It didn’t take long for the web of lies to unravel. Just weeks after White House resident George W. Bush declared that the conflict was over, two U.S. or British troops die each day and Saddam Hussein is alive and apparently able to direct an organised guerrilla force in Baghdad. And, of course, the so-called Weapons of Mass Destruction, capable of deployment within 45 minutes, according to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, remain stubbornly undetected. Perhaps the fugitive Iraqi President has them in his overnight bag!
After two years of compliance with the Bush Administration’s project for world domination, the media is in a frenzy about a completely bogus claim that Iraq was buying uranium oxide from Niger, for use in a “reactivated nuclear weapons program.” From the Guardian to the New York Times to the Australian, editorial writers are outraged that Blair, Bush and Howard have lied to their respective populations about this key justification for attacking Iraq. Until recently, no one was asking the obvious question. It took Joseph Wilson — the former U.S. ambassador who investigated and rejected the Niger claims — to ask it. “It begs the question,” he told the Washington Post, “what else are they lying about?”
They — Washington, London, and Canberra —are, of course, lying about everything to do with their military adventures. This is not a war against “terrorism.” An Anglo-Saxon axis of imperialism has embarked on an operation to take direct control of the wealth of Asia. It’s not only the oil fields of the Middle East and Central Asia, which is why Iraq, Iran and Syria are under the gun. Apart from the expanding European Union, there is only one possible threat to a global capitalist empire controlled from Washington: the emerging capitalist giant, China.
The stated goal of the gang in control at the White House is to remove any possible impediment to U.S. hegemony for the foreseeable future. What is happening in Iraq is just the overture of what could become a dire saga of world war. The inclusion of North Korea on the target list can only be explained this way. It’s not just cleaning up the dregs of the Cold War. U.S. imperialism needs an advance base in East Asia, and North Korea is to be it. Here’s a scenario. First a blockade and a campaign of piracy aimed at North Korean shipping and aircraft. Then follow up in a year or two with a “pre-emptive strike” against North Korea’s key military and civilian infrastructure — all in the name of the “war on terror.” And against a population already so malnourished that the North Korean Army has recently reduced its minimum height requirement to just 1.3 metres.
The intervening period will give the U.S. breathing space to convince the Chinese that this is different from the infamous “gunboat diplomacy” of a century ago. Whether the Chinese buy it is another question. Invading Korea without at least the forbearance of China is fraught with danger. There is a real risk of a nuclear confrontation as the Chinese Government moves to defend its interests. The game plan of the “neo-cons” involves very high stakes.
Vulture capitalism. What are the interests of London and Canberra in marching to the U.S. war drums? Profits and patronage, the scraps from Washington’s predation! The British bourgeoisie is in terminal decline, with the British economy merely a branch office of Wall Street and the European Union (EU) capital, Brussels. The British Establishment is following Washington in the hope of regaining lost colonial revenue and to secure independence from Europe. For them it’s either that, or be swamped by the Europeans.
For Australia, the issue seems more complex than merely clinging to the coat-tails of Uncle Sam. Participation in the Iraq invasion and the mooted blockade of Korea has more of the flavour of a franchise fee, the franchise being regional domination in the Western Pacific and South East Asia. The “invited” invasion of the Solomon Islands is Canberra’s opening gambit in a long-planned project to dominate this part of the world, all for the sake of “preventing failed states from becoming breeding grounds of terrorism.” Next on the list is Papua New Guinea or Nauru. Unless, of course, the Australian working class puts a stop to it.
Shifting alliances. “Unilateralism”has become something of an overused description of U.S. policy since September 11, 2001. Media commentators often fall into the trap that the world is divided up into “friends” and “enemies.” But, to paraphrase former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, nations have interests, not friends. There is no reason, for example, to bemoan the sidelining of the United Nations, which is simply a vehicle for ensuring that the interests of the U.S. and other imperialist powers prevail over the rest of the world. So-called “multilateralism” is just collusion between exploiting countries. Those pulling the strings in Washington are not fools. They have ditched “old Europe” because the EU is not a friend but a competitor, as is Russia and China. Britain and Australia and a handful of other U.S. client states are welcome because they are no threat to globalisation of the Wall Street kind.
The Europeans are no fools either. Already France is engaged in economic recolonisation of French-speaking African countries through both the use of aid and “peacekeepers.” German money is flooding into the Balkans and Turkey. The EU has expanded into Eastern Europe and could well govern most of continent by the end of the decade. It’s in the interests of the European bourgeoisie to “globalise” Europe as quickly as possible, because of the threat of U.S. domination. Already France and Russia are being squeezed out of their oil interests in Iraq, as the Texas oil barons and their cartel move to take over. Europe needs access to external sources of oil, and it cannot permit the U.S. to monopolise world oil production. A trade war is likely, but any military conflict would split the EU. Another likely scenario is the rapid emergence of a “partnership” between the EU, Russia and some of the impoverished countries around the Caspian Sea. Any “border conflicts” in the region would enable the EU and Washington to fight it by proxy — and the EU gains a huge new market and vast resources.
Globalise resistance. The various capitalist blocs are once again seeking to carve up the globe for their use and abuse. However it’s not at all inevitable that their dreams of empire will succeed. The U.S. economy is weak and the expense involved in war-making is high. The rapidity with which the Iraq occupation has become a morale-sapping, deadly war of attrition for soldiers in Iraqi streets means that U.S. public opinion could rapidly change, and the anti-war movement there could explode onto the streets. The existence of the EU provides the opportunity for the cross-border organising of tens of millions of advanced workers. In Britain and Australia thirty years of economic “rationalism”have created huge undercurrents of anger.
For the moment, though, the Establishment propaganda machine has dampened dissent. The effect of the “war on terror” has been chilling. Bush in particular is fond of using “terrorist” “militant” and “radical” interchangeably. The task of anti-war and anti-globalisation activists is to unite to oppose this demonisation, to re-invigorate protest and recreate a mass movement capable of bringing the tens of millions of opponents to war back out onto the streets.
A good start would be to organise to defeat the imperialist occupation of the Middle East, to stop the invasion of the Solomons and the blockade of North Korea. Let’s stop them in their tracks!
U.S and all imperialist forces out of the Middle East and Afghanistan — now! Free Palestine! No war on Iran or Syria! No religious control of Iraq — for a secular state with equality for women, and full democratic rights! For war reparations paid by imperialist profiteers! Australian/New Zealand hands off the Solomon Islands! No blockade of North Korea!
In 1920 Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), wrote this of the western colonisation of the Middle East: “How long will we permit millions of pounds, thousands of Imperial troops, and tens of thousands of Arabs to be sacrificed on behalf of colonial administration which can benefit nobody but its administrators?”
Eighty-three years later, Arabia is still colonised, the death toll is in the millions and the cost immeasurable. It’s a perpetual war, where people are killed every day by an invading army, both in Palestine and in Afghanistan, and now in Iraq. This is the ugly face of imperialism.
But there’s good news too! As the Freedom Socialist Party said in our November 2002 Political Resolution One Planet Under U.S. Imperialism Cannot Last: “In its final phase of imperialism, the contradictions of capitalism are stretched to breaking point. Because of the comprehensive socialisation of production — the complete interlinking and interdependency of every part of the global economy — every disturbing tendency is intensified and every problem magnified.”
George Bush and the architects of the “new war order” will continue their futile efforts to resolve the contradictions of a capitalist system at war with itself. But perpetual war sparks perpetual resistance. Russian revolutionary leader, V.I.Lenin, who wrote extensively about imperialism, described it as “the epoch of transition from capitalism to a higher system.” The task of anti-war activists today is to build a movement to end war for all times by creating a planned and logical system where abundance is used to satisfy human needs, not spark trade wars!