We know what the conservatives in both parties want: maximum profitability and free rein for corporations, with minimum or no regulations or taxation. They want the leanest and smallest government when it comes to the oversight or taxation of the corporations and the largest, most intrusive and coercive government when dealing with potential threats to corporations and their profitability, through incarceration, surveillance and the “enforcement” of the laws intended to control the population. They also want to expand the power and influence of the corporate empire, internationally, through wars and military interventions. A large, coercive and take-no-prisoner type government with a large and brutal police force, an expansive domestic surveillance program and tens of thousands of prisons in dealing with the working class, as well as the largest and most powerful military for controlling and subduing other nations is the formula for maximizing corporate profits. And so is, on the other hand, having the smallest and least effective government in dealing with corporations. The fact that they have been able to accomplish this is testament to the vast power and influence of the corporations and their wealthy shareholders, who make up only a tiny percentage of the society.
This of course is indicative of the complete absence of any influence by the working class, even though it is by far the largest segment of the population. This is what conservatives in both parties want and openly strive for and have to a great extent, achieved. But, what do the liberals want? The truth is that they want the same thing and work closely with the conservatives in achieving it, albeit with the minimum visibility and while trying to elicit the least amount of opposition and unrest. Liberals play the role of the good cop versus the conservatives who act as the bad cop. That’s because an exploitative system where the minority takes all and leaves the majority poor and disenfranchised, is most effective when using both the carrot and the stick, both open and unmitigated oppression and coercion, as well as, deception. The liberals thus become as indispensable for maintaining the existing order, relations, power structure and status quo as the more open and aggressive agents of the system among conservatives. The good cop might walk in with a smile and bring you coffee and cookies, but he too has the same job and mission as the bad cop, who will push you against the wall. The system needs and uses both of them.
Naturally, in a class society, there is a need for representing the working people, too. In the absence of real representation, much of it prevented by the ruling capitalists, this role is played by liberals. By presenting themselves as the representatives of the people, liberals effectively prevent any real representation that might arise for them. This doesn’t mean there is a deliberate and planned conspiracy to fake such representation. The political/economic realities create such a need and a part of the followers and ideologies of the ruling billionaires come and fill those positions, by default.
The conspiratorial view among some on the left that elections are all fixed and predetermined and the winner is already selected and the rest is just for show is inaccurate. Though conservatives and liberals in the final analysis both work to maintain the present power structure, the contest between the two camps for controlling the politics and policies is real. The Ted Cruz’s of the society, do really and vigorously compete against liberals for the chance to represent the ruling class with the difference that they do it more openly and aggressively, compared to liberals and could therefore accomplish the best possible conditions for maximizing corporate profits, more efficiently. But they could also not be the best choice in all circumstances, as their overreach may backfire and end up hurting the ruling class. At times, depending on political balance of forces and social conditions, the best choice for the rulers may be the liberals, including those who verbally attack big corporations and vow to make reforms. That may sound counterintuitive, but there is logic in that. The ruling class picks and chooses and promotes whom it needs or sees best suited to push forward its interests, whether they’re liberal or conservative. Sometimes, what’s needed is a Bernie Sanders and other times a Bush, Clinton or Ted Cruz. Elections give the class a chance to decide who’s their best representative under current conditions from either party.
Likewise, the liberal view that the system and the power structure can be fundamentally changed by electing a liberal reformer is naive and wrong. Contrary to such belief, liberals such as Bernie Sanders are not only not a threat to the system, they’re actually indispensable for maintaining the status quo. Obama was a good example, who ran as a “liberal” and won the support of many among the minorities and the liberal base, as well as, the billionaires, and ended up a most valuable asset for the latter. At other times and under different circumstances, the 1% chooses and promotes a conservative, such as Ronald Reagan or Bush or Bill Clinton. The difference is mostly in how these individuals present themselves to the public. So, for example, Obama was no less conservative than Reagan or Bush or in many respects even compared to Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio or Donald Trump, but he successfully presented himself as a “liberal” and served the 1% without much resistance from the minorities and the poor. The method was as successful as it was deceptive. In fact, it was successful because it was deceptive. The ruling class may not have a use for Bernie Sanders, at this time, but it may very well need him or someone like him under slightly different circumstances, and that has to do with the level of unrest among the masses. The quieter things are, the more aggressive they can be and the more restive the population, the bigger need for liberals and reformers.
