It’s really come to something when the only people who seem to be speaking sense are Tulsi Gabbard and Jill Stein.
The United States needs to stay out of Venezuela. Let the Venezuelan people determine their future. We don't want other countries to choose our leaders—so we have to stop trying to choose theirs.— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 24, 2019
It’s about the oil … again.— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 29, 2019
Bolton just exposed real motive for intervention in Venezuela: "We're in conversation with major American companies now…It would make a difference if we could have American companies produce the oil in Venezuela. We both have a lot at stake here."
Let's be clear on Venezuela: the US government is pushing a weaker country toward civil war to enrich the global elite. We've seen it before in Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, Honduras, Libya & more. As Americans our silence is violence toward poor brown people. Democracy dies in darkness!— Dr. Jill Stein🌻 (@DrJillStein) February 4, 2019
Trump henchman John Bolton is now threatening to send President Maduro of #Venezuela to Guantanamo. He doesn't even bother pretending there will be a show trial and kangaroo court - just straight to the torture chamber. https://t.co/QTNuFanFJ0— Dr. Jill Stein🌻 (@DrJillStein) February 4, 2019
The common narrative around Tulsi Gabbard and Jill Stein is that as politicians they are ineffectual at best and actively damaging at worst. None of this piece is aimed at challenging that. I’ll say it again: None of this piece is about challenging that conception of Gabbard or Stein.
That’s not what this is about.
There is just something very rotten here. Something incredibly depressing about the fact that in all of Washington, Gabbard and Stein seem to be two members of a vastly minuscule cohort of politicians who are actually willing to break with the imperial consensus and to unequivocally say anything at all about the situation currently underway in Venezuela. I’m not even particularly interested as to their reasons why. You can picture Gabbard as an opportunist and Stein as a Russian agent if you like, the reasons why don’t actually matter. Their words do. Even if they don’t believe them. Because nobody else is willing to break rank. Democrat, Republican, it doesn’t matter. Either they are hawkishly for regime change, or complicit in their cowardly unwillingness to denounce it.
I asked members of Congress if they thought the US was meddling in Venezuela. Their dismaying responses demonstrated why it's so easy for the permanent war state to get its way on Capitol Hill. https://t.co/LNIq6gajrf— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) February 1, 2019
Just as this piece is not about making a judgement about the political acumen or goals of Tulsi Gabbard or Jill Stein, neither is it intended as an in-depth discussion about what is happening in Venezuela (although spoiler-alert: It is a coup. An American-sponsored right-wing white supremacist neocolonial coup aimed at stamping out one of the last holdouts against the reactionary right-wing tide sweeping across Latin America and a re-run of the failed coup of 2002. Venezuela has deep issues, some caused by internal strife, much of it exacerbated heavily by external forces. But what is happening right now is a coup). You know how bad it felt when you felt as if another country had meddled in your affairs? All those pundits who were bursting forehead veins denouncing potential Russian interference in their country’s election should now be ceaselessly screaming from the rooftops about the deadly foreign interference their country is about to undertake. Again.
The long and short of it is this: the United States of America has zero right to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs. None. Zilch. It is not the world’s policeman. Nobody appointed it arbiter of morality or democracy. Just as Britain and many others before it, is an empire acting violently out of the self-interest of its elite. That is all.
Yet no one seems to believe this. No-one allowed near the levers of power, anyway. From both sides of the political aisle in Washington to the respectable newsrooms of ‘progressive’ institutions like the New York Times to the racist feeding frenzies of Fox News—in the mainstream of America’s media-political axis only one belief unites them all: the United States has the absolute right to do whatever it wants, wherever it wants, no matter what lives it may cost. In Iraq, it cost several hundred thousand. It is difficult to ascertain exactly how many. The United States military does not count civilian lives lost in its wars.
Donald Trump, serial-liar-in-chief, ran a campaign with non-interventionist slogans peppered throughout it. It was quite clearly an empty slogan designed to draw some votes from those people who are sick of America’s bottomless desire to project its military might abroad (the more cleverly hidden financial dollar-empire is a whole other issue). Tulsi Gabbard is now playing the same tune. Who is to say whether going forward this is what she would stick to. The point is that she is at least saying it, even if she can afford to do so because will most likely never be the Democratic nominee for President. So she may well just be expressing anti-imperial sentiment just because she can. Because she will never advance to a far enough stage where that could be used against her.
‘Used against her’.
How absolutely insane is it that someone speaking out against the massacres of people abroad could have that used against them in any campaign for office. How awfully warped must a system be for that to be seen not just as aberrant, but wrong. This a priori assumption of imperial right is so deeply entrenched in the halls of power that even if the vast majority of the population of America was against wars abroad, the media would still likely be for them. The ‘left’ side of the spectrum would claim they were for a good cause, the right side would scarcely bother with such smoke and mirrors. It is a truly bewildering carnival of self-deception, carnage, and capitalist wars for profit. Corporatist America must seek perpetual war in order to keep filling its coffers in a self-perpetuating spiral of death and dollars, and the media must play along. As if the blood it spills directly wasn’t enough, the US military is also indirectly one of the biggest contributors to the destruction of the thin natural line that separates us from the single greatest crisis that humanity is soon to face if drastic action is not taken:
The biggest polluter in the world is the United States military.https://t.co/lbQOGdov3M— Deerhoof (@deerhoof) October 13, 2018
How mad then. How incredibly and mind-bogglingly insane, that hardly any mainstream politician dares to speak out against the greatest threat to world peace. There are blessedly exceptions, even outside of Tulsi Gabbard and Jill Stein:
We must rule out military action in Venezuela.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 28, 2019
We have to wonder, if Trump and Pompeo are so worried about human rights and democracy in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, why do they actively support horrible regimes in Brazil, Guatemala, and Honduras? https://t.co/MDhJAjyjYY
They should be the norm. Instead, perpetual war prevails, whether or not normal people want it. As Nazi Reichsmarshall and Luftwaffe-Chief Herman Goering said at the Nuremberg trials:
Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.
So it’s up to you, America. Specifically you, the ordinary people of America. The citizens, the voters. You have to force your leaders to adopt a different worldview. If you are a Democrat, you have to face up to this: Your party may be better than the outright evil on the other side, but when it comes to foreign policy… Well, there’s a reason for things like this:
Worldwide survey: Who do you see as the biggest threat to world peace? pic.twitter.com/S8vgjPvfGQ— History Lovers Club (@historylvrsclub) November 11, 2017
Some of the most vicious massacres abroad have been waged by Democrats. They often talk the talk of social progress, of valuing lives, but whether or not they do so at home, they almost never do abroad. It’s as if foreign (more often than not non-white) lives simply do not matter. But you can stop it. You have to try. Push for it. Pressure your would-be leaders to break the line of blood. The line is already too long. Everyone knows the story of America’s adventures abroad since WWII of course, but sometimes it’s instructive to see the story laid out in one place and how…
In 1946, US troops are deployed in Iran, and China.
In 1947, US troops are deployed in Greece.
In 1948, the CIA meddles in Italian elections, and begins waging a secret seven-year war in the Philippines.
In 1950, US troops begin fighting in Korea.
In 1953, the CIA overthrows Prime Minister Mossadegh in Iran.
In 1954, indirect operations begin in Vietnam, and the CIA overthrows the Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz.
In 1958, US troops land in Lebanon, and fight in Panama.
In 1959, US troops land in Haiti.
In 1960, the CIA assassinates Congolese Prime Minister Lumumba, and direct operations gradually begin in Vietnam.
In 1961, the CIA tries to help invade Cuba.
In 1962, the CIA supports a military coup in Laos.
In 1963, the CIA helps overthrow Ecuadorian president Ibarra.
In 1964, more US troops fighting in Panama, and the CIA helps overthrow Joao Goulart in Brazil.
In 1965, half a million US troops fight in Vietnam, and the CIA helps overthrow President Sukarno in Indonesia. Up to 3 million are killed by the incoming Suharto administration. The CIA also helps to overthrow President Kasavubu in the Congo. US troops land in the Dominican Republic. The US begins a nearly decade-long bombing campaign of Laos.
In 1966, the CIA helps to overthrow President Nkrumah of Ghana. The US also fights in Guatemala.
In 1969, the CIA helps overthrow Prince Sihanouk in Cambodia; the US begins a seven-year bombing campaign.
In 1970, the US aids a coup in Oman.
In 1971, the US helps the invasion of Laos.
In 1973, the CIA helps overthrow President Salvador Allende in Chile.
In 1975, US forces land in Cambodia.
In 1976, the CIA begins meddling in Angola.
In 1981, the CIA begins operations in El Salvador and Nicaragua.
In 1982, US forces land in Lebanon.
In 1983, US forces land in Grenada.
In 1986, the US bombs Libya; US forces fight in Bolivia.
In 1989, the CIA meddles in the Philippines, and US troops fight in Panama.
In 1990, US troops land in Liberia. US forces also attack Iraq.
In 1991, the CIA overthrows President Aristide in Haiti.
In 1992, US forces fight in Somalia.
In 1993, US forces fight in Bosnia.
In 1996, US forces fight in the Congo (then Zaire).
In 1997, US troops land in Liberia.
In 1998, the US bombs Al-Shifa, a major major pharmaceutical factory in (now North) Sudan; the US also attacks Afghanistan and Iraq.
In 1999, US forces are involved in Yugoslavia.
In 2001, the US invades Afghanistan.
In 2003, the US invades Iraq.
In 2004, the US invades Haiti.
In 2009, the US supports the overthrow of President Zelaya in Honduras.
In 2011, the US bombs Libya.
In 2014, the US bombs Syria.
In 2017, the US bombs Syria.
In 2018, the US bombs Syria.
That is not an exhaustive list, nor is it counting the many dead from unmanned drone strikes:
[Taken from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism]
As the great playwright Harold Pinter said in 2005 before his death:
It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.
I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It’s a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, ‘the American people’, as in the sentence, ‘I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.’
It’s a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words ‘the American people’ provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don’t need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it’s very comfortable. This does not apply of course to the 40 million people living below the poverty line and the 2 million men and women imprisoned in the vast gulag of prisons, which extends across the US.
There is a new generation of young Democrats rising. Do not let them be subsumed by the military-industrial complex or the bloodthirsty consensus. Hold their feet to the fire. There is no more time for equivocation. If you don’t support a progressive foreign policy, you are not a progressive. Prove to the world you can be better.
Image sources (in order of posting): Twitter, BIJ