While all experts agree that the events in Venezuela are following the same model as those in Syria, some writers have contested the article by Thierry Meyssan which highlights their differences from the interpretation in the anti-imperialist camp. Here, our author responds. This is not a quarrel between specialists, but an important debate about the historic change we are experiencing since 11 September 2001, and which is influencing all our lives.
This article is the continuation of « The anti-imperialist camp: splintered in thought », by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 15 August 2017.
In the first part of this article, I pointed out the fact that currently, President Bachar el-Assad is the only personality who has adapted to the new « grand US strategy » – all the others continue to think as if the present conflicts were simply a continuation of those we have been experiencing since the end of the Second World War. They persist in interpreting these events as tentatives by the United States to hog natural resources for themselves by organising the overthrow of the pertinent governments.
As I intend to demonstrate, I believe that they are wrong and that their error could hasten humanity down the road to hell.
US strategic thought
For the last 70 years, the obsession of US strategists has not been to defend their people, but to maintain their military superiority over the rest of the world. During the decade between the dissolution of the USSR and the terrorist attacks of 9/11, they searched for ways to intimidate those who resisted them.
Harlan K. Ullman developed the idea of terrorising populations by dealing them a horrifying blow to the head (Shock and awe) . This was the idea behind the use of the atomic bomb against the Japanese and the bombing of Baghdad with a storm of cruise missiles.
The Straussians (meaning the disciples of philosopher Leo Strauss) dreamed of waging and winning several wars at once (Full-spectrum dominance). This led to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, placed under a common command .
Admiral Arthur K. Cebrowski suggested reorganising the armies in order to facilitate the treatment and sharing of a wealth of data simultaneously. In this way, robots would one day be able to indicate the best tactics instantaneously . As we shall see, the major reforms he initiated were soon to produce poisonous fruit.
US neo-imperialist thought
These ideas and fantasies, first of all, led President Bush and the Navy to organise the world’s most wide-ranging network for international kidnapping and torture, which created 80,000 victims. Then President Obama set up an assassination programme mainly using drones, but also commandos, which operates in 80 countries, and enjoys an annual budget of 14 billion dollars .
As from 9/11, Admiral Cebrowski’s assistant, Thomas P. M. Barnett, has given numerous conferences at the Pentagon and in military academies in order to announce the shape of the new map of the world according to the Pentagon . This project was made possible by the structural reforms of US armies – these reforms are the source of this new vision of the world. At first, it seemed so crazy that foreign observers too quickly considered it as one more piece of rhetoric aimed at striking fear into the people they wanted to dominate.
Barnett declared that in order to maintain their hegemony over the world, the United States would have to « settle for less », in other words, to divide the world in two. On one side, the stable states (the members of the G8 and their allies), on the other, the rest of the world, considered only as a simple reservoir of natural resources. Contrary to his predecessors, Barnett no longer considered access to these resources as vital for Washington but claimed that they would only be accessible to the stable states by transit via the services of the US army. From now on, it was necessary to systematically destroy all state structures in the reservoir of resources, so that one day, no-one would be able to oppose the will of Washington, nor deal directly with the stable states.
During his State of the Union speech in January 1980, President Carter announced his doctrine – Washington considered that the supply of its economy with oil from the Gulf was a question of national security . Following that, the Pentagon created CentCom in order to control the region. But today, Washington takes less oil from Iraq and Libya than it exploited before those wars – and it doesn’t care!
Destroying the state structures is to operate a plunge into chaos, a concept borrowed from Leo Strauss, but to which Barnett gives new meaning. For the Jewish philosopher, the Jewish people can no longer trust democracies after the failure of the Weimar Republic and the Shoah. The only way to protect itself from a new form of Nazism, is to establish its own world dictatorship – in the name of Good, of course. It would, therefore, be necessary to destroy certain resistant states, drag them into chaos and rebuild them according to different laws . This is what Condoleezza Rice said during the first days of the 2006 war against Lebanon when Israël still seemed victorious – « I do not see the point of diplomacy if it’s purpose is to return to the status quo ante between Israël and Lebanon. I think that would be a mistake. What we are seeing here, in a way, is the beginning, the contractions of the birth of a new Middle East, and whatever we do, we have to be sure that we are pushing towards the new Middle East and that we are not returning to the old ». On the contrary, for Barnett, not only the few resistant people should be forced into chaos, but all those who have not attained a certain standard of life – and once they are reduced to chaos, they must be kept there.
In fact, the influence of the Straussians has diminished at the Pentagon since the death of Andrew Marshall, who created the idea of the « pivot to Asia » .
One of the great differences between the thinking of Barnett and that of his predecessors is that war should not be waged against specific states for a political reason, but against regions of the world because they are not integrated into the global economic system. Of course, we will start with one country or another, but we will favour contagion until everything is destroyed, just as we are seeing in the Greater Middle East. Today, tank warfare is raging in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt (Sinaï), Palestine, Lebanon (Ain al-Hilweh and Ras Baalbeck), Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia (Qatif), Bahreïn, Yemen, Turkey (Diyarbakır), and Afghanistan.
This is why Barnett’s neo-imperialist strategy will necessarily be based on elements of the rhetoric of Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington, the « war of civilisations » . Since it is impossible to justify our indifference to the fate of the people from the reservoir of natural resources, we can always persuade ourselves that our civilisations are incompatible.
According to this map, taken from one of Thomas P. M. Barnett’s power point slides, presented at a conference held at the Pentagon in 2003, every state in the pink zone must be destroyed. This project has nothing to with the struggle between classes at the national level nor with exploiting natural resources. Once they are done with the expanded Middle East, the US strategists are preparing to reduce the North West of Latin America to ruins.
