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mercredi, 13 janvier 2021

America First: 1939–1941


America First: 1939–1941

thoseangrydays-200x300.jpgLynne Olson
Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight over World War II, 19391941
New York: Random House, 2013

The idea of America First policy is back after a long hiatus. The first proponent for such a policy was none other than George Washington. He endorsed the idea in his farewell address [2], stating:

The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave . . . which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage…when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests.”

The president who took an opposing view [3] was John F. Kennedy:

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” (My emphasis.)

How the standard wisdom went from Washington’s concern for entangling foreign alliances to Kennedy’s declaration that he’ll bet the farm on the liberty of an ally occurred in the years between 1939 and 1941. The great issue was whether or not the United States should become involved in World War II.

How that debate occurred is documented by Lynne Olson’s [4] book Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight over World War II, 19391941. The book is highly illuminating. The controversy was hot and heavy from the start of World War II in 1939 until the attack on Pearl Harbor. The quarrel split families, caused fistfights in Congress, and led to deplatforming and other forms of nastiness. When reading about the conflict, there is a raw sense of current events to it also.


For example, how far does America go to protect an ally? If an ally is spying on one’s citizens, are they really an ally? Are “dictators” an automatic evil or are they a rational response to a nation’s foreign and domestic threats? How big should the military be in a time of peace? Are Jews full citizens or a separate people pursuing their own interests?

To Fight or Not to Fight

The two men that personified the struggle are Charles A. Lindbergh and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Lindbergh, the first man to cross the Atlantic solo in an airplane, believed the United States should keep out of the war in Europe. Roosevelt was the chief interventionist. Or, more accurately, Roosevelt’s passionate supporters caused him to be an interventionist.

Lindbergh’s and Roosevelt’s mutual dislike went back to a controversy in 1934. Roosevelt wanted to end any appearance of impropriety involving airmail contracts to private aviation firms by using Army Air Corps aircraft to deliver the mail. Lindbergh argued that the Army’s aircraft were not suited to the role for technical reasons. After several crashes, Roosevelt went back to contracted aircraft. Lindbergh won his first round against the President.

In September 1939, the antipathy between the two men intensified when the British declared war on Germany for invading Poland. Lindbergh and the isolationists felt that the United States should stay out of the war. They were motivated by the unsavory end to the First World War.


In brief, the United States had lent money to various Allied powers. Thus Americans were drawn into the conflict to protect their investments, then weren’t paid back anyway. World War I killed 500 Americans per day during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, so the price for involvement was steep. The British also loaded armaments on passenger ships and flew the US Flag on these ships to deceive German U-Boats. When those passenger ships were sunk, Americans understood they were being manipulated by the British. Additionally, British propaganda about “The Hun” had been proven false before the 1920s were finished. Furthermore, there was a sense that the British were not an innocent party in the war — they were an imperialist power.

Shortly after the start of hostilities, Lindbergh argued for [5] an American policy along the following lines:

  1. An embargo on offensive weapons and munitions.
  2. The unrestricted sale of purely defensive armaments.
  3. The prohibition of American shipping from the belligerent countries of Europe and their danger zones.
  4. The refusal of credit to belligerent nations or their agents.

He further argued that the United States had an important racial connection to all of Europe that should not be forgotten in a time of increasing Japanese belligerence and other problems with non-whites.

Since Lindbergh was already a national hero, people took notice.

Meanwhile, there was a highly active pro-intervention group consisting of different factions with different backgrounds and motivations. Olson mentions Jewish pressure in Hollywood, but she doesn’t say much about Jewish influence in the Roosevelt administration. Olson also mentions “anti-Semites,” but puts them in the category of kooks rather than the serious thinkers that they were. Of that, Wilmot Robertson says,

Instead of submitting anti-Semitism to the free play of ideas, instead of making it a topic for debate in which all can join, Jews and their liberal supporters have managed to organize an inquisition in which all acts, writings, and even thoughts critical of Jewry are treated as a threat to the moral order of mankind. The pro-Semite has consequently made himself the mirror image of the anti-Semite . . . the Jewish intellectual who believes passionately in the rights of free speech and peaceful assembly for all, but rejoices when permits are refused for anti-Semitic meetings and rocks crack against the skulls of anti-Semitic speakers. [1] [6]

In addition to the organized Jewish community, several other groups supported American involvement in the conflict. Some were American Anglophiles who were prominent in New England. There was also a sub-set of men who can be called the Plattsburg graduates.


The Plattsburg graduates were upper-class Americans who had attended military training in Plattsburg, New York in 1915. These men went on to become officers during the First World War. They were not isolationists so much as men wishing the nation be prepared for conflict should it come. Although they had some training, many of their enlisted soldiers were rushed into battle with only two days’ training. Since they were prominent men as well as veterans, people took notice of their ideas. They pushed for enlarging the armed forces in 1940.

