U.S. Rogue State BusinessPolitics / US Politics Feb 13, 2013 - 03:49 PM GMT
KEEPING UP APPEARANCES
Noam Chomsky's new book with David Barsamian 'Power Systems' keeps up appearances in what we can call Rogue State Business, Chomsky's line of business for more than 30 yeas. This business is perhaps in a downturn, but not yet in recession. Defining the difference is easy: being glad when the neighbors lost their jobs, and you didn't, is the American definition of an economic downturn but not, definitely not a recession. Only when you lose your job, is it a recession.
Keeping up the global pretences of "imperial hegemony" is most surely the daily work of Mr Barack Obama, as he now rapidly abandons the unwinnable Afghan-Pak war - against a country of about 30 million inhabitants (not counting the millions of refugees) - that costs US taxpayers $4 billion-a-week. The same as the $4 billion-a-week interest payments on the USA's unpayable sovereign debt, and new "debt limit" which in late January was about $16.39 trillion. A debt "limit" that is growing, of course.
Double defeat and triple dip, we could say, but we will not find that readout from Chomsky and other rogue state writers claiming that American Imperialism is alive, still kicking, and dangerous. Writers and promoters of Rogue State genre-material fill the bookstands with output which has a B2 Stealth bomber on the cover jacket and nothing inside that you hadn't read before, dozens of times!
Noam Chomsky is a star genre writer once described by the New York Times as “arguably the most important intellectual alive”, and “perhaps the clearest voice of dissent in American history” . The latest offering, "Power Systems", has a long and misleading subtitle, but unsurprisingly holds to the tried-and-tested bookselling formula. First and foremost, this genre material claims there is a "US empire", although we dont find it on any maps: perhaps this means Guam and Guantanamo, or "Gitmo"? Or the Federated States of Micronesia? Could this be the Empire of Twitter, hard-wired to the iPhone, produced by a typically overcapitalized and overvalued company claimed to be a "giant of modern American industry"? Apple and the Empire!
THE ROGUE STATE IS DANGEROUS - TO ITSELF
Genre writers like Chomsky and a shortlist of others such as Michael Ruppert quickly move on to tell us this virtual empire, wallowing in debt and deindustrialization, unable to beat the Talibans in a rather antiquated 19th century-syle colonial war (or 20th century failed Soviet-style colonial war), is an awful bloodcurdling threat for the entire world. Some go as far to say it may threaten the solar system thanks to Mars rangers spreading critical disinformation on the Red Planet, in the Rogue State's quest to turn it Blue. Here on Earth, it uses not particularly accurate and highly illegal drone strikes to spread appreciation, admiration, respect and love for the USA - but it still can't beat the Talibans!
Comsky turns the prayer wheel, and always (but always) tells us the empire is vastly dangerous but is sick and in danger itself: we must buy the next book in the series to find out why.
Chomsky's 2001 book 'The Rogue States' defines the USA as a rogue state: "a state that defies international laws and conventions, (and) does not consider itself bound by the major treaties and conventions, World Court decisions -- in fact, anything except the interests of its own leadership".
Being cynical, we could say 'Welcome to the crowd!'. To what extent do Russia and China, for example, pay heed to conventions and compacts and agreements on anything they think is a waste of time? As far as human rights goes, good old Saudi Arabia still chops off hands and stones wimmin to death - but this did not prevent Hillary Clinton, with a headscarf of course, from visiting the place. Hillary is a Democrat, which for Chomsky means she may be slightly less dangerous a Republican counterpart, but above all should be ashamed of what she was doing.
We can be certain that Russia and China feel "entitled" to rogue status, or rogue state status when they want, but this new and nicely fuzzy go-anywhere buzzword - entitlement - finds a place all over Chomsky's new book. In it, he says the USA's decline could be the result (or cause - readers can take their pick) of what Chomsky says is the general belief of Americans that "Entitlement is a part of the intellectual culture".
This entitlement is what Chomsky says is the cornerstone of US self-righteousness and it self-defined world policing role, but Americans can't help choosing this no win role because "entitlement" is a part of US culture "making us many more enemies than friends". What is entitlement? Chomsky avoids any definition of the term.
Promotional effort for the 2001 'Rogue States' book included Chomsky's claim that the September 11 attacks could be compared to Clinton’s bombing of a pharmaceutical factory near Khartoum, Sudan, that Bill Clinton said was a disguised chem weapons plant, and resulted in possibly tens of thousands of Sudanese deaths as the supply of vital drugs was cut off. This was a "very shocking" claim from Chomsky and helped book sales. Chomsky's readership also increased when he said, regarding Osama Bin Laden’s death, that: “We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush's compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic”. Millions of American voters, of the 2008 variety at least, might be quietly satisfied with this as long as the sea burial was discreet and seemly. To be sure, the Bush compound would have to be demolished afterwards, but that would also produce gripping newsreel footage - and book material.
THE RULE OF FORCE
Chomsky's rogue states book was a maxi offering, with the subtitle 'The Rule Of Force In World Affairs' but force has a long track record in world affairs, and this genre of political action dates from a long way back. Unfortunately, it threatens to hang on and hang in a long way into the future, with or without the "New Impeium" of the USA.
As far back as 1985, the Evil Empire-baiting president Reagan thundered at the mike: "We are not going to tolerate … attacks from outlaw states by the strangest collection of misfits, loony tunes, and squalid criminals since the advent of the Third Reich". In which the Bush family rather heavily invested until long after the last minute in 1941, but that of course is an aside - business is business.
