Ann Garrison: Earlier this year, you told me that you differ with Noam Chomsky, your co-author of Manufacturing Consent and other books, in that you plan to vote for the Green Party’s presidential and vice presidential candidates Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka in the swing state of Pennsylvania.
Are you still planning to do so?
Edward S. Herman (image right): Yes.
AG: Can you explain why?
ESH: Because the two duopoly candidates are dangerous to societal and international welfare and even survival. Hillary Clinton is a neo-liberal and pre-eminent war-monger. I think she is the most dangerous person living in the world today, given her highly likely election victory and her likely performance as president. She represents the corporate elite and military-industrial complex more clearly than Trump and she is a follow-on to Bush and Obama. She will pursue similar policies except for her somewhat more aggressive bent.
Trump is a self-promoting windbag, racist and dangerous, unpredictable phony. We have a ghastly choice in these two. Jill Stein offers a protest opportunity, more so than not voting. On the line that either voting for Stein or not voting would constitute a vote for Trump, one might argue that a vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for war with Syria and Russia and a vote for Netanyahu (and hence for escalated violence in Palestine).
AG: Hillary Clinton and John Podesta’s e-mail has revealed that Hillary Clinton is well aware that the Saudi and Qatari rulers – not rogue elements – fund ISIS, and the same Saudi and Qatari rulers fund the Clinton Foundation. Throughout the last George Bush’s presidency, there were innumerable headlines that “Saudi oil sheikhs met with George Bush on his Crawford, Texas ranch.” What are your thoughts on that?
ESH: Saudi Arabia is a US ally and an instrument of the warfare state. Hillary Clinton has treated its leaders warmly and she will continue to do so as president. The Clinton Foundation’s receipt of money from Saudi and Qatari leaders is a first class conflict of interest and outrage, but the media have focused on the many less important abuses of Trump, helping cover over the outrages of their preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton, and her husband, Bill Clinton.
AG: What do you think of Clinton’s statement that she would make removing Bashar Al-Assad her top priority? And Trump’s statement that he would not, because that would recklessly risk confrontation with Russia?
ESH: Hillary Clinton has essentially promised to escalate war in Syria and is therefore promising to go to war with Russia as well. Diana Johnstone has made the case that Hillary Clinton plans to try to bring about “regime change” in Russia (cite). This is of course incredibly dangerous and would have aroused a really democratic media, but the existing media are part of the war system, hence Hillary Clinton’s commitment to wars is essentially suppressed. Trump has made a number of statements along the lines of reducing US interventions and commitments abroad and trying to deal with Russia in a less confrontational manner, but he has sometimes contradicted himself by urging expanded arms, use of nuclear weapons, etc. But Hillary Clinton has said nothing that would offset her war-mongering. This difference from Trump may help explain the intensity of media hostility to Trump.
AG: Jill Stein has said that “wars for oil are blowing back at us wth a vengeance” and that she would cut the military budget by half, close most of the foreign bases, and redirect resources into a Green New Deal that would fully employ Americans building sustainable energy and agricultural infrastructure. I can’t imagine you disagree, but do you think it’s important for the Greens to articulate such a vision at the national and international level, instead of focussing solely on local races that they might win?
ESH: The Greens don’t have the resources to compete in many local elections. So she is wise to focus on the big national and international issues. Furthermore, the real gap in the political system is the lack of opposition to national neoliberal and militaristic policies. It is said that she can’t make a bigger mark given the hegemony of the duopoly, but even Ralph Nader couldn’t get 5 percent of the vote. The system still works well, for the 1%.
AG: Michael Moore has made a movie called “Trumpland” and warned that Trump’s election would be the end of the United States, assuming that would be a bad thing. David Swanson, author of “War Is a Lie,” has imagined the same but argued, in “Secession, Trump, and the Avoidability of Civil War,” that the break-up of the United States is not the worst possibility on the horizon. Do you have any thoughts on this?
ESH: Michael Moore is completely oblivious to the fact that the enlarging war that is likely to follow Hillary Clinton’s election threatens not only a nuclear exchange, but also attacks on civil liberties and the march toward fascism. In its own way, the election of Hillary Clinton might threaten a democratic order as much as a Trump victory. The anti-Trump hysteria has tended to block out consideration of the Hillary Clinton menace.
AG: Is there anything else you’d like to say about why you’re voting for Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka?
ESH: I’ve always believed in the moral rule laid down in the categorical imperative: “Do that which you would wish generalized.”
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