The Lost American Century?
by Jeff Wright
The world changed forever on 9/11/01. It could have changed for America in ways that would have assured she remained in the ranks of the truly enlightened, liberated nations of western civilization. Instead, it seems, that promise has largely been squandered with a vengeance.
The world changed again on 3/18/03. It is almost assured, unless quick action is taken, that the next century will become one of fear, oppression and economic decline for our nation. Our leaders, of both the Republican and Democratic parties, have continued the pattern of self-destructive behavior practiced with increasing disregard of our original purpose and promise as a nation.
The 20th Century has often been called "The American Century." To be sure, America has much to be proud of from the last century. Our efforts to stabilize and advance the world in two world wars have no equal. Our development of the majority of modern technology and infrastructure driving the world to increasing wealth realization has no equal. And, up until recently, our system of distributing the wealth provided by that infrastructure has been the most advanced model ever provided. We are about to blow it all completely.
Our increasing tendency to push that model rigidly into all other societies of the world is the sign of an Authoritarian state. That is coupled with a foreign policy that seeks to protect that state's corporate interests through manipulation and intimidation of other governments, directly or through surrogates, backed with both overt and covert projections of military power and intelligence capability. That face of the American presence in the world is too little talked about or analyzed by the citizens of the United States and especially the general media. Most of it is shielded from view through the system of government security classification measures.
From the late 1940s to the 1980s, for good or ill, much of these force projections were driven by Cold War politics. Our ongoing shoving match with the Soviet Union protected many and trampled many smaller countries underfoot. In addition, the adventurism and empire of some of our closest allies has contributed, part and parcel, to our involvement in attempts to control other parts of the globe where our interests are not vital. These are facts, not judgments.
Even a cursory examination of the current situation is helpful as an example. The boundaries of the current state of Iraq (and by definition the surrounding nations) were arbitrarily drawn by the British and the US at the outset of WWI. Further, throughout the region, many nations have been controlled and manipulated by western and eastern European interests after WWII and in the subsequent Cold War.
Both the current and past leadership in Iraq and its neighbor Iran were placed in power through manipulation and direct intervention. Since WWI various nations around the region have been controlled and manipulated by corporate and governmental interests of the US and its major allies.
However, since 1980 with the breakup of the only serious threat to the US and its allies, our nation's leaders have sought to both maintain and extend US global dominance into the collapsing regions of the world. More serious in the 1990s, has been the tendency to attempt to maintain the corporate and military presence around the globe through the increasing use of force or "support" where it is not wanted by other sovereign nations. This behavior has spawned the term "nation building."
In its turn the US has tried to isolate and intimidate many of these nations into compliance with our interests, much of it covert (meaning out of view of the general media and public). As the peoples, nations and regions subjected to this pressure have reacted, sometimes in desperate retaliation, our citizenry have reacted with shock and outrage largely out of ignorance fostered and fed by a succession of our governments. At some point it should dawn on the US public that most of these nations do not hate us simply because we exist or are a successful nation. This is the popular myth that is fed to us and abetted by "lack of other evidence." But the evidence is there in what is publicly known for those that wish to explore it.
Why is Iran today run by Ayatollahs? Because the US directly assisted and kept Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi in power. The US established and trained the Shah's secret police, SAVAK, who brutally maintained the Shah's power throughout his reign. When Iranian fundamentalists moved to depose the Shah we assisted in the crackdown before he was ultimately shipped out of the country. We then used military and embassy personnel to attempt to destabilize the country. This action directly lead to the seizure of the US Embassy and the taking of hostages.
The US directly assisted bringing Hussein and the Baath party to power in Iraq in 1963. The US, with our "allies" kept them in power and further supplied most of the technologies (through 1988) that formed the basis of their military structure and "weapons of mass destruction" programs.
The CIA also created and supported Osama bin Laden and his organization in Afghanistan in the early 1980s as "freedom fighters." We are currently supporting the oppressive communist regime in Venezuela against a popular uprising to restore economic and political freedom in that country. We control and manipulate governments throughout Central and South America directly against our supposed "values" and in a way that is leading to their people's ever-increasing hatred of our country through our meddling in their internal affairs overtly and covertly. Witness Nicaragua, Panama, Haiti, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Argentina to name a few. We have supported or directed the operation of hundreds of ops around the world that directly meddled in the internal affairs of both our allies and adversaries for decades. In many instances going all the way back to the early 1900s. Think of Southeast Asia, Philippines, Korea and many others.
