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The Discourse of Empire is Untruth

Srdja Trifkovic has posted another excellent commentary on the most recent American machinations towards the establishment of an independent Kosovo, another jihadist narco-state lying in the soft underbelly of Europe. Concerning the possible Serbian response to an American-supported unilateral declaration of independence - a blockade, suspension of diplomatic relations with the conspiring nations, and a possible forcible partition of the Serbian enclaves, with a retention of sovereign claims over the remainder - Trifkovic writes:

Serbia’s response will have a limited impact on the countries outside the region, but that will not be the end of the story. Russia, China and India, and dozens of Asian and African countries with secessionist problems—including South Africa and the most populous predominantly Muslim country, Indonesia—will deem the move illegal and invalid. The theory that outside powers can award part of a state’s sovereign territory to a violent ethnic or religious minority, only if that minority is able to provoke a violent government response and secure a “humanitarian” intervention from abroad, would put in question the borders of at least two-dozen states.

It is imperative that it be grasped that such declarations, and the redrawing of the boundaries of sovereign nations, is both illegal under any accepted standard of international law, and therefore a direct threat to the stability and legitimacy of the international order, and luridly imprudent even if one regards the entire edifice of international law as a myth, a fig leaf for machiavellian machtpolitik. The veil of obfuscation that the State Department seeks to draw over these illicit proceedings seems to concede the, ahem, irregularity of the process, inasmuch as it attempts to play the nominalism card in foreign affairs ("No, this is not an act of a general species, but something sui generis!"):

State Department bureaucrats still claim that Kosovo would not set a precedent, but their words cannot change reality: it will. The “frozen conflicts” in the former Soviet Union may be defrosted with a bang, and the best Kosovo could hope for is to become a frozen conflict itself.

Now, while the establishment of this precedent is neither the whole of America's motivation in this matter nor regarded with complete equanimity, the precedent is an aspect of the strategy, despite the frequent disavowals that have accompanied this exercise in imperial hubris. The precedent is desired precisely because it carries the potential to defrost the frozen conflicts of the former Soviet Union, which, if reignited, would afford America the opportunity to have its cake and eat it, too: to wink at the destabilization of Russia while disseminating agitprop about the Soviet Union Redivivus, when the Russians, with unutterable temerity, defend their own territory. Other animating factors are the desire to humiliate Russia at a time of her resurgence, making a show of her impotence, and that bizarre American fetish for currying favour with eternally ungrateful Muslim populations.

Be not deceived however, State Department apparatchiki are never so daft as to believe that actions of the sort now openly contemplated fail to establish precedents - precedents that virtually anyone with sufficient cunning can exploit - but hope to exploit the precedent where they wish, and to deny it where they wish. For such is the discourse of empire.

Comments (12)

re: another jihadist narco-state

I get that the Kosovar indepedence fighters are financed by drug-trafficking, but what proof do you have that - should they achieve independence - their state would be "jihadist." I've never seen that allegation before.

A decent place to start is here. The gist of it is that the KLA is shot through with operatives, and the money, of the usual suspects - al Qaeda and the Wahhabists; that such groups have been active in the Balkan conflicts has been known since the inception of the disastrous American policy towards the former Yugoslavia.

Thanks. Some light reading.

The precedent is desired precisely because it carries the potential to defrost the frozen conflicts of the former Soviet Union, which, if reignited, would afford America the opportunity to have its cake and eat it, too: to wink at the destabilization of Russia

And your evidence of this what?
You are making our foreign apparatus way smarter than it is.

It is the same people who provide virtually unlimited visas to Saudis (after 9/11) and would love to import a million or two Iraqis.

