While most educated people have some knowledge of the development of nationalism, socialism, and communism, they have little idea of what liberalism aka capitalism attempted, starting over 200 years ago, and why its ideals were subverted or minimized by the demands of its competing ideologies until recently. As peoples were politically organized under nation-states, and gave their allegiances to them because of their willingness to satisfy at least some of their basic needs, the goals of the philosophes - the 18th-century intellectuals, mostly French in origin and economic in their orientation - were sacrificed as Europe and America sought national self-determination.
Instead of having a world - described ultimately by Britain's theorist of utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham, in which individuals calculated their well-being rationally in terms of what gave them pain and pleasure rather than what government, the renmants of a most irrational past, dictated upon the basis of various social and legal fictions, Europe's dynastic regimes managed to hang on, directing affairs in ways which still benefited their aristocratic elites while continuing to keep the masses at bay. Thanks to the accompanying industrial revolution, the competing countries soon were engaging in so much oversaving that they exported money into less developed areas of the world, resulting in a wild imperial scramble.
As long was the developing world was dependent upon these competing nation-states, the proponents of utilitarianism - those who wanted to replace the defense of property, and the propagation of natural rights by all kinds of ultilitarian considerations - were just unintentionally preparing, as Bertrand Russell wrote in A History of Western Philosophy, "...the way for the doctrines of socialism." (p. 773) Bentham applied a deterministic psychology of man, and a morality based upon sensation to devise a democratic system where the legislator, with proper
administration, could achieve the greatest happiness for the greatest number by manipulating people's minds so that they would avoid pain.
There was nothing hostile in what the Utilitarians wanted to what the classical economics, especially Adam Smith, were calling for. "In both Bentham and Smith," Ross Harrison
explained in Bentham, "the area in which it is held that there should be unimpded pursual of private interest is bound by a context of law and government." (p. 122) The Scotsman was just confident that unimpeded pursuit of individual interests would result in natural harmony, while Bentham believed that the legislator - being responsible to the people, and building up a body of law which promoted stable consumption - would insure that an artificial identity of interests prevailed.
The prospects of the Utilitarians aka Philosophical Radicals were largely overshadowed by the claims of socialists, however, once it was established that labour - thanks to what Karl Marx and his followers made of the claims of the classsical economics about the origin of property - was the source of value, making the rapid increase in the mechanization of production a most bitter dispute about who should own it or how its profits should be distributed. The two World Wars of the 20th century just intensified the confrontation as they necessitated a vast
increase in the power of the state, and industry. The means of production became the great providers of society, and who owned and/or controlled them became the great determinant of whether it was free enterprise or communist.
In the process, the great bureacracies running the state and industry became the pillars of society and the determiners largely of what they did and why. Of course, the confrontation between the West and the Soviet bloc - the Cold War - fixed their agendas by insuring that the former's corporate capitalism and the latter's state capitalism essentially dominated what was produced, insuring that labor's needs were recognized, and were taken care of through state education, health, and pension programs aka the welfare state.
The military and its suppliers of weapons for the superpowers became so essential to the process that they became institutionalized in the state to guarantee that the political process satisfied their long-term needs, conveniently called national security, since a minimum safety net had been provided for their societies at large.
Once the New Deal reforms of Franklin Roosevelt's administration were in place, and WWII was fought and won, the great changes in Washington concerned the emasculation of the Presidency, the replacement of cloak-and-dagger intelligence by a pre-emptive one capable of getting any covert operation done, and enabling the citizens to consume so wildly that oversaving would never again be a problem. The Congress was no longer be a problem since the Representatives and Senators were elected at odd times, and representated such small sections of the country that they were already well coopted into the warfare state by the demands of their electors that they too get a piece of the action. The courts, especially the Supreme Court, had been largely reduced to resolving claims of citizens against increasingly intrusive and punitive legislation, thanks to the selection of accommodating judges.
While most people think the Presidency is so powerful - given that its occupant is the only national official elected by the whole country, and the pious chants by underlings of a sitting one in need of protecting him at all costs when some operation - like Watergate - goes terribly wrong, the President himself has steadily lost power in determining what the government in Washington does since WWII, and his loss of power was complemented by that of the Central Intellligence Agency despite what conspiracy theorists claim. The post-WWII world just not tolerate the personal arrangements that FDR and his confidants at the State, War and Navy Departments had put together to bring America out of the Great Depression, and into the global conflict.
The institutional changes in Washington could be seen, starting with Truman when the conduct of the Korean War almost led to his impeachment and removal from office for
removing General MacArthur after his insubordination triggered Red China's entry into the conflict. The President had to rely upon General Walter 'Beetle' Smith, Ike's former chief of staff, in various ways to keep the gungho Joint Chiefs of Staff from the Pentagon, and the newly-established, covert-oriented CIA in line during the growing crisis.
