A Recipe for Disaster
by Doreen Miller
1. Take a bunch of self-righteous, egomaniacal, power-hungry individuals wrapped in a layer of morally bankrupt religious fanaticism.
2. Add the world's most extensive arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.
3. Toss in absolute, unchecked control over the deadliest of military forces.
4. Pour in some half-baked ideas about dominating and ruling the world.
5. Stir vigorously until thoroughly mixed up.
6. Keep the mixture at a steady boiling point over a constant, pseudo- patriotic flame of fear-mongering, and what have you cooked up?
Bush's latest recipe for disaster, otherwise known as "The National Security Strategy of the United States."
If you've ever wondered why the United States is a country that other countries just love to hate, this document lays the reasons out in full splendor for all to see.
This 30-plus page creation appears to have emanated from deep within the bowels of the PR spin machines of the White House. In keeping with the strategies of hard-core propaganda and public relations gimmicks, it is chock full of all the wonderful, democratic ideals and feel-good concepts that the United States, in its unquestionable goodness, so honorably champions as the world's one and only true savior. Who could possibly disagree with such nebulous and diversely interpreted concepts as "freedom," "liberty," "peace," "making the world safe," "justice," "human dignity," "international cooperation," "prosperity," or "cultural advancement"? Unfortunately, these noble words are being used to cloak the unacceptable, underlying aspirations of the current leaders of the United States.
Bush's National Security Strategy espouses a Pax Americana against which President Kennedy raised dire warnings back in the sixties. "The U.S. national security strategy will be based on a distinctly American internationalism that reflects … our national interest."
This document arrogantly outlines the goal of U.S. imperialism and supremacy, and the use of unsurpassed U.S. military power to protect U.S. interests throughout the world, extending even into the region of outer space. "Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States." Reminiscent of the classic high school winning team chant, "We're number one," these words reflect a sophomoric attitude the United States is not about to relinquish. Quite clearly, the United States intends to maintain its position of absolute power over the rest of the world.
In a move that signifies a shift away from democracy and toward military dictatorship, the doctrine further asserts, "…the goal must be to provide the President with a wider range of military options to discourage aggression or any form of coercion against the United States…" The purpose of this vague terminology, which suspiciously echoes the wording and intent within the USA PATRIOT Act, is ultimately to promote and justify the use of the military against any and all individuals, groups, protesters, organizations, etc. who the President determines are acting against established U.S. interests and policies.
In fact, across this nation from Seattle, Washington to Portland, Maine to Washington, D.C., the level of both police brutality and unwarranted, unconstitutional arrests of peacefully assembled, non-violent protesters exercising their first amendment rights seems to be on a precipitous incline.
The Bush manifesto envisions a world dominated by U.S. interests where all nations are governed by "a single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy, and free enterprise." While Bush obviously believes the United States to be the perfect model thereof, nothing could be further from the truth.
While it may be true that U.S. Americans have more freedoms than much of the world, many of those precious civil rights and freedoms have, in essence, been made moot by the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act last year. Moreover, how free is someone who, from birth, is given a social identifying number and is forced to pay income taxes under the pains and penalties of having one's assets confiscated and/or of being sent to prison? Are U.S. citizens not, in a sense, nothing but indentured servants to their government system?
As for a democratic government "of, by, and for the people," a close look at how the U.S. government is presently run reveals a veritable plutocracy (or government ruled by the wealthy) in which faceless corporations enjoy the same rights as citizens. Only, the former has much greater buying power and, thus, undue influence on government policies and decision-making.
How democratic is a government where third party candidates, who have jumped all the hurdles, collected all the necessary signatures and legitimately made it onto election ballots, are time and again summarily excluded from televised election debates? It seems those in positions of power in the United States give mere lip service to the idea of democracy while quietly advocating a more "selective" version thereof where only the views and opinions of corporate-sponsored wealthy Democrats and wealthier Republicans are valid.
