US On A Rampage From Ukraine to Syria: The Ways, Means and Strategies For Dominating the World and Dangers Involved
Some among the left who would generally take the correct anti-imperialist position on US wars and interventions, whether it be in Viet Nam or Korea or Central America or Iraq, surprisingly, when it came to Libya and Syria, or more interestingly, Ukraine, they took the wrong position and ended up on the wrong side, politically. I’m not talking about pro-Obama liberals, who were “anti-war” when Bush was President, but suddenly went through some mysterious metamorphosis when Obama was elected and who now defend everything he does, or keep quiet about things that they can’t possibly defend, such as his drone attacks. I’m talking about some revolutionary leftists, who have been active for many years and whom you could count on to always understand the issues correctly and make the right judgement. Some, who, understandably, were encouraged by the pro-democracy movements that began in Libya and Syria and were then rattled by the harsh crackdowns that ensued, failed to grasp the transformation that those initial movements for democracy went through, with the intervention of US and its allies, which made them into an imperialist imposed war for regime change from outside and turned the original movements on their head. Whereas, in Libya, NATO undertook a textbook colonial war to overthrow the government and install one of their own, in Syria, they allied themselves with the most brutal and reactionary Al Qaeda and other Islamist terrorists, who descended upon the country from several Arab countries, to try and impose an Islamic fundamentalist Caliphate, through sheer terror and massacre. US and its allies couldn’t care less if the entire country were destroyed. They’re waiting in the wings, funneling money and weapons to the jihadists, knowing people are being killed in tens of thousands and millions are being displaced and made refugees, just to see the government overthrown, so they can come in and install a pro-Saudi, pro-Israel corrupt sheikdom like the rest of the Gulf states that are behind this travesty.
It gets even more interesting in the case of Ukraine. A good leftist friend of mine who would probably agree with the analysis of Libya and Syria I gave above, ends up on the opposite side on Ukraine. She saw the protests that preceded the overthrow of the government as the genuine outcry of the people of Ukraine against a corrupt pro-Kremlin regime that was willing to let Russian capitalists exploit its people, although she agreed there were Nazis among the protesters and later in the new government and that the US and the European Union didn’t exactly have the best of intentions for Ukrainian people.
It’s for this reason that I decided to write this piece to put all these events and interventions in the right context and show the common character and historical continuity to all these otherwise disparate socioeconomic events which, though different, they all fall within a unified imperialist thrust, which defines the times in which we live.
When the Soviet Union broke up, many thought (or hoped) now that the Cold War was over, there would be peace. Many in the US hoped that the military spending, that was eclipsing everything else, could be drastically cut and the money used to create jobs, provide free universal health insurance for everyone, improve education, increase the money spent on combatting diseases, such as cancer, provide better public services, take steps to care for the environment and fix the aging infrastructure. It would have been nice. But, what happened was just the opposite. With the Soviet Union gone, the US capitalist class and their strategists and think thanks began strategizing and planning to expand the influence and hegemony of US corporations, especially into territories previously unavailable to them, such as Eastern European countries and former republics of the Soviet Union.
When taking over new nations, empires have never been so polite that they would respect the will of the people to see whether they want to be ruled or not. And, this is why the colonial and imperial subjugation of nations always comes with omission and rejection of democracy and democratic principles. Imperialism needs and therefore seeks and picks leaders who are willing to sell their people to the foreign usurpers and exploiters for their own wealth and power. Imperialism truly gives meaning to the phrase “the friends you keep”. But, that’s natural; profits always trump democracy and justice. That’s true domestically, as well. Leaders, who betray their own people for their own ambition, find their way into Congress and the White House, whereas those who truly speak for their people, end up on FBI watch list and assassinated. Obama is a good example of the former and Dr. King a good example of the latter.
Taking over and installing a puppet government takes different forms and requirements, depending on the situation and circumstances. Sometimes, simple bribes do the trick. Other times, it takes much more, including hiring thugs and mercenaries to incite protests and violence, planning and executing a coup d’état with the help of military leaders, threats, assassinations, etc. In case these ways fail or if they’re not available options, the military option is always “on the table”, as they like to say, whether it’s by using drones or missiles or heavy bombers, or by an outright invasion and occupation. How hard they push and how far they’re willing to go to overthrow a government depends on how important the country is to them – economically, geopolitically and strategically – as well as, on the costs and risks, involved.
Deciding factors as to which nations to go after and when also vary. Ever since the realization of the importance of oil for their economy and functioning, they’ve had their eyes on the Middle East oil fields. They already had puppet governments in most of the region, including such big producers as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, but, they wanted more direct control. The 1991 invasion of Kuwait by Saddam and his subsequent defeat by the US, gave them the opportunity to station troops on Saudi land, not to mention selling an exorbitant amount of unnecessary weaponry to them. That was followed, of course, by the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, leaving over a million dead and many millions more displaced. Other factors influencing their decision, besides oil, may be how important the country is for controlling a region, the size of its economy, its proximity to another nation on their target list, etc. Analyzing such factors, we see that the future looks bleak for Iran, too. Let’s not forget that the attack on Iraq was preceded by years of heavy economic sanctions and IAEA inspections that left no military installation and weapons depots off limits, producing valuable military intelligence that was later used during the invasion. Now, they’re doing all that against Iran.
Basically, any inhabited land is a source of cheap labor and natural resources to exploit and a market to control for their products, as well as, a base to expand the empire further, especially if it’s located in a region they want to control or is near another target. And, if a place, such as an island, holds no people, it can still be grabbed and used as a military base to attack nearby nations from or to build a prison to hold the nationals of other countries in and claim it’s outside US jurisdiction, where US laws don’t apply.
