Under the Open Door conception of trade, every place in the world must be open to
American business, and this arrangement is ours by
right, for if we cannot have access everywhere, we shall wither on
the vine and sink into economic nonfeasance. It is hard to square this
vision with Richard Cobden’s and John Bright’s notion of free trade, but no matter, we are
all right-wing Keynesians and Chicago School Hobbesians now. If defending this particular vision of
global “openness” and (alleged) “free trade” requires the effective
creation of empire, that outcome is acceptable to advocates of
the Open Door.
But, as the Hart-Rudman Reports make clear,
to sustain this policy, we
shall have to adopt domestic police-state methods to
confront the dangers the
policy itself has generated. Thus, “we” need a mild police state at home so
that “we” can go on having an
informal, overseas empire
that “we” don’t need in the
first place – at least on other readings of economic
theory and the facts of world politics. If the going gets
tougher abroad in the long haul, the supposed mildness of the
domestic security organs could become quite academic.
The Hart-Rudman people were essentially saying that, yes, we have been putting Americans in
danger, but it just can’t be helped. Their meditations on
homeland security combined an amazing
complacency with palpable panic, a mixture that Garet Garrett
once called “a complex of vaunting (show
off) and fear.”
And what was the ground of the panic? Taking their
writings at face value, it was
the fear of a terrorist attack
on American soil; but it was also
fear that if the peasants, shopkeepers,
and other rabble ever noticed why
America has enemies willing to attack us at home, they
might want to discuss
the empire, the Open Door, and other such items.
So the Hart-Rudmanisti say, in effect, “Leaving all
the background noise to one side, give
us more money and power so we may protect you at home, with only a modest reduction of your liberties,
from these dangers that someone
This is just not good
enough. We want a discussion of
precisely those things that are normally left to one side. We shall not get it from anyone within the
Establishment, whose main alternatives right now are the nice, moderate (Rockefeller-sponsored)
imperialism of the CFR
types and the armed-for-bear,
“invade the world” program of the Neo-Conservatives.
United States Commission on National Security, or Hart-Rudman
Commission, came into its well-earned own recently (April 18) with the
re-airing on C-SPAN of a program originally seen on January 31, 2001.
Co-Chairman Warren Rudman introduced the festivities, saying that the
Commission’s goal was cohesive and coordinated strategic planning (in
more or less those words). He then summarized the Seven Points of the
partner in rhyme, Senator Gary Hart, averred, that a Homeland Security
Agency was needed to meet “inevitable” terrorist attacks on US soil.
Senator Pat Roberts said that such attacks were a matter of “not if,
but when.” And Senator Ike Skelton recalled that DCI Tenet had
reported, the previous year, that attacks were “imminent.”
of place at this confab fell to Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the
House, and chief sparkplug of the whole project. Gingrich noted the
support of President Bill Clinton for the endeavor, as did other
speakers. Indeed, one of the first meetings mentioned had consisted of
Clinton, Gingrich, General Charles G. Boyd, and Erskine Bowles.
must be grateful to C-SPAN for showing, once again, this interesting
bit of political theater. For one thing, the program establishes a
timeline for that controversial word “imminent,” much as it shows, once
and for all, that high-toned Establishment figures expected –
or said they expected – “attacks” on US soil, well before 9/11,
the day the Defense Department failed to defend anything. Coming in the
wake of the 9/11 hearings, the Clarke testimony, etc., C-SPAN ought to
have had quite few viewers for this re-run.
Democrats will be losing a safe bet, if they don’t get some mileage out
of this bit of old TV footage. Or maybe not: according to an old joke,
you can’t convict a thief in a certain state, because you can’t find
twelve people there who think that stealing is wrong; and it may be
that not too many prominent Democrats think that empire – and the
“soft” police state that comes with it – are wrong. I hope I am wrong
here, even if John (“I Was Just A Kid in 1971”) Kerry has given us
little comfort, so far, in this department.
are some good pieces about the Hart-Rudman Commission archived on the
worldwide web, most notably a three-part series, “Homeland Security
Act: The Rise of the American Police State,” by Jennifer Van Bergen, of
the radical website truthout, and “Rise of the Garrison State” by
William F. Jasper of the John Birch Society. 
This is the kind of Left/Right alliance that
weekend’s C-SPAN coup is only one of many recent disclosures
which raise an awkward question: if all these high-placed, clandestine,
in-the-loop, top-top, secret-secret people “knew” and said there would
be “attacks,” how is that so little was done about the matter, except
for saddling us – after the fact – with yet another post-constitutional
federal bureaucracy? I think the moment has come for an ideological
interrogation of the sundry reports issued by the Hart-Rudman outfit in
the years 1998-2002.
Biographical Sketch of the Hart-Rudman Commission
active life of the US Commission on Homeland Security (Hart-Rudman) ran
from 1998 to 2001. The ever-watchful Council on Foreign Relations
helped inspire it and a cadre of Congressmen and Senators, including
Newt Gingrich and Senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman were central
figures. On its own evidence, the Commission was “chartered” by the
Secretary of Defense (William S. Cohen). It held its first meeting in
addition to the Co-Chairs Hart and Rudman, the commissars – I mean
Commissioners – were Anne Armstrong, Norm Augustine, John Dancy, John
Galvin, Leslie Gelb, Newt Gingrich, Lee Hamilton, Lionel Olmer, Donald
Rice, James Schlesinger, Harry Train, and Andrew Young. The
Commission’s work came forth in three phases. Phase I dealt with global
changes bearing on post-Cold War US foreign policy, and is enshrined in
the September 1999 report, “New World Coming.” Phase II resulted in the
paper, “Seeking a National Strategy: A Concert for Preserving Security
and Promoting Freedom.” 
Finally, Phase III’s “Road Map for National Security,” issued on
February 15, 2001, spelled out a mob of institutional changes needed to
achieve American security, happiness, global prosperity, and the
the whole thing looks, on the face of it, like a lot of Center/Center
Right, Cold War Liberal/Neo-Con jobbery, it is well worth studying the
details, if only to find the various devils. I shall begin with the
Phase III report and come back around to the ideological foundations
buried in the longer of two 1999 documents.
bears remarking, that the Commission’s chief recommendation –
establishment of a federal Department of Homeland Security – became law
in the wake of 9/11, and other proposals made in the Phase III document
may be coming to life one by one. But Homeland Security plans abounded
in the 1990s,
 and it does not seem that the Homeland Security
Department now in existence owes more to the Hart-Rudman proposals than
it may to other, competing models. Indeed, Hart-Rudman fans have said –
and are saying today – that the administration of George W. Bush failed
to heed their good counsel in timely fashion or in detail, etc., etc.
 Homeland Security is a many-headed monster with
notably, the post-Hart-Rudman Independent Task Force sponsored by the
Council on Foreign Relations issued a report in late 2002, “America –
Still Unprepared, Still in Danger,” 
that states in its very title that not enough has been done by the Bush
administration to address the concerns of the Homeland Security folk.
purpose in this essay is to tease out some characteristic ideological
hallmarks of the post-Cold War “moment” as concretized in the
Hart-Rudman reports. The themes we shall find are broadly shared by
those dwelling within the US Establishment.
The Hart-Rudman Wish List of Early 2001
Phase III report, “Road Map for National Security,”
 announced flatly that, “mass-casualty terrorism
directed against the U.S. homeland” had become a “serious and growing
concern.” It followed, that there was a pressing need for a
cabinet-level National Homeland Security Agency to provide for
defense of American soil, “as the U.S. Constitution itself ordains”!
(See pp. vi, viii-ix.) In 112 pages of sustained text, the writers of
the report set out an ambitious, full-bore plan of “institutional
redesign” in the now hallowed tradition of the National Security Act of
1947 and NSC-68.
federal R&D funding was needed, the writers said, along with budget
trimming to be achieved, in particular, through “outsourcing.” In
addition, the writers wanted “fast-track” weapons procurement and
greater “expeditionary capabilities” Cynicism about government service
should be met head-on with a National Service Corps and a “pure
entitlement” G.I. Bill (xvi). (See pp. x-x, xii-xvi.) Reforms aimed at
creating a more supine Congress were aired. (See pp. xvii ff.)
comes a sudden interest in “defense” of actual Americans and their
property at home, tied up in a bundle with a lot of Tofflerite,
futurist waffle and much invocation of the less-than-believable
democratic peace theory (democracies never attack democracies – and So
what? one might well ask). (See pp. 2-9).
“attacks against American citizens on American soil, possibly causing
heavy casualties, are likely over the next quarter century,” actual
defense “should be the primary national security mission of the
U.S. government.” Well, if memory serves, Messrs. Hamilton, Madison,
and Jay already sang that song in 1787-1788, and if the US government
and its advisors only learned the tune in early 2001, what exactly have
they been doing in between? (See p. 10.) One wonders why the writers
even bother with their hand waving in the general direction of the
Constitution. Something about legitimacy, I guess.
writers continue: “in many respects, the Coast Guard is a model
homeland security agency given its unique blend of law enforcement,
regulatory, and military authorities that allow it to operate within,
across, and beyond U.S. borders” (p. 17). Stop and let that sink in: Law
enforcement, regulatory, and military authorities – within, across, and
beyond U.S. borders. I think we can forget about all those silly
old limits on power deriving from Magna Charta and other unimportant
writers are soon off and running with demands for better cooperation of
post-constitutional federal agencies with state and local police, as
well as the “better human intelligence” (p. 22) – of which we now hear
so much. “The National Guard, whose origins are to be found in the
state militias authorized by the U.S. Constitution, should play
a central role…” (p. 25). I have italicized a phrase illustrating the
seeming constitutional indifference and historical ignorance of the reportisti.
(Pssst! fellows, the states and their militias existed before
writers wish to fix Congress, much as one “fixes” a household pet, so
that the Executive – with the acquiescence and help of Congress – can
fix national security and thus the whole world (pp. 26ff). Rumsfeld,
Deutch, Bremer Commissions are mentioned in footnote 19, p. 27. Two of
those names are of interest these days.
next section calls for “Recapitalizing America’s Strengths in Science
and Education.” In language recalling the vintage corporate liberalism
of Clark Kerr, we hear much of human capital, the “capacity of the U.S.
government to harness science in the service of national security,” and
a “knowledge-based future”! But, alas, unless Uncle Samuel regains his
rightful share of Research and Development, tragedy awaits (pp. 30-31).
sorry, but I thought the feds had enough to do already, what with their
outcome-based foreign policy.)
more money is needed and we must “rationalize R&D investment” (pp.
32-33). Showing, perhaps, the influence of the Tofflers on Newt
Gingrich and others, the report dwells much on new technologies, said
to be as big a deal as atomic energy was in 1945-46 (p. 37). To meet
the future, fraught with peril and bright with promise, we shall need
“more scientists and engineers, including four times the current number
of computer scientists” (p. 38). Naturally, we need a National Security
Science and Technology Education Act on the Cold War model (p. 41).
need more math and science, more money for teachers, more
public-private partnerships, “incentives to choose science and math
careers,” and more infrastructure support (pp. 42-45). It’s 1959 again,
and the moral equivalent of Sputnik menaces our Radiant Future. All
these programs require capital, human and otherwise, and right here in
Free Enterprise America we have long since realized that only
Federal accumulation of capital can hope to save the day. It is the
Occidental Mode of Production.
education for better labor battalions! The socialist road to free
markets! The centralized path to democracy!
now we come to the detailed sketch of “Institutional Redesign.” The US
lacks, it seems, a strategic-theoretical framework, and all its
institutions must be overhauled, especially the stodgy old State
Department. We need, for example, five Under Secretaries of State for
imperial management, and a new policy network. The NSC has too much to
do, and should be reined in. (See pp. 47-56.)
ideological and bureaucratic scores are being settled here, of which we
mere citizens are not fully aware.
writers want Defense Department reorganization, faster procurement,
more planning, internal “competition,” reduction of infrastructure
through outsourcing, more innovation, better auditing, etc. (pp.
63-74), but they could have saved themselves much time by reading
Ludwig von Mises’s Bureaucracy and taking an aspirin.
off from the infamous two-major-wars-at-a-time concept, the writers
call for “rapid, forced-entry response capabilities,” better
intelligence about everything, more “tailored” conventional forces, and
better “expeditionary capabilities” in view of possible
“humanitarian and constabulary operations” (pp. 75-77, my italics).
the US cannot “without qualification” recognize space “as a global
commons” (p. 79) and of course we need “deployment of a space-based
surveillance network” (p. 81), which is a roundabout way of saying the
US doesn’t see space “as a global commons.”
we come to intelligence. As might be expected, we must recruit more
human intelligence and the DCI must have more authority (pp. 82-83). We
shall have the best spying ever, “consistent with respecting Americans’
privacy” (p. 84). What a relief.
just when we require better bureaucrats, the US is “on the brink of an
unprecedented crisis of competence in government,” for without the
“single overarching motivation” provided by the much-missed Cold War,
“worrisome cynicism” and a “lowered regard” for serving the state
abound (pp. 86-87). Thus we must have “a national campaign to
reinvigorate and enhance the prestige of service to the nation” (p.
88, their italics).
suggestion: read Mises, Hayek, Weber, and Rothbard on bureaucracy, and
spare us these Neo-Jacobin appeals. They weren’t any fun the first few
times, and they aren’t much fun today.
note with alarm, that “military life and values are… virtually unknown
to the vast majority of Americans” (p. 87). There is a name for this
horrible condition: it is called “peace,” or at least relative peace.
scrape up human capital, the report writers wish to broaden the
National Security Act to support “social sciences, humanities, and
foreign languages in exchange for military and civic service to the
nation” (p. 89) – insert martial music here.
here is a worthy government program. The feds encouraged blind faith in
credentialism, took over higher education, and drove up its costs via
subsidy, and now they offer to “fix” it through indentured
servitude to the state. As they say in the Guinness commercial,
“Brilliant!” Soon the “will work for food” signs will disappear, and
we’ll see disheveled guys along the Interstates sporting ones that
read, “will serve empire for graduate degree.”
it is a shame to shoot people without being able to shout, “Lie down or
die” in Arabic, Pashto, Amharic, or Akkadian.
writers call for relaxing ethics rules in federal service. One
naturally wonders for whom this was included. Richard Perle? In
general, hiring should be streamlined, with fewer peaks into the FBI
files of importante security honchos (pp. 91-93). FBI files are
just for the peasants.
writers complain that whereas baby boomers “heeded President Kennedy’s
call to government service in unprecedented numbers,” the selfish
Generation X-ers have not (p. 97). It has always mystified me that so
many of my generation heeded the call of Camelot, but no matter. Add
twenty points for the X-ers.
course we need a National Security Service Corps (p. 101). The Armed
Forces need more “quality people,” better incentives, more college
recruitment, grants and scholarships, better military promotion and
retirement, and more G.I. Bill entitlements. Someone must improve the
pay scales of NCOs (pp. 102-108). We must also reinvigorate “the
citizen soldier” ideal, an item which at least sheds light on Gary
Hart’s otherwise inexplicable “turn” to republican theory.
short section that might have been called “Towards a More Gelded
Congress,” calls for a “bicameral, bipartisan working group,” (p.
110) which presumably can bypass all that silly business about formal
declarations of war. Informing a few “key” Congressmen is as good as a
declaration of war, isn’t it? It is close enough for government work.
final word” informs us that all the above-named program activities are
necessary to “ensure American national security and global leadership
over the next quarter century”! (p. 116) Naturally one wonders, Why?
And the question arises, What if the two things are incompatible? This
brings us to the deeper ideological foundations of the Road Map.
“New World Coming,” 15 Sept. 1999: An Ideological Bonanza
important Phase I document is not the short report, but the much longer
one, “New World Coming: American Security in the 21st
Century, Supporting Research and Analysis,” 
which weighs in at about 140 pages. It is very interesting for our
begin with the unfortunate “diffusion of power” in the
world, while taking a swipe at the excessive Demo-Hegelian optimism of
Francis Fukuyama. Science and technology, and global economy are
mooted, along with the “prospect of an attack on U.S. cities.”
Hobbes is quoted, and no doubt, rightly so. The writers take up a
mighty social engineering methodology and espouse a “definition of
national security [which] must include all key political, social,
cultural, technological, and economic variables that bear on state
power and behavior.” These “variables” will be weighed somehow.
 History, they say, “is made” – doubtless a
veiled reference to Nicolò Machiavelli, always a favorite in
such musings as these, and often a clue that we are dealing with
certified Straussians (pp. 1-3, my italics).
one, “Global Dynamics,” tells us the future’s ahead (who could doubt
it?). It is also both familiar and enigmatic, abuzz with “human
activity,” and don’t forget “social reality” with its “multiple and
interactive sources.” Miniaturization, information technology,
biotechnology, micro-electronics, and the Cyber Revolution take their
bows, as do rising speed of communication and falling costs, “personal
infospheres,” stem-cell research, clever sensors, cheap energy, and
nanotechnology. On the other hand, “demand for fossil fuels will grow”
and science will be “increasingly wedded” to technological innovations
and the latter will be wedded more “to industry than to government
labs” (pp. 5-10).
shallow, pseudo-mathematical social “science” that might embarrass
Auguste Comte, breaks bread with Low Church Darwinism: “Many new
technological advances will be based on bio-mimicry – the deliberate
attempt to capitalize on what nature has learned through
millions of years of evolution” (p. 8, my italics).
New Stuff is both good and bad and will be hard to control.
Techno-stimulation may cause more ADD in kids. Women’s issues in Third
World targets – I’m sorry, countries – are mentioned. Virtual
communities may replace real ones and “our public sphere may contract”;
but, on the other hand, “local communities could flourish in
reaction….” (See pp. 11-14.)
decentralization is probably not a genuine interest of the
report writers expect to see more “flat, non-hierarchical
organization,” less privacy, weakened borders, ethnic labor
stratification, and other changes, which could be good or bad. Social
leveling will threaten vested interests and new adversary ideologies
may arise, as well as a “post-modern state” and new “forms of
integration and fragmentation.” Human nature is mentioned (pp.
now we come to “Global Economics” and such matters as human capital and
education. On the down side, “capital markets and trade may well be
exploited by others for purposes at odds with U.S. interests,” while at
the same time, we shall see larger capital flows, more and new
participants, “niche production” (this is new?), and industrial
and service restructuring. This is all, as per Newt, somehow radically
“different” from other periods of economic improvement. (See pp. 21-23)
this globalwhatsit may provoke resistance by “reactionary forces” and
we may see neo- protectionism, regional blocs, and “global culture
conflict.” The whole thing begins to read like a Soviet-era propaganda
tract, with the US leading the historic bloc of Progressive Forces
toward the End of History (but on a different train schedule than
Fukuyama’s). US performance is held to be “crucial to avoid a systemic
crisis” (pp. 24-27).
these things weren’t sufficiently alarming, we are told that the whole
world economy hangs on “willingness of the private capital markets to
continue their primary role in circulating savings from capital rich
countries to capital poor ones.” This will work “unless major countries
suck up too much of the world’s investment capital” (my
italics). The writers quickly canvass China, India, Brazil, issues of
“integration and regulation,” and the “volatility of capital markets”
with “important security implications.” International monetary policy
remains a bother because of “capital mobility, the existence of
independent monetary policies, and an inclination to fixed or at least
stable exchange rates – that seems impervious to permanent settlement.”
The knowledge revolution is creating “greater disparities” of wealth
between and within nations. The US and others will want to “control and
regulate dual-use technology for military-security reasons” (pp. 28-34).
all this dynamism, so to speak, only the Great Helmsmen in
Washington-on-Potomac can keep the earth from leaving its orbit and
flying to a fiery death in the sun.
just as these new challenges are arising, globalwhatsit may lessen
“emotional attachment to the state” – especially where there is “no
obvious physical or ideological threat.” States may become less
legitimate but subject – at the same time – to greater demands for aid
from interest groups or the public generally, just when states have
less leverage over economic life. As the writers put it, “[t]he
potential exists for millions of individual decisions to shape the
future without the mediation of existing political institutions.” Here
one wishes to commend the Commission for almost discovering economic
science; but having flirted with a real insight, the writers turn on
their heel and announce that now the state’s role “is even more
vital” somehow (pp. 35-37, italics in original).
rests on “domestic peace, economic well-being, and security from
external threats”! Is state sovereignty in decline? The reportisti continue:
“For some, globalization… may be a vehicle to transcend the system of
state sovereignty, seen to be the font of the war-system that plagues
humanity. Globalization thus represents for some the withering away of
the state by the advent of other means.” And yet certain states
will endure in some form (pp. 38-39).