A First Look at the Isolationists’ Problems

The isolationists’ main problem was that the German point of view was never well-received by Americans. The fact that Hitler was greeted with flowers in Austria, the Sudetenland, and other parts of German-speaking Europe just didn’t register. Instead, the public felt that Nazi Germany was an enormous threat. The German American Bund, a pro-Nazi group based in New York City, were painted as “fifth columnists” in the media. German books and publications that stated their case didn’t sell.

Fascist optics have never worked in America.

Interventionist Dirty Tricks and Metapolitics

The pro-interventionist faction had two things going for them: dirty tricks and great metapolitics. The British government focused on intelligence gathering on isolationists, German diplomats in the US, and German sympathizers. This included wiretapping as well as infiltration of spies by the British, the FBI, and private groups like the Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The ADL didn’t use Jews as spies; they found whites to do the job.


Other than a few exceptions, most isolationists had no connection to any foreign government and they weren’t able to draw upon organizational resources or any government to do the same to their enemies.

The dirty tricks weren’t as important as metapolitics:


One of the best metapolitical leaders for intervention was Robert E. Sherwin [9], a playwright who came to believe that America should enter the war. Many of his plays were made into influential pro-intervention movies. Some of the outstanding movies based on Sherwin’s work were:

  • Waterloo Bridge [10] (1940): This is a fallen woman/romance story that made the British look cool.
  • Abe Lincoln in Illinois [11] (1940): “The implied comparison of America’s dilemma in the 1850s to that in the late 1930s was clearly understood by the play’s audiences. Heywood Broun of the New York World called Abe Lincoln in Illinois “the finest piece of propaganda ever to come into our theater. . . . To the satisfied and the smug, it will seem subversive to its very core. And they will be right. . . . It is the very battle cry of freedom.” [2] [12]

Pastor-Hall-images-94004dff-57c6-41b4-a00a-ed9815faef8.jpgOther pro-intervention movies were:

  • Pastor Hall [13](1940): This film tells the story of a Christian minister put in a Nazi prison camp. It is probably more fiction than fact.
  • That Hamilton Woman [14] (1941): Starring Vivian Leigh, it compares Hitler to Napoleon and endorses war against dictators.
  • Mrs. Miniver [15] (1942): This film follows the life of a happy upper-middle-class English family that participates in the Dunkirk evacuation and the following Battle of Britain. It is the best of the pro-war films of the early 1940s.

No Hollywood movies were portraying the Communists in Europe during the 1920s and 30s in a poor light. There was nothing about Germans stranded in dysfunctional new Eastern European nations following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. There was nothing about Bela Kun, Soviet atrocities, or Gulags. The pro-intervention movies were “propaganda with a very thick coating of sugar.” [3] [16]

An Incident Was Inevitable . . .

By late 1941, the Battle of Britain was over, but the Roosevelt administration had drafted many young men into the armed forces where they trained with wooden rifles or trucks labeled “tank.” Morale was low, and the economy had not shifted to producing war equipment. Meanwhile, Roosevelt also adopted the Lend-Lease Policy. This allowed the British to get American aid, and it effectively made America a British ally, albeit a non-belligerent one.

By this point, Lindbergh felt that war was inevitable. It was only a matter of time before some incident would draw the United States into the fray. On September 11, 1941, Lindbergh decided to deliver a speech [17] explaining which factions had pushed America into a corner. He identified the three factions as the British, the Roosevelt administration, and the Jews. The Des Moines speech was entirely true, and it led to an explosion in the national conversation. Any criticism of Jewish interests carries the charge of anti-Semitism. [4] [18] Olson argues that the speech caused the American public to focus on Jewish issues rather than avoiding entry into the conflict.

The incidents were already on the way, though, so it hardly mattered. The US Navy was escorting merchant ships to Britain as far as Iceland, and the USS Greer had already fired shots at a German U-Boat.

Between September and December 1941, the isolationists retained a solid grip on the public mind and confined pro-war activists a great deal. Wrinkles from the USS Greer incident could be smoothed over. Then isolationist newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, owned by the isolationist Robert R. McCormick, published a leaked War Department plan to fight Germany. Ironically, the plan was created by a pro-German American army officer, Albert Coady Wedemeyer, and it was used when war came. The leak was probably made by US Army Air Forces General “Hap” Arnold.


Then came Pearl Harbor.

In the wake of the devastation in Hawaii, the isolationists admitted that the United States had to go to war — with Japan. And the President agreed with them. The US only declared war on Japan. It was Hitler who declared war on the United States following the attack. Had that not occurred, it is highly likely that America would have cut aid to England and Russia and focused on the Pacific. The conflict in Europe would have played out far differently.

Charles Lindbergh spent the war as an industry consultant. He ceased criticism of Roosevelt and became a test pilot and aircraft developer. The pro-German Wedemeyer helped the invasion of Normandy and became a general officer. Other prominent America First activists joined the war effort and did heroic service. One of them, Gerald Ford, eventually became president. Another isolationist who became president was John Kennedy. Indeed nearly all the isolationists turned out to be heroes later, but most had to “disavow,” to a degree, their previous activism.

The far-Right of the isolationists, William Dudley Pelley and Laura Ingalls [19] (the aviator, not the girl from Little House on the Prairie) (photo) were sent to jail for a time under trumped-up charges.

