Saturday, May 19, 2007

"Fools' Crusade" Postscript: Perpetual War [7]



This is the last section of the book, the final 2-and-a-half pages of this 268 page assault on truth and honest inquiry. We are at the end.

So what is the concluding moment of this meandering, sloppy conglomeration of conspiracy theories, revisionism, anti-Western hysteria, and disingenuous propagation of collectivist/anti-democratic dogma? On what note does she plan to end her book? What does Diana Johnstone think it all adds up to?

Well, as it turns out, it adds up to a post-September 11th world in which the primary threat to world peace and stability turns out to be--the United States of America.

September 11th was merely a pretext for a long-planned extension of American dominance, predicated on the shift in tactics and priorities which she ominously considered (without a word about changing global geopolitical and economic realities) in the previous sections.

Most tellingly, she refers to the planning of neoconservatives and old-line Cold War hardliners within the Bush Administration while implying that this demonstrates a continuation of American foreign policy during the Yugoslav crisis of the Clinton Administration. While there is certainly fertile ground in examining the continuity of American foreign policy across many Administrations, Johnstone is not discussing complex underlying themes here--she specifically uses papers and reports commissioned during the Bush Administration to defend her tenuous thesis. There is little depth, and almost no substance, to her argument.

Anyone familiar with American foreign policy since the 9/11 attacks doesn't need this book to be reminded of the "Bush Doctrine" and it's emphasis on preemptive military actions and renewed commitment to using American military power.

She says:

"Power has its own momentum. Whatever the declared motives, the war against Yugoslavia served as an exercise in the destruction of a country."

And so, on the very last page of her book, Johnstone makes it clear that she hasn't a clue. Yugoslavia was destroyed, all right, but it wasn't NATO aggression that killed it. In the end, this book isn't about Bosnia, or Kosovo, or the plight of the misunderstood Serbs, or Yugoslavia at all. It's about a knee-jerk, irrational hatred of the West and the United States in particular, with Serbs being used merely as props and their alleged tragedy as a convenient tool with which to berate the Western world and it's tradition of individual liberty and secular freedom. I very much doubt that Johnstone cares much about the true plight of contemporary Serbs at all.

After 268 pages, the book peters out on a tired note of knee-jerk anti-Americanism and stale anti-imperialist demagoguery. The mass of footnotes and bibliography that follows only serve to detail and document the vast amount of effort that went into this dishonest and pointless book; a great deal of sound and fury signifying nothing but the stubborn prejudices of an ossified ex-radical and her detachment from reality.


And so, my months-long slog through "Fools' Crusade" has come to an end. I have a few closing thoughts on the book, which I'll post next time. And then, it will finally be time to put this book aside for good.

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