Guest Writings
 
  
24/11/05 ATTACK DOGS By Stephen Gowans
  

November 24, 2005

gowans.blogspot.com/

“Mr. Bush was said to have referred to the idea of bombing Al Jazeera’s studios in Qatar, a close Western ally, according to a document quoted…in The Daily Mirror. The tabloid said it was quoting from a leaked government memo said to contain a transcript of a conversation by Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair.” (New York Times, November 23, 2005.)

More evidence of just how far off the “is there no end to this madness?” meter Bush is?

No.

This isn’t peculiar to Bush. While Bill Clinton was president, NATO not only talked about bombing an overseas TV network ˆ it did so.

During the alliance’s 1999 terror bombing of Yugoslavia, Serbian Radio-TV challenged NATO’s self-serving take on the war. For that it was bombed. NATO said the Serb media — that is, that part of it not celebrated as “independent” for being funded by the US — was spreading “propaganda,” the same charge the White House levels against Al Jazeera today.

Blair, a link to the aggressions against both Yugoslavia and Iraq ˆ and a social democrat who’s living proof you don’t need to be neo-con to jackboot around the world — vigorously defended the violent silencing of Serb Radio-TV.

Votes For Sale

Washington, along with point-countries, Germany, France and Britain, the so-called EU-3, have been pressuring Iran to abandon its right, under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to enrich uranium for peaceful uses.

The US says Iran, one of the US’s axis of evil targets, is secretly building a nuclear weapons capability. Bullshit spews from Washington as regularly as steam from Old Faithful, but this may be one instance in which a pronouncement from Washington intersects the truth. If so, Tehran’s covert efforts to get its hands on nuclear weapons would hardly be surprising.

The nuclear powers, contrary to their obligations under the non-proliferation treaty, are not working toward (their own) disarmament. Their end of the bargain — to give up their weapons in return for non-nuclear countries relinquishing the right to acquire them ˆ isn’t being lived up to.

Instead, the US refuses to sign on to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, leaving itself free to develop new nuclear weapons.

Worst, the US refuses to refrain from threatening non-nuclear countries with nuclear annihilation ˆ an essential condition of nonproliferation.

And Israel, not a signatory to the treaty, is widely acknowledged to have in the neighborhood of 200 nuclear weapons. Employed by the US as an attack dog to ride herd on the countries of the Middle East, Israel isn’t being pressured to give up its nuclear capability.

In fact, most people in the West haven’t any idea Israel has scores of nuclear weapons. And if they did, they would likely regard the country’s possession of these weapons as legitimate. Nazi Germany’s systematic persecution and extermination of Jews is seen to justify all manner of Israeli outrages ˆ from acts of aggression, to the practice of ethnic cleansing, to the possession of the capability of reducing neighboring countries to a smoldering heap of ashes.

Finally, the US and British invasion of Iraq, on trumped up grounds, hardly advanced the cause of nuclear non-proliferation.

As Glyn Ford pointed out in The Japan Times (November 23, 2005), the “U.S. invasion of Iraq demonstrated that the danger for a poor country was in not having weapons of mass destruction ˆ not the other way around.”

In previous weeks, the EU-3 has arm-wrestled the International Atomic Energy Agency to pave the way for the UN Security Council to impose punitive sanctions on Iran.

The “main achievement of the past few weeks in pressuring Iran was to enlist Russia as a partner to Germany, France and Britain “ (New York Times, November 23, 2005).

Russia needed to be brought on board. It wields a veto that can be used to overturn whatever resolution the EU-3 brings to the Security Council. (China, also a veto-wielding member of the Security Council, needs to be brought on board, too.)

To enlist Russia’s support, the group proposed that a commercial uranium enrichment facility be established in Russia. Russian investors would be showered with substantial profits for enriching uranium on behalf of Iran.

Other countries — those the nuclear monopolists wished to force into a similar permanent dependence ˆ would also be enlisted as customers.

Iran rejected the offer ˆ as the US expected it would. “One senior official deeply involved in developing the proposal said, ŒOur expectations are low the Iranians will accept.’” (New York Times, November 10, 2005.)

Is it any wonder?

What sets Iran apart from many other countries is its independence from the control and domination of outside powers. Indeed, that’s the source of Washington’s beef with Iran. Iran “resents US power” as former Bush speechwriter David Frum put it.

The EU-3 proposal, if accepted, would go a long way toward undermining Iran’s independence, by effectively placing the on-off switch on Iran’s power industry in Russia.

Proposals made to north Korea to dismantle its nuclear industry would similarly place control over energy in the hands of an outside power.

Sanctions and the threat of more sanctions, threats of war, blockade, and negotiation, all drive at the same thing ˆ forced subordination.

A New US Attack Dog

Japan has a large military, about the size of Britain’s.

With Washington having so many regimes it would like to replace with puppet governments (Iran’s, north Korea’s, Syria’s), and too few troops to commit to the task, a military as large as Japan’s could prove useful in furnishing needed cannon fodder and bodies to impose an oppressive rule over conquered peoples while a Quisling regime is put in place.

But under the provisions of the constitution the US imposed on Japan after WWII, Japan’s military is stuck at home, limited to territorial defense.  

Turning the Japanese military into a force of shut-ins was a restraint the US imposed after WWII to prevent Japan from mounting a new challenge to US domination of the Pacific. Having pushed Japan out of the way, the US had no intention of allowing the question of who dominates the Pacific’s riches to surface again.

So, how to let the attack dog out of the kennel, while keeping it under control?

Easy, get a leash.

According to the Washington Post (November 23, 2005), Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, egged on by Washington, has opened “the door to a broader interpretation of the constitution, permitting what some call Œcollective self-defense’ ˆ or coming to the military aid of other countries. The most likely beneficiary would be Japan’s closest ally, the United States.”

Collective security, as the draft revision would have it, amounts to limiting Japan’s overseas military adventures to participation in collective actions. For all practical purposes, that means coalitions under US leadership.

At the same time, confined to collective security actions, Japan would be prevented from going it alone, say, in undertaking military action to assert the interests of Japanese corporations over those of transnational corporations  based in the US.

Hence, the Japanese military would be turned into a tool to promote, not compete against, the interests of US-based corporations.

Media reports say the idea to revise the constitution originated in Washington, not Tokyo.

The revisions, if approved, would free Japan to take a place alongside Britain as an extension of the US military.

The danger, for the US, is that Japan may someday slip the leash. In the inter-war years, Britain sought to deploy Japan in a similar role ˆ attack dog protecting British interests in the Far East.

It wasn’t long before the pit-bull, chafing under its subservience, turned on its master.

Similarly, France and Britain egged on Hitler, facilitating the build-up of German forces and German expansion to the east by conniving to rip up the Versailles Treaty and allow German re-armament and by handing Hitler the gift of Czechoslovakia with the Munich Agreement. The goal was to use Nazi Germany as Western imperialism’s attack dog against the Soviet Union.

The logic that compels each state to will to its side advantages for its principal profit-making enterprises guarantees that all relationships of master to attack dog are temporary; those being established now, no less so.

 
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