The "American Exceptionalism" is geo-political trap the USA now experiencing. This is a unique brand of nationalism and
after September 2001 thee jaws of American imperialism: intelligence agencies, military
and financial oligarchy are too tight for the country to leave this (potentially
self-destructing) path. So it looks like the USA will continues its international
power projection and unique financial imperialism in foreseeable future no matter what are internal costs. Leon Trotsky saying is
fully applicable to the current decline of the American imperialism, the process started in 2008 "We will leave, but we will slam the door so hard
the world will shudder," Trump presidency is clearly start of slamming the door.
Leopard can't change its spots. The same is true for the USA. It is metropolis for a large "neoliberal" empire governed
from Washington and to some extent form London as the second most important financial center of the empire. It is attached to
neoliberalism and death of neoliberalism means the death of this empire. The USA dominance
is maintained mostly not by force of arms but by installing and cultivating comprador elites ("regime change/color
revolutions) and financial mechanism, due to the role of dominant role of
the USA Treasury, USA banks and two controlled by the USA international financial institutions (IMF and the World Bank) in the
world financial system. This mechanism involves in many cases converting and then keeping the country in the status of a debt
slave (to IMF or both IMF and private banks; Greece and Ukraine are notable examples)
Probably in a hundred years or so there will be discussion about whether the USA imperialism was totally harmful or at least
somewhat beneficial for the vassal nations. Like discussion about Roman empire and British empire.
American imperialism is the economic/financial (as well as military and cultural) dominance
of the United States over other countries. It is based on neoliberalism, so it more properly can be
Neoliberalism and associated with it a new type of empire (the USA neoliberal empire) was not an accident, it was a development that
while started in the USA took roots in
many countries, including such diverse as Chile (Pinochet), GB (Thatcher), China (Deng
Xiaoping was a neoliberal reformer), Russia (Yeltsin gang), and many other countries.
Since the late 1970s, a shift of economic activity from the production of goods and non-financial
services to finance has been adopted as mean to escape diminishing return on capital. The
oil crisis of the 1970s was probably another factor in the decision of the elite (and it was
decision, a conscious choice, not an accident) to switch to neoliberal policies.
"American empire" consists of vassal states and colonies. Vassal state that have some degree of
independence is essentially a codename for NATO. All other states are colonies. An international
financial elite (Davos crowd) which BTW consider the USA and NATO as a enforcer, a tool for getting
what they want, much like Bolsheviks considered Soviet Russia to be such a tool. The last thing they
are concerned is the well-being of American people.
During its history which starts around 70th (with the first major success the
Pinochet's coup de etat
in Chile, which was supported by the USA), neoliberalism undergone several stages of development:
Deconstruction of Keynesian consensus (known as New Deal in the USA). That stage lasted
from 1945 to approximately 1980 (Reagan election) when part of New Deal regulations has been found
not compatible with realities after Vietnam was and were repealed
Construction of a new, neoliberal alternative: financial capitalism (aka "casino
capitalism" in G7 countries and establishing neo-imperial domination over the rest of world).
While a push for neoliberalism always emanated from the United States, it was Margaret Thatcher government
which first tried to implement it as a full scale social program in GB, with the side effect of bolstering
GB financial industry and partially returning London the glory of major international financial center.
The USA also went into overdrive in implementing neoliberal doctrine under Reagan. This stage lasted
approximately till 1991 and in the process neoliberal managed to put the USSR on debt needle (incompetence
and cronyism of the USSR aging nomenklatura greatly helped) , making it in essence a colonial country
("Volta with rockets").
Triumphal march of neoliberalism over the world. It started with dissolution of the USSR
and ended with the attack on Serbia. Triumphal march of neoliberalism started with the reunification
of Germany and dissolution of the USSR. It lasted almost a decade. During this period all countries
of former Socialist blocks were converted into neoliberal model, some with great costs and suffering
of the population (Russia economics was devastated but lately recovered at least partially, Ukraine
went in tailspin and never recovered; standard of living of population initially drops to Poorest
Africa nations level and state assets were privatized for pennies on a dollar). The key ideas of
this period, known as Washington Consensus included deregulation and acquiring by finance sector
commanding influence in government (corruption and transformation/selloff of Democratic Party into
Wall Street Party under Clinton). See
At this point neoliberalism became official ideology of both republican and democratic parties (Clinton
Democratic Party transformation was ended the process started under Carter).
The key here is that market economies have never existed independent of nation states.
Neoliberalism is characterized by flow of the capital to the USA and other major western
countries, rather than spreading the wealth from the wealthy center to the poorer periphery.
By putting in debt a growing proportion of "third world" nations (and that includes some
first world countries like Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Spain) a new finance based mechanism of
dominance ( "debt slavery") emerged. Countries are forced to accumulate debt in external
currency (euro or dollars) and that alone ensures the necessary level of political dependence on the USA and other major Western
countries. "Dollarized" countries became political satellites, vassals of the USA (a classic
example here is Yeltsin's Russia), with weakened "privatized" economy (which amounted to sell of
assets to foreigners on pennies for a dollar). All of them were forced into debt slavery via the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and its sister institution, the World Bank.
These institutions are imposing the same creditor-oriented monetarism that wrecked the world
economy in the 1920s, triggering the Great Depression. Instead of helping the world’s poorer debtor
economies develop, the IMF and World Bank programs ‘underdevelop’ them, polarizing their
economies between a wealthy top layer and poverty for the vast majority. Turned into a
U.S. Cold War arm under the stewardship of Robert McNamara, the World Bank has become a powerful
arm of the new global class war, most notoriously Russia and East Asia.
The upshot has been to leave the world’s poorer economies even deeper in debt, and so financially
strapped that they are obliged to sell off to international financial institutions whatever assets
remain in their public domain. While wealth and incomes have polarized as a result of the active
intervention of the World Bank and IMF on behalf of the ruling kleptocracies throughout Africa,
Latin America and Asia, the physical environments of these debtor economies have been devastated
by the ecological consequences of the World Bank’s raw-materials export programs. Pandemics have
broken out as public health programs have been dismantled as domestic budgets have been stripped
to service the mounting foreign debt. This has impaired the ability of governments to contain
new diseases and undertake ameliorative social spending.
Neoconservative stage (Imperial overstretch). This stage started
with attack on Serbia and continued till 2008. This stage of neoliberalism is best defined by
its extremely aggressive, jingoistic foreign policy of the USA as a new neoliberal hegemon. The agenda
of neoconservative part of the USA elite, which was actually widely shared outside usual suspects
includes full spectrum dominance, imperial overstretch, nuclear primacy, the right of pre-emptive
strikes at any states which do not possess nuclear weapons, and support of Israel as an official
goal of the US middle east policy. Neoconservatism shares with neoliberalism
amazing similarities with Trotskyism. Trotskyite idea of "permanent revolution" was creatively transformed
into "permanent democratization". Series of "democratization wars" which opened several countries
to neoliberal agenda and killed more then a million of people followed. It was supplemented by a
series of successful "color revolutions" in
countries like Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine which brought to power neoliberal, pro-US regimes run by
It was the attack on Serbia (March 24, 1999 to June 10, 1999) that helped many countries to realize
that neoliberalism is a road to nowhere and the USA went too far in its "sole superpower" role. During
the campaign, 2,300 air attacks were carried out on 995 facilities around Serbia and 1,150 fighter
jets fired nearly 420,000 missiles to the total weight of 22,000 tons. NATO fired 1,300 cruise missiles,
dropped 37,000 cluster bombs which killed around 200 individuals and caused injuries to several hundred
more people. The forces also used banned depleted uranium ammunition. Later the same scenario
was repeated in Iraq with substantially larger amount of victims (over one million in total, by some
estimates; much more if we count subsequent civil war).
Backlash for neoliberalism in Russia stated almost immediately after attack on Yugoslavia.
Later Putin explicitly positioned Russia as the the country that rejects the role of the USA as the
center of neoliberal empire, while at the same time not rejecting neoliberalism per se (which is
a weak point of "Putinism" as an ideology).
Zombie stage (post-neoliberalism).
This stage which by one author (Colin Crouch) was called "Strange
non-death of neoliberalism" started in 2008 and still continues. During this stage tendencies
that characterized Neoconservative stage became
more brutal. Several civil wars were unleashed after neoliberal color revolutions organized and financed
by the USA and allies in such countries as Libya and
Ukraine. The USA State Department
continued to be dominated by neocons (Hillary Clinton
was amazingly close to Dick Cheney in her foreign
policy views; As a
Victoria Nuland is probably to the right of her famous
neocon husband Robert Karan).
Which make Obama regime foreign policy a clone of Bush II exceptionalism and he himself essentially
turned into Bush III.
Retreat into "national neoliberalism" and aggressive "no rules allies" enforcing of its dominance. This is
the stage initiated by Thump who wanted to convert neoliberal globalization from governed by international treaties to pure
domination of the USA using direct application of financial and economic muscle So fat is was successful to forging a
losses coalition of china, Russia, Turkey, Iran and India opposing Trump efforts. .
The implosion of the entire global banking/mortgage industry in 2008 has essentially delegitimized
neoliberalism central mantra about self-regulating market (which was a fake to begin with) and thus
made it far less attractive as an economic and social model which the U.S. has been pleased to espouse
as the royal road to prosperity for decades.
The implosion of the entire global banking/mortgage industry in 2008 has essentially
delegitimized neoliberalism central mantra about self-regulating market (which was a fake
to begin with) and thus made it far less attractive as an economic and social model
which the U.S. has been pleased to espouse as the royal road to prosperity for decades.
In different ways, Xi Jinping’s China, Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Narendra Modi’s India represent
an alternative economic model, in which free markets and state capitalism are blended under strong
In other words 2008 signified the "end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end" of Washington
Consensus, if we use Churchill's words. But in
now way it means that period of neoliberal revolutions came ot the end. Inertia and the level of
technological and cultural dominance of the USA and its allies (G7) is such that even after bankruptcy
as an ideology, neoliberalism continues to its world expansion and claims new victims among "resource
nationalists" or simply "not neoliberal enough" regimes. After 2008 Libya, Syria and Ukraine were
successfully "regime changed". I think Ukraine, which was a neoliberal state even before EuroMaidan
is a special case and much of EuroMaidan events were connected with the desire to "put Russia in
place" by Washington (and its European poodles) as well as century old Germany desire to
expand its market and dominance into Ukraine.
If we assume that Marxism as a political philosophy was dead around 1960-1970 when it became evident
that working class does not represent the new dominant class able to take power and govern in a
new social system as well as the fact that Communist Party political dominance is unable
to secure higher standard of living for people then advanced capitalist societies, and never
will, and that The Iron Law of Oligarchy
is applicable to the USSR even more, not less that to any Western country. Still it took 20 years
for the USSR to collapse after the USA elite bought part of The USSR nomenclature and organized a
quite coup installing puppet neoliberal Yeltsin regime (sold as a "victory of democracy" to
lemmings by Western propaganda machine). Using neoliberal advisors from Harvard (aka "Harvard
mafia") it instituted "shock therapy" which instantly pushed 90% of population of the
xUSSR region into object poverty very and also enriched beyond imagination few multinationals who
were will full support of Yeltsin regime to steal assets and natural resources for pennies on
fifth column as an intermediary). Essentially looting of the USSR area was one of key factors
which ensured recovery and quick growth of the USA economy in late 90th which was interrupted
only by the dot-com crysy of 2000.
I would assume that neoliberalism is probably twice more resilient the communism, so 50-60 years
since it became clear that the economic doctrine of neoliberalism is a pseudoscientific joke and
its political doctrine is an eclectic mix masking financial slavery masked with the smokescreen
of propaganda about "entrepreneur class" and "shareholder value" the first sign of decay
might be a reasonable estimate ot its eventual lifetime. Much depends on the dynamics of the price of oil, as globalization and
thus forces of neoliberalism are inherently dependent on cheap hydrocarbons. High prices or relative
scarcity that affects transcontinental trade might damage neoliberalism and undermine the fifth column
that support it in.
Also high cost of hydrocarbons means "end of growth", and neoliberalism financial scheme based
on cheap credit. It might implode in the environment of slow, or close to zero growth.
That means that consistent price of oil, say, over 120 is a direct threat to neoliberal project
in the USA. Even with prices over $100 the major neoliberal economics entered the stage of
"secular stagnation". It also makes the US military which is the largest consumer of oil in the USA
much more expensive to run and increase the costs of neoliberal "wars for regime change", essentially
curtailing neoliberal expansion. Or at least making it more difficult. The same is true about financiering
of color revolutions, which as a new type of neoliberal conquests of other countries, also require
some cash, although not at the scale of "boots on the ground".
It is possible to lower the oil price, as happened at the end of 2014, but the question is how
long this period will last.
At this point ideology of neoliberalism as an ideology is completely discredited and its fake
nature is evident to large part of global elite (which probably never have any illusions from the
very beginning) as well, which is more dangerous, large part of middle class. It still is supported
by pure military and financial power of the USA and its allies as well as technological superiority
of the West in general. So only postulates of neoliberalism, especially as for free market absolutization,
started to be questioned. And partically revised (increased financial regulation is one example).
This form of neoliberalism with the core ideology intact but modified one of several postulates can
be called post-neoliberalism.
The USA still remains the most powerful country in the world with formidable military, and still
behave as a word hegemon and the only source of justice ignoring US and other International organization,
unless it if convenient to them. But as Napoleon noted "You can do anything with bayonets, but
you can't sit on them". Running aggressive foreign policy on a discredited ideology and relying
on blunt propaganda is a difficult undertaking as resistance mounts and bubble out in un-anticipated
areas (Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk in Ukraine are recent example, when neoliberal color revolution,
which was performed by few thousands trained by the West far right militants, including openly neo-fascist
squads, led to civil war in the country).
Still, unfortunately, Libya, Syria and Ukraine, were not probably a swan song of muscular
enforcement of neoliberal model on other countries. While sponsored by the USA and allies anti-Putin
putsch in Russia (aka white revolution") failed, events in Libya and
Ukraine prove the neoliberalism
sill can launch and win offensives (aka color revolutions).
At the cost of plunging the country into economic and political chaos including civil war.
Rule of financial oligarchy also gradually comes under some (although very limited) scrutiny in
the USA. Some measures to restrict appetites of financial oligarchy were recently undertaken in Europe
(bank bonuses limitations).
HFT and derivatives still remain off-reach for regulators despite JP Morgan fiasco in May 2012
in London branch. Trade loss was around two billions, decline of bank value was around $13bn (The
Guardian) At this stage most people around the world realized that as Warren Buffett's right-hand
man Charlie Munger quipped in his CNBC interview
Trusting banks to
self-regulate is like trusting to self-regulate heroin addicts. At the meeting of the Group of
20 (G20) heads of states in the spring of 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the
death of “the Washington Consensus” — the famous list of market-liberalizing policy prescriptions
that guided the previous 20 or 30 years of neoliberal expansion into third world countries
Prominent economists in the United States and elsewhere pointed out that after decades of reform,
market-liberalizing policies had not produced the promised benefits for either economic growth or
social welfare of countries were those policies were applied (Stiglitz 2002, 2006; Rodrik 2006).
These criticisms further undermined the legitimacy of neoliberal governance, exactly the same way
as similar criticism undermined socialist model of the USSR and Eastern Europe. The problem is that
while socialist experiment could be compared with the Western countries capitalism achievement, here
there is no alternative model with which to compare.
Still a backlash directed at the USA is mounting even from the former loyal vassals. Even the
UK elite starts to display the behavior that contradict its role of the obedient US poodle. The atmosphere
is which the USA is considered "guilty" of pushing though the throats of other countries a utopia
that harmed them is a different atmosphere for the US oligarchy that the role of it accustomed to.
Now the US oligarchy has found itself in USSR nomenklatura shoes and eventually might be called to
answer for their global actions which similar to Opium Wars of the British can be called Dollar Wars.
Everybody is now aware of the substantial costs that the modern financial system has imposed on
the real economy, especially in developing countries, and no amount of propaganda and brainwashing
can hide this simple fact.
Standard of living was rising slowly and after 2008 mostly stopped to rise and started to detiorate
reflecting higher energy prices and the level on indebtness of many countries (Greece, Spain, Portugal,
Bulgaria, Ukraine, etc). So the key promise of neoliberalism that "trickle down" from
super rich will be enough to sustain better standard of living for all proved to be a confidence
It is questionable that the "financial innovations" of the last three-four decades can compensate
for those huge costs and that they warrants those costs. Shocks generated within the financial system
and transformation of economies imposed by international financial oligarchy as the core of neoliberal
elite, implies that the rule of financial oligarchy creates negative externalities for societies
and that some types of financial activities and some financial structures should be treated like
an organized crime (in other words as purely parasitic, extortionist type of players).
Still this stage preserves several attributes of previous stage and first of all push for globalization
and aggressive foreign policy. While economic crisis of 2008 destroyed legitimacy of ideology of
neoliberalism, neoliberalism as an ideology continue to exists as a cult, much like communism as
an ideology continues to exist, despite the failure of the USSR. And being phony ideology from the
very beginning, a smokescreen for the revanchism of financial oligarchy, it still can be promoted
by unrelenting propaganda machine of the same forces which put it into mainstream albeit with les
So far no viable alternatives emerged, and inertia is still strong, as strong as G7 block with
the USA as the head of the block. Like in 20th failure of neoliberalism led to rise of nationalism,
especially in Europe (France, Hungary, Ukraine). In some countries, such as Ukraine, the net result
of neoliberal revolution was establishing a far right regime which has uncanny similarities to the
régimes which came to power in 30th such as Franko regime in Spain. The phase of neoliberal
dominance still continues, it is just the central idea of neoliberalism, the fake idea of self-regulating
markets that was completely discredited by the crisis of 2008. Actually it was discredited before
during Great Depression, but the generation that remembered this lesson is now extinct (it looks
like it takes approximately 50 years for humanity to completely forget the lessons of history ;-).
Latin America, once paragon of a neoliberal revolution (Chile, Argentina, Mexico, etc), is now
dominated by left-wing governments elected on explicitly anti-neoliberal platforms. Around the world,
economists and policymakers now come to consensus that excessive reliance on unregulated financial
markets and the unrestrained rule of financial oligarchy was the root cause of the current worldwide
financial crisis. That created a more difficult atmosphere for the USA financial institutions to
operate abroad. Several countries are now trying to limit role of dollar as the world currency (one
of the sins Saddam Hussein paid the price).
Also internal contradictions became much deeper and the neoliberal regime became increasingly
unstable even in the citadel of neoliberalism -- the USA. Like any overstretched empire it became
hollow within with stretches on potholes ridden roads and decaying infrastructure visible to everyone.
Politically, the Republican Party became a roadblock for any meaningful reform (and its radical wing
-- the tea party even sending its representatives to Congress), the Party that is determined to rather
take the USA the road of the USSR, then change its ideology. All this points to the fact that neoliberalism
as an socio-economic doctrine is following the path of Bolshevism.
But its media dominance of neoliberalism paradoxically continues unabated. And this is despite
the fact that after the crisis of 2008, the notion that finance mobilizes and allocates resources
efficiently, drastically reduces systemic risks and brings significant productivity gains for the
economy as a whole became untenable. We can expect that like was the case with Catholicism in middle
ages and Bolshevism in the USSR, zombie phase of neoliberalism can last many decades (in the USSR,
"zombie" state lasted two decades, say from 1970 to 1991, and neoliberalism with its emphasis on
low human traits such as greed and supported by military and economic power of the USA, is considerably
more resilient then Bolshevism). As of 2013 it is still supported by elites of several major western
states (such as the USA, GB, Germany, France), transnational capital (and financial capital in particular)
and respective elites out of the sense of self-preservation. That means that is it reasonable to
expect that its rule in G7 will continue (like Bolshevism rule in the USSR in 70th-80th) despite
probably interrupted by bursts of social violence (Muslim immigrants in Europe are once such force).
In the US, for example, income and wealth inequality continue to increase, with stagnating middle-class
earnings, reduced social mobility, and an allegedly meritocratic higher education system, generously
supported by tax exemptions, has been turned into the system whose main beneficiaries are the children
of the rich and successful. Superimposed on this class divide is an increasingly serious intergenerational
divide, and increases level of unemployment of young people, which make social atmosphere somewhat
similar to the one in Egypt, although the pressure from Muslim fundamentalists is absent.
More and more neoliberalism came to be perceived as a ruse intended to safeguard the interests
of a malignantly narcissistic empire (the USA) and of rapacious multinationals. It is now more and
more linked with low-brow cultural homogeneity, social Darwinism, encroachment on privacy, mass production
of junk, and suppression of national sentiments and aspiration in favor of transnational monopolies.
It even came to be associated with a bewildering variety of social ills: rising crime rates, unemployment,
poverty, drug addiction, prostitution, organ trafficking, and other antisocial forms of conduct.
While ideology of neoliberalism is by-and-large discredited, the global economic institutions
associated with its rise are not all equally moribund. For example, the global economic crisis of
2008 has unexpectedly improved the fortunes of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an organization
long famous for the neoliberal policy conditions attached to its loans that served to incorporate
countries into a global neoliberal economic system. In 2008, a cascade of financial crises in Eastern
Europe and Iceland fattened the IMF’s dwindling loan portfolio.
World Trade Organization (WTO), the key US-used and abused universal opener of markets to US corporations
and investments is in worse shape then IMF, but still is viable too. The Doha round of negotiations
is stalled, mostly due to irresolvable disputes between developed and developing countries. Consequently,
the current crisis of neoliberalism raises many important questions about the future path of the
current international institutions promoting the neoliberal order. But still Russia joined WTO in
2012 which means that this organization got a new lease of life.
The financial and economic crash of 2008, the worst in over 75 years, is a major geopolitical
setback for the United States and Europe. Over the medium term, Washington and European governments
will have neither the resources nor the economic credibility to play the role in global affairs
that they otherwise would have played. These weaknesses will eventually be repaired, but
in the interim, they will accelerate trends that are shifting the world's center of gravity away
from the United States.
A brutal recession is unfolding in the United States, Europe, and probably Japan -- a recession
likely to be more harmful than the slump of 1981-82. The current financial crisis has deeply frightened
consumers and businesses, and in response they have sharply retrenched. In addition, the usual
recovery tools used by governments -- monetary and fiscal stimuli -- will be relatively ineffective
under the circumstances.
This damage has put the American model of free-market capitalism under a cloud. The
financial system is seen as having collapsed; and the regulatory framework, as having spectacularly
failed to curb widespread abuses and corruption. Now, searching for stability, the U.S. government
and some European governments have nationalized their financial sectors to a degree that contradicts
the tenets of modern capitalism.
Much of the world is turning a historic corner and heading into a period in which the
role of the state will be larger and that of the private sector will be smaller. As it
does, the United States' global power, as well as the appeal of U.S.-style democracy, is eroding.
The USA was and probably will remain the center of neoliberalism and firmly established as most important
and the most powerful promoter of the doctrine (in some case, like with Serbia, Iraq and Libya, on the
tips of bayonets).
After the dissolution of the USSR the US elite felt that "everything is permitted" and essentially
started to pursue global Roman style imperial policy. The USA military forces are active over most of
the globe: about 226 countries have US military troops, 63 of which host American bases, while
only 46 countries in the world have no US military presence. This is a
projection of military power
that makes the Roman, British, and Soviet empires pale in comparison. In his 1919 essay, "The Sociology
of Imperialisms," Joseph Schumpeter wrote of Rome during its years of greatest expansion.
There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger
or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome's allies; and if
Rome had no allies, then allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive
such an interest-why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted.
The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded
neighbors, always fighting for a breathing-space. The whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies,
and it was manifestly Rome's duty to guard against their indubitably aggressive designs.*
As G. John Ikenberry, professor of geopolitics at Georgetown University noted in Foreign Affairs:
The new grand strategy [initiated by the Bush administration]…. begins with a fundamental
commitment to maintaining a unipolar world in which the United States has no peer competitor.
No coalition of great powers without the United States will be allowed to achieve hegemony. Bush
made this point the centerpiece of American security policy in his West Point commencement address
in June: "America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenges-thereby making
the destabilizing arms races of other eras pointless, and limiting rivalries to trade and other pursuits
…The United States grew faster than the other major states during the decade [of the 1990s], it
reduced military spending more slowly, and it dominated investment in the technological advancement
of its forces. Today, however, the new goal is to make these advantages permanent-a fait accompli
that will prompt other states to not even try to catch up. Some thinkers have described the strategy
as "breakout," in which the United States moves so quickly to develop technological advantages (in
robotics, lasers, satellites, precision munitions, etc.) that no state or coalition could ever challenge
it as global leader, protector and enforcer ("America's Imperial Ambition," Foreign Affairs,
"The last decade of the twentieth century has witnessed a tectonic shift in world affairs. For
the first time ever, a non-Eurasian power has emerged not only as a key arbiter of Eurasian power
relations but also as the world's paramount power. The defeat and collapse of the Soviet Union was
the final step in the rapid ascendance of a Western Hemisphere power, the United States, as the sole
and, indeed, the first truly global power..."
"Two basic steps are thus required: first, to identify the geostrategically dynamic Eurasian
states that have the power to cause a potentially important shift in the international distribution
of power and to decipher the central external goals of their respective political elites and the
likely consequences of their seeking to attain them;... second, to formulate specific U.S. policies
to offset, co-opt, and/or control the above..." (p. 40)
"...To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the
three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are:
to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals,
to keep tributaries pliant and protected,
and to keep the barbarians from coming together." (p.40)
"Henceforth, the United States may have to determine how to cope with regional coalitions
that seek to push America out of Eurasia, thereby threatening America's status as a global power."
"America is now the only global superpower, and Eurasia is the globe's central arena. Hence,
what happens to the distribution of power on the Eurasian continent will be of decisive importance
to America's global primacy and to America's historical legacy." (p.194)
"That puts a premium on maneuver and manipulation in order to prevent the emergence of a hostile
coalition that could eventually seek to challenge America's primacy..." (p. 198)
"The most immediate task is to make certain that no state or combination of states gains the
capacity to expel the United States from Eurasia or even to diminish significantly its decisive arbitration
role." (p. 198)
"For Pakistan, the primary interest is to gain Geostrategic depth through political influence
in Afghanistan - and to deny to Iran the exercise of such influence in Afghanistan and Tajikistan
- and to benefit eventually from any pipeline construction linking Central Asia with the Arabian
The quote "... the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and
maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep
the barbarians from coming together." (The Grand Chessboard p.40) is probably the most revealing.
Just ponder the meaning of these statements in a post-9-11 world:
"Moreover, as America becomes an increasingly multi-cultural society, it may find it more difficult
to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and
widely perceived direct external threat." (p. 211)
"The attitude of the American public toward the external projection of American power has been
much more ambivalent. The public supported America's engagement in World War II largely because of
the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. (pp 24-5)
To most Americans the people of the world and other nations are just that -- people, just like us,
with a right to self-determination. To Brzezinski, they are merely pawns on a chessboard. At the same
time, despite the fact that the analogy are not perfect, Rome fell, Napoleon fell, Hitler fell, USSR
fell. Countries with too aggressive foreign policy ultimately self-destruct, because they over-extend
their own countries resources to the point when people wellbeing drops to the levels of some colonies.
The USA have over million people with the security clearance. So in a way it is becoming a copy-cat
of the USSR. And while the US military is busy fighting for oil interests all around the world, those
wars were launched by borrowing money and it's unclear who will pay the bills.
Neoliberalism beginning as ideology start was pretty modest. It was never considered a "right" ideology,
ideology for which people are ready to fight and die. It was just an "ideology of convenience", an eclectic
mix of mutually incompatible and incoherent mosaic of various ideologies (including some ideas of Trotskyism
and national socialism) that served as useful tool to counter communist ideology. This is the tress
of Friedman pretty weak opus "Capitalism and Freedom" -- which can be considered to be close analog
of Communist Manifesto for neoliberalism. It also was useful for fighting some Keynesian excesses. Only
later it become favorite ideology of financial oligarchy.
So in fight against "Godless communism" which does not respect private property and used "all-powerful"
state, it idealized private property ownership, the role of "free" (as in free shooting) market and
stressed the necessity to control the size of the government. As a tools to fight communist ideology
those were reasonably effective tools. But at some point this deeply flawed, but useful for the specific
purpose framework went out of control and became the cult of the deified markets and explicitly stated
the necessary of diminishing the role of the state to minimum to ensure the high level of inequality
the new neoliberal elite strived for (note not optimizing for a given historical conditions and technology
available, but unconditionally diminishing to the point of elimination). Reagan famous phase "Government
is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem." is a perfect example of how to
"Throw out the baby with the bath water". But the meaning is more sinister: it meant "throw
out of the water middle class".
That happened when financial oligarchy understood that a tool created for fighting communism is perfectly
suitable for fighting elements of "New Deal". And it proved to be pretty effective in dismantling of
set of regulations of financial sector that were the cornerstone of "New Deal". That was a very smooth
ride "deregulatory" ride until 2008. But after 2008 the USA (citadel of neoliberalism) faces the set
of problems that at least on the surface look similar to the problem that USSR faced before its disintegration,
although the USA still have much more favorable conditions overall and disintegration is not among the
current threats. Among them:
Ideology of neoliberalism is a "damaged goods" after 2008. It far from gone, but still
it looks more like Marxism in the late 1960th -- an ideology that outlived its usefulness and detached
The USA external debt is high and grows. Debt to China is especially worrisome.
Global dollar currency dominance still exists, but is shrinking and all BRICS countries working
on creation their own bank and promising IMF drawing rights currency the situation might deteriorate
Like was the case with the USSR, absence of effective opposition led to degeneration of the US
elite. It is not at the level of the degeneration of the USSR Politburo, but generally the current
roster of Republican Party associated politicians and, especially, Tea party favorites like Palin
and Michel Bachman in the political mainstream are not a good sign.
There were never periods in human history, when a single country which dominated the whole globe
did not suffer negative consequences. Rephrasing popular saying about revolutions we can say:
world dominance kills its own children.
Still there are important difference with Marxism: despite extremely flawed to the point of being
anti-scientific neoliberal ideology is still supported by higher standard of living of population in
selected Western countries (G7). If also can rely on five important factors:
Military dominance of the USA and NATO. There are very few countries in the globe without
explicit or implicit USA military presence.
Financial dominance of USA and its allies. The role of dollar as world currency and the
role of USA controlled global financial institutions such as World Bank and IMF
Technological dominance of USA and G7. Continuing brain drain from "Third world" and xUSSR
countries to G7 countries.
USA dominance in Internet communications with the USA additionally serving as a primary
hub of Internet which gives them another "exorbitant privilege", including the ability to snoop
of lion share of Internet traffic.
Cultural dominance of the USA (although this is gradually diminishing as after 2008 countries
started of assert their cultural independence more vigorously).
Ideological dominance, neoliberalism as yet another major civic religion
The American society and the U.S. armaments industry today are different then it was when Dwight
Eisenhower in his farewell speech (Eisenhower's
Farewell Address to the Nation) famously warned Americans to beware the "military-industrial complex."
The Farewell Address 50 Years Later. The major opponent, the USSR left the world scene, being defeated
in the cold war. That means that currently the USA enjoy world military dominance that reminds the dominance
of Roman Empire.
The USA now is the world's greatest producer and exporter of arms on the planet. It spends more
on armed forces than all other nations combined -- while going deeply into debt to do so.
The USA also stations over 500,000 troops, spies, contractors, dependents, etc. on more than 737
bases around the world in 130 countries (even this is not a complete count) at a cost of near 100 billions
a year. The 2008 Pentagon inventory includes 190,000 troops in 46 nations and territories, and 865 facilities
in more than 40 countries and overseas U.S. territories. In just Japan, the USA have 99,295 people who
are either members of US forces or are closely connected to US. The only purpose is to provide control
over as many nations as possible.
Funny but among other thing the Pentagon also maintain 234 golf courses around the world, 70 Lear
Jet airplanes for generals and admirals, and a ski resort in the Bavarian Alps.
Military dominance of the USA and NATO were demonstrated during Yugoslavia bombing and then invasion
of Iraq. It's clear the Yugoslavia bombing would be out of question if the USSR existed.
Under neoliberalism, markets are now fused with the logic of expansion and militarization is the
most logical was of securing expansion, improving global positions, and the ordering of social relations
in a way favorable to the transnational elite.
Under neoliberal regime the United States is not only obsessed with militarism, which is shaping
foreign policy , but wars have become real extension of the politics, the force that penetrates almost
every aspect of daily life. Support of wars became a perverted version of patriotism.
As Henry A. Giroux noted in his interview to Truth-out (Violence
is Deeply Rooted in American Culture), paradoxically in the country of "advanced democracy" schools
and social services are increasingly modeled after prisons. Four decades of neoliberal policies have
given way to an economic Darwinism that promotes a politics of cruelty.
Police forces are militarized. Popular culture endlessly celebrating the spectacle of violence. The
Darwinian logic of war and violence have become addictive, a socially constructed need. State violence
has become an organizing principle of society that has become the key mediating force that now holds
everyday life together. State violence is now amplified in the rise of the punishing state which works
to support corporate interests and suppress all forms of dissent aimed at making corporate power accountable.
Violence as a mode of discipline is now enacted in spheres that have traditionally been created to counter
it. Airports, schools, public services, and a host of other public spheres are now defined through a
militarized language of "fight with terrorism", the language of discipline, regulation, control, and
order. Human relations and behaviors are dehumanized making it easier to legitimate a culture of cruelty
and politics of disposability that are central organizing principles of casino capitalism.
The national news became a video game, a source of entertainment where a story gains prominence by
virtue of the notion that if it bleeds it leads. Education has been turned into a quest for private
satisfactions and is no longer viewed as a public good, thus cutting itself off from teaching students
about public values, the public good and engaged citizenship. What has emerged in the United States
is a civil and political order structured around the criminalization of social problems and everyday
life. This governing-through-crime model produces a highly authoritarian and mechanistic approach to
addressing social problems that often focuses on the poor and minorities, promotes highly repressive
policies, and places emphasis on personal security, rather than considering the larger complex of social
and structural forces that fuels violence in the first place.
The key reference on the topic is the book The New American Militarism (2005) by Andrew Bacevich.
Here is one Amazon review:
In his book The New American Militarism (2005), Andrew Bacevich desacralizes our idolatrous infatuation
with military might, but in a way that avoids the partisan cant of both the left and the right that
belies so much discourse today. Bacevich's personal experiences and professional expertise lend his
book an air of authenticity that I found compelling. A veteran of Vietnam and subsequently a career
officer, a graduate of West Point and later Princeton where he earned a PhD in history, director
of Boston University's Center for International Relations, he describes himself as a cultural conservative
who views mainstream liberalism with skepticism, but who also is a person whose "disenchantment with
what passes for mainstream conservatism, embodied in the present Bush administration and its groupies,
is just about absolute." Finally, he identifies himself as a "conservative Catholic." Idolizing
militarism, Bacevich insists, is far more complex, broader and deeper than scape-goating either political
party, accusing people of malicious intent or dishonorable motives, demonizing ideological fanatics
as conspirators, or replacing a given administration. Not merely the state or the government, but
society at large, is enthralled with all things military.
Our military idolatry, Bacevich believes, is now so comprehensive and beguiling that it "pervades
our national consciousness and perverts our national policies.
" We have normalized war, romanticized military life that formally was deemed degrading and
inhuman, measured our national greatness in terms of military superiority, and harbor naive, unlimited
expectations about how waging war, long considered a tragic last resort that signaled failure,
can further our national self-interests. Utilizing a "military metaphysic" to justify our misguided
ambitions to recreate the world in our own image, with ideals that we imagine are universal, has
taken about thirty years to emerge in its present form.
It is this marriage between utopians ends and military means that Bacevich wants to annul.
How have we come to idolize military might with such uncritical devotion? He likens it to pollution:
"the perhaps unintended, but foreseeable by-product of prior choices and decisions made without taking
fully into account the full range of costs likely to be incurred" (p. 206). In successive chapters
he analyzes six elements of this toxic condition that combined in an incremental and cumulative fashion.
After the humiliation of Vietnam, an "unmitigated disaster" in his view, the military set
about to rehabilitate and reinvent itself, both in image and substance. With the All Volunteer
Force, we moved from a military comprised of citizen-soldiers that were broadly representative
of all society to a professional warrior caste that by design isolated itself from broader society
and that by default employed a disproportionate percentage of enlistees from the lowest socio-economic
class. War-making was thus done for us, by a few of us, not by all of us.
Second, the rise of the neo-conservative movement embraced American Exceptionalism as
our national end and superior coercive force as the means to franchise it around the world.
Myth-making about warfare sentimentalized, sanitized and fictionalized war. The film Top Gun
is only one example of "a glittering new image of warfare."
Fourth, without the wholehearted complicity of conservative evangelicalism, militarism would
have been "inconceivable," a tragic irony when you consider that the most "Christian" nation on
earth did far less to question this trend than many ostensibly "secular" nations.
Fifth, during the years of nuclear proliferation and the fears of mutually assured destruction,
a "priesthood" of elite defense analysts pushed for what became known as the Revolution in Military
Affairs (RMA). RMA pushed the idea of "limited" and more humane war using game theory models and
technological advances with euphemisms like "clean" and "smart" bombs. But here too our "exuberance
created expectations that became increasingly uncoupled from reality," as the current Iraq debacle
Finally, despite knowing full well that dependence upon Arab oil made us vulnerable to the
geo-political maelstroms of that region, we have continued to treat the Persian Gulf as a cheap
gas station. How to insure our Arab oil supply, protect Saudi Arabia, and serve as Israel's most
important protector has always constituted a squaring of the circle. Sordid and expedient self
interest, our "pursuit of happiness ever more expansively defined," was only later joined by more
lofty rhetoric about exporting universal ideals like democracy and free markets, or, rather, the
latter have only been a (misguided) means to secure the former.
Bacevich opens and closes with quotes from our Founding Fathers. In 1795, James Madison warned
that "of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises
and develops the germ of every other." Similarly, late in his life George Washington warned the country
of "those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious
to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty."
With dollar role as the primary world reserve currency the USA still rides on its "Exorbitant
privilege". But there are countervailing forces that diminish dollar importance, such a euro. Financial
dominance under neoliberalism became the primary tool of ensuring the control over the nations. See
Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
US and Western banks dominate the globe with New York and London as two world financial centers.
Things little changed after 2008 despite the fact that the US economy in entered a deep debt crisis,
which is amplified by the level of destruction of real economy by offshoring and outsourcing achieved
under the umbrella of neoliberalism during previous four decades. While the USA remains the sole super
power its imperial problems now reached such a level that they may start to affect the foreign policy.
Troubles of organizing an invasion in Syria are probably symptomatic. It proved to be more difficult
undertaking that similar invasion of Iraq a decade earlier.
Economic troubles have important side effect: the ideological dominance, achieved by the USA during
1989 till 2008 is now under attack. There are a lot of skeptic and in a way neoliberalism goes the way
of Marxism with the major difference that there were probably some sincere followers of Marxism at least
during the first 30 years of its development.
Since the late 1970s, there was a radical shift of economic activity from the production of goods
and non-financial services to finance with the rapid growth since then of the share of financial profits
in total corporate profits. Also reflective of this process of "financialisation of the Economy" was
the explosive growth of private debt as a proportion of gross domestic product, and the piling of layers
upon layers of claims with the existence of instruments like options, futures, swaps, and the like,
and financial entities like hedge funds and structured investment vehicles.
With financialisation, the financial masturbation -- speculation directed on making money within
the financial system, bypassing the route of commodity production, increasingly became the name of the
game. Using Marxist terminology the general formula for capital accumulation, M-C-M', in which commodities
are central to the generation of profits, was replaced by M-M', in which money simply begets more money
with no relation to production.
This is related to the reason which brought on the financialization of the economy in the forefront:
beginning with the sharp recession of 1974-75, the US economy entered a period of slow economic
growth, high unemployment/underemployment and excess capacity. That happened after around 25 years
of spectacular ascent following the second world war. So financialisation was thought a s a remedy to
this "permanent stagnation" regime. And for a while it performed this function well, although it was
done by "eating the host".
Finance under any neoliberalism-bound regime can be best understood as a form of warfare, and financial
complex (typically large Western banks as locals are not permitted, unless specially protected by remnants
of the nation state) as an extension of military-industrial complex. Like in military conquest, its
aim is to gain control for occupying country of land, public infrastructure, and to impose tribute putting
the country in debt and using dominance of dollar as world reserve currency. This involves dictating
laws to vassal countries (imposing Washington consensus, see below) and interfering in social as well
as economic planning using foreign debt and the necessity to service the foreign loans as a form of
The main advantage of neoliberalism in comparison with the similar practice of the past is the conquest
is being done by financial means, without the cost to the aggressor of fielding an army. But the economies
under attacked may be devastated as deeply by financial stringency as by military attack when it comes
to demographic shrinkage, shortened life spans, emigration and capital flight. Actually following s
successful attack of neoliberalism and conquest of the country by neoliberal elite Russian economy was
devastated more then during WWII, when Hitler armies reached banks of Volga river and occupies half
of the country.
This attack is being mounted not by nation states alone, but by a cosmopolitan financial class and
international financial institutions such as World bank and IMF with full support of major western
banks serving as agencies of western governments. Finance always has been cosmopolitan more than nationalistic
– and always has sought to impose its priorities and lawmaking power over those of parliamentary democracies.
Like any monopoly or vested interest, the financial "Trojan horse" strategy seeks to block government
power to regulate or tax it. From the financial vantage point, the ideal function of government is to
enhance profits via privatization and protect finance capital from the population to allow "the miracle
of compound interest" to siphon most of the revenue out of the country. Some tiny share of this revenue
is paid to compradors within the national elite. In good years such tactic keeps fortunes multiplying
exponentially, faster than the economy can grow. This "paradise for rentiers" last until they
eat into the core and cause deindustrialization and severe debt crisis. Eventually they do to the economy
what predatory creditors and rentiers did to the Roman Empire.
The globalist bloc of Western countries led by the USA achieved hegemony in the end of the twentieth
century because it managed to become the center of technological progress and due to this acquired a
commanding influence over industrial production and social life around the world, including the ability
to provide rewards and impose sanctions. One or the reason of technical backwardness of the USSR just
before the dissolution were technical sanctions imposed by the West via
COCOM. As most of global corporations belong to G7 this lead to "natural" technological hegemony
of this block. As Thatcher used to say "There is no alternatives", although she meant there is no alternatives
to neoliberalism, not to Western technology from G7 nations. Only recently Asian countries started to
challenge this status quo in some areas.
Global corporation managed to create a situation in which the same goods are used in most countries
of the globe. Western brand names dominate. American and European airliners, Japanese, American and
German cars, Korean and American smartphones, Chinese and American PCs, etc.
China became world factory and produces lion share of goods sold under Western brands.
The debate about the USA dominance in internet and global communications reemerged in June 2008 due
to revelations make about existence of the
Prism program and similar program by British security services. For example, Jacob Augstein used
the term "Obama's Soft Totalitarianism" in his article
Europe Must Stand Up to American Cyber-Snooping published by SPIEGEL. The NSA's infrastructure wasn't
built to fight Al Qaeda. It has a far greater purpose, one of which is to keep the USA as the last superpower.
The USA has capabilities of intercepting of lion share of global internet traffic and with allies
tries to intercept all the diplomatic communication during major conferences and trade talk in direct
violation of Vienna protocols. Latin American countries were one of the recent victims of this activity
during trade talks with the USA. There were reports about snooping on UN personnel communications in
Here's the thing about the NSA, the GCHQ, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, et al...
We all have to stop commenting as if the NSA and the GCHQ are in this thing on their own; the
reality is that no one was supposed to know one iota about any of these programs; the NSA and the
GCHQ began and put in place the structure that would allow all internet service providers, and indeed
all corporations using the net, the ability to track and profile each and every user on the planet,
whether they be using the net, texting, cell, and landline.
We all now know that Google, Yahoo, and the rest, likely including major retailers, and perhaps
not so major retailers, are all getting paid by the United States government, hundreds of millions
of dollars of taxpayer money, our money, to profile 24/7 each and every one of us..., they know how
we think, our desires, our sexual preferences, our religious persuasion, what we spend, etc.; make
no mistake about it, they know it all, and what they don't currently have, they will very soon…
These agencies and indeed all those who are paid by them, will be engaged over the next few weeks
in a unified program of "perception management" meaning that they will together come up with an all-encompassing
plan that will include the release of all manner of statements attesting to the enforcement of several
different disciplinary actions against whomever for "illegal" breaches of policy...
They may even bring criminal actions against a few poor unfortunate souls who had no idea they
would be sacrificed as one part of the "perception management" game.
Has anyone wondered why, to date, no one in power has really come out and suggested that the program
must be curtailed to limit its application to terrorism and terrorist types?
Here's why; I was fortunate recently to have given an education on how networks such as Prism,
really work, aside from the rudimentary details given in many publications. They cannot, and will
not, stop monitoring even one individuals activity, because to do so will eventually cause loss of
the ability to effectively monitor as many as 2.5 Million individuals.
Remember the "Two to Three Hop" scenario, which the idiot in one of the hearings inadvertently
spoke of; therein lies the answer. If the average person called 40 unique people, three-hop analysis
would allow the government to mine the records of 2.5 million Americans Do the math; Internet usage
in the United States as of June 30, 2012 reached a total of over 245,000,000 million…
The following link shows how connected the world is… http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats2.htm
We should never forget how the Internet began, and who developed it, the United States Armed Forces;
initially it was known as Arpanet, see excerpt and link below…
"The Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation." - Supreme Court
Judge statement on considering first amendment rights for Internet users.
"On a cold war kind of day, in swinging 1969, work began on the ARPAnet, grandfather to the
Internet. Designed as a computer version of the nuclear bomb shelter, ARPAnet protected the flow
of information between military installations by creating a network of geographically separated
computers that could exchange information via a newly developed protocol (rule for how computers
interact) called NCP (Network Control Protocol)."
There is no government anywhere on the planet that will give up any part of the program…, not
without one hell of a fight...
Incidentally, they do hope and believe that everyone will come to the same conclusion; they will
keep all of us at bay for however long it takes; they have the money, they have the time, and they
economically control all of us...
7. Compatibility of an 'ECHELON' type communications interception system with Union
7.1. Preliminary considerations
7.2. Compatibility of an intelligence system with Union law
7.2.1. Compatibility with EC law
7.2.2. Compatibility with other EU law
7.3. The question of compatibility in the event of misuse of the system for industrial
EntropyNow -> StrawBear
The fact that they snoop on us all constantly, that's the problem. I agree that the indiscriminate
surveillance is a problem. However, with such vast powers in the hands of private contractors,
without robust legal oversight, it is wide open to abuse and interpretation. I believe we need
to pull the plug and start again, with robust, independent, legal oversight, which respects fundamental
international human rights laws In the US, the NDAA is a law which gives the government the right
to indefinitely detain US citizens, without due process, without a trial, if they are suspected
to be associated with 'terrorists'. Now define 'terrorism'?
Section 1021b is particularly worrying, concerning "substantial support." It is wide open to
interpretation and abuse, which could criminalize dissent and even investigative journalism. See
Guardian's excellent article by
Naomi Wolf, 17 May 2012::
As Judge Forrest pointed out:
"An individual could run the risk of substantially supporting or directly supporting an
associated force without even being aware that he or she was doing so. In the face of what
could be indeterminate military detention, due process requires more."
In an excellent episode
of Breaking the Set Feb 7 2013 Tangerine Bolen (Founder and Director, Revolutiontruth) stated
that 'Occupy London' was designated a 'terrorist group" officially. There are independent
journalists and civil liberty activists being targeted by private cyber security firms, which
are contractors for the DOD, they are being harassed and intimidated, threatening free speech
and liberty for everyone, everywhere. As Naomi Wolf concludes:
"This darkness is so dangerous not least because a new Department of Homeland Security document
trove, released in response to a FOIA request filed by Michael Moore and the National Lawyers'
Guild, proves in exhaustive detail that the DHS and its "fusion centers" coordinated with local
police (as I argued here, to initial disbelief), the violent crackdown against Occupy last
You have to put these pieces of evidence together: the government cannot be trusted with
powers to detain indefinitely any US citizen – even though Obama promised he would not misuse
these powers – because the United States government is already coordinating a surveillance
and policing war against its citizens, designed to suppress their peaceful assembly and criticism
of its corporate allies."
It seems to me that potential terrorist threats come in two sorts: the highly organised
and funded groups that could commit catastrophic destruction, and the local schmucks that are
really just old-fashioned losers-with-a-grudge adopting an empowering ideology.
The first group would be immensely cautious with their communications, and fall outside this
sort of surveillance. The second group, if Boston and Woolwich are any evidence, are not effectively
detected by these measures.
It appears very clear to me that this is runaway state power, predictably and transparently
deflected with cries of "terrorism". And, perhaps most worrying, that definition of terrorism
is now as wide as the state requires. Anything that embarrasses or exposes the evils of our
states, including rendition, torture, and all manner of appalling injustice, is classified as
a matter of 'national security', which must not be exposed lest it aid the enemy.
I know Orwell's name gets tossed around too much... but Jesus! I really hope we're not bovine
enough to walk serenely into this future.
...The NSA's infrastructure wasn't built to fight Al Qaeda. It has a far greater purpose, one
of which is to keep the USA as the last superpower and moral authority for the rest of the time
humanity has in this world.
All this muck is hurting bad. Obama is having a tough time from all sides. All the moralists
think he is a villain doing everything he promised to change. All the secret society members think
he is a clown who has spilled out every secret that was painstakingly put together over decades....
The temples of neoliberalism are malls and airports ;-). And they are build all over the glone is
a very similar fashion. A drunk person accidentally transfered from New Jersey to, say Kiev and put
in one of mjor malls can never tell the difference :-).
English became the major international language. Both language of technology and commerce. Much like
Latin was before.
In developing countries goods are sold at considerable premium (up to 100%) but generally everything
that can be bought in the USA now can be bought say in Kiev. Of course affordability is drastically
different, but for elite itis not a problem. That create another opportunity for the top 1% to enjoy
very similar, "internationalized" lifestyle all over the globe.
Contrary to the globalists or ideologues of globalization (Steger 2005), both Marxists and liberals
have highlighted the ' pyramidal ' structure underlying globalization. This metaphor applies well
to cultural dissemination.
An elite of corporate, media, and governmental agencies sits at the pyramid' s top level, small regional
intermediary elites sit immediately below, while the overwhelming majority of humans are pushed well
down towards the pyramid' s bottom. In the realm of ' global culture ' , this looks like a master-servant
relationship with much of the world at the boot-licking end. Whether such a relationship really
exists, or is even practical, this metaphorical dramatization can nevertheless help to understand
collective self-perceptions. The consequences in the area of ethnic conﬂict are signiﬁcant. Such
a hierarchical structure makes it impossible for global exchanges to turn into egalitarian relationships
based on evenly balanced inter-cultural communication and dialogue.
On the contrary, cultural globalization is not reﬂected in a genuine increase of inter-personal,
inter-ethnic and inter-cultural contacts. As I shall argue, in most public areas ' cultural globalization
' really means the unreciprocated, one-way ﬂow of consumerist items from the US media and leisure
machine to the rest of the world.
This top-down distribution ensures that a few individuals and groups, nearly all in the USA,
ﬁrmly establish the patterns of behaviour and taste to be followed by the rest of mankind. Is
this congruent with the view that there is a form of ' global centralization ' in cultural-legal
matters leaning towards Washington, DC? As for a supposed ' global culture ', the symbolic capital
would ideally be located in Hollywood, rather than Washington.
In fact, the term ' Hollywoodization ' insinuates a media-enforced hierarchical structure with immediate
symbolic resonance. It also offers a more cultural, perhaps less sociological, focus than the Weberian
concept of bureaucratic ' McDonaldization ' (Ritzer 1996).
Competing terminologies include ' Disneyﬁcation ' / ' Disneyization ' , with its stress on extreme
predictability and the infantilization of leisure (Bryman 2004), 'Walmarting ' as the streamlining
of the retail sector (Fishman 2005, Morrow 2004), or earlier Cold War terms like ' Coca-Colonization
' (Wagnleitner 1994). We previously saw how the term ' McGuggenization ' has been used to indicate
art-related cultural franchising and other forms of Americanization in the Basque Country (McNeill
All these equally refer to socio-economic trends originated in the USA and are hence forms of
Americanization. However, ' Hollywoodization ' has broader implications for ethnic relations and
In practice, Hollywood-inspired simpliﬁcations have become the daily staple for millions of peoples
around the world in their leisure time. In the area of ethnicity, ' Hollywoodization ' has been elevated
to the only known reality and the unique source of information about the outside world for increasing
numbers of people, not only in the USA. Thus, the world is more likely to get its stereotypes of
from US movies like The Patriot or Saving Private Ryan than via British productions.Similarly, most
of the world is likely to see Scotland through the lenses of US-made Braveheart , as the larger public
can barely afford any access to Scottish cultural productions.
This monopoly of global stereotyping and ethnic imagery has serious implicationsf or the spread
and continuation of ethnic conﬂict.
The tools of primary socialization were once under ﬁrm control of the family, either nuclear or extended.
They were subsequently assumed by the state in the industrialization ' phase ' , notably with post-1789
mass militarization and compulsory schooling (Conversi2007, 2008).
Under neo-liberal globalization, primary socialization has been seized by unaccountable cash-driven
corporations and media tycoons. This has further reduced the space of inter-generational transmission
and family interaction. If a community can no longer socialize its children according to its culture
and traditions, then the very bases of local, regional, and national continuity are all visibly at
stake. This threat to a group's survival is often seized upon by patriots and ethno-nationalists,
whose political programs are founded on providing a new sense of social cohesion and security – even
if the targets are often hapless and unprotected minorities.
That is partly how nationalism and xenophobia have expanded in tandem with globalization.
Ethno-nationalism not only persisted through change, but is perceived by many as a response to
the growth of globalization, providing a prêt-à-porter hope for national resistance and resilience.
By depending on Hollywood as unique conveyor of ' globalization ', inter-ethnic interaction
is inevitably undermined. In some instances, international communication has practically evaporated.
... ... ...
I have described, and subsequently dismissed, the proﬁt-oriented ideology that globalization,
intended as Mcdonaldization and Hollywoodization, can contribute to better international understanding.
On the contrary, it has ushered in a process of planetary cultural and environmental destruction,
while hampering inter-ethnic communication and fostering human conﬂict. The notion of cultural security,
so central to international relations and peaceful coexistence, has undergone unprecedented challenges.
...Insofar as cultural globalization is understood as uni-dimensional import of standardized cultural
icons, symbols, practices, values, and legal systems from the United States, it can simply be
re-described as Americanization (rather than Westernization in the broad sense), or ' globalization
by Americanization ' (Hilger 2008). This is of central importance for the study of ethnic conﬂict.
In fact, the outcome is scarce hybridization, amalgamation, and metissage . Rather than providing
an inter-cultural bridge, this unilateral drive has often eroded the basis for mutual understanding,
impeding inter-ethnic, inter-cultural, and international interaction. Given the current vertical,
pyramidal structure of the ' cultural world order ' , the opportunity of distinctive groups to communicate
directly and appreciate each other's traditions has decreased, except in the virtual area of long-distance
communication. For an increasing number of individuals, an American mass consumer culture remains
the only window on the world. Hence, to know and appreciate one ' s neighbours has become an ever-arduous
task. To recapitulate my point, wherever cultural globalization appears as synonymous with Americanization,
it engenders conﬂicts on a variety of levels.
Because the process is one-way and unidirectional, the result is unlikely to be a fusion between
cultures or, evenless, the blending of ethnic groups. Contrary to the globalist utopia, the imposition
of more and more American icons means less and less possibility for direct inter-ethnic encounter
and communication among nations. Together with the collapse of state legitimacy, this substantially
contributes to the spread of ethnic conﬂict and nationalism.
Another aspect of cultural power of neoliberalism is that it accepts national elites (on some, less
favorable then "primary" elites conditions) as a part of a new transnational elite, which serves as
the dominant class. By class, following classic Marxism we mean a group of people who share a common
relationship to the process of social production and reproduction, positioned in the society relationally
on the basis of social power.
The struggle between descendant national fractions of dominant groups and ascendant transnational
fractions has often been the backdrop to surface political dynamics and ideological processes in
the late 20th century. These two fractions have been vying for control of local state apparatuses
since the 1970s.
Trans national fractions of local elites swept to power in countries around the world in the 1980s
and 1990s. They have captured the "commanding heights" of state policymaking: key ministries
and bureaucracies in the policymaking apparatus - especially Central Banks, finance and foreign ministries
- as key government branches that link countries to the global economy.
They have used national state apparatuses to advance globalization and to pursue sweeping economic
restructuring and the dismantling of the old nation-state–based Keynesian welfare and developmentalist
They have sought worldwide market liberalization (following the neoliberal model), and projects
of economic integration such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Asia Pacific
Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and the European Union. They have promoted a supra-national infrastructure
of the global economy, such as the World Trade Organization, as we discuss below.
In this new, transnational social system transnational corporations are intermixed
with nation-states which they have special privileges. And the state itself now serves not the people
of the country (which historically were upper classes) but primarily service the interests of the transnational
corporations (and, by extension, narrow strata of "comprador" elite, much like aristocracy of the past).
It is now extension and projection of corporate power ("What is good for GE is good for America").
Both the transactional elite (and first of all financial oligarchy) and transnational corporation enjoy
tremendous privileges under such a regime (corporate socialism, or socialism for the rich). Like Bolshevik
state was formally dictatorship of proletariat but in reality was dictatorship of the elite of an ideological
sect called Communist Party (so called nomenklatura), transformed nation-states like the USA, GB, France,
Russia, etc now to various degrees look like dictatorships of transnational elite (transnational bourgeoisie
like Marxist would say ;-) while formally remaining sovereign democratic republics. Like with Communist
Parties in various countries that does not excuse antagonism or even open hostilities.
That does not eliminates completely the elites competition and for example the EU elite put a knife
in the back of the US elite by adopting the euro as completing with the dollar currency (so much about
transatlantic solidarity), but still internalization of elites is a new and important process that is
more viable that neoliberal ideology as such. Also for any state national elite is not completely homogeneous.
While that is a significant part of it that favor globalization (comprador elite or lumpen elite) there
is also another part which prefer national development and is at least semi-hostile to globalism. Still
the comprador part of the elite represents a very important phenomenon, a real fifth column of globalization,
the part that makes globalization successful. It plays the role of Trojan horse within nation states
and the name "fifth column" in this sense is a very apt name. This subversive role of comprador elite
was clearly visible and well documented in Russian unsuccessful "white revolution" of 2011-2012: the
US supported and financed project of "regime change" in Russia. It is also clearly visible although
less well documented in other "color revolutions" such as Georgian, Serbian, and Ukrainian color revolutions.
comrade Trotsky would probably turn in his coffin if he saw what neoliberal ideologies made with his
theory of permanent revolution ;-).
As professor David Harvey noted in his
A Brief History of Neoliberalism neoliberal propaganda has succeeded in fixating the public on a
peculiar definition of "freedom" that has served as a smoke screen to conceal a project of speeding
upper class wealth accumulation. In practice, the neoliberal state assumes a protective role for large
and especially international corporations ("socialism for multinationals") while it sheds as much responsibility
for the citizenry as possible.
The key component of neoliberal propaganda (like was the case with Marxism) was an economic theory.
Like Marxism it has three components
Christian self-gratification churches. Churches which traded in a Christian worldview of work,
thrift, savings, and prudence, and embraced the false worldview of consumerism-of leisure, debt,
and instant gratification.
There is no question that neoliberalism emerged as another major world civic religion. It has its
saints, sacred books, moral (or more correctly in this case amoral) postulates and the idea of heaven
Neoliberalism shares several fundamental properties with high demand religious cults. Like all fundamentalist
cults, neoliberalism reduces a complex world to a set of simplistic dogmas (See Washington Consensus).
All of society is viewed through the prism of an economic lens. Economic growth, measured by GDP, is
the ultimate good. The market is the only and simultaneously the perfect mechanism to achieve this goal.
Neoliberalism obsession with materialism have become normalized to the degree that it is hard to imagine
what American society would look like in the absence of these structural and ideological features of
the new and militant economic Darwinism that now holds sway over the American public. The mantra is
well known: government is now the problem, society is a fiction, sovereignty is market-driven, deregulation
and commodification are the way to a bright future, and the profit is the only viable measure of the
good life and advanced society. Public values are a liability, if not a pathology. Democratic commitments,
social relations, and public spheres are disposables, much like the expanding population of the unemployed
and dispossessed. Any revolt is the threat to the neoliberal regime of truth and should be dealt with
unrestrained cruelty. The market functions best with minimal or no interference from government or civil
society and those who don't agree will be taken by police to the proper reeducation camps. All governments
with possible exception of the US government should be minimized to allow unrestricted dominance of
global corporations. The genius of neoliberalism as a cult, was its ability to cloak the US pretences
of world hegemony in an aura of scientific and historical inevitability. Which again makes it very similar
and in a way superior to Marxism as a cult. The collapse of the Soviet Union was the supreme, heaven
sent validation of Margaret Thatcher's claim that there was no alternative. There is only one blessed
road to prosperity and peace and outside it there is no salvation, nor remission from sins.
The great economic historian Karl Polanyi observed, "The idea of a self-adjusting market implied
a stark utopia." And neoliberalism was a stunning utopia of economic determinism, one even more ambitious
than that of Marx.
With all the big questions thus settled, history appeared to be at an end. There was one and only
one route to prosperity and peace. All that was required was to make sure the model was correctly
applied and all would be well. We all settled into our assigned roles. Capitalists retreated to the
role of technocrats, eschewing risk themselves while shifting and spreading it throughout society.
The rest of us were relegated to the roles not of citizens, but of consumers. Using our homes as
ATMs, we filled our lives with Chinese-made goods, oblivious to the looming environmental and social
costs of a runaway, unregulated consumer-driven society. Only a marginalized few questioned the basic
economic structure. It was the era of homo economicus, humans in service to the economy.
