Positioning him as a key figured in Clinton administration intended to destroy the xUSSR republic economies, especially economics of Russia. And that role perfectly alight with his general political role in Clinton administration and after that. The role of enforcer of neoliberal social order. Role of Larry Summers in adopting "shock therapy" and Yeltsin privatization of state assets still needs to be investigated.
But it is perfectly consistent with his track record. Among key "mis-achievements" of Bubble Boy Larry :. The bills were passed by Republican majorities on party lines by a vote in the Senate  and by a vote in the House of Representatives . After passing both the Senate and House the bill was moved to a conference committee to work out the differences between the Senate and House versions.
The final bill resolving the differences was passed in the Senate 1 not voting and in the House: 15 not voting. The banking industry had been seeking the repeal of Glass-Steagall since at least the s. In the Congressional Research Service prepared a report which explored the case for preserving Glass-Steagall and the case against preserving the act. As chairperson of the CFTC, Born advocated reining in the huge and growing market for financial derivatives. But even the modest proposal got a vituperative response. The dozen or so large banks that wrote most of the OTC derivative contracts saw the move as a threat to a major profit center.
Greenspan and his deregulation-minded brain trust saw no need to upset the status quo. The sheer act of contemplating regulation, they maintained, would cause widespread chaos in markets around the world. The debate came to a head April 21, In a Treasury Department meeting of a presidential working group that included Born and the other top regulators, Greenspan and Rubin took turns attempting to change her mind.
Rubin took the lead, she recalls. That would happen 3 months later, when it became clear that a substantial part of LTCM's problem was that it had massive side bets in derivative instruments that when it could not cover these bets, caused massive dislocations and threats to the global banking system which had invested heavily in LTCM, thinking it was run by "geniuses"--see Roger Lowenstein's great book, "When Genius Failed". I think Summers and Rubin might have had a different view on the regulation of derivatives after the LTCM catastrophe.
Lawrence H. Even in the contentious world of economics, [Joe Stiglitz] is considered somewhat prickly. And while he may be a Nobel laureate, in Washington he's seen as just another economic critic—and not always a welcome one. Few Americans recognize his name Yet Stiglitz's work is cited by more economists than anyone else's in the world And when he goes abroad—to Europe, Asia, and Latin America—he is received like a superstar, a modern-day oracle.
Stiglitz's defenders say one possible explanation for his outsider status in Washington is his ongoing rivalry with Summers. Since the early '90s, when Summers was a senior Treasury official and Stiglitz was on the Council of Economic Advisers, the two have engaged in fierce policy debates. The first fight was over the Clinton administration's efforts to pry open emerging financial markets, such as South Korea's. Stiglitz argued there wasn't good evidence that liberalizing poorly regulated Third World markets would make any one more prosperous; Summers wanted them open to U.
The differences between them grew bitter in the late s, when Stiglitz was chief economist for the World Bank and took issue with the way Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, and Summers, who was then deputy secretary, were handling the Asian "contagion" financial collapse.
After World Bank president James Wolfensohn declined to reappoint him in , Stiglitz became convinced that Summers was behind the slight. Summers denies this When open brutal used of military force for conquering nations was substitutes by financial instruments. But neoliberalism definitely use neo-feudal methods, and that includes usage of neoclassic economics in the USA. Here I mean use of neoclassic economic as a new religion that justify and "bless" neoliberal social order. Essentially the same role that Catholic church played for classic feudalism. It serves as "An opium for the masses", if we use slightly overdone Marx quote ;-.
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While related to economic rape of Russia, Shleifer's story has a wider meaning as an apt symbol of "post-modern" corruption at universities and especially in Harvard where students were actively indoctrinated in pseudoscientific theories which constitute a theoretical framework of casino capitalism serving simultaneously as the role of ideology which is not that far from the role of Marxism in the USSR.
Consequently, Americans, who thought their money was helping a stricken land, have been dishonored; and the Russian people who trusted us are now in debt twice what they were in and rightly feel themselves betrayed. In the modern USA something similar can be said about the relations of the neoclassical economists and bankers.
As Robert H. Nelson points out in Economics as Religion,. The members of the economics profession, and other scientific and professional elites, would be motivated by the higher considerations of a priesthood, as compared with businesspeople and other ordinary citizens in the commercial realm. There would be no popular votes held for the scientific leaders of society. Samuelson acknowledged the practical necessity to allow wide rein for the pursuit of self-interest in the marketplace. However, the professional economists and other scientific managers of the progressive state would function according to the ethical standard of the Roman Catholic priesthood.
Religious denominations range from huge established churches that encompass most of the population to tiny sects that reject the larger churches as corrupt and regard themselves as keepers of the original faith.
The huge established churches begin as sects, grow into churches, give rise to offspring sects, and then mysteriously fall into senility, to be replaced by their own offspring sects. I would just add that it seems like theology follows function in this life cycle. As the Christian church matured and became the established church, however, it became part and parcel of the power structure, championing it and defending it against the downtrodden. What began as a small sect with a theology based upon knowledge and moral authority morphed into a church whose theology was all about defending wealth and power.
Indeed, it was this strong distinction between ordinary people and the church priesthood that, among a number of other tenets of Catholic doctrine, incurred the wrath of Martin Luther. The leadership of Protestant parishes would be elected by the ordinary members of the church, while the Roman Catholic Church would continue to select its own leaders in a hierarchal fashion, as when the pope designates the cardinals of the church. What Luther had to say about the priestly class of the Medieval Catholic Church rings true about modern-day high priests of "casino capitalism", the neoclassical economists of "Harvard Mafia".
As Luther wrote the Pope in letter in But they See, which is called the Roman Curia, and of which neither thou nor any man can deny that is more corrupt than any Babylon or Sodom ever was, and which is, as far as I can see, characterized by a totally depraved, hopeless, and notorious wickedness—-that See I have truly despised… The Roman Church has become the most licentious den of thieves, the most shameless of all brothels, the kingdom of sin, death, and hell… They err who ascribe to thee the right of interpreting the Scripture, for under cover of thy name they seek to set up their own wickedness in the Church, and, alas, through them Satan has already made much headway under thy predecessors.
In short, believe none who exalt thee, believe those who humble thee. Now there is an indirect evidence of participation of of British intelligence agencies such as MI6 in Russia privatization scam. And the point man for such investigation is William Brower, who recently got nine years of jail in absentia from Russian court.
Browder furious! Navalny sues! Browder was one of financial sharks or as one Amazon reviewer of his book called him "financial crack cocaine seller" -- the term applicable to the whole Harvard mafia who somehow was extracted for Solonon brothers and went to Russia. He voluntarily put himself in substantial danger getting into environment which he completely did not understand and with very little many from a dubious source.
Or, just a no-good slimy person. Another Amazon reviewer of his book described one of the criminal scheme Brower used he used several. A Self-Congratulatory Book with a Mission. By Patricia on March 22, Format: Hardcover. The book was fun to read, like a Marvel comic book. Truly Bill Browder is, according to Bill Browder, a brilliant man willing to take daring risks where he sees an opportunity for personal gain. And I have to agree with him. With his inherited genetic intelligence, and some of the best education money can buy, he made himself enormously rich profiting from financial transactions that produced nothing of real value.
I found this book to be quite self-congratulatory, written with no embarrassment for taking advantage of a whole population. The government was going about this in a number of ways, but the most interesting was something called voucher privatization. That was one-sixth the value of Wal-Mart! Yet this incredible trove of resources [owned by ordinary Russian citizens] was trading for a mere 10 billion!
Even more astonishing was that there were no restrictions on who could purchase these vouchers. I could buy them, anyone could buy them.
Browder took advantage of their ignorance and brought millions of vouchers from the Russian people for a pittance of their true value. This is something to brag about? It is not laudable to buy something for a pittance of its real worth, from owners who have no idea of its true value.
It is reprehensible. It was disturbing to me to see no introspection on the rightness or wrongness of beating someone out of his or her money. The second half of the book is about how Putin's gang tried to crush Hermitage Capital and everyone associated with it. It makes me think that a large part of Mr. Could he done so without the support of intelligence services? You just couldn't make it up could you?
If it was in a Tom Wolfe novel it would be deemed over the top. Browder bought many such shares via Russian frontmen, and he was close to getting control over Russian oil and gas. Putin suspected that he had acted in the interests of big foreign oil companies, trying to repeat the feat of Mr Khodorkovsky'. Russian taxation is very low; but Browder did not want to pay even this low tax'.
He refused. You know when you are a Jewish financial criminal and even The New Republic is against you you may have gone too far Well I never. But Jews never conspire to tell everyone what to think He stole hundreds of millions after breaking the back of the print unions and then stealing the pensions of the workers who remained. Amongst other things he used the money to float Mossad and bankroll the victory parade after the first gulf war. His children and wife were never required to make restitution even though they received considerable inheritances.
These people are walking caricatures aren't they? We are basically beyond parody now aren't we? That screenings of the film are suddenly canceled? Is there any way to approach this legally? For instance, who canceled the showing of the film in NYC? Can that be established? Was someone threatened in the same vein the Browder threatens Nekrasov? Browder gets to stay here in the West, and Assange is transferred to Russia. Which also raised the question why Browder duped the US congress so easily. Was the US congress ready to be duped because Browder served as a pawn in a large operation "Containing Russia"?
Browder has used his death as a way to exonerate him from paying taxes owed to the Russian government. Browder should spend the rest of his life in a Russian prison, not be hailed as a human rights hero. At 1 hour and 18 minutes into the film Nekrasov confronts Browder with the evidence against him. He doesn't do it overtly, that is, straight on, as in j'accuse, but rather acts kind of coy, asking his questions about the "problems" of fact that he has discovered.
Asking his questions as if he were confused, and hoped Mr. Browder could provide some clarification. Browder figures out straightaway that he's been busted. A realization that is easy for him, since he has had perfect consciousness of his guilt from the moment he began planning the crime. Now we see him awakening abruptly to the realization that the man he hired to make the cover-up film has discovered the truth that the film was meant to conceal.
Look at his face, see the tension there. Listen to his voice crack -- at -- as his throat locks up and his mouth gets dry. Then for the next 26 seconds Browder offers a straight-up lie, that the original registration documents are necessary to re-register the companies. He then watches, to see if Nekrasov buys it, and then It's an amazing moment caught on video.
It's not a stretch to conclude that you are watching a man see his life pass in front of his eyes. And then finally we watch as Browder stands and threatens Nekrasov with reputational destruction. At , Browder says -- threatens actually -- "I'd be really careful about going out and trying to do a whole thing about Sergie not being a whistleblower, it's not gonna do well for your credibility in the show. Prevezon Holdings. Japan has a shrinking population. Can you explain to me why on the Earth they need economic growth? This preoccupation with "growth" with narrow and false one dimensional and very questionable measurements via GDP, which includes the FIRE sector is a fallacy promoted by neoliberalism.
Seymour's engineers tried to repair the line, but the allied army found itself surrounded, as the railway both behind and in front of them had been destroyed. Is this the end of them as pals or will it lead to the beginning of another beautiful friendship? In the summer of , when I was almost eight and my sister was nearly seven, we were spending our summer holidays at a village called Majorenhof, near Riga on the Baltic Sea. Items appraised include Robert E. Tempest at Sea.
Neoliberalism proved to be quite sophisticated religions with its own set of True Believers in Eric Hoffer's terminology. For example, the narrow definition of unemployment used in U3 is just a classic example of pseudoscience in full bloom. It can be mentioned only if U6 mentioned first. While I doubt that people will hang Pelosi on the street post, her successor might not be so lucky ;-.
Everything is fake in the current neoliberal discourse, be it political or economic, and it is not that easy to understand how they are deceiving us. Lies that are so sophisticated that often it is impossible to tell they are actually lies, not facts. The whole neoliberal society is just big an Empire of Illusions, the kingdom of lies and distortions. And probably only one in ten, if not one in a hundred economists deserve to be called scientists.
Most are charlatans pushing fake papers on useless conferences. It is simply amazing that the neoliberal society, which is based on "universal deception," can exist for so long. The HBO series has many dramatisations that border propaganda. The most grave of them, in my opinion, was during the fictional Legasov speech, when he stated the RBMK was designed purely because the USSR liked to make its stuff "cheap". The RBMK was indeed much cheaper to produce than its competitors of the time, but its design was legit, with many even revolutionary aspects being small and powerful for its size.
It was updated and produced the aforementioned successor. IMHO it was neoliberalism that won the cold war. That means that the key neoliberal "scholars" like Friedman and Hayek and other intellectual prostitutes of financial oligarchy who helped to restore their power.
Certain democratic politicians like Carter also were the major figures. Carter actually started neoliberalization of the USA, continued by Reagan,. Former Trotskyites starting from Burnham which later became known as neoconservatives also deserve to be mentioned. It is also questionable that the USA explicitly won the cold war.
So there was no winners other the financial oligarchy the transnational class. I think Putin once said that Soviet system was "unviable" to begin with. And that's pretty precise diagnosis: as soon as the theocratic elite degenerates, it defects; and the state and the majority of the population eventually fall on their own sword. And the USSR clearly was a variation of a theocratic state. The degeneration started with the death of the last charismatic leader Stalin and the passing of the generation which remembers that actual warts of capitalism and could relate them to the "Soviet socialism" solutions.
So after the WWII the ideology of Bolshevism was dead as it became clear that Soviet style theocratic state is unable to produce standard of living which Western social democracies were able to produce for their citizens. Rapid degeneration of the theocratic Bolshevik elite aka Nomenklatura also played an important role. With bolshevism as the official religion, which can't be questioned, the society was way too rigid and suppressed "entrepreneurial initiative" which leads to enrichment of particular individuals, but also to the benefits to the society as whole , to the extent that was counterproductive.
The level of dogmatism in this area was probably as close to the medieval position of Roman Catholic Church as we can get; in this sense it was only national that Cardinal Karol Wojtyla became a pope John Paul II -- he was very well prepared indeed ;-. It is important to understand that the Soviet elite changed sides completely voluntarily.
Paradoxically it was high level of KGB functionaries who were instrumental in conversion to neoliberalism, starting with Andropov. It was Andropov, who created the plan of transition of the USSR to neoliberalism, the plan that Gorbachov tried to implement and miserably failed. So the system exploded from within because the Party elite became infected with neoliberalism which was stupid, but reflects the level of degeneration of the Soviet elite.
The major USA contribution other then supplying the new ideology for the Soviet elite was via CIA injecting God know how much money to bribe top officials. As Gorbachov was a second rate if not the third rate politician, he allowed the situation to run out of control. And the efforts to "rock" the system were fueled internally by emerging as the result of Perestroika; which was a reincarnation of Lenin's idea of NEP class of neoliberal Nouveau riche which run the USSR "shadow economy" which emerged under Brezhnev and by nationalist sentiments those element were clearly supported by the USA and other Western countries money as well as via subversive efforts of national diaspora residing in the USA and Canada and certain national minorities within the USSR.
Explosion of far right nationalist sentiments without "Countervailing ideology" as Bolshevism was not taken seriously anymore was the key factor that led to the dissolution of the USSR. Essentially national movements allied with Germany that were defeated during WWII became the winners. The brutal economic rape of the xUSSR space and generally of the whole former Soviet block by the "collective neoliberal West" naturally followed. Which had shown everybody that the vanguard of Perestroika were simply filthy compradors, who can't care less about regular citizens and their sufferings.
BTW this huge amount of loot postponed the internal crisis of neoliberalism which happened in the USA in probably by ten years. And it along with a couple of other factors such as telecommunication revolution explain relative prosperity of Clinton presidency. Criminal Clinton presidency I should say. The majority of the xUSSR space countries have now dismal standard of living and slided into Latin American level of inequality and corruption not without help of the USA.
Several have civil wars in the period since getting independence, which further depressed the standard living. Most deindustrialize. Generally when the particular ideology collapses, far right nationalism fills the void. Chinese learned a lot from Gorbachov's fatal mistakes and have better economic results as the result of the conversion to the neoliberalism "from the above" , although at the end Chinese elite is not that different from Soviet elite and also is corruptible and can eventually change sides.
But they managed to survive the "triumphal march of neoliberalism" and now the danger is less as neoliberalism is clearly the good with expired "use by" date: after the neoliberal ideology was completely discredited and entered "zombie" state.
So in the worst case it is the USA which might follow the path of the USSR and eventually disintegrate under the pressure of internal nationalist sentiments. Such a victor Even now there are some visible difference between former Confederacy states and other states on the issues such as immigration and federal redistributive programs. Detailed policy proposals from self-declared socialists are gaining support in Congress and among much of the younger electorate. The very fact that the US government officially acknowledges a growth of popular support for socialism, particularly among the nation's youth, testifies to vast changes taking place in the political consciousness of the working class and the terror this is striking within the ruling elite.
America is, after all, a country where anti-communism was for the greater part of a century a state-sponsored secular religion. No ruling class has so ruthlessly sought to exclude socialist politics from political discourse as the American ruling class. The page document is itself an inane right-wing screed. It seeks to discredit socialism by identifying it with capitalist countries such as Venezuela that have expanded state ownership of parts of the economy while protecting private ownership of the banks, and, with the post collapse of oil and other commodity prices, increasingly attacked the living standards of the working class.
It identifies socialism with proposals for mild social reform such as "Medicare for all," raised and increasingly abandoned by a section of the Democratic Party. It cites Milton Friedman and Margaret Thatcher to promote the virtues of "economic freedom," i. The report's arguments and themes find expression in the fascistic campaign speeches of Donald Trump, who routinely and absurdly attacks the Democrats as socialists and accuses them of seeking to turn America into another "socialist" Venezuela. A series of recent polls in the US and Europe have shown a sharp growth of popular disgust with capitalism and support for socialism.
In May of , in a survey conducted by the Union of European Broadcasters of people aged 18 to 35, more than half said they would participate in a "large-scale uprising. Last November, a poll conducted by YouGov showed that 51 percent of Americans between the ages of 21 and 29 would prefer to live in a socialist or communist country than in a capitalist country. In August of this year, a Gallup poll found that for the first time since the organization began tracking the figure, fewer than half of Americans aged 18—29 had a positive view of capitalism, while more than half had a positive view of socialism.
The percentage of young people viewing capitalism positively fell from 68 percent in to 45 percent this year, a percentage point drop in just eight years. This surge in interest in socialism is bound up with a resurgence of class struggle in the US and internationally. In the United States, the number of major strikes so far this year, 21, is triple the number in The ruling class was particularly terrified by the teachers' walkouts earlier this year because the biggest strikes were organized by rank-and-file educators in a rebellion against the unions, reflecting the weakening grip of the pro-corporate organizations that have suppressed the class struggle for decades.
The growth of the class struggle is an objective process that is driven by the global crisis of capitalism , which finds its most acute social and political expression in the center of world capitalism -- the United States. It is the class struggle that provides the key to the fight for genuine socialism. Masses of workers and youth are being driven into struggle and politically radicalized by decades of uninterrupted war and the staggering growth of social inequality. This process has accelerated during the 10 years since the Wall Street crash of The Obama years saw the greatest transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top in history, the escalation of the wars begun under Bush and their spread to Libya, Syria and Yemen, and the intensification of mass surveillance, attacks on immigrants and other police state measures.
This paved the way for the elevation of Trump, the personification of the criminality and backwardness of the ruling oligarchy. Under conditions where the typical CEO in the US now makes in a single day almost as much as the average worker makes in an entire year, and the net worth of the wealthiest Americans has doubled over the past decade, the working class is looking for a radical alternative to the status quo.
The change in objective conditions, however, will lead American workers to change their minds. The reality of capitalism will provide workers with many reasons to fight for a fundamental and revolutionary change in the economic organization of society. The response of the ruling class is two-fold. First, the abandonment of bourgeois democratic forms of rule and the turn toward dictatorship. The run-up to the midterm elections has revealed the advanced stage of these preparations, with Trump's fascistic attacks on immigrants, deployment of troops to the border, threats to gun down unarmed men, women and children seeking asylum, and his pledge to overturn the 14th Amendment establishing birthright citizenship.
That this has evoked no serious opposition from the Democrats and the media makes clear that the entire ruling class is united around a turn to authoritarianism. Indeed, the Democrats are spearheading the drive to censor the internet in order to silence left-wing and socialist opposition.
The second response is to promote phony socialists such as Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Socialists of America DSA and other pseudo-left organizations in order to confuse the working class and channel its opposition back behind the Democratic Party. In , with Sanders totally integrated into the Democratic Party leadership, this role has been largely delegated to the DSA, which functions as an arm of the Democrats. The closer they come to taking office, the more they seek to distance themselves from their supposed socialist affiliation. Ocasio-Cortez, for example, joined Sanders in eulogizing the recently deceased war-monger John McCain, refused to answer when asked if she opposed the US wars in the Middle East, and dropped her campaign call for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE.
The working class and youth are increasingly looking for a socialist alternative, but their understanding of socialism and its history is limited. Here the role of the revolutionary party, the Socialist Equality Party, is critical. It alone seeks to arm the emerging mass movement of the working class with a genuine revolutionary, socialist and internationalist program. The SEP fights to mobilize and unite the working class in the US and internationally in opposition to the entire ruling elite and all of its bribed politicians and parties.
As our program explains:. But socialism will be achieved only through the establishment of workers' power. This will be a difficult struggle Socialism is not a gift to be given to the working class. It must be fought for and won by the working class itself. The task facing workers and youth looking for the way to fight against war, inequality, poverty and repression is to join and build the Socialist Equality Party to lead the coming mass struggles of the working class.
It is now nearly three decades since the deliberate liquidation of the Soviet Union by the Moscow Stalinist bureaucracy and the launching of the First Persian Gulf War, which began in January This war, which involved the deployment of over half a million US troops -- more than twice the number sent into the invasion of Iraq -- clearly marked a turning point in the development of US and world imperialism. Objective developments, in particular the disintegration of Stalinism, intersected with the protracted struggle of the ICFI against Pabloite revisionism, culminating in the split and the consolidation of control by the orthodox Trotskyists, for the first time since the founding of the International Committee in This signaled a fundamental change in the relationship between the Fourth International and the working class.
Grasping that change, the ICFI sought to shoulder the immense political responsibility of leading the international working class, which found concrete expression in the convening of the extraordinarily important "World Conference of Workers against War and Colonialism" held in Berlin in November , to which we will return. The sharp turn by US imperialism toward unilateralism and militarism, consummated in the Gulf War of , was bound up with the protracted crisis of American capitalism and the relative decline of its domination of the global economy.
With the demise of the USSR, US imperialism concluded that it could now offset the challenge that American corporations faced from rivals in Europe and Japan, which had been growing since the s, through the relatively untrammeled use of the US armed forces. In the case of the Persian Gulf, the US military could be used to secure unchallenged American supremacy in the world's most important oil-producing region, which would put Washington in a position to blackmail its oil-import-dependent European and Asian imperialist rivals with the threat of cutting off their energy supplies.
As President George H. Bush would declare, in the run-up to the Gulf war, an attack on Iraq would give the US "persuasiveness that will lead to more harmonious trading relationships. This was not a development that took us by surprise. Despite the loss of its economic hegemony, the United States remains, militarily, the most powerful imperialist country, and reserves to itself the role of global policeman. But the conditions which prevailed in at the beginning of the so-called American Century have been drastically transformed.
The loss of the economic preponderance which once made its word "law" among the major capitalist nations compels the United States to place ever-greater reliance on the brute force of its military strength. The resolution went on to declare that a prophecy made by Trotsky was about to be vindicated, quoting his War and the Fourth International from It must be re-divided. For Germany it was a question of 'organizing Europe. History is bringing humanity face to face with the volcanic eruption of American imperialism.
There is an obvious continuity between these events of nearly 30 years ago and the present global political situation. The struggle to assert US hegemony over the Persian Gulf threatens to ignite a new and even more terrible war against Iran, a country with three times the population and four times the landmass of Iraq. The outbreak of a military confrontation is only a matter of time. The last three decades have seen the United States engaged in continuous and ever-expanding warfare under both Democratic and Republican administrations.
The drive to conquer and subjugate the lands of the Middle East and Central Asia is a consensus policy of the American ruling class. The results have included over a million dead in Iraq and hundreds of thousands more across Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen. More and more these various conflicts threaten to metastasize into a Third World War.
Preparations for a nuclear confrontation with Russia and China were chillingly described recently by the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as the military's No. Meanwhile the Pentagon released a seemingly lunatic "joint doctrine" that goes well beyond Dr.
It states: "nuclear weapons could create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability. Specifically, the use of nuclear weapons will fundamentally change the scope of a battle and develop situations that call for commanders to win. There is a worried sense within ruling circles that three decades of war have only created a series of debacles, and that US imperialism is confronting what is termed, in military and foreign policy circles, as "strategic competition" from Russia and China.
At the same time, ever-sharper conflicts are emerging between Washington and its erstwhile NATO partners, in particular Germany, against which the US fought in two world wars. The contradiction between the interdependent character of the global economy and the capitalist nation-state system is leading inexorably to a new world war. Under these conditions, there have been several recent commentaries by US foreign policy analysts bemoaning the end of the "unipolar moment" proclaimed nearly 30 years ago, and looking back upon it with a certain nostalgia.
In the s, that seemed more possible than ever before. Countries across the planet were moving toward the American way. The Gulf War seemed to mark a new milestone for world order, in that it was prosecuted to uphold a norm legitimized by international law. The American way, world order, norms and international law: this is how these layers fondly recall a mass slaughter.
Zakaria pays special tribute to the individual who popularized the concept of the "unipolar moment," the extreme right-wing columnist Charles Krauthammer, who wrote an article with that title, also in Foreign Affairs , in He promoted an unvarnished perspective of the unilateral use of US military aggression to assert the dominance of American capitalism around the globe. Our best hope for safety in such times is in American strength and will to lead a unipolar world, unashamedly laying down the rules of world order and being prepared to enforce them," he wrote.
