FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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 Ph.D. Harvard, Guggenheim Fellow, early writings on American Populism as a radical movement, prof., activist.. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 29, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
No Laughing Matter: The Manchester Bomber is the Spawn of Hillary and Barack’s Excellent Libyan Adventure
Vijay Prashad
The Afghan Toll
Melvin Goodman
The Washington Post’s Renewed Attack on Whistlblowers
Robert Fisk
We Must Look to the Past, Not ISIS, for the True Nature of Islam
Dean Baker
A Tax on Wall Street Trading is the Best Solution to Income Inequality
Lawrence Davidson
Reality and Its Enemies
Harry Hobbs
Australia’s Time to Recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Sovereignty
Ray McGovern
Will Europe Finally Rethink NATO’s Costs?
Cesar Chelala
Poetry to the Rescue of America’s Soul
Andrew Stewart
Xi, Trump and Geopolitics
Binoy Kampmark
The Merry Life of Dragnet Surveillance
Stephen Martin
The Silent Apartheid: Militarizing Architecture & Infrastructure
Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
David Macaray
Stephen Hawking Needs to Keep His Mouth Shut
Ramzy Baroud
Fear as an Obstacle to Peace: Why Are Israelis So Afraid?
Kathleen Wallace
The Bilious Incongruity of Trump’s Toilet
Seth Sandronsky
Temping Now
Alan Barber – Dean Baker
Blue Collar Blues: Manufacturing Falls in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania in April
Jill Richardson
Saving America’s Great Places
Richard Lawless
Are Credit Rating Agencies America’s Secret Fifth Column?
Louis Proyect
Venezuela Reconsidered
Murray Dobbin
The NDP’s Singh and Ashton: Flash Versus Vision
Ron Leighton
Endarkenment: Postmodernism, Identity Politics, and the Attack on Free Speech
Anthony Papa
Drug War Victim: Oklahoma’s Larry Yarbrough to be Freed after 23 Years in Prison
Rev. John Dear
A Call to Mobilize the Nation Over the Next 18 Months
Yves Engler
Why Anti-Zionism and Anti-Jewish Prejudice Have to Do With Each Other
Ish Mishra
Political Underworld and Adventure Journalism
Binoy Kampmark
Roger Moore in Bondage
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail