Originally published by GR in July 2015
There seems to be a formula for a superpower’s intent to dominate the world: massive surveillance + use of military might in foreign wars and domestic control of citizens (e.g. armored cops; packed prisons, etc.) + control of each method by elites for their own interests = international and domestic dominance by fear and force. Domestically this is called the National Security State. It is a state which is now in place in the U.S. government.
The National Security State is a state that has the following characteristics (from Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, Brave New World Order; Gary Wills, Bomb Power; and Andrew Bacevich, Washington Rules):
1) It is fixated on alleged foreign enemies and the “threat” they pose to the homeland;
2) It uses the “threat” for the justification of any military solutions to “pacifying” those enemies.
3) It maintains political and economic power not primarily in the people, but in the military (and defense contractors).
4) It uses propaganda methods to narrow the parameters of political debate and to put fear in the populace regarding perceived state enemies (e.g. the Truman Doctrine speech of 1947: “Totalitarian regimes” anywhere in the world “undermine…the security of the United States”).
5) It uses many appeals to “national security” as a rationale for its drive toward more expansive hegemony.
Here is how the formula works.
1) Make hegemony the goal of the state, whether domestic or foreign (Chomsky calls it “the imperial grand strategy”—see Hegemony or Survival, Ch. 2). It is the “We must rule” syndrome (see Andrew Bacevich, Washington Rules). Dominance is generally defined as forcing others to live by ruler-chosen patterns, and that is what hegemony is about: Washington determining the rule of other nations. This, in my view, is part of the new understanding of the doctrine of “American Exceptionalism” that started after WWII and is culminating in the Bush and Obama years. It implies that the U.S. is not just qualitatively different from other nations, but “better” or “above” others, and thus “naturally” suited to dominate others.
2) Observe (i.e. by clandestine and electronic surveillance) and eliminate any potential competition for hegemony. The practice arguably began in 1945 with the organization of the Strategic Services Unit, a secret intelligence and counter-espionage unit of the U.S. government, which was gradually absorbed by the CIA, starting in 1947, culminating in the creation of National Security Agency organization. By 1952, a full National Security State was already in place, ready for any alleged threat to the U.S.
3) Use domestic terror—i.e. appeal to the idea of “Supreme Emergency” by an “ongoing threat”—e.g. Communism; al Qaeda; terrorism; Isil; Isis
4) Regular, unannounced, non-Congressionally-approved wars.
Use the following two-step mechanism:
a) “The National Security State has automatic Just Cause for any military action.”
b) “The National Security State is its own Proper Authority.”
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