During the Clinton administration, a number of conservative think tanks financed by international corporations reformulated the conservatism of Reaganism, seeking to adapt to changes at the end of the century, including the end of the Cold War. The neoconservatives, or “neocons,” sought to reverse the decline of US hegemony. They envisioned the establishment through any means necessary, including military force, of the American concept of democracy and American civilization as the universal world standard. Accordingly, they favored expansion of military expenditures and the maintenance of US military dominance. In reaction to what they saw as the decadence of Western civilization, they sought to restore discipline, order, and hierarchy. They were opposed to egalitarianism, feminism, environmentalism, sexual tolerance, and the absence of prayer and the teaching of the theory of evolution in school. They gave priority to security over civil liberties. They viewed the neoconservative movement as a permanent counterrevolution that would consolidate neoconservative values in the long term. They sought to convert popular insecurity resulting from the deep structural crisis of the world- system and from the US hegemonic decline into a social fear that would generate support for neoconservative policies. They envisioned strategies of creating enemies and threats in order to establish pretexts for extreme policies. A number of prominent neoconservatives supported the candidacy of George W. Bush, some of whom became prominent members of his cabinet when he assumed the presidency (Nils Castro 2010:11-12; Schmitt 2003).
The events of September 11, 2001 provoked an opportunity for the neoconservatives to more aggressively pursue their vision. The George W. Bush administration launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and expanded US global military presence. US naval ships engaged in maneuvers near Iran and North Korea, two nations not under US neocolonial control, with the pretext of the nuclear programs of these nations. US military presence in South America increased, under the pretext of the control of illegal drug trafficking.
A significant increase in military spending occurred. The US defense budget in 2001 was $316 billion and increased to $685 billion in 2010, an increase of 67% in constant dollars. In 2009, the military expenditures of the United States represented 43% of the total military expenditures of all the countries in the world, placing the United States far ahead of second place China (CIEM 2010a; CIEM 2010b; SIPRI 2010:11).
Since the United States is losing the economic and financial capacity to control its neocolonies, direct US military control functions to ensure the raw materials supplies and markets that are integral to US neocolonial domination. For example, US military occupation of Iraq in 2003, with 10% of world oil reserves (second only to Saudi Arabia), enabled the United States to take control of the Iraqi political process and its oil production. And Afghanistan is important as a route of transit for the petroleum and natural gas exportations of Central Asia (Pichs 2006:167-72; Diez Conseco 2007:110-11).
In relation to Latin America, the Bush administration sought to take advantage of the events of September 11, 2001 to overcome the stagnation that had beset the implementation of the new system of Inter-American domination. However, from 2003 to 2009, there was increasing Latin American resistance to the implementation of the restructured system of domination that first had been formulated by George H. W. Bush and had been continued by Clinton. Major developments included: the defeat suffered by the FTAA at the Ministerial Meeting on Finances and the Economy of the Americas in 2003; the inability of the United States to successfully promote its favorite candidates for the position of Secretary General of OAS in 2005; the failure of the U.S. effort to reform the Inter-American Democratic Charter, in order that it could be used against the government of Hugo Chávez in 2005; the defeat suffered by Bush in the presidential effort to revive the FTAA in the Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata in 2005; the entrance of Cuba into the Río Group in 2008; and the repeal of the 1961 decision to expel Cuba from OAS in 2009 (Regalado 2010).
Neoconservative policies represent a short-sighted response to the deep structural crisis of the world-system and the hegemonic decline of the United States. They are interested only in preserving US power, yet they contribute to the further erosion of the US economy in the long run. They have been rejected by the peoples and governments of the world. And they have increased ideological division among the people of the United States.
Centro de Investigaciones de la Economía Mundial (CIEM). 2010a. “Exportaciones y gastos militares en Estados Unidos.” Havana: CIEM.
__________. 2010b. “Gastos militares y economía mundial.” Havana: CIEM.
Diez Conseco, Javier. 2007. “América Latina: recursos naturales y soberanía” in Contexto Latinoamericano: Revista de Análisis Político, No.3 (April-June), Pp. 110-17.
Nils Castro. 2010. “¿Quién es y qué pretende la ‘nueva derecha’?” Avance de investigación, Centro de Estudio sobre América, La Habana.
Pichs Madruga, Ramón. 2006. “Petróleo, Energía, and Economía Mundial, 1964-2004” in Libre Comercio y subdesarrollo. La Habana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales.
Regalado, Roberto. 2010. “Gobierno y poder en América Latina hoy,” Curso de actualización: América Latina: entre el cambio y la restauración conservadora, Centro de Investigaciones de Política Internacional, La Habana, Cuba, 22 de noviembre de 2010.
Schmitt, Jutta. 2003. “El ‘Projecto para un Nuevo Siglo Americano’ y sus Incidencias sobre América Latina,” Jornada de Discusión Política: “Emancipación versus Globo-Fascismo,” Movimiento Utopía 78, Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas y Políticas, Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida, Venezuela, November 6-7, 2003.
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRE), SIPRI Yearbook 2010: Armaments, Disarmament, and International Security. Solna, Sweden: SIPRI.
Key words: Third World, revolution, colonialism, neocolonialism, imperialism, democracy, national liberation, sovereignty, self-determination, socialism, Marxism, Leninism, Cuba, Latin America, world-system, world-economy, development, underdevelopment, colonial, neocolonial, blog Third World perspective, neoconservative, George W. Bush