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It is so dark now in the North. The Sun rises at 10 am to go down at 3 pm. White and plentiful snow and glorious stars outside and Christmas trees indoors make this darkness bearable – just. Here one understands why the people of the North had viewed Yuletide with great anxiety: they never were quite sure whether the Darkness would actually lift and pass away and the Day would gain this year, too. Last year it worked, but who can be sure that this year the Undead creatures won’t keep the Sun in eternal captivity?
Now we are in a similar quandary. Will the sun rise? Will Donald Trump gain the White House from the Undead Ones? Never before in our memory has the President-elect’s progress been so full of uncertainties and so pregnant by possible dangers. It appears that the losers still do not accept their defeat. Like the Germans in 1945, they look for a Wunderwaffe, a wonder weapon to turn the tables and win, no trick is too mean to try.
They will try to influence electors, they may try to prevent Congress from approving their choice, they may try their hand in public disturbances or a military coup. The Yuletide will be anything but peaceful and dull. Their idea of recount did not work the desired miracle. In vain Ms Stein had turned her fine party into a tool in the hands of Soros et al. Trump is still ahead in the marginal states he won. No state had been shifted into Clinton’s camp.
After the failed recount, they turned on the Russian scare, to wit: the Russians influenced the elections, therefore the results are invalid, and the White House should go to Ms Clinton. Trump is a Russian agent, they say. (Accusing Trump of being Putin’s Man, is as effective as accusing Galileo of working for Satan, or accusing Solzhenitsyn of working for the CIA, said witty Prof Golstein). And the independent media, i.e. rather small internet sites that do not belong to the media lords, (that includes the venerable Unz Review), are Russian stooges and Putin’s agents. “If you are not with us, you’ve got to be a Russian spy”, or words to such effect. How do they think this small band of independent thinkers could sway the millions? By churning out “fake news”? Mainstream media easily outperformed by producing so many “fake news” stories that Putin could never compete. Just by virtue of Putin’s approval? Do they think a Russian agent gets a service magic wand to bend American minds?
Nothing wrong, mind you, with trying to influence elections. It is done all the time. My countrymen Israelis have their mighty AIPAC for such a purpose, and they are usually successful. (And yes, they read your emails). They succeeded in blocking the second terms of Jimmy Carter and George Bush, Sr. They said no man or woman could get elected to the Senate or Congress without paying obeisance to the AIPAC and receiving their blessing. If you object, or even notice their meddling, you would be called an antisemite and expunged from the polite society.
But the Russians could not do it to the US even if they would like (and I doubt they were of one mind about who’s better for them): this is a great overestimation of Russian abilities. Wonderful people, great stamina, beautiful women, good skiers, they excel in arts, yes, they regained quite recently their voice in the media (until two years ago, they could only repeat some Western cliché), fine, but they can’t possibly compete with the one and only world-embracing media syndicate.
It happened that a group of like-minded individuals controls all the mainstream media of the West. Nobody can compete with the NY Times, and the Washington Post and Reuters, Hollywood and the Guardian and Le Monde, and all this media has been united behind La Clinton. What is more important, these Masters of Discourse are fully integrated with an obscure world-embracing entity behind the visible power. This entity influences every election in the world, and it is used to winning. This time they lost, and they can’t still believe it and accept this defeat.
What is this obscure entity, and why is it so hostile to Donald Trump? I’ll tell you. In my young son’s class there was a bully. A silly, but big and strong boy who made the life of other kids, including my son, quite miserable. He enjoyed beating the weak ones, and there was not a nasty trick that he did not try. The bully had a sidekick, a minnow of a boy, who could not harm a baby. We paid little attention to him. It happened that the sidekick was transferred by his parents to another school, as they moved to a far away suburb. And to my great surprise, the big boy ceased to bully other kids. Moreover, he became a good friend of my son and of other classmates. It turned out that the sidekick was actually the evil spirit behind the big boy’s shenanigans. As he was gone, the big boy turned out to be a rather good fellow, real sport, and even his academic marks improved drastically.
The obscure entity integrated with the mass media is the evil spirit that gained possession of the fine strong body of America. And they meddled in, influenced, or subverted many elections in many countries from the days of The Quiet American. In 2014, they paid five billion dollars to organise the coup in Kiev and installed their puppets. They tried to subvert elections in Tehran and in many Latin American countries – and nowhere did they do it in the interests of the American people.
They did it to the Russians, too. When they succeeded in retaining Yeltsin the Drunkard in the Kremlin in 1996, the Time magazine was proud of it and published the cover with brazen “Yanks to the Rescue. The secret story of how four U.S. advisers used polls, focus groups, negative ads and all the other techniques of American campaigning to help Boris Yeltsin win” (You can read the fascinating story of the US subverting young Russian democracy as it was told by two American expat writers of the ExileD magazine). But it was not the US – it was the evil spirit bend on world domination.
And now they are about to lose their control over America’s mind and body. A few days ago, in Cincinnati, Ohio, the President-Elect had vowed that the US will stop trying to overthrow world governments. No more regime changes, he said. This is a sea change. That is why Trump has been attacked by the CIA, the most evil organisation in the known universe. Assassinations, revolutions, civil wars, bribery, drug industry are the CIA daily tasks. They are the weapon of choice in the hands of the Obscure Entity, their Nazgul. The CIA is anti-American: American soldiers fight in Afghanistan, while the CIA produces, buys and sells the bulk of Afghan opium trade.
The CIA spoils relations between Americans and people of the earth. The CIA gives lessons of torture to the darkest regimes. The CIA stood by at 9/11, and it pushed the US into new wars since then. The CIA organised and supplied the Middle East terrorists of the Islamic State and al Nusra. They are the guys that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and steamrolled the Iraq War. If you doubt where do you stand regarding Trump, after the CIA attack on him there should be no doubt. Remember, JFK tried to undo the CIA, but alas, the CIA undid him. Trump is a chance to get rid of this Order of Assassins, or tame it, at least. Wise Trump refused even to listen to their indoctrination lessons, so called “briefings”.
I’ll tell you why he can do what Kennedy could not. The CIA attacked Trump in a way no American president (save JFK) had ever been attacked by his own security services. They claimed that the Russian hackers elected him, not the people of the USA. Anybody else, in the place of Donald Trump, would go into creeping mode and declare his undying hatred to Russia. But Trump selected, or preselected Rex Tillerson, the man who had received the Order of Friendship from Putin’s hands to be the Secretary of State. I’d say, Trump has the balls of best American steel. I did not know they still make such men. If somebody can purge the body of America of the possession by the legion of demons, this man with yellow hair is the one.
The choice of Tillerson is brilliantly good and encouraging after the dreadful rumours that Trump might choose Mitt Romney, or Rudy Giuliani, David Petraeus or John Bolton (hard to make the choice who is the worst one). Tillerson is a man of real economy, he is used to deal with real people and real problems, and it makes sense for Trump to nominate him.
Forget about Democrats and Republicans, this is a fake distinction. There are two parties, the Party of Real Economy (builders) and a Party of Virtual Economy (destroyers), or, if you prefer, people who love their countries and their working people – and agents of the Obscure Entity. Virtual Economy includes finances, military industry, and other no-gooders. Trump is a man of Real Economy who needs no war, but peace for rebuilding his country the USA to make it productive and good for its working people. So he chooses a good practical man of real economy to do his diplomacy.
His adversaries are not necessarily Democrats but the warmongers of the Party of the Virtual Economy, and they can be hard-core Republicans. Tillerson is too soft on Russians, said Foxnews: “We cannot allow the State Department to be led by a friend and ally of Vladimir Putin and continue the disastrous diplomacy of negotiation and appeasement that has handed Putin his greatest victories”. “Friend and ally” would be nice, but these are ravings of a right-wing warmonger that are identical to a tee to ravings of a left-wing warmonger, say, Dan Rather who warned of “a newly aggressive and assertive Russia [led by] Putin a former KGB officer” and therefore Trump Man of Peace has to be discarded.
The warmongers have good reason to be worried. Trump is about to rid America of its worst plagues: the “regime change” neocon guard and the CIA are just for starters. He declared war on the military industrial complex when he said: “The F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.”
This is a wonderful news – not only for the Americans, but for the world. Four hundred billion dollars (yes, this is the price tag asked by the company for the unnecessary piece of hardware) poured out of empty Treasury into coffers of Lockheed-Martin would increase the US debt and come instead of much more useful investments. It would lead the world into a new armaments’ race: the Americans, the Russians and the Chinese would spend money on weapons instead of improving their people’s life.
And it would make the world war more probable: as Hillary’s sister-supporter and Bill’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said to Colin Powell, What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?
The Masters of Discourse, the voice of the Obscure Entity, sounded alarm. Fortune, the Bankster’s Voice said Trump Hate-Tweeted against Lockheed.
‘Hate’ is a dog-whistle word of the Masters. Their trained obedient and willing slaves know how to respond. If the Masters say that somebody is “angry” or “hates”, it is a sign for their people what to think.
If Israelis kill hundreds of Palestinian kids, the Masters will report in their media: Palestinians are angry and swear revenge. A few days ago, the Masters’ hatched Islamists bombed a church in Cairo, killing about thirty Christians. The Masters’ media obscured this terrorist act so it would not interfere with their campaign for the Islamists in Syria and with movement of Islamic migrants to Europe. So the chances are you did not even know of this attack. And in their meager reports, the Masters’ media would incorporate the dog-whistle word: hate or anger. The NY Times wrote of this mass murder, “angry churchgoers gathered outside and hurled insults”.
No, they did not use “mass murder” expression: it is usually preserved to a terrorist act against Jews, and then no anger, no hate is mentioned, just pure suffering. Alternatively, ‘mass murder’ can be applied for the Russian bombardment of the Islamists in Aleppo; they are “mass-murdered”, the Christians are just ‘slaughtered’.
I get annoyed by the word ‘hate’. It is such a mother-in-law-ish word: “Son, I know you hate me and want me dead!” “No, mama, but I want us to manage our lives ourselves.” So now we know that Trump hates not only women and Jews and the CIA, this monster hates even pure harmless and innocent Lockheed-Martin! It would be better if he kicked kittens, as they accused Julian Assange of doing. The more I hear about Trump’s hate, I am more certain that he is right.
Not only Trump “hate-twitted” Lockheed-Martin: he said he would not fork out billions of the US taxpayers’ money for a new Boeing for Air Force One. He got annoyed when he learned that a general Mark Welsh, yesterday’s Air Force chief of staff, joined Northrop Grumman after granting the company the multibillion dollar contract to build a next-generation stealth bomber. Trump will save your money – and will save us from war, if he makes it to the White House.
But he takes on board so many generals, people complain. Mind you: the US of Trump still will be the biggest and the strongest state in the world community, just without the evil spirit. This spirit still lingers in the mainstream media, where it keeps heaping lies upon lies and bids its time to return and possess again this big fine body with its trustful mind. However, the Trump’s US won’t be the bully we hated.
It will not become an angel, either: rather, a regular great power with its own interests, not more, neither less, as it was in the days of Theodore Roosevelt. This should be remembered when you are told that Trump hired so many generals to his cabinet. It won’t be the mean interfering spirit bent of the world domination, just a great state.
The world is too big to have one master and ruler. The desire for domination is the cause of the monstrous twenty-trillion-dollar debt of the United States; Donald Trump, a proverbial hard-nosed Yankee saw this drain on his country’s recourses, and decided to fix it before it will cause the States’ collapse.
Many years ago Trump gave an interview to Playboy. It makes fascinating and obligatory reading. He understood before everybody else that Gorbachev “will be overthrown, because he has shown extraordinary weakness”. This shows his clear-mindedness in the foreign policy.
He understood the danger of nuclear war: “I’ve always thought about the issue of nuclear war; it’s the ultimate, the ultimate catastrophe, the biggest problem this world has, and nobody’s focusing on the nuts and bolts of it. It’s a little like sickness. People don’t believe they’re going to get sick until they do. Nobody wants to talk about it. I believe the greatest of all stupidities is people’s believing it will never happen, because everybody knows how destructive it will be, so nobody uses weapons. What bullshit.” Twenty five years later, he came to save mankind from imminent nuclear war.
On the question “You categorically don’t want to be President?” he replied: “I don’t want to be President. I’m one hundred per cent sure. I’d change my mind only if I saw this country continue to go down the tubes.” Now he saw it and accepted the job. He will do it well as he does everything.
In order to save the country and its people from looming disaster, Trump wants to cut off the frills of the world domination. The US does not need so many bases, so many aircraft carrier groups. The Obscure Entity wants the US to dominate on its behalf, but the Americans do not need it. In NATO countries, European politicians began to recognise that their bonanza at the American taxpayer’s expense will soon be over. They enjoyed it while it lasted. Their defence budgets were used mainly for conferences, visits, missions and support of friendly politicians.
Until now, the US paid and paid through the nose, payrolling thousands of European politicians and generals. It was not done for the benefit of Europeans who were in no danger from any corner of the earth, it was not done for the benefit of the Americans, either. Now it will be over and out, and the new elites implanted in Europe by the US-nurtured Obscure Entity will find themselves without external support facing their own people.
They will not enjoy it. Consider an English Parliamentary Ben Bradshaw MP. Bradshaw is a typical new elite: a Blairite, an instigator of the Iraq war, ex-Secretary for Culture, ex-BBC, same-sex-married to a BBC producer, he charged his mortgage to be paid by British taxpayer. He is loved by metropolitan gays (“100% support”), but the party working voters are not so keen on him. He hates the new elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who came to power when the British working guys decided to regain their party from the manicured hands of the cultured gay warmongers.
Bradshaw participated in a failed coup of party functionaries against Corbyn despite the popular vote. Corbyn is an enemy of military industrial complex, Bradshaw is fond of wars. He is strongly against Brexit: he wants Britain Bremain under the rule of Brussels, the second capital of the Obscure Entity.
Taking a ride on the CIA attack on Trump, he already proclaimed that it is “highly probable that Vladimir Putin’s Russia interfered in the UK’s Brexit referendum”. His American CIA-connected counterparts would like to give the White House to Clinton despite the will of the American people. Bradshaw wants to ditch the Brexit referendum results, for it was Putin’s work.
This is the profile of the Obscure Entity’s left wing. They do not believe in democracy if it does not deliver what they want. They despise working men and care more for their refined homosexual arty milieu. They love wars; the war against Iraq was nice; and the war against Libya was jolly; they would like more war in Syria, as those wars provide them with fresh young bodies of Middle Eastern boys. A slice of pizza, anyone? They hate Putin for he having stopped the disintegration of Russia – and now of Syria. They see another way of getting rid of the debt: instead of cutting profits of military industry, to nuke Russia, if the threat of war wouldn’t suffice.
The Left had a better past. In the same Playboy interview, Trump said he does not want to become President, but if he would, he’d run for in the Democratic party. “I’d do better as a Democrat than as a Republican–and that’s not because I’d be more liberal, because I’m conservative. But the working guy would elect me. He likes me.”
Twenty-five years ago the working guys voted for the Democrats, but now they voted for Trump, who ran as a Republican – because the Democratic Party became the preferred Party for the Masters of Discourse, obsessed with unisex toilets and gay rights, not with working men. But the Republicans have their own beasts, the “Anybody but Trump” warmongers.
Amazingly, there is a new coalition of “the tree-hugging, NPR-listening granola eaters getting in bed with McCain’s war mongering neocons — all united in their anger at Russia and Russia’s man in Washington” (in words of witty Golstein) and, we’d add, in love to Lockheed Martin, Goldman Sachs and the CIA. It should be encountered by the coalition for peace and reconstruction from both parties.
The nationalist Left formerly activated, and dumped, by Sanders is too weak to deal with the Obscure Entity’s agents by its own, but it can support Trump. Tulsi Gabbard, the wonderful Democrat-against-Wars from Hawaii, can be the model. She is against sending arms to Syria Islamists, against regime changes. Let her, and many others, become the left-wing support of a new Trump coalition, to save the US and the world. A time for a new re-alliance is ripe. That is, if we want the sun to escape the Undead ones and rise again, after the Yuletide.
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Global Research, December 18, 2016
Historical developments over several decades reveal the two-party complicity in the total war strategy.
The corporate media and the government-sponsored business-subsidized press have sought to foster the narrative which portrays the role of Washington, London, Brussels, Tel Aviv, Riyadh and Ankara as the states which are seeking the protection of the Syrian people. This could not be further from the truth. It was imperialism that initiated the war against the Syrian people in early 2011.
Both Libya and Syria were attacked simultaneously in an effort to eradicate the remaining anti-imperialist and progressive governments throughout Africa and the Middle East. We witnessed the demonization of former Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi right alongside President Bashar al-Assad. Resulting from the political characterization by the corporate media are the most aggravated political and humanitarian crises since the conclusion of the Second World War.
An article published on yesterday (Dec. 16) by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) provides a clear indication that even in the midst of defeat in all the major cities inside the country the western-backed rebels are continuing their provocations against the government and military. The report reads that: “The agreement on evacuating militants and weapons from the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city has been suspended after terrorist groups breached it, special sources told a SANA correspondent in Aleppo. The sources said that the suspension of the agreement will remain in place until obtaining guarantees that oblige the terrorist groups to abide by all the agreement’s provisions, stressing on the Syrian side’s full adherence to the agreement and its keenness to end the bloodshed and restore security and stability to the entire city of Aleppo.”
This same dispatch went on to says: “Earlier, SANA reporters said that the terrorist groups have breached the agreement as they smuggled heavy weapons, including TOW missiles, heavy machineguns and kidnapped people via the buses and cars transporting terrorists and their families towards the southwestern countryside of Aleppo city. The reporter added that the terrorist groups fired shells and sniper bullets on the buses and ambulances at al-Ramousseh crossing, noting that the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which are supervising the evacuation process had to withdraw all buses and cars from the crossing. Over the past 24 hours, some 8079 terrorists and members of their families were evacuated in ten batches via busses and ambulances from the neighborhoods of Salah-Eddin, al-Ansari, al-Mashhad and al-Zibdiyeh to the southwest countryside of Aleppo city.”
Consequently, the forces backed by the administration of outgoing President Barack Obama remain committed to war. It is our task to continue exposing the fallacy of the notions that U.S. imperialism is on the right side of the struggle in Syria and throughout the region.
How Imperialism Instigated Wars in Africa and Asia
In Afghanistan during 1979, the U.S. government under the leadership of Democratic President Jimmy Carter unleashed a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) war of destabilization and counter-revolution in Afghanistan. The country was undergoing a revolutionary transformation led by socialists who sponsored programs aimed at massive land reform, the liberation of women and the nationalization of the economy.
Washington considered this as a threat since Afghanistan was allied with the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Soviet intervention in Afghanistan was designed to defend the revolutionary social process unfolding inside the Central Asian state. Nonetheless, with the political weakening of the Soviet system under President Mikhail Gorbachev, the government in Afghanistan was overthrown. This process was also repeated during the same time period in Ethiopia where we will later discuss a revolution which took place in 1974.
The Iraq War was designed to take control of the vast oil resources in this Middle Eastern country where petroleum production had been nationalized. Iraq had a tremendous history of revolutionary nationalist and Pan-Arabist movements. The Arab Baath Socialist Party (ABSP) took power in both Iraq and Syria, although a split within the organization in 1966 would prove vital in analyzing the response to imperialist interventions from 1990-2003. After the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, the stage was set for the destabilization and attempted destruction of the Syrian state.
In February of 2011, the counter-revolution was initiated in the North African state of Libya. When the forces loyal to the Jamahiriya were defeating the U.S.-NATO backed rebels across the areas where they had attacked, Washington and Paris engineered two bogus United Nations Security Council resolutions providing a pseudo-legal rationale for the blanket-bombing of Libya, then the most prosperous country on the African continent. The only members of the Arab League who opposed the so-called “no-fly zone” over Libya were Syria and Algeria.
Today Libya is a major hub of the Islamic State (IS) and other rebel groups. There are at least three identifiable centers of ostensible power within the country. Fighting is continuing in various regions of the embattled state and the coastlines are sources of human trafficking from Africa and Asia funneling people across the Mediterranean into Southern Europe. Thousands are dying every year in this painful unfolding of what some have called the new “Atlantic Slave Trade.”
Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have taken the public face of the genocidal war against the people of Yemen. Since March 2015, Yemen has been bombed everyday by a number of military forces composing the GCC alliance. This alliance utilizes U.S.-manufactured warplanes, ordnances, intelligence guiding, refueling technology and diplomatic cover. The alliance has also brought in Egypt and the Republic of Sudan which are serving the interests of imperialism against the Ansurallah Movement (Houthis), a Shiite-oriented group which has taken over large swaths of territory in Yemen. The Ansurallah are said to be supported politically by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The war in Yemen in many ways constitutes a proxy war waged by Washington and NATO against Tehran and other anti-imperialist forces in the region.
