In light of the decision of the British people to leave the European Union (EU), there are a few things we must all understand about the EU. As an organization or “union” of 28 European nations, the EU is not what it may seem on the surface, and it is many things that are neither advertised, nor widely known or understood.
Before we delve into what it is and what it isn’t, let’s remember where its roots are and who its founding members are. This is only logical. If you were to analyze and form an opinion about an association or organization, you’d want to know who its founding members are and what their philosophy, worldview and mission is. You’d want to know what their real motives are and how they make their decisions and set policy.
Since the industrial revolution and their development into major economic and military powers, most of the developed European countries set out to conquer, exploit and loot the underdeveloped nations around the world, especially in Africa, Asia, Middle East and the Americas. European colonialism and imperialism of the last few hundred years has been responsible for amassing an incredible amount of wealth for their European ruling elite, taken by brute force from their conquered countries, costing millions of deaths and total devastation and impoverishment of their subject nations.
But, such plundering of the underdeveloped nations by the ruling classes of these various European powers could not have been without rivalry amongst them. Such rivalry and race for taking as much as they could from colonized and occupied people resulted in two world wars that ended up killing tens of millions of people, both from the countries that they were competing over and from the developed countries.
The reason this is important to note is because not much has changed. We’re still living in an era of brutal world imperialism that literally destroys entire nations and kills hundreds of thousands or millions of its inhabitants to make the wealthy ruling classes of imperialist nations even richer. What is different now is that now, the United States is the indisputable leader of the gang of imperialist states. This came about after World War II, which devastated Europe and weakened its warring countries, leaving the US mostly unscathed and in a position to reap the benefits of the war and establish itself as a superpower and the leader of world imperialism.
What this means is that there were no more relatively equal states with relatively equal powers competing over the spoils and loot of the third world, but one superpower who would call the shots, set policy for and rule over the imperialist bloc, in a way similar to how the Mafia used to operate or how drug cartels function when they gang together and divide up territory.
The US would, according to this new world order, allow European ruling classes and their corporations to operate within certain parameters, as long as they accepted its leadership and as long as they would recognize and respect its territories of control and exploitation. The US Marshall Plan for the reconstruction and redevelopment of Europe was offered with that understanding. Individual governments did not have to officially and formally announce their allegiance to the US, but it was implied and understood and if any leftist or populist government tried to cross that line, the US would waste no time reminding it who the boss was. Besides, its military bases and troops left in individual countries after the war were not for handing out birthday gifts to local generals and politicians. They were meant to impose the leader’s wishes on those nations.
Steve Pieczenik, an international crisis manager and hostage negotiator in the US State Department, admitted in his book “We Killed Aldo Moro”, published in 2008, that the US had a hand in the murder of Moro, the former Italian prime minister, who was murdered in 1978. He wrote that Moro, a leftist, had been “sacrificed” for the “stability” of Italy. In 2006, when Israel was bombing Lebanon, destroying its infrastructure and killing hundreds of its citizens, the European public grew uneasy and indignant. When their governments called for a meeting with the US to ask for an end to the bombing, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice flew to Europe and reminded them that the bombing would stop when the US says it must stop. The meeting was adjourned and they all went home.
It was the same story about the war in Libya and Syria, the sanctions on Iran and Russia and the economic offer extended to Ukraine, after the CIA and State Department organized the coup. The US had a hand even in the draconian loan and austerity program that EU imposed on Greece. After whistle blower Edward Snowden took refuge in Russia to avoid prosecution in the US, the Bolivian presidential plane carrying President Evo Morales from Russia, where he had attended a conference of gas producing nations back to Bolivia, was not allowed to land in any European country for refueling. Ordinarily presidential planes are as an accepted international protocol, allowed to land for refueling. When it was finally ordered to land in Austria, Austrian authorities boarded the presidential plane without the President’s permission and searched for Snowden, while ordering the President to sit and wait, all at the order of US State Department, because they thought President Morales might be taking Snowden with him to Bolivia. Most recently, which is ongoing right now, the EU is participating in encircling Russia by moving heavy NATO weapons and troops to Russia’s borders and participating in bombing Syria. These are only a few among many such examples.
One might ask what makes the EU and its member states comply with US orders and wishes. The answer is their own self interests, which are aligned with the US’, specifically the interests of their ruling wealthy classes, which rivalry aside – which as I indicated, has been settled and set aside, if only temporarily – they share the same interests as the US ruling class and benefit from US militarism and wars. European imperialist countries and specifically their multinational corporations, too, benefit from US wars. Imperialism needs and lives on wars for its continued exploitation of the third world. In effect, the military aspect of imperialism has been left to the US with European imperialists playing a supportive role. Since military decides and prepares the economic sphere of imperialism, naturally the US gets to also call economic shots. In short, imperialism isn’t like it used to be. Unlike individual rival imperialist states of the past, they are now in a cartel or a bloc, under a central leadership.
This came about mostly to confront the former Soviet Union, as a unified front. The front continued to exist and operate after the breakup of the Soviet Union since it was deemed more effective in taking out obstacles in the path of imperialism for the long term goal of taking over and controlling the whole world. Such a unified cartel of imperialist states made it easier for the US to go to war against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, impose sanctions on Iran and Russia and finally to surround Russia for an eventual military confrontation.