writers take up demographic challenges, Indonesia, US triumph in the
Cold War, literacy, and mass education. They seem troubled that First
Worlders are less keen these days to die for the state: “since life is
no longer so ‘cheap,’ casualties have become far more expensive.” And
of course all the tumult described in preceding sections leads folk to
“religion or ideology to explain change”! Thus the road to much-awaited
secularization has proven rockier than expected. (See pp. 39-45)
this looming uproar raises issues of security. New wars will occur and
internal violence “could reach unprecedented levels” leading to refugee
crises. Terrorists will be more loosely organized. Add to this the
inexplicably wrong-headed belief here and there
that the US wields “its power with arrogance and self-absorption,” and
we may be in for a real backlash. Thus, “the United States should
assume it will be a target of terrorist attacks against its homeland
using weapons of mass destruction. The United States will be
vulnerable to such strikes” (pp. 46-48, italics in original).
states will try to acquire modern weaponry and some states will seek
“to compete asymmetrically,” using “relatively inexpensive
systems intended to deny the United States the advantages that
naturally accrue with technological superiority” (pp. 49-50, italics in
materials made at “dual-use facilities” remain a concern and,
therefore, one imagines, the bombing of the Sudanese pharmaceutical
factory was just a case of justifiable caution. The writers introduce
“non-state actors” along with the threat of Strategic Information War
its mega-colossal weapons systems, the US is vulnerable. Slipping into
the passive voice, the writers say that, “weapons will be deployed in
pace.” One wonders who would do that. The “irrationality” of rogue
states and “misperception” could lead to “the problem of inverted
deterrence ” – that unacceptable situation in which the US might
have to refrain from attacking another state. Coming as we do from a
higher culture, the bad actors’ “resort to extreme violence – often
against civilian populations – will doubtless surprise and shock us in
the future as it has in the past” (pp. 53-56, italics in original).
this naïveté of ours up to the work of our conformist
section two, “A World Astir,” the Commission’s writers take up regional
analysis. There could be Big Trouble in Europe. Russia is problematic.
The best bit is how the writers define the civilized “west” (footnote
124, p. 59): “west” = “free-market democratic countries whose
intellectual origins are to be found in the Renaissance and the
Enlightenment” – Christianity having, apparently, played no civilizing
role worth remarking. They worry that “fears” may lead to immigration
restrictions in the EU and ask if Eastern and Central Europe can
“rebuild the social safety nets” they had under communism (pp. 60-61).
writers take up futurology once more. In one possible future,
market-based liberal democracies do well, but NATO is uncertain and so
is Russia. Of course the Balkans are trouble. In a worse future,
“renationalization” sets in to protest the pain of “meeting economic
targets,” imposed, one imagines, by the IMF. In this future, the EU might
be undemocratic – further comment is needless. Here, too, North
African refugees pour into Europe and, accordingly, the “far right”
prospers. Russia falters, turns fascist or national-socialist. The
Balkans get worse (pp. 62-69).
writers turn to Asia. The usual “science-based technologies” are
mentioned. China is on the rise. Asians may adjust to democracy
on their own terms. Bigger Asian recession could “lead to virulent
anti-Americanism” followed by US protectionism. The writers note that,
China will need “5.2 million barrels of oil per day by 2020.” China
needs watching; China needs to get right with “intellectual property”!
China could go corporatist and nationalist and, thus, become “hostile”
to the US. China would then need balancing and the US would need bases
for containing China (pp. 71-78). The writers do not say this, but an
improved US chokehold on world oil supplies would give US policymakers
greater leverage over China.
hardly requires saying that history and/or God has picked the United
States to make sure the right future comes about.
writers offer some thoughts on Indonesia, Southeast Asia, and North
Korea. Everywhere, it seems, the US must be “an engaged balancer.” They
turn to the “Greater Near East” consisting of Arabs, Israel, Turkey,
Iran, Central Asia, and the subcontinent (India and Pakistan).
Pakistan’s nukes and Iranian ambitions to have nukes are mentioned (pp.
over the Greater Near East there are younger, growing populations and
corresponding tumult. The writers again remark that “Chinese dependence
on both Persian Gulf and Caspian oil will grow sharply.” In footnote
152 (p. 85), they mention Al-Jazira as a progressive force! (Times
change, I suppose.) Islam is capable of modernization, they say. A
“semi-independent [!] Palestinian state” and “a regime change in Syria”
are much wanted. Arab “rentier states,” whose revenues come from oil,
port fees, etc., and which reward their backers with patronage, are a
problem because they have never scaled the heights of modern citizenship
as found in advanced western welfare-warfare states (pp. 84-93).
writers express fear lest the US pull back from Middle East due to
public unwillingness to “support expeditionary military deployments”
comes Africa with growing urbanization and possible humanitarian crises
(pp. 95-101), followed by the Americas. Latin American trade with the
US is growing, but societies there need the usual “accountability,
transparency [!], and consistency.” The writers note that a Mexican
collapse would be bad for us. Likewise, Canada’s collapse would be
“alarming to contemplate” (pp. 102-115).
section three, the writers take up “The U.S. Domestic Future.” They
fret about social cohesion, our growing but aging population
(immigrants and natives, respectively). They worry that healthcare
“will compete with other spending” including “defense and foreign
policy.” As Hispanics increase, Blacks will become irritable. The
writers further fret about American higher education (too many foreign
math and science majors) and single parent households. They announce
that biotechnology “is rapidly developing the potential to change
human nature itself in fundamental ways” (pp. 116-120, my italics).
