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Question: Have we entered a Third World War? CPNN article: A New Century of Colonial War?
Posted: April 28 2003,09:38

The articles reprinted by the French press from Islamic sources in mid-April are the tip of an iceberg.  For example, the destruction of the priceless collection of Korans in Baghdad, under the watching eyes of the US Marines, as reported in the New York Times of April 16, may have enormous consequences.  As quoted in the Times, "When Baghdad fell to the Mongols in 1258 these books survived.  And now they didn't survive.  You can't put a price on this loss.  If you talk to any intellectual Muslims in the world, they are crying right now over this."  

Effects of the Iraq war in non-Islamic countries, as reported in the French press, are less dramatic but also profound.  Israel's policy of constructing settlements in the occupied territories has accelerated with the support of the US government, leading the author to call it "The March of Folly."  Ukrainian and Polish journalists regret the tacit participation of their countries in the coalition, the latter comparing it to European participation in the crusades and Polish collaboration in the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslavakia.   Political candidates of the ruling party in Spain are hounded by anti-war demonstrators following the government's support of the US invasion.  A Mexican journalist states "Everyone here detests Bush," he is nothing but a puppet for the fascists who speak through him.  Even Japan is questioning the war.  The correspondent for Asahi Shimbum the leading Japanese newspaper, witnessed American soldiers killing women and children in cold blood and wrote "I still don't know what to think of this war."

The French newspapers are filled with unfavorable historical parallels.  One recalls the Israeli invasion of Lebanon where the occupation simply increased resentment and violence.  Another recalls the invasion of Spain by Napoleon in 1808 ostensibly to chase out the British, but "instead of welcoming the French as liberators, the Spanish repelled them as invaders."  Another recalls that the British tried installing a puppet monarchy in Iraq in the 1920's and the resulting illegitimacy paved the way for Saddam.

A number of articles in the French press discuss the economic consequences of the US invasion, often with dire predictions.  A carefully documented article in the April issue of Le Monde Diplomatique diagnoses the US economy as sick with a degenerative disease, perhaps incurable, associated with accelerating indebtedness exacerbated by rising military expenditures.  La Tribune of April 14 is even more specific with one commentator (Director of Economic Studies of the French Caisse des Depots) saying that it is just a matter of time before the dollar collapses and yields dominance to the euro.  The timing is in the hands of Asian central banks, especially China, who are holding at least half of the $3 trillion dollar American debt.  The Jakarta Post is quoted by the Courier International that Indonesian opposition to the war in Iraq has made them think about switching from the dollar to the euro.  However, while it would accomplish the purpose of hurting the US, it might also backfire by provoking a world recession which would hurt countries like their own.  Two eminent US economists are given space in the French media: Robert Samuelson who worries that investment and trade require confidence, which is eroding.  Victory in Iraq, he says, will not be enough.  "Something else is needed.  It's unsettling that no one knows quite what."  And Jeffrey Garten, Dean of the Yale School of Management is quoted that when taking into account rising anti-American and anti-globalization sentiment and the weakening of international institutions like the UN and NATO, "all bets may be off when it comes to the prospects for American business."

Edited by David Adams on April 28 2003,13:36
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Posted: May 04 2003,15:21

Re: A New Century of Colonial War?

The great worry is what we don’t know by design; the subtexts. Trying to discern what has really happened, what is planned and why, is an exercise at which the media and the great unwashed spend infinite hours and energy because we’re all pretty sure there’s something behind political actions (say a war) that is being carefully concealed from us; we would be shocked if we knew what.

I’m reminded of the twenty-year hiatus between WWI and WWII when the leaders of Britain, France and Italy were well aware of the direction in which Germany was going. They did nothing about it because they wanted revenge for WWI and waited for the opportune moment, casus belli, to declare war.

It’s about the loathsome propaganda.

Nazi leader Hermann Goering in an interview by Gustave Gilbert during the Easter recess of the Nuremberg trials, 1946 April 18.

Goering: "Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship."

Gilbert: "There is one difference. In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

Goering: "Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
As quoted in Gilbert's book Nuremberg Diary (From PEC, Feb 2003)

Hasn’t colonization been going on for years? Those countries—most are obviously aggressive states—that are financed, supplied with arsenals and tied to trade agreements by the US, are beholden to do its bidding. Countries that refuse to "cooperate" (say Canada) are subject to trade threats among other things and even the demise of the UN. England held sway over the New England settlers with those tools hundreds of years ago. And there’s a rumour afoot that space is being colonized by the US.

If the Bush administration makes another preemptive strike—in a bid to colonize—we can be sure of incredible arms-building, and, of course, of nuclear arms. Whatever is in Iraq, if indeed there is anything, will be a molehill compared to this potential.

The volatility of other cultures and religions in highly militant countries are but waiting for the right moment, a casus belli, to vent their anger and take revenge for whatever might have happened now or generations ago. And Bush has certainly invited the most likely players to his psychosis-of-war club.

What he seems to be missing is the aftermath. A very sloppy colonizer, he’s starting his messianic (Daniel Shorr says more messy than messianic).bids for freedom in one place, and like a bird dog with a broken tail, excitedly running off to another leaving utter chaos behind. And he seems to be deaf to such as your information coming out of countries that are becoming militant as they assume a need to defend. The developing undertow could take us back to the dark ages when war was all the rage.

And about the pillaged museums while the Marines were on watch. Where is the market for these items, one that other musems would recognize or even an underground market?

Janet Hudgins
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Posted: June 25 2003,15:40

While the discussion has much merit, it may be that the question is a bit off the mark. "A Third World War" invokes images of previous "World" wars with fronts, battle ships etc. Given the wars in Europe, Russia, Asia and now in the Mid-East since the 1990s with terrorist activity in the USA and Africa, maybe we should entertain the question - Are we in a period of continuous war? And if so, why?

Thanks, Len  CT
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Posted: June 26 2003,08:58

Quote (Leewenhoek @ June 25 2003,17:40)
While the discussion has much merit, it may be that the question is a bit off the mark. "A Third World War" invokes images of previous "World" wars with fronts, battle ships etc. Given the wars in Europe, Russia, Asia and now in the Mid-East since the 1990s with terrorist activity in the USA and Africa, maybe we should entertain the question - Are we in a period of continuous war? And if so, why?

Thanks, Len  CT

As you say, Len, it would seem that we have entered a period of continuous war.  And it takes place throughout the world.  Attacks have occurred in Indonesia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Morocco, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Chechnya and, of course in Moscow and New York.  Given that the targets are often symbols of American power (World Trade Center, Pentagon, etc.), the fact that American power is spread over the entire world makes the entire world a battleground.  Is this not a "Third World War?"  

Both sides of this Third World War perpetuate and glorify the culture of war.  I think we need a third way that links together those opposed to American imperialism and those opposed to an Islamic culture of war.   What is needed is a profound, global, continuous East-West dialogue for a culture of peace,  including Christian-Muslim dialogue.
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Posted: May 26 2004,12:50

The events of the year that has passed since this discussion was begun seem to confirm that we have indeed entered a Third World War.

The prestigious International Institute of Strategic Studies estimated today at a press conference reported by the Financial Times that during the past year, thanks in part to the misguided American war in Iraq, the strength of Al Quaeda has increased around the world.
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