Matt Stoller has coined the perfect description for the late-stage American empire. He says we’ve become McKinsey-ified.
“More fundamentally, the people who are in charge of the governing institutions in our society are simply divorced from the underlying logistics of what makes them work. Everything, from the Boeing 737 Max to the opioid epidemic to the waste inside most big corporations to war, has been McKinsey-ified. And it’s all covered up with moral outrage, partisanship and culture warring, public relations, and management wisdom bullshit.”
The chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan last week brought this reality into sharp focus. Afghanistan was the poster child of this new managerial approach to nation-building. This was to be a showcase for technical managerialism. It presumed that a properly technical, and scientific way of understanding war and nation-building would be able to mobilize reason and progress to accomplish what everyone else could not, and so create a post-modern society, out of a complex tribal one, with its own “free market” economy to boot.
What last week’s fall of the western instituted regime so clearly revealed is that today’s managerial class, consumed by the notion of technocracy as the only means of effecting functional rule birthed instead, something thoroughly rotten. Indeed, the Afghanistan disaster has underlined the limitations to technical managerialism in way that is impossible to miss. There is therefore, little mystery as to why the Taliban took over Kabul so quickly. Not only did the project lack legitimacy for Afghans, but that aura of claimed expertise, of technological inevitability that has protected the élite managerial class, has been exposed by the sheer dysfunctionality on display, as the West frantically flees Kabul. And it is precisely how it has ended that has really drawn back the curtain, and shown the world the rot festering beneath.
The failings of our feral elite has become so pronounced that even a corporate media wealth-humper like Ross Douthat can see it. “Our botched withdrawal is the punctuation mark on a general catastrophe, a failure so broad that it should demand purges in the Pentagon, the shamed retirement of innumerable hawkish talking heads, the razing of various NGOs and international-studies programs and the dissolution of countless consultancies and military contractors.”
Of course the rot has been festering for a while. In 1999, Mike Judge’s scathing comedy, Office Space, depicted the reliance on managerialism and MBA consultants all too presciently. Remember those essential TPS reports? And these two?
Some might suggest that the best thing to do about Afghanistan is to learn from it. Hold senior officials and officers responsible for the egregious errors in judgement that led to disaster.
But that’s not what the consultant class does. Because they have never been held accountable they move on to the next disaster.
The lack of accountability is partially due to the fact that the elite in charge have become fabulously wealthy from their fuck-ups while the people who suffered have been from the sort of fly-over regions in our country where the media rarely goes. But when failure is so absolute, avarice or incompetence alone doesn’t quite tell the whole story. There is an ideological method to the madness as well. The consultant class has really come to believe their own bullshit. Plus the top levels of the US government operate like a large social club where everyone protects everyone else. And accountability is for the little people. A Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller who has called for accountability at senior levels has already been relieved of his command and is leaving the service, a warning from above to others who might be similarly inclined to be outspoken.
So, with all that in mind, the best way to make Afghanistan go away is to begin preparations for the next war. And since Israel determines US foreign policy, to a large extent, and they believe that the fall of Afghanistan has actually made everything in that part of Asia more dangerous, meaning that the US and Israel should prepare to fight Iran when it seeks to take advantage of the situation.
My read on this dynamic is that for Israel to drag the US into a war with Iran they will have to attack Lebanon first. The reason is simple. Hezbollah, part of the Shiite Axis of Resistance, remains poised to rain thousands of rockets down upon Israel in the event of an attack on Iran. Americans, with their shallow grasp of geography, are unaware of just how small the nation of Israel truly is. Hezbollah’s missiles, which are buried and disbursed in southern Lebanon, can blanket the whole country, putting at risk power grids, de-salinazation plants and even the Dimona nuclear complex, in addition to military targets. For that reason Israel will have to go big. Military analysts thinks the bunker buster ordinance the Israeli Air Force received from the Pentagon is for an attack on the underground Iranian nuclear program but I think that it’s slated for Lebanon.
If all of this sounds deranged, that’s because it is.
The social research behind the condition of cognitive dissonance has determined that the patient, when confronted with evidence that their whole worldview is at odds with reality, doesn’t change their beliefs.