[Marxism] Re: The Militant and imperialist war - reply to Lueko

lshan at bcn.net lshan at bcn.net
Wed Mar 31 19:33:07 MST 2004

First a self-correction. My reading of The Militant editorial of 4/5/04 was
superficial. The editorial says: "The pro-Spanish imperialist
anti-Americanism promoted by the new social-democratic government, far from
being ³antiwar,² is a deadly prowar poison for working people. It is being
used to politically hitch workers, farmers, and youth in Spain to the
interests of their exploiters."

I jumped to the conclusion that this phrasing implied inter-imperialist
military conflict. However, nowhere in the editorial is this stated. The
wars of plunder, etc., are wars directed towards the South or what used to
be called the "third world." Today, of course, this would include the former
soviet bloc. The Militant asserts that there is a tendency for all of the
imperialist powers to use military force: "[w]hether aligned with the wolves
in Washington or the hyenas in Berlin, Paris, Rome, and Madrid, every
imperialist power will continue to be driven toward wars of plunder.

But the editorial does not say that the imperialist powers will fight each
other. The plunder being described is clearly of the colonial or
semi-colonial world and the former soviet bloc.

Lueko is replying to my own false argument. "My bad" to use a current U.S.

But to continue the discussion, I agree that military force, as well as
economic force, is being used by the U.S. and by European imperialist powers
to gain advantage against each other. They would prefer not to, but it is a
finite world and they are driven to maximize profit and advantage.

Lueko says: "one has also to take into account that currently no imperialist
power would dare to confront the US military might."

The European imperialists have certain advantages that the United States
doesn't: (1) at present, they can fill in for the old Soviet Union role as a
more sympathetic partner for emerging elites; (2) their proximity to the old
Soviet bloc as well as their greater intellectual resources in languages and
level of education gives them an intellectual advantage against the U.S.;
(3) not responsible for the major policing of the world, their military
costs are much lower; (4) by citing the competition with U.S. imperialism,
they may be able to lower their social costs vis-a-vis their own working
class. (I know this is being resisted, but it seems to me that the European
capitalists are seeing this as an opportunity.)

Taken together, for the indefinite future, there is no reason for Europe to
move beyond a competitive military challenge directed against
"underdeveloped economies" to a military challenge directed against the U.S.
Lueko says:

"The situation is marked by the US imperialism using its military
superiority ruthlessly to gain economic advantages over its rivals and
competitors, and German and French imperialist robbers not only posed
as being against the 2003 assault on Iraq because they feared it would
weaken the position of imperialism in general, but also because they
knew that the US imperialism wanted the war to weaken them. The US
demand to all those powers to drop the foreign debt of Iraq towards
them, thus practically forgiving the US as the ruler over Iraq those
billions of dollars, is just one consequence of this.

"This prompts the U.S. competitors and rivals to transform their
military into a force for colonial conquest so that they can get a
share for themselves, independent of the US conquests.

"The tendency is, and it should be stressed that it is a
tendency, that the competitors of the US will be pushed more and
more to the wall until they see no other way than to fight back
directly against the USA.

"But the US policies push them to the point where they will have to
think to fight back. If we will ever reach that point -- I don't know.
But we should keep this tendency in mind, and explain it."

My difference with Lueko (I don't think that it's strong enough to be a
disagreement) is that at the present time, the advantage may actually be
with the European powers and that it is the U.S. that may feel it is being
pushed to the wall. For example, I recall that before 9/11 and its
exploitation for a war on Iraq, European powers were pressing for relaxation
of the U.N. embargo on Iraq. This may have been one of the triggers in the
U.S. decision to get Iraq for itself.

from Brian Shannon

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