Professor Roland Simbulan’s Reply to questions by Mr.Marc Jayson Cayabyab, Philippine Collegian feature staffer, Jan. 23, 2009:
Mr. Cayabyab: SCHOLARS SPEAK OF THE U.S. TACTIC OF WAGING WARS AS A WAY TO SOLVE ECONOMIC CRISIS, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT HISTORICAL EVENTS SUCH AS THE WORLD WAR II AFTER THE GREAT DEPRESSION, AND THE COLD WAR AFTER THE RECESSION. HOW EXACTLY DOES A ‘WAR ECONOMY’HELP IN AN ECONOMIC CRISIS?
Prof. Simbulan: We cannot make this statement into a mechanical proposition, because it would be absurd. The wars that have overstretched the U.S. empire have in fact led led in no small way to the present crisis. Usually, we can say that the big business of armaments/weapons industry have benefitted from wars, but not necessarily to resolve the economic crisis besetting the working people. Only the coterie of the elite tycoons have really benefitted. In the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, it is estimated in recent book by the Nobel Prize economist Stiglitz that the U.S. government has spent $ 1 trillion for these wars so far since 2002. That’s a lot of drain from the U.S. budget, which now needs to be rechanneled to assist the ailing corporations in the American homefront.
Mr. Cayabyab: WILL THIS TACTIC ALSO BE DONE BY OBAMA, CONSIDERING HIS MOVE TO WAGE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN IN THE FACE OF A NEW ECONOMIC CRISIS?
Prof. Simbulan: The Afghanistan war to seek out the real perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks is really a low-intensity war, not requiring large conventional forces, but elite unconventional forces for surgical operations. You don’t need planes or missiles for this which may only victimize civilians. They key is good intelligence, both technical and human, so that it shouldnt be very expensive nor demanding large forces. Again, it’s absurd to use this war to solve an economic crisis.
Mr. Cayabyab: DO YOU THINK OBAMA MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN AFGHANISTAN’S STRATEGIC LOCATION (THAT IS THE SHORTEST ROUTE TO THE PERSIAN GULF FROM THE OIL RESOURCES OF TURKMENISTAN AND UZBEKISTAN THROUGH PIPELINE PROJECTS? WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE HIS INTERESTS IN THE REGION?
Prof. Simbulan: Afghanistan, is naturally located at the centerpoint in what are considered to be new U.S. allies from the former Soviet Union which have indeed rich economic resources especially oil. But more important are the setting up of additional U.S. military bases in Afghanistan for the projection of U.S. military power in central Asia. There are converging U.S. security and economic interests here.
Mr. Cayabyab: CONSIDERING OBAMA’S OVE TO WAGE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN FOR U.S. PRESENCE IN THE REGION, DO YOU THINK OBAMA’S GLOBAL “DIPLOMATIC” POLICIES WILL BE IN A WAY, SIMILAR TO BUSH’S?
Prof. Simbulan: Unlike former U.S. Presidents, Obama comes in fresh and does not yet have vested interests since he is a neophyte politician. He has no deep linkages with the Israeli lobby, the arms lobby lobby or the oil industry lobby. The American people elected him because of a clear platform that is anti-war, and an international perspective that will depend more on diplomacy and alliance building and consensus, as against dependence on the military and coercion (as Bush did). This is where their approach differs greatly, though the objective is the same: to keep the superiority of the United States as an economic, political and military empire, including being the superior in softpower( cultural, ideological, etc.) __________________________________________________________________.
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip on Jan 2nd 2009