September 02, 2013

A new example of why I call myself a #skeptical left-liberal

I do, in terms of US politics at least, consider myself a left-liberal. But, along the likes of Doug Henwood of Left Business Observer, I maintain a healthy skepticism about more wild-eyed economic ideas of some left-liberals. (Henwood was good at shooting down sillier ideas from Occupy Wall Street a year or two ago.)

In the foreign-policy side of things, we have this: Counterpunch Magazine, nuttier than anything that comes from Alternet, Truthout, or similar.

For example, in light of possible intervention in Syria (which I oppose) Jeffrey St. Clair has updated an old piece about Bosnia and Serbia that he co-wrote with the now-deceased founder of Counterpunch, Alexander Cockburn.

And, it's over-the-top indeed.

Even if Clinton did oversell some things about Serbian asshattery, nonetheless, having just read an excellent book on the run-up to WWI, "The Sleepwalkers," and another, "Kosovo: A Short History" about 2 years ago, about the history of Serbia/Serbian identity from the famed battle of Kosovo on, I can say bluntly, as I Tweeted St. Clair, that Serbs have been thugs for at least a full century, since the two Balkan Wars of 1912-13. Maybe they didn't resort to (too much? as much?) murder then, but, ethnic cleansing by thuggery short of murder was a regular practice in the new lands they acquired after those two wars.

Noel Malcolm, in his "Short History" of 500 pages, documents that Serbia was doing ethnic cleansing a century ago.  Christopher Clarke, in "Sleepwalkers," ties this in with general Serbian expansionism in the two wars, including refusal to let go of disputed territory when directly confronted by a combination of other Balkan states PLUS Austria-Hungary.

I normally reject the idea of "cultural DNA," but with the people and land of Serbia, I am more than willing to make an exception.

And, if I use "cultural DNA" more loosely, I'm willing to use it about Counterpunch, too.

St. Clair's been wrong in the past on some environmental issues, his putative specialty, because of ax-grinding. Cockburn more than once stuck at least one toe over the line of anti-Zionism into anti-Semitism. Paul Craig Roberts is less of a left-liberal than a non-socialist left-libertarian of some sort with one foot back in David Stockman's world.

At times, while not being anti-American overall, the St. Clair-Cockburn duo do, though, seem to be opposed to any major action of whatever American president/polity is in power "just because." And, the Bosnia story, based on what I've actually read about Serbia, is a tipping point.

Beyond that, the Bosnia-Serbia situation was much more "clear" as far as bad and not-so-bad actors than Syria is. Either St. Clair and Cockburn knew that 20 years ago, or their duplicity is matched by their stupidity.

So, for now, Counterpunch is unlinked from my link list.

No comments: