Bill Totten's Weblog

Sunday, March 13, 2005

President Bush's Imperial Delusion and Retreating Democracy

Yoshi Tsurumi, Professor of International Business,
Baruch College, the City University of New York

The Scarsdale Inquirer (December 17 2004)

President George W Bush boasts that democracy is on the march worldwide, but in reality, democracy is in retreat. His neo-conservative revolution is dismantling the bedrock of America's democracy - the expanding middle class, social safety net, the public accountability of corporate executives and politicians, separation of state and church, voting integrity, tolerance, equality, and an independent judiciary. Meanwhile, without America's nudges toward democracy, President Vladimir Putin is reviving a dictatorial oligarchy in Russia and is preventing Ukraine's new European democracy. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is throwing Japan back to the Imperial Nation of the 1930s. The Afghanistan democracy is a sham. Warlords and Taliban rule most of the country. Al Qaeda terrorists have spread from Afghanistan to over sixty nations, including the US, and have made America unsafe at home and abroad.

America, Russia, and Japan are already "kleptocracies". Kleptocratic oligarchs and their narrow interest groups perpetuate their hold over their country through election rigging and compliant judiciary and mass media. Ordinary people suffer as if they were ruled by greedy bandits and religious zealots.

As Imperial Japan claimed her self-defense and invaded China in the 1930s, the kleptocracy degenerates into imperial aggression of unilaterally using its military power to secure its economic interests and military bases abroad. It must deflect its people's anger at its leaders to hating manufactured enemies at home and abroad. At the Nuremberg Trials, Nazi Marshall Herman Goering pointed out how a democracy can be manipulated with the help of compliant media to behave like a fascist state. "The people can always be brought to the war bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger." This is exactly how President Bush bamboozled the American public into supporting his unilateral invasion of Iraq that he and his neo-conservative ideologues had been planning since the mid-1990s. As Richard Clarke and others revealed, President Bush took advantage of the "9-11" terrorist attacks to occupy Iraq for oil and military bases.

To oppose President Bush's kleptocracy, "Blue" people should be judging his "democratic rhetoric" against Franklin D Roosevelt's democratic principles - the freedoms of speech and religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear. Thirty years ago, when he was my student at Harvard Business School, George W Bush already showed no compassion for ordinary people. He called Roosevelt's New Deal "socialism" and was against Social Security and Medicare. Now, President Bush is going to destroy them in the name of privatization although during his reelection campaign he falsely evoked Roosevelt as his role model. President Bush's character deficiencies like habitual lying and delusional infallibility were already apparent thirty years ago. Since his graduation, however, he has learned to rationalize his prejudices as his God's wishes. Thus, his neo-conservative kleptocracy became an intolerant, delusional and jingoistic theocracy.

President Bush won reelection because he cleverly hyped "God-Gay-Gun" scares and the false link between the 9-11 and Iraq to engineer the "revenge of the South" and the Cultural South ('Red States') against the North ('Blue States'), 140 years after the North's victory over the South in the Civil War. Senator John Kerry's mistake was to act as if he were running against another politician, not against President Bush masquerading as the cult leader of the Christian Right manipulated by big money and neo-conservative ideologues. To beat such an opponent, a candidate must persistently expose how the President's character deficiencies and "governing by lies" have hurt personal safety and economic securities of ordinary Americans.

Finally, President Bush's Iraq debacle is catching up with him. Unlike the British Empire of the mid-19th century, President Bush's "Kleptocratic Empire" lacks the aura of law-giving legitimacy to his colonial rulers abroad. Nor is it supported enough by the domestic economy to provide capital, technology, and human resources to colonies abroad. Both "Blue" and "Red" America will continue to suffer from the rising oil prices, the colossal budget deficits and the falling US dollar. These malaises are caused by President Bush's Iraq quagmire and his refusal to let the wealthy share its rising economic and human costs. Since his misguided economic policies have debilitated American manufacturing and services industries, the falling dollar will not reduce trade deficits or create quality jobs by increasing American exports. How many more Americans and Iraqis must continue to be sacrificed for President Bush's imperial delusion?

Yoshi Tsurumi
Professor of International Business
Baruch College, the City University of New York
159 Rock Creek Lane, Scarsdale, New York 10583
Telephone: 914-725-4212

Bill Totten


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