The useful admissions of Jack F. Matlock, Jr.

Superpower Illusions: How Myths and False Ideologies Led America Astray–and How to Return to Reality
by Jack F. Matlock Jr.
New Haven: Yale University Press 2010, 344pp. hb

Matlock was in the U.S. Foreign Service from 1956 to 1991 with an ambassador job in the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991. He recounts being a fan of Reagan, joining Democrats and then quitting Democrats in his review of history since the Reagan era.

Matlock regurgitates a little history of the Soviet Union as totalitarian and he disapproves of Stalin in standard boilerplate language. Nonetheless, Matlock claims expertise in Stalin, not just because he read Stalin but because he created an index of Stalin’s work.

The main corrective theme of Matlock’s book is to paint Reagan as a peacemaker while neoconservatives in his administration such as Jeanne Kirkpatrick created absolutist humyn-rights problems. (e.g., pp. 48, 54) According to Matlock, the neo-conservative hardliners manufactured the Daniloff controversy (regarding a spy) to throw off arms control negotiations.

Matlock then adds that Bush Sr., Bush Jr. and the Clintons were less adept at keeping the peace especially with Russia. Matlock says the Clintons answered too much to public opinion in foreign policy questions, thereby launching wars that alienated Russia.

It is Matlock who indirectly raises that one has a choice as president: one can either represent the labor aristocracy in domestic issues or one can represent it in both domestic and international issues like Bill Clinton did. What we are seeing now with Democrats who “head for the hills” on Gitmo is that the Democrats lived in denial on the bourgeois nature of the majority of the population. They lied to themselves on analysis questions and now cannot hold firm on national security and foreign policy questions. They go so far as as contemplating the ostrich this past week as if Amerikans could not be handed their heads in Iraq and Afghanistan.

MIM would add that Obama shares the essential underlying falsehood of the Clinton administration, Noam Chomsky and the late Howard Zinn. They all believe or believed once that there is a progressive thrust imminent from the Amerikkkan majority — dumbocracy. If Avakian-Obama’s recent polarization proves anything it is that a financial tsunami can hit and just as MIM said for decades the labor aristocracy continues to hunger for the past: the labor aristocracy did not take the opportunity to rise up despite patently obvious looting of the national economy.

Obama has succeeded in polarizing public opinion in the United $tates by party lines; yet without raising a single race issue, he has alienated the white vote as of this last election as noted by Patrick Buchanan. Obama stuck to the Avakian line that there is one united working class and took Avakian’s advice on polarization, much along the lines that Lenin gave the British Labour Party in Lenin’s day. Obama has nothing to show for this effort, because there is no proletariat to rally, only a lumpenproletariat even more oppressed by Oreo cookiedom as people come to sucker themselves that race is over as a problem.

A more useful polarization would be by oppressed nations against the white majority, but here Obama fails grievously with lynching. For most diplomatic issues it does not matter, but for the most difficult issues one has to ask: if he would lynch someone to get elected, how can one trust that he would not scuttle a difficult peace process, again for popularity’s sake, even for “polarization” sake? This is why the Alinskyite approach by Democrats and pseudo-Maoists is so wrong. Desperate KKK tactics that bring one to power do backfire, no matter how much one thinks one is “infiltrating” the government. The one thing Liberalism is capable of is selecting an individual such as Jesse Jackson who does not owe the military establishment; yet, at this moment, the political class does not take advantage of even that possibility. (Of course MIM does not agree with Jesse Jackson. We only point out that Liberalism has not exhausted its possibilities with Obama.)

It would in fact be better to appeal to whites as Reagan did on a domestic basis that did not tie the president’s hands in other deals. This is not the same problem in other countries. It is the United $tates with superpower illusions as Matlock says. It is the United $tates with a complicated history of oppression to untangle.

Nixon had to contend with his pre-election faults after election as did Clinton with Paula Jones. It is a measure of the disdain which Amerikkkans hold for diplomacy that the same has not happened to Obama.

