Wouldn’t it be fun if we could somehow revive an average American citizen who had been frozen in a cryogenic capsule from, say, the 1950s? Then, on revival, we allow this presumably open-minded person to sample international news developments that have occurred over the intervening decades since the time he was put into deep-frozen sleep; and, more especially, recent international developments.
We may hazard a guess that the salient impression that this time-traveler would perceive is the stark role-reversal in geopolitics between his native United States of America and that of his country’s supposed arch-enemy – Russia. While, the latter, of course, is no longer known as the Soviet Union and has adopted aspects of the capitalist economy, nevertheless Moscow still remains in many ways the primary centre of global rivalry to Washington.
However, what our awakened experimental subject would find shocking and disorientating is that the “evil empire” epithet that was so prevalently propounded against Russia during the Cold War era has now in fact become more fitting as a description for the foreign policy conduct of Washington.
Recall, for moment, the paranoia and frenzied fear that was such a staple of American society and culture during the 1950s McCarthy Red Scare era. “The Russians are coming!” was then the rallying call for all American citizens, dragooned into believing that Russia was hell-bent on attacking the “free world”. Democracy, freedom, the cherished capitalist market economy and private property, so the doctrine went, would all be banished in an imminent military attack from maniacal Marxist-Leninist Russian hordes.
It was, therefore, once-upon-a-time, America’s historic duty to “protect the free world” from these Russian philistines, who would, it was inferred, not think twice about burning down your local God-fearing Church and eating your babies, washed down with copious amounts of vodka.
How the world has changed since those ostensibly halcyon days of American pie and how the propaganda stereotypes have faded, indeed in retrospect appear grotesque and risible. That transformation in Western perception of Russia can partly be attributed to the unfolding of history and the expansion of global communications, and with that the breaking down of bigotry and conceited obscurantism.
But the disturbing thing is that the depiction of “evil empire” still holds. Only it is the US that is revealing itself in the role of evil empire. More specifically, it is the American ruling elite and their centrally planned financial-military-industrial complex that is increasingly the incarnation of all the criminality, barbarism and aggression that was once attributed by US propaganda to Russia. Instead of the Russians coming, the clarion call for the world to fear is: “The Americans are coming!” Or least, their imperialistic ruling elite.
There is abundant historical evidence to show that this is not just an illusory case of propaganda inversion that now unfairly defames and traduces the foreign policy of Washington in the same way that Moscow was formerly maligned.
Over the past 20 years, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the American role in instigating the world’s most costly, destructive wars is undeniable. The US-led NATO dismemberment of former Yugoslavia, and the invasion of Somalia and Iraq during the 1990s stand out. But these pernicious episodes were but a bloody prelude for the soon-to-follow much bigger crimes against humanity.
The US-led wars in Afghanistan and again in Iraq, which began in 2001 and 2003, respectively, caused up to 2 million deaths and countless more wounded, poisoned, sickened and dispossessed. The combined financial bill for those two wars alone is estimated by a recent Harvard University study at $6 trillion – more than one-third of the current total US national debt; a debt that has in large part plunged the rest of the world into a fatal economic stranglehold.
Moreover, respected legal opinion ascribes these wars on Afghanistan and Iraq initiated by the US as consummately illegal. That is, they were wars of aggression that were embarked on with spurious pretexts, which have since been shown to be baseless. That puts past and present American (and British) political leaders in the same category as Nuremburg war criminals.
Nevertheless, these criminal Western rulers have not been deterred in their ambitions for global conquest.
Since the US-led criminal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the pretext of “war on terror” as with other supposed “principles” invoked by Washington and its NATO allies, such as “responsibility to protect” human rights and democracy, to justify military interventions, have become increasingly threadbare and self-indicting.
The NATO intervention in Libya during 2011 was said to be in order “to protect human lives” from the “despotic Gaddafi regime” bearing down on a “pro-democracy uprising”. But it quickly became apparent that NATO was acting as the air force for reactionary Islamist militias, headed by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which has close ties with the Afghan mujahideen and Al Qaeda, whom the West is supposedly battling in a global war on terror. The NATO seven-month blitzkrieg on Libya ousted Gaddafi, only to create a lawless bandit state that today is over-run with jihadist militia, where the consular sites of the erstwhile NATO patrons of the “rebels” are not even safe from attack.
