Ron Paul Institute
February 20, 2014
Many empires have risen and fallen over the course of recorded history. All were created by force. Yet all have tried to legitimize that force, by passing laws and seeking to establish some sort of order that would outlive their military supremacy. Some have been more successful at this than others. The Atlantic Empire, on the other hand, is the only example in history of an imperial enterprise destroying its own laws, undermining its own legitimacy in pursuit of power.
Atlantist politicians invoke “democracy” almost as a totem, a sacred idea whose veneration magically bestows legitimacy upon governments and peoples. Thus framed, the totem does not bear closer scrutiny, and even defies definition. It is whatever the Empire says it is.
In actuality, democracy is just one political decision-making process. Politics, like chess or football, is a stand-in for war, designed to ritualize conflict so as to prevent bloodshed. As long as everyone abides by the rules, and accepts the restrictions of the system, that is all fine and good. Democracy has been described as “civil war with ballots instead of bullets.” Once someone decides to cheat, or even rewrite the rules to “I win, you lose,” the ballots lose their meaning. And bullets are the only thing left.
Or are they? Though the Atlantic Empire has not hesitated to use brute force to impose its will (e.g. the 1999 “Kosovo War”), such interventions have always been risky, costly and complicated. In 1999, for example, it took 78 days for the combined might of NATO to win a negotiated armistice with the outnumbered and outgunned Yugoslavia, allowing the Empire to occupy the province of Kosovo, but not the country entire. So the Atlantists turned to other means.
A student organization, “Otpor,” was taken over and turned into a revolutionary force. With millions of dollars in US taxpayer funding, promotional materials, “training” by the National Endowment for Democracy and other government instructors in nearby Hungary, these “activists” ran a media campaign against the Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.
Meanwhile, the U.S. government rounded up some 18 opposition parties, wrote their program, and handpicked the front-man for the presidential elections of September 2000: a mild-mannered translator of the Federalist Papers who was never supposed to have any actual power. That would be reserved for the real leader of the “Democratic Opposition of Serbia” (DOS), whose popular support ran in single digits.
The government was caught between “Otpor” and DOS, appealing to the citizenry not to elect foreign agents. When the results of the election showed that DOS did not win, but may have won enough votes to force a runoff, “Otpor” activists and militia personally loyal to the DOS leader started a riot, burning the ballots at the National Assembly building. When the military and the police refused to intervene, president Milosevic resigned. It later emerged that the head of Yugoslavia’s state security had been a CIA informant for almost a decade, as were several high-ranking generals.
If this scenario sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Having been successfully tested in Serbia, the model was then applied elsewhere: 2003 in Georgia (“Rose Revolution”), 2004 in Ukraine (“Orange Revolution”), 2005 in Kyrgizstan (“Tulip Revolution”) and Lebanon (“Cedar Revolution”). The “Jeans Revolution” in Belarus (2006) failed, as did the “Green Revolution” in Iran (2009) and the “White Revolution” in Russia (2012). In all cases, the supposedly popular revolt followed a pattern straight out of the playbook used in Serbia – even to the clenched-fist symbol used by the “student activists” supposedly organizing the protests.
In early 2011, a series of revolts erupted in North Africa, bearing all the hallmarks of the astroturf “color revolutions”: governments were toppled in Tunisia and Egypt. Fringe protests in Libya and Syria escalated into all-out civil war. Meanwhile, a genuine popular protest in Bahrain was crushed by force; Bahrain is a major U.S. fleet base and a client-state of Saudi Arabia.
In every case, the Western media narrative has been the same: young people everywhere demanding “democracy” and overthrowing the evil regimes oppressing them. And if there is any fault to be found in Washington on EU capitals, it is for “standing idly by” and “not helping enough.”
In mid-2011, some European filmmakers made a documentary called “The Revolution Business”, daring to notice the common thread in the supposedly spontaneous outpourings of street riots demanding democracy throughout the world. They spent a lot of time with Srdja Popovic, former Otpor leader that went on to become a professional revolutionary. Otpor having folded years ago into Serbia’s ruling Democratic Party, Popovic now runs an outfit called CANVAS (Center for Applied NonViolent Action and Strategies), lecturing all over the world and training activists in dozens of countries to replicate the Serbian coup. In that mission he is helped by an instruction booklet written by Gene Sharp, a scholar from Boston.
