Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Saturday, October 3, 2015

QUICK RESPONSE TO WALLACE STEVENS AND NOCOMENT

Please recall my severe warnings of personal incompetence.  I really meant them.

To Wallace Stevens:  Thank you.  Even at my age I ought not to have forgotten the invasion of Czechoslovakia.  Sorry about that.

Here is Nocomment's comment:  "Normally I find your analyses to be pretty accurate. This time, however, I believe you have missed something.

Having idly stood by while the US meddled and muddled in just about every Middle East country, Russia (once the proud sponsor of its OWN autocratic regimes there) cannot bear to have its last tinpot dictator taken out by the Yankees. I believe it is the US which has forced its hand. Going into Syria is not to prop up a pro-Soviet regime (Afghanistan) but to assert its rights to play at the same poker table. As the US expands its Dark Force throughout the galaxy, we will see increasing pushback from China and Russia. And as they travel down the same road as the US, expect some collisions. And proxy wars.

I'm not sure Obama (or you) are right in predicting another quagmire for Russia in a far-off outpost. Obama's hardly one to talk. What you've missed is that Russia will get out when the US gets out of Syria. Their quagmire is our quagmire."

I agree pretty much with your characterization of the situation in the first part of your comment, but I have a somewhat different view of the overall state of play.  As I see it [influenced as I am by the world view of my old friend and University of Chicago colleague Hans Morgenthau], the American imperium expanded into the power vacuum created by the collapse of the Soviet Union, and is now being challenged by Putin's attempt to re-expand Russia's influence.  I doubt that Putin is motivated simply by pique.  I would guess that his expansionist moves are connected with the weakness of the Russian economy.  Nor do I think [or guess, more accurately] that Putin will find it so easy to pull out of Syria once he commits forces there, even if the United States manages to withdraw under the color of an "international coalition."  That was my reason for invoking the Tar Baby. Putin is not more skillful than the Americans are, so far as I can see, and it will be politically very costly for him to exit from Syria, having failed to prop up Assad and to defeat ISIL [as I am convinced he will fail.]

But I repeat, I really do not know, nor do I even have the right to claim any plausibility for my guesses.  I suppose we shall have to wait and see.

2 comments:

Jerry Fresia said...

Speaking of far flung empires:

"During the fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2014, U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) deployed to 133 countries -- roughly 70% of the nations on the planet -- according to Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bockholt, a public affairs officer with U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). This capped a three-year span in which the country’s most elite forces were active in more than 150 different countries around the world, conducting missions ranging from kill/capture night raids to training exercises. And this year could be a record-breaker. Only a day before the failed raid that ended Luke Somers life -- just 66 days into fiscal 2015 -- America’s most elite troops had already set foot in 105 nations, approximately 80% of 2014’s total."

http://www.alternet.org/world/us-dark-empire-has-secret-operations-over-100-countries

Karl said...

Professor Wolff,
I'm not sure if you are familiar with the work of Patrick Cockburn, but he certainly knows the situation in Syria better than any other Westerner, having covered the war throughout its duration. His last several pieces have been on what to expect from the Russian arrival: http://www.independent.co.uk/author/patrick-cockburn

Robert Fisk, also of The Independent, is a notable expert, though he hasn't covered Syria as closely as Cockburn. Fisk is often very witty and funny.