News & Analysis
Afghan War Over, as Predicted?
We're Not Winning. It's Not Worth It ... Here's how to draw down in Afghanistan ... GOP chairman Michael Steele was blasted by fellow Republicans recently for describing Afghanistan as "a war of Obama's choosing," and suggesting that the United States would fail there as had many other outside powers. Some critics berated Steele for his pessimism, others for getting his facts wrong, given that President George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan soon after 9/11. But Steele's critics are the ones who are wrong: the RNC chair was more correct than not on the substance of his statement, if not the politics. The war being waged by the United States in Afghanistan today is fundamentally different and more ambitious than anything carried out by the Bush administration. Afghanistan is very much Barack Obama's war of choice, a point that the president underscored recently by picking Gen. David Petraeus to lead an intensified counterinsurgency effort there. After nearly nine years of war, however, continued or increased U.S. involvement in Afghanistan isn't likely to yield lasting improvements that would be commensurate in any way with the investment of American blood and treasure. It is time to scale down our ambitions there and both reduce and redirect what we do. – Newsweek/Richard N. Haass, President, CFR
Dominant Social Theme: Heck, the West is peaceful and pragmatic never wanted war in the first place.
Free-Market Analysis: Because the Bell's mandate is to analyze the dominant social themes – the fear-based promotions of the power elite in this age of Internet truth-telling – we are often able to stumble on larger sociopolitical evolutions sooner than many. It is merely a function of our job, and we have no false vanity in this regard. We do not mention this to "blow our own horn" so much as to re-emphasize that one can gain much understanding of current events by paying attention to Western power-elite rhetoric in all its varied manifestations.
Thus it is that we were able to determine last year, far sooner than most (if not all) publications, that the American Federal Reserve was going to come under sustained attack; we made this prognostication when we noticed that the Fed was not mounting convincing counter-arguments to critics and was sending unprepared personnel up to the Hill to testify on significant issues. Likewise, by analyzing the rhetoric surrounding global warming we were able to discern its basically fraudulent nature and were not surprised, therefore (nor were our readers), when a cache of emails was unearthed which basically confirmed the falsehoods supporting the movement.
Earlier this month, we detected a significant shift away from support for the Afghanistan war – and this led to a series of recent articles analyzing the potential cessation (or evolution) of what we consider to be a watershed 21st century military struggle. We know we may have taxed the patience of those who provide us the gift of their occasional patronage of these modest pages, but nonetheless we felt it was important to dwell on the war because of what was obviously and evidently a changing approach to the struggle. You can read the Bell article here: "Beginning of the End of the Afghan War?"
Anyone can perform the kind of analysis the Bell attempts to provide. Simply accept (a terrible and fearful thing to be sure) that there is a power elite – a group of extraordinarily wealthy and powerful families and individuals engaged in an intergenerational conspiracy to create world governance – and then begin to track the dominant social themes that they utilize to shove a hitherto-unsuspecting public in the desired direction.
The hallmarks of a dominant social theme are its fear-based nature, the provision of convenient authoritarian answers that are presented as solutions to the false problems and the often exaggerated or even ludicrous nature of the promotions themselves (global warming, peak oil, etc.) Dominant social themes are often scarcity based.
In the case of Afghanistan, it seemed to us that the war was a promotion, as are so many power-elite activities. It was not a scarcity-based promotion but it was certainly fear based: "Terrorism emanates from Afghanistan and if the nation is not brought fully into the 21st century of the Western world, then terrorism in various forms will manifest itself and life will not be worth living."
However, we are always on the lookout for shifting rhetoric which in turn signals a shift in strategic direction. Steele's comments, derided in the mainstream media as a kind of "mouthing off" were no such thing in our view. We took Steele's remarks seriously.
We wrote: "Perhaps we are seeing the beginnings of a rhetorical repositioning here. It is certainly possible that the powers-that-be might be contemplating a climb-down over Afghanistan. If so, this would be a remarkable step and one that would save numerous American lives and give the war-torn country of Afghanistan the potential for a little peace."
While we speculated on a power-elite climb down, we never anticipated that we might have additional confirmation so quickly. But this cover story in elite-mouthpiece Newsweek (excerpted above) by the President of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, tends to confirm our initial impression.
The CFR is but one of a number of entities populated by power elite proponents; like all such entities, it is also seeded with prominent individuals who have little or nothing to do with a power-elite agenda. However, there is no question in our view that the CFR president represents some sort of power-elite perspective.
