Reasons to Fear U.S.
The Toronto Star, September 7, 2003
Amid the aftershocks of recent suicide bombings in Baghdad and Najaf, and countless other horrors since Sept. 11, 2001, it is easy to understand why many believe that the world has entered a new and frightening "age of terror," the title of a recent collection of essays by Yale University scholars and others.
However, two years after 9/11, the United States has yet to confront the roots of terrorism, has waged more war than peace and has continually raised the stakes of international confrontation.
On 9/11, the world reacted with shock and horror, and sympathy for the victims. But it is important to bear in mind that for much of the world, there was a further reaction: "Welcome to the club."
For the first time in history, a Western power was subjected to an atrocity of the kind that is all too familiar elsewhere.
Any attempt to make sense of events since then will naturally begin with an investigation of American power — how it has reacted and what course it may take.
Within a month of 9/11, Afghanistan was under attack. Those who accept elementary moral standards have some work to do to show that the United States and Britain were justified in bombing Afghans to compel them to turn over people suspected of criminal atrocities, the official reason given when the bombings began.
Then, in September, 2002, the most powerful state in history announced a new National Security Strategy, asserting that it will maintain global hegemony permanently.
Any challenge will be blocked by force, the dimension in which the United States reigns supreme.
At the same time, the war drums began to beat to mobilize the population for an invasion of Iraq.
And the campaign opened for the mid-term congressional elections, which would determine whether the administration would be able to carry out its radical international and domestic agenda.
The final days of 2002, foreign policy specialist Michael Krepon wrote, were "the most dangerous since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis," which historian Arthur Schlesinger described, reasonably, as "the most dangerous moment in human history."
Krepon's concern was nuclear proliferation in an "unstable nuclear-proliferation belt stretching from Pyongyang to Baghdad," including "Iran, Iraq, North Korea and the Indian subcontinent."
Bush administration initiatives in 2002 and 2003 have only increased the threats in and near this unstable belt.
The National Security Strategy declared that the United States, alone, has the right to carry out "preventive war" — preventive, not pre-emptive — using military force to eliminate a perceived threat, even if invented or imagined.
Preventive war is, very simply, the "supreme crime" condemned at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals.
From early September, 2002, the Bush administration issued grim warnings about the danger that Saddam Hussein posed to the United States, with broad hints that Saddam was linked to Al Qaeda and involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. The propaganda assault helped enable the administration to gain some support from a frightened population for the planned invasion of a country known to be virtually defenceless — and a valuable prize, at the heart of the world's major energy system.
Last May, after the putative end of the war in Iraq, President Bush landed on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and declared that he had won a "victory in the war on terror (by having) removed an ally of Al Qaeda."
But Sept. 11, 2003, will arrive with no credible evidence for the alleged link between Saddam and his bitter enemy Osama bin Laden. And the only known link between the victory and terror is that the invasion of Iraq seems to have increased Al Qaeda recruitment and the threat of terror.
The Wall Street Journal recognized that Bush's carefully staged aircraft-carrier extravaganza "marks the beginning of his 2004 re-election campaign," which the White House hopes "will be built as much as possible around national security themes."
If the administration lets domestic issues prevail, it is in deep trouble.
Meanwhile, bin Laden remains at large. And the source of the post-Sept. 11 anthrax terror is unknown — an even more striking failure, given that the source is assumed to be domestic, perhaps even from a federal weapons lab.
The Iraqi weapons of mass destruction are still missing, too.
For the second 9/11 anniversary and beyond, we basically have two choices. We can march forward with confidence that the global enforcer will drive evil from the world, much as the president's speechwriters declare, plagiarizing ancient epics and children's tales.
Or we can subject the doctrines of the proclaimed grand new era to scrutiny, drawing rational conclusions, perhaps gaining some sense of the emerging reality.
The wars that are contemplated in the war on terror are to go on for a long time.
"There's no telling how many wars it will take to secure freedom in the homeland," the president announced last year.
That's fair enough. Potential threats are limitless. And there is strong reason to believe that they are becoming more severe as a result of Bush administration lawlessness and violence.
We also should be able to appreciate recent comments on the matter by Ami Ayalon, the 1996-2000 head of Shabak, Israel's General Security Service, who observed that "those who want victory" against terror without addressing underlying grievances "want an unending war."
The observation generalizes in obvious ways.
The world has good reason to watch what is happening in Washington with fear and trepidation.
The people who are best placed to relieve those fears, and to lead the way to a more hopeful and constructive future, are the people of the United States, who can shape the future.
Last edited by TJ Cline; 11-19-2005 at 06:54 PM.
The elections of November 2004 have received a great deal of discussion, with exultation in some quarters, despair in others, and general lamentation about a “divided nation.” They are likely to have policy consequences, particularly harmful to the public in the domestic arena, and to the world with regard to the “transformation of the military,” which has led some prominent strategic analysts to warn of “ultimate doom” and to hope that U.S. militarism and aggressiveness will be countered by a coalition of peace-loving states, led by—China (John Steinbruner and Nancy Gallagher, Daedalus). We have come to a pretty pass when such words are expressed in the most respectable and sober journals. It is also worth noting how deep is the despair of the authors over the state of U.S. democracy. Whether or not the assessment is merited is for activists to determine.
Though significant in their consequences, the elections tell us very little about the state of the country, or the popular mood. There are, however, other sources from which we can learn a great deal that carries important lessons. Public opinion in the U.S. is intensively monitored and, while caution and care in interpretation are always necessary, these studies are valuable resources. We can also see why the results, though public, are kept under wraps by the doctrinal institutions. That is true of major and highly informative studies of public opinion released right before the election, notably by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations (CCFR) and the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland (PIPA), to which I will return.
One conclusion is that the elections conferred no mandate for anything, in fact, barely took place, in any serious sense of the term “election.” That is by no means a novel conclusion. Reagan’s victory in 1980 reflected “the decay of organized party structures, and the vast mobilization of God and cash in the successful candidacy of a figure once marginal to the ‘vital center’ of American political life,” representing “the continued disintegration of those political coalitions and economic structures that have given party politics some stability and definition during the past generation” (Thomas Ferguson and Joel Rogers, Hidden Election, 1981). In the same valuable collection of essays, Walter Dean Burnham described the election as further evidence of a “crucial comparative peculiarity of the American political system: the total absence of a socialist or laborite mass party as an organized competitor in the electoral market,” accounting for much of the “class-skewed abstention rates” and the minimal significance of issues. Thus of the 28 percent of the electorate who voted for Reagan, 11 percent gave as their primary reason “he’s a real conservative.” In Reagan’s “landslide victory” of 1984, with just under 30 percent of the electorate, the percentage dropped to 4 percent and a majority of voters hoped that his legislative program would not be enacted.
What these prominent political scientists describe is part of the powerful backlash against the terrifying “crisis of democracy” of the 1960s, which threatened to democratize the society, and, despite enormous efforts to crush this threat to order and discipline, has had far-reaching effects on consciousness and social practices. The post-1960s era has been marked by substantial growth of popular movements dedicated to greater justice and freedom and unwillingness to tolerate the brutal aggression and violence that had previously been granted free rein. The Vietnam War is a dramatic illustration, naturally suppressed because of the lessons it teaches about the civilizing impact of popular mobilization. The war against South Vietnam launched by JFK in 1962, after years of U.S.-backed state terror that had killed tens of thousands of people, was brutal and barbaric from the outset: bombing, chemical warfare to destroy food crops so as to starve out the civilian support for the indigenous resistance, programs to drive millions of people to virtual concentration camps or urban slums to eliminate its popular base. By the time protests reached a substantial scale, the highly respected and quite hawkish Vietnam specialist and military historian Bernard Fall wondered whether “Viet-Nam as a cultural and historic entity” would escape “extinction” as “the countryside literally dies under the blows of the largest military machine ever unleashed on an area of this size”—particularly South Vietnam, always the main target of the U.S. assault. When protest did finally develop, many years too late, it was mostly directed against the peripheral crimes: the extension of the war against the South to the rest of Indochina—terrible crimes, but secondary ones.
