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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #288 - international, In the face of competition, where is US imperialism ? (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Wed, 7 Nov 2018 07:15:00 +0200

Russian blitzes or China's rise to power must not blind anyone. While some military equilibrium falters, the United States remains, by far, the main imperialist power, the only one of global scale. We must denounce his actions ... without hushing those of his competitors. ---- After twenty-five years of US hegemony, the return of Russia and the rise of China herald a more multipolar world. Or, to be more exact: a less unipolar world. Indeed, even embarrassed and jostled, the United States remains, by far, the most powerful and deadliest of the imperialisms emerged winners of the Second World War. ---- Russia is capable of conducting military operations in its neighborhood - Syria (since 2015), Ukraine (since 2014), Georgia (2008) - including atrocious colonial wars, as in Chechnya (1994-2004). But its economic fragility limits its claims to a small number of outside theaters.

As for China, it is an economic hyperpower very little hawkish, which has not led a war for almost forty years. It is concerned primarily with the internal order - colonization of Tibet and Muslim Xinjiang -, dominating its neighborhood - the South China Sea - and securing its trade routes to Europe and Africa. It is in this sense that she works to increase her naval and military projection capabilities.

Against the coming of Trump, Putin and Netanyahu in Paris, anti-imperialist demonstration on November 11 at 2 pm, Republic Square
" Trump, Putin, Macron ... against all imperialisms ": Federal leaflet AL to download

Military bases and " lily pads "
The US hyperpower, however, soars far above these two challengers. According to researcher David Vine, the US Army had, in 2017, 516 major bases and 271 small bases (so-called lily pads, " water lilies ") in about 80 countries, to which was added 56 spaces rented or lent to bases military from allied countries. [1]

This huge archipelago, which houses about 200,000 soldiers, represents 95 % of all military bases abroad, all nationalities combined. This network is a permanent base for airborne operations and the six US war fleets that crisscross the planet. Armed with this unparalleled network, the United States has, for twenty years, led several major interventions: war in Afghanistan (2001), occupation of Iraq (2003-2011), bombing in Libya (2011), intervention in Syria (since 2014), to which must be added, since 2004, thousands of drone strikes against al-Qaeda in Pakistan [2], Somalia and Yemen, resulting in hundreds of collateral casualties.

The fact that some of these adventures have turned into a fiasco, however, reminds us that the military hyperpower does not solve everything, even if the intoxication it provides will lead, no doubt, to new deadly adventures.

The archipelago of US bases in the world in 2015.
Click to consult the detailed cartography (15 maps from the work of David Vine).
The US military system is complemented by a system of alliances. The most important is NATO, which includes 29 European states some of which, like France and the United Kingdom, are secondary imperialisms, operating in their own zone of influence - Africa, for France.

When he came to power, Trump had plagued the " burden " of NATO and demanded that his allies contribute more. But there was never any question of leaving NATO. The " deep state " of America [3]would never have allowed it: because of the security solidarity it creates, NATO guarantees European consent to US domination.

Arms race
Despite the explosion of the Chinese military budget and the considerable effort of Russia, the balance of power remains stable. However, technological advances could redistribute the cards, striking obsolescence two of the strengths-masters of the US power.

Click to enlarge
On the one hand, Moscow has developed weapons that could call into question the overwhelming US air superiority. For example, the world's most efficient S-400 anti-aircraft batteries are capable of targeting more than 80 aircraft at a time and prohibiting airspace within a 400-kilometer radius.

On the other hand, Russians and Chinese have successfully tested hypersonic ballistic missiles, capable of exceeding Mach 5, even Mach 8. With the goal to exceed Mach 20 in a few years. At these speeds, existing missile defense systems are caught off guard.

These developments are likely to question part of the Pentagon, to the point of being tempted by the revival of a tactical nuclear arsenal.

In practical terms, this means that the United States would no longer be content with strategic nuclear weapons - of mass destruction - but would also develop medium-range missiles (500 to 5,500 kilometers) for more limited interventions on a conventional battlefield. . It is in this sense that, on October 20, Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Treaty on Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (FNI), signed in 1987 with the USSR to limit tactical nuclear.

Is it bluffing ? Is it about pushing Russia into an arms race that it can not afford ? Is it blackmail to get China to sign the FNI, as Trump asked ?

One thing is certain, between rival imperialists, competing for the control of global resources, the arms race is in full swing, in a quest for unbridled technological innovation.

The people of the world have nothing to gain from this deadly competition, which is not just about entertainment. It carries a permanent risk of skidding war, and it must be denounced without weakening.

This is what we will do on November 11 in Paris, while Emmanuel Macron will host Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin for the centenary of the end of the First World War. The message will be clear: against all imperialisms, no war between peoples, no peace between classes!

Arthur Aberlin (AL Brussels), Guillaume Davranche (AL Montreuil)

Military spending in the world in 2017.
Click to view the visuals of the SIPRI report.
Should secondary imperialisms be supported on the grounds that they defy the principal imperialism ? This policy that " every enemy of the enemy camp is in our camp " is called " campism ". Commonly the far right, the conspiracy, the archaeo-Stalinists, and even some and some anticolonialists are rightly opposed to Washington, but shamefully uncritical towards Russian, Syrian, North Korean, Iranian or Chinese potentates.

For their part, the libertarian communists denounce all the imperialisms and rank themselves on the side of the struggling peoples, in the East as in the West.

In the dominated countries, it is necessary to support the popular forces in fight for the social and national emancipation, in spite of the calumnies accusing them of rolling for a competing imperialism. As has been done for Algerian and Kanak independence activists , South American guerrillas, independent trade unionists from Poland and the USSR, and today the Palestinian left and the Kurdish left in the Middle East.

[1] David Vine, " List of US Bases Abroad, 2017 ", from the book Base Nation: How US Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World , Metropolitan Books / Henry Holt, 2015.

[2]To visualize, on this subject the very eloquent infographic " Out of sight, out of mind " .

[3] " Deep state " refers to the coalition of private and bureaucratic interests that weighs on the political leadership of a country regardless of the government in place.

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