Is the appearance of this article around the same time as the one-day "conference" of some 60 states held in Afghanistan (to promote a "changing of the guard" and increasing Afghan governance) a coincidence? No, from our point of view, these are likely multi-faceted, deeply manipulative promotions that use every tool the elite can bring to bear to mould public opinion as it wishes. Something certainly seems to be happening. The amount of planning, timing and mustering of resources – generally speaking, anyway – is continually amazing to us. Here is some more from Haass' Newsweek article:
What should the president decide? The best way to answer this question is to return to what the United States seeks to accomplish in Afghanistan and why. The two main American goals are to prevent Al Qaeda from reestablishing a safe haven and to make sure that Afghanistan does not undermine the stability of Pakistan.
We are closer to accomplishing both goals than most people realize. CIA Director Leon Panetta recently estimated the number of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan to be "60 to 100, maybe less." It makes no sense to maintain 100,000 troops to go after so small an adversary, especially when Al Qaeda operates on this scale in a number of countries. Such situations call for more modest and focused policies of counterterrorism along the lines of those being applied in Yemen and Somalia, rather than a full-fledged counterinsurgency effort ...
All this argues for reorienting U.S. Afghan policy toward decentralization—providing greater support for local leaders and establishing a new approach to the Taliban. The war the United States is now fighting in Afghanistan is not succeeding and is not worth waging in this way. The time has come to scale back U.S. objectives and sharply reduce U.S. involvement on the ground. Afghanistan is claiming too many American lives, requiring too much attention, and absorbing too many resources. The sooner we accept that Afghanistan is less a problem to be fixed than a situation to be managed, the better.
This startling admission coming from the president of the CFR has a number of ramifications. If the elite has decided that the war in Afghanistan is not going to be pursued to a successful conclusion (the full imposition of regulatory democracy on the stiff-necked Pashtun tribe) then the war on Iran may not be pursued either.
We suggest this based on the logic that the only way for the West to win the war in Afghanistan is to expand the war dramatically and a new war with Iran would do just that. Alternatively, of course, a war with Iran may yet be contemplated (we are not fortune-tellers) and resources in Afghanistan may be needed elsewhere. Time will tell.
What is of more certainty (assuming the war is not enlarged) is that a draw-down in Afghanistan would mark yet another defeat for the current power elite agenda, already weakened by problems with the EU and the disintegration of the global warming promotion. The Pashtuns, and to a lesser extent the Punjabis in Pakistan, have never accepted the current model of regulatory democracy that is prevalent in the Western world and the generalized centralizations of power that are all-too-prevalent in tribal Sunni Islam as well.
In fact the Pashtuns and Punjabis are tribes with thousands of years of culture in these specific regions and Islam has obviously been a secondary influence in the area. Haass' article would seem to be a confirmation of this. His analysis, following on the heels of an examination of a Pashtun partitioning (the creation of a Pashtun nation-state) includes the following:
Another approach, best termed "decentralization," bears resemblance to partition but also is different in important ways. Under this approach, the United States would provide arms and training to those local Afghan leaders throughout the country who reject Al Qaeda and who do not seek to undermine Pakistan. Economic aid could be provided to increase respect for human rights and to decrease poppy cultivation. There would be less emphasis on building up a national Army and police force. ...
Under this scenario, the Taliban would likely return to positions of power in a good many parts of the south. The Taliban would know, however, that they would be challenged by U.S. air power and Special Forces (and by U.S.-supported Afghans) if they attacked non-Pashtun areas, if they allowed the areas under their control to be used to supply antigovernment forces in Pakistan, or if they worked in any way with Al Qaeda. There is reason to believe that the Taliban might not repeat their historic error of inviting Al Qaeda back into areas under their control. Indeed, the United States should stop assuming that the two groups are one and the same and instead start talking to the Taliban to underscore how their interests differ from Al Qaeda's.
One can see in this perspective much that confirms what the Bell has been reporting. This was a war against the Pashtun's inconvenient affection for a "weak ruling center." Just as we have speculated, Haass' admission that the Afghan Constitution "places too much power in the hands of the president" is evidence of what the West planned for Afghanistan – the kind of regulatory democracy that is currently afflicting the US and Europe, with all of its manifold ruin.
Haass makes at least one other statement in this extraordinary article that we would like to draw attention to. He writes, "At the other end of the policy spectrum would be a decision to walk away from Afghanistan— to complete as quickly as possible a full U.S. military withdrawal. Doing so would almost certainly result in the collapse of the Karzai government and a Taliban takeover of much of the country. Afghanistan could become another Lebanon, where the civil war blends into a regional war involving multiple neighboring states. Such an outcome triggered by U.S. military withdrawal would be seen as a major strategic setback to the United States in its global struggle with terrorists. It would also be a disaster for NATO in what in many ways is its first attempt at being a global security organization."
