Have we escaped a new world war?

‘Nuevo Curso’ on the latest escalation of war tensions over Syria

» Inter-imperialist tensions have been growing for the past six months: Korea, Turkey, the proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia in Syria and Yemen… The economic press is already talking about the globalization of war and the decomposition of Europe as the main risk in the immediate future. The big media are again asking about the possibility of a world war with a naturalness that has not been seen in thirty years. In the background, yet very visible, the trade war feeds new “doctrines of national security” (1) from China to the US, from Russia to South Africa, which gives each clash of interests the potentiality of escalating and incorporating agents into a chain reaction.

The threats of Trump against the government of Al Assad for the use of chemical weapons seemed in principle little more than an act of presence, one of the many murderous rituals to which the thug-like behavior of the powers has accustomed us. But there is too much at stake in Syria already and above all there are too many agents, too many “occasional allies” with too fragile common interests. (2) So Trump’s declarations soon were confronted with the Russian and Chinese warnings… but also with a greedy France eager to find its own butt in the wasp’s nest, shifting from the role of American lieutenant to an increasingly suspicious Britain.

Trump, who lives in a permanent internal war with a central fraction of the American state bourgeoisie, (3) had to cancel – and this is very symbolic – his participation in the summit of the Americas (4) to try to confront a situation that was beginning to overflow and to have direct economic consequences via oil prices. (5)

As usual in this American government, the response oscillated between a threatening pondering and a thuggish display, once Russia launched the outrage of declaring it would try to shoot down the American missiles… and even attack the launching sites. (6) Everything seemed prepared for last night. The armies led by Assad and even the Russians themselves have begun to dislocate from their military bases.

The Kenitra corridor, 20Km of Syrian territory around the Israeli border, linking the Lebanese Hezbollah bases with the Jordanian border. Source: Debka

But a new element made its way in the course of the evening and night of the Mediterranean Levant: according to the intelligence services, (7) Iran and Russia have been negotiating the possibility of responding to the eventual American attack with a direct attack on Israel. Iran has in Syria 10,000 Lebanese Hezbollah soldiers under its direct command and has been preparing them for the past few months, hardly held back by Russia. Now see the opportunity for Russian complacency.

The possibility that a non-strategic attack would prompt Russia to accept a direct attack by Iran on Israel from Syria, possibly involving the Russians and Saudis themselves, is what has temporarily stopped the escalation. (Twitter message by NC)

Given the size of the minefield of conflicting interests and possibilities of extension and escalation, the USA is again pondering its options and the dawn has not been full of explosions in Syria.

But the fundamental causes of imperialist tensions are still there. The tendency toward war is permanent and increasingly explicit throughout the world. The military and political calculations, the balances between always fragile alliances, can only increase this even more – at one time “head” comes up, but sooner or later it will be “tails” – because they do not solve anything, nor put a brake on a tendency whose driving force is the essence itself of capitalism in our time.

Historically, only one thing has been able to stop an imperialist war. It was certainly not pacifism, but the mobilization of workers under their own banners. It is certain that we already had a glimpse in Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran at the turn of the year. (8) It was not enough, nor could it be as it happened. The possibility and the responsibility lie above all in the struggles of the workers of the central countries: in the whole of Europe, but also in the USA and Russia. «

Nuevo Curso, April 12, 2018