Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The recurring but no less precarious neo-imperialist geopolitical assertion of productivist ideology on the ground in U.S. foreign policy:

President Trump said Monday that a limited number of U.S. troops will remain in Syria to man a garrison on the southern border with Jordan and ‘to secure the oil’ elsewhere in the country. ‘I don’t think it’s necessary, other than we secure the oil,’ Trump said of the U.S. military presence. ‘We need to secure the oil.’ A ‘small number of troops’ would also remain in southern Syria at the request of Israel and Jordan, he added in remarks to reporters at a meeting of his Cabinet in Washington. The decision to leave more than 20 percent of the U.S. force in Syria behind was the second time in less than a year that Trump announced a complete withdrawal, only to walk it back under heavy bipartisan criticism from lawmakers and disquiet within his own administration.” 

Comment: With regard to what we charitably describe as “foreign policy,” President Trump’s values are in the first place “productivist” (i.e., they pivot on and around an outmoded and ecologically catastrophic model of capitalist industrialism), which is in keeping with his quantitative valuation of virtually everything. Such (crudely extrinsic) values invariably trump (alas, pun intended), as they do in this case, more fundamental and humane values, be they of ethical, legal, or democratic provenance, for example. In the most recent instance, they serve to crowd out our country’s comparatively longstanding military allies in the fight against ISIS (and not only in Syria), the Kurds, the President resorting to all manner of contradictory, incoherent, and implausible rationalizations by way of feebly attempting to justify abandoning them to hostile Turkish, Syrian, and Russian armed forces (hence regimes perfectly willing to achieve their geopolitical goals through ethnic cleansing, torture, and flagrant violations of international humanitarian law*), as well as motley Arab militias in the region, including those of a radically militant “jihadist” motivation. This is the geopolitical triumph of “materialism” of the crassest sort inasmuch as it shamelessly places one of the most important strategic commodities on our planet: crude oil, over and above human beings—the Kurds (but not only them)—thus in effect giving priority, yet again, to capitalist productivism in the expression of U.S. foreign policy interests so as to smother a vivid incarnation of the more generalized concern with human dignity and human rights as these are essential to human welfare and well-being.

Please don’t infer from this that I think the U.S. by contrast is virtuous in this regard!


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