“the Department of Defense will be prepared to defend the homeland, remain the preeminent military power in the world, ensure the balances of power remain in our favor, and advance an international order that is most conducive to our security and prosperity.”
To the Empire, the mass starvation of children via sanctions is merely another tool of war under the banner of human rights and a “rules-based international order.”
With China the official primary adversary, Trump has taken warfare by sanctions to new heights. He wildly strewed “secondary sanctions” everywhere, targeting entire countries and corporations for perceived “bad behavior.”
China does not stand alone. The U.S. now wages open economic warfare against Iran, China and Russia, the Forces of Development (FOD). Venezuela and Cuba are among their ranks as well. This U.S. Trade War has been wreaking havoc on the rest of the world economy, including the U.S. Trump had tried to “decouple” China from trade with the West so China simply responded by reinforcing its supply chains and decoupling itself from the U.S.
Russia and Iran have done the same. Vladimir Putin has remarked that the U.S. has sanctioned everything in Russia that can be sanctioned, and “We all have made a very serious and great step to increase our economic and technical sovereignty. In this sense, all these limitations and sanctions were useful for our economy.”
Weapon #1. Dollars.
The West’s most potent weapon has been its control of the world’s reserve currency, the Almighty Dollar. But the U.S. sanctions have exacted a heavy toll from the European and U.S. economies. The Europeans seek trade relations with both Russia and China. Germany, the powerhouse of the European Union (EU) in particular, has defied U.S. sanctions by allowing Chinese telecom giant Huawei and its -advanced 5G network to operate in Germany. 31% of German car sales and 40% of German car revenue come from China. The Russia to Germany Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is nearing completion, and Germany’s Angela Merkel continues to defy U.S. pressure.
The Europeans are now in the slow, painful process of breaking away from Dollar dominance. More and more, their trade with Russia and China is conducted in Rubles and Yuan. Ways are found to ship U.S.-sanctioned oil for Iran and Venezuela to sell on the world market. Cracks are appearing within the EU. As U.S. and EU vaccination plans sputter, China is offering its vaccines to the developing world, and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine has passed its trials. The U.S. is increasingly despised.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is the centerpiece of China’s international development strategy. The BRI has engaged 138 countries including 46 African countries plus countries in Europe and Latin America. China’s method is to make “friends.” In other words, they seek mutually beneficial industrial and infrastructure projects, while respecting each country’s internal affairs. (See Hudson on “Railroads” in part 1.) Other associations China belongs to:
- Shanghai Cooperation Organisation: founded in 2001 by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan
- Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership: 15 countries, forming the world’s largest trading bloc
- Comprehensive Agreement on Investment: with the European Union, pending ratification.
The U.S. tries to bludgeon the world into isolating China, as China moves into the future. But the country is just too damn big (GDP of $14.14 trillion, second only to the U.S.). With a population of 1.4 billion, its potential as a consumer market is irresistible.
It is projected that the Chinese economy will surpass the U.S. absolutely by 2025, as the U.S. economy lurches from crisis to crisis. Already the case pre-Covid, the pandemic has drastically accelerated the process. China crushes Covid. The U.S. approaches 5,000 Covid deaths per day. In 2020, Chinese GDP grew by 2.3%, while the U.S. 2020 GDP was a negative 4.6%. The European Union’s GDP has shrunk by 7.4%, with governments going back into lockdowns.
Weapon #2. “Human Rights.”
“Make them accountable!” is the bipartisan buzz-phrase for punishing the “malign” activities and “bad behavior” of enemies of the “rules-based international order.” America’s Weapon #2 is “Human Rights,” aka R2P or “Right to Protect,” brought to you by the country which has built the largest prison system in the world. All hail Madeline Albright, who when asked whether sanctions against Iraq which killed half a million Iraqi children were worth it, brusquely affirmed, “The price is worth it.”
Regular as clockwork, we have been treated to the latest atrocities, including:
- Syria’s repeated poisoning of civilians.
