[translated from GegenStandpunkt: Politische Vierteljahreszeitschrift 4–01, Gegenstandpunkt Verlag, Munich]
When condemning is on the rise, when consternation effortlessly makes the difference between human victims and damaged national security vanish; when horror not only prevails but is cultivated so thoroughly that it is only good for the unchallengeable call to military action, then explaining the events and the international situation in which they take place already counts as dissenting behavior. And yet, such behavior is directly invited by the official interpreters of "this senseless lunacy" when they publicly pronounce their judgements. Time and again they raise the question of how such a "boundless hatred for America and the entire West can come about." Unfortunately, this trace of curiosity is also continuously smothered — the prosecutorial ambition committed to "infinite justice" contents itself with the answer "inexplicable," certifies the assassins as having warped perceptions, and considers how to get hold of people who harbor and carry out such a dissenting and malicious world view. Everything that characterizes the "new world order" — along with all the usual biases of a free society — comes up in these considerations, everything that as well causes so many difficulties for those who have proclaimed it and intend to establish it.
It is the richest nation in the world; for decades, its economic trade and finance balances have procured a special position for its currency among all the international means of acquiring wealth; the dollar is suitable for opening up and using all kinds of sources of wealth worldwide. Even if its presidents and their staff sometimes lack economic knowledge, every U.S. government is familiar with the fact that using and accumulating the dollar causes the striking distribution of income and wealth associated with a market economy within a nation, and as well brings about the hierarchy of rich and poor among nations. No political leadership of the United States has shirked from the use of force to secure the benefits of the world market for America, nor to defend these benefits against the desires for rectification that arise among the states and peoples who notoriously go to the dogs in the world market. The United States employs a respectable part of its wealth for the purpose of controlling the means and use of power among the states of the world. As the most powerful nation on earth, it uses military threats and interventions to ensure that the governing authorities within other nations are acceptable to it, and that useful forms of relations prevail among these nations. American money and American weapons are present and active the world over; America's decisions concerning the distribution of its favor decisively affect what becomes of other nations and peoples.
Often enough, they are of the opinion that the U.S. goes too far, denying them their due standing in the world order. They take the role played by their respective states, a role they become aware of as the consequence of American dictates and authorizations, as an opportunity for quite different initiatives. Within the ranks of America's rivals, rivals who are also partners and intend to remain so, the anti-American camp behaves moderately. The "Europe" created by America's affable NATO allies is certainly nothing but an anti-American project. From a Common Market, created to organize an economic area that would have more purchasing power and business than North America has; to the establishment of the euro to challenge both the dollar's special position among the world currencies and the American share of the finance business; to the still incomplete common army, with which the Europeans want to face their great partner "eye-to-eye" — all the steps in the beautiful handiwork known as unification are about nothing other than curtailing American wealth and American power. But the allied competitors take considerable care that any progress in this direction meets with the approval of the transatlantic leading power and wouldn't undermine their freeloading participation in the world made safe for capitalism by American power.
Other states, notably Russia and China, still intend to acquire the status of an acknowledged partner, because this is linked to the obvious advantages of being involved in organized, international competition. They take turns demonstrating freedom of action in foreign policy as independent powers able to demand respect, even in military matters. Alternatively, they show themselves amenable to the demands of the leading power and let it be known that a good relationship with Washington is the real priority of their foreign policy. Still other states seek to outgrow their minor status by endeavoring to become (more) useful, by applying for equal rights and unswervingly insisting on "development." In these countries, nationalists are disappointed by the experience that such efforts do not lead to any real success for their national communities, that struggles for "emancipation" hardly take place at all or are simply prevented, and that the submission of their societies to the rules of the world market has had more or less ruinous effects on traditional life and survival in their countries. So time and time again they become radical. They regard their governments' cooperation with a superior West, above all with the United States, as weakness and treason; instead of good conduct they engage in hostility. This is a programmatic deviation, a violation of the guidelines of today's world politics. They are, however, not guilty of any deviation when reinforcing their image of the enemy by referring to their own — Islamic — values, nor when denouncing the violation of their ideals of a just community and a righteous life: everybody else does the same thing. President Bush also knows the one and only God to be on his side and fights against nothing less than Satan — precisely as does Mr. bin Laden.
This rare species, a confirmed enemy of the freedom that the West has in mind, a freedom it exports in accordance with its needs; this enemy tampered with American architecture. The damage they caused, the victims they deliberately created, definitely characterize the attacks as an act of war. The target of the attack was the political power of the American state, whose material and living means of existence were destroyed. The action is clearly a substitute for war, in that it was executed anonymously, and in that no nation, wanting to assert its right over American right, has appeared as a dispatcher of the violence. Nevertheless, and rightly, not for a second have the attacks been mistaken for a private breach of law; even less for domestic right- or left-wing terrorism, either of which takes up the fight against the state and the ensemble of state purposes and jolts the statist monopoly on force. The moral classification of the attack as a crime is one thing, quite different from the certainty that a (foreign) political will was at work. The immediate comparison with "Pearl Harbor" reveals what was thereby struck. The Japanese attack on the U.S. Pacific fleet in 1941 is the other great exception to the rule America takes for granted: for more than a century this great nation has enjoyed the luxury of being able to wage its wars far from the mainland. It is America's invulnerability — lost in the Cold War with an enemy of nearly equal stature and regained with the demise of the Soviet Union — that has been shaken. Yet, the absolute and unilateral military freedom of action required for America's role in international politics and for the demands it makes on other states is based on being invulnerable. The attacks simply cannot be left without a response that makes clear there can be no question of restricting in any way America's capability or readiness to use force abroad in pursuit of foreign political goals.
The response is a declaration of war. The target is a movement that dares to do things the U.S. has dissuaded states from considering, though these states do not lack reasons for attacking their beloved, sole remaining world power. Yet, there is more on the list than just this movement. If it exists, and if since September 11, there can be no doubt of its will and capacity — such are the findings of the headquarters of the existing world order — then the warriors of terror live by being sheltered, harbored, and sponsored by real, existing states. Otherwise they wouldn't even exist. They would have neither a place to stay nor the means — money, weapons, and active personnel — for their atrocious undertakings. So the U.S. trains its sights on states that facilitate ersatz war. America's war is soberly planned, collateral damages included — the existence of entire nations and the survival of their populations count for nothing — and so it begins. The U.S. demonstrates once more how far it has come, as well as how far it now intends to go: the new kind of anti-American activity currently being punished is to be neutralized once and for all. American control over all the states on earth is to be expanded into their domestic affairs; it is to be made impossible for foes of America — even privately organized ones — to exist anywhere anymore.
This is the program the rest of the world of states is sworn to uphold. In a large-scale diplomatic offensive, the world power demands all nations take sides in its "war against terror:" either on America's or on the terrorists' side; in the latter case they are treated as terrorists themselves. For or against the United States — there is no third choice nor the option of non-involvement. Governments have to use their sovereignty to prevent any terrorism directed at America; in other words, they have to guarantee the invulnerability of the American supremacy that often enough ruins their own national ambitions. Under the label "international terrorism," they are to take the violent anti-Americanism of September 11 personally, to view themselves as also endangered and affected, and to leave it up to the U.S. to designate the new enemy or — as it sees fit — enemies of humanity, whom they are then to go after.
