Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolutionary Workers Congress

Détente: A Cover for Superpower Contention


First Published: Movin’ On!, Vol. 1, No. 2, June/July 1975.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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In the past there has been much written in the bourgeois press about Europe, Détente, the Soviet Union’s aggression and the question of Middle East oil. Reviewing these events, we note that President Ford, Secretary of State Kissinger and Secretary of Defense Schlesinger have again gone to the field in defense of U.S. imperialism and have been making blitz visits to Western Europe and Turkey, as well as attending meetings of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and CENTO (Central Treaty Organization). Worth noting is the Pentagon’s announcement of plans for reinforcing American troops presently stationed in Central Europe. Schlesinger has blatantly stated that the U.S. must stand up to the Soviet Union in the Middle East.

These occurrences are taking place against the backdrop of the U.S. being routed out of Indo-China and the setback in the Middle East. The Soviet Social imperialists, preying on the situation, want to seize the time in the wake of present U.S. difficulties and use every U.S. detriment to its advantage; thus, attempting to stretch its hands into every possible sphere of U.S. influence. The U.S., on the other hand, is forced to adjust its global strategy, to shorten its line, so to speak and focus itself on the essential areas of Europe and the Middle East.

The recent U.S. meetings in Europe plainly bear this out. The U.S. was attempting to strengthen its ties with Western Europe, the Middle East, and the Near East to mend the rift on the southern flank of the European continent.

These events only represent episodes but their effects are far reaching. Many years ago, Lenin wrote in Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism “that in the era of imperialism, the highest stage of development of capital ism, contradictions have reached their sharpest level.” A major feature is the tit-for-tat battles between the so called great powers fighting to be top dog of the world. Today this is exactly what is going on between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The world’s two main gangsters are fighting to re-carve an already carved up world. The need to keep alive and to wield their own corrupt monopoly rule, in addition to the growing world crisis, makes the fight among the imperialists a life and death thing. The struggle for markets, raw materials, outlets for investments and spheres of influence, as well as territory intensifies this fight. In an attempt to save themselves these imperialists try to get the ups on their rivals and conquer other countries. To gain maximum profits they try to edge out and, if possible, wipe out their rivals. It must be clear that this bitter tit-for-tat struggle among the imperialists is a necessary move if they are to gain the maximum profits they so avidly seek; therefore, one cannot carelessly write off these heads of governments as “Richard Nixon-type madmen” or just plain fools. Their actions are a concerted effort for more and more wealth and power.


The fight for hegemony (who is going to be imperialist power #1) is like a shooting match between wild west gunslingers – the fast drawer always loses to an even faster one. Who gains power among the imperialists is based on economic, financial and military strength. When the balance of forces changes, the demand for re-dividing the world presents Itself more sharply. As the struggle grows, it will ultimately lead to war. The two world wars in this century were a result of exactly this. As Lenin has said, “War is the continuation of politics, world domination is, to put it briefly, the substance of imperialist policy, of which imperialist war is the continuation.”

Like a merchant selling summer clothes at the beginning of winter, by saying summer is just 2 weeks away – the U.S. and the USSR report a period of “Detente” and a relaxation of tensions, while in fact the rivalry between them grows everyday. While preaching “Detente” and “goodwill”, these two powers increase their stockpile of arms and their military budgets.

While they talk of limiting nuclear arms, they are in fact engaging in massive nuclear arms expansion. In fact, the Soviet Union has surpassed the United States in building of warships, and in the total number of surface vessels and submarines it is now making every effort to turn out aircraft carriers and speed up the nuclear power of its submarines fleet in the race to catch up with the U.S. It has stepped up its research and manufacturing of different types of new war-planes and tanks, ants-tank weapons and anti-aircraft missiles. Meanwhile, the U.S. is putting more effort into developing its conventional war capacity.

The U.S. 1975 military budget (which is over $100,000,000) calls for increased production and storage of munitions, tank, anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft weapons and other conventional weapons. The U.S. budget also calls for stepping up construction of its naval forces in its fight with the Soviet Union for control of the sea. In June 1975 the U.S. exploded another nuclear bomb – ten times more powerful than that dropped on Hiroshima, They all this “testing.”

Meanwhile, back on the home front, the revisionist CPUSA is “pushing” detente saying it means jobs – this theory is more dangerous to the working class than a dope dealer pushing heroin in a grammar school. Imperialism means war and crisis – not relaxation of world tension and jobs. All this while they speak of “detente” and peace. But in the real world, there is no “détente.” let alone lasting peace. The superpowers are armed to the teeth. They also arm their so-called “allies” in such a way as to make them dependents.


