============================================================================ From: "Wyles, Margaret" <•••@••.•••> To: "'•••@••.•••'" <•••@••.•••> Subject: In the end, it's an old story after all...... Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 11:10:53 -0800 [Workers World News Service] ------------------------- Via Workers World News Service Reprinted from the Jan. 27, 2000 issue of Workers World newspaper ------------------------- Globalization, militarism & the U.S./NATO war against Yugoslavia By Richard Becker International Action Center San Francisco Excerpts from a speech at the No to WTO/People's Assembly, Seattle Nov. 28, 1999 The world's attention this week is on Seattle, the World Trade Organization, and the struggle against what has become one of the buzzwords of the 1990s, "globalization." But what is "globalization"? Is it a new phenomenon? I'd like to read a few words from a pamphlet written more than 150 years ago. "The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere ... . The bourgeoisie, through its exploitation of the world market, gives a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. ... It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt a bourgeois mode of production. It compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst, in other words to become bourgeois themselves . . . In a word, it creates a world after its own image." Those words are from the most popular and widely translated work ever written, "The Communist Manifesto." It shows that globalization is not new. Our definition of imperialist globalization is the process of breaking down all barriers to the free movement of capital and its right to freely exploit the resources and labor of all countries. Some in the left have misunderstood this to mean that capital has become denationalized. There was a theory in the early 1990s of "global mobile capital," that capital had become detached from its national roots. This is like an old theory called ultra-imperialism. It's a false theory that conveniently--and not coincidentally--relieves its proponents of the need to fight against their own ruling class. It allows some on the right, and the social-democratic left as well, to argue that the U.S. capitalists have become unpatriotic--as if at some point they were patriotic to anything besides profits. U.S. capital in driver's seat The Pentagon, the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines do not exist to defend capital in the abstract or in the general sense. They exist to protect and serve U.S. capital--not only to extend and maintain its domination in what used to be called the Third World, the oppressed countries, but also vis-a-vis its imperialist allies and rivals. The domination of U.S. capital is the overall strategic objective of U.S. policy. Maximization of profit is, of course, what drives the system. But maintaining U.S. hegemony is the guiding principle of U. S. strategic doctrine. Globalization yes, but globalization with U.S. capital in the driver's seat. How does all this relate to the U.S./ NATO war against Yugoslavia? What is the relation ship between globalization and militarism? Ten years ago, neither Yugoslavia nor Iraq would have seemed likely targets of U.S. military attack. Both are key countries in key strategic regions. While the United States had been fiercely hostile to both of them after their respective revolutions--Yugoslavia in 1945, and Iraq in 1958--it seemed to change over the years. Ten years ago the U.S. policy toward both countries was officially friendly. In 1990 and 1991 however, all this friendliness suddenly evaporated. The benign mask dropped away, revealing the true face of U.S. policy. The U.S. rulers proceeded to first demonize and then to devastate both countries--tearing one to pieces, and inflicting on the other a human-made famine and deadly epidemics. Both the Yugoslav and Iraqi people have suffered immense human, productive and cultural losses. Both were subjected to nearly a decade of war, blockade and subversion. Today the U.S. government's official policy toward both countries is called "regime change." The imperialists are continuing their aggression against both countries. What happened to bring about such a cataclysmic change? Was there a dramatic change in the government of either country? No, those governments are basically the same today. Did they change their basic orientation? No, not at all. Did either one of them menace the United States? No, neither is in a position to do so. The real change that took place was inside neither Iraq nor Yugoslavia. What happened was a sharp change in the balance of forces in the world brought about by the disintegration and then collapse of the Soviet Union and the socialist bloc in Europe in the period of 1989 to 91. Imperialism's friendliness toward Iraq and Yugoslavia lasted exactly as long as the existence of the socialist camp. First the governments in the newly reunified Germany and subsequently Britain, France, Italy and above all the United States set out to carve up the Yugoslav Federation, fanning the flames of chauvinism while arming the most reactionary nationalist elements within that country. U.S./NATO role destroying Yugoslavia The destruction of Yugoslavia with its extremely diverse and intermingled population required a bloody civil war. The imperialists were only too glad to do everything they could to make the civil war as atrocious and brutal as possible. The United States and the other NATO powers used an integrated, economic, military and diplomatic strategy to destroy the former Yugoslavia. The economic austerity plan implemented by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in the 1980s played a major role in heightening the tensions between the different republics and provinces of Yugoslavia that had different standards of living, within the federal state. The threat of trade sanctions and other penalties was used to support the secessionist movements in Yugoslavia in 1991 and 1992. Economic sanctions--a total blockade of the country that was based on the sanctions implemented two years earlier against Iraq--were brought to bear on Yugoslavia in 1992 and imposed until 1996. Both the U.S. and German regimes, but increasingly the U.S., armed, funded and trained the Croatian and Bosnian military. Washington insisted that NATO must carry out the bombing of Bosnia in the summer of 1995. Meanwhile the U.S.