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The Mindlessness of a Manifesto

Robert Kagan

“A liberal world order, like any world order, is something that is imposed, and as much as we in the West might wish it to be imposed by superior virtue, it is generally imposed by superior power” (“Superpowers Don't Get to Retire: What Our Tired Country Still Owes the World,” Robert Kagan, Brookings Institute. May 26, 2014).

This sentence from Kagan’s Neo-Conservative Manifesto reads like so much flotsam in a cesspool of scattered feces. It emanates from a mindless, bloated root chakra that has abandoned all except instinctive self-survival. It is deficient in understanding and wisdom, a mind surviving in an isolated tribe, a being guided only by fear of everlasting victimhood. How does one read this flotsam?

We don’t need to read it, we are witnessing its last throes today in Gaza as the consequences of neo-conservative “superior power” unfurls before the world once again and the desperation of neo-conservative idiocy splashes over the screen for the world to witness.

What is it that we witness? Israel garbed in the armor of the American flag, fielding America’s weapons of mass destruction, protected by the investment of the American taxpayer in the “iron dome,” and marching with the impunity that comes from America’s veto of censure, reveals to the world two nations that willingly impose their “superior power” on a defenseless people displaying in the enormity of their invasion unleashed evil without compassion, without mercy, without sense, a mindless act of uncivil barbarity no different than that displayed by the Mongols or Visigoths of ancient days.

Kagan’s is a simple sentence, “A world order is imposed by superior power.” It does not advance by justice, it mocks justice; it does not consider morality, it laughs at morality; it does not reflect rights of people anywhere, just its rights; it is the rule of those who can and who do not care to care for any but self; it is ruled by a pathological fear engendered by victimhood because they know their own power rests on the destruction of others and hence on the fear that they will infect their victims with the same loathsome mentality that guides them. What is a “liberal” world order if its actions abandon all human capacity to seek justice in favor of “power,” to rule without inclusiveness of those ruled, to slaughter without civilized due process? What is it but barbarianism. Why consider “superior virtue” when it only obstructs conquest? Besides, whose “superior virtue” are we to follow? Why get embroiled in arguments; power alone is the determiner of virtue. It’s all so easy, so sensible at least to the few who impose their will.

Today’s invasion of Gaza is but a repetition of Israel’s savagery under Sharon and Olmert; I’ve written about this before. How horrible that we must revisit such horror! All I can do is to reassert what was true in Rafah, Jenin, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine again and again and again since 1947 and ’48.

“Evil knows no morality; it savors no regard for the weak or oppressed; it admits no rights but those it imposes; it condemns those who dissent without regard for evidence or truth; it denies all wrongdoing since its actions alone determine right; it feels no shame; it accepts no blame; it pleads innocence, seeks to cloak itself in the victim’s stripes, and curses those who condemn its crimes.

Franz Kafka presented a vicious portrayal of such a country in "The Penal Colony." Considered as a metaphor for Israel today, ironically since Kafka wrote from the vantage point of being a Jew, the "Officer" and executioner delighted in describing the virtues of his state’s torture machine as it inscribed on the victim’s skin his crime, and in the duration of its agonizing process the victim learned what he was guilty of, though, until that moment of recognition as the steel spikes carved his sentence on his back, he had never been charged with a crime. Kafka knew the consequences of being a Jew in a world without compassion (even before the state of Israel declared its “independence.” )

Thus it is in today’s Israel; the state, in the figure of its Prime Minister, determines what is right, what is a crime, and who is guilty; there is no need for due rights whether of an individual or a state like (Lebanon) or the people of Palestine. Israel alone determines what terrorism is, it alone defies international law and the UN resolutions with impunity, it alone chooses the words that will describe its actions determining for the world community how it is to understand Israel’s actions. And so it is in the Penal Colony. All live in fear of the executioner, both the colonists and the occupied. So long as that fear can be maintained, so long can the Colony survive under its brutal regime. But time catches up with the Penal Colony. An outsider is brought in to witness how it operates and how it executes its "civilized" approach to management of the colony. The witness listens to the detailed explanation of the Officer as he justifies the policies and procedures of the Penal Colony, but he marks the Medieval and barbaric reality of the colony and its treatment of its citizens and those it condemns to execution. (Today we are the outsider who witnesses the executioner at work).  

Kafka notes with remarkable insight and wisdom that the state will not change until it accepts its own guilt, until it comprehends that its behavior rests on principles that are corrosive to human kind, blind to the reality of human equality, and self-destructive because built on superstition and fear. Once that recognition comes, the Officer and executioner mount the torture machine and strap himself in its bed. And as the machine begins to run, the witness watches the spikes inscribe the sentence on his back, "Be Just."

Evil exists in the delusion that grows from ignorance and alienation, necessary ingredients in a state of “democracy.” Peace is possible when openness proliferates and people remove the barriers that isolate and separate them from each other” (Cook, “Desire, Fulfillment and Regret, 2006.”  Decade of Deceit).

Will we ever learn from the past? Will Kagan ever grasp that he speaks only to his own, the exclusive fraternity that can for a time impose what it will as it destroys families across the mid-east in the Neo-Conservative design to redraw the ground on which they walk and live? Will they ever understand the intensity of grief that comes from such a mindset devoid of human sympathy for those who huddle behind walls as the missiles fall? Perhaps Conrad’s unembellished prose tells it simply without gloss, just straight forward truth:

“They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others. They grabbed what they could get for the sake of what was to be got. It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind as it is very proper for those who tackle the darkness. The conquest of the earth, which mostly means taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves (or hide in a self-declared grouping ‘we in the West’), is not a pretty thing when you look at it too much…”

Today it is the Neo-Cons as conquerors, mostly Ashkenazi Jews from the ancient Khazar empire whose nobility converted to Judaism in the 800s, who find solace in survival at the expense of others, a motivation nourished in the root chakra that thrives on instinct embedded in possessiveness, devoid of the chakras that seek communion with the whole being and accommodation of all in a shared universe. It is but a matter of time before their strength diminishes and the strength of others conquerors them.

Where is the proffered peace promised 65 years ago when the state of Israel declared its independence? Where is the touted democracy, the only true democracy in the mid-east that resorts to “superior power” to control the people of Palestine whose land they have stolen? Where is the obligation to abide by international law signed before the world in its acceptance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the conventions of the Unite Nations?  

What then does the word “liberal” mean?  


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