The choice left to the world by America isn't like an inquiry that could be ignored or refused as an unreasonable demand on sovereign states. Shuttle diplomacy is paralleled first by military deployment in the Middle East and then by war. With its fleets of bombers, the U.S. produces an international situation for which agreement and assistance are demanded from the other states. These states can study the example of an Afghanistan attacked by America as to how states that do not comply with the requested aid in the hunt for terrorists will fare. For having committed the crime of harboring terrorists, the Taliban are in for a demonstrative punishment executed by America. All attempts made by the students of the Koran to avoid war and to seek a state-to-state arrangement with the U.S. are refused as "little games" crafted to "play for time." The Afghan leadership, like any state that takes itself seriously, demands evidence of guilt on the part of its "guests" and sets a fair trial as a condition before extraditing them; this is judged by the U.S. to be sufficient proof of their complicity with the top terrorists. America clearly spells out its relationship to the world when it insists on being both prosecutor and judge in matters of terrorism. The ultimatum given to the Taliban is not "negotiable," in other words; it is not meant to be fulfilled, but rather to create the legal pretext for the attack that is made for higher purposes: the global regime of deterrence America inflicts on the world of states to keep them under control was broken from an unexpected corner, its perfection refuted. In order to be restored and strengthened, this regime requires a retaliation of an incomparably greater and more effective force than that of the challenge. This alone can create the peace America needs; while at the same time, the decision to make an example out of Afghanistan welds the worldwide anti-terror coalition together in a way diplomatic comings and goings never could.
A decade after the end of the Cold War against the Soviet bloc, the U.S. is now obligating the world of states to wage something like a new Cold War, lining them up against an enemy as firmly and reliably and integrating them into a confrontation just as they did years ago. Yet today, it is no longer forging a Western camp against a socialist bloc, but organizing the whole world without exception as allied partners — and not even against an established foe, but against a chimerical one to boot. For this, the various states are assigned differing duties.
The U.S. expects its NATO partners to regard the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as nothing other than an act of war against America, similar to an attack by a hostile army, and to respond by implementing Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. The clause that requires all members to provide military assistance to the attacked partner is invoked. In due form, the U.S. is given the right to enlist its allies' military capacities as needed.
In the allied countries called to mutual assistance, public opinion, moved as a matter of course by deepest consternation and unconditional solidarity, classifies the decision as some sort of joke of world history: who would have imagined in all the years of the "East-West confrontation" that the mutual assistance clause would be activated for the first time in such a complete reversal? Who would have believed ten years after the dissolution of the "East bloc" that the Treaty article on collective defense against an armed attack, of all things, would have to come into force at a time when the alliance has long perceived that everything "out of area" is in order? As a matter of fact, with this call for allied action, more things have been turned upside down concerning the relationship between NATO's leading power and its allies than just the direction of military assistance; things entirely different than the hopeful faith in the inviolability of the treaty territory have been shaken up. The call for action itself alters in practice the content of the alliance. And, at that, in a much more radical way than previously considered in all the discussions about reform; in a much more fundamental way than could have been achieved by way of concurrent agreements; indeed in a sense that is diametrically opposed to the interests of the European partners, and to what they have been pushing for in the last few years.
NATO had been an alliance against the Soviet Union, a thoroughly organized, powerful declaration of war by the democratic, capitalistic "West" against the "socialism" that had penetrated the center of Europe. Never in any previous case was a collective defense commitment ever under consideration except for the war against the "East." In this situation, the relationship between the "nuclear superpower" on one side of the Atlantic and that of its heavily armed partner states on the other side was one of mutual requirement in the double sense of the word: reciprocal needing and making use. For U.S. strategists, Western Europe constituted its far coastline at the edge of the Soviet-dominated continent, an advanced battlefront for restricting and containing the hostile power, absolutely indispensable as such, and therefore heavily armed, crammed with American troops, and placed under the absurd protection of a threat of nuclear annihilation against the "socialist camp." Conversely, this cozy backing was crucial for the allied European partners in order to assert themselves as "Central Powers" against the "communist threat" from the East, to build themselves up as co-equally decisive activists in international politics, and to intervene imperiously and subversively in the Soviet "bloc." For this, they took up the role of being the frontline theatre of war — up to the ultimate consequence, namely the deployment of "euro-strategic" nuclear missiles that somewhat doubled the strategic threat of annihilation against the Soviet Union coming from America. The strategic advantage the Western Europeans were after in their subordination to America and in their service to "collective security" corresponded to the American's strategically useful but risky and expensive access to Western Europe. The pact consisted of a barter deal in security policy that was as firmly based on the state purposes of the NATO members east of the Atlantic, i.e., on their national goals and ambitions, as it was on the leading power's world war calculations on the other side; this was objectified to a certain extent throughout the construction of the joint military force. The peculiar character and stability of this relationship could be clearly read in the mistrust each side held for the dependability of the partner in fulfilling the obligations of the pact, including up to the point of nuclear suicide, as well as in the continuous haggling over burdens and rights of (co-)decision-making.
Now, the U.S. is enlisting NATO for collective defense in a case when not a trace of this original nation-binding strategic deal can be found anymore — apart from the plain and clear announcement from Washington inaugurating a new "cold war" era, i.e., a new situation with implications and duration similar to the situation that existed in anti-Soviet times. The alliance is to maintain — or regain — its absolutely binding character, without there being any question at all of a situation that would be defined as threatening in a complementary way by both sides of the Atlantic, such as when the Soviet Union was threatened with a world war. First of all, the newly discovered security problem is a purely American one, a problem rather of the police or intelligence variety. The U.S. government also does not permit anyone to interfere with its supremacy in defining the real issue at stake and its implications, along with the reaction it deems necessary, nor to interfere with its decision to respond to it with a new type of world war. As seen in the opening campaign against Afghanistan, the questions of which foe is to be targeted; which state is to end up on the firing line; and if, when, and how war has to be waged; these are all determined from case to case, and indeed in an unforeseeable chain of cases, by Washington alone. The Europeans are integrated as comrades-in-arms obligated to the alliance, without being asked at all if they share in general the diagnosis of a military threat; of a danger, possibly even from as far away as the Hindu Kush, to their peaceful survival; and without any prospect of participating in the nomination of the next candidates for America's war against terror. That America could be serving any European security interest at all is simply not to be seen anywhere; conversely, no European service on behalf of America's security on which the U.S. would be remotely dependent can be made out, as America was during the "East-West conflict" when the Allies were even prepared to sacrifice themselves as the theatre for a decisive battle against the hostile superpower in case of war. The Americans are making only sparing and very selective use of their partners' military capacities, which they can call on due to the invocation of Article 5; what use they do make is obviously without any urgent need, but merely on the principle of not granting their "friends" even the slightest right to participate in the decision-making process. Anyhow, the alliance's institutions are left out.
Of course, none of this is new at all. Already a decade ago, the NATO allies lost the strategic opposition against the Soviet Union on which the alliance was based and held together in such a remarkably stable way, lost as well thereby the rules of procedure in matters of security policy; the remains of the nuclear-armed confrontation between "the West" and "Moscow" have been successfully wrapped up. The alliance's first "hot" war against what remained of Yugoslavia reproduced the old pattern once more: America directs the show, employs decisive military means, allots functions to the allies, chases unsuitable rulers out of the post-Yugoslavian nation-founding chaos, and demonstrates how "deterrence" is to work from now on; Western Europe serves and makes use of America, its transatlantic leading power with its superior means of war, for setting up and supervising a protectorate on the desolated theatres of civil war in its Balkan backyard. Even then, there was no inherent danger to be simply warded off through collective response by the allied partners; it was clear to see that their cooperation was not at all the result of complementary calculations with an inevitable strategic necessity but a compromise between rival interests for achieving supremacy over the violent scene in Southeast Europe. The subsequent quarrel over America's program for a national missile defense is about rules of procedure that have already ceased to apply, even if the Europeans continue with the old suspicion in raising their objection that the Americans would try to establish "different security zones" within the alliance, throwing the guaranteed survival of their partners into question. The U.S. insists on the old equation: its security should be, after all, its allies' best guarantee for survival. The American interest in securing its strategic invulnerability with a shield against attacking missiles no longer coincides from the European point of view with any of their own security needs, but rather makes the already much-too-large military lead of the jealously admired leading power absolute, and perpetuates it.
In this manner the activation of the collective defense clause presents some facts at this stage. The Europeans are enlisted for the U.S. fight for a global front against anti-Americanism, i.e., for the unlimited, radical regime of the "superpower" over the entire world of states, without any strategic need asserted by them being served or even respected. All that remains of the North-Atlantic Pact and its defense commitment, or better yet, that constitutes the only and to that extent new content of the "security partnership" is the European partners' basic and categorical servitude that can be called upon by the U.S. government as needed and for the benefit of its interest in purging the globe of enemies: subordination without any service in return.
This is a challenge for America's European partners, particularly the three great ones, who at the same time, in all modesty, both regard themselves and act as leading powers of the European Union (EU).
a) Yet they do not refuse. Once the leading power calls, they are at hand and stand "shoulder to shoulder." Yes, they do not omit the ridiculous condition that the U.S. government ought to first credibly demonstrate that the attack by domestic aircraft on important buildings in New York and Washington came "from abroad;" but nobody gives the impression that efforts at persuasion are really necessary. Instead, the slogan of "unconditional solidarity" is proclaimed, and justified. It is not exactly clear whether the hypocrisy or absurdity of the explanation is more worthy of admiration: supposedly out of something like sympathy, the American request for help could not be ignored. At last, even "the only remaining superpower," notably the "unilateralist" Bush administration, could not fail to realize and acknowledge — said with a slight overtone of triumph and malice — that it couldn't cope all alone with the entire world but needed its allies. And when "we" are at long last needed — so it continues in the German ideology — then decency requires "us" to return the solidarity "we" have received for decades and pay off a bit of the gratitude "we owe."
If one were to take all this seriously and suppose that Germany's Social-Democratic Chancellor meant what he says, then one would have to certify the man as having lost touch with reality to an extreme degree, coincident with suffering from delusions of grandeur. In fact, U.S. "solidarity," which in the end granted Germany its "unification," consisted after all in stationing an entire American army for the forward defense of freedom all the way to the Urals and in the deployment of a nuclear "umbrella" of appropriately daunting dimensions, i.e., in subsuming half a continent under an unambiguous world war program; 3,900 German soldiers seem rather paltry as a "debt repaid." In any case, the more modest version of the American interest in the alliance's loyalty ignores the facts anyway, as if a needy neighbor's perhaps far-too-humble petition for military support had been presented, when, in reality, the Europeans are being told that they should be ready either for any assistance that the U.S. government requests at its discretion, or for none at all.
Europe's bosses neither tire of declaring their unconditional solidarity with their so "severely hit" friend and ally, nor of just about forcing their military support on the Americans; this does not reveal, however, a stubborn optical illusion but the most urgent need on their part to be needed. Obviously, these powerful figures are not deceiving themselves about what America has in mind for their countries: the role for the time being of mere resources, eventually of strategic reserves, or in the exceptional case of Great Britain of a low-ranking junior partner in America's global and epoch-making war against terror. They just do not want to be nailed down to this role. Their urgent offers of support are desperate efforts to redefine the new coalition into something of the double sense of a mutual requirement, and revive something of the exchange relation of a collective security policy that no longer is of any interest to America. Their oaths of a friendship that don't shy from pain are really part and parcel of an attempt to turn the military operation, with which the U.S. translates its programmatic "unilateralism" in matters of world domination into action, into a common concern whose planning and execution they might be consulted about and take part in deciding.
b) The reaction of the great European powers to the attacks and the invoked defense clause is a document both of their weakness and their calculations. They are unable to compete with America's superior military might and the corresponding power to define international politics (in terms of war and peace, and the roles the individual states are entitled to). That's why they do not intend to assert themselves against America; at least not now, nor openly, and above all not in a way that, as a response to the American action, would bring about the termination of the transatlantic Alliance, whose rules of procedure are so obviously being abrogated by the other side. Rather, from the outset they do everything to make the best out of the subordinate role declared for them and in which they are placed by the United States; namely, an appearance as grand as possible on the scene of world politics.
"The fact that we stand fast on America's side will decide Germany's weight in world politics for the next 30 years." (German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer)"The era of postwar politics when Germany contributed only auxiliary assistance to international operations has irretrievably come to an end." (German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder)
The heads of the central leading power in Europe take it damned seriously when America announces a new world order consisting of a war against terrorism for the coming years and decades. For the time being, they know of no alternative; that is why they must take part. If so, however, then with quite different means than those that in the past raised an outlawed world war loser to the status of a respected European central power. Just simply standing around "at America's side" is pointless; a power like Germany thus risks being worn out as an "auxiliary assistant" — a characterization of Germany's "postwar era" that does poor justice to its role as a frontline state prepared for nuclear war with a million troops, but does all the more justice to the actual hardships of a mighty European NATO partner in times when the defense commitment is being defined so unilaterally. In a situation like this, impressive evidence of military power is required in order to become prominent in global security affairs. Only those who join in the shooting have a say; and only those who participate with indispensable means can obtain a hearing. On the same principle, the better-equipped neighbors of Germany, namely France and Great Britain, adapt to the American challenge, mobilize their own bases and mission forces in the Middle East, and with great acting give the impression that they had already come up with essentially the same plans by means of which they now intend to unconditionally support the U.S.
Although the Germans have come to the conclusion that immensely powerful military actions are necessary, they still lack the means that would be necessary to be seen to be at "America's side" and to be taken seriously by the leading power. Not even its two neighbors, who have been ahead of the Germans in military and war affairs for the past half century, are in a position to hold a candle to the U.S. and make themselves indispensable. Yet, the matter brooks no delay; the era of a permanent, allied, anti-terrorist commitment has been opened up; perceptible participation at "America's side" that can't be ignored by Washington is virtually mandatory. So the Europeans do what they can off the cuff; always on the alert to demonstrate to and, if possible, convince their American friends even a little bit that in the end the U.S. is not really up to its "difficult situation" without them. They detail troops for America's campaign while openly declaring their intention to make their influence felt in the current operation and especially in the planning of the next military actions, yet without having much success. In addition to that, they come forward with the demanding offer, readily accepted by the U.S., to ease the leading power's burdens in tasks of lower importance in the various theatres where the alliance is militarily engaged; the deployment of German troops in Macedonia belongs to this class of substitute military engagements. Added to that, Blair and Chirac, Schröder and Fischer contribute by setting records in shuttle diplomacy: they travel around to ten countries in the Near and Middle East in four days and give the impression of an enormous boom in Europe's role in international politics. There, they use their membership in the inner circle of the American coalition as a diplomatic weapon, as if they had a substantial say in the decisions to come concerning cooperation or hostility — their say is in any case more substantial than that of the visited rulers. They confront all the "problem" and "rogue" states in the Middle East (with whom they have up to now done or tried to do business, to the supreme power's annoyance) with the U.S. demand to support America's purging the world of terror, as well as with their own conditions for escaping exclusion from and hostility by "the international community." In this manner, they subsume their foreign political relations under America's war, making themselves useful — as auxiliary assistants — in dividing the world of states into friend and foe. And finally, in advance and as a precaution, they claim for themselves the postwar era of the first Central Asian war victim, the "rebuilding" of Afghanistan. There, at least and at the latest, "the European mark has to be recognizable," if all goes according to the German Foreign Minister.
Thus the large European intervention without fail once again ends up revealing the fundamental deficits of the power behind it. While the U.S. devastates Afghanistan with its bombers in executing collective NATO defense and unleashes local military violence on a large scale, its allies plan an impressive appearance as emergency helpers to the victims; while the leading power engages in deterrence to the maximum extent with its military force and irresistibly spreads itself out in Central Asia, its partners pursue the project, suggestive of the Theatre of the Absurd yet absolutely honorable, of building up a nation out of motley clans and sworn tribal enemies, and a capitalistic civil society out of a political economy consisting of UN relief supplies and an opium trade that may eventually flourish again after the brutality of the Taliban regime. Not to forget the emancipation of women, once the Green Party in Berlin tops it off with their version.
c) The governments of the European powers have to realize — and have long since understood — that their calculation of providing themselves a deciding part in controlling the world of states by standing "shoulder to shoulder" with America no longer works out, not since they lost not only their former first-rate strategic rank in the American global regime of deterrence but also their negotiating strength with respect to their leading power. Since then, it has become clear that as long as they merely co-operate in America's tow in safeguarding a decent worldwide order, their success in imperialistic matters will consist of nothing more than this: supporting U.S. imperialism. In order to accomplish their interests in ordering the world, they would have to find the force required for it all by themselves; in order to do business again with the world power in matters of security policy, they would have to make themselves able to dictate rights and duties to all the other states without the U.S. This is the actual meaning of the policy statement coming from the German Chancellor, and absolutely not only from him: from now on, one considers oneself too good for "auxiliary assistance;" this is the political content of the profound insight that "sometimes force can only be fought with force."
Schröder and his colleagues even know the road they have to take. It has already been taken by their states for decades, when the transatlantic "security partnership" was still functioning in the sense of a mutual requirement. In those days, the Western Europeans didn't, however, pursue anything more than emancipating themselves economically and confronting the hopelessly superior American capitalism with a capitalistic business site that would little by little become an equal match. Nowadays, it is about the principles: imperialistic power. Europe's bosses do not shirk from putting their cards on the table. The same German Foreign Minister, who could only imagine his nation's future "firmly on America's side" for decades to come, at the same time knows better and clearly confesses how he can in no way imagine this "side by side" business:
"If Europe fails to quickly become capable of dealing in matters of foreign and security policy, then even the bigmember states will in the future only be able to carry out decisions that are made elsewhere." (Fischer)
Where exactly?! Europe's NATO politicians are obviously increasingly suffering — and the call for collective defense affects them as the ultimate blow: to their impotence in security matters in comparison to the U.S., with whom they feel such an "unconditional solidarity." Europe alone can remedy the situation. The European Union must finally be completed without further ado — that is what they have learned "from terror."
This is all the more important as the drawbacks of their nations in matters of security policy will otherwise endanger and undermine all they have gained through their economic union and that have already won them a rank at least right below America in importance. Up to now, every major disruption of the "Western" regime over the world of states and every war has brought about rather one-sidedly apportioned repercussions on the global economy; windfall crisis profits and collateral damages have rather unequally accrued to the competing members of the family of nations. The Europeans have over and over again had to realize what it means not to have the security guarantees for building up the globe into a world market in their own hands: political insecurity and military conflicts have the smallest effects on American trade and American credit, not although, but because these crises regularly originate from interests in maintaining order and sowing disorder that arise from Washington. During "insecure times," rattled investors take their own assets as well as those entrusted to them directly to the "sure haven," to the financial seat of the powerful protector of global capitalism. The dollar rises while Europe's financial markets and currency custodians bemoan the "damaged confidence of investors," and so on. In the "good old times" of the "Cold War" against the Soviet Union, this dependency, however, was in the end also useful to America's damaged rivals: America's superior power was the indispensable basis of Europe's worldwide business activities; subordination corresponded to the authorization to profit from America's security guarantee for a capitalistic world market — a freedom otherwise unattainable for the capitalistic nations across the Atlantic from America.
This has changed now. The world has turned into a hotbed of international competition; no self-named "real socialist" enemy can endanger this any more. That now — with all respect to the victims of the black September Tuesday in America — Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda present such a mortal danger to "globalized" capitalism that a "long-lasting" campaign would be required to also safeguard general business conditions for Europe; that therefore, in all seriousness, the freedom to do business — also the highest value of America's European partners — has to be defended in Afghanistan: no European statesman can take any of this seriously. Quite the opposite; it is drastically clear that U.S. operations endanger their global economic interests and bring no economic benefits other than one-sidedly for America, and predictably at Europe's cost: their export business suffers if perhaps an entire region spends more of its money on America's fight against terrorism, namely on weapons and internal security, than on Europe's commodities, and has to reconcile all its financial flows. Even worse when entire nations run out of money due to a neighboring war; all the more so, when more and more states — whose business relations with European traders are much better than with their American counterparts — are, as candidates of terrorism, faced with an embargo, or as the home of evil even invaded — all this is included in the program, "Enduring Freedom!" Europe's attractiveness for direct and indirect financial investments suffers, as does consequently their spanking new money, the euro, when European governments find themselves bound to unconditional allegiance in military undertakings over whose goals and proceedings they have absolutely no control; whereas the nation that, as the organizer, is of course in control, thus offers all the more and all the more valuable security to every finance capitalist. It's true, two office towers are gone in New York; but America has powerfully enough given this upset back to the rest of the world: now the U.S. is making the world insecure — and the whole world carts its money all the more deliberately to the U.S. Even scientific expertise reflects the relations of power: how deeply Europe plunges into recession and how long it lasts depends, according to all economic forecasts, on America, on how it fares and against whom it goes with its war against terrorism.
