cj#558> On U.S. Hegemony (thread, fwd)


Richard Moore

Dear CJ,

          Here's a thread you might find of interest...


Date: Fri, 2 Aug 1996
From: •••@••.••• (Richard K. Moore)
Subject: Re: the world party

7/30/96, chris chase-dunn wrote:
>...in this regard things are somewhat worse than wagar imagines. because he
>accepts the position that world wars occur during Kondratief downswings
>he thinks the likely time for the next one is 2044. unfortunately
>goldstein has shown that world wars are most likely to occur at the end
>of k-wave upswings. that would be some time in the 2020s.

        To ignore all the uniquely new realities of the modern world, and
depend on "k-wave upswings" for predictions, makes no more sense than
reading tea leaves.  Allow me to re-iterate A Austin's comment in this

7/31/96, Andrew W. Austin wrote:
> ...I think much of what goes on this channel suffers from a
>very intellectually bounded view of the world, one where some very broad
>concepts and theories reduce the ability to think about the world to very
>narrow eschatologies. ...illegitimate teleologies with all
>the trappings of a Nostradamus.

chris chase-dunn continues:
>...given the high probability of nuclear annihilation, that means looking
>hard at possible substitutes for the world state. one possibility, though
>it may not be much more likely than a world state, is a renewed US
>hegemony.  yes folks. that is what i said. this is a hard conclusion
>for someone who spent his youth opposing US imperialism. talk me out of

        What's this about "renewed" US hegemony?  The U.S has global
hegemony, has had it since 1945, and has it more totally now than ever
before.  The hegemony has been so pervasive that use of the nuclear arsenal
hasn't even been necessary.  But it's always there as a backup, in case any
real threat arises to American power.

        As for a world state, that's exactly what we're getting, because
that's what the U.S. elite wants.  Having achieved military hegemony in
1945, they had strategic options as to how to exploit that in the post-war
world.  They could have opted for a classical U.S.-centric imperialist
system -- an enlarged British Empire, if you will.  But they chose not to,
partly because (I imagine) it would have been difficult to manage PR-wise,
partly because it would have created the seeds of global rebellion, and
partly because such empires are problematic to manage and maintain.

        But they weren't going to fritter away their advantage either.
They did decide to maintain U.S. military hegemony, manufacturing the
"Soviet threat" as an excuse for the necessary expenditures.  But in the
economic realm, they had more subtle designs for their new world order than
an unwieldy U.S.-centric trading empire.  What they chose instead was to
dismantle the trappings of classical European imperialism, create lots of
little fledgling "independent" nations, and thereby create a "level playing
field" for global capitalism.

        To use a metaphor from American mythology, you might say capitalism
graduated from a Wild West stage of existence, and that the time had come
to urbanize the Western Frontier -- banks and marshalls instead of
shoot-em-up anarchy.  What we see in the current globalist initiative (GATT
and all that) is the codification of what has been an ad-hoc set of
U.S.-sponsored arrangements for this new world order.  This is the world
government we're heading for, and it has no trappings of democracy, and it
won't be needing core-power warfare -- k-waves or tea-leaves

        The  problem with cycle-based theories is that they can't
anticipate the impact of change-of-state paradigm shifts.

From: •••@••.•••
Date: Sat, 3 Aug 1996
To: "Richard K. Moore" <•••@••.•••>
cc: WORLD SYSTEMS NETWORK <•••@••.•••>

>         What's this about "renewed" US hegemony?

If you have any evidence that the US has hegemony over China, please send
it to me..  Could it be the way China so thoroughly complied with US
demands that it live by our copyright rules?  Or the way Chinese rulers
pay so much attention to US complaints about who they sell weapons to?
Yup, US nuclear power really has the Chinese quaking in their boots.  I'd
also love to know why the US is organizing South Central Asia the way it
is.  I didn't know that endless civil wars and religious fundamentalism
were ideals of US elites, but I may be mistaken....

> ...This is the world
> government we're heading for, and it has no trappings of democracy, and it
> won't be needing core-power warfare -- k-waves or tea-leaves
> notwithstanding.

Mostly true, but the economic world we are headed for is one where the US
is only one of many players, and it soon will not be the biggest player,

Date: Tue, 6 Aug 1996
From: •••@••.••• (Richard K. Moore)
Subject: Re: U.S. Hegemony (?)