Now that perfect machinery lies in pieces all around us and the global economic free fall shows
no signs of ending any time soon. The fundamental reasons underlying the collapse aren't all that
difficult to discern. Central to the whole neoliberal project was the drive to rationalize all aspects
of human society. Relentless efforts to cut costs and increase efficiency drove down the living standards
of the vast majority, while the diminution of government and other non-commercial institutions led
to increasing concentration of wealth at the very top of society. As high paying jobs in the industrial
and technical sectors moved from developed countries to low wage export-based economies in the developing
world, capacity soon outstripped demand and profits in the real economy began to sag. Not content
with declining earnings, wealthy elites began to search for investments offering higher returns.
If these couldn't be found in the real economy, they could certainly be created in the exploding
Once consigned to the unglamorous world of matching those with capital to invest with those with
enterprises seeking to grow, finance became the powerful new engine of economic growth. No longer
stodgy, bankers and brokers became sexy and glamorous. Exotic new financial instruments, called derivatives,
traded on everything from commodities to weather.
This speculative frenzy was supported by a central bank only too happy to keep credit extremely
cheap. Debt exploded among consumers, businesses and government alike. Creating new debt became the
source of even more exotic investment vehicles, often bearing only the most tenuous of connections
to underlying assets of real value, with unwieldy names such as "collateralized debt obligations"
and "credit default swaps."
All the debt and the shuffling of fictional wealth hid the underlying rot of the real economy.
It was a house of cards just waiting for the slight breeze that would send it all crashing down.
And a collapse in housing prices in 2008 laid bare the economic contradictions.
The fundamental contradiction underlying much that confronts us in the age of crises is an economic
and social system requiring infinite growth within the confines of a finite planet. Any vision seeking
to replace neoliberalism must take this contradiction into account and resolve it. The overriding
market failure of our time has nothing to do with housing. It's the failure to place any value on
that which is truly most essential to our survival: clean air and water, adequate natural resources
for the present and future generations, and a climate suitable for human civilization.
No such new vision is currently in sight. That this leaves everyone, neoliberals and their foes
alike, in a state of uncertainty and doubt is hardly surprising. The seeming triumph of neoliberalism
was so complete that it managed to inculcate itself in the psyches even of those who opposed it.
We find ourselves unsure of terrain we thought we knew well, sensing that one era has ended but
unsure as to what comes next. We might do well to embrace that doubt and understand its power to
free us. Our doubt allows us to ask meaningful questions again and questioning implies the possibility
of real choice. Removing the intellectual straitjacket of neoliberal orthodoxy opens up the space
necessary to reconsider the purpose of an economy and its proper role in a decent human society and
to revisit the old debate over equity versus efficiency. It calls into question the assumption most
central to homo economicus; that all humans act only to maximize their own interests.
It seems clear that the world emerging over the coming decades will look quite different from
the one we now inhabit. Of necessity it will evolve in ways we can't fully understand just yet. Old
battle lines, such as the ones between capitalism and socialism, will likely fade away. Both of those
models arose in a world of abundant and cheap fossil fuels and within the confines a planet with
a seemingly endless capacity to absorb the wastes of our conspicuous consumption. New battle lines
are already beginning to take shape.
I think that like is the case with Marxism, the staying power of neoliberalism is that propose the
religion picture of world with its "creation history", saints, and way of salvation. In a way it plays
the role similar to the role of Catholicism in middle ages (aka Dark Ages). The greed of catholic clergy
in Middle ages (trade in indulgencies) is a match of the greed of neoliberals( with financial derivates
replacing indulgencies ;-). It is equally hostile to any attempts to analyze it, with the minor difference
that heretics that question the sanctity of free market are not burned at the stake, but ostracized.
It support "new Crusades" with the same mechanism of "indulgences" for small countries that participate.
The level of hypocrisy is another shared trait. The great irony is that the USA, the world's leading
proponent of neoliberalism (with the US President as a Pope of this new religion), systematically is
breaking the rules when it find it necessary or convenient. With high deficit spending and massive subsidizing
of defense spending and financial sector, the United States has generally use a "do as I say, not as
I do" approach. And with the amount of political appointee/lobbyists shuttling back and forth between
business and government, Adam Smith's "Invisible
Hand" looks more and more like a crushing fist of corporatist thugs. It involves dogmatic belief
that the society is better off when ruled by a group of wealthy financiers and oligarchs, than by a
group of professional government bureaucrats and politicians with some participation of trade unions.
The USA also dominates the cultural scene:
The United States' position as the leading maker of global culture has been basically unchallenged
for the last century or so, especially in the Western world. Yet the economic power of the Western
world is waning even as new nations, with new models of economic and social life, are rising. Might
one -- or several -- of these nations like China, India or Brazil become new centers of global culture?
I believe that the answer to this question for the foreseeable future is "no." While the U.S.'s
cultural prominence is partially related to its political, military and economic power, such power
is not the only cause of America's global cultural hegemony. Rather, the U.S. offers a unique convergence
of several factors, including economic opportunity, political freedom and an immigrant culture that
served as a test bed for new cultural products.
Let me offer a brief account of the rise of the American film industry to suggest the way political,
economic and immigrant forces shaped American cultural hegemony. In the U.S., the film industry started
as commercial enterprise largely independent of state control. Movies had to adapt to market conditions
to earn profit for their producers. In order to achieve this goal, American movies needed to appeal
to a diverse population made up of both native-born and immigrant citizens.
As a consequence, filmmakers had to make movies that could appeal to international audiences simply
to meet domestic demand. This fact helped the American film industry become globally preeminent well
before the U.S. became a superpower. In other words, while U.S. military and economic power strengthened
the position of the U.S. movie industry as globally dominant, that position was not dependent on
U.S. military and economic power. Instead, American producers had a competitive advantage in global
markets that was later cemented in place by the U.S. post-war economic and military hegemony in the
After the dissolution of the USSR, the USA became natural center of the "neoliberal religion" a dominant
force in the new world order (the world's only superpower). And they used their newly acquired status
against states which were not "friendly enough" very similar to Catholicism with its Crusades, launching
a series of invasions and color revolutions against "nonbelievers" in a globalist neoliberal model.
The level of plunder of Russia after the dissolution of the USSR looks like a direct replay of Crusades
with the siege of Constantinople as primary example (despite stated goals, Crusades were by-and-large
a monetary enterprise of the time with fig leaf of spread of Catholicism attached). This period of neoliberal
crusades still continued in 2013, sometimes using various proxy to achieve "the regime change" by military
As we already refereed to neoliberalism as a cult an interesting question is whether neoliberalism
can be viewed new "civic
religion". The answer is unconditional yes, and I think that like Marxism before it should be considered
to be yet another civic religion. It has it's set of holy books, Supreme being to worship, path to salvation
and set of Apostils. Like communism before it propose humanity grand purpose and destiny.
Theistic and civic religions are also similar in that they both offer visions of humanity's
grand purpose and destiny.
There are also significant differences between theistic religions and civil religions. Theistic
religions explicitly rely on claims of divine authority for their validity, while civil religions
rely on reason and the interpretation of commonly-accepted historical knowledge. Followers of theistic
religions stress the importance of faith in times of adversity, while followers of civil religions
tend to have a more pragmatic attitude when reality casts doubt on their beliefs.
Civil religions are more like big social experiments than actual religions because their
central claims are much more falsifiable, and their followers show evidence of holding this perception
(e.g. references to "the American experiment"; the voluntary abandonment of Communism throughout
Eurasia when it became clear that it wasn't working).
Communism bears so much resemblance to Christianity because, as you mentioned last week, the Western
imagination was thoroughly in the grip of Christianity when Communism emerged. Communism is similar
to Christianity out of practical necessity: had it not been based on the Christian template, Communism
probably would have been too intellectually alien to its Western audience to have ever taken off.
Luckily for the founders of Communism, they were also subjected to this Christian cultural conditioning.
With all this in mind, and given that religion is evolving phenomenon, I think that civil
religion is actually a distinct species of intellectual organism which has (at least in part) evolved
out of religion.
Like Marxism, neoliberalism is first and foremost a
quasi religious political doctrine. But while Marxism is aimed at liberation of workers , a political
doctrine neoliberalism is aimed at restoring the power of capital. Neoliberalism originated in the rich
countries of Anglo-Saxon world (GB and USA) so along with open despise of poor, it always has a distinct
flavor of despise for peripheral countries. In global politics, neoliberalism preoccupies itself with
the promotion of four basic issues:
Global democracy, under the benevolent guidance of the USA
Free trade, which for countries outside G7 means unconditional opining of markets for top 1000
corporation from G7 countries.
Global governance through international organizations, usage of IMG and World Bank to impose
neoliberalism on the countries which object such a course.
Collective security (via NATO and regional blocks) which mean excluding the possibility of arising
players that can challenge the USA dominance as a sole superpower achieved after the dissolution
of the USSR.
As such, neoliberalism, in its crudest form, is crystallized in the Ten Commandments of the 1989
(policy of debt slavery set for the world by the US via international financial institutions). While
pushing the democracy as a smoke screen, they implicitly postulate hegemony of the financial elite (which
is a part of "economic elite" that neoliberalism defines as a hegemonic class). Financialization
of the economy also serves as a powerful method of redistribution of wealth, so neoliberalism generally
lead to deterioration of standard of living for lower quintile of the population and in some countries
(like Russia in 1991-2000) for the majority of the population. This is done largely via credit system
and in this sense neoliberalism represents "reinters paradise". Neoliberal globalization was built on
the foundation of US hegemony, conceived as the projection of the hegemony of the US capital and dollar
as the dominant reserve currency. As such it is critically dependent of the power and stability of the
US and the financial, economic, political and military supremacy of the US in every region. For this
purpose the USA maintains over 500 military bases (737 by some counts) and over 2.5 million of military
But there are also important differences. Unlike most religions, neoliberalism is highly criminogenic
(i.e., having the quality of causing or fostering crime). It is more criminogenic in countries with
lower standard of living and in such countries it often lead to conversion of a "normal", but poor state
into a kleptocratic state (Yeltsin's Russia is a good example) with the requisite mass poverty (Global
Anomie, Dysnomie and Economic Crime Hidden Consequences of Neoliberalism and Globalization in Russia
and Around the World). Unfortunately architects of this transformation (Harvard
Mafia in case of Russia) usually avoid punishment for their crimes. Corruption of the US regulators
which happened under neoliberal regime starting from Reagan is also pretty well covered theme.
While economic crisis of 2008 led to a crisis of neoliberalism, this is not necessary a terminal
crisis. The phase of neoliberal dominance still continues, but internal contradictions became much deeper
and the regime became increasingly unstable even in the citadel of neoliberalism -- the USA. Neoliberalism
as an intellectual product is practically dead. After the crisis of 2008, the notion that finance mobilizes
and allocates resources efficiently, drastically reduces systemic risks and brings significant productivity
gains for the economy as a whole became untenable. But its zombie phase supported by several states
(the USA, GB, Germany), transnational capital (and financial capital in particular) and respective elites
out of the sense of self-preservation might continue (like Bolshevism rule in the USSR in 70th-80th)
despite increasing chance of facing discontent of population and bursts of social violence.
Cornerstone of neoliberal regime, the economic power of the USA is now under threat from the rise
of Asia. This is one reason of mutation of neoliberalism into aggressive neoconservative imperialism
that we witness in the USA.
While intellectually neoliberalism was bankrupt from the beginning, after 2008 believing it in is
possible only by ignoring the results of deregulation in the USA and other countries. In other words
the mythology of self-regulating "free market" became a "damaged goods". In this sense, any sensible
person should now hold neoliberal sect in contempt. But reality is different and it still enjoy the
support of the part of population which can't see through the smoke screen. With the strong support
of financial oligarchy neoliberalism will continue to exists in zombie state for quite a while, although
I hope this will not last as long as dominance of Catholicism during European Dark Ages ;-). Still the
US is yet to see its Luther. As was noted about a different, older sect: "Men are blind to prefer
an absurd and sanguinary creed, supported by executioners and surrounded by fiery faggots, a creed which
can only be approved by those to whom it gives power and riches".
Like communism in the USSR it is a state supported religion: Neoliberalism enjoys support of western
governments and first of all the US government. Even when the US society entered deep crisis in 2008
and fabric of the society was torn by neoliberal policies it did not lose government support.
US was an imperial nation driven by annexation of territories from the very beginning
USA has a history of "plain vanilla" (British style) imperialism, based on annexation and occupation
of territories since the presidency of James K. Polk who led the United States into the
Mexican–American War of 1846, and the eventual annexation of California and other western
territories via the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden purchase. The term is most
commonly used to describe the U.S.'s status since the 20th century (Empire
The term "American Empire" refers to the United States' cultural ideologies and foreign policy
strategies. The term is most commonly used to describe the U.S.'s status since the 20th century,
but it can also be applied to the United States' world standing before the rise of nationalism in
the 20th century. The United States is not traditionally recognized as an empire, in part because
the U.S. adopted a different political system from those that previous empires had used. Despite
these systematic differences, the political objectives and strategies of the United States
government have been quite similar to those of previous empires. Krishna Kumar explores this idea
that the distinct principles of nationalism and imperialism may, in fact, result in one common
In "Nation-states as empires, empires as nation-states: two principles, one practice?" she
argues that the pursuit of nationalism can often coincide with the pursuit of imperialism in
terms of strategy and decision making. Throughout the 19th century, the United States
government attempted to expand their territory by any means necessary. Regardless of the supposed
motivation for this constant expansion, all of these land acquisitions were carried out by
imperialistic means. This was done by financial means in some cases, and by military force in
others. Most notably, the Louisiana Purchase (1803), the Texas Annexation (1845), and the Mexican
Cession (1848) highlight the imperialistic goals of the United States during this "modern period"
The U.S. government has stopped pursuing additional territories since the mid 20th century.
However, some scholars still consider U.S. foreign policy strategies to be imperialistic. This
idea is explored in the "contemporary usage" section.
... ... ...
Stuart Creighton Miller posits that the public's sense of innocence about Realpolitik (cf.
American Exceptionalism) impairs popular recognition of US imperial conduct since it governed
other countries via surrogates. These surrogates were domestically-weak, right-wing governments
that would collapse without US support. Former President G.W. Bush's Secretary of Defense,
Donald Rumsfeld, said: "We don't seek empires. We're not imperialistic; we never have been."
This statement directly contradicts Thomas Jefferson who, in the 1780s while awaiting the fall of
the Spanish empire, said: "...till our population can be sufficiently advanced to gain it from
them piece by piece". In turn, historian Sidney Lens argues that from its inception,
the US has used every means available to dominate other nations. Other historian Max
Ostrovsky argues that the term hegemony is better than empire to describe the US' role in the
world but finds that hegemony is likely to be an intermediate stage between states system and
... ... ...
In his book review of Empire (2000) by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Mehmet Akif Okur
posits that since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the US, the international relations
determining the world's balance of power (political, economic, military) have been altered. These
alterations include the intellectual (political science) trends that perceive the contemporary
world's order via the re-territorrialisation of political space, the re-emergence of classical
imperialist practices (the "inside" vs. "outside" duality, cf. the Other), the deliberate
weakening of international organisations, the restructured international economy, economic
nationalism, the expanded arming of most countries, the proliferation of nuclear weapon
capabilities and the politics of identity emphasizing a state's subjective perception of its
place in the world, as a nation and as a civilisation. These changes constitute the "Age of
Nation Empires"; as imperial usage, nation-empire denotes the return of geopolitical power from
global power blocs to regional power blocs (i.e., centered upon a "regional power" state [China,
Russia, U.S., et al.]) and regional multi-state power alliances (i.e., Europe, Latin America,
South East Asia). Nation-empire regionalism claims sovereignty over their respective (regional)
political (social, economic, ideologic), cultural, and military spheres.
