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Thu

02

Aug

2007

Zeitgeist Zone: Bush, Rambo of Arabia - Jekyll, Hyde, Sex & Repression - Bush Wars: The Empire Strikes Out - Oprah & Obama - Bush & Brown
Thursday, 02 August 2007 20:51
by Edward Strong

Bush: Rambo of Arabia


In the name of 'fighting extremism' - code for countering Iranian influence - the US is arming two of the Arab world's leading human rights abusers: Saudi Arabia and Egypt. On top of that, another arsenal of weapons for Zionist Israel.

Pumping Up Aggression in the Middle East

In a move supposedly intended to counter Iranian influence, the US has announced a series of arms deals with Middle Eastern countries.

In the name of 'fighting extremism', the US is arming two of the Arab world's leading human rights abusers: Saudi Arabia and Egypt. On top of that, another arsenal of weapons for Israel.

Apart from Israel, which will receive $30bn in military aid, Egypt will get $13bn.

Five Gulf states - Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the UAE - will also be sold weaponry to the tune of $20bn, with the lion's share going to the Wahhabi regime in Riyadh.

Thus, in the name of "working with these states to fight back extremism" (as secretary of state Condoleezza Rice put it), the US is arming two of the Arab world's leading human rights abusers: Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Rice Beats the Propaganda Drum: Iran "Biggest Threat to Mid-East"



Rice said the US was making sure its allies in the region were well protected after Iran accused the US of trying to spread fear and mistrust.

"The United States is determined to assure our allies that we are going to be reliable in helping them to meet their security needs.

"We have a lot of interests in common in this region: in the fight against terrorism and extremism; in protecting the gains of peace processes of the past and in extending those gains to peace processes of the future," she said.

The Usual Suspects

She added that the aim of such assistance is, "to counter the negative influences of al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria and Iran"

"There isn't a doubt, I think, that Iran constitutes the single most important, single-country challenge to... US interests in the Middle East and to the kind of Middle East that we want to see." BBC

There you have it. Iran is the biggest threat to US interests...And what might they be?


Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde & Sexual Repression

At one level the novel can be seen as dramatising the contrast between middle class bourgeois repression of the 'darker' side. As a kind of venting of libidinal rebellion against the striving for middle class respectability.

Bourgeois Repression vs. Bohemian Liberation

At one level the novel can be seen as dramatising the contrast between middle class bourgeois repression of the 'darker' side. As a kind of venting of libidinal rebellion against the striving for middle class respectability.

Hyde, in this sense, could represent the 'shadowy' otherness of the working class or proletariat.

Alternatively, remembering that late nineteenth century Britain was, above all, an Imperialist culture, it is possible also to see the novella as dealing with the relationship between of Imperialist Master and Slave.

Jekyll's view seems to be that the split in his being has derived much less from the presence within his psyche of an uncontrollable, passionate self than from the force with which that self has been repressed according to the dictates of social convention.

The original tendency of Jekyll's alter ego was by no means towards the vicious, but rather towards the 'loose', a neutral desire for certain kinds of personal freedom which has been repressed by the 'imperious' need not only to conform to, but also to stand as a public example of strict virtue.

Jekyll's problem, surely, is largely put as a social one, and one can interpret it in two connected ways:

Literally, as the problem of a member of a 'respectable', professional upper middle class, who is supposed to 'body forth' social virtue in his person and to eschew any behaviour, however harmless, which might tend to degrade that stance, and also metaphorically as the problem of a member of a 'master-race'.

Jekyll's dificulties are those of the benevolent imperialist: they are not at all to do with the political problem of sanctioning brute force, but with the maintenance of dignity under adverse circumstances.

It is strongly suggested that Hyde's behaviour is an urban version of 'going native'.

The particular difficulties encountered by English imperialism in its decline were conditioned by the nature of the supremacy which had been asserted: not a simple racial supremacy, but one constantly seen as founded on moral superiority.

If an empire based on a morality declines, what are the implications for the particular morality concerned? It is precisely Jekyll's 'high views' which produce morbidity in his relations with his own desires.

Thus, of course, the name of his alter ego: it is the degree to which the doctor takes seriously his public responsibilities which determines the 'hidden-ness' of his desire for pleasure.

Since the public man must be seen to be blameless, he must 'hide' his private nature, even to the extent of denying it be any part of himself.

Bush Wars: The Empire Strikes Out


Bush Wars [Part Umpteenth]: End of Empire...Who exactly is in control of US strategy in the Mideast? Is anybody in control? Is there any coherent policy behind the seemingly contradictory, even chaotic, shifts and changes in policy on the ground?

End of Empire Chaos

Take, for example, the announcement of the astronomic US military aid programme for Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf states.

We are told that the new tidal wave of arms, which will now flow to the Arab dictatorships of the region, is justified by the threat allegedly posed by Iran to the stability of the whole Middle East.

The arms aid programmes, we are assured, serve the traditional American concern of achieving a regional balance of military power in the Middle East.

But given that the express purpose of the arms aid is to strengthen the rule of America's autocratic Arab "allies" how does this sit with the Bush administration campaign to promote "democracy in the Arab world?"

The bewildering array of conflicting and in some cases clearly contradictory US policies in the region are reminiscent of the chaos into which previous end of empires descended.

