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News ::
Bush goes overseas to bolster empire (english)
15 Jun 2003
Bush goes overseas to bolster empire
By Fred Goldstein
Bush goes overseas to bolster empire
By Fred Goldstein

In the wake of the invasion and colonial occupation of Iraq, President George W. Bush has embarked on a diplomatic offensive in Europe and the Middle East to promote and give momentum to Washington's program for conquest and empire.

The Bush administration's political agenda dominated the final pronouncement of the G-8 summit meeting in Evian, hosted by French Prime Minister Jacque Chirac. The statement, issued by the seven most powerful imperialist countries plus Russia, as posted on the summit website, said, "We recognize that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery poses a growing danger" and "together with the spread of international terrorism, it is the pre-eminent threat to international security."

It is important to note that the original G-7 summit meetings were established for the purpose of dealing with the world capitalist economy. The summit is supposed to concentrate on stabilizing the global economy, promoting the economic growth of world imperialism and combating recession. As such, it has been a forum primarily focused on inter-imperialist economic rivalry.

But, at this summit, more than half the documents issued dealt with "weapons of mass destruction" and "international terrorism." Vital economic questions concerning the world capitalist downturn and economic stagnation, as well as the U.S. currency wars against the euro and the yen, were virtually ignored by Washington and barely reflected at all in the summit documents.

The pretext of WMDs

The "weapons of mass destruction" referred to are not those in the arsenals of U.S., British or French imperialism or those belonging to the oppressive Israeli occupiers of Palestine. Only two countries were singled out.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea was told to "visibly, verifiably and irreversibly dismantle any nuclear weapons program." The statement also declared that "We will not ignore the proliferation implications of Iran's advanced nuclear program" and demanded that Iran submit its program to international inspections.

The statement enumerates "a range of tools available to tackle this threat." After citing a list of treaties, agencies and diplomatic measures, it goes on to authorize the use of "other measures," if necessary, "in accordance with international law." This is a clear reference to military measures. And as far as "in accordance with international law," U.S. imperialism has all along declared that its illegal, colonial invasion of Iraq is "in accordance with international law." Thus the G-8 lent itself to a veiled threat of force.

Both Iran and the DPRK are the immediate targets of the Bush administration's aggressive designs. Both countries have every reason in the world to fear an attack by the Pentagon. Both have watched as imperialist weapons inspectors swarmed over Iraq as a prelude to invasion. Both have developed nuclear power for the purpose of providing energy. The DPRK has openly stated its right to have a weapons program in view of the aggressive designs of the U.S. The government of Iran has declared its nuclear program to be peaceful.

The so-called "war against terrorism," with its allied campaign against alleged "weapons of mass destruction," has, since the Sept. 11 attack, been the main theme under which the Bush administration has inaugurated its campaign of "endless war." It has been cited as reason to carry out the destruction of Afghanistan and expand U.S. bases into Kirghistan, Uzbekistan and Georgia. It has been the rationale for sending troops to the Philippines, Yemen and Colombia. It is given as the justification for an escalation of the struggle to overthrow the Cuban government. It was the cover to give all-out support to Ariel Sharon's war to exterminate the Palestinian national movement. And, of course, it was the false justification for the invasion of Iraq.

G-8 go along with Pentagon program for world conquest

All the G-8 leaders knew very well that in Bush's infamous "axis of evil" speech, the three countries singled out as Washington's primary targets were Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Iraq has been invaded. Now Iran and the DPRK are at the top of the list of those countries being threatened with so-called "regime change." And despite all the false anti-war posturing of the French and German imperialists and of the Putin regime in Russia, after bullying and bribery they have lent themselves to promoting the Pentagon's program for world conquest.

In fact, according to the New York Times of June 4, "senior White House officials said that the unusually strong language was made possible only thanks to the support from France, Germany and Russia."

The most hypocritical performance at the summit was given by Chirac. Bush and Tony Blair both left the conference a day early, in a direct snub to Chirac and the "old Europe." After they were gone, Chirac fulminated publicly about how he still considered the Iraq war "illegitimate and illegal." (New York Times, June 4) But this did not prevent him, while Bush was there, from promoting the "unifying" statement of the G-8 which says that "our shared objective is a fully sovereign, stable and democratic Iraq, at peace with its neighbors and firmly on the road to progress."

Thus, Chirac opposes the "illegitimate and illegal" invasion, but approves the equally illegal and illegitimate occupation and destruction of Iraqi national independence by a brutal military authority which is the result of that invasion.

Campaign against Iran

The U.S. government is using the bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and other recent terrorist bombings as a pretext to open up a campaign against Iran. Washington has demanded the apprehension of alleged al-Qaeda members in Iran and has taken a hard line on Iran's nuclear program. Except for the absence of charges about chemical and biological weapons, this sounds like a replay of the campaigns against Afghanistan and Iraq.

When asked at a news conference about arrests of alleged al-Qaeda members in Tehran, White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer replied, "The steps that the Iranians claim to have taken in terms of capturing al-Qaeda are insufficient." (New York Times, May 28) As to claims by Iran that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, Fleischer declared that "the United States rejects that argument as a cover story."

The Washington Post of May 29 reported that "U.S. officials are watching Tehran's responses closely as the Bush administration mulls shifting to a policy of destabilizing Iran. Senior officials were scheduled to discuss policy toward Iran on Tuesday, but the meeting was postponed until Thursday."

