“I find Mexico to be incredibly interesting because we witness the disintegration of Western political institutions. The state is disintegrating in Mexico in front of our very eyes, and it’s being replaced by the so-called cartels… We haven’t seen that kind of thing in the world—because these cartels have no political depth. They don’t have any ideology, right? They’re strictly economic institutions. They do represent—and I think this is a very interesting point worth thinking about as we go on—the cartels represent the ultimate economization of politics.”-big mike
In this episode:
00:00 What about the conditions of the USSR—so integral to the Allies’ victory in WWII—made its post-war behavior and prospects so different from the US? How did these challenges lead to the post-war solidification of its authoritarianism and its occupation of many countries in Eastern Europe?
19:30 How did ideology function in the process of the Soviets’ development of their state, and the US’ development of an image of that state? In what ways did the US, in antagonizing the Soviets so intensely, accidentally accept some of their ideological presuppositions? In what surprising ways did communist ideology spread, other than direct Soviet occupation?
25:02 What about the Middle West [big Mike’s term for Western Europe]—what challenges did they face post-WWII? How was its development influenced by the legacy of democratic socialism, much stronger there than in the US, and fascism, which was homegrown in many more European countries than we remember? How did their vulnerability allow the US to step into its position as world superpower, as we know it to be today?
37:55 What about the ‘third world’ or ‘developing world’—problematic categories that betray the influence of Marx? How did imperialism and its volatile endings lead to surprising consequences for both West and East, who both tried, often violently, to influence the way peoples across the world were trying to determine the course of their own lives? What value do the experiments of various ‘postcolonial’ countries have for us today?