Boris Kagarlitsky interview by Jim Smith, Oct 9 in Berlin

JS = Jim Smith; BG = Boris Kagarlitsky

Boris Kagarlitsky is a leading Russian Democratic Socialist and Marxist scholar. Jim Smith is editor of L.A. Labor News.

JS - Politics in Russia seem to be very complicated these days. Is that your sense?

BG - The political situation in Russia is becoming very simple in the sense that we’re moving very fast towards some kind of new dictatorship. Every day it’s more simple than the previous day.

JS - That’s a good start.

BG - It may seem complicated because nobody wants to articulate that current debate that’s going on. The real debate is which kind of dictatorship do we need.

JS - Who’s going to lead it?

BG - Who’s going to lead it? What for? There is a kind of hidden consensus among the elite and unfortunately among the population that democracy will not survive. It’s also important to say that today there’s no democracy. People have very little to defend. Russia is a very peculiar system. On the one hand we have all the characteristics of democracy. We have elections, we have the parliament, we have political parties and we have a free press. At the same time, everyone knows that the decision-making process is completely authoritarian. So all these democratic mechanisms have very little to do with the real decision making. Everyone knows that election fraud is becoming an increasing part of the political process like in Mexico. You have elections but the outcome doesn’t depend on voters, it depends on the local power structure, the casiques. In Russia we started using that term Casique after the local strongmen, the local political powers in Mexico.

“Comrade” Stalin, right after the 17th Congress, said it doesn’t matter how they vote, what matters is how we count.

JS - It’s been that way ever since.

BG - Yes, it’s much the same in Russia today.

JS - There will be presidential elections next June?

BG - In December, we’ll have parliamentary elections and, theoretically, in June and July, we’ll have presidential elections. The question is, will we have them. My prediction at the moment is that we’ll have the election for parliament in December but probably not presidential elections in June. There are pessimists who say we won’t even have the elections in December. The optimists say the June elections will go on but with fraud. The problem the leading elite has now is that they cannot keep things under control. This is the regime that has power since the coup in 1993 up through the August 1998 crash of the ruble. This regime cannot survive for long because its economic and also, its social base, has eroded. That makes everyone certain that there will be a transition to something different. The question is, a transition to what? And a second question is, who is going to manage the transition? I think the team -the oligarchy- around Yeltsin is really horrified by the prospective of some other groups taking control of the political process. The ones who win will look for scapegoats since the country is in a total mess. Someone will have to be found guilty and punished for what has happened. Yeltsin’s people understand they are the perfect target.

The economic side is the Russian oligarchy created a system that is completely unproductive. It is simply consuming the resources of the country, including human resources, rather than reproducing the economy. As a result, the economy is shrinking. This means that there are less and less resources for the oligarchy. This increases the competition among different groups among the oligarchy for resources. After the ruble’s crash in 1998, everyone understood that we had too many oligarchs. So for one group of oligarchs to survive, they must expropriate the other group of oligarchs. We are approaching the stage when expropriation becomes inevitable. Unfortunately, it’s not the proletariat that’s going to expropriate the capitalists, but one group of capitalists that will expropriate the other group of capitalists. So the struggle is who is going to expropriate whom. For example, is the group around Yuri Luzhkov going to expropriate the group around Boris Berezovsky and Yeltsin, or the other way around. And there are other groups as well, but these are the two biggest groups.

The third factor is that for the first time since 1989, the economy is growing. It’s growing to such an extent that in the United States, they are now taking protectionist measures against Russian imports like steel. It is interesting that the American government always teaches everyone about free trade but it’s one of the most protectionist markets, particularly against the third world and eastern Europe. The public in Russia is very shocked that, on the one hand, America is teaching us about free trade and, on the other hand, is protecting their markets against our products. But today the economy is growing because the ruble collapsed and the price of labor is so cheap that the products become incredibly cheap. In the steel industry, a Russian worker will earn $500 a month - a great salary - while an American worker might earn up to $5,000. The skills and education of the Russian would be the same as the American, but he is working for third-world wages. Some would say that’s not a fair competition but what is unfair is the small wage caused by the collapse of the domestic market in Russia. That’s why the Russian industry is so aggressively exporting.

