Russia’s onslaught into Georgia, a major strategic setback for U.S. rulers, shifts the imperialist rivalry into a new, more dangerous phase. The U.S. war machine no longer holds a monopoly on invasion and must now contend with the restored might of Moscow’s 1,200,000-strong nuclear-armed forces. For example, Pentagon planners targeting Iran will have to raise their estimates of needed troops and figure out how to get them.
Eight years ago, the top-level, Clinton-appointed Hart-Rudman commission formulated far-reaching plans for maintaining U.S. global supremacy into the 21st Century, including militarization under a domestic police state. Its foreign policy chapter stated, “It is a critical national interest of the United States that no hostile… [predominant power] arise in any of the globe’s major regions, nor a hostile global peer rival or a hostile coalition comparable to a peer rival.” On Russia, Hart-Rudman warned against political developments that Putin in fact later led, “A form of Russian national socialism [fascism — Ed.], emboldened by a revived form of pan-Slavism, could do enormous harm over all of Eurasia and beyond” [“harm” to U.S. ruling-class interests ––Ed].
PUTIN INSTITUTES WARTIME FASCISM
Former KGB agent Putin’s success in reorganizing Russia into an imperialist power contrasts sharply with Bush’s failure to carry out Hart-Rudman’s recommendations. Putin has mercilessly disciplined pro-U.S. political dissenters and businessmen. Alexander Litvinenko, a KGB turncoat who criticized the Kremlin from London, died horribly in 2006 from a Russian-sourced radioactive poison. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, ex-chief of the former oil giant Yukos — which he tried to sell to Exxon Mobil — rots in a Siberian jail, his latest parole bid summarily denied. Putin ended regional elections and effectively nationalized major industry, especially energy, which Russia wields as a weapon.
The soaring price of oil, partly due to the U.S.’s Iraq fiasco — which has been far from meeting predicted oil production goals — has helped immensely to strengthen oil-exporting Russia. But mostly, Putin & Co. have stirred up a nationalist fervor for resurrecting the old Russian empire. The Russians have a big head start in moving to an imperialist wartime footing, stemming from both good and bad periods of their past.
From World War II, they retain the collective memory of the red-led mass mobilization against their Nazi enemies — the greatest single undertaking in history. In the late 1980s, the now state-capitalist Soviet rulers opted for open capitalism, crushing all workers’ past gains, and the old Soviet Union imploded. U.S. capitalism chose this as an opportunity to install a “new world order” with only one superpower — the U.S.
This worked for a while, but the U.S./NATO war against Russian ally Serbia became the turning point for Russia’s bosses. The latter needed justification to get back at the U.S. and the recent U.S./NATO-inspired independence for Kosovo — taking it away from Serbia — fit the bill. Following Georgia’s invasion of its two northern pro-Russian autonomous provinces, Moscow turned around and recognized their independence.
Russia’s bosses have used nationalistic patriotism to influence workers to accept worsening living conditions and tight government social control. Pensions are down, the former communist-led healthcare system is in shambles, wages go unpaid for months, and prostitution and Mafia-type crime are rife.
Bosses’ nationalist and profit drives, whether from Moscow or Washington, run counter to the interests of the international working class, including Russia’s workers.
U.S. BOSSES HOPE OBAMA-BIDEN CAN SPUR WAR EFFORT
U.S. rulers, on the other hand, thought they could counter Russian influence in the old Soviet bloc without committing U.S. ground troops. They banked on bribes instead, through election-fixing “revolutions” in Georgia and the Ukraine among others, financed by Rockefeller ally and billionaire George Soros, and massive arms shipments to two-bit pro-U.S. leaders like Georgia’s Saakashvili.
While the Bush gang tortures and murders “detainees” in its worldwide prison camps and terrorizes immigrants at home, it has failed to enact the society-transforming fascistic measures outlined in Hart-Rudman and other strategic proposals. These include a thorough revamping of education “in the national interest,” a top-to-bottom centralization of law enforcement agencies, and a systematic indoctrination of elected officials to support the rulers’ military priorities.
To their dismay, only the Homeland Security Department proposal has been established, and that is pretty disorganized although able to carry out terroristic anti-immigrant raids. (See page 3) In addition, instead of ruling-class-imposed discipline, economic chaos reigns domestically. Bankers, bent on doing whatever they please, got rid of their nemesis Eliot Spitzer, the rulers’ supposed Sheriff of Wall Street. Financial crises mount. U.S. rulers are counting on “Change” candidate Barack Obama to initiate the mobilization they need. Their new situation regarding Russia explains why Obama chose arch-imperialist draft supporter Joe Biden as his running mate. [See adjoining box and article on Conventions, page 2]
Russia’s newfound militarism is already damages U.S. influence far beyond Georgia, Agence France Presse reported (8/17/08). “President Hugo Chavez said…that Russian President Dimitri Medvedev wants to send a Russian naval fleet to visit Venezuela.” And Russia is increasing its arms sales to U.S. foe Syria. We don’t say that World War III will start tomorrow. We do, however, recognize that chances for a global flare-up have risen qualitatively, without counting either China’s inevitably destabilizing role or Europe’s ambiguous loyalties. The rulers’ power grabs constantly increase the risk of deadlier wars.
All this U.S. capitalist economic anarchy and faltering trillion-dollar wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have come down hard on the U.S. working class while killing millions of workers abroad. Wages are down, prices and unemployment are up, racist policy brutality and Nazi-like immigration raids are intensifying. The only road to reverse such assaults — in both the U.S. and Russia, as well as worldwide — it to build a mass international Progressive Labor Party that aims to establish a profit-free communist society without exploitation, unemployment, racism, sexism and capitalist borders.
OBAMA’S VEEP PICK BIDEN HAS IMPERIALIST PEDIGREE
Joe Biden voted for the Iraq war and the fascist Patriot Act. He wants to send U.S. soldiers as “peacekeepers” to fight pro-China forces in Darfur. He now sponsors a bill that would send $15 billion in aid to Pakistan’s yet-to-be-named next dictator. Biden’s ruling-class mentor is Leslie Gelb, former NY Times editor and head of the Rockefeller-financed Council on Foreign Relations. Together they wrote a major policy paper on Iraq which proposed partitioning it into three autonomous regions, a plan that foundered on the inability to apportion its huge oil reserves.
In 2005, Biden told NBC News, “The United States will ‘have to face’ a painful dilemma on restoring the military draft as rising casualties result in persistent shortfalls in US army recruitment (Agence France Presse, 6/12/05). “It’s just a reality,” Biden said.