The great of this world are often blamed for not doing what they could have done; they can reply, just think of all the evil we could have done, but did not do.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, German physicist, writer, aphorist (1742-1799)

—*—

Temperamentally erratic individuals…..[and] such as are schooled by special class traditions or predisposed by special class interest, will readily see the merits of warlike enterprise and keep alive the tradition of national animosity. Patriotism, piracy, and prerogative converge to a common issue….Where it happens that an individual gifted with an extravagant congenital basis of this character is at the same time exposed to circumstances favorable to the development of truculent megalomania and is placed in such a position of irresponsible authority and authentic prerogative as will lend countenance to his idiosyncrasies, his bent may easily gather vogue, become fashionable, and with due persistence and shrewd management come so ubiquitously into habitual acceptance as in effect to throw the population at large into an enthusiastically bellicose frame of mind.

Thorstein Veblen, Imperial Germany

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– Giving Peace a Fighting Chance –

Although it may not have been widely recognised at the time, in June 1963, just a few months shy of the Big Event, president John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) in his American University (AU) Commencement Address delivered what is arguably the most significant oration of his short-lived, ill-fated tenure as commander-in-chief. In fact, it may well have been the most pivotal in American foreign policy in that era. Forget the unforgettable ‘[the] torch has been passed to a new generation….ask not what your country can do for you’ schtick; never mind the indelible ‘we choose to go to the moon because it is hard’…spiel! The following gives us an idea of what was on JFK’s mind:

‘I have….chosen this time and place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth too rarely perceived. And that’s the most important topic on earth: peace. What kind of peace do I mean and what kind of a peace do we seek?  Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war….Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind….that enables men and nations to grow, and to hope, and build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all, not merely peace in our time but….in all time.’

POTUS 35 - John Fitzgerald Kennedy: "He thought he was a god".

POTUS 35 – John Fitzgerald Kennedy:
“He thought he was a god”.

In this address, it appeared Kennedy was attempting to re-define the accepted notion of Pax Americana, to articulate a more inclusive, collaborative version, one that would bring folk with them willingly rather than dragging them kicking and screaming to the position. In almost all respects this wasn’t just a redefinition; he was attempting to turn the notion on its head. ‘Peaceful co-existence’ was decidedly the sub-text of his message. It appeared the baptism of fire he experienced in his on-the-job training as president thus far had changed him significantly.

But as James Douglass has observed, when Kennedy uttered these words, ‘the priests of our national security state saw him as a heretic.’ He’d already pissed quite a few of them off when he baulked at allowing them to requite their apocalyptic urges by nuking Cuba and the Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialists’ Republicsor USSR) back into the Neolithic during the high drama of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 (CMC), instead insisting on back channel diplomacy to resolve the crisis.

Put simply, the hawks weren’t happy with this new and unexpected development especially from a president they’d already decided wasn’t cut out for the Biggest Game in Town. From the Brass Asses in the Pentagon bunkers to the winkle-pickered wolf-pack down on the Langley Farm to the Righteous, pointy-headed foreign policy and national security wonks in the Beltway think-tanks and the hallowed halls of Ivy League academia and even a few within his own administration, doubtless this would have come across as touchy-feely, appeasement-sounding – indeed naïve, unadulterated – nonsense. This was not in the brochure, and quite a few would’ve been spitting hollow points at the wall.

For those who were looking then, this ostensibly represented a road to Damascus-like conversion from 1950’s era unreconstructed McCarthyite-Lite Cold Warrior to a self-styled global Grand Pax proselyte. Herein Kennedy appeared to openly resist the contemporary notion of a Pax Americana on the basis that their Cold War adversaries the Soviet Union comprised folk with the same individual aspirations and collective desires as Americans, notwithstanding the fact they were Godless, soul deprived Commies bent on oppression, tyranny and world domination.

As such, a ‘pax’ – even one comprising the ostensibly universally attractive, noble ideals of freedom, democracy, liberty, egalitarianism, rule of law and basic human rights – predicated by “American weapons of war” was not something as president he saw as desirable, much less one that would or could work in the long run. Instinctively, he seemed to realise that a peace imposed from on high was always going to be a phony peace, a (ahem) ‘faux pax’ as it were. Clearly, Kennedy’s address gives us some key – though not necessarily conclusive – insights into where he might have taken the United States in its foreign policy in general, and in its fraught relationship with the USSR in particular.

Of course it was this relationship – defined by the Cold War – whose apocalyptic possibilities during the CMC as already noted became uncomfortably probable as far as the president was concerned. By all accounts, the address made the Soviets who themselves were as equally unnerved by the CMC standoff, sit up and take notice – in particular his notional nemesis at the time, Soviet General Secretary, Nikita Khrushchev‘You have our full attention Mr President’ appeared to be the general vibe from the gremlins in the Kremlin. Even Cuban president Fidel Castro – whom folks within JFK’s own administration had spent no small amount of time, ingenuity and effort trying to ‘off’ – was reportedly impressed!

In this seminal address, Kennedy appeared implicitly at least to refute the conventional notion that leadership greatness is synonymous with being a wartime president, along with seemingly rejecting – or at least questioning – the prevailing Manichean view of the contemporary geopolitical order. Indeed, throughout his truncated presidency – if not throughout his pre-White House years, and unlike post-War presidents before and especially after him – Kennedy seemed to become increasingly conflicted about conventional notions of war and peace, America’s place in the world, and in particular, its relationship with its former wartime ally the Soviets and what implications that relationship might have for both countries and the ROW.

However – and this is a big “however”, possibly the Modern American Narrative’s biggest – unbeknown to him and almost all of his closest, most trusted aides, advisors and confidantes at that point, Kennedy’s days as the POTUS were numbered. Certain forces had their own ideas of Pax Americana, and as history tells us they were determined for their own reasons to forcefully deny the president the opportunity to put ‘meat on the skeleton’ of the Grand Pax he envisioned and then articulated at AU.

As always, a detour down ‘memory lane’ is necessary here.

The concept of Pax Americana (‘American peace’) is largely derived from similar abstractions integral to the understanding of, and insightful discourse on, the history and psychopathology of empires from Rome (Pax Romana) to the UK (Pax Britannica). Pax Americana – or Romana, Britannica et. al. – referenced halcyon-like periods of relative peace achieved by these respective empires as a result of their hegemony throughout their existence. Although clearly derived from these earlier historical versions, for its part, the American iteration is in many ways unique, and it has changed somewhat since the phrase was first used. Moreover, it is not entirely unrelated to other uniquely American constructs essential to gaining a more useful insight into this country’s character and its development as a nation, not to mention its own peculiar psychopathology.

With this in mind, it might be instructive to consider the following. In the third century AD, the Romans defined a concept called ‘romanitas’, which referenced the collective political concepts, humanist precepts, social constructs and cultural practices by which the Romans viewed themselves. Latter day historians sometimes use this term as shorthand for what it means to be ‘Roman’ in terms of ‘national’ identity, uniqueness and sense of self. According to historian Greg Woolf, the Romans saw their identity as based on being part of a political, social, cultural and religious community with common ethical values, customs, ideals, morality and [a] particular (peculiar?) way of life or of looking at life. Some readers may already suspect where this is going, to wit: In analogous reference to America today, we might contrive the term ‘americanitas‘, which for some may sound suspiciously like an unwelcome affliction of sorts, and an equally unwelcome metaphor.

(That it may be “unwelcome” because of the frequency with which the fall of the Roman empire and the reasons for it are evidenced as a useful pointer to the likely destiny of the American empire is a valid and enticing consideration surely, but one we might reserve for another time.)

Apparently the origin of the term was decidedly non-Roman, even anti-Roman – it derived from a pejorative description by the Carthaginian Christian theologian and writer Tertullian of those of his fellow citizens who were in his view, too much in thrall to Roman culture and to the Empire, to the point of emulating its customs and beliefs at the expense of – or in denial of – their own. Used in this sense, likewise ‘americanitas’ might be applicable as an encompassing motif delineating contemporary American life, culture, society and the psychopathology of the body politic. Like its Roman derivative, americanitas can be ambiguous and equivocal in its meaning. It can invoke at once the noble and the ignoble, the venerable and the discreditable. And it does. But as many would say, moreso the latter. In both cases.

Other “constructs” include (American) exceptionalism (loosely, the proposition that America is different from other countries, in terms of its national identity, and its “historical evolution, political and religious institutions, and unique origins”), along with the notion of manifest destiny (broadly, the unerring conviction of a ‘preordained’ US mission to promote, implement and defend democracy throughout the ROW). Both of these notions – which share some assumptions – will be for many, familiar, identifiable motifs. (The French called it a “mission civilisatrice”.)

In modern parlance then, Pax Americana became a shorthand for the rise of US dominance in global affairs after World War Two – especially that which derived from their geopolitical influence, their economic power, and their military dominion (underscored by their nuclear monopoly at the time, which unbeknown to them, was short-lived). Thus ‘pax’ in whatever way it manifested itself previously was more a peace as a by-product of empire, possibly ‘achieved’ by accident or default, or imposed via hegemonic artifice by the empire du jour. In so many ways, in its more modern iteration, it’s not all that much different; as might be expected though, in the case of the US, there are some unique takes on the ‘pax’.

Washington Rules by Andrew Bacevich The Washington Rule Book?

Washington Rules by Andrew Bacevich:
The Washington Rule Book?

In his excellent book Washington Rules – America’s Path to Permanent War, Andrew Bacevich talks about an “American credo” which he says calls upon the United States – and the United States alone – to “lead, save, liberate, and ultimately transform the world”; and the “sacred trinity”, a firm belief that the fundamental essentials of international peace and order requires America to:  

‘…..to maintain a global military presence, to configure its forces for global power projection, and to counter existing or anticipated threats by relying on a policy of global interventionism.’

Bacevich goes on to say that both credo and trinity – respectively, ‘one defining purpose, the other defining practice’ – form the foundation of the approach the US has taken in its attempt to “govern and police” the so-called (New) American Century, with the relationship between the two being reciprocal in that, ‘[T]he trinity lends plausibility to the credo’s vast claims….[and] the credo justifies the trinity’s vast requirements’. 

Now of course a lot of dirty water has flowed under the bridge of US and world history in the fifty plus years since JFK delivered his AU address. To say the geopolitical landscape is far removed from his singular – albeit naïve, even idealistic – AU vision would be stating the obvious. But sometimes the “obvious” still bears repeating, especially when it comes to the ‘obvious’ place America finds itself in 2013.  As George Orwell memorably noted‘We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men’, leading one to ponder what his thoughts now might be on just how deep we have sunk since he made that statement.

Putting aside the ‘reality’ no-one saw it coming (that is all those whose job it was to know), with the crumbling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the eventual fall of the ‘evil empire’ the USSR in 1991, and the epochal, albeit slow-mo ‘triumph’ of capitalism over communism and [of] the forces of ‘good’ over ‘evil’, America was poised to become – in the later words of Madeleine Albright, president Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State – the ‘indispensable nation… [to] see[ing] further and stand[ing] taller’ than the rest. Coming from someone who viewed the bombing of hundreds of thousands of civilians including women and children as an “acceptable price” to pay for the maintenance of Empire, a statement like this might not be surprising for most folk.

One is though still left wondering how tall she had to stand and how far she had to see to reach the conclusion that these innocent people were themselves, in a word, ‘dispensable’, collateral damage in the noble cause of preserving the bedrock of the imperial domain. Yet whilst it was not recognized by most, the demise of communism and the hindsight-laden ‘we told you so’ triumphalism – both ideological and nationalistic in character and fervor – that inevitably resulted though created an almost immediate imperial existential crisis – or a ‘psycho-political’ quandary if one likes – for the US. America was at/in one of its most significant ‘crossroads’ Mo’s: what or who was going to take the place of the Godless Ones?

– Meet the New World Order (Same as the Old New World Order) –

The vacuum that defined this “quandary” was officially and spectacularly filled as we all know less than 10 years later on one sunny September morning in 2001, apparently by a bunch of rag-tag Islamic/Arabic radicals collectively massaging a mortal hard-on for Old Glory, the Stars and Bars, [and] Uncle Sam and everything he purportedly stood for. Whilst Americans themselves – and much of the rest of the world – were abruptly plummeted into a state of abject shock, horror and outrage, American power elites breathed a sigh of relief at long last, sensing a once in a lifetime opportunity to finally realise the pernicious ideology that up to that point, wasn’t going anywhere much. America now knew who its real enemy was once again. Or at least that’s what it appeared like. But as someone once famously suggested, appearances aren’t always the best representation of reality, or words to that effect. This when one thinks about it, could be an appropriate epitaph for an Empire! Any Empire!

Shortly thereafter the traumatic event of 9/11, the so-called Bush Doctrine (BD) of 2002, the Bush administration’s National Security Strategy ‘hastily’ drafted in response to the attacks, was updated with a Cold-War ‘us v them’ worldview to deal with The New World Order (aka The New ‘Us and Them’).  9/11 was New Year’s Day for the New American Century then. The Bush Doctrine emanated from, and was initially prescribed pre-9/11 largely by the assorted real and/or imagined threats posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the one-time (and now decidedly deceased) US client tyrant/poster boy of Iraq, and a himself the ‘carryover’ from the first Gulf War prosecuted in 1991 by the president’s estimable pater familias George HW Bush and POTUS Number 41.

But after 9/11 the BD went on to include – as especially evidenced by the developments and events that followed in its wake – Al Qaeda terrorists, Taliban fundamentalists, Islamo-fascists, Wahhabi extremists, Koran-bashing cranks and assorted jihadists, Salafists, neo-Caliphists, and messianic, misanthropic Muslims in general. It was an expansive menu to be sure. In a nutshell, the godless infidel communists bent on taking over the world then were replaced by the god(aw)ful Islamist nihilists/anarchists bent on destroying it.

But the Doctrine for good measure also included addressing the ‘clear and present’ threats posed by rogue nations such as then ‘Dear Leader’ Kim Jong-il’s North Korea, the Iranian ‘imamocracy’, and Bashar al-Assad’s Syria, to name the obvious ones, who in varying degrees were either suspected or accused of harboring, encouraging, bankrolling and/or otherwise supporting the ‘towel-headed’ terror-meisters.

As far as new best enemies go, America was blessed with a plethora of choice then. It doesn’t come any better than this! The Evil Empire over time then morphed into an Axis of Evil! As defined by the Doctrine though, for the ROW, the “choice” was limited – you were either with us or against us, in our hour of need of course. Which we might readily surmise was Bush’s way of saying you can have the security of the slave or the peace of the grave.

First Day of the New American Century

First Day of the New American Century

Tellingly, the Bush Doctrine assumed, presumed then re-asserted American geopolitical dominion as the one and only “indispensable” superpower, a status no rival power will be allowed to challenge. And the BD provided a rationale for why the ROW should accept this state of affairs as a fait accompli: the creation and expansion of ample opportunities for the export of more Peace™, Love™, Understanding™, Democracy™, Liberty™, Freedom™ and Happiness™ than you can poke a shoulder mounted multi-purpose Stinger assault weapon at in a month of Bloody Afghanistan Sundays. These folk clearly were finely attuned to the “merits of warlike enterprise”.

In fact when one considers the Bush Doctrine then, even placing the words “Bush” and “Doctrine” in the same sentence would for many be something of a stretch. The very concept of a “doctrine” suggests substance, depth or gravitas, qualities that few folk – even possibly his most ardent admirers – would ever accuse Number 43 of possessing in abundance. Bush always seemed to have chaps to do the heavy lifting for him. One of the “chaps” in the Bush tent doing the heavy lifting was to be sure Paul Wolfowitz.

As hinted, the BD was an updated riff on an earlier unrequited ‘doctrine-in-waiting’ – specifically, the Wolfowitz Doctrine.  Proposed by Wolfowitz in the wake of the first (Persian) Gulf War, the eponymous doctrine advocated unilateralism and preemption (U&P) in US foreign policy even back then. For those whom foreign policy argot may be a tad esoteric (foreign?), it’s simply instructive to note here that – as espoused by the WD especially – “unilateralism” meant that we’re not going to seek permission from the United Nations or anyone else to kick your ass if we feel we have to, and “preemption means “if we feel we have to”, we’re going to go in hard, go in early and kick your ass before you kick ours, preferably with extreme prejudice and without any advance warning.

That this went on to become post-9/11 the most marked change in official US foreign policy in a generation or more is rarely disputed. But the WD never saw much daylight throughout the Clinton administration, as Clinton and his key military and national security advisors weren’t quite so keen – the Bosnian War notwithstanding – on pursuing U&P, its principal tenets. With the benefit of hindsight though, we can now say that Clinton simply only delayed the momentum of a movement toward cornering the market on hegemonic dominion via a “Big Enchilada” U&P doctrine.

Suffice it to say that the day after 9/11, to the extent there were any ‘bets’ in play at the time, they were promptly taken off the geopolitical card table. America’s foreign policy then immediately morphed from an unstated ‘containment’ like stance that variously characterized much of the Cold War, to one of a unilateral and aggressively preemptive action against those aforementioned “real and imagined threats”. America would once again stand tall in the saddle. Pax Americana redux then! On steroids this time!

