On the anniversary of the death of George Floyd, we are reposting an article by our comrade Savas Michael-Matsas published on RedMed on 16th December 2020.
The November 2020 US elections
Days and weeks have passed since the political earthquake of the US elections on November 3, and the aftershocks, very high on the Richter scale, continue.
Nero Trump insists on denying his defeat, the world burning – and like any Nero likes to sing when Rome and the universe burn…
His first act, after the election, was to depose Defense Minister Mark Esper, who last summer refused to send troops to suppress the popular uprising following the murder of George Floyd. Esper was replaced by Christopher Miller, a former Green Special Forces Colonel and director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC). He then forced the resignation of Deputy Defense Secretary James Anderson, third in command, and placed his Praetorians in key positions at the Pentagon and security services.
At the same time, the judicial war waged by Republicans to annul the election result is well under way, without much hope to win.. Trump's thugs do not stop demonstrating (often armed), like on November 14 in Washington, recognizing him as the “winner", and denouncing the elections as “fraudulent” and the work of a “socialists" conspiracy!!!
While the Democratic Party and the newly elected President Biden show complacency, calling the people who voted for them to be calm, behind the scenes the central core of the ruling class never ceases to deliberate. As revealed, there was an extraordinary ZOOM web meeting at 7.30 am on November 6 with the CEOs of 30 capitalist giants-including Blackstone, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson and Walmart-to discuss the issue raised by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, the organizer of the emergency meeting, and Timothy Snyder, both from Yale University, about an "impending coup." At this early morning special meeting, Steven Schwartzman, the founder of the Blackstone giant and a major Republican financier in the election, openly defended Trump, the "correctness" of his stance and the "legitimacy" of his actions. Other Wall Street bigwigs do not appear to have shared this view.
Trump continues to bully. He denies not only that the transition to the transfer of power has now begun but also to give access to Biden's team on security issues, even information on the course of the coronavirus pandemic, at a time when the outbreaks in USA reached 11 million and the number of deaths reached more than 250 thousand, while it is estimated that deaths will reach 400,000 in February 2021, shortly after the inauguration of the new President of USA…
America and the world are now sailing uncharted waters. The November 3rd elections marked Zero Hour in the Metropolis-ruler of world capitalism. They revealed the huge, incurable, ever-expanding tectonic rifts in the strongest capitalist country, at the very center of the global capitalist system.
The consequences are incalculable not only for the USA but also for the world capitalist system itself, which is already deeply wounded, continuing to be shaken by the protracted, unresolved, structural crisis and the still uncontrollable pandemic, with devastating effects, both immediate and long-term, on the crippled world economy.
Trotsky, as early as the 1920s, at the time of America's emergence as the new world hegemonic power that would replace Britain, stressed that American capitalism cannot maintain its internal equilibrium without relying on global equilibrium. And this global equilibrium has been definitely broken down, since the implosion of capital financial globalization during the 2007/08 global crisis, with Lehman Brothers' collapse as its emblematic moment.
This global systemic destabilization and the whole process that led to it, with the development, intensification, globalization and explosion of the contradictions of capital is the primary cause that shattered every internal balance, social, economic, political, in America. This is the powerful force that caused and is causing the opening of all the tectonic cracks in the American social formation, unleashing local and global earthquakes whose potential intensity is far from being defused.
The disintegration of American society is visible to everyone, after the November 2020 elections, causing shock and awe. It will not be overcome by the exorcisms and calls of the Democrats and Biden for reconciliation. It takes place at all levels.
Congress is divided between the Senate and the House of Representatives. In the latter, the Democrats retain a reduced majority. The new President, however, has to deal with a hostile Republican-controlled Senate (most likely even after the January runoff for the two seats in Georgia), which is capable of blocking every Democratic measure and forcing Biden to resort to presidential decrees. The lifelong Supreme Court, in which Trump managed to appoint an extreme right-wing ally in the run-up to the election, is controlled by an overwhelming conservative Republican majority. Trump's campaign, with all the obstacles he encounters in local state courts, is heading there as a last resort.
There is a rift within and between all governing bodies, at the federal and state levels, and across all state apparatuses, including the Armed Forces, the FBI, and the CIA (as evidenced by Trump's recent beheading of senior officers and new appointments). The political crisis was not only not resolved by the elections but also took the characteristics of a regime crisis, a multifaceted crisis of bourgeois state power itself, a crisis of "governability", to use Foucault's term, that is, a crisis of all material and ideological means of governing the population, of the current bourgeois "art of governance".
The ruling class is deeply divided and the population that is being ruled is also divided. After an unprecedented, the biggest from1900 (!), mass voter turnout in the polls, the electorate split into 74 million Trump voters and nearly 79 million of his opponent's voters, in this particular case the colorless, conventional Democratic Biden. In fact, as many analysts have said, the American population was divided “into those who hate Trump and those who hate those who hate Trump”. The former consider the latter “fascists” and the latter "communists”, into a polarization reminiscent of a dystopian reissue of Weimar, without the powerful KPD (KP) and the powerful SPD (social democracy) on the one hand, and without Trump being transformed, as far as he imagines, into a second Hitler, or rather Mussolini.
The political rift in the population is not linearly vertical. Each rival camp includes its own transversal rifts, following class, ethnic, racial, gender dividing lines.
It is a hasty, superficial approach to see, from the one side. the white working class voting Republicans and the social rights movements of so-called “Identity Politics" voting Democrats.
For example: the poor and often unemployed working class of the dis-industrialized Midwest States of the so-called "Rust Belt", who formerly voted for Obama and in 2016 voted for Trump, in 2020, they have voted for him again in the countryside and in the small towns but gave the victory to Biden, supporting him in the key “swing” States of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona and Michigan, hoping to his pro-workers promises.
It is a fact that large sections of the working class in the former large industrial hubs of the American hinterland barely survive, amid long-term unemployment, social despair and accumulated anger towards the indifference of the remote "elites", making them vulnerable to the fascist demagogy of any demagogue like Trump. The Republicans' claim, however, that their party is now… “the working class party" is completely unsubstantiated. The Republican Party's connection to powerful sections of the American bourgeoisie and Wall Street finance is well-known, historical and material. The disintegration of the ruling class and the divisions within the popular classes do not nullify this bond of American big capital and one of the two pillars of the bipartisan bourgeois political system of the USA.
On the other hand, the current popular uprising of the Black Lives Matter movement, women, Spanish-speaking refugees, the LGBTQI + community, working poor, unemployed and student youth, as well as sections of the "white" working class, "all those who "They hate Trump" and who triumphantly stood in the way of his re-election, with all their diversity and at the same time their unity, cannot and should not be identified, ignoring history and simplistically, with the so-called "identity politics” movements of previous decades. and even of the period before the global crisis.
We had made reference, during the first wave of the pandemic, to an important report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in March 2020, entitled "The Age of Mass Protests -Understanding an Escalating Global Trend”. Among other important things, this report stated that in the three years after Trump's election in 2016, there was an unprecedented radicalization and mobilization of the masses: “with the participation of 15 to 25 million people- which surpass the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-war movement against the Vietnam War!" (op. cit.)
The radicalization of young people and women in particular is characteristic. Its manifestation is the impressive growth of the left-wing organization Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which operates within the Democratic Party and which was very active, initially in the movement around the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, to soar, in a very short time from 5000 members to 81,000 (!), especially during the protracted campaign period for the 2020 elections. At the DSA Congress, in the summer of 2019, it was decided to vote " Bernie or Bust". But, after the incumbent Democratic Party imposed the conservative Biden nomination, the Democratic Socialists reached the breaking point of split. Eventually, their reformist policy led to his retreat and called for Biden's support. Although witch-hunted by the Democratic Εstablishment and are attacked more than the Republicans, in November 2020 they managed to elect 29 of the 40 DSA nominations to the Senate and House.
In other words, the heterogeneous anti-Trump camp formed a class collaboration front, a sui generis “Popular Front” under bourgeois hegemony, an inter-class bloc, which included the Democratic Party, a section of the American bourgeoisie, opposed to the erratic Trump's nationalist far-right policies and the dangerous turmoil it caused, the ruling classes of Germany, France, the majority of the EU and NATO, but also broad popular masses of oppressed people who without their own mobilization Trump would not have known of his electoral defeat.
