China in the 70s - with extensions

Jorn Andersen ccc6639 at
Tue May 14 18:36:27 MDT 1996

Paul Gallagher wrote - about China, Vietnam, Campuchea and US war
with Iraq (Gulf War II). An he asked a lot of "broad" questions.
So please excuse me for a "broad" reply.

(I haven't read Rolf Martens so I'll not take off from there, but
>from your letter only.)

1. Trying to understand the twists and turns of various regimes
(be it China, the US or Iraq) by looking to the rhetorics of
the rulers of these regimes is a blind alley. It's got to be
the other way round: If you understand the material background
to the actions of these regimes then the rhetorics can be

2. I think for post-1949 China these twists and turns can be best
understood by putting China in cathegory with Japan, Germany,
Russia and the US. Each of the regimes are acting on a scene
of capitalist competition and rivalry.
Lenin and Bucharin's theory of imperialism (with updates like
the theory of state capitalism and the theory of the permanent
arms economy) is the best theoretical framework to understand
this scene.

3. During the Cold War this scene was dominated by the rivalry
between US and USSR. Most of the world was carved up between
these two powers. When China re-entered the world scene it had
to loosen its ties to Russia. For two reasons:
- China would not risk confrontation with the much stronger US
- China would need access to more advanced Western technology
(and later finance)

China's relations to US, Pakistan/India, Angola and Vietnam
was decided by the same considerations which decided foreign
relations in the US, the USSR or other imperialist powers.
I.e. not by concerns for Democracy, Freedom, Communism, but
by concerns for power and influence.

(This hasn't changed after the end of the Cold War though
the relations of forces have.)

4. US War with Iraq
If you took a snapshot at the time Iraq invaded Kuwait you
could argue with good reasons that it was a question of
the national self-determination of Kuwait. But as soon
as the US entered the scene and started the largest miltary
build-up since Korea and Vietnam the whole scene changed.

To workers in Iraq the threat from US intervention became a
much stronger one than the immediate threat from the existence
of the regime of Saddam Hussein.
To workers in the imperialist powers there should be no
doubts that they should oppose the imperialist adventures of
their rulers.
In Iraq imperialist intervention made sure that Hussein stayed
in charge and that thousands of oppositionists were killed.

With US-Iraq war and even more during imperialist intervention
in Yugoslavia a substantial part of present and especially
former left-wingers have failed the lithmus test: They chose
to side with the US - the world's strongest imperialist power.

Paul, what do *you* think?


Jorn Andersen


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