- The emergence of Donald Trump and his team in the lead of US imperialism highly determines the international political and economic developments.
This was a particularly aggressive decision which aimed in preserving and reproducing the ability of the US superpower to rule and dominate the global capitalist-imperialist system.
To rule and dominate the world has always been the goal of the US superpower, either under Reagan or Clinton or Obama administration and will continue to be so under Trump.
At this stage, however, the pursuit of this goal encounters new difficulties and has produced additional contradictions. The result is that the mismatch between the means available to the US superpower and the objectives it has set has further widened.
The dominant position that US imperialism has established, with multiple crimes against peoples and countries in recent decades, mandates that it serves multiple conflicting priorities-necessities and that it intervenes in new fronts that it has to open, but without first closing any older ones.
Therefore, peoples are concerned of the growing threats of new imperialist interventions, local wars, redrawing of borders and zones of influence, new harsh measures that will aggrandize the exploitation of the working class, robbing of peoples and countries, impoverishment of millions of people, more refugees and migrants.
They are concerned because as long as the US goals are not met, a generalized war will be approaching, either as an «accident» or as a «last resort» solution of the unscrupulous killers and opportunists that lead US imperialism.
- So, the US strategy may be stable, but their tactics and specific policies on multiple fronts will need to be readjusted, modified or overturn several times. This adds to the uncertainty of the period ahead of us.
Trump’s team sent the signal towards every direction (even months before being elected and until now, with several backs and forths), that it intends to proceed with significant adjustments in the (competitive and cooperative) relations of the US to the rest of the first-rank imperialist forces, but on “internal” affairs as well. This is exactly where serious issues and questions have arisen, that have largely divided the US establishment. The questions of if, how and how many of the Trump group proclamations will be applied in real life still remain open, because the answers will have to be based on actual possibilities and correlations of power. In our opinion, Trump’s election will sharpen all contradictions and, within this framework, will also sharpen the inter-imperialist contradictions at all levels, thus further obscuring the highly important issue of strategic alliances between the imperialist forces.
The large disputes on trade, the controversies on energy, the shocks suffered by a number of transnational institutions and mechanisms, the dilemma on more or less protectionism, the different policies on the relationship of real economy and finance capital, the dilemma on deficits, debt, stagnant funds and interest rates, all are aspects of the wider conflict and confrontation starting from the imperialists and spreading (in one form or another) to every corner of the globe.
- As history has shown since capitalism passed into its imperialist stage and since we have not passed to another post-capitalist or ultra-imperialist stage, the imperialist force seeking to claim and hold zones of influence, to spread its political influence, to extend and safeguard its footholds, even more to dominate the planet or challenge the dominance of its opponents, must retain many advantages, mainly on the military level in land, sea, air and near space (satellites, global monitoring and surveillance network).
The US is the only “classic” imperialist force that took advantage of the results of the World War II and of the rival socialist awe and managed to build a global network of zones of influence, footholds and subordinates in all levels (political, economic, military). This network came with a huge price tag, which was (and still is) paid by the working class, the peoples and entire regions of the world which are condemned to complete misery. The US managed to impose a series of conditions and priorities to the rest of the traditional imperialist forces and also to various dependent capitalist countries.
This global network of military and –especially- nuclear power was the basis of US imperialism in the ‘80s and ‘90s, in order to confront those who questioned its power and limit the former Soviet Union and socialist camp to today’s capitalist-imperialist Russia. Furthermore, to limit capitalist China to an ideal –so far- partner rather than a competitor.
- This picture of the planet (given the great defeat of the communist movement, which brought a terrible blow to the ability of the working class and the peoples to resist), primarily tailored to US needs and goals, has cracked. The first cracks appeared clearly in the late 90s, first and foremost within the great Western Alliance but also in US relations to Japan. One of the most important reasons was the confessed inability of the US to weaken Russia in the military-nuclear level, but also the gradual transformation of China from a partner of the US to a competitor.
The “gaps” that were created were filled by Germany and Japan, which managed to strengthen economically, even under the special conditions that had been imposed on them at the end of World War II.
The US establishment, the dominant military, industrial and financial complex never accepted the questioning of the status that started to consolidate after World War II and developed in benefit of the US after the overthrows of the 90s (in the former socialist camp).