In this bitter contention between these two superpowers the main focus is for the control of Europe. Under imperialism, not only does the imperialist precisely strive to exploit under-developed countries such as Asia, Africa and Latin America, but highly industrialized countries as well. Again, we are dealing with a situation where in the fight for re-division of an already divided wor1d, the imperialists reach out for every kind of territory. We only need to look at history. Did not Hitler, in his conquest of most of Europe, reduce advanced capitalist countries to colonies? Banking institutions were taken over by German financiers; key industries were taken over outright or controlled by new German partners. The workers of France, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Italy, etc. were reduced to slave-labor conditions, enabling German finance capital to rake super-profits. There are a number of facts which we must make clear here. After WWII the U.S. made tremendous strides in placing its mark on Europe. In 1966 the U.S. controlled half the auto industry in England; close to 40% of petroleum in Germany; over 40% of the telegraphic telephone business in France. West Germany, France and England were the three largest European markets. In 1972 direct U.S. private investment in Western Europe amounted to 30,700 million dollars making up 33% of the total U.S. investment of this kind (94,000 million dollars), being the largest, in comparison with those made in other regions. U.S. banks’ total assets amounted to 31,220 million dollars, again the largest total of U.S. banking assets overseas. In dealing with the world situation today, it is necessary to clearly understand the USSR - it is no more a socialist country than Hitler’s Germany was; no more than Papa Doc of Haiti was a patriot. But let objective reality reward our research, for facts tell the real story. Lenin pointed out that “in the market place it often happens that the vendor who shouts loudest and calls god to witness, is the one with the shoddiest goods for sale.”

The USSR’s relationship with the Eastern European “allies” are a perfect example of a vendor with shoddy goods. Its domination of certain Eastern countries is tailored to suit the economy of the Soviet Union alone, as is the case with all imperialists, and no false cloak can disguise that fact, Ninety per cent of the ship building capacity of East Germany and 2/3 of Poland are in the service of the USSR; one half of the fresh vegetables, over 2/3 of the canned vegetables and nearly all the canned fruits of Bulgaria, 2/3 of the machine building industry and 70% of the consumer goods are exported to the Soviet Union from member countries of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, the total service of the USSR For example, the Soviet Union controls uranium mining in Czechos1avakia, East German and Hungary. Other members of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance are forbidden by the Soviet Union to discuss uranium mining within the organization and technicians of uranium producing countries are forbidden to make contracts with one another. The Soviet Union also monopolizes nuclear fuel of member countries of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance. In 1973 under the mask of economic aid, the USSR exported capital to Eastern Europe which made up over 50% of its so called economic aid. In the area of trade with Eastern Europe, due to the shortage of fuel and raw materials between 1960 & ’70, Soviet social imperialists exported to Bulgaria, Hungary, East Germany, Poland and Czechos1avakia 33% of their petroleum, 86% of their iron ore, and 37% of their pig iron. When a colony or semi-colony breaks away from an imperialist power, that power takes action against it. The Soviet Union militarily occupied Czechoslovakia and maintains its military occupation there today. It also maintains troop in Poland, Hungary and East Germany. In the Middle East it prattled mi 1itary assistance to Egypt in a way as to amount to virtually military occupation. In the Middle East the Soviet Union pretends to assist the liberation movement of the Arab people while at the very same time it strengthens Israel with manpower. In the U.N. the USSR based its sham support for the Palestinian people on Resolution #242 – the essence of which reduces the problem of the Palestinian people to simply a refugee question. Back to Europe, the Soviet Union has been working overtime to squeeze the U.S. out in Western Europe. The USSR bought oil from Arab countries at lower than market prices as part payment for Russian arms, that oil was re-sold in Western Europe at 300% profit. A major element of the Soviet Union policy is exactly to penetrate Western oil markets. Natural gas is similarly bought cheap – it is re-directed into pipelines headed for Western Europe. To counter this the U.S is trying to readjust its relationship with Western Europe. It is also attempting to exploit contradictions within the Soviet Union’s so called Eastern European family by using the wedge of economic and technical cooperation.

At the 10th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, Chou En Lai stated, “Soviet revisionists are making a feint to the East while attacking in the West.” While Soviet social imperialists have no great love for China – as a million Soviet troops or the Chinese border indicate– many western politicians would prefer Soviet expansion eastward, particularly towards China; and while China is an attractive piece coveted by many imperialist forces, this piece of meat is indeed very tough, and for years no one has been able to bite into it. These wishes for eastward expansion cannot hide reality. Soviet war preparations are against Western Europe. The various security conferences in Western Europe are nothing but conferences of insecurity. It is well known that the Soviet Union exercises military practices with their Warsaw Pact “allies”, always proceeds on the footing of aggression into Western Europe.


The present world situation is not a game of marbles but in many ways it represents the brink of war. We raise this not to be alarmist but because Marxists-Leninists deal with facts. War between the two superpowers must mean world war. Lenin pointed out repeatedly that imperialism means aggression and war. Chairman Mao pointed out in his statement of May 20, 1970 that although revolution is the main trend in the world today, the danger of a new world war still exists, and the people of all countries must get prepared. In the U.S. today, preparation means we must intensify our efforts to build a broad United Front against monopoly capitalism and against the imperialists’ policy of aggression and war. This United Front must be led by the working class under the leadership of a genuine Communist party. While party building is the central task of Communists in the U.S., It must be linked to the task of building the United Front against the two superpowers who are dead set on starting a third world war.