By Pål Steigan
Historical turning points are often difficult to actually perceive when they happen. Usually we’re able to see them more clearly in retrospect. Nonetheless, I dare argue that 2016 was the year globalism burst. Until now, supporters and opponents alike have viewed the globalist project as something which was inexorably moving forward along its predetermined course, knocking all opposition aside. Because that’s indeed how it used to be. Globalism is not just a political direction. First and foremost, it’s the nature of today’s capitalism. It is global. The multi-national corporations conquers the world, shattering nations and peoples under its mighty wheels like a juggernaut.
No smooth running
But like always in the past, the fact that history never runs smoothly is again being confirmed. Capitalism’s attempt at subduing the entire world is a nonsubjective tendency. It adheres to capital’s inherent need for endless capital accumulation. It’s like Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels writes in The Communist Manifesto: “The cheap prices becomes the heavy artillery that demolishes all Chinese walls.”
In this sense, it’s irresistable. Like Marx and Engels also writes, the bourgeoisie is reminiscent of “the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the the underground powers that he has evoked. Already for decades, the history of industry and trade has been the history of modern era production forces’ rebellion against modern era production conditions.”
Thus, globalism is facing conflicts created by capitalism itself, which it isn’t capable of solving, and which leads to breakdowns and chaos. Class suppression strenghtening the class struggle is one such issue. But capitalism itself doesn’t evolve steadily, either. Some capitalist states rise, while others sink, and their mutual conflicts have already lead to two world wars and numerous other wars and conflicts.
In particular now that many leading countries have entered a lasting recession, even depression, violent conflicts are bound to occur. When times are hard, even the best of friends can become enemies. These conflicts are matters of life and death, no less.
It is no longer ago than since 2014, that Barack Obama gave a speech where he talked about an upcoming new world order:
“But whether people see what’s happening in Ukraine, and Russia’s aggression towards its neighbors in the manner in which it’s financing and arming separatists; to what’s happened in Syria – the devastation that Assad has wrought on his own people; to the failure in Iraq for Sunni and Shia and Kurd to compromise –although we’re trying to see if we can put together a government that actually can function; to ongoing terrorist threats; to what’s happening in Israel and Gaza — part of people’s concern is just the sense that around the world the old order isn’t holding and we’re not quite yet to where we need to be in terms of a new order that’s based on a different set of principles, that’s based on a sense of common humanity, that’s based on economies that work for all people.”
The US nearly succeeded
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, USA has been the only de facto super power, and this position has been exploited by the country in its attempts to subdue the rest of the world. It has been done through asymmetric trade agreements, favoring US capital groups. And not least, it has been done through wars, coup d’états, assassinations, threats and bribes. And they’ve used their over-priced US dollar as a sledgehammer against everyone else. The light artillery in this battle has been the US-dominated media and their highly successful struggle to control people’s mindset and the politicians’ ways of acting.
USA has led wars in Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Somalia, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Syria, sparked a coup d’état in Ukraine, and ensured regime changes in other countries. In Africa, the US performs dozens of military operations every year in order to secure their own and their capital groups’ control. USA took a giant step in the destruction and plundering of Russia during Boris Yeltsin’s presidency. Also, the US has almost completely subjugated Europe, and reduced former colonial powers of the Old World, like Germany, France and the United Kingdom, to vassals.
Hitting the wall
Without officially making a big deal of it, China has enjoyed the full benefits of globalization for the bulilding of an industry that has become the world’s factory, and systematically developed infrastructure, research, science and technology to ensure the nation does not remain a second-class export nation. This has happened partially with heavy investments by US companies. The asymetric trade relations between the US and China have arisen due to the US capital’s inherent need for inexpensive goods, but it has created an economic system that relentlessly strengthens China at the expense of the United States.
USA painfully learned that global competition is not a game only one can play. Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” is a desperat admission that the US has lost its own game.
Moreover, the US has failed in all its wars. The Afghanistan war, to which we do not yet see an end, is the longest running war in US history. And the pricetag is tremendous. Linda Bilmes, former CFO of the US Department of Commerce has estimated the total direct and indirect costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to end up in the range of US$ 4-6000 billions. This calculation was published at Harvard. (Equals 5-7 times Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global.)
Admittedly, the US has been able to fund its mighty war machinery by government bonds sales to China. But this source now rapidly dries, as China will find itself sufficiently strong and ready for a de-dollarizing of the global economy.
The Iraq war was a disaster which keeps producing misery. With Norway spearheading, the US destroyed Libya, but the catastrophy of the event will continue to affect Europe, not least. In late summer of 2015, it appeared that USA’s jihadist armies would win the war in Syria, but then Russia joined, and USA’s brightest strategists now realize the defeat.
In 2015, the five EU presidents presented a plan to abolish the national democracies in EU member states by 2025. If they could have their way, the national parliaments in EU member states as of 2025 would no longer be allowed to decide on their own national budgets. The five presidents are Head of European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, EU Summit President Donald Tusk, the Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and European Parliament President Martin Schulz. Neither of these gentlemen has a democratic mandate, but they are used to issuing directives and regulations, and 500 million people would then abide by them.
18 months later we can ascertain, quite incontrovertibly, that this isn’t so anymore. The EU we knew no longer exists. The EU is no longer an “ever closer union”, quoting the optimistic wording from the Treaties. It’s more like The Economist’s sardonic remark, an “ever farther union”.
And so the events occured one after the other. Some countries rebelled against the EU’s migration policy, a policy that does not have the support of the majority of voters in any country, thus having to burst, sooner or later.
The most crucial change came with Brexit, the British resolution on withdrawal from the EU. It hit the drain plug out of the union. Add the defeat of TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), and you’ve got the span of problems the globalists are facing in 2016 right there.
Other strains on the cohesion of the union has been a policy of war and the sanctions against Russia. These are policies which to a high extent are in contrary to the objective interests of the European states, but are carried out despite strong internal resistance, due to US dictation.
Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is not elected by anybody. He couped himself into leadership of his own party, and holds position of Prime Minister because he has an agreement with Berlusconi: I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine. He decided to take a Cameron; propose to his own people a vote of confidence to obtain majority for constitutional amendments. But he’s at risk of becoming even more like Cameron than he’d like to be. The Italian people do not want these amendments, and Renzi is in danger of having to eat a large knuckle sandwich for breakfast – a supposed five star rated knuckle sandwich, as Beppe Grillo and his Five Star Movement is lurking in the bushes.
Also, it appears that the French presidential election is going to be between two candidateswho are both proponents of détente with Russia, and of cooperation. In complete defiance of the NATO doctrine.
Losing in Syria – and Ukraine
USA, the West, Turkey and the oil dictatorship states have waged a war of jihadist mercenaries to destroy Syria. (Norway’s role in this has been to finance the more or less civilian component of the war, and to engage in economic warfare against Syria.) The war came close to success in 2015, but now it appears that the jihadists and the West is going to lose. This is truly a major setback for the neocon imperialists, and it marks a fork in the road of dramatic significance in international politics.
It is not longer than since the summer of 2014 that US neocons tried to push for a war in Ukraine. In February 2014, they sparked the Maidan coupe in Kiev, promising the population riches and success. What they got was war, poverty, fascism and state bankruptcy. Even if no NATO officials dare say it yeat, they know that even this war is lost. The bankruptcy estate will be passed on to EU’s (and Norway’s) taxpayers.
Clinton’s and The Democratic War Party’s defeat
Donald Trump was the opposing candidate that the Clinton campaign hoped for, to be fairly confident to have their own unpopular candidate elected. All major financial banks were in on Clinton’s team, Wall Street, the arms industry, all the important media. And they were all expectant about Hillary Clinton escalating the war in Syria, and perhaps attacking Russian armed forces there. And then they lost. Donald Trump is a right-wing reactionary, capitalist demagogue, but he has apparently realized that USA’s era as “The Indispensable Nation” is over.
This is also a blow to loyalty inside NATO. European NATO officials fear the consequencesof losing USA’s protection. They’ve personally been involved in war crimes, confidently reassured that the US would always cover their backs and keep them on safe distance from international tribunals. Now they can’t be so sure about that anymore. If nothing else came out of the US election, at least we got a chance to see what kind of pathetic vassals theEuropean leaders really are.
And Turkey, keeping NATO’s second largest army and constituting NATO’s vulnerable southern flank, flirts with the idea of joining the Eurasian alliance in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, in close connection with China and Russia.
And the Chinese mill keeps spinning unabated
Deng Xiaoping advised his country’s leaders to not be visible in international politics, to avoid unwanted attention. They have indeed followed his advice. But China’s economy is currently the most important source of the growth that still exist in the world, and the country has established its own development bank, is aiming to build the new Silk Road – One Belt, One Road – and invest hundreds of billions of US dollars in it. If no major war breaks out, China’s economy will be larger than the US economy in absolute figures sometime in the 2020’s. By then, China will also have longe since surpassed the United States as a research and development nation. And China is the largest trading partner and the biggest investor in a number of countries that have traditionally been America’s closest allies.
Well before annual highlights season, we can establish 2016 as one momentous year. For the globalists, it’s already their Annus horribilis. We realize by now that this will have world historic significance. But in what way, remains unknown. The US has long led an indirect war against their “allies”, now these conflicts could eventually break the surface and unfold in broad daylight. There may be a situation of “all against all”. Old alliances will unravel, new ones will arise. These things rarely occur in peaceful ways. But times of chaos is also times of opportunities. It’s easier for the oppressed peoples to fight enemies who are split, than enemies who stand united.
English translation by Achsel Ford