By this time, we have all learned a lot about the current Bush administration, its predecessors and sadly, its successors. Let’s review.
- Oil is important to Washington.
- Leverage of oil production and policies is important to Houston and New York, and Washington.
- Illusions of national financial security must be maintained, at all cost.
- Holy worship of the Federal Reserve and cultish market obsession with the mental and physical health of Alan Greenspan is "a good thing."
- Propaganda works even better in the information age than before it. Before TV and Internet, people tended to believe their own eyes and trust their own experience. Today, we consume without assessment massive amounts of "government" and other misinformation.
- Americans like to be good guys, doing "good things."
Using these "rules" one may explain Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, neo-conservatism, much of the American left, and of course, Sudan and the recent bill passed by the House "Declaring genocide in Darfur, Sudan."
Sudan is a place where, as in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and many other countries, bad things have happened, and continue to happen on a daily basis. However, we may more easily understand the specific question of Sudan by referring to what we already know.
Rule 1: Oil is important. Check out the very current Department of Energy country analysis on Sudan! Updated in July 2004, how about that!
Rule 2: Leverage of oil is important, and who leverages it wins the prize! Because you have already reviewed the Department of Energy analysis of Sudan, you know which government has been closely working with the [evil] government of Sudan for years protecting and investing in their oil industry. You also know which government has had Sudan under sanctions for some time as a "terrist" country. To make it easier, let’s call the two other governments, uh, I don’t know…. China and the United States? And, oh my goodness, just last year the darned French agreed to build a huge power project in Sudan. If this scenario is beginning to sound vaguely familiar, welcome to modern American foreign policy 101!
Rule 3: Illusions of financial security are sacrosanct. No problem with including Sudanese genocide as part of the "problem" in the Middle East, and no problem funding the war machine. Troops are signing up in droves, and the economy has been recovering strongly for years now. Check out the good news!
Rule 4: Remember the Federal Reserve System and keep it holy. Sudan may not count for much other than oil. But if you think about China’s economic and financial interests along with the imperative of Rules 2 and 3, it gets a bit dicey. Re-read Gary North’s assessment of a few weeks ago for more insight.
Rule 5: Propaganda works, and government propaganda works even better. The founders had reason to beware entangling foreign alliances, because so many influential Americans already had them. People in America, especially the voting class, had first-hand knowledge of and maintained strong cultural, business, and familial links to European countries. The concern was that people with first-hand knowledge, experience and strong interests overseas would push Washington in unwise foreign policy directions. 230 years later, the situation has metastasized. In our unwatched Washington Petri dish, American foreign policies are creatively designed and presented by those with specific but often very private and often downright un-American ideological and economic interests. The corporatists have settled inside the beltway, and like busy little termites are devouring the house. In the process, they are excreting massive amounts of foreign policies like pre-emptive invasion and global law as long as we make it and are conveniently the only ones not bound by it.
Without a popular opposition to Washington’s corporatist agenda, we receive American foreign policy as a kind of national male performance enhancer. One needs not understand any problematic issues, enhance any communication or make any honest appraisals of past performance and lessons learned. One needs simply to take a pill each time we need to go fix some other country’s government, as instructed by Washington.
Rule 6. Americans like to be good guys, doing "good things." Rule 6 pairs nicely with Rule 5, and allows us to rationalize so much for so long. Because no American remembers what it was like to live under American troop-enforced martial law or fight a battle on our own soil, no American has any idea of what that looks like, feels like, and is like. We happily believe our occupations and interventions are "all good" when government mouthpieces and bureaucrats and politician tell us so. Sudan has a genocide crisis in the southern and western portion of the country, in the Darfur region. All "good" Americans want to do something about it, so says the majority in the House.
No offense to the Bush Administration, but genocide in Sudan (the House version, not the real life inspiration) couldn’t have come at a better time.
Karen Kwiatkowski [send her mail] is a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon. She now lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley, and writes a bi-weekly column on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for militaryweek.com.