So far, I’ve described the relationship between the US and the European imperialist nations that form the EU. But, what is the EU and what is its function and mission? Let’s first see what it isn’t. What it’s not is an association or “Union” of equals with equal rights and authorities. In fact, the very purpose in creating it had to do with the unevenness among its members and was designed to make the economic gap between the wealthier and poorer nations even bigger. This is exactly also the object of US imposed “trade agreements” with various nations within its sphere of influence. Its real purpose was to allow the more developed countries within the union to exploit the workers of the less developed ones. Basically, EU is NAFTA or TPP on steroids. It is the epitome of neoliberalism. It is neoliberalism in its most advanced and most predatory stage. Its mission was to allow the corporations, especially multinational banks, of the more developed countries, especially those of Germany and France, to get rich off the people of poorer nations like Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy.
What the EU also isn’t is democratic. In fact, it is extremely undemocratic. It transfers the decision making from the purview of elected officials within individual nations to a central commission in Brussels.
So, what is the significance of EU to the US? Why does the US prefer a unified, centralized and strong EU? For the same reason why it prefers despotic kingdoms like Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf kingdoms or otherwise a military dictatorship such as the one on Egypt, for its “friends” and “allies”, rather than democratic governments that answer to the will of their people. It’s much easier to control and issue orders to the former type of governance than the latter. One central authority that sets policy for all European nations is likewise much easier to influence, control and coax than individual democratic states that have to go through their individual parliaments for setting policy.
What does the US want from the EU? The same thing it has expected of Europe since the Second World War: military, economic, political and diplomatic cooperation in subduing and overthrowing uncooperative governments, towards the ultimate goal of achieving complete and total world domination for their corporations and corporate profits.
Imperialism, in its constant search for profits, needs world hegemony, in order to exploit cheap labor and natural resources, to dominate over markets and to ensure unhindered and cooperative social, political and economic conditions for maximizing profits. This requires endless military interventions and wars, which the US has taken upon itself to conduct because it’s uniquely capable of it. But, not without help from the others, who share the benefits of imperialism with the US. This is why it’s expected of the European governments to allocate a portion of their budgets to their military and support US military interventions. The idea of “leading from behind”, which has been advocated by Obama, especially in regards to the attack on Libya, was meant to urge EU to get more involved with military actions. During his interview with Jeffery Goldberg of the Atlantic, late December of last year and early January of this year, which was printed in the April issue of the publication, Obama expressed frustration with Europe, specifically with Britain and France. He said he had expected them to take the lead in the Libyan war.
What is clear is that the European and American imperialism of the last couple hundred years has not changed in any significant way. What has changed is that the imperialist states have set aside their wars amongst themselves – at least for now – and have created an imperialist bloc under the US leadership. The wars against the third world, which imperialism always finds necessary and inevitable, has fallen mostly on the shoulders of the US, with Europeans playing a supportive role. In such a scenario, the US would naturally prefer a centralized governing body in Europe that would make it easier for them to play that required role, in a continent where the last world war is still in people’s minds.
European governments’ policies do not necessarily reflect the wishes of the majority of their population, from their support for Israel to their participation in US initiated wars to the US provocation against Russia. But, a centralized government in Brussels makes these governments even less democratic and literally more removed from their populations and less reflective of their wishes. And, that’s especially important now that the US is pressing them to encircle Russia for an eventual confrontation, in order to meet the objective that imperialism, and specifically US empire, always strives for, at any cost, even at the expense of another world war, namely, world domination for corporations and their owners.
The British exit from the EU will most likely not change much in British policies or its relationship with the US or the role it plays within imperialism. What the “Brexit” may engender, however, is that it may encourage other members to leave, as well, which could result in the dismantling of the EU, altogether. That too will probably not have much impact on Europe’s role in world imperialism. However, it could make it harder for them to ignore the wishes of their people and comply with US orders and that is a good thing. And that may just be enough to slow or even stop US dangerous provocation and aggression against Russia, which could potentially lead to a new world war in Europe, which could be fought with nuclear weapons.
US Alliance and Friendship with Brutal and Corrupt Dictators Tell More About the Empire Than Its Friends
After the appointment of Saudi Arabia, which together with the genocidal state of Israel, takes the top spot in brutality, repression and violation of human rights, to head United Nations Human Rights Council, Deputy Spokesperson of US State Department, Mark Toner was asked what the US position was on that, to which he replied “we welcome it. We’re close allies”.
When asked about the Saudi Arabia’s plan to behead and crucify 21-year-old Shia activist, Muhammed al-Nimr, for having participated at a protest against the regime when he was 17, Mr. Toner pledged ignorance and said he didn’t know about the “specifics of the trial or the verdict”, although he seemed to know of the case that has been in the news and many governments have reacted to. What the answer to such questions always comes down to is: “we’re close allies”.
