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John Simkin

Empire of Disorder: American Imperialism in the 21st Century

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I have just completed Alain Joxe’s Empire of Disorder. Although I disagree with certain aspects of his analysis, I believe it is the most important book on politics I have read for sometime. I thought I would post passages so we could discuss the subject of American Imperialism in the 21st century.

Joxe begins by looking at the development of the Roman and British empires. He argues that the success of these empires was partly due to its ability to protect these “subjugated societies”. This is very different from the “American Empire”:

The United States, however, as an imperial power, today refuses to assume the protective role for its friendly or dominated auxiliaries. It does not seek to conquer the world and take responsibility for protecting the subjugated societies.

Yet it is nonetheless at the head of an empire, though this empire is merely a system for regulating disorder by means of financial norms and military expeditions and has no intention to occupy conquered territories. It operates on a case-by-case scenario, organizing repression of the symptoms of despair, applying almost the same norms both internally and externally.

The question is often asked whether the power of the United States is primarily economic or primarily military and in what "proportions" or in what mode. In short, what is the definition of the global political domination it has established under the name of "globalization" that leads to increased disparities between rich and poor, to the rise of an international, rootless "noble caste" and to an escalating number of endless wars?

The United States had in fact been preparing itself theoretically ever since the Gulf War, or at least for the past five years, for something new that they had foreseen in principle. Certain think tanks and groups of experts, closer to the Army and the Marines, understood that the absolute superiority gained by their mastery of the practical effects of the electronic revolution, both in the military, aero-satellite sphere and the economic and financial sphere, would lead, with "globalization," to qualitatively intolerable asymmetrical effects. They realized that the counterattack by the nations, peoples and classes sacrificed would take unexpected forms and sometimes the form of terrorism, the weapon of the weak. This counterattack would most likely require heightened inventiveness, and the United States was supposed to head them off in order to protect itself. This was the origin of the general concept of an "asymmetrical war."

Theoretical strategy' is used here to confront the concept of globalism because we will have to defend ourselves against the Empire of Disorder, and this discipline can be applied like an anthropology and a logic of reciprocal action under the threat of death. It assumes that relations of force are based in part on imaginary representations during the period of deterrence and prevention, but also during the period of operations. Imaginary means imagined, not unrealistic.

In times like today the strategic approach must be renewed: since the dawn of time, it ordinarily seeks to evaluate rationally the representations and actions of states in violent interaction, but with a unique system of leadership imposing its norms on a world considered to be a semi-unpredictable chaos, the problems of hierarchization or victory it elicits are formally different than those that arise from free competition between states regulated by agreements and international common law.

This transnational imperial leadership requires the maintenance of what state traditions keep calling disorder while pushing it to the outskirts of the Empire. However, the limits of the imperial system today are no longer geographical and disorder can be found everywhere.

It clearly appears that the American strategy of avoiding the responsibility of protecting socio-economically societies of geographical nation-states and their operational strategy of repressing the symptoms of despair-rather than attacking its causes leads us straight into an impasse or to the rise of a global anti-democratic regime. The first steps were taken with the globalist strategies initiated under Clinton and have been confirmed under Bush Jr. The Empire, on the economic offensive under Clinton, is now taking the completely new form of a military and expeditionary offensive.

Offering this prospect leads to the certain failure, though not necessarily close, of the attempts to establish global deregulation and to redefine a "monopolar" American Empire as an Empire of Disorder. I defend the idea that Europe, as a pluralist power and a crossroads of continents, probably represents the primary line of resistance to this empire for structural, and not only ideological reasons, but also for political and security reasons as well.

Until now, the hope for peace has been at the root of the imagination of war. In fact, "peace is normally the goal of war. On the contrary, war is not the goal of peace," as Saint Augustine once told us. If the interior peace of a state is sometimes restored by the invention of an external threat of war, this exportation of violence owes more to a hellish peace than a divine one. If it is true that we have entered the era when globalization will erase the frontiers between internal and external wars, we can also anticipate that it will either eliminate peace or preferably that it will erase the boundary between internal peace and external peace, so that peace can become the global objective for eliminating war.

Current wars now appear to be managed like wars of repression by "liberal states" against "terrorism," but this is a temporary appearance, due mostly to the American media effort that requires its allies to demonstrate their solidarity in strange or even absurd terms corresponding to the American view of the outside world, an extreme neo-Darwinist, behaviorist and autistic view of their "tribal wisdom" that was understandable for a family of pioneers penetrating the plains of the Far West, but highly defective for those who would seek universal royalty.

Because terrorism is not an adversary, only a form of political violence, its suppression is not a Clausewitzian political goal that could end in a victory and a peace, especially since counter-terrorist actions are always implicated in a state or imperial terrorism and violations of human rights, measures that are the source of the most extreme forms of resistance and of terrorism itself. Without attacking the causes, we reinforce the cycle.

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Alain Joxe goes onto look at 9/11:

The immediate effect of the attack on the United States was to change completely the relationships between the government and the political parties and impose on the population a war-time psychosis justifying the limitations placed on the information concerning military operations, claiming extraordinary rights for the treatment of prisoners and exercising intellectual censorship as well. Few in the United States dared suggest the obvious: that the Bush administration exploited the situation to fulfill its extremist agenda. Those who did were completely shut out from the major media outlets. They could criticize all they want, they wouldn't be heard. Debates were circumscribed very precisely, and some obvious questions were not asked. This was something completely new for the United States, or at least so blatant and extensive.

The event could have been exploited in a thousand different ways, but they decided to take advantage of it in that way. Why? The answer is the regime. The constitution, the functioning of the American state may be in a much deeper crisis than we think and therefore needs mystification to maintain the legitimacy or the power or the effectiveness of its institutions.

I have enough confidence in a certain American democracy to think that this fantastical direction will not work. When the Russians invaded half of Europe with all sorts of threats, it was not a fantasy, so public opinion could be mobilized. Even McCarthyism, for all its condemnable excesses, was something like a justification in a real relationship of forces. Now, there is absolutely nothing like that. Korea cannot destroy the world, neither can Iraq or Iran. All that is just a joke. There was no reasonable way of considering this a dangerous situation.

The obvious answer is the huge shift in the military budget. Before September 11, Bush was pushing for a new "Star Wars" effort, overruling the objections of allied powers. Bin Laden provided afar better argument for the Congress to approve the largest increase in defense spending in two decades, as Bush himself boasted.

A 15% increase in the military budget means a Keynesian kick-start for military spending. Democrats are usually the ones to do that; Ronald Reagan himself did the same while saying he was not. Maybe it was a way to jump-start the economy that does not rely on speculation but on state spending. If so, it would become understandable. It would be aimed at providing "good administration," one that we can, of course, criticize, but which is a normal, Machiavellian administration of the American state apparatus. It would claim to be ultra-liberal, but that would just be for the outside. Inside the country, it decided to make a big budgetary effort for redistribution using military credits. This would not be the first time. It would be a response. But you get the impression that something else is involved. Because in order to obtain these military credits, Bush has to create a worldwide danger equivalent to what the USSR could have been. Then the rest of the world begins to think: stop exaggerating. There is no such danger that would justify these war efforts.

