Thursday, August 29, 2013

Why the US is Involved in Syria (and everything else)

Let's put this question to bed: the United States is in charge. We wanted it, we demanded it, we killed, coerced, and stole for it. And now we're the world's police. This didn't happen by accident. That was the plan all along. Yet, when things get dangerous, there's always a section of the population that asks that petulant and naive question: who made us the world's police? The answer is simple: we did.

There's an on-going genocide in Syria. A brutal dictator is using all of his weapons -including sarin gas- to kill dissidents. Hundreds of thousands have been murdered. A decision must be made by the US government, and while I don't know what should be done it's absurd to say that America can sit this one out. The US government has manufactured an untenable situation where almost all international business and diplomacy must cross before the president's desk. The plan was brilliant and now this country is reaping but the fruit and frustration from it.

In between World War I and World War II the plan began to take shape on several different fronts. While it's highly unlikely there was a grand conspiracy, the results of several different initiatives in politics and economics has triggered the 'American Century" and the continuous power vacuum that we fill with our money and influence.

THE DOLLAR

The dollar is an international currency. Who made this happen? We did. We encouraged second and third world countries to back their currency with the US dollar. This improved our power and economic muscle during the Cold War. I have a friend who works in bank investigation around the world and he put it best: shit gets done faster with the dollar.

At the beginning of the millennium there was a strong push to supplant the dollar with Euros. The EU was riding high and there was buzz there many countries would switch over. The US government had a quiet, sustained freak-out. The word got out through the World Bank (whose board and staff is mostly American) that there would be repercussions for switching to the Euro. Suddenly all that talk about dropping the dollar faded. Many governments not only have to do with the international organizations financing but private corporations like Goldman Sachs which in some countries holds more 'dollar power' than the US government. The overall trickle down effect is that the dollar is what brings in the bulldozers, builds the bridges, swapped in for government bonds to finance new roads and infrastructure.

The dollar not only works for legitimate financing but is the currency of international black markets. One of the largest Black markets is the international drug economy. The number one purchaser of drugs is the United States, which is only 5% of the world's population. We pay the largest suppliers -Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, Dominican Republic- with our dollar, which has the unintended consequence of making these countries awash billions every year. This trickles up from the Black market as 'dirty money' is washed through real estate, construction, and many dummy companies.

The US consumer enjoys the enormous benefits of having stability and sustained purchasing power. You will almost never hear of a shortage of anything in this country. Our gas costs $3 a gallon which is unbelievable until you notice that gas almost everywhere else costs $4-5 per liter (must smaller amount than a gallon). We can go to Wal-Mart and pick up a package of 20 tube socks for $4 because our money goes a lot further in sweatshop countries.

MILITARY

By now it's a well-known fact that the US spends more on weapons than the rest of the world combined. But what's further chilling is that we supply a large section of the world with their weapons. Most countries know that if they want high-quality weaponry and the latest technology, they need to purchase from the US. And we help facilitate this by offering military aid contingent upon them buying from American companies.

It's not a coincidence that the Egypt gets $1 billion in aid. Some Americans may think that it's outrageous that we're paying for their weapons. But we're paying and subsidizing their weapon purchases because they buy from us. So for a $1 billion 'strings attached' aid the Egyptian military then becomes dependent upon US expertise, consultants, and weapons that runs into the billions for them to pay. In short, military aid is a money-making bonanza for American corporations. We then tax those US corporations as well as their employees. These workers go out and spend their paycheck for products, which we tax again. What starts off as aid, becomes a money-making opportunity that infuses the American economy on every level.

For every $1 in military aid we give to a country like Egypt or Pakistan, their government will probably end up spending several dollars to keep their software updated, pay for American consultants, and to keep the arms race going.