Saying that Sanders is no threat to the system doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t make any reforms. But, reforms are sometimes precisely what will maintain the status quo. By the same token, they also have no need for Ted Cruz or Donald Trump, at this point. The former may be too divisive and provoke too much objection and the latter is too unpredictable and untested. This, however, doesn’t mean the outcome is completely and absolutely under their control, although they do have much influence on it.
Elections do take place and the ruling class does sometimes get nervous as to who may emerge to represent their interests. The difference they have with the working class is that they have the power to influence the outcome and impose their will, although that’s not foolproof or 100%. A best choice for them right now may be Hillary Clinton, who like Obama is a conservative advocate of wars and Wall Street in the guise of a “liberal”. One big plus for her is her popularity with Blacks, as was the case also with Obama. Marco Rubio may be another viable choice for them, although he lacks that advantage that Clinton enjoys, which is something that the ruling 1% pays considerable attention to when choosing their candidate. But, what’s also true is that the entire class of white wealthy billionaires don’t always agree on who’s their best person. They do sometimes disagree and compete to get elected whom they believe is best for their interests. The elections are their opportunity to do such vetting. The difference they have with workers, however, is that they’re much more class conscience and much more united and naturally much better at getting their person into office and influencing him or her, afterwards.
Whatever our approach and take on elections may be, they do take place and a significant segment of the working class do pay attention and are deceived and distracted by them. What’s important for the left, first and foremost, is to have a correct understanding of them and the social forces participating in them. It’s also important to understand the liberals’ role in society and what can and cannot be accomplished by them.
He’s been called a new phenomenon. He’s not. He’s been called an aberration in American politics and political life. He’s not. He actually does represent a significant segment of the American society. It’s been said, including by Trump himself, that there is almost nothing he can say or do to make him lose his supporters, who have so far steadfastly stuck with him. That’s almost true. The reason for that is first and foremost his racism and secondly his ultranationalism.
What suddenly and significantly made him popular with white voters, especially white men, was his openly and unabashedly racist remarks about Mexicans, calling them rapists and drug dealers, followed by his promise to round up all Mexicans, which to him and his white supporters means all Hispanic immigrants, whether or not they’re Mexican, “who came here illegally”, and “send them back to Mexico”, and that he would build a wall along the entire US-Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it.
There are a few things we must understand about such extreme and racist comments. First of all, it doesn’t really matter whether he would or could actually build the wall, making Mexico pay for it or if he would kick out millions of Hispanic immigrants once elected president. Just the fact that he says it, it shows that he feels exactly how a significant portion of the population feel and that he’s the only one who openly says it. They like that because it shows he’s really one of them and his (racist) feelings are real and genuine, unlike typical politicians who try to be measured and are careful about what they say.
They also understand his contempt for Blacks. He’s hardly the most conservative of Republican candidates. He’s certainly not as conservative on many issues as Ted Cruz or even Marco Rubio. He even agrees, or at least has agreed in the past, with some of Obama’s and other Democrats’ views, including about Bush’s war on Iraq, abortion rights and healthcare. But, he is virulently anti-Obama and that’s because of his racism. He was one of the most ardent and persistent “birthers”, insisting right to the end that Obama wasn’t qualified to be president because he was, according to him, born in Kenya. His real objection, of course, was that he’s Black and his supporters get that and love him for it. His motto of “making America great again”, after the presidency of the first black president, is also related to that, as is the line “let’s take our country back”, as if it’s been stolen by “others”.
What also gave Trump an extra boost in popularity, in addition to calling Mexicans “rapists” and drug dealers, was his open Islamophobia. Other politicians may feel the same, but he’s the only one who actually says we should prevent all Muslims from entering the US. Even if he can’t as president do it, it shows his open bigotry that his supporters can relate to and which makes them feel he’s one of them. People like candidates who they feel are like them and “understand” them.