Annexation was the crucial instrument
in the expansion of the USA after it won independence. The United States Congress' ability to
annex a foreign territory is explained in a report from the Congressional Committee on Foreign Relations,
"If, in the judgment of Congress, such a measure is supported by a safe and wise policy, or is based
upon a natural duty that we owe to the people of Hawaii, or is necessary for our national development
and security, that is enough to justify annexation, with the consent of the recognized government of
the country to be annexed."
Even prior to annexing a territory, the American government usually held tremendous political power
in those territories through the various legislations passed in the late 1800s. The Platt Amendment
was utilized to prevent Cuba from entering into any agreements with foreign nations, and also granted
the Americans the right to build naval stations on their soil.
Executive officials in the American government began to determine themselves the supreme authority in
matters regarding the recognition or restriction of
When asked on April 28, 2003, on
al-Jazeera whether the United
States was "empire building," Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld replied
"We don't seek empires, we're not imperialistic. We never have been."And this denial is typical for "Empire of Lies" as some researchers call the USA. Historian
Donald W. Meinig says the
imperial behavior by the United States dates at least to the
Louisiana Purchase, which
he describes as an "imperial acquisition-imperial in the sense of the aggressive encroachment of one
people upon the territory of another, resulting in the subjugation of that people to alien rule." The
U.S. policies towards the Native
Americans he said were "designed to remold them into a people more appropriately conformed to imperial
Writers and academics of the early 20th century, like
Charles A. Beard,
discussed American policy as being driven by self-interested expansionism going back as far as the writing
of the Constitution. Some politicians today do not agree.
Pat Buchanan claims that the
modern United States' drive to empire is "far removed from what the Founding Fathers had intended the
young Republic to become."
Andrew Bacevich who
is a an influencial writer about the US empite with his book American empite (2002) argues
that the U.S. did not fundamentally change its
policy after the Cold War,
and remains focused on an effort to expand its control across the world.
As the surviving superpower at the end of the Cold War, the U.S. could focus its assets in new directions,
the future being "up for grabs" according to former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Paul Wolfowitz in 1991.
Thorton wrote that "[…]imperialism is more often the name of the emotion that reacts to a series
of events than a definition of the events themselves. Where colonization finds analysts and analogies,
imperialism must contend with crusaders for and against."Political theorist Michael Walzer
argues that the term hegemony is
better than empire to describe the US's role in the world;
political scientist Robert Keohane
agrees saying, a "balanced and nuanced analysis is not aided...by the use of the phrase 'empire' to
describe United States hegemony, since 'empire' obscures rather than illuminates the differences in
form of rule between the United States and other Great Powers, such as Great Britain in the 19th century
or the Soviet Union in the
twentieth.".Emmanuel Todd assumes that
USA cannot hold for long the status of mondial hegemonic power due to limited resources. Instead, USA
is going to become just one of the major regional powers along with European Union, China, Russia, etc.
relations scholar Joseph Nye
argues that U.S. power is more and more based on "soft
power", which comes from
rather than raw military or economic force.
This includes such factors as the widespread desire to emigrate to the United States, the prestige and
corresponding high proportion of foreign students at U.S. universities, and the spread of U.S. styles
of popular music and cinema. Mass immigration into America may justify this theory, but it is hard to
know for sure whether the United States would still maintain its prestige without its military and economic
[…], so influential has been the discourse insisting on American specialness, altruism and opportunity,
that imperialism in the United States as a word or ideology has turned up only rarely and recently
in accounts of the United States culture, politics and history. But the connection between imperial
politics and culture in North
America, and in particular in the United States, is astonishingly direct.
International relations scholar David Rothkopf disagrees and argues that cultural imperialism is
the innocent result of globalization,
which allows access to numerous U.S. and Western ideas and products that many non-U.S. and non-Western
consumers across the world voluntarily choose to consume.Matthew Fraser
has a similar analysis, but argues further that the global cultural influence of the U.S. is a good
Nationalism is the main process
through which the government is able to shape public opinion.
Propaganda in the media is strategically
placed in order to promote a common attitude among the people. Louis A. Perez Jr. provides an example
of propaganda used during the war of 1898,
"We are coming, Cuba, coming; we are bound to set you free! We are coming from the mountains,
from the plains and inland sea! We are coming with the wrath of God to make the Spaniards flee! We
are coming, Cuba, coming; coming now!"
When you talk about the effectiveness of American imperialism, you highlight the fact that part
of the reason it's so effective is because it has been able to be largely invisible, and it has been
invisible, you point out, through, I think, two mechanisms, one, that it trains the elites in other
countries in order to manage affairs on behalf of American imperialism, and also because it disseminates,
through popular media, images of America that in essence -- I'm not sure you use this word exactly
-- indoctrinate or brainwash a population into allowing them to believe that America is instilled
with values that in fact it doesn't have, the ability of imperialistic forces to supposedly give
these values to the countries they dominate.
I mean, that is a kind of a raison d'être for economic and even military intervention, as we saw
in Iraq, in planning democracy in Baghdad and letting it spread out across the Middle East, or going
into Afghanistan to liberate the women of Afghanistan. That, as somebody who spent 20 years on the
outer edges of empire, is a lie.
The other day I wrote Perry Anderson, the subject of the following interview, to ask what he thought
of the foreign policy debates, such as they are, among our presidential aspirants. Logical question:
Anderson, a prominent scholar and intellectual for decades, has just published "American Foreign
Policy and Its Thinkers," a superbly lucid account of U.S policy's historical roots and the people
who shape policy in our time.
"Current candidates' f/p talk leaves me speechless," came Anderson's terse reply.
defensible. Most of what these people have to say-and I do not exclude the Democratic candidates-is
nothing more than a decadent, late-exceptionalist rendering of a policy tradition that, as Anderson's
book reminds readers, once had a coherent rationale even as it has so often led to incoherent, irrational
Born in London in 1938-during the Munich crisis, as he points out-Anderson has been a presence
on the trans-Atlantic intellectual scene since he took the editor's chair at the then-struggling
New Left Review in 1962, when he was all of 24. Eight years later NLR launched Verso, a book imprint
as singular (and as singularly influential) as the journal.
Anderson has headed both at various intervals for years. His own books range widely. My favorites
are "Zone of Engagement" (1992) and "Spectrum" (2005), which collect essays on an amazing range of
20th century thinkers. To them I now add the new foreign policy book, which I count indispensable
to anyone serious about the topic.
I met Anderson, who has taught comparative political and intellectual history at UCLA since 1989,
at his home in Santa Monica this past summer. Over a fulsome afternoon's conversation in his admirably
spartan study, he impressed me again and as readers will see for themselves, but the counterarguments
are generously given and always rewarding.
The transcript that follows is the first of two parts and includes a few questions posed via email
after we met. It is otherwise only lightly edited. Part 2 will appear next week.
"American Foreign Policy and its Thinkers" is well timed, given the unusual prominence
foreign policy now assumes in the American political conversation. How would you describe your approach?
What distinguishes the book from so many others? How should one read it? What's the project?
The book tries to do two things. One is to cover the history of American foreign policy, from
around 1900 to the present, tracing the gradual construction of a global empire. This first really
came into view as a prospect during the Second World War and is today a reality across all five continents,
as a glance at the skein of its military bases makes clear. The Cold War was a central episode within
this trajectory, but the book doesn't treat just the U.S. record vis-á-vis the USSR or China. It
tries to deal equally with American relations with the Europe and Japan, and also with the
Third World, treated not as a homogenous entity but as four or five zones that required different
The second part of the book is a survey of American grand strategy-that is, the different ways
leading counselors of state interpret the current position of the United States on the world stage
and their recommendations for what Washington should do about it.
The "big think" set, in other words-Kissinger, of course, Brzezinski, Walter Russell Mead,
Robert Kagan. And then people such as Francis Fukuyama, whom I consider a ridiculous figure but whose
thinking you judged worth some scrutiny. How did you choose these?
From the range of in-and-outers-thinkers moving between government and the academy or think-tanks-who
have sought to guide U.S. foreign policy since 2000, with some intellectual originality. Kissinger
isn't among these. His ideas belong to a previous epoch, his later offerings are boilerplate. Fukuyama,
who sensed what the effects of office on thought could be, and got out of state service quite early,
is a mind of a different order. The figures selected cover the span of options within what has always
been a bipartisan establishment.
You make a distinction between American exceptionalism, which is much in the air, and
American universalism, which few of us understand as a separate matter. The first holds America to
be singular (exceptional), and the second that the world is destined to follow us, that the trails
we've blazed are the future of humanity. You call this a "potentially unstable compound." Could you
elaborate on this distinction, and explain why you think it's unstable?
It's unstable because the first can exist without the second. There is, of course, a famous ideological
linkage between the two in the religious idea, specific to the United States, of Providence-that
is, divine Providence. In your own book "Time No Longer" you cite an astounding expression of this
notion: "However one comes to the debate, there can be little question that the hand of Providence
has been on a nation which finds a Washington, a Lincoln, or a Roosevelt when it needs him." That
pronouncement was delivered in the mid-1990s-not by some television preacher, but by Seymour Martin
Lipset: chairs at Harvard and Stanford, president of both the American Sociological and the American
Political Science Associations, a one-time social democrat.
What is the force of this idea? A belief that God has singled out America as a chosen nation for
exceptional blessings, a notion which then easily becomes a conviction of its mission to bring the
benefits of the Lord to the world. President after president, from Truman through to Kennedy, the
younger Bush to Obama, reiterate the same tropes: "God has given us this, God has given us that,"
and with the unique freedom and prosperity he has conferred on us comes a universal calling to spread
these benefits to the rest of the world. What is the title of the most ambitious contemporary account
of the underlying structures of American foreign policy? "Special Providence," by Walter Russell
Mead. Year of publication: 2001.
But while a messianic universalism follows easily from providential exceptionalism, it is not
an ineluctable consequence of it. You mount a powerful attack on the idea of exceptionalism in "Time
No Longer," but-we may differ on this-if we ask what is the more dangerous element in the unstable
compound of the nation's image of itself, I would say exceptionalism is the less dangerous. That
may seem paradoxical. But historically the idea of exceptionalism allowed for an alternative, more
modest deduction: that the country was different from all others, and so should not be meddling with
them-the argument of Washington's Farewell Address [in 1796].
A century later, this position became known as isolationism, and as the American empire took shape,
it was all but invariably castigated as narrow-minded, short-sighted and selfish. But it could often
be connected with a sense that the republic was in danger at home, with domestic ills that needed
to be addressed, which vast ambitions abroad would only compound. Mead terms this strand in American
sensibility Jeffersonian, which isn't an accurate description of Jefferson's own empire-building
outlook, but he otherwise captures it quite well.
We don't ordinarily apply the term "exceptionalist" in the same breath to America and
to Japan, though if there is any nation that claims to be completely unique, it is Japan. But the
claim produced a drastic isolationism as a national impulse, both in the Tokugawa period [1603-1868,
a period of severely enforced seclusion] and after the war. Does that support the point you're making?
Exactly. Historically, exceptionalism could generate a self-limiting, self-enclosing logic as
well as the gigantic expansionist vanities of the Co-Prosperity Sphere and the "Free World" [narrative].
In the American case, the two strands of exceptionalism and universalism remained distinct, respectively
as isolationist and interventionist impulses, sometimes converging but often diverging, down to the
Second World War. Then they fused. The thinker who wrote best about this was Franz Schurmann, whose
" Logic of World Power" came out during the Vietnam War. He argued that each had a distinct political-regional
base: the social constituency for isolationism was small business and farming communities in the
Midwest, for interventionism it was the banking and manufacturing elites of the East Coast, with
often sharp conflicts between the two up through the end of thirties. But in the course of the Second
World War they came together in a synthesis he attributed-somewhat prematurely-to FDR, and they have
remained essentially interwoven ever since. The emblematic figure of this change was [Arthur H.]
Vandenberg, the Republican Senator from Michigan [1928-51], who remained an isolationist critic of
interventionism even for a time after Pearl Harbor, but by the end of the war had become a pillar
of the new imperial consensus.
Mainstream debate today seems to have constructed two very stark alternatives: There is
either engagement or isolation. In this construction, engagement means military engagement; if we
are not going to be militarily engaged we are isolationists. I find that absolutely wrong. There
are multiple ways of being engaged with the world that have nothing to do with military assertion.
True, but engagement in that usage doesn't mean just military engagement,
but power projection more generally. One of the thinkers I discuss toward the end of my book is Robert
Art, a lucid theorist of military power and its political importance to America, who argues for what
he calls selective-expressly, not universal-engagement. What is unusual about him is that in seeking
to discriminate among engagements the U.S. should and should not select, he starts considering in
a serious, non-dismissive way what would typically be construed as isolationist alternatives, even
if ending with a fairly conventional position.
How far do you view the contemporary American crisis-if you accept that we are living
through one-as, at least in part, one of consciousness? As an American, I tend to think that no significant
departure from where find ourselves today can be achieved until we alter our deepest notions of ourselves
and our place among others. I pose this question with some trepidation, since a change in consciousness
is a generational project, if not more. Our leadership is not remotely close even to thinking about
this. I'm suggesting a psychological dimension to our predicament, and you may think I put too much
weight on that.
You ask at the outset whether I accept that Americans are living through a crisis. My reply would
be: not anything like the order of crisis that would bring about the sort of change in consciousness
for which you might hope. You describe that as a generational project, and there, yes, one can say
that among the youngest cohorts of the U.S. population, the ideologies of the status quo are less
deeply embedded, and in certain layers even greatly weakened. That is an important change, but it's
generational, rather than society-wide, and it's not irreversible.
At the level of the great majority, including, naturally, the upper middle class, the image you
use to describe the purpose of your last book applies: you write that it aims "to sound the tense
strings wound between the pegs of myth and history during the hundred years and a few that I take
to be the American century. It is this high, piercing tone that Americans now have a chance to render,
hear, and recognize all at once. We have neither sounded nor heard it yet." That's all too true,
unfortunately. The most one can say is that, among a newer generation, the strings are fraying a
I tend to distinguish between strong nations and the merely powerful, the former being
supple and responsive to events, the later being brittle and unstable. Is this a useful way to judge
America in the early 21st century-monumentally powerful but of dubious strength? If so, doesn't it
imply some change in the American cast of mind, as the difference between the two sinks in?
That depends on the degree of instability you sense in the country. In general, a major change
in consciousness occurs when there is a major alteration in material conditions of life. For example,
if a deep economic depression or dire ecological disaster strikes a society, all bets are off. Then,
suddenly, thoughts and actions that were previously inconceivable become possible and natural. That
isn't the situation so far in America.
Can you discuss the new accord with Iran in this context? I don't see any question it's
other than a breakthrough, a new direction. What do you think were the forces propelling the Obama
administration to pursue this pact? And let's set aside the desire for a "legacy" every president
cultivates late in his time.
The agreement with Iran is an American victory but not a departure in U.S. foreign policy. Economic
pressure on Iran dates back to Carter's time, when the U.S. froze the country's overseas assets after
the ousting of the Shah, and the full range of ongoing U.S. sanctions was imposed by the Clinton
administration in 1996. The Bush administration escalated the pressure by securing U.N. generalization
of sanctions in 2006, and the Obama administration has harvested the effect.
Over the past decade, the objective has always been the same: to protect Israel's nuclear monopoly
in the region without risking an Israeli blitz on Iran to preserve it-that might set off too great
a wave of popular anger in the Middle East. It was always likely, as I point out in "American Policy
and its Thinkers," that the clerical regime in Tehran would buckle under a sustained blockade, if
that was the price of its survival. The agreement includes a time-out clause to save its face, but
the reality is an Iranian surrender.
You can see how little it means any alteration in imperial operations in the region by looking
at what the Obama administration is doing in Yemen, assisting Saudi Arabia's wholesale destruction
of civilian life there in the interest of thwarting imaginary Iranian schemes.