The evidence for the contention consists of the statements of members of the American foreign policy establishment, to the effect that the object of American policy is the domination of Eurasia, which domination entails the weakening of existing rival powers and the prevention of the emergence of potential rival powers; the analysis of the actual conduct of American policy towards Russia in the post-Cold War period, which policy may be characterized as the equation of 'democratic capitalism' with a debilitated Russia led by a drunkard, overseeing an orgy of primitive accumulation without parallel in history, accompanied by a reneging on assurances given during the denouement of the Cold War that the Western security architecture would not be expanded into the new-post-Soviet space; the fomenting of fraudulent colour revolutions, the principal object of which was to further isolate and contain Russia, and to install in power pliable local kleptocrats, such as Saakashvili in Georgia and Yushchenko/Tymoshenko in Ukraine, who will facilitate the penetration of Western corporate and financial interests, as well as the Western exploitation of energy reserves, a process detailed in two recent books, more or less; the confirmation of this 'theory' by analysts such as those I quoted in this article, analysts who possess the contacts that I, obviously, do not; and, finally, the curious fact that the membership of this outfit, (the roster, apparently, is no longer online, and it would require some sleuthing to turn one up) formerly known as the Committee for Peace in Chechnya, a veritable coven of neoconservative usual suspects whose braying about the illusory Islamofascism is incessant, have made conspicuous exceptions for the cases of the Caucasus and the Balkans - where the only common thread is that American support for the 'insurgencies' is inimical to Russian interests.

It is a composite image, albeit one that is much more intelligible than the notion that all of these occurrences are essentially random and disconnected, which notion is risible, given the perduring quality of anti-Russian and overtly Russophobic sentiments in the American establishment. When, in each of these instances, American policymakers complain of Russia, we ought to extend them the courtesy of recognition, accepting that they are rational men and not lunatics, and that they therefore mean what they say: Russia is the problem as they perceive that swathe of the world. In essence, all I have done is correlate their words and the conduct of American foreign policy, the geostrategy and the public rhetoric.

The evidence for the contention consists of the statements of members of the American foreign policy establishment

Should be easy to provide references that support your assertions.

to install in power pliable local kleptocrats, such as Saakashvili in Georgia and Yushchenko/Tymoshenko in Ukraine, who will facilitate the penetration of Western corporate and financial interests, as well as the Western exploitation of energy reserves, a process detailed in two recent books

In a blurb for a book you have cited there is this:
Recently, a second wave of reforms — Serbia in 2000, Georgia in 2003, and Ukraine in 2004, as well as Kyrgyzstan’s regime change in 2005 — have proven almost as monumental as those in Berlin and Moscow. The people of the Eastern bloc, aided in no small part by Western money and advice, are again rising up and demanding an end to autocracy.

Kinda has a slightly different message than your assertions, don't you agree? I would say that difference is close to 180 degrees.

braying about the illusory Islamofascism is incessant

I hate weasel term islamofascism, Islam is a proper term. Are you saying that danger of Islam is invented by neocons? In this case you may ask, for example, Serbs, if Islam is an illusory danger.

And how exactly creating yet another jihadi state in Europe will advance US interests vis-a-vis Russia?

Why create elaborate conspiracy theories when a simple explanation seems to suffice:
to prove to Muslims that the US is fighting against Terror, not, God forbid, Islam, an out of her depth Rice and an empty suit Jorge Boosh decided to have one more Muslim democracy.
As if Hamastan in Gaza, failure in Bosnia and Shia Sharia Iraq are not enough.

Works for me.

Ah, yes, the conspiracy-theory accusation, a common red herring in these controversies, though not so egregious and self-serving as the "passionate attachment" accusation that David Frum, of all people, flung at the paleoconservatives in his contemptible Unpatriotic Conservatives screed (and even this term is overly gentle) in National Review back in 2003. I suppose that the mistake is forgivable, insofar it tends to originate in a misunderstanding of precisely how geopolitical analysis - somewhat akin to some forms of intelligence work - is actually done, namely, by means of the detailed parsing of foreign-policy statements, the discernment of patterns, and the development of inferences. One seldom, excepting blatant cases such as declarations of war, obtains definitive, two-dozen-witnesses-plus-DNA confirmation; one rather must learn to discern the patterns, to assemble the puzzles - which, mercifully, usually come partially assembled - and to develop a fine sensibility for the correlation of words and actions. Moreover, there is no conspiracy, since what is being done is being done openly, on the global stage, and with ample telegraphing of intentions; it is ultimately a matter of perceiving and interpreting the obvious.

