[Marxism] Has imperialism changed its stripes?

Paul Flewers trusscott.foundation at blueyonder.co.uk
Wed Jul 6 07:36:38 MDT 2011

To address Allan's questions, my take on the Libya business is that
having been wrong-footed in respect of the fall of Ben Ali in Tunisia
and Mubarak in Egypt, two leading imperialist powers -- Britain and
France -- in particular, and the USA rather less enthusiastically,
wished to cash in on the anti-Gaddafi uprising, in the expectation
that he would rapidly fall, and that they would be able to take
advantage of the post-Gaddafi situation in a way that they couldn't in
Tunisia and Egypt. In other words: to commandeer the uprising by
coopting the opposition. Hence their call for at the UN Security
Council and subsequent implementation of a 'no-fly' zone, which I feel
that they thought would be sufficient to enable the opposition to
obtain a commanding position against Libyan state forces, and thus go
onto the offensive and overthrow Gaddafi's regime. Hence their support
for the opposition.

This neat plan has gone awry because, although they have successfully
coopted the opposition, Gaddafi has not fallen, he has not been
overthrown by an internal coup, nor has he been militarily defeated.
In this situation, the imperialists have been obliged to ratchet up
their military involvement into widespread attacks upon Libyan state
forces and infrastructure: that is, going from being an auxiliary to
the opposition forces to being the main military force against
Gaddafi. There is much concern amongst the imperialist governments and
general staffs that this effective stalemate could last for quite some
time, as unseating Gaddafi could well require an actual invasion of
Libya, and this is one thing that has been ruled out.

Having made a severe miscalculation in engaging in Libya on the
expectation of Gaddafi's rapid fall, the big powers have been obliged
continually to escalate their operations. Having made so much of their
assistance to the opposition, they would look extremely stupid if they
now have to change their objectives: they would be seen as being
defeated, and by Gaddafi of all people. This they cannot do. Hence
their brusque rejection of the African Union's call for a negotiated
settlement, and their insistence that Gaddafi must go, although this
is inevitably extending the war.

Various key figures, including the British Foreign Secretary William
Hague, have shown concern that they are anxious to avoid the societal
collapse and general mayhem that accompanied the fall of Ba'athist
Iraq and the dismantling of the Ba'athist state machine. Hague stated
that leading elements in Tripoli -- excluding the Gaddafi family, of
course -- must be included in any post-Gaddafi regime. Considering
that the leading elements in the opposition are former Gaddafi heavies
who had fallen out with the Colonel at various points, one can be sure
that any genuinely democratic outcome to this affair can be pretty
much ruled out. One can wager that any official statements issued by a
putative post-Gaddafi regime will be larded with democratic verbiage,
guaranteeing free speech, equality and diversity and all that, this
will be just window-dressing to fool gullible Western liberals;
indeed, a statement to this effect was issued some time back. A few
Libyan democrats might be kept on to gave a democratic veneer to what
will be a typical repressive regime; any democratic content to the
opposition to Gaddafi has long been extinguished.

Paul F

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