I read this morning that the USA and the UK are hitting dozens of Houthi positions in Yemen. I don’t know whether this is their eleventh or twelfth major missile attack in defense of Red Sea shipping and in a clear vote of their support for the ongoing murder of civilians in Gaza on behalf of Israel. Alongside this action, the US Congress is also proposing to send $17 billion just in case Israel might run out of instruments of mass death even as, at least, half of the population of Gaza is holed up increasingly towards the south near Rafah — an area, by the way, that the IDF so courageously aims to attack next after its ravaging of Khan Younis.

The bombing of impoverished nations is something that the US and UK really excel at and obviously enjoy; it shows off their fighting forces, aircraft, bombs and missiles to very fine effect because they are far less likely to invite return fire. Their handsome pilots return Hollywood-bronzed and smiling. Their attacks perform an awesome demonstration of the truly exceptional moral superiority of western civilization at its peak, a further replay, indeed, of the sterling bravery and heroic western warriorship on display in the West’s finest hours in Afghanistan, where their drone attacks, village raids and torture, and generally purposeless messing about for over two decades absolutely ensured the return of Taliban 2 (supported and financed as always by Washington’s loving best friend, Pakistan) and the Taliban’s ultimate defeat of the western Goliath.

I hope you don’t find my irony too remorseless today, dear readers, as I wonder whether bombing people back into the stone age isn’t an act that says far more about our own stone age qualities than about the civilizational status of our victims. For the Houthis have displayed a simple and bold courage that in an ocean of imperial hypocrisy roars out across the ages in righteous indignation on behalf of their oppressed co-religionists of Palestine, and in a manifestation of selflessness, qualities hardly matched by their far wealthier and more “civilized” Arab and Islamic brothers in Riyad, Doha, or Abu Dhabi — those bastions of modernity and enlightened democracy.

The Houthis’ home in Yemen was once a part of the Aksum empire, centered on the lands of Ethiopia now occupied by the people of Tigray and Eritrea — themselves remarkable examples of political and cultural resilience — one of the greatest empires of the ancient world up until the early Middle Ages. The Aksum empire spread across northern Africa and, across the Red Sea, covered much of today’s Yemen. It became the breadbasket for the Roman Empire centered on Constantinople.

Every Western bomb that falls on these precious, sometimes noble, unquestionably ancient civilizations (whether in Baghdad, or Damascus or Sanaa), whose architectural and civilizational legacy still lends stubborn grandeur to the poverty of modern existence, our own Western civilization rips open its own heart in self-mockery and loathing.

That’s what I wanted to say about Axsum. Now I want to try to put this tragic saga of Western civilizational decay in full context.

This era through which we are condemned to live in an ignoble hypocrisy that neither believes its own lies nor believes in anything, nor cannot even imagine what it might believe in even if it could, is an era of US-led counterrevolution. It is an era of counterrevolutionary onslaught against the revolution represented, from the 1990s onwards, by the rapid emergence of the global South as a political and economic entity, representing the interests of the majority of the global population. The revolution has taken institutional form in such entities as the BRICS yet remains committed, so far, to operating within the framework of the UN Charter and of international law, in opposition to the empty farce of the West’s self-proclaimed and autocratically-imposed “rules-based order.”

The US-led counterrevolution is a revolution in defense of two things, principally: US global Hegemony (enforced by military coercion and regime change, whenever flailing), and US-led monopoly capitalism. The latter is essentially reducible to western-dominated financial entities such as BlackRock (which manages $10 trillion assets), Vanguard ($8 trillion) State Street ($4 trillion).

The counterrevolution is a multi-pronged war that currently has three main points (though should any of these wane in importance there is a raft of others that await silently for ignition from Washington at the light of a match — think Georgia, or Armenia or Northwestern China). Those three main points are (1) a NATO war against Russia, using Ukraine as a pretext, and consuming the lives of Ukrainian men — and the extinction of the Ukrainian economy — as NATO proxies; (2) a war in support of the US Chief Consul for the Middle East namely, Israel, and whose war aims are targeted principally at smothering Palestine and smashing Iran and Iran’s allies in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and the Lebanon (while keeping in tight control potential centers of trouble for The Empire in Egypt, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia); and (3) a war against China, now source of 35% of the entire manufacturing productivity of the globe and therefore hateful to Washington, using Taiwan as a pretext, and eventually, of course, consuming the lives of Taiwanese men — and the extinction of the Taiwanese economy — as NATO proxies

The most interesting feature of this three-pronged counterrevolutionary war is that the war in each of these three points is being lost, and it is being lost by the USA and its closest allies — the most important of these being “former” European empires on their own account, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal.

These European economies are in stagnation or decline and are even, as in Germany, being deindustrialized to the advantage of the Hegemon and to the advantage of the war’s adversaries, first of them being Russia, whose economy is currently humming.

The European economies are in retreat, first of all, as a result of the loss of cheap Russian oil and gas, an injury which EU countries inflicted upon themselves through anti-Russian energy sanctions imposed at the beginning of the SMO (Russia’s response, in defense of the peoples of the Donbass, against decades of NATO provocation and aggressive, existential threat to Russia) and then cut deeper by US-planned or US-conjured sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, co-owned by Germany and with Germany’s full complicity.

The damage to Europe has been further exacerbated by the outflow of immense European treasure to Ukraine in the form of financial aid and weapons, weapons which, along with far greater supply from the USA, are destroyed by Russia on the battlefield, and finance that, along with far greater US aid, props up the entirety of a corrupt, Banderite Administration in Kiev that the EU helped the US shoe into power in a coup d’etat against a democratically elected regime in 2014.

