Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The inevitable war

Jean-François Susbielle, who last month published an essay called Chine-USA, la guerre programmée?, interviewed on France Inter (Question directe and Radio-Com, c'est vous, 2 Mar). The war is inevitable: this is an affirmation, not a question.

It's mainly the fault of those US neoconservatives, of course, using evangelical Christian groups as a tool to penetrate Chinese society, for example. He does state at one point that both the Americans and the Chinese have a very realpolitik vision of international life - that he uses 'realpolitikers' and 'neoconservatives' as interchangeable terms indicates how little he understands the issues.

The US has, apparently, achieved the vassalization of its allies in Western Europe and Asia by means of energy and oil, by exclusive control of the security of the Middle East, recalling that Pearl Harbour was triggered by Cordell Hull turning off the tap of oil supplies in 1941(*). What obedient vassals many of those allies turned out to be over Iraq, say, you might think.

There is nothing that Europe can do about this, since the war has been programmed (by the US) since 1996-7. Here he characterises the Project for the New American Century more accurately than some, who speak of the planning of an attack on Iraq before Bush took power and a new Pearl Harbor being needed for America to dominate the world. PNAC's 'Rebuilding America's Defences' is largely about positioning the US to face any potential threat from China.

However, there is something depressingly familiar about Susbielle's outlook. It could be compared with James Burnham's geopolitical neo-pessimism in the 1940's, as described by George Orwell (check out the recurrence of words like irreversible and irresistible, as well as 'inevitable'). I also came across again RAND  Corporation Memorandum RM-5012-ARPA, January 1967, which I cited previously. Here is Colonel Ishihara in the late 1920's:
The true world war, which would be the last war of human civilization, would be fought with airplanes and would bring about total destruction. This war would be fought when Japan occupied the central position in Asia and the United States the central position in the West, and when airplanes would be able to circle the globe without landing for fuel. Since this war was inevitable, it was imperative that Japan prepare for the event.
The Financial Times, in a leader of 4 Mar (Welcome to the world of block-thy-neighbour), Italy's economy minister, Giulio Tremonti warning about Europe approaching an "August 1914" moment and remarks, 'European states are not going to attack each other, an activity their membership of the European Union has made unthinkable'. True, but at a wider global level, the fatalism expressed by Susbielle, the belief that competition between superpowers inevitably leads to military conflict, is profoundly dangerous.

* Anyone interested in the events of 1941 might care to read the following: The New York Review of Books: Pearl Harbor: An Exchange.

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