... the political leadership has undermined possibilities for political settlement and fostered conflict in regions where such conflict could lead to a devastating nuclear war, and has sometimes come all too close--notably the Middle East. These consistent patterns make no sense on the assumption that security policy is guided by security concerns. Case by case, they fall into place on the assumption that policy is driven by the twin goals of reinforcing the private interests that control the state, and maintaining an international environment in which they can prosper.
... it has been the conviction of the capitalists as a class and of most capitalists as individuals that "war does not pay," that war is incompatible with an industrial society, that the interests of capitalism require peace and not war. For only peace permits those rational calculations upon which capitalist actions are based. War carries with it an element of irrationality and chaos which is alien to the very spirit of capitalism.
The location, natural resources, and populations of the underdeveloped areas are such that, should they become attached to the Communist bloc, the United States would become the second power in the world . . . Indirectly, the evolution of the underdeveloped areas is likely to determine the fate of Western Europe and Japan and, therefore the effectiveness of those industrialized regions in the free world alliance we are committed to lead. If the underdeveloped areas fall under Communist domination, or if they move to fixed hostility to the West, the economic and military strength of Western Europe and Japan will be diminished, the British Commonwealth as it is now organized will disintegrate, and the Atlantic world will become, at best, an awkward alliance, incapable of exercising effective influence outside a limited orbit, with the balance of the world's power lost to it. In short, our military security and our way of life as well as the fate of Western Europe and Japan are at stake in the evolution of the underdeveloped areas.
... during the entire period of mature capitalism, no war, with the exception of the Boer War, was waged by major powers exclusively or even predominately for economic objectives. The Austro-Prussian War of 1866 and the Franco-German War of 1870, for instance, had no economic objectives of any importance. They were political wars, indeed imperialistic wars, fought for the purpose of establishing a new distribution of power, first in favor of Prussia within Germany and then in favor of Germany within the European state system. The Crimean War of 1854-56, the Spanish-American War of 1898, the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, the Turko-Italian War of 1911-12, and the several Balkan Wars show economic objectives only in a subordinate role, if they show them at all. The two world wars were certainly political wars, whose stake was the domination of Europe, if not of the world. Naturally, victory in these wars brought economic advantages and, more particularly, defeat brought in its wake economic losses. But these effects were not the real issue; they were only by-products of the political consequences of victory and defeat. Still less were these economic effects the motives that determined in the minds of the responsible statesmen the issue of war and peace.
Perhaps worst of all, the US as a whole has reacted to the events of September 11th by ceasing to treat friendly Arab Gulf states with the respect and dignity they deserve. If anything, the US has acted as if it has no faith in any of the governments of its Arab allies, and as if some miracle would suddenly transform Iraq magically into a modern democratic state which would then - in turn - use sympathetic magic to catalyze equal change throughout the Arab world. And, it would do so regardless of all the real world political, cultural, economic, and demographic realities involved. This view of US intervention in Iraq may be excusable as a fantasy of some Israelis reacting to the trauma of the Second Intifada. As American policy, however, it crosses the line between neo-conservative and neo-crazy.
... often the greatest threat to moderation and peace, and certainly the most insidious, comes from objectives that are couched in terms of fine principles in which the policy-maker fervently believes, yet that turn out to have no relation to political realities and can therefore be applied only by tortuous or brutal methods which broaden ad infinitum the gap between motives and effects. ... What Vietnam proves, in my opinion, is not the wickedness of our intentions or objectives but the wickedness that results from irrelevant objectives and disembodied intentions, applied by hideous and massive means. It has its roots, intellectual and emotional, in elements of the American style that I have been at pains to analyze in detail. The Americans' very conviction that their goals are good blinds them to the consequences of their acts.
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