He went on to present the pretext for the next major US war: "There is no alternative to confronting, deterring and, if necessary, disarming states that brandish and use weapons of mass destruction. And there is no one to do that but the United States. He further insisted that if US imperialism proved unable to maintain its unipolar moment it would be "not for foreign but for domestic reasons. This, after a decade of unrelenting attacks on working class living standards in the wake of the breaking of the PATCO strike.
The message was clear: imperialist war abroad had to be accompanied by an intensification of social counterrevolution and class war in the US itself. Bush himself, in the run-up to the Gulf War, proclaimed that the unleashing of US military power, against a relatively defenseless oppressed country, would inaugurate a "New World Order.
The content of this "new world order" was never explained. The only thing that was clear was that the old world order had broken down and what was to replace it, in the first instance, was an eruption of US military violence. The catastrophic breakdown of the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union -- celebrated by facile bourgeois intellectuals as the "end of history" and the "triumph of capitalism" -- had removed a key prop of the old post-World War II order.
Moreover, the very same forces of globalization of capitalist production and technological development that had fatally undermined the autarchic Stalinist economies were driving the entire world capitalist order into profound crisis. It justified this threat on the basis of the "overwhelming dependence of Western nations on vital oil supplies from the Middle East.
The US government deliberately manufactured the pretext for its military intervention in the Persian Gulf. Tensions between Iraq and Kuwait had been growing since the end of the Iran-Iraq war, in which Washington had provided significant aid to the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. Kuwait's lowering of oil prices and its demand for debt payments had further undermined an Iraqi economy that had been battered by the war, while Baghdad claimed that Kuwait was carrying out slant drilling into Iraq's Rumaila oil field, on the border between the two countries. The US ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, used a meeting on July 25, -- just weeks before Bush was to announce his "line in the sand" and launch the drive to war -- to assure Saddam Hussein of US friendship and sympathy, while telling him that Washington had "no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts like your border disagreement with Kuwait.
The trap having been laid, Saddam Hussein, driven by desperation over the mounting economic and social crisis in Iraq, quickly walked into it. Like every US imperialist war waged in the name of liberation and democracy, the Gulf War was based on deception and lies. The attempt was made to equate Saddam Hussein, whom Washington had only recently courted as an ally, with Adolf Hitler. This demonization would become a standard feature of every succeeding US war. It had, in fact, been used in what amounted to a dress rehearsal for the Gulf War, less than two years earlier. A massive propaganda campaign was waged to sway US public opinion toward support for the Gulf war.
This infamously included the testimony given by a year-old girl to Congress, in which she tearfully recounted seeing armed Iraqi troops invading a hospital to steal incubators, throwing babies onto the floor to die. Only later was it revealed that the story was a complete fabrication. The girl had not been in Kuwait before, during or after the Iraqi invasion. She was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Washington and a member of the royal family, sent to read a script written by a major US PR firm.
Finally, Bush justified military intervention by claiming an imminent threat posed by Iraq's massing of , troops on Saudi Arabia's border. Satellite images subsequently revealed that there was nothing on the Kuwait-Saudi border but desert sand. A critically important part of the report to the Special Congress of the Workers League in was the clarification of our attitude toward Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. Initial responses within the International Committee had included its condemnation as an "act of aggression" by the British section, in an initial article published in its newspaper.
On the other hand, there was a suggestion from within the Australian section, that we support the annexation of Kuwait as a "small step" in advancing "the unfulfilled national and democratic tasks of the Arab revolution. The report made clear that we had no reason to condemn Iraqi aggression. Given the economic warfare waged by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia against Iraq in the run-up to the invasion, our concern was not who fired the first shot. Moreover, to take such a position would be to support the territorial integrity of Kuwait, a Sheikdom created by British imperialism, carved out of the southern Iraqi province of Basra, as a means of better dominating the Arabian Peninsula.
The same is the case with virtually all the borders drawn by imperialist powers in the Middle East. At the same time, in response to the suggestion from a member of the Australian section that we support Kuwait's annexation, it affirmed:. To attribute any progressive role to Hussein's invasion would lead the ICFI in a false direction and undermine the theoretical and political gains that have been made since , in our collective struggle against the WRP's betrayal of the program of world socialist revolution.
Of course, this refers to the struggle waged against the Workers Revolutionary Party's abandonment of the Theory of Permanent Revolution, particularly in relation to its opportunist relations with various Arab regimes, systematically subordinating the independent struggle of the working class to the supposedly anti-imperialist stance of one or another bourgeois nationalist leader. Operation Desert Storm, as it was dubbed, consisted mainly of one of the most intensive air bombardments in military history.
Eighty-eight thousand tons of munitions were dropped on Iraq in the course of just 42 days. This is roughly equivalent to one-fourth of the total bomb tonnage dropped on Germany during the entire Second World War. The Iraqi casualty totals were estimated at , Much of Iraq's conscript army was wiped out, with soldiers incinerated from the air or buried alive in their trenches.
Hundreds of thousands more Iraqis, of course, died as a result of the systematic destruction of the country's infrastructure. On the so-called Highway of Death, the US launched wave after wave of bombings against a defenseless, miles-long column of vehicles, carrying Iraqi troops as well as civilians withdrawing from Kuwait on the orders of the Hussein government, which announced that it was complying with a UN Resolution demanding the withdrawal.
The US war against Iraq is among the most terrible crimes of the twentieth century, a slaughter that future generations will look back on with shame. It has demonstrated that the ruling class of so-called democratic America is just as capable of mass murder as the Nazis. For America's ruling elite, long at each other's throats, the path should be clearer now to reforming a working consensus about the US's world role.
Some of the policy-making world's most divisive issues now look settled. Force is a legitimate tool of policy; it works. For the elites themselves, the message is America can lead, stop whining, think more boldly. Starting now. We understood this editorial, by the mouthpiece of US finance capital, as an accurate reflection of the pathological triumphalism prevailing within the American bourgeoisie.
The 11th Plenum of the International Committee was held on March 5, , less than a week after the end of the Gulf War. Its opening report stated:. The American bourgeoisie is serving notice that American imperialism will seek through force to overcome problems arising from the protracted economic decline of the US.
For all the problems of American capitalism -- the decay of its industrial base, the loss of its overseas markets, the massive trade deficits and budget deficits, the collapse of its banking system, the gangrenous growth of social ills -- the bourgeoisie believes it has found an answer: Force! Substitute computerization for the steam engine and smart bombs and cruise missiles for Krupp guns and Mausers and this statement stands as a fitting refutation of the triumphalist rantings of the US ruling class in the wake of the Gulf War.
Moreover, in the context of the Gulf War, the call for revolutionary defeatism from the standpoint of fighting the US military to the last Iraqi was senseless and reactionary. The military balance of forces was such that -- outside of the revolutionary mobilization of the masses of the Middle East and the working class in the US and beyond -- the military victory of the US was virtually assured. More fundamentally, it betrayed a complete disdain for and hostility to the fight against war based upon the struggle of the working class.
It was entirely bound up with the Pabloite perspective that one or another form of "armed struggle," waged by non-proletarian forces, was the substitute for the revolutionary mobilization of the working class internationally, and particularly in the advanced capitalist countries. The most decisive response of the ICFI to the Gulf War, US imperialism's "unipolar moment" and the march toward the restoration of capitalism and dissolution of the USSR, was the calling of the Berlin Conference against imperialist war and colonialism.
The war ushered in a period of capitalist disequilibrium that would last for three decades, dominated by capitalist crisis and overshadowed by the successful October Revolution in Russia, calling into question the very survival of the capitalist order. The absence, however, of revolutionary parties -- particularly in Europe -- on a par with the Bolsheviks in Russia, allowed the bourgeoisie to defeat a series of revolutionary struggles. But they were unable to create a new equilibrium to replace what was shattered by The rise of the bureaucracy in the Soviet Union, led by Stalin, and the terrible degeneration of the Communist International as it was subordinated to the Stalinist theory of "socialism in one country" and Moscow's maneuvers with imperialism, led to a series of catastrophic defeats, above all in Germany.
The coming to power of the Nazis in , without a shot being fired, exposed the counterrevolutionary character of Stalinism, leading Trotsky to found the Fourth International. The document establishes that the ability of the bourgeoisie to achieve a new equilibrium in the aftermath of World War II, which they could not do following World War I, was based not merely on the rise of US imperialism as a hegemonic power, but also the indispensable role of Stalinism. It opposed and sabotaged the revolutionary struggles of the working class in the aftermath of the war, particularly in Italy, France and Greece.
In Eastern Europe, its establishment of so-called buffer states served not only to suppress the working class and any genuine struggle for socialism, but also to pacify a fractious region that had been a source of European instability since the dawn of the 20th century. The equilibrium established at the end of World War II, however, as the document makes clear, was mined with its own contradictions. Its revival of world trade and rebuilding of capitalism in Europe and Japan led to the gradual decline of US hegemony, leading to mounting US deficits which, by , had transformed America into a debtor nation.
Turning to the crisis in the United States, the manifesto sketches out a portrait that seems altogether contemporary:. Not a single significant piece of social legislation has passed through Congress in more than two decades [now we can say five decades ]. Massive budget cuts have destroyed what remains of the old social programs. The crime statistics are merely the most obvious symptoms of the malignant state of social relations. Amidst rapidly growing unemployment and, for those who still have jobs, declining wages, the state of education, housing and medical care is nothing less than catastrophic.
A third of the population is functionally illiterate. Not even the mass media can avoid reporting on a daily basis some of the more spectacular 'horror stories' of lives destroyed by the impact of the social crisis: homeless people freezing in cardboard boxes, cancer victims being denied treatment because they have no medical insurance and unemployed workers and their families committing suicide. The manifesto warned that these conflicts were being manipulated and exploited by the imperialist powers, while capitalism sought to divert popular indignation over social inequality into the blind alley of national and ethnic conflict.
The ability of reactionary petty-bourgeois demagogues to agitate for communal violence it said, "is to be attributed not to the intellectual and moral power of nationalism, but to the political vacuum left by the prostration of the traditional organizations of the working class, which offer no way out of the crisis of the capitalist system. Between the calling of the conference on May 1, and its convening on November 16, events moved very rapidly, with Croatia and Slovenia both declaring their independence on June 25 of that year.
Macedonia followed suit soon after, and the republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina began its fragmentation into warring ethnic cantons. Armed clashes had broken out, particularly around the coastal city of Dubrovnik. The promotion of virulent ethno-chauvinism and national separatism was led by former bureaucrats of Yugoslavia's ruling League of Communists. They sought, on the one hand, to divide and suppress the Yugoslav working class, which had carried out a wave of mass strikes against the austerity measures imposed by the IMF as part of capitalist restoration.
On the other, they were driven to carve out ethnic states in order to forge their own independent relations with imperialism as a new ruling class of comprador capitalists. In his report to the conference, comrade North pointed to the attitude adopted by the Pabloite leader Ernest Mandel, who advocated unconditional support for the self-determination of Croatia, regardless of the character of the regime.
Mandel moreover issued a call for direct imperialist intervention, denouncing Serbian chauvinism, while turning a blind eye to Croatian chauvinism. This position dovetailed neatly with that of German imperialism, which was backing Croatian and Slovenian independence as part of a post-reunification reassertion of its power in Europe. German imperialism was returning to the scenes of its crimes in and , unilaterally defying the United States, the United Nations and the European Commission.
Everywhere rival capitalist cliques are stirring up nationalism and chauvinism, in order to incite the workers against each other and to preempt an uprising against the old and new oppressors. The bloodbath in Yugoslavia is a result of these policies. This war has nothing to do with the right of nations to self-determination. Serbian and Croatian nationalists are merely fighting to secure for themselves a larger portion of the exploitation of the working class. The history of Yugoslavia, its rise and fall, could be the subject for an entire school, as could the national question and the slogan of "self-determination.
Not only the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the breakup of Yugoslavia, but more fundamentally, the development of capitalist globalization, gave rise to a new type of nationalist movement, seeking the dismemberment of existing states -- including those that emerged out of the previous national struggles against colonialism -- to further the interests of rival bourgeois factions in establishing the most advantageous relations to imperialism and transnational capital.
This was patently the case in Yugoslavia, where the first impulse to break up the existing federation came from Slovenia and Croatia, the wealthiest regions of the country, where local ruling elites calculated that they could fare better by breaking with the poorer republics and establishing their own independent ties to European governments, banks and corporations.
Similar considerations have motivated a whole series of national separatist movements, including in Europe, in the cases of the right-wing Northern League in Italy and Catalan nationalism in Spain. In conclusion: the so-called "Unipolar Moment" of and , with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the launching of the Gulf War, marked the collapse of the post-World War II equilibrium, established on the basis of the hegemony of American capitalism and the collaboration of the Moscow Stalinist bureaucracy.
