There has been a military coup d’état in the US. The Russiagate scandal has so far claimed the scalps of key Trump advisors Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn, while other appointments are still being blocked by congress. There is currently no civilian control of the military; no Secretary or Assistant Secretary of the Army, Navy or Air Force. The US is now under the direct control of a military junta. You heard that right. The biggest military/industrial power on earth is officially off the chain, as vicious as a neglected Rottweiler and as fast as a baited Greyhound.
No matter one’s feelings toward the New York Democrat turned Republican President – Hillary shill? Obama 2.0? Hope and change for the alt-right? – Trump’s 180 degree turn from his anti-interventionist campaign platform indicates a continuity of purpose within the Washington establishment. There will be no de-escalation of the conflict in Syria, no détente with Russia, no scaling back of NATO. There will be increased hostilities toward China, further sanctions against Iran and North Korea, and a continuation of US murder and lawlessness across the globe under a blanket of corporate media lies and propaganda.
Did you hear that the tyrant Assad gassed his own people again? While there has been no official investigation into the claims, it must be true since it was reported by the Oscar winning White Helmets, and confirmed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a one man NGO operated out of a bedsit in Coventry. Never mind that Obama was forced to concede in 2013 that Assad HAD NO CHEMICAL WEAPONS. Never mind the leaked emails confirming Hillary Clinton approved the supply of sarin to rebel groups. Never mind that sarin must be delivered by rocket rather than aerial bombardment. Never mind that the brave rescuers photographed for the media scoop were not wearing customary protective clothing when handling the bodies of those affected by the deadly nerve agent. ‘Shoot first and hope no one asks questions later’ seems to be the current modus operandi. The image of Colin Powel holding up a fake vial of anthrax in front of the UNSC in 2001 comes to mind, but that was so long ago now, and distant from our memories.
Did you hear that North Korea threatened a nuclear strike against the US? “If US dares opt for military action, crying out for ‘preemptive attack’ and ‘removal of the headquarters’ the DPRK is ready to react to any mode of war desired by US”, said the country’s Foreign Minister last week. What more proof of belligerence does one need?
When did full scale nuclear war become thinkable again? Are the current generation of Generals too young to remember what a world war looks like? Do they think they can simply bully China and Russia into submission? What happened to the doctrine of mutually assured destruction (M.A.D.)? Are they bluffing? The last time the US went to war in Korea it dropped so many bombs on Pyongyang that only two buildings were left standing. A third of the North’s population were killed, including civilians, peasants, farmers, and of course beautiful little babies. China lost half a million soldiers defending its neighbour. I guess we showed those yellow reds.
The corporate press becomes more and more unhinged by the day. Trump reports enjoying “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake you’ve ever seen” while entertaining China’s President Xi Jinping at his Mar Lago estate, but seems unsure into which country he just lobbed 59 tomahawk missiles. MSNBC anchor Brian Williams waxes lyrical over the DOD video of missile strikes on the Shayrat airbase, bizarrely quoting Leonard Cohen: “I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons”. The Mother of All Bombs is dropped on Afghanistan, with a 5 mile blast radius and an explosive force equivalent to Little Boy which killed 150 000 Japanese in Hiroshima in 1945, and nobody bats an eyelid.
Beautiful babies. Beautiful chocolate cake. Beautiful weapons. Whoever is writing this script must be smoking some pretty good crack. But it gets worse. The election of Trump signals a crisis of democracy, according to a rising chorus of liberal pundits. Ya think? Are we about to see the same crisis play out in France? In Britain? Then what?
Class is a relationship of power. Power is something which you either have or you don’t. This is obvious when both sides of politics push the same agenda. In the 1970s Keynesian economics was rolled back in favour of Neoliberalism – the welfare state was dismantled and we returned to the economics of the 1930s. This was allowed to happen by both bourgeois parties acting together in unison. For the last 70 years Western liberal democracies have supported imperialist wars. Does anyone seriously think Sanders or Corbyn would stop selling arms to the Saudis? If one thing should be abundantly clear to us by now, it’s that bourgeois party politics is no friend of the working class.
Will the anti-war left finally take off their pink pussy hats and join the struggle now that Trump is acting like a bona fide war president? Will the alt-right cheer as he leads us into Armageddon? Stopping the imperialist juggernaut as it prepares for the final battle will require nothing less than a revolutionary mass movement. It will not be a ‘peaceful revolution’, or a ‘bloodless coup’; there can be no ‘political solution’ – the entire political establishment has to go.
The time for incremental reforms and piecemeal progress has passed. Radical action is urgently needed. Despite the millions who took to the streets in 2003 we still failed to stop the invasion of Iraq. Today the stakes are far higher. Russia and China have made it clear they will not tolerate unilateral action in Syria or North Korea. If we are going to stop an all out confrontation between superpowers, then the war machine must be stopped by any and all means possible. While I’m not specifically advocating for the return of the guillotine, there was that time in 1650 when a mob of angry Dutch killed and ate their own Prime Minister. It’s good to have options.