The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

The race is on

 The race is on
The race is on

The race is on

It’s not necessary to guess at the motives of the American ruling class, as currently reflected in the Bush administration. They don’t attempt to hide them. Over the past several years, articles and editorials hinting at America’s unprecedented economic and military power, and the potential uses of that power, have been appearing in various business magazines and right-wing political publications. The United States has the potential, theoretically, to remake the world as it sees fit, though until recently military intervention did not appear to be on the agenda. Trade “agreements” seemed to be working, first for the areas near the United States, and then, at some point in the future, the rest of the globe.

There was substantial resistance to these efforts, as the 1999 “Battle In Seattle” showed, but the corporate rulers still assumed that warfare was not an option for the furtherance of their aims.

The attacks of September 11, 2001 changed all of that.

Shamelessly exploiting the terrible tragedy of the September 11 massacre (and greatly obscuring its causes and lessons), the American plutocrats now see an opportunity to bypass the normal semi-peaceful channels and proceed onward with full-blown neo-colonialism.

The world’s resources are once again ripe for the taking, with no time to lose. Iraq is their first big step.

If you believe the rhetoric of the neo-conservatives, Iran is next, followed possibly by confrontations of one sort of another with Russia and especially China.

The goal here is obvious: control over the enormous wealth, in oil and other resources, contained both in the Middle East and in the Caspian Sea region.

With control over the petroleum of these two regions, the United States would wield enormous power over the rest of the world, including its potential strategic competitors (who were warned by the Bush administration last September that they ought not to exist.)

What do the world’s other power blocs plan to do? The prospects are far from encouraging. Locally, the Bush administration is hell-bent on establishing the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas.

The FTAA is set to include every country in the Americas except Cuba. Under the FTAA, corporations would be able to get sanctions slapped on a country for “interfering with profits” due to such things as not handing over water supplies, or not privatizing education, healthcare, and such. Currently, under NAFTA, UPS is trying to sue the government of Canada for having its own postal service.

Resistance to this corporate feudalism has arisen, but unfortunately it leaves much to be desired at the official level.

Left-wing leaders have been elected in Brazil, Ecuador and Venezuela, and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has suggested that these nations join with Cuba in order to form an “Axis of Good” in Latin America. Right-wing elements in the United States have reacted with hysteria, even in some cases warning of danger should this “axis” acquire nuclear weapons.

It is thought that the recent failed attempt to overthrow Hugo Chavez was masterminded by the US government, and the near future will likely see further acts of intrigue, especially if the FTAA meets with official opposition.

At the non-governmental level, free-trade policies have been battled in the streets and elsewhere for several years now, as the “Spirit of Seattle” has taken hold among concerned people around the world.

If one way to judge the effectiveness of these struggles is to examine the response to them, then their impact is quite significant.

Neo-conservative writers now denounce fair-trade advocates as terrorists, and the Bush administration may attempt to treat them as such. Here, too, more pieces are falling into place for an explosive confrontation.

A united Europe could present a counterweight to the United States, however the United States and the Europeans themselves have done a pretty good job lately of promoting European disunity. Still, France and Germany have shown signs recently of taking steps towards rearmament, with the intent of becoming able to intervene effectively in Eurasia.

This will take some time, but we’ve seen this sort of thing before, and both countries can probably count on picking up like-minded neighbors as events unfold.

Further east, a movement has been growing in Japan that aims to amend the Japanese constitution in order to permit Japan’s considerable military force to be used outside of self-defense. And no one should forget China, destined in the coming years to become one of the world’s great powers.

In 1914, had someone in the Austro-Hungarian government stood up and said that, while the terrorist violence they had suffered was a problem, invading Serbia would only make things much worse, the rest of the twentieth century might have turned out much more happily.

I wish someone would do something similar in Washington, D.C. today, and that those in power would listen for once.

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