The Assassinated Press

White Whine From Sour Grapes; Farewell to Pox Americana:
Where Being Number One Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry; The Obvious Truth Behind Hating America First.

The Assassinated Press
December 14, 2006

CHEVY CHASE, MD--- Hi! This is Robert Samoldshit again. You might remember me as just another pompous free marketeer who once spent five hundred words equating freedom and democracy with 28 permutations of drip coffee makers. Well, my thinking has come a long way since then and though I am extremely pleased with my coffee maker, lately I’ve been feeling a little down.

With hindsight we may see 2006 as the end of Pax Americana. This notion might give aid and comfort to the Hate America First Crowd, but let them consider this. If America is no longer Number One you won’t have it to kick around anymore because ipso facto by our own made up rules of Social Darwinism somebody else will be doing the kicking. We’re Number One won’t so seamlessly confirm the observations of the Blame America First crowd anymore, will they?

Ever since World War II, the United States has used its military and economic superiority to promote a world order for the benefit of the American kleptocracy and by trickle down, a form of bribing with candy, the American consumer. But the United States increasingly lacks both the power and the will to play this role. It isn't just Iraq, though Iraq has been profoundly destabilizing and demoralizing. Many other factors erode U.S. power: China's rise (Are they kicking us around already, Mr Kissinger?); probable nuclear proliferation (At once a stabilizing force when in the hands of only the Americanos the only ones who have actually used the bomb, but otherwise a destabilizing force. Ain’t logic wonderfully fungible!); shrinking support for open trade (As it decimates local economies and spreads starvation and disease which requires further investment on the part of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett); higher spending for Social Security and Medicare that squeezes the military (A military that already costs far more than all of the military budgets of all the other countries in the world combined and still because its run by corporate wannabe swindlers is ineffectual in executing one little oil grab in Iraq); the weakness of traditional U.S. allies -- Europe and Japan (even as we discourage by force the spread of the Euro as the base currency in lieu of the dollar, again witness Iraq--- and Iran.)

Pox Americana

By objective measures, Pax Americana's (called Pox Americana by the vast majority of the world’s people) legacy is enormous. No this is no small pax or pox if you prefer. Since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, no nuclear device has been used in anger. Not after recent disclosures have demonstrated that the U.S. twice A-bombed Japan not to end the war but to initiate a new one, hot or cold, with the Soviet Union because big business saw big bucks in it and that the bombs were dropped also to justify the $2 billion expenditure. That the money motive argument is far more consistent, convincing and rings far truer than the we-didn’t-give-blankets-laced-with small-pox to the Indians, helps ease many a mind kept late by the conundrum of capitals actions and its PR. In World War II an estimated 60 million people died. Only four subsequent conflicts have had more than a million deaths (the Congo civil war, 3 million; Vietnam, 1.9 million; Korea, 1.3 million; China's civil war, 1.2 million), reports the Center for International Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland. However, here I choose to ignore (Pick your motive. I don’t give a shit.) that the U.S. after World War II began a program of LIW or Low Intensity Warfare. LIW was designed to topple governments, elected or otherwise that did not do or did not give us what we wanted. Therefore, when successive Italian governments after World War II persisted in electing or trying to elect pro-union soiaclist and communist candidates, we used fascist brown shirts and members of right wing fascist organizations like P-2 and the Knights of Malta to assassinate opposition candidates, blow up markets and railway platforms, disrupt the economy etc. In the 1980’s we did the same thing in Columbia murdering 5000 members of the Patriotic Union because their members were about to sweep municipal elections in that country. Operation Mongoose launched against Cuba is one of our more infamous international peace gestures. The U.S. has launched thousands of these low intensity operations in the past 62 years killing far more than 60 million people by dislocation and disease alone much less by bullet in the back of the head.

In this mornings Post you can see numerous stories, the fruit of U.S. Low Intensity warfare from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti to Iraq and the Middle east itself. In fact, virtually no country on earth has not been touched by a U.S. Low Intensity War, not to mention the hot wars like Afghanistan, Iraq and Southeast Asia. Christ! Just this morning there was a short article on a group of Hmong tribesmen finally surrendering to the Laotian government 34 years after the U.S. pulled out of Southeast Asia. Nice job ‘Pops.’ And for all you right wing shits that don’t get the connection, shame on you. I’m sure my boy Samuelson knows what I’m talking about.

