“De-center Europe and Focus on Imperialism” Those words sum up the Black Alliance for Peace March 1, 2022 statement on the war now taking place in Ukraine. As an anti-imperialist formation BAP is committed to a call for peace, for an end to militarism and domination in Ukraine and elsewhere.
On the same day that Russian troops entered Ukraine, U.S. drones bombed Somalia, a nation that has suffered from U.S. interventions for 30 years. An estimated 250,000 Somalians have died and 3 million have been displaced as refugees during this time. The latest assault went without notice in the corporate media of the U.S. and its NATO allies.
At the same time Ukrainian refugees were elevated in importance, with some commentators explicitly noting “blonde hair and blue eyes” or pointing out that the carnage of war is acceptable in the Global South but is unthinkable in Europe. Now allegations of war crimes against Russia are loudly announced by U.S. president Joe Biden and his NATO partners with calls for prosecution in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Yet war crimes have been committed from Somalia to Libya to the Democratic Republic of Congo and all of NATO is culpable. These crimes are rarely described as such and U.S. presidents escape condemnation. The charges against Russia should not be discussed without also acknowledging that the United States is not a signatory to the Rome Statute which brought the ICC into existence. Additionally, in 2002 Congress passed and George W. Bush signed the American Servicemembers’ Protection Act which prohibits Americans being extradited to the ICC and allows the U.S. to forcibly release any American or ally held there. “It is the height of hypocrisy for the U.S. to accuse other nations of committing war crimes while exempting itself from any possibility of punishment,” says BAP Africa Team Co-Coordinator Margaret Kimberley.
Neither Bill Clinton nor George W. Bush nor Barack Obama, Donald Trump or Joe Biden will be held to account for drone attacks on Somalia, or for continuing the destruction of the Somali state. In a just world the Obama administration’s destruction of Libya in 2011 and the ongoing humanitarian crisis would be prosecuted as a war crime. The Democratic Republic of Congo has the highest death rate of all, with some 6 million people killed when Uganda and Rwanda, U.S. proxies, invaded that country in 1996. NATO is far from the defensive alliance it claims to be. It is an aggressor and must be dismantled.
This hypocrisy explains why 17 African nations abstained from the March 2, 2022 United Nations resolution condemning Russia, and one, Eritrea, voted no. Their experiences with NATO and AFRICOM ensure skepticism of self-proclaimed noble motives. BAP Africa Team member Djibo Sobukwe points out, “The U.S./NATO death toll inflicted on the African continent makes any claim of concern for human rights hypocritical.”
BAP calls for the dismantling of NATO, AFRICOM and all imperialist structures. Africa and the rest of the world cannot be free until all peoples have a right of sovereignty, and the right to live free of domination.