'WE WILL export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defence of our great nation.' These chilling words were spoken by George Bush a few months ago to a US journalist. They put the invasion of Iraq into sharp focus. It wasn't just about revenge for 11 September, though Bush was determined to lash out at an Arab nation - somewhere, anywhere - in order to gain revenge for that dreadful act.
It wasn't just about oil, though the main thrust of American foreign policy is to control the world's dwindling supplies of 'black gold'. The invasion is part of a policy of domination of all parts of the world where US economic interests could be damaged by liberation movements and governments that seek to build regimes independent of the might of the dollar.
The strategy for domination and attacks on 'unfriendly' regimes was drawn up long before 11 September. It was devised by Republican hawks, many of whom are now in the Bush government. They include vice-president Dick Cheney, defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and his second-in-command Paul Wolfowitz.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the right wing strategists in the United States saw an opportunity to impose their interests on large areas of the world that had been closed to American capitalism for most of the 20th century. Nothing now must be allowed to stand in the way of the US economic juggernaut. 'Regime change' has been achieved in Iraq with the death and violence openly touted by George Bush. Democracy will not follow.
As the United States has shown in Latin America and the Caribbean, it will prop up barbaric dictatorships such as the late Duvalier's in Haiti. It will overthrow democratically elected left wing governments, as in Allende's Chile in the early 1970s, which was replaced with CIA backing by Pinochet's murderous military dictatorship.
It will illegally arm fascist thugs like the Contras in Nicaragua to undermine leftist governments. Democracy is of little interest to the US in Iraq. Once the oil supplies have been privatised and parcelled out between Dick Cheney's Halliburton group and other giant American oil companies, the US forces will withdraw. As in Afghanistan, chaos and confusion will reign.
Donald Rumsfeld is now muttering about military strikes against Syria and Iran. The aim of the Bush administration is clear - to safeguard the supplies of oil throughout the Middle East in order to appease the insatiable demand for gasoline in the US.
It will prop up its client state, Israel. Bush's talk of solving the Palestinian 'problem' was, to use an earthy American expression, a load of horse feathers. Ariel Sharon will not accept a Palestinian state and will refuse to stop building settlements on Arab land.
Bush's 'road map' for Palestine is a fraud, a crude and transparent attempt to keep Tony Blair's British critics at bay. Unlike Afghanistan, where the TV cameras have withdrawn, Iraq will not easily be forgotten. Bush and Blair have aroused worldwide anger and simmering discontent against their illegal invasion of Iraq.
The terrible images of death and destruction will not fade quickly. It is increasingly clear that there were no 'weapons of mass destruction', and that a nasty and brutish regime will not be replaced by one based on sweet reason and the ballot box.
Bush has achieved his short-term goal, of violently smashing Iraq in order to plunder its resources. But he has opened up the possibility of an international movement against global capitalism that could mount an unstoppable challenge to the Washington hawks.