At the end of May the Bush administration announced that the United States is planning on maintaining permanent military bases in Iraq on a model like that of South Korea, where U.S. troops have been deployed in massive numbers for more than fifty years. Despite the failures associated with the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Washington is openly proclaiming to the world that it intends to do everything it can to maintain a lasting military presence in that country. By doing so it hopes to retain the main spoils won in the war and to declare it a partial victory. The strategic objectives are obvious: to control Iraq and Iraqi oil, threaten Iran, and dominate the geopolitically vital Middle East. Thus Secretary of Defense Robert Gates declared on May 31 that he did not expect the United States to withdraw from Iraq as from Vietnam “lock, stock and barrel” and invoked the example of South Korea. Earlier that week White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, conveying the views of President Bush, said U.S. troops would remain but would be in an “over-the-horizon support” role to maintain security in Iraq—with permanent bases on the South Korean model. Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, in charge of daily military operations in Iraq, stated on May 31 that he supported the creation of a South Korean type U.S. military presence in Iraq. The message could not be clearer and can be summed up as: Naked Imperialism: The U.S. Pursuit of Global Dominance (see John Bellamy Foster’s book with this title for an analysis of the larger forces at work).
It is common today to associate U.S. interventionism almost exclusively with neoconservatism. Nevertheless, progressives such as the “U.S. Democrats and…European democrats and greens” often take on the role of “liberal imperialists”—according to Jean Bricmont, author of the new book Humanitarian Imperialism, just published by Monthly Review Press. Various imperialist wars, from Yugoslavia to Iraq, have been defended on liberal, human rights grounds. Those who support such “idealistic” interventions, Bricmont argues, often become unwitting “‘objective allies’ of monstrous undertakings.” Bricmont’s political and moral questioning of “humanitarian interventions” by the U.S. military and NATO raises issues that no one on the left or with genuine human rights concerns can afford to ignore. We strongly encourage MR readers to explore this book and discuss it with as many others as possible.
On May 20, a meeting was held in Cambridge, Massachusetts to celebrate two forthcoming publications from Monthly Review Press: Inside Lebanon: Journey to a Shattered Land with Noam and Carol Chomsky, edited by Assaf Kfoury (to be released this month), and Biology Under the Influence: Dialectical Essays on Ecology, Agriculture, and Health by Richard Levins and Richard Lewontin (to be published later this summer). Richard Levins spoke on the nature of dialectical biology. Paul Buhle talked of his long experience with MR since his early days as an SDS activist along with the impact of the magazine on some of those in the new SDS. John Bellamy Foster referred to dangerous world trends and the role of MR and Monthly Review Press in this context. Noam Chomsky concluded with a discussion of the most recent Israeli invasion of Lebanon and its relation to the overall crisis in the Middle East and world geopolitics. There was lots of time for socializing and the event was judged by us to be a great success. We would like to thank everyone present at the meeting for their support.
We would also like to offer our heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to our appeal to help get MR Press back on its financial feet. The $100,000 we needed was received, and more. The good news is that as a result of your generous support we will be able to continue Monthly Review Press pretty much as before.
Since June 1 we have been very happy to be able to provide something new and important for all subscribers to our monthly edition(s). You can use the four character password at the top of the inside of the back cover to access the entire Monthly Review magazine archives at monthlyreview.org/archives/. Each issue shall have a password good for that month. The password above for this special July-August issue will work until September 1.
In May the first issue of the new Korean-language edition of Monthly Review appeared, joining four non-English editions published in Spanish, Greek, Turkish, and Bengali, plus an Indian English-language edition. Unlike some of the other editions, the new Korean edition is not a monthly, but is to be published once or twice a year, translating selections from MR. It is published by Philmac Publishing Co. in Seoul. We welcome the Korean edition to our family of non-U.S. editions of the magazine.
Michael Yates, MR’sassociate editor, is currently traveling around the United States promoting his new Monthly Review Press book Cheap Motels and a Hotplate. For information on his book tour and travels and his new blog go to: cheapmotelsandahotplate.org.
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