Wednesday, 28 October 2009

US ratchets up pressure on Russia amidst shifting imperial relativities

by Grant Morgan 27 October 2009 During October 2009, Washington suddenly ratcheted up its pressure on Russia. We are starting to see a slide back to a Cold War chill between the world’s two big nuclear powers. Acting on orders from US president Barack Obama, his vice-president Joe Biden toured Eastern Europe where he called for revolutions against authoritarian rule in Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Armenia. Biden specifically named these six countries, which all happen to border Russia. Revolutions against authoritarian rule is, of course, code for pro-US revolutions. Likewise, Biden’s talk about spheres of influence being an outdated 19th century concept is code for Washington’s drive to undermine Moscow’s influence over bordering countries in order to defend US global influence. The US private intelligence agency Stratfor has analysed Washington’s renewed pressure on Moscow and its likely downstream implications. See the essay “Russia, Iran and the Biden Speech” on the Stratfor webpage. Washington’s renewed sabre rattling against Moscow grows out of the relative decline of American imperial power in the face of the economic, political and military rise of China, which is allying with Russia. The 20th century’s two World Wars grew out of Great Power moves to redivide an already divided world at a time of shifting imperial relativities. Now we are beginning to experience something similar with the upturn in Washington’s belligerence towards Moscow as a consequence of America’s relative decline, especially in relation to China. This frightening scenario contains the germs of new wars, possibly on a global scale and including nuclear exchanges. The shifting imperial relativities of the early 21st century both spring from and intersect with the quartet of contradictions driving late capitalism towards global collapse. The profitability crisis, the ecological crisis, the resource crisis and the legitimacy crisis are accelerating and coalescing worldwide. While the existential impacts of this quartet of contradictions may be slowed by intelligent government actions, they cannot be halted. Indeed, they are more likely to be hastened by stupid government actions flowing from the imperatives of competitive profiteering and imperial rivalries. The world is entering very dangerous times as social collapse contradictions become interwoven with shifting imperial relativities. Nearly a century ago, the Marxist Rosa Luxemburg predicted our future in her famous phrase “Socialism or Barbarism”. Given today’s perils of climate warming, nuclear warfare and resource depletion, we possibly need to upgrade her warning to “Socialism or Extinction”. Some of the feedback I get from good people runs along these lines: “We hate and fear what’s happening in the world. But socialism as a global force appears to be dead. There doesn’t seem to be any believable alternative to capitalism.” While I understand these sentiments, I don’t share them. Why? Because the intensification of social contradictions and imperial tensions mean that global capitalism is on a slide towards collapse and revolution. The real question arising within a historically short time period will be: “Capitalism is dying, so what will replace it?” During that interregnum the world will experience turbulent conflicts between opposing social forces. A new global order that’s better, not worse, than capitalism will grow from struggles for practical gains that strengthen the grassroots and weaken the elites. This is the living terrain of a powerful socialist rebirth. This is a process already underway in every country. This is where hope can realistically be found. If you liked this story, forward it to your friends. Feel free to contact the author at Full address of the Stratfor article:

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