The Bush regime currently has wars underway in Afghanistan and in Iraq and can bring neither to a conclusion. Undeterred by these failures, the Bush regime gives every indication that it intends to start a war with Iran, a country that is capable of responding to US aggression over a broader front than the Sunni resistance has mounted in Iraq.
The US lacks sufficient conventional capability to prevail in such widespread conflict. The US also lacks the financial resources. Iraq alone has already cost several hundred billion borrowed dollars, with experts’ estimates putting the ultimate cost in excess of one trillion dollars.
Moreover, the Bush regime’s belligerent foreign policy extends to regions beyond the Middle East. The Bush regime has recently declared election outcomes in former Soviet republics as “unacceptable.”
The “unacceptable” outcomes are those that do not empower parties aligned with the US and NATO. Russians view the Bush regime’s “democracy programs” for Ukraine, Georgia and Belarus as an effort to push Russia northward and deprive it of warm water ports.
Russian leaders speak of the “messianism of American foreign policy” leading to a new cold war.
An article in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, long regarded as a voice of the American foreign policy establishment, concludes that the Bush regime “is openly seeking primacy in every dimension of modern military technology, both in its conventional arsenal and in its nuclear forces.” The article suggests that the US has now achieved nuclear superiority and could succeed with a preemptive nuclear attack on both Russia and China. Considering the extreme delusions of the neoconservative warmongers who control the Bush regime, the publication of this article will encourage more aggressive assertions of American hegemony.
The article has “had an explosive effect” in Russia, according to former prime minister Yegor Gaidar. The fact that Russia’s nuclear missiles are no longer seen to be sufficiently robust to serve as deterrents could dangerously unleash restraints on the neoconservatives’ proclivity to impose their will on the world.
The authors of the Foreign Policy article write that America’s nuclear primacy positions the US “to check the ambitions of dangerous states such as China, North Korea, and Iran.” Neocons, of course, never see their own ambitions as dangerous.
The Bush regime has succeeded in committing America to a belligerent and messianic foreign policy that means years of wars at a minimum and likely preemptive US nuclear attacks against other countries.
How will Americans pay for the decades of war that the neocons are fomenting? The Afghan and Iraqi wars are being financed by the Chinese and Japanese whose loans cover the Bush regime’s budgetary red ink. Can US nuclear primacy succeed in forcing the indefinite extension of this financing as a form of tribute? Can the neoconservatives subdue the Islamic Middle East with nuclear weapons without endangering the flow of oil?
The classic method of war finance is inflation. The Romans destroyed the intrinsic value of their coinage with lead. When the US can no longer sell its bonds, it can print money.
The US might have nuclear primacy, but it no longer has economic primacy. The US economy has been living on debt. In 2005 American consumers overspent their incomes for the first time since the Great Depression. The rising trade deficit is cutting into economic growth. Middle class jobs for Americans are being lost to offshore outsourcing and to foreigners brought in on work visas. Salaries in the jobs that remain are being forced down. Adjusted for inflation, starting salaries for university graduates are declining. Business Week’s Michael Mandel (September 15, 2005) compared starting salaries in 2005 with those in 2001. He found a 12.7 % decline in computer science pay, a 12% decline in computer engineering pay, and a 10.2% decline in electrical engineering pay. Psychology majors experienced a 9.3% fall in starting salaries, marketing a 6.5% decline, business administration a 5.7% fall, and accounting majors were offered 2.3% less.
Economist Alan Blinder, a former vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve, estimates that 42-56 million American service sector jobs are susceptible to offshore outsourcing. Whether or not all of these jobs leave, US salaries will be forced down by the willingness of foreigners to do the work for less.
By substituting cheaper foreign labor for US labor, globalization boosts corporate profits and managerial bonuses at the expense of workers pay. We are seeing the end of the broadly shared prosperity of the post-WWII era. Education and re-training are no protection against offshoring and foreign workers entering America on work visas.
Americans at the lower end of the income scale are being decimated by massive legal and illegal immigration that has dramatically increased the labor supply in construction, cleaning services, and slaughterhouses.
With incomes flat or falling and prices rising, increased taxation to finance the neoconservatives’ wars of aggression is not in the cards.
The Bush regime with the support of both political parties preaches democracy to the world while ignoring it at home. Polls show that Americans are opposed to open borders and amnesties for illegals. But a government willing to dictate to the world is willing to dictate to its own citizens. We are witnessing the American citizen’s loss of his voice and the rise of concentrated power. The primacy that the neocons are seeking over the world will prevail over the American people, too.
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org