I want to agree with the analysis on the Russian/Ukraine conflict above that underlines the permanent tendency in capitalism of war as a fundamental of decadence and continuing this even more dangerous tendency of each for themselves and the irrationality and unpredictability of decomposition.
Though greatly reduced there has been a re-assertion of Russian imperialism which, as the article says, was brought low by the Western Bloc’s offensive during the late 1980’s due to a combination of events including the particular weaknesses of all the Stalinist regimes with Russia at their head, the “integration” of China into the encirclement plans of the Western Bloc and NATO’s policy at the time of “Forward Defence” aimed to push back, harass and provoke Russian forces. This latter policy is now being taken up again by the west on a larger scale and at a deeper level against Russia with its ex-Warsaw Pact allies (more or less) on board this time. While NATO has de facto admitted that it can’t put the boots on the ground that it needs and it can’t stop Russia invading, the recent US/Russian talks only seems to have increased tensions that have made the situation more fraught. Workers in general are not ready to be mobilised for war – see the section on the “War Economy” in the recent report on imperialism - and the above article is correct to denounce both sides, insisting on internationalism; Putin could be in trouble if body-bags start “coming home”. But whether there is a Russian invasion or not, imperialist tensions and activities around this border can only continue. In fact these tensions have been further ratcheted up with the recent cyber attack (by Russia without doubt) on Ukrainian facilities and the strength of this attack is probably greatly under-reported and underestimated.
Since the US/Israeli “Stuxnet” cyber attack on Iran’s nuclear facility at Natanz around 2010 and the even more devastating “Nitro Zeus” cyber weapon due to be used against Iran if it made a direct military response to the attack, it has become clear that rather than a sort of computer-based imperialist add-on, cyber attacks are potentially weapons of mass destruction. Every major industry in the world, power, water, all sorts of manufacture, health systems, financial systems, etc., etc., all rely on programmable logic controllers (PLC’s) – their introduction in the 70’s/80’s was useful in massively reducing the labour force and increasing productivity but they are not only useful in helping to run all major industries, they are absolutely indispensable to any modern economy. These cyber viruses or “worms” like those mentioned above not only take over the logic controllers, they then render them useless by smashing their programmes to pieces. It’s not a matter of “turn it off and turn it on again”, these programmes are destroyed and have to be rebuilt from scratch – a time- consuming and expensive process. The genie is out of the bottle now and all the major (and some lesser) imperialisms have access to this particular form of weaponry. Every aspect of the state is vulnerable: military Command and Control, defence, the internet, transport, all essential or important industries, etc. All of these are now capable of being surreptitiously taken down and broken to bits thus reducing a state to complete chaos and potentially dangerous upheaval without firing a shot. The strength of this weapon was recognised by the US in 2012 with an Executive Order from the US administration declaring that, just like nuclear weapons, cyber attacks could only be unleashed if signed off by the President (subject of a leak by Julian Assange, from memory).
At the moment there seems to be a sort of a “code of conduct” to these attacks in not going too far because they are quite capable of wiping out the entire infrastructure of countries and making sure it lasts. But there’s not even any sort of “arms agreement” here and all the major tendencies are underlined: each for themselves, the militarisation of society and the weakening of the US which has made the use of cyber warfare a present to the world in the context of war as a way of life in decomposing capitalism.