by Jeff Mackler, published on Socialist Action, March 6, 2021
President Joseph Biden’s fealty to U.S. imperialism and its ruling class domestic agenda was demonstrated soon after his Jan. 20 White House arrival. Five days later he sent additional troops to northeastern Syria to fortify U.S. control of that U.S. beleaguered nation’s oil rich and most fertile agricultural region. On Feb. 25 Biden directed U.S. drones to drop multiple 500-pound bombs on Syria, targeting the Iranian Kataib Hezbollah militia forces that were there to help defend that beleaguered nation from U.S.-backed attacks and to thwart still-existing ISIS forces intent on entering neighboring Iraq. The Iranian [backed] militia forces were there at the invitation of the Syrian government. Indeed, the combination of Iranian, Lebanese Hezbollah militias and Russian forces that answered Syria’s call for help was decisive in defeating the U.S./NATO/Gulf State monarchy’s regime change “coalition” war, that including at various times ISIS forces. The latter were organized, financed, armed and directed by the U.S. military. By 2015-16 these so-called rebels, overwhelmingly from outside Syria, combined to occupy some two-thirds of the country. Thy were poised to take the capital city of Damascus itself. Had Syria, a poor and oppressed nation about to become yet another conquered U.S. neo-colonial failed and plundered state, not exercised its right to self-determination and sought aid against the U.S. imperial beast, its fate would have been inevitably sealed. Indeed, virtually every major U.S. corporate media outlet all but predicted the date of its conquest and planned dismemberment. Its President Bashar al-Assad, was said be preparing to flee.
This U.S.-led cabal had convened in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in December 2015 with 116 participants – none representing the Syrian government – to negotiate among themselves Syria’s anticipated division and its future “leaders.” President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry effectively presided over this “Syrian Opposition Conference.” Said Kerry,
“We welcome the positive outcome of the gathering of the Syrian opposition in Riyadh today including reaching a consensus on principles for a pluralistic and democratic [division of] Syria… We appreciate that this extremely diverse group of Syrians put aside differences in the interest of building a new Syria.”
The bully imperialist Biden defended the recent U.S. bombing of Iranian forces in Syria claiming without proof that it was in retaliation for Iranian forces based in Iraq firing missiles at U.S. military bases including at an airport at Erbil. Iran has denied that its forces were responsible for the attack. Indeed, the New York Times a day later, Feb. 26, reported that “a previously unknown group calling itself Guardians of Blood claimed responsibility.” The corporate media characterized Biden’s bombing order, that murdered 22 Iranians in Syria, as the new president’s first overseas military venture. They were dead wrong.
U.S imperialism: the colonial occupier Iraq
Biden’s military has been consistent assassins in Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan before and after he assumed the presidency. How could it be otherwise? The U.S. maintains 1,100 military bases in some 100 nations. This world’s most powerful war behemoth exists solely to advance the interests of the tiny ruling class few. For these would-be masters of the universe death and destruction serve as their ultimate weapon.
Biden, of course, neglected to mention that the U.S. today operates to a significant extent as Iraq’s neo-colonial master. Following two devastating U.S. wars against this relatively defenseless nation – 1990 and 2003 – and associated sanctions and periodic bombings that combined to take the lives of 1.5 million Iraqis, few doubt that Iraq’s periodic U.S. overseen elections notwithstanding, the U.S. continues to call the shots. The U.S. military conquest of 2003 was immediately followed by the appointment of American diplomat Paul Bremer to govern the defeated nation via a Coalition Provisional Authority. Iraq’s oil resources were shortly after ceded to U.S. corporations. Permanent U.S. military bases were established across the country. Students of Iraqi history may recall that the war itself was justified with the lie that Iraq possessed “weapons of mass destruction” that its President Saddam Hussein was about to launch against other nations. One after another U.S. military official and the then Secretary of State Collin Powell publicly presented “evidence” to the United Nations of such “weapons of mass destruction.” None existed. None were ever found. Powell himself testified that he was deceived with false information. Nevertheless Iraq was destroyed.
That the current Iraqi government, pressed by massive and repeated anti-U.S. demonstrations protesting last year’s Trump-ordered drone assassination of Iranian Quds force leader Qassim Suleimani near the Baghdad Airport, had demanded the withdrawal of U.S. forces also went unmentioned by Biden. Neither did the fact that the Iranian forces in Iraq were there at the behest of the Iraqi government, where they operate as an official part of the Iraqi Army engaging in joint efforts to combat ISIS attacks.
Imperialist arrogance knows no limits.
It was later reported that Biden’s real objective was to force the Iranians to engage in negotiations that would allow the U.S. to return to the previously negotiated and Trump abandoned “Iran Nuclear Deal,” the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The Iranians have insisted that any U.S. return was contingent on an end to the deadly U.S. sanctions that have inflicted untold misery on the Iranian people.
Biden’s steadily mounting war moves included his cancellation of U.S. plans, negotiated by the Trump Administration, to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, where the U.S. war machine continues its 20 years of slaughter and occupation.
Biden’s U.S. corporate agenda
On the home front Biden quickly signed some 42 Executive Orders, purportedly to revoke Donald Trump’s most heinous decrees. The implementation of these orders, however, is far from immediate, being subject to “implementation and interpretation” by yet-to-be-established bureaucratic government oversight bodies.
Meanwhile Biden’s touted $1.9 trillion new COVID-19 relief package has been stalled in the U.S. Senate as his own Democratic Party “moderates” strip it of Biden’s election-time promises, especially his proposal to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. That promise has vanished. Biden’s promise of a one-time grant of $2,000 per person as a COVID-19 stimulus relief payment has been reduced to $1,400 with new provisions included to limit eligibility for this reduced payment to 19 million fewer people than Trump’s previously-signed legislation.
Similarly, Biden’s promised $2 trillion in future legislation to upgrade the nation’s failing infrastructure to provide new jobs has been shelved as both capitalist parties reject funding any such project by raising taxes on the rich. Indeed, both Republicans and Democrats joined to pass Trump’s unprecedented tax cuts for the corporate elite that slashed corporate tax levels and allowed U.S. multi-nationals to offshore profits to avoid taxation.
Capitalism’s profit or perish credo
The sum total of all the policies of a crisis ridden world capitalist system amount to making working people pay – to the constant immiseration of the masses, to their repeated subjection to recession/depression cycles that permeate capitalism’s history and throw ever-increasing numbers into the ranks of the unemployed and underemployed. Whether it be overt union busting, obliteration of pensions and health care benefits, workplace speed up, offshoring plants to low wage nations, imperialist conquests to secure vital resources, cutbacks in social services, “elimination of welfare as we know it,” the bi-partisan objective is the same – to preference the corporate elite at the expense of the vast majority, a preference driven not by any moral failings of the super rich, but by the necessities imposed by the very operation of the system itself. Whether capitalists are well-intentioned or evil, Democrat or Republican, they must deploy one or another or all of the above measures aimed at workers to keep their businesses afloat in the face of the incessant competition that drives them to profit or perish.
Joseph Biden is Donald Trump, but better attuned to posing himself as a civilized politician acting in the interests of the vast majority. Beneath this thin veneer of compassion, however, lies another experienced racist warmongering puppet of the U.S. ruling elite, the very image he previously projected in the course of his three-plus decades of service to the governments of the exploiting few.
The independent organization of working people to challenge capitalist rule in all its manifestations today stands at the center of the program of all revolutionary socialist organizations today.
(Jeff Mackler is a staff writer for Socialist Action newspaper. He can be reached at socialistaction.org)