Why Washington Wants Afghanistan

Gorojovsky Gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar
Tue Sep 18 06:06:15 MDT 2001


En relación a Re: Why Washington Wants Afghanistan, 
el 17 Sep 01, a las 19:13, Louis Proyect dijo (de atrás para adelante):

> Stratfor with 
> a Leftish veneer. Geopolitics without a class analysis is 
> antithetical to everything that Marx, Engels and Lenin strived for. 

Yes, that's right, but provided the "leftish veneer" _is_ there. In the mail 
Lou is responding to there is something different, a _leftist reading_ of 
_basic bourgeois geopolitical goals_ as stated by Cold War and post-Cold War 
intelligentsia. The line is much nearer to that established in the River Plate 
by the Uruguayan Socialist Vivian Trías than to Stratfor. As he used to say, 
geopolitics is a child of imperial distress, but this does not make it the less 
useful for us, when appropriate. Trías was one of the first in Uruguay who 
argued for the union of the River Plate basin areas with Brazil as the only way 
out for the shrinking "Switzerland of South America", and the first one _from 
the Left_. Galeano has learnt much from him, and in fact his complete works 
have been published again by the Uruguayan Parliament due to Galeano's 
campaign.

Uruguay, just as Afghanistan, are _geopolitical creations_, archetypal buffer 
states. It is impossible to understand the material realities behind them, and 
by material I mean _both economic, geographic, political, historic and social_, 
without at the same time placing the game of power between states on land 
masses (that is, geopolitics) in the first plane. No Marxist assessment and 
critical understanding of this scorched and rugged patch of land can be 
effective that does not center on geopolitics, in the same way that no Marxist 
assessment and critical understanding of the bourgeoisie of the Rhine can be 
effective that does not center on the German philosophical tradition, and so 
on.

Marxist geopolitics is definitely NOT "bourgeois geopolitics + class analysis", 
and most definitely NOT "bourgeois geopolitics + economic structural 
explanation". This has been long debated by Marxist geographers, particularly 
those in the French tradition. I think that those interested might refer to 
writers such as Yves Lacoste.

But, more pointedly, let us see what are Lou's criticisms to Israel, Rozzof & 
Varkevisser [IRV for short]:

> On Mon, 17 Sep 2001 18:50:12 EDT, Borba100 at aol.com wrote:
> >Second, this scare tactic is meant to divert
> >attention from Washington's real  strategy, far
> >more dangerous than the threat to bomb many
> >states. Washington  wants to take over
> >Afghanistan in orderto speed up the fulfillment
> >of its  strategy of pulverizing the former
> >Soviet Republics as Washington in the same  way
> >that Washington has been pulverizing the former
> >Yugoslavia. This poses  the gravest risks to
> >mankind.
> 

> As I have tried to explain to enemies of Yugoslavia, the 
> thrust of the attack was to introduce privatization in the one 
> Eastern European state that resisted it. Yeltsin and Putin have 
> offered no resistance whatsover. 

Well, this is in my opinion a shallow economicism that is frankly below Lou's 
best. "Privatization" is not everything that counts in a world where the Soviet 
Union does not exist any more. The geographical facts exposed by IRV on the 
article are very important once privatization has been made. Russia may be 
transformed into a colony, but this is easier to do (because this process is 
still on its tracks) by splitting her further and further. Brzezinski, who can 
be anything but not "Stratfor with a leftish veneer", has clearly exposed the 
elementary reasons why. They can be summed up into a single general 
consideration:  Russia is simply too large, to rich in resources, and too 
populated not to become a permanent menace by the generation of a consciousness 
of its potentialities for -even bourgeois- development. This cannot be 
tolerated by the hegemonic imperialist power, precisely when a new global 
recession is setting in. They did not tolerate a semi-independent Argentina, 
why would they leave the menace of a semi-independent Russia latent? In this 
sense, and much to the horror of Lou and others, even Putin (though probably 
not Yeltsin) is progressive when compared to Bush. And in the Afghan issue we 
are comparing Putin and Bush, that is the Russian state and the American state. 


> That is the reason that Clinton told 
> Time Magazine that Yeltsin was like Lincoln. Both men were engaged in 
> a life and death fight against secession. It is also the reason that 
> the USA advanced Russia a half-billion dollar loan during the Nato 
> bombing of Yugoslavia which was intended as a cushion to be used in 
> the privatization process.

Not necessarily so. This loan also served to bribe "Russia" into its task, 
performed by Chernomyrdin, of putting the Yugoslavs against the wall by leaving 
them unsupported during the talks. The fact that Yeltsinites accepted this role 
shows the depth of their betrayal to the interests not only of the Russian 
working class (this would be stupid) but also of Russia in general, which, of 
course, does exist as a historical entity (and not in a reactionary sense).

Nobody can disagree with Lou when he states, below, that although 
> 
> >... Russia [is] spectacularly large, with
> >incalculable wealth, mostly  untapped, [...]
> >the only world class nuclear power besides the
> >U.S.  Contrary to popular opinion, Russia
> >[...] is arguably stronger, in relation to the US,
> >than during the early  period of the cold war.
> >It has the most sophisticated submarine
> >technology in  the world.
> 
> Politics comes first, not munitions.

Yes, politics come first. But politics, when we are talking of a specific 
situation of geographical deployment of forces by a world power, a deployment 
which encircles another power and attempts to fragment her, is also extension 
and ammo. Without politics you cannot keep the nukes working, nor the subs 
stalking. 

_This_ kind of politics, the old politics of the overwhelming Russian state, 
has not been grazed to the ground by the wave of reaction that set in during 
the late 80s, early 90s. That this state is not a workers' state (how long is 
it that the Soviet state could not be defined as such without blushing, 
however?) makes little difference. The US wants _no_ strong states in the 
colonial and semicolonial world. Neither do the European bourgeoisies (though, 
of course, they would love a world without the US, which is an entirely 
different story). In a sense (and Deutscher has pointed this out superbly), the 
Russian Revolution of October was both a socialist and a national revolution. 
The socialist contents, eventually, faded away in the tragic process which led 
to Stalinism and its necessary outcome, Khruschev. But the "national" component 
remained in the figure of a much ravaged but still strong state.

The task of the US in the Old Continent is far from completed if it does not 
destroy the last _potential_ rallying points for the newly colonized masses of 
Eastern and South Eastern Europe, as well as for the newly colonized masses of 
Central Asia. A "working" Russian state may become a dangerous competitor, and 
moreover, since we all know that workers' struggles strive in economic booms 
and not in economic troughs, then the old traditions of the Russian working 
class may be born again if Russia is given an inch of breathing space, even as 
a _bourgeois_ Russia. The imperialists are not fool enough not to realize this.

So that when Lou answers to

> 
> >If the U.S. can break up Russia and the other
> >former Soviet Republics into  weak territories,
> >dominated by NATO, Washington would have a free
> >hand.

that

> 
> This already took place.

I am afraid he does not realize how deep is the necessity of the imperialist 
bourgeoisies (even his own bourgeoisie) to smash entirely any possibility of 
resurgence of a strong rallying power in Northern Asia and Northeastern Europe. 
What has taken place, up to now, has been the fragmentation of the Soviet 
Union. What the imperialists are after, and not because they are bad guys, but 
because they are imperialists, is the fragmentation of the Russian Federation. 
It is only the resistence by the Russian State (Chechnya) or the eventual 
resistence by the Russian masses that can stop them.

I am afraid that our task is to support not only the Russian masses against 
imperialists, also the Russian state. Such is life, dear comrades, in this age 
of capitalist final rot.

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar
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