(this could be) the last time

Bitter conflicts dominate G20 summit in Germany
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, Jul 7 2017

The two-day G20 summit convenes in Hamburg, Germany today, dominated by global economic and political crises, threats of military confrontation and multisided geostrategic conflicts. The atmosphere resembles nothing so much as a meeting between greater and lesser mobsters in which no one knows who will be the first to shoot. First held in 2009 in London, the G20 Summit was supposed to serve as a forum for a collective effort by the major powers to rescue world capitalism from the financial meltdown begun on Wall Street in 2008 and to ward off the danger of protectionism. Today, under the impact of the ever-deepening and insoluble capitalist economic crisis, the conflicts between these powers have become so advanced, severe and unconcealed that there is every reason to believe that this could be the last of these world gatherings. Pres Trump set the tone for a summit of bitter and open confrontation by preceding his arrival in Germany with a trip to Poland, which has been sharply at odds with Germany’s rise as the new hegemon in Europe. Hosted by one of the most right-wing governments on the European continent, he delivered a fascist speech warning of the collapse of “our civilization” and calling for a struggle “for family, for freedom, for country, and for God.” Invoking Polish resistance to German occupation in the WW2, Trump left no doubt that he was seeking to align Pindostan with Poland in order to pursue Pindosi imperialism’s present-day rivalry with Germany.

Trump also addressed the 12-central and east European nation “Three Seas Initiative Summit” in Warsaw, a body that follows in the tradition of the so-called Intermarium alliance formed in the 1920s by various fascist and nationalist regimes directed against both the Soviet Union and Germany and supported by Pindostan. The agenda of the White House echoes the statement of Rumsfeld in 2003, denouncing France and Germany for failing to support the Pindosi drive to war against Iraq, dismissing them as “old Europe” and indicating that Washington was oriented to a “new Europe” composed of the former Warsaw Pact states in the east. A decade and a half later, the geostrategic conflicts exposed by the divisions over Faschingstein’s criminal war against Iraq have metastasized, affecting every area of relations between Europe and Pindostan and playing out on a global stage. Trump comes to Hamburg as the personification of the backwardness, criminality and parasitism of Pindostan’s ruling financial oligarchy. His aim is to use the threat of war, from a potentially world catastrophic attack on NK to an equally dangerous confrontation with Iran and Russia in Syria, to bludgeon Pindosi imperialism’s rivals into submission to his administration’s economic nationalist, “Pindostan First” agenda.

Trump, however, is by no means alone in pursuing an aggressive imperialist agenda. Merkel held her own meeting in the run-up to the G20 summit with China’s Pres Xi Jinping, both invoking free trade and climate change, condemning protectionism and implicitly opposing the policies of the Trump administration. Merkel embraced Beijing’s “One Belt, One Road” project of developing infrastructure for transport and energy networks linking China to Central Asia, Russia, all of Europe and the energy resources of the Middle East, an initiative viewed by Faschingstein as an existential threat. Xi’s government, confronting growing military pressure from Faschingstein both on the Korean peninsula and in the South China Sea, is seeking to forge closer bonds with a rising and increasingly independent, both politically and militarily: German imperialism. To the same end, he preceded his trip to Germany with a two-day visit to Moscow, where he and Putin defied Faschingstein’s demands that China starve NK into submission after Pyongyang’s test firing of an ICBM. Instead, they issued their own demands for Pindostan to remove its THAAD missiles from SK and halt its provocative military exercises on the peninsula. Meanwhile, on the very eve of the summit, the EU and Japan announced the conclusion of a free trade pact that would encompass a third of the world’s GDP. Japanese PM Shinzo Abe declared that the agreement demonstrated “our strong political will to fly the flag for free trade against a shift toward protectionism.” European Council Pres Tusk added:

Although some are saying that the time of isolationism and disintegration is coming again, we are demonstrating that this is not the case.

The agreement has been struck at the expense of Pindostan-based transnationals, and both statements were clearly directed against Trump, who on the eve of the summit wrote on Twitter:

Pindostan made some of the worst trade deals in world history. Why should we continue these deals with countries that do not help us.

With the continuously escalating conflicts between the economic powers that constitute the core of the world economy, the increasingly open and acrimonious divisions within the NATO alliance itself, and the forging of multiple pacts directed at furthering the interests of one or another power against its rivals, the situation resembles more and more that described by Lenin during WW1 in which the imperialist powers were “enmeshed in a net of secret treaties with each other, with their allies, and against their allies.” The rising threat of war and the breakdown of international institutions that were created in the aftermath of Pindostan’s emergence from WW2 as the dominant imperialist power are the end product of processes that have matured over the quarter century since the Stalinist bureaucracy’s dissolution of the Soviet Union. The emergence of what Pindo strategists described as a “unipolar moment” set the stage for a series of imperialist wars and interventions in which Pindo imperialism sought to exploit its military advantage to counterbalance its declining position in the world economy. While these wars shattered Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and other countries, claimed millions of lives and unleashed the greatest refugee crisis since WW2, they utterly failed to alter the fortunes of Pindosi imperialism. Now a new stage of the crisis has been reached in which Faschingstein’s global rivals are challenging Pindo imperialism’s global hegemony. Underlying these increasingly dangerous developments are the fundamental contradictions of the world capitalist system (I have untangled the contradiction-between-contradictions construct in the original – RB):

  1. between a single globally integrated and interdependent world economy and its division into antagonistic national states, and
  2. between the socialized character of global production and its subordination, through the private ownership of the means of production, to the accumulation of private profit by the ruling capitalist class.

Imperialism’s only means of resolving these contradictions is through a new world war that risks the destruction of humanity. These same contradictions, however are laying the foundations for a revolutionary upsurge of the working class on an international scale. The great historical questions arising from the present world situation can be formulated as follows: How will the crisis of the world capitalist system be resolved? Will the contradictions wracking the system end in world war or world socialist revolution? Will the future lead to fascism, nuclear war and an irrevocable descent into barbarism? Or will the international working class take the path of revolution, overthrow the capitalist system, and then reconstruct the world on socialist foundations? These are the real alternatives confronting humanity.

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