In the course of the third anniversary of the United States’ aggression against Iraq, the world is in the verge of facing another political crisis and a new war waged by the superpower against a sovereign nation. Fierce economic, political and social contradictions are manifested in a concentrated manner, especially in the Middle East and in Latin America. A scenario of degradation and crisis becomes evident with sharp and strong colors, distinct in every manner from the soft reality viewed through the lenses of a reformist social democracy, which continue to dream with the stability that would supposedly result from US economic hegemony’s regeneration ability, also counting on the appearance of new balances, some sort of “assertive multilateralism” that would mitigate the devastating effects to the world order emanated from President Bush’s unilateralism, as well as from his policy of preventive wars. Those are unfeasible hypotheses, illusions of intellectuals who are disconnected from reality, in some cases, and in other cases interested propaganda at the service of imperialism, a new kind of ideological Trojan horse in the left ranks.
It was up to the government of President Bush to define the terms of the matter, both in theory and practice. The days that preceded the third anniversary of war and occupation were days of horror to the population of the Iraqi city of Samara, with which the occupation forces intended to display their capacity to control the situation and further their objective of keeping Iraq under their rule. They perpetrated other crimes against humankind as they have already done in the occasion of the genocide in Fallujah and in countless raids that massacred Iraqi civilian populations. One day they will be judged and condemned as the greatest terrorists, without similar record in our history.
During those days Washington issued the document “National Security Strategy of the United States”. It is an updated version, in fact a reiteration, of the same strategy adopted in 2002 a few months before the offensive against Iraq was unleashed and that the communists and revolutionaries have tirelessly denounced as a strategy of ruling the world by means of wars of aggression, which put at risk democracy, the national independence of peoples, security and peace and the very survival of humankind. The document issued in March 2006 reaffirms that the Bush administration’s mission is to “defeat terrorism and tyrannies” by means of “infinite war” and “preventive wars”. The document begins with the affirmation that “America is at war. Such is the strategy of national security in times of war demanded by the serious challenges we are facing now” in a clear demonstration of the militarist and belligerent option taken by the United States’ imperialism. Saying that modern international relations and diplomacy that began with the Peace order of Westphalia in the 17th century is facing its demise in the Bush era is not a figure of speech, not a sectarian departure, not dogmatic nonsense. The death toll of the United Nations and “multilateralism” have rung when former State Secretary characterized that organization as an “irrelevant” one since it “failed its responsibilities” by not authorizing the attack against Iraq. The epilogue was the binge in Azores, having the right-wing government of Portugal as its accomplice. From then on, the farcical character of the so-called Pax Americana and the multilateralism of imperialist powers became completely evident as a means to maintain world balance in a time of globalization.
The United States’ imperialism has turned into a formidable war machine. The superpower’s military budget is now nearing 500 billion dollars. Its troops and military bases are scattered throughout all corners of the world. There are more than half a million soldiers, technicians and instructors outside national borders in 725 bases and military missions officially acknowledged in 38 countries. As it normally when it is a matter of putting the machine into action, the theorizations on humanitarian war, fight against terrorism, unseating tyrannies, assertive multilateralism, balance of power etc. begin to surface. But what matters in practical terms is the use of force.
The belief that it is possible to build a world order based on transparent rules, global cooperation, progressive administration, effective and efficient multilateral organizations, solid and applicable juridical institutions, self-regulating political and economic mechanisms is but feeble illusion, or in other words objective propaganda. Such is a world that does not exist and will not exist but by means of the revolutionary rupture with the current state of things. Another issue is the objective appearance of new national economic and political centers either in the camp opposing imperialism or within the scope of inner-imperialist contradictions. In Leninist words, it is the incidence of inter-imperialist contradictions – or, depending on the political situation and the character of the regimes in conflicting countries, contradictions among antagonistic social and political systems.
The launching of a new national security strategy of the United States demonstrates that, three years after the occupation of Iraq, the world is no longer safe for we are in the eve of a new world crisis. “We face no greater challenge than Iran, a country that sponsors terrorism, threatens Israel, peace in Middle East and provokes the rupture of the democratic process in Iraq”, reads the White House’s document. In this moment Washington is making moves to first isolate and then attack Iran. It invokes the “nuclear threat” supposedly deriving from that country, it pushes the approval of an anti-Iran resolution in the UN Security Council and it mobilizes allies and bonds the administration of the Iraqi crisis to the objective of attacking Iran. Other event in international politics that were also led by the United States reveal the hypocrisy of the speech against nuclear threats, such as the recent agreement signed with the Indian government, which lies within the efforts to gather strategic allies with a view to permanent objectives in Asia. The preparation of the environment that will allow the attack on Iran has as its backgrounds the main aspect of President Bush’s second mandate, proclaimed in the occasion of the Republican Party’s electoral convention and in the presidential inauguration: the plan of restructuring Middle East with a clear neocolonialist sense. Washington needs governments that are completely submissive or direct intervention in the region. That is what also explains the threats to Syria, the unconditional support to Israel and the sabotage to the new staff leading the Palestinian National Authority. The Bush administration has nothing new to present. It reiterates a rhetoric and a behavior that poses threats to countries and peoples in the Middle East, stimulating an environment of war.
None of those facts were unforeseeable. Such plans were outlined previously and the preventive wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, the “war on terrorism” and other demarches by the Bush administration lie within their scope. The recently issued document reiterates that “winning the war on terrorism demands winning the battles in Afghanistan and Iraq”. The current episodes involving Iran and other threats of intervention show the existence of an escalade and a persistent policy of war.
What is new and unforeseeable, at least for the strategists in the White House, is that those plans are failing. The Bush administration will enter history not only as the jost aggressive, but also as the one that faced more defeats. The Bush administration has pushed the idea that the war in Iraq would cost little in face of the aimed objectives: the ousting of a tyrant and the elimination of weapons of mass destruction. Its troops would be seen as those who freed the country and saved humankind. It is up to the American people to charge for it in the opportune time. Three years after Bush’s war against Iraq, his defeat is a hard fact. An armed multifaceted resistance has installed itself in the country, beginning a long-lasting war of national and popular forces, which inflict defeat after defeat upon the invading army. The media at the service of the invader broadcast the idea that they are facing terrorist and religious groups that are against the West. Today it is not possible to disguise that it is the people, by means of a myriad of political and military organizations, who is fighting a bloody resistance and defeating the United States’ plans. Iraq, such as Palestine has done before, is showing that there is no future for a neocolonialist policy by means of a military occupation. The 20th century, with its experience of revolutions and liberation fights, has left that legacy to the peoples – the awareness that it is imperative to defend the national cause by revolutionary means. And that that task is one of the jost advanced social forces, the working class and its fundamental allies, which are politically represented by anti-imperialist, revolutionary and anti-capitalist political trends that struggle for the strategic objective of socialism.
It is the perception of the announced defeat that forces sectors of the United States’ right to demand the immediate end of the “lunacy in Iraq”. The failure in Iraq can be added to the fiasco in the Bush administration’s plans regarding the Palestinian issue. The “Road map”, already stained by Israeli intransigence and the persistence of Zionists in a repressive and expansionist policy, has utterly failed and every peace plan that does not take into account the devolution of occupied territories and the creation of an independent Palestinian State will fail likewise.
The National Security Strategy launched by the White House insists on the concept of “rogue states”, aimed by the aggressive action of the United States. Besides the aforementioned Iran and Syria, the United States’ government turns towards North Korea, “which keeps defying the region and the international community”, Zimbabwe, Byelorussia and Myanmar, where it promises to oust “despotic governments”, and makes ungraceful references to Russia and China, accusing the great Asian socialist nation of practicing a “closed economy”, “violating human rights” and “developing” military programs without transparency.
Latin America is also aimed by the United States’ offensive. The rhetoric and gestures of the Bush administration are particularly threatening to socialist Cuba and revolutionary Venezuela. As long as Cuba is concerned, the document reads “a dictator keeps oppressing his people”, an undisguised show of embitterment caused by the acknowledgement that more than 40 years of blockade and so many attempts at destabilization and magnicide were not able to bend the Revolution, which displays political and ideological health and the capacity to overcome economic difficulties.
Venezuela constitutes today a special concern to the White House: “A demagogue full of oil money poses a threat of regional instability”, reads the document. A few weeks before Ms. Condoleezza Rice exhorted the countries in the region to take actions against Venezuela and made laughable statements denying the democratic character of Venezuelan elections, which were successively carried out and resulted in undeniable victories of Chavez and the political forces of the Bolivarian Revolution.
The evolving political situation in Latin America is an eloquent sign of the defeat of United States’ imperialism. Besides the consolidation of the Cuban Revolution and the triumph of the Bolivarian Revolution, the electoral victories of democratic, patriotic and popular forces have constituted a progressive aspect of promising political results in several countries in the continent, which has its jost outstanding recent example in the government of Bolivian Indian leader Evo Morales. One could not and should not make a univocal reading of the political process taking place in Latin America, since national peculiarities have enormous influence, being very different among such different realities as Venezuelan, Brazilian, Bolivian, Argentinean, Uruguayan etc. However, there is no doubt that the general sense of what is taking place in the region has an anti-imperialist character. Therefore it is a blunt mistake to counterbalance those processes and supposedly support one and condemn another. Any right-wing victory, especially if it takes place in a country as important as Brazil, will have a serious negative effect on the whole of the anti-imperialist movement in the continent. Acknowledging that phenomenon with acuity, President Chavez, before the social movements gathered in Caracas during the polycentric World Social Forum that took place last January, made an important assessment on the progressive character of the evolving movements not only in Venezuela, but also in President Lula’s Brazil, in President Tabaré Vasquez’s Uruguay, in President Kirchner’s Argentina, among others, though the objective and subjective limitations of the evolving processes in the region are clear.
It is a significant fact with extraordinary historical meaning that the United States’ imperialism is being contested in such a sharp fashion in a region it has always considered its backyard and that was presented in the very recent 90’s as the symbol of a “new renaissance”, a phrase coined by one of the jost pro American and yielding statesmen of that time, Brazilian former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Likewise it is a meaningful fact that the FTAA, a huge neocolonialist plan, has been rejected up till now, a result of the peoples’ struggle, the anti-neoliberal resistance of social movements, the firmness of Chavez’s Venezuela – which said no to the FTAA since the very first moment – and the dexterity of the political and commercial diplomacy of the Lula administration, which skillfully dismantled one of the jost perverse inheritances it has received – the FTAA negotiations. Thus the “peoples’ summit” in Mar del Plata, which was characterized by the “FTAA’s burial”, enters history as a great event by signaling a bitter defeat to the United States’ plans. It is at the same time an important experience from which we can draw lessons. If the peoples achieve a similar victory on the neoliberal dispositions of the WTO materialized in the proposals presented by great economic powers in the so-called Doha round, the neoliberal globalization will be affected in what it holds jost dear: “free trade” and “deregulation”.
The evolution of events in the Middle East and Latin America, with the defeats suffered by the United States’ imperialism and the increasing resistance of the peoples, are evidences that there are alternatives and that imperialism is not invincible. During a decade and a half (the 90’s and the first half of the current decade) the popular movement was indoctrinated by the hegemonic left-of-center forces with the thesis that imperialism and neoliberalism was inexpugnable due to their power of destruction and the control of world economy by the financial capital. The myth of inexistent alternatives was divulged, a tacit justification to cover an ideological posture of adaptation and, in the end, capitulation. The event that took place in France in the last weeks (which deserve an individual analysis in another article) constitute another example that there are other possible ways to follow in order to resist to, fight against and defeat the neoliberal right-wing policies.
Three years after the beginning of the “preventive” wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the world is less safe and imperialism is more threatening. On the other hand, the peoples are more experienced and willing to fight. The anti-imperialist struggle, a pressing issue of current times, will be a long-term struggle. It will gather momentum in case it is followed with radicalness and broadness, waving banners that are able to mobilize the creative energy of the peoples, such as the ones for peace, against the imperialist war, for social and political rights, against the anti-social and anti-democratic offensive of neoliberalism, for the development of national sovereignty, against neocolonialism and imperialist domination.
* International Politics specialist, journalist and writer, author of “International conflicts in a globalized world” and “The anti-imperialist struggle versus the United States’ hegemony”, PCdoB’s International Relations Secretary and Director of Cebrapaz – Brazilian Center of Solidarity to the Peoples and Struggle for Peace.