The conflict in Ukraine, involving one of the most important imperialist powers on the planet, is a dramatic reminder of the true nature of capitalism: a system whose contradictions inevitably lead to military confrontations and massacres of populations.
In order to fully understand the historical significance of this war, it is essential to place it in a coherent analytical framework. This is why we invite comrades to read or re-read:
This text, first published in International Review 64, was written in 1990 as a contribution to understanding the significance of another war: the American-led Gulf war that followed Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. It thus appeared after the disintegration of the eastern bloc but before the definitive break-up of the USSR. We are convinced that it remains an indispensable guide to understanding the increasingly irrational and chaotic nature of imperialist wars today. Faced with the bourgeoisie’s propaganda that the world was on the threshold of a “New World Order” of peace and prosperity, the text insisted that “in the new historical period we have entered, and which the Gulf events have confirmed, the world appears as a vast free-for-all, where the tendency of ‘every man for himself’ will operate to the full, and where the alliances between states will be far from having the stability that characterized the imperialist blocs, but will be dominated by the immediate needs of the moment. A world of bloody chaos, where the American policeman will try to maintain a minimum of order by the increasingly massive and brutal use of military force”.
This scenario has been amply confirmed by the events of the past three decades. This does not mean that the text is an invariant key to predicting the future. The text itself begins by pointing out that while a solid framework is essential to understanding the evolution of events, it must be constantly tested in the light of that evolution, in order to see which aspects remain valid and which need to be revised. So, for example, while the text is perfectly correct in showing the inability of Germany to constitute the head of a new bloc against the USA, it does not foresee the revival of Russian imperialism or the meteoric rise of China as a world power. But as we argue elsewhere, these developments became possible precisely because of the prevailing tendency of “every man for himself” that marks imperialist relations in the phase of decomposition. On the global context for understanding the rise of China, see in particular points 10-12 in Resolution on the International Situation (2019): Imperialist conflicts; life of the bourgeoisie, economic crisis | International Communist Current (internationalism.org)