3-14-05, 8:17 am

George Orwell was a British left anti-Communist whose two political novels, Animal Farm and 1984, were disseminated globally as anti-Communist and anti-Soviet ideology. 1984 especially became the embodiment of such thought (although scholars today have discovered that Orwell got his background for the novel by working for British wartime propaganda) in its portrayal of 'Big Brother' (the Stalin personality cult) the Thought Police (censorship without end) 'NEWSPEAK' (where language is twisted to become its opposite) and a war without end or beginning although the enemies change (sometimes 'Eurasia' sometimes 'East Asia') used to keep the people in line.

1984 was published in 1948, the year that Britain acted as Washington’s broker to set up the Brussels Pact, which preceded NATO in 1949. George Bush spoke to the NATO alliance and the European Union at Brussels, which is the headquarters for both NATO and the EU in late February in a speech that was, as they used to say, 'Orwellian.'

Although there isn’t any great personality cult around Bush (no surprise given his personality) there is a multi-faceted censorship that invents its own news stories, never admits its distortions and lies even when the are documented beyond dispute, and punishes any critic for the most minor error. And there is a perpetual war against 'terrorism,' which serves as a convenient rubric to keep people in line (are we defending ourselves from Iraq today, or Iran, or North Korea, or Venezuela or Cuba,).

Bush’s speech was pure 'NEWSPEAK.' Here are some excerpts: 'Our alliance is determined to show good stewardship of the earth – and that requires addressing of the serious long-term challenge of global climate change. All of us have expressed our views on the Kyoto Protocol, and now we must work together on the way forward.'

Someone who knew nothing might assume that Jeb’s Big Brother supported the Kyoto Protocol, and accepted the science about global warming etc. Of course the Thought Police are not around yet to arrest and disappear those who know that the administration has sponsored a disinformation campaign against the idea of global warming, actively opposed and refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol, and has created a climate of fear in Washington for those government scientists who are wary of its 'What Me Worry' approach to environmental crisis.

Then there are these remarks (which are as Alice in Wonderland as 1984): 'We should all pursue fiscal policies in our nations (a McGuffey’s Reader statement, if ever there was one) – sound fiscal policies of low taxes and fiscal restraint and reform that promote a stable world financial system and economic growth.'

The government, which has created runaway military spending and tax giveaways so great that, the leaders of the IMF and World Bank see it as the major threat to world capitalist economic stability speaks of fiscal restraint and economic stability? As in 1984, where 'freedom is slavery' multi-trillion dollar deficits, represent 'fiscal restraint' and unprecedented trade deficits and capital outsourcing represents a world where 'we should share the benefits of free and fair trade with others.'

Actually, these sections of the speech were among its most rational – and that in itself is a bit of NEWSPEAK. Most of the address hails the march of freedom and democracy through Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Ukraine as indistinguishable from 'free market' capitalism. The 'New Russia'(the former Soviet Union is not mentioned as Bush recounts the US European victory in World War II) is gently chastised in the following way: 'We must always remind Russia that our alliance stands for a free press, a vital opposition, the sharing of power, and the rule of law....' all fine principles that are at complete variance with everything that the Bush administration has done since 2001. In what for Americans who still remember 2000 may have been the low point (or in NEWSPEAK, high point) of the address Bush called upon the NATO states to 'continue to reach out to Georgia, where last year peaceful protests overturned a stolen election, and unleashed the forces of democratic change.'

Bush concludes by quoting Albert Camus that 'freedom is a long distance race' – the thought of Bush reading and trying to understand Camus’ The Stranger must have given many of the delegates pause – and proclaiming that 'We proudly stand in the tradition of the Magna Carta, the Declaration the Rights of Man, and the North Atlantic Treaty.'

The Magna Carta was a 13th century restriction of British monarchical power by feudal lords which later became a major precedent for the advance of capitalist democracy. The Declaration of the Rights of Man was drafted by the great revolutionary agitator, Tom Paine, in the early days of the French Revolution. Bush might have as much trouble reading Paine’s Common Sense as Camus’ The Stranger. NATO had as much to do with these documents as the Holy Alliance in Europe established to restore the Old Regimes after the defeat of Napoleon had to do with the Enlightenment.

In 1984, events and people who are inconvenient to the government of Big Brother simply cease to exist. In Bush’s speech to the NATO states, the traditional connection between the Magna Carta and the Declaration of the Rights of Man, namely the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, is never mentioned. In his speech extolling the march of freedom and democracy, the two most globally revered American documents representing freedom and democracy don’t exist.

None of us have to love Bush the way Winston Smith had to love Big Brother in 1984, and he really doesn’t care. His Brussels speech is evident that he thinks he can treat the NATO states, the EU countries, and America’s global creditors with the same candor that Enron treated its employees and stockholders.

The speech should be evident to all that the administration will only get worse in its pursuit of global robber baron capitalism and global US based gunboat diplomacy, of which its statements to the contrary constitute evidence. The more we fail to resist it at every turn, the more it becomes like the world of 1984 a surreal reality.

--Norman Markowitz is a contributing editor of Political Affairs and writes frequently for this online edition.

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