Can the World Survive Washington’s Hubris?

When President Reagan nominated me as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy, he told me that we had to restore the US economy, to rescue it from stagflation, in order to bring the full weight of a powerful economy to bear on the Soviet leadership, in order to convince them to negotiate the end of the cold war. Reagan said that there was no reason to live any longer under the threat of nuclear war.

The Reagan administration achieved both goals, only to see these accomplishments discarded by successor administrations. It was Reagan’s own vice president and successor, George Herbert Walker Bush, who first violated the Reagan-Gorbachev understandings by incorporating former constituent parts of the Soviet Empire into NATO and taking Western military bases to the Russian frontier.

The process of surrounding Russia with military bases continued unabated through successor US administrations with various “color revolutions” financed by the US National Endowment for Democracy, regarded by many as a front for the CIA. Washington even attempted to install a Washington-controlled government in Ukraine and did succeed in this effort in former Soviet Georgia, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin.

The President of Georgia, a country located between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, is a Washington puppet. Recently, he announced that former Soviet Georgia is on schedule to become a NATO member in 2014.

Those old enough to remember know that NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was an alliance between Western Europe and the US against the threat of the Red Army overrunning Western Europe. The North Atlantic is a long, long ways from the Black and Caspian Seas. What is the purpose of Georgia being a NATO member except to give Washington a military base on the Russian underbelly?

The evidence is simply overwhelming that Washington—both parties—have Russia and China targeted. Whether the purpose is to destroy both countries or merely to render them unable to oppose Washington’s world hegemony is unclear at this time. Regardless of the purpose, nuclear war is the likely outcome.

The presstitute American press pretends that an evil Syrian government is murdering innocent citizens who only want democracy and that if the UN won’t intervene militarily, the US must in order to save human rights. Russia and China are vilified by US functionaries for opposing any pretext for a NATO invasion of Syria.

The facts, of course, are different from those presented by the presstitute American media and members of the US government. The Syrian “rebels” are well armed with military weapons. The “rebels” are battling the Syrian army. The rebels massacre civilians and report to their media whores in the West that the deed was done by the Syrian government, and the Western presstitutes spread the propaganda.

Someone is arming the “rebels” as obviously the weapons can’t be purchased in local Syrian markets. Most intelligent people believe the weapons are coming from the US or from US surrogates. [Editor’s note: U.S. government officials have told reporters that the CIA is coordinating arms shipments to the rebels, and the government openly acknowledges that it has been playing such a coordinating role.]

So, Washington has started a civil war in Syria, as it did in Libya, but this time the gullible Russians and Chinese have caught on and have refused to permit a UN resolution like the one the West exploited against Gaddafi.

To get around this roadblock, fish out an ancient Phantom fighter jet from the 1960s Vietnam war era and have Turkey fly it into Syria. The Syrians will shoot it down, and then Turkey can appeal to its NATO allies to come to its aid against Syria. Denied the UN option, Washington can invoke its obligation under the NATO treaty, and go to war in defense of a NATO member against a demonized Syria.

The neoconservative lie behind Washington’s wars of hegemony is that the US is bringing democracy to the invaded and bombed countries. To paraphrase Mao, “democracy comes out of the barrel of a gun.” However, the Arab Spring has come up short on democracy, as have Iraq and Afghanistan, two countries “liberated” by US democratic invasions.

What the US is bringing is civil wars and the breakup of countries, as President Bill Clinton’s regime achieved in former Yugoslavia. The more countries can be torn into pieces and dissolved into rival factions, the more powerful is Washington.

Russia’s Putin understands that Russia itself is threatened not only by Washington’s funding of the “Russian opposition,” but also by the strife among Muslims unleashed by Washington’s wars against secular Muslim states, such as Iraq and Syria. This discord spreads into Russia itself and presents Russia with problems such as Chechen terrorism.

When a secular state is overthrown, the Islamist factions become free to be at one another’s throats. The internal strife renders the countries impotent. As I wrote previously, the West always prevails in the Middle East because the Islamist factions hate one another more than they hate their Western conquerors. Thus, when Washington destroys secular, non-Islamist governments as in Iraq and now targeted in Syria, the Islamists emerge and battle one another for supremacy. This suits Washington and Israel as these states cease to be coherent opponents.

Russia is vulnerable because Putin is demonized by Washington and the US media and because Putin’s Russian opposition is financed by Washington and serves US, not Russian, interests. The turmoil that Washington is unleashing in Muslim states leaks back to Russia’s Muslim populations.

It has proved to be more difficult for Washington to interfere in China’s internal affairs, although discord has been sowed in some provinces. Several years from now, the Chinese economy is expected to exceed in size the US economy, with an Asian power displacing a Western one as the world’s most powerful economy.

Washington is deeply disturbed by this prospect. In the thrall and under the control of Wall Street and other special interest business groups, Washington is unable to rescue the US economy from its decline. The short-run gambling profits of Wall Street, the war profits of the military/security complex, and the profits from offshoring the production of goods and services for US markets have far more representation in Washington than the wellbeing of US citizens. As the US economy sinks, the Chinese economy rises.

Washington’s response is to militarize the Pacific. The US Secretary of State has declared the South China Sea to be an area of American national interest. The US is wooing the Philippine government, playing the China threat card, and working on getting the US Navy invited back to its former base at Subic Bay. Recently there were joint US/Philippines military/naval exercises against the “China threat.”

The US Navy is reallocating fleets to the Pacific Ocean and constructing a new naval base on a South Korean island. US Marines are now based in Australia and are being reallocated from Japan to other Asian countries. The Chinese are not stupid. They understand that Washington is attempting to corral China.

For a country incapable of occupying Iraq after 8 years and incapable of occupying Afghanistan after 11 years, to simultaneously take on two nuclear powers is an act of insanity. The hubris in Washington, fed daily by the crazed neocons, despite extraordinary failure in Iraq and Afghanistan, has now targeted formidable powers—Russia and China. The world has never in its entire history witnessed such idiocy.

The psychopaths, sociopaths, and morons who prevail in Washington are leading the world to destruction.

The criminally insane government in Washington, regardless whether Democrat or Republican, regardless of the outcome of the next election, is the greatest threat to life on earth that has ever existed.

Moreover, the only financing the Washington criminals have is the printing press. In a subsequent column I will examine whether the US economy will complete its collapse before the war criminals in Washington can destroy the world.

This article was originally published at PaulCraigRoberts.org and has been used here with permission.

Read the 1st chapter of Obstacle to Peace for free!

Paul Craig Roberts

Homepage
Paul Craig Roberts
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts attended four of the finest universities, studied under two Nobel Prize-winners in economics, authored 20 peer-reviewed articles in journals of scholarship, and published four academic press peer-reviewed books, including Harvard and Oxford Universities, and seven commercially published books. His most recent book is The Neoconservative Threat to World Order: Washington's Perilous War for Hegemony

Comments are encouraged, but please respect the rules. Click here for terms of use.

  • Alsfi

    I think the writer been away from politics for a very long time or else….real people died in Syria and this is fact no fiction, second no one armed the Free Syria Army if they did Assad will be gone in a week the whole country against the dictator and you know it. Russia’s Putin want to go back to the cold war time, he’s fighting the US on Syria ground he doesn’t care about Assad but he want to negotiate somewhere else. I get a news for you Assad is gone no one encourage the uprising in the country but him with his stupid policies he and his inner circle want to control everything they steal everything nothing left for ordinary people…his father was wiser of course no one can talk politics but you can make a living things were cheap, prices went up more that 10 times since the young Assad take over.and that what ignite the uprising………..

    • Alsfi, one, Dr. Roberts did not say that it was a fiction that people died in Syria. This is a strawman. Two, that the U.S. is coordinating arms shipments to the rebels is not even controversial. It’s an openly admitted fact.

    • Nasir TheEgyptian

      Yes Alsfi, Jeremy is correct. Both sides have committed atrocities … The Rebels wanted to overthrow the corrupt Assad Regime. Fine. But, instead of walking like the Egyptians did (pun intended) in the streets of Tahrir, the Rebels not only armed and defended themselves (which is acceptable), but they actually committed atrocities themselves. My roommate is Syrian (and I Palestinian), and we both support the Rebel cause, but not the atrocities they commit in the name of the cause. Also, the US has been supporting Rebels for some time in Syria … He is dead on about this proxy war.

    • Robinson

      Have you ever been in Syria ? Don’t beleive so… Looking for same scenario like recent in Lybia? No? But there is no any other alternative ! “Either/or” way to apply the only…

  • Jon Harrison

    Sigh. Once again we are back to over-the-top rhetoric and unsubstantiated claims by Roberts. I say this even though my own view of the neocons is completely negative — they are criminals and fools, in my opinion.

    Nevertheless, the neocons are not running US foreign policy at the moment. I agree with Roberts that US policy toward Russia is wrongheaded (China is another matter, in my view), but to use phrasing like “criminally insane”, etc. convinces no one and simply drives away serious people who might otherwise listen to Roberts’ arguments. Ad hominem attacks achieve nothing except the marginalization of the writer who indulges in them.

    “The world in its entire history has never witnessed such idiocy” [as the US “targeting” Russia and China]. Even if it were true that the US is “targeting” both powers in the way Roberts assumes, is that really the craziest thing in world history? What about Hitler declaring war on America when he was already fighting the Soviet Union and the British Empire? Wasn’t that perhaps a little nuttier than indirectly challenging Russia in Syria, and deploying a few Marines to Australia?

    I happen to believe that Russia’s “near abroad” should be a Russian sphere of interest; I oppose the forward policy of NATO in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. I was opposed to NATO intervention in the Balkans in the 1990s. In other words, I agree with Roberts on everything except China (on the latter I believe a policy of containment in cooperation with Asian and Pacific nations is warranted). But the overheated language he often employs, and the reaching beyond the facts (Washington is “under the control” of Wall Street, etc., etc.) simply turns off serious people. Sadly, despite his long experience of affairs, Dr. Roberts is not taken seriously by anyone who has the slightest influence in politics, the media, or intellectual matters generally. And that’s too bad, because he has important ideas that ought to receive a wider audience. But he just can’t seem to reign in his overwought thinking. Emotionalism never has and never will win an argument.

    • Jon, neocons may not be running US foreign policy, but those who are running US foreign policy now are continuing and extending the same policies from when neocons were running US foreign policy policies, so its a distinction of little practical significance.

      • Jon Harrison

        I grant that’s there’s truth in what you say, Jeremy, but it isn’t the whole truth. Current U.S. foreign policy is not a radical departure from what came before, but it amounts to a return to the Clinton foreign policy of the 90’s, with the understandable difference that much stronger measures have been taken against al Quaeda. That’s not an ideal foreign policy in my eyes, but there are institutional reasons and social forces that make a complete reorientation of US foreign policy impossible at this time, even if Obama were in favor of same.

        In any case, my real quarrel with this piece is with the language and the tone. I won’t reiterate whay I said above except to repeat that if we want to influence people other than those on the fringe, we should keep our assertions fact based and our emotions somewhat in check. The language of the essay above will simply turn off all but the already converted.

        • Mike Thompson

          Jon Harrison hit`s the nail on it`s head with his objection to the language used by Paul Roberts. But Jon (apparently) assumes the rest of the world uses coy US vocabulary, we don`t call them “rest rooms” or “bathrooms” we call them Lavatories or Toilets which is what they are. The Neocons orchestration of the first Iraq invasion to remove WMD was based on lies, knowing they were lies is a criminal act, believing those lies would make them insane. US ant-Arab/Russian/Chinese rhetoric is quite vicious, and accepted in the US, well, what`s sauce for the goose!

          • Jon Harrison

            But the point, Mike, is that Roberts condemns himself to being marginalized when he uses such over-the-top language. I’ve asked the question before: do we want to try to persuade people on the fence, or do we just want to take pleasure in venting our emotions? I see a purpose in the former; none in the latter.

