by Hardial Bains
It is over five months now since Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990 and subsequently annexed it. During the same period of time the U.S., Canada, Britain and some others, but especially the U.S., have created an intense war hysteria. War is being presented as the ultimate means to right the wrong done. January 15 has been set by George Bush as the date after which he could do whatever he wishes, including unleashing a war to throw the Iraqis out of Kuwait and to smash the Iraqi military power.
The invasion and annexation of Kuwait have been universally condemned by world public opinion. But that is where the similarity of attitudes ends. The big powers are using this situation for their own aggressive ends. The U.S., which has long wanted to station its forces on Arab soil, has now achieved its ambition, at least for the time being. With the forces in place and the stamp of approval of the U.N. Security Council behind it, the U.S. can now demand anything it desires, including the savage destruction of the whole region. The question really arises: Is George Bush for peace and the democratization of international life, or for world domination? The answer is that the U.S. and George Bush are for the democratization of international life so long as it serves their interests. They manipulated the discontent in Eastern Europe towards their own ends. They are trying to manipulate world public opinion against the Iraqi invasion and annexation of Kuwait for the same ends.
Right after the invasion of Kuwait, the issue arose: Is war the answer? George Bush immediately said yes, and began deploying U.S. forces into Saudi Arabia and the region. It was argued that the invasion of Saudi Arabia was an imminent possibility and that Iraq must be stopped. Others spoke in a different manner. The Soviet Union spoke of peace, as did France, and they talked about the use of economic sanctions. But none of them spoke against George Bush, who started pushing for war against Iraq right from the outset. They all claim to be united against the Iraqi invasion and annexation of Kuwait.
It has become extremely clear that all the big powers are playing their politics and serving their own interests. A massive diplomatic machine has been set in motion in order to achieve those ends. George Bush wants to dominate the Gulf region and the world, and this is what is motivating him to push for war. France, Germany and Japan cannot openly oppose the U.S., though their interests differ. They do not want the U.S. to succeed in destroying Saddam Hussein. The Soviet Union cannot agree to have no influence in the region either. In other words, the conflict in the Middle East has again been transformed into a conflict between the big powers, as has been the case for decades. Each big power is now rushing to safeguard its own interests as the situation in the region becomes increasingly tense. If the big powers ever united n the past, or if they should unite now, it would only be because the peoples threatened their interests. The declaration in Paris that the Cold War has ended has only fuelled the deep‑going collisions of course which their conflicting interests dictate.
There is a big talk about defending democracy, fighting aggression, etc. But, as the facts themselves reveal, the use of these high‑sounding phrases is not for purposes of defending high ideals but to achieve something else. For example, the facts themselves speak about the intentions of the U.S. With the collapse of the regimes in Eastern Europe and the re‑unification of Germany, the American influence in Europe is a passing one. The European Community is emerging as an economic and political power which the U.S. will have to reckon with. But the U.S. is still a military power. It does not want anyone to forget this. It wants to be the world gendarme which is paid for services rendered.
Saddam Hussein carried out the invasion of Kuwait for his own ends of defending the Iraqi economy and challenging the power of the oil sheiks and the Emir of Kuwait, who were egged on by the U.S. to destroy the Iraqi economy. Iraq wants to be the dominant power in the Middle East in order to emerge as an economic and political power in its own right and organize the Arabs against others from inside and outside the region. But Iraq has now become a chip on the bargaining table of the big powers. Saddam Hussein has destabilized the international situation, giving all the big powers the opportunity to push for their own interests and redivide the world among themselves. When the U.S. organizes for war, it is not only seeking to defeat Iraq but to also get the upper hand over all the other powers who have an interest in the region and the world. George Bush is only for George Bush and he knows how to serve the U.S. interests in any region of the world, including the Gulf region. George Bush goes out of his way to emphasize that he not only wants Iraq out of Kuwait but also that the Iraqi military power must be smashed. In this manner, the U.S. will lay claim not only to being the champion of the highest of morals, but also the dominant military power in the Middle East.
Saddam Hussein speaks of linking the Palestinian question with the occupation of Kuwait. But this linkage is a multi‑edged sword, and one of the edges is Iraq’s desire to be recognized as the dominant power in the Middle East with whom others could negotiate. Iraq wants the Palestinian question to be a bargaining chip. The Iraqis also speak of all the suffering and the conflicts outsiders have caused in the Middle East. Will the U.S. agree with this? No. Secretary of State James Baker stated emphatically that he was not negotiating with Iraq in Geneva. He had gone to Geneva only to tell the Iraqis that the U.S. was serious about crushing them. Will France, Germany or Japan agree with the smashing of Saddam Hussein? Will the Soviet Union agree? These are the questions which point to a very grave situation, with the interests of the big powers now being at the centre of the conflict.
The Mulroney government believes that the Canadian interest is served by the U.S. remaining a dominant power. This is the only reason why the Canadian government is pushing the war hysteria. This is a dangerous position which commits Canada to all American military operations, under the supposition that so long as the U.S. is the world gendarme, it will be good for Canada.
The rise of this conflict also has another dimension: that is, the push for real democratization of international life, the opposition to all the big power politics and the designs of the big powers for world domination. We must take advantage of the situation and oppose not only the Iraqi invasion and annexation of Kuwait but also the U.S. drive for domination in the Middle East. We must oppose the Israelis for siding with the U.S., and likewise the Egyptians, Syrians, Saudis, etc. But we must also call upon the Palestinians, Jordanians and others not to side with Iraq. We must create a new world order where the condition for the peace and prosperity of any nation or people is the peace and properity of all nations and peoples.
The just position at this time can only be:
1. No to the U.S. or any other foreign military presence in the Middle East! This also means No to the Canadian military presence in the Gulf region!
2. No to Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait!
3. No sale of military weapons or any form of military aid to anyone in the Middle East region!
In conclusion, we must demand that the Canadian government must not make decisions which increase the danger of war in any region of the world. The democratization of life in Canada will contribute to the democratization of life internationally. People have the right to overthrow any government which leads them into unjust wars.