While Eisenhower avoided some to the problems the growing national secuirty establishment was causing, given his military background, he still delegated too many responsibilities to subordinates he trusted, particularly DCI Allen Dulles who replaced Smith, and who had some standing with the bureaucracies concerned. They managed to overthrow clandestinely the democratically elected government in Iran and the leftist government of Jacobo Arbenz ín Guatemala because of the tenuous hold they had on power. The CIA still committed too many
covert operations behind Ike's back, especially the ill-fated U-2 spying mission by Gary Powers, inducing him to warn of the dangers of the growing military-industrial complex when he was leaving.
The great undoing of the President's power occurred during JFK's presidency when he and his Whiz Kids, especially the new SOD Robert McNamara and Secretary of State Dean Rusk, failed to follow the script that the Agency had prepared for the Bay of Pigs invasion - what Ike had alluded to in his Farewell Address. Kennedy, as the elected Chief executive, thought that it was in his power to call the shots in such matters, overruling the Agency when it wanted the Pentagon committed to achieving the result its cloak-and dagger tactics could not achieve.
When the process continued during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Agency and the Pentagon
started plotting the President's assassination - an operation intended to make it look like the Soviets and the Cubans had done it, resulting in the Pentagon getting rid of Castro's regime.
Not only did they arrange the contrived downing of Captain Glenn Hyde U-2 while on a flight over Cuba on Nov. 20th (aka the Secrets of the Florida Straits) - what amounted to the revocation of the crisis settlement if Castro had done it - but also made it look like Major James Chenault had been kidnapped by his supporters in Venezuela as part of a hemispheric powerplay. Then there was the Second Naval Guerrilla Operation that the Agency's E. Howard Hunt had put together with renmants of the Bay of Pigs forces in Honduras, and Operation Americas that Al Haig had arranged with Latin banana republics to rectify the situation with the overthrow of the Cuban regime.
While the wounding of Governor Connally - whether it was deliberate or accidental - who helped, along with former Vice President Richard Nxion, set up JFK in Dallas prevented the plot from going further, as he was threatening to get those who had apparently double-crossed him, the lesson was not lost on succeeding Presidents who knew how things worked, Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter proving the rule with the blowback he received from the Agency and the Pentagon for not knowing his place. The Tonkin Gulf incident made LBJ and his now hawkish McNamara prisoners of the national security state which wanted victory in Vietnam. Nixon's working with it, through his increasingly expanded national security apparatus surrounding his National Security Adviser, was the cause of his undoing, once the CIA-assisted Watergate break-in started being exposed.
Behind the scenes, the national security state, increasingly embedded in the Pentagon, was using its resources to make Third World governments totally dependent upon it, a process which guaranteed the eroding of their commitment to their populations just to keep up with making the payments. Stressing the dangers of apparent Soviet threats, the governments were obliged to buy all kinds of weapons to counter them, and then when they fell behind in servicing their debts, they were forced to make all kinds of concessions to companies in the military-industrial complex to keep their heads above water. The whole process has been well described in John Perkins' The Confessions of an Economic Hit Man - what enhanced economic power all over the place at the expense of government control and individuals rights.
In the States, conservative interests started working behind the scenes so that they would ultimately take over the whole system. Based upon the Council of Foreign Relations, and bolstered by an increasing number to Think Tanks, they continually stressed that America was being taken over by communist interests, based in the United Nations, and radical measures must be taken to stop it before it was too late. If selling them arms so that they could engage in regional wars did not stop the threat, then the government should think of altering the weather so that famines and the like could reduce the number of potential enemies in China, the Middle East and around the Indian Ocean. (See, for example, Henry Kissinger's 1974 National Security Study Memorandum 200.)
By the time Ronald Reagan was elected President, the new system was well-established, and it was time to take on the responsibility of getting rid of the Second World countries: the Soviet bloc, its satellites and supporters. The basic change was demonstrated in revamping the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) - what Carter had created to coordinate disaster relief, and civil defense planning - under 'General' Louis Giuffrida's leadership to make secret wartime contingency plans for the implementation of martial law, once WWIII broke out.
Actually, there was hardly a need to do much at all as the communist states were already in the greatest disarray because of crushing military, economic and psychological competition, causing their regimes to have little social support. Moscow had simply run out of gas, and its leadership increasingly knew it.
Instead of allowing this to play itself out peacefully, the Reagan administration, thanks to the most distorted input and action from the Pentagon and the CIA despite congressional opposition, went all out in planning a showdown with the Soviets, and engaging in wild R & D, especially in mass mind-control and weather-making, which would insure ultimate military triumph. While the showdown did not pan out - as my articles in the Trowbridge Archive about the assassination of Sweden's statminister Olof Palme and its fallout, especially the spying for the Soviets by various agents involved in Operation Courtship, have shown - Washington still proceeded with the development of new weapons technology even after the Soviet system collapsed, anticipating the need of challenging what still remained unconnected to international capitalism of the Second and Third worlds.
The struggle to achieve this commenced during the 1990s in the States, but the first Bush and Clinton administrations were too bogged down with their own problems, and too uncertain about success to do it with the vigor required. Bush was too concerned about blowback from Iran-Contra - what had been increased by the CIA's downing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie before he had assumed office - and Clinton was too plagued by problems back in Arkansas to give the war on terrorism his full attention. Still, America managed to provoke a war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq with the intention of at least covering up the West's support of terrorism in the region, allowing the dictator to stay on for fear that it would fall apart without him.
The delay just intensified the military potential and organization of global capitalism to finish remaking the world.
With the election of George H. W. Bush, the process commenced in earnest, though its timing was upset by the miscalculations surrounding the 9/11 hijackings, as I have explained in several articles. Instead of its being the fuse for a pre-emptive war, across the board, against the impediments to the new capitalist order, it just resulted in the removal of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and the beginning of martial law at home, administered by the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Still, all the key players - Vice President Cheney, SOD Donald Rumsfeld, his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, Navy Secretary Gordon England, NSA Condi Rice, UN Ambassador John Negroponte, DCI George Tenet, Chief of Naval Operations Vern Clark and others - were in place to move dramatically ahead when conditions were right.
After the ouster of Saddam's regime, and the DHS was up and running under Tom Ridge, the key players and a few new recruits moved to action stations. The most important one was the return of England, a most eager proponent of the New American Century, to the Navy Department. After this most efficient administrator had made the DHS into a bureaucratic dinosaur, apparently on purpose, he returned as the 73rd Navy Secretary to put all the new technology of warfare to work, especially the ability to make gigantic earthquakes. England, like the troublesome Lehman, believed that the Navy was sovereign when it came to making war.
Then the last stronghold against the new order, Colin Powell's State Department, was saddled with the new Office of Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, headed by former American Ambassor to the Ukraine Carlos Pascual whose duty was to do worldwide what Wolfowitz had been doing in post-war Iraq. "After a cataclysmic event," Naomi Klein explained in "The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" in the May 2nd issue of The Nation, "governments will usually do whatever it takes to get aid dollars - even if it means racking up huge debts and agreeing to sweeping policy reforms." Disasters could now not only achieve the results of wars without the proverbial collateral damage but also pave the way for most lucrative, post-war outcomes for the victors.
Things started rolling when the Navy apparently caused - as I explained in my article "Weather-Making, Katrina, and the Gulf Tragedy" - the Indian Ocean earthquake on Boxing Day, 2004, resulting in the tsunamis which killed nearly 300,000 people in countries, most Muslim, plagued by terrorism. This one was specifically intended to solve the threat of rogues in Aceh rendering the Straits of Malacca inoperative, as straits around the world are the most vulnerable links now in global capitalism. Secretary England put the operation in these terms when he delivered a Christmas message to the sailors: "...we believe that liberty is the design of nature; we believe that liberty is the direction of history."
Then hurricanes Katrina and Rita brought the process home to America. Whatever caused them - and perhaps the Gulf area is so heated by previous manipulations of the weather since 1995 that almost any hurricane entering the area will become a Category V one - the fallout brought disaster capitalism to its shores. With the DHS, FEMA, and state and local government being found sadly lacking, the Pentagon is simply taking over, and at the expense of what is left of the social safety net. As Rep. Mike Pense, Republican-Indiana and chairman of the Republican Study Group, explained: "The desire to bring conservative, free-market ideas to the Gulf Coast is white hot..."
Meanwhile, Wolfowitz, who had been confirmed as President of the World Bank, dashed off a letter to President Bush after the hurricane struck, launching, in typical disaster reconstruction fashion, "...fund raising and volunteer efforts to help assist the victims of Katrina and their families. We are in direct contact with several charitable organizations, including the Red Cross, so that we can respond further in terms of contributions of blood or food items, should the need arise." One can just wonder what sacrifices the populace will have to make ultimately in terms of government help for such dire assistance.
Condi Rice, ecstatic over the wonderful opportunities the tsunamis presented for doing nature's work in the Third World, appointed - once she was appointed to replace Colin Powell - Bush crony Karen Hughes as a kind of roving ambassador to spread the word to those who had still not gotten the message, and accepted the kind offer of Wolfowitz's girl friend, Shaha Ali Riza, on loan to the Near East Bureau's Office of Partnership, headed by Vice President Cheney's daughter Liz, to make the spreading of globalization more effective. To replace Wolfowitz as Deputy Secretary of Defense, England was named acting DSOD, as of April 7th, entrusted with carrying out the lessons of nature and history for the rest of the terror-prone,
The world, especially the people in America and Britain, better wake up to what is really happening instead of just engaging in avoidance, question-begging and groundless activity or they will soon discover that affairs have become simply too hot to handle.