‘Humanitarianism’ in the service of war
After the murderous confrontations in Georgia in August, bourgeois propaganda, notably in Europe, has been reassuring us that our governments are doing all they can to find a peaceful solution in the Caucasus. To prove their good intentions, we have the current humanitarian operations, with American and NATO warships transporting food and medicine to the Georgian population. In response to the questions asked about why this humanitarian aid is being taken by warships instead of merchant ships, our good democrats invoke the malevolent presence of the Russian navy which is occupying the Georgian coast. No doubt the Russians are ready to defend the territory they have conquered, but we can have reason to doubt the ‘humanist' sincerity of the US and NATO forces who have sent a veritable armada to the Black Sea.
This force is made up of no less than seven NATO warships (three American, one Spanish, one German, one Polish and one flying the NATO flag) which have been deployed to all the key points of the Black Sea. The American hydrographic warship USNS Pathfinder is capable of detecting submarines at a distance of over 100km; the missile carrier McFaul is equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles which can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads (we saw their terrifying firepower during the first Gulf War in 1991); and the flagship Mount Whitney of the American 6th Fleet is a craft equipped with the most sophisticated communication and surveillance systems in the world. It's the orchestral conductor of this so-called peaceful and humanitarian operation.
Such a deployment of military forces obviously has nothing altruistic or philanthropic about it. Its real objective is to "evaluate the state of the Georgian armed forces" and, as the US Senate's mission in Georgia underlined, "The US will provide assistance to the Georgian armed forces by providing them with the most modern anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons, and by continuing to train their troops" .
Clearly, ‘humanitarian aid' is a smokescreen for the transportation of deadly weapons and the strengthening of the Georgian army. All this prefigures America's response to the reverse it has just suffered through the invasion of its Georgian ally by the Russian army last August and the latter's recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. This so-called humanitarian operation contains all the ingredients for a new and dangerous escalation of war over ex-Soviet Central Asia, a zone of immense importance, whether because of the energy reserves of the Caspian Sea or its geo-strategic position in relation to Russia, China and India.
The populations who are the victims of these military rivalries have nothing to gain from this militarised humanitarian aid. Like previous ‘peacekeeping interventions' (Somalia 1992, Bosnia 1993, Rwanda 1994 and a whole list of others - Kosovo, Darfur, Congo, Palestine....) humanitarian aid is a cynical alibi for war, the indispensable complement to all the speechifying about peace served up by imperialist states, large or small, in order to defend their interests.