government isn't especially interested in volunteers, of course
(except insofar as it will be ordering around people who are technically
part of a volunteer US military). They could be unpredictable and
they don't feed the Empire's power. So if the United States does
intervene and for the moment I'll take the officials at their
word and believe in the possibility that they are agonizing and
maybe even leaning against direct intervention it won't be
with voluntary forces paid for through voluntary contributions.
PAVE THE WAY
the establishment really isn't eager to intervene in East Timor.
But most of the courtier media are busy propagandizing on behalf
of a potential intervention just in case. The unrest, attacks by
anti-independence militias and driving out of the sacred United
Nations mission have been played up, even called a variant of ethnic
cleansing. Most authorities believe some 200,000 people have been
killed in political violence in East Timor over the last 20 years
or so after the United States winked and nodded at the then-Indonesian
regime. None of those deaths was especially newsworthy at the time.
But today's violence seems to demand instant action.
What is perhaps most striking about the news coverage is just how
automatically most of the small circle of policy experts and media
assume that any incidence of violence or unrest calls for a response
from either the United States or the "international community.''
On "Nightline'' the other night, for example, the guests (Anthony
Lewis of the New York Times and former Congressman Lee Hamilton)
quibbled a bit over whether intervention should begin tomorrow or
after more economic pressure had been applied, perhaps for a couple
of weeks, or whether it should be a UN or a US operation. But, representing
as they did the vast ideological gamut from A to B, they had no
question that a disturbance in that part of the world required a
response of some sort from the wise keepers of the new world order.
To be sure, East Timor did just hold a referendum on independence
from Indonesia in which the pro-independence side won. So the idea
that independence should be effectuated rather than resisted has
a certain amount of legitimacy.
But however contemptible the Indonesian regime is and it is unquestionably
contemptible for many reasons having little to do with East Timor under the old theory of international relations it is still the
sovereign power on the island. Until very recently it would have
been considered unusual and provocative even for the United Nations
to presume to dictate how a sovereign power a member in good standing
of the club handled an internal problem of civil unrest. Now the
notion that the free-floating craps game called the "international
community'' should make demands and threaten military intervention
is virtually automatic and not even viewed as controversial.
OLD ORDER CHANGETH
assumption that "of course'' "we'' need to do something
is another sign that the theory (or myth) of international relations
that prevailed for most of this century is effectively a thing of
the past. The idea that the world consists of sovereign nation-states
that, so long as they are recognized as sovereign by other sovereign
nations (nice bit of self-reinforcing legerdemain, eh?) can do what
they like in their own territory (subject to protest but not to
discipline unless they invade somebody else) simply doesn't apply
The theorists haven't come up with a new theory to justify manic
intervention at the whim of those who have the resources to do so
yet. World federalism, world government, systems of alliances and
even the United Nations don't offer a coherent rationale for the
kind of license our wise and bold leaders want. In effect, the international
community has reverted to the age-old "might makes right'' paradigm.
But that won't do forever. They have a need or at least a strong
impulse to justify their brutality in terms of humanitarian rescue.
Whether the professors of international relations will ever acknowledge
that we're talking about a world empire rather than an enlightened
system of coherent principles is doubtful. But such an acknowledgment
would be more coherent than the mad scramble for "principled''
justifications to act as the world's policemen currently going on
in the academy.
INVERSION IN KOSOVO
wrote a few weeks ago about the incipient plans to impose media
licensing and censorship in Kosovo, similar to the regime of centralized
control and pre-publication censorship that currently prevails in
Bosnia (and reflects what our leaders would prefer in the United
States if they thought they could get away with it.) In the October
issue of Liberty
magazine economist and author David Ramsay Steele bemoans the plan
as well, and follows with comments worth quoting:
"Under Yugoslavian rule, Albanian, Turkish, and other Muslim media
flourished in Kosovo. Some Yugoslavs claim (I have not been able
to confirm it) that there were more ethnic Albanian newspapers,
TV stations and radio stations in Kosovo than there were in Albania.
But unlike the benighted Slobo, the new U.S. puppet regime doesn't
feel that it can simply allow people to say what they want.
"The extirpation of democracy in Kosovo is described as the introduction
of democracy. The establishment of the rule of a small gang of racist
thugs, and the ruthless imposition of ethnic purity, where ethnic
diversity and peaceful co-existence formerly predominated, is described
as a victory for racial tolerance. The legitimation of daily murder
and terror in the streets is described as liberation. And now, regulation
of the media by unelected bureaucrats is described as an introduction
to press freedom.
"These are the Western standards of journalism. Observe them.''
of course, even as imperial overstretch in the Balkans, Indonesia
and elsewhere continues to expose the inadequacy of U.S. military
forces as presently constituted and recruitment "shortfalls''
largely due to the contemptible nature of current military missions
threaten to compound the inadequacy various leaders are beating
the drums for a larger-scale military intervention in Colombia.
U.S. "drug czar'' Gen. Barry McCaffrey made a grand tour of
Latin America a couple of weeks ago to "rally regional leaders
in the fight against narcotics trafficking,'' as Reuters put it.
He's pushing for another billion bucks in unspecified aid to Colombia
on top of the $287 million slated to be wasted already this year.
September 1 Colombia got six refurbished Vietnam-era UH-1 helicopters
from the United States, the better to protect crop-dusting planes
trying to eradicate cocaine planting sites. Three Blackhawk helicopters,
described as more sophisticated, are expected to be sent in November.
Gen. McCaffrey was a military general before he was "drug czar,''
of course, and he has made a habit of thinking about and describing
domestic drug suppression (or to be more accurate, people-suppression)
efforts in military terms. Now, perhaps in part frustrated by the
fact that all the money spent seems to have no discernible effect
on the availability or use of illicit drugs in the United States,
he seems eager to get the United States back into the kind of war
he thinks he understands with outright military troops on foreign
The United States will pay a high price if he succeeds.
contribution of $20 or more gets you a copy of Justin Raimondo's
Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against US Intervention in
the Balkans, a 60-page booklet packed with the kind of intellectual
ammunition you need to fight the lies being put out by this administration
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