It is this last sentence that caught our attention: "It would also be a disaster for NATO in what in many ways is its first attempt at being a global security organization." You see? The Afghanistan war as currently constructed was never about facile objectives such as plundering oil or staking out claims for "vast" resources. The Afghan war was about centralization of Western power and the pursuit of globalization via new military methodologies.
The proto-appendages of a global infrastructure-in-waiting are increasingly evident, of course. The UN is the main legislative body; the IMF is the Treasury; the BIS is, perhaps, the central bank and NATO is the army. Ironically, these elements are increasingly clarified by the waning of elite power. Indeed it may be said that the early 2000s were the high-water market of elite influence and progress toward a fully realized and robust internationalism. At the time, the EU experiment seemed solid, the global warming meme had momentum and Western wars were being waged aggressively and without crippling push-back from Western populations.
What a difference a few years makes. The combination of a fiat-money collapse in the West combined with the ascension of the Internet, a truth-telling device of considerable power, has ravaged elite memes. The dominant social themes that worked so well in the 20th century are failing in considerable ways. We have seen this before of course, most prominently nearly 500 years ago when the Gutenberg press ushered in an era of increased truth-telling that led to the Renaissance, the Reformation and eventually the populating of a New World and "these united States."
Often, the Bell receives criticism for not offering up "solutions" to the "problem" of power elite global promotions. It is hard to address these complaints on a piecemeal basis because it is necessary to put into context what is actually occurring – and that actually would mean writing an article like this one. Suffice it to say that what is happening now is a kind of huge and unstoppable tidal wave, one that is sweeping all before its path. Cultures and belief-systems will be reconfigured before all this is over. We believe the elite may have finally recognized this – certainly we see rhetorical indications that it has. (Perhaps elements read the Bell?)
The struggle is not over, of course. The elite has travelled the torturous path from secretive and compelling promotions to increasingly overt exposure. Unsure, perhaps, of how to handle this unexpected phenomenon, the powers-that-be are currently in the "double-down" mode, insisting on supporting failing memes through legislation and other forms of legal and military force. Ironically, these will likely only increase the push-back that is already occurring.
The reason that the elite uses dominant social themes is that campaigns of secret persuasion are the only feasible weapon when there are, say, 6,000 of YOU and six billion of THEM. We would suggest the outcome is in a sense pre-ordained. Censorship of the 'Net will not help in our view, not now. Legislative mandates may begin to meet civil resistance. War is an increasingly expensive and overly broad methodology of control, especially in a nuclear age. Support of dominant social themes is critical, yet this support is most difficult to initiate when one has lost control of the media. And when memes fall apart, the elite must inevitably take a step back, as we have long forecast. It's happened before.
Conclusion: We are not forecasting that this will be an easy process, or even a compressed one. History (even secret history) is not a neat process. But the process is occurring. On a more mundane note, those who wish to preserve their health, wealth and employment options in the 21st century would do well to pay attention to this larger, fundamental struggle. The battle between the power elite and Internet-based free-market thinking has long been joined. The results will unfold.
Posted by Wm, Boughten on 08/11/10 02:38 PM
I am pleased to note that the "Spotlight" of twenty years ago has reawakened and has resumed the pressure on the "Bilderbugers".
I was distressed when the CFR and their followers drove the Spotlight into bankruptsy many years ago. We need the truth to survive as a nation.
Posted by Capn Mike on 07/24/10 10:04 PM
Absolutely superb discussion. From the initial essay right on through the comments (and with a celebrity guest no less!) My only contribution: Hey Clayton, if you got a blog please post the URL!!!
Posted by William3 on 07/24/10 04:08 PM
What about the Hegelian perspective? Have the Elite simply thrown in the towel? Or are the Steele and Haass pronouncements new antithetical responses to the recent Brzyzinski, Kissinger pronouncements and new military command which support a continued war?
Is the Elite simply recognizing there has been a shift in dialogue (driven by the internet and financial realities), and putting out its own response to the prevailing thesis? If so, what new synthesis is likely to emerge? More importantly, what would the Elite like to see emerge?
Those in power have been very adaptable. I suspect they will be in this case as well.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Obviously there is a new rhetoric in play. But the emphasis has shifted, it would seem, from occupation to withdrawal.
Posted by John Scrivener on 07/23/10 11:29 PM
Quote: "The Afghanistan war as currently constructed was never about facile objectives such as plundering oil or staking out claims for 'vast' resources. The Afghan war was about centralization of Western power and the pursuit of globalization via new military methodologies."
This proposition is only half right. While the Afghan war is certainly all about the "centralization of Western power ... via new military methodologies", the West's military power is very much dependent on controlling world oil supply.