DIPLOMACY

Besides the UN, there is the the World Bank, World Trade Organization, G-20. There is a network of diplomatic and economic international organizations. Mostly started and run by Westerners powers who are funneled through Western Europe and American educational institutions and gatekeepers. Even if an aberrant 'other' makes it through they've had to have been schooled, trained, networked in a very small circle of accepted universities and think tanks. Even for a US citizen, there are only about 10 or 15 universities to go through to get into these international organizations. You won't find someone born, raised, and educated in -for instance- Montana making their way up the ladder in the WTO; not because there aren't perfectly capable people in Montana or any number of other states but because that's not within the accepted gateways. And as far as other countries are concerned, the US has a monopoly on the gates and pathways to these international organizations.

CULTURAL POWER

The US's cultural hegemony is a 'soft power.' The persuasive power of culture, though, has much more effect on the people of the world than even our weapons. When it comes to the system TV networks and cable, that's a US creation that is now in every country. The few chosen internet and social media giants have headquarters in California in the tech-regions. On a disproportionate level, American corporations are trendsetters for the platform and distribution models in TV, film, and internet. We then fill these channels with a glut of content from our new products to over 60 years worth of Americana that is flying around the world all the time. From "I Love Lucy" to "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" many countries supplement their channels with syndicated American products. There's not even a close competitor to US cultural power. It's a blowout.  Once again, the term 'America' is misleading because it's not the whole country. It's LA and New York as the major pipelines with Silicon Valley as the technological factory pumping out new smart phone models, phone apps, and content.

TRICKLE DOWN EFFECT

American corporate, financial, cultural, and diplomatic interests dominate every corner of the globe. This gives us a stability and security unheard of in any country in the world. The media says we should be scared of China, but check each category and ask where does it hold an advantage internationally? Their military, culture, technology, and even currency lives in the shadows of a much smaller country. Granted, China has bought a lot of our debt, but not out of a sense of reverence or kindness. The reason why the Chinese government buys American bonds is because they are the most stable thing to invest in, even more so than their own economy which is based on a real estate bubble that can't sustain itself. In order to keep its rapacious growth, China has continued a construction boom to pay out money. Now they're forcibly trying to move people into these hollow cities to keep the economy going. The only fear about China is that if they fall, they're big enough to trigger a worldwide recession. But their growth is largely internal and unsustainable.

A decision will be made by President Obama on how to proceed with Egyptian unrest and a Syrian civil war. While we don't want to be involved, it's unrealistic to think that our involvement isn't already predetermined. Whether American citizens like it or not, we are involved. And if America enjoys the fruits of this intrusive system then we will also must be responsible for the labor.

3 comments:

Owa said...

What a grossly fantastical interpretation of American Imperialism. There is NO proof of gas being used by Assad. This will be a military decision to cripple Assad's ability to win the civil war--a war created by US policy. The strategic demand is OIL. A century of the precious stuff will be fought over by both eastern and western powers. It has nothing to do with justice, innocent citizens or "policing."
Egypt is run by the old faction. The factions America loves best.

Aurin Squire said...

I think 'Confessions of an Economic Hitman" is one of many books from people who worked for orgs like the WTO and World Bank that documents how the US gov bribes and bullies the dollar on second and third world countries while encouraging them to take loans they can't repay. And from having talked to my friend and his colleagues who are bank investigators the American influence is not an accident.

As far as gas being used, does that still negate the hundreds of thousands murdered before that?

And who said 'policing' had anything to do with justice or innocent citizen? Policing is about enforcing rules with the threat of violence.

Owa said...

I would infer your issue of thousands slaughtered by Assads regime would be about policing justice for its citenzery.

While at it, we could consider American use of depleted uranium in the Iraqis. And Afghan wars.

Or the refusal by Clinton to acknowledge genocide in Ruanda for Frances sake.

Or the murder of Lumumba or multiple attempts on Castro
Perhaps even the CIA release of LSD in NYC subways to ser what will happen.

Then rheres always the poppa doc's, Francos and Pinochet all bad guys we liked. They killed millions, but it was kay. They've been our bad guys and that is a good thing...