Mohsen Abdelmoumen: How do you explain the long history of US interventionism? What is your analysis?
Dr. Gary Brumback: “Interventionism” is a very appropriate term. It covers a lot of territory, and that is exactly what America has been doing even before she became a nation 240 years ago. The US is a habitual interventionist. Domestically it is in the form of fascism, or a police state, that treads on human rights. Internationally, it is in the form of militaristic imperialism. In either form the intervention is always exploitative of the weak and powerless, often violent, destructive, and deadly (countless millions of people in many lands have been killed directly and indirectly by US overt and covert wars).
The roots of US interventionism can be traced to the American Revolution and its antecedents (e.g., importing slaves from Africa). The plutocrats who were soon to be enthroned as our “founding fathers” wanted to replace the rule by King George and his own corpocracy (e.g., his East Indies Corporation) with their own home-grown version of American corpocracy, which I refer to as the Devil’s marriage between powerful corporations and government that quickly became corrupted by, indebted to and thus controlled by corporate America.
Those “founding fathers” by the way, rather than being idolized should be condemned instead. An objective review of history reveals them to be “greedy, hypocritical elites who—set out to put in place a government that would ‘weaken the many and empower the few’” (quote is from a New Yorker review of the book, American Revolution by Alan Taylor). Precisely! That government started out and has always been for corporate America, not for the people. Moreover, America’s corpocracy should be regarded as “public enemy number one,” enemy of the American people and of the world (world opinion sees the US as the greatest threat to world peace).
There undoubtedly would never be any US interventionism, at least the unfriendly, violent kind, therefore, without the corpocracy and its five elements; the power elite, the courtiers and ideologues, the functionaries, and active accomplices. Inactive accomplices are another element, but outside the corpocracy.
The population of the power elite is infinitesimally small compared to the total US population. The power elite comprises leaders of most industries (especially defense/war and related industries) and their major trade associations, major financial institutions (behind every war is a bankster); leaders of mainstream media corporations; the US President and chairs of war related Congressional committees; military leaders, and key members of the shadow government (e.g. the CIA); and the US Supreme Court—yes, even the latter is a pawn of corporate America.
The courtiers and ideologues are influential advisors and zealous boosters such as The Defense Policy Board, the Brookings Institute, and the National Endowment for Democracy that recently called for the US to oust Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
The functionaries are the millions of people in government and industry who carry out the everyday dirty business of interventionism, including continuous overt and covert war activities.
Active accomplices are individuals, organizations or groups that give assistance to war-related activities. They give intentional (rarely acknowledge) assistance in some form or another. They include investors in corporate America; most nongovernmental organizations that feed off of government and corporate funding; the “behavior shapers” (e.g., hawkish think tanks; hawkish religious leaders; educators; PR firms; journalists); certain professions, especially the legal profession; and many physical and social sciences (e.g., the recent active support by the leadership of the American Psychological Association in the torturing of Guantanamo prisoners).
Inactive accomplices are the “innocent” or silent bystanders” of America who never in any meaningful way speak out against or actively protest the corpocracy, especially its war making. During my career, I am ashamed to say, I was basically part of this element, keeping my protests mostly muted.
My answer so far does not really explain the behavior of the people inside the corpocracy. Why, for instance, do real people of the power elite do what they do? Long ago I developed a non mathematical equation to explain human behavior. Filling in both sides of the equation explains the corpocracy’s members’ behavior very well. I will illustrate its use in answering the third question.
Are the United States a State or is it a war machine controlled by the military-industrial complex?
The US is a corpocracy controlled mostly by corporate America, not its government lackey. The military-industrial complex is a major part of the corpocracy when it comes to rattling sabers and conducting overt and covert wars.
What good is a president in the United States if the real decision-maker is the military-industrial complex?
