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January 12, 2019

Random wars?

Opinion

January 12, 2019

Many believe that the US’s wars around the world are dictated by circumstance at hand and largely driven by high moral ideals such as protection of human rights, raising the living standards of backward communities, and promoting a just world order.

But Noam Chomsky’s insights, based on his incisive reading of American declassified documents and its contradictory policy actions, suggest that the primary motive for waging wars, overthrowing legitimate governments and making unholy alliances with military dictators has been to maintain American supremacy (corporate rule, to be more precise) in the world. After reading Noam Chomsky’s book, ‘How the world works’, one can see a discernible pattern in American military actions, overt and covert, in different parts of the world after World War II.

From Latin America to Africa and Asia, the US seems to be following a script (deliberately thought out and in minute details), with most of us guessing the next move and its outcome. Japan, after having been defeated in WWII, was allowed to develop as a ‘workshop’ for the US industrial empire, with its perpetual dependence on the US military for defence and uninterrupted oil supply. Despite economic progress, Japan is still dependent on the US for its security against threats emanating from North Korea and others.

Although communism was making inroads into different countries around the world under Lenin and Stalin, the US started the cold war with the then USSR only after WWII, as a means to achieve its ambition of becoming the world’s sole superpower. It had seen the benefits of WWII for its economic growth, technological progress, and even national unity and it wanted this strategy to continue indefinitely. The USSR was portrayed as an evil empire poised to eliminate the “free” world with its evil designs cloaked in “utopian” ideology.

The disintegration of the USSR was supposed to be the end of history (according to Fukuyama) but the US did not want this to be the case as its very survival as a union of diverse states and economic power depended on real or imagined enemies. The bestselling book, ‘The clash of civilizations’ by Prof Huntington made it clear that the Western world led by the US should be prepared for bigger and bloodier wars in the years to come. By that time, very few countries except the US would have thought of terrorism (with its alleged foundations in Islamic beliefs and values) as the new phenomenon to change everything for everyone.

Terrorism has now become a key driver of new technologies, new strategic alliances, and huge military spending. No country can afford to ignore the threat of terrorism. New groups with different slogans and ideologies are emerging, particularly in countries that possess natural resources or have some geographical significance for the US. Specific areas in the Middle East, Central and South Asia have become the breeding grounds for so-called terrorist groups after 9/11. The war against terrorism, in one form or another, seems to remain with us as long as it serves the geo-strategic and economic interests of the US.

According to Chomsky’s analysis, the US has been least interested in democracy and human rights if its economic interests are intact. It rather opposes democracy if its results cannot be controlled. He refers to one classified document where American planners view third world nationalism as the primary threat to the US-led world order. Its support for dictators and monarchs in the Middle East testifies to what Chomsky asserts. The question of democracy and human rights becomes an issue for the US when rulers in resource-rich countries start thinking about their national interests.

Some intellectuals, including Chomsky, believe that a rising China and a resurgent Russia might be good for the US’s core economic and strategic interests. The US, under President Trump, has abdicated many international commitments and has revisited many of its agreements with other countries. The new terms of engagement with Canada, Europe, Japan, and some countries in the Middle East reflect its strategic planning. What we have been thinking of random wars and self-contradictory foreign policy options of the US are in reality the products of careful planning of those sitting in the American power corridors.

The writer teaches at SZABIST, Islamabad

Email: [email protected]

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