[Marxism] A chastened Richard Haass
lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Nov 14 07:38:16 MST 2006
Imperial America and War
by John Bellamy Foster
On November 11, 2000, Richard Haassa member of the National Security
Council and special assistant to the president under the elder Bush, soon
to be appointed director of policy planning in the state department of
newly elected President George W. Bushdelivered a paper in Atlanta
entitled Imperial America. For the United States to succeed at its
objective of global preeminence, he declared, it would be necessary for
Americans to re-conceive their role from a traditional nation-state to an
imperial power. Haass eschewed the term imperialist in describing
Americas role, preferring imperial, since the former connoted
exploitation, normally for commercial ends, and territorial control.
Nevertheless, the intent was perfectly clear:
To advocate an imperial foreign policy is to call for a foreign policy
that attempts to organize the world along certain principles affecting
relations between states and conditions within them. The U.S. role would
resemble 19th century Great Britain....Coercion and the use of force would
normally be a last resort; what was written by John Gallagher and Ronald
Robinson about Britain a century and a half ago, that The British policy
followed the principle of extending control informally if possible and
formally if necessary, could be applied to the American role at the start
of the new century (Richard N. Haass, www.brook.edu).
SPIEGEL: And then there are Iraq and the Middle East. You just published an
article in the journal Foreign Affairs in which you say that the situation
is enough "to make one nostalgic for the old Middle East."
Haass: The old Middle East -- an era which I believe has only recently
ended -- was one in which the United States enjoyed tremendous dominance
and freedom of maneuver. Oil was available at fairly low prices, the region
was largely at peace. I believe largely because of the American decision to
go to war in Iraq and how it has been carried out, as well as the emphasis
on promoting democracy and a lack of any serious energy policy, the Middle
East has considerably grown worse. It's one of history's ironies that the
first war in Iraq, a war of necessity, marked the beginning of the American
era in the Middle East and the second Iraq war, a war of choice, has
precipitated its end.
SPIEGEL: So what will become of the region?
Haass: Visions of a new Middle East that is peaceful, prosperous and
democratic will not be realized. Much more likely is the emergence of a new
Middle East that will cause great harm to itself and the world. Iran will
be a powerful state in the region, a classical imperial power. No viable
peace process between Israel and the Palestinians is likely for the
foreseeable future. Militias will emerge throughout the region, terrorism
will grow in sophistication, tensions between Sunni and Shia will increase,
causing problems in countries with divided societies, such as Bahrain,
Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Islam will fill the political and intellectual
vacuum. Iraq at best will remain messy for years to come, with a weak
central government, a divided society and sectarian violence. At worst, it
will become a failed state racked by all-out civil war that will draw in
SPIEGEL: How long will this dangerous period last?
Haass: I don't know if this will last for five or 50 years, but it's going
to be an incredibly difficult era. Together with managing a dynamic Asia it
will be the primary challenge for US foreign policy.
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