Sunday, April 15, 2007

Twister for the Twisted

Or maybe Twister for mass murderers. Liane Hansen talks with imperial wunder-boy Thomas Barnett about US foreign policy. She begins the piece with this crass attempt at wit: "American foreign policy in the 21st Century is starting to look a bit like a game of Twister: the war in Afghanistan...right hand red if you will...the US became more assertive and involved in other foreign policy pursuits: Iraq, left hand yellow...."

I must just be a hopeless wuss, but I wonder if the 3000 plus victims of "our" tidy little air war on Afghanistan would think is was such a fun game--and God knows the 600,000+ (probably over a million by now) victims of our "left hand yellow" move would have other ideas too.

Barnett's attitudes are as imperial and arrogant. He notes that "the break up of Iraq really forces the fights that need to occur now that Saddam has gone...all going to be tricky and overlapping..." To which Hansen wonders, "Where should the United States actually focus--are there real solutions or is it just a matter of keeping the fires from burning out of control." Oh and the reason for the horrors sweeping the Middle East have nothing to do with the rapacious, violent means of US foreign policy; as Barnett says, "my argument is globalization is finally penetrating a part of the world to which it hasn’t found much purchase..." The old Thomas Friedmann canard of those backwards Arabs finally getting "penetrated" by globalization. Yikes!

1 comment:

Porter Melmoth said...

Unbelievable. The detachment of these NPR chatshow types is certainly sociopathic. Liane should be broadcasting from a booth at some shopping mall, where she can be amongst her own kind. Her mix of the serious and the superficial has always been uncomfortable and amateurish.

If I ran the circus known as NPR News I'd make the following change, TONIGHT: immediate and permanent separation of news stories and feature interest stories. Confine them to two distinct shows. The magazine approach is a failure. It is probably a vain hope that the quality of NPR reporting would improve if this were done, as the entertainment factor has infected every aspect of NPR, and ratings for the hardcore news show would slump, but Liane's brilliant 'Twister' analogy has reminded me just how low the quality has become in their attempts to illuminate news stories for the public. (Personal note: I've never, ever had any exposure to the game Twister, and it's always excruciating when Liane gets that 'everybody automatically knows all about the stuff I know about' tone in her voice; it's as if she's relating to her coterie of high school friends or something...)

Even as its audience grows, its corporate interests increase, and its budget rises, NPR's capacity for critical thinking and perceptive observation continues to shrink rapidly. Yeah, I know, an understatement.