It signaled the beginning of a new period of uninterrupted war, the growth of inter-imperialist rivalries , and inevitably, a global rise in the class struggle and socialist revolution. When Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev received his peace prize in , the Nobel Prize committee declared that "the two mighty power blocs, have managed to abandon their life-threatening confrontation" and confidently expressed that "It is our hope that we are now celebrating the end of the Cold War.
In a very short span of history, the window that had finally opened for Russia and the United States to build a new international system in which they work cooperatively to address areas of common interest had slammed back closed. How was that historic opportunity wasted? Why was the road from the Nobel committee's hope to the UN's eulogy such a short one? The doctrinal narrative that is told in the U.
The American telling of history is a tale in which every blow to the new peace was a Russian blow. The fact checked version offers a demythologized history that is unrecognizably different. The demythologized version is also a history of lies, betrayal, deception and aggression, but the liar, the aggressor, is not primarily Russia, but America. It is the history of a promise so historically broken that it laid the foundation of a new cold war. But it was not the first promise the United States broke: it was not even the first promise they broke in the new cold war.
Most histories of the cold war begin at the dawn of the post World War II period. But the history of U. The label "Red Scare" first appeared, not in the s or 50s, but in Though it is a chapter seldom included in the history of American-Russian relations, America actively and aggressively intervened in the Russian civil war in an attempt to push the Communists back down. They would remain there for two years, killing and injuring thousands. Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev would later remind America of "the time you sent your troops to quell the revolution.
They earnestly desired and schemed for its downfall. When the cause was lost, and the Bolsheviks secured power, most western countries refused to recognize the communist government. However, realism prevailed, and within a few short years, by the mid s, most countries had recognized the communist government and restored diplomatic relations. Roosevelt finally recognized the Soviet government in It would be a very short time before the diplomatic relations that followed the hot war would be followed by a cold war.
It might even be possible to pin the beginning of the cold war down to a specific date. On April 22 and 23, President Truman told Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov to "Carry out his agreement" and establish a new, free, independent government in Poland as promised at Yalta.
Molotov was stunned. Then I thought of my watch. I'd better go back and leave it and then essay the woods. I'd have come out half-way, and the first time an automobile passed and made the dark thicker when its lamps disappeared, I'd have come in. I've never met a man who led a rotten life and didn't have a weak will. If not, they're weak. There is no such thing as a strong, sane criminal. On this point Amory could not agree. It seemed to him that life and history were rife with the strong criminal, keen, but often self-deluding; in politics and business one found him and among the old statesmen and kings and generals; but Burne never agreed and their courses began to split on that point.
Burne was drawing farther and farther away from the world about him. He resigned the vice-presidency of the senior class and took to reading and walking as almost his only pursuits. He voluntarily attended graduate lectures in philosophy and biology, and sat in all of them with a rather pathetically intent look in his eyes, as if waiting for something the lecturer would never quite come to.
Sometimes Amory would see him squirm in his seat; and his face would light up; he was on fire to debate a point. He grew more abstracted on the street and was even accused of becoming a snob, but Amory knew it was nothing of the sort, and once when Burne passed him four feet off, absolutely unseeingly, his mind a thousand miles away, Amory almost choked with the romantic joy of watching him. Burne seemed to be climbing heights where others would be forever unable to get a foothold.
Never enters the Philadelphian Society. He has no faith in that rot. He doesn't believe that public swimming-pools and a kind word in time will right the wrongs of the world; moreover, he takes a drink whenever he feels like it. The argument ended nowhere, but Amory noticed more than ever how the sentiment toward Burne had changed on the campus. Either I've misjudged him or he's suddenly become the world's worst radical.
Burne hurried on, and it was several days before Amory heard an account of the ensuing conversation. Burne had come into the editor's sanctum displaying the paper cheerfully. Good Lord, I've forgotten. Amory wandered occasionally to New York on the chance of finding a new shining green auto-bus, that its stick-of-candy glamour might penetrate his disposition. One day he ventured into a stock-company revival of a play whose name was faintly familiar.
A few phrases rang in his ear and touched a faint chord of memory. Then he seemed to hear a voice whispering beside him, a very soft, vibrant voice: "Oh, I'm such a poor little fool; do tell me when I do wrong. Where Mr. I can always outguess a ghost. Take a bedroom, for example.
If you use any discretion a ghost can never get you in a bedroom. Then, if nothing happens, you can look in. If you still have doubts pull the blanket over your head. Amory was enjoying college immensely again. The sense of going forward in a direct, determined line had come back; youth was stirring and shaking out a few new feathers.
He had even stored enough surplus energy to sally into a new pose. If I enjoy going around telling people guilelessly that I think I'm a genius, let me do it. Amory finally prevailed, and Alec agreed to accept his face value in the presence of others if he was allowed rest periods when they were alone; so Amory "ran it out" at a great rate, bringing the most eccentric characters to dinner, wild-eyed grad students, preceptors with strange theories of God and government, to the cynical amazement of the supercilious Cottage Club.
As February became slashed by sun and moved cheerfully into March, Amory went several times to spend week-ends with Monsignor; once he took Burne, with great success, for he took equal pride and delight in displaying them to each other. Monsignor took him several times to see Thornton Hancock, and once or twice to the house of a Mrs. Lawrence, a type of Rome-haunting American whom Amory liked immediately. Then one day came a letter from Monsignor, which appended an interesting P. I don't think you've ever met her, but I wish, as a favor to me, you'd go to see her.
To my mind, she's rather a remarkable woman, and just about your age. Amory wasn't good enough for Clara, Clara of ripply golden hair, but then no man was. Her goodness was above the prosy morals of the husband-seeker, apart from the dull literature of female virtue. Sorrow lay lightly around her, and when Amory found her in Philadelphia he thought her steely blue eyes held only happiness; a latent strength, a realism, was brought to its fullest development by the facts that she was compelled to face.
She was alone in the world, with two small children, little money, and, worst of all, a host of friends. He saw her that winter in Philadelphia entertaining a houseful of men for an evening, when he knew she had not a servant in the house except the little colored girl guarding the babies overhead. He saw one of the greatest libertines in that city, a man who was habitually drunk and notorious at home and abroad, sitting opposite her for an evening, discussing girls' boarding-schools with a sort of innocent excitement.
What a twist Clara had to her mind! She could make fascinating and almost brilliant conversation out of the thinnest air that ever floated through a drawing-room. The idea that the girl was poverty-stricken had appealed to Amory's sense of situation. He arrived in Philadelphia expecting to be told that Ark Street was in a miserable lane of hovels. He was even disappointed when it proved to be nothing of the sort. It was an old house that had been in her husband's family for years. An elderly aunt, who objected to having it sold, had put ten years' taxes with a lawyer and pranced off to Honolulu, leaving Clara to struggle with the heating-problem as best she could.
