[Marxism] A chastened Richard Haass

Louis Proyect 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 Haass—a 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. Bush—delivered 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 
America’s 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).

full: http://www.monthlyreview.org/0503jbf.htm


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 
its neighbors.

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.

full: http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,447763,00.html



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