Nobody underestimates what a Trump’s victory and return to the White House would mean for the American people, including its voters. Nobody underestimates what supportive wind to the sails of dictators and fascists everywhere would give such a thing. But nobody should underestimate the dangers posed by the (hopefully temporary) tying of the insurgent masses to bourgeois hegemony and the chariot of the imperialist Democratic Party, in the absence of an alternative revolutionary solution, leadership and organization. The danger is great, especially in the current conditions of deep crisis and extreme polarization, "in a country that has never been so politically and economically divided since the time of the civil war", at the second half of the 19th century.
The parallels with the American Civil War, in addition to the above excerpt from the political review of the German Social Democracy, are done by many analysts, both in the USA and internationally. Although they usually do not go deeper than the surface, they are not entirely wrong.
All the dividing lines and inequalities, social divisions and exclusions in American society that emerged in the elections and we mentioned above -class, race, ethnicity, gender- are not products of some obsession with "identity politics". They are original structural and functional elements of the American social capitalist formation, as it was formed as the highest point of the unequal and combined historical development of world capitalism. These contradictions can only be overcome by a social force, the working class, which will act, however, consciously as a universal class, as Marx said. A class that cannot liberate itself without liberating all the other oppressed and exploited, without bringing a universal human emancipation- global communism.
With the end of the American civil war, in 1865, there was the rapid industrial development and the creation of a mass industrial proletariat by immigrants of all origins and former slaves of the South, in a vast country, rich in raw materials, open to two oceans, without the feudal obstacles encountered by capitalism in Europe, and having exterminated the indigenous population. It is these historical and material prerequisites that allowed America to take off and then to reach its world imperialist hegemony, after the First and especially the Second World War.
The center of the expansion of American capitalism, after 1865 and almost until the end of the 20th century, was the industrial hubs in the Mississippi Basin. But with the collapse of the post-war, American-centered, international edifice of the treaties of Bretton Woods in 1971, the outbreak of the crisis of overproduction of capital, and then the shift from 1980 to the globalization of financial capital and so-called “Neo-liberalism", the conditions for the existence and operation of American capitalism changed radically.
The Mississippi Basin has ceased to be the vital center of American capitalism. It collapsed economically, with the dis-industrialization and expatriation of companies in low- labor cost countries, in the context of globalization. It turned into a "Rust Belt" with an unemployed and desperate proletarian population and pauperized petty bourgeois strata. With a few exceptions inside the country, the dynamic centers of American capitalism, financial capital, and new high technology companies have shifted to the East and West Coasts. Here is the key to understand the historical process behind the recent elections in an America that sees the film of the old civil war being played backwards.
The dramatic change in social and political geography was the fruit of the advanced decline of world capitalism, in the last stage of its historical development, the stage of imperialism and the omnipotence of financial capital, with all the paradoxes of parasitism and stagnation.
The financial capitalist globalization of the last thirty years was the swan song of the "American dream" and America's planetary hegemony – before the 2008 Crash.
Now, in the time of the "perfect storm”, came the Twilight of Gods …
America after Trump
The Biden presidency, even with a ratification by the Electoral College in December 2020, will walk based on two clay feet.
He faces far more and more intractable, if not unsolvable, problems than Trump's own raging campaign, with courts and far-right mobs to annul the elections results or, at worst, leading a fascist movement in its infancy. to get the revenge.
One leg of the new presidency is of clay because the overall edifice of state power, at national and state level, is shattered, with the governing bodies fighting each other, as the wishful thinking of the Democrats and the polls for a “blue wave" that would sweep the Republicans were bitterly refuted. The other leg is also of clay, as the population itself, divided into multiple dividing lines (as we saw in the first part of this article), is not "governable" and manageable by the government and the authorities, as it was in other times of economic prosperity and unquestionable American world hegemony. Most importantly: both clay feet are sinking in the quicksand of an unprecedented, global, multidimensional capitalist crisis whose sharpest expression and worsening factor is the Covid-19 pandemic.
