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A Flawed View of Imperialism:
Liberals, Conservatives and the anti communist Left.

By Dave Silver

The two prime imperialist powers the U.S. and the U.K. are intent to continue their monopoly of Weapons of Mass Destruction so that they can reap the huge financial rewards that only a dominating imperialist power can achieve. Liberals and the anti-communist Left (we’ll call them the L and the ACL) join conservatives as Stephen Gowans points out in his Gilding Imperialism’s Friendly Mask, that “North Korea is a threat to U.S. plans to make over the northern part of the Korean peninsula into a workshop for U.S. capital.” The L and the ACL join the imperialist chorus demanding that North Korea must immediately and verifiably dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

Liberal Joanne Landy, editor of New Politics while attacking Bush’s march to war, at the same time chose to demonize the reviled Iraqi leader as though Saddam’s failings had something to do with Washington’s need to go to war. As Gowans points out that in this instance Liberals and Conservatives “share core assumptions, differing only in tactical considerations.” Once you agree that we have to remove a monster, “military intervention, or something equally, or more devastating, like sanctions and blockades, are likely to strike most people as the only realistic option.” The need for regime change in Baghdad was fueled by not only Iraq’s support of the Palestinian cause but perhaps even more importantly Saddam’s decision to favor oil trade with imperialist rivals in Europe that use the Euro instead of the dollar. This made it difficult to keep Iraq within the orbit of U.S. control.

Pre-emptive war of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld had its precedent in Clinton’s contrived story about a genocide it had to prevent in Kosovo and all post war administrations up to Reagan’s which sought to prevent the spread of communism. But Milosevic never carried out a genocide in Kosovo and Saddam didn’t have banned weapons. Gowans cogently asks why is it that the successor’s policies “almost always turn out the same as those of the reviled predecessor?” The answer of course is that no matter what their political differences may be they are constrained by the same economic and social forces. The question of socialist Cuba forcefully brings anti-communism in Left disguise to the fore. The ACL sees civil and political liberties as more fundamental than economic and social rights. The former are the New Left, Social Democratic and Anarchist while the latter are regarded as the Old Left and Stalinist. Gowans; “no one has ever tried to defend a revolution by refraining from imposing some limitations on political and civil liberties and by eschewing all forms of central authority.” The idea that economic and social rights are primary is largely alien to many Western countries and particularly the U.S. including many who identify with the Left.

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