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William Engdahl on his book Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order

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PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay, coming to you from Washington, DC. And joining us from Frankfurt, Germany, is William Engdahl, author of the new book that’s now available in many places, including, which in fact you’ll be able to buy through the The Real News, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order. Thanks for joining us, William.


JAY: So, first of all, talk about the meaning of the title.

ENGDAHL: Well, the title, Full Spectrum Dominance, is Pentagonese for the basic military doctrine in the era of the post-Cold War, since 1990. The idea is that the United States’ military power projection will control the oceans, control the land areas of this planet, will control space, outer space and cyberspace—in other words, control everything on the face of the earth. And the idea of totalitarian democracy, one of the weapons in the Pentagon arsenal has been and is very much so today the idea of fomenting various RAND Corporation techniques for internal destabilization and regime change. Some people call them the “color revolutions”, such as you had in Ukraine in 2004 or in the Republic of Georgia. You had an attempt on that in Moldova, a country where most people in the West never even could find on a map. But you’ve had these attempts to destabilize. And there’s a pattern to this in the entire post-Cold War period. And the idea is, for the Pentagon, for the Washington military-industry complex, the Cold War never ended. The objective is to, as Brzezinski said in his 1997 book The Grande Chess Game, the objective of United States power projection is to prevent the cohesion of economic powers throughout Eurasia, that is, Russia, China, the Central Asian countries, the Middle East oil-producing countries, that would have enough raw material resources, enough population, enough scientific know-how to be independent of the domination of the United States. And that would essentially mean the end of the American hegemony of the post-1945 era. So totalitarian democracy is the Pentagon template for creating pseudo-democratic revolutions, quote-unquote “democratic” in the sense that the Greek oligarchs used the term “democracy” as a mob rule against their opponents, inciting the mobs to topple their rivals. And what in fact is created, as you see in the case of Georgia under Saakashvili, the darling boy of Washington after 2004, here you have a thug who’s every bit as dictatorial as Shevardnadze was, this post-communist president of Georgia, but he’s Washington’s thug, he’s Washington’s dictator. And that’s the template of totalitarian democracy: to create this full-spectrum dominance.

JAY: So, William, talk a bit, then, about how this works now. Iran, it’s links between Russia and China are getting closer. You have Russia and China talking about possible other alternatives to the US dollar as a global currency. You have tremendous vying taking place over control of energy reserves within this full-spectrum dominance position of the Pentagon, and to some extent, I guess, US policy foreign policy accompanies that. What are the other powers doing?

ENGDAHL: Well, what’s the most interesting development is what’s going on in the continent of Eurasia that extends from Europe all the way to the Pacific—China and parts of Russia. And what’s been going on over the last 4 to 5 years has been a cohesion of kind of the natural economic partners of that land space. And this is really the geopolitical nightmare that’s been the focus of the British geopolitics since it was created by Halford Mackinder in 1904, and has been the focus of US geopolitics since 1945. People like Henry Kissinger, people like to give Brzezinski, leading foreign-policy strategists are all students of the doctrines of Halford Mackinder, and that is, namely, US hegemony in the world is dependent on divide-and-conquer, preventing any cohesion on Eurasia. Iran plays a very, very critical part in that growing cohesion between Russia and China, formerly cold-Cold War opponents after the 1960s who are now realizing that they have every interest in finding ways of peaceful collaboration rather than antipathy, given the fact that the United States, the prevailing hegemon right now, is crumbling in an ocean of debt and bankruptcy.

JAY: And to a large extent debt to exactly these countries, particularly China.

ENGDAHL: Well, especially Russia is the fourth-largest holder of dollar foreign reserves still today, over $400 billion. And China is far and away the largest holder of US dollar reserves in its central bank coffers, more than $1 trillion. And the president of China in recent months has done something for China very unprecedented. He told President Obama, and the prime minister as well, that China is very concerned about the potential weakness of their dollar loans, the fact that they are looking more and more vulnerable. So a US federal deficit of $1.85 or $2 trillion this fiscal year is just off the charts. And the point hasn’t gone by the attention of countries like China and Russia and, of course, the Shanghai Cooperation countries.

JAY: And it must make it difficult for the Shanghai Cooperation countries, particularly China and Russia. They want to kind of balance US power. On the other hand, they’re totally enmeshed in a global finance system with the US as the manager of the system. If the US economy really tanks, all of these house of cards come with it, don’t they?

ENGDAHL: Not quite, and that’s what’s interesting about what’s been going on since the outbreak of the crisis in August of 2007, with the subprime elements of the US. What’s been going on has been rather quietly but very effectively, typically, Chinese way that the government has been building economic bridges to countries on its borders in South Asia, countries where the infrastructure had been neglected. They’re building up its economic links with ASEAN countries in their own region. As well, they’re trying to strengthen links with Kazakhstan, which is rich in oil and natural gas; with Russia; and also with Iran and other countries in the Middle East, to say nothing of Africa. So I think what they’re positioning themselves for is to have all options open, but with an eye to the fact that the dollar system is sinking like the proverbial Titanic and that there’s not much they can do, certainly nothing they can do to save it, should they even want to save it. But then they have to look out for their own future economic well-being, their national economic security.

JAY: So this issue of collaborating and contending, they want to push back on US dominance. But certainly it’s not in their interest to see some of the American economy completely burned, both in terms of as a market and they’re enmeshed in US dollars. They need to do what they can, don’t they, to help the US tried to stabilize this?

ENGDAHL: That’s the problem, the last part. What they can is very, very limited. The US economy is going—and I’ve said this before on Real News, as you know, Paul. US economy is going to go through ten years of hell at least. It’s going to go through a Great Depression, tragically far worse than the 1930s, despite the so-called stabilizers of Social Security and unemployment insurance. Already, states like California are going through pure hell economically and in terms of employment, and that’s preprogrammed to get worse. There is nothing China could do, short of committing national economic suicide, along with the other countries of the world, including the European Union, to save that dollar-indebted system. The US is in classic debt trap of its own making. So the point becomes: what do we do to survive? You know, you throw a life raft to the Titanic to let a few passengers escape, but the Titanic has a hole blown through it called the Wall Street securitization boondoggle that Alan Greenspan and, later, Bernanke actually did everything in their powers, together with Tim Geithner and Larry Summers, to create and support.

JAY: So in the next segment of our interview let’s talk about Iran, what’s been going on the last few weeks, the election, and Iran both in the terms of the geopolitics and Iran in terms of its own internal contradictions. Please join us for the next segment of our interview with William Engdahl.


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F William Engdahl is an economist and author and the writer of the best selling book "A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order." Mr Engdhahl has written on issues of energy, politics and economics for more than 30 years, beginning with the first oil shock in the early 1970s. Mr. Engdahl contributes regularly to a number of publications including Asia Times Online, Asia, Inc, Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Foresight magazine; Freitag and ZeitFragen newspapers in Germany and Switzerland respectively. His newest book is called "Gods of Money: Wall Street and the Death of the American Century". He is based in Germany.