Toward Barbarism: US Imperialism Unleashed

Toward Barbarism: US Imperialism Unleashed

by Ben Schreiner
The triumph of imperialism leads to the annihilation of civilization.
Rosa Luxemburg, The Junius Pamphlet
With signs of a global economic downturn mounting, US aggression across the Middle East and North Africa ratchets up.  And once again, US imperialism stands poised to swing open the gates of Hell.
The choice presently confronting humanity, then, is one between imperialism on the one hand, and the struggle against imperialism on the other.  It’s a choice of socialism or barbarism.
Global Capitalism Imperiled
 
According to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook report released last week, the “risks for a serious global slowdown are alarmingly high.”  The report projects the world economy to expand just 3.3 percent this year and 3.6 percent in 2013—both projections down from the IMF’s July forecast.   As Joseph Davis, chief economist at the Vanguard Group, cautioned to the Wall Street Journal, “The odds of a global recession are not fully appreciated.”
Indeed, for as the Financial Times reports, the Tracking Indices for the Global Economic Recovery, the Brookings Institution-Financial Times index of the world economy, finds severe problems “in both advanced and emerging markets.”
“The global economic recovery,” Brookings’ senior fellow and index creator Eswar Prasad warned, “is on the ropes.”
And though in its latest report the IMF continued to peddle the harsh elixir of austerity for the depressed economies of the euro zone periphery, the Fund also came to tacitly acknowledge the limits of austerity.
“The IMF now says global efforts to slash deficits and debt may have hurt growth because they occurred too quickly and too widely,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
But with the limits of austerity as a means of resolving the present crisis apparent, the last remaining card for the capitalist elite to play in their attempt to regenerate global capitalism appears to be in unleashing the forces of “creative destruction” wrought by military aggression.  As Henryk Grossman warned in his Law of Accumulation, “The destructions and devaluations of war are a means of warding off the immanent collapse [of capitalism], of creating a breathing space for the accumulation of capital.”
It is thus out of the need to renew the impetus for capital accumulation that the iron fist of US imperialism gains free rein once more across the full spectrum of what American neo-conservatives deem the “arc of instability.”
US Imperialism on the March
 
According to the New York Times, the Pentagon is readying military strikes in Libya in retaliation for the September attack on the US compound in Benghazi.  As the paper reports, “The top-secret Joint Special Operations Command is compiling so-called target packages of detailed information about the suspects.”
“Potential military options could include drone strikes, Special Operations raids like the one that killed Osama bin Laden and joint missions with Libyan authorities.”
The Times goes on to report that the Pentagon is also rushing to train and equip a 500 member Libyan commando force to be used to combat “Islamic extremists” within the country.
At the same time, the Pentagon has reportedly dispatched a task force of 150 military “planners” and “specialists” (i.e., special operations troops) to a Jordanian military base along the Jordan-Syria border.  Speaking at a NATO conference in Brussels last week, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta claimed that the task force was sent to help Jordan “monitor chemical and biological weapons sites in Syria.”
The specter of chemical weapons has been increasingly used as a pretext by the Atlantic powers to threaten military intervention into Syria.  As President Obama declared in August, the use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces would be a “red line,” which would force him to change his “calculus” on intervention.
“Once again, Western powers are digging deep for excuses to intervene militarily in another conflict-torn Middle East country,” an editorial in the state-run Xinhua news agency of China read in response to Obama’s threat.
Sure enough, as the New York Times reported, discussions have already taken place over using the Jordanian-stationed US task force to help establish a buffer zone within Syrian territory.
(In addition to the deployment of troops along the Jordan-Syria border,  CIA operatives are presently active along the Syria-Turkey border, facilitating the flow of arms to rebel forces.  Meanwhile, a recent report in the Los Angeles Timesnoted that the US military is currently using aerial surveillance drones to monitor Syrian chemical weapon stockpiles.)
Of course, the stepped up targeting of Syria cannot be decoupled from the joint Israel-US campaign against Iran.  After all, as hawks Michael Doran and Max Boot argue in a New York Times op-ed, the first reason American intervention in Syria is now merited is because it “would diminish Iran’s influence in the Arab world.”
The road to Tehran, we see, may very well lead through Damascus; although, the urge to fly non-stop to Tehran may just prove too strong to resist.
Marching Toward Tehran
 
With Iran clearly in mind, the US and Israel are set to begin a massive three-week joint missile and air defense exercise later this month.  The exercise, Business Week reports, will include 3,500 US personnel and 1,000 members of the Israel Defense Forces, making it the largest joint military exercise held between the two nations.  The planned war game also occurs amid mounting speculation of a looming strike against Iran.
According to a report in Foreign Policy by David Rothkopf, the US and Israel are actively planning a joint “surgical strike targeting Iranian enrichment facilities.”  Rothkopf, a former Clinton administration official and Editor-at-Large ofForeign Policy, cites his source as stating that “the strike might take only ‘a couple of hours’ in the best case and only would involve a ‘day or two’ overall.”
The strike, Rothkopf quotes an “advocate” of an attack as stating, would have a “transformative outcome: saving Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, reanimating the peace process, securing the Gulf, sending an unequivocal message to Russia and China, and assuring American ascendancy in the region for a decade to come.”  This, of course, being the essence of the proverbial neo-con wet dream.
Remarkably, Rothkopf even goes as far as to triumph the idea of a “surgical strike” as a potential October Surprise Obama could use to propel himself back to the White House.
It appears now, however, that Rothkopf’s “report” may have been little more than a plant by the Israeli embassy in Washington.  A move, perhaps, intended to further coerce Obama into adopting a more hawkish stance on Iran, while simultaneously serving to downplay the risks of an attack.
Of course, peddling the notion of a so-called “surgical strike” on Iran is nothing particularly new.  In March, Jeffrey Goldberg reported for Bloomberg that Israeli talk of striking Iran had assumed a rather optimistic tenor.
“One conclusion key [Israeli] officials have reached,” Goldberg wrote after a trip to Israel, “is that a strike on six or eight Iranian facilities will not lead, as is generally assumed, to all-out war.”
(One cannot help wonder if the Rothkopf and Goldberg share the same source.)
Such assessments, though, are rather dubious, given that they directly contradict numerous assessments determining that any strike against Iran would quickly spiral into a regional conflict.  A report earlier this year in the New York Times, for instance, noted a war game simulation run by the Pentagon forecast that an Israeli strike “would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the United States and leave hundreds of Americans dead.”
Likewise, a September war game organized by Kenneth Pollack, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy, resulted in a dangerous escalation from both sides.  As the Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported, “The game showed how easy it was for each side to misread the other’s signals.”
“Misjudgment was the essence of this game,” Ignatius continued.  “Each side thought it was choosing limited options, but their moves were interpreted as crossing red lines. Attacks proved more deadly than expected; signals were not understood; attempts to open channels of communication were ignored; the desire to look tough compelled actions that produced results neither side wanted.”
“War,” as Clausewitz wrote, “is the province of danger.”
Toward Barbarism
 
US imperial dreams, however, are hardly confined to setting the Middle East ablaze.  Imperial ambitions—rooted in the capitalist logic of endless expansion—are inherently limitless.  Thus, we see the US today readying to propel the greater Middle East into the abyss, while simultaneously “pivoting” to the Asia-Pacific in order to “contain” a rising China.
US imperialism, however, is destined for defeat (and sooner rather than later).  The US, after all, can only use its immense military power to keep potential competitors in check for so long.  The universal law of change cannot be held at bay by the barrel of a gun in perpetuity.  As Lenin asked and answered in his pamphlet Imperialism: “Is it ‘conceivable’ that in ten or twenty years’ time the relative strength of the imperialist powers will have remained unchanged? Absolutely inconceivable.”
But imperial powers are always dangerously deluded by the strength of their power—impervious to its ultimate limits.  As a George W. Bush administration official once remarked to the journalist Ron Suskind: “’We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
(One would be mistaken to believe that such hubris is not as present in the Obama White House as it was in the Bush administration.)
Such arrogance from the power elite—indicative of imperial rot—is but a byproduct of the imperialist imperative of endless expansion and conquest.  And it is this very imperative that today compels US imperialism towards igniting a military conflagration in the Middle East threatening to ensnare the global powers. “A great cemetery,” as Luxemburg warned nearly a century ago, awaits such a triumph of barbarism.
The only means with which to elude such a miserable fate is found in the revolutionary power of working people to resist. As Luxemburg argued, escape from barbarism is only possible once the working class comes to seize “its own destiny and escape the role of the lackey to the ruling classes.”

The only genuine and enduring hope for humanity, then, lies is in the struggle for socialism.

Malala’s Diary Entry

Private schools in Pakistan’s troubled north-western Swat district have been ordered to close in a Taleban edict banning girls’ education. Militants seeking to impose their austere interpretation of Sharia law have destroyed about 150 schools in the past year. Five more were blown up despite a government pledge to safeguard education, it was reported on Monday. Here a seventh grade schoolgirl from Swat chronicles how the ban has affected her and her classmates. The diary first appeared on BBC Urdu online.

THURSDAY JANUARY 15: NIGHT FILLED WITH ARTILLERY FIRE

The night was filled with the noise of artillery fire and I woke up three times. But since there was no school I got up later at 10 am. Afterwards, my friend came over and we discussed our homework.

School in Swat allegedly destroyed by the Taleban

The Taleban have repeatedly targeted schools in Swat

Today is 15 January, the last day before the Taleban’s edict comes into effect, and my friend was discussing homework as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

Today, I also read the diary written for the BBC (in Urdu) and published in the newspaper. My mother liked my pen name ‘Gul Makai’ and said to my father ‘why not change her name to Gul Makai?’ I also like the name because my real name means ‘grief stricken’.

My father said that some days ago someone brought the printout of this diary saying how wonderful it was. My father said that he smiled but could not even say that it was written by his daughter.

WEDNESDAY 14 JANUARY: I MAY NOT GO TO SCHOOL AGAIN

I was in a bad mood while going to school because winter vacations are starting from tomorrow. The principal announced the vacations but did not mention the date the school was to reopen. This was the first time this has happened.

Map showing Swat valley

In the past the reopening date was always announced clearly. The principal did not inform us about the reason behind not announcing the school reopening, but my guess was that the Taleban had announced a ban on girls’ education from 15 January.

This time round, the girls were not too excited about vacations because they knew if the Taleban implemented their edict they would not be able to come to school again. Some girls were optimistic that the schools would reopen in February but others said that their parents had decided to shift from Swat and go to other cities for the sake of their education.

Since today was the last day of our school, we decided to play in the playground a bit longer. I am of the view that the school will one day reopen but while leaving I looked at the building as if I would not come here again.

FRIDAY 9 JANUARY: THE MAULANA GOES ON LEAVE?

Today at school I told my friends about my trip to Bunair. They said that they were sick and tired of hearing the Bunair story. We discussed the rumours about the death of Maulana Shah Dauran, who used to give speeches on FM radio. He was the one who announced the ban on girls attending school.

Some girls said that he was dead but others disagreed. The rumours of his death are circulating because he did not deliver a speech the night before on FM radio. One girl said that he had gone on leave.

Since there was no tuition on Friday, I played the whole afternoon. I switched on the TV in the evening and heard about the blasts in Lahore. I said to myself ‘why do these blasts keep happening in Pakistan?’

WEDNESDAY 7 JANUARY: NO FIRING OR FEAR

I have come to Bunair to spend Muharram (a Muslim holiday) on vacation. I adore Bunair because of its mountains and lush green fields. My Swat is also very beautiful but there is no peace. But in Bunair there is peace and tranquillity. Neither is there any firing nor any fear. We all are very happy.

Today we went to Pir Baba mausoleum and there were lots of people there. People are here to pray while we are here for an excursion. There are shops selling bangles, ear rings, lockets and other artificial jewellery. I thought of buying something but nothing impressed – my mother bought ear rings and bangles.

MONDAY 5 JANUARY: DO NOT WEAR COLOURFUL DRESSES

I was getting ready for school and about to wear my uniform when I remembered that our principal had told us not to wear uniforms – and come to school wearing normal clothes instead. So I decided to wear my favourite pink dress. Other girls in school were also wearing colourful dresses and the school presented a homely look.

Soldier with suspected militants in Swat

Swat has been a centre of militant activity

My friend came to me and said, ‘for God’s sake, answer me honestly, is our school going to be attacked by the Taleban?’ During the morning assembly we were told not to wear colourful clothes as the Taleban would object to it.

I came back from school and had tuition sessions after lunch. In the evening I switched on the TV and heard that curfew had been lifted from Shakardra after 15 days. I was happy to hear that because our English teacher lived in the area and she might be coming to school now.

SUNDAY 4 JANUARY: I HAVE TO GO TO SCHOOL

Today is a holiday and I woke up late, around 10 am. I heard my father talking about another three bodies lying at Green Chowk (crossing). I felt bad on hearing this news. Before the launch of the military operation we all used to go to Marghazar, Fiza Ghat and Kanju for picnics on Sundays. But now the situation is such that we have not been out on picnic for over a year and a half.

We also used to go for a walk after dinner but now we are back home before sunset. Today I did some household chores, my homework and played with my brother. But my heart was beating fast – as I have to go to school tomorrow.

SATURDAY 3 JANUARY: I AM AFRAID

I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taleban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. My mother made me breakfast and I went off to school. I was afraid going to school because the Taleban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools.Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of Taleban’s edict. My three friends have shifted to Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi with their families after this edict.

On my way from school to home I heard a man saying ‘I will kill you’. I hastened my pace and after a while I looked back if the man was still coming behind me. But to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone. 

The TTP are a bunch of sub-human animals roaming the Pakistani countryside

[The Pak Taliban are definitely guilty of this failed murder attempt.  It is very likely that the elements of the TTP which answer to American money and demands followed their masters’ bidding in this crime against humanity.  The retarded nature of the so-called TTP Maulvis and Mullahs is evident in every public pronouncement they make.  What difference does it make to anyone who is even half-human, that the girl’s age meant that she was leaving a “pre-puberty phase”?  The TTP are a bunch of sub-human animals roaming the Pakistani countryside.  They must all be hunted down and killed.]

Malala an American spy: TTP

TTP labels Malala as 'an American spy'

KARACHI: The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Tuesday defended the attack on Malala Yousafzai, rejecting that she was an innocent girl and labeling her as a US spy.

The central spokesman of TTP, Ahsanullah Ahsan, in a detailed statement issued to the media said Malala’s date of birth is July 1997 which makes her 15 years four months old today. “Even if no sign of puberty becomes noticeable, this age of the girl marks the end of pre-puberty phase.”

The statement said: “In Islam and Pakhtun traditions there is absolutely no room for an attack on a woman of pure virtues. But in cases where a woman is seen as a clear sinner who stands in defiance of Shariah, such a woman is not only allowed to be attacked but there is an obligatory instruction for such an action.”

The TTP spokesman said, Malala Yousafzai was ‘a spy who divulged secrets of Mujahidden and Taliban through BBC and in return received awards and rewards from the Zionists’.

“She not only spied against Mujahideen but also created propaganda against them. The Gul Makai diary is an embodiment of anti-Taliban views,” he continued.

“She has received the punishment for her sin.”

The spokesman further said that Malala was brought before the media under a pre-planned strategy so that she could pollute the minds of the youth against the Taliban.

“The other reason for the attack on Malala was her activism aimed at sparking a feud within the Islamic society of Pakhtuns.”

He clarified that she was not attacked for her pursuit of education. “Had it been for education, then there are scores of girls who go out to school (they would have been attacked too).”

“Taliban executed the attack on an adult girl only after she emerged as a pivotal character in the media war against us,” the TTP spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan argued.