Washington and Tel Aviv: Morally Diseased

Image by Henry Ridgwell (Wikicommons).

The US recently announced it will be carrying out a sustained campaign against the current ruling group in Yemen. Where I come from, we call that expanding a war. Known as  Ansar Allah, this group’s military element have been fighting against US-affiliated interests for close to a decade; first in their battle against the Yemeni government now claiming to rule from the Yemeni city of Aden, then against the Saudi military (heavily armed by the US war machine), and now by the Pentagon itself. The latest round was triggered by Washington’s unceasing and insistent support for the Israeli massacre in Gaza. In response to Washington’s refusal to even call for a ceasefire there, the Ansar Allah forces began attacking merchant ships enroute to Israel. US forces eventually responded with a series of bombing and missile attacks on Yemen. Given the failure of the US attacks to do anything except strengthen Ansar Allah’s resolve, the White House and Pentagon are now mustering their forces for what the Washington Post is calling a sustained campaign. The stated goal of this new front is to weaken Ansar Allah’s military capabilities. In truth, the goal is to further intimidate Iran, Iraq, Syria and any other challengers to Washington’s fading hegemony in the region. This goal could very well turn Washington’s expansion of the conflict into an even greater cataclysm. This is a warmonger’s dream and a fool’s journey.

During the weeks of Israel’s current slaughter in Gaza and the West Bank, Washington has been claiming it wants no wider war. At the same time, the arms and ammo have continued to flow to the Israeli military. Anyone with a brain not washed by the US/Israeli propaganda machine understands that shipping hundreds of millions of dollars worth of deadly weapons to a military awash in the blood of its criminality is not the way to diminish a war. This is exactly what Washington is doing. If Joe Biden and his posse truly wanted the Israeli slaughter to end, the arms shipments would be halted until Tel Aviv stopped the killing. Likewise, if it wanted the Ansar Allah attacks on shipping to end, it would call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, and the delivery of aid to Gaza. The White House announcement that it is widening the war against Yemen is further proof that Washington is not interested in peace in the region we call the Middle East, much less a just peace.

In a recent piece published on the “defense” industry site called Defense One, the authors of the piece describe how China is “winning” the middle east. They describe the growing economic partnerships with different countries in the region, the occasional arms deal and the growing influence of the so-called Silk Road initiative. At the same time, the article discusses a desire by US allies to distance themselves from their former dependency on Washington. This is most recently expressed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) declining to join the Washington-created coalition to defend the shipping lanes in the Red Sea; the shipping lanes where the Yemeni attacks on certain merchant ships are taking place. The essence of China’s role in the region—like China’s role in much of the world—is that it is neither stirring up conflict in those nations it seeks alliances with nor is it fighting any wars. Furthermore, Washington’s usual insistence that those it seeks to entangle lessen or end their ties with Russia and China is being met with greater refusal. Of course, this stick when compared to China’s carrot becomes less attractive with each US arms shipment to Israel during its current campaign of mass murder.

The world remains at a precipice. The ongoing antagonism of Washington and its clients, whether the latter seem to act alone, like Israel or at Washington’s behest, like Kyiv, is the primary cause of this state of affairs. Washington’s refusal to modify its belief that it is the leader of the world and is therefore, as Joe Biden repeated recently, the “indispensable nation” is but one reason military conflict is all too often the response to geopolitical issues. Other reasons are more mundane: the US economy’s dependence on the war and fossil fuels industries primary among them. Meanwhile, much of the rest of the world, is in the process of creating the next framework for international relations—a system based on multipolarity where cooperation (or at least detente) is encouraged and economic disputes are resolved without military conflict. Instead of the world following the rules of what US Secretary of State Blinken calls the rules-based order (where Washington makes the rules and changes them at will), this new order rejects the concept of any nation having such power. This foundation of this developing approach has Washington in a tither. Its rulers cannot conceive of a world without Washington at the top.

Getting back to Gaza and Yemen, it’s important to note that the most effective resistance to the Israel’s brutal occupation and siege of Palestine is being conducted by armed resistance groups like Hamas and Ansar Allah and not by any recognized government. These groups, in a manner similar to the National Liberation Front (NLF) in southern Vietnam and the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) in Algeria during their struggles for liberation, are portrayed in the imperial media in a way that denies the support they enjoy among the oppressed people whose banner they carry. However, as history makes quite clear, dismissing the legitimacy of such organizations is, to put it mildly, imprudent. In actuality, as the history of the Algerian and Vietnamese anti-colonial struggles makes clear, it reduces the imperial military’s choices to two: be ready to wage a long and uneven war or be willing to kill every member and supporter of the resistance. Even then, the victory of the colonizer is uncertain. Indeed, the longer the conflict continues, the greater the likelihood the occupier nation’s population will demand an end to the slaughter, tired of losing its children to the rulers’ wars.

The Martinican writer and philosopher Aime Césaire wrote that “the civilization that justifies colonialism (and imperialism) is morally diseased.” This diagnosis describes the ruling classes of the United States and Israel. Their militaristic fever is destroying Gaza and the West Bank as we watch. This contagion also infects the populations of Israel and the US in different proportions. The only antidote continues to be an end to the Israeli occupation and siege and a free Palestine.

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. He has a new book, titled Nowhere Land: Journeys Through a Broken Nation coming out in Spring 2024.   He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com