The loneliness of the global policeman in a multi-centric world

Towards the end of September 2014, after declaring war on ISIS, President Obama gave an interview to “60 Minutes” in which he tried to explain the rules of the U.S. engagement: “When trouble comes up anywhere in the world, they don’t call Beijing, they don’t call Moscow. They call us. That’s always the case. America leads. We are the indispensable nation.” This holds also for environmental and humanitarian disasters: “When there’s a typhoon in the[ …]

Is There a Method to the Syrian Madness?

As I have written before, we all remember President Obama’s smiling face, full of hope and trust, when he repeatedly delivered the motto of his first campaign, “Yes, we can!”—we can get rid of the cynicism of the Bush era and bring justice and welfare to the American people. Now that the United States is backing off its push to attack Syria, we can imagine peace protesters shouting at President Barack Obama: “How can you[ …]

Why Obama is more than Bush with a human face

How did Barack Obama win re-election? The philosopher Jean-Claude Milner recently proposed the notion of the “stabilising class”: not the old ruling class, but all who are committed to the stability and continuity of the existing social, economic and political order – the class of those who, even when they call for a change, do so to ensure that nothing really will change. The key to electoral success in today’s developed states is winning over[ …]

Use Your Illusions

Noam Chomsky called for people to vote for Obama ‘without illusions’. I fully share Chomsky’s doubts about the real consequences of Obama’s victory: from a pragmatic perspective, it is quite possible that Obama will make only some minor improvements, turning out to be ‘Bush with a human face’. He will pursue the same basic policies in a more attractive way and thus effectively strengthen the US hegemony, damaged by the catastrophe of the Bush years.[ …]

Why Cynics Are Wrong

Days before the election, Noam Chomsky told progressives that they should vote for Obama, but without illusions. I fully share Chomsky’s doubts about the real consequences of Obama’s victory: From a pragmatic-realistic perspective, it is quite possible that Obama will just do some minor face-lifting improvements, turning out to be “Bush with a human face.” He will pursue the same basic politics in a more attractive mode and thus effectively even strengthen U.S. hegemony, which[ …]

The Audacity of Rhetoric

In January, when the United States remembered the tragic death of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., an urban history professor at the University of Buffalo named Henry Louis Taylor Jr., bitterly remarked: “All we know is that this guy had a dream. We don’t know what that dream was.” Taylor was referring to an erasure of historical memory after King’s 1963 march on Washington, after he was cheered as “the moral leader of our[ …]

Slavoj Žižek: “Everybody in the World Except US Citizens Should Be Allowed to Vote and Elect the American Government”

Amy Goodman: Our next guest has been called “the Elvis of cultural theory,” widely considered to be one of Europe’s leading intellectuals. Slavoj Žižek is a philosopher, psychoanalyst, cultural theorist. Born in Slovenia, he has written more than fifty books, speaks to sold-out audiences around the world. In 1990, he campaigned unsuccessfully to be president of Slovenia, the first Yugoslav republic to hold a free election. He’s in New York right now to give a[ …]