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Friday, December 17, 2021

The Failing Bureaucrat: James Bond

James Bond is loyal to the state; he has charisma; he has access to secrets; he is an expert; he has the license to kill. These qualities and powers make James Bond the ultimate Western bureaucrat. He is the mythical symbol of Western power. 

Max Weber has defined the state as an institution which claims monopoly on the use of legitimate violence within a given territory. After winning the Second World War in 1945, America inherited the legacy of the British empire. The American establishment was convinced that it was their manifest destiny to Westernize and dominate the world, through trade and diplomacy if possible, and through violent means if necessary. 

James Bond was qualified to be the hatchet man for the American and British establishments. He possessed the necessary bureaucratic and militaristic skills. There are several books which accuse James Bond of being involved in nefarious activities: coups, revolutions, insurgencies, assassinations, corruption, political blackmail, torture, acts of mass terror, kidnappings, coercion of free press, and stolen elections. 

The rule of history is—no matter how badass you are, you will at some point of time encounter someone who will be nastier and tougher. In the twenty-first century, the non-Western powers have developed their own bureaucracies that are as secretive and lethal as the Western ones. The Western strategists are proving incapable of countering the rising power of the rival bureaucracies. The age of James Bond is over.

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