Demonizing the demon in Egypt and elsewhere
© Eric Sommer
February 21, 2011
I was personally involved in the movement against the U.S. intervention and bombing of Yugoslavia in the late 1990’s under Clinton. At that time I coined the phrase ‘Demonizing the demons’. I did so because I noted that progressive and well-meaning people in North America were often befuddled and divided as to whether to support the demonizing of Melosovik by the U.S. government or not.
The real problem was not that Melosovik was, in fact, a demon whose government had engaged in serious human rights violations in Croatia but that he was a demon whose actions had been, in a way, supported or condoned by the U.S. state and media to some extent previously before they decided to demonize and attack him.
At that time, I pieced together the following formula used by the U.S. government and media ever since World War II as a lynchpin of U.S. foreign policy:
Step 1: Actively support, or even instigate, the installation of a demonic dictator or semi-dictator. Especially do so in any case where there is danger of a socialist or even truly independent national government coming to power in a country.
Step 2: Support the U.S.-supported demonic dictator by continually supplying massive amounts of military equipment or funds each for such equipment each year, to prevent any internal opposition from gaining the upper hand. Mubarak in Egypt, for example, received around 1 Billion dollars in military aid each year. Also, impose IMF or other measures designed to advantage international capital, allowing for the looting of the local resources and cheap labour at ridiculously low rates when possible, and conceal or downplay any and all resulting extreme human rights violations and impoverishment of the dictators people;
Step 3: When it is no longer expedient to support the demonic dictator – either because internal opposition has grown too strong, or for geo-strategic or other reasons – then proclaim that he is a ‘Demonic Dictator’, ignoring the reality that he was installed and maintained in power by yourself.
This scenario of ‘Demonizing the Demon’ is the formula pursued ever since World War II by the U.S. state throughout the world.
Suharto in Indonesia, Marcos the dictator of the Philippines, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Mubarak in Egypt, Pinochet in Chile, and many other ‘demons’ were installed with the support of the U.S. state and its CIA spy service and military aid; maintained in power by tremendous military and other non-socially-beneficial ‘aid’; and then ‘demonized’ and deposed with the help of the U.S. state when they were no longer needed.
The losers in all cases have been the ordinary people who suffered – first from the Demonic dictators, then from their removal, and then from their replacements (the new demons chosen for them by the U.S. state).
Sound exaggerated? Consider this:
The Egyptian Example
A few weeks ago the media reported on a possible successor to Mubarak in Egypt as follows: “Mohamed ElBaradei, the former United Nations nuclear chief who has become an opposition figurehead, said he would ‘serve if called on’. He earlier held his first negotiations with the American and British ambassadors, proposing potential scenarios for a transfer of power”.
Note that Mohamed ElBaradei held “negotiations” with “American and British ambassadors” for a ‘transfer of power’. Since when does a future ‘leader’ have to ‘negotiate’ with the representatives of the U.S. and British governments! Moreover, since when does a future leader need to “propose” to the representatives of two foreign powers the “scenarios for a transfer of power” in his own country!
It could not be any clearer that Mohamed ElBaradei – and the U.S. and British governments – do not really regard Egypt as a sovereign state; rather, they regard these two foreign powers as the real masters – or at least believe they should be the masters – of Egypt’s destiny.
In Egypt as elsewhere, the process of installing, propping up, and then deposing ‘demons’ is the game of U.S. foreign policy. It’s high time for the people of the world to put a stop to it.
The following perspective is reprinted with permission from World Socialist Web Site.
U.S. diplomatic offensive tightens strategic encirclement of China
© World Socialist Web Site
By John Chan
November 13, 2010
Washington’s aggressive diplomatic campaign in Asia over the past two weeks has amounted, in the words of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to “a full court press” against China, with the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean emerging as potential future theatres of war.
President Barack Obama’s visits to India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan, and Clinton’s trips to Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia, sought to either strengthen existing alliances or create new partnerships for a U.S.-led strategic encirclement of China.
Obama fervently courted India, China’s regional nuclear-armed rival. He urged New Delhi to become a “world power” and backed its bid to become a U.N. Security Council permanent member. Clinton twice reiterated that Washington could invoke the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty to militarily support Japan against China in the conflict over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands in the East China Sea. Vietnam announced it was ready to hire out its strategic Cam Ranh Bay port in the South China Sea “to naval ships from all countries” – with Washington the most likely client. Canberra agreed to provide greater U.S. access to its military facilities, especially those in northern Australia.
The American offensive aims to prevent China from controlling the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean and key connecting waterways, such as the Strait of Malacca and the Sunda/Lombok straits of Indonesia. Since China depends on ships to transport one third of its oil consumption and 70 percent of its foreign trade, these sea lanes have become its “lifelines”. Some 60 percent of the ships passing through the Strait of Malacca every day are Chinese.
Since World War II, retaining the ability to cut off vital oil supply shipments to rival powers by controlling such “choke points” has been a key U.S. naval strategy. This task looms ever larger for Washington today, with the accelerating decline of American economic power and the rapid rise of China, particularly in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis. Since the China-Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) free-trade zone came into effect last January, Sino-ASEAN trade has increased by nearly 50 percent, whereas rising protectionism in the U.S. is stalling any free trade agreement with Asian states.
Far from accepting a diminishing role, the U.S. is determined to retain its dominant position in Asia through its residual military might. In an interview with The Australian newspaper on Monday, Clinton recalled that when Chinese officials first told Washington, earlier this year, that Beijing viewed the South China Sea as a core Chinese interest, “I immediately responded and said, ‘We don’t agree with that’.” What followed was Clinton’s aggressive announcement at the ASEAN meeting in July that Washington would intervene into disputes between China and ASEAN members, such as Vietnam and Philippines, over the Spratly and Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. China angrily responded by warning that “outsiders,” i.e., the U.S., should keep out of South China Sea affairs.
Clinton’s subsequent statement that the U.S. had a “national interest” in “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea was even more provocative. More than 40,000 ships freely pass through the sea each year. The “freedom of navigation” that Washington demands is the freedom of American surveillance vessels and warships to sail the waters near the Chinese coast, and to collect intelligence on Chinese military operations, including the deployment of submarines, in the region. If China likewise were to send spy ships to international waters just off the coast of Hawaii or San Diego to monitor the U.S. naval bases there, the American media and political establishment would respond with outrage over what would, legitimately, be interpreted as acts of provocation.
By establishing or strengthening military ties with Vietnam, India, Australia and Indonesia, the U.S. is seeking to counter China’s “string of pearls” strategy. The aim of this strategy is to build port facilities in Burma, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka for the deployment of Chinese warships into the Indian Ocean in order to protect the shipping lanes that carry oil and raw materials from the Middle East and Africa to China.
Herein lies the importance of Indonesia, which was the second stop on Obama’s trip. The U.S. think tank Stratfor noted: “It [Indonesia] straddles the Strait of Malacca, a global shipping choke point, as well as the Sunda and Lombok straits, making it critical for sea-lanes between the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea and the Pacific, and Australia and China. These sea lanes supply China with critical raw materials; any power controlling this area accordingly has enormous leverage over Beijing.”
These considerations also apply to East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, which sit astride other vital sea lanes. There is concern in Washington that over the past decade, China has established economic and even military ties with Pacific island states, and the Obama administration is determined to reassert U.S. “leadership” in the region.
Thus Clinton visited Papua New Guinea and discussed the Asia-Pacific region in her meetings with key officials in Australia and New Zealand.
The centrality of the South China Sea in Washington’s thinking was expressed by Robert Kaplan, who wrote recently in the Washington Post: “The geographical heart of America’s hard-power competition with China will be the South China Sea, through which passes a third of all commercial maritime traffic worldwide and half of the hydrocarbons destined for Japan, the Korean Peninsula and northeastern China. That sea grants Beijing access to the Indian Ocean via the Strait of Malacca, and thus to the entire arc of Islam, from East Africa to Southeast Asia.”
