of the world (and all international commerce) is aware of
the United States' intentions, a subject alien only to mass
American audiences. An article from the Hindu
Times, of India, shows the depth of thought that is being
brought to bear on the subject:
some immediate cost to itself, Iraq has, since November
2000, insisted on being paid in euros. Iran has recently
displayed interest in following suit. Venezuela, a similar
victim of American intimidation, is a good candidate, and
Russia is being wooed by the European Union to make the
switch. The dollar's fall is prompting even those with good
relations with the U.S. to reconsider. A major oil economy
in euros is in the offing. As the demand for euros grows
rapidly, demand for the dollar would drop equally rapidly,
threatening the American economy with devastating consequences.
the last five or six years, an important change has taken
place in the international oil scene. In the late 1990s,
several large oil producers such as Iraq, Iran and Venezuela
opened up development of their oil resources to foreign
investment. Even Saudi Arabia invited bids for development
of its natural gas. The contracts that Iraq signed with
the French, Russian, Chinese and Italian firms were stalled,
thanks to the sanctions regime. Iran, however, concluded
deals with the French, Russian and Malaysian firms even
as American firms - barred by U.S. sanctions against that
country - gnashed their teeth. Venezuela's increasing assertiveness
and consequent alienation from the U.S. did not bode well
for the future of American firms there. The sanctions kept
the American firms out of Libya and Sudan as well, and Chinese
firms have been negotiating huge deals for Indonesian oil.
United States roars like a divinely inspired conqueror, but
the Pirates are essentially acting in defense of a U.S. primacy
that cannot be maintained under the current rules of the game.
They are brandishing American military power to destroy the
game board - but nobody wrote the playbook for that move.
credit where none is due
now to explain the title of this piece: Conspiracy Theories.
First, we note that American Blacks and progressives have
begun reading subtexts and plots into every horror of the
Bush men's Iraq adventure. For example, that the Americans
wanted Baghdad to burn. This is preposterous. The U.S military
allowed Baghdad to descend into chaos because it doesn't give
a damn about Iraqi lives, period. The Bush men would rather
have had different pictures on the world's TV screens. They
are inept in nearly every respect except the arts of their
particular style of war, and in their mastery at manipulation
of their fellow white Americans' delusional minds. They have
not a clue as to how to occupy Iraq, for the simple reason
that they are racists who cannot assess the motivations of
Iraqis. This cognitive black hole - the mental disability
associated with racism - swallows up and disappears facts
that do not conform with the prefabricated version of reality
on which the Pirate's plans are based.
Pirates are particularly ill-suited for foreign intervention
- aside from mass marketing to Americans, the social sciences
escape them, leaving pure prejudice to dominate their discourse.
The world they seek to tame exists in their heads. Crash courses
do not help - they reject the advice of the CIA when it conflicts
with their own prejudices and immediate objectives. They truly
believe that what Iraqis (and Yemenis, Syrians, Iranians,
etc.) really want in life is to move to Houston - a very convenient
delusion since the Pirates plan to create something like Houston
or Dallas in Iraq, at great profit.
racist arrogance is without bounds, and will foil them at
every juncture. It is clear, for example, that they handled
the secular, Europe-oriented Turkish military badly. Despite
a $30 billion bribe offer, the U.S. failed to convince Turkey's
generals to lean hard enough on the governing Islamic party
to muster a bare parliamentary majority in favor of granting
U.S. access to northern Iraq. The northern front was left
to the Kurds, U.S. Special Forces, and the late arrival of
portions of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. This unexpected reliance
on the Kurds as the third force in the Anglo-American "coalition"
will have profound effects on the occupiers' ability to control
events in Kurdistan, where about half the oil is. Yet it is
obvious from the English language Turkish press that the Turkish
military, which reserves the right to intervene in civil government
whenever it chooses and badly wants to maintain a presence
in northern Iraq, could not abide the imperious Americans.
U.S. ships and planes unloaded thousands of vehicles on Turkish
soil without bothering to ask the permission of a NATO ally
- just one of the most obvious slights to the honor of people
the Americans consider not quite white.
the modus operandi of the corporate pirates dishonors everyone
they touch. Shamelessly, the Bush men rely on monetary rewards
to corral foreign supporters, simultaneously attracting the
most persuasive con men and brazen criminals. The stench of
national betrayal fills the Pirate's vestibules. Their choice
for occupation front man, Ahmed Chalabi, is a banker who left
the country as a child in 1956 and found his way around the
shadows of Middle East finance - a Third World, aspiring Pirate.
