"The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous...The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.” --George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four
BOGEYMAN ENEMIES AND
INVENT THEM WHEN NECESSARY,
THE ACTUAL VERSUS APPARENT AIMS OF U.S. IMPERIALISM (which is the subject of the sub-section of this article titled "THE ACTUAL, VERSUS APPARENT, AIM OF U.S. IMPERIALISM IS NOT TO WIN THE WAR BUT TO BE AT WAR")
by John Spritzler (firstname.lastname@example.org)
April 14, 2022
The URL of this article is https://www.pdrboston.org/oppressors-need-bogeyman-enemies ; please share it.
See item #12 below regarding the impending war between the U.S. and China
[Read why merely denouncing Zionist violence as unjust doesn't weaken Zionism, in the concluding section of this article.]
It's almost impossible for an oppressive ruling class to dominate those it oppresses--the have-nots--without a bogeyman enemy. Why is this?
The reason is that when there is no bogeyman enemy from which the ruling class pretends to be protecting the have-nots, then the have-nots have no reason to grudgingly tolerate being ruled over, dominated, exploited and oppressed by the ruling class. Oppressive ruling classes have always understood this, and this is why they have always worked hard to make the have-nots fear some bogeyman enemy, as I will illustrate below with many examples.
When Mikhail Gorbachev ended the Soviet Union he told American diplomats, "I will do something very terrible to you America--I am going to take away your enemy" [source: hereand an equivalent one here]. Unless you understand the need that bad guys have for a bogeyman enemy you wouldn't understand Gorbachev's remark. But if you do understand it then you will understand why the U.S. armed the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
The U.S. ruling class, after losing its Communist bogeyman enemy wasted no time (see item #2 below) creating a new Fundamentalist Islam bogeyman enemy. It is no secret that there is growing anger in the United States at the obscene economic inequality and consequent suffering of the have-nots. The U.S. ruling class dares not allow peace to break out due to the absence of a frightening bogeyman enemy!
Before Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor in World War II, there was very great and increasingly revolutionary working class opposition to the Japanese ruling class (as I discuss in some detail in my book on WWII). Andrew Gordon, a professor of History at Harvard University, in is book, Labor and Imperial Democracy in Prewar Japan, writes about the 'big story' of the 'ascendance of the military and fascism in the 1930s [in Japan]':
"We shall see, first, that the newly ascendant military men and bureaucrats, among many others, truly feared that domestic social order might collapse during and after the depression, and second, that this fear informed, and at times propelled, a wide range of new domestic and foreign policies.
"[Key Japanese army leader, Lieutenant General Suzuki Teiichi's] diary from 1933 to 1934 notes numerous lengthy discussions on the subject with Army Minister Araki, as well as with the ministers of finance, foreign affairs, and agriculture, and also reports on the deliberations at several cabinet meetings, echoed by reform-oriented bureaucrats in the Home Ministry such as Goto Fumio: 'domestic unrest' was a great problem, impeding traditional defense...Suzuki repeatedly told his associates that 'a great war fundamentally strengthens the people and their nationalism.' " [pg. 279]
Sometimes the bogeyman enemy is another nation or another ethnic group. If there is no currently existing such enemy that is sufficiently frightening, then the ruling class must invent one: it does whatever it takes to make a would-be bogeyman enemy sufficiently frightening. Lurid propaganda is part of this, but often, in order to make such propaganda credible, the ruling class attacks the would-be bogeyman enemy (claiming, of course, that it is in self-defense to protect its have-nots) for the purpose of making the would-be bogeyman enemy fight back so that the propaganda can then portray its fighting back as unprovoked evil aggression against the have-nots and their ruling class that defends them. Can you already guess what examples of this I will cite below?
Sometimes the bogeyman enemy is a supernatural one: the proverbial "volcano god" who requires human sacrifices to be persuaded not to kill everybody; or the always-useful old bearded man in the sky God who will use a flood to kill everybody, or unleash seven plagues, or send individuals to everlasting hellfire and brimstone, or what not unless the have-nots do what He demands, and of course the ruling class knows what He demands and is in charge of making sure people do it, right? Surely you can already guess what examples of this I will cite below.
As the examples below illustrate, the ruling class's goal in fighting a bogeyman enemy is primarily to be AT war against it, not to WIN the war against it. This is why U.S. war-making often seems inept or irrational to those who think the purpose of U.S. political leaders is to WIN the war, and who don't understand that no, the purpose is simply to be AT war.*
#1. U.S. rulers worked hard to make the Soviet Union bogeyman enemy sufficiently frightening by arming it big time all during the Cold War, including during the Vietnam War when the Soviet Union was, in turn, arming North Vietnam. Read the gory details about this in my "The U.S. Armed the Soviet Union During the 'Cold War'." Today the U.S. is again working hard to make Russia the new bogeyman enemy, by re-starting the Cold War via Ukraine; read about this here.
#2. U.S. rulers invented the "Muslim fundamentalists/terrorists" enemy. Read the details in Dave Stratman's "Inventing the Enemy" and in my "Drones Create Hatred of the U.S. Which Is Their Real Purpose."
Regarding the 9/11 attack itself, read this and decide what you think.
#3. British colonizers of North America made the American Indians the bogeyman enemy, in order to control the European-descendant working class people in the colonies, as I discuss in my "Are Europeans Just Naturally Racist Oppressors?"
