WHAT WE THINK
March 15, 2002 | Page 3
IF ANYONE doubted the real aims of the U.S. "war on terror," the disclosure of the Pentagon's nuclear hit list last week made matters horrifically clear. The fanatics who run the Bush White House are ready to unleash weaponry that could destroy the planet in their drive to dominate the globe militarily--as U.S. corporations dominate economically.
Yet the U.S. mainstream media mostly ignored the nuclear hit list last week--instead marking the six months since the September 11 attacks by retelling stories of the victims. But the increasing disconnection between September 11 and U.S. plans for the next stage of its "war on terror" wasn't lost on other countries, including U.S. allies.
And in elite U.S. publications, writers are openly admitting what Washington's war drive is all about--not September 11, but strengthening the power of U.S. imperialism. "The logic of neoimperialism is too compelling for the Bush administration to resist," one author wrote in the journal Foreign Affairs. "The question is not whether the United States will seek to fill the void created by the demise of the European empires but whether it will acknowledge that this is what it is doing."
Of course, U.S. imperialism is also using economic and political pressure to achieve Washington's goals--most notably in Argentina, the site of a massive rebellion last December against International Monetary Fund (IMF)-imposed free-market policies.
Such unrest won't do, say two top U.S. economists writing in the Financial Times. Argentina "must temporarily surrender its sovereignty on all financial issues" to Western politicians and bankers "for an extended period, say five years," they wrote last week.
Under the cover of the "war on terror," the Bush gang has pushed ahead on a number of fronts, both internationally and domestically.
They got away with this in the immediate aftermath of September 11 by exploiting people's horror at the attacks. Any opposition to the White House, no matter what the issue, was branded as "forgetting the victims"--or worse, "aiding the terrorists," the slur used to denounce planned protests against the IMF and World Bank last September that were ultimately canceled.
But the last few months have seen the balance begin to shift. The deployment of U.S. troops and advisers to a growing number of countries--plus George W. Bush's insane "axis of evil" rhetoric, targeting enemies from Asia to the Middle East--has led many people, even some who supported the war, to question it today.
Antiwar activists who kept up the fight during the claims of U.S. "victory" in Afghanistan now have the opportunity to reach a wider audience as the war drive has less and less to do with September 11.
At the same time, Bush's tax cuts for the rich and a 30 percent increase in the military budget while schools crumble has led many to question the government's priorities.
And even as the media celebrate an apparent economic recovery, continued layoffs show that workers are being made to pay the price--while employers use Enron tactics to preserve their wealth and power.
This class bitterness is behind new sparks of resistance to Bush's domestic agenda--from student protests against budget cuts and tuition hikes in Massachusetts and Chicago, to the 1,500-strong demonstration against welfare "reform" in Washington, D.C., last week.
It will take time for these protests to take root and grow. And if they are to be effective, they will need to make the connection between opposing a war for U.S. imperial power abroad and Corporate America's war on workers at home.
That's why the series of demonstrations set for April 19-21 in Washington, D.C., is so important. The protests will bring together opponents of U.S. militarism alongside global justice activists demonstrating against IMF and World Bank meetings taking place that same weekend.
Activists from different movements have an opportunity to make the connections between our struggles concrete. Building the largest possible turnout for Washington can send a message that there's an opposition to the agenda of U.S. imperialism and corporate greed--and become a springboard for further resistance.