Category Archives: Empire

The Myth of “The Left” in America’s Distorted Political Culture

A few years ago, anarchist philosopher Crispin Sartwell argued that “the left/right or Democrat/Republican split—which turns American politics into a hyper-repetitive, mechanical set of partisan bromides about free markets versus government programs with egalitarian results—depends on a historical mistake.”1 While Sartwell was pretty much on point with this assessment, we haven’t yet been able to cast aside these self-imposed political blinders. Americans by and large still see politics through the left/right prism, without realizing that our perceptions of what constitutes ‘the left’ in particular are intrinsically flawed. In modern American political culture, the descriptor ‘left’ is commonly used with reference to Democrats, liberals, progressives, and even moderates. However, there are barely any truly leftist currents in our mainstream political landscape. In addition to being guilty of having committed Sartwell’s collective ‘historical mistake,’ this erroneous delineation of ‘the left’ not only defies political realities in the rest of the world, but it also perpetuates the deception we have created in our own political understanding of ourselves.

American claims to being exceptional among the civilizations of the world are in many ways an overblown nationalistic myth. But there is one particular strand of American exceptionalism that has long been a mainstay in our political culture and in the vernacular we employ within it. On a daily basis media outlets, politicos, pundits, thinkers, and commentators – and thus, by virtue of information consumption, the general public – fall into an all too common trap of political misperception, myopia, or willful misappropriation when it comes to the concept of ‘the left’ in American politics. In their narratives, liberals and Democrats are commonly seen and referred to monolithically as ‘the left.’ But put into context, this is a fundamentally false equivalence. Let’s establish one thing right off the bat: There really is no tangible ‘left’ in America’s political mainstream today. Except for a few growing and increasingly influential yet still relatively fledgling movements and organizations such as the Democratic Socialists of America or the Black Lives Matter movement, there is very little leftist thought and action at work in America’s two-party landscape. What many commentators – liberal or conservative alike – often refer to as ‘the left’ is but a poor excuse for actual leftist political philosophy.

The primary reason for this misconception is rooted in the anomaly that is our political system and our political culture, which inherently gravitates further to the right than most other advanced contemporary democracies. In addition to this basic conundrum, the political climate of the past four decades – marked by acquiescence and concessions to neoliberalism, a continuation of militaristic-imperialistic foreign policy, reactionary culture wars, a preoccupation with reductionist identity politics, as well as the preservation of privileged self-interest – have effectively eviscerated what modicum of ‘leftist’ thought may once have existed in Progressive Era and post-New Deal American politics. Since then our political system has shifted so far to the right that most Americans today seem to fully accept as a given the simplistic binary political pancake in which liberals and the Democratic Party make up ‘the left,’ conservatives and Republicans constitute ‘the right,’ and independent voters and non-voters alike occupy a space somewhere in-between.

As a volunteer and activist for Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in late 2015 and early 2016, I knocked on countless doors, called and texted voters across the country, and had many a conversation with a wide variety of people. I spoke with many other activists, groups, members of political organizations, and legions of potential voters of all sorts of political persuasions. Out of all of these conversations, two particular encounters stand out to me to this day. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that both interlocutors were fellow academics, but even more than that, these conversations serve as exemplary manifestations of America’s political blinders.

One of the two conversational partners, a fellow historian in her late twenties – and a die-hard supporter of Hillary Clinton – noted in late 2015 that she had been observing some “strange behavior among liberals” during this election cycle. She was referring to the growing support for Senator Sanders, and the equally growing mistrust and criticism toward Secretary Clinton. From her perspective it appeared almost inconceivable that anyone who was seriously committed to meaningful progress could support Sanders over Clinton. Getting big corporate money and special interests out of politics or working toward a universal single payer healthcare system seemed to be at best secondary, if not at all irrelevant, to her rather narrow and strongly gendered conceptions of modern politics, in which breaking the symbolic glass ceiling of having a female chief executive appeared to trump (no pun intended) any other argument. The notion, that a considerable share of Sanders’s supporters may actually hold deeper political convictions that are further to the left of modern American liberalism, did not seem to fit her political worldview.

The second conversationalist was an aging mathematics professor, who seemed relatively open to some of the more leftist items on the agenda of many ‘Sandernista.’ Yet he, too, displayed an almost dogmatic adherence to the old blue dog Democrat view of American politics that seems to revolve only around liberals vs. conservatives, blue vs. red, left vs. right. As we were talking about coordinating our political activism to support the campaign of a challenger to the incumbent in our congressional district, the septuagenarian mathematician asked me about my own political views, by which he meant party affiliation. When I told him that I considered myself a leftist independent who is not affiliated with any party, he encountered, visibly concerned I might add, that “if you’re an independent, you are somewhere between the Democrats and the Republicans.” As a relative novice to all out boots-on-the-ground political activism, this statement shook me to my political core. I wondered if this was indicative of the political worldview in America, and where this would leave true leftists on America’s political spectrum.

Just a few months prior to these encounters, I was struck by a realization that had been hiding in plain sight all along. At one of our Bernie rallies, a local activist leader argued in his speech that there is no ‘left’ in American politics, and that there hadn’t been one since Debs. He was, of course, referring to Eugene V. Debs, the iconic union organizer and multi-time presidential candidate of the American Socialist Party during the first two decades of the twentieth century. As a historian of American politics during the late Gilded Age and early Progressive Era, I was, of course, very familiar with Progressive insurgencies in both parties, as well as third party challenges to the established two-party system, but perhaps I had been looking at things from a decidedly liberal vantage point up until then. It was only through careful revision of the works of William Appleman Williams, Martin Sklar, Jeffrey Lustig, and most importantly my re-reading of Gabriel Kolko’s seminal “The Triumph of Conservatism,” that I realized the false pretenses in my own thinking.

In the early 1960s, Kolko had broken new ground when he argued that the Progressive Era was really an era of conservatism. Instead of exploring alternative options, Kolko argued, American Progressives deliberately opted for the preservation of the existing hegemonic political, economic, and societal structures, or in Kolko’s words, the “basic social and economic relations essential to a capitalist society.”2 Though often hailed as the lynchpin of reform, Progressive policies and regulation by and large served as a rationalization of the market, with the intention of safeguarding long-term profit. America’s business leaders and ‘Corporate Caesars’ realized that only control of and collusion with federal and state governments, especially under the purview of increased regulatory power vested in government, could protect their interest from either haphazard legislative policies or true radicalism emanating from the populace.

This was by no means an American phenomenon. Imperial Germany saw similar ‘reforms’ in the later nineteenth century, when the staunchly pro-monarchical Bismarckian government had implemented universal male adult suffrage and a system of social insurance which would become the foundation for later models of the modern welfare state. However, Bismarck did not implement these reforms out of kindness, humanitarian spirit, or because of genuine empathy with the laboring classes. Quite the contrary. Bismarck was concerned about the growing discontent among the German people over the fallout from rapid industrialization, the long-term effects of Enlightenment democratization, and the simmering of class-conscious sentiments. In an effort to preserve the Kaiserreich and its existing power structures, Bismarck had remarked early on that “[i]f there is to be revolution, we would prefer to make it than to suffer it.”3

American political leaders at the turn of the century shared similar convictions. In 1907, Theodore Roosevelt characterized his own policies as a preservation of the “conservative class,” to which he himself belonged, with the intention to provide “a safety valve for the popular unrest and indignation” among a sizable section of the populace, and to avoid state ownership or “other drastic measures against corporations.”4 Thus, working closely with America’s ‘captains of industry,’ many Progressive lawmakers devised and implemented policies that sought large scale reforms – many of which resulted in great leaps forward such as railroad regulation, food and drug regulation, a graduated income tax, or women’s suffrage – but most of the policies that Progressives pursued did not actually seek to fundamentally address America’s structural biases, blind spots, and inequalities. Thus America’s national Progressivism during the first quarter of the twentieth century, Kolko concluded, was essentially a “defense of business against the democratic ferment in the states.” However, unlike developments in Europe, Progressive politics in America, as Kolko notes further, effectively “sidetracked European socialism” and thus stymied a “truly radical, articulated alternative economic and political program capable of synthesizing political democracy with industrial reality.”5

This may be a sobering realization, but mainstream American Progressivism was never truly leftist, and neither of the two major parties during the height of the Progressive Era constituted an actual left wing in American politics. As historian Alan Dawley points out, Progressives were not the left, but merely “drew many ideas from the left”. The actual left, as Dawley argues most convincingly, is best defined “as the political stance, whether Marxist or not, that blamed inequalities in wealth and power on the workings of the capitalist system.” This ought to be the primary consideration in helping us “distinguish leftists from progressives, who, for the most part, did not see capitalism behind every wrong.”6

A truly leftist space existed merely on the fringes, and it was occupied by individuals such as Eugene Debs or Emma Goldman, or by organizations such as the American Socialist Party or the International Workers of the World. While this fringe left did most certainly influence broader political conversations, it did not permeate the political mainstream enough to create a viable left-wing mainstay in American party politics. As a result, the Democrats and the GOP, both of which experienced Progressive insurgencies at the time, and both of which would recalibrate several times throughout the twentieth century, eventually developed into today’s center-right and right-wing parties, respectively.

And this is where so many American liberals, center-leftists, conservatives, and reactionaries get it wrong today. Looking at our two-party system under the premise of a ‘left/right’ duality essentially creates the fallacy of equating ‘liberal’ or ‘Democrat’ with ‘the left.’ While populist liberals like Elizabeth Warren – herself a former Republican – undoubtedly consider themselves to be a part of ‘the left,’ far right commentators, such as the folks at Breitbart, deride “her ideological left-wing purity,” while at the same time branding her as a “liberal icon.”7 Unfortunately, both viewpoints equally conflate liberals with ‘the left.’ Moreover, such invocations of ‘the left’ seem oblivious to the fact that liberals only occupy a space to the relative political left when they are juxtaposed to individuals, movements, or positions on the far right. The effect on our national political culture is disheartening. Not only do we appear to be in the dark about the political anatomies and philosophies of the world we live in, but we seem to lack an understanding of political culture outside of the American context.