This economic situation has created a crisis among the elite. There is growth with nearly zero investment. In recent years, in most industries production slowed down, but the capacity was still there. So when the economy started growing, they started expanding production without new investment by recovering the old equipment. But this kind of expansion is very limited. For example, the equipment is falling apart. It’s growing old and becoming outmotive. To produce quality products, you have to invest in new equipment. In Russia, there is a labor force, a market, everything is very cheap but there is no new equipment. The oligarchs do not want to invest. There is no structure for investment. There is no investment research, strategy, decision-making bodies. So there money is not capital. The money is used for buying real estate in the Bahamas. From their point of view this is rational. Since there is no infrastructure for investment in Russia, why not buy a hotel in the Bahamas. It will bring money back to them and it is safe. It’s rational for them to export capital rather than invest in Russia. At the same time, the oligarchs want the economy to expand so it will bring them more money. This is the contradiction. They don’t want to invest but they want economic growth. They want the state to invest for them. And they want to take the profits away. You privatize the profits and socialize the losses. The kind of state we have in Russia accepts this idea. But the state doesn’t have the money. This increases the pressure from the oligarchs to have the state expropriate the wealth of the other groups of oligarchs.

JS - Would the wealth of the expropriated oligarchs then become state property?

BG - Not necessarily. The state is in debt as are the oligarchs. The money could be used to write off some of the debt or they could be forced to invest in state projects or state banks. This is what they have done already to ordinary people. Now they are going to do it to each other.

JS - Where is Lenin now that we need him?

BG - The left is weaker than it looks. In numbers it doesn’t look so weak. At least one-third of the population votes for the left and another third is center-left. It would seem to be an incredible prospect for the left. In reality it’s not. First of all, Gennady Zyuganov’s Communist party leadership is shifting from leftwing positions to nationalist, nostalgic, czarist, even, anti-Semitic positions. The party is hijacked from its members by the leadership. It a certain sense it’s a very Stalinist way of doing things. The Stalinist method of organization enables the leadership to be almost completely independent from the mass of the members. With the members being passive and accepting almost anything the leadership does. However, in the past, the leadership had to accept a continuity with the revolutionary tradition. While today the leadership of Zyuganov has broken with that tradition. Now, I can buy this Trotskyist interpretation of Thermidor. I not a Trotskyist, but I think it’s a good interpretation. In their view, Stalinist ideology was Bonapartist and Thermidorian with a combination of revolutionary tradition and the pre-revolutionary ancien regime. And now with Zyuganov, there is a dramatic shift to the reactionary component of Stalinism with the elimination of everything Marxist or Leninist in the tradition. It’s Stalinism purified from Leninism.

JS - Is the Party leadership united on this?

BG - The leadership is united, but the party is not. Because of this, they have had to systematically purge all the elements in the party not acceptable to the leadership. People of all different types and currents have been purged. Left-liberal types like Boris Slavin are out. Social democratic types like Vladimir Semago have been expelled. Even traditional Stalinists like Richard Kosolapov also have been expelled. Alexey Podberiozkin who was not even a party member, but a Zyuganovite is ostracized. The entire youth communist league, the Komsomol, led by Igor Maligrov was expelled. It had 30,000 members. They formed a new pro-Zyuganov youth alliance. It’s not even a problem of right or left. If you have any independent thoughts, you’re out. This has created an intellectual crisis in the party.

The party faction in the Duma is becoming increasingly corrupt. This has to do with the nature of Russian politics. I blame them, but there are some objective reasons for this parliamentary corruption. It’s not just that they are bad people or opportunists. The Duma has no real power. That is completely demoralizing. Some deputies can use it to fight for something but you don’t have a history of fighting and you don’t have a mass movement outside the Duma to be linked with politically.

In the Duma, it’s the norm for the majority of deputies to take money for every important vote. So for example, if there is legislation on advertising, the lobbyists come and bribe the deputies. They call it lobbying, but it’s really bribery. It’s much worse than in America where they make contributions. In Russia they don’t make contributions, they just give you money for a vote - from $1,000 up to $30,000 for a single vote. You press the “vote” button and you get $30,000. I know a “lobbyist,” who was a left-wing journalist in 1993. She was close to us in the Party of Labor. It dissolved in 1994 but before that it had some influence. (Ed. note: The party of Labor was outlawed by Yeltzin in the wake of his 1993 assault on the Russian Parliament. Kagalitsky was beaten and briefly jailed.) After the 1993 coup, she went to work for MosBank as an analyst. Then they moved her to another job which simply was to bring bribes to deputies. Every time I go to the Duma, I see her there with a bag full of bank notes. I ask her “how many souls did you buy today?”

