Published in The Post 28/04/2006
The foreign policy of Pakistan since 1953, with the brief exceptional period of the first People’s Party government, has been of complete alignment with the United States of America. This policy of alignment with an empire that spends a billion dollars a day to maintain 730 military installations in 156 countries around the world must be re-evaluated, not merely from the perspective of “national interest”— which has come to mean little else than the interests of the armed forces and elite of this country — but from the perspective of all humanity.
The facts speak for themselves.
US imperialism is the only power in history to have used the atomic bomb to the utter destruction of not only two hundred thousand immediate victims but to the mutilation of four generations of people born in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, all for the strategic imperative, not of a Japanese surrender, but to christen the destructive era of the Cold War against socialism. While restricting the peaceful use of nuclear energy by Iran and simultaneously threatening the country with a strategic nuclear strike, the US continues to possess half the existing nuclear warheads in the world (that is the US has nearly 10,000 nuclear warheads). The US also possesses the greatest stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and the most advanced and extensive research in mass destruction weaponry in the world. Military spending by the US exceeds that of the nine next largest budgets for war combined, and President Bush has repeatedly declared the right to strike first.
US imperialism is in direct violation of all codes of conduct with respect to prisoners of war in its open utilization of torture and inhumane treatment not merely in Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib but further by permitted American companies to ship electric-shock weapons, stun batons, radio-frequency weapons that may induce an artificial fever, stun guns, “stench chemicals”, taser mines that could deliver a 50,000-volt shock to anyone within a certain radius, UV lasers that can ionize the air to also deliver an electric charge, and mechanical restraints to the tune of more than 20 million dollars to 39 countries accused of torturing dissidents and detainees. This excludes companies that continue to ship their torture devices overseas without seeking a government licence.
US imperialism is behind the longest running embargo in all history against the socialist government of tiny little Cuba. In 2005, the United Nations voted by a margin of 184 countries against four to end the embargo (amongst the four in favour of the embargo were the United States, Israel, and the Marshall Islands). And I will emphasize that our government, owing to its alignment with the US, has on several instances voted in favour of the embargo. Yet the Cuban government completely overlooked this when it sent 1,500 doctors as humanitarian aid for the earthquake victims.
US imperialism has been responsible for bombing 22 countries since World War II. They include: China 1945-46, Korea and China 1950-53 (Korean War), Guatemala 1954, Indonesia 1958, Cuba 1959-1961, Guatemala 1960, Congo 1964, Peru 1965, Laos 1964-73, Vietnam 1961-73 (Vietnam War), Cambodia 1969-70, Guatemala 1967-69, Grenada 1983, Lebanon 1983, 1984 (both Lebanese and Syrian targets), Libya 1986, El Salvador 1980s, Nicaragua 1980s, Iran 1987, Panama 1989, Kuwait 1991 (Iraqi targets), Iraq 1991- the present, Somalia 1993, Bosnia 1994, 1995 (Bosnian Serb targets), Sudan 1998, Yugoslavia 1999, Afghanistan 1998, 2001-the present, Iraq 2003-the present.
The USA has the most number of people in prison in the world, at 1.725 million. That is, the US not only has the greatest number of incarcerated people in per-capita terms but has the greatest number of people incarcerated in absolute terms. And this number excludes ‘Unlawful combatants’ held on a military base in someone else’s country by US outsourced torture prisons.
US imperialism is the main pillar of support against the occupation and genocide of the Palestinian and Arab people and has provided the racist Apartheid-like state of Israel with a direct annual installment of $3 billion for the last quarter century, of which 60 precent is military aid utilized to butcher Palestinians and Arabs fighting for their rights and only 40 precent is economic aid. That means Israel usually receives roughly one third of the entire foreign aid budget of the US government, despite the fact that Israel comprises less than .001 of the world’s population and already has one of the world’s higher per capita incomes. In other words, Israel, a country of approximately six million people, is currently receiving more US aid than all of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean combined, when you take out Egypt and Colombia. In addition Israel usually gets another $2-3 billion or so in indirect aid: military support from the defence budget, forgiven loans, and special grants. While some of the indirect aid is difficult to measure precisely, it is safe to say that Israel’s total aid (direct and indirect) amounts to at least five billion dollars annually. Pro-Palestinian groups rightly call it the “lifeblood of occupation”.
The continuing war and occupation of Iraq that violates all international laws, rules, and customs has directly caused the death of 40,000 combatants and civilians. But that pales in comparison to the genocide of the Iraqi people through economic sanctions. According to former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, “Those sanctions are the direct cause of the very cruel deaths of more than a million people. This is the greatest crime against humanity, in the last decade of the most violent century in history: each the painful death of an individual wasting away from malnutrition, dehydration, contaminated water, and easily preventable diseases. Every United Nations agency dealing with food, health and children – including the FAO, WFP, WHO, UNICEF – has proclaimed the horror, magnitude and responsibility for this human catastrophe.”
Those who have changed their tune after the break up of the Soviet Union, or those who have always been lackeys of the powerful and have sold their pen to the highest bidder, may point to the “failure of socialism”, “end of history” or the “crimes of communism” to justify their support for a foreign policy aligned with US imperialism. They may attempt to convince us that, “There is No Alternative” – TINA or the infamous local version called the “doctrine of necessity” and all such arguments are always the last defence of the scoundrel – but the facts are that the alternative is and has always been raising your voice against injustice irrespective of the consequences. If that leads you to the path of socialism, than that merely underscores the continuing validity of the doctrine that has been pronounced dead by the rich almost incessantly since it saw the light of day.
Whatever one’s ideological proclivity, supporting US imperialism is neither wise nor honourable. In fact, all those who support US imperialism in its war drive are equally culpable in the current genocide and slaughter. The path to real democracy, justice, equality, peace, and prosperity lies not in supporting US imperialism but in standing against it.