Hagel Confirmed, but Bloodied by American Nationalists Seeking Wars & World Dominance

The GOP senators have their own foreign policy, and it isn’t the same as that of President Obama or Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

For them, the US is a 900 pound behemoth that can boss the world around with its high-tech military at will. Their foreign policy is to shoot first and ask questions later, to cowboy it all alone, to never have regrets and never question American supremacy. They believe in a civilizational hierarchy, with Americans at the top of it, and for some of them ‘Americans’ means white Americans.

They strongly supported the illegal US invasion and occupation of Iraq, and many opposed the 2011 US withdrawal from that country. McCain admitted that some of the pettiness toward Hagel derived from grudges over his break with George W. Bush: “There’s a lot of ill will toward Sen. Hagel because when he was a Republican, he attacked President Bush mercilessly, at one point said he was the worst president since Herbert Hoover, said the surge (of U.S. troops in Iraq) was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War, which is nonsense, and was anti-his own party and people.”

I think Herbert Hoover was a very fine president compared to George W. Bush, and so does McCain. That is, McCain privately agrees with Hagel on this issue, and is slamming him in part because he is guilty over his own inability to live up to his ideal of party loyalty. As for Bush’s war on Iraq, the crackpot notion that the entire enterprise was anything but an epochal failure that left hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead and millions displaced, and gave al-Qaeda a new lease on life, should be laughed out of the Senate.

The GOP Orcs have a further list of countries they’d like to invade and occupy. Senator Lindsey Graham added Pakistan to the list. Does anybody else in the known universe think it is a good idea for the US abruptly to go to war with the world’s sixth-largest country, which is a nuclear power, and which is backed by China? I mean, shouldn’t this man just be declared clinically insane and mercifully put in an institution instead of being allowed to strut the halls of power? ( South Carolina, by the way, has among the worst health statistics and the shortest life expectancy in the United States, so that you would think Sen. Graham might have other priorities than becoming a 21st century Lord Curzon.)

John McCain joked about bombing Iran. (A bomb strike on the nuclear enrichment facilities at Natanz near Isfahan would release massive amounts of toxins and likely kill 100,000 innocent civilians.)

The Senate in general is all for keeping several million Palestinians stateless and without basic civil and human rights, and for allowing the Israelis (many of them Americans or Eastern Europeans) to steal what’s left of Palestinian farmland. In the Senate’s racial hierarchy of power, Americans are on top, Arabs near the bottom, and Palestinians are in the toilet. The GOP senators are currently thinking up ways to punish the Palestinians for daring to assert their right to be citizens of a state at the UN.

Hagel’s ideas on foreign policy are pragmatic and cautious, and sane. The real reason that he had a hard ride in his confirmation was that the looney tunes Tea Partiers and Neoconservative dead-enders want to keep alive the insane options as long as they can, the dream of striding in camel boots and khaki through the halls of an abject Islamabad, the dream of reducing Iran to a less prosperous version of the Congo, the dream of erasing the Palestinians altogether, the dream of total and absolute global dominance.

Their sense of innate superiority makes them unable to look about a broken-down America, its treasury looted of trillions by crooked financiers, its 30,000 significantly wounded Iraq War veterans needing trillions in health care over the next decades, its bridges falling down, its school students illiterate in mathematics and science, its factory jobs shipped abroad by scheming corporations, its minorities increasingly denied the right to vote, and its industry spewing 5 billion metric tons of hothouse gases into the atmosphere annually, threatening to wipe out New Orleans and Manhattan with artificial sea level rises.

There is enough to do at home, without small men from small states dreaming of world conquest. Hagel knows this, and so they smeared him with their slime.

32 Responses

  1. Well put Juan, I don’t always agree with what you say, but this was right on the money.

    • If there is a central trait of fascism it is the conquest of world empire (necessarily authoritarian). Second in importance is a corporate state (necessarily authoritarian). These powerful congressmen are both. Although they claim to love freedom, they want freedom for right wing extremist Americans and American global corporations. They are contemporary American fascists.

  2. Wow. Can’t hardly wait to see what this informed synthesis draws in the way of comment, here and elsewhere…

    At least Hagel is in place, and hopefully will not succumb to the Hegelian impulses… I wonder what his marching orders from the West Wing really are, and whether a larger notion of Duty, Honor, Country will somehow manifest. I doubt that is possible, too many people with irons in the fire, meat on the table and axes to grind.

    • Nothing can really be changed unless Americans can be led away from their faith in the efficacy of violence to keep the world rigged in our favor. It goes without saying that we believe the world owes us a living, and hey, here’s this neat arsenal in our hands!

      However, as a practical matter we can do this:

      (a) have a real debate on whether America requires global control, or whether it has a limited sphere of influence like any past empire. This is the only way to jettison our expensive commitments like NATO.

