[News] From Crisis to Catastrophe? What is to be Done in Eastern Europe?

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Mar 4 22:35:03 EST 2022


 From Crisis to Catastrophe? What is to be Done in Eastern Europe.
<https://www.blackagendareport.com/crisis-catastrophe-what-be-done-eastern-europe>
Dr. Gerald Horne <https://www.blackagendareport.com/author/Dr. Gerald Horne>
02 Mar 2022

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Vladimir Putin and Joseph Biden in Geneva, Switzerland DENIS
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*The end of the cold war was the beginning of the America unipolar moment.
But the "end of history" was followed by contradiction and arrogance which
brought the conflict in Ukraine into being.*

The current crisis in the Ukraine will inevitably eventuate as that
rarity:  a turning point in world history.   This involves a number of main
points:

First, it clarifies that the preceding epoch, the Cold War, presumably
ending in December 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union, will likely
be seen in the future as a catastrophic success for U.S. imperialism.

A success to be sure—at least in the short term—as it inaugurated the
rapidly receding era of “unipolarity” and the heyday of the “sole remaining
superpower.”

But to attain this success, Washington executed a trio of critical
blunders:  there was the turbo-charging of religious zealotry that led
initially to the alliance in Afghanistan in the 1980s that contributed to
the demise of the Soviet Union—then the attack on New York and Washington
in 2001 and the ignominious ouster of the U.S. from that same South Asian
nation in August 2021.  Whatever the case, it is evident that we have not
heard the last of the zealots, especially since they receive covert and
overt aid from certain friendly regimes, Saudi Arabia not least.

Then, when Washington forced the dissolution of the USSR, this allowed
Moscow to cease subsidizing Moldova, Turkestan, Georgia and formerly
socialist regimes in the vicinity.  This allowed Russia to husband its
resources leading to what Stanford scholar, Kathryn Stoner terms in her
latest tome:  “Russia Resurrected,” a self-explanatory title that speaks to
the development of hypersonic missiles and an agricultural superpower and a
nation that can turn geopolitical tides in Syria among other sites.
Imperialism failed to acknowledge that Russia had outgrown the sellout
years of Boris Yeltsin and adamantly refused to adapt accordingly.  NATO
should have collapsed in 1991 when the USSR did but instead extended its
remit to Libya, along with destroying the former Yugoslavia and devastating
Afghanistan.

And, above all—and ironically—the intervention in the Ukraine occurred as
we were marking the 50th anniversary of yet another turning point:  the
U.S.-China entente of February 1972 on an anti-Soviet basis with the payoff
to Beijing being massive direct foreign investment creating a juggernaut
that bids fair to leave imperialism sprawling in the dust.

Indeed, arguably, it is the specter of China that drove imperialist
strategy toward Russia.  That is, confronting Beijing directly means a
faceoff with Tesla and Apple and Microsoft and Starbucks and KFC and a slew
of U.S. giants, whereas weakening China’s major partner—Russia—is more
palatable, at least for the time being.

That is why, as I write, it is not only regime change in Kiev that is at
issue:  imperialism seeks regime change in Moscow, with all the dangers
attendant with regard to toppling a nuclear power.

The ostensible issue --Ukraine joining the U.S. dominated NATO—would mean a
rise in the stock price of Raytheon (former home of Pentagon chief, Lloyd
Austin) and Lockheed Martin, as member states are required to spend more on
advanced weaponry, which inevitably comes from these corporations.

With Germany pledging to re-arm, we also witness the shortsightedness of
world imperialism, which refuses to learn the lessons of the 20th century,
especially the catastrophe of world war ending with the uncovering of
industrial funeral pyres in 1945.  Not only Washington but London, Brussels
and Paris should be shuddering right now.

Of course, since Germany will now be buying natural gas from Texas—and not
Russia—this will satiate Washington:  for the time being.

France is particularly culpable since Paris blathers and bloviates
constantly about “strategic autonomy” but is so dependent upon Washington
for aerial and satellite assets to keep a lid on its neo-empire in Africa,
that it is paralyzed.

Brussels, Paris and Berlin apparently are unfamiliar with the recent memoir
by sacked National Security honcho for Trump—John Bolton—who admitted that
the 45th U.S. President saw the European Union as second only to China as
an antagonist.

And this crisis in Ukraine will reinvigorate EU vassalage to U.S.
imperialism.

However, the underlying contradiction of this crisis is historical:  a
glance at the map reveals that much of European territory is Russian and
this huge nation still has a population twice the size of that of the
Number 2:  Germany.

In sum, while Western Europe was getting fat from the plunder of the
Americas and Africa in recent centuries, Russia was moving eastward—often
at the expense of China—and establishing its window on the Pacific in
1860:  Vladivostok.

Thus, Western Europe was becoming a global power at the same time that it
did not necessarily rule its home continent.  Two centuries ago Napoleon
sought to resolve this anomalous contradiction by invading Russia—and being
soundly defeated.  A few decades later in the 1850s there was the Crimean
War as, again, France, Britain and Turkey ganged up on Russia.

Then there was the final self-inflicted wound when in 1905 London financed
the Japanese attack on Russia, which backfired spectacularly in that it
wounded white supremacy grievously as Du Bois, Ho Chi Minh, Sun Yat Sen and
Nehru all recognized. But it also led to the transformative Bolshevik
Revolution of 1917 that inaugurated the General Crisis of Capitalism
itself—which has yet to dissipate—then was punctuated by the Tokyo payback
in 1941-1942, when the British Empire was devastated when its cash cows of
Hong Kong and Singapore were seized by Japan.

A few decades later, as noted, Washington repeated the blunder of building
up Asia to confront Moscow when in 1972 the entente with China was brokered.

Russia is the equivalent of the “whale” in Melville’s “Moby Dick”, the
pursuit of which drives the North Atlantic bloc into crazed
self-destruction.

Of course, Russia was not standing still as it sought to weaken European
colonialism in Africa when in the 1890s it armed Abyssinian/Ethiopia to the
teeth as it defeated Italian invaders.  Then under Soviet rule doing the
same in Southern Africa from the 1960s to Southern Africa independence
culminating in 1994 with the election of Nelson Mandela.

Of course, the Black community—or at least many among us—are culpable in
that since the “Compromise of 1954,” anti-Jim Crow concessions in return
for the ditching of our internationalists led by Paul Robeson, ill prepared
us to understand global affairs or even capitalize upon an often favorable
international situation.

Then there is the U.S. left which during the Cold War, assured us that once
the alleged albatross of the Soviet Union disappeared, radicals and
progressives would be liberated:  instead, we see the emergence of right
wing populists in Eastern Europe (Poland and Hungary particularly), not to
mention Washington.  In France, the presidential election is today
characterized by a surfeit of these types with the once mighty Communists
and Socialists on the back foot.

There are many lessons to draw from today’s crisis but among them must be
not only a better understanding of history and the international
correlation of forces—but also stronger collectives by which we can take
advantage of propitious moments.



*Dr. **Gerald Horne *
<https://ssl.uh.edu/class/history/faculty-and-staff/horne_g/>* holds the
Moores Professorship of History and African American Studies at the
University of Houston. He is the author of more than thirty books,
including **Confronting Black Jacobins: The United States, the Haitian
Revolution, and the Origins of the Dominican Republic*
<https://monthlyreview.org/product/confronting_black_jacobins/>*; **The
Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy,
and Capitalism in Seventeenth-Century North America and the Caribbean*
<https://monthlyreview.org/product/apocalypse_of_settler_colonialism/>*;
and **The Counter-Revolution of 1776   Slave Resistance and the Origins of
the United States of America*
<https://nyupress.org/9781479893409/the-counter-revolution-of-1776/>*.*
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