Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Framing (Again)

Originally I read this in an adbusters years ago: "The cold war was World War III, the war on terror is World War IV".

I didn't think much of it at the time, in fact I thought it was stupid, because nobody else thinks that. In history books in my public education I was told that the cold war was an era of almost war with examples of the cuban missle crisis, but never actual war. I learned later that pax americana was hardly peaceful with WARS(call it what you want but if it looks like war and quacks like war...) in just about every Latin American country, and every region of the globe. If we weren't outright going to war we were selling arms to Indonesia for use in the East Timor genocide, because us small arms sales are 50% of world sales.

It reminded me of Einstein's quote that "we don't know what world war three will be fought with, but world war four will be fought with sticks and stones". Apparently his metaphor was wrong, but his idea was right: War is more dangerous than its ever been.

My point is that this quote had some truth to it. It was a reaction to the war on terror, but there is a much better term which both Hannah Arendt and Carl Schmitt have used "Global Civil War".
The correct phrasing should be: "The cold war was World War III, and we are in the midst of World War IV which is a Global Civil war".

Is this not truth?
The cold war was a bipolar competition for sovereignty of the globe. The "low-intensity warfare" or "proxy wars" are still wars! The united states and the USSR fought a war against each other during those years. The USSR could not continue the war because their political and economic systems had to be drastically changed starting with Perestroika and Glasnost. When the USSR broke up the United States was the victor of World War III, and global hegemon. WTF is the difference between the hegemon and the sovereign? I have stated this before that the United States is the world government. The UN does not have police, the US does in the form of a military which receives the largest percentage of GDP of any nation. The US enforces its will around the globe and empirically is willing to pre-emptively strike in order to enforce that will.

As I have also stated before the global hegemon/sovereign can only maintain that position if it doles out energy supplies and has a steady cheap supply for themselves. Lets look at some(I have to say some because the list is a mile fucking long) of our "interventions"(see: "wars") since the USSR's break up. First is Saddam former scumbag and confidant of United Statesian intelligence scumbags. He rose to power and is now leading Iraq, he invades tiny kuwait. Need more historical info, Iraq has the 2nd largest proven oil reserves and Kuwait is up there.. Recently the situation has changed apparently last year Venezuela's got way higher, but back in 91 we're talking here. Back then Iraq had proven reserves of 100 billion barrels, Kuwait had 96.5, and Saudi Arabia had 260.9. THe UAE is also on the arabian peninsula and has like 98 bil. we're talking about 800 Billion worldwide proven.
So Saddam doubles his oil supply,  Instead of about 12.5% hes up to 25% of world oil. Saudi Arabia is freakin' out they have shit for an army: an air force full of toys and muttawa thugs enforcing wahabbism. Mister Osama Bin Laden himself goes to the Sauds and hes like "let me bring my buddies from Afghanistan over here and we'll fuck saddam up for you." The Sauds were like "Ha! yeah your guerrilla army is going to confront Saddam's soldiers, we'll be executed within days, Ameicans said they want at him, they just need a place to park their troops, so we're letting them chill here while they take Saddam out, we'll have to make sure there are no women driving when they get here, we don't want them to think us savages." Then Bin Laden is all like Fuuuuuuuu!!!!!!!! and rage quit saudi arabia because they let infidels(Americans) in the land of the two holy shrines(saudi arabia[mecca and medina]). 20 years later: 9/11, but I digress. Saddam is sitting at 25% and all he has to do is go next door and take out a few cities because like 99% of Saudi Arabia is uninhabited('cept for nomads) and he'll be sittin on more than half of the world's proven oil supplies. Holy fucking shit, you have to go through Saddam to get a gas pump. So Sauds let the US in, US drives Saddam out of Kuwait, a regional hegemon has thusly been deterred and the US grip on energy becomes even better because they now have better relations with Saudi Arabia and fucking troops there. If the US ever really needs oil they just need to knock off a few asshole royals that the entire country('cept the muttawa) hate anyway and bam Americana Arabia, Or I guess they already decided they want to call it Syriana. This was an effort to maintain global sovereignty from a potential threat(saddam controlling 50%+ of world oil).
There are trends like this in foreign policy, countries ask the US for help and they send troops, sometimes the troops hang around for awhile.

The next major event comes with 9/11. Which was a perfect excuse to engage in the project The PNAC and many other neo-realist intelligentsia wanted: to finally go back to Iraq and just take the fucker over.
It was also the perfect excuse to engage in the project recommended by Brezenzki of the CFR and many other neo-liberal intelligentsia: to take over Afghanistan for its geopolitical value.
In an academia that pictured itself with the gods eye view of Science and Cartesian rationality, they often end up blind to the most obvious prejudices. Orientalist discourse constructed the middle east as a place of conflict that needed the managing our masculine western whiteness naturally gives us.Iraq and Afghanistan give the US a jumping off point for a land takeover of most of the middle east, specifically potential regional hegemons like Iran.

The United States has been and continues to further its position of power in the world. This position of power is admittedly based on the ability to project power(i.e. violence) across the globe quickly and effectively(i.e. kills lots of people). This is different than a state who passes laws and has the police enforce them with violence. I do not mean to say that this isn't sovereignty, just that this doesn't even remotely resemble what we refer to as "democracy". The US still has some set of universal values which can sometimes be discerned by reading the writings of corporate shills that political science supplies us with, but whether or not the universal rules are codified, as is the case in a democracy, what we can be sure of is that the US visits violence upon those who do not obey. This is a form of sovereignty. When no other country on earth has this ability or if they do have it, but not engage in it, this is evidence that the US is the sole world sovereign.