To say 9/11 was a game changer is an understatement to be sure. According to Bush, his gung-ho acolytes, and the Righteous (sic) proselytes of the New American Century, this time Pax Americana will be rolled out “in the service of a balance of power that favors freedom.” If achieving this version of Pax Americana means going to war, and even if going to war means doing so twice and doing so on the basis of a ‘porky-pie’ or three, then so be it. There was even suggestion America may need to go on a permanent or indefinite war footing, and that was OK too. As Gore Vidal envisioned it – Permanent War for Permanent Peace. And as history now tells us (or more correctly in many cases is trying to tell us), with many other epochal events of the Grand American Narrative, so it was to be with this one the real story is somewhat different from the official one.

And the ‘porkies’ started before the roof of Tower One of the WTC succumbed to Mother Gravity and merged into the basement thereby defying the laws of physics in the process. Arguably one of the first and biggest lies associated with 9/11 was the powers that be – that is those whose job it is to know (i.e. CIA, FBI, INS etc.) and all other national security watchdogs – all swearing black and blue there was “no way” anyone could have predicted the attacks and the unique methods by which they were carried out, and/or could have prevented them. Of course we now know there was ample evidence pointing to the events of 9/11 – including the methods and means by which they were perpetrated – and yet they were still unable to ‘connect the dots’.

According to Ahmed Rashid, in the 2009 book Descent Into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia, one of many a riveting and scathing critique of the imperial quagmire in which America immersed itself in the wake of 9/11 – the highly respected, veteran Pakistani reporter, noted that in the lead up to the New American Century’s First Day in Infamy, the FBI alone issued well over 200 internal threat warnings of an al Qaeda attack, with the eyes and ears of the empire the National Security Agency (NSA) itself also reporting dozens of threat warnings of same. Even here the NSA and FBI and others would appear to have spent more time issuing warnings than either did in reacting to, and prepping for, an adequate response to the threat implicit in these warnings.

For his part Bill Clinton, during the transition meeting that traditionally takes place between incoming and outgoing presidents, strongly urged ‘Dubya’ to take the terrorist group seriously, emphasising it could prove to be a major security threat. As history vividly reminds us, with Bush & Co., the warning apparently went in one ear and out the other. Moreover, in mid-2001, Richard Clarke – Clinton’s terrorism ‘tsar’ and a ‘carryover’ from his administration – wrote to Condoleezza Rice – Bush’s National Security Advisor, to urge her to pay more attention to the threat warnings coming in from all quarters that he said had “reached a crescendo”.

And if that wasn’t enough, just over two months before 9/11, the CIA prepped a briefing paper for Bush himself that was worded along the following lines:

‘We believe [bin Laden] will launch a significant attack against US interests in the coming weeks…..attack preparations have been made…..and will occur with little or no warning.’

There can only be three – or if one likes to really push the speculative envelope – four possible explanations.

– those folk responsible for America’s security were either asleep at the wheel and/or working at cross purposes to each other; [or]

– were so arrogant and geopolitically insular they dutifully ignored such warnings and were covering each other’s ass for fear of being actually held responsible for one of the country’s darkest, most tragic – and preventable – events; [or]

– these folks knew about the impending attacks and yet it served their purpose to allow them to take place and/or when it became obvious the US was under attack stalled, shut down or delayed first response efforts.

Of course the ‘popular’ conspiracy theory at the time – and becoming increasingly so it would appear – is that the US power elites actually perpetrated the attacks themselves. But let’s not go there for the present; we’ll save that for a ‘rainy day’! Either way, events like 9/11 – much like the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack – do not occur in some historical vacuum, as some folk would have us perceive, nor do they come as a complete surprise, certainly not for those who are getting paid to predict then prevent said surprises.

As for 9/11, amongst countless others, David Ray Griffin’s book 9/11 – Ten Years Later: When State Crimes Against Democracy Succeed is as good a starting place as any for those who have harboured any doubts about the official story that purports to explain this seminal event in US history. In more recent developments, a long running court action taken out by the families of 9/11 victims against the Saudi Arabian government alleging its complicity in the planning, funding and orchestrating of the terrorist actions could prove to be a real Pandora’s Box. The legal action is seeking the release of the now infamous 28 pages redacted – using the catch all rationale of “national security” – from the final 9/11 Commission Report, all of which detail FBI investigation findings related to Saudi involvement.

