Sunday, February 15, 2009

Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism, and Zionism

One of the best illustrations of Empire, Inc.'s motto -- no permanent enemies, no permanent friends -- is its about-face on Afghanistan. Today's a good day to remember it:
Twenty years ago today, the commander of the Soviet Limited Contingent in Afghanistan Boris Gromov crossed the Termez Bridge out of Afghanistan, thus marking the end of the Soviet war which lasted almost ten years and cost tens of thousands of Soviet and Afghan lives. . . . The documents suggest that the Soviet decision to withdraw occurred as early as 1985, but the process of implementing that decision was excruciatingly slow, in part because the Soviet-backed Afghan regime was never able to achieve the necessary domestic support and legitimacy -- a key problem even today for the current U.S. and NATO-supported government in Kabul. ("Afghanistan and the Soviet Withdrawal 1989: 20 Years Later," National Security Archive)
Capitalism and imperialism has no structural necessity for Islamophobia. Islamophobia is ascendant today because Empire, Inc. is fighting wars against predominantly Muslim nations. When it was fighting against godless Communists, in contrast, it celebrated even the most reactionary Islamist extremists as "freedom fighters."

Similarly, capitalism and imperialism has no structural need for either Zionism or anti-Semitism. They can rise or fall depending on the perceived self-interests of the power elite of Empire, Inc. Classic anti-Semitism is already a residual ideology, and so will Zionism be, as it has already lost its original raison d'être (the inability of Jews to obtain equal rights in the West), and as it begins to lose, slowly but surely, Western elite support, with Israel starting to get in the way of Empire, Inc.'s ability to rule the Arab masses through its Arab clients.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Dead Man Walking?

America does its imperialism as it does its capitalism: when a business fails, blame employees.
A White House favorite -- a celebrity in flowing cape and dark gray fez -- in each of the seven years that he has led this country since the fall of the Taliban, Mr. Karzai now finds himself not so favored at all. Not by Washington, and not by his own.

In the White House, President Obama said he regarded Mr. Karzai as unreliable and ineffective. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said he presided over a "narco-state." The Americans making Afghan policy, worried that the war is being lost, are vowing to bypass Mr. Karzai and deal directly with the governors in the countryside.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Meanwhile, the Obama administration will have to decide what it wants from Mr. Karzai as it tries to make good on its promise to reverse the course of the war. Or whether it wants him at all. (Dexter Filkins, "Afghan Leader Finds Himself Hero No More," New York Times, 8 February 2009)
Mr. Karzai may have sealed his fate by finally beginning to show signs of independent thinking last year and coming up with a sensible strategy to boot:
At a news conference in Kabul, the Afghan capital, Mr. Karzai coupled his offer of safe passage to Mr. Omar with a warning to the Western nations that support his government, saying that if they opposed an assurance of safety for Mr. Omar they would have to remove Mr. Karzai as president or withdraw their troops from Afghanistan.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Mr. Karzai has recently toughened his tone when speaking of the American-led coalition in ways that appear to have been aimed at gaining wider support at home. Among other things, he has demanded that the coalition make more measured use of air power to reduce civilian casualties from bomb and missile attacks. With his warning that he would guarantee Mr. Omar's safety, he appeared to have taken one step further in marking his distance from the coalition. (John F. Burns, "Karzai Offers Safe Passage to Taliban Leader If He Agrees to Talks" New York Times, 17 November 2008)