Lawrence Feiner: Essay II
CAMBRIDGE FORECAST GROUP:
AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT BUSH
October 3, 2002
Dear President Bush:
You seem very proud of your new security doctrine – the doctrine of attacking every conceivable base of power in the world that could pose a threat to American power and of replacing each one with chaos.
Don’t you realize that this foreign policy has already been tried and failed?
It was tried and failed in 11th-century Scotland.
Macbeth was a medieval Scottish warlord who got his foreign policy advice from an outside think tank called the Weird Sisters, the medieval progenitors of today’s Defense Department analysts Wolfowitz, Perle, and Feith.
I have long been struck by the similarity of your administration’s worldview to that of Macbeth: trying to force the world’s future to adhere to the prognostications of your own sinister fortune-tellers.
As for Macbeth himself, his worldview can be summed up by a remark he made to Lady Macbeth:
"Let the frame of things disjoint, both the worlds suffer, ere we will eat our meal in fear…"
By "both the worlds," Macbeth was referring to the earthly world and the heavenly world of the afterlife. Today, the phrase signifies the underdeveloped world and the developed world of heavenly abundance and freedom.
You are as hell-bent as Macbeth was on fomenting chaos in the first of these worlds, even if it means courting widespread disapproval and possibly much worse in the second.
Wolfowitz, Perle, and Feith believe the West can use smart bombs, special ops, and deals with friendly warlords to protect itself from growing chaos in the developing world.
Their attitude toward global poverty and the global environment is very much like Lady Macbeth’s attitude toward the death of Duncan:
"Things without all remedy should be without regard."
Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, et al. – the brains behind your new national security doctrine –are the same wise men who, in 1981, promised that an Israeli invasion of Lebanon would result in a pro-Western, friendly Phalangist government. By now, it should be obvious that their advice is unreliable, and deliberately unreliable:
"And be these juggling fiends no more believed that palter with us in a double sense, that keep the word of promise to our ear [you’ll get a pro-American Iraqi Karzai in control of Baghdad] and break it to our hope [and chaos everywhere else in the world]."
When Macbeth’s trouble-making advisors said:
"Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn and caldron bubble,"
it wasn’t just a meaningless chant. It was a prediction that pointed forward to the unsustainable patterns of Western-led growth that were put into place after the long-term decline in the rate of return on assets that emerged in the late 1960s. First came the Carter period of inflation-led growth. Then the Reagan period of debt-led growth. Then the Clinton period of bubble-led growth.
You are attempting to promote the second of these growth patterns by military spending, and the third of these by refusing to replace Harvey Pitt as head of the SEC so that your corporate buddies can bull the markets and get a mini-bubble going.
Remain in denial if you will, but sustainable global growth awaits the massive redistribution of wealth from the developed to the developing worlds. It will take a long time for the instrumentalities for this transfer to be put into place. The more protracted the chaos in the developing world, the longer the transition to sustainable global growth. In the meantime, the world is in for a prolonged period of global economic stagnation at best, a steep slide at worst, and then it will be chaos, here, there and everywhere, with the stability of the United States itself by no means guaranteed.
Perhaps you think that by putting an American mandate over the Middle East’s oil reserves, you can buy a temporary measure of global stability: economically, by stabilizing the price of oil; and politically, by imposing an American solution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
If you can’t pull this off, well, it’s all going to go to hell anyway, right?
Then it will be chaos, anarchy, disintegration in the developing world, spreading finally to the developed world as well.
Or as your father put it in a prophetic slip of the tongue:
"America’s freedom is the example to which the rest of the world expires (sic)."
Of course, you have no intention of discussing these bleak global visions publicly. You want quick Congressional decisions and backroom deals within the UN Security Council, because of the
"strange things [you] have in head that will to hand, which must be acted [on] ere they may be scanned."
And if signs of your bleak, Malthusian global vision do appear (as they have in the Pakistani elections and recent events in Bali), then:
"There is not flying hence nor tarrying here…. [So] Blow, wind! Come, wrack! At least we’ll die [disarming Iraq] "
So let the war of civilizations now begin, because (as Ari Fleischer says)
"Our patience with [everything] is wearing thin"..
Lance Feiner, Ph.D.
PS. In the actual Macbeth quote, "disarming Iraq" reads "with harness on our back"