Imperialism Today, a Scorecard to Understand What Is Happeningby Norman Markowitz

I am an historian, not a philosopher.  I always try to compile and interpret information based on the context from which it comes, its ideological framework and whether it is reliable or accurate in what it presents and whether it is valid, meaning that, even if it is accurate, does the information really support the arguments made from it.

Contemporary mass media presents a blizzard of information claiming to be fact  in a matter of minutes, in words and pictures and videos and of  and do it yourself social media  It is as if for most people, the forest and the trees never end, so the easiest solution is to stay on the main road, in the CNN middle lane, the Fox right lane, or, occasionally turn to MSNBC for a short left turn.

Let me try to present first information, then interpretation, then a "scorecard"

1.Terrorists, meaning those who deliberately launch murderous attacks on civilians, innocent people, to gain recognition and support for various causes,  last  week launched murderous attacks in Paris.  And now in Mali

Interpretation.  Terrorist attacks were once called the "tyranny of the weak".  They are launched by those who don't have the strength to launch a conventional military or guerrilla war or are losing that war. They are police rather than military questions.  Usually they unite the very forces that they are attacking and frighten off potential supporters.  

If you want to help terrorists, the best thing to do is to give them the recognition that they seek, portray them as having great power that they do not have, use their acts to attack the religious/ethno-cultural groups that they seek to gain power over.

2.These specific acts come from supporters of   a self-proclaimed "Islamic State"  ISIS,which had seized significant territory in  war torn Syria.  

This group derives from Al Quaida in Iraq, which came into existence in Iraq after the Bush administration ousted the Baath regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

 Al Quaida in Iraq was a product of the Al Quaida Group led by Osama bin Laden, pledged to fight "holy wars" to establish  fundamentalist theocratic societies  in all Muslim countries and drive out all "non Muslim" institutions , ideas and people who did not conform to their theocratic definitions.  Although Al Quaida was responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001, it was a direct creation of the Reagan administration funded CIA managed war against the revolutionary Communist-led government of Afghanistan in the 1980s.  

Those who became Al Quaida later were called "freedom fighters" hailed in U.S. NATO bloc media, praised by intellectuals in many nations, even though their murderous tactics were the same then as now and  their ideology was the same, except of course that the  anti-communist, anti-Soviet components of their ideology were paramount at the time.  After the destruction of both the revolutionary government of Afghanistan and the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Treaty allies, Al Quaida turned on its former benefactors, who now became its major  targets.


 The CIA beginning in the early 1950s warned of "blowback" meaning the unintended consequences of actions over time, even successful ones.

In the 1980s, the Reagan administration sought to restore and escalate the Cold War as a foundation for its near tripling of the military budget.  It also sought to preserve and protect the U.S. NATO bloc based transnational oil companies control of the major oil region of the world in alliance with feudal regimes and to strike against Iran, with whom the U.S. Was in a semi state of war, having frozen Iranian assets in 1980 and ended diplomatic relations.  

To accomplish those goals it supported Iraq's Baath government in its war of aggression against Iran, sought to cover up Iraq's use of poison gas against Iran, and coaxed its feudal allies,the Saudis and Kuwaitis to "loan" Hussein billions to fight the war.  At the same time it through the CIA worked closely with the Pakistani rightist dictatorship of General Zia to establish border bases and carry forward the "contra war" against Afghanistan and its Soviet allies.  After the end of the Iran-Iraq war and the Soviet withdrawal from  Afghanistan, the Bush administration sought to drop Hussein but it wasn't so easy. He invaded Kuwait.  

But imperialism sees every disaster, especially disasters of its own making as opportunities. To  keep the tens of billions of dollars flowing into the military industrial complex and the oil flowing, the first gulf war was fought and an easy victory ensued against an isolated enemy.  Hussein was kept in power to be used as a bulwark against Iran while Iraq was hit with sanctions which produced more suffering for the people of Iraq.  Warlords and religious fanatics imposed a regime of terror and murder on the people of Afghanistan.  None of this mattered to Bush or his successor, Clinton, who saw the destruction of the Soviet Union as the completion of their Crusade/Jihad.

bin Laden didn't see it that way.  The scion of the family that had the largest private fortune in the region, he and the tens of thousand who had fought as "freedom fighters" took their Holy war" back to their own countries and began to launch attacks in Europe and Africa against civilian targets.  Most of their crimes were against the people of Muslim countries who refused to bow down to their theocratic tyranny.

