[Documents menu] Documents menu

Message-Id: <199803060024.TAA14168@hermes.circ.gwu.edu>
Sender: owner-imap@chumbly.math.missouri.edu
Date: Wed, 4 Mar 98 11:32:50 CST
From: bghauk@berlin.infomatch.com (Brian Hauk)
Subject: Attacks On Iraq Prepare For War Against Workers State In Russia
Organization: InfoMatch Internet—Vancouver BC Article: 29338

Imperialist Attacks On Iraq Are Part Of Preparing For War Against Workers State In Russia

By Naomi Craine, Militant, Vol. 62, no. 9, 9 March 1998

There is the growing danger posed by rogue states with dangerous weapons. There are still questions about the future of Russia, declared Secretary of State Madeleine Albright February 24, addressing the Senate Foreign relations committee on the expansion of NATO.

Her statement highlights the reality that Washington’s war moves in the Arab-Persian Gulf are not simply a drive to bring the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq to its knees. Along with the U.S.-led occupation of Bosnia and Washington’s drive to expand the NATO military alliance eastward, they are a step by the U.S. rulers to put themselves in a position to directly confront the workers states, particularly in Russia, and attempt to restore capitalist rule there through military force.

The world political resolution adopted by the Socialist Workers Party convention in June 1990 explained that Washington had lost the Cold War. This was the term used to describe the strategic military course forced upon U.S. imperialism and its allies in the face of the limitations imposed by the international balance of class forces following World War II. Washington was immediately blocked from pursuing its goal of turning the U.S. military machine to the task of restoring capitalism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, as well as stemming the Chinese revolution, by the refusal of the GIs in 1945 to go back to war. U.S. imperialism was also pushed back by the Korean people in its attempt to overturn the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the early 1950s. By the latter half of that decade, the Soviet Union’s development of nuclear weapons convinced the imperialists that the risks of massive destruction not only of capitalist Europe but also the United States were too great to consider a direct assault against the Soviet and Eastern European workers states.

The imperialists viewed the Cold War as an unavoidable interlude, during which they hoped the workers states would become sufficiently weakened by Stalinist demoralization of the working class to make possible their destruction. But despite all the horrors meted out to working people in the name of socialism by the former Stalinist regimes, workers were not so badly defeated by the bureaucratic castes in these countries that they have simply been ready to acquiesce to, let alone internalize, all the culture, values, and attitudes that are necessary for the expanation of capitalist relations.

The crumbling of the Warsaw Pact military alliance under these conditions sharply accelerates the disintegration of the reactionary NATO military alliance, which was already under growing strains from intensifying interimperialist competition and shifting alignments among the rival capitalist nations, the 1990 resolution said. But the U.S. rulers will continue to use their overall nuclear and conventional military dominance to exercise political power within the imperialist system greater than their economic might would otherwise allow.

The article The Opening Guns of World War III, based on talks by SWP national secretary Jack Barnes immediately following the U.S.-led slaughter in Iraq in 1991, explained that the Gulf War was the first war since the close of World War II that grew primarily out of the intensified competition and accelerating instability of the crises-ridden old imperialist world order. It exacerbated all social and political conflicts, and guaranteed Washington would never again be able to force together the same kind of coalition to advance the aims of U.S. capital. Washington’s imperialist rivals, especially in Paris, Bonn, and Tokyo, became more determined to not be put in the position of having to support a war that will benefit their U.S. rival at their expense.

Built on bones of Yugoslavia

Since 1991, the U.S. rulers have continued the course of using their military superiority to press an advantage against their rivals, while getting into position to launch an attack on the workers states. The clearest example is in Yugoslavia.

As the Stalinist apparatus that had dominated Yugoslavia began to disintegrate at the start of the 1990s, members of the petty-bourgeois layer that ruled that country organized along nationalist lines, scrambled to grab territory and resources for themselves to maintain or augment their privileged way of life. Bonn, Paris, and other imperialist governments in Europe gave support to different warring parties, fueling the slaughter. Washington adopted a let it bleed attitude for a while, gradually bringing to bear arms shipments and sporadic air power to increase their leverage in the conflict and block the aims of their European rivals.

After undermining each attempt by its capitalist rivals to impose a resolution in their interests under the aegis of the European Union or United Nations, the Clinton administration stepped in to impose a peace accord signed on a U.S. military base in Dayton, Ohio, at the end of 1995. That accord—bearing the name of a Midwestern U.S. city—spelled out the partition of the Yugoslav republic of Bosnia and its occupation by tens of thousands of NATO troops, with Washington in the dominant role—the first imperialist attempt to use direct military force to crush working-class resistance in one of the workers states in Europe and push through the restoration of capitalism. Washington and its NATO allies/rivals have still not achieved this aim, despite years of war and two years of direct occupation of Yugoslavia. Last December, Clinton announced that U.S. troops would stay in Bosnia indefinitely. In recent months they have stepped up military operations in the name of capturing war criminals.

Drive to push NATO boundary east

The imperialist intervention in Bosnia served as a springboard for Washington’s drive to expand NATO eastward, repositioning U.S. troops and possibly nuclear weapons up to the border of the former Soviet Union. The bottom line is that Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic are already behaving as loyal allies, Albright told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, arguing for approval of the treaty bringing these regimes into NATO. In addition to joining Washington’s war plans in the Gulf, she said, When we asked them to put their soldiers in harm’s way in Bosnia they did not hesitate. When we asked Hungary to open its bases to American troops, so they could deploy safely to Bosnia, it did not hesitate.

NATO is a military alliance, not a social club, Albright added.

Russian officials correctly see this as directly aimed against Moscow. Last May Boris Yeltsin, in response to Washington’s drive to expand the NATO military alliance declared, Since Krushchev’s Cuban crisis, there hasn’t been such a sharp issue in relations between Russia and the United States, which concerns Russia’s interests to the degree that everyone should think about it, Americans and Europeans.

In October 1962, U.S. president John Kennedy imposed a naval blockade on Cuba and brought the world to the brink of nuclear war with the Soviet Union over Havana’s acquisition of missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

During the recent U.S. military buildup in the Arab- Persian Gulf, Yeltsin twice warned that Washington could run into a world war through its military actions.

For most workers, the only imperialist wars they’ve known have been aimed at the subjugation of semicolonial nations. But the 1990-91 assault on Iraq and the U.S.-led occupation of Bosnia will more and more be the pattern of imperialist wars in the coming years. This was among the questions socialist workers and youth discussed at a series of regional socialist educational conferences held in Chicago, Birmingham, Toronto, and Seattle between October 1997 and January 1998. SWP national secretary Barnes gave one of the main presentations at each of these conferences.

Speaking in Toronto, Barnes pointed out that this period is the first time since the 1930s that the economic crises bred by capitalism are coming home to the imperialist countries. An economic collapse is especially looming in Europe, where the capitalist economies are relatively weaker and the rulers have been so far incapable of driving down wages and living conditions to the same extent as those in the United States.

As part of the preparations for the wars it is driven to launch against working people around the world, intertwined with attacks on workers at home, the rulers in every imperialist country need to convince working people to put the interests of the nation first. Working people need to reject all forms of economic nationalism, Barnes said. That was the point of the main banner at the conferences, which read, Ask not what you can do for `your country.’ Ask what you can do for your class.