Thursday, December 22, 2022

Michael Scheuer, GloboCap, and Endless Wars


Comments on Michael Scheuer, GloboCap, and Endless Wars

Peter Schultz


            Pax Americana or GloboCap, call it what you will, is built on wars, “limited” or “endless” wars, ala’ Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Kosovo, Palestine, Iran, Nicaragua, Russia/Ukraine, Yemen, and so on. This must be kept in mind to understand US foreign policy over the past few decades, at least.


            Michael Scheuer in his book Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq, accuses the US and its elites of “shortsightedness, negligence, and stupidity” that left the US no more to maneuver after the attacks of 9/11. Basically, the US, because it has voluntarily tied itself to Israel and to Saudi Arabia, had undermined its own independence, its own national sovereignty in order to please the Israelis and the Saudis, the former to ensure domestic political success and the latter to ensure continued access to oil. But while Scheuer skewers our elites for shortsightedness, negligence, and stupidity, leaving them with no room for maneuverability were actually maneuvering? Scheuer even suggests this possibility insofar as “the ideological rigidity and close oil-industry ties of the Bush administration were such that they perceived no need maneuverability.” [31]


            That is, what Scheuer sees as stupidity and/or negligence was actually neither. Rather, the post 9/11 policies of the Bush administration were meant to serve and did serve the administration’s goals.  By tying itself to Israel, the Bush administration, like other administrations, was trying to guarantee that it would enjoy domestic success, that it would remain in power and able to control the government and its policies. And by not seeking energy independence and thereby forming an alliance with the Saudis, the Bush administration, like other administrations, could use the Saudis as a proxy that could do things the Bush administration could not openly do, e.g., control Islamist extremists who sought to destroy Israel.


            Scheuer also points out that from 1982 on, the US stood by, watching the growth of Islamist paramilitary training camps, and doing nothing. These camps, it was well known, were training Islamist insurgents and terrorists. These camps became “the world’s flagship training installations for religiously motivated extremists,” and yet “neither the United States nor any of its allies made any serious, systematic, or sustained efforts to destroy the camps….” [32-33] Reasons, nuances as Scheuer calls them, were always found whenever the intelligence community or the military suggested taking some of these camps out, destroying them.


            Assuming that these policies were chosen deliberately by US elites, how can they be understood as reasonable and not as the results of ignorance, cowardice, or stupidity? Scheuer assumes that the goals of the US involved or should have involved privileging US national security in the sense of protecting the US from attacks. But what if our elites did not view their world in terms of what might be called an “America First” agenda, an agenda that Scheuer clearly and enthusiastically embraces? What if our elites were committed not to an “America First” agenda but to a “GloboCap” agenda? That is, what if our elites were committed to fortifying and extending a global capitalistic order, which would require destabilizing, destroying, and then rebuilding according to neo-liberal principles more than a few nations? As the old saw has it: “You cannot make mayonnaise without breaking some eggs.” So, too, you cannot create or fortify “a new world order” without breaking some heads, without subverting and even sabotaging some nations, especially when those nations are not sufficiently capitalist or “neo-liberal.” George Bush the First proclaimed the creation of “a new world order” as the US attacked and expelled Saddam Hussein’s armies from Kuwait, saying also that “the Vietnam syndrome” was over. What Bush meant was that henceforward, the Vietnam war would be seen as just another war meant to create or fortify the new world order, Reagan’s “noble adventure.”


            Scheuer argues that our elites for past few decades don’t know what they are doing, that their policies are the results of “shortsightedness, negligence, and stupidity.” Far from it. Our elites know what they are doing, and they know that to do what they want to do, they have to foment and engage in war, lots of wars, perhaps even endless wars. To do this, they need enemies and, so, they are not committed to eradicating – as Scheuer is – Islamist insurgents and terrorists. As Scheuer points out, “For the US governing elite, Islamists were not a threat to US national security but a lethal nuisance that could be defeated at the pace and moment and with the means decided by the United States.” [20] As 9/11 illustrated, this was quite a gamble. But for the sake of fortifying a global capitalistic order, our elites rolled the dice, which came up snake eyes on 9/11. But even this didn’t displease our elites because 9/11 became our Pearl Harbor, that is, a clarion call to mobilize, to weaponize, and to get on with constructing our new world order. Insofar as war lay at the foundation of this order, we can expect that it will be a recurring feature of that order. And so, one may ask: Which would be better, whether the new world order succeeds or whether it fails? Neither alternative seems particularly appealing.

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