In a recent binational meeting in Mexico City, United States’ Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, said that like they did with Osama Bin Laden last year, her country special forces eventually would find Mexico’s ultimate narco, Joaquín “Chapo” Guzmán. “And you know what happened to Osama Bin Laden”, she added. Her asseveration was a real statement about our time's geopolitical trend. With the most prominent army in the world, a worldwide spying net, directed by skilled agencies with long-life experience in the matter, a cutting edge technology both in weaponry and in information gathering and a pervasive set of financial, cultural and political interests in the entire planet, America is a die-hard empire. Since the beginning of the nineties, America has reached its most precious sci-fi dreams in weaponry, as the Army showed worldwide in ‘91 Desert Storm against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Nowadays, there is a world of drones, photographer satellites and intelligent rockets operated overseas working day and night on the America’s side.
|SEALs in action|
In these terms, the operation to bring down Osama Bin Laden was the perfect symbol of the American present times. The entire strategy revealed clearer than ever the new dimension of America’s role in the flat, fast and furious postmodern world: the trend to become a smooth but powerful global vigilante. Not because it had been history’s first time that American special forces make an intervention like that (on the contrary, its known that such practices are common in recent history of US unipolar dominance), but because it settled a crucial turn in their global leadership against the outlaws. We are perceiving a slight but unremitting gliding from straight intervention to surgical extraction or even elimination of the empire enemies. In the near future, major strikes could be done by the use of robotics, and the extensive use of drones in Iraq points in that direction. Meanwhile, key figures of terrorism, organized crime and violent radicals along the world would be retired SEALs’ style. (SEALs, of course, was the unit on charge to erase Bin Laden from the face of Earth.)
In his marvelous report on the hunt and final death of Osama Bin Laden, “Getting Bin Laden”, published in The New Yorker last august, American journalist Nicholas Schmidle, tells in detail the key moments of the military operation to kill public enemy number one. (The text is available at http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/08/08/110808fa_fact_schmidle.) Reading it we get the intelligence to see the kind of efficiency that US Special Forces have in order to survey, find and attack the enemy. There are the prominent results of decades of military leadership in the planet. That is the product of the sum of programs, methods, systems, human training and R&D in war technology to the service of American justice.
For sure, there’s a number of ethical problems in this kind of justice but for now it’s the best we have in the world. Let’s be clear in this point: United States is an empire and acts like that, period. In consequence, its actions must be seen as the result of its national interests around the world. But at the same time, there’s a righteous sense of pragmatic ethics that the rest of the world (or, at least, the rest of the Western world) can no more than accept with enthusiasm. It’s the realm of the so called community values or national values; that is, the set of presuppositions that we have to assume as essential in order to set up an ethic discourse against alternative ways of thought. American philosopher Richard Rorty worked a lot in this path: in this side of the world, there is no other way to establish right or wrong in national and international affairs than thinking democracy, human rights and free speech as the essentials of our ethical and political practice.
So, this is the actual crossroad of American power: turn itself into a democratic vigilante, no matter how paradoxical this may sound. Maybe that is a good way to move forward its immense fire power and bureaucracy of war. For sure, it would be a right strategy to face its financial decline by cutting the overwhelming expends that traditional wars involve. But at the same time those are good news for the rest of the world: we would have a very efficient crime cleaner on our side.