Not everyone is as naive as the Straussians assume. There is beginning to be lots of speculation concerning the Russo-Georgian conflict that erupted a little more than a week ago. HuffingtonPost.com had a particularly interesting editorial piece of speculation Sunday that neither focused on oil, the territorial dispute itself nor the possibility of war profiteering by crony capitalists, as per usual of late. (Notice how speculation becomes the normative way to process the news when government becomes secretive?)
Nevertheless, as a way of establishing the context, the article by investigative journalist Joe Lauria, Did McCain Help Bait Russia Into Georgia? hearkened to Eisenhower's warning about the "Military Industrial Complex" and the Cold War.
Neither Eisenhower, nor Lincoln before him for that matter, just happened to come up with the notion of war profiteering and the dangers it posed to the American republic from an intuitive feeling in their guts. The danger seemed clear and present.
In fact, before Eisenhower, in 1947, Harry Truman not only set up the "National Security State" by creating the Central Intelligence Agency; but also, he went into overdrive trying to assist what later appeared to Republicans to be an incestuous relationship between the Pentagon and the private arms industry in what Truman came to believe was the continued economic stimulus needed to prevent a feared relapse into post-war depression.
In the wake of the Great Depression and the onset of WWII the United States experienced virtually no unemployment and Daddy Warbucks was making money hand over fist.
In their recently published book, A Political Odyssey, former democratic senator from Alaska and 2008 Democratic primary contender Mike Gravel and investigative journalist Joe Lauria claim from the Historical Revisionist perspective that President Harry Truman, on the advice of neocon-like warriors of his own time, invented the Cold War, first in order to scare Congress into passing the Marshall Plan because of the continued economic stimulus it would provide and then subsequently formed Cold War foreign policy around the mistaken hyperbolic notion that the Soviets intended to create a territorial empire, rather than the communist economic revolution they consistently claimed was their aim -- that the U.S. actually elicited through self-fulfilling prophesy the Russian response of creating "satellite" buffer states around the Soviet Union in self-defense against Truman's strident rhetoric.
The authors contend that Truman's self-fulfilling prophesy was more directly the result of the fear and hyperbole fomented by his administration in order to benefit the American arms industry. They went on to suggest that the Cold War gained its fifty-year momentum from this projected notion of Soviet intent combined with the Pentagon's exploitation of respondent Soviet paranoia, and was originally generated as an avoidance measure against the even greater economic anxieties regarding the still palpable generational sense of impending doom experienced by the American people during the Great Depression.
Without a doubt, many historians will continue to insist that the hegemonic policies of Joseph Stalin had a greater share in the creation of Cold War paranoia, despite what Gravel and Lauria contend regarding the primacy of American economic considerations. Stalin's aggressive insistence on war reparations at Yalta and Potsdam rendered the indelible impression that Russia, in her woundedness was maniacally driven by Stalin toward both revenge against Germany and the prevention of any future notion of an Arian Third Reich.
But as it turns out, given Truman's developing stridency, the contradictory notion among pundits of the 50s that Churchill and Roosevelt had capitulated unnecessarily, perhaps even cowardly, to Stalin's demands at Yalta and that a naive Truman, early in his own presidency, went to Potsdam unprepared for Soviet style manipulation is revisionist in it's own right.
Indeed, Hitler exploited the economic fall of the Wiemar Republic after WWI, while abusing the caveat of Jews-as-scapegoat going into WWII; nevertheless, he also entertained the grandiose imperialistic dreams of the German collective ego by advancing the great myth of the Third Reich. Revisionist attributions with an over focus upon repressed economic anxieties to the exclusion of the more readily apparent conflicts among nations have become a tradition-created form of philosophic wisdom that in our own times have "bloomed" (forgive the pun) into the Straussian notion regarding the utility of "never ending war" as the best measure against economic stagnation. See this clip from a chapter in their book published in May, entitled A Political Odyssey.
