Interview: Paul Craig Roberts

An objective look at U.S. foreign policy

Events continue to unfold at a quickening pace. Facing an alarming escalation in tensions around the world, we asked Paul Craig Roberts for his current thoughts.

Paul Craig Roberts is a widely renowned political analyst.  He was Ass. Secretary for Economic Policy under President Ronald Reagan, associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, and columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Ser vice.  His awe-inspiring insights, astute analysis, and developing views can be accessed at his Institute For Political Economy website.

We focus here on the realities of the international power struggle unfolding in real time, specifically addressing the role of the U.S. in the tensions and its capacity to reduce them. We are looking for paradigm-shift ideas for improving the prospects for peace. His responses below are exactly as he provided.

Here is what Paul Craig Roberts had to say.

John Rachel: We hear a lot of terms and acronyms bandied about. ‘Deep State’ … ‘MIC’ … ‘FIRE sector’ … ‘ruling elite’ … ‘oligarchy’ … ‘neocons’.  Who actually defines and sets America’s geopolitical priorities and determines our foreign policy? Not “officially”.  Not constitutionally. But de facto.

Paul Craig Roberts:  I don’t know the full answer to this question, and I don’t know anyone who does.  We do know that US foreign policy is shaped by powerful and entrenched material and ideological interests.  President Eisenhower warned as long ago as 1961 about the influence of the military/industrial complex (today the military/security complex), and there are other powerful interests such as Wall Street and the large banks, pharmaceutical companies,  oil industry, agri-business.  In brief, any organized group that can further its interest through US foreign policy.  These interests prevail over national interests, because there is no one to represent national interests. Presidents, senators, and representatives are indebted to the interest groups that fund their political campaigns, not to voters.  The only way to stop the influence of organized economic interests over foreign policy is to take money out of politics.  The Supreme Court decision in 2010 that gave corporations the right to purchase the government would have to be overturned.

The idea of American exceptionalism provides an ideological basis for US interventions in the world.  This belief of liberal interventionists hardened under the neoconservatives following the Soviet collapse in 1991 into a demand for American hegemony.  The original draft of the Wolfowitz Doctrine states the demand forcefully.  The belief that the US is indispensable and exceptional means that everyone else is unexceptional and dispensable. It is this belief that removes Washington from humane  and legal constraints and gives Washington a free hand to overthrow leaders and invade countries that do not adhere to Washington’s agendas.

The CIA has long used media to control the explanations, which makes it difficult to establish the facts of any event.

Some commentators see powerful families pulling the strings, such as the Rothchilds, the Rockefellers, and the British monarchy, or individuals such as George Soros. The World Economic Forum is another candidate as are the Bilderbergs, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Israel Lobby, and other organizations of influential people who seek to exert influence.  Little doubt these organizations exert influence, but how so many contending interests resolve into one controlling interest has not, to my knowledge, been explained.

What is clear is that interest groups backed by US military and financial power and underwritten by an exceptionalist ideology are not subject to control by voting in elections.  As the oligarchic rule of interest groups is too powerful to likely be dislodged from control, the only way unorganized people can escape such control is through failure of excessive ambition and decline.

JR:  We’ve had decades of international tensions. Recent developments have seen a sharp escalation in the potential for a major war. The U.S. apparently cannot be at peace. “Threats” against the homeland are allegedly increasing in number and severity. The trajectory of our relations with the rest of the world appears to be more confrontations, more enemies, more crises, more wars.

Is the world really that full of aggressors, bad actors, ruthless opponents? Or is there something in our own policies and attitudes toward other countries which put us at odds with them, thus making war inevitable and peace impossible?

PCR: The ideology of American hegemony puts the US at odds with countries such as Russia, China, and Iran which are sufficiently powerful or positioned to serve as constraints on American unilateralism.  Tensions will remain high as long as Washington demands a uni-polar world with itself at the top.

JR:  Our leaders relentlessly talk about our “national interests” and our “national security”, warning that both are under constant assault. Yet, we spend more than the next nine countries combined on our military. Why does such colossal spending never seem to be enough?

