Nov 20, 2009

Alan Woods: No light bulb will shine, no wheel will move, without the kind permission of the workers of this world.

                                                                                                                                                                  By Jutta Schmitt

Alan Woods held a meeting with workers and students last night (November 19) in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of The Andes in Merida, to talk about the systemic crisis of capitalism on a world wide scale. Alan observed, that ironically and as the world's ruling classes are celebrating 20 years of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the demise of the Soviet Union, we are witnessing the renaissance of the ideas of scientific socialism as a historic necessity, and are experiencing concrete efforts to establish a socialist alternative to capitalist society here in Latin America, especially in Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, reason for which these countries are being targeted for "regime change".                                                                                                                                               

Given this context, Alan spoke about the urgent necessity for the working people to organise themselves in order to defend their class interests and exercise true popular power. He insisted that more than anything else, even than the external threat coming from the installation of seven US military bases in Colombia, the biggest menace for the fate and future of the Bolivarian Revolution comes from within, from what he calls the Fifth Column which operates from within the government and the State apparatus.

It is against this Fifth Column that the fight has to be directed in the first place, by means of the systematic, disciplined and solidaric self-organization of the working people who are the true forgers of socialism and who have to take consciousness of the invincible power they hold, not only in Venezuela but on a world scale. No light bulb will shine, no wheel will move, without the kind permission of the workers of this world, Alan reminded the audience. Thus, armed with class consciousness and organization, the Venezuelan working people have to take up the fight against the internal adversary, whilst the external threat to the Bolivarian Revolution has to be confronted by setting up armed people's militias.

The meeting had been organized by Eduardo Molina, Leonardo Badell, Ali Quero, Luis Regalado, Edwin Aguirre, Rafael Díaz and other members of the Marxist Revolutionary Current (CMR) of Mérida, was well attended and Alan's comments and suggestions were received with enthusiastic applause. The debate in the aftermath of Alan's speech gave way to an immediate initiative for effective organization among workers and students of the University of The Andes. Gerardo Sosa, general secretary of the University of The Andes Workers' Trade Union (SOULA), asked Alan to serve as a personal contact for international solidarity with similar organizations in Great Britain and Europe and thanked him for his inspirational speech.

Alan speaking to workers and students

Audience listening to Alan's suggestions

Prof. Franz J. T. Lee among the audience

Alan, Jutta, Franz, Eduardo, Leo, Edwin
and other members of the CMR-Mérida

Sep 14, 2009

International Financial Crisis and End of the Dollar Hegemony: United States versus ALBA


By: Jutta Schmitt

The truth now is: “He who prints the money makes the rules”-- at least for the time being. (...) The goals are (...): compel foreign countries to produce and subsidize the country with military superiority and control over the monetary printing presses.          -  Ron Paul


In November last year, at the third extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) - Peoples' Trade Agreement (TCP), the presidents came together with the intention to confront the crisis of the global capitalist system. Considering the volatility of the international financial system, the untenable situation of the capitalist model with its destructive logic, and the absence of proposals and categorical measures by the big global power centers in order to confront the crisis, the presidents of the ALBA member States shared the opinion that the international financial system cannot simply be re-founded but has to be replaced by a different one, based on solidarity, stability, ecological sustainability and social justice. The Heads of State concurred with each other in that the countries of our region, if their response to the crisis intends to be efficient, definitely have to break lose and protect themselves from the grip of transnational capital so as to be able to take a different direction that does not make them dependent on the eroded international economic and financial system, nor on the US dollar hegemony, artificially maintained and literally imposed by force. To this effect, they agreed on creating a Latin American monetary zone that would, in its first phase, comprise the ALBA member States and it was further detailed that the monetary zone would count with a Chamber for the Compensation of Payments and a Stabilization and Reserve Fund, financed by the contributions of its member States. What concerns the economic policies of the future Latin American monetary and economic zone, the Heads of State agreed on the implementation of an expansive policy of demand stimulation, Keynesian in nature, promoting investments to further the development of complementary economic activities. (1)
                                                                                                                                                                  Furthermore, the presidents agreed that the Latin American monetary zone would issue its own currency, the 'Unified System of Regional Compensation' or Sucre, in order to gain independence from the international financial markets and to break with the eternal dependency on the US Dollar as the main currency for trade and financial transactions, prevalent up to now in the trade relations between our Latin American countries.(2) The financial operations with the new currency are expected to begin next year, and there is trust that the ALBA member States can count on this instrument from the very 1st of January 2010 on.(3) Therewith, an extremely important step will be taken on the road to the necessary dismantlement of the present international economic and financial system which remains characterized by the hegemony of the US Dollar, enabling the United States to import goods and services from all over the world in exchange of a printed piece of green paper which is practically worthless.  
The fact that the dollar today has no other real value than the value of the paper its printed on, makes the continuity of its world hegemony a matter of life and death for the United States of America. In a condensed overview of the history of the rise and fall of the US dollar, it is pertinent to remind the reader that after the Second World War the North American economy was the most powerful and solid of the entire world. It had enormous capacities of exportation and credit, which allowed it to finance the reconstruction of Western Europe through the famous Marshall Plan, in view of fostering a future European market to absorb US exports and investments, as well as containing the possible influence of the Soviet Union in Western Europe. The US Dollar transformed itself into the world's unchallenged, leading reserve currency, within the framework of the Bretton Woods international monetary system under the gold-exchange-standard. The Dollar figured as the anchor or reserve currency, convertible in gold, and fixed exchange rates were established between the different international currencies.

