Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Hypocritical whining as Mad Dog Mattis berates the Russians

Reagan with freedom fighters (Taliban) 1983
By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

“One of the delightful things about Americans is that they have absolutely no historical memory.” Zhou Enlai

A major advantage the US has over many other advanced capitalist economies is that for the most part, the US population is completely oblivious to the real role the US state apparatus plays in the rest of the world through it’s military and economic dominance of world affairs.  In the mostly former colonial countries where the US war machine has slaughtered the population and/or decimated the economic and political structure of the country, they are all too familiar with the costs of resisting US imperialism’s intentions.

One of the main reasons for this is the immense power of the US media; highly censored and controlled, it adds to the isolation of the American population from the rest of the world. The more we’re afraid, the less we travel and learn on our own, and the less we question things.

It goes without saying that we are notoriously famous for our lack of geographical knowledge for example, and the standing joke is that we learn of foreign countries after the folks in Washington and at the Pentagon decide to bomb the place.  We then get to see the likes of Wolf Blitzer or his equivalent, standing on a map of the area on CNN news giving us U.S. state department briefings.

That’s how come mouthpieces for US imperialism, whether its politicians or military brass, the guys that wear all that scrap metal on their chests but do none of the fighting and take none of the risks, feel very confident when they make absurd and hypocritical public proclamations.

The latest is the US mass media’s reports of US Defense Secretary, James “Mad Dog” Mattis, whining about Russian imperialism arming the Taliban. The US must “confront” Russia on the issue, Mad Dog announces to the world during his Afghanistan visit.  “We’ll engage with Russia diplomatically…”,  Mad Dog adds and,  “…we’ll do so where we can, but we’re going to have to confront Russia where what they’re doing is contrary to international law or denying the sovereignty of other countries.”

Mattis can say these things because he’s confident many Americans will not pay much attention to detail, will certainly know next to nothing about the history of the Afghanistan conflict, and a whole host of diversions will keep it out of the collective consciousness.  “For example,” Mad Dog continued, “….any weapons being funneled here from a foreign country would be a violation of international law.”

Respect for “sovereignty”. “Funneling” weapons to groups.  I can barely contain myself reading this and can only imagine what people outside the US must be thinking, especially victims of US foreign policy. I think we will see Russian imperialism arming other forces hostile to US imperialism's interests, the Houthis in Yemen for example.

The US provides half or more of the world’s weapons of mass destruction, and more often than not to despotic undemocratic regimes. The horrific slaughter in Yemen that has killed thousands of innocent civilians is Pentagon driven and financed as US and Saudi planes continue to bomb the place. The US bombs Somalia, Pakistan, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya etc. The US has 15,000 troops in Bahrain that sat idly by as the ruthless family, an absolute monarchy that governs Bahrain, slaughtered civilians protesting for religious freedom, democratic rights and political reform.

All those ruthless despotic regimes in the Gulf stay in power through US money and weapons.

The US invaded Iraq and has basically destroyed it as a nation state yet Iraq nor its people threated the US in any way. The US arms the Zionist Apartheid state of Israel that occupies Palestinian land, destroys their farms, and imprisons and kills their men, women and children with impunity.

US imperialism doesn’t care about sovereignty unless a country has nuclear weapons. The little “fat man” in Korea is not so stupid. He doesn’t want to end up like
Gaddafi whose murder, rape and death was praised by Hillary Clinton, “We hope he can be captured or killed soon so that you don’t have to fear him any longer” and when her wish came true, she responded, “We came, we saw, he died.”. This is the person who considered the Egyptian dictator Mubarak, “like family”. *

Up until 1999 the salary of every Taliban government official was paid by the US taxpayer. ** The US taxpayer financed the Taliban and the CIA and Pakistani ISI covertly supported Moslem fundamentalists against the Soviets in Afghanistan including Osama bin Laden. The backward warlords in Afghanistan received billions in US weapons.

In an interview with Zbigniew Brzezinsky in 1998, the former national security advisor to Jimmy Carter when asked if he regretted having supported Islamic fundamentalism, replied, “What is more important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?” *** "Stirred up Moslems" The arrogance and outright ignorance of imperialism reveals the obstacle such thinking is to understanding world events.
1993 Independent UK portraying Bin Laden as freedom fighter

And while many Americans are not aware of these details and the lies and hypocrisy of US imperialism, hundreds of millions of workers throughout the world are,  through direct experience or through familial or social connections to the victims.

As I have commented in the past, what is lacking in individual situations and indeed, on a world scale, is the independent, organized voice of the working class. Only the working class can resolve these crises. Only the working class can put a stop to the never ending imperialist wars waged for profits and global resources and the poverty, disease and suffering that accompanies them.

Some time ago,  arguing for an independent working people political party as the alternative to the two Wall Street parties, I pointed out that a former professional wrestler, Jesse Ventura, was able to win the governorship of Minnesota and that the argument that the labor movement could not run its own candidate with any chance of success was a lie. I gave the example of the former strike leader Lula in Brazil.

Since then we have seen new parties spring up throughout Europe. In the French elections just a few days ago the traditional parties that have shared governance for some 40 years were crushed and left candidates, had they joined forces, would have won the first round.  As it stands, it’s likely the next president of France, the fourth largest economy in the world, will be Macron, the leader of a party that he himself formed barely a year ago.

As always, I must add that another factor in the ability of US capitalism to act in the manner it does both domestically and abroad, is the absence of any social force challenging it ideologically and organizationally.  In the US, the heads of organized labor are complicit not only in the rise of Trumpism, and the savagery of US foreign policy. But the thousands of members of self styled revolutionary organizations and other anti-capitalist groups also share some responsibility.

Unfortunately, the US working class will pay for the absence of a leadership prepared to confront the capitalist offensive and our own resignation to the status quo. While leadership bears responsibility for the delay, we are not entirely blameless.

The present administration will intensify the attacks on union and workers’ rights and we are faced with only one conclusion; we have no alternative but to fight.

* Initially, I was supportive of the rising against Gaddafi that I saw as being from below and being part of the Arab Spring and hopefully a movement toward genuine socialist democracy in the Middle East and Arab world. The entry of the US in the form of NATO was a different matter.
** Ted Rall, It’s About Oil, SF Chronicle 2-11-2001 Quoted in War and Globalization by Michel Chossudovsky p81 1st edition
*** Michel Chossudovsky War and Globalization p20 1st ed.

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