Afghanistan, Africa, American Militarism, Andrés Barrera, “Operation Gladio”, big Capital and corporate interests, Center for Syncretic Studies, Central and South America, Cold War, full spectrum domination, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Iraq, Israel, Joaquin Flores, Korea, Libya, Middle East, NATO, Repression, Russian Federation, South East Asia, Soviet Union, Spain, Subversion, Syria, the Balkans, the privatization of war, Ukraine, United States, World War Two, Yugoslavia
By: Andrés Barrera González, edited by Joaquin Flores
– PhD in Political Science and Sociology, Profesor Titular at the University Complutense of Madrid.
The Rise and Transformation of American Militarism and Imperialism after World War Two
Part I: Europe After World War Two
Throughout the 19th century world affairs were dominated by Europe’s great colonial and imperial powers: Britain, France, Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia, and the Ottomans on the south-eastern fringes of the continent. Rivalry and competition for the world’s resources between the European ‘great powers’ and colonial metropolises reached a peak at the end of the century. And this was the background setting that brought Europe to war and catastrophe during 1914-18. It was the first act in the dramatic demise of Europe’s world hegemony. The second and final act of the fall of Europe as the axis of global power took place during the 1939-45 war, which again had the continent as its main theatre of operations. World War Two caused unprecedented material destruction, and it took an appalling toll in human life. It also led to the first nuclear holocaust, triggered by the arbitrary decision of the government of the United States to test-drop recently built atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 [i].
As a consequence of the war, most of Europe (including the Soviet Union) was left thoroughly devastated and worn out; which set the ground for the uncontested hegemony of the United States, given that its territory and economy remained untouched by the disasters of the war. Thus Western Europe became fully dependent, and increasingly subordinated to the United States in all fundamental dimensions: economic, political, and military. A turn of events that was reinforced with the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949; namely to counter the perceived-stated threat coming from a former war ally, the Soviet Union, unwilling to yield to the emerging world power configuration headed by the United States. The USA, its Western European ‘allies’ stalking along, thus raised the stakes in its confrontation with the Soviet Union, declaring the inauguration of the Cold War.
However, it is interesting to note that NATO’s article 5, which requires member states to come to the aid of any one member subject to an armed aggression, has been called upon only once. It was invoked by the USA after the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks. This calling to solidarity from the allies gave way to a new phase in the role of NATO at the beginning of the third millennium, by effectively getting the Alliance directly involved in the elusive and iniquitous “global war on terror” (terrorism becoming a phantom enemy and convenient surrogate of the “Soviet-Communist threat”, so that the strategy of endless war may move on). As an outcome of the boundless “war on terror”, we will soon see the USA exploit NATO as a convenient tool and cover to intervene well beyond the scope of the Alliance’s constituency and foundational mission: in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, anti-piracy patrols in the Indian Ocean, in Syria and Libya more recently.
Returning to the European arena, one should not overlook two important developments in what regards the transformations of NATO’s ‘mission’, in practice if not statuary. Two occurrences which are the upshot of the pursuit of the Alliance’s hidden agenda. Firstly, a dark chapter in the annals of subversive, truly terrorist activities promoted and executed by NATO’s ‘secret armies’, against leftist and communist parties in the territories of its own member states in Western Europe. Italy’s Operation Gladio in particular was conceived and executed, from the 1950’s through the 1980’s, to prevent the accession to power and government institutions of the Italian Communist Party. A dirty war by proxy, aimed to discredit communist and other left wing movements in Europe, made up by countless undercover violent operations (Ganser, 2005).
Secondly, it should not be overlooked the continued expansion of NATO to the east, in a relentless drive to incorporate former communist bloc countries in Central and Eastern Europe, including the peripheries of the Soviet Union itself. A reckless policy conceived and carried out by the USA from the 1990’s to this day, drawing on its NATO toy; which blatantly violates the solemn assurances made to Russia and the Soviet Union, as part of the implicit if not explicit agreements that paved the way for the pulling of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact[ii].