The Duma is full of these people so it’s very tempting to the deputies. Not every single deputy takes bribes but it is a normal practice. It’s not even denounced by the Communist Party leadership. There is no attempt by the leadership to fight against it. On the contrary, it’s seen as one of the main advantages of being in the Duma. The Party gains, in a more subtle way, from getting money for their needs from different interest groups - in a more American style, such as contributions. It’s kept secret how many contributors there are. The Party leaders control that money. This creates a situation where they are politically and morally unable to keep their party members from becoming corrupt. Russia is a very poor country nowadays. Going into the parliament is a good way of becoming rich. These are people of lower middle class backgrounds who cannot join the right wing parties since they are only for the rich, so they join the left to become upwardly mobile.

JS - This is very discouraging.

BK - It’s incredibly discouraging. The main question is why is the mass movement so weak. If it was strong, either these people would be punished for what they are doing, or they would have to change their ways. Many of those who are corrupt now, could have been good comrades under different circumstances.

There are two reasons why the movement is so weak at the grassroots level. The society has been through incredible turmoil and disorganization. People are unable to come together because they can’t even formulate their collective interests. Imagine, there are people who work half-time as industrial workers and half-time as peddlers or they are engaged in buying and selling. There are enterprises which pay their workers with their products. If you produce china, you don’t get paid a wage, you get paid in china which then you have to go out and sell or exchange. After al l this you don’t know if you’re a proletarian or a petty bourgeois merchant or even a peasant since you have to grow your potatoes and your orchard. So it’s very hard to formulate your own interest.

The second problem is that the economy has been in decline for 9 years with constantly growing unemployment. From your own history, you know that the labor movement is usually stronger when the economy is on the rise. When the economy is declining, workers are afraid to lose their jobs and feel totally dependent on the administration of the enterprise. Since the Soviet times, enterprises have been industrial communities where the workers were dependent not just for their wages but for their housing, holidays, health care and other things. That’s why the workers can keep working without getting paid since the enterprise can provide other benefits. This dependence on the enterprise management contributes to the weakness of the mass movement.

This year for the first time, the economy grew. To give workers more confidence, we need at least two or three years of minimum economic growth at 2 or 3 percent. This is not much considering that we have lost about half of our economy. At this rate, it would take about 30 years to regain our earlier economic size. This small amount of growth is no solution to the problems of the country. But it is socially important because it can give a boost to the labor movement.

The union leaderships today also are very corrupt. The old Teamsters union would be an accurate comparison for Russian unions today. This is why I stopped working with the trade unions. I was an advisor to the chairman of the trade union federation of Russia but I dropped out because I couldn’t stand the level of corruption. But once again, this corruption is not challenged from the bottom because the unions are weak at the grassroots. When they get stronger, they’ll change the leadership.

If the economic growth continues it will present new possibilities for the left. But a second factor is the elections. If they take place, the Communist Party will face electoral disaster. Not because people won’t vote for them. They will gain or lose 1 or 2 percent from the last election. The problem is that this time the electoral system will work against the Communist Party to the same extent that it worked in their favor in the first election. In the 1995 Duma election, they got 22 percent of the vote. In that election, four parties got 50 percent of the vote. That meant that because we have proportional representation these parties got an extra seat for every one they won. The Communist Party was the biggest party so it benefited most from this system. With 22 percent of the vote, it got about 44 percent of the seats. This time, the parties that get more than 5 percent of the vote, which qualifies them to get into the Parliament, will win around 75 percent of the vote, not 50 percent. Therefore, the Communist Party with the same vote will get less seats. To make things worse, it’s not going to be the biggest party this time. So the Communist Party will benefit less than any other party. The other parties tend to make alliances against the Communist Party. Local governors already are forming these alliances and they are selecting who is going to win. Most governors are not Communists. As a result, the Communist Party will face an electoral disaster. I don’t know what they are going to do with that. They’ve failed to create a system of alliances to broaden their appeal. On the contrary they have alienated more people.

JS - They lost their alliance with the Agrarian Party.

