More CrossTalk™

Hafsa Kara-Mustapha in CounterPunch today criticizes me at length in "Cross Talk, Semantics and the Downright Spineless" about our appearance on a panel on RT's program CrossTalk™ and my piece "Stated Goals vs Actual Goals: CrossTalk Lives Up to Its Name."

I won't rebut point for point what she writes, because I think it will continue to fuel the CrossTalk™ that began on the program -- she continues to alternate between talking about people "capable of questioning U.S. policy motives" on the one hand and then on the other referring to U.S. government policy as "blunders" and having "obvious flaws" -- tepid crits from my point of view. 

But, I should point out she claims: "It was only at the very end that Husseini gathered some courage to finally state that the U.S.’ policy was specifically designed to fuel conflict and encourage failed states."

I think that's a simplification of what I was saying, but the fact is that in the first segment of the program, at 6:30, I stated about U.S. government policy: "If you can't have subservient state -- and I think that's a difficult thing to do in countries like Libya, like Syria, like even Iraq under the circumstances -- then a failed state is a relatively positive outcome. That you have the Saudi ally/client, whatever you want to call it, being ever more dominant in the Middle East. You have Israel having evermore carte blanche in the Middle East. You have the alliance between Iran, Syria and Hezbollah being hit at its weakest point." [video

I can understand her not having quite heard this given the CrossTalk™ on the program, I found it difficult to communicate under the circumstances as well, but she really should be able to have figured it out by watching the program after the fact. She'd then be free to respond to the substance. 

I should note that my piece after the program didn't just complain about the program, I posited a theory about why some associated with RT would not -- as one might expect -- be prone to criting the Machiavellian nature of U.S. policy: It would mean the U.S. government isn't really getting schooled by Putin. 

I've gotten a number of emails from folks about the substance of my remarks and hope to write a longer piece on that. 
1 response
I can't find your e-mail address, so for your consideration I will post a comment I wrote at the Saker site ( Ort on October 22, 2015 · at 5:16 pm UTC [...] I’d seen Husseini before, but I don’t follow his work and am not a “fan”. This disclaimer is made just to note that I took his responses at face value. As many other commenters here noted, Husseini’s approach clearly confused and confounded the other panelists, and triggered Lavelle’s penchant for getting exercised and losing his cool. Perhaps Lavelle’s passion is a virtue to some watchers, but this time it was wholly misguided because both he and the other panelists mistook Husseini’s cryptic questions as opposition. Thus, as the program progressed they treated Husseini like the “odd man out”– as if he was just another Contrarian Looney to pile on, a stock feature of Crosstalk. I especially agree that Husseini’s approach is not suited to Crosstalk’s format and habits, for lack of a better term. I characterize his questioning technique as “Socratic” in a broad sense; he seems to be “baiting” his interlocutors, but he’s actually trying to get them to examine the problematic and dubious assumptions in their shared perspective. I should think that almost everyone has had teachers and professors who employ this approach. One of the best teachers I ever had, a high school history teacher, drove us crazy at first because we thought such questions were supercilious, hostile, and sarcastic– even though we didn’t think in those exact terms. Eventually some of us caught on: he was being “difficult” in order to get us to think. I’m surprised that the presumably well-educated panelists, including Lavelle, got so irritated and defensive that they didn’t twig what he was up to– I guess they never had one of those “Socratic” teachers.