          • Mike Thompson

            I hear what you say Jon, and you do have a point. However for years, polite debates with regard to US actions have had no effect on political and mainstream US attitudes, the longer the US ignores others sensibilities, the more opinions will polarise. An easy example is Israels treatment of Palestinians. In Gaza, Hamas was born out of resentment, the intrinsic population turned to an organisation that represented their feelings, and democratically I may say! It was within Israels power to create contentment in Palestinians attitude, but they chose subjugation with the tacit approval of the US. Here in the UK, you may be surprised at growing anti-American feelings, in national newspapers and the BBC. At the moment it is focused on bias extradition arrangement which disadvantage UK citizens, if the US ignores UK concerns I have no doubt diplomatic UK rhetoric will become less diplomatic, it`s the way of the world!

        • I’m not sure what you mean saying current foreign policy is a return to Clinton’s foreign policy. The Obama administration has not only continued Bush’s foreign policies, but escalated them.

          • Jon Harrison

            I was generalizing to be sure, Jeremy. Circumstances are not the same as in the ’90s of course. As for continuing Bush’s policies, you have a point, but again we must take circumstances into account. Obama implemented the Bush agreement with Iraq, leading to our withdrawal last Dec. 31, although Bushites and other neocons were calling for Obama to keep a residual force in place. So, although he continued Bush’s policy in its strictest sense, he did get our troops out, while under a President McCain (shudder) we would still have forces in place. Additionally, of course, Obama would not have invaded Iraq to begin with.

            As for Afghanistan, Obama went beyond Bush with the 2009 “surge”, but in fact he had no other choice, as he would have been eviscerated politically by the Right had he stood down or accepted the inevitable stalemate without making a show of seeking victory. That’s a sad fact, but we must realize that politics is the art of the possible. VP Biden made the right call on Afghanistan (focus on al Qaeda and forget nation building), but the political imperatives of the day impelled Obama to escalate before he could de-escalate. Don’t get me wrong, I think he can be justly criticized for his Afghan policy, but it all looks so much simpler from the outside. In fact, no president is an independent actor, and he/she must sometimes do the unpalatable to avoid doing something worse.

            In regards to al Qaeda we have seen Obama go beyond the Bush policy, and his hard line has borne fruit. I happen to accept that US actions are part of the reason for al Qaeda’s rise and 9/11, but neither I nor Obama was in a position to prevent that. Given the state of affairs he inherited, Obama was right to ratchet up the campaign against al Qaeda. I certainly don’t lose any sleep over activities directed against al Qaeda on the Afghan-Pakistani border or in Yemen.

            On Russia, Obama has sought a more accomodating line, but again domestic political constraints exist that have caused him to temporize. We’ll see what a second term brings. In any case I wouldn’t say he’s simply continuing Bush’s policy.

            On China he’s been much more hardline than Bush, and I applaud that. The breakup of the Han Chinese empire and the liberation of Tibet and Sinkiang (sorry, I forget the modern spelling) is highly desirable, in my view. Indeed, it would be nice to see more pieces here about repression in Tibet (for example), to balance the drumbeat of anti-US polemics.

          • Jon, I don’t know if you are agreeing or arguing with me. You just acknowledged that Obama continued Bush’s foreign policy in Iraq, escalated it in Afghanistan, and escalated it in the “war on terrorism” in general. I don’t see any substantive shift towards Russia or China. He’s not only continued but escalated Bush’s policies with regard to Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, etc.. So I’m not really sure what you’re trying to say.

            Perhaps you should be losing sleep over such actions as murdering innocent civilians in drone attacks or Obama’s assumption of power claiming to be able to act as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner and assassinate American citizens. The fact that one of my fellow Americans tells me he isn’t losing sleep over these things causes me to lose sleep.

    • Klement

      I agree that Hitler was a big idiot, declaring war on Russia, GB, and the US. Is this a real consolation?
      At first Hitler made the impression of a very practical and successful politician. He had many supporters all over the world. One can argue that his focus on military expansion put in action a monstrous military machine which later he was unable to control and stop, because the military machine had its own logic and evolved by its own rules.
      I am afraid that the present military expansion may reach a similar point of no return. The grave fact is that now a real “hardcore” war will inevitably lead to nuclear bombs.

