Objectivity is a virtue, but it’s not often appreciated. You can try to point out hypocrisy on all sides, and everyone will agree with you sometimes, but most will get uncomfortable when you inevitably turn your criticism to their tribe.
The dynamic, however, is quite different when you’re talking about imperialism. All of the sudden, people will expect objectivity, or what they think of as ‘objectivity.’ They will say things like, “Why don’t you ever criticize Russia or China.” This sentiment usually comes from two things: conflating objectivity with neutrality and being a victim of western propaganda.
If someone says, “all imperialist powers are terrible, and we must resist them equally,” that is not objectivity, it is neutrality and cowardice. Objectivity would be to shine a light on the one country that has circled the planet with more than 800 military bases, spends more on military than the next ten countries combined, has outright invaded 23 countries as well as bombed, sanctioned and covertly overthrew many more just since WWII. If you want to pretend that Russia or China have done anything comparable, go on if it makes you feel better, but you’re not fooling anyone but yourself.
There is going to have to be a reckoning if we ever want to manifest peace on Earth. There is no time for whataboutism.
If you are an anti-interventionist who talks or writes honestly about foreign policy you will inevitably be accused of “supporting” some target nation just because you don’t want to go to war with them. Many people have a childish, Hollywood-inspired worldview peopled by heroes and villains. To them, if you don’t want to bomb Iran, this can only be because you are an Islamist. They also believe that only a Communist would appose war against Venezuela or China.
This is dull-mindedness, which seems to be the cause of so much of our woes. Not thinking clearly has gotten us into all kinds of predicaments. Look no further than the complete shitshow that is the 2020 election, where we’re once again forced to choose the less evil demented, warmongering rapist.
Steve Bannon’s faux populism of the 2016 Trump campaign is long gone. Trump is going all in on culture-war bullshit during an economic depression, and no one outside of his cult seems inspired. Gone are the days when he would vow to uplift the working man. Now his whole campaign seems to consist of appeals to the sanctity of statues and calling the Democrats communists. Unsurprisingly, he’s down almost 10% in most polls.
He ran as an outsider in 2016, but has governed as the quintessential insider, buckling to corporate pressure at every turn. For example, it only took one hour alone with pharmaceutical lobbyists for him to backtrack on his pledge to lower drug prices.
The Democrats, meanwhile, are going with a ‘low exposure’ strategy, keeping Biden out of the public eye. They know that the smartest campaign for them is no campaign, and they know that every time Biden publicly speaks there is a real danger that his mind might revert back to 1960s-private-conversation mode, and he’ll start dropping hard N-bombs. They just need his mind to hold together for a couple more speeches over the course of three more months, and they’ve won the election. Then he’ll probably step down after a year or two. Covid-19 is a godsend for the Biden campaign. He isn’t expected to do rallies, which is convenient, since he’s basically incapable of doing rallies.