Oct 03, 2023
Oct 03, 2023
The mask of humility worn by the 'primum inter pares' in the community of nations is finally off. No more shall we masquerade under false pretences. We will not allow military equality to any nation and will prevent by force if necessary any imagined threats to our goals and values, the newest Messiah proclaimed. Neo-imperialism is now official policy. Might is right and the rule of law is now superseded by the law of the jungle.
America will follow a first strike policy and pre-emptive attacks. It will use its overwhelming military superiority benevolently and will not allow any other nation to equal or overtake its military power. It is now clear why Saddam and Iraq were chosen. He is a certified rogue and controls the second largest oil reserves. By removing him we can proclaim the benevolence of our might. It will put the fear of Allah in the next-door Syrians and Iranians. Kuwait and the Gulf states will help us defray the cost of the war and it will intimidate Saudi Arabia and OPEC. The destruction of Iraqi infrastructure will compel the new pliant regime to give large contracts to the American, Russian and European oil firms and the need for money and gratitude will force Iraq to produce six million barrels a day, which will flood the oil market and reduce the price. This will help the trade deficit, which together with the sinking stock market and the unwillingness of foreigners to hold dollar assets is seriously widening our current account deficit, enough to hurt our economy. Hundred to two hundred billion dollar cost of the war will stimulate the economy and enrich defense contractors while diverting the common person's attention from the economy to patriotic fervor. If war happens before the elections it may help the Republicans. The takeover of Afghanistan was to permit a pipeline for gas from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to the Arabian Sea via Pakistan. Between Russia and America they have control over all the Central Asian oil and gas producing countries by military posts. Troops will be moved from the disobedient Germany to the Persian Gulf and Trans-Caspian region.
China has been warned to give up dreams of military equality and embrace democracy but no such advice is offered to Jordan, Egypt, United Arab Republic, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or any of the Central Asian countries. Palestinians will get a state like Swiss cheese with holes in it. India has been singled out for good treatment but effectively warned not to take punitive or retaliatory action against the terrorist state of Pakistan. It will be compelled sooner or later to give up part of Kashmir to appease Pakistan, which will be carefully monitored from bases in it, to prevent its nuclear assets from falling into the hands of Islamic terrorists. Recent confirmation of terrorist infiltration in Indian Kashmir by the New York Times and the American ambassador to India without any further chastisement of Musharraf, together with Powell and Kofi Annan's statement that the Kashmir problem has become international, suggests to me that India will be coerced to give up part of Kashmir. Compare the treatment of Musharraf to the condemnation, abandonment and denigration of Arafat for suicide bombers. India will be rewarded for going along, with technology and serve as a counterpoise to China in containment policy. Removal of quotas and easing of tariffs on imports from Sub-Saharan African countries is a signal for American industry and capital to move manufacture of toys, shoes, clothing from China, Thailand and Indonesia to places with even cheaper labor.
War policy will be of undeclared wars but the civilian infrastructure like waterworks, dams and electricity generation will be crippled as well as military assets and losing perpetrators will be treated as war criminals. Iraq in 1991, Serbia and Afghanistan are three examples of massive bombing prior to putting ground troops in harm's way. Any resultant civilian casualties and health disasters are inconsequential collateral damage. The US citizens however will be immune from the International Courts.
The message in general is our friends will be rewarded and exempted from any rules we make, if we say so, but our enemies will be hunted down. No new states will be allowed to become nuclear powers and this Pax Americana will prevail in the world. Perhaps the pundits of the administration do not accept the thesis of Paul Kennedy's book 'The rise and fall of great powers'. Military power cannot exceed economic power and when that happens great powers lose their hegemony. Readers of this column may want to refer to my previous predictions of India-wild card or Yarborough and The final emancipation as they are happening with India and Germany by the official declaration of US policy and refusal of Germany to co-operate in war.
More by : Gaurang Bhatt, MD