This next question vexes many people, me included. On the one hand, the drives underlying
the American imperium are material: the expansion of capital and the projection of power by its political
representatives. The American mythologies are shrouds around these. On the other hand, the issue
of security has a long history among Americans. It is authentically an obsession independent of capital-American
paranoia dates back at least to the 18th century. I don't take these two accountings to be mutually
exclusive, but I'd be interested to know how you reconcile these different threads in American foreign
Yes, there has been a longstanding-you could say aboriginal-obsession with security in the United
States. This can be traced as an independent strand running through the history of American dealings
with the outside world. What happened, of course, from the Cold War through to the "war on terror"
was a ruthless instrumentalization of this anxiety for purposes of expansion rather than defense.
At the start of the Cold War you had the National Security Act and the creation of the National Security
Council, and today we have the National Security Agency. Security became a euphemistic cloak for
The United States occupies the better part of a continent separated by two immense oceans, which
nobody in modern history has had any serious chance of invading, unlike any other major state in
the world, all of which have contiguous land-borders with rival powers, or are separated from them
only by narrow seas. The U.S. is protected by a unique geographical privilege. But if its expansion
overseas cannot be attributed to imperatives of security, what has driven it?
A gifted and important group of historians, the Wisconsin school [which included the late William
Appleman Williams, among others], has argued that the secret of American expansion has from the beginning
lain in the quest by native capital for continuously larger markets, which first produced pressure
on the internal frontier and the march across the continent to the Pacific, and when the West Coast
was reached, a drive beyond into Asia and Latin America, and ultimately the rest of the world, under
the ideology of the Open Door.
A couple of good scholars, Melvyn Leffler and Wilson Miscamble, one a liberal and the other a
conservative, have identified my position with this tradition, taxing me with a belief that American
foreign policy is essentially just an outgrowth of American business. This is a mistake. My argument
is rather that because of the enormous size and self-sufficiency of the American economy, the material
power at the disposal of the American state exceeded anything that American capital could directly
make use of or require.
If you look at the First World War, you can see this very clearly. East Coast bankers and munitions
manufacturers did well out of supplying the Entente powers, but there was no meaningful economic
rationale for American entry into the war itself. The U.S. could tip the scales in favor of the British
and French variants of imperialism against the German and Austrian variants without much cost to
itself, but also much to gain.
The same gap between the reach of American business and the power of the American state explains
the later hegemony of the United States within the advanced capitalist world after the Second World
War. Standard histories wax lyrical in admiration of the disinterested U.S. generosity that revived
Germany and Japan with the Marshall and Dodge Plans [reconstruction programs after 1945], and it
is indeed the case that policies crafted at the State and Defense Departments did not coincide with
the desiderata of the Commerce Department. The key requirement was to rebuild these former enemies
as stable capitalist bulwarks against communism, even if this meant there could be no simple Open
Door into them for U.S. capital.
For strategic political reasons, the Japanese were allowed to re-create a highly protected economy,
and American capital was by and large barred entry. The priority was to defend the general integrity
of capitalism as a global system against the threat of socialism, not particular returns to U.S.
business. The importance of those were never, of course, ignored. But they had to bide their time.
Today's Trans-Pacific Partnership will finally pry open Japanese financial, retail and other markets
that have remained closed for so long.
I'd like to turn to the origins of the Cold War, since I believe we are never going to
get anywhere until these are honestly confronted. You give a forceful account of Stalin's reasons
for avoiding confrontation after 1945 and Washington's reasons for not doing so. But should we attribute
the outbreak of the Cold War to the U.S. without too much in the way of qualification?
We can look at the onset of the Cold War on two levels. One is that of punctual events. There,
you are certainly right to pick out the ideological starting gun as Truman's speech on Greece in
1947, designed the "scare hell" out of voters to win acceptance for military aid to the Greek monarchy.
In policy terms, however, the critical act that set the stage for confrontation with Moscow was the
flat American refusal to allow any serious reparations for the staggering level of destruction Russia
suffered from the German attack on it. The most developed third of the country was laid waste, its
industry and its cities wrecked, while Americans suffered not a fly on the wrist at home-basking,
on the contrary, in a massive economic boom. There was no issue Stalin spoke more insistently about
than reparations in negotiations among the Allies. But once the fighting was over, the U.S. reneged
on wartime promises and vetoed reparations from the larger part of Germany-far the richest and most
developed, and occupied by the West-because it did not want to strengthen the Soviet Union and
did want to rebuild the Ruhr as an industrial base under Western control, with a view to
creating what would subsequently become the Federal Republic.
Can you put Hiroshima and Nagasaki into this context?
Prior to this came Truman's decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan. He did so, of course, to shorten
the war, and partly also because the Pentagon wanted to test its new weapons. But there was a further
reason for the obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was urgent to secure a Japanese surrender
before the Red Army could get close to the country, for fear that Moscow might insist on a Soviet
presence in the occupation of Japan. The U.S. was determined not to let the Russians in, as they
could not stop them from doing in Germany. So if we look just at events, you can say the starting
points were the use of atomic bombs in Japan and the refusal of reparations in Germany. In that sense,
those who argue that the Cold War was an American initiative-the Swedish historian Anders Stephanson,
who has written most deeply about this, calls it an American project-are justified in doing so.
So these are your "punctual events."
Exactly. On the hand, if we look at the structural origins of the Cold War, they don't lie in
these punctual events, but in the radical incompatibility between American capitalism and Soviet
communism as forms of economy, society and polity. Revisionist historians have pointed out quite
properly that Stalin was defensive in outlook after the war, determined to erect a protective
glacis in Eastern Europe against any repetition of the Nazi invasion of Russia, but otherwise
acutely conscious of Soviet weakness and superior Western strength.
All of that is true, but at the same time Stalin remained a communist who firmly believed that
the ultimate mission of the world's working class was to overthrow capitalism, everywhere. His immediate
stance was defensive, but in the much longer run his expectation was offensive. In that sense, U.S.
policies toward the USSR were not needlessly aggressive, as revisionists maintain, but perfectly
rational. The two systems were mortal antagonists.
Let's move to the topic of social democracy. I did a lot of my learning in developing
countries and have a sense that Washington's true Cold War enemy was social democracy as it spread
through Western Europe and all the newly independent nations. What's your view of this?
Strong disagreement, so far as Europe is concerned. If you look at the
whole period from 1945 through to the present, you could argue that, on the contrary, European social
democracy was Washington's best friend in the region. NATO was the brainchild not of the Pentagon
but of Ernest Bevin, the social-democratic foreign secretary in Britain. Attlee, his prime minister,
then split his own government by cutting the health service to fund rearmament for the American war
in Korea. In France, the most ruthless crackdown on labor unrest after the war came from Jules Moch,
the Socialist interior minister.
Think, too, of the Norwegian social democrat who Washington put in charge of the U.N. as its first
secretary general, Trygve Lie, an odious collaborator with McCarthyism inside the United Nations.
This was the period in which Irving Brown of the A.F.L., working closely with local social democrats,
was installed in Europe by the C.I.A. with funds to divide and corrupt trade unions everywhere. He
was still active in plotting against Allende [the Chilean social democratic president] in the '70s.
As to more recent years, who was Bush's most ardent European ally in the war on Iraq? Not any conservative
politician, but British social democrat Blair.
There were exceptions to this dismal record, but few and far between. Not by accident, they generally
came from neutral countries that stayed out of the Cold War. In Sweden, Olaf Palme was a courageous
opponent of the American war in Vietnam, detested by the U.S. for that reason. In Austria, Bruno
Kreisky took an independent line on the Middle East, refusing to fall in with Western support for
Israel-itself governed in those years by another social democratic party-and so was scarcely less
disliked by the U.S.
But the dominant pattern has always been craven submission to Washington.
Well, I was thinking more of figures like Mossadeq, Arbenz and Allende-maybe the Sandinistas,
Their fate is certainly relevant, but there you are talking of a different
political phenomenon-nationalism in the Third World, typically though not invariably of the left.
You could add Lumumba in the Congo, Goulart in Brazil, Bosch in the Dominican Republic and others
to the list. Not all were figures of the left, but from the Cold War onward the U.S. regarded nearly
all serious attempts at nationalization of local resources as a threat to capital and worked to subvert
or overthrow those who undertook them. A good part of my book is devoted to this front of imperial
I've often wondered what the fate of Cuba would have been if Castro had been properly
received in Washington in 1960. Could he have become something like a social democrat?
Excluded, if only because of the side of the Cuban Revolution that distinguished
it from both the Chinese Revolution and from the outcome of Russian Revolution after Lenin, which
was genuine internationalism. It had to be internationalist because it was a small island close to
the United States, not a huge country far away, so it needed revolutionary solidarity within Latin
America, which it couldn't hope for as long the continent was populated by assorted clients of the
United States, most of them dictators. So even if, counterfactually, Eisenhower or Kennedy had rolled
out a tactical red carpet for Fidel, there would have still have been insurmountable conflict over
all these Latin American regimes propped up by the United States. The Cubans would have never said,
if you put up with us, you can do what you want anywhere. Think of the fact they sent troops [in
1975] even to Angola-where they had no regional connection at all-to save it from a U.S.-backed invasion
by South Africa.
Do you see any inflections in the development of American foreign policy over this period?
There is an underlying continuity in the long arc of the U.S. imperium
that extends from FDR to Obama. But one can distinguish successive phases in this arc. You have the
period that runs from Truman to Kennedy, the high Cold War. Then comes Nixon, the only American president
with an original mind in foreign policy. He was intelligent because he was so cynical. He wasn't
taken in or mystified by the enormous amount of rhetoric surrounding the lofty U.S. mission in the
world. He was therefore more ruthless, but also genuinely innovative in a whole series of ways, the
most important of which was to capitalize on the Sino-Soviet split.
The next phase runs from Carter through Reagan to the elder Bush, which sees a reversion to the
earlier forms of foreign policy during the Cold War. The fourth phase, of humanitarian intervention,
from Clinton through the younger Bush to Obama.
I once thought Carter was an exception in this line, but have since been persuaded to
If you're interested in Carter, there's a good chapter on him in the huge
"Cambridge History of the Cold War" by a scholar sympathetic to Carter, which captures the ambiguities
and contradictions of his presidency quite well. He did, of course, talk a lot about human rights
at the beginning of his tenure, and appointed Patricia Derian, who genuinely believed in them but
was quite powerless, to an assistant position in the State Department. But one has to remember that
at the outset he appointed Zbigniew Brzezinski as national security adviser, on whom he relied throughout
Brzezinski was in many ways brighter than Kissinger, in later years an overrated showman not particularly
interesting as a thinker. Brzezinski's cold, brittle mind was a good deal sharper. He was also as
much, if not more, of a hawk than Kissinger had been. His masterstroke was funding religious and
tribal resistance to the Communist regime in Afghanistan well before any Soviet troops were there,
with the clear-cut and entirely successful aim of making the country the Vietnam of the USSR. There
followed the Carter Doctrine, which put the U.S. into the military emplacements in the Gulf, where
it remains today, while the president was toasting the Shah as a close personal friend and pillar
of human rights. To top it off, with Brzezinski at his elbow again, Carter patronized and protected
Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, keeping them at the U.N. as the legitimate government of Cambodia, as
part of the deal with China for its attack on Vietnam.
In the Middle East, the peace treaty between Sadat and Begin is generally credited to Carter.
Its precondition, however, was the double rescue of Israel and of Egypt by Nixon and Kissinger in
the 1973 war, which put both countries into the palm of the American hand. What was the regional
upshot? Sadat ditched the Palestinians and became a well-funded U.S. client, Begin secured an ally
on Israel's southern flank and the Egyptians got the tyranny of Sadat, Mubarak and now Sisi for the
next 40 years. Yet to this day Carter gushes over Sadat, a torturer whose memory is loathed by his
people, as a wonderful human being. What is nevertheless true is that with all his weaknesses-and
worse-Carter was a contradictory figure, who, once he was ousted from office, behaved more decently
than any other ex-president in recent memory. Today, he's almost a pariah because of what he says
on Israel. One can respect him for that.
Turning to Europe for a moment, I often feel disappointed-I don't think I'm alone in this-at
the hesitancy of the Europeans to act on what seems to be their underlying impatience with American
primacy. Is this an unrealistic expectation?
Impatience isn't the right word. The reality is rather its opposite. Europe has become ever more
patient-a better word would be submissive-with the United States. After 1945, Western Europe was
far weaker in relation to America than the E.U. today, which is larger than the U.S. in both GDP
and population. But think of three European politicians-in France, Germany and England-in the first
15 years after the war. You had a great statesman in De Gaulle; a very strong, if much more limited
leader in Adenauer, and a weak ruler in Eden. But the striking thing is all three were quite prepared
to defy the United States in a way that no subsequent politician in Europe has ever done.
Eden launched the Suez expedition against Nasser [in late 1956] without informing Washington -
the Americans were livid, Eisenhower beside himself, fearing that it would stoke popular anti-imperialism
across Africa and Asia. So the U.S. brought the expedition to an abrupt halt by triggering a run
on sterling, and Eden fell. But there was an aftermath. The French premier at the time was Guy Mollet,
the Socialist who was an accomplice of Eden in the attack on Egypt, with, himself, a terrible record
in Algeria. When the idea of a Common Market came up shortly after the Suez debacle, though he was
personally favorable to it, he faced a lot of opposition in France - as there was, too, in Germany.
Adenauer, who was quite willing to make commercial concessions to France to smooth the path for the
undertaking, gave Mollet a political reason for the Common Market. Look what happened when you fought
at Suez, he told him. None of our countries is strong enough to resist the U.S. on its own. Let's
pool our resources and then we can do so.
Adenauer was loyal enough to the West, and a staunch anticommunist, but Germany, not America,
was what counted for him. As for De Gaulle, he famously pulled France out of the military command
of NATO, and defied America with éclat virtually throughout.
Since then, there has been nobody like this. If we ask why, I think the answer is that all these
people were formed before the First and Second World Wars broke out, in a period in which major European
states had as much weight as the United States on the international checkerboard, if not more. They
were not brought up in a world where American hegemony was taken for granted. All of them were involved
in the two World Wars, and in the Second De Gaulle had good reason to be distrustful of the U.S.,
since Roosevelt was long pro-Vichy and wanted to oust him as leader of the Free French.
We could add, incidentally, a couple of later politicians, who fought in the second conflict.
One was the English Tory prime minister, Edward Heath, the only postwar ruler of Britain who never
made the trip to simper on the White House lawn, receiving an audience and paying tribute, that would
become a virtual ceremony of investiture for any new ruler around the world. The other was Helmut
Schmidt, a veteran of Operation Barbarossa [the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941] who
scarcely concealed his disdain for Carter. These were latecomers from the past. Their successors
have grown up under U.S. paramountcy and take it for granted. This is America's world. It is second
nature for them to defer to it.
You describe a generational difference in sensibility. But what about the EU?
If the generational declension is one big change, another is what has become of the European Union
itself. On paper, it's much more powerful than any of the individual countries. But so far as any
coherent foreign policy is concerned, it's institutionally paralyzed by the number of states that
make it up-originally six, now 28-and the labyrinthine nature of their dealings with each other.
None of them has any complete autonomy of initiative. A staggering amount of time is wasted in endless
summits behind closed doors, agendas prepared by bureaucrats, tremulous fear of any public disagreement.
No serious international statecraft can emerge from this.
