Scott Horton Interviews Eric Margolis

Scott Horton, April 18, 2012

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Eric Margolis, internationally syndicated columnist and author of War at the Top of the World and American Raj, discusses his article “Cuba Starts to Come Alive;” hanging out with Ernest Hemingway in pre-revolutionary Cuba; why meaningful reform will be delayed until the “old fossil” hardliners die off; how to liberalize the Cuban economy and property rights while preventing US domination; Midwest agricultural exports not subject to the embargo; how Venezuela filled the Soviet void and saved Cuba from regressing to the pre-industrial age; the outsized political influence of Florida’s anti-Castro lobby; and Cuba’s institutionalized police state.

MP3 here. (25:57)

Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles appear in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times and Dawn. He is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. He appears as an expert on foreign affairs on CNN, BBC, France 2, France 24, Fox News, CTV and CBC.

As a war correspondent Margolis has covered conflicts in Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Sinai, Afghanistan, Kashmir, India, Pakistan, El Salvador and Nicaragua. He was among the first journalists to ever interview Libya’s Muammar Khadaffi and was among the first to be allowed access to KGB headquarters in Moscow. A veteran of many conflicts in the Middle East, Margolis recently was featured in a special appearance on Britain’s Sky News TV as “the man who got it right” in his predictions about the dangerous risks and entanglements the US would face in Iraq.

Margolis is the author of War at the Top of the World: The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir and Tibet and American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World.

23 Responses to “Eric Margolis”

  1. How do you get enriched?

    Communism is everyone enriching themselves upon the misery of those more intelligent, capitalism is everyone enriching themselves upon the misery of those less intelligent, and true religion is everyone enriching themselves upon the enrichment of those less fortunate.

  2. How do you get enriched?

    Communism is everyone enriching themselves upon the misery of those more intelligent, capitalism is everyone enriching themselves upon the misery of those less intelligent, and true religion is everyone enriching themselves upon the enrichment of those less fortunate.

  3. "A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism (communism) does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings." Ludwig Von Mises

    Boy has history proven Mises right! Communism can't work because it denies human nature.

  4. Umar Empire Staff: Khalifah Aaed-MullaUmar FM-Odaa Qadhaa-Bahsaar PM-Nejad DM-Hania IM-Munjed Mal(Shariaa FIRST).

  5. It is absolute, ability to compete in capitalism is the speed at which you can rationalize a problem and take corrective action. Also, speed of thought like sex appeal and wealth, this passes from father to son, which is why the rich nobility will always remain the fastest thinkers. Therefore, in free-market capitalism, the 1% rich nobility will always hoard 80% of the wealth.

  6. John, do you really think Communism offers a better alternative? Look at every Communist state to ever exist. The 1% as you call them still hoard all the power. How much better do you think Josef Stalin's standard of living was compared to your average Ukrainian? "Elites" as you call them will always rise to the top in any system be it professional sports or politics. The only system that can possibly work is one in which they don't have a "State" to force people to do as they wish. I would rather have walmart and kmart competing for my dollar with no power to force me to do anything than have a monopoly distribution system as existed under communism. Sure, the proles rose up and stripped the wealth from the wealthy in various communist revolutions, but over time, how did that work out for the proles?

    John, you seem to covet very deeply what others have whether it be intelligence, education or money and you seem to want to punish them for something as you point out, they had no choice in such as their genetic heritage. You also seem to want to punish others for working hard and earning more than you. Rather than tearing others down, perhaps your energy would be better directed at building yourself up. I know quite a few men who I believe arent very "intelligent" but are quite successful as businessmen.

  7. Capitalism can't work because it affirms animal nature in human form. In other words: violence and exploitation of your fellow man.

  8. But Capitalism does work. It is capitalism that produced the very technology you are using to post on this site. Capitalism produces the Honda Accord, socialism produces the Trabant. Capitalism, despite any faults, is the best system we have. Capitalism has produced a standard of living beyond what our ancestors could have dreamed of.

    Let me be concise, when I say "capitalism", I dont mean the "crony capitalism" or "corpratism" that is wrecking America. I'm talking real free markets uninhibited by the predations of the parasite state.

    Greed, envy, and selfishness are what drive socialism. Robbery and murder are its methods. Misery and poverty are its children. I have never met a single capitalist who commits violence or exploitation of his fellow man. I see plenty of Statists who do.

  9. Oh yes, capitalism has been soooo successful.

    It has given Americans a health care system where companies can hold sick children hostage while their parents frantically bankrupt themselves try to save them.

    And then there is that wonderfully successful American banking system which would have imploded without the American taxpayer's generous support. I guess socialism for corporations and the filthy rich is just another word for capitalism.

    By the way, socialism created the Volvo, capitalism created the Ford. Well, done you!

  10. W1nst0n — A confusion generator here to protect his excessive wealth

    W1nst0n
    “John, do you really think Communism offers a better alternative?”

    Mixing letters and numbers to come up with a confusing name, this is indicative of the confusion inherent in all comments by the above poster. All to destroy truth here at Anti-War.com, one of the few places left where a man who has some love for the truth can community reality as he perceives it to be.