The combination of predominantly US based oil majors, backed by US military power and financed by petro-dollars, underpins the hegemony of the US-led Western power elite.
The US-led invasion and occupation of both oil-rich Iraq and the pipeline corridor regions of Afghanistan, are quite clearly compatible with the geostrategic imperatives associated with maintaining the world's most powerful, oil fueled, military industrial juggernaut.
To characterize the control of oil as a "facile objective" in explaining US war planning and foreign policy, is itself facile, an opinion arrived at without due care or effort, and lacking depth.
Reply from The Daily Bell
The US needs to be in Afghanistan to control the world's oil supply?
Actually, it doesn't. But by expanding "control," the Anglo-American axis implicitly and explicitly accomplishes the objectives about which you write. Thus, the larger strategy enables the technical one (controlling oil). Perceived thusly, perhaps this perspective is not so facile after all.
Posted by Lila Rajiva on 07/23/10 01:59 PM
If you'd argued from specific knowledge that there was no grand elite conspiracy, I might have agreed, depending on your evidence.
But when you argue from theory that there CANNOT BE an elite conspiracy, that is a different kettle of fish altogether.
Indeed there CAN BE. And the Bell deserves a salute for steadfastly maintaining this.
Local elites might well not be "motivated" by whatever motivates global elites, but they know the buttered side of their bread quite well, and aren't going to wander too far from the herd.
That means that whether micro-elites keep within boundaries set by macro-elites because there are "motivated" by the same concerns or whether they are merely appeasing them, the end result is the same. Like geese in formation, the lesser birds follow the great birds.
So, a global conspiracy that nudges events is in fact possible...in theory.
And since much of the evidence also points in that direction, in practice too, a macro-conspiracy is plausible...if not highly probable. In many areas, it's documented..
Reply from The Daily Bell
Sadly so. The documentation, once unavailable, has been revealed in all its melancholy glory on the 'Net.
Posted by Bruno on 07/22/10 11:48 PM
I don't agree with much of that. There certainly is a power elite. Yet, it doesn't act in a cohesive way, with a common objective.
Humans can be separated in two main categories : the sheep and the wolves. The wolves, the elite, feed on the sheep. They form packs in order to increase their chances of success. But they never form one global pack, regrouping all the members of the species, for its greater good.
Local elites are mostly preoccupied with what is happening in their backyard : city, state, country or business. I doubt that there are business elite members, say in Brasil, who share common goals with the Japanese political elite.
And even inside the elite community, goals certainly differ.
Greedy bankers in Wall Street can't see further than owning a bigger jetliner than their kins. Incompetent politicians can't see further than their coming reelection. All these people, like the modern world in general, only have very short term objectives.
World domination is very long term objective, something that has all but disappeared in today's world. Even in science.
Regarding science, I totally disagree with your irresponsible stance on climate change. There is no need of an elite conspiracy. Just open your eyes ! Are James Lovelock, Jim Hansen or Tim Flannery part of, or manipulated by, the elites ?
Finally, the war in Afghanistan. It should never have happened in the first place. Bush and co, were forced into it when they found out that there was not a single Iraqi involved in 9/11. The plan always had been to invade Iraq, not Afghanistan. But there was no choice after this disaster.
The US went there with minimal strength, keeping its forces for Iraq. There was no objective of either killing or capturing Osama. Osama is a symbol, the Big Bad Wolf who terrorizes populations the world over. It is in the interest of the elites, the political ones, to keep him alive and well.
What the US didn't anticipate is that the bad guys would fly over the border, into Pakistan, and start destabilizing a much more dangerous country.
This is why they are now stuck in Afghanistan, not because of this country itself, but by fear of the contagion in Pakistan. The bad guys must be kept in a sandwich along the border, on one side by the US army, on the other by the Pakistani army.
It is going to prove extremely difficult to get out of this trap.
Iran is a different matter. It is not a possible extension of the war in Afghanistan. It is a possibility of a whole new war, at a higher level.
Usually, the US army acts as a bully. It goes after the small guys who can't defend themselves. It certainly doesn't have the balls of, say, the Israeli army (which I do not support by the way). The US army likes slapping around at Iraq or North Korea, but it pees in its pants as soon as the Russians or the Chinese open their mouth.
And going after Iran will certainly not please these latter countries. Yet, there are other considerations.
At some point, the economic situation may reach a point where a "good old fashioned" war is seen as the only way out (refering to the Great Depression followed by WW II). Then, Iran would be a perfect fuse to start something bigger. One will see...
Posted by Lila Rajiva on 07/22/10 12:07 PM
Sorry. I didn't see this, having got caught up in other posts.
Thanks very much for the kind words. You're right about labels. And being in a period of transition now. For how long, I wonder.
