On this edition of Parallax Views, Hannah R. Gurman, historian and Clinical Associate Professor at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, joins us to discuss her Responsible Statecraft piece “‘Rambo’ rides again? Switching roles and purifying souls in Ukraine”. Said piece deals with the return of counterinsurgency in the post-War on Terror/post-Iraq War context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the U.S. response to it. Hannah analyzes this using the popular action film Rambo III, which infamously saw Sylvester Stallone’s iconic John Rambo joining Afghanistan freedom fighter (or… the mujahadeen?) fight the Soviet Union and save his friend Col. Sam Trautman by joining a secret CIA mission. Hannah argues that Rambo III is is a piece of pop culture that relevant in understanding how Americans processed the Vietnam War in the decades following its failure. She then uses this to examine how counterinsurgency has returned with none other than the neoconservative hawk Eliot Cohen, a co-founder of the Project for American Century, as a proponent thanks to the Ukraine crisis. All that and much more in this fascinating conversation!
In the second segment of the show, Jacobin staff writer and Yesterday’s Man: The Case Against Joe Biden author Branko Marcetic joins me to discuss his article “We Have New Evidence of Saudi Involvement in 9/11, and Barely Anyone Cares”. Branko covers how newly released FBI documents point towards some level of Saudi complicity in the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. The prime figure that come up in the latest documents? Omar al-Bayoumi, a man who provided assistance to 9/11 hijackers in California and that is believed to have been associated with Saudi intelligence, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, whose close relationship with President George W. Bush led to him being nicknamed “Prince Bandar Bush”. In this conversation we discuss the seemingly explosive revelations in these documents as well as the media blackout on coverage of the topic, crisis in Yemen, why despots can get away with violations of international law and the mocking of its allies in a world driven by oil and gas, and much, much more.