Friday, April 04, 2003

American hegemony – back to business as usual?

What a difference eight days make – compare these two Op Ed pieces by Guy Rundle:

Guy is one of the best Left writers in Australia, but on the evidence of these two articles, the No-War-In-Iraq bus is having a very bumpy ride right now.

Last week, things were looking up – it was Schadenfreude all-round, a “told you so” celebration as the coalition forces looked bogged in a neo-Vietnam, an un-winnable quagmire. Today, after a wild swerve of the steering wheel, it’s all “US Forces Give the Nod” – asking which country is going to be the next victim of this cake-walking military juggernaut, and with a dig at deeply-vested US business interests, to boot.

Now, the latter point I completely concur with. American business hegemony is a legitimate target of the Australian Left, and many more besides (such as Australian farmers). And now that the Iraq war looks close to being over (fingers crossed), it is the right time to resume business-as-usual antipathies on this front.

Frankly, I don’t give a stuff which of the usual, G.O.P.-die-hard suspects are going to clean up financially in an American-subdued Iraq. As Guy himself notes, the country is going to remain indefinitely a quite dangerous place for a Westerner to live and work. Militarily, any Intifada in response to the occupation of Iraq will at least serve as a local lightning rod for Islamo-fascist grievances, thereby hopefully improving security in the homeland US, as well as Australia. In the longer term, a US-subdued Iraq will, however rancorous and venal the deals cut by the occupiers are, at least allow the US a long-overdue exit from Saudi Arabia – an arrangement that, at least since 9/11, has been in no one’s interests, other than those of the Saud royal family and a few psychopathic mullahs.

Finally, as the Australian Left resumes our business-as-usual antipathies to US hegemony, why don’t we start at home? It’s not as if the pickings here are slim, with almost all the utilities in Victoria (Guy’s and mine home state) having been flogged off to American interests in the last ten years or so (public transport is an exception – that went to the Brits, presumably because they’re well-known to be uniquely bad at such things).

As a recent letter to The Age pointed out (“Fines for bombs?” - David McRae, Geelong West) some of daily life’s most mundane – and yet also most stinking – injustices, such as speed camera fines, can be laid at the feet of the US military-industrial complex.

P.S.: if anyone wants to read the fat, grubby contract by which the Victorian government assigned the speed camera fine business to a consortium called Lockheed Martin Tennix, it’s at:

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