Hence, when Zbigniew Brzezinski writes that

In brief, for the United States, Eurasian geostrategy involves the purposeful management of geostrategically dynamic states and the careful handling of geopolitically catalytic states, in keeping with the twin interests of America in the short-term preservation of its unique global power and in the long-run transformation of it into increasingly internationalized global cooperation. To put it in a terminology that hearkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together. (The Grand Chessboard)

The significance of the language as a statement of policy-making intentions is rather more than that America has an interest in appearing to favour Islam, so as to preclude the perception that America is waging war against the Dar-al-Islam simply. The language is architectonic, governing the entirety of American policy; American policy, at its best, that it is say, is not ad hoc but integrated, a cohesive whole within which there is room for elaboration and improvisation. American policy aims to maintain security dependence among certain nations, such as Georgia, for example; and strives to prevent the "barbarians", such as Russia and the former states of the Soviet Union, among others, from entering into combinations inimical to American policies. And as regards the tributaries, well, in the modern context that is best read as a reference to the influence of the American corporate and financial apparatus, which was so influential in perpetrating the Great Russian Barbecue of the 1990s - concerning which there have been recent revelations of scandal - as well as the Ruble collapse and Russian default on 1998; debt service payments are the modern form of tribute, and have been since the development of modern finance, way back in the mists of early modernity.

On to the details, then, the concrete illustrations of the general strategy, with reference to the Russian near-abroad.

Some excerpts from the Mark MacKinnon book, the cover blurbs for which give no indication of the complexities and nuances of the maneuverings related in the text:

Concerning the implications of a natural gas deal Georgian president Shevardnadze signed with Russia, MacKinnon writes,

It also meant that Gazprom could now supply the Turkish market with gas, weakening the demand for Caspian supplies and threatening the economic viability of a separate U.S.-backed gas pipeline that was in the works to take gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz gas field across the South Caucasus to market.

While the Gazprom deal on its own made analysts in Washington anxious, it was likely Shevardnadze's next step that convinced many in the State Department that their old friend had defected to the Kremlin camp. In July, under murky circumstances, the American firm AES-Telasi sold Tbilisi's energy grid, at a rock-bottom price, to the Russian electricity monopoly, RAO-UES. (snip) Soon after the deal, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller asked the Georgian government to divert gas from Shah Deniz to a planned Russian pipeline that would run under the Black Sea to Turkey. Washington was up in arms at the very idea. President Bush dispatched his senior advisor for Caspian energy issues, Steven Mann, to Tbilisi with a warning for Shevardnadze: "Georgia should not do anything that undercuts the powerful promise of an East-West energy corridor."

The appointment of Richard Miles as U.S. ambassador to Georgia in early 2002 should have been enough to warn Shevardnadze that the ground was shifting beneath his feet. Miles, already known for his role in the toppling of Milosevic, made his intentions clear even before he arrived in Tbilisi. At his Senate confirmation hearings, Miles noted that Georgia was entering a "crucial period" of preparing for life after Shevardnadze, and in early 2003 he went to work making sure that life after Shevardnadze would look the way Washington, not Moscow, desired. First, he pronounced the United States deeply interested in Georgia's parliamentary elections, scheduled for that fall, and made a public display of meeting with Zhvania and other opposition leaders.

And the rest is the history of the joint State-Department, International Republican Institute, Soros-funded Rose Revolution, which installed in power in Tbilisi the American educated Mikhail Saakashvili, who has lately been outed as not a whit's improvement over his predecessor in the democracy and human rights department, as discussed here,
there, and elsewhere, and yet he retains American support. Why?

Eighteen months after the Rose Revolution - following a ceremony attended by U.S. secretary of energy Samuel Bodman, by Saakashvili, the democrat, and by Azerbaijan's Aliev, the anointed son of the autocrat - oil started to flow west through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.

I'll not belabour the argument still further, save to note that it is manifest that American policy is concerned to secure access to energy reserves, to render certain nations compliant, and to marginalize and exclude others. Caspian energy reserves are a principal objective under the first category, Georgia is a prime illustration of the second category of policy-making, and Russia of the third. This is incontestable.