        China is indeed a singular case.  I take it as obvious that the
U.S. has the military _capability_ to destroy China: in a matter of hours
the U.S. _could_ reduce China to rubble, destroying its military capacity,
economic infrastructure, and who knows how many cities.

        But I take your point that my use of the word "hegemony" may have
been questionable.  I _thought_ hegemony meant "having predominant military
power", whereas my dictionary says:

            "hegemony: The predominant influence of one nation over others"

        What you seem to be saying, then, is that since the Chinese don't
cower under the potential U.S. threat, that actual hegemony isn't
operative.  As long as they believe U.S. power is a "paper tiger", then
hegemony is only potential, not real.

        In this regard, I think the case of Iraq and the Desert Storm are
relevant.  Saddham thumbed his nose at U.S. power (military, diplomatic,
and economic), much as you're saying the Chinese do, right up until Iraq
got clobbered.  The reality of U.S. hegemony over Iraq was proven to the
world by force, even if Saddham continues to live in a fantasy world.

        In light of these considerations, I'd refine my claim as follows:
The U.S. has the military power to assert hegemony wherever it chooses, but
this potential hegemony is exercised/implemented to different degrees in
different parts of the world, depending partly on diplomatic/public-opinion
considerations.  When a country's behavior crosses some unspecified line,
in terms of acceptability to the U.S., then the reality of the hegemony
comes under test.  The U.S. has diplomatic, propagandistic, and economic
leverage which it can bring to bear in this regard.

        An new test of U.S. hegemony is now coming to the fore in the cases
of Iran and Libya.  We have the new U.S. law attempting to influence
affairs there by penalizing European corporate investments.  We also have
the announcement that the U.S. in considering a unilateral nuclear strike
against an alleged Libyan chemical weapons facility.

        Given the earlier precedent of a unilateral U.S. air strike against
Libya, carried out with impunity, it seems evident that the U.S. is now
flexing its muscles in preparation for additional "hegemony implementation"
in the region.  In particular, there is an apparent desire to create an
historic precedent: to break the "no nukes" taboo, thereby bringing the
U.S. nuclear arsenal into the "kit bag" of credible enforcement tools.

        In the case of China, I believe the test of hegemony would come if
and when China tries to take some international action that the U.S. finds
unacceptable (not just objectionable), or if and when China's own nuclear
capability  threatens to become a credible deterrent to U.S. military

        In the recent confrontation between Taiwan and China, the U.S.
demonstrated its willingness to "show the flag" in the region.  I assume a
large number of U.S. missles, especially on submarines, were programmed for
Chinese targets during that crisis, and that the Chinese leaders had to act
with such an assumption in mind.


>also love to know why the US is organizing South Central Asia the way it
>is.  I didn't know that endless civil wars and religious fundamentalism
>were ideals of US elites, but I may be mistaken....

      "Destabilization" has been frequently a recognized goal of covert
U.S. foreign policy.  It is a way to break down the existing
political/economic structures of a country or region, so that they can then
be reconstructed in a way more favorable to elite interests.  The whole
destabilization of the former U.S.S.R. and Eastern Europe is a case in

        In the case of the Mideast, we have a "perpetual destablization"
scenario.  With an over-armed Israel funded by the U.S., the covert funding
of splinter terrorist groups, the encouragement and support of dinosaur
regimes in the region, and other measures, the U.S. keeps the region in
turmoil, and permits the oil-producing nations to be played off against one
another.  This is one way of exercising hegemony.

>Mostly true, but the economic world we are headed for is one where the US
>is only one of many players, and it soon will not be the biggest player,

        In the globalist economic world that's being created, it's not
nations that are the real players -- instead it's multinational
corporations.  The U.S. economy can go up or down -- as can that of Japan,
Germany, the UK, etc. -- and multinationals continue to rake in profits,
regardless of where they're based.

        U.S. power and influence is no longer focused on promoting U.S.
national interests and welfare, but instead is focused on supporting a
global climate conducive to _general_ multinational interests.  In effect,
U.S. military, economic, and diplomatic power has been "captured" by the
global capitalist elite, and harnessed (at U.S. taxpayer expense) to its


From: xx <private correspondence>
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 1996
To: "Richard K. Moore" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: U.S. Hegemony (?)

