from the book

Brave New World Order

by Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer

Orbis Books, 1992, paper


President George Bush's definition the "New World Order"

It's a big idea: a new world order, where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind - peace and security, freedom, and the rule of law.


Latin American Council of Churches in 1984 after the assassination of Jesuit priests by U.S.-backed forces in El Salvador:

How long? How long will the Christians and people of the United States have to contemplate the incongruity of its government . . . as it supports with over a million dollars a day another government that represses, kills bishops, religious workers, children, men and women, violates human rights, closes itself to dialogue and obstructs the pastoral task of the churches? . .. How long? In the name of the God of Justice, in the name of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, in the name of the Spirit of all truth: stop now.

The new world order is a new phase in an ongoing history of the U.S. control over third-world peoples and resources.

The resources that will be expended on the military will be resources that cannot be but should have been spent on our own people here at home.

The new order, like the old, is concerned with the relative distribution of wealth and power.

Jon Sobrino, a Jesuit priest from El Salvador, shortly after the murder of two women and six priests at the hands of U.S.-trained soldiers in El Salvador:

Wealth and power cannot exist if other people do not die, if people do not suffer in powerlessness and poverty and without dignity.... We say that the First World, the wealthy countries, cover up the greatest scandal in this world, which is the world itself. The existence of two-thirds of humankind dying in poverty is covered Up.

Processo, a journal of the Catholic University (UCA) in San Salvador, about how dissenters or reformists in communist or socialist countries would have been treated in the U.S.-supported "democracies" of Latin America.

If Lech Walesa had been doing his organizing work in El Salvador, he would have already entered into the ranks of the disappeared- at the hands of "heavily armed men dressed in civilian clothes '; or have been blown to pieces in a dynamite attack on his union headquarters. If Alexander Dubcek were a politician in our country, he would have been assassinated like Hector Oqueli [a social democratic leader killed by Salvadoran death squads in Guatemala]. If Andrei Sakharov had worked here in favor of human rights, he would have met the same fate as Herbert Anaya [assassinated leader of the Non-governmental Human Rights Commission]. If Ota-Sik or Vaclav Havel had been carrying out their intellectual work in El Salvador, they would have woken up one sinister morning, Iying on the patio of a university campus with their heads destroyed by the bullets of an elite army battalion.


The Ecumenical Coalition for Economic Justice describing the impact of these SAPs on third-world countries:

Instead of developing their own resources to meet pressing human needs, many Third World economies are literally being "sapped" - gradually exhausted of their wealth - through conditions imposed by their creditors. The goals of this new colonialism are, in part, the same as the old. Thanks to SAPs, transnational corporations enjoy greater access to cheap raw materials, cheap labor and foreign markets. But ... the contemporary recolonization also involves an annual collection of tribute in the form of interest payments on debts that ... can never be paid off.


In 1988 alone, UNICEF, 500,000 children died in underdeveloped countries as a direct result of SAP-induced austerity measures. UNICEF has concluded:

It is essential to strip away the niceties of economic parlance and say that . . . the developing world's debt, both in the manner in which it was incurred and in the manner in which it is being "adjusted to" ... is simply an outrage against a large section of humanity.

The Ecumenical Coalition for Economic Justice:

Given the evidence that SAPs do not achieve their official goals, that they cause immense hunger and misery and they accentuate underdevelopment, why do private bankers, the IMF, the World Bank and conservative governments insist on their strict application? . . . Viewed from the perspective of transnational investors, SAPs do make sense. SAPs assure transnational corporations that countries on the periphery will supply abundant supplies of cheap raw materials, low-wage labor and markets for some of their products. SAPs enable transnationals to maintain control over manufacturing processes, technology and finance, sharing some of the spoils with local elites. In addition, SAPs promote exports that earn foreign exchange to service otherwise unpayable debts.

Kevin Phillips, The Politics of Rich and Poor

The forces of the late twentieth century have required double entry bookkeeping: new wealth in profusion for the bright, the bold, the educated and the politically favored; economic carnage among the less fortunate. In short, the United States of the 1980s.

Poor people living in third-world countries are not the only victims of the so-called new world order. At the heart of this "new" order is a troubling paradox: Poor people within the United States, and the country as a whole, are getting poorer at the same time as the rich within the United States are getting richer.

The gap between the richest and poorest U.S. citizens is now greater than at any time since the Census Bureau began collecting such data in 1947. The poorest twenty percent of the U.S. population receive 3.8 percent of national income; the richest twenty percent get 46.1 percent.