Laura_Ingalls_aviator_2a.jpgAmerica First and isolationism still matter. Indeed, the isolationists were not proved wrong. They could claim that they had kept America neutral until it was attacked by a treacherous foe. They did, however, make mistakes that can be discussed in retrospect.

Isolationist Failings 

The Second World War was not caused by Hitler, it was caused by the reaction to his rise to power. Hitler was greeted with the same hysteria by the same sorts of people that got hysterical over Trump. Hitler’s movement could have been tempered by the ordinary workings of the representative government, but an Antifa mattoid burned down the Reichstag, allowing Hitler to assume emergency powers.

Additionally, the British drew the red line against Hitler in the wrong place. It should have been drawn between Germany and France and Germany and the Low Countries. Instead, it was drawn at Poland. Once the British and French drew the line in Poland, it was only a matter of time before the United States was involved due to the many ties between the two nations. In the end, isolationism came apart when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

There was also never creative output on the part of the isolationists that matched the pro-war effort. Anne Lindbergh’s book that supported America First ideas, The Wave of the Future, was difficult to understand. Futurist books are always iffy. In addition to good movies, the interventionists had Dr. Seuss as a cartoonist who portrayed isolationists as ostriches with their heads in the sand. There were also many pro-intervention newspaper editors and reporters.


America’s Yankee elite was terribly divided. Yankees from the Mid-West tended to support isolationism. Those in New England wanted preparedness, if not outright interventionism. Meanwhile, the hostile organized Jewish community was united in pushing for war. Therefore, criticism of Jews as war agitators could be balanced by many examples of blue-blooded Northeastern WASPs who were members of Jew-free country clubs that supported interventionism.


The isolationists did shape policy to such a degree that the British paid a dear price for World War II. To get the Lend-Lease Act passed, Roosevelt pressured the British government to sell large British holdings in the United States. [5] [20] This action was repeated enough times that by the end of the conflict, Britain had debts and no assets to generate income to pay the debts. Additionally, the Labour Party made several poor economic decisions after they came to power at the end of the war. The British were the richest and most powerful people in the world in 1914. By the winter of 1946, the British were on food rations and they were suffering a coal shortage.

The isolationists were also not wrong about Jewish and Communist influence on American policy. In the aftermath of World War II, the political Right in Hollywood organized a blacklist and removed the worst of the lot. American cultural products flourished afterward. The music, movies, and television of the 1950s remain the gold standard. Consider that there are TV channels devoted to shows from the 50s and early 60s, but none replay the 1980s sitcom Head of the Class or the late 1970s’ Welcome Back Kotter. The America First Right also used the various tools — anti-subversion acts, anti-totalitarianism measures, et cetera that were designed for use against American “Nazis” — against Communists.

The interventionists were right about other things too. It became standard wisdom that “dictators” were always a threat, and Hitler could have been “stopped at Munich” before the war. Events in Iraq, Egypt, and Libya during the Arab Spring have proven that anarchy is far worse than “dictators.” Furthermore, stopping “aggression” at some figurative “Munich” is not always a viable option. Those who escalated the Vietnam War genuinely believed they were stopping a “Hitler” at the “Munich” of South Vietnam.

The questions raised by the America First and isolationist movements remain valid today.  How far should America go to support an ally? How can we take sides in far-off wars involving nations with vastly different cultures than our own? How big should America’s military be? When is the right time to get involved?


[1] [21] Wilmot Robertson, The Dispossessed Majority (Cape Canaveral, Florida: Howard Allen Press, 1981), p. 187.

[2] [22] Ibid., 109.

[3] [23] Ibid., 409.

[4] [24] One of Lindbergh’s supporters during this time was Kurt Vonnegut. He would go on to serve in the Battle of the Bulge and was a prisoner of war in Dresden when it was firebombed in 1945. Vonnegut would go on to write Slaughter House Five, perhaps one of the greatest anti-war works of literature.

[5] [25] For further reading on this matter, I suggest The Last Thousand Days of the British Empire (2009).

Article printed from Counter-Currents: https://counter-currents.com

URL to article: https://counter-currents.com/2021/01/america-first-1939-1941/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: https://counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/thoseangrydays.jpeg

[2] farewell address: https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=15&page=transcript

[3] an opposing view: https://www.jfklibrary.org/archives/other-resources/john-f-kennedy-speeches/inaugural-address-19610120

[4] Lynne Olson’s: http://www.lynneolson.com/

[5] argued for: http://www.charleslindbergh.com/americanfirst/speech3.asp

[6] [1]: #_ftnref1

[7] Image: https://counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/HERES-THE-THING-scaled.jpg

[8] here.: https://counter-currents.com/2020/10/heres-the-thing-selected-interviews-vol-2/

[9] Robert E. Sherwin: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0792845/?ref_=ttfc_fc_wr4

[10] Waterloo Bridge: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033238/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_wr#writers/

[11] Abe Lincoln in Illinois: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032181/

[12] [2]: #_ftnref2

[13] Pastor Hall : https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032894/

[14] That Hamilton Woman: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034272/

[15] Mrs. Miniver: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0035093/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

[16] [3]: #_ftnref3

[17] deliver a speech: https://modernhistoryproject.org/mhp?Article=Lindbergh1941

[18] [4]: #_ftnref4

[19] Laura Ingalls: http://wesclark.com/burbank/ingalls.html

[20] [5]: #_ftnref5

[21] [1]: #_ftn1

[22] [2]: #_ftn2

[23] [3]: #_ftn3

[24] [4]: #_ftn4

[25] [5]: #_ftn5

lundi, 23 décembre 2013

Why Neo-Isolationism Is Soaring


Why Neo-Isolationism Is Soaring


Ex: http://www.lewrockwell.com

“Neo-isolationism is the direct product of foolish globalism. … Compared to people who thought they could run the universe, or at least the globe, I am neo-isolationist and proud of it.”

Those are not the words of an old America Firster, but the declaration of that icon of the liberal establishment Walter Lippmann in 1967, a year before he endorsed Richard Nixon.

In 1968, it was Nixon urging we stay the course in Vietnam, as Sens. Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy were clamoring for retreat and swift withdrawal.

In 1972, it was Democratic nominee George McGovern who would run on the neo-isolationist slogan “Come Home, America!” and win the endorsement of the New York Times and Washington Post.

Today, neo-isolationism, bred of that “foolish globalism” of which Lippmann wrote, has made a comeback. For the first time since polling began in 1964, it is the dominant sentiment of the nation.

According to a new Pew poll, 52 percent of Americans believe “the U.S. should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.” Only 38 percent disagree.

Asked if the United States should think less in “international terms but concentrate more on our national problems,” Americans agree by 80-16, or a ratio of 5-to-1.

As Max Fisher of the Washington Post writes, this sentiment manifest itself decisively in the uprising last summer against U.S. intervention in Syria. Red line or no red line, the people told Obama, we want no part of Syria’s civil war. It is not our war. Obama belatedly agreed.

The roots of the new isolationism are not difficult to discern. There is, first, the end of the Cold War, the liberation of the captive nations of Europe, the dissolution of our great adversary, the Soviet Empire, and the breakup of the Soviet Union. The Cold War, our war, was over. Time to come home.

The Bushes and Bill Clinton said no.

So we let the New World Order crowd have its run in the yard. We invaded Panama, intervened in Haiti and Mogadishu, launched Desert Storm to liberate Kuwait, bombed Serbia for 78 days to force it to surrender its cradle province of Kosovo.

Came then the blowback of 9/11, following which we had the Afghan war to overthrow the Taliban and create a new democracy in the Hindu Kush, the invasion and occupation of Iraq to strip Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction he did not have, and the air war on Libya.

Others may celebrate the fruits of these wars but consider the costs:

A decade of bleeding with 8,000 U.S. dead, 40,000 wounded, $2 trillion sunk, Iraq and Libya disintegrating in tribal, civil and sectarian war, Afghanistan on the precipice, and al-Qaida no longer confined to Tora Bora but active in Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, Yemen and Syria.

While America was caught up in these wars, China swept past Britain, France, Germany and Japan to emerge as the second largest economy on earth. Using her $250-$300 billion annual trade surpluses with the United States, she has been locking up resources across Africa, Latin America, Australia and Asia.

Now Beijing has declared its own Monroe Doctrine to encompass the East and South China seas and all islands therein and to challenge the United States for hegemony over the Western Pacific.

Consider, now, what America was up to this past week.

Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was in Kiev, egging on protesters demanding the resignation of the elected president, should he choose a Russia-led customs union over the EU.

Will someone explain exactly what business it is of the United States which economic union Ukraine chooses to join, or not join?

Even as we are pushing Kiev toward the EU, conservative and populist parties are rising across Europe to get their countries out of the EU, including in Britain where the Tories are demanding a vote.

John (“We are all Georgians now!”) McCain was also in Kiev threatening sanctions if the government clears its main square of squatters the way we cleared Zuccotti Park of Occupy Wall Street.

The demand that Ukraine be gentle with its demonstrators was issued as the U.S. was lifting sanctions on Egypt’s army, which this year arrested President Mohammed Morsi, jailed thousands of Muslim Brotherhood, and mowed down hundreds in Cairo’s streets in an action John Kerry described as “restoring democracy.”

What hypocrites we must seem to the world.

Now, President and Mrs. Obama and Vice President Biden have, on the high moral ground that Russia has outlawed LBGT propaganda, declared they will not attend the Sochi winter Olympics.

Yet, are we not courting Iran? Did not Obama bow to the king of Saudi Arabia? When was the last time they had a gay pride parade in Riyadh, Tehran, Mecca or Qom?

How can a nation as polarized morally and paralyzed politically as ours lead the world? It cannot. The people sense what the elites cannot see.

