by David Kerr
As seemingly ever, war drums are beating in the media… Saddam Hussein alternates as the number one target of the so-called ‘world community’ with that other old bogeyman — Slobodan Milosovic of Serbia. The chorus from the media is “Bomb the bastard. Let’s teach him some respect…”
NATO, which was originally set up as a mutual aid treaty to protect the West from the threat of Soviet aggression, has found a new role for itself as a regional franchise of the Pax Americana. Increasingly, those young men and women who joined their countries’ armed services to defend their own homelands against potential aggressors are finding themselves taking part in ‘peace-keeping’ operations in far-flung parts of the globe. It is all too reminiscent of George Orwell’s ironic phrase, Perpetual war for perpetual peace.
The new liberal-leftist consensus is that military intervention in foreign conflicts is a great idea — particularly if it can be against relatively defenceless small states, which refuse to toe the Washington line. So, for example, the US Air Force can bomb Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan and the Bosnian Serbs and threaten to attack targets in Serbia on ‘human rights’ grounds but there will be no attacks on China, Indonesia or Israel. These states also violate the human rights of their citizens and the conquered inhabitants of their occupied territories, but things are different there.
On their recent visits to China, Bill Clinton and then Tony Blair politely suggested that the Chinese communist rulers be nicer to their citizens and to the Tibetans whose territory has been brutally occupied by the Red Terror since 1950. No threats of bombs, or even boycotts and embargoes, here.
Why is this? Simply because China is a massive potential market for the goods and services of US-based multinational corporations — hence its ‘most-favoured nation’ trading status with the US government. Human rights are all very well, but business is business. The Chinese may be brutally authoritarian at home, but they are willing to play by the rules of the international game. The Chinese are also too powerful to push around as they are both willing and able to fight back.
Indonesia has recently exchanged one corrupt tyrant for another who will also play by these rules — and make illegal donations to the US Democratic Party’s coffers – so the brutally repressed people of East Timor can go hang. They don’t matter.
Israel has many powerful allies in the US establishment who are prepared to overlook its little indiscretions. In that state, the torture of Palestinian prisoners is perfectly legal! Israel also holds a large number of nuclear weapons and, according to a report in the Sunday Times (4/10/98), its American-supplied F-16 assault aircraft have been equipped to carry chemical and biological weapons. These weapons are manufactured at the Institute for Biological Research at Nes Ziona some 12 miles southeast of Tel Aviv. This came to light when a Dutch government report into the 1992 crash of an El-Al 747 aeroplane was published last September. It revealed that the Institute was the intended destination of 42 gallons of DMMP – a chemical used in the manufacture of sarin nerve gas. So, can we expect US airstrikes on Nes Ziona as happened recently in Khartoum? Will Tony Blair cheer them on? Don’t hold your breath!
We can, however, confidently expect to see NATO or UN strikes on Yugoslavia. The British government will back them to the hilt as Tony Blair vies for the title of US stooge every bit as much as Margaret Thatcher did in the Reagan years. No doubt he would say the same if Clinton decided to invade Canada! We are very concerned at Tony Blair’s knee-jerk reaction to the ‘something must be done’ mentality fostered by the media. Before British (and Ulster – the RIR) forces go in mob-handed, we have a number of questions for the warmongers in the British and American governments and in the media….
What is the political objective behind bombing targets in Serbia? Airstrikes alone will have little effect on the people on the ground. What do they want? Should Kosovo remain as a part of Yugoslavia, become part of Albania, or become a separate state? Will NATO forces occupy Kosovo and hold it by force of arms? In this case, will NATO allow a referendum on the province’s status? If not, why not?
NATO forces surely have no business being there at all; intervention against the Serbians may bring upon us the wrath of Yugoslavia’s fellow Slavic and Eastern Orthodox neighbours and allies and embroil us in a bloody and unnecessary regional war. Post-Soviet Russia is already disillusioned with the West. Let’s leave what may in retrospect prove to have been comparatively well alone, until we’re sure of where we’re going and what we’re doing….