Sunday, August 30, 2015

Aggressive US foreign policy in Europe is losing fans.

Feb 2015. US/NATO military presence at the Estonia/Russia border
By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

I have said many times that the first victims of US capitalism is the US working class, and I don’t just mean from various sections of the capitalist class though exploitation in the workplace, or by the moneylender and the landlord.  I am referring to the highly effective control this class has over the means of communication, the media, television, newsprint and of course Hollywood. Religion is another powerful means by which people’s political views and understanding of world events are shaped.

Coupled with that is the huge size of the American economy and landmass, a continent really. One only has to drive through California’s Central valley to get an idea of the incredible level of agricultural production of just one state. Historically the rest of the world didn’t matter, but capitalist globalization has meant that even large nation states cannot escape that they exist within the framework of a world economy.

Still, the number of Americans with passports is low by many standards and buying in to the propaganda that the rest of the world hates us doesn’t encourage foreign travel. Since the US government’s “War on Terror” and penchant for pre-emptive bombing campaigns, which means that any country even thinking about opposing US imperialism’s interests in the region can be attacked, the list of countries Americans feel comfortable visiting is getting smaller.  The folks in Congress and at the Pentagon have no problem with these developments as a scared population is a pliable one.

But the aggressive imperial foreign policy, including the arming and financing of some of the world’s most ruthless regimes is causing the traditional respect and welcoming of a US military presence to wear a little thin, even among old allies.

When I was in Australia a couple of years ago, I talked to a number of people in Northern Queensland about the US government’s desire to build more military installations in their community.  Many North Queenslanders were not amused.  It’s not that they hated Americans, just the opposite.  But many of them felt that it would increase the likelihood of Australia being dragged in to Washington’s insane War on Terror and suffer the consequences for it.  Others told me that that the US government’s motive was all about containing China. And although Australia is a country dominated and ruled by European immigrants, it is also a South East Asian nation. It has deep ties with Asia economically, and when I was there, the mining boom was due greatly to Chinese demand.

For the US ruling class, fear and instability is a plus, up to a point.  It’s not enough for the domestic US population to be engulfed with a fear of foreigners, terrorists, immigrants marauding swarms of African bees, but the more fear and division among nations of the world the better it is for business, especially the arms business and the US is the guy with the big stick when it comes to possession and use of weapons of mass destruction.

But like the Australians, the Europeans are beginning to tire of US imperialism’s provocative foreign policy approach including the pressure it places on governments to follow the same economic policies and political reform, the gutting of worker protections, deregulation and other so-called reforms giving capital a stronger command over labor.

The placing of US military equipment and/or troops in the Baltics near the Russian border, its support for Ukrainian fascists, creates a climate of instability and fear more Europeans are worried about. I am no fan of the ex KGB thug Putin. But we should not forget that the major aggressive incursions in Europe in the modern era went from west to east not the other way round. Napoleon put 800,000 men in Russia and the German army raped pillaged and plundered its way to Moscow destroying everything in sight.  And that was just the Second World War, a war that cost some 15 million Russian lives.

It is not just workers and ordinary folks that are concerned that US capitalism’s presence could ignite conflict in Europe. German capitalism also has links with Russia and the east and is concerned about its interests. One German businessman told the Wall Street Journal, "When America defends its interests, it is merciless," comparing Russia's intervention in Ukraine to U.S. actions in other countries. "Lives don't count."

A recent study confirms Germans have a more negative view of NATO’s presence disrupting equilibrium in the region.  The study found that the actions of NATO including the increasing of tensions with Russia are being criticized by 68% of the population versus 32% in support.  “NATO would have nothing here in Europe to oppose Russia. The United States knows it, too. Europe will be catapulted into a war, while Uncle Sam would watch it all with relish on CNN,” one German wrote.  The motives of NATO, driven by US policymakers is becoming more suspect, “[…] Because the Americans want to use us as cannon fodder against Russia; what is the Bundeswehr searching for in the civil war in Ukraine, what does NATO want there?” another German asks. *

Unfortunately, as long as the vast majority of Americans feel there is little they can do to change the domestic or foreign policy that the millionaires and billionaires in Washington put in place, the dirty stain that the US capitalist class leave in their global wake will continue to get darker.  Scott Walker, the right wing governor of Wisconsin is even suggesting that building a wall between Canada and the US is not out of the question.  I’m sure the Canadians won’t mind that, curbing the migration of folks from the south who abuse the Canadian health care system including getting access to cheaper life saving drugs. It will work, especially if the US taxpayer will foot the bill.  I don’t think walker recognizes that Canada is actually a different country with a different mass consciousness and culture.

* The source is Sputnik News Agency which is owned by the Russian government. But the survey was a carried out by a German Agency.

No comments: