Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Emily Keppler

Afghanistan: Latest Victim of Superpower Rivalry

First Published: Unite!, Vol. 6, No. 1, January 15, 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The rapid military escalation and provocations by both superpowers mark a new and highly dangerous development in their rivalry for world domination.

The Soviet Union welcomed 1980 with a full-scale invasion of Afghanistan. More than 85,000 social-imperialist troops patrol Afghani towns and Soviet tanks back up the new puppet regime of Babrak Karmal, suppressing the anti-Soviet liberation movement. Nowhere in the world today is the imperialist nature of the Soviet Union more blatantly clear than in Afghanistan.

Nowhere is there greater proof that the two superpowers – the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. – are the main enemies of the peoples of the world than in the Middle East. Events in neighboring Iran and Afghanistan are a striking expression of how the intrigues and aggression of one superpower cover for the intrigues and aggression of the other.

A Socialist Foreign Policy?

Armed intervention, engineering coups and occupying a sovereign state is not the policy of a genuine communist party or a socialist country. A socialist foreign policy is based on proletarian internationalism and peaceful coexistence with states of differing social systems. There is nothing socialist in the foreign policy of the Soviet Union as the people of Ethiopia, Angola, Czechoslovakia and now Afghanistan know only too well.

The foreign policy of the Soviet Union is an imperialist policy which is rooted in the restoration of capitalism in the U.S.S.R. Internally the Soviet Union is plagued by the ills of capitalism – inflation and unemployment, the collapse of agriculture and lagging industrial growth, by foreign indebtedness and a lopsided economy due to militarization. Driven by the laws of capitalist development based on the contradiction between labor and capital – between socialized production and private appropriation – the program of the Soviet social-imperialists at home is the exploitation of the proletarian masses by the bourgeois ruling class. Abroad, the program is neo-colonialist domination and exploitation of the peoples of the world. The Soviet ruling class seeks new spheres of influence to secure new markets, new sources of raw materials and new arenas for capital investment, whether in Eastern Europe, Africa or Afghanistan.

Soviet social-imperialism, like its competitor U.S. imperialism, must expand to survive and so carries out economic, military and ideological aggression around the world – through the arms race and nuclear blackmail, through puppet political parties and the bribery of reactionary bourgeois cliques, through intrigues, coups and outright military intervention.

The Khrushchev clique which seized power in the Soviet Union disguised its revisionist betrayal of the revolution and socialism with Leninist-sounding phrasemongering about applying “Marxism-Leninism in the new period”. Today the new Russian czars continue the attempt to masquerade with a socialist mask to plunder the nations and peoples of the world. But if the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 was not enough, the invasion of Afghanistan has largely ripped away the socialist mask. While the Soviet revisionists preach peace, they rely on imperialist aggression in the charade of “detente”.

A Different Kind of Ping-Pong

The rapid military escalation and provocations by both superpowers in the past few months mark a new and highly dangerous development in their rivalry for world domination. Over the last two decades this mounting aggression between the two imperialist blocs has steadily increased the danger of a new imperialist war, expressing the permanent character of the inter-imperialist contradictions.

In the wake of the Carter/Khomeini-engineered “Iran Crisis”, U.S. imperialism has bolstered its military position in the Middle East, sending a flotilla of warships into the Persian Gulf and increasing military aid to its Mid-East allies. This aggression has provided the Soviet Union with a smokescreen from which it launched and justified the Afghanistan invasion. In turn, Carter uses the invasion to justify the establishment of “temporary” military bases in Kenya, Somalia, Oman and Egypt. Military hardware and spare parts are already en route. Now that the Soviet troops occupy Afghanistan, U.S. imperialism has a perfect cover for unfolding plans for increased military aid and joint actions with Chinese revisionism, taking a new step in the U.S.-China alliance.

The Soviet social-imperialists will use the U.S. build-up as a justification for increased support for the Vietnamese occupation of Kampuchea and a new smokescreen for deploying more “advisers” into Africa.

This game of rapid-fire ping-pong is aimed squarely toward a new imperialist war. It doesn’t matter who acts first. Neither U.S. imperialism or Soviet social-imperialism has lost the ability or determination to seek world domination.

Carter’s Reaction

Carter has halted U.S. grain shipments to the Soviet Union, increased arms to Pakistan, maneuvered in the United Nations and talked of boycotting the 1980 Moscow Olympics. He talks tough, riding the wave of national chauvinism and interventionist sentiment whipped up in the “Iran Crisis”. He talks and acts in so-called opposition to “communist” aggression.

How hard U.S. imperialism struggles to paste the Soviet Union’s socialist mask back in place! How well it maneuvers to discredit socialism and the genuine communists and revolutionaries who are struggling against imperialist war! How well the aggression of one superpower covers for the aggression of the other. While Soviet troops suppress the Afghani revolutionary movement with tanks and guns, the scribblers and prophets of U.S. imperialism work to suppress the revolutionary consciousness of the American people.

Doing its part, the CPUSA – the party of Soviet revisionism in the U.S. – takes up its pen and “explains”: “Soviets Help Afghans Protect Borders.”

Today the two superpowers are the main enemies of the world’s people: the main defenders of the imperialist system, the main source of neo-colonial oppression, the main source of imperialist war. While they contend for world hegemony, they unite in their common aim to suppress the world revolutionary movement for national liberation and socialism and world peace.

Nowhere in the world today is this fact more clear than in the Iran and Afghanistan.