What his supporters are also enthused about is his nationalism, which usually goes hand in hand with racism. His nationalistic message of wanting to “make America great again” hints at the totally false notion among rightwing nationalists that “America is being pushed around” and is being cheated or violated – that “we keep losing”, that “we don’t win anymore” – which invokes anger at other races and peoples among his supporters, although that impression has absolutely no basis in fact, and in reality, it’s the US that violates and bullies other nations and even, in some cases, destroys them, killing hundreds of thousands or millions of its inhabitants. This is why his audience chant “USA USA USA” in his campaign rallies and cheer him when he says he “will make the US military so strong that no one will mess with us”. The fact is that the US already has by far the most powerful military in the world and no nation ever can or will “mess” with it. But, somehow that reality has been totally twisted and turned upside down in his supporters’ minds, thanks to brainwashing by rightwing media.
Trump’s Popularity is indicative of not only racism and misplaced nationalism, but also the extreme naïveté of the white working class, who have been brainwashed by the corporate media to hate their black and Hispanic countrymen, blaming their economic hardship on them, just as blacks’ embrace of Hillary Clinton is indicative of their naïveté. But, in the case of the Black community, their support for Clinton is also because of their fear – fear of the likes of Trump. Racists like Trump make minorities rally around someone who they believe has the greatest chance of beating someone like Trump in elections, even if she’s not their best choice or even on their side. So, the entire elections and their outcome are based on fear – fear of “others” by whites and understandably fear of white reaction by blacks.
There is one thing that white racists and reactionaries are right about and that’s their assertion that the country is “headed in the wrong direction”, not the direction they think and fear, but the direction of more fear, more anger, more bigotry, more wars and more disunity and distrust among the working class, as their living conditions worsen and as the political leadership keeps the flames of racism and islamophobia raging for the sake of its endless wars for empire. If not stopped by a national grassroots working class movement that unites the class and turns its ire against the real culprits, who fleece them and leave them poor, divided and confused, the direction we’re headed is fascism.
After Turkey’s massing of its troops at the Syrian border and threatening to invade, Russia made it clear that it would not sit back and leave its troops and assets at the mercy of the Erdogan regime. On Friday, Russia called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council and asked for a resolution demanding Turkey to back down from its threats and preparation for ground war against Syria. It did not name Turkey by name, but it was clear whom they were referring to. France immediately opposed the resolution and the US called it a “distraction”.
What’s Turkey after? Why is Erdogan itching for war, not just against Syria, but against Russia since a ground war against Syria at this point is obviously a war against Russia? The answer has to do with the Kurds. The US war on Iraq and deposing Saddam gave the Iraqi Kurds a chance at self-determination within the Iraqi borders. This worried Turkey, which has a large Kurdish population in its Eastern provinces, with similar aspirations for self-rule. Erdogan consequently used the chaos created in Iraq, especially when ISIS took hold there, to go after Kurds in an effort to kill their leaders and destroy their militia, which has been effective in defending against attacks by the terrorist organization. Turkey has been one of the major suppliers of arms to ISIS. But, its war on Kurds is nothing new. The government has for decades responded to Kurds’ aspirations for self-determination with extreme violence and repression, including murdering or jailing and torturing their leaders and lately even by invading neighboring Iraq with ground troops, where they continue to remain. They have also been bombing Kurdish locations within Syria.
The fall of the Iraqi government and the chaos that ensued after the US invasion also gave Sunni fundamentalists of the Wahhabi sect associated with the Saudis to try to topple governments in the region through terror and massacres to form a medieval type Islamic caliphate similar to the Saudi Kingdom. Washington and its allies, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey, began arming and funding the terrorists and mercenaries to help topple the Syrian government, which after Iraq was next in line in US plans for regime change, since it is a Libyan type semi socialist, anti-Zionist and anti-imperialist government, allied with Iran, Russia and the Hezbollah of Lebanon, located right near Israel. In 2000, Hezbollah kicked the Israeli occupiers out of their country and earned the ire of imperialism.