The tactics and techniques of the revolutionaries have been described in some detail, both in Sharp’s book and by outside observers (such as John Laughland). Suffice to say they are all about exploiting the genuine public sentiment — real discontent where it exists, manufactured where it does not — and using the tricks from their toolbox to nudge it in the desired direction.
They always target the young, known for the excess of zeal and shortage of forethought. Who doesn’t want freedom and democracy – which they envision as the hedonist lifestyle seen on American films and TV. And here are all these “consultants”, teaching them for “free”. Even those who dislike and mistrust the Empire find it hard to argue against such gifts without seeming unduly paranoid.
Between the anvil of internal rebellion and the hammer of the Imperial media and diplomatic assault, the “oppressive regime” usually loses its nerve and folds. The “good democrats” installed in power soon start ruling in the interest of the Empire, and the activists realize the “training and consultation” they received weren’t free after all. The Empire always collects its debts.
Yet the revolutionaries rarely revolt after finding out they’ve been used thus. Even if they somehow overcame the crushingly demoralizing effect of finding out they were the agents of their own subjugation, that very fact destroys their credibility at home. Having supped from the cannibal pot, they are marked forever.
Then there are some who enjoy the taste, and become willing agents of the Empire. Popovic is proud of his revolution-exporting adventures. He gladly points out that the Otpor logo — a stenciled fist — has been used by local franchises from Ukraine to Venezuela. On several occasions, the backdrop to Popovic is an Otpor poster, showing the fist and the motto, “Because I love Serbia.” It is a particularly vicious lie: in the Serbia the Empire had Otpor create, only those who hate it prosper.
Popovic does try to obscure his Imperial connections, claiming that CANVAS is an entirely private organization, funded with Serbian money. Why, then, is its name an English acronym? And where did they get the money, in a country first systematically impoverished by a decade of UN sanctions, then bombed to rubble, and finally looted by the Empire’s “democrats”? So looted, in fact, that rummaging through garbage is close to becoming a major branch of agriculture…
And that is the other thing no one dares mention about the “color revolutions”: the governments they put into power are inevitably lackeys of the Empire, imposing horrifyingly destructive policies at home. Even when the people try to vote them out, the Empire simply bribes the winning politicians into switching sides, as it has done in Serbia in 2008 and 2012. Recent events in Ukraine, following the government’s rejection of an economic suicide offer from the EU, demonstrate that the Empire has become more desperate and less scrupulous about denying reality when doing so suits its interests. The legitimately elected government in Kiev has been demonized as “abolishing democracy,” while the violent protesters – representing fringe leaders micro-managed by U.S. and German diplomats – are extolled as authentic democrats and patriots.
Tracing the pattern of astroturfed “revolutions” over the past decade and a half, one cannot help but notice that they are suffering from diminishing marginal returns. In Serbia, a threat of violence and a lot of smoke and mirrors were sufficient to topple the government that successfully defended against conventional warfare. Eleven years later in Libya, it actually took an open military intervention (“kinetic military action” in Pentagonese) to make the rebels win, while the Syrian rebels are steadily losing the war despite all the aid and propaganda in their favor.
Another pernicious consequence of CANVAS in the governments the Empire decides to dislike is that any legitimate protest against genuinely repressive governments becomes that much less likely. Having seen country after country devastated by “color revolutions”, ruining the future of millions for the sake of a handful of quislings, people around the world are that much more reluctant to take politics into the streets. And with the ballot box increasingly discredited by Empire-backed “democrats” who refused to accept democracy if and when they lose, elections may soon become discredited as well. Leaving what, exactly, as a civilized form of conflict-resolution?
The Empire claims to champion democracy, but the end result of its actions is the exact opposite. There is no world order at work here, new or otherwise. Just chaos.
This article was posted: Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 6:43 am