The third principle of "free enterprise," which Bush even goes so far as to equate with "a moral principle," is based upon nothing but purely mythological economic theory. The "free trade" and open borders that Bush and his CEO associates are pushing globally do not even exist in the United States. We boast some of the most highly subsidized businesses in the world. The amount of tax dollars that is doled out in corporate welfare (through subsidies, research grants, protective tariffs, tax breaks, etc.) to U.S. corporations is staggering.
In contrast, the version of "free trade" being forced on Third World countries by the IMF and World Bank prohibits all forms of protective tariffs, government subsidies and the like, along with demanding mandatory privatization of any and all government services and industries, even profitable ones. The consequences have been devastating in places like Jamaica, Haiti, Argentina, Bolivia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Brazil, Colombia, and countless other nations around the globe.
Free and equal trade among countries with vastly unequal economies is impossible. Weaker economies are inevitably swallowed up by stronger ones, and the workers of these poor nations turned into slaves to the benefit of richer nations who do not play by the same rules. Bush promises to enforce the laws of free trade "in all regions of the world" to "ensure that the benefits of free trade do not come at the expense of American workers." Bingo. May the rest of the world take heed: the ultimate purpose of "free trade" is to benefit Americans.
Take NAFTA, which gives unprecedented power to corporations to successfully sue and overturn laws created by democratically elected governments if these laws interfere with a company's inalienable right to make a profit. Such unfettered corporate power over governments can only lead to one logical conclusion: free trade and democracy are diametrically opposed and cannot co-exist.
In a display of classic doublespeak, the Bush platform defines "a program to establish, finance and monitor a truly independent judiciary" in a future, reformed Palestinian government. Pray tell, how can a judiciary be "truly independent" if it is (1) beholden to the interests of outsiders who foot the bill and (2) being monitored?
A shining example full of contradictory statements, Bush's strategy, on the one hand, applauds the idea of building international cooperation, partnerships, coalitions, and alliances. "Coordination with European allies and international institutions is essential for constructive conflict mediation and successful peace operations. … We will respect the values, judgment, and interests of our friends and partners."
On the other hand, the United States reserves the right to pre-emptive, anticipatory strikes if it feels its interests are threatened, and it "will not hesitate to act alone. … We will take the actions necessary to ensure … Americans are not impaired by the potential for investigations, inquiry, or prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC), whose jurisdiction does not extend to Americans and which we do not accept.
There you have it - a prime example of speaking out of both sides of one's mouth. The United States exalts the idea of international cooperation and respect, yet vows to act unilaterally and simultaneously deems itself irreproachable, above and beyond the ICC and judgment of its international partners.
Then there is the idea of the U.S. establishing "new partnerships with former adversaries." This reflects one very troubling, flawed, schizoid foreign policy where we suddenly make allies of former enemies and mortal enemies of former allies. Both Saddam and Osama were once our trusted and supported friends, as long as they were serving U.S. interests, that is. Killing and murder are good only when they benefit the designs of the United States.
Interestingly enough, in this document, rogue states are defined as "[sharing] a number of attributes," namely, they "squander their national resources for the personal gain of the rulers; display no regard for international law, threaten their neighbors, and callously violate international treaties to which they are party; are determined to acquire weapons of mass destruction, along with other advanced military technology, to be used as threats or offensively to achieve the aggressive designs of these regimes; sponsor terrorism around the globe; reject basic human values..." Given the blood-soaked history of the United States, which includes the equally brutal, covert operations undertaken by the CIA, this definition could very easily apply to the U.S., making it the largest rogue nation in the world.
There are enough absurdities, double-standards, deceitful half-truths and outright lies contained in this National Security Strategy to fill a book. I invite you to read it and judge for yourself at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html
See if you don't agree with Senator Kennedy's evaluation thereof, "It is impossible to justify any such double standard under international law. Might does not make right. America cannot write its own rules for the modern world. To attempt to do so would be unilateralism run amok. … The Administration's doctrine is a call for 21st century American imperialism that no other nation can or should accept."
Doreen Miller, mother, musician and poet, is currently a Senior Lecturer and educator of international students. She dedicates part of her time to serving the elderly and Alzheimer patients. This article first appeared at Yellow Times.org. She encourages your comments: dmiller@YellowTimes.org