By most accounts there are a lot of folks in and around the Beltway who must be now sweating hollow points at the prospect this action – when just recently a NY judge ruled in favour of the plaintiffs by suspending further legal action upon the part of the defendants preventing its release, pending further judicial deliberation – might eventually force the US Government to cough up the redacted material. The potentially explosive nature of this material was summed up by one observer with grim portent for those who would prefer to let the sleeping dogs of this day in infamy lie:

With so many unanswered questions surrounding 9/11, there is no telling what may be disclosed if the case is allowed to move forward. The terrifying reality is that if the Saudis are found guilty of involvement in the events of 9/11, such a conclusion would only raise more questions than it would answer. Who inside the United States government would be covering for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia for so many years— and more importantly, why?’

– The Forward March of Freedom (One Step Forward, Two Steps Back) –

POTUS 43 Geo W Bush - Position Vacant No Heavy Lifting Req.

POTUS 43 Geo W Bush – Position Vacant
No Heavy Lifting Req.

The difference then between George Bush’s vision impaired reality of the ‘here and now’ back then and JFK’s more clear eyed vision of the future four decades earlier could not have been more stark. Whereas Kennedy at least openly contemplated a path to presidential greatness via a Grand Peace, Bush like many presidents before him saw the only path to a glorious presidential legacy [was] through war, one he ‘knew’ the American people would support him in.

As impaired as Bush’s vision may have been, one is tempted – at least with hindsight – to suggest that his was the more pragmatic and realistic, and the one most in sync with America’s true ‘manifest destiny’. Jack’s didn’t stand a ‘snowball’s’! For a nation then whose ‘business model’ was seemingly based on the military, industrial and financial infrastructure and the accrued and collective power that is at once the rationale and foundation for it, it made perfect ‘economic’ sense! What was there not to like?

Which is to say that in Dubya’s case, one war wouldn’t be enough; we have to have two or more of them, seemingly ignoring in the process, one of history’s most valuable yet neglected lessons: never fight a war on two fronts, and that only applies when you know who your enemy is and where to find him and how to kill him and sail on to victory! By and large, the war on terror doesn’t throw up such opportunities. Which when we think about it, is probably the whole aim of the exercise in any event!

Around sixty years after the D-Day landings and the Allies invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe in June 1944, and around fourty years after JFK’s AU address, in an address to Air Force Academy graduates in the summer of 2004, Bush succinctly and unambiguously summed up his nouveau-imperial vision, the state of (his) empire and his brand of Pax Americana:

‘Each of you receiving a commission today…will carry the hopes of free people everywhere. As your generation assumes its own duties during a global conflict….you will be called upon to take brave action and serve with honor. In some ways this struggle we’re in is unique…In other ways it resembles the great clashes of the last century between those who put their trust in tyrants, and those who put their trust in liberty…the goal of this generation is the same. We’ll secure our nation and defend the peace through the forward march of freedom.’ [My Emphasis]

Spot the difference!? What be wrong with this picture?  Well for one thing, unlike JFK did during World War 2, when it came to taking “brave action” and serving “with honour” himself at the height of the ‘Nam War, the militarily eligible Dubya was nowhere to be seen, presumably preoccupied finding other ways and means to demonstrate his undoubtedly unique brand of bravery and honor in securing his nation and defending the peace thereof.

It would seem also his own knowledge of his country’s history was a tad deficient – in presenting this speech he seemed completely oblivious to or chose to overlook one simple, yet inescapable reality: That of the number of times both he and his predecessors and their political apparatchiks – including it should be noted his old man ‘Haitch Dubya’; Manuel Noriega anyone? – have recidivistically placed their fervent trust in tyrants. Which when we think about it, is the genesis of most of the problems of the empire, then and now!

For its part then Bush’s Pax Americana morphed very quickly into (a) Pox Amerikana, an unprecedented, raging, out of control geopolitical pandemic for the ages – albeit one long in the making well before Dubya’s time – and again, the “consequences and outcomes” of which (about which Bush appeared none the wiser when he returned the keys to the White House and hauled his sorry ass off into the political sunset), will be with us forever and a day.

That is unless the next generation can find and administer a cure before it is too late. Because it appears – given that Dubya’s successor and Nobel Peace prize winner Barack Obama is doing all he possibly can to keep the imperial home fires burning and with little prospect any new Oval Office occupant from 2017 onwards will do anything other than pour more gasoline on said fires and ignite of few of his/her own for good measure – this virulent strain of geopolitical overreach and hegemonically induced hubris will not croak of its own accord anytime soon.

As I frequently like to observe when lamenting the wasted talents, diminished potential and tarnished glory of this sometimes Great Nation, more’s the pity I say.

 – Pox Amerikana – 

The End.

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