The piece de resistance of the many disingenuous gyrations in US imperialism is now seen with most graphic reality in Syria, where a sovereign government has withstood a more than two-year campaign of proxy war of aggression to precipitate yet another regime change. The chief sponsor of this covert state terrorist onslaught is the US, along with its NATO partners and their regional allies, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. And the mercenary brigades on the ground in Syria terrorizing the civilian population with acts of cannibalism, decapitations and other unspeakable mutilations, no-warning car-bombings, executions and kidnappings are jihadists affiliated to Al Qaeda and other international extremist groups, including the Libyan “rebels”. Washington’s foreign policy has seemingly evolved over a period of less than 10 years from the putative “war on terror” to being one of “war with terror”.
The appearance of American senator John McCain this week championing the Al Qaeda-linked jihadists in Syria, including a notorious kidnapper of religious pilgrims, by the name of Mohammad Nour, must surely rank as one of the most bizarre spectacles of American foreign policy alignment. And don’t discount the maverick McCain as a peculiar one-off. His rallying of cutthroat jihadist mercenaries was preceded a few weeks earlier by the US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, who also sneaked across the Turk border to pose with the same jihadists in northern Syria.
Washington also this week succeeded in urging Britain and France to lift the European Union weapons embargo on the regime-change mercenaries operating in Syria. So, while Washington convenes a Syrian peace summit in Geneva later this month, along with Moscow, the US is already undermining the prospects for a negotiated settlement to the conflict by giving notice that it and its allies are moving to ramp up the weapons supply, openly, to the terrorist mercenaries on the ground.
To recap: the American self-proclaimed “protector of the free world, democracy and human rights” is now evidently playing a completely different and vile role in actual practice. It is on the side of mercenaries, terrorists, cutthroats and rapists who are attacking a sovereign government in Syria that is committed to secular democracy. This is exposing Washington’s real values and geopolitical interests, which have for decades been concealed with self-congratulatory fraudulent claims of upholding democratic rights. Nothing could be further from the truth. Washington is serving, as it always has done, the interests of the centrally planned corporate economy that the US and global capitalist elite have rigged to ensure their enrichment – at the expense of everyone else on the planet, including the ordinary working populations of America and Europe.
In our present stagnant period of Late Capitalism, dominated by non-productive financial speculation and crippling debt, the operation of economy requires that all countries and their resources must be cowed for the global elite’s gratification. That is why Washington wants regime change in independent countries such as Syria, Iran and Venezuela, and eventually Russia and China, to open up these sites to unfettered exploitation by the American-led global capitalist elite.
American and European populations subjugated by relentless economic austerity, poverty and misery are beginning to wake up to the harsh reality under their ruling elite. Ordinary Americans and Europeans can see that it is their increasingly enriched and privileged oligarchs who are the real threat to society and peace, both at home and abroad.
That is why, ironically, when Russia announced that it was going ahead with delivery of the advanced S-300 anti-aircraft defence system to Syria, the news was met with common relief and satisfaction across the world, including, ironically, in the US. American citizens, knowing full well the depredations of their imperialist rulers, voiced this relief with the words: “Thank God for the Russians”…
The S-300 system will ensure that US warships and NATO fighter jets, including those of Israel, will likely desist now from launching more criminal attacks on Syria. The petulance of the US and its allies towards the Russian defence intervention in Syria, as well as the deployment of Russian naval fleet in the East Mediterranean, is all too noticeable. The US-led aggressive regime-change covert war in Syria has been checked by the Russian move, which comes as the Syrian forces on the ground deal heavy defeats to the Western-backed mercenaries.
Washington can spin all it wants about Russia “destabilizing the Middle East region”. But most ordinary people, including those suffering under the American and European capitalist ruling elite at home, know that the Russian intervention in Syria is a welcome chance to break the Western murderous march on Syria and the wider world.
People around the world know, so to speak, that the Americans were coming…
And now the American imperialist warmongers and their proxies have been stopped in their tracks – thanks to Russia. What a turnaround that is. The Russian are coming. Hooray!
Now that really is a rude awakening for our Cryogenic American from the 1950s.