In his address to the nation on January 10th, Pres. George Bush completely rejected the central recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, ignored the political meaning of the Republican electoral defeat in November, and escalated the war in Iraq by sending more troops and threatening hostilities against Iran and Syria. Ironically, Bush’s controversial troop “surge” is so small an escalation that it hardly has any chance of impacting on the military situation, except to increase the number of American targets in Iraq.
The consequences of what Republican Senator Chuck Nagel (Nebraska) called the “worst foreign policy blunder since Vietnam” will indeed be very serious for the American ruling class. In order to implement its reckless escalation, the administration had to remove its leading generals and diplomats in the field who opposed the troop build up and find compliant officers and officials who could be counted on to do what they were bid.
Through the study commission and its manipulation of the electoral circus, the dominant fraction of the American bourgeoisie had endeavored to coerce the Bush administration to alter its disastrous conduct of imperialist policy and at the same time give it the political cover to save face in doing so. Through its irrational refusal to comply, the Bush administration has triggered a political crisis within the ruling class that is unprecedented since the Vietnam war and Watergate. Increased divisions within the bourgeoise will result. Many Republicans have already joined the chorus against the escalation. This will provide impetus to a strengthening of the anti-war movement, which up to now has not been so much a mass political or social movement as it has been a series of occasional mass demonstrations orchestrated by a small circle of professional leftist activists. Now with growing disagreements within the dominant fraction of the bourgeoisie, just as during the Vietnam war after the Tet Offensive, there will be increasing financial and media support for the anti-war movement to step up pressure on the administration and to rescue the democratic mystification from oblivion.
Instead of heeding the Iraq Study Group’s admonition to recognized political realities in the Middle East and engage Syria and Iran in diplomatic dialog, Bush has become increasingly bellicose towards these two countries and seemed to threaten military action. All the progress that the ruling class thought it made in overcoming the so-called “Vietnam Syndrome” will be obliterated. This will severely aggravate the crisis of American imperialism, as it will be increasingly difficult to get the working class and the rest of the population to accept the need for future military interventions around the world – something that is a long term strategic necessity for U.S. imperialism.
We will witness a struggle of hawks against hawks within the ruling class, as the Bush administration becomes increasingly marginalized and the dominant elements seek to salvage the situation, so they can prepare for the next imperialist war.
The working class cannot be suckered by the rhetoric of the anti-Bush chorus within the bourgeoisie. What is unfolding is a bitter squabble within the capitalist class on how best to dominate the world. For the workers movement, it is the struggle to destroy capitalism that counts, not the struggle over the ruling team that will implement imperialist policy.
-- Internationalism, Jan. 12, 2007