During the countdown to the war in Iraq, there were large street demonstrations in not a few countries,
which Dominique Strauss-Kahn-no less-described as a European Declaration of Independence. Schröder
[Gerhard, the German chancellor from 1998-2005] announced that Germany could not accept the war,
and Chirac [Jacques, the French president, 1995-2007] blocked a U.N. resolution endorsing it. Were
these bold acts of independence? Far from it. The French envoy in Washington told Bush in advance:
You already have one U.N. resolution saying Saddam must comply with inspections, which is suitably
vague. Don't embarrass us by trying to get another resolution that is more specific, which we'll
have to oppose. Just use that one and go in. No sooner, indeed, was the attack launched than Chirac
opened French skies to U.S. operations against Iraq. Can you imagine De Gaulle meekly helping a war
he had said he opposed? As for Schröder, it was soon revealed that German intelligence agents in
Baghdad had signaled ground targets for "Shock and Awe." These were politicians who knew the war
was very unpopular in domestic opinion, and so made a show of opposing it while actually collaborating.
Their independence was a comedy.
That was a dozen years ago. What's the position today?
Edward Snowden's break with the illegalities of Obama's government revealed that it was not only
spying on European as well as American citizens en masse, but tapping the phones and communications
of Merkel, Hollande and other pillars of Atlantic solidarity. How have these leaders reacted? With
an embarrassed smile, before the next warm embrace with the Leader of the Free World. Has one single
European government dreamt of offering asylum to Snowden? Not one. Under Merkel, indeed, it now emerges
that German intelligence itself was illegally spying on Germans at the behest of the U.S., and passing
on the information it gathered to the CIA. There are no consequences to such revelations, except
to those who reveal them. The level of abjection passes belief.
Let's put the Ukraine crisis in this context. It is, after all, what prompted me to raise
the question of European passivity in the trans-Atlantic relationship. Here, it seems to me, the
Europeans are furious with Washington for encouraging Kiev toward a patently dangerous confrontation
with Russia. Animosity has been evident since Vicky Nuland's infamous "'F'the E.U." remark just before
the coup last year. And now we see Merkel and Hollande more or less pushing the U.S. aside in favor
of a negotiated settlement-or "seem to see," in any case. What's your view here?
Why should Washington object to European attempts to reach a stand-off in the Ukraine, so long
as sanctions in Russia remain in place? Berlin and Paris are not going to defy it. Any real settlement
is for the time being out of reach, but if one were materialize, they would be convenient sherpas
for it. The E.U. as such hardly matters: Its reaction to Nuland's dismissal [of them] was to turn
the other cheek.
Patrick Smith is Salon's foreign affairs columnist. A longtime correspondent abroad, chiefly for
the International Herald Tribune and The New Yorker, he is also an essayist, critic and editor. His
most recent books are "Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century" (Yale, 2013) and Somebody
Else's Century: East and West in a Post-Western World (Pantheon, 2010). Follow him @thefloutist.
His web site is patricklawrence.us.
Panitch and Gindin argue that market economies have never existed independent of nation states.
The state was necessary for the genesis of capitalism, and the state was, and still is, necessary
for its historical development and continuous reproduction. Nonetheless, Panitch and Gindin argue
there is significant autonomy, or historical "differentiation," between the economy and the nation
state. There are economic structural tendencies manifest from the logic of capital and the functioning
of the market-system. At the same time nation states can affect these structural tendencies in
In this sense, there has never been "separation" between capitalist reproduction/development and
the state, but there is "differentiation" which has radically significant effects. There is a
symbiotic relationship between the state and capitalistic reproduction/development.
This is a book of economic history. But is also a book of economic theory. The economic history
is rich and interesting, aimed at explaining the historical emergence of global financial capitalism.
While the history Panitch and Gindin offer is rich and interesting, the theory is still richer
and even more intriguing.
Their history is primarily aimed, (1) at explaining the emergence of the "informal American empire"
(what makes this empire "informal" is the hegemony is accomplished primarily through economic
strategy, policy, and diplomacy; and less through military might and political coercion) and (2)
demonstrating the historical shifting relationship (from decade to decade since the World War
I) between workers, business, finance, and the state.
Their theoretical concern is threefold;
(1) offer a theoretical explanation of the crisis of 2007-8;
(2) offer guidance toward the direction the future the "informal American empire" has for
guiding the economies of world; and
(3) to understand the "informal American empire" as a set of beliefs, doctrine, and ideology
of how to organize modern societies (workers, business, finance and the state) and the global
order (both political [e.g. UN, NATO, etc.] and economical [World Bank, IMF, WTO) for the (ideological)
Although Panitch and Gindin accept that capitalistic development is uneven and unstable, it
is crucial to their thesis that each crisis is unique depending upon the particular relationships
and alliances forged between workers, business, finance, and the state. In this sense, the
crisis of 2007-8 is necessarily unique and the solutions or economic fiscal policies necessary
for recovery necessarily different from previous crises.
The highlights of their economic global history include that there have been four! major historical
global crises, the long depression in the 1870, the Great depression of 1930, the Great recession
of 1970s, and the Great financial crisis of 2007-09.
According to Pantich and Gindin, the 1970s is an economic watershed moment which separates
"two Golden ages" of American capitalism.
The first Golden Age is from 1947 - 1973;
the Great recession and various political crises ensue (1973 - 1983), there is a reconfiguration
of both the organization of society (workers, business, finance, and state; along with the
role of the IMF, World Bank, and global trade); then
the second Golden Age from 1983 - 2007.
It may be quite strange to many readers to call 1983 - 2007 a Golden Age. But in fact when
looking at the economic data of the period it was quite literally a Golden Age, with millions
of Americans and Global financiers and business leaders becoming impressively wealthy. Moreover,
the levels of production (GDP) and productivity during the second Golden Age generally outperform
the levels of production and productivity during the first Golden Age. Nonetheless the distribution
of this wealth is radically narrow and concentrated within primarily finance, while political
power concentrated toward "free-trade" orientated states, and away from workers and industrial
production. Moreover, Pantich and Gindin maintain that workers are generally weaker during the
second Golden Age, finance is strengthen and trumps over production processes, which is more or
less conventional wisdom of this period of modern history. Less conventional is their thesis that
the state, in particular the American domestic fiscal state and global "informal American empire,"
greatly strengthened post-1973-83 crisis.
It is not clear the direction the post-2007-09 crisis will take the global economy and American
capitalism. What is clear is that the symbiotic relationship between workers, business, finance,
and the state, and the global order (U.S. Treasury, IMF, World Bank, WTO, UN) is once again shifting.
Pantich and Gindin's book offers to the reader a far
Jeb Sprague on November 8, 2014
Fascinating & important book, yet suffers from nation-state centrism & ignores novel social
dynamics of Global Capitalism era
Panitch and Gindin's epic and fascinating book has the goal of tracing what the authors describe
as the central role of the informal "American empire" and U.S. capital in the formation of the
contemporary global capitalist system. I published a review in the journal Critical Sociology
(Vol. 40, No. 5. P. 803-807) earlier this year that expands further on the importance of this
work but I also have some criticisms, of which I paste some of below:
Whereas the authors emphasize the role of longstanding national and international dynamics, they
overlook the numerous studies that have shown how novel transnational dynamics have come about
even as historic residue remains (see for example Harris, 2013; Murray G, 2012; Robinson, 2003,
2004, 2014). Other than briefly denying the usefulness of the idea, the authors say little about
the good deal of work on transnational class relations, for example in regards to the different
fractions of the transnational capitalist class (as detailed in the works of Baker, 2011; Robinson,
2003, 2008; Harris, 2008; Sklair, 2001; Carrol, 2011; Murray J, 2013). Panitch and Gindin argue
that theories of a TCC (transnational capitalist class) lead us to overlook uneven development
between "nation-states" and the "economic competition between various centers of accumulation"
(p. 11).... Yet while capital tends to concentrate in particular built up spaces, this corresponds,
as a number of studies have shown, less and less to the strict restrictions of national space.
Functionally integrated circuits of production and finance, and other networks, for example, have
come to cut through various geographic scales (including national space) (Dicken, 20112; Robinson,
2010). Whereas local, national, regional, and international dynamics remain legion and substantial,
many decisive economic, social, and political processes have become transnationally oriented....
The role of the state and its different policies is a clear focus of Panitch and Gindin's book.
At times the authors do refer to the role of state elites, but often the authors can reify the
state, describing the state as if it acts on its own and of its own accord. We need here to understand
more clearly the class nature of the state, how specific social groups operate through state apparatuses
as a site of struggle. Rather than individuals of the capitalist class serving directly in the
state, it is governing political groups that normally do this. As relatively autonomous these
political groups and state elites maintain legitimacy in the eyes of the electorate, even as they
overwhelmingly operate in the "collective" interests of capital. This relative autonomy is conditioned
by a number of dynamics, such as prevailing socioeconomic conditions, the balance and struggle
of social forces, and the position or character of the state. In those instances where Panitch
and Gindin do write about state elites and political groups, these groups are presented as essentially
the traditional nation-state governing elite who often operate in the interests of domestic capitalists.
While these groups may fight among themselves or wrestle with domestic classes to carry out policies
that are internationally geared, these political elites, as Panitch and Gindin describe them,
do not veer far from the mold of their nation-state predecessors. The authors never recognize
the fundamental changes that are taking place, through which state apparatuses, most importantly
the U.S., are being utilized to reproduce conditions for circuits of global capital accumulation.
The authors pass over quickly some theories of the state that they disagree with, giving a straw
person description of a "supranational global state" (p. 11) and citing an article by Philip McMichael
(2001) that similarly misexplained ideas on the emergent transnationalization of state apparatuses
and rise of transnationally oriented technocrats and elites who operate through state apparatuses
(as discussed by Jayasuriya, 1999, 2005; Liodakis, 2010; Robinson, 2004, 2012; Sprague, 2012).
I would argue for example that transnationally oriented state elites and technocrats believe that
to develop they must insert their national states and institutions into global circuits of accumulation.
They need access to capital, and capital is in the hands of the TCC. However, state elites must
still appeal to their home audiences. They still interact with a variety of social groups and
social classes, some more transnationally oriented and others with a more national orientation.
Because of this, even as ties between state elites and TCC fractions deepen, national rhetoric
and national state policies occur that are in apparent contradiction with TCC interests.
In this way, political leaders attempt to maintain national political legitimacy while deepening
practices of a global nature. However, as these state elites become entangled with and dependent
upon processes of global capital accumulation they increasingly transition from taking part in
national or international processes to transnational processes.
In regards to law, Panitch and Gindin argue that "Americanized internationalized law" has supplanted
local international investment laws in much of the world. Here the authors obscure how transnational
legal frameworks have come about through coalitions and the support of various interests and social
forces. The mere adoption of laws for instance (even when heavily influenced by U.S. state elites)
does not explain how they are implemented or modified. Nor does it explain the different interests
behind these changes.
The authors emphasize the role of the "informal U.S. empire," with globalization "imbricated
in the American empire," a system "under continuing US leadership," with the country maintaining
its "imperial responsibilities for the reproduction of global capitalism" (p. 330). Yet they never
clearly explain what is global capitalism, globalization, or the difference between the international
and the transnational. This is because their conceptions of class, capital, and the state don't
help us to understand the fundamental changes taking place. While they provide an extensive and
critical historical overview in pointing out the leading role of the U.S. state and its policies
in reproducing today's "system of class power and inequality" (p. 330), they don't recognize how
this has occurred through fundamentally new dynamics of the global epoch.
While the authors help us to better understand the key role of the U.S. government and its
policies during the late twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries, they do so through an outdated
theoretical scope that never gets at the deep changes occurring. Rather than the U.S. nation-state
empire and those operating through it creating conditions beneficial for closely aligned internationally
active domestic capitalists, more and more we can see how transnationally oriented elites
operating through the most powerful national state apparatus (headquartered in Washington) are
promoting conditions for circuits of global capital accumulation and in the interests of TCC fractions.
While this book is well worth your time reading, for getting a deeper understanding of contemporary
political economy I suggest Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity clearer picture
of what is at stake and who are the main institutional actors in the historical drama and capitalistic
tragedy we call modern human history.
"... And, of course, it wouldn't be good, old-fashioned Washington gunslinging if she didn't pin the blame on somebody else. In this case, it was former secretary of state Rex Tillerson and former White House chief of staff John Kelly -- portrayed by Haley as duplicitous snakes who sought to undermine the president behind his back. ..."
Her messaging confirms what many have long suspected: Nikki Haley is a human weathervane, trying to ingratiate herself to the
boss (she knows Trump will remain a popular figure within Republican politics for years to come) while at the same time distancing
herself from his most controversial actions.
And, of course, it wouldn't be good, old-fashioned Washington gunslinging if she didn't
pin the blame on somebody else. In this case, it was former secretary of state Rex Tillerson and former White House chief of staff
John Kelly --
portrayed by Haley as duplicitous snakes who sought to undermine the president behind his back.
She is a neocon and people arent going to vote for more war. She has no real accomplishments. I think she would make an interesting
candidate. A republican woman is generally not as loopy left wing as the democratic women running just because their women. Personally
Nikki does not represent my values and I wouldnt vote for her.
Well, what does that tell ya about the continuing corruption and ruining of America's elections systems in this evolving, shallower
society and the major 'news' media being 'neo-con' run or influenced as such?
It's ridiculous and I'm being kind, that people with no qualifications are seriously being given money and given media exposure
such as- Buttgieg, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and some others with low IQ's and only want the ego tripping and be one of the 'elites'
all their non-productive lives.
So, Nikki Haley is seriously one of those to lead America?
You now what, people who vote for these clowns, clowns that never worked in their lives, are just plain shallow too. But...the
big donors give these characters money so that they will continue the terrible neo-con foreign policy.
Now, may I ask, as a fella that was born in another nation:
how come I use my real name but Nikki Haley and others do not?
I laugh, as did others, over the years when I say-you would think, that a guy with my name, being a Palestinian/Arab/Moslem heritage,
would be the last one to do that!
Well, how 'bout that question in our great big country America? Dig?
Opportunism of this one is so sky high that it resembles a cartoonish psychopath. Even her name is not real. A pathological liar
who took up barking as a profession because that is what sells these days. Tragedy of America is that snakes move high and up.
"... Cliff Asness, another money manager, would fly into a rage at Warren adviser Gabriel Zucman for using the term "revenue maximizing" -- a standard piece of economic jargon -- describing it as "disgustingly immoral." ..."
"... Objectively, Obama treated Wall Street with kid gloves. In the aftermath of a devastating financial crisis, his administration bailed out collapsing institutions on favorable terms. He and Democrats in Congress did impose some new regulations, but they were very mild compared with the regulations put in place after the banking crisis of the 1930s. He did, however, refer on a few occasions to "fat cat" bankers and suggested that financial-industry excesses were responsible for the 2008 crisis because, well, they were. And the result, quite early in his administration, was that Wall Street became consumed with " Obama rage ," and the financial industry went all in for Mitt Romney in 2012. ..."
No, the really intense backlash against Warren and progressive Democrats in general is
Wall Street . And while that opposition partly reflects self-interest, Wall Street's Warren
hatred has a level of virulence, sometimes crossing into hysteria, that goes beyond normal
What's behind that virulence?
First, let's talk about the rational reasons Wall Street is worried about Warren. She is, of
course, calling for major tax increases on the very wealthy, those with wealth exceeding $50
million, and the financial industry is strongly represented in that elite club. And since
raising taxes on the wealthy is highly popular , it's an
idea a progressive president might actually be able to turn into real policy.
Warren is also a big believer in stricter financial regulation; the Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau, which was highly effective until the Trump administration set about gutting
it, was her brainchild.
So if you are a Wall Street billionaire, rational self-interest might well induce you to
oppose Warren. Rationality does not, however, explain why a money manager like Leon Cooperman
-- who just two years ago
settled a suit over insider trading for $5 million, although without admitting wrongdoing
-- would circulate an embarrassing, self-pitying open letter
denouncing Warren for her failure to appreciate all the wonderful things billionaires like
him do for society.
Nor does it explain why Cliff Asness, another money manager, would fly into a rage at Warren
adviser Gabriel Zucman for using the term "revenue maximizing" -- a standard piece of