Category: struggle against imperialism
America is deluding itself if it thinks Vietnam will provide it with missile bases, or help it at all, in any conflict with China
worker | April 28, 2021 | 8:20 pm | China, struggle against imperialism, Vietnam | Comments closed

America is deluding itself if it thinks Vietnam will provide it with missile bases, or help it at all, in any conflict with China

Tom Fowdy
Tom Fowdy

is a British writer and analyst of politics and international relations with a primary focus on East Asia.

America is deluding itself if it thinks Vietnam will provide it with missile bases, or help it at all, in any conflict with China
Hanoi may have its differences with Beijing, and be wary of its powerful neighbour, but a high-level meeting this week has demonstrated that it won’t ever join the West’s anti-China alliance.

Despite their shared ideology, anti-imperialist worldview, and Mao’s historical support for North Vietnam in its long struggle against the United States between 1955 and 1975, China and Vietnam aren’t allies. In fact, the longstanding enmity between the two countries is huge.

For thousands of years, Vietnam has perceived Beijing as a dominant regional neighbour that has increasingly sought to subjugate them to their rule. From once being a part of the Han dynasty to being a ‘tributary state’ of the Qing dynasty and to being invaded by China in 1979 as part of Deng Xiaoping’s strategy to eliminate the influence of the Soviet Union in South East Asia, Hanoi has many real reasons to feel wary of Beijing.

There have also been tensions between the two countries over the South China Sea, where they have overlapping territorial claims.

With this backdrop, it is no surprise that the United States, aiming to galvanise countries against China and militarily encircle them, has perceived Vietnam (despite the destruction it once wrought on the country) as a potential chess piece in their ‘Indo-Pacific’ strategy, to the point of believing Hanoi could be persuaded to allow the US to base missiles there.

One former senior US defence adviser told the Military Times last year that Vietnam was a potential key partner in any fight against China because the country, which shares a 1,300-kilometre border with its northern neighbour, “has some wonderful geography. You can have good exterior lines versus the Chinese.” He added: “If you’re in Vietnam and the Philippines, suddenly you’ve got the Chinese in the South China Sea pretty badly surrounded.”

An elusive recent investigation by the Grayzone sets out in detail the extensive efforts Washington has taken to attempt to bolster ties with Hanoi in order to oppose Beijing. This has included visits by Mike Pompeo (he didn’t seem to mind ‘these’ communists) and an end to a US arms embargo by Barack Obama. US strategists have also pitched it as an alternative to China in supply chains.

But any lingering hopes this might persuade the country to join in America’s anti-Chinese push have been all but extinguished this week.

ALSO ON RT.COMThe cynical hypocrisy of the world’s No1 propagandist: US pledges $300mn to fund massive global anti-China media machineOn Monday, Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe travelled to Vietnam and met with the general secretary of the country’s ruling Communist Party Committee, Nguyen Phu Trong, as well as President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, in Hanoi. During his visit, Chinese media outlet Xinhua stated that Phuc commented that Vietnam “will never follow other countries in opposing China.”

As the Grayzone article notes, Pentagon officials and its supporting think tanks were living in dreamland in thinking that they could shift the country’s non-aligned stance and position US troops and missiles there in an attempt to encircle China.

Vietnam’s foreign policy strategy has consistently centred on ‘three nos’: no military alliances, no aligning with one country against another, and no foreign military bases on Vietnamese soil. But the US has blithely ignored these strictures, hoping that it could exploit the region’s territorial disputes to bring it on side.

Despite such disputes, and the obvious inequality of power between China and Vietnam, Hanoi ultimately remains non-aligned and it is very much in its interests to remain that way. Why so? Vietnam does not want to be controlled or dominated by Beijing, but ties with the PRC also remain strategically beneficial and important. The ideological survival and success of the PRC is a safe haven for that of Vietnam’s political system as a fellow communist state undergoing a path of economic reform.

In a world without communism in China, Vietnam would be ideologically and strategically vulnerable to the influence of the West, which is presently happy to utilise Hanoi as an ambiguous strategic asset precisely because it is not a formal ‘ally’ of Beijing, even if it will not team up against them. For the Vietnamese, sitting on the fence is a ‘win-win’ strategy.

Vietnam is sometimes even touted as a new member of the ‘Quad’ grouping against Beijing by the US, but the reality is far more nuanced and less promising for Washington. Hanoi is balancing a number of priorities – the survival of its own regime and communist system among them – while also aiming to sustain “strategic independence” from Beijing. It’s a very difficult tightrope and inasmuch, Washington shouldn’t expect too much, not least the bizarre nature of attempting to transform a country it once utterly destroyed into a military ally.