When the coronavirus pandemic broke out, in the first wave, in March 2020, unprecedented bailouts were taken with trillion dollar credits from the Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) in collaboration with Congress, liquidity rivers that surpassed unparalleled measures taken after the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008. By a bipartisan agreement, Congress urgently passed the CARES Act (from the initials of Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security), referring to the word "Care" as a pun. The Fed was given half a trillion dollars as a "cushion", an amount that the latter increased tenfold. 454 billion became 4,586 trillion dollars that went to the rescue of the giants among the big companies. By comparison, of the funds directly or indirectly based on by the CARES Act, only $ 603 billion went in total for subsidies to individuals and families, for emergency unemployment benefits and for student loans. And at this level, the huge inequalities in American society are visible. It is also well known that the Gini rate, which shows the inequality in family incomes, in America is even worse than that of Costa Rica or South Africa!
Keeping interest rates at zero, the Fed opened 13 credit lines to secure easy and cheap loans to businesses and municipalities of varying sizes during the violent pandemic recession. “The programs have enabled the Fed to raise trillions of dollars poured into the financial markets through the purchase of corporate debt, including some junk bonds, local and state government debt, loans to small and medium-sized enterprises and support for short-term financing".
As the emergency measures expire on December 31, 2020, the Fed requested that they be maintained beyond that date, until 2021. Once again, however, the abysmal gaps highlighted by the elections threaten to swallow them. As the pandemic erupts like wildfire, accelerating the economic downturn, the Treasury Department and outgoing Trump Secretary of State Steven Mnuchin are for the first time at loggerheads with the Fed and its President Jay Powell cutting critical emergency credit lines to medium-sized businesses and over-indebted municipalities and demanding that unused funds be returned!
It is clear that Mnuchin 's action is part of the "scorched earth" strategy followed by Trump's campaign to de-legitimate and undermine the Biden presidency. As expected, there was turmoil and a fall in the stock markets, but also a strong reaction from Democrats and economists.
The well-known Harvard professor and former Clinton finance minister Larry Summers complained that Mnuchin is following Trump's "burn it all” policy and is doing the opposite of Hank Paulson, the Bush administration finance minister in the 2008 crash that coincided with the transition to the Obama presidency. This observation, in itself, shows that the political and economic crisis is not even where it was when the global crisis erupted ten years ago.
Today, as Summers warns, "we can not predict when and if a credit crunch will occur in the credit markets. New shocks after financial crises (and earthquakes) are common. It is wrong to take away a possibility of dealing with them, as Steven Mnuchin does. "
Mnuchin retaliates, following the leader, that despite the pandemic the “economic conditions are wonderful”! Everyone knows the opposite is true. The liquidity of the contingency programs was basically channeled into the speculative financial sphere, into the bubbles of fictitious capital, leaving production to its dark fate, due to the crisis of overproduction of capital. After all, the returns requested by Trump's minister concern funds held as a “cushion” to survive medium-sized enterprises and heavily indebted municipalities in the next worsening crisis. For example, the Main Street Lending program of the US$ 600 billion envisaged has provided less than US$ 5 billion so far. Mnuchin asks that the rest be returned to his Ministry… The objective is clear. Sabotage. Even if the next presidency wants to reactivate them, it can't do it automatically. Precious time will be lost when there is no time.
Fed President Jay Powell himself, diplomatically voicing his opposition to Mnuchin-Trump, said the coming months “will pose great challenges to the US economy”.
Even without the sabotage of the outgoing Trump presidency, there is a stalemate in the capitalist economy after, during, and even in the currently invisible end of the pandemic. The contradictions of capital in their explosion cannot be resolved with the instrument of a more heterodox monetary policy. The reasons and the difference between capital and monetary form of value (and currency, symbol of money) have been thoroughly analyzed by Marx in the first chapters of the First and Second Volumes of Capital (On this crucial issue we need to come back to another particular article).
The Fed itself-but also the other central banks, such as the European Central Bank or the Bank of England and Bank of Japan, which also took additional extraordinary measures to provide monetary liquidity following the outbreak of the pandemic – are facing the deadlock that Mohamed el- Erian, a well-known financier and hedge fund manager who is today professor at Cambridge, describes as a "lose-lose-lose situation", a situation where in all three options present you are losing. Regarding the provision of monetary liquidity through unorthodox measures, central banks "lose if they try to stop them because they can cause financial instability and damage to the real economy. If they do more, increasing the supply, they drop fuel for greater risk. They also lose, if they continue as they do now, because of the widening gap between the real economy and the financial markets".