Rumsfeld and Chalabi speak the same language, and have shaken
hands on the deal. Chalabi's 700-man exile force are nothing
more than mercenaries, unconnected with Iraqi civil society.
Yet they are to be the nucleus of a new, national army, upon
which the U.S. will rely to ease the burdens of occupation.
quiet, cowed Iraq would quickly become unmanageable under
such stewardship and circumstances, but the nation promises
daily to be anything but quiet. The Pirates are stuck in their
oil field of dreams, a most flammable environment.
could predict with confidence a series of general developments
that must flow from Iraqi conditions - all of them disastrous
to the Pirate's delusional schemes. In fact, there is no set
of plausible circumstances that would lead to a compliant
Iraq secured by a politically acceptable level of American
is certain is that the Pirates will misjudge their surroundings
at virtually every turn (as with the chaos in Baghdad), then
compound the mistake in insane, unexpected, or woefully stupid
ways (the failure to post troops even after the museum was
looted and the world cried out.) To follow the logic of delusionals,
one must attempt to "see" what they "see"
- a maddening but necessary exercise.
alternative is to read method into madness, a self-defeating
syndrome that afflicts African Americans and leftists with
great frequency and debilitating results. It is the back door
to self-deception, interpreting every horrific result of the
enemy's actions as purposeful, rather than as possible evidence
of the antagonist's weaknesses. The enemy is perceived as
always in control of events, larger than life, devilishly
masterful. In the end, it is accepted that he is unbeatable
- and he wins for lack of opposition, despite his many shortcomings
are the white folks gonna do?"
broad example from the civil rights movement: Rigid segregation
made white people's actions
seem, through African American eyes, to be coordinated, centrally
controlled, as if determined by overt agreements among the
whites. "What are the white folks gonna do?" was
a simple question, seriously asked. Optimists, especially
the most hopeful integrationists, believed that some agreement
could be reached with powerful whites that would have general
effects on white conduct. Another camp among Blacks believed
(and still do) that "white folks" conspire constantly
and in detail on ways to frustrate and befuddle African Americans.
This solid white block acts as one, impermeable organism.
No wedge can alter its implacable structures of hostility.
of these (exaggerated) outlooks are actually conspiracy theories,
or conspiracy paradigms. Both begin with assumptions that
cloud objectivity, rendering the activist incapable of assessing
her antagonist and fashioning effective strategies and contingencies.
Opportunities are lost, unexpected and unobserved. Victories
are misinterpreted, over- or under-valued.
the civil rights movement actually discovered was that there
was no White Folks Central Command, that different sectors
of white society would yield to different pressures in different
ways, resulting in the creation of greater social space for
Black Americans, North and South.
the movement foundered on the real rock of institutional racism,
the deeply embedded, shared worldview of whites toward Blacks
that causes whites to behave in amazingly similar, generally
predictable ways, to the detriment of African Americans. Institutional
racism requires no agreement or conscious conspiracy among
whites to work its social pathologies in housing, criminal
justice, etc. It may look like and coexist with actual, transient
conspiracies, but is much more intractable.
integrationist optimists despaired when the reality of institutional
racism wrecked their rational models of civilized negotiation
and good faith understandings. It is very difficult to forge
agreements between people who perceive different realities.
those Blacks who believed from the beginning that "white
folks" constantly conspired against Blacks, institutional
racism seemed to confirm their conspiracy theory - an erroneous
it stands, we have developed precious little collective experience
in combating or understanding institutional racism. (If it
were not so,
would not have to constantly hammer away at the "delusions"
that govern American political behavior.)
theory masks a fundamental weakness in the Pirate's offensive
against world order: their inability to see the world as it
is. (Colin Powell is superior to his fellow Bush men in this
regard largely because he is a well-socialized Black man who
does not share their full measure of delusions. Rather, Powell
is a mercenary opportunist who strives to finesse the game
as best he can, yet is devoted to the hegemonic mission.)
It is wrong to assume that the Pirates' shifting objectives
and improvisations are clever maneuvers scripted in advance
or, as they will always claim, routine choices from a range
have already mentioned Baghdad's descent into chaos - a U.S.-inflicted
outrage that revealed the American military's moral and material
weaknesses and evoked worldwide revulsion at the invader,
which cannot help but stiffen international resolve to resist
the Pirates. If, to argue the point, there are elements among
the Pirates and the military who believe that Baghdad's burning
will serve the purposes of the United States, paralyzing potential
adversaries in terror, then they are wrong, and will commit
further grave errors in the future, hastening the unraveling
of the offensive.
the U.S. strikes against Syria in the near future, it will
be a sign of weakness, not strength. There is no objective
reason, military or political, for the U.S. to do anything
but attempt to consolidate its position within Iraq. However,
the Pirates are as likely as not to commit the blunder, driven
by the momentum of their own rhetoric or, in the event of
serious disruptions of their Iraqi operations, in an effort
to demonstrate that they retain the initiative in shaping
events in the region. The Bush men see themselves as waging
psychological warfare on a world scale. In this, they are
singularly incompetent, understanding only minds from their
own culture. An early Syrian gambit brings them closer to
the point at which they will exhaust their combined force
options, and must give up the offensive or strike punitively
with air power and special ops raids to little military purpose
- no way to construct new relationships that must ultimately
result in advantageous commercial arrangements.
will abound in the world, however - directed against the United
States. Far from exhibiting devilish cleverness, the Pirates
have launched an incredibly stupid war-against-all, telegraphing
every move and undermining the stability of the few allies
that might be useful to their project. They have totally misjudged
or discounted the effects of public opinion on the foreign
elites whom they hope to co-opt as subsidiaries to the New
American Century. We believe the Bush men cannot conceive
of political parties outside of the American model (an absence
of parties), do not harbor actual feelings of belonging to
a nation (their sense of nation is a set of ambitions and
conceits) and therefore cannot perceive such feelings in others,
and are contemptuous of all forms of power other than those
in which they are superior. They are quite limited men who
have reached too far.
Pirates have served redundant notices on the world that they
are intent on disrupting everyone's way of life, from the
Swiss banker to the Indonesian imam. They have given the international
community no option other than variations on the post-September
11 " either for us or against us" theme. It is now
too late to rephrase the message, even if the Pirates wanted
U.S. has placed a gun to the world's head, insisting it is
crazy enough to pull the trigger. Sober people take the threat
seriously - conspiracies are appropriate responses. Noisy
boycotts of American products serve to vent public displeasure,
but a methodical determination to avoid entanglements with
gangsters is best effected in innocuous meetings to which
the gangsters are not invited. Boycotts need not be announced.
Sales not initiated, deals not cut, trips not made, investments
quietly rejected, agreements sidelined, initiatives reconsidered
- this will be the response of the global matrix that the
Bush men foolishly seek to coerce with high-tech weapons and
a fool would not assume that last weekend's St. Petersburg
summit of Germany, France and Russia was not consumed with
the nuts and bolts of erecting defenses against American geopolitical
aggression. And only foolish heads of state would admit it.
Every actor in each emerging or mature economy is compelled
to pursue alternatives to doing business with America, the
rogue state that recognizes no rules but its own declarations.
China has surpassed Japan as the country with which the U.S. has the largest trade deficit and remains a command system, able to move as a body to favor or disfavor the United States if her political will is tested.
redlining of the U.S. has begun. Like the banker who smiles
broadly as he denies that such a thing as redlining exists,
then offers his card and his sincerest Good Luck, the world
can simply pretend that nothing hostile to U.S. interests
is occurring. The effect will be as devastating as redlining
the ghetto, a place that is depressed because nothing good
we discussed at the beginning of this piece, the U.S. position
among nations has long been buttressed by artificial advantages.
When these advantages were threatened, a Pirate class schemed
to gut the world system in order to secure absolute advantage.
But even the world's mightiest military cannot coerce trade
and collaboration from an unwilling planet. As the world recoils
from its grasping embrace, the U.S. will shrink.
process will be punctuated with a great deal of drama. It
is possible that the world will not survive the convulsions
of mayhem precipitated by the would-be hegemon - but that
has been a possibility for the past half century or so. Certainly,
many millions will perish less dramatically. TransAfrica Forum
executive director Bill Fletcher said:
military action against Iraq is not just about controlling
oil and not even just about empire. It's about economic
competition with other powers; about the Bush administration
framing global capitalism in an image that it wants with
its 'new international economic architecture' via the IMF
and World Bank.... This will exacerbate the increasing economic
polarization of the last 20 years, further impoverish much
of the globe and send a message to all: displays of resistance
will be met with force."
possibility of real economic recovery in the United States
becomes nil. It is difficult to imagine that a wounded, mostly
delusional America will not resort to massive scapegoating
of minorities, especially the Permanent Enemy, Black America.
Someone will have to pay for the political choices of the
pro-war supermajority. These will be interesting times.
there will no longer be a material basis for rule of the Pirates,
at least in their present, virulent form.
"the arc of history bends toward justice." - Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.