War as the Hardware of Capitalist Globalization
"The National Security Strategy (NSS) of the US applied for the first time in the Iraq war really marks a world-political revolution to a permanent war in the violent and offensive search for ways out of the intensified crisis of capitalist commercialization and investment.."
War as the Hardware of Capitalist Globalization
By Dirk Vogelskamp
[The following excerpts of an address "The Permanent Global War for Free Trade or the Armed Progress" from November 12, 2003 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web http://www.friedenskooperative.de/ff/ff03/5-68.htm. Dirk Vogelskamp is a spokesperson of the Committee for Basic Rights and a co-author with Detlef Hartmann of "Iraq. Threshold to the World War-Post-War Plans of the US Government and its Think Tanks".]
I. The National Security Strategy of the US
The conservative think-tanks, networks and institutes massively gained influence under the Bush administration. Their aggressive strategies and ideas of global development and supremacy are reflected in the National Security Strategy (NSS) of the US from September 2002 covering all world regions and all planes of politics, culture and the economy.
The characteristics of the US security security doctrine from September 2002 were already worked out years ago. The NSS did not react to the attacks of September 11, 2001 - as claimed in Washington - but converted neoconservative ideologies into a doctrine producing an aggressive connection between neoliberal globalization, literally capitalist reorganization of worldwide exploitation and commercialization and the political-military hegemony claims of the US elites.
The new US security doctrine was based on a preventive war strategy. This principle of preventive war allows the US government to militarily intervene globally to repulse supposed "dangers". The doctrine speaks of preemption, of a preventive military measure when a military attack or military threat is demonstrably and immediately imminent (anticipatory self-defense measure). The disarming of the Iraqi regime presumably staged for the world public simulated a preemptive war.
According to this security doctrine, there can be only "one single lasting model for national success: freedom, democracy and free enterprise". The priority is on free trade according to the rules of the WTO (World Trade Organization). To that end, the US wants to seize the global initiative. "The United States will use the favor of the hour to spread the advantages of freedom all over the world. We will actively bring the hope for democracy, development, free markets and free trade to every corner of the earth." In chapter VI titled "Free Markets and Free Trade - Initiation of a New Era of Global Economic Growth", we read: "No contribution to development assistance will succeed as long as nations screen their markets and only give chances to a few privileged ones. When nations respect their citizens, open their markets and invest in better health care and education, every dollar in assistance, trade revenue and domestic capital will be used more effectively" (a quotation of president Bush). "A strong world economy that promotes prosperity and freedom in the rest of the world also increases our national security." The new American security doctrine makes "societies critical of globalization" into national security concerns.
Chapter VII continues this theme: "Expansion of the development process by opening societies and building democratic structures". "Economic aid to developing countries over decades has not led to an economic growth in the poorest countries. Even worse, economic aid to developing countries has often supported a politics condemned to fail by taking away the reform pressure and prolonging misery. The results of economic aid are usually measured in dollars and not in the results achieved in the receiver countries in growth rates and reduced poverty. These are indicators of a misguided strategy... The goal of this government is the release of the productivity potential of people in all nations. Long-term growth and reduced poverty are impossible without the right national policies. We will demonstrate greater engagement where governments resolve changes of political direction."
Under the legitimating pretext of freedom, democracy and progress in development, the NSS designs a project of worldwide political and economic upheaval with military means (continuing the new NATO strategy of April 1999 that joined economic crises with military interventions and the failed Multilateral Agreement on Investments [MAI] opening societies for foreign investment).
II. The Globalization Gaps
Thomas P.M. Barnett, professor at the US Naval War College and advisor of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld since September 2001, offers an outstanding interpretation of the American national security doctrine. In his article "The Pentagon's New World Map" (Blatter fur deutsche und internationale Politik 5/2003), he emphasized that the Iraq war marked an historical turning point - the moment when Washington took hold of strategic security in the age of globalization. Barnett distinguished the regions of the world as to whether globalization actually struck roots or not. "The less a country participated in globalization, the more it will provoke a military intervention of the United States". Barnett identified the globalization gaps in the Caribbean islands, almost all Africa, the Balkans, Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and large parts of southwest Asia. These regions also constituted his list of possible military interventions.
The national security strategy of the US applied for the first time in the Iraq war really marks a world-political revolution to a permanent war in the violent and offensive search for ways out of the intensified crisis of capitalist commercialization and investment.
The Violent Transformation of the Middle East
Let us return again to the region of the Middle East. The report by Brent Scowcroft, security advisor of George Bush in the first Iraq war, to the Council on Foreign Relations gives insight into the blocked development in the Middle East. The compilation and publication of this report occurred in the first phase of the acute preparation of the Iraq war (2/14/2002/ Internet page Frankfurter Rundschau). The introduction complained that the economic output of many of the countries of the region was disappointing in the last quarter to half century despite the advantage of great oil wealth. Deficient economic opening for investments, services and goods outside the oil area was seen as a reason along with deficient readiness to reduce the interventionist role of the state in the economy. The "enormous complexity" of the problem and the necessity of new economic strategies for the domestic economy were emphasized. High tariffs, bureaucracy, corruption, state ownership of factories and banks and the absence of a change in mentality are particular problems. In the report, the individual dimensions of the necessary de-blocking were named as for example creation of different employment possibilities for workers and changing access to investments in the service- and banking areas. Special significance was ascribed to the banking area of the service sector. Massive deregulation was urged. "Transforming the state from an important economic actor to a supplier for services in creating an attractive investment climate" was central. These service and banking areas should be synchronized with the WTO strategies promoted by the US and with the trade agreement policy favored by the US administration.
The political-economic substance of the geopolitical Middle East offensive is manifest here. All political, economic and social realities important for value creation including the processes of elite formation for a new political-economic regime should be opened up and "mentalities" reoriented.
Ronald D. Asmus and his colleague Kenneth M. Pollack, co-workers at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy of the Brookings Institute in Washington, wrote a key text for understanding the Iraq war. The title (The New Transatlantic Project) sounded harmless. After outlining the threat analysis regarding the new forms of "terrorism", they urged taking the offensive, tackling the underlying causes of terrorism and not only treating the symptoms. Such a strategy also required a military component. The whole Middle East suffers under a "crisis of governability" that goes along with the incapacity of states to master the challenges of the modern age and globalization. For Asmus and Pollack, the transformation of the Middle East is a strategic project over decades, not years.
For Asmus and Pollack, the Iraq war was the prelude to a long-lasting, violent offensive to revolutionize the living conditions of millions of people in the Middle East (Asmus calls this "armed progress"). A region is belligerently put under shock and stress to break the ungovernability and blockades and to establish economic points of contact. Even if the US occupation policy presently fights with immense problems and resistance, the strategy is not described as a failed strategy. The dimension of violent upheaval and economic opening of a vast region is monstrous and cannot be organized in a few months. Iraq should demonstratively affect its neighboring states both in its military occupation and in its capitalist reorganization. A beginning was made in opening the Iraqi economy for international corporations with the law regulating foreign investment recently issued by the US administrator Paul Bremer. This law makes the Iraqi economy into the most open and most tax-free area of the world for trade and capital flows according to a commentator of the New York Times. This is a horrific experiment in a war-ravaged country and a population mired in misery.
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