October 1, 2008
Summarizing the foreign policy views of Barack Obama and of America's ruling class generally, I wrote the following in May of last year:
As is true with every candidate for national office, Obama regularly proclaims the seriousness and depth of his religious convictions. I had thought that one of the bedrock principles of such convictions was humility, and a recognition of the limits of human knowledge and what ought to be the limits of human action.My "Dominion Over the World" series analyzes the historical, political and economic roots of the U.S. government's bipartisan drive to world hegemony. In discussing this program of aggressive, neverending global interventionism, I quoted William Pfaff:
But there is nothing remotely humble about any of this at any point, just as there is nothing humble about the prevailing views of the foreign policy establishment. People who hold these beliefs have not one God, but two: a God in Heaven, and a God on Earth. Their God on Earth is America: it is all-powerful and should be so, it is all-knowing, its beneficence alone makes progress and civilization possible, for which mankind should be properly grateful -- and its wrath is terrible. They will construct the world in their own image, and nothing and no one will be permitted to oppose them.
The governing class, including the foreign policy establishment, have been convinced of the truth and rightness of this view for over 60 years. This view led us into Korea, into Vietnam, into Latin America, into the interventions of the 1990s, into Afghanistan, into numerous other interventions, and into Iraq. Hillary Clinton believes it, so does Obama, so does Bush. With only one or two exceptions, every national politician believes it.
America is God. God's Will be done.
Militarized or otherwise, American policy remains under the influence of an unacknowledged and unjustified utopianism. This is the unanalyzed background to the work of all Washington's foreign policy agencies. It permeates the rhetoric and thinking of Republicans and Democrats alike. It is the reason Americans can think that history has an ultimate solution, and that the United States is meant to provide it.It has long been apparent to an honest observer that "utopianism" of this kind is immensely and unforgivably destructive, just as it is obvious that the belief that one person or one nation has the "ultimate solution" constitutes murderous arrogance of the kind we properly associate with the greatest monsters in history. One of the most deeply pathetic aspects of the tragedy of Iraq is that not a single element of this belief system has been dislodged in even the smallest degree. Thus, we continue to hear Obama, along with every other prominent national leader, proclaim: "The American moment has not passed. The American moment is here. And like generations before us, we will seize that moment, and begin the world anew."
Where it matters, on the ground, the American drive to world hegemony translates into brute force used to make others behave in the manner the U.S. government demands. Such force will often be deployed in the form of economic assistance, but offered only on certain conditions, which therefore more accurately means economic intimidation. On other occasions, the interference becomes harsher, while it is still kept under wraps to some extent: thus, we have numerous covert operations, sometimes used to engineer the overthrow of duly constituted governments. When all else fails, military force will be employed openly and with carefully crafted righteous anger.
It would hardly do for a nation so devoted to its self-image as the noble warrior dedicated only to improving the world and the lives of all its inhabitants to embark on missions of unadorned conquest. In a meretricious, hypocritical tradition going back to a time close to our nation's origins, our rulers were careful to provoke other countries into making what appeared to be the first move, so that the United States could unapologetically announce that it acted only in self-defense. It was almost always a lie, but a lie most Americans were enthusiastically willing to swallow. Thus, we provoked Mexico into a conflict that constituted "a favor" we offered to that benighted nation -- just as the genocide unleashed by the U.S. government in Iraq constituted a benevolent, disinterested gift to more than a million slaughtered Iraqis, and to many more millions made homeless refugees. "Freedom isn't free," our viciously stupid propagandists announced to the dead, maimed and displaced Iraqis, neglecting to note that it was beneath our lofty status to inquire whether the gift was desired in the smallest degree, especially when acquired by these methods and with the associated costs. (This assumes that "freedom" was, in fact, the goal, which of course it was not. All of this is propaganda, remember.)
The fundamental lesson is unmistakable, and unmistakably evil in intent and execution (a word made horribly appropriate in more than one sense by our government's actions): you will do exactly as we say -- or else.
It is now critical to note a further implication of this murderous method of dealing with others. Just as it is not possible for an individual to restrict what constitutes a fundamental psychological methodology to only one area of his life, so a ruling class will not employ one approach in foreign policy while dealing with matters of domestic politics in a radically different manner. In any case, the U.S. ruling class never had such a desire: in one way or another, other nations would be made to submit to the demands of the U.S. government -- and the same is true for U.S. citizens. The citizens of America will do exactly as the ruling class demands -- or else. As far as the ruling class is concerned, you have as little reason to complain as the murdered Iraqis do: the ruling class only wishes to improve your life. The ruling class acts only on your behalf, and "for your own good."
You now witness these tactics of intimidation and of the most transparently, viciously manipulative fear-mongering deployed by almost every member of the ruling class in connection with the bailout bill. I will not rehearse another time all the reasons this bill will do nothing but hasten the economic destruction of the United States, or why it is supposedly designed to solve a problem that cannot be solved: begin with my most recent essay on this subject, and follow the links (or scroll through the last few weeks of posts) for much more. (In the following, I do not even mention the cruder and more obvious methods of intimidation now so beloved by our government. See an earlier essay -- "Obey or Die" --for just one kind of example of what the cruder methods entail.)
