Britain is a small and withered appendage of the American imperium, but it still serves as a mineshaft canary and microcosm of the fetid atmosphere of the Potomac Empire, as John Pilger demonstrates in an excellent article at Antiwar.com. Pilger explores some of the “intellectual” underpinnings of the current order, and identifies one of the root causes of the degradation of democracy and society on both sides of the Atlantic: rampant, rapacious, relentless militarism. Perpend:
A “think tank” called Demos exemplified this new order. A founder of Demos, Geoff Mulgan, himself rewarded with a job in one of Blair’s “policy units,” wrote a book called Connexity. “In much of the world today,” he offered, “the most pressing problems on the public agenda are not poverty or material shortage . . . but rather the disorders of freedom: the troubles that result from having too many freedoms that are abused rather than constructively used.” As if celebrating life in another solar system, he wrote: “For the first time ever, most of the world’s most powerful nations do not want to conquer territory.”
That reads now, as it ought to have read then, as dark parody in a world where more than 24,000 children die every day from the effects of poverty and at least a million people lie dead in just one territory conquered by the most powerful nations. However, it serves to remind us of the political “culture” that has so successfully fused traditional liberalism with the lunar branch of western political life and allowed our “too many freedoms” to be taken away as ruthlessly and anonymously as wedding parties in Afghanistan have been obliterated by our bombs.
The product of these organized delusions is rarely acknowledged. The current economic crisis, with its threat to jobs and savings and public services, is the direct consequence of a rampant militarism comparable, in large part, with that of the first half of the last century, when Europe’s most advanced and cultured nation committed genocide. Since the 1990s, America’s military budget has doubled. Like the national debt, it is currently the largest ever. The true figure is not known, because up to 40 per cent is classified “black” – it is hidden. Britain, with a weapons industry second only to the US, has also been militarized.
…In the meantime, an American invasion of Pakistan is [now] under way, secretly authorized by President Bush. The “change” candidate for president, Barack Obama, had already called for an invasion and more aircraft and bombs. The ironies are searing. A Pakistani religious school attacked by American drone missiles, killing 23 people, was set up in the 1980s with CIA backing. It was part of Operation Cyclone, in which the US armed and funded mujahedin groups that became al-Qaeda and the Taliban…
It is a war of the world. In Latin America, the Bush administration is fomenting incipient military coups in Venezuela, Bolivia, and possibly Paraguay, democracies whose governments have opposed Washington’s historic rapacious intervention in its “backyard.” Washington’s “Plan Colombia” is the model for a mostly unreported assault on Mexico. This is the Merida Initiative, which will allow the United States to fund “the war on drugs and organized crime” in Mexico – a cover, as in Colombia, for militarizing its closest neighbor and ensuring its “business stability.”
Britain is tied to all these adventures – a British “School of the Americas” is to be built in Wales, where British soldiers will train killers from all corners of the American empire in the name of “global security.”
But this global war of the Anglo-American elite against all those who threaten their supremacy — including the people of their own countries — rages on little noticed. As Pilger notes in a reference to the current season of UK party conferences that could apply equally well to the ludicrous carnival of the US presidential campaign: