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The Big Picture

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Month
June
Year
1987
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Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
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Agenda Publications
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IM oam Chomsky is Institute Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has made important and radical contributions to his field and has wrrtten some of this century's most celebrated texts on language. He is more widely known as a political activist and outspoken critic of U.S. foreign policy. His active opposition to the Vietnam War began in 1965 and is reflected in his books: "American Power and the New Mandarins" (1969), and "At War with Asia" (I970). His more recent books include 'The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, & the Palestinians" (1984), 'Turning the Tide: U.S. Intervention in Central America and the Struggle for Peace" (1985), and "Pirates and Emperors: International Terrorism in the Real World" (1986). The following speech was given at the University of Minnesota in April of 1985. ft aired on WBAI-FM New York and was transcribed from a recording by AGENDA staff. The subheadings were added by AGENDA. The National Acadcmy of Sciences published a study of nuclear strategie issues a couple of weeks ago; their poll results indícate that 75% of the American population has come out in favor of the nuclear freeze. Of that 75% some portion, probably small, knows that that's also official Soviet policy. The reason why that proportion is probably small is that it has barely been mentioned in the American press. And probably some still smaller proportion knows that the position has been overwhelmingly supported by the United Nations over the rather adamant objection of the United States. So here we have a situation where 75% of the American population supports something, the Soviet Union supports it, most of the world supports it, and as you know it's not an issue in American politics. It was barely mentioned - and only in rhetorical flourishes - in the last campaign, and in fact it's not really on ;he agenda in the American political system. And the vast military buildup which was initiated by President Carter and ihen extended by President Reagan continúes unabated, quite significantly escalating the already severe threat of a terminal nuclear war. The only detectable effect of this very substantial success of the nuclear freeze campaign - 75% is not a smal! number to reach - the only detectable effect is that it impelled the United States into negotiations which were obviously designed to deflect public concern, so that the arms buildup could continue without interference. And in effect that is exactly what happened. Well, all of that raises some obvious questions about democracy and otheT things. A nuclear war is certainly not unlikely. 1 don't ïhink that there is any rational person that thinks it's unlikely. In fact we have come very close to it many times. It's kind of a miracle that we're even here to discuss the matter and it's not too likely that that miracle will pcrsist very long. Even now - just to talk for a moment about the scale of armaments - the United States has approximatcly 13,000 nuclear weapons targeted against the Soviet Union. [If you include] France and England [you can] add about 1,000 more (and they're rapidly increasing their arsenals). The Soviet Union has about 8,500 weapons targeted against the United States. Of the 13,000 U.S. missiles targeted against the Soviet Union about 11,000 are classified as strategie. Of those about half are invulnerable on submarines. Of the 8,500 Soviet missiles - mostly land based - about 95% are liquid fueled. The Center for Defense Information (from which I have just taken those figures) concludes that despite the numbers, neither country is superior in nuclear weapons; rather thcy say, we are mutually inferior because there's no superiority in mutual destraction, and that's a plausible conclusión. Mutual Inferiority Now the American government regularly issues wamings which are designed to terrify the taxpayer (who has to pay the costs of these military buildups) and sometimes those warnings are rather on the fanciful side. For example, a couple of weeks ago theTe was a major interview published in The New York Times with President Reagan and a group of New York Times experts in strategie issues (Leslie Gelb and others), and Reagan started off by stating, as he has before, that since 1967 the United States has been engaged in unilateral disarmament. Well, he was not called to account for that statement (which is a falsehood so extraordinary that it defies comment). Now, notice that I cali it a falsehood, not a lie. Technically speaking it wasn't a lie, just as the random babble of a child can't be a lie. That is, it requires a certain competence to be able to teil a lie: you have to have mastered the concept of truih otherwise you just can't teil a lie. But the point is that it is plainly, grotesquely false, and what's interesting about it was that it elicitcd no comment. His inteTlocutors didn't feel it was necessary to say anything about this; there was no further editorial comment. In fact it's apparently considered quite appropriate for the president to say we've been engaged in unilateral disarmament during the period when we've vastly increased our strategie weapons. Well, sometimes these warnings are not fanciful. Sometimes they're in fact quite accurate. Every year the Pentagon puU out a glossy booklet explaining how dire our plight is and how weak we are in comparison to the Russians and so on. In 1983, the booklet actually managed to say somethirig that was true. It said that the Russians have an ominous advantage over us in liquid fueled missiles (which is in fact correct). Ninety-fïve percent of (see BIG PICTURE, page 10) The Big Picture (FROM PAGE 1) their missiles are liquid fuoled and none of ours are, which is quite an advantage. The reason is ihat we abandoned this technology 20 years ago since it was worthless, dangerous and unreliable. It didn't go on to say that the Russians have an ominous advantage over us in horse-drawn artillery, but I presume that that's also correct; well, maybe even wilh soldiers without shoes, I presume too. The recent developments that have taken place are very ominous. They really are frightcning in many respects. For example, the Pershing II missiles in West Gcrmany have a few minutes flight time to Russian targets. Cruise missiles are now all over the world, in the seas, on land and in the air. Thcy are theorelically undetectable or will bc with stcalth technology. The MX missile, according to the Air Force Chief of Staff Lewis Allen, has what he calis a counterforce first-strike capability; the same is truc of the Trident II missiles on submarines. Now, the effect of all of this is well understood and has been pointed out by many people - for example, former Secretary of Defense MacNamara - the effect is to compel the Soviet Union to adopt a computerized response strategy, a "launch on warning" strategy, which of course ulereases significantly the danger of war. It means that war can break out by error or inadvertance or technical failure or misassessment of rising international tensión because there isn't any time for human interven tion. Now we know that we also have such systems but fortunately don't rely on them. The systems have repeatedly failed and human intervention has aborted a programmed nuclear response. Russian systems are undoubtedly going to be far worse than ours and ihey are going to fail all over the place (because their computer systems are much more inefficiënt and degraded). All of this means that what we are doing is wilh conscious awareness very significantly increasing the danger to us, that is, increasing the danger that we will be destroycd. And actual ly it would bc difficult to imagine actions that we could undcrlake ihat would so endanger our own securily as ihese latcst developments. The Russians typically lag bchind us in technology by approximatcly two to fivc ycars which means that in a couple of years they will duplícate what we're now doing, driving us to a comparable strategy which again is going to escálate the risk of nuclear war. The so-called Star Wars Program (even research on it) again escalates the thrcat to us; this is its most obvious effect. No serious person believes that the Star Wars system will ever come near to blocking a fïrst strike (or t least nobody will ever know whethcr it works uniil it's tried). Anybody who's ever played with a computer knows ihat it's going 10 fail, but the question is what people's expectations will be. It might caiTy with it the expectation that it