The Drums of Wars

In a speech addressing the strafing of Libya by the United States and its allies, President Obama said that the failure to act “would have been a betrayal of who we are,” that a massacre in the country would have “stained the conscience of the world.”  Whenever the Empire’s foreign policy elites start speaking of “developing a partner in the region,” or of — in Obama’s words — the “important strategic interest” in intervening, there is more than just a grain of truth in their sermonizing of war.

It is most certainly in the interest of the American state and its factotums around the world to seize upon the opportunity to replace a regime like Qaddafi’s with something more amendable, with a blank canvass over which the preconditions of statist, corporate capitalism can be set down. The toadyish brainpower of the Empire, people like the Council on Foreign Relations’ Richard N. Haass, can’t help but drop clues pointing to the truth — that there is nothing at all “humanitarian” about U.S. military intervention; he says, regarding the military campaign in Libya, that insofar as “Libya accounts for only 2 percent of world oil production,” “U.S. interests are decidedly less than vital,” putting on display the calculus that characterizes foreign policy decision-making at the top.

“Making the world safe for democracy” has only ever meant making it safe for ruling class interests to devour the resources — both natural and human — of new frontiers thrown wide with the crowbar of the U.S. armed forces; and after Qaddafi is long gone, Libyans who get in the way of that will see just how much an “advocate for human freedom” the United States is. Although the ostensible reasons for the U.S. reaction to Libya, those set out by the President, are “to protect civilians” and “prevent a massacre,” those concerns are conspicuously disregarded by the U.S. daily in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

We can be sure that the substance of U.S. military presence in Libya will be the sprouting up of fresh “kill teams” like the now-infamous Bravo Company of Afghanistan. And when that happens the American people can all feign shock that people trained in indifference to human life, trained to kill indiscriminately when the chain of command orders it, would actually murder civilians. Go figure. In a line of his speech that insults the intelligence of every U.S. citizen, the President shamed nations that could “turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries.”

Apparently he is under the impression that we’re all completely oblivious to the corpses of innocents being piled up (and posed with by the Army) in the battlefields of the Empire. As long as it’s the “anchor of global security” doing the slaughtering, though, with sanction of the U.N. Security Council and the assent of “our international partners,” the whole process becomes hallowed by the liturgies of the Empire.

The American brand of corporate capitalism, itself a war against the productive in contradiction to free markets, carries with it at all times a natural impetus for war. Since the affluence of its ruling class is not and has never been based on the natural tendencies of voluntary exchange or open competition, it must rely on ever further expropriation to sustain its coercively-engineered size.

An occasion for looting, then, can never go unutilized, and every window of opportunity for drawing into the empire a new domain must be explored. The unstated aim is always, as Murray Rothbard said, to have new “perquisites and privileges” to “parcel out . . . in the mixed economy of welfare-warfare State Monopoly Capitalism.”

Translations for this article:

Anarchy and Democracy
Fighting Fascism
Markets Not Capitalism
The Anatomy of Escape
Organization Theory