June 30, 2003

THE ROAD MAP
To empire

by Justin Raimondo

 

So you wondered about the plague of crickets that recently hit the American Midwest, not to mention the tornadoes that have been swooping down on us, destroying whole towns and tearing up the landscape like a MOAB from heaven. And, say, what's up with the record heat we've been having? Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network has the answer:

"On April 30, 2003, America was positioned as the catalyst to jump-start the so-called 'solution' to the Middle East crisis. As U.S.-backed Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas was sworn in, the 'Road Map' peace plan was set in motion.

"The very next day began the worst month of tornadoes in American history, more than 500 in a single month. Normally, 1,000 tornadoes hit the United States each year, but this year, in just eight days in May, 375 twisters ripped across the heartland of America."

Not spooked yet? Then getta loada this:

"While in Israel, Assistant Secretary of State William Burns told a group of left-wing activists that 'common sense' would override the conservative and Christian viewpoints concerning the road map.

"May 9th, 2003, President Bush addressed students at the University of South Carolina. Bush called on the Palestinians to embrace the road to peace, and see the flag of Palestine raised over a free nation.

"Hours later, tornadoes returned and Oklahoma City again became the bulls-eye for deadly twisters, reducing what was left of businesses and homes to splinters and bricks."

Hours later, come to think of it, in the early morning of May 10, I experienced my recent heart attack – a sign of divine displeasure if ever there was one and it looks like I wasn't the only one. The SARS epidemic was then at its height, raising fears of global economic as well as health repercussions.

Plague, tornadoes, biblical clouds of crickets how can all that be attributed to coincidence? I'm giving myself the heebie-jeebies as I write this, but how else can we explain the plight of Jeff Urban, the Sacramento Grizzlies left-handed pitcher, who hasn't won a game since May 10? The wrath of God is upon us for betraying Israel, avers Pat Robertson, who recently said:

"I am telling you, ladies and gentlemen, this is suicide. If the United States – and I want you to hear me very clearly – if the United States takes a role in ripping half of Jerusalem away from Israel and giving it to Yasser Arafat and a group of terrorists, we are going to see the wrath of God fall on this nation [in a way] that will make tornadoes look like a Sunday school picnic."

A lot happened on May 10, 2003. Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew R. Smith, 20, Anderson, was killed in Kuwait when the Humvee he was driving crashed, a reminder of what the burden of empire entails. As the number of U.S. casualties in Iraq sprints past 200. and organized resistance is on the rise, the long-term consequences of our new imperial policy are becoming all too apparent. For Israel, it means that the religious and ideological conceptions that are its founding myths are in jeopardy if not entirely neutralized. Even if God did give Israel to the Jews, it is Caesar's prerogative to take some part of it away. Caesar, in this case, being George W. Bush, who, in laying down the road map so soon after the Iraq war, showed his hand with total confidence that he had the military and diplomatic equivalent of a full house.

With the U.S. as the dominant power in the Middle East, the terms and conditions of regional survival had been totally transformed, and the President acted swiftly to impose his imperial will. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be "solved," the Iranians and the Syrians would be tamed, if not overthrown, and the region would be dominated by the U.S. military presence in Iraq, where American centurions would stand guard for the next decade or so.

In relieving Israel of the burden of the occupation, the U.S. is arrogating the role of occupier to itself – on a regional scale.

The architects of America's post-9/11 policy of imperial "preemption" no doubt believe they are acting in Israel's interests: the leveling of the only secular alternative to radical Islamism and a threatening U.S. posture against Iran and Syria do serve Israel's interests. The war was fully in accord with the "Clean Break" policy memo earlier laid out by top administration officials back in 1996 for then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – except that Israel had to do none of the heavy lifting. Instead, the main military prescription taking out Iraq and grabbing the Syrians, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc., by the neck – was accomplished by the United States. But now the bill is coming due, and, while Ariel Sharon may be willing to pay, albeit grudgingly, and not without a lot of haggling, his supporters may not let him.

Reverend Robertson and his flock were vociferous supporters of the war in Iraq. It was Robertson who said, in answer to a question about the millions of peace marchers:

"I think more particularly in the second Psalm the kings of the earth are aligned against the Lord and against His anointed. They are against Israel. They are against Christianity. They are against Jesus."

The Palestinian factions and their foreign sponsors have, for the most part, agreed to make a deal: now the pressure is on Sharon to make real concessions. If the Iraq war was fought to make the Middle East safe for Israel, then Sharon must agree to the American conditions the creation of an independent Palestinian state where Jewish settlements used to be. The U.S., in forcing Israel to bet its security and its future on a very long shot deal, is merely acting like any imperial power would: unilaterally, firmly, even a little arrogantly.