It certainly is no secret that one of the basic tenets that the Neocons inherited from Leo Strauss concerns the utility of war in maintaining the gross national product, continued economic growth across all sectors and the Spartan spirit of interpersonal competition needed in the general population to maintain it. What Strauss mistakenly generalized regarding historically recurrent socioeconomic anxieties leading to war, he formed into the Straussian dictum regarding war as the singular most powerful and indispensable engine of economic growth.
The editorial by Joe Lauria appearing in yesterday's Huffington Post argued from an intuitive perspective the strong possibility that the McCain Campaign, particularly under the influence of his foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann in conspiracy with the Neocons of the Bush Administration, manufactured the Georgian crisis in order to enhance McCain's electability in the hopes of more reliably guaranteeing the continuation of neoconservative foreign polity under a Republican presidency.
That is a quite startling speculation regarding ulterior Neoconservative motivations, especially for a moderately progressive site like Huffington Post which generally eschews the more radical conspiracy-think of the cynical far-left in favor of a more mainstream expression of progressivism.
The red flag that went up for Lauria was, in a name, neoconservative Randy Scheunemann, McCain's now exiting top foreign policy adviser and former lobbyist for Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, with whom Scheunemann had been in communication before the current escalation.
"It seems hard to imagine he would have tried to seize South Ossetia if he were not led to believe he had American backing. According to Vitaly Churkin, Russia's UN ambassador, joint US-Georgian military exercises code-named Immediate Response ended just hours before Georgian troops moved into the province.Vladimir Putin, who is certainly an oil rich business oligarch in his own right, and said to be the world's fifth richest, is probably not trying to recreate the Soviet empire, as the Neocons would have us believe, least of all not the old fable of a geographic Soviet empire dominated by communism.
"Churkin says the Americans gave Saakashvili a 'green light.' But there was no immediate response from the United States.
"It looks like Saakashvili and Russia were both set up.
"By eliciting a heavy-handed Russian response, American political leaders, and their mouthpieces in the corporate media, can blame Russia and revive misplaced Cold War analogies. They falsely portray Russia as the brutal aggressor, bent on violently overthrowing the Georgian regime, with Ukraine and others to follow."
What the Russians have a lot of is oil. In fact, they not only have enough for their own needs; but also, they have enough to export.
But Neocons perhaps justifiably fear the Russians could be driven by agitation to tax the flow of Caspian oil and/or use it to punish Europe economically whenever they feel so inclined. Most of all, Neocons seem inspired by the knowledge that the Europeans themselves are aware of that possibility. In the minds of Neocons, this sets up the region surrounding the Caspian as an economic weapon of defense against an encroaching NATO, and presents itself as yet another incarnation of the fear and enmity underlying the Truman Doctrine that infused and animated the Cold War -- a fear that could be exploited.
So, again, who benefits?
Knowing the Russians aren't idiots is what should scare Neocons; although, they may be too blinded by ambition and arrogance to recognize it. For the American MSM to express such care and concern for Georgia and her fledgling "democracy" is disingenuous. There is a lot of oil in the Caspian Basin and much of it flows through pipelines maintained by British Petroleum running through Georgia.
So why put Georgia at risk? She is certainly experiencing short-term risk. That is undeniable. But the neoconservative policy forwarded by the now infamous Project for a New American Century has consistently been promoted as a long-term plan, less concerned and perhaps even dangerously feckless at times over short-term loses -- as with George W. Bush -- as long as alternatives remain available even when someone calls their bluff.
