Wednesday, December 22, 2004

the road to surfdom

Chasing blogs around often leads you to snippets of wisdom in unexpected places. This from a comment on a posting about the growing irrelevance of the U.S. in the view of the powers that be in India:

To say that the war in Iraq is 'insane' (which of course it is, from the sentimental standpoint where things like human rights, democracy, or global public opinion are of any consequence) is like saying that the War On Drugs is insane -- a completely naïve analysis that assumes our wars are undertaken for their publicly defined goals. I think most people in Latin America, as well as most blacks in the USA, could inform you about the real goals of the War On Drugs. It's meeting those real goals quite nicely, or else the policy would change.

Why should we imagine that Iraq is any different? Someone, I assure you, is benefitting, and that someone was certainly too smart to believe his own masterful PR onslaught about how quick 'n easy it would be and how few troops and civilians would die. That someone will continue to benefit no matter how far the US standard of living erodes, and no matter which nation or economy or currency is in the ascendancy -- it's a globalised world, remember? Do you think this guy is holding T-bills?? The US federal government, with all its three branches, is just his PR wing. You'd better not believe he depends on it to be his guarantor.

So, indeed, the US is in a sad decline. But just as Reagan's rising tide didn't actually lift all boats, the ebbing tide is pretty much irrelevant to the people who've been calling the shots. It's funny that in this era when everything is privatized and deregulated, and multilateral bodies call more and more of the shots, people still have this weird voodoo faith in national governments. Noticed the rise of 'private security contractors,' aka mercenaries?


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