* One in four children in the United States is born into poverty.
* More than thirty-five million U.S. citizens lack any type of health insurance. Millions more have only limited coverage.
* The United States ranks twenty-second in infant mortality, behind most of our industrial allies.
* Most of the poor in the United States are full-time workers or their dependents. This reflects a serious deterioration in the wages and benefits of significant sectors of the U.S. work force.
* In 1985, 20.4 percent of all infants below age 1 were not fully vaccinated against polio, 41.5 percent of infants of color.
* One-fourth of the poorest low-income households spend more than seventy-five percent of their incomes for rent.
* The United States has the world's largest per capita prison population; 426 of every 100,000 people are in jail. By way of comparison, the incarceration rates per 100,000 people are 333 in South Africa, 268 in the Soviet Union, 97 in Great Britain, l 76 in Spain, and 40 in the Netherlands.
* The United States, according to a United Nation's Development Program report, also has the highest murder rate and l highest incidence of reported rape among industrialized countries.

David Gordon of the New School of Social Research

The most important story about the U.S. economy in the eighties, is the economic warfare that the wealthy and powerful have been waging against the vast majority of Americans.

A financial column for the Philadelphia-Inquirer noted similarities between the economic situation of 1986 and the 1920s

Then as now, banks, investment houses and brokerage firms created the debt that made money-making excursions in Wall Street possible. Money was used primarily to make money, not to producing goods and services and raise people's living standards.

Seymour Melman summarizes the relationship between military production and U.S. economic decline: {1988]

While the arms race with its unspeakable hazards proceeds, it has generated a catastrophe in slow motion for the American people. The United States has been transformed into a second rate industrial economy. The Pentagon degraded the growth of efficiency in US industry, first by replacing cost-minimizing with cost-maximizing as a main managerial method. Second, by preempting trillions of dollars of capital resources since World War II the Pentagon drained off real wealth from productive use, finally proving even American wealth has limits.

The Committee for Economic Development, in a report entitled Children in Need: Investment Strategies for the Economically Disadvantaged, notes: [1989]

This nation cannot continue to compete and prosper in the global arena when more than one-fifth of our children live in poverty and a third grow up in ignorance. And if the nation cannot compete, it cannot lead. If we continue to squander the talents of millions of our children America will become a nation of limited human potential. It would be tragic if we allow this to happen. America must become a land of opportunity-for every child.

Jon Sobrino, Sojourners, Feb/Mar 1990

Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador defined idols as the accumulation of wealth and the doctrine of national security. Those who dare touch these idols get killed.

Ignacio Martin-Baro, (one of the six Jesuits murdered at the Catholic University in San Salvador in November 19890) about U.S.-supported "democracy project" in El Salvador:

The U.S. [democracy] project is not democracy. The U S. project is to use 'democracy' to muffle international criticism in order better to control El Salvador. 'Democracy' is a facade to cover many unpleasant things."

One of the ironies of U.S. policy is that through the police functions of the IMF the United States encourages concentration of, capital in the private sector. However, the overall impact of its foreign policy is to ensure the predominance of military priorities, which leads to the militarization of societies.

Authentic democracy depends on participation of the people. National Security States limit such participation in a number of ways: They sow fear and thereby narrow the range of public debate; they restrict and distort information; and they define policies in secret and implement those policies through covert channels and clandestine activities. The state justifies such actions through rhetorical pleas of ' higher purpose" and vague appeals to "national security.

George Kennan, who headed the State Department's planning staff in 1948, warned that:

the United States would be "the object of envy and resentment" because it had "about 50% of the world's wealth, but only 6.3% of its 2 population." The goal of the United States in the emerging world order, Kennan stated, was "to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security." In order to maintain this disparity and defend U.S. national security, the United States had "to cease to talk about vague and . . . unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards and democratization." Instead, he noted, the United States had "to deal in straight power concepts."

A secret report about the potential "enemies" of the United States after WWII, prepared for the White House in 1954 stated:

It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination.... There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto accepted norms of human conduct do not apply.... If the United States is to survive, long-standing American concepts of fair play must be reconsidered.... We must learn to subvert, sabotage and destroy our enemies by more clever, sophisticated, more effective methods than those used against us.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, former general and World War II hero, called attention to the inherent conflict between "guns" and "butter." [1953]

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, is a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

This military-industrial complex together with national security agencies such as the NSC and CIA make up ... the National Security Establishment.