The American Century is over. Time to restore the republic.

lundi, 26 août 2013

Isolationnisme par dissolution, au soleil de la NSA


Isolationnisme par dissolution, au soleil de la NSA

Ex: http://www.dedefensa.org

Il n’y a rien que l’establishment américaniste ne craigne et ne dénonce plus que l’isolationnisme. Les administrations successives depuis la fin de la guerre froide ont diabolisé avec véhémence cette tendance alors qu’une politique hyper-interventionniste s’est développée, comme on le sait, et particulièrement depuis l’attaque du 11 septembre 2001. Le poaradoxe de cette évolution par rapport aux craintes d’isolationnisme est que cette politique hyper-interventionniste ajoutée aux diverses crises en cours aux USA ont conduit à la pire des crises, qui est la paralysie du pouvoir, et à une situation qui commence à ressembler à une sorte d’“isolationnisme” par défaut. La crise égyptienne a mis cette situation en évidence, aussi bien par la confusion de la politique US qui se complaît dans une absence complète de décision entraînant une perte à mesure d’influence, voire même de présence dans cette crise majeure du Moyen-Orient (voir le 21 août 2013).

Cette crise du pouvoir à Washington se ressent même dans les groupes de pression les plus actifs, et notamment chez les fameux neocons. On retrouve chez eux, mais d’une façon aggravée et dans l’occurrence beaucoup plus importante de la crise égyptienne, la division qu’on avait observée lors de la crise libyenne (voir notamment le 29 mars 2011). Cette fois, ce sont deux dirigeants ou inspirateurs majeurs du mouvement qui s’opposent sur la question égyptienne, avec la fracture que cela entraîne à la fois dans le mouvement et pour son influence : William Kristol et Robert Kagan. Jim Lobe a publié un nouvelle à ce propos le 20 août 2013.

«... Bill Kristol, in a Sunday appearance on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopolous”, crystallized (shall we say) the internal split among neoconservatives over how to react to the military coup and subsequent repression against the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Breaking with his fellow-neoconservative princeling, Robert Kagan (with whom he co-founded the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and its successor, the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), Kristol came out against cutting military aid to Egypt... [...]

»It’s a remarkable moment when the two arguably most influential neocons of their generation disagree so clearly about something as fundamental to US Middle East policy, Israel and democracy promotion. They not only co-founded PNAC and the FPI; in 1996, they also co-authored “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy” in Foreign Affairs, which among other things, advocated “benevolent global hegemony” as the role that Washington should play in the post-Cold War era. But they now appear to have a fundamental disagreement about how that benevolence should be exercised in a strategically significant nation which is also important to Israel’s security.

»Of course, this disagreement highlights once again the fact that democracy promotion is not a core principle of neoconservatism. It also suggests that the movement itself is becoming increasingly incoherent from an ideological point of view. Granted, Kagan considers himself a strategic thinker on the order of a Kissinger or Brzezinski, while Kristol is much more caught up in day-to-day Republican politics and consistently appears to align his views on the Middle East with those of the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Likud-led Israeli Government. But what is especially interesting at this moment is the fact that Sens. John McCain and Lindsay Graham — both leaders of what could be called the neoconservative faction of the Republican Party — are moving into Kagan’s camp.»

Cette division dans le groupe le plus actif et le plus extrémiste pour soutenir l’interventionnisme extérieur conforte la thèse d’un “isolationnisme par défaut” en réduisant d’autant les pressions sur l’administration Obama, justement parce que les neocons ne savent plus que recommander comme type d’action du fait de leur division, eux-mêmes victimes de la même paralysie que celle qui touche l’administration Obama. La situation n’est pas meilleure dans le parti républicain, force habituelle poussant à l’hyper-interventionnisme mais elle aussi divisée ou incertaine sur la politique à suivre. On a déjà souligné le paradoxe d’un McCain, qui, après avoir hésité, s’est prononcé pour la suppression de l’aide de à l’Égypte, se retrouvant ainsi sur la même ligne que son ennemi juré Rand Paul, qui s’affiche clairement de tendance neo-isolationniste et veut la fin de l’aide à l’Égypte selon cette logique. McCain est dans un état proche de la sénilité et il est plus que jamais l’inspirateur de la politique extérieure prônée par le parti républicain. Les quelques appréciations concernant l’état du pouvoir washingtonien de “Spengler”, de ATimes.com, déjà cité le même 21 août 2013, valent d’être reproduites ; elles sont très incisives et très justes à la fois... (Notamment cette très juste remarque que la catastrophique politique égyptienne des USA n’est pas le résultat de l’aveuglement mais de l’impuissance du pouvoir ; notamment cette très juste conclusion que le parti républicain est terrorisé par les néo-isolationnistes type-Rand Paul alors que, finalement, McCain se retrouve sur la même ligne que Rand Paul...)

«America's whimsical attitude towards Egypt is not a blunder but rather a catastrophic institutional failure. President Obama has surrounded himself with a camarilla, with Susan Rice as National Security Advisor, flanked by Valerie Jarrett, the Iranian-born public housing millionaire. Compared to Obama's team, Zbigniew Brzezinski was an intellectual colossus at Jimmy Carter's NSC. These are amateurs, and it is anyone's guess what they will do from one day to the next.