At the same time, the prospect of a "cascade of panic in credit markets", which Larry Summers talked about, becomes visible if the threat posed by the astronomical level of US and global debt is taken into consideration:
“According to the latest official data from the IIF (Institute of International Finance), global debt has exceeded $272 trillion in the third quarter of 2020. And according to the available data (sovereign lending programs) it is expected to reach 277 trillion by the end of this year! Such a figure means that global debt is more than three and a half times higher than global GDP (365% of GDP).
The analytical data released by the IIF show that in the nine months of 2020, i.e. in the three quarters of 2020 that have passed, debt has increased by $15 trillion. The striking thing is that debt growth is much higher among developed OECD countries. Growth in the developed countries region has reached 432% in the third quarter of 2020. And half of this increase comes from the increase in debt in the USA…”
America after Trump, now experiencing the satirical drama "Trump the Furious", with all the further devastating consequences of the “scorched earth” campaign on a land already scorched by crisis and pandemic, cannot “return to normality and reconciliation", as the rhetoric of the Democrats heralds. Financial Times editor Rana Foroohar points out that "Trump was not the cause but the symptom of a pendulum that went too far in raising capital of big companies and corruption in both politics and business" .
She also recalls “the extraordinary ZOOM online meeting at 7:30 in the morning of November 6 with the CEOs of 30 capitalist giants", as we wrote, and the concern of most - except Stephen Schwartzman, founder of the giant Blackstone -about Trump's refusal to accept the election result and the turmoil, with heavy financial consequences, caused in the transitional period until the inauguration of the new President in January 2021. Rana Foroohar rightly points out that the meeting, interests and political pressures of a handful of tycoons are arousing public sentiment, especially among the plebeian strata who voted for Trump. But it also recalls an empirical study by Shawn McGuire and Charles Delahunt, published just now, in November 2020 by the Institute for New Economic Thinking, which shows that any changes in American policy are determined by the opinion of the richest 10% of the American population! It is obvious how democratic is " the democratic model par excellence” of the whole so-called “Free World”, the crown jewel of liberalism, the transatlantic “Republic”! The bones of Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, the poet Walt Whitman, the visionary of another America, Henry David Thoreau will creak.
This is neither just a shrinking of bourgeois democracy and parliamentarianism, nor an expression of their decline only in declining America. It is the expression, in the country of the highest development of capitalism, of its decline as a global system. It is precisely because of historical decline that what was hidden behind bourgeois vows of loyalty to "Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood” and which Marx had already revealed: the “freedom” of wage slavery, with the buyer and seller of labor power appearing as legally free and equal individuals; the “equality" of the commodity exchange of equivalents; a "brotherhood” where the only link is selfishness, under the regime of capitalist private ownership of the means and conditions of social production.
It is the historical decline and crisis of global capitalism that drives the rapid disintegration of bourgeois parliamentary democracy and the rise of the most barbaric forces of bourgeois reaction, far-right and fascist formations. Trump is indeed the symptom of the pathology of senile capitalism, not its cause.
The editor-in-chief of the Financial Times, in the article we mentioned above about the events in America after November 3, 2020 and the determination of its policy by the top wealthy elite of 10% of the population or even by 30 CEOs of the largest capitalist giants, does not accidentally refer to… Marx: “As Karl Marx observed, only under the threat of the masses do the owners of the means of production recognize their common interests." .
The 30 CEOs of American capitalist giants recognize their common interest is threatened, ultimately not by Trump but by radicalized and rebellious masses, still confused, seeking a way out in polar extremes. Trump's electoral campaign deliberately sought, weaponizing racism and fascist mobilization of armed storm troopers of “white supremacy” like Proud Boys, to cultivate anti-communist paranoia that surpassed that of the "Cold War” and McCarthyism.
