NSA and the Fall of the US Empire
EDITORIAL, 4 Nov 2013
#298 | Johan Galtung, 4 Nov 2013 - TRANSCEND Media Service
The linchpin of an empire is the link between two elites, one in the imperial center and the other in the peripheries. Symmetric alliances exist, but not with a superpower in the center.
The periphery elites do jobs for the center: killing, say, in Libya, Syria, when so wanted; securing the center economic interests in return for a substantial cut, serving as a bridgehead culturally–called americanization–delivering obedience against protection.
For this to work the elites have to believe in the empire. They put words up front–like democracy, human rights, rule of law–serving as human shields. However, the costs may be heavy, the benefits decreasing; they may have difficulties with restless students, working classes, other countries. Or worse: they may sense that the empire is not working, heading for decline and fall, and want to get out.
And even if this is not the case, the US elites-the policy officials-may suspect it to be and spy on empire-alliance leaders:
[Director of the NSA] General Keith Alexander: “NSA–was asked by /US/ policy officials to discover the “leadership intentions” of foreign countries. If you want to know leadership intentions, these were the issues” (email@example.com 01-11-13).
Clear from the beginning, beyond “threats to privacy”, “they all do it”, “it was technically feasible”, and similar smoke screens. Spying on intentions of enemy leaders–the “humint” (HUMan INTelligence) to complement capabilities–is an obvious part of the state system. But on allies?
Even more so. There are allies and allies; empires may decline. Foreign leaders may not offer full obedience in return for protection. Or may not accept US views as accurate, but have their own. They may even explore options. Their real intentions are crucial, and nobody can spy and supervise better than their own secret agencies–coordinated by CIA-NSA–and in their own language. Alexander said the obvious: “policy officials” (ambassadors, etc.) and alliance agencies spying together on policy-makers. The real power elite inside the elite.
Look at this through Angela Merkel’s eyes. She hated the DDR-Deutsche Demokratische Republik Stasi surveillance. But they were amateurs; these people are professionals. A decade went unnoticed, till Snowden. Imagine her rage, comparing.
And imagine the non-rage over the same in Spain: beyond Franco, yes, but Rajoy’s party (Partido Popular) is the–highly corrupt–successor to Franco.
Yet, as there is an inner circle of self-appointed elites there is also an inner circle of allies that presumably can be trusted, the “Five Eyes”: UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand; Anglo-America writ large. Who are they? A club of countries selected on a racist-culturalist basis. White and Anglo, killers of indigenous peoples all over: USA of Native Indians, Canada a little less of First Nations, Australia of Aborigines, New Zealand a little less of Māoris, UK all over–getting the others launched on that slippery slope of genocide and sociocide. They know this. They know that the world’s majority is the kind of people they killed and feel strongly they have to keep together, distrusting non-members. But the US spies on UK Labour and Parliament, USA-UK together on the other three.
Germany wants to join the club for another 5+l, like with the UNSC-UN Security Council veto powers. Race is no problem but culture is: they are not Anglo.
The more the empire declines the more expectation of more spying to identify the enemy within. How is the state of the empire? Not good:
Afghanistan: USA won bases and a pipeline and nothing else, and may lose both after 2014 withdrawal.
Iran gains more influence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, being more legitimate than Saudi-Qatar and G7 in general with their Islamism.
Iraq: USA won bases and access to oil and seems to lose both; and managed to do what Iran did not, turning Iraq into a Shia country.
Syria: dividing Syria into three, four, smaller parts seems not to work; at any rate the leading anti-Assad faction is Islamist Sunni.
Egypt: The USA misread the situation altogether, stranded in a choice between two evils they do not master.
Libya: One more misreading, not understanding how Western secular imperialism (Italy-UK-France-USA-Israel) ignited an Islamist (rather than Arab) and a Berber-Tuareg (rather than Arab) awakening.
Israel: spying on US elites, tail-wags-dog politics, more US anti-semitism than ever (watch YouTube), media increasingly critical of Israel; and Israel in the agony between a Jewish state and democracy, sooner or later forced to declare its Eastern border, faces a South African scenario, being declared a liability for Washington.
Now, how about the other force in the world, BRICS? Not bad:
Brazil’s president Roussef was the first to speak at the UN General Assembly with a devastating critique of the NSA spy program, calling for alternative Internet servers.
Russia: Putin may have put an end to the Syrian crisis as part of a general Middle East crisis–like Gorbachev put an end to the Cold War, not the US with perennial war and threat of war–calling for an end to weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, in the region.
China: Hsinhua media agency called for general deamericanization and for an end to the dollar as “world reserve currency” in particular favoring a basket of currencies not of any single country’s currency.
“Foreign leaders” know this and would betray their own peoples were they not to explore options. The question is how, when. They may use NSA spying as pretext for withdrawal from the empire and cancel-postpone the “Trans-Atlantic Partnership”, TAP. NSA widens the gap.
Leibach’s book This Town makes it unlikely that the Washington politics-media conglomerate will come up with solutions to calamities that dramatic. Few regimes are. Koht, Norwegian foreign minister, spent the night Germany invaded Norway with his mistress, and then rose to the occasion; Quisling, who took over, spent the last cabinet meeting discussing police uniforms, then surrendered to the police. One wonders what Washington DC will do with the double, triple, debacle.
Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He is author of over 150 books on peace and related issues, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.
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