Tuesday, February 12, 2019

American Militarism

The United States has held the leading position in the world league of capitalism ever since World War One. Now the American capitalist class must wage a constant struggle to maintain and extend this power against the onslaughts of the other capitalist nations. In the eyes of its historians, the American nation holds a special mission, its manifest destiny, its American exceptionalism, which supposedly distinguishes it from all other nations. It is not surprising that it coincides in content with the material interests of the American ruling class. Socialists neither deny or ignore the peculiarities of America’s economic development. These undoubtedly exist. The peculiarities of American capitalism are a product of the world market, in which American capitalism has always been an integral part of world capitalism.

No ruling class has ever included in its declarations of war that “The fight is for our class interests.” Instead, it is always for God and country, for freedom and liberty, for defence of the homeland, noble sentiments that aims to justify the sacrifice of those who have to do the dying. In today's world or Orwellian double-speak, America goes to war to impose peace, it engages in horrific warfare for humanitarian purposes. Even when having witnessed the carnage and catastrophe of the consequences of the armed conflict, the message is that it was a necessary requirement to destroy the enemy to save them.

 For years the American worker has been the most highly exploited and political backward class in the advanced capitalist nations. The last recession and its lingering effects have intensified the political consciousness of the working class which is being awakened. There is a confirmation of what Marx wrote “Accumulation of wealth at one pole, is therefore, at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole.” (Capital)

Unless the capitalists take drastic steps, they are faced with a working-class opposition, under favourable objective conditions which can develop and transform into revolutionary urgings against the capitalists. More and more workers are acquiring an understanding of the motives for America’s foreign policies. They are learning something about this social system of capitalism. In every hot spot around the world, there has rarely been a time when U.S. policy has not been in support of some despot or reactionary government so long as it was pro-American and pro-Big Business. Choosing to side with dictators are not regrettable and deplorable miscalculations in otherwise international good intentions. Some people are beginning to ask why it is that in every part of the world, there has been a long and sordid history of such “mistaken” alliances. Perhaps it is just American presidents have an attraction and weakness for strong-men dictators. Or is it more likely to protect the interests of American corporations they prop up tyrants. As long as capitalism holds sway, the US leaders cannot project a foreign policy of democracy. Even the faded Great Powers of Europe have to submit to the schemes of the White House and the Pentagon. They are marshalled into obedience and acquiescence by the colossal power of America’s economic giants dominating over them and resistance or even reluctance may lead to significant damage.

Socialists can accept that American presidents do not try to control the world in a megalomaniac desire for power for its own sake. We can also acknowledge a genuine wish when Trump wants to give up being the world’s policeman. But he cannot surrender that role. America is driven to command the world if it is to gain the control and ownership of what its corporations want to ensure economic supremacy. Foreign interventions are the price American business are required to pay for a substantial part of their profits. America’s  capitalists merely desire the fruits of world power. They have to capture one market after another, control one source of raw materials after another, protect one trade route after another. If the Commander-in-Chief can assert his authority over the world through the power of his nation’s economic wealth and industrial power, without direct invasion, all good and well. But when push comes to shove and if the opponent’s “narrow" nationalism creates a problem and obstructs the will of the US president then so be it: Send in the marines and war-planes. It isn’t personal, it is business. That’s the view of American capitalists. It isn’t a sinister plot – it is politics – realpolitik. This is simply the capitalist system in normal operation. Military conflict is no aberration but capitalism working as normal. This is merely international capitalist competition at work. To remain top dog and retain top place America must muscle in on every market and squeeze out its rivals. Does the media recognise this rapacious intent heinous. Of course not. None in the mainstream media question the motives, they simply parrot the official line from the appropriate secretary of state department.

However, many workers in America are now beginning to suspect the cost of America’s foreign involvements and what appears to them as a permanent war economy is why they are not prosperous, despite the wealth they are producing. They are also recognising all the similarities with America's previous sanctions sabre-rattling and wars with today’s confrontation with Venezuela. 

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