President Eisenhower warned in his farewell speech to the nation [1961]

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

The mainline media in the United States, like the church, are instruments of conformity within the dominating society. This conformity isn't achieved through terror and intimidation ... but there is conformity nonetheless.

A report by Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) describes the conflict of interest of major TV news channels that are owned by major corporations tied to military weapons production and oil:

Most of the corporate-owned media have close relationships to the military and industry: The chair of Capital / Cities/ABC . . . is on the board of Texaco, and CBS's board includes directors from Honeywell and the Rand Corporation. But no news outlet is as potentially compromised as NBC, wholly owned by General Electric.... In 1989 alone GE received nearly $2 billion in U.S. military contracts for systems employed in the Gulf War effort.... NBC's potential conflicts go beyond weaponry. The government of Kuwait is believed to be a major GE stockholder, having owned 2.1 percent of GE stock in 1982, the last year for which figures are available.... Having profited from weapons systems used in the Gulf, and anticipating lucrative deals for restocking U.S. arsenals, GE is also poised to profit from the rebuilding of Kuwait. GE told the man Street Journal (3/21/91) it expects to win contracts worth "hundreds of millions of dollars.

In general, the major media served as an uncritical channel of information from the Pentagon to the U.S. people while catering to the emotions and patriotism of a public concerned about the well-being of U.S. troops. Media cooperation with Pentagon news management was so effective it prompted former Reagan administration official Michael Deaver to comment: "If you were going to hire a public relations firm to do the media relations for an international event, it couldn't be done any better than this is being done.

Segments of the National Security Establishment, with leadership from the White House, the National Security Council, and the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, had taken over many aspects of U.S. foreign policy, subverted the Constitution, and bypassed the U.S. Congress.

Christic Institute on the secret "shadow government" that CIA director William Casey set up as "an off-the-shelf, self-sustaining, stand-alone entity, that could perform certain activities on behalf of the United States in which:

"U.S. military and CIA officials, acting both officially and on their own, f have waged secret wars, toppled governments, trafficked in drugs, assassinated political enemies, stolen from the U.S. government, and subverted the will of the Constitution, the Congress, and the American people.''


Bill Moyers, in a Frontline special, "High Crimes and Misdemeanors," underscores the Constitutional crisis inherent in a National Security State:

What happened in Iran-Contra was nothing less than the systematic disregard for democracy itself. It was, in effect, a coup.... Officials who boasted of themselves as men of the Constitution showed utter contempt for the law. They had the money and power to do what they wanted, the guile to hide their tracks and the arrogance simply to declare what they did was legal.... The frightening thing is ... that it could happen again.... The men responsible for Iran-Contra, except a few, have been absolved, exonerated or reprieved.... The Government continues to hide its dirty linen behind top secret classifications.... With little debate and scant attention from the media, the House and Senate agree on a new intelligence bill giving , the President wider power than ever to conduct covert operations using any agency he pleases.

President Reagan issued at least 280 secret National Security Decision Directives during his two terms in office. The content of most of these directives remains a mystery to the U.S. people. However, one was leaked and later described by the Christic Institute. In April 1986 President Reagan issued a secret directive that authorized the creation of ten military detention centers within the United States capable of housing 400,000 political prisoners. These detention centers were to be used "in the event that President Reagan chose to [suspend the Constitution and] declare a 'State of Domestic National Emergency' concurrent with the launching of a direct United States military operation into Central America."

Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall write in Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies and the CIA in Central America

Far from considering drug networks their enemy, U.S. intelligence organizations have made them an essential ally in the covert expansion of American influence abroad.

Senator John Kerry conducted extensive investigations of U.S. foreign policy links to the illegal drug trade. The Kerry report summarizes the relationship between U.S. foreign policy and the drug trade as follows:

Foreign policy considerations have interfered with the United States' ability to fight the war on drugs. Foreign policy priorities ... halted or interfered with U.S. Iaw enforcement efforts to keep narcotics out of the United States. Within the United States, drug traffickers have manipulated the U.S. judicial system by providing services | in support of U.S. foreign policy. U.S. officials involved in Central America failed to address the drug issue for fear of jeopardizing the war effort against Nicaragua.

Father Bill Teska, an Episcopalian priest who has worked to expose the relationship of U.S. foreign policy and drugs:

Our government has actually cooperated with drug dealers and has assisted in the importation of drugs into this country when it suited its purposes . . . such as national security or overthrowing the government of Nicaragua.