Such myopic perceptions of ‘the left’ permeate almost our entire mass political consciousness. The headlines and front page stories of major news outlets provide ample proof. One such example is a New York Times piece from January 2016, titled “Democratic Race Will Test Where the Left Stands.” This headline alone seems to equate the Democratic Party with ‘the left.’ While this an omnipresent trope in American political language and media narratives, it is an inherently false and inadequate exposition. Yet, the misleading headline is not the sole element of concern here. Not unlike the above-mentioned Breitbart piece on Elizabeth Warren, this article similarly characterizes Senator Bernie Sanders as both a “liberal” and as “far-left,” while seemingly using these terms interchangeably. This conflation is amplified further when the author ponders over whether Sanders could energize “the liberal wing of the party,” again, conflating ‘liberal’ with ‘left.’8

In this potpourri of political nomenclature, the otherwise solid article at best blurs and at worst ignores the considerable distinctions between the Democratic Party and modern liberals on the one hand, and ‘the left’ on the other. Another New York Times headline from January of this year goes even further, suggesting that “The Left Mulls How to Resist Trump.” The author clarifies his frame of reference as to what sort of political figures constitute the ‘left’ by discussing the deliberations of Democratic establishment figures such as DNC Chair Tom Perez or CNN contributor and Clinton confidant Donna Brazile, neither of whom are remotely representative of the political left.9

But the constant reproduction of the misnomer that is ‘the left’ in reference to the Democratic Party or mainstream liberals is not just an issue in our corporate news media. On an episode of NPR’s Here and Now on September 13, 2017, Republican strategist Paris Dennard rejected questions about whether the Trump administration’s tax cuts (which have since been enacted) would primarily benefit the wealthiest Americans as mere “talking points from the left.” As if this wasn’t platitudinal enough, Dennard then proceeded to comment on the issue of healthcare reform, stating that “single payer is not working in Canada or in Europe,” and thus spreading a definitive falsehood.

What is perhaps more disconcerting, however, is the fact that NPR’s Meghna Chakrabarti then followed the established but erroneous trope of misusing the term ‘the left.’ In what was obviously a subtle reference to existing criticism toward single payer healthcare coming from some liberals and establishment Democrats, Chakrabarti noted that “there are some people on the left who are worried that Medicare-for-all could backfire because it possibly could reduce the coverage that people already have.”10 This is yet another example of the casual, widespread, and politically myopic trigger-happiness that misidentifies mainstream liberal and moderate viewpoints as distinctly ‘left.’

Sadly, National Public Radio, of all places, seems to be particularly susceptible to misappropriating the term ‘left.’ On a recent episode of Here and Now, host Robin Young spoke with former NPR CEO Ken Stern about his new book, in which Stern reflects on his travels and experiences when he left his Democratic “liberal bubble and learned to love the right.” Stern’s subtext and discussion of his book undoubtedly set the parameters of the conversation, and even though Young tenaciously pressed the former CEO on his arguments on political bubbles and confirmation biases, asserting that NPR provides “views from all sides,” she, too, slipped into the fallacy of equating the liberal vs. conservative dichotomy with the left vs. right divide, when she asked her listeners to share their impressions, especially if they themselves were trapped in a bubble either on the left or on the right.

As we can see, commentators and correspondents in both corporate and public news media outlets across the board continuously use the qualifier ‘left’ in their publications and broadcasts when, in fact, they are referring to mainstream liberals or Democrats. In doing so, they are not only communicating a false narrative, but they are perpetuating a part of our political culture that is deeply flawed. The conflation of equating Democrats and liberals with ‘the left,’ and juxtaposing them in opposition to conservatives and Republicans as ‘the right,’ may be a convenient and utilitarian tool in our soundbite media landscape, but the downside to this practice is that it only reinforces our national Manichean worldview of wrong and right, black and white, left and right, which severely limits our political discourse and stifles our possibilities.

The argument I am making here is far beyond semantics or labels. If Americans want to be understood politically by observers from all socio-political spheres and spectra, if we want to create a more vibrant democracy in which to engage our citizenry, if we want to open our possibilities, if we want to effectively integrate our growing foreign-born population into our political discourse, and if we want to communicate effectively and meaningfully with people and cultures abroad, we need to rethink our own political culture and language.

So, how then should we look at the political language of ‘left’ and ‘right’? Some international context might be beneficial. In their modern political capacity, the descriptors ‘right’ and ‘left’ originate from the parliamentary seating arrangements in post-Revolutionary France, referring to pro- and anti-monarchists respectively. While their exact meaning and connotation are contingent upon the specific temporal and societal context in which we locate them, core conceptualizations of the political left generally encompass an egalitarian socio-political and economic character; i.e., a clear rejection of a capitalist economic model with its inherently parasitic nature and the limitations it imposes on true human liberation.

Conversely, the political right is defined by a more individualistic, pro-capitalistic, free market calibration. In modern political science, manifestations of left and right are usually measured on bi- or multiaxial spectra. Let me elaborate my point using the bi-axial Political Compass. In this model, the horizontal axis depicts the full range of economic matters, ranging from the total absence of private property (not personal property!!!) on the far left, to an economy based entirely on private property and free markets on the far right. The vertical axis, on the other hand, charts the range of political and social liberty, from fully authoritarian statism and state-sanctioned social and racial suppression at the top to entirely unimpeded individual autonomy at the bottom. Of course, political ideologies are inherently non-static, and they can and do indeed intersect or overlap, particularly on the extreme fringes of the spectrum. In other words, since varying degrees of statist-authoritarianism, for instance, are conceivable on both horizontal ends of the spectrum, the very notion of a definitive terminus is debatable. For this purpose, a three-dimensional spherical model could perhaps serve as an alternative to a conventional two-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system, but within the context of discussing the left in American political culture, the Political Compass is more than adequate to chart manifestations of ‘left’ and ‘right.’

Compared to the multi-party democracies of many European countries, which cover a broader range of ideologies and policies on the political spectrum, mainstream political discourse in the United States occurs almost exclusively between the center and the far right. The following charts depict the major political entities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France in their respective general elections over the past year. It becomes apparent that, even in the context of growing uncertainty as reflected in more recent developments in Europe — such as the refugee crisis, anti-globalization forces, or increasing anti-EU sentiment — European political cultures still include a far greater space for decidedly left alternatives and counterweights to the prevalent right and conservative trajectories in recent years.

When we apply the aforementioned criteria that define ‘the left’ to the political realities of modern America, however, there appear hardly any readings on either left quadrant of the Political Compass. In the 1940s and 1950s America was defined by New Deal reforms and post-war prosperity, but many of these developments structurally and deliberately excluded women and people of color. While the Civil Rights movement successfully paved the way for a whole host of different people and interest groups in their pursuits of greater liberty and equality, America’s political reordering since the late 1960s — which was in many ways a response the social and political upheaval and challenges during that decade — saw an assertion of neoliberalism wedded to a revival of conservatism and reactionism.

Since the 1970s the Democrats have effectively positioned themselves at the center-right. Rather than having been overrun by the resurgence on the right, the Democratic Party was an active part and parcel of the conservative swing in American politics. Enjoying a majority in the House of Representatives during both of Ronald Reagan’s presidential terms, the party of FDR and Lyndon Johnson had essentially shed its post-war progressivism, and now became complicit in the deindustrialization and deregulation of the American economy, huge tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, the ‘war on drugs,’ and the rise of the prison-industrial complex.

The 1990s only saw an extension of this ‘Reagan Democrat’ calibration. Bill Clinton’s ‘welfare reform,’ trade deals, and his administration’s continuation of Reaganite ‘tough on crime’ and anti-drug law enforcement initiatives only exacerbated the rightward trend of the party, which again disproportionately targeted people of color. And, finally, when the dust had settled on the initial hype over our nation’s first African American president, Barack Obama’s legacy was quickly defined by his ‘signature’ healthcare reform – which is really a tremendous gift to big insurance and big pharma – along with his prolonged military operations, and the continuation of disastrous trade deals. Therefore, the bar had been set low enough – or should we say far enough to the right – for Hillary Clinton’s lackluster campaign which promised at best incremental progress, and which was a significant part as to why we ended up with Trump, not to mention her mitosis from a one-time healthcare reformer to a center-right establishment candidate who is convinced that single payer “will never, ever come to pass.”11

All this contortion of ‘the left’ is reflected in the issues we debate in our political climate, and more importantly, how we discuss them. Many Europeans generally take for granted provisions such as universal healthcare, strong employment rights, inviolable civic rights, strong consumer and environmental protections, or efficient systems of public infrastructure – just to name a few. In comparison, such issues are always hotly contested in America, to the point that proposals such as Medicare for all, affordable and debt-free education, limiting the influence of special interests in policy-making, or reducing our overdependence on fossil fuel not only seem all but destined to perish at the whims of the corporate oligarchy and its networks of wealthy donors and lobbyists that control the political process, but these ‘leftist’ policies are also dismissed as ‘pipe dreams’ or ‘pie in the sky’ by many liberals and moderates.

Herein lies the kicker. For all their alleged commitment to social justice and political equality, American liberals and moderates (you know…the folks who supposedly make up ‘the left’ in American politics), are still often beholden to or imbued with national myths about America’s role as the global exporter of democracy and economic prosperity. Put differently, American liberals are caught in their own delusions and safe logic, in which our protracted involvement in foreign wars just means that ‘our troops are fighting for our freedoms,’ and in which America’s large corporate enterprises are justified in their accumulation of wealth and power (read: in the continuous exploitation of workers and people of color, both at home and abroad, and hence the proliferation of grotesque levels of income and wealth inequality), as long as they continue to be the drivers of research and innovation.

This misappropriated version of ‘the left’ in American politics then is a strange phenomenon. Many Americans, both liberal and conservative, often seem to care very little if human beings are being exploited in Asia, Latin America, or the Middle East, as long as folks here at home enjoy artificially low gas prices, get to shop for cheap at Walmart, or get to have their sugar-laden dessert coffees at Starbucks. White liberals in particular often proclaim solidarity with and empathy for disadvantaged and disenfranchised people of color in America as well as in the developing world, but yet too many of them confine themselves to the privileged seclusion of a sheltered suburban life, which was only made possible on a grand scale by racially exclusive big government programs and an economic prosperity that hinged on wartime production and the vast expansion of what Eisenhower called ‘the military-industrial complex’ on the heels of the second World War.

It is one thing to call for greater equality for the marginalized and the disadvantaged in society, but it is quite another thing to come to terms with the fact that much of one’s own behaviors and consumption patterns contribute to the factors that create and perpetuate these disparities in the first place. Until Americans truly awaken to the realization that most of our mainstream social justice campaigns and our cyclical bouts and assertions of American progressivism cannot be effectively reconciled with our existence within a pseudo-democratic corporate capitalist system, there will be no tangible left wing in mainstream American politics. As James Baldwin has once remarked elsewhere, the future of America depends on the question whether Americans are able to come to terms with their own distorted “sense of reality.”

  1. Crispin Sartwell. “The Left-Right Political Spectrum Is Bogus“, The Atlantic, June 20, 2014.
  2. Gabriel Kolko, The Triumph of Conservatism: A Reinterpretation of American History, 1900-1916 (New York: The Free Press, 1963), 2.
  3. Otto von Bismarck, Die gesammelten Werke (Friedrichsruher Ausgabe), 19 vols in 15 (Berlin, 1924-35), vi. 120, Bismarck to Manteuffel, 11 August 1866.
  4. “Jar at Gridiron Dinner,” Baltimore Sun, January 29, 1907; TR to Paul Morton, January 2, 1907, in Roosevelt, Theodore, The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt, Vol. 3-7. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1951-1954, 5:535-536.; Unreasonable Men 84-90.
  5. Kolko, Triumph of Conservatism, 286.
  6. Alan Dawley, Changing The World: American Progressives in War and Revolution. (Princeton & Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2003, 3).
  7. Adam Shaw. “Elizabeth Warren, Supporters Making Big Bucks from ‘She Persisted’ Merchandise“, Breitbart, August 13, 2017.
  8. Patrick Healy. “Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Battle for Party’s Future”, New York Times, January 24, 2016.
  9. Jonathan Martin. “When He Goes Low, They Go …Where? Democrats Mull How to Confront Trump“, New York Times, January 14, 2017.
  10. Trump Meets With Lawmakers On Tax Overhaul“, Charlottesville, Here and Now, September 13, 2017.
  11. Hillary Clinton, Campaign Rally in Des Moines, Iowa, January 29, 2016.

Outing the US Empire: Trump’s Military Parade

You only had to see him goggle eyed and enthusiastic beside France’s President Emmanuel Macron last Bastille Day.  The tricolours were fluttering, the jets booming above in the manner usual for a lapsed empire, and the President of the United States was thrilled to bits, delighted at the spectacle.  “It was one of the greatest parades I’ve ever seen.  We’re going to have to try and top it.”

Donald Trump wetting himself over a military parade in another country was one thing. That he is now attempting to bring that experience back to the United States has local policy figures in a fix.  According to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, the president “has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”

The good citizens of the United States have tended to associate such military affairs with the goosestepping types, eyes glazed and bayonets erect with purpose before authoritarian clowns.  Only foreign types, unmoved by the impulse of American liberty, engage in that sort of thing.

In some ways, having such a parade would be a natural order for a power that remains in denial about its imperial pedigree, bastard or otherwise.  There is a near pathological preference to live in the bright delusional light of free world defender of peace. “As distinct from other peoples,” wrote the late Chalmers Johnson, that keen student of US empire and its consequences, “most Americans do not recognize – or do not want to recognize – that the United States dominates the world through its military power.”

An orgiastic display of US military symbolism would be a direct, if discomforting, change from the usual pattern.  States often tend to have military shows that are inversely proportionate to their economic and social success.  More guns do not necessarily imply more butter in the home.  The Soviet Union, and the current Russian incarnation, insisted on military parades as matters of pride, though such shows are as revealing as they are concealing.  As Moscow terrified with its military prowess and gritty warriors parading before the greys and browns of the politburo, the state was unravelling in sickness, awaiting ultimate implosion.

North Korea similarly insists on the star studded show, the pantomime of military hardware and vocal troops captivated by supreme leader, Kim Jong-un.  To take such an aggressive stance serves to also conceal weakness and internal fragility.  Besides, such displays provide epic distractions for troubled populaces, a sort of cinematic release packaged in military grandeur.

To that end, a US military parade would reverse the order of things.  To have such a parade could be likened to a coming out ceremony, a grand confession to the globe.  The United States, through dozens of military bases webbing the entire globe like Arachne’s thread, prefers the rhetoric of restraint and order while waging a series of conflicts that result in an order of permanent war for permanent peace.

It was the coming of the Cold War, and the emergence of the United States as the pre-eminent power after the Second World War, that prompted the remark by the sharp Charles Beard that the foreign policy of both Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman could be classed as the waging of “perpetual war for perpetual peace.”  That assessment duly stuck, though the US public, for the most part, went into a state of permanent amnesia.

One symptom of empire common to all entities which have undertaken this venture is the illusion of some lingering order without disturbance, the civilizing effects of the Pax Romana delivered through soldiers bearing the gift of peace or the more recent Pax Americana.  This supplies the nursery story, widely disseminated, that international peace is maintained in such circumstances while swords are turned to ploughshares.

Quite the opposite is true.  Such states of affairs ensure a constant demand for conflict, the need for police operations and bloody corrections, the deployment of auxiliaries and allies, and the necessity for a hardened military industrial complex.

A mild acquaintance with those blood thirsty deliverers of peace, the Romans, provides the surest precedent by which subsequent empires supposedly interested in peace thrive upon.  The parallels between US narratives of power, and those of Rome, are striking.  True, the Roman empire incorporated local power elites and spread citizenship.  “It was generosity,” notes classicist Mary Beard, “even if sprung from self-interest.”  But it was Tacitus in his inimitable account of Agricola, his father-in-law’s exploits as governor of Britain in the late first century AD, that left a superb critique of empire that remains as pertinent to the US as any other.

Tacitus takes note of the Caledonian resistance figure Calgacus, whose speech does not merely attack the imperial predations of Rome, but the euphemising nature of power and its concealments.  “To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.”  There is nothing to suggest that Calcagus ever said anything of the sort in the name of liberty to rouse his troops – Tacitus was a despairing critic of empire and its consequences, being both recorder and analyst.

From matters of conspiracy to an emphasis on the fake news complex; to the suspicions of suited establish doyens who have long steered empire in the shadows while proclaiming the virtues of liberty, Trump’s opportunity for another show is here.  It is time to put the US empire on display.

As he has done before, the current president overturns convention and confronts the deep seated psychic disturbances of the US state.  Forget the clichés and deceptions about delivering peace. Ignore the alarm from the imperial closeted types.  (We, claimed Representative Jackie Speier, “have a Napoleon in the making here.”)  Put stock, instead, in matters of belligerence, of making deserts.  Place that weaponry on show in lusty, persuasive fashion.  And most importantly of all, make Little Rocket Man green with envy.

Genocide Washington Style: Venezuela Next?

Why does nobody dare to pronounce the term “Genocide” in connection with the Washington-committed atrocities around the globe? If there is one nation that is guilty of mass-murder it is the United States of America and her Zionist handlers. But nobody seems to pay attention. Or, rather, nobody dares to say so. It has become the new normal. Enshrined in people’s brains. The exceptional nation can do whatever she wants, whenever she wants and wherever she wants — sowing wars and conflicts, killing millions and millions of people, blaming Russia and China, and, of course, Iran, Venezuela, Syria, Cuba, North Korea and the list of disobedient countries goes on.

When Mr. Tillerson is openly calling for a military coup in Venezuela, he is inciting genocide in this peaceful southern neighbor. This means, for those who are listening, like the Capriles and Co., that they can count on US support, which, of course, they knew all along. But now its official, when the US Secretary of State openly calls for a military intervention – he calls for blood – he is provoking a blood bath. That’s genocide. By definition, he is a murderer. Yet, he goes free.

You imagine anybody else who would do that throughout the globe, any other politician of Tillerson’s ranking, who is not bending to Washington’s rules, will be on Washington’s hit list, and might expect a deadly drone, or poison potion or whatever else the CIA does best to ‘neutralize’ inconvenient people. Yet, nobody dares even thinking of putting Tillerson before an international tribunal, let alone of neutralizing him.

In the totally illegal US bases at the north-eastern triangle of Syria, bordering Iraq and Turkey, near Raqqa, at Tabqa, where the US forces have taken over a Syrian airbase and at al-Tanf, Rex Tillerson calls for increasing the current contingent of about 2,000 US soldiers by 30,000 – recruited mostly from Kurds. This sounds and probably is like an expansion of the Kurdish YPG ‘rebel’ army, or rather US-sponsored terrorist army, fully financed, armed and trained by the US. They actually support the also newly US-trained ISIS with the goal of eventually achieving “Regime Change”, ousting the legitimate and democratically elected President Bashar al-Assad.

One may also ask, how come President Assad tolerates these illegal bases in his country. He could call on the UN Security Council to have them expelled. It would, of course, not happen, since the US has a veto, but it would make plenty of publicity and would let the world know that the US is occupying any country it wants – illegally, of course.

“Regime Change” by whatever means.  This is the name of the game, the end goal of the Masters of Genocide before a country is dumped into chaos, eternal war, eternal occupation for eternal usurpation. Why do those peace-loving ‘progressive’ westerners not see this? Why do they not cry out against such crimes? Because their media tells them differently? Perhaps so. But it is humanly impossible that humans have brains so weak that they can no longer distinguish what is morally, ethically correct  and what is just sheer falsehood and criminal.

It’s the western “comfort zone”, stupid! Sitting in our armchairs, watching sports and dumb and degrading Hollywood-made sitcoms and comedy shows, while sipping beer, is easier than questioning ourselves. What are we allowing to happen to totally innocent people? Does it occur to anyone that those who do not stand up and protest against these massive killings, including this latest threat by Tillerson of “Regime Change” in Venezuela by a foreign-induced military coup, are complicit by association, by doing nothing, by letting this US imposed genocide happen? How much does it take for the comfort zone to be broken? Maybe, when we are hit ourselves, in Europe, in the US in the western armchair-MSM-news-consumption world will we wake up then? By then it may be too late.

It is our obligation towards humanity to stop this onslaught of genocides around the globe, always by the same perpetrator and his puppets and mercenaries — the United States, her vassal, Europe and NATO.

Be sure of one thing, the US will never let go. They have a target and they pursue it to the end – and the end can only be Full Spectrum Dominance, or, else, the end of empire. The dark commandeering forces behind the US and allied military have no scruples whatsoever to commit gigantic genocide in order to reach their objective. They have been demonstrating it for the past 20 years with the endless ‘war on terror’, devastating the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria – and many more – millions of people were killed or maimed, or made refugees, homeless, nameless, sick and dying of disease and famine, no roof over their head for years, being expulsed from the very countries that destroyed their homes and livelihood in the first place … and the world is too timid to call this genocide in biblical proportions?

