U.S./E.U. Rivalry and Blix
By Lil Joe
An Athens daily news paper (Sunday, September
21, 2003) carried an interview of Hans Blix, Europe's former UN
chief weapons inspector. Hans Blix, in diplomatic jargon,
denounced the United States and Britain for their
“unnecessary” invasion and occupation of Iraq.
I say, "diplomatic jargon," because
the wording, used by Blix, is vague enough for any number of
"interpretations." Blix spoke of the
"questionable honesty" of the governments of Britain
and United States in presenting their "case" for the
invasion and occupation of Iraq (actually re-occupation since
Britain was there before). Blix's opposition to the
invasion – the same as Germany, Russia and France – is that
Iraq had no WMDs and thus that Iraq was posing no immediate
This implicit criticism, by a prominent
European operative, of the U.S. and Britain's foreign policy in
Iraq must be analyzed, critically, in context of the economic
competition between the United States and the European Union.
This economic rivalry manifested in politics,
and wars, has been acerbated and aggravated by the
Anglo-American bilateral invasion and occupation of Iraq.
This follows upon the heels of the Invasion of Afghanistan.
The invasion and occupation of Iraq was, however, the first time
in recent history that the U.S. Pax-America openly overthrew a
government it didn't like and install one to its liking.
Of course, the direct participation of U.S.
in overthrowing governments, and killing the leaders of
governments it didn't like, has been going on for some time,
covertly e.g., Iran 1953 (CIA); Guatemala 1953-1954 (CIA); Costa
Rica 1955 (CIA); Indonesia 1957-1958 (CIA); Guatemala 1960-1963;
Ecuador 1960-1963 (CIA); Congo 1960-64 (CIA); Brazil 1964 (CIA);
Peru 1960-1964 (CIA); Dominican Republic 1960 (CIA); Chile 1972
(CIA); Guatemala 1970 (CIA); Nicaragua 1981-91 (CIA/Contra);
However, for the most part, these covert
activities were carried out by surrogates of the Empire. The
open military overthrow of the government of Afghanistan in 2002
was the first public activity of this kind, and had the
political backing of the European Union.
Certainly, Britain's Tony Blair is the Bush
surrogate in Europe, making Britain America's lapdog in Europe.
In the conflicts in the Middle East, on the other hand Britain
has become a vicious, murderous "bulldog" as Britain's
former prime minister Marguerite Thatcher put it (when she
represented Ronald Reagan in the Cold War).
Blix's political criticism of the
Anglo-American bilateral policy of aggression against, and
occupation of Iraq, must be viewed in context of the European
Union/ United States economic rivalry, in that the major
economic powers in the European Union are in large degree
dependent on Gulf oil to fuel their economies. Europe's
dependency on Gulf oil compels Germany and France as the
foremost representative of the economic interests of the EU, to
come out against the Occupation, and therefore "anti-war."
The United States is a declining technological and economic power relative to the
advanced technologies and aggressive economic powers of Europe
and East Asia (including China, Japan, and South Korea).
Nonetheless, along with Russia, the U.S. remains one of the dominant nuclear powers.
Undoubtedly, the military
strategists in Japan, China, Russia, Germany, and France are
analyzing U.S. soldiers in Iraq, on the ground taking an ass
whipping. If the Iraqi irregulars and guerrillas can
inflict casualties as they are and getting away with it and by
doing so demoralize American forces, it is likely that in ground
combat with the millions man and woman army of
China, or even North Korea, would face quick defeat. Not to
mention a military conflict with a modern Franco-German
army operating with technologically advanced military hardware backed by Russia's vast
But that's good! The United States
thought, by picking on a small country weakened by twelve years
of economic sanctions and random bombing campaigns initiated by
Bill Clinton, that the U.S. would show their power, and "shock
and awe" not just the Iraqis, but the world. But, not
only were the Iraqis neither "shocked" nor "awed,"
but the invaders were the one's shocked and awed by the fierce
Iraqi resistance on the road to Baghdad, and now in Baghdad
Certainly the U.S. occupation of Iraq is
about the oil. That is true. But not in the crude economic
sense that it has been discussed. It must be analyzed from
a more sophisticated dialectical materialist point of view
regarding issues of global political economy and necessity.
