Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Occupy Foreign Affairs


It's not the topic of George Packer’s latest essay that's particularly surprising. Inequality, he writes, is undermining democracy. Progressives have been hammering home this message for years if not decades.
Nor is the choice of publication necessarily a shocker. Foreign Affairs is the flagship publication of the elite that runs American foreign policy. But it is no longer the exclusively center-right publication of the Cold War years. After all, it has published the likes of former Institute for Policy Studies staffers Michael Klareand Julia Sweig as well as my predecessor at Foreign Policy In Focus John Gershman.
No, it’s the prominent placement of the Packer essay that merits attention. It's the lead article of the November/December issue. And it comes with the bold headline, “Is America Over?"
When Foreign Affairs puts inequality on its cover – and hosts adebate on the topic at the tony offices of the Council on Foreign Relations – the Occupy Wall Street movement has achieved a major victory that eclipses even the generally favorable coverage in liberal bastions such as The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and The New Yorker. It's also a sign that a profound anxiety gnaws at the foreign policy elite in this country. The question is: why are foreign policy mandarins suddenly so fretful? Or, put another way, why does Foreign Affairs want its readers to take this issue so seriously? (emphasis added)
Read the rest at TruthOut
Occupy Foreign Affairs
by John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus | OP-Ed

This is a big deal. Foreign Affairs is a mouthpiece of the deep ruling elite and the message here is clear: Beware of overreach.

5 comments:

Joe Cicirell said...

Just adding that Packer's essay is terrific and can be found here:

http://drftwd.tumblr.com/post/11471025572/the-broken-contract-inequality-and-american

beowulf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beowulf said...

Thanks for the link Joe. Packer's ending is pretty powerful.

Inequality makes it harder to imagine the lives of others — which is one reason why the fate of over 14 million more or less permanently unemployed Americans leaves so little impression in the country’s political and media capitals. Inequality corrodes trust among fellow citizens, making it seem as if the game is rigged. Inequality provokes a generalized anger that finds targets where it can — immigrants, foreign countries, American elites, government in all forms — and it rewards demagogues while discrediting reformers. Inequality saps the will to conceive of ambitious solutions to large collective problems, because those problems no longer seem very collective. Inequality undermines democracy.

Dan Kervick said...

Damn, that's well-said by Packer.

Joe Cicirell said...

I often wonder how it is that people so easily accept the inequality. I marvel at the machine that sells us the myth of the rugged individual - it truly is brilliant. If you can't make it in the land of opportunity, you're doing something wrong. It's not the system.

Packer uses a Tolstoy statement to underline this: “There are no conditions of life to which a man cannot get accustomed, especially if he sees them accepted by everyone around him.”