 However, the whole military intelligence structures of the U.S. NATO bloc for half a century had been created to fight Communist parties, peoples front coalitions, national liberation struggles, even neutralist regimes like India and peace movements.  Groups like Al Quaida and governments like the Taliban had been pawns and allies, with their major supporters and founders, the Saudi billionaires and the rightwing  regime, still allies.  So they weren't taken seriously in spite of their actions.  There was no coordinated effort to deal with them, intelligence warnings were not analyzed  and the catastrophe of the 9/11 attacks  resulted.  

For Bush II, this also was a great opportunity to declare a global world war against terrorism, double the military budget in his first term,and invade Iraq a second time to achieve regime change, get rid of Hussein, the  "Axis of Evil" ally of Al Quaida, who with his "rogue state" brethren, Iran and North Korea. Of course none of this was true until the invasion and occupation brought Al Quaida into Iraq, conflicts between religious denominations in Iraq led the Saudis to begin to support their religious friends in Iraq, Turkey, a NATO bloc country elected a government which plays its own game of Islamic religious politics, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict deepened with a rightist Israeli government seeking to distract its own people and world opinion by warning of an Iranian nuclear threat

The sentence above ran on as did the crisis that President Obama inherited.


As a state Senator and U.S. Senator Obama had been a strong critic of the Bush policies in Iraq.  But now he finds himself in a more moderate version of regime change in Syria against another albeit different Baath regime in a medium sized country without oil reserves.  After 9/11, the stock markets boomed, especially military and oil stocks.  The bin  laden family greatly expanded its wealth while its  its"black sheep" Obamsa hid in plain sight in Pakistan while the Pakistani government took billions in U.S. "Aid" to fight terrorism.  Military stocks are booming again after the Paris attacks, rightwing Republicans who can always be expected to learn nothing and try to take advantage of everything from history, are recycling their Vietnam war mythology by blaming Obama for "withdrawing"  from Iraq.


Now for the scorecard.  Who is on whose side?

Turkey, a NATO state, is backing its own religious rebels/"jihadis" while it increases its oppression against its Kurdish minority which the U. S. Has supported in Iraq.  Russia,to the anger of the U.S. has attacked ISIS targets and also other religious/"jihadi" targets supported by the various NATO states and the Saudis.The U.S sees this as an attempt to gain Russian influence in the region and support the Baath regime.  Of course, everyone else from ISIS to the various factions supported by everyone else is trying to destroy the Baath regime

So our scorecard must be incomplete because none of the states in conflict are clearly on anyone's side, not even their own.  Imperialist rivalries always become "games" of cross and double cross where the masses of people are either pawns and/or, to use the contemporary term, collatorial damage

Syria today is a war zone filled with rival warring factions armed and aided by foreign powers.  It is a precursor of the kind of world that contemporary imperialism is creating.  The Syrian refugee crisis is a symptom of all what is happening, a symptom that must be addressed and addressed now, but one that in itself will not resolve the general  crisis  

First, the United Nations, which was established to prevent war, provide aid to the victims of war, and also play a central role in rehabilitation and development of war torn regions should serve as the center of the peace effort.  The Obama administration should support the invoking  of the UN's Human Rights Charter against those in Europe and the U.S. are refusing to accept refugees, calling for policies that deny people of the Muslim faith basic civil rights and equal protection of the law.

Then we can begin to think of a different scorecard--one that measures progress for the whole region in terms of employment, living standards, and quality of life, not the value of military and oil stocks and territory conquered.  And of regional peacekeeping which would seek to integrate Iran, Israel, and Turkey into the region, making them into a part of a solution to the regional problem.  Then of course, "regime change" might be addressed in an anti-imperialist way against the Feudal Saudi and Gulf State oil enterprise zones, monstrous regimes which mock everything the United Nations stands for.

Of course that is a scorecard for a new game, which we might call anti-imperialism or Peoples Internationalism, the antidote to "globalization"

So far, the only politician in U.S. National politics who is talking in such terms is Senator Bernie Sanders whom "mainstream" mass media, old fashioned Democratic Machine politicians and equally old fashioned Sam Gompers style business unionist leaders are seeking to ignore.

 Ignoring Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn in Britain, and others through the world who are saying enough is enough to imperialism today out of fear of the "regime change" that they offer through democratic means to the people of their own countries  can only make the present crisis a precursor to bigger ones in the future











































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