Under siege? By William Bowles

31 July 2003

Look, I know that the revolution is not around the corner, but it is true to say that the ‘New Imperium,’ barely a dozen years old, is already under siege, and experiencing a serious crisis in credibility and its subsequent ability to carry out its mission of re-colonising the planet.

We have Bush/Blah finally admitting that they’re having a hard time convincing the public why they invaded Iraq. And with every passing day, we see them retreating on virtually every front that they have used to justify invasion and actually admitting (if in a roundabout way) that things are not panning out the way they said it would.

In Blah we trust?

How will the public respond to the entreaties from their respective governments that in spite of everything, we should maintain our trust in them? A far cry from the gung ho days of only a couple of weeks ago, when Blah made his ‘in praise of the Imperium’ speech before its senators in Washington DC. There is a palpable crisis of confidence in the corridors of power in London and Washington. Bush/Blah have lost the ‘moral high ground’ in their battle to win the hearts and minds of their imperial citizens.

And interestingly, given the amount of energy expended in the UK, it is precisely on the issue of whether Blah can be trusted or not, that we see cracks appearing in what was the arrogant face of empire, intent on putting its stamp on a world which militarily at least, is unable to resist.

So now Bush/Blah, somewhat battered and bruised from the past few months, are hoping (and no doubt praying to their God) that something will go right for them, and soon. But it’s unlikely, and for the following reasons:

Niger; 45 minutes; Kelly, 9/11; the increasing resistance on the ground in Iraq; the disastrous PR resulting from the ‘execution’ of the Hussein brothers; the ‘road map,’ which increasingly looks like the scene of a multi-vehicle pile-up; the Iran and North Korea fiascos, which the imperium has failed miserably to sell an increasingly sceptical public (largely because of its failed Iraq policies). And finally, the cynical position of the US over Liberia, all have contributed to a major problem that without some kind of reappraisal of policy, the New Imperium is unlikely to resolve.

And given the vice-like grip the Beltway bandits have over USUK policies, what are the chances of a change, if not in direction, then in tactics? Short of another 9/11 with even more devastating consequences for the metropolitan populations, it’s difficult to see what options the New Imperium has available to it. And in a sense, it’s been hoisted by its own pétard, for either, it will have to successfully pre-empt another 9/11-type attack or, it will be revealed as being utterly inept at ‘defending’ its citizens and questions, already being asked about 9/11, will be only rise in volume and insistence.

It reveals just how vulnerable the Imperium is to the weaknesses of a strategy that is based almost entirely on the Big Lie. The Beltway Bandits obviously didn’t finish reading their Goebbels primer. Maybe their arrogance has finally gotten the better of them.

The Fourth Reich – DC style? Not likely

The problem with building an empire, especially one based almost exclusively on military dominance, is that aside from launching an all-out attack on the opposition, aka the Third Reich, the options are limited. Small scale wars against an already beaten opposition are one thing but already, after only ninety days, they’re having to admit that far from subduing the ‘enemy,’ each day sees increasing opposition to the rule of the New Imperium.

And mutterings in the ranks of the centurians are growing as their newly colonised subjects pick them off, one at a time. This is not the way the war was sold to them. Unlike previous empires, which could enlist the complicity of its legions purely on the basis of imperial might and personal gain, a massive propaganda campaign had to be mounted in order to garner the support of the citizens in the business of empire-building. A threat of massive proportions had to be engineered; the basic rights of citizens removed; Murdoch’s global media empire enlisted, but even with all this, they have failed, and they know it.

Without an obvious enemy, and even more importantly, without a population who can be relied upon to ‘rally round the flag’ as with virtually all the major wars and adventures of previous centuries, selling the Empire is proving to be anything but easy to do. The ‘cakewalk’ has turned into a quagmire.

It’s quite obvious that the strategists and planners of Whitehall and Pennsylvannia Avenue have not actually grasped just how different things are these days. They should listen more to the established voices of the capitalist class such as the Economist, who back in 1991, predicted that the fall of Soviet Empire would prove to be disastrous for the West. “We need a competitor” their front page cried as they mourned the passing of the USSR.

Jobs for the boys

The various European colonial empires of the past, ran on a vast army of bureaucrats that administered their far-flung possessions and took personal gain in the process. And the conquering colonial armies too, had a direct stake in the success of empire. And Imperial subjects had a direct interest in the success of the empire through the transfer of resources to the metropolitan centres, which in turn, were transformed into jobs that made products that were then exported to the rest of the world.

But the ‘good old days’ are gone for good. Distributed, global production, automation and the ‘maquiladoras’ put paid to that. Hence, aside from cheap gasoline (and then only in the US), the metropolitan subjects have little to gain and much to lose from the schemes of their political leaders and the corporations who pay them to take back what they lost in the liberation struggles of the 20th century.

Exposing the scams

And when they can see that their political leaders are up to their ears in financial scams, and who stand to benefit directly from the spoils of imperial war through their connections to corporations they employ to wage it, they are even more unlikely to support them, that is, if they are exposed.

From the perspective then, of organising opposition to the re-colonising programme of the New Imperium, it’s clear that the focus should be on who actually gains from empire and who (aside obviously, from the re-colonised) loses? Carlyle, Halliburton, Boeing, Shell, Exxon, Microsoft, General Dynamics, BAE et al, in other words, only a handful of giant corporations who have a vested interest in Bush/Blah, are the only ones to gain from the New Imperium. Exposing these connections and the phony rationale of the ‘war on terror’ has to be central to any viable opposition to the pirates’ plans.

Learning the lessons

Based on this analysis, which I believe to be essentially correct, we can see that in spite of the unprecedented global scope of the opposition to the war, we failed to identify the essential elements of what the anti-invasion campaign should have been based on. The diversion of backing the UN’s role in ‘legitimising’ the invasion and how the ‘opposition’ to the war bought into this sham, was probably the major weakness.

And in turn, this led to our inability to capitalize on, and follow through with, a viable post-invasion strategy. After all, short of some kind of global uprising against the Imperium (not a realistic option) it was obvious to me anyway, the invasion was a ‘done deal’ years ago. It was just a question of when and how it was carried out. But the UN option has been expended by the New Imperium. Indeed, many of the options previously available to the pirates have been used up. This is both a plus and a minus. A plus because it reduces their room for manoeuvrability and a minus because it increases their state of desperation.

The coming period is most critical. Either pressure is maintained and increased on the Bush/Blah clique or, we will lose the momentum gained from the serious strategic and tactical errors they have committed, which will allow them time to regroup and develop a viable counter-offensive.

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