- Created: Thursday, 07 May 2009 13:26
A new British nuclear submarine, the Astute Class, will be in service in January 2009, powered by a nuclear reactor that makes refuelling unnecessary for 25 years. Producing its own oxygen and drinking water it will be able to observe the movements of cruisers as far away as New York Harbour from the English Channel, drawing close to the coast without being detected and listening to conversations on mobile phones. It can transport special troops in mini-subs and up to 38 Tomahawk cruise missiles firing up to 1,400 miles, as well as Spearfish torpedoes capable of destroying a large warship. It will use fibre optics, infrared waves and thermal imaging, with a permanent crew of 98 sailors who can watch movies on giant plasma screens. BAE Systems will build two other submarines of the same class, Ambush and Artful, estimated to cost $7.5bn. All this is in addition to the planned Trident replacement.
Commenting on the development, Fidel Castro said:
‘The intelligent and tenacious people of that nation will surely not feel any sense of pride. What is most amazing is that with such an amount of money, 75,000 doctors could be trained to care for 150 million people…You could build 3,000 polyclinics, fitted out with sophisticated equipment, ten times what our country possesses…We must bow our heads in awe after reading the news about the English submarine. It teaches us, among other things, about the sophisticated weapons that are needed to maintain the untenable order developed by the United
States imperial system… Churchill said: Sink the Bismarck! Today Blair says: Sink whatever remains of Great Britain’s prestige! For that purpose, or for the holocaust of the species, is what his “marvellous submarine” will be good for.’ (Fidel Castro Ruz, Juventud Rebelde, 21 May, 2007).
Blair has presided over a decade of increasing global military and nuclear tensions as imperialist powers compete over spheres of influence. US military spending will be $647.2bn in 2008 and as the possibility of attack on Iran escalates, scientists declare that humanity’s clock is at five minutes to midnight – where midnight is nuclear Armageddon.
The people of Iraq, however, must feel closer still to midnight as the bloodshed increases. In the year ending March 2007, civilian deaths were up 78% on the previous year. One-third of Iraqis live in poverty, one in eight children die before their fifth birthday, 900,000 children have been orphaned since the invasion and an eighth of the population are refugees. US counter-insurgency strategy is based on document FM3-24, with the objectives of creating ghettoes to be ‘cleared’ of insurgents whilst residents receive obligatory ID cards and their movements are monitored. A three-mile long, 12-foot high wall is being built in the Adhamiya quarter of Baghdad. The professed aim is to ‘establish a free market economy’ (see page 4/5).
Sound familiar? It is – an adaptation of Israel’s strategy for sustaining its illegal occupation of Palestinian land. Senior Israeli officers were among those who drew up the plan. Gaining control of Iraq is an important component in preparing for a US or Israeli air strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.
But resistance puts paid to the best laid plans as Israel has learnt in both Palestine and Lebanon. Israel’s Winograd Committee concluded that Israel lost its war against Hizbullah last summer, despite the devastation inflicted on the Lebanese population (see page 6). Meanwhile, resistance in Palestine, led by Hamas, is forcing the fascist Israeli state to take increasingly extreme measures to destroy it: the creation of ghettoes by check points and the construction of the Apartheid Wall; the economic blockade by the US and the EU threatening to starve the Palestinian population; Israel’s military incursion and bombings, its financial and military assistance to Fatah to fuel civil war, and the arrest of members of the democratically elected Hamas government (see page 6).
Blair’s mandate has been characterised by an obscene abuse of power and an unadulterated representation of the interests of financial capital and British monopolies (see page 1/2). Labour’s imperialist offensive has been matched by a racist onslaught against asylum seekers and refugees (see page 16) and punitive treatment of prisoners (see page 13). It has speeded along privatisation of Britain’s infrastructure and social services, of healthcare and education, totally ignoring evidence of the deterioration of provision with privatisation (see page 2/3). All this sweetened with that infamous Blair grin, while hand on heart he swears that he did what he thought was best.
And he did. Blair’s government was successful – as executors of British capital, no-one more so than the new Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Forget the phoney distinction between ‘New’ and ‘Old’ Labour, Blair followed the long tradition of the Labour Party in government, faithful servants to the rich and powerful, ardent representatives of British imperialism. Brown will steadfastly uphold the same banner (see page 10/11).
In August 2005, Blair said about Islamic terrorism: ‘I think it has got some of the same characteristics as revolutionary communism, you know, in the sense that it has got an ideology’. More recently, Brown called for a ‘cultural Cold War’ against Islamic fundamentalism: ‘not too dissimilar to that of the cultural Cold War against communism in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s’. Anti-communism is growing in Europe particularly in the ex-Soviet bloc countries (see page 12). But why now – nearly two decades since the collapse of the socialist bloc?
Because the capitalist utopia never materialised. The imperialists tremble at the increasing assertiveness and alliance between Cuba, Venezuela and a growing revolutionary movement in Latin America – offering a powerful alternative to bankrupt neo-liberal policies. While Blair steps down, a recuperated Fidel Castro can return to the front line to expose the moral corruption of the British government’s nuclear drive. Unlike Blair, Castro’s leadership has inspired millions with its ideology and practice, showing that another world is possible. The intelligent and tenacious people of Cuba undoubtedly feel a sense of pride (see page 8/9).
Join the anti-imperialist resistance, join the revolutionary communists! Contact us to get involved.
FRFI 197 June / July 2007