[Norm’s note: this is a re-post of a comment that I found posted on the “Moon of Alabama” Website some time ago. Someone managed to dig it up and read it here today, a thing I noticed while glancing at the ‘stats page,’ and thus reminded me of it. It’s a brilliant piece from someone obviously very insightful about the ‘workings of Empire.’ Worth your time, I think. (originally posted here: 15 September 2014)]
(Norm’s comment: please note that everything that follows to the end of this post is “Malooga’s” work. And what a fine piece it is!)
‘replace fragmented/corrupt states 2/3
w/ united Islamic power. West passivty validates the caliphate & its transnational strategy.’
Nonsense and poppycock! An ISIS pseudo-Islamic State will be fascistic in nature, hence, totally corrupt. Western passivity? Who has trained them, transported them, paid them, covered for them, advocated for them? Western puppet cut-outs, of course! What fantasy world does Peter Lee live in?
These clueless folks can’t even read a map.
Completely false, there are literally hundreds of videos on the web showing ISIS meetings and planning sessions with the most detailed of maps and objectives. The Carter Center link I posted earlier only shows the other side of the interaction. There is a close working relationship, with US planners in Washington, Incirlik and Jordan. If they need any more help, John McCain is happy to come over with some cash and a pep talk.
The “actual workings of Empire” can be a mixture of competency and incompetency, so the truth is somewhere between “b” and Malooga, to which side I would have to read Malooga’s analysis of and from the inception of the Iraq War before opining.
Well, yes, of course.
So let’s first address the “actual workings of Empire,” and exactly what its plans are, in order to ensure that we all understand how it works, and to what purpose. Then, and only then, can we decide how important the role that “incompetency” plays in the Empire being unable to achieve its plans.
First, it is important to realize that, despite claims to the contrary, Empires are not accidental occurrences, like a tree falling in the woods. They are consciously created by men with certain goals in mind, namely, power over the less organized and less protected, and control of their resources. Because empires are long-term (often lasting centuries) intentional structures, they, by necessity, have long-term strategic plans, which are both continuous and persistent, often over generations. The details of these plans are obviously not publicly announced to their adversaries, but the goals are quite clearly stated. I’m sure any student of American Empire is aware of the famous quote from the US’s first post-war planner, George Kennan in Memo PPS23:
Furthermore, we have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population… In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.
It is hard to state US long-term plans any clearer than that. More recently, Paul Wolfowitz, in the Defense Planning Guidance document of 1994, stated this (already far more accommodating of our ”partners”):
“The U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. In non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.’
Now, any student of recent history can see the US plans to remain world hegemon involves more than just mollifying our “potential competitors.” They also involve preventing the emergence of new competitors, or even smaller states powerful enough to run an independent foreign policy, lest they set an example which other nations should aspire to. John Perkins, in “Confessions of an Economic Hitman,” made explicit the tactics: In ascending order of severity, they are bribery and blackmail of leaders, coup, debt slavery, assassination, and finally, warfare.
Newer, less expensive, tactics short of open military intervention involve the use of color revolutions and destabilizations. Appeals to identity politics and human rights are used to split larger, stronger, more independent nations into smaller, more pliable vassal states. In other words, to balkanize all potential centers of resistance.
There is little space to go over the list of nations so affected here, but suffice it to say that it averages approximately one nation per year in direct intervention, and at least several more in bribery, blackmail, coup, debt slavery, and assassination.
While not heralded from the mountains to the seashore, that is the basic plan of Empire in a nutshell, and it is backed up by the historical record as evidence. To deny the basic methodology of Empire because the Empire did not present you with a personal plan autographed by the Nobel Laureate himself, is the ultimate in willful ignorance.
Yugoslavia, located in the Balkans — the very namesake of the plan of destroying nations — the country which united East and West, the strongest, most industrialized country in the area was smashed to pieces and rendered impotent. This was the first major post-Soviet project. The West had no problem in taking ten years to complete the huge task while minimizing public discontent, either. Nor was the long-term plan ever announced, as the public would never have gone along with it. Instead, we got a litany of missed opportunities, misunderstandings, excuses, obfuscations, and the incompetence of our leaders and theirs too, etc.