      (b) prepare the replacement of the current dysfunctional military with completely new services that reflect the technological landscape. Do we need a manned air force? Does the Marine Corps have the tools to take care of the vast majority of our overseas activities? Should the Navy have any other job but to transport the Marines and patrol the seaways with a handful of invincible submarines? What is the Army for?!

      As part of the derangement of empire, it has become impossible even for conservatives to question any of this. The peace movement, on the other hand, is so absolute in its opposition to any US armed force at all that it has zero credibility with the public. Not surprising. I am proposing that America merely demote itself from an unsustainable Superpower to a long-term Great Power. Most Americans, left, right, and viewless, have no idea what these concepts mean or how they function in a complex international system. They just see our arsenals piling up and either assume it is the root of all good or the root of all evil.

  3. I always wondered about the finance of empire on the national level. I would assume that in the early days, an empire can be enormously profitable to a nation’s coffers. The empire, as a whole, runs in the black. The people at the top become enormously rich.

    Often empires are built through manipulation, trickery and back stabbing and not through massive overt force. This is very cost effective at the national level. You rule the locals by creating an army of locals, put them in fancy uniforms and appoint a viceroy to oversee the operation. This worked very well for the British in India and Africa. The British probably learned it all from the Ottomans.

    Then, as time goes on, the empire requires more force to maintain. The locals begin to recognize the game and become non-cooperative. They no longer love the British monarch quite like the British do. They really do not want to fight for “Queen and Empire”. The seeds of collapse have been sown.

    Maintaining the status quo begins to require more force and the locals are unreliable. The force must be applied from the home country. But force is expensive and the national balance sheet slides into the red. Eventually the creditors come calling and the empire collapses. Think of the British Empire or the Ottoman Empire, called “the sick man of Europe” in its dying days.

    It seems that we are on the back side of empire. After WWII we ruled the Middle East through various puppets and other manipulations. No viceroys for us, we believe in democracy! However this does not affect the finances of empire. In the early days it was enormously profitable. Now that the puppets are falling and control can only be maintained by American forces the balance sheet of empire has slid far into the red.

    We should act like hard nosed business men and shut it down before it bankrupts us all.

    • The Brits were dead against freedom to India,Juan, particularly Churchill is on record saying he did not become Prime Minister to liquidate Her Majesty’s Empire, but Brits were bankrupt after the second World War and nothing could help them to hold on to India. You are absolutly right in your analysis. Juan your analysis on Hagel’s confirmation is mind blowing. Rgds

    • See Richard Rosecrance’s “The Rise and Fall of the Trading State”, on the problem of profitable trading empires degenerating into expensive bureaucratic empires because of the problem of getting committed to local conflicts. As always, Thucydides was there first.

    • Graham and Cruz don’t care about the fate of Israelis. They just use Israel to appeal to Christian Zionists back home, to raise money and rattle sabers.

  4. Our foreign policy often comes off like:

    “Nice country yous got here. It’d be a shame if something was to happen to it.”

    (sounds better in your best Hollywood mafioso voice)

  5. The reference to GOP senators in punishing Palestinians for asserting observer state status is well-taken.

    In reality, that UN General Assembly resolution had broad- based support among Israeli political leaders – including Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert.

  6. Thanks Juan you nailed the state of things and the attacks on Hagel. Last night on Chris Matthews Peter Beinart and Steve Clemons were on talking about the Hagel confirmation. Beinart thought that Hagel’s “political clout” had been compromised. Clemons did not believe this at all (neither do I) Clemons said that those who had gone after Hagel will have to be coming to Hagel not the other way around. So glad Hagel made it through

    • What’s sad is that in what’s supposed to nominally, according to the Sacred Myths, be a government of laws, not of men (and women,) so much seems to depend, and so many hopes hang on, the placing of certain people into certain positions. Elizabeth Warren at CPFB, say, or on the other hand Timmy “Ratface” Geithner at Treasury. Panetta,, or anybody, at CIA. And Rumsfeld, on the Bad’nUgly hand, and now Hagel on the Hope’nChange hand. Can one guy or gal, whatever their political heat and predilections, change the direction of “the backside of Empire” away from the ultimate cliff? Produce anything really different in what, 3 1/2 years if s/he gets that?

  7. Only in a country with no serious security threats would the insane clown posse in the US Senate exist and be given media. Such unserious individuals were backseated during real crises such as the War for Southern Succession and WWII. Having no real existing threats means that fake ones must be promoted.

  8. Don’t hold back, Juan. Tell us what you really think.

  9. “Does anybody else in the known universe think it is a good idea for the US abruptly to go to war with the world’s sixth-largest country …”

    Reading comments on relevant articles at NYT and WaPo, I’d say that there are one or two Desis who advocate exactly that.


    Always looking for a silver lining, does that
    “… 5 billion metric tons of hothouse gases [spewing] into the atmosphere annually …” mean that US industry is still vibrant ? Do we still make some stuff here ?

    • much of it coal burning for heating and cooling houses, plus driving cars and truck around

  10. to clarify, Hagel kicked butt in those hearings.
    The folks who needed medical attention afterwards were those attacking him.
    He just does his thrashing very subtly.

  11. The left wing deserves much of the blame for focusing thier venom on Jimmy Carter in the late 70’s and aiding the conservatives in electing Reagan and setting America on a conservative trajectory

    • You’re absolutely correct, but the Left focused on the wrong Carter sins. In retrospect, the decision to support the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan BEFORE the Soviets even invaded (a forgotten fact), was the one that got us screwed. His NSA, Zbigniew Brzezinski, later gloated to an interviewer that while he warned Carter that CIA intervention would trigger a Soviet invasion, he personally wanted it all to happen because he knew it would become the Soviets’ Vietnam. Carter and Zbiggy refused to consider the bigger picture: the US was committing to using extremist Islam as a weapon to roll back Communism. This coincided with the Islamic Revolution in Iran and a very confused attempt to try to back the hardline Islamists to forestall Marxist factions getting the upper hand – which we were very quickly to regret. Not long after, Pakistan’s Islamist army beheaded its socialist prime minister and set up its cabal with Reagan and Saudi Arabia to turn Afghanistan into a Mujahedeen theme park. We also forgave Egypt its fling with socialist Nasser by allying with his more conservative replacement and sending him a billion $ a year in aid.

      I think the message that we sent to a billion Moslems was that we would kill them if they became Socialist, but we and our Saudi buddies would shower them with $ and guns if they became Salafis and killed Commies. Many embraced the message. We destroyed the USSR and now live in more fear than ever.

  12. I burst out laughing at your comments about Lindsey Graham and his suggestion that we may have to go to war against Pakistan. Then I caught myself and realized that it’s not funny at all that people like Graham and others in the Senate, who must always have a war going, operate in the highest halls of power.

  13. The time to clean house is now or else America and the world will experience a very serious depression.

    How stupid can the US Government be in cutting services and be frugal. Money can be printed and used to pay for services rendered including rebuilding roads and bridges, building new schools and hospitals, giving students government issued interests free loans on the condition that they take and complete required courses in learning how to learn in high school so that they don’t drop out of college.

    No more Billionaires and multiple millionaires.

    Get the money out of politics!!!!!!!!!!

    Kick out the corrupt Democrats, Republicans, the illegal Obama, nationalize the Federal Reserve and the phony banking system running the world largest and oldest Ponzi scam, close down the insane Military Industrial Complex, replace the conflict of interests executive of the Food and Drug Administration(aka the Federal Death Administration), breakup the illegally controlled mass news media and tax the corporations and billionaires between 60 and 80 percent, etc.

    Obama’s father was the not a US citizen, thus he is not a “natural born citizen, a constitutional requirement for only two offices, that of the President and the Vice President.

    All the white collar criminals and murders must be prosecuted, jailed and stripped of their illegally obtained wealth and all possessions, aka the American Billionaires including their families, corporations, news medias, their Fed, etc.

    Time to tax white collar criminals and murderers to Hell.

    Obama is an illegal and phony President.

    The Billionaires, Congress and the phony US government are responsible for the 1929 depression, for the lost of the American manufacturing industry and millions of jobs, the foreclosure scandal and on and on.

    America needs a real President and a real Congress.

    Who in the hell is going to come forward?

  14. How better, safer, peaceful and prosperous our world would had become had we had so many of the sane, judicious, well- informed and caring wise Americans as Professor Juan Cole. Thank you Professor Cole for having done your piece.

    Rajai Masri
    Palestinian American

  15. Hagel probably represents most closely the conservatism of Dwight Eisenhower, the one who warned us about the Military-Industrial Complex on his way out the door. Point being, if the Cold War had ended on Ike’s watch he would have been glad to shut 4/5ths of the Pentagon down (thus turning it into a Unigon) because he understood that there were no other existential threats out there, and the effects of the war machine were not at all conservative, deforming markets and putting obligations on the working class (taxes, the draft) that made them rightly demand that the government do things for them too.

    The fact that this sort of logic is now considered treasonous by so many current Republicans opens some interesting peepholes into their plans for the world’s future.

  16. I can’t agree with Mr. Cole placing all the blame for our insane foreign policy on the shoulders of the GOP. Hagel was made to cowtow to the Israeli lobby during confirmation hearings. Obama and Biden do absolutely nothing to promote the Palestinian cause, but they’re certainly experts at continuing numerous Bush/Cheney policies without criticism from the Left who vehemently opposed them when it was a Republican administration dishing them out. About 3/4ths of the Democrats in the House voted FOR the Iraqi invasion, and almost half of the Senate Dems did the same.

    I haven’t seen one Democratic representative say that war against Iran should be “removed from the table” in nuclear talks with (or without) Iran. I haven’t seen one not say he/she doesn’t support Israel 100% or claim that serving the interests of the Israelis might just be a detriment to our own people and our country’s safety.

    Democrats are not a lot better than the Republicans if you base your views on their actions rather than their words.

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