VOR: The US media is pointing to a growing dissatisfaction with President Obama’s foreign policy, both among Republicans and Democrats. Speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s conference in Washington Sen. Ted Cruz said “Abroad, we see our foreign policy collapsing and every region in the world is getting more and more dangerous”. According to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll has registered an increasing lack of faith in the president and his leadership, with 58 per cent of Americans disapproving of the way Obama is handling foreign policy. What is it that makes Americans unhappy?
Paul Craig Roberts: Well, I think, perhaps, Americans are catching on to all of the lies. There are now other sources of information, other than the English-speaking Western media. And the account that the US gives, for example, of Ukraine is clearly a lie. And it takes a while before people catch on to the lies. I don’t think the majority will ever catch on, but enough will.
And then many Americans who are dissatisfied would be dissatisfied for domestic economic reasons. They would want the resources wasted on wars to be allocated to domestic needs and not used to pay for more wars. For example, the Iraq crisis has come back and there is so much talk about sending troops to the Baltics, eastern Europe in order to guard against the “Russian threat.”
So, this alarms people who’ve had no income growth, who can’t find a job, suffer from heavy debts from borrowed money to attend the universities, cut backs of unemployment compensation, the threats to the social security system, the threats to the public medical system (which is not much of a system, but still some people rely on it). So, most Americans, when they see more trouble abroad involving more wars, understand that the wars mean more economic hardship for them. The US has been in war for 13 years. It’s wasted trillions of dollars and achieved no result. And so, this is probably the main reason that people are dissatisfied, because they are suffering here for the sake of wars in which they no longer believe.
VOR: But what exactly is the rationale behind the never-ending wars?
There are several reasons that are mutually supportive. One is that the neoconservative ideology came to full power with the collapse of the Soviet Union. And this ideology says that history has chosen the US to prevail all over the world, that there is no alternative to the American political and economic system, and that this choice by history gives the US the responsibility to exercise hegemony over the entire world.
So, this is a very powerful ideology, a more powerful ideology than the US has ever before had. And it comes at a time when other ideologies are gone. The communist ideology is gone, the Marxist revolutionary movements are gone. And so, it leaves the US dominating on the ideological level.
Another reason is the military-security complex. It is an amazingly large and powerful private interest group with government elements, such as all the security agencies – the CIA, Homeland Security, FBI, the Pentagon. And it absorbs hundreds of billions of dollars, probably close to one trillion dollars annually.
And this money is very important to this interest group. Some of the taxpayers’ money is recycled, it comes back to Congress, it comes back to presidential candidates, as political campaign contributions, thus ensuring their elections and reelections. So, this is a second very strong force – a material interest that is very much benefited by wars and a threat of wars.
And the third very powerful interest group is the Israel lobby. Most of the neoconservatives are Jewish ethnics. Many of them are Israeli-US citizens. Almost all of them are closely tied to Israel. And so, the neoconservative ideology of American hegemony fits in very well with the 13 years of wars in the ME, because these wars also serve a subsidiary interest of disposing of the Arab states that are not aligned with the US and Israel, and that could serve as a check on Israeli policy or Israeli expansion in the ME.
So, these three come together, they are all mutually supportive and in many ways it is the same people. The neoconservatives are the same as the Israel lobby. The officials in the Pentagon, in the State Department, they are also neoconservatives. So, it is a very strong three-part foundation that holds together.
VOR: So, you are saying that the policy is largely defined by an Israeli lobby. But the US policies in the ME actually endanger Israel.
Yes, this is an unintended consequence of the policy. Some analysts tried to warn the neoconservatives that the borders in the ME are artificial, like the ones in Africa that were drawn up by the European colonists, principally the English and the French.
So, you have countries in which you have Shia majorities and Sunni minorities, and then you have countries in which there is a reverse, Sunni majorities and Shia minorities. And this is like the African boundaries that were drawn bringing into the same country two warring tribes, who traditionally were enemies. So, the boundaries of the states don’t make a lot of sense. The boundaries could only have been drawn by ignorant Westerners.
The Islamic confrontation between the different sects was prevented by very strong secular rulers, such as Saddam Hussein, who had a secular government, and Assad in Syria. These were secular, non-Islamic governments that kept the conflict suppressed. So, when you overthrow those governments , you release the conflict.
So, what we see happening on the part of what they are calling ISIS or ISIL is a reforming of borders. Parts of Syria and Iraq are becoming, if the Islamists succeed, a new state. Now, we don’t know whether they will be successful or not, but you can see that there is an impetus to create a life separate from the artificial one created for them by colonial imperialistic powers.
One of the reasons that the breakup of Iraq and Syria was not seen as a threat to Israel, was the Israeli and the neoconservative strategists, who reasoned – oh, this is good, if we break up these states and they are fighting internally, there won’t be any organized government to get in Israel’s way.
In place of Iraq, there will be these warring factions. In place of Syria – warring factions, just like in Libya today. And a state that has no central government is no threat to Israel. And, therefore, we favor this destruction of the political entities of these countries, because it releases us from any sort of organized government’s opposition to Israel’s theft of Palestine. Iraq no longer has a government, it has warring parties, like in Libya, like Washington is establishing in Syria.
