: the Middle East and Latin America especially.
Given this, and the situation in Venezuela, the Facebook exchange below is instructive. A word, before I get to it, on two of the protagonists. Eric Kraus, an FB friend, is a Russian national and Russian nationalist with whom I disagree on a few things – most relevant here my finding him too quick to deem Nicolás Maduro and his ministers incompetent (how would we know, given (a) the combined weight of hostile media and (b) the very confounding variable of crippling sanctions?) – while agreeing wholeheartedly with his understanding of America as the world’s most dangerous state.
Margaret Holwill I do not know, not even virtually. But her faith in the essential truthfulness of corporate media, whose singularly coordinated message on Venezuela she has taken to heart, typifies that of so many others. I can’t find it in my own heart to blame her, not least because she debates with greater courtesy than does Eric, whose deployment of such choice phrases as “delusional … are you insane? … it doesn’t make a fucks bit of difference how many countries are backing an obviously illegitimate pretender sponsored by Washington … and a mystifying, you don’t even speak Spanish …” strike me as not entirely conducive to rigorous inquiry.
But while I don’t blame her for being brainwashed – and do blame Eric for gratuitous rudeness – the fact is, Eric is right (that prejudging of Maduro excepted) and Margaret entirely wrong.
Alas, she speaks for the many. Let me know what you think.