By Ray Ja,
OVER the past several days, a rogues gallery of so-called human rights defenders, experts, analysts, stooges, saviors, intelligentsia, and compradors have inundated us with bleak, sensationalist, and politically-driven reports on Eritrea at variance with the facts. In previous articles, I discussed Empire’s obsession with “pinning down Eritrea.” How or why does a country like Eritrea – low-income, developing, African – merit such attention?
There are straightforward principles and dynamics at work here. Empire seeks to eliminate Eritrea because the country remains independent of Empire’s designs for the continent, refuses to prostrate itself before foreign, imperialist agendas, and because Eritrea firmly and unconditionally believes that the primary beneficiaries of the country’s resources must be Eritreans – not foreign multinational corporations (a la Chomsky’s radical nationalism).
Yet, what are Empire’s strategies? How does the behemoth work? For those willing to open their eyes, things are clear. While forceful, direct military engagements are always an option, Empire has also learned (through the experience of quagmires and setbacks) that vastly superior military capabilities do not always guarantee victory. Some conflicts are not strictly military-based, but instead reflect a conflict of politics and ideology. In such instances, Empire pores over its vast arsenal and employs low-intensity conflict. Simply, Eritrea does not represent a military threat to Empire, but an ideological one based on self-reliance, radical nationalism, independent policy, and the notion that Africans can do. Accordingly, Empire’s strategy for Eritrea isn’t outright physical destruction (although that is always an option), but rather isolation, demoralization, and delegitimation.
Empire’s ultimate goal is to absolutely and wholly destroy any semblance of credibility for any political or ideological alternative. When a mafia don makes his neighborhood rounds and collects his payments, he also makes it a point to show everyone that payment is the only option.
Low-intensity warfare is multi-faceted. Empire furnishes massive military aid to its allies (i.e. junior partners, regional lapdogs, yes men, stooges, and “anchor states”), and at the same time seeks the material and economic strangulation of enemies. Sanctions, embargoes, and bloqueos function as a noose. Why? For Empire, economic crises and breakdowns destabilize the “threat” and, with luck, lead to its collapse. As an added bonus, economic destruction illustrates to all observers that alternatives to Empire are doomed to fail. Empire doesn’t play by the rules. It doesn’t even play the game. It owns the game.
Empire’s low-intensity warfare also seeps into the political realm. It works in a variety of ways to isolate those deemed to be a threat. Like quarantining an Ebola patient, rogues, pariahs, and recalcitrants must be isolated… lest they spread the dangerous virus and spark an uncontrollable outbreak.
Empire points (often with its own hands and fingers soaked in blood) at alleged human rights abuses or other perceived transgressions by its enemies, condemning them to the fringes of “the international community”. Cuba. Nicaragua. Iran. Syria. Iraq. Nasser’s Egypt. North Korea. Russia. Zimbabwe. Venezuela. Bolivia. Ecuador.
In addition, Empire exerts intense diplomatic pressure on others to stop cooperation or political support for those it deems a threat. What? You forgot how Empire flexed its muscles and pressured Costa Rica, Mexico, France, West Germany, Spain, Austria, Italy, and Scandinavia from supporting “bad boy” Nicaragua in the 1980s? Or how, since 1960, Empire has attempted to dissuade the entire world from engaging with Cuba?
Rounding off Empire’s low-intensity warfare strategy is psychological and ideological propagandizing. For Empire, “the human being has his most critical point in his mind. Once his mind has been reached, the political animal has been defeated, without necessarily receiving bullets.” That is why Empire’s corporate media outlets churn out sensationalism and feed us mindless drivel, not context, truth, or rational analysis. Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four describes “doublethink” – the act of holding, simultaneously, two opposite, individually exclusive ideas or opinions and believing in both simultaneously and absolutely. Empire’s media doesn’t care about truth, and if you’re not careful, war becomes peace, freedom becomes slavery, and ignorance becomes strength.
Likewise, during his visit to the Oxford Union in the 1960s, Malcolm X exposed Empire: “the powers that be use the press to give the devil an angelic image and give the image of the devil to the one who’s really angelic…[or] they’ll take a person who is a victim of the crime and make it appear he’s the criminal, and they’ll take the criminal and make it appear that he’s the victim of the crime.” Again, Empire’s media doesn’t care about truth or rationality. Its focus is wearing down its enemy mentally and emotionally through anxiety, intimidation, sensationalism, and distortion.
Empire’s media will tell you Nasser was a mad dog, followed by dozens of specials on Obama’s pet dog, Bo. Empire’s media concludes that Eritrea is the most censored country, even though the country doesn’t block or censor any television or internet sites, and while Empire itself runs a national surveillance state that monitors all calls, emails, texts, etc.
Empire’s media leads to South Africans attacking fellow Africans, instead of challenging the systemic cause of poverty – a system that sees a small, wealthy minority still possess the bulk of South Africa’s immense national wealth.
Empire’s media will tell you that Hillary Clinton is a champion of women’s issues, overlooking the countless Afghan, Iraqi, Syrian, Palestinian, and Libyan women and girls slaughtered in the carnage of conflicts Clinton has supported. Or, Empire’s media will shamelessly describe Empire’s own invasions, killing of millions, destruction of countries, and promotion of regional sectarian conflicts as stabilization and humanitarian intervention. If you’re not careful, Empire’s media will have you that believe that you’re not an Afri-can…but an Afri-can’t.
Does low-intensity conflict strategy work? Yes, it can and does. Study Vietnam or explore the history of Central America in the 1980s. The mafia don’s calling card makes for impressive viewing. Millions dead. Millions of refugees. And the utter destruction of dozens of economies. Yet, Empire’s success isn’t inevitable or guaranteed. Look at how Latin America finally broke free of Empire’s shackles, after 500 years of domination, indignity, oppression, and living on its knees. Yes, yes. Another world is possible … but it doesn’t come easy.