Sunday, December 13, 2009 article

Our Chief Industry: War
The economy may be collapsing, but the war business is booming
by Justin Raimondo, November 18, 2009 article link

While our factories have long since moved abroad, where wages are lower and regulation is lax, and our crippled industries are in Dr. Obama’s economic intensive care unit, on life support and awaiting last rites, America’s number-one export – representing, by far, our single largest capital investment – is our overseas military presence. What Chalmers Johnson referred to as our "empire of bases" is the framework of an international economic system in which the division of labor is roughly as follows: while Asia is the factory of the world, South America the farmland, and Europe increasingly a theme park/museum, the U.S. role is that of world gendarme. ...

Before the big crash of 2008, you’ll recall, in the glory days of the bubble years, our elites were all atwitter with a vague, glowing vision of the new economic reality, which touted the alleged benefits of "globalization." More than just the traditional free-market prescription of free trade, this concept envisioned extending the reach and influence of Western finance capital over the entire globe. At the end of this road – at "the end of history," as Francis Fukuyama famously put it – we would fall into the all-encompassing embrace of the emerging world state and live happily ever after.

This ever-upward-and-onward Panglossian view, which identified growing Western domination of the global economy with the march of progress itself, was the underlying rationale of an increasingly aggressive policy of U.S. military and political intervention worldwide. We said we were fighting for civilization as we bombed some of the oldest cities in Balkans, and when" humanitarian" interventionism gave way to a more Roman concept of America’s role in the world – the dividing line being, roughly, 9/11/01 – still we invoked the defense of universal values as the ultimate justification for occupation and mass murder. We unhesitatingly identified ourselves and our interests with the advent of modernity and took up the old Kiplingesque burden of empire with alacrity.

This kind of hubris, however, has since gone out of fashion. The trauma of Iraq and an economic downturn have tamped down our crusading fever; a new appeal is needed in order to buttress the global economic and political order our ruling elites once thought they had in their grasp. At a time when the whole rationale for our endless "war on terrorism" is being challenged, a more pragmatic course is called for.

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