Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Marketing Star Wars

To justify spending more than $18 billion on a missile defence system that is unproven requires a "threat". Just like the sale of any other commodity, marketing is essential to create an irresistible desire to buy and consume. The marketing in this case centres around the "threat" from Iran. Poland and the Czech Republic were not too keen to be part of Washington’s anti-ballistic missile defence system, aka Star Wars. They knew it would anger Russia, who rightly perceive Star Wars as a threat to their own security and the trigger for a new arms race. Step up Iran, with its alleged plan to build nuclear weapons. It doesn’t matter that evidence is scant to non-existent about an Iranian nuclear weapons’ programme. Marketing is, after all, all about perceptions. ''This is all a result of Iran,'' explains Tim Williams, a European security analyst. ''Governments see that Iranian missiles can hit Europe, and suddenly they are very worried about the threat from ballistic missiles.'' Prime minister Blair is begging Washington to place part of the system in Britain to strengthen his "legacy". If that comes to pass, it will ensure that Britain is a key target for anyone with a missile to spare. You can add that to the fact that Britain is now a No.1 target for terror attacks thanks to New Labour’s imperialist foreign policies. These include the decision to spend countless billions on replacing the Trident nuclear missile system as well as the policy towards Iran. It is a little known fact that the British navy’s presence in the Gulf has doubled since October, joining American fleets in what amounts to a stand-off with Iranian warships in the same area. Commodore Keith Winstanley, who serves as deputy commander of coalition maritime operations for US Central Command, said: "There have been a series of Iranian exercises in the northern Gulf to the point that it's a bit like with the Russians at the height of the Cold War. We just have to hope that's not a recipe for miscalculation." Actually, that is just what Washington and London are hoping for. The Iranian regime is divided amongst itself and could easily fall for a provocation in and around its territorial waters. That would be the signal for an attack on Iranian targets such as nuclear facilities. Star Wars and the aggression towards Iran are further evidence that the American and British regimes are driving the world towards deeper into a period of military instability and potential catastrophe. A return to nuclear brinkmanship combined with a permanent state of war against nations with politics that don’t fit in is a frightening prospect.

Paul Feldman, communications editor

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