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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses reporters at a press availability at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, in New York City, NY, on May 31, 2018. Photo:  IIP archive

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses reporters at a press availability at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, in New York City, NY, on May 31, 2018. Photo: IIP archive

The US threatening to interfere in the UK's democratic processes should be front page news, argues Chris Nineham

The Secretary of State of the world's most powerful nation has promised to 'push back' against the possibility of the leader of the Labour Party in Britain getting elected. He suggests US agencies will try and intervene to stop that eventuality because "it's too risky and too important and too hard once it's already happened".

We live in a liberal democracy at a time when there are widespread elite fears of foreign interference in politics, particularly by Russia. Cue outrage from the government and across media platforms surely? Err...well no actually. I haven't found a single record of complaint from the government, the story hasn't got near the top headlines in the national press, and as I write the BBC website is not featuring the story at all.

This is extraordinary. Trump's endorsement of Johnson and Farage during his visit was bad enough. But here we have an unambiguous statement by the most powerful foreign policy official in the US administration bar the President suggesting a move against a democratically elected leader in Britain. And it is not big news.

So, what are we to conclude? First this gives us an insight into the real dynamics of the 'special relationship'. When we protested Trump's visit, we were told we were wrong and that it is vital to our interests that we engage with the democratically elected leader of the free world. But what we see exposed here is a relationship of domination, in which senior US officials apparently reserve the right to decide who runs Britain.

But the lack of fuss and outrage suggests that the British elites are frankly unperturbed. Their commitment to democracy doesn't extend as far as defending the rights of a left-wing Prime Minister in waiting.

Pompeo's threats should not be ignored or trivialised. He is one of the leaders of a regime that believes it has the right to intervene militarily and politically from Venezuela to Afghanistan, from Syria to South Korea. Jeremy Corbyn is clearly seen as a threat to a world order that is based upon that right. Far from securing us against such intervention, the special relationship can be the means by which it is implemented.

This incident should alert everyone to the fact that the efforts made by elements of the establishment so far to sabotage Corbyn are just the start. They are going to intensify and internationalise as the prospect of a Corbyn government gets closer. Prepare yourselves.

 

Chris Nineham

Chris Nineham

Chris Nineham is a founder member of Stop the War and Counterfire, speaking regularly around the country on behalf of both. He is author of The People Versus Tony Blair and Capitalism and Class Consciousness: the ideas of Georg Lukacs.

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