It was once valid that submission to U.S. tutelage in security matters paid off economically, even if one counted, as Europeans, all expenses and burdens, given that the U.S. alone guaranteed international business its essential, ultimate security; it is no longer valid today. The call for collective defense removes the basis of even this imperialistic equation. From this point on, the opposite is valid: in executing so freely and "unilaterally" its supremacy in defining global dangers to security and how they are appropriately fought, as it has announced and in fact done, the U.S. plunges the rest of the world, its congenial allies included, into an uncertainty detrimental to business. It need not even be the American purpose; but the fact is: not only do Europe's political world-ordering ambitions suffer, but its economic competition against the U.S also suffers when the crusading Bush administration executes its monopoly to violently create and abolish the political conditions for worldwide competition. The managers of Europe are reminded that their economic emancipation to a rival the equal of America is not simply half of the matter, but in itself an untenable achievement if they do not rapidly manage to emancipate themselves as a military power from the tutelage of the transatlantic world-ordering power.
d) Once those in charge realize the necessity of "developing" the EU into an autonomous world-ordering power, they have to admit that the EU as an imperialistic actor is weak or even non-existent. It doesn't even appear on the U.S. list for lining up partners for its global coalition against terror, and rightly so. Europe doesn't merely lack military means — a deficit that would be eliminated at all events only by gigantic armament efforts. In fact, the supplementary budgets regarded as unavoidable by individual member states are already absolutely contrary to the imperative of a "stable" euro to which all of them are committed. And yet, all money and procurement problems aside, the EU lacks the ability to act in matters of war. All this, however, has been planned; an acronym has even been found for a "Common Foreign and Security Policy" and an approach to it agreed upon, which is supposed to — at some time or other — lead to the goal of a common military power: the approach of "growing together" little by little, through self-created "objective constraints" and modest reforms, an approach that has been proved sound — according to official EU rationale — in the creation of the Common Market and a common currency. This nice method is, however, brought into disrepute with the disgrace the European military powers encountered in their efforts to stand "without reservation in solidarity" as equal powers at America's side. At present, the European leading powers cannot avoid associating themselves as NATO partners with the violent, American action for "enduring freedom." Currently, the three great powers — Great Britain, France, and Germany — try, as a result, to come to an agreement amongst themselves in order to make at least some impression on the superior leading power as representatives of the European continent. They meet outside the official committees, which are not intended for this anyway, without their colleagues, who are obviously held in low esteem and regarded more as a hindrance than a productive force in building up a European standpoint within the American coalition against terror. In return, they promptly receive a rebellion of the dwarfs: not having been consulted, the other sovereign Union members won't be ignored and taken for granted from on high. This gang sets right off to quarreling at the attempt of their leading figures to omit, for the sake of a clear perception of European power, all the intermediate steps of building consensus and of achieving everybody's calculating agreement. This is so neither because of the "clumsy action" on the part of Britain in sending out the invitations, nor simply because of the arrogance of the most powerful members. Once the Union really tackles the creation of an "American-style," war-ready, collective military, and with every serious step it takes to this end, the ultimately decisive questions of European unification inevitably come due: decisions concerning the right of command and subordination that can no longer be defined away as questions of rules of procedure for finding consensus.
Thus the American response to the September 11 attacks, i.e., the call for collective defense with all its rattling consequences, plunges the European governments into fundamental imperialistic problems and their Union into its newest crisis. The pressure all of them feel to get serious in reaching an agreement on matters of military force, and, at that, rather quickly, throws all the "schedules" and agendas into a muddle, throws the unification procedure itself into question, and provokes discord. And all of this without the U.S. having intended it. America simply demands what it wants for its new political initiative in world order: a blank check for subordinating its most important rivals and allies at its discretion, for availability without any right of co-determination. And it gets something like that: messages of solidarity, diplomatic support, military assistance; the latter even downright imposed. But these have their price, since this is exactly how all that the U.S. government intends to eradicate arises instead: anti-Americanism. And indeed exactly where, of all places, it can really hurt: among its imperialistic allies.
The U.S. has appealed to the UN, its own creation, although this world organization has since fallen rather out of favor with its founder and host, because the majority decisions made by the UN general assembly and its security council all too often turn out not to be appropriate instruments of American interests. Now the Americans demand that the UN recognize its crusade against terror as "legitimate self-defense." Though self-defense was originally defined as the defense against an invasion of enemy forces or at least against an armed attack on foreign territory, the UN is now being asked to endorse the position that "self-defense," when claimed by the United States, is valid the world over. America's self-defense knows no limits: the U.S. is defending itself essentially everywhere, it is never on the attack, be it in the Hindu Kush or anywhere else. Resistance against this global defense of American security interests is aggression! This definition of self-defense is tantamount to a recognition of a U.S. monopoly on war, which corresponds to a monopoly on defining terrorism. The U.S. claims as its exclusive right the power to decide which forces on the globe are legitimate, and which are not. Thus a blank check is demanded from the rest of the world of states. And not only that, but all states are asked to commit themselves to active assistance in America's hunt for its enemies and allow the fulfillment of these duties to be inspected: all the 189 member states "are required to refrain from providing any form of support to entities or persons involved in terrorist attacks, to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism, and to deny safe haven for terrorist organizations. They are asked to report on actions they had taken to a special committee." (UN Security Council Resolution 1373, 2001)
The American petition is not refused. Small wonder, given the method of building consent: all states are required by the U.S. to become active in purging the globe of anti-American activities in order not to become an object of this purging themselves. They are presented with blunt hostility, offered nothing in return for their anti-terror services but the avoidance of U.S. hostility. The UN is given the opportunity to be of service in getting the world of states to agree to the American claim; at the same time, it is made clear that the U.S., on its part, will not make anything dependent on the UN body's approval. The world organization allows itself to be instrumentalized in this way, because, in passing its resolution, it doesn't really decide on American military actions and guidelines for combating terror but merely on its own importance. If the UN wants to play a role in world politics and get a hearing for its resolutions, then these must be drawn up to the liking of the superpower; otherwise it only proves its own powerlessness and superfluity. Only if they endorse the American definition of just and unjust force, and thus raise American interests to the status of internationally binding law, will the 189 UN members have a say in world politics.
As if to demonstrate that the U.S. can insist that its interests be recognized as a higher law, without ultimately needing, however, to get them so recognized because the U.S. dictates what "international law" is anyway, the U.S. President — in the midst of the on-going war in Afghanistan — announces a military tribunal be set up to bring Bin Laden and other "terrorists" to justice, i.e., for carrying out the death penalty. This is not to be the business of any international court of justice. The world power attaches no importance to the appearance of "international terrorism" being prosecuted by the "community of states" when it's a matter of liquidating foreign political criminals; on the contrary, it insists that there is no authority outside of America which could intervene in the due verdict or even try to take charge of the case. As far as judicial procedures are concerned, the U.S. President is not accountable to anyone: the tedious processes of the American code of criminal procedure with its burdens of proof are suspended for America's criminal court — no "fair trail" as is otherwise the rule for the country's courts. "These murderers do not deserve the rights of American defendants" (Vice President Cheney); the Defense Secretary would prefer to see them "rather dead than alive" (Rumsfeld). For the rest of the world, the verdicts of the U.S. military, or in the given case, of the new U.S. court are nonetheless legally binding — to say nothing of the defendants…
The U.S. ultimatum, in the form of an invitation, to join the "coalition against terror" is an unreasonable demand, especially for states that have foreign ambitions themselves and the means to pursue them — and the Americans know this. Russia and China would be the ones most likely to be up to refusing to give a blank check; as permanent members of the UN Security Council, they are even authorized to vote no. On the strength of that, they are particularly consulted about their attitudes towards the superpower. They are offered hostility as well as a new "partnership." And yet both powers, Russia in particular, are challenged not only by the American claim to an acknowledged monopoly on war but, more than that, by the battleground the Americans have selected for themselves. Under the label of "fighting terror," the U.S. is gaining a foothold in the south-central Asian territory of the former Soviet Union, and is ousting the Russians as the leading military power there. Not only in Moscow is it supposed that the Americans will not only see to the terrorists but also to the oil and gas deposits in the region, near and far.
