Crisis of globalisation behind attack on Iraq
Whatever Saddam Hussein does or does not do about so-called "weapons of mass destruction", the United States and Britain clearly intend to invade and occupy Iraq, with or without the formal approval of the United Nations. That much is clear from the show that US Secretary of State Colin Powell put on for the UN Security Council.
The deployment of armies of US and British troops, together with flotillas of warships and large numbers of bombers in the region, go beyond sabre rattling. They are intended to implement the "regime change" that Bush and Blair are set upon achieving.
Use of the term "war with Iraq" by the media only serves to obscure the true nature of the coming attack. Iraq is not choosing, inviting or seeking a war. The naked aim is to impose a form of colonial rule in Iraq for several years to come. Its purpose is to forcibly integrate Iraq into a global economy and a political system designed in Washington and London. With it will come guaranteed and uninterrupted access to Iraqi oil and a country of 20 million workers and consumers.
Behind this imperial aggression against a sovereign state is both the inner, expansionary logic as well as the crisis of corporate-led capitalist globalisation. Globalisation as a profit-driven process demands access to markets and the freedom to invest capital in every country. In the last 25 years, this process has embraced south-east Asia, China and South America.
Transnational corporations have emerged that are more powerful than most national economies. Sovereign states are now subordinate to international economic and financial forces, while supra-national bodies like the World Trade Organisation set the agenda for individual countries to follow. The rosy picture of an ever-expanding global economy has come to a crashing halt, however. Financial collapse in Asia, the bursting of the dot.com bubble and market saturation signals an economic crisis.
This is particularly evident in the United States itself, where unemployment is soaring, the dollar is losing its value and major corporations like Enron and Worldcom are exposed as fraudulent operations. Millions of Americans have lost savings and pension plans through the sharp fall in the stock market. A similar story of economic shock is taking place in Britain, where a panic-stricken Bank of England has cut interest rates to their lowest level for 50 years.
In conditions of economic meltdown, the impetus for market expansion takes more violent forms than simple exploitation of cheap labour and the overwhelming of local cultures. War is the continuation of politics by other means. And today, politics is all about facilitating the work of the market and the forces of the global economy above all other considerations. That is what New Labour is all about.
Bush and Blair are the chief advocates of a new world order based on intensive globalisation. The US and British economies are among the most exposed to this process, far more than Germany and France, for example. There are a number of countries that, to put it bluntly, are simply unacceptable to the new masters of the universe. These include not just Iraq, but most of the rest of the Middle East (Israel apart) as well as North Korea.
They stand outside the vision of the global capitalist economy championed by Bush and Blair. The fact that they are sovereign, independent states counts for nothing in the eyes of the globalisers, who justify themselves in terms of the needs of a fictional "international community" that exists only as an image of themselves.
Of course, the real intentions are masked by any number of "reasons" for attacking Iraq that can be arranged and rearranged at will. These include: the famous weapons of mass destruction (all supplied by major global firms); the fact that Saddam Hussein is a dictator; Saddam is today's Hitler; the need to "free" the Iraqi people; the "link" between Iraq and international terrorism; the potential threat of Iraq to its neighbours; the claim that Iraq is in breach of UN resolutions etc., etc.
None of them stand up to genuine scrutiny and that is why majorities in most countries oppose a unilateral attack on Iraq. The hypocrisy and double-standards shine through all American/British claims, particularly when it comes to observance of UN resolutions. One only has to look at the behaviour of Israel - Washington's proxy state in the Middle East which has nuclear weapons - towards the Palestinians in territories occupied since 1967 in defiance of UN resolutions.
All this indicates how craven the UN has become in the face of the globalisation process. In fact, it takes money directly from the corporations in exchange for vague commitments to "sustainability". The recent Johannesburg summit which was supposed to take action on the environment was entirely financed by business. Needless to say, the summit was a damp squib.
The UN had as one of its guiding principles the view that states could not intervene in the domestic affairs of other states. States were indeed sovereign and equal. No longer is this the case. Sanctions imposed at the end of the last Gulf War have reduced Iraq's economy to ruins and resulted in the needless deaths of tens of thousands of children through lack of medical care.
Now Bush and Blair are bludgeoning the UN to provide a flimsy "legal" cover for their invasion of Iraq. This, they hope, will turn public opinion their way and allow cowardly Labour MPs to sit on their hands when military action starts (which they will do, whatever happens). But such "legality" is not based on justice or independence, or even international law, but the interests of the major powers and is therefore worthless.
If it agrees to back an invasion, the UN will have lost any last vestiges of credibility as an independent body; if the UN declines, the globalisers will sideline it on a permanent basis. Either way, the UN has no future as a viable body. As to the fate of Iraqi men, women and children, it will not matter to them if they die from a missile attack that has UN endorsement or not.
Bush and Blair have a uniform view of a "civilised world" based on the "values" of freedom and democracy. This provides the ideological drive for both the "war on terror" and the invasion of Iraq. Barely below the surface is the implication that Islam is incompatible with these cherished values. This racist assertion is simply another prejudice to alarm the middle classes with and justify a modern crusade.
This is the same "democracy" that has abandoned human rights in the name of the "war on terror". In the United States, at least 1,000 people are held in detention without trial, while prisoners are tortured in Guantanamo Bay's camp X-ray. This is carried out by a president who blatantly stole the 2000 election and represents only corporate interests. In Britain, a state of emergency officially exists to justify opting out of the European Human Rights Act while asylum seekers are targeted by racist New Labour.
We are entering a new period where force alone decides how the world is to be ordered. It is, in many respects, a return to the colonialist mentality of the past. The United States in particular will brook no interference with this militarist project. It flagrantly abandons treaties on the environment, chemical weapons, nuclear weapons and the plan for an international court.
The only thing growing in the US is the defence budget. It will rise a further 15% in the coming year, with special attention to developing new types of nuclear weapons. The US government is moving to a permanent war footing in order to impose its view of civilisation on the rest of the planet.
There is clearly an element of insanity in the whole business. The idea that two Western powers can impose a totally alien culture and economy on a whole region of the world through what is being called "domino democracy" is desperate in the extreme. It will undoubtedly destabilise the region and in turn provide many recruits for Al-Qaeda. People in the major cities of the US and Britain will become the targets for revenge attacks.
This means nothing to the Blair regime, however. It uses weapons of mass deception to try and fool the people. The Downing Street website, for example, has a long document purporting to be the latest intelligence assessment of Iraq. In reality, it is a cobbled together statement drawn from a graduate student's article on Iraq, itself based on 12-year-old research, together with another article plagiarised from a defence magazine. Also included are the original typographical and punctuation mistakes.
Millions throughout the world oppose the naked Anglo-American aggression because of the threat it poses to their future. To oppose the attack on Iraq is to reject the destructiveness of the capitalist system and the governments that promote corporate greed, exploitation and corruption. They are plunging the world into the most dangerous of moments and their removal is our objective. Protest that does not address how the capitalist system itself breeds war and is our enemy, is toothless.
"Regime change" is indeed the way forward, but with Bush and Blair on the receiving end. In place of the fraudulent representative "democracy" we should fight for mass, direct democracy at local and regional level. In place of corporate greed we must work for popular ownership and control. In Britain, that means working every day to get rid of the New Labour government and the building of an alternative.
for a Socialist Future
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