My former Foggy Bottom informant, Mr Y, bunged out of the cookie-pusher inner
circle, has landed on his highly instepped feet again -- but ahh, the misery of it.
He confessed the other day that "it's a fuckin' think tank gig, Paine, a goo-goo
dove-gray think tank, too." That must be nerve-racking for him,
being so fierce a schemer.
Now is the Winter of our Discontent,
Made glorious Summer by this Son of Yorke
-- alas, poor Y; his teeth must be secretly gnashing
a lot these days.
Our bruised armes hung up for Monuments;
Our stern Alarums chang'd to merry Meetings
But he won't erupt, he won't rend the place in two.
There'll be no unmasking line from him, no
... Since I cannot prove a Lover,
To entertaine these fair well spoken days,
I am determined to prove a Villain.
Y won't be sharing his inner villain with the groundlings,
but we're old pals, and he has to blow off some steam to somebody.
Hence the phone call I got in the wee hours last night.
My cell had hid itself well enough to ring 8 times before I found it.
"Owen, that you? Caught in mid-dudgeon?"
"Err, who... what... no."
"I thought not -- your gal there must know better
by now than to toy with the tiger but once a season.
"I called because I couldn't contain myself.
I was just reading this idiotic piece I fell over somewhere
on the web -- one of those anti-empire cheerups by a stale
retired maverick marine major type -- you know, the stuff
pinkos like, about uncle's stupid counterinsurgency quagmire
to final fateful folly. Man, do you pinkos not get it.
"Owen my friend, in the full system of hegemony,
the fruitlessness of counterinsurgency is a virtue,
part of what makes empire sustainable. Of course it
must fail in the end -- give or take a few odd-offs
here and there along the way. It's like Hollywood.
The native hoi gotta leave the theater uplifted --
the pathetic thimble brained suckers.
"When you're briefing parlor pinks and such,
don't give 'em so much hope. Don't just roll off
the list of pullouts Uncle has been "forced" into.
Let 'em in on the system behind the big picture.
Let 'em see the empire as the robust dynamic
multifaceted hydra-fuck of a global system it is.
"They play the blood-soaked delay game till it's a
senseless blind brute of a horror show. In the final
scene all liberation states must clip off their own balls.
"Take Afpak. Counterinsurgency there, despite the crumbling
and the fumbling, so long as it's ruthless enough,
can at least hold off a pullout till its time to pull out.
Till then Uncle's gotta act crazy, wilfully, self-destructively
"Even under a white-hat emperor, Uncle's got to violate every
cherished American tradition -- maybe even appearing
to go on the offensive just when mounting domestic opposition
seems to have burst its bounds, and to be converging on Washington
for a final showdown.
Who knows? As Uncle senselessly holds out, maybe the
wildly adverse local alien nexus may dissolve
(recall the Huks in the Phillipines) or at least signifigantly abate
(look no further than Sunni Iraq) or hibernate (Shia Iraq).
"Okay, the insurgency can wait uncle out. Hearts and minds cannot
be won over. Big deal. Uncle's overall imperial strategy may not
seem perfect, but it is.
"Self-induced delay tactics that protract the struggle needlessly,
long after a pullout is obviously on the cards, has its overwhelming
"By still goin' on, never arriving at a settlement,
the local rebellion is punishing itself. The insurgency is draining
its own national reservoir -- lowering its own threshold of
"Uncle at a given moment is in one of N different stages of
hegemonic "relationship " with each one of his subject or
target nations -- for every Vietnam '75 there's a vietnam '65 and '95
-- get me?
"Counterinsurgency is just a moving part, Paine, that fits into a
larger game plan. Its deepest mission: slow the metabolism of national liberation -- make it cost the natives the maximum -- make it take away the biggest hunk
of the buggars' oversoul possible -- got that?"
"After the pullout and the liberation? Well, Uncle contains.
He strangles the prospects of the beautiful liberated nation (like '79 Iran),
and he waits -- waits and watches, ready to sieze the moment when the viciously depleted traduced buggers suddenly find themselves crying 'Uncle'!
"Who cares why -- that's the miracle of it all -- who cares whether
it's out of some shrewd calculation of national self-interest (Mao's China
'69) or the clown's end game of quixotic internal collapse (Gorby Soviets '89)
or just, we're spent, man, done in (Mugabe's Zimbabwe last year).
"In the last analysis, Uncle's only got one hard and fast rule
-- if he keeps it -- all the wild ones will come back to the raft some fine day or other.
"So long as Uncle controls the global marketplace, the promise of national progress
will lead back to empire's back door. They will come back and knock, hat in hand -- ahh, ain't it great to be the planet's empire state, Owen!
"So long as Uncle controls the global marketplace," he repeated, and then
paused, as pleased with himself
as the mother of a winning beauty queen.
I felt like throwing a monkey wrench, of course. I wanted to say, "Yeah, sure, Y, controlling the global marketplace -- yup that's the key, and Uncle still does that these days -- but ahh, that can take a toll on a homeland now -- I mean all the laying waste and such -- all the diversion from earning your own keep, all that fucking with thy neighbor's blood and treasure -- in the end surely it must be its own undoing, eh?"
But then again, why bother? The man needs his high-octane horseshit
just to make it through the night. Far be it from me to poison his pipe -- so I just hung up with a "Gosh, look at the time!"
PS: I think this might have been what set Y off: