Tensions between India and China have been increasing over the last few weeks with a buildup of troops along a disputed border in eastern Ladakh. The buildup on the Chinese side appears to have been a response to Indian construction activity that is meant to make the remote area more easily accessible if there is a need to send reinforcements there. China is trying to discourage India from completing those construction projects, but there doesn’t appear to be anything more to the standoff than that at the moment. The standoff has gone mostly ignored here in the US, but it has prompted some knee-jerk calls to “stand with India,” as if this dispute had anything to do with us. We can get a hint from this of how U.S.-China rivalry will be used in the future to justify meddling in all sorts of disputes where there are no US interests at stake.
The American empire wanted to oust Muammar Gaddafi for decades. He remained in power as he carefully balanced interests in Libya’s complex tribal society and kept the military under control. Gaddafi was popular since he invested Libya’s oil wealth improving the lives of Libyans rather than in Western banks. Before its 2011 destruction, Libyans were the wealthiest in all of Africa. President Obama chose to destroy Libya despite meeting with Gaddafi after winning the Nobel Peace Prize. His Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the strongest advocate for this war crime. When later asked about Gaddafi’s death, she laughed and exclaimed: “We came, we saw, he died.”
On this edition of Empire Has No Clothes, Matt Purple, Kelley Vlahos, and Daniel Larison speak to John Kiriakou, who did 2 years in a federal prison after he exposed the CIA policy of waterboarding detainees after 9/11. He talks about state sanctioned torture, his post-prison life as a whistleblower advocate and a radio host for Sputnik, Julian Assange, and Washington hypocrisy. In the intro segment they talk about trade czar Peter Navarro’s singular drive to facilitate weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.
The Republic of Georgia is a small undeveloped Asian nation that was once part of the Soviet Union. It plays no role in the American economy or security yet was conquered by the American empire in 2003 when the CIA covertly organized a coup to establish a puppet government. Billions of dollars in American military aid, hundreds of military trainers, and thousands of American troops arrived. Russia protested this invasion, but objections were used to proclaim a return of the Cold war and the need for large increases in military spending.
An Iranian tanker delivered some gasoline to Venezuela this week, and this is how the report in The New York Times framed the event:
Venezuela needs gasoline and has gold. Iran has oil but needs cash. Both Venezuela and Iran are eager to punch back at the Trump administration. And the U.S. government, distracted by the coronavirus pandemic and having already issued harsh sanctions, is left with few retaliatory options beyond military intervention [bold mine-DL].
The US is already strangling both Venezuela and Iran through economic warfare, so the idea that the US would be “retaliating” against the two countries when they seek to trade with each other is bizarre. Two countries that our government has targeted with cruel and unnecessary sanctions have found a limited way to cooperate in an effort to stave off some of the worst effects of economic war, but somehow in the news reporting this is taken as a transgression that calls for punishment and “retaliation.” The warped and false assumption that the US has the right to do any of this is simply taken for granted. The US has any number of options available here that don’t involve attacking other countries for engaging in commerce, but because they aren’t punitive and militarized they are treated as if they don’t exist. It is no wonder that our foreign policy is always biased in favor of “action” when even supposedly straight news stories present a small oil shipment to an impoverished country as something that demands a US response.