By the 1990s under Clinton, and above all after George W. Bush's New Imperium edged into the TV studios, the list of Rogue States only grew. The rather sudden, rather abrupt disappearance of the Evil Soviet Empire in 1989 did not cause the list to shrink. The new list only concerned smaller and smaller states, powers and - Reagan said it a long time ago - plenty of loony tunes. Chomsky can be counted on to tell us that attacking smaller and smaller states and powers - even loony tunes that dont exist such as al-Qaeda - proves The Rogue State is alive and dangerous. We could say its new downsized list of Beatable Enemies only proves how flimsy and fragile it has become, itself. Chomsky would rather certainly not agree with that readout from his latest book!
Chomsky spends plenty of time, these days, telling us The Rogue State must fight the ultimate Mortal Enemy: anthropogenic global warming!
With extreme vigor but only since 2011, Chomsky has joined the thinning ranks of self-elected Climate Change Martyrs who moan that they are the victims of Dark Forces who deny there is such a thing as global warming or climate change. Noam Chomsky, like a select list of respected, admired and loved (or at least rich) list of genre writers, including Al Gore, says these Dark Forces include chambers of commerce, Big Oil, Big Coal, the American Petroleum Institute, carmakers, hedge funds, China, India, OPEC and plenty of others. They are carrying out a coordinated campaign “to try and convince the population that global warming is a liberal hoax.”
We could say it is certainly "liberal" in the sense of generous and wide-ranging, not particularly truthful or interested in details, but of particular concern for Chomsky is the atmosphere of anger, fear and hostility that he says currently reigns in America. Climate change fighters are in his opinion (lengthily presented in 'Power Systems') facing the blowback from public distrust and disgust of Democrats, Republicans, big business, banks, the media and pop-eyed scientists gurgling that we will all be fried "before the end of the century". He seems surprised and disappointed by this.
FORCING THE PUBLIC
The public’s distrust of scientists, Chomsky moans, leads to general disregard for the findings of what many of the public call “pointy-headed intellectuals". In a recent interview Chomsky said: "If this was happening in some small country it wouldn’t matter much. But when it’s happening in the richest, most powerful country in the world, it’s a danger to the survival of the species".
The species, here, is believers that fighting bad weather needs a $500 per tonne tax on greenhouse gas emissions - roughly equivalent to a new and additional energy tax of around $5 per US gallon of fuel. Say a forecourt filling station price of $400 per barrel of 42 US gallons for Americans, and over $600 a barrel for Europeans.
That would certainly shake up the "rogue state" and probably or possibly cause the final economic collapse of the New Imperium, we could bet! But whether it can Save The Climate and release polar bears from servitude is altogether a different story. Chomsky however tells us it is vital. Winters aren't what they used to be - those homeless street sleepers just don't seem to die like they used to.
In any case and using GDP per capita data from the UN, the IMF, the IBRD or any other source we will find that all kinds of countries, states or nations are considerably richer than the USA. Chomsky is always obliged to either exaggerate - or lie. Whether the Rogue State is "the most powerful country in the world" is another question that nobody, including Chomsky, can answer but when it concerns man made climate change, as any Hockey Stick graph cobbler would agree,but only in private and certainly not by email, lying and exaggeration are a vital basic necessity for keeping up the hysteria-content on global warming, which is literally running out of heat.
AND WHAT ABOUT IRAN?
Chomsky's new book naturally has a chunk of genre materiel about Iran. Historians can note the USA lost its Imperial Hegemony over the Shah's ruritanian Muslim-flavored Persian police state in 1979. That was 33 years ago. Spicing up his new book, Chomsky comes out with what almost seems like open support for Iran — most definitely not New York Times editorial material. He writes that “One of the charges against Iran, the big foreign policy threat, is that it is destabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan. How? By trying to expand its influence into neighboring countries. On the other hand, we ‘stabilize’ countries when we invade them and destroy them.”
Apparently not Afghanistan, it seems. This small country was invaded but the invader was beaten, turned around and pushed back. The US and its dwindling band of allies will soon be scarpering. Afghanistan fought invaders the same way, we might imagine, the USA would fight invaders. To be sure, nobody says Afghanistan was or is a particularly nice place to live (or survive) in. As for Iraq, this is now a Muslim-flavored Mafia state that happens to produce oil, like neighboring Saudi Arabia and the other Petro Princely dictatorships, which did not need prior invasion before becoming Islamic fundamentalist cash-gouging corporate crime syndicates. The only common link is that absolutely none of them either want or need the US, except to consume their exports, whether these exports are opium and heroin or only oil and gas.
Iran genre materiel has a hypnotic prayer wheel taste and flavor. The black and white scratchy newsreel footage of 1970s-vintage nuke power plants, early Iranian rockets, and oil ships steaming in the Persian (we mean Arab) Gulf are relentlessly beamed at us. How are we supposed to react? We could guess that until and unless Iran is bombed into the stone age, leaving quite a lot of radiation behind it, this genre materiel will continue being cranked out at regular intervals as decided by Rogue Editors - until all of the oil in the Arabian peninsula is gone, or we simply don't need it anymore.
Chomsky does not talk about the strange creaky Iran obsession in this way: somebody in the Rogue State, somewhere, thinks we still care and the Official Writer on the subject is called Noam Chomsky. Possibly this is for nostalgic reasons. Possibly in the era of those black-and-white newsreel clips the USA was a "hyper power". Possibly. But believing we are all "fascinated" by this subject 30 or 40 years later on is like expecting us to believe in anthropogenic global warming!
We can summarize by saying Chomsky is a great black-and-white journalist and copywriter, the type that came before colour TV. We could feel sorry for him even if we can be jealous of his ability to sell this genre materiel year in, and year out.
By Andrew McKillop
Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights
Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012
Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.
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