The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 25th September 2009

A sensible step by Obama

THE SCRAPPING of the proposed US missile defence system in eastern Europe is good news for the peace campaigners in Poland and the Czech republic, who had fought the plans to station American bases on their territory from the start.

The deployment of ten American interceptor missiles and the construction of radar stations in Poland and the Czech Republic has now been shelved. The plan was part of the baggage Obama inherited from the outgoing Bush administration, which had ludicrously claimed that it was in response to a supposed threat to Nato from Iran and Democratic Korea. Its real intention was to put more military pressure on Russia. Everyone saw through this lie and the reactionary Polish government gave the game away during the Georgian war last year when it argued that the missile defence system was crucial to deter Russia from any further military actions.

President Obama has been keen to improve relations with Russia not least because US imperialism wants Russian assistance, or at least compliance, with the Nato campaign in Afghanistan. The saving of billions of dollars in the midst of a world-wide slump was clearly another factor for the American president who is battling to get his modest health care reforms through Congress.

Obama’s move has also been welcomed by most, if not all, the leaders of Europe as a major step by the new Obama government towards easing tension on the continent. Franco-German imperialism and our own Brown government have all endorsed the new position while Russian premier Vladimir Putin called it a “good sign” for future relations.

The only sour note has been struck in Poland. The reactionary Polish government, whose foreign policy has been based on slavish support for US imperialism and irrational hostility to Russia, was taken by surprise by the American decision. They now must reflect on the fact that if they voluntarily chose to be pawns in an American game they can also be expendable.

But much more needs to be done

The global crisis may have forced the United States to take a step back but American imperialism is not in retreat. While the Clinton talks in Pyongyang have led to an easing of tension on the Korean peninsula, US imperialism is still committed to maintaining its tenuous hold on Iraq and Afghanistan and its hostility to Cuba and the other socialist countries remains unabated.

Iran is still targeted for sanctions and no progress has been made in resolving the Middle East conflict despite all the coming and going of American emissaries across the region. Obama hosted Israeli-Palestinian talks in New York this week but no one expects much to come from them. This is not surprising given that the Israelis have made no concessions and the Americans are not prepared to put sufficient pressure on the Israeli government to ensure that they do so.

Time and time again leaders from the entire spectrum of Palestinian society have made it clear that they are prepared to normalise relations with the Zionists on the basis of past UN resolutions once the legitimate rights of the Palestinian Arabs are recognised. This includes a total Israeli withdrawal from all the occupied territories and the recognition of the right of return of the Palestinian refugees. The Palestinian leadership has shown its willingness to negotiate land-exchanges but Palestinian refugee rights and retention of Arab east Jerusalem are non-negotiable.

If the Americans seriously want peace in the Middle East they could easily impose a comprehensive settlement on Israel, which is an economic and military dependency of the United States. But if Obama’s plan, leaked by Hamas last week, is anything to go on, it’s clear that all US imperialism is looking for is cosmetic statements that will only prolong the conflict even longer.