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Dr. Paul Craig Roberts pulled no punches at the first session of the Trends Research Institute’s Peace and Prosperity Conference Sept. 18.
Unless we find a way to wage peace, he said, the country will continue on its path toward a war that could culminate in nuclear Armageddon.
Roberts, a former assistant secretary of the treasury in the Reagan administration and a contributing editor to Gerald Celente’s Trends Journal, provided both an insider’s view of recent American history and a troubling analysis of why the country has to stop its relentless reliance on war as the solution for every economic, social and political crisis.
Roberts began by quoting Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz’s estimate of the economic costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — between $6 trillion and $8 trillion.
Then he listed the additional, incalculable costs of those wars in non-financial terms, what he called “the costs for others." This includes the millions killed and injured, and the displaced victims of war who, even as he spoke, were flooding European borders and nations destroyed by American invaders.
“What’s going on?” he asked rhetorically.
The continued legacy of the neoconservative doctrine developed by Paul Wolfowitz and carried out today by such “liberals” as Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power is at the root of this perpetual war-making, he said.
In his capacity as assistant secretary of the treasury under Reagan, Roberts witnessed the neoconservative influences that came into their fullest and darkest flower under the administration of George W. Bush.
By then, in post-9/11 America, the neocons were running the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon.
“They were running the government,” Roberts said.
The Wolfowitz Doctrine, he said, was predicated on an idea first articulated by Francis Fukuyama in his book “The End of History.”
Fukuyama contended that “history didn’t choose the working class; it chose American capitalism.”
“It was a declaration of American hegemony over the Western world,” Roberts said.
And in the hands of the increasingly influential neocons in the second Bush administration, “the principal purpose of American military and foreign policy was to prevent the rise of any country that acted in constraint of Washington’s will.”
That meant intervening in, invading and ultimately destroying countries such as Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria, in conjunction with European “vassal states” such as France, Germany, Italy and Japan — which have become increasingly reliant on American dollars since the end of World War II.
As if that weren’t enough, the second George W. Bush administration withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. The impact: Nuclear weapons could now be wielded as a “first-strike, pre-emptive force," he said.
Such recklessness, Roberts said, can only lead to the increased possibility of nuclear war, since neither Russia nor China will ever allow themselves to become vassal states.
“Armageddon could be at hand,” he said.“This is chilling. People should be scared to death.”
Today, he said, America’s vassal states are suffering the results of the ongoing neocon influence by having their borders flooded with migrants and refugees fleeing countries whose governments and infrastructures have been destroyed by wars in which they’ve been complicit.
The crisis, Roberts said, could contain a silver lining if it puts such a tremendous burden on the vassal states that one of them would break from the European Union — a move that could also lead to the unraveling of NATO, which provides political cover for ensuring American hegemony across the world.
Roberts held out hope that change would be possible if an “outside” movement such as Occupy Peace could become “really big” nationally.
“Then everything would change.”