When the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima after Japan had all but surrendered, the front page of the Daily Express said: "This is a warning to the world." As American missiles and bombs attack a sovereign European state, it is another warning to the world. The most powerful and rapacious imperial power in history is rampant.
With the restraining "balance" of the Soviet Union long gone, the Americans will stop at nothing to dominate human affairs by the most violent means allowed by their technology. This includes nuclear weapons. For the junior Lord Haw-Haws of the British media, notably those who promote a "just war" or the war of "our generation", having never seen a shot fired, this truth is unspeakable.
It is a truth illuminated vividly by the assault on Serbia. The bombing has nothing to do with humanitarian concern for the suffering people of Kosovo. On the contrary, "the west" has consistently used humanitarian rhetoric to justify intervening in the Balkans, mostly on the side of regional power, often the Milosevic regime. As Bruce Kent has pointed out, during the long years the Albanians of Kosovo peacefully resisted their oppressors, the guardians of humanity in Washington, London and Brussels gave not a damn.
Only when a Kosovar liberation army was formed, and there was a threat to Serbia, did Nato take an interest. Last October, the United States drafted a pro-Serbian plan for the Kosovars, giving them a fake autonomy with far less freedom than they had under the old Yugoslav constitution. Similarly, it was an American plan, devised by the former secretary of state Cyrus Vance in 1992, that handed Milosevic and the fascist Bosnian Serbs the entire arsenal of former Yugoslavia. Thereafter, the people of Bosnia hardly stood a chance. Nato navies in the Adriatic Sea and British troops at Bosnian airports enforced an arms embargo against the Sarajevo government. The American-arranged Dayton "peace accords" legitimised the ethnic cleansing; the wishes of the people of Bosnia were ignored and American power was asserted.
Today, Nato is bombing Serbia because Milosevic - like Saddam Hussein in 1990 - gave the Americans the excuse they wanted. The man was not following orders. He was not subduing the Kosovars as they dictated. He had become all too flagrant, allowing his troops to slaughter people and leave their bodies to be filmed by western television. The real reason for the bombing is to ensure, as the US special envoy to the Balkans Richard Holbrooke admitted, "the credibility of Nato". In other words, the Americans want to demonstrate an imperial design that will dispense with the United Nations; what George Robertson, their factotum in Whitehall, calls "outreach".
"Nowhere in the world is so far away," said Robin Cook recently, "that it is not relevant to our security interests." The imperial bellicosity of this disgraceful statement shows that the Americans, with the Blair establishment in tow, are not only using Nato to control Europe's military forces, but are preparing the alliance for imperial action outside Europe. This is what Robertson means by "outreach"; Washington calls it "out of area". As they bomb Serbia without a shred of legality, they refer to "an emerging international law". It is the law of pirates.
Behind this is the impatience of the imperial god- fathers to complete their most urgent post-cold war project: the establishment of an oil protectorate all the way from the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea. With this as their aim, the US and Britain have imposed genocidal economic sanctions on the people of Iraq, thus preventing Saddam Hussein, an uppity former favourite, from selling his high-grade oil and competing with Saudi Arabia, the all-time favourite and arms client.
Nato is to be the policeman of this expanded oil colony. It is an irony for the regime in Belgrade that, while the US is opposed to an independent Kosovo and Milosevic is actually a State Department favourite, the attack on his country is too good an opportunity to pass up. It demonstrates to the world what Nato is really for, in the same way that the Gulf "war" demonstrated American power when US economic dominance appeared under threat from Europe and Japan.
Watching Tony Blair's unctuous performance on television last week, with his references to his "longest hours" waiting for the pilots who were bombing "in the name of humanity and peace" to return, one wondered: is he a Christian zealot? That would explain the hypocritical moralising. No, he is a standard cynic, who wants to play with the Big Boy. What is striking is his deception; he knows the dangers and he is not telling the nation he leads.
He is not telling us that more Kosovars have been terrorised as a result of the bombing, and that our brave allied pilots have killed several hundred civilians far from Kosovo. He is not telling us that the homicidal American military is prepared to "degrade and destroy" Serbia as it has done to Iraq, as it did to Vietnam, General Wesley Clark's atrocious alma mater. He is not telling us that, as a result of Nato's expansion, the defence ministry in Moscow has formulated plans to deploy new tactical nuclear weapons near Russia's western border and, according to one authoritative source, has dropped its longstanding doctrine of "no first use".
The Prime Minister is not telling us any of that, because he and his fellow bombers are engaged in a historic act of criminal irresponsibility.