[Marxism] Rania Khalek in Jacobin?

Fred Murphy fred.r.murphy at gmail.com
Tue Nov 22 14:08:01 MST 2016


by Rania Khalek

Building a more peaceful world means taking on American militarism.

The chaos and instability created by the US war machine over the last
fifteen years, particularly in the Middle East, has reached catastrophic
levels. Author and journalist Patrick Cockburn calls the present moment
“the age of disintegration.”

In Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, millions of people are on
the brink of famine thanks to a US-supported bombing campaign led by the
richest and most tyrannical country in the region, Saudi Arabia.

At the same time, Israel’s colonial project in Palestine grinds on with the
unconditional support of the American taxpayer. Obama recently handed
Israel $38 billion in military aid, dooming Palestinians to another decade
of suffocating repression, ethnic cleansing, and periodic slaughter.

Fifteen years after 9/11, the United States is still bombing Afghanistan in
a war that’s been largely forgotten despite Afghanistan producing the
second largest number of refugees in the world. The United States is
bombing Iraq again as well. This time the enemy is ISIS, the murderous
death cult that rose from the ashes of the 2003 US invasion and occupation,
which killed at least a million Iraqis and unleashed sectarian civil wars
that have plunged the region into madness.

In 2011, our leaders insisted Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was about to
massacre thousands of civilians and only Western intervention could stop
him. But a recently released study by the UK Parliament determined that the
looming massacre was a myth based on faulty intelligence and that the real
motivation behind the intervention was securing Western economic and
political interests in the region. Even by these standards, it was an utter
failure. Thousands were killed and since then the country has devolved into
a lawless haven for extremist groups, including ISIS.

ISIS has also made its way into Syria, where US forces are bombing the
group while simultaneously arming and funding an Islamist-dominated
insurgency against Russian-backed Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Back in
Washington, the armchair war hawks are pushing for a confrontation with
Russia, just one of the proxy wars that has engulfed Syria since the
uprising in 2011.

The broad pattern is clear. Our military adventures since 9/11 have been
nothing short of disastrous. Millions of lives have been shattered and an
endless stream of refugees is now trapped between borders and drowning at

Throughout its history the United States has continually engaged in both
overt and covert warmaking. But unlike the wars of the past, Washington’s
incoherent “war on terror” appears endless. So far, the US government has
spent a staggering $5 trillion on this war while maintaining some eight
hundred military bases that touch every corner of the globe.

Wars are still waged to secure the interests of ruling elites and make the
world safe for capitalism. But elite interests are no longer limited to
looting resources, crushing democracy, and pacifying resistance. These days
more war is an objective, with defense industry giants prospering from both
ends of the crisis. There are more refugees today fleeing war and
persecution than at any time since World War II. In the process, war
profiteers — like BAE Systems, Thales, and Lockheed Martin — have become
refugee profiteers as well, lobbying for contracts to militarize western
borders, warehouse migrants, and build complex surveillance systems that
keep those fleeing their bombs from reaching safety.

But these militarized borders haven’t prevented instability from migrating
to the United States — instability follows insecurity and want. In the
richest country in the world, over fifteen million children go to bed
hungry every night and millions more struggle to get enough to eat, entire
communities are poisoned by dirty drinking water, student debt is stunting
a generation, the middle class is shrinking, and police look like occupying
armies to the millions of poor and working people. And this decaying
neoliberal order is fueling a resurgent far right that feeds off of
anti-Muslim and anti-refugee hysteria.

On a brighter note, there’s also a resurgent left, which swelled during the
campaign of Bernie Sanders, whose demands for economic justice resonated
with millions of people. Unfortunately, with a few minor exceptions,
Sanders’s foreign policy vision was vague on details and failed to
challenge America’s ongoing costly wars that, like Wall Street banks,
benefit the billionaire class to the detriment of everyone else. That has
to change.

America’s disastrous foreign adventures help drive right-wing extremism
domestically and abroad while enriching those at the top. Consider
Islamophobia. Islamophobia is about more than just reactionary hate and
bigotry; it’s also a tool for legitimizing a US presence in the Middle
East. That’s why weapons companies like General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman,
Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon are among its key funders. Meaningful
opposition to Islamophobia demands principled rejection of the bipartisan
US war machine that profits from it.

It’s crucial that the socialist left offer not only a critical intervention
against American militarism, but also a broader vision — for a better
country and a better world. First and foremost, the Left needs to take a
clear stand against US military interventions. They do not serve
humanitarian purposes. The country that is starving Yemen cannot possibly
save Syria. It’s also important to acknowledge that while extremist groups
like ISIS and al-Qaeda do pose serious threats in the lawless areas they
control, fifteen years of war have demonstrated that religious
fundamentalism cannot be defeated militarily. Bombing these groups has
created nothing but chaos, desperation, and poverty — the conditions in
which fundamentalism thrives.

As socialists, our goal should be to reduce and eventually end the presence
of US military forces abroad, quit arming and enabling tyrants, end the
endless wars, prioritize diplomacy, and turn our bloated defense budget
toward meeting people’s basic needs at home and abroad. The stability of
the world depends on it.

On Tue, Nov 22, 2016 at 3:03 PM, Andrew Pollack via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

> ​[...]
> Could someone with a sub paste Khalek's article in a message?
> Khalek,
> Article link:
> https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/11/the-party-we-need#imperialism

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