In the wake of Stalinism's collapse, the end of the XX century was celebrated by the dominant class all around the world as the beginning of a new era of peace and prosperity in the life of capitalism. The disappearance of the division of the world in two major imperialist blocs was supposed to end the bloodshed and the potential thermonuclear obliteration of human beings and any other form of life in the planet. The chronic state of economic crisis and the poverty suffered by most of humanity was said to be finally on the way to being resolved thanks to economic globalization and other marvels of democratic capitalism.
History itself has already proven the worthlessness of these projections. Imperialist wars and chronic economic crisis are a permanent feature of decadent capitalism. They are scourges to which the dominant class has no solution. In the last years, rather than disappearing, imperialist conflicts end economic disasters are reaching dramatic levels all over the world.
At the level of the economy, all major industrialized countries are facing open recessions, while the so-called developing nations, capitalism's weakest sector, are moving from one economic catastrophe to the next, facing ever growing difficulties to keep their heads above water.
At the level of imperialist conflict, the challenge of the US hegemony and the battle of the American bourgeoisie to maintain its world dominance are more and more spreading war and political instability around the world.
In this context of growing barbarism one of the most important elements in the current international situation at the level of imperialism is, undeniably, the American bourgeoisie's growing awareness and adjustments of its imperialist strategy to the realities and needs of the present historical situation. The US flexes its military muscle
These adjustments to its strategy, to judge by the "debates" and dissensions that we have witnessed among the bourgeoisie in the last 10 years, has not been an easy process. For instance, Mr. Bush the elder lost his chance for reelection to a second term because of his administration's hesitations in the face of the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the ensuing Balkans wars. And, as we pointed out several years ago, the real root of the scandals that plagued the Clinton administration was the divisions on imperialist policy within the American bourgeoisie, in particular vis a vis the Chinese question. Nonetheless, whatever their divisions, the dominant fraction of the bourgeoisie has already managed to put in practice a strategy of which the planned invasion of Iraq is one of its latest manifestations.
This strategic orientation aims to maintain the status quo in the world, i.e. American hegemony, and has, according to the bourgeoisie itself, the following elements:
A Commitment to Maintain a Uni-Polar World in Which the United States Has No Peer Competitor: Already at the end of the first Bush administration, Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz made this goal clear when he wrote that with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US must act to prevent the rise of peer competitors in Europe and Asia. And as Mr. Bush the son declared last July: "America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge-thereby making the destabilizing arms races of other eras pointless, and limiting rivalries to trade and other pursuits of peace." The same idea affirming that the US will never allow its military supremacy to be challenge the way it was during the cold war, was recently expressed again by Bush: "the president has not intention of allowing any foreign power to catch ch up with the huge lead the US has opened since the fall of the Soviet Union more than a decade ago" as printed in "The National Security Strategy of the US." The esence of this policy is nothing else but the decleared intention of the American bourgeoisie to do all that it can to prevent the arising of a strong competitor around which a new imperilaist bloc could eventually be formed.
A Commitment to Stay On the Offensive: According to this, the old cold war era concept of deterrence is totally outdated. This is the context in which the so-called doctrine of the preemptive strike is being discussed, and which is behind the new drive to relocate troops around the globe, as well as the efforts to gain direct control of strategic regions of the world. As Mr. Bush put it, "the military must be ready to strike at a moment's notice in any dark corner of the world. All nations that decide for aggressions and terror will pay a price."
A Commitment "To Do It Alone": According to this precept, the US will act unilaterally in responding to "threats". In other words, the illusions of stable alliances-NATO, etc.-are being recognized as undesirable constraints in carrying out American military adventures. As Mr. Rumsfeld explained: "the mission must determine the coalition; the coalition must not determine the mission. If it does, the mission will be dumbed down to the lowest common denominator, and we can't afford that."
A Commitment to "Nation-Building": In plain words this means a direct territorial control of strategic zones of the world. We have seen this strategic element being applied in Afghanistan and more recently in the planning being put forward for a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. According to bourgeois propaganda calculations, the US will need to stay in Iraq after overthrowing Hussein for at least the next 20 years. This drive to gain a direct territorial control over strategic regions of the globe has been described by some bourgeois analysts as a new, but necessary-given the present state of chaos in the world-neocolonialist imperialist tactic that the US must carry out in order to fight the spread of chaos and decomposition. Clearly, the bourgeoisie has seemed to obtain a rather accurate consciousness of the dangers that decomposition poses to the system as a whole; and it is currently developing an imperialist strategy that accords with the recognition of this reality. Nevertheless, the assimilation of the present "nation building" tactic of the US, to the colonialism of a previous era in the history of capitalism, an ideological claim popular among many leftists and certain spokesmen of the bourgeoisie-above all in Europe, is quite far fetched. Colonialism was an expression of the outward expansion of capitalism in a period in which the world market was still being created. In that sense, despite the suffering that it brought to the indigenous populations of colonized regions, it represented a positive step forward in the development of the productive forces of humanity as a whole. On the contrary, the US's tactic of "nation building" today does not have anything positive to offer anyone. It will only, on the other hand, be one more factor in political destabilization of the world. American Imperialism offensive
A concrete manifestation of this strategy is the present effort of the American bourgeoisie to directly control Central Asia. With the collapse of the Stalinist bloc, this zone-which had been for most of the 20th century a privileged sphere of interest for Russian imperialism-has become the target of US attention. The American bourgeoisie has been for many years quite active in the countries that formed in the wake of the collapse of the USSR, not only through its oil companies and financial institutions, but also through actions intended to have a direct military presence in the region. In this sense, the Afghanistan campaign launched under the cover of the "fight against terrorism" in the wake of the September 11th events, has just capped a tendency that has long been underway.
The same can be said of the Middle East. Despite the "Pax-Americana" imposed by the US after the 1991 Gulf War, it has not succeeded in completely keeping this region under its control. Second and third rate powers have not given up their efforts to advance their own interests and to torpedo the American-imposed order in the region. There have been, for instance, many widely known initiatives by France, Germany, China, Russia, et. al., to advance their own interests in the region. Even local imperialist gangsters like Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran have grown bolder in the pursuit of their own interests, often clashing with the US's designs in the region. The Palestinian/Israeli "peace process" has blown into pieces. In this context, a second Desert Storm launched against Saddam Hussein's Iraq is the US's chosen way of regaining the political momentum in the region. What is even more important, is the US's goal of assuring, through an upgrading of its direct presence on the ground in Iraq, a much more thorough control of this crucial strategic zone. Evidently the US's "allies" are well aware of what is really at stake behind the American bourgeoisie's targeting of Iraq, and hence their strident opposition and efforts to derail the US war plans.