Neither Russia nor China reject the unreasonable American request. Both try to avoid any further confrontation with the U.S., promising cooperation and attaching demands for respect for their legitimate interests as well as for improvement of their standing in the West. They agree with the diagnosis of a world-threatening "international terrorism," declare themselves victims of the same ominous foe, and discover a common interest with the U.S. in combating it. On the one hand, this is a lie: the terror they fight against is not actually anti-American but more like the opposite. The Chechnian fight to break away from Russia and Tibetan and Uigurian separatism against China have enjoyed and still enjoy American sympathies, if not full-blown support. On the other hand, it is not about truth or lies anyway when a common foe is conjured up, but about an international, political proposal whose content above all else cannot be misunderstood by the Russian President: in exchange for Russian solidarity, Bush would allow that Russia, too, is threatened by "international terrorism," acknowledge the Russian fight against it as legitimate, and refrain from any further support of troublemakers in the Caucasus.
Formally, the U.S. invites the states of the Middle East to join its coalition against terror, just as it invites all other states. In reality, however, the Arab and Islamic countries are the target of all the measures by which means the U.S. restores its regime of deterrence. After all, according to American statements, the assassins stem from this region and its political "atmosphere." Besides, the Afghan "regime" that harbors and protects the chief terrorist, who was immediately identified by America, has to be counted among these states. But the worst of the matter — and this is exactly why the world power is so highly alarmed that it not only "courts" support but also responds in such an unambiguously menacing manner — is this: the states out of whose underground the centers of America's money and military power were so successfully attacked are of truly "vital interest" for the world economy as a whole and for the U.S. as the leading capitalistic world power in particular — nearly as critical as the American soil itself. The fact that American might and wealth were attacked from there, of all places, is no accident.
In the first place, the Arab "area" is the most crucial reservoir for the most crucial raw material for energy of the capitalistic world economy.[Note 1] As if it were the most natural thing in the world, the wealthy nations of the "West" resolutely claim this stuff as "our oil." For the U.S. and the countries of the European Union, the "Middle East" is a matter of vital security. They view this region as somehow being the foreign deposit of a resource they own simply because their great national economies would crash, if not totally collapse, without this cheap industrial means of existence. It is therefore only too obvious that this region of the world is of the greatest strategic significance and consequently an object of global political vigilance of the highest order as well as, for security reasons, of the most resolute grasp by the "Western" allies.
This need for strategic control meets up with states that indeed owe their entire modern economic existence to the capitalistic interests of the "West" in its "natural resources," but that are thus in a position to act as autonomous powers and global political actors. That is why the Western control regime turns out to be so vast and rather "complex." First, the chief military powers of the "West," the U.S. with Great Britain and France right behind, are permanently present on the spot with their own strong forces and are in a position at a very short notice to send any necessary reinforcements into and deploy superior means of violence in the region. Secondly, they have induced a large fraction of the Arab states to become their allies, not least by supplying modern armaments, and integrated them into their system of penetrating the region militarily. Thirdly, they have decisively intervened in all regional conflicts, produced frontlines that neatly separate friend and foe, ensured definite relations of power, and thus stabilized their grip on their partner states while destroying hostile coalitions. America's instrumentalizing Zionism for its own purposes plays the biggest role in this regional control, for in setting Israel up as the unrivaled, regional, military power, the U.S. confronts any Arab high-handedness with a superior foe that is unconditionally militant out of a basic instinct for self-preservation and, as a result, unconditionally dependent on America. America thus bars the door on any pan-Arabic and collective Arab claims of right and persuades many a neighboring state of the absolute advantageousness of compliant cooperation with it. In this manner and with three Arab-Israeli wars, America has at the same time pursued its "containment" of its Soviet enemy for decades, driving it back from this vital region of the world. America subsequently opened the post-Soviet era by creating a new front against Iraq: it used the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait as an opportunity to bring former sympathizers of the Soviet Union over to its own side — a fitting thanks to Saddam Hussein, who, in his first Gulf War against an Iran that had broken away from America, had been allowed to demonstrate that anti-Americanism doesn't pay.
Fourth, the "Free World" has from time immemorial urgently attended to internal conditions in the states of this region. Governments that no longer dare their own venturing against either Israel or to the disadvantage of American interests in global control, but tolerate or even support subversion all the same, have to be "discouraged" or, at best, removed; in addition, the Europeans, for their part in the imperialistic division of labor, offer these states the opportunity to be tied to the "Western" net of interests and system of global order. Befriended rulers, however, both need and get encouragement and support for cracking down on internal opposition movements — and without the ruling fans of human rights bothering them with demands for democratization such as those they like to make elsewhere in order to impose both submissiveness and stability on a state with a single imperative. For so much is clear to the "Western" patron saints: the opposition being stirred up in Arab countries, countries officially on the only right side, is anything but an opposition in the "Western" sense, i.e., an offer of competing personnel to execute a fixed state purpose, the purpose in this case being the "pro-Western" line as dictated to the "oil states" in the Middle East and their Arab neighbors. This mission of reliable assistance for imperialistic interests in global utilization and control makes a contradictory demand on the countries involved. Despite the enormous significance of their raw material for the capitalistic world economy, despite the share in the capitalistically produced wealth they thus acquire, and the strategic importance they consequently boast of that even procures them access to an amount of modern military force, they are not to make anything more of themselves; rather they are to perpetuate their subservience and dependence. All attempts at emancipation, using their acquired means to raise themselves up to the point where they can be the site of an independent, national circuit of capital and become a co-determining actor at least in regional world events; all fail because of the peculiarity of the economic means conceded to them, and more than anything because of the established relations of power. This hardship, where a constrained state power sticks to its imperialistic post, gives rise to a resistance that turns against the foundations of the regime: a fundamental opposition that finds the Arab nation deprived of its rights by foreign powers and moreover humiliated by Israel, the decent people cheated out of their national future; and that perceives its own government to be a club of traitors that has conspired against both their own population and their higher duty, service to the decent community of all Arabs faithful to Allah. At the least, the "pro-Western" governments, just as their "Western" supervising powers, firmly recognize the danger of such an opposition, whose stance on the ruling political line is not one of constructive interest in improvement but of hostility. They find this to be all the more disturbing because in these countries, such a resistance against the state and its purpose does not automatically go along with helplessness and a lack of means as it does in the slums of the Third World, but it can in fact attract some politicized masses; even attract some political brains who know how to set aside the means necessary for their own cause from the considerable financial resources that are turned over in the oil business in and with their countries.
It goes without saying, however, that the governments in charge, for the sake of their own self-preservation, resort to drastic measures against such an opposition. Even foreign interested parties and strategic supervisors of the Middle East can proceed on this basis. They also see, however, and in most cases even rightly so, that the local rulers are really not and have no intention of being quite the "pro-Western" traitors their national opposition denounces them as being. In one way or another, they all want to be and be recognized as benefactors of their people, advocates of the holy Islamic-Arab cause, and successful managers of their country's development, even if the sole means they have for this, the oil the "West" allows them to export, continuously thwarts their calculations. To American and European strategists, even the most steadfast allies always look somewhat shady. So, in dealing with them, America especially won't do without the good services of Israel that keep reminding its Arab neighbors to bow to the inevitable and try for good relations with the American power protecting their Zionist adversary. And, if worse comes to worse, the "West" has its own troops ready in and around the region.
