Noam Chomsky, on the descent of Empire America

I haven’t tackled Chomsky’s latest two-part series elucidating who we are and how we got here yet, but I will and I must. In fact, his kind of complex, intricate work showing interlaced tendrils of geopolitical forces must be not just read, but studied.

For bedtime reading, I’ve been plummeting through the new book, Troublemaker: A Memoir from the Front Lines of the Sixties, by antiwar activist and political consultant Bill Zimmerman. It takes me right back to those years when Uranus and Pluto conjuncted for the first time since the Civil War and all hell broke loose in Amerika. So, I imagine, will Chomsky’s overview of those years leading up to now take me back. Those of us who remember the furious polarization that infected our nation during the excruciating, long-running Vietnam debacle need to prepare ourselves for more of the same now, as Uranus and Pluto rev up for their opening “square” from that ’60s conjunction and winter turns to spring for Occupy. See, for example, how Rahm Emanuel is preparing Chicago police for NATO and G8 Summit protests: face masks, aerial surveillance, snipers on rooftops.

And yet it won’t be the same. The difference between now and then is the Internet. Time — measured as intervals between events — accelerates to warp speed. All bets are off.

More than ever, a clear, untroubled spacious presence is essential to help calm the roiling emotions that surge up from the collective unconscious as revolutionary Uranus and death/rebirth Pluto tighten into this grinding three-year 90° “square.” I thank the universe for Neptune’s recent move into its home sign Pisces where it will remain for 13 years and gradually, subtly, dissolve the boundaries that separate us from one another and our cosmic home. Compassion, love, kindness, empathy, sensitivity, telepathy, visions, dreams — all these are present in the oceanic field that infuses us into oneness. It will help us to remember during these times when flashing, explosive, trigger happy Uranus/Pluto tears all the old structures apart, that we’re all simultaneously being held and bathed and nourished in these mysterious embryonic waters of Neptune in Pisces. Truly a new, interwoven human murmuration being born from the ashes of the old epoch that glorified the power politics of the separate ego — whether individual or national.

Chomsky’s world view doesn’t include astrology. So he doesn’t notice the parallels between the periodic Uranus/Pluto perturbations and civil unrest; nor does he grok the rare and deeply transformative atmosphere of Neptune in Pisces — or the Mayan Calendar, for that matter, not to mention possible ET involvement with earthlings.

If you don’t have time to read and absorb Chomsky now, here’s how this series ends.

Thanks to

“While the principles of imperial domination have undergone little change, the capacity to implement them has markedly declined as power has become more broadly distributed in a diversifying world. Consequences are many. It is, however, very important to bear in mind that — unfortunately — none lifts the two dark clouds that hover over all consideration of global order: nuclear war and environmental catastrophe, both literally threatening the decent survival of the species.

“Quite the contrary. Both threats are ominous, and increasing.”

Thanks to

“Losing” the World
American Decline in Perspective, Part 1

February 14, 2012

By Noam Chomsky

Significant anniversaries are solemnly commemorated — Japan’s attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, for example. Others are ignored, and we can often learn valuable lessons from them about what is likely to lie ahead. Right now, in fact.

At the moment, we are failing to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s decision to launch the most destructive and murderous act of aggression of the post-World War II period: the invasion of South Vietnam, later all of Indochina, leaving millions dead and four countries devastated, with casualties still mounting from the long-term effects of drenching South Vietnam with some of the most lethal carcinogens known, undertaken to destroy ground cover and food crops.

The prime target was South Vietnam. The aggression later spread to the North, then to the remote peasant society of northern Laos, and finally to rural Cambodia, which was bombed at the stunning level of all allied air operations in the Pacific region during World War II, including the two atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In this, Henry Kissinger’s orders were being carried out — “anything that flies on anything that moves” — a call for genocide that is rare in the historical record. Little of this is remembered. Most was scarcely known beyond narrow circles of activists.

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The Imperial Way
American Decline in Perspective, Part 2

February 15, 2012

By Noam Chomsky

In the years of conscious, self-inflicted decline at home, “losses” continued to mount elsewhere. In the past decade, for the first time in 500 years, South America has taken successful steps to free itself from western domination, another serious loss. The region has moved towards integration, and has begun to address some of the terrible internal problems of societies ruled by mostly Europeanized elites, tiny islands of extreme wealth in a sea of misery. They have also rid themselves of all U.S. military bases and of IMF controls. A newly formed organization, CELAC, includes all countries of the hemisphere apart from the U.S. and Canada. If it actually functions, that would be another step in American decline, in this case in what has always been regarded as “the backyard.”

Even more serious would be the loss of the MENA countries — Middle East/North Africa — which have been regarded by planners since the 1940s as “a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history.” Control of MENA energy reserves would yield “substantial control of the world,” in the words of the influential Roosevelt advisor A.A. Berle.

To be sure, if the projections of a century of U.S. energy independence based on North American energy resources turn out to be realistic, the significance of controlling MENA would decline somewhat, though probably not by much: the main concern has always been control more than access. However, the likely consequences to the planet’s equilibrium are so ominous that discussion may be largely an academic exercise.

The Arab Spring, another development of historic importance, might portend at least a partial “loss” of MENA. The US and its allies have tried hard to prevent that outcome — so far, with considerable success. Their policy towards the popular uprisings has kept closely to the standard guidelines: support the forces most amenable to U.S. influence and control.

Favored dictators are supported as long as they can maintain control (as in the major oil states). When that is no longer possible, then discard them and try to restore the old regime as fully as possible (as in Tunisia and Egypt). The general pattern is familiar: Somoza, Marcos, Duvalier, Mobutu, Suharto, and many others. In one case, Libya, the three traditional imperial powers intervened by force to participate in a rebellion to overthrow a mercurial and unreliable dictator, opening the way, it is expected, to more efficient control over Libya’s rich resources (oil primarily, but also water, of particular interest to French corporations), to a possible base for the U.S. Africa Command (so farrestricted to Germany), and to the reversal of growing Chinese penetration. As far as policy goes, there have been few surprises.

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