Matlock does not mention MIM, but it is obvious he is engaging us. The farther back in time one goes, the less he agrees with MIM, but on the last 20 years of history there is much less disagreement:

  • Matlock agrees it was not the Reagan military buildup but forces inside the Soviet Communist Party that undid the Soviet Union. (e.g., pp. 98-9)
  • We can even say that Matlock is a MIM hardliner relative to Gaidar’s latest economic determinist view that Saudi oil dumping played a role. (p. 66)
  • Matlock gets into fine ideological points with MIM noting as MIM did that it was Trotskyist ideology that inspired the neo-conservatives and Trotskyist ideas about social vehicles of progress that f*ed up U.$. foreign policy views:

    “The original neoconservatives were Trotskyists who considered themselves anti-Stalin socialists. They subsequently broke with the American ‘left’ over issues like the war in Vietnam and domestic social policy. . . . They were still seeking a utopia, but instead of viewing revolution by the proletariat as the means to fulfill the mandate of history, they looked to the power exercised by the strongest capitalist country in the world, the United States of America.” (pp. 218-9)

  • Like yours truly, Matlock pointed to coming economic problems (p. 82) in the Soviet Union just prior to its collapse. He claims to have predicted it. (p. xvi)
  • Matlock goes so far as to get the mode of production right: “It was, rather, a country of state-monopoly capitalism, with the government essentially a front organization controlled from behind the scenes by a giant conspiratorial mafia called the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.(p. 91) Bingo.

    The one thing he disagrees with us on is obviously the importance of the individual Reagan. However, the more important the individual is, the better the case is for putting in a Black liberal Democrat without Obama’s baggage.

    If Matlock were correct that “International relations are ultimately controlled by people, not by impersonal forces,” (p. 73) the big 9/11 trial of the century would still be on in New York City and Gitmo would have closed on schedule just because an individual, Obama promised so. The problems confronting Obama stem not from a lack of persynality but an incorrect Alinskyite analysis of class.

    Matlock may also be seen as making specific claims against me. According to Matlock, Andropov and the KGB were really “hardliners” unconnected to Gorbachev; even though, MIM would would say they can at best be seen as having cleared the way for Yeltsin.
    The KGB did not have an analysis of class in the Soviet Union and so objectively it cleared the way for Yeltsin at best and served as a figleaf for Gorbachev prior to that.

    Matlock also argues that the majority of the Soviet foreign policy establishment disagreed with Gorbachev and Shevardnadze on Iraq and Kuwait.(p. 103) This is a case of specialistitis. In other words, here Matlock echoes our Satanists for the benefit of Obama and justification of lynching.

    I have noted that a big name CIA-sponsored Amerikan scholar and a leading Chinese scholar of Chinese Communist Party “Liberalism” also believe that it was Deng Xiaoping who was fuming in 1988 and 1989. In other words, Liberal specialists of different countries want to be the ones to claim a certain “humyn rights violation” for the “hardliners” of their particular country. (There are also Amerikan Liberals claiming it was just Amerikan hardliners behind the whole thing.)

    We published that the Soviet Union was capitalist and headed for economic crisis. We were right and even if a majority of the foreign policy establishment and KGB and military disagreed with Gorbachev, it was not the kind of disagreement that could add up to anything.

    A quasi-Liberal and quasi-sociological argument that Matlock makes is that the Republicans are a bad foreign policy influence in Congress. Many of them do not even have passports (p. xvii) he says, so little curious are they. As a finer point, I’m inclined to agree, especially with the non-signing of Kyoto thanks to Congress. However, the international united front cannot entirely fine tune its struggle to create a Republican president and Democratic Congress. On a Liberal basis, I would say that at this moment Congress would be better off with another Black liberal Democrat as president. That’s as far as I would go.

    Another notable area of disagreement — although he admits that Bush Jr.’s Iraq war was a “colonial” enterprise that destroyed morale at the State Department, (p. 278) Matlock is conscious in his arguments that the United $tates is not imperialist. (pp. 149-152) Hence, one can have a warm nationalist feeling about Amerika like Reagan and Obama and still agree with some underlying analyses of MIM.


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