The Pentagon defence report this week showed the voracious appetite of the US military and its political backers.
It stated the need for a “large-scale, potentially long duration, irregular warfare campaign” that would be fought on many fronts. In his budget announced this week Bush earmarked an extra $50 billion for the Iraq and Afghan wars – and slashed social security budgets, including $36 billion from Medicare.
US spending on the Iraq and Afghan wars is now just short of the $494 billion spent on the 13 year Vietnam war.
It’s not just the Middle East that the US has in its sights. The defence review also argues the US must maintain its military lead over China.
US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld compares Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez to Hitler, and describes the election of Evo Morales in Bolivia as “worrisome” – so worrying that US Marines have been flown into neighbouring Paraguay.
Just as a speedy victory in Iraq eluded Bush, dreams of world domination can drain away into the sands. That will depend on the forces of resistance in Iraq and Latin America backed up by the global anti-war movement.
nobody should believe that the measures signalled by the government at the start of this week will make its education bill acceptable when it is published soon. The central thrust of the policy remains about demolishing the model of comprehensive schooling, which for over 30 years has brought the biggest educational advances in British history.
Under New Labour’s proposals schools will still be pushed to become unaccountable and competing “trusts”.
Instead of an absolute ban on building new comprehensive schools, as originally proposed, the government compromise means a local authority could ask the education secretary for permission to build one. If the minister agrees, the plan for a comprehensive would be set against one of the selective models the government already says it prefers.
And this is meant to be a compromise? It may be enough to allow the jellyfish on New Labour’s backbenches to ooze their loyalty.
But it flies in the face of the commitment to the defence of comprehensive education. Restricting the fight over comprehensive education to what is palatable to Labour MPs who only quibble about the pace of its destruction will lead to defeat.
Over the next three months every Labour MP should be made to feel the heat over education.
And in May’s local elections we need to elect as many Respect councillors as possible – people who are not scared to consistently oppose New Labour’s neo-liberal offensive.
The Financial Times revealed last Saturday that “champagne corks are popping around the City” at the news that 3,000 top mangers are to get bonuses of £1 million or over this year and that the total bonus payout will be an extraordinary £7.5 billion.
Not enough money for hospitals, or breast cancer drugs, or decent childcare or pensions. But enough for champagne.