Rice arrives just in time
TO OVERSEE AMERICAN DECLINE
The first Black female U.S. Secretary of State will inevitably preside over a general and dramatic decline in American influence in the world, a process that accelerates with each passing week. So bizarre is American behavior – so disconnected from objective facts and from international conversation and evolving human standards of conduct – that Condoleezza Rice cannot escape becoming a caricature of diplomacy.
The Bush Pirates rolled their dice in Iraq in the Spring of 2003 – and came up snake eyes. Even elements of the U.S. corporate media see the handwriting on the historical wall: utter defeat for the neo-con project in Iraq, and descent into terminal isolation for the superpower. The war is all but lost, according to a study released by Knight Ridder Newspapers on January 23:
”The United States is steadily losing ground to the Iraqi insurgency, according to every key military yardstick. …
”The analysis suggests that unless something dramatic changes – such as a newfound will by Iraqis to reject the insurgency or a large escalation of U.S. troop strength – the United States won't win the war.”
The Americans never wanted to hold elections in Iraq, but ran out of political wiggle room when Shi’ite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani last year threatened to bring a million of the faithful into the streets of Baghdad and Basra. However, as the excellent Pepe Escobar, of AsiaTimes, reported on January 27, this weekend’s “elections” are possibly the most farcical held in human history. Bush “has introduced to the world the concept of election at gunpoint”:
”Of 1 million eligible expatriate voters, only 10% will actually vote. There are no Sunni Arab candidates (in part because the US military killed – or jailed – many Sunni party and tribal leaders). For any Iraqi in Jordan, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia or Turkey, it will be impossible to cross the border and vote: borders will be closed for three days. Inside Iraq there will be curfews - and even traffic will be blocked. Half of all candidates have already withdrawn. And there will be no international monitors. As the names of the roughly 7,700 candidates on 80 party coalition lists are still unknown on the eve of polling day, no wonder the word on Baghdad's streets is that ‘the Americans gave us the first secret elections in history.’"
Elect, then eject U.S.
The Americans dare not deny the Shi’ites their victory. But, as Escobar reported in December, and has been consistently misrepresented by U.S. corporate media, the Ayatollah is no friend of the occupation:
”The United Iraqi Alliance – the Shi'ite, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani-supervised electoral list (228 candidates) – has a detailed, 23-point platform. According to its main negotiator, Hussein Shahristani, the platform insists on the ‘sovereignty, unity and Islamic identity’ of Iraq, and most crucially includes a plan with a precise date for the end of the military occupation.”
Thus, the Americans have been painted into a corner. Bush insists that U.S. forces will remain in Iraq “as long as it takes,” but has been forced to invest every ounce of political capital on elections that, in Escobar’s words, may result in the verdict: “First we vote, then we kick you out.”
Meanwhile, the world watches as armed-to-the-teeth U.S. troops stand on street corners, handing out election literature in someone else’s country, after having flattened Fallujah, a city roughly the size of Newark, New Jersey. Imagine if machinegun-toting Germans had performed similar electoral duties in occupied France, in 1942. Would any civilized observer have considered such a process legitimate? Yet Bush bets that his atrocity will be seen as a light unto the nations – an amazing measure of the chasm that separates the Pirates from civilization.
Aijaz Ahmad, in a piece for the political journal Frontline, published by The Hindu of India, describes an American mindset that is, in a word, savage:
”The mentality that the Americans brought into their attack on the people of Falluja was well indicated by the marine commanders who said on record that Falluja was a ‘house of Satan’ and those other commanders who told their soldiers to ‘shoot everything that moves and everything that does not move’; to fire ‘two bullets in every body’; and to spray every home with machine-gun and tank fire before entering them.”
Yet, for all the blood shed by both Iraqis and Americans, the U.S. has suffered a huge net loss in world public opinion, and in the resources that it has sought to steal. The Americans are now more ill-positioned than two years ago, said Mr. Ahmad:
”By contrast, none of the gains the U.S. had sought in Iraq and in the region as a whole has been realized, almost two years after Baghdad fell, seemingly so easily: not the capturing of the Iraqi oil, not the ability to use Iraq as the main military base in the region so as to begin an orderly withdrawal from Saudi Arabia, not the dream of using Iraq as a base for launching attacks against Syria, Iran, Lebanon or whatever. A demonstration of the invincibility of American power has come together with the overwhelming evidence of the limits of American power of the ground. We can now witness an imperial overreach even before they have reached very far.”
