October 22, 2011 · 0 Comments
By Vijay Prashad:
[This is in response to the Times article titled "For Obama, Some Vindication of His Much-Criticized Approach to War" by Mark Landler. Published: October 20, 2011 which appeared in print on October 21, 2011, on page A16 of the New York edition]
There are two traditions of America that are in contest.
There is the tradition of the revolutionaries who fought in the late 1700s to forge a democratic society (Daniel Shays is one emblem of this tradition).
The other tradition is of those sections of the revolution that wanted to annul the Quebec Act, and wished to extend the frontier of the 13 colonies by expropriating the Amerindians, making private property for themselves and getting enslaved Africans and others to work on that land.
To say that the killing of Qaddafi or Bin Laden shows the “strength of American leadership” is to stand with the tradition that wanted to annul the Quebec Act and seize Amerindian lands. That’s one form of “American leadership.”
The other is held in trust by those who see the problems of a State not willing to abide by international law or by the principles of equality and social justice (in whose language it sometimes speak).
The current administration has taken the Bush agenda on overdrive. Tragically, the Cheney idea that international law must be suspended for the aims of the War on Terror has become common sense.
Drone attacks and extra-judicial killings have become normal. That is a very serious development.
Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History and Director of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, CT His most recent book, The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World, won the Muzaffar Ahmad Book Prize for 2009. The Swedish and French editions are just out. He can be reached at: [email protected]