May 28, 2018
The Memorial Day weekend has come and gone, filled with patriotic displays by the President and military officials, praising soldiers here and gone and glorifying past and present American wars.
Meanwhile, the political ping-pong match with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un continues. From calling him “Little Rocket Man,” Trump has switched to calling him a “good man” when he appears to be yielding to pressure. Threats of nuclear war are replaced with talk of a Nobel Peace prize and then back to threats of war again.
Insanity? Theatrics? If only the “reality show” we are witnessing was the doing of one man, Trump! Surely, he is erratic, crude, vicious in his tirades and off-hand remarks. But in fact, the policies he supports, the hateful, warlike countenance he displays to the world, are truly representative of the face of U.S. imperialism across the globe.
Will he end the Korean War? It is obvious that this is a political victory he would love to snatch for himself – to be the “only president” in 63 years to resolve a war that was provoked and kept in play by U.S. imperialism itself. What complete nonsense! The war was followed by U.S. embargoes which left the Korean peninsula mangled, divided and with North Korea isolated and starving.
He could be the president who announces a temporary reunification, but this means nothing for the Korean people who will remain under U.S. imperialism’s thumb in order to serve its interests in the region.
In the background, out of the spotlight, other U.S. wars without end continue. In Iraq, in Syria, in Afghanistan, in Libya, in Somalia, in Yemen, in Niger, U.S. troops are engaged and/or U.S. air strikes are ongoing. The U.S. is at war in seven countries, and is involved directly in covert actions in at least seven more. In one way or another, the U.S. military carries out operations in 78 countries – 39 percent of the countries in the world!
And for what? Not for the U.S. population. Not to protect peace, obviously. But to pursue and protect U.S. capitalism’s interests – in oil, in trade, in raw materials, in financial wheeling and dealing.
President Trump himself says that seven trillion dollars have been spent on the Middle East conflagration. The price tag for “the war on terror” was estimated at five and one half trillion dollars at the end of 2017 by academics. Seven hundred billion dollars was just passed by both parties as the budget for war this year, no doubt underestimated.
This money that is lining the pockets of the war industry billionaires is money that is desperately needed by the U.S. population; this is money that should be used to pay for jobs, homes, infrastructure repair, schools.
The real cost of the wars? Immeasurable. Whole populations killed and displaced, from Korea to Iraq to Afghanistan to Syria. Civilizations destroyed; cities with no water or electricity – where there are buildings left standing.
The U.S. population has escaped the worst ravages of the wars imposed by this government and military, so far. But still, the cost in human life itself, multiplied by the shattered lives of those soldiers who survived physical and emotional damage, is devastating.
Worst of all, it leaves us in a place of where parts of the working class accept a completely immoral situation.
We have no interest in celebrating or fighting their wars. We have no interest in making millionaires into billionaires and petty tyrants into bigger ones. They have their heels on our necks, too, and use the police and military when necessary to control us.
The working class can turn away from support for this policy of war. The working class has the forces to fight for peace and prosperity in the U.S. – but must lead a fight against war and exploitation of people outside of the U.S. as well. It can start with the fight for jobs, housing and health care. And it can build in strength to challenge and replace this corrupt system that feeds on war.