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ROGUE REMOVAL AS OFFICIAL U.S. FOREIGN POLICY


Edward S. Herman

In

her August 1 speech before the Republican National Convention, Bush foreign

policy adviser Condoleezza Rice explained to the audience that Bush

"recognizes that the magnificent men and women of America’s armed forces

are not a global police force. They are not the world’s 911." On the

contrary, she said that in a Bush government these magnificent men and women

will not only defend our shores and skies from any threats, they will "go

forth to extend peace, prosperity and liberty beyond our blessed shores."

And the Republican platform calls for the active pursuit of a "rogue

removal" strategy to take out outlaws that the effete Clinton

administration has merely sought to contain ("Bush plans to undermine

‘rogue’ states," Financial Times, Aug. 2, 2000).

 This

of course does a grave injustice to Clinton, who has used a full array of

boycotts, sanctions, civilian medical deprivation and starvation, bombing raids,

inspections, support of external dissidents, and inducements to the Iraq

military to overthrow the rogue leader Saddam Hussein. In Yugoslavia as well,

Clinton has used massive bombing, sanctions, intervention in support of

dissident parties, Tribunal condemnations of Milosevic, and putting a price on

Milosevic’s head as an inducement to dispatch the villain in another

multi-pronged rogue removal operation. The only thing Clinton hasn’t done is

invade with U.S. troops to dislodge these rogue state leaders.

 It

is not at all clear that the Republicans in power will go beyond Clinton in

dealing with rogues, but they must differentiate themselves from him, especially

as they are obliged to justify their intention to greatly enlarge the already

immense military budget. They have to claim a plan for important "national

security" action that Clinton wasn’t already doing. It is awkward for the

Republicans that in the case of Iraq he has pursued with genocidal energy the

subversion process installed under Bush One. The anti- missile boondoggle is

aimed at that other great national security threat, North Korea, whose leaders

might someday in the far distant future have the power to commit national

suicide by sending off a missile across the ocean. The Republicans are eagerly

pushing that boondoggle, no doubt hoping that the possible rapprochement between

North and South Korea will not force them to look for a boondoggle rationale

elsewhere. But this boondoggle will not advance the cause of removing the rogue

state leadership.

According

to Condoleeza Rice, the need for a defense against missiles "at the

earliest possible date" results from the fact that rogue efforts to acquire

long-range missiles are aimed strictly at "blackmail." The rogues

couldn’t want missiles for "defense" as this peace-loving country

obviously seeks overwhelming military power and an anti-missile defense system

only because of our "special responsibilities to keep the peace"!

Could the Romans at the height of their imperial power have been more brazenly

and self-righteously self-serving?

Ms.

Rice implies that Clinton’s policy was only to provide a global "police

force" and "911," without any larger rationale. But Clinton’s

foreign policy has surely been designed for corporate service, and he has been

doing his subversion dirty work partly because he, like the Republicans, is

devoted to the U.S. "national interest" in creating a global system

hospitable to U.S. transnational corporations. But Clinton also feels the need

to lean over backwards to show that he and the Democrats are not

"soft" and will be at least as ready as the Republicans to beat up a

Grenada, Nicaragua, Iraq, etc., and to put the national (corporate) interest

first. The Republicans do not have to prove their patriotic willingness to bomb

and their devotion to a corporate interest they serve so undeviatingly; which is

why they sometimes have to extricate the country from wars in which the

Democrats are bogged down (Korea, Vietnam). On the other hand, the Republicans

are possibly closer to the military-industrial complex than the Democrats

(Lockheed’s head couldn’t contain his enthusiasm at the prospect of a Bush

presidency; Lynne Cheney is on his board of directors at $125,000 a year); they

have more intimate ties to the oil industry (Bush and Cheney both come right out

of the business); and the Republicans nurture a larger contingent of ideological

crazies than the Democrats (Rice is a Bush team "moderate," allegedly

fending off Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other hardline warriors). This

makes the contest over who is more prone to imperialistic excesses a close one.

But

it is notable how, with the end of the Soviet Union and its modest

"containment" of the United States, subversion of foreign enemies has

become more open and brazen. Clinton carried it pretty far, and the Republicans

are now saying that subversion is going to be official policy and will be

carried farther. There is still that small genuflection to "morality"

in describing the targets as "rogues," the follow-on to the

designation as "terrorist" states of several years back. But the right

to name a country as a "rogue" and then proceed to take systematic

action to displace the rulers and install new ones is now presented as entirely

reasonable. No questions have been raised in the U.S. media about the assertion

of this right and its relation to the supposed rule of law in international

affairs. The liberal Boston Globe editorially congratulates the Republicans for

their platform call for rogue removal ("Being Clear About Saddam,"

Aug. 8). For the loyal media, the effective law is what their leaders say and

do.

The

word "subversion" is of course not used to describe the Republican

plans in foreign policy. That is an old-fashioned term of the Cold War years,

like terrorism, that designated Soviet efforts to overthrow governments by KGB

disinformation and propaganda, economic destabilization by boycotts and

sanctions, buying politicians, and encouraging violence and assassinations.

These were precisely the tactics used by the CIA and other arms of the U.S.

security state in Latin America and globally, as described so compellingly by

former CIA operative Philip Agee in his book Inside the Company, but as the

mainstream media took for granted our natural right to subvert, an invidious

word like subversion was never applied to us. And it reamins out of service

today. (For an analysis of this natural right, and the forms of subversion used

by the U.S. in Latin America, see my Real Terror Network, 132-5.)

Another

reason why we don’t subvert is that all our efforts to deal with rogues are

based on our concern for our "national security," one of the most

elastic phrases in the English language. If a government that takes power in a

distant country threatens to tax a U.S. company more heavily, this is a national

security problem. By posing such a threat that government has demonstrated its

hostility and unreasonableness–it has done something to which we object, and it

has failed to recognize the neoliberal truth that such higher taxes are unsound,

etc. Of course, on this conception of national security, anybody who does not do

our precise bidding constitutes a national security threat and can reasonably be

called a rogue. This is obviously a perfect intellectual instrument of a policy

of aggressive imperialism.

Another

important feature of national security is that, like "Hoover’s law"–i.e.,

the smaller the number of Communists the greater their subversive threat–we

have a "National Security threat law," which says that the more

powerful this country and the greater its military superiority over others the

more fearsome and intolerable are any challenges to its desires abroad. This law

is a symptom of that sickness known as the "pitiful giant syndrome,"

which causes our military-political elite to fret and gnash their teeth at our

supposed helplessness in combating all these external menaces.

Possibly

there is in all this a trace of insincerity and a bit of calculated

rationalization for the desire to maintain superiority and to intervene freely

at our own discretion. But it may be an internalized truth for many. The

military-industrial complex certainly needs rationales for the growing military

budget, and threat inflation has a long history in the serial Cold War

"gaps" that weren’t there. The Bush Two gang have their work cut out

for them in justifying escalated military expenditures in the post-Soviet threat

era, but the mainstream media can always be relied on to help. And Bush Two’s

prospective unlimited service to Greed Inc. may make it necessary for our

"magnificent men and women" in the armed services to work over some of

those less magnificent men and women, victims of the "miracle of the

market," needing pacification at home, as well as abroad.  

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