In sum, a precious opportunity was spoiled and lost to set up true global and mutual security arrangements at the end of the Cold War, after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR itself (the archenemy of the USA-West that justified the very existence of NATO). A global security post Cold War architecture that would prevent major conflicts and wars happening in the European scene or elsewhere. Instead, the United States of America, the exceptional and indispensable chosen nation, the only feasible planetary leader, decided to take the straight road to world hegemony and full spectrum domination, aiming to establish a Pax Americana of sorts (Chomsky, 2003; Engdahl, 2009).
One key moment in the transformation of NATO into a tool of empire and global domination –and an instrument of military aggression against anyone who dared challenge the self avowed righteousness and political-moral superiority of the USA-West, mostly utilized against small defenceless countries, rather than being a defensive bastion against a menacing mighty enemy–, was the vile and criminal bombardment of Serbia’s civil infrastructures in 1999, carried out with total impunity by the USA, under the cloak of NATO. A vicious punishment against what remained of former Yugoslavia, for its resistance to yield to the plans and purposes of the Empire in the region. The end result (or main purpose to start with) of such a cowardly and despicable act of aggression, against a defenceless country and people, was the setting up of a satellite statelet in the Balkans to accommodate the largest USA military base outside of its own territory, Camp Bondsteel (Johnstone, 2002) [ referring to Kosovo, taken by the US from Serbia – .ed].
The demise of Western Europe as a global power and key actor on its own terms, and their subordination to the strategic interests of the USA, was accentuated by the dissolution of most of what remained of the European colonial empires in the aftermath of World War Two. Huge territories subject to colonial-imperial control in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, gradually became independent nations-states; while the United States of America volunteered to take up ‘the burden of empire’ from former colonial masters: Britain, France, the Netherlands, or Japan. However, there were some peoples who resisted the self-appointed new master of the world engaging in such a neo-colonial and neo-imperial crusade, which led to very ugly and genocidal wars all along the second half of the 20th century (Turse, 2013): in the Korean peninsula, south-east Asia, northern and sub Saharan Africa, the Middle East. As regards Central and South America, well that remained the unchallenged USA’s back yard, where they would intervene with complete impunity, staging all sort of coups d’état against established and democratically elected governments, whenever they thought their interests, or those of American multinationals, were in jeopardy.
In many of these neo-colonial neo-imperial wars (wars of resistance, independence and liberation as seen from the other side) the United States, with the compliance of its circumstantial ‘allies’, ended up directly or indirectly confronting the Soviet Union, and later on Communist China as well (in Korea right in 1950, and elsewhere in south-east Asia along the 1960’s and 1970’s); or the small but brave new Cuba (in Angola’s war of independence, in some revolutionary risings across Latin America). Curiously enough, the mighty USA with its huge war machine ended up losing most of these wars; unfortunately not before inflicting appalling devastation and misery upon the territories and peoples against whom the wars were unleashed, thousands of kilometres away from North America’s shores.
Part II: The USA and the Idea of a United Europe
In post-war Europe, what we are left with is a gloomy panorama of a sharply divided continent, countries occupied by foreign powers and forcefully distributed in ‘spheres of influence’. A liberal Capitalist West comes under American tutelage, whereas the Communist East stays under the grip of the Soviet Union. With the noble idea to overcome the post-war depression, the disheartening devastation and division, and to make sure a war of such dimensions never again would happen, the project of a united Europe is put forward, timidly at first. Thus the Council of Europe is established in 1949, Robert Schuman’s Declaration proposes the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (May 9 1950), later on the six countries that signed the ECSC treaty in 1951 move forward by signing the Treaty of Rome in 1957, which gave way to the establishment of the European Economic Community (EEC), the European Community (EC) by the Maastricht Treaty of 1992-93, and the culmination of the present European Union by the Lisbon Treaty of 2007-2009.