The words speak for themselves, but the purpose of these pronouncements should be emphasized: our rulers do not want to scare you to death, although your death would hardly approach a matter of any serious concern for them. While your death is not (necessarily) required, your obedience is. You will obey them -- or else.
So we have our president:
After Congress failed to pass a $700 billion financial rescue bill yesterday, President Bush made a plea to Congress Tuesday morning to act now or "the economic damage will be painful and lasting." We have the Democratic vice presidential candidate:
This is the sixth time in the past two weeks President Bush cleared his schedule to make remarks specifically on the economy.
"The reality is that we are in an urgent situation, and the consequences will grow worse each day if we do not act," he said.
"The dramatic drop in the stock market that we saw yesterday will have a direct impact on the retirement accounts, pension funds, and personal savings of millions of our citizens. And if our nation continues on this course, the economic damage will be painful and lasting."
Biden took a break from debate prep Tuesday to grab lunch at Wilmington's Charcoal Pit, where he fielded two questions from voters concerned about the nation's precarious economic situation.We have Barack Obama:
"It’s real trouble," Biden said of the prospect that the rescue plan might not come through. "What people are going to do if they don’t get this done, people are going to lose their jobs, their pensions."
RENO, Nev.—Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Tuesday called for Americans to get behind attempts to salvage a $700 billion rescue plan for the financial sector, saying that if Wall Street fails ordinary people will also be hurt.Those last comments from Obama introduce another theme of this propaganda onslaught, one that should be especially offensive to any American who remains capable of thought to any extent at all. That theme is simply this: if you don't understand why we need to add an incalculable amount to the already monumental national debt, if you fail to grasp why we have to extort money from you to maintain the ruling class in its comfort and affluence, if you don't see why we need to embark on a plan that cannot possibly do what we say it's intended to do, while it will cause untold damage in numerous other ways -- well, you're just stupid.
"This is no longer just a Wall Street crisis. It's an American crisis, and it's the American economy that needs this rescue plan," Obama told about 12,000 people at a rally at the University of Nevada at Reno.
Obama said Congress should put aside politics—he didn't mention GOP rival John McCain by name during his remarks—and should act quickly on the legislation.
"To the Democrats and Republicans who opposed this plan yesterday, I say: Step up to the plate and do what's right for this country," he said. "And to all Americans, I say this: If I am president of the United States, this rescue plan will not be the end of what we do to strengthen this economy. It will only be the beginning."
Obama said he had talked with Bush, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and other leaders Tuesday about resurrecting the recovery plan. He also sought to reassure the public, saying the plan had been "misunderstood and poorly communicated."
"This is not a plan to just hand over $700 billion of your money to a few banks on Wall Street," the Illinois senator said.
This is a theme that Hillary Clinton is happy to pick up:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton says the U.S. Senate may have to lead the way in passing a $700 billion Wall Street bailout package, now that the House has rejected the measure.If you don't "recognize" what Clinton demands you recognize -- whether it's true or not, whether the "solution" she proposes is a solution or more of the poison that is killing us -- you're just stupid.
"I certainly would support the Senate going first, so long as we have the votes ... as early as tomorrow if that's what would make this process successful," Clinton told reporters by phone Tuesday.
The New York Democrat, who nearly won her party's presidential nomination, said she believes public opposition to the bailout deal may be weakening after the market reacted badly to the failed House vote Monday and more businesses express worries about the future.
"It sounds dire but there is a risk that commerce could grind to a halt," she said.
Voters furious over the proposal to have taxpayers foot the bill should understand that it's not just a problem facing bankers, Clinton said.
"They have to recognize that we are facing a very serious economic slowdown, a recession that could be of long-lasting and deep impact," she said.
I have several other news articles offering comments from other members of the ruling class, and I could easily find many, many more, all to the same general effect: be terrified and do what they say. Or else. If you don't understand the urgency and necessity of doing exactly what they say, you're just stupid. In that case, you should obviously turn your life and your money over to your betters. Let them dispose of all of it as they see fit. That's why they're your rulers, isn't it? They know what's best for you.
Do what they demand -- or else.
This is your government -- a terrorist state, abroad and at home. Now they've added you to their list of current targets. How does it feel? (At least, they're not shooting at you. Not just yet, anyway.)
I fully expect that this bailout/rescue/extortion scheme will be passed in some form close to the original version in its essentials, probably in the next several days, almost certainly in the coming week. The system is now set up so that when the ruling class is particularly intent upon a certain objective, even your obedience isn't required any longer. After all, what are you going to do? Move to another country? Not vote for any of these bastards in November?
Most Americans won't do that. They protest now; once the deed is done, they'll go back to their lives, such as they will be at that point, and devote themselves to making the ruling class more wealthy and more powerful.
To a terrorist government, you're irrelevant, as irrelevant as a slaughtered five-year-old Iraqi girl. But they'll continue to try to scare you to death. You're easier to rule that way.
I suggest you get used to it. This is your future.
At this moment, you might want to reconsider a question I have asked before: Why do you continue to support this kind of system? To the degree you comply with the ruling class's demands for obedience, you are not merely obeying: you are supporting.
Is that your choice?