State managers are well aware that they no longer have that freedom. Wars against “much weaker enemies”—the only acceptable targets—must be won “decisively and rapidly,” Bush I’s intelligence services advised. Delay might “undercut political support,” recognized to be thin, a great change since the Kennedy-Johnson period when the attack on Indochina, while never popular, aroused little reaction for many years. Those conclusions hold despite the hideous war crimes in Falluja, replicating the Russian destruction of Grozny ten years earlier, including crimes displayed on the front pages for which the civilian leadership is subject to the death penalty under the War Crimes Act passed by the Republican Congress in 1996—and also one of the more disgraceful episodes in the annals of U.S. journalism.
The world is pretty awful today, but it is far better than yesterday, not only with regard to unwillingness to tolerate aggression, but also in many other ways, which we now tend to take for granted. There are very important lessons here, which should always be uppermost in our minds—for the same reason they are suppressed in the elite culture.
Returning to the elections, in 2004 Bush received the votes of just over 30 percent of the electorate, Kerry a bit less. Voting patterns resembled 2000, with virtually the same pattern of “red” and “blue” states (whatever significance that may have). A small change in voter preference would have put Kerry in the White House, also telling us very little about the country and public concerns.
As usual, the electoral campaigns were run by the PR industry, which in its regular vocation sells toothpaste, life-style drugs, automobiles, and other commodities. Its guiding principle is deceit. Its task is to undermine the “free markets” we are taught to revere: mythical entities in which informed consumers make rational choices.In such scarcely imaginable systems, businesses would provide information about their products: cheap, easy, simple. But it is hardly a secret that they do nothing of the sort. Rather, they seek to delude consumers to choose their product over some virtually identical one. GM does not simply make public the characteristics of next year’s models. Rather, it devotes huge sums to creating images to deceive consumers, featuring sports stars, sexy models, cars climbing sheer cliffs to a heavenly future, and so on. The business world does not spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year to provide information. The famed “entrepreneurial initiative” and “free trade” are about as realistic as informed consumer choice. The last thing those who dominate the society want is the fanciful market of doctrine and economic theory. All of this should be too familiar to merit much discussion.
Sometimes the commitment to deceit is quite overt. The recent U.S.-Australia negotiations on a “free trade agreement” were held up by Washington’s concern over Australia’s health care system, perhaps the most efficient in the world. In particular, drug prices are a fraction of those in the U.S.: the same drugs, produced by the same companies, earning substantial profits in Australia though nothing like those they are granted in the U.S.—often on the pretext that they are needed for R&D, another exercise in deceit. Part of the reason for the efficiency of the Australian system is that, like other countries, Australia relies on the practices that the Pentagon employs when it buys paper clips: government purchasing power is used to negotiate prices, illegal in the U.S. Another reason is that Australia has kept to “evidence-based” procedures for marketing pharmaceuticals. U.S. negotiators denounced these as market interference: pharmaceutical corporations are deprived of their legitimate rights if they are required to produce evidence when they claim that their latest product is better than some cheaper alternative or run TV ads in which some sports hero or model tells the audience to ask their doctor whether this drug is “right for you (it’s right for me),” sometimes not even revealing what it is supposed to be for. The right of deceit must be guaranteed to the immensely powerful and pathological immortal persons created by radical judicial activism to run the society.
When assigned the task of selling candidates, the PR industry naturally resorts to the same fundamental techniques, so as to ensure that politics remains “the shadow cast by big business over society,” as America’s leading social philosopher, John Dewey, described the results of “industrial feudalism” long ago. Deceit is employed to undermine democracy, just as it is the natural device to undermine markets. Voters appear to be aware of it.
