Statecraft: USA



Table of Contents

1. 1776 to 2000

The United State of America was formed by white males to secure for themselves and their families the benefits of nation-statehood. They fought 2 wars to convince England that further direct meddling was too painful for the benefit.

After experimentation with confederacy, the founders established a constitutional representative democracy, which assured that the "right" sort of people would remain in control.

To gain adequate acceptance, they inserted a Bill of Rights denying the state the typical mechanisms for suppressing revolt. The constitution nominally accepts its own demise.

Within a few years, the ballot process allowed in a "wrong" sort (Andrew Jackson), due in large part to his success in exterminating Indians living on land desired by whites.

By 1860 the initial freedom-to-revolt was forgotten. The rulers decided to forbid dissolution of the nation-state, and fought a war to force everyone to agree to this.

After the Civil war, the way was clear to exterminate more Indians and take more of their land. The process was facilitated by limited-liability corporations which lived beyond a specific project. This new form of gang was so powerful that by 1886 it had the supreme court confer on it the Bill of Rights, as if it were a human. Corporations could then use the rights originally intended to allow humans to stand up to the state, to take control of the state.

A corporation is of course a fiction which hides the actual human power brokers from view. Thus the 1886 announcement formed two classes of citizens: The wealthy few who run major corporations, and everyone else.

There have been sporadic efforts to rein in corporate power (and thus restore democracy), but since corporations own the media, the schools, the congress, the courts, and the military, these are short-lived efforts at best.

The efforts are driven by people who quixotically believe in the ideals enunciated in the Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution of the United States. Some know the treachery of the inner circle firsthand (Presidents Lincoln, Roosevelt and Eisenhower). Some start from pure idealism (scholars and students). Some come from hard-fought battles with corporations (unions). Some are keen observers (reporters such as Mark Twain). Some come from a deep insight into the fragility of civilization, knowing that only a fair and shared destiny in statehood prevents the chaos of warring gangs (typically the elderly and veterans)

As corporations gained international experience, they found they had little in common with geographically-oriented nation-states. They became multi-nationals, who considered nation-states a bothersome complexity on the world market. Through informal and formal channels, they formed their own state mechanisms (e.g., IMF, World Bank, WTO), and made the nation-states subservient to those mechanisms (e.g., via NAFTA).

2. 2000-present: The Gulf Wars

A gang of oil-industry corporate elites took control of the USA in 2000. They ran a slate of candidates chosen from "in the family". They poured vast sums into the effort. They destroyed competitors (from any party) with media blitzes. They won. They installed their own lobbiests in every corner of the USA federal mechanism.

To win the election, they needed voters. It was cheap to declare solidarity with evangelical "Christians", and promise any anti-abortion or school oriented position they demanded. After all, the wealthy of the world go to hospitals and schools where they wish, and are not constrained to make do with US resources.

It was fairly cheap to wrap themselves in the flag (you have to own the media outlets to pull this off, when your competitors are war heroes and you are a draft dodger and AWOL).

Once in power they could set about solving two major problems:

  • Last time they were in power, they gave Iraq's Saddam Hussein lots of weapons. They wanted those weapons back or destroyed.

  • The world was running out of oil. The remaining reserves were in the Middle East. The Middle East is home of Muslims. The oil-gang had bribed a few at the top for generations, but there were second tier players who wanted to kick the US out. Saudi Arabia needed the US out of Saudi Arabia per se. Iraq was a handy place to establish land-bases and carry on the overt and covert control of the Middle East oil reserves.

Unfortunately, unlike the 1800's, you can no longer invade someone to get their oil or to establish land bases. You need an excuse that sounds like they are intending to invade you.

This has been discussed for many years, with the agreement that the oil-gang needed a "new Pearl Harbor". Better yet, it needed the threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

Lo and behold, someone conveniently demolished the World Trade Center (WTC) and attacked the Pentagon. Precisely why our normal (and well-tested) responses didn't prevent these events remains a mystery to this day. Nor shall we ever know what happened, because (contrary to all std procedures for building fires, collapses and airplane crashes) the forensic evidence was immediately destroyed. Nevertheless, it provided the needed excuse to go grab oil resources.