Kaplan is among those within U.S. ruling circles who have criticised the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq for diverting the focus of the former Bush administration, and allowing China to expand its geopolitical influence throughout Asia. Kaplan’s basic ideas can be seen in the Obama administration’s “back in Asia” policy.
The anti-China coalition being assembled by the U.S. directly conflicts with China’s quest to build a blue-water navy to protect its sea lanes and oil supplies. A bestseller published in China last year, China Sea Power by Zhang Wenmu, summed up Beijing’s view of the present great-power struggle for global hegemony. Zhang wrote: “All players are focusing at one aim, the control of the Indian Ocean.”
Beijing will not allow Washington to undermine the gains it has made in Asia. Just days after Clinton told Cambodia not to become “too dependent” on a single country – i.e., China – the Chinese government gave Cambodia $1.6 billion for infrastructure projects and announced a $590 million loan for the development of mobile phone services. Less than a day after Obama arrived in Jakarta, a Chinese delegation came with $6.6 billion in infrastructure projects. In the words of the New York Times, Beijing “laid down a not-so-subtle challenge to Mr. Obama: Show your Indonesian hosts the money”.
Driven by the deepening global economic crisis, the escalating rivalry between the U.S. and China is yet another sign that the world capitalist system is hurtling towards a major catastrophe. Unless the international working class intervenes to overthrow the profit system and the outmoded system of rival nation-states, these great-power tensions must inevitably lead to a new world war.
INDONESIA: Bekasi Islamic Presidium calls for mosques to establish militant units for possible war against ‘Christianization’
The following article cites the Jakarta Globe as the originator.
‘Prepare For War’: Bekasi Radicals
© Jakarta Globe
By Ulma Haryanto
June 28, 2010
A new group calling itself the Bekasi Islamic Presidium has announced plans to persuade every mosque in the city to form an Islamic militant unit to prepare for the possibility of “war” against “Christianization.”
“All Muslims should unite and be on guard because … the Christians are up to something,” Murhali Barda, head of the Bekasi chapter of the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), told the Jakarta Globe.
The presidium, consisting of nine members representing different Islamic organizations in the area, was formed on Sunday, the last day of the Bekasi Islamic Congress, which was convened to address the so-called Christianization problem…
INDONESIA: Aceh police arrest 3 gunmen believed to have links with a terrorist network formerly headed by Imam Samudra and Noordin M. Top
The following article cites The Jakarta Post as the originator.
Aceh police arrest suspected terrorists
© The Jakarta Post
By Hotli Simanjuntak
February 23, 2010
BANDA ACEH – Aceh police on Tuesday arrested three gunmen believed to have links with a terrorist network formerly headed by Imam Samudra and Noordin M. Top.
The trio were taken into custody after exchanging gunfire in jungle on the slope of Jantho Mountain in Aceh Besar regency.
Zakky Rahmatullah, 27, Ismet Hakiki, 40, both from Pandegelang regency in Banten, and Yudi Zulfahri, 27, of the Aceh capital of Banda Aceh were captured after a 14-hour siege involving around 100 police officers. The police had conducted surveillance on the group since September last year after local residents reported military-style drills in the forest…
Read more. Full-text article appears at the following links.
The Jakarta Post, 23 Feb
The following article cites The Jakarta Globe as the originator.
Ex-Guerilla to Head Jakarta Mujahedeen
© The Jakarta Globe
By Farouk Arnaz
February 22, 2010
In an atmosphere of fiery rhetoric, the son-in-law of Solo-born Abdullah Achmad Sungkar, who helped create regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, has been elected to lead the Greater Jakarta branch of the Indonesian Mujahedeen Council.
Syawal Yasin, who in 1986 was one of the first Indonesians sent to a mujahedeen training camp on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, said on Saturday that he was ready to lead the hard-line organization, also known as the MMI…
Read more. Full-text article appears at the following links.