could block a second-strike, a retaliatory strike. But that mcans 'a's a first-strike weapon. Nevenheless we are certainly going to procced with it. The debates that go on are generally bctween two positions. Therc's a tcchnical debate that's going on about how well Star Wars is going to work, and you know the outcome of that debate bcfore it's finished; basically nobody knows. And there are some who say, "Well, if we're smart enough we can overeóme this and that Soviet tcchnique to outfox it." And then there are others who say "No" because they can think up some other trick. It's uncertain. It really is uncertain. And when you're uncertain what you do is "try.".So therefore, we're going to try. Those who are taking part in the debate are in fact contributing to that outcome, whether they're for it or against it. Well, what are the reasons for what appears to be a kind of . inexorable drift toward escalation of the threat of war and probable nuclear destruction? And what are the reasons for the almost total irrelevance of public opinión or of international willingness to terminale the madness? What are the reasons for that? That's worth thinking about, and that's what I want to talk about. A monolithic and ruthless conspiracy There is a convcnlional answer to this. We know the conventional answer. The conventional answer is that we have to defend ourselves against what the president called a "monolithic and ruthless conspiracy" to block our benevolcnt intentions throughout the world and to conquer the world. Actually, I'm quoting John F. Kennedy at the time when he launched the current phasc of the arms race (with the hugc buiklup of nuclear weapons in the early sixties). And Kennedy's "monolithic and ruthless conspiracy" (which is supposed to be the source of all the trouble in the world according to Kennedy) has recently been renamed the "Evil Empire" by Ronald Reagan, who's policy has incidentally very closely rescmbled Kennedy's, exactly as he says (much to the discomfiture of Democrats) and that also tells us something interesling about the spectrum of American politics. Well, what about the conventional answer, you know, "the monolithic and ruthless conspiracy" and "the Evil Empire" or whatever the ncxt person says? The first observation to make about the conventional answer is that it is very uninformative, in sort of the technical sense. In the technical sense of information theory it carnes zero information. The reason is that it is totally predictable. That is, every action of every state is explaincd on the basis of defensive need. Therefore we leam nothing from the fact that these actions of this state are intcrpreted that way. For example, when Hitler took over the Sudetenland or attacked Poland, if you look back, you'll notice that those actions were justified in terms of "the nced for self-defense." It was necessary for Germany to defend itself against "Polish aggressivencss" or against "Czech terror" or against Germans and so on and therefore [they say]: "What do we do? Everyone's refusing peace. We are compellcd to do this." Incidcntally, Hitler scems rather sane by the standards of senatorial "doves" like Paul Tsongas or Christopher Dodd, (I won't talk about Davc Durenburger), bul these peoplc who say that Nicaragua is such a threat to us that if they obtain weapons to defend thcmselves against our altack, we must therefore bomb them. That's the position of the senatorial "doves," and by thosc standards Hitler is in fact rather sane bccause if Nicaragua is a threat to us then undoubtedly Czechoslovakia was a threat to Germany; in fact, a far greatcr threat. If you want to evalúate the defensive rhetoric of some state, (since the defensive rhetoric itself carnes no information), what you've got to do is look at the historical record. You have to sec if they were in fact defending themselves and that's what we've got to ask about ourselves. Have we indeed been involved in any form of defense over the past years? That's what I want to talk about. There's no time to give a detailed account but I'm going to try to mention some salient points which bear on this. Let's begin with World War II Let's begin with World War II. After World War II the United States was in a position of global dominancc ihat probably had no parallel in human history; at least it's hard to think of one. This dominance showed up in two dimensions: first, in the economie dimensión, and second, in the strategie and military dimensión. As far as the economie dimensión is conecmed, at that time the United States had about 50% of the world's wcalth and it was producing about 50% of the world's production, and as far as I know therc has never been a moment like ihat in history. Now that was understood. It was very well mderstood and American planners tried to formúlate policies based on that fact. This is a very open society, and iherefore we can find out what they were planning. The documents are cvailable and they are rather revealing. It's an open society but that doesn't seem to matter much because nobody looks at the facts, but let's look at them. I should say, incidentally, that if you look at the planning record, the documentary record, it was pretty wcll set in the mid-forties, and nolhing has changed very much since. What has happencd sincc is the application of the same essentially invariant, gcopolitical conception lo various situations. Bul the basic framework of thinking was developcd quite exprcssly and quite lucidly in the mid-forties, and there's a good documenlary record on it, and then it's been applicd (somclimcs successfully, somelimes not), but it's been consistcntly applicd. Some of the best accounts of this were presented by Gcorgc Kennan, who is one of the most thoughtful and lucid of American planners. Let me stress that he is on the "doveish," humane side of the spectrum of planning, which also makes what he said quite interesting. And he was hcad of the State Department Planning Staff in the late 1940s, and in that position he wrote a series of planning statements which are called Policy Planning Study-suchand-such. One of these, PPS 23 - Feb.1948, gives an extreme - ly precise and the most lucid account of post-war American foreign policy that I have ever seen. It runs approximately like this: Kennan says we have 50% of the world"s wealth, and that disparity creates envy and resentment elsewhere. The primary purpose of our foreign policy, he said, must be to maintain this disparity. Now he proceeds to say that "wc must abandon vague and unrealistic ideas such as democratization, raising of the living standards, and human rights. Wc must recognize that to maintain the disparity wc're going to have to use forecful measures, and the less wc are hampered by idcalistic slogans the beller." That's the message and it's correct, accurate and poinlcd. The Grand Area This message grows out of a geopolilical framework that in fact had already been formulaied quite elaboratcly in earlier years. During the early 1940s - in fact from 1939 to 1945 - American planners met extensivcly to deal wilh whal thcy knew was going to emerge from the war, namely a position of substantial American global dominance. There was very linie doubt by the early 194()'s that the United Slates was going to emerge in a world dominant position. The rcasons were pretty obvious. The United States entercd the war wilh, by far the largest and most powerful industrial economy in the world. Well, what are the reasons for what appears to be a kind of inexorable drift toward escalation of the threat of war and probable nuclear destruction? And what are the reasons for the almost total irrelevance of public opinión or of international willingness to termínate the madness? What are the reasons for that? That's worth thinking about, and that's what I want to talk about. Every rival was being either destroyed or severely damaged while the U.S. gained enormously from the war. Since the 'United States was not attacked and the government was able to control a command economy effectively, American industrial production grew by leaps and bounds, by probably three or four times during the war. Obviously we were going to emerge in a dominant position. Planners were aware of this - they're not stupid, in fact they are highly class conscious in the United States, and always have been - and they met to deal with the issue. The most intcresting of these programs that I know of was what was called the WarPeacc Studies Program. It was organized by Üie Council on Foreign Relations (which is the major business input into foreign policy planning and it includcd all the lop planners in the State Department). They me! for six years to plan out the post-war world and developed a certain concept which they called "The Grand Area." "The Grand Area" was regarded as what one of them called "an area