Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public’s sense of domestic well-being. The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifice (casualties, even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization. 1 (p.35)
This confessionary and somewhat prophetic, if not prescriptive, statement makes one thing very clear: America is not now a democracy, if ever it was, populist or otherwise. It was 1998 when Zbigniew Brzezinksi, former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, penned this now famous geopolitical monograph, a gaming strategy concerning the conquest of Eurasia in the US march to global domination. Certainly, we can understand this imperialist obsession; it is not a new phenomenon globally. Expansionism and conquest have been on most political agendas ever since the first walls went up around the ancient Sumerian city of Ur, while somewhat later we even find this sentiment among the wandering and nourishment-deprived Israelites awaiting their own deliverance (read: conquest) provided at the hands of a jealous and vengeful heavenly father.
Needless to say, Brzezinksi’s equally psychopathic yearning resonated clearly and poignantly in the ears of American hegemons even before the turn of this century, bolstered thereafter by his hauntingly prescient almost prescriptive telescoping of the tragic events of 9/11/01. And, although North Africa is not officially part of that great geopolitical landmass called Eurasia, it certainly provides a sampling of the socio-political volatility that is rising up globally, as well as the security issues that await the rest of us, as America continues its unrelenting, yet ill-conceived, march to imperial omnipotence.
Let us look, then, to Egypt. Democracy? Forget about it. Since the fall of Mubarak the military dictatorship is still running that country (remember all the bullshit out of our politicians’ mouths about the Arab Spring.) And on the heels of the recent elections there, the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has laid down some new laws.
…the ruling military council issued an interim constitution granting itself broad power over the future government, all but eliminating the president’s authority in an apparent effort to guard against a victory by the Islamist candidate. 2
That raises a rather thorny question: is there some covert US backing of the Egyptian military’s tactics here, because leadership of that nation by the Moslem Brotherhood (apparently victorious in the Presidential race) would place a significant barrier to our imperial designs and our further advance into that area of the world.
But, you know, things are not looking that much rosier in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere across MENA. We can’t seem to get things quite under control in that “terrorist-laden” part of the world. There are riots and security problems throughout Tunisia, while a military zone has been established in Libya to “quell” unrest there as well following the assassination of Gaddafi. And of course Iraq and Afghanistan both present substantive and ongoing concerns for empire.
But let’s take a glance at Europe, shall we? Take Spain, France, or Greece, for example. All are in the midst of their own spring/summer flings. Spain looks like the next candidate for the Full-IMF-Monty.
Spain’s ability to manage its debt without an international bailout was thrown into doubt Monday after investors pushed its borrowing rates up to the level at which Greece, Portugal and Ireland had sought help.3
Meanwhile, the socialists are digging in their heels, in the French presidency, the new French Parliament, and in the surrounding vineyards — fighting off the moneylenders at every turn. Indeed, Angela Merkel is about ready to shit deutsche marks very soon, rebuffing the new French president’s bluntly socialist suggestion that the Euro-zone countries share the pain of austerity through issuance of collective Euro bonds. Too bad those too would be worthless issues. In any case, looking somewhat like the last-man-standing, Germany is now offering to borrow your money for two years at 0% interest. Can you imagine that? What a bargain! How scary is that? Are things really that bad that folks are ready to give their money over to Germany interest-free? 4
At the same time, the Greeks are still trying to dig out of their own pool of olive oil by hammering out (Gee, does that involve guns or large ‘rolling stones’) some coalition government, with the conservatives acting as the apparent-parent-in-charge, seeking to preserve their presto-chango Euro-bailout package. But Merkel has even more to stomp her big German feet about, now that Greece’s New Democracy Party and its socialist coalition is asking its Northern European neighbors to give Greece more time, restructuring their loan package yet again. Wow! What a clusterfuck this is turning into! As J.H. Kunstler rightly noted just this week on his blog:
…expect Europe to melt down like an overheated nuclear reactor, with an aftermath of deadly political goop oozing out to make parts of the continent unable to support human life at levels we are currently familiar with, i.e. civilized society.5
Well, if that all is true, then we won’t need to worry about any military incursion to take over the European side of Eurasia, just send in the men-in-black suits to set up offices when the place turns to mush, with perhaps some small security detail or drones to keep the fringe elements at bay. Indeed, the Euro-leaders may invite us in with open arms.
Yet, why did our hegemon do his typically mesmerizing end-zone dance around the US Congress and our citizens this week to provide get-out-of-jail-free employment cards to perhaps a million or more illegal aliens? (N.B. I have nothing against immigration, legal or otherwise; I am only curious as to the hegemon’s motives.) This comes, no less, at a time when the OWSers are out of work, out of house and home, and out of sight – with no more unsecured parks left to occupy. Is Obama hankering for more ballot-box stuffing from extreme supporters on the far left? Or, perhaps Mr. O’s corporate sponsors convinced him this move would give them, the paymasters, greater bargaining power with the other 99% of the citizenry, and what remains of their union representation. I guess the powers-that-be need to do everything necessary to get cheap and grateful labor to build those new iPads and other toys of privilege, whether in China or here in the homeland. Anything to keep the big old game ball rolling for a few more turns around the globe before the shit storm really gathers steam.
Methinks that Brzezinksi, like others of his generation embedded as they are in the institutional hierarchies of conquest, is not really concerned with democracy after all, but solely with the issue of imperial expansion. Our apparent social contract, and the needs of the body politic here, were never really a strategic issue for him. And, just like this self-styled political grand chess-master, Obama is focused on building-out the global hegemony; something on which to hang his hat before the final curtain falls. This is perhaps the reason that austerity is not spoken about openly in the homeland (and this was not the ‘economic self-denial’ Brzezinski had in mind in any event). But, why frighten the patrons of consumption? Just let them keep buying their toys and trinkets as you slowly take away their privileges, including their property rights and their privacy, their speech, their guns, and their freedom of assembly, until they turn around one day to realize that what they have become is what they always were: slaves to the machinations of anonymous political, military, and corporate hierarchies that provide no safe harbor and virtually no means of escape.
Then, with turmoil growing in the streets and overflowing into the back alleys, insurrection might well breakout right here in the homeland, the kingdom of consumption. If and when that happens, however, the mechanisms will already be solidly in place to address any revolt by the masses, perhaps with full military hardware, armed drones, and troops stationed 24/7 in full battle dress, including those garrisoned right down the street in your own hometown. Then a fully militarized, albeit oil-starved, American imperial corporatocracy will launch its final offensive to overtake the remaining, if not already crumbling, pieces on the grand chessboard. Lines drawn, China and Russia will mount their own challenges to the US for global domination. Europe, vacated of resources and will-power, may only be a pawn in the mix, while India, Pakistan and selected portions of Eastern Europe should serve as battleground staging platforms, in satisfaction of payback demands from their corporate paymasters. Then, we shall see the real global checkmate, accomplished through international financial chaos – brought to you by default – accompanied by covertly designed military incursions, and substantial economic coercion. That will smash the grand chessboard. But then the rough stuff comes, as insurgencies arise throughout the global empire and terror becomes the law of the land while the peoples of the world continue to circle their wagons and fight on against a dying machine. God, sure sounds like we are almost, already there.