In many ways and tactics they tried to affect the continuously intensifying questioning of the status against them. During Clinton’s second presidency (bombardments of Yugoslavia) and mainly during Bush’s and with Obama’s. The results during the last decades where not pleasing to the US establishment. Many times their policies turned against them, the peak being the 2008 economic crisis. And even these ways could not prevent the US retreat and their inability to impose their terms against Russia and against Europe and specifically Germany. The US establishment also seems particularly concerned about China. Especially during the Obama presidency, the US not only did not manage to close a series of fronts, but instead opened new ones.
- During the Reagan presidency US policies were so successful that not only empowered themselves, but operated in favor of the capitalist-imperialist system and against the peoples and the working class. And this was achieved without large scale military interventions.
Anyway, the overthrows of the 90s not only fed all the old ambitions of the US establishment for suffocating encirclement of Russia till its total weakening. That prospect also had the basic consequence that the nuclear and conventional arsenal of the US was further enhanced. It resulted in a variety of new overseas US military bases in new locations. Thus, an insatiable «beast» was formed, with many tentacles all around the planet. Its maintenance was the first obligation and commitment that every political leadership that emerged in US undertook.
The perpetual feeding of this monster presupposed a constant transfer of resources and wealth from the outside to the inside of the US and a constant blackmailing towards the allies to bear a bigger cost in the overall maintenance and feeding of the military complex.
To a great extent, the economic-trade policies of the US, their differentiations, the raging effort of the US to control the energy routes were defined by that need, which no other traditional imperialist force had to that extent, apart from Putin’s Russia (with its own particularities).
That permanent headache of the US establishment was affecting politics, rhetoric, slogans.
During the Obama presidency, several efforts were made to «organize» and slightly «constrain» the cost of the network, to relieve, to mitigate the consequences of 2008, which signaled, with whatever that meant, the end of Bush’s presidency.
In the end, all US presidents, as Obama found out, where realizing that it was meaningless to aspire to «constrain» the global complex, because, among others, whenever they tried, they only achieved to reinforce their competitors and disturb the «connections» which ensured the leadership of the US in a world that was becoming more difficult to be «unipolar».
- A lot has been heard about the changes that Trump’s team and circles of the US establishment are preparing. However, there is no way that the expenses needed to feed the complex will be decreased.
It appears that during Trump’s administration the blackmail and pressure will grow towards the NATO and EU «allies» to undertake bigger financial load. Such a development though would clearly strengthen the US, whereas it would weaken economies such as Germany’s, which have been built on a different basis than the militarized basis on which the US economy has been built.
The «great America» slogan goes hand in hand with the preservation and expansion of the entire arsenal and the dense complex of overseas military bases and armed forces throughout the world. But in order to achieve that, US’s share of power in the world must grow. Which, in turn, presupposes military pressure against the rest of the imperialists and mainly Russia.
What looks most possible is that, given the strengthening of the competitors of the US, the ambitious plan of Trump’s administration (to turn to what is often called «real economy», to transfer stagnant funds to these directions, to achieve the increase of global demand for US products, to restrict the consumption of other countries’ products inside the US, to cancel financial-trade agreements in order to cut the flows that strengthen the competitors) will find many contradictory and complex obstacles.
Trump will also find many obstacles in his effort to adjust or relocate the fronts of interventions and conflicts with the other competitors. Even the thoughts to treat Russia as a temporary «ally» (which cannot be realized now), are indicative of the changes which have been done globally and the position in which the US have been found, that they can only acknowledge the failure of the policies of dissolution of Russia.
However such a pursuit by the US will remain rhetoric, since no Marxist can trace in material reality any common interests between the US and Russia, at least in the near foreseeable future. Do they have common interests in the Balkans, in Syria, in Cyprus, in the former Soviet Republics? Do they have common interests in the Pacific and especially in the North of Japan? Not only they do not, but one wants the entire planet (US) while the other dreams and claims a condominium (Russia). Which «common» interests can overrun reality? And the reality is that at the critical and decisive issue of geostrategic alliances, the US is obliged to face Russia as the main opponent, that can dispute the US plans to dominate the planet.
Therefore, the US have, in fact, their hands tied and cannot decrease the pressure or loosen the encirclement of Russia. Maybe this would be equivalent to such concessions to Russia that would further strengthen its position and influence.
