Tuesday, 06 April 2021 00:40

Deep Fake Politics: Getting Adam Curtis Out of Your Head

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Aaron Good shares Part 1 of his review of Adam Curtis’ Can’t Get You Out of My Head, which examines the problems with Curtis’ view of postwar US hegemony and his obscurantist tendencies regarding US monetary policy and international finance.

Filmmaker Adam Curtis is a strange figure. He is a skilled film-maker with a unique—if by now cliché—style. His films delve into areas often ignored by “mainstream” media. In that way, he appears to be someone who explores deep politics, the term Peter Scott coined to describe “all those political practices and arrangements, deliberate or not, which are usually repressed rather than acknowledged.”[1] However, as someone steeped in deep political scholarship, Curtis’ omissions and distortions are glaring and egregious. These flaws are very much on display in his latest BBC series, Can’t Get You Out of My Head (hereafter CGYOMH).

The series is eight hours long and, as such, this review will focus on select key areas—specifically those related to Curtis’ tendentious approach to issues and historical episodes that fall within the realm of deep politics. These topics include his approach to Western finance, his dismissal or obfuscation of state crimes/elite conspiracies, as well as his smug and derisive approach to the West’s enemies du jour (most notably China and Russia). A recurring theme is the fecklessness of Adam Curtis in terms of identifying villainous actors and how they might be confronted for the benefit of humanity. Eventually, this multi-part review will conclude with an assessment of his work and what it reveals about his politics. At the risk of spoiling the conclusion, CGYOMH and Curtis’ other trippy films offer the audience not an illuminating “red pill,” but rather a BBC-approved red placebo.

Curtis opens CGYOMH with a quote from David Graeber: “The ultimate hidden truth of the world is that it is something that we make and could just as easily make differently.” I have some admiration of Graeber, but I find him an odd choice for Curtis to quote given Graeber’s left-anarchism and Curtis’ carefully contrived “apolitical” posture. Said Curtis to an interviewer, “People often accuse me of being a lefty. That’s complete rubbish. If you look at The Century of the Self, what I’m arguing is something very close to a neo-conservative position.”[2] He also said, “If you ask me what my politics are…I don’t really have any.”[3] Of course, being anti-left is not apolitical, but I digress.

The world “is something that we make.” This formulation might be useful in a poetic sense. It is obviously a pithy restatement of humanism. Human societies have been created by humans. The ultimate truth of, say, an anthill is that it is made by ants and ants could just as easily make it differently. Unfortunately, and as Graeber would likely agree, the story of civilization is not a rosy tale of shared sacrifice and shared rewards. Civilization has always been predicated on hierarchy—on expropriation and exploitation. Civilization only advanced thanks to exploited persons, the fruits of whose labor allowed others to engage in other activities besides acquiring food. That said, as material capacity improves, civilization offers the means for enlightened progress.

This fundamental, unresolved contradiction of human civilization should be at the center of any deep investigation into fundamental systemic problems. Alas, this is not the case for CGYOMH. Unlike Curtis, I don’t feel a need to disingenuously claim that I have no perspective on politics and/or history. If pressed, I would describe myself not as a Marxist, but as a Millsian, i.e., a scholar working in the tradition of the sociologist C. Wright Mills. That said, in 2021, it is harder to gainsay Marx’s overarching critiques of capitalism and class structure across time and space. Even Plato, centuries earlier, recognized much of this—though he deemed his insights so dangerous that he used fictional sock puppets like Socrates and Thrasymachus to make his points. Plato’s hypothetical myth of the metals was an acknowledgement of the necessity for stratification—and for the myths that must be deployed to obscure the injustice of it all. Similarly, the allegory of the cave can easily be read as an elitist argument for the technocratic manufacture of consent. Plato, by this reckoning, acknowledged the primacy of class…and saw it as desirable, or at least unavoidable.

However, as stated above, civilization also offers redemption through enlightenment—the presumptuous control of our fate by way of human reason. My own study of deep politics has led me to conclude that under US hegemony, Western “liberal democracy” has failed to fulfill the promise of the Enlightenment. More precisely: state secrecy, the extreme concentration of politico-economic power, and high criminality have created a despotic anti-democratic system of top-down governance. We live under a political regime obscured and protected by the totalizing corruption and/or co-opt-a-tion of the liberal institutions that supposedly allow for democratic sovereignty. For us to arrive at solutions to our civilization’s crises, we must understand how and why we have arrived at this juncture. Such an undertaking requires a historical narrative. A narrative is, of course “a story,” something that Curtis repeatedly tells viewers is very dangerous. He repeatedly makes some variation of this claim throughout his own films, i.e., through his own stories.

Curtis and “His Story”

There are major problems with Curtis’ history, in particular his historical rendering of postwar US hegemony. In the 1950’s, C. Wright Mills wrote about two ideal types of history—drift vs. conspiracy. The older version of history as drift was history as “fate” or “The Unseen Hand.” This is tantamount to imagining the tale of Oedipus as something of an allegory for human history. The contemporary social science version of this is history as “drift” wherein innumerable human decisions collectively produce historical outcomes that no person or persons could have controlled.[4] Wrote Mills, the “view that all is blind drift is largely a fatalist projection of one’s own impotence, [or] a salve of one’s guilt.” The problem with this perspective is not all historical moments are so anarchic. What if the circle of elites with decisive history-making power is rather narrow and centralized, and what if the decisions of these elites are of great consequence? In such a context, history-making power may rest within circles of actors that are known or at least knowable.[5]

Mills’ second problematic ideal type imagines history as “conspiracy.” This perspective maintains that history plays out along lines determined by compact sets of villains or heroes. Such views represent the failure to attempt the more challenging task of grappling with the ways in which evolving social structures provide opportunities to an elite of power which may or may not capitalize on them. Argued Mills, “To accept either view—of all history as conspiracy or all history as drift—is to relax the effort to understand the facts of power and the ways of the powerful.”[6]

To restate: both ideal types—drift and conspiracy—are flawed. Elites do collaborate in the creation of history-making decisions, but they do so within various structural, historical, and institutional contexts. As Mills pointed out, the postwar US power elite were “Commanders of power unequaled in human history.”[7] In social science terms, the historical ideal types of drift/conspiracy are analogous to issues of structure/agency. How much can various outcomes be explained by structural factors or by human agency? Both factors can have more or less weight in different situations.

The overwhelming postwar material power of the US vis-à-vis the rest of the world was a structural fact. That structural reality bequeathed to US policymakers tremendous agency—agency that was deployed to create the structure of the international capitalist system. This is structural power,[8] i.e., “agency of the highest order.”[9] Curtis fails to adequately examine just how and why postwar US elites successfully wielded this structural power to establish the subsequent liberal imperial order. Instead, he repeatedly focuses on marginal characters or bureaucrats or technocrats or those whose ideas inform various actors at the middle levels of power. In this way, Curtis time and again obscures the elite origins of the various ideas and techniques deployed by middling actors to serve power. Curtis thus functions as something of an anti-Mills, ignoring the sociologist’s assertion that a “master task” for intellectuals should be: “To confront the new facts of history-making in our time, and their meaning for the problem of political responsibility.” Curtis does the opposite, but in a stylish and disorienting way which serves to conceal his propagandistic function.

This is not to state that he does so intentionally; I am agnostic on that score. However, if Curtis suddenly abandoned his myopia toward the power elite, he would likely find that he was no longer welcome on the BBC and his work would not likely be reviewed favorably by the prestige media.

CGYOMH and the “American Century”

Given the systemic crises that Curtis explores in CGYOMH, he would have been wise to devote some of the film’s eight-hour run-time to the origins of the US-led world order whose present decrepitude he documents. During and after World War II, there were debates over what to do with America’s historically singular position of unrivaled dominance. Wall Street’s Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) wanted an “American Century,” i.e., hegemony over the international capitalist system. Daniel Ellsberg aptly terms this covert empire—empire that does not acknowledge and actively obscures (to the extent possible) its imperialism.[10] This global imperialist turn was opposed by some at the time, most famously Henry Wallace, FDR’s vice president. Opposing the “American Century” proposed by CFR man Henry Luce,” Wallace instead called for a “Century of the Common Man” in which,

No nation will have the God-given right to exploit other nations. Older nations will have the privilege to help younger nations get started on the path to industrialization, but there must be neither military nor economic imperialism. The methods of the 19th century will not work in the people’s century which is now about to begin.[11]