#4. The Israeli billionaire ruling upper class has made the Palestinians be its useful bogeyman enemy--by attacking them with violent ethnic cleansing supposedly to make Jews safe--for controlling the Israeli Jewish working class. Read about this in great detail in my "Israel's Government Attacks Ordinary Jews As Well As Palestinians." This article explains why the Israeli government funds HAMAS, multiple mainstream sources of evidence for which are in that article as well as in this article: "Israeli Leaders and Hamas Need Each Other"; but if you don't want to read these articles at least go to this pro-US article about Israel providing suitcases full of cash to HAMAS:
https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/06/15/israels-big-new-shift-in-hamas-policy/. This Foreign Policy article doesn't admit it, but the purpose, mainstream evidence for which is in the above cited articles, is to ensure that HAMAS remains in power in Gaza and continues to terrorize Israeli Jews with its rockets. To cite just one of many examples of such evidence:
Anthony H. Cordesman, who held the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, and who was also a national security analyst for ABC News, wrote an article in 2009 in which he stated in regard to the fighting in Gaza:
"At least to date, the reporting from within Gaza indicates that each new Israeli air strike or advance on the ground has increased popular support for Hamas and anger against Israel in Gaza. The same is true in the West Bank and the Islamic world. Iran and Hezbollah are capitalizing on the conflict…
What is the strategic purpose behind the present fighting?…Will Israel end in empowering an enemy in political terms that it defeated in tactical terms?...To [be] blunt, the answer so far seems to be yes." [emphasis added]
#5. The old communist dictators of Serbia and of Croatia agreed to violently attack each other's have-nots in the name of their own have-nots. Why? They feared the pro-democracy movement that ordinary Serbs and Croats were united in supporting and that aimed at removing the old communist dictators from power. The dictators used ethnic violence to make the have-not Serbs hate the have-not Croats as a bogeyman enemy, and vice versa, to demobilize the pro-democracy movement. Read about this in my "GOVERNMENTS USE VIOLENCE TO PROVOKE HATRED," which is based on The Myth of Ethnic War: Serbia and Croatia in the 1990s, written by V.P. Gagnon, Jr., a professor of politics at Ithaca College.
#6. In the 1930s during the Great Depression the rulers of the United States, Germany and Japan all faced increasingly revolutionary working class uprisings and feared actual revolutions. In order to control their own people, the rulers of these nations instigated World War II, so they could persuasively order their own people to stop waging the class war and instead join their rulers in waging war against other nations. I discuss this in detail in my book, The People As Enemy: the Leaders' Hidden Agenda in World War II, much of which is online here.
#7. In his The Great Class War about World War I, the historian Jacques R. Pauwels makes the case that, quoting the book description at the back of the book and online, with my emphasis:
"For European statesmen, a large-scale war could give their countries new colonial territories, important to growing capitalist economies. For the wealthy and ruling classes, war served as an antidote to social revolution, encouraging workers to exchange socialism's focus on international solidarity for nationalism's intense militarism. And for the working classes themselves, war provided an outlet for years of systemic militarization -- quite simply, they were hardwired to pick up arms, and to do so eagerly.
"To Pauwels, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914 -- traditionally upheld by historians as the spark that lit the powder keg -- was not a sufficient cause for war but rather a pretext seized upon by European powers to unleash the kind of war they had desired."
In the forward to his book, Pauwels writes about the broad sweep of the book starting with the French revolution of 1789:
"We will come to the realization that the Great War was wanted and unleashed by a European elite that was essentially a 'symbiosis' of the nobility, that is, the large landowners and the haute bourgeoisie or 'upper middle class,' the latter consisting above all of industrialists and bankers. The nobility--not only in France, but everywhere in the Europe of the ancien régime--was counterrevolutionary from the very moment when, in 1789, the 'great' revolution broke out in France. The bourgeoisie had been revolutionary in 1789, but it became counterrevolutionary after its traumatic experiences during the revolutions of 1848 and 1871. These new revolutions made the bourgeoisie understand that the rights and privileges it had acquired via the French Revolution were threatened by the aspirations of the lower classes in general and the working class in particular; from the perspective of the bourgeoisie these were henceforth the 'dangerous classes' (classes dangereuses), the 'vile multitude.' The working class loomed more and more menacing because it had discovered a potent emancipatory strategy in Marxist socialism. Moreover, it had developed forms of organization, especially workers' parties and trade unions, and had thus managed to obtain more and more political and social reforms, such as a widening of the electoral franchise. The fear of revolution and even of a seemingly irresistible democratization--the 'rise of the masses'--convinced the elite that Nietzche and the apostles of Social Darwinism were right: these intellectuals propounded that only war could eliminate the grave risks associated with democratization and above all the mortal danger of revolution." [pg. 17-18]
In other words, the ruling classes needed bogeyman enemies against whom to wage a war.
#8. The U.S. ruling class (both Democratic and Republican administrations) has, for decades, been doing horrible things to the have-nots south of the border in Mexico and Central America, things that were designed to force these people to have to illegally migrate into the United States just to survive. I write about this in detail in "ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION AND WHAT AMERICANS SHOULD DO ABOUT IT." The ruling class uses these illegal immigrants for two purposes: 1) as cheap labor less able to fight for decent wages and working conditions for fear of being deported; and 2) as a bogeyman enemy that the ruling class points to and tells American citizen workers, "See, those are the people depriving you of good-paying jobs. Support your conservative politicians because they're the ones working to stop illegal immigration."
#9. Hitler, obviously, used "the Jews" as a bogeyman enemy (it was successful mainly, as historians have determined, to motivate Nazi Party members rather than the general German public***). Furthermore, the United States ruling class on the one hand and the German and Japanese ruling classes on the other hand used each other's nations as bogeyman enemies to control their own increasingly revolutionary working classes during World War II; specifically the Allies used "fighting fascism" as a pretext for squashing pro-working class movements around the world, while making its anti-working class goal primary over that of actually defeating the fascists, as I prove in my book (at Amazon here) and summarized online here.