But also on the part of the Democratic Party establishment before, during the election campaign but above allafter the elections, they turn the fiercest fire to the left, especially against Squad, the Group of courageous young girls coming from the working class and oppressed minorities and whose actions, to a large extent, the Democrats owe their victory to key states. On the contrary, the same bourgeois establishment of the Democrats opens its arms to the right, in the name of “national reconciliation” and for the sake of the common interest – the confrontation of the threat by the masses and the risk of gaining political independence from the mechanisms of bipartisanship by the working class, at the head of all the oppressed, acquiring the revolutionary leadership that is now lacking.
In a sense, these young Squad women and Cory Bush (who have found a triumphant reception and election) reflect, even in a distorted form, the future. In contrast, the 30 CEOs, the ruling elite, look like dinosaurs and pterodactyls of a distant prehistory.
Capitalist America is trapped in an unresolved contradiction: it rose and prevailed as a global hegemonic superpower in the 20th century, that is, in the imperialist era of capitalist decline. Despite its gigantic economic superiority and military power, it has never been able to have the advantage of the British Empire, which it replaced in the primacy: the global hegemony of the Albion Empire was associated with the historical rise of capitalism and not with its decline. In the unity of opposites: US global hegemony – the decline of global capitalism, the primary and decisive, in the final analysis, is capitalist decline. It is the very historical Age in which humanity entered and which made it possible for America to gain world hegemony that plunges it into the twilight of decline.
The driving forces of this Age also operated during the heyday of America after World War II within the framework of the American-centered Bretton Woods framework. The collapse of the Bretton Woods framework also coincides with the victory of the Vietnamese Revolution on May 1, 1975, the first large-scale historic defeat of the most powerful imperialism ever experienced by mankind. America never surpassed the so-called "Vietnam Complex" which was revived traumatically as it sank into the bloodstream of the so-called "War on Terror" in Afghanistan and Iraq in the early 21st century.
Decades of capitalist globalization, with the liberalization of the movement of capital and commodities, the shift and over-accumulation of financial capital, “neoliberalism” and above all the collapse of the “rival awe”, the Soviet Union and the Soviet bloc, the shift to capitalist restoration in the countries of the former “existing socialism” and especially in China, concealed the decline of the transatlantic world hegemon, which seemed to be steadfast and undisputed on a planetary scale by its competitors in Europe and Asia.
The driving forces of the historical epoch continued their subterranean action. The eruption of the world crisis in 2007/08 centered in America manifested their destructive function and the nudity of the now senile American Hegemon.
The war cry of Trump MAGA! Make America Great Again! it was simultaneously an acknowledgment of American decline and a declaration of a campaign to subordinate all, by all means and against “friends” and enemies, internationally, to its unquestionable primacy. It is wrong to see it as a call for a "return to American isolationism" against " globalists."
The arrogant, nationalistic, racist cry of the demagogue in the White House America First! does not at all mean abandoning its world hegemony. On the contrary, it expressly states a demand for its unconditional acceptance, capitulation of everybody to the conditions of unquestionable American supremacy. Undermining and withdrawing from international institutions, the Paris climate agreement, the Trans-Pacific Treaty (TPT), the World Health Organization(WHO) in conditions of a lethal pandemic , and even the ultimatums threatening to withdraw from… NATO was not a turn to a solitary introversion but a blackmail of gangster “protection”, an order to submit to the shattered American hegemony. This submission is attempted by the demonization of China, the escalating trade and monetary wars against China, the EU, Japan, the intrusions against Cuba, Venezuela, Latin America as a whole, the proxy wars in the Middle East and Africa, the sanctions and cancellation of the nuclear deal with Iran, the penetration into Eastern Europe and the Balkans, the encirclement of Russia. All these manifest the contrary of a movement to withdraw from the international scene and " self-isolation" of America. It is a relentless war to restore shaken hegemony, to reverse America's decline.
The arrogant, brutal, non diplomatic attitude of a savage Trump was dictated not by the free will of a lumpen-billionaire brigand but by the pressing needs of America's declining ruling class which, watching fading the global superiority of its dominance, recruited an Al Capone to clean up the mess for itself. He succeeded only to exacerbate its political and economic crisis, losing control over the suffering population, sparking popular uprisings like Black Lives Matter, and at the same time depriving itself of international allies. The time has come for his withdrawal and replacement - at least for the majority of capital oligarchy tycoons, who demand "a smooth” transition and transfer of presidential power.