- Russian interference in 2016 and 2020 elections.
- Russian bounties for the Taliban to kill Americans.
- Chinese bounties for the Taliban to kill Americans.
- Russian hackers into U.S. databases.
Unnamed “sources” or “officials” declare that “investigation proves” or a “report was released” with “allegations” of some new atrocity. Outfits like West-aligned Human Rights Watch and the U.S. Congress-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) chime in. MSNBC and CNN go whole hog. The echo chamber bounces it around for a week. Government leaders in the U.S. and Europe demand that someone must be “held accountable.”
Investigators investigate. Sources are discredited, and the story falls apart. But it remains part of some permanent rap sheet.
The pump is primed. The inauguration of Joe Biden marked the starting gun for a full-scale assault on China and Russia. The hot charge against China is Chinese genocide against the Uyghurs in in northwest China’s Xinjiang Province. The choreography is exquisite.
- January 19, Pompeo declares that China has committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs.”
- January 20, Biden gets inaugurated.
- January 27, new Secretary of State Antony Blinken announces that genocide was committed against the Uyghurs.
- January 29, Intercept pumps out an 11,000 word exposé, “Millions of Leaked Police Files Detail Suffocating Surveillance of China’s Uyghur Minority,” along with 25 secret surveillance reports.
That there are “Millions of Leaked Police Files” indicates the work of U.S. intelligence services. Author Yael Grauer’s most auspicious writing credit is Forbes magazine. Main quoted sources are:
- Adrian Zenz, from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation;
- Maya Wang, of the above-mentioned Human Rights Watch;
- Abduweli Ayul, a Fellow of the Ford Foundation, which has employed “numerous US intelligence agents and has a long-standing relationship with the CIA;
Scrutiny of the article and its 25 accompanying files reveals that China does heavy-duty surveillance of Xinjiang province where Uyghur separatists have carried out a series of mass killings over the years against China’s Han ethnic majority. China is on the lookout for “wild imams,” i.e., unauthorized Islamic preachers. China does New York City-style “Stop and Frisk.” Say what you will, this is not genocide.
Moon of Alabama dismantles those claims:
“In 1953 there were 3.6 million Uyghur in Xinjiang. In 2000 there were 8.4 million. Wikipedia says that in 2018 Xinjiang had a total population of 25 million of which 11.3 million are ethnic Uyghur.”
Per Wikipedia, China states the current Uyghur population in Xinjiang region to be just over 12 million. Dealing with a population of 1.4 billion people, Chinese law mandates that each couple can have only two children. This law is uniformly applied to both Uyghurs and the majority-Han population. Uyghurs are pressured to learn the Chinese language. The policy would be correctly called “assimilationist.” This is not genocide.
Dry those tears. We now have the Aleksei Navalny hysteria, orchestrated by the usual suspects. Hand-picked for the hatchet job is Victoria Nuland, Biden’s new Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Nuland served as U.S. ambassador to NATO in Brussels, where her job was mobilizing European support for the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan. She, along with Biden, ran the political side of the 2013-14 US coup d’etat in Ukraine.
Aleksei Navalny, “Russia’s most prominent opposition leader,” was allegedly poisoned on a Russian plane, and flown to Germany for treatment, where his first words on regaining consciousness were that “Putin did it.” He has just been sentenced to over two years in prison for violating his probation for convictions for embezzlement of funds. Thousands of Russians have taken to the streets.
The story stinks to high heaven, thoroughly debunked. Says Putin, “If they really wanted to poison him, they’d have finished the job.”
But now Navalny is the superstar of MSNBC and CNN. He has a political history as a Russian nationalist, is anti-immigrant, and fascist. But his anti-Putin pronouncements, and the coverage of the media, say nothing other than that Navalny is “anti-corruption.” This makes him the perfect blank slate, for the U.S. and EU forces that he collaborates with. Navalny’s foundation (FBK) actually wrote Biden with a list of 35 people asking that they be sanctioned for being “oligarchs” in cahoots with Putin.
