The leading representatives of the US dominant class have followed up their victorious war against Iraq and the military occupation of that country with a flurry of political and diplomatic activity. Mr. Bush, Colin Powell and D. Rumsfeld, among others, have been busy visiting the capitals of Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, trumpeting the US dream of a world under Americaís unquestioned imperial dominance. Meanwhile, contrasting with the US bouorgeoisieís fine speeches about the gains in the war against terrorism, the bright future of Iraq, and the prospects of a peaceful Middle East, the sinister reality of capitalism is in full display in this region and on worldwide scale
Cashing In On the War Victory
There is no doubt that through the display of its overwhelming military muscle and political will in its quasi-solo war against Iraq the US has created a favorable momentum in the defense of its world imperialist hegemony. For the moment Americaís most vociferous critics have quieted down, waiting for a better opportunity to challenge their suffocating imperialist rival. This was clear in the last meeting of the G-8 group at the beginning of June, where in on apparent show of unity the leaders of major industrialized countries including Germany, France and Russia óthe noisiest opponents of the US war against Iraq ó declared that their present common objective was a ìfully sovereign, stable and democratic Iraq.î France has tried to accommodate itself to the new situation in the Middle East by appealing to the US to share the spoils of war, recalling that while the US might have been able to win the war alone, it cannot secure the peace without help. Nonetheless this plea by French President Chirac has fallen on deaf ears. The reality is that the American bourgeoisie has no intention to loosen its recently acquired grip over Iraq; with the exception of Great Britain, no major imperialist power is being allowed to meddle in its ìreconstructionî. The new international military force that the US is putting together to help police post-war Iraq ñ which include such ìpowersî as Albania, Portugal, Rumania aandPoland ñ is nothing but a political cover to legitimize American military occupation and political control of this country.
On another front, after the ìnear death experience for NATOî during the debacle over Iraq, the US is trying to breathe some life back into this cold-war relic. In early June, NATOís current 19 members made headlines by deciding to include 7 more countries, and by agreeing on the shape of a new NATO ìresponse force,î a US idea aimed at counteracting the European Unionís similar sounding military outfit already in the making. Thus although the US knows that NATOís fate had been decided long ago when the reason for its existence disappeared with the collapse of the Stalinist military bloc, it does not want to accelerate its demise. On the contrary it will continue to use this pretence of ìmilitary allianceî to, on the one hand, supplement its military activity as it did in Kosovo and post-war Afghanistan, and on the other, to sow trouble in the attempts of its European rivals to escape American imperialist tutelage.
Beyond Europe, in the Middle East region, exploiting its success in the Iraq war, the US is pushing hard to reshape to its own advantage the balance of forces between the local bourgeoisies. Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Palestine, and Israel are all under various degrees of pressure to play the imperialist game according to the rules of its bullyish new ìneighbor.î In particular Iran, which seems next on Washingtonís list of ìundesirable regimes,î is getting a lot of US attention lately. There is no doubt that the Bush administration wants to complement its political control of Iraq and Afghanistan with the conquest of Iran, a move that would put under its hand a large belt of land stretching almost from the Mediterranean sea (Syria would still be in the way) to the borders of China and Pakistan. In fact a case for Iranís ìregime changeî is already being built and excuses are mounting to justify the toppling of the ayatollahs. Pretexts are not lacking, from Iranís lack of ìdemocracy,î mistreatment of women, terrorism sponsoring and nuclear weapons ambitions. Already the US-inspired student democracy protests are causing trouble for the regime. However, once again, as was the case with the propaganda leading up to the war against with Iraq, these issues are nothing but a smoke screen to mask the real imperialist motivations of the US bourgeoisie. Lets not forget that the present Iranian theocratic regime rose up after the toppling of the US sponsored autocratic regime of Shah Reza Pahlavi. Regarding the question of backing terrorism, the US has no reason to envy the Iranian dominant class. With the cynicism typical of a decadent class the American bourgeoisie is today rehabilitating the so-called ìPeopleís Mujahideenî, an armed Iranian terrorist group based in Iraq that was just a few months ago the instrument of Saddam Hussein in its imperialist squabble with the Iranian State.
No Peace Under Capitalism
On May 1st the Bush administration announced the beginning of a new period in its conquest of Iraq. With the war now over, the emphasis was now going to be put on ìnation building,î on the reconstruction of the economy and on the creation of a fix-all-ills democratic political system. Peace and prosperity were supposed to be for the first time in the future of the beleaguered population of this country thanks to its humanitarian liberation by the US war machine. What cynicism! As if the economic disaster of this country, the misery, the deaths of hundreds of thousands in the battle fields and by illnesses caused by unsanitary conditions and lack of medicine were not in large part the responsibility of the US dominant class. Even though Saddam Hussein and his clique combined political dictatorship with a ruthless economic exploitation, the two US led wars against this country in just over a decade and the economic sanctions that followed the first one, have not been a blessing for the working class and impoverished masses of Iraq. Today the material situation of the Iraqi masses is by all accounts worse than before their ìliberation.î Unemployment is rampant, sanitary conditions worse than during the Saddam regime, and widespread famine is only being avoided by the US restoration of Saddamís old food handout system. The discontent about this situation is growing as exemplified by the demonstrations in mid-June by the demobilized soldiers of Iraqís army asking for payments of pensions and owed salaries. Moreover the nearly two hundred thousand strong American and ìalliedî occupying forces and the US ìcivilian administratorsî have not been able yet to create a semblance of a functioning society in Iraq. Lately the American military is having a lot more to worry than the rampant looting that followed the first days of the collapse of Husseinís regime. In the last few weeks increasing guerrilla military activity by remnants of the overthrown system have kept the numbers of American soldiers killed growing every day. At this level the situation of Iraq resembles very much that of post-war Afghanistan, in which stability has not been forthcoming. In Afghanistan on June 7 a suicide bomber killed 7 German soldiers and injured 29 others, while a resurgent Taliban is waging a guerrilla war against the American and ìinternational peacekeepersî in the Pushtun region and east of Afghanistan with incursions from its bases in Pakistan.
In the Middle East itself the continuing carnage between Israel and the Palestinians make a mockery of the US promises of peace and prosperity in the region in the post Saddam Hussein era. The ìroad map to peaceî announced with such fanfare during the Aqaba summit between Bush, Sharon and the Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas has been followed by a new descent into bloodshed. In mid-June Israel attempted to assassinate Abdel-Aziz Rantisi, a top Hamas political leader, then a Palestinian bomber slaughtered a bus-full of people in Jerusalem, which in turned provoked a new round of killings by Israel. And the common slaughter goes on as usual. The reality is that neither the American bourgeoisie nor the Israelis have a solution to the Palestinian question. The State terror of Israel is once and again unable to stop the terrorist attacks of the Palestinian cliques. The carrot offered by the Americans in the form of some sort of Palestinian State very likely will also fail.
The US launched its war against Iraq with the excuse of eliminating Husseinís weapons of mass destruction. That this was a lie is proven by the fact that almost two months after the war ended those weapons are no where to be found. However neither was this war fought for humanitarian reason or to get rid of terrorism. This was an imperialist war aimed to bolster the US world hegemony and to weaken its European imperialist competitors ñGermany and France in particular. And like all wars in the 20th and 21st century, it will generate more war and political instability. This is the logic of decadent capitalism. Only the international working class through its proletarian revolution can offer a different future to humanity.