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James George JATRAS:


    Congress, the American People, and the Unsuitability of the United States as the World's Policeman

    Paper presented at the international conference:
    America's Intervention in the Balkans
    Chicago, February 28 - March 2, 1997

      James George Jatras is a policy analyst at the United States Senate. The views expressed here are his own and do not represent any Senate member or office

    Every once in a great while, an article appears in a `mainstream' publication that, so to speak, lets the cat out of the bag, by spelling out clearly and explicitly ideas and trends that have long been dominant factors in public life but are usually seen only in vague or implicit form. One such appeared in the July/August 1996 edition of Foreign Affairs. Entitled Towards a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy, it was intended as a blueprint for a Dole Administration, and no doubt also a claim for high appointment for its authors, Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, both editors of the flagship of neo-conservatism, The Weekly Standard. It could best be summed up as an appeal for America to become the embryo of a world empire.

    Indeed, the authors' recommended American role in the post-Cold War international order can be seen as descriptive as well as exhortative:

    'What should that role be? Benevolent global hegemony. Having defeated the "evil empire," the United States enjoys strategic and ideological predominance. The first objective of U.S. foreign policy should be to preserve and enbance that predominance by strengthening America's security, supporting its friends, advancing its interests, and standing up for its principles around tbe world. The aspiration to benevolent hegemony might strike some as either hubristic or morally suspect. But a hegemon is nothing more or less than a leader with preponderant influence and authority over all others in its domain. That is America's position in the world today.'

    [The world now being, evidently, our 'domain.' They continue: other powers, notably Russia and China, will bristle at American hegemony, but they'll just have to lump it, we should take their displeasure 'as a compliment,' und so weiter.) Predictably, the authors call for a military build-up unconnected to any identifiable military threat:

    'Great Britain in the late l9th century maintained a 'two-power' standard for its navy, insisting that at all times the British navy should be as la,rge as the next two naval powers combined, whoever they might be. Perhaps the United States should inaugurate such a two- (or three-, or four- ) power staudard of its own, which would preserve its military supremacy regardless of the near-term global threats.'

    They call for 'citizen involvement,' in effect, militarization of the populace (in a complete perversion of the traditional 'citizen soldier' concept) and their seduction into the imperial enterprise: to close the growing separation of civilian and military cultures in our society, to involve more citizens in military service, to lower the barriers between civilian and military life.

    Perhaps most disturbing about the Kristol/Kagan call to greatness is how they define our interests: Americans, they write, have never lived in a world more conducive to their fundamental interests in a liberal international order, the spread of freedom and democratic governance, [and] an international economic system of free-market capitalism and free trade. That is, this has nothing to do with how we will preserve the traditional moral and economic interests of our own people, keeping other powers out of our traditional empire in this hemisphere -- what we usually mean by 'national interests' -- but with the blessings we will supposedly bestow upon the rest of benighted humanity, assumed to be, as Kipling put it, half devil and half child.

    They continue: 'American hegemony is the only reliable defense against a breakdown of peace and the international order. The appropriate goal of American foreign policy, therefore, is to preserve that hegemony as far into the future as possible.' In sum, hegemony for hegemony's sake: we are obligated to take up the white man's burden, to shoulder the Sisyphean task of preserving the existing international order, seemingly forever.

    In fairness to the Republicans it should be noted that there is greater uneasiness on the GOP right about this trend than there is on the Democratic left, all of whose non-interventionism seems to have evaporated with the demise of communism. Piece appeared in The New York Times on December 19, 1996: 'Madeleine Albright's "Munich Mindset",' by Own Harties, editor of The National Interest, a 'mainstream' conservative foreign policy journal. Harries takes Albright to task for her 'enthusiasm for action [of an] apparently indiscriminate nature,' her seeming to favor intervention generally and on principle,' and her viewing the world as 'an endless series of Munich-like challenges.' Whatever one might think of Colin Powell on any number of points, one can only agree with Harries that the question she once put to the general - 'What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about if we can't use it?' - is nothing less than `simple-minded.'

    Harries' warning fell on deaf ears as Albright was unanimously confirmed as Secretary of State by the Senate, 99 to nothing. For those who lament the demise of bipartisanship: Madame Albright meet Messrs. Kristol and Kagan, or for that matter, Jeane Kirkpatrick. This is now the norm - Tweedledes Anthony Lewis, Tweedledum William Safire. Make no mistake, whatever ordinary Americans might think, the political, media, and intellectual elites, regardless of their party affiliation, are firmly behind the hegemonist enterprise.

    The Post-Cold War World

    At this point it would be appropriate to make a few notes about the international system within which we are embarking upon this grand venture. This means first of all some observations about the state of European civilization, of which the United States is a part, atthough a very peculiar part.

    Today, it is hard to believe that just a few decades ago, before 1914, the Westem World -- Europe, Christendom -- little doubting its obvious superiority, cultural as well as technological, over all other peoples, exercised direct authority over virtually the entire world, over all other civilizations. The only serious exception was Islam, as represented by the Ottoman Empire, which was widely seen to be on its last legs; the Christian peoples of the Balkans had lately thrown off the Turkish yoke, and prospects loomed for the reconquest of Anatolia.

    All of this came crashing down in 1914. Due largely to the same arrogance that had fed the rush for empire, and which, with little modification, impels our contemporary neo-imperialists, the European powers embarked upon an orgy of autogenocide that probably has never been equaled at any time on any continent. And not content with that, they gave it another go 20 years later, and then the Cold War after that. The result is a civilization that is just a shadow of its former self, crippled, wounded -- perhaps fatally -- culturally, morally, religiously moribund. Perhaps most telling, it is demographically moribund: when people refuse to produce offspring at even bare replacement level, this is sure evidence the disease is terminal.

    We ar still, of course, living in the wreckage left over from World War I. It is generally acknowledged that among its results was the spawning of two very similar, crassly materialistic, anti traditional, modernizing, gnostic (cf., Eric Voegelin's "The New Science of Politics") ideologies, each of which had found a home in one of the defeated empires: first of all Bolshevik Russia and, largely a reaction to communism, National Socialist Germany. The activities of these two states -- twins, in many ways -- and the other powers' concerns about them, were primarily the occasion of World War II; the activities of the twin that survived and expanded its power in that conflict, the Soviet Union, were the occasion of the ensuing Cold War.

    This much is obvious.

    But what is not generally acknowledged, and what perhaps is only now becoming obvious, is that the war did not produce (and by produce I mean serve as a catalyst, not cause: the roots are much deeper) just two such gnostic ideologies but three: the twins were actually triplets. While the third child of the war superficially resembled the old empires that had gone to war in 1914 -- there was still a king in London, the Third Republic continued to sputter along in France -- what was missing was even the pretense that civilization rested upon the old certainties, primarily religious in origin, without which, it was assumed, ordered and moral life was impossible.

    Men were no longer ashamed to admit they were atheists; after all, if God really existed, how could He have permitted that slaughter? The anti-traditional impulse that had been growing for decades, perhaps centuries, before 1914 -- anti-traditional in a broad sense: anti-God, anti-Church, anti-king, anti-nobility (`The voice of the people is the voice of God'), anti-national, anti-patriarchy: it is no accident that suffrage was extended to women at this time -- that impulse vastly accelerated after the war and, bit by bit, subtly but inexorably, established itself in academia, the media, and in government. Today it holds untrammeled sway over virtually all formerly Christian countries. What had once been apostasy had become the ruling religion.

    As evidence, consider this list from the celebrated June 1993 Foreign Agairs article by Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations? The thesis of the article is that in the post-Cold War world the clash of ideologies (which had superseded, in turn, clashes among nation-states, dynasties, and religions) would itself be superseded by a clash of civilizations, which he desigoates as Western, Islamic, Confucian, Japanese, etc. Despite some serious flaws in his presentation, I think the overall thrust is correct. But in terms of what I have just stated about the condition of the Christian (or post-Christian) world in this century, consider what Huntington sees as the core concepts of the West: 'individualism, liberalism, constitutionalism, human rights, equality, liberty, the rule of law, democracy, free markets, the separation of church and state. '

    In fact these are criteria (identical to those assumed by Kristol and Kagan, and all of them amenable to manipulation) that could not by any means have described European civilization during most of its long history but are only applicable to its recent and current decrepitude. One would never know that European civilization has been characterized, primarily, by the Christian religion (though divided into a number of communions) and shared ethnic and linguistic origins, specifically the various branches of the Indo-European family: a discernable local ethno-religious culture, occupying a defined homeland in the northern part of the planet.

    Finally, with regard to the post-Cold War world, the power relationship between the European and non-European worlds has almost completely reversed. The shattered self-confidence of even the victors in World War I made the liberation of their colonies a foregone conclusion, the only real question being one of timing. When the liberation came, as it happened, during the Cold War, the non-European world generally sided with either the United States or the Soviet Union while the outcome was in doubt, but this only temporarily masked a deeper reality, which is now coming to light: that the non-Western cultures are no longer cowed by Western technical and military superiority.

    Perceiving our moral weakness and their demographic strength, they increasingly see Europeans' wealth and land a prize to be expropriated: in short, The Camp of the Saints, or what my friend George Sunderland has called 'the candy store with the busted lock.' In the face of wholesale migratory invasion, our hegemonist elites -- who really seem to believe that man does live by 'Big Mac' alone -- delude themselves with the specious idea of the global dominance of 'our culture' (by which they mean our movies, our rock music, our fast food), which is the all rage from Beijing to Bujumbura. And finally, there is only a dim recognition that in the centuries-old struggle between Cross and Crescent the latter had decisively returned to the ogensive after a hiatus of some three centuries.

    The United States: People and Congress

    When future generations look back on this era, they will see the fact that the United States has emerged as the only surviving Europeanoid power, and the only 'superpower' at that, as one of the biggest and cruelest practical jokes ever played on mankind by the God of History. If there is one country that is utterly incapable of perceiving its interests and constructively acting upon them, it is the United States. This is due to a number of factors related to our national temperament and our institutions. Some of these may have their roots in the founding of the country, but the focus here is on contemporary characteristics that are relevant to the gnostic elite's ability to mobilize a generally anti-hegemonistic population in pursuit of the elite's agenda of global hegemony. For example:

    AHISTORICISM. Of any European or derivative nation, the Americans are most ignorant of their own history and know even less about those of other peoples. Historical knowledge is mainly limited to 'ethnic' or 'hyphenated' Americans, who are familiar with their own distinctive tribal renditions; black Americans, who know that we had slavery and Jim Crow, so everybody else owes them something; and some white southerners, who can recite in minute detail the particulars of the great Lost Cause in which our constitutional system, to which they attach a quasi-religious significance, was effectively destroyed. That's pretty much it; other than that, the American store of history consists of about two weeks of the latest O.J. news, some sports statistics, and the complete words to the theme songs to The Beverly Hillbillies and Gilligan's Island. We have forgotten who we are, and when our hegemonist elites decide to bomb or starve some other nation, we don't know who they are either.

    WEAK NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS. Until the Civil War, American national consciousness was primarily regional and local; shared ethnic origins in the British Isles was assumed. In retrospect, we can say the heyday of a unified American national idea consisted of a sort of reconciled 'blue-and-gray' WASP patriotism that developed in the 1880s and -90s, and which by the early 20th century had assimilated into its consciousness not only the yearly parades by aging veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic but, without missing a beat, D.W. Griffth's revisionist celebration of the Ku Klux Klan in Birth of a Nation (1915). That consciousness was defined by ethnicity (white, northwest European) and religion (Protestant), as well as shared historical experience. Immigration during this period was almost exclusively European (read: white) and to the extent that it increasingly consisted of eastern and southern Europeans and non-Protestants, they were expected to 'Americanize,' that is, dress, talk, and act like WASPs to the extent possible.

    This all began to come apart in the post-World War II period and accelerated during the 'civil rights era.' Today, we give lip-service the WASP principles upon which this republic was built while vilifying as racist the notion that WASP ethnicity has any particular relationship to American nationality. The result is progressive Ballcanization: the 'multiculturalism' of the left and the 'pluralism' of the neo-conservatives, which, as Joe Sobran has noted, are pretty much the same thing. In particular, it is doubtful that the bicentennial of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 2048 will see the Mexican Cession still part of the United States. In short, we have accepted the notion that the United States is not the home of a distinct people but a community of 'shared ideals,' as interpreted by the gnostic elites -- ideals that are available for export.

