Public meeting in Wellington, New Zealand

Syria, Iran and the geopolitics of American militarism

Just weeks ago, the United States was on the verge of launching war against Syria, an act of aggression that threatened to trigger a broader conflict with Iran, Russia and China.

In the face of overwhelming popular opposition to war within the US and internationally, the Obama administration made a tactical retreat. It seized upon a Russian proposal to secure a UN resolution dictating the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, and opened up talks to extract political concessions from Iran.

The greatest mistake, however, would be to believe that the various diplomatic intrigues and machinations underway have ended the prospect of war. The Obama administration, backed by its allies, including New Zealand, will seek to use the UN process to manufacture a pretext for stepping-up the violent regime-change operation it has been directing in Syria for more than two years. Washington is also maintaining its threat of devastating military strikes against Iran’s alleged nuclear programs.

The strategy of US imperialism is to offset its historic economic decline by using military force to dominate key regions and resources against its major economic and geopolitical rivals, not only in the Middle East, but around the globe. In the Asia-Pacific, it is pursuing its “pivot” against China and preparing for a military confrontation.

Prime Minister Key’s speech to the UN last month underscored the commitment of the New Zealand ruling elite to the US military alliance. His support for the US intervention in Syria is to ensure Washington’s backing for New Zealand’s own neo-colonial operations in the Pacific, where it faces increasing competition from China. The opposition Labour Party and the Greens also back “regime change” in Syria.

The pseudo-left organisations in New Zealand, Fightback, Socialist Aotearoa and the International Socialist Organisation, function as cheerleaders for the imperialist war drive, supporting the US-backed Syrian rebels—who are dominated by Al Qaeda-linked, sectarian Islamist forces—and falsely portraying them as a genuine movement for democracy.

The purpose of the SEP’s meetings is not to appeal to the Obama administration, the Key government or the UN to stop war. Such a perspective is worse than futile. The growing danger of war is the political expression of the intractable crisis of the capitalist profit system, and opposition to it must be based on this understanding.

A genuine movement against war requires a conscious struggle by the working class against capitalism and all its political defenders, on the basis of a socialist and internationalist perspective. The SEP and IYSSE meetings are aimed at the development of just such a movement. We urge workers and retirees, students and unemployed, to attend.

Saturday, November 9, 1.30 p.m.
Hutt City Community Centre
Apex House (new premises)
Corner of Laings Road and Queens Drive
Lower Hutt Central
Tickets: $3/$2 concession