FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The New Neo-Con Reality

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re  studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new  realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s  actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

–Bush White House aide explaining the New Reality

The New American Century lasted a decade.  Financial crisis and defeated objectives in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Georgia brought the neoconservative project for American world hegemony crashing to a close in the autumn of 2008.

The neocons used September 11, 2001, as a “new Pearl Harbor” to give power precedence over law domestically and internationally.  The executive branch no longer had to obey federal statutes, such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or honor international treaties, such as the Geneva Conventions.  An asserted “terrorist threat” to national security became the cloak which hid US imperial interests as the Bush Regime set about dismantling US civil liberties and the existing order of international law constructed by previous governments during the post-war era.

Perhaps the neoconservative project for world hegemony would have lasted a bit longer had the neocons possessed intellectual competence.

On the war front, the incompetent neocons predicted that the Iraq war would be a six-week cakewalk, whose $70 billion cost would be paid out of Iraqi oil revenues.  President Bush fired White House economist Larry Lindsey for estimating that the war would cost $200 billion.   The current estimate by experts is that the Iraq war has cost American taxpayers between two and three trillion dollars. And the six-week war is now the six-year war.

On the economic front, the incompetent neocons overlooked the fact that a country that relocates its industry and best jobs abroad in order to maximize short-run profits becomes progressively economically weaker.  Propagandistic talk about a “New Economy” built around financial dominance covered up the fact that the US was the world’s greatest debtor country, dependent on foreigners to finance the daily operation of its government, the home mortgages of its citizens, and its military operations abroad.

In Iraq the neocons gave up their hegemonic military pretensions when they put 80,000 Sunni insurgents on the US Army’s payroll in order to scale down the fighting and reduce US casualties.

In Afghanistan the neocons gave up more military pretensions when they had to rely on NATO troops to fight the Taliban.

US military pretensions came to an end in Georgia when the Bush Regime sent Georgian troops to ethnically cleanse South Ossetia of Russian residents in order to end the secessionist movement in the province, thereby clearing the path for Georgia’s NATO membership. It took Russian soldiers only a few hours to destroy the US and Israeli trained and equipped Georgian Army.

The ongoing financial crisis has put an end to the pretensions of American financial hegemony and free-market illusions that deregulation and offshoring had brought prosperity to America.

In a long article, “The End of Arrogance,” on September 30, the German news magazine Der Spiegel  observed:

This is no longer the muscular and arrogant United States the world knows, the  superpower that sets the rules for everyone else and that considers its  way of  thinking and doing business to be the only road to success.

Also on display is the end of arrogance. The Americans are now paying the price for  their pride.

Gone are the days when the US could go into debt with abandon, without considering  who would end up footing the bill. And gone are the days when it could impose its  economic rules of engagement on the rest of the world, rules that emphasized  profit above all else — without ever considering that such returns cannot be  achieved by doing business in a respectable way.

A new chapter in economic history has begun, one in which the United States will no longer play its former dominant role. A process of redistributing money and power  around the world — away from America and toward the resource-rich countries and  rising industrialized nations in Asia — has been underway for years. The financial  crisis will only accelerate the process.

Looking at his defeated adversary, George W. Bush, brought down by military and economic failure, Iranian President Ahmadinejad observed:  “The American empire in the world is reaching the end of its road, and its next rulers must limit their interference to their own borders.”

Truer words were never spoken.

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: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

August 06, 2020
H. Bruce Franklin
How the Fascists Won World War II
Robert Jacobs – Ran Zwigenberg
The American Narrative of Hiroshima is a Statue that Must be Toppled
Howie Hawkins - Madelyn Hoffman
Reverse the New Nuclear Arms Race
Brian Kelly
Ireland and Slavery: Debating the ‘Irish Slaves Myth’
Talli Nauman
Native Americans Win Historic Victories in U.S. High Court Rulings
David Mattson
“Man Attacks Grizzly” and Other Leading Bleeding Stories
Jack Rasmus
US GDP Collapses and Economic Rebound Fades
John Kendall Hawkins
Suffrage: The Myth of Sisterphus
George Ochenski
An Unbelievably Disastrous State of Affairs
George Wuerthner
Trouble in Paradise Valley
Binoy Kampmark
State of Pandemic Disaster: Melbourne Moves to Stage Four
Howard Lisnoff
The ACLU Has Never Done a Damn Thing for Me
Priyanka Singh – Sujeet Singh
Time to Empower the Invisibles: India Awaits a Mental Health Revolution
CounterPunch News Service
Conservationists to Federal Agencies: Restore Protections for Imperiled Wildlife in the Flathead National Forest
August 05, 2020
Roy Eidelson
Black Lives Matter: Resisting the Propaganda of Status Quo Defenders
Melvin Goodman
The Department of Homeland Security: the Ideal Authoritarian Tool
Paul Street
Misleaders at a Funeral: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama Eulogizing Racial Justice in the Name of John Lewis
Seiji Yamada
Hiroshima, Technique, and Bioweapons
Vijay Prashad
How Trump Managed to Lead the World with the Worst Response to the COVID Pandemic
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s Alternative
Jonas Ecke
The Worst Hunger Season Yet to Come: Global Moral Failure in the Time of Covid-19
Rafiq Kathwari
The Battle for Kashmir
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Arch-Kleptocrat is Found Guilty
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
U.S. Cold War China Policy Will Isolate the U.S, Not China
Lee Camp
Why Housing Is a Human Right
Sam Pizzigati
For Egalitarians, a Sudden Sense of Possibility
Jonathan Cook
Can Israelis Broaden Their Protests Beyond Netanyahu?
Thomas Knapp
Ten Years After Lieberman’s “Internet Kill Switch,” the War on Freedom Rages On
Binoy Kampmark
Staying on Message: Australia, the US and the AUSMIN Talks
Elliot Sperber
The View From Saturn 
August 04, 2020
John Pilger
Another Hiroshima is Coming…Unless We Stop It Now
Dave Lindorff
Unsung Heroes of Los Alamos: Rethinking Manhattan Project Spies and the Cold War
Kenneth Good
Escalating State Repression and Covid-19: Their Impact on the Poor in Kenya
Dean Baker
We Need an Economic Survival Package Not Another Stimulus
David Rosen
Globalization and the End of the American Dream
John Feffer
The Pandemic Reveals a Europe More United Than the United States
Patrick Cockburn
The Government’s Failed Track-and-Trace System is a Disaster for England
Ramzy Baroud
‘Optimism of the Will’: Palestinian Freedom is Possible Now
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Yale Faculty on Hydroxychloroquine and Its Use in COVID-19
Manuel García, Jr.
Ocean Heat: From the Tropics to the Poles
Sonali Kolhatkar
Why the Idea of Jobless Benefits Scares the Conservative Mind
Greta Anderson
Framing Wolves in New Mexico?
Binoy Kampmark
Pulling Out of Germany: Trump Adjusts the Military Furniture
Shawn Fremstad – Nicole Rodgers
COVID Stimulus Checks Shouldn’t Penalize One-Parent Households
Adam Shah
The 1 Percent’s Attack on Unemployment Benefits is a Sign of Our Broken Democracy
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail