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07.01.2020 Feature Article

United States endless wars and militarism in the 21st century

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The killing of the Iranian Commander, General Qassem Soleiman, and Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force is really sad and totally uncalled for. He was murdered in Baghdad by the US military drone attack at the direction of the racist and fascist leader Donald Trump. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps played and still continue to play the most crucial role in neutralizing Al Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist formations in the Middle East. Iran also supports the Palestinian freedom cause and it’s an ardent anti-imperialist force in the region.

The attack does not come as a surprise cognizant of the US history of endless wars and militarism. The attack on the Iranian commander is nothing but a direct provocation and a declaration of war. These tensions would escalate into war. USA has failed to promote peaceful co-existence with other nations. Retaliation is to be expected sooner or later, a chain of reprisals could ensure bringing the two countries closer to a direct confrontation. The 5,000 US troops in Iraq are an obvious potential target. Tensions will be higher in the Gulf. Washington has already dispatched a small number of reinforcements to its embassy in Baghdad. It will have plans to increase its military footprint in the region quickly if the need arises.

Those who were born after 1990 bear witness to the fact that the US government has been at wars for more than half of their lives. The United States invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 and the war is raging on to this day. The United States invaded Iraq in March 2003 and still carrying out bombings and military operations in that country, the latest evidence being the US drone attack in Baghdad airport which killed the Iranian commander and they are sending more troops in Iraq in anticipation of retaliation from the Iranian backed resistance in Iraq. The United States led NATO Alliance to carry out a massive bombing war in Libya in 2011 which destroyed one of the promising African nations and killed its revolutionary leader Muammar Gaddafi.

NATO is a military agreement or pact that encapsulates all the major imperialist powers with the primary function of countering the former Soviet Union in the event of an all-out war with the socialist bloc. NATO an ally of the USA is using the civil war in Ukraine to escalate its campaign to encircle Russia. Japan an ally of the USA has now started remilitarizing. The United States is carrying out constant drone attacks and other military actions in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. The civil war in Syria has spilt over into many countries across the Middle East region.

Even though the endless wars target particular countries but the endless wars are far-reaching they are different from other wars which are invasions and occupations of the past which used to be carried out by Pentagon and the US military power. The endless wars target any entity, movement, organizations and sovereign governments that are deemed to be promoting “terrorism” under the theme “War On Terror”.

The Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency maintains more than 1000 military bases and installations in over 100 countries in the world. The Pentagon on top of that maintains strategic command centers in every region of the globe. So far history has proved that the political and military leaders of the USA of both major parties the Republicans and the Democrats have embraced the concept of the “endless wars “and militarism that will go for decades. These endless wars will never be executed on the USA soil, the bombs will fall in the lands of other countries, innocent women and children of other countries will die like flies and for the USA only a few unlucky pilots and a few commandos will die. Despite the strategy of taking war to the doorsteps of other countries, this does not preclude the possibility of war with other larger states.NATO which is US-backed is expanding to the East with all the attending threats against Russia, as well as the United States pivot towards Asia is openly setting the stage for the possibility of large scale wars with both Russia and China.

The prospects of such global wars is very imminent and inevitable especially with the escalation of tensions between USA and Iran with Russia and China seemingly backing Iran. The United States had a monopoly on nuclear weapons and created an anti-soviet military alliance. In 1949, the USA created NATO which grouped all of the imperialist countries of Europe together under the Pentagon leadership.

In 1992, Paul Wolfowitz, then the U.S Undersecretary of Defense policy, superintended over the drafting of a strategic document for the post-Cold War period after the overthrow of the Soviet Union and asserted the need for unquestioned hegemony, “ Our first objective is to prevent the reemergence of a new rival. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defence strategy and requires that we endeavour to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union, and South-West Asia also known as Middle East” he went on to say “ There are three additional aspects to this objective. First, the US must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to be a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. Second, in the non-defence areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order, Finally, we must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role .”

This was supposed to be a strictly internal strategic document which was leaked to the press. In this unipolar era and the post-cold war world order, neutrality is no longer tolerable its either you are with the USA or you are against it. Many states modified or totally rejected their nationalist orientation and socialist or semi-socialist policies by playing to the rules and dictates of global capitalism. Any country that contradicts Washington or plans and erect barriers to the penetration of imperialist capital could find itself in the crosshairs of the US might military machine. They use different methods such as punitive financial sanctions, air wars and drone assassinations.

Soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, the US attacked Iraq, and then during the Clinton epoch Somalia, Sudan, Haiti and Yugoslavia. After attacking Afghanistan in 2001, Bush declared an “ axis of evil”, Iraq, Iran and North Korea, months later Syria, Libya and Cuba were listed as additional “ rogue states” to be targeted.

In 1991, the USA launched a military attack against Iraq called the “Operation Desert Storm” claiming to liberate Kuwait which had been invaded by Iraq, they unleashed a massive aerial and ground assault on Iraq. The real objective was a total destruction of Iraq and regime change. Their main targets were power supplies, water purification plans, bridges and other infrastructure. These actions did not collapse the Iraq government, they went on to impose sanctions which inflicted a terrible human cost to the Iraq population by depriving it of food and medicines and the ability to reconstruct their devastated country. Iraq suffered over a million deaths over a period of 12 years but Iraq did not collapse.

Iraq was invaded again in 2003 under the pretext of falsely linking Iraq to the September 11 World Trade Centre attacks and the accusation of possessing “weapons of mass destruction” which they have not even found up to this day. The military invasion was dubbed “Operation Iraq Freedom “.The objective was to convert Iraq into a pliant state to serve as a proxy in regional conflicts to guarantee US oil supremacy with exclusive investment opportunities for Big Oil. Iraq’s oil is by no means dominated solely by the west and Iran, a challenger to US domination in the region is more influential than ever in the Baghdad government.

In Yugoslavia, Kosovo, during the 78 days of intense bombing, NATO warplanes flew over 35 000 combat missions against 200 cities and towns. They targeted apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, factories and other workplaces. Bridges, refineries, the power grid, the Chinese embassy, the Belgrade TV station, prisons and even graveyards. More than a million people were turned into refugees, the majority of them being Albanians which NATO claimed to be defending. The refugees' convoys were bombed and approximately 5000 people were murdered, civilians for that matter. Eventually, President Milosevic was overthrown by a NATO-backed coup and was later kidnapped and imprisoned in Hague where he died while on trial by imperialist victors. The US military boasts of one its largest military bases in Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo. Kosovo is the world leader in human trafficking and drug dealing.

Libya had some of the pro-people progressive economic and social reforms in Africa, it used its national oil wealth to create a welfare state. Before 2011 Libya had a 99% youth literacy rate. Gadhafi also invested heavily in health care which resulted in great gains in public health, Libya life expectancy went up by 20 years between 1980 and 2000. Libyans had a life expectancy of 77 years. In fact, mortality rate had fallen to 25 per 1000 births. Under Gadhafi leadership, Libya had a revolutionary reputation of supporting national liberation movements including the Palestinian struggles. After the collapse of Soviet Union and the socialist bloc. Libya was also internationally isolated and sought reconciliation with imperialism as a way of self-preservation. He also abandoned his nuclear weapons program and joined hands with the West to counter “terrorism” .This did not deter the West from toppling Gadhafi when the opportunity for regime change arose in 2011.

There were protests in Libya which was part of the Arab Spring wave that blew across the Arab world which led the military leadership to split away from Gadhafi and joined the demonstrators. On March 17, the US and its imperialist allies pushed through Resolution 1973 at the United Nations Security Council. The resolution authorized imposing a “no-fly zone”, purportedly to protect civilians. In actual fact, NATO used the resolution to effect regime change. After months of sanctions and continuous bombing and sabotage, NATO finally overthrew the government and Tripoli fell. On October 18, US Secretary of state, Hillary Clinton was in Libya and called for Gadhafi to be captured and killed.

Over 18 years into the occupation of Afghanistan, imperialists can barely claim victory over Kabul. 16 years occupation of Iraq, there is no stable government in Baghdad. Up to now, Baghdad is refusing to take orders from Washington. Imperialists are still far from conquering Syria. For imperialists, it is safe to admit that things are not going as per plan.

Vladimir Lenin argues that war is an inevitable and dominating feature of modern-day capitalism. When capitalism evolves into its monopoly phase which results into competition, influence and trade wars. This situation would compel the imperialists to go to war against each other in an effort to acquire new markets and raw materials. Lenin conclusion that war is intrinsic to the imperialist stage of capitalism remains entirely valid to this day.

This understanding has been central to the strategic perspectives of the worldwide socialist movement. It underscores the bedrock necessity of anti-imperialist struggle in overcoming capitalist oppression and creating a new world order based on human cooperation. A world without war.

Mafa Kwanisai Mafa
Mafa Kwanisai Mafa, © 2020

The author has 5 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: MafaKwanisaiMafa

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