When and how did the appealing project of a united Europe start go awry and deviate from the noble ideals of the founding fathers? That is indeed a complex matter for historians to sort out in detail. What I am suggesting is that one fundamental source of the skewing was the gradual interference of the United States, when they started to realize that the progress of a united Europe would inevitable pose a threat to its own global hegemony and dominance, and become a challenge to its strategic interests: commercial, political and otherwise. This bold interference, at some point resulting in a true take-over of the EU by the USA, is done by different means and via diverse conduits, NATO being the most important and obvious one.
An illustration of the nature of these developments would be in the principles driving the politics of EC-EU enlargement, formally stated or implicit; particularly in what regards its expansion towards the East after the fall of the Wall. There is a pattern that clearly emerges: admission of a country to the EU club implies becoming a member of NATO as well, often it is a stringent precondition, as for example in the case of Spain. After the failed coup d’état of February 23 1981, the priority of the new government was to bring Spain fully into Europe, and under the protective umbrella of the USA-West, so that the dangers of internal political involution would be prevented. The way to achieve this was to start by joining NATO, an objective effectively attained in the short time that this government remained in office. The Socialist Party that had vocally objected and opposed Spain entering NATO overwhelmingly won the 1982 general election, with a clear if implicit mandate to block and overturn the decision of the previous government. However, once in power, the government headed by Felipe González gradually changed their mind: from “OTAN de entrada NO”, to a more pragmatic well perhaps if Spain wants to become a full member of the democratic prosperous Western world… Now, the confirmation of Spain remaining in NATO paved the way for its admission to the European Community in 1986, overcoming the objections of important standing members of the club, with help (and some arm twisting) from the powerful big brother the other side of the Atlantic.
President González was thus successful in superseding the strong internal opposition in his Party, and also in persuading-misleading the electorate during the 1996 referendum campaign whether to stay in NATO… under certain conditions. But the provisos to membership in the Alliance that the socialist government attached to the proposal put forward to the electorate, were later blatantly ignored and overhauled by the government of the Partido Popular when they came to office in 1996, thus consummating a monumental fraud to the Spanish people. A fraud later on to be further extended and completed when Mr Zapatero’s new Socialist government allowed (with the agreement of the Partido Popular, then in the opposition) a substantial increase in the number of American troops to be stationed in Spain, for the alleged purpose of setting up and the proper management of an “anti-missile shield” in Spanish territory. This unproblematic bipartisan ‘consensus’ was again upheld a few years later by Rajoy’s government in power, to allow for further increases in the number of USA troops stationed in Spain. This time arguably to provide logistic support for American ‘humanitarian’ missions abroad such as the fight of ebola in Africa, by military means.
The bi-partisan initiatives referred to above, secretively carried out by stealth, keeping the Spanish people ignorant of the implications of such crucial decisions, are about to be culminated with the likely express adoption of a new law (before the 2015 elections take place, because of fears that the new Parliament may not be so compliant as regards USA’s imperative demands) that would allow still more American troops to be stationed in the naval base of Rota and the airfield of Morón de la Frontera, so that the United States may generously staff and operate the headquarters of its Africa Military Command (AFRICOM) from Spain[iii]. And this is the story of a once proud and fiercely independent country Spain becoming a fully fledged military colony of the USA-NATO.
Developments in the Ukraine over the last year or two prove beyond any reasonable doubt what has been argued above; that is, the close convergence of the USA’s agendas as regards the EU and NATO, which for them are just two sides of the same coin[iv]. These are fundamental facts which effectively amount to the abduction of the modern idea of Europe by the Zeus of the present time. Incidentally, it also accounts for the fact that to this day the European Union lacks any semblance of a common independent policy on defence and foreign matters. Because European defence and foreign policies are defined and determined not by the EU institutions or popular will, but by the NATO, which is in turn under the tight control of the United States. The evidence in this regard is overwhelming, facts and figures are easily available to any person concerned and interested in investigating the subject. But do not look for rigorous information on these issues in the mainstream media, for the media are mostly under the control of powerful Euro-Atlantida lobbies located in Brussels or Washington DC, in the hands of the new Citizens Kane who represent Big Capital, therefore working in the service of the Empire.