Under the U.S. military umbrella, democracy flourished in Western Europe and Japan. It later spread to South Korea albeit it one of its extreme authoritarian forms, Eastern Europe ditto the authoritarianism with kleptocrats retaining power and selectively elsewhere. And where democracy did not comport with U.S. interests it was vigorously destroyed by Uncle Slime. Pinochet just died. Remember Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Haiti. These sorts of connections are real career destroyers at the Post. Better not to be intelligent enough to have them in the first place like me. In 1977 there were 89 autocratic regimes in the world and only 35 democracies, the center estimates. In 2005 there were 29 autocracies and 88 democracies again presumably an estimate based on a strong desire to keep future funding flowing, the most democratic of impulses by my own standards. Low Intensity Warfare works! 88 democracies subject to the U.S. political and economic will give or take a few like that troublemaker Hugo Chavez.

Prosperity has been unprecedented and I’ve certainly witnessed it in my own personal coffee maker history. Historian Angus Maddison, the Heidi Fleiss of international economics, tells us that from 1950 to 1998 the world economy expanded by a factor of six. Global trade increased twentyfold. These growth rates were well beyond historical experience. Selectively, living standards exploded. Since 1950 average incomes have multiplied about 16 times in South Korea, 11 times in Japan and six times in Spain, reports Maddison. From higher bases, the increases were nearly five times in Germany, four in France and three in the United States. It’s probably better to leave a couple of continents out of this equation so as not to taint my argument. Also, no talking about how this wealth is distributed and how much of it is accrued debt.

It is fatuous to think all this would have occurred spontaneously. Once again if you’re going to claim to be number one in everything like this article then how unreasonable is it to blame America first. Since the Marshall Plan, which benefited first and foremost the United States has been responsible for this carefully crafted position of numero uno. Aside from security, it allowed for the projection of power not only in Europe but into their disintegrating colonial empires making destabilization far less a n issue of national sovereignty. Once again since America is first in such things who can reprise the numerous acts of destabilization wrought by Uncle Slime---the Congo, Angola, Egypt, Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Greece, Italy---Oh fuck, there aren’t enough fuckin’ elections to reprise the Blame America First crowd’s claims. The U.S/ also provided a global currency, the dollar against the express wishes of its European allies. When De Gaulle protested this and other actions the CIA plotted to assassinate him. When Iraq threatened to switch to the euro, the U.S. moved up its invasion plans by weeks contributing to its ultimate failure.

The U.S. championed lower tariffs and global investment because they had all the money then and it benefited them, which inserted the technology and management skills of U.S. corporations around the world. It kept its markets open. And now that former U.S. corporations have morphed into true transnational giants with less and less need for the U.S. other than a gluttonous sink hole for luxury goods, cheap goods made by corvee labor and debt, international trade agreements conflate nicely with their new global economy; and make no mistake its theirs. It's doubtful that any other major country would have tolerated present U.S. trade deficits (now approaching $800 billion) without imposing pervasive import restrictions. Another result of globalization and the response of the powerful kleptocracy that benefits from it.

To the American kleptocracy, the lesson of World War II was that to take advantage of it under the guise of promoting global stability all the while fomenting low intensity conflict and local destabilization. The U.S. had to accept short-term costs and burdens to gain long term hegemony until globalization became a reality and like enormous snakes the corporations could shed their made in U.S.A. skins and grow into an international economy that is rapidly moving toward the interplanetary. If you look at this situation locally for example how it effects the U.S. it looks as though this triumphalism following the Cold War fed was overconfident. Pax Americana wouldn’t continue forever although Pox Americana looks as though it’ll be with us for a long time as the dying giant lashes out. It was "the end of history" -- democracy and free markets would spread consuming the planet. But who cared as long as the United States was a "hyperpower."

The flaw in all this theorizing was to mistake strength for power, a mistake being made on the editorial page of the Washington Post but not in corporate board rooms. On paper, the United States remains the world's strongest nation. Its economy is the wealthiest, triple the size of Japan's. Its all-volunteer military is the best trained and most technologically advanced. "No other state is building nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, stealth fighters or unmanned aerial vehicles," writes Max Boot, author of "War Made New." The United States has 12 carriers; Britain, the runner-up, has three smaller carriers.