However, the growing trade deficit of the United States, combined with an inflationary monetary policy, especially during the Vietnam War, lead to the collapse of the Dollar's convertibility in gold, which ended with its unilateral suspension by the Nixon administration in 1973. Therewith, the original Bretton Woods system had collapsed and the dollar suffered a sensitive decline as international reserve currency, although it did not really get challenged by other currencies at that moment, given the absence of a sufficiently strong competitor who could have occupied this position. The breakdown of the Bretton Woods system lead to the devaluation of the dollar and thus caused a decrease of revenues from oil for the OPEC countries, as oil was priced in dollars only. This fact, in addition to the 1973 Jom Kippur war in the Middle East, lead to the rise of oil prices and the oil crisis of 1973/74, which, in turn, generated the phenomenon known as the 'recycling of petro-dollars' that ended up in strengthening once more the position of the US dollar. In the absence of an alternative international reserve currency or the existence of a petro-currency basket, the dollar got 'anchored' to oil in a kind of 'oil-standard', which enabled it to perpetuate itself, in spite of the enormous and growing balance of payments deficit of the US, as the primary international reserve currency and the only petro-currency, practically until our days. This panorama only had begun to change with the rise, at the beginning of the new millennium, of a strongly competing international reserve currency, the euro, and the displacement of the world economic center from North America to Europe and Asia. Today, with the collapse of the international financial system and the generalized capitalist crisis, the panorama looks troubling for the US dollar.
Until now, two main factors have helped sustain the privileged position of the dollar in the world: Firstly, the capital flows towards the United States as a result of the re-investment, in the United States, of the commercial surpluses obtained by nations and investors through their trade with the US. Secondly, the exclusive pricing, on a world wide scale, of oil transactions in US dollars, being this factor of vital importance to the United States for guaranteeing the perpetuation of their currency as the leading and indispensable international reserve currency. This allows the US to continue to encumber itself with debts denominated in their own currency, for which the US holds the exclusive printing monopoly. This means that the Federal Reserve has printed and continues to print dollars in the quantity and at the time it deems necessary, practically without restrictions, apart from the capacity and will of others to absorb them on a global scale, and the inflationary pressure generated by this on the domestic as well as international level. As if this were not enough, the immense capital flows towards the United States from abroad not only have financed its trade and balance of payments deficits, but, and perversely so, also the costs of its military spending which are the highest of the planet. This is how, on the one hand and given the astronomical costs of its military spending, US military supremacy would come down like a house of cards if the dollar would lose its role as the world's leading reserve and petro-currency; and on the other hand, it is the same US military supremacy by virtue of which the United States have been able to defend, in a 'preemptive' manner, their currency and its privileged position in the world on which the whole deficit-existence of the United States of America has comfortably rested until now.
In the words of US congressman, Ron Paul:
            "Ironically, dollar superiority depends on our strong military, and our strong military depends on the dollar.  As long as foreign recipients take our dollars for real goods and are willing to finance our extravagant consumption and militarism, the status quo will continue regardless of how huge our foreign debt and current account deficit become." (4)
The price that a part of the world had to pay so that this perverse system would maintain itself intact, has expressed itself in pressures, coercion, threats, aggression wars, military coups and destabilizing operations, especially in the cases of those countries which, in one way or the other, have tried to establish another kind of financial framework which could have led, eventually, to the demise of the dollar hegemony. Remember the case of Iraq with the decision of Saddam Hussein, in November of the year 2000, to shift Iraq's international reserves from the dollar to the euro and to price the sale of Iraqi oil in euros; situation which was immediately reverted by the North American invaders once Iraq had been attacked and occupied in 2003. There is the case of the continuous threats against the Islamic Republic of Iran, a country which in the year 2002 began to shift a big part of its international currency reserves from dollars to euros and which launched the project of an Iranian Oil Bourse to be set up on the island of Kish, which would price the sale of Iranian oil in euros and other currencies with exception of the dollar. The project was postponed various times for unknown reasons until the Iranian Oil Bourse finally opened its operations in February last year.(5) And then, there is the notorious case of our Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, victim of a military coup in the year 2002 and since then, of continuous destabilization operations which point to an eventual direct military intervention by the US Armed Forces, from Colombian territory; not only because of the appetite the government of the United States has for the natural and energy resources of Venezuela and the region, but also because president Hugo Chávez has pronounced himself in the past in favour of the pricing of Venezuelan oil in euros and other currencies, and also has traded certain amounts of Venezuelan oil for its respective equivalent in goods and services with other countries of the region, thus avoiding the use of the US dollar in inter-regional trade transactions. Russia and China, which holds the world's largest dollar reserves, have long considered that the dollar does not fulfill a meaningful role as the leading reserve currency and have proposed, at the last summit of the G-8 in July this year, that a new, supra-national unitary currency be implemented world-wide, based on a mixture of regional reserve currencies and considered to be indispensable to overcome the abysmal crisis of the international financial system.

