By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
A CubaNews translation edited by Walter Lippmann.
There was a moment, between the end of the Cold War in 1991 and the beginning of the Great Recession of 2008, when, in the great United States, optimism about the global spread of US-style liberalism reigned.
It was believed at the time that the United States could use its economic, military, and political superiority to shape a new world order in which their manipulated versions of democracy, human rights, economic interdependence among nations and long-lasting peace would prevail.
During those years, many new members were admitted to NATO and the European Union.
The perspective that Boris Yeltsin’s Russia would become a neoliberal “democracy,” was considered a close possibility. And it was thought that China would be a “responsible” player in the international community.
But now, “we live in a completely different time,” says Stephen Walt in his new book entitled “The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy”, where he analyzes the spirit of today’s times.
The forecasts on the dissipation of the pre-eminence of the United States have become routine. Anti-liberal — left and right wing– parties and movements (many of the latter xenophobic) — have emerged all over Europe. Britain’s departure from the European Union is near.
Globalization is facing a violent reaction and intolerant nationalism is moving forward from Brasilia to Budapest.
Walt’s assessments about the US foreign policy after the Cold War, describe it as “visible failures without great achievements” and consider that, regarding both the general condition of the world, as well as Washington’s status within it, have declined significantly and steadily between 1993 and 2006.”
The liberal internationalist agenda is attractive, but according to Walt it is based on three erroneous assumptions.
(1) The first is that other countries would embrace liberalism mirroring the US style, despite the world’s political and cultural diversity.
(2) The second — which is widely shared by those responsible for U.S. foreign policy and influential members of the media, academia, and think tanks– is that the US could successfully promote democratic policies all over the world thanks to unipolarity. The democracy-building programs of alleged non-governmental organizations such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the US National Fund for Democracy and the International Republican Institute arose from this belief. And when tougher measures are required, the foreign policy establishment considers that the U.S. military strength can defeat despotic regimes, win hearts and minds, and impose democratic policies.
(3) The third assumption underlying liberal internationalism is that the end of the Cold War will end up rendering the political balance of power obsolete, along with spheres of influence, and the nationalism based on blood, soil and faith.
For Walt, these assumptions constitute a fundamental misunderstanding of the forces that shape the world and, therefore, will inevitably lead to failure.
He believes that the madness and fiascos of the last twenty-five years have been a result of the blind commitment of this endogamy system with liberal internationalism: a vision of the world that unites Democrats and Republicans and Liberals and Conservatives alike, and that was adopted by Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
During these three presidencies, the supposed leader was the United States, which, for reasons of principle and self-interest, had to use its unequal power to spread liberal values all over the world. In practice, this meant designing a world in which the majority of the world’s countries — ideally all—would embrace the US pattern of “democratic” ideals, human rights, global governance, markets and rule of law.
Such an international order would not only preserve the preponderance of the United States but would also be safer. Such a belief has been fundamental for the credo of liberal internationalists because “democracies” do not make war against their peers nor do they massacre their citizens or produce bloodshed and agitation that can culminate in civil wars and broken states.
Despite the billions of dollars spent on its promotion, the US model “democracy” failed in 27 states between 2005 and 2015.
December 6, 2018.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
A CubaNews translation, edited by Walter Lippmann.
In a few years, it’s metastasized to every continent. Its fervent advocates and ill-informed supporters call it populism or nationalism. In Italy, Germany or Spain in the 1930s, they called it by its name: Fascism. Mussolini in Italy, Hitler in Germany and Franco in Spain were bloodthirsty tenors of the symphony orchestra of capitalism.
By the time when, in 1945, Russia and the Western allies put an end to the collective psychosis induced by fascism, between 68 and 80 million people had already been killed in the world.
This is how French journalist, analyst, and filmmaker Gilbert Mercier recounts it in a work — published on the News Junkie Post website –devoted to the analysis of this surprising political phenomenon that has been spreading out throughout several countries, to the shame and fear of human kind.
“Neo-fascists have wrapped themselves in the flag of populism and nationalism and have falsely convinced their supporters that they are the champions of the struggle against globalism, elitism and the corruption of the neoliberal political system.
However, they are ferocious defenders of the capitalist dogfight, and its abject systematic exploitation of the working class. They enthusiastically support the global military-industrial complex, as well as the meaningless capitalist exploitation of natural resources through deforestation and mining.
For the neo-fascists, just as for the capitalists, wealth has to be concentrated in fewer hands, and their money must circulate across borders without restrictions, even though ordinary people can’t do this with theirs.”
Some of its leaders, like Trump and Bolsonaro, were elected mainly
on the false premise and racist notion of cultural war and clash of civilizations. That is, the mythical threat that, in an already multi-ethnic world, immigrants and outsiders –often with darker skins or with another religion– represent a present danger to the host countries.
Neo-fascists have been erecting mental walls of hatred in Europe and America.
The global proliferation of neo-fascism is a new way of ideological globalization; and global capitalism is counting on it.
For example, once it became evident that Bolsonaro would be elected president of Brazil, that country’s stock market rose by 13% in two weeks, while the main international markets were dropping.
Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, has already put Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua in the neo-fascist hit-list of his agenda. He called these countries the “troika of tyranny”.
Bolton is counting on Colombia and Brazil as the new regional fascist accomplices of U.S. imperialism to enforce a resurrected Monroe Doctrine.
In the United States and Brazil, the evangelical Christian vote was a paramount factor in the elections of Trump and Bolsonaro.
“The born-again Christian fundamentalists in the United States are concentrated mainly in the former Civil War Confederate states of the South.”
These evangelical fundamentalist communities, to a great extent, reject evolution, secularism, and the reality that climate change is human-made. Many in these communities believe that the US should be a Christian state. These fundamentalists are the most reliable voting block for Trump, just as they were for George W. Bush.
Behind the curtains, very well-financed right-wing fundamentalist think-tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation, have been moving the world’s threads since the early 1970s.
Bolsonaro in Brazil was raised as a Catholic, but he became an Evangelical
This could be interpreted as a foresighted opportunistic and cynical political move. It was the evangelical voting bloc that gave him the advantage over his opponent during the presidential elections in October 2018.
The emergence of global fascism offers a gloomier perspective for the survival of humanity. Like Trump in the United States and Bolsonaro in Brazil, neo-fascists deny climate change. The latter could design a dangerously destructive strategy for the Amazon, which can be considered the breathing lung of the Earth because of its ability to absorb carbon dioxide.
The super-rich who control global capitalism will give free rein to their fascist substitutes to increase and use a mass military-police force to repress the billions of people who become climate change refugees and victims of the ecological collapse.
Despite its predictions –handled discreetly by the Pentagon — that climate change is becoming a national security problem; climate change will be the endgame for capitalism. All the gold and diamonds in the world will neither stop the storms, nor protect the atmosphere from the deadly rays of a scorching sun.
December 10, 2018.
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