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Getting Out of Afghanistan, Staying Out of Venezuela

David Lindsay

As it was always going to do, the war in Afghanistan is culminating in the victory of the people who had never had anywhere else to go. Apparently, the restored “Taliban” are going to be made to promise not to allow Afghanistan to be turned into a base for jihadis. Well, good luck with that, but it would at least be an improvement on Kosovo, Iraq or Libya following our own works of improvement there. Or on Saudi Arabia, whence came the attacks of 11th September 2001. Or on Sudan, the oil-rich country that is in the midst of a popular uprising but which is not all over the news.

In the form of Elliott Abrams, the oil-rich country that is in the midst of a popular uprising and which is all over the news is now under the benign gaze of the people who brought peace and order to Kosovo, to Afghanistan, to Iraq, and to Libya. Oh, yes, they did. They did not in any way bring Islamist terrorism, or rampant pederasty (Afghanistan), or rampant people trafficking (Kosovo), or rampant heroin-trafficking (both Afghanistan and Kosovo), or open and public slave markets (Libya). Oh, no, they did not.

The neoconservatives are simultaneously conspiring to bring down the Trump Administration over ridiculous claims about Russia, and to direct its policy of regime change in, for the time being, Venezuela. They have effectively taken over both parties, making meaningful electoral choice an illusion, if that. As on the cause that is dearest of all to neoliberal hearts, the legalisation of drugs, so also on much of foreign policy, Bernie Sanders and Kween Alexandria are little or no better than the neocons.

Donald Trump’s promise of a break with neoconservatism has itself been broken, and far from withdrawing from NATO, he is lining up with Colombia, which is a candidate for NATO membership, and with Brazil, which has also now expressed the desire to join. NATO already commits us to the defence of Turkish Islamists and of Eastern European neo-Nazis. To those, we may soon be adding Latin American caudillos. We need to get the hell out of it, before it gets us into Hell.

On the grounds of the presence of Islamist militants, there was more of a case to invade numerous European countries or at least four of the Five Eyes than there was in to invade Iraq or even Afghanistan. Likewise, there is widespread, crippling hunger both in the United States and in the United Kingdom, but no one is suggesting an invasion of those countries because of the economic incompetence of their governments. Nor is anyone proposing to invade France, where dissent is currently being repressed more forcefully than in Venezuela.

Why, there are not even the sanctions that, as in Iraq, could starve even an oil-rich country into submission, because that is the point of them. Except, of course, that even sanctioned into starving Iraq did not submit, and nor will sanctioned into starving Venezuela. We all know what comes after that.

Trump is not a politician. Including the campaign that led up to his election, he will be in politics for no more than nine years, and those in the autumn of his days. He is a patriarch and a businessman, in that order, which is the correct order. He fulfils those roles in whatever capacity he happens to find himself, and his present capacity is as the President of the United States. As that, he seeks North Korea’s coal so that his dynasty might supply it to a dependent world deep into the twenty-second century, an arrangement to which the people who run North Korea seem perfectly amenable in principle. But as that, he also seeks Venezuela’s oil so that his dynasty might supply it to a dependent world deep into the twenty-second century, an arrangement with which the people who run Venezuela will have no truck. So the people who run Venezuela are just going to have to go. And in order to make them go, this businessman and patriarch now has at his disposal the full resources of the Imperial Presidency of the United States.

It is indeed time to pick a side. On one side, as ever, will be most Democrats and almost all Republicans, most Labour MPs and almost all Conservatives. They could not have shown you on a map which was Kosovo and which was Montenegro, which was Afghanistan and which was Pakistan, which was Iraq and which was Syria, which was Libya and which was Algeria, which was Syria and which was Iraq. They could not now show you on a map which was Venezuela and which was Colombia. They pedalled, and they possibly even believed, any old rubbish about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, put about by the likes of Ahmed Chalabi.

They are now pedalling, and they possibly even believe, any old rubbish about the privations in Venezuela, put about by startlingly similar characters. On the other side, as ever, will be a handful of commentators from the Unofficial Right, together with the rather larger but still mostly ignored or derided Left, which of course has always included Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn has been right about Kosovo, right about Afghanistan, right about Iraq, right about Libya, and right about Syria, where at least his enemies were denied the chance to give catastrophic effect to their error. Why should he, and the others who have been right on all of those occasions, be wrong about Venezuela? Ron Paul, say? Why should Ron Paul be wrong, and Mike Gapes be right?

Why should the people who have been wrong about Kosovo, which among other things is now the source of many of the illegal firearms with which Britain has been flooded, be right about Venezuela? Why should the people who have been wrong about Afghanistan, where the complete surrender that has always been inevitable is now only days or even hours away, be right about Venezuela? Why should the people who have been wrong about Iraq, be right about Venezuela? Why should the people who have been wrong about Libya, be right about Venezuela? And why should the people who have been wrong about Syria, be right about Venezuela?

A low-level legislator from one of the least populous parts of Venezuela, the 35-year-old Juan Guaidó was educated in Washington DC, before spending the whole of the intervening period inside the American regime change factory, of which he is an immediately recognisable product.

Imagine that Russia or China unilaterally recognised as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom a 35-year-old low-level legislator from one of the least populous parts of the United Kingdom, who had been educated in Moscow or Beijing before spending the whole of the intervening period inside the Russian or Chinese regime change factory. If that factory does not already exist, then it very soon will.

So that Donald Trump’s descendants might control Venezuela’s oilfields deep into the twenty-second century, and future Board member John Bolton has as good as said as much several times, we may look forward to an imminent intervention in support of the “moderate rebels” of “the Free Venezuelan Army” or some such.

As surely as the “moderate rebels” of the “Free Syrian Army” were in fact the so-called Islamic State, which in turn was in fact the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, so the “moderate rebels” of “the Free Venezuelan Army” will in fact be textbook examples of Latin American Fascism, properly so called, which in its present form is of course the Brazil of Jair Bolsonaro.

Supposedly conservative people who are lining up with Tony Blair and the Clintons against Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul, I hope that you are exactly as proud of that you ought to be.

Meanwhile, like Wikipedia, the Saudi puppet Mike Gapes, that expert who pronounces Spanish as if it were French, is already calling Guaidó “social democratic”, because of course Trump, Bolton and Bolsonaro just love social democrats. Bolton appears with a Cold War style of map, showing the countries that have recognised Guaidó in blue, and those which have not done so in red. Most Labour MPs and almost all Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP, are of that same, downright evil frame of mind.

Another hung Parliament is coming, however, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it.