Biden condemns Iran’s strike on Israel: A case study in imperialist hypocrisy

Andre Damon@Andre__Damon – 15 April 2024 – https://www.wsws.org/

The imperialist powers have responded to Iran’s strikes on Israel Saturday with an outpouring of condemnation.

“I condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms,” US President Joe Biden declared, reaffirming “America’s ironclad commitment to the security of Israel.” 

Israeli Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in central Israel, Sunday, April 14, 2024. [AP Photo/Tomer Neuberg]

The G7 group of imperialist powers said in a statement, “We … unequivocally condemn in the strongest terms Iran’s direct and unprecedented attack against Israel.” It added, “Iran has further stepped toward the destabilization of the region and risks provoking an uncontrollable regional escalation.”

These statements by the imperialist warmongers, repeated by every major NATO power, are the height of hypocrisy. The forces “provoking an uncontrollable regional escalation” in the Middle East are Israel and its imperialist backers.

Let us get the timeline straight. Iran’s strike was a response to the April 1 attack by Israel on the Iranian embassy in Syria that killed seven top-level Iranian military officers, including two generals.

In response to Israel’s flagrantly illegal and murderous attack on what is, under international law, Iranian soil, the imperialist powers effectively signaled their endorsement. US Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood declared that “terrorist leaders and elements were allegedly present at this facility.” The US, France and the UK vetoed a resolution in the UN Security Council condemning Israel’s attack.

Now, the imperialists are falling all over themselves to condemn Iran’s response to Israel’s action. This is all the more striking given that Iran’s action was largely symbolic. The Iranian government announced Saturday’s strike to countries in the region 72 hours in advance in an effort to limit the impact. As Reuters reported Sunday:

Iran gave wide notice days before Saturday’s drone and missile attack on Israel, allowing mass casualties and rampant escalation to be averted.

The imperialist powers are asserting that they and their proxies can kill as many people as they want, carry out targeted assassinations and act in complete violation of anything resembling international law. But any response, even of the most minimal character, is denounced as a crime. This is the basic law of colonialism and imperialism.

While Biden “condemns” the actions of Iran, he does not extend the same language to Israel’s onslaught against Gaza, which is being funded, armed and politically supported by the United States and other imperialist powers.

Israel is systematically carrying out genocide against the population of Gaza, having already killed at least 40,000 people. It is displacing, starving and bombing an entire population of 2.2 million people and methodically and deliberately murdering doctors, journalists and aid workers.

The genocide in Gaza is developing into a regional war, which can very quickly draw in the entire globe.

To the extent that the Biden administration is stating, generally on background rather than through official pronouncements, that it would prefer that Israel not respond with immediate military strikes, this position is determined by tactical considerations.

Some of these considerations were laid out in an op-ed in the New York Times by Bret Stephens under the headline, “For Israel, Revenge Should Be a Dish Served Cold.”

Stevens wrote:

As a matter of self-defense, Israel has every moral and legal right to respond in kind—and then some. It is not enough for Israel to demonstrate its capacity for defense, as it did over the weekend. It must also reestablish its capacity for deterrence. That is, it needs to show Iran’s leaders that the price for bringing their war against Israel out of the shadows will be unbearably high, and is therefore not to be repeated.

However, Stephens counsels against an all-out assault on Iran. He writes:

Israel has an unfinished war against Hamas in Gaza, and a direct Israeli attack on Iran could trigger a second full-scale war against Hezbollah in Lebanon, if not with Iran itself. Most Israelis understand that particular war will have to be fought sooner or later—perhaps before the end of the summer—and that it will be probably much tougher on them than the Gaza war has been so far. (Emphasis added.)

In other words, it is first necessary to finish the genocide in Gaza before turning to the “much tougher” task of war with Iran.

Sections of the US political establishment are openly advocating a full-scale war, asserting that the Biden administration is not going far enough in supporting an Israeli war against Iran. The Wall Street Journal wrote in an editorial:

The attack should at least cause Mr. Biden and his fellow Democrats to end their cold war with Israel over Gaza and recognize that this is really a war against Iran.

It continued:

Leaders in both parties should also start telling the truth to Americans about the new world of global threats. Russia, China, Iran and North Korea are all on the march and working together.

The Israeli cabinet has been deliberating over the past day on what actions to take, and there are evidently divisions within the regime itself. Moreover, while Israel is imperialism’s attack dog in the Middle East, the US is not in complete control of what it will do. In any event, the Biden administration has reaffirmed that if Israel does take action, it will have the full support of the United States government. 

Appearing on Meet the Press, White House spokesman John Kirby declared, “Whether and how the Israelis respond is going to be up to them.” 

Asked, “If Israel does decide to move forward with retaliatory strikes, will the United States support Israel?” Kirby replied that US “support for Israel’s self-defense will stay ironclad. It will not change.”

The United States responded to the events of October 7 by launching a major military offensive throughout the Middle East, with Iran as the central target. Within days, the US surged an armada of warships and hundreds of aircraft to the region, which it has used to launch dozens of illegal airstrikes over the past six months.

The US offensive in the Middle East is a crucial element of an unfolding global war, with Russia and China as the main targets. The subjugation of Iran, lying at the heart of Eurasia, is a critical component of the United States’ drive for global military domination.

Whatever the immediate developments in the coming days, the regional war throughout the Middle East, as part of an expanding global war, is spiraling dangerously out of control. The world stands closer to nuclear conflict than at any time since the Second World War. Nothing can stop this expanding global war except the development of a mass anti-war movement oriented to and based on the working class.