Biden is now calling world leaders (or rather European leaders) to discuss how Russia is to be “held accountable.”
Weapon #3. Guns.
Biden’s foreign affairs gang are basically heavy-duty neocons from the Obama/Biden administration who have worked together for years. They are back in the saddle and raring to go. American Exceptionalism has taken on an almost religious character (like in the Crusades). Their unleashing the Dogs of War is a real danger. And I don’t mean “war” in a metaphorical sense.
Certainly the FOD are not to be found unprepared. Iran and China have signed a 25-year Cooperation Program which includes a military component. China, Russia, and Iran last month held massive joint military drills in what Beijing dubs a “comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation in a new era.”
Furthermore, the Chinese and Russian economies are inextricably integrated with the world economy. Wall Street knows their economies could not withstand full-scale war. If that isn’t enough to deter the full crazies, there is the fact that Russia has a full nuclear arsenal, including hypersonic, “precision-guided” missiles that could strike American cities in minutes. China is not far behind.
Hypersonics allow Russia and China to match the U.S. in the arms race without the massive expenditures in overseas bases, tanks, ships and planes that bleed the U.S. economy with its 800 bases around the world If the U.S. did launch a nuclear strike, the hypersonics could destroy the U.S. within minutes. Remember when they called it the “Balance of Terror”?
Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and Yemen produce their own missiles. Iran produces “starter-kits,” for precision-guidance of those missiles, capable of being carried in a suitcase. The Iranians have lots of suitcases Hezbollah and the Yemenis have already demonstrated how they could devastate Israeli cities and Saudi-Arabian oil facilities. Israel knows it can still bellow like Goliath, but is painfully aware that it walks a tight-rope.
Nor is Iran vulnerable to conventional land invasion. Ramin Mazaheri writes in “Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism”:
“I would be quite pleased to see the faces of invading troops the moment they see how forbidding the mountains are in Iran. Iran is even more mountainous than Afghanistan, the Hindu Kush is deeper, but the Zabros Mountains alone are twice as long, and slightly steeper than the Rocky Mountains. The Alborz Mountains are steeper still. So the Basj [neighborhood councils permeating every aspect of Iranian society] are blessed with terrain from which to fight down from … mountains, seas and desert in every direction.”
Remember how well the invasion of Afghanistan went, with half of Iran’s land mass? A peak of 140,000 troops (100,000 of them American) couldn’t conquer it, and right now the U.S. doesn’t have another 100,000 troops to spare.
The U.S. has very limited options.
The Green Party in the World Arena.
It’s easy to get depressed, as we look across a field strewn with the bleached bones of what was once an independent left. Back in the 60s and 70s, before its demise, the Soviet Union was a superpower giving a counterbalance to the U.S. Empire. In addition to material support, the Soviet Union helped create the space for national liberation movements to free themselves from European colonialism.
Then the Soviet Union fell. Without that anchor, the national liberation movements in Asia and Africa could not sustain themselves. Prospects for the Left looked increasingly bleak, its anti-imperialist stance falling by the wayside. The gravitational pull of the Democratic Party was overwhelming. The Left went domestic. It slowly but steadily absorbed into the Democratic Party. How so? It had poured into the streets oppose Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, but wouldn’t lift a finger once the warmonger was Barack Obama.
During the Trump regime, getting rid of Trump was an obsession. When Extinction Rebellion swept Europe to fight Climate Change, the U.S. Left barely cast a shadow.
The 2020 plunge into the Biden campaign marked the bitter end. Establishment Democrats like to admonish us with Franklin Roosevelt’s “I want to do it, now make me do it” line. But Biden doesn’t even want to do it, and the Left gave away whatever leverage it had to make him do anything.