Furthermore, watch what is going on with the secretive negotiations around the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), carried out behind the scenes, the facts snatched from the public, and even from the institutions and representatives of national popular sovereignty. For it is of the outmost importance to realize that if the TTIP is finally passed, it would be the end of whatever is left of Europe’s independence, and of the national sovereignty of its constituent countries. Because the TTIP is from its very foundations designed to serve the interests of corporate America, to benefit the larger multinational corporations and big financial Capital; rather than for the benefit of the people, or to attend to true national or multinational interests. The deplorable subordination of the EU to the USA’s strategic interests, therefore the lack of autonomy in defining their own path in key issues like defence, foreign affairs, or economic policy for that matter, may have very damaging and tragic consequences for the EU in the (not so) long run.
But let us backtrack a little in the enunciation of the present narrative. With the consolidation of the Communist bloc in Central and Eastern Europe after WWII, the establishment of the Warsaw Pact, and the closure of the Berlin-Iron Wall, the conflict East-West, Communism versus Capitalism, becomes somehow stabilized, indeed frozen, in the European scenario. The hot spots in the confrontation sprout elsewhere: the Korean peninsula, Indochina and Southeast Asia at large, the Middle East after the establishment of the State of Israel and the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948. In the Western European arena what we observe is a transformation of the USA’s military presence, in Germany for example:
- From an army of occupation of a country defeated in war (with a mission to defend Germany from itself?)
- To a military (and otherwise) occupation led by a country which sees itself as the champion of the Free World, a bulwark against Communism.
- However, after the fall of the Wall, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, then of the USSR itself, what does justify the presence of tens of thousands of American troops and dozens of large military installations in a unified Germany?
c.1) The inability or/and unwillingness of Europe, and of Germany in particular –as the American argument goes–, to defend itself from external threats, by properly investing in their own defence.
c.2) After 9-11-2001 the justification of the still massive American military presence in Europe (in fact greatly increased overall with the USA-NATO expansion to the East) changes in line with the ‘logic’ of the global ‘War on Terror’.
c.3) Finally, following the events in the Ukraine at the beginning of 2014, the legitimizing argument is specified: defend Europe, the democratic-free Western world… against Russian aggression!
Part III: War for Profit and Hegemony
Elsewhere in the world other important changes occur in what regards the USA’s military doctrine and practice, much influenced by the outcome of (their defeat in) the Vietnam war 1955-1975; as well as the growing anti-war movement during the sixties and seventies, the opposition to the war among the American public in general, among potential draftees to the army in particular, and even some defiant and rebellious attitudes of USA soldiers on the ground (Bacevich, 2005; Engelhardt, 2014). A transformation of great consequence which procures a shift of military policy from an army based on the obligatory draft, a nation’s army, to an increasingly voluntary and professional army. Thus the military establishment gradually falls in the hands of spurious private-corporate interests, and works in the service not of the nation proper, but of the military-industrial complex within and without. In sum, we observe the unfolding of armed forces which are increasingly detached from the people and national interest, and that are set under no effective democratic controls. Such transformations in military policy and practice herald and pave the way to other important changes over the following decades, which we will discuss later on in this presentation.
Moving to the scenario of the Middle East during the 1960’s and 1970’s one witnesses the heightening of tensions and conflict over the control of strategic resources like oil and gas, which abound in the region. The issue of access and control of energy resources and key raw materials is clearly behind most of the wars provoked in the region, where the United States and former colonial powers like Britain or France are often directly or indirectly involved. These are wars fought mainly for the interests of big Western multinationals like Exxon-Mobil, Shell, BP or Elf (Risen, 2014). Be it as it were, some basic patterns are established, more clearly after the war in Vietnam: The USA fight their wars in other nations’ territories, most of them are wars by proxy, and generally they aim at the control of strategic resources belonging to other countries. But who is surprised or shocked at this stage? As a retired American general long time ago had noticed, war is a racket! The USA military establishment is not in the service of the nation and the people, but of big Capital and corporate interests[v].
