Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context.
1 July 2012
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”
Michael Gove Bible, Matthew 24: 6 and 7
It is now exactly six months since we formally launched Antigone1984 into cyberspace.
Our first post on 1 January 2012 was entitled “Warring States”. It dealt with the retreat of the American army of occupation from Iraq to Kuwait and the continued US occupation of Afghanistan. It also wondered: “As the year 2012 begins, the question is where the US war machine will strike next. Iran? Pakistan? All bets are off.”
Six months on, little has changed for the better.
The war in Afghanistan continues.
The US has not actually declared war on Pakistan but acts as if it has. Pakistan’s sovereignty is routinely ignored as Washington sends sortie after sortie of pilotless drones over the Durand Line to bomb freedom-fighters and civilians without discrimination.
The war on Iran has not taken place but is still on the cards. One theory is that Israel will launch an attack shortly before the US presidential elections this November, thus presenting the vote-seeking presidential candidates with no option but to back the fait accompli.
However, intervention by the US and its satraps is not always to be condemned. We welcomed the intervention this year in Libya which rescued the citizens of Benghazi from imminent slaughter and brought about the downfall of the Libyan dictator Mohammed Gaddafi.
We regret too that no international force has been assembled to oust the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Responsibility for this inaction cannot be laid wholly at the door of an understandably war-weary US. At the UN China and Russia have repeated wielded their veto to prevent any internationally authorized military challenge to al-Assad. They have done this on the grounds that they object to any infringement of the principle of national sovereignty. This is understandable. Both Russia and China ruthlessly stamp out dissent within their own borders. In vetoing outside intervention to stop the repression in Syria, they do not want to set a precedent that could be turned against themselves later. It is clearly of no concern to Vladimir Putin or Hu Jintao that 15 000 people have been killed in Syria as a result of the unrest there – with more being slaughtered every day that passes.
We have noted with unease that the US is putting in place a network of military and diplomatic alliances in East Asia – troops in Australia, a pact with the Philippines, accommodation with Burma, etc – with a view to circumscribing China’s growing military power. On human rights grounds, we have no time for the brutal dictatorship that is China. On the other hand, we do not think it wise to risk provoking military retaliation from one of the greatest powers on earth. What does a rat do when it is cornered? Does the US want a Third World War? Why not give peace a chance, for a change? Trying sending roses not bombs.
Looking at other aspects of the world political scene over the past six months we can see few grounds for optimism there either.
The jury is still out on whether the Arab Spring, particularly in Egypt, will be anything more than a flash in the pan. There is no way of knowing as yet whether significant democratic change will follow the recent election of Islamist Mohammed Mursi as president of Egypt.
Elsewhere in the world there are localized wars in Yemen, Somalia, the Congo and the Sahel. Mexico appears to be in the throes of being torn apart by narco-conflict.
At least in Europe there is no war at present, although the cauldron of the Balkans is, as ever, in a state of permanent ebullition. However, the European economies are tanking as a result of failure to accommodate the economic disparities between central and peripheral members of the 17-state Eurozone.
Finally, the recent international climate summit in Rio de Janeiro ended without any agreement to checkmate the increase in man-made gobal warming. Catastrophe, as a result, is now predicted as inevitable by what seems to be the majority of international pundits.
So there you have it. Mostly gloom and doom with scant room for optimism.
We can only agree with French dramatist and revolutionary Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732-1799) when he lamented:
“Pourquoi ces choses et non pas d’autres?”
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
2. Das Vierte Reich/The Fourth Reich (6 Feb 2012)
3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
4. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
5. What would Gandhi have said? (30 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.