[Marxism] Fwd: The imperialist carve-up of Ukraine: where does the left and anti-war movement stand? - International Viewpoint - online socialist magazine

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Aug 24 18:46:11 MDT 2014

Today, capitalism is a global intertwined and integrated system under US 
hegemony [11] in a way which it was not in 1914. The two world wars of 
the 20th century were mainly wars of inter-imperialist rivalry to gain 
or maintain control of areas of the world. The outcome of these wars was 
the establishment of the USA by far and away as the major power in the 
world, ruling the capitalist system through its massive economic and 
even greater military power, and through institutions such as the World 
Bank, the IMF and NATO. This global capitalist system has further 
expanded with the restoration of capitalism in Russia and China, but 
this does not mean that inter-imperialist rivalries and the threat of 
regional wars are no longer on the agenda.

The form of US hegemony in operation today means that weaker states are 
allowed to pursue their own imperialist ambitions and regional 
geo-strategic interests, including through military interventions 
conditional on them at least not challenging the main thrust of US 
interests; something which is delicate to achieve as the imperialist 
ambitions of Russia and China have to a certain extent be at the expense 
of US imperialism. If they step out of line, they become “rogue” states 
that have to be subdued militarily as in the case of Iraq, or sanctions 
imposed such as for Iran and now Russia. To maintain weaker states 
within the framework of US imperialism, the latter has to carry out a 
lot of sabre-rattling. This is a dangerous game, as any incident such as 
the accidental downing of MH17 in Ukraine, or of the Iran Air plane by 
the US navy in 1988 killing 269 people, can rapidly escalate into a full 
military confrontation, the dynamics of which may no longer be in the 
hands of US imperialism and its allies. But sabre-rattling should not be 
confused with a dynamic towards inter-imperialist war like that leading 
to the two world wars. This is not the nature of the period today.

As long as Russia remains within its regional geo-strategic sphere, 
Western imperialism (i.e. the USA and NATO) is not greatly concerned by 
Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The few sanctions against Russia 
announced are so far symbolic – mainly against individuals – and there 
are deep divisions on extending them because of arms and gas deals, and 
because of the globalisation of the capitalist system. Sanctions that 
hurt Russian capitalism also affect Western capitalism.

This explains why US imperialism is not worried about Russia backing 
Bashar al-Assad in Syria with a continuous supply of arms. There is a 
coincidence of interests between both countries as neither wants Bashar 
al-Assad to fall. The collapse of his regime would revive the stalled 
“Arab spring”, threatening not just Russia’s naval base in Tartus, but 
also the US attempt to rebuild its credibility in the region and 
possibly overturning Syria’s “peaceful co-existence” with Is

full: http://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article3529

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