The world – one year later By William Bowles

11 May 2004


Plan Venezuela — 2nd attempt?

So is it now ‘Plan Venezuela‘, the extension of ‘Plan Colombia’ with ‘Plan Cuba’ to follow after the abject failure of ‘Plan Iraq’? Whatever ‘plan’ it is that Bushco have in mind, it would seem that history keeps repeating itself over and over with ever greater disasters as far as the imperium is concerned. Churchill must be turning over in his mausoleum to see such incompetence from those who inherited his carefully constructed Anglo-American empire.

Like a runaway train, the ‘war on terror’ that must have seemed such a good idea at the time, has taken on a life all its own that now threatens to crash into the imperial terminus.

A comparable time to the present would be the 1930s with all the knee jerk reactions to the inbuilt contradictions of capitalism — the Crash of 1929, a rising working class militancy spurred on by the failures of capitalism and the success of the Bolshevik Revolution and resistance to the increasingly virulent attacks on working people that culminated with Fascism and WWII.

However, there are notable differences not the least of which is a ruling class that is clueless about ruling and whose response to resistance to its rule mostly in the poor countries of the world, has been simplistic, even juvenile, like a child let loose in a gun shop. Driven by a messianic belief in its divine right to rule, it is ironically, the other side of the ‘Talibanic’ coin and the more one analyses the past, the links between the two are more than merely coincidental. Born of the messianism of Ronald Reagan’s crusade against the ‘evil empire’, the Taliban can be considered as the wife of an unholy marriage between fundamentalist Christian/Judaism and fundamentalist Islam – (and may their marriage rot in hell where it belongs).

The ruling classes of the US and the UK, seeing no organised opposition to their rule felt and acted as if omnipotent. Nothing could demonstrate this better than their reaction to being exposed for the hypocrites and phonies that they are than their actions of the past couple of weeks, a mixture of posturing crocodile tears alternating with sheer bravado.

Just how unprepared they were was apparent from their initial reactions to their plans last year and the way — caught off guard by the global opposition to their ‘plans’ — they had no choice, either to capitulate or push on regardless. The arrogant assumptions they made about their occupation of the ‘moral high ground’, captured they thought, following the immense political capital they gainedthrough the convenience of 9/11 that has subsequently dissolved before their eyes. There’s nothing so vicious as a petulant child deprived of their toys.

Underlying everything is the parlous state of the leading capitalist economies. Just over a year ago, the ‘analysts’ were telling us that with Iraqi oil released onto the world markets, free from OPEC control once Saddam was removed, Israel’s ‘little imperialism’ would be able to enact the ‘final solution’ to the Palestinian ‘problem’ and all would be just fine and rosy in the Middle East. But with cheap oil now just a dream and Israel’s fascist fantasy transformed into a nightmare, and even though the US’s major fear of a switch to the Euro from the petro-dollar has been put off, no resolution to any of these issues has come to pass.

In fact all have been compounded not only because the ‘plans’ have failed miserably, but the contradictions have been exacerbated. But without the formulation of an alternative, we are lost regardless of the degree to which the imperium’s plans unravel, this is the tragedy of the current situation.

The degree to which Bush and Blair are on the defensive is obvious from the events of the past couple of weeks. But where is the opposition from the ‘left’ of the Labour Party in the UK? With local and EU elections a little over a month away, if this ‘left’ exists, for the sake of ‘party unity’ they have capitulated entirely in perhaps the most cowardly display of political opportunism this country has ever seen.

There is little point in dissecting the pathetic statements of Jeff Hoon, the minister of defence [sic], the lies and prevarications speak for themselves. And although the media have had little choice but to join in the chorus of condemnation of the events in Iraq, all are unanimous in their desperate pleas for some way to recapture the ‘moral high ground’.

The Independent (11/05/04) for example in its editorial tells us that “Britain’s reputation remains stained.” They might have added with blood. But finally, the editorial can do no more than present the UK government’s strategy as a “misjudgement”, based it tells us, on being tied to the US’s coattails.

The editorial never questions the fundamental strategy, instead it tells us that the problem is US conduct of the war and occupation (not, I might add our own). As ever, corporate British journalism remains craven and snivelling with its words to the ignominious end of a failed and bankrupt strategy. Yet what other choice do the mouthpieces of British imperialism have? To do otherwise would mean unpacking the real reasons behind the war — clearly a step too far.

So what is the way forward and is there one for the imperium? Withdrawal is not an option as this would reveal just how false the reasons for the invasion were in the first place. The involvement of the UN seems just as problematic because its obvious capitulation to the US has undermined whatever ‘independence’ it claimed to have (although Hans Blix got a book out of the thousands who died because of his cowardly behaviour, so he’s okay). Koffi Annan is a wholy owned subsidiary of the US, so we can expect no heroic deeds from him.

The Palestinian situation just goes from bad to worse. Attempts at resurrecting the ‘road map’ died even as the words were uttered. (My colleague Edward Teague maintains that the damning digital images were actually released by Israeli Mossad in a vain attempt to draw fire, but if so, it too was a miserable failure).

This is perhaps the most depressing aspect of the situation and if the imperium can claim any ‘success’ it is in creating an almost universal atmosphere of cynicism and fatalism in the political process. But even here, along with the rest of the ‘plans’, such an attitude is shortsighted as it will rebound disastrously on the political establishment, leading most likely to a defeat for the Labour government and perhaps the return of an even more bankrupt and obsolete Tory Party led by a decrepid vampire from the 1980s.

As to the US, the situation is even more parlous for Kerry, who sensing defeat, has moved even further to the right, hoping to capture the Bush vote. Underpinning everything is an electorate welded inseparably to the imperialist mindset and addicted to endless consumerism no matter what the cost – to the rest of the planet.

But the latest indications point to a global economic meltdown that could be triggered by a number of factors including oil speculators (the main reason for the escalating price), the collapse of the UK’s domestic housing market, or perhaps foreign sell-offs of the massive devalued dollar holdings in favour of the Euro, or perhaps some combination of the above and something entirely out of left field. Such is the nature of capitalism that it has little control over how the dice fall.

Viewed in retrospect a year later, the ‘war on terror’ as a pretext for their assault on the planet has proved their undoing. Yet the question remains, what of a coherent opposition? But it seems no matter how badly the imperium screws up, we still lack a viable alternative. Yet the objective conditions exist for one to arise. But we are, as they say, our own worst enemy.

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