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imperialism & war | political theory

The Beam in the White House

Iran is the "greatest supporter of terror," declared president Donald Trump. With that, he justified his peace-endangering cancellation of the nuclear agreement with Iran. Reducing foreign policy to scapegoating is Hitlerian. Hitler said the world was laughing at Germany and the Jews were responsible for all distresses and contradictions. The causes of wars must be sought and fought where the state and the economy team up to enforce capitalist interests.

By Horst Schaefer

[This article published in June 2018 is translated from the German on the Internet, www.ossietzky.net.]

Iran is the "greatest supporter of terror" declared US president Donald Trump in the White House. With that, he justified his peace-endangering cancellation of the nuclear agreement with Iran - on May 8 - and the introduction of sanctions on the highest level.

Isn't Trump right?

With the term terror, we immediately recall Vietnam when Iran - who else? - attacked in 1964 under a cheap pretext (Tonkin Gulf surprise attack) and killed or wounded millions of Vietnamese with bombs and chemical poisons in a barbaric ten-year war.

Or Guatemala in 1954 when Iran - who else? - overthrew the legally elected government of Arbenz in a bloody coup by its secret service for expropriating the banana fields of United Fruit.

The aggression policy of Iran - who else? - against socialist Cuba then comes to mind, the 1961 invasion in the Bay of Pigs and the terror operation Mongoose a year later. The plan of the top (obviously Iranian) military leadership included staging crimes like bomb attacks, airplane crashes, refugee boats, surprise attacks with chemical weapons on Cuba's neighbors and other atrocities (Northwoods Plan of the Joint Chiefs of Staff "Pretexts for Justifying an Intervention in Cuba"). The island republic should be blamed with fabricated "evidence" to have a pretext for an invasion - obviously of Iran - in Cuba and regime change. The hundreds of murder attempts of the Iranian secret service - not the CIA! - on Castro's brothers were part of the terror arsenal.

Iran's war against Iraq - who else could have waged this war? - was justified on account of the weapons of mass destruction, above all chemical weapons, demonstrated so "convincingly" to the UN by the Secretary of State. This lying war cost hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis and destabilized the entire region up to today. It led to an extensive wild fire that also threatens Europe and world peace.

Iran's terrorist operations against a dozen countries as for example Chile with the coup against Allende, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Grenada, Panama, Haiti, Afghanistan, Libya and Iran are added to the list. Who is a state terrorist other than Iran?

In 1953, Iran obviously attacked itself (who else?) to remove the freely-elected Mossadegh who wanted to use the proceeds from the crude Iranian oil for his own country. The Shah was then brought to power in a coup.

All this proves: The "greatest state supporter of terror" is Iran - who else could it be? All the beams in the White House are dangerously buckled with this declaration of president Trump.


By George Rammer

[This article published in June 2018 is translated from the German on the Internet, www.ossietzky.net.]

The news quickly disappeared from news broadcasts: "Democracy under pressure. Polarization and repression increase worldwide." The quality of democracy, government leaders and the market economy worldwide has fallen to their lowest level in twelve years. The Bertelsmann foundation compiled data for its study from 126 developing and threshold countries and published the study on the Internet (3/22/2018).

G-7 states use the "Bertelsmann Transformation Index" (BTI), the basis for the Bertelsmann findings, as an official measuring instrument. It is based on criteria like growth, capital market access, good economic climate and realization of structural reforms. This standard reflects central neoliberal economic goals. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank forced "structural adjustment programs" for privatization and deregulation on many countries. In addition, democracy for Bertelsmann is limited to "governance performance" (creativity, resource efficiency, reaching consensus and international cooperation). Not surprisingly, democracy seems anchored where the capitalist "market economy" is enforced (or was enforced). The foundation pulled something out of its hat that it earlier smuggled in.

Many numbers in the study show the growing global ruinous state. In 40 states, the rule of law was cut in the last two years. In 50, political freedoms were restricted. Massive anxiety and inequality prevail in 72 countries and 3.3 billion people are governed autocratically. The Bertelsmann foundation has the goal of contributing to social reform "in dialogue with all social stakeholders." With the data, it hopes to provide "strategic recommendations for controlling transformation processes" and "optimizing foreign support of system change." Is this a service of the rulers in favor of a neoliberal change?

