A time unpredictable

nuclear bomb test

The current time is unpredictable. Competitions and contradictions are reaching to boiling point. The metropolitan center in the world order is experiencing heightened tensions, and consequences, trickling down gradually, are pressing peoples in lands to unfathomable sufferings while the Empire is insisting on “rules-based” world order, an Empire-centric old order serving only the Empire and its retinue.

But that time is falling down as sands slip past fingers. Results are yet to surface. All things will not move within days. A few will change dramatically, swiftly while the rest appearing idle will move super-slowly. But, at the end, this planet will find: The old order is gone. Almost every day signs of the crumbling old order is surfacing.

An US document spells out its nuclear weapons policies. The new US strategy with documents made public in late-October – National Defense Strategy (NDS), Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and Missile Defense Review (MDR) – is much more aggressive: The Empire keeps open the door for nuclear response to a non-nuclear attack. Any non-nuclear country should be prepared to experience a nuclear hit if the country appears threatening to the Empire’s security; and the definition of “national security” is defined by the Empire.

Risk in today’s world has increased. A country, small in terms of geography, resources and military power, may appear as a “threat to national security” to the Empire; and the country may face the Empire’s wrath – an invasion, or, with today’s strategic document, a nuclear-hit, may be a tactical nuclear weapon.

This threatening-reality leads China to say: This nuclear strategy “hypes up major power competition” and external power-threats.

Spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry said: The NPR “smacks heavily of the Cold War and zero-sum mentality”, “uses nuclear weapons as tools to advance geopolitical agenda” of the US. The US policy, according to the Chinese diplomat, lowers “threshold for using nuclear weapons”.

China reacted with a clear tone. The spokesperson told reporters on October 28, 2022: “[I]n the latest NPR, the US has made irresponsible remarks and accusations”, “groundless speculations on China’s normal modernization of its nuclear forces”, and has “tailored” a nuclear deterrence strategy.

The Chinese official reminded a few facts known to all: The US has the largest nuclear arsenal; it continues to upgrade its “nuclear triad”; it selectively advances the international nuclear arms control process that serves to suppress the countries it sees as rivals.

The Chinese diplomat told point blank: “What’s behind the US policy is its hegemonic logic of seeking absolute military superiority.”

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson went harder: Any attempts at “nuclear blackmail” by the US will fail.

The Empire hasn’t heard such assertions in the 1990s, and since end of the Cold War. Those days are past.

But, at least one faction of the ruling classes in the Empire, probably, denies recognizing this fact clearly visible in the theater of global politics. This trend that fails to take into account the emerging reality is charging up the international situation. The faction’s interest lies in a charged world situation.

This approach of the faction leads the Empire to identify China as its top national security threat. The US department of defense said on October 27, 2022 in its National Defense Strategy (NDS) 2022: “The most comprehensive and serious challenge to US national security is the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] coercive and increasingly aggressive endeavor to refashion the Indo-Pacific region and the international system to suit its interests and authoritarian preferences.”

The Empire likes to forget facts conveniently. But facts are facts: Who declared the Asia-Pacific as pivotal to its foreign policy? When – how many years ago – that was declared? Following that declaration, weren’t there moves – diplomatic including forging military alliances, and military including deployment, exercises and tours – by the party declaring the region as its focus? What’s the size of mobilization, military, missiles, war ships, etc., of the party? How many carrier groups of China are roaming the oceans, and of the party pointing finger to China? None by China. Has China conducted joint military exercises near the country that targets China as the main rival? Has China targeted any country including the Empire as its chief rival, principal competitor? No. Aren’t there more similar facts that expose true picture, which is opposite to the tale that the Empire tells?

Despite the facts, the Empire tells: China undermines the Empire’s alliances in Asia, coerces China’s neighbors, threatens peace and Taiwan, China’s breakaway province, China’s “destabilizing and coercive behavior stretches across the East China Sea, the South China Sea, and along the Line of Actual Control” on the China-India border, and China has modernized nearly every area of its military – the People’s Liberation Army – “with a focus on offsetting US military advantages”.

The arguments stands like: keep yourself weak and vulnerable so that I can coerce you, dictate you; don’t go for self-security, my security is the only concern in this world, as I’m the Empire.

The problem is here: China denies to get subjugated. China denies compromising its interests. China has to deny compromising its interests, whatever it’s, be it private capital, be it state capital, or the both, be it interests of the people there. The Empire, at least a faction of the ruling classes in the Empire, denies accepting this reality.

That’s the problem with the concerned capital connected to the Empire: Whether or not to accommodate, and how to accommodate? For the concerned capital, it’s a serious problem. One of the reasons creating this problem is capital’s character, which Marx discussed long ago.

