Inter-Imperialist Rivalries Show Up ? Starker and Starker.
Some recent key geo-political events of the last 2-5 years have finally become clear, as the chess pieces have moved into an ?end-game? of the current Iraqi crisis. These key events include the careful nurturing of the former pro-revisionist-USSR states by the USA; the ultimate intents behind the Kosova-Bosnian wars; the EEC-USA conflicts over Bosnia and then Kosova; and finally the refusal of the Democratic Party to object vigorously to Bush?s theft of the US elections.
(i) "Old Europe and New Europe" ? USA Looks East.
Irked by repetitive reassertions of European Union (EU) imperial intent, the USA imperialists decided long ago to re-draw the map of Europe. To that end they participated in ringing "Old Europe" with a set of servile states, carved out of the disintegration of former Eastern Europe. This key strategy was finally unmasked by Rumsfeld's recent remarks about "Old Europe" and "New Europe". The USA Defense Secretary was reacting to a statement made by France and Germany on 22nd January, on the 40th anniversary of the signature of the Elysée Treaty. Rumsfeld described this as representative of the "Old Europe" and added, significantly, "If you look at the entire NATO Europe today, the center of gravity is shifting to the East". [Wednesday, 22nd January 2003; http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jan2003/t01232003_t0122sdfpc.html]
Already in October 2002, US representative Richard Perle, suggested Gerhard Schröder should resign because of his anti- American foreign policy. [Handelsblatt, 1st October 2002].
On 4th February 2002, Perle called Schröder (Chancellor, Germany) a discredited chancellor "who incited pacifism". As for France, in 2002 Perle had said: "France is no longer the ally it once was, the United States and the Atlantic alliance must develop a strategy to contain our erstwhile ally." [Martin Walker, United Press International, 4th February 2002]. Perle explained that there were "forces in France intent on reducing the American role in the world."
As the leading states of the EU Germany, France and to a lesser extent, Belgium continued to
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defy the USA intentions on war in Iraq, on 5th February 2003, the US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said, "There are some countries which will never help (us with an attack on Iraq): Libya, Cuba and Germany." (Die Welt, Berlin, 7th February 2003).
But on 29th January, eight European state leaders (of the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Poland, Hungary, and the outgoing president of the Czech Republic) signed an open letter disowning France and Germany?s position.
On 5th February, ten Eastern European states ? the "Vilnius 10" (Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia) supported Powell?s virulent ?mirrors and smokes? speech to the UN. At that speech Powell showed "evidence" "proving" Iraq?s links to Al-Quaeda and its ownership of Weapons of Mass Destruction. The "Vilnius 10", said this was "compelling evidence". All the leading representatives of the Vilnius 10 are puppets of the USA.
According to the plan of the USA severe financial reprisals to Germany are already starting. Thus Rumsfeld has announced no new spending on USA bases in Germany, with a view to moving them to the Vilnius 10. And defence contracts have already been cut. Such as the link between Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, Europe's leading maker of armoured vehicles, for construction of ground combat vehicles, worth $36m (£22m). (Financial Times; Feb 06, 2003).
(ii) Why is The USA Destroying the Old Alliance?
Why have US imperialists decided to in effect destroy
the US-Europe compact that underlies NATO? Why have the US imperialists
decided to attack the whole set of alliances that have been established
since the end of the Second World War?
They have no choice:
1) The continuing decline of the USA economy and rising unemployment spells the need for new markets and to lower costs of necessary raw materials. The only way this can be ensured is a more direct control over the Middle East.
2) The decline of the US dollar and the loss of its hegemony.
3) The attempted resurgence of EU capital in forming an anti-US coalition. This became evident at the talks of the World Trade Congress where duties were ignominiously slapped onto the USA in reprisals for its foreign steel embargo.
It is for these reasons that the US capitalist class,
has once more overcome its divisions and united behind one party.
The Democratic Party came to within a hair?s breadth ? it should be recalled ? of challenging the electoral shenanigans of Bush and his crew in Florida. Why didn?t they do it? Why did the recent senate elections get thrown away by a weak Democratic party showing, and refusal to fight Bush-dom?
Because the capitalist class had united itself behind Bush. The prior divisions between the cowboys (Texan oil and aerospace manufacture ? represented by the Republicans) and the Yankees (finance capitalists) ? were no longer relevant. It was no longer relevant because of the new economic climate of deflation.
