Report on imperialist tensions (June 2018)

3 posts / 0 new
Last post
Report on imperialist tensions (June 2018)
Printer-friendly version

The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Report on imperialist tensions (June 2018). The discussion was initiated by jk1921.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

"Although this policy implies

"Although this policy implies a tremendous growth of chaos and of each for himself, and also ultimately a further decline of the global positions of the world’s leading power, there is no tangible alternative approach in the US. After one and a half year of Mueller‘s investigation and other kinds of pressures against Trump, it does not look likely that Trump will be pushed out of office, amongst other reasons because there is no alternative force in sight. The quagmire within the US bourgeoisie continues."

I'd hold the phone on that prediction, comrades. We just have no idea what will happen. To say there are no alternative forces in sight is strange also. There are multiple alternative forces: Mike Pence has bit his tongue and defended Trump at every turn, but in the past he has been no friend of Putin and Russia and could likely be brought back around to the neo-liberal imperialist consensus should he find himself in office (domestic policy liabilities notwithstanding). The ruling class could easily decide that a year and half of Pence trying to turn the US into the Handmaid's Tale is worth the attempt to restore the post-WWII "American system." If its 2020 we are talking about, Trump trails every conceivable Democratic candidate by wide margins. And if it looks like it is necessary to put Bernie Sanders into office, he has been faithfully mouthing the Russiagate conspiracy theories himself lately, which is quite obviously an attempt to ingratiate himself to the permanent state on that level. Again, four years of an (failed) attempt to create some kind of social democratic welfare state, may well be worth it, if it means righting the imperialist ship somewhat.

Updating imperialism and Trump

I think that just as the dynamic of imperialism is presently underwritten by the centrifugal tendencies gaining ground in capitalism's decomposition then the election of leaders like Trump, the phenomenon of "strong leaders", reflects the strengthening of militarism and the growing irrationality and unpredictability of the overall situation. Despite its crippling cost in treasure, the development of militarism demonstrates how it is its imperialist tendencies that increasingly drive capitalism so that even with the fall of one of the two imperialist blocs there is no attenuation of tensions and uncertainties - on the contrary, they are increased, express themselves in more wars and potential wars in a situation of more contingent alliances and more untrustworthy treaties and protocols. Decomposition and each for them self is expressed at the level of warfare and the breakdown of any sort of "honour among thieves" and is now clearly expressed at the level of major world leaders and the overturning of agreements that they make. The text shows well that this also has its effects on certain ideological structures such as democracy, human rights and "soft" issues like the environment, I'd add. Short-term Trump, who has lit many fuses, is a product of the chaos of decomposition. There are certain continuities with US policy under the Obama administration, particularly as the US is no longer in a position to be a locomotive of the world economy, but there is also a qualitative change given the nature of the period. This is also shown in the text and exampled by the contradiction of US policy, "America first" and retrenchment with that of China and its economically expansive policy of the new Silk Road. I agree with the text that China is in it for the long game, doesn't at all want war at this stage and has carefully put in place the structures and political line-up in order to enable this. However the general situation can easily fragilise this long-term development. Imperialist tensions with India are an important development here.

I think, along with the text, that there's little real opposition to Trump and this represents both the historical weakening of the US and the present quandary of US politics expressed in the fact that after thirty years of trying to stabilise the world it now "trashes its own world order". And, along with the Pentagon, the Democrats seem to be right behind Trump on the vast increases of military spending.

I think that although previous overviews have been weaker on the development of China and the limited but definite resurgence of Russia but that the major dynamic of each for themselves and capitalism's decomposition has been well and truly established. The earlier overview was correct about the administrations' attempts to isolate Germany from Russia and this has taken an abrupt deepening and if the EU is complying with Trump on Iran - as it seems to be - then China is not.

Finally, on the question of the British demonstration against Trump, I agree with the generally peurile nature of the demo and the slogans but it does somewhat represent the interests of a faction of British capital that wants to ditch the US (i.e. Trump and his administration) in favour of a European alternative. The left and leftism were generally a motor force behind this demonstration. Jk is absolutely right about how PM May and her Home Office are right up there with the worst excesses of Trump over "human rights" with their overt racism and tearing up of families. It's a similar case with murders by the police and security people where the anti-American opinion-makers like the Guardian denounce such in the US; they blatantly ignore such killings that take place here with the killers exonerated.