strategically necessary for world control." It was an area that had to be subordinated to the nceds of the American economy. And then they did a care ful geopolitical analysis. It turned out that the Grand Area had to include: obviously all the Western Hemisphere, the Far East - the former British empire which we were then in the process of dismantling and taking over (that's what's called "antiimperialism" in American historical writing) - and certainly the oil-producing regions in the Middle East, and by 1943 it was obvious at least Western Europe. And in fact that's the minimum part of the Grand Area (the maximum would be everything if we can get it). That's the area strategically necessary for world control, and as Kennan explained, that area has to be subordinated to our needs. In that arca we have to act forcefully without regard for "vague and unrealistic slogans like human rights, democratization and raising the living standards"; not hampercd by such conceplions, bccause it's going to takc forecful means to maintain the disparity. Remembcr that's the message from the liberal, humane side of the spectrum. Kennan was in fact thrown out of the State Department a couple years later bccause he was considered too soft, and line pcople came in. Incidentally, that geopolitical con-cept was developed by Kennan specifically with regard to the Far East but the United States is a global power so its policies are applied everywhere. And Kennan himself explained how, that policy applied to Latin America in a 1950 briefing for Latin American ambassadors, where he explained to them that one of the main concerns of our foreign policy must be what he called, "protection of our raw materials." Notice "out" raw materials; no mincing of words there. And who do we have to protect our raw materials against in Latin America? Well, as you know, there aren't any Russians around. We have to protect our raw materials from the indigenous population who might try to carry out moves that would threaten the disparity. For example, they might begin to use thcir resources for their own purposes in which case they would bc stealing from us because they're "our" resources, so we have to protect their resources from them. And how do we protect them? Well, he explained, the final answer might be an unpleasant one but we should not hesitatc before using pólice repression by the government. He said a liberal government that allows the communists to function is more dangerous than a harsh and brutal govemment that blocks them. And he said that it's not shameful to repress the communists because they're essentially traitors. Who are the communists? Well in fact a good operational definition of that notion had been givcn in a State Department Intelligcnce Report about a year earlier which warned of a grim and dangerous doctrine that was spreading over much of the world, in particular the Western Hemisphere; namely the belief that the government should have a concern for the welfare of the population. Anybody who holds on to that belief automatically becomes a communist, that's the definition. That concept has been elaborated in other studies. For example, the important study of the Widrow Wilson Foundation and National Planning Association in 1955, directed by well known Harvard political scientist William Randall Elliot, in which they said the primary threat of the communist powers is that they are undergoing an economie trans formation which makes them unable to complement the industrial societies of the West. That is, they are proceeding in a direction which threatens the disparity. They are going to use thcir resources for their own purposes and obviously that's intolerable and anyone who does that is a communist no matter what their beliefs are. The freedom to rob This geopolitical conception remains fixed and it explains why the U.S. has been so hostile to democratization, raising the living standards and human rights, as we are in fact. Because any move of that sort in any country is probably going to be associated with limitations on the fundamental freedom, namely the freedom to rob and that's the only one we really care about. The freedom to rob has to be maintained, everything else is just rhetoric. And countries that move toward democratization tend to be concemed about their own population, ihis dangerous doctrine about the concern for the welfare of one's own population that will increase with all the problems that are associated with it. One can learn quite a lot about post-war history if you understand ihis doctrine of the world's most powerful country, which was quite clearly and explicitly articulated, no mincing words about it. It's of course suppressed in the historical record, so if you look at the historical studies, you don't fïnd it. For example, the best scholarly study of Kennan's pösition is the book by John Louis Gatis called "Stratcgies of Containment," a careful, important, scholarly study. In it he claims that Kennan never expressed any geopolitical conception. He says the only thing he expressed, and he gives some examples, were just banalaties. But Kennan did present geopolitical conceptions like the ones I've just quoted. However they're not appropriate for the public to hear so therefore we say he didn't produce any geopolitical conceptions. Now it's not that Gatis is unaware of these documents, in fact he couldn't be unaware of them and we know he is not unaware of them because I happen to bequoting from a collection of documente that he edited. Remembcr, I was quodng before from a top secret document when Kennan said "we should put aside vague and unrealistic objectives such as human rights, democratization and raising the living standards and we should not be hampered by those idcalistic slogans." That's a top secret document in which the people who matter are talking to one another. It's of course undcrstood and need not be said that scholarship and the media and the schools must continually trumpet all of these vague and idealistic slogans in an effort to pacify the domestic population. But among the serious people, we realize the significance of things like human rights, democratization and raising the living standards: they're going to stand in the way of maintaining the disparity, of subordinating the Grand Area to our need to domínate and control the world's wealth. For the record Well, that's the economie side. What about the strategie and military side? Here too the United States was in a position of enormous power at the end of WWII, again I think unparalleled in human history. The United States had no enemies nearby, that is, there was no power in the Western Hemisphere that could conceivably threaten it. The United States controlled both oceans, which meant that no power could reach us in any other way. In fact thcre was only one possible thrcat to American security at that time. That threat was a potential threat in the late 1940s but it was on the horizon. The threat was ICBMs and thcrmal nuclear weapons. Now hydrogen bombs are small (as distinct from atom bombs) so they could be put in the nosecone of a missile and that meant that if intcr-continental missilcs were developed and hydrogen bombs were developed it would be possible for some encmy to threaten the United States. Apart from that there's no conceivable threat to the United States, to its security. Recognizing that, we immediately raise an obvious question: what did American planners do to try to prevent the sole threat to the security to the United States? Let's takc a look at the documentary record and fïnd what efforts were made to undertake negotiations which would prevent the development of hydrogen bombs and ICBMs. The The Big Picture ical record, as far as I'm aware, contains no indication that any such effort was ever made or that it even crossed anyone's mind. Maybc you can fínd a case, I haven't been able to find one; it just wasn't an issue. Nobody seemed to care about the development of the only weapons that could possibly threaten the United States. Well, that teaches us something too. It's one of many things that teach us that the questions of security have ncver been relevant to the arms race. They're not significant. Al most, they are of very marginal significance. It could have been possible to stop ihem, maybe. We don't know without trying. But it could have been possible to enter into the kinds of negotiations with the superpower enemy that would have blockcd the dcvelopment of the sole weapon that could have possibly threatened us, but nobody wanted to do iL That must mean that there were other things driving the system, forcing it to go that way, for which questions of security were quite irrelevant. The case of Nicaragua That is another observation to add to the former ones, to the matter of irrelevance of public opinión. Incidcntally that point