3. References


Fred Anderson, Andrew Cayton. "The Dominion of War: Empire and Liberty in North America, 1500-2000" Penguin Books, 2005. ISBN 0-14303651-3.

The thesis is that war for conquest and empire has always been a normal part of the AMerican experience, even though the politicians, media, and historians frame it in terms of "self defence" and "liberty".


James Bamford. "Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency". Doubleday, 2001. ISBN 0-385-49907-08.

Bamford's "The Puzzle Palace" (1982) opened the NSA to public view -- at least its existence if not its internals. This book claims to offer more details. Yet in 700 pages it provides very little substance. Some old historical anecdotes. A few comments on sights observed on a chaperoned walkthrough. Discourse on the social climate and cliques inside NSA. If you've ever worked on secure projects in a large bureaucracy, it will be familiar (except maybe the regular lie detector tests and the guilty-until-proven-innocent approach to ambiquous results). It is as if the NSA fed him exactly what it wanted to give him, and nothing more.


William Blum. "Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II". Common Courage Press, 2004. ISBN 1-56751-252-6.

The author's thesis is that the US has repeatedly intervened in democratic struggles, on behalf of US corporate interests. Well researched and cited. Highly regarded by those who entertain these thoughts at all.


George Friedman. "America's Secret War: Inside the Hidden Worldwide Struggle Between America and its Enemies". Doubleday, 2004. ISBN 0-385-51245-7.

Friedman is the founder of Stratfor, a Texas-based intelligence thinktank. He spends a lot of ink congratulating himself on being in-the-know. Assuming he is reasonably well-informed despite this PR ploy, we can summarize the book as follows:

The Fourth Global War is about oil. Osama bin Ladin, Al Queda, and like-minded islamists want to resetablish the Caliphate to its full pre-Crusade glory. This just incidentally covers most of the world's oil reserves. The US can't function without that oil, and cannot let anyone but its own troops (or Arab puppets backed by US troops) control the reserves. Thus a conflict.

Al Queda realizes the US is immensemly powerful, and can take out any standing army. But it also judges that the US is not willing to fight a war of attrition over generations. And that the sooner the US realizes this about itself, the better. Thus well-planned, large-scale terrorist events.


Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones. "Cloak and Dollar: A History of American Secret Intelligence" Yale University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-300-07474-3.

From Washington to Clinton. General history of the intelligence services. Reasonably balanced -- not a puff-piece but not a diatribe either.


Melissa Boyle Mahle. "Denial and Decption: An insider's view of the CIA from Iran-oOntra to 9/11" Nation Books, 2004. ISBN 1-56025-649-4.

There seem to be a lot of ex-CIA people coming out with books detailing how/why presidential administrations and CIA top mgmt (political appointees) have made a hash of the intelligence processes. This one gives specific events and dates.


Jim Mann. "Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet". Viking, 2004. ISBN 0-670-03299-9.

Mann's view is that the "Vulcans" (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, Armitage, Wolfowitz) came out of the Vietnam era with different backgrounds but a common vision: America was strong, needed to be stronger, and needed to be led by people willing to use that strength to crush opponents.

Mann apparently stopped writing before the Iraq "victory" came apart at the seams. The flavor of the last chapter is "Gosh, it looks like the critics were wrong. Just 129 war dead and we have victory." I suspect a second edition would have a substantially different last chapter.

My take: This is essential reading for those trying to understand the Bush II administration. Individually, the players are intelligent, talented, experienced people. Taken together, with 30 years of self-feeding thought patterns, they have a conviction that cannot be swayed by mere reality. "Hubris" with all the Greek tragic implications is the only way to describe the result.

Creator: Harry George
Updated/Created: 2008-03-06