Slicing Up The Pie: Grand Area Planning

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Slicing up the Pie: Grand Area Planning

The idea that our empire was somehow thrust upon us by the graces of God is a fairly well established American Myth. You can often hear a talking head on TV informing us that we didn't want an empire, but somebody had to help out, right? Jesus said the meek shall inherit the earth. I guess what he meant to say, "The country that develops nuclear weapons first will inherit the earth."

Our empire didn't fall out of the sky. God didn't give it to us. Jesus didn't send it as a forget me not. When asked by what right he took Panama, Teddy Roosevelt said, "I took it." Honest words of a thief. And essentially that is how we acquired our empire. We took it.

During World War II it was clear to American planners that we would emerge in a position of enormous power, and they went to great lengths to plan the post war period. According to Noam Chomsky:

From 1939 to 1945, extensive studies were conducted by the Council on Foreign Relations and the State Department. One group was called the War-Peace Studies Group, which met for six years and produced extensive geopolitical analyses and plans. The Council on Foreign Relations is essentially the business input to foreign policy plainning. These groups also involved every top planner in the State Department, with the exception of the Secretary of State.

This is equivelant to the scene in the Godfather where Hyman Roth is celebrating his birthday. His cake is a map of Cuba. As he slices up the cake of Cuba, the mobsters are also busy slicing up the real Cuba, all of them intent on benefitting from the spoiled island under the U.S. loved Batista regime. That's exactly what these plans were. We were slicing up the world. Cuba's small potatoes.

The world was ours. Cheap labor. Nearly limitless resources. And power like the world had never seen. The U.S. dollar would be pegged to gold, giving it real value; while the rest of the world's currency would be pegged relative to the dollar. Ah, what a joyful game. The defacto currency–one we can print at will–was and is the U.S. dollar. You'd have to be pretty naive to think this just sort of happened. According to Chomsky:

The conception that they developed is what they called "Grand Area" planning. The Grand Area was a region that was to be subordinated to the needs of the American economy. As one planner put it, it was to be the region that is "strategically necessary for world control." The geopolitical analysis held that the Grand Area had to include at least the Western Hemisphere, the Far East, and the former British Empire, which we were then in the process of dismantling and taking over ourselves. This is what is called "anti-imperialism" in American scholariship. The Grand Area was also to include western and southern Europe and the oil-producing regions of the Middle East; in fact, it was to include everything, if that were possible. Detailed plans were laid for particular regions of the Grand Area and also for international institutions that were to organize and police it, essentially in the interests of this subordination to U.S. domestic needs.

You remember learning about anti-imperialism in your twelfth grade history class. That was when we went around rooting out the old European empires and freeing the people of the world, right? Not really. The Europeans simply couldn't maintain their old empires anymore. The Brittish, for example, simply didn't have the troops anymore. Meanwhile nationlist movements were springing up all over the place. We went around making sure those movements wouldn't be succesful. Cuba remains the lone survivor, a thorn in our side. By what right did we acquire our forieng military bases? In the words of an honest thief: "We took them."


  The insatiable Empire  
I have been enjoying the back and forth regarding our Empire. In my last post on empire, Slicing up the Pie , Neil accused me of focusing only on the negative aspects of our foreign policy while ignoring the beneficial.
posted by Buddhagem @ 1:00 AM

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Published in: on April 19, 2006 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

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