Racial superiority is back on the agenda – in the guise, this time, not of a super-race but of a super-nation, a super-people, a chosen people, on a mission to liberate the world.
The Iraqi peoples have to be saved from themselves – by force, necessarily, because they know no better. And who better to do it than the US of A, ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave’? ‘Liberty’, may not, as the President has said, be ‘America’s gift to the world’, but it is certainly, ‘God’s gift to humanity’ (Bush in excelsis). And I, he might have added, am merely His messenger.
That is what is so terrifying about the Bush junta – the certainty of their righteousness, the righteousness of their certainties. It doesn’t matter how you put it – it’s a closed circuit of thought. Nothing intrudes, neither doubt nor dissent. It is whole. It is organic: religious conviction rooted in economic rationale backed by military might.
Their doctrine is written in tablets of stone – regime change, pre-emptive strikes, full-spectrum dominance – and is conveyed to the nation through the metaphysics of fear and the politics of deceit, wrapped up in the vision of a Manichaean world polarised between good and evil, Us (of A) and Them (the sub-homines), based now on the myth that ‘our way of life, our freedom, our democracy' is the sine qua non of all civilisation.
And it is that notion of a superior civilisation that marks out the racism of the twenty-first century and ’embeds’ it in America’s imperial project to redesign the world to its corporate needs. Already the US has begun to destabilise international institutions, such as the UN, the ICC, the WHO, that stand in the way of its imperium.
Every single struggle against racism, therefore, has consciously to take on the larger fight against imperialism and extend its remit to the true liberation of Third World peoples.