Socialism or Barbarism
Looking at the current situation in Africa and Asia it is incumbent upon us to continue to advance the anti-imperialist viewpoint. We cannot in any way provide an apology for the role of the Obama administration over the last eight years. The regime has continued and intensified an imperialist militaristic agenda throughout the world.
Throughout South America, Central America and the Caribbean the same pattern has been adhered to. There is the ongoing effort to stifle the economic development of socialist Cuba where despite the purported attempts to “normalize” relations with Havana, the embargo remains intact. The incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump has said that it may not maintain diplomatic status with Cuba.
In Venezuela an intense campaign of destabilization and counter-revolutionary disruption is escalating. The government in Caracas recently announced the seizure of children’s toys from corporate interests seeking to hoard consumer goods and therefore deprive the masses of workers the fruits of their labor. These toys seized by the Bolivarian government are being distributed to the children irrespective of class background.
Throughout the regions to the South, Washington has been engaged in destabilization campaigns from Honduras in 2009 where the government of President Manuel Zelaya was toppled to Paraguay which fell-victim to a political coup during 2012 against Fernado Lugo. In Argentina and Chile, results from recent elections in local and national polls are to the right of the governments of the socialist and national democratic parties which have held the presidencies in the last few years.
Of course in Brazil, the political coup against the Worker’s Party President Dilma Rousseff constitutes a setback for the progressive forces in South America. Pressure is being brought to bear on Bolivia as well as Ecuador, led by socialist leaders President Evo Morales and Rafael Correa.
These revolutionary national democratic and socialist parties throughout Latin America and the Caribbean can be strengthened by an anti-imperialist movement here in the U.S. This party must be principled in its positions on the international situation particularly involving the evolving struggle against imperialism and neo-colonialism.
Africa and Neo-Colonialism
Closely related both geographically and politically are developments in the Arabian Peninsula, the Persian Gulf and the Horn of Africa. Separated by the waterways of the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, the imperialists in the aftermath of the First World War drew the boundaries between these regions and states in order dominate them. In actuality, we must ask, who determined where Africa ends and Asia begins? It was a small number of western imperialist mapmakers and geo-political strategists whom established how, not only they, but many others, think about the world in political terms.
We are completing this year (2016), which represented the 100th anniversary of the advent of the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 at the height of World War I. The British and the French with the Russian monarchy as a junior partner plotted the divisions in West Asia and Northeast Africa that would facilitate the control of the global oil market and military power in the aftermath of the destruction of the Ottoman Empire. The following year in 1917, the Declaration of British Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour provided the illegitimate rationale for the transformation of Palestine into the Zionist state after 1948.
It was the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, and we will celebrate its centenary next year, that published the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement prefiguring political events that would shape the anti-imperialist movement for the following 100 years.
With special reference to the Horn of Africa let us look at several post-colonial states as case studies on the role of imperialism in destabilizing and underdeveloping Africa in the contemporary period.
Somalia and U.S. Destabilization from 1969-2016
A central focus of Washington’s foreign policy in the Horn of Africa has been in the nation of Somalia where several direct and indirect interventions have taken place over the last four decades. In 1969, a military coup took place inside the country declaring itself the Supreme Revolutionary Council (SSRC) which eventually committed to a socialist and anti-imperialist orientation.
The leader of the military seizure of power was General Mohamed Siad Barre who announced in several months that the country was turning away from the West and enhancing already existing relations with the Soviet Union and other socialist states. In its early phase the takeover by Siad Barre gained widespread popular support through mass demonstrations in the capital of Mogadishu and other cities.
Several leading left-wing intellectuals and groups pledged loyalty to the new government. Soon enough the U.S. administration under President Richard M. Nixon cut off aid to Somalia which the new government utilized to justify its socialist intentions. The Somalia leaders then announced the strengthening of diplomatic ties with the German Democratic Republic and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Over next few years significant reforms were instituted including literacy programs, large-scale land reform, establishing public works projects along with an expanded role for the military. The country began to play a larger role in international affairs serving as chair of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in the early 1970s. In 1971, an OAU Summit held in Somalia issued the Mogadishu Declaration saying that the only way that African people in the colonized territories in the sub-continent could gain their liberation was through armed revolutionary struggle.
In 1974 a general strike erupted in neighboring Ethiopia where taxi drivers and students set off the population in a revolt against the U.S.-backed monarchy of Haile Selassie I. By later that year the monarchy was toppled and a council of lower-ranking military leaders supported by several left-wing organizations took power.
Nonetheless, it is important that an assessment of the Somalia situation be reviewed in order to understand developments between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu which had deteriorated to the point of war in 1977-78. Siad Barre had sought the incorporation of the Ogaden region with its ethnic Somali population. This was viewed as an encroachment by the Provisional Military Administrative Council in Addis Ababa, known commonly as the Dergue. Although Cuba and the Soviet Union were supporting both Somalia and Ethiopia at the time, they objected to the partitioning of Ethiopia.
As the war proceeded Cuban internationalists and Soviet advisers backed the Ethiopian position delivering a categorical defeat to the territorial ambitions for a “Greater Somalia”. The U.S. administration under Democratic President Jimmy Carter gave indications that it would support Somalia militarily in the war however this failed to materialize for several reasons.
One of course was related to the defeats of U.S. imperialism in Southeast Asia with the triumph of the revolutionary socialist forces in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in 1975. Moreover, the overthrow of the Portuguese fascist regime by an internal left-wing coup led by the military on April 25, 1974 in Lisbon paved the way towards a speedy independence process in Guinea-Bissau (1974), Mozambique (1975) and Angola (1975) along with the recognition of Goa in the Indian sub-continent. In Angola, the imperialists sought to militarily impede the genuine and total independence of the country through the support of synthetic western-backed “liberation groups” and the direct intervention by the racist South African Defense Forces (SADF) from Pretoria working in conjunction with CIA-coordinated operatives and mercenaries.
The imperialist conspiracy to deny state power to the Marxist-led Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) failed with the assistance provided by 55,000 Cuban internationalists, cadres of the Southwest Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) in addition to support from other African states including the military government in Nigeria under Murtala Mohammed and the Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG) led by President Ahmed Sekou Toure in Conakry.
Consequently, the imperialist camp had been weakened politically prohibiting it from launching a full-scale operation in the Horn of Africa which would have placed them directly in conflict with socialist Cuba and the USSR. Another humiliating defeat of the U.S. would embolden the legitimate liberation movements in the-then still settler-colonized territories in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), Namibia (Southwest Africa) and the apartheid Republic of South Africa.
Nevertheless, the role of the socialist countries in their defense of the Ethiopian Revolution in 1977-78 led to the shifting of allegiance by Mogadishu to U.S. imperialism. This change of political direction combined with other domestic contradictions brought about the rapid decline of the Somalian state. By the early 1980s, the country would be plunged into famine other economic crises. Siad Barre held on until 1991 when his regime was no longer a priority of Washington in light of the collapse of the Soviet Union and other socialist states in Europe.
By December 1992, the U.S. under President George W. Bush, Sr. had directly intervened in Somalia with 12,000 Marines. By the time the administration of President Bill Clinton had taken power in 1993, the occupation had turned into a counter-insurgency operation against the Somalian people who forced the withdrawal of Washington and its NATO allies fighting alongside the U.S. under the banner of the UN in early 1994.
Somalia has been occupied once against for the last decade by the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM). Some 22,000 troops stationed in the oil-rich country are funded and trained by the Pentagon, the CIA and the European Union (EU). After ten years the EU is seeking ways to extricate itself from the Horn of Africa country. Consequently, the imperialist project in Somalia is facing a crossroad where the West is pondering alternative means of maintaining control of the political and economic direction of the area.
Despite these military interventions, Somalia and its breakaway regions are still impoverished suffering from food deficits and the lack of economic development. Somalia and neighboring Ethiopia at present are major bases for Pentagon and CIA intrigue not only in Africa but extending into the Arabian Peninsula where the war in Yemen continues.
Ethiopian Politics from 1974-2016
As we mentioned earlier, 1974 was a turning point in the history of Ethiopia when a popular uprising against the Washington-backed Monarchy erupted. A series of political events from 1974-77 led to the declaration of Ethiopian as taking a socialist path. There was monumental land reform, nationalization of resources and literary campaigns.
A review of the situation in Ethiopia in the aftermath of the overthrow of the Monarchy in 1974 was published on the Ethiopian Treasures website saying: “Immediately after Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown in September 1974, a Military Committee (known as the Derg) was established from several divisions of the Ethiopian Armed forces. General Aman Amdon was elected as spokesperson for the Derg and implemented policies for the country, which included land distribution to peasants, nationalizing industries and services under public ownership and led Ethiopia into the Socialism. The Derg was credited for these policies which at first gained mass support across the country. Initially the Derg was popular following the coup against Haile Selassie when it came to power under the slogan of “Ethiopia First”, “Land to the peasants” and “Democracy and Equality to all”. The Derg became deeply unpopular due to ill sought out policies and mass executions, which sent a shock wave across the country. The Eritrean conflict, Somalis invasion of Ogaden and other issues surfaced. In particular, General Aman disagreed with the policy on how to deal with the Eritrean crisis, as he wanted to solve the Eritrean conflict peacefully. He was put under house arrest by the Derg and executed two months later along with other high ranking officers and civil servants. Brigadier-General Teferi Benti was then elected by the Derg to lead the country.” (ethiopiantreasures.co.uk)
The complexities of the Ethiopian revolutionary process and its internal struggles extend beyond the capacity of the present forum. Nevertheless, in a relatively short period of time the Dergue was taken over by Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam. In the aftermath of the war with Somalia in the Ogaden region, efforts were undertaken to establish a Worker’s Party of Ethiopia (WPE). The Ethiopian Revolution maintained firm ties with the Soviet Union, Cuba, the GDR, and the DPRK along with the liberation movement in Southern Africa: the Zimbabwe African National Union-PF, African National Congress and SWAPO.
Internally there was the failure to end the wars against Eritrean independence, a former Italian colony and British Protectorate, which was incorporated into Ethiopia under the Monarchy during 1952-1961. A war by Eritrean nationalists evolved by 1970 where the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) became the primary organization seeking the independence of the area, which Addis Ababa was dependent upon as a link to the waterways of the Red Sea.
Also the internal contradictions which arose under Monarchial rule in the Tigray and Oromo regions continued. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Oromo Liberation Front carried on an armed struggle against the Ethiopian government throughout the 1980s, weakening the state. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the GDR brought about the evaporation in assistance to the WPE government and the eventual abandonment of the Ethiopian Revolution. By May 1991, Mengistu and the WPE had been toppled leading to the ascendancy of power by the TPLF-led Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), by then supported by the U.S. State Department. In addition, the EPLF declared Eritrea independent leading to elections confirming its independence in 1993.
Djibouti: An Outpost for the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)
The small former French colony of Djibouti won its independence relatively late in comparison to many other states in East Africa. It was in 1967 that the country was renamed as the French Territory of the Afars and Issas. There is a large Somalian population in the area along with other groups which are related to various nationalities within neighboring Ethiopia as well.
It was not until 1977 that the country was declared independent. In recent years a military base at Camp Lemonnier has become the largest known outpost for the U.S. imperialist policy in the Horn of Africa expanding the Pentagon’s reach right across the Gulf of Aden into West Asia in the Arabian Peninsula leading to the Persian Gulf. Under the Obama administration the role of AFRICOM on the continent has expanded immensely. There was the announcement two years ago that 3,500 Special Forces and military training units would be deployed across the continent. A network of airstrips and naval expeditions are coordinated by AFRICOM in collaboration with a host of neo-colonial dominated regimes.
The counter-revolution against the Jamahiriya in Libya was the first full-blown AFRICOM project which resulted in an enormous setback for the African Revolution. In Mali during March 2012, a lower-ranking military officer Capt. Amadou Sanogo served as the public face of a coup against the elected government of President Amadou Toumani Toure. This individual was trained in several Pentagon military schools in the U.S. contradicting the claims by Washington that its AFRICOM projects would foster stability.
With the military coup in Mali and the failure of the regime to handle the rebellion of the Tuarag minority in the North, provided a justification for French intervention which was supported logistically and politically by the Obama administration in early 2013. France which held numerous colonies in Africa, the Asia-Pacific and the Caribbean, was in no position to assert its goodwill in its invasion of Mali. Although the Socialist Party of Francois Hollande ordered the troop deployments to Mali, it was the Conservative regime of Nicholas Sarkozy which played a significant role in the bombing of Libya and the overthrow and murder of Gaddafi.
France since the invasion of Iraq has followed the lead of U.S. imperialist policies in Africa and the Middle East. After the attacks by terrorist groups in France, Paris joined in the bombing of Syria under the guise of fighting “Islamic terrorism.” By the way it was these same “terrorist groups” that were utilized in the overthrow of Libya as well as the war that has been waged against the Syrian state since early 2011.
Hollande is saying that he will not seek re-election in the upcoming French polls of 2017 yet its imperialist policies towards Africa and Asia will continue in the absence of a Left anti-imperialist movement inside the country. Here in the U.S. we must learn from the contradictions which have developed in Western European states including France, the United Kingdom along with Germany. Any Left movement lacking a firm anti-imperialist and anti-racist character is doomed to failure resulting from its national exceptionalism which objectively aids the imperialist system.
Summation: Towards an Anti-Imperialist Front
Therefore, in reviewing these developments over the last four or more decades teaches us that we must maintain our anti-imperialist program throughout both or foreign policy and domestic efforts. We have nothing to gain from aligning ourselves directly or indirectly with the ruling class interests of the U.S. and Europe during this period. This takes us back to our introductory remarks on developments in Syria. There are a myriad of efforts to shape a narrative towards Syria which reinforces the failed imperialist policies of the last several decades. These failures in Africa and Asia have even prompted a sharp debate among the ruling class themselves over how to pursue their imperialist program in light of events in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti and other geo-political regions.
Some have unfortunately bought into the notion that President-elect Donald Trump represents some type of break with the former policies of war, poverty and displacement. Yet all one needs to do is take a cursory look at the backgrounds of the Generals, bankers, fast food low-wage slave drivers and oil magnates he has nominated for the cabinet in order to see in which direction the ruling class heading.
There is the immediate threat of war with the People’s Republic of China which is a product of both capitalist parties whom are trying to contain Beijing and reclaim Washington’s dominance of the Asia-Pacific. However, a military conflict with China would prove disastrous for U.S. imperialism.
China since 1949 has made tremendous gains socially, economically, militarily and diplomatically. Many states across the African continent have entered into agreements with Beijing which are proving instrumental in building infrastructure and technical capacity. Other development projects have been launched in cooperation with Latin American and Asian states. The Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit has sought to build alternative sources of financing for emerging economies which could by-pass the much-dreaded International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB).
These efforts have come under ferocious attack by imperialism. The government in Brazil has been overthrown as mentioned earlier. Russia has been subjected to draconian sanctions over its opposition to the U.S. coup against an elected government along with the war program in Ukraine. In India a currency crisis over the last several months has swiftly reversed the economic progress made in this large Asian state. In China, the Communist Party government is grappling with the impact of the world economic crisis over the last nine years. The ANC government is South Africa, having to adjust to the precipitous decline in commodity prices and capital flight is also coping with a recession amid a fracturing of the political landscape.
Although these setbacks have taken place there is no other course than socialist development and anti-imperialism. We have seen the decline of capitalism over the last decade. In Detroit and the state of Michigan, the Moratorium NOW! Coalition and the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI) has not only fought the imposed crisis but in due course crafted a theoretical approach to these issues. We say clearly that it is the banks and multi-national corporation which are at the root of the impoverishment of the masses of workers and the nationally oppressed.
In Detroit billions in tax breaks and subsidies are handed over annually to likes of General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Quicken Loans, Illitch Holdings, among others, while the majority African American population is being systematically driven out of the city along with Flint, Highland Park, Inkster, and other municipalities. What is often passed off by the corporate and government-controlled media as progress and development is merely another ruling class scheme to transfer additional wealth of the people into the coffers of the capitalist class.
The politicians who have been placed on top of the masses serve the causes of the ruling interests. They cannot pass any resolution or ordinance without first taking into consideration the responses of the minority bourgeois clique. The courts and law-enforcement entities are there to only protect the interests of private property and the comprador state.
There are no indications that any of this will be altered in our favor over the next four year without a mass movement led by the workers and the oppressed. Consequently, this is our Line of March into 2017 and beyond. We need the support of every honest community activists, youth organizer and progressive thinker. This is not an emotional struggle but one defined by the objective conditions which we are facing involving class dominance, economic exploitation and national oppression. We are continuing to build our internal structures aimed at adapting to the present situation so that our effectiveness will be magnified in the emerging period of reaction and counter-revolution on the part of our class adversaries. Thank you very much for your attention and interests.
The above text was prepared, and delivered by Abayomi Azikiwe at a Detroit Workers World Party public forum held on Sat. Dec. 17, 2016 on the international situation reviewing developments in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, South Africa and the Horn of Africa. The program featured presentations from Jim Carey of Geopolitics Alert on the history of imperialist interventions in Afghanistan; Randi Nord of Geopolitics Alert who spoke on the war against the people of Yemen coordinated by the United States; Joe Mshahwar gave an overview of the events in Syria since the defeat of armed opposition forces in Aleppo over the last several days; and Martha Grevatt of the UAW and Contributing Editor to Workers World newspaper reported on her recent visit to Durban, Republic of South Africa where she attended the 17th Congress of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU). The gathering which was well attended was chaired by Kayla Pauli, a candidate member of Workers World Party in Michigan.
The 2016 US presidential election was extraordinary – practically the entire political leadership class from neo-cons to liberals united around a single candidate. Of the leading newspapers in the US, 57 endorsed Clinton, 4 endorsed the Libertarian candidate Johnson, and only 2 endorsed Trump. While the official presidential contest is nearly always de facto restricted to a two-horse race, usually the establishment is divided among the two contestants or at least they hedge their bets. This time around we saw near unanimity under the Democratic Party’s big tent.
Clearly the pundits and politicos were wrong; Trump won. Less clear is what the consequences of a Trump presidency will be.
Some have suggested that Trump may be a harbinger of fascism. Surely central casting could not have served up a better stereotype of a fascist than Donald J. Trump himself. But what of the substance of that allegation?
The quintessential aspect of historical fascism was not anti-Semitism. Mussolini had Jews in high places in his government until pressured to remove them by his German ally. Neither was it anti-humanitarian propensities. The allied side had plenty of those such as Truman’s bombing of the civilian cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the Japanese were ready to surrender. Rather, the quintessential aspect of historical fascism was its fundamentalist anti-communism and a particular form of capitalism involving the corporatist state.
Fascism arose in Europe of the 1930s coming out of the crisis of capitalism caused by the worldwide Great Depression. In each of the European fascist countries, the political condition which led to fascism was a serious contestation for state power between capitalist parties and communist/socialist parties.
The owning classes (e.g., Krupp) would rather tolerate an authoritarian rule over their own prerogatives than risk a socialist alternative that would have threatened their class hegemony. They would not have needed fascism to ensure their class rule had not the balance of class forces included the possibility of a socialist ascendency in Europe.
Given the alternative, the owning classes accepted fascism in Spain, Germany, and Italy. Under fascism, class rule continued, but bourgeois democracy was replaced by authoritarian rule. No longer would factions within the ruling class have the freedom to contend for power amongst themselves.
Decoupling Anti-Communism from Fascism
In the aftermath of World War II and the military victory of the allies over the fascist states, the US emerged as the uncontested world superpower. The US commanded a monopoly of nuclear weapons and had demonstrated a willingness to use them.
George Kennan writing in 1948 from the Truman State Department posited the basis of US empire:
“We have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3 of its population…Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships, which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity…We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction.”
As the self-proclaimed leader of the so-called Free World to defeat communism, it was inconvenient to associate fascism with anti-communism, especially so as the US incorporated former European fascists into its national security apparatus.
De-politicizing and Psychologizing Fascism
The popular conception of fascism was made over into a personality disorder independent of historical circumstances or political content. Everyone agreed…Hitler was a “madman” – end of story.
Along those lines, Theodor Adorno and his associates at UC Berkeley developed the F-scale (F for fascist), which purported to be a psychological test for identifying fascists. Later to be published in 1950 as The Authoritarian Personality, the work has been largely discredited by mental health professionals, but served as a scientific gloss to the notion that fascism is a psychopathy.
Fascist Europe Compared to Current US
In comparison to Europe of the late 1930s, there is little to suggest that capitalist rule is imminently challenged by a socialist insurgency today in the US. In the last presidential election, the two parties of capital won about 95% of the vote, while the Libertarian Party picked up around 3% and the Greens got 1%.
Contemporary American politics are plagued by many disorders, but the threat of fascism – I would argue – is not currently one of them. The owning class can be secure in knowing that one or the other of the parties of capital will prevail.
Anti-immigrant and White Nativist Threats
Neoliberal austerity for working people, war without end abroad, and the surveillance state may have been among the incubators that have allowed such an unlikely person as Donald Trump to rise to prominence.
For those who fear Trump as a fascist yet wax nostalgic about the liberal golden age of the New Deal, remember that it was the party of FDR that imposed a reign of Jim Crow terror on its black citizens depriving them of the right to vote and then some. Virulent racism and violence are not at all incompatible with bourgeois democracy. To simply equate extreme repression with fascism is to disarm ourselves to the manifest dangers of our present system of governance.
Surely Mr. Trump has been accused of associating with any number of anti-immigrant and white nativist forces. Unfortunately, electing Democrats to office is no firewall against ethnic cleansing. President Obama has the distinction, for instance, for deporting more immigrants than all previous presidents, and nobody is accusing him for being a proto-fascist.
Democrats Rediscover the Working Class
All of a sudden the working class has been rediscovered by the Democratic Party, which of late spoke only of an all-encompassing “middle class” that incorporated everyone including the super-rich. Having made the discovery of the working class’s existence doesn’t mean that the Democratic Party is necessarily about to embrace them back into the old New Deal coalition. No, some of these folks are what Hillary Clinton called the “deplorables.”
The presumed racist white working class who voted for Trump –according to the Democrat’s litany – are defined as being poorly educated. The reasoning is as follows: the poorly educated are not as intelligent and therefore do not understand that their true interests would be to support Democrats. Informing this view of working people is a smug class bias, which confounds education, intelligence, and political understanding.
BTW, Yale and Harvard alumnus George W. Bush – the so-called village idiot according to the Democrat’s litany – lost his first political foray in 1978 in West Texas to a “good old boy” because hecame off “over-educated,” “too quick,” and too “darn intelligent that a lot of what he said went over people’s heads.” That was not a mistake that W was about to repeat, much to the miscalculations of his Democrat opponents.
Trajectory of Neoliberalism
Neoliberalism has had an unbroken trajectory moving the US ever to the right, whether under a Democrat or a Republican president. The Reagan/Bush-the-father “revolution” had its antecedents with Carter. Clinton continued the trajectory with NAFTA, ending “welfare as we know it,” deregulating banking, disassembling socialist Yugoslavia, etc. Bush-the-son followed by Obama continued the trajectory of neoliberalism lurching to the right, making one nostalgic for the reign of Nixon.
At each juncture between presidencies, the Democrats offer us lesser-evilism, touting themselves as just a little less venal than their Republican opponent. The problem with the lesser evil is that it continues the trajectory to the right without an end in sight.
Bill Clinton could “feel your pain” but inflict it anyway; Bush, not troubled by empathy, simply inflicted. In the long view, the difference between neoliberal Democrats and neoliberal Republicans is more of style than substance. Continuity – as with Obama’s retention of Bush’s Secretary of Defense Gates and Federal Reserve Chair Bernanke – has been the main trust of recent US presidential politics.
This continuity results not in each successive presidency being the same as the last, but in each moving further to the right of its predecessor. Not only did Obama fail to permanently withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, but he expanded the wars to Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, etc.
Bankrupt liberals have abandoned promoting the good, promising us at best they’ll be just a little less bad. As Corey Robins explains, “today’s liberal believes there is only evil and progress is measured by the distance we put between ourselves and that evil.”
Formerly “independent” Bernie Sanders has joined the Democratic Party leadership as the chief sheep dog and token liberal. In return for membership in this millionaires’ club, Sanders gets to rail against millionaires who are not Democrats while preaching the gospel of lesser-evilism.
The lesson of the 2016 election is that supporting Democrats is precisely the wrong direction to oppose what Trump represents. Rather, the need to build a left alternative that speaks to the disaffected Trump constituency is the key take-home message.
Danger of Fascism in the US
Trump or some other person with authoritarian tendencies is not about to will fascism on the US, when the objective political forces still allow for a thriving bourgeois democracy. In America anyone can run for president as long as they can raise a billion dollars and everyone has freedom of the press who can afford to buy one.
If a left insurgency gains momentum in the face of the looming possibility of a greater great recession coming down the road, fascism may appear to be a more attractive option to elements of the current rulers. But beware, that threat may not necessarily come in the form of a scowling Republican but from a smiley Democrat.
The present danger of being a premature anti-fascist is that:
* it disarms us into underestimating the basic perniciousness of everyday capitalism, and
* it diverts the struggle to build a good society into the unending regression of lesser evilism.
If Trump were really the Mussolini from Manhattan, the harbinger of fascism in the US, then considering uniting with the lesser evil of the Democrats might have some validity. But the real danger of Trump is that he will continue the rightward trajectory of neoliberalism. The threat is not so much that Trump will reverse Obama, but more that he will carry Obama’s policies to the next level (e.g.,privatization of public education).
President Trump, the empire of chaos, and the end of the American experiment
‘What Election 2016 made clear was that the empire of chaos has not remained a phenomenon of the planet’s backlands,’ writes Engelhadt. ‘It’s with us in the United States, right here, right now.’ The one thing you could say about empires is that, at or near their height, they have always represented a principle of order as well as domination. So here’s the confounding thing about the American version of empire in the years when this country was often referred to as “the sole superpower,” when it was putting more money into its military than the next 10 nations combined: it’s been an empire of chaos.
Back in September 2002, Amr Moussa, then head of the Arab League, offered a warning I’ve never forgotten. The Bush administration’s intention to invade Iraq and topple its ruler, Saddam Hussein, was already obvious. Were they to take such a step, Moussa insisted, it would “open the gates of hell.” His prediction turned out to be anything but hyperbole — and those gates have never again closed.
The Wars Come Home
From the moment of the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, in fact, everything the U.S. military touched in these years has turned to dust. Nations across the Greater Middle East and Africa collapsed under the weight of American interventions or those of its allies, and terror movements, one grimmer than the next, spread in a remarkably unchecked fashion. Afghanistan is now a disaster zone; Yemen, wracked by civil war, a brutal U.S.-backed Saudi air campaign, and various ascendant terror groups, is essentially no more; Iraq, at best, is a riven sectarian nation; Syria barely exists; Libya, too, is hardly a state these days; and Somalia is a set of fiefdoms and terror movements. All in all, it’s quite a record for the mightiest power on the planet, which, in a distinctly un-imperial fashion, has been unable to impose its military will or order of any sort on any state or even group, no matter where it chose to act in these years. It’s hard to think of a historical precedent for this.
“It’s hard to think of a historical precedent for this.”
