I heard about this on the news on the radio on Friday, but didn’t have the time to look any further into it at that point. On Saturday, Charlie Stross kindly provided links to an article in the Guardian and the original document (PDF).
Just last weekend, the Sunday Herald had run a story about an earlier document, called “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century”. It’s about two years old–written for King George before he took the throne. In it, a right-wing think tank (“Project for the New American Century”) provided a series of plans for reinforcing the US’s hold on superpower status, and ensuring that no-one could rise to challenge that position. In the Herald story, Neil MacKay called it a “blueprint for US global domination”. Which it is.
Coincidentally, the week before that, Charlie Stross had written a short piece about being critical of one’s sources. This was in the context of a hateful anti-American article that had been blown out of all proportion by a group of people with an interest in vilifying Muslims. Charlie wrote: “As every agitator since Josef Goebbels knows, the most effective form of black propaganda is to identify an unpalatable truth about your enemy and shout it from the rooftops.”
So when the “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” document emerged, and was trumpeted as yet more proof of the wickedness of the right-wing regime in America, I thought it was the same thing, but from the opposite side. I called it “far-out, right-wing, mouth-foamings of a group of fascist nutters.”
And it may even have been the case that the Herald was just beating the anti-American drum to keep an effective opposition going to all of the nonsense being spouted by the Bush administration, and being echoed by Blair’s government. But this new document, “The National Security Strategy of the United States of America” shows that the Herald wasn’t just crying wolf. It shows that the people currently in charge of the USA really are a gang of far-out, right-wing, fascist nutters.
Please note that I am not using the word “fascist” in its modern debased form, meaning “anyone in power with whom I strongly disagree”. I am using it as historians, philosophers, and political theorists commonly agree on it. For some definitions, just Google for “Definition of fascism.” Here’s a typical quote:
“Fascism rejects the liberal doctrines of individual autonomy and rights, political pluralism, and representative government, yet it advocates broad popular participation in politics and may use parliamentary channels in its drive to power.”
(from What is Fascism? by Matthew N. Lyons)
Oh, but Bush knows how to coat the unacceptable reality with a layer of patriotic sweetness. In his three-page, 1300 word introduction to the document, he uses the words “free”, “freely” and “freedom” no less than 25 times. More than twice per paragraph, on average. And “freedom,” of course, equates to “good”.
The concept that people have a right to “freedom”, which (inter alia) has led to the abomination of modern “free trade” Capitalism, is such a powerful meme because it allows people to treat their selfishness as a virtue. Freedom to pay our third world workers a pittance. Freedom to drive gas-guzzling SUVs without a care for climate change. Freedom to pick and choose which UN resolutions and institutions we’ll support, and which we’ll ignore.
Yes, the whole Western world plays this game. But the USA plays it so much better than everyone else because freedom is enshrined in its beloved foundational documents: the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. If you’re an American, and you love your country, then you must love freedom. Conversely, anything that limits that freedom is unpatriotic. Un-American. Evil.
(Fascism, you see, invites individuals to identify strongly with the state, its leaders and its ideals.)
The USA and its citizens already have too much freedom. Internally, they have their Bill of Rights; externally, they have their capitalist empire. What they don’t have is a Bill of Responsibilities. Nor have they realized that they have now become the colonial oppressors, and that their subjects are just as pissed of with them as they were with the British two hundred years ago.
To say that those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it, is a cliché. It is nonetheless true. America is acting like its former colonial masters, and like the Roman Empire before them. (Also coincidentally, given the release of the US’s National Security Strategy, Channel 4 broadcast a documentary last night, called “The Model Empire.” It showed how the Roman Empire established itself, and kept itself going for so long, and showed the parallels with the USA. It’s scary, how close they are.)
Is it any wonder, then, that when Germany’s Justice minister is quoted as comparing Bush’s political tactics with those employed by Hitler, this resonates with the German (and European) public? She repudiates the quote, but no matter whether she said it, its work is done. The German voters seem to approve of this stance; and the unutterable has now been said and noticed at international levels. The German government can now happily deny it, knowing that the seed has been planted.
Welcome to the New World Order. Welcome to the resistance.