Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Nathan J. Robinson — Liberalism And Empire

Krugman believes that Trump is threatening to destroy America’s great “empire” and that this is bad, because our country’s “empire” is good and noble. Trump, Krugman suggests, is an aberrant departure from the lofty values and ideals that have guided our foreign policy for most of the past century.
Unfortunately, Robinson doesn't cite the warning of the founding fathers about avoiding entangling alliances, and that failure to do so would insert the fledging US into the same politics as Europe, with the ensuing wars. Not only was there a long history of the dynamic in Europe at the time, but WWI would demonstrate this again, resulting in the remaking of the map of Europe and initiating a new historical period that would see WWII and many related conflict thereafter.
It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world — George Washington, Farewell Address (1796)
Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none. — Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address (1801)
The US did not sign any permanent treaties of alliance prior to WWII, after which the United Nations, the UNSC, the IMF, the World Bank, etc. were established as permanent international organizations, and NATO was established as a permanent military alliance that is still expanding. The US now has a global military presence with attendant commitments.

Where is Paul Krugman coming from? He is talking out of his field. And he is not alone. 

These people seem unaware of American history and what the long-standing policy of the US was prior to WWII, not to mention the values and thinking on which this policy stance was based. These values and thinking were instrumental in the undertaking of rebellion against British rule, the ensuing American Revolution, and the founding of the American Republic. 

But the US could not avoid the imperialistic urge at the close of the rush for colonies by the competing European powers. But about all that was left then was the Philippine Islands.

Woodrow Wilson also broke with the tradition of staying out of European affairs by involving the US in the (failed) League of Nations. This attempt at internationalism lead to the establishment of international institutions that would later undermine national sovereignty and present the opportunity for neo-imperialism through their control. NATO was a military entangling alliance that commits the members to go to war on behalf of any member that is attacked by a non-member.

The Federal Reserve System was also established under Wilson (Dec. 1913). This would lead the US into entanglement with the other central banks and financial interests through the establishment of the Bank of International Settlements.*

Just what is "American" about this? What is treasonous about attempting to follow the warnings of the founding fathers and early presidents about entangling alliances and avoiding foreign wars unless in defense of vital national interests. I haven't seen anything remotely like the mission of American to spread freedom and democracy or American values in the founding documents or the debates about their formulation. Who is being out of line here? America Firsters like Trump, or neocons that gave the us Iraq or the liberal internationalists that gave us Vietnam, both wars of choice.

Oh, and there there is this.

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. But Lenin couldn't possibly have known anything about what he was addressing, right?

Current Affairs
Liberalism And Empire
Nathan J. Robinson | Editor of Current Affairs

The powers of financial capitalism had (a) far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank... sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."   
Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1966, VII, page 324.

Carroll Quigley (1910-1977) | Professor of History at Georgetown University, member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), mentor to Bill Clinton.

This quote begins a section of the chapter on the BIS.

Tragedy and Hope and other Quigley works are available at and his site.


Kaivey said...

Paul Krugman is off his rocker! He's suppose to be a liberal as well; no, but most certainly a neoliberal.

Andrew Anderson said...

The principal and primary function of banks is to serve as middlemen in the making of payments. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"Loanable funds", Hickey. From your hero. For that matter, Marx, another of your heros, was a gold-bug.

And they are our saviors?

No thanks.

Andrew Anderson said...


Tom Hickey said...

You don't have to right about everything to be right about some things. No one is right about everything or the game would be over (but only if others could understand them properly).

One of the blind spots is thinking that that you oppose are not right about anything. This cognitive-affective bias is called "wearing blinders."

It is possible that some folks here suffer from that bias.

Matt Franko said...

Could be biased towards pro Zionism....

GLH said...

"Where is Paul Krugman coming from? He is talking out of his field. And he is not alone. " They make up their own history.