- The incompatible interests of US and Russia will continue to dominate the international geostrategic competitions and are the basis for any future strategic alliances. However, at the same time, the breaches expand and the competing interests deviate between the allies of the broader Western Alliance.
Obviously, the developments and transformations in this context will be primarily defined by the relations of the US with Germany, without underestimating the relations between the US and the UK and the progress of the Franco-German relations.
Inevitably, this is where the issues concerning the relations of Greece with USA-EU are involved. And additionally, the issues on Turkey and the entire region that extends from the Balkans to the South-East Mediterranean and the Middle East. (We will discuss these issues in another document, because they are connected and directly affect the immediate duties of our organization and the movement).
In the chapter of US-German relations, we have to note that we share neither the current chatter nor press that exaggerates, drifted by the current directed «journalism» of various conflicting interests. There is no doubt that the US, well before Trump’s election, during the Obama and Bush presidencies, had no faith at all in the German policies, as manifested through the EU.
The US realize that in the last decades the German ruling class, leveraging its position as a bulwark of the West towards Russia (former USSR) and taking advantage of the special relationship of dependency and protection that was built after the war with them, managed to emerge as a very serious competitor in the economic-trading field, at first.
The German bourgeoisie, despite the commitments that it was charged against the winners of World War II and especially the US, managed to greatly benefit from the 90’s overthrows and had an enormous growth through the unification with East Germany. Germany plays very well the double part it has shouldered in its relations with Russia and takes advantage of Russia’s dilemmas concerning the confrontation of Germany.
It has been clear that the US establishment is divided on their attitude towards Germany, culminating in Obama’s statement when he visited Europe in November and named (per exaggeration) Merkel leader of the free world.
So, let us not hurry to jump into conclusions, and of course we should not follow the current press (even of those familiar with the situation), which claims that Germany becomes or became the number one enemy of the US and remember that we expect the US to increase its efforts to «shorten» and «limit» the German ambitions and successes.
The US have enough weapons to use to this cause (relatively controlled and partially effective). They have in their hands the issue of the energy sources, which, however, stumbles on Russia’s intentions and capabilities in this field. They have the refugee issue and the pressure of Turkey. They also have the “New Europe” and the Visegrad countries. The challenge/dilemma for the US is whether to unleash all their weapons with the risk of causing serious breaches in the EU, which will in turn cause a series of chain explosions and possibly groupings against them. There is also the risk that the Balkans will be left without any “protection” against the penetration of Russia, which is already ongoing, in addition to the risk of breaches in the South-East NATO wing, potentially resulting to destabilization both in Greece and Turkey.
Therefore, we expect intense pressure from the US to Germany and intense efforts of Germany. However, both have an upper and a lower limit at this point, which do not seem likely to be crossed.
UK’s withdrawal from the EU, regardless the ups and downs and the effects it may have, is indicative of the dilemmas faced by the imperialist forces.
In this phase, UK’s route out of the EU will most likely have setbacks. Obviously, it will bring the UK closer to the US. But it should not be forgotten that it is not possible in the present circumstances for England to become again an empire as it was once. How many empires, can the world withstand anyway?
However, if Germany, France, Italy, Spain, each for its own reasons or all for common reasons, are not objectively able to proceed each one on its own, the UK, based on its own special characteristics, considers that keeping closer pace with the US can give them more space (as it also understands that the US may leave some “gaps”), given the advantages it may keep by a loose economic-trade relationship with the US.
Anyway, the BREXIT, along with the pressure from the US, which, as mentioned, is expressed in many ways, threaten the EU. Its leaders are already trying to maintain even a loose cohesion and are forced to «remember» Lenin’s words on the inability of the imperialists to deepen cooperation between them. At the same time they try to adapt as much as they can to the new circumstances. These circumstances, however, will create breaches that several sides will wish to reclaim. But, if they want to keep standing, they will have to apply even harsher exploitation of the working class and peoples, even greater widening of gaps and intensification of class contradictions and inter-imperialist ones.
- So, one aspect claims that the US-German conflict is the basis that will determine the developments and overthrows within the capitalist-imperialist conflicts. Another aspect proclaims the confrontation of the US with China as the driving force that explains Trump’s policies. Even at such a high level that pushes the rivalry between US and Russia to the background.