BG - In this case, I think the Agrarians really behaved like pigs toward the Communists. They backed the Communist Party during the past four years and then all of a sudden said that everything that was wrong was the responsibility of the Communists. They deny any responsibility themselves and sold themselves for Luzhkov’s money. The Agrarian Party’s scandalous behavior is just another example of the parliamentary corruption. But the Communists’ problem is much broader than just the Agrarians. They have not reached out to the peasants and the workers. If they had done this, it wouldn’t matter if the Agrarians betrayed them. They would still have the support of the peasants. Since they did not develop a real grassroots movement, they can do nothing when the leadership betrays them.

So the question is what is going to happen after the elections, if they take place. If there are elections, there will be a huge crisis inside the Communist Party after they are over. I do not exclude that there will be an attempt to remove Zyuganov from the leadership. I think that it would fail. Some people may leave and try to form a new boarder left wing party, more or less based on the German PDS (Party of Democratic Socialism) model. Maybe it would be a little more social democratic. But you cannot have a social democratic party in Russia. The conditions will not allow it. Either you have to be more radical or you have to be just a liberal. Even in Europe it’s getting harder to be a Social Democrat and in Russia, just forget it. In any case, there will be a chance for the creation of a new party. I don’t know if it will actually happen. Having faced many political defeats myself, I want to be careful about being too optimistic.

The other possibility is if there would be a real coup d’etat. Everything will change if there is a dictatorship. To be honest, I don’t think it would be that bad if this pseudo democracy was thrown out. It is so fake and so demoralizing and so corrupt that we wouldn’t be losing much. At the same time, this would create a possibility for creating a new democratic movement formed by the left. Even if we have a dictatorship, I don’t think it will be that cruel.

JS - Don’t you think political parties would be outlawed?

BK - No I don’t think it would be like Chile or Argentina. I think the dictatorship would be weak. They don’t have the capacity to impose a strong dictatorship. I hope I’m not wrong or I will be in trouble. But the question will become how to resist this dictatorship. If left politics have to be based on resisting rather than using the parliament, then you have different sorts of people and a different type of organization. That will bring in new people. In either case, there will be a huge change after next June.

JS - What effect is the aggressiveness of NATO having on political thought in Russia.

BK - First of all, Russia has become incredibly anti-American. The “anti-Yankee” attitude is dominate. Even the Right doesn’t dare to be openly pro-American because there is such a strong popular hostility to U.S. hegemonistic policies. It’s across the political spectrum.

Also, we have a new generation in Russia. That is the generation that the liberals expected to be theirs. But the new generation rejects neoliberalism completely. First of all, it’s extremely anti-American. These are teenagers who drink Coca-Cola, wear American jeans, listen to Rock music, speak good English. They are computer freaks. They are very much like their American counterparts, so you imagine they are going to be pro-western. Not at all. They take for granted that there are bananas in the shops and coke to drink. It doesn’t have any political meaning. For my generation, drinking coke or wearing jeans was a political statement, but not now.

During the Kosovo crisis, it shocked the Americans that the crowds rushing their Embassy and throwing stones and bottles were teenagers, not old Communists. And they were mainly middle-class teenagers. Moscow is a relatively rich city. The whole country is ruined, but there is wealth in Moscow. It’s the only place in the country that has such a big middle class. During the bombing, I saw crowds of well dressed middle-class teenagers coming to the American Embassy shouting anti-American slogans. They were not shouting nationalist, or “Slavic brotherhood” slogans. They were anti-Imperialist and anti-IMF slogans. They carried solidarity posters with China when the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was bombed.

During the Kosovo war, Russian hackers conducted an attack on Pentagon internet sites and computers. This was recognized by the Pentagon as a serious threat, including they managed to block the White House website for half an hour. (Ed. Note: The massive Russian hacker assault was called “moonlight maze” by the U.S. secutiry agencies and is still being investingated.) They replaced the American flag on the site with a Jolly Roger. It was reported widely in the Russian press as a tremendous success for Russian hackers. These hacker communities are decentralized and, at the same time, very coordinated. So it was a huge attack. After the war, the pirates who dominate the software market in Russia issued a CD-Rom entitled “Anti-NATO.” The CD was filled with hacker software that you can use for your own private attack on U.S. government sites. It was a big hit. Everyone bought it. I went to a pirate outlet in my neighborhood and talked to an 18-year-old clerk. I asked him if it was a CD was left over from the Kosovo war. He said, “No, the war has not ended.”