Hanoi is smarter than to become a ‘new Tito’ – a small communist state which aligns with the West, only to be carved up as and when the bigger communist foe is defeated. The Vietnamese strategy is all about staying calm, staying quiet, and finding space for itself.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!


The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

US Diplomacy
worker | April 18, 2021 | 9:36 pm | struggle against imperialism, Struggle for Peace | Comments closed

US Diplomacy

The US is right and you are wrong.

If you don’t do it the US way,

You’re not going to live very long.


Watch out for the drones!

US invokes bugaboo of Russian & Chinese ‘menace’ in ‘our backyard’ to justify imperial ambitions to control Western hemisphere
worker | March 24, 2021 | 8:33 pm | China, Russia, struggle against imperialism | Comments closed

US invokes bugaboo of Russian & Chinese ‘menace’ in ‘our backyard’ to justify imperial ambitions to control Western hemisphere

US invokes bugaboo of Russian & Chinese ‘menace’ in ‘our backyard’ to justify imperial ambitions to control Western hemisphere
As the great Yogi Berra once said, “it’s déjà vu all over again.” The US Southern Command, or SouthCom, has declared a renewed Cold War against Russia and China in Latin America.

And this new Cold War, like the previous one, emanates from the even older Monroe Doctrine of 1823 in which US President James Monroe declared that the US has sole dominion over the Western Hemisphere.

President Teddy Roosevelt would add his famous corollary to this Doctrine, declaring that the US has the right to use military force to prevent outside countries from interfering in the US’s “backyard.” Neither the Monroe Doctrine nor Roosevelt’s corollary thereto have ever been repudiated by the US.

Thus, on March 16, 2021, Admiral Craig S. Faller, Commander of US SouthCom, delivered a statement to the US Senate Armed Services Committee in which he stated, in the most histrionic terms, the perceived need of the US to counter Russian and Chinese influence in Latin America, lest the countries of the region fall to the East and to other countries such as Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, which he describes as “malign regional state actors.

Admiral Faller set the tone with the following comment: “I feel an incredible sense of urgency. This Hemisphere in which we live is under assault. The very democratic principles and values that bind us together are being actively undermined by . . . the PRC [People’s Republic of China] and Russia. We are losing our positional advantage in this Hemisphere and immediate action is needed to reverse this trend.

As usual, however, Faller never explains how Russian and Chinese activities in the region – such as shipping Covid-19 vaccines and providing financial and infrastructure support to countries in need – represent a threat to the region’s ostensible commitment to democratic principles.

ALSO ON RT.COMVenezuelan President Maduro gets first shot of Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccineHearkening back to the Monroe Doctrine, Faller states, “The National Defense Strategy (NDS) identifies defending the homeland as a critical defense objective and recognizes that our homeland cannot be safe without a stable and secure Western Hemisphere. USSOUTHCOM’s primary mission is to keep our neighborhood safe from those seeking to do us harm so that our home remains secure.”

Admiral Faller tries to raise the specter of China and Russia taking over the region by their “deploying medical diplomacy” during the Covid-19 crisis. The fact that China and Russia are sending medical teams and vaccines throughout the region and the world to combat the pandemic may alarm the US, which apparently understands only the use of “gunboat diplomacy” (the words used to describe President Teddy Roosevelt’s policies in the Western Hemisphere), but such medical diplomacy should not be of concern to most rational people.

The fact is that the US has lost legitimacy in the region and the world precisely because it has prioritized war over peace, bombing over real development assistance and force over diplomacy.  What countries like Russia and China have learned is simply the old adage that one can lure bees better with honey than with vinegar.  This is a lesson the US has yet to learn, and much to the detriment of the US and everyone else.

And what of US SouthCom’s claim that it is Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua which are allegedly the “malign regional state actors” responsible for destabilizing the region?  The facts simply do not bear this out. Rather, it is the US client states in the region which are the real malign influences.

Cuba and Venezuela have shown significant medical solidarity to other countries in the region.  Most notably, they were, as the New York Times acknowledged, on the frontline in fighting the cholera epidemic in Haiti which followed the 2010 earthquake.  And, quite recently, Venezuela sent desperately-needed oxygen to Covid-ridden Brazil when it had run out of its own supply. In addition, Cuba and Venezuela were the key actors in the region in brokering the 2016 peace agreement between the Colombian government and FARC guerillas.

Meanwhile, as the US reels from another surge of migrants from Central America – chiefly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala – one Central American country stands out as by and large not contributing migrants to the US, and that is Nicaragua. And this is because Nicaragua, under the leadership of the Sandinistas, has created a relatively stable and prosperous country while Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala have still not recovered from the brutal US-backed wars of the 1980s.  As for Honduras specifically, that country’s road back to peace and stability was halted by a US-backed coup in 2009 which toppled the progressive, democratic government of President Manuel Zelaya.

ALSO ON RT.COMUS health officials lobbied Brazil to REJECT Russian-made Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine despite 250k pandemic deaths, report confirmsThat is to say that it is not Cuba, Venezuela or Nicaragua which are the “malign actors” in the region. Nor is it Russia or China which represent a threat to democracy in the Western Hemisphere. Rather, it is the US itself which is the true malign force. Indeed, the number of times the US has intervened to overthrow democratic governments in Latin America and the Caribbean, only to replace them with strongmen and military dictatorships, is almost too many to count, but the CIA overthrow of President Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, the US-backed military coup in Brazil in 1964 and the US-backed coup against Salvador Allende in 1973 are but a few notable examples, and these coups continue to have a significant impact throughout the region.

While these and other anti-democratic coups were often justified by Cold War claims that they were necessary to ward off interference by the USSR, the truth is that the Soviet Union’s actual influence in the Western Hemisphere was relatively modest, but always exaggerated by the US to justify its long-held prerogative to intervene in other countries of the region at will. And so, the US would invariably accuse a country targeted for regime change of being a Soviet pawn when in fact that country was only yearning for independence.

As author and journalist William Blum, a former computer programmer for the US State Department, explains in his landmark book, Killing Hope,

What then has been the thread common to the diverse targets of American intervention which has brought down upon them the wrath, and often the firepower, of the world’s most powerful nation? In virtually every case involving the Third World . . . , it has been, in one form or another, a policy of “self-determination”: the desire, born of perceived need and principle, to pursue a path of development independent of US foreign policy objectives.   . . .  It cannot be emphasized too strongly that such a policy of independence has been viewed and expressed by numerous Third World leaders and revolutionaries as one not to be equated by definition to anti-Americanism or pro-communism, but as simply a determination to maintain a position of neutrality and non- alignment vis-a-vis the two superpowers.

And, as Blum further explained, the US has used the most reprehensible tactics to keep such upstart countries down:  “the United States remains committed to its all- too- familiar policy of establishing and/or supporting the most vile tyrannies in the world, whose outrages against their own people confront us daily in the pages of our newspapers: brutal massacres; systematic, sophisticated torture; public whippings; soldiers and police firing into crowds; government supported death squads; tens of thousands of disappeared persons; extreme economic deprivation . . . a way of life that is virtually a monopoly held by America’s allies, from Guatemala, Chile and El Salvador to Turkey, Pakistan and 12 Indonesia . . . .

These words still ring true today. The current targets of US intervention in the Western Hemisphere, such as Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia, are countries seeking their own independent path to development and their right to use their own natural resources for the benefit of their own people rather than US multinationals.  And this is exactly what is unacceptable to the US and its regional military outpost, US SouthCom. In their view, these countries are not entitled to go their own independent path, and the US will use any means to make sure that they do not. In order to justify its actions against these countries, US SouthCom is invoking the old bugaboo of the Russian and Chinese “menace” in “our backyard.” But this claim is as bogus as the one pushed so aggressively during the first Cold War.

As has been true for the past two centuries, since the time of President Monroe’s announcement of his famous imperialist Doctrine, there is indeed a threat to democracy and freedom in the Western Hemisphere, and that is the United States itself.  This is the true menace which must be reckoned with.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!


The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

GALLOWAY: Weeks after dying, Robert Fisk is savaged by liberal war propagandists. Why? Because he was a brave anti-imperialist
worker | December 1, 2020 | 8:21 pm | George Galloway, Imperialism, struggle against imperialism, Syria | Comments closed

GALLOWAY: Weeks after dying, Robert Fisk is savaged by liberal war propagandists. Why? Because he was a brave anti-imperialist

George Galloway
George Galloway

was a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years. He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator. Follow him on Twitter @georgegalloway

GALLOWAY: Weeks after dying, Robert Fisk is savaged by liberal war propagandists. Why? Because he was a brave anti-imperialist
For almost 50 years, British journalist Robert Fisk single-handedly exposed the truth of the West’s wars. It’s only now he’s gone that shameful, kow-towing cowards have come out to try to smear a man who can no longer fight back.