#10. Ukraine's President Zelensky and his fellow capitalists (including the American ones!) are using the ethnic Russians (whose first language is Russian) in the eastern (Donbass) region of [what Kiev considers to be] Ukraine as their bogeyman enemy to control the Ukrainians in the western part of the country so they can get rich at their expense. The Ukraine government enacted laws prohibiting the use of the Russian language (a form of ethnic cleansing); when the ethnic Russians fought back against this the Ukraine government declared them the enemy and attacked them violently, thus making them a bogeyman enemy. Zelensky is doing exactly what the U.S. rulers want, in particular he is keeping Ukraine in big debt to the IMF, which in turn spells very bad news [click 'read more' to see the entire article in this link] for ordinary have-not Ukrainians. Capitalism in general has been very bad for Ukrainians, judging by the fact that the Ukraine population rose to its peak of 51.4 million in 1991, at which time the Soviet Union dissolved and became capitalist and Ukraine became independent of the Soviet Union and under the sway of Western capitalism, and then subsequently its population dramatically declined to only 43.5 million by 2021 "due to high emigration rates, low birth rates, and high death rates."
Stupidity or Design?
Keen observers of the West's proxy war against Russia in Ukraine have noted that the West has done things that have greatly strengthened Russia:
2) By targeting Russian CIVILIANS by things such as considering denying them visas to be tourists in Europe and already preventing Russian athletes from competing in Europe, plus banning Russian authors and musical composers, even of past centuries, the West has thereby increased support by the Russian general public for the Russian government that tells them that the West isn't just attacking Putin but ALL Russians.
The economist, Michael Hudson, argues that U.S. sanctions against Russia were never really against Russia but against Western Europe:
M.H.: "Oh, sanctions have been very, very effective, but I think you’ve got the players wrong. The sanctions were against Europe, not against Russia. The United States calculated two years ago that it cannot compete with Eurasia. It’s losing. It knows that it’s lost the long-term fight for not only dominance, but the long-term fight to be a major player. So it says, “What can we do? We know that we cannot compete with Eurasia, with China, Russia, Iran and the rest, but the one thing we can do is [to] lock in American prosperity by making Western Europe and the English speaking countries, Australia and New Zealand, completely dependent on us.” The sanctions are to lock in European and English-speaking dependency on the US. Russia is just a side beneficiary. The sanctions have done for Russia what our protective tariffs did for the American economy in the 19th century. The sanctions have obliged Russia to become self-sufficient in food production, manufacturing production and consumer goods. The sanctions have helped Russia rebuild its industry and cured it of the neoliberal sort of junk economics that the Americans sponsored in the 1990s. The sanctions have helped Russia and China not hurt it, but they’ve made Europe totally dependent on the United States. This whole NATO war is a war to make the NATO countries subservient. It’s to recolonize Europe. That’s what it is. Not to hurt Russia and China." [from his interview viewable at https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2023/06/michael-hudson-on-the-us-economy-surprisingly-resilient-or-potemkin-village.html .]
Why has the West done this? Some say it's stupidity. But I say it is by design, for the purpose of making the Russian bogeyman enemy strong enough to be sufficiently frightening to the Western general public to thereby enable the Western ruling elites, by pretending to be protecting their people from Evil Russia, to maintain their control of the public. This is why the US armed the Soviet Union all during the Cold War, as I prove in my article here.
At the same time it is a fact that the Kiev government's unjust violent ethnic cleansing against ethnic Russians in the Donbass region of Ukraine has been used by the Russian super-wealthy ruling class to gain great Russian public support by leading the fight to end this oppression.
Here are the astute words of Caitlin Johnstone:
"Friendly reminder that China poses a threat solely to the US *empire* and its agendas of planetary domination, not to the US as a country. Empire architects are intentionally confusing Americans and other westerners by conflating these two issues in a massive propaganda campaign."
"US military deepens ties with Japan and Philippines to prepare for China threat: Top Marine Corps general James Bierman outlines sweeping reform to adapt force for possible conflict over Taiwan" reports the Financial Times.
Both the U.S. ruling class and the Chinese ruling class need a bogeyman foreign enemy with which to control the have-nots of their own nations, and each seems eager to use the other as the bogeyman enemy. Some people think that the Chinese government does not have a problem with controlling its have-nots because--supposedly--everybody is happy in China. That is simply not the case.
We often hear that the Communist Party of China has lifted the Chinese people up out of poverty. To understand how false this claim is, read "Bill Gates Says Poverty Is Decreasing. He Couldn't Be More Wrong" by Jason Hickel (also see this same point made about Africa here). Millions of rural Chinese peasants have been forced to leave the rural countryside and immigrate to cities to work in the cheap labor and extremely oppressive factories, as described in some detail here. In the rural homes they left, they did not have very much money, nor need to rely solely upon money, to get what they needed to live; but in the city they relied totally on their wage to buy what they needed to live--and it provided an abject poverty standard of living. The fact that their city wage was higher than whatever small amount of money they obtained in the countryside does not mean their standard of living was higher in the city than in the countryside; the opposite was the case. But apologists for the Chinese Communist Party point to the wage to assert that the peasants were "lifted out of poverty." Read here about the enormous economic inequality in China today.
