“Sanders revealed his own swinish predilections in Westminster.”
Donald Trump’s performance last week at the UN General Assembly set the rhetorical bar for U.S. imperial piggery at a 21st century low -- although Hillary “We came, we saw, he died” Clinton is surely his equal in moral depravity. At about the same time that Trump was threatening to incinerate a whole nation of people, Bernie Sanders attempted to fill in the vast holes in his own foreign policy profile, in a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, the same venue where Winston Churchill, the 20th century’s prototypical western imperial pig politician, delivered his Cold War-initiating “Iron Curtain descending on Europe” speech in 1946. This is deep swine territory, and Sanders could not help but wallow in it.
Churchill was an arch racist, an admirer of fascists until they threatened his home island and its global colonial empire, and a great innovator in war crimes against civilian populations -- and, therefore, a hero of the Wild White West. Sanders revealed his own swinish predilections in Westminster. The Vermont senator reverently quoted Churchill’s “strategic concept” to provide “nothing less than the safety and welfare, the freedom and progress, of all the homes and families of all the men and women in all the lands.” What these words actually meant in the mouth of an imperialist, is eternal subjugation of the darker races while rich white men bore the “burden” of global governance. But Sanders chose to give the most benign interpretation to Churchill’s colonial pig-talk, claiming the British prime minister’s “challenge” to current society means moving “toward a global community in which people have the decent jobs, food, clean water, education, health care and housing they need.”
“Imperialists reserve for themselves and their ‘exceptional’ home countries the right to shape the destinies of the rest of the human species.”
Churchill would never dream of providing a welfare state for Britain’s colonial captives, nor is Sanders proposing to do so for the far-flung subjects of the U.S. empire. However, imperialists reserve for themselves and their “exceptional” home countries the right -- no, the obligation (or “burden”) -- to shape the destinies of the rest of the human species, if only in their imaginations or to garner cheap speechmaking points. President George W. Bush also wanted to bring “freedom and progress” and safety and welfare and all those other good things to Iraq in the wake of Shock and Awe -- and doubtless meant it. Donald Trump has a vision of prosperity for the world, too – embossed with his own golden logo. The Japanese empire imposed an Asian “Co-Prosperity Sphere,” under the armed guidance of Tokyo.
Bernie Sanders is an imperialist, and therefore of the same general political species as Churchill, Clinton and Trump. Many of Sanders’ leftish supporters cannot fathom how anyone could describe their hero as “an imperialist pig,” as I did in a June 15 article. They think imperialism is a personal characteristic, a kind of meanness -- the same misconception they have about racism -- rather than a global system centered in their home country. That’s why, not only is nearly every self-styled “patriot” an imperialist, but so are many, if not most, U.S. “progressives” -- especially the white ones. They truly cannot fathom the meaning of other people’s right to self-determination, but see themselves as benevolent vectors of human progress – which is why “liberals” are so prone to crimes of “humanitarian” military intervention, the imperialist hoax-of-choice since Bill Clinton’s presidency.
“Most American ‘progressives’ truly cannot fathom the meaning of other people’s right to self-determination.”
A disturbing proportion of Black Americans have caught the same disease, after eight years of identification with U.S. power under Obama, whom, I wrote “was among the most aggressive defenders of white supremacy in history,” having waged seven simultaneous wars to preserve the U.S.-based multinational corporate empire. Obama handed off those wars to Trump, who is vigorously pursuing all of them and threatening more aggressions.
Foreign policy was largely an afterthought in Bernie Sanders presidential campaign -- which is a kind way of saying that he did not challenge Barack Obama’s foreign policy and was, therefore, in tacit agreement with the First Black President’s global depredations. Certainly, Sanders backed sanctions against Russia (“that means tightening the screws on them”) and supported the near-genocidal Obama-Clinton regime change war “to get rid of this guy [President al Assad]” in Syria. That’s more than enough to qualify the 2016 Sanders as a world class imperialist pig.
The 2017 version is much the same. Like virtually the entire Democratic Party, Sanders eagerly foments anti-Russian hysteria, embracing CIA tales of Russian “efforts to undermine one of our greatest strengths: the integrity of our elections, and our faith in our own democracy.” He vows to “work in solidarity with supporters of democracy around the globe, including in Russia” – code words for continuation of the Obama-Hillary Clinton policy to foster regime change in Moscow. No serious advocate for peace talks like that -- and if you do not advocate for peace, you are not a progressive.
