cynically manufactured discussion has generated a number of intelligent
rejoinders on the margins of the mainstream media system. These essays, written
by people such as Juan Cole, Robert Parry, Robert Fisk and Gary Leupp, do a fine
job of explaining the US decisions that led to the present crisis, while
simultaneously reminding us how everything occurring today was readily
foreseeable as far back as 2002.
none of them do, however, is consider whether the chaos now enveloping the
region might, in fact, be the desired aim of policy planners in Washington and
each of these analysts presumes that the events unfolding in Syria and Iraq
outcomes engendered by short-sighted decision-making at the highest levels
of the US government over the last 12 years.
at the Bush and Obama foreign policy teams—no doubt the most shallow and
intellectually lazy members of that guild to occupy White House in the years
since World War II—it is easy to see how they might arrive at this
perhaps an even more compelling reason for adopting this analytical posture is
that it allows these men of clear progressive tendencies to maintain one of the
more hallowed, if oft-unstated, beliefs of the Anglo-Saxon world view.
is the idea that our engagements
with the world outside our borders—unlike those of, say, the Russians and the
Chinese—are motivated by a strongly felt, albeit often corrupted, desire to
better the lives of those whose countries we invade.
this belief seems logical, if not downright self-evident within our own cultural
system, it is frankly laughable to many, if not most, of the billions who have
grown up outside of our moralizing echo chamber.
do they know that most of us do not know, or perhaps more accurately, do not
care to admit?
that we are an empire, and that all empires are, without exception, brutally and
that one of the prime goals of every empire is to foment ongoing internecine
conflict in the territories whose resources and/or strategic outposts they
that the most efficient way of sparking such open-ended internecine conflict is
to brutally smash the target country’s social matrix and physical
that ongoing unrest has the additional perk of justifying the maintenance and
expansion of the military machine that feeds the financial and political
fortunes of the metropolitan elite.
short, what of the most of the world understands (and what even the most
“prestigious” Anglo-Saxon analysts cannot seem to admit) is that divide and rule
is about as close as it gets to a universal recourse the imperial game and that
it is, therefore, as important to bear it in mind today as it was in the times
of Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, the Spanish Conquistadors and the British
those—and I suspect there are still many out there—for whom all this seems too
neat or too conspiratorial,
I would suggest a careful side-by side reading of:
the “Clean Break” manifesto generated by the Jerusalem-based Institute for
Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS) in 1996
the “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” paper generated by The Project for a New
American Century (PNAC) in 2000, a US group with deep personal and institutional
links to the aforementioned Israeli think tank, and with the ascension of
George Bush Junior to the White House, to the most exclusive sanctums of the
US foreign policy apparatus.
read the cold-blooded imperial reasoning in both of these documents—which speak,
in the first case, quite openly of the need to destabilize the region so as to
reshape Israel’s “strategic environment” and, in the second of the need to
dramatically increase the number of US “forward bases” in the region—as I did
twelve years ago, and to recognize its unmistakable relationship to the
underlying aims of the wars then being started by the US in Afghanistan and
Iraq, was a deeply disturbing experience.
do so now, after the US’s systematic destruction of Iraq and Libya—two notably
oil-rich countries whose delicate ethnic and religious balances were well known
to anyone in or out of government with more than passing interest in history—,
and after the its carefully calibrated efforts to generate and maintain
murderous and civilization-destroying stalemates in Syria and Egypt (something
that is easily substantiated despite our media’s deafening silence on the
subject), is downright blood-curdling.
yet, it seems that for even very well-informed analysts, it is beyond the pale
to raise the possibility that foreign policy elites in the US and Israel, like
all virtually all the ambitious hegemons before them on the world stage, might
have quite coldly and consciously fomented open-ended chaos in order to achieve
their overlapping strategic objectives in this part of the world.