»By default, Republican policy is defined by Senator John McCain, whom the head of Egypt's ruling National Salvation Party dismissed as a “senile old man” after the senator's last visit to Cairo. [...] It doesn't matter what the Republican experts think. Few elected Republicans will challenge McCain, because the voters are sick of hearing about Egypt and don't trust Republicans after the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

»Neither party has an institutional capacity for intelligent deliberation about American interests. Among the veterans of the Reagan and Bush administrations, there are many who understand clearly what is afoot in the world, but the Republican Party is incapable of acting on their advice. That is why the institutional failure is so profound. Republican legislators live in terror of a primary challenge from isolationists like Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), and will defer to the Quixotesque McCain.»

Cette situation est l’objet de critiques à l’intérieur même des bureaucraties de sécurité nationale, notamment du département d’État, notamment de fonctionnaires marquées par leur engagement interventionniste mais aussi par leur position pro-israélienne. C’est ce que détaille un article de Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, senior fellow au Council Foreign Relations, et donc marquant une position approuvée par le puissant CFR. (L’article, sur DefenseOne.com, le 21 août 2013.) Curieusement, l’article ne vaut guère que par l’idée qu’il exprime dans son titre, qui est celle de l’isolationnisme («Whispers in the Ranks that Iraq Has Turned Obama Isolationist to a Fault»). L'analyse, qui porte sur la Syrie, développe des arguments oiseux dans la mesure où les critiques, comme l’ultra-pro-israélien Dennis Ross, voire comme le CFR lui-même, ont eu la même attitude erratique sur la Syrie que celle qu'ils dénoncent dans la politique de l’administration Obama ; la politique de “prudence” US en Syrie est beaucoup plus défendable, du point de vue du système de l’américanisme, que la confusion extraordinaire de Washington dans la crise égyptienne, cette dernière crises avec des enjeux bien plus décisifs pour les USA. La référence à l’Irak (et l’Afghanistan) est également oiseuse («In a recent interview with National Public Radio, a Syrian rebel commander, formerly a Syrian Army colonel, said what many in Washington have whispered: It is “our bad luck” that Syria “has come after Afghanistan and after Iraq.”»). L’Irak (et l’Afghanistan) ne sont pas une cause de l’actuelle paralysie, mais une étape dans la dégradation du pouvoir menant à l’actuelle situation catastrophique du pouvoir washingtonien. Le résultat tel qu’il est présenté est aussi bien catastrophique : cet “isolationnisme par défaut”, qui est certainement une perspective proche de la réalité, n’a aucune des vertus de l’isolationnisme puisqu’il se fait alors que l’“Empire” est engagé partout, désormais sans effets bénéfiques, et qu’il perd son sang (son fric, ses budgets pentagonesques, etc.) dans cet étalage de puissance impuissante...

Cela (“l’actuelle situation catastrophique du pouvoir washingtonien”) étant fixé, nous passons à ce qui semblerait être un tout autre domaine ; pourtant, qui figure dans notre volonté de l'intégrer dans notre analyse comme un prolongement du précédent, et qui pourrait et même devrait être considéré en fait comme une cause fondamentale de l’accélération du précédent. Il s’agit de la grande autre crise de l’été, la crise Snowden/NSA. Un article de Dan Roberts, dans le Guardian de ce 22 août 2013, développe un sentiment profond d’amertume du fait de l’absence de débat, sinon même d’information à la lumière de l’“incident d’Heathrow” (le cas David Miranda, voir le 20 août 2013), de la part de la presse britannique, dans cette crise Snowden/NSA qui est aussi une “crise GCHQ” (“partner” à temps complet et britannique de la NSA) impliquant le Royaume-Uni. Dan Roberts a son explication, qui concerne la différence de mentalité et de goût du débat politique entre les USA, – dont la vertu démocratique reste ainsi sauvegardée, – et le Royaume-Uni. Voici quelques citations de l’article de Roberts, qui relève par ailleurs la stricte vérité quant à l’étonnante faiblesse, sinon quasi-absence, de réactions de la presse britannique essentiellement à l’incident qui est survenu au Guardian de devoir détruire des disques durs du fonds Snowden sous la pression des autorités, – cette violation de la liberté de la presse qui aurait dû conduire à une réaction de solidarité...

«From the moment the first story revealing sweeping surveillance of domestic phone records by the National Security Agency appeared in early June, the Guardian ignited a storm of public and political debate in the US that has been noticeably absent in the UK response to similar revelations about GCHQ spying. Within hours, former vice-president Al Gore declared this "secret blanket surveillance [was] obscenely outrageous", setting the tone for weeks of mounting criticism from both left and right and a series of follow-up investigations that have forced the administration to consider major reforms. [...]