On the eve of the 2000 elections, about 75 percent of the electorate regarded it as a game played by rich contributors, party managers, and the PR industry, which trains candidates to project images and produce meaningless phrases that might win some votes. Very likely, that is why the population paid little attention to the “stolen election” that greatly exercised educated sectors. And it is why they are likely to pay little attention to campaigns about alleged fraud in 2004. If one is flipping a coin to pick the King, it is of no great concern if the coin is biased.
In 2000, “issue awareness”—knowledge of the stands of the candidate-producing organizations on issues—reached an all-time low. Currently available evidence suggests it may have been even lower in 2004. About 10 percent of voters said their choice would be based on the candidate’s “agendas/ideas/platforms/goals”: 6 percent for Bush voters, 13 percent for Kerry voters (Gallup). The rest would vote for what the industry calls “qualities” or “values,” which are the political counterpart to toothpaste ads. The most careful studies (PIPA) found that voters had little idea of the stand of the candidates on matters that concerned them. Bush voters tended to believe that he shared their beliefs, even though the Republican Party rejected them, often explicitly. Investigating the sources used in the studies, we find that the same was largely true of Kerry voters, unless we give highly sympathetic interpretations to vague statements that most voters had probably never heard.
Exit polls found that Bush won large majorities of those concerned with the threat of terror and “moral values” and Kerry won majorities among those concerned with the economy, health care, and other such issues. Those results tell us very little.
It is easy to demonstrate that for Bush planners, the threat of terror is a low priority. The invasion of Iraq is only one of many illustrations. Even their own intelligence agencies agreed with the consensus among other agencies, and independent specialists, that the invasion was likely to increase the threat of terror, as it did; probably nuclear proliferation as well, as also predicted. Such threats are simply not high priorities as compared with the opportunity to establish the first secure military bases in a dependent client state at the heart of the world’s major energy reserves, a region understood since World War II to be the “most strategically important area of the world,” “a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history.” Apart from what one historian of the industry calls “profits beyond the dreams of avarice,” which must flow in the right direction, control over two-thirds of the world’s estimated hydrocarbon reserves—uniquely cheap and easy to exploit—provides what Zbigniew Brzezinski recently called “critical leverage” over European and Asian rivals, what George Kennan many years earlier had called “veto power” over them. These have been crucial policy concerns throughout the post-World War II period, even more so in today’s evolving tripolar world, with its threat that Europe and Asia might move towards greater independence, and worse, might be united: China and the EU became each other’s major trading partners in 2004, joined by the world’s second largest economy (Japan), and those tendencies are likely to increase. A firm hand on the spigot reduces these dangers.
Note that the critical issue is control, not access. U.S. policies towards the Middle East were the same when it was a net exporter of oil, and remain the same today when U.S. intelligence projects that the U.S. will rely on more stable Atlantic Basin resources. Policies would be likely to be about the same if the U.S. were to switch to renewable energy. The need to control the “stupendous source of strategic power” and to gain “profits beyond the dreams of avarice” would remain. Jockeying over Central Asia and pipeline routes reflects similar concerns.
There are many other illustrations of the same lack of concern of planners about terror. Bush voters, whether they knew it or not, were voting for a likely increase in the threat of terror, which could be awesome: it was understood well before 9/11 that sooner or later the Jihadists organized by the CIA and its associates in the 1980s are likely to gain access to WMDs, with horrendous consequences. Even these frightening prospects are being consciously extended by the transformation of the military, which, apart from increasing the threat of “ultimate doom” by accidental nuclear war, is compelling Russia to move nuclear missiles over its huge and mostly unprotected territory to counter U.S. military threats—including the threat of instant annihilation that is a core part of the “ownership of space” for offensive military purposes announced by the Bush administration along with its National Security Strategy in late 2002, significantly extending Clinton programs that were more than hazardous enough, and had already immobilized the UN Disarmament Committee.
