In an op-ed for the Financial Times on Wednesday, Oscar-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone and American University professor Peter Kuznick argue that the National Security Agency’s surveillance program that began during George W. Bush’s administration and was expanded by President Barack Obama is helping to lay “the foundation for a frighteningly dystopian future.”
“If subtle coercion fails and force is required, Mr Obama and his successors will have the wherewithal to target anyone, anywhere, with the utmost precision and the deadliest means,” write the pair, who co-authored the documentary series and book “The Untold History of the United States.” “The US is establishing absolute mastery over land, sea, air, space and cyber space—full-spectrum dominance.”
And although Stone and Kuznick believe that Obama has done some positive things during his presidency—he’s more or less halted torture programs, gotten troops out of Iraq and set a timetable to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan— they also write that “in crucial respects,” Obama is “actually worse than his predecessor.”
Mr Obama pores over weekly “kill lists”. He chooses who to target with drones, new, more sophisticated versions of which are being rapidly developed, and not only by the US. But Mr Obama and his advisers pay little heed to the fact that these programmes create more terrorists than they eliminate. Nowhere is the US more hated than in Pakistan, where drones have killed thousands.
Furthermore, American technological superiority will not protect the US. In the 1940s, President Harry Truman believed the Soviet Union was a long way from producing nuclear weapons and that the US would have a long nuclear monopoly. It lasted only until 1949. The US will make a similar miscalculation if it deploys drones across the world, sends weapons to space or normalises cyber warfare.
Mr Obama has become a more amiable and efficient manager of the American empire. And, in the name of national security, he is laying the foundation for a frighteningly dystopian future by combining full-spectrum surveillance with full-spectrum military dominance.