Structural Adjustment, Global Integration and Social Democracy Excerpt:
In the industrialized countries where they originated, adjustment policies are elements of both continuity and rupture with the economic and social policies pursued in the post-war period, while in the developing countries they constitute a sharp break with earlier state-directed policies. In Third World countries, the pace and pattern of liberalization show considerable variation reflecting socio-economic structures, the severity of the crisis, the intensity of foreign pressure and the interplay of contending social groups.
Globalization and liberalization have had wide-ranging political and social consequences that imply shifts in power both nationally and internationally. Internationally, during the 1980s, power shifted further out of the reach of developing countries toward foreign creditors and investors, international financial institutions and the industrialized countries. Globalization and liberalization have undermined the social alliance and national consensus on economic and social goals and policies established in the post-war period in both developing and industrialized countries. Incidence of poverty has increased in most countries, accentuating social conflicts world-wide.
The power of nation states has eroded, decreasing their willingness and ability to cope with the expanding social crisis. At the same time, the economic power wielded by the new dominant forces has not been matched by a corresponding shift in their political and social responsibilities for global welfare. These changes pose serious threats to political stability and sustainable growth.
Colonialism, only more hegemonically sophisticated
In terms of the issues raised in the above cited study from the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development... Well, first of all, when you plug this understanding of democracy promotion policies involved with the creation of a plethora of NGO's, starting with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in 1983, into ongoing diatribes by mostly conservatives about the ineffectiveness of the United Nations, suddenly things start to make some sense. Those incessant calls for "change" and the efforts by this administration to put someone with views on the more extreme and aggressive end of the continuum regarding these policies into the U.S.'s seat in the United Nations and the lengths it went to do so becomes more than a peculiarity or a whim. The undoubted go ahead to force as much change on the institution as possible in favor of this elitist neoliberal project of promoting a polyarchic form of democracy begins to evoke a picture of how all these folks in those NGO's are working together with a relatively common spectrum of understanding of what they are looking to accomplish. One wishes to avoid thinking in terms of a conspiracy, and in reality it's not. It's only a conspiracy if one has some strange inkling to see it differently.
The label "realist," describing such policy professionals as James Baker, Henry Kissenger, or even Zbigniew Brzezinski, of Grand Chessboard fame, is really just a term for those in roughly the center of a spectrum of elites with relatively little variance in how they view the place of neoliberal globalization in this polyarchic democracy of ours, and of course it includes members of both parties. The now well recognized conservative neocons who have led this group with the strategies employed in Iraq, are just examples of extremist on that really rather narrow foreign policy spectrum. Their extremism is inspired by a vision of available military potential. And so they are the vibrantly creative ones who want to make certain that when the polyarchic so called "democracy" promotion policies of regime change don't work out as hoped, it can be backed up with the handy military that was left hanging around with nothing much to do after the cold war. And when it comes to using it, their Machiavellian training engages, using all the appropriate culturally imbedded arguments handily available to minimize resistance from a well indoctrinated and generally compliant population at home, as was done to overcome any potential resistance to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq with accompanying bursts of ferverous patriotism.
Again, recall that hegemony is when the elites who have agreed upon these policies, both internal and international, get the majority of a population to internalize the ideology, even to the extent of having a major sized group in the population well armed with talking points -- and with ready made charater assassination tools as one can notice applied with regularity here at Thom's for instance -- to argue for it with anyone who raises any disturbing questions; that's basically how hegemony works to instill polyarchic democracy in a world with increasingly disproportionate poor, but who unfortunately happen to be where resources necessary to the economic elements of neoliberalism happen to be. Coercion is when they have to enforce it at the point of a gun.
So if you look at the foreign policy evolution in the U.S., especially since the Truman Doctrine, which marked the beginning of the Cold War policies that began the distribution of what was to become our now empire of seven hundred and forty some bases, forty or fifty different intelligence agencies, you see that the CIA was a first version of under-the-major-media radar secret instruments -- therefore out of public consciousness -- coercive regime change tools. An early CIA coordinated regime change, for instance, was the democratic government in Iran in 1953. That had to be done becausse its democratic intention was decidedly not polyarchic as it was about to nationalize some corporate owned interests there, most concernedly the oil.
Eventually, naive and "subversive" elements in our own government (these have since been systematically categorized, labeled and smeared with such terms as "liberals," with the not accidental associations with socialism and communism and all the negatives imbedded in those knee jerk respondent inducing terms) revealed these tactics -- and it didn't help these polyarchs that occassional blowback would occur from CIA activities -- a certain amount of disturbance was created by that occassionally managed to hit key elements of public awareness, thereby raising concerns about this covert entity called the CIA. Undoubtedly all that conscousness raising that resulted in public suspicion, accomplished by these undemocratic "subversives," was enhanced by a general and growing public alarm as the catastrophic effects of the Vietnam War adventure slowly ebbed into public awareness. So with the Nixon presidential debacle and all that ensued around that, a policy shift of some sort was obviously put on the table -- someone's table somewhere, I suppose -- for consideration.
And so in the 80's, under Reagan and his own very strong belief in neoliberal principles that came well packaged and presented to the national stage in the Oval Office, a shift was eventually made, they began looking for a more hegemonic based way of "promoting democracy" and the NED was born. Remember, here, that Saddam was actually a product of the pre NED, covert operation regime change period, and he was used, as of old, by the overlapping tactics of that period, while this shift to the new polyarchic policy making was beginning to find its way in the foreign policy tool box (interestingly this shift also appears coordinated with the beginnings of the unitary executive theory by some of the same conservatives whose area of interest in this case happened to be constitutional law). Note that by 1990, or so, Saddam was becoming a dinasaur in the U.S.'s previous foreign policy tool kit. Notice to that he happens to have headed a little oil rich country dead in the heart of the strategic ellips. Note that there was a conveniently timed Gulf War I about that time, engaged as we all know for all the public reasons given, now the general historical record undoubtedly taught in high school classes, and with all this foreign policy forming, much of it in institutionally now in place, policy which has it's own implacable force that transends the rovolving door of politicians in the democratically elective arm of our own polyarchic political system, that gives it the "look" of a democracy. The result was all sorts of propagandistic tools to play with in the public media. Not the least of which would be the evolution of a replacement for the now diminshed value of the fear of communism after the Soviet Union collapsed. That would be, of course, terrorism.
That sort of brings up this whole notion of nation states discussed in the document from the citation I started with. Nation states have been an evolving definition for several hundred years now, and they have been evolving in concert with a process known as colonialism. There's a correlation between colonialism and the globalization of neoliberalism. But I don't recall anyone in my high school history classes making that clear to me. At any rate, nation states are still undergoing definitional processes, especially in the peripheries, and of course the ideal is to get them all in the form of polyarchic democracies with a group of revolving door elites switching back and forth between all the major power mechanisms, like the multinational collective economic entities, commonly called corporations, the militaries (which are now being privatized as corporations as well, a recent trend, but very exciting I suspect for the neoliberal polyarchs), and government bureaucracies. The end result of this transformation may very well be what William Harrison envisioned when he published his short story Rollerball Ball Murder in Esquire magazine. The 1975 movie Rollerball starring James Caan, depicts that story and the corporate world that had evolved by then -- which was set in 2018, eleven years from now. Hmmm. I wonder if this mess in Iraq has set things back any?