Obama’s invasion of oil-rich Libya marks U.S. imperialists’ first major use of their phony “Responsibility To Protect” (RTP) excuse for waging wider wars. The RTP doctrine, adopted at a 2005 UN summit, despite China’s and Russia’s objections, eliminates capitalist national borders as obstacles to imperialist intervention. The invaders have only to assert that they’re “rescuing the locals.”
Bombing and missile raids by the U.S. (with junior partner Britain and temporary ally France) supposedly aim at saving Libya’s citizens from dictator Qaddafi, under RTP. But the wave of Mideast rebellions made U.S. rulers and their imperialist allies shaky over maintaining the oil deals they’ve made with each other and Qaddafi over past years.
Obama was very ready to allot hundreds of millions for this latest war while cutting billions from education and social service budgets, causing massive layoffs of teachers and other government workers. The initial U.S. Navy attack with 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles alone cost nearly $100 million. As of March 29, the Pentagon had spent $550 million in the first ten days.
The upsurge that spread from Tunisia to Algeria to Egypt, where thousands of workers struck for higher wages and against mass unemployment as they did in Iraq — and continues to spread throughout the region — made the oil-thirsty imperialists nervous. Therefore, the U.S.-led campaign focused on protecting the Libyan assets of oil giants Exxon Mobil, Marathon, and Occidental (U.S.); BP (U.K.); and Total (French). At this writing, NATO air strikes were helping pro-U.S. rebels seize two oil refineries and a strategic export terminal. On March 27, they captured two oil-export ports.
Of course, the U.S. chose not to “rescue” protestors in Bahrain, the base of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, and allowed its government and invading Saudi troops to kill hundreds to ward off any rebellion that might eventually threaten Saudi’s oil fields, the world’s largest.
In a March 24 article, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), U.S. imperialism’s top think-tank — bankrolled by Exxon Mobil-JP Morgan Chase — trumpets U.S.-led killing in Libya as “A New Lease on Life for Humanitarianism.” Its author, war criminal Stewart Patrick, who helped shape Afghan strategy in Bush, Jr.’s State Department, called RTP, as executed in Libya, the “biggest challenge to state sovereignty in three and a half centuries.”
Patrick was referring to Obama’s effective trashing of the long-lived 17th century Treaties of Westphalia. Those Treaties had enshrined the existence of capitalist nation states and defined invasion — the rulers’ ultimate means of sorting out differences — as war.
But today, after the demise of the old communist movement, U.S. bosses, though in decline, temporarily enjoy unequaled ability to project military force anywhere on earth. So Obama & Co. claim the RTP right to selectively invade any country, cloaked as “saviors” rather than aggressors. Patrick writes, “it [RTP] makes a state’s presumed right of non-intervention contingent on its ability and willingness to protect its citizens and threatens collective, timely, and decisive action if it does not.”
Liberal Rulers’ ‘Responsibility To
Protect’ = License to Invade and Kill
In addition to the elite, Rockefeller-backed CFR, the lethal, hypocritical “responsibility-to-protect” pretext has a champion in Human Rights Watch. HRW, a mass organization founded and funded by billionaire swindler and Rockefeller ally George Soros, lures well-meaning people to liberal causes that aid U.S. imperialism. In a March 25 web article praising both the Libyan invasion and RTP, Human Rights Watch approved killing civilians:
“Opposing forces may attack a military target that is making use of human shields, but it is still obligated to determine whether the attack is proportionate — that is, that the expected loss of civilian life and property is not greater than the anticipated military advantage of the attack.” Oil facilities, presumably, meet the callous cost-benefit test. HRW also urges U.S. “humanitarian intervention” in Ivory Coast’s violent presidental dispute in which China and the Western imperialists back opposing sides.
U.S. Bosses in War Policy Disarray: Isolationist Tea Partiers vs. World War III Imperialists
But not all U.S. capitalists embrace Obama’s North African foray. In fact, fearing opposition from forces lacking imperialist interests (personified by Tea Partiers), Obama did not consult Congress before raining missiles on Tripoli. More importantly, to some power brokers within the dominant imperialist wing of U.S. rulers, Libya pales beside bigger worries:
“We clearly have much more vital interests to protect in Yemen and Bahrain [neighbors of the U.S. oil empire’s cornerstone Saudi Arabia — Ed.]” says Rockefeller Brothers Fund trustee and former State Department planner Nicholas Burns. (Boston Globe, 3/22/11) But, says Burns. “We have no choice now but to lead in order to save Libya from its dictator and to redeem U.S. power, credibility, and purpose in the Middle East.”
Richard Haass, CFR president and advisor to mass murderer of Iraq War I, Colin Powell, looks even farther down the road to his masters’ ultimate requirements. On Libya, he expressed doubts (CFR website, 3/21/11) about “committing the United States to another costly foreign intervention at a moment we owe it to ourselves…to get our economic and military houses in order so we can meet our obligations at home and be prepared to meet true wars of necessity (North Korea for one) if and when they arise?” Haass speaks not so indirectly about U.S. imperialists’ needs to militarize the nation for all-out war with China (North Korea’s enabler).
Supporting oil-thirsty Pentagon-backed Libyan rebel leaders as “freedom fighters” — however courageous the rank and file is — leads down a political dead end. Rather workers must build for the ultimate destruction of the profit system that constantly produces regional resource wars, like Libya, as preludes to global inter-imperialist conflict.
That’s why PL’ers and our supporters must expose the racist exploitative profit system and its oppression at every turn, in factories and unions, among GI’s and in schools, churches and all mass organizations. More important, we must up the ante of the class struggle in these areas, escalating and leading the anti-racist fights against the ruling class and its lackey politicians.
Consequently, as the class struggle intensifies, the rulers will strike back with their state power (as they’re doing in the Mideast and in Wisconsin). This can be used still further to turn the class struggle into a “school for communism.” This means winning workers and their allies to see that the system cannot be reformed and to understand that building PLP and it’s goal of organizing a communist revolution — that will end the capitalists’ deadly dogfights and put the working class in power — is the only road to follow.