»As saturation media coverage across US television networks, newspapers and websites dominated the news agenda through June and July, the White House was forced to modify its defence of the programmes and Congress prepared to act. On 24 July, more than 200 Congressmen voted in favour of legislation to ban the bulk collection of US telephone records, a narrowly-defeated bill that shocked defenders of the NSA and united libertarians on the right with liberals on the left. Michigan Republican Justin Amash, said he introduced his amendment to the annual Defence Department appropriations bill to "defend the fourth amendment, to defend the privacy of each and every American". A further 11 legislative attempts at reform and improved oversight are expected to dominate Capitol Hill when lawmakers return in September, with some sort of united response seen as inevitable. [...]

»[...I]n contrast to US politicians and officials, there has been very little official acknowledgement that there is a public interest in holding a debate, and much less any sign that something might need to change as a result. Instead home secretary Theresa May has sought to justify the use of draconian laws to detain David Miranda for assisting Guardian journalists in reporting the story by claiming he was carrying “stolen information that could help terrorists”. Former foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind made similar claims that the Guardian had been “helping terrorists” when defending a decision to force the newspaper to destroy certain computers containing Snowden's leaks. The decision was backed by a former civil libertarian deputy prime minister Nick Clegg. [...]

»A so-called D notice was even issued by authorities in London to deter reporting of the original leaks on Fleet Street — something hard to imagine in a US media and political community that has been consumed by the story for three months. In Germany, there was initially more reporting of Miranda's detention at Heathrow and news of Guardian computers being destroyed than where they happened in London. On Tuesday morning it made the lead story on Spiegel, Zeit, Sueddeutsche, Frankfurter Allgemeine websites before anything had appeared on the Telegraph, Times, Mail or BBC websites. A columnist for Speigel suggested it caused less soul-searching at home than in the US or Germany because “Britons blindly and uncritically trust their secret service”»

En dépit de l’apparente différence de champ de réflexion et d’action entre ces deux événements, la politique US dans la crise égyptienne et la crise Snowden/NSA – l’“isolationnisme par défaut” de Washington et l’activisme échevelé autour de la question de la NSA respectivement, – nous allons au contraire établir un lien direct entre les deux événements. Certes, nous suggérions déjà cette idée dans notre texte du 21 août 2013 : «Quant au bloc BAO, finalement, tout s’explique dans le chef de sa paralysie, outre son état chronique qu'on observe : il se trouve plongé si profondément dans un débat sur l’état de lui-même, avec la crise Snowden/NSA, qu’il n’est pas loin d’être, d’une autre façon certes, dans une situation de confusion proche de la situation égyptienne. D’une certaine façon, il en est l’équivalent, encore une fois à sa manière, par rapport à la “décrépitude extraordinaire” de sa propre architecture.» (Et, certes, nous maintenons le cas du bloc BAO, et non pas seulement des USA comme l’article du Guardian le suggère : l’effet de la crise Snowden/USA sur la psychologie américaniste, et la crise qu’enfante cet effet, se répandent nécessairement à tout le bloc BAO ; quant à la “décrépitude extraordinaire”, on admet sans trop de difficultés que c’est celle du bloc dans son ensemble.)

Les spectres épuisent la psychologie

Bien entendu, en bon anglo-saxon qui n’oublie jamais ses dévotions à l’American Dream version-Fleet Street, Dan Roberts attribue in fine le débat extraordinaire que la crise Snowden/NSA a provoqué et ne cesse d’alimenter aux USA à la vertu propre à ce même American Dream : démocratie, transparence, Premier Amendement de la Constitution, We, The People et ainsi de suite. Cela, bien entendu, par contraste avec les aspects quasi-médiévaux dans l’obscurantisme de l’establishment britannique, qui ne peut être fustigé par les Anglo-Saxons que lorsqu’il permet de valoriser d’autant l’American Dream. L’air est connu, la chanson aussi.

Ce n’est pas du tout notre appréciation, même si nous acceptons l’idée que cette supposée “vertu” de l’American Dream a son utilité, mais comme moyen et comme outil de circonstance offerts par le conformisme américaniste, nullement comme fin. Le fond du débat extraordinaire qu’a ouvert la crise Snowden/NSA, c’est la réalisation extrêmement concrète, extrêmement réaliste, de ce qu’est exactement la NSA (et, plus, par extension, on le verra plus loin en retrouvant la crise égyptienne). Nous avons souvent épilogué là-dessus et ne manquons jamais d’y revenir, en faisant de la NSA (et du reste) cette entité qui n’est pas loin d’être une égrégore, qui est hors de tout contrôle humain, et dont on découvre qu’elle est sur une pente à la fois catastrophique et eschatologique qui met en cause le Système lui-même, ou bien qui fait douter inconsciemment du Système lui-même. Cette prise de conscience, c’est l’important, touche d’abord l’establishment lui-même, cet outil du Système, comme on le voit par la vigueur du débat qui est le fait de cet establishment et nullement du public, de la question des 99% contre les 1% à l’occurrence du vote de la Chambre. L’idée de cette dangerosité ultime de l’évolution de ce qui est le produit du Système (la NSA et le reste), de sa perversité qui le fait évoluer entre surpuissance et autodestruction hors de tout contrôle possible, se répand et est exprimée sans ambages. On peut le lire, par exemple, dans le chef de Simon Jenkins qui, s’il a une plume parfois alerte et audacieuse, n’en est pas moins un commentateur-Système au sein de la presse-Système. (Le 21 août 2013, dans le Guardian.)