So no wild-haired woman with a hungry baby at her breast and a sad Amelia-like look greeted him. Instead, Amory would have thought from his reception that she had not a care in the world. She could do the most prosy things though she was wise enough never to stultify herself with such "household arts" as knitting and embroidery , yet immediately afterward pick up a book and let her imagination rove as a formless cloud with the wind.
Deepest of all in her personality was the golden radiance that she diffused around her. As an open fire in a dark room throws romance and pathos into the quiet faces at its edge, so she cast her lights and shadows around the rooms that held her, until she made of her prosy old uncle a man of quaint and meditative charm, metamorphosed the stray telegraph boy into a Puck-like creature of delightful originality.
At first this quality of hers somehow irritated Amory. He considered his own uniqueness sufficient, and it rather embarrassed him when she tried to read new interests into him for the benefit of what other adorers were present. He felt as if a polite but insistent stage-manager were attempting to make him give a new interpretation of a part he had conned for years. But Clara talking, Clara telling a slender tale of a hatpin and an inebriated man and herself People tried afterward to repeat her anecdotes but for the life of them they could make them sound like nothing whatever.
They gave her a sort of innocent attention and the best smiles many of them had smiled for long; there were few tears in Clara, but people smiled misty-eyed at her. Very occasionally Amory stayed for little half-hours after the rest of the court had gone, and they would have bread and jam and tea late in the afternoon or "maple-sugar lunches," as she called them, at night.
She was searching out napkins in the sideboard. One of those people who have no interest in anything but their children. It was the remark that the first bore made to Adam. But eventually Adam probably told the bore all the things he thought about at night when the locusts sang in the sandy grass, and he must have remarked patronizingly how different he was from Eve, forgetting how different she was from him She had had a harried life from sixteen on, and her education had stopped sharply with her leisure.
Browsing in her library, Amory found a tattered gray book out of which fell a yellow sheet that he impudently opened. It was a poem that she had written at school about a gray convent wall on a gray day, and a girl with her cloak blown by the wind sitting atop of it and thinking about the many-colored world. As a rule such sentiment bored him, but this was done with so much simplicity and atmosphere, that it brought a picture of Clara to his mind, of Clara on such a cool, gray day with her keen blue eyes staring out, trying to see her tragedies come marching over the gardens outside.
He envied that poem. How he would have loved to have come along and seen her on the wall and talked nonsense or romance to her, perched above him in the air. He began to be frightfully jealous of everything about Clara: of her past, of her babies, of the men and women who flocked to drink deep of her cool kindness and rest their tired minds as at an absorbing play.
She was the only person he ever met who could look up passages and quotations to show him in the middle of the conversation, and yet not be irritating to distraction. She did it constantly, with such a serious enthusiasm that he grew fond of watching her golden hair bent over a book, brow wrinkled ever so little at hunting her sentence. Through early March he took to going to Philadelphia for week-ends. Almost always there was some one else there and she seemed not anxious to see him alone, for many occasions presented themselves when a word from her would have given him another delicious half-hour of adoration.
But he fell gradually in love and began to speculate wildly on marriage. Though this design flowed through his brain even to his lips, still he knew afterward that the desire had not been deeply rooted. Once he dreamt that it had come true and woke up in a cold panic, for in his dream she had been a silly, flaxen Clara, with the gold gone out of her hair and platitudes falling insipidly from her changeling tongue. But she was the first fine woman he ever knew and one of the few good people who ever interested him.
She made her goodness such an asset. Laughing lightning, color of rose. A man, of course, has to go through a lot more, and I've been sheltered. You sink to the third hell of depression when you think you've been slighted. In fact, you haven't much self-respect. But I'm not through; the reason you have so little real self-confidence, even though you gravely announce to the occasional philistine that you think you're a genius, is that you've attributed all sorts of atrocious faults to yourself and are trying to live up to them.
For instance, you're always saying that you are a slave to high-balls. You never decide at first while the merits of going or staying are fairly clear in your mind. You let your imagination shinny on the side of your desires for a few hours, and then you decide. Naturally your imagination, after a little freedom, thinks up a million reasons why you should stay, so your decision when it comes isn't true. It's biassed. Clara didn't gloat. She changed the subject immediately. But she had started him thinking and he believed she was partly right.
He felt like a factory-owner who after accusing a clerk of dishonesty finds that his own son, in the office, is changing the books once a week. His poor, mistreated will that he had been holding up to the scorn of himself and his friends, stood before him innocent, and his judgment walked off to prison with the unconfinable imp, imagination, dancing in mocking glee beside him.
How he loved to do any sort of thing with Clara! Shopping with her was a rare, epicurean dream. In every store where she had ever traded she was whispered about as the beautiful Mrs. And Clara beamed on all alike. Amory believed that tradespeople gave her discounts, sometimes to her knowledge and sometimes without it. He knew she dressed very well, had always the best of everything in the house, and was inevitably waited upon by the head floor-walker at the very least.
Sometimes they would go to church together on Sunday and he would walk beside her and revel in her cheeks moist from the soft water in the new air. She was very devout, always had been, and God knows what heights she attained and what strength she drew down to herself when she knelt and bent her golden hair into the stained-glass light.
Cecelia," he cried aloud one day, quite involuntarily, and the people turned and peered, and the priest paused in his sermon and Clara and Amory turned to fiery red. That was the last Sunday they had, for he spoiled it all that night. He couldn't help it. They were walking through the March twilight where it was as warm as June, and the joy of youth filled his soul so that he felt he must speak.
They walked along, and he realized slowly how much she had told him She seemed suddenly a daughter of light alone.
His entity dropped out of her plane and he longed only to touch her dress with almost the realization that Joseph must have had of Mary's eternal significance. But quite mechanically he heard himself saying:. I've got my two children and I want myself for them. Give me a cigarette.
You've never seen me smoke, have you? Well, I do, about once a month. And then that wonderful girl and Amory raced to the corner like two mad children gone wild with pale-blue twilight. I'm never really wild and never have been. That little outburst was pure spring. I'm the opposite of everything spring ever stood for. She was the only girl he ever knew with whom he could understand how another man might be preferred. But that night seemed a night of stars and singing and Clara's bright soul still gleamed on the ways they had trod.
Skeins from braided basket, mortals may not hold; oh, what young extravagant God, who would know or ask it? Every night the gymnasium echoed as platoon after platoon swept over the floor and shuffled out the basket-ball markings.