Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Imperialist has moment of truth in Afghanistan

By John Catalinotto
Published Jun 2, 2010 5:16 PM

An imperialist politician was forced to resign May 31, not for a scandal, not even for getting caught lying to the public. This time German President Horst Köhler, a Christian Democrat (CDU), was forced to resign for giving everyone a moment of truth about Germany’s role in the war in Afghanistan.

Speaking on Deutschlandradio on May 22 while visiting troops in Afghanistan, Köhler let it slip out: “But my estimation is that, on the whole, we are on the way to understanding, even broadly in society, that a country of our size, with this orientation toward foreign trade and therefore also dependence on foreign trade, has to be aware that when in doubt in case of an emergency, military deployment is also necessary to protect our interests.” (The Local, May 27)

Köhler must have forgotten he wasn’t speaking just to his CDU cronies. His lapse into truth stirred up a storm among the Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens back in Germany. They had been justifying German intervention in Afghanistan as necessary to defend Germany from “Islamic terrorism” as well as for the rights of Afghan girls and women to go to school.

Since the German participation in the attack on Yugoslavia in 1999, these parties have led Germany into wars carried out for alleged human rights. Köhler’s remarks exposed their hypocrisy. So their leaders exploded in a spasm of criticism of the German president for speaking the truth in public.

Opposition SPD Speaker in Parliament Thomas Oppermann told newsmagazine Der Spiegel that Köhler was “damaging the acceptance of the Bundeswehr’s foreign missions.” Oppermann accused Köhler of “making the case of the Left party,” the one party in Parliament that has consistently opposed the Afghan mission. The Bundeswehr is the German armed forces.

Köhler’s remarks exposed the real reason Germany is shipping its young people to the mountains of Central Asia, 3,000 miles away. To fight for such a reason violates Germany’s constitution. His words also opened a window on the whole mechanism of 21st century imperialism.

The big industrialized countries in Western Europe, North America and Japan, which are also the world’s financial centers, exploit workers at home and all over the world. They superexploit workers and seize resources in oppressed countries — mostly former colonies of 19th and 20th century imperialism.

Economically, the rules for this trade and investment are set by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and other institutions controlled by the same big powers.

Militarily, the Pentagon provides the main police force to keep the oppressed from rising up and taking back what has been and is being stolen from them, and to seize more land and open up more areas to invest.

While U.S. imperialists aim to always maintain global military supremacy they demand that West Europe and Japan pay part of the price in money and troops. Otherwise Germany, France, Britain, Japan, etc., lose their place at the table where Washington sits at the head.

The last few administrations’ “Defense Strategy” papers openly declared the goal of U.S. supremacy. The latest one just released on May 27 by the Democratic administration repeated that goal. In keeping with U.S. hypocrisy, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed that “U.S. values” were important. Replace “values” with “profits” and it rings truer.

“Stopping the Taliban,” “stopping terror,” and “women’s rights” are all public relations smoke to hide the real reason that Germany, some other European powers and the U.S. government send their young people to kill and die in Afghanistan. The real reasons are to gain markets for investment to exploit more workers, control resources, expand trade, enforce submission in the region and keep the profits rolling in to the banks.
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