This is similar to how he answered questions that were asked of him on 2 December, 2015, about Russia’s allegation that another “close ally”, Turkey was letting ISIS terror group ship the oil it was taking from occupied territories in Syria into Turkey, where it was selling it for below market price to fund its military operations. He was asked specifically about Russia’s published satellite images showing a long line of hundreds of oil trucks entering Turkey from Syria: “Again, I haven’t seen them. I just don’t know what to make of them”, he replied. “I don’t want to … I’ve heard secondhand that they don’t show much”. He went on: “We’re working with Turkey, as are other international partners, to secure those borders, but that’s a hard challenge in that part of – in that region. That’s something we’re working with Turkey and with others to address. There’s smugglers, there’s middlemen, there’s truckers who then take that through these established routes. Some of them, as – no doubt probably lead to parts of Turkey. I can’t categorically rule that out”. And he concluded: “But it’s not what was implied, which is that the Turkish Government is somehow complicit in this arrangement. That’s just untrue”.
The questioner persisted: Russia “has published exact locations and routes of how ISIL’s oil flows into Turkey and where it goes from there. Is that information that the U.S. is interested in?” Mr. Toner: “we have our own ways of getting that information, of looking at that area. And it is our assessment that that is not true”.
“Are you saying it’s not true that oil is being smuggled into Turkey?”, continued the questioner, “you talk about a difficult border, but oil tankers travel by road. It’s not all that complicated to track oil tankers”. “Don’t want to get in for a tit-for-tat talking about these satellite photos”, came the answer, and then finally, when asked how he knew that the Russian allegations weren’t true, he said: “Turkey is a close ally”. That says all there is to know.
And if someone were to also ask “why you keep sending so much weapons and ammunition and giving so much aid, military and financial, to an apartheid regime that’s committing ethnic cleansing, extrajudicial killings, incarceration and torture of even children, demolition of homes, building of settlements and war crimes and is in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions”, the answer would ultimately be the same: “Israel is a close ally”.
But, don’t think it’s just about what Saudi Arabia or Turkey or Israel “is”, but more importantly what they “do” for US imperialism. Turkey supports ISIS fighters; it lets them in through its border with Syria, to get weapons and ammunition and go back to fight the Syrian government because the US wants it overthrown, because it’s not “a close ally”. Turkey also allows ISIS to raise funds for its terrorist activities by selling its oil to Turkey, which has been reported by Western newspapers, including the Guardian.
In the case of Saudi Arabia, the cooperation goes even further. The despotic kingdom has been bombing Yemen nonstop since the US backed regime was overthrown by rebels, killing thousands. It also sent troops to Bahrain in 2011 to stop the revolution there that threatened to overthrow another US backed dictatorship. It also has been funding and aiding ISIS terrorists. In Israel’s case, the services that the racist and apartheid state commits for US imperialism is even broader and more extensive.
In all these cases, the last thing on the minds of US policy makers is how many people get killed or how and why they get killed: are they beheaded and crucified for being at a protest? Are they killed, jailed or made homeless because their ancestral land is occupied by a colonial settler state that builds settlements for settlers who have the desired religion or ethnicity? Is the attempted regime change in Syria costing hundreds of thousandsp of lives and creating millions of refugees and destroying lives and the whole country? None of that matters to US policy makers. What they also never give any thought to is “democracy”, “freedom” and “human rights”, which they claim to champion. Even as the US continues to spend trillions of dollars on and wages endless wars for its so-called “war on terror”, Saudi Arabia spends billions of dollars of its oil money to spread “terrorism”, which the US claims to be fighting! US government officials even redacted 28 pages of the Congressional Report on the 9/11 terror attacks, which was implicating Saudis, just to protect their “close ally”. You see, even the American people don’t count much in the calculations of the government of big corporations.
The US supports these despotic and criminal regimes, regardless of what atrocities they commit and how many people they behead (100 beheadings so far this year and 158 last year by Saudi Arabia) because they cooperate with its imperial agenda of world domination for its corporate empire, which is only possible through wars and oppression.
Ask me again why I keep saying: the United States government is the number one enemy of all humanity and all life on Earth, as well as democracy, freedom and justice and number one instigator and initiator of terror, massacres, oppression, repression, war crimes and genocide, in the world.
Reuters reported on Tuesday that the United States, Britain and Germany “have advanced” plans “to spearhead a new NATO force on Russia’s border”. According to the report, “they would each command a battalion across the eastern flank to help deter any show of force such as that deployed by Moscow in Crimea in 2014”. “That should send a very strong signal of our determination to defend the Baltic states and Poland in the face of continued Russian aggression,” British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels on Tuesday. “Continued Russian aggression”, he says! If there is one common theme throughout history about all wars of aggression and invasions is that the aggressors always call the target of their aggression the aggressor.
Do these heads of imperialist states really and truly believe that there is any risk that Russia might invade or attack any of its neighboring countries that they’re supposedly trying to defend? Of course not. Is there a precedent to justify claims of “continued Russian aggression”? Not at all.