  • Alexander

    Bravo!

  • Oh, for the first time I read an article about the proper objective of U.S. foreign policy – (okazyvapetsya there are thinking people in the West, not brainwashed propaganda, the State Department))
    Actually, I seriously think that – the U.S. government to check for the presence of mental illness – so inadequate to their policy! (((
    U.S. is in the form of “terrorist countries” for millions of people on the ground, and actually poses a threat to security for all.
    By the way, why not check the health of Hillary Clinton? – It seems it is generally a paranoid maniac – she enjoys tremendous penalty (it also provoked), the leader of a sovereign country, and still requires a “head-Assad.” What it it – the U.S. is at a distance of tens of thousands of kilometers from the Middle East – it would be better engaged in their business – and then the country bankrupt teaches how to live))

  • there are questions to which there is no answer:
    A). Why the U.S. attacked Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands of citizens of this country? –
    2) that the U.S. is doing in Afghanistan? (10 years chasing a terrorist (shame – it would be better asked another country) – but for now just protects narkoplantatsii?
    3) why the U.S. attacked Libya and bombed it, destroyed the state, why should a landing and a specially arranged chaos and bloody violence throughout North Africa?

  • Robinson

    What’s wrong with said “Robert’s vocabulary” ? He names things correctly – exactly per the actual content/consequence and…results the americans and rest of the woorld are faced with upon various “US projects” last 15 years and present time. Can anybody point even a case, where US got a success (even the partial one) in attempts to “change the World to pax-America standard” ? But the most terrible issue is what long-term wise, all the recent and present “US foregn policy activities”, beat the US ordinary Citizens…and running $ print-machine does not help/solve the problem, but simply postpone it with redoubling crash-effect at the end///

  • Jon Harrison

    @Mike Thompson. Responding to your last post, I am aware of growing anti-American sentiment among certain segments of British opinion. While I personally doubt that the level of rhetoric between the two countries will rise to anything like that which Roberts exhibits, my point again is that the use of such language not only fails to persuade all but the already converted, but actually hinders the cause by turning people off. Hyperbole, ad hominem attacks, and rhetoric that ignores known facts invariably harms the argument and discredits the person making it. It’s particularly unfortunate in the case of Roberts, since he possesses establishment credentials (Reagan White House, WSJ, etc.). He’s thrown that cred away to the point that literally no serious person with the slighest influence on opinion or in government pays any attention to him. It’s a case of the messenger shooting himself.

    But best regards to you and your fellow Brits in the home of my ancestors.

    • Mike Thompson

      Isn`t the Internet wonderful Jon! it gives a voice to the normal ordinary people of the world, in my opinion it`s the best hope we have for the future. I watched a televised Hillary Clinton press conference relating to Iran`s Nuclear program, She was asked about Israels nuclear bombs (100 to 400, take your pick)her reply was “That is a matter you should address to the Israeli government” I remember saying out loud “You two faced manipulative bitch” of course she was totally unaware of my response, but the internet allows me to make such an undiplomatic demonstration of my frustration. It`s not just the plebs though, Nicolas Sarkozy (when President of France)was picked up on a microphone saying to Obama “I can`t stand (Benumin)Netanyahu, he lies all the time”, I don`t know about the US, but it received wide UK TV coverage. My point is that emotions are not always expressed diplomatically, but sometimes “shooting from the hip” can be more effective. On a more personal note, be grateful that your forefathers emigrated to the US, here in the UK we have just experienced the wettest June on record, and July is no better!

  • “He’s thrown that cred away to the point that literally no serious person with the slighest influence on opinion or in government pays any attention to him.”

    This somehow does not sit right with me. Washington generally ignores advice and comments that do not suit its purpose anyway. Ralph Nader can attest to that, as can Ron Paul, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Chalmers Johnson, Andrew Bacevich, Bill McKibben to name a few.

    The corporate media is extremely helpful in this regard as they self regulate as to what the Washington consenus wants the public to hear.

    I don’t thimk Dr. Roberts needs to worry about losing credibility for whatever language he is using. They don’t want to listen to him anyway.

