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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Corprotocracy in America: The Compromise of Efficacy and Legitimacy in the U.S.A.

Note: This essay is littered with errors, and if I had the time and motivation to rewrite it I would many times over. Although it received a B, it is not up to my standards- keep this in mind.

In coping with pressures in the international system, the USA has severely compromised their legitimacy and efficacy domestically and abroad through acts in South America, and The Middle East; analysis of corprotocracy in U.S. administration reveals a discernable threat to the strength and accountability of the state. The exploitation of South American developing nations by American based TNC’s began with the UFCO, and their lobbyists who influenced the 1954 Guatemalan coup d’├ętat (Shoultz. Transnational corporations (TNC’s) interests are facilitated through the American government, and this growing trend corprotocracy is a detriment to both America, and the international system. The American government and TNC interests are accountable for an international class divide that is widening despite the increased presence of entities like the IMF, World Bank, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

“the income ratio of the one-fifth of the world’s population in the wealthiest countries to the one-fifth in the poorest countries went from 30 to 1 in 1960 to 74 to 1 in 1995” (UN Human Development report)

Omar Torrijos was a model freedom fighter that struggled intensely for the rights of Panama’s people. The Torrijos-Carter treaties gave the canal back to the people of panama, but also gave them things that they did not want to be in possession of-- like the School of the Americas which was built to train Panamanians to protect U.S. Interest in the country. After Torrijos’ death, Manuel Noriega took up his cause for the people of Panama. Noriega stood firm that the “School of the Americas was an embarrassment to us. We didn’t want a training ground for death squads and repressive right-wing militaries on our soil” (Eisner). On December 20, 1989, the USA made it clear how interested they were in panama by beginning the largest airborne assault on a city since World War II
“the destabilization campaign launched by the United States in 1989, ending with the 1989 Panama invasion, was a result of the U.S. rejection of any scenario in which future control of the Panama Canal might be in the hands of an independent, sovereign Panama—supported by Japan… Schultz and Weinberger” (Eisner)

The U.S.A went even farther out of its jurisdiction than ever before-- in the 255 years since the conception of the U.S.A, this was the first time they ever invaded another country and extradited its ruler to face trial and imprisonment for violation of American law committed in that ruler’s own nation (Harris). In Noriega’s memoir’s, Eisner stated that there was evidence that Noriega was not guilty, and concluded that the U.S. invasion of Panama was an “abominable abuse of power”. Furthermore, during the 1973 Watergate hearings, in his testimony before U.S. Senate, John Dean was the first to disclose U.S. plots to assassinate Torrijos; in 1975, at Senate inquiries into the CIA, chaired by Senator Frank Church, additional testimony and documentation of plans to kill both Torrijos and Noriega were presented (Eisner). This was not the first case of America compromising its legitimacy in South America, and would not be the last.

Between 1979 and 1989, America planted a seed that would contribute to an unprecedented compromise of legitimacy.
“the CIA supplied mujahedeen (“freedom fighter”) groups with more than $2 billion worth of light weapons… and offered instruction in how to use them… the Americans abandoned Afghanistan to its fate, and the mujahedeen, mainly Islamic fundamentalists, turned against the United States” (Johnson).

These same freedom fighter groups initiated the 9/11 terrorist attacks that would allow American government what would seem to be a blank check for fighting the war on terror. The war in Iraq compromised U.S. legitimacy worldwide by breaking U.N. law to engage Iraqi forces, but also by capitalizing on their presence in the developing nation. This war on terror quickly became an effort to build U.S. interest in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite the fact that G. W. Bush’s “proconsul in Iraq, said that the cost of reconstructing the nation alone was “almost impossible to exaggerate” (Johnson). America ensured that it would capitalize from its ventures in the Middle East
“U.S. Agency for International Development gave Bechtel an initial contract of $34.5 million to rebuild Iraqi power-generation facilities, electrical grids, water and sewage systems, and airports. Bechtel will bill the U.S. Government for expenses up to $680 million over eighteen months. These open-ended contracts did not come about through competitive bidding but through backdoor deals guided by the Bush Administration” and “$48 million contract to train a new Iraqi army” (Johnson)

American built infrastructure ensures that resources generated from Iraqi development do not reach the government who so requires these funds to regulate the developing nation. America’s obligation to Iraq would be diminished by training a new Iraqi army defend their interests in the Middle East.
“We will not send American troops into every battle, but America will actively prepare other nations for the battles ahead” GWB, March 11, 2002

American legitimacy has been marred through history by their political acts in South America and the Middle East. In the late 1990s, Dick Cheney’s Halliburton rebuilt Saddam Hussein’s war-damaged oil fields for some $23.8 million – fields Cheney, as secretary of defense during the first Gulf war, had been instrumental in destroying”. In more recent history, G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney committed “the American people to financing an expensive, perpetual war with fronts in Iraq, Afghanistan…” (Johnson). The ties between American military action and corporate interest are clear “in the In C. Johnson’s article, “The War Business” he identifies a “circulation of elites” that allows these ethically questionable acts to continue because it “undercuts attempts at congressional oversight of either industry or the military, and the result is an almost total loss of accountability in terms of public money spent or military actions taken”. Unfortunately for the American people, the U.S. administration has not only compromised their legitimacy, but the efficacy of the state has been given up in their attempts to assert dominance globally.
“Not only are our armed forces seriously overstretched; we are going deeply into debt to finance them. And yet the money keeps flowing. According to White House projections, which are traditionally low, the Bush Administration expects, if reelected, to spend inflation adjusted $2 trillion on defense over its two terms” (Johnson)

What’s worse for Americans, even the TNC’s that profited so much from the U.S. war in Iraq found ways to avoid paying their dues to the American government thanks to the likes of Donald Rumsfeld. Even Halliburton found a way to avoid paying the U.S. government, “subsidiaries located in offshore tax havens increased from nine to fourty-four. The company went from paying $302 million in taxes in 1998 to getting an $85 million tax refund in 1999.”.

In coping with pressures in the international system, the USA has severely compromised their legitimacy and efficacy domestically and abroad through acts in South America, and The Middle East; analysis of corprotocracy in U.S. administration reveals a discernible threat to the strength and accountability of the state. Corprotocracy is an evident trend, and the TNC’s that are most intertwined with the U.S. government circumvent their taxes. America must address the inconsistencies in its administration in order to restore the efficacy and legitimacy that is fundamental to all nations. The reform of America’s administration should provide insulation from corprotocracy, and should be tried with the words of George Washington in mind-- “Overgrown military establishments” are “inauspicious to liberty” and “displace constitutional order”.

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