A bloody mess
An actualization by ‘Nuevo Curso’
From the Strait of Hormuz to the South China Sea, the U.S.A. are escalating tensions in the most important imperialist conflict zones, threatening to transform the trade war into a major military war. In the following we present a brief appreciation of this situation by the Spanish blog of the proletarian internationalist group ‘Emancipacion’.
Towards a war of regional blocs over Iran’s zone of influence?
The USA have evacuated their diplomatic personnel from Iraq, the technicians of their oil companies from the border with Iran, and have warned the airlines not to fly over the area. (1) Pompeo has aligned France and Germany who, fearful of the US threats in the trade war, have once again displayed [their] imperialist impotence. The ambiance is clearly a pre-war one (2) and looks like a smaller-scale replay of the last two Gulf wars. (3)
However, speculative capital is said to be quiet this time despite attacks on Saudi infrastructure and ships by Iranian special units. Partly because Saudi Arabia and the Emirates assure to have sufficient oil reserves to serve the demand (4) and partly because the size of the American deployment speaks more of punctual attacks than of a total war. But that is misleading.
1. Less than two weeks ago, gossips of the intelligence services claimed that the peace before the storm would last for some months, if only because even limited deployments take time. However, in Syria the USA feel the pressure of Iran’s “proxy” troops, troops that are controlled by the “Revolutionary Guard” and that do not directly respond to the political apparatus of the regime which, after imposing rationing again, (5) fears that a war will precipitate a new revolutionary awakening of the workers. (6)
2. But beneath the tension with the USA hums the continuous bass of the regional imperialist conflict between Iran and a Saudi Arabia. The latter has not stopped arming itself and already is the first arms buyer in the world. (7) This allows the USA to play out the existential war threat to the Iranians by setting in motion a “reduced” war machine: anything that surpasses a punctual military action with a symbolic response would inevitably extend to the whole Gulf region and beyond, to Lebanon and Israel.
Turning with the tide: the China Sea
Meanwhile, the China Sea offers a relatively similar and an even more dangerous picture. There China and the USA are waging a war of positions in which neighboring countries, such as Vietnam, are taking casualties. (8) Even the Philippines, which pretended to fall on the Chinese side, showed the teeth of its modest imperialist capacity only to recognize its impotence to assert itself independently, and to take refuge with the USA. (9) This was a triumph for Trump, who however fears to be left in the void by China’s ever-increasing penetration of Australia (10)… and who is, by the way, spurred on by comments on electoral “miracles” [in this country].
The USA already regard the trade war it has waged so far only as a skirmish in a long-term, far-reaching conflict. (11) And in this context, its increasing militarization turns the South China Sea into a real powder keg. (12) Even today, the United States were locating one of their warships in the disputed area. (13)
War and its true enemies
The danger of war advances for weeks, almost per day. No “pacifism” can stop it, because war springs from the very heart of the system, and in its decadence war is exacerbated and is permanently present. Only one cause has so far stopped an imperialist war: the mobilization and self-organization of the workers. This is not a utopia: if Iran itself has developed its program of imperialist expansion by fits and starts, this was because the mobilization of the workers, which reached levels of almost insurrectional self-organization (14) during these last two years, has stopped again and again the advances of a national capital desperate for expansion.
But stopping the worldwide tendency to war is neither the task nor the responsibility of any single group or detachment of the working class. The conversion of imperialist war into a class war is the responsibility of the class as a whole. We are a universal class, and it is this universality that allows us to represent a real alternative to a capitalism globally opposed to the human species. War is not only fed by Trump, the ayatollahs or Putin, it is fed by capitalism as a whole. The real war front is right under our noses: in every company, in every neighborhood and in every state. And yes: we must take sides, but all those who take sides for a national state, whichever it may be, and existing or an incipient one, for an “aggressor” or an “assaulted” state, are taking the same side, that of war and infinite “sacrifices”.
‘Nuevo Curso’, May 20, 2019
Translation: H.C., May 23, 2019
1 Al Jazeera, May 18, 2019: US warns airliners flying over Gulf of ‘misidentification’
2 Al Jazeera, May 15, 2019: Are tensions between US, Gulf allies and Iran coming to a head?
3 Al Jazeera, May 20, 2019: Trump threatens Iran’s ‘end’ if it seeks fight with the US
4 Al Jazeera, May 19, 2019: Saudi, UAE see sufficient oil supplies despite Iran tensions
5 The Guardian, May 12, 2019: Iran’s Rouhani warns of greater hardship than war years of 1980s
7 Al Jazeera, May 13, 2019: Saudi Arabia: The world’s largest arms importer from 2014-2018
8 South China Morning Post, March 22, 2019: Vietnam protests over China’s sinking of vessel in contested South China Sea
9 South China Morning Post, April 8, 2019: ‘US will remain our only military ally,’ says Philippine foreign chief
10 The New York Times, May 11, 2019: Australia and the U.S. Are Old Allies. China’s Rise Changes the Equation
11 Al Jazeera, May 20, 2019: US says warship sails in South China Sea amid trade tensions
12 South China Morning Post, April 23, 2019: Xi Jinping makes maritime peace call as Chinese navy powers up for 70th anniversary parade
13 South China Morning Post, April 10, 2019: US, China ‘at greater risk of military incidents’ in South China Sea
14 See note 6.