Notes Book

Nixon Redux?

The Bush Regime seems to have a lot of parallels with the Nixon Regime. These are secrecy, arrogance, and an almost unshakeable belief in the stupidity of those outside the regime. Maybe no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the public, but it seems that Nixon had to resign because he underestimated the intelligence of both the congress and the public.

The constitution requires “high crimes and misdemeanors” for impeachment. Practically speaking, a president gets impeached when enough people get mad at him. Because of the secrecy practiced by all administrations, we mostly can't know what the President is actually doing. It is not possible to rise to the top of the most powerful criminal organization in the world without making some really hard choices. The US government loudly proclaims itself the most powerful organization in the world, and goes light on bragging about its criminal tendencies, but it openly admits that it's main source of revenue is extortion in the form of taxation.

Actually, impeachment is a matter of a falling out among thieves. Politicians would like to be unified in fleecing the public so that they can get about their larceny quietly and profitably, but the greater the prize, the greater the chance of strife over division of the spoils. Internal strife and civil war are greater threats to empires than barbarians at the border.

A belligerent leader may be popular with his conservative base, but he is likely to be extremely unpopular with the world at large. And the society he represents is likely to become unpopular with the world at large. Militarists see the world in military terms, and fail to realize that economics is far more deadly than military force. As the old saying goes, amateurs argue strategy and tactics, but professionals argue logistics, and logistics is really only another name for economics.

As the old saying goes, an army travels on its stomach. This is really only another way of saying that armies are an integrated part of their societies, and an strong army in a weak society looses the war. The idea that an armies can fight without involving civilians is a dangerous illusion--an illusion that severely limits options and hobbles thinking in times of conflict.

We see the threat of various armed attacks on “our” forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it is the tip of the iceberg. As the popularity of the US wanes, the foreign support personnel in over 700 US military bases around the world will be providing less support and demanding more money. Military personnel living around those bases will find themselves less welcome and will have to spend more to achieve the same level of comfort. US tourist will be less welcome and US businesses will find more regulatory barriers and fewer willing consumers. More military actions will only make these problems worse. That is why empires fail. If MacDonald's and Pepsi lose their popularity and their profitability, that has as much negative impact on our military strength as losing battles.

Nixon got re-elected by an impressive margin, but there were scandals percolating that eventually brought him down. Of course there are always scandals in any government but breadth and depth of the associated investigations vary according to the intensity and number of the governments' political enemies.

As technology and communications improve, keeping secrets is more and more difficult. It is hard to believe that the Bush administration would require so much secrecy unless it had something to hide, and it seems probable that as time goes on more and more of what the Bushies are hiding will become public knowledge.

If Bush keeps pursuing policies that benefit the few at the expense of the many, the many will eventually realize what he is actually doing, and they are likely to be quite irritated when they do. If he can keep that from happening before he leaves office, he will be able to keep his pension.

From the standpoint of an anarchist who is opposed to government on principle, it might be better if Bush stayed in office. He is doing an outstanding job of discrediting the very idea of government.