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Monday, September 20, 2004

Don't Trust Colin Powell

The World Socialist Web Site has an article today about Powell's declaration of "genocide" in Darfur and what it really means:
The declaration by United States Secretary of State Colin Powell last week that “genocide has been committed in Darfur and that the government of Sudan and the Janjaweed bear responsibility” signals an escalation in American imperialism’s efforts to establish itself as the controlling power in North Africa and throughout the continent.
The plight of the people of Darfur plays no role in shaping the response of the Bush administration to the criminal activities of the Sudanese government. Like Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the regime in Khartoum is being targeted because of geopolitical and not moral considerations. Once again, it is about who controls vital oil supplies.
The US has now decided to step up pressure on Sudan primarily as a weapon against its international rivals. Washington’s demand at the United Nations is that sanctions be applied to Sudan’s oil output—currently 320,000 barrels of oil per day. This would hit China and Pakistan given that they are two of Sudan’s largest oil customers, both of whom are Security Council members and who have so far opposed the proposal. It must also be stressed that since oil is Sudan’s main income, such sanctions would have a devastating effect on a country that is already desperately poor—just as they did in Iraq.
The whole article is here.

In many ways, it seems as though the apparently inevitable war with China has already begun. China's explosive economic growth in recent decades is tightly tied to the U.S. economy, having been based in large part on selling cheap crap made at slave wages to American consumers. Much of the money China has made this way has been used to purchase US treasury bills--basically loaning the US hundreds of billions of dollars to keep our economy afloat enough so we can still afford to buy the cheap crap. If China attempts to call in this loan by selling back the T-bills, or if Washington actually admits what seems obvious, that we never intend to pay China back, both economies will go completely belly up within months, or maybe weeks. Meanwhile, world supply of oil is at its all time peak and about to start declining precipitously, while demand continues to grow, especially in China and the US. Under cover of WMD snipe hunts or humanitarian concerns, imperial America has managed to establish a strong military presence in most of the world's oil-producing or transporting regions--Iraq and the Persian Gulf, the Caspian and Balkan regions, and Colombia (with an ever-present threat to other Latin American oil producers like Mexico and Venezuela). The plan for Sudan fits right in. Meanwhile, we managed to use 9/11 as an excuse to establish bases in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan near China's western frontier to go with our already huge presence in South Korea and Japan on China's east. Not to mention our 13(?) carrier groups, several of which were just involved in exercises off of China's lengthy coastline.

It's all jockeying for position. The American neocons (including Kerry, I'm afraid) believe that our current overwhelming military superiority will carry the day, putting a stranglehold on world oil supplies and thereby compelling China to yield to our will. China probably sees the U.S. as somewhat similar to the Soviet Union, where excessive military expenditures are contributing to the collapse of an already fatally flawed economic system. It's unclear who will emerge as the "winner" of this global game, but it seems pretty clear that the pawns, the vast majority of the world's population, including probably 90% of Americans, will be losers, no matter who "wins."

As the pawns, it seems as though our only hope is to try to starve both beasts--by not shopping at Wal-Mart (buy less, buy used, buy local), by conserving energy, by exposing the game to our fellow pawns.