E. Germain

Where Is the Soviet Union Going? 1

U.S. Imperialism Is Encircling the USSR

(6 April 1946)

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 24, 15 June 1946, p. 3.
Originally published in La Lutte Ouvrière, 6 April 1946.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

In order to survive in a world which remains capitalist, the Soviet Union is forced to maneuver between the great powers, to engage in “diplomacy.” This was already true in the days of Lenin and Trotsky, and remains fundamentally true for the Stalin period.

But during the first years after the October Revolution, Soviet “diplomacy” introduced new concepts into international politics. It began by publishing all the secret treaties. It voluntarily abandoned all the economic and territorial “concessions” extorted by Czarist Russia from backward countries like Persia and China. It based its diplomatic plans not on a system of alliances, but on the estimate of the revolutionary possibilities in different countries.

While exploiting to the utmost the imperialist contradictions, the USSR relied, in the first place, on the WORLD PROLETARIAT AND THE COLONIAL PEOPLES AS ITS PRINCIPAL ALLIES.

Bankrupt Policy of “Equilibrium”

With the victory of the bureaucracy, reaction made itself equally felt in the domain of foreign politics. Having, at first, lost confidence in the revolutionary possibilities of the working classes of other countries, then having understood that revolutionary victories abroad would constitute a mortal blow AGAINST the domination of the bureaucracy. Stalin replaced the foreign policy, as it was practiced in the days of Lenin and Trotsky, by a new policy based EXCLUSIVELY on the exploitation of imperialist contradictions.

Allying himself now with one power, now with another, first with Germany, then France, then Germany again, and then England, Stalin hoped each time to “neutralize” the main enemy, and above all, prevent the consolidation of an anti-Soviet alliance of all the imperialist powers.

During the war, it may have seemed for a while that the Stalinist policy had succeeded. In truth. Hitler had failed to gather about him all the imperialist powers for the purpose of launching a final assault against the USSR. But an analysis of the PRESENT situation demonstrates the complete bankruptcy of the Stalinist policy. The German-Soviet war, and the Hitler-Stalin Pact, which preceded it, are now disclosed as successive stages through which the ELIMINATION of different potential “allies” of the USSR was effected; the elimination of all those powers which by creating a balance, lessened the threat of complete encirclement of the USSR by any one imperialism.

The result of the Second World War has been that the entire capitalist world finds itself now dominated by a single imperialist power, the United States, while a second. Great Britain, desperately attempts to defend its remnants of independence. Before the war, the USSR was ringed by the armed forces of a half-dozen nations, which clashed violently among themselves in all domains.

Now, whichever way the USSR turns it finds itself confronted by the same army, the Anglo-American army!

The Encirclement Is Being Completed

The different “crises” which we have witnessed since the end of the war were each time the climax of an imperialist attempt to close the chain surrounding the USSR by adding a new link.

American imperialism has secured for itself the control of Japan, South Korea, North China. Now it also wants, at all costs, to secure for itself, Manchuria, in order to close the chain of encirclement from the northeast.

The Middle-Eastern crisis, Iran, and of the whole Arab world is only one aspect of British imperialism’s attempt to keep intact the cordon of encirclement to the south of the USSR. Turkey is the key position to the southwest.

Finally, the problem of Greece, the question of Trieste, the question of “regime” in the countries occupied by the USSR in Central Europe (for example: the question of the forced merger of the Socialist and Communist Parties in the Soviet Zone in Germany) are manifestations of this same desire to complete the encirclement to the west.

And if we follow the events closely, we cannot fail to conclude that despite the loud cries of the venal press about Soviet “imperialism,” Anglo-American imperialism (which is real) is quietly going about, almost imperceptibly, completing this encirclement, so much coveted by world imperialism for 28 years but never, in the past, realized.

Thus, we can understand how erroneous and superficial is the judgment of those who claim that Stalin has “preferred” to serve Russia rather than the world revolution. By demoralizing the international proletariat, by shackling the revolutionary movements with the help of his Stalinist agents, by smashing the movement even by violence and betrayal where it has broken out, Stalin has prevented the breaking of the imperialist iron ring surrounding the USSR at the only place it could be broken, namely, in the very interior of the capitalist world. It Is Stalin who bears the whole responsibility for the imperialist encirclement of the USSR, which is now being completed.

(Translated from the Belgian Trotskyist paper, La Lutte Ouvrière, April 6, 1946. Next week’s Militant will feature another article on this question.)

Last updated on 2 January 2019