remains constant throughout, up until today. Take for example the ciirrcnt idea that Nicaragua is a military threat to the United States. Let's note first that the idea is so ludicrous that it's hard to proceed: if Nicaragua is a threat to the United States, then Denmark is a far greater threat to the Soviet Union. And they certainly ought to bomb Denmark because they already have dangerous weapons, and they are a part of a hostile military alliance. But let's put aside the odd idea of applying to ourselves the same rational standards we apply lo anyone else and let's consider the concept of Nicaragua as a ihreat to the United States. Well, suppose it is. Thcn how do we mitígate that threat. The threat is supposcd lo be that Nicaragua is a Russian base or has Russian weapons or somcihing. Wcll, how do we mitígate that threat? The answcr is prelty obvious (obvious at a moment's rcflcction): i f we want to reduce that threat, what we do is cali off the war against Nicaragua, enter into normal trade relations with it, allow it to proceed with its own programs, at which point it will stop being a Russian base, so we've eliminated the threat. But that idea doesn't cross anybody's mind. The reason is that we don't care whethcr Nicaragua is a threat; in fact wc want it to be a threat. We want Nicaragua to bc a ihreat because we're trying to drive it to become a Russian base because then that will offer a justification for the use of violence against Nicaragua which has to be undertaken for other reasons. The reason is that Nicaragua is by definition "communist" since the govcmment is concemed with the welfare of its own population and is un willing to complement the industrial economies of the West; rather they are trying to do something domestically. Henee, they are by definition communist, part of that grim and evil doctrine, that monolithic and ruthless conspiiacy. It doesn't matter if the Russians are there or noL In fact it would be better for us if the Russians were thcre, because then we would have a reason (for our own population) to carry out the forceful acts that must be undertaken i f we're go ing to "maintain the disparity" (Kennan's idea), if we're going to . ensure that the freedom to rob and to exploit is not hampered (and obviously we have to be committed to that since we're interested in freedom). The Domino Theory If Nicaragua proceeds, it's not just Nicaragua that is a problem. Part of this geopolitical conception that I outlined from the very beginning was what is now called the "Domino Theory." Now, the "Domino Theory" has two variants and you've got to distinguish them. One variant is the kind that Ronald Reagan produced when he said, "if we don't stop them over there thcy're going to be in Long Bcach." And that version has been presentcd by everybody; by Johnson, by Kennedy, by evcryonc. "Wc've got lo stop them over there or ihcy're going to come over here and rape your grandmothcr," and ihat-sort-of-thing. That's one version of the Domino Theory and everyone laughs about that one and says how ridiculous it is. However thcre's anoiher version of the Domino Theory which is not ridiculous, is very sound, is never challenged and underlies most American action in the world. The concern is that if some country falls under this terrible concept of using its resources for its own population, of concern for the welfare of its own people, and if it works, then there might be a demonstrationeffect. It might be picked up elsewhere. "The rot will spread," that's the way the planners describe t, the "rot" being successful social and economie developmcnt outsidc the framework of control and domination by the United States, (blocking the freedom to rob). And that could have a demonstration-effect and therefore wc've got to stop it. "We have to prevent the contagión which is going to infect others," as Kissinger put it when he undertook the overthrow of the Allende govemment. It really ought to be called the "rotten apple in a barrel" theory because that's the way it was originally formulated; later it became Domino's. "One rotten apple in the barrel may infect them all," that was the original formulation in the mid-forties. Now thai makcs sense. That is, if successful social and economie dcvclopment takes place somewhere, olhers may iry to emulalc it. Incidentally, it fits into ihe general conception of "Grand Area" planning and Kcnnan's version of it. Notice if you think about it this explains an otherwise rather curious and paradoxical fact about American policy. People are always puzzled, especially Europeans, when they try to understand why the United States dedicatcs itself wilh such savage ferocity to trying to destroy tiny, marginal countries like Grenada, or Laos, you know - countries that barely exist. Laos, for example, is probably the weakest country in the world. Most of the pcople in Laos didn't even know ihcy were in Laos. They just knew thcy wcre in thcir village. Fm not joking. The first time thcy knew therc was a world out therc was when bombers slarted coming, driving them into holes in the ground whcre they had to hide for a couple of years. Why did we have to attack Laos with fanatic ferocity? That was in fact the hcaviest bombing in history by the late 196Q's. It was later exceeded in Cambodia. The American govemment conceded openly that this had nothing to do with the war in South Vietnam. It was on its own. And the reason was, transparently, that there was a mild social revolution beginning in Laos. And that was intolerable. Why do we care about Laos? Therc are no resources in Laos that Üie United States cares abouL We weren't doing it becausc we wanted their resources: wc werc doing it because the rot might spread. The same with Grenada. As soon as Grenada underwent the Bishop revolution, we had to destroy it. Grenada has nothing (a little nutmeg, 100,000 pcople) but we had to stop it. And the point is, the smaller the country, the more dangerous the threat. The weaker the country, the more dangerous the threat. And that's rational, because pcople can think if even this weak, nothing, little place can do something for its own population with its mineral resources, then we can do it too. And the weaker the country, the worse the threat. So naturally you have to go after these countries with really savage ferocity; the weaker they are, the more dangerous they are. Well, all of that has a certain kind of rationality to it. Rotten Apples Coming back to the problem of the threat to the United States: we want these countries to be threats. Wc want Nicaragua and Grenada to appear to be threats so then Senator Durcnburger will be able to pursue his idea that wc should stop supporting the contras - instead we should invade Nicaragua directly, which is what hc wants, because that's what we have to do to prevent the rot firom spreading. To gel back to the main point, the same is truc of Cuba, Guatemala, and of China for years. If we can't control the country, if we can't insure that the freedom to rob is maintained, then we want to turn them into Russian allies. We want them to be Russian bases. We'll attack them until they gel Russian weapons for defense - they're certainly not going to get weapons from our allies - and then we have a justification for attacking and overthrowing them, which we'll have to do anyway. This is actually consistent if you think about it. It happens over and over again and it shouldn't be difficult to perceive or undersland. It's always describcd as some soit of odd curiosity, but it's not odd and it's not curious, and there's a reason why it happens always. It makes sense. What it does indícate however, is that once again security issues, questions of national security, have not been of any significance. In fact, we don't care about security, or at most, care about it marginally. Other things are driving the system and let's ask what they are. We have a lot of documentaron now from the 1940s about what U.S. planners expected with regard to Europe. At that time they wcre all screaming about how the Russians were going to take over Europe, but it now tums out as any rational person should have known all along, thal Ihey nevcr expected a Russian attack on Wesicm Europe. Thcy ncver expected that. The concern was something else. The concern was nalional capitalism, or socialism, or a communist participaron in democratie politics, all of which could begin to crode the Grand Area and threatcn the disparity. That had to be stopped. The Russian attack on Europe was never considered in the cards. Again, it indicates that security issues were at most marginal. They are not the reason for the buildup. Our war against South Vietnam, what is called here the "defense" of South Vietnam, was motivated on the same principies. The same is true of our actions in the Middlc East, and elsewhere (there's not time to go into that). But if you look through them, you'll find that it The Domino Theory: It really ought to be called "the-rotten-apple-in-a-barrel" theory because that's the way it was originally formulated; later it became Domino's. "One rotten apple in the barrel may infect them all," that was the original formulation in the mid-forties. And the point is, the weaker the country, the more dangerous the threat. And that's rational, because people can think if even this weak, nothing, little place can do something for its own population with its mineral resources, then we can do it too. And the weaker the country, the worse the threat. So natu rally you have to go after these countries [Laos, Grenada, Nicaragua] with really savage ferocity; the weaker they are, the more dangerous they are. Well, all of that has a certain kind of rationality to it. all follows in the same geopolitical conception. It's quite rational planning of course if you accept the assumptions. Military buildups: excuses vs. reasons Let's take a look at the actual military buildup and see what that tells us about the motivating forces, again asking the question whether security of the United States has ever been a significant factor. There have been three major pcriods in which there was a big military buildup. It always goes on, but there have been three major periods when it cscalated. One was the early 1950s, the second was the early 1960s under Kennedy, and the third frorn about 1979 until today (the lattcr part of the Carter administration, then picked up and extended by Reagan). Those are the three periods. Each of those times there was a reason given, so let's take a look at the reason. The reason given in the early 1950s was that the Korean War proved that the "monolilhic and ruthless conspiracy" was trying to take over the world, so therefore we needed strategie weapons to defend ourselves. That was the official reason then. Well, there are a number of things wrong with that reason. One thing is that it's obviously fraudulent since the plans had already been laid explicitly prior to the Korean War. In fact, the plans appear explicitly in an important document called NSC 68 (National Security Council memorandum written by Paul Nitze), which carne out a couple months before the Korean War broke out and gave an extensive and detailed analysis of why we needed a vast arms buildup. Now that couldn't have been the Korean War because it hadn't happened yet. And they give a different reason. This is an intcmal document, again. The reason was that we had to pursue a rollback strategy, a strategy aimed at breaking up the Soviet Union so that we could then deal with successor states and ultimately incorpórate it into the Grand Area. And to carry out strategy, they said, we have to introduce sacrifice and discipline in the United States. We can't afford to waste resources on consumer goods and we cannot afford the danger of frecdom of speech and debate because we're reaily at war. They also pointcd out that we're vastly stronger than the Soviet Union in any measurable respect: military, economie or whatever, but that's not to the point. The Soviet Union was stealing our resources, very much the way others in the Grand Área sometimos do, and we therefore had to defend ourselves by undertaking a military strategy. And the background documents for that cali for approximately tripling or quadrupling the military budget which was done after the Korean War offered the excuse for it. But it's transparent that the Korean War was not the reason because ihe plans were all thcre prior to the Korean War and what we were waiting for was arf opportunity to carry out the plans that were alrcady laid. The Korean War offered that opportunity. Incidentally, the Korean War is not exactly what it's presented to be in American doctrine. The Korean War actually began in 1945, not in 1950. It began when American forces landed in Korea. What they did was eliminate the Korean govemment. There had been a Korean resistance against Japanese fascism and they set up an indigenous Korean govemment. It was a popular govemment all over South Korea and the first task of the American forces was lo destroy it and to restore the fascist collaboralors. They even used the Japanese pólice to put down the local govemment. Thcn followed five ycars of quite bloody repression. About 100,000 people were killed in South Korea before the Korean War. Also, the United States had to block reunification which just about evcrybody wanted. There was a lot of fighting across the border, most of it incidentally initiated ■from the South. In 1949, most of it was going North, not South. Thcn after all of this came the Korean War. Now, our history starts with the Korean War, but real history docsn't. And to see what it means, let's imagine that some superpower had conquered the western half of the United States, had destroyed the local govemment, had instituted a regime of collaborators (let's say former Nazis or something), and then carried out a repression so severe that 100,000 people were killed. Suppose that across the border between the occupied West and the East there was constant fighting going in both directions and suppose then that the East attacked the West. Well, that wouldn't just be aggression. It would be something else, and that's what the Korean War was even i f we assumed that it was a Nonh Korean attack. Incidentally, ihcre isn't the slightest evidence, nor was there ever any evidence the Russians had anything to do with it. That's the Korean War, but all thal's a matter of correcting a severely dislorted historical record. But anyhow it's irrelevant bccause whatever the Korean War may have been, it couldn't have been an excuse for the arms buildup as was claimed, since the decisions preceeded the Korean War. Well, that tells us something too about the first case. It tells us that the reason it was offered was a fraud and it wasn't the real reason, so there must have been some other real reason. Well let's take a look at the second case, the Kennedy buildup that was motivatcd by the famous Missile Gap. Now the Missile Gap was also a fraud. Eisenhower pointed that out during the campaign and the Kennedy people certainly knew it within a couple of weeks after coming into office. In fact, the Russians had four missiles at the time, maybe operational, but there was certainly no missile gap. Nevertheless the United States proceeded with the buildup of 1,000 minutemen. After the Missile Gap was conceded to be a fraud, the planned military buildup went on anyway. So, obviously, that was not the reason. What about the third time around? Well this time around, it was supposed to be the "window of vulnerability." That's why we had to have the big military buildup. We needn't discuss that because the President's own commission, the Scowcroft Commission, pointed out that there never had been a "window of vulnerability," and to the extent that there had it was opcncd wider by Reagan sincc old weapons were phascd out faster than new ones came in. So according to the theory, the Russians should have been running wild all over the world. But nobody lalks about it anymore. In fact. Administraron spokesmen in Congressional hearings are now denying that they ever said there was a "window of vulnerability." The point is that the official rcason was withdrawn as fraudulcnt but the planncd arms buildup went on anyway. So once again we sec that something else was involved. What was involved? Bcfore going into üiat, let me niake an observation for quite good reasons which 111 come back 10 if there's time. But just as a description, it's a fact that big military buildups tend to coincide with an aggressive, adventurous foreign policy. It's not too surprising that that should be ihe case and in fact it is the case. For example in the early 1950s, the United States also began the training of Latin American offïccrs and that predictably led to a series of military coups in Latin America. In fact by 1954, 13 out of 20 Latin American statcs were under military dictatorships. That was a high for the period. That was just one concomitant of the big military buildup at home. What we really have to do is be able to use our conventional forces against local enemies - enemies somewhere in our domain, South Vietnamese or Filipinos or whatever - that's what we really have to do. But we have to be able to do that without concern. We have to be able to do that under the umbrella of nuclear forces which will insure that we can pursue these policies without caution. The Big Picture A nuclear umbrella for a Cold War In 1961, the Kennedy administration made a decisión which in terms of its impact is one of the most important of modem history. In 1961 the Kennedy administration changed the mission of the Latin American military. Notice, incidentally, that the United States can determine the mission of the Latin American military - that tells you something - but thcy changed it. It had been "hemispheric defense" and now it became "intcrnal security." Well, hemispheric defense was kind of a joke, you know. There was nobody to defend the hemisphere against except us and that's nol what was intended. Intemal security, however, is no joke at all. Intemal security means war against your own population. And that's exactly what happencd under the ímpetus of the Kennedy administration and then Johnson followed. The United States backed the war against the population on the part of the Latin American military which was bcing traincd and adviscd by the United States. Government after govemment, country after country throughout Latin America feil into the hands of national security states, modeled basically on the Nazis, which introduced high technology torture, terror, and a degree of suppression and violence leading to what a later commission called the "plague of repression" that was unparalleled in the whole bloody history of the continent. That was the result of the American decisión in 1961 to tum the , Latin American military toward war against its own population, and it happened. We have to defend the Grand Arca against what in American terminology is called "radical nationalism." That's another term that has a specific meaning in American doctrine. "Radical nationalism" is a term that is not affected by what your beliefs may be. They may be right, left, center, anything. "Radical nalionalism" means nationalism that doesn't obey American orders. That's "radical nalionalism." And it's opposed to something clse, namely "moderate nationalism." That's nationalism that obeys American orders. And naturally, we have to block "radical nationalism" and we have to defend ourselves against it and we have to defend the Grand Arca against it. In that sense, the defensive rheloric is quite plausible. However, why do we nced . strategie weapons to defend ourselves against indigenous populations? Plainly we're not going. to use nuclear weapons against them, because they're loo weak. So why do we nccd strategie nuclear weapons lo defend ourselves against indigenous populations in the Grand Area? Wcll, thal actually makes a certain amount of sense and the point has been made explicit again in American planning documente. So for example, National Security Council Document 141 dated Januaiy 1953, this one written by Paul Nitze, points out that "Soviet nuclear capacities are an extremcly grave threat to the United States." And then he gives two reasons: one is that they "might inhibit us in carrying out a first strike against the Soviet Union." Well, that's a threat to us. The second and more significant one is that they "would tend to impose greatcr caution in our Cold War policies to ihe extent that these policies involve significant risks of general war." And ihat's a rather pithy comment if you ihink about it.' It's correct. If the Soviet Union has strategie nuclear torces, that might impose caution on us in our Cold War policies. What are our Cold War policies? Our Cold War policies are intervention and aggression against enemies insidc our own domain. And we want to proceed without caution. We want to be able to attack anybody without caution, but Soviet military forces might impose caution on us. Why? Wcll, we'd be afraid that if we proceed to altack somebody, they might do someihing and that will lead to a nuclear war. In fact, Paul Nitze was outlining what nowadays is called in the pcacc movcment, "The Deadly Connection": the concern that a Third World conflict mighi engage the superpowers and lead to nuclear war. And of coursc, concern over that might impede American planners, and we can'l be impeded. We have to be able to proceed without impediment as we attack indigenous populalions. The real meaning of deterrence This rcsLs on the phenomenon that nobody is going to impose any caution on us. We wil) be able to proceed without concern in what Nitze correctly calis our "Cold War policies" and nolice that our Cold War policies are not directed against the Russians of course but rather against people in our own domain. Well that point is quite accurate and in fact is the real meaning of dcterrence. This point has been emphasized over and over again by American planners. I won't go through the records. But just to come down to the near present, Harold Brown, President Carter's Secretary of Dcfense, in his last testimony to Congress in 1980, cxplained that our strategie nuclear forces provide the framework within which our conventional forces become "meaningful instruments of military and political power." That's the same idea. What we rcally have to do is be able to use our conventional forces against local enemies, enemies somcwherc in our domain, South Vietnamese or Filipinos or whatcvcr; that's what we really have to do. But wc have to be able to do that without concern. We have to be able to do that under the umbrella of nuclear forces which will insure that we can pursue these policies without caution. If we have these strategie nuclear forces, then we can use our conventional forces as "meaningful instruments of military and polilical power." That's what it's all about. And in fact that givcs us the first real reason, having dispensed with all the fraudulent rcasons about security, for the dcvclopmcnt of the strategie weapon systcm. And it's a reason that grows out of dcep concerns about world control having to do with the nature of power in the United States and the way of maintaining dominalion over others and assuring that wc have the world's wealth undcr our control, very deep-scalcd inslitutional concerns. The world according to Keynes Therc is a second major reason for the strategie wcapons buildup that you can perecive if you look over the ycars, again having nothing to do with security. The second major reason is that capitalism in the United States, as in every modem capitalist economy, is really state capitalism. The state has to play a major role in organizing the economy, inducing production, and so on. That's not even a question; that's been obvious since the Grcat Depression, which we never got out of (those New Deal mcasures have very Iimited effect). What got us out of the Great Depression was war. What the war did was teach ihe lesson of Keynesianism: if the government pours resources into subsidizing production a capitalist economy can pull itsclf out of a depression and keep moving. That lesson, sometimes called "military Keynesianism," was leamed by cverybody whethcr thcy had rcad Kcynes or hadn't rcad Keynes. The fascist powers leamed it, wc leamed il, and so on, and nobody's forgotten it. The govcmment is going to have to intervene to maintain produclion and in our case that means U's going to have to continually inlcrvene lo subsidize high tcchnology production, the advanccd sectors of industry, the cutting edge of industry. How it is going to do it is the question. You can imagine theorctically all kinds of ways, but there's only one way that any govemment tends to tum to - certainly that ours has - and that's military spending. There are a lot of reasons for this, and they're in fact explained in the literature. But we certainly have done it and that's bccome our system of industrial policy. Our system of industrial policy, the way the state manages the economy, is by subsidizing advanced sectors of industry. This means the taxpaycr subsidizes advanced sectors of industry through creation of a guaranteed market, a state guaranteed market for high technology production. That's the military system. Occasionally you read sort of ludicrous juslificaiions of it like one in The New York Times this moming by Malcolm Brown where he points out that nuclear weapons are great bccause they, in fact, have even contributed to the developmeni of smoke detectors. I mean, obviously, if you want lo improve smoke detectors, the best way is to have nuclear weapons because then maybc thcy' 11 invent some sort of metal that you can later use in smoke detectors. That's one of the ways you sell a story. But the point is, advanced technology, the advanced sectors of industry, have to be subsidized. The country is rcpeatedly in the posilion where it's drifting into reecssion. The govemment is going lo have lo intervene to get the country moving again, ihe way Kennedy put it, or lo reindustriali.c, the way Reagan put it, and the same concerns werc truc of ihe carly 50s and the way you do il is by state intcrvention. Reagan is called a conservative, but hc is probably the most extreme Keyncsian in American hislory. The ratio What got us out of the Great Depression was war. What the war did was teach the lesson of Keynesianism: if the government pours resources into subsidizing production a capitalist economy can