As for “moral values,” we learn what we need to know about them from the business press the day after the election, reporting the “euphoria” in board rooms—not because CEOs oppose gay marriage. And from the unconcealed efforts to transfer to future generations the costs of the dedicated service of Bush planners to privilege and wealth: fiscal and environmental costs, among others, not to speak of the threat of “ultimate doom.” That aside, it means little to say that people vote on the basis of “moral values.” The question is what they mean by the phrase. The limited indications are of some interest. In some polls, “when the voters were asked to choose the most urgent moral crisis facing the country, 33 percent cited ‘greed and materialism,’ 31 percent selected ‘poverty and economic justice,’ 16 percent named abortion, and 12 percent selected gay marriage” (Pax Christi). In others, “when surveyed voters were asked to list the moral issue that most affected their vote, the Iraq war placed first at 42 percent, while 13 percent named abortion and 9 percent named gay marriage” (Zogby). Whatever voters meant, it could hardly have been the operative moral values of the Administration, celebrated by the business press.
I won’t go through the details here, but a careful look indicates that much the same appears to be true for Kerry voters who thought they were calling for serious attention to the economy, health, and their other concerns. As in the fake markets constructed by the PR industry, so also in the fake democracy they run, the public is hardly more than an irrelevant onlooker, apart from the appeal of carefully constructed images that have only the vaguest resemblance to reality.
Let’s turn to more serious evidence about public opinion: the studies I mentioned earlier that were released shortly before the elections by some of the most respected and reliable institutions that regularly monitor public opinion. Here are a few of the results (Chicago Council of Foreign Relations):
A large majority of the public believe that the U.S. should accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and the World Court, sign the Kyoto protocols, allow the UN to take the lead in international crises, and rely on diplomatic and economic measures more than military ones in the “war on terror.” Similar majorities believe the U.S. should resort to force only if there is “strong evidence that the country is in imminent danger of being attacked,” thus rejecting the bipartisan consensus on “pre-emptive war” and adopting a rather conventional interpretation of the UN Charter. A majority even favor giving up the Security Council veto, hence following the UN lead even if it is not the preference of U.S. state managers. When official Administration moderate Colin Powell is quoted in the press as saying that Bush “has won a mandate from the American people to continue pursuing his ‘aggressive’ foreign policy,” he is relying on the conventional assumption that popular opinion is irrelevant to policy choices by those in charge.
It is instructive to look more closely into popular attitudes on the war in Iraq, in the light of the general opposition to the “pre-emptive war” doctrines of the bipartisan consensus. On the eve of the 2004 elections, “three quarters of Americans say that the U.S. should not have gone to war if Iraq did not have WMD or was not providing support to al Qaeda, while nearly half still say the war was the right decision” (Stephen Kull, reporting the PIPA study he directs). But this is not a contradiction, Kull points out. Despite the quasi-official Kay and Duelfer reports undermining the claims, the decision to go to war “is sustained by persisting beliefs among half of Americans that Iraq provided substantial support to al Qaeda, and had WMD, or at least a major WMD program,” and thus see the invasion as defense against an imminent severe threat. Much earlier PIPA studies had shown that a large majority believe that the UN, not the U.S., should take the lead in matters of security, reconstruction, and political transition in Iraq. Last March, Spanish voters were bitterly condemned for appeasing terror when they voted out of office the government that had gone to war over the objections of about 90 percent of the population, taking its orders from Crawford Texas, and winning plaudits for its leadership in the “New Europe” that is the hope of democracy. Few if any commentators noted that Spanish voters last March were taking about the same position as the large majority of Americans: voting for removing Spanish troops unless they were under UN direction. The major differences between the two countries are that in Spain, public opinion was known, while here it takes an individual research project to discover it; and in Spain the issue came to a vote, almost unimaginable in the deteriorating formal democracy here.
These results indicate that activists have not done their job effectively.
Turning to other areas, overwhelming majorities of the public favor expansion of domestic programs: primarily health care (80 percent), but also aid to education and Social Security. Similar results have long been found in these studies (CCFR). Other mainstream polls report that 80 percent favor guaranteed health care even if it would raise taxes—in reality, a national health care system would probably reduce expenses considerably, avoiding the heavy costs of bureaucracy, supervision, paperwork, and so on, some of the factors that render the U.S. privatized system the most inefficient in the industrial world. Public opinion has been similar for a long time, with numbers varying depending on how questions are asked. The facts are sometimes discussed in the press, with public preferences noted, but dismissed as “politically impossible.” That happened again on the eve of the 2004 elections. A few days before (October 31), the New York Times reported that “there is so little political support for government intervention in the health care market in the United States that Senator John Kerry took pains in a recent presidential debate to say that his plan for expanding access to health insurance would not create a new government program”—what the majority want, so it appears. But it is “politically impossible” and has “[too] little political support,” meaning that the insurance companies, HMOs, pharmaceutical industries, Wall Street, etc., are opposed.
It is notable that such views are held by people in virtual isolation. They rarely hear them and it is not unlikely that respondents regard their own views as idiosyncratic. Their preferences do not enter into the political campaigns and only marginally receive some reinforcement in articulate opinion in media and journals. The same extends to other domains.
What would the results of the election have been if the parties, either of them, had been willing to articulate people’s concerns on the issues they regard as vitally important? Or if these issues could enter into public discussion within the mainstream? We can only speculate about that, but we do know that it does not happen and that the facts are scarcely even reported. It does not seem difficult to imagine what the reasons might be.
In brief, we learn very little of any significance from the elections, but we can learn a lot from the studies of public attitudes that are kept in the shadows. Though it is natural for doctrinal systems to try to induce pessimism, hopelessness, and despair, the real lessons are quite different. They are encouraging and hopeful. They show that there are substantial opportunities for education and organizing, including the development of potential electoral alternatives. As in the past, rights will not be granted by benevolent authorities, or won by intermittent actions—a few large demonstrations after which one goes home, or pushing a lever in the personalized quadrennial extravaganzas that are depicted as “democratic politics.” As always in the past, the tasks require day-to-day engagement to create—in part re-create—the basis for a functioning democratic culture in which the public plays some role in determining policies, not only in the political arena from which it is largely excluded, but also in the crucial economic arena, from which it is excluded in principle.
It's Imperialism, Stupid
Khaleej Times, July 4, 2005
In his June 28 speech, President Bush asserted that the invasion of Iraq was undertaken as part of "a global war against terror" that the United States is waging. In reality, as anticipated, the invasion increased the threat of terror, perhaps significantly.
Half-truths, misinformation and hidden agendas have characterised official pronouncements about US war motives in Iraq from the very beginning. The recent revelations about the rush to war in Iraq stand out all the more starkly amid the chaos that ravages the country and threatens the region and indeed the world.
In 2002 the US and United Kingdom proclaimed the right to invade Iraq because it was developing weapons of mass destruction. That was the "single question," as stressed constantly by Bush, Prime Minister Blair and associates. It was also the sole basis on which Bush received congressional authorisation to resort to force.
The answer to the "single question" was given shortly after the invasion, and reluctantly conceded: The WMD didn't exist. Scarcely missing a beat, the government and media doctrinal system concocted new pretexts and justifications for going to war.
"Americans do not like to think of themselves as aggressors, but raw aggression is what took place in Iraq," national security and intelligence analyst John Prados concluded after his careful, extensive review of the documentary record in his 2004 book "Hoodwinked."
Prados describes the Bush "scheme to convince America and the world that war with Iraq was necessary and urgent" as "a case study in government dishonesty ... that required patently untrue public statements and egregious manipulation of intelligence." The Downing Street memo, published on May 1 in The Sunday Times of London, along with other newly available confidential documents, have deepened the record of deceit.