The Communist Party of China represses the working class much the same as Western capitalist governments do.**** Read about this here and here and here and here. (IN SHARP CONTRAST TO HOW IT IS IN CHINA, READ HERE WHAT INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION IS LIKE WHEN THE WORKERS REALLY ARE IN POWER.)
While the United States Biden administration is ramping up a war mentality against China, people in the Pentagon are expressing alarm that the U.S. cannot win a war against China because U.S. de-industrialization has rendered the U.S. incapable of producing the required amount of weapons, on top of which its current limited supply is being drained away to Ukraine in a losing war there. This is discussed in some detail by Christopher Mercouris starting at time point 22:25 in his video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cijq-pSGQE8 .
What might explain the apparent irrationality of leading the United States to war against China when the U.S. military is incapable of winning that war? I think the explanation is that U.S. warmongering is not about winning a war, but rather about being at war for the purpose of controlling its domestic population. One only needs an adequately armed military to win a war, not to be at war.
Of note, in the same video cited above, Alexander Mercouris discusses the U.K. ruling elite's single-minded support for the Ukraine proxy war against Russia. Starting at around time point 21:36 Mercouris explains why the British political class so unanimously supports the Ukraine war by saying:
"In some way it supports their purpose at the time of deep economic and social malaise in Britain it enables the political class to maintain its inner discipline and it also enables it to isolate and criticize any of its opponents as being pro-Russian."
This again illustrates that wars against a bogeyman enemy help oppressive ruling elites control their own people.
THE CULPRIT IS NOT ONLY THE ARMS MANUFACTURES
Let's follow the money.
The U.S. neoconservatives are the leading warmongers. After the Cold War ended neoconservatives argued that the U.S. needed to achieve "full spectrum dominance" of the entire world. A leading neoconservative, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz, wrote the famous Wolfowitz Doctrine to advocate US hegemonic power over all other nations. This outright imperialistic aim was articulated by Zbigniew Brzezinski (a counselor to President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1966 to 1968, President Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor from 1977 to 1981, and the Executive Director of the powerful Trilateral Commission established by David Rockefeller) in his famous book, The Grand Chessboard, in which he wrote:
“In brief, the U.S. policy goal must be unapologetically twofold: to perpetuate America’s own dominant position for at least a generation and preferably longer still; and to create a geopolitical framework that can absorb the inevitable shocks and strains of social-political change while evolving into the geopolitical core of shared responsibility for peaceful global management.”
One of the leading neoconservative think tanks is the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). It sponsors each year a "Zbigniew Brzezinski Annual Prize and Lecture." This website lists CSIS as "One of the top ten think tanks in the world," and says that it "often exerted direct influence on the White House with respect to foreign policy and defense issues" and that "notable CSIS-associated people include former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, former Israeli President, Ehud Barak, current US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, former US Senator, Sam Nunn, Pritzker Organization CEO, Thomas J. Pritzker." Brian Berletic has an informative video about CSIS titled, "CSIS War Game: US vs China over Taiwan--Provoking War to Preserve US Primacy" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyAq8xAhmSI .
So, who funds CSIS? Is it only funded by the obvious culprits, the arms manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon? No. It gets funding from a much wider spectrum of Big Money in the United States. According to CSIS's own website, its corporate funders are listed here, and its foundation funders are listed here (and it also has government funders, of course, listed here).
Some of the corporate funders include Bank of America, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Facebook, JPMorgan Chase, Johnson & Johnson, McAfee, Merck, Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, Canon, General Electric, IBM, Procter & Gamble, Sun Life Financial, United Airlines, Verizon, American Airlines, Disney, Google, Kellogg's.
Not exactly exclusively arms manufacturers, right?
What about CSIS's foundation donors? The list includes the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the World Wildlife Fund.
The point (as I discuss further below) is that warmongering against bogeyman enemies is not something that ONLY arms manufacturers want; it is something that the billionaire class in general wants.
The U.S. Ruling Class Wants to Re-install the Iron Curtain
U.S. rulers want to re-start the Cold War and re-install an Iron Curtain (at least in the minds of the general public if not in terms of 100% effective economic sanctions) in order to maximize the effectiveness of social-control of the have-nots by means of a bogeyman enemy.
The U.S. sanctions against Russia were not intended--as many anti-imperialists wrongly believe just because U.S. rulers said so--to weaken Russia (which they notoriously did not do), but rather to install an Iron Curtain between Russia and the West. This is exactly why Biden destroyed the Nord Steam pipeline between Russia and Germany. This is why Biden wants Europe to stop trading with China.
U.S. rulers apparently want the new Iron Curtain to separate China as well as Russia (and probably the other BRICS nations) from the West.
The aim of U.S. rulers is to make the world perfect from the point of view of having credible bogeyman enemies for controlling the have-nots: the East will be the bogeyman enemy of the West, and no-doubt the West will serve as a useful bogeyman enemy for the anti-egalitarian oppressive rulers of Russia, China and the rest of the non-Western world.
Please read the egalitarian take on the US. vs. China conflict and the related U.S. hegemony vs. multilateral conflict here.
Supernatural bogeyman enemies
#13. European feudalism was based on the Catholic Church's assertion that a) the Pope is the "Vicar of Christ," i.e., the representative of Christ and hence of God on earth; b) the royal monarchs, when anointed by the Pope, in turn have a "divine right" to create an aristocracy and with it to rule over the peasant have-nots and make them do the hard work but enjoy the fruits of that labor the least; c) God will send anybody who doesn't obey the Church to an eternity of hellfire and brimstone; by telling people how to behave--to be "God fearing"--the Church protects them from the awful wrath of God.
#14. In discussing ancient Egypt, David Graeber and David Wengrow, in their book, The Dawn of Everything, write:
"From the seasonal work of tomb-building to the daily servicing of the ruler’s body (recall again how the first royal inscriptions are found on combs and make-up palettes), most of human activity was directed upwards, either towards tending rulers (living and dead) or assisting them with their own task of feeding and caring for the gods.97 All this activity was seen as generating a downward flow of divine blessings and protection, which occasionally took material form in the great feasts of the workers’ towns." [Graeber, David. The Dawn of Everything (p. 408). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition. ]
The laborers who built the pyramids feared that if they didn't perform that labor as directed by the Pharaoh then they would lose their protection from the gods.
THE REAL ENEMY
The real enemy of the have-nots of the world is the small class of people who have the opposite of egalitarian values, who value class inequality and the domination of the many by the few, and who use bogeyman enemies to control and oppress the have-nots. Whenever people in this anti-egalitarian class tell us to fear some people (or some thing), it's a good idea to be suspicious that they are simply playing the old "bogeyman enemy" trick to control and oppress us.
THE ACTUAL, VERSUS APPARENT, AIM OF U.S. IMPERIALISM IS NOT TO WIN THE WAR BUT TO BE AT WAR
As those who are paying attention know, the United States (by which I mean, here, its billionaire plutocracy ruling class) is a world empire. The United States has 750 military bases in 80 other nations; it has a military budget larger than that of the next ten largest nations combined, it declares itself to be the "exceptional" nation of the world, the nation that is the rightful "policeman of the world" in charge of making other nations behave correctly--you know: 'human rights,' 'the rule of law,' multi-party democratic government with 'free elections' [to let people choose which billionaires will call the shots], a free market economy totally capitalists-friendly, etc.
Because the United States is a world empire, and because it seems to view China and Russia as threats to its power and wealth and because it invades other weaker nations to overthrow governments it doesn't like, and because it engages in proxy wars with Russia (i.e., Vietnam in the past, supporting the Taliban when there was a pro-Russian government in Afghanistan, Ukraine today) and China (North Korea in the past and maybe Taiwan soon), it is easy to draw the conclusion that the goal of U.S. foreign policy is to make the entire world be exactly the way the United States ruling class says it is trying to make it be.
But think about it. Think what would happen if the United States actually succeeded in making the entire world be exactly the way it says it wants it to be. Imagine that the entire world were ruled by national governments that were installed by the U.S. and were totally friendly to the U.S. and compliant with its demands (such as to use only the dollar for international trade, etc.) Imagine that the U.S. billionaire class had everything it wished, and was making money hand over fist and had no military foes or serious economic rivals or competitors. What would happen?
For starters, there would be world peace. The United States (like other nations) would have no enemy. The nations of the world would be in this regard like the 50 states of the United States--at peace with one another, with no need for any of them to have a military force to protect against any other of them. With world peace, there would be no reason for people to choose "guns" instead of "butter": people would demand what we were told we were going to get when the Soviet Union fell--a 'peace dividend' (remember that broken promise?) Instead of a military industrial complex sucking all of the wealth we produce to enrich the few who own and control the weapons-producing corporations, the many--the have-nots--would instead expect to have all the schools and hospitals and repaired roads and bridges and full health care and all of the other wonderful things we could produce for each other in a world at peace but which were denied to us in order to fight "the real enemy."
With world peace, billionaire plutocracies (in the U.S. and elsewhere) would have a hard time convincing their own people that, in order to defend against the "real enemy," the have-nots need to "rally 'round the flag" and be patriotic by supporting their ruling class that is protecting them from that enemy (Russia, China, Muslims, whatever.) Workers of the world would no longer have any reason to put off fighting to make the world be the way they want it to be--more equal and democratic. When workers succeed in this, it's curtains for oppressive ruling classes. And the ruling classes know it!
Here's the thing. Having no enemy is a horrible development from the point of view of oppressors, not just for the U.S. ruling class but for ALL of the world's oppressive ruling classes. Having no enemy is something that oppressive rulers try to avoid at all cost, even by inventing and arming a bogeyman enemy if one doesn't already exist. The very LAST thing an oppressive ruling class wants to do is to actually defeat and thus eliminate a bogeyman enemy! (Although when a ruling class has mobilized its population to defeat such a bogeyman enemy, and the population knows that it is truly possible to do so, then the ruling class risks being overthrown if it reveals by its actions that it doesn't actually want to defeat the bogeyman enemy. Hence the Allies in WWII had to appear to defeat the fascists, while secretly keeping lots of those same fascists on its post-war payroll in the CIA and even in charge of NASA rocket development and in Germany's post-war government. Read a long article about this here.)
The world is made safe for oppressive ruling classes by fighting a bogeyman enemy, not by defeating it. When the oppressive ruling class in nation X is in conflict (cold or hot) with the oppressive ruling class of nation Y, nation X is the bogeyman enemy that Y's ruling class NEEDS for controlling its own people, and vice versa.
The conflict may indeed be very real, with each nation telling its generals to wage a real war against the other nation, and/or using covert actions to orchestrate "color revolutions" in enemy nations, and/or using economic sanctions against enemy nations, and/or adopting foreign policy strategies against enemy nations. And yes, there are real purely profit-driven motives that various members of the ruling class have for wanting to coerce foreign governments to do this or that, no doubt. Ruling elites, thus, have no reason not to wage real war against bogeyman enemies and every reason to do so, since a real war--besides winning some purely profit-related gains for some members of the ruling class at the expense of an enemy nation--is, most importantly, the most effective and persuasive way to ensure--in the name of patriotism--the obedience of one's have-nots, which is the most important aim of the entire ruling class.
Oppressive ruling classes don't mind the carnage and destruction of war, knowing that in the end they remain in power, even if working class people suffer enormously. War is how to make bogeyman enemies sufficiently frightening to perform their actual function of social control. But the authentic appearance of wars against bogeyman enemies does not take away from the fact that the CHIEF purpose of such wars is to be AT war, not to decisively defeat the bogeyman enemy and thereby achieve peace.
It is in my view a big mistake for good people who oppose the wrongful, essentially racist in many cases, United States government's bullying and threats of regime change against other nations to frame the problem as if the only "bad guy" was the US government and the governments being bullied by the US were the "good guys." The non-US governments of the world are, like the US government, governments of the haves who oppress the have-nots of their own nations.****
These weaker (compared to the U.S.) governments oppose the "uni-polar" world that the U.S. government wants (in which the U.S. ignores the sovereign rights of other nations' governments) and advocate instead for a "multi-polar" world in which all national governments enjoy sovereign rights and respect as equals on the world stage and in which no government challenges anything that another government does to its own people. This "multi-polar" world would indeed be better for the rulers of the nations that are weaker than the United States.
But this "multi-polar" world wrongly entails that the egalitarians of the world (who are the vast majority) stop fighting for egalitarian revolution and stop acting in solidarity with each other across national borders, and instead stand in support of anti-egalitarian governments just because they are being bullied by the U.S. government. Read about an egalitarian foreign policy here.
THE MORAL OF THIS STORY
The moral of this tale is that one cannot truly understand what is going on in the world if one thinks that the U.S. ruling class (or any other oppressive ruling class, such as the Israeli ruling class) is actually trying to defeat all of its declared enemies and replace them with governments that are the kind the U.S. (or any other oppressive ruling class) says it wants all government to be. The stated aims of the U.S. ruling class (or of any other oppressive ruling class) are not its real aims.
The U.S. ruling class uses its stated aims and its conflicts with bogeyman enemies as a PRETEXT for attacking working class people everywhere who are trying to make the world more equal and democratic.
This is what U.S. (and Allied) rulers were doing during World War II when they used the "fight against fascism" as a pretext for attacking the working class around the world including in the U.S. itself, as I show in my article about WWII at https://www.pdrboston.org/world-war-ii-not-a-good-war-1 and in greater detail in my book on World War II.
Likewise, the violence of the Israeli government (i.e., of the Israeli billionaire ruling class, together with the U.S. ruling class that works to keep the Israeli government powerful) against Palestinians is not for the purpose of protecting Israeli Jews from harm or for the purpose of destroying HAMAS; rather this conflict serves as a pretext for the Israeli upper class to enrich itself by making Israeli working class Jews suffer horrible economic oppression, as I prove in my article at https://www.pdrboston.org/israel-s-government-attacks-jews-to .
CREATING A BOGEYMAN ENEMY IS NOT THE ONLY AIM OF OPPRESSIVE RULERS' WARMONGERING AND BULLYING, JUST THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE
Note that creating a bogeyman enemy is not the ONLY motivation oppressive ruling elites have for warmongering and bullying. Oppressive ruling classes, such as the ruling U.S. plutocracy, consist of thousands of people. Only some of these people (with their highly paid smart advisors, such as Henry Kissinger, etc.) are concerned primarily with creating a bogeyman enemy as a strategy of social control for the key purpose of keeping their class in power. Other members of the ruling class likely are primarily concerned with other things, such as getting rich from selling weapons to various governments, or controlling important natural resources in some part of the planet, and so on.
The governmental policy of an oppressive ruling class is one that most members of the ruling class support, but it is not necessarily the case that all such members support it for exactly the same reason. There are typically many various reasons why different members of the upper class may support a government's warmongering policy. In addition to the rational (though evil) reasons discussed above there are also, of course, irrational reasons driven by emotions such as anger and fear and frustration (especially evident during the conduct of a war that is going unexpectedly badly, such as the US/NATO war against Russia in Ukraine), reasons that sometimes seem to, or may even actually, over-ride the rational ones.
Anti-establishment activists may, therefore, find it easy to point to any of such reasons and cite persuasive evidence for the claim that THAT is THE (sole) reason for the government's warmongering. But making such an argument does not take away from the fact that oppressive ruling classes need a bogeyman enemy and, when necessary, do whatever it takes to create one.
Maintaining a "war mentality" for the purpose of social control is such an important task for any oppressive ruling class that this task is perceived the way ordinary people perceive the task of breathing to stay alive: it is so obviously important that nobody needs to talk about how important it is. While breathing, people concentrate on what else they want to do while they're breathing, and likewise while maintaining a "war mentality," the members of an oppressive ruling class concentrate their attention and their talking and perhaps their debating on what else they want to do while--of course!--maintaining a "war mentality." (Read here about how, as of February 2023, a war mentality with respect to Russia quite definitely prevails in the United States, although probably not as much as the ruling class would like.)
MERELY DENOUNCING (AS UNJUST) ATTACKS BY OPPRESSORS AGAINST A BOGEYMAN ENEMY, WITHOUT EXPOSING THE FACT THAT THE ATTACK IS AIMED NOT ONLY AGAINST THE BOGEYMAN ENEMY BUT ALSO AGAINST THE OPPRESSOR'S "OWN" HAVE-NOT PEOPLE, WILL OFTEN NOT STOP THE UNJUST ATTACK
Consider the Israeli ruling class's decades-long attack on the bogeyman enemy that is the Palestinian people. The anti-Zionist movement never refutes the Zionist big lie that says the Israeli violence against Palestinians is for the purpose of making ordinary Israeli Jews safe. The way to persuasively refute this Zionist lie is to show (as I do here) that the actual purpose of Zionist violence against Palestinians is to enable the Israeli billionaire ruling class to enrich itself at the expense and great economic suffering of Israeli Jewish working class people, and it does this by making Palestinians be a bogeyman enemy with which to control the Israeli Jewish working class.
As a result of the failure of the anti-Zionist movement to explain the true purpose of Zionist violence against Palestinians, the general public in the Western nations continues to (wrongly) believe that Zionist violence is for the purpose of making Jews safe, and hence that opposition to Zionism is antisemitic in effect if not intent. This is why the U.S. government is able to continue supporting Israel, and why Zionism prevails, in sharp contrast to apartheid in South Africa, which ended in large part because the general public in the Western nations, once they learned of the fact of this apartheid, opposed it because there was no remotely persuasive argument in its defense (as I discuss here.)
Merely condemning the attack against Palestinians as unjust maintains the false framework that the Zionists absolutely depend upon to prevail, namely the framework that says the conflict is between two opposing ethnic groups--'the Jews' versus 'the Palestinians,' and that the only choice one has is to be on the side of 'the Jews' or on the side of the 'the Palestinians.' Only when the general public sees that the actual choice is very different--that it is either a) to be on the side of the have-nots, both the Jewish AND the Palestinian have-nots, or b) to be on the side of the haves, both the very rich Israeli Jews AND the very rich Palestinians who collude with them--only THEN will it be possible to build the kind of massive popular movement that it will take to truly defeat Zionism.
* It is often the case that while the generals think in purely military terms (i.e., "How can we best defeat the enemy, or if that is not possible how can we best obtain the best outcome in negotiations, or is the 'enemy' truly a military threat to us in the first place?"), the politicians think in political terms (i.e., "How can we best ensure that our class, the ruling class, remains in power in our own nation?)
The politicians need to be AT war against a bogeyman enemy and this is far more important than winning the war.
For example, during World War II in the fight against Japan, American military generals wanted to ally with the Chinese Communists to defeat Japan. The Chinese Communists were waging a very real and substantial fight against the occupying Japanese troops, by mobilizing Chinese peasants along CLASS lines against both the Japanese and the upper class of China led by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the corrupt Chinese leader who refused to fight the Japanese troops but would only fight the Chinese Communists.
But FDR refused to ally with the Chinese Communists, and it was not because he had a problem with allying with Communists either, as proven by the fact that he allied with Stalin against Hitler. FDR's aim was not primarily to defeat Japan; it was to defeat the very idea of working class solidarity among American working class people (who had in the 1930s come close to making a revolution against FDR's class) by enlisting them in a RACE war against Japanese people. Allying with Communists who were waging a class war would have undermined FDR's main goal.
THIS is why FDR insisted, despite the generals telling him it was irrational, on backing Chiang Kai-shek instead of the Chinese Communists.** Had FDR backed the Communists then the Japanese would have been kicked out of China and China could have been used as a staging ground to attack the Japanese mainland, a far superior MILITARY strategy than the island-hopping one that FDR chose. But FDR's strategy was a far superior POLITICAL strategy because it entailed American GIs fighting Japanese soldiers on otherwise deserted little islands where there was not a HINT of class war to infect the minds of those American GIs, and people like Ronald Reagan could make hyper-racist war propaganda films of a race war against "the Japs."
Back in 2014 Chief of Staff General Milley said that the US was in an ECONOMIC COMPETITION with China, not a military war. Milley clearly was speaking as a military person, rationally about the actual military situation, i.e., that the US was not threatened militarily by China.
But the neo-cons (Biden et al) don't CARE that China is not militarily threatening the U.S. What they care about is how to keep the U.S. billionaire plutocracy in power in the U.S., and this requires keeping the U.S. at war against a bogeyman enemy; China is the perfect bogeyman enemy, and the neo-cons think General Milley should keep quiet.
** "Following the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the U. S. War Department, to sustain and strengthen Chinese resistance to the Japanese invaders, ordered [General Joseph Warren] Stilwell to improve the Chinese army as chief of staff to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, take command of all United States forces in the China-Burma-India theater, and direct all Chinese forces in Burma (now Myanmar). In April 1942, however, the Japanese defeated Stilwell's forces in Burma and cut off the Burma Road, a Chinese supply line.
"Known as "Vinegar Joe" because of his integrity, his refusal to ingratiate himself with others, and the demands he placed on those around him, Stilwell despised Chiang Kaishek and made no effort to conceal it. He recoiled at the administrative paralysis in the wartime Chinese capital. Three times, directly and indirectly, Chiang sought Stilwell's recall. In 1944 Stilwell was to command all Chinese forces, but Chiang managed through President Franklin Roosevelt to force Stilwell's removal from China. Stilwell warned the American government against the Chinese central government, placing more faith in the more efficient Chinese Communists at Yenan. At the time of his death at San Francisco, Calif. , on October 12, 1946, Stilwell commanded the 6th Army." [from https://dcps.duvalschools.org/domain/11210 ]
*** The historian, Ian Kershaw, in his Popular Opinion & Political Dissent in the Third Reich: Bavaria 1933-1945, writes [pg. 275-6]:
"One can speak of anti-Semitism functioning as an integrating element [i.e., binding people to the Nazi leaders]. But this was mainly within the ranks of the Nazi Movement itself, above all within the SS...Party activists needed activity: and anti-Semitism went a long way towards providing the SA and, in practical terms, otherwise useless sections of the Party with something to do, at the same time binding them propagandistically more closely to the apparent 'aims' of Fuhrer and Movement."
