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Mad ambitions:
Why Bush's "National Security Strategy"
is wrong, wrong, wrong
by Ann Rose Thomas, Online Journal, 3 October 2002


October 3, 2002 -- It's called "The National Security Strategy of the United States," but a more appropriate name would be "The National Security Strategy of the United States Empire." The document detailing the Bush administration's national security policy may well be the single most frightening document I have ever read. It is, as Geov Parrish of WorkingforChange puts it, "28 pages of arrogance that answer better than Osama himself ever could the question of Why They Hate Us."

Central to the new policy is the concept that the U.S. has the right to wage preemptive war not only against countries which pose an immediate risk to our national security, but also against any country which poses a potential risk to us . . . such as any country which seeks to surpass, or even equal, the "power" of the United States. The Bush regime makes it quite clear that we will not allow any nation to challenge our supremacy, ever. In the document's own words: "Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States." Not current adversaries, mind youpotential adversaries. Given Bush's track record in the arena of winning friends and influencing people, every nation on Earth is a potential adversary.

To those who feel that patriotism means shouting "USA! USA!" while waving flags with hysterical glee and urging the total annihilation of anyone who dares oppose us, to those who feel that being a citizen of this country means possessing an inherent superiority over the other peoples of the world, this doctrine will no doubt be welcomed with open arms. It is an unapologetic list of requirements that must be met by all nations who are "with us." Those who do not submit to the requirements will, of course, be "against us," and therefore terrorists who must be wiped from the face of the earth in the name of "freedom."

Imperialism, Webster's tell us, means the policy, practice or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas. Critics of U.S. foreign policy have used the term 'imperialism' so often that most people automatically discount the charge, and yet I can think of no other nation in the world today with a foreign policy more imperialistic than the United States, and most especially now that the Bush administration has released its master plan. There can no longer exist any denial that U.S. imperialism is alive and well.

Nelson Mandela recently said: "The attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace."

He was being diplomatic.

The truth is that the attitude of the Bush administration (I specify the administration because their attitude is not in line with the attitude of the American people at large) is the single greatest threat to world peace that we face today; indeed, it may well be the greatest threat to world peace that modern civilization has ever faced.

U.S. foreign policy has always had its dirty little secrets, the things that are never mentioned in "polite" company (e.g., the "mainstream" media); the list of atrocities that have been done or encouraged in our name is heartbreakingly long. Yet we have, at the very least, always tried to pay lip service to the notion that no one country should rule the world. That has now changed. Behind the bland, "everyday" language of Bush's new policy is the unmistakable assertion that we will set the rules, and others will follow them. All nations will be accountable to the rules we set down except, of course, that most supreme of nations, the United States of America, which cannot be expected to follow the same rules as Earth's lesser citizens.

To quote the document again: "We will take the actions necessary to ensure that our efforts to meet our global security commitments and protect Americans are not impaired by the potential for investigations, inquiry, or prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC), whose jurisdiction does not extend to Americans and which we do not accept. We will work together with other nations to avoid complications in our military operations and cooperation, through such mechanisms as multilateral and bilateral agreements that will protect U.S. nationals from the ICC. We will implement fully the American Servicemembers Protection Act, whose provisions are intended to ensure and enhance the protection of U.S. personnel and officials." [Emphasis added.]

Anyone naive enough to believe that the Bush administration really means it when they say we are willing to work with the international community needs only to read the above passage to learn differently.

The document is full of pretty phrases about "freedom" and "liberty," but a careful reading reveals that the freedom and liberty championed by the Bush administration is bound by the guidelines they set out. One telling passage: "We seek instead to create a balance of power that favors human freedom: conditions in which all nations and all societies can choose for themselves the rewards and challenges of political and economic liberty." But nations which "can choose," must choose a certain type of "liberty," which includes low tax rates, "free trade," "sound fiscal policies," etc. Nations which do not choose this type of liberty will not, of course, be truly "free" . . . and if a country isn't free, why then, it must be a rogue nation run by evildoers, and its people must be "liberated."

 "In the new world we have entered," the Bush regime warns, "the only path to peace and security is the path of action." And so, by this doctrine, we must wage constant war, because without war there can be no peace. It has long been obvious to anyone with even a smattering of knowledge about the people Bush surrounds himself with that this administration is all about war. These are people who have never quite recovered from the cessation of the Cold War (indeed, Bush's father prolonged acknowledging the end of the Cold War for as long as he possibly could), who have been actively seeking a way to return to the days of endless military buildup and fat contracts for their beloved friends in the weapons industry. But rather than simply repeating what was done before, they are now seeking ways to improve upon it. Hence, the outright rejection of deterrence and containment as a viable policy. It is much more profitable to choose aggression over deterrence, and it gives the added bonus of controlling the population through fear and guilt -- not just "you must not argue with us because our enemy might then win," but "you must not argue with us because American citizens are dying."

