The questions of US imperialism, economic hegemony and corporate control of the world’s resources are the subject of massive popular discussion in a time of escalating conflict, inequality and deepening economic recession. Following the mass public mobilisation during the Obama election campaign, the US government is placed in a role of critical responsibility and must now lead the way in fostering greater international cooperation.
The world is in the seventh year of a war with no end in sight. A short six years ago, in late December 2001, it all looked very different. A United States-led campaign had terminated the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and the talk in Washington was already about moving on to deal with Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
Many of today's war zones - including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Sudan - share basic problems that lie at the root of their conflicts. They are all poor, buffeted by natural disasters - especially floods, droughts, and earthquakes - and have rapidly growing populations that are pressing on the capacity of the land to feed them. And the proportion of youth is very high, with a bulging population of young men of military age (15-24 years).
If you think we are living in scary times, your worst fears may be confirmed by reading Naomi Wolf's newest book, The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. In it, Wolf proves the old axiom that history does repeat itself. Or more accurately, history occurs in patterns, and in order to understand where our country is today and where it is headed, we need to read the history books.
When we look back someday at the catastrophe that was the Bush administration, we will think of many things: the tragedy of the Iraq war, the shame of Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib, the erosion of civil liberties. The damage done to the American economy does not make front-page headlines every day, but the repercussions will be felt beyond the lifetime of anyone reading this page.
In his 2005 inaugural address, President George W. Bush declared that the United States would support democratic movements around the world and work to end tyranny. Furthermore, he pledged to those struggling for freedom that the United States would "not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors." Despite these promises, the Bush administration—with the apparent acquiescence of the Democratic-controlled Congress—has instead decided to continue U.S. support for the dictatorship of General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president.
Don’t worry, the White House is telling us. The world’s most powerful leader was simply making a rhetorical point. At a White House press conference last week, just in case you haven’t heard, President Bush informed the American people that he had told world leaders “if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing [Iran] from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.” World War III. That is certainly some rhetorical point, especially coming from the man singularly most capable of making such an event reality.