George Bush is a dangerous and desperate man – and now he is coming to Britain.
The US president is expected to visit London on Sunday 15 June as part of his European tour. The Stop the War Coalition is organising a protest to make him feel as unwelcome as possible.
Bush’s adventures in the Middle East and Afghanistan have left behind a trail of death and growing instability. Now he is on the warpath again, desperately attempting to rally his allies for an attack on Iran.
On his recent trip to Israel, Bush said, “Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along.”
Fearing the continued defiance of Iran and Syria, Bush declared that, “Every peaceful nation in the region has an interest in stopping these nations from supporting terrorism.”
This fanciful speech to the Israeli parliament failed to hide the realisation that US strategy in the region is fast unravelling.
No sooner had Bush finished his speech than the Israelis revealed they had been holding secret peace talks with Syria – which the Bush administration has described as a “state sponsor of terror”.
In the past it was easy for the US government to delude itself that its project for the region was on course. But events in Lebanon, Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq have exposed the limits of US power to the world.
As Bush was touching down in Egypt to attend the economic summit at Sharm el-Sheikh, the Lebanese resistance swept away the US-backed militias in Lebanon, ending Bush’s dream of the “young democracy born out of the Cedar revolution”.
Bush was confident that ordinary Lebanese had tired of the resistance, and now wanted them disarmed. He pushed the US-backed government of Fouad Siniora into an ill-timed confrontation with Hizbollah and its allies.
The resistance swept away pro-US militias in a few days.
Desperate White House officials frantically begged the Israelis to launch an attack on Lebanon as the resistance closed in on Siniora’s Beirut palace.
The Israelis, having had their fingers burnt attempting to de‑claw Hizbollah in the summer of 2006, were not up to the task. Ultimately the Lebanese government accepted peace terms offered by the Hizbollah-led opposition in talks days later.
The US rout in Beirut follows a similar humiliation in Palestine’s Gaza Strip in June 2007. Then the US hit on the idea that they could initiate a “hard coup” against the elected Hamas government using Palestinian troops trained in Jordan and Egypt.
When it came to the crunch these fighters either fled, surrendered or swapped sides.
Even in Iraq, where over 140,000 US troops and a similar number of their Iraqi allies have a free hand to shoot anyone who gets in their way, things are looking bad.
The latest US attempt to clip the wings of rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has failed, despite a seven-week siege of his stronghold in the poor Shia Muslim neighbourhoods of Sadr City.
After US troops fought desperate and unsuccessful battles to enter the area, Iran negotiated a truce with the Iraqi government that allows Sadr’s followers to retain their arms.
This pattern of failure is repeated in Afghanistan. For a year the US secretary of defence Robert Gates toured European countries, begging them to bolster the occupation.
The Europeans eventually offered some troops, but it was not enough. A furious Gates threatened to strip Nato – the military alliance that runs the occupation of Afghanistan – of its power, before diverting 7,000 US Marines from Iraq to the Afghan-Pakistan border.
This desperate move is in danger of unravelling attempts by the Pakistani government to reach an accommodation with tribal leaders in the troubled border regions.
The prospect of US troops pouring into Pakistan as part of a “hot pursuit” of Afghan resistance fighters has enraged millions of Pakistanis, and is a factor in the humiliation of Pakistan’s president Pervez Musharraf in recent elections.
Chris Nineham of the Stop the War Coalition told Socialist Worker, “The US is escalating the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.
“The Stop the War Coalition is asking all its activists to turn Bush’s visit into a massive display of opposition to his wars – and to our government’s shameful support for them.”