- retrained-and-led Croatian army ethnically cleansed half a million Serbs from the Krajina region of Croatia where they had lived for many centuries. This was the integrated strategy. The combination of sanctions, blockade, economic and financial measures, NATO bombing and U.S. intervention forced the Yugoslav government to sign the Dayton Accords in 1995. And 1999 brought a new round of war--a massive 78-day bombing campaign by NATO, led by the Pentagon, and then new economic sanctions, which exist today. Washington justifies this policy by claiming it was standing up for human rights! U.S. capitalism grew wealthy largely through the exploitation of millions of people who were enslaved, carried out the greatest ethnic cleansing in history on this continent by clearing out the Native inhabitants, and put its nation together by war and conquest. What right do U.S. rulers have to speak to any people anywhere in the world about human rights? None. Washington's goals in Balkans war Washington and NATO launched a war against Yugoslavia for the same reasons the U.S. army invaded Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines in 1898. They want to subject Central and Eastern Europe to a new form of colonial domination. They don't care about the lives of any of the peoples of Yugoslavia any more than they cared about the rights of workers and farmers in Cuba or Puerto Rico or the Philippines a hundred years ago. Just since World War II, Washington has fought the Korean War; overthrown the elected governments of Guatemala, Iran, Chile, Indonesia; fought wars against the people of Central America; invaded Leban on; carried out a genocidal war in Indo china, in which millions of Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians and more than 50,000 U.S. troops died; and enforced an economic block ade against Iraq that has taken the lives of more than a million and a half people, half of them children under the age of 5. Given this horrific and bloody record, are we to believe President Clinton or Madeline Albright or Gen. Wesley Clark on certain days wake up in the morning and say, "Human rights are being threatened somewhere in the world--we must act!" No, of course not; it's ludicrous to think so. The real objective of the war on Yugoslavia is to re-balkanize the Balkans--to break up Yugoslavia into small, easily controllable and digestible pieces, in order to insure U.S./NATO, and especially U.S., domination of this key strategic region. While 10 years ago it had none, today the United States has military bases in Albania, Macedonia, Hungary, Bosnia and Croatia. Washington and its NATO partners have cut up Kosovo into little pieces, occupation zones. I want to read a quote from Thomas Friedman, who writes for the New York Times--a thoroughly despicable individual who is now held up as the highest example of U.S. journalism. Friedman wrote approvingly on March 28, 1999: "For globalization to work, America can't be afraid to act like the almighty superpower that it is. The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonald-Douglas, the designer of the F-15, and the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technology is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps." New U.S. military buildup A new military buildup is already under way, despite the fact that the United States today already spends more on its military that the rest of the UN Security Council combined. Having spent $19 trillion since 1940 on the military, the U.S. government proposes to spend an additional $1.2 trillion in the next four years. The purpose of this military buildup is to provide security for corporate America's far-flung empire. It is part of the globalization strategy. It is also designed to assure that U.S. capital is pre-eminent over all others. This was laid out in a Pentagon "White Paper" publicized in March 1992, soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, called the Defense Planning Guidance Document. It stated forthrightly that the top U.S. aim in the post-Soviet era should be to prevent any potential rival from even considering the possibility of trying to achieve competitive balance with the United States. U.S. military superiority is the key to U.S. imperialist global economic domination. The United States does not have superiority over its rivals just by virtue of its economic system and technology. But what it does have is this vast military apparatus to implement its will. There are many in the anti-war movement who were deluded into thinking that the demise of the Soviet Union and the end of the Warsaw Pact would usher in a new era of peace and demilitarization. Those who held this hope did not understand that imperialism is still imperialism. And the imperialist leaders, instead of thinking about peace, saw the changed relationship of forces in the world as a new opportunity to secure domination over key markets, labor and resources. Instead of becoming more peaceful, they became more aggressive. We do not live, unlike what so many in academia tell us now, in some post-modern era. We still live in the era of imperialism--of imperialist war and socialist revolution. Imperialist globalization, based on the maximizing of super-profits and the transnational banks and corporations, is laying waste to the world and to its people. At the same time, this process expands every day in every country the ranks of those who were described in that same pamphlet that I quoted earlier as the gravediggers of the system--the working class. Today imperialism appears to be riding high; the imperialists feel strong. But I want to quote another great revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, who once said, to paraphrase, that "every ruling class thinks itself invincible until history teaches it otherwise." Our job is to organize the movement that teaches them otherwise. - END - (Copyleft Workers World Service: Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this document, but changing it is not allowed. For more information contactWorkers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail: •••@••.•••. For subscription info send message to: •••@••.•••. 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