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The Year of Living Dangerously: Part One of Two

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 Manifestations of Intent

Can you smell the smoked fumes of a discombobulated economic engine that has ceased to function, its synergy spitting and sputtering, its many parts thrashed by the claws, and vices, of neoliberal capitalism? Can you feel the dismantling of the economic spark plug, the American consumer, as our livelihoods are sacrificed to the greed, and incompetence, of the establishment and as the value of our lives is further enslaved to the Almighty Dollar and its puppet masters?

Can you hear the roar of authoritarian Machiavelli-types, of which many exist, cheering as the Constitution is discarded like yesterday’s trash, its principles and foundations burned inside the incinerator of fascism? Can you hear the searing of one of the greatest documents of governance ever created by man as it goes up in flames thanks to the kerosene thrown at it by American corporatists in power, its ashes slowly scattering into the realm of nothingness?

Can you see, if not blinded by tele-trash and infotainment, by the propaganda we call news, by the lies and deceit and censorship of the corporate media, by the comforting glow of television, by the charade that is American democracy and by the myriad distractions of bread and circus, the approaching finality of American liberty and freedom, soon to be replaced by Big Brother, a surveillance society, a police state and full-fledged corporatism?

Can you sense the growing momentum of militarism and imperialism rampaging across the nation, and the globe, leaving nothing but hatred and animosity in its wake? Can you sense that imperialism and empire abroad and freedom and democracy at home are mutually exclusive, that to attain the former the latter must be sacrificed, and that inevitably the people must, for imperialism to function, be immersed in tyranny? Do you realize that we are one major shock, one major event away from catapulting our lives into the headwaters of an altogether different America?

If you are not angered, indeed enraged, by the current state of the United States, then you have not been paying attention, or you just do not care enough about the future your children will inherit, and have to live in. If you are not alarmed at where, at present, this course is invariably taking us, then you have abandoned the responsibilities of an informed citizen, preferring the comfortable warmth of ignorance to the absolute frigidity of a most ominous reality.

Indeed, it has been our passivity and acquiescence, bred of comfort, distraction and the erosion of critical thinking, that has facilitated our decent into authoritarian and corporatist waters. It has been our indifference and our “can’t happen here” mentality that is inevitably guaranteeing that it does, in fact, “happen here.” It is our inexperience with tyranny at home and our lack of exposure to authoritarian tendencies such as surveillance, secret police, torture, spying and disappearances, prevalent in many American supported states, encouraged by our government, though until recently non-existent here, that subjects us to a methodical assault by Machiavellian ideologies.

What billions of humans have first-hand experience in, oftentimes thanks to our government’s sponsorship, funding, training, backing, protection and encouragement, we have not yet fully been subjected to. The dirty little secret that the people outside our borders understand fully, and which has been kept from us, is the principle that if America wishes to maintain its empire, it must then continue acting like an empire. This, of course, means maintaining a firm grip over its vassal states, by proxy through its puppets, using the methods any aspiring empire must use, namely tyranny, oppression, and repression along with the tools at the disposal of any credentialed authoritarian.

As the empire expands and seeks more control over lands, resources and people, its methods become more and more brutal, as native peoples become more resistant, with growing imperialism and addiction to hegemony needing greater amounts of military weaponry, violence and tyranny to squash and threaten resistance movements. In order to maintain its overstretched empire, America must therefore become openly fascist, a reality that cannot be fused with the freedoms, rights, liberties and democracy of its own people. The two principles, empire and liberty, are diametrically opposed, incompatible elements in a struggle to determine the future course of the nation.

Given that historically the nation’s elite and its establishment have consistently chosen imperialism, expansion and empire building, there is no reason to believe that this hegemonic drive will decelerate. On the contrary, in a world of finite resources, eager and growing competitors, a globe that only seems to get smaller, with an ever-increasing population and with Washington enraptured in arrogance, self- aggrandizement, self-exceptionalism and greed, it is certain that the elite will invariably chose to sacrifice the Constitution, and the foundations of American society, and hence the freedoms, rights and liberties of the masses, in order to maintain and expand the realm of American hegemony. This paradigm is occurring today, in real time. The transformation is under way, right before our eyes.

For between the coup that was the 2000 general election, allowing entry into the executive branch of corporatists and authoritarians, and the first hours of the American Reichstag, or 9/11, that most catalyzing and transformative of events, the neocon Pearl Harbor, America, already a most vicious and evil empire in the decades before then, seemingly elevated its level of arrogance, unilateralism, defiance, wickedness, inhumanity and violence against the people of the world.

Whereas the 2000 stolen election introduced an era of open hostility, unilateralism and a “we will do what we want” mentality regarding the United States’ view toward world relations, including the planning and green lighting of the attacks, invasions and occupations of Afghanistan, Iraq and other Middle East nations, 9/11 was the shock introducing the world to an America intent on global hegemony, now open and transparent, the new normal, the maker of humanity’s new reality. The inside job of 9/11, aimed as a psychological attack on the American people, designed so the masses would become subservient and acquiescent to otherwise unpopular methods of empire building, also allowed the Pax Americana to begin its quest for hegemony on a more transparent, and thus easier, basis.

Before 9/11, as has been described above, America’s elite were forced to rely on mostly clandestine methods of hegemonic expansion, as well as to at least give the impression of following and adhering to international law, its activities kept secret from its population only to maintain control on the home front, given the unpopularity of tyranny and all its tools. This made it much harder for the empire to achieve its goals. With the end of the Cold War, with its threat of an external bogeyman gone, which was used as an excuse to justify America’s imperial aspirations, supposedly to defend freedom and democracy, new excuses had to be concocted, new enemies had to be created that would engender in the population acceptance towards a continuation of Manifest Destiny.

Hence, new methods of manipulation, such as 9/11, were implemented. The opportunity that was 9/11, a catalyzing and transformative event, allowed American fascists to continue their previous drive forward, only this time in a more open, methodical way, with the full engines of American societal and military might fully behind the endeavor to conquer the strategic lands, resources and peoples of the world in favor of American corporations, particularly the military-industrial-energy complex, and its elite. Today, much more than in the past, the criminality and control is done in full and open arrogance, not caring that the world becomes witness to an imperialism that is as systemic as it tyrannical.

9/11, for all its terror and fear inducing stupor, guaranteed compliance, passivity and even ignorant encouragement on the part of the American people. After all, an external, dark-skinned, unknown bogeyman had dared to attack the empire. It was only natural, then, that the empire fight back, even if those lands of the bogeyman were conveniently also those that had been preemptively chosen months and years before for invasion and attack due to the strategic locations and natural resources claimed by the empire itself. Under this rubric, along with the frivolous claim of bringing “freedom and democracy” to the Middle East and Central Asia, the American people were easy patsies to the maniacal ideology of American fascists in power.

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Manuel Valenzuela is a social critic and commentator, international affairs analyst and Internet essayist. His articles as well as his archive can be found at his blog, as well as at other alternative (more...)
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