The Black Commentator said much the same thing on March 20, 2003, as Shock and Awe broke over Iraq. “War is the great and terrible engine of history,” we wrote. “Bush and his Pirates hope to employ that engine to harness Time and cheat the laws of political economy, to leapfrog over the contradictions of their parasitical existence into a new epoch of their own imagining. Instead, they have lunged into the abyss, from which no one will extricate them, for they will be hated much more than feared.
“In attempting to break humanity's will to resist, the Bush pirates have reached too far.”
Handmaiden to evil
George Bush and his handmaiden, Condoleezza Rice, speak a strange language that is understood only by the denizens of the American bubble. It is a language of aggression, pure and simple – an American Manifest Destiny that threatens the sovereignty of every other nation on the planet, but pretends to be a liberating force. Bush also delivered an implicit threat to those Americans who resist involvement in his savage crusade: “We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands,” said Bush in his inaugural address. “The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.” It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Bush men (and woman) are prepared to declare domestic opponents of his imperial policies to be threats to internal American liberties.
In her confirmation hearings, Condoleezza Rice showed herself to be as bellicose as her master. In addition to Syria and Iran, writes Patrick Sale, of the Lebanon-based Daily Star, Rice placed Muslims in general in the cross-hairs. “America and the free world," she declared, "are once again engaged in a long-term struggle against an ideology of hatred and tyranny and terror and hopelessness. And we must confront these challenges ..."
Confrontation, everywhere, including in the south of our own hemisphere. Rice made a special effort to signal aggressive U.S. intentions against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for his “close association” with Fidel Castro. Democratic Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd reminded Rice that Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva, President of the southern colossus, Brazil, is also on good terms with Castro. He might have also told her that Brazil and other Latin American nations are working furiously to sever their dependency on strangulating U.S. terms of trade, most notably by concluding massive new deals with China; that Venezuela, Brazil, Cuba and Uruguay may soon launch a cooperative news service, so that CNN and other American agencies will no longer pollute their national dialogues; that Brazil, South Africa and India are busily establishing strategic alliances designed to circumvent the North – especially the United States; that India, China and Russia are struggling to create new poles of power in the world, circles of influence in which the U.S. would be absent.
A bad poker hand
The U.S. invasion and ongoing torture of Iraq put the planet on notice that Washington is a danger to global stability. Not just progressives, but the conservative elites of Europe and Asia, were shocked and awed in ways that the insular Americans did not contemplate. The Financial Times, a spokes-publication for Britain’s elite, warns: “Central banks are shifting reserves away from the US and towards the eurozone in a move that looks set to deepen the Bush administration's difficulties in financing its ballooning current account deficit.” These financial managers are careful to move away from the dollar incrementally, so as not to plunge the global system into panic – but the direction is inexorably away from the U.S. currency. As a nation, we are being set up for a deep fall, but the fault lies with the Bush men (and woman), who are playing a kind of poker with the rest of the planet – one in which the only cards in their hands are military.
The military fiasco in Iraq has shown that these are weak cards, yet the only response from the Bush Pirates is to threaten further aggression in Iran, Syria, Venezuela, and Cuba. Ironically, the corporate class that Bush serves is the least “patriotic” of all, ready and eager to abandon the homeland to its economic fate in favor of greener pastures in Asia. Bernie Sanders, the socialist congressman from Vermont, exposed these rich traitors for what they are, in a recent issue of In These Times:
“Amazingly, while the U.S. middle class declines, corporate America is helping make China the economic superpower of the 21st century. Not only is China rapidly becoming the manufacturing center of the world, it is quickly becoming the information technology hub as well. Andy Grove, the founder of Intel, predicted last year that the United States will lose the bulk of its information technology jobs to China and India over the next decade. These are some of the best-paying jobs available.“And John Chambers, the CEO of Cisco, is typical of many corporate leaders when he said: ‘China will become the IT center of the world, and we can have a healthy discussion about whether that’s in 2020 or 2040. What we’re trying to do is outline an entire strategy of becoming a Chinese company.’”
The Bush men (and woman) loot the American treasury and threaten world order in the service of corporations that have already abandoned their U.S. nationality, and now seek to destroy the sovereignty of all other nations. They have initiated a war against…everyone.
Civility cannot long exist where savages rule. In questioning the perennial prevaricator Condoleezza Rice, Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton found it impossible to keep up the pretensions of the upper chamber. "I don't like impugning anyone's integrity, but I really don't like being lied to," Dayton said. "Repeatedly, flagrantly, intentionally."
The entire planet is rejecting blatant American lies and aggression, and actively conspiring to undermine United States military, economic and political domination. This aggression now has a new face – that of a Black woman. We are saddened at the historical irony, but so be it. Evil comes in all colors.
© THE BLACK COMMENTATOR: COVER STORY