|31/8/04||Bush Reloaded by Satya Sagar|
“Weep, buddy, weep. I'm gonna vote Bush and I hope he comes and bombs your ass”
It is not very often that I get unsigned love letters like this or prognostications about the fate of my posterior. But there it was staring me in my face- this short missive provoked possibly by some unkind public analysis I may have made about Imperial America and the goons who currently run the place.
I am not surprised at all. Truths told bluntly hurt and those who cannot handle it with their brain often threaten to resort to their brawn. Like Bush, like Bush-Lover.
Nor am I worried that some day Bush Jr. is really going to come 'bomb my ass'. There are many things I need to do to shape up my behind (some sit ups and an aerobic workout should do) but I know it is still small enough to avoid any 'seat-seeking' missile that the Pentagon may have conjured up.
What does however interest me immensely is the idea that I will weep if my 'buddy' who wrote that angry mail votes for Dubya. I cannot understand why would it hurt me in any special way if a majority of the American public brings back Bush to one more term at the White House? I mean, in the complete absence of any change in the way power is really controlled or wielded in the US, what difference does it make to me, as a citizen of the Third World, which stooge of the American establishment wins or loses?
In fact given George Bush Jr's brilliant record in doing permanent damage to the very political, economic and cultural foundations on which the US Super-turned Hyper-turned Imperial Power rests I would happily paraphrase '43' and say 'bring him on' once again. Far from weeping I would actually rejoice if Bush remains as President and finishes his historical mission of dismantling, brick by brick, base by base, every outpost of the global US Empire.
Sure, I agree in the short run a new Bush Presidency could see more wars and misery than what we already have. He might go on to attack Iran next and then Syria and then North Korea. In another four years time he will come back to invade Afghanistan and Iraq once more because by then they would have surely slipped out of US control. So there we would go beating around the Bush all over again.
But despite these dire possibilities of Bush Reloaded we also need to consider the fact that US Democrats have an equally bad record of sending US troops abroad and so there is no real guarantee that America will not be at war in future under some 'noble' pretext or the other. After all the Democrats were the ones who were responsible for the Korean and Vietnam Wars, not to mention the bombing of Serbia- all in the service of the same military-financial-corporate complex that Bush Jr. serves. Already we know for example that Bush's main opponent at the polls, John Kerry, objects not to the invasion of Iraq but only to the 'way it was sold' to the world.
So on balance, as far as many in the Third World are concerned, I think there is nothing much to really choose between the main contestants of the next US election. They are all going to bomb us anyway and to mangle the English language a bit 'A Known Devil in the Bush is surely worth two Unknown in the Curry, er, I mean Kerry'.
I would recommend strongly that for a while let us stop our Bush-bashing and calmly consider what his major contributions to the world have been since he took over as US President, four fateful years ago. The list is too long of course for a short article but one just has to recount (not Florida) the way Bush inspired the entire world to rally against him, how he lost Aznar the Spanish elections and will soon do the same to Blair and Howard- and you know what I mean. Not mentioning of course the sheer entertainment value to countless people of 'Bushisms'- those gems of priceless wisdom that roll off Bush Jr's tongue every time he speaks.
But here are three truly historical 'achievements' of the current Bush Jr. regime that deserve his re-election in the upcoming US polls:
For 'outing' the reality of the US as an Imperial Power: There was once upon a time (just four years ago) that much of the world actually believed in the idea of a unipolar world with America- the 'benevolent Superpower' at the apex of it all. This was the 'End of History' view that said now that neo-liberal capitalism had triumphed over socialism- the people of the world should shut up and put up with the hard reality of America policing the world.
Sure, some of them had heard of what the US 'policeman' was up to for a hundred years or more in Latin America, the Philippines and other nations occupied and plundered by US corporations. They had of course know also about the Vietnam War blah, blah, blah but then “the US is not like the old colonial powers of Europe” was the standard refrain everywhere. It was more like a friendly monster, which was all good intentions but screwed up once in a while- shit happens etc.
Not anymore. Now you travel from Europe to Latin America or Africa to Asia it is impossible to convince people that the US is not going the way of a classical colonial power- invading sovereign countries under various pretexts, grabbing control of their resources, installing puppet regimes, shooting down local resistance as 'terrorists'- it's all 18th century once more. The common view now is that the US used to be a mere Superpower, the collapse of the Soviet Union made it a Hyper Power and Bush Jr. and his coterie have foolishly made it into yet another Imperial Power- with all the tragic consequences for both victims and perpetrators.
Today everybody easily sees through the smokescreens and propaganda to realize the simple fact that US Imperialism, at its core, is not very different from the Raj and its racist rule. I didn't say that- that's what the ideologues of the War on Terror are openly calling for every day ever since 9/11.
Thanks Dubya, that saves many of us much time, energy, resources spent on the political education of our planet's once confused population. Their view of America will never again be as naïve and wide-eyed as it was just yesterday- 'when all their troubles seemed so far away'.
For undermining the ability of the US to hold on to Imperial Power: As Zbigniew Brzezinski once famously noted the three things that make up a real Superpower are military, economic and cultural hegemony over the globe. Not long ago (around four years ago) the US was the undisputed champion on all three fronts- if you were not being shocked into silence by a US missile, you were being awed by the lure of the US dollar or seduced into submission by the sheer creative skills of some American performer or the other.
Not anymore. Despite the frequency with which Bush Jr. has been shooting away during his current term he is failing to 'shock' the resistance to US imperial adventures anywhere. Instead what we see in Iraq- in Najaf, Fallujah, Nasiriyah- is a people who are fighting US Occupation with everything they have and it is the US armed forces that are on retreat. Surely not a great display of 'unbeatable' US military prowess?
Again, on the global economic front time was (about four years ago) when, despite some dissent here and there, the US dominated discussions on world trade rules, determined foreign currency values and was the undisputed model on which many countries based their national economic policies.
Now global resistance to the unilateralist approach of the Bush administration on trade issues is preventing the US from shaping the rules of the game anymore. In the meanwhile record US fiscal deficits and reckless increases in foreign loans are undermining the US dollar so seriously that the entire current global financial architecture-skewed to US benefit- may actually collapse soon. The ability of US financial 'voodoo doctors' to print lots of color paper and get the world to accept them is diminishing by the hour and with that the days of the 'Great American Free Lunch' too are coming to an end. Honestly, from now on, it is going to be Bye, Bye Mr. Free American Pie!
Turning to the status of US hegemony over global culture, I think the critical part of 'culture' that we need to look at is really global information flows and the way the US has skillfully controlled them in the past. There was a time (four years ago) when whether it was the US media or Hollywood, people around the globe lapped it all up eagerly with their subconscious screaming 'Gimme More!'
But that was in the past. Now the US media- whether television or print is the laughing stock of the world- what with its editors and embedded reporters losing credibility everywhere over their willful misreporting of alleged WMDs in Iraq, their refusal to foresee the Iraq quagmire and their dishonest apologies on being exposed for what they are- mere charlatans. In the process the US establishment too has lost its crucial ability to convince the world that its imperialism abroad serves the 'best interests of all humanity'- a very serious loss indeed that in turn hurts its military and economic capabilities too.
Nobody but Bush Jr. could have done this to the most powerful country on Earth ie., bring it back to Planet Earth. Dubya, we truly love Ya !!
For preparing the conditions for the US to get back to being a Normal Power: Even as Bush Jr. and friends openly ride the fantasy horses of cowboy colonialism their sheer ineptness is fast turning the journey into a complete nightmare for the US elites. And therein lies Bush Jr's potential contribution to the rest of the world -another four years in the White House and he will screw it up so badly for his Masters that they will not recover for at least a couple of generations.
For in his hot pursuit of 'failed states' to vanquish, Bush is spurring America on to becoming yet another 'failed Superpower'- just like its Cold War rival the Soviet Union. The unprecedented dominance of global affairs that the US has managed since the collapse of the Soviet Union was destined to end at some point anyway (if it has more muscles than it can Flex, it will always go like T.Rex) and the world has to thank Bush Jr. for accelerating the process.
Iraq today is to the US, in sheer military terms, what Afghanistan became for the USSR in the eighties. The expense, the loss of lives, the sheer resistance from the occupied, the loss of global allies are all taking their toll steadily and it is just a matter of time before the Joker-in-Chief brings the house of cards tumbling down.
I honestly don't think that the US is about to disintegrate like the USSR or anything as dramatic as that. But it is right now on course to go from being the world's only Superpower to something like say Britain or France- pining away for past glory-a simpering- whimpering- former-Superpower.
There is of course a good chance also that the US could return to being just another normal Power- not feared but respected, not hated but liked, wealthy without being greedy, strong but not a bully- like say umm…Canada. But that would depend entirely on what the American people do or do not do to change the way their country is really run. And thanks to Bush Jr. the people are now raring for some serious change.
Consider this. Just as in the case of the Soviet Union, whose misadventures in Afghanistan turned its own population against the ruling regime, large sections of the American people too are today deeply upset with the US Occupation of Iraq. And not just Iraq but also about the growing unemployment, homelessness, inequality, the loss of democracy, the influence of fundamentalism on gender and education policies- the list of grievances runs long and deep.
In fact I believe they are ready for nothing short of a full-fledged revolt that will sweep away not just Bush Jr. but a whole lot of lobbies and vested interests that have hijacked US democracy and plan to crash them through every great value their nation represents. A hijacking that is nothing less than the Mother of all 911s.
And that is precisely why it does not matter if Bush Jr. does get elected as the US President again. It would be too easy, too cheap to get rid of him merely through the ballot- like letting Pol Pot go with a parking ticket.
What the rest of the world wants to see are walls and statues tumbling, people planting flowers on tanks, the hated 'leader' chased by grannies with placards, crowds flashing V signs – in other words the Full Monty of a People's Power Revolution. Anything less would be cheating Bush Jr. and 'All the President's Men' of their just rewards for everything they have done for their country and the world.
Seriously 'buddy', vote Bush and bring him on!
Satya Sagar is a writer, videomaker and journalist based in Thailand. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org