In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Virtually there!

Posted by seumasach on January 2, 2008

By Cailean Bochanan

2nd January, 2008

The difficulty of grasping the present state of affairs, particularly in the Anglosphere is due to the coexistence of two different worlds: a real one and a virtual one. Let’s look at the real one first.

Faced with multiple challenges to its hegemony, Anglo-America, after failing to extend the Jugoslav scenario to Russia, embarked on a reckless invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Much ink has flown in the attempt to explain this bizarre and doomed venture. Its reason was simple: no one was able to come up with any other solution to fading US power and so the neo-con project was the only option on the table. Now, as widely predicted, defeat is guaranteed and imminent. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, deals are being done with resistance forces to gain a little time and to delay the inevitable humiliating retreat.Governments which were meant to be puppets are dissociating themselves from the occupiers and seeking their own salvation, witness the expulsion of Western diplomats from Afghanistan and the Kirkuk to Syria pipeline.

Since the Iraq War was the last gasp defence of Anglo-American hegemony, it follows from the above that its hegemony is over.In the last years of empire, that hegemony was characterised by a high dollar and pound drawing investment into the London and New York bond markets. These currencies are now going into free-fall and holders of these courrencies in quantity can do no better than buy up chunks of the US economy at knock down prices. The irony of the Communist Party of China bailing out Wall Street seems to have been lost, but the appreciation of irony rests on the perception of a clash between appearance and reality, and that is precisely what is lacking. Of course, these purchases are not just business deals: they have a geo-political component- they are a manifestation of the shift of political power from West to East.

It occurred to me a while back,that, if I was a policy maker in Beijing, I would intervene in such a way as to prop up the dollar while allowing the pound to fall, to gravitate to the level at which it would enter the Euro. Whether this fiendish scheme has in fact been hatched, this is what seems to be happening. Britain has been playing an ambiguous role as both European amd Atlanticist power, and it is not unnatural for the markets, the unbuckable markets to seek clarification: Is Britain heading for the Euro or the abyss?

So much for reality. I won’t dwell on the parallel virtual world which is familiar to us all from the media. The problem is that these two worlds being so dissonant, so completely out of phase, has rendered any decision making process problematic. The real world cries out for remedial action; the virtual world sits on its laurels. Were this to be the life of an individual a breakdown would be on the way, and this is true also of the body politic. What form will the breakdown take? It is hard to say since we are in uncharted waters, a historically unprecedented situation.

The action required is the easy part: our abandonment of hegemonic pretensions; the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan; an international peace conference to resolve all outstanding issues in the Middle East; recognition of the sovereignty and integrity of Serbia;an end to hostilities against Russia, Iran and Venezuela; an end to the absurd “war on terror” and the and the disbanding of our Al-Queda networks and other instruments of international subversion; an end to our wrecking role in Europe. Such a programme would reintegrate us into the community of nations and win us goodwill and support we need to get out of the mess were in. And what a Goddamn mess it is!

Or we could just go on in our virtual world of victories in the desert, winning hearts and minds, rebuilding, international coalitions, bringing peace and democracy, sound economic fundamentals, improving standards, staving off a recession etc. etc..

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