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Joxe points out that the development of technology has provided an opportunity to develop a civilized society:

Thanks to advances in science, robotics and the potential abundance of resources, the Fraternity mentioned in the French republican slogan (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity) has become pos¬sible in theory, but not without a state, and not without politics. Nations and their citizens, however, have already handed over to corporations many of the political components needed to lead the world in the direction laid out by our Enlightenment ancestors.

Joxe rejects Marxist thinking on imperialism:

Lenin was often wrong, both during his life and after his death. The supreme - hence final - phase of capitalism is not imperialism. Unless imperialism is finally, essentially, not the export of capital to colonial zones, but its constant relocation in free market globalization. The strength of multinational conglomerates and delocalized banks, the transformation of investments into temporary installations as volatile as off-shore accounts that hold the threat of relocation over their workers, create a structural fear. The uprooting of the threat produces a structural fear by rendering localized protection useless.

The threat of unemployment is enough to cause fear. But to terrify, massacres or hyperinflation are needed. Globalization today is not supreme because it has not yet organized a politico-military system in conformity with the financial system, the way Lenin proposed "imperialism" as a concept for the spatial organization of the relocation of capital into the colonial or neo-colonial empires of vast industrial nations. Today, there is no global Empire that proposes a global political regime. There is no violence in conformity with the economy. We can imagine even further stages of development, other wars more global than nuclear war - which never occurred - or than the wars in Chechnya and Kosovo; and other types of peace even closer to the "peace of cemeteries." But we can also imagine a peace more heavenly than the Dayton Agreement.

In the meantime, before saying politics is dead, we need to point out and zoom in on each place where creative sovereignty appears, locating where new forms of politics are taking shape in the world and finding where politics is hiding on both sides. Finding out which elites have organized oligarchic politics into a sovereign force without the people, and in which new or old groups popular sovereignty has taken hold and is coordinated outside the ordinary framework of democracy.

The culture of electoral democracy has particularly weakened the notion of politics. The idea that politics must necessarily take the form of a transparent, electoral and parliamentary democracy with eligible parties on the left and on the right, with a normal level of corruption instead of massacres, has perverted our sense of the stakes involved. One need not adhere to conspiracy theories in order to admit that oligarchic, and therefore antidemocratic, sovereignties and empires exist. Working to clearly define these phenomena is necessary for an effective reorganization of the left. The American program of "democracy for all" is all well and good, but it sounds like a missionary toasting at a cannibal banquet. The problem must be dealt with at its source. There can be no democracy without the victory of popular power over the oligarchy.

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Joxe goes on to explain the relationship between corporations and organized crime:

Corporations, or rather their leaders, have reached forms of sovereignty that are foreign to the territorial definition of states. This is not a conspiracy, just the state of the world. On the one hand, this situation derives from the transnationalization of violent mafias; on the other, from the transnationalization and concentration of capital, especially financial capital. Colombian, Afghan, Pakistani, Nigerian drug mafias, Russian and Yugoslavian mafias, Chinese Triads, the Camorra, the N'dranghetta, etc., all make up a world of private, violent and popular enterprises with wealth and power. They harbor certain symbols of sovereignty such as "the legitimate use of the threat of death." Mafia legitimacy is a political construction that is at war with certain states, but sometimes allied with powerful states (Mexico, Russia) or tiny ones (Liechtenstein). Although they do not comprise or dominate the majority of entrepreneurial society, they contribute to the destabilization of the gov¬ernment and the breakdown of the protective function that is legitimately ensured by the nation-state. They are a new global neighbor for corporations.

But the relationship of war or alliance with states also characterizes industrial corporations, distinct from the Mafia, which have increasingly become conglomerates that contest any form of regulation. Regulations once allowed nations to manage a certain distribution of resources between rich and poor. The wars or alliances with different nations are sought in the name of free trade. Over the past few years, private corporations have substantially regrouped and concentrated their efforts and now these new conglomerates exercise their considerable weight on governments. Their directors are considered the equals of the President of the United States, and often wield more power than the heads of state of smaller countries.

Freely organized crime, freely organized finance and freely organized industrial or commercial corporations have become allies to defend free trade, and it is extremely difficult to locate the real, that is to say the financial boundary between the criminal economy and the transnational economy in general.

Joxe takes a close look at how the theories of Hobbes and Clausewitz impact on politics in the 21st century:

A brief exercise in critical attention will reveal how Clausewitzian continuation is an avatar (a reincarnation, a fixture) of Hobbesian sovereignty established on an implicit contract between the people, who reject the state of war, and the Sovereign, an artificial object responsible for managing this contract like a program designed from the bottom up.

Clausewitz wrote: War is simply a continuation of politics by other means. Clausewitz is a continuation of Hobbes through other means.

This "simple" continuation is a stabilized unit within the peace/war relationship, from the 18th to the 20th century, up until 1945. But using the word "continuation" might be misleading because it distorts the thought of Clausewitz… In fact, as everyone knows, politics in war is much different than politics in peace in both its ends and its means. Clausewitz was well aware of this and decided to use a separate word for political goals (Zweck) and for military aims (Ziel). The mystery of "continuation" is displaced, set in the atemporal, the diagrammatic: the Ziel-Zweck relationship is resolved in the organizational chart of political-military command. It is the old question of the relation between the monarch and commander-in-chief in Sun Zu, of the king - the Prussian staff in Clausewitz - and today between the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In any case, this question deserves to be dealt with on an institutional level, but we know that this is not essentially an institutional distinction, rather the difference between two philosophies of action that respond to a philosophical hierarchy. The philosophy of political action must win out over the philosophy of military action, at the risk of the death of democratic sovereignty, which is the internal peace contract.

If the French Army in Algeria had been free to conduct its own war, in other words to decide the Ziel and the Zweck, civil war might have broken out in France, for the Army would have had to constrain the Hexagon to this Zweck, which is the equivalent of a civil war in a democracy. In the end, the French political goal, the acceptance of independence, prevailed.

If the Israeli Army is free to conduct its own war, in other words with no political goal, or fixing its Zweck as the complete submission of the Palestinians or even their expulsion, like a photocopy of the Ziel, or total victory over the Palestinians, it will lead to permanent war, to the destruction of Israeli democracy and to international conflict.

However, we are no longer in this configuration. French Algeria was the objective of another age. A Bantustan Palestine as well. Behind Sharon's excesses lies American military excess, and the abnormal contact between imperial military globality and the absence or dissipation of global diplomacy as transnational politics, its disappearance in the face of a global economy that does not "think politics" but thinks "repression" as a separate sphere, not a continuation but a social mirror of the economy.

The current configuration, in which little wars and the bravado of American military leaders abound, is certainly quite different than the paleo-imperial process of French Algeria; however, the distinction between Ziel and Zweck has become impossible in the global empire because there is no global political power, only a global military power (the American Army) and a global economic power (corporations, the market).