pull itself out of a depression and keep moving. That lesson, sometimes called "military Keynesianism," was learned by everybody whether they had read Keynes or hadn't read Keynes. The fascist powers learned it, we learned it, and so on, and nobody's forgotten it. of govemment spending to Gross National Product incrcased more rapidly under Reagan than in any govemment since the World War II. It has nothing to do with conservatism. The govemment has to bccome directly involved in the economy - that's one of the rcspects, incidentally, in which Reagan mirrors Kennedy - but of course it has to do it for the benefit of those who own and run the economy. And in our case, that means advanced industry. Why do we have to use the military system? You go to the economics department and they'll point out to you that you can do it in all sorts of other ways. Well, business has been aware of this. They know that there are other ways and in fact there are interesting discussions about this. This whole system, again, was set up in the forties. And once it's set up, it's very hard to extricate yourself from it. But it was set up for quite good reasons if you look back. How to frighten the taxpayer or "is Stalin's Peace Offensive Real?" For example, in 1949, there was a discussion in Businessweek (the major journal for the liberal sectors of business), about precisely this question. The article is headed something like: "Is Stalin's Peace Offensive Real?" This was one of Stalin's periodic peace offensives and they were kind of concerncd about it. The article starts off by saying: so far, Washington has succeeded in deflecting Stalin's peace offensive, but what if they are insisten!? What if we can't deflect it, then what will happen? And then they ask the following question: can the American economy still function, still procecd, if we don't have a wartime situation? Or will we just sink back into depression? And they go on with analysis in which they conclude that, technically speaking, there won't be any great problem in adapting the economy to a pcacetime world. So even if Stalin's peace offensive is real, we can still adapt our economy to it. Thcn comes ihe clincher. They say, well, we've got to stop this. We've got to insure that Stalin's peace offensive doesn't work and that thcre's no tuming to a peacetime economy. Well, why, if it's technically possible? They explain that from the point of view of the businessman, a military order from the government is basically a gift. It's a subsidy, the best possible thing. It doesn't interfere with the businessman's prerogatives, his decisión making capacity or whatever. It's just an order which says you produce any kind of garbage and we'U buy it and furthermore, we'll destroy it. Now that's important because it means you can produce more and we'll destroy that too. Well, that's what a military order is. It's production of high technology waste, which is subsidized, and that's perfect. You can't imagine anything better from the point of view of the businessmen. Best possible kind of gift from the taxpayer. On the other hand, they point out that if Truman (it was then Traman) is not able to resort to this device to subsidize us, he is going to have to turn to some other mode of state intervention in the economy. And that's going to lead to welfare state measures, the building of infrastructure, to social programs of all sorts and that's no good. It's going to have, as they point out, redistributive effects. It's going to organize other constituencies. It's going to change the institutions to the detriment of business, and therefore, we can't have that. So let's have military spending. And that's a good reason for it, incidentally. There are other good reasons. You somehow have to get the taxpayers to be willing to pay. One way of doing that, in fact the best way, is to frighten them. And you can always frighten them because the monolithic and ruthless conspiracj is out there, which you can invoke whenever you fcel like it. And there's always something awful going on in the world you can point to as au example of its inexorable drive to take over the world. And it's pretty hard to think of an altemative, an altemative way of terrifying the taxpayers into subsidizing advanced industry. So therefore, we naturally tend to build that system. Once it's established, it's very hard to pull yourself out of. Those are two quite solid reasons why the arms race continnes, and in fact, I think those are the real reasons. One, the intcmal domestic need to maintain a subsidy toward the advanced sectors of the economy to keep them going, to pay the cost of research and development and so on. And the othcr, the need to provide an umbrella within which we can act without caution in our Cold War policios. And that requires that we be extremely intimidating, that we bc superior in cvery respect, so that we can then procced without caution (no problem with detcrrcncc). Those are good reasons and from such considerations I think you can sce quite casily why it docsn't make any cliffcrence what public opinión is. You could have 95% of the population supporting a nuclear freeze and it wouldn't make any difference. It still wouldn't enter the political system because there are serious issues at stake. You know, there are really serious issues at stake. There's the question of dominating and controlling the world. There's the question of robbing the world. There's the problem of insuring that domestic power is enhanced, that even intemal to American society, those who have power get that power strengthened. Now, they're the ones who own and run the society and also run the political system largely, so obviously they're not going to say: "let's have a nuclear freeze," which is going to change all this. It's going to change it radically. It's not a small thing. So, it's not going to happen. I think it could happen, but the point is, just telling people: "come out in favor of a nuclear freeze and everything will be wonderful" - that's misleading. You can come out and say you're in favor of a nuclear freeze, and nothing's going to happen because there are serious issues at stake. You'd better understand the issues and be prepared. If you want a nuclear freeze, if you want the world to survive for some period, then you're going to have to face those issues. Just writing your name on a petition isn't going to have any effect. I think that ought to be leamed. It would be interesting to see whether it is going to be leamed. You see, the people who organized the nuclear freeze, did succeed in their terms. They did succeed. In fact, they got a huge proportion of the population to support it. And that was supposed to work because we have a pluralistic democTacy and so on and so forth. Well, okay, it didn't work. Therefore we have to ask something. I'm sure a lot of you have been involved in this and you ought to ask yourselves why it didn't work. Well, some of the people involved, like the Randall Forsbergs Institute in Brookline, have drawn an answer already and it's a vcry odd answer. The conclusión in their most recent literature is that the reason it didn't work is that although we convinced the population, we didn't convince the experts. You see, there's still a technical argument going on about whether the missiles are going to work and this and ihat. So now we have to dedícate ourselves to convincing the experts. Okay, that's a certain way to make sure that the arms race goes on because the debate among the experts can have only one outcome: let's keep building. Because you really don't The Big Picture know if it's going to work, and you can have this argument and that argument If the problem is to convince the experts, ihat's just like saying: okay, great, let's have more and more missiles, let's have Star Wars, let's have the next crazy thing they think of, let's have whatever it is that's going to be needed to maintain an intimidating posture so that we can proceed with our Cold War policies and to keep the economy functioning. That's what it's saying. Now that's the wrong answer. There are other answers. They are not vcry easy ones to face, but they're there. Costs & Consequences Let me point out Ihat the consequences of all this. Apart from the ihreat and the waste of resources and the likelihood of destruction and so on, the actual consequences have been pretty grim. We tend to overlook them often but they're not small. There was a study about a year ago by ihc Instiluc of World Order, by Ruih Sevard, a disarmament expert, in which she tries to roughly eslimate the costs. She's considering the number of military interventions during this period and she counts 125 military interventions: 95% of them were in the Third World, 79% initiated by the West (meaning primarily the United States), 6% initiated by the communist powers. You can