“Sanders backed sanctions against Russia and supported the near-genocidal Obama-Clinton regime change war in Syria.”
Sanders’ anti-Russia rhetoric negates much of the progressive-sounding wordage in Sanders speech. At any rate, his remarks contained very little of substance on the burning issues of the day. Sanders delivered mostly pablum to signify that he is the Not-Trump, and takes strong stands only on long dead issues. “The goal is not for the United States to dominate the world,” he said. “Nor, on the other hand, is our goal to withdraw from the international community and shirk our responsibilities under the banner of ‘America First.’” But even Trump is capable of saying nice things about the UN -- and did, last week, even as he displayed complete contempt for and ignorance of international law. And Barack Obama broke every international law and covenant in the book, while grandiloquently playing the globalist.
Sanders said the U.S. should not have overthrown the elected Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, in 1953, and shouldn’t have deposed Chile’s Salvador Allende in 1973. He was against the Vietnam War, and the Iraq War -- George Bush’s, not the current Obama-Trump Iraq war, about which he has nothing to say.
“Barack Obama broke every international law and covenant in the book, while grandiloquently playing the globalist.”
Sanders claims to oppose the U.S.-backed Saudi Arabian war against Yemen, although last year he was encouraging the Saudis to become more aggressive in the region. (He apparently meant more aggression against Syria -- a violation of international law with which Sanders had no quarrel, since President Assad is a “bad guy” and the Russians are trying to subvert “our democracy.”)
“The Global War on Terror has been a disaster for the American people and for American leadership,” said Sanders. “We must rethink the old Washington mindset that judges ‘seriousness’ according to the willingness to use force. One of the key misapprehensions of this mindset is the idea that military force is decisive in a way that diplomacy is not.”
The “new Washington mindset” Sanders fuzzily proposes has no room for the universal principles of self-determination, national sovereignty and international law. It should be understood that Sanders is talking about use of American military force against sovereign nations; “diplomacy” does not apply to al-Qaida and its ISIS offshoot. Sanders fails to once mention the legality of U.S. violations of other nations’ sovereignty -- because he is an imperialist who does not respect international law. Sanders says “military force is sometimes necessary, but always — always — as the last resort,” but he does not recognize that only the UN Security Council can legally authorize attacks on sovereign nations. Plus, even Trump will claim that he only unleashes the military as a last resort.
“Sanders fails to once mention the legality of U.S. violations of other nations’ sovereignty -- because he is an imperialist who does not respect international law.”
Bernie Sanders supports the Iran nuclear deal. So do lots of Republicans. But, the “deal” is an imperialist instrument, based on lies that even the U.S. intelligence agencies rejected. In 2007, all of the U.S. spy agencies joined in assessing that Iran had dismantled its nuclear program in 2003. This National Intelligence Estimate outraged the Bush regime, and probably prevented them from launching a full-scale military attack on Iran. But the Obama administration ignored the Estimate, despite another intelligence assessment in 2011 that determined Iran was still on a non-weapons nuclear track. The U.S. and Israel nevertheless waged an assassination campaign against Iranian scientists and unleashed the world’s first massive cyber-attack on the country’s installations, finally threatening a full-scale military attack to force through the current “deal” on nuclear weapons.
Donald Trump, the unilateralist imperialist, threatens to break the deal. Sanders says the U.S. should honor it. But the Iran agreement is itself an imperial imposition based on threats of armed aggression. Whoever supports that type of “diplomacy” is as much an imperialist pig as Trump.
“The Iran agreement is itself an imperial imposition.”
Sanders wants the Iran agreement to serve as a model for dealing with North Korea; in other words, bully Pyongyang until it buckles under. The difference between Sanders approach and Trump’s “fire and fury” is that the Democrat would “look for ways to tighten international sanctions” through “the international community working together.” But, it’s the same lawless blackmail. Sanders says nothing about direct talks with North Korea, the North’s key demand, which would amount to actual diplomacy. But that would smack of equality among nations – an anathema to imperial powers, and to would-be imperial presidents, Bernie Sanders included.
In his entire speech on foreign affairs, Sanders did not utter the word “Africa” once, nor did he say the word “Israel.” Yet the U.S. virtually occupies the continent of Africa, through its African Command, while Israel practically occupies U.S. foreign policy. Does that mean Sanders has no policy on Africa or Israel? No, it means he goes along with the general direction of U.S. imperial policy as it exists – because he is an imperialist.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].