«Last week in Washington, Congressional investigators discovered that the America's foreign intelligence surveillance court, a body set up specifically to oversee the NSA, had itself been defied by the agency “thousands of times”. It was victim to "a culture of misinformation" as orders to destroy intercepts, emails and files were simply disregarded; an intelligence community that seems neither intelligent nor a community commanding a global empire that could suborn the world's largest corporations, draw up targets for drone assassination, blackmail US Muslims into becoming spies and haul passengers off planes.

»Yet like all empires, this one has bred its own antibodies. The American (or Anglo-American?) surveillance industry has grown so big by exploiting laws to combat terrorism that it is as impossible to manage internally as it is to control externally. It cannot sustain its own security. Some two million people were reported to have had access to the WikiLeaks material disseminated by Bradley Manning from his Baghdad cell. Snowden himself was a mere employee of a subcontractor to the NSA, yet had full access to its data. The thousands, millions, billions of messages now being devoured daily by US data storage centres may be beyond the dreams of Space Odyssey's HAL 9000...»

Notre appréciation et notre hypothèse sont que la puissance du débat est telle aux USA, et le bouleversement qu’il implique par conséquent, que l'un et l'autre affectent profondément les psychologies et donnent ainsi aux jugements une aire nouvelle où se former. (Cette sorte de démarche privilégiant l'importance de la psychologie n’est certes pas conforme aux capacités planificatrices et rationnelles que certains prêtent au Système, mais elle permet d’éviter le piège de la naïveté de croire que cet artefact de surpuissance puisse accorder quelque attention que ce soit aux vertus subtiles de la raison et de l’organisation théorique des événements.) Dans cette circonstance, le cas de la NSA n’est plus exceptionnel, il devient exemplaire. Il devient le cas beaucoup plus général de la communauté de sécurité nationale ou de la communauté sécuritaire, du complexe militaro-industriel, du National Security State ou du Global Surveillance/Security System, c’est-à-dire de tout ce qui fait la substance même à la fois du Système, du système de l’américanisme, et de tout ce qui en découle. Le débat met en avant des spectres aussi terrifiants que celui de la destruction de la NSA, avec des effets irréparables sur le complexe-militaro-industriel, ou bien au contraire, et ceci et cela dans une même appréhension, dans un même jugement, le spectre de la destruction du système de l’américanisme par le Système, ou de la destruction des deux par les monstres qu’ils ont enfantés.

Tout cela, perçu par une psychologie déjà épuisée par une continuité crisique sans précédent, de thème en thème avec aucun qui ne soit résolu, au moins depuis 2008, et notamment avec la crise centrale du pouvoir washingtonien, tout cela qui fait craindre désormais une issue fatale épuise encore plus cette psychologie déjà épuisée. L’effet se fait alors sentir sur les politiques, et notamment, pour ce qui nous intéresse, sur la politique égyptienne des USA (du bloc BAO), qui représente si parfaitement la complexités, les contradictions, la production systématique d’effets antagonistes, de tout ce qui a été conduit depuis des années dans cette région, alors que l’enjeu égyptien est d’une si considérable importance d’un point de vue US (bien plus que l‘enjeu syrien, répétons-le). Le désordre engendré par la politique qui se prétendait maîtresse du désordre qu’elle provoquait et continue à provoquer, jusqu’à affirmer qu’il s’agissait d’une stratégie dissimulée pleine de génie (“le désordre créateur”), finit par toucher la substance de la politique elle-même et la psychologie de ceux qui osent à peine prétendre encore la conduire, – le désordre paralysant de la politique, et l’épuisement de la psychologie par le désordre paralysant de la politique. On comprend que la crise Snowden/NSA telle qu’on l’a décrite vienne là-dessus comme le coup de grâce.

Cette perception d’une psychologie épuisée face à des événements qu’on ne comprend plus, face aux outils de la surpuissance qu’on ne contrôle plus et qui semblent vivre de leur propre vie en menaçant de devenir autodestruction pure, cette perception conduit directement à la paralysie des volontés, à l’atonie des décisions. Le substitut se trouve dans le discours verbeux d’un vieillard en visite au Caire ou dans l’enquête sans fin menée autour du concept de “coup”, dans une réflexion du type “to be or not to be a coup”. L’attitude d’un Obama, celle d’un McCain, le désarroi des neocons, le désordre complet des classements selon les circonstances (McCain au côté d’un Rand Paul, en néo-isolationniste de circonstance !), conduisent à des extensions de non-politiques paralysées productrices de situations qui ne peuvent être décrites que comme des anathèmes pour le Système, – l’isolationnisme par défaut, dans ce cas... Désormais, tout est dans tout et inversement comme diraient les Dupond-Dupont (bonne orthographe), ce qui facilite l’évaluation de la situation ; aucune crise n’échappe aux effets de chaque autre crise, et ainsi s’avance majestueusement la structuration décisive de la crise d’effondrement du Système.