STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
End of Military-Industrial Hegemony?
By Staff News & Analysis - December 22, 2010

DC debt panels' defense cuts are deeply flawed, says FPI Executive Director Jamie Fly and Policy Advisor John Noonan … Some of the cuts contained in the two reports, including proposals to seriously rein in entitlement spending and simplify the tax code, will be welcome news to fiscally conscious Americans. But the defense proposals are deeply flawed. There is no mention of America's international responsibilities and no reference to national strategy or our obligations to our allies. The defense programs selected to be cut appear arbitrary. And though these cuts are modest in terms of the overall federal budget, if implemented, they could have serious consequences for both U.S. foreign-policy objectives and national security for decades to come. – The Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI)

Dominant Social Theme: We need new solutions to ensure the Anglo-American axis remains on top.

Free-Market Analysis: The FPI is apparently the successor to the infamous Project for a New American Century think tank that employed so many famous neocons and once called for "another Pearl Harbor" to stimulate American defense spending. One can see in the above excerpt from a statement on defense spending that there is the same hyper-concern over the care and funding of the military industrial complex. The genes are no different.

Interestingly PNAC, perhaps the most influential and successful think tank of the 2000s, folded in 2007. It is an extraordinary commentary (and not in a good way) that this most important of all think tanks could sink without a trace, virtually unmentioned by the mainstream US media. It is evidence, in fact, of a profound corruption, given that PNAC supplied many individuals to the Bush administration and that its perspectives were in many instances put in place by that administration – not that we really believe there is a difference between different administrations anyway.

For a while, apparently there was a ghostly website and an answering machine. But those vestiges have disappeared as well. Enter FPI, which is run by some of the same people but, more importantly, exhibits the same muscular aggressiveness in terms of its overseas outlook. The website is filled with photos of "young leaders to watch," imposing federal buildings and aircraft carriers. One of its preferred outside websites is "theLongWar.com."

Nonetheless … times have changed. In fact, it is difficult to say how much influence PNAC would have had in the current US environment. The FPI can certainly use the rhetoric of PNAC but let us see what the results shall be. We think, in this case, that FPI will find itself in the wrong place at the wrong time, along with the Weekly Standard, which never saw an Israeli military need that the US couldn't fill or a potential Israeli war that the US should back as soon as possible.

We along with others have predicted the fading of PNAC-like influences. The US military-industrial complex is bound to come on the chopping block as the Western economic crisis continues. The Anglo-American power elite did a tremendous job in the US of blocking "Tea Party" conversation about the cost of the military-industrial complex. But this shows the limitations of even the cleverest promotional elements.

The Anglosphere can control the conversation, for now anyway, but it cannot control the free-market's Invisible Hand, which writes as it will. One of the reasons that the axis has been desperate to get Western economies moving again is that military budgets will indeed come under scrutiny in this Age of Austerity, especially in the US, which spends up to 50 percent of the larger US budget on military items and veterans.

The other reason, in our view, is that the Anglosphere fears a general civil uprising, facilitated by the truth-telling of the Internet. This shows us, by the way, that while the Anglo-American axis anticipates that growing chaos may lead somehow to increased global governance, the downturn has likely exceeded its expectations and cast future plans into doubt.

… A new plan is needed. In the past on these modest pages, we have rehearsed a number of elite gambits intended to re-establish the credibility of the current, dying system of elite controlled central planning. These proposals – in the form of books by "young leaders" – have focused on outside threats, mainly China or, in one case, on a regulatory bell curve, similar to a Laffer curve. Supposedly there is a tipping point, past which the larger economy begins to suffer from over-regulation.

In any event, the New America Foundation (no direct relation to PNAC or FPI) is about to publish a book that presents a much more radical rethinking of Anglo-American hegemony. We would argue, in fact, that it might be seen as a kind of metaphorical white flag of surrender – an admission by the power elite that the paradigm of control that worked in the 20th century is not going to work in the 21st. Here's an excerpt on the site about the book:

How to Run the World … Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance By Parag Khanna, published by the New America Foundation … Here is a stunning and provocative guide to the future of international relations—a system for managing global problems beyond the stalemates of business versus government, East versus West, rich versus poor, democracy versus authoritarianism, free markets versus state capitalism. … With examples taken from the smartest capital cities, most progressive boardrooms, and frontline NGOs, Khanna shows how mega-diplomacy is more than an ad hoc approach to running a world where no one is in charge—it is the playbook for creating a stable and self-correcting world for future generations.

What Khanna is arguing is that the West (specifically the Anglosphere) take a page from the "later Dark Ages" when according to Khanna a multiplicity of elite entities ran society: the Church, private enterprises, non-governmental organizations, princes, kings and even the lower nobility. Power was dissipated, he claims, and eventually this led to the Renaissance and a glorious new – and modern – awakening.

Khanna also claims emphatically in an interview on the website that the current governmental approach to "ruling the world" simply isn't working. The top down focus, featuring government itself at every level, including the UN, is merely naïve and in an "information intensive" environment is bound to fail. A grand coalition is necessary that brings together the entire tapestry of Western elite institutions.

What is funniest about Khanna's approach (if there is anything truly funny) is the title of the book itself – How to Run the World. While it is obviously tongue-in-cheek, it is also a serious title as Khanna's book is apparently a serious explication of how to ensure that the West will stay on top in a difficult, evolving century.

It is always difficult to sort through elite dialogue; many messages are thrown at the metaphorical wall though few stick. The New America Foundation is tied into all the right elite organizations, has significant membership from Google on it and has cross-membership with other elite leadership organizations including Foreign Affairs. So perhaps Khanna's perspectives have a chance of being implemented. In fact, one could argue that Khanna's arguments have already been implemented by such organizations as the Trilateral Commission that includes top business leaders from around the world.

It is tempting, however, to cite Khanna's book – with its blunt assessment that the Western power structure is crumbling – as a kind of rhetorical acknowledgement of elite system failure, at least in its current form. Of course from our point of view, Khanna gets the reasons for the unraveling reversed. The Dark Ages, we've argued, have fallen away in the 21st century as the truth-telling of the Internet has revealed the devious and destructive, fear-based promotions of the elite.

After Thoughts

The Internet itself – and those who have used it to analyze the reality of the way the world really works – has done much to threaten elite hegemony and to make a New World Order a far less realistic possibility, at least near term. Ironically, Khanna watches the goal of Western world domination recede and compares it to a coming Dark Age. He proposes that the powerful Western elite banking families reach out to emerging power nexuses to retain their dominant position. Is this is non-starter? Power-sharing is not something the Axis is very good at. That Khanna proposes it at all is most interesting.

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