Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Sep 16 20:28:13 MDT 1999

Warwick wrote:

>       Nice point, Alan. Those on this list screaming about the
>Australian "intervention" seem to be forgetting that this is basically a
>UN intervention. Their attention should also be drawn, I think to the fact

(written 5 or so years ago during a discussion on the old Marxism list
about UN/Nato intervention in Bosnia):

It is important to understand that just as the Zimmerwald left was the
Third International in embryonic form, so were the allied powers in WWII in
incipient form the future United Nations. The allies often referred to
themselves as the United Nations. In Browder's 1942 "Victory and After," a
defense of WWII as a "people's war," he constantly refers to England, the
United States and the USSR as the "United Nations." For example, he says
"The various pacts and agreement, announced on June 11 [1942], complete the
foundations for policy required for victory of the United Nations. They
confirm the character of the war as a Peoples' War of National Liberation.
They consolidate the alliance of the three nations [England, US and USSR]
whose close cooperation is essential to victory, and to rousing, arming,
and leading the peoples of the world for that victory. They deliver a
smashing blow against Hitler's Fifth Column. They open the perspective of a
post-war world where it will be possible to reconstruct the shattered
nations and an international order among nations, avoiding much of the
unnecessary chaos and civil war that followed the armistice of W.W.I. They
arouse the enthusiasm and fighting spirit of the people, that morale which
the greatest military genius has always recognized as having for victory
three times the value of armaments."

Woven into this bellicose chatter is a belief that has cropped up
continuously in our discussion of the civil war in former Yugoslavia. Can
this combination of England, the United States and former Soviet Union,
which is rapidly changing its class character, along with other capitalist
nations, help to prevent "unnecessary chaos and civil war"?

How grounded is this belief in reality?

England, United States and the Soviet Union formed the United Nations
within the context of diplomatic jockeying over how to divide the spoils of
WWII. These discussions took place at Yalta and Potsdam, and influenced
completely the decisions shaping the character of the UN. Behind all of the
human rights and democracy rhetoric accompanying the creation of the UN,
power politics lay beneath the surface.

The United States sought to capitalize on its impending victory in the
Pacific. Sumner Welles, under heavy criticism, disavowed charges in March
1943 that "the Pacific should be a lake under American jurisdiction..."
Great Britain, for its part, sought to maintain its imperial power.
Churchill wrote Eden at the time, "If the Americans want to take Japanese
islands which they have conquered, let them do so with our blessing and any
form of words that may be agreeable to them. But 'Hands Off the British
Empire' is our maxim." Stalin's goal was more modest. All he desired was a
series of buffer states between Western Europe and the Soviet Union that
would be under its sphere of influence. Stalin, despite all of Browder's
happy talk, was rightly nervous about another attack from the capitalist West.

To get a flavor of United States thinking at the time of formation of the
UN, let's eavesdrop in on a telephone conversation between War Department
official John J. McCloy and the State Department's Henry L. Stimson, who
were discussing the usefulness of the "peace" organization in furthering
imperialist interests.

McCloy: ...the argument is that if you extend that to the regional
arrangement against non-enemy states, Russia will want to have the same
thing in Europe and Asia and you will build up these big regional systems
which may provoke even greater wars and you've cut out the heart of the
world organization.

Stimson: Yes.

McCloy: That the whole idea is to use collective action and by these
exceptions you would...

Stimson: of course you'll, you'll cut into the size of the new organization
by what you agreed to now...

McCloy: Yes, that's right. That was recognized...and maybe the same nation
that had done the underhanded stirring up might veto any action any action
by the regional arrangement to stop it--to put a stop to the aggression.
Now that's the thing that they [Russia] are afraid of, but, and it's a real
fear and they have a real asset and they are a real military asset to us.

Stimson: Yes,

McCloy: but on the other hand we have a very strong interest in being able
to intervene promptly in Europe where the--twice now within a generation
we've been forced to send our sons over some...

Stimson: Yes

McCloy: relatively minor Balkan incident, and we don't want to lose the
right to intervene promptly in Europe merely for the sake of preserving our
South American solidarity [this is not "solidarity" in the sense of
Committee in Solidarity with the Peoples of El Salvador] because after all
we, we will have England, England's navy and army, if not France's on our
side, whereas the South American people are not particularly strong in
their own right, and the armies start in Europe and they don't start in
South America. However, I've been taking the position that we ought to have
our cake and eat it too; that we ought to be free to operate under this
regional arrangement in South America, at the same time intervene promptly
in Europe; that we oughtn't to give away either asset...

Stimson: I think so, decidedly, because in the Monroe Doctrine that runs
into hemispherical solidarity...

McCloy: Yes

Stimson: we've gotten something we've developed over the decades...

McCloy: Yes

Secretary: and it's in, it's an asset in case, and I don't think it ought
to be taken away from us....


So when we approach the UN hat in hand and implore them to "stop the
killing" in former Yugoslavia, let's not forget that the words above
reflect the true origins and purpose of this organization. There is no
difference between Henry Stimson and John McCloy, on one hand, and Warren
Christopher and Bill Clinton, on the other. All of them are representatives
of the United States ruling class and when we appeal to them we are
implicitly appealing to the Board of Directors of General Electric, Boeing,
Chrysler, etc. In other words, we are addressing same war criminals that
brought us the Korean War, the Vietnam War, nuclear brinkmanship, and a
host of other inhumanities.

Louis Proyect

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