In order to master this complexity without giving up the description of strategies, the principles of decision used by deciding groups, friends or enemies, left or right or on the fence, new words are needed. The Lefts must now place their programs-the fight against inequality and misery and for the extension of sovereignty, culture, civil responsibility and peace to all popular classes - at the global level, already occupied by the Right. Truckloads of goodwill are not enough because the most deadly violence is already at work, not as a continuation of political sovereignty, but as a "continuation" of the global economy by other means without political mediation.

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But an excess of wealth can weaken military defenses and an excess of expertise in violence can devastate the economy in the long run; a new temporality is imposed on these empires, a more historical time that presents itself as cyclical. In the European the¬ater, the predatory center moves from East to West in a fish scale progression, starting from the Mesopotamian cradle of the state. It is a commonplace, first in the Bible, then in Greek historiogra¬phy to speak of the succession of predatory empires and their migration to the West. We could also suggest the migration of logistical empires to the East, in India and China.

As economic machines normally producing negentropy (order, internal peace, wealth), these systems cannot last eternally; the pre-industrial predatory Empire works like a clock carefully wound with all the skill of keeping the goose with golden eggs alive. It increases its survival time either by returning to a moderate logistical system, or by pursuing its foreign predatory conquests at the risk of military surfeit, an over-developed specialization towards specific end: in this case, perfecting destructive military capabilities at the expense of productive, economic capabilities. This over-development can take two forms, either an internal redistribution of the spoils at the risk of exhausting all the reserves, or a decentralization producing management economies with a reduction of privileged bureaucracies, at the risk of Balkanization of military sovereignty by means of wars of liberation or less predatory invasions.

But these ways of prolonging the life of an empire are also methods of self-destruction. The longest imperial experiment, the Chinese Empire, went through many cycles of logistical empires, barbarian invasions and separation into more or less predatory kingdoms without losing its identity as the Middle Empire, or moving its center without losing sight of the historical continuity of China. In the West, however, the Roman, Byzantine and Carolingian Empires, the sultanates, the Holy Roman Empire, Tsarism, Napoleon, the British Empire, the French colonial Empire and Hitler have disappeared forever. Europe is a recent political construct.

The transformation of the Russian empire and the materialization of the American empire, opposed like the two halves of the world, tracing a fortified boundary across the territory of a divided Europe, shows that a predatory imperial form prefers seeking out confrontation with an Other and an outside, and in this way it can never become global.

Europe as an identity organizing internal peace is a recent political expression, just as America is a recent empire. The recent designation (in May 2000) of China as a virtual main rival (peer competitor) of the American empire, the designation in 2001 of "Islamic terrorism" as a global enemy, the designation once again of three states - North Korea, Iran and Iraq - as "rogue states" for the mere fact that they are accused of trying to develop nuclear weapons, shows that the single Empire is looking for both the unity and plurality that will allow it to keep a predatory relationship with an exterior. It is concerned that unifying world imperial power (the monarchy, to borrow Dante's vocabulary) would require it to base its power throughout the world on internal global violence or to establish Universal peace without predatory oppression, an even more paradoxical task.

The American Empire is thus faced with a traditional problem. By perfecting the predatory and repressive military machine to the extreme, which could become necessary to its reproduction, the Empire could veer towards a monstrous overdevelopment of the destructive, or merely repressive, function of the state, threatening its subjects with death. The "people" always decide the end of logistical-predatory empires through various forms of plebian secession, of anachoresis" or of invasions greeted as liberations. There is a type of collapse without invasion exemplified by the fall of the Assyrian Empire.

A giant with clay feet, built on the mud of Mesopotamian irrigation, on the over-exploitation of Neolithic techniques, without any progress in productivity, save in techniques of destruction, Assyrian militarism disappeared all at once, just like, I might add, the Soviet Empire, caught in the breathless arms race orchestrated by the United States.

The relation between economy and violence, however, has changed drastically with the beginning of the accumulation of capital and the scientific development of technology. Which system of domination prevails in the modern Empire-states, and ultimately in the American Empire?

The elimination of the Berlin wall and the Iron Curtain produced the first real globaliry in history, but it was a military event that created a military globaliry, rather than an economic one at first.

In fact, two negative moments from a military perspective marked the period: a wall falling without a fight (Berlin), Soviet abstention from a war in their glacis (the Gulf War). These two events sealed the defeat of the Soviet economic system and the Soviet military. There can be no economic defeat in a global Empire without a military defeat. Not necessarily a defeat during a wartime operation: a mixed defeat, both economic and military, in the arms race occurred in the East and a political collapse was then enough to finish it.

At this turning point, Fukuyama was premature in declaring the "End of History"', because globality, the formation of a truly global world economy, is not as easy as it seems. It runs up against the presence of politico-military sovereignties maintaining spaces that prevent total market economy unification. A few states still consider themselves Marxist (China, Vietnam, Korea, Cuba), some states still maintain a partially controlled economy, either by vocation or due to a prolonged state of war (Iraq, Iran, Serbia). Other states have preserved a large nationalized sector, and even the ideology behind the nationalization of major public services and public works projects by the state. Even capitalist Europe calls for a social market economy and supports the need for sovereign regulations of the economy.

More theoretically speaking, the dogmatic defenders of the free-market economy cannot prove that free-market institutions can arise without rules, without the state acting as a guarantor of its political will, imposing the suspension of predatory violence at the gates of the marketplace or, better yet, of the entire nation.

The "predatory peace" proclaimed after the military victory of the American Empire in the name of the universal free-market ideology, imposed the representation of an economic globality that did not yet exist. The end of violence in the world bazaar cannot yet be regulated by a world state-which neither exists nor is desired by the United States - or better yet, local states, which lack the competence. Any regulation in the meantime must be done partially and empirically through negotiations that remain confidential between violent Mafias and unarmed Merchants.

Predatory peace is only a virtual paradigm with value for an improbable future and not for the present. It is not a stable state, but a process; in American strategic vocabulary, it is called enlargement, the extension of democracy and free-market economy to the entire globe. Announced by Anthony Lake in 1993, enlargement will end (so they say) in economic globality, if the future prophecy goes according to Clintonian plans and market enlargement produces its own profitability.

However, the Cold War of the Empire against an enemy or another (barbarian) Empire no longer exists to siphon the contradictions of class struggle away from the Empire through populist style mobilizations. The American Empire must face the strategic problem in the traditional form that all Empires had to face if, like the Roman or Chinese Empires, they considered themselves to be "alone in the world," since they knew nothing about the others. The competing colonial Empires had to face the same problem: class struggles are traditionally "drained off" by delimiting a space to conquer. But what happens if conquest is no longer profitable in the "barbarian areas" (Rome gave up trying to conquer Germania) or if there are no more "barbarian areas"? There are two abstract strategies that were applied both in the history of the Roman Empire as in the history of European colonial empires:

i) The Empire can recreate a military enemy within the economic globality to polarize itself and suspend class struggle in the name of security with repressive wars. This exterior is "naturally' present: it includes zones of poverty that do not form a "market" and can therefore become purely military marches again. Internal war in zones of poverty. One could say that it is taking shape in the United States.

ii) The Empire can also reauthorize war within the newly drawn globality of military leadership in order to redefine peace. War is illegitimate and hindered in the world today by two obstacles that are beneficial in principle, but do not really work to prohibit war. Authorizing international wars is within the grasp of the military leadership of the United States. The return of local duels has been facilitated by the removal of two hindrances:

• war is hindered by the prohibition on international wars by the UN; it is the equivalent of a police prohibition on duels within a unified world. The UN Security Council would be in charge of the policing function of the World Empire. This is the project on which the UN institution was built-at least on paper. A UN General Staff has nonetheless never been formed, much less a specifically UN military force. There are no archers on watch under the orders of the king. This model does not work. The UN at most plays the role of a weakened papacy.