As regards domestic developments in the USA over the second half of the 20th century, one can detect the exponential growth of the “military-industrial complex”, whose interests are well served by legislators and officials at the different levels of government. Which as President Eisenhower warned in his farewell speech in 1961 might pose a big threat to the people, put in jeopardy the true national interest. In parallel, intelligence agencies gain prominence (and a much larger tranche of the national budget!) with the founding of the CIA in 1947, giving continuity to the tasks assigned to the Office of Strategic Services set up in 1942. Now, we have in place two of the pillars of a parallel, shadowy or ‘invisible’ government, that we will soon see pulling the strings and doggedly moulding the decision making process of the ‘visible’ legitimate government (Engelhardt, 2014). A parallel government, unelected and unaccountable to the people, that will not stop at anything in pursuing their hidden agendas, as it is demonstrated by the conspiracy to get rid of President John F Kennedy, and other key public figures and government officials after him, his brother Robert included (Douglass, 2008).
Then the Cold War came to a sudden end, unexpectedly peaceful or at any rate free of open conflict, with the ‘opening’ of the Berlin Wall gates in an unforgettable November of 1989. It follows from the fall of the Wall that Eastern Europe’s communist bloc dissolves, the Warsaw Pact is dismantled, and in another amazing whirl of events in August of 1991 the Soviet Union was no more. Now, the extraordinary events taking place in Europe fifty five years after the end of WWII provided a wonderful opportunity for the enactment of the most ambitious ideals of a united peaceful Europe, reconciled with the world, without winners or losers, neither victorious nor vanquished nations, stretching from the Atlantic to the Urals as President De Gaulle had dreamed of. But the new world hegemon had other plans in mind. They chose to take all the above as a righteous protracted victory over Communism, and over the old rival Russia, which would put an end to History as we had known so far. In sum, the USA interpreted these transcendental events as the beginning of a bright new era where America would become the beacon of the World, incorporating to this plot a fully subordinated Europe, which under the aegis of the USA will expand… well, eventually to the Urals and beyond (obliterating and fragmenting Russia, that is).
Now, who would dare resist the exceptional nation’s high moral design for the whole world? Well, whoever dares would first have to be persuaded-lured into the pleasures of the new Promised Land; otherwise they would have to be destroyed, so that the new world could be built on the ashes of the old and obsolete order of things. That was precisely the fate awaiting a diminished and defeated, yet still defiant Yugoslavia, when the arrogant Emperor ran out of patience towards an unyielding dissenter Slobodan Milosevic. The destruction of Yugoslavia was to become a crucial test in the culmination of the post Cold War order, and in the definitive taking over of the whole of Europe by the United States. Effectively the Yugoslav wars were the first set of odious open wars to take place in Europe after WWII. Wars which brought back so many of the phantoms that had besieged Europe during the first half of the 20th century, and that we thought the modern project of a united Europe had conjured up never again to happen.
To understand what went wrong with the ‘European’ approach to the Yugoslav conflict, the ensuing wars and the resulting breakup of the country, let us very briefly look at the basic course of action taken by three of the most important countries in Europe. Germany backs Croatia, its former allies during WWII. France on the contrary provides moral and political support for Serbia, who had being historically friendlier to her during the 20th century. Meanwhile, Britain plays the old imperial game, well tried precisely in that region of Europe, as elsewhere, during its time as colonial master: divide et impera!
As a consequence of the lack of a shared policy towards the Yugoslav crisis, we see the European Community showing no proper leadership as such. They are unable to define and pursue a consensus strategy to defuse conflict, and avoid open war. Therefore the USA ‘must’ intervene ‘to solve’ Europe’s problems and to overcome its impotence; thus standing again to profit from Europe’s internal divisions and lack of common purpose. This way, the project of a united Europe suffered an enormous setback in the Balkans; in some respects setting the clocks back to the interwar period. And one may wonder, is the present crisis and war in the Ukraine going to deliver the final blow to the idea of a united independent Europe able to peacefully pursue its fundamental interests and determine its own future?
