The smiling face of imperialism

by Daphne Liddle

PRESIDENT Obama arrived in Britain on Tuesday to cheers and smiles from Prime Minister Cameron, the Queen as the rich and powerful eagerly sought to be photographed near the man who is described as the most powerful on the planet.

But just out of shot of most of the media’s lenses were hundreds of protesters with long list of issues and grievances.

When he came to power in 2009 Obama promised to extricate the United States from the illegal and unending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to close the concentration camp at Guantánamo Bay.

But two years on there is still a US presence in Iraq to prop up the otherwise non-viable puppet state and in Afghanistan American and British forces are still fighting a losing battle and in the process still killing Afghan civilians, destroying their homes and driving the angry and bereaved people into the arms of the Islamic fundamentalists who are seen as the only defence against imperialist bombing.

Even worse, with the lessons of George W Bush’s ill-judged attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan, the humiliating failures to defeat to defeat the resistance forces and the damage the cost has done to the US economy plain to see, Obama is in the process of opening up yet another war — in Libya. And US imperialism is now also threatening Syria.

Democrat or Republican, the US ruling class cannot seem to learn from defeat and continues to sacrifice everything to achieve world hegemony — which continues to elude them as the working people of the rest of the world come together in mutual defence.

Among those protesting outside Buckingham Palace as Obama dined with the Queen were the family and friends of Shaker Aamer and campaigners against Guantánamo, wearing bright orange prison suits.

Shaker Aamer has been held in Guantánamo prison for over nine years now without charge or trial. His family in Battersea includes one child born after he was detained who he has yet to see.

There was also a large group of Libyan protesters supporting Gaddafi, with green flags and scarves, also calling for an end to Nato attacks on Libya, which are killing civilians and contaminating the country with toxic depleted uranium debris, and the embargoes which are making life hard for the people of the country.

A large group of Bahrainis took part in the demonstration, protesting about the use of Saudi troops against protesters there as well as Syrians showing their support for the Assad government that imperialism has targeted for sanctions.

CND and New Worker supporters and other peace activists joined the throng that included Peter Tatchell — protesting with a placard calling for the release of Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning who exposed US war crimes.

The murder of Al Qaeda front man Osama bin Laden by US Special Forces in Pakistan recently could easily have given Obama the opportunity to make a face-saving withdrawal from the bloody mess of the Afghan war; to close Guantanamo and declare the ridiculous “war on terror” over and done.

But far from taking this opportunity to steer America into more peaceful waters and focus on the huge problems facing the US domestic economy, Obama is now eager to repeat Bush’s lunacies and lead his country into even more military escapades.

It will only result in more humiliation for US imperialism as its growing military, political and economic weaknesses are demonstrated on the world stage yet again.

Meanwhile Cameron is desperately hoping Obama will endorse his economic policy of savage public spending cuts, which is in deep trouble as popular opposition grows.

Obama has agreed to open up the White House top secret National Security Council to Downing Street and to establish a joint National Security Strategy Board comprising senior officials on both sides of the Atlantic.

Later Obama will visit Warsaw before attending the G8 summit in Deauville, France on Thursday and Friday.

If either Cameron or Obama really wanted peace and security they would stop invading other countries and allow the peoples of the rest of the world some peace and security from their ill-omened attacks.