The River

Monday, March 22, 2004

Coke or Pepsi?

That's what a new graphic on Mike Golby's remodeled Web site asks us to consider. Only Coke is a stand-in for Republican and Pepsi for Democrat. Whichever flavor you prefer, when it comes to foreign policy, they're both deadly.

The graphic links to a John Pilger piece:

The truth is that Clinton was little different from Bush, a crypto-fascist. During the Clinton years, the principal welfare safety nets were taken away and poverty in America increased sharply; a multibillion-dollar missile "defence" system known as Star Wars II was instigated; the biggest war and arms budget in history was approved; biological weapons verification was rejected, along with a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty, the establishment of an international criminal court and a worldwide ban on landmines. Contrary to a myth that places the blame on Bush, the Clinton administration in effect destroyed the movement to combat global warming.

In addition, Haiti and Afghanistan were invaded, the illegal blockade of Cuba was reinforced and Iraq was subjected to a medieval siege that claimed up to a million lives while the country was being attacked, on average, every third day: the longest Anglo-American bombing campaign in history. In the 1999 Clinton-led attack on Serbia, a "moral crusade", public transport, non-military factories, food processing plants, hospitals, schools, museums, churches, heritage-listed monasteries and farms were bombed. "They ran out of military targets in the first couple of weeks," said James Bissett, the Canadian former ambassador to Yugoslavia. "It was common knowledge that Nato went to stage three: civilian targets." In their cruise missile attack on Sudan, Clinton's generals targeted and destroyed a factory producing most of sub-Saharan Africa's pharmaceutical supplies. The German ambassador to Sudan reported: "It is difficult to assess how many people in this poor country died as a consequence... but several tens of thousands seems a reasonable guess."

Covered in euphemisms, such as "democracy-building" and "peacekeeping", "humanitarian intervention" and "liberal intervention", the Clintonites can boast a far more successful imperial record than Bush's neo-cons, largely because Washington granted the Europeans a ceremonial role, and because Nato was "onside". In a league table of death and destruction, Clinton beats Bush hands down.

A question that New Democrats like to ask is: "What would Al Gore have done if he had not been cheated of the presidency by Bush?" Gore's top adviser was the arch-hawk Leon Fuerth, who said the US should "destroy the Iraqi regime, root and branch". Joseph Lieberman, Gore's running mate in 2000, helped to get Bush's war resolution on Iraq through Congress. In 2002, Gore himself declared that an invasion of Iraq "was not essential in the short term" but "nevertheless, all Americans should acknowledge that Iraq does, indeed, pose a serious threat".


So, the deal is, Pepsi, being sweeter, is actually worse for you, although the degrees of detriment are hard to gauge in either case. Coke's PR machine, with its theocratic base, is more dominant now, but perhaps more vulnerable due to its severe disconnect from the facts on the ground. Pepsi is the more palatable, slow poison.

I think Coke will win the war for 04, if only because that homebrew known as democracy can't find any shelf space.

The thing is, you'd think the makers of Coke would know enough not to shake the bottle.

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