The implementation of US neo-imperialism
This is precisely the policy which has been in operation since 9/11. None of the wars which were started have yet come to an end. For 16 years, on a daily basis, the living conditions of the Afghan people have become increasingly more terrible and more dangerous. The reconstruction of their state, which was touted to be planned on the model of Germany and Japan after the Second World War, has not yet begun. The presence of NATO troops has not improved the life of the Afghan people, but on the contrary, has made it worse. We are obliged to note the fact that it is today the cause of the problem. Despite the feel-good speeches on international aid, these troops are there only to deepen and maintain the chaos.
Never once, when NATO troops intervened, have the official reasons for the war been shown to be true – neither against Afghanistan (the responsibility of the Taliban in the attacks of 9/11), nor Iraq (President Hussein’s support for the 9/11 terrorists and the preparation of weapons of mass destruction to attack the USA), nor Libya (the bombing of its own people by the army), nor in Syria (the dictatorship of President Assad and the Alaouite cult). And never once has the overthrow of a government ever put an end to these wars. They all continue without interruption, no matter who is in power.
The « Arab Springs », which were born of an idea from MI6 and directly inspired by the « Arab Revolt of 1916 » and the exploits of Lawrence of Arabia, were included in the same US strategy. Tunisia has become ungovernable. Luckily, Egypt was taken back by its army and is today making efforts to heal. Libya has become a battlefield, not since the Security Council resolution aimed at protecting the population, but since the assassination of Mouamar Kadhafi and the victory of NATO. Syria is an exception because the state never fell into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, which prevented them from dragging the country into chaos. But numerous jihadist groups, born of the Brotherhood, have controlled – and still control – parts of the territory, where they have indeed sown chaos. Neither the Daesh Caliphate, nor Idleb under Al-Qaïda, are states where Islam may flourish, but zones of terror without schools or hospitals.
It is probable that thanks to its people, its army and its Russian, Lebanese and Iranian allies, Syria will manage to escape the destiny planned for it by Washington, but the Greater Near East will continue to burn until the people there understand their enemies’ plans for them. We now see that the same process of destruction has begun in the North-West of Latin America. The Western medias speak with disdain about the troubles in Venezuela, but the war that is beginning there will not be limited to that country – it will spread throughout the whole region, although the economic and political conditions of the states which compose it are very different.
The limits of US neo-imperialism
The US strategists like to compare their power to that of the Roman Empire. But that empire brought security and opulence to the peoples they conquered and integrated. It built monuments and rationalised their societies. On the contrary, US neo-imperialism does not intend to offer anything to the people of the stable states, nor to the people of the reservoirs of natural resources. It plans to racket the former and to destroy the social connections which bind the latter together. Above all, it does not want to exterminate the people of the reservoirs, but needs for them to suffer so that the chaos in which they live will prevent the stable states from going to them for natural resources without the protection of the US armies.
Until now, the imperialist project ran on the principle that « you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs ». It admitted that it had committed collateral massacres in order to extend its domination. From now on, it is planning generalised massacres in order to impose its authority – definitively.
US neo-imperialism supposes that the other states of the G8 and their allies will agree to allow their overseas interests to be « protected » by US armies. That should pose no problem with the European Union, which has already been emasculated for a long time, but will have to be negotiated with the United Kingdom, and will be impossible with Russia and China.
Recalling its « special relationship » with Washington, London has already asked to be associated with the US project for governing the world. That was the point of Theresa May’s visit to the United States in January 2017, but she has so far received no answer .
Apart from that, it is inconceivable that the US armies will ensure the security of the « Silk Roads » as they do today with their British opposite numbers for the sea and air routes. Similarly, it is unthinkable for them to force Russia to genuflect, which has just been excluded from the G8 because of its engagement in Syria and Crimea.
 Shock and awe: achieving rapid dominance, Harlan K. Ullman & al., ACT Center for Advanced Concepts and Technology, 1996.
 Full Spectrum Dominance. U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond, Rahul Mahajan, Seven Stories Press, 2003.
 Network Centric Warfare : Developing and Leveraging Information Superiority, David S. Alberts, John J. Garstka & Frederick P. Stein, CCRP, 1999.
 Predator empire : drone warfare and full spectrum dominance, Ian G. R. Shaw, University of Minnesota Press, 2016.
 The Pentagon’s New Map, Thomas P. M. Barnett, Putnam Publishing Group, 2004.
 Certain specialists of the political thinking of Leo Strauss interpret this in a completely different way. As far as I am concerned, I am not interested in what the philosopher thought, but what is being said by those who, rightly or wrongly, speak to the Pentagon in his name. Political Ideas of Leo Strauss, Shadia B. Drury, Palgrave Macmillan, 1988. Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire, Anne Norton, Yale University Press, 2005. Leo Strauss and the conservative movement in America : a critical appraisal, Paul Edward Gottfried, Cambridge University Press, 2011. Straussophobia: Defending Leo Strauss and Straussians Against Shadia Drury and Other Accusers, Peter Minowitz, Lexington Books, 2016.
 The Last Warrior: Andrew Marshall and the Shaping of Modern American Defense Strategy, Chapter 9, Andrew F. Krepinevich & Barry D. Watts, Basic Books, 2015.
 « The Clash of Civilizations ? » & « The West Unique, Not Universal », Foreign Affairs, 1993 & 1996 ; The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Samuel Huntington, Simon & Schuster, 1996.