Wallace’s defeat may have been inevitable. The forces driving US imperialism conspired against him at the 1944 Democratic convention. As Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick describe in The Untold History of the United States, he was dropped from the Democratic ticket despite being the second most popular US politician at the time—behind only Franklin Roosevelt himself. Progressive internationalism was abandoned. Instead, the only viable foreign policy positions were confined to “containment” or “rollback”—both products of men in the service of Establishment scion Dean Acheson—respectively, George Kennan[12] and Paul Nitze.[13]

The CIA was created with communism as its ostensible foil. Behind the scenes, the Agency was created largely at the behest of Wall Street forces.[14] Though the US did preside over a process postwar “decolonization,” the Cold War served as cover for neocolonialism—the preservation of colonial economic relationships without formal colonization. By 2021, it should be obvious that—because of the historical continuity it represents—the Cold War offered a massive structural pretext for neocolonialism. How much difference is there between early 20th century US imperialism, the Cold War, and the post-Cold War era? Think of the earliest so-called “banana republics,” the Cold War CIA Operation PBSUCCESS which overthrew Guatemalan democracy at the behest of United Fruit, the 1964 coup in Brazil, or the 21st century “lawfare” coups in Brazil which took Dilma Rousseff and Lula de Silva out of politics. It is one of the straighter lines that can be found in history and social science.

While discussing many episodes involving covert operations and foreign policy debacles, Curtis largely ignores the driving, discernable corporate interests. These interests animated the CIA at its inception and throughout its existence. The pithy truism that “the CIA is capitalism’s invisible army” goes unacknowledged—the implication being that these criminogenic organizations are just more examples of the misadventures of misguided technocrats possessed of troublesome ideas.

Monetary Myopia

On money and finance, CGYOMH is at its obscurantist worst. Curtis acknowledges that in 1971 Nixon ended Bretton Woods, though he doesn’t name it. CGYOMH does explain that the period of fixed exchange rates was ended. Curtis also doesn’t adequately explain the crucial fact that while the soft gold standard of Bretton Woods was abandoned, the dollar was not. Once this post-Bretton Woods regime was consolidated, it allowed the US to run historically unprecedented balance-of-payments deficits without suffering inflation. The dollar and the US Treasury Bill replaced the role formerly played by gold, but without the limitations imposed by the scarcity of Gold. This “gave the US the Rumpelstiltskinian power to create credit that the rest of the world would have to treat as being ‘as good as gold.’”[15] It is hard to overstate the extent to which the establishment of this regime represented both the use and acquisition of enormous structural power for the US.

It was Vietnam War spending that created the deficits that killed Bretton Woods.[16] In CGYOMH, Curtis states flatly that Vietnam caused the economic problems and the inflation of the 1970’s. However, chronological correlation does not imply causation. The Vietnam era was an economic boom period for the US. There was indeed a dollar glut in foreign banks which necessitated systemic adjustment, but this could have been addressed in different ways. Instead, it was resolved by closing the gold window and later by way of the “oil shocks.” The explosion in the price of oil did cause some economic problems for the US public. But here again, Curtis errs on the side of obfuscating conspiratorial elite malfeasance. He states that in 1973, Middle Eastern leaders “decided to use oil as a weapon…to force America to stop supporting Israel.” But as Gowan[17] and Varoufakis[18] point out, this explanation was essentially a cover story. The explanation Curtis puts forward,

…runs counter to logic and evidence. For if the Nixon administration had truly opposed the oil price hikes, how are we to explain the fact that its closest allies, the Shah of Iran, President Suharto of Indonesia and the Venezuelan government, not only backed the increases but led the campaign to bring them about? How are we to account for the administration’s scuttling of the Tehran negotiations between the oil companies and OPEC just before an agreement was reached that would have depressed oil prices?[19]

This is further corroborated by the former Saudi oil minister, Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, who told The Guardian that,

I am 100 per cent sure that the Americans were behind the increase in the price of oil. The oil companies were in real trouble at that time; they had borrowed a lot of money and they needed a high oil price to save them.[20]

The Shah of Iran—a CIA-installed dictator—told Yamani, “Why are you against the increase in the price of oil? That is what they want? Ask Henry Kissinger—he is the one who wants a higher price.”[21] In addition, secret Saudi agreements with the Nixon administration established that the kingdom would use oil revenues to buy US Treasury bills at special auctions,[22] and that Saudis would only sell oil in US dollars.[23]

The final gambit to cement the post-Bretton Woods regime was the massive increase in interest rates. Bowing to David Rockefeller’s advice, Jimmy Carter tapped Paul Volcker to chair the Federal Reserve. Volcker then drastically raised interest rates. Though this was harmful to much of the US public, it served to stabilize the global financial system in such a way as to secure for the US the most “exorbitant privilege” in world history—ownership of the global reserve currency backed by nothing.

The takeaway here is that Curtis is wrong on a crucial matter when he states in the third episode of CGYOMH that Nixon created a new global monetary system “by accident” and that the OPEC nations and Western bankers had themselves created an economic system beyond the control of politicians. In fact, the US government actually had enormous control over the monetary system, as well as the historically unprecedented ability to run massive to budget deficits to address any priority or social problem. This enormous economic power has studiously not been utilized for the benefit of most Americans. Through massive obfuscation of the true nature of American structural power over the global economy, the US public has been kept largely ignorant of the democratic state’s abdication of controlling authority over the domestic and international monetary system. This can be described as a central manifestation of American antisocialism—the prevailing US tendency to crush democratic political forces which would subordinate capital to human society rather than vice versa e.g. Wallace, and Bernie Sanders.

In 1978, Paul Volcker—one of the first officials to call for the abandonment of Bretton-Woods—gave a speech admitting that, faced with collapse of Bretton Woods, the US privileged the retention of “freedom of action for national policy” over the creation “of a stable international system.” This speech was delivered shortly before Volcker’s appointment by Jimmy Carter to chair the Federal Reserve. In this same speech, Volcker stated that “controlled disintegration in the world economy is a legitimate objective for the 1980’s.”[xxiv] How did this play out? The enormous volume of petrodollars that flowed into US banks allowed for massive loans to the formerly colonized nations of the Global South. By the mid-1970’s, these nations were extremely vulnerable to any increase in interest rates. The massive Volcker interest rate hike led to the Third World debt crisis.[25] Writes Varafoukis,

The IMF happily offered to lend money to governments for the purposes of repaying the Western Banks, but at an exorbitant price: the dismantling of much of their public sector, the shrinking of the newly founded state institutions, and the wholesale transfer of valuable public assets to Western companies. [The] crisis was the colonized world’s second historic disaster…from which most Third World countries have never quite recovered. [It all] proved more effective in destroying the enemies of US foreign policy around the globe than any military operation the US could ever mount.[26]

The consolidation of this monetary regime was manifest in the so-called “Washington Consensus.” It was in this context that China entered as a major actor in the world economy. Here again, Curtis errs in such a way as to obscure Western imperialism and elite perfidy while conveniently depicting the West’s adversaries in a harsh light. In the fifth episode of CGYOMH, Curtis addresses the Asia crisis of 1997 and 1998. He discusses how a speculative bubble burst, resulting in capital flight and severe economic downturns for the effected countries. He states that the IMF tried to help, but (surprise!) their prescriptions just made things worse. Curtis even shows Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad denouncing the Western powers behind the corruption of global financial markets.

However, the film fails to mention that Malaysia weathered this crisis remarkably well by doing the exact opposite of what the US-dominated IMF prescribed: the country enacted stringent capital controls to prevent capital flight that would have destroyed the country’s currency and thus its economy. Since this goes unmentioned, there is no need to explore the probability that these misguided IMF measures actually enrich Western economic interests through the impoverishment of other countries—by design.

The Chinese Culprits

After this myopic and obscurantist discussion of the Asia crisis, Curtis turns to his favorite bête noire, China. As Curtis describes it, Jiang Zemin—apparently a unitary actor with sole command over the Chinese state—decided that China would recycle its dollar surpluses into US treasury bills in order to keep its currency weak. This boosted China’s exports and strengthened the US dollar. China’s policy also allowed the US to keep interest rates low, flooding the US with cheap credit which would allow US citizens to buy even more goods produced by the scheming Chinese. This allows Curtis to essentially blame China for the bubble economy that emerged in the US, leading the poor Americans into “a protective dream world that was increasingly detached from the reality outside.” But as Michel Hudson often speaks and writes about, and as is delineated above, the system was designed to make surplus countries do exactly what the Chinese were doing: recycle dollars into US treasuries.[27] Cue Curtis’ nutty footage of a confused-looking George W. Bush walking around in a blue Zhongshan suit.

If surplus countries like China do not invest in US treasuries, their currency will rise in value and damage their export economies. This demonstrates the remarkable fact that the US is able to dominate the global economy through its position as the biggest debtor in human history. Furthermore, for all the “free trade” mythology about the US, the country has refused to allow the Chinese to invest those dollars in key US companies. For example, the US government quashed a Chinese bid to acquire the oil company, Unocal, for $18.4 billion.[28]

It is absurd for Curtis to suggest that Chinese machinations are responsible for the various speculative bubbles in the US economy. And it is risible to imply that the dystopian George W. Bush years were also somehow related to devious Chinese plots. In fact, China is well aware that by helping finance America’s massive military budget, the country is financing its own military encirclement. The Chinese are increasingly looking for ways to escape the dollar system without destabilizing their economy. The mandarins of US imperialism are acutely aware of this and have explicitly called for making sure that China cannot do any such thing. The US/NATO imperial brain trust known as the Atlantic Council recently issued a manifesto entitled “The Longer Telegram.” This is a straight steal from George Kennan’s 1946 Long Telegram, which explained the policy of containment toward the USSR. This time the warning is about China’s ambition to “undermine US dominance of the global financial system and the status of the US dollar as the global reserve currency.” The paper called for policymakers to “protect the global status of the US dollar.”[29]

In 2003, US President George W. Bush—or Xiao Bushi (Little Bush), as the Chinese call him—launched the Iraq War. US leaders, as Curtis would have it, were presumably influenced in part by the dream-like state that China had contrived to addle the usually sensible and peaceful Americans. Curtis notes that while Vietnam caused inflation and political unrest, the Iraq War produced no such effects. Why? China, of course. With their nefarious purchasing of US Treasuries, CGYOMH implies, the Chinese have forestalled and/or sabotaged the political reckoning that liberal democracy is designed to produce.

As for the lack of political unrest caused by Iraq—which really is not true, but let us grant it for the sake of argument—a responsible commentator might want to mention that unlike the Vietnam era, there were no Americans drafted to fight in Iraq. Additionally, the US waged the Vietnam War as the hegemon of the Bretton Woods system. Due to that system’s gold peg, the astronomical war spending did impact the US economy. With historic high-handedness and imperial hubris, the US defaulted on its obligations by unilaterally discarding Bretton Woods. Said Secretary Treasury John Connolly at the time (yes, that John Connolly), “It’s our currency, but it’s your problem.”[30]

So while Curtis would like to blame China for US irresponsibility, the obvious fact is that it wasn’t China, but the post-Bretton Woods petrodollar/US Treasury-bill standard[31] that allowed the US to prosecute the Iraq War without experiencing the disastrous economic consequences that nations historically suffer after launching expensive military adventures. It was this same dynamic that allowed Reagan to slash taxes for the rich while exploding the military budget. This is why Dick Cheney famously said, “Deficits don’t matter.” He was largely correct, but this obviously belies the GOP/neoliberal Democrat austerity consensus, so it went substantively unexplored by the press.

The Sub-Prime Crisis, Adam Curtis-Style

As we should expect by the final episode of CGYOMY, Curtis does not handle the sub-prime crash very well either. Those foolish bankers and technocrats thought their data modelling and algorithms could effectively manage all risk. On the ground, this led to massive amounts of unrepayable loans being made to poor people who couldn’t pay it back. While Curtis does reveal the scandalous fact that the massive bank losses were transferred to the public domain, he does not reveal to his audience that the government could have bailed out homeowners for a fraction of the cost of bailing out the fraudulent banks. Writes Michael Hudson:

You hear no talk from Mr. Paulson or Mr. Bernanke about bailing out homeowners by writing down their debts to match their ability to pay. This is what economies have done from time immemorial. Instead, the Republicans—along with their allied Wall Street Democrats—have chosen to bail out investors in junk mortgages presently far exceeding the debtor’s ability to pay, and far in excess of the current (or reasonable) market price. The Treasury and Fed have opted to keep fictitious capital claims alive, forgetting the living debtors saddled with exploding adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) and toxic “negative amortization” mortgages that keep adding on the interest (and penalties) to the existing above-market balance.[32]

