(Warning: Realpolitik. Opinion ahead. Very political.)
This writeup is an argumentation for and a discussion of the following:
The War against Terrorism is about power.
To support this statement I would like to look at some of the effects that this war has had so far. I omit a number of important consequences, such as the ending of the reign of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, and the death on all sides. It's not that those are not important, but they are not directly relevant to the way of thinking I want to present here. The effects I'd like to look at are the following.
- The United States now occupy both Afghanistan and Iraq, and it is likely that they will remain there for several years at least.
- In their decision to go to war with Iraq, the US more or less ignored the dissent of both the United Nations and the majority of the European Union.
- The PATRIOT act and associated legislation has been introduced in the US, greatly eroding civil rights there.
- A number of lucrative contracts for rebuilding Iraq have been given to companies associated with members of the Bush administration.
- Domestic criticism in the US has been loudly shouted down with the argument that one has to "support the troops" during war.
Effects number one and two strengthen the military and political dominance of the US. The UN has now been shown to be ineffectual and politically powerless. The EU's objections have also been ignored away, reducing its political clout. It has also been divided into a pro-war and anti-war camp.
These developments make it easier for the US to further extend its sphere of influence. And that is indeed what the Bush administration intends - the Project for the new American Century quite explicitly states that goal, and the members of the Bush administration are intimately involved with it.
Effects number three to five strengthen the position of the administration (and its supporters) within the country. This is required so that the same people remain in power in order to finish what they have started and reap the ample profits of their actions. A change of administrations now would seriously damage their plans, not as much because the Democrats are so nice and fluffy, but because they would make sure the money and power went into their own pockets.
I have to acknowledge that this opinion piece probably comes dangerously close to the realm of the "conspiracy theory". Namely the theory that the US administration is "conspiring" to extend its power.
But it would be foolish to think that politicians do not act in their own self-interest, and the strategy outlined above does fit with that. And when I think of the term "conspiracy", I see a darkened and smoky room with a number of men at a table, engaged in an intense discussion, obviously in a conspiratorial tone. That's not what is happening. What is happening is that there are a number of powerful men around who know each other well and seek to help each other and themselves. They may have come to the same conclusions quite independently, and when one of them states that "We need to do X because of Y.", all of them know that what he really means is "We need to do X because it will profit us in the long run, and we'll use the idealistic or fear-mongering argument Y to sell X to the public.".
To be fair I also need to mention that the countries who oppose the war also do this more or less in the interests of power. Looking at the "game" of global power politics it is clear that the EU is becoming one of the most serious contenders with the US in terms of power and influence. European leaders know this and are trying to de-couple themselves from US influence, something that can be seen very well in the discussion about creating a military force for the EU distinct from the NATO, meaning one without US participation. Countries such as France and Russia also had an economic interest in the continuation of Saddam Husseins' regime. Still, it's the US who are actively trying to expand their already considerable power.
So what we're seeing on the political world stage right now actually has very little to do with terrorism. It's simply a struggle for dominance between the US and practically the rest of the world. That however does NOT mean that the questions of terrorism, human rights, civil rights and justice are irrelevant. It's the politicians who look at the world in a warped way, not us. It's they who care more about money and power than about human rights and dignity and the lives of both soldiers and innocents.
I might just be spelling out what is on everybody's mind anyway. But I never read about it. It ought to be written down if only so that people later get an accurate picture. Or I might simply be delusional.
Yes, o softlinkers. Obvious. I know. I also know that there's any number of people who wouldn't say "obvious" but rather "evil communist lies".