“On September 23 , a siren pierced the night at the 80,000-worker Taiyuan plant as rioting erupted. Zhonghong recalled, “During the previous month workers had clocked as many as 130 hours overtime.” Overtime was compulsory. This was more than three times the maximum 36-hour limit of overtime per month allowed under Chinese law. Put another way, workers were subjected to 13-to-1, and under extreme conditions, 30-to-1 work-to-rest schedules, that is, just one day off every two weeks or one day off a month in the pressure-cooker months preceding the release of the new iPhones.
"Fatigue and bodily pain aside, workers experienced being severely ill treated. “Over the past two months,” Zhonghong continued, “we couldn’t even get paid leave when we were sick.” The ever-tightening production cycle pressured workers to speed up. Days off were canceled and the sick were pressed to continue to work. The upgraded iPhone was hailed as a thinner, faster, and brighter model. In stark contrast, workers experienced some of their darkest days on the production floor. Worker fury was fueled by security staff brutality at the male workers’ dormitory. Zhonghong explained: “At about 11: 00 p.m., security officers severely beat two workers for failing to show their staff IDs. They kicked them until they fell to the ground.”
"This beating of workers by security officers touched off the riot. By midnight, thousands of workers had had enough. They smashed company security offices, production facilities, shuttle buses, motorbikes, cars, shops, and canteens in the factory complex. Some grabbed iPhone back-plates from a warehouse. Others broke windows, demolished company fences, pillaged factory supermarkets, and overturned police cars and set them ablaze. The company security chief used a patrol car public address system in an attempt to get the workers to end their “illegal activities.”
"But as more and more workers joined the roaring crowd, managers called in the riot police. By 3: 00 a.m., five thousand riot police in helmets with shields and clubs, government officials, and medical staff had converged on the factory. Over the next two hours, the police took control of the dormitories and workshops of the entire complex, detaining the most defiant workers and locking down others in their dormitory rooms. More than forty workers were beaten, handcuffed, and sent off in half a dozen police cars. The factory was sealed off by police lines on all sides, so that workers were contained and onlookers were prevented from joining in. While police repression could demobilize, defuse, and crush worker actions, such methods could also highlight the depths of conflict and might even intensify it.
"In emergency mode, Foxconn announced “a special day off” for all workers and staff at the Taiyuan facility. Local officials were sensitive to the fact that riots could undermine economic goals, thereby provoking the wrath of higher authorities if grievances were not quickly resolved and worker insurgency suppressed. The iPhone parts factory reopened after a one-day lockdown. The timely shipment and continuous flow of products appeared to have remained Apple’s overriding concerns. On the same day that the riot occurred, Apple CEO Tim Cook assured the world that retail stores would “continue to receive iPhone 5 shipments regularly and customers can continue to order online and receive an estimated delivery date.” 18 But as international news headlines blared “China Apple Factory Riot” 19 and “Riot Reported at Apple Partner Manufacturer Foxconn’s iPhone 5 Plant,” 20 Apple was compelled to reassure consumers around the world, including Chinese consumers, that it was not running sweatshops.”
— Dying for an iPhone: Apple, Foxconn, and The Lives of China's Workers by Jenny Chan, Mark Selden, et al.
“In a long-awaited response to intern abuse, the Chinese central government in 2016 belatedly took some of the first steps to protect the basic rights of student interns. Specifically, vocational schools are instructed to manage student internships in accordance with the “Regulations on the Management of Vocational School Student Internships.”
Under the new regulations, effective April 11, 2016, the duration of workplace-based internships should normally be six months. Vocational schools and enterprises are required to jointly provide interns with commercial general liability insurance. The regulations also require that student internships have substantial educational content and work-skills training provisions, along with comprehensive labor protections for student interns such as eight-hour working days, no overtime, and no night shifts. Above all, no more than 10 percent of the labor force at “any given facility,” and no more than 20 percent of the workers in “any given work position,” should consist of student interns at any point in time. 16
However, the government left intact incentives for corporations to continue to prioritize student interns as cheap and expendable labor. The 2016 regulations stipulate the statutory minimum level for paying interns: “Wages shall be at least 80 percent of that of employees during the probationary period” (emphasis added). 17
In other words, interns are to be paid for their labor, but employers are permitted to pay them just 80 percent of the minimum income offered to employees.
Employers save further since interns, defined as students rather than workers, receive no corporate payments toward retirement.
Fundamentally, the interests shared by companies and local governments are intertwined to the detriment of student interns.
In 2019, Foxconn Hengyang in Hunan province, whose primary contracts were with Amazon, reportedly violated limits on the number of intern and dispatch workers (also known as agency workers), who made up, respectively, 21 percent and 34 percent of the 7,435 workers. Under the law, dispatch workers should not exceed 10 percent of the company’s workforce.
The proliferation of “flexible” employment has adversely impacted not only dispatch workers. Regular workers would also encounter greater difficulty in making collective demands on employers as they now must compete with contingent laborers in the workplace.
Worse, student interns were illegally required to work 10-hour shifts, day and night, including two hours of forced overtime. 18
The super-exploitation of Chinese student labor has in fact gone far beyond Foxconn to e-commerce giants such as JD.com, and from manufacturing to the services industry. 19”
— Dying for an iPhone: Apple, Foxconn, and The Lives of China's Workers by Jenny Chan, Mark Selden, et al.