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Lebanon, Syria, Iran & The Coming Imperialist Re-Division of the World

Steve Masterson | 02.08.2006 17:38 | Lebanon War 2006 | Analysis | Anti-militarism | Globalisation | Sheffield

London, 1st August 2006

The sheer brutality of the butchery of civilians by Israeli WMD –
bombs and fighter planes provided by the United States – on Lebanon
is firstly a warning to the rest of the world from the United
States: `accept US global domination, or else'; and secondly, it is
the beginning of a serious struggle for all-out control over Middle-
East, Caspian Basin and Central Asian oil and gas. It is not the
puppet Israel but the US itself who sets the tone of this
purposefully brutal war, a war which opens up a qualitative change
in US aggression and inter-imperialist conflict, a period that will
draw the whole world into intensifying horrors and suffering. At the
same time this new period opens a large window for the dramatic re-
appearance of world-wide mass class struggle bringing workers and
youth back into the centre-stage of global politics.

Increasing numbers of analysts and commentators now say the Israeli
war against Lebanon was planned and prepared for in detail, in rooms
in the White House, Pentagon and no doubt elsewhere. The
Lebanon `war' is definitely a proxy-war. In the first hours after
Israel started bombing Lebanon on 12 July – the US's Bush and Rice,
the UK's Blair, and Israel's Prime Minister Olmert, all started
naming Iran and Syria as the real problem, the real backers of
Hezbollah, even pathetically, declaring Iran had plans to dominate
the whole Middle-East. The coolness and content of their language
was almost identical. Only the US has the power to force the other
parties to speak as one – but it should be said that Britain and
Israel are willing junior partners in the slaughter. It should be
mentioned, when I mention the US or Israel, or any country, I mean
by this the ruling class of these countries and not the people.

Condoleezza Rice, the US's Secretary of State, visited Lebanon on
the 24th June, nearly two weeks after the bombing started and her
statement lyingly declared that all that was needed to stop the
bombing was the release of the two captured Israeli soliders – the
excuse that Israel used to start its bombing of Lebanon before a
single Hezbullah missile had been launched at Israel. The next day
in Tel Aviv, standing next to Israel's Olmert, she announced
that, "It is time for a new Middle East, it is time to say to those
who do not want a different kind of Middle East that we will
prevail; they will not … we need a durable solution." She
said, "What we are seeing is the birth pangs of a new Middle East,
it's hard. We are going through a very violent time."

However, the US-Israel-UK `evil' axis has already created a `new'
Lebanon, bombing it back 30 years, killing many hundreds of mostly
women and children, injuring thousands and displacing over a
million. However – echoing the `bogged-down' occupations of Iraq and
Iran – after three weeks the Israeli military ground war has hardly
penetrated beyond its own borders into South Lebanon as the
Hezbullah are, to date, holding them back, having spent years
digging-in and preparing for this attack. This is why Israel under
US command is calling up tens of thousands of military reservists in
order to take south Lebanon: this has become paramount for the axis.

So, why is the US so brutally, so suddenly, pushing this war to
create their `new Middle-East'? The reasons do not belong to Israeli
security at all and are two-fold. Firstly the United States'
struggle for total global domination after the collapse of the
Soviet Union in 1991 has faced multiple setbacks and defeats in many
ways and places, especially since their invasion of Iraq. The most
serious losses and retreats are in the fight to control oil supplies
in several parts of the world. Secondly, the US's own mountains of
economic and financial trade deficits are still increasing at a
faster rate and the US dollar is on the precipice – with many
economists now concerned about the danger of US hyper-inflation and
economic crash. The sheer brutality of this war is about the US
struggling to re-establish itself as the singular global imperialist
power it was in the 1990's, and `struggling' is the operative word.
Serious readers of this article, if you do not have accurate maps in
your heads of the Middle-East and Eurasia, would benefit from
getting them out.


Whilst the US has been bogged down in the sands of Iraqi resistance
and the hills of Afghan resistance; they have also lost out to China
and Russia who have successfully cooperated in carving-up almost the
whole of the oil rich Central Asia and are making gains in the
Caspian Basin and the Middle East (details below). The US has lost
in its attempt to dominate South America with the collapse of the
all-Americas FTAA last year brought on by the masses in many
countries voting-in anti and semi-anti US governments. The US has
failed, due to mass popular action, to bring down left-wing Chavez
in oil-rich Venezuela. The US has lost out to the Islamists in
Somalia who have taken Mogadishu. The US has been outmaneouvred in
several oil-rich African countries by China (details below).