The so-called “annexation” of Crimea by Russia, which was anything but, was actually well foreseen, anticipated and even expected and part of the plan of US imperialism, well before it happened and even before the groundwork for the coup in Kiev was prepared by the CIA and US State Department. They knew Russia would react to their intervention at her borders and expected her to react and had plans in place – plans of further aggression as we see now – if and when it were to react. There was no surprise there. As Caroline Mortimer wrote in Independent on 3 March, 2014, “Crimea is strategically important as a base for the Russian navy. The Black Sea Fleet has been based on the peninsula since it was founded by Prince Potemkin in 1783. The fleet’s strategic position helped Russia defeat Georgia in the South Ossetia war in 2008, and remains crucial to Russian security interests in the region.” Yes, Crimea is “crucial” for Russia’s “security”. That’s according to a major Western publication. So, if the Russians didn’t intervene in the aftermath of the coup that handed Ukraine to the US and its allies, and virtually if not literally, gave Crimea to NATO, they’d lose their strategically important base that’s crucial for their security. But, it wasn’t just military and security considerations for Russia. Crimea was part of Russia before, as the Independent points out. It was separated and given to Ukraine during the Soviet reign. The majority of its population are still Russian and voted democratically in a referendum to rejoin Russia.
The plans to encircle Russia began about 25 years ago. Ever since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the US aggressively went after the republics that were seceding from the Union, as well as those neighboring Russia, which were part of the socialist camp, to bring them into the imperialist fold and open them up for US and Western corporations, including multinational banks, eager to extend loans under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank and other corporations, under neoliberal policies. Not only were these republics considered fair game, so was even Russia, herself.
But, for imperialism, economics is inseparable from militarism. The latter paves the way and ensures suitable conditions for the former to come in and operate in. Russia was a big prize, but unlike the others in the target list, it might have had to be dealt with militarily and in a military confrontation. Russia was no Poland or Romania. The nationalist government of Vladimir Putin proved that point, beyond a doubt.
In addition to surrounding Russia for an eventual confrontation, the US and its allies were also seeking to sell tons of expensive weapons to nations bordering or near Russia, in the name of defending them against Russian “aggression”. This not only would make it possible to bring NATO to Russia’s doorsteps, setting up military bases across its borders, but also much revenue could be extracted from these nations and into the coffers of their weapons manufacturers, while banks and other corporations would come in and profit from economies made forever dependent on imperialism, leaving their peoples high and dry.
As US Undersecretary of the State, Victoria Nuland boasted, the US spent $5 billion to try to take over the biggest and most important of the republics bordering Russia, namely Ukraine. The US intervention and coup that brought to power a pro-US regime in Kiev, that includes in its ranks old and new fascists, was going to be lose-lose for Russia and win-win for the US and its European allies. If Russia were to act to defend itself against this NATO encroachment, which it was expected to, NATO would get its pretext to move in and bring its heavy weapons, as they are doing now, including missiles, tanks, warships, fighter jets, bombers and even troops, supposedly to defend against “Russian aggression”. If they didn’t react and let NATO eliminate an important military base that’s “crucial” for her security and which gives them the ability to counter NATO encroachment, then so much the better. They’d go on with their plan for militarizing Russia’s borders. Either way, Russia would lose and NATO would win. But, naturally, such encroachment and provocation won’t be without an answer from Russia. Reuters reported: “Russia deploys troops westward as standoff with NATO deepens.” NATO leaders must know what such escalation can eventually lead to, but apparently they don’t care.
While the short and long term objectives in Eastern Europe are economic, namely, exploiting the natural resources and cheap labor and taking over their markets, in regards to Russia, they’re military: to surround it with military bases for the longer term. The short term plan is to isolate and weaken it and keep it on the defensive and from thwarting imperialist aggression in Middle East, Northern Africa, Eastern Europe and elsewhere. They’re seeing and defining Russia as an enemy and are preparing for war. As unthinkable as that seems to be, that is the only way to interpret their actions in regards to Russia. Indeed, talk of war with Russia, which was unthinkable before, is not only not unthinkable now, it’s actually being spoken of and discussed. The demonization of Russia too has been underway for some time and continues. As Einstein said, it’s impossible to prepare for war and not end up with one.
The fact is: we’re still living under the same socioeconomic and geopolitical conditions that brought humanity two world wars. The people who led the world to such incredible devastation have changed, but the economic system that gave rise to those wars hasn’t. Imperialism is all about looting and plundering the nations of the world to make the rich of the imperialist countries richer and will therefore continue to plan, prepare for and wage wars to control and exploit the world and its resources and will confront and try to forcibly remove any obstacle that stands in their way, regardless of the consequences.
In this advanced age of world capitalism and imperialism, we must be advanced enough in our understanding and political consciousness to identify the real source of the dangers facing the world and the real enemies of peace and social and economic justice, and organize to defeat them. The biggest enemy of all humanity and the biggest danger to the entire world is world imperialism, headed by the US. That’s what should be the main focus of our struggle. This does not mean absolving Russia for whatever it does, but it does mean pointing out the real aggressors and dangers to world peace and organizing to stop them.
Ali’s death was a loud and clear reminder of how things used to be and how they are now, a stark contrast between two time eras that might as well have been separated by 500 years, instead of just 50.