• war is theoretically hindered by the United States itself, the global imperial military nation, with its own doctrine of military intervention: Zero GI casualties and the reshaping of NATO into its new role of sending out forces that no longer have anything to do with defending against the USSR, causing a crisis in alliances and renresentations.

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I have just completed Alain Joxe’s Empire of Disorder. Although I disagree with certain aspects of his analysis, I believe it is the most important book on politics I have read for sometime. I thought I would post passages so we could discuss the subject of American Imperialism in the 21st century.

Joxe begins by looking at the development of the Roman and British empires. He argues that the success of these empires was partly due to its ability to protect these “subjugated societies”. This is very different from the “American Empire”:

The United States, however, as an imperial power, today refuses to assume the protective role for its friendly or dominated auxiliaries. It does not seek to conquer the world and take responsibility for protecting the subjugated societies. (Alain Joxe)

This is an important point. It is difficult to see what is in it for the subjugated people. Even the puppet rulers are not able to enjoy their rewards in peace and quiet.

The American Empire worked successfully when people did not know it was there. That is when the power took the form of money. The Marshall Plan was an important ingredient of this. So also was the covert role that the CIA played in undermining democratic elections in Western Europe in the 1940s and 1950s. This involved preventing left-wing governments being elected (France, Italy and Greece) and moving left of centre governments to the right (UK).

The presence of US troops in Europe also mirrored the Roman Empire in providing the impression that the people were being protected from the Barbarians (Communists).

The overthrow of the Greek government in April, 1967, exposed this sham. It then became clear that the main intention of the Americans was not to preserve democracy but to obtain anti-communist governments. The overthrow of democratic governments had already happened in the underdeveloped world (Guatemala - 1954) but it was a shock to see the same thing was happening in Europe.

The weakness of the American Empire was also seen in Vietnam. Again, attempts were made to protect a military dictatorship in order to prevent the spread of communism. The Vietnamese showed that if you show enough determination to resist, America’s military superiority cannot obtain victory. This is a lesson that George Bush is currently learning in Iraq.

The American Empire is the last of the empires. I believe that when China replaces the United States as the world’s main superpower, they will not make the same mistakes as Johnson, Nixon and Bush. One reason is the China is run by the military and not by multinational corporations.

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Alain Joxe’s Empire of Disorder:

The United States, however, as an imperial power, today refuses to assume the protective role for its friendly or dominated auxiliaries. It does not seek to conquer the world and take responsibility for protecting the subjugated societies.

Yet it is nonetheless at the head of an empire, though this empire is merely a system for regulating disorder by means of financial norms and military expeditions and has no intention to occupy conquered territories. It operates on a case-by-case scenario, organizing repression of the symptoms of despair, applying almost the same norms both internally and externally.

The question is often asked whether the power of the United States is primarily economic or primarily military and in what "proportions" or in what mode. In short, what is the definition of the global political domination it has established under the name of "globalization" that leads to increased disparities between rich and poor, to the rise of an international, rootless "noble caste" and to an escalating number of endless wars?

This is an important point that needs to be grasped. In the past, wealthy and powerful states could control poor and weak states. This has changed since the 1960s. Examples include the U.S. in Vietnam and the Soviets in Afghanistan. Currently we are seeing the same thing happening in Iraq. Even the combined forces of NATO cannot get Afghanistan under control. Why should we be surprised? The Soviets had 300,000 troops in Afghanistan and still could not keep their puppet rulers in power.

Although it is clear to the objective observer, politicians like Bush and Blair have failed to grasp this point. This is the background of the current disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan. But what has changed? How was Germany able to dominate countries like France in the 1940s? How did the Soviet Union manage to suppress the populations of countries like Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, etc?

There are three main reasons for this change. The first involves ideology. People have to believe in some sort of ideology that promises a better future. In the case of Vietnam it was communism, while in countries like Iraq it is Muslim fundamentalism. These people might be wrong about their vision of utopia, but that does not matter as long as they believe in it strongly enough.

The second involves a willingness to die for the cause. This was always a problem in countries like Vietnam as their ideology was non-religious and they did not believe in an afterlife. However, the tactics of the U.S. gave the Vietnamese people no other option (the same was also true of the Russians when they were occupied by the Nazis).

The third reason involves tactics. The weak are no longer willing to use the same tactics of the strong. It is indeed pointless for them to try and win the conflict by using conventional tactics. Instead they use the fighting methods explained in Robert Taber’s book, War of the Flea. In other words guerrilla warfare. This proved successful in Vietnam and Afghanistan. However, recent wars have seen a new development - suicide bombers. This is something that communists would never had used because of their lack of belief in the afterlife. To Muslims this is not a problem.

As a result of these changes, Bush and Blair cannot defeat terrorism when it is being used as a means of removing an occupying army. Nor can they provide protection for the people living in this occupied territory in the same way as the Romans, British, Soviets, etc. did in their empires. That is why Alain Joxe rightly describes what is happening today as the “Empire of Disorder”.

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One of the interesting phenomena (for me, at least) about the current military campaign in southern Afghanistan is the apparent inability of the United States to get NATO countries to commit soldiers and equipment to the fight. I've just read an account of the ructions at the NATO summit in Poland, where extreme pressure has apparently been brought to bear on Germany and France in particular to send helicopters and soldiers to reinforce the few thousand NATO soldiers in the south - thus far to no avail.

I'm sure that previous US administrations would not have been submitted to this public humiliation. On the other hand, perhaps previous administrations would not have been in the position of asking the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to fight on the borders of Pakistan …

I wonder if this lack of ability of the Americans to enforce their will on their European allies will prove to be long-lasting, and spill over into other areas of policy.

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Joxe goes on to explain the relationship between corporations and organized crime:

Corporations, or rather their leaders, have reached forms of sovereignty that are foreign to the territorial definition of states. This is not a conspiracy, just the state of the world. On the one hand, this situation derives from the transnationalization of violent mafias; on the other, from the transnationalization and concentration of capital, especially financial capital. Colombian, Afghan, Pakistani, Nigerian drug mafias, Russian and Yugoslavian mafias, Chinese Triads, the Camorra, the N'dranghetta, etc., all make up a world of private, violent and popular enterprises with wealth and power. They harbor certain symbols of sovereignty such as "the legitimate use of the threat of death." Mafia legitimacy is a political construction that is at war with certain states, but sometimes allied with powerful states (Mexico, Russia) or tiny ones (Liechtenstein). Although they do not comprise or dominate the majority of entrepreneurial society, they contribute to the destabilization of the government and the breakdown of the protective function that is legitimately ensured by the nation-state. They are a new global neighbor for corporations.

Interesting analysis of organized crime groups from a global perspective. I always thought a Thomas Friedman approach to transnational organized crime groups would make for a good read- perhaps a future project. The globalization of crime does what globalization as a whole does. It brings local businesses (crime groups) into a wider arena, opening up opportunities for new customers, new products, cheaper labor, and new means of communications.

You can't really say it levels the playing field, because as a criminal organization, there is the inherent need to keep the other guy off your turf and to steal from him. SO it also serves to weed-out the groups that can't compete on a global scale. Your local town mob boss who is content wih controlling a dying union and running card games in the back of a social club will not outlast the enterprising young wiseguy who partners with computer hackers in Asia, plays the financial markets in Europe, pumps and dumps stocks online, etc.

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"Current wars now appear to be managed like wars of repression by "liberal states" against "terrorism," but this is a temporary appearance, due mostly to the American media effort that requires its allies to demonstrate their solidarity in strange or even absurd terms corresponding to the American view of the outside world, an extreme neo-Darwinist, behaviorist and autistic view of their "tribal wisdom" that was understandable for a family of pioneers penetrating the plains of the Far West, but highly defective for those who would seek universal royalty." (Alain Joxe)

Funny he would use the word neo-Darwinist to describe a type of American that still resists the scientific principles of evolution.

Of course this implies that the Bush supporter or regular American fixates on this "us against them" paradigm. It's more complicated that that. I think it's as invalid a notion as the stereotype many Americans have of the French (lazy, snotty, arrogant, lazy). If I were to tell a European that I voted for Bush, I would be deluged with criticisms of his foreign policy from the Continental perspective. Conversely if they told me they supported Chirac, I would have an immediate impression of their ideology.

It's hard to pull yourself out of a nationalistic view, especially in a post-9/11 America. As much of an Anglophile as I am, I fly the American flag outside my house every day, not the union Jack.

But it doesn't automatically mean you share an extreme neo-Darwinist view. I'm not making a blanket statement that that doesn't exist. It does, in a numbers far greater than I would like, yet far less than the non-American media would present.

"Better the pride that resides in a citizen of the world, than the pride that divides, when a coloful rag is unfurled." Neil Peart.

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The fasces of ancient Roman times were the bundles of rods carried by the lictors to symbolize the great strength of the organized Roman people.

An organised group, in charge, and determined to remain in charge, ultimately displays the characteristics we now know as Fascism.

Lenin, in 1916 (under tsarist rule) wrote of the Monopoly Capitalist as the end of Capitalism. It seems to me reasonable to say that the characteristic of the Monopoly Capitalist in its decay exhibits the characterisitics of Fascism while globally Imperialist. This then is the Corporate Fascist.

The only true ememy of Corporate Fascism is the one who threatens its definition of Property.

_____________

With the end of feudalism, and with the rise of the Machine, the person becomes simply the Market. A means to an end.

Therein lies the answer to the end of "the protecti"on of "friendly or dominated auxiliaries."

The rise of the Machine not only devalues the person in the chain of production, but also removes the person from the repressive apparatus, the Military. The button is more important and ultimately. the trigger can lie in a predetermined sequence, bought and paid for, written, by indidviduals who themselves will have nothing to do with the consequences. (unless they actually understand what they are doing, and even then, like Einstein, can most likely only shake their head in the priviledge of hindsight).

So with the compartmentalisation of production and human resources we have the new AlienNation. Of course there is no payoff to the corporate fascist in "the protecti"on of "friendly or dominated auxiliaries."

_____________

Terrorism is NOT of the weak. It is of the strong, the Fascist.

The human face of the freedom struggle is not terror, it is DEFENCE. In all spheres, literature, child rearing, sharing, saying no to disunity, and where necessary resistance. And therefore it is sacrifice. And Sacrifice is the opposite of Private Property.

_____________

what is property? Theft?

At which point could the land I may own become mine? At the point at which the society I live in defined it as available, and this is almost universally at the point at which it ceased to be the property of another society or people.

Kennedy, in his last year of life presented the south with the liberalisation of property. The Negro was no longer just going to have voting rights, he was going to have property right. Rights to live where he wanted, sleep where he wanted and work where he wanted. (note I say "He", the ERA is still not a reality). This is the point of divergence. This is the reason for asassination. A redistribution of Power, of Property.

OOOOOOOOOOO

on another note: the Chinese Emperor is alive and well. The success of the Chinese system is that it has the Divinity of the Emperor enshrined as the final word, which steers a grouping that theoretically can draw members from all society. It's the penultimate exclusive inclusiveness. I suspect the ruling grouping in the US are maneuvering the society(and through popular culture icons has to a large extent already succeeded) into a field of candidates where the price is indeed available, but only on specific terms. Not freedom.

Edited by John Dolva

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But an excess of wealth can weaken military defenses and an excess of expertise in violence can devastate the economy in the long run; a new temporality is imposed on these empires, a more historical time that presents itself as cyclical. In the European the¬ater, the predatory center moves from East to West in a fish scale progression, starting from the Mesopotamian cradle of the state. It is a commonplace, first in the Bible, then in Greek historiogra¬phy to speak of the succession of predatory empires and their migration to the West. We could also suggest the migration of logistical empires to the East, in India and China.

As economic machines normally producing negentropy (order, internal peace, wealth), these systems cannot last eternally; the pre-industrial predatory Empire works like a clock carefully wound with all the skill of keeping the goose with golden eggs alive. It increases its survival time either by returning to a moderate logistical system, or by pursuing its foreign predatory conquests at the risk of military surfeit, an over-developed specialization towards specific end: in this case, perfecting destructive military capabilities at the expense of productive, economic capabilities. This over-development can take two forms, either an internal redistribution of the spoils at the risk of exhausting all the reserves, or a decentralization producing management economies with a reduction of privileged bureaucracies, at the risk of Balkanization of military sovereignty by means of wars of liberation or less predatory invasions.

But these ways of prolonging the life of an empire are also methods of self-destruction. The longest imperial experiment, the Chinese Empire, went through many cycles of logistical empires, barbarian invasions and separation into more or less predatory kingdoms without losing its identity as the Middle Empire, or moving its center without losing sight of the historical continuity of China. In the West, however, the Roman, Byzantine and Carolingian Empires, the sultanates, the Holy Roman Empire, Tsarism, Napoleon, the British Empire, the French colonial Empire and Hitler have disappeared forever. Europe is a recent political construct.

The transformation of the Russian empire and the materialization of the American empire, opposed like the two halves of the world, tracing a fortified boundary across the territory of a divided Europe, shows that a predatory imperial form prefers seeking out confrontation with an Other and an outside, and in this way it can never become global.

Europe as an identity organizing internal peace is a recent political expression, just as America is a recent empire. The recent designation (in May 2000) of China as a virtual main rival (peer competitor) of the American empire, the designation in 2001 of "Islamic terrorism" as a global enemy, the designation once again of three states - North Korea, Iran and Iraq - as "rogue states" for the mere fact that they are accused of trying to develop nuclear weapons, shows that the single Empire is looking for both the unity and plurality that will allow it to keep a predatory relationship with an exterior. It is concerned that unifying world imperial power (the monarchy, to borrow Dante's vocabulary) would require it to base its power throughout the world on internal global violence or to establish Universal peace without predatory oppression, an even more paradoxical task.

The American Empire is thus faced with a traditional problem. By perfecting the predatory and repressive military machine to the extreme, which could become necessary to its reproduction, the Empire could veer towards a monstrous overdevelopment of the destructive, or merely repressive, function of the state, threatening its subjects with death. The "people" always decide the end of logistical-predatory empires through various forms of plebian secession, of anachoresis" or of invasions greeted as liberations. There is a type of collapse without invasion exemplified by the fall of the Assyrian Empire.

A giant with clay feet, built on the mud of Mesopotamian irrigation, on the over-exploitation of Neolithic techniques, without any progress in productivity, save in techniques of destruction, Assyrian militarism disappeared all at once, just like, I might add, the Soviet Empire, caught in the breathless arms race orchestrated by the United States.

The relation between economy and violence, however, has changed drastically with the beginning of the accumulation of capital and the scientific development of technology. Which system of domination prevails in the modern Empire-states, and ultimately in the American Empire?

The elimination of the Berlin wall and the Iron Curtain produced the first real globaliry in history, but it was a military event that created a military globaliry, rather than an economic one at first.

In fact, two negative moments from a military perspective marked the period: a wall falling without a fight (Berlin), Soviet abstention from a war in their glacis (the Gulf War). These two events sealed the defeat of the Soviet economic system and the Soviet military. There can be no economic defeat in a global Empire without a military defeat. Not necessarily a defeat during a wartime operation: a mixed defeat, both economic and military, in the arms race occurred in the East and a political collapse was then enough to finish it.

At this turning point, Fukuyama was premature in declaring the "End of History"', because globality, the formation of a truly global world economy, is not as easy as it seems. It runs up against the presence of politico-military sovereignties maintaining spaces that prevent total market economy unification. A few states still consider themselves Marxist (China, Vietnam, Korea, Cuba), some states still maintain a partially controlled economy, either by vocation or due to a prolonged state of war (Iraq, Iran, Serbia). Other states have preserved a large nationalized sector, and even the ideology behind the nationalization of major public services and public works projects by the state. Even capitalist Europe calls for a social market economy and supports the need for sovereign regulations of the economy.

More theoretically speaking, the dogmatic defenders of the free-market economy cannot prove that free-market institutions can arise without rules, without the state acting as a guarantor of its political will, imposing the suspension of predatory violence at the gates of the marketplace or, better yet, of the entire nation.

The "predatory peace" proclaimed after the military victory of the American Empire in the name of the universal free-market ideology, imposed the representation of an economic globality that did not yet exist. The end of violence in the world bazaar cannot yet be regulated by a world state-which neither exists nor is desired by the United States - or better yet, local states, which lack the competence. Any regulation in the meantime must be done partially and empirically through negotiations that remain confidential between violent Mafias and unarmed Merchants.

Predatory peace is only a virtual paradigm with value for an improbable future and not for the present. It is not a stable state, but a process; in American strategic vocabulary, it is called enlargement, the extension of democracy and free-market economy to the entire globe. Announced by Anthony Lake in 1993, enlargement will end (so they say) in economic globality, if the future prophecy goes according to Clintonian plans and market enlargement produces its own profitability.

However, the Cold War of the Empire against an enemy or another (barbarian) Empire no longer exists to siphon the contradictions of class struggle away from the Empire through populist style mobilizations. The American Empire must face the strategic problem in the traditional form that all Empires had to face if, like the Roman or Chinese Empires, they considered themselves to be "alone in the world," since they knew nothing about the others. The competing colonial Empires had to face the same problem: class struggles are traditionally "drained off" by delimiting a space to conquer. But what happens if conquest is no longer profitable in the "barbarian areas" (Rome gave up trying to conquer Germania) or if there are no more "barbarian areas"? There are two abstract strategies that were applied both in the history of the Roman Empire as in the history of European colonial empires:

i) The Empire can recreate a military enemy within the economic globality to polarize itself and suspend class struggle in the name of security with repressive wars. This exterior is "naturally' present: it includes zones of poverty that do not form a "market" and can therefore become purely military marches again. Internal war in zones of poverty. One could say that it is taking shape in the United States.

ii) The Empire can also reauthorize war within the newly drawn globality of military leadership in order to redefine peace. War is illegitimate and hindered in the world today by two obstacles that are beneficial in principle, but do not really work to prohibit war. Authorizing international wars is within the grasp of the military leadership of the United States. The return of local duels has been facilitated by the removal of two hindrances:

• war is hindered by the prohibition on international wars by the UN; it is the equivalent of a police prohibition on duels within a unified world. The UN Security Council would be in charge of the policing function of the World Empire. This is the project on which the UN institution was built-at least on paper. A UN General Staff has nonetheless never been formed, much less a specifically UN military force. There are no archers on watch under the orders of the king. This model does not work. The UN at most plays the role of a weakened papacy.

• war is theoretically hindered by the United States itself, the global imperial military nation, with its own doctrine of military intervention: Zero GI casualties and the reshaping of NATO into its new role of sending out forces that no longer have anything to do with defending against the USSR, causing a crisis in alliances and renresentations.

Call me old-fashioned or out of time, but the concept of laissez faire has historically been proven disasterous to a healthy American economy any time it has been implemented. Its proponents will cite its advantages from their entrepeneurial, or corporate P.O.V., when in reality a "free market" system means the sacrifice and loss of viable employment opportunities within the continental sector via their out-sourcing to Third World economies. Computerization has compounded the fact by the sheer magnitude of the globility it provides for the facillitation and success of the process. What answer is readily available to staunch this hemorrhage? A dwindling surplus of menial minimum wage jobs?

War serves mainly to line the pockets of the contracted entities [Halliburton, Bechtel, etc.] who stand to profit from the carnage and destruction wrought during the emminent domaining process inherent in the empirical/imperialist dual mindset, equally reminicent of the Manifest Destiny concept of the 1700's.

Therefore, with regard to the ordinary citizens of the Western, Middle Eastern, or the Asian sectors of the world, shall we remain as the mere "plebes" of old, in this "global" society, lacking in voice, strength, or tenacity?

Excellent read, John. Thanks for linking me up.

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But the Emperor Has No Clothes, and We as an educated society Know this but don’t cry Out.

Snippets from posted text in balck, my comments in blue

The United States, however, as an imperial power, today refuses to assume the protective role for its friendly or dominated auxiliaries. It does not seek to conquer the world and take responsibility for protecting the subjugated societies.

I’m not sure that Great Britain did this any differently. They paid out national resources when returns would come back for the empire. It exported an idealistic philosophy a la White man’s Burden as a justification for conquest and a reason to feel better about the pilfering of economies (the return of infrastructure into subjugated societies) but the myth of protection was revealed in times of war in places like French Indochina and the Dutch East Indies.

Because terrorism is not an adversary, only a form of political violence, its suppression is not a Clausewitzian political goal that could end in a victory and a peace, especially since counter-terrorist actions are always implicated in a state or imperial terrorism and violations of human rights, measures that are the source of the most extreme forms of resistance and of terrorism itself. Without attacking the causes, we reinforce the cycle.

