Saturday, December 18, 2010

Empire against Republic: What explains the neocon rage against Wikileaks?

AEI and the neocons accuse Assange and wikileaks of being dangerous anarchists, but this is a case of Freudian projection. They are the anarchists. The reason they are so upset is that they believe deeply in the kind of unchecked executive power that is associated with the rise of a globally extended national security state. Empires, global spheres of influence and international affairs operate in an environment of political anarchy. Running an empire requires an army of diplomats and spies who have to strategically manipulate access to information, make opportunistic deals with unsavory foreign rulers, prop up favored puppets and undermine others, all with the threat of military force hanging over the process. The tension between republic and empire has been true since the time of the Romans. Many in the U.S. foreign policy and military establishments believe that public oversight is a nuisance in such operations; indeed, the most hard core imperialists openly contend that they are impossible to reconcile. The foreign policy hard-liners want both untrammeled power to surveill the public and complete insulation from any reciprocal surveillance of their activities.

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