play around with the numbers and maybe challenge this or that, but qualitatively it's of the right order. That's esscntially the rough distribution. The human consequences have been incredible. Take just Indochina alone. We were at war with Indochina for about thirty years and we really still are if you're serious about it. During the first phase of the Indochina War, the phase when we were supporting France in its effort to reconquer its former colony, about half a million Vietnamese died. From 1954 to 1965, while the United States was engaged in massive terror against South Vietnam, over 160,000 were killed in South Vietnam. From 1965 till 1975, the outright invasión - land invasión, expansión of the war - while nobody knows the numbers precisely, the esümates are that about three million Vietnamese and one million Laotians and Cambodians were killed. That's about four million in that decade and about five million over the whole pcriod. That's a lot of people dead. Incidentally, that led to an American victory, I should say. It's called an American defeat, but if you think about it, it isn't really an American defeat and in fact it couldn't be. It's impossible for a country with the power of the United States to be dcfeated against such an adyersary. And we weren't. There isn't going to be any social or economie development in Vietnam. Maybe forever, but for a century ihey'll bc lucky if they can survive. The country was destroyed, millions of people were killed. We're keeping it that way by kecping maximal pressure against them sincè. And at the same time the United States built up its support in the surrounding regions, to insure that the rot wouldn't spread. So for example in 1965, the United States backed a military coup in Indonesia which led to tiie massacre of about 700,000 people in four months. And that was great. In fact, that was lauded by American liberáis as a wonderful development and given as an argument for the war in Vietnam, which in fact it was. The argument was that behind the shield of American vention in Vietnam, we were able lo back these wonderful dcvelopments in Indonesia where about 700,000 landless peasants were killed. The largest Communist Party in Asia was destroyed and the country was tumed over to bc robbed by American investors, which is of course the main concern of our foreign policy. So that was all wonderful and the same thing has gone on in the surTounding arcas. If you look at what was happening in 1972, whcn the United States was allegcdly being defeatcd, the United States supported a militaiy coup in the Philippines. There was a threat there not of socialism or anything like that. There was a threat of national capitalism. That is, of a capitalist regime that might try to use its resources for its own purposes. For example, the Philippine Supreme Court was considering laws limiting repatriation of profits, that is, impeding the right to rob. They were part of the monolilhic and ruthless conspiracy to take . our resources. So thercfore, that had to be overthrown and the United States backcd a military coup, installing in power one of the typical Latin American-style terror and torture states which we select when we have to find somebody to do our bidding. That was when the United States was supposed to have been losing the war. But it was just another part of building up the surrounding areas and incorporating them within the Grand Area, behind the shield of the effective destruction of Vietnam. That system pretty well worked. It was by no means an American defeat. Superpower Global Management One final comment about this: these are just some of the costs. I won't review the rest of the world. You know, if you start thinking about Latin America and elsewhere, the costs of all of this have really been enormous. One part of the cost, as I've said, is the constant threat of nuclear war. In the last 20 years or so, the main place where that threat has existed is in the Middle East. We've come very close to nuclear war in the Middle East. The fact of the matter is that in the Middle East, the United States has been the primary factor preventing a political settlement. Our American rejectionism has blocked the political settlement for the past 15 or 20 years, and that has maintained the siruation of military confrontation with the very slrong likelihood of nuclear war. That's a big topic in itself, but I think it's widely recognized that that's the most likely flashpoint. For example, the Pentagon recognizes it. There was an Air Force study leaked about a year and a half ago, called Air Force 2000, which pointed out that without settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, war is virtually inevitable and the prospects for global peace are remóte. And we're maintaining that situation by rejecting and blocking the kind of political setüement which has in fact been feasible for at least a decade. These comments can be generalized to the other superpower. There's no doubt that each of the superpowcrs would be delighted to see the other one disappcar from the face of the earth. However, long ago, each recognized that this is unfeasible. The United States was pursuing rollback policies in the early fifties, but that never became a major part of American policy. Both superpowers understand pcrfectly well that the other can be eliminated only through mutual annihilation, and thcy're not willing lo face that. So what's happencd is that they'vc settlcd into a system of accomodation, a systcm of interaction, which is a joint policy of global management. This is a policy in which each creates a nuclear umbrclla dctcrrent sysiem to allow it lo carry out, without cauiion, its own Cold War policies. And thosc pwlicics are directcd against iis own saiellitcs. For the Russians that means Eastcrn Europe, and now Afghanistan. For us it means most of the resl of the world. Wilhin those regions, the two superpowers have to bc able to procced without cauiion and they each have to have enough of a nuclear umbrella lo do it. This is basically a system of global management. And i i's a functional system. It's a highly functional system. It's useful for the leaders of the superpowers. They'd like to get rid of each other, that being unavailable, this is the next best. In fact, it's a very useful system because each of them is then able to mobilize iis own population in support of quite brutal and costly actions within its own domain, and that's often hard. But you can do it by appealing to the threat of the monolithic and ruihlcss conspiracy. And as long as you have fanatics around like Kennedy and Reagan and others who people pay attention to, that's always going to work. It's always going to work . . . that's an old thing, way back in history. Can a young dog learn new tricks? It's not all that easy to see how wc can extricate ourselves from these systems. Until major institutional changes take place, what we're doing (anybody who's trying to oppose destruction and war, intervention or nuclear war) is engaging in kind of a holding action, trying to avert catastrophe somehow. It's a little bit like putting a band aid on a cáncer, but that's about the best we can do as long as institutions remain what they are; trying to créate a larger space in which survival is possible and in which intervention declines, so that maybe major changes can happen which will modify this whole system which is just churning onwards towards destruction. There is kind of a short term rationality to this system, but it's obvious that in the long term it's suicidal. It can't go on forever that way. By far the most imminent of all the dangers, is in fact, 'The Deadly Connection," the concern that a Third World conflict will engage the superpowers and will .lead to nuclear war. Again, it's the Middle East that's the most dangerous area, and there the U.S. role has been major and decisive. It's not true, of course, that all problems of the world result from U.S. initiatives, but we have quite an ampie share, a major share. And that is a rather hopeful fact, I think. The fact that we have a major share, and we certainly do, means that there's a great deal that we can do about it, because it's our initiatives that are responsible. That, of course, on the condition that we can muster the courage and the integrity to face the facts honesily and with determination, and then proceed to act in some fashion to change the structures that are causing all of this. It's not true, of course, that all problems of the world result from U.S. initiatives, but we have quite an ampie share, a major share. And that is a rather hopeful fact, I think. The fact that we have a major share, and we certainly do, means that there's a great deal that we can do about it, because it's our initiatives that are responsible.

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