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Editorial: Trump's threats compel us to build the anti-war movement

VENEZUELAN ambassador Rocio Maneiro’s call on left media and solidarity organisations to highlight the brutal economic war on her country and the torrent of misinformation about it demands action.

Her warning that if Venezuela resists — as it continues to — the blockade being imposed on it by the US in flagrant contravention of international and even US law (because the use of sanctions to effect regime change are explicitly illegal) “the US military stands ready to act” rings all too true.

Pretender Juan Guaido has opened up talks with US Southern Command about removing Venezuela’s elected government; we know the US military has held talks with army chiefs in Colombia and Brazil about “restoring democracy” in their besieged neighbour.

Venezuela is not the only country in the sights of US President Donald Trump.

This week has seen the dangerous tension with Iran mount further.

The conveniently ineffective attacks reported on two Saudi oil tankers off the Fujairah emirate in the Gulf of Oman were deemed “highly likely” to emanate from Iran by a Norwegian insurer today in a report full of vague surmises and which even claimed the fact that Iran could plausibly deny any involvement as incriminating evidence against it.

Maneiro’s observation that the US attacks on Venezuela did not begin with Trump is significant.

US policy has been to crush the Bolivarian Revolution since it began and involved an actual coup against then president Hugo Chavez in 2002.

While Trump has made much of tearing up his predecessor’s nuclear agreement with Iran, his rival for the presidency Hillary Clinton also regularly threatened war with that country.

The pro-imperialist consensus of Establishment media goes some way to explain the sorry fact that Trump has been more fiercely attacked for trying to defuse conflicts (as in his talks with North Korea) than for threatening new ones.

Liberals quite prepared to spout the implausible claim that the US president is a Russian agent cheered him on when he bombed Syria.

The recent Amnesty International report demanding that the “international community” ensure the alleged crimes of the Nicolas Maduro government “do not go unpunished” forms part of a media propaganda war being waged in the service of US foreign policy.

Nonetheless, Trump’s extreme unpopularity gives the left an opportunity to build a popular movement against war which can reach out and win new allies.

There are divisions among US allies as to the wisdom of setting Latin America and the Middle East alight simultaneously. The pro-US Lima Group “rejects any threat or course of action that implies a military intervention in Venezuela.”

Spain has withdrawn its frigate from the US carrier group deployed to the Persian Gulf, disavowing its anti-Iranian mission. Britain’s top commander in the US-led coalition fighting Isis in Iraq and Syria, Major General Christopher Ghika, had to be slapped down by US Central Command for publicly stating that there was “no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces” in the region, undermining Washington’s shrill claims that Iran is menacing it.

Iraq this week confirmed it would not give permission for any attacks on Iran to be launched from its territory.

This is a backdrop against which Labour can be bold in asserting its total opposition to Trump’s warmongering.

It should enable organisers of June 4’s important Stand Up to Trump demonstration against his state visit to mobilise huge numbers to tell the US president he is not welcome on our shores.

And it provides an opportunity to develop anti-Trump sentiment into a deeper understanding of imperialism that can push any incoming Labour government towards an anti-imperialist foreign policy.

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