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The logic of empire: The US is now a threat to the rest of the world.

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    The logic of empire The US is now a threat to the rest of the world. The sensible response is non-cooperation George Monbiot Tuesday August 6, 2002 The
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 8, 2002
      The logic of empire

      The US is now a threat to the rest of the world. The sensible response is

      George Monbiot
      Tuesday August 6, 2002
      The Guardian


      There is something almost comical about the prospect of George Bush waging
      war on another nation because that nation has defied international law.
      Since Bush came to office, the United States government has torn up more
      international treaties and disregarded more UN conventions than the rest
      of the world has in 20 years.
      It has scuppered the biological weapons convention while experimenting,
      illegally, with biological weapons of its own. It has refused to grant
      chemical weapons inspectors full access to its laboratories, and has
      destroyed attempts to launch chemical inspections in Iraq. It has ripped
      up the anti-ballistic missile treaty, and appears to be ready to violate
      the nuclear test ban treaty. It has permitted CIA hit squads to recommence
      covert operations of the kind that included, in the past, the
      assassination of foreign heads of state. It has sabotaged the small arms
      treaty, undermined the international criminal court, refused to sign the
      climate change protocol and, last month, sought to immobilise the UN
      convention against torture so that it could keep foreign observers out of
      its prison camp in Guantanamo Bay. Even its preparedness to go to war with
      Iraq without a mandate from the UN security council is a defiance of
      international law far graver than Saddam Hussein's non-compliance with UN
      weapons inspectors.

      But the US government's declaration of impending war has, in truth,
      nothing to do with weapons inspections. On Saturday John Bolton, the US
      official charged, hilariously, with "arms control", told the Today
      programme that "our policy ... insists on regime change in Baghdad and
      that policy will not be altered, whether inspectors go in or not". The US
      government's justification for whupping Saddam has now changed twice. At
      first, Iraq was named as a potential target because it was "assisting
      al-Qaida". This turned out to be untrue. Then the US government claimed
      that Iraq had to be attacked because it could be developing weapons of
      mass destruction, and was refusing to allow the weapons inspectors to find
      out if this were so. Now, as the promised evidence has failed to
      materialise, the weapons issue has been dropped. The new reason for war is
      Saddam Hussein's very existence. This, at least, has the advantage of
      being verifiable. It should surely be obvious by now that the decision to
      wage war on Iraq came first, and the justification later.

      Other than the age-old issue of oil supply, this is a war without
      strategic purpose. The US government is not afraid of Saddam Hussein,
      however hard it tries to scare its own people. There is no evidence that
      Iraq is sponsoring terrorism against America. Saddam is well aware that if
      he attacks another nation with weapons of mass destruction, he can expect
      to be nuked. He presents no more of a threat to the world now than he has
      done for the past 10 years.

      But the US government has several pressing domestic reasons for going to
      war. The first is that attacking Iraq gives the impression that the
      flagging "war on terror" is going somewhere. The second is that the people
      of all super-dominant nations love war. As Bush found in Afghanistan,
      whacking foreigners wins votes. Allied to this concern is the need to
      distract attention from the financial scandals in which both the president
      and vice-president are enmeshed. Already, in this respect, the impending
      war seems to be working rather well.

      The United States also possesses a vast military-industrial complex that
      is in constant need of conflict in order to justify its staggeringly
      expensive existence. Perhaps more importantly than any of these factors,
      the hawks who control the White House perceive that perpetual war results
      in the perpetual demand for their services. And there is scarcely a better
      formula for perpetual war, with both terrorists and other Arab nations,
      than the invasion of Iraq. The hawks know that they will win, whoever
      loses. In other words, if the US were not preparing to attack Iraq, it
      would be preparing to attack another nation. The US will go to war with
      that country because it needs a country with which to go to war.

      Tony Blair also has several pressing reasons for supporting an invasion.
      By appeasing George Bush, he placates Britain's rightwing press. Standing
      on Bush's shoulders, he can assert a claim to global leadership more
      credible than that of other European leaders, while defending Britain's
      anomalous position as a permanent member of the UN security council.
      Within Europe, his relationship with the president grants him the eminent
      role of broker and interpreter of power.

      By invoking the "special relationship", Blair also avoids the greatest
      challenge any prime minister has faced since the second world war. This
      challenge is to recognise and act upon the conclusion of any objective
      analysis of global power: namely that the greatest threat to world peace
      is not Saddam Hussein, but George Bush. The nation that in the past has
      been our firmest friend is becoming instead our foremost enemy.

      As the US government discovers that it can threaten and attack other
      nations with impunity, it will surely soon begin to threaten countries
      that have numbered among its allies. As its insatiable demand for
      resources prompts ever bolder colonial adventures, it will come to
      interfere directly with the strategic interests of other quasi-imperial
      states. As it refuses to take responsibility for the consequences of the
      use of those resources, it threatens the rest of the world with
      environmental disaster. It has become openly contemptuous of other
      governments and prepared to dispose of any treaty or agreement that
      impedes its strategic objectives. It is starting to construct a new
      generation of nuclear weapons, and appears to be ready to use them
      pre-emptively. It could be about to ignite an inferno in the Middle East,
      into which the rest of the world would be sucked.

      The United States, in other words, behaves like any other imperial power.
      Imperial powers expand their empires until they meet with overwhelming

      For Britain to abandon the special relationship would be to accept that
      this is happening. To accept that the US presents a danger to the rest of
      the world would be to acknowledge the need to resist it. Resisting the
      United States would be the most daring reversal of policy a British
      government has undertaken for over 60 years.

      We can resist the US neither by military nor economic means, but we can
      resist it diplomatically. The only safe and sensible response to American
      power is a policy of non-cooperation. Britain and the rest of Europe
      should impede, at the diplomatic level, all US attempts to act
      unilaterally. We should launch independent efforts to resolve the Iraq
      crisis and the conflict between Israel and Palestine. And we should cross
      our fingers and hope that a combination of economic mismanagement,
      gangster capitalism and excessive military spending will reduce America's
      power to the extent that it ceases to use the rest of the world as its
      doormat. Only when the US can accept its role as a nation whose interests
      must be balanced with those of all other nations can we resume a
      friendship that was once, if briefly, founded upon the principles of


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