The Guardian October 24, 2001

Real US intentions made clear

by Peter Symon

Just occasionally the mass media publishes an article that reveals the real 
state of affairs and the real intentions of the leaders of the Western 
powers. An article written by a Mr Max Boot for The Wall Street 
Journal and republished in The Australian (15/10/01) does just 

Mr Boot is the opinion page editor of The Wall Street Journal so he 
is no slouch among journalists and his opinions are certain to be taken 
seriously. His bold headline already gives the flavour of what follows: 
"Colonise wayward nations  a dose of US imperialism may be the best 
response to terrorism."

He argues that the attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon was "a 
result of insufficient American involvement and ambition. The solution is 
to be more expansive in the US's goals and more assertive in their 

Mr Boot admits that the US was involved in Afghanistan in what he calls a 
"proxy war" but pulled out when that war was over and "let the Afghans 
resolve their own affairs".

It is not true that the US played a "proxy" role in the war against the 
Soviet Union and the progressive revolutionary government that came to 
power in 1978.

Nor is it true that the US "pulled out" after that war was over. The US, 
together with the military regime of Pakistan, was instrumental in bringing 
the Taliban to power and creating Osama bin Laden as part of the anti-
communist crusade that the US and conservatives everywhere continue to this 

The US needed the Taliban to destabilise the southern republics of the 
former Soviet Union in preparation for the next major move of US 
imperialism  to penetrate these republics, thereby putting more pressure 
on the Russian Federation and, as a strategic move, to encircle the 
People's Republic of China.

The main objective of the current "war on terrorism" is to advance this 
target a stage further.

It is of no concern to Mr Boot that he repeatedly disregards the facts or 
blandly disposes of them in his attempt to argue for a more "assertive" 
role for the USA.

He claims that "US imperialism  a liberal and humanitarian imperialism to 
be sure, but imperialism all the same  appears to have paid off in the 

Mr Boot disregards entirely the role played by US, German and British 
imperialism in promoting religious and separatist forces in Slovenia, 
Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and Kosovo in their drive to dismember 
Yugoslavia. He asserts that "Luckily, NATO and the US intervened to stop 
the fighting in Bosnia and later in Kosovo".

And how did the US and its NATO allies intervene in Kosovo? By arming and 
financing the neo-fascist Kosovo Liberation Army and then, when that 
failed, by bombing Yugoslavia for almost three months.

It needs an enormous stretch of imagination to describe this intervention 
as "liberal and humanitarian".

Returning to the call for American assertiveness, Mr Boot writes: "The 
question is whether having now been attacked (the attack in New York and 
Washington) the US will act as a great power should."

And how should American "assertiveness" be pursued? How should a "great 
power act"? Apparently with breath-taking arrogance and disregard of 
history Mr Boot writes:

"It is striking  and no coincidence  that the US now faces the prospect 
of military action in many of the same lands where generations of British 
colonial soldiers went on campaigns.

"Afghanistan, Sudan, Libya, Egypt, Arabia, Iraq, Palestine, Persia, the 
North-West Frontier (Pakistan)  these are all places where by the 19th 
century, ancient imperial authority, whether Ottoman, Moghul or Safavid was 
crumbling and Western armies had to quell the resulting disorder.

"Afghanistan and other troubled lands today cry out for the sort of 
enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident 
Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helments. Is imperialism a dusty relic of a 
long-gone era? Perhaps.

"Unilateral US rule may no longer be an option. But the US can lead an 
international occupation force under UN auspices ... This would be a huge 
improvement in any number of lands that support or shelter terrorists", 
claims Mr boot.

The real terrorists in Mr Boot's mind are those who fought against British 
imperialism which, if it had been "enlightened", would not have suffered 
rejection after rejection as the people of the former British colonial 
possessions fought for their national independence, often suffering 
considerable loss of life as the benign colonialists attempted to hold on 
to their rich possessions.

It is only when severe difficulties emerge that the US and Britain wish to 
involve the United Nations but no-one should be misled into believing that 
this is anything more than a cover.

In its current bombing campaign of Afghanistan the US and its ardent 
British ally have ignored the UN Security Council. They neither sought nor 
were given authority by the UN Security Council to carry out bombing raids. 
Furthermore the bombing campaign is a specific violation of the UN Charter 
which the US and other nations are all pledged to uphold.