A US installed puppet regime in Syria would bring the empire closer to complete domination of the oil rich region and prepare the grounds for regime change in Iran. Israel in the mean time would get rid of a hostile state at its border and would be able to use the chaos to complete its annexation of the Golan Heights it occupied from Syria in 1967. It would also give Turkey the opportunity to finish off Kurdish aspirations inside Syria, where they enjoy relative freedom, as opposed to brutal repression inside Turkey. For Saudi Arabia this was an opportunity to get rid of a pro-Iran state that could potentially stir unrest, especially among the Shias of the region, and threaten the Kingdom. A regime akin to Saudi Kingdom or Jordan or Egypt allied with US and Israel would better unify the region politically and protect the Kingdom’s longevity, especially since it’s getting much of its power from the US. An anti-imperialist state like Syria or Iran is not considered in their best interests. This is why they’ve been bombing Yemen after its pro-US dictator was overthrown by Houthi rebels.
So, the geopolitical interests and goals of several countries, including the US and its European allies, Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, on the one hand, and Islamic terrorists, on the other, coincided and merged and a brutal and relentless campaign of terror and mass murder was unleashed, destroying much of the country and resulting in the death of over 250,000 and displacement of 7 million, forcing many to risk their lives and board boats for Europe as refugees.
The US was pushed into a precarious situation and faced a dilemma when unlike their last experience with Islamic jihadis, whom them used against the pro-Soviet government of Afghanistan in 1980’s to topple it, ISIS terrorists soon turned their guns and swords against Western journalists, too. The terrorists also overreached when they attacked Iraq, where the US still had military advisors and contractors and other assets. So, they declared war on the very terrorists that they had helped create and arm. But, the declaration was just that: a declaration without any serious actual effort to defeat them since their priority was regime change and the terrorists were doing the dirty messy work for them. Although they had no love for the terrorists, they didn’t want to lose their valuable service.
This finally came to a head when Russians finally decided they had seen enough and intervened at the request of the Syrian government to defeat the terrorists. One of the things they did was to bomb the oil installations that ISIS had taken over and was using to fund its military operations by shipping the oil to Turkey and selling at half the market price. ISIS was, to much delight of Turkey, also fighting Kurds whom the terror group saw as an impediment to its plans for creating the Islamic State. In fact, the Kurdish militia had been effective in pushing back ISIS, where the Syrian army had been unable to do.
The US and its allies have been fuming about Russia’s intervention, which has succeeded in weakening and all but defeating ISIS in Syria, which is exactly what the US was claiming to want to do for almost two years! Turkey, in particular, has been pushing the envelope in confronting the Russians and escalating the situation. They shot down a Russian bomber over Syrian air, claiming it had entered their airspace, which Russia denied and have repeatedly shelled Syrian forces across the border. And are now threatening to invade.
What’s clear is that both the downing of the Russian plane and now the threat of invasion with ground troops is intended to intimidate the Russians and persuade them to cut their losses and leave, leaving Syria to the terrorists, whom the US calls “the opposition”. The Boston Globe exposed the lies of Washington and media on Syria, on February 16, 2016, in an article titled: “The Media are misleading the public on Syria”, showing that what the US government calls the opposition is nothing but the terror group ISIS, which they use to overthrow the government through terror and massacres.
What should also be clear is that this is all coming from the leader of the gang, US itself. Turkey would not resort to such aggression and threats against Russia, without US backing and green light. What remains to be seen is how far Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama will go in his relentless pursuit of regime change for empire, knowing that continuing on this path risks a major international war that can engulf the entire region and push the world towards nuclear conflict.
“For three years, violent militants have run Aleppo. Their rule began with a wave of repression. They posted notices warning residents: ‘Don’t send your children to school. If you do, we will get the backpack and you will get the coffin.’ Then they destroyed factories, hoping that unemployed workers would have no recourse other than to become fighters. They trucked looted machinery to Turkey and sold it.
“This month, people in Aleppo have finally seen glimmers of hope. The Syrian army and its allies have been pushing militants out of the city. Last week they reclaimed the main power plant. Regular electricity may soon be restored. The militants’ hold on the city could be ending.
“Militants, true to form, are wreaking havoc as they are pushed out of the city by Russian and Syrian Army forces. ‘Turkish-Saudi backed ‘moderate rebels’ showered the residential neighborhoods of Aleppo with unguided rockets and gas jars,’
“one Aleppo resident wrote on social media. The Beirut-based analyst Marwa Osma asked, ‘The Syrian Arab Army, which is led by President Bashar Assad, is the only force on the ground, along with their allies, who are fighting ISIS — so you want to weaken the only system that is fighting ISIS?’
