Venezuelan Sanctions, U.S. Dominance and the Power Elite
By Michael S. Rozeff
What are the real foreign policy objectives of the U.S. government? They are hidden under its rhetoric and propaganda. They are submerged and kept submerged by the media and even by academics and historians who study these matters. These objectives are certainly not well-understood by the broad public or accepted as the actual objectives. Outside commentators who do seek to articulate what these objectives are quite often disagree or emphasize different factors. Lacking insider knowledge of the real motives behind foreign policy actions, most outside commentators have to make do with educated guesses.
Consider an Executive Order issued by Obama on March 9, 2015 that sanctions seven Venezuelans. Nothing in it that explains the sanctions has any credibility. It is totally a fog of propaganda and diversion from the actual goals that are never mentioned. The first sentence in the Fact Sheet is simply ridiculous and a total fabrication that no sensible person can possibly believe:
“President Obama today issued a new Executive Order (E.O.) declaring a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela.”
One must understand that this language is contained in an official document issued by the White House. Nothing good can come out of a system that routinely pushes out fake ideas, falsehoods and fabrications like this. The results are cynical disregard for law, government secrecy, lack of government accountability, isolation of officials from voters, hubris among officials, hidden contempt for the public, distrust, and the encouragement for officials to employ power. Lies of this order and magnitude are poisonous.
The order goes on to list its moral goals of punishing various accused persons for their bad behavior:
“This new authority is aimed at persons involved in or responsible for the erosion of human rights guarantees, persecution of political opponents, curtailment of press freedoms, use of violence and human rights violations and abuses in response to antigovernment protests, and arbitrary arrest and detention of antigovernment protestors, as well as the significant public corruption by senior government officials in Venezuela.”
Nothing could sound more reasonable, and yet nothing is less credible than this declaration. Why? Because in countless other cases the U.S. not only turns a blind eye to the same sorts of goings-on but actually fully supports them. The U.S. is currently supporting Ukraine (the Kiev junta) while its security services and certain armed forces have been torturing prisoners that they have captured. The U.S. itself engaged in torture and has not yet punished those who were responsible for it. The U.S. has employed means of warfare that produced systematic human rights violations orders of magnitude worse than anything in Venezuela. The U.S. has supported death squads in Central America. The U.S. government does little to influence despicable behavior of local police and courts within this country. The U.S. has consistently supported Saudi Arabia and nearby states that both employ practices of the same kind condemned in this order and have supported ISIS terrorists. The Obama administration has been very tough on journalists and whistleblowers, thereby chilling press freedoms.
There has been marked instability in Venezuela and repression. Much worse repression is going on in Ukraine by its government, one that the U.S. supports and is assisting in its military efforts.
One can only reach the conclusion that the justifications in the executive order are phony.
This leaves us speculation as to what the real motives are. At the root of it is that the U.S. government is alarmed by the independence being exhibited by Venezuela and several other Latin American governments. Imperialism is a fundamental factor, and this requires a dominant U.S. position. There are political maneuvers in Venezuela and neighboring lands that tie directly to economic matters. For example, China has a presence in Venezuela that competes with American interests. Venezuela is a large oil producer. Venezuela is forming a Bank of the South in conjunction with Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Ecuador. These political-economic moves remind one of the moves that were being made by Gaddafi and Libya prior to their destruction by U.S. and NATO forces.
Sanctions on Venezuelan officials are a warning. They are a slap on the wrist to warn the government of potential harsher measures. Human rights violations are a smokescreen. The real target is the government and the real objective is control of economic policies by the U.S. The U.S. does not want to see South American countries making links to such countries as China and Russia.
The U.S. policy in Ukraine and Middle East is the very same. It seeks to break down Russian influence on its periphery, including Ukraine. Condemnations of Putin and Russian aggression are propaganda smokescreens. In the Middle East, the U.S. wants to contain Iran. In the Far East, the U.S. wants to contain China. The U.S. seeks dominance in Central Asia too, as in Afghanistan.
In every major region of the world, the single factor that most clearly explains U.S. foreign policy is a quest for unquestioned and unchallenged U.S. hegemony. The groups or interests that lie behind this quest are a matter of some debate. In a general way, we can call them imperial interests; but that doesn’t identify them clearly. There are those who see a cabal of Bilderbergers and Trilateral Commission types. Others see international bankers. A few see Jews or Zionists or Rothschilds. The military-industrial complex is a clear possibility.
There is a kind of elite club of power-seekers and power-users. The membership changes over time but the guiding ideas and philosophy do not change. The strategic goal remains the same, but the steps to achieve it change. The members, for lack of a more accurate term, are not fully united. They have divisions. They communicate and write position papers. They jockey for power and influence. They protect the system and the club, from which the political operatives who manage U.S. foreign policy are drawn. The club has had longevity. It has a fairly common and standard way of communicating its aims to make them sound pleasing and moral, as in this executive order. It coalesces around enemies of the day. Occasional members provide revealing insights into the true motives and objectives. In fact, this is quite often the case. But the vast majority of press communications deliver the club (or party) line, drowning out the truth of the motivations of its members.
Those outside the club can join it and become “one of the guys” by adopting the party line. Pundits and professors can do this voluntarily, being rewarded by positions, amenities, access to the powerful and those in the know, tips that can be turned to profit, favors and the gratifications of power. So can businessmen or members of the military. Fresh college recruits can join the club at the lower rungs and advance if they have the kinds of skills that this system finds useful. The elite needs bright people and attracts them; power, privilege, advancement and the reinforcements of higher-ups attract them. It takes no particular religion, class, sex or political party affiliation to enter this elite. It might help actually to believe the elite’s own propaganda and worldview, i.e., to believe in American exceptionalism, but this is not essential. Hypocrites are welcome into the club too, as long as they tow the mark.
In my opinion, there is no single group that has been running this elite and orchestrated its many moves over the decades. The people at the center of the club who most influence policies change. The power elite is fluid. The motives of the individuals involved vary. Their backgrounds vary. There is no conscious behind-the-scenes secret plan that’s being carried out by a select group of individuals. The situation is different than that. Rather, there is a coalescing of various people and interests around a common view. This coming together occurs through the central presence of a powerful state. Without that the members of the power elite would have a much, much more difficult time finding each other, allying with one another and becoming a force. The coming together uses the state as the connecting point, and it uses the state as the instrument to wield power. The formulation of positions or policies that serve as the means to the overall end is complex.
The basic objective of U.S. global dominance or hegemony prevails over well over a hundred years because it is an objective that coalesces the group and simultaneously affords the individual members the best opportunities to achieve their individual objectives and satisfy their motives, which vary. The state and the global dominance of the state are a kind of shield and sword that protect and project the power of the power elite.
Other empires and competing powers may work in roughly the same way. We need only assume that underlying them all is the will to dominance. States arise because of this will to dominance, and the process is aided to some extent by the fear that foreigners will dominate unless the state is powerful. The state provides a focal point, or point of attraction for expressing this will.
The U.S. version has been especially successful because it has had a foundation in a productive economy that existed for reasons independent of the power elite’s policies. There has also been something of an ideological foundation. An economic foundation may not be essential, however. There are many cases where people coalesce around religious beliefs or ideological beliefs, producing a state and an elite in that way.