Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Drums of War

The Socialist Party has often been criticised for having an "overly" simplified explanation for the cause of war. The Socialist Party, like a voice crying in the wilderness, has always maintained that capitalism and war are inseparable. Capitalism’s war-drums are never silent. They are always beating in the background. At certain times they become louder and in the case of the Falklands/Malvinas this is one of those times. Material factors such as access to resources, and the protection of trade and trade routes, rather than ideological reasons are the root causes of war. There can be no capitalism without conflicts of economic interest. From these arise the national rivalries and hatreds, the fears and armaments which may at any time provoke war. Wars are caused by the essentially competitive nature of capitalism. Nations compete over:
(i) resources;
(ii) trade routes;
(iii) areas of domination.

SOYMB notes the statement of the Argentinian president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The president warned of "grave risks to international security" if what she characterised as Britain's aggressive colonial impulses were not reined in. "I want to ask the British prime minister to give peace a chance, give peace a chance, not war."
And she goes on to explain:
"I have instructed our foreign minister to protest at the UN [against] the militarisation of the south Atlantic which implies a grave risk for international security, precisely when we see in other countries situations that become unmanageable. The coming wars will be for natural resources and Argentina is one of the richest regions in world in those resources"

After every outbreak of war politicians and historians look back to this or that turning point, and say that if only the government had acted differently, with more foresight, the war would not have happened. There is no such thing an ideal foreign policy. In international politics there is no policy which will suit all times and all circumstances. The view taken by the “wise-after-the-event” historians assumes that a government is a free agent, able to follow any policy that the international situation may seem to call for. It ignores the forces behind the government which determine the government’s attitude and limit its freedom of action; the electorates that have to be considered, not to mention commercial, industrial and financial groups whose demands on foreign policy are coloured by their trading and other interests. It also assumes too, that if one government gave a certain lead in international affairs other governments would react in a simple practicable way, determined either by fear of opposing a strong group of powers or by mutual desire to maintain world peace. Summits and treaties, the United Nations and international world courts and so on may control minor disputes and delay the major ones, but they have not succeeded in the past decades and will not succeed in the future in preventing war.

In wars, workers have been persuaded to identify with their masters' cause in the mistaken belief that they were fighting for a higher "national interest". Three days before the 1982 invasion, Argentina’s labour unions had planned a mass demonstration against the dictatorship and the idea of a "patriotic"war distracted people from the Junta's pressing domestic policies. But the "national interest" was and always is the capitalist interest. Workers have nothing to gain from fighting the battles of a class whose interests are opposed to their own. World peace is something only to be achieved through socialism. Only by ending the exploitation of man by man can we strike at the roots of war.

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