Corridors of Power
F. Scott Fitzgerald described the Ivy Club at Princeton University as being “breathlessly aristocratic”. That was in 1920. It was no less aristocratic in 1970 when Philip Bobbitt was its president. Bobbitt can trace his pedigree to the early southern colonies in the 1600s and names his uncle Lyndon Johnson as one of his mentors.
“Public servant” Bobbitt has served as advisor to presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and now Barak Obama on the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law. He frequents The White House as if it was his local pub and seems to have a pass key to all the influential institutions of the government. He’s worked on the charter of the CIA, counseled the Iran-Contra Committee, was director for Intelligence Programs for the National Security Council, etc., etc. & etc. When not whispering in the ears of power, he speaks authoritatively as a professor of international law at Harvard, Colombia, Yale, Princeton, Oxford and the University of Texas. His fan club includes Tony Blair, David Cameron, John Howard and Henry Kissinger who described him as “the* outstanding political philosopher of our time.”
(* Note that Henry says “the” and not “an”.)
You get the picture.
What is the philosophy radiating out of this “outstanding political philosopher”? His book The Shield of Achilles (2002) spells out his philosophy candidly.
Bobbitt doesn’t believe in peace. The search for peace is “fruitless.” War is inevitable and the wise policy makers anticipate it and prepare for it so that they can shape the form it takes. Philip B regards war as a strategic struggle to legitimize the formation of state authority and establish its constitutional order. He uses the term epochal war to designate a greater conflict and exemplifies this with what he calls The Long War that extended from 1914 to 1990 (from the Soviet Revolution to the fall of the Berlin Wall). It consolidated the nation-state.
Now that the nation-state has been established the next epochal war is under way to see who will dominate the market-state. Where the nation-state carried the promise of material welfare for its citizens, the market-state promises opportunities. (Note that I refrain from using sarcasm about the difference between material welfare and opportunities.) Bobbitt encourages leaders to create new forms for the use of force to promote and defend the market-state. Citizens should be employed as mercenaries, civil privacy should be abandoned and surveillance should be increased.
Recognize any of these policies? Bobbitt knew that they would upset some people. “Unaided by the assurance that the political process will not be subordinated to the most powerful market actors, markets can become targets of the alienated and of those who are disenfranchised by any shift away from national or ethnic institutions.”
Are you feeling alienated by corporate rule (“the most powerful market actors”) or disenfranchised by the rulers trashing the country’s traditions and laws (“shift away from national or ethnic institutions”)? Thank Bobbitt!
But don’t be too hard on Professor Phil. When his book The Shield of Achilles came out prestigious people and reviewers calloused their fingertips writing its praises. The entire intellectual, academic and politic elite shower acclaim over this apostle of fascism. Yes, fascism. And I’m not using the word loosely.
The term market-state itself is basically a declaration of fascism. Wiktionary defines fascism as:
“a political regime ideologically based on a relationship between business and the centralized government, business-and-government control of the market place, repression of criticism of opposition.”
Philip B’s market-state goes beyond a mere business-government relationship. It subordinates the political process “to the most powerful market actors.”
“… the market-state promises a ‘virtuous’ circle to those states that copy its form and obey its strictures*. The privatization of state-owned firms brings immense capital gains to the state as it liquidates vast monopolies; this windfall supplements the savings from cuts in welfare programs…” (*Note the aristocratic expression, “obey its strictures”. Also note that public ownership is described as monopolies.)
A Monument of Twisted Logic
In an interview in 2007 on Global Axess Bobbitt claimed the invasion of Iraq was necessary because “we couldn’t predict when Saddam Hussein could acquire nuclear weapons.”
This clearly proves that a monument of academic knowledge can produce ugly twisted reasoning. If the ultimate international crime, the initiation of war, can be justified with Bobbitt’s argument, there is no such thing as international law. Many progressive brats of America are fond of complaining about the stupidity of the “sheeple”. The majority of Americans however know more about the difference between right and wrong—and crimes of aggression—than American professors of international law.
Prof. Phil excels in twisted reasoning. “It takes two states to go to war. /—/ States … may employ aggression, but they do not seek war. Rather it is the state against whom* the aggression has been mounted, typically, that makes the move to war, which is a legal and strategic act”.
(* Note the reference to the state as a person rather than a thing.)
Phil claims that the Vietnam War was “fought to stop aggression by going to war.”
And speaking of twisted logic and Vietnam, Bobbitt wrote an eulogy to former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in the NY Times (July 7, 2009). How did Professor Phil describe the man who initiated the bombing campaign that killed millions of Vietnamese? He characterize him as “a man of compassion”.
Many people will be surprised to learn that the intellectual elite of the empire can’t tell the difference between good and evil and worship the prospects of fascism. I suggest they read Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. The seldom-mentioned journey to Laputa (Spanish for whore) describes the illogical scientific fools of this island in the air. Among other things, the titled fools believed that they could determine the guilt of conspiracy suspects (terrorists) by examining their turds.
Turds! Fascist shit doesn’t just happen. It’s dark, hard values are produced by the constipated minds of the aristocrats of power.
“If hypocrisy were a crime we’d have to build a cage around the government”