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sit in darkness here Hatching vain empires."
John Milton (1608-1674) "Paradise Lost"
There is something
quite quaint, and faintly disturbing to hear Americans speak of
their nation as a 'democracy'. America, given its richness, its
diversity, and its complexity, is many things, but a democracy it
ain't. This is especially so, if one considers the true imperial
nature of the modern American nation-state. This is not a rabid
call of the wild radical, baying at the pitted moon. For perhaps
the first time in almost a century,
leading voices of the elite, and the corporate press admit as much.
In the pages of the business journal, The Wall Street Journal one
finds scattered references to the imperial nature of the U.S. Empire,
even if there is no overt recognition of it in the platforms of
the political parties, or the alleged history taught in grade schools
these days. But if history teaches us anything, it is that nations
may describe themselves one way, and be another. When I hear nativist
propagandists speak of the U.S. as the 'Birthplace of Freedom,'
or some such, I feel compelled to ask, how can the 'birthplace of
freedom' be built on slavery the very antithesis of freedom
the heart of unfreedom? (Why not call it 'the birthplace
of White freedom' or is that too revealing of those who weren't
Of such fictions
histories are born.
It is in this
light that we must view the newly-announced 'Bush Doctrine', as
recorded in the recently published "National Security Strategy
of the United States of America" document. It calls for and
justifies (or tries to) preemptive strikes all around the globe,
against anybody, anywhere, who even thinks about posing either a
threat or parity with the Empire. To make a long story short, the
document calls for the canning of the cold war strategies of 'containment'
and 'deterrence'. Using its supremacy of the technology of death,
the U.S. reserves to its self the right to pre-emptively attack
and even overthrow any nation-state in the world it deems threatening,
attempting to acquire WMDs (you know, weapons like the U.S. already
has), harbors terrorists, or doesn't sufficiently suck-up to the
Big Dog on the street (U.S.A.).
The UN is but
a minor annoyance (as has been shown in the Iraqi war example).
Neither is the
European Union much of a deterrent to U.S. hubris, for while they
may possess an inordinate amount of wealth and economic strength,
they are, at present, no match for the martial power of the American
Empire and they know it.
As long ago
as 1991, when the late French President Francois Mitterand and former
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, announced their plans for a joint
Franco-German "Euro-corps" an official military
arm of the EU Bush, the Elder, issued a thinly-veiled message
to his European 'allies': "Our premise is that the American
role in the defense and the affairs of Europe will not be made superfluous
by European union. If our premise is wrong, if my friends, your
ultimate aim is to provide individually for your own defense, the
time to tell us is today." The "Euro-corps" idea
was quietly shelved, and the Cold War relic of NATO has been edged
into its place under continued U.S. strategic and command
dominance, of course. Indeed, even NATO has its limits, as scholar
Michael Ignatieff noted in a recent "New York Review of Books"
Britain's prime minister can shuttle usefully between Islamabad
Delhi, but the influence that determines outcomes in the regime
Washington. This is a painful reality for Europeans, who like
believed the myth that economic power could be the equivalent
might. Events since September 11 have rubbed in the lesson that
global power is still measured by military capacity. Having rallied
to the American Cause after September 11, the NATO liaison officers
who arrived at CENTcom in Florida had to endure the humiliation
of being denied all access to the Command Center where the war
against Osama bin Laden was actually being run. The American's
trust their allies so little the same was true during the
Kosovo operation that they exclude everyone but the British
from all but the most menial police work. ["Barbarians
at the Gate?", NYROB (2/28/02), pp.4-6]
An Empire has, nor needs, allies. It is sufficient to Itself. It
has subject powers. It has vassals. It does not have, nor tolerates
equals. The Bush Doctrine is replete with threats for the rest of
the world, to keep it that way.
Check out Mumia's
"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life
of African and African-American People" at www.africanworld.com
The Power of Truth
is Final -- Free Mumia!
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.