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Forum Post: America's Faustian Deal with the Devil of War

Posted 1 year ago on Feb. 4, 2013, 4:56 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5846)
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America's Faustian Deal with the Devil of War

Monday, 04 February 2013 14:25 By Sam Sacks , Truthout | Op-Ed

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/14344-americas-faustian-deal-with-the-devil-of-war

The United States made a deal long time ago that has sealed our nation's fate today.

German folklore tells a story of a man named Faust, who, bored with his life as a scholar and seeking unlimited knowledge, power and pleasure, makes a deal with the devil to attain all of these things. In return, however, Faust agrees to give the devil his soul at the end of 24 years.

This is where the term "a Faustian bargain" comes from - and it refers to someone willing to sacrifice their moral integrity just to attain power and pleasure for a limited time.

Today, the United States is the most powerful and wealthiest nation on the planet.

No other nation even comes close in terms of military power. The United States spends more on so-called "defense" than the next 17 top military nations combined. And when it comes to our supposed biggest threat in the future, the Chinese, we spend six times more on our military than they do.

And in terms of wealth, the United States GDP in 2010 was $14.5 trillion - nearly three times the GDP of China, the second wealthiest nation on the planet.

Unfortunately, just like Faust, all of this power and wealth did not come honestly. It came as a result of a bargain - a bargain with the Devil of War.

Out of the chaos of World War II, it was the United States that triumphed and embarked on empire building for the remainder of the 21st century. Despite seeing the dangers of hyper-militarism in Japan and Germany, the United States would go on to make the very same mistakes, relying on never-ending war to expand its influence, wealth and power around the planet.

It was none other than the Father of the Constitution himself, James Madison, who warned early in the infancy of this nation that, "No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." But, as soon as World War II - the supposed war to end all wars - ended, the United States got involved in the never-ending warfare game.

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The Paranoia of the Superrich and Superpowerful

Monday, 04 February 2013 09:14 By Noam Chomsky, TomDispatch | Op-Ed

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/14321-the-paranoia-of-the-superrich-and-superpowerful

[This piece is adapted from “Uprisings,” a chapter in Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire, Noam Chomsky’s new interview book with David Barsamian (with thanks to the publisher, Metropolitan Books). The questions are Barsamian’s, the answers Chomsky’s.]

Does the United States still have the same level of control over the energy resources of the Middle East as it once had?

The major energy-producing countries are still firmly under the control of the Western-backed dictatorships. So, actually, the progress made by the Arab Spring is limited, but it’s not insignificant. The Western-controlled dictatorial system is eroding. In fact, it’s been eroding for some time. So, for example, if you go back 50 years, the energy resources -- the main concern of U.S. planners -- have been mostly nationalized. There are constantly attempts to reverse that, but they have not succeeded.

Take the U.S. invasion of Iraq, for example. To everyone except a dedicated ideologue, it was pretty obvious that we invaded Iraq not because of our love of democracy but because it’s maybe the second- or third-largest source of oil in the world, and is right in the middle of the major energy-producing region. You’re not supposed to say this. It’s considered a conspiracy theory.

The United States was seriously defeated in Iraq by Iraqi nationalism -- mostly by nonviolent resistance. The United States could kill the insurgents, but they couldn’t deal with half a million people demonstrating in the streets. Step by step, Iraq was able to dismantle the controls put in place by the occupying forces. By November 2007, it was becoming pretty clear that it was going to be very hard to reach U.S. goals. And at that point, interestingly, those goals were explicitly stated. So in November 2007 the Bush II administration came out with an official declaration about what any future arrangement with Iraq would have to be. It had two major requirements: one, that the United States must be free to carry out combat operations from its military bases, which it will retain; and two, “encouraging the flow of foreign investments to Iraq, especially American investments.” In January 2008, Bush made this clear in one of his signing statements. A couple of months later, in the face of Iraqi resistance, the United States had to give that up. Control of Iraq is now disappearing before their eyes.

Iraq was an attempt to reinstitute by force something like the old system of control, but it was beaten back. In general, I think, U.S. policies remain constant, going back to the Second World War. But the capacity to implement them is declining.

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