U.S. rulers are shifting focus from encouraging an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities to a Libya-style, “humanitarian” proxy invasion of suddenly strategic Syria. Cynically seizing on the worsening carnage there, the imperialists served by Obama seek to deal the burgeoning China-Russia-Iran axis a major setback. “In the minds of many on President Obama’s team, nothing would undercut Iran’s capability to cause trouble in the region faster than if the mullahs lost [Syria’s ruler] Bashar al-Assad” (New York Times, 2/25/12). (see box) -
A Libya-like overthrow of the Syrian regime especially would be a blow to Putin’s Russia whose main Mideast base has been Syria, the recipient of huge military supplies from the Kremlin. It would make more secure U.S. control of oil in neighboring Saudi Arabia, which simultaneously raises the question of what to do about Iran itself.
Bosses Say U.S. Must Occupy, Not Just Bomb, Iran
Early last month, both the Times and the U.S. war department chief Leon Panetta had predicted an imminent attack on Iran from Israel. But by February 20, the Times warned that “pilots would have to fly more than 1,000 miles across unfriendly airspace, refuel in the air en route, fight off Iran’s air defenses, attack multiple underground sites simultaneously — and use at least 100 planes.”
“It ain’t going to be that easy,” said Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, who retired last year as the Air Force’s top intelligence official. But Israel’s bosses, whose needs often clash with those of their bankrollers, may strike despite U.S. reservations.
U.S. and allied imperialists, however, realize that they are now incapable of launching the kind of massive military effort that defeating Iran requires. As the British ruling class’s Economist magazine pointed out, “Short of occupation, the world cannot eliminate Iran’s capacity to gain the bomb” (3/25/12). Tom Ricks of the Center for a New American Security, a Rockefeller-funded think tank that backs Obama, sounded the same note in quoting an unnamed U.S. policy planner: “If we do go to war, it will not be small...[I]f we go after [Iran’s] abilities to project military power, we’d open a 15-year window” (Foreign Policy, 2/24/12).
World War III Call to Arms
Obama may not put GI boots on Syrian soil or bless Israel’s use of U.S.-made bunker busters in Iran. But that hardly makes him a pacifist. The imperialists whom Obama serves have far bigger goals. Richard Betts, a CIA adviser and David Rockefeller fellow at the U.S. rulers’ Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), has written a World War III call to arms.
Rejecting the neo-conservative notion of waging relatively small wars on the cheap, Betts openly revives the General Colin Powell Doctrine as head of Bush, Sr.’s Joint Chiefs of Staff: deploying “overwhelming, decisive force.” The following, chilling citations from Betts come from a CFR publicity event for his new book, American Force: Dangers, Delusions, and Dilemmas in National Security, held in January:
[E]xcessive emphasis on dealing with minor current challenges, I think, can detract from the resources we’ll have available in the future, when we may face big ones again, such as a more difficult China.
China is doing as much...as the United States, in terms of planning militarily for the contingency of conflict with the other.
[T]here’s no alternative for great powers to planning for the possibility of conflict with other great powers that share some conflicting interests.
Betts is pushing to get plans in place for a full-scale militarization in the U.S., like those of the 1917 and 1941 World Wars. A controversial restoration of the draft, which the rulers inevitably will need to wage a broader war, is implied rather than mentioned explicitly.
So that’s why I put emphasis on a mobilization strategy, one that’s oriented towards, in large part, organizing the military for a rapid readjustment if things in the world go really bad.
Betts outlines the main coalitions in the coming global conflict: a U.S.-Europe-India axis arrayed against China, Russia, and various vassal states like Iran, the old Soviet republics, and North Korea. He emphasizes the need to re-militarize NATO members that contributed too little, in his view, to recent U.S.-dominated campaigns. Betts calls it “burden shifting, getting the allies to do more.”
[The U.S. should] avoid increasing incentives for China and Russia to form a more direct alliance against the West.
[T]he extent that we can cultivate and develop strategic ties with India, that helps in regard to China.
Betts hardly cares about the mass murders from nuking smaller anti-U.S. regimes. Even as it trims its costly nuclear arsenal, the U.S. could wipe out Iran or North Korea.
We could go down to a thousand nuclear weapons and that would still astronomically outclass anything Iran or North Korea has on the horizon.
For the present, Betts argues, the main thing is to get along with China in order to buy time for the big build-up.
I think it’s important to do as much as we can for as long as we can to avoid making conflict between the United States and China a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In the run-up, Betts foresees “uncomfortable adjustments” within the U.S. — in other words, fascist discipline imposed on capitalists and workers. Of course such “adjustments” for capitalists mean paying for a more efficient war machine. But they fall far more heavily on the working class: massive wage cuts, mass unemployment, intensified racist and sexist attacks, slashed healthcare, as well as sending youth off to fight and die in imperialist wars. In the U.S., this means a DREAM Act that propels immigrant youth into the military.
Arch-imperialist, war criminal Henry Kissinger, who as Nixon’s secretary of state, directed the U.S. genocide in Vietnam, concurs, on both counts: the wisdom of avoiding conflict with China in the immediate future, and the necessity of a severe housecleaning to prepare for an impending clash.
The rise of China is less the result of its increased military strength than of the United States’ own declining competitive position, driven by factors such as obsolescent infrastructure, inadequate attention to research and development, and a seemingly dysfunctional governmental process. The United States should address these issues with ingenuity and determination... instead of blaming a putative adversary (Foreign Affairs, March-April 2012).
Despite the recent surge of Tea Party candidate Rick Santorum, reflecting divisions in the bosses’ ranks, the two most likely winners of this November’s presidential election — Barack Obama and Mitt Romney — are fully on board for this long-term war agenda.
None of these bosses’ politician servants care one bit for the tens of millions who would die in these mass slaughters. But this is the logic of profit-driven capitalism — anything to maintain their exploitative system, and, in the case of U.S. rulers, to remain top dog among their rival imperialists.
What We Must Do
The only solution to such wars, fascism, racism and sexism for the world’s working class is to organize for the overthrow of capitalism with communist revolution. This means fighting and leading class struggle in all aspects of our lives — in the factories and unions, in the schools and on the campuses, in the churches and other mass organizations run by the bosses.
Through such fights communists in PLP can gain the confidence of masses of our co-workers and youth. Thereby, we can win them to the understanding that nothing less than the creation of society — led by a mass party — run with workers’ power, without bosses and profits, can achieve a decent life for our class and our children.
This is Progressive Labor Party’s goal. Join us!