The price that ultimately had to be payed for the artificial maintenance of the dollar hegemony on a global scale, has been the very collapse of the international financial system, payed, as always and naturally, by the workers of this world, who do not only see the future of the present generation of workers compromised, but that of many generations to come. Even the United Nations seem to have woken up, given that the recently published annual report of the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) of the year 2009, suggests the replacement of the US dollar by a new, leading world currency. (6) And while a chorus of ever stronger voices is beginning to be heard, claiming for a new international financial order, our ALBA member countries, confident in their own strength, will and potentiality, are taking the first concrete steps in order to not only detach themselves from the dollar hegemony but to establish the parameters of a new kind of mutually beneficial and complementary trade relations. It is in this context that we can better understand why Latin America, at this moment and apart from its natural and energy resources being coveted by the global power centers, adopts special importance for the United States. A regional alliance like ALBA, with its own currency for trade and financial transactions, constitutes doubtlessly another nail in the coffin of dollar hegemony. This is at least one of the reasons for which, in the near future, the government of the United States will be pointing its guns against us, from Colombian territory.


(2) ibidem.
(4) Hon. Ron Paul of Texas Before the U.S. House of Representatives, February 15, 2006;
(5) Oil Bourse Opens in Kish;


Sep 4, 2009

Preparing the ground for military aggression against Venezuela and Latin America: The Big Lie Strategy in operation

                                                                                                                    Preparing the ground for military aggression 
against Venezuela and Latin America:
The Big Lie Strategy in operation

By Jutta Schmitt

All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer,
but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.

                                                                Sun Tzu

It is surprising and dismaying that the world’s only superpower does

not have a unified political-military strategy and a multidimensional 
inter-agency organizational structure to confront Chavez’s challenge. 
It is time to make substantive changes to deal better with irregular 
contemporary conflict.
                                                                Max G. Manwaring

In a previous article  we showed the relation that exists between the US Defense Department's most recent war doctrines and the 'Theory of the New Wars', an ideological construction originating from the realm of European academia developed at the beginning of the new millennium, which is nothing else but the 'moral' justification of the aggression wars and countless interferences all over the world of the European and North American ruling classes, in pursuit of their respective geo-strategic interests and global expansion. All the military doctrines, security strategies and political ideologies emanating from the global power centers have a common denominator: they are fully inscribed in the justification and defense of an economic, political and social order that is unsustainable and unjustifiable and the continuance of which, over time, has turned into a human security and survival problem on a planetary scale: capitalism. In order to justify the unjustifiable, we see the recycling and massive dissemination of myths that are profoundly rooted in the minds of millions of people who have been victims, since centuries, of mind control which adopts the most variegated forms. The main message that has been transmitted through these myths, especially in the past two decades, is to equate capitalism with the highest possible degree of human civilization, rejecting any search for an alternative as 'obsolete', 'anachronistic' and 'pre-modern'.   

Who wants to break away from the established parameters and dares to take different ways than those prescribed by capitalist globalization has to confront an avalanche of obstacles, threats, covert and overt interventions as well as campaigns of defamation and ridicule. Any country or group of countries that does not stick to the rules and interferes with the interests of the global power centers, will be subjected to destabilization operations and is then declared a 'failed State' or 'crisis region' that merits military invasion in the name of the 'security' of the 'international democratic community' (the West).

Given this background it is troublesome to see how an encirclement is closing down on Venezuela and also on the countries that constitute the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), a proposal for Latin American integration which does not respond to the interests of big international capital. We are witnessing at this moment how the first step of an escalation is being executed that may well lead to an eventual military confrontation between the US-Colombian armed forces and those of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, as well as other countries of our region. It is sufficient to take a look at the strategic locations of the seven North American military bases that will be set up shortly on Colombian territory and at the full spectrum of marine, air force, army and special forces components which will operate from there, so as to realize that the projection of US military force from Colombia exceeds by far the supposed 'war against drugs' and clearly points towards control and vigilance of the whole of South America. Given that Colombia shamefully and literally is transforming itself into a US aircraft carrier for operations in Latin America, within short notice we will directly share boundaries with a nation the governments of which we can qualify, without hesitation, as the most interventionist and criminal of the world. (In the words of George H.W. Bush: If the North American people knew what we have done, they would string us up from the lamp posts.) The reasons for the deployment of US military forces on Colombian territory constitute  a kind of layered rings of lies. The 'official' reason, the 'war against drugs', makes for the necessary background from which the destabilization operations against Venezuela and the ALBA countries will be staged, whereas the unofficial reason is expressed in the US military's 'strategic studies', in itself a set of clever distorsions to justify the one and only REAL reason: the open military defense of North American interests and of the continuity of the rules of the game of globalization in the region.  

In one of these strategic studies concerning US security and defense matters in Latin America, entitled: 'Latin America's New Security Reality: Irregular Assymetric Conflict and Hugo Chávez'(1), Max G. Manwaring, professor for Military Strategy at the U.S. Army War College, presents president Chávez of Venezuela as an individual 'possessed' by Simon Bolívar's dream, pushing forward an agenda of open confrontation with the objective to conquer revolutionary power in the whole region, reason for which he is considered to be a national security threat to North America. The writing, published in August 2007, is a follow-up and deepening of an earlier study by the same author from the year 2005, entitled: Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Bolivarian Socialism, and Asymmetric Warfare, made public in Venezuela at the time by Eva Golinger.(2) The reading is sobering and gives us an idea of what will expect us if we do not prepare a timely response that goes beyond some mere declarations of protest on paper.