this the American New Man, slated to replace Soviet Man? In rejecting
Fukuyama, the Hart-Rudman commission has transcended him. Hart and
Rudman look in the mirror and gaze upon Hart and Negri with their
theses on immanent, omnipresent, and metaphysically annoying universal
commission’s pen wielders worry that perceptions about fairness of
“income distribution” may cause trouble, especially since real wages
have been stagnant for fifteen years. This is dangerous because social
cohesiveness, “will,” and “civic consciousness form the bedrock of
national power.” Americans, still have “shared ideals,” but
“fragmentation” is a possibility. The writers bemoan lower rates of
voting, greater cynicism, less July 4th hoopla, and less
public worship of the US state, as the World War II generation “passes
from the scene” Such trends could lead to less individual
self-sacrifice for the Common Good as defined by bureaucrats. On the
upside, Americans see America as “exceptional” and are “positively
disposed toward themselves” and most still support intervention. Even
so, “isolationism” remains a menace and a return to military
conscription may be required. Then again, conscription “might limit an
active foreign policy.” Happily, though, Americans will “sacrifice… if
they believe that fundamental interests are imperiled” (pp. 122-130).
commissioners, for all their social science, are speculating about –
and not predicting – the future, but whatever happens, they believe
that more state power and greater public spending will save the day,
provided the people can be kept in line.
four, “Worlds in Prospect,” alludes to Nietzsche and contingency (more
Straussian giveaways?). A good future resting on the “democratic peace”
and “transparency” is contrasted with a bad future involving
nationalism and neo-protectionism, which tends to show – just as
William Appleman Williams, Gabriel Kolko, Immanuel Wallerstein, and
others held – that Cold War “anti-communism” was actually directed at any
nationalist withdrawal from the US economic orbit. Another bad future
of “Division and Mayhem” might witness the rise of “private
non-state militaries,” decline of the UN, and division of the world
between the democratic peace “zone” and a “zone of chronic trouble”
fifth section recapitulates what is by now the only possible response
to all this alarmism and speculation: US military-political control of
the world. 21st century will see more “episodic posses of
the willing” and fewer “traditional [!] World War II-style alliance
systems.” This calls for “stealth, speed, range, unprecedented,
accuracy, lethality, strategic mobility, superior intelligence, and the
overall will and ability to prevail” (pp. 140-141, my italics). The
report ends on the note that the US “will need to find a proper balance
between activism and self-restraint” (p. 152).
Think Imperially, Secure Locally
Establishment Mind At Bay
interest has been to find a window into the mind and worldview of a
cross-section of the beloved US elite; to see how they think about the
world and their role in it. This matters to the rest of us, because
they claim a right to drag us, willing or not, into their projects and
we have seen, the Hart-Rudman Commissioners warned repeatedly of
attacks on Americans and their property, on US soil, attacks said to be
“likely,” “imminent,” a “serious and growing concern,” i.e.,
inevitable. This was a rather constant refrain. But why should a
commission, whose membership reflected the US official mind, show a
sudden interest in actual defense, when we have had a War Department
since George Washington and, even better, a “Defense Department” since
1947, which, one might think, had the defense of American soil well in
hand? Indeed, the sheer artificiality of the “homeland”
security concept is puzzling at first.
the Hell else were these people ever licensed to defend? I suppose they
could answer that they were so busy defending South Korea, Israel,
reliable Third World despotisms, particular oil companies, and the
like, they clean forgot to defend the home counties.
people were essentially saying that, yes, we are putting Americans in
danger (nudge, nudge), but it just can’t be helped. Hence the bizarre
blend of complacency and alarm that can be seen in the Hart-Rudman
Reports. Critics have lately raised some interesting but narrow
questions – Should the Bushies, or anyone else, have twigged that
something was up on a particular day? Who knew whatever they knew and
when did they know it? These are worth answering but don’t go to the
heart of it. The prospect of intra-elite verbal bloodbath has its
appeal, but such a discussion will skirt fundamental issues.
Liberal Corporatist Crisis of Legitimacy
the shades of Hobbes, Machiavelli, Nietzsche, and Leo Strauss brooded
over the outcome, Court Intellectuals of the Establishment, as
represented by the Hart-Rudman Commission, wrestled with a number of
issues which they saw as quite pressing: loss of state prestige,
unwillingness of the people to sacrifice for the state, social or
political “fragmentation,” fear of a new “isolationism,” and so on. To
this was added, as we have seen, a peculiarly American form of Gnostic
dreaming about changing human nature.
Commissioners’ preferred answers to these big questions, as well as to
the practical matter of terrorist attacks, serve as proof of Randolph
Bourne’s famous aphorism: “War is the health of the State.” With
unerring instinct, they took up the cause of managerial reform and
sketched out a mammoth project of renewed state building via
institutional reform, with the Coast Guard as their working model. But
the housekeeping details of institutional “reform” are not as important
as the underlying policy goals and assumptions.
Speed, and Lethality
to the applied side, it must be granted that these people are not
stupid and their assessment of the dangers to which they have
exposed their countrymen by their Griff nach der Weltmacht
(“grasp for world power”) was probably fairly realistic. This is one
area where we might expect them to be honest, especially when they talk
to one another, largely out of earshot of the peasants and petty
bourgeoisie who elect some of them.
given US demands for absolute security and for utter “openness” on the
part of others, including the universal Open Door for American trade
 and given a determination to achieve these
goals by force, when needed, our leaders have in fact made us enemies
that we never needed. They have also managed to give hostage to the
Marxist notion that “capitalism” requires imperialism. Anyway,
now that “we” have these foes, the US elite rightly fears that
Total War, which they helped invent, will come home to roost.
enemies they have found for us may not play by their rules. Hence all
the talk about the grave insult of “inverted deterrence” and the
threat of “asymmetric warfare.” After Vietnam, the US Establishment
learned characteristic “lessons” – not to lower their
expectations of world dominance, but to develop new tools for technical
problem solving very much in the American pragmatic tradition. Better
bombs, better guidance systems, better human intelligence, and maybe
some language lessons.
