My Enemy’s Enemy
“The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend,” intone those too unwilling, too frightened, too unprincipled, or too comfortable, to rouse themselves to defend Iran. (By defend Iran I mean doing what one can to thwart the de facto war against the country, even if it only means challenging the deceitful pretexts used to “water the turf”.) While it may be that my enemy’s enemy is not always my friend, this has nothing to do with the reasons why the US, Britain and Israel are locked in a war (by other means) with another oil-rich Gulf state. Powerful countries driven by the expansionary logic of capitalism have always sought, in various ways, to dominate other countries for the purposes of opening new opportunities for the profitable investment of capital. Imperialism is carried on independently of whether the dominated countries are ruled by the friends of progressives in the West, or their enemies. The Iranian government needn’t be your friend to recognize why a war on Iran is being carried out, whose interests it serves, and that it doesn’t serve yours. On the contrary, it detracts from them.
Peek below the surface, and the hostility to our own interests of the recurrent pattern of capitalist-driven expansion at the expense of the sovereignty of other countries becomes evident. Who pays the taxes to pay the interest on bonds sold to investment bankers and hereditary capitalist families to refurbish nuclear arsenals that don’t need refurbishing, to replace tanks, armoured vehicles and helicopters lost in the wars that should never have been fought, and to build war machines to outrage the sovereignty of other countries? Who foots the bill for lucrative defense contracts to make the machinery of war? Who carries the ball to finance the programs of subverting democracy in other countries? Who sacrifices their limbs, eyesight, hearing, sanity and lives to fight wars to secure profitable investment opportunities for the super-rich? In this system, the bulk of us are exploited, while a tiny minority reaps the benefit of monstrous profits. We are the cannon-fodder, the vote-fodder, the tax-fodder that allows the system to run and the super-rich get super-richer. True, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. But we should be clear on who – and what -- the enemy is, who the victims are, and how the victims have a common interest in challenging their common enemy.