PCR:  Enemies and threats are valuable to the profits and power of the military/security complex.  Moreover, in recent years with the formation of the US Department of Homeland Security, threats to national security are no longer only from abroad, but also arise internally from domestic threats such as “white supremacy” and President Donald Trump’s alleged “January 6 Insurrection.”  Even medical doctors and medical scientists who dissented from Big Pharma’s Covid protocols were labeled threats.  A situation is developing in the US in which all who dissent from official narratives are regarded as “terrorists.”

JR:  It’s evident that you, and the many individuals who follow you and support your work, believe that America’s direction in both the diplomatic sphere and in the current conflict zones represents exercise of government power gone awry. Can you paint for us in broad strokes the specific changes in our national priorities and policies you view as necessary for the U.S. to peacefully coexist with other nations, at the same time keeping us safe from malicious attacks on our security and rightful place in the world community?

PCR: If the US is attacked, it is because of its aggressiveness toward others.  I don’t know of any such attacks.  9/11 was an obvious false flag operation. The “Muslim terrorist” threat was invented in order to justify the Middle East and North Africa invasions which were in behalf of secret agendas, not a “war on terrorism.”  To repeat myself,  to return power to the American people, the 2010 US Supreme Court decision (Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission), which ruled it a First Amendment right for corporations to buy the government, would have to be removed, and the liberal interventionist/neoconservative ideology of US hegemony would have to be abandoned.  After watching the entrenched establishment dispose of President Trump, I do not foresee the possibility of any leader being able to rise and form a movement capable of reining in the power of special interests and repudiating the doctrine of American exceptionalism.  Whoever tried would be framed in some way and shut down or eliminated.

JR:  The general public, especially when it’s aware of the self-sabotaging results of our current foreign policies and military posturing, clearly wants less war and militarism, preferring more peaceful alternatives on the world stage and greater concentration on solving the problems at home. As peace activists, we are thus more in line with the majority of citizens on issues of war and peace, than those currently in power.

What happens if we determine that those shaping current U.S. policy don’t care what the citizenry thinks, are simply not listening to us? What if we conclude that our Congress, for example, is completely deaf to the voice of the people? What do we do? What are our options then? What are the next concrete steps for political activists working toward a peaceful future?

PCR:  The conclusions you list are correct.  Democracy or rule by the people is no longer a respected value among the ruling elites.  The World Economic Forum’s “Great Reset” is prime proof of that.   The WEF and the elite in general see masses of humanity as useless in the digital age.  See, for example, “The Cult of Globalism:  The Great Reset and Its “Final Solution” for “Useless People“, especially the 6 minute video with Israeli intellectual Yuval Noah Harari, an advisor to the WEF’s Klaus Schwab.  The useless people are not to be allowed to determine anything.  They are to be kept on drugs and entertained by video games and interactions with holograms.  Life for them will be in a virtual world.  Only the appearance of awareness among the insouciant masses sparking revolution against all elites could save the peoples of the world from tyranny.


John Rachel: We are grateful to Paul Craig Roberts for sharing his valuable and thought-provoking views. The interview was arranged by John Rachel, Director of the Peace Dividend Project. The Peace Dividend strategy is not a meme or a bumper sticker. It is an end-to-end methodology for challenging the political establishment and removing from power those compromised individuals who work against the interests of the great majority of U.S. citizens. The only hope for our hyper-militarized nation is each and every one of us having a decisive voice in determining the future we want for ourselves and our children. 

John Rachel has a B.A. in Philosophy, has traveled extensively, is a songwriter, music producer, neo-Marxist, and a bipolar humanist. He has written eight novels and three political non-fiction books. His most recent polemic is The Peace Dividend: The Most Controversial Proposal in the History of the World. His political articles have appeared at many alternative media outlets. He is now somewhat rooted in a small traditional farming village in Japan near Osaka, where he proudly tends his small but promising vegetable garden. Scribo ergo sum. Read other articles by John, or visit John's website.