Opening Borders

Gar Lipow lipowg at
Fri Apr 2 15:32:39 PST 1999

sawicky at (Max Sawicky) wrote

>> The Rainbow AntiBorders

>> The Rainbow AntiBalkans into Norway

>At the risk of seeming argumentative, a risk I run and probably
fall prey to every day, I'd say the refugee safe passage only deserves one-and-a-half cheers, not three.

>The justice issue is not whether the Kosovars will be taken in by
other nations, but on what terms they will be allowed to return to their homes in Kosovo. It seems fair to conclude a Serb objective is to empty Kosovo of Muslims. Safe haven, while defensible as a short-term practical resort, facilitates this. Obviously we would like to save lives by removing people from harm's way, but I hope we would not like to ratify the Serb campaign for 'breathing room.' (that damned parallel, again)

It is also defensible as a lesser evil -- better to provide haven to refugees than to have them killed or driven to hellhole refugee camps If you want safe return to Kosovar, negotiations not war are your best options.

>I would acknowledge that this is mostly academic. Refugees will
be treated the way they always are -- inadequately. The region has been destabilized for some time. The U.S. will destroy more and more of the Serb domestic economy, more if provoked by things like the trial of G.I.'s, maybe more in any case.

>On balance I'd say the U.S. left opposes the intervention. At
the end of the day, this will do it no credit because its moral claims re: innocent Serbians are canceled out by its insensitivity to the Kosovars. After all, only 2,000 of the latter were killed, that was last year, they are led by drug runners and Mafiosi, and this year they've been blessed with complimentary train tickets out of the country, albeit with baggage service somewhat in abeyance.

Max, this is bullshit. I bet you cannot find one person on this list opposing the war who used the word "only" when citing the 2000 figure. The point of the 2000 figure is that the NATO invasion has already ensured that a lot more than 2000 people in Yugoslavia (which still technically includes the Kosovo province) this year. If we escalate to a ground invasion then the final number will be a hell of a lot more.

>U.S. government betrayal of the Kosovars will certainly make less
convincing any future pretenses to doing good deeds with military force. So anti-imperialism gets a boost. So does isolationism. Separating them will be difficult. Whether this will swing much weight with the general public is debatable. Instead we could be regaled with more efforts to portray the national interest in terms convenient to intervention, combined with governments that have the foresight to deploy force seriously, when they decide to deploy it at all. Clinton diddled in Somalia, Sudan, Iraq (in terms of reducing Saddam's power), and now Kosovo. Nixon, Bush, and Reagan brought more serious harm, I would say, to their adversaries in SE Asia, Grenada, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chile, and Iraq, among others. That's why I said the latter, whose ilk will be strengthened by Clinton's failure of policy, "know how to do imperialism right."

You sure aren't making the situation better by supporting Clinton's homicidal stupidity.

>I doubt the left will ever win an argument over who is a better
embodiment of "the national interest." Rather, I would suggest that what some have called hand-wringing, bleeding heart, and cruise missile liberalism is really our ultimate political weapon: an effort to fix on the moral center of issues.

Oh come on. The people who want to escalate the killing have the moral center?

And the idea that the left is trying to claim the to be an embodiment of "the national interest" is not just a straw man. It is a full fledged talking, singing, dancing if-I-only-had-a-brain scarecrow.

> Even collective action for narrow economic demands has a moral core.
Everyone has an incentive to fend for themselves. Choosing not to is a moral decision. Morality informs politics, though obviously in every situation it is not a controlling force. A confusion of moral purpose, accordingly, is the worst fate that can befall the left. History is not necessarily on our side. Forgive the pontifical cast of this and address the idea, if you like.

And Chris Buford, who is a bombing/invasion enthusiastic attacked Noam Chomsky as an "old moralist". I would think that part of the claim to a moral center is a look at what is most likely to save lives in both the short and long run. I guess I'm not giving you what you want. I'm applying your moral principle to a set of facts and reaching the opposite conclusion to yours, rather than simply moving the discussion to a philosophical plane and disputing your principles.

Gar W. Lipow 815 Dundee RD NW Olympia, WA 98502

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