Above: “Damn the executioners! American instigators of war are the enemies of humanity!”
If the full scope of the death and pain that U.S. imperialism causes were to be exposed to the American people, millions more of them would have already become communists, or at least undergone the disillusionment that can start someone on the path to communism. The primary evil at the heart of our social order is hidden from us. We can see the vileness of capitalism that’s local to the imperial center—engineered poverty, racialized state violence, needless systemic failures amid events like pandemics—but the rest of the picture can still be easily ignored. That being the violence which comes from imperialism, the inevitable outgrowth of capitalism.
Bourgeois ideology encourages us to view imperialism as something not innately tied to capitalism. Its adherents portray imperialism as nothing more than a policy, as optional. When you seriously investigate the socioeconomic dynamics behind why imperialism exists in the modern age, you find that it’s not something a bourgeoisie can do without, at least not unless they want to rule over a country with unsustainably weak capital. Since the 19th century, when capitalism evolved to its highest stage, capital has been in a state of decay, and in perpetual need of parasitic extraction to survive. It’s given rise to the monopoly, and to the financial oligarchy. These are the manifestations of capital’s consolidation during its long era of decline, in which it’s come to exist as a totally reactionary force. When capitalism was still a revolutionary force, in the process of replacing feudalism, it could allow for more freedom of market competition. Now that it’s in its decaying stage, its enterprise has concentrated into all-encompassing monstrosities, multinational banks and corporations that must feed on the imperial peripheries to keep profits up.
The way these essential drivers of modern capitalism maintain themselves is by exporting capital into the exploited countries, which have transformed from colonies into neo-colonies with the coming of this new version of imperialism. Without neo-colonialism, capitalism within the imperialist countries can’t function. So these countries, led by the core imperialist power the United States, will do anything to maintain their access to the extractive sources. That’s why war is a constant under capitalism.
By war, I mean so much more than direct military intervention, which is the only type of imperialism that liberals and reactionaries are ever willing to recognize. They act like if U.S. military involvement ends, which capitalism won’t ever permit anyhow, we’ll no longer be a country that causes harm towards the world. The reality is that capitalism mandates the U.S. to continuously wage war in a myriad of forms, with invasions having become harder to sell after the Iraq catastrophe and these alternative means therefore now being the primary imperialist warfare models. In our era of declining U.S. hegemony, where Washington has set itself on the path to imperial collapse through its War on Terror adventurism, imperialism wages war foremost by manufacturing chaos. Not by trying to nation-build, at least in any sustainable fashion.
Before the U.S. military could go into Syria to carry out an ongoing oil theft operation, it had to back jihadists that could act as proxies. These terrorists have since torn the country apart, with the rebuilding effort getting largely sabotaged by U.S. sanctions. The imperialists have then used their other proxies, the supposedly left-wing YPG, to enable their kleptocratic mission. It’s the next best thing to regime change, which became out of reach years ago. The series of fabricated atrocity stories that we heard in the news throughout the war’s peak years, in which Assad got falsely accused of committing chemical attacks by the White Helmet terrorist collaborators, were desperate attempts to advance what the imperialists hoped would be a successful overthrow. All they’ve amounted are an excuse to bomb Syria more, and a diversion from the blatant theft our military is committing within the country.
That’s how imperialism’s wars go these days: not with any unambiguous triumphs, where the empire expands and new neo-colonies are acquired. Only efforts to delay the coming of the multipolar world by bringing destruction. Hillary Clinton, who celebrated the overthrow of Gaddafi by declaring “we came, we saw, he died,” could only claim to have facilitated a momentary win for the empire. No nation building happened, no neo-colony was gained. Only anarchy that the empire keeps working to perpetuate, since a failed state is preferable to a Libya which can economically assert itself again. Obama said that the biggest mistake of his presidency was “Probably failing to plan for the day after what I think was the right thing to do in intervening in Libya.”
The imperialists aren’t bothering to make sustainable nation building plans after they destroy any given country, because Iraq and Afghanistan showed this is a fool’s game. They simply loot the country, and continuously meddle within it so that its people can’t gain the means to challenge imperialism. Throughout growing parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, this strategy of chaos for the sake of chaos is becoming the norm for how imperialism operates. Whenever a country threatens to adopt socialism, or to join the Belt and Road Initiative, the imperialists do all they can to tear it apart. There’s no hope for the restoration of Washington’s shrinking neo-colonial holdings, so Washington is reacting by burning the world down.
This is apparent in Ukraine, the only country where the imperialists have been able to start on any semblance of a nation building project during the last decade. Less than ten years after the Euromaidan coup, that project is floundering. The fascist U.S. puppet regime has imposed its policies within a failed state, and at the cost of provoking the country’s eastern population into a separatist war. The recent conflict, which Kiev started, has cut the country’s economy in half, and the regime’s disregard for the laws of war has cost countless Ukrainian lives. Washington’s aid to Kiev isn’t about protecting Ukrainians, it’s about keeping the chaos going. The imperialists are willing to sacrifice any amount of lives, and to displace millions of people, to achieve their goal of weakening and destabilizing Russia. It’s the only way they’ll have any hope for subduing Russia’s strategic ally China.
As our ruling class creates entire famines, refugee crises, and civil wars in this futile quest to restore U.S. hegemony, its militarism accelerates the climate crisis which threatens to bring the entire globe towards humanitarian disaster. Its new cold war has enabled the establishment of AFRICOM, the pivoting of U.S. forces into the Pacific to encircle China, and the further militarization of Europe. All the while, the U.S. military budget continues to grow, expanding upon the world’s biggest institutional source of greenhouse gas emissions. The climatic consequence of this will create further instability, which the imperialists will exploit by starting even more wars. The war in Syria was able to be stoked by taking advantage of the country’s drought conditions, and the imperialists will continue to take advantage of global warming. Equally threatening to humanity’s future are the nuclear tensions that the imperialists continue to inflame, now by carrying out provocations in Taiwan.
Capital is desperate, and is trying to use war as a means for expanding the colonization projects it relies on to survive. It must be strangled, must be deprived of the geopolitical victories it’s seeking to gain. The way Americans can help in this process is by growing wise to the truth about their country, and about the socioeconomic system which causes their country to perpetuate wars. When they know the truth, they’ll mobilize to take down the empire from within, and build solidarity with those who are fighting the empire from without.—————————————————————————
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