What will change with Biden?The style, diplomacy, attitude towards international institutions, some priorities, the restoration of alliances, etc. - but not the strategic and structural need of American capitalism for global hegemony. That's why, already in the January 2020, Joe Biden published an article in Foreign Affairs entitled Why America Must Lead Again.
“Saying it is one thing and deliver it is another," analyst Gideon Rachman warns him.
The efforts of the aging America to regain its lost youth, in a period of uprisings and signs of incipient civil war, are triggering more uprisings and disturbances of political and social economic relations on an international scale. The suffocating pressures on its capitalist rivals in Europe and Asia are becoming levers of escalating internal class struggle within each country.
Biden, who under his vice presidency in the Obama Administration sanctioned the bombings in seven countries, will not defuse tensions abroad, no matter how much diplomacy he uses, unlike the rudeness of Trump. It will have no difficulty in fulfilling the electoral promise to return to the (watered down by the then Obama administration) Paris climate agreement or to return to the World Health Organization and above all to the leading role of the US in NATO. The latter will reassure Germany and the EU but will strongly (and rightly) worry Russia about escalating pressure on it, and interventions in its region- in Eastern Europe, Balkans, "Near Abroad" (Caucasus and former Soviet Central Asia)- as well as and in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.
In the Middle East, the expropriation of Palestinian people’s rights will remain, as well as the common primary US-Israeli target at the center of US strategy: destroying the challenge presented by Iran and its growing influence in the region, in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
Unlike Trump, Biden will attempt to use again as a tool the Palestinian Authority, which rushed to willingly reopen “negotiations” with the Netanyahu government immediately after the US elections. The illusions may be manifested again, but that it does not mean that Biden can or even wants to resurrect the Oslo Accords by supporting the illusion of the creation of “two States".
After all, Trump, already in the transition period, sent Pompeo to the region to organize new faits accomplis. Aside from the provocative farewell party with far-right Zionist settlers, much more important was the organization, on November 22, of Netanyahu's first direct meeting, for the first time on Saudi soil, with the corrupt Saudi ruler (and Kassoghi’s assassin) Mohamed bin Salman al-Salman. Saudi Arabia has not yet followed the recognition of Israel like the emirates of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain or the military junta of Sudan, as Mohamed bin Salman keeps pretending to call for a Palestinian agreement first. But at the same time, as it became known, the Saudi tyrant is pressuring Pakistan to recognize Israel and meets, at midnight, secretly even from the Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi, the cunning Netanyahu…
A central element of the so-called "Great Plan” of the United States for the Middle East, apart from the speculative scams of Trump's son-in-law, will remain after Trump: the creation, around the Israeli-Saudi axis, of a reactionary coalition of Sunni Arab states that effectively abandon the Palestinians to an apartheid regime and that it will have as a target a central offensive in Iran. But unlike Trump and despite Netanyahu's displeasure, the United States under Biden will try to renegotiate with Iran to revive the Obama nuclear deal. This will not be easy and it will certainly not take place in the short term, as elections will be held in Iran in June 2021. Maintaining the pressure of sanctions that inflict suffering and death on the economically devastated and by Covid 19 Iranian people, America wants not only to discipline the insubordinate Iran but also to break up the wolf alliance in the region between Iran, Russia and Turkey. To bring Iran under control, to affiliate NATO Turkey again and to tighten the noose on Russia, which, through its intervention in Syria, has once again regained a leading role in the Middle East.
Looking at the bigger picture, it is revealed how short-sighted, narrow-minded and dangerous is the subservient pro-imperialist attitude of the Greek bourgeois governments, both the previous “left” Tsipras government and now the right wing Mitsotakis government, which turned Greece into an advanced stronghold of the American imperialism in the name of supposedly "preventing the Turkish threat". They are now cultivating illusions that Erdogan's “friend" has left and the new American President will be a friend of… Mitsotakis. The slavish servants of imperialism who rule Greece engage the people as canon fodder in the war plans of the imperialists in our volcanic region, as when they served the imperialist Entente, leading the Greek population in Anatolia to the Asia Minor Catastrophe of 1922.