In his second writing about the alleged threat posed by Chávez, Manwaring, in line with the Theory of the New Wars and as if he wanted to discard from the beginning any doubts about the peaceful and defensive character of the United States of America, introduces his study with the categorical assertion that "war no longer exists".(3) Precising this assertion and citing the British military strategist General Rupert Smith from his writing: 'The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World', the author tells us that war as a confrontation between Nation States conceived of as a massive military event which decides over international disputes, has disappeared from the scene and has been replaced by 'wars among peoples' that involve a kind of combatants who are not necessarily soldiers or armies. (4)

Going into the detailed description of what he calls the 'hard facts' of this 'new paradigm of war', Manwaring points out that today's' combatants, rather than armies, tend to be "small groups of armed soldiers who are not necessarily uniformed, not necessarily all male but also female, and not necessarily all adults but also children."(5) Implicit in this statement  lies a kind of 'technical-tactical' justification for the indiscriminate assassination of civilians as effectively has happened in the first two aggression wars of the 21st Century, undertaken by the government of the United States of America against Afghanistan and Iraq, in which civilians have been and continue to be massacred indiscriminately, with total impunity and on a large scale in a manner that is reminiscent of an expedition of collective punishment. The second 'hard fact' of this new paradigm according to Manwaring/Smith postulates that these small groups of combatants "tend to be interspersed among ordinary people and have no permanent locations and no identity to differentiate them clearly from the rest of a given civil population". (6) Implicit in this second 'hard fact' lies the technical-tactical justification of the deliberate and indiscriminate bombing of civilian infrastructure like schools, hospitals, water reservoirs, electricity plants, and even centers of religious gatherings and densely populated poor quarters, as has effectively happened in the same aggression wars we just mentioned.

In addition, the author points out that contemporary conflict is being conducted on four interrelated levels, in a hierarchic top-down structure from the political, strategic, operational to the tactical level, what seems at first sight no different from the classical definition of war by Von Clausewitz according to which war is the continuation of politics by other means. However, and according to Manwaring/Smith, "contemporary conflict is now lengthy and evolves through two or three or more noncoercive organizational stages before serious coercion and confrontation come into play", being the military operations "only one of the many instruments of power employed by the combatants" (7). To "evolve through two or three or more noncoercive organizational stages" before entering direct confrontation could be translated, in the language of the now extinct international law, as a crime against peace, as is the planning, preparation and carrying out of an aggression war, such as the government of the United States has waged against Afghanistan and Iraq under the pretext of the 'war against terrorism', bidding farewell to international law and laying down the de-facto basis for the club-law or "New Wars" of the 21st Century. Certainly and in our latitudes, the recent coup in Honduras, followed by the agreement of the Colombian and North American governments on facilitating the use of seven military bases for the US on Colombian territory, in addition to the uncountable acts of open provocation against the governments of Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela in the past months and years, give the impression that we are witnessing "two or three or more noncoercive organizational stages" before the government of the United States, in alliance with the Colombian ruling class and other ruling elites in the region that may offer themselves for the purpose, passes on to direct military confrontation with one or more of our Latin American countries.  

Then, Manwaring proceeds to point out the 'transnational character' of modern conflict in which combatants hide in border regions and other countries' territories from where they stage their operations (which turns out to be quite a convenient 'hard fact' if, from one of the global power centers like the United States or Europe, one plays the card of destabilization and intervention of a nation or region). The author concludes the review of the essential elements of the new paradigm of war with the observation that the major military and nonmilitary battles in modern conflict take place among the people and if reported, become media events that may or may not reflect the reality on the ground. Here, of course, one cannot but think of the dictatorship of the international media that works hand in hand with the US military-industrial complex and sells us information that serves their strategical objectives. Finally, the author emphasizes that all means employed in this kind of conflict are "intended to capture the imaginations of the people and the will of their leaders, thereby winning a trial of moral (not military) strength" and that "the struggle is total, in that it gives the winner absolute power to control or replace an entire existing government or other symbol of power". (8) Apart from the concept and practice of 'regime change' pushed forward by the government of the United States where it deems it necessary, and its battle to "win hearts and minds", what comes to mind here is the concept and practice of the 'de-territorialization' of war, which, according to the Theory of the New Wars and its postulate of 'military humanism', bestows on the 'civilized nations' (United States and Europe) not only the self-proclaimed 'right', but even the obligation to intervene in conflict zones 'for the sake of their populations' and 'in the name of human rights', concept that goes hand in hand with that of a 'limited sovereignty' and of 'military export of stability'.  

After enumerating the 'hard facts' we just mentioned and commented, as essential characteristics of the new paradigm of war according to a writing of British general Rupert Smith, Manwaring, in a sudden and grotesque twist, ascribes these to president Hugo Chávez as if he were the intellectual author of this paradigm, besides other doctrines of war:

    "These are the principal characteristics of what President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela now calls “4th Generation War” (4GW), “Asymmetric War,” “Guerra de todo el pueblo (“War of all the People,” “People’s War,” or “War Among Peoples”). President Chavez asserts that this type of conflict has virtually unlimited possibilities for a “Super Insurgency” against the United States in the 21st century. It appears that Chavez’s revolutionary (Bolivarian) ideas are developing and maturing, and that he and Venezuela, at a minimum, are developing the conceptual and physical capabilities to challenge the status quo in the Americas. This challenge is straightforward and is being translated into a constant, subtle, ambiguous struggle for power that is beginning to insinuate itself into political life in much of the Western Hemisphere." (9)
This maneuver clearly reveals the political-ideological, strategic-military background of the matrix of public opinion generated on a global scale with the complicity of the dictatorship of the international media, to justify an eventual aggression war against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, matrix that has already been successfully tested in the case of Afghanistan and Iraq: To present the country or government who will be attacked as the aggressor, according to an old technique called Big Lie Strategy, a term coined by Adolf Hitler in his autobiography, "Mein Kampf" (1925). The term refers to a lie of such proportions that nobody ever would suspect that anyone could be so imprudent as to distort the truth in such an infamous manner:

    "[...]in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying." (10)

Considering the countless assaults against other governments and peoples of this world by the governments of the United States in the past and present, it is troublesome when a North American military strategist from the Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College asserts that president Chávez is "encouraging his Venezuelan and other followers to pursue a confrontational, populist, and nationalistic agenda" by means of implementing a "totalitarian democracy" (in reference to the direct, participatory and protagonist democracy or 'government of, by and for the people' as proposed by Lincoln), and accuses Chávez of wanting to destroy North American hegemony by means of conducting an irregular Fourth-Generation War “Super Insurgency”. (11) Such an assertion announces bad things to come.     

We don't want to conclude our observations without mentioning some other pieces of lie and propaganda like that of Ray Walser, Heritage Foundation's political analyst for Latin America (12) who, in his "Four concerns about Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez", holds that the latter, first, provides material assistance and sanctuary to the FARC, second, allows individuals operating for Hezbollah to work under Venezuelan diplomatic cover, third, hinders anti-drug efforts in the region and fourth, denies democratic opportunity to the opposition and opposes democratic government,(13), lies that Walser recycles in his articles. Not to mention the notorious Otto Reich, who recently shot his ammunition from the pages of the Foreign Policy Magazine, in a master piece of distortion and bellicose propaganda, entitled: 'Chávez’s Covert War: Obama needs to call Venezuela’s president what he is: a terrorist and a drug-trafficker', and in which Reich details what the title promises: infamous falsehoods. In this piece of provocation, Reich portrays president Chávez as a coward who only points his guns at his own, defenseless citizens and who does not have the guts to fight openly in the international arena:

    "Chávez has only ever pointed his guns at defenseless Venezuelan civilians. Bullies like him do not forewarn their intended victims. He does not fight openly, preferring to intervene covertly -- either directly or through his regional "anti-imperialist" alliance, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), a collection of the highest-decibel, lowest performing leaders in the region, from countries including Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and, until June, Honduras." (14)

This is what best illustrates the objective of this co-ordinated avalanche of propaganda and provocation that has been flowing from the pens of military strategists, political analysts, ex State officials, columnists and journalists, all inscribed in the Big Lie Strategy. It therefore is imperative for us to study, know and debate this kind of propaganda,  its historical precedents, its current context, the mental configuration of its promoters and its effects on the population in order to counter it effectively.  


(1) Max G. Manwaring, Latin America's New Security Reality: Irregular Assymetric Conflict and Hugo Chávez, August 2007;
(2) Eva Golinger, El ejército de los Estados Unidos prepara doctrina para guerra asimétrica con Venezuela,
(3) Manwaring op.cit. , pág. 1
(4) ibidem
(5) ibidem
(6) ibidem
(7) ibidem , pág. 2
(8) ibidem
(9) ibidem, pág. 3
(10) Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, chapter 10, cited in:
(11) Manwaring, op. cit., pág. 3
(12) Washington's biggest and most influential think tank and sponsor of the notorious Project for a New American Century.
(13) Ray Walser, Four Concerns about Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, Heritage in Focus, video-clip, 21st of July, 2008,
(14) Otto Reich, Chávez’s Covert War: Obama needs to call Venezuela’s president what he is: a terrorist and a drug-trafficker.

Aug 29, 2009

Fourth Generation Warfare: Twisting our minds into total submission

Fourth Generation Warfare:
Twisting our minds into total submission

                                                                                           By Jutta Schmitt

In the context of the threat and open provocation that constitutes, for Venezuela and all of Latin America, the setting up of seven US military bases on Colombian territory (in addition to three bases US forces are already operating from), Venezuelan-American lawyer Eva Golinger warned in the television programme La Hojilla on August 14th 2009, about a new war doctrine recently released by the Pentagon and already being executed here in Venezuela: Irregular Warfare. Considering the seriousness of what Golinger brought forward in the programme mentioned, it is pertinent to go more deeply into the matter in order to determine, how this new doctrine is connected with other concepts and realities as for example Fourth Generation Warfare as well as with ideological constructions like the so called Theory of the New Wars. The latter is a compound of arbitrary postulates originating from the academical realm and sold to the public as a 'theory' which dates back to the beginning of the new millennium and which has quickly found its way into the sphere of the national security strategies of both, the United States of America and the European Union. Once we've come to know the interrelations and the general context into which the latest war doctrines are inscribed we can better design our own defense strategies and even think of outlining a categorical counter-offensive.