Further, the US have been facing increasingly belligerent responses
from their main imperialist challengers to their global hegemony
from Europe, China and Russia. Iran is standing firm against US
bullying and is busy making many economic-energy deals with China in
particular, but also India, Pakistan, Russia, Venezuela,
Turkmenistan, etc. The US have been blamed by almost all other World
Trade Oganisation members for the seemingly definitive recent
collapse of the WTO Doha-round of talks at the G8 in Geneva, which
has been rambling on since 2001. They have faced increasingly strong
warnings from many world economists and authorities about the
dangers of their ever-increasing financial and trade deficits, as
the US economy and especially the dollar is on a precipce (details
below) that could well lead to hyper-inflation and economic
depression making the 1929 Wall Street collapse and global
recession, which led to WWII, appear mild. Ironically, for these neo-
liberals, defecit-trading and financing is awfully neo-Keynesian.

The internal and external problems facing the US overlap and
interpenetrate considerably. The present conjuncture is so serious,
so unique, that Newt Gingrich, famous Republican and former Speaker
of the House of Representatives, has declared that this Israeli war
against Lebanon is in fact the beginning of World War III. Whether
history will prove him correct or whether this war is a forerunner
proxy war, we will find out within months, rather than years.


Before we go on to examine why the major target of this war on
Lebanon is Iran, there is another main reason for the brutality in
Lebanon. It is the battle for military control of the East
Mediterranean region by the US and its puppets, in declining order:
the UK, then Israel and Turkey, then Azerbaijan and Georgia. Their
battle on this coastline is against Syria and Russia. I thank the
well known academic Michel Chossudovsky for his article on 26
July, `The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil', in which he
provides all the evidence (I have checked out his sources). I will
merely summarise his excellent article here, which also provides
useful maps, quoting freely.

[ Also reproduced here: ]

Chossudovsky writes, "Virtually unnoticed, the inauguration of the
Ceyhan-Tblisi-Baku (BTC) oil pipeline, which links the Caspian Sea
to the Eastern Mediterranean took place on the 13th July, at the
very outset of the Israeli [US sponsored] bombings of Lebanon … the
reception was in Istanbul, hosted by Turkey's President Ahmet Necdet
Sezer in the plush surroundings of the Çýraðan Palace."

British Petroleum's CEO Lord Brown was there and BP lead the BTC
pipeline consortium of western oil companies. Senior government
officials, top oil ministers and bosses of western oil companies,
from Britain, the US, Israel and Turkey were all present … "the BTC
pipeline totally bypasses the territory of the Russian Federation.
It transits through the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and
Georgia, both of which have become US `protectorates', firmly
integrated into a military alliance with the US and NATO. Moreover,
both Azerbaijan and Georgia have longstanding military cooperation
with Israel. Israel has a stake in the Azeri oil fields, from which
it imports some 20% of its oil."

In April 2006, Israel and Turkey announced plans for four underwater
pipelines, transporting water, electricity, natural gas and oil to
Israel, by-passing Syrian and Lebanese territory. "The pipeline to
bring water to Israel, pumping water from upstream resources of the
Tigris and Euphrates river system in Anatolia … has been a long-run
strategic objective of Israel to the detriment of Syria and Iraq."

The oil pipeline is planned to be very large, from which Israel can
siphon-off all it needs. Israel already has internal pipelines which
would be used to carry this water to Israel's Red Sea port of Eilat,
with direct links to the Indian Ocean.

He continues, "Diverting Central Asian oil and gas to the Eastern
Mediterranean (under Israeli protection), for re-export back to
Asia, serves to undermine the inter-Asian energy market, which is
based on the development of direct pipeline corridors linking
Central Asia and Russia to South Asia, China and the Far East.
Ultimately, this design is intended to weaken Russia's role in
Central Asia and cut off China from Central Asian resources. It is
also intended to isolate Iran. Meanwhile, Israel has emerged as a
new powerful player in the global energy market … "

And things get even more serious. He writes, "Meanwhile, Moscow has
responded to the US-Israeli-Turkish design to militarise the East
Mediterranean coastline with plans to establish a Russian naval base
in the Syrian port of Tartus … Moscow intends to deploy an air
defence system … the S-300PMU-2 Favorit system [which] will be
manned and serviced by Russian peronnel … Tartus is strategically
located 30 km from the Lebanese border." Russia has also agreed to
modernise Syrian ground and air defences, modernise its MIG-29
fighters and its submarines – "these developments have far-reaching

Chossudovsky sums up: "The bombing of Lebanon is part of a carefully
planned and coordinated military road map. The extension of the war
into Syria and Iran has already been comtemplated by US and Israeli
military planners. This broader military agenda is intimately
related to strategic oil and oil pipelines … Israel is now fully
part of the Anglo-American axis serving the interests of the Western
oil giants in the Middle–East and Central Asia."


Just look at a map: Iran is that country which has both the oil-rich
Caspian Basin and Turkmenistan/Central Asia to its immediate north -
and also Middle-East oil and gas to its immediate south and south-
west, including control of the Strait of Hormuz through which almost
all Middle-East oil-tankers travel. Like no other country Iran
strategically straddles a clear majority of the world's oil and gas
reserves. Further, in its own right Iran has the world's third
largest oil reserves and the world's second largest gas reserves
after Russia – all this at a time in history when what is
called `peak oil' is fast approaching: that moment when global oil
supplies begin running out, a time when demand is also rapidly
increasing from developing countries.

With the global and internal crisis the US is facing, described
above, if the US is to reassert itself as the singular dominant
imperialist power in the world, then it desperately needs regime
change in Iran. The US needs a puppet like the former Shah of Iran.

The US is bogged down in Iraq, but Iran is not Iraq! Iran's
population is almost 90 million to Iraq's 26 million. Further there
is a very high level of culture in Iran, inherited partially from it
being the heart of the old Persian empire, but also in recent
decades there's been a high investment in industry, research,
education, sport and the arts. Further, Iran is overwhelmingly Shia,
whereas Iraq is divided with 63% Shia, and 33% Sunni. The Shia
majority in Iraq, mainly in the energy rich south and south east,
are increasingly appreciating Iranian weapons and finance in its
battle against US/UK occupation and against the increasingly
vulnerable Sunni population. Indeed, the occupation of Iraq has
totally backfired, dramatically increasing the influence of Iran in
the Shia oil areas of Iraq. Iran and Syria may have made the most
ferocious protests against the Israeli assault on Lebanon, but the
next most ferocious condemnation in the Arab/Muslim world of both
Israel and its US support came from the elected Iraqi Prime
Minister, who is Shia himself.

Further, Iran has armed itself far better to meet any US-led
invasion than Iraq did in 2003, which, along with the outline above,
is why many military commentators the world over think it
unbelievable that the US is seriously considering military conflict
with Iran, especially considering how the US military is bogged down
in both Iraq and Afghanistan – but these commentators do not
understand the desperation of the US at this historic juncture.

That the US is politically and economically losing out rapidly
across the world and is also in internal economic and financial
crisis – means that their one remaining arena of total global
superiority, military power, must now come to the fore in a much
more aggressive way than in Iraq or Afghanistan. Indeed amongst
leading politicians and generals in the US there has been recent
public talk of using mini-nukes or so-called tactical-nukes against

Getting `international' forces into the buffer zone in South
Lebanon, using mainly European forces, but not US or UK forces, was
Tony Blair's plan, announced on the second day of Israeli bombing of
Lebanon, a plan he has since been pushing within Europe and with the
UN's leader Kofi Annan. This too seems to be part of the US broader
plan, with Blair getting immediate support from both the US and
Israel. To date, Euroland countries are very wary of becoming junior
partners in plans for the US's `new Middle East'. If successful, it
would release Israeli, British and US troops for action elsewhere –
and that is in Iran. Whether they go for Syria first or by-pass it,
is uncertain at this stage.

Certainly within days of Israel's war beginning, a New York Times
article published a leak that the US is speedily delivering large
numbers of lazer and satellite guided bombs to Israel – not denied
by the US government – and remember, it is not Israel but the US who
guide the satellite guided bombs. Further, when Israeli commanders
were challenged that they are now using cluster-bombs in populated
areas of Lebanon, outlawed across the world, they accepted this was
the case.

The very scale of destruction in Lebanon, of its ordinary people, of
its infrastructure, water, sewage, electricity, gas, roads,
communications, airports, seaports, homes, industry, food
warehouses, milk factories, of UN monitoring posts (who are
observing Israeli atrocities) and more – is a loaded message to
anyone who opposes the US in the world. The messsage is: `The US and
our allies will inflict the most brutal and barbaric destruction if
you oppose our total domination anywhere in the world – get in line
or else!'

Even before these horrrific pictures on our TV's, websites and
newspapers of a bombed-out Lebonon and its people, a clear majority
of people in the US and UK were saying it was a mistake to invade
Iraq. 20-30 million people around the world protested against war on
the streets in February 2003 before the invasion of Iraq. This is
well in advance of opposition at this equivalent time in the Vietnam
war, the spectre of which now hangs over Bush and Blair. In Israel
too, protests against the bombing of Lebanon are increasing in size
every other day.

But most significant of all, it is the Arab and Muslim masses and
workers – whose justifiable anger grows daily against US-sponsored
Israeli atrocities in Lebanon and Palestinian areas – who pose the
greatest threat to US plans for their `new Middle-East'. The US
invaded Iraq with the hope of regime change happening in several
nearby countries. The truth of the matter is that today regime
change is due in the region – foremost in the pro-US regimes of
Egypt and Saudi-Arabia and even Turkey.

However, it is not all bad news for Bush and Blair. The US has
military air-bases almost completely surrounding Iran: to the south
in various Gulf states and Saudi Arabia; to its east in Afghanistan
and Pakistan; to the north-west in Turkey, to the north-east in some
of the Central Asian states; and to the west and in Iraq, Cyprus and
Turkey – and of course there's Israel in the west. Further the US
has significant navy warships and aircraft carriers it could use to
control the Gulf waters, though they would be subject to Iran's
considerable well-disguised missile batteries all along its south
coast, especially around the narrow Strait of Hormuz and opposite
Kuwait. It has a naval base in Oman near the Strait of Hormuz, and
in the Indian Ocean in the British territory of Diego Garcia, the US
has both naval and air bases.

One powerful tool the US planners most certainly have considered is
to extend its policy giving Iraqi Kurds `freedom', towards Iranian
Kurds – offering Kurds the possibility of an enlarged `free'
Kurdistan – and be sure, significant numbers of Kurds would fight
for independence from Iran on its north-western border, armed to the
teeth by the US. The US may even try persuade and bribe or threaten
Turkey to grant its Kurdistan population semi-autonomous rule,
linking in with both Iranian and Iraqi Kurds – in a completely
unified Kurdistan. Such a turnaround would make Turkish entry into
the EU much easier. Such a pro-US Kurdistan of some 27 million
people, already well-used to guerilla war, would be a major boost to
the US in a crucial region – and a Kurdish war for independence from
Iran would take up considerable military resources from Iran. Have a
look at the `Kurdistan' map on

But at this moment in time, the fight is in Lebanon, and Hezbullah
on the ground are proving a military match against Israeli forces.
Again, the US has miscalculated, and tens of thousands more Israeli
reservists are being called up whilst the bombings and slaughter
continues. Whilst the pro-western Lebanese government is doing
nothing, Lebanese political opinion is shifting rapidly. According
to the Beruit Center for Research and Information, after two weeks
of bombing Beruit, 86.7% now support Hezbollah. Clear majorities in
the Christian, Sunni and Druze communities support the Shia
Hezbollah. They would win the next elections, as Hamas did in
Palestine – or more likely, they could just take power in the
increasing vacuum created by Lebanese government paralysis. The
proxy-Israeli war against Lebanon is a sign not of US strength but
the beginning of a desperate attempt to reassert US global hegemony
by military means – even at the expense of failing and putting the
future existence of Israel and its significant working class on the
line – not that the vast bulk of the US ruling class care about that.


Today, US attempts to re-dominate the world as it did in much of the
1990's continues apace, but they are not as confident as they appear
in media statements. Parallel to this process, there is clear public
evidence (details below) that the United States and Chinese ruling
elites are now well into advanced preparations for a classic
geographic imperialist re-division of the world, both preparing
their own versions of what west European capital has done in eating-
up central and eastern Europe since 1990 – now set to grow as far
as Russia, the Caspian basin and into the Middle-East with Turkey.
For the US such a re-division would be a major retreat from its
present hopes of total global domination, but it seems a more
realistic one.

We now live in a transitional phase that has reached the height of
the globalisation phase of neo-liberal finance-monopoly capitalism,
especially of the US dominated World Bank and IMF. The bombing of
Lebanon has opened a trajectory to imperialist re-division and
global polarisation between the biggest ruling classes, but also
announces intensified war against the global working class.

The beginnings of such imperialist re-partitioning of the world
would declare the opening of a new global era of wars and
revolutions that might well make the the first half of the last
century with two world wars look tame by comparison. Lenin's
understanding of imperialism looks as fresh today, if not fresher,
than when written in 1916, "It is beyond doubt that capitalism's
transition to the stage of monopoly capitalism, to finance
capitalism, is connected with the intensification of the struggle
for partitioning the world." (Imperialism, The Highest Stage of


North America, led by the US rulers and Bush, but also joined by the
Canadian and Mexican premiers and ruling classes: are already making
advanced plans for an EU-type enlargement behind the backs of their
populations - who would not tolerate this if they knew what is
urgently being prepared. There have been annual summits of the
premiers for several years, but in the last two years, since the US
became bogged down in Iraq, the premiers have ordered a rapid
stepping up of making detailed plans for much greater integration of
the three countries than has ever been considered before.

The US attempt at an all-America's FTAA bloc it could dominate,
collapsed last year because of the South American masses' increasing
resistance to US domination in recent years. As such the US has
recently revamped the North American Free Trade Agreement, now
called NAFTA-Plus, which has had a baby, a new preparatory planning
body, with ten large planning teams, busy drawing up highly detailed
blue-prints for the transition. This baby is called the Security and
Prosperity Partnership for North America - SPP.

The US ruling class are preparing for a sudden lurch to `unity', to
partially open the borders between each country and make a more
effective border around their joint countries `against terrorism'.
They are preparing for a rapid economic harmonising process: for
joint financial structures, joint labour and business practices,
environment agreements, safety rules in work, rail, roads, shipping,
air-travel, etc; they are preparing to win the hearts and minds of
the masses to the project at the right time, and so on. Whilst they
are moving to open up the free flow of capital, goods, services,
ownership, technology – it is labour and especially the poor of
Mexico which will not be allowed free flow. Business men and
wealthy `safe' people are to get their own new fast-flow border
crossings. Whilst their plans are highly detailed, they also
acknowledge there are major headaches in this plan.

The US-Canada-Mexico bloc is described as only the first stage. At a
second stage both central America and the Caribbean are to be
dragged into the new bloc. A third stage is described as well down
the road when the political climate has changed in South America and
an All-Americas empire is projected – under US domination of course.
There is also talk in SPP circles and beyond about replacing the US
dollar with a North American `Amero' (google it and see it in
Wilkepedia) in some future crisis – which is not so ridiculous as it
first sounds, but this story is not for now.


A very similar process is occurring in Asia. Six years ago China
initiated the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, SCO, and its
members are China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Khazakhstan, Kyrgyztan and
Tajikstan. Their leaders have been meeting in summits every year –
making various economic, infrastructure and security agreements, and
joint military exercises. In response to US global bullying and an
awareness of US desperation, this year China has considerably
stepped up the integration (and bi-national agreements) process and
expansion of the SCO. Significantly SCO's recent June summit of
leaders included India, Pakistan, Mongolia and, wait for it, Iran,
as participating observers; and also Afghanistan, CIS and ASEAN as
visitors – all with a view to membership of SCO.

At their recent summit in June this year the SCO joint statements
were seriously bullish about the dangers of outside interference and
terrorism into Asia, without naming, but clearly fingering the US
and the undemocratic nature of bodies like the IMF, World Bank,
NATO, etc. SCO is rapidly developing towards a semi-common market,
many more energy/oil/gas trade agreements, building regional
infrastructure and much better transport links. China and Russia
have already worked together in outflanking the US and EU in the
energy rich
central Asian countries and an oil pipeline is already up and
running from Kazakhstan to west China, whilst US hopes of an oil
pipeline from the Caspian through Afghanistan and Pakistan to the
Arabian Sea flounder in growing Afghan resistance. Russia and China
have linked electricity grids with the flow to China, and they are
building both gas and oil pipelines from Siberia to north China.
China is making finance/capital inroads into many countries,
especially oil areas in Sudan, Angola, Chad and Nigeria, but they
ask their businessmen to keep this work quiet under the pre-text
of `avoiding the growth of a China-levy'. Iran, India and Pakistan
have joint plans, known as IIP, for a major gas pipeline from Iran –
and Iran is now making further oil/gas deals on its north-east
border with Turkmenistan.

The SCO June 2006 summit of leaders made several declarations, quite
blatently stating: "The world and international relations today are
going through volatile, unprecedented and profound changes. There
are increasing trends towards multipolarisation and economic
globalisation amid twists and turns … SCO has outlined a new norm of
international relations aiming at ensuring the equal rights for all
countries worldwide … SCO members aspire for the democratisation of
international relations … we oppose interference in other countries'
internal affairs … we safeguard each other's sovereignty, security
and territorial integrity and in case of emergencies that threaten
regional peace, stability and security, we will have immediate
consultations and respond effectively to protect our member states …
our defence forces have already had a number of joint anti-terror
military exercises and the largest-ever one is going to be staged in
Russia in 2007 … the SCO has set up seven specialist panels to study
and coordinate action … we have set up the SCO Business Council and
the Interbank Association and are working on 127 joint projects
covering areas of trade, investment, customs, finance, taxation,
transportation, energy, agriculture, technology, telecommunications,
environment, sports, culture, health and education … we seek to
enhance mutual understanding amongst member states … the goal of the
SCO in economic cooperation is to realise a free flow of goods,
services, capital and technnology by 2020 amongst its members [but,
as with the North Amercian project, no free flow of people and
labour – SM] … SCO holds that the next Secretary-General of the
United Nations should come from Asia … we are changing the title of
the SCO Secretariat into Secretary-General … we are now growing
rapidly with stability in this global period of instability … the
next meeting of the Council of Heads of State will be held in
Bishkek in 2007."

Now, look at a map of Eurasia and you will see we are looking at a
majority of humanity in one geographic area. SCO integration plans
are not as advanced or detailed as the North American SPP process,
but one thing clearly drawing them together is the bullying, the
military and oil-controlling exploits of the US in recent times.
Further, as with the European rulers, they know of the fragility of
the US economy and finances. Will SCO change its name to the Asian
Union in the next years? Ten years ago Russia was probing the EU
with the idea of joining the EU, but they were decisively rebuffed.
For the moment Putin has decisively turned to China.


The losses of the US globally are described above. However, there
are two central economic forces driving the frantic preparations for
this new re-division of the world, which would open a new era of
wars and revolutions.

Firstly, and most decisively in the long run - just like it prepares
its gravedigger, the proletariat - capitalism must develop the
productive forces, must develop ever-larger planning for efficiency
and profits, must prepare, in a twisted way, the economic socialist
future within itself – that is if the competing imperialist powers
are to survive against each other. Here lies the genius of Marx in
fathoming out the essential contradictions and processes at the
heart of societal development.

The growth of the European Union since the collapse of the Soviet
Union in 1991 provided the massive economic base to launch the euro
in 1999 and successfully challenge the US-dollar as the only global
reserve-currency since 1945. This has provided the example that
smaller nation states can merge, remove borders, harmonise industry
and services, provide a giant market – to mutual benefit and/or
domination of some – and an example that it works. Increasing
numbers of South American, Middle-East and African leaders are
talking of copying the EU example – but these are likely arena's of
proxy-wars by the three giants. China or the US alone, in this
modern world, are too small to compete unless they build ever-bigger
economic production and consumer blocs – and security/military pacts.

Europe has shown that a key bourgeois argument against a world
socialist federation and global planning, is that competetion and
wars between nations and peoples is `natural', that we will not be
able to cooperate – is very wrong as it happens partially in the
capitalist world.
Though it must be said that amongst the big three, the EU rulers
have the biggest problems with their own workiing class, which is
dealt with later in this article.

The other, more immediate economic/financial factor driving recent
urgent preparations by the US and China, is the dire state of the US
financial system, in particular how over-capacity in capitalist
production – especially since 1945, first with Japan, now joined in
an even bigger way by China – has led to US financial and trade-
deficit mountains against these Asian giants which threatens dollar
collapse, hyper-inflation and a major US recession, making the Wall
Street crash of 1929 look mild by comparison.

In particular, for over 60 years, since 1945, the US-dollar has been
the global reserve currency. So for 60 years the US has been able to
literally print dollars, buy goods, pay for wars, mercenaries,
politicans the world over, for the cost of a forest or two, printing
notes to fill the vaults of banks around the world – and crucially,
without affecting inflation in the US! This process increased
rapidly after the 1971 refusal of the US to pay several countries
gold for dollars. It was in effect a declaration of bankruptcy. The
dollar then floated, divorced from its promise of gold for the
dollar, and from that time the US has printed and exported dollars
like there's no tomorrow. Today, just over 70% of the world's
reserves, their total savings, are in US-dollars, and it is much
higher in China and Japan. Dollar imperialism and semi-colonial rule
is different from the direct military rule of past empires, in that
every dollar abroad is pointing back in a US direction, pointing at
hyper-inflation of a ferocity never before experienced. Indeed,
banks the world over are currently playing `currency-chicken',
especially China and Japan. For whoever starts first in selling
their dollars big-time gets the big advantage of losing least
amounts of wealth as the dollar crashes. Increasingly, commentators
from various political traditions are saying that in the near future
there is going to be a serious run on the dollar and global chaos
will ensue. See my recent article, `Why the dollar-bubble is going
to burst.'

[ Also here: ]

Certainly, the ever-increasing cyber-world of gaining giant profits
from derivative and futures trading, which is completely separated
from industrial capital, has postponed the US crash, as did the
intorduction of information technology into industrial production at
an earlier phase. However, it only means the fall will be from an
even higher cliff.

It should also be said, that if we are to deal effectively with the
environmental crisis and global warming, it should now be clear to
any green activist, that the competing imperialist blocs will
contribute ever-greater to the problem. Only a democratically
planned socialist world can cooperate in allowing nature the space
to mend itself from the harm capitalism has done to it. Any serious
green activist must recognise that the very best greens will also be
red internationalists.