The aggressive intervention of US imperialism in its “backyard”, Latin America in revolutionary turmoil from Chile, Bolivia, and Peru to Costa Rica and Guatemala, will continue targeting primarily to subjugate Venezuela and Cuba. The failure of Macri in Argentina and of Bolsonaro in Brazil will intensify the conflict between imperialism and the impoverished Latin American masses.
The driving force of wars is the crisis, the conflicting interests of the so-called Great Powers in America and Europe and of the regional ruling classes. In terms of American politics globally, the primacy amid the systemic crisis and historical decline remains to Make America Great Again (Trump) or To Make America Lead Again (Biden).
Re-aligning the US with the EU, as desired by Macron and Merkel, will strengthen NATO and its war goals but will not eliminate competition, trade and monetary wars. The EU has long been pushing for, and is now demanding, increased taxation and regulatory controls on US high-tech companies such as Google and Amazon. Biden himself, in his election campaign speeches, did not fail to combine statements of faith in globalization with a rhetoric of economic nationalism that were not far removed from those of his opponent, as the Friedrich Ebert Institute, the think tank of the German Social Democracy, points out: "Buy American products”, “Give our workers and companies the tools they need to become competitive”, “Resist the abuses of the Chinese government" etc...
Biden's reference to "our workers and corporations” is obviously a call for class collaboration between American labor union bureaucracy and American corporations in the trade "jihad” against competing corporations in Europe and Asia. The message is clear to the EU, asit is an open threat to China as well.
There is no doubt that America will continue its anti-Chinese campaign and trade war after Trump, despite Beijing's calls for “Cold War prevention”, "international cooperation”, “pluri-lateralism”, “a multi-polar world” and Confucian “global harmony".
Pacifists may be attract this discourse, but it is totally dismisses by America's tycoons seeing their share of the world market constantly decreasing and China, just ten days after the American elections, on 14-15 November 2020, signing with 14 other Asian and Pacific countries, including Japan and South Korea, one of the largest free trade agreements in the history of capitalism!
The US-China conflict has global dimension and impact. It unfolds from the South China Sea and Taiwan, with growing dangerous tensions tied with repetitive threatening naval exercises, all the way to the so-called Chinese New Silk Road (Silk and Belt Road, now renamedBelt and Road Initiative– BRI) in Asia, the Balkans, Africa, and up to Latin America, especially Venezuela and the Brazilian market.
In an irony accustomed to the cunning of history, America's old but always far-sighted Metternich, Henry Kissinger, the former architect of the Mao-Nixon meeting and the American-Chinese approach against the USSR, recently, in October 2020, compared the current tension with that on the eve of the First World War. President Xi Si Ping himself spoke of avoiding the “Thucydides trap", the inevitable conflict between rising Sparta and declining Athens in the Peloponnese War, whose history was marvelously written by Thucydides, and offered to humanity as “κτήμα εσαεί- a for ever possession”.
All analogies always have their limits. The conflicts of late bourgeois modernity in the 21st century are not those of Greek pre-capitalist, pre-modern antiquity. Moreover, today's China is not the rising imperialist Germany in competition with the declining imperialist Britain. Nor is current America old Britain. Form the opposite side, China's peculiar socioeconomic formation was shaped through the most contradictory zigzags: a gigantic social and anti-imperialist revolution that pulled it out of the semi-colonial misery and fragmentation; then, the convulsions, contradictions, impasses of Maoist “socialism in a single and backward country”; the post-1978 shift to capitalist restoration, the opening up to the world market, the cannibalism of the achievements of the revolutionary past for the benefit of an incredibly rapid economic growth; and now the new impasses, internal and above all international, with a global capitalist economy torn apart by an unprecedented and unresolved crisis, with the imperialists wanting to fragment it again and make it a colony again.
China as this historically shaped social economic formation does not claim and cannot replace America as a world hegemon.
Leon Trotsky's old prognosis is more valid today than ever. The only one who can succeed America in global hegemony is global Socialism. Only a revolutionary socialist transformation of the world can save the people of China, the people of America, and humanity.
Trump’s and Biden's America historical clock is at zero hour. The proletarians and oppressed all over the world are at their own very advanced hour in the Day of Reckoning. At the time of the world socialist revolution.
17-24 November 2020