So, this is the way the Israelis and the neoconservatives see it. They do not see the destruction of secular Muslim states as a threat, the fools see it as a destruction of a unified country, which would reduce the ability of that country to employ any sort of opposition to Israeli or American purposes.
VOR: When you have been describing that neocon ideology with an idea of a global mission, doesn’t it seem strikingly similar to something like the Marxist ideology, to the communist ideology?
VOR: Does that imply that, perhaps, those two ideologies could have a common root?
No, I don’t think they have a common root, but their effect on the world is the same, because it gives the country that expresses that ideology an impetus to run over other countries and to establish itself, because it sees itself as the sole legitimate system. And in that sense, the Marxist and the neoconservative ideologies are the same, but the roots are quite different.
And I think as well, you know, the whole notion of the unipolar world, the American sole superpower, this fits the financial interests very well. I left them out of my three-part foundation that I spoke to you about, but in a way it is a four-part, because of the American financial hegemony that now exists. This financial hegemony is the reason Washington can put sanctions on countries.
If your currency is not the world currency and you don’t operate the world payment system, you can’t impose sanctions. And so, the power to impose sanctions is also a power for your financial institutions to prevail over the institutions of other countries. So, this ideology that I’m talking about also appeals to Wall Street, to the big banks, because it ensures their hegemony as well.
VOR: But in that sense, does that imply that, perhaps, when we are talking about the interests of large corporations VS national interests, national interests are increasingly losing to the corporate?
In the real sense, there is no longer an American national interest. There is the interest of these powerful interest groups. And we’ve had these recent studies from scholars who have found that the American public has no input whatsoever into government decisions or into policy decisions. The conclusion of the recent study, which looked at thousands of government decisions, was that the American people have zero input into the formation of policy.
The US is surrounding both countries with military bases. The US wants to put Georgia, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin that was part of Russia for two or three hundred years, they want to put that into NATO. They are going to put Ukraine into NATO.
Washington broke all the agreements that Reagan and Gorbachev had about not taking NATO into eastern Europe. NATO is now in the Baltics. It is all across eastern Europe. The former members of the Warsaw pact are now members of NATO.
So, the war is already underway, it is clear. The US has been preparing for years. And the Russians, they must be aware of this. If they are not, they are in really deep trouble.
VOR: Can the US afford it?
Of course! Sure! The reserve currency can pay its bills by printing money. And that’s what Washington does. Washington prints the money.
VOR: But like you said, that creates a lot of risks.
Until the reserve currency role is lost, there is no limit. Recently I read that one of the advisors to Putin said that Russia needs to form some kind of alliance with other countries and bring down the dollar as the world reserve currency, that this is the only way to stop Washington’s military aggression. Of course, he is completely right. But the question is – can they organize something that quick enough that succeeds – because Europe is an American puppet state. Those European governments are not independent. They are no more independent than Hungary and Czechoslovakia and Poland were of the Soviet Communist Party. And Japan is a puppet state, it is not an independent country.
Putin has asked the Russia Duma to rescind the permission to use the Russian troops in Ukraine. So, clearly, he is acting in a very restrained way. He is trying to avoid conflict. He probably realizes that the conflict will be much more dangerous to everybody than the neoconservatives in Washington think.
But the question is – will Putin be able to avoid conflict? What will Washington think? Will they think – oh, this is a very reasonable man, we can make a deal. Or will they think – look, he is scared, Russia is weak, lets’ push forward.
This is something that Putin and Lavrov – the Foreign Minister – don’t seem to understand. They keep thinking that they can work something out with Washington, if the Russian government is just reasonable enough and shows enough good will.
This is a Russian delusion. Washington has no good will.
VOR: Are there any unintended consequences to that strategy, the way you see it?
Only if people catch on and see at some point the reality–and this is what Putin is relying on. At some point, what happens in Germany and France? Will they realize and say – hey, look, the Americans are driving us into a mess. What do we gain from the American hegemony over the world? How do we gain from a conflict with Russia or China? Let’s stop this. Let’s pull out.
If some country were to pull out of NATO or pull out of the EU, then the cover up of Washington’s war crimes by “the coalition of the willing” would have dissenters. Washington has actually told the Congress that if the White House has NATO’s backing, the president doesn’t need the permission of Congress to go to war. The old quote – ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’ is attributed to Lord Acton. It is safe to conclude that Washington has been corrupted by power.
I think one unintended consequence of Washington’s brutal use of power is that it causes the NATO countries to realize that they are being driven towards a conflict by a government that is essentially insane and taking a fantastic risk with everyone’s life and with the planet.
So, perhaps, the realization by others of Washington’s danger to life is what Putin is hoping for. He is hoping that the more Russia is reasonable and not provocative, and doesn’t take provocative actions, the greater the chance that the German Government or the French Government will realize that Washington’s agenda does not serve mankind, and that Europe will take some steps to extract themselves and their countries, and their people from Washington’s control, in which case the American empire falls apart.
So, I think that’s what Putin is betting on. He is not a fool, certainly not, and he realizes the threat of a war, he can see it. And so, this is probably why he’s asked the Russian Duma to rescind the permission to use the Russian forces in Ukraine. He is trying to show the Germans, the French – look, it is not me, it is not us.
I hope he succeeds. The future of the world really depends on whether Putin’s use of diplomacy can prevail over Washington’s use of force.