On the eve of Ali’s funeral, a standup comedian started his TV performance with: “salute to our troops” and “tribute to Muhammed Ali”, in that order! I’m not sure which is sadder: Ali’s premature passing or the irony that was on display with that opening and which was completely lost on the comedian himself, an African American, which spoke volumes of the state of the consciousness of the American people, at a time when not one war, as was the case when Ali was speaking up about the unjust war against “the brown people” of Vietnam, but multiple wars are being waged against “brown people” by US imperialism. It’s almost as if the comedian’s tribute was not just for Ali’s death, but also the death of a generation of consciousness and activism against devastating US wars.
Today, Black “leaders” speak of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on one day and hold hands with and express praise and support for a Democratic Party candidate for president who has advocated and pushed for unjust wars for most of her political life! Dr. King and Malcolm X were assassinated twice: once physically and a second time slowly, killing their legacy and what they stood for. By the time of Ali’s passing, the social and political conditions were such that his legacy could at once be buried with his body. No waiting was required this time.
The US would not be what it is without its media. Indeed, US mainstream media isn’t just a coconspirator and a partner to US imperialism, it is a vital part and enabler of it. Decades of nonstop propaganda by US mainstream media has created an utterly absurd and infantile worldview among most Americans. There are basically two major viewpoints among them about the US – its role in the world, its policies, its actions and its place in history. A majority have been led to believe that the US is a benevolent force in the world that uses its power and influence to spread democracy and human rights. They believe that unlike super power empires of the past, the US does not try to use its power to enrich its ruling elite, but on the contrary, it goes out of its way to help other nations, even to its own detriment. According to this view, the US is on a mission, as if from God, and has the historic obligation to rule and police the world and punish evil doers, as it alone decides who they are and what their punishment should be. It’s little wonder when empires become too powerful, they believe and claim to be doing God’s work. Whereas previous empires got rich and powerful through wars of conquest and by looting places they conquered, the US, they believe, has got wealthy and powerful through innovation and entrepreneurship and technological knowhow!
According to this view, the US promotes and works for peace, but when pushed by intransigence of other nations and when its interests are threatened, it will go to war. US interests are usually understood as the free flow of goods and trade through international waters and airspace that the US and its allies rely on for their economies, its “right” to patrol such waterways and airspace, and secure the interests of American corporations. This view makes no distinction between what they call “national” or “American” interests and interests of American corporations operating outside its borders around the world. While proclaiming the “need” to “protect US interests” by any means available or possible, when it comes to waging wars, they are believed to be not for corporate interests or for making the economic elite richer, as it’s believed to have been the case with previous empires, but for benevolent reasons, such as to help free other nations from their brutal dictators, to take democracy to them so they can be free or to fight terrorism for the peace and security of everyone. On the one hand, they acknowledge US pursuing its interests aggressively in international affairs and, on the other, when it comes to wars that it engages in, they attribute them to completely innocent and benign reasons, such as removing a dictator, rather than defending the interests of US corporations. They see no contradiction between the interests of US corporations and those of the working people, here or abroad, and accept wars as necessary for keeping “our freedom” and “way of life”, which is constantly under “threat” by those who envy “our freedoms”. Both major US political parties in power and the entire US mass media hold and promote this viewpoint and use it as the basis for explaining US actions in international affairs. This mindset helps the US continue its belligerence and militarism that’s causing mass destruction, terror and nonstop wars.
A second group of people that are considered more liberal or even progressive, holds that US wars are not always for the right reasons or against the right country and do not always benefit its people or bring them democracy. They see and cite dictatorships that the US has close and friendly relations with, sells arms to and supports and cooperates with, such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and Gulf kingdoms, who are not exactly models of democracy. They also point out that the US does at times overthrow democratically elected governments, which they attribute to “wrong” and “bad policies” and contend that those are exceptions to the rule and resulting from bad judgement or “bad intelligence”. They believe that, notwithstanding occasional “errors” in judgement, overall, the US is “exceptional” and a force for good and has good intentions and stands for good and noble values around the world, such as democracy and freedom.
They may believe, for example, that the war against Iraq, was wrong and a “mistake”, that didn’t produce any benefits for the US – as if that’s the standard to judge such wars with, leaving aside the question of whether that assumption is even correct or not – though the intentions are believed to have been good and just. Most in this group have also come to view the war in Vietnam as not such a good idea, although, they do support most other wars, such as on Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yugoslavia, the first Iraq war and in Korea, and most agreed with the devastating sanctions on Iraq by Clinton and on Iran by Obama. They also consider Russia a “threat” and specifically Putin a “dangerous thug” that has to be confronted and stopped. They also have similar feelings about China.