I've read Krishnamurti but I think my discomfort with being positioned has less to do with intellectual questioning (although that too) as with some impatience with abstractions altogether..even when they're necessary. Images say more.
If I look at Notre Dame, I understand a certain phase of Europe. If I look at the Meenakshi temple, I understand a certain phase in South Indian history. And like wise for Machu Picchu or Monticello, for their respective times. I wonder what icon will remain to speak to future generations about this era? A tower surely. Towers are always the products of bubble periods.. But which one? It will have to the defunct twin towers.. negative emblems for this time of negative values...
Posted by AmanfromMars on 07/22/10 01:57 AM
"As far as Afghanistan goes, we will agree to disagree. It is a war against Islam,..." .... Reply from the Daily Bell
I would suggest that the enemy being fought there, and in Iraq also, and in other nations speculated upon in threads and articles as being next in the firing line of Big Brother Redneck and Ignorant Bully Boy Military Aggression and Occupation, is the lack of corruptible capitalism and the non existence of usury and the presence of Sharia principles which prohibits the payment or acceptance of interest fees for the lending and accepting of money.
Everything is Always about money and its destruction and controlling of powers. Control that Meme and the Fool so easily imagines they are as Gods, and for confirmation of that Certifiable Madness, just ask Lloyd Blankfein of the Pyramid Seller Goldman Sachs. He'll be able to endorse it in spades, bless his crazy little heart.:-)
The world is full of useful and useless idiots and they get just about everywhere on Earth. Here in this CyberSpace Place are they by Default of their lack of Enlightened Savvy, Barred with AIdDenial of Service.
"This article is certainly one of your best!" .... Posted by Clayton on 7/21/2010 5:33:01 PM ..... with a reply to match, Clayton. Very Impressive. And one trusts that it doesn't fall on deaf PEars for the remedy to all of their ills is provided for them in your post, is it not ..... "The only friends they have left in the World are the ones their money can buy. So they better look to making sure that that money still retains its value in the future, lest they find themselves stuck in the Bunker of their own creation, like that collection of control freaks under the streets of Berlin in the Spring of 1945." ...... although that does necessarily require that they purchase something completely different from anything which has gone before, because obviously has that which they have previously purchased Failed Spectacularly, with Shocking Deliveries and Awful Services.
The jury is out on whether they are Intellectually Equipped to Realise the Change of Tack to Catch the Wind and Surf the Waves.
Posted by RT Carpenter on 07/21/10 10:47 PM
The Bell is becoming one of my favorites--attracting informed viewers. My comment on this war, having served in Viet Nam, is this:
What we have here is a huge, land-locked tract of land called a "nation" that no sensible leader would ever commit land forces to. By the time Obama gets all the promised thousands of troops and the massive logistics to support them in (by road or air--no seaport), he will already be in the second year of his planned "drawdown". That's if our country is not totally bankrupt before the circular build-up/drawdown can even be executed.
Posted by Sean Allison on 07/21/10 09:14 PM
I for one have appreciated your emphasis on the Afghan theatre, and your explanation for the PE efforts there. While in all honesty, I may not share your overall optimism regarding the power of the internet to actually usher in an age of freedom, I nonetheless remain addicted to it. Even realists need daily encouragement! (Actually, I'm personally optimistic, but realistically I do not see the current generation changing their habits voluntarily.)
Regardless, I wrote to congratulate you on this particular piece. Who knows, perhaps it marks the "high water" of the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. And if this proves to be the case, I wanted the world to know I recognized it as such, if only as a lowly "bell feedbacker". I know excellence when I see it. And I see it here regularly.
Thank you very much!
I have thought to myself lately that I have missed your feedbacks, not seeing much, but today's (parallels) was a tour-de-force! I always enjoy your thoughts. Thank you as well.
Best regards and peace to all!
Reply from The Daily Bell
Thanks for the kind words and feedback.
Posted by John Acord on 07/21/10 06:37 PM
Posted by Clayton on 07/21/10 05:33 PM
This article is certainly one of your best!
Perhaps, the Masters of the New World Order are getting a whiff of Stalingrad up their noses and think the time has come for a change of policy to better fit with the new reality of a much reduced sphere of influence than they had heretofore expected.
The problem they face reminds me of the situation in the Mediterranean during WWII. By the time Rommel had gotten to El Alamein, his supply problem had become strategically acute. This had been foreseen by his immediate superior, Kesselring, who had attempted to rein in Rommel's ambitions, by denying him authority to venture out of the Cyrenaican Heights east of Tobruk and descending into the narrow approaches to Egypt.