Note on the “Economic” Causes of World Disorder
to official – or at least semi-official – doctrine as expressed in the
Hart-Rudman Reports, far-reaching “changes” and dynamism are at work
and the US is out riding global fences and keeping order in the face of
the “tumult” resulting from inexorable “economic” inevitabilities. This
resort to a kind of economic reductionism is interesting but may not
make us any wiser. If, as a well-known theorem in economics has it,
both parties to a voluntary exchange benefit, then why should more
trade lead to unhappiness and tumult?
Roxborough, a sociologist who is himself a consultant to the US
military, writes that the Hart-Rudman Commission’s “proposition that
globalization will produce a backlash that will be the fundamental
security challenge to the United States has little empirical evidence
to support it.” “The commission might have done better,” he adds, “to
examine the specific situations likely to foster extremist opposition
to the U.S. Government…. [R]ather than an ‘ideological’ or ‘religious’
reaction to globalization, or a deep clash of cultures, what we may be
witnessing is a nationalist response to American assertiveness in the
world…. And these nationalist rages are likely to be responses to quite
specific actions on the part of United States.”
palpable hit! But for the Commission to consider that anyone outside
the US has a point of view, or that actions disliked by the US could
ever be caused by US provocation, was clearly outside the scope of
comments, mild as they are, find indirect support elsewhere. A team of
political scientists concluded in 1981, that a good many Third World
conflicts “are defensive in nature: they are all brought about by the
aggressive expansionism of the state,” especially where “states are
still involved in the primitive accumulation and centralization of
power resources.” They suggest that, “over a relatively long period of
time state expansion will generate violent conflict” and thus “it is
the progression toward greater order itself that produces much of the
relatively greater violence we find in new states.” And here comes the
kicker: “the evidence strongly suggests that the rate of economic
development is related to both the rate of state expansion and
collective violence in a way that runs contrary to the way postulated
by the dominant view on such matters.” Further, “state expansion seems
to produce much more violence than economic growth…. Rather than state
expansion being an antidote for the violence produced by economic
modernization, our rather limited evidence shows that it is economic
modernization which is the antidote to the violence produced by state
other words, state building is bad enough when left to the locals, who
run the state or live under it. To the extent that the US government
just can’t hold back from interfering in others’ conflicts, we are
forced to ask whether or not it is US foreign policy that destabilizes
the world. “Globalization” – if by that we could be allowed to mean a
natural expansion of voluntary trade and the unfolding of a more
complex, worldwide capital structure – hardly enters into it.
note in passing, that the Commission’s idea that economic growth, in
and of itself, causes mass discontent and violence, owes something to
the ingrained suspicion of the market characteristic of US Court
Intellectuals, whether they descend from Marxists, New Dealers, or Mr.
Lincoln’s mercantilists. They do seem, however, to understand markets
heavily regulated, controlled, and politically manipulated by people
Comfy Chair of Homeland Security Studies
Commissioners wish to bring American universities even more into the
service of the state than they are already. We need more math, science,
linguistics, etc., they cry. Better education for empire abroad and
empirical collectivism at home!
naturally brings us to the status of Homeland Security as an applied
social science. As Andrew Gyorgy noted in 1943: “a few months after
Hitler came to power, a special chair of ‘National Defense Science’ was
created for [Ewald] Banse at the Technical University of Brunswick, a
bestowal of official approval on his theories.” Banse was a paladin of
the German school of geo-strategy or geopolitics, a field, in Gyorgy’s
words, “of an all-embracing character. It is a new science ignoring
strategic impossibilities and willing to exploit militarily any phase
of human life, any reality of the natural or man-made world.” He notes
that, “all other branch sciences of Geopolitik, such as
geography, economics, the study of politics, medicine, law,
communications, and national psychology, converged” in “the new science
of national defense.”
continues: “As devised and planned by German geostrategists,” modern
war consists of “ideological, psychological, economic, and military
warfare.” With air power added, war “became totalitarian not merely in
its ultimate goal of world conquest, but even in its methods, in an
exploitation of all known human sciences and technological inventions.”
And thus: “Military campaigns today are the end, not the beginning, of
the struggle. Ideological, psychological and economic war, as variant
forms of the same power struggle, usually preceded any kind of military
action. Total war has militarized peace and, paradoxically, to a
certain extent demilitarized war itself.”
style of warfare aims “to create confusion and foment uprisings.”
Further: “Once this initial ‘conspiracy’ framework is laid, the power
of totalitarian propaganda warfare is turned on the victim in a manner
that is bewildering to local public opinion in critical areas.” In
addition, “[a]n energetic press and ‘loud’ radio-propaganda campaign is
helpful not only in directly threatening the enemy but also in covering
up the more significant internal, fifth column activities of German
agents abroad.” (Unfortunately for these theorists, the “music” of
AC/DC was not available as part of the “‘loud’ radio-propaganda
Gyorgy notes that, “[s]ecrecy and speed are perhaps the most
characteristic watchwords and features of geo-strategic argument,”
along with maximum use of air power. 
this puts one in mind of Hart-Rudman’s “stealth, speed, and lethality,”
and having taken a tour through the Reports, I think we might agree
that the Commissioners and their researchers have worked on a similar scale,
using similar methods, to those of the German geopolitical thinkers.