In an update for the doctrine of Irregular Warfare released by the US Department of Defense in Dember last year, we find the following definition of the concept:
        „ ... to fight unconventionally, such as by working with foreign security forces, surrogates and indigenous resistance movements to shore up fragile states, extend the reach of US forces into denied areas or battle hostile regimes.“ (1)

The directive then proceeds to explain the reasons for the update, referring in the first place to the emergence of irregular challenges that threaten the United States' national security:
      „ The policy, a result of more than a year of debate in the defense establishment, is part of a broader overhaul of the US military's role as the threat of large-scale combat against other nations' armies has waned and new dangers have arisen from shadowy non-state actors, such as terrorists that target civilian populations.“ (2)

The idea that 'classical' or conventional wars between national states as experienced during the Twentieth Century are a thing of the past and that the new wars of the Twenty-First Century are of an essentially different character, is not that new. Since quite a couple of years already the US- american and european ruling classes, through their big means of mass communication, have been suggesting to the world public opinion that the protagonists of the wars of the Twenty-First Century are some 'bad guys' who operate as 'non-state-actors', in other words, terrorists. We are told that the wars of the Twenty-First Century are and will be inner-state armed conflicts with endemic roots, that is, home-made. We are further told that this type of conflicts are of an ethnical, religious or political-ideological nature, promote terrorism, open the doors for drug-trafficking and organized crime and thus erode any effort to guarantee public order and internal security, reason for which they necessarily lead to the so-called 'failed States'. 'Failed States', in turn, endanger the peace of their surrounding region and thus constitute a security challenge to the 'modern' or 'civilised' countries, especially in our globalized world. The latter, for being 'superior' with regard to their values and economic and cultural performance, are obligated to intervene in those 'chaotic regions' for the sake of helping the populations there to recover or gain the firm ground of 'western-democratic civilization'.

We have to have this crystal-clear: The spreading and penetration of this kind of ideas forms an intrinsical part of another war doctrine, that of Fourth Generation Warfare, the main theater of operation of which is the human mind of both, the populations of the metropolitan countries as well as the populations of those countries who do not pertain to this auto-proclaimed 'western-democratic-civilization'. The main objective of Fourth Generation Warfare fought on a world-wide scale is to bomb, weaken and then mold the human psyche so that the peoples of this world will succumb to the reality of globalized capitalism with its economic, financial, ecological, social and moral crisis, with its perverse concentration and monopolization of capital and power in the hands of some small elites, and to make the peoples of the world accept the eventual rise of a totalitarian, repressive and dictatorial system on a global scale, which we have referred to in earlier writings as 'globofascism'. (3) Specifically, the goal of Fourth Generation Warfare world-wide is to make the populations of the metropolitan countries adopt, as their own, a supposed 'civilizing and pacifying mission', based on the 'universal values of western democracy' which needs to be extended all over the world; and to make the populations of the 'periphery' give up on resistance and accept the forceful imposition of neoliberal, globalized capitalism and its rules of the game as the only viable way for humanity, thus making them refrain from seeking to establish alternative models, such as is the case here in our latitudes.
The cannons in this war against the human mind and psyche are the mass media and the artillery is 'information'. Amongst the army that moves this lethal machine figure journalists, columnists, scientists, military personnel, strategists, politicians, advisors, State officials, burocrats, diplomats and academics, all of them putting themselves knowingly or unknowingly at the service of irrestrict capital accumulation on a global scale, nevermind its nefarious consecuences, a thousand times proven, a thousand times suffered. The serfdom of its followers increases even more in times of a systemic crisis like the one we are experiencing at this moment, which is of a magnitude that only uses to be 'resolved' by means of a devastating world war.