    EGALITARIANISM. Unlike European countries, we have never had a monarch, a nobility, an established church. We really do believe in 'every man a king.' Among the consequences is the fact that such elites as we do have -- now almost entirely gnostic -- tend to exercise their power not by open appeal to their legitimate authority (because they can't) but by manipulation of images: Joseph Goebbels, meet Madison Avenue. We are suckers for the claim that any social institution is based on privilege, tradition, or, worst of all, 'discrimination,' and so must be destroyed. When the internationalist eites call for 'making the world safe for democracy,' they are singing our song. We are ever ready to 'level the playing field' on behalf of the 'little guy,' the 'underdog,' or the 'victim,' a propensity artfully mobilized first by the Croats and then even more effectively by the Muslims in the Yugoslav war. In its extreme, this phenomenon takes the form, as Joe Sobran has described, of an inversion of sympathies, an altruistic identification with the 'other' against one's own: the alien against the native, the non-European against the European, the non-Christian against the Christian.

    DOCILITY. Americans like to bask in their self image of rough-and-tumble free-living individualism: 'Don't tread on me.' However accurate that might have been at one time, it is not so now. Despite the fact that Americans increasingly view our public institutions with suspicion and are increasingly aware that our laws are made not by elected representatives but by nonelected judges and bureaucrats, it would seldom occur to most Americans to disobey their illegitimate edicts. Indeed, the more fundamentally decent and traditionally-minded Americans are precisely those who are most obedient to commands from on high that undermine their core values. Their respect for the law, ordinarily a virtue, is used against them by the lawless. This phenomenon is paracularly evident in families mostly southern, with strong traditions of military service, whose sons (and now daughters) are sent abroad to risk their lives not for the defense of our homeland but for the hegemonist agenda.

    MORALISM. Even as Americans have abandoned puritanism for hedonism as their guiding principle for good living, they have not given up their assumption that the essential quesaon in any conflict is figuring out who are the 'white hats' and who are the 'black hats.' This tendency, coupled with a naive faith in our own national righteousness - 'truth, justice, and the American way' - plus ignorance of the outside world, is a major hegemonist asset.

    In general, the Congress -- members and staff, of both established parties -- might be seen as occupying a middle ground between the people and the hegemonist elite. Some of the inhabitants of Capitol Hill fully share in the dominant hegemonist mindset, others are fellow-travelers, and still others attempt to oppose it, usually unsuccessfully. Three factors of particular relevance to Congress, as well as to the Executive Branch, deserve mention:

    FIXATION ON THE MIDDLE EAST. Among the two most potent foreign lobbies on Capitol Hill are those pleading the causes of, first, Israel and, second, a group of what are seen to be a collection of moderate, pro-Westem Muslim states, notably Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf oil monarchies. It is often wrongly assumed that these lobbies are mutuatly antagonistic, when in fact their interests, while certainly not identical, are often congruent. This congruence was most evident during the Persian Gulf war. It has also been a factor in America's pro-Muslim Balkan policy, reflecting both the obvious sympathies of the Muslim client states and, as the Israeli analyst Yohanan Ramati has described it, the cynical but skillfiil manipulation by Croatian and Muslim propaganda of Holocaust themes to mobilize American Jewish opinion, plus the desire of some Israeli policymakers to be in accord with American support for 'friendly, pro-Westem' Islamic states.

    Summing up this orientation in the New York Times (January 2, 1996), in an op-ed with the revealing title of 'The Third American Empire,' Jacob Heilbrunn and Michael Lind, both editors of The New Republic wrote: 'The fact that the United States is more enthusiastic than its European allies about a Bosnian Muslim state reflects, among other things, the new American role as the leader of an informal collection of Muslim ruttions from the Persian Gulf to the Balkans. The regions once ruled by the Ottoman Turks show signs of becoming the heart of a third American empire.'

    COLD WAR HANGOVER. Perhaps partly a function of historical and geographic illiteracy, most American policymakers seem to have trouble with the notion of a world characterized by several competing powers, similar in many respects to that of pre-1914, though today the powers are mostly non-European. Additionally, there is a heavy element of inertia, particularly among those associated with the defense establishment: post-communist Russia may not be the Soviet Union, but it's the best we can come up with. Awareness that the Cold War was itself the latest unfortunate installment of the fratricidal intra-Christian, intra-European self immolation which, with the toll of both World Wars and internal repression by totalitarianism, has cost us tens of millions of the best people our civilization has produced, is almost nonexistent; on the contrary, the thrust of our hegemonist policy is not to unify Europe but to set it at daggers against itself yet again.

    ANTI-EASTERN, ANTI-ORTHODOX BIAS. As a rule, each country in Europe feels entitled to look down its nose on its immediate eastern neighbor. Several countries, notably Russia, Poland, Germany, and Croatia, like to flatter themselves with the notion that they are Europe's eastern bulwark against the Asiatic hordes. The Poles consider the Russians barbarians, the Germans believe they are superior to all Slavs, the French see Germans as the uncouth 'Hun,' and, in British eyes, the wogs begin at Calais. In America, this phenomenon manifests itself in the vague notion that 'West' is synonymous with a host of Goodthink concepts (enlightenment, progres, democracy, etc.) and 'East' with their antitheses.

    An important reinforcement of this notion was the supposition, during the Cold War, that communism was somehow more 'natural' to eastern Europeans (i.e. 'Bohunks') than it is to people that are 'more like us.' Also, as I have explained in greater detail an article entitled 'Pravoslavophobia' (Chronicles, February 1997), there is an identifiable bias among American elites, particularly in the media, against national cultures based on Eastern Orthodox Christianity and perhaps against Orthodoxy itself. The upshot is that in the conflicts that define the line between the European and non-European world - notably in the Balkans, in the Caucasus, and in Central Asia, where Orthodox nations are in conflict with Islam -- the hegemonist elite is almost uniformly hostile to the Christian, European side. NATO expansion up to Europe's Eastl West religio-cultural fault line, with Orthodox countries excluded, should be seen in the same light.

    Conclusion: The Hegemonist Ideology

    As both Alain Besanon (The Rise of the Gulag: Intellectual Origins of Leninism) and Igor Shafarevich (The Socialist Phenomenon) have shown, among the characteristic features of modern gnosticism, usually encountered in the form of socialist ideology, is a completely closed, circular system of thought. Indeed, it might be more correct to refer to a nullification of thought, an antidote to rational discourse and description of social and political phenomena. What instead appears as was epitomized by Marxism-Leninism, is a dualistic pseudo-reality -- where words and concepts are given a special ideological significance distinct from their normal real-world meanings -- which demands actions aimed at forcing the real world to conform itself to the ideological vision. Ideology does not appear fully mature, like Athena springing from the forehead of Zeus, but rather, as Besanon observed, becomes apparent when 'it has attained its pure, developed form, [having] gone through a historical cycle':

    'The history of ideology could be compared to the different successive stages in the lives of certain parasites, which go through a cycle which is apparently capricious, but which is in fact necessary to their complete development. They must, for instance, go through a river mollusc, then pass into a sheep, and finally lodge, not without deleterious effects, in the body of a human. In the case of ideology, the host organism is a nation, whence it will return to the river. At every change of location, there is an equivalent change of form.' [The Rise of the Gulag, p.19, original emphasis]

    At this point, I think it is possible to state that what I have called the gnostic 'third child' of the 20th century, the sibling of communism and national socialism, is finally reaching its ideological synthesis. That ideology, which I will call by the name it has proudly chosen for itself, Democratic Capitalism, having completed its incubation period and outlasted its rivals -- and indeed having absorbed a number of their impulses and even, in many cases, their former personnel, much as in the post-World War II period, in many European countries former fascists flocked to the communist party -- is finally taking the center stage as the ruling ethos of 'the worlds only surviving superpower.' While it would take another Besanon writing another The Rise of the Gulag to detail what may be an incipient totalitarianism, three key features deserve comment:

    CORE CONCEPTS. Marxism-Leninism styled itself the champion of Peace, Progress, and Socialism, terms that had meaning only within the closed world of ideology. Likewise Democratic Capitalism touts as its principles a trinity of Democracy, Human Rights, and Free Markets, the latter being very broad and encompassing exchange of people -- i.e., unrestricted immigration -- as well as goods and services. These concepts do not necessarily have any relationship to the normal, non-ideological meaning of the words and are in fact almost endlessly manipulable by the gnostic elite.

    'Democracy' does not mean simply broad participation of citizens in the business of governance, but is an ideological concept that encompasses the progressive social content of the popular decision. Accordingly, if the citizens of California vote to withdraw benefits to illegal aliens or to repeal affirmative action, or if voters in Colorado prohibit localities from passing 'gay rights' ordinances, this is not an exercise of democracy but a violation of democracy, and the courts are obligated to overturn the vote. Likewise, if the Danes vote against the Maastricht agreement, they have to vote again until they get it right; the same thing happened in Ireland on the question of divorce.

    'Free Markets' generally does not mean just the private exchange of goods and services for mutual benefit but encompasses -- for instance -- the right of financial elites closely tied to the government to have their risks underwritten by their less-well-off fellow-citizens, as in the Mexican bailout: profits are privatized, losses are socialized. As was the case with communism, the core concepts are understood to be manifest in an inevitable global march of progress toward (in Francis Fukuyama's famous phrase) the end of history.

    DUALISM. Morality is a function not of objective behavior but of the place of the actor within the ideological system. Marxism-Leninism expressed the concept in terms of kto-kogo, who (gets) whom, and Maoism employed it to the extent of recognizing entire nations as either 'progressive' or 'reactionary.' We see the same dualistic concept applied by the Democratic Capitalists today: if Iraq kills Kurds, it is bad; if Turkey kills Kurds, it is good. If Muslims and Croats want to secede from Yugoslavia, it is democracy; if Serbs (and now, Croats) want to leave Bosnia, it is aggression. If NATO warplanes overfly Bosnian Serb territory, the Serb air defenses are a 'threat' to the planes, but the planes are not themselves threatening. Again, as was the case with communism, in which the USSR, as leader of the 'socialist camp,' authoritatively judged states and their actions within the dualist schematic, the United States, having assumed leadership of the 'international community,' makes similar judgements.

    The kto-kogo parallel with communism even extends to the domestic sphere with, for example, the bolshevik concept of the 'socially friendly,' i.e., common criminals that the regime considered class allies against the bourgeoisie. We see a similar phenomenon in what Samuel Francis has designated 'anarchotyranny,' that is, the seemingly helpless posture assumed by the reigning authorities in the face of real crime (murder, rape, drug dealing) juxtaposed with the brutality, including what the bolsheviks called 'extrajudicial reprisal' (cf., Waco), to which ordinary citizens are often subjected, as again Francis has recently documented in Chronicles.

    HOST ORGANISM. One of the mistakes commonly made during the Cold War was to see an absolute identity between communist ideology, which could be likened to Besanon's parasite, and the host, Russia. Likewise, while in the eyes of the gnostic elite the United States (the primary host organism of Democratic Capitalism) is reducible to a list of 'shared values' (a favorite propaganda theme with the elites, Bill Clinton in particular), it continues to be the home of actual flesh-and-blood people who are expected to support the ideology and who, to various degrees, are bamboozled by it. In general, while the use of force is available to the elites, more useful is the employment of secondary concepts and movements such as feminism, environmentalism, homosexualism, consumerism, evolutionism, hedonism, educationism, antidiscriminationism, eroticism, etc. They are used to further break down traditional moral restraints and national identity, leaving an atomized population without resistance to ideological direction.

    Force is less necessary than it was in the case of communism or national socialism: there is no need (yet) to jail or commit to punitive psychiatry Joe Sobran, Sam Francis, or Tom Fleming -- only to brand them as being outside the 'mainstream.' As George Sunderland has put it, the main levers of control are not Pavlovian but Freudian, the message more subliminal than concious. A symptom of the tension between rulers and ruled is the prevalence of conspiracy theories (usually involving the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, etc.), which, as Francis has observed, fall into the error of mistaking for ruling organizations the organizations to which the ruling elites often belong. Finally, while the United States is without doubt the main host (analogous, in the case of communism, with the Soviet Union), it is not the only one.

    There is a definite symbiosis with the United Nations, and one of the sharp divisions among the hegemonist elites is whether, as the Clinton Administration believes, the United States should be the principal enforcer for an international order legitimated by the United Nations, or whether, as the neo-conservatives believe, the United Nations should be brought into line with the dictates of a hegemonist United States.

    In closing, it is hard to say whether the above consolidation is already an accomplished fact, or whether it is still short of its completed form. Has the United States already been irrevocably transformed into a second 'evil empire' or not? I can say that even today in Washington it is almost impossible to have a serious discussion with most policymakers about our country's interests without entering the world of pseudoreality, without being treated to an endless ode to the 'shared values' of Democracy, Human Rights, and Free Markets, along with a defense of the righteousness of forcibly 'sharing' them with lesser breeds without the law. I concluede that one of the disabilities of living and working in the hegemonist capital is a lack of appreciation for the common sense that I trust still remains in the country at large, which some believe will eventuatly beat back the ideological tide. Conversely, I submit that those living in the real America -- which I assume is out there somewhere -- little suspect how bad things really are. If any refutation of my pessimism can be made, I would be glad to be proved wrong.


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