A few weeks ago I granted a request for an interview by Moshen Abdelmoumen to answer his 12 questions. He is an Algerian independent journalist based in Belgium who publishes in English and in French in several newspapers online. Among his interviewees have been Dr. Edward S. Herman, Dr. Noam Chomsky, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, Marjorie Cohn, Dr. Henry Giroux, Dr. Andrew Bacevich and Bruce Riedel. Mr. Riedel was a senior official at the CIA for 30 years and has been a senior advisor on South Asia and the Middle East to the last four US presidents (including President Obama) on the staff of the National Security Council at the White House. Need I say more about Mr. Riedel?
What follows now are my answers to the 12 questions.
1. How do you explain the long history of US interventionism? What is your analysis?
"Interventionism" is a very appropriate term. It covers a lot of territory, and that is exactly what America has been doing even before she became a nation 240 years ago. The US is a habitual interventionist. Domestically it is in the form of fascism, or a police state, that treads on human rights. Internationally, it is in the form of militaristic imperialism. In either form the intervention is always exploitative of the weak and powerless, often violent, destructive, and deadly (countless millions of people in many lands have been killed directly and indirectly by US overt and covert wars).
The roots of US interventionism can be traced to the American Revolution and its antecedents (e.g., importing slaves from Africa). The plutocrats who were soon to be enthroned as our "founding fathers" wanted to replace the rule by King George and his own corpocracy (e.g., his East Indies Corporation) with their own home-grown version of American corpocracy, which I refer to as the Devil's marriage between powerful corporations and government that quickly became corrupted by, indebted to and thus controlled by corporate America.
Those "founding fathers" by the way, rather than being idolized should be condemned instead. An objective review of history reveals them to be "greedy, hypocritical elites who---set out to put in place a government that would 'weaken the many and empower the few'" (quote is from a New Yorker review of the book, American Revolution by Alan Taylor). Precisely! That government started out and has always been for corporate America, not for the people. Moreover, America's corpocracy should be regarded as "public enemy number one," enemy of the American people and of the world (world opinion sees the US as the greatest threat to world peace).
There undoubtedly would never be any US interventionism, at least the unfriendly, violent kind, therefore, without the corpocracy and its five elements; the power elite, the courtiers and ideologues, the functionaries, and active accomplices. Inactive accomplices are another element, but outside the corpocracy.
The population of the power elite is infinitesimally small compared to the total US population. The power elite comprises leaders of most industries (especially defense/war and related industries) and their major trade associations, major financial institutions (behind every war is a bankster); leaders of mainstream media corporations; the US President and chairs of war related Congressional committees); military leaders, and key members of the shadow government (e.g. the CIA); and the US Supreme Court---yes, even the latter is a pawn of corporate America.
The courtiers and ideologues are influential advisors and zealous boosters such as The Defense Policy Board, the Brookings Institute, and the National Endowment for Democracy that recently called for the US to oust Russia's President Vladimir Putin.
The functionaries are the millions of people in government and industry who carry out the everyday dirty business of interventionism, including continuous overt and covert war activities.
Active accomplices are individuals, organizations or groups that give assistance to war-related activities. They give intentional (rarely acknowledge) assistance in some form or another. They include investors in corporate America; most nongovernmental organizations that feed off of government and corporate funding; the "behavior shapers" (e.g., hawkish think tanks; hawkish religious leaders; educators; PR firms; journalists); certain professions, especially the legal profession; and many physical and social sciences (e.g., the recent active support by the leadership of the American Psychological Association in the torturing of Guantanamo prisoners).
Inactive accomplices are the "innocent" or silent bystanders" of America who never in any meaningful way speak out against or actively protest the corpocracy, especially its war making. During my career, I am ashamed to say, I was basically part of this element, keeping my protests mostly muted.
My answer so far does not really explain the behavior of the people inside the corpocracy. Why, for instance, do real people of the power elite do what they do? Long ago I developed a nonmathematical equation to explain human behavior. Filling in both sides of the equation explains the corpocracy's members' behavior very well. I will illustrate its use in answering the third question.
2. Are the United States a State or is it a war machine controlled by the military-industrial complex?