Meanwhile, from the shattered lands of the empire of chaos stream refugees by the millions,numbers not seen since vast swaths of the globe were left in rubble at the end of World War II. Startling percentages of the populations of various failed and failing states, including stunning numbers of children, have been driven into internal exile or sent fleeing across borders and, fromAfghanistan to North Africa to Europe, they are shaking up the planet in unsettling ways (as theirfantasy versions shook up the election here in the U.S.) It’s something of a cliché to say that, sooner or later, the frontier wars of empires come home to haunt the imperial heartland in curious ways. Certainly, such has been the case for our wars on the peripheries. In various forms — from the militarization of the police to the loosing of spy drones in American skies and of surveillance technology tested on distant battlefields — it’s obvious that America’s post-9/11 conflicts have returned to “the homeland,” even if, most of the time, we have paid remarkably little attention to this phenomena. And that, I suspect, is the least significant way in which our wars have been repatriated. What Election 2016 made clear was that the empire of chaos has not remained a phenomenon of the planet’s backlands. It’s with us in the United States, right here, right now. And it’s come home in a fashion that no one has yet truly tried to make sense of. Can’t you feel the deep and spreading sense of disorder that lay at the heart of the bizarre election campaign that roiled this country, brought the most extreme kinds of racism and xenophobia back into the mainstream, and with Donald Trump’s election, may never really end? Using the term of tradecraft that Chalmers Johnson borrowed from the CIA and popularized, think of this as, in some strange fashion, the ultimate in imperial blowback.
There’s a history to be written of how such disorder came home, of how it warped the American system and our democratic form of governance, of how a process that began decades ago not in the stew of defeat or disaster but in a moment of unparalleled imperial triumph undermined so much. If I had to choose a date to begin that history, I think I would start in 1979 in Afghanistan, a country that, if you were an American but not a hippie backpacker, you might then have had trouble locating on a map. And if someone had told you at the time that, over the next nearly four decades, your country would be involved in at least a quarter-century of wars there, you would undoubtedly have considered him mad.
Thought of a certain way, the empire of chaos began in a victory so stunning, so complete, so imperial that it essentially helped drive the other superpower, that “Evil Empire” the Soviet Union, to implode. It began, in fact, with the desire of Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, to give the Soviets a bloody nose, or to be more precise, a taste of America’s Vietnam experience, to trap the Red Army in an Afghan quagmire. In that light, the CIA would run a massive, decade-long covert program to fund, arm, and train fundamentalist opponents of the leftwing Afghan government in Kabul and of the occupying Red Army. To do so, it fatefully buddied up with two unsavory “allies”: the Saudis, who were ready to sink their oil money into support for Afghan mujahedeen fighters of the most extreme sort, and the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI, which was intent on controlling events in that land, no matter the nature of the cast of characters it found available.
In the fashion of Vietnam for the Americans, Afghanistan would prove to be what Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev called “the bleeding wound” for the Russians. A decade later, the Red Army would limp home in defeat and within two years a hollowed-out Soviet Union, never as strong as Washington imagined, would implode, a triumph so stunning that the American political elite initially couldn’t take it in. After almost half a century, the Cold War was over; one of the two remaining “superpowers” had left the global stage in defeat; and for the first time since Europeans set out on wooden ships to conquer distant parts of the globe, only a single great power was left standing on the planet.
Given the history of those centuries past, the dreams of Bush-Cheney & Co. about how the U.S. would dominate the world as no power, not even the Romans or the British, had ever done seemed to make a certain sense. But in that triumph of 1989 lay the seeds as well of future chaos. To take down the Soviets, the CIA, in tandem with the Saudis and the Pakistanis, had armed and built up groups of extreme Islamists, who, it turned out, had no intention of going away once the Soviets were driven from Afghanistan. It won’t exactly shock you if I add that, in those decisions, in that triumphant moment, lay the genesis of the future 9/11 attacks and in some curious fashion, even perhaps the future rise of a presidential candidate, and now president-elect, so bizarre that, despite the billions of words expended on him, he remains a phenomenon beyond understanding.
As our first declinist candidate for president, Donald J. Trump did at least express something new and true about the nature of our country. In the phrase that he tried to trademark in 2012 and with which he launched his presidential campaign in 2015 — “Make America Great Again” — he caught a deeply felt sense among millions of Americans that the empire of chaos had indeed arrived on our shores and that, like the Soviet Union a quarter-century ago, the U.S. might ever so slowly be heading into an era in which (minus him, naturally) “greatness” was a goner.
Imperial Overreach and the Rise of the National Security State
In the end, those seeds, first planted in Afghan and Pakistani soil in 1979, led to the attacks of September 11, 2001. That day was the very definition of chaos brought to the imperial heartland, and spurred the emergence of a new, post-Constitutional governing structure, through the expansion of the national security state to monumental proportions and a staggering version of imperial overreach. On the basis of the supposed need to keep Americans safe from terrorism (and essentially nothing else), the national security state would balloon into a dominant — and dominantly funded — set of institutions at the heart of American political life (without which, rest assured, FBI Director James Comey’s public interventions in an American election would have been inconceivable). In these years, that state-within-a-state became the unofficial fourth branch of government, at a moment when two of the others — Congress and the courts, or at least the Supreme Court — were faltering.
The 9/11 attacks also unleashed the Bush administration’s stunningly ambitious, ultimately disastrous Global War on Terror, and over-the-top fantasies about establishing a military-enforced Pax Americana, first in the Middle East and then perhaps globally. They also unleashed its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. drone assassination program across significant parts of the planet, the building of an unprecedented global surveillance state, the spread of a kind of secrecy so all-encompassing that much of government activity became unknowable to “the People,” and a kind of imperial overreach that sent literally trillions of dollars (often via warrior corporations) tumbling into the abyss. All of these were chaos-creating factors.
At the same time, the basic needs of many Americans went increasingly unattended, of those at least who weren’t part of a Gilded Age 1% sucking up American wealth in an extraordinary fashion. The one-percenters then repurposed some of those trickle-up funds for the buying and selling of politicians, again in an atmosphere of remarkable secrecy. (It was often impossible to know who had given money to whom for what.) In turn, that stream of Supreme Court-approved funds changed the nature of, and perhaps the very idea of, what an election was.
Meanwhile, parts of the heartland were being hollowed out, while — even as the military continued to produce trillion-dollar boondoggle weapons systems — the country’s inadequately funded infrastructure began to crumble in a way that once would have been inconceivable. Similarly, the non-security-state part of the government — Congress in particular — began to falter and wither. Meanwhile, one of the country’s two great political parties launched a scorched-earth campaign against governing representatives of the other and against the very idea of governing in a reasonably democratic fashion or getting much of anything done at all. At the same time, that party shattered into disorderly, competing factions that grew ever more extreme and produced what is likely to become a unique celebrity presidency of chaos. The United States with all its wealth and power is, of course, hardly an Afghanistan or a Libya or a Yemen or a Somalia. It still remains a genuinely great power, and one with remarkable resources to wield and fall back on. Nonetheless, the recent election offered striking evidence that the empire of chaos had indeed made the trip homeward. It’s now with us big time, all the time. Get used to it.
Count on it to be an essential part of the Trump presidency. Domestically, for instance, if you thought the definition of American political dysfunction was a Congress that would essentially pass nothing, just wait until a fully Republican-controlled Congress actually begins to pass bills in 2017. Abroad, Trump’s unexpected success will only encourage the rise of right-wing nationalist movements and the further fragmention of this planet of increasing disorder. Meanwhile, the American military (promised a vast further infusion of funds by The Donald during the election campaign) will still be trying to impose its version of order in distant lands and, so many years later, you know perfectly well what that will mean. All of this should shock no one in our new post-November 8th world.
Here, however, is a potentially shocking question that has to be asked: With Donald Trump’s election, has the American “experiment” run its course?