Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Same Story With A New Twist

In his book, Hegemony Or Survival, Noam Chomsky argued that George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq was merely the next step in an imperial grand strategy which was drawn up in Washington at the end of World War II:

The imperial grand strategy asserts the right of the United States to undertake "preventative war" at will: Preventative not preemptive. Preemptive war might fall within the framework of international law.

Ross Douhat, in this morning's New York Times, argues that President Obama's nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense and John Brennan as Director of the C.I.A. is in keeping with the original plan -- with a new twist:

Like the once-hawkish Hagel, Obama has largely rejected Bush’s strategic vision of America as the agent of a sweeping transformation of the Middle East, and retreated from the military commitments that this revolutionary vision required. And with this retreat has come a willingness to make substantial cuts in the Pentagon’s budget — cuts that Hagel will be expected to oversee.

But the Brennan nomination crystallizes the ways in which Obama has also cemented and expanded the Bush approach to counterterrorism. Yes, waterboarding is no longer with us, but in its place we have a far-flung drone campaign — overseen and defended by Brennan — that deals death, even to American citizens, on the say-so of the president and a secret administration “nominations” process. 

Obama is not one for leaving big footprints in foreign countries. But his emphasis on drone warfare signals his acceptance of the idea of preventative war, to be waged on America's terms. It's the same story with a new twist.

Obama is many things. But he certainly is no dove.

This entry is cross posted at The Moderate Voice.


The Mound of Sound said...

There is a hot debate these days about whether Obama's Drone War is achieving anything or if it's actually fueling "blowback" conditions.

I read a particularly disturbing account of what it's like to be a peaceful tribesman in Pakistan's hill country where the locals see and hear drones overhead much of the time and never know if they will be targeted for the next strike.

Now almost a dozen nations are following America's lead and outfitting their military with armed drones. Japan and China are two that are particularly worrisome.

The Americans are also using drones to try to spark conflicts, particularly over Iran.

Owen Gray said...

It's an old story, Mound. The latest weapon becomes the newest car in the driveway. Then all the neighbours race to prove they are the most conspicuous consumers of the world's riches.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Your last sentence sure rings true. It is embarrassing to think that he got the Nobel Peace Prize. Give it back!

The Drone Warfare is perfect. Americans will not have to do the dying and not enough Americans care to know enough about the rest of the countries in the World, so there will be little outrage at this illegal form of warfare, violating the sovereignty of other nations. I wonder how long it will be before enemies of the United States have drone, to seek out American politicians to be murdered???

Owen Gray said...

Every new weapon starts an arms race, Philip. Soon there will be drones everywhere.