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"Chances of U.S. alliance breaking cannot be ruled out"

By Our Special Correspondent



Alexander Cockburn, U.S.-based journalist, speaks on `War on Iraq, War in America' in Chennai on Saturday. — Photo: S.R. Raghunathan

CHENNAI, APRIL 9 . Though history teaches us not to be "very optimistic," chances of the pro-American alliance breaking and voices of resistance emerging in the world in the post-Iraq war context cannot be ruled out, Alexander Cockburn, a United States-based journalist, polemicist and activist, said here today.

Interacting with the audience after delivering a public lecture on "War on Iraq and War in America" at the Asian College of Journalism (ACJ), he said that he would not discount the possibility of the European Union countries becoming one such centre of resistance against the U.S. in future.

While deploring the "absolute denial of democracy" by the U.S. in a unipolar world, he cited the example of Venezuela, which was emerging as a rallying point for redistribution of profits from the oil economy to poorer sections of society.

Dwelling on the U.S. war on Iraq, Mr. Alexander Cockburn said the very appointment of Paul Wolfowitz as President of the World Bank was a telling commentary of how the U.S. wanted to use the "sword of war" in a different way.

Mr. Wolfowitz was Deputy Secretary of Defence in the previous Bush administration and was closely identified with forces "fomenting" the military action.

The U.S. saw in Iraq a threat as "it was not yet integrated into the colonial sphere." Hence, Mr. Wolfowitz switching over from the Pentagon to the World Bank was a "continuation of the policy," he said.

Referring to an expose by one of the senior officials of the previous Bush administration, who had to quit the Government, he said that much before the U.S. attacked Iraq, the targets were designated vis--vis oilfield leases for various companies. "The plunder had already been designated," he claimed.

He dubbed the Iraq war a complete assertion of imperialist power in the post-Soviet world. Giving examples, he explained how the U.S. "manipulated the opinion" on its war on Iraq through a brazen use of propaganda techniques. On the alleged presence of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, he said the U.S. simply engineered the non-existent threats engaging the "elite press." Another important factor was the demonisation of Saddam Hussein.

The war was also hurting the middle class badly and the cost of the military action was increasingly borne by the poor. It had marginalised millions of Americans. Though there had been a "large basic public resistance" in the U.S., there was no effective political organisation to channel it. "If there is going to be resistance from outside, then history will change," he claimed.

The longish war in Iraq after Vietnam was increasingly making the U.S. President unpopular.

Mr. Alexander Cockburn said the United Nations Security Council should be enlarged so that countries such as India could play an active role in the world body.

The trustee of the Media Development Forum, which runs the ACJ, Sashi Kumar, welcomed the guests.

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