This doctrine refers to a "new world," a common theme since the attacks of September 11, and I am finally forced to admit that the world has indeed changed -- not because of September 11, as the administration and its various mouthpieces would have us believe, but because of the Bush administration's calculated and swift reaction to September 11, and the lack of any massive resistance to it.

It is necessary, of course, in order for this sort of doctrine to be implemented, that we do away with such antiquated notions as the right of self-determination, respect for other nations' sovereignty, and diplomacy. Of these three notions, diplomacy is the easiest to obliterate, since it can be called "appeasement." Once an idea is given the label of appeasement, few politicians will lend their support to it. Thus, diplomacy went out the window almost immediately after September 11, when the Bush administration stated that it would never "appease" terrorists or nations that we accuse of harboring terrorists.

One would think that the other two notions -- self-determination and respect for another nation's sovereignty -- would be a little harder to abolish, and yet the Bush administration has done so quite handily. The will of the people was suppressed here in the U.S. when the loser of the presidential election was installed in the White House by a partisan, activist Supreme Court. Once the Bush regime showed its contempt for the will of its own people, it is little wonder that they show no hesitation in showing its contempt for the will of other people, and by extension, its contempt for the sovereignty of any nation other than the United States.

While preaching freedom and liberty, the Bush regime has laid out a plan to subvert the freedom and liberty of other nations by imposing our own particular brand of "democracy" and "freedom" on any country which displeases us: "The U.S. national security strategy will be based on a distinctly American internationalism that reflects the union of our values and our national interests. The aim of this strategy is to help make the world not just safer but better. Our goals on the path to progress are clear: political and economic freedom, peaceful relations with other states, and respect for human dignity." And: "Nations that seek international aid must govern themselves wisely, so that aid is well spent. For freedom to thrive, accountability must be expected and required."

Such a plan might well be considered altruistic by anyone unfamiliar with the results of past U.S. attempts to spread liberty and freedom; attempts which led to such horrors as the Somoza regime of Nicaragua, the Saddam Hussein regime of Iraq, the Pinochet regime of Chile, the Taliban regime of Afghanistan, and on and on and on. We have been down this road before. Right-wingers frequently like to use the timeworn definition of insanity -- "doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result" -- to describe liberal policies; the definition finds a cozy home in the new Bush security strategy.

In effect, the Bush administration -- run by the many of the same people who assured us in the '80s that Iraq was not a terrorist nation, and was deserving of the chemical and biological weapons we gave them as well as the helicopters, nuclear technology, and so forth -- is telling us that we should give George W. Bush, a man whose understanding of foreign policy is roughly equivalent to that of a second-grader, our trust. They expect us to believe that an administration run by people who have laid out their imperialistic desires in plain, everyday English, will use the blanket powers Bush asks for in a responsible, civilized and honorable manner. To heap irony upon irony, these are the same people who constantly spout rhetoric condemning 'big government' and encouraging citizens not to trust those in Washington.

 "Finally, while maintaining near-term readiness and the ability to fight the war on terrorism." the document reads, "the goal must be to provide the President with a wider range of military options to discourage aggression or any form of coercion against the United States, our allies, and our friends."

They have made it perfectly clear that deterrence and containment do not, in their minds, work to discourage aggression (or coercion -- let's not forget the inclusion of that word, and the fact that any act which could be interpreted as a form of coercion would then give the U.S. the right to use any and all military options at its disposal), and therefore it is equally clear that the purpose of widening the options available to this regime is to then implement said options.

Trust us, they say. We won't nuke 'em unless they really deserve it.

But I do not trust them, and I cannot for the life of me imagine how any intelligent person would give their trust to such a cold, calculating and opportunistic regime.

When George W. Bush spoke to the United Nations, he said : "And our greatest fear is that terrorists will find a shortcut to their mad ambitions when an outlaw regime supplies them with the technologies to kill on a massive scale."

And my greatest fear?

The Bush regime needs no shortcut. The technology and the weapons are in place. The will to use them is in place, as is the desire to use them.

My greatest fear is that the outlaw regime of a no-longer-democratic United States is well on its way to realizing its own mad ambitions, and that it may be too late to stop them.


Copyright © 2002 Online Journal
Reprinted for Fair Use Only.

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