We can't afford this reckless system which thrives on war and poverty!

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
12 April 2017

May's warm welcome to Trump's escalation of the war in Syria, last week, is yet another indication of where this Brexit government really stands.
    There was always a strong resemblance between Trump's "America first" populist rhetoric, and May's "Britain first" Brexit demagogy.  Now, they're coming neatly together, stained with the blood of the Syrian people.
    Of course, Trump and May claim the high moral ground - they would!  Never mind that their pretext - Assad's sarin attack against the town of Khan Sheikhun - still remains to be proved!  Never mind either that by daring to shed tears on the fate of the very same Syrian children to whom they deny asylum in their respective countries, they only expose their own cynical hypocrisy!
    As to Trump's proclaimed aim to prevent “the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons”, what a bloody farce, coming from the leader of the world's largest nuclear power!
    Whatever they may say, these 59 cruise missiles directed against the Syrian regime constitute an act of aggression.  And it can only prolong a war which has already claimed half-a-million lives and displaced ten million.
Behind Trump's aggression
What is even more damning in this escalation of the war is that it has everything to do with Trump's domestic politicking and great power games.
    Indeed, at a time when Trump was under fire from the right wing of his own electorate, due to his team's dubious links with Putin, wasn't it all too convenient for him to seize the first opportunity to distance himself from Russia?
    In order to pull the rug from under his critics' feet, Trump needed to be seen banging his fist on the table and appearing to read the riot act to Putin - which is what he did with his missiles.
    But does this change anything in the strategy which the US adopted last summer with regard to Syria?  Does this alter the fact that US leaders will keep relying, if need be, on the Russian army to do their dirty work in Syria, thereby avoiding the need for the western powers to "put boots on the ground"? Or that they intend to use Putin's influence over the Syrian dictatorship?
    Of course not!  For lack of any other option, the rich countries need Putin's help and Assad's involvement in a future political deal designed to contain the fundamentalist militias.  After all, they never had any problem with the fact that Assad was a dictator - they just wanted him to be more pliable!
    The point is, however (and this is where Trump's missiles fit in nicely with the western leaders' great power games), that they want this future political deal to be on their own terms.  To this end, they need Assad to be in a position of weakness, despite the gains he's made thanks to the Russian intervention.  Hence the US aggression which, they hope, will "soften up" Assad - whatever the resulting cost to the Syrian people!
Imperialism's crimes against humanity
All this illustrates the rich countries' leaders' total contempt for the interests of the populations.  Whether they are dealing with the Syrian crisis or with domestic issues, their own political careers and the interests of their capitalist masters always come first.
    For the imperialist leaders of this system, life comes cheap in the poor countries like Syria.  Just as it comes cheap in Yemen, or Sudan, Somalia and other parts of Africa where, according to the UN, over a quarter of a million people are likely to die of starvation this year.  Of course, in Syria, the West will blame future deaths on the Syrian dictatorship, while in Africa they will blame them on the drought.  Which will be convenient, but also cynical and hypocritical!
    Because the US and its British partners in crime are directly responsible for the present bloody chaos in the Middle East.  They set the scene for this chaos, having been meddling in the region's affairs for decades in order to protect the looting of its resources by their big companies.  And their catastrophic wars in Iraq and Libya paved the way for the rise of the lethal fundamentalist militias.
    Likewise, in the poorest parts of Africa, they presided over the western companies' plunder of local resources, which destroyed the soil and staple agriculture and which has blocked economic progress - contributing to today's catastrophic situation.
    In these respects the Trumps and the Mays of this world all have the same agenda.  Trump's bombing of Syria and May's arms sales to the Saudi butchers of Yemen are part of the same long list of crimes committed by the capitalists.  Which is why their system needs to be overthrown.