Almost 70 years after the end of WWII, The US still has troops in Germany, Italy, Japan and elsewhere. They have also kept their troops in South Korea since 1950. One has to be incredibly naive to think that the purpose for such continued military presence is to prevent the return of Nazis. They don’t seem to have any problems with fascists when they don’t threaten their interests and don’t try to grab territories from them, as the Nazis tried to do during the last World War. They’re fine making an alliance with them when their goals coincide with theirs, such as in Ukraine, now. They even stand next to them and pose for photos, and eagerly support a government which includes Nazi remnants and sympathizers. Incidentally, such cooperation is not limited to fascists; as I mentioned before, they’re also supporting Islamic terrorists in Syria. Their support of apartheid Israel is also because their geopolitical goals coincide with the racist ideology of Zionism and because they use Israel as their regional policeman to protect their interests.
The real reason for continuing to keep troops in those and other countries is to make sure socialism doesn’t take hold. We should remember that they told – ordered rather – the Italian government, in 1945, to ban the Communist Party and again, years later, Kissinger warned them not to form a coalition government with them. They can work with fascists. The only ones they can’t work with are socialists and that’s of course due to what the US imperialism is all about: profits for US corporations. Their number one nemesis therefore is socialism and nationalization of industries. Much in Libya was nationalized and off limits to them, as are in Syria and increasingly also in Venezuela. Nationalizing a country’s industries and resources keeps them out of the hands of multinational corporations and is therefore considered a red line to imperialism. What can also be a red line is anti-imperialist policies of a government, which can possibly threaten its interests in the region, as did Libya’s in Africa when he tried to unite African states. Such countries also set a bad example to others to follow. For example, all basic necessities were subsidized for the Libyan people, as are in Syria for Syrians. In contrast, the first requirement of an IMF loan, as it’s now being offered to Ukraine, is to cut social spending and eliminate subsidies for the poor, because they cut into the profits of giant banks. The Russians’ competing offer of help, notwithstanding whatever fault we find in Putin, had no such draconian, anti-poor provisions. In addition, a clause in the IMF offer even opens the door to NATO to come in and provide “security”.
Some of the takeovers are planned in advance and the necessary groundwork is done before the regime change is attempted. In Ukraine, for example, they spent $5 billion through US-AID and other channels, such as non-governmental agencies, over the course of a few years, along with sending CIA and special ops agents and private security contractors, to do the preparations. Now, even the FBI is active there. In contrast, the 1953 coup in Iran was much quicker and cheaper (less than $100,000). But, not every case is planned in advance. In some cases, they try to utilize opportunities as they come, such as in Libya and Syria. Now, it seems Nigeria may have presented them with yet another opportunity.
Pretexts and explanations given for interventions also vary. In Southeast Asia and Latin America, it was to fight against communism. Lately, it’s been the “war on terror”. In Iraq, it was weapons of mass destruction, which was later changed to spreading “democracy” (which in reality, it was anything, but). In Iran, it’s about their nuclear program. In Libya and now Syria, it’s about punishing a brutal dictator for killing their own people (never mind that they themselves helped their allies and friends, Kings of Bahrain and Yemen, among others, kill their own people, including doctors and nurses who would treat the wounded). Not only does the US not complain about harsh treatment of protesters by these and other friendly regimes, they often help with the killings. During massive demonstrations in Yemen, US drones were hitting members of the opposition.
If the attack on Iraq was mostly (not only, but mostly) about oil, the intervention in Syria is mostly strategic and about controlling the region and defeating the opponents in the region, including the Hezbollah, while in Ukraine, the incentive is two-pronged: to make the country dependent on imperialism, economically, and use it to pressure, blackmail and surround Russia, militarily. The reason they’re going all out and provoking Russia is because Ukraine is very important to them, not only economically, but, strategically, due to its long border with Russia, which can be used by NATO to blackmail the latter militarily and ultimately be used for regime change, there. They didn’t spend the $5 billion because they like Ukrainians. To them that was an investment, just as they make investments in domestic politicians.
Imperialism, by definition, considers its area of operation, and hence the area to control, the whole world. That’s why they need Guantanamo and secret CIA prisons in Poland and Romania. Imperialism sees people everywhere as a source of profits and tries to eliminate anyone who stands in their way. Those who challenge it, don’t have to be US citizens to be pursued and punished by the US. Their nationality makes no difference since their jurisdiction is the whole world. Julian Assange, notwithstanding his non-US citizenship, is just as punishable by the US, as Private Manning and Edward Snowden.
This is not to say that the US is the only country that tries to influence or take advantage of other nations for its corporations, or that anything that happens anywhere in the world is their doing and a part of their grand scheme to dominate and control the world – I don’t espouse such conspiracy theories. Nor do I claim everything to be simple and “black and white”, but what we must come to terms with is that it’s the US that’s pursuing world domination and is willing to go to any number of wars to achieve it for its corporations. The fact is: this is a unipolar world, where the US, with the support and help of its allies (mostly in Europe), has literally gone on a rampage to take over the world and eliminate any nation that stands in its way and poses a challenge. In such a scenario, wars are a constant feature and increasingly get more dangerous.
Not only did the breakup of the Soviet Union not usher in a period of peace, it made things much worse. And that should not surprise us, either. An economic system that’s run by corporations, whose only concern is to make profits and add to their wealth, will continue to go to wars to get what it wants, whatever it takes, even at the risk of starting a world war. Nothing is beyond them. “Everything is on the table”.