Johnson won the right to burn the flag against enforced patriotism in the U.S. Supreme Court's 1989 landmark decision, Texas v. Johnson. For the police to effectively nullify this right in actual practice undermines this decision at a time when it is more imperative than ever to protect the right to dissent.
On Monday June 6th, President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a preliminary agreement to allegedly reduce their nations’ nuclear weapons stockpiles. In announcing the deal, Obama stated, “We must lead by example, and that's what we are doing here today. We resolve to reset U.S.-Russian relations so that we can cooperate more effectively in areas of common interest.”
But this agreement does not really make the world any safer from imperialist war.In fact it allows the U.S. to better wage war, especially on Afghanistan. In a side deal, Russian leaders gave the U.S. permission to transport military supplies across Russian land and airspace into Afghanistan for the war there. The side agreement allows the U.S. to conduct 4500 flights per year across Russia into Afghanistan. Since coming into office Obama has escalated the war in Afghanistan and there is increased need for the U.S. to equip its military and the puppet Afghan forces in its employ. On Friday the U.S. launched a major offensive in Southern Afghanistan with newly arrived Marines.
The Obama administration also revealed that the Russian government would work with the U.S. to increase assistance to the Afghan army and police. These puppet forces are needed by the U.S. to wage its war in Afghanistan.
In yet another side agreement, the two nations will resume military cooperation. Officially such cooperation was suspended after Russia and Georgia engaged in war last August. A White House representative stated that there will be 20 military exchanges and meetings this year. Russian military cadets will also go to the U.S. West Point Military Academy.
The preliminary agreement about nuclear weapons is also nothing to cheer. It is merely a guide for U.S. and Russian negotiators. The U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles contain more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons and have enough destructive capability to destroy the world many times over. The fact that they may reduce the number of weapons does not mean that they are giving up the power to destroy the world. The joint preliminary agreement sets a range of between 500 and 1,100 longer-range missiles for delivering nuclear bombs. The limit for nuclear warheads would be in a range of 1,500 to 1,675 for each nation. But even as they claim that they want to decrease warheads, they openly disagree as to which weapons should be subject to cuts.
The Russians want to limit missiles, bombers, and submarines along with nuclear warheads, while the U.S. does not. The U. S. only wants to count warheads ready for launch, while Russia wants to count those in storage as well. The U.S. has thousands of nukes in storage. The bottom line is that even if the two sides reached agreement and they went with the lowest numbers in the range they are discussing, the world could still be destroyed many times over by either side.
The two countries are also still disputing “missile defense.” The U.S. wishes to deploy missile defense shields in Eastern Europe. While the U.S. is claiming the “defense” system would only be directed at Iran, the Russians believe it is aimed at them.
The U.S. is also trying to use Russia to bring pressure against Iran to limit Iran’s nuclear program. In the past, Russia has supplied key components and assistance to Iran’s civilian nuclear program. The U.S. also wants Russian to continue to go along with economic sanctions against Iran.
While the White House will undoubtedly use the meetings between Obama and the Russian leaders to trumpet a new era between the two nations, we need to realize that the rivalry between the two countries still exists. Yes they will reach agreements that are to the mutual benefit of both. But they will also continue to be armed to the teeth with the capability of destroying the world. The “common interests” of the U.S. and Russian imperialists are not in the interest of the people of the world. Agreements that allow the U.S. to continue to wage war in Afghanistan or to prepare for war against Iran are only in the interests of imperialism and must be exposed as such.
World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.