Part IV: Towards a State of Boundless and Perpetual War
But then here comes George W Bush jumping to the helm of the Empire. Not that it matters very much who is on the throne, Democrat or Republican, a guy from Texas or someone with a New England’s background. The parallel shadow government who pull the strings behind the scenes remains the same and in place. Less than a year after taking office, Bush Jr’s presidency over eight years would be decisively marked by the 9/11 2001 events. A new era unlocks with the inauguration of the “War on Terror”. Followed by another amazing contribution made by the USA to the annals of war doctrine. War and military interventions justified by ostensibly ‘Humanitarian’ purposes, out of concern for the upholding of ‘our high moral and political values’. Enter the age of American (in collaboration with their Western and Eastern acolytes) outright never ending military interventions the world over. Violent and highly destructive interventions justified with whatever excuse, via the cynical manipulation of high nominal values and ‘humanitarian’ concerns (Fassin and Pandolfi, eds, 2013).
In the execution of such a boundless and endless series of wars the United States would seek to secure the backing, if not of the United Nations as a whole, at least of a made up “international community” of sorts with ambiguous boundaries, which would in any case include NATO’s member and ‘associate’ countries, with no option for anyone to fall out of step in this. As regards interventions, overt and covert, in the greater Middle East region, the United States would always count on, consult to, and be briefed about what to do by staunch ally-alter ego Israel. Elsewhere in the world the USA would rely on existing formal or informal alliances and bonds of vassalage. And where none of this is in place, they would unashamedly build ad hoc ‘coalitions’ via dubious collusions of interest. At all times they would seek to apply the eternal unfailing strategy divide et impera, by airing and manipulating old enmities between countries, and ideological or ethnic antagonisms inside each of them.
Thus with the excuse of the Taliban providing sanctuary to Osama bin Laden, the United States invaded Afghanistan soon after the 9/11 false flag attacks. With the staunch support of faithful allies like the United Kingdom they removed the Taliban from power, installed a puppet government directly reporting to the American occupation authorities. From there on the USA carried out an endless sequence of military operations, overt and covert, in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, with complete disregard of international law and national sovereignty of other countries, friend or foe. Also, all this they did with the involvement and cooperation of their NATO’s allies, including some aspiring members of the Alliance. Afghanistan thus became a huge military outpost for the unleashing of the “global war on terror”, which included all sort of blatantly illegal and criminal actions like kidnappings, renditions, the establishment of secret detention-interrogation-torture centres in a number of countries (including European countries). What did international institutions like the United Nations have to say about this? Their silence, if not complicity in this immeasurable abuse of power and disregard for international law, the most fundamental rules of humanity and in the conduct of war, has been clamorous, scandalous, most disheartening.
Yet, the intervention in Afghanistan was but the beginning of a long string of outrageous abuses of power and unjustified aggression by the Empire and its acolytes, against defenceless sovereign countries and their legitimate governments, that has come to define one of the darkest and bleakest times for Humanity. Based on deliberate misinformation and blatant lies pushed forward by the State Department before the United Nations’ Security Council, the USA invaded Iraq in 2003, with the enthusiastic support of the “Trio of the Azores”: Mr Blair, United Kingdom´s PM; Mr Aznar as President of Spain, and Mr Barroso on behalf of the European Union. A country that was already on its knees –the most vulnerable and helpless sections of their citizens (children, poorer and older people) for years suffering the terrible consequences (indeed a true and odious genocide) derived from the extremely cruel and inhuman embargo imposed on Iraq following the Gulf War– was completely devastated by the US vicious systematic bombing campaigns, aimed at the obliteration of the country’s infrastructures and the destruction of the state itself.
Afghanistan’s and Iraq’s invasions and continuous military occupation have also marked the experimentation of new ways in the conduction of war, and important transformations of American militarism. Firstly, there is what we may label as the privatization of warfare. Direct military or paramilitary tasks, all sorts of overt and covert interventions, intelligence collection, the carrying out of kidnappings, renditions, and the running of prisons, official or secret, detainees interrogation, and the design and execution of torture on prisoners of war (well, despicable terrorists, not quite Human), are put in the hands of private ‘consultants’ and contractors. They are ‘services’ that like any other business endeavour can be subcontracted to private corporations like Halliburton or Blackwater, which incidentally have close connections with prominent members of the US government.