“This does not fit with Washington’s narrative. As a result, much of the American press is reporting the opposite of what is actually happening. Many news reports suggest that Aleppo has been a ‘liberated zone’ for three years but is now being pulled back into misery.
“Americans are being told that the virtuous course in Syria is to fight the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian partners. We are supposed to hope that a righteous coalition of Americans, Turks, Saudis, Kurds, and the ‘moderate opposition’ will win.
“This is convoluted nonsense, but Americans cannot be blamed for believing it. We have almost no real information about the combatants, their goals, or their tactics. Much blame for this lies with our media.” Here is the article: http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/02/18/the-media-are-misleading-public-syria/8YB75otYirPzUCnlwaVtcK/story.html
The fact is that what Obama is doing in Syria is sacrificing millions of innocent people, who either get killed or become refugees, for the purpose of committing his planned regime change for the corporate empire and its 1% beneficiaries. While most Democrats rightly blame Gorge W. Bush for invading Iraq on lies and false pretexts, President Obama’s war on Syria using ISIS, Al Nusra and other brutal terrorist groups to accomplish regime change through sheer terror and mass murder, is no less a war crime that has already caused 250,000 deaths and created 7 million refugees.
Meanwhile, US media have been coconspirators and participants to this holocaust by telling Obama’s lies to the American people and presenting Russia, Iran and the Syrian government as the culprits, when in fact, all they have done is fight terrorism unleashed upon the Syrian people by US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and others, and who are now in the verge of defeating the US backed terrorists and bringing peace back to the embattled nation. The US, on the other hand, in stark contrast, has been fighting on the side of the terrorists and is now toying with the idea of doubling down and digging in by having their clients Saudi Arabia and Turkey send in ground troops to finish Washington’s dirty job, raising the stakes and the danger of even bigger and more wars in the region.
Are we going to find out again, when the truth finally gets out – if other news organizations also tell the truth and if it ever gets cited on TV – after all the devastation and killings, that the Administration had the “wrong intelligence” about what the US-supported forces were doing in Syria? Are we going to be told years later that the US was fighting on the wrong side and hear regrets from politicians about that devastating war, like some are now expressing about the Iraq war, or the Vietnam war, after the damage is already done and millions of lives have been destroyed?
One of the points of contention between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton during their debates has been about Hillary’s cozy relations with the former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, whom she has mentioned as her mentor. It’s a testament to the incredible hypocrisy of the Democrats and liberals to condemn Kissinger, while glorifying Obama and using adjectives like “effective”, “successful”, “smart”, etc. to describe him and not a word about his war crimes. While condemning Kissinger as a “war criminal” and pointing out Hillary Clinton’s admiration of him, even Bernie Sanders is careful not to hint in any way that he’s going to do things differently from Obama and tries hard not to even sound critical of him, despite the fact that Obama has been no different than Kissinger in committing war crimes! Does Obama’s wars not kill people? Does he use softer and gentler bombs? Are the terrorists he supports kinder and more civilized? Is he better and smarter and more effective because he’s better in hiding US initiated wars and atrocities? If that’s the case, then I’ll take Kissinger over the likes of Obama, anytime.
What is certain is that such criminal and genocidal policies as we have been seeing under both Democrats and Republicans will continue by the military-industrial-finance complex, regardless of which of the current presidential candidates from either corporate party wins the elections. While many liberals, including Bernie Sanders, strongly criticize Kissinger and call him a “war criminal”, which he certainly is, they are loath to apply the same standard to Obama or Hillary, who are just as much war criminals. Sanders himself isn’t innocent either, as he has also supported most US wars, voted to fund even the Iraq war which he didn’t vote for and has been a supporter of Israel, though it is true that he pales in war mongering and appetite for war crimes in comparison with Clinton.
The Black bourgeoisie, too, who claim to represent the Black community, continue to fully and unconditionally support Obama, as “the first Black president”, completely overlooking and even endorsing his devastating wars on brown people for the wealthy white 1%, including his unconditional support for apartheid Israel and its ethnic cleansing and genocide in occupied Palestine, the devastation he caused and contributed to in Libya and Syria, and the thousands he’s killed with drones in several countries.
