Eric Draitser of StopImperialism.org (September 26, 2015) provides his analysis of the important change in US strategy towards Iran and the Middle East. He notes that Washington’s main goal now is to block the burgeoning Russia-Iran alliance which has gone beyond arms deals to now include a substantive military alliance, as can be seen in Syria. Draitser argues that a change in US tactics is geopolitical in nature as Iran must be pulled away from Russia, China and the emerging non-western powers.
As the refugee crisis in Europe has come to dominate western media headlines, it has predictably given rise to a complex web of theories, analyses, and politically and ideologically charged omissions and distortions. The corporate propagandists of ‘acceptable journalism’ have presented the issue in a purely humanitarian and cultural light, with little to no political context in terms of the refugee influx as the fruit of imperial wars in Africa and Asia.
These bastions of journalistic truth have managed to flush down the memory hole nearly all evidence published in their own pages of the overlapping strategies of regional and international powers that have conspired to wage war in Syria, openly colluded in wars of aggression in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen, and prolonged and capitalized from seemingly endless conflicts in Somalia and elsewhere. All of these very conscious decisions by the ruling class and its political establishment in the US-NATO (plus Israel and GCC), have led directly to the “crisis” as it exists today. And yet, if they’re mentioned at all, it is merely in passing bemusement, the way one might refer to a stupid comment made after one too many tequila shots at a margarita happy hour.
The refugee issue then becomes less a product of political conflict, and more a cultural battlefield with trenches dug along racial and ethnic lines: the struggle to maintain European ‘civilization’ against the barbaric hordes of uncivilized brown-skinned invaders arriving as a “swarm,” to borrow the unintentionally honest expression used by British Prime Minister David Cameron to describe the refugees. This is of course the neocolonial, supremacist position espoused most vocally by the far right throughout Europe, from Marine Le Pen and the Front National in France, to Hungary’s conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban whose heavy-handed tactics – building fences, mobilizing troops and the unemployed, convicts, and fascists of various stripes – to block the refugee influx, have been both praised and condemned by various elements in Europe.
While there is clearly an attempt to rewrite recent history to scrub the role of imperialism in fostering this crisis, there is also a deafening silence on the role of certain regional and international actors in manipulating it for political advantage. For instance, there is virtually no discussion in mainstream (and much of the alternative) media regarding the role of Turkey in redirecting refugees from its country to Greece and into Europe. There has yet to be even one substantive investigative piece in any establishment media on the collusion between the human traffickers of the Islamic State and other terror groups and criminal gangs, and their backers in the US, Europe, and Middle East. Equally, there has been virtually zero discussion of how the strategy of manipulated migration is part of a broader effort to further the goals of the Empire in the Global South.
Indeed, such questions and debates are critical to understanding the political, economic, and socio-cultural implications of this issue. However, in asking such questions, one almost immediately encounters the virulent strains of racism, bigotry, and outright fascism whose pernicious influence has become pervasive in nominally anti-imperialist circles. Sometimes such ideology is manifested in centuries-old reactionary conspiracy theories in which cabals of Jews, Jesuits, freemasons, or reptilian overlords (as the case may be) conspire to destroy white Christendom. Other times it is simply a rehashing of the ‘barbarian invader’ trope, a product of both European history and good old fashioned Euro-supremacism.
Why are these questions critical? Simply put, the discourse on the refugee crisis is essential to undermining the entire imperialist agenda in Africa and the Middle East. Leftists must be cautious not to take the bait on the liberal versus conservative culture war narrative rooted in a neocolonial worldview, while at the same time remaining vigilant about both the real geopolitical machinations driving the crisis, and the fascistic memes that pass for “telling the truth” in the quagmire of social media and online activism.
Eric Draitser of StopImperialism.org appears on Radio Sputnik (September 26, 2015) to provide his analysis of Russia’s increased involvement in the war in Syria, and the effect that it will have on the political and diplomatic fronts. Draitser argues that Russian participation will have a stabilizing effect on the ground, and force interested parties to accept that political dialogue and compromise, rather than terrorism and war, will end the conflict. He also notes some of the changes in rhetoric in recent days that point to precisely this change already happening. All this and more in this detailed interview.
Seventy years after the defeat of Nazi Germany, fascism has reemerged with a vengeance. This resurgence can be seen all over Europe and the former Soviet bloc, perhaps most notably in Ukraine where Nazism masquerading as nationalist patriotism has effectively embedded itself in the political and military institutions of the country, all with the backing of the United States and European Union. From racist rhetoric and xenophobia in Western Europe, to torch-lit parades with fascist iconography in Greece and Ukraine, this virulent disease is once again infecting the body politic of the European continent.
However, just to the East, and with very little fanfare from sociologists, political scientists, and the international Left, Turkey has quietly been transformed into an aggressive, and deeply reactionary, country where civil and human rights are trampled under the weight of so-called “nationalism.” Under the leadership of first Prime Minister, and now President, Erdogan, Turkey has eschewed its once deeply held desire to be accepted as a liberal democracy in the community of European nations, and instead chosen the trajectory of regional hegemony abroad and fascist thuggery at home.
Now, it should be said at the outset, that the term fascism can take on many meanings, particularly in light of its historical development and context. One must also be careful not to use the term haphazardly at the risk of robbing it of its true meaning. Indeed, it would not be fair to say that Turkey in 2015 is as fascist as Ukraine or Germany under Hitler; such a description would be grossly irresponsible and not at all accurate.
However, a close analysis of Turkey in the ‘Age of Erdogan’ does reveal a country that has given over to violence as a political tool, repression and censorship as standard government practice, and sponsorship of terrorism as foreign policy. If it hasn’t already earned its fascist moniker, it may well be on its way.
Eric Draitser appears on WBAI 99.5 FM (NYC) for part 2 of his interview on imperialism in the world today. He describes in detail what the US and its neocolonial NATO allies are doing in Africa, with close attention to the grand strategy of militarily checking the economic influence of China. Draitser examines some of the volatile conflicts on the continent, attempting to trace how they relate to the US-NATO regional and global hegemonic agenda. From there, he provides his analysis of Syria and the US role in the rise of ISIS/ISIL, as well as Washington’s militarization of Latin America in order to stifle its independence and growing alliances with the non-western world. Finally, Draitser touches on the current situation in Haiti and the grand strategy of containing China through the Asia Pivot and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. All this and much much more in this wide-ranging interview.