History teaches that the greatest threat to peace today is the United States. No other nation creates dangers as great as those emanating from the U.S. commitment to the doctrine of Full Spectrum Dominance.
As anti-imperialist and Anti-war activists are preparing to mobilize in Washington D.C. on the 20th anniversary of the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and its Western colonial allies, it is imperative that authentic anti-imperialist forces and those earnestly committed to an Anti-war principle recognize two things: the U.S. based transnational ruling class is fully invested in the doctrine of U.S. “Full Spectrum Dominance,” and as a consequence the U.S. state has become an existential threat to collective humanity on our planet.
The recognition of these two “facts” are the only basis of a politics that can unite Anti-war and anti-imperialists and mitigate the ideological and political confusion that permeates progressive politics in the U.S. that has resulted in progressives and even self-defined radicals supporting pro-imperial policies under the guise of humanitarianism and anti-authoritarianism. The Eurocentric and social-imperialist left has played a nefarious role also providing left ideological and moral cover for those same politics under the guise of opposing “authoritarianism,” usually in the global South, and in Russian or Chinese imperialism.
There is a discussion among left forces in the West that poses as a debate point the question of whether or not Western colonial/imperialist powers represent the main global contradiction or should an equal moral and political focus be on all “imperialisms,” meaning great powers such as Russia and China and nations seen as “sub-imperialist.”
This debate has an abstract character to it that reflects the kinds of speculations that petit-bourgeois forces engage in that are completely divorced from the terrible realities that one force – the Pan European Colonial/capitalist White Supremacist Patriarchy – has unleashed on global humanity, beginning in 1492 when European barbarians started to spill out of Europe into what became the Americas.
The invasion and conquering of the peoples of the Americas and the international slave trade shifting to the Americas, which resulted in millions of Africans providing free labor on indigenous lands, literally created Europe, as Frantz Fanon, W.E.B. Dubois, Gerald Horne and other anti-colonial scholars have pointed out.
The material consolidation of European rule in the form of colonial and settler-colonial imperialism was consolidated in major parts of the world, though not all, by the latter part of the 19th century. The “internal” competition among those colonial powers and confrontations with the other existing empires created the competitive redivision of the world that after two horrendous wars in the first half of the 20th century that cost the lives of millions, produced a relative global equilibrium between the colonial/capitalist camp now under the hegemonic leadership of the United States settler state and the Soviet Union. The bipolar world constituted the main configuration of power relationships for most of the 20th century, even with the de-colonizing non-aligned movement of the global South and the entry of China with the Chinese revolution of 1949.
The Chinese project of national development and the successful right-wing counter-revolution in the Soviet Union shaped the politics of last decade of the 20th century and the context of this century, including the absence of a countervailing restraint on the U.S., and an arrogant triumphalism represented in the delusional positions of Francis Fukuyama and the “Project for a New American Century.” It is the unrestrained colonial hubris of the U.S. that drove its disastrous belief that it could conduct two simultaneous wars that led to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq with an operational defeat in both theaters.
Yet, the expansion of NATO across Eastern Europe continued and its use as an expansionary force for Western imperialism was normalized. The U.S. military budget expanded to obscene levels that exceeded its military spending at the height of the Vietnam war. The U.S. basing system expanded and was strengthened with the creation of the U.S. African Command and the Obama Administration’s initiation of the “pivot to Asia” that generated significant support for the reorganized Indo-Pacific Command. Coups were executed and/or supported over the last two decades, and especially under the Obama Administration, in Honduras, Egypt, and Ukraine. Attempted and constitutional coups were carried out against Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Haiti, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Iran. Wars were initiated with Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen with a greenlight given to slaughter Palestinians and for Rwanda and Uganda to wage war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and against political dissidents in Mozambique. More than forty nations are under crippling economic sanctions by the U.S. and the Western powers.
With over 800 to perhaps 1,000 military installations, depending on how one defines bases and installations, a military budget of over $800 billion that exceeds the next nine nations combined, and a national security strategy that openly declares that its strategic objective is “Full Spectrum Dominance,” we are supposed to be debating the primary contradiction and principal threat to humanity?
For the African working classes and other colonized and exploited peoples, the “debate” is one that only the comfortable petit-bourgeois, Eurocentric, national chauvinist, social imperialist left engages in. The rest of us do not have that luxury. That is not to say that there are not serious questions that have been produced by the specific geo/political and economic realities of this conjuncture. We say that despite the complexities of the moment, what is consistent is the hegemony of U.S. criminality on a global scale. Instigating a war in Europe, carrying out a terrorist attack on Nord Stream pipelines, antagonizing the Chinese on Taiwan and engaging in the reckless talk of winning a nuclear war reflect the dangerous psychopathology of decision makers in the U.S. that make them a threat to everyone.
As we come off a National Day of Action Against Police Terror in the settler-colonial state of the U.S., conscious Africans understand our relationship to the colonial state domestically and abroad. We understand that the war being waged against the Palestinians, the subversion against the revolutionary nations of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, Cop City in Atlanta and the militarization of the domestic army known as the police, the strengthening of AFRICOM, the proxy war in Ukraine, are all part of the commitment to Full Spectrum Dominance. We are clear.
This is what we are reminded of on this anniversary of the U.S. war against the people of Iraq. As we said in the Black Alliance for Peace when the second stage of the manufactured war in Ukraine that began in 2014 was launched last February, to understand Ukraine we should de-center Ukraine and focus on the geo-strategic interests of imperialism, U.S. and Western imperialism!
Can this approach be the basis of a possible strategic and tactical unity between the Anti-war peace movement and the anti-imperialist movement? Perhaps. We say the Black radical peace tradition offers a way.
“Peace is not the absence of conflict, but rather the achievement by popular struggle and self-defense of a world liberated from the interlocking issues of global conflict, nuclear armament and proliferation, unjust war, and subversion through the defeat of global systems of oppression that include colonialism, imperialism, patriarchy, and white supremacy."
Today, that is still the call and must be the commitment. We want peace, but we understand there will be no peace without justice and justice means altering the international balance of forces away from the hegemony of the European colonial/imperialist states and their ruling classes.
Ajamu Baraka is Chairman of the Coordinating Committee of the Black Alliance for Peace and an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. Baraka serves on the Executive Committee of the U.S. Peace Council and leadership body of the U.S. based United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC) and the Steering Committee of the Black is Back Coalition.