Now Tillerson, the arrogant multi-billionaire, ex-Exxon chief and oil tycoon, who has become diplomat for the Donald — or the long arm of the Anglo-Zion-Dark State — is calling for nothing less  than genocide in Venezuela. Just a few days ago, this inhuman monster expressed pleasure and satisfaction at North Koreans suffering and dying from famine, because the ‘sanctions’ are working. Can you imagine?  To what level has humanity sunk? Nobody even blinks an eye at such atrocities pronounced by the evil-emperors front-man, let alone people going on the barricades. Killing and pleasure of killing and suffering, and not to forget, corporate maximized profit from it all, has become the new normal. It’s genocide incorporate and most in the west live quite comfortably with it.

World wake up! Its High Noon! Even if Tillerson doesn’t pull the trigger himself, he is a mass-murderer by association, by ordering others to do it. People like Tillerson and all his predecessors, Pentagon and CIA chiefs and, of course, the chief executioners, Trump, himself, and his predecessors, belong to be put before a Nuremberg type Tribunal, where the same type of justice is dished out as was the case by the allied forces which directed the Nazi trials after WWII.

In fact, many of the Nazi crimes pale when compared to what the United States and NATO forces, plus its European vassals are doing – and have been doing even without NATO during the past centuries – throughout the world, in Africa, Asia, South America. Genocide in over-drive. Trump saber-rattles with “fire and fury” over North Korea; Tillerson incites to military coup in Venezuela, and over-throwing the legitimate and democratically elected Syrian Government, and, of course, Iran is always in the cross-hairs, no matter the nuclear deal signed and sealed by the 5+1 on 14 July 2015 in Vienna. No agreement, no contract, no promise is honored ever by Washington. Who is next? Maybe Bolivia, and, of course, Cuba, where the newly established diplomatic relations with the revamped US embassy in Havana is but a faintly veiled Trojan Horse.

Take the endless insults and provocations by Washington on Russia, with US and NATO forces along the Baltic, Eastern Europe and the Black Sea borders with Russia. If it wouldn’t be for President Putin and his equally wise and savvy Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, a hot and bloody US-Russian clash may have already erupted.

When Nikki Haley called openly to overthrow the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas, a senior Palestinian official at the United Nations called her to “shut up”. Well said. It is time that the world musters its guts and tells war-monger-criminals like Tillerson to shut up, when they call for military coups in counties they want to subjugate, like Venezuela and Cuba, the only true democracies in the western Hemisphere. The only true democracies. These are not my words, though I fully subscribe to them.  Those are the words of intellectual prominence, nobody less than Professor Noam Chomsky.

If anybody would care to understand what the sophisticated process of people’s representation democracy in Venezuela involves, surely it would hit them that our one-person, one-vote western style democracy which has become totally corruptable and is categorically being manipulated, is a long-past gimmick from fairy tales. Similar articulate and clean processes are commanding Cuban elections.

The CIA in tandem with Mossad and other secret forces, plus NATO, recruit, train, fund and arm terrorist mercenaries to do Washington’s dirty job. The Pentagon, CIA, State Department and NATO will not stop before ‘regime change’ in Syria is achieved, and before Venezuela succumbs to the constant slander, blackmail, currency manipulations and myriad other pressures from outside; and before Russia and China are subdued unless this ever-weakening empire is stopped in its tracks. And it eventually will. But how many more people will have to die before the monster bites the dust and lets life and nature evolve and develop to bring equality and peace to the globe?

Let’s call it out again.  The only country in the world that commits constant genocide and gets away with it is the self-styled exceptional nation, the United States of America. We, the People, must — and still can — stop this.

When is there Going to be Accountability for US Wars and Aggression?

It’s WMD all over again.

Anonymous “US officials” are once again accusing a targeted “regime” of using “chemical weapons” and threatening that the U.S. military may have to “hold it accountable”. Once again, western media is broadcasting these accusations and threats without skepticism or investigation.

The Washington Post story is titled “Trump administration: Syria probably continuing to make, use chemical weapons”.  Jane’s Defence Weekly quotes a U.S. offical saying “They clearly think they can get away with this ….”

Jerusalel Online says “A US official says Syrian President Assad’s forces may be developing new types of chemical weapons, which which could reach as far as the US…”

The Reuters story in the New York Times says “US officials have said the Syrian government may be developing new types of chemical weapons, and President Donald Trump is prepared to consider further military action…. President Bashar al Assad is believed to have secretly kept part of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile….”

The Washingon Post article concludes with the threat, “If the international community does not take action now . . . we will see more chemical weapons use, not just by Syria but by non-state actors such as ISIS and beyond,” the first official said. “And that use will spread to U.S. shores.”

Based on a review of facts from recent history, it is very likely the story is false and is being broadcast to deceive the public in preparation for new military aggression. Anyone who thinks that politicians don’t consider timing and marketing needs to only recall the statement of a GW Bush official that “from a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.” The “product” was the PR campaign to get the American public to accept the invasion of Iraq.

When is there going to be some accountability for the US military industrial complex and their political and media enablers and promoters?

The invasion of Vietnam with over 500 thousand US soldiers was preceded by the phoney Gulf of Tonknin incident where a US ship was supposedly attacked by a North Vietnamese vessel. It was untrue and President Johnson knew it. The resolution was passed unanimously (416-0) in the House and only Wayne Morse and Ernest Gruening had the integrity and insight to oppose it in the Senate. Was anyone ever held accountable for the lie that led to over 58 thousand dead US soldiers and millions of dead Vietnamese? No.

The 1991 attack on Iraq and subsequent massacre of Iraqi soldiers and civilians was preceded by the fabricated testimony of the Kuwaiti Ambassador’s daughter pretending to be a nurse who had witnessed Iraqi soldiers stealing incubators and leaving Kuwaiti babies on the floor. Were the marketing officials Hill & Knowlton and politicians such as Tom Lantos who managed this deceit ever held accountable? No.

In 2003 the US launched the invasion of Iraq leading to the death of over a million Iraqis based on the false and fabricated evidence provided by the CIA and uncritically promoted by the mainstream media. For example,  Michael Gordon and Thomas Friedman promoted and lauded the invasion at the NYTimes. Were they held to account?  No, they carry right on to today.

In 2011 the US led NATO attacks on Libya with the stated purpose to “protect civilians” from massacre. This was explained and encouraged by journalists and pundits such as Nicholas Kristof and Juan Cole. NATO officials bragged about their operation. After the brief western euphoria, it became clear that the campaign was based on lies and the real result was an explosion of extremism, massacres and chaos which continues to today. Accountability? None. One rarely hears about Libya today. Out of sight, out of mind.

In August of 2013 we heard about a massive sarin gas attack on the outskirts of Damascus. Human Rights Watch and others promoting a western attack quickly accused the Syrian government. They asserted that Assad had crossed Obama’s “red line” and the US needed to intervene directly. Subsequent investigations revealed the gas attack was not carried out by the Syrian government. It was perpetrated by a Turkish supported terrorist faction with the goal of pressuring the Obama administration to directly attack Syria. Two Turkish parliamentarians presented evidence of Turkey’s involvement in the transfer of sarin. Some of the best and most time-proven US investigative journalists, including the late Robert Parry and Seymour Hersh, researched and discovered the evidence points to Turkish supported “rebels” not Syria. Despite the factual evidence exposing the “junk heap” of false claims, mainstream media and their followers continue to assert that Assad committed the crime.

In April 2017 it was the same thing: US and allies made accusations which were never proven and ultimately discredited. The UN/OPCW investigation team never visited the scene of the crime. They discovered the curious fact that dozens of victims in multiple locations showed up at hospitals with symptoms of chemical injuries before the attack happened. This is strong evidence of fraud but that investigation was not pursued. With or without awareness of the deceit, Trump ordered missile strikes on a Syrian air base which killed 13 people including four children. Accountability? None.

Recently it has become clear that dark forces in the US government ad military do not intend to stop their efforts to destroy Syria. Despite confusion and contradictory claims in the US administration, a core fact is that the US is training and supplying a sectarian military militia inside northern Syria against the wishes of the Syrian government. The US said they were in Syria to get rid of ISIS but now that ISIS is largely gone, the US military says it is not leaving. On the contrary, the US military helped escort ISIS fighters from Raqqa to al Bukamal and the US is now training ISIS fighters to be reincarnated as yet another anti-Assad “rebel” force.

As always, US aggression needs some measure of political support. To gain that, they need a justification. Thus it’s WMD all over again. Once again. the “bad guys” are using chemical weapons on their own people. Supposedly the Syrian government is incredibly stupid …. they just keep on using chemical weapons and giving the US a justification to act as judge, jury and executioner.

Most of the American public is too busy, distracted or overwhelmed with problems to investigate U.S. government claims. Mainstream media, including some alternative media, are failing badly. They are supposed to be holding government to account, critically questioning the assertions, investigating the facts, exposing contradictions and falsehoods. Along with the politicians and government, they have some responsibility for the ongoing wars and aggression. They all should be accountable. When is that going to happen?

U.S.: War Dog Wants to Bite, but What and How?

It could be truly comical, if it were not to be so dangerous for millions of people living all over the world. The Empire, once mighty, ruthless and frightening is now jumping around like a dog infected with rabies; it is salivating, barking loudly, its tale is stiff between its legs.

It snaps left and right, and periodically it is even trying to bite a piece of Moon off. But the Moon is far, too far, even for the best armed and the most aggressive country on Earth.

Iran is much closer, and so are North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Russia, China, Pakistan and other nations that have managed to land themselves on that proverbial shit list of the neo-colonialist World Order, manufactured by the West.

The General Manager of what the West likes to define as the “Free World”, is increasingly behaving like a hooligan and racist, insulting African countries which have survived both genocide and the slave trade, and which have been, for centuries, colonized, plundered and enslaved first by various European ‘enlightened’ states, and later by the coordinated efforts of the Western governments and multi-national corporations.

