WITH THE FALL of Baghdad, America’s dutiful Anglophone allies – the British and Australians – are due for their just rewards: luncheons for Blair and Howard with the Boy Emperor at his ‘ranch’ in Crawford, Texas. The Americans fielded an army of 255,000 in Iraq, the British 45,000, and the Australians 2,000. It was not much of a war – merely confirming the anti-war forces’ contention that an unchallenged slaughter of Iraqis and a Mongol-like sacking of an ancient city were not necessary to deal with the menace of Saddam Hussein. But the war did leave the United States and its two sepoy nations much weaker than they had been before the war – the Western democratic alliance was seemingly irretrievably fractured; a potentiality for British leadership of the European Union went up in smoke; Pentagon plans to make Iraq over into a client state sundered on Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish realities; and ‘international law’, including the charter of the United Nations, was grievously weakened. Why the British and Australians went along with this fiasco when they could so easily have stood for something other than might makes right remains a mystery.
The US has been inching towards imperialism and militarism for many years. Disguising the direction they were taking, American leaders cloaked their foreign policy in euphemisms such as ‘lone superpower’, ‘indispensable nation’, ‘reluctant sheriff’, ‘humanitarian intervention’ and ‘globalisation’. However, with the advent of the Bush Administration in 2001, these pretences gave way to assertions of the Second Coming of the Roman Empire. ‘American imperialism used to be a fiction of the far-left imagination,’ writes the English journalist Madeleine Bunting, ‘now it is an uncomfortable fact of life.’ 1
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