The result of the sub-prime bailouts was a massive upward shift of wealth and millions of evictions across the US. JP Morgan reportedly said that in an economic downturn, capital “return[s] to its rightful owners.” Firms like Blackstone benefitted from the American state’s largesse toward finance and the penury of former homeowners by buying up massive amounts of foreclosed properties. In 2020, Fortune reported that Blackstone had become “the world’s biggest corporate landlord,” with control of property worth a collective $325 billion.[33]

Given these outcomes, it begs the question as to whether or not those at the pinnacle of wealth and power really would consider the affair to be a terrible mistake. While the crisis was devastating for the US public, high finance benefitted enormously. Banks made vast profits through control fraud as the bubble expanded. After all, loans created essentially out of thin air are what banks “sell.” Huge bonuses were paid on the basis of fraudulent lending practices. While the public may be ignorant of the structural power bequeathed by the Petrodollar/US T-Bill Standard, the people who run the Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, and the Too-Big-to-Fail/Jail banks are most certainly aware. The last scene of the film Margin Call neatly illustrates this protective scheme as Jeremy Irons says the crash will not hurt his company that much since the federal government will bail them out, which, in large part, they did.

The opacity of the higher circles means that we are never likely to know the extent to which the subprime crisis, subsequent bailouts, and failure to prosecute the fraudsters collectively represent something of a rolling deep state coup by a financial Power Elite. Suffice it to say that we should all be so lucky as to spectacularly “fail” in such a way as to effect an historically monumental transfer of wealth to ourselves.

The Deep State Financial Elephants in the Room

If Curtis wanted to honestly report on big money’s takeover of politics and society, he could tell us about Blackstone, or more importantly, the “Big Three” capital firms—BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street. As Paul Jay reported,

Financialization of the economy produced two shadow banks that tower over the rest of the corporate world. Blackrock and Vanguard with other smaller money management firms, control 90% of the S&P 500 public companies, including fossil fuel companies, arms manufacturers and major U.S. media outlets that own ‘mainstream’ news. The top three financial services firms manage 15 trillion dollars of assets. That’s more than China’s 2019 GDP. Blackrock is the largest with 7.4 trillion, followed by Vanguard at 5.3 trillion and State Street Global Advisors at 2.5 trillion.[34]

This massive concentration of politico-economic power is another crucial aspect that Curtis obscures. The hegemony of organized money over society did not arise by accident. It involved a series of coups d’etat profonde, or strokes of the deep state. In my dissertation, I defined the deep state as,

…the various institutions that collectively exercise undemocratic power over state and society. Pluralistic to varying degrees, the deep state is an outgrowth of the overworld of private wealth. It includes most notably the institutions that advance overworld interests through the nexuses connecting the overworld, the underworld, and the national security organizations that mediate between them.[35]

I would add that deep state can also refer to what is often called “the Establishment,” i.e., those parties whose political dominance has “been institutionalized via the cooptation or subversion of state, civil society, and liberal institutions. In this broadest sense, elements of organized religion, the educational system, the corporate media (and much of the ‘independent’ media) can be considered part of the deep state.”[36]

By putting forward conventional or benign, idiosyncratic explanations of historical events—and by failing to interrogate deep political intrigues—Curtis lets culpable elite actors and institutions off the hook. This is beguiling and ultimately disempowering. The same can be said for his various critiques of technocrats and their “misguided” notions—wrongheaded ideas whose invariable usefulness to the politico-economic elite is typically obscured or regarded as coincidental. And of course, this criticism also applies to his oft-conveyed lament that the solipsistic foolishness of random persons is somehow to blame for the prevailing political dystopia we are living through. Given what has changed in US society since World War II, it is more accurate to blame the elites, and their American anti socialism, for the purposeful incremental neutering of American democracy.

In Part 2, Aaron Good will explore how Curtis’ financial obscurantism is of a piece with his take on “conspiracy theories” and the parapolitical practices of America’s covert empire.

see Deep Fake Politics (Part 2): The Prankster, the Prosecutor, and the Para-political

see Deep Fake Politics (Part 3): Empire and the Criminalization of the State

[1] Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1993), p. 7.

