December 31, 2015
Obama’s ‘Boots on the Ground’: U.S. Special Forces Are Sent to Tackle Global Threats … They are taking on a larger combat role in Afghanistan, where the war was supposed to be over. They are headed to Syria to help fight the Islamic State in its stronghold. And President Obama recently ordered nearly 300 of them to Cameroon to assist African troops in their battle against a militant group that has pledged loyalty to the Islamic State. – New York Times
Dominant Social Theme: The US must use special forces to keep the peace and militarism to sustain social cohesion.
Free-Market Analysis: In the other article in today’s issue, we pointed out that the alternative media continues to effectively erode the mainstream media narrative. In this article, however, we will remind viewers that such victories are never clear cut. We’ll use the above New York Times article to explain further.
Establishment publications like the Times and The Washington Post are fond of articles that describe events without being overly judgmental. The tone of this article is to be mildly critical but mostly within the context of reporting an evolving policy.
Certainly such journalism is not focused on alternative scenarios. The article in question is not seen as a place for a significant recalibration. It does the job of substantive journalism by presenting both a thesis and an antithesis but by rigorously controlling the boundaries of the conversation it is able to maintain a disciplined, cohesive message – and to avoid confronting more uncomfortable topics.
With the Middle East in tumult, radical groups holding swaths of territory in Africa, and a presidential campaign fanning fears of a growing terrorism threat, the White House has steadily expanded the global missions of American Special Operations troops.
Even as Mr. Obama has repeatedly said that he opposes American “boots on the ground” in far-flung parts of the world, his administration continues to carve out exceptions for Special Operations forces — with American officials often resorting to linguistic contortions to mask the forces’ combat role.
…These deployments, as well as other missions being considered, have upended the Obama administration’s goal of withdrawing from countries that for more than a decade have been crucibles of combat for the American military.
The criticism here is of the shallowest kind. Obama is being accused of changing his mind but this is far from the presentation of a critical error. Later on in the article, other criticisms are voiced over the policy, suggesting that it might easily become a “waste of time and money.”
The article even suggests that there is a need for a “global approach” to the problem of terrorism – which implies international military coordination.
Contrast this soft-peddling to Paul Craig Roberts’s recent column, “Why WWIII Is On The Horizon.” The New York Times perpetuates the meme of intervention by avoiding a description of an alternative. Roberts goes in the opposite direction.
Here’s how it begins.
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 gave birth to a dangerous American ideology called neoconservativism. The Soviet Union had served as a constraint on US unilateral action. With the removal of this constraint on Washington, neoconservatives declared their agenda of US world hegemony. America was now the “sole superpower,” the “unipower,” that could act without restraint anywhere in the world.
And here is the conclusion:
At this point in time, nuclear war can only be avoided in two ways. One way is for Russia and China to surrender and accept Washington’s hegemony. The other way is for an independent leader in Germany, the UK, or France to rise to office and withdraw from NATO. That would begin a stampede to leave NATO, which is Washington’s prime tool for causing conflict with Russia and, thereby, is the most dangerous force on earth to every European country and to the entire world. If NATO continues to exist, NATO together with the neoconservative ideology of American hegemony will make nuclear war inevitable.
Roberts’s point is that the US has abused its “unipower” status and thus placed the world in grave danger as China and Russia begin to push back. The Times article, meanwhile, uses “news” to justify a larger military policy. Roberts is focused on the clear danger of a larger war and is intent on using a historical narrative to help.
Mainstream media articles such as the one the Times has written are cleverly manipulated to create a façade of credibility. Such articles purport to present both sides of a given issue or news item but inevitably thesis and antithesis are used to hedge the conversation not expand it.