Before “moral equivalence” and other complaints pop up, I concede that
the German social-scientific planners of the 1930s and ’40s had
different goals than their US counterparts, then or now. On the other
hand, the techniques and the mindset are much the same across a range
of subject matter, and techniques and mindsets have consequences that
can undercut their supposed neutrality. Those who claim to have good
intentions and yet adopt certain techniques – and with nothing better
than utilitarianism as a moral guide – may find themselves dragged
along by their techniques to unexpected places.
it often happens, where the American mind is at work, that technique
displaces announced ends, these surprises can materialize fairly
quickly. It can also be asked whether or not global “openness” to
American trade and influence is of such overriding importance, that it
can routinely “justify” US military excursions abroad. The answer, I
suspect, is No, and that would go twice for delusional exercises like
imposing “democracy” by military violence.
any case, the embrace of Total War is much the same in the two cases
under discussion, whatever the differing goals of the states involved.
I do not think that the costs of Total War – in morals, politics,
blood, and money – can be brushed aside as lightly as some may
think, via consequentialist speculations.
Policy That Became an Assumption That Became a Prison
blurring of the war/peace distinction, noted above, erodes the line
between foreign and domestic provision of security.
the Hart-Rudman Phase III Report put it: “Notwithstanding the
post-Sputnik dangers of a nuclear missile attack from afar, U.S.
national security policy in the 20th century has been
something that mainly happened ‘there,’ in Europe or Asia or the Near
East. Domestic security was something that happed ‘here,’ and it was
the domain of law enforcement and the courts. Rarely did the two mix.
The distinction between national security policy and domestic security
is already beginning to blur, and in the next quarter century it could
altogether disappear” (p. 130).
while we are on this topic, it is worth recalling that just as so many
US interventions are now referred to as “police actions,” the logical
corollary – the militarization of domestic police work - has been
underway for several decades. 
rulers effectively willed this supposedly “given” erosion of the
boundary between internal and external security. It is a clear case of
striving for a certain results for many decades and then proclaiming,
once they are achieved, that the Fates did it, and that the cumulative
decisions of specific policymakers had nothing to do with it. The
pretence of inevitability is ideologically necessary, but no more
convincing for that.
result is, however, perfect, if one’s goal is state building, whether
for its own sake or for the sake of the goodies power can deliver. The
classes who never much believed in bills of rights – the police,
executive officials, including the military, and not a few legislators
– can only regard this moment of creative destruction with favor. If we
cannot usefully distinguish between war and peace, then Mr. Lincoln’s
much-advertised “war powers” – already a conceptual muddle – apply at
all times, the American Revolution was a waste of time, and we are
living through the final stages of a slow-motion coup.
of the radical historian William Appleman Williams used to fault him
for failing to produce a document with “Open Door” written all over it,
for every instance in which he said that a US policymaker had promoted
that policy. He replied, quite reasonably, that somewhere between 1898
and 1938 the Open Door had gone from an interest-based policy to an
ideology about whose foundations the policymakers no longer needed to
think. In this, US policymakers have resembled their foreign
collectivist opponents far more than they have admitted.
the Open Door conception of trade, every place in the world must be
open to American business, and this arrangement is ours by right,
for if we cannot have access everywhere, we shall wither on the vine
and sink into economic nonfeasance. It is hard to square this vision
with Richard Cobden’s and John Bright’s notion of free trade, but no
matter, we are all right-wing Keynesians and Chicago School Hobbesians
now. If defending this particular vision of global “openness” and
(alleged) “free trade” requires the effective creation of empire, that
outcome is acceptable to advocates of the Open Door.
as the Hart-Rudman Reports make clear, to sustain this policy, we shall
have to adopt domestic police-state methods to confront the dangers the
policy itself has generated. Thus, “we” need a mild police state at
home so that “we” can go on having an informal, overseas empire that
“we” don’t need in the first place – at least on other readings of
economic theory and the facts of world politics. If the going
gets tougher abroad in the long haul, the supposed mildness of the
domestic security organs could become quite academic.
Hart-Rudman people were essentially saying that, yes, we have been
putting Americans in danger, but it just can’t be helped. Their
meditations on homeland security combined an amazing complacency with
palpable panic, a mixture that Garet Garrett once called “a complex of
vaunting and fear.”
 And what was the
ground of the panic? Taking their writings at face value, it was the
fear of a terrorist attack on American soil; but it was also the fear
that if the peasants, shopkeepers, and other rabble ever noticed why
America has enemies willing to attack us at home, they might want to
discuss the empire, the Open Door, and other such items.
the Hart-Rudmanisti say, in effect, “Leaving all the background
noise to one side, give us more money and power so we may protect you
at home, with only a modest reduction of your liberties, from these
dangers that someone has created.”
is just not good enough. We want a discussion of precisely those things
that are normally left to one side. We shall not get it from anyone
within the Establishment, whose main alternatives right now are the
nice, moderate (Rockefeller-sponsored) imperialism of the CFR types and
the armed-for-bear, “invade the world” 
program of the Neo-Conservatives.
unite! You have nothing to lose but your conventional wisdom.