Sunday, 27 July 2014

Should Sanctions Be Put On The United States?

Its estimated that there are now more than 1,000 civilians, mostly children, that have been murdered by Israeli forces in Gaza. The Israeli state only survives because of the financial, military and political support it receives from the United States. The weapons being used to murder Palestinian children at the rate of one an hour, including the F-16 warplanes, that rain down death and destruction, on a massive scale, are themselves provided by the US. Russia may or may not have provided weapons to the East Ukrainians, resisting the military offensive, launched against them by the regime in Kiev; there is no doubt that the US is providing the arms to the Israeli regime that are being used to carry out what the UN itself has described as War Crimes. If there is a case to impose sanctions on Russia, there is then an even greater case for the imposition of sanctions on the United States.

Paul Mason recently wrote,

“Let’s be clear: targeting civilians, and failing to avoid civilian casualties during military attacks, are both indictable as crimes under the fourth Geneva convention. The indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel has been described as a war crime by Amnesty International. By midday Sunday, anybody following the Gaza events on Twitter would have enough evidence to ask the same question about Shujaiya.”

In fact, the UN Human Rights Council has voted to investigate Israel for these War Crimes, and as is always the case, in such votes, only the US voted against the motion. Compare that with Russia's support for the UN motion calling for an independent inquiry into the shooting down of flight MH17. Yet, it is the US that is proposing sanctions on Russia, not vice versa! Since that resolution, the UN itself has seen one of its schools, in Gaza, shelled by Israeli forces, with another large scale loss of life of Palestinian children. But, all US politicians, like John Kerry, can do is to express their “concern” at such blatant acts of murder.

As Paul Mason reported, whenever such brutal attacks occur, the US media automatically mobilises a massive propaganda machine to defend the war crimes of the Israeli regime. 

“My colleague, Matt Frei, tweeted that CNN’s Wolf Blitzer interview with Netanyahu was less a grilling more “a warm bath and a back rub”.”

Indeed, they are so sycophantic that you fully expect one of them to say, “While I'm already down here on my knees, can I offer you a blow job?” 

Channel 4, and other European media outlets have shown film of innocent civilians being shot by Israeli snipers, and then shot again when they have been on the ground. When others have sought to recover their bodies the snipers have shot at them too. As a result bodies have had to be left lying on the streets for days. Yet, the US is calling for sanctions on Russia because the Ukrainian separatists did try to recover bodies from the wreck, despite being under bombardment and mortar attack by the Kiev regime whilst they did so. Whatever the inadequacies of the separatists, its only because they acted to recover those bodies that they are now back in the Netherlands, whilst the bodies of dozens of murdered Palestinians remain on the streets, in the sweltering heat of Gaza.

But, of course, its not just the role of the US in providing the weapons of mass destruction used by Israel to murder Palestinian men, women and children. The US itself is directly responsible for the murder of hundreds of civilians by its own direct and deliberate military acts of aggression. Even without considering the hundreds of thousands of people who died because of the US's illegal war in Iraq, or the thousands murdered as a result of the US involvement in Libya, or its provision of weapons both directly and through its Gulf state allies to the jihadists in Syria, the fact is that the US itself directly every day kills civilians with its drone attacks. Those murders are often not reported, because they occur unseen, but even when some large scale death of civilians results from one of these attacks, they have now become so regular, and the US response that it was an “accident”, that it is simply “collateral damage” become so routine, that it is no longer news. Yet, when MH17 is possibly shot down, possibly by irregular Ukrainian forces, the US insists that this is so heinous that it can only result in sanctions being imposed on Russia.

So given the much larger scale murder committed by the US than by Russia, over such a long period that it can now only be described as pathological, should sanctions be imposed on the United States? No Marxist could propose such a course of action. Sanctions are imposed by one or more states against another. They are in essence a form of war themselves. Instead of being an act of military aggression, they are an act of economic aggression, that is often a precursor to actual military aggression. It is the waning economic power of the United States as a global player, and its increasing loss of political and strategic power around the globe, as new forces such as China, and the BRIC economies rise to challenge it, that is behind the US attitude to Russia.

The calls for action against Russia come just as Russia and other BRIC countries have come together to establish an alternative to the IMF, which is dominated by the US. It comes as Russia is forging a closer relation with the world's largest economy China, and working towards the establishment of a Eurasian economic zone similar to the EU. It comes as China is increasingly the dominant power in Africa, and the US is only now racing to try to catch up, with China already having signed trade and other deals with large numbers of economies in the US's own back yard in South America.

Marxists do not support the actions of cold war, trade war, or outright war by one capitalist state against another, whether that is the US against Russia or vice versa. Our concern is to work towards the unity of the workers of all these countries against their own ruling class, and that is not aided by supporting sanctions against the economy upon which those workers depend for their livelihood. That is also why sanctions and boycotts against Israel are wrong. The problems of the Middle East whether they be those arising from the creation of the state of Israel, or those arising from the Sykes Picot Agreement are problems arising from top down solutions imposed by capitalist states. The solution to those problems does not flow from further such top down action by states. It can only be created by the direct action of workers uniting across borders.

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