Beyond that consideration, it remains the case that the board of the Committee for Peace in the Caucasus is a veritable who's-who of the neocon firmament (or 10th circle) - these, the analysts who bloviate incessantly about the threat of Islamofascism, most probably because they do not understand the phenomena with which they are concerned, and wish to conceal from themselves the knowledge of the truth, namely, that it is simply orthodox Islam, and advocate unstinting American military action to forestall the threat. And yet, they have conspicuously aligned themselves with the cause of the Chechens, and with the Muslims of the South Balkans, who are a well-known conduit of arms, narcotics, and jihadists to Western Europe and beyond.

Contradictions elevated to such a height of intensity are not mere oversights or the results of a desire to appease Muslim sentiment for actions undertaken elsewhere. They are reflective of foreign-policy formulated at a level of greater intricacy; and all I have done is extend the analysis one step beyond what the well-connected folks at Stratfor have disclosed: one of America's geostrategic objectives is to "grind Russia into the dust."

This is a side comment.

Years ago I worked for Bell Telecommunication Labs (AT&T research and development arm).
About 30% of professional employees had PhDs and 65% had MS degrees.

We used Flesh-Kincaid index to determine reliability of our technical documents. A strong recommendation from the company was to keep F-K index below 10 (text understood by 10th grade high school students).

The last comment by Maximos tests as follows (www.online-utility.org/english/readability_test_and_improve.jsp):

Gunning-Fox index (years of formal education needed to understand text at first reading): 21.9

Flesh-Kincaid Index: 18.8.

Just for comparison I ran Lawrence Auster (www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/009498.html) piece thru these tests:

Gunning-Fog: 13.9
F-K: 11.5

I'm sure if Mr. Auster - who is an excellent writer, could have easily lowered his indexes if he thought it would improve accessability of his piece.

When indexes differ so much as in examples above, comprehending of a less accessable piece becomes much harder job.

Zbigniew Brzezinski writes that ....

Is an opinion of Zbig is a fact now?
Perhaps next time you may ask him what is his opinion on Carter's admin success in Iran.
I can't wait to hear what a grand success for the USA Iranian revolution was.

The remaining (a small) set of factoids proves what exactly?

That US has foreign policy interests?
We should not be allowed to have them?

Accordingly to most of the left (Zbig and his daughter-jorno) among them, we are not allowed to have borders, immigration laws and culture.
As opposite of all non-white countries in the world that are encourage to have all of those nationhood things.

I guess now we should put our foreign interests in the same trash bin of history where our culture and nationhood already reside.

You've struck upon the other set of implications in ZBig's slim little primer on imperialism: that the American imperium, having subdued Eurasia, subordinating potential rivals and obstacles, is to effectively transmogrify itself into a transnational or global administration. I find this as repellent as the summons to an imperial destiny.

ZBig, though he ought not retain any credibility in the foreign-policy establishment after the pathetic debacle of the Carter administration, nonetheless remains an influential player, his viewpoints a summation-with-modulations of the establishment doctrine. It might be said that nothing succeeds like failure in foreign policy; the neoconservatives who brought such ruination upon the policies of the present Bush administration have suffered little, if at all, and occupy positions of influence in some presidential campaigns, and even some of the pseudo-realists - who differ from the neoconservatives only in calling for more international consultation prior to engaging in the works of empire - are hanging around. Generally speaking, the neoconservatives still have the ears of the Republicans, while the faux realists have the ears of the Democrats, though Huckabee has been listening to Ivo Daalder, I hear.

America ought to possess and pursue national interests. I merely believe that legitimate national interests must not be hegemonic in form or substance, as this is morally illicit, being a mode of preemptive or aggressive warfare. Hence, what debates like this really concern is not so much the factuality of the circumstances as the normative status of the same. I articulate these criticisms because I love my country and its heritage, and do not wish for my country to engage in morally and strategically dubious pursuits, and I do not desire that my country should deny others - the Russians, for example, what it ought to be asserting for itself - a national identity - but does not.

Maximos: "I find this as repellent as the summons to an imperial destiny."

For me it's so repellent that I want to toss my cookies. And not only that, so far all this Hegemonism is costing us beaucoup trillions of dollars. So we're liable to bankrupt our country trying to extend it even farther.

But their having us stomp around in the middle of Eurasia makes me wonder. Are ZBig and the various Neocons in the grip of delusions of grandeur?

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