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on AGF on NATO

Another feature of much writing by for want of a better word I call
"progressive" historians that deals with questions or matters that are
subject to contemporary political contention is that it often displays an
extreme cynicism about the motives and mechanisms of power struggles and
political conflicts (Gunder Frank's interventions on Kosovo are in this
respect typical).  I call this trait "the naivete of the
over-sophisticated."  For some reason certain highly educated people, who
do not themselves hold political power, feel irrestistibly drawn to the
most simplistic and, as I would say, "naively cynical" accounts of how the
world works.  "Naively cynical", because such blanket explanations of, for
example, why the US fought the Gulf War or is now carrying out air strikes
against  Yugoslavia, simply do not explain.  And it is surprising, or
should be, that it is precisely those historians who claim a particularly
deep and sophisticated insight into the mechanisms of power and historical
development who seem especially subject to this naivete of the
 - David Gress on H-world

Andre Gunder Frank's persistent and unqualified condemnation of NATO
actions in Kosovo and implicit support of Serbian actions is little short
of astonishing to me, in light of his long history of supporting the
underdog. It is also puzzling to me that he is puzzled that so many of us on the
left and so many human rights groups do not agree with him.  It is indeed
terrible to think of NATO (mostly American) military technology being
turned against the fragile infrastructure of Yugoslavia, and even more
terrible that a potentially large number of entirely innocent people are going to
die in the bombardment.  On the other hand, it is still worse to think of
Serbian police, army, and irregular militia brutalizing defenseless people
in Kosovo on the same scale they did in Bosnia.  Unless what I have been
reading is propaganda, the UN estimates there are as many as 500 mass
graves in Bosnia, each containing as many as several hundred executed
civilians.The total, if these reports are correct, probably exceeds 100,000 people,
a number that dwarfs human tragedy created by the NATO bombing.  Is it then
sopuzzling that even people who are generally critical of the big powers,
and especially the US, would want something to be done to prevent the same
happening in Kosovo.  Frank's faith in international law as the better
solution is completely out of character with the healthy cynicism 
-  Randall Stokes on WSN

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