This problem, actually, has turned out as a problem of the world capital, to be specific, of the world capitalist system. It began appearing in their beloved world markets years back. They used their state machines to whip, control and manipulate their loitering free market, and quarrels were heard, at times with subdued sound and, at times, loudly. In many of the cases, the Empire had to retreat, and at times, the Empire reined. But this crowing position may backfire even in the courtyard of its allies.

Symptoms are there. The leaders of Germany and France, according to Politico, have reached a consensus that the EU will have to retaliate against the US if it goes ahead with planned tax cuts and energy benefits, aimed at encouraging firms to shift production stateside. Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, and Emmanuel Macron, the French President, are concerned over the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, which they deem “protectionist”. The chancellor and the President agreed that the state subsidy plan announced by the Biden administration would constitute unfair competition, and should not go unanswered. As a counter-measure, Germany and France agreed to propose similar EU-wide incentive schemes for businesses. If the plan moves forward, it may initiate a big quarrel between the two parties.

The French President, in a program on TV channel France 2, called for a “Buy European Act like the Americans”. He said: The EU should reserve subsidies for European manufacturers. He told that he had a very good conversation with the Chancellor.

It shouldn’t be expected that there’s going to be confrontation between two parties across the Atlantic within days. But, undercurrents of contentions are there; and that’s in economy.

Going back to the Empire. China is, the Empire perceives, a “pacing challenge” while Russia is an “acute threat”. Russia, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin perceives, can’t “systematically challenge” the US over long term while China is “the only competitor […] with both intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the power to do so.”

The NDS report found “an unacceptable level of risk, in light of the range of non-nuclear capabilities being developed and fielded by competitors that could inflict strategic-level damage to the United States and its allies and partners.”

The US Defense Department said: “By 2030s, The United States will, for the first time in history, face two major nuclear powers as strategic competitors and potential adversaries.”

In the Empire’s war-map or security-map, whatever the term may be, countries like Iran and North Korea are also potential adversaries.

It’s difficult to perceive: Iran and North Korea, with their size, shape and level of economies, turn “potential adversaries” to the Empire! How much scientific and technological clout or capabilities do these two countries posses that can make them the Empire’s potential adversaries? Then, what’s the condition of the Empire?

Are the statements reflections of reality, or are there some other motives? The motives can be propaganda to stir jingoism, or preparing ground for higher allocation of fund for military purpose.

Whatever it’s, there’s, no doubt, tension is increasing; and at least one party likes to move on a war-footing. The requirement may stem from the condition of economy in home or from its economic drive abroad. There’s, in this perspective, no doubt, military expenditure will increase, and war-environment at global scale will get more charged.

The charged situation is evident from Russia’s reaction to the US nuclear strategy: The door has been kept open for nuclear first strike, and allowing use of weapons of mass destruction to prevent conventional attack. This reaction was from the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko. Moscow’s reaction shows the wideness of possible conflicting situation.

The much specific interpretation of the situation came from Vladimir Putin, the Russian President.

On October 27, 2022, Putin told about a world standing at the very steep cliff of a tumultuous decade, which will bring danger and unpredictability in several generations. As the factor behind such a situation, Putin said: Western hegemony inevitably draws to a close. The Russian President was addressing a discussion in Moscow.

He said: “We are standing on a historic frontier. Ahead is probably the most dangerous, unpredictable and, […] important decade since the end of the World War II.”

He identified the Ukraine crisis as “has taken a global magnitude”, affecting everyone, and “we should not entertain any illusion otherwise.”

Putin’s statement is singularly important, as he said: “[T]he historical period of the West’s undivided dominance over world affairs is coming to an end.”

During the most heightened moments in the Cold War period, or during times of retreat by the West, such times came for more than once, the Soviet leadership has not made such statement: West’s dominance is coming to an end.

Therefore, Putin’s statement is to be taken seriously.

He had more biting statements: “The West has a blindness of superiority.”

Citing Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Putin said: “[T]he blindness Solzhenitsyn spoke of, openly racist and neo-colonial in nature, has become simply ugly, especially after the emergence of the so-called unipolar world.” Putin called for equal dialogue.

Neither China nor Russia is going to be cowed down. Their interests will not allow it. But, the old camp dreaming of keeping intact unipolar world is turning desperate, which has every possibility of taking adventurous moves. Putin said the same: The West is playing a “dangerous, bloody and dirty” geopolitical game.

This makes the time unpredictable impacting all. It’s a dangerous time being created by the imperialist camp; and the peoples in lands have already begun paying for this imperialist geopolitical game. This payment will increase – increased suffering of the peoples. For imperialist game, people shouldn’t pay. This brings forth the task of opposing imperialism – its politics, its economy, its wars and war plans.

Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka, Bangladesh.


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