“This Is What Empires Do”
by William Bowles
by William Bowles
“I'm sure that somewhere, in a university or institute, researchers have produced an analysis that measures the rise in the number of armed conflicts as a ratio of the increase in economic instability as capitalism goes into one of its periodic meltdowns. Meltdowns that almost invariably end in large-scale war/s as a means of consuming surplus capital, taking out competitors, getting rid of surplus labour, grabbing new markets, extending the sphere of empire... yada, yada, yada…
I must say that I get angry when left writers still talk of the Empire 'winning' or 'losing' Afghanistan, Iraq or wherever the latest land-grab is taking place. Surely it must be obvious that it's the act of being there that counts? Occupation, as they say, is nine tenths of the imperial law. Wherever in the world the Empire has gone to 'install democracy' or whatever the excuse used to invade, it has stayed, every single time and built bases, hundreds of them now cover the world. This is what empires do.
Even the war in Vietnam was not lost by the US in the sense that it was an inherent component of the Cold War and the Empire's objective of 'rolling back Communism'. And the winner was? Well for example, those natty sneakers you're wearing with a Converse label on them, were made in Vietnam with sweatshop labour (and they don't last anywhere near as long as those that used to be made in the USA). 'Nuf said.
Furthermore, in times of economic crisis wars play an important role as diversionary tactics, just as the invention of enemies justifies waging these damn wars in the first place. An analysis of the run-up to these endless wars (five hundred years and counting) reveals calculated campaigns by the ruling elites to prepare us for war by ramping up the fear factor. It doesn't matter who or what the enemy is, whether it be 'Reds under the bed', 'Anarchists' or 'crypto-fascist, Islamic fundamentalists'.
Not coincidentally the mass media has been an intrinsic part of this process for as long as we've had a mass media. Victorian newspaper stories would not be out of place today when it comes selling the Imperial line. The Victorians even invented the division between middle and working class targeted newspapers, tailoring the propaganda to suit. A supportive domestic population is absolutely necessary if imperial ambitions are to be achieved, for without our support, or at the very least our acquiescence, conducting colonial/imperial wars simply would not be possible.
The role of the media, and especially of the BBC here in the UK is absolutely vital in the selling of the imperialist project and the one against Gaddafi's Libya has been in the works for decades. And potty as Gaddafi's 'Green Book' may be so what, it's not the point. 'Eccentric' though Gaddafi may appear to be so what, it's not the point. If the Empire cared about wacko leaders it would have invaded Italy years ago to get rid of wacko Berlusconi (which of course it did during WWII and it still has a slew of bases there).
Propaganda Central: Back in the 1980s when the Sandinistas kicked the Gringos out of Nicaragua a concerted propaganda campaign was launched by the US to convince its domestic audience that the Sandinistas were revolutionary Marxists bent on exporting revolution to El Norte. Nothing could be further from the truth of course, but tarring the Sandinistas with a Red brush did the trick, calling on decades of virulent propaganda concerning the 'Red Menace'.
"The Office of Public Diplomacy, officially known as the Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean, was part of a White House ordered PR plan in the 1980s to provide cover for the secret CIA war in Nicaragua. CIA director William J. Casey initiated the propaganda campaign after meeting with private sector PR men. Walter Raymond, Jr., a CIA propaganda expert, moved over to the National Security Council to get the program up and running. Raymond is reported to have instructed his OPD subordinates to "concentrate on gluing black hats on the Sandinistas and white hats on UNO [the contras' United Nicaraguan Opposition]." Raymond picked Otto Reich to run the new OPD, which was housed in the State Department. Despite the unraveling of the Iran-Contra scandal, the full story of the OPD - a covert, illegal, inter-agency propaganda campaign aimed at US citizens and Congress - never received full public scrutiny." - 'Office of Public Diplomacy', Sourcewatch
Nicaragua, prior to the Sandinista Revolution was a stereotypical banana republic virtually owned by a single US corporation, that dared kick out its lackey dictatorship and strike out on its own, independent of US corporate control. This is what it was really about, not communism or socialism but Nicaragua's desire for genuine independence. The parallels with Gaddafi's Libya must surely be obvious. Thus when the time came to dump on Gaddafi, the groundwork had already been done viz. the Lockerbie bombing that had set up Gaddafi years ago and aided by the furore created in the media over the release of the only person ever convicted for the bombing, Gaddafi was ready for a 'fall'. "...the CIA planted the tiny fragment of circuit board crucial in convicting a Libyan for the 1989 mass murder of 270 people." - The Scotsman, 28 August 2006.
So when the uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa threatened to unravel the Empire's control of the regions it was time to play the Gaddafi card, followed in rapid succession by the Assad card. This is what empires do. The point here is that just as with Nicaragua, even thinking of striking out on your own as a country, independent of the Empire will not be tolerated. You either toe the line or you get smashed to pieces. This is what empires do."