The term “warmonger” is often used to describe those who seem overly enthusiastic about militarism. Its literal meaning, however, is “war seller.” As fishmongers sell fish, warmongers sell war.
Samantha Power, the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, can be described as nothing but a professional warmonger. She is a promoter and seller of war.
Working-class people are generally altruistic. Unlike capitalist bosses and bankers, their lives don’t revolve around making profits. When they hear about others being harmed, even in far-off parts of the world, they want to help them. Power and her associates have the job of attempting to utilize and manipulate these basic human feelings of solidarity and direct them to serve imperialism.
Power promotes war, but not with jingoistic, military rhetoric about “weapons of mass destruction.” Instead she promotes “humanitarian intervention” and “responsibility to protect.”
She is attacked by those on the far right because in January 2003 she wrote a somewhat sympathetic review for the New York Times of the book “Hegemony or Survival” by the prominent anarchist intellectual Noam Chomsky.
Promoting war via media, internet
Samantha Power’s career began as a war correspondent in the 1990s. She joined the rest of the U.S. media in publicizing “atrocities” being committed in what used to be the Socialist Federation of Yugoslavia. The media campaign filled television screens with images of children dying, “ethnic cleansing” and other brutalities. Blatant untruths were told about “mass rapes,” “concentration camps” and other horrors.
With all these heartbreaking and horrific images of suffering, the media pushed a single message: “The U.S. must intervene!” Power said in her book, “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,” that the U.S. government “needed help from American reporters, editorial boards, and advocacy groups.”
In 1999, after Power and her media colleagues had drummed up enough support in a long-lasting media campaign, U.S. President Bill Clinton sent in cruise missiles. The target was the Yugoslav republic of Serbia, which had refused to give in to Wall Street bankers.
NATO bombed Serbia for 78 straight days. The bombing campaign targeted electricity, water supplies, schools and hospitals, all of which is illegal under international law. Some 480 schools and 33 hospitals were hit. Cathedrals and the Chinese Embassy were hit as well. Yugoslavia was broken up and its pieces taken over by pro-imperialist, neoliberal regimes.
Power did not send the missiles. She did not sit inside the Pentagon strategizing the military campaign. She had a different role to play. She cut her teeth in world politics as a creator of war propaganda, promoting and justifying war.
Power gave her first speech as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations at a conference held at the University of California, Los Angeles on Aug. 11. The conference, called the Fourth Estate Leadership Summit, was hosted by Invisible Children, Inc.
Invisible Children is a foundation that promotes the U.S. military presence in Africa. Its most infamous effort was “Kony 2012,” a film released on the internet by its millionaire director and evangelical Christian, Jason Russell, and promoted extensively on Facebook and elsewhere. It could be called a lengthy advertisement for AFRICOM and the need for U.S. troops on the African continent.
The plan was for “Kony 2012” to be followed by a national mobilization of youth in support of U.S. intervention in Africa. After the film was roundly criticized, the mobilization never came.
Wrong kind of activism
Power has been described as the chief architect of U.S. intervention in Libya. Working in the Obama White House, she helped sell that horrific war. After another lengthy media campaign, this time charging Libya with “genocide” and “crimes against humanity,” NATO bombed the country that had achieved the highest life expectancy on the African continent. Thousands of innocent people were killed, and the popular regime of Moammar Gadhafi was brought down. Libya is now in a mess of civil war and instability as pro-imperialist groups compete with one another. Struggles over who controls its oil have cut production in half.
At the Invisible Children meeting, Power said, “Today, ordinary citizens don’t just advocate for change and action, they force change and take action themselves.” But the “activism” she promotes is in sync with imperialist objectives.
As ambassador to the United Nations, she is currently pushing for U.S. intervention in Syria, saying Washington has the “responsibility to protect” Syrians from President Bashar Al-Assad. She ignores the crimes of the Syrian insurgent forces, who have kidnapped, tortured and even beheaded many innocent people while receiving U.S. weapons and support.
All the governments she targets are ones that have stood up against Wall Street. Her “activism” involves building up popular support for militarism.
Recently, Robert Mugabe ran for reelection in Zimbabwe, hoping to continue his land reform program of giving stolen land back to African people. As the election drew nearer, “liberal” organizations linked to the Democratic Party, George Soros and the Ford Foundation pushed an anti-Mugabe frenzy.
However, the anti-Mugabe campaign failed. Mugabe was reelected by the people of Zimbabwe. The land reform program continues, taking the land from white settlers and returning it to African people after centuries of colonial exploitation. The U.S. imperialists were unable to overturn the anti-imperialist revolution and reconquer Zimbabwe for themselves.
Workers World Party defended the progressive gains of Zimbabwe’s revolution. Party members marched in the streets of Harlem with the December 12th Movement in the lead-up to the election, rallying U.S. support for the Zimbabwe African National Union-People’s Front.
Revolutionaries have a duty not to be duped by the likes of Samantha Power, but to expose them and build a movement against the ugly wars they promote, no matter how persuasive or progressive their rhetoric may sound.