Most support Israel and don’t have a good understanding of the occupation, ethnic cleansing and atrocities being committed against Palestinians or the scale of US aid to the “Jewish state”, or have no opposition to it, because it’s “our ally” and helps in our “war on terror”. Some may express concern about its settlement building or overreaction to attacks by Palestinians who justly resist the occupation, but still think that Israel must be supported and aided. Some go as far as advocating a more “even-handed” approach to the “conflict” (a favorite term of the media) between Israel and Palestinians and some may even want to “pressure” Israel to not build any more settlements. Many displayed consternation and concern over the Israeli attack on civilians in Gaza in August of 2014, which killed 2,300 people, mostly civilians. Some may express the need for an eventual Palestinian state, “side by side Israel”, but only through negotiations and only after meeting Israel’s “security requirements” and on Israel’s terms and definition of what a Palestinian “state” should look like, which would be anything but a state, by any definition. They accept that position because that’s what’s been offered to them as a “solution”, rather than one democratic and secular state that would treat everyone the same, regardless of their race, religion or ethnic background. The general statement that they’re “our ally” and “friend”, coupled with the claim that it’s a “democracy” seems to suffice. Nothing else seems to matter. No questions asked and facts matter none. That’s how they’ve been trained to “think”. The phrase “our ally” seems to trump everything else, including unimportant and useless things called facts.
The opposite also is true. Just call Iran a “terrorist state” or “our adversary” and even a war on them might be acceptable. Were Iran or Russia or China to occupy a nation and treat its population the way Israel treats Palestinians, the US would organize a coalition to go to war against it, rather than give it all the weapons and military equipment they want. Actually, we don’t have to speculate. We all saw the reaction of the US and its imperialist allies when Russia had Crimea rejoin her, which it previously belonged to, still had a majority population of Russians and did it after a vast majority voted for it in a referendum. The level of hypocrisy is stunning.
Some progressives also believe holding foreign prisoners in Guantanamo Bay indefinitely without a charge or trial is a “stain” on the “American conscience”, an embarrassment and “un-American”, something that’s unbecoming of the US. Some also believe that “some” of the wars waged by the US, such as in Vietnam, Libya or Iraq, might have been wrongheaded and mistakes or waged for the wrong reasons, rather than systemic or for empire and dictated by corporations and the ruling elite for profits and geopolitical positioning. Some may say the Iraq war was for oil, but they put it squarely on the administration’s shoulders, which changes every few years and with it supposedly the policies. Some would acknowledge that some of these wars and interventions create instability in the already volatile Middle East and giving ammunition to terrorists to recruit more members to their cause, but again, they describe them as isolated policy errors, rather than systemic and due to the requirements of the capitalist economic system and imperialism, which is bigger than an individual president who serves for a few years and leaves intact the empire and the corporations that run it.
Although some believe in less confrontation and belligerence and more diplomacy, they believe Russia and China are “threats” and “adversaries”, if not now, will be eventually and must be dealt with. They also think Iran must be prevented from acquiring nuclear technology at all cost, though they may only go as far as calling for harsh and devastating sanctions as punishment, rather than a full-fledged war.
Domestically, some liberals show concern about widening the economic gap between the rich and poor and the disappearance of the middle class, but trust that capitalism will, with correct leadership in the White House, overcome this problem and continue to create jobs and provide economic security to its people. Although they see the widening income and wealth inequality and money in politics as a problem, they see no connection between imperialism and its endless wars for profit, on the one hand, and the widening gap between rich and poor, persistent poverty and fading away of the middle class, on the other.
Some go further and advocate free universal healthcare and even free college education, similar to European countries, raising of the minimum wage to “living wage” and creation of jobs by spending money on infrastructure. They also call attention to global warming and ruining of the environment. However, to them, such concerns, including huge military spending or endless wars are a matter of policy that can be changed rather than systemic and tightly tied to the economic system. They believe somehow and sometime, corporations got too strong, too much money and lobbying got into the system and especially into politics and elections and corrupted the system, creating the all powerful oligarchy that’s making the rich richer and poor poorer. They don’t connect these issues to the economic system of capitalism. They believe they can be reformed and made better, without any systemic change, meaning without any change in the economic system or relations.
The revolutionary left which makes the connection between the economic system in its advanced stage of imperialism and the policy of endless and multiple wars, frequent economic crises, disappearance and impoverishment of the middle class, ruining of the environment and growing terror and danger of another world war, is small, marginalized, fractured and ineffectual. What’s even worse, some of them fall for the lies and propaganda of US imperialism, such as about the war in Syria and before that Libya. Some of them also go along with US demonization of Russia and China. Instead of recognizing US imperialism as the biggest danger to humanity and the planet and putting their focus on it, they call out Russian “imperialism” and foolishly end up supporting the coup regime of fascists in Ukraine, calling their CIA assisted coup “revolution”. That also happens to be their position on the war waged against Syria by the US and its allies using Islamist terrorists and mercenaries, who get arms, funding and support by US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. I’m glad these “leftists” aren’t many. I’d hate to see the US get even the “leftists’” support in their criminal wars for regime change.
The Continued Growth of Worldwide Support for BDS and the Existential Threat it’s Creating for Israel
The “Prime Minister” of the illegal entity occupying Palestine, Benjamin Netanyahu has made some ridiculous claims in the past. In 1992, he told the Israeli Knesset that Iran was “three to five years” away from acquiring nuclear weapons, and added that that threat had to be “uprooted by an international front headed by the U.S.”, thus “volunteering” the US to go to war against Iran.
