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The foreign policy of Park Avenue

October 13, 2011

Harrisburg, the capital city of Pennsylvania, has a poverty rate of 34% and has just declared bankruptcy.  Located just 62 miles from Reading, the nation’s Poverty Capital, it’s firmly situated within what might be called the Northeast Corridor of Poverty that includes all the main cities from Washington to New York.  I named the entire area “Greater Reading” in a previous post as I think it well captures the dismal poverty stricken conditions of all the northeast cities and indeed all of America.

Amidst this wasteland of poverty though are centers of extraordinary wealth, island-like oases such as Bethesda, MD, mainline Philadelphia, Ridgewood, NJ, the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and Greenwich, CT.  Few locations in the world offer us such a glaring contrast between poverty and wealth as does the northeast United States, providing a tremendous geographic demonstration of the Occupy Wall Street 1/99 dichotomy.  (Although I do argue that a 10/90 or at least a 5/95 split is closer to reality.)

Without continuous and massive street demonstrations, it’s clear the top layer will completely dominate national policy given its control of the media, money, and police.  It’s reasonable then to think of this tiny golden fellowship as comprising its very own city state within the United States, a proverbial city on the hill.  If we put a geographic name to poverty and call it Greater Reading, why not refer to the elite domain as Greater Park Avenue?

This glittering Valhalla doesn’t give two shits for Greater Reading but it does immensely care about foreign policy.  While often thought of as “US policy” or “US national interests” nothing could be further from the truth.  Only the interests of Park Avenue are in play.  And what are those interests?  They’re really only two: 1) expand global markets in order to maximize corporate profits and 2) continuously grow and revel in the ever higher glory and grandeur of great power, Rome being the obvious model.  The Three P’s: profit, power, prestige.  We can see how this foreign policy has played out historically since the end of World War II, from Korea to Vietnam to Latin America and throughout the Middle East.  Millions have died but no group in history has ever risen to greater power.

Today, as Greater Reading rots, we witness as idle spectators the cold logic by which Park Avenue implements the dynamics of the Three P’s in reaction to the rising challenge of Greater Beijing.  We know from listening to Secretary of Defense Panetta’s warrior comments of yesterday that power will not be willingly shared.

Or we can read Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s slightly more elegant presentation in November’s Foreign Policy magazine, grandly entitled “America’s Pacific Century“.  First off, we can see that Greater Reading is utterly insignificant.  Try to find anything to aid US cities here : “And we are focused on the steps we have to take at home — increasing our savings, reforming our financial systems, relying less on borrowing, overcoming partisan division — to secure and sustain our leadership abroad.”  Nothing remotely for Reading and a clear statement on where priorities lie.  It’s a game of conquest and power and since the lands of the United States are already captured, “the future of politics will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be right at the center of the action”.

Profit, power, prestige:  “From opening new markets for American businesses to curbing nuclear proliferation to keeping the sea lanes free for commerce and navigation, our work abroad holds the key to our prosperity and security at home”.  What nonsense!  How can anyone buy into a theory that the key to prosperity in Harrisburg or Reading is in opening sea lanes near China or expanding new markets thousands of miles away?  Is China’s security then dependent on open lanes on Long Island Sound?  “Our economic recovery at home will depend on exports and the ability of American firms to tap into the vast and growing consumer base of Asia.”  Again, sheer nonsense and propaganda to support power.  Common sense, backed by Modern Monetary Theory tells us the US has zero need for exports since it’s able to create the dollar without any help from outside sources.  To claim the US needs to sell goods to foreigners in order to obtain the dollar is preposterous.   We can and should concentrate on “exporting” to ourselves.  Clinton looks longingly at the “consumer base” in Asia but completely ignores the tremendous real demand in Reading.

Military power is the primary weapon underlying Park Avenue’s quest to maintain empire in the Pacific.  According to Clinton, Asia’s very “potential for continued growth in the future depend on the security and stability that has long been guaranteed by the U.S. military, including more than 50,000 American servicemen and servicewomen serving in Japan and South Korea”.   Those who believed the Cold War was a simple battle between the US and USSR have been proved wrong.  It was never about the Soviets; it was an aggressive expansion of global power which continues to this day.  How effortless the transition was from the Soviets to the Middle East and now to China.

Park Avenue is dragging the world into a dangerous new era of brinkmanship.  Imagine its response if China’s rhetoric were similar to this final quote from Clinton, perhaps in an article entitled “China’s Pacific Century“:

(We are) enhancing our presence in Southeast Asia and into the Indian Ocean. For example, the United States will be deploying littoral combat ships to Singapore, and we are examining other ways to increase opportunities for our two militaries to train and operate together. And the United States and Australia agreed this year to explore a greater American military presence in Australia to enhance opportunities for more joint training and exercises. We are also looking at how we can increase our operational access in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean region and deepen our contacts with allies and partners.

We don’t live in a democracy; we live on a chessboard in which a dangerous and bloated oligarchy plays a deadly game of power above us.  The Readings crumble as the entire world is held hostage.  The oligarchs are criminal in every sense of the word but do we have the power to stop them?

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