National Catholic Reporter about the ruling generals in Latin America, who:

in addition to targeting liberation theology as an enemy, also supported use of elections as a cover for their own de facto rule. The generals, apparently including U.S. participants, indicated that they opposed a new wave of military coups throughout the Americas, preferring instead "a permanent state of military control over civilian government, while still preserving formal democracy.

The United States ... demonstrates many features of a National Security State. Democracy (in both the U.S. and El Salvador) is now seriously compromised by the powers vested in the military and broader National Security Establishment. In the United States this establishment includes the military-industrial complex and institutions such as the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency. It is largely unaccountable to the U.S. people.

Washington Office on Latin America, to describe the Salvadoran military's hostility to a negotiated settlement of El Salvador's civil war:

Despite the presence of some moderate officers ... successful pursuit of a negotiated settlement would directly threaten the interests of individual officers as well as those of their institution.... Within the officer corps ... the arguments against negotiations remain persuasive: First, any reduction in troop size as a result of negotiations would necessitate a corresponding reduction in the officer corps.... Second, as the Armed Forces have expanded in size and wealth because of the war, so too has their influence. By any estimate, the military stands as the country's single most powerful social and economic institution.... Consequently, any progress toward a negotiated settlement would challenge the military's privileged position within the government and society.

Michael Klare Director of Peace and World Security Studies Hampshire College, October 8,1990

The Cold War system that has dominated our lives for so long will be replaced, not with a new system of international peace and stability, but with a new war system of interminable conflict between the industrialized countries of the North and the underdeveloped forces and nations of the South.... While such conflicts may not appear to have the connected, coherent character of the struggle between East and West they nevertheless add up to an ongoing systemic and global struggle for wealth and power ... Unless things change radically in the months and years ahead I believe that this struggle between North and South will come to dominate American life and society every bit as powerfully and pervasively as did the global struggle between East and West. It will also erase all the benefits that might have come at the end of the Cold War.

the U.S. military's strategy of damage control after the end of the cold War

First, the size of the "peace dividend" could be limited by finding new enemies and inflating the dangers of old enemies, such as drugs and terrorism, to replace the Soviet threat. Second, the focus of the conflict could be shifted from East/West to North/South, emphasizing the instability of the third-world nations as a threat to our national security. Third, despite earlier reluctance the strategy of low-intensity conflict could be exploited.

Michael Levine, a former Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) undercover agent:

The only thing we know with certainty, is that the Drug War is not for real. The drug economy in the United States is as much as $200 billion a year, and it is being used to finance political operations." U.S. foreign policy uses the so-called drug war as a over to expand greatly its military presence in Latin America and ... there are friendly ties between U.S. covert operations and international drug traffickers.

General A. M. Gray, Commandant of the Marine Corps, in March, 1990:

The underdeveloped world's growing dissatisfaction over the gap between rich and poor nations will create a fertile breeding ground for insurgencies. These insurgencies have the potential to jeopardize regional stability and our access to vital economic and military resources. This situation will become critical as our Nation and allies and potential adversaries become more and more dependent on these strategic resources. If we are to have stability in these regions, maintain access to their resources, protect our citizens abroad, defend our vital installations, and deter conflict, we must maintain within our active force structure a credible military power projection capability with the flexibility to respond to conflict across the spectrum of violence throughout the globe.

General A. M. Gray, Commandant of the Marine Corps, in March, 1990:

Our superpower political and military status is dependent ' upon our ability to maintain the economic base derived from our ability to compete in established and developing economic markets throughout the world. If we are to maintain this status, we must have unimpeded access to these markets and to the resources needed to support our manufacturing requirements.

Richard John Neuhaus, a supporter of the U.S. war against Nicaragua:

Washington believes that Nicaragua must serve as a warning to the rest of Central America to never again challenge U.S. hegemony because of the enormous economic and political costs. It's too bad that the poor have to suffer, but historically the poor have always suffered. Nicaragua must be a lesson to the others.

In the post-Cold War period the United States faced a hidden struggle that would determine the viability of its democracy. A peace dividend and new world order based on nonmilitary forms of conflict resolution threatened powerful interests. The military was seeking to create a world in its own image. It placed at the center of this world its own institutional privileges and those of the broader National Security State Establishment. If the National Security Establishment had its way, economic revitalization would give way to militarism.

Brave New World Order

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