Of course if the US were to achieve unlikely successes in Iraq,
discover ways to discipline Europe, China, Russia, India, Iran,
Venezuela, Brasil, et-al., then the moves towards a tri-lateral
imperialist world may be slowed down – but the process itself cannot
now be stopped. It is no wonder that recently both the US and UK
have announced major developments of both nuclear power stations and
for modernising programmes for futuristic nuclear weapons – as if
they could not blow up the whole world several times over right now –
whilst hypocritically making war noises at Iran for wanting a
nuclear energy future.

This re-division of the world is already happening, but exactly how
and when matters open up more seriously between the main imperialist
powers – where the fault lines will appear, weak links break, how
alliances and blocs will change, where proxy wars will first
explode, especially for control of oil distribution, is hard to say –
it seems it has begun with the Lebanon carnage.

A Middle East Theatre of War map produced by is
very helpful and worth studying, as it shows where the oil and gas
reserves are, oil pipelines, proposed pipelines, the known US air
and naval bases, which have Iran almost surrounded. It does not
show, however, the Kazakhstan pipeline to China, nor the four
proposed pipelines to Israel from Turkey of oil, gas, electricity
and water, nor the proposed Iran gas pipeline to Pakistan and India.

If we project forward to a world of three openly competing main
imperialist blocs, led by the US, Europe and an Asia led mainly by
China, with Russia and/or India – an Orwellian 1984-type nightmare –
then we could predict that the US would obviously try encourage and
bully Europe to bloc with itself for control of first the Middle-
East looking north towards Caspian riches. Indeed, the US, UK and
Israel at this time are urgently trying to get EU countries and
Turkey to provide 20,000 troops for a buffer zone in South Lebanon –
with little success to date. We will soon know how this unfolds.

Such projections would see that Russia and India would be wooed by
the US and EU to break from China – this is even also happening now,
but with little success. Britain itself is one major fault-line
having one economic foot in Europe and the other political and
military foot in the US – with Scotland approaching a majority for
independence. An increasingly sharply divided British ruling class
would certainly open up chances for the workers and anti-war
movements here. Europe as a whole does not have a unified bloc of
capital to unify its bloc politically in the way China and the US
can dominate their blocs. This weakens the Euro-bloc considerably
and opens up the way for internal divisions induced from the other
two blocs and more significant for our movement, opens up the way
for serious Europe-wide working class mass resistance.

Japan becomes a major fault-line in this scenario, having geographic
proximity and most of its trade with east and south-east Asia, but
hopelessly tied-in with financial and political agreements and post-
WWII agreements with the US: they too will be torn. Turkey too, has
political ties with both the US, Israel and EU, but its population
is 99% Muslim, 20% of which are Kurds in the east along its Iranian
and Iraqi borders. Georgia too has politically and militarily linked
up with the US and has the western BTC pipeline running through it
to Turkey. But to its north, along the border with Russia are the
South Ossetian and Abkhazian peoples with regional separatist
leaders who want to link with Russia. Russia still refuses to obey
Georgia and remove its military bases in these areas. Instead
Russia `obeys' the separatist leaders who want Russian troops on
their land.

In a tri-polar imperialist world it seems there would be four major
arena's of proxy-wars. Firstly would be the ongoing fight for
control of Middle-East/Caspian energy, which has now been kicked-off
by the US. Once the US-Israel-UK axis has secured its back door,
south Lebanon, which they will do, as Israel is calling up tens of
thousands of reservists, whether they secure Syria first or bypass
it, this imperialist axis will point to Iran. As we found out from
Chussodovsky, Russia, with Syrian support is even today building a
naval and air-military base at the Syrian port of Tartus.

Even before the US starts to make military moves on Iran, do not be
surprised to hear that Iran has suddenly become a full member of the
fast emerging economic/military Asian bloc of the SCO. Do not be
surprised if within hours Iranian TV reports will show, invited by
Iran, many Russian and Chinese military aircraft landing in large
numbers at Ahvaz Airport in the Khuzestan region, south-west of
Iran, near Iran's main oil areas, next to the Shia populated Iraqi
oil areas, near Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. But time is running short
for the US as they have already lost ground to China and Russia in
the oil-rich Caspian and central Asian areas. They may even land
along the Bandar Abbas coastline which overlooks the narrow Strait
of Hormuz where so much of the world's oil tankers must pass. These
actions will be described as joint SCO exercises
against `terrorism'. However, the Chinese and Russians could
establish semi-permanent military bases in the region – the
consequences are almost unimaginable. The Arab and Islamic masses
would rise as one against their historic enemy, US-imperialism and
its puppet regimes. The danger of course is that nationalist and not
class forces would come to the fore as one imperialist power is
replaced with another – which is why it is so crucial for socialists
to really get their act together right now.

The second area of proxy-wars must surely be South East Asia and the
crucial trade and military sea routes through their region, which,
has very large Islamic populations. This region, through the
Association of South East Asian Nations, were guests at the SCO
summit just weeks ago, with a view to joining! Australia is divided
between all three blocs, in trade with South East Asia, but they are
most likely to go with the US in a struggle to dominate South East
Asia and its global strategic sea passages.

The third and fourth most significant areas of proxy-wars are South
America and Africa. , Whilst attempting to become sub-imperialist
powers – already both continents have leaders talking about unified
economic markets and a unified currency like the euro – they too
will be increasingly ravaged by the three dominent competing
imperialisms for cheap labour and resources. The develoment of the
left and mass resistance to neo-liberalism across Latin America
holds much for the future. Which brings us to Mexico, whose ruling
class is pro-US, but days ago, over 2 million people were on the
streets protesting at recent elections `fixed' by the right. The
Mexican masses would look to link up with the rest of the Latin
America rather than the US.

South Korea, Taiwan, Cuba, even Greenland, all too have geographic
economic and political dislocations. Frankly, this type of
discussion of future trends could go on forever.

Of course the US may back down from trying to control Iran and its
oil as things get militarily worse for themselves. The heat will
temorarily cool a little but not for long. Germany and France may
try to keep the EU out of either the US or Asian camps. Whilst
Europe has a partially common culture with the US, it is important
to note its geographical unity in Eurasia. It is not impossible to
imagine France, invited by Iran, to also put a military base on its
land if China and Russia did it first.

Whatever happens, it is the Marxist method when used correctly,
which gives the workers and socialist movement the advantage being
able to understand this period we are in, of pointing to likely
trends and scenarios, of being able to orient ourselves and prepare
for future events. The tempo of capitalism today indicates that any
lurch into an imperialist World War III may not be far behind, or
even happen alongside global re-division – unless stopped by the
world's masses alongside the rapid development of a new mass
workers' International.

Whilst much of the above describes the crisis of capitalism and its
rivalries, only the workers, youth, anti-war and anti-capitalist
masses can end forever the atrocities of capitalism with the rapid
building of a new workers' International, which is capable of
leading the fight to world socialism.

In this coming period our class the world over will be forced to
fight tooth and nail against drastic reductions in wages,
conditions, rights, welfare and benefits – as the capitalists try to
make the workers and poor pay for their wars and indeed for our
class to be the soldiers being killed in those wars. The buffer
between the ruling and working classes in developed countries, the
buying-off sections of skilled workers since 1945, will certainly be
largely removed in the next period.

As millions of us surge into action against wars, injustice and
attacks on our class, the left must right now prepare unified
democratic working class parties in every country for the masses to
flow into. Of neccessity these parties will have to be multi-
tendency with full rights for differences to be expressed, but we
must develop as fast as possible, unity in action. The bulk of the
existing left will have to shake-off the routinism of its activities
built during the relative tranquility since 1945 to the present. The
left will also have to shake-off the understandably developed
catastrophobia that has plagued so many of its brains. If the left
remains tied to the coat-tails of the pro-capitalist anti neo-
liberal academics, as many currently are, if the old left does not
turn to the inspiration of the mass radicalisation of workers,
peasants and youth, then large sections of the left may will act as
a brake on their political development. The existing left is going
to polarise in this coming period, in what proportions is hard to
say – as we have never been in this situation before.

The most clear-sighted Marxists, will fight tooth and nail for our
new workers' International to be decisively revolutionary in
character and develop a new programme of action related to the new
times, and, in my opinion, will name itself the Fifth International,
taking forward with us all the rich positive experience from the
previous four Internationals, but also the lessons behind their
weaknesses and defeats. To young comrades I would urge you to take
on board three suggestions from Lenin to youth during WWI, "study,
study and more study". This is a fight that our class can win before
too much of humanity is slaughtered, but if we fail this time we do
face a barbarism, environmental destruction and a nuclear holocaust
of unfathomable consequences for humanity.

If the reader or any group, wherever in the world, agrees that we
are now entering a new period or phase of imperialist re-division of
the world, of wars and revolutions, then please join an open
discussioin list I have just set up – to discuss the burning need to
campaign for a new Workers' International. See:

Any non-profit organisation is welcome to reproduce this article in
full, on the internet or on paper – as long as the author is
notified. If anyone wishes to translate this article into another
language, great, please let me know.

The author is not a member of any group or party, but when living in
Scotland, acted as a revolutionary Marxist and member of the SSP. I
now see the workers party tactic should be applied in the struggle
for a united fighting English Socialist Party, uniting all the left
groups along with the Labour left.

Steve Masterson
- Homepage:


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