Monday, 19 December 2011

The picture in the attic

"Cyprus, then, is a locus classicus of destabilization in the age of détente. Its elimination from the scene as a threat to imperial influence involved the systematic manipulation of racial and religious hostilities, the imposition of military despotism in two countries for a total of ten years, the financing of subversion and terror among the civilian population and the risk of a generalized war in the Aegean. It also involved exploiting the political weakness of the indigenous Left. The battle for the Mediterranean is, however, not yet over and those who participate in it may find the Cypriot example rich in lessons and warning."

'Détente and Destabilization: Report from Cyprus', New Left Review, 1/94 (1975)

"The confrontation that opened on the Kuwaiti border in August 1990 was neither the first nor the last battle in a long war, but it was a battle that now directly, overtly involved and engaged the American public and American personnel. The call was to an exercise in peace through strength. But the cause was yet another move in the policy of keeping a region divided and embittered, and therefore accessible to the franchisers of weaponry and the owners of black gold.

An earlier regional player, Benjamin Disraeli, once sarcastically remarked that you could tell a weak government by its eagerness to resort to strong measures. The Bush administration uses strong measures to ensure weak government abroad and has enfeebled democratic government at home. The reasoned objection must be that this is a dangerous and dishonourable pursuit, in which the wealthy gamblers have become much too accustomed to paying their bad debts with the blood of others."

'Realpolitik in the Gulf', New Left Review, 1/186 (1990)

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