Saturday, August 26, 2006

Empire, and resistance to it, is the central issue of our time

From Iraq and Lebanon to Afghanistan, the Anglo-American attempt to remake the world by force is failing

By Andrew Murray

08/26/06 "
The Guardian" -- -- 'How goes the empire?" Perhaps Tony Blair will be tempted to repeat King George V's dying words as he prepares to shuffle off his own political coil. It is a measure of the extent to which the prime minister's foreign policy has restored imperialism to the political vocabulary of the country that, when his legacy is debated, the state of empire will be the main issue.

The answer is that it goes pretty badly. The new imperialism which will for ever be linked to the names Bush and Blair has taken just five years to hit the buffers of popular opposition and moral ignominy. Imperialism has moved from the realm of political jargon to be the central issue of our time - and is seen as such everywhere beyond the ramparts of the neoconservative-New Labour alliance.

In Iraq, the great testing ground for "liberal interventionism", the pitch of resistance to the armies of occupation, along with the failure of a parade of hand-picked premiers to deliver even a facade of stability, is, according to the New York Times, leading George Bush to consider abandoning his "democratic" experiment in favour of, presumably, a dictatorship.

In Afghanistan, to which British troops were rushed nearly five years after regime change was imposed, the Karzai government is floundering in epic levels of corruption. It has reinstated the power of opium-funded warlords, the suppression of whom was perhaps the Taliban's only popular achievement. The consequence has been a conflict of a ferocity that the British army has not seen since the Korean war, according to Lieutenant-General David Richards, the commander on the spot.

And despite Blair's determined green light to Israel's attack on Lebanon, the "long, strong arm of the US" in the region - as the Israeli commentator Sima Kadmon describes his country - has had to retreat with its objectives unmet. No one seems to be rushing to pick up the white man's burden there either. Continued.

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