The memo came from a meeting of Blair's war cabinet on July 23, 2002, in which Sir Richard Dearlove, head of British foreign intelligence, made the now-notorious assertion that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" of going to war in Iraq.
The memo also quotes British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that "the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime."
British journalist Michael Smith, who broke the story of the memo, has elaborated on its context and contents in subsequent articles. The "spikes of activity" apparently included a coalition air campaign meant to provoke Iraq into some act that could be portrayed as what the memo calls a "casus belli."
Warplanes began bombing in southern Iraq in May 2002 — 10 tons that month, according to British government figures. A special "spike" started in late August (for a September total of 54.6 tons).
"In other words, Bush and Blair began their war not in March 2003, as everyone believed, but at the end of August 2002, six weeks before Congress approved military action against Iraq," Smith wrote.
The bombing was presented as defensive action to protect coalition planes in the no-fly zone. Iraq protested to the United Nations but didn't fall into the trap of retaliating. For US-UK planners, invading Iraq was a far higher priority than the "war on terror." That much is revealed by the reports of their own intelligence agencies. On the eve of the allied invasion, a classified report by the National Intelligence Council, the intelligence community's center for strategic thinking, "predicted that an American-led invasion of Iraq would increase support for political Islam and would result in a deeply divided Iraqi society prone to violent internal conflict," Douglas Jehl and David E. Sanger reported in The New York Times last September. In December 2004, Jehl reported a few weeks later, the NIC warned that "Iraq and other possible conflicts in the future could provide recruitment, training grounds, technical skills and language proficiency for a new class of terrorists who are 'professionalised' and for whom political violence becomes an end in itself." The willingness of top planners to risk increase of terrorism does not of course indicate that they welcome such outcomes. Rather, they are simply not a high priority in comparison with other objectives, such as controlling the world's major energy resources.
Shortly after the invasion of Iraq, Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of the more astute of the senior planners and analysts, pointed out in the journal National Interest that America's control over the Middle East "gives it indirect but politically critical leverage on the European and Asian economies that are also dependent on energy exports from the region." If the United States can maintain its control over Iraq, with the world's second largest known oil reserves, and right at the heart of the world's major energy supplies, that will enhance significantly its strategic power and influence over its major rivals in the tripolar world that has been taking shape for the past 30 years: US-dominated North America, Europe, and Northeast Asia, linked to South and Southeast Asia economies.
It is a rational calculation, on the assumption that human survival is not particularly significant in comparison with short-term power and wealth. And that is nothing new. These themes resonate through history. The difference today in this age of nuclear weapons is only that the stakes are enormously higher.
Eh, either way I'm still over here.
Wow, that was amazing. I thought I couldn't care any less about Birkenstock wearing socialists. Imagine my surprise when I realized that I was wrong...
I have no idea what your talking about???Originally Posted by cfs3
Reasons to fear the US:
I vote Libertarian.
Noam Chomsky has some very good points that people could really benefit from. I don't agree with his politics but his books provide a perspective that is not even addressed by the mainstream.
It's an accurate statement that our current spending will not be increasing the debt We've stopped spending money that we don't have.
-- Jack Lew, then director of the Office of Management and Budget, in Feb. 16, 2011 testimony before the Senate Budget Committee.
Khaleej Times, October 6, 2005
President George W. Bush favours teaching both evolution and "Intelligent Design" in schools, "so people can know what the debate is about." To proponents, Intelligent Design is the notion that the universe is too complex to have developed without a nudge from a higher power than evolution or natural selection.
To detractors, Intelligent Design is creationism — the literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis — in a thin guise, or simply vacuous, about as interesting as "I don’t understand," as has always been true in the sciences before understanding is reached. Accordingly, there cannot be a "debate."
The teaching of evolution has long been difficult in the United States. Now a national movement has emerged to promote the teaching of Intelligent Design in schools.
