The German socialist and former foreign minister Peter Struck has justified the German deployment in Afghanistan by claiming that the "security" is defended on the Hindukush - a statement which could also have come from an American "Neocon" and which proves that the socialist pacifism consists mainly in the urge to surrender to the Red Army. The pacifism of the European left dissapeared together with the Red Army. |
Although the Neocons belong to the Republican party, they consist almost exclusively of former members of the Democratic party, members of various Socialist splinter groups and even some ex-communists. (In Germany the group which consists of former social democrats, members of various Socialist splinter groups and ex-communists does not call itself "Neocons", but rather "the left") Before the Neocons took over the Republican party with George H.W. Bush, it was the party of non-intervention, at least in comparison with the Democratic party, which wants to make the whole world "save for democracy", as it was proclaimed by Woodrow Wilson to justify the participation of the US in WWI.
A long time ago it was claimed that democracies do not start wars. Democracy is today also said to be a guarantee against war. But before that one should substantiate a much less far-fetched claim whether a democracy can live peacefully along with non-democracies. A democracy as a guarantee against war can only exist in two ways:
The Socialist way is the world-revolution, that means all non-democratic states has to be exterminated, with violence, if needed. The result is the "paradise on earth", more or less the Star-Trek utopia, a worldwide centralized state in which there is no private property and everybody duly follows orders from above. If the Socialists are correct on that point, so Peter Struck is indeed correct as well and a democratic centralized state can only exist when all nations are subdued unconditionally. Such a state cannot allow any other form of government because that would destroy the whole idea of world-revolution. If democracy is only possible globally, then democracy has to fight a global world war until final victory is achieved and then the security is ineed defended on the Hindukush. The result is a one-world state, of course democratic from top to bottom. The historical experience suggests that such a state would have the word "democratic" in it's name, however it is quite likely that such a state would be as "democratic" as the "German Democratic Republik" (GDR) or the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" (North Korea). The "Democratic Party" in the US maybe should distance themselves from their name-sakes.
The other form of democracy, which I call Swiss-capitalistic form is armed neutrality. Basically the Swiss have declared to the rest of the world that they will trade freely with all nations but will neither accept interference from without nor aggressive militarism from within. The Swiss have mined all tunnels and bridges which would make any attack very arduous, expensive and unprofitable because even the Swiss gold could not pay for a successful invasion of Switzerland if it is willing to defend itself. The policy of the US was similar before the civil war, at that time the USA was also not a centralized state like today, but rather a rather loose federation of states, almost like Switzerland is a confederation of relatively independent cantons. For example the 15,000 inhabitants of Appenzell Innerrhoden are more independent within Switzerland than over 80 Million Germans within the European Union. The Swiss deployment in Afghanistan was as senseless as that of the other participants, but it was so small that one can overlook it - Switzerland sent only 31 men to Afghanistan, which can be better described as a gesture than as warfare. And of course also there it was the internationalist left which was for the deployment and the conservative right was against it.
The senselessness nonwithstanding, one should not overrate them: Afghanistan is a country with a small and scarcly armed population, Iraq was disarmed and starved since the 90's. These wars will go down in history as rather small skirmishes, probably long forgotten in 100 years. But Iran is different. It is not just a lot larger, much denser inhabited and geographically unfavorable for the US-army, Iran also owns ballistic missiles and the capability to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which a lot oil is exported. Iran can close the Strait of Hormuz because to this date there is no way to defend ships against balllistic missiles. The Iranians can literally sink everything that swims in the Persian Gulf. Not just civilian oil tankers but the whole US-fleet is completely defenseless against ballistic anti-ship missiles. To understand a war with Iran, one must understand what happens when the Persian Gulf is closed for ships.
One effect is obvious, the price of oil would rise dramatically and would cause a worldwide economic crisis. About one quarter of the world's oil consumption passes through that straight. The oil crisis in the 1970's was caused by a reduction of OPEC's oil production by 5 percent - what will happen when suddently 25 percent less oil is available? The consequences for the worldwide economy are inconceivable and would reach into every corner of the world. All neutral countries would also be massively affected by this conflict. But through the Strait of Hormuz not only oil comes out, quite a lot of things go in as well. The extremely rich countries in the Gulf such as Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi-Arabia live almost exclusively from exporting oil, therefore from imports which are paid with oil. None of these countries is able to feed the population by itself. Iran would be affected as well of course, but Iran has agriculture which could attenuate a famine, unlike on the Arabian side where almost no agriculture exists. The extremely rich cities like Dubai, Bahrain or Qatar would become ghost-towns in a short time. Whether the regimes in Saudi-Arabia, Iran or the UAE would be able to survive this situation is unknown - what seems sure is that everywhere in the world many governments would be toppled.
No matter what one thinks of the Mullah-regime in Iran, it is important to understand the impossibility to selectively enforce sanctions against Iran. This is not a moral or political but rather a practical-military statement. Even all fleets of the world are unable to guarantee safe conduct for ships in the Persian Gulf because ships cannot be defended against ballistic missiles. That means that the Strait of Hormuz is either open for all or closed for all. To prevent immigration from Iran to the West would be much more effective to uphold international security and reach peaceful coexistence - without trying to "democratize" Iran or other islamic countries.
Should the war start under President Obama, one can hardly expect anti-war protests by left "pacifists" just as there were none against Obama's wars in Libya, Uganda, Yemen, Pakistan or the drone-campaign in Iran. Of course all these were no wars, but "kinetic military actions". The reason can be found in the US-constitution. For a war the approval of Congress is needed, but a kinetic military action was not foreseen by the Founding Fathers 224 years ago, therfore the President can execute those without Congress - at least that is the official point of view of the Obama-administration. Influential forces, especially the media in the USA but also in Europe want more wars and even try to "kick out" the sole antiwar candidate (Ron Paul) for the Presidency of the US. Should they succeed, one pro-war candidate (Obama) will run against another pro-war candidate (any Republican candidate).
Whether Obama or the next President really wants to start a big war, is hard to foresee.