Another Dylan Insight
In 1963 Bob Dylan penned one of his masterpieces, a song called Only a Pawn in Their Game. The song was about the assassination of civil rights activist Medgar Evers in Jackson Mississippi. Evers was killed by Byron De La Beckwith on June 12, 1963. In his song Dylan painted a picture of De La Beckwith as simply a pawn in the game of the authorities who stoked up racial hatred so that lower class whites would ignore what the power structure was doing to the underclass. Dylan was painting a picture of class division and domination masked by racial hatred.
The song was somewhat controversial as Dylan strongly suggested that the killer was not really to blame as he was just “a pawn in their game”. I doubt that if pressed Dylan would deny the moral agency of the man who pulled the trigger and killed Evers, yet his main point still stands. The white power structure was ripping off the lower classes. True, much of that rip off was racially based as the whites at the top of the pyramid were racists. Yet, both lower class whites and blacks were the victims of this power structure that so unrighteously lined its pockets at the expense of those at the bottom. It is the age-old tactic of pitting one group against another in such a way that the real parasites walk away without being noticed. All of it is a distraction, the way the great and powerful Oz wanted you to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
This insight of Dylan can be well applied to the situation today regarding U.S. foreign policy, especially as it pertains to the U.S. proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. The vitriol directed at those who question this policy is stunning. It is greater than the anger directed at those opponents of the Global War on Terror immediately after 9/11. It must feel somewhat like being an opponent to U.S. participation in WWII. Opponents of the war are being called treasonous and traitors, among other epithets. All this over a conflict that the U.S. is not officially a part of (of course the U.S. really is), in a part of the world that is far removed from U.S. borders but right on Russia’s border. This picture serves as a reminder of how existentially unimportant Ukraine is to any legitimate U.S. defense needs:
Let’s now take a good look at the man behind the curtain and ask some impertinent questions.
Cui Bono (Who Benefits)
The first, best question to ask regarding any government policy is who benefits. There are always discrete groups who benefit from any governmental policy, otherwise the government would not undertake said policy. So, as it pertains to Ukraine, who benefits? First, there are the government employees, political appointees and contractors who sell things to the government. In this case, it is the defense industry. It should hardly be considered a conspiracy to refer to this as the military-industrial complex. One can scarcely call Dwight Eisenhower a conspiracy nut, lest we forget he was the one who named this complex.
Second, finance capital and the banking class greatly benefit from both increased U.S. government spending as well as the inflation that must follow in the wake of this spending. This is true both domestically and internationally. The ability to manipulate the monetary process and gather in the newly created money first before the general price level rises is the sine qua non of finance capital and represents the main means this economic class has of ripping off the rest of society.
Both discrete groups are deeply connected to the government, and it does not matter whether Republicans or Democrats are in power. These groups have the financial and organizational resources to pressure the government with a small army of lobbyists, offering all kinds of “support” to these political figures. Not only that, but these also nominally “private” sector institutions provide a safe and lucrative place for politicians and staffers to revolve into, in between governmental gigs. This clip lets the curtain slip just a bit and gives great insight into this phenomenon. One does not need to dig too deep to see who clearly benefits from U.S. imperial interventions around the globe.
Cui Malo (Who Loses)
The losers in this violent imperial game are just about everybody else. First, the lower classes who work for wages lose out egregiously. If the banking class is getting something for nothing, then the lower classes are getting nothing for something. All this governmental activity, especially the inflation of the money supply, starves the real economy of the capital (tools) needed to create sustainable real increases in wages and income. Made up money flows to the banking centers and away from manufacturing and other industries which could use that capital to enable workers to produce more and better goods and services.
Before you listen to someone claim that those defense jobs provide income to many, consider the sheer waste of digging up resources from the ground, bending them into the shapes of weapons and shipping them overseas to be blown up. How does that help any average person.
Then there are the foreign victims of the U.S. empire. The countless hundreds of thousands who fall victim to U.S. fueled wars. Ukraine is only the latest, and particularly egregious example. The U.S. pouring gasoline on this dumpster fire has killed an untold number and displaced millions and wrecked the society that once was Ukraine (not at all to take any moral responsibility away from Russia). The point is that without U.S. support Ukraine would have cut a deal before the invasion ever started and dealt with Russia’s need for Ukrainian neutrality (like the U.S. would need Mexico to be similarly neutral). It is only the U.S. imperial desire to see Russia weakened that has kept the slaughter of innocents continuing the way that it has.