The issue has famously surfaced in a courtroom in Dover, Pa., where a school board is requiring students to hear a statement about Intelligent Design in a biology class — and parents mindful of the Constitution’s church/state separation have sued the board.
In the interest of fairness, perhaps the president’s speechwriters should take him seriously when they have him say that schools should be open-minded and teach all points of view. So far, however, the curriculum has not encompassed one obvious point of view: Malignant Design.
Unlike Intelligent Design, for which the evidence is zero, malignant design has tons of empirical evidence, much more than Darwinian evolution, by some criteria: the world’s cruelty. Be that as it may, the background of the current evolution/intelligent design controversy is the widespread rejection of science, a phenomenon with deep roots in American history that has been cynically exploited for narrow political gain during the last quarter-century. Intelligent Design raises the question whether it is intelligent to disregard scientific evidence about matters of supreme importance to the nation and world — like global warming.
An old-fashioned conservative would believe in the value of Enlightenment ideals — rationality, critical analysis, freedom of speech, freedom of inquiry — and would try to adapt them to a modern society. The Founding Fathers, children of the Enlightenment, championed those ideals and took pains to create a Constitution that espoused religious freedom yet separated church and state. The United States, despite the occasional messianism of its leaders, isn’t a theocracy.
In our time, the Bush administration’s hostility to scientific inquiry puts the world at risk. Environmental catastrophe, whether you think the world has been developing only since Genesis or for eons, is far too serious to ignore. In preparation for the G8 summit this past summer, the scientific academies of all G8 nations (including the US National Academy of Sciences), joined by those of China, India and Brazil, called on the leaders of the rich countries to take urgent action to head off global warming.
"The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify prompt action," their statement said. "It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions."
In its lead editorial, The Financial Times endorsed this "clarion call," while observing: "There is, however, one holdout, and unfortunately it is to be found in the White House where George W. Bush insists we still do not know enough about this literally world-changing phenomenon."
Dismissal of scientific evidence on matters of survival, in keeping with Bush’s scientific judgment, is routine. A few months earlier, at the 2005 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, leading US climate researchers released "the most compelling evidence yet" that human activities are responsible for global warming, according to The Financial Times. They predicted major climatic effects, including severe reductions in water supplies in regions that rely on rivers fed by melting snow and glaciers.
Other prominent researchers at the same session reported evidence that the melting of Arctic and Greenland ice sheets is causing changes in the sea’s salinity balance that threaten "to shut down the Ocean Conveyor Belt, which transfers heat from the tropics toward the polar regions through currents such as the Gulf Stream." Such changes might bring significant temperature reduction to northern Europe.
Like the statement of the National Academies for the G8 summit, the release of "the most compelling evidence yet" received scant notice in the United States, despite the attention given in the same days to the implementation of the Kyoto protocols, with the most important government refusing to take part.
It is important to stress "government." The standard report that the United States stands almost alone in rejecting the Kyoto protocols is correct only if the phrase "United States" excludes its population, which strongly favours the Kyoto pact (73 per cent, according to a July poll by the Program on International Policy Attitudes).
Perhaps only the word "malignant" could describe a failure to acknowledge, much less address, the all-too-scientific issue of climate change. Thus the "moral clarity" of the Bush administration extends to its cavalier attitude toward the fate of our grandchildren.
He got into global warming, absolutely hilarious. Consider that the United States has either remained the same/become slightly cooler.
Climate change, blah blah blah, human's impact on it is minimal, someone should sue the volcanoes they are the biggest polluters on the planet.
I agree 100%, lets go drop some more atomic bombs....hell they dont really hurt the enviornment.Originally Posted by brogers
I don't see the relevancy to what I said.. ?Originally Posted by ForemanRules
I also think its great we out source jobs to other countries who have no enviornmental laws.....just another fine example of what a great job we are doing for the enviornmentOriginally Posted by brogers