All but two presidents in the history of the US have been “warriors-in-chiefs” (the two died shortly after entering office). None of them has been a “solo” decision maker, and some more than others have been more acquiescent to the rest of the power elite. President Obama, for instance, is considered by some observers to be the ”biggest puppet” of all presidents. JFK was probably the least acquiescent as he learned more about the machinations of his shadow government, and that revelation and his defiance of the CIA cost him his life (there is for me convincing evidence that he was assassinated according to a CIA scheme cooked up by CIA Director Allen Dulles and others).
In my book, America’s Oldest Professions: Warring and Spying, I examine the human equations of the two most recent warriors-in-chiefs, Bush and Obama. The right side of that equation has two parts, behavior and its consequences. We know all too well the details about their behavior, including their decisions and their consequences. Let’s turn briefly to the two inputs on the equation’s left side, the person and the person’s situations, and list them for President Obama, starting with Obama the person. The abundant evidence to back up the list is cited in my book.
Obama the person: a) male, as have been all of his predecessors, and males tend to be the more domineering and aggressive gender; b) his background; Obama’s parents were allegedly on the CIA payroll, and that agency reportedly “financed his college education and gave him his first job afterwards, and once in the Oval Office is quoted as having said the “CIA gets whatever it wants;” and c) his personality; ambitious; morally unprincipled; narcissistic; psychopathic (an attribute found in all US presidents); close-minded; his belief that America is an exceptional country; and egotistical.
Obama’s situation: a) his seductive position as President; b) the enormous, weighty size of government; c) its hierarchical organizational structure that makes ignoble decisions easier; d) its pathological organizational culture and that of society at large (e.g., male domineering, jingoistic patriotism) e) upside-down incentives (e.g., he’s rewarded rather than being prosecuted for his drone bombings); f) best or worst of times (he can use either to help justify what he does); g) global enticements (e.g., all that oil to be seized); and finally h) the corpocracy that engulfs and pressures him.
It is clearly and abundantly obvious from the two lists that Obama, like all human beings, is not solely responsible for what he does. One of my sayings is that “it takes two to wrong do” (i.e., the two categories of inputs). But not being solely responsible should not immunize him, or any other human being, from being accountable for wrong doing of any kind.
You constantly pull the alarm bell in your writings, for example in your book The Devil’s Marriage: Break Up the Corpocracy or Leave Democracy in the Lurch where you do a damning conclusion. Don’t we live the total bankruptcy of the capitalist system and its highest stage imperialism and what is in your opinion the real alternative to this moribund system?
Actually, I wrote my most “damming conclusions” in a chapter entitled “America’s Future: Brighter or Bleaker” for my follow up book, America’s Oldest Professions. After listing over 30 “sadtistics” depicting what the corpocracy has inflicted on humanity domestically and internationally over the years (e.g., spiraling poverty, unemployment, endless wars and other destructive and deadly interventions), I describe five possible future scenarios for America if the corpocracy continues its ruinous path: 1) a failed state and beyond; 2) armed revolution (which I never have endorsed because our militarized police and army would pulverize it and because violence is never a viable or morally right alternative); 3) escalating blowbacks from enemies the US has created; 4) global calamities of one form or another such as climate catastrophe, and finally 5) and I do mean “finally,” Armageddon. The five are not necessarily mutually exclusive or sequential.
I have written copiously concerning your question about our living in a capitalistic system and what I see as a viable alternative. In the Devil’s Marriage, for example, I propose in considerable detail an alternative form of capitalism that I refer to as “socially responsible capitalism.” The putative “father” of capitalism, Adam Smith, was a moral philosopher who would have recoiled at the very idea of the corpocracy and its capitalism, for he thought the emerging corporations of his time posed threats emanating from their unlimited life span; unlimited size; unlimited power; and unlimited license. The right kind of capitalism would be far better than a state controlled economy, or socialism.
You say in your writings that the United States is a fascist state. Is there currently a Government in the West that can claim to be democratic? Is it not rather a plutocracy that governs the United States and their Western allies?
