It goes without saying that if the German Republichad been truly democratic, it would have survived even the testof a depression.
Still, the Great Depression gave Hitler a chance to blame thestatus quo, and he expertly exploited the people's misery to increasehis political power.
Overnight they went from the ninth to secondlargest political party in Germany.
Between 1931 and 1933, vicious power struggles would break outbetween rival political parties.
Indeed, after invading the country, setting up hundreds of military bases, securing Iraqi oil fields, arresting the president and overseeing his execution it was time for US political leaders and American scholars to set in place the instruments needed to begin the process of capital extraction and accumulation. How did they do this? – By spreading a little democracy. To be certain, immediately after the invasion of Iraq, the so-called Coalition Provision Authority (CPA) was set up by the US government as a type of colonial government to oversee the country during the first year of the war. L. Paul Bremer was put in-charge and given absolute authority to make executive, legislative and judicial decisions for the whole of Iraq on behalf of the United States government. Early on and making clear what would be the new (or should we say, neoliberal) design of the Iraqi economy, Bremer signed CPA Order 39 which stated that all economic sectors within Iraq, including water, electricity and sewage would be made open, without delay, to privatization by foreign investors. In short order, a number of US firms were awarded contracts to “rebuild” or manage many of these publicly controlled industries for the Iraqi people. The only industries that foreign investors were excluded from by the CPA were oil and gas. However, the writing of the Iraqi Constitution would resolve that.
Schleicher, who had managed to make himself the last German Chancellorbefore Hitler, would eventually say: "I stayed in power only57 days, and on each of those days I was betrayed 57 times."(3) It's not worth tracking the ins and outs of all these schemes,but the one that got Hitler into power is worth noting.
Hitler's unexpected savior was Franz von Papen, one of the formerChancellors, a remarkably incompetent man who owed his politicalcareer to a personal friendship with Hindenburg.
The British Westminster system is considered to be a ‘liberal democracy’ however in the Second World War there were several powers exercised by the government which do not fit with this type of system for example control was exercised over the media and labour and elections were put off...
The war in Iraq, like the selling of arms to the Khmer Rouge by the Cambodian generals, was driven by money. As witnessed in each case, an insatiable desire for wealth will inevitably lead to unethical decisions. With out a doubt, politically, there is probably no more corrupting influence on the republican form of government than money. But how did it get this way? How have the rich come to dominate the state and then in turn be in a political position to make decisions about the most meaningful issues of the day, such as the war in Iraq, which impact not only the United States but people all across the planet?
Here we see at least of the problem. While we have only looked so far at the case of Iraq, often what is found when examining the United States government is that it is not only literally serving the interests of the rich but is, in fact, made-up of individuals who are themselves wealthy. These powerful decision-makers are in a position to make themselves, those closest to them, and those who are willing to generously fund their reelection campaigns richer still at the expense of the American people. At the same time, these directors of national policy remain politically situated to prevent any type of meaningful oversight into their wrongdoing by the very positions that they hold and likely believe in the virtue of their own actions and decisions.
It is worth noting here that while not discounting the fact that Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who was responsible for a number of atrocities, Iraqi citizens had the highest standard of living in the Middle East during his time in power. Some of the benefits enjoyed under the Hussein government for men and were free education kindergarten through graduate school and the provision of free health care services for every Iraqi citizen. Each is an impressive social benefit that not even the government of the richest nation on the planet – the United States – can lay claim to providing for its citizens. Was Iraq’s oil wealth used to fight wars, buy arms on the international market (including from the US) and allow Hussein and high-ranking Ba’ath Party officials to live lives of luxury? Yes. However, since the Hussein government has been removed, quality universal health care has declined to such an extent that at times it has become almost nonexistent. At the same time, the educational system in Iraq has suffered horrors that are frightening to consider. To be sure, more than 2700 public and private schools, kindergarten through graduate school, have been “damaged” (including, 84% of colleges and universities), destroyed, looted, have become too dangerous to attend (e.g., more than 500 professors have been assassinated) or simply closed. Creating the conditions that allow for the destruction of education within a society is the surest sign of moral decay. Yet, the above realities are regularly ignored by our political leaders ( the corporate press) who have created this war.
This is not to say that past political leaders have regularly behaved with the utmost legality and the strongest of ethics in mind. The fact of the matter is that they have not. Even a brief review of American political-history demonstrates that the United States government has made decisions that might be considered morally questionable. Whether it was the perpetuation of slavery, the overthrowing of foreign governments or the denial of voting rights at home, the federal government has on more than one occasion been out of step with justice and equality. Yet, in recent years, our political leaders’ transgressions seem to be so outrageous that we would not be wrong to add their recent misconduct to this list of shocking historical examples of government illegality and a failure of ethics. St. Augustine once said, “An unjust law is no law at all.” However, as we shall see below, in the United States today, law and justice have less and less to do with each other on issues of national importance and more and more to do with protecting private wealth at the expense of the people. The result of this corrupting of the American political system has made the strengthening of the American empire not only possible but the downfall (or at least the downward descent) of the American republic inevitable.
The result of all of this is that the United States has become what Plato originally spelled out in and Michael Parenti made famous today – a plutocracy. That is, a nation which is ruled by the rich, where money is valued over “goodness.” Like the Cambodian generals who sold arms to their enemies our political system has been corrupted by those who steer some of the most powerful companies on the planet. Indeed, with their massive funding of political office-holders the rich have made it impossible for the United States government to have a “moral compass.” These wealthy individuals have created a type of Wall-Street Republic where office-holders have become a commodity (or security) to be bought and sold like any other commodity. To be sure, those that are supposed to represent the people have instead become an investment that the wealthiest amongst us use to perpetuate their own affluence.
Dr. Haing Ngor, survivor of the Khmer Rouge “killings fields,” concluded that the Cambodian government lost its civil war (1967-1975) with the Khmer Rouge because the nation had lost its “moral direction.” As one example, he explained how some Cambodian generals sold US-supplied weapons to the Khmer Rouge for their own personal benefit. As a consequence of the individual greed by some of the country’s top military men the Khmer Rouge became stronger, the civil war continued and when the US withdrew from Southeast Asia for good in April of 1975, the Lon Nol government collapsed in less than a week.