In their death agonies British, French and Russian imperialisms also thrashed about in an equally incoherent fashion, first backing one local satrap and then another in their colonies in a vain effort to maintain hegemony.

Indeed, it was a common complaint in the final decades of the Roman empire that rival imperial power brokers sponsored different tribes and even factions of tribes, in an equally doomed attempt to preserve some sort of control over their "barbarians".

If the Bush Regime's goal was to inflame Sunni-Shia tensions across the region and to spread the sectarian strife in Iraq to neighbouring countries, it would be hard to imagine a more effective way of going about it.

One of the main aims of the Iraq War was to reduce US dependence on Saudi Arabia, create a self financing free market model democracy and create wider pressures for democratisation in places such as Syria.

The failure of that strategy just means a resort to the old shoddy realpolitik of propping up authoritarian regimes whilst Iraq remains in a state of anarchy.

Thus intensifying the burning resentment of Islamists towards the 'West' and ensuring that the dysfunctional House of Saud continues to operate as before.

Oprah & Obama: A Marriage Made in Marketing Heaven

Is it surprising that "Obama", that well-known political brand should be marketed via Oprah? Self-promotion is the American art form. Obama is a politician for the main chance. It's the coming together of populist politics and popular culture.

Obama Sells the "Vibe"

BEYONCÉ, JAY-Z, EDDIE and OPRAH are all fans of Democratic presidential hopeful BARACK OBAMA, and now he's the coverboy of Vibe magazine's "Juice" issue, on stands August 14th.

The issue features two different shots of Obama, the first time the mag has featured a politican on the cover in more than 14 years.

Inside, Obama addresses criticisms about his ethnicity -- specifically, accusations from some community leaders that he's not "black enough" -- and his policy on Iraq, which includes complete troop withdrawal by 2008.

Oprah to host Obama fundraiser

Forget the YouTube videos. The real Obama girl is doing her part for the candidate.

Oprah Winfrey plans to hold a Sept. 8 fundraiser for Barack Obama at her palatial estate near Santa Barbara, Calif., according to campaign spokesman Dan Pfeiffer.

Obama has raised more than $58 million for his White House bid. Forbes magazine estimates that Winfrey is worth $1.5 billion.

Obama already enjoys the support of Hollywood moguls such as David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Winfrey's fundraiser is another chance for him to tap into money in California, which was his top donor state from April through June with a total take of $4.2 million.

Winfrey is a well-known fan of Obama, calling him "my favorite guy" and "my choice" on CNN's "Larry King Live" last year before he announced he would run for president.

Is It a Celebrity; Is It a Politician?

If the producers of the Oprah show or Oprah herself become aware of product or service your company produces and showcases it on her annual Christmas Show, or any Oprah show for that matter, you are almost guaranteed instant recognition, credibility, and sales.

In fact, in periods of lighter advertising, public relations can compensate by supporting brand loyalty, perception and recognition.

The key, however, is to have the right PR people to ensure the messages the media broadcasts to the public are synonymous with the brand identity the firm has in mind.

It's hardly surprising that "Obama", that well-known political brand should be marketed via Oprah.

Who is celebrated the most in our culture? Is it the intellectuals and thinkers -- scientists and doctors and great writers?

Or is it celebrities like Britney and Paris and Brad and Jennifer and, oh yeah, Oprah?

Obama is jumping on an obvious bandwagon. The selling of self is the bottom line in American culture. Obama is prepared to stoop that low. It's the coming together of populist politics and popular culture.

Oprah is the conduit. She is "Obama Girl".

Brown: Less the Toady; More the Semi-Detached

Britain can't act independently regarding Iraq, or any other major foreign policy question. Brown knows that it's the US that calls the shots. He hopes someone else, other than Bush and the neocons, will decide what shots are to be fired and where.

Brown put the US on notice for an eventual withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, dependent on the word of military commanders on the ground. Since that is the same formulation Bush himself uses, he could hardly object.

It's not quite Hugh Grant sticking it to Billy Bob Thornton in Love Actually, but this is about as far as a British prime minister could reasonably be expected to go in putting an American president at arms length.

No, he didn't call Bush a deranged Texan gunslinger but nor did he return a single one of Bush's copious personal compliments.

While the president tried to warm the air with talk of the "humorous Scotsman", Brown said their talks had been "full and frank" - icy diplomatese for a row.

Brown's Body Language: A Nothing Special Relationship with Bush

Britain's supposedly privileged connection with the US is a fallacy: it is neither special nor based on shared values.

Britain's relation to the US is nothing compared with what binds the latter to Israel.

Unlike the UK, Israel is not only a functional ally at the service of the US.

It is a definer of its policies in the region, on whom Washington lavishes all kinds of support, financial, military and political.

The strength of these ties is such that Washington has been prepared to risk its relations with the region as a whole, governments and nations, for Tel Aviv's sake.

If any relation qualifies for the title of "special", surely this one does.

Political language is not neutral or transparent. What it conceals tends to be greater than what it reveals.

Talk of "values we share with the US" is no exception.

Britain is an ally of the US - albeit not its closest, or most important, but this has little to do with culture, and much to do with power balances and geo-political interests.
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