One of these worst case scenarios has in fact now taken place: not an overthrow in the region, but rather, from out of its underground a successful attack on the American homeland, the source of all oil dollars and claims on control. And moreover from the viewpoint of U.S. politics, which differs a bit from its war propaganda — and this is the second reason for America's drastic response — it is not a matter of a singular anomaly but of a product, in no way accidental, of the "situation" to which AMerica has itself decisively contributed. It is a matter of something like a hostile act of war arising out of the terrorist "morass," whose spread in Saudi Arabia of all countries, the most important oil supplier and main ally, has been watched with concern by Washington for a long time. In the leader of Al Qaeda, the U.S. is — according to its own estimation — in a certain way facing the suppressed, hostile, seamy side of precisely those Middle Eastern countries that prop up its power over the oil region. America gathers from the attack how precarious its control of "its" source of energy is and how little it can rely on the area's sovereign rulers to prove themselves as satisfactory enforcement agencies for the "West."
America's reaction corresponds to its concerns: it confronts all the Arab states with the dead-serious threat to attack any of them if need be, unless they immediately and successfully rid themselves of their anti-American "morass." So in their case, the friendly, diplomatic invitation to the community of nations means joining America's campaign to smoke out the terrorists. With this ultimatum, they are in particular requested to logistically and perhaps even financially support the American campaign, against Afghanistan for starters. Furthermore, they have to provide intelligence information for the fight against Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, investigate financial flows passing through their countries, and disclose the results of their findings to U.S. agencies. This imperative even applies to "rogue states" in the region. They too are expected to cooperate, but without getting this unfavorable classification stricken or getting the permanent threat of war reversed in exchange. The consequence of cooperative governments that comply with the demanded services facing all the more united, fundamentalist resistance only strengthens the urgency of the next demand; namely, a sweeping purge of their population of all "elements" America identifies as being terrorist. That includes both an accusation of and a demand on the governments themselves. The accusation: instead of decisively denying Arab-Islamic fundamentalism its right, they have thrown "Western" sovereignty over the definition of right and wrong politics into doubt with their ambitious discontent over the status, power and wealth achieved by the nation; with their unconcealed hostility towards an Israel that is so splendidly useful to the "West" as an imperialistic outpost; and furthermore, with their pious, national customs that diverge from the "Western" way of life; and in so doing have directly aided and abetted the most evil enemies of the world order and those who protect them. A complete and clearly discernible about-face is demanded: all the entitlements of a dissatisfied nationalism that anti-American terrorists like to refer to are to be kindly taken out of circulation. And this does not only apply to propaganda for home consumption: Arab statesmen are required to place much more importance on the attacks on New York and Washington — which America attributes to them, i.e., to their "underground" — than on anything else they do, above all more than on their complaints of Arab rights being violated by Israel in disregard of the most honorable UN resolutions.
This incidentally outlines the role that falls to Israel in the framework of the American anti-terror coalition and its first campaign. With its far-reaching definition and prompt execution of its "right to exist," as well as the accusation of terrorism leveled against its Palestinian foes and victims, the country is certainly not above any criticism; but a right to admonish falls exclusively to its tried and true friends. In principle, no one lectures the Israelis on the ways and means by which they rid themselves of their adversaries; since September 11 this is clearer than ever. Bin Laden refers to unavenged Israeli state terrorism in support of his depraved undertaking. This fact alone forbids raising any further objections in principle, and all the more from the Jewish state's frustrated neighbors, to an Israel occupation policy incriminated in such an unauthorized manner, let alone urging on political action. Conversely, the Israelis are not to take such offensive actions against the Palestinian population that they put the archenemy of the "West" in the right with his accusations, and diplomatically impede the incorporation of the Arab states into the American campaign for America's "enduring freedom." Besides, the Israelis are most fundamentally not to overlook that, from America's generally binding viewpoint, a terrorist attack on "God's own country" is not to be compared to anything at all, not even to suicide attacks on members of the Chosen People in the "Holy Land." Only America's enemies are official enemies of mankind, whom all states on the globe are obliged to combat; in the end, Israel's foes are a local, Israeli problem, at any rate as long as the government there handles it smoothly. So many distinctions have to be made. But there is not to be any further disassociation from Israel's own anti-terror campaign. Sharon has to stop designating Arafat as his Bin Laden and apologize for what is in truth a rather inappropriate comparison between giving Czechoslovakia away to Hitler and America's suggestions for gradually pacifying the Palestinians; then he can proceed further with what remains to be done as he deems appropriate. Ultimately, this is all Israel's private affair — save for one thing: it is not part of the American global mopping-up operation.
Alongside the states in the Middle East, the U.S. also puts its sights on Pakistan: not as a "morass" of anti-American terrorism, but rather as the creator and sponsor of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan that America has chosen as its first — and admittedly only as its first — "adversary" to start off its global mopping-up campaign. Yet the U.S. government is far from classifying Pakistan itself as a state accomplice of terrorism that has to be eliminated, even though no other state has as much to do with Afghanistan and its rulers who, as is widely known, come out of Pakistani Koran schools; the same Pashtun clan chiefs are the bosses on both sides of the border, even officially so on the Pakistani side thanks to special governmental regulations for the border province; anyway the moral and religious superstructure is the same; the cross-border comradeship-in-arms dates back to times before the Taliban's triumphal march that — also no longer any secret — was organized and financed by the Pakistani secret service; whose heads have up to now still been advising the Taliban commanders in Kabul and Kandahar; etc. Nonetheless, although its capital is named Islamabad, the government is not suspected of pursuing, nor even only of sponsoring anti-American politics in and with Afghanistan and its Taliban — for good reason. In fact, by its interventions in Afghanistan, Pakistan above all else saw to a success for the "free world:" first of all saw to a pious and correspondingly fanatical rebellion against a Moscow-supported "communist regime" in Kabul; then to a victory over the Red Army that had been deployed to secure the Soviet Union's southern border in Central Asia; and finally to the consolidation by the "Koran students" of an initially anti-Soviet- and anti-Russian-oriented regime over its neighboring country. Up until the Soviet Union's demise and afterwards, the Pakistani state thus proved its worth in the most brutal and faithful way as an active outpost of the American "containment" of the "Soviet threat;" to this end, it has after all been economically maintained, armed, and, particularly during its proxy war against the Soviet occupying power in Afghanistan, competently advised by America and supplied with all the necessities for decades.
The U.S. picks up the thread of this glorious history once more now. It forgives Pakistan that America had rather little use for the country since the Soviet collapse; it forgives Pakistan's high-handedness in pursuing its rise to a regional power and in intending to snatch the disputed Kashmir away from its Indian neighbor — ambitions America couldn't and didn't want to do anything with. America is even willing to forget that Pakistan treated itself, though unbidden and forbidden, to an "Islamic" atomic bomb, and incurred an embargo and some political ostracism from a concerned "West." All this because there is a new task to be taken on and fulfilled by the country, for which it must promptly cancel and reverse everything it has been undertaking in and with Afghanistan for years: Pakistan is to stop all support of the Taliban; recall its own assistants, advisers, and fighters from the neighboring country; even prevent any unofficial support across the border; and put its intimate knowledge of the Taliban administration at America's disposal to fight it effectively, in addition to its own military infrastructure for the same purpose; and the excited section of its population is to be beaten out of its hostile spirit of opposition to America. The corresponding catalogue of demands is handed over without further ado about it being carried out; that the U.S. Secretary of State personally hands it over is certainly the most important part in the necessary efforts at persuasion. As well, additional, important Western statesmen drop in bringing promises of money, and thus officially bringing an end to the official, political ostracism of the country, as well as of its General President whose coming to power was not at all democratic. And the IMF seeks ways to postpone Pakistan's scheduled national bankruptcy: it is, after all, quite out of the question that a strategically important frontline state in the first American anti-terror war would nonetheless drop out of the globalized world of business and on top of that be brought into disrepute by accusations of its rule being adverse to democracy, such reproaches being intended for quite different purposes.
