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July 7, 2006

Hegemonic Tyrant Courts Doom


by Paul Craig Roberts

Finding itself in Republican sights and with no Democratic power center to offer protection, National Public Radio is turning into an upscale version of Fox "News." Nevertheless, information still gets out if the listener is sufficiently attentive.

On July 5, NPR's All Things Considered interviewed two warmongers for their views on the North Korean missile test. One was Ashton Carter, a Clinton administration assistant secretary of defense, now at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. The other was Ambassador Christopher Hill, an assistant secretary of state in the Bush regime.

The Clinton DoD assistant secretary is coauthor of a recent article advocating a unilateral U.S. military attack on North Korea. His first pitch on NPR was that the whole region, not just the U.S., is threatened by North Korea and that everyone should gang up on North Korea to make them behave. The NPR interviewer asked Carter to reconcile his multilateralism with his own recommendation for the U.S. to unilaterally attack North Korea. Carter replied that North Korea's missile was developed to attack us, so we had to protect ourselves.

When the NPR interviewer asked Carter why deterrence would fail with North Korea when deterrence succeeded in the case of the more powerful Soviet Union, Carter agreed that North Korea was not sufficiently insane to launch an attack on the U.S. So, if the U.S. is not in danger of being attacked by North Korea, why does Carter want to attack North Korea?

The answer is, well, you see, if we permit North Korea to develop any weapon with which they might be able to stand up to us on some issue critical to North Korea, well, they might not do as we want them to do. Carter could not conceive of a world in which any country existed that might be able to behave differently than the U.S. dictates.

Ambassador Hill agreed, but he came at it in a different way. Hill's view is that it is China's, Japan's, and South Korea's responsibility to make North Korea behave as the U.S. wants it to behave. Both Hill and Carter agreed that no country, with the exception of Israel, has a right to any interests of its own unless it is an interest that coincides with U.S. interests. No other interest is legitimate.

Listening to the pair of hegemonic maniacs, I realized that the U.S. is the new Rome there is no legitimate power but us. Any other power is a potential threat to our interests and must be eliminated before it gets any independent ideas. The U.S., however, is far more dangerous than Rome. Rome saw its world as the Mediterranean and, for a while, Northern Europe, but the U.S. thinks the whole world is its oyster. The Bush regime is busy trying to marginalize Russia, and neocons are preparing war plans to attack China before that country can achieve military parity with the U.S.

Gentle reader, consider what it means when our government believes other countries have no right to their own interests unless they coincide with U.S. interests. It means that we are the tyrant country. We cannot be the tyrant country without being perceived as the tyrant country. Consequently, the rest of the world unites against us.

How is the U.S., which has spent three years proving that it cannot successfully occupy Iraq, a small country of only 25 million people, going to control India, China, Russia, Europe, Africa, and South America?

It's not going to happen.

What it does mean is that the U.S. government in its hubris and delusion is going to continue starting wars and attacking other countries until a coalition of greater forces smashes us. Even among our European allies we are already perceived as the greatest threat to world peace and stability.

Our power is not what it once was. We are weak in manufacturing and dependent on China for advanced technology products. We are dependent on China to finance our wars and our budget and trade deficits. How long will China accommodate us when China reads about Bush's plans to prevent China from achieving military parity?

The Bush regime thinks that it can have every country under its thumb. Neocons are fond of proclaiming that it is a unipolar world in which the U.S. is supreme. This is a fantasy, and it is rapidly becoming a nightmare.


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    Paul Craig Roberts wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was associate editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and contributing editor of National Review. He is author or co-author of eight books, including The Supply-Side Revolution (Harvard University Press). He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon chair in political economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and senior research fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has contributed to numerous scholarly journals and testified before Congress on 30 occasions. He has been awarded the U.S. Treasury's Meritorious Service Award and the French Legion of Honor. He was a reviewer for the Journal of Political Economy under editor Robert Mundell.

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