Then there is the rising possibility that we could all lose if either Russia or the U.S. makes a miscalculation, and this conflict goes nuclear. Then the losses will be in the billions of people and perhaps all human civilization goes with it. So, the losers in this can scarcely be added up with a mainframe computer, while the winners from this are a small cabal of politically connected parasites. The question arises, how does this small cabal pull it off.
They do it with distractions and lies. They do it by turning all the losers into pawns in their game. The way the white ruling class turned lower class whites against blacks in the South to distract them from the fact they were losers in that game, is the same formula that the empire uses today.
It is not race but nationality that drives the hatred. We just gotta hate them Ruskies! They are defined as nearly genetically predisposed to war, lying and violence. The corporate media (also privy to its own revolving door with the government) is enlisted to define the terms of the discussion. Pure good and evil are the two groups here, with the U.S. good and the Ruskies evil.
The distractions are based on a well-used formula of lies. This was best put forth by the political scientist John Mearsheimer. He postulated 5 basic lies that governments engage in. The U.S. government is using at least 4 (possibly not using interstate lies to other governments).
The first lie is fearmongering. Almost without question the U.S. is claiming that Putin wants to conquer western Europe, as if an economy the size of Italy’s could run the table to the English Channel. I dealt with these issues here and here. Exaggerating fears is part and parcel of the sting operation. Your enemies are all ten feet tall and near completely dominant; therefore, we must strike now.
The second lie employed is cover-ups. The government simply distorts reality and claims that what happened did not or that something did happen that did not. Two relatively recent examples will suffice. The Gulf of Tonkin incident whereby the North Vietnamese attacked the U.S. One of the alleged attacks was pure fabrication, yet this was the justification for U.S. escalation of the Vietnam war. Then there is the whole “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq. Except there were none, and the government knew it. I could fill libraries with these types of lies but you get the point. What the government is covering up here is the true nature of the Ukrainian regime, which is little better than Russia. If we survive all this it will all come out in due course, yet by then the empire will be on to the next lie.
The third lie is that of nationalist creation myths. We are a God anointed force for good, put here on the earth to right all wrong and bend history to the good. This is a deeply embedded U.S. creation myth. Never mind black chattel slavery or native American genocide, or the land we took from the Mexicans-the myth must be preserved. These are the lies all nations tell themselves about their founding and their “purpose” on earth. It serves as a convenient justification and fallback, especially when things go awry-like with Vietnam or Iraq. Sure, we make mistakes, but we are a force for good. If U.S. history is assumed to be God anointed, yet almost the entirety of actual U.S. history is clearly at odds with this myth, then we must conclude that the “exceptions” are in fact, the norm.
The fourth lie employed is that of “liberal” lies. This is like the nationalist myth making lie. All the wars we fight are good and the way we conduct ourselves is just and righteous. Like that the U.S. was justified in all it did in WWII. You know like intentionally targeting innocent civilians in a terror war campaign. Or that the U.S. really did not slaughter innocents in every war it waged. It is all a justification of whatever current war is being waged. Our side is always justified, and any atrocities are ignored, or lied away.
While it is true that all nations engage in these lies, God put me here in this nation, so it is here that I can have any impact at all. Anyway, the U.S. is by far the most powerful nation on earth and therefore the biggest threat to peace, so its lies are to be given special attention.
All these lies serve to stir up hatred, and animosity toward the “other”. This serves to distract from what is going on and who is really benefitting. To the extent that people allow themselves to be caught up in this they are pawns in the game. While I am most antagonistic toward those who perpetuate these lies and the violence those lies support, I will not let off the hook the rest of society. People become pawns in this game by choice. I possess no special insight. I have a search engine, a Kindle account, and a desire to learn. That is all that is needed to look at history and our world today and clearly see the man behind the curtain. We may not be able to change the course of events, but then again, we will never be able to unless we try. Anyone can find out these things. We all possess the ability to cease being pawns in their game, which was the point Dylan was making so long ago. We simply need to make the effort. Considering all that God has given us, that effort seems the least we can do in response.
Praise Be to God