I first fell in love with Robert Fisk’s journalism almost 40 years ago when he wore the unlikely guise of foreign correspondent for the London Times, nowadays – as it had been for centuries – the house journal of war and imperial adventure, but then playing host to that rarest of writers: unbribed, untwisted, and unguided by the missile projectors.

I had been in Beirut in 1982, with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, when the news came through from London that the Israeli Ambassador Shlomo Argov had been shot by the renegade terrorist Abu Nidal, who was based in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. We both knew what would happen next. And while scarpering was the easy option for me, no such possibility existed for Arafat.

A massive Israeli invasion of Lebanon swiftly followed. It eventually, after stiff resistance (most memorably and ironically in the Crusader fortress of Beaufort Castle), smashed through the gates of the Arab capital city itself. The rest, the massacres at the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps and all, is history.

During the siege of Beirut, Fisk introduced his readers, including me, to the use of white phosphorus by the Israeli forces. I remember almost verbatim decades later his description of how the phosphorus slowly cooked from the inside the child victims he was visiting in a Beirut hospital. Having inhaled it, it was a fire neither the victim nor the doctors could extinguish.

While the rest of the media prattled on about “terrorist targets” being attacked, Fisk, like me, knew what was actually being razed to the ground: the miserable refugee existence of generations of Palestinians marooned in camps many miles from their homes, in which foreigners now slept, waking to pick the oranges from their trees.

I had no voice then, but Fisk did, and he used it courageously, shaming most of his journalistic colleagues by so doing.

I followed Fisk to the Independent, then the great hope of those seeking, well, independent journalism. That hope didn’t last long. The Indy became just like all the rest, before being bought (then partially sold) by a former spy of the KGB in London and becoming a small, discredited website with few readers.

But we always had Fisk.

In time, I too had a voice, and spent a lot of time in Beirut (too much), but I never crossed paths with him despite jogging past his seaside apartment a thousand times. But I never failed to read his work. In war after war after war, he shone the light of reason through the fog of Western propaganda, mainly in wars against the Arabs, but in Yugoslavia, too. Fisk stood out not just because of his own stature, but because of the flatness of the surrounding landscape.

Not since the US war on Vietnam – with the likes of Seymour Hersh and John Pilger – had the mainstream media given a platform to such a forensic critic of imperial wars. And, moreover, one like Fisk, whose prose was purple indeed, capable of moving the reader’s sensibilities dramatically.

That made him a dangerous man.

Such was his stature, his awards and accolades, Fisk was bullet-proof from the hitmen of the brigade of stenographers who, in the last 20 years, have become the masked ranks of the Propaganda Army of Empire. Whilst alive, they preferred to ignore Fisk rather than confront him. A ploy made easier by the drift of the Independent newspaper to the margins.

Neither could they avoid the panegyrics of the inevitable eulogies which accompanied his death last month at the age of 74.

And so they bided their time. For a short while. This week a blizzard of cowardly abuse has swept the media landscape. Fisk was apparently “a fraud,” a “fake” who “couldn’t speak Arabic,” “a propagandist” (particularly rich, that one), and “a falsifier.”

Somebody has clearly taken the initiative, and integrity has become the first casualty.

The proximate cause of the reburial in unconsecrated ground of Robert Fisk is, of course, his virtually lone debunking of Douma, the unmasking of the White Helmets as the ambulance brigade of Al Qaeda, and the exposure of the oceanic lie-machine mustered (and paid for by unsuspecting taxpayers, as the recent Anonymous dump showed) by the Western gang that couldn’t shoot straight in Syria.

ALSO ON RT.COMGeorge Galloway: Kiss of death – The winner of the most coveted Henry Kissinger endorsement is… Joe BidenWhat else did Fisk write about to upset them? The failure of the West’s gigantic operation – military, political, financial, diplomatic and propaganda – to overthrow the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. The defeat by the Syrian Arab Army (and its legal international allies) of one of the worst, most murderous hordes to invade a country since Genghis Khan. The humiliation of the Western powers (and their Gulf satrapies), and the enormous boost to the prestige of Russia produced by that failure, cannot easily be forgotten. Not since Vietnam has there been such a defeat as this for the Empire.

Bashar did not “go,” he prevailed. As did Robert Fisk, for more than 40 years. The attempted trashing of his memory is all these pathetic losers have left. If you look closely, you can see their bitter tears of failure on the pages of their invective. Not one of these would-be literary assassins is a household name, nor ever will be. While Robert Fisk has written his name in the stars. It’s all too much for the chicken-hawk liberals to bear…

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.