‘Our countries’ – the little slip that revealed so much
In a recent press conference, Marie Harf, the US State Department deputy spokesperson, (and former spokesperson for the CIA), talked of “our countries” in an exchange about Ukraine with AP's dogged reporter Matt Lee.
You can watch the exchange here.
Imagine the furor if a spokesperson of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs talked of “our countries”! It would be taken as yet more “evidence” of the wickedness of New Tsar/New Hitler/New Stalin Vladimir Putin. Yet a US State Department spokesperson says it and we're all supposed not to notice. That's because we're not supposed to acknowledge that the US is an imperial power.
Ms Harf's slip- we can call it a Freudian slip-reveals so much. The US divides the world into “our countries” i.e. countries which are part of its Empire and “not our countries.”
Ukraine, although not a member of NATO, is clearly now regarded by the US as one of its countries. And it was the US's attempt to end Ukraine's neutral status and bring it into its empire, which created the current crisis and caused a new and potentially calamitous new Cold War with Russia.
In fact, it's been the US's desire to expand its “Our Countries” list which has caused many of the crises currently afflicting the world.
To extend its empire, the US has used excuses such as “humanitarian intervention,” “helping democratic movements,” and “promoting human rights,” but behind the modern “progressive” phrases, it's merely an old-fashioned land and resources grab designed to make the richest people in the US even richer. The aim is to topple, by various methods, governments that are independent and replace them with compliant regimes that will do everything Washington demands of them- which means total economic subservience to Wall Street, allowing US military bases on its soil and signing lots of deals with US arms companies.
In some cases the objective has not just been to substitute one regime for another, but to actually break up or destroy the country-to make sure it can never again be a regional power to threaten the interests of the US or its regional allies. “In post Cold-War Europe, no place remained for a large, independent-minded socialist state that resisted globalization” revealed George Kenney, a former US State Department desk officer for Yugoslavia - and so Yugoslavia had to go. We can only compare the scant regard shown for its territorial integrity shown by the US in the 1990s with the lectures we are now given from the US State Department on the grave importance of maintaining the “territorial integrity” of the US's latest imperial acquisition, Ukraine. One country was independent, so needed to be destroyed; the other is regarded as US property- so has to be held together.
In Europe, the EU, has by and large, been a willing accomplice in this imperial project- with Britain's atlanticist elites playing a key role within the EU of pushing Washington's expansionist agenda.
The first step against a “target” country is usually the imposition of sanctions- meant to destroy the country' economy and soften it up for a possible military attack at a later date. Cuba has been sanctioned since 1962. Libya was hit by sanctions from the early 1970s onwards. Afghanistan was sanctioned in 1999. In the 1990s, the rump Yugoslavia was sanctioned. Further draconian sanctions were imposed on Iran (which had already been subject to sanctions since 1979) on account of a totally unproven nuclear weapons program- with the powerful pro-Israel lobby in America at the forefront of the Iran sanctions campaign. Sudan has been sanctioned since 1997, and there's been what the US describes as “targeted” sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe since 2003. Syria has been repeatedly sanctioned- even before the ongoing civil war it was sanctioned for being one of the “state sponsors of terrorism.” Sanctions on non-NATO and non-EU member Belarus were extended earlier this year- and of course we now have US sanctions on Russia.
Various reasons were given for the imposition of sanctions on these states in different parts of the world, but the real reason is never openly stated - namely that they are, or were, all countries independent of the US and their leaders refused to show enough deference to the empire builders of Washington.
The countries targeted in this way can of course expect their leaders to be demonized, and more often than not labeled “The New Hitler,” with Vladimir Putin only the latest in a long line of bogeyman. Washington relies on a cravenly pro-US media elite in “its countries” to make sure that the leaders in question get the full-on “boo-hiss” pantomime villain treatment. Even if the leader in question has won regular democratic election victories, he can still expect to be referred to as a “dictator” as Yugoslav President Milosevic and Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was. He can also be fairly sure to be regularly branded a “war criminal” and “mass murdering tyrant” -labels rarely, if ever, used to describe US allies such as President Suharto of Indonesia, who presided over the bloodbath in East Timor, in which around 200,000 people were killed or died of hunger, the brutal Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet, or indeed Spain's General Franco.
Meanwhile establishment gatekeepers in de-facto US colonies - such as Britain- make sure that anyone daring to challenge the State Department narrative regarding a country which is an “official enemy” is branded an “apologist” for the leader concerned. This branding is meant to silence dissent- and intimidate people from speaking out against the latest planned imperialist aggression.
Funding “popular” anti-government protests movements like Otpor! - which helped bring down Milosevic and the ruling Socialists in Yugoslavia in 2000 is the US's favorite method of extending its empire in Europe. That way the toppling of the government can be portrayed as a “democratic revolution”- and may even hoodwink some progressives into thinking the “revolution” is something to be celebrated- especially as Western faux-left journalists will be telling us that the changes are a “very good thing.” Never mind that the economy will be restructured to suit the needs of the 1% on Wall Street- that unnecessary IMF loans will be taken out to bankrupt the country and guarantee its economic enslavement and that millions of people will lose their jobs following the advent of “democracy”- we must “rejoice” because the latest Western bogeyman has been toppled!
Terrorist proxies, described of course as “rebels” and “pro-democracy freedom fighters,” are also used to foment civil war with the aim of destabilizing independently-minded governments -and providing a pretext for a US-led “humanitarian” military intervention. In Yugoslavia, Washington backed the Kosovo Liberation Army in their campaign against the state authorities- while in Syria, in the name of “democracy”, they've been actively supporting “rebels” to violently overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad- a government which clearly has more popular support than the “rebels.” If the “rebels” need further support, and the supply of arms, equipment and money is not enough, then of course there's the option of direct military intervention to help them defeat the government- as occurred in Libya in 2011- and which very nearly took place against Syria in the summer of 2013. Full scale boots-on-the-ground invasion- as occurred in Iraq in 2003, is the very last resort- and only used if the other options outlined above aren't feasible. Then we were told the invasion was due to non-existent weapons of mass destruction which threatened us all. A blatant neocon lie-and up to 1m people have lost their lives in Iraq since the mendaciously labeled “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
Mendacity is indeed the hallmark of modern US imperialism.
The current US Empire is a more dishonest project than the British Empire- because at least then the British openly acknowledged having an empire.
But the US never acknowledges its empire building- not only that, imperial propagandists have the chutzpah to falsely accuse others of territorial expansionism and of trying build their own empires- e.g. claiming that the Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic who wanted to build a “Greater Serbia” or that Russia has “invaded” Ukraine.
It is clear that by any objective assessment US imperialism is the biggest cause of instability in the world today and has been for many years now. The most serious threat to global peace most certainly wasn't Milosevic, Ahmadinejad, Assad, or any of the other 'New Hitlers' to emerge in the past thirty years- but the serial aggressor that was targeting their countries.
The rise of IS and the growth of jihadist groups generally is directly caused by US's hegemonic aspirations in the Middle East- and its decision to target secular, independently-minded governments such as the ones in Iraq and Syria, which were bulwarks against Islamic fundamentalism.
While in Europe, US's sponsoring of “regime change” in Ukraine - to the tune of $5bn- in and its attempts to bring that country into its empire, has helped cause a humanitarian crisis, in which over 2,000 people have lost their lives and over 100,000 people have become refugees, according to the UN.
“Our countries” indeed. How much more blood will be spilt in the expansionist plans of Washington? How many more countries will be wrecked? And how much longer will we still be expected to deny the US Empire's very existence?
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.