An empire in denial

Ben Courtice benj at connexus.net.au
Mon Mar 24 15:33:15 MST 2003


Lou Paulsen wrote
> I mean, that's obviously speculative, but now that the US has shredded up the
> whole fabric of alliances and international law, a lot of things that were
> silly theoretical possibilities in the past become actual possibilities.

Yes, I agree, but "possibility" is different from "probablitiy" isn't it? If we talk about "possibilities" we're engaging in speculation, if we
talk about "probabilities" we're planning (and educating the masses) for them. If we get the two mixed up we can end up like the boy
who cried wolf.

> This is where I have the most difficulty with your argument.  What in heaven's
> name is "defensive" about this war?  Your argument is that the US was "worried
> about French oil contracts in Iraq", so it invaded Iraq, and
> that's "defensive"..?  In that case, what could possibly be aggressive?  If
> they think "the whole earth belongs to me", then anything they do anywhere on
> the planet is "defensive", I suppose.

"The best form of defence is attack" -- so my soccer coach used to say in primary school.

Cliches aside, I think the US is taking measures to defend or regain its post-WW2 hegemony. I wasn't suggesting that the U.S. is on
the verge of defeat, or somehow not being aggressive. In the grand scheme of things of course it's the aggressor, imperialism is by
nature aggressive. But as you point out, they think the whole world belongs to them, and I think this war has less to do with their grand
rhetoric about the New American Century, and more to do with defending their empire.

I sense, reading between the lines, that there is a certain amount of desperation in the US ruling class -- not just supreme arrogance
and bluster as personified by GWB -- why else embark on a highly unpopular war led by a widely ridiculed president? Maybe it is
supreme arrogance, but I usually credit the US ruling class with a fair bit of (collective) intelligence.

Or do you think that the PNAC crap is for real, they really believe all their rhetoric? And I don't mean the actual clique around
Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld etc, I mean the collective US ruling class who they are by and large ruling on behalf of: why are they
engaging in this war?

I'd be interested in your views because if they're getting desperate (or at least nervous), then that means that this war may well turn
into a blunder, after all, desperate people take greater risks. But despite all the commentary about Coalition casualties, not taking
cities quickly enough, and so on, I'm not yet convinced that they will lose this war outright. I think they have enough firepower to win
the shooting war (not necessarily the occupation) before protests at home (and the impact of casualties on morale, public opinion etc)
force a stop... but maybe I'm being pessimistic. And anyway that's another conversation which is being had with every bit of news that
comes along.

Thanks for your quick response
Ben Courtice

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