Thursday, January 12, 2012
Envisioning That Better Future -- Six: The End of Wars of Aggression
Apart from the fact that the notion that the United States does not engage in wars of aggression has always been a lie, the ease with which the US Government has become captivated by the current round of aggressive warfare since 2001 -- more than a decade now -- is truly shocking.
Wars of aggression have been refined to the point of nearly pinpoint liquidation of individuals at will (sorry about the continuing collateral damage, but we're working on it! Really!) -- by remote control, no less, operated by pimply faced boys and girls at video game terminals at Groom Lake, NV, for cripes sake -- but still, the notion that American Military Might can or should be "projected" willy-nilly, wherever and whenever Our Rulers and their owners and sponsors so determine without let or hindrance by even a whiff of International Law or Treaty or any barrier at all is still shocking to the conscience of anyone who still has a conscience after all these years of lies and propaganda about what is going on.
At first, it was obvious that the wars of choice and aggression that were being undertaken by Our Rulers, ostensibly in pursuit of so-called "enemy combatants" and rogue Terror States or what have you were actually no different than the Imperial Wars of Aggression practiced routinely during the colonial period of Western history when those who were weaker in the face of the aggressor colonialists were simply bulldozed into oblivion by the war machines assembled against them, their nations were demolished, and their things were stolen -- their wives and daughters right along with their cattle.
This was called "Spreading Civilization" back in the day, and propaganda mills churned out endless justifications for it, especially when the United States engaged in overseas empire building. Our Little Brown Brothers didn't stand a chance.
The war to subdue the Philippines that started in 1898 went on for more than a decade, with enormous slaughter of the Natives and destruction of much of the country's enduring social and political fabric, all to preserve a lie: that the United States was not building an Empire. The Natives deserved what they got for resisting the imposition of authority by their Betters.
The horror of what went on in the Philippines to establish the American Imperial presence shocked the consciences of many Americans at the time -- leading to many excuses from the Government, much "soul searching," periodic "investigations" and reports to Congress, and the simultaneous consolidation of American authority over the islands, its resources and its peoples. It was one of the most brutal colonial conquests of a very brutal colonial era, but "good works" (schools and hospitals!) were offered to the surviving Natives as modest compensation for what they had lost.
And of course there was a handy class of already "civilized" Natives (thanks to the Spanish former colonial masters) who were just as happy to transfer their loyalty from Spain to the US as long there was a benefit in doing so. In those days, American policy was to make sure there would be a benefit to being... loyal subjects.
But Independence could not be denied forever; the Japanese attack and invasion of 1941-42 put the lie to American invincibility in the Pacific even if Japan was ultimately defeated. An independent Philippines was one of the more immediate consequences of WWII in the Pacific, but of course there would always be strings attached... American military bases, for example, and American sponsored dictatorships running things from Manila on behalf of American interests.
That lasted as long as it could, but not forever. It can't last forever because the whole construct is based on a lie: The US doesn't seek Empire (it does); the US does not seek to rule overseas (it does; latterly through proxies); the US is beneficent and benign believing only in democracy and human rights(in your dreams!)
Even as they shook free of American Imperialism, the peoples of the Philippines found themselves more heavily indebted to American interests. It's not at all clear that even now they have achieved the level of independence the initial rebellion of 1898 sought.
And the Philippines was only one of America's numerous colonial/imperial expansions during the late 19th - early 20th Centuries. There were plenty of others, but the Imperial cause was temporarily derailed by the repeated World Wars, the economic Depressions, and the advent of the Soviet Union as chief rival of the United States on the world stage.
Nevertheless, the United States has been organized as a domestic Imperial State since the adoption of the Constitution. Once that domestic continental empire was consolidated through negotiations, subterfuge, strategy and many, many wars of aggression -- and of course a Civil War -- sights were set overseas almost immediately; Hawaii being the first victim. Taking over the remnants of the Spanish Empire was in some was a brilliant maneuver. In other ways, it was a moral catastrophe.
All of this had been worked out during the period of domestic expansion and expropriation. The ways and means to Empire through wars of aggression against a weaker opposition were integral to the American character.
But after World War II, the notion of any nation having the right to pursue wars of aggression for colonial or any other purpose was discredited and indeed made illegal under international law. Nazis were tried and hanged for such things.
The wars that the United States engaged in after the end of WWII -- principally in Korea and Vietnam -- were justified under the rubric of "defense" of allies who had been attacked by "aggressive" neighbors. But of course, this was fiction, too, as the "neighbors" were created by the very external forces that then engaged in the wars. It was a sophisticated means of continuing wars of aggression, and it failed dismally in the swamps of the Mekong Delta among other places.
The collapse of the Soviet Union, however, seems to have released the hounds of aggressive war once again. This time around, it seems that the United States and its allies are intent on going back to those parts of the former British Empire where the Lessons of Liberty didn't quite "take" -- Iraq, obviously, and Afghanistan; but a good deal of Eastern Africa and parts of the Persian Gulf and Middle East as well. Most of the places now under the aggressive gaze of American forces are ones that failed to become integrated under the British Imperial umbrella back in the day, and it seems that the main point of the current round of aggressive wars against them is to whip them into shape for proper rule and exploitation under some Native version of Anglo-American "law."
That it is being done on the same basis as colonial wars and imperial expansions of the past is grotesque; that's exactly what led to the world wars and other catastrophes of the 20th Century. Is this not understood?
Apparently not. And why not?
Apparently, Our Ruling Classes cannot see their own failures except through the prism of an arch-rival, such as the Soviet Union was back in the day, that held a constant critical mirror up to the failures of the West and pointed out what frauds the Western "democracies" were.
The collapse of the Soviet Union took that mirror away, and despite the efforts of the current rulers of the Russian Federation to hold their cracked and de-silvered mirror up to highlight the hypocrisy of the West, there is no real global rival to Anglo-American Imperial hegemony these days. Nations like China and India, that should be more than a little interested in using a cudgel against Anglo-American Imperial adventurism and their consequent wars of aggression are far more interested in their own domestic development (which is in hyperdrive at the moment) than they are in curbing Anglo-American excesses overseas.
In fact, I suspect they approve of much of the aggressive warfare against uppity Natives that the Anglo-American alliance has been engaged in, for in the case of China (to some extent, India as well) they are financing it. If they see a danger to their own interests from the aggression of the Neo-Imperialists, they aren't showing it.
Yet it is vital for the United States to pull out of its current aggressive international posture, just as it is vital for Britain to do the same. There is no sign whatever of its happening, no matter the calls from the People and wide swaths of the intellectual communities to do so.
The Ruling Class neither listens to nor cares what the People "think." They only care about what the People DO; and so far, they have seen nothing that they feel they need fear from the People anywhere.
Certainly nothing -- yet -- equivalent to the Global Communist Conspiracy they once trembled before and made some positive accommodations to.
Yet there is nevertheless a global rising against the unfettered continuation of Neo-Imperialism, against the arbitrary imposition of authority, against the indignities and exploitation that are inevitable in the dictatorships propped up by the Neo-Imperialists, and against Neo-Imperialist indignity and exploitation as well.
People everywhere are saying "No!" -- but they haven't figured out yet how to stop it.
That is going to take a good deal more thought, struggle, experiment and failure to discover, but it will be discovered. For Peoples everywhere know that the Better Future they seek can only come once the new round of imperial wars of aggression are ended.