Scheunemann certainly knows this; he helped write the policy. The long-term nature of their globalist strategy may very well explain why John McCain -- once viewed by neocons as a stubborn and independent-natured maverick, but who has now become so unabashedly tractable, flipping and flopping at their beckoning now that he fully realizes that his life's final political ambitions lay in their hands -- has suddenly become at least meagerly attractive to them as the Bush Administration comes to its morally malignant close with no other more viable successor appearing remotely acceptable even to their notoriously gullible conservative base -- that is, unless Obama can convince the greater neoconservative consortium of moneyed interest groups that he is of equally dubious character and innocuous malleability to meet their job description for colonial governor and dual loyalist, a feat he is more than capable of, given his narcissistic driven ability to pander and to move with thespian grace in the winds of capricious fate. [/sarcasm]
Yet in the larger context, despite the speculation of Joe Lauria regarding the duplicity of Scheunemann and the Neocons, this most recent conflict is not about Russian empire or presidential elections in America; although, these influences play a significant role in ratcheting up the war rhetoric. The conflict over South Ossetia, with really little at state to anyone but Georgia, is more broadly about the greater regional financial interests of American and European oligarchs and those former Russian-Ukrainian "Business Oligarchs" -- many of them Jewish -- who escaped to London before Putin and his own cabal of oligarchs could get their hands on them for allegedly plundering the Russian economy when it was at its most vulnerable after the fall of the Soviet Union. It is more broadly about fighting a world war among themselves for control of the world's oil markets -- in this case, for control of the Caspian Basin. That journalists would begin to speculate that neoconservatives have exploited this internecine conflict among competing oligarchs speaks volumes about the current state of the American body politic and the meaninglessness of nationalism to American leaders.
As in all historic struggle that emerges out of the depths of selfish human debasement formed by ego and cold hearted avarice, the ancient dark rules of Omertà have resurfaced while the working classes watch powerlessly. More and more articles are being written about the emergence in the West of the Russian-Ukrainian-Israeli Mafia and its underworld machinations.
A subtext of the Russo-Georgian conflict contains the further speculation that, if properly mined by the Neocons, the political ambitions of Condollizza Rice are enhanced. She may well benefit from the crisis as McCain's obvious vice presidential running mate; although, she fains disinterest. She is presented as having foremost expertise in Soviet Cold War political history. These supposed neoconservative ambitions all hinges upon the re-creation of the Cold War, a media hoax as with the Truman Doctrine, according to Gravel and Lauria, one that Straussian theorists have now come to rely upon to maintain the economic stimulus of their never ending war.
Notwithstanding this perceived economic motivation, Straussian theory regarding the economic and social benefit of ongoing war is not supported by the historical evidence. In fact, the Vietnam War was an economic disaster for the United States resulting in double digit inflation, which is what we have now as of last month's economic figures. Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski has achieved notoriety as the foreign policy expert who baited the Soviets into Afghanistan so that they, too, could have their own Vietnam economic experience as payback. Indeed, perhaps even surpassing the incredible claims regarding the role of Ronald Reagan or George H. W. Bush in bringing down the Soviets, or the contentions of Polish Catholics regarding the influence of John Paul II and the Polish Solidarity Movement in their demise, Zbigniew Brzezinski is now credited with suckering the Soviets into the economic debacle of epic proportions from which greed and geographically demanding circumstances blinded them.
In classically healthy systems of capitalism, capital investment leads to return. Profits are then reinvested creating economic growth and an expansion of productivity. But in war, a nation ignorantly pumps its gross national product into bomb craters and cemetery plots. There is no return. At least not in the short-term. What the Bush Administration has done is borrow so heavily against their arrogant faith in a quick return from the oilfields of Iraq that any future economic gain will be eaten up to pay off the interest and the debt itself, while any short-term economic gains are being criminally funneled to their crony war profiteers, who are "disappearing" the profits as well as the initial capital investment by the American taxpayer (graft and kick-backs to politicians and to Defense Department covert operations not funded by Congress).
Straussian theory sounds economically "stimulating" to these dreamers. Just as it appears downright evil to progressives for its effects upon the earth and all its lifeforms. But in its application it has amounted to nefarious myth and unrestrained ambition abused by world oligarchs (get used to that word) that future generations of the working and middle classes will have to pay off unless they are successful in bilking the Chinese on their loans. "That my friends," as McCain would say, will require another never ending war.
* * *