Saturday, October 23, 2004

Empire Creates Its Own History

For most of us (individuals, organisations, states): History unfolds, we pick up the cues of its direction, and align ourselves to leverage on this unfolding...

But there can also be another - more experimental and faith-based - view of History, viz., not of history-as-unfolding, but as history-to be-made (or history-as-an-experimental-creation)...

...this excerpt from Ron Suskind's article in New York Times, Without a Doubt (Oct 17, 2004) is a good example of this perspective:

"In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like... I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend...

"The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community", which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.""

What also gives credence to this view - to the view that there is a set of people who firmly believe that one can experiment with history, and thus, change the nature of reality, is the history of a think-tank - Project for New American Century[1] -which was formed in 1997. The 25 signitories of its "Statement of Principles[1]" included Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Jeb Bush (and Zalmay Khalilzad - the present US Ambassador to Afghanistan, and the erstwhile Unicol director)

One of the reports by this think-tank, Rebuilding America's Defenses (Sept, 2000)[2] - a year before 9/11, and in many ways, reminescent of Hitler's Mein Kampf - is remarkably prophetic of History to come:

Re: 9/11:
"Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor."

Re: Iraq War:
"Indeed, the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

Re: "Axis of Evil":
"The current American peace will be short-lived if the United States becomes vulnerable to rogue powers with small, inexpensive arsenals of ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads or other weapons of mass destruction. We cannot allow North Korea, Iran, Iraq or similar states to undermine American leadership, intimidate American allies or threaten the American homeland itself. The blessings of the American peace, purchased at fearful cost and a century of effort, should not be so trivially squandered"

the coincidences go on....

... perhaps, it will be history-as-unfolding, which will determine if this history-as-an-experiment turned out to be successful...


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