Humanity is inexorably inching towards a third world war, courtesy of global capitalism through the increasing rivalry among its major players. The unipolar world that emerged after the demise of the USSR is now a relic of the past. The global capitalist crisis of 2008 has wreaked havoc around the world and accelerated the relative economic and political decline of the US vis a vis rising capitalist economies, primarily China and the Russian Federation. Rivalry between the US and its allies on one hand and Russia, China and its allies on the other is global. However, the Middle East still constitutes the main space for rivalry since the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.
The history of US and western intervention in the Arab world and the popular animosity towards western colonialism and imperialism is very well documented in the practices of Arab political and social movements. There is no need to go all the way back to World War I or to the creation of the state of Israel in Palestine in 1948 to demonstrate colonial aggression in the Arab world. Suffice it to recall some of the recent US political, military and diplomatic interventions/occupations to appreciate the popular level of animosity towards US power. The invasion of Iraq remains a classic example of the extent to which the US is ready to go to achieve its strategic aims regardless of the devastation perpetrated upon an entire society and the environmental degradation that is associated with modern warfare. The 2006 US-supported Israeli invasion of Lebanon destroyed much of Lebanon, but failed to achieve its strategic goal—the destruction of the armed resistance to Israel in the country. The ongoing war in Syria, one which the US and its regional allies have nurtured and intensified, is yet another example of the destruction that the US is willing to commit (by proxy this time) to achieve its strategic goals. US and NATO intervention in Libya, US political alliances with the Muslim Brothers in Egypt, Tunisia and beyond, through the international organization of the Muslim Brothers, all constitute military and/or political interventions in the affairs of those countries. All of those devastations had been carried out to enable the US to maintain its global domination and deny the natural resources and strategic location of the Middle East to its rivals, especially China and the Russian Federation.
It is significant to recall that the recent Arab uprisings in part have occurred because the popular forces and civil society in general have rejected US intervention through US-supported dictators such as Ben Ali in Tunis and Mubarak in Egypt. Those events have cemented the negative views about US power among ordinary Arabs.
Realizing that all of its machinations had not been enough to dislodge enemy regimes such as Syria’s and Iran’s, enemy political movements such as the Lebanese resistance, and Russian and Chinese influence in the Middle East, the US opted for a different strategy. The most recent initial step was to intervene in the Ukraine so that the Russian Federation would deplete its resources defending its interests right on its borders. The next step was to cut off Iran from Syria by effecting regime change in Iraq, utilizing ISIS and other allied forces for that purpose. The probability of the break up of Iraq is extremely high and it would be catastrophic for the peoples of the region, Arab, Turks, Iranians and Kurds, but that appears to be acceptable to the US and its allies so long as it could roll back Moscow’s and Beijing’s influence in the Middle East and give Israel, the most militarily powerful state in the region, a golden opportunity to normalize its existence and play a dominant economic role in the region. A plan of this magnitude presupposes the liquidation of the Palestinian right for independence in line with international law.
So far the US has been unable to accomplish its strategic goals, unless one assumes that its main goal has been to merely create chaos in the region. While it is true that US strategy has sought to create a «new world order” out of the chaos it has perpetrated to dominate, It is also true that thus far the US has failed to do so.
It appears that the US has consistently misjudged situations in which it inserted itself. This in fact is nothing new and dates back to at least the Bay of Pigs (the invasion of Cuba by proxy in the early 1960s). It repeated that in the war in South East Asia where it was dealt a resounding defeat. More recently the US misjudged Moscow’s reaction to the Ukrainian crisis. Instead of Moscow falling in the trap that the US has prepared for it, it appears that the US is currently wallowing in the Ukrainian mire with more traps being laid out for it by Moscow in other locations such as in the Baltic region and the Balkans. Furthermore, Moscow appears to be getting more involved in the Middle East rather than less after the military onslaught that ISIS (and its allies) is currently executing against the Maliki government in Baghdad.
US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Baghdad on June 23 came in conjunction with Israeli air strikes on Syrian military positions and is revealing in multiple ways: (1) Its thrust is to reinsert US power in Iraq thus curtailing Iran’s influence and breaking the anti-US alliance stretching from Lebanon to Iran and backed by Moscow and Beijing. (2) It delivers a threat (via Israel) of a wider conflict, that if carried out, would not be in the interest of Baghdad, Tehran, Damascus, Moscow and Beijing. (3) It is also a message to allies in the Middle East and Europe that the US is still the main player on a global scale and its power has not waned.
However, the US has been playing poker while the real game is chess. It is not clear that the US will prevail, given its track record in engineering conflicts and its performance in them. Regardless of who might win the current round though, it is clear that the war in Iraq can easily spread to the rest of the region (including Turkey) like wildfire. In fact, it already has crossed borders. Coupled with current developments in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Ukraine, the situation looks potentially ominous. It could conceivably lead to a global military conflict by forces arrayed on each side. That eventuality would be catastrophic for humanity.
World domination or oblivion is the trajectory on which the US is moving to try and rescue its dominant position in a dying capitalist system. For humanity’s sake, the earth’s peoples must stand up against war and struggle for peace based on justice. The first step would be to oppose US and NATO direct military intervention in Iraq and the region.