This week I want to share with the readers the analysis of Professor James Petras on the barbarism that characterises the United States (US) and its allies’ imperialistic wars of exploitation and plunder that had created unparalleled chaos and destruction in many countries across the world.
“What Russia is sponsoring and doing [in Syria] is not counter-terrorism. It is barbarism,” ranted Samantha Power, US Representative to the United Nations (UN). The US representative to the UN, Ambassador ‘Ranting Sam’ Samantha Power, accused the Russian and Syrian governments of ‘barbarism’, claiming Moscow or Damascus had attacked an unarmed UN humanitarian convoy delivering aid to civilians in Aleppo. No evidence was presented. Rants and threats do not require facts or proof; they only require vehement emotional ejaculations and compliant mass propaganda organs.
Prof Petras reasons that ‘Barbarians’, to be clear, evoke images of leaders and groups, which abjure all civilised norms and laws and they only respond to armed force. In the present context, Prof Petras asserts that Samantha Power’s charges of barbarism against Russia and Syria was used to justify the US aerial bombardment of a Syrian army outpost, which killed and maimed almost 200 government troops engaged in combating ISIS terrorists and jihadi invaders. In other words, accusing Syrian soldiers of ‘barbarism’ was Ambassador Power’s cynical way of dehumanising the young victims of an earlier and deliberate US war crime. In his article, Petras asks us to analyse the appropriate context for the use and abuse of the language of ‘barbarism’ – and its rightful application.
He cites barbarism the deed where over the past decade and a half, the US and its allies have invaded, occupied , killed wounded and dispossessed over 10 million people, in countries from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. Military and civilian officials have systematically destroyed entire economies, fostered ethno-religious wars, undermined ancient community and family ties and placed corrupt political puppets in power. Promoted by the US, torture, arbitrary arrest and incarceration have become the norm creating lawless and chaotic societies, which had once been productive and stable. The shredding of social structures, Prof Petras opines, has provoked massive population flight, with millions of desperate refugees fleeing invasions, wars and total society breakdown. The result of these deliberate imperial policy decisions has been emptied cities and neighbourhoods, broken families, destroyed lives and futures for many millions of young Arabs and Muslims. As the human toll mounts and Western Europe is flooded with the results of US aggressive wars, the imperialists have sharpened their shrill rhetoric, labelling all of their adversaries and critics as ‘accomplices in war crimes’, and ‘barbarians’. The greater and more sustained the policy of wanton imperial pillage, the more intense the frustration of its leaders over its ultimate failures, and the greater the recourse of its ‘diplomats’ to vituperative language.
Then there is barbarism in search of barbarians where Petras says the principal adversaries to US aggression, Russia, China and Iran, have not invaded any sovereign countries, nor have they provoked the desperate flight of millions of refugees. Russia was invited to aid its Syrian government ally confronting an invasion of terrorist mercenaries who are intent on dividing the country. Crimea peacefully re-joined Russia via elections. Moscow rejected playing any military role in support of Western wars against Iraq, Yemen and Libya. None of this rose to the level of US-EU barbarism. In Asia, the West has invaded and devastated Viet Nam, the Philippines
In conclusion, Petras intellectually reasons that in ancient Greece, the barbarians were those outside of the empire who did not speak the language of civilisation. They were savage invaders seeking to pillage the wealth and culture of the empire. Today the barbarians emerge from inside the empire and spread outward. The imperial leaders have engaged in serial wars of destruction and pillage, even as their own societies and economies wallow in ignorance, misery, debt, addiction and criminality. Imperial barbarians devastate whole cultures, erasing the great historical legacy of ancient civilisations like Iraq and Syria, while imposing their culture of morons, drugs and electronic gadgets, which has already infantilised its own population. The empire of barbarians is infested with moneychangers and corrupt speculators. They have debased the entire legal system and legislative bodies. The public space has become a private latrine for the elite, closed to any real public discourse and debate.
Electoral spectacles, rather than reasoned debates, undermine republican principles. Imperial conquerors, enmeshed in a military metaphysic, cannot reconstruct a devastated society into a productive colony, nor can they learn or benefit from the best and brightest among its captives, as Rome did with Greece, because it has sown such destruction and salted the very soil under the feet of its conquered peoples. The barbarian-imperial world order is constantly at war with ‘others’ and can never assimilate and learn from the precious human treasures it has so wantonly destroyed. It rules by terror abroad and deceit at home. As so crudely displayed by the imperial rants of Ambassador Samantha Power, its oratory at international forums reflect the hysteria of mediocre functionaries: mindless barbarians raving among themselves in marbled echo chambers. In the end, Petras sees the imperial barbarians being besieged by their own fleeing vassals and puppets. When they finally confront their own decay and internal dissolution, they have to decide whether to engage in a last global conflagration or dismantle the imperial barbaric order and choose justice, law and civilisation.
Solly Rakgomo can be contacted at 72850881