Agreements and Diplomacy Don’t End U.S. Threats Against Syria

Larry Everest | September 30, 2013

“...both direct military attacks and U.S. imperialist diplomacy serve to enforce U.S. global domination.”

Many people hope—and some have vociferously claimed—that the U.S.-Russian agreement to strip Syria of its chemical weapons and to take the matter to the United Nations Security Council marked a victory for peace and the antiwar movement.

They argue that these diplomatic developments represented a fundamentally different approach than military threats, marking a turn away from war.

They are wrong.

The initial agreement between the U.S. and Russia (whatever that ends up being and however the various parties interpret it), Syria’s acquiescence, and UN involvement has not ended the danger of a U.S. war on Syria. Nor has it dialed down tensions between Russia—which has its own imperialist interests in the region—and the U.S. Instead, the U.S. and its allies Britain and France are using these as vehicles for continuing their aggression, threats, and bullying against Syria—all as part of efforts to maintain America’s imperial grip on the Middle East. (And even before the U.S. threatened direct military intervention it was carrying out great crimes in Syria and fueling the slaughter there.)

For starters, it’s illusory and harmful to discuss diplomacy—and laud its merits—in the abstract without analyzing the economic, political, and class interests and agenda it serves. Ongoing analysis at revcom.us and in Revolution has continued to sharply identify that “bowing out” of the Middle East, allowing the region to spin out of (their) control, and allowing rivals of all stripes to replace them in dominating the oil-rich and geostrategic region is not an option for the rulers of a country whose stability and functioning depend on remaining the world’s sole superpower. And in that light, both direct military attacks and U.S. imperialist diplomacy serve to enforce U.S. global domination. (For an in-depth exploration of some of the contradictions facing the U.S. in the Middle East, and how to radically alter the current equation in the world, see Bringing Forward Another Way by Bob Avakian at revcom.us.)

And U.S. diplomacy rests on blackmail and thuggery. Let us not forget that U.S. imperialist diplomacy, and sanctions, kill people in their own right. Some 500,000 Iraqi children died in the 1990s as a result of U.S. imperialist diplomacy that imposed and enforced cruel sanctions.

U.S. Maneuvers on Many Fronts

The U.S. is maneuvering and intervening in Syria on a number of fronts:

Why Is the U.S. Doing All This?

Why is the U.S. doing all this? This is not fundamentally about whether Obama “wants” or “doesn’t want” peace. Nor is it fundamentally about the power of the Israeli lobby on U.S. policy, the corruption of the “democratic process” by the arms industry, or other phenomena that may be part of the picture, but do not define the basic motives for the U.S. The underlying economic and political forces at work are that that U.S. capitalism-imperialism’s global power and empire hinges in significant part on dominating the energy heart of the world—the Middle East—and as being seen as able to enforce its will and dominance when its core interests are at stake, and not allowing any other powers to be its equal or even perceived as being its equal, even as various agreements are signed and discussions held.

Any who doubt this, or feel the U.S. is going to passively let its Middle East stranglehold fade away, or its core allies—Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states—slide into jeopardy should just look at Egypt. The U.S.-backed military is now back at the helm after staging a coup that deposed an elected regime and then massacred more than 1,000 protestors and rounded up many more. All of this was done with U.S. backing and support, even as it was mumbling platitudes about “democracy” and “supporting the people’s aspirations.”

Some anti-war commentators have argued that direct or indirect U.S. support, to whatever extent, for Islamic Jihadists in Syria goes against the “rational self-interest” of the U.S. But these efforts, including U.S. intervention in Syria (which includes supporting Islamic forces) are not “irrational” from the perspective of the needs of the U.S. empire—even as pursuing them holds incredible and unpredictable risks. These are choices forced upon the rulers by the core dynamics and historical development of U.S. capitalism-imperialism, including its need to remain the world’s dominant superpower.

This is why the only solution to the ongoing horrors of U.S. wars, military assaults, and interventions is getting rid of the system that spawns them through revolution—nothing less, and why pleas to this most vicious global predator about its “rational” self-interest are delusional, disarming, and profoundly harmful. And why determined political opposition to a U.S. attack on Syria is so important.

This article originally appeared on revcom.us.