It also didn’t bother them that while the police was murdering unarmed innocent Black men and women on the streets of this country, at a rate of one every 28 hours, just like the Israeli occupation troops are Palestinian youth, President Obama went ahead and signed the “Blue Alert” law “to protect the police officers”! Of course, it was the police who needed protection, not Black men and women!
And, now, the Black leadership in the Democratic Party are falling all over themselves in their panicked rush to show loyalty and unconditional support to the Clintons, again, even though it was President Clinton who left office with more Blacks in jail than ever before and thanks to his neoliberal trade agreements, more Blacks were out of work and in poverty after his presidency than ever before!
While they have stripped and thrown away from Dr. King’s teachings everything that’s progressive, pro-working class, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist and anti-war, the Black leaders of the Democratic Party continue to shamelessly and cynically use his name to legitimize themselves as they pretend to honor him and continue his legacy and use his name to hide their selling out of not only Blacks, but all the poor and oppressed people, including those who are massacred by US imperialism overseas. It’s a sign of the times we live in when Rep. John Lewis, who was actively involved in the Civil Rights movement led by Dr. King, embraces war criminal Hillary Clinton on the stage and praises her!
Dr. King’s voice echoing powerfully in auditoriums and Black churches against US war, atrocities and massacres in Vietnam, calling the US “the biggest purveyor of violence in the world” has been silenced, banished, murdered and buried deep, so no one can ever hear it, again!
Anyone who’s followed US foreign policy over the years – which has only become more aggressive lately, even in comparison with the time when US was carpet bombing villages in Southeast Asia, dropping napalm and agent orange, even compared with its Central American death squads of the 1970’s and 80’s, trained in the School of the Americas, or the arming of Islamist terrorists in Afghanistan or the endorsed massacre of tens of thousands in East Timor in 1990’s in the hands of Indonesian army or President Clinton’s war crimes in Yugoslavia – know that the US can’t possibly be done with Syria. They won’t let go that easily. They must have a plan B and they do: send in Saudi and Turkish troops to battle Syrian troops who are winning the war against US-Saudi-Turkish-Israeli supported ISIS terrorists, in the name of and with the pretext of fighting ISIS.
Back in 1980’s, supporting Islamist terrorists was justified in the name of fighting communism. Now, the pretext is fighting terrorism. But, this is where it gets strange. This time, they’re on the side of those they claim to be fighting. In 1980’s, they could say they were fighting communists and socialists and that usually was enough: most would understand and consent to it. But, now, they can’t say they’re fighting a sovereign government that doesn’t want to ally itself with us and our political objectives. In Afghanistan, they didn’t have to demonize the socialist government. Just the fact that they were socialist and allied with the Soviet Union was reason enough to fight them, even if they had to hire Islamic fundamentalists from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and elsewhere, arm them with heavy weapons and send them in from Pakistani border. Fighting alongside Islamist terrorists didn’t sound so bad back then, especially when it was Godless communists they were trying to overthrow and terrorism was so far away from US soil. But, now, it’s not so easy to justify arming and training terrorists. Not after the terrorism that they created and supported came home to blow into their face. Suddrnly, terrorism isn’t such a good thing, anymore. The problem they discovered with Islamic terrorists is that they can be equal opportunity killers and very brutal at that. Not that that would stop them from trying to use them again.
But, now, no matter how much they demonized Assad, they still couldn’t tell their people that they were supporting the terrorists in order to get rid of him. So, they did what they always do when faced with a situation like this: they lied. Not just about Assad and his government – that’s a given – but they began pretending to fight the terrorists, while quietly arming and supporting them. Many news outlets picked up on it, including even New York Times, which wrote in June of 2014 about CIA arming “Syrian rebels” at Turkish border. That was how they decided to call them: “rebels”. Some also picked up on the fact that while the Obama Administration was calling them “rebels” and the “moderate opposition”, the US Defense Intelligence Agency reported that “there were no moderates among the Syrian opposition”. Nevertheless, faced with a stalemate between the US-Saudi-Turkish-Israeli backed terrorists and the Syrian army, the Administration decided to speed up the regime change by bombing the country, ostensibly to try to destroy ISIS terrorists. That was a new one: attacking a country that’s fighting terrorists who are trying to overthrow it in the name of fighting those same terrorists armed and trained by the West. Fiction could never be this strange.
