Whom will the United States bomb next?

                   With the US-led bombing of Yugoslavia a new chapter has opened in
                   America's use of military force around the world. In the public justifications
                   given by Clinton and other American officials for the attack, the issue of
                   Yugoslavia's national sovereignty has been ignored.

                   One does not have to be a supporter of the Serbian strongman and
                   Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosovic and his brutal policies to
                   acknowledge that Kosovo has long been recognized as part of Yugoslav
                   territory. The present war establishes a new precedent, namely, the right of
                   the most powerful capitalist powers, above all the United States, to
                   militarily attack a country for the policies it carries out within its own

                   This new doctrine has staggering and ominous implications. Less than a
                   decade ago Washington felt constrained to justify its aggression against
                   Iraq with the argument that Baghdad had opened itself up to attack by
                   invading another country, Kuwait. The Bush administration, moreover, felt
                   the need to secure the cover of United Nations authorization for the gulf
                   war. Now, it seems, no such principles of international law are operable.

                   What then is the principled basis on which Washington has launched the
                   current war? In his White House speech Wednesday night Clinton justified
                   the bombing campaign on the grounds that NATO intervention was
                   required to halt Belgrade's repression of the ethnic Albanians in the
                   province of Kosovo.

                   His potted history of the conflict in the Balkans omitted the incendiary role
                   of the US, Germany and other Western powers in precipitating the civil
                   warfare in the region, and their continuing support for autocrats, such as
                   Croatia's Franjo Tudjman, who have pursued a policy of ethnic cleansing
                   no less ruthless than that carried out by Milosevic.

                   But even if one takes Clinton's arguments for good coin, a critical question
                   is posed: is the United States asserting its right, indeed, its obligation, to
                   use its military might against all sovereign states that violate the rights of
                   ethnic or national minorities living within their borders?

                   If this is the case, then Washington is obliged to radically alter its attitude to
                   a long list of countries. It must, for example, embrace the cause of Tamil
                   nationalism in Sri Lanka and end its support for the regime in Colombo that
                   continues to prosecute a bloody war against the Tamils in the northeast of
                   that island nation.

                   It must prepare for military action against its present NATO ally Turkey,
                   which conducts a policy of police-military repression against its substantial
                   Kurdish minority even more savage than that pursued by Milosevic against
                   the Kosovars.

                   What about Spain's decades-long suppression of the Basques? And
                   Chechnya and Ossetia in Russia? Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan?

                   Moving further east, there is the explosive struggle of the Moslem
                   population of India's Kashmir. The African continent is rife with conflicts of
                   tribal minorities against dominant groups.

                   Let us not forget America's support for Israel, notwithstanding that
                   country's decades-long suppression of Palestinian rights.

                   What about the national agitation of minorities on the very borders of the
                   US, such as the Quebecois in Canada and the Mayan Indians of Chiapas,
                   Mexico? Must not the Pentagon also train its sites on Ottawa and Mexico

                   What are the principled criteria by which Washington distinguishes
                   legitimate struggles against national oppression in whose behalf bombs and
                   missiles must be launched, and its yardsticks for determining which nations
                   are to be attacked? In fact, no such criteria are ever advanced, for the
                   simple reason that they do not exist.

                   From this very partial list of ethnic and national flashpoints around the
                   world, it is obvious that US policy is not based on some universal moral
                   principle. On the contrary, Washington vigorously supports a whole host of
                   countries that engage in the systematic suppression of national minorities.

                   In reality, the attitude of the US in any given case is determined by the
                   prevailing conception within its ruling elite of American capitalism's
                   economic and geopolitical interests. Even the beginning of an objective
                   analysis demonstrates that Washington's policy is thoroughly opportunistic
                   and hypocritical. To the extent that it is able to obscure this fact from the
                   American people, the government is indebted to the media, not one of
                   whose representatives dares to challenge the banalities and lies of Clinton,
                   Madeleine Albright, and company.

                   The Clinton administration's rationale for bombing Yugoslavia advances a
                   formula that can be used to justify US intervention anywhere in the world.
                   As circumstances change, today's "fledgling democracy" can virtually
                   overnight become tomorrow's "rogue state." It provides, moreover, a
                   political framework for exploiting and manipulating the grievances of
                   various national and ethnic groups not to advance the goals of peace,
                   democracy or human rights, but to further the drive of US imperialism to
                   dominate the world.

                   Such has long been the modus operandi of Western imperialism in the
                   Balkans. Dating back to the last century, the great powers--Germany,
                   Russia, Britain, France--posed as the champions of the various national
                   and ethnic groupings in the region, often stoking up conflicts between them,
                   in order to advance their rival claims and interests in Central Europe. At
                   the end of the twentieth century, the US has emerged as the most cynical
                   and ruthless exponent of this policy, with catastrophic results for the people
                   of the region.

                   A column in Thursday's Wall Street Journal provides a particularly crass
                   expression of this policy of manipulation. Written by Zalmay Khalilzad,
                   director of strategic studies at RAND, it calls on the US to arm the
                   Kosovo Liberation Army and use it as a counterforce against the regime in
                   Belgrade. "As the balance of forces changes on the ground," the author
                   writes, "Belgrade is likely to become more willing to accept Western

                   Indicative of the recklessness that characterizes US policymakers, the
                   Journal columnist declares that such a policy could be effective only if the
                   US and NATO were prepared to station large troop concentrations in
                   neighboring Albania, which would serve as a sanctuary for the KLA, as
                   well as Macedonia. With unvarnished cynicism, Khalilzad notes,
                   "Supporting an insurgency does not tie Washington's hands. The US could
                   modulate its assistance to the Kosovars depending on how the situation
                   develops in Kosovo and in Belgrade."

                   Where will Washington's formula for military intervention be applied next?
                   Many of the flashpoints listed above are prime candidates for the next
                   eruption of US militarism. And there are others.

                   The people of the world would be well advised to follow closely the
                   emanations of the American media in the coming months. Should, for
                   example, the New York Times or the network news suddenly develop a
                   deep concern for the plight of Tibet, it would be wise to take this as
                   evidence of a rising tide of anti-Chinese militarism in the US establishment.

                   No country, including America's closest "allies"--and most powerful
                   rivals--in Europe and Asia, are ultimately safe. Behind the platitudes about
                   peace and democracy, American imperialism is embarking on a policy of
                   global domination with potentially catastrophic consequences.