Monday, January 30, 2006

The Hegemonic Nut

The War on Terror bastardizes the word war. War has been traditionally defined as armed conflicts between states. In the United States, it has been common to expand the word until it means any kind of conflict or circumstance with which one tends to find disagreeable. Witness the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty, etc.

What we now know for a certainty is that young suicide bombers are well educated and economically well off compared to their peer group. They are led to their acts by men who themselves live comfortably and hold positions of power in their community. Terrorists are scattered about the world. They possess no organization the comes close to statehood. Their organization does not even compare to organized crime gangs. Eliminating terrorism is not like fighting a war.

The War on Terror fits with the other bastardizations of the word war. It merely classifies a group of people with whom one must defend oneself against and with whom one violently disagrees. Saying this is not making a political judgment per se.

The War on Terror becomes a political when it obfuscates some clearly known facts.

The Middle East and its surrounding environment contains most of the remaining oil reserves in the world. That makes it of absolute geo-strategic importance to capitalist countries whose growth and welfare depend on oil. People can argue whether the Iraq War is about oil until the cows come home, but to deny that the United States has not pursued a policy of securing the steady flow of cheap oil from the Middle East is to deny the very policies publicly announced by all of the United States’ leaders going back to World War II. Some people cannot find their ass with both hands. Most of the rest should know better.

Recent elections in Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Egypt have put paid to the naïve notion that freely held elections will bring to power folks who are sympathetic to U. S. interests. We find the current Bush Administration in a quandary as to how to penalize the Palestinian people for their gross lapse in etiquette by voting a big majority to the Hamas Party. The news is filled with the failure of intelligence to predict the outcome of the election. The news stories do not note that it is beside the point. There was not anything to be done about it, except avoid free elections in Palestine until more favorable circumstances were created.

Now there is some fine distinctions being drawn about what is a free and democratic state. (I’ve done it myself.) What the new definition amounts to is a free and democratic state is one favorable to U. S. interests. Denying this definition of freedom and democracy is akin to denying the strategic importance of Middle East oil to the United States.

Those who have been playing the freedom and democracy chips as justification for the Iraq War have used most of what they have left. Free and democratic elections, monitored by outside authorities for fairness, don’t create the benign world favorable to U. S. interests that was hoped for.

The obfuscation caused by the War on Terror and its rhetoric has created a dangerous situation. One, it denies that protecting America from future 9/11 type attacks requires doing something about the never ending cells of disaffected youth who will carry out any future attacks. Killing every suspected young man who comes of age is not going to get the job done as far eliminating terrorism. Two, it conflates fighting terrorist activities with grand geo-strategic concerns and what to do about those concerns.

Those who exploit the War on Terror to justify military interventions are using the War on Terror as a ruse to garner favorable public opinion. This ruse denies the long line of U. S. foreign policy statements about how the United States can preserve global economic and military hegemony well into the future.

Such is the case with those who claim to be spreading freedom and democracy. Freely elected governments might remain hostile to the United States. One wonders if the notion of building democratic states from the ground up via military intervention has had its fifteen minutes of fame.

The hegemonic nut is not so easily cracked as some make it out to be. Supply your own solution, but not your own definitions and facts.


At 7:54 PM, Blogger -epm said...

I've been tossing these very thoughts around in my mind for months now, trying to get them into words. You've said everything I wanted to, only better, so I can rest now.

Thank you.

At 10:25 PM, Blogger Lynn said...


Thanks. You have already written good articles making many of the same points.

At 2:09 PM, Blogger -epm said...

I just feel the need to shout out "We are NOT at WAR!" but haven't found the worlds to articulate why. In this post you have, and that's what prompted my comment.

And I can only "rest" for about 48hrs before I get all wound up again! :)


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