So let us get acquainted with one of the fighters of the Fourth Generation Warfare, defender of globalized, neoliberal capitalism and exponent of the Theory of the New Wars: Thomas P. M. Barnett, US citizen, military analyst and geostrategist of the Pentagon, who identifies in his book, 'The Pentagon's new map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century' (4), a critical zone which hosts internal conflicts, possible failed States and threats for international security, and which he calls 'the non-integrated gap'. This dangerous blackhole comprises Central America and the Carribean, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana, the African Continent except South Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East except Israel, Central Asia, Indochina, Indonesia y Fillipines. The 'non-integrated gap' stands in a stark contrast to what Barnett calls 'the functioning core of globalization', that is: the United States of America, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Western Europe, Russia, China, India, Japan and Australia. What characterizes the 'non-integrated gap' according to Barnett is its being composed of countries that are uncoupled from globalization and its rules of the game, reason for which they constitute a potential danger and a challenge for the 'functioning core' from the point of view of Western security policy. Thus and in the name of the security strategies of the 'functioning core of globalization', the countries of the 'non-integrated gap' will have to be forcefully integrated, that is, by military power. Behind this cumbersome terminology hides, of course, a simple reality: The open militarization of neoliberal capitalism and its unhindered expansion to all corners of the planet. In the words of Barnett himself: 
        “ If a country is either losing out to globalization or rejecting much of the content flows associated with its advance, there is a far greater chance that the U. S. will end up sending forces at some point. Conversely, if a country is largely functioning within globalization, we tend not to have to send our forces there to restore order or eradicate threats.“ (5) 
The frontiers between the 'non-integrated gap' and the 'functioning core of globalization' are, according to Barnett, in any case (and conveniently) dynamic, and it may occur that a sector of the 'non-integrated gap' ends up forming part of the 'functioning core', as has effectively happened with Eastern Europe, which has been 'integrated' (or rather absorbed), after the neoliberal restructuring of its economies, into the European Union in the context of the Union's expansion towards the east ('Osterweiterung'). This occured in 2004, the year when Barnett published his book and when ten new member states, eight from Eastern Europe, joined the European Union, followed by another two in 2007. However, Barnett does not exclude the possibility either, that reversely, part of the 'functioning core' may decay and come to form part of the 'gap'. 
Barnett's European equivalent is Robert Cooper, a British diplomat, strategist, European National Security Strategy advisor in 2003, main advisor of Javier Solana, the High Representative of Foreign Policy and Common Security of the European Union, and author of the book 'The Breaking of Nations: Order and Chaos in the Twenty-First Century'. (6) Cooper, like his American counterpart, divides the world in two: a 'postmodern' world, conceived as a voluntary association of States like the European Union and characterized by its security, transparency and the interdependence of its member States; and a 'premodern' world, conceived as a world of 'failed States', incapable of maintaining their monopoly of force and of defending their citizens from the actions of irregular groups, destabilizing factors or organized crime. Like a postmodern Macchiavelli, Robert Cooper openly and unscrupulously recommends the double standard as the method of international relations in our world of two worlds of the Twenty-First Century: 
        „ The challenge to the postmodern world is to get used to the idea of double standards. Among ourselves, we operate on the basis of laws and open cooperative security. But when dealing with more old-fashioned kinds of states outside the postmodern continent of Europe, we need to revert to the rougher methods of an earlier era - force, pre-emptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary to deal with those who still live in the nineteenth century world of every state for itself. Among ourselves, we keep the law but when we are operating in the jungle, we must also use the laws of the jungle. In the prolonged period of peace in Europe, there has been a temptation to neglect our defences, both physical and psychological. This represents one of the great dangers of the postmodern state.“ (7) 
Let us take note then, that the United States of America as well as Europe see us, the peoples who conform Humanity of the South and who have been victims of their criminal assaults ever since the times of colonization, as a 'black hole', 'non-integrated gap', 'premodern world' or 'jungle'! Let us also take note, that the conflicts in our regions, products of our historic realities in which each stage since colonization has been marked by impositions and interventions from the capitalist power centers and often artificially stoked from outside, are 'home-made', tribal in nature, inter-ethnical, anachronical, just typical of the jungle! Once more, each and every word of Western propaganda transpires hateful racism and supremacism. However, there is an interesting detail when Cooper reveals the class character of the 'new' security and defense doctrines, underlining that it is essential for the elites of the 'postmodern world' to establish a set of beliefs in a 'civilizing mission' to convince their own population and others of their noble intentions: 
        „To persuade your own people to risk their lives in chaotic foreign countries requires the belief that you are spreading some gospel, pursuing a mission of civilization or (in the worst case) establishing the natural superiority of your race. It requires confidence and conviction. And then, if you are to be successful, you have to persuade the people that you are subjugating that you are doing this in their own interests and in the service of a higher good; most people are subjugated by ideas rather than by force.“ (8) 
In their need to control the minds of their populations with this kind of 'new myths' within the context of Fourth Generation Warfare and to achieve that they affirm the ever more openly military character of the European Union, the European dominant classes can count on various erudites, true masters in hiding the cold interests of economic-imperial expansion of the European elites behind a mask of morality, humanism and the virtues of a guardian angel. Amongst them are Mary Kaldor, of British nationality, director of the Center for Studies of Global Governance at the London School of Economics and Political Science, member, at the time, of the Study Group of European Security Capacities in the service of Javier Solana and author of the book: 'New and old Wars. Organized Violence in a Global Era'. (9) Kaldor arguments in the same line as Cooper when she, too, states that we live in a world of two worlds: the world of 'modern cosmopolitanism' which is a world in peace, based on the values of inclusion, universalism and multiculturalism, and the world of 'premodern particularism', which is a world characterized by the implosion of those States which have been unable to cope with globalization and whose autonomy, monopoly of violence and capacity to defend their citizens has been broken, giving way to violence and the collapse of democracy. Thus, Kaldor pleads for the launching of a 'global civilizing process' in order to contain the threat that the premodern world poses for global security.

The german sociologist Ulrich Beck, in the same order of ideas, claims an 'European Cosmopolitan Empire', a kind of guardian angel who, in order to confront the dangers emanating from the premodern world, must impose by force the values of the postmodern world there, in the name of the unprotected citizens of the premodern world:

          „A new policy is emerging, a postnational policy of military humanism, that is, the implementation of a transnational military power that has the goal of reinforcing the respect for human rights beyond national boundaries. [...] Thus, war becomes the continuation of ethics by other means.“ (10)

