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Editorial: The twists and turns of imperial interests leave devastation in their wake

HENRY John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, KGGCBPCFRS, was prime minister, and before that, foreign secretary, at the the point when, at its pinnacle of power, the foreign and domestic challenges to British imperial supremacy could be discerned.

At the earlier point in his parliamentary career he was home secretary when the working-class Chartist challenges to Britain’s (and Ireland’s) vastly undemocratic system put the frighteners on the ruling class.

His technique in dealing with these threats to the newly consolidated bourgeoisie was the stimulation of a British patriotism that meshed with imperial rule over large parts of the globe. 

In the year of European revolutions, on March 1 1848, he told the House of Commons: “We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.”

If this was true at the height of Britain’s imperial power it is no less true today, although mediated by the necessity to find allies, however temporary.

If British imperialism has the patent on this sentiment other, competing, imperial powers are nevertheless guided by the same understanding.

This lesson has been brought home to the oppressed Kurdish peoples who have the poor fortune to live in ancestral lands that are at the intersection of old empires and redivided by the conquests and arbitrary borders imposed by the new.

Membership of Nato is the mechanism whereby the competing interests of North Atlantic and European capital are resolved, as in the case of the proxy war in Ukraine, to the relative discomfort of France and Germany.

In order to incorporate Sweden and Finland into Nato it has proved necessary to make concessions to Turkey’s leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ever the opportunist — and with his own “eternal” interests to pursue — this aspirant to a new Ottoman regional supremacy has made the sacrifice of a certain kind of Kurd the price for his agreement to Nato’s expansion.

The consequence of this turn of events is that Kurdish refugees and asylum-seekers in Scandinavia will become even more insecure.

The notoriously reactionary Swedish security police Sapo will be even further integrated into Nato’s network of intelligence agencies and feel even more emboldened to render Kurds to Erdogan’s torture centres.

Along Syria’s border regions with Turkey and in those areas of Syria currently occupied by US troops the divisions between Kurds will deepen.

Those who rely on the protection of the US in the tangled web of intrigue and double-dealing around the US’s nominal opposition to Isis are now confronted with the realisation that US imperialism too has no “eternal allies” and no “perpetual enemies” and that they can easily transition from one category to the other.

The unfortunate Ukrainian nation may well be on the brink of a similar realisation to the Kurds.

In the war of words the suggestion that this war is a proxy war conducted principally by the United States, once fiercely denounced, is now the stuff of dispute between Republicans in the US House of Representatives with House leaders backing it as a “proxy war” with Russia, while others argue that domestic priorities are neglected in an unproductive provocation against a nuclear-armed adversary.

And there is yet another insight into the war of words conducted by our monopoly media.

Yesterday’s Associated Press feed headlined “Only a ‘monster’ would attack a mall.”

Defence Intelligence update from the MoD dated the same day reports baldly: “There is a realistic possibility the missile strike on the Kremenchuk shopping centre on 27 June 2022 was intended to hit a nearby infrastructure target.”

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