|Putin and Kissinger|
Afscme Local 444, retired
Last week we shared with our readers some of the discussions we have been having in the wake of the Trump election victory. One issue we have been discussing is Russia/US relations and the possibility that Trump would make a deal with Putin.
There is no doubt that the retaking of Aleppo by the Assad government backed by Russia and Iran has strengthened Russian imperialism’s influence in the Middle East overall. Could this lead to a shaky Russian/US alliance of sorts? We have asked ourselves this question and whether or not in the mind of Trump and some of those around him, that a new period in history has opened up, that they believe some sort of tri-polar arrangement drawing in China could, for a period, introduce some stability to the Middle East and change the world relations that have existed since the collapse of Stalinism.
Does Trump and some of the people around him believe Russia, China and the US can carve out spheres of influence for themselves. If that is possible, what does that mean for Western Europe? Closer ties with Putin will surely be unpopular there. But the crisis in the Middle East, the result of a century of western meddling and nation building, has spilled in to Europe in the form of millions of refugees and this itself is destabilizing the region and is fodder for nationalism and right wing views.
What we do know is that the US bourgeois has hundreds and hundreds of what they call think tanks where they discuss world events in order to understand them and adjust their thinking and policies accordingly and they are doing that. Working people must do the same.
I was reading a speech in memory of Evgeny Primakov that Henry Kissinger gave at the Gorchakov Fund in Moscow back in February. Primakov was the former Russian prime minister and head of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and he and Kissinger met many times. The Gorchakov Fund describes itself as a public diplomacy fund that deals with Russian foreign policy in particular.
Kissinger’s speech was revealing. He said that, "The long-term interests of both countries call for a world that transforms the contemporary turbulence and flux into a new equilibrium which is increasingly multi-polar and globalized”, adding that, “Russia should be perceived as an essential element of any new global equilibrium, not primarily as a threat to the United States.”
Kissinger is 93 years old and heads a very secretive global consulting firm. He is one of those most responsible for the mass slaughter in South East Asia who said of the illegal US bombing of Cambodia, “Everything that flies on everything that moves.” He is a war criminal by any definition of the term. He is one of many that reside in and are protected by the US government.
Kissinger also pointed out that as far as Syria was concerned, “…it is clear that the local and regional factions cannot find a solution on their own. This must have been received very well by Putin coming from Kissinger, in many ways one of the most important US political figures. Kissinger has perhaps more connections with the Russians than any other US diplomat. Trump’s pick for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is another individual who has extensive links to the Russian president and Russian capitalism.
I was telling a friend the other day in response to his paranoia about Russian aggression in Europe that he might consider the armies that marched in to Russia from the West. Napoleon sent an army of some 800,000 if my memory serves me correctly and the Nazis just about burned every structure en route to Moscow. Reading Kissinger’s speech it is clear he is one of the key US bourgeois strategists. He spoke of the difference between the two countries historically pointing out that:
“Perhaps most important has been a fundamental gap in historical conception. For the United States, the end of the Cold War seemed like a vindication of its traditional faith in inevitable democratic revolution. It visualized the expansion of an international system governed by essentially legal rules. But Russia's historical experience is more complicated. To a country across which foreign armies have marched for centuries from both East and West, security will always need to have a geopolitical, as well as a legal, foundation. When its security border moves from the Elbe 1,000 miles east towards Moscow, Russia's perception of world order will contain an inevitable strategic component. The challenge of our period is to merge the two perspectives—the legal and the geopolitical—in a coherent concept.”
Here Kissinger reveals his grasp of history that gives him a much clearer understanding of how Russians and Putin see the world.
For most of us, it is very difficult to draw concrete conclusions other than in a broad sense. That the possibility of a multi-polar, or as we suggested, a tri-polar world emerging in the next period is being discussed among bourgeois heavyweights like Kissinger and no doubt others, much of it behind closed doors, encourages us to continue to struggle to understand the world as it is changing around us. As we have written many times on this blog, we have broken from what is a common thread that runs through socialist/left politics, the view that there are “leading” people (generally men) who know everything, or think they do. Another recurring theme is that we never make mistakes.
“The danger today is less a return to military confrontation than the consolidation of a self-fulfilling prophecy in both countries. The long-term interests of both countries call for a world that transforms the contemporary turbulence and flux into a new equilibrium which is increasingly multipolar and globalized.”, Kissinger told his Russian audience and we have no doubt he means it. Whether serious Bourgeois heavyweights like Kissinger are able to control Trump remains to be seen but the bourgeois still rule society. They may not have got their candidate of choice in to the White House but they got “one” of their candidates albeit a rather crude and vulgar one.
And despite all Trump’s blustering, Exxon cannot get a deal on oil rights in Russia in a climate of extreme hostility. The same with China which is the source of profits for US tech giants. These world powers are linked together through the process of globalization and self-interest but the system drives them in to conflict at the same time. But as the Trump victory itself shows, sometimes the bourgeois don’t always get their way. And when the masses move, historic earthquakes take place as we saw in the Soviet Union in the late 80’s. We saw the collapse of US installed or financed dictators throughout the Arab world in a matter of a few years during the Arab Spring. What is lacking throughout these developments is an international working class movement and a leadership prepared to challenge capital.
It is inconceivable that there will not be a huge crisis in China at some point in the near future. There already is as hundreds of thousands of demonstrations and protests that take place there each year. It is hard to imagine that the Chinese government ordered some 400 million people to stay indoors just recently due to pollution, that’s more than the entire population of the US. This potential power of the Chinese working class will be a real force to be reckoned with in the period ahead.
One thing we can say with confidence is that on any permanent basis capitalism cannot escape the extreme crisis that it has created. It cannot solve the crisis in the Middle East, it cannot halt environmental degradation and it cannot overcome the potential for war between the nations states. Nations don’t build nuclear weapons with the intent of never using them.
Like Kissinger, we have been using this term “equilibrium” in recent conference calls But there is more than one side to the question of equilibrium; a short and medium term equilibrium and a long-term view of it. The latter can only be achieved through the international socialist revolution and an international socialist world based on democratic workers’ councils and a rational democratic plan of production within the framework of a global federation of democratic socialist states.
To what extent capitalism can achieve even a short-term equilibrium never mind a medium term one, is something that socialists have to discuss further in the wake of recent events. It’s clear that these issues are being hammered out in the major bourgeois think tanks as Kissinger’s comments show.
What is clear is that unless capitalism is overthrown and replaced by a democratic socialist world federation of states, we will be facing the end of life as we know it. The system has its own force of motion, it cannot be reined in, cannot be reformed. And we should consider that Trump have to deal with another recession or slump possibly before the end of 1917 and most likely before the end of his first term.
A revolutionary transformation of society is not utopia. It is the only real solution to a decaying social system and what that means for our children and grandchildren. As much as I respect Stephen Hawking as a physicist and scientist, his suggestion that humanity’s only way out is to emigrate to another planet is not a serious alternative. We have pointed out in previous posts why it is that important, brilliant figures like Hawking and Assange for example, who have extensive knowledge about physics and technology, are incapable of seeing the working class as a force for change in society.
The apologists of capitalism claim socialism is utopian or unrealistic, but the idea that humanity can escape the global catastrophe that capitalism has in store for future generations by emigrating to Mars is certainly both utopian and unrealistic.