Selector Bobby Strange

February 26, 2009

Obama Discovers the ‘Shock Doctrine’

Filed under: Foreign Affairs,Only in America — bobbystrange @ 8:07 pm


It is often noted that the Chinese character for “crisis” is the same as “opportunity”. While I don’t know how factually accurate this is, I do know that governments take advantage of major crises to execute their policies. Said policies are, more often than not, based on ideology rather than solutions to the actual problem at hand. This theory was addressed in Naomi Klein’s excellent, but radical, book “The Shock Doctrine,” which details the darker side of U.S. foreign policy as policymakers seek to exploit instability to further U.S. interests in locations from South America to Asia, and pretty much everywhere in between. Tsunami in Sri Lanka? Perfect opportunity to relocate those pesky local vendors and build western-financed luxury tourist resorts. Economic collapse and protests in Boliva? Opportunity to impose the so-called Washington Consenus economic model. Insecurity in Iraq? A boom for American industry building a green zone.

But exploitation of instability is not limited to foreign ventures. It’s a domestic, and bipartisan, endeavor as well. George Bush famously ushered in the “security industrial complex” following the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Reconstruction efforts in the Gulf Coast took advantage of the situation to change the demographic make up of part of New Orleans, as well as its education system. And now, our current President Barack Obama, is using the economic meltdown to push forward radical reforms in health care, education and energy. His Vice President Joe Biden has apparently learned to value of disaster capitalism, and says so himself in this Washington Post article. And it’s not been lost on those to the right, as witnessed in this Wall Street Journal editorial.

As always, the question remains, will such efforts – again based more on ideology and pre-conceived thoughts rather than immediate solutions to the crisis at hand – align enough in order to resolve the current economic situation? Doubtful. But either way, the Obama administration seems ready to fight to make its platform a reality. We may end up a nation of insured, hybrid-driving,educated Americans with no jobs.


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