It is a fact that Trump’s policies (when and if he manages to acquire the stability and balance imposed by the dominant role of the US) are a clear indication that the US leadership is concerned on the strengthening of China, first and foremost in southern and eastern Asia and the Pacific, and its relations with Japan. Beyond that, US leaders are concerned on the economic, trade and stock market levels, as they see the results of their different attitude towards China, in comparison to Russia. China seems rather like a dangerous rival than an «ally» that was assisted and allowed to join «smoothly» the capitalist-imperialist complex, obviously in order to achieve the sacred goal of kneeling Russia.
The US are concerned that China will find the opportunities to invest its accumulated wealth in building up its military power to a level that it will be capable of providing substantial expansion and influence (with all the limitations set by the relations of the US with China). This military power is necessary for China to maintain the economic footholds they have achieved and not to leave them exposed to attacks of the Westerns, as happened in Libya!
The particular neo-capitalist Chinese regime uses some kind of relation with the so-called private sector, which has rapidly blossomed as it is based on the exploitation of the working class. China is a potential rival of the US but, under certain circumstances, it is also a slowly burning bomb that can even shake the foundations of the global system. The controversies that it concentrates do not allow for unilateral considerations on its perspective. Therefore, it would be wiser to leave aside the “certainties” that China will definitely become a superpower that will overthrow the US from the leading position and, instead, monitor the developments closely. After all, we are in front of another historical “paradox”: a great former socialist country waking a capitalist road, the end of which is difficult to predict.
- We left Russia at the end, because it is a great imperialist force that managed to benefit from the contradictions and deadlocks of the “traditional” imperialists (despite the analysis of those who choose to overlook it, not for the first time in the last decade). The great conventional and nuclear military power of Russia helped earning those benefits, which concern the broadening of its influence and the regain of the losses it suffered during the final attack in the late 90s. For the first time in decades it managed to breach its continuous encirclement to the South and West.
Obviously this development was a serious hit to Obama and the Democrats, as it was charged as their primary negative case. Obviously this development is Russia’s chance to negotiate and reclaim under better terms the signs of “fatigue” and “retreat” of the US.
Obviously this development increases its ability of intervention in the energy issues, in the Balkans, in Syria, in its relations to Japan and to Iran. This ability stays within the limit of its former influence, although it still chooses to respond instead of provoking with initiatives.
Nevertheless, a broader appraisal would demand that all aspects are taken into account. Especially the difficulties and hinderers within the country, as well as in its relations to former or new allies which are being formed. Maybe the most important issue is that it cannot and wishes not refrain from supporting and reproducing its huge military power. Even more when it does not have the network of the rival (US), whatever the problems that this may cause in the inevitable course of sharpening of contradictions and conflicts with the rest of the imperialists.
Predictions are obviously neither easy nor necessary. For those walking the communist way, the developments highlight the necessity to reconstruct the worker’s movement, with the communist movement as its skeleton. This movement will become the main weapon of the peoples in their effort to organize their resistance and prepare their confrontation with the reactionary forces of capitalism, fascism, imperialism.
Faith in the masses is definitely necessary, but so is the self-confidence of the liberating forces within the masses, which will contribute by taking the lead in the gradual overthrow of the negative correlations and the prevention of even worse developments…
Quite a few analysts do not understand what we are actually facing and follow an “academic” approach. They …meditate trying to answer if the EU will be dissolved. They wonder if and when will the US superpower handover the lead to another imperialist. In fact, their concerns overlook a highly important issue, willingly or not. That developments, reclassifications and overthrows as such can only be realized through wars with immense costs. Unfortunately for the peoples, those costs will be even higher than the costs of the confrontations that took place until now, the two World Wars included.
It is not our intention to predict the worse, however the developments in the last 2-3 years show that the distance between today’s complicated and controversial world and a generalized war has shrunk…
It is obvious that the nuclear terror is less and less enough to prevent the imperialists from solving their differences the way they know best. On the other hand, the peoples are still far from rebuilding their weapons for uprising and the distance they have to cover is full of obstacles, traps and setbacks.
However, nothing is predefined. Most of all the need of the peoples to live and the need of the working class to throw off its shoulders the weight of wage slavery which becomes heavier as long as we return to the medieval times of working conditions.
At the end, there is no imperialist barbarism that can surpass the peoples’ will to live without wars, without class divisions, without injustice and inequality.