JS - What do young people think about the fall of the Soviet Union?

BK - Well, middle class youth know there were a lot of bad things about the Soviet Union so they are mainly anarchist and anti-capitalist but also anti-communist. On the other hand, working class kids mythologize the Soviet Union. They think it was a great country which we lost. So they are more pro Soviet. But both grousps are anti-capitalist. Not all, but most. There is a constituency for progressive politics among the youth. Again, I don’t want to be over optimistic. Most of the kids are apolitical at the same time they are anti-capitalist and anti-American. Often their anti-communism is directed not against communist ideology but against the Communist Party of Zyuganov. So if you had a different type of left-wing movement within the Communist tradition, but different from Zyuganov’s party, there would be a response.

JS - What’s your view of the major reasons why the Soviet Union fell?

BK - Well, because the Stalinist system exhausted itself. My point of view is that there were two decisive movements. One was in 1968, when they crushed the Prague Spring which meant that they didn’t want any change or democratic reform. The bureaucracy wanted to keep the system as is. The system was already exhausted. It had been a great success in terms of modernizing and industrializing the country and educating the people. But then the question was whether it was capable of continuing to manage the country with the same methods that had modernized it. It is one thing to be able to build factories and quite another to coordinate the production of thousands of products from hundreds of factories. All the centrist methods that worked in the 30s and 40s failed in the 60s and 70s. That’s why some sort of democratic change was absolutely necessary, not just from the humanist view. From the humanistic and moral point of view it was always necessary. From the managerial and technical point of view it was also necessary at this point. A dramatic change within the system was necessary but when they crushed the Prague Spring it became clear that the political choice had been made to conserve the system as it used to be.

The second turning point was in 1973 when the oil shortage happened in the west. That provided the system with additional resources to consolidate itself on a conservative basis. By selling oil to the west, they started getting petrodollars in huge numbers which compensated for the inefficiency of the system. That led to several consequences. The gap between what was needed and what was actually done was increasing, that is, the contradictions were increasing.

The second consequence was the Soviet Union became integrated into the capitalist world system as a supplier of raw materials. Eastern Europe began getting financial credits from the west which were guaranteed through Russian oil. So the Soviet Union became peripheralized through the structure of world trade and through debt. This caused growing corruption, not only in the bureaucracy but in the population which was corrupted by the type of social contract provided by Brezhnev to the people of the Soviet Union: “If you shut up, don’t ask for more rights and accept the rule of the bureaucracy then we will supply you with consumer goods.” That is why the population was so weak in resisting the liberalism in the late 80s and early 90s. All this happened from 1968-73. In that sense, in 1989-91, we just had no choice in going the way we went. Of course, we on the left fought against it and we had a lot of illusions about being able to achieve some sort of self-management socialism. When we look back after 10 years, we see that the balance of forces was such that we didn’t have a chance. The bureaucracy itself was already oriented to integration with the west. After the Thermidoran and Bonapartist phases we got the restoration of capitalism, dependence on the west and this old Russian state. So that is the return into the “world civilization” as they call it. We return, but as servants.

JS - I was in Moscow in the late 70s and saw a lot of construction and development going on.

BK - Yes, but that was a false affluence. It was like Saudi Arabia. It was based on oil. There is also a lot of construction going on in Moscow today. But it is for banks and houses for the rich. They don’t want to live in blocks of flats like the ordinary people so they are constructing luxury homes.

JS - Are there any other formations on the left in Russia that show promise.

BK - Well, there are lots of formations but the only serious one is the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. You have plenty of groups but they have little impact. If we have a transformation of the political landscape, then some of these groups can become important all of a sudden. They can provide cadre and experience, but only if there is a transformation. You can see that in American politics as well. With an unchanged political situation, most of the left initiatives are dying out but theoretically there can be a moment when you get some sort of change and there is a momentum that integrates all these groups into something stronger and then they can make an impact.

In Russia, we have intellectual groups, left social democratic currents and the Komsomol which is still a big formation with about 15,000 members. There are also some very active Trotskyists. But all these groups are not strong enough to present themselves as a nationwide political force.

JS - What do you see as good leftwing political models around the world?

