The Doctrine of Zero Risk

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Looked at closely, the United States military power dazzles because of its ineffectuality. For the past few years the U.S. has not engaged in any real military battles, but instead has shown that it would only accept a particularly weak military opponent. General Colin Powell, when he was Commander in Chief, expressed this fear, now referred to as "The Powell Doctrine", which can be described as only engaging in armed conflicts when one is certain of victory. Contrary to official pronouncements, the United States refuses to take risks in order to defend ideology and only engages in military interventions when it anticipates no personal danger.. Before the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan or Kosovo, Gen. Powell was Commander of "Operation Just Cause" against Panama, a country with a 180 times lower military capacity than the U.S. But to quote Corneille, "To triumph without peril, is to triumph without glory".

After the debacle in Somalia, the United States developed the theory of "zero dead" warfare. This meant devising strategic plans while witholding troops from close combat engagements. This policy was considered the way to suffer no losses while eliminating the maximum number of enemy forces. The Pentagon became the leading advocate of high altitude bombing. Pilots avoid all possibility of exposing their planes to anti-aircraft weaponry. They have no control over their targets and rely upon smart bombs, guided by echo or laser technology. These are extraordinarily precise, while being somewhat unreliable since nine out of ten hit their targets accurately, while one ou of ten, on average, will be lost and explode wherever it lands. "Zero dead" warfare is particularly cruel to the civilian population.

George W. Bush has just delivered two wars. The first, in Afghnistan, did not expose the U.S. military to the Taliban forces, but instead pitted Afghan war lords against each other. The U.S. was content to buy the loyalty of this or that warlord with tranches of millions of dollars and supply them with weapons. Their military has established an important base at Bagram, on the outskirts of Kabul, from which their troops dare not venture out, leaving their imposed President Karzai’s authority to rule only over Kabul.

Bush’s second war, in Iraq, can also not be described as a brilliant military success. The United States bombarded the country with thousands of missiles, causing, by their own estimates, more than 50 billion dollars worth of damage. Then, they entered the country while meeting with little resistance because of the complicity of some of Saddam Hussein’s generals who had been bought.

Failure of U.S. power

Apart from these consentual wars, the power of the U.S. is held back wherever it seeks to impose itself. U.S. military forces now no longer have to oppose those of Saddam Hussein, but have the opposition of the Iraqi people, themselves. Within the past six months, hundreds of dead and thousands of wounded are greater in number than those caused by the war itself. Sunday, an attempted assassination of the Pentagon’s No.2, Paul Wolfowitz. The morale of the GI’s is at a very low point. The number of suicides within the rank and file has never been as high. This has led to more troop rotation with leave and free flights to Europe being granted, but has also enabled numerous troops to desert.

The GI’s no longer believe in their mission. Previously filled with propaganda, they believed they would be greeted in Iraq as liberators, but instead met with the hostility of the population. The imperial ambitions of the United States oblige it to deploy many tens of thousands of military personnel, over the next five years. However, where will they be found, since half of those now serving are refusing to lengthen their service? Latin Americans are being recruited with the promise of U.S. citizenship, at the the end of their term of service, while mercenaries are also being engaged. One tenth of those serving in the Coalition in Iraq are mercenaries, and not regular soldiers.

This week, the Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, sent a memo to his four principal colleagues, asking them think over some questions before debating them with him. This secret memo found its way to "USA Today" which published it. The confusion Rumsfeld feels is evident when he asks himself whether the United States is or is not winning the "war against terrorism" and whether it is creating more adversaries than eliminating them. He asks himself whether the U.S. armada with its tanks, aircraft carriers, missiles and nuclear bombs can succeed in its struggle against those who oppose it. Coming to the conclusion that all this equipment, conceived to crush the Soviet Union is of little use today and that no-one knows how to adapt it to the present situation. He then proposes creating another Ministry of Defense apart from the Pentagon.

War Against the Dollar, the Pillar of United States Power

Whatever happens, Washington can no longer backtrack. In fact, the survival of the U.S. is menaced - not by an external enemy, but by internal economic weakness and tensions running between its communities. Many are becoming conscious of the fact that U.S. power is based upon a mirage, the dollar. These are only pieces of paper, printed when more are needed, while the rest of the world feels obliged to use them.

For the past three years, Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroder have engaged France and Germany in a pitiless war against the United States. They have sent emissaries world wide to convince other States to convert their monetary reserves to euros. The first to accept were Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Precisely the countries described by George W. Bush as those of the "axis of evil".

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has begun restoring the economic independence of the Russian Federation. He has reimbursed - ahead of time - the debts that Yeltsin had contracted with the International Monetary Fund and will also make an early repayment, before the end of the year, of the remaining debts to the Club of Paris.

Putin has calmly announced that he plans State control of the natural riches of his country. He has reminded others that the oligarchs made their fortunes overnight by appropriating, with the complicity of Yeltsin, all that belonged to the U.S.S.R. and that the State can demand the return of wealth which should never have been handed over to the oligarchs.

When Gerhard Schroder visited Putin at the beginning of October, Putin intimated that he would begin by regaining control over Russian gas and petrol and that he would convert their trading, now in dollars, to euros.

On his part, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahatir Mohammad, has experimented with the abandonment of the dollar in international exchanges, but in order to replace it with gold. He has signed bilateral agreements with his country’s business partners. Malaysian exports and imports will in future be traded in gold.

Buoyed by this, he has suggested to the Islamic Bank of Development a plan that would put an end to U.S. dominance. Inspired by the Arab cartel which created the oil shortage of 1974, he has outlined a decisive monetary assault. The idea is to switch world petrol trading to gold, thereby provoking the fall of the dollar and the collapse of the U.S. economy.

At first, Saudi Arabia, menaced by Washington neo-conservatives, was opposed to this plan, but became agreable to it. The Islamic Bank of Development presented the proposal at the summit meeting of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) which was held recently in Malaya, presided over by Dr. Mahatir Mohammad. It was agreed that bilateral agreements for a transition to the gold standard would be prepared between Islamic countries, during the course of next year. At the next summit meeting, to be held in Senegal, the fifty-seven Member-States of the Islamic Conference would be invited to sign a multilateral agreement.

Vladimir Putin who also attended the Islamic Conference, since a large number of the citizens of the Russian Federation are Muslims, encouraged the plan.

Abandoning the dollar presents a long and difficult struggle, for Europe as well as for Muslim countries. While an international campaign accusing Dr. Mahatir Mohammed of ressuscitating anti-semitism has been launched, Henry Kissinger and Condoleeza Rice appealed to the oligarch, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, for help in order to neutralise Putin. Last weekend, however, Putin had him arrested and detained.

Whatever happens, the monetary war has been declared. In the short-term, U.S. domination is menaced.