    • Jon Harrison

      You make a good point, but more important is the fact that people (beyond officials and media types) who are on the fence about these issues are invariably turned off by this kind of language. The more of this kind of writing we have, the more reasonable people refuse to consider the arguments we are pushing. It’s self-defeating, and I’m surprised you apparently can’t see that. For the umpteenth time: do we want to try to influence people and move public opinion, even if only in a small way, or are we content to just beat our breasts and pretend we’ve accomplished something?

      • There are not too many fence sitters that we need to persuade. The people who need persuading are those first being introduced to the concepts – younger people, students, those with an inkling that something is amiss and are looking for information.

        As Madison Avenue and Hollywood (and the Democrat and Republican message managers) know full well, a reasoned “balanced” argument does little to persuade people. Good writing advocating a strong position, partly by using strong language, helps convince more people about the message.

        Language can be a very powerful manipulator of ideas, whether telling the truth or not. What we need is powerful language backed by the truth — for the most part, Dr. Roberts has that – and as attested by his own record (below) it has worked well to get the message out.

    • I have to agree with Jim.

      I also must say, it’s not the medium it’s the message. I don’t understand how people can get so caught up on the former so much they miss the latter. It’s like the old Taoist saying Bruce Lee liked to quote:

      “It’s like a finger pointing to the moon. Do not focus on the finger, or you will miss all the heavenly glory.”

  • Why does Jon Harrison not want me to speak frankly? Why does he think
    I marginalize myself by speaking frankly? I have found that the more frankly I write, the more my influence grows. Today it is world wide. My columns are
    translated and reproduced all over the world. My newest book is first appearing
    in German translation with other European and Russian language editions to follow. My readership today is vastly larger than when I was Associate Editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal or columnist for Business Week or
    columnist for Scripps Howard News Service.

    • Mike Thompson

      Paul Craig Roberts, I have a lot of respect for Jon Harrison, he does question what most Americans don`t, that said, I`m all for your forthright use of language, were I you the article would have been much more forceful. I do appreciate your words, they are the closest yet to representing the indignation resulting from US actions. You have my gratitude.

  • Paul Atreides

    FUCK NATO FUCK USA

  • The US advances its agendas not by conviction but by bribery and deceit thats why its bound to fail.U can see the Frustrations in Hillary Clinton’s statements

  • NoNameNoFace

    I’ve never tryed to comment news in English (since it’s not my native language and I feel myself rediculous doing that), but here is some special case. Just a couple of thoughts:
    – Mr. Paul Craig Roberts (much probably) uses such a strong language just to make an effect and catch reader’s attention. I can’t say it’s bad just because it’s not usual.
    – Mr. McFaul, ambassador of USA in Russia, confirmed in his interview to mr. Pozner (on Russian TV) that it was USA who initiated and payed so called “orange revolution” in Ukraine, can anyone still believe it was not USA in Georgia and other post-Soviet countries?
    – I read someone says mr. Putin wants one more cold war… well, how clear does this person know what’s going on in Russia now? I know it very clear, simply because I am Russian and I live here. Nothing can be farther from truth! If, saying “cold war”, we mean “armaments drive” – Soviet Union partially failed here, even though we had really strong industry and science. Since early 90th the most part of our industry has been destroyed by neo-liberal reformers (who were acting in accordance with instructions of experts from USA – which does not make USA “evil”, we just failed and that were the consequences). So, now I doubt we have even a tenth part of that potential, what “cold war” are you talking about?
    – I believe, in fact USA don’t want so called “new world order” anymore, it costs too much and takes too much efforts, they want New World DISOrder to make countries of third and second world dive in a bog of radical archaic character, civil wars and endless internal discords, that is the best way to keep them weak – they will do it themselves. See the results of elections in Egypt – radical Mussulmans. Does it look like a typical strategy of USA?
    – We all are looking very intently at what’s going in the USA. I sincerely hope people in USA will have a chance (and strength) to do something before some absolutely irreversible things start happening.

    Sorry for poor English

    Kind regards,

  • Rostislav

    World last hope is USSR 2.0