It is a misnomer to call it racism because the entire concept of race is a myth. Some may point to the slaughter and mayhem this myth has left in its wake as proof of its reality, but the sad truth is that myths of all sorts are always deadlier than reality. Just look at the brutality religious wars create.
Rather what we are seeing in the Beltway’s justification for the Afghan enterprise is a cultural hubris carried to the point of madness. It is the assumption that western, liberal democracy is the acme of social evolution and that its practitioners have a moral obligation to spread it to the far corners of the earth. (One wonders just how civilized the West is, given the millions killed in our wars and our death camps. However, if a culture believes itself on the side of “right” it can do no evil.
A corollary of this hubris is that all other cultures are mired in barbarity, superstition and ignorance, and it is the West’s duty to lift them out of this swamp. And we do this by converting savages into middleclass suits who talk like us and think like us, after we’ve bombed them into submission.
Consequently, we believe that everything outside of our cultural gated community constitutes a threat that must be neutralized.
In his West Point speech, Obama personified this mindset when he said, “This struggle against violent extremism will not be finished quickly, and it extends well beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan. Our efforts will involve disorderly regions and diffuse enemies.” “Violent extremism” is code for insurgent nationalism, a no-no for the West because it represents a rejection of our utopian mindset. (Only a died-in-the-wool cynic would suggest that the real reason for our Eternal War of the Empty Policy to justify our militarized corporate state.)
According to Mike Whitney, Obama’s remark was inspired by a report by Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) who said:
He [Obama] must make it clear that the ideological, demographic, governance, economic and other pressures that divide the Islamic world mean the world will face threats in many other nations that will endure indefinitely into the future. He should mention the risks in Yemen and Somalia, make it clear that the Iraq war is not over, and warn that we still face both a domestic threat and a combination of insurgency and terrorism that will continue to extend from Morocco to the Philippines, and from Central Asia deep into Africa, regardless of how well we do in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
That’s the trouble with a gated community; the very presence of a gate makes you feel threatened regardless of whether or not the threats are real. The first law of a militarized corporate state is that if there are no real threats out there, we’ve got to make some up. We need a worldwide conspiracy where none exists; we need phantoms and ghosts, monsters hiding in the closet, rabid natives, frothing fanatics and lots of off-white flesh begging for a benevolent blow from our velvet fist.
In his speech, Obama did more than escalate the Afghan war. He deftly replaced a moribund Communism with Islam as the new justification for a new Cold War. Only this one will be religious, which will make it even dicier.