A year ago, the United States’ President, Barack Obama, announced that his country’s most wanted man had been killed in Abottabad, Pakistan. That the killing occurred on May 1, the day on which Labour Day is marked, is significant too, because Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda movement, shook Corporate America or the so-called one per cent that own 42 percent of the US national wealth.
Bin Laden’s terror group took on the US at a time when the superpower arrogance was at its peak. The US bombed and invaded countries at will and arm-twisted developing countries to promote the interest of Corporate America, so much so, some even longed for the return of the Cold War, a period during which the Soviet Union checked the US moves to dominate the world.
With Russia and China not playing the role which the Soviet Union had played during the Cold War, the US, when the 9/11 happened, had become a global dictator. In fact, it had a white paper for such a dictatorship. Known as the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), the white paper was authored by hardcore rightwing neoconservatives, who in many aspects are no different from Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist.
Breivik’s terror on July 22, last year killed 77 people, but the PNAC terror has killed more than a million people. The death toll is rising with President Obama fine tuning the neocon agenda and giving the killer machine a humanitarian façade.
Among other matters, the PNAC document, which the George W. Bush administration adopted wholesale, calls on the US to increase defence spending and modernise its armed forces to carry out its global responsibilities. In other words, the document encourages war as a means to impose the US will on non-obliging nations.
The document calls for regime changes in countries which are hostile to US interests and which resist the cause of US political and economic freedom abroad. In other words, the policy underscores wars to promote the interests of the US capitalists. The PNAC whitepaper also calls on the US to preserve an international order friendly to its security, its prosperity, and its principles.
Such self-centred policies were evident even before the Bush administration bought the neocon doctrine lock, stock and barrel and used it to invade Afghanistan and Iraq and the Obama administration put that into practice in the case of Libya. Way back in the 1950s, George Kennan, a US State Department expert on diplomacy and foreign policy, had these words for diplomats before they took up their postings: “…we have about 50 per cent of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3 per cent of its population… Our real task is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity… To do so, we will have to dispense with sentimentality… We should cease to talk about vague and … unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards and democratisation.”
When Bush took over, the US accounted for 26 per cent of the world’s wealth and 4.6 per cent of its population. Perhaps, the sharp decline in the US share of the global wealth prompted the neocons to move fast. Against this backdrop, all wars, human rights dramas and pro-democracy campaigns emanating from Washington seem to have targeted at restoring the equation – the US should possess at least 50 per cent of the global wealth.
A major blow to this wealth-amassing drive came from al-Qaeda. But the US was smart enough to convert the 9/11 attacks into a catalyst to launch its military campaign to dominate the world. It was this smart move that made some analysts to believe that bin Laden was a US agent or even a Manchurian candidate, which means he did not know he was being manoeuvred by his handlers.
Whatever he was, the US plans to militarily dominate the globe would have succeeded if not for the fierce resistance offered by Afghan and Iraqi resistance groups, although within two years of the 9/11 attacks the US had set up military bases in as far afield places as Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. A further blow to the US plans came when Russia and China began to assert their global power in the latter part of the last decade. The US was forced to leave Iraq, dismantle its base in Uzbekistan – the Kyrgyzstan base may be the next — and abandon moves to set up missile interceptors in Eastern Europe, but not before the US and western multinationals made billions of dollars as profits from Iraq and took control of much of that country’s oil wealth.
A year after bin Laden was killed under questionable circumstances that may warrant even war crimes investigations and condemnation for violating Pakistan’s sovereignty, Obama is finding succour in the slain al-Qaeda leader. In a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Wednesday, he made a statement which was just short of a declaration of mission accomplished. Facing the re-election challenge at a time the economy is just raising its head after a long sluggish period hit by the worst crisis since the great depression, Obama told the Americans that they were winning the war.
“My fellow Americans, we have travelled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon. As we emerge from a decade of conflict abroad and economic crisis at home, it’s time to renew America,” he said. “This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.”
But ground reality in Afghanistan tells a different story. Al Qaeda’s new leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, the man who converted bin Laden into Jihadi ideology, is still at large and is said to be successfully directing operations in Afghanistan against foreign troops. In the meantime, uncertainty looms over the security situation when the US troops leave Afghanistan by 2014 or even before it, ending what is increasingly becoming an unpopular war among the Americans.
From a corporate or profit angle, Afghanistan is a goldmine given its new-found minerals and strategic location on the pipeline route from the Caspian region to Indian Ocean and India. But Corporate America finds it difficult to strike gold. With much of Afghanistan still controlled by the Taliban, the pipeline project now lies in limbo despite funding from the ADB. The only way Corporate America can have a foothold in Afghanistan is by talking to the Taliban – a step the Obama administration has already taken. In the meantime, China, a rising military power, also has its plans for the Central Asian region. It has already set up an oil pipeline from Central Asia to China and would be happy to see the last of the US soldiers in Afghanistan, which it considers as its backyard.