He is also offending and intimidating millions of Latin Americans; people of the Western Hemisphere who have been, for ages, falling under the infamous ‘Monroe Doctrine’ of U.S. foreign policy. The summary of that Doctrine has been basically this: do as we say and what is in the interests of the West, or we’ll overthrow your governments, murder your leaders or even directly invade your shores. Now ‘illegal immigrants’ from these countries are most likely going to have to leave the United States. Because they are poor (logically they are, after centuries of oppression and terror from the North), because they are not white, and because they are ‘uneducated’, or in summary, because they are not ‘Norwegians’ (the Manager would prefer Norwegian migrants).

Insulting people and nations is one thing, but bringing the world near a nuclear war is something quite different.

Increasingly it appears that the possibility of a new and horrid conflict (or conflicts) is nothing hypothetical. It is an absolutely realistic scenario, a great possibility, considering both the state of mind of the Manager, and even, progressively, the state of mind of the Western public, who seem to be totally out of touch with their position in the world and even with their own history.

In the meantime, a gruesome war dog is jumping all over, pointing in different directions, ready to bite, to devour, to bring to an end life itself on our Planet.

Who will be its first victim?

Is anyone ready to yield to a brutal force, to surrender out of fear, to accept the morbid, repulsive fate of conquered and broken nations like Afghanistan, Libya or Iraq?

Would any government be so insane as to allow the West to ‘liberate’ its people?

I don’t think so; not anymore. All the examples are just too horrid. It is better to fight a war, to fight for one’s freedom, than to become a colony, a broken, humiliated and usurped land. I saw what they have done to Afghanistan, to Iraq, to the Democratic Republic of Congo. I saw and I wanted to puke from what I witnessed, but instead wrote an 800-page accusation, from all over the world, called Exposing Lies Of The Empire.

The West has already run out of credit. There is no trust in it left. The entire world knows perfectly well what it is like to be colonized and controlled by both Europe and the United States.

The dog of war is searching for some weak point, where its fangs can begin tearing flesh apart. But suddenly, it seems that there is none. All points are hardened, tough.

Russia and China are standing firm and tall, their diplomats literally humiliating their counterparts from Western Empire by composed, powerfully sophisticated and refined behavior. But the militaries of both peaceful but mighty nations have recently been on constant alert: ready to defend their own people, and humanity.

Iran and North Korea are not yielding either. Syria is beginning to rebuild, despite the fact that the subversion, armed and supported from abroad, has not yet been fully defeated. Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia are still there, standing upright, definitely not on their knees.

Suddenly, no one is ready to surrender. This is the first time in history that the Empire has faced such scorn from the rest of the world.

The more solid is determination of various countries not to allow themselves to get colonized, the more insane is the St. Vitus Dance of the West becomes.

The unwillingness to lose great privileges as well as the ‘ruling position’ of the world (including the ‘right’ to tell the rest of the world what is ‘correct’ and what is not) is also clearly embedded in the positions of various European and North American pseudo-left-wing publications, movements and parties: they were always ready to shed tears over the fate of the poor and oppressed people anywhere in the world, or ‘fight against war/for peace’, but they have been greatly allergic to those non-white nations that have been bravely proclaiming their right to march on their own path, or practically: to choose their own political and economic systems, as well as their way of life.

Imperialism, chauvinism and the cultural superiority complexes of the West have many different forms and shades. Almost no individual there is immune to these ills, if one doesn’t count those very few pure men and women who could be defined as internationalists. There are some of them even in the U.S., in the U.K. or France, but not many; not many at all.

In the past, those countries that were on the hit list of the Empire could only count on themselves. Lately, this has changed dramatically: now they can also count on each other.

And that is why the Empire is going to lose! There is already a global coalition against its terror. It is still forming and defining itself, but it is already strong.

The Empire knows that it will lose; it knows it intuitively, but it is still in denial.

It may still ruin dozens of millions of human lives, before it is over. Most likely, it will. But the era of darkness, of those monstrous centuries of colonialism, will soon be ended.

*****

The citizens of the West should finally think about their own history. They should do some serious learning, educating themselves. Most of them are fully ignorant, including those holding various degrees. What have their countries done to Russia, to China, to Iran, to Korea, in fact to the entire Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and to what is now called Latin America?

The atrocious history of the West is flowing into present, and if the course is not dramatically changed, it will keep flowing into the future.

Accumulatively, we are talking about hundreds of millions of human lives destroyed by the West throughout its colonialist and imperialist reign. Some statisticians are already talking about 1 billion.

This cannot be taken back, but the trend can be stopped.

The West has absolutely zero moral mandate to tell any country of the world how to behave. The world, despite the systematic brainwashing, is beginning to realize it.

If the West continues to bully its former and present victims, things will only backfire.

Europe, North America and their allies (partners in crime) should simply sit on their backsides, weep and throw ashes on their heads, in shame and grieve over the horrors they put our planet through, for several centuries.

Instead the West is running around, barking, showing fangs, shitting itself out of fear that it may lose its control over the world and could finally be forced to play by the international rules.

It doesn’t even occur to it that it should, instead, get quickly admitted to a mental institution for particularly violent and sadistic patients.

Its Manager is not an anomaly. He was put there, ‘where he is’, by the people. Many of his dreams and desires are identical to those of the masses.

In the West, he is not the first Manager of this sort, and he is not the worst. He is part of that long tradition of tyrants. And this tradition has to stop, very soon, in order for our Planet to survive.

These are brutal, dangerous and testing times. The ill, aggressive monster should not be allowed to totally destroy the world. Those who are already standing, should never surrender. Others should join. The survival of our civilization is at stake!

• First published in New Eastern Outlook

India and US Bonhomie: Time for a Reality Check

The ongoing India-US rapprochement has been couched in terms of a pact between the “two largest democracies in the world” and similar superlatives. While geographically-challenged Americans may be forgiven for not recognizing their immediate northern neighbour as both a larger nation and a better democracy, mnemonically-challenged Indian pundits should nonetheless subject India-US ties to trend-based reality checks.

Three recent notable sticking points below should deflate India’s pro-American media.

  • Why does the US continue to withhold David Headley aka Daood Syed Gilani – a key planner behind the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks—from the Indian justice system? Headley, long fingered as a CIA-ISI asset, is supposedly serving time in a US prison for terrorist crimes perpetrated on Indian soil and against Indian citizens. If one agrees with this bizarre judicial arrangement, then one shouldn’t be offended by US President Donald J. Trump’s faecal rants against Third World nations. India might as well count itself in as a founding member of this lavatorial bloc as Trump’s sentiments have long been trailblazed by the US justice system.
  • Touching on the US justice system, why hasn’t the State Department offered a formal apology to India over the barbaric treatment of diplomat Devyani Khobragade, who was stripped-searched and cavity-checked for an alleged minimum wage offence in 2013? The incident has no parallel in the history of modern international relations. Not even Nazi Germany had subjected a diplomat of an enemy power to such abject degradation.

Indian geopolitical savants should honestly ask themselves whether the US would dare subject a low-ranking female Iranian or North Korean diplomat to such indignities despite Washington’s daily sabre-rattling against both nations. Will either Trump or the State Department proffer an overdue apology or is that unwarranted for a s***hole country?

  • As for the State Department itself, one should ask whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been officially removed from a US visa sanctions list under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. Even as late as August 2013, the bipartisan United States Commission on International Religious Freedom had opposed granting a visa to Modi due to “very serious” doubts lingering over his alleged role in the “horrific” 2002 Gujarat riots. What changed since then? Did a new US Justice Department review discover exculpatory evidence to exonerate Modi? Otherwise, Modi is still technically on course for a possible indictment at a future date when he no longer enjoys automatic diplomatic immunity as head of government.

Modi remains the only person sanctioned under the Act. Not even Al Qaeda financier sheikhs in the Gulf Arab world carry this stigma. No Pakistani politician has ever been sanctioned under the same Act for the routine rapes, murders and property confiscations of minority Christians and Hindus in his nation.

Yet, instead of questioning US motives; sense of moral proportion; and restitution for past misdeeds, a bovine Indian media is coaxed to play up the China hysteria. It is after all a publicly-stated US policy to use India – and inevitably the blood of Indian soldiers – as a buffer against China. And not just against China. US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis even had the temerity to demand an Indian military presence in Afghanistan during a recent visit to Delhi.

Why can’t the US ask Saudi Arabia, with its vast petrodollar wealth and millions in unemployed youths, to undertake the same task? After all, Washington remains an abiding military patron of Riyadh. Besides, what kind of “war on terror” is the US fighting when its soldiers are routinely photographed protecting opium fields in Afghanistan? This grotesque arrangement with Afghan opium growers has directly resulted in a runaway heroin crisis in Punjab – a state that ironically produces a disproportionate number of soldiers for the Indian army.

As for China, aside from an unresolved border issue and Beijing’s opprobrious support of Pakistan over Hafiz Saeed, no Indian diplomat has ever been arrested and cavity-checked in Beijing.  Indian and Chinese soldiers have not exchanged bullets in Doklam or anywhere else along the Himalayas since the late 1960s. In fact, one potential Himalayan spoiler to the 1975 incorporation of Sikkim was Hope Cooke – the American consort to the 12th Chogyal King, Palden Thondup Namgyal. (David Headley is also incidentally half-American).

American spoliation is not just limited to geopolitics. Just about every notable Indian breakthrough in high technology came in the face of prior US opposition. While NASA may congratulate India on its rocketry and space milestones, it forgets how the US had forced the Soviet Union – or the “evil empire as then President Ronald Reagan called it – to cancel cryogenic technology transfers to Delhi.  When India recently celebrated the unveiling of the Pratyush supercomputer, few retraced its developmental trajectory to PARAM machines that were built in the face of US denials of technology.

Despite its consistent record in stifling Indian innovation, Washington continues to dangle the carrots of military technology transfers along an eternally-stretched dirt road. India buys US weapons systems such as M777 howitzers and GE F404 engines in hard cash. Hardly any major technology transfer has been effectuated despite Washington’s perennial rhetoric.

While some Indian apologists attribute past frictions between Washington and New Delhi to realpolitik and the Cold War zeitgeist, there remains one overriding strategic reason for India to reject any military alliance with the US: None of Washington’s allies can militarily stand on their own in any major conflict despite possessing the technologies and potential manpower to do so. Take a look at Britain, France, Germany, Canada, South Korea, Japan and Australia, amongst numerous other nations, to see how military dependence on the US translates to foreign policy servitude.

Take a closer look at Israel. While US politicians love to bellow their “love for Israel” from the rooftops of Capitol Hill, nationalist Israelis will remember how the Reagan regime had deliberately scuttled the native Lavi fighter jet program and thereby killed a viable competitor to the F-16s and F-18s. The annual military aid to Israel, couched in vacuous civilizational and religious terms, is in reality a quid pro quo to purchase or improvise US weapons systems. India can never be a military-cum-economic superpower if it is ever subsumed into the US security hydra.

On the civilian and commercial fronts, US industrial contributions to India have been patchy, mundane or outright lethal. The 1984 Bhopal tragedy and the ongoing suicides of Indian farmers after the introduction of Monsanto GMO seeds are cases in point.

Of course, US multinationals are undeniably setting up software and R&D centres in India, creating hi-tech jobs in return for low-cost skills. Yet, there is a flip side to this development as Indian ingenuity may be prematurely swallowed up by cash-rich MNCs. Decades-old Indian software prowess has yet to produce native challenges to operating systems from Microsoft and Apple (US); Internet browsers like Yandex (Russia); and mobile apps like Waze (Israel), WeChat (China) or Telegram (Russia).

Finally, one only needs to study how Pakistan’s military alliance with the US had panned out. The global jihadi menace – nurtured by Washington as an ostensible bulwark against Soviet communism in Afghanistan – was predictably re-channelled by Pakistan into unremitting terror in Kashmir.

For now, the US is seen to be acting tough on Pakistan, much to the delight of the visceral Indian “intelligentsia”. However, Indians should remember that no other major power had applied more sanctions on New Delhi, post-WWII, than the United States of America!

So much for the ebullience over the “two largest democracies in the world”….

Palestine,Israel, the US: How the South Pacific Countries are Selling their Votes

Here it goes again! Several countries of Oceania (also known as South Pacific Nations), or however you want to call that vast, beautiful but thoroughly devastated part of the world, have voted “for Israel”, “for the United States’ proposed resolution at the United Nations”, and therefore, “against Palestine”.

As reported on December 22, 2017 by Al Jazeera:

The United Nations General Assembly has voted by a huge majority to declare a unilateral US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “null and void”.

At an emergency session of the General Assembly on Thursday, 128 countries voted in favour of a resolution rejecting US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision on December 6.

Nine countries voted against, while 35 abstained.

Trump had earlier threatened to cut aid to UN members who would vote against his decision.

Did scarcely inhabited island-nations that are lost in the middle of a tremendous body of water, go crazy?

Before Crossing in Kiribati

After all those horrific nuclear experiments committed there, against their people, by the United States, France and the UK; could local people sincerely believe that the truth as seen from Washington is the only legitimate truth on Earth?

After the naked modern-day colonialism, which is being implemented by Australia, New Zealand, and France, and, of course, by the United States, have the people of Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia become blind?

After total dependency, after decades of humiliation and virtual slavery, do the inhabitants of Oceania believe that their fellow victims in Palestine do not have the right to live in their own state, without barbed wire; that they shouldn’t have their own historical capital?

The answer to all these question is, actually: “No”.

They do what they are doing simply and only because they have no choice.

*****

When working on my book, Oceania, travelling all over the South Pacific, I visited a Jesuit priest and the region’s prominent intellectual, Francis X. Hezel. Our encounter took place in the capital of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) – Pohnpei.

Father Hezel has been amassing important materials and documents in his private archive, proving beyond any doubts that the US occupation of Micronesia after WWII led to a dramatic decrease of life expectancy and the standard of living of the islanders. He explained:

Life here became shorter, and much worse than under the Japanese imperial rule. And this was not some ‘Communist propaganda’. It is written right here, in the report produced during that period by the US Department of State.

But back to ‘voting’, or what is often called “vote selling”. Father Hezel offered a very explicit story to illustrate the reality:

One day I had an entire television crew from Israel parked at my office. I had no idea what they were doing here. Why would they travel so far, to such a small and insignificant country? Finally I understood: the Israeli public was fascinated with this place; they wanted to know who are those people who keep voting in the U.N. against most of Security Council resolutions, in this way supporting Israel and the United States against the entire world…

In my book Oceania, I later wrote:

Pacific Island votes at the UN are openly for sale, especially when peace in the Middle East is at stake. To illustrate the absurdity of the game: at a time when several countries in the region are becoming uninhabitable as a result of global warming, both Nauru and Kiribati, itself one of the sinking nations and therefore a victim, voted against the Kyoto Protocol.

But it is not only profit that propels tiny nations in Oceania to sell their votes; it is also the fear of retribution.

“In the late 90’s our government voted at the UN against the US on the issue of landmines, recalled the then Foreign Minister of Marshall Islands (RMI), Tony deBrum. “As a result, our party lost the elections.”

In December 2017, out of the nine countries that voted against the UN resolution, one was the United States itself, while the other eight were: Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshall Islands, FSM, Nauru, Palau, and Togo. Two were de facto US semi-colonies in Latin America, ruled by brutal pro-Washington cliques, one a tiny and dependent African nation, while four were the Micronesian and Polynesian nations and, of course, Israel.

*****

The Pacific Island nations are selling their votes, for profit or out of fear.

US Star Wars base on Kwajalein, Marshall Islands

The West is also using them in an attempt to isolate China.

Presently, six countries of Oceania have fully established diplomatic relations with Taiwan, after being, as was described to me by the former Foreign Minister of RMI, Tony deBrum, “encouraged” by the West.

Stumps of palm trees – Kiribati

These countries are: Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu.

At least three of them – Tuvalu, Marshall Islands and Kiribati – are at the frontline of the climate change disaster: they are becoming uninhabitable due to the global warming and consequent rising of sea level.

China is the only country that has been willing to, altruistically, help the countries of Oceania: by building anti-tsunami walls, by planting mangroves, by elevating schools, hospitals and government buildings, or by building sports facilities in places where around 90% of adults is suffering from diabetes, often due to dumping there some of the most unhealthy food from the US, Australia and elsewhere.

The more successful China got in helping South Pacific nations, the more ‘encouragement’ Taiwan received from the West; an ‘encouragement’ to come, to corrupt local ‘elites’, and to push China away. Any country that recognizes Taiwan as an independent nation gets diplomatic relations with China (PRC) broken immediately. Everyone knows it. And there is not one Western country that would take such an insane step.

After China leaves, the countries of Oceania can only rely on the pathetic, cynical and hypocritical “foreign aid” offered by the West, while their corrupt leaders negotiate with New Zealand and Australia the final ‘evacuation project’. Entire countries like Tuvalu may soon be forced to move abroad.

*****

The selling of votes by South Pacific Island nations appears to be shameful, but, in fact, it is nothing else than an act of total desperation.

The Empire has reached great mastery in implementing the “divide and rule” strategy.

The victims, often defenseless and robbed of everything, are forced to vote against those who are suffering similar fate at the opposite side of the world.

Palestinians are involuntarily living in a cage.

People of Oceania, who used to be the greatest seamen, are surrounded by the vastest expanse of water on Earth, but in the same time they are confined to tiny specks of land, often scarred by Western military bases. Trash and decay are everywhere. Hopelessness rules.

Palestinian kids in Gaza

Oceania knows almost nothing about ‘modern Palestine’. Palestinians know almost nothing about Oceania.

Empire looks dumb but it is not. It is ‘only’ evil. It knows everything about both parts of the world. And it is torturing them relentlessly and with perverse sadistic delight.

• All photos by Andre Vltchek

• Originally published in New Eastern Outlook

“Pakistan Is a Fractured Client State of the US Empire, Afghanistan a US Colony”

Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and US President Donald Trump

New Delhi/San Francisco – Editor’s Note: US Domestic and Foreign Policy Analyst Mark Mason speaks to The Citizen on the current Trump administration and its world view, with specific focus on West (Iran) and South (India,Pakistan) Asia. Mark Mason offers analyses of United States domestic and foreign policies for the international news media. He was trained as a biological anthropologist educated at the University of California, Berkeley, and recently engaged in the Occupy and bioregional green and peace social movements. His recent publications include Demystifying US and Israeli Power. This interview is the first of an irregular series of conversations between The Citizen and scholars in different parts of the world.

Seema Mustafa: In India we often find ourselves discussing whether Trump’s foreign policy is any different from Obama’s. What do you think? Are there any nuances we should be aware of?

Mark Mason: We know the outcome of the Obama administration. At the outset, Trump’s administration is far more dangerous than was Obama’s with respect to international relations. Trump has increased the use of deadly drones in Yemen and Somalia, but recent arms sales to Saudi Arabia were approved under the Obama administration. The potential for accidental nuclear war, and the potential for conventional military conflicts increased under Trump.

His brash bullying tactics are publicly confrontational, yet we should compare Trump with the polite but deadly Bill Clinton and George Bush whose terms in office, combined, culminated in 1.5 million Iraqi deaths. In one year, Trump has managed to weaken NATO and has turned most of the western European elites against his administration. European members of NATO are not catering to the US imperial commands as swiftly.

The recent vote in the UN on the question of the status of Jerusalem was another manifestation of the failure of brute bullying foreign policy. Europeans and others who pay tribute to the American Empire do not like having their noses ground into the dirt by Emperor Trump. They like the US government to pretend that there is no empire. They want to be told that they are all one happy, smiling, chummy love fest of friends of the US.

What transpires next year will tell us what we need to know. If Trump continues insulting everyone in sight such demeanor will weaken US political influence — a very good thing — or alternatively, his governance may convert the potential for a major war into a reality. If he continues insulting enough Europeans, we may witness further weakening of the Euro-American colonial NATO alliance, a development that would decrease global tensions.

We should be less frightened of President Trump, while more concerned about how willing US power elites are to dare pushing blatant demands for obedience to US economic interests. US elites want more payment in tribute. The lack of cohesion manifested in Trump’s foreign policy is a manifestation of divisions within the US corporate elite.

One segment of the economic elites recognizes that pushing for immediate subservience to US power weakens long-term US economic interests, whereas another sector, that includes banking and oil, seem prepared to risk world war and world ecosystem collapse in the interest of increasing short-term corporate profits. The US government that includes the President, Congress, and the courts, are under US plutocratic control.

The USA is not a democracy. The President has little power. Trump is learning the limits to Presidential power.

