Finding itself in Republican sights and with no Democratic power center to offer protection, National Public Radio is turning into an upscale version of Fox “News.” Nevertheless, information still gets out if the listener is sufficiently attentive.
On July 5, NPR’s “All Things Considered” interviewed two warmongers for their views on the North Korean missile test. One was Ashton Carter, a Clinton administration Assistant Secretary of Defense, now at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. The other was Ambassador Christopher Hill, an Assistant Secretary of State in the Bush regime.
The Clinton DOD assistant secretary is coauthor of a recent article advocating an unilateral US military attack on North Korea. HIs first pitch on NPR was that the whole region, not just the US, is threatened by North Korea and that everyone should gang up on North Korea to make them behave. The NPR interviewer asked Carter to reconcile his multilateralism with his own recommendation for the US to unilaterally attack North Korea. Carter replied that North Korea’s missile was developed to attack us, so we had to protect ourselves.
When the NPR interviewer asked Carter why deterrence would fail with North Korea when deterrence succeeded in the case of the more powerful Soviet Union, Carter agreed that North Korea was not sufficiently insane to launch an attack on the US. So, if the US is not in danger of being attacked by North Korea, why does Carter want to attack North Korea?
The answer is, well, you see, if we permit North Korea to develop any weapon with which they might be able to stand up to us on some issue critical to North Korea, well, they might not do as we want them to do. Carter could not conceive of a world in which any country existed that might be able to behave differently than the US dictates.
Ambassador Hill agreed, but he came at it in a different way. Hill’s view is that it is China’s, Japan’s, and South Korea’s responsibility to make North Korea behave as the US wants it to behave. Both Hill and Carter agreed that no country, with the exception of Israel, has a right to any interests of its own unless it is an interest that coincides with US interests. No other interest is legitimate.
Listening to the pair of hegemonic maniacs, I realized that the US is the new Rome–there is no legitimate power but us. Any other power is a potential threat to our interests and must be eliminated before it gets any independent ideas. The US, however, is far more dangerous than Rome. Rome saw its world as the Mediterranean and, for a while, Northern Europe, but the US thinks the whole world is its oyster. The Bush regime is busy trying to marginalize Russia, and neocons are preparing war plans to attack China before that country can achieve military parity with the US.
Gentle reader, consider what it means when our government believes other countries have no right to their own interests unless they coincide with US interests. It means that we are the tyrant country. We cannot be the tyrant country without being perceived as the tyrant country. Consequently, the rest of the world unites against us.
How is the US, which has spent three years proving that it cannot successfully occupy Iraq, a small country of only 25 million people, going to control India, China, Russia, Europe, Africa and South America?
It’s not going to happen.
What it does mean is that the US government in its hubris and delusion is going to continue starting wars and attacking other countries until a coalition of greater forces smashes us. Even among our European allies we are already perceived as the greatest threat to world peace and stability.
Our power is not what it once was. We are weak in manufacturing and dependent on China for advanced technology products. We are dependent on China to finance our wars, our budget and trade deficits. How long will China accommodate us when China reads about Bush’s plans to prevent China from achieving military parity?
The Bush regime thinks that it can have every country under its thumb. Neocons are fond of proclaiming that it is a unipolar world in which the US is supreme. This is a fantasy, and it is rapidly becoming a nightmare.
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