by Bill Dores, published on The Internationalist, 360°, March 14, 2020
The coronavirus stalks the land. Millions in the United States are without health insurance or paid sick leave. The White House has cut funds to the Centers for Disease Control. It’s also cutting food stamps. People are not getting tested for the virus because there are not enough kits.
But the Trump regime wants to bail out Wall Street and Big Oil. Not only with nearly $2 trillion, but with war and sanctions, with bombs, missiles and blood.
On March 12, U.S. planes carried out air strikes across Iraq, murdering members of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units battling ISIS and al-Qaida. An airport worker also died when the U.S. Air Force bombed a civilian airport under construction. Iraq’s parliament and government have asked U.S. troops to leave their country. The Pentagon refuses to bring them home.
On March 11, U.S Marines invaded Yemen to back up Saudi-United Arab Emirates forces attacking that impoverished country. They are on the island of Socotra and in the port of Aden. Yemen is being ravaged by hunger and cholera due to the U.S.-backed Saudi blockade. The United Nations has called the situation there “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.”
In Syria, Washington is trying to sabotage a ceasefire negotiated by Russia between the Syrian government and the invading Turkish NATO army. Turkey’s forces are backing al-Qaida terrorist forces in Syria’s Idlib province with U.S.-supplied F-16 fighter jets and Israeli Sabra tanks. U.S. troops occupy Syria’s oil fields, denying Syrians the use of their own oil.
“We have a very, very big foreign military sales program; much of the Turkish military uses American equipment. We will make sure that that equipment is ready. As a NATO partner, we share information intelligence. … We are going to ensure that they have what they need there.”
On March 4, the White House approved a $2.4 billion deal to sell aerial tankers to the racist apartheid state of Israel. The tankers would extend the range of the 50 F-35 combat aircraft the U.S. is giving Israel, making it easier for the settler state to attack Iran.
This is while brutal U.S. sanctions hinder Iran’s fight against the coronavirus. Iran has called U.S. sanctions, which have killed thousands in the past two years, “medical terrorism.” China is defying U.S. sanctions to send medical aid-test kits, medicine, ventilators and protective gear to Iran.
The U.S. State Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the Israeli tanker sale “supports the foreign policy and national security of the United States by allowing Israel to provide a redundant capability to U.S. assets within the region, potentially freeing U.S. assets for use elsewhere during times of war. Aerial refueling and strategic airlift are consistently cited as significant shortfalls for our allies. In addition, the sale improves Israel’s national security posture as a key U.S. ally.”
Meanwhile, on March 11, 15-year-old Mohammed Abdel Karim Hamayel became the 10,000th Palestinian murdered by the U.S.-armed Israeli military since 2000. He was shot by an Israeli army sniper while he and his friends were trying to defend their village, Beita near Nablus, from “Israeli” settlers trying to seize their land. U.S.-armed Israeli soldiers and settlers, often born in the U.S., terrorize and murder Palestinians daily in an effort to drive them from their homes. And people in the besieged Gaza Strip are still dying from the U.S.-Israeli blockade.
What’s all this got to do with the economic meltdown triggered by the coronavirus? Everything. War is capitalism’s answer to crises of oversupply and overproduction. That’s what this crisis fundamentally is. It is devastating the U.S. oil and gas industry and the U.S. fracking industry most of all.
Since 1990, the U.S. has waged war after war to save the oil industry and its bankers from a global crisis of oversupply, to keep their investments profitable. War and sanctions created an energy-price bubble that pumped up corporate profits and made the U.S. fracking boom seem like a gold mine. But no amount of blood sacrifice can forever appease the god of capital. It always demands more.
The people of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen and the entire region have made it clear that they do not want U.S. troops on their land, U.S. warplanes in their skies or U.S. warships in their waters. They are demanding that the U.S. leave. The people of Palestine need to be free of U.S.-funded Israeli occupation. Working-class and oppressed people in the U.S. also need to be free of U.S. financial-military capitalism and its permanent war economy. We need to build a mass people’s movement to put an end to endless war.