The thinking for this post originated in a Twitter exchange where I posted a link to an article at Global Research as a response to a New Zealand academic’s tweet about Trump describing Haiti as a “shit hole.” My point was to draw attention to the way the Clinton’s are reported to have extensively abused that country since the earthquake well in advance of Trump’s current attack on the island nation.
When this academic, whose Twitter profile describes him as a Director, Centre for Strategic Studies at an Australasian university, chose to respond to the link in terms of the Conspiracy Theorist / Truther discourse based merely on the source url (globalresearch.ca), it struck me as an intellectually lazy response from an academic and said so. He then responded with a moon landing conspiracy video.
This naturally brings into focus the nature of the Conspiracy Theorist and Truther discourses as a way of marginalising alternative accounts to the official mandated versions of events. My questions to the likes of this academic include:
- Are you saying there are no conspiracies and that proposing there may be one is inevitably a sign of craziness?
- Can we assume that everything the government and media tells us is the absolute total unvarnished truth?
- Is a sceptical approach to government accounts of events unwarranted?
Given the answers to all of these questions is clearly No, we need to consider the idea that there are indeed real conspiracies, as has been well established through numerous well documented and proven accounts of governmental conspiracies over the last 100 years.
The history and use of the Conspiracy Theorist narrative as a device to discredit alternatives to official discourses and propaganda accounts is well documented in Lance deHaven-Smith’s book Conspiracy Theory in America (Discovering America). A key consequence of deHaven-Smith’s analysis is that governmental agencies mask their illegal and genocidal activities through the control of the media narrative and use of rhetorical smear devices—such as labelling those who seek to expose them, or present conflicting counter narratives, as “Conspiracy Theorists” and, more recently, as “Truthers.” The latter term being recast as a slur aimed at discrediting groups such as the 9/11 truth movement, which has been highly effective in exposing fundamental flaws in the official account of the events surrounding the 9/11 attacks in New York. Linking conspiracy theorist accusations to obviously preposterous and deranged ideas about the moon landings or flat earth theories is another device to negatively position alternatives to official narratives through spurious association with the wacky fringe.
The Big Conspiracy
Having recently embarked on the Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Strategic Geostrategic Imperatives (Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1997), it seems to me that the whole of US foreign policy is one big conspiracy involving a hegemonic roadmap to take over the world and which seems to be playing out as per plan.
“The ultimate objective of American policy should be benign and visionary: to shape a truly cooperative global community, in keeping with long-range trends and with the fundamental interests of human-kind. But in the meantime, it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and that also of challenging America. The formulation of a comprehensive and integrated Eurasian geo-strategy is therefore the purpose of this book.” Brzezinski, 1997 (2016 Kindle ed. loc 177 of 4159)
However, in spite of these “visionary” element of these words added in the preface the work, it is evident in reading Brzezinski that he has no concept or care for the human toll of his project. All he cares for or considers in his analysis is the advance of the US hegemonic project, which he utterly applauds as an admirable enterprise.
“As the imitation of American ways gradually pervades the world, it creates a more congenial setting for the exercise of the indirect and seemingly consensual American hegemony. And as in the case of the domestic American system, that hegemony involves a complex structure of interlocking institutions and procedures, designed to create consensus and obscure asymmetries in power and influence. American global supremacy is thus buttressed by an elaborate system of alliances and coalitions that literally span the globe.” Brzezinski, 1997 (2016 Kindle ed. loc 177 of 4159)
Beyond belief is the casual, matter of course way Brzezinski suggests that this project has something to do with the goal of spreading democracy as per the US model—as if the USA was anything but a fully-fledged plutocracy varnished with a thin veneer of democratic forms.
“The American emphasis on political democracy and economic development thus combines to convey a simple ideological message that appeals to many: the quest for individual success enhances freedom while generating wealth. The resulting blend of idealism and egoism is a potent combination. Individual self-fulfilment is said to be a God-given right that as the same time can benefit others by setting an example and by generating wealth. It is a doctrine that attracts the energetic, the ambitious, and the highly competitive.” Brzezinski, 1997 (2016 Kindle ed. loc 522 of 4159)
And then, incredibly…
“It is also a fact that America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America’s power. Especially its capacity for military intimidation. Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public’s sense of domestic well-being. The economic self-denial (that is, defence spending) and human sacrifice (casualties even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization.” Brzezinski, 1997 (2016 Kindle ed. loc 3576 of 4159)
When considering the violence and human costs of America’s adventures in a long list of victim nations, including Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Korea, central America, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, the incredulity this statement raises that somehow US foreign military adventures have been restrained by the country being “too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad” boggles the mind.
As far as shaping “a truly cooperative global community, in keeping with long-range trends and with the fundamental interests of human-kind” goes, I challenge anyone to provide an example from the last 70 years where any of the numerous US interventions in other countries has achieved a truly sustainable functional democratic nation, let alone any sort of cooperative global community outside of its security alliances which seem to be based mostly on a doctrine of “either you are with us or you are against us, and woe betide anyone who is against us.” On the contrary, most of the US’s many foreign interventions have involved some mixture of egregious bloodshed, overthrown democratically elected governments, installation of brutal puppet dictators and military juntas, bombing and destruction of civil infrastructure, use of terrorists, chemical and radiological weapons, mass refugee movements, as well as the torture, murder and repression of opposition parties and activists. Forgive me if I err here (I live in hope that I am wrong), but never in its long history has the US apologised for any of the damage these adventures have caused to the countries involved or their citizens, and never has the US made any sort of reparations for its illegal and genocidal actions in those nations.
Part II of this article set out the key elements of a Conspiracy Theory that this and an accumulation of readings across US activities and policies enacted over the past 70 years since World War 2 suggests.