    For John Ellis is neither a communist nor a capitalist, but a moralist who proposes that we have a government that does not rob from the rich nor give to the poor, but a people that willingly pass their excessive wealth down to the slums where it belongs.

  11. W1nst0n — A confusion generator here to protect his excessive wealth

    W1nst0n
    “John, do you really think Communism offers a better alternative?”

    Mixing letters and numbers to come up with a confusing name, this is indicative of the confusion inherent in all comments by the above poster. All to destroy truth here at Anti-War.com, one of the few places left where a man who has some love for the truth can community reality as he perceives it to be.

    For John Ellis is neither a communist nor capitalist, but a moralist who proposes that we have a government that does not rob from the rich nor give to the poor, but a people that willingly pass their excessive wealth down to the slums where it belongs.

  12. Capitalist democracy — Human nature to its ultimate conclusion

    Roger Lafontaine
    “Capitalism… it affirms animal nature in human form…
    violence and exploitation of your fellow man.”

    TRUTH
    Capitalism is a dichotomy, a gross contradiction within itself.

    For capitalism creates a system where the maximum number of people achieve the maximum pleasure possible. For the dominant paradigm is to “self-actualize,” to “Be All You Can Be,” to earn all you can earn, take all you can take, own all you can own and to be a dictator over all who are on land that you own.

    Problem is, to accomplish the maximum amount of pleasure, capitalism must also create the maximum amount of misery. For it is a system of government and law enforcement where people are allowed to enrich themselves upon the misery of anyone less educated, as that is fair competition. For the definition of crime is to defraud, cheat or in anyway make miserable anyone more wealthy or more educated.

  13. Eric Margolis makes the strange comment that pre-revolutionary Cubans enjoyed a standard of living similar to those of Americans at the time.

    Well, maybe Eric's recollections are limited to those folks he mixed with, who, it sounds like, were mostly Americans anyway.

    The fact is that most pre-Castro Cubans lived in appalling conditions, in a state of near serfdom. Castro vastly improved overall living standards in Cuba. Of course this was in large part at the expense of the erstwhile elite, who lost the wealth and privileges they had so ruthlessly clung to.

    That's one important reason Cubans have been remarkably loyal to the regime. It actually delivered a better, healthier and more dignified life for most, and its leaders did not succumb to the temptation of self-enrichment that so many fall for.

    The fact that US hostility then pushed Castro into the arms of the Soviet Union and the embrace of doctinaire communism led to an ossified centrally planned economy. What a different Cuba might have emerged if the US had been more receptive from the start and established normal relations with the regime.

    One more thing: does not the fact that Cubans enjoy a longer life expectancy than Americans while as a nation spending a minute fraction of the amount on health care give doctrinaire libertarians pause for thought about their view that government can't do anything well?

  14. "Mixing letters and numbers to come up with a confusing name, this is indicative of the confusion inherent in all comments by the above poster. "
    John, my screen name is an homage to the main character in the book "Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow. Sorry if that's confusing to you.

    LOL at you again accusing me of having "excessive wealth". Dude, I have four kids. I live paycheck to paycheck. Ive told you this before but I guess you want to keep calling me a liar.

    But lets say some rich dude "passes his excessive wealth" to the slums. What will they do with it? Most poor people are poor because they keep doing the things that made them, or their ancestors poor. Most rich people are rich because they keep doing the things that made them rich.

    I would agree with you though, charity comes from the heart, not the barrel of a gun.

  15. "Oh yes, capitalism has been soooo successful. "
    You are right. The fact that you have a computer with which to post your anti-capitalist views on a world wide network made by capitalists are evidence of that.

    "It has given Americans a health care system where companies can hold sick children hostage while their parents frantically bankrupt themselves try to save them. "
    WRONG. Fascism, or "national socialism" has given us the American healthcare system. The American healthcare system is NOT free market capitalism. It is a national socialist system where well connected companies benefit and use the government to keep prices and demand artificially high. The only thing worse would be a government run "single-payer" system.

    "And then there is that wonderfully successful American banking system which would have imploded without the American taxpayer's generous support. I guess socialism for corporations and the filthy rich is just another word for capitalism. "
    Again, I am NOT advocating what passes for capitalism in America because America has been steadily steaming away from free market capitalism for about 100 years now. Socialism for corporations is known as "fascism" or "national socialism". The American banking, healthcare, agriculture, drugl, and energy industries are the prime examples of a national socialist system. America has been successful up to this point precisely because it has been "more free" than other countries. But this is steadily becoming a thing of the past.

    "By the way, socialism created the Volvo, capitalism created the Ford. Well, done you! '
    Hey good point. That explains the nausea I get every time I look at a Volvo. Overpriced and ugly, just like the system that made them!

    You do know that Henry Ford made the automobile affordable by the average joe right? He used his evil capitalist powers to make cars for everyone, not just the rich. I would actually take a Ford over a Volvo even though I generally dislike American cars due to their poor quality. Unions and protectionist policies are what ruined the American car.

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