Most Americans hold these truths to be self-evident: Torture is wrong; attacking another country that hasn’t attacked you is wrong; occupying another country with your army and imposing your will on its people is wrong. These policies are not only immoral. They are illegal.
Blowback is a term invented by the Central Intelligence Agency to describe the unintended consequences of policies kept secret from the American people. Originally intended for internal use only, blowback today increasingly characterizes global reaction to American policies in and out of the Middle East.
A leaked document from the Pentagon at the beginning of the new year seemed to mark a milestone. For years, the budget planners have simply added money for new weapons, and more money for actual wars, to spending for all the Cold-War-era systems already in the pipeline. The document seemed to signal that the Pentagon was finally acknowledging the need to make choices. It laid out an array of cuts that would slow the recent surge in military spending.
Despite an increase in promised aid to tsunami-affected countries last week, the United States’ aid offering still isn’t topping the list. Australia, for one, has donated much more. But the United States could make up for its somewhat meager offering by forgiving debt payments for tsunami countries. A temporary moratorium on payments won’t be enough. It’s time to go farther-much farther-and end debt obligations for tsunami countries in Southeast Asia. Trouble is, we probably won’t, says foreign policy analyst Mark Engler. As we reach out to those struggling to recover from a natural disaster, our country has an important opportunity to address one of the core issues contributing to the impoverishment of the tsunami-stricken nations: the huge foreign debts that rob their governments of money to provide for human needs.
On February 3, the administration of President George W. Bush released its budget request for fiscal year 2004 (FY’04). As part of this request, the Pentagon is seeking $399.1 billion, $379.9 billion for the Defense Department and $19.3 billion for the nuclear weapons functions of the Department of Energy. The total figure is $16.9 billion above current levels, an increase of 4.4%.
The objective of this discussion paper is to examine in broad terms the emergence of a transnational citizen movement opposed to the current forms of global economic governance, while providing sketches of main analytical tendencies within this diverse movement. Although largely a backlash movement—one that mobilizes against the negative manifestations of economic globalization and the associated role of the institutions of global economic governance—the main theorists and organizers have in the past several years taken tentative steps toward formulating alternative paths for the global economy and its governance.
Let us take as a starting point that the broadly consensual strategy and basis for self-activity in what we can term Global Justice Movements is the following: to promote the globalization of people and halt (or at minimum radically modify) the globalization of capital. But this strategy conflicts with the objectives of at least four other tendencies that also appear to have solidified in recent years. Since the full-blown emergence of an international financial crisis around mid-1997, the world has witnessed a revival of Third World Nationalism, a Post-Washington Consensus reform option, obstinacy on the part of Washington Consensus powerbrokers, and a formidable Rightwing Resurgence.