So I would like to frame history differently, I do not wish to propagandize but to use evidence to support my point, obviously if you refer to world war three or four people will not understand, but don't these labels stand up to scrutiny? Are we not in the midst of a global civil war?

P.S. Another framing I find interesting these days is the bracketing of "occupy wall street" and "arab spring", why is this not part of one global phenomenon that is a reaction to a declining economy and an increasing rich-poor gap(which can also be read as a declining middle class)?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Is the United States a democracy?

The executive has the ability to kill US citizens without charging them with a crime. This is in direct contradiction of Habeus Corpus.

The united states has been occupying Afghanistan for more than a Decade, without specific legislation declaring war. Instead a state of exception in which the Executive has sole authority to decide when to prosecute war has become the norm.This is in direct contradiction to the war powers act and the constitutionally explicit rules governing warmaking. 

The United States has been occupying Iraq for nine years. Originally people scoffed at Wolfowitz saying we could be there until 2010.  This war was clearly an illegal pre-emptive strike by the United States. The justifications for invasion turned out to be complete bullshit: WMDs, yellow cake from Niger, active chem. weapons, complicity with 9/11, and harboring of Al-qaeda have all turned out to be false. When revelations of these lies started to be printed there was no mandate for intervention. The public has not supported this war once given halfway decent information. Before the media realized the bullshit it was peddling a majority of Americans actually believed Saddam had something to do with 9/11. There has NEVER been any evidence of this, a potential meeting between a jihadist does not mean that Saddam is al-qaeda, if you think that evidence is convincing you don't understand what Al-Qaeda and Ba'athism are. Saddam is a ba'athist which is essentially the IRaqi version of Nasserism, generally it can be described as an arab nationalism, sometimes being pan-arab and socialist. Ba'athists are secular, ok? If you weren't aware of these nuances are you starting to see my point? How does al-qaeda feel about secularists? Saddam and what we call "al-qaeda" (which appears to be a phrase that is applied to any Muslim who believes that temporal and spiritual power should be more conflated[Shariah]) hate eachother!

Wealth has been and will be continuing to shift towards the super-rich, which means less money for the other 99% as this chart shows.

Inflation adjusted percentage increase in mean after-tax household income in the United States between 1979 and 2005.

That statistical data is old though, this process has accelerated since 2005 as a result of numerous events, the most important in my opinion being rising gas prices driven by rising oil prices. Because its pretty fucking obvious that if you keep taking something, and you start to take it faster and faster. Eventually you will run out, because all things are finite. Whether that means you run out in a million years or tomorrow is of little relevance, the fact remains that demand will begin outstripping supply on carbon based energy sources. The demand will continue to accelerate, but once supply shocks occur, the acceleration will increase exponentially. In my opinion we are nearing the end of the age of oil. The scrambling for practices of resource gathering which is far worse for the environment and produces less product, is evidence for my belief. Shale gas and tar sands being my examples. Because capitalism claims that it will solve peak oil by causing it to be such a high price that alternatives will appear. But these alternatives are just much worse versions of the original, and really just amount to grasping at straws. There is no effort to get in to rehab for our addiction to carbon energy.
I apologize for digressing, but my point is that there are currently structural factors which have further accelerated the wealth redistribution that we see taking place from 1979-2005. The middle class is being destroyed further. A post-industrial service based economy does not produce a strong middle class in the first place, if we add rising living costs and shrinking salaries/wages we will see a slow destruction of the middle class.

Most political theorists will agree that the middle class is where most of the stability for any regime is located. These are all individuals with a vested interest in making the system work, they are reformers because the system rewards them with a decent lifestyle. An evaporation of the middle class creates revolutionary instability because the lower class does not have a vested interest in maintaining the system of the status quo, they don't have much to lose. Whoever the boss is, they're going to go to work at their job and have the same skills they had before. They will still fit in to the same niche in the world economy no matter the regime. The upper-class being small cannot resist these changes.

My first point is that democracy in America is not a very convincing argument right now. Although materialism is important, (one must eat and stay warm) it is also important to know there is no point in living if you are going to be evil. Economic concerns are important, but we must also pay attention to Politics(which is the ability to justifiably kill people) because the two are related. The United States spends as much as the next 27 countries combined on their military. The US with its huge GDP even has the highest PERCENTAGE of gdp that goes towards military spending. The global civil war that the United States is prosecuting must stop if we are to save the middle class(which in my opinion is of more concern than the entire 99%, because the middle class is key to the stability of any regime).

My second point is that the upper-class should be embracing the messsages of occupy wall street, because without some sort of reform to save the middle class united states might see some REAL class warfare.

It does make me smirk when I think of a wealthy politician, who proclaimed attention to class in discourse as "class warfare", being killed by the real revolutionaries we will see if current trends continue, but violence is a question without a satisfactory answer.

We do not need to fear revolution, because if we do not have a democracy what the fuck do we have to lose?

We do not need to stoke revolution, because the structural trends will make one inevitable.

To those who are trying to silence or marginalize Occupy Wall Street: Don't blow your one chance to reform the system before you make peaceful revolution impossible.