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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 11/29/21

From Starvation and Chaos to Power

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Message Bob Kosuth

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In 1996 Madeline Albright causally stated that 500,000 Iraqi deaths from US sanctions was not too high a price to pay for trying to oust Saddam Hussein (r.org/extra/we-think-the-price-is-worth-it). Once again now, the US seems to be using starvation as a mechanism for regime change, this time in Afghanistan as the US works to hinder or prevent material aid from entering the country (Click Here) now that the usual methods of military force and a corrupt proxy government have failed to secure US control.

In both these cases, Iraq and Afghanistan, mass hunger, poverty and death are acceptable to the US for what it considers the greater good of controlling and defeating its enemies. When starvation-causing sanctions in Iraq did not accomplish the US goal of separating Saddam from his oil, the direct violence of a second Gulf war was eventually resorted to. Now the conditions of chaos and a Taliban-ISIS competition in Afghanistan might give the US an opportunity to install another proxy and a return to a dispersal of resources among corrupt officials with a smattering of humanitarian relief without the nuisance of another unpopular war.

The other side of this coin of chaos is the now familiar streams of desperate refugees/migrants not only from Iraq and Afghanistan but also Syria, Libya, Kurdistan, Iran, Egypt, Palestine, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Venezuela, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, etc., etc. The one thing that these situations have in common besides the misery of the refugees is the direct or indirect machinations of the United States. Needless to say, there are always some other bad actors to blame for this misery and sometimes very justifiably so like Lukashenko of Belarus and other such opportunists.

Creating and then taking advantage of chaos abroad is one of the most consistent themes in US foreign policy. One only needs to look at the latest presidential transition to see it: Trump is to Biden as Pompeo is to Blinken when it comes to dealing with the outside world. Power and plunder. Such are the workings of US imperialism regardless of presidents or political parties.

When it comes to the State Department's most challenging bà tes noires there is the pesky issue of history not Americans' strongest subject. Current Number 1 enemy, China, is surging after 150 years of Western imperialism and domestic chaos. Americans know nothing of this history, but the Chinese remember everything. Enemy number 2 is Russia under Vladimir Putin. After the chaos of the implosion of the USSR, NATO moved all the way to the Russian border (and then on to Southern Europe and Afghanistan) in spite of its promises to Gorbachev not to do so (Click Here). Russians remember, which works to Putin's advantage.

Barak Obama was fond of saying that we are a nation of laws. The current State Department iteration is that we Americans want a "rules-based international order." Indeed, there's no reason to doubt their sincerity on this point just as long as the rules are made by the US.

Robert Kosuth, retired instructor/administrator from the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

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Retired from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Former director of international programs office and Superior English as a Second Language Institute. Ph.D., University of Minnesota. M.A. degrees in linguistics and East Asian Studies from the (more...)
 
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