Tuesday, 8 September 2015

What Happens If Russia Bombs A House In London

What would be the response of the British government, if Russia bombed a house in London?  One expects it would be outrage, at the very least.  The BBC would demand retribution, the UN Security Council would be convened, sanctions would be placed on Russia for such an act of blatant aggression and attack on the territory of a sovereign state.  And quite right too.  If Putin, or some other Russian President, were to justify the action, by setting out, in the most precise detail, that the house was, in fact, the base of Chechen rebels, planning terrorist attacks on Russia, such as those, which, in the past, led to the deaths of dozens of Russian schoolchildren, no one would be listening, no one would think that it justified the action.  Yet, that is precisely what Britain has just done in Syria!

Britain has justified the attack on Syria, on the basis that it was taking out two jihadists, who were a threat to Britain.  Firstly, they have provided absolutely no evidence that these two jihadists were an immediate threat to Britain.  They were after all in Syria, not in Britain!  If the argument is that they might come back to Britain, surely that is an argument for arresting them, at the point of their return. If the argument is that they were planning attacks that others were to carry out in Britain, then again, it is those jihadists in Britain, who would be carrying out the attacks who have to be taken out, not someone who is not even in the country.

Secondly, I heard a Tory spokesman today argue that this was different to the vote on bombing Syria two years ago.  The argument was that Britain was not at war with Syria, but is at war with ISIS.  The argument here is that they were entitled to go after their enemy wherever they were.  But, that is nonsense.  Britain was at war with Germany in WWII.  Britain was fighting Germany in France, Belgium, Italy, and many other countries.  But, Britain never attacked German forces in countries that were neutral.  German forces, as well as British forces, for example, could  be found in Spain, and Ireland, but they did not fight each other in those locations.  Had Britain, launched an attack on Spain, for example, that would have been treated as an attack of war, by Britain against Spain, not against Germany.

Anyone who has watched the film Battle of The River Plate, will also be aware that the German Battleship Graf Spee, after being damaged in the South Atlantic by the British navy, sought refuge in Montevideo, the capital of neutral Uruguay, to effect repairs.  The British did not then take the opportunity to attack the Graf Spee in the port, as this would have been an act of unprovoked aggression against neutral Uruguay.

What the attack on Syria by Cameron's government amounts to is a belief that it can get away with making an attack on a weak neutral country with impunity.  It also demonstrates Cameron's total disregard for democracy, and for the role of Parliament.  At the moment he is arguing that this is an attack on ISIS, but Turkey, which is seeking to re-establish the role of the old Ottoman Empire in the Middle East, has used a similar argument, to actually undertake far more extensive attacks on Kurds in Syria and Northern Iraq, than it has done against ISIS.  It is the Kurds who are Turkey's real enemy.

In all this the EU, and liberal and conservative politicians across Europe have acted as dupes of the US.  The EU had been developing closer economic ties with a range of countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), including Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Syria.  The economies of the two groups were coming closer together, and these economies in MENA were set in the not too distant future to be brought in as a periphery of the EU, much as the states of Eastern Europe had in the past.  The economic and social development of those economies, was already creating a much larger working-class, and domestic bourgeoisie, which is the prerequisite for creating modern bourgeois social democracies in those countries.

In part, that was undermined after 2008, by the stupid introduction of austerity measures in the EU southern periphery, which thereby also badly damaged the increasingly integrated economies of MENA.  It provided a spark for the "Arab Spring".  But, in Libya, in particular, it was clear that there was no real mass social rebellion against Gaddafi, despite what some of us may have initially hoped. The rebellion was the act of a few thousand jihadists, backed by large amounts of money and weapons from the Gulf feudal monarchies, which could never have overthrown Gaddafi's regime, without massive and sustained bombing by the EU, and the US.

The consequence of that is now being unleashed.  The responsibility for the breakdown in Libya, lies exclusively with the actions of the EU and US, for carrying out those attacks, and with the liberal interventionists who backed or refused to oppose those actions, including those liberal interventionists like the AWL who dressed up their apologism for imperialism with kitsch Marxist rhetoric.  It is an extension of the same failed approach in Iraq.

The same is true of Syria, where what began as a genuine popular revolt, was quickly hijacked by jihadists, backed financially and militarily by US and EU imperialism, and their Gulf stooges.  The idea that things might have been different had Britain and the US bombed Assad's forces and regime, in the same way they had done in Libya, or Iraq, beggars belief.  The only way they would have been different is that ISIS would already today have their capital in Damascus, and that millions, rather than hundreds of thousands of refugees would be seeking entry to the EU!

The main beneficiary is the US.  At several strokes it has weakened its main geopolitical competitor. Instead of expanding its potential market, and exploitable labour force, into MENA - the US has already lost out in that respect to China in relation to the rest of Africa -  the EU now has a rapidly fraying border, a fact which has only been exacerbated by the attacks by EU conservative politicians on Greece.  The EU, must now devote considerable resources to policing its southern flank, as the forces of the jihadis threaten it.

The US has achieved a similar aim on the EU's eastern border.  A logical response for the EU, would have been to make strategic deals over markets, and access to materials with Russia.  In fact, Germany's economy was already increasingly devoted to such a focus on Russia.  But, the US has acted to provide resources to build up rebel forces in those countries between the EU and Russia, drawing in the EU to sanctions against Russia.  Just as the US is not affected by the jihad spreading across the EU's southern flank, especially as the US has already pivoted towards its other geopolitical competitors, China and Japan, in the Pacific, so it is not affected by the deterioration in relations between the EU and Russia, which has already hit EU economies.

The tactic of the US, in all these cases has been pretty consistent.  Take Kosovo.  For years, the Kosovan Serbs and Albanians lived more or less peacefully side by side, often in the same village. Then, the US provided finance and training via the CIA, to the Kosovan Liberation Army, who were nothing more than a small band of criminals and thugs, some of whom have been exposed of various crimes, as well as organ theft, from those it kidnapped.  Just as the financial and military support for the Libyan rebels, and the Syrian Jihadists, who have committed similar atrocities, enabled them to operate on a much greater scale than they would otherwise have been able to achieve, so too with the KLA.

The KLA began to burn Kosovan Serb villages, kidnap young Serb men, and thereby to provoke conflict between Kosovan Serbs and Albanians.  The US obtained the result from that it required.  As fighting between Kosovan Serbs and Albanians intensified, with the KLA undertaking these increasing attacks, Milosevic unleashed his army on the KLA, which in turn created  the justification for the US and UK to invade.  We now also know that this almost led to World War III, because UK General Mike Jackson, has said that he was told by US General Wesley Clarke to attack the Russians, if they got to the airport first!

And, of course, the precedent set by the US and UK in Kosovo, and its declaration of independence from the rest of Serbia, also provided the template for the identical separation of Crimea from Ukraine, and the separation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia.

It is yet again another reason why we need a socialist campaign for Europe, to take control out of the hands of the conservative politicians that currently misrule it.  One of the first acts of a Corbyn led Labour Part should be to end all of the nonsense about Britain turning its face away from the EU.  A Corbyn led Labour Part should immediately link up with Syriza, Podemos and other social-democrats across the EU, not just to wage a struggle against austerity, and for a massive programme of fiscal expansion, and investment to create, jobs, not just to raise up the rights and benefits of workers across Europe, and in the process to sweep away all of the restrictions on the free movement of labour, but also to carry through a thorough democratisation of the EU, and the component nation states, and to turn towards the workers across the globe, from Russia, to the US, from Brazil to China.

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