The trouble is that strength -- measurable and impressive -- does not translate directly into power. Power is the ability to get others to do what you want. Here, America is weaker. And that is the failure of low intensity warfare and the stability needs instability policy that litters NSC directives since 1948.

Iraq has reminded us that religious and ethnic loyalties dim the appeal of a democracy and freedom that is based on materialism. Militarily, "asymmetrical threats" often neutralize conventional advantages, as low intensity conflict comes abck to bite us in the ass. Who rana better LIC operation than the Viet Cong? Iraq has confirmed that, too. If Iran and North Korea become permanent nuclear powers, the U.S. military threat will decline further. Any action against either country would be tempered by the possibility of a nuclear exchange. Worse, other regional powers (Japan, South Korea, Egypt, Saudi Arabia) may decide to go nuclear to have deterrence. A black market in atomic technology would almost inevitably follow -- increasing the odds of terrorists acquiring a bomb further leveling the playing field.

The end of the Cold War probably reduced, not increased, American power because the Cold War was a canard for enriching corporations that have now moved on accelerating their moves as the economic opportunity sucking off the tit of U.S. foreign policy became more problematic. Giving the insatiability of the international armaments machine Iraq is just a snack. Without the Soviet threat, Europe and Japan felt less reason to bow to U.S. leadership though NATO rapidly morphed into an international hit squad. China's emergence is altering the world balance. “To grow rich is glorious.” In spirit, its economic policies are mercantilist. It subsidizes its exports with an artificially low exchange rate; it is seeking captive oil supplies. China's policies are for China, not a stable world because transitions of hegemony from one international power to another are never conduits of stability. The fact that Henry Kissinger is still consulted by U.S. policy makers as an agent for U.S. interests demonstrates how violent change will be and how weak the American position already is. Kissinger probably stopped having American interests at heart in the cradle or when he started squealing on fellow academics at Harvard to the FBI, but certainly his trips to China in the 1970’s as Nixon’s Secretary of State left no doubt as to where his lack of loyalty to anything but money and power lie.

America won't retire from the world stage without a fight, a bloody protracted fight which is likely to end up being waged on American soil because U.S. resistance will be as intense as the Conderacy or the Nazis. America’s love of Gameboys and SUV is all they’ve got. When their debt gets called in, like the shop til you drop crowd they are, they’ll stand their ground to the last. It’ll make suicide bombers and jihad look like puppy shit.

In the aftermath, how active the U.S. will be is unclear. What’s left after shopping? Iraq has reduced its national confidence and credibility. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid spending are already twice defense spending and the U.S. seems to be simply unable to manage the kind of social programs that define European democracies. Generational attitudes are shifting. A poll of 18- to 24-year-olds finds that 72 percent don't think the United States should take the lead in solving global crises because it might mean they’ll get torn away from doing the great shit the Afghan war is bringing to our fair shores and get their asses blown off protecting those very same CIA drug supply routes like many a G.I. in Southeast Asia, reports Paul Starobin in National Journal. "Today's 18-year-old college freshman was still in diapers when, well, Reagan was in diapers and the Berlin Wall fell in 1989," he writes. There's little memory of the Cold War, let alone World War II and the things that Ted Shackley and Felix Rodriguez did on their behalf, fuckin’ little ingrates.

Given the rampant anti-Americanism that U.S. low intensity warfare has caused abroad today, the fading of Pax Americana has inspired a new round of Pox Americana and LICs. The United States is widely regarded as an arrogant source of instability, blamed for many global woes (Remember we’re Number One)-- from greenhouse gases to Islamic militancy to unpopular globalization to wholesale murder of anyone that opposes them. No one can know what will replace Pox Americana, but with time, the people who now celebrate its decline may conclude that its failures were mainly those of good intentions and inevitably people capable of such sentiments will have been in diapers when the Pox Americana flourished, either too young to recall the murder and rapine or, like the people who concoct the editorial page at the Washington Post shitting into their depends as the slaughter the perpetuate goes on all around them.