Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Jeremy Corbyn and Foreign Policy Part Two

'This moral high ground gave Corbyn strange immunity from criticism. When the anointed one is the incarnation of principle, his actions are beyond reproach. Scrutiny of his opinions and the company he has kept are “smears”. Rafael Behr, The Guardian.
The reason is that Corbyn is, in fact, being smeared through a form of guilt by tenuous association. One does not need to like Corbyn's foreign policy stance that much to realise that Westminster politicians consider him a 'threat' to Britain's re-imagined role as a 'progressive' and 'internationalist' global player.
The absurd situation where Cobyn gains in stature the more he is criticised comes from the fact it is based on the same tired propaganda tropes repeated after 9/11. So Corbyn is seen as an 'appeaser' or apologist for 'clerical fascism' or a politician who want to 'ally' with Putin's Russia and Chavez's Venezuela.
The logic of Gordon Brown is that if a politician does not follow the script and fall in with the orchestrated chorus of denunciation of Putin as a 'new Hitler' or Stalin ( or a super evil amalgam of both rolled into one demonic being), he must be an 'ally' because Corbyn has elsewhere been sympathetic to Chavez's social projects.
So as a consequence of Russia being fairly closely aligned with Venezuela, in common shared opposition to the global hegemony of the US, Corbyn just must be wanting to be 'in alliance' with Putin. That this is a cheap form of journalese and a pathetic propaganda trope should be immediately obvious.
It is also hypocritical coming from Brown given that Blair is globetrotting around and trying to put a positive spin on the regimes of Central Asian dictators close to Putin. But, of course, Brown would not accuse Blair as being in alliance with Putin. But in the era of organised and slimy 'public diplomacy' facts are not so important.
Behr opines,
'If he has invited to parliament men who justify terrorism or shared platforms with antisemites and homophobes it cannot be because his judgment is warped. It must be an enlightened strategy of engagement for the higher cause of peace. These fellow travellers include people who have called 9/11 “sweet revenge”'
Corbyn probably passed no 'judgement' on these unsavoury characters through ignorance and because the obvious problem with the 'anti-war movement', as represented by the StWC , is that it tends to propagate the idea that all Muslims everywhere are mostly victims of 'the West' with whom 'solidarity' is needed.
There is clearly a lot wrong with the driving ideas behind the StWC but, such as they are, they are,in a sense, the same as Blair and his 'progressive internationalism': they over-exaggerate the extent to which Britain really is a force in global power politics and hold that 'we' can remake and re-order the globe.
Corbyn is bound to attract opprobrium from 'liberal interventionists' because they want a resurrection of World War Two and Cold War certitudes in which the 'good fight' against 'totalitarianism' is one that must deal with evil doers who are sinister and demonic purveyors of 'moral equivalence'.
'Corbyn shows up on an Iranian state propaganda channel glibly conflating 9/11 and the death of Osama bin Laden as equivalent “tragedies”, and his supporters say he was only making a point about extrajudicial killing: nothing to criticise in a man of principle. What matters is what he meant in his heart, not what he said, or where, or with whom he said it.'
It is not possible to know what might be going on in Corbyn's heart or head but it is likely he misused the word 'tragedy' to mean that the 9/11 wars only intensified and fanned out the threat of Al Qaida terrorism while wanting to make the point that many of the victims of the Iraq War, for example, were in fact Muslims.
As a politician on the 'anti-war' left, Corbyn is bound to want to emphasise that as a way of rallying together both Muslims and non-Muslims in a shared 'we' of protest against 'them' in power. It is populist but it is certainly no less crowd pleasing or necessarily dangerous than the idea of a global war on 'radical Islam'.
None of the routine denunciations of Corbyn do anything other than give the impression that he is the target of 'the establishment', condemned and smeared so as to discredit the threat of a 'credible democratic alternative' to 'the system', the sort of line taken by Chomsky with his 'deterring democracy'.

Corbyn should be criticised for the shortcomings of his foreign policy stances as they actually are and not according to some moronic narrative in which Corbyn is almost made out to be a sinister Bond- like evil villain praying for and plotting Britain's ultimate downfall and defeat. 

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