[OPE] Cyrus B, "Oil, war, lies and bulls**t" (4/4)

From: <glevy@pratt.edu>
Date: Sat Oct 11 2008 - 17:01:26 EDT

Asia Times Online :: Asian news and current affairs

Oct 9, 2008

Page 4 of 4
Oil, war, lies and
By Cyrus Bina

utilized merely as a deterrent
in order to calm the jittery market in Wall Street - a weapon that, god
forbid, he wouldn't have to use.

This speaks clearly to the
irony of market ideology that rather idealistically hangs on to the
so-called market perceptions without much inkling about the material
conditions that are to be inevitably the cause of such perceptions. The US
national debt has now jumped to upwards of $11.3 trillion - a figure for
the combined annual GDP of China, France, Germany, Norway, Russia, and
Sweden in 2007.

On Monday, September 22, the first day after
the weekend's proposed massive bailout, the NYMEX October crude oil
(nominal price) surged by $25, from $104.55 to $130, before settling at

$120.92 a barrel, with a $16.37 increase. This was
the largest one-day spike in the price of oil in history of the industry,
a rather expected response to bailout's inflationary repercussion and
further fall in the value of the US dollar.

Today, the US
economy is sneezing in cold sweat - notwithstanding the present financial
contagion - but the world economy is not even uttering: "bless
you". Here lies the belated distinction between the so-called
Americanization and globalization - and, by implication, the loss of
American hegemony. This crisis provides us with a vivid distinction
between neo-liberalism (as an ideology and policy) and the epochal context
of globalization, beyond the conventional notion of imperialism and/or

At the last meeting of the World Economic Forum
at Davos, Switzerland, even sympathetic liberals and social democrats
realized, rather belatedly, that the American economy is no longer
functioning as the engine of world economy. Their lexicon was
"decoupling" of world economy from the US economy, thus
signaling rather aptly what I have already foreseen well over two decades
ago, notwithstanding the pageantry of Reaganomics and pomposity of
"the only superpower".

In the meantime, the
Republican ticket for the November US presidential election is hanging to
the reactionary ideology of the tripartite neoconservative/cold-war
militarist/Christian Zionist alliance - the same coalition that catapulted
George W Bush for two consecutive terms to the Oval Office. Here,
militarist John McCain, who is now surrounded by an army of
neoconservative lobbyists, had to logically "balance" the
Republican ticket by nominating Christian (fundamentalist) Zionist Sarah
Palin, as his vice president, in order to obtain seamless identity with
George W Bush's social and ideological base.

McCain is now
frequently seen with Senator Joseph Lieberman (the patron saint of the
Israel lobby in Washington) on the campaign trail; he is rather
shamelessly manufacturing the facts about Iraq and audaciously promoting
another war - this time with Iran. Again, as I have pointed out elsewhere,
this alone speaks to the temporal, as opposed to epochal, feature of
today's America. Consequently, in reality, McCain-Palin presidential show
provides a thin disguise for the Bush-Cheney's potential third term in the
office. And in the present era of post-Pax Americana, post-hegemony, and
post-Reagan Republican Party, the lesser-known face of fascism is possibly
lurking on the horizon in the United States.

In sum, to
understand the connection between oil prices, the falling US dollar, the
status of US economy, and the loss of American hegemony we need to
appreciate the dialectical relation between the globalization of oil,
globalization of world economy (beyond the defunct Pax Americana), and the
fact that material, ideological, and social conditions for American
exceptionalism have readily ceased to exist.

On the epochal
(global) trajectory and quite contrary to Antonio Negri and Michael
Hardt's Empire (2000), the emperor is nothing but the cloth! Even a
nostalgic allusion to such binaries as hard power/soft power is but
reminiscent of the bad cop/good cop stratagem, albeit on a wider scale,
which is nonetheless a far cry from hegemony and exceptionalism.

Likewise, on the temporal plane and in respect to US foreign policy, the
Bush doctrine of preemption is not only reactionary but also a
self-destructive and desperate agenda on the road to perdition. And, by
extension, "the war on terror" is but a bizarre phrase that
predictably is at the service of promoting further unprovoked US military
invasion in the world. Thus, "bull in the china shop" is not an
unbefitting label for the existing US foreign policy today.

The world is more than the sum of its globalized parts and the United
States has yet to come to grips with the necessity of its circumscribed
power and its fast-shrinking place in this century, and behave accordingly
for its own sake in this post-colonial, post-Pax Americana, and
post-hegemonic world.

This paper is prepared for an
invited keynote presentation at an international conference, entitled
Globalization and Fluid Politics, in November 1-2, 2008, to be held at
Gothenberg University, Sweden. For more information, go to
www.kurrents.org/conf or www.kurrents.org/sessions/oil.html. The author
wishes to express his sincere thanks to Dr Daruis Moaven Doust of
Gothenberg University, the organizer of the conference.

Bina, distinguished research professor of economics at the University of
Minnesota, is a member of Economists for Peace and Security. He is
currently a visiting scholar at UCLA.

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(Copyright  2008 by Cyrus Bina.)

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