But once you understand the plans of empire, and the reasoning behind the plans, then the pattern becomes clear as day. You no longer need to talk nonsense about “incompetance” and “not being able to read a map.” Sure, some mistakes are made, but they do not take the imperial planners eyes off the long-term prize.
Take the case of the Sudan. For years George Soros funded huge movements for Western humanitarian aid and involvement in solving the “crisis” in Darfur, the western part of the Sudan. Every college campus in America had a group. You couldn’t even talk to these earnest but brainwashed young college activists without being accused of being Hitler, and complicit in genocide. Believe me, I tried. Then, through the use of pseudo-terrorists (Western funded agitators — funded, trained, armed and run through deniable cut-out countries), we were able to cleave South Sudan away from the Sudan. All of a sudden, all of these college groups around the country seemingly so concerned with Darfur closed, and the groupie kids moved on to the next “crisis” for the US to “solve.” No one mentioned Darfur anymore — it went straight down the memory hole.
Next on the list of projects for the empire, we have the Middle East and the Ukraine to balkanize. Russia could take Novorussia in two days, but it is bending over backwards to preserve the unity of the Ukraine. Why? Because balkanized states are generally weaker, more pliant, and easier for the empire to control.
European banks lost fortunes in the US financial crisis of 07-08. This lead to a scaling back of the social welfare state in Europe, and mass unemployment. Result: Calls for the balkanization of Europe. The ideal of “Small is Beautiful” does not work well when the empire has endless ways to corrupt a country’s leaders. Yesterday, I demonstrated how financially feasible it was to buy off the entire leadership of a continent, and no one on this blog even remarked on it.
Back to the Middle East. I’m not going to bore you with information we have covered here many times before: Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “Grand Chessboard” book, the ‘A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm’paper, Ralph Peter’s new map — you can read all that, and ten times more here: Is the “New Middle East” Off the Table? and here, Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East.” Included is which countries and why. Two great and informative reads.
However, I would like to just touch briefly on a few more points. First, Cheney had a famous interview, the “Dark Side” interview shortly after 9-11, which I remember watching live. In that interview, he disclosed that we would probably be at war in the Middle East for 20-30 years. In other words, since 9-11 took several years to plan and put in place, plans had been drawn up for the empire by the mid-to-late 90‘s for an extended war to destroy the independent States of the Middle East. Think about the implications of this. It doesn’t mean there wont be resistance, and tactics won’t be changed. But it does mean that, baring unforseen major threats to the Empire, a multi-generational Grand Area strategy was in place twenty years ago to begin to move incrementally forward towards the final realization of the plan.
Now, as long as you have all of [this] in mind, you can argue “incompetence” about some minor detail until the cows come home: everyone likes being an armchair manager or umpire. But, if you lose track of the long-term strategy — the real game plan — then you begin to argue minor details without context. And without context, you can never understand what is really happening, and therefore, you cannot productively resist the goals of the Empire. It should be obvious that if you don’t know the plan, trying to stop it can only be hit-or-miss, at best.
O.K., so now that we have the plan straight, let’s talk about Iraq. It should be obvious now with our new mental Empire decoder rings on that everything the US did (under the guise of incompetence) served to fracture the unity of the country: We started out in the first War — Gulf War I, under Bush Sr. by bombing the fleeing Shiite army on the highway to death. Then we encouraged them to rebel. Then we abandoned them to Saddam’s revenge. Then we set up a no-fly zone which gave the Kurds great autonomy. We used the no-fly zone to destroy the country’s wealth and infrastructure. Then we set up a sanctions regime which completely corrupted the country and killed half a million kids (Albright: “The price was worth it.”) By then, we had everybody hating everyone else in the country, and recriminations flying around like stones from a slingshot. All of this was twenty years ago, thus proving how long a complete destabilization and demoralization actually takes. If this was all accidental, or incompetant, why was no one punished or held to account?
Now, on to the post 9-11 invasion. We stole the oil plans. We destroyed and stole the entire country’s cultural heritage. We let go of Saddam’s entire Army. We replaced them with an Iranian Shia proxy army. We found and humiliated Saddam Hussein, not exactly endearing us to Sunnis. We had Western special agents running false flag attacks against anyone and everyone. (Remember the British special agents caught in Basra, and sprung from jail?) We funded death squads on both sides. We ensured that there was no security and that most of the educated classes were murdered or forced to flee. We “allowed” the attack on the Al-Askari Shrine in 2006. We set up endless attacks on Mosques, shrines, and schools. We stole the reconstruction money, and left the country in abject poverty. We polluted the country with deadly depleted Uranium, causing huge spikes in the cancer rates. We practically destroyed an entire city, Fallujah, as an example. We tortured prisoners and then turned them into traitors and mercenaries. We allowed entire neighborhoods and cities to be ethnically cleansed. We bought off the now dispossessed Sunnis and tribesman and set them against the Shia. We gave the Kurds autonomy and set them against the rest of the nation. We used Turkomen, Yazidis, and every other minor group as pawns in this game. We destroyed the Army and ensured that it was never strong enough to protect the nation from internal destabilization.
I could go on for paragraphs, but I trust my point has been made: Over a period of over twenty long years, we patiently ground the country and its people (who heretofore had the greatest social and technological development in the region, and the highest level of PHDs in the world) into dust, turning them more against each other with our every act. We did everything possible to destroy the people’s will to resist, and we did everything possible to foment schisms in the social structure that were barely existent beforehand. And we didn’t care who got blamed for “incompetence.” Indeed, like on 9-11, the more “incompetent” the leader was, the faster he got promoted. Gee, how come I never managed to land a job like that?
If, after all I have said, and with the soon to be Vice President Biden (the person who really manages the government on a day-to-day basis, while the sales manager, POTUS, jets around giving speeches) running around publicly advocating for partition of the country, if you still cannot see the master plan, then allow me one last point.
This is from Raed Jarrar, from 2006:
Shia and Sunni Iraqis have lived in harmony for centuries. Historically the two sects have lived in the same areas, intermarried, worked together and have had few conflicts based on religious beliefs. Arab Iraqis, especially in contemporary history, have not prioritized their religious or sectarian belonging over national identity. Iraqi nationalism united Iraqi Shia against Iranian Shia for eight years during the 1980s in the Iran-Iraq war.Iraqi tribal systems have also integrated Sunni and Shia communities as many Shia tribes have Sunni branches among them and vice versa. In addition, lines between the sects have been blurred in Iraq. One of the core concepts in Shiaism worldwide is glorifying Muhammad’s descendents. Anyone who is in the prophet’s line of descent is called Sayyed (pl. Sadah). Therefore, being a Sayyed implies that one is a Shia Muslim. Iraq is the only case in the world where there are Sunni Sadah.
Also, according to Jarrar, before the US intervention, the intermarriage rate between the two sects was 40%. In other words, almost every family had both Shia and Sunni members. There is nothing like that level of closeness between religious sects either in Europe, in areas where Catholic and Protestant intermingle, or in the US, where many groups co-habitate. That is how close Iraqis really were to each other before they were destabilized.
Even the center of US power itself, the US Council on Foreign Relations, in their glossy multi-media, multi-page apologia for engineered religious conflict, The Sunni-Shia Divide — Origins of the Schism can barely come up with either an example or reason for the divide before the US invasion of Iraq. (The best they can do is Iran’s Mullahs.) So, they hope no one will notice and go all Juan Cole on their audience, delivering a veritable treatise on theological Islam, and the entire history of the schism from a theological point of view. I doubt that 99% of their target Christian reading audience knows that much about their own religion, about the details of the Catholic/Protestant split, or even bothers to wonder why Catholics and Protestants are not car-bombing each other daily in their neighborhoods over the finer details of the “five Solas.” How many Christians even know what the five solas are, while they are busy studying the finer points of Islam?
The entire report is filled with Orwellian contradictory double-talk, like this:
Islam’s schism, simmering for fourteen centuries, doesn’t explain all the political, economic, and geostrategic factors involved in these conflicts, but it has become one prism by which to understand the underlying tensions.
Followed a paragraph later by this:
Sunni and Shia Muslims have lived peacefully together for centuries. In many countries it has become common for members of the two sects to intermarry and pray at the same mosques. They share faith in the Quran and the Prophet Mohammed’s sayings and perform similar prayers, although they differ in rituals and interpretation of Islamic law.
The point I am attempting to get across, is that an artificial schism was created, like some sort of 19th century blood-feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys. The process has been studied carefully by social scientists. And the techniques for manipulating others into these engineered wars are well understood by the US military and CIA planners. Gregory Bateson, who certainly had intelligence connections, first called this process, “schismogenesis.” By the way, it should be obvious to all by now that the techniques for propagandizing the greater public to believe that the schism is real and has internal and unsolvable, rather than external solvable causes (remove the Empire and its influence), are also well known and easily implemented.
If you have any doubts by now where US “rights” policy is going with regard to religion as a tool for furthering the goals of the Empire, read this announcement from last year with the healthy dose of skepticism that any critic of power should have: Engaging religion at the Department of State
The US Department of State announced the creation of a new office that “will focus on engagement with faith-based organizations and religious institutions around the world to strengthen US development and diplomacy and advance America’s interests and values.” Citing widespread religious persecution and violence overseas, proponents of the new office of “religious engagement” hope to further institutionalize an official US commitment to globalize religious freedom, marginalize extremism, and promote interfaith dialogue and religious tolerance. There is great excitement in some quarters about the prospects for new partnerships among the US government, for the increasingly vast array of sub-contractors that work on its behalf, and for the various faith-based religious and civil society actors and institutions abroad. Yet this initiative also raises concerns regarding the intersection of religious freedom, religious establishment, and foreign policy.
Remember, playing around — or social engineering, as it is more properly called — with the stable order of another society, bestowing new “rights” upon one group, inevitably takes away what another group felt were its established “rights.” Most academics, lacking the big schema of Empire which we now have after our little class today, will buy into this project, as an example of the wise US benevolence and inherent goodness in helping other societies achieve the justice they were unable to achieve on their own. (The French called their Imperialism ”the civilizing mission.”) But we now know better, and can see how this “harmless” little pry-bar of policy inserted in the spot of maximum leverage can wrench open an entire social order for 1 Billion people, resulting in war and deaths on an unimaginable scale.
Fortunately, one academic, Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Departmental Lecturer in Forced Migration, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, was wise enough to envision some of the potential problems this harmless, benevolent legislation could cause:
The Department of State’s proposed establishment of an office of religious engagement arguably lays the foundations to further institutionalize existing Department of State political priorities by constituting new avenues and arenas for interventions under what we can refer to as a “religionized” model of good governance. Such a scheme raises a number of critical questions, including, firstly, whether such an initiative offers a shift in discourse, policy or practice, or merely offers a consolidated bureaucratic platform from which to continue pursuing long-standing foreign policy aims, as opposed to “humanitarian” concerns per se (although, of course, humanitarianism is itself inherently political). The parallels with existing foreign policy frameworks such as the Lautenberg Amendment (which prioritizes the provision of assistance to religious minorities seeking asylum from Iran or from the former Soviet Union) and the Office of International Religious Freedom (which the US Department of State notes “has the mission of promoting religious freedom as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy”) are numerous. While such a continuation may appear to be an extension of what the United States already considers to be its “good offices” towards Others, this consolidation risks further accentuating, rather than mitigating, tensions and mistrust between different actors on diverse levels.
I think we already know this woman will have a hard time getting tenure anywhere.
So let’s recapitulate:
*The empire, by its nature, seeks dominion over others, and their resources.
*It achieves this by making and actualizing plans which render their opponents powerless by divide and conquer strategies, often using religion.
*These plans are often longstanding in duration and secretive in nature.
*We have many historical and recent examples of this behavior.
*The Middle East is an area of US concern, hence, by definition, an area to be dominated.
*Iraq and Syria are intended to be dominated by balkanization.
*The empire might make mistakes, and feints along the way but, unless a stronger power comes along to stop it, or global situations change enough for the empire to modify its plans and priorities, the empire will proceed incrementally and inexorably forward with its plans until completion, and the beginning of the next major project.
Alright, now, within the above framework, I’m prepared to discuss US mistakes, such as b’s ridiculous notion that State Department spokesmen cannot read maps, or Peter Lee’s naive conceit that the US is about to “turn page on disastrus century of colonial/postcolonial rule.”
Besides the fact that he cant spell “disastrous,” we all know by now that what is disastrous for others is propitious for the Empire, and therefore the empire is unlikely to turn against its own interests as hegemon.