SM: Iran, of course, is a departure point, Obama sought peace, Trump is back to war. How serious are the threats in real terms?

MM: Obama sought business deals with Iran, not peace. Peace is not something any ambitious capitalist empire seeks. Peace is the end of war profiteering. Let us examine the geopolitics of Iran in the context of the geo-economics of Iran. What applies to Iran, applies globally as the template for US foreign policy. As long as we accept that military arms are manufactured by capitalist corporations for the purpose of selling arms to generate corporate profits that go into the private pockets of a tiny power elite, then peace will be an illusive goal. Few elites profit from peace, and thus we have no peace. War profiteering is a lucrative business model that conflicts with significant sectors of the civilian economy.

What power elites want, they get through their control of every kind of modern state. Complexities arise when giant, powerful US corporations such as Boeing manufacture goods for war and for civilian markets. The context for international conflicts is driven, not directly between the US and Iran, but internal to Boeing Aircraft and other giant corporations. Taking Boeing as an example, both the war and the civilian aircraft divisions of Boeing are in conflict with respect to US policies toward Iran. The geo-economics of Iran is grounded on the foreign policy question: should Boeing make profits by selling military aircraft such as the new MQ-25 drone to the US government for the purpose of bombing Iran, or should Boeing focus attention on selling Iran profitable Boeing 737 Max civilian aircraft? Boeing can’t do both. US oil companies want to strike civilian business deals with Iran, and Russia, also, but are confronted with the power of the military-industrial corporate sector that profits elites from international conflicts. US elites are driving an economy with one foot on the gas pedal of war while the other foot is pressing the brake pedal of war. The economy serves the narrow interests of elites in India, as well as the USA.

US foreign policy has lacked cohesion since the collapse of the Soviet Union. An empire such as the US needs to sell empire to the American public by claiming that some country is an existential threat. The US has no credible enemy — none. Iran, North Korea, Russia again, Venezuela, and China off and on, are presented to the American people as justification for a trillion-dollar military budget. The lack of cohesion in US foreign policy is a manifestation of the collapsing capitalist economy within the US, as power elites become divided due to different sectors of the US elite seek conflicting economic goals. We are witnessing an economic system in collapse, and as a result US foreign policy lacks cohesion.

How serious are the war threats from Trump? What Trump says should always be taken seriously, while also observing how fast the US imperial controls are also being damaged by “imperial over-reach.” We are witnessing the last, desperate gasp of the American Empire. Emperor Trump will either bring down the empire as we witness collapse, or he may trigger world war. The consequences of the Trump presidency may be characterized as most likely the last American presidential administration. Whatever comes of his administration it will likely be the end of the American experiment in capitalist parliamentary government. The charade, the fake democracy, is coming to an end— with a whimper or a bang.

American presidents are particular people with particular personalities and particular personal interests in state power, but observing them over the decades, in direct observation, the evidence indicates that the range of domestic and foreign policies is narrowed to a variety of capitalist schemes that harm both the domestic population and people in distant lands subjected to US imperial abuses of power. Which village gets hit by drone missile attacks ordered by the president is a fearful, existential crises for individuals, but the American system of capitalist domination and exploitation remains little changed over the past two centuries. The American presidency is both boring in its predictable quest for corporate-capitalist hegemony, while it is of the most intense concern for powerless individual victims. If you didn’t like the British Empire, you won’t like the American Empire, either. The only consolation I can offer is that the US Empire will experience the same fate as the British Empire, and be it not so distant in the future.

SM: In the Syrian quagmire, Washington seemed to have found a good friend in Erdogan, but no longer it seems. Is this a setback for its West Asian policy?

MM: Empires have no friends.. Empires have client states that pay tribute to the imperial center, and empires have enemies yet to conquer: no friends. Erdogan understands this truth. US West Asian policy is to smash up stuff and to create cultural chaos. Chaos is good for profits, and it maintains divisions among people who have much in common and thus who would otherwise unify against US imperial domination of the region. Chaos is good because chaos results in more arms sales to the region, and it is used as a bludgeon to keep the local tyrants in line. The US invasion of Libya under Obama served some European and US oil interests, but the primary purpose from the prospective of US foreign policy was to send a message to other African and Middle Eastern states as a demonstration of what happens when the local dictator doesn’t follow orders from Washington.

Erdogan intends to rebuild the Ottoman Empire under his authority. He has his own personal power ambitions. Such people, driven by personal power, are easily manipulated.

SM: India seems to be enjoying a good relationship with the US. As we did with President Bush as well. China and the market, or more than that?

MM: All appearances of good relations are just that: temporary appearances. Indeed, a primary goal of the US government in appearing to cultivate friendship with India is to create a division between India from China. South Asian regional unity must be avoided by the US. Also, Trump and Modi have much in common. They both are servants of corporate power. Prime Minister Modi has been invited to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos next month for the very reason that he has demonstrated allegiance to the US and European colonial banking system.

SM: Is Pakistan a friend, or not a friend? For Afghanistan?

MM: Pakistan is a fractured client state of the US Empire. The government follow orders, more or less. Pakistan allows the US to fly deadly drone missions inside Pakistan, although offering occasional tepid protest. Pakistan allowed the CIA to build and operate bases in Pakistan for the purpose of training the Mujahideen which were given passage into Afghanistan for the purpose of destabilizing the pro-Russian government during the late 1970’s and 1980’s. Trump has been verbally bashing Pakistan recently which will erode political relations with the Pakistani government. Let us keep in mind that the US gives Pakistan billions of dollars each year in military aid. Pakistan cannot complain too much about being a servant of US power.

As for Afghanistan, it is now a US colony. The US will not leave, not before the collapse. US mining corporations are poised to plunder the wealth of the nation. US colonial military presence will also serve to drive a political wedge between Pakistan, India, Russia, Afghanistan, and Iran. More chaos. All this is imperial folly. Much human suffering will ensue from US foreign policy, and then the empire will collapse.

One must put these important immediate deadly-serious conflicts into perspective. All this manufactured human suffering that is due to imperialist domination of the region by the American capitalist plutocracy will soon end. Empires come and go, and this one is on the way down. Global warming, global ecosystem collapse, and the globally inherent instability of parliamentary governments that were long ago captured by capitalist concentrations of wealth portend global collapse.

• Interview first published in The Citizen

The Responsibility to Protect the World from the United States

One of the most ingenious propaganda weapons ever developed is that the powerful nations of the West—led by the United States—have a moral responsibility to use military force to protect the rights of people being repressed by their governments. This “responsibility to protect” (R2P) always had a dubious legal standing, but its moral justification also required a psychological and historical disengagement from the bloody reality of the 500-hundred-year history of U.S. and European colonialism, slavery, genocide and torture that created the “West.”

This violent, lawless Pan-European colonial/capitalist project continues today under the hegemony of the U.S. empire. This then begs the questions of who really needs the protection and who protects the peoples of the world from the United States and its allies? The only logical, principled and strategic response to this question is citizens of the empire must reject their imperial privileges and join in opposing ruling elites exploiting labor and plundering the Earth. To do that, however, requires breaking with the intoxicating allure of cross-class, bi-partisan “white identity politics.”

Neocons like William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Pearl were the driving forces in pushing for the war in Iraq. They understood if they wanted to sell war, “Americans” needed to believe the conflict was about values, not interests. The neocons dusted off and put a new face on that old rationalization for colonialism—the white man’s burden. Interventions were to bring democracy and freedom to those people who were struggling to be just like their more advanced models in the white West. Liberal interventionists further developed those ideas into “humanitarian interventionism” and the “responsibility to protect.”

The fact that the United States and Europe can wrap themselves in the flag of morality, practice savior politics and get away with it is a testament to the enduring psychopathology of white supremacist ideology.

The most extreme expressions of this cognitive dissonance occurred during the Obama administration, when the notion of U.S. exceptionalism was used to justify continuing the barbarism of the Bush administration’s so-called War on Terror. With this justification and the outrageous assertion that it was defending democracy, the U.S./EU/NATO axis of domination committed crimes against humanity and war crimes that resulted in the deaths of millions, while millions more were displaced and ancient cities, nations and peoples were destroyed.

The result? International Gallup and Pew research polls have consistently shown the peoples of the world consider the United States the greatest threat to world peace on the planet.

National Security Strategy Under Trump: More of the Same

When the Trump administration released its National Security Strategy, Liberal pundits suggested it was significantly different than any previous U.S. strategy.. But beyond some specific references to putting “America” and its citizens first in relationship to the economy, and the reactionary stances of tightening border security and enforcing strict immigration policies, Trump’s strategy did not stray much from the post-Cold War strategy of the preceding years.

The difference that did exist was more in style than substance. The Trump administration completely dispensed with all pretexts used by previous administrations. Even domestic law, like the War Powers Act that was ignored by the Obama administration, continues to be of no concern for the new Trump administration. Now it is Trump’s “America first” with no concern for international law or accepted standards of behavior.

Unchecked by the countervailing power of the Soviet Union, the bi-partisan National Security Strategy produced in the 1990s that committed the U.S. state to pursue policies that would ensure continued U.S. economic, political and military hegemony through the 21st century—the “new American century”—is still the overall strategic objective of this administration.

Even explicitly naming China and Russia as “competition” that threatens to harm the country’s security was not that much of a departure since the centerpiece of U.S policy has been checking any state that challenged U.S. power in any region. The Trump administration named threats to U.S. interests—North Korea in Asia, Russia in Eurasia, Iran in West Asia, with jihadist groups included in case the United States needed a War on Terror (WOT) justification for U.S. interventions anywhere in the world.

While Neocons and liberal interventionists in previous administrations sugarcoated U.S. geo-strategic objectives to mask hegemony, the Trump rhetoric is crude, direct and unambiguously aggressive. Protecting U.S. interests in the 21st century means relying on military aggression, war and subversion.

Building the U.S. anti-war movement as the responsibility to protect from Empire

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated the obvious: the United States was the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. He also said the public allowing this violence would lead to a kind of national spiritual death that would continue to make the U.S. state a danger to the world.

That spiritual death has not quite happened completely. Yet accepting the “inevitability” of violence and the necessity for waging war is now more deeply ingrained in the collective consciousness of individuals in the United States than it was 50 years ago when King warned of the deep malady of U.S. society. For most of the 21st century, the United States has been at war. Culturally, mass shootings, the wars on drugs and terror, violence and war as entertainment, livestreamed videos of horrendous police-executed murders as well as of a head of state being sodomized with a knife have resulted in what Henry Giroux refers to as a “culture of cruelty”.