The obvious answer is the huge shift in the military budget. Before September 11, Bush was pushing for a new "Star Wars" effort, overruling the objections of allied powers. Bin Laden provided afar better argument for the Congress to approve the largest increase in defense spending in two decades, as Bush himself boasted.

I think a key point to remember here is that the speech that Rice was about to deliver when 9-11 was carried out was about the need for re-pursuing the Star Wars or Strategic Defense Initiative to protect America from the one or two missiles that constituted a more realistic nuclear threat in a world of possible or probable proliferation. That was the policy goal at the time and that is a reason why the daily security briefing with a title similar to “Bin Laden Appears Determined to Make an Attack on American Soil” was not acted upon with all guns blazing. It is an amazing and puzzling fact that all of the things were are asked to do because the possibility of suspect A doing this or that seemingly is contradicted by the far less than all out effort to apprehend Bin Laden, the charismatic figurehead of the “evil-doers” Under this logic shouldn’t all resources be used on this manhunt, and all objections of allies be bullied aside with the “you’re either with us or against us” argument? If anything merits this doesn’t the search for Bin Laden do so?

<a href = “http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A40697-2004Mar31?language=printer”> Top Focus Before 9/11 Wasn't on Terrorism</a>

“The speech provides telling insight into the administration's thinking on the very day that the United States suffered the most devastating attack since the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. The address was designed to promote missile defense as the cornerstone of a new national security strategy, and contained no mention of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or Islamic extremist groups, according to former U.S. officials who have seen the text.”

The strength of multinational conglomerates and delocalized banks, the transformation of investments into temporary installations as volatile as off-shore accounts that hold the threat of relocation over their workers, create a structural fear. The uprooting of the threat produces a structural fear by rendering localized protection useless.

Corporations, or rather their leaders, have reached forms of sovereignty that are foreign to the territorial definition of states. This is not a conspiracy, just the state of the world. On the one hand, this situation derives from the transnationalization of violent mafias; on the other, from the transnationalization and concentration of capital, especially financial capital. Colombian, Afghan, Pakistani, Nigerian drug mafias, Russian and Yugoslavian mafias, Chinese Triads, the Camorra, the N'dranghetta, etc., all make up a world of private, violent and popular enterprises with wealth and power. They harbor certain symbols of sovereignty such as "the legitimate use of the threat of death." Mafia legitimacy is a political construction that is at war with certain states, but sometimes allied with powerful states (Mexico, Russia) or tiny ones (Liechtenstein). Although they do not comprise or dominate the majority of entrepreneurial society, they contribute to the destabilization of the government and the breakdown of the protective function that is legitimately ensured by the nation-state. They are a new global neighbor for corporations.

IMHO a very importmant element of modern world politics. If the game is corporate, capitalistic, democratic socialism, then everybody is strongly encouraged to play and those that do not will constitute another world. (Do we have clear second and third worlds of the modern world order like we did during the Cold War?)

Corporations, like other non-states, terrorist groups and organized crime syndicates, have tremendous advantages in the modern world order. As we open our borders up more in the name of free trade and free competition, our borders become so permeable that these non-state entities have a tremendous mobility and can count on being allowed to profit with relationships with those they must (U.S. U.K., Germany etc, while negotiating terms of entry into places that can give them other types of benefits too, (raw materials, cheap labor, secret banking, cover for illegal activities, what have you.) While I am generally a proponent of globalization, I see danger in the Al-Qaedas of the world and the Bermudas and Cayman Islands of the world. If we return to a period of economic nationalism each of these types of organizations would have more difficulty, but probably with the globalizing technology and morph-ability of the corporate structure, can probably adapt institutions today to adapt to any type of economic system short of fascist corporatism of dictators like Hussein. (and of course they probably can profit from supplicating relationships with these types even more but they have the danger of having their interests revoked and their property nationalized from figures like this)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I think it is a bit too much to lay a main burden of the blame here on the United States. The United States policies of globalization have been working hand in hand with nations around the world. There is a capital class that has had a high degree of success in distributing the bounty of the capitalist economy (and I do think the regulated market economy is superior to any socialist model put forward so far) to pay out to capital at the expense of labor in the last forty years. Of course I think the irony here is that center leftist policies reward the capital classes better than their ideal world (no taxes and the iron law of wages)

IMO the modern economy is extremely dependent on consumption and the way to fuel consumption is

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But the Emperor Has No Clothes, and We as an educated society Know this but don’t cry Out.

Snippets from posted text in balck, my comments in blue

The United States, however, as an imperial power, today refuses to assume the protective role for its friendly or dominated auxiliaries. It does not seek to conquer the world and take responsibility for protecting the subjugated societies.

I’m not sure that Great Britain did this any differently. They paid out national resources when returns would come back for the empire. It exported an idealistic philosophy a la White man’s Burden as a justification for conquest and a reason to feel better about the pilfering of economies (the return of infrastructure into subjugated societies) but the myth of protection was revealed in times of war in places like French Indochina and the Dutch East Indies.

Because terrorism is not an adversary, only a form of political violence, its suppression is not a Clausewitzian political goal that could end in a victory and a peace, especially since counter-terrorist actions are always implicated in a state or imperial terrorism and violations of human rights, measures that are the source of the most extreme forms of resistance and of terrorism itself. Without attacking the causes, we reinforce the cycle.

The obvious answer is the huge shift in the military budget. Before September 11, Bush was pushing for a new "Star Wars" effort, overruling the objections of allied powers. Bin Laden provided afar better argument for the Congress to approve the largest increase in defense spending in two decades, as Bush himself boasted.

I think a key point to remember here is that the speech that Rice was about to deliver when 9-11 was carried out was about the need for re-pursuing the Star Wars or Strategic Defense Initiative to protect America from the one or two missiles that constituted a more realistic nuclear threat in a world of possible or probable proliferation. That was the policy goal at the time and that is a reason why the daily security briefing with a title similar to “Bin Laden Appears Determined to Make an Attack on American Soil” was not acted upon with all guns blazing. It is an amazing and puzzling fact that all of the things were are asked to do because the possibility of suspect A doing this or that seemingly is contradicted by the far less than all out effort to apprehend Bin Laden, the charismatic figurehead of the “evil-doers” Under this logic shouldn’t all resources be used on this manhunt, and all objections of allies be bullied aside with the “you’re either with us or against us” argument? If anything merits this doesn’t the search for Bin Laden do so?

<a href = “http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A40697-2004Mar31?language=printer”> Top Focus Before 9/11 Wasn't on Terrorism</a>

“The speech provides telling insight into the administration's thinking on the very day that the United States suffered the most devastating attack since the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. The address was designed to promote missile defense as the cornerstone of a new national security strategy, and contained no mention of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or Islamic extremist groups, according to former U.S. officials who have seen the text.”

The strength of multinational conglomerates and delocalized banks, the transformation of investments into temporary installations as volatile as off-shore accounts that hold the threat of relocation over their workers, create a structural fear. The uprooting of the threat produces a structural fear by rendering localized protection useless.

