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The End of History is Not Ended

The Warsaw Pact dissolved. Now NATO should also disappear.. Higher armaments have never led to a lasting peace order. There is an inner connection of capitalism and war which should be made clear again and again. The connection between capitalism, crisis and war was and is never as linear as assumed. Capitalism and profit do not automatically lead to war. War is always made.

Geostrategic and Political Changes in the 21st Century

By Erhard Crome

]The following preface to "The End of History is not Ended." January 2011 is translated from the German on the Internet,  link to www.rosalux.de . The US deficit was partly caused by excessive military spending since World War II. 20 percent of military spending is actually for defense; the rest is for empire (translator's note).]

The peace question is raised under changed conditions in the 21st century. The hopes in the final phase of the Cold War for a "peace dividend" are gone. Worldwide arms spending surpassed the mark of $1.2 trillion in 2006 - the high point of the Cold War - and increased year after year since then. The developments since 2001 with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the threats of war against Iran, the inability of the world of states to find a reasonable answer to North Korea's rearmament, the maneuvers of the US against Russia in the question of strategic nuclear armaments, expansion of NATO to the east and its conversion to a coalition of interests that could wage worldwide wars are markers of a new time when wars are made normal again. The year 2010 was the year of the redeveloped NATO strategy. Peace is over there and war is here. A higher effectiveness of warfare compared to its predecessor in 1999 should be the goal.

The president of the US is the president of the US and acts according to his office. Barack Obama's distinction to his predecessor is not waging wars or not but which wars are prepared and waged with what means and for what goals. Therefore the sober analysis of the differences is necessary and confrontation with war policy.

Leftist policy has its starting point here. Howling with the wolves to influence the rabble - the quintessence of "realpolitiK" - is not its task. Alternatives must be developed regardless of their present capability of obtaining a majority. When alternatives are developed, they can and must be brought into the broader public debate. The decisive majorities result from the political process. The famous sentence of US President Abraham Lincoln is true for them: "You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but you can never fool all the people all the time."

Answering the following questions is part of critical peace research and leftist political development. What threats and dangers exist in today's world? What are their causes? Who is responsible? What is a responsible peace policy for Germany and Europe today? What would a cooperative life together with the poorer countries of the world look like which is not a "third world aid policy" in the past sense or oriented first of all in the export interests of the German economy? What would a new international solidarity look like? Are there problems in today's world requiring a military answer? Why is a German army needed if Germany is surrounded by "friends"? If it is necessary, what is its commission? Should leftists work with NATO with the firm conviction of changing it or is the immediate withdrawal from this military organization the only acceptable political goal even if there is no majority in the population for this - unlike the broad rejection of Germany's involvement in the war in Afghanistan? What animates the European Union and its military6 army after the treaty of Lisbon? How can an overall European security system be built beyond NATO? How can we approach this goal? What can be done now in Germany to counteract a "new imperialism"? What view of the person and what view of society could give us a proper foundation?

Such an action program cannot be converted and realized from today to tomorrow and in small circles. Time and a broader discourse are needed in the left and in society. Geostrategic changes are part of the analyses of international relations... What are central here are the tectonic shifts in the geography and the world economy, the prerequisites of politics and political and military power protection or efforts to contain them, not the day-to-day political changes. At the beginning of 2008, the peace and security study group of the Rosa Luxemburg foundation was occupied with the theme "Geostrategic Chances in the Present."

The politics of the West involves factors that can be limited but not controlled in the "new" actors developing in Eurasia and Latin America. (The term "new" refers to the changes in the international system of states and in the world economy since the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century compared to the time of the "hegemony of the North Atlantic world of the white man" from the middle of the 19th century. Under a wider historical perspective, China and India are obviously actors of world history which have played an essential role in the development of productive forces, science and culture for over 2000 years. All of a sudden Eurasia's actors see themselves facing the politics of the West. They find themselves connected with the new developments of Latin America even if these developments have their own specific characteristics. On their side the new progressive developments in Latin America face power shifts in favor of Asia's new powers and Russia on one side through which they seek to further themselves and the traditional interests of the West on the other side to keep Latin American under its control. This triangular relation is the perspective under which geostrategic changes can be discussed.


By Erhard Crome

[This foreword to "Perspectives for a Secure World: Alternatives to NATO," 2010 is translated from the German on the Internet,  http://www.rosalux.de/fileadmin/rls_uploads/pdfs/Manuskripte/Manuskripte-89.pdf.]

In the second half of the 1980s the East-West conflict or the system confrontation of the 20th century between command socialism and the West ended. Gorbatchev, Schwardnadze, Yakowlev and others who had responsibility in Moscow brought the US to a foreign policy defensive with the peace policy of the Soviet Union, carried out its withdrawal from Afghanistan and other countries of the world and took unilateral steps of arms limitation and disarmament and actually ended the Cold War. The systemic difference between the two social systems was the real cause of the tensions and of the danger of war. The Charter of Paris for a New Europe as a declaration of the heads of state from November 21, 1990 was regarded as a document ending the Cold War and blocking confrontation. Peace, a democracy based on human rights and basic freedoms and a market economy should be the common foundation of Europe's further development. The Warsaw Pact was dissolved. NATO should also disappear. Many politicians and political scientists in the West expected this.

However something else was clear with the Gulf War of 1990 before the signing of the Charter of Paris. Under President Bush I, the US wanted this war to dominate the desired "New World Order" - the international order after the end of the East-West conflict - in reality. While a euphoric joy over the end of the Cold War spread in Europe, the second unification after the unification of 1871, moved on the agenda in Germany and the Moscow communist leadership saw its historical capitulation as a great success, the US government prepared a new order of the world in which regional wars that could no longer be checked by the former counter-power of the Cold War belonged to the "periphery."

The end of NATO stood historically on the agenda with the end of the Warsaw Pact. After the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the communist social system and the system of states in Eastern Europe occurred along with the disintegration of the Soviet Union. While the US insisted on its continuance, NATO is the only treaty-based alliance that binds the NATO states, historically Western Europe, to the US and conversely gives NATO the possibility of intervening directly in European affairs in a treaty-sanctioned way.

The maintenance and expansion of NATO and its search for new tasks is not simply a sociological phenomenon of organizations - that organizations once set in the world have to propagate and seek new projects. The bureaucracies supporting them want to continue playing their hereditary roles, many observers assume. The crucial forces of the USW and its conception of Europe's role in the conversion of its new imperial strategic policy concern the core of European and German policy.

This is a constant today under the sign of a "liberal imperialism" that assumes contours again under President Obama after Bush II. NATO should not only be a military-political alliance to defend its members against whomever but should carry out world-police tasks derived from a diffuse threat analysis that is not really specified. The points were set at the NATO summit in Rome in November 1991, only a few months after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. Instead of the great threat, the emphasis was on "instabilities and tensions," an "environment of uncertainty and unforeseeable challenges." The speech was never of dissolution. Risks replaced the main threat of the past. By their nature, these risks are "multifarious" and "come from many directions." The risks are hard to predict: "instabilities," "spreading weapons of mass destruction," the existence of massive military arsenals that could be directed against NATO or "interruption" of the import of vital resources as well as acts of terror and sabotage. In 1991 NATO identified the risks regionally in Central and Eastern Europe, the GUS-area and in the southern Mediterranean and in the Middle East and at the same time stressed the "security of the alliance." The Out-of-Area alignment of NATO and the reorientation to offensive tasks were already resolved at that time. The 1999 Yugoslavia war that violated international law was a first application. Then the NATO summit at that time made a long-term strategy out of the Washington declaration on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its founding. It was modified and developed further at the 2010 summit in Lisbon.

What place should NATO occupy in today's world? What are the consequences? The world has become more insecure and full of discord. Higher armaments - since 2001 we have exceeded the record of the Cold War - have never led to a lasting peace order. At the end the weapons were always used. The exception was the Cold War of the 20th century, at least concerning the main forces of block confrontation and the strategic-nuclear weapon systems. War dangers increase with the continuing arms buildups instead of being reduced. A central role comes to nuclear weapons in the strategy and policy of the US and NATO.

The war in Afghanistan is already lost. The West "wants to save face." As a result, there are many more victims among the Afghan population and among the deployed soldiers. The new NATO strategy - in effect since 1999 and its continuation and modification since the 2010 Lisbon summit - already violates international law. There is no law authorizing warfare outside and bypassing the UN Security Council. In addition this strategy is in contradiction to the 1949 NATO Treaty and to the Basic Law in Germany. In the question of nuclear weapons, Germany could make a specific contribution by removing its remaining nuclear weapons from the country, bidding farewell to the nuclear partnership and at the end withdrawing from the military organization of NATO. Common security for Europe and the world is different. The real problems and threats in today's world are poverty, climate change, species extinction, hunger, distress, energy- and water supply and food security. There are civil solutions to them, not military solutions. Every dollar or euro spent for armaments is lacking there.

The creation of a system of shared collective security would be a possible answer. As long as there are states, there must be an order of the world that binds these states with their interests and different social systems in an international peace order based on international law. Such an order as outlined ideally in the UN Charter - with all imperfection of the past enforcement of international law and the functioning of the UN Security Council - must be in effect for a "world of devils." The respect of the sovereignty and the sovereign equality of states, the prohibition of violence and non-interference in internal affairs are the minimum presuppositions. This is true for the relations of states to other states. States should refrain from forming others according to their image.

What about leftist policy? There is an inner connection of capitalism and war which should be underlined again and again. However command socialism also produced its own wars. Disregarding the involvement of the Soviet Union in smashing Poland in 1939 and the 1940 Soviet-Finnish war, the wars between the Soviet Union and China (1970), China and Vietnam (1980) and the Soviet-Afghanistan war from 1979 to 1989 can be clearly explained from inner political dispositions of the involved socialist countries. Thus the connection between capitalism, crisis and war was and is never as linear as assumed in light of the First World War. Sometimes wars were a "way out" of crisis to divert attention from internal problems or to hide and cover up economic and social problems through robbery. Capitalism and profit do not automatically lead to war. War is always made. Therefore the peace movement and leftist politics have the chance and task today to hold back the war-mongerers. The struggle for another world, for another order of society and for peace are not identical but differ from each other since the forces ready to cooperate are not unconditionally the same.

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