I'm very skeptical about your belief that the US could/would destroy China
in a matter of secoonds.  China is not Iraq--US capital depends on its
investments their, its potential market--this is the great achilles heal
of military power--you can't just destroy what you need.  Iraq was
evidence of unprecendented (since WWII) weakness of US hegemony--as
Wallerstein has pointed out, whereas Ho Chi Minh always insisted that the
US simply misunderstood him, Sadaam openly challenged the US to a fight.
That he lost the fight is of less significance than the challenge itselfj.
I take power to mean the capacity to get others to do what you wantj.  I
don't think the US can get China to do what it wants, and I don't believe
the situation would change if the US doubled its nuclear arsenal.  And we
are talking about a country inhabited by one third of the human race.   I
aalso don't believe that states and nations aren't important int the
contempo world economy--look at Japan, look at the worldwide community of
Chinese whose capital flows to the mainland are what's financing the
fasest sgrowning economy in the world.  The US efforts to exercise power
over Libya and Iran (small cheese, when all is said and done) is causing
considerable derision amongst the European Community (much bigger cheese).
This raises the crucial problem once again with attempting to exercise
power through crude means like military threats and bullying your trading
partners--short term successes are likely to be accomplished only at the
expenxse of long term prestige necessary to really exercise more extensive

To: xx <private correspondence>
From: •••@••.••• (Richard K. Moore)
Subject: Re: U.S. Hegemony (?)

        The U.S. exercises power through a whole range of mechanisms --
covert activity, economic incentives and penalties, dominance of all sorts
of international organizations and institutions, etc.  It is by no means
just a crude, unsophisticated, military bully.  But military supremacy does
sit there as an available tool.

        To repeat, my thesis is that the U.S. is working on behalf of the
global "capitalist elite", so to speak, to bring about a new world order
with reduced national sovereignty (extreme downsizing and GATT-like
treaties) and more and more power and decision-making exercised by
corporations directly.

        In some sense, the U.S. seeks an "end-of-nationalism era", but with
itself and certain allies kept as exceptions (in the military realm) for
policing purposes.

        I think it is clear that things are moving rapidly in this
direction -- that movement itself is the clearest evidence of effective
U.S. hegemony.  I believe Grenada, Panama, and Iraq were all calculated
escalations of U.S. military adventurism, creating a situtation where use
of U.S. weaponry becomes increasingly acceptable to world public opinion.

        In Bosnia, the U.S. was able to get the Europeans to essentially
beg them to intervene, and to give them effectively a blank check as to how
they wanted to proceed.  Thus the U.S. campaign for "firepower legitimacy"
is going very well.  Playing the nuclear card in Libya would complete the
ticket of U.S. options for future scenarios.  What other reason could there
be for the nuclear threat agains Libya?   I dismiss the cover story as
being shallow and flawed in the extreme.

        China represents a substantial strategic challenge to the
U.S.-sponsored globalist agenda, and is presumably at the center of U.S.
strategic thinking at this time.  I imagine a three-pronged strategy is
being pursued:

        1) Try to bring China into alignment with the new world order by
           virtue of the economic advantages China could accrue by playing

        2) Attempt to destabilize China in the fashion of the USSR.

        3) Create the conditions under which a nuclear attack could be
           carried out without suffering undue public ridicule.

        If (1) or (2) succeed prior to China having the ability to
genuinely deter the U.S. militarily, then (3) would be unnecessary.  But
given the nature of Chinese nationalism, pride, scientific acumen,
ambition, centralized authority, etc., I have a feeling (3) may
unfortuntely be the way things will trend.

        In terms of tactics, I think the PR "set up" of China would be no
more difficult than that of Iraq.  Their leaders seem imminently tauntable,
and their extra-territorial ambitions (including Taiwan) are considerable.
And of course the U.S. can easily "discover" all kinds of (real) human
rights abuses to aid any demonization campaign.

        As for the issue of the U.S. "needing China" or "having investments
in China" -- I think the answer there is to recall WW II.  The U.S. had
investments and business interests in Germany and Japan.  But ultimately,
strategic considerations outweigh short-term commerce.  And capitalism has
a way of recovering from, and profiting from, wars and their aftermath.
(Indeed many theorists claim war is essential to capitalism, although I
claim this will by necessity be outgrown.)  I'm sure U.S.-based think tanks
have top-secret studies already prepared about how China can best be
re-organized following any potential holocaust.



    Posted by Richard K. Moore  -  •••@••.•••  -  Wexford, Ireland
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