The Anglo-American presence as occupying
powers in Middle Asia must be understood, from the context of
technological and economic competition between the United States
and its junior partner in Europe, Britain on the one hand and
the European Union and Japan and China on the other. The
identity of opposites that were contained in the NATO group of
imperialist countries, was a negative unity, i.e., a unity in
opposition to the Soviet Bloc. Once the Soviet Bloc collapsed
the NATO group had no unity of interests, politically.
In the 1950s, 60s, and 70s European countries
were developing a technological revolution with Germany in the
lead. Japan underwent a similar change in Asia. A new
techno-capitalism sprang from the post World-War II rebuilding
of Europe. An occupied and disarmed Germany was able to devote
the bulk of its capitalist's profits and plow them back
into industrial expansion and technological advances; with the
collapse of the Soviet Bloc and the Soviet Union, the expansion
of capital continued with the annexing of the economies in the
East including East Germany.
The German-French collaboration in the
European Economic Community was a force which, based on those
two powerful economies had economic interests that would compete
with the United States – Germany in Eastern and Central
Europe, including the former Yugoslavia, and France in Africa.
Iraq wanted to convert to the Euro.
European Union: 376
United States: 273
Area (1,000 km)
European Union: 3,236
United States: 9,809
GDP (Billions of Euro)
European Union: 7,809
United States: 8,729
(Billions of Euro)
European Union: 36
United States: (-270)
of Goods and Services
(Billions of Euro)
United States: 862
of Goods and Services
(Billions of Euro)
European Union: 952
United States: 1,132
GDP per capita (Euro)
European Union: 20,800
United States: 31,987
Exports as Share of
European Union: 20%
United States: 18%
Imports as Share of
European Union: 19%
United States: 22%
Foreign Aid to Third
World in 1997 (Millions of US
European Union: 31,873
United States: 6,878
Most of the U.S. "foreign aid" is to the garrison
state of Israel, and to buying off Jordan and Egypt.
At the same time Japan is the world's second
largest economy. An economy based on advanced industry
and high technology, Japan's economy is seven times the size of
China's and produce seventy percent of all commodities in East
Asia. Based on this advanced industry and technology, and
consequently high labour productivity, Japan has a culture that
values hard work and savings (similar to the protestant work
ethic in Germany). Availability of money in finance institutions
has enabled Japan to heavily invest in U.S. treasury bills or
Based on its advanced technology and economic
power, the European Union, and also Japan, are becoming
political powers and are beginning to demand that the U.S.
remove its occupation forces from their respective countries.
Being an economic powerhouse brings with it political power and
diplomatic clout. The European Union along with Japan,
having the world's most advanced technology and strong economy,
political power and ambitions are inevitable, as was the case of
the United States in the 1950s and 60s
Technological economic power is "political
power." But national political power is expressed,
inevitably, in military capacity. When a nationalist gang of
capitalists achieves technological and economic parity with a
country that has been subordinating them, it will rise up
inevitably in opposition to the now relatively weakened country
that has subordinated them.
In the 1950s and 60s the world's undisputed
technological, economic, political power in the West was the
United States. Although the Soviet Union had military parity,
the U.S. had the most advanced economic technology, with which
American capitalist rebuilt European industry with their state
of the art technology, and also Japan (e.g., steel production
facilities supplied American forces with military related
hardware used by America in the Korean War). The Soviet
Union was surrounded by hostile capitalist states (which were
homes U.S. military occupation garrisons) with advanced
In these decades, and especially in the 1980s
"Reagan Era" -- so-called Reaganomics – the
so-called "Laffer-Curve" (alternately called
"supply-side") economics in the era of a Permanent
Arms Economy (PAE) encouraged investments in military related
production, mobile cruse missiles, SDI, etc. – which however
wasted a lot of capital in this PAE in that it produced
"goods" that could be neither consumed (outside of
nuclear war) nor sold as export capital nor commodities.