Rommel, however, by passed Kesselring and made a direct appeal to the Fuhrer, and as Paul Harvey used to say, "the rest was History." By the time the German Army reached the desert floor, for every gallon of fuel that left Tobruk, less than a quart made it into a tank on the front lines. There was only one road out, a road not too dissimilar to the one coming up to Kabul from Pakistan.
Much has been said of Rommel's skills as a frontline commander, and I will be the first to concur that he was one of History's best, but his understanding of Grand Strategy was very limited and led him to make not only this mistake, but far greater ones later in his method of deployment and his unwillingness to act in concert with his co-commanders in Northern France in 1944.
What has happened in Afghanistan, as illuminated by the Mc Crystal affair, is a conflict of ambitions and goals that is forcing the PE to regroup. The Mc Crystal affair has given the PE the clear knowledge that all is not well with the troops. They themselves (the Troops) are getting the message that is featured on the Bell, which is that this War has nothing to do with finding the "Bearded Man in the Cave," but everything about breaking the will and dignity of the impoverished people in the countryside.
The nine year old theme of the "War on Terror" is, like the supply lines to the Afrika Korps, is stretched about as thin as it can get. I would also argue that the obverse side of the suicide coin is mutiny. Not the overt mutiny, such as befell Captain Blye on the Bounty, but the soft mutiny that shows itself in a willingness to participate in acts of treason and sabotage, like we have recently seen in the Wiki Leaks affair.
As Mises pointed out on numerous occasions, the system only works so long as the vast majority are in willing compliance. This compliance requires an identification with the overt ends it works to achieve. The murder of innocent people is generally regarded as way outside of what is acceptable in our society. The callous destruction of the lives of so many of our own young men in the pursuit of such flimsy objectives just adds salt to the wound.
I imagine that the PE is conducting a lot of research into the public mood in the US. What they are hearing, I am sure, is a country filled with discontent, disillusionment, lack of hope and most importantly (as illustrated by the fire in the immigration debate) a widespread fear that the nation's identity is being ground into nothingness by a government that is in the hands of an alien and seditious collection of traitors.
In my opinion, Trust is at an all time low, and going much lower. Willingness being lacking, everything has to be bought or forced. Like an engine with the viscousness of its oil having broken down, the grinding force of friction from this social mood will increase the costs to maintaining the structure and reduce its entire overall ability to function and survive.
This puts their central current objective, the War with Iran in doubt. To continue my parallel, are the PE up for a Battle of Kursk? If the NATO partners have lost enthusiasm due to the foolishness in Afghanistan, who is going to flesh out the occupation? The supply lines into the Persian heartland are not much better than the ones into Kabul. The small arms in the possession of the Iranian Army are much more modern and formidable than the poor quality weapons that the Taliban had access to. Also, the Iranians are much more sophisticated than either the Afghans or the various Iraqis. They speak their own language and this is a very complicating factor in any occupation.
Back at their Bunker, they must be realizing that the means of financing this are becoming increasingly tenuous. With the Fiat Paper Money Paradigm under continual assault from the growing disfunction in the debt markets, they will have to enact a state of siege in order to extract the additional resources needed to go it alone. They must have some imagination as to "the huge unstoppable tidal wave" of reaction that might "sweep all (of them) before its path."
For any military force, the most difficult situation to deal with is retreat. Think of the Winter of 1812. Think of the Winters of 1942/3, 1943/4 and 1944/5. Think of the British over a hundred years ago trying to get back to safety from Kabul. Think more recently of those helicopters coming and going from our embassy in Saigon. Think of the near collapse of the dollar that followed.
Given the fact that the Government in DC is seen increasingly to be playing a largely negative role in the lives of its own people, the promotion of the idea that it can play a positive role in the lives of the people of these myriad primitive societies borders on the absurd. If the PE push forward with their plans to either expand the War or increase the tax burdens on the American people, they will be testing their luck in the most extreme manner.
If they are reading this, I hope they come away with the distinct understanding that the odds are no longer in their favor. The Wind is no longer at their back. The only friends they have left in the World are the ones their money can buy. So they better look to making sure that that money still retains its value in the future, lest they find themselves stuck in the Bunker of their own creation, like that collection of control freaks under the streets of Berlin in the Spring of 1945.
The existence of the Internet has made it clear that if these folks plunge ahead with their search for Global Control and, in the wake of it, create a life of misery for the rest of the people on Planet Earth, it will not go unnoticed nor will its causes go unidentified. This added risk, they did not have previously. Somehow, I think that this additional factor is beginning to dawn on them. So, the hesitation. After the hesitation, the loss.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Excellent. Thanks. The supply line issue is a big deal in Afghanistan, and not something you hear much about.
Posted by Clayton on 07/21/10 03:43 PM
I generally have a difficult time with these labels, even the libertarian one, let alone stating that one is an abstract category. The pernicious positioning of opinion on this Left/Right continuum seems to me to reduce our action from the state of inquiry to one of positioning. I prefer the freedom of maneuver to defensiveness. I would never want to button hole you as this or that.
This does not exempt you from being subject to adjectives, but I would rather like to describe you as bright, incisive, committed, courageous, sensitive, intuitive and hard working than as left, right, "an ideological atheist", agnostic, or even libertarian (whatever that means today).
For far too long those who have been searching for and advocating on behalf of Just Peace and Liberty have been marginalized by the stigma of labels, many of which they have placed upon themselves most willingly. I think that there is some element of vanity in a label, which must be guarded against lest we fall prey to making mockery of ourselves. The current political paradigm has most conveniently reduced all discussion to liberal or conservative, mainstream of maverick, and then manipulated the public by controlling the expectation of what being one or the other might mean.
I think it is best to leave the labeling to others. Let them build their edifice of expectations. This frees us up, so that we may confound them. In their confusion, some of them might actually come out of their own boxes and discover the joys to be found in Creative Living.
I thoroughly enjoy the comments you post on the Bell. The challenges you put forward from your unique perspective remind me of my earlier life, when under the influence of J Krishnamurti, Ram Das, Suzuki Ro-shi, and others, I got out of the technological box I was living in and looked at the possibilities that existed both inside of me as well as outside of me in living more spontaneously.
I think that the Compassionate Life and Living that lies at the core of these teachings has an important role to play in our transition from the Statist Paradigm to what lies ahead of it. The emergence of Natural Man in the context of Natural Law, will in my opinion, require a reappraisal of his character. Even Mises acknowledges in his development of Praxeology that man is apriori to the economy that he creates. I reject the idea of the New Man. Rather, I think it is vitally important that people have the freedom to see themselves creatively, and out of that creative approach to themselves, I am confident that a more creative approach to others would come about.
Whether you intend it or not. Your comments have the effect of supporting this thought process in me. And, please don't battle your contrarian tendencies too hard. The sparring above was most welcome.
Posted by AmanfromMars on 07/21/10 02:34 PM
"Name more names!" ... Posted by Shmoosh on 7/21/2010 5:15:07 AM
That would be a tilting at windmill exercise for the names are always changing as past leaders are relieved of their wealth and its powers/put out to pasture or disappeared, as new control players overtake/overrun their positions with an improved meme which better services the Greater Collective group to guarantee continuity of ITs Grip on the Master Space/Race Program, albeit with fundamentally new Leadership/Mentoring and Monitoring.
Nothing stands Still and is ever as it seems in such Power Control Memes.
And CyberSpace is the new Power Control Centre and that requires a whole new Kind of Intelligence to Enter into ITs QuITe Magical Kingdoms and Surfdoms. Military Might is Useless against such Virtual Competition as renders the Foe a Phantom you will never ever know, but which you would fight to only destroy yourself against a newly created nation of battle hardened and war weary enemies, where before there was a virgin land of untold opportunities.
And that is the Grand Folly of the Prize Fool and Worthless Tool.
Posted by Lila Rajiva on 07/21/10 02:30 PM
It's because I was confused by your use of the term colonialism – which invariably includes economic exploitation...
and which is a leftist term (to my knowledge).
Or it may be, a planetary transit that makes me look at it slightly differently today..(wink)
Posted by Lila Rajiva on 07/21/10 02:07 PM
@DB ... No, stated that way, I am in agreement...
Reply from The Daily Bell
Good! (Because you agreed with us yesterday!)
Posted by Lila Rajiva on 07/21/10 12:32 PM
"We would submit that the war in Afghanistan has very little to do directly with a pipeline and that there would have been a war with or without the prospect of a specific pipeline."
I respectfully disagree.
The pipe-line is not all of it, certainly...and probably not even the most of it.
Afghanistan and the Khyber pass region have always been of geo-strategic importance in Indian history..and the "Great Game" isn't something concocted by the left. It arises out of the logic of the state in classical or realist concepts of state interest (as in, Hans Morgenthau), modified for a transnational world.
Read Mackinder also (if my memory serves me right).
Second. Proximate causes can exist comfortably with long-term rationales. Usually, all proximate causes of state expansion are sought after the fact and are closer to rationalizations than actual causes...but then that is true of most causation in history, as Oakeshott somewhere says (and others...)
At the same time, it is also true that the logic of mercantilism is expansionist and rapine. The leftists only get it wrong in labeling that predation capitalism, instead of mercantilism
But you can hardly blame them for that when the right does pretty much the same.