Whether or not the governmental power wielded by the General President can cope with all this is not a question at all: the newly discovered partner is imperiously required by the "West" to bring its people into line. The U.S. army is prepared to secure the "Islamic" atomic bombs against Islamic revolutionaries, if it should come to that.
With this slogan, globally-engaged politicians assessed the significance of the attacks right after they occurred. They were apparently deeply impressed by the terrorists' acts of violence, stunned so to speak. That is why they immediately got in touch with the people, the population they serve, and announced on the spot on all the channels what they proposed to do: since things like this shouldn't have been allowed to happen and are not to happen again — this is a matter of some people intending to change the world in opposition to their monopoly on force and at its expense — they insist on their incontestable responsibility for the application of force at the proper moment and to the right degree. Unauthorized persons practiced violence; this decisive means of politics that they reserve for their own office, employ according to their own calculations and grant or deny to their equals, was taken into account against them and their interests: this justifies war.
It is waged first of all against a state and its material and human inventory that according to the World Almanac doesn't really count amongst the powers that would be in a position or willing to shake up our oh-so-comfortable world order. At least not according to the unwritten but traditionally obeyed international rules of order, an order that is meanwhile expanding its ranks of "Worlds" downwards beyond "Third," implying a decision as to who has a say in what and who sees to the good conduct of other states. Afghanistan is due for a war because it offers refuge to Arab, Allah-based anti-Americanism, enabling it to perform its great feats. It matters not what the country otherwise is or has been — serving as a deployment zone against the old Soviet Union and as a tool against a stray Iran: all this has rather been more bad than good luck. It only reinforces the suspicion that, at any rate, some people over there are trying to keep things the way they were before. The needs of states and peoples like this have to be determined in the democratic metropoleis; the directions to be taken by societies like Afghanistan, considering all the useless and pre-bourgeois peculiarities they cultivate, are to be pointed out by the free West. For the present, terror bombing is just the right thing for Afghanistan; for the days after the elimination of the Taliban and their power, constructive models of governance and nutrition are readily being put together, even in Germany.
In yet another respect, nothing has changed. To the politically astute public, September 11 was worthy of the predicate "lunacy." The excitement the public reserves for the advances the world order has made since then is of a different kind. What is inquired after is the success of the campaign to wipe out cross-border terror — and many a contemporary, who "naturally" consider such a campaign necessary, are going a bit astray about it. One person discovers that even democratic bombs kill and destroy rather nicely, yet another that the "political structures" promised for later on wouldn't go so far. Further doubts are cast on the goal of getting hold of the bearded Saudi renegade. Moreover, there are concerns about the stability of the anti-terror coalition, concerns that Europeans now and then turn into advice to their nations not to join up so unconditionally. Considering all the understanding about its perils, the mission is, on the one hand, completely fine but, on the other hand, is turning into an undertaking that threatens to fail: what the venture is all about becomes a minor detail — when, as far as anyone can tell, it brings about neither "stability" nor any satisfactory "security." Here, the American President has to render assistance to put down false hopes. When he then emphasizes that stirring up the world with war is an open-ended event, his counterparts in office, i.e., his foreign rivals, are fully informed that the chief organizer of world peace likewise realizes how much there is still to be done after Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan; journalists from all the world over can also take comfort in that.
Seen from this perspective, it is not really important what the U.S. President actually announces. Nor is it of any interest why the negotiations about who is going to govern Afghanistan in the future recently took place in Bonn, of all places. Obviously, an unambiguous version of "globalization" has conquered the political hearts in our "civilization," irrespective of the shades of politics they belong to. A conservative head of government in America demonstrates by force of arms that the numerous dependencies the nations have entered into "because of the world market" are nothing but a single directive, addressed to his nation and obliging it to supervise the behavior of all other states, as well as control the domestic life of the whole community. The fact that this control regime is pure imperialistic criticism and has nothing to do with a criticism of the bad habits of all sorts of state rule doesn't bother a German Foreign Minister. Or rather, only in so far as Herr Fischer, the learned grass-roots democrat, simply is "delighted" by the whole point of successful foreign policy: furthering one's own national interest in and against other nations from a superior position, equipped with lots of power, while declaring this interest to be what's right for the world and insisting on agreement — all this makes such an impression on the German Foreign Minister that he copies the manners of U.S. leadership day in and day out. He, as usual, enormously regrets the lack of means for actually imitating his role model, which only serves to nurture his statesmanlike ambitions for an alternative European counter-power. Again, as far as this is concerned, the Bin Laden business has changed nothing — not only was American enthusiasm in matters of "international criminal law" in progress long ago, but also the project to build up Europe.
In the search for the change conjured up by the slogan "nothing will ever be the same," nothing shows up that would justify the pompous, history-laden tone. The nostalgic report of the world's being lately thrown out of joint has obviously been spread by persons who found pleasure in the pre-9-11 world. They must have explained America's "invulnerability" to themselves as a source of good deeds. Or, these people count among those who have to take a lot of punishment precisely because the Americans are tightening up the safeguarding of their right to foster pro-American, namely useful force, and conversely, to ostracize and prevent harmful, anti-American force.
This in turn has helped to spread uneasy feelings among the European leaders, who have otherwise rendered outstanding service in announcing a new era. But this hasn't yet reached the stage where they have come to reject their former operating procedures and calculations. They have joined in the American mission that forces a worldwide condition of war as a perpetual institution on the world of states, while chalking up in their budgets as always the advantages and disadvantages of the American initiative and their engagement with it. One of them assesses the power they have at their disposal, by which means they act as shapers of the globe; another one keeps track of the monetary power they acquire at the expense of other nations. On top of that, the worries arising from their great campaign also show how precious little their manner of making politics has changed. They consider war to be necessary, wage it as well as they can, excitedly note the effects on stock prices and exchange rates, check their unemployment rates, and seek out terrorists.
Those who hold G-7 summits know well that the regime of the free world shows itself to be no kind of program for fostering equality, development, and nutrition on the globe. Aside from the issues of competition among the great nations, globalization conferences always deal with their victims: states that become useless, run aground, are ungovernable — and threaten to turn hostile against the famous world order. That is why international monetary matters are also matters of worldwide security, matters the mighty democracies care about very much. The peace they need is not to be had without control and supervision. The success they have in mind always causes some damage abroad. For the leaders of the free world, this is obvious, but no reason to admit the old communist slander that they themselves produce their enemies. Rather, it is a reason for an appropriate military budget.
How right they are becomes apparent at the present time when they come across people who act against them and their power with money and force. Annihilation is then necessary, while development aid is officially designated as a security measure — a measure attendant to war. Even this time, war is not to be confused with care for foreign states and peoples, even if it is launched with the high-sounding aim of "order" and "stability." Pure destruction, even promised as a series of destructions to come, is really not just the lunatic aim of evil terrorists, but also the rational purpose of war of decent world powers.
1. For a comprehensive treatment see On the Political Economy of Oil: A Strategic Good and its Price.
© GegenStandpunkt 2002