Corporations, or rather their leaders, have reached forms of sovereignty that are foreign to the territorial definition of states. This is not a conspiracy, just the state of the world. On the one hand, this situation derives from the transnationalization of violent mafias; on the other, from the transnationalization and concentration of capital, especially financial capital. Colombian, Afghan, Pakistani, Nigerian drug mafias, Russian and Yugoslavian mafias, Chinese Triads, the Camorra, the N'dranghetta, etc., all make up a world of private, violent and popular enterprises with wealth and power. They harbor certain symbols of sovereignty such as "the legitimate use of the threat of death." Mafia legitimacy is a political construction that is at war with certain states, but sometimes allied with powerful states (Mexico, Russia) or tiny ones (Liechtenstein). Although they do not comprise or dominate the majority of entrepreneurial society, they contribute to the destabilization of the government and the breakdown of the protective function that is legitimately ensured by the nation-state. They are a new global neighbor for corporations.

IMHO a very importmant element of modern world politics. If the game is corporate, capitalistic, democratic socialism, then everybody is strongly encouraged to play and those that do not will constitute another world. (Do we have clear second and third worlds of the modern world order like we did during the Cold War?)

Corporations, like other non-states, terrorist groups and organized crime syndicates, have tremendous advantages in the modern world order. As we open our borders up more in the name of free trade and free competition, our borders become so permeable that these non-state entities have a tremendous mobility and can count on being allowed to profit with relationships with those they must (U.S. U.K., Germany etc, while negotiating terms of entry into places that can give them other types of benefits too, (raw materials, cheap labor, secret banking, cover for illegal activities, what have you.) While I am generally a proponent of globalization, I see danger in the Al-Qaedas of the world and the Bermudas and Cayman Islands of the world. If we return to a period of economic nationalism each of these types of organizations would have more difficulty, but probably with the globalizing technology and morph-ability of the corporate structure, can probably adapt institutions today to adapt to any type of economic system short of fascist corporatism of dictators like Hussein. (and of course they probably can profit from supplicating relationships with these types even more but they have the danger of having their interests revoked and their property nationalized from figures like this)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I think it is a bit too much to lay a main burden of the blame here on the United States. The United States policies of globalization have been working hand in hand with nations around the world. There is a capital class that has had a high degree of success in distributing the bounty of the capitalist economy (and I do think the regulated market economy is superior to any socialist model put forward so far) to pay out to capital at the expense of labor in the last forty years. Of course I think the irony here is that center leftist policies reward the capital classes better than their ideal world (no taxes and the iron law of wages)

IMO the modern economy is extremely dependent on consumption and the way to fuel consumption is pay high wages and invest in infrastructure and education and insurances for our citizens like health. but the modern corporate strategy is to have the cake and eat it too. Take high profits from interacting with the developed economies but move most investment into cheaper areas. In a world where capital seems to be available even in a period of ridiculously high government spending (see the US budget) at a pretty low cost, how is it that capital still earns so much of the rewards of the day at the expense of the middle and working classes. The present economy reminds me in far too many ways of the economy of the 1920s. The major exception being the lack of economic nationalism. But productivity is up and the income distribution is dangerously unbalanced in such a way that would make Karl Marx say I told you so.

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Until now, the hope for peace has been at the root of the imagination of war. In fact, "peace is normally the goal of war. On the contrary, war is not the goal of peace," as Saint Augustine once told us. If the interior peace of a state is sometimes restored by the invention of an external threat of war, this exportation of violence owes more to a hellish peace than a divine one. If it is true that we have entered the era when globalization will erase the frontiers between internal and external wars, we can also anticipate that it will either eliminate peace or preferably that it will erase the boundary between internal peace and external peace, so that peace can become the global objective for eliminating war.

Current wars now appear to be managed like wars of repression by "liberal states" against "terrorism," but this is a temporary appearance, due mostly to the American media effort that requires its allies to demonstrate their solidarity in strange or even absurd terms corresponding to the American view of the outside world, an extreme neo-Darwinist, behaviorist and autistic view of their "tribal wisdom" that was understandable for a family of pioneers penetrating the plains of the Far West, but highly defective for those who would seek universal royalty.

Because terrorism is not an adversary, only a form of political violence, its suppression is not a Clausewitzian political goal that could end in a victory and a peace, especially since counter-terrorist actions are always implicated in a state or imperial terrorism and violations of human rights, measures that are the source of the most extreme forms of resistance and of terrorism itself. Without attacking the causes, we reinforce the cycle.

--------------------

The highly respected historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr wrote in 1991, "The Disuniting of America. Reflections On A Multicultural Society." The foreword included the following...... "Instead of a transformative nation with an identity all its own.America increasingly sees itself in this new light as preservative of diverse alien identities. Instead of a nation composed of individuals making their own unhampered choices, America increasingly sees itself as composed of groups more or less ineradicable in their ethnic character....Will the center hold? or will the melting pot give way to the Tower of Babel?"

Posed as a literal question, an answer to the above could be:

No the center has not held, and irrespective of the events of the last six years, there is a certain element of The Tower of Babel, as an expression used to define American culture here and now, which is not a good thing if no one is listening, to the other, or if one side is presenting a disingenious propoganda campaign designed to increase it's suppresion of civil liberties, while maintaining the guise of noble intentions.

Are the American people watching the Bush Administration currently undertake a hegemonic militaristic last stand before it's Era of Empire ends, simultaneously mixed in with a corporatized media at the beck and call of the apparatus of government, some people would say yes.

To wit, circumstances are even more adversely affected, by the 'framing the debate' conundrum of which the slogan "This is your Media, This is Your Media on Drugs" description seems apropos. American political campaigns, for the most part do not have civilized discourse only searches for dirt on the other, and mudslinging, although that is only an opinion.

Particularly galling is framing the debate as a World Wrestling Federation match-up between the Democrat's and the Republican's, instead of a coherent logical dialogue about America's future. Why? Because those same Democrats pass the bill's that the President send's to Congress and the last time I looked there were no gun's pointed at their heads when they voted, and which is equally disturbing in the long run, if one is expecting those same Democrat's to ostensibly, pull America back to the center.

Are American's being more or less asked [subconciously, perhaps] to act as if there are no credibility issues with 'the War on Terrorism' as it is presented via the media? i.e. credibility re Invading Iraq because they were in cahoot's with Al-Qaeda, or how consensus, only in the most bastardized sense was derived, and, of which the Administration seek's to play down, successfully to those who are willing to sleepwalk through a defining moment in history.

My only experience with the totalitarianism of the last century was reading about it in books, nonetheless I am acutely aware of the fact that in history, each generation to a degree [on a national level] has to be re-educated on the horrors of war and the fact that freedom in it's purest form, was purchased with human blood, and eternal vigilance is required to maintain it. But in today's media quagmire, if you say those words and you are not to the right of Attila the Hun, your patriotism is 'suspect.'

If one accept's the last premise, it is nauseating to see what is arguably a "People Magazine Mentality" willing to fork over civil liberties, in no small part, due to a media that is, dare I say, stuck on stupid to the detriment of us all.

Edited by Robert Howard

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