Having said that, I will battle my contrarian tendencies and concede your general point...especially, since this is your blog and your generosity.
Reply from The Daily Bell
But you are generous to contribute your insightful commentary. As far as Afghanistan goes, we will agree to disagree. It is a war against Islam, a war for control and an unadmitted colonial foray. A military grab for natural resources would be well down on the list, we would think ...
Posted by Lila Rajiva on 07/21/10 12:15 PM
I am a libertarian.
Small 'L." And 100 percent against the centralized statist solutions offered by contemporary liberals and leftists. However, IMHO, and with much respect for DB and Lew Rockwell, the left is often more acute in understanding practical politics, if wrong-headed in foundational analysis and conclusions.
I don't believe that just getting the government out of everything is the automatic solution to all mankind's ills (not that I accuse DB of saying so)....nor do I think it's enough to shrug and say "that's life " tough."
The government should get out. But something else should get in simultaneously, or we only end up defending plutocracy...
Moral responsibility? Noblesse oblige? Scientific spirituality?
If I hear it from the left or from the right I respect it.
Reply from The Daily Bell
"The government should get out. But something else should get in simultaneously, or we only end up defending plutocracy..."
Well as you pointed out eloquently, what gets left in is culture, spirituality and precedent. Our difference of opinion, such as it is, may have to do with where the community leaves off and the market begins. But as with market dealings themselves, we believe there is no one answer. And probably you do not either.
Posted by Grekko on 07/21/10 11:50 AM
I tend to agree with the Bell. Everything being done in the Middle East has not been for money, oil or any other resource. It has been done for Control, to the tune of trillions in taxpayer donations. After all, the elite have wanted to be the Masters of the world since before Christ.
An unforseen problem for them was the fact that their different memes didn't fit well together. In an effort to bring about a world currency, they bankrupted their other memes, for example, exporting Democracy to the Middle East through military conquest.
Why, we now have Barney Franks agreeing with Ron Paul that our deficit is dangerous and even military spending has to be cut. It's possible that the elite aren't as smart as they think they are, and are finding out this fact.
With so many memes running at the same time, and some working against others, they may have taken a hit to their finances as well by their own hands. My belief is that they are regrouping and consolidating what they have accomplished to date. This regrouping period may last quite some time.
Posted by Rmp on 07/21/10 10:12 AM
"The CFR is but one of a number of entities populated by power elite proponents; like all such entities, it is also seeded with prominent individuals who have little or nothing to do with a power-elite agenda. However, there is no question in our view that the CFR president represents some sort of power-elite perspective."
What? I thought the whole point of establishing the CFR was an American wing of the power elites Anglo/American vision to advance global governnance in the first place. I.e. Royal Institute/CFR/Ango American Round Table groups. You gotta usher in the Kingdom. Mr. Haas and some fellow travelers may no longer remember that "theme", but certainly they understand who writes their pay checks. Or am I missing somthing. Have things changed that much? Oh, it's no longer Post Millennial based. I get it. Still Haas and friends pretend to offer advice which is a bit disingenuous to say the least, don't you think?
Reply from The Daily Bell
You are missing something in our humble opinion.
The power elite tries to control societies by seeding prestigious institutions with its own agents. This is how national intel agencies work as well. There is no need for an entire entity to be populated with a given set of agents, only that the agents occupy preferred places within the given entity.
This is how CFR works. The elite created CFR and numerous other societies and then populated them with prestigious thought-leaders via invite. In the case of CFR (and other such entities) the social thought leaders have (or had) no idea what the group was supposed to accomplish.
Their presence provides a two-fold advantage to such entities.
First of all, the presence of so many unknowing, unwitting participants provides deniability as these individuals have no idea of the larger agenda of the society in which they are participating.
Second, the presence of so many prestigious people guarantees that those functioning at high levels within the society will be taken SERIOUSLY when they do speak out as Haass has just done.
CFR is populated by numerous individuals who have no idea of its agenda and might even oppose some of that agenda. But these individuals provide agents of the elite with a convenient springboard from which to launch viewpoints that are emphatically promotional. When the time is right, in other words, they pick and choose their spots, taking advantage of the credibility their organizations have built up.
Just as clever, the society, populated by VIPs, provides OTHER elite agents at other venues the justification to interview elite agents as necessary. Haass would not have received a cover story at Newsweek were he the head of a plumbing association. But Newsweek was able to justify the cover story based on the many luminaries that belong to CFR; thus we can see these luminaries are being used as a kind of intellectual cannon fodder.
CNN, which we can assume is also populated by certain folks sympathetic to the power elite agenda, then interviewed Haass over his cover story.