Walberg’s book critique, part I
G. S. 
initial posting 19 Sept 2011- last update 20 Sept 2011

URL: http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/t/2011-09-19.htm

      Eric, Bei mir bist du schon — To me you are beautiful. Your book, Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the great games is a small masterpiece, a gem to be appreciated over and over again.

      So who am I to be writing a so-called critical review, someone whose prejudices are so closely aligned with yours? Another damn North American Jew who loves his privileged existence, despite knowing full well that it is based on the gruesome suffering of some billions of other humans. Well, that’s who I am — there’s no escaping it. I ain’t no Jesus of Nazareth. The reason why this endeavor came about in the first place isn’t complicated. I’m an old man — just turned 86 — who’s in love with life, and got “turned on” to indigenous ways by a prolonged time in North Dakota at the Pine Ridge “reservation”, where the remnants of the proud Oglala Lakota tribe is hanging on by its teeth. I’m a romantic, so I saw what I wanted to see. I saw real people, not some quaint relics, but ordinary folks, downtrodden by that great nation of conquering butchers that absurdly calls itself “The Land of the Free”. What horseshit! I used to be a liberal. Aren’t all good Jews “liberals”?

      That year on the Pine Ridge Preservation (1997-8) confirmed for me that I ought to get the hell out of the Univ of Massachusetts “Campus by the Sea” at Columbia Point, as they liked to call it in their advertising for students. Yes, it was time to move on. So on 1 Sept 1999 — just a bit over 12 years ago — Nancy and I flew to Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico. And here we live, among wonderful people, wonderful in spite of the fact that their skin is not “white”. How’s that for a shocker? A shocker to my “Nazi” friend David Baillie in Boston, who still lives with the myth that it was the “White” people who brought civilization to America. Yes, David, a personal friend who was keen to send me birthday greetings earlier this month, certifies that it’s not just “The Jews” who cultivate and live with their cherished myths. Other people are waiting for me to die — so they can try to get some of the inheritance (as it’s called), but not David. Like a well brain-washed “Nazi”, he knows, and here, unfortunately he’s correct, The Jews are nearly impossible to beat when it comes to getting money.

      That’s a “nutshell” explanation of why Eric Walberg and I have hit it off so well. We share a deep aversion to the culture that values money above all else. Erst kommt das Leben — First comes life. Life should be a celebration — for everyone! Now for some of the nuts and bolts of this “review”.

      The 300 undersize pages into which Eric has packaged his rich account are as follows (b signifies a blank page):

— pp1-16: b;b;title page;color picture of Eric and 6 fellow revolutionaries in Tahrir
            Square, Cairo;publisher’s title page;publication details;table of contents-2pp;

— Introduction, pp17-28;color map -p.18;endnotes pp28-29

— Chapt 1,pp30-46;GGI: Competing Empires;endnotes pp46-49

— Chapt 2,pp50-91;GGII: Empire against Communism;endnotes pp92-98

— Chapt 3,pp99-152;GGIII: US-Israel—Postmodern Imperialism;endnotes

— Chapt 4,pp161-219;GGIII: Israel—Empire-and-a-half; Appendix: The Israel lobby
            and ‘Dog wags the tail’ debates pp214-219;endnotes 219-232

— Chapt 5,pp233-276;GGIII: Many players, many games;Appendix III: The
            ex-Soviet central Asian republics in GGIII,pp.273-276;endnotes 277-283

— Bibliography, pp.284-293, Bibliography – and Chapt 4 Appendix: Critique of
           ‘New NATO’ literature

— Index, pp.294-300

      What I find phenomenal in Walberg’s book is the vast amount of historical material he has managed to encompass, in a manner that reflects his own keen interest in the world-shaking struggles now filling the consciousness of billions while they — we — are struggling to survive. Eric’s Introduction, a brief 11+ pages, is a valuable read, which introduces one both to Eric and to his lightly-written but serious treatise. It starts with quotes from two British empire-builders and a glimpse of the author:

      Turkestan, Afghanistan, Transcaspia, Persia, to many these names breathe only a sense of utter remoteness or a memory of strange vicissitudes and of moribund romance. To me, I confess, they are the pieces on a chessboard upon which is being played out a game for the dominion of the world — Lord Curzon, viceroy of India (1898)
      Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island; Who rules the World-Island commands the World — Halford Mackinder (1919)

Geopolitics of Central Asia and Middle East

      The term “Great Game” was coined in the nineteenth century to describe the rivalry between Russia and Britain. Britain sent spies disguised as surveyors and traders to Afghanistan and Turkestan and, several times, armies to keep the Russians at bay. The ill-fated Anglo-Afghan war of 1839–42 was precipitated by fears that the Russians were encroaching on British interests in India after Russia established a diplomatic and trade presence in Afghanistan. Already by the nineteenth century there was no such thing as neutral territory. The entire world was now a gigantic playing field for the major industrial powers, and Eurasia was the center of this playing field. The game motif is useful to describe the broader rivalry between nations and economic systems with the rise of imperialism and the pursuit of world power. This game goes beyond UK rivalry with Russia over Afghanistan, . . .

      This gets me started, and I hope it may inspire you to get a copy of Eric’s treatise and to tangle with a tough and deadly threat. My intent is to continue, reviewing in a pedestrian fashion, Eric Walberg’s book. Of course you’re welcome to join in. Both Eric and I will be glad to learn your thoughts. And if you want, you can post them on my new blog. [1]

[1] Sketch for a humane resolution of the Palestine/Israel conflict. http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/t/2010-11-13.htm

Date: Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 4:09 AM
From: Eric Walberg <walberg2002@yahoo.com>

      Hi George, You have been hard at work. I can’t believe you are 86. I am delighted by your discourse — very anarchist. I too believe that you must write with passion or not at all (though the rewriting of a book should tone the text down so that the reader can provide his/her own passion).

      >lightly-written but serious treatise
      Eric: “Good to hear. That’s what I strove for.”

      >It starts with quotes from two British empire-builders and a glimpse of the
      Eric: “I’m not sure where ‘a glimpse of the author’ in what follows the Curzon quote has ‘To me, I confess, they are the pieces on a chessboard’ but that’s Curzon. You have a lively style which is enjoyable to read. Thanks again.”

      Eric: “A minor correction. I believe you think I’m Jewish too, but much as I admire (albeit it critically) the Jewish character and am often assumed to be Jewish, as far as I know (who knows?) my origins are Protestant Swedish/Irish. I am quite convinced that through the ages, the large majority of those born Jewish have assimilated (no records of these apostates are kept), and in any case, we are all related if we go back 7 generations.”

      Eric: “I think Mexico has many interesting and talented North American expats. It would be interesting to read a good book about you/them. Canada’s legendary skater/artist toller Cranston lives on a hill top in San Miguel de Allende.”

      Eric: “My hope for my own book is that it can become a reference book for progressives and appear on reading lists. I am working on getting it translated into Arabic at present. I look forward to your further reflections, Eric <http://ericwalberg.com/>”

George Salzman is a former American Jew living in Oaxaca, Mexico, an ex-physics prof, Univ of Massachusetts-Boston.

All comments and criticisms are welcome.  <doctorsci@gmail.com>

      If you know folks who want to ‘save the world’, starting with global open communication — no censorship, I’ll be glad to add them to my Notes of an anarchist physicist listserv [noap]. To subscribe write me, including your first and last names, please, or send a blank e-mail to noap-subscribe@lists.riseup.net.

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Initial posting of this page: 19 Sept 2011.
Last update: 20 Sept 2011