Why has Europe done this to itself? A very good question that I shall leave to another day.

Every day, most members of Europe, with a few honorable exceptions such as Slovakia and Hungary, double down further on their own idiocy, to Washington’s delight, with the British, with an army of only 50,000 and having sent much of its weaponry to Ukraine already, talking of invading Western Ukraine.

Not that the USA has come out of this saga at all well: it has revealed the utter bankruptcy and genetic toxicity of the Neocon movement, it has squandered US wealth and exhausted its armories, it has exposed the mendacity of US leadership (with Joe Biden standing accused of personal and financial gain as the root cause of his stubborn insistence on US support of Ukraine).

As for the details of Ukraine’s defeat on the battlefield, and of the pathetic tussle for leadership between Zelenskiy, Zaluzhnyi, Bodanov and others, well, these are things I cover almost every day, and I need not return to them just yet.

Enough, for a moment, of Ukraine. What about the Middle East? How can it be said that this point of Washington’s multi-pronged counterrevolutionary war against the world is a failure?

The genocide by Israel of the Palestinian people, with the active involvement of Washington, London and other European allies, not only by killing them in the rubble of tens of thousands of demolished buildings, but bringing them to the point of starvation, in their millions, while disrupting any meaningful supply of food and other aid — not least by cutting provision of aid from UNRWA on the pretext of false charges against the agency by the deeply discredited regime in Tel Aviv — this genocide, as I say, utterly demolishes the pompous claim of the West to the moral superiority of its civilization as a source of legitimacy for the West’s business of holding down the Global South for the West’s benefit.

The genocide also demolishes the claims to the West’s and Israel’s technological, military and intelligence superiority, as the IDF flounders on the battlefield, shows itself without redeeming moral quality, suffers high losses, manifests itself as incapable of uprooting its nominal enemy, Hamas (when its real enemy is the Palestinian people whom Israeli ministers even publicly state that they want exterminated), mouths empty threats against Hezbollah and Iran that will rebound against and may very well ultimately destroy Israel in favor of a root-and-branch rethinking of the politics of 1947.

The more rabid neocons in Washington are manoeuvring to exploit the Gaza crisis as some kind of (totally unconvincing) pretext for war against Iran on the basis of unproven Iranian responsibility for relatively minor attacks against illegal US bases in Syria and Iraq from little known and supposedly extremist Islamist militia. Iran is a major military power with sophisticated weapons. Nobody bothers to ask why Iranian finance, if it actually exists, for militia in Iraq or Syria, should be regarded as proof of culpability, when it is certain that US finance for Israel is a contributor to the genocide of Palestinians. Note also how Israel has been regularly bombing and killing Iranian soldiers in Syria, legitimate guests of Assad, with impunity, and for many years. Somehow that doesn’t register in Washington’s sloppy calibration of war crimes.

Unlike Israel, Iran lacks its own nuclear weapons (despite decades of hypocritical and mendacious shrieking of alarm from Washington and Tel Aviv that Iran could become a “nuclear threat”), but these are available to it, in effect, through its close relationship with Moscow, whose hand must inevitably be drawn into a wider conflict in the Middle East, just as it was, a decade ago, in Syria, when Russia came to the rescue (along with Iran) of Assad in his war against fanatical Salafist groups financed by the USA, Israel, Qatar, Riyad and Abu Dhabi, primarily.

As for the coming war with China, a war that surely the West must lose since, as in so many ways China is a giant in terms of its manufacturing capability, and in many cases in terms of the superiority in terms of quality, of its weapons production, and taking into account the sheer size of China’s population. The chances that the US will be able somehow to embroil India on its side against China are, I would say, very slim given the membership of both China and India in the BRICS.

While the US has ravaged the populations of countries that have not immediately bowed before the superior moral might of Western civilization and white people, subjecting countless others to regime change (as exemplified very recently by their bringing down of Imran Khan as Prime Minister of Pakistan simply because he had the nerve to oppose NATO’s war against Russia), while bombing major recalcitrants back to the stone age, and, further still, impoverishing its allies, as in Europe (by gulling it into an existential war with Russia which is not in its best interests), China, through its Belt and Road initiative these past two decades, has been making its own people and the people of over a hundred countries around the world, more prosperous. Guess what? When offered a Monty Python choice between cake and death, sane people prefer cake.

Score: Global South 3, NATO 0.

(Featured Image: “White Washing war crimes” by John Englart (Takver) is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.)


  • Oliver Boyd-Barrett

    Oliver Boyd-Barrett is Professor Emeritus (Journalism and Public Relations) from Bowling Green State University, Ohio and (Communication) from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. His first book, The International News Agencies, was published by Constable/Sage in 1980, and its French sister, Le Traffic des Nouvelles (with Michael Palmer) by Alain Moreau, in 1981. Since 2000 he has focused on issues of war and propaganda. Recent titles include Hollywood and the CIA (Routledge), Media Imperialism (Sage), Western Mainstream Media and the Ukraine Crisis (Routledge), Russiagate and Propaganda (Routledge), Media Imperialism: Continuity and Change (Rowman and Littlefield)(with Tanner Mirrlees), Conflict Propaganda in Syria (Routledge). Two current projects deal with Russiagate: Aftermath of a Hoax (Palgrave), and Afghanistan: Aftermath of Imperial Occupation (provisional).

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