Where Democracy Ends, Fascism Begins

by NORMAN POLLACK

In today’s Washington Post (Mar. 27) Greg Miller and Julie Tate report on John Brennan’s facing “a quandary over clandestine service appointment,” the term “quandary,” in this case, ordinarily signifying perplexity or doubt, is really not quite accurate, because a) he knows who and what he wants already, b) he is engaged in damage control, knowingly advancing a candidate directly associated with torture, which might give The Agency (shades of Kafka) a bad name and antagonize Senate Intelligence, and c) he least of all wants to bring the clandestine service into public view, the secretive division within the secretive agency presiding over, among other questionable activities (i.e., violations of international and national law) the secretive armed drone program for targeted assassination.

Not unusual for the Obama administration:  Three layers of secretiveness, and that just for starters in this one realm.  One would almost think here of children’s games, except that we are speaking of the core of lethality in the conduct of American foreign policy.  Again, not surprising, the candidate is nameless, faceless, the record out of reach, just like the video records of torture she helped to destroy (without authorization from above, obviously, because CIA higher-ups will do everything to ensure deniability, especially where war crimes are concerned); all we know is that she is a woman, and that senior officials have used the prospective appointment—she is presently temporary director of NCS—as evidence of diversity, a “two-fer” for CIA, both a woman and very much respected for her activities in torture, thus, as the new Agency Director, a feather in Brennan’s cap.

Obama chose wisely.  Halfway through the First Term, we learned that Brennan had become his closest adviser, not only on national security, but with that central, how this feeds into the wider geopolitical strategy of USG.  One could not ask for a more competent adviser, given Obama’s attunement to the doctrine and practice of permanent war, most clearly foreshadowed by and then embodied in the drone program of assassination.

The post-World War II legacy of Marshall Plan-style foreign aid to strengthen Rightist leaders and governments (as well as penetrate the internal economies of the recipient nations) has now given way to the terrorization of peoples, pure and simple.  As we learn more about the armed drones, despite the tight secrecy of their operations (location of airstrips, weaponry, delivery systems, number of missions, number of civilian casualties), the reputed counterterrorism purpose gives way to the larger design, counterrevolution on the international level, but, more to the point here, the effect on the individual of a deliberate mounting of sheer panic, not unlike Nazi UAV raids over London, to soften the path for resurgent US political-economic-ideological influence, and therefore part of the nuts-and-bolts of counterrevolution itself.

Obama-Brennan-CIA, a lovely troika qua hegemonic battering ram, reached a structural convergence, aka The National Security State, just in the nick of time, as America has begun an accelerated decline from numero uno in global power  and now perhaps vainly seeks to reassert its unilateralism in world politics at the very moment alternative modes of organization—the rise of multipolar centers of power—some quite possibly even socialist, are on the historical boards.  For our troika, anything goes!  Assassination, torture, covert operations, the wider use of paramilitary forces, cyberwarfare, massive “defense” spending (what a misnomer), modernization of nuclear weaponry, naval power, from itty-bitty littoral craft to supercarriers,…god, the list is inspiring, as thrilling to recite, as is the experience of watching Stealth flyovers at the halftime of big football games.  I already have a lump in my throat.  And we owe this resurgence of American power to Barack Obama, his man at CIA, and, not to be forgotten, the CIA’s partner in spreading democracy, JSOC, itself running the military wing (remember, the CIA is, yes,  civilian) of the drone assassination program, or in today’s terms, the more neutral-sounding “project.”

Our Lady-in-Waiting, at National Clandestine, will probably get the permanent appointment, and Brennan also will probably keep the Senate Report on the Agency, with Sen. Feinstein’s cooperation, secret.  Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. Except that it’s not the same thing. At first, a year in, I thought of Obama as Bush II, but, still in the first term, I realized that he has introduced a qualitative change, a more tightly integrated (i.e., systemic) militarized capitalism, not simply, capitalism at a higher or more mature stage, conventionally thought of as the monopolistic consolidation of industry and banking, but that along with an authoritarian formation enshrouded in secrecy, all accountability out the window.  Therefore the human troika has as its counterpart a structural troika: financialization, militarization, privatization.  No wonder a National Clandestine Service, the next step: joint CIA-JSOC activity within the United States.  Drones overhead, not Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, but California, New York, Illinois.

Norman Pollack is the author of “The Populist Response to Industrial America” (Harvard) and “The Just Polity” (Illinois), Guggenheim Fellow, and professor of history emeritus, Michigan State University.

 

Norman Pollack has written on Populism. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 05, 2015
John Eskow
The Fake Courage of Caitlyn Jenner
Mike Whitney
 The Brookings Institute Plan to Liquidate Syria 
John K. White
Life on the Layaway Plan: We’re All Greek Now
Ted Rall
14 Years Ago, a Woman Vindicated Me Now
Thomas Mountain
A Letter From Africa to #BlackLivesMatter
Roger Annis
Well-Known Canadian Journalist Visits Ukraine and Praises neo-Nazi
August 04, 2015
Vincent J. Roscigno
University Bureaucracy as Organized Crime
Paul Street
Bernie Sanders’ Top Five Race Problems: the Whiteness of Nominal Socialism
Herbert Dyer, Jr.
Is White Supremacy a Mental Disorder?
Ramzy Baroud
The Palestinian Bubble and the Burning of Toddler, Ali Dawabsha
Pepe Escobar
Reshuffling Eurasia’s Energy Deck — Iran, China and Pipelineistan
L. Michael Hager
The Battle Over BDS
Eric Draitser
Puerto Rico: Troubled Commonwealth or Debt Colony?
Colin Todhunter
Hypnotic Trance in Delhi: Monsanto, GMOs and the Looting of India’s Agriculture
Benjamin Willis
The New Cubanologos: What’s in a Word?
Matt Peppe
60 Minutes Provides Platform for US Military
Binoy Kampmark
The Turkish Mission: Reining in the Kurds
Eoin Higgins
Teaching Lessons of White Supremacy in Prime-Time: Blackrifice in the Post-Apocalyptic World of the CW’s The 100
Gary Corseri
Gaza: Our Child’s Shattered Face in the Mirror
Robert Dodge
The Nuclear World at 70
Paula Bach
Exit the Euro? Polemic with Greek Economist Costas Lapavitsas
August 03, 2015
Jack Dresser
The Case of Alison Weir: Two Palestinian Solidarity Organizations Borrow from Joe McCarthy’s Playbook
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Atomic Era Turns 70, as Nuclear Hazards Endure
Nelson Valdes
An Internet Legend: the Pope, Fidel and the Black President
Robert Hunziker
The Perfectly Nasty Ocean Storm
Ahmad Moussa
Incinerating Palestinian Children
Greg Felton
Greece Succumbs to Imperialist Banksterism
Binoy Kampmark
Stalling the Trans-Pacific Partnership: the Failure of the Hawai’i Talks
Ted Rall
My Letter to Nick Goldberg of the LA Times
Mark Weisbrot
New Greek Bailout Increases the Possibility of Grexit
Jose Martinez
Black/Hispanic/Women: a Leadership Crisis
Victor Grossman
German Know-Nothings Today
Patrick Walker
We’re Not Sandernistas: Reinventing the Wheels of Bernie’s Bandwagon
Norman Pollack
Moral Consequences of War: America’s Hegemonic Thirst
Ralph Nader
Republicans Support Massive Tax Evasion by Starving IRS Budget
Alexander Reid Ross
Colonial Pride and the Killing of Cecil the Lion
Suhayb Ahmed
What’s Happening in Britain: Jeremy Corbyn and the Future of the Labour Party
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times