But the very fact that the authorities need to lie to the people with fairy tales of the responsibility to protect in order to give moral coverage for the waging of war is an acknowledgement that they understand that there is enough humanity left with the public that it would reject U.S. warmongering if it was only seen as advancing narrow national interests.

It is this remaining moral core—and the objective interests of the clear majority of the people to be in opposition to war—that provides the foundation for reviving the modern anti-war movement.

Baltimore was the site of the rebellion in response to Freddie Gray’s murder by the domestic military we refer to as “the police.” There, a couple of hundred activists will convene January 12 to kick off a new campaign to close all U.S. foreign bases. This gathering is the result of a new coalition of forces—both old and new—to revive the U.S. anti-war movement. This conference comes on the heels of another meeting that took place just a few months ago in Washington, D.C., where some of the same forces came together to kick-off a campaign to “divest from the war machine.”

Strategically these efforts are designed to be the first steps toward building the confidence, institutional strength and programmatic focus of a new, reinvigorated, broad-based, anti-war, pro-peace and anti-imperialist movement in the United States. We are opposing the warmongering both corporate political parties have normalized.

The difficulties and challenges of this endeavor are not lost on the various organizations, networks and coalitions that are part of these efforts. We all recognize that there are no shortcuts to the delicate reconstructing of our existing forces and the challenge of expanding those forces by bringing in new formations. The ideological and political differences that have surfaced among left and progressive forces around issues of war and imperialism make it more challenging.

But the imperative of expressing solidarity with the victims of U.S. warmongering must take precedence over our differences and should serve as a basis for building political unity.

Solidarity, however, is not enough for those of us in the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP). We recognize its importance as a baseline principle for (re)-building a broad anti-war movement. Our common interests with other oppressed peoples, nations and states that find themselves in the cross-hairs of U.S. imperialism demands we offer more than solidarity—we must stand as allies.

Those of us building the Black Alliance for Peace understand we cannot afford the comforting myths of U.S. benevolence that attempts to conceal the naked deployment of U.S. state power in service of Western capitalist/colonialist interests. And so, we view with suspicion, if not treat with disdain, our comrades who support U.S. interventions, even when they frame that support with “leftist” justifications. For oppressed nations and peoples of the world, the U.S. white supremacist, colonial/capitalist patriarchy is and remains the principle contradiction. There must not be any nationalist sentimentality or equivocation on that position.

We saw how the anti-war opposition that emerged during the Bush years in opposition to lawless state-sanctioned violence, dissolved during the Obama administration. Liberals and major elements of the “left” objectively aligned themselves with the U.S./EU/NATO axis of domination through their silence or outright support in the name of opposing authoritarian regimes.

The consequence of that class collaboration is the spectrum of war has today become a permanent feature of policy discourse. The obscene $80 billion increase in military spending that was supported by both parties and the corporate media reflects that collaboration and the corrosive impact of almost two decades of militarism on the politics and consciousness of the public.

So, for BAP, the historic task is clear.

The people must be separated from the capitalist oligarchy and the nature of the state must be exposed. Our politics must be clear and our rhetoric devoid of liberal ambiguities. We must expose the underlying capitalist-class interests that are masked by appeals to national interests and patriotism. The anti-war movement must advance a clear understanding of the economic and class interests that are at root of imperialist strategies and great power conflicts. We must assert without equivocation the position that we can’t get rid of the scourge of war without getting rid of racism and capitalism and that the people should reject all calls to protect the national interests promoted by the ruling elites.

We must say if the rulers want war, let them fight it themselves!

The anti-war and anti-imperialist position must be seen as the highest expression of internationalism and global solidarity. Activists in the United States must reject all efforts to pink-wash militarism and recognize their moral obligation—as citizens of empire—to oppose all U.S. military interventions. We must take the position that we will no longer allow chicken hawk politicians to send our sons and daughters off to other lands, where they become war criminals fighting other working-class and poor people who only want social justice, national sovereignty and self-determination for themselves.
The permanent war agenda of the capitalist dictatorship must be met with permanent opposition from the working class and all oppressed people. The people must understand the link between the racialized justifications for making war abroad with the intensification of the war being waged against Black and Brown communities in the United States

We say to progressives that you can’t pretend that you believe “Black Lives Matter” in the United States and not be opposed to the assault on the humanity of Palestinians, of Yemenis, of the millions lost in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, of the destruction of Libya and of coups in Honduras and destabilization in Venezuela.

Reject the racist 21st century version of the white man’s burden with its absurd notion of humanitarian war and the responsibility to protect and understand that the real threat to world peace is the empire that we are all a part of.

Our task is clear: the anti-war position is not an add-on. It is a fundamental moral and political obligation for the citizens of empire. The world can no longer wait.

Shadow Armies: The Unseen, But Real US War in Africa

There is a real – but largely concealed – war which is taking place throughout the African continent. It involves the United States, an invigorated Russia and a rising China. The outcome of the war is likely to define the future of the continent and its global outlook.

It is easy to pin the blame on US President Donald Trump, his erratic agenda and impulsive statements. But the truth is, the current US military expansion in Africa is just another step in the wrong direction. It is part of a strategy that had been implemented a decade ago, during the administration of President George W. Bush, and actively pursued by President Barack Obama.

In 2007, under the pretext of the ‘war on terror’, the US consolidated its various military operations in Africa to establish the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM). With a starting budget of half a billion dollars, AFRICOM was supposedly launched to engage with African countries in terms of diplomacy and aid. But, over the course of the last 10 years, AFRICOM has been transformed into a central command for military incursions and interventions.

However, that violent role has rapidly worsened during the first year of Trump’s term in office. Indeed, there is a hidden US war in Africa, and it is fought in the name of ‘counter-terrorism’.

According to a VICE News special investigation, US troops are now conducting 3,500 exercises and military engagements throughout Africa per year, an average of 10 per day. US mainstream media rarely discusses this ongoing war, thus giving the military ample space to destabilize any of the continent’s 54 countries as it pleases.

“Today’s figure of 3,500 marks an astounding 1,900 percent increase since the command was activated less than a decade ago, and suggests a major expansion of US military activities on the African continent,” VICE reported.

Following the death of four US Special Forces soldiers in Niger on October 4, US Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, made an ominous declaration to a Senate committee: these numbers are likely to increase as the US is expanding its military activities in Africa.

Mattis, like other defense officials in the previous two administrations, justifies the US military transgressions as part of ongoing ‘counter-terrorism’ efforts. But such coded reference has served as a pretense for the US to intervene in, and exploit, a massive region with a great economic potential.

The old colonial ‘Scramble for Africa’ is being reinvented by global powers that fully fathom the extent of the untapped economic largesse of the continent. While China, India and Russia are each developing a unique approach to wooing Africa, the US is invested mostly in the military option, which promises to inflict untold harm and destabilize many nations.

The 2012 coup in Mali, carried out by a US-trained army captain, Amadou Haya Sanogo, is only one example.

In a 2013 speech, then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cautioned against a “new colonialism in Africa (in which it is) easy to come in, take out natural resources, pay off leaders and leave.” While Clinton is, of course, correct, she was disingenuously referring to China, not her own country.

China’s increasing influence in Africa is obvious, and Beijing’s practices can be unfair. However, China’s policy towards Africa is far more civil and trade-focused than the military-centered US approach.

The growth in the China-Africa trade figures are, as per a UN News report in 2013, happening at a truly “breathtaking pace”, as they jumped from around $10.5 billion per year in 2000 to $166 billion in 2011. Since then, it has continued at the same impressive pace.

But that growth was coupled with many initiatives, entailing many billions of dollars in Chinese credit to African countries to develop badly needed infrastructure. More went to finance the ‘African Talents Program’, which is designed to train 30,000 African professionals in various sectors.

It should come as no surprise, then, that China surpassed the US as Africa’s largest trading partner in 2009.

The real colonialism, which Clinton referred to in her speech, is, however, under way in the US’s own perception and behavior towards Africa. This is not a hyperbole, but, in fact, a statement that echoes the words of US President Trump himself.

During a lunch with nine African leaders last September at the UN, Trump spoke with the kind of mindset that inspired western leaders’ colonial approach to Africa for centuries.

Soon after he invented the none-existent country of ‘Nambia’, Trump boasted of his “many friends (who are) going to your (African) countries trying to get rich.” “I congratulate you,” he said, “they are spending a lot of money.”

The following month, Trump added Chad, his country’s devoted ‘counter-terrorism’ partner to the list of countries whose citizens are banned from entering the US.

Keeping in mind that Africa has 22 Muslim majority countries, the US government is divesting from any long-term diplomatic vision in Africa, and is, instead increasingly thrusting further into the military path.

The US military push does not seem to be part of a comprehensive policy approach, either. It is as alarming as it is erratic, reflecting the US constant over-reliance on military solutions to all sorts of problems, including trade and political rivalries.

Compare this to Russia’s strategic approach to Africa. Reigniting old camaraderie with the continent, Russia is following China’s strategy of engagement (or in this case, re-engagement) through development and favorable trade terms.

But, unlike China, Russia has a wide-ranging agenda that includes arms exports, which are replacing US weaponry in various parts of the continent. For Moscow, Africa also has untapped and tremendous potential as a political partner that can bolster Russia’s standing at the UN.

Aware of the evident global competition, some African leaders are now laboring to find new allies outside the traditional western framework, which has controlled much of Africa since the end of traditional colonialism decades ago.

A stark example was the late November visit by Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir to Russia and his high-level meeting with President Vladimir Putin. “We have been dreaming about this visit for a long time,” al-Bashir told Putin, and “we are in need of protection from the aggressive acts of the United States.”

The coveted ‘protection’ includes Russia’s promised involvement in modernizing the Sudanese army.

Wary of Russia’s Africa outreach, the US is fighting back with a military stratagem and little diplomacy. The ongoing US mini war on the continent will push the continent further into the abyss of violence and corruption, which may suit Washington well, but will bring about untold misery to millions of people.

There is no question that Africa is no longer an exclusive western ‘turf’, to be exploited at will. But it will be many years before Africa and its 54 nations are truly free from the stubborn neocolonial mindset, which is grounded in racism, economic exploitation and military interventions.