The Obama administration "has no foreign policy," says Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP’s 2012 vice-presidential candidate. While we may tune out this kind of election year rhetoric, similar complaints – no matter which president is being denounced – are common on both sides of the aisle. When the Democrats are in power we hear it from Republicans, and when the GOP is in the saddle we hear similar accusations arising from the Democrats. The reality, however, is that the leaders of both parties know perfectly well that we do in fact have a remarkably consistent policy, one that has been pursued with increasing militancy ever since the end of the cold war.
Let’s step back and take a look.
No sooner had the Berlin Wall fallen than George Herbert Walker Bush took the opportunity to make his move in the Middle East with Iraq War I. Declaring the throne of the Emir of Kuwait to be a vital national interest of the United States, Bush I declared "this shall not stand" when Saddam Hussein invaded Iraq’s "nineteenth province," otherwise known as Kuwait. It’s time for a "new world order," Bush famously declared – and Washington’s push for world hegemony was on.
Bill Clinton kept up the pressure on Iraq for the whole of his presidency, launching punishing bombing raids and imposing sanctions that killed many thousands. A new front was opened up in Europe, where the Bosnian Muslims and their Kosovar neighbors were pimped out to the Americans: a short war made short work of the former Yugoslavia, and US-occupied Europe grew a little larger. This aggression was buttressed by the addition of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland to the NATO alliance, as the US and its satellites pushed right up to the gates of Moscow.
Less obvious but no less obtrusive, the Clinton regime set up a special government agency to exploit the oil resources of the Caspian Basin, extending the encirclement of Russia into the steppes of Central Asia.
And while the second Bush administration is often blamed for Iraq War II, the fact is that the legislation funding the Iraqi National Congress – and setting the stage for the biggest military disaster in US history – was enacted by the Clinton administration. The "Iraq Liberation Act" was the Clintons’ baby, but both parties jumped on the bandwagon. Only 38 members of Congress voted against it in the House: it was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate – and the road to chaos in the Middle East was cleared.
The Great Leap Forward for the American Empire came in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon: Afghanistan and Iraq were conquered in short order, and a long occupation was begun. On the European front, NATO expansion continued apace under George W. Bush, with the addition of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. It was quite an achievement: a mere fifteen years after the Soviet implosion and the whole of Europe was prostrate under the American heel.
The Obama administration extended the biggest expansionist push in the history of the world into North Africa with the regime change operation in Libya, and later Syria. Somalia was attacked, our alliance with the murderous ruler of Ethiopia was buttressed, and Africom was beefed up considerably in anticipation of future interventions. Iraq, which had temporarily slipped out of our fingers, was re-invaded. And on the European front, a regime change operation in Ukraine, where US-funded sock-puppets and their neo-Nazi allies overthrew a democratically elected government by force and staged a confrontation with the Russians. Nor is that the end of it: don’t forget the "Asian pivot," an attempt to intimidate the Chinese into kowtowing to Washington by inciting its neighbors and funding "pro-democracy" demonstrators in Hong Kong.
All this from a President who had been elected as a "peace" candidate!
We don’t have a foreign policy? The idiotic Paul Ryan and the rest of the clowns who inhabit the Washington Beltway know perfectly well what our foreign policy is all about. Who could miss it? Since the demise of the Soviet Union our one aim has been the subjugation of as much of the world as we can possibly afford to gobble up – and we’re not bothering with such niceties as table manners. Chew it up and gulp it down – that, in essence, is our foreign policy.
Next on the menu: Iran and Russia, the only two big states that show any sign of resistance to the American hegemon. While it looks like President Obama would rather avoid a military confrontation with Tehran, the sincerity of the Americans and their allies in seeking a peaceful solution to the stand off over Iran’s nonexistent nuclear weapons program is doubtful at best. And with the Clinton Restoration waiting in the wings, the longevity of such an agreement – if it even comes to pass – is not something to bet the farm on.
Washington’s real target is and always has been Russia: with their nuclear arsenal and deep spiritual antipathy to the West, the Russians pose the biggest threat to the Americans’ unipolar conceit. In this sense, the cold war never really ended. There was a brief interruption immediately after the Soviet collapse: Boris Yeltsin’s drunken rule gave free rein to outright criminals who "privatized" Russian state assets and turned the country into a oligarchic basket case. However, the emergence of Vladimir Putin signaled an end to the looting and set the country on the road to some kind of order – and a fresh confrontation with the West.
Who or what can stop the American Borg from destroying and assimilating everything in its path? While we can’t know the future, what we can know is that such a purely destructive course cannot be indefinitely maintained. Something’s gotta give, as the old song goes: whether it’s the financial time-bomb ticking away at the heart of the American Empire or some other catastrophe, natural or man-made. For the sake of the long suffering peoples of the earth, let’s hope it comes sooner rather than later.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.