Interview with Diana Johnstone, author of Queen of Chaos
DJ: Let's start with the current primary elections, which are unexpectedly interesting thanks to Bernie Sanders' surprising success in his challenge to the establishment's chosen candidate, Hillary Clinton. In my book, I stress that the power of money in the form of gigantic campaign contributions (especially since Citizens United) is a major factor in replacing democracy by oligarchy. The current Democratic primaries are tending to put that assertion to the test. Should Bernie Sanders win the nomination over Hillary Clinton, clearly the darling of Wall Street, that would show that popular enthusiasm can still defeat the power of Wall Street. I would enjoy being proved wrong.
JB: Yes, we would all love to believe that an outsider with principles can trump money.
DJ: In any case, my book will remain timely, because it is mainly a critique of all that is wrong about current US foreign policy. The issue is largely neglected even though it is the most crucial, because the way things are going, Washington risks leading the world into nuclear war.
JB: Nuclear war?! Talk about starting the interview off with a bang! Before we head in that direction, Diana, let's deal specifically with the case you make against Hillary Clinton whom you dubbed Queen of Chaos. That's particularly relevant to our readers in this primary season. In spite of Bernie Sanders' miraculous and consistent wins, eight out of the last nine primaries and caucuses, Hillary continues to be perceived as the inevitable nominee. So, please state your case.
DJ: I start off with a bang because the situation today is dangerous. I wrote this book essentially as a warning.
Two things in particular inspired me to write this book. One was the totally unjustified war that destroyed Libya, a country I happen to have visited and know something about. Most people are totally unaware how much falsification was used to justify that war. Hillary pushed Obama into that war and is quite ready to use it as model for further "regime change" in countries whose leaders she doesn't like.
The other thing that inspired me was the totally disproportionate hostility aroused against Vladimir Putin and Russia as a result of the Ukrainian crisis, which was incited largely by Washington and the European Union. That hostility was already brewing, and Hillary has kept it stirring. These events are part of a trend toward a much greater war than people today think possible.
At this moment, NATO is engaged in a huge military buildup that is clearly aimed at Russia, with manoeuvres and exercises right up to the Russian border, at the same time that politicians and media are engaged in Russia-bashing that sounds like nothing other than pre-war propaganda. Yet only a few people seem properly alarmed. I can name a few: John Pilger, Stephen Cohen, Ralph Nader. But the media and the politicians ignore this danger, and make a huge fuss about dangers that are very minor compared to a war between NATO and Russia.
I don't imagine that Hillary Clinton would deliberately start World War III. Rather, the situation is dangerously similar to the eve of the First World War, with major powers massively armed and suspicious of each other, when a minor incident set off catastrophe.
I call her Queen of Chaos because today, the result of war is chaos, not conquest. Look at the results in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria. There are no real winners, only losers.
JB: So, your major beef with Hillary is on the foreign policy front. We'll get back to that in a bit. Does your critique extend to other policy issues closer to home as well? If so, what might they be?
DJ: I see foreign policy and domestic policy as interlocking. Basically, the US economy is radically distorted by the military-industrial complex, which influences both foreign and domestic policy. Financial capital, whose wish list is now determining policy all over the Western world and beyond, loves the military-industrial complex because Pentagon contracts ensure a comfortable profit on investment. And the military-industrial complex loves "threats" because they provide endless pretexts for developing more and more extravagant weapons systems. Hillary Clinton is notoriously the favorite of Wall Street because she supports these interests, including the wars and threats that justify them.