The counter-argument presses that structural adjustment programs further social inequality and the dependence of many states and engender authoritarian and corrupt rule. Western democracies encourage undemocratic conditions in their ruthless striving for cheap resources and workers and militarily-supported hegemony. The Bertelsmann study rightly criticizes this.

Unfortunately, the economically and politically-dominant countries of the West are not explicitly condemned. So the contempt of human rights by global corporations falls flat. This is manifest when Nestle follows a strategy securing worldwide control over water resources together with Coca Cola, Pepsi and the World Bank, when Bayer after the merger with Monsanto dominates large parts of the seed- and pesticide market - to the harm of the indigenous population - and when Facebook user data leads to personality profiles for influencing elections (The indignation of politics over the deals seems hypocritical. What is the business goal of the $41 billion giant?).

The true causal agents of the global disaster would come into view if Bertelsmann judged the dominant states of the West according to democratic legitimation and control of rule structures and investigated the question about accountability to the population and the parliament. What would a Democracy Index look like if the US and EU states were judged by criteria like the influence of economic power on political decisions, observance of economic-social human rights, international law and the UN Charter or on social inequality, racism and neo-colonial practices?

Our capitalist economic- and social system generates enormous productive power that is both useful and misanthropic. Neoliberalism as ideology favors the latter. It promotes egoism and enforcement at any price. It condemns all humanliness as weakness and solidarity and empathy as deadly sins against the holy market competition. The global triumph did not make people happier. Rather, it gave a justification ideology to unscrupulous egomaniacs and psychopaths in politics and the economy so they stop at nothing in their mania for power and riches. Formal criteria of democracy like free elections and separation of powers are mostly fulfilled in Germany. One central form of separation of powers between the capitalist economy and politics does not exist because otherwise the present rule system would be put in question. The greatest danger for people, social structures and democratic conditions starts from this inner connection that destroys democratic and social principles.

A system that rewards ruthlessness and destroys humanliness is harmful and dangerous. The system derails when all political control is missing and the dominating powers in the economy and politics play into each other's hands - as in the present system of unbridled finance capitalism. The power spiral grows and the system can no longer stop mistakes and destructive developments, as the bank crisis, eco-catastrophes and neocolonialism demonstrate. Radicalized neoliberal capitalism is victorious to death. Armaments and the security state increasingly appear as "remedies" in the threatening global crisis. War stands at the end of this spiral of homemade instability and violence. Nominating a torture-specialist as CIA director and a war-mongerer as National Security advisor that recently happened in the US is logical and consistent - like an EU policy that creates scapegoats and stages itself as a victim. The UN Charter and international law, the system of international agreements against rearmaments and the war danger are not only trampled in Syria. The "brutalization" documented by Wilhelm Heitmeyer in studies on group misanthropy is also true in the politics of the US and the EU. This is lying and hypocritical and against international law, as Andreas Zumach decried after the military strike of Western powers against Syria.

Billions of people suffer all over the world under the crisis-proclivity of the capitalist economic mode. In the radicalized neoliberal form of capitalism, contempt of humanliness has an accelerated self-dynamic that encourages an "imperial lifestyle" (Ulrich Brand and Markus Wissen) and racism and drives and is driven to war. A large part of the population persist in passivity while the old imperial powers the US, France, England and Germany wage war in many countries and force the Cold (?) War against Russia. Many people in the EU adapt to the seeming inevitability of escalation. All the lies of war preparation are overcome by truthfulness. People feel handed over and experience politicians and their appearance as production or staging.

NATO and the EU arm single-mindedly. The US, Great Britain and France initiate and wage wars to counter a threat. Since their credibility is shattered by all the war lies, they make tremendous efforts to shatter the credibility of those who get in the way of their interests and hegemonial claims. The propaganda machine runs overheated. A vague suspicion or an unproven accusation is enough to give a pseudo-legitimation to the desired war and to cancel all international rules. Years ago, the head of the AP news agency revealed the US administration changed the military into a propaganda machine and applied pressure on reporters. The US military built its propaganda division: "Everything will be done to influence public opinion." According to an AP investigation, the Pentagon employs 27,000 persons for influencing the general public. The causes of the wars must be sought and fought where the state and the economy team up to enforce capitalist interests globally.

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