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Manufactured destabilization: the desperate survival mechanism of a dying U.S. empire

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Obama's Afghanistan War..S.F.
Obama's Afghanistan War..S.F.
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The anti-imperialist movement isn't just a struggle against the neo-colonial states that Washington props up around the globe, it's a struggle to rebuild the societies that Washington's interventions have rendered stateless. Throughout the last half-century of accelerating U.S. imperial decline and falling profits, the imperialists have been increasingly embracing the "shock doctrine" approach towards maintaining global domination, where Washington destabilizes countries to advance its own economic interests. This has made it so that a record 82.4. million people are now refugees, in addition to the hundreds of millions who've been driven into poverty and serfdom by the neoliberal policies within the places where functioning states still exist.

Sometimes these destabilization campaigns serve to strengthen a U.S.-backed regime, like when engineered neoliberal economic disruptions allowed for privatization and austerity in Pinochet's Chile (the place where the shock doctrine was pioneered). Other times it's been even more extreme; in places like Libya, Yemen, and Syria, the empire's goal has been to destroy the existing state entirely so that a power vacuum can be formed. Whether or not a stable state gets put in place to contain the humanitarian fallout isn't a concern for the imperialists; when Obama turned Libya into a warring failed state by bombing the country and destroying its exceptionally wealthy democracy, he admitted that his inability to adequately replace Gaddafi's government was the biggest failure of his presidency, but overall he had fulfilled the U.S. empire's most important goal: to make Libya's anti-imperialist state cease to exist.

Chaos, including the type of post-Gaddafi Libyan chaos where migrants are being trapped and sold as slaves by newly impune criminal networks, is seen as preferable to the continuation of any government that challenges Washington's hegemony. As the U.S. empire continues to decline, and grows more desperate in the face of a potential new wave of revolutions during the coming decades, it will seek to create ever more Libyas. The imperialists prefer a destroyed world to a world where all exploited and subjugated peoples have attained self-determination.

The climate crisis shows this; the imperialists don't care that the U.S. military is the world's largest polluter, nor that the 100 companies whose profits are protected by the U.S. military are responsible for two-thirds of global carbon emissions. They're willing to render large parts of the earth uninhabitable just to keep capitalism in place. The same willingness to scorch the planet out of self-interest is revealed in the nuclear tensions that the imperialists are manufacturing with Russia and China, which according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have produced a greater current risk of atomic annihilation than was the case during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Washington's enabling of the growing risk of an Israeli war with Iran, exacerbated by Biden's recent airstrikes against Syria and Iraq for the purpose of intimidating the Iranians, also contributes to this rising danger; Israel has 90 nuclear weapons by the lowest estimate, and its increasing belligerent behavior towards Iran shows they may be used to try to create a new type of power vacuum within southwest Asia.

As journalist Vijay Prashad has described, Washington's lack of concern for the destabilized Iraqi and Afghani societies amid its imperial retreat from these countries also shows the barbarism that imperialism is leaving behind amid its decline:

US troops are pulling out from Afghanistan. There are only 2,500 of them left. What will remain when they're gone are all kinds of mysterious assets: trainers, private contractors, ghost advisers (namely, from the CIA). No one knows how many of those there are, and few talk about it. [Veteran reporter in Baghdad] Abbas tells me that after the Iraqi Parliament refused to let US troops linger in Iraq, such contractors (and the CIA) remained, many of them in the Kurdish-dominated north. This past February, a missile strike that hit Erbil airport was directed at these US assets. "Two strategic defeats for the United States," Abbas says. In Iraq's case, the advantages of the US withdrawal certainly went immediately to Iran, which has close relations with a large section of the Iraqi government; but the advantage also came to Iraq, whose confoundingly compromised government is nonetheless trying to exert some sovereignty over the fractured country. In Afghanistan, who will be in charge? Certainly not the titular leader of the country, Ashraq Ghani, who is--as they used to say about Hamid Karzai--merely the mayor of Kabul. There is a lot of jockeying for influence: among the Muslim Brotherhood states of Qatar and Turkey, and of course India and Iran. There's been little mention of China, but it has an interest in a stable Afghanistan so as to build its Belt and Road Initiative linking China's Pacific coastline to Europe. "These are the Vietnams of our time," Abbas says.

Faced with the ever-more-apparent reality that Washington's hand for carrying out regime change has grown decrepit, and that it therefore can't carry out coups in strategic geopolitical locations like Venezuela, Syria, Cuba, Nicaragua, or China, it's approaching these modern Vietnams from an angle of simply trying to inflict as much instability as possible. Biden's decision to keep private mercenaries, special forces, intelligence operatives, and drone strike campaigns in Afghanistan even after he draws out some forces from there next month is motivated by this reasoning; the only way the imperialists can prevent China from turning Afghanistan into yet another facet of the rising multi-polar world order is by keeping Afghanistan in a destabilized state. As the saying goes, the war isn't meant to be won, it's meant to be continuous.

A parallel motivation is behind Biden's increase in funding to Ukraine's fascist regime, whose role is to perpetuate NATO's proxy war against Russia so that Russia can't totally fill the power vacuum from Washington's waning influence over Eurasia. NATO's general acts of Russian military encirclement and cold-war escalations are the extensions of this. As Stephen Lendman assessed in May of this year, after Biden had shipped three consignments of arms to Ukraine, gotten Turkey to join in on anti-Russian military exercises in partnership with Ukraine, and deployed nuclear-armed B-1 bombers to Norway for the first time in NATO's history:

War by US installed, directed and controlled Ukrainian fascists against Donbass goes on endlessly because hardliners in Washington reject resolution. According to Russia's Platform for Life political council head Viktor Medvedchuk on Tuesday: The US and its imperial partners "want Ukraine to be a stronghold of confrontation on the border with Russia that benefits US interests above all." They oppose "peace in Donbass." They're against whatever benefits Russia and support what's harmful to its interests. On Thursday, interventionist Blinken and hardcore neocon/closet fascist Victoria Nuland are visiting Kiev. Earlier serving as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, she's now the department's third highest-ranking official as under secretary of state for political affairs.

Unsurprisingly, since the 2014 Nazi coup that Biden helped carry out in Ukraine--and that Nuland had a pivotal role in--the country itself has become another site for Washington's destabilization campaigns; by deepening the corruption that's characteristic of post-Soviet Eastern Europe, pummeling the Ukrainian working class with extreme neoliberal shock-doctrine policies, and driving the country into a costly war, the imperialists have rendered Ukraine a failed state. This has allowed for the rise of U.S.-funded fascist militias within the country, participated in by American white supremacists, who've been facilitating ethnic cleansing under a lawless paradigm where the state has lost control over the militias.

This trend of fascist militias could become the norm within the other places that imperialism is destabilizing, including the increasingly impoverished communities inside U.S. borders. The U.S. and Ukraine already share the characteristic of a government that's obsessively shoving anti-communist propaganda down the throats of its people, and that's committed to deepening neoliberal austerity and privatization despite a pandemic and a global depression. When these militias fill this power vacuum in the core of the empire, they'll be largely made up of the kinds of mercenaries who Washington is proliferating within Afghanistan. Biden's furtherance of the privatization of war foreshadows what it will look like when the wars are brought home.

And this is just in the countries that the imperialists still have the most control over. In the countries whose anti-imperialist governments refuse to be overthrown, Washington is sticking to a policy of territorial bargaining, doing all it can to either gain control over parts of these countries or render them without functioning governments. Washington cares little about which of these occurs; all it wants is to take power away from those who challenge it.

At the Colombia-Venezuela border, the empire is using its neo-colonial Colombian regime to perpetuate conflict, fostered by the Colombian mercenaries who participate in Washington's global conflicts. In Nicaragua, the empire has been financing operatives who carried out a failed coup in 2018, which led to hundreds of deaths and has since left the country destabilized. In Syria, the U.S. is occupying one-third of the country through both an illegal armed-forces presence and through its proxy state of Rojava, a Kurdish ethno-nationalist regime that has followed in the pattern of Zionism by carrying out numerous atrocities to further its expansionist goals. Following this year's military coup in Myanmar, Washington's "humanitarian" NGO network is seeking to further destabilize the country to get rid of the unreliable new regime, with their end goal being a repeat of Libya. All of these countries are under sanctions that are designed to kill civilians, and that in Syria's case have served the additional destabilization goal of interfering with the post-war rebuilding effort.

Washington only wishes it could do the same in the northwestern part of China--a crucial node in the Belt and Road Initiative--through fomenting a civil war that replaces China's Xinjiang province with a manufactured Uyghur ethno-state called "East Turkestan." Thankfully, the Uyghur-separatist terrorist attacks Xinjiang experienced during years past have ceased throughout the last several years, no doubt due to China's religious-extremist deradicalization program. But the Washington-backed East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which operates within China's bordering country Afghanistan, is an increasingly concerning security threat to the PRC.

It's no wonder why Biden is keeping the intelligence operatives and mercenaries there; the imperialists are aiming to make the chaos they intend to continue manufacturing within Afghanistan again spill over into the borders of Washington's greatest rival power. If they simply keep ratcheting up the violence and waiting, they hope, they'll break through the protective barrier that China's socialist development has created, turning back time to a more dangerous era for the region and potentially setting back the global anti-imperialist movement.

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Rainer Shea is writing articles that counter the propaganda of the capitalist/imperialist power establishment, and that help move us towards a socialist revolution. Donate to me on Patreon here:

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