Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Self-Defeating American Empire

UPDATE: Josh Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo reports on a Reuters story that George W. Bush (and, one assumes, US strategic planners) admits that the US military intends to stay in Iraq for decades using the so-called Korean model. But it's not the Korean model at all, it's out-and-out occupation, says Josh:
No, US troops are in Iraq for domestic security, in so many words, to protect it from itself, or to ensure the continued existence of an elected, pro-US government. That tells you that the US military presence in Iraq will never be as relatively bloodless as the US military presence in Korea since it has no external threat it's counterbalancing against. In a sense that the US deployment in Korea has never quite been, it is a sustained foreign military occupation.
Is Pieterse right (See below)? Can you build an imperial administrative structure using "just in time" methods?

The March-April 2007 issue of The Historical Society's bulletin, Historically Speaking, contains an important, must-read analysis by Jan Nederveen Pieterse of the innate contradiction of globalism and imperialism that leaves the door open to the nightmare of a security state. As our institutions "drown in the bathtub", the Department of Defense extends it network of bases and missile shield platforms, the CIA its secret prisons and the Executive Branch conducts wars for which the reasons are classified. [Aside: The Junior Partner prepares a law to do away with habeas corpus.]

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"Neoliberalism eviscerates state capabilities, shrinks the social state, and strengthens the security of the state. The mature neoliberal state, after decades of government rollback [starting with the 'Reagan Revolution' -->Government is the problem<--], its typically institutionally inept and a military law and order state. Well before government is "small enough to be drowned in a bath tub -Grover Norquist's right wing utopia- special interests have walked away with it. The State is captive to by K Street lobbyists and neoconservative zealots who fudge intelligence and war plans by stetting up their own shadow state operations. Hence the neoliberal state doesn't spend less, it spends more, but on corporate and security agendas. The weakening of countervailing forces within the state reinforces institutional independence on the security apparatus and yields a Situation Room worldview that specializes in threat assessment, and, just in case, threat inflation.

The unsurprising outcome is state agencies that don't function, whether in disaster management, Medicare reform or drug prescription policies. The neoliberal state is both war prone (the security sector grows as other functions shrink) and inept (because of the erosion of state functions by special interests. Hence the gradual erosion of international institutions that the United States, in an earlier incarnation, helped to build...."

In the same issue, there is an article by Deepak Lal that is a paean to Anglo-Saxon global empire (it is the textual version of a plenary address to the Historical Society's on Globalism, Empire and Imperialism in June 2006).

Lal affirms that America's failure to claim its imperial obligations through fusion (or partnership) with British Empire at the end of WWI paved the road to WWII as it left an vacuum in which other hegemons (Japan, Germany and Italy) were free to act.

Lal is no enemy of globalism (he waxes positively lyrical about it and its parent organization, 19th century gentlemanly British capitalism) and therefore fails to point out that the weak or non-existent American institutions that he so desires to provide the sinews for American Empire, or rather, Pax Americana, are not there because the are being undermined the the neoliberal project.

"The United States has created the military structures to project its power, but has failed to build the complementary imperial administrative structure required to run an empire...."

To sum up, the Republican's own cosmology is fundamentally opposed to empire yet they blindly assert the projection of the US military without the necessary political entities. (Many of us will recall the Heritage Institute brats that were marshalled to run Iraq or characters like the gold bedecked General Jay Gardner, not to mention the Blackwater corporation).

So, if you have a soft spot for a US-run world (what Hubert Vedrine calls le monde unipolaire), lack of imperial institutions dooms the enterprise. As Don Rumsfeld would say, you go to war with the Bob Jones University graduates you have, not with the Imperial College of Global Administration graduates you'd like.


Blogger Shutter said...

Reading the above is OK but spreading the news has probably shoved you up a little bit further up the list of first to be admitted to Halliburton's houses in the Desert scheme.

I'll look out for you.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Nur-al-Cubicle said...

If I can make it to Toronto, can you fly me out...or at least get me to St. Pierre & Miquelon?

1:21 PM  

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