Last January, President Trump ordered the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, described by an ex-CIA operative as “the single most powerful operative [terrorist] in the Middle East today,” on the grounds that Soleimani posed an “imminent” threat to America’s national security.
Reacting to the Soleimani assassination, some in the blogosphere are convinced that Trump had caved in to Israel’s wishes, and that a U.S. invasion of Iran was next, which could ignite nothing less than a third world war.
Erstwhile pro-Trumpists even declared the Soleimani assassination to be a deal breaker that convinced them to switch their support to socialist Bernie Sanders because he (Sanders) could be “a real American president” who is not “an Israeli stooge” and instigate a U.S. war against Iran — never mind the fact that Sanders is Jewish and had volunteered and lived in an Israeli kibbutz. (See “Shocking: Jim Fetzer turns against Trump in favor of Bernie Sanders because of Soleimani assassination”)
According to World Socialist Web Site, however, although Sanders presents himself as an opponent of war, responding to a survey from the New York Times, his campaign said as president, Bernie Sanders would be prepared to launch a “preemptive strike” against Iran and North Korea. Below are excerpts from the World Socialist Web Site article:
Bernie Sanders has won the popular vote in both the New Hampshire and Iowa presidential primary contests in considerable part by presenting himself as an opponent of war. Following the criminal assassination of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani last month, Sanders was the most vocal of the Democratic presidential aspirants in criticizing Trump’s action. His poll numbers have risen in tandem with his stepped-up anti-war rhetoric.
He has repeatedly stressed his vote against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, reminding voters in the Iowa presidential debate last month, “I not only voted against that war, I helped lead the effort against that war.”
However, when speaking to the foremost newspaper of the American ruling class, the New York Times, the Sanders campaign adopts a very different tone than that employed by the candidate when addressing the public in campaign stump speeches or TV interviews.
The answers provided by Sanders’ campaign to a foreign policy survey of the Democratic presidential candidates published this month by the Times provide a very different picture of the attitude of the self-styled “democratic socialist” to American imperialism and war. In the course of the survey, the Sanders campaign is at pains to reassure the military/intelligence establishment and the financial elite of the senator’s loyalty to US imperialism and his readiness to deploy its military machine.
Perhaps most significant and chilling is the response to the third question in the Times’ survey.
Question: Would you consider military force to pre-empt an Iranian or North Korean nuclear or missile test?
A Sanders White House, according to his campaign, would be open to launching a military strike against Iran or nuclear-armed North Korea to prevent (not respond to) not even a threatened missile or nuclear strike against the United States, but a mere weapons test. This is a breathtakingly reckless position no less incendiary than those advanced by the Trump administration….
Moreover…the so-called progressive, anti-war candidate fully subscribes to the doctrine of “preemptive war” declared to be official US policy in 2002 by the administration of George W. Bush. An illegal assertion of aggressive war as an instrument of foreign policy, this doctrine violates the principles laid down at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi officials after World War II, the United Nations charter and other international laws and conventions on war. Sanders’ embrace of the doctrine, following in the footsteps of the Obama administration, shows that his opposition to the Iraq war was purely a question of tactics, not a principled opposition to imperialist war.
The above question is preceded by another that evokes a response fully in line with the war policies of the Obama administration, the first two-term administration in US history to preside over uninterrupted war.
Question: Would you consider military force for a humanitarian intervention?
Among the criminal wars carried out by the United States in the name of defending “human rights” are the war in Bosnia and the bombing of Serbia in the 1990s, the 2011 air war against Libya that ended with the lynching of deposed ruler Muammar Gaddafi, and the civil war in Syria that was fomented by Washington and conducted by its Al Qaeda-linked proxy militias.
The fraudulent humanitarian pretexts for US aggression were no more legitimate than the lie of “weapons of mass destruction” used in the neo-colonial invasion of Iraq. The result of these war crimes has been the destruction of entire societies, the death of millions and dislocation of tens of millions more, along with the transformation of the Middle East into a cauldron of great power intervention and intrigue that threatens to erupt into a new world war.
Sanders fully subscribes to this doctrine of “humanitarian war” that has been particularly associated with Democratic administrations.
In response to a question from the Times on the assassination of Suleimani, the Sanders campaign calls Trump’s action illegal, but refuses to take a principled stand against targeted assassinations in general and associates itself with the attacks on Suleimani as a terrorist….
Sanders thus supports the continued presence of tens of thousands of US troops on the Korean peninsula, just as he supports the deployment of US forces more generally to assert the global interests of the American ruling class.
On Israel, Sanders calls for a continuation of the current level of US military and civilian aid and opposes the immediate return of the US embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv….
Sanders…attacking Trump from…for failing to aggressively prosecute the conflict with Russia and China….
In a recent interview Ro Khanna, a Democratic congressman and national co-chair of the Sanders campaign, assured Atlantic writer Uri Friedman that Sanders would continue provocative “freedom of the seas” navigation operations in the Persian Gulf and the South China Sea, while committing a Sanders administration to “maintain some [troop] presence” on the multitude of bases dotting “allied” countries from Japan to Germany.
Millions of workers, students and young people…attracted to Sanders because they have come to despise and oppose the vast social inequality, brutality and militarism of American society…will soon learn through bitter experience that Sanders’s opposition to the “billionaire class” is no more real than his supposed opposition to war. His foreign policy is imperialist through and through, in line with the aggressive and militaristic policy of the Democratic Party and the Obama administration….
Sanders is no more an apostle of peace than he is a representative of the working class….
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