A belligerent Post editorial of the same day entitled "The Iranian Challenge" referred to "talk of taking preemptive actions against suspected Iranian nuclear sites, like the Israeli raid on Iraq's nuclear reactor 22 years ago." The Post continued: "If a key report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, expected in two weeks, finds that Iran has violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it may be possible to organize concerted multilateral action, in or outside of the UN Security Counci."

Threats against North Korea

At the same time the Pentagon is making menacing military gestures toward the North Korean government. "The deputy secretary of defense, Paul Wolfowitz, all but stated that American troops would be withdrawn from the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea, a move intended to take them out of easy range of North Korean artillery, and theoretically position the United States to mount a pre-emptive attack against the North." (New York Times, June 3)

A senior Pentagon official was quoted in the same dispatch: "While we can't completely compensate for the fact that North Korea has so much stuff right up forward on the DMZ, we could begin taking it down from the first hour of the war, and that would make a big difference."

"Officials said," continued the Times, "that in case of war, American and South Korean troops could be dispatched directly to the interior of the north in pursuit of the North Korean leadership, a strategy that was inspired, in part, by the American military experience in Iraq."

Whether or not all this talk is psychological warfare or not, it reveals the direction in which the Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz grouping is moving: trying to restore colonial domination of the oil-rich and strategically located country of Iran, in the same way it has done in Iraq, and escalating its threat of unprovoked aggression against the DPRK.

From Evian, Bush traveled to Sharm El Sheik, an Egyptian resort on the Red Sea, to meet with Arab leaders and press his "road map" to subjugate the Palestinian national movement and bring security to Israel. The initial and essential goal of this U.S. plan is the disarmament of the Palestinian resistance and/or promoting civil war among the Palestinian people. Bush's hope is to use Abu Mazen, the U.S.-chosen prime minister, and the collaborating regimes in the Arab world to accomplish this goal. Bush hopes to consolidate their commitment to this reactionary process at another meeting in Aqaba, Jordan.

But even as Bush travels triumphantly throughout Europe and the Middle East, looming behind him is the resistance to the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

General admits Iraq war 'not over'

One month after Bush announced the end of the war in Iraq during a photo op if him landing aboard an aircraft carrier, Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan, commanding general of all U.S. forces in Iraq, declared that "the war has not ended." (Washington Post, May 30) Instead of pulling troops out of Iraq, Washington has had to bring in another infantry division and thousands of military police, bringing the troop level up to 160,000 U.S and British troops, not counting the 90,000 troops in Kuwait carrying out support operations.

U.S. soldiers are being killed in what appears to be a coalescing resistance in Baghdad and regions to the north. Whether or not this resistance can be sustained in the short run remains to be seen, but long-run resistance is inevitable. Referring to the resistance, McKiernan stated emphatically: "These are not criminal activities, they are combat activities. We are going to address these activities by applying every resource available to us. The war has not ended. That's the point I need you to understand."

Michael Gordon, a New York Times military reporter who was "embedded" with the Pentagon during the invasion, wrote a major piece on May 30 entitled "How Much Is Enough?"

Gordon refers back to the verbal war in February between Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki. Rumsfeld denounced Shinseki for saying that it would take several hundred thousand troops to occupy Iraq. Not only did Rumsfeld argue with Shinseki, but he had former Army Secretary Thomas White forced out following a similar struggle over the force size necessary to hold the Iraqi people down.

While for the Army chiefs this was partly a struggle over budgets and resources, at bottom it is a struggle about the expected role of the masses.

The current crowd in the Bush administration has dreams of ruling the world with high-tech warfare and special forces--easily taking out governments that resist U.S. domination and carrying out smooth "regime change" by fear and intimidation. They discount the mass of the people, whom they regard as a docile and submissive element who will dutifully sit on the sidelines while U.S. imperialism restructures their fate and prepares their exploitation and the plunder of their countries.

In light of the Iraqi experience, Gordon of the Times, undoubtedly speaking for others inside and outside the Pentagon and the Bush administration, did a nervous review of the forces available to the Pentagon.

"If the Army's postwar effort to stabilize Iraq is taken into account," he wrote, "it would seem that the service needs more troops, not less."

"Certainly," continued Gordon, "the Army does not seem to have many forces to spare. Of the Army's 10 divisions, more than four are deployed in Iraq.... Of the remaining Army divisions, the Second Infantry Division is in South Korea, the 10th Mountain Division is headed to Afghanistan and a brigade of the First Infantry Division is in Kosovo."

Only two divisions, the First Cavalry Division and the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii, are not spoken for at this time.

The implications are clear. To expand their effort to control the world, the U.S. ruling class will have to vastly expand its military forces on the ground and subject the working class in this country to the horrors of war and occupation against oppressed people all over the globe. This comes at a time of growing economic hardship, poverty, racism and general assaults on the masses, which are the natural result of capitalism in crisis and are exacerbated by the reactionary give-to-the rich policies of the Bush administration.

Under these conditions, Washington's pursuit of empire can only result in massive resistance, at home and abroad.


Reprinted from the June 12, issue of Workers World newspaper
(Copyright Workers World Service: Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this document, but changing it is not allowed. For more information contact Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via email: ww (at) wwpublish.com. Subscribe wwnews-on (at) wwpublish.com. Unsubscribe wwnews-off (at) wwpublish.com. Support independent news http://www.workers.org/orders/donate.php)

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