Finally, Herfried Muenkler, professor for Political Theory of the Humboldt University in Berlin and author of the book 'The New Wars' (11), defines these as characterized by 'de-nationalization' and 'asymmetricalization'. The latter concept refers to the unique, military supremacy of the United States of America in today's world, that can only be confronted, by any given adversary, by means of asymmetric strategies like terrorism or guerilla warfare. 'De-nationalization' refers to the decomposition of State authority which occurs, according to Muenkler, in the first place in countries of the so called 'Third World' and which is the result of the failure of modern State building processes there, with the blame lying on their inmoral and corrupt elites. Thus, Muenkler conceives the new wars as state-disintegration-wars. The State's loss of its monopoly of violence gives way to the emergence of violent private groups who finance themselves through smuggling and drug-trafficking with destabilizing consequences for politics and economics of the region, reason for which the West must intervene to avoid a major encroachment. In the words of Muenkler: 
    „International terrorism has its refuge in the first place there where State structures have collapsed in the course of an inter-societal war. No region exists today in the globalized world in which the collapse of State structures would not have serious consequences for global, political and economic structures, reason for which, from the point of view of security policy, the need for military export of stability emerges. The West has to be prepared to assume the armed pacification of entire regions.“ (12)

'Postmodern world' versus 'jungle world', 'military humanism', 'military export of stability', 'armed pacification' – these are the keywords of an ample literature of which we have barely presented some fragmentary extracts, the postulates of which have penetrated, like bullets, the brains of millions of people in Europe and North America. These ideological constructions, disseminated in the realm of academia, in books and strategic documents of security and defense, in the press and on TV, represent nothing less than the 'moral' legitimation of the 21st century's aggression wars, ignoring any notion of national sovereignty, territorial integrity, self-determination of the peoples and the principle of non-intervention for considering them archaic, premodern concepts, proper of the jungle. The military export of stability in recent times to what was once Yugoslavia, to Afghanistan, Irak and Palestine, gives us an idea of what is awaiting us with the planned export of stability to Our America, Latin America, with the setting up of seven or more US military bases on Colombian territory. 
With this general context in mind, having shown the connections between Fourth Generation Warfare and ideological constructions like the Theory of the New Wars, and taking into account their consequences for the thinking and attitude of millions of people in the metropolitan countries, let us get back once more to the concept of Irregular Warfare as introduced and explained by Eva Golinger in the programme 'La Hojilla' on the 14th of August. Under the premise that we have entered (or never left) an era of perpetual warfare, the new doctrine of Irregular Warfare comes to be the core of the United States' military mission of the 21st Century. Its goals are to materialize the stategic, mid- and long term objectives by means of unconventional methods, working on the adversary's physical and psychological erosion in the context of a protracted low-intensity-war which is being waged on a regional and global scale. All this in order to gain control over territories, natural and energy resources, geostrategic corridors and entire populations. Irregular warfare is about what the US Department of Defense, in correspondence with the concepts sketched above, calls 'stability operations', when in reality and reversely, the objective of these operations is the continuous and systematic destabilization of governments who are perceived as hostile or non-aligned with the interests of the US, or who simply defend their national sovereignty, territorial integrity and self-determination – 'premodern', 'achaic' ideas and concepts, according to the global elites.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the already mentioned North American strategist Thomas P. M. Barnett, in an article published on the 10th of August, titled 'The New Rules: The Evolution of the U.S. Military', states in response to the „predictable condemnations from anti-American elements in South America“, that the installation of new US military bases in Colombia „simply reflects the increasing granularity of our efforts at promoting regional stability.“ (13)

'Stability operations' – there is certainly something striking about this concept: If there is anything the global ruling classes have tried to stabilize without success, it's this very system which is unstable in itself: capitalism. There is no capitalism without crisis, there is no crisis without capitalism. The capitalist economic crisis is being periodically generated by the internal contradictions of the system, and wars are its periodical 'solutions'. Economic crisis and its solution, war, are the two sides of capitalist instability. However, when capital and labour forces are being destroyed by wars the system gets a new lease of life as long as the 'reconstruction' lasts, and this is wherein its perverse stability and stable perversion lies.

Only with a social class consciousness and a consequently internationalist, antiimperialist and anticapitalist vision can we emerge without harm from the bombardments of mental manipulation and draw up a strategy that does not end up delivering us into the arms of the monster we are fighting.

(1) New Irregular Warfare Directive, in: Small Wars Journal,
(2) ibidem
(3) Jutta Schmitt, On the objective function of terrorism and racism in the era of globalization (Acerca de la función objetiva del Terrorismo y Racismo en la Era de la Globalización), in: Franz J. T. Lee & Jutta Schmitt, Venezuela: La Revolución Bolivariana pasando el Rubicón, Editorial IMMECA, Mérida 2006.
(4) Thomas P. M. Barnett, The Pentagon's new Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century, G.P. Putnam's Sons / Penguin Group Inc., New York 2004
(5) Thomas P. M. Barnett, The Pentagon's New Map,
(6) Robert Cooper, The Breaking of Nations: Order and Chaos in the Twenty-First Century, Atlantic Books, London 2003
(7) Robert Cooper, The new liberal imperialism,
(8) Cited in John Keane, Remarks on Robert Cooper's Towards a European Army?,
(9) Mary Kaldor, New and old Wars. Organized Violence in a Global Era; Stanford University Press, Stanford-California 1999.
(10) Ulrich Beck, Ueber den postnationalen Krieg, en: Blaetter fuer Deutsche und Internationale Politik, Nr. 8 / 1999, S. 987, (, my translation from German.
(11) Herfried Muenkler, Die neuen Kriege, Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 2002
(12) ibidem, pág. 221, my translation from German.
(13) Thomas P. M. Barnett, The New Rules: The Evolution of the U.S. Military ,