American Conquest of Iraq Will Sharpen Imperialist Rivalries

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Four weeks after unleashing its terrifying war machine over Iraq the US bourgeoisie is getting ready to claim victory. Overmatched and out-gunned by an enemy far superior in every military aspect Iraq’s armed forces have been practically destroyed. Sadam Hussein’s regime has collapsed; all major sate functionaries (included Hussein) have been killed or are in the run. The so-called “coalition” forces have taken military control of all the main strategic areas of the country. Ten of thousands -perhaps hundreds, no body knows exactly or has cared to count, of Iraqi soldiers and civilians have been slaughtered or maimed by the US killing machine. The devastation of basic infrastructure and the destruction of material wealth by the aerial bombardment of the war and the fighting in the ground, is being compound by the destruction caused by mobs acts of revenge against perceived symbols of the fallen Iraq’s regime, the settling of accounts between ethnic and religious groups and the mass looting undertaken by some sectors of the “liberated” Iraqi population.

The main phase of the war over, now the American bourgeoisie will have to deal with the political instability and economic ruins of a country ravaged in grand part by the accumulated effects of three major wars in the last two decades. Accordingly the bourgeois media is already phasing out its high pitch war propaganda campaign and switching over to a peacetime “war reconstruction” theme.

And while the American bourgeoisie parades in front of the noses of friends and enemies the prowess of its military muscle and prepares itself to celebrate its war victory by a new barrage of lies aimed to justify the conquest of Iraq, revolutionaries have the duty to reveal the real reasons for this war and thus to unmask the false explanations that the ruling class is using to make the working class identify itself with the imperialist interest of American state.

The Bush administration has given over the last months many “praiseworthy” explanations for this new military adventure. It has said, attempting still to exploit the patriotic feelings awaken in the American population after the terrorist attacks of September 11 to the cities of New York and Washington, that this war is a war against terrorism. It has said that this war is a pre-emptive action to disarm Iraq of “weapons of mass destruction” that could have been used in the future against American interest. It has said that this war has the goal of changing Iraq’s regime and the overthrowing of a bloody dictator that threatened its neighbors and oppressed its own people. It has said –and this is the prefer theme lately- that this is a war aimed to liberate the Iraqi population, a war meant to bring prosperity, peace and the democratic panacea to the Iraqis and the Middle East region at large.

These explanations are cynical lies. The use of the weapon of terrorism, the possession of “weapons of mass destruction”, the oppression of its “own population” was not the sole attribute of Hussein’s regime, but the share characteristic of all capitalist states in the world nor matter how democratic or dictatorial their political regime. The US is not exception to this rule, historically its dominant class has not hesitated either to use terrorism or “weapons of mass destruction” when its suited its political interests. Lets not forget that the US posses a military arsenal able to destroy the world several times over. However there is nothing out of the ordinary about the dishonesty of the bourgeoisie. The dominant class can’t just tell the exploited class –the one that has always bared one way or the other the brunt of the military adventure of its exploiters- that a military action is needed in order to advance or defend the political, economic or military strategic needs of the State. In order to convince that killing and being killed is a worthy cause, the dominant class has to ideologically mystify the population and in particular the working class. The imperialist WWI, and WWII and the none less imperialist various local wars in which the Western and the Stalinist blocs confronted each other for decades had always been justified with one or other ideological them. The “anti-terrorism” and democratic banner that the US is today waving to justify its world-wide war campaign is nothing but a façade behind which stand the desperate efforts of a frightening imperial power determined to defend its hegemony over the world.

The Crisis of American leadership:

The collapse of the Stalinist bloc and its leader the USSR at the end of 1989-90 left the US as the hegemonic imperialist superpower in the world. Thanks to its unsurpassed military apparatus, its powerful economy and its privileged geographic position the American bourgeoisie set for a moment at the top of the world gloating on its political leadership. However this dominant position was challenged immediately by major and minor imperialist powers, included the states that during the cold war period have been American’s closest allies. The end of the “cold war”, rather than putting an end to military confrontations and brining in “peace and prosperity”, opened up a period of increasing violent confrontations between national states that are plunging the whole world into a growing state of barbarism. This drive to war is not due to “bloody” dictators or particularly bellicose bourgeois fractions, but to the fact that in the epoch of capitalist decadence all sates are obliged to wage a life or death imperialist struggle in order to maintain their economic and political viability. This is the underlying dynamic at work behind the first Gulf war at the beginning of the 90’s, the wars in Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Africa, the menace of nuclear war between the Pakistan and India, the September 11 events, the war in Afghanistan, the ongoing massacres in the war between Israel and Palestine and today’s US conquest of Iraq.

US imperialism, at the center of this war dynamic, has for over a decade followed a coherent strategy designed to defend its hegemonic world power. This strategic orientation has at its core a political, economic and military policy aim to prevent the arising of a new superpower –in reality an imperialist bloc- that could pose a serious challenge to the American worldwide dominance. The massive American display of military power during “desert storm” in 91, just after the disappearance of the bloc system that dominated the world since after WWII, was already meant to send a message to the US would be challengers. The diverse political-military initiatives of the US bourgeoisie during the last decade, ranging from the revival of the “star wars” program, the relocation of troops around the world under the cover of “peace-keeping” and “antiterrorism” slogans and the direct territorial control of strategic zones of the world, are all elements of this strategy aim to defend American hegemony.

In the last year, after the events of September 11, the US bourgeoisie has ratchet up its campaign against its would be challengers. Under the cover of the war against terrorism it has through a more massive military intervention started an offensive directed to the encirclement of Europe and Russia by gaining direct control of Central Asia and the Middle East. This is the real explanation of the war in Afghanistan, the present conquest of Iraq and the declared intention of the Bush administration to deal with Iran. Thus the aims of this intervention are beyond the question of oil considered as a source of capitalist profit. In reality to the extent that the question of oil plays a role in these events this due to the strategic importance that the control of this raw material has in the over all imperialist chessboard game being play in the international arena between the US and its challengers.

The US new offensive has called forth a corresponding response by its rivals. France led the efforts to resist the American intervention in Iraq plunging the UN into crisis and obliging the US to go to war without the “legal” coverage of this organization and thus undermining its credibility. But even more important is the open Germany’s challenge to the US policy, which has brought unquestionable to the open the opposition between America and the only other power which could pose as the candidate to lead a new anti-US imperialist bloc.

The divisions between the great powers over Iraq has also exposed the fiction of the NATO alliance and at the same time has also reveled the great divergences that exist in Europe over inter-imperialist relations and the nonexistence of a European bloc for the moment.

The military victory of the US in Iraq, despite the fact that it has allowed once again to show-case the US enormous military superiority will not stop its rivals from continuing challenging its world hegemony. On the contrary this war will have the immediate effect of adding fuel to imperialist tensions and chaos all around the world.

--Eduardo S .

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