Secondly, we witness what we may reckon as the complete de-humanization of warfare, the gradual taking away of the human factor: be it by the use of all sort of unmanned vehicles like drones, or via the experimentation with robot-soldiers of different sorts and for varied specific purposes. The awesome and terrific consequences of these developments cannot be overstated. Just think about the political, ethical and moral implications of the arbitrary killing of designated enemies, without any kind of warning, not to speak of due legal process (war law if anything else), a lot of collateral damage (that is, innocent lives taken away) regularly ensuing from such attacks.
Effectively, what we are passively witnessing is a murderous activity conducted around the clock from a comfortable operating room in Virginia or Washington DC, with the mediation of an ordinary computer screen and keyboard. The hitting of human targets that are supposedly determined by the higher control and command instances, with the approval and go ahead given by the person holding the highest office in the nation. Undeclared violent operations routinely recorded on video, and eventually watched live, i.e. from the Oval Office[vi]. Now, this is scandalous, eerie and frightening. But do international institutions like the United Nations, or human rights organisations public or private, have anything to say about this?
Imbued by a sense of political righteousness and sublime purpose, sheltered from doubt or any kind of moral reflection by their arrogance, convinced of their own ethical superiority, the hordes of the Empire march on, while a military machine out of all proportion and balance beat the drums of war. And with help from their latest invention the ISIS-ISIL-IS they spread chaos and destruction all around. Would any one nation or people be able to just stand up to this apparently irresistible imperial-militaristic drive, is there a people or nation courageous enough to just say no?
To put an end to an ominous story, which is getting too depressing to stand; let us take a last look at the USA’s internal scene, where we can examine the emergence of congruent patterns and a shared rhetoric as outlined above in what regards the deployment of the Empire overseas. I am referring specifically to the setting up of the Department of Homeland Security in 2001, among its stated primary responsibilities being to respond to the “terrorist threat” at home. The DHS is also acknowledged as the main instrument in waging the so called “war on drugs”. Thus the DHS evolves into and becomes an additional tool, to apply domestically, in executing new types of elusive warfare on the people, the USA’s own citizens.
The DHS has indeed set a milestone in the progressive militarization of American society, of which there are many worrying indicators and amounts of empirical evidence to prove, as denounced by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in its 2014 report: “War Comes Home. The Excessive Militarization of American Policing”. The reaction to the Boston marathon bombings of 2013 is an alarming and scary indication of how far the United States government is ready to go, in the downward road to the full militarization of American society. The Fergusson events one year later are another frightening confirmation as to what are the consequences of these policies for the more vulnerable sections of the population, as the NAACP has been reporting all along.
An additional chapter would have to be written as regards the mushrooming of intelligence agencies, internally and externally oriented. The amazing growth of what is euphemistically called “the Intelligence Community”; which sets the ground and provides the foundations for a true Surveillance State of unjustified dimensions. George Orwell’s 1984 dystopia becomes a pale shadow of what we are facing in reality thirty years beyond the imaginary date, as the work and commitment to truth and justice by courageous people like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden have revealed for us, which is surely just the tip of a gigantic iceberg. Tom Engelhardt convincingly argues in his latest book how these developments are leading the USA, and by extension the world, or most of it, from the National Security State to a Global Security State of monstrous dimensions and a hideous character (Engelhardt , 2014). A gruesome and out of check Leviathan, a global Matrix, elusive yet very real if one looks at the consequences of their shadowy conspiracies and actions. Or is it a wild, stupid and blind Beast let loose by the Empire of Chaos and Destruction?
Bacevich, Andrew J. (2005) The New American Militarism. How Americans Are Seduced by War. Oxford, ENG: Oxford University Press, 2013. Updated Edition.
Chomsky, Noam (2003) Hegemony or Survival. America’s Quest for Global Dominance. London: Penguin Books, 2004.
Douglass, James W. (2008) JFK and the Unspeakable. Why He Died and Why It Matters. New York: Touchstone, 2010.
Engelhardt, Tom (2014) Shadow Government. Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World. Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books.
Engdahl, F. William (1992) A Century of War. Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. Wiesbaden, Germany: edition.engdahl, 2011 (Revised edition)
Engdahl, F. William (2009) Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order. Wiesbaden, Germany: edition.engdahl.
Fassin, Didier and Pandolfi, Mariella, eds. (2013) Contemporary States of Emergency. The Politics of Military and Humanitarian Interventions. New York: Zone Books.
Ganser, Daniele (2005) Nato’s Secret Armies. Terrorism in Western Europe. London: Frank Cass.
Johnstone, Diana (2002) Fools’ Crusade. Yugoslavia, Nato and Western Delusions. London: Pluto Press.
Kelly, Cynthia C. Ed. (2007) The Manhattan Project. The Birth of the Atomic Bomb in the Words of Its Creators, Eyewitnesses, and Historians. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers.
Risen, James (2014) Pay Any Price. Greed, Power, and Endless War. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Scott, Otto J. (1974) The Creative Ordeal. The Story of Raytheon. New York: Atheneum.
Turse, Nick (2013) Kill Anything That Moves. The Real American War in Vietnam. New York: Picador, 2014.
[i] To follow the story of the “Manhattan Project”, the building of the first atomic bomb, and its relationship with the development of ever closer links between scientists-academics and the emerging “industrial-military-complex” in the United States, see the book edited by Cynthia Kelly, 2007. Another interesting thread to follow is that of the links between the military and industrial corporations, like Raytheon, for example (Scott, 1974). The making of the bomb gave the USA a tremendous advantage in strategic-military terms, and it was a big boost to its self assurance as a world power. The bomb became the cornerstone which sustained its post-war hegemony.
[iii] The US AFRICOM is one of the seven military commands in which the world is divided up by the United States military establishment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_Combatant_Command#Countries_assigned_to_each_Command ). American forces in hundreds of military bases and installations all around the world are assigned to one of these military commands. In fact, every country in the world foe or ally, whether they keep good/bad/non-existent diplomatic relationships with them, regardless of whether the US has any military installations in their territory, are assigned to one of the regional military commands (countries like Iran, Cuba or Russia included). Now, this is astonishingly revealing of the imperial ambitions of this unique country!
[iv] If one looks at the regular statements issued by the State Department, distributed via the mailing list of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (again, this is one of the regions the world is divided up for the purposes of the US State Department’s propaganda machine, and their foreign ‘regime management’ activities), the merging of the EU into NATO in their approach to world affairs becomes obvious, a matter of fact. In the view of the United States government, the European Union is inextricably associated with the NATO; both are constituent parts of Euro-Atlantida, an entity which is of course headed and ruled by the USA. Speaking about the Ukraine, one should carefully listen to the famously leaked conversation between Mrs Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, and the US ambassador in Kiev Mr Pyatt, where very graphically they sort things out with complete disregard of what their EU allies may think or expect for the future of the Ukraine.
[v] Beginning in the sixties, and more so after the Vietnam war, we observe a highly significant change as to the nature of the USA’s wars. A gradual shift from wars guided by ideological principle, as in the Korean and Indochina’s wars: the struggle against the spread of Communism and the contention of the USSR, and later on Maoist China; to wars guided by the intent to control and grab of strategic resources like oil and other key raw materials around the world. The shift is illustrated by the move of the main war scenario from Southeast Asia to Southwest Asia (i.e. the Middle East), as the Hudson Valley Activist, the legendary editor of the radical anti-war Guardian Newsweekly (1963-1984) Jack A.Smith puts it in a recent contribution to the Global Research website.
[vi] As it happened with the killing-execution without trial of Osama bin Laden, and we came to know about via official communication channels and the mainstream media.
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