Previously inflation, had made cheap money desirable for the manufacturing side of capital, and undesirable for the finance capitalist class (See Alliance 3). These are now battles of the past. Now, the deflationary tendency of the economy makes US money so cheap it is unable to compete internationally for the pulling in of investment monies. Both wings of capital are therefore very conscious of a major deterioration in the power of the US dollar as compared to the EC Euro. Both capitalist sides have an interest in ensuring that the EU does not steal American thunder. War was the logical answer. Hence Bush was propelled into power, a causus belli was allowed to occur from the 9/11 disaster. What more was needed, other than that old set-piece villain ? Saddam Hussein? From the USA capitalists? perspective, nothing could be lost. Either the EU rivals meekly fell into line and followed the "Crusaders," or, if they did not they could be split into feuding powers once more.
(iii) The Final Confrontation
When Turkey obligingly requested its NATO allies for armed
aid - Patriot missiles and AWACS surveillance planes, it precipitated a
further crisis in NATO. This served the purpose of the US at this time,
enabling it to vilify the hold-outs of France, Germany and Belgium. Turkey
is the only NATO country to border on Iraq, and its territory and forces
have been considered vital to the US war efforts. However, this request
gave EU dissenters an opportunity to reject the pro-US steps. When France,
Germany and Belgium balked, George Robertson, the secretary-general of
the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, gave France, Germany and Belgium
three days "to decide if they want to continue blocking the deployment
of NATO equipment to
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When they still refused, the US invective machine went into full gear charging them as ?traitorous?.
The Franco-German plan was to triple the UN weapons inspectors and spy flights (French Mirage reconnaissance planes, German Luna-Drohne unmanned planes, and American U2 spy) over Iraq, and to deploy UN blue-helmet soldiers in Iraq. (Guardian 10 February 2003).
Rumsfeld exploded: ""It's not surprising if public opinion is against the use of force if in some countries the leadership says this." To which the German foreign Minister Herr Fischer retorted:
"You have to make the case in a democracy. Excuse me, I'm not convinced." (Guardian 10 February 2003).
France, Germany, and Belgium have blocked the agreement under NATO treaty's article 5 ? "whereby an attack on one country is considered an attack on all". Mr. Rumsfeld called this "inexcusable" and "beyond comprehension". However Michele Alliot-Marie, the French defense minister, accused the US " using the NATO card for its own agenda." (Guardian 10 February 2003)
(iv) What is happening In "Old Europe"?
We wrote in January, in the article: "Iraqi War ? Virtually Inevitable" - that the term "virtually" was there for two reasons. We said that:
"Firstly there is the inter-imperialist rivalry
between Europe and the USA. Of the three largest power-brokers in the EU
? apart from the toadyism of Blair?s government in Britain, the governments
of both France and Germany are quite unwilling to allow the USA total sway.
To what extent they will be able to stop the drive to total Middle Eastern
domination of the USA ? remains unclear."
(Alliance Monthly Issue 1 January 2003.)
Over the last month the extent to which the French and German imperialists are willing to fight the USA monolithic hegemony is becoming rapidly clearer. Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, is the former French president who is drafting a new EU constitution. "He attacked European leaders over their divided response to the Iraq crisis, and told them to get serious about a common foreign policy." (Financial Times: February 8 2003). Targeting the supporters of the US stance on Iraq - UK's Tony Blair and José Mara Aznar of Spain - d?Estaing said:
"Whatever the stance taken by their leaders, the people seem to want peace." (Financial Times: February 8 2003).
No longer in power, his position perfectly mirrors that of current French President Jacques Chirac.
In Europe, the paradoxical effect of the strong Euro is
naturally to make its ability to export harder, since European manufacturers
are priced in a currency that is rapidly becoming more expensive (strong)
than others. Since December, the Euro has gained by almost 10 per cent
against the dollar. This pushed French, German and Italian manufacturing
into a slump in December of up to 1 per cent. Manufacturers are "struggling
to export to already weak international markets as the value of the single
currency soars. Orders in Germany have plummeted and its fall in output
is 'likely to be large enough to partially offset the gains in November',
(The Observer, 9 Feb 2003).
As this occurs, unemployment in the EU is soaring to their
highest levels for 5 years. This led Tony Blair, Gerhard Schröder
and Jacques Chirac to sign a joint letter calling for "measures to repair
confidence following the dismal figures from Europe's biggest economy.
They showed the jobless total leaping 398,000 in January to 4.623m - within
200,000 of its post-war high."
(The Guardian, February 6, 2003)
At the time of writing it is unclear which wing will prevail.
We consider it unlikely that the USA will not launch war. But the
future remains one where the EU hold-outs ("Old Europe") and the USA with
its allies (The UK and "New Europe") will undoubtedly be drawn into further
conflict with Old Europe. We are reminded of Stalin?s words that:
"war is inevitable under imperialism".