There are indeed some Western countries that are democratic, not corpocratic. Iceland and the Scandinavian countries would certainly qualify. My family and I recently visited Iceland, for instance, and I was so impressed that I wrote an article published in several venues entitled, “Iceland, an Exemplary Nation in a Troubled World.” I compared the virtues of Iceland to the vices of America (see, e.g., Dissident Voice, August 19; OpEdNews, August 20; The Greanville Post, August 24; or Uncommon Thought Journal, August 24, 2016). In her marvelous book The Real Wealth of Nations that I relied on extensively in writing The Devil’s Marriage, Riane Eisler writes about the high quality of life in the “Nordic Nations.”
My answer to the second part of your second question is that the plutocracy you mention basically defines America’s corpocracy.
How do you explain the very low level of the debates between the candidates Trump and Clinton to the election of the presidency of United States? Doesn’t we attend to a reality TV of which the main actor is Hillary Clinton?
My answer to the first part of your question is that the “low level of the debates” is entirely expected because of the low level of the candidates. As for the second part, reality TV does indeed play into the hands of “Killery.”
Why in your opinion the neocons and various powerful lobbies such as AIPAC and the military-industrial complex do they want at all costs to see Hillary Clinton in the White House when she has health problems and even mental health problems ?
They want Killery because she caters to them, whatever her health condition may be.
Why Western policymakers continue to regard Russia as an enemy?
The corpocracy, especially its military-industrial complex, needs enemies in order to profit and grow. Russia, which actually defeated Hitler, not the US, has been the US foil since the end of WWII. Truman dropped the atomic bombs on Japan to scare Russia. Think about that for a moment. The only head of state to ever drop nuclear bombs on populated areas was a US president, and it was totally unnecessary. Japan would have surrounded without Truman’s nihilistic act and he knew it.
How do you explain the uniformity of mainstream media, their conformism and submission to the empire? This can it be explained only by the influence of money on the media?
The mainstream media are firstly the mouth piece of their owners, a hand full of big corporations, and secondly of government propaganda. That perfectly explains why mainstream media dupe the general public daily.
Do you think the alternative media are an asset in the fight against the Empire?
Yes, but it is a limited asset. They give objective reports and analyses, but they don’t as far as I know, try to instigate initiatives to end the endless imperialistic interventionism.
In front of the ultra liberal offensive, how do you explain the lack of a serious response of the progressive movements worldwide?
I don’t know what an ultra liberal offensive is. Political labels don’t have any consistent and clear meaning. As for progressive movements, there has never been a movement of any kind in America that succeeded in accomplishing a significant goal. The anti-Vietnam war movement, for instant, was not the real cause of US ending the war. Moreover, the government cleverly ended the draft so there would be no more antiwar movements of any significance.
Are we immune to a total war?
We are absolutely not immune to a total war, nuclear or non nuclear. To the contrary, we are the primary cause of war. Moreover, there are wise pundits who seriously believe the US is edging toward a nuclear with Russia by constantly provoking Russia.
Interview realized by Mohsen Abdelmoumen
Who is Dr. Gary Brumback?
Gary Brumback, PhD is a retired psychologist and Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science. He is the author of numerous books, the most relevant of which for this interview article are The Devil’s Marriage: Break Up the Corpocracy or Leave Democracy in the Lurch (http://tinyurl.com/nsrjubn); America’s Oldest Professions: Warring and Spying (http://tinyurl.com/n9ew856); and Corporate Reckoning Ahead(http://tinyurl.com/npkqzpo).
His website: http://democracyorcorpocracy.blogspot.be/
Published in American Herald Tribune, October 26, 2016: http://ahtribune.com/us/1290-gary-brumback.html
In Dissident Voice: http://dissidentvoice.org/2016/10/america-the-worlds-public-enemy-number-one/
In French in Palestine Solidarité: http://www.palestine-solidarite.org/analyses.mohsen_abdelmoumen.281016.htm