Who is against Israel now? Robertson and his followers wanted the war that gave the U.S. hegemonic power in the Middle East. Now they must live with its consequences.

The road map – the effort of a great power to impose its will on weaker, smaller nations – is an imperialist act just as much as the war in Iraq. It may yet require the introduction of U.S. troops to enforce its terms, as some, like Senator Richard Lugar, Tom Friedman, and Kofi Annan, propose.

What is presented to the peoples of the Middle East as the road map to peace is, for the U.S., the road map to empire. The tragic irony is that whatever peace is produced by our actions will likely be as precarious and fleeting as our dream of global hegemony.

Raging storms, rampaging insects, diseases run amok, and other unnatural disasters all this is relatively mild stuff compared to the troubles we'll have with our newly won empire. In that sense, the Reverend Robertson's calling down hellfire and damnation on errant U.S. government policy is right on the mark. To which I might add: brother, you ain't seen nothing yet!

– Justin Raimondo

comments on this article?

 Please Support Antiwar.com

Antiwar.com
520 S. Murphy Avenue, #202
Sunnyvale, CA 94086

or Contribute Via our Secure Server
Credit Card Donation Form

Your contributions are now tax-deductible

Antiwar.com Home Page

Most recent column by Justin Raimondo

Archived columns

The Road Map
6/30/03

The Culture of Imperialism
6/27/03

The WMD Cult
6/25/03

The New Thought Police
6/23/03

Empire of Liberty?
6/20/03

The Gaza Trap
6/18/03

What's It All About?
6/16/03

Trotsky, Strauss, and the Neocons
6/13/03

Classic Raimondo:
Israel's Taliban
6/11/03

Behind the Lies
6/9/03

Liars 'R Us
6/6/03

Hell to Pay
6/4/03

Wackos, Weirdos and Wing-Dings
6/2/03

We Were Right
5/30/03

On to Tehran?
5/28/03

Classic Raimondo:
Decline and Fall
5/26/03

Outing the Neocons
5/23/03

Revolt Against the Neocons
5/21/03

Regime Change Roulette
5/19/03

Blowback in Riyadh
5/16/03

The Anti-Americans
5/14/03

Classic Raimondo: Living in a Soviet America
5/12/03

Smoking Gun
5/9/03

Mad Dogs of War
5/7/03

Whose 'Road Map'?
5/5/03

The Final Secret of 9/11
5/2/03

Neocons in Denial
4/30/03

Santorum's Sins
4/28/03

The Real Crisis
4/25/03

Screw the UN
4/23/03

Putting America First
4/21/03

Fickle 'Victory'
4/18/03

Nesting Habits of Washington's War Birds
4/16/03

Phase Two Begins
4/14/03

King George Returns
4/9/03

The Real War
4/7/03

World War IV
4/4/03

If This Be Treason
4/2/03

On the Middle East Escalator
3/31/03

A Perle of High Price
3/28/03

Iraqi Pandora
3/26/03

A No-Winner
3/24/03

Commissar Frum
3/22/03

Bluff and Bluster
3/21/03

Shine, Perishing Republic
3/19/03

This Isn't About You
3/17/03

What's It All About, Ari?
3/14/03

Postwar Blues
3/12/03

Reckless Warmongers
3/10/03

This War Is Treason
3/7/03

The Hapless Hegemon
3/5/03

Libertarianism in the Age of Empire
3/3/03

Notes from the Margin
2/28/03

Is War Inevitable?
2/26/03

War Party Stumbles
2/24/03

Vive la France!
2/21/03

A 'Toxic' Meme
2/19/03

Rallying for War
2/17/03

Rally Against Fear
2/14/03

One Battlefield, Two Wars
2/12/03

Antiwar Breakthrough!
2/10/03

The Lying Game
2/7/03

Free Taki!
2/5/03

The Kook Factor
2/3/03

Our Reds, and Theirs
1/31/03

Beware the Ides of March
1/29/03

Growing Up
1/27/03

Israel's Amen Corner
1/24/03

Target: Scott Ritter
1/22/03

Listen Up, Soldier
1/20/03

Watch Your Back
1/17/03

Going Crazy
1/15/03

Turning Point
1/13/03

War Party in Retreat
1/10/03

Hail Caesar?
1/8/03

Korean Ghosts
1/6/03

Do Neocons Exist?
1/3/03

Happy New Year?
1/1/03

Previous columns

Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard.

Back to Antiwar.com Home Page | Contact Us