It’s actually not that strange. It actually is simple: the US decides to do a regime change for its long term geopolitical reasons and then finds or manufactures the pretext. The pretext in Afghanistan in 1980’s was to fight communism – the most honest one. In Afghanistan in 2002, it was to fight the Taliban who were allied with Al Qaeda. In Iraq, it was weapons of mass destruction. In Libya, it was to stop Gaddafi from killing his own people. In Syria, it just got a little stranger because their pretext was to fight the terrorists that were sent in to overthrow the government that is doing the real fighting against the terrorists. It’s only stranger because they had to tell bigger and more unbelievable lies.
Of all recent US interventions in Middle East and Asia, the one in Syria resembles Afghanistan of the 1980’s the most. The secular government of Syria under Assad does have similarities to the socialist government of Afghanistan of the 80’s. And, the method used by the US for overthrowing it also resembles that experience: using barbaric Islamist mercenaries and terrorists to do the job. But, where the similarity ends is in the realm of public opinion. The fight now is no longer against communism, which could justify hiring and arming Muslim terror groups since fighting communism made any atrocity justifiable for the US during the Cold War, even if it meant killing millions of people, as they did in Southeast Asia and Central America. The public opinion – of the majority anyway – now, wouldn’t allow making alliance with Islamic terrorists no matter how much a head of a state could be demonized, including even Assad who does not think of Israel and Saudi Arabia or the US as his friends or the friends of his people. What audacity!
And, so, the Americans had to pretend to be fighting AGAINST the terrorists rather than WITH them, while at the same time using them to try to overthrow the government. It still wouldn’t be easy for people to tell which side they really were fighting on, especially given the complete cooperation of the US corporate media with the Pentagon and the Administration, a media that has literally become the spokesman of the Pentagon.
During her speech endorsing Trump for president, Sarah Palin criticized Obama for not having succeeded in defeating ISIS and assured us that Trump would “kick ISIS ass”. Trump himself has also mentioned that a number of times, as have other Republican candidates, promising to be much tougher against them than Obama has. The narrative told by the Pentagon to the people through the corporate media is that they are fighting ISIS. So, the fact that ISIS was only getting stronger despite US bombings looks to Obama’s political adversaries as incompetence.
But, that coverup became much harder to continue to maintain once Russians intervened, and much to US displeasure, in a few months, were able to get the terrorists on the run and fleeing the country, while previously, after almost two years of US intervention with help from its allies, especially Turkey and Sadi Arabia, they had only gotten stronger. What the Russian intervention did was not only upend US plans for regime change, which was getting close to fruition at the cost of a quarter million deaths and millions of refugees (always “worth it” for US policy makers, as former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright said of half a million dead Iraqi children. To imperialism, people are dispensable collateral damage and worthless compared to profits and power that always take precedence), it also exposed US lies that they were fighting ISIS. This caused many to see through the lies of the Administration.
So, now that the US has lost its army of terrorists and is standing down from its bombing campaign, it aims to continue its effort at regime change by delegating the job to its client states, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. This has the added advantage for the US of clearing itself of siding with terrorists – it’s the Turks and Saudis, not us!
What gets completely ignored and disregarded is the danger of bigger conflagration and more instability and wars in the region, taking even more lives and making more people homeless and refugees. That’s the hallmark of imperialism, as it was of colonialism before it: total disregard for human consequences of their violent actions for wealth and power. Political-economic systems that are based on plunder and exploitation, by definition couldn’t care less about the human cost of their actions. Their purpose is control and domination that would lead to plunder and exploitation. The whole purpose is enrichment of a few at the expense of many, at any cost. When you understand the driving force behind a phenomenon or cabal, you can understand its motives and actions.
It’s always easier to see the injustices and atrocities of the past – colonialism, wars of aggression and conquest, massacres, plunder and genocide – but not so easy to see it happening right now, under our own nose.
