Sunday, June 17, 2012

Political Nuthouse in Review

Growing anti-austerity sentiment in Europe portends a break-up of the European union on the shoals of popular democracy. Even if the Euro is saved, it may only postpone the rise of people power, as social democratic protections are so woven into the fabric of developed nations that their removal practically guarantees a loss of democratic legitimacy on the part of austerity-loving elites. If we have no right to survive, they have no right to rule.

Responding to Republican charges that he is leaking national security secrets to the media on purpose, in order to harvest votes based on a populist "tough guy" image, President Obama said this week that it is "offensive" to suggest that the leaks were deliberate. Note that it is not offensive to continually approve drone attacks that slaughter civilians. It is only offensive to seek political benefit from it. Welcome to the psychotic world of U.S. national security planners.

The corollary to this perversely absurd logic is that, sitting safely in the White House thousands of miles removed from where the pilotless drones do their murderous work, President Obama is engaged in manly behavior by deciding which people they shall target, which is not necessarily the same people that are actually blown up. In point of fact, President Obama is not a "tough guy," but a total coward: He risks nothing while killing defenseless people thousands of miles away. Recall that the Times Square bomber objected not to U.S. oppression, but to the cowardly manner of killing its enemies (by drone attacks). How long will it be before the enraged victims of this policy figure out how to re-route a U.S. drone to the White House?

For those who feel better with Obama in the White House than they did with George W. Bush, consider this: Bush was supposedly "dumb" for making national security decisions "from his gut," whereas "smart" Obama is said to consult Thomas Aquinas's philosophical writings on waging "just war" when he decides which people to annihilate. Isn't that comforting? Mass murder as a policy remains, but it is implemented by an intellectual instead of a cowboy. Hallelujah!

This week witnessed a preview of this fall's sure-to-be dismal presidential debates with President Obama declaring that "the private sector is doing fine," and Mitt Romney ridiculing the notion that there is any economic rationale in hiring "more firemen, more policemen, more teachers." Of course, both candidates are correct from an elite point of view. Wall Street (the private sector) is doing fine, but it will do even better when it lays off more public sector workers, freeing up money for the plundering class to keep squandering. Try not to laugh yourself sick when you are told that choosing between these two mental cases represents "the most important election in our lifetimes."

Another orgy of undeserved praise for Ronald Reagan greeted the 25th anniversary of his Brandenburg Gate speech, in which the actor-imbecile urged Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. Reagan's policy prescriptions were, at the time, responsible for enormous massacres in Central America, the Middle East, and Southern Africa, but Reagan worshippers ignore this in preference for the idea that he was a human rights champion who single-handedly brought down Communism.

Not according to Georgi Arbatov, who at the time he wrote his memoirs (1992) was head of the Moscow-based Institute for the Study of the U.S.A. and Canada. He insisted that the huge U.S. military build-up during the Reagan years actually impeded the movement for change in the USSR.

Not according to George F. Kennan, former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union. He argued that the extreme militarization of U.S. foreign policy strengthened the position of the hard-liners in the Soviet Union, and delayed rather than hastened the vast changes that overtook the USSR.

Not according to Aleksandr Yaklovev, Gorbachev's close adviser, who said Reagan "played no role" in instituting "changes in our policy."

Not according to common sense. Many of Reagan's predecessors were far tougher on Communism than he was, and succeeded only in solidifying and strengthening Communist rule. Woodrow Wilson outright invaded the U.S.S.R. Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover continued his policy of refusing to recognize Moscow. From Truman to Kennedy, presidents set up espionage rings in the Communist states, helping them with armed struggle, political assassination, and sabotage, such as derailing trains, wrecking bridges, damaging arms factories and power plants, and so on. Compared to these policies Reagan was a lightweight. Nevertheless, the consequences of these "tough on Communism" policies were regular serious confrontations between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.; repeat brushes with nuclear war; Soviet interventions in Hungary and Czechoslovakia; creation of the Warsaw Pact; and total hostility and cynicism between Washington and Moscow for decades. In short, Reagan was no tough guy, and the tough guy policies that pre-dated his presidency utterly failed to bring down Communism.

In a similar way, Obama's wholesale terrorism and "tough guy" rhetoric has completely failed to end retail terrorism as a tool against U.S. empire, yielding, if anything, only an enhanced desire for revenge among the victims of USrael policies. Like Reagan before him, Obama breeds the murderous animosity he claims to abhor, and assigns the bill - in blood and money both - to the American people.


"The Week, - The Best of the U.S. and International Media," June 22, 2012

William Blum, "Killing Hope - U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II," (Common Courage Press, 1995)

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