At the same time the high government deficits,
which resulted from tax cuts to capitalists and government
spending in the PAE, made the American government an
international borrower, and a strong dollar made U.S.
commodities less competitive both at home and abroad.
The "arms race" that bankrupted the
Soviet Union undermined Americas economic
global supremacy. The European Union is the real
"winner of the 'Cold War'," and is today the strongest
economic power on earth. The United States has but its military
supremacy to fall back on. Thus the wars in the Balkans were to
anchor NATO as permanent and positive, which in fact would make
the United States the modern Nazi occupation power in Europe, in
the same regions of Eastern and Central Europe (minus France).
"Diplomacy is warfare without bloodshed."
But the possibility of warfare as a
continuation of politics by other, i.e. violent means,
has to be prepared for, especially in a world dominated by
a rogue superpower, the United States.
On 20 November 2000, European Union Defense
Ministers met in Brussels and agreed to the creation of a
European Union Rapid Reaction Force through the Military
Capabilities Commitment. The force, at least initially, will
consist of up to 60,000 troops. This army will be
independent of NATO and committed to operate on the behalf of
This is a follow-up on the establishment, on
November 13, 1987, at the 50th Franco-German summit in Karlsruhe
of a Franco-German Brigade, announced on that day by President
Mitterand of France and Chancellor Kohl of Germany. The 5,000
strong Franco-German Brigade is the core of the emerging
Dominated militarily and politically by
the United States, NATO is deliberately excluded from
participation in this European army. Thus, strategically, the
United States is incorporating into NATO former WARSAW Pact
countries – including Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary,
Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia (on the
one hand), and Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia (on
What all these countries have in common, in
addition with recent conflicts with the former Soviet Union, and
fear of Russia is a history of oppression, wars, and occupation
by Germany. These countries, which supported the
Anglo-American war against and occupation of Iraq, besides being
economic basket cases have a political incentive to join NATO as
a check on the Franco-German military alliance. The Bush regime
called these poor, desperate countries the "New Europe,"
as against the "Old Europe" – that is, the powerful
European Union with its own army, anchored economically in the
technology and economic strength of the combined economy of
Germany, France, and Italy, and others.
The U.S. has military forces in Kuwait, Saudi
Arabia, Afghanistan. With its occupation of Iraq, the U.S. is
positioned to blackmail the European Union with the oil
that it is economically dependent upon to keep its modern
industries a humming.
The United States has put in place a quisling
regime that it wants to send to OPEC, to manipulate OPEC to the
advantage of American capitalists to the disadvantages of its
economic rivalries, not just the European Union, but Japan and
South Korea as well.
In fact, the U.S. initiated, and "led,"
NATO wars in the Balkans – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and
Kosovo – were directly related to the threat the U.S.
perceived regarding the Germans and the French plans to
reconstitute a military presence, a common European army.
The technological and economic superiority of the economies of
Northern Europe in comparison to the United States, is capable
of providing a superior military power as well.
Clinton's use of U.S. military policy in
world politics to deflect the nation's attention away from the
scene of Monica Lewinsky under the Oval Office desk does not
explain why the Republicans voted for Clinton's overall war
policies in Iraq and the Balkans. The truth of the matter is
that both Democrats and Republicans have a common class interest
and a common world-view and foreign policy.
Schroeder, Putin, and Chirac are no more
morally opposed to killing people when it furthers their
respective national class interests than is Thatcher, Clinton,
Blair and Bush. Neither is Hans Blix.
In the interview published today in the
Athens daily Kathimerini, Blix said "In Iraq, there
was no sign of an immediate threat" from weapons of mass
destruction. "What worries me," said Blix, "is
the questionable honesty of a government that publicly presents
certain arguments, but privately has different thoughts."
So what does that mean? That it would
have been okay for the British and American imperialists to
invade and occupy Iraq, had Blair and Bush "fessed-up"
to their real motives? But the posing of the issue of
Iraqi WMDs was not just a lie. It was a lie which provokes fear
in imperialist United States and such nations of Western Europe
as well. A fear shared by Blix.
