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Vol. 80/No.48      December 26, 2016

(feature article, from the pages of “The Clinton’s Anti-Working-Class Record”)

Washington’s unending wars, from Iraq to Yugoslavia

Below is an excerpt from The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record: Why Washington Fears Working People, by Jack Barnes, national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party. This section is based on a public talk given in March 2001, just after President Bill Clinton left office. Copyright © 2016 by Pathfinder Press. Reprinted by permission.

During the days prior to Clinton’s inauguration in January 1993, the outgoing Republican Bush administration rained down bombs on Iraq, as it had continued doing over the nearly two years since the “cease-fire” in the 1991 US-led Gulf War. The new Democratic administration followed suit the very next week. In fact, Iraqi civilians have been killed in intermittent US raids month in and month out since the 1991 war, and more have been wounded, many mutilated for life.

Washington’s military campaign against the Iraqi people should remind us of something in Cuban General José Ramón Fernández’s testimony in July 1999 before the Provincial People’s Court of the City of Havana. The court was hearing a lawsuit filed by eight Cuban organizations to demand that the US government pay damages for the thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in physical destruction caused by Washington’s decades-long efforts to overthrow the Cuban Revolution by force and violence.

The Cuban general reported that during the April 1961 US government-organized mercenary invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, Washington supplied the mercenaries with napalm, which they used against Cuban working people in the militia, armed forces, and police defending Cuba’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, its socialist revolution. The one thousand five hundred invaders were defeated in fewer than seventy-two hours of combat during what Cubans call the battle of Playa Girón. …

The Clinton administration also led the efforts of the US and European imperialist rulers to restore capitalist social relations in Russia and other former republics of the Soviet Union, as well as across Eastern and Central Europe. These were the heydays of Washington’s so-called “shock therapy” privatization in these countries, with shattering effects on the lives of millions of workers and farmers and the sudden enrichment of a privileged handful (including some Harvard professors and other US “economic advisers,” “investors,” and “entrepreneurs,” who ended up as wealthy as the thieves they are).

Washington presided over the systematic destruction of the Yugoslav Revolution’s conquest of national unification by breaking up that country along centuries-old national and religious divisions. In 1994–95 and again in 1999, the US rulers and their NATO partners employed cruise missiles and aerial bombardment from afar against working people in Serbia, Bosnia, Kosova, and elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia.

In the process, Washington reinforced US imperialism’s post–World War II position as the dominant “European” military power.

Under Clinton the expansion of NATO extended the reach of US imperialism’s armed might closer and closer to the borders of Russia, bringing in three former Warsaw Pact countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. During the 2000 presidential campaign both Bush and his Democratic opponent Albert Gore advocated further expansion, with the next countries in line — the former Soviet Baltic republics, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia (all of them militarily annexed under Stalin’s direction in 1940) — bringing imperialist US military pressure ever nearer Russia’s main urban centers.

The Clinton White House has already initiated plans for an Alaska-based anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system that will serve as the starting point for more extensive ground- and submarine-based missiles by the new Bush administration. The aim, with bipartisan backing in Congress, is to leverage US military might to increase the US rulers’ political dominance vis-à-vis other powers in Europe that have developed nuclear arsenals: not only Paris and London, but Moscow first and foremost.

More immediately, a US anti-ballistic missile system will target China and North Korea, two countries in Asia where the imperialist yoke was thrown off half a century ago. Washington already has hundreds of nuclear-tipped missiles targeted on these two countries. In the process, the US rulers are slowly but surely drawing Tokyo into the world of nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

In addition, the US rulers seek to instill terror into the government of any semicolonial country — Iraq, Iran, India, Pakistan — that has built missile-based defenses that could be used against future imperialist aggression.
Related articles:
Moscow, Assad brutalize Syria rebels, Ankara targets Kurds
NATO expansion, US missiles aimed at Russia
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