Syria, Egypt & imperialism

If you’re reading this editorial, you probably don’t believe that when cops invade poor Black or Latino/a neighborhoods, they do it to protect the innocent and the elderly. You probably don’t believe that the governor of Michigan is attacking unions in order to protect workers from paying dues.

And you’re absolutely right. These elements are working on behalf of a handful of big bankers and corporate owners who are out to hamstring the working class and all poor and oppressed people.

Extend that to foreign policy. No one should believe that the U.S. and its NATO allies bomb a country to protect democracy or extend human rights. Or that CIA-operated drones are protecting us from terrorists.

NATO governments use a powerful propaganda machine to falsely present themselves as the guardians of civilization. They are really the sheriffs and cops protecting private property of that same small group of billionaires on a worldwide scale, while they impose “austerity” on workers at home. On the international arena, these are the old colonial overlords grouped behind dominant U.S. imperialism. They hold the lion’s share of military and financial power and a near monopoly on media. They use it to exploit labor and extract wealth around the world.

Two years ago a popular revolt erupted against repressive regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and spread elsewhere in North Africa and Southwest Asia. Washington and its European allies moved quickly to stop any truly popular governments from replacing their old puppets. Then they moved to exploit any instability to remove existing governments that had some independence and sovereignty.

Using their massive propaganda machines overtime, they lie incessantly. They change their story from day to day. They depend on their media monopoly to sell their aggression as “humanitarian” or “defensive.”

To cut through these lies, it is best to start from the knowledge that the European and North American ruling classes only intervene for strategic goals or to seize resources. Whatever the character of a particular country or leader, NATO intervention will only make life worse for the vast majority of the people involved. The same class also makes life worse for the workers at home.

In Libya, for example, NATO bombed and destroyed a stable sovereign government. They murdered Moammar Gadhafi and left chaos, except in areas of the country where they can extract oil. And they spread the turmoil to Mali.

U.S., no friend to Egypt, ready to intervene in Syria

In Egypt, the U.S. is acting as if it is a defender of democracy. The truth is that the U.S. supported the Hosni Mubarak dictatorship for 30 years, built its ties with the Egyptian army — that is, with its top officers — and the Pentagon still has the tightest connections with that military. The Barack Obama administration has also worked with current Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who is with the Muslim Brotherhood, to bring about a ceasefire in Gaza after the Israeli military slaughter of civilians and fighters had stiffened the resolve of the Palestinian people to resist. U.S. agencies are all over Egypt, keeping ties to the pro-capitalist elements in opposition to Morsi and the generals.

Egypt’s workers and poor need food, shelter and security. They need a government that works for their interests. The vast majority of Egypt’s 83 million people feel strong solidarity with Palestine.

Washington’s goal is to assure that Egypt has a pro-capitalist regime that maintains its treaties with Israel, so that Israel can turn all its guns on the Palestinians, the Hezbollah forces in Lebanon, and threaten Syria and Iran. Keeping the Egyptian masses hemmed in by a Pentagon-dependent military is central to U.S. imperialist policy in the region.

The most likely place for a new, open military intervention, however, is against Syria. The Qatari Emirate and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been financing and arming the reactionary Syrian opposition. NATO-member Turkey gives them a safe haven on the Syrian border and protects the route to bring them arms. British Special Forces train them. A German spy ship supplies intelligence. Many of their troops come from al-Qaida-like forces in other countries.

It’s hard to present these monarch-backed killers as “democrats,” so U.S. strategists are trotting out the same “weapons of mass destruction” argument to defame Syria that they used falsely against Iraq.

Even U.S. Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell and no friend of Damascus, felt compelled to expose this pretext. He told how the “intelligence community” lied to him and Powell about Iraqi weapons and said, in an interview Dec. 8 with the Russian Times, “I would be highly skeptical of any of the intelligence rendered by the $140-billion-plus U.S. intelligence community as to weapons of mass destruction in the possession of another country. Period.”

That a military person like Wilkerson would speak so frankly shows how blatant U.S. government lies are. No one should believe Washington’s lies, just as we wouldn’t believe the cops are our friends or Michigan’s governor wants to help that state’s workers. Period.

U.S. out of Egypt. Hands off Syria.

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