This week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on a visit to the Middle East and Europe to mobilize support for U.S. imperialism. On March 3, 2009 she gave a press conference in Israel. In the press conference, she made clear that the new Obama administration is dedicated to pursuing continued U.S. dominance of the Middle East. In the pursuit of this dominance, Clinton emphasized that Israel is a key U.S. ally and Iran is a key enemy.
Clinton stressed the importance of Israel at the conference when she stated, “President Obama and I believe that the bond between the United States and Israel, and our commitment to Israel’s security and to its democracy as a Jewish state, remains fundamental, unshakable, and eternally durable.” She talked about the need for a “durable ceasefire” between Israel and Gaza and then blamed Hamas for the war on Gaza. She said, “But that can only be achieved if Hamas ceases the rocket attacks. No nation should be expected to sit idly by and allow rockets to assault its people and its territories. These attacks must stop and so must the smuggling of weapons into Gaza. These activities put innocent lives of Israelis and Palestinians at risk and undermine the well-being of the people of Gaza.”
This is part of the big lie put forth by Israel and the U.S. in justifying the Israeli war against Gaza. The unified line is that the war was one of self-defense. Israel was only defending itself when it killed 1300 Palestinians in Gaza. The four decades of brutal Israeli occupation of Gaza should be ignored. The Palestinians in Gaza should accept what the Israelis allow them to have and ignore the fact that Gaza is treated as if it is nothing more than a vast prison. The code words “durable ceasefire” really mean that the Palestinians must give up all resistance to Israeli occupation and control.
Clinton then went on to pretend that the new administration cares about the “humanitarian needs in Gaza.” She stated, “We believe we can also work together to further the obligations that were entered into by the Palestinian Authority under President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, and help pave the way for a viable Palestinian state that can be independent, accountable, and live at peace.” But when the people of Gaza were under attack by Israeli shells, bombs, and missiles, the U.S. showed no such concern. When Israel refused to let in humanitarian aid and medical supplies, the U.S. did not condemn these Israeli crimes. The U.S. stood idly by allowing the attack to continue, while occasionally mouthing the word “durable ceasefire” and using diplomacy to delay any real ceasefire. Obama, while waiting to take office, maintained almost complete silence about the massacre that was occurring, except to support the big lie mentioned above.
To the U.S., the words “a viable Palestinian state that can be independent, accountable, and live at peace” mean something totally different than they appear. Any Palestinian state acceptable to the U.S. and Israel would have to be totally subservient to both the U.S. and Israel. Israeli settlements presently on Palestinian land and Israeli security arrangements would make any Palestinian state a totally divided “country” at the mercy of Israel.
Clinton pledged, “…the United States will be vigorously engaged in the pursuit of a two-state solution every step of the way. Our Special Envoy Senator Mitchell is here with me today.” The U.S. will be actively involved alright, but only to ensure that any deal will protect the interests of U.S. imperialism. It will also continue to apply pressure on the Palestinian negotiators to capitulate to U.S and Israeli demands.
Clinton did not confine her remarks to Palestine. In the press conference, Clinton also discussed Iran. “We share Israel’s concerns about Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and its continued financing of terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah. As we conduct our policy review and consider areas where we might be able to productively engage with Iran, we will stay in very close consultation with our friends here in Israel, with the neighbors of Iran in the region and beyond with those countries that understand what a threat Iran poses today, and what a greater threat it would pose were it ever to be successful in its pursuit of nuclear weapons,” she stated. Notice how she assumed that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. She also managed to mention terrorism. (Weapons of mass destruction and alleged support of terrorism were excuses used for the Iraq invasion.)
Both the International Atomic Energy Agency and the various U.S. intelligence agencies (in a National Intelligence Estimate) acknowledge that there is no proof of an active Iranian nuclear weapons program. Yet under the Bush regime, and now under the Obama administration, various high-level U.S. government officials keep making statements to the contrary, as if we should all accept such an alleged program as fact. (Dick Cheney was a master of this tactic. He repeated the big lie often enough to fool millions into accepting the lie as fact.)
Yesterday Clinton further stated, “As I pledge again today, and as President Obama has said, we will do everything necessary to ensure Israel’s security now and into the future.” I guess we should be grateful she did not re-state that she would “obliterate” Iran in defense of Israel. She made this statement in April 2008.
But Clinton did say that the U.S. and Iran do have “an understanding that we share about the threat that Iran poses. We intend to do all that we can to deter and to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. That is our stated policy. That is the goal of any tactic that we employ.”
“When we talk about engagement with Iran, do not be in any way confused. Our goal remains the same: to dissuade and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and continuing to fund terrorism. It happens to be a goal that is shared not only with Israel, but with many countries that view Iran through the same prism that we do. And as President Obama has said in his inaugural address, we will stretch out our hand to any country that unclenches its fist. But that is yet to be seen. Whatever we do will be done thoughtfully, in consultation with our friends and allies – most particularly Israel.”
One of the differences between the Bush regime and the new Obama administration is that it is likely under Obama that the U.S. will use more diplomacy to achieve its goals. But as Clinton makes clear above, diplomacy is a tactic. That does not mean that the U.S. has abandoned achieving total domination in the Middle East in order to achieve world-wide hegemony overall. In regard to Iran, the U.S. has used sanctions, military threats, and diplomacy. This was true under Bush and will remain so under Obama. Just because the tactics emphasized at any given time change, does not change the nature of U.S. imperialism. As Clinton said, the “goal remains the same.”
The Obama administration will likely forgo the unilateralist approach often taken by the Bush regime in international affairs. Bush often projected and used U.S. power with minimal attention paid to U.S. allies. This has put U.S. imperialism in a bind, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. In both hot spots, the U.S. now needs more assistance from it allies. The unilateralist approach of the Bush regime makes such assistance less likely. That is why Clinton now emphasizes “consultation with our friends and allies.”
But once again I emphasize that a tactical change does not change the goal of achieving U.S. hegemony. The people of the world should not support U.S. imperialism, just because it involves other imperialist powers in achieving its goals. Would the second invasion of Iraq been more legitimate if George W. Bush had mobilized the coalition that his dad had used in the first Gulf War?
We will undoubtedly see other departures from the Bush regime tactics as Obama conducts foreign policy as the new president and commander-in-chief of U.S. imperialism. But it would be foolish to expect Obama to abandon strategic U.S. goals. He knows who he serves. He is not where he is to serve the interests of the vast majority of the people of the world or even of the U.S. This will become clearer with every move he makes on both the domestic and foreign front.