Four years later, in 1996, when Iran still had not begun on any plans to develop the nukes, during his address to a joint session of US Congress, he again reiterated his claim that Iran was very close in getting the bomb. Apparently, based on his claim four years before, Iran must either have already developed it or been within months of developing it. “The deadline for attaining this goal is getting extremely close”, he warned, once again. Then, after seeing no signs of developing any nukes by Iran for two decades, again he claimed last year that Iran would get the nukes, very soon. I can imagine his frustration in not getting the war he wanted. He must have been saying to US in his head: “will you just get on with it and attack Iran already?”
He made the same claim about Iraq, in 2002, when he asserted in front of another joint session of Congress that Iraq was well underway in developing nuclear weapons. The following year, he got his wish and the US attacked the nation, supposedly to prevent it from getting the atomic bomb. No signs of any such plans or operations were ever found. The war resulted in literally destroying the country and killing over a million of its citizens. At least, Israel felt safer afterwards.
But, it wasn’t just the issue of the nuclear weapons that he has used to encourage a US attack on Iran, which the US intelligence agencies have contradicted him on in no uncertain terms and said that Iran has no nuclear weapons plan and has not decided to develop one.
He has also claimed Iran is supporting terrorism and that it’s trying to take over the world. Of all the ridiculous and illogical claims that he’s made, this must win the first prize. Israel alone has a bigger and more advanced military with a much stronger Air Force, navy and better equipped army than Iran. It also has several hundred nuclear bombs with which it could level Iran with Iran unable to retaliate since it has none. So, Iran couldn’t even take over Israel, let alone the world. Take all the military equipment, weapons, aircraft, tanks and missiles that Iran possesses and line them up. Then, make them much more technologically advanced and much more lethal and effective. When, you’re done, multiply them by 80. That’s the US military compared to Iran! The US military expenditure is 80 times that of Iran. In fact, Iran’s military spending is about the same as Norway’s and barely enough to be a deterrent against a single neighbor’s attack, let alone for taking over the world. By the same logical reasoning, you can tell which country does indeed have the intention to actually take over the world. You can look at two things in determining that: first, who has accumulated the largest and most lethal military force, which is far superior than what would be sufficient for self-defense. A much larger military than is required for self-defense is a good indication of the intention to use it, not to defend against possible attacks by others, but for attacking nations that pose no threat to it. The other thing one can look at is history. Iran has never attacked any country. The US, on the other hand, almost never stops attacking other nations (and Israel has repeatedly done so in its short history) and has hundreds of military bases and continues to move into newer territories, builds new bases and never completely leaves once it invades a country. Now, that’s a country that intends to take over the world, with the help of Israel, no less.
An Israeli propaganda video intended to scare Europeans and turn them against Palestinians and stop the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement from growing, while also raising alarms about Iran, depicts ISIS (or ISIL or Daesh) terrorists as a giant boulder rolling down towards Europe threatening to level the entire continent, slowed only by Israel, which tries to save Europe from terrorists. Helping ISIS in the animation is Hamas and Iran! Some lies are exaggerations and half truths, some are twisting of the facts and some are just squarely the opposite of the truth. While calling Palestinians who are resisting the occupation of their historic and native homeland against colonial occupiers terrorists is nothing new, the claim that they and especially Iran help ISIS isn’t just a flat out lie, but is ridiculous and contradictory to well known facts and evidence. Iran is one of very few nations in the region that has actually been fighting ISIS terrorists, both in Iraq and Syria. It was instrumental in helping Iraq take back two provinces from ISIS. This has been widely reported even by US and other Western news organizations. On the other hand, US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel have been giving weapons to ISIS to fight the Syrian government and try to overthrow it. Iran and Syria have every incentive to fight ISIS. US, Israel Turkey and Saudi Arabia have every incentive to help ISIS. It’s been widely reported that they have done just that through Turkey, including even in New York Times (June 4, 2014).
The fact is that truth works against Israel, so, it constantly has to lie and depend on and hope for people’s ignorance and resort to fear mongering for its continued genocide and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians. Netanyahu with his outrageous lies and claims on the one hand and extreme measures and unbridled violence against Palestinians, on the other, is indicative of a looming crisis for Israel that can’t be averted by military force and keeps deepening and threatens to upend the whole idea of Zionism. On May 20, defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, abruptly announced his resignation, over Netanyahu’s extremism and said he was “fearful for Israel’s future”. Then, discussing his resignation, former Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, told PBS in an interview, that “Israel has been infected by the seeds of fascism” and that there is “no serious leader left in the world who believes Israel anymore”.
A few months ago, two prominent American Zionist professors announced in an op-ed piece in Washington Post their decision to support boycotting Israel, although they refused to support or even name the BDS movement, “in order to save Zionism”, which threatens the existence of Israel as a “Jewish state”, due to the excesses and extremism of Israel’s current leadership. They repeated several times that their motivation was only to help Zionism survive, rather than to stop the suffering of the Palestinian people, which didn’t even make it into their list of concerns. Not surprisingly, the Post refused to publish my response to the professors. What such Zionists refuse to see is that Israel has no other choice, but to move on a path of genocide and extermination, which they see not as a humanitarian problem, but as a threat to Zionism and the “Jewish state”. As I explained in a previous piece in my blog (sakosefiani.com), that’s the only logical conclusion of carving out a colonial settler state for a particular “chosen” people by forcefully and, through massacres, displacing the people who already live on that same land, because they’re of the “wrong” race or religion or ethnic background.