Denis Rogatyuk writes in the January 7 Jacobin that the “Way to Defeat Authoritarian Power Grabs Is Mass Mobilization in the Streets”:
“The response of the Left, the labor movement, and the millions of anti-fascists across the United States and the world should be the same regardless of what actions Trump and his supporters take to cling onto power: mass, ongoing mobilizations.”
Inspirational. Paul Street writes in the January 15 CounterPunch:
“To speak the truth on what the nation faced would have meant calling for millions to turn off their televisions and get off the Internet long enough to take to the streets and public squares to build a transformative mass movement for regime change beneath and beyond the holy quadrennial election cycle.”
Quite bold. However, both are totally lacking in specificity as to how to make it happen. They call for mass mobilization, but they aren’t talking to the masses. They aren’t talking to the grassroots of Black Lives Matter. They are talking to each other. Sorry, you don’t simply “call for” building a mass movement. You build one. Is that so hard to grasp?
The Green Party is still standing. It’s been a hard year. The party ran Howie Hawkins for president and Angela Walker for Vice President and received a respectable 402,000 votes. But the fight for the nomination was a mess, featuring an “unprincipled opposition bloc” of unserious anti-Howie candidates led by Dario Hunter. Their unifying message was to smear Howie and the party’s national leadership for corruption (charges which were overwhelmingly rejected by the July nominating convention). Hunter and the others have mainly sailed off into oblivion.
Additionally, others in the party did not like that Howie was running an explicitly socialist, working class and Black community empowerment campaign. In 2016, the party had officially added “IV. Economic Justice & Sustainability” to its platform, stating:
“we will build an economy based on large-scale green public works, municipalization, and workplace and community democracy. Some call this decentralized system ‘ecological socialism.’”
More damaging yet, the party was flying into the teeth of the “Anybody but Trump” hurricane. This hurricane exerted an enormous pressure on Greens whose friends were running off to campaign for Biden.
Green Party must be among the Forces of Development.
The electoral arena is one of the few venues for getting our message out to the masses. We are the progressive electoral challenge to the Democratic Party. And we offer solutions that are on a scale commensurate with the crises the U.S. and the world are facing. We are facing another even more deadly hurricane in the coming years.
From the above-mentioned “National Defense Strategy”:
“In competition short of armed conflict, revisionist powers and rogue regimes [you know who] are using corruption, predatory economic practices, propaganda, political subversion, proxies, and the threat or use of military force.”
We have already examined some military and economic aspects of our struggle. More must be said on the ideological front, the “war of ideas.” Why do “propaganda and political subversion” receive such prominent mention in a Defense Department document? The Forces of Death must destroy the FOD — lest they lose their allies around the world to their very own people.
To reiterate Hudson:
“Today’s New Cold War is a conflict of economic systems. As such, it is being fought against the dynamic of U.S. industrial capitalism as well as that of China and other economies [against] China and Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela. …
“The result is a war to change the character of capitalism as well as that of social democracy. The British Labour Party, European Social Democrats and the U.S. Democratic Party all have jumped on the neoliberal bandwagon. They are all complicit in the austerity that has spread from the Mediterranean to America’s Midwestern rust belt. The New Cold War. this post-industrial global conflict, is between socialism evolving out of [the Forces of Development], and fascism.”
“Socialism evolving out of the Forces of Development.” Not full socialism, but moving in that direction.
People look out their windows. They see China and its allies moving ahead, defeating Covid, developing their economies, calling for peace. At the same time, the people of the West look out their windows, and see disease, hunger, social disintegration, and their leaders gearing up for war. Confronted with the most tightly-controlled propaganda machine in the world, it should be no wonder that so many people in the U.S., seeing destruction and despair, turn to the likes of Donald Trump. Or worse.
The Empire is slipping away, and becomes more dangerous in its death throes. The U.S. tries to crank up the public for more wars. The Green Party will be challenged, just as were all progressives in the McCarthy era. We have to return “anti-imperialism” to the Left’s political vocabulary. We have to take a stand. These are truly scary times. But we are part of the Forces of Development. Or we can be.
— Jeff Roby