The Iraq War, Brexit and Imperial Blowback

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US President George W. Bush, right, and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair during a news conference at the White House on Friday, July 28, 2006. Islamophobia powered the Blair-Bush war machine, allowing the lie to be peddled that only the Arab world produces brutal despots, and that the lives of nearly half a million Iraqis are an acceptable price to pay for Britain to be the closest ally of the world’s superpower. (Photo: Doug Mills / The New York Times)Brexit is a disaster we can only understand in the context of Britain’s imperial exploits. A Bullingdon boy (Oxford frat boy) gamble has thrown Britain into the deepest political and economic crisis since the second world war and has made minority groups across the UK vulnerable to racist and xenophobic hatred and violence.

People of color, in particular those in the global South, know all too well what it is to be at the receiving end of the British establishment’s divisive top-down interventions. Scapegoating migrants is a divisive tool favored by successive governments, but the British establishment’s divide and rule tactic was honed much further afield in the course of its colonial exploits. Britain has a long history of invading, exploiting, enslaving and murdering vast numbers of people, crimes for which it has never been held accountable.

While the British Empire may be a thing of the past, British imperialism is not. Today the Chilcot inquiry reports on the role of Tony Blair’s government in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which resulted in the death of nearly half a million Iraqis and the destabilization of the region, for which its inhabitants continue to pay the price. It is no coincidence that the Blairite wing of the Labour Party, amidst the Brexit chaos, launched a coup against its current leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who is set to call for Blair to be put on trial for war crimes.

The referendum that resulted in a 52 percent vote in favor of Britain leaving the EU was initiated by the Conservative government. Shortly…

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