Having disposed of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden, (assuming that that is 
the objective), Mr Boot asks: "But what comes next after the Taliban are 

"Will the US repeat its mistake of a decade ago and leave? What if no 
responsible government emerges? What if millions of Afghans are left 
starving? Someone would have to step in and help  and don't bet on the UN 
High Commissioner for Refugees getting the job done."

Undaunted by the facts, Mr Boot declares in respect of Afghanistan that 
"the US in cooperation with its allies, would be left with the 
responsibility to feed the hungry, tend the sick and impose the rule of 

The very US and other forces who created the refugees from Afghanistan, who 
created theTaliban regime in the first place, are now bombing cities, towns 
and even villages with US Tomahawk missiles and the full range of bombs and 

Who is it that has devastated the very limited economy of Afghanistan by 
overthrowing a progressive government that was building schools and 
hospitals and bringing enlightenment to the formerly mullah-ridden society? 
Was it not the US in league with Pakistan?

There are millions of other sick and hungry people in the world who have 
had starvation and suffering imposed upon them by the policies pursued by 
the corporations that Mr Boot rubs shoulders with as a journalist for "The 
Wall Street Journal" and it is for these corporations that he speaks.

By the "rule of law", Mr Boot means just those laws which suit the US 
leadership and in particular those laws which regulate a capitalist economy 
as imposed by the US dominated IMF, World Bank and WTO.

The US has the least regard for the "rule of law" having specifically 
violated the UN Charter in this and many other US military operations that 
it has undertaken. Did the US have the sanction of the UN to bomb Panama or 
Grenada or to undertake the years of secret bombing of Cambodia at the time 
of its illegal invasion of Vietnam?

Mr Boot proclaims that "unlike the 19th century European colonialists, US 
rule [notice how the UN has been already dropped out of the task] should 
not be imposed permanently. Instead as in West Germany, Italy and Japan, 
occupation would be a temporary expedient to allow the people to get back 
on their feet until a responsible humane preferably democratic government 
has taken over."

Mr Boot knows very well that American troops continue their occupation of 
the three countries mentioned and show no sign of leaving. The US retains 
its presence in South Korea and has built a huge concrete wall across the 
whole of the peninsular to keep out infectious ideas from the north.

After 100 years, the US retains its Guantanamo base on the island of Cuba 
and has bases in many other countries. Only when popular anger reaches 
boiling point or a base has become no longer strategically necessary have 
American forces left.

Furthermore, the US has supported by finance, armaments and the military 
training of death squads a number of the military dictatorships of Latin 

Was it not the US that was behind the overthrow of the democratically 
elected government of Salvadore Allende in Chile and replaced it with the 
military fascist dictatorship of Pinochet? Is it not the US that has 
maintained the feudal regime of Saudi Arabia without any protest over 
decades and continues to this day to support it?

Mr Boot has already selected the next target for US attention. It is Iraq. 
He writes: " Once Afghanistan has been dealt with the US should turn its 
attention to Iraq. It will probably not be possible to remove Hussein 
quickly without a US invasion and occupation."

And what is in Mr Boot's mind as the replacement for Saddam Hussein? A 
popularly elected democratic government? Not exactly. He writes: "Once 
Hussein is deposed, an American-led international regency in Baghdad, to go 
along with the one in Kabul should be imposed."

So, the crusade of the US to bring democracy and enlightenment everywhere 
boils down to the restoration of feudal monarchies imposed by US power  
whether the people want it or not.

It is no coincidence that the US has already dragged the former King of 
Afghanistan out of his exile in an endeavour to have him play a "key role" 
in the American plans to saddle the long-suffering Afghani people (who 
kicked the king out long ago) with this old and doddering puppet.

It is not democracy that the US wants but puppets. The only criterion is 
that they should be puppets and do exactly as demanded by the American 

As to enlightenment, once again it means acceptance of the ideology and 
culture of Nike, Coca Cola, Exxon, Citibank and other corporations. When it 
comes to economic systems it is the rule of capital which has created the 
poverty, unemployment, and appalling living conditions which are suffered 
by millions upon millions of people, despite today's technological wonders 
and scientific progress.

The US administration's war plans are not aimed at righting these wrongs. 
Their aim is to impose everywhere the rule of the corporations for whom Mr 
Boot writes. This is what "a dose of US imperialism" means in practice.

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