The purpose of U.S. foreign policy, guided primarily by business interests, is to maximize global control and influence. States that can be controlled must be. States that are too strong to be controlled must be influenced, while the governments of weaker states following an independent course and unwilling to be controlled must be eliminated. Governments that follow U.S. commands will be supported and maintained.
That’s a brief summary of U.S. foreign policy motives.
In January, five days after Osama bin Laden released another tape, and amid controversy over the government’s secret surveillance of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, President Bush urged Americans to “listen to the words of Osama bin Laden and take him seriously.” Assuming that the president wasn’t just trying to scare Americans into approving of the government’s illegal spying on U.S. citizens, Bush’s statement was a surprising change of policy. Now, rather than simply destroy the enemy, the president is going to try to understand him and would like Americans to do the same.
Reading the text of bin Laden’s statements, and taking those statements seriously, provides a different view of the nature of the terrorist threat to the U.S., one not often expressed by Republican, Democratic or liberal media spokespersons.
According to bin Laden, whom the U.S. trained and funded and with whom the U.S. organized the global terrorist network that would later be called al Qaeda, he will continue to fight Americans because they continue to occupy Muslim lands. He also says, that rather than being a victory in a war against al Qaeda, the war in Iraq “has become a point of attraction and restorer of [al Qaeda’s] energies.” Although, according to bin Laden, the U.S. occupation of Iraq has benefited al Qaeda, he says, “We don’t mind offering you a long-term truce on fair conditions that we adhere to.” If the U.S. rejects his truce offer, he says al Qaeda will continue its “bleed-until-bankruptcy plan,” which it used to destroy the world’s former “second superpower,” the Soviet Union.
With careful and serious study of bin Laden’s remarks, we would expect a great shift in U.S. foreign policy ?” a full U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the closure of some of the more than 100 foreign U.S. military bases. However, according to the Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review Report, which defines U.S. strategy and a 20-year program for implementing it, the U.S. is going to do exactly the opposite.
What had been referred to as a “War on Terror,” the “Global War on Terror,” “World War IV,” and the “Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism,” now has a more cinematic name, “The Long War,” and requires “a long-term, low-visibility presence in many areas of the world where U.S. forces do not traditionally operate,” according to the report.
If the U.S. presence in Muslim lands creates new al Qaeda recruits and a greater threat to U.S. security, then the new policy is an expansion of the old policy, which not only created al Qaeda but also turned it against the U.S.
And if the principal threat to the U.S. is al Qaeda, traditional forms of defense, on which the U.S. spends between $400 billion and $1 trillion per year, should be obsolete. Again, however, our expectation is wrong. The new policy will preserve every major weapons system that had been in the works, guaranteeing U.S. weapons manufacturers profit for decades to come.
And in “The Long War,” al Qaeda is not the only threat to the U.S. China is a “near-peer competitor,” an “emerging power” and a potential threat to U.S. dominance, and must be dissuaded from challenging the U.S. in any way. The report says the U.S. must engage in “shaping the choices of major and emerging powers,” and “work to ensure that all major and emerging powers are integrated as constructive actors and stakeholders into the international system,” which must be dominated by the U.S. If China fails to scare Americans, the report lists Russia as another potential threat.
If both China and Russia fail to threaten the U.S., well, the report lists the repeated elections of President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela as “a source of political and economic instability” and a movement that threatens gains that have been achieved in Latin America.
If China, Russia and Venezuela fail to threaten the U.S., the report, of course, mentions Iran as well.
While under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, it is “the inalienable right of all the Parties” to research and develop peaceful nuclear programs, the U.S. has decided that Iran, a state that like China, Russia and Venezuela, acts independent of U.S. orders and a signatory of the NPT, has no such inalienable right, and its nuclear programs must cease.
Until the U.S. controls all weak nations and influences all others to achieve maximal global control, “The Long War” will continue. And as long as human beings resist being controlled by outside forces, there will be no shortage of enemies.