Tuesday, January 29, 2013

OBAMA Style Neoconservative Imperialism


"US Plans to Add Drone Base in Africa" by Craig Whitlock published in the The Washington Post 1/28/2013: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-plans-to-add-drone-base-in-west-africa/2013/01/28/ce312c24-6994-11e2-aba3-d72352683b69_story.html

[excerpted] The US and Niger 'finalized a new “status of forces” agreement that would permit the expanded presence of U.S. troops in the country....Two Obama administration officials said military planners are eyeing the West African country of Niger as a base for unarmed Predator drones, which would greatly boost U.S. spy missions in the region. 

Majia here: So, it appears that the US is expanding its existing military forces in Africa by establishing a drone base.

The US is an Empire of Disorder. Unlike the Romans who at least established some semblance of order, the US is a chaotic empire that leaves wreck and ruin in its wake. 

How did the US come to head the new global empire composed of a complex of military-industrial, financial, and chemical-agricultural companies?

Here is some background, excerpted and paraphrased from my book Governmetality, Biopower and Everyday Life: http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=aeCOwo8iD7kC&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=governmentality+biopower+and+everyday+life&ots=K5nDe46Ju5&sig=QknCY_pZenWOZg3EhVW3352SGJg



Over the last 70 years, U.S. military engagements in the Middle East, South East Asia, and Central America were explained in relation to the securitization and dissemination of liberal, democratic capitalist ways of life rationalized in the 1947 Containment Doctrine, 1957 Eisenhower Doctrine, 1960s Domino Theory, and 1980s Reagan Doctrine, among others (Waldman, 2004). When acknowledged, brute authoritarian force used against dissenting peasants, workers, and rebels in distant lands found legitimacy in the necessities of life. “Enemies” not effectively dehumanized or othered were represented as misguided, na├»ve, or childlike. Human “collateral costs” were, and continue to be, represented as regrettable necessities in order to preserve the American national way of life: liberal democratic capitalism.

In response to resistance against the effects of neoliberal market strategies and technologies, a wide range of private and public “philanthropic” apparatuses emerged (or became more visible), and promised to foster liberal, democratic values and markets abroad. American philanthropic institutions often display their missionary zeal in their statements of “democracy promotion” (House, 2006, p. A26). Among others, these organizations include: The National Endowment for Democracy: (http://www.ned.org/); The International Republican Institute (http://www.iri.org/); The Center for International and Private Enterprise (http://www.cipe.org/); Freedom House: (http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=1)

        Together, international lending, trade, and “democracy promotion” organizations aim to promote liberal democratic capitalism facilitating western corporate market penetration while “educating” overseas populations in the principles and practices of marketized, democratic personhood. For example, President Bush’s “Millennium Challenge Corporation,” created in 2002, sought to ensure “good governance” by making foreign assistance contingent upon compliance with social, market, and governmental policy (Phillips, M., 2006). These discourses of democracy promotion reflect the missionary zeal of Manifest Destiny but are couched in secular frameworks of American-style good governance.

However, not all imperial undertakings have been cloaked in NGO wrappings. The Project for the New American Century, composed of neoconservatives, gained power under George Bush II. Neoconservatives prefer direct state action to enforce dispersion of American liberal-democratic capitalism, as illustrated by this introduction (which is no longer available on the webpage):
The Project for the New American Century is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to a few fundamental propositions: that American leadership is good both for America and for the world; and that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle.
The Project for the New American Century intends, through issue briefs, research papers, advocacy journalism, conferences, and seminars, to explain what American world leadership entails. It will also strive to rally support for a vigorous and principled policy of American international involvement and to stimulate useful public debate on foreign and defense policy and America’s role in the world. (“The Project,” n.d.)

Supplementing this introduction is the organization’s statement of principles by leading members, which articulates commitments including an explicit need to “accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles” (“Statement,” n.d.).

As Norton (2004) argued in Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire, the Straussian-influenced neoconservative policy agenda has directly shaped U.S. intervention in the Middle East, engineering its policy toward Israel, and its efforts toward regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq (see also Drury, 1999; Postel, 2003).The American religious right strongly favors U.S. support for Israel because of their belief Israel fulfills Biblical prophecy (Higgins, 2006). The convergence of neoconservative foreign policy agendas and evangelical support for Israel shaped U.S. foreign policy under the George W. Bush administration (2001-present). Manifest Destiny oddly embraced Zionism.

George W. Bush’s administration strove to revitalize America by reinvigorating patriotism domestically while fostering an image of national strength abroad. The collapse of the Soviet Union had posed an epistemic problem for the U.S. across the 1990s as it had lost its central, defining adversary (Stephanson, 1995). The global dissemination of (neo)liberal market operations, technologies, and ideologies provided a kind of (secularized) proof of Manifest Destiny but lacked the ideational impact necessary to mobilize populations. Moreover, neoliberal market technologies and ideologies were subject to multiple, populist and moralistic, discourses of resistance. The events of September 11 reinvigorated American patriotism while presenting a force against which America’s Manifest Destiny could be pitted. “Global terrorism” and “despotic regimes” became the new enemies uniting the nation.

The Obama Administration has pursued the Neoconservative agenda as vociferously as George Bush the II using both “pro-democracy” NGOs and the expansion of military policing around the globe. Drone warfare and support for domestic insurgents against targeted resource-rich regimes (Libya, Syria, and now the entire continent of Arica) has been the iconic strategy of Obama style imperialism.

RESOURCES

Majia here: I strongly urge readers to watch Adam Curtis' series The Power of Nightmares to understand how the "war on terror" has been constructed and waged here 


In 2011 Reuters warned that "Secret panel can put Americans on "kill list' http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/05/us-cia-killlist-idUSTRE79475C20111005

 
NDAA Indefinite Detention Provision Back in Effect By Josh Gerstein, Politico  03 October 12
http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/13779-ndaa-indefinite-detention-provision-back-in-effect


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