Why are the Democratic Party officials rattled by Bernie Sanders’ popularity among the Democratic Party base? Why are they, including the Congressional Black Caucus and many other Party elites, lining up to give their support to Clinton? Is it because Sanders is really leading a “political revolution” which is worrying them? Hardly. Are they worried that he may shake things up and expose the political/economic system enough to weaken the power of the ruling class that the Democratic Party is tasked to defend and protect? I don’t think so. Sanders has been in Congress for over 30 years and although he calls himself a “socialist”, has been caucusing and voting with the Democrats and his votes have been anything but revolutionary. Although he was against the 2003 war on Iraq, he supported most other wars, including President Clinton’s and consistently voted to fund the wars. He’s also been a supporter of Israel, which is another issue the US ruling class pays attention to. And, you’d have to go back some 50 years to find Sanders fighting for racial justice and equality. He had to be literally shouted at and interrupted by Black Lives Matter activists to utter the words that symbolize the movement.
Admittedly, he is a reformer, concerned about the survival of the capitalist economic system in the face of astronomical income and wealth inequality and the problems brought on by the unfettered influence of money in politics, which threatens the survivability of the system . His liberalism, however, seems to dissipate and fade when it comes to curtailing civil liberties, mass surveillance, endless wars for empire, specially the “war on terror” and the genocide against the Palestinians. He also only recently began mentioning the mass incarceration of Blacks.
So, he’s mostly on board with the status quo and party establishment, but only mostly. The point becomes clearer with a comparison. Obama, for example, always speaks highly of any prominent political figure who has served US imperialism. He not only did not bring charges against the previous administration officials for committing torture and starting a major war on lies and fabrication, but was always careful to treat them with utmost respect and affection. He also refused to hold officials of “too big to fail” banks accountable for defrauding investors, even in the face of preponderance of evidence showing crimes and, on the contrary, gave them government posts and never spoke negatively of any of the Wall Street and big banks. In the case of Monsanto, his administration went further and defended the company in court against individual small farmers. He never hesitated to start a war against any nation or assassinate anyone for empire. He has repeatedly praised President Reagan, who shifted the nation decidedly to the right and set a precedent for breaking unions. He understands that as a Democrat, his loyalty is with the ruling imperialist class, as was Reagan’s, Nixon’s, Kissinger’s, etc., regardless of whether they’re Democrats or Republican. That’s the kind of candidate the ruling class likes, and that’s the kind of Democratic candidate the Democratic Party wants, especially one who can have good rapport with minorities while serving the interests of the white billionaire class. And that’s what Clinton is.
This point and the contrast that surely didn’t get lost on the ruling class was on clear display during the last debate between the two Democratic candidates, when Henry Kissinger was mentioned. While Clinton was unable and probably also unwilling to deny her “friendship” with Kissinger, Sanders clearly and unabashedly scorned him. This is important because while many progressives, including some among supporters of the Democratic Party, admit the fact that Kissinger is a war criminal, the Democratic Party establishment as a whole doesn’t hold such a view. They’re ideologically and politically not far from Kissinger’s policies and if pushed, they will even defend him because ideologically they hold the same worldview. At most, they may criticize him for some of his policies, but don’t reject him and his “services to the nation”. The same goes for George W. Bush and especially Reagan and Bush Sr.
In other words, there is unanimity and unity among the Party leadership around the long term policies of the empire and on the need to not implicate, in any way, the servants of the empire and not to rattle the Wall Street and the big corporations and their lobbyists, even as many of their Democratic supporters want them to. Clinton, relatively speaking, is a more known and trusted player with the Democratic Party establishment than Sanders. This is not to say that Sanders really wants or can bring about real fundamental change or that his is truly a “political revolution”, as he says it is, but Clinton is a more trusted agent of big capital and corrupt lobbyist based electoral system that the Democratic Party practices. Sanders isn’t as much of a progressive reformer as the Democratic Party fears, but they figure why take chances and alienate their billionaire bosses and donors. This is why the Party will continue to make it hard for Sanders to win the nomination, contrary to the desire of their own base.
Lastly, the question to wonder is: will Sanders, give his support to Clinton and endorse her should he lose the race to her with the help of the Party officials? I think so and when and if he does, it will speak volumes about him and his so-called “political revolution”.