The premise the United States and European
governments operate from is that only White, European countries
such as the United States, England, France, Israel and apartheid
South Africa could be trusted to manufacture and possess
nuclear, chemical and biological "WEAPONS OF MASS
When any 3rd world country not just possess
but produce such weapons they are considered "dangerous,"
especially nations which U.S. imperialism cannot bully and
dominate – China, Korea, Iran, Iraq. Yet it was the U.S.
that used biological weapons against the indigenous Americans
(small pox, etc.), nuclear weapons against the Japanese, and
chemical agents against the Vietnamese.
What Blix is saying is that it would have
been okay for Britain and the United States to invade and
destroy Iraq IF the Iraqi rulers did in fact manufacture and
possess WMDs, but that since they didn't have that capacity it
was not okay.
Yet, even if we were to accept the premise
that "sand Niggers" (Saddam, Qua'daffi, etc.) ought
not be allowed such dangerous weapons, logically, the follow-up
question should have been asked: Since the Iraqis had no
so-called weapons of mass destruction and posed no "immediate
threat," then why has the United Nations, with European
Union complicit involvement, imposed 12 years of monstrous
economic sanctions on that small Muslim Arab country?
It is not to be forgotten that it was the UN
weapons inspection "regime" (UNSCUM, etc.) that has
provided political justification for the United States and its
British Bulldog lackey to engage in bombings over the last
twelve years. These bombings occurred whenever U.S. domestic
politics needed an external "evil" to fight, to
deflect gullible Americans attention from domestic problems,
e.g., Clinton when he got caught with his pants down.
The Cold War is over and Russia is hungry for
Western capital investments. This has given the U.S. temporary
economic and even military hegemony over the world, which it
exercises with reckless abandon. But, as its technological
and economic hegemony is being challenged by the European Union
and Japan and South Korea, U.S. imperialism is forced to rely on
its military options, including nuclear blackmail and armed
Meanwhile, three more U.S. Soldiers were
killed in an Iraqi resistance assault and a U.S. installed quisling
– Aquila al-Hashimi, one of three women selected by the U.S.
occupation forces appointed to the 25-member quisling Governing
Council, – was shot and wounded in a separate operation. By
shooting this lackey, the Iraqi resistance is signaling that
collaborators will not be tolerated.
What does the world expect? The United
States, which had forced the world to place deadly sanctions on
Iraq for 12 years, and bombing that country whenever and
wherever they pleased, reeking death, devastation and hardship
on an entire people, has the stupidity that comes from
arrogance, to place a quisling regime in front of their military
occupation and call those quislings the "Iraqi Governing
Douglas Brand, a British imperialist with
"experience" in occupying a hostile country, the
British troops in Ireland, is now in Iraq training Iraqi police
to kill Iraqis. He is now also heading up an
"investigation" of the shooting of the quisling, and
appealing to Iraqis to come forward with any information.
The representative of the British government,
which together with the U.S. government ordered their respective
armies to bomb, kill, and destroy from the safety of high
flights and from distant warships, under cover of night
darkness, had the gall to say of the courageous Iraqi resistance
daylight operation, that wounded the lackey, the U.S. installed
quisling, Aquila al-Hashimi, that:
This was a cowardly attack. She has
undergone two operations. She remains in critical but
stable condition at the hospital. Anybody who has any
further information to offer us, to help us in the
investigation, to hunt down those who committed this
crime, we ask them to contact the Iraqi police service
locally or the coalition forces.
Yeah, right. The Brits can expect no
more help from the Iraqis in their bloody invasion and
occupation of Iraq, than they did from the Irish in their bloody
occupation of Ireland.
Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow
was in Baghdad smacking his lips, drooling at the mouth in
anticipation of the lucrative kickbacks he expects at some point.
He declared his plan to open all sectors of the economy to
foreign investment — except oil. This is selling off
Iraqi national treasures and the labour power of the Iraqi
proletariat ostensibly "to revive an economy shattered by
years of armed conflict, mismanagement, and international
John Snow said the plan offered "real
promise" of economic revival but cautioned that the
resistance must be suppressed for "security in a country
still facing daily violence." "Security" is the
new word in Newspeak. Yesterday, the bloody invasion and
ruthless occupation of Iraq was called "Liberation"
(Doublethink!) and today brutal suppression, curfew, and
violation of the Iraqi people by foreign occupation forces is
called bringing "security" to that ancient civilized
people. Double, double think on that one!
The reality on the ground is that the
resistance is picking up as Iraqis see that the U.S. forces on
the ground aint shit, not invincible.
Thus in an attempt to free Iraqi captives
from U.S. custody, according to a military report two soldiers
from the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade were killed when
mortars struck a U.S. base at the Abu Ghraib prison on the
western outskirts of Baghdad about 10 p.m. Saturday. Thirteen
other soldiers were wounded in the attack. No captive
Iraqis were hit or wounded.
Shortly before the Abu Ghraib shelling, a
soldier from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was killed when a
roadside bomb exploded near his Humvee outside Ramadi, about 60
miles west of the capital, the military said.
The head quisling, Ahmad Chalabi, the
president of the so-called "Governing Council,"
without even a blush of shame blamed the guerrilla-style
insurgency on "Saddam loyalists"! But, this quisling
has to say this, for to acknowledge that the resistance is by
the Iraqi people themselves, on their own accord, getting even
for the 12 years sanctions and repeated bombings, and to drive
the U.S.-led forces from their country would be to acknowledge
at the same time that they are lackeys, quislings.
[Vidkun Quisling — from Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia: Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonsson
Quisling (July 18, 1887 - October 24, 1945) — was a
Norwegian nationalist leader and Nazi collaborator who was tried
for treason and executed by firing squad after World War II.]
Al-Hashimi had been preparing to leave for a
key UN General Assembly meeting in New York on Tuesday, during
which the quisling regime is expected to lobby to represent Iraq
in the international bourgeois den of thieves, the UN.
Despite the impressive resistance to and
guerrilla war against the U.S. and British occupation, and now
continued operations against members of the quisling
"Governing Council," the bourgeois lackey, Kamil
Mubdir al-Gailani, acting as if he were the Iraqi Finance
Minister, unveiled a plan in Dubai, where the International
Monetary Fund and World Bank are holding their annual meetings
promising to open the Iraqi economy to foreign investments.
Under the plan, foreign banks will be allowed
to enter Iraq, with some restrictions, and foreigners will be
permitted to lease property for up to 40 years at a time. Al-Gailani
also announced a 15 percent maximum tax rate for individuals and
corporations starting Jan. 1 and a 5 percent reconstruction
surcharge on all imports except for humanitarian goods. The
British and the Americans destroyed Iraq, and the Iraqis are
being taxed by the quisling regime to pay U.S. corporations to
"rebuild" their torn country.
As choreographed, U.S. Treasury Secretary
Snow applauded Al-Gailani's blueprint as "policies that
make sense . . . that offer real promise," but acknowledged
that the resistance continues, inviting European Union
capitalists to send troops, to safeguard their investments.
This is their plan to get the EU to send troops and funds, but
the EU wants to control operations directly through the Den of
Thieves, the UN.
We shall see what happens on Tuesday. If the
Germans and French bourgeois governments don't accept Bush's
scheduled speech proposals, it will not be because they suddenly
had a human conscience regarding the Iraqi people, whose
oppression by the UN they supported for twelve long, devastating
years. Rather it will be because they want a better deal
— that is, to remove U.S. control of the Kuwaiti and
Iraqi oil fields.
written Sunday, September 21,2003
* * *
* * * * *
Salvage the Bones
A Novel by Jesmyn Ward
On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost
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Sex at the Margins
Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry
By Laura María Agustín
This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London
* * * * *
The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
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Ancient African Nations
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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
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Only a Pawn in Their Game
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for
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Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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