We have created these monsters all over the world. In fact, any lengthy research will turn up that our covert and overt operations over the decades have created most of our current enemies. The CIA has even coined a term for this outcome: "Blowback" Blowback is coming at us from all directions. To reiterate, at some point the public must realize that we are not hated simply because we exist. I would suggest that the reader do a "Google" search on most any country of their choosing using the search criteria; "'Country X' + CIA + weapons + military assistance" or something similar. You will be shocked by the results.
We are embarking on an enterprise to attempt to clean up one of the many messes largely of our own making in Iraq over many decades. We will fail. We will fail by the evidence of our own eyes on CNN. We have entered into the Never-ending War. Look at what is happening in Iraq through the billions of other eyes in the world.
If Gulf War I was impressive, Gulf War II is overwhelming. Military planners term the assault "Shock and Awe." Just think what the rest of the world sees on their TVs. We are in the process of literally picking apart a nation of 24 million people at will in what appears to be the most expensive "hit" in history. The US has notified our allies, enemies and sometime adversaries that unilaterally, when we choose, we can pick anyone apart that we deem necessary and in a "pre-emptive" fashion. Just as the recent movie "Minority Report" highlighted the creation of "Pre-crime," we have created "Pre-War."
Anyone who believes that the fear and hatred this will engender in the rest of the world is further controllable lives in a parallel universe, not this one. We have lessened our own security, not enhanced it. We have informed all of our enemies and adversaries that there is only one option left them to try and stop the imposition of US will: endless terrorism.
In addition, on March 18th, 2003 we finally and completely discarded the US Constitution and the rule of law. What mere "law" can withstand the awesome power the government must adopt as "necessary" to enforce internal and worldwide order as our government now views it?
We have entered into the endless degradation of our own rights and liberties as a free people. Each escalating terrorist attack against us will engender a new level of "security" to protect us poor slobs. Yet we will become less secure.
The government will first automatically move to protect itself. Government buildings and institutions will become less accessible and more distant from all Americans as "necessary" escalating security measures are implemented. Just contrast your access and free movement around the country compared to 20 years ago. "ID please" and "wait here to be searched" are conditioning Americans in an unprecedented way to release fundamental freedoms at all levels. All this without out one shred of evidence that it reduces any portion of the real terrorist threat.
It is well documented that 9/11/01 was first a complete failure of external security not internal security. However, in 5 years it will be next to impossible to enter and freely associate with virtually any level of government or to freely move about the country, engage in banking or finance or be employed without constant harassment and intrusions. At the same time the government will become more and more isolated from the people. Those that do not comply will join the growing "criminal class."
As it becomes more evident to our enemies that attacking the government is too difficult, attacks on the people randomly will escalate. What better way to try and get to the government? We the People are much easier targets. The escalating security measures to supposedly protect us from that threat will lead to ever more oppressive restrictions on our rights and liberties. Without a dramatic reversal in current events, 3/18/03 will eventually be recognized as the end of the "American Experiment" in personal rights and liberties.
Our economy will be placed in serious jeopardy. In significant part our apparent power is illusory. For at least two decades we have been the world's largest debtor nation. We fund our Balance of Payments deficit, our governmental fiscal deficit and our public debt through more than $3 trillion dollars of foreign purchase of that debt. That has been enabled in the past only because the dollar has been the world's reserve currency. We live off our credit card.
But even before 3/18/03 the Euro had begun making serious inroads in our ability to remain the world's chief reserve currency, directly affecting our ability to continue to fund our deficits and debt. It is apparent that one of the reasons for Germany and France, at minimum, to oppose the war in Iraq is that they know this will enhance the movement worldwide to the Euro as a major reserve currency. This portends dire consequences for the US economy. It is particularly so, now that we are entering a period of enormous deficits and unfunded liabilities in public programs over the next decade.
Secondarily, it will begin more and more to affect our trading relations with other nations. The combination of a Euro that continues to strengthen and a conscious movement of economic interests away from the US, wherever possible, will directly impact our domestic economy. We are much more dependent on imports to run our engine and our exports have been growing only 1/5th the rate of imports. Any further erosion of export capability is extremely serious.
Our airline infrastructure is already in dire straits without the Never-ending War. Manufacturing is declining and moving overseas at an incredible rate in some industries, such as textiles. Overall, there are significant signs that the consumer economy is "over bought" evidenced by the enormous amount of consumer debt. Folks can only buy ahead or refinance so much before even the credit card runs out. Also, as seen in Japan, there is little pump priming room left in interest rates. Where does the Fed go once the discount rate hits 0.75% or lower?
All in all, the American people have let themselves be lead down the golden path far too often by successive administrations, some intended some unintended. This combined with increasing levels of subtle indoctrination that allows many in our society to remain "fat, dumb and happy" contributes to the sheep syndrome we are experiencing and is in fact exploited by our increasingly clever politicians.
Only severe "shock and awe" to the citizens of the United States will shake the complacency and misguided support seen across the land for continuing the policies of this and previous administrations. From many apparent indicators it is about to happen. However, the only thing we may have left to fear at this point is the reaction of our government to American's desire to return to the path laid out by the founders of this nation. Our leaders may decide they like the power more than a two century old model for freedom.
Many will argue that the view contained in this paper is cynically opposed to the view that ultimately the government is good. A long list of quotes from the founders that directly dispute that claim will probably be viewed as irrelevant. Even against the noted trend of the last 30 years or the documented evidence of the behavior of our government on the dark side would fail to convince as well. Just as with any dominant empire it is natural for the citizens of that empire to believe that we are doing what we are doing for all the "right" reasons whether true or not.
This author would "opine" (as Mr. Rumsfeld likes to say) that the best proof is simply in more closely analyzing current and coming events. Listen and watch closely for the signposts as indicated in this article. Draw your own conclusions from actual evidence.
But then, once the trend is clear do not fail to act. Or don't. However, if the reader comes to agree with the viewpoint in this article, at minimum do not continue to give aid and support to policies and decisions that are realized to be heavily flawed. The "conventional wisdom" is hard to buck and the truth hardest of all to swallow if realized later rather than sooner. Do not succumb to the convenient path with friends, neighbors and others who may be way into "The Matrix."
We may have few opportunities to correct events in a way much more satisfactory to the real long term survival and security of the United States and the world. Even talking with your friends and neighbors about the obvious nature of what is happening is highly important.
Unfortunately much of the Anti-War crowd out there is greatly misguided and ignorant. They incorrectly place themselves on the right side of this issue. They also incorrectly hate all things military. They are fools in misplacing their ire against the government. The left has always refused to understand the difference between a tool and how it is used, whether the issue is guns capitalism or the military. That makes it very easy for the authoritarians and those opposed to the true Republican form of government to counter and misdirect the issues to their advantage. This will only end when informed Republicans enter the debate and stop the rhetoric of the Authoritarians.
America needs your support in whatever form it can be brought to bear for we have likely entered the most dangerous decade of our history.
Most Americans seem to live in a complacent paradise, ignorant of geography, of geopolitics and of the dangers that are brewing all around them. This will prove to be highly injurious to the run of our civilization. We are allowing our leadership to make decisions affecting our grandchildren without true and open debate, without following our fundamental law and without informing us as to what is really known. Under these conditions it cannot reasonably be expected that America will remain a free and prosperous nation for much longer.
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." (T. Jefferson, as cited in Padover, 1939, p. 89)
"Peace... has been our principle, peace is our interest, and peace has saved to the world this only plant of free and rational government now existing in it... However, therefore, we may have been reproached for pursuing our Quaker system, time will affix the stamp of wisdom on it, and the happiness and prosperity of our citizens will attest its merit. And this, I believe, is the only legitimate object of government and the first duty of governors, and not the slaughter of men and devastation of the countries placed under their care in pursuit of a fantastic honor unallied to virtue or happiness; or in gratification of the angry passions or the pride of administrators excited by personal incidents in which their citizens have no concern." --Thomas Jefferson to Thaddeus Kosciusko, 1811. ME 13:41