There is no other option. You either complete the forced displacement and ethnic cleansing through committing mass murder, genocide and extermination or abandon the racist and colonial ideology of Zionism and establish a secular and democratic state for all inhabitants of the land, regardless of their race, religion or ethnic background. There is no other option and there is no middle ground or a kinder gentler Zionism to satisfy the “moral” standards of Ehud Barak or American Zionist professors wishing for a tenable “Jewish state”, just as there is no kinder gentler colonialism or kinder gentler racism and apartheid.
The “existential” threat Israel is feeling, which leads it to wish the destruction of any nation in the region that opposes it, is from within, not without, is from the very nature and foundation of the Zionist state that’s built on racism, apartheid, ethnic cleansing and massacres. You cannot make Israel acceptable to the world through lies for ever. The truth has a tendency to come out, no matter how powerful your propaganda machinery is. You can slow it and even stop it, but only for so long. What’s causing Israel its crisis is truth coming out and no amount of tanks, fighter jets, warships and missiles can stop it. Not even the US empire can stop it.
Israel’s crisis is also a testament to and, in no small measure, owing to the success of the BDS movement. It’s that success, which makes some of the leaders of the occupation to have doubts about the state’s future and some American Zionist professors to boycott it, in order “to save it” (save what? Apartheid and ethnic cleansing? The denial of equal rights to non-Jews or the Right of Return to Palestinian refugees to their homes? Or the wall of separation?)
To those who try to discourage the movement by saying it won’t work, I say just ask Israel’s leaders if it’s working or not.
Have you ever met a right wing person take progressive positions, like defending workers’ unions, advocating raising of wages or speaking against corporations and their greed? So, why do so many “leftists” defend NATO and its imperialist wars? Is imperialism a force for progress, freedom and justice? Does accumulation of surplus value and capital through exploitation of workers not apply to multinational corporations that exploit overseas workers? Is the military wing of imperialism separate from its economic exploitation and hegemony? Does its military operate independently of and is blinded to corporate drive for profits and economic domination?
Isn’t there a nationalistic element among those so-called “leftists” who join “their country”’s imperialism and imperialist media in justifying wars of imperialist conquest and regime change against nations that are “unfriendly” towards the US and are supposedly led by “brutal dictators”? Are those leaders any more brutal than US leaders who order devastating wars against nations that can’t defend themselves against the empire and kill hundreds of thousands and even millions of their inhabitants? Since when does a “dictator” in a third world country justify such devastating wars waged by imperialism that helps no one but imperialism?
How many times do US leaders have to be caught having lied to justify such wars for our “leftists” to see that they lie and fabricate stories and fake “enemy attacks” to see the pattern and not fall for them? Are these so-called “leftists”, who are now barking about the “Assad regime” and his “atrocities”, believing US and Israeli lies, stupid or are they imperialist shills pretending to give rat’s ass about progressive values and social justice?
I’m really sick of these fake “leftists” who are supposedly for “democracy”, which apparently must be accomplished through NATO warplanes and bombers and foreign terrorists and mercenaries, who kill tens of thousands of people using US, Saudi and Israeli weapons. These “leftists” must feel comfortable with a war criminal and mass murderer like Hillary Clinton, who laughs out loud about the brutal murder of Libyan president Gaddafi, who was trying to unite Africa against imperialism, move away from using the Dollar and nationalize the continent’s oil to benefit its people. She said proudly “we came, we saw, he died”. Who came, who saw? NATO war planes and bombs in pursuit of world domination for their wealthy ruling classes; that’s who. Who benefited from that military intervention, the people of Libya or imperialism? Maybe I’m mistaken here. Maybe Hillary doesn’t represent imperialism and works against it!?
And, who will benefit from overthrowing the Syrian government? Are the ISIS terrorists who get weapons from the CIA, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel the revolutionary forces that Assad is supposedly murdering and who need the “revolutionary” support of these “leftists”? Or maybe Obama, Clinton and their imperialist friends in Europe are supporting a people’s revolution that Assad, Russia and Iran are trying to suppress!?
Speaking of Russia, is it a coincidence that such individuals join the voices of imperialism and reaction from Washington and London to Paris and Brussels against Russia’s intervention in Syria? Isn’t that influenced by decades of US nationalistic propaganda presenting the US as a force for good around the world and any nation that opposes it as evil? It’s no surprise that many of these same “leftists”, some of whom have been “active” for decades in “revolutionary” and “socialist” parties, also supported the US instigated coup in Ukraine and condemned Russia’s and President Putin’s “aggression”, instead of imperialism and its fascist puppets and neoliberal tools like IMF and World Bank that wanted to come in and make their bankers rich off the backs of the Ukrainian people, as they did to the Greeks and others.
It’s time – actually past time – for American and European left to wake the f. up, grow up and shed its Eurocentric pro-imperialist brainwashing and unite against world imperialism headed by the US that’s driving the world toward mass destruction and annihilation.