Yemen, and empire’s moral inversions

16 Jan

Here’s your exam question for today. Afghanistan, China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Yemen …  how many countries have these states invaded, bombed, starved with homicidal sanctions or occupied against the wishes of their lawful governments?

Finished writing? OK, put down your pens and I’ll send someone round to collect your work. In the meantime let’s meditate on the fact that the de facto government of Yemen – also known somewhat misleadingly as the Houthis – has responded to Israel’s ongoing mass war crime in Gaza by imposing a de facto blockade on ships supplying the terrorist apartheid state through the Bab el-Mandab chokepoint.

In so doing it is acting not only with moral purpose but in line with international law which, as South Africa pointed out in the Hague last week, requires not only that state forces desist from genocide. They are legally obliged to actively prevent the same.

For its part the West – via a coalition of two, modestly dubbed Operation Prosperity Guardian – has taken to missile strikes in defence not of the maimed, bereaved and starving of Gaza but of (a) the said terrorist apartheid state and (b) the profits and shareholder dividends threatened by Yemen’s action. 1

The lack of morality speaks for itself – or would do if the collective West wasn’t so collectively brainwashed as to believe up is down, black white and arse elbow – so let’s move to the lack of thinking. Once we’ve seen beyond any shadow of doubt that beneath a chimera of democracy the West is indeed ruled by criminals … 2

… we can easily fall prey to the different misapprehension that these criminals are frightfully clever. They aren’t, which is one of the reasons why their efforts to maintain global supremacy have, as in a Greek Tragedy, served only to hasten its decline.

Having fought to no avail the de facto government of Yemen for ten years by proxy – supplying KSA with the bombs to maim and slaughter, the warplanes to deliver and intel to guide them – Uncle Sam and John Bull now believe that by doing more of the same but this time directly (the Saudis having quit with tail between their legs and in any case moving away from Washington on this as on other matters) it can stop those upstart wogs in their tracks. 3

Coming round now to collect your exam answers …

* * *

  1. For more detail as well as broader context on Yemen’s actions and the US/UK response, see yesterday’s 24 minute video from the ever succinct and accurate Ben Norton.
  2. Here to make, albeit unwittingly, the case both for the immorality and stupidity I speak of is the Leader of His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in Britain. Since he is likely this year to graduate to Prime Minister it’s worth noting his exchange with BBC interviewer Laura Kuenssberg on ‘our’ strikes against Yemen.
  3. As Caitlin Johnstone memorably put it, “We’ve progressed a long way in just 200 years: from expecting our leaders to slaughter brown-skinned people while saying racist things, to expecting our leaders to slaughter brown-skinned people while condemning racism”. The US – its Defence Secretary, Lloyd ‘Raytheon’ Austin, living proof that a man of colour and sociopathy may indeed pass through that revolving door between US Government and military industrial complex – is illegally occupying Iraq and Syria while stealing their oil, and murdering whomsoever it pleases in both states, ditto Lebanon and Yemen.

3 Replies to “Yemen, and empire’s moral inversions

  1. Yeah. I came to the conclusion some years ago that progress usually goes backwards (with the exception of medicine) but for now progress seems to be going forwards (with the exception of social media).

    I never thought that I would see the end of the ‘Empire of Lies’ ( © V. Putin) ‘and Mass Murder’, but now I dare to hope. It would be the fulfilment of a lifetime dream to see the US and its satellites, London, Brussels and Tel Aviv inserted forcibly into the dustbin of history.

  2. Although I agree with most of your point, that the chief proponent of crimes of aggression is the USA and its allies, its unfortunate that if we are to be accurate and honest, apart from Afghanistan which has been numerous times attacked by others, but never the aggressor, the others on your list are all guilty of at least one of the charges (invading, bombing, sanctions or occupation).

    To an extent it depends on when you start measuring. But if we say 1945 on, and accept the the USSR was Russia in a different shirt, then they invaded Afghanistan, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Georgia, and Ukraine, and of course bombed Chechnya – which although technically part of Russia, could be argued to only be so by force and occupation. Russian forces also occupied at various times, Poland, East Germany, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, and Kyrgizia. In the 19th century Russia occupied the Caucasus, Siberia, and large tracts of Central Asia, as well as the Crimea. So it has a long history of invasion and occupation.

    China of course invaded, bombed and occupied Tibet in 1950 and has incorporated it into China. It also invaded and bombed Korea. You could also plausibly argue that North Korea invaded and bombed South Korea (because the Korean war moved back and forth across the peninsula, and at times the Northern forces were in what is now the South). China also invaded and bombed Vietnam in 1979.

    Iran invaded Iraq, albeit as part of a war instigated by Iraq, and certainly bombed it. Iran has also bombed Syria, Kurdistan, and Pakistan, and attacked various nations shipping.

    Yemen has bombed Saudi Arabia and attacked other states shipping. While its reasons for doing so might meet with our approval, nevertheless, since you asked “how many countries have these states invaded, bombed, starved with homicidal sanctions or occupied against the wishes of their lawful governments?” it is only fair to answer fully.

    This illustrates that every nation is capable of aggression, when it’s interests are sufficiently threatened. The hegemon is always going to be more aggressive since it makes almost everything its interest. I suppose the real question is when is it a legitimate interest? Is the act of bombing, invading or occupying in itself always wrong, or does it depend on circumstances? If we take the absolutist position, then we need to accept that very few nations are not guilty. If we take the other view, then it has to be applied to all, and not in a sort of reverse Western exceptionalism whereby we airbrush or justify one set of aggression in a similar way to those we criticise for doing so, while attacking similarly motivated actions because of who undertakes them.

    Having written this I am aware that it is highly likely you won’t publish this, but I remain hopeful that you are interested in a genuine discussion. I believe we are in agreement that the vast majority of aggressions over the last 75 years have been by America and its acolytes, almost all to push its own interests, and mostly inimical to the interests of the people affected.

    Where we disagree is I think that Russia, China, Iran and the others are equally prepared to use violence and aggression when they feel the need to, and that they are no more motivated by the needs or wishes of their own people than are the Americans or British. It’s just different elites squabbling over the riches on the table, while the rest of humanity wait for the crumbs. If you happen to be under the table near the biggest players, you get more crumbs, and so try to defend that status.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *