With this last week’s victory for the socialists in Bolivia’s election, Bolivia has again broken free from the control of the U.S. empire. The neoliberal policies of the Washington-installed coup regime which has terrorized the country throughout the last year will be undone, and the country will regain its position within the alliance of countries that are opposed to U.S. global hegemony. Of course, the CIA will now try to cook up whatever new regime change plots for Bolivia that it can. But the strength of the country’s proletarian movement has shown itself to be formidable against the forces of imperialism and fascism, making the threat of a new coup relatively mild for the foreseeable future.
The imperialists and the plutocrats they’re partnered with have to reckon with this. While losing a neo-colony was manageable for the empire during its strongest decades in the 20th century, a setback like this in 2020 presents a far more serious problem. Unlike was the case then, the U.S. is rapidly losing global influence, and the functionings of its internal capitalist economic machine are faltering. In the last year alone, the U.S. has undergone a massive shrinkage of GDP while China’s GDP has continued to grow, the U.S. has lost its former abilities to intervene within Hong Kong, and Trump’s blusterous disregard for international cooperation amid the pandemic has made Washington’s global leadership position further diminished. The empire has been declining faster than ever lately, and now Bolivia has fallen from its grip as well.
Not only will U.S. plutocrats like Elon Musk now lose their ability to exploit Bolivia’s lithium, but the Washington war planners will lose one of the strategic pieces that they need to be able to gain a military advantage over Venezuela. Washington has to keep Bolivia on a short leash to be able to get its right-wing allies Colombia and Brazil to invade Venezuela without opposition from their neighboring countries. With Chavista allies coming into office in Bolivia, this project will now be all the more difficult to carry out. Economically and diplomatically, the imperialists have become diminished in their ability to exert influence.
But as the great anti-imperialist fighter Mao Zedong said, the imperialists will never lay down their butcher knives. They’ll keep making trouble until they’re defeated once and for all, fighting ruthlessly for the preservation of their class interests. This is in their nature. And the more isolated the imperialists get, the more prone they’ll be to carrying out drastic acts of violence.
Around the globe, in all the places where the capitalist class remains in power and where Washington is the defining force, the imperialists are sharpening their knives for war. They’re sharpening their knives in Canada, which plans to have armed drones in the air by 2025. They’re sharpening their knives even in relatively peripheral countries like Iceland, where moves towards NATO military buildup have been taking place in recent years. They’re sharpening their knives most of all in the United States-the core of the empire-where the latest military budget is $740.5 billion and still more nuclear weapons are being built.
From the Indo-Pacific, to westernmost Asia, to the lands surrounding Iran, to Africa, to Europe, to the remaining Latin American countries where the U.S. is in control, a trend towards militarization has been occurring in reaction to the threats to American hegemony. Southcom, Africom, and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command have especially served to carry out military buildup which counters China; Africa has been risingas a priority in Washington foreign policy deliberations in the last decade partly as a way to compliment Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” the ongoing U.S. policy of militarily encircling America’s greatest rival.
This policy has created the greatest risk of nuclear war in history. In January, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists said that their “Doomsday Clock” is now at 100 seconds to midnight, meaning that according to them humanity is now closer than ever to going extinct. China takes the threat of a third world war just as seriously, with Xi Jinping having toldChinese troops this month to focus on “preparing for war.” This risk of an unprecedentedly destructive military conflict is the consequence of Washington’s recent trend towards staging reckless provocations in the South China Sea, and towards creating a similar paradigm of military buildup around Russia.
Washington-adjacent capitalist powers are contributing to the trend as well, such as Serbia with its recent efforts to strengthen the European anti-Russian military alliance and India with its multilateral coordinations against China. It’s reflective of the position that Israel, the pro-imperialist Middle Eastern puppet state with ninety nuclear weapons at the ready, has taken towards its rivals in the region: if an anti-imperialist power like Iran ever tries to directly counter Israel’s illegitimate colonial expansionism, Israel will carry out a pre-emptive nuclear strike. Amid growing instability for Israel and an ever-imposing Palestinian resistance movement, Netanyahu and his Washington backers intend to keep their necro-political order in place by perpetually threatening to wreak thermonuclear destruction upon the powers which stand against them.
Israel is a microcosm for the global structures of capitalism, colonialism, and imperialism, so its heightened potential to drop the bomb is naturally growing more reflective of where the other capitalist powers stand. As John Pilger wrote this August in his article Another Hiroshima is Coming…Unless We Stop It Now:
In Washington, I met Amitai Etzioni, distinguished professor of international affairs at George Washington University, who wrote that a “blinding attack on China” was planned, “with strikes that could be mistakenly perceived [by the Chinese] as pre-emptive attempts to take out its nuclear weapons, thus cornering them into a terrible use-it-or-lose-it dilemma [that would] lead to nuclear war.” In 2019, the US staged its biggest single military exercise since the Cold War, much of it in high secrecy. An armada of ships and long-range bombers rehearsed an “Air-Sea Battle Concept for China” — ASB — blocking sea lanes in the Straits of Malacca and cutting off China’s access to oil, gas and other raw materials from the Middle East and Africa. It is fear of such a blockade that has seen China develop its Belt and Road Initiative along the old Silk Road to Europe and urgently build strategic airstrips on disputed reefs and islets in the Spratly Islands.
China isn’t going to back down on these moves, nor should it. It’s only exercising its right to compete in the world economy, and the other socialist governments that the Communist Party of China aligns with are only trying to better the lives of their people amid perpetual economic warfare from Washington. And the non-communist powers which align themselves with China, such as Russia and Iran, obviously deserve to decide their own fates without economic and political interference from the empire. If these countries were to halt all of their military rivalries with the pro-Washington bloc, they would allow the imperialists to absorb every corner of the world into a U.S.-centric neoliberal paradigm.
So frightening as these global tensions are, they’re the cost of resisting America’s ambitions for total control over the world’s population. And the imperialists are perpetually escalating these tensions because the longer they go without regaining their lost territories, the further these ambitions get from being realized.
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