BK - PDS (Party of Democratic Socialism) in Germany and the Refoundation Communist Party in Italy are two. PDS is very well organized and is strong intellectually. Some in Germany complain that the intellectual debate in PDS is low, but that is only according to German standards. If you are in a country that produced Hegel, Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, you can look at PDS and say it is a low level of debate. But if you look at the rest of central and eastern Europe or even France, the level of debate is much higher in PDS.

France has become an intellectual desert. In Russia, we have a level of intellectual debate that is very high today, but it is disconnected from politics. If it were my choice, I would prefer the German model. I don’t think that having sophisticated intellectual debates is as important as having more lively politics.

The Refoundation Party is not comparable to PDS in terms of success and forming an organization that will reproduce itself. They are still struggling to survive and form their own organizational and political model. In contrast, the PDS is a party with its own culture and tradition. You can be very critical of PDS by the way. I think they are becoming more social democratic. Their success in the east is causing them to move more to the right to fill the void left by the Social Democrats who have moved so far right as to be irrelevant. You cannot be a Tony Blair in eastern Germany, as you can in west Germany. The space for traditional social democracy became empty, and PDS is moving into it. They are the only real Social Democracy in town. They are being criticized for this by those on their left. But PDS and Refoundation are part of the same current.

Another example is the Workers Party (PT) of Brazil. Once again we shouldn’t be too idealistic about PT. In the last 10 years they have developed their own reformists, yuppies and post-modernists. Still it is a good example of a party which is a success. The post-cold war left models - politically and organizational - are still emerging. In Russia, a renovated left will be different than the PDS. It works in Germany where everything is well organized and there is a labor tradition. PDS is too good for us in many ways.

In Japan, the Communist Party is recovering in terms of circulation of their newspaper, in intellectual terms and in relations with the trade unions. The Socialist Party went so far to the right that the Communist Party is picking up some of the space left by it. It doesn’t mean that the left is stronger, because in Japan they had a very radical Socialist Party.

In France, the Communist Party is not doing really well, but the Trotskyists are. There are five Trotskyists in the European Parliament. Two Trotskyists groups have come together and managed to have a stable coalition. They’ve also managed to have good relations with the Communist Party. In France, they have a coalition which is dominated organizationally by the old Communist Party and intellectually by the Trotskyists. They all cooperate very closely. So in a certain sense, the old debate, the old division is over.

The left has to be reshaped so that people overcome old divisions. They don’t have to forget old traditions, just overcome them.

JS - What does your political work consist of today?

BK - I do some educational work with Komsomol, the youth Communist league. And I write for a quarterly journal, “Alternatives,” produced by Alexandr Buzgalin, who is the leading Marxist economist in Russia today. Fortunately he’s not the only one. Courses in Marxism are now returning to Russian universities. I teach Marxism at the Moscow School for Social Sciences. Buzgalin’s journal is an attempt to bring together different currents on the left.

From 1993 to 1998 was the worse period for the left in Russia. There was no chance for an organized left outside the Communist Party. The Party didn’t want us. People like Buzgalin and me were ready to work with the Communist Party. Komsomol wanted to work with us. Many of their leaders were students of ours. Academic work is not just academic. It should be used to help form young cadre for the movement.

JS - You have a new book coming out?

BK - It just came out in London last week. They are publishing three books by me. One at a time but they are really three parts of the same book. It’s called Recasting Marxism. Part One which is already out is called “New Realism, New Barbarism.” It is based on an old Rosa Luxemburg phase, “Socialism or Barbarism.” Now socialism has been defeated and barbarism is triumphant. I wanted to write a political study of this triumphant barbarism and how it is reflected within the left itself. There is a lot of barbarization of the left itself. For example, post modernism is a sophisticated form of barbarism. It is anti-universalist, anti-Marxist and anti-enlightenment. The book is about the western left, not Russia. It’s a critique of some sections of the left, including post modernism and the social democratic right, the Blairist right. We have to make the distinction that Blair and others are not left anymore. The division is not whether you’re reformist or radical. It’s whether you are left or ex-left. This is a historic divide, like in 1914.

JS - The NATO bombing helped make that distinction clear.

BK - Yes. I was very disappointed when Bernie Sanders supported the bombing. Also the Democratic Socialists of America supported it. It was “human rights imperialism.” But I don’t think it’s very human to bomb people.

JS - We should know that in the U.S., particularly because of Vietnam, which we bombed in order to “save it.”