Isis, WMD of our time. To light a fire: White House, gathering within itself the military and intelligence communities, sends out Gen Dempsey and Sec Hagel to testify before Senate Armed Services – feeler about war while Obama mouths peace.
The old trick, a trial balloon, while POTUS sits pretty and has deniability. The important thing, build war sentiment, feed the public a steady diet of war propaganda. It is working.
A ‘war-weary public’, as is often contended? Nonsense. America hungers for war, needs war to feel muscular; ‘shock-and-awe’ air campaigns, whomever directed against, testifies to US greatness. War is thought essential to a prosperous economy. Peace, ever since TR, is thought ignoble—also perhaps tilting capitalism toward stagnation.
Why deny American superiority? Obama rides the crest of the ethnocentric/xenophobic wave, ideological crosscurrents that spell e-x-c-e-p-t-i-o-n-a-l-i-s-m. Bingo. The corporate state subsumes its militarisation. Obama has transformed himself from POTUS to Commander-in-Chief: vacillation, the Hamlet-like façade, is for the purpose of concealing a seething underneath.
The White House thinks ahead. It is more ambitious in its war planning than previous administrations. Obama surrounds himself with the best, would-be Clausewitzs with a geopolitical vision of US unilateral control over the global system. Everything is possible through air power. Before, he leaned on Special Ops and the CIA, drone assassination his method of choice. Now, his General Staff is getting itchy, eager to display their wares, show their stuff.
Assassination is too slow. Bomb everywhere, “friends and allies” a reliable cheering section (so long as ground troops are not their own). They, the sweet EU-Nato nexus, also help to neutralise international organisation. Today, then, Isis, and if possible, Assad; tomorrow, what remains of a resistant world. Who cannot see Russia and China in the American cross-hairs?
Whomever cannot is not a fit candidate for office, either party, and certainly not, Obama’s national-security team. Isis is a mere stepping stone. To what?
First, stabilization of the Middle East around an Israel-centred formula of non-compromise on Palestine, an accommodative peace with Egypt, Jordan, and the Saudis, as the domestication of the Arab Spring to crush Iran. Second, Europe’s solidification into an anti-Russian coalition of power, aimed at further dismemberment. Third, a more drastic version of the same with respect to China.
Obama’s Pacific-first strategy, embodied in the Pentagon’s 60-40 split in the allocation of “assets” to that region, signals confrontation at its highest. And the prize, the greatest: undisputed global power on a permanent basis. And with it, the superimposition of American values – unrestrained capitalism in all its wish-fulfilment forms – on the world system. Look for an international division of labour, outsourcing to the third decimal point in the search for cheap labour, preferably near the source of raw materials for production.
Look also for stability, i.e., counterrevolution in advance of anything happening. A world without socialism; equally, one without obstacles to American commercial-financial penetration. Ditto, opposition forces and/or politics questioning US (moral) leadership. Bring Kipling up-to-date: the world never sets on American military bases.
That already accomplished, it will be necessary to supplement with more, always more, as US controls tighten, the propaganda of domination begins to wear thin, and the “natives” (including formerly top-ranked states) become restive.