It is both one of the blessings and curses of modern society that
complexity has bred so many specialists. It is a blessing because
specialists give us the microchip and modern medicine; a curse because
with their microscopic view of the world, our specialists are incapable
of connecting the dots all around them.
This is good news for politicians. It means that — provided the
economy is reasonably-well watered, fertilized, and occasionally pruned
— most constituents will be too busy making and spending money to
notice that their families are decaying, their children despise them,
their liberties have been eroded to make society convenient for their
employers, their taxes are forever
increasing, and their voice in government has become inconsequential.
Granted, it takes a lot of money for politicians to convince some of
us how good the economy is — and how inconsequential are the human pain
and misery caused by our bombs falling on people halfway around the
world — but the money can be had. In fact, the cycle is
self-sustaining: a political perpetual-motion machine of greed, power,
corruption, and complicity.
Here’s how it works:
Let’s say that Politician A is elected into office. He immediately
sets about repaying his huge political debts by loosening trade
restrictions on high-tech equipment, resulting in a windfall for
companies that were previously unable to sell their wares to restricted
nations. The companies — X, Y, and Z — in a display of gratitude make
political contributions sufficient to cover their new benefactor’s
campaign debts. Their profits increase, their stock rises, they hire
more employees, executives get bonuses, and the economy booms.
But Politician A knows that nothing lasts forever. He quickly sets
about accumulating enough money to bribe — er, buy commercials from —
the major media companies during the next
election cycle. These companies, selling as they do the free gift of the
public’s airwaves, anticipate a windfall of advertising revenues during
the next election cycle. Life is good, the limos are rolling, and the
DOW is rising. Better tell the people on the evening newscasts.
Since Politician A has already loosened technology transfer
regulations to the point where they are sagging embarrassingly below the
national security beltline, and since Congress has
constrained public spending, he realizes that he has a problem. But
that’s why he was elected: because he was smart.
Politician A has a problem, but he’s not worried. No Republican
Congress in its right mind would prohibit money for defense! And what
about the atrocities that are being committed right over there, in
Europe’s backyard. “Why, if you guys don’t do something about that, then
I’m going to!” he warns on the evening news.
“All aboard! Next stop, Yugoslavia!”
Many commentators have questioned why NATO has bombed so many
civilian targets during this illegal and undeclared war. The answer is
not that tough. The world — and especially the U.S. — has no interest
in rebuilding Serbian military bases. But civilian targets must be
rebuilt. Which means somebody has to rebuild them. And somebody else has
to pay for them. (That’s where you and I come in.)
Such a strategy must be done cautiously, of course. A Republican
Congress might become upset if it knew that it were funding Hillary
Clinton and Al Gore’s 2000 election coffers. But if done
So while Politician A begins targeting civilian roads, power
generation facilities, and telecommunications infrastructure, cautious
inquiries are made via “family” interests to companies whose business it
is to rebuild such infrastructure. There could be terrible damage. A lot
of work will have to be done. There will be international, U.S.-backed
profits, more employees needed, and a rising stock market. Oh, did I
mention the campaign contributions?
Do you think I’m joking? Congress can end this war tomorrow. All they
have to do is pass legislation prohibiting any American firm from
participating in the rebuilding of Yugoslavia for the next five years.
The companies will have to eat the campaign contributions they’ve
already made to Bill and Hillary’s political machine — but they’ll get
There’s nothing new about this scenario, and history, particularly
when it’s successful, often repeats itself. Let’s look at another
incident, which happened just before the last presidential
election cycle. Commerce Secretary Ron Brown was the walking, talking
point-man for this scheme. It was during an earlier phase of the
Yugoslavian civil war three years ago when Secretary Brown’s plane made
its final — and permanent — descent into Bosnia (Yugoslavia). In
addition to the United States Commerce Secretary and a crew, that plane
carried 34 executives from America’s most powerful companies. The most
frequently asked question was, “Why did Ron Brown’s plane go down?” The
more important question was, “Why were these particular American
executives chosen to be on an airplane traveling to war-torn Yugoslavia
with the American commerce secretary?”
This report, from Conservative Consensus (May 27, 1994), quoting the
London Times, may help today’s specialists connect some of the dots:
“France has disguised 14 businessmen as U.N. soldiers and is seeking
contracts for Sarajevo reconstruction. Munever Imamovic, Bosnian
minister for reconstruction, said, “I thought at the time they were a
These French businessmen weren’t there for humanitarian relief
efforts — unless you consider retaining their titles and inflated
paychecks “humanitarian.” And neither were the 34 executives that
traveled with Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. How did the United States
Commerce Secretary select the businessmen who would fly with him to
Bosnia? On June 2, 1995 Conservative Consensus reported:
- A court ordered the Commerce Department to release papers
regarding businessmen selected for Ron Brown’s trade trips. Disgraced
Congressman Tony Coehlo intervened to get
investment banker James Harmon on one trip. Mark Gearan, the White House
communications director, cited “past political efforts” in another. And
a $100,000 Democratic donor got this
mention: “Guess what?!,” Commerce official Gail Dobert scribbled in a
handwritten fax, “Another Finance-related gentleman is in the trip in a
less-than-official-delegation member status.” … The day the papers
were released, the Justice Department asked a court to appoint a special
prosecutor, to investigate Mr. Brown’s personal finances.
That investigation died a week after Ron Brown did. What did Ron
Brown’s “participating partners” get for their campaign contributions?
On May 10, 1997 Conservative Consensus, quoting Reuters, reported,
- U.S. businesses that contributed $2.3 million to the Democratic
Party received nearly $5.5 billion in federal aid to support foreign
operations. Some 27 companies sent executives with the late Ron Brown,
then Commerce Secretary. Guarantees were made through the Overseas
Private Investment Corp. (OPIC), a governmentally guaranteed
organization. Mr. Brown died under mysterious circumstances along with
34 others on a trade mission to Bosnia.
That figure, even at a 24-1 return on investment, is peanuts compared
to the reconstruction price tag that will accompany a peace settlement
— provided there is one — in this phase of the Yugoslavian civil war.
The Republican Congress is either riding the same gravy train, or they
are less than two years from extinction. Bombs away.