[2] Adam Curtis and Chris Darke, “Interview: Adam Curtis,” Film Comment, July 17, 2012.

[3] Curtis and Darke, “Interview: Adam Curtis.”

[4] C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1956), p. 21.

[5] Mills, The Power Elite, p. 27.

[6] Mills, The Power Elite, p. 27.

[7] Mills, The Power Elite, p. 361.

[8] Susan Strange, States and Markets, 2nd ed. (New York, NY: Continuum, 1994).

[9] Aaron Good, “American Exception: Hegemony and the Dissimulation of the State,” Administration and Society 50, no. 1 (2018): p. 10.

[10] Daniel Ellsberg, Conversation with author’s Intensive Peace Studies of the American Century class, February 2, 2021.

[11] Wallace, Henry A. “The Century of the Common Man.” American Rhetoric. New York, NY, May 8, 1942.

[12] Bruce Cumings, “‘Revising Postrevisionism,’ or, The Poverty of Theory in Diplomatic History,” Diplomatic History 17, no. 4 (October 1993): p. 564.

[13]NSC-68, 1950,” U.S. Department of State - Archive (Washington D.C., January 20, 2009).

[14] Good, “American Exception: Hegemony and the Dissimulation of the State,” p. 15.

[15] Aaron Good, “American Exception: Hegemony and the Tripartite State” (Temple University, 2020), p. 165.

[16] Michael Hudson, Super Imperialism: The Origin and Fundamentals of US Dominance (Sterling, VA: Pluto Press, 2003), pp. 306–308.

[17] Peter Gowan, The Global Gamble: Washington’s Faustian Bid for World Dominance (London, England: Verso, 1999), pp. 20–21.

[18] Yanis Varoufakis, The Global Minotaur: America, Europe and the Future of the Global Economy, 2nd ed. (London, England: Zed Books, 2015).

[19] Varoufakis, The Global Minotaur: America, Europe and the Future of the Global Economy, p. 97.

[20] The Observer, “Saudi Dove in the Oil Slick,” The Guardian, January 13, 2001.

[21] The Observer, “Saudi Dove in the Oil Slick,” The Guardian, January 13, 2001.

[22] David E. Spiro, The Hidden Hand of American Hegemony: Petrodollar Recycling and International Markets (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1999), p. 107.

[23] Spiro, The Hidden Hand of American Hegemony: Petrodollar Recycling and International Markets, 124.

[24] Varoufakis, The Global Minotaur: America, Europe and the Future of the Global Economy, p. 100.

[25] Varoufakis, The Global Minotaur: America, Europe and the Future of the Global Economy, p. 107.

[26] Varoufakis, The Global Minotaur: America, Europe and the Future of the Global Economy, p. 108.

[27] Michael Hudson, J Is for Junk Economics: A Guide to Reality in an Age of Deception (Glashütte, Germany: ISLET-Verlag, 2017), p. 79.

[28] AP, “China’s CNOOC Drops Bid for Unocal,” NBC News, August 2, 2005.

[29] Anonymous, “The Longer Telegram: Toward A New American China Strategy,” Atlantic Council Strategy Papers (Washington D.C., 2021).

[30] Kevin Hebner, “The Dollar Is Our Currency, but It’s Your Problem,” IPE, October 2007.

[31] Good, “American Exception: Hegemony and the Dissimulation of the State,” p. 12.

[32] Michael Hudson, “The Paulson-Bernanke Bank Bailout Plan,” Counterpunch, September 22, 2008.

[33] Shawn Tully, “How Blackstone Became the World’s Biggest Corporate Landlord,” Fortune, February 17, 2020.

[34] Paul Jay, “Three Investment Banks Control More Wealth Than GDP of China - and Threaten Our Existence,” January 22, 2020.

[35] Good, “American Exception: Hegemony and the Tripartite State,” p. 277.

[36] Good, “American Exception: Hegemony and the Tripartite State,” p. 288.

Last modified on Tuesday, 27 July 2021 15:58
Aaron Good

Aaron Good is a former political organizer with a Ph.D. in Political Science from Temple University. His dissertation, American Exception: Hegemony and the Tripartite State, examined the state, elite criminality, and US hegemony. It was an expansion of a previously published article, “American Exception: Hegemony and the Dissimulation of the State.”

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