Friday, March 11, 2016

Global crises lead to rare spat between Obama and Cameron.

Bombers unite. Are we still friends?
By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

You have to hand it to them, these heads of the major imperialist powers.  Barak Obama, the head of the one with the big stick and the most prolific producer of weapons of mass destruction on the planet, attacked British Prime Minister and British and French imperialism in particular for leaving Libya in a “mess” after their 2011 military invasion and assassination of Gaddafi.

Let’s see now.  What is the record of US imperialism in the region?  Oh yes, Iraq.  Now that’s an example of how to help a country in to stability isn’t it? Prop up a dictator, help him crush the unions and workers’ political parties and any other party that threatened the one party state and if he got too cocky, bomb the place.  “Just Do It” is the motto of the arrogant US bourgeois.

In fact, Iraq no longer exists really it is a failed state in the true sense of the word.  The US invasion destroyed what was once one of the more secular Arab/Muslim states in the region, cost the US taxpayer millions, trillions when Afghanistan is included and both ventures have been miserable failures. The cost in lives runs in the millions. But as Madeline Albright once said, “It’s worth it.”

Then there’s Somalia, Afghanistan, the never ending bombing of Pakistan which is opposed by the vast majority of Pakistani’s and is an excellent recruitment tool for terrorist groups. I guess making sense doesn’t apply when you have the big stick.

US workers and the middle classes are getting a little restless.  The costs of fighting wars on behalf of US corporations and the few thousand people that own them is considerable. Wages, benefits, social services have all been savaged over the past period. The social infrastructure in the US is falling apart and has been described by some as the third deficit.  Students leave college heavy indebted and without a possibility of a job. Working class people are being priced out of public education.

Numerous disasters often attributed in the media to “acts of god”, from Katrina, to the poisoning of a section of the Elk River in West Virginia that left people without water for nine days, to the poisoning of the entire population of Flint Michigan and the relocation of an entire community due to a gas leak in Southern California not to mention the explosion in West Texas and many others, are beginning to be seen as what they are, a failure of the system, a breakdown of society and a by-product of their precious market.  This is of some concern to the ruling class. No one trusts the government.

The rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are a product of this anger that exists beneath the surface of US society. They reflect a complete disdain for the present body politic and the millionaires and billionaires that fill its ranks, Trump and Sanders are popular because they attack it.

The US ruling class is under pressure. Their two political parties are in disarray and the Republican Party could split as the right wing religious fanatics they brought in to the party are out of control. They fear social unrest as the conditions for it ripens. Social unrest of a confused, unorganized and violent nature that occurs in leaderless situations. So US imperialism and Obama as its representative wants the Europeans to contribute more to the misnamed North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), wants them to “pay their share”.  The UK was particularly targeted and Obama warned that the “special relationship” that the two countries have would be at risk if the UK didn’t commit to spending 2% of its national income on defense.  He basically accused them of being free riders. “We will apply the military capabilities that are unique to us, but we expect others to carry their weight.” Obama said. The military capability Obama is talking about is air power. All of US capitalism’s wars are unpopular and only tolerated if Americans don’t die in significant numbers. The burden of these corporate ventures falls on the shoulders of a minority of US families.

The problem is that Cameron and no doubt all the European leaders are feeling the same pressures. Here in the UK, resistance is growing to vicious cuts being imposed by the conservative government as the capitalist crisis is also shifted on to the backs of workers and the middle class.  The refugee crisis weighs on them all like a ton of bricks.

Libya is indeed a “mess” as Obama puts it, just like Iraq, Afghanistan the entire Middle East and Africa, and indeed the entire planet in which we live.  We are in an unprecedented period in history. The most important thing for workers to understand is that there is no solution to it within the framework of capitalism. Obama, the antiwar alternative to the imbecile Bush, has continued and cannot but continue heading down the same destructive road, so will Clinton and Sanders as representatives of capitalism.  It is worth reminding Sanders’ supporters who see him as the new FDR that Roosevelt’s efforts to save capitalism from itself failed. It took a world war and the death of some 50 million people to do that. Roosevelt was an astute bourgeois who had used the troops against striking workers many times. It is important to recognize that limited as his reforms were, they were a response to the rise in militancy and organization of the working classes at the time.

Obama Cameron, Merkel, all of them, are all headed to the abyss and are taking us with them.

The refugee crisis in Europe is a direct result of US meddling in the Middle East. It is US foreign policy that is at the root of this crisis including its unconditional support for the Zionist regime that must never be referred to when discussing the region.  ISIS is also a product of decades of failed attempts by western powers to impose western style governments on nation states created by western imperialists out of tribal communities across continents. As Robert Fisk wrote in an excellent articlelast year:

“The bloody repercussions of the borders that the British and French diplomats, Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot, drew in secret during the First World War – originally giving Syria, Mount Lebanon and northern Iraq to the French, and Palestine, Transjordan and the rest of Iraq to the British – are known to every Arab, Christian and Muslim and, indeed, every Jew in the region. They eviscerated the governorates of the old dying Ottoman empire and created artificial nations in which borders, watchtowers and hills of sand separated tribes, families and peoples. They were an Anglo-French colonial production.”

The experiment has failed miserably and the genie cannot be put back in the bottle. Not by the British, French, US and certainly not by capitalism.

ISIS is no significant threat to the US. As Andrew Bacevich the retired US colonel and historian said in a recent interview on Democracy Now, “But by any realistic measure, ISIS poses only a modest threat to the United States of America. It doesn’t have an air force. It doesn’t have a navy. It consists of a relatively small number of fierce fighters, not particularly well armed. And the notion that ISIS somehow threatens us, I think, is really absurd.”

But it is a threat to the stability of the region, the flow of oil and the global economy as a whole.  At some point as we have stated before on this blog, some type of nuclear